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HISTORY OF CANADA.   151

 

protection as well as the upper province. There was at this time a naval force on Lake Ontario consisting of six vessels, two of them small gun-boats, under command of Captain Bouchette, who pre-pared the first charts of the harbors on the lake.

Military Roads.—Simncoe undertook the opening up of military highways to facilitate communication between the military stations in the province. Yonge Street, running north from York (now Toronto), was projected to connect Lake Ontario with the military post at Penetanguishene on the Georgian Bay. It was opened as far as Lake Simcoe by the Queen's Rangers, of which troop the lieutenant-governor was colonel. Dundas Street was also projected as a great military highway to traverse the entire province from the Detroit River to Montreal. Only a small part, however, westward from York, was opened during Simcoe's time, and not until the war of 1812 was road communication opened through to the lower province. Goods for the Upper Canadian settlements were carried in bateaux and flat-bottomed "Durham boats" up the St. Lawrence to Kingston, and there shipped on board vessels for the upper ports.

York (Toronto), the Capital.—One of the frontier posts delivered up to the United States in 1796 was Niagara on the American side ; and as it was not thought fitting that the capital of the province should be under the guns of a foreign power, it was determined to remove the seat of government from Newark. Simcoe, on one of his western tours of exploration, had been much impressed with the site of the present city of London, and strongly urged that it should be made the capital of the province. Lord Dorchester favored Kingston. By way of compromise York was chosen—largely on account of its fine harbor—and here the assembly met in 1797.

The Assembly Asserts Itself.—During Russell's term of office (1796-1799),* the practice, which became afterwards so notori-

a Upon Simcoe's departure (1796) the senior executive councillor, Peter Russell, became administrator and conducted the affairs of the province until 1799. In 1799 Major-General Hunter, the commander-in-chief of the British forces in North America, became lieutenant-governor of Upper Canada. His military duties required his frequent presence at Quebec, and very little is known of his government at York, though it lasted for six years. He was followed by Commodore Grant, who held the position of administrator for one year only. In 1806 Francis Gore became lieutenant-governor, holding the position until 1818.


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