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188   HISTORY OF CANADA.

appeal. In the performance of most of his duties, however, the governor was under no obligation to consult the members of his council. Downing Street held him alone responsible.

Colonial Officials.—In the early history of the provinces all appointments to office in the colonies were made by the colonial office in England. Sir Thomas Erskine May, a well-known writer, says : "The colonies offered a wide field of employment for the friends, connections, and political partisans of the home government. The offices in England fell short of the demand, and appointments were accordingly multiplied abroad. Of these many of the most lucrative were executed by deputy. Infants in the cradle were endowed with colonial appointments to be executed through life by convenient deputies. Extravagant fees or salaries were granted in Downing Street and spent in England, but paid out of colonial revenue. Other offices, again, to which residence was attached, were too frequently given to men wholly unfit for employment at home, but who were supposed to be equal to colonial service, where indolence, incapacity, or doubtful character might escape exposure."

A "Family Compact" in the Provinces.—Gradually the officials of the colonies became more settled. Colonial appointments though nominally "during pleasure" were practically for life, and the office-holders and their families became permanent residents. Living chiefly in the larger towns in each province, they formed an official aristocracy, with the governor (or lieutenant-governor) at its head. There was naturally much inter-marrying among them. Social and business ties drew them together, and it was not long before in each province there was a tacit " family compact " to work together to hold a monopoly of place and power. The executive council was composed of the leading members of this Family Compact, and as the years went by they secured an ever-increasing control of the patronage of the Crown. Although they are usually spoken of as an "official" aristocracy, they embraced, particularly in the Maritime Provinces and in Lower Canada, the most influential of the mercantile class, those interested in trade with England, and the magnates of the North-West Company. New officials, as they arrived from England, naturally fell within the circle. Those who failed to adopt and uphold the views of the ruling faction found that


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