1 5 2 HISTORY OF CANADA.
ous, of granting large tracts of land to members of the two councils and to their friends became common. Peter Russell, administrator, granted many such tracts to Peter Russell in his private capacity ; and other officials fared equally well. In Grant's time occurred the first serious dispute between the assembly and the executive. There had been some little friction between the assembly and the legislative council at different times, but the causes of dispute were trivial. In 1806, however, the assembly took exception to the unauthorized expenditure by Grant of certain provincial funds. The dispute was elided by Grant giving way to the assembly, but the debates were bitter and the general conduct of the government was much criticised.
Power of the Officials.—Robert Thorpe, an English lawyer, was at this time a judge in Upper Canada, and he encouraged the grand juries at the different courts throughout the province to find fault with the way in which public business was carried on. In those days a judge could sit in the provincial assembly. Thorpe became a member, pursuing in the House the same line of criticism in which he indulged on the bench. The official classes were, however, too strong for him, and he was dismissed from his judgeship. Wyatt, the surveyor-general, and Sheriff Willcocks were also dismissed from their positions, their criticism being visited with all the harsher punishment for being, as it were, treason within the official camp. Willcocks subsequently went to the United States and joined in the invasion of the Niagara frontier in 1812 ; and the official party in later years were not slow to impute like disloyalty to all who ventured to complain of their arbitrary and selfish government. From the beginning the executive council and the government officials, with their families and friends, formed an exclusive social circle to which none were admitted who failed to recognize their right to monopolize all public positions in the province. With the lieutenant-governor as the head of this official aristocracy in a place like York—a mere village at that time—the power of the executive faction was hard to overcome.
Material Progress. —During this period, as already seen, the population of the province was largely increased. There was also a steady advance in material prosperity. The assembly gave liberally toward the opening up of roads to connect the various