individual liberty. Voluntary associations for repressing sedition were formed throughout England. The right to hold public meetings was largely curtailed. Men who ventured to criticise government officials or to promulgate theories of popular government were prosecuted for criminal libel or for sedition. Not, in fact, until after the Napoleonic wars did the reaction spend itself, and progress toward civil and religious liberty again begin.
A Similar Feeling in the Provinces.—Knowledge of these events found its way across the Atlantic and inspired among the colonists in all the provinces a feeling favorable to the growth of a strong executive. In Lower Canada, among the influential classes of the French-Canadians, there was no sympathy whatever with the French revolutionists. In the other provinces the feeling was even stronger in favor of giving a loyal support to those in authority. In the United States there was, among certain classes, a marked sympathy with the revolutionary party in France, and the French ambassadors did their utmost to strengthen this sentiment in order to embroil the young republic in war with Great Britain.
Friction with the United States.—At this time the relations between the Canadian provinces and the United States were somewhat strained. Owing to the failure of the latter to carry out the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles in reference to the Loyalists, the British retained possession of a number of frontier posts—Oswego, Niagara, Detroit, and Michillimackinac. For a time it seemed very probable that war would break out afresh. The loyal settlers in all the provinces were, therefore, inclined to give the executive government a free hand in the suppression of every symptom of disaffection. In Lower Canada the English-speaking minority took advantage of this feeling, and succeeded in quietly securing a firm hold upon the executive government of that province. Even after the frontier posts were given up, early in 1796, the intrigues of the French ambassador at Washington kept Lower Canada in disquiet. Some of the lower classes, especially in the towns, desired to imitate the doings of the sans-culottes of Paris, and an enthusiast from the United States named McLane was hanged, drawn and quartered at Quebec for endeavoring to stir up a rebellion against those in authority.
Commercial Activity.—The commerce of the province was ]1