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208   MILITARY HISTORY OF CANADA

discontent, and Mackenzie only waiting for a suitable opportunity to raise the standard of revolt and seize the city. Could fatuity go farther? It was indeed no fault of Head's that the flag of the rebels did not fly over Government House on the night of December 4th, 1837. The utter failure of the insurgents, both in 1837 and in 1838, was in fact partly due to their own lack of competent leaders, but mainly to the splendid spirit of the Canadian militia, who placed the integrity of their country before all other considerations, and under the most adverse circumstances made the citizen soldiery of Canada a force of which any country might be proud.

The military state of Canada in the autumn of 1837 reflected that of the mother-country, where the usual period of lethargy and neglect of the army had followed the last war. In Canada, says a military writer of the period, "all the fortifications had become the cankered remains of a long peace. The guns, the swords, the bayonets rusted in the ordnance stores; and to mount a battery for the field or for a garrison was about as difficult an experiment as an artillery or an engineer officer could have had to perform. Twenty-two years of pro-found peace had made sad havoc in harness, in wagons, in carriages, limbers, wheels, drag-ropes, and the munitions of war. The very powder was so-so, and as for blankets and bedding, the moths had long ago consigned them to the sale-shops. Not a ship, boat, sail, or oar was in the Dockyard at Kingston, which had become a grazing pasture; and the sole charge of that right arm of the military service, the royal engineer department, was limited to patching up barracks which time had sapped.s'

As mentioned in the preceding chapter, the struggle for responsible government was at the bottom of the rebellions in both Upper Canada and Lower Canada. Upper Canada was nominally governed by a Lieutenant-Governor, an Executive Council, a Legislative Council,

1 Bonnycastle, Sir Richard H.: Canada, vol i, p. 216.


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