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Baldwin, LaFontaine, Hincks
Chapter XI - The End of the Ministry


THE story of responsible government, with which the present volume is mainly concerned, practically ends, as has just been said, with the passage of the Rebellion Losses Rill. The history of the concluding sessions of the LaFontaine-Baldwin administration, of the disintegration of the ministry and of the reconstruction of the Reform government under Hincks and Morin, belongs elsewhere. It has, moreover, already received ample treatment in other volumes of the present series.1 We are here approaching the days of the Clear Grits, of Radicals breaking from Reformers, of a Parti Rouge, of recrudescent Toryism and the political match-making of the coalition era. Rut some brief account of the decline and end of the LaFontaine-Baldwin administration may here be appended.

Union in opposition is notoriously easier than un<on in office. Opposition s a, negative function, the work of government, is positive. It was but natural, therefore, that with the accession of the Reform parly to power and the definite acceptance of the great principle which had held them together, differences of opinion which had been held in abeyance during the struggle for power, now began to make themselves felt. The Reformers were by profession a party of progress, and it was natural that some among them should aim at a more rapid rate of advance than others. "It cannot be expected," wrote Hincks, reviewing in later days the period before us, "that there will be the same unanimity among the members of a party of progress as in one formed to resist organic changes: in the former there will always be a section dissatisfied with what they think the inertness of their leaders."

Moreover, the great upheaval of the Rebellion Losses agitation tended to throw into a strong light all existing differences of opinion and to intensify political feeling. The movement towards annexation with the United States in the summer of .1849, which led a number of the British residents of Montreal to sign a manifesto in its favour, was doubtless dictated as much by political spite as by serious conviction.2 But it is characteristic, none the less, of the precipitating influence exercised upon the formation of parties by the great agitation. In addition to this, the recent events in Europe—chartism and the repeal movement n the British Isles, and the democratic revolutions on the continent—gave a strong impulse to the doctrines of Radicalism, and at the same time repelled many people from the party of progress and directed them towards the party of order and stability. The years of the mid-century were consequently an era in which the formation and movements of parties were modified under new and powerful impulses.

In despite of this, the LaFontaine-Baldwin administration throughout the years 1849 and 1850 remained in a position of exceptional power. It suffered indeed to some extent from the desertion of Malcolm Cameron who resigned his place in a ministry that moved too slowly for his liking (December, 1849), and from the elevation of so strong a combatant as Mr. Biake to the calmer atmosphere of the bench. But it gained something also from the propitious circumstances of the time. The cloud of commercial depression that had hung over Canada was passing away. The removal of the last of the British Navigation Acts m 1849—for which Baldwin, a convinced free trader, and his fellow-Reformers had long since petitioned the imperial government—brought to the ports of the St. Lawrence in the ensuing year an entry of nearly one hundred foreign vessels: the completion of the works on the Welland Canal, on which in all some $0,209,000 had been expended, seemed to tiaugurate a new era for the shipping trade of the Great Lakes, while the prospect of an early reciprocity with the United States and the Maritime Provinces, and the extension of the railroad system, were rapidly reviving the agriculture and commerce of the united provinces. The bountiful harvest of 1850 came presently to add the climax to the national prosperity.

The ministry, therefore, in despite of the progress of Radicalism, which was soon to threaten its existence, was able n the session of 1850 to carry oat several reform measures of great importance. The seat of government had meantime, in accordance with an address from the legislature, been transferred to the city of Toronto, which was henceforth to alternate with Quebec, in four year periods, in the honour of being the provincial capital. The appearance of Lord Elgin at the old parliament buildings on Front Street was greeted with loud acclamations from a loyal population, and the Tory party, after one or two unsuccessful attempts to undo the Act of Indemnification by further legislation, found themselves compelled to accept the inevitable. The reorganization of the postal system, now transferred to the control of Canada, with the lowering of postal rates, was one of the leading reforms effected in the session. A new school law for Upper Canada carried out more completely the system inaugurated under Sir. Draper's Act, and confirmed the principle of granting separate schools to Roman Catholics. An improved jury system, a reorganization of the division courts and certain amendments in the election law. were also among the results of the session's work. It was noted with congratulation by the friends of the ministry that not a single bill adopted by the legislature was reserved by the governor-general. The Globe in calling attention to the fact, "unprecedented in Canadian history." declared that it proved "the practical existence of responsible government."

The legislative success of the session of 1850 was perhaps more apparent than real. Some great questions of practical reform—notably those of the Clergy Reserves and of Seigniorial Tenure—were still pressing for solution. In these two vexed problems, which had stood before the politicians of the two Canadas for a generation past like twin riddles of the sphinx, were contained the eternal problem of the Church and the State, and the like problem of landed aristocracy against unlanded democracy. On these the party of the Reformers could find no common ground of agreement. These two issues and the natural drift of political thought of the time were more clearly each day the difference between Radicals and Reformers. Neither Baldwin nor LaFontame had anything of the complexion of a Radical. The former, indeed, showed in his private walk of life much of that reverence for the things and ideas of the past, which is often a part of the inconsistent equipment of the Liberal politician. In his Municipal Act his resuscitation of the Saxon term "reeve" had excited the kindly ridicule of his contemporaries. LaFontaine too had much that was conservative in his temperament, and though in his younger years no over zealous practitioner of religion, he set his face strongly against anything that savoured of spoliation of the rightful claims of the Church. As against the moderation and tempered zeal of the chiefs, the intemperate haste and unqualified doctrines of some of their followers now began to stand in rude contrast,. The latter urged the full measure of the Democratic programme. "Take from the churches," they said, "their reserved lands that are merely a relic of old time ecclesiastical privilege, change this mediaeval seignior of Lower Canada and his tenants into ordinary property-holders, and give us in our constitutions a full and untrammelled application of the principles of popular election,—an elected assembly, an elected Upper House and an elected governor at the head."

Many of the leaders of the new Radicalism were men not without influence in the community. There was, in Upper Canada, William Lyon Mackenzie, now returned from his ungrateful exile to fish in the troubled waters as an Independent, and aspiring again to popular leadership; Dr. John Rolph, the agitator of the pro-rebellion days, who had ridden out with Baldwin to interview the 340 rebels at Montgomery's tavern, and who, like Mackenzie, had known the bitterness of exile; Macdougall, a lawyer by title but by predilection a politician and journalist, once a contributor to the Examiner but now the editor of a Radical publication called the North American. With these was Malcolm Cameron, the recently resigned commissioner of public works. Out of this material was being formed the new party of the Radicals, a party that boasted that it wanted only men oi " clear grit," and whose members presently became known as the Clear Grits.1 Their platform, which shows the infection of European democratic movements. consisted of the following demands: The application of the elective principle to all the officials and institutions of the country, from the head of the government downwards; universal suffrage; vote by ballot; biennial parliaments; abolition of the property qualification for members of parliament; a fixed term for the holding of general elections and for the meeting of the legislature; retrenchment; abolition of pensions to judges; abolition of the courts of common pleas and chancery and the enlargement of the jurisdiction of the court of queen's bench; reduction of lawyers' fees; free trade; direct taxation; an amended jury law; abolition or modification of the usury laws; abolition of primogeniture; seeularization of the Clergy Reserves and the abolition of the recto, os that had been created out of that endowment.

Such was the original group of the Clear Grits. In later times their designation—or at least the term " Grit "—was applied to the Reformers generally and especially to the adherents of George Brown.' But in the beginning Brown had little sympathy with the new party and remained, in spite of certain Radical leanings, an adherent of LaFontaine and Baldwin till the last. His paper, the Globe, at first denounced the Grits as "a miserable clique of office-seeking, bunkum-talking cormorants, that met in a certain lawyer's office on King Street [Macdougall's] and announced their intention to form a new party on Clear Grit principles."

At the same time in Lower Canada a Radical party, following the lead of Papineau, was being formed in opposition to the policy of LaFontaine. The career of Papineau has been the subject of so many conflicting opinions, has met with such extremes of approbation and censure, that it is difficult to hazard an Opinion on the merit of his political conduct at this time. With LaFontaine and the ministry he was entirely out of sympathy. Lord Elgin, who spoke of him as " Guy Fawkes, viewed him with dislike. But among his compatriots a group of the younger men, now called the Parti Rouge and including A. A. Dorian, Doutre, Dessaules and others, followed the lead of Papineau and advocated a programme of an equally Radical character to that of the Clear Grits. In their party organ, they demanded universal suffrage, the repeal of the union with Upper Canada, the abolition of the church tithes and election of the Upper House, while many of them openly advocated republicanism ami annexation to the United States. In the legislature of 1850 Papineau maintained against the measures of LaFontaine an unremitting opposition, and made common cause with MacNab and his party in voting against the government. To add to the difficulties that were gathering about the administration, Brown, of the Globe (hitherto their firm supporter), incited by the agitation in England over the Ecclesiastical Titles controversy, commenced an outcry against Roman Catholicism and all its works.

By far the worst difficulties of the ministry lay, however, .n the Clergy Reserves question.1 The history of this long-standing controversy may be epitomized thus: the Constitutional Act of 1791 empowered the Crown to set apart in each province for the maintenance and support of a Protestant clergy one-eighth of the public lands as yet unallotted: the Crown also had power to erect and endow rectories out of the reserve, whose incumbents should be "presented" by the governor, after the practice of presentation in England. In other words, the aim of the Act was to create in the two provinces an endowed State Church. The same statute gave to the parliament of each province power to alter or repeal these arrangements as it might see lit, provided always that such action was sanctioned by the imperial parliament. The Reserves had been at first exclusively claimed and enjoyed by the Church of England. Grave dissatisfaction arose. The other Protestant Churches claimed that the terms of the Act permitted of their participation in the reserve. The settlers also complained that the arrangement impeded settlement, hindered the making of roads and tended to interpose waste spaces among the farms of the colonies.

In 1819 an opinion, delivered by the law officers of the Crown, declared that the innlisters of the Church of Scotland were entitled to a share in the Reserves. The old Reform party in Upper Canada of the days before the rebellion, protested against this form of State aid to the two Churches. Some Reformers wanted all sects to participate, others wished the whole system abolished. In 1831 the imperial government had invited the legislature of Upper Canada to adopt a measure for the settlement of the question. Nothing, however, was agreed upon. No special endowments of rectories were made until 1836, when Sir John Colborne signed patents creating forty-four of them. This occasioned still louder protest. In Lower Canada, already settled and less subject to the allotment of new lauds, the matter of the Clergy Reserves never became an acute question. It was the policy of the Roman Catholic Church not to oppose ecclesiastical endowment by the State.1

In 1840 the parliament of Upper Canada passed an Act distributing the lands among the various Protestant sects. This Act was disallowed, but an imperial Act2 of 1840 made a new disposition of the Reserves. Certain parts of the Church land had already3 been sold. The funds arising from these sales were to be distributed, in the proportion of two to one, between the Churches of England and Scotland. The rest of the Reserves were now to be sold. Of the proceeds arising, one-third was to go to the Church of England, one-sixth to the Church of Scotland, and the remainder, at the discretion of the governor in council, was to be applied to "purposes of public worship and religious instruction in Canada."

In accordance with this, distribution was made of these funds among the Dissenting denominations.

Such was the position of the Reserves question in the year 18.50: the Church lands, while no longer blocking settlement, since they were offered for sale when allotted, constituted a fund of which the Anglican Church received the lion's share, but in which all Protestant denominations participated. Many of the Reform party were anxious to leave the matter where it was, but the Radicals were determined to have done with all connection between Church and State and to force the question to an issue. Price, the commissioner of Crown lands, in the session of 1850, brought in a series of resolutions declaring the reservation of the public domain for religious purposes to have long been a source of intense discontent, and asking the imperial parliament to grant to the Canadian legislature plenary powers to deal with the lands as t should see fit. One of these resolutions (June 21st, 1850) read: " No religious denomination can be held to have such vested interest in the revenue derived from the proceeds of the said Clergy Reserves as should prevent further legislation with respect to the disposal of them.'' On Price's resolutions, which were finally earned, the ministry was divided. Hincks, who had seconded the resolutions, was in favour of the secularization of the Reserves. Of this policy he had been a consistent advocate for many years past.

Secularization, however, could only be accomplished by first inducing the imperial parliament to repeal the Act of 1840 and to refer the whole question to the Canadian legislature. Hincks's practical political experience told him that this end could be best accomplished by avoiding any action which might antagonize the British parliament, and in especial the House of Lords, by seeming to make Canadian jurisdiction a menace to the privileges of the Church. "It was clearly our policy," he wrote subsequently, "to ask for a repeal of the imperial Act on the ground of our constitutional right to settle the question according to Canadian opinion, and not to declare to a body sufficiently prejudiced and containing a bench of bishops, that our object was secularization." Hineks was, therefore, of opinion that the existing ministry should content itself with asking for the repeal. The policy to be afterwards adopted could be agreed upon in its own lime. Though aware of the difference of opinion between himself and certain of his colleagues, he saw nothing in that difference to demand a reconstruction of the administration. Whatever the individual opinions of the ministers might be on the subject, there were no immediate measures, he argued, which the Canadian government. could take towards secularization. "To have broken up the LaFontaine government," he wrote, "because its leader would not pledge himself to support secularization, when it. was uncertain whether we could obtain the repeal of the imperial Act of 1840, would have been an act of consummate folly, indeed hardly short of madness."

Nevertheless, the divergence of opinion in the cabinet was a palpable fact, LaFontaine believed in Canadian control: he desired the repeal of the Act of 1840: but he did not believe ?n the policy of secularization. Rightly conceiving that the alienation of the Reserves to other than religious purposes was the intent of Price's resolution quoted above, he gave his vote against it. Baldwin, to his deep regret., found himself compelled to vote against LaFontaine on this resolution. His attitude, as expressed in his speech on this occasion, honest though it was, was hardly calculated to hold political support. He admitted that previous to the imperial Act of 1840, he had. along wth his fellow-Reformers, believed in the secularization of the Reserves and their application to provincial education: the passage of the Act had altered his opinion and he believed they ought to adhere as far as possible to the purpose it indicated. He did not regard the reserved lands as being entirely the property of the people, but recognized the vested interest created 348 by imperial legislation. At the same time he expressed himself as opposed to any union between Church and State, and declared that he did not regard the Act of 1840 as necessarily a final settlement. With this rather vague statement of his position, Baldwin voted in favour of the resolution condemned by LaFontaine. The opportunity offered by the evident lack of union on the part of the ministry was not lost on the Opposition. Even before the vote referred to, Boulton of the Conservative party tried to amend one of the resolutions by substituting a motion, "that, in the language of the Hon. Robert Baldwin n his address to the electors of the fourth riding of the county of York on December 8th, 1847. preparatory to the last election, when an adviser of the Crown on a great public question avows a scheme which his colleagues dare not approve, public safety and public morals require that they should separate."

The difference of opinion thus evinced among the members of the ministry was not calculated to strengthen their hold on their majority. At the same time the parallel question of seigniorial tenure was weakening their support in Lower Canada. This was a legacy of the old French regime under which about eight million arpents of land had been granted to the seigniors on a feudal basis. The holders of land (cemitaires) under the seigniors had a permanent right of occupancy but were compelled to pay fixed yearly dues in money and in kind, and in the event of their selling out their tenancy must pay one-twelfth of the purchase price to their lord. The latter had also various vexatious privileges, such as the droit de banalittf, or sole right of grinding corn. Whatever may have been the merits of the system ill aiding the first establishment of the colony, it had long since become an anachronism, Agitation against the tenure had gone on for years, but with the exception of a law of 1825 which permitted the seignior and censitaire by joint consent to terminate the tenure, nothing had been done. Granted that the system was to be abolished, the difficult question remained, how to abolish it. Was the land to be handed over to the censitaire as his property m fee simple, or was it to be given to the seignior as his absolute property, or was some adjustment, involving proper compensation, possible? The Reformers of Lower Canada were much divided; some of them wished to see the seigniors expropriated without compensation; others to expropriate them with compensation; others to leave the matter to voluntary arrangement aided by legislation, but not compulsory: and others, finally, such as Papineavi (himself a seignior) wished to leave the matter where it was. LaFontaine, while believing in the historic value of the system, considered it injurious at the present 350 time to the interests of agriculture; he wished to see it abolished, but wished to find means to respect the interests of the seigniors by a proper compensation. The reference of the matter to a committee, and the presentation of various tentative bills, afforded no solution, and the matter dragged forward from the session of 1850 to that of 1851, while the prolonged delay led several of the Reformers to accuse LaFontaine of deliberately temporizing for fear of losing parliament any support.

The end of the great ministry came in the succeeding session, that of 1851. The opposition of the Clear Grits to the government was growing more and more pronounced and the two unsolved questions proved a standing hindrance to the reunion of the Reform party. A Canadian writer f has said that the Reform party had become too ponderous to be held together and that it broke of its own weight. Indeed the united strength of the Reformers, Radicals. Clear Grits, Independents and the Parti. Rouge, so completely outnumbered the Conservatives, that it was vain to expect to find all sections of the party disregarding their own special views for the sake of continuing to outvote so small a minority. The temptation was rather for the leaders of the separate groups to court new alliances, which might convert their subordinate position in the Reform party into a dominant pos t-on in a new combination. In this way we can understand the vote which, midway in the session of 1851, led to the resignation of Robert Baldwin.

Mackenzie, who was aiding the Clear Grits in their persistent opposition to the cabinet, brought in a motion (June 20th, 1851) in favour of abolishing the court of chancery- -one of the reforms recommended in tiie platforms of the Clear Grits. This court, formerly a valid subject of grievance, had been reorganized by Baldwin in his Act of 1849, and he had seen no reason to regard its present operation as unsatisfactory. Mackenzie's motion was rejected, but its rejection was only effected by the votes of LaFontaine and his French-Canadian supporters: twenty-seven of the Upper Canadian votes were given against Baldwin, many of them representing the opinion of Upper Canadian lawyers. Under happier auspices Baldwin might not have regarded this vote as a matter of vital importance, for he had never professed himself a believer in the doctrine of the "double majority,"1 the need, that is to say, of a majority support in each section of the province at the same time. But the mortification arising hi this instance was coupled with a realization of the difficulties that were thickening about the government, and with a knowledge that the Reform party was passing under other guidance than that of its early leaders. The vote on the chancery question was merely made the occasion for a resignation which could henceforth only be a question of time.

Baldwin's resignation was tendered on June 30th, 1851. All parties united in courteous expressions of appreciation of his great services to the country, and the chivalrous MacNab expressed his regret at the determination of his old-time adversary. Almost immediately after the resignation of Baldwin. LaFontaine expressed his intention of retiring from public life after the close of the session. He, too, had wearied of the struggle to maintain union where none was. The committee on seigniorial tenure, moreover, reported a proposal for a bill which LaFontaine found himself compelled to consider a measure of confiscation. The consciousness that his views on this all important subject could no longer command a united support confirmed him in his intention to abandon political life. Indeed, for some years, LaFontaine had suffered keenly from the disillusionment that attends political life. As far back as September 23rd. 1845, he had expressed his weariness of office Li a confidential letter to Baldwin. "As to myself," he wrote, "I sincerely hope 1 will never be placed in a situation to be obliged to take office again. The more I see, the more I feel disgusted. It seems as if duplicity, deceit, want of sincerity, selfishness, were virtues. It gives me a poor idea of human nature."

The parliamentary session terminated on August 30th, 1851. It was generally known throughout the country that LaFontaine would carry into effect, in the ensuing autumn, the intentiori of resignation which he had expressed. His approaching retirement from public life was made the occasion of a great banquet in his honour held at the St. Lawrence Hotel, Montreal, (October 1st, 1851.) Morm, the life-long associate in the political career of the leader of French Canada, occupied the chair, while Leslie, Holmes, Nelson and other prominent Reformers were among those present. The speech of LaFontaine on this occasion, on which he bid farewell to public life, is of great interest in it he passes in review the political evolution of French Canada during his public career.

"Twenty-one years ago," said LaFontaine. " when first I entered upon political life, we were under a very different government. I refer to the method of its administration. We had a government in which the parliament had no influenee,— the government of all British colonies. Under this government the people had no power, save only the power of refusing subsidies. This was the sole resource of the House of Assembly, and we can readily conceive with what danger such a resource was fraught. It was but natural that this system should give occasion to many abuses.

"We commenced, therefore, our struggle to extirpate these abuses, to establish that form of government that it was our right to have and which we have to-day,—true representative English government. Let it be borne in mind that under our former system of government all our struggles were vain and produced only that racial hate and animosity which is happily passing from us to-day. and which, I venture to hope, this banquet may tend still further to dissipate.

"I hope that I give offence to none if. in speaking of the union of the provinces, I say that history will record the fact that the union was a project, which, in the mind of its author, aimed at the annihilation (aneantissement) of the French-Canadians. It was in this light that 1 regarded it. But after having subsequently examined with care this rod of chastisement that had been prepared against my compatriots, I besought some of the most influential among them to let me make use of this very instrument to save those whom it was designed to ruin, to place my fellow-countrymen in a better position than any they had ever occupied. I saw that this measure contained in itself the means of giving to the people the control which they ought to have over the government, of establishing a real government in Canada. It was under these circumstances that I entered parliament. The rest you know. From this moment we began to understand respofisible government, the favourite watchword of to-day; it was then that it was understood that the governor must have as his executive advisers men who possessed the confidence of the public, and it was thus that I came to take part in the administration.

"For fifteen months things went fairly well. Then came the struggle between the ministry, of which I formed part, and Governor Metcalfe. The result of this struggle has been that you have in force in this country, the true principles of the English constitution. Power to-day -s in the hands of the people. . . .

"I have said that the union was intended to annihilate the French-Canadians. But the matter has resulted very differently. The author of the union was mistaken. He wished to degrade one race among our citizens, but the facts have shown that both races among us stand upon the same footing. The very race that had been trodden under foot (dans Pabaissementj now finds itself, in some sort by this union, in a position of command to-day. Such is the position in which I leave the people of my race. I can only deprecate the efforts now made to divide the population of French Canada, but I have had a long enough experience to assure you that such efforts cannot succeed : my compatriots have too much common sense to forget that, if divided, they would be powerless and we be, to use the expression of a Tory of some years ago, 'destined to be dominated and led by the people of another race.' For myself, I spurn the efforts that are made to sunder the people of French Canada. Never will they succeed."

LaFontaine resigned in October, 1851. The break-up of the ministry was, of course, followed by a general election in which he played no part. Baldwin presented himself to the electors of the fourth riding of York and was defeated by Hartman, a Clear Grit.. In his speech to the electors, after the announcement of his defeat, lie declared that he had felt it his duty once more to place himself before them and "not to take upon himself the responsibility of originating the disruption of a bond which had been formed and repeatedly renewed between him and the electors of the north riding." With the election of 1851, Robert Baldwin's public career entirely terminates. From that time until his death, seven years later, he lived in complete retirement at "Spadina." Though but forty-seven years of age at the time of his resignation, his health had suffered much from the assiduity of his parliamentary labours. In 1854 he was created a Companion of the Bath, and in the following year the government of John A. Macdonald offered him the position of chief-justice of the common pleas. This offer, and the later invitation (1858; to accept a nomination for the legislative council (then become elective), Baldwin's failing health compelled him to decline. He died on December 9th, 1858, and was buried in the family sepulchre, called St. Martin's Rood, on the Spadina estate, whence his remains were subsequently removed to St. .Tames Cemetery, Toronto.

LaFontaine, in retiring from political life at, the age of forty-four, had yet a distinguished career before hiin on the bench. Returning, after his resignation, to legal occupations, he was appointed in 1853 chief-justice of Lower Canada, and in the year following was created a baronet In recognition of his distinguished career. As chief-justice, Sir Louis LaFontaine presided over the sit tings of the seigniorial tenure court established for the adjustment of claims under the Act of 1854, and attained a distinction as a jurist which rivalled his eminence as a political leader. In 1800 LaFontaine, whose first wife, as has been seen, had died many years before, married a Madame Kinton, widow of aii English officer. Of this marriage were born two sons, both of whom died young. Sir Louis LaFontaine died at Montreal, February •20th, 1804.

It is beyond the scope of the present volume to follow the subsequent political career of Francis Hincks. His reconstruction of the Reform party, his joint premiership with Morin, and the "sleepless vigilance" of his policy of railroad development and public improvement, form an important chapter in the history of Canada to which Sir .John Bourinot and other authors of the present series have done ample justice, Hincks's career as a colonial governor in Barbadoes and Guiana, his subsequent return to Canada as Sir Francis Hincks, and the story of his services as minister of finance (1869-73) under Sir John A. Macdonald, lie altogether apart from the subject-matter of this book. Sir Francis Hincks died August 18tli, 1885, after a long, active and useful life. His Reminiscences of his Public published in 1881, is precisely one of those books which it is greatly to be desired that men who have taken a large part in public affairs would more frequently give to the world. For Canadian political history from 1840 to 1854, it will always remain an authority of the first importance.

It may, at first sight, appear strange that the two great Reformers, whose joint career has been chronicled in the foregoing pages, should have abandoned political life at an age when most statesmen are but on the threshold of their achievements. But the resignation of Baldwin and LaFontaine meant that their work was done. To find a real basis of political union between French and British Canada, to substitute for the strife of unreconciled races the fellow-citizenship of two great peoples, and set up in the foremost of British colonies an ensample of self-government that should prove the lasting basis of empire,—this was the completed work by which they had amply earned the rest of eventide after the day of toil.


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