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sident he was nothing. He obtained that honour merely by routine, on the departure of Governor Gore; being one of the Executive Council. There were, senior Councillors; but one of these held a permanent lucrative situation ; and the other was disqualified, from being a catholic. A half
pay Officer, after more than 30 years retirement in the wilderness, with little incentive to action, and very little communication with enlightened society, must be an extraordinary man indeed if he does not sink into sloth and inanity. I shall describe the residence and neighbourhood of the President of Upper Canada, from remembrance, journeying past it on my way to York from the westward, by what is called the lake road through Etobicoke. For many miles not a house had appeared when I came to that of Colonel Smith, lonely and desolate. It had once been genteel and comfortable; but was now going to decay. A vista bad been opened through the woods towards lake Ontario ; but, the riotous and dangling undergrowth seemed threatening to retake possession, from the Colonel, of all that had once been cleared, which was of narrow compass. How could a solitary half-pay Officer help himself, settled down upon a block of land, whose very extent barred out the assistance and convenience of neighbours ! Not a living thing was to be seen around! How different might it be, thought I, were a hundred industrious families compactly settled here out of the redundant population of England! The road was miserable. A little
way beyond the President's house, it was lost on a
bank of loose gravel flung up between the contending waters of the lake and the Etobicoke stream. This bank was partially covered with bushes. My pony sunk over the pasterns, and göt afraid with the rattling gravel : he shyed at every bush ; and was as foolish as a loyal-mad magistrate, alarmed with sedition : he was absolutely provoking. The half-spun appellations of Sterne's nuns would have been lost upon him. I cursed Little York for it; spurred, remounted, dragged, remounted, and spurred twenty times over, losing five minutes of time for every step of advance. It was my anxious wish to get through the woods before dark ; but the light was nearly gone before the gravel bank was cleared. There seemed hut one path, which took to the left. It led me astray: I was lost; and there was nothing for it but to let my little horse take his own way. Abundant time was afforded for reflection on
the wretched state of property, · flung away on half-pay officers. Here was the head man of the province, “ born to blush unseen,” without even a tolerable bridle-way between him and the capital city, after more than twenty years possession of his domain !! The very gravel bed which caused me such turmoil might have made a turnpike; but what can be done by a single hand? The President could do little with the axe or wheelbarrow himself; and halfpay could employ but few labourers at 3s. 6d. per day, with victuals and drink. weary twist and turn, I found myself on the
After many a banks of the Humber, where there was a house and boat. A most obliging person started from his bed to ferry me across the river ; but the pony refused to swim. With directions to find a bridge near at hand, I was again set adrift, lost and forlorn! The bridge was at last found; bụt a third time, lost! was the word, and that, too, in the very purlieus of Little York; for even to the church of that poor, dirty, and benighted capital, there is nothing like a direct and wellmade road! No less than seven hours were thus wasted in getting over as many miles!! The first improvement of every country should be the making of roads; and, after that, speeches from the throne may be patiently listened to.
I blame not the poor President; but I lost every particle of patience with the clauses now to be examined.
The worthy President, I am convinced, had no concern in the fabrication of the speech. Judge Powell was guessed to be its author ; but to save the modesty of Little York, I fathered it, to use Councillor Clark's expression, on “.some half starved clerk in London.” But what, now, is so very objectionable in these extracts before us? Gentle reader! be patient, and I will shew you, by and by, that these extracts, plain and simple as they may seem, with fewer gracious phrases in them than usual, do, nevertheless, contain that description of humbug (I can find no other word for my meaning) by which the august Assembly of Upper Canada has, from its nativity, been kept in precious stupefaction. Whether to give design any credit for this description of thing, and call it court policy, or whether it is a direct and natural sequence of mere silliness, under certain modifications, I am quite dubious; but, certainly, it could produce effect. I know that, by its instrumentality, business and common sense, nay, even truth and justice, have been blinked, and blinded, and overturned.' A speech from the provincial throne is never questioned. In the Assembly there are no butts, called Ministers, against whom Opposition has a natural inclination to shoot a bolt. What falls from his Majesty's Representative falls, as it were, from heaven, immaculate ; and, in faith, must needs be received as gospel. The speech all-courtly must needs have a courtly reply. The speech of his Majesty's Representative can thus become at once both butt and barbed hook, for “ the Honourable Gentlemen, and Gentlemen.”
In Upper Canada the opening speech invariably takes its fish. The
poor fish generally plays about for a week or two of the session quiet enough. Then some little twist of the angler gives him pain. He flounces : he flounders; and, at last, perhaps, snapping the line, rather than be taken in, takes himself off to the tune of Yankee Doodle! My figurative language may not, perhaps, convey, rightly and completely, an idea of the meeting, sitting, and breaking up of the august Assembly of Upper Canada; but only three more words shall be wasted upon it, characteristic of the beginning, middle, and end: flattering-fightingflying.
The session, opened with the speech from which the above extracts are taken, completely answered this description. Most gracious and courtly replies were made to the opening speech; but not one piece of business was adjusted which might not as well have been let alone, saving that the fourth resolution of the fornier session was passed, confirming the fact, that “ subjects of the United States may lawfully come into, and settle in this province, hold land, and be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of natural-born subjects.” For the last two or three weeks a most deadly feud went on between the Legislative Council and House of Assembly, the former maintaining that they had a right to alter and amend money bills : the latter denying this. His Honour the President, at last seeing that seed-time was coming on, and that Members of Parliament would be better employed at the plough than in Little York, “came in state to the Legislative Council Chamber, and being seated on the throne, the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod was sent to require the attendance of the House of Assembly. His Honour was pleased to close the session with the following SPEECH."
“ Honourable Gentlemen, and Gentlemen, “When I called you together in obedience to the law, it was in full expectation that you would assiduously labour to bring up any arrear of public business.
“ The ready pledge offered by your cordial addresses, in answer to my suggestions from the chair, confirmed me in