Address of the Hon. L.J. Papineau to the electors of the West Ward of Montreal
| Address of the Hon. L.J. Papineau to the electors of the West Ward of Montreal (1834)
|Montreal : Printed by Fabre, Perrault, & Co., December, 1834. Source:|
Be pleased to accept my most sincere thanks for the confidence with which you have continued to honor me by re-electing me for the eighth time to represent you in Parliament. This solemn approbation of my past Parliamentary conduct is a solemn condemnation which you, in common with nineteen-twentieths of the people through the whole extent of the Province, have pronounced against an administration corrupt in its head and in all its members.
The man who was commissioned by his Sovereign to be the father of all the people has preferred to be the chief of a party — the soul of that fraction, of that faction which has elected that rickety minority, ridiculously styled "His Majesty's opposition in Parliament." The consequence has been that his ample authority and pompous titles, remain well written upon parchment. But they are null in the hearts of all honest men. He and his creatures have been scouted from every hustings by that party which, in the perspicacity of his powerful genius, AYLMER, the clear sighted, saw, "sunk to that level of insignificance from which a combination of fortuitous circumstances raised them for a time, and to which they are rapidly descending."
Does my Lord now comprehend that Governors pass away, and that rapidly, in Canada, the moment they attract to themselves the contempt of the People ?
The Election which you have made, considered in connexion with those simultaneously made in both the Canadas, is a solemn condemnation pronounced by a million of men upon political Institutions which oppress them — upon guilty men whom those Institutions have for too long a time clothed with irresponsible power, which they have so scandalously abused in every department of the state. Those Elections prove that the people are as much disgusted today with the present Constitution, as they were in 1774, with that of 1763, and in 1792 with that of 1774. It has, therefore, ceased to exist de jure. It cannot, therefore, be any longer preserved de facto, except by force and violence employed in oppressing the many for the benefit a few hirelings, who administer it for their own profit, and who, for the good of the Metropolitan State and of the Colony, cannot be to soon driven from public life, inasmuch as they are too corrupt to be reformed, and too rotten and too gangrenous to be healed. Their touch is contagious — no honest man ought to act with them, or associate with them, and thereby grant to their calamitous administration a few days' longer existence.
These Elections made under the circumstances which preceded them, impose upon the Representatives elect[ed], the obligation of working with redoubled zeal in prosecuting to punishment the guilty who were accused in the last Session of Parliament — in reforming abuses — in effecting an alteration of a vicious Constitution — and in extending the Elective principle, the only refuge from the murderous lead of their assassins, and from the more revolting partialities of the Courts of Justice, which remains for a persecuted people who have been put beyond the protection of the Law ever since that mournful day — the bloody 21st May 1832. This mission I accept with all my heart. To the accomplishment of this trust I devote all the moments of my life.
Next to the satisfaction of having united the suffrages of so great a number of my fellow Citizens, whose zeal in the midst of the most violent outrages was supported only by their conscientious conviction that the Candidates whom they supported were devoted to the interests of Canada, the most lively satisfaction that I could have experienced was to be the object of an opposition so immoral and extravagant as that which was excited against me. The minority of a part of Montreal esteeming itself of superior importance in the country, imagined that a victory which would have given it two Representatives in a House so independent as that of the 15th Provincial Parliament, would have drawn it from that perfect impotence in which it is placed by its foolish opposition to the rest of the population of the Province. It thereby exposed the silly pride, the sanguinary antipathies, the empty pretensions of the 'Tory' — 'Conservative' — 'status quo' — 'Scotch' — 'Bank' — 'Bankrupt' — and 'Government;' party, in so strong a light, that I could not help enjoying every day with delight the tortures and agonies which, in its powerless rage, I saw it felt as it daily received the news of the re-election of my honorable colleagues of the majority, and the rejection of the members of the poor, refuse, emaciated minority, so reduced and battered as not to leave to His Majesty — to George Auldjo — to John Molson, Jun. — and the other precious relics of the British party, but a very insignificant, and pitiable opposition.
The censure of bad men is praise to the good. I cannot but be flattered with a fruitless opposition, which has cost its principal instigators enormous sums, and numberless crimes, which stain and disgrace them. Some of the valiant bankrupt merchants who instigated that opposition, staled with the strongest argumentation of which they were capable, that they were ready to spill the last drop of their blood to achieve the Quixotic adventure of putting down the Reform party, that is, the nineteen-twentieths of the population of Lower Canada, and the nine-tenths of that of Upper Canada. Could they more eloquently announce that they were a fortiori very well disposed to steal their creditors' last shilling for the consummation of so good a work as the achievement of their chivalric adventure? The Scotch party raised in 1834, as in 1832, a large subscription for the purpose of gaining by corruption an Election, wherein, if the electors were left to their free and independent choice, it would not have dared to enter into the struggle. From the outset, that party manifested its contempt for the law, and for the partizans which it wished to find in the market to be bought and sold like kegs of herrings, or of whiskey, which it imported to distribute among them, Corruption was to have been so very extensive that funds which were destined for that purpose not being easily levied upon the considerable portion of British mercantile capital, consuming and dissipated among the party, they had the impudence to present their subscription list to virtuous Canadian citizens. They did not succeed in making the latter as bad subjects as themselves, shameless conspirators as they were, against the existence of the most precise laws, and against the first principles of public morals. Their conspiracy was directed not against laws of which they demanded the correction, but against those which they admit to be salutary. They love the enjoyment of vice, they give themselves up to it with eagerness, but they do not like to be called vicious. They will tell you that corruption and violence ought to be banished from Elections, in presenting you with Subscription Lists to defray the expenses attendant on violence and corruption at an Election.
Certain influential citizens, alarmed and perceiving in these preparations of the party who were the authors of the events of the 21st May, the danger that they would make the 21st of November, more after their own hearts, that is to say, that they should cause a greater number of Canadians to be destroyed — thought they spoke to men whilst they spoke to tigers. From an excessive love of peace, they proposed, by way of compromise, to leave to them the choice of a representative, a step which would render the murderous means they had prepared useless. The one party wished for peace. The mean of the 21st of May desired blood — still more blood — and the applause of my Lord Aylmer. The proposition was rejected, and the subscription continued, and was filled up to a much larger amount than on any former occasion.
Amongst the subscribers to the fund employed in supporting Mr. Bagg, there have been in two years and an half bankruptcies to the amount of £200,000. In two years and a half from this time, who can say to how much larger an amount the subscribers to the Donnellan and Walker funds will have robbed the widow and orphan by similar bankruptcies? The advances of the Banks and the aid of the British capital afforded almost exclusively to the anti-Liberal party, give them on all occasions superior facilities for repeating these immoral subscriptions, followed by more immoral bankruptcies, and these tricks and violences at Elections, which are neither within the means nor in conformity with the manners of the Canadians.
It was under these auspices that the West Ward Election opened, a rabid determination to oppose by unlawful means a man whom they knew they were unable to exclude from the representation, inasmuch as he might have been readily elected in almost every county where he might have been presented — the extent of the sacrifices which they have uselessly made for an useless object, since whether this man were or were not in the representation, the course to be pursued in the approaching Assembly was so certainly marked out by the course pursued in the last Assembly, and approved of by the formal demands of the people — are things which can be little understood by those who are ignorant of the secret motives which force men who are sunken deep into the mire of iniquity and crime, to plunge more and more therein until they are engulphed altogether and disappear for ever.
The several causes which put so many blind puppets in motion at the will of a dozen scoundrels in place, aspirants to and members of the Legislative Council, and of the government, such as they have been, are purely as follow :— Official and lying communications to the Colonial Office on the one hand, and other other an active, hateful and mendacious correspondence between a few intriguers in Canada with other of the same character in London, such as Hay, of the Colonial Office, Gould, Gillespie, Logan, and the hon. member of the Imperial Parliament, Robinson, the paid director of the Land Company, a vile sharper (escroc) which has abused a charge so honorable as that of member of the House of Commons to permit himself, aided by his worthy compeer, Stanley, to commit an act so dishonorable as that of smuggling through the House, unknown to our agents and to Mr. Roebuck, the Bill which put a few founds into his pocket, and which dishonored the British Government, by disregarding the engagement which it made in 1778, relative to the Revenues to be raised in the Colonies. These intriguers have written that the election of Dr. Tracey had been carried by acts of violence so that the correspondents and their friends dared not approach the poll ; that the correspondents were the masters of the election of the West Ward ; that the House of Assembly knew it well, and that it as in consequence of this certain knowledge of an incontestable fact that the Assembly had suspended the issuing of the Writ of Montreal, under the pretext that no election could be carried on in safety in the then agitated and riotous state of the Ward. Mr. Stanley, instructed and inspired by these honest and disinterested correspondents, repeated that Montreal represents a considerable portion of the British commercial capital, and that he did not doubt that such was the reason why the Writ was not issued in a year and a half. He had learned from the same source, and knew with the same exactness, that the population of Montreal was only 20,000, amongst whom 7,000 male adults had signed an address expressing their gratitude for the murders of that mournful day — the 21st May, 1832.
In Canada we know well that only 300 fanatics had participated in this murder, by their approving address. Is the forgery of adding thereto 6,700 supposed signatures the crime of the correspondents in Canada, or of those in London, or of the Castle of St. Lewis in Quebec, or of Downing-street? Time will reveal this iniquitous mystery. But the authorities who were sufficiently depraved to have prepared, or simple enough to allow themselves to be duped, will no longer govern the Canadas. — They have given the Canadas the extension of the elective system. They have rendered it of indispensable necessity by this striking proof either of their stupidity or of their villany.
It is from those premises that the intriguers of London have written to those of Montreal, "if you do not render yourselves masters of the West Ward of Montreal, we can no more present ourselves at Downing-street as your mouth-piece ; we shall be driven thence with contempt as having too long been the bearers of your boastings and your lies." We must not therefore be surprised at the crimes which they have committed. It must be evident that noting but the mildness of the habits of the Canadians, joined with the conviction that they were masters of the Election, have enabled them to bear, without crushing their oppressors, the outrages which have been daily heaped upon them.
From the very dawn of the Election, a great number of "open houses" have been established for the use of the partisans of Walker and Donnellan, and a great number of men, who were not Electors, attracted thither from the distant parts of this Province, and even from Upper Canada, by the offer of money, have been permanently stationed at those houses, intoxicated by drink, and maddened by the speeches of Walker and those of our sublime counter-aristocracy, wallowing night and day in the midst of those Bachanalian orgies. The Candidate Walker frequently brought from the scenes to the Poll, a state of excitement, which rendered him an object of pity to his adversaries.
Who is there, in fact, who has not seen him — frequently seen him abandoned to transports of rage — who, that has so seen him that has not feared that he would suddenly stifle and perish! In these attacks, the agitation of his body, the convulsive dislocation of his jaws — the sudden distortion of his features — his livid pallor — the fixity of his besotted stare, the sudden flight or reason, rendering him a prey to delirium, and attaching to a man who, it is true, never possessed any breeding, but which pretended to have received some education, language such as a drunken fish-fag would scarcely have resorted to — these things, I say, frequently created a belief that he was about to fall into an epileptic fit. This forced and unnatural situation generated the remark that if it was a love of the public good that could thus agitate him, and not the regret of a disappointed ambition, he must, indeed, love the public good most furiously.
One circumstance which may tend to raise doubts concerning the pure and disinterested love of the public good, which manifested itself by such violent symptoms is, that ambition was not a stranger to the breast of the distinguished colleague whom Mr. Walker recommended to public favor. A short time before there was any question of Election, this unpolished, unintellectual mass, whose self-love is simple enough to cause him to believe and say also, that the electors have done him and themselves great injustice, in depriving themselves of the eminent service which his capacity for the part of the Legislator rendered him so fit to perform, disclosed that important negociations had been commenced between him, John Donnellan, and the Provincial administration, to detach him from the popular cause. That if he had chosen to betray his conscience and convictions, he might have obtained a great quantity of lands. Now, however improbable these disclosures are, I would not take upon myself to say that they are false. It is very probable that to the littleness of our administration, John Donnellan may be very great ; in its distress he may appear a notable personage, with whom at last the bargain which he had so long repulsed was concluded. The aristocracy of the Banks, of the Government and of the Counter, must undoubtedly have been initiated in the secret, ere it came and democratized so strongly as it did by rendering homage to the marked superiority, enlightenment and influence which it attributed to John Donnellan, the new idol which it placed on the pedestal. As to the public, it could see nothing in these prostrations of the British nobility at the feet of the illiterate gardener, but the the saturnalia of Demogogueism. As for myself the abjectness alone of their conduct convinced me that it was truly aristocratic, monarchical, loyal and British, and that it flowed from the maxim which our colonial government has ever placed above all laws, human and divine ; Divide to reign. At the thought of the vast territorial possessions which his newly borrowed loyalty was about to procure for his fortunate colleague, what golden visions must have smiled upon the imagination of Mr. Walker if he became the chief of his Majesty's opposition in Parliament!! It was not then surprising that each time he seemed to feel the three-cornered hat tottering on his head in consequence of the rejection of a bad vote, or the retreat of an Elector too scrupulous to take the oath which Mr. Walker with clasped hands entreated him to take, his love of the public good threw him into convulsions. He had not to regret the bills of his creation which would have been rejected by a majority of twelve to one, which majority cherish the interests of Canada as much as they despise the venality of its administration and the meanness of his Majesty's opposition in Parliament.
Prepared by the amount of their subscriptions, by their extensive enlistments of drunken ruffians, strangers to the town, where they might commit the greatest crimes without any risk of being recognized in a place in which they appeared for the first time ; prepared by engaging a number of taverns and cellars from which hordes of hired murderers, placed under the command of the gentlemen, ordered, advanced or retreated by the sound of a bugle, with countersigns and watchwords, rushed suddenly forward upon inoffensive Citizens who were totally ignorant of their infamous manoeuvres — better prepared than on any preceding occasion for the greatest violence that the honour of their correspondents and the good of the Government could require, every species of excess they could commit against their adversaries was considered by the loyalists, in their ardent loyalty, as most meritorious.
They have, therefore, gone very far, but not so far as they proposed, because they were thwarted in their designs. To the infamy of having committed crime, they supper-add the infamy of imputing their crime, to those who have been their victims. It is not for Canada that they fabricate this tissue of absurd lies. It is for Downing Street where three hundred signatures breed six thousand seven hundred — where the intelligence of a Colonial Secretary has reckoned in the minority of a population of 20,000 souls who lose an Election, the seven thousand men who blame the seven thousand and one of the majority. All this is labour lost. All this will produce no more effect — although mounded in the columns of the Quebec and Montreal Gazettes, the Herald, the Mercury, the Settler, and the Ami du Peuple — than their learned lucubrations upon the issue of the General Elections. What a quantity of mercantile capital, and of filthy and British spirit has evaporated in pure loss! Yes! I repeat, to the infamy of having committed crime they add, ineffectually and without hope of being believed, the infamy of imputing their crimes to those who have been the victims.
The Reform party committed no violence. It was its interest that none should be committed. The servile party had from the outset an interest to commit violence. — That interest became every day more imperative, every day violence became greater. It was commenced on their part with a view of procuring a factitious majority, which it had no hope of obtaining by a free Election. They concluded in the hope when defeat had become certain, of preventing any return being made. It was the party of 1832, who followed even in that year similar tactics, that wished to-day, as it wished then, that there should be no Election — who wished to consecrate in principle and in practice that when it would have the majority, the West Ward of Montreal may have Representatives, but when it would be in a minority, the West Ward should not be represented.
The Liberal and Reform party had not, nor could it procure loans from the Banks. — All assistance from these Bodies are monopolized, with the greatest risque for their solvency, by the Bankrupt party. It was not in the nature of the Liberal party to foresee nor to desire violence. If it were, they would have been prepared to repel them. They were sufficiently strong to revenge themselves, and if they were not sufficiently strong of themselves, a call on the country, and then reprisals would have become, what necessary reprisals always are, ten times more severe than the aggression. The Liberal party were so sure of the result of the Election that it could still oppose three good votes to each good vote remaining with its adversaries. To increase their little list of voters which remained, the latter inscribed thereon the names of men who refused them and sent them away ten times over, and who indignant at the continually increasing risks to which they exposed the lives and properties of citizens, adopted the determination to hasten to register their votes against them, and immediately to place them in a greater minority than that which already made their noble British blood boil with indignation, and which made us burst with laughter at the sight of their grotesque contortions.
The Liberal party could not wish for violence. It is convinced, it has declared with, and in a similar manner to, the Assembly, that the King's Representative was guilty of partiality and injustice in the exercise of the duties of his office — that his Majesty's Officers, as well Civil as Military, were for the major part combined as a faction, induced by interest alone, to struggle for the support of a corrupt Government, inimical to the rights, and opposed to the views of the people — it is convinced that Magisterial butchers have coolly and deliberately prepared traps in which three of our fellow citizens have been shot — it knows that the Governor has made himself their accomplice, by lavishing upon them his humble thanks — by erasing from the commission of the peace the names of whose hands are not stained with Canadian blood — by enjoining the Solicitor General to change the direction of the Court of Justice by a partial intervention in the Coroners proceedings — thus rendering the criminal injunction of an ignorant and despotic Soldier a rule of conduct for ignorant, slavish, or partizan Officers of Justice who have forced the law to be silent in obedience to the fiat of their master. The Liberal party is persuaded that there has been only a pretended and simulated trial, conducted after concerted plans previously agreed upon, by an accuser who proclaimed the innocence of the accused, and promised them full and entire impunity — It is not ignorant that the King by his Coronation Oath, promised equal justice to all his subjects — that his Attorney General cannot, because he may be the relative or the friend of the murderers or bribed to save them, violate the conscience of his Sovereign, without rule, without formality, without written proceedings, and say to the Judges sufficiently ignorant and iniquitous to submit to him — "I interdict you from the exercise of your functions. I will not that you should listen to accusations brought against the murderers who are my friends or who have bribed me" — It knows that Canada is the only country which has ever afforded the exhibition of British Judges so completely abject as to be heard to say to the Counsel speaking on behalf of private individuals wishing to prosecute the accusation for the murder of their husband — their father or their child — "We would wish to hear you, but the Solicitor General is not willing" — and where this Solicitor would shortly after be promoted to the Office of Attorney General for having had the merit of gagging the Judges and the Lawyers of the private party, and rendering vain and illusory the Oath sworn by his King never to refuse nor to regard justice to any of his subjects.
The Liberal party has been the Counsel for the accused in the cause promoted for the Bench upon the recommendation of these very Judges whom he had contributed to gag and degrade. This, of all possible selections, was the most worthy of Lord Aylmer, because of all possible selections, it was the most insulting to Canada, and the most iniquitous, it being that of a fanatic political partizan, engaged all his life, in plots to overthrow the present system of laws. It knows that the Jury law, well understood and well executed by the Sheriffs of Quebec and Three Rivers, has been outrageously violated by the Sheriff of Montreal because it was necessary, at all hazards, to save those against whom they entered a pretended prosecution — by which life was at stake if it were serious, and which concluded by compliments because it was a farce.
It has no doubt but that prevaricating Judges can, without having seen the depositions, decide of themselves to set at liberty without bail, persons who have been legally arrested upon the warrant of a Justice of the Peace, for WILFUL MURDER — that Judges violently prejudiced can of themselves falsely assert that the Magistrate who issued his warrant to arrest the accused & bring them before him was liable to a fine of — 500 Pounds. — It is persuaded that the greatest offences of the self-styled loyal and British party, are protected under the magic of those talismanic names by the sympathies of power and by the prostration of all the public functionaries at the feet of that party — on the contrary that owing to the antipathies of public functionaries the slightest peccadilloes of the liberal party are spied out and punished, with the most malignant joy, and the most vindictive severity — it knows that the divine laws which say that "whosoever shall spill man's blood by man shall his blood be spilt" are mute in Canada before the words 'British,' 'Loyalty,' 'Support of Government' — words coming from Hell if the are to bear the meaning too frequently given them by party spirit. It knows that, in politics, blood demands blood in order that its effusion may be stopped, and that if impunity and rewards had not been dealt out and distributed among the murderers of BILLET, LANGUEDOC, and CHAUVIN, the blood of BARREAU — the blood of MARCOUX would not have since been shed — that if the murderers of the first had not been set at liberty without bail, the murderers of MARCOUX would not have been enlarged under trifling and ridiculous securities, which serve as a mere pass-port to a foreign country.
It is evident that the blood of a Canadian is of no more value in the estimation of the British Judges of the District of Montreal, that the blood of an Irish Catholic before an Orange Judge and Jury previous to Catholic emancipation.
With those facts before their eyes, how could the liberal party desire violence which would have only brought about the repetition of the same disaster and the distribution anew, by false weights and false measures, of that justice which is humane an protecting to loyal slaughterers — infernal and revengeful towards those who would defend themselves from their blows. Were not the Magistrates, with a few honorable exceptions, as corrupt, this year as in thirty two? They are the same, rewarded, moreover, with the price of their iniquity. Has he who in 1832 regretted that a fool of a constable as he called him, came between the Soldiers' Muskets and Mr. LAFONTAINE, whereby the latter was saved, has he, I ask, a soul less atrocious in 1834? And if an armed force had been called on to interfere, would he have directed it against his political adversaries less certainly than it was directed in 1832 by those ferocious brutes, called Justices of the peace, who, armed with stones and clubs, pursued the people and cried out to their partizans ; "friends of Bagg, fall back — fall back — the troops are advancing as far as Dr. Robertson's, and there they will fire on the Rebels." A fanatick brute, like Colonel Mc Intosh, because he was in the habit if dining every day wit the other fanatick brutes, Councillors, and employees, who spoke to him about the burning of the town and the cutting the Soldiers' throats, may well say upon reflection in Scotland, that "he bitterly regretted not having fired on the place D'Armes when both parties were pell mell, and having marched under Dr. Robertson's direction as far as house in order to allow the complete separation of the one party from the other," but after what had occurred there, the generality of the Liberal party had reason to suppose that the military even to-day might erroneously have considered themselves as blind and passive instruments obliged to go wherever the fury and vengeance of the Magistrates would order them to fire.
Ought the various obstacles to procuring justice induce the Liberal party to support for a still longer time the indignities of which they are the daily victims ? Certainly not. It could have surmounted all those obstacles during the Election, and every day of the Election. It 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 the Country. If it entertained the same opinion of the authorities in England, that it entertains of the authorities in the Country, all those obstacles it had overthrown. Hope is not dead in all hearts. Many demand and except justice yet from the English Parliament. This is the clue to the enigma which explains why citizens, too moderate perhaps, have prevented Electors, disposed to do themselves justice, from showing themselves sufficiently strong to remain at the poll where the law was too weak to protect them.
The poll commenced on Friday morning the 31st ult. at the hour agreed to : but seven votes to one having been given by the Liberal party, and Walker's committee being certain from the great number of Reformers in the neighbourhood of the poll, that the majority would go on increasing all the day in the same proportion, nothing more was necessary to persuade the loyal party — the Government party — that they had the right to knock down the Liberal Electors, in support, after their accustomed manner, of our good Provincial Government which, according to these knock-me-down apostles, has so many titles to our love. A band of several hundred infuriated wretches sallied suddenly out of English's Tavern — the Head Quarters of the Walker Party — for the purpose of committing an aggression the least foreseen, and the least provoked that it is possible to imagine. This was the first appearance of a horde of unknown people, not belonging to the city, who were previously collected in the house from which Walker and Donnellan had come out only within the preceding half hour, and drilled to attack and disperse the Electors. The Returning Officer immediately adjourned the poll. Fortunately Walker had not yet thrown off the hypocritical, but transparent mask under which he as yet only half showed his inordinate love of the most excessive violences such as he has since openly approved and excited. He approved of the adjournment, but notwithstanding this forced approval, the lives of his adversaries and of the Returning Officer continued to be a moment in danger, when those furious ruffians endeavored to burst open the poll room door, if the reflection had not immediately presented itself that forced to sell their lives, that of Walker would probably be the first part of the price of the sale. For more than three quarters of an hour after the close of the Poll, and the dispersion of all opposition, those cannibals continued yelling, dancing, threatening and committing assaults throughout the adjacent streets and British GENTLEMEN, Bank directors, members of the Board of Trade and of Walker's committee hurraed in the midst of those cannibals. And as the people of this country have witnessed sights of a similar description repeated a thousand times, it was possible for them to consider as national the gross and brutal manners of upstarts, who begin by scrubbing shoes and sweeping shops in order, some time later, to sit in the Legislative Council. It is an injustice, but the acts of an Administration which has so often chosen such Representatives of British nationality, have rendered it inevitable.
The gentry (gentilhommerie) who directed this movement, seeing the honest electors, who reproached them with their infamy, determined to regain their lost ground on Monday, and warned that they were determined to take it, not from the paid, but from the paying, assassins, found it painful to expose its aristocratic skin — so tender and so soft — to the contact of the hard & tough plebeian skin of the citizens and artisans. They entered into a threatening negociation wit the Returning Officer — into a fraudulent negociation with Canadian gentlemen — and into a negociation of alliance offensive and defensive with the Magistrates of Montreal. They wrote to the Returning Officer under the authority of a name as imposing as that of Walking, that he was almost guilty of something very like high treason. Walker, both Judge and jury in his own case, giving his electors an example of the facility with which oaths ought unscrupulously to be taken in a good cause. transmitted to the Justices of the Peace his affidavit of the alleged criminality of the Returning Officer, and of the precision of his notions of Criminal Law, which led him to make a discovery so gratifying to the loyalty of the Justices of the Peace, contributors to the common fund, raised to promote the election of the loyal.
The whole was founded on what the Returning Officer, it is said, had muttered "very low, between his teeth" on the previous Friday, "that he was in danger — that he did not know whether he should not be under the necessity, in order to preserve his life, of placing himself on the following Monday under the protection of a Company of Militia." Certainly to put in a position to protect himself from the assassins (sicaires) of Mr. Walker, was, according to Mr. Walker, to declare war against the Sovereign whose Crown would be endangered if Mr. Walker were not elected. Henceforward many persons sincerely believed that Mr. Walker was really and truly mad. They attributed this derangement to the sudden invasion of too great a quantity of love of the public good into the narrow and oppressed regions of his brain, which until that time had been void of that humour, and the neighbouring parts, until that moment swollen and filled with self-love, personal interest, and flatulency, becoming compressed with a crackling noise (craquements) and terrible suffering caused those external convulsions which every one remarked.
After having thus alarmed the Magistrates for the safety of the State, and the Returning Officer for the safety of his head — disposing, after the manner of the Crown Officers in 1832, of the conscience of the Sovereign, and as if he was already elected, and thenceforth Attorney-General, or Chief Justice, or one and the other both together, and had become similar to those whom he had so justly denominated rogues, he resolved to stay the course of justice, and not to cause the Returning Officer to be executed if the latter would only submit to his conditions.
A few days' respite would be granted him to prepare for his latter end, before attacking him anew on the Cattle Market more treacherously than ever, provided it did not occur again that he had to receive seven votes for the Democratic Candidates against one for the embryo of a great man (le grand homme en herbe.) He transmitted in writing the same nonsensical propositions to the opposite Candidates, adding that his Electors preferred not to vote for him at all than to be obliged to mix in the crowd. The adverse Candidates ought to have laughed and said nothing, in accordance with wise old saying — Answer not foolish questions. Nevertheless this Returning Officer, who had been before and after this day so undeservedly ill-treated by this insolent man and his insolent friends, who, on more than one occasion, he ought to have immediately sent to jail, through an exceeding love for that peace which, when the law was insufficient to preserve it, he had no right to expect either from the honour nor from the good faith of those by whom it was disturbed, condescended to acquiesce to the proposal to take a vote, alternately at one window for one party, and a vote at another window for the other party. When he announced this his determination, on Monday, at the opening of the Poll, the popular Candidates said that they would not consent to it. It was illegal and unequal. It was as injurious to the popular party, which was that of the majority, as it was advantageous to the Tory party, which was that of the minority which had began the riots, and was organised to continue them — which had the most ample means at its disposal — corruption and no scruples — and which would thus appear for several days, as an encouragement to the Tories at a distance, to be on an equal footing in point of numbers with the Liberal party. Several Electors who perceived this injustice retired discontented, and some did not return. Trick and violence were the means resorted to by the Aristocracy. Confidence and patience, even unto dupery, were the popular weapons.
Immediately after the frightful tumult of Friday, the Father of Lies, assuming the features and figure of Doctor REBERTSON, ran from door to door saying that Montferand had arrived with a Calash filled with axe handles which the Canadians immediately laid hold of in order to knock down the English, but which a few of the latter had wrenched out of their hands, and put them to fight. He was not then ignorant of what all the world knew, that a great number of Walker's partizans had sallied out of English's house, armed with axe handles, and clubs — that the premises of of the Widow McGrath had been forcibly broken open by those of Walker's partizans who had come from English's without sticks — that they had stolen wheel-spokes, which a man named Monarque had stored there, with pitch-forks, rakes and broom-handles, for the purpose of retailing, as a means of gaining a livelihood — and Walker's Committee has some short time after paid for those same wheel-spokes.
By the bye lying and deceitful Magistrates represented the placing of these articles for sale in the same house in 1832 as the bringing them there by the partizans of Dr. Tracey for the purpose of mastering the Election, of beating the Magistrates, Special Constables, perhaps the Garrison, as Doctor Robertson, who of all the Magistrates, was the one who most violently desired, and most diabolically planned, the catastrophe of the 21st May, on several occasions, assured Colonel McIntosh, that the Civil Authorities had received the most positive information that a conspiracy was formed to set fire to the town and suburbs at several points, in order to attract the troops in squads, to different and opposite directions, so that they may be the more easily overpowered. Verily, Verily, there is not another man in the world, with a soul so satanic under the mien so smooth and so false. When he smiles on a Canadian, be persuaded that it is with the same smile wit which the Serpent smiled on Eve to destroy her and all her posterity.
After having hawked his lies about during the day, he proceeded, in the evening, to deliberate on the Affidavit of alleged High Treason, and on the means of seizing upon the direction of the Election, as he seized on that of 1832, with results so satisfactory to himself.
Well assured by the deliberations of the magistrates that it may dare anything, Walker's party dared every thing. The liberal party found in these new circumstances new motives for endurance, because its inexhaustible patience towards its enemies would prove, more and more, that the same men, with the same depravity which caused them to spill Canadian blood in 1832, had the same inextinguishable thirst to spill it afresh, and would furnish a foretaste of the horrors of their regime if their ravings after domination were to realised. A great number of Canadian families have been separated — wives and children sent to the country — houses invaded — some fortified for the defence — others abandoned to the fury of the Loyals, after reflecting that having provided for the safety of the dearest objects of their affections, the preservation of property was of secondary importance, and that its destruction would have shown that the British Government under the presidency of Matthew Lord Aylmer, will not, and cannot, make the laws be respected, because this Governor, and the authorities by him chosen, and integrant parts, the slaves of that power, which they have put in motion, and cannot arrest, through dread of being branded by it, traitors to their party.
In the midst of such grave disorders, the minority of the magistrates, acting with a view to the public interest proposed precautionary measures. The majority spoke against their adoption but voted in their favor, so as not to compromise itself too much. Thus, among other things, a Proclamation, prohibiting meetings at night, which had already caused so much evil and uneasiness to peaceable citizens, was published in accordance with their orders by the Town Crier. The troops were placed under the direction of the magistrates. If the latter had acted honestly they would have energetically condemned their friends, the ruffians who, to the imminent danger of the citizens by whom they were met, paraded the streets in such numerous bands, to confine themselves within their frightful dens. They would have peremptorily signified to them that the public force would constrain them. Instead of making themselves respected and obeyed the magistrates preferred posting up how insincere was their prohibition, for several of them paraded the streets along with the prohibited processions. Several of them did so, no doubt, with the intention of praying the gentlemen bandits not to have recourse to extremes. Silliness, not malice was apparent in these contradictions ; in their orders to the people to remain quietly in their houses, and in their accompanying the riots which they had prohibited. As for the other magistrates who notoriously participated in the fears and hopes of the hottest of Walker's partizans concerning the result of the election ; who, by all means, honest and dishonest, by tales, and stories, similar to that Doctor Robertson retailed about the axe-handles, in their zeal to bring up voters, and who by the dirtiest intrigues in favor of Walker and against his adversaries, were among the most active of his supporters — the public, on seeing them mixed up with mobs, never accused them of having done so connivingly, for it had good reason to regard them as chiefs of the band — as the instigating agents of all the violence that was committed.
On Friday the 14th Nov. the adjournment took place at 4 o'clock. At the moment when it was about to take place, some Electors stepped aside, to resolve on demanding the adjournment to eight o'clock in the morning in order to force Walker to exhaust during a longer time of polling his reserve, many of whom had voted on that day so as to prevent the lapse of the fatal hour after proclamation. He had the art and artifice to succeed, under the pretext of the bad state of his health, in obtaining the adjournment of the poll to eleven o'clock in the forenoon. When the electors came forward to demand the adjournment to eight o'clock, he told them that Mr. Nelson had just promised him that it should remain closed until eleven o'clock. This feeble state of his health was but a lying pretext, since, long before 11 o'clock, he left English's accompanied by several hundred men armed with clubs, caused the poll booth to be opened — took possession of it and of the environs with a force sufficiently large and sufficiently threatening to prevent the approach of any person otherwise than with the permission, and under the controul of those club bearers unless they came in as great numbers, with similar arms, and with the determination already repudiated of doing themselves justice. The Returning Officer fully convinced that he was perfectly at liberty, if he came, to proclaim Walker and Donellan or to be left under the blows of their body guard, did not go to the poll, but sent to adjourn the poll by proclamation to Monday at 8 o'clock.
Then commenced the most gloriously degrading farce that the British gentry ever performed in a country where they often shewed off in tragico comic character. At this very instant no less than five or six hundred cudgellers — a proof that they came prepared to make themselves masters of the poll — accompanied by four privy cleaners, and a number of other worthy gentlemen were on the ground, all ready marshalled, with flags flying and drums beating, to draw the four victors. They were anxious to afford by this solemn spectacle, the greatest possible illustration of the every memorable deeds and achievements of the proudest names belonging to the Montreal aristocracy — Donellan the first & Walker the last. They were anxious to celebrate their future election — the triumph of good principles over bad — the reign of order, decency and of good breeding personified in the four patricians who sat in the curule chariot. We have often seen a chairing after an election had terminated, but what pretext was there fro one before, and when there was a certainty of a defeat ? Was it a drunken crowd who dragged through the streets their slaves, too vile and too trembling to offer any resistance, and whom they thus punished for having remained on the preceding evening in the minority when they had promised to be in the majority ? The sick man who demanded the adjournment of the poll to eleven o'clock, because he could not bear the fatigue of opening it at ten, was carted, without any compassion for his bodily sufferings, (all moral sentiment appearing extinguished and dead with him) on one of the coldest days, for a much longer time than the poll continued, as well through the lanes and corners most frequently resorted by the four privy-cleaners, ad through those noble quarters frequented by their genteel associates. This was a proof that his pretended sickness was a mere trick which he employed so as to be able to enjoy for a longer time, and in open day, the glory, festivity and pleasure which his trusty friends bad for a long time promised him over the nocturnal potations which he partook with them in the collars and grog ships where they conspired together. Days of triumph after an Election gained were formerly days of rejoicing when unarmed Citizens, without fearing or provoking their adversaries, bore on their serene countenance, the expression of happiness without alarm or danger to any person whatsoever. Was the delirious procession which drew the four delirious men, of this character ? Did not half of the mercantile men of Montreal march, armed with sticks, pell mell in the midst of several hundreds of persons brought from a distance and paid and retained and armed with clubs, vomiting forth together the most sanguinary imprecations, uttering all together the most murderous imprecations against their political adversaries, halting with these same attitudes and dispositions before their residences, into which stones were thrown at noon-day, in the presence and from the midst of at least twelve hundred people ? Did not Justices of the Peace form a part of this anti-pacific cortege ? Did it not take place within eight hours of the publication of their Proclamation prohibiting tumultuous meetings ? And having placarded their infamy in open day, is it not a proof of the much greater turpitude of which they may safely boast by night ? It was to make us respect the statu quo, and the Legislative Council — the present Constitution — the whole Constitution, and nothing but the Constitution, that the noble British blood, inflamed with brandy and rage — the Loyals, par excellence — the British Aristocracy of Montreal — afforded us a spectacle approaching nearer to the Jacobinism of Paris, or Nantz, in 1794, than any thing previously seen in Canada. Honor be to the moralist Walker, and his Committee of Management, who panned and put such a grand machine in motion ! Thrice honoured would he be who had the will and the power to arrest it !
It moved — it dragged every thing after it. Whoever appertained to it should be chastised and partake of its dishonor. It rolled through the mire on Monday morning. It dragged through the mud every thing connected with it. It bore to the poll, before eight o'clock in the morning, the shaper who was too sick to go there before eleven o'clock on Saturday, although he had endured all the disgraceful fatigue of his triumph. It rolled on, and would have crushed the Returning Officer, the popular candidates and the independent electors, if they had been in the way. It rolled on in order that there should be no election. It would have rolled on, like an avalanche with constantly increasing destruction, up to the 22d Nov. in order that no return should be made. At the moment that it was bounding with frenzy, thirsting and hoping for vengeance, the Returning Officer in its rear preserved the rights of the electors : saved the town from destruction ; declared duly elected those who had the votes of the majority, and overturned the baneful Colossus of Bureaucracy. The unwieldy machine was upset and broken, the object of the most justly deserved and indelible contempt and hatred.
In its fall it could not make itself obeyed even by Lord Aylmer. It transmitted its order t him for a new writ. He also laughed at it. The bundle of constitutional light and science of the Donellans, the Molsons, the Walkers, the Auldjos, the Josha Bells, and of the tenebrous Committee who prepared wholly and entirely for their mutual and equal reputation for knowledge, the Cattle Market Resolutions, all joined together, could not impose upon him. More advanced in his constitutional studies than Walker and the tenebrous Committee, he have them a rational refusal, but in order not to be in contradiction with himself in the case of Mr. Mondelet he left them their appeal. They may submit the difficult examination of so thorny a question, as that which they have proposed, to the deliberation of Mr. Stanley and others as learned in constitutional lore as he, and of the same calibre.
Let Messrs. Donellan and Walker, and Joshua Bell (who in such case will not fail to come in opposition to them,) champ the bit with calmness and resignation whilst waiting a Writ from beyond the seas, or a report at least which will produce a powerful effect on the deliberations of the Assembly, if it be not erased from their Journals.
The other orders promulgated at the Tattersall Meeting, are not less sage, nor less true, nor less certain of the same result than that transmitted to Lord Aylmer. That which might appear the most alarming is, without exception, that which Mr. Auldjo framed and commented on. A species of of seduction so unheard of as some slight degree of attention which so grand, so noble a personage as Mr. Auldjo paid a few Canadians must have intoxicated them with pride and happiness. The danger danger of defection in our ranks was imminent. The praises bestowed by a man so respected previous to as well as since his arrangements, or derangements with his creditors, upon eleven renegades from the interests and honor of their country, must certainly swell the ranks to the unfortunate number of thirteen Judases. Fortunately English pride and French vanity easily catch fire when they come into collision. The tenebrous committee not wishing to be eclipsed by the talents of too great a number of its new auxiliaries, and wishing to be just, decreed that one alone should represent the ELEVEN, and that the most brilliant of the flock should be chosen, Benjamin Berthelet, Esq., Doctor in Medecine, (and in what kinds of science is he not a most learned Doctor ?) had the inappreciable advantage of being the only Canadian in Montreal chosen to see his name figure iniquitously and alone among two-hundred and forty of the noble and grandest of the British names, convoking a general meeting of the clever souls in the Cattle Market. Whoever did not attend, is, by his absence alone, denounced as a fool and a rebel. The remaining ten personages are indignant at having been judged more incapable than the Doctor, and have opened negociations for the purpose of being re-admitted into the Canadian ranks, but the latter protest that they will not take them back until they shall have amply repaired the scandal they have committed. Raillery apart, there was a time when it was permitted to entertain an opinion different to that at present entertained by the country on the question of preserving or not preserving the present Constitution of the Legislative Council — its composition has always been cried down and detested. When it was uncertain what was the preponderating opinion, timid souls, through indolence friendly to whatever is, without examining what might be better — not following the march of public events, neither in time past nor during the present time — ignorant of the history of England of her Colonies — good-naturedly believing that we have the English Constitution, when we have it not, and that the idea of an Elective Legislative Council is a diabolical invention, sprung from the French Revolution, instead of being a wise imitation of the government of the most prosperous Colonies that England ever had — always blindly swearing on the word of the master, and who, because Neilson, or Stuart, the Settler, or the Amis du Peuple have lied in assuring them that such things were never seen in British possessions, think that they ought never be seen here, such had some excuse for holding by an opinion which they had expressed, but which they had never examined. But the result of the late elections leaves no refuge but to the egotistical passions of those who say :— We are so devoid of virtue, talents, and information that we can aspire to nothing with an Elective System ; under the present system we are so encased in meanness and adulation that we can aspire to anything.
The people will have no more of the present system, which has been but an unfortunate experiment, accompanied by forty years' abuses and sufferings under a system different to that of any other English Colony. The people will have no more of it. It ought to be changed at their demand. a Constitution is made for men. Not men for a Constitution. Is it not as odious as it is absurd, to see all those Britons panting with ardour and speed to surpass each other to overthrow all our Civil Laws, centuries old, the alteration of which affects the persons and properties of all the members of the social system, and bitterly reproaching our slowness, because we will not introduce therein the rude changes which the People do not demand ; and yet, flying into a rage when in the name of an unanimous people, we demand an amendment in a part of the Act of Parliament ; an alteration which would temporarily affect, with a stupid regret, the vanity of only a score of mischievous old men. When has been the era of contentment produced by this Constitution during forty years of sorrowful experience which it has imposed upon the country ? Have not those who now defend it, with the most obstinate and foolish pride, the Neilsons and Stuarts (its only defenders worth naming,) passed the most brilliant part of their public career in fruitlessly attacking those corrupt men which it protected and the numberless abuses which it created. They are weary of fighting. Their personal enemies oppressed the Canadians. A cold, studiously calculated and philosophical love of justice made them for some time the friends of the oppressed Canadians. They expected to advance and to revenge themselves in serving the cause of justice. Theirs was all calculation. The heart did not enter therein. Hence proceed the tergiversation and natural desertions which we have witnessed.
The time is come when every Canadian must desert the odious cause of the Council, or frankly admit that he requires the intervention of an armed force, to stifle, in the blood of his compatriots, the opposition which they all feel in their heart and soul against the preservation of the Council. That is understood ; and there is in the two Canadas an indissoluble union of the majority of the People for the purpose of destroying this nuisance. The noble title of REFORMERS, friends to the extension of the Elective principle, comprehends the majority of the European population, together with the whole of the Canadian people, almost without an exception. The extravagance of the declaimers who attribute to French antipathies the hatred which is manifested against the present system, in place of attributing it to its inherent vices, will, after the more extensive reforms which will be required by Upper Canada, have shortly to explain the same phenomenon that they see here, by other more foolish declamations. In that Province, as in England, the majority of the British are friends to freedom. In Lower Canada alone, a great number of them are friends of tyranny and domination, because they expect to exercise it against us, and that they shall always be the hammers and we always be the anvils. How contemptible are those against whom we are struggling for so many years, and how unlike the British of the Metropolitan State, & of the other colonies. They have, however, allies still more despicable than themselves. These are especially the American Tories, they who had the happiness of seeing more than the people of any other country on earth, how well adapted is the spirit of Freedom to elevate and enlarge the mind of man, and to constitute the happiness of a state — they have cast off in crossing the 45° all other sentiment but that of flattering Scotch pride in order to make money, their peculiar nature must be so base and cringing, that the sublime spectacle exhibited by their Government — at present the terror of Kings — the hope of the nations of Europe — is unable to make them love and respect the dignity of the Freeman. — Next are the Irish Tories — they who have seen at their own doors how destructive of all natural advantages is a Government oppressive, bigoted by religious intolerance, rapacious and cruel from fear, because it is unnatural, being a government of a minority to which detestable laws gave detestable ascendancy over the majority — they who have seen thousands upon thousands of robust, laborious men cultivating one of the richest soils of the world, inundating the neighbouring countries with the superabundance of the fruit of their labour, and yet dying of hunger on the fertile soil which they cultivate with industry and skill, — they who have seen thousands upon thousands of men forced to expatriate themselves, to regret, to the last day of their existence, the remembrance of the enchanting scenes which surrounded their cradles, to deplore the loss of property, which providence in its bounty had prodigally showered all over the country which they were obliged to flee in order not be slaves on the soil on which they ought to command. British affections and feelings ought not be greater nor stronger in Ireland nor in Canada than Irish or Canadian affections and feelings in Great Britain. The love of one's native or adopted country is the first of duties, the finest of virtues in a citizen. This duty commands him never to make the happiness of the country subservient to the consideration of the happiness of the country he has left. Let the Irish be the united and warm friends of Ireland —Canadians, native or adopted, be the warm and united friends of Canada as the British are of Britain. One nation can never govern another. The affections of the British for Ireland and the Colonies has never been any thing else than the love of the pillage of Ireland and the Colonies, abandoned to the cutting and carving of the British Aristocracy and its creatures. The people of Great Britain have, by the Reform Bill, destroyed the usurpation of their nobles, repossessed themselves of their rights, and authorize us by their example and their principles, to expect that they cannot avoid restoring to us our rights. A local, responsible and national Government for each part of the Empire as far as the regulation of local interests, with a superintending authority in the Imperial Government to decide on peace and war and commercial relations with the stranger — that is what Ireland and British American demand — and this is what, before a very few years, they will be sufficiently strong to take, if others are not sufficiently just to give it to them.
In the meantime I will repeat the advice given by the Committee of the Convention in the course of last summer:—
"You have, without , declared enemies of the rights and wished of the majority. Mr. Stanley represent them (Mr. Spring Rice is their representative to-day.) You have internal enemies — the minority who makes itself so well known by placarding its antipathies to Reformers. Let the enemies of the people have more to fear and to suffer from the discontents of the people, than to gain by the corruptions of the Government. The English people have an interest opposed to that the of the Minister who finds it advantageous to make a nursery of the Colonies, for the purpose of transplanting thither and nourishing here in luxury, to which they were accustomed, a large number of the most imbecile members of privileged families. The mass of Emigrants depend on their labour for that comfort which was ravished from them in their native country by those same privileged classes which they will find in their adopted country, if the maxims of Mr. Stanley continue to be put in practice here. But they will not allow themselves to be stript and expatriated a second time. They will say to the producers in England, that it is the comfort and general consumption of produce, better encouraged by popular institutions than by aristocratic salaries, which render the Colonies useful possessions. They will interest the producing classes — the greater number — to oppose the disastrous plan which can be profitable only to the smaller number. If Mr. Stanley engage the Parliament to appropriate your revenue, interest the British Public to put an end to the usurpation.
Restrict your consumption of British produce as generally as possible. Be proud of clothing yourself with the fleece of your own flocks, and with the products of your own fields. The cloth and linen which you manufacture yourselves, will give you clothes more durable that those brought from abroad, and you will thereby interest those who will perceive a diminution in the consumption of goods, to make common cause with you, against the Minister who wishes to oppress you. The revenues which your enemies want to withdraw from your controul, are raised principally off strong liquors. What multiplied motives are there to stop this deadly source of revenue ! The crops would be more plenty — the farmers would be more rapidly enriched, if there were in each Country a Distillery & a Brewery where he could dispose of the greatest quantity of small grain that he must raise, to bring his land back by a rotation of crops to their ancient fertility.
REFORMERS OF CANADA of all languages and origins, you are much more than ten against one. Your sentence of death against the present constitution of the Legislative Council is irrevocable on your part. Your enemies are not numerous enough to injure you. You are sufficiently numerous to injure them. Every where in your county that you have a Doctor, a Notary, a Merchant, a Surveyor, &c, who range themselves along side of your enemies, you have ten who make common cause with you. Break all connexion in business and interest with those who separate their affections and interests from yours. Pardon the ignorant who is mistaken. Chastise the rogue who deceives. Let those who are so presumptuous as to prefer their own opinions and will to that of the public, learn, that whatsoever be their titles to favors from the administration, they have no claim to the confidence of the people. Bow not your heads to those who insult you. Let all those who have business with you, whether they be Governors, place-men, newspaper writers, or private individuals know, that the measure of their respect for you will be the measure of your respect for them. Read in the detail of the evils which the Legislative Council has produced, the detail of the evils which it is preparing for you, if you relax an instant in telling the British Government that it has not been reformed — in repeating constantly and unanimously that you repose neither faith nor confidence in the plans of Reform which extend not, by means of Election, to constitute it by the country and for country — in making those who attacked it in 1827 and defend it in 1834, feel that you do not attach any credit to their political integrity, since they approve to day of measures more direful, of men more perverse, of an administration more vile and basely intriguing, than even were the measures, the men, the administration whom they prosecuted and whose disgrace they obtained.
By the efficacious control which the Commons possess over the public Revenue, the people have a guarantee that the men and the abuses which they denounce will be checked. The King and the English Parliament in leaving to the Country the disposal of the Provincial Revenue, have created, have wished to give to the Colonists guarantees sufficiently efficacious for the suppression of abuses. Having conceded the principle, they conceded its inferences. The Public Revenue has not been less dilapidated. The Governor has given orders to pay that which the Law does not permit him to authorize being paid. None of his Councillors, or Law Officers of the Crown, or his Judges, or his functionaries, tell him that he has not the right to sign such warrants. All participate gladly in the spoil, taking good care not to look the page and the clause of the Statute which grants it to them, persuaded that they have nothing to fear, for where all are guilty, no person has a right to through the first stone. That which they had thus filched to the knowledge and ken of all the world, Mr. Stanley knew nothing about nine months after the event took place, and affirmed that the Governor knew too well the Laws and the Constitution, to have paid any thing whatever to any of the public functionaries whatsoever."
I will add that of all the engines now in operation to injure the interests of the Country, the most powerful is the bad direction which has been given to the operations of the Bank. The most efficacious and the most immediate means which the Canadians have to protect themselves against the fury of their enemies, is to attack them in their dearest parts — their pockets — in their strongest entrenchments, the Banks. They have been established principally at the solicitation of the Canadian retail trade which expected to find the means of development, and prosperity in those establishments which have crushed them. In place of coming into the market with facilities equal to those of the British Trade — director, or the favored creatures of Bank directors, he saw that the extent of accommodations engrossed by the latter, excluded him from the chance of obtaining any for himself.
The Import trade, and the monopoly of some great speculations, such as those of the Steam-Boat Company, obtained such extensive accommodations that, even though there should have been a good disposition to extend a part to the Canadian retail trade, there were no means. Upon more than a Million due to the Banks, researches have led to the belief that a twentieth part is not due by Canadians. It is the same sort of Justice as that of the Government in the distribution of places. They are disposed of in an inverse ratio to the population. They have therefore, no more title than a partial Government to the confidence and good will of the public which the illtreat. The management which would have gained for them friends interested in their prosperity, should have been that which would have given them a great many small debtors in every class, not that which gives them, in one sole class, a small number of large debtors. It is not the Director who borrows from eight to ten thousand pounds in bank notes, that assures to them the profits that flow from the slow return of their bills, the issue of which they increase in proportion to the hope they have that they will come slowly back. Those large borrowers, who pay interest, throw into circulation bills as soon as they have received them. Those who withdraw them from circulation, as keep them in their hands are the mass of citizens, who keep by them trifling sums of ten an twenty pounds, or more, for their current expenses. Whatever loss happens to these people from accidents by which bills are destroyed by fire, or rain, or soiled so as to be illegible, is a certain gain to the banks. But the habit when it becomes general of keeping in each family bills, instead of specie, is the great source of their profits, by the enormous disproportion between the great quantity of their bills which have no intrinsic value, and the small quantity, in that case, of the precious metals which they preserve and which have an intrinsic value, represented by the labour expended on procuring them from the mine, and the conventional value which the common consent of men, who deal in money, attaches to them. If the custom of keeping ten or twenty pounds in notes is general, Canadian families being nine to one, do nine times more good to banks than European families, and in return receive nineteen times less accommodation.
Is the sole consideration of the profits derived by a country from the employment of a circulating medium less expensive than specie, of so high an importance then that all political and moral considerations must necessarily remain mute before it ? Are not those profits diminished by the more frequent falsification and the destruction of notes than hard cash ? What a quantity of wealth is by these means suddenly destroyed to the honest and economical man who has with difficulty acquired them !
The unequal distribution of wealth when banks favor the monopolies of one political coterie, is another social evil which they inflict. In Upper as well as in Lower Canada the complaints have been universal against the scandal with which the directors have divided, disproportionately among themselves, the accommodation of the banks. These complaints have been heard for many years, and no redress has been applied to them as yet. It is a proof that the public has scarcely any influence over the Banks, or if they wish to remedy the evil, they can no longer do so. To make new loads, it is necessary to take up the old ones, and large debtors dictate the law to them, and say, we can only pay the interest on renewing our notes. If you exact payment which we cannot make, we shall fail, and our fall drawing down that of several other debtors, you cannot form an idea to what degree you, yourselves, will suffer. Directors have not only been the first in the market ready to purchase, but they have been able to choose a favorable moment to remove competition by the unexpected refusal to discount the notes of their rivals in trade. Upon the whole the greatest number of those who, in the retail line, have demanded banks, are radically cured and disgusted with the old ones. Their directors all belong to that violent minority who have succeeded in choosing the Representatives of 34,000 inhabitants to oppose the Representatives of 477,000, and who invoke, with a loud voice, the preferences and partialities of the British Government in its favor, and against the rights of this overwhelming majority. All the latter must be indignant at the injustice of that pretension, and punish its authors. LET THEM RUN TO THE BANKS, and in the terms of the law, demand GOLD and SILVER in exchange for their notes. In the first place, the Banks will resort to the evil policy of punishing their Canadian debtors the first. They will irritate but they will not ruin, because their Canadian debtors are few in number, and in but for trifling sums. But PRESS FORWARD. Always take back the notes, and the Gentlemen large debtors will very soon be obliged to reimburse that which they have not been accustomed to do for a long time, and all the business which they shall give up will be fathered by those who are free from engagements with Banks. They will call this, destruction of trade, whilst in reality, it will only cause it to escape from the enemy to fall into friendly hands. The producers will continue their habits of labour and economy, the only important sources of riches for a Country. Whether the old Banks be kept up or not, one acre of Land will not be cultivated more or less. The moment there will be surplus of exchangeable products, European Capitalists, for the sake of the profits which they will derive from them, will have them bought up.
If the run for cash, in exchange for their notes, could hazard the stability of the Banks, it would be proof that their directors have been criminal and speculated more than it was prudent to do so. That is not probable, but it is very probable that many borrowers have so speculated. It is no disadvantage for society ; on the contrary, there is justice for the public and for individuals who have transactions with those speculators, to deprive them of the chance of increasing their debts at the expense of other persons. If the Banks be ruined because they are asked to fulfil their engagements, then ruin would be an act of justice which could not take place too soon, with a view to diminish the greater loss which at a later period society would have to support. If without ruin their profits are diminished, that is only a just punishment which the public has a right to inflict upon them for having made the privileges which were granted them for the advantage of the many, subservient to the advantage of the few.
To these precautions add that of every where distinguishing your friends from your political enemies. You have seen the latter in their combinations employ means the most vast to master our Elections to ruin and destroy the Daily Advertiser — to drive from their service irreproachable artizans and workmen, who voted according to their conscientious convictions in favor of the Popular Candidates — to form new associations, styled constitutional, for the purpose of requiring the violent and unjust intervention of the Metropolitan Government, so that deaf to your complaints, and to your desires, it may not concede any thing to your demands for the extension of the Elective principle. They do all they can to injure you in public life and in private.
They will succeed if you do not fight them with their own weapons. they have thrown you, in spite of yourselves into the necessity of having recourse to legitimate defence. Then DEFEND YOURSELVES. You are the most numerous consumers. Buy only from your friends. Invite the Country Merchants, and the Farmers, to buy only from your friends. Be assured that these means, continued for some time, will suffice, with the constitutional opposition which your Representatives will make to a corrupt Government, to cause it to be very soon replaced by that which you have demanded, in electing for your Representatives men who will not retreat before any obstacle, in order to obtain, without diminution, all the Reforms demanded by The Ninety Two Resolutions.
I am, with respect,
Your very Humble and
Very obedient servant,
L. J. PAPINEAU.
Montreal, Dec. 1834.
To the Editor of the Montreal Herald.
SIR, — I request you will publish this note, in connection with the inclosed letter addressed to me by my friend Mr. Bellingham. The publication contained in the Minerve of the 4th instant, reflecting upon my character, entitled me to the satisfaction which I sought of Mr. Papineau. The result shews that while that person considers himself at liberty to assail the character of an individual in language the most opprobrious, he basely endeavors to screen himself by an evasion which cannot fail to exhibit him to the world, as devoid of the feelings of a gentleman as he is of the courage of a man.
I am, Sir,
Your most obedient servant,
Montreal, Saturday, Dec. 6, 1834.
(COPY.) Saturday, Dec. 6, 1834.
MY DEAR SIR, — At your request I waited on Mr. Papineau, to learn from him whether he was the author of an article published in the Minerve of Thursday evening the 4th instant, wherein reflections were made injurious to your character ; and in the event of his acknowledging the authorship, to demand, in your behalf, that satisfaction to which you thought yourself entitled.
I called at Mr. Papineau's residence twice in the course of yesterday afternoon ; he was not at home ; but I was informed that I should see him at eight o'clock this morning. I accordingly repeated my visit at the hour named, when he acknowledged himself to be the author of the publication in question ; but stated, that his observations were aimed at your public and not private character, and such being the case, he did not feel himself called upon to give any satisfaction.
I may not be able to recall to memory the very words employed during the conversation, but the spirit of his remarks as distinguishing your public from your private character is contained in the previous sentence.
My dear Sir,
(Signed,) SYDNEY BELLINGHAM.
To Dr. W. Robertson.
Mr Papineau's address gave rise to another correspondence of a similar nature, which we subjoin :—
To the Editor of the Montreal Herald, SATURDAY EVENING, Dec. 6, 1834.
SIR, — In presenting to your readers the accompanying documents, I must offer as a reason for obtruding my private affairs on the public, that my infirm state of health, prevents me from adopting any other mode of noticing Mr. Papineau's conversation with my friend Mr. Holmes.
A partial intimacy growing out of professional relations, must be my apology for having demanded satisfaction from a person, who had so recently submitted to be stigmatized as "a ma list to all sense of honor, and one who had forfeited all pretensions to the character of a gentleman."
Mr. Papineau appears to have refused satisfaction on the ground of my "infamous conduct ;" but a reported passage in that person's parliamentary life, of which, though it is not an affair of yesterday, I never heard till this evening, might justify a suspicion that he has not assigned all the reasons of his caution.
I remain, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
At the request of Mr. Walker, I waited on Mr. Papineau, and handed to him the communication of which the following is a copy —
MONTREAL, 6th Dec., 1834.
SIR, — The remarks which you have hazarded with respect to myself personally, in that portion of your address to the Electors of the West Ward, which appeared in the columns of the last Minerve, call for an appropriate notice on my part.
I will not enter into the merits of what has fallen from you upon this occasion. My friend Mr. Holmes is fully in possession of my sentiments : and to him I would refer you for a further explanation.
I am, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
Hon. Ls. Jos. Papineau.
In intimated to Mr. Papineau, that, as the friend of Mr. Walker, I was prepared to enter into such arrangements as circumstances might render necessary ; to which Mr. Papineau replied, that the conduct of Mr. Walker during the late election had been "a provocative to assassination," and justified the severest language being used in regard to him. — I took the liberty to interrupt Mr. Papineau, observing that any conversation foreign to the object of my mission, namely, to demand satisfaction for the language used in reference to Mr. Walker, was superfluous ; and I desired to know whether he would afford that satisfaction. Mr. Papineau replied, "I shall take no notice of Mr. Walker's communication." I warned him of the consequences usual under such circumstances ; and, as I was leaving the house, Mr. Papineau observed that the conduct of Mr. Walker and his friends had been infamous.
TO THE EDITOR OF TE MINERVE,
I see by the columns of this morning's Herald, that Dr. Robertson, not satisfied with the dishonorable notoriety, which attaches itself to the name of a Justice of the Peace, abusing the powers of his trust for the purpose of inventing the most criminal lies, in order to cause the shedding of the innocent blood of unarmed citizens, seeks another means to be notorious, by sending challenges to those who take the liberty of believing that such deserves censure.
Is not Dr. Robertson aware that although the love of murder has been in his heart, murder, especially that of the 21st May, 1832, is execrated in the hearts of 99 in a 100 of the inhabitants of the Province, and that if after such conduct he has the right to challenge to a duel, any one of those who reproach him with it, he shows that he is prepared and disposed, if such can be effected, to exterminate, by the same means, 99 in a 100 of the people of this country.
Mr. Sydney Bellingham's letter is not long enough by far. He should have given more details to the public than he has given to Dr. Robertson.
In explaining the object of his visit, he added that my address was of a nature to shock the ladies of the Doctor's family. I immediately said that I should be much concerned to have on any occasion given offence to ladies, who had nothing to do with political quarrels, and that there was nothing in my address of a nature to hurt them. He answered, that there was not, but that such proceeded from relationship. Whereupon I said, that that was inevitable inconvenience attendant on all those who were connected with public men, whose public conduct, when it was criminal, ought not to be sheltered from the most just censure through fear of wounding the sensibility of female relations.
I told Mr. Bellingham that he did not apparently give himself the trouble of informing himself if the facts with which I reproached Dr. Robertson were or were not founded — that as for my part they were supported by affidavits, and justified the reflections and inferences which I drew from them. He told me that it was not his business to inquire into the truth or falsehood of those facts — that a gentleman — his friend — had taken offence at a recent publication, and instructed him to demand an apology or satisfaction — that, in his country, quarrels between public men did not prevent them from giving satisfaction.
I answered that to support himself with examples from his country, it was necessary that he should find some example analogous to that afforded by Dr. Robertson, and that I was very certain he could not find one — that, in my opinion, so far from having the right to be at large in the streets of Montreal, provoking irreproachable citizens to fight duels, Dr. Robertson's place ought to be within the four walls of a prison, awaiting the verdict of life or death from a Petit Jury — that he ought not to flatter himself that his trial was abandoned — that one day or other it would be commenced — that the greater part of the other magistrates who, on the 20th of May, had decided, without the authority of the Returning Officer, that the troops should be called out on the 21st May, might pretend that they wished only to intimidate by the display of that force, without foreseeing that it would cause the massacre of citizens — but that Dr. Robertson had no such pitiable excuse — that he accompanied Mr. Moffatt on the eve of the butchery, to Colonel McIntosh's and that the latter had told them not to call out the troops until the last extremity, because, if they went out, men would inevitably be killed — that those two magistrates had taken upon themselves, after this warning, the responsibility of the events which followed, since they did not require, on the 21st May, a meeting of their brother magistrates to communicate this information to them, and to demand them to reflect upon the order of the preceding evening, and to decide whether they were willing or not to abide the consequences such as Colonel McIntosh warned them of — that it was truly a hellish inspiration in a man, thirsting for the shedding of blood, to go under these circumstances to Colonel McIntosh, at the Place d'Armes, on several occasions, and to assure him that the Civil Authorities had received the most positive information that a plot was formed to set fire, at various points, to the town and suburbs, in order to draw the troops in squads to different parts and directions for the purpose of over-powering them — that the invention of the story of Montferand arriving with a calash load of axe-handles, to knock down Mr. Walker's partizans, was another recent lie on the part of a Magistrate who deliberated, the same night and following days, on the measures to be adopted for the safety of the town — when he was so violent a partizan. I added that it was nothing but the most revolting partiality that released, without bail, the military regularly accused of wilful murder, and that it was that partiality that had left the magistrate who had directed them, that liberty which he abused at present, instead of taking advantage of it to relieve of his presence that society which he had outraged by the assassination of three of his innocent fellow-citizens.
Mr. Bellingham persisted in saying that he only considered the private character of his friend. I replied that I had nothing to do with the Doctor's private character which I knew nothing of — that I judged and justly denounced him by the public acts of his public life. He said that if I did not attack his private character the affair may, though difficultly arranged. I replied, that to me that was a matter of indifference ; that the writings spoke for themselves, and that I believed myself perfectly justified in not replying to Dr. Robertson.
As for Mr. Walker, I added, besides what Mr. Holmes has reported, that the speeches of Mr. Walker and his friends in the Taverns, and the demonstrations of violence against my effigy, in the presence of a drunken mob, composed partly of strangers to the town, where they could commit the greatest crimes without the risk of being known, were provocatives to assassination. I said that their conduct had been the cause that I was obliged, from information of the most precise description which I received, to see my wife and my little ones flying for safety night after night from their house, where, had it not been for accidental circumstances, they would have been attacked — that is printed speeches were of such a character as to deprive him of the right of challenging me — that is writings did not offend me, because they contained nothing of truth against me — that after all his conduct, I would pay no attention to his challenge, and that if he gave publicity to his proceedings, the public would judge between him and me, and that I did not fear its judgment.
L. J. PAPINEAU.
Montreal. Dec. 8, 1834.
|This work published before January 1, 1923 is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.|