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RED RIVER REBELLION, 1869-70   251

Dennis his "Conservator of the Peace," with power to "raise, organize, arm, equip, and provision" a sufficient force to "attack, arrest, disarm, or disperse" Riel and' his followers. As Riel had cornered most of the arms, equipment, and provisions in the settlement, the terms of the proclamations must have afforded him a good deal of quiet amusement. How the antics of their official representative appealed to the Dominion Cabinet may be gathered from the following letter from Sir John Macdonald to the Hon. John Rose:

"McDougall has made a most inglorious fiasco at Red River. When he left here he fully understood that he was to go as a private individual to report on the state of affairs at Red River, but to assume no authority until officially notified from here that Rupert's Land was united to Canada. Notwithstanding this, from mere impatience at his uncomfortable position at Pembina, and before he could possibly have received instructions in answer to his report of being stopped on the way, he chose to assume that on the first of December the surrender was made by the Company and the Order-in-Council passed by the Queen, and that the Order-in-Council was to appoint the day of its issue as the day of Union. He issued a Proclamation under the Great Seal of the new Province, formally adding it to the Dominion. . . . He has ingeniously contrived to humiliate himself and Canada, to arouse the hopes and pretentions of the insurgents, and to leave them in undisputed possession until next spring."

The bogus proclamations had the effect that might be expected. While they were believed to be authentic, they heartened the loyal party in the settlement, and put a temporary check on Riel. When it was discovered that they were entirely unauthorized, they, of course, acted as a boomerang to discredit both the Lieutenant-Governor and the loyalists' party, and to strengthen to a corresponding degree the hands of Riel.

Colonel Dennis had lost no time in carrying out the

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