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192   HISTORY OF CANADA.

preferences—local, commercial and religious—were shown in its composition as in the other provinces. Before its division the council of Nova Scotia consisted of twelve members, all resident in Halifax. The Anglican bishop was a member ex-officio, and eight others were of that Church. The chief justice presided, and around the board were the heads of departments and other influential members of the Family Compact. Two families were represented by five members. One mercantile partnership was also represented by five members. The result was that while needed measures of civil and religious reform were prevented, the interests of the outlying parts of the province were sacrificed to benefit Halifax merchants.

Strongly Entrenched.—This then was the position in all the provinces. The official class had at its command all the executive machinery, all the patronage of the Crown, a subservient legislative council, and, as a rule, a friendly governor. Time executive machinery was harshly and arbitrarily used to put down critics ; the patronage of the Crown was used to reward friends or buy off opponents ; the legislative council prevented legislative reform ; while a friendly governor dissolved a too hostile assembly and reported to the colonial office that all was well. If the long-suffering colonists carried their complaints to the colonial secretary they found, as Howe said, that " there was hardly a public servant iii the province who could not by his representations and influence thwart any resolution or address which the assembled representatives of the whole country thought it their duty to adopt."

The System at Fault.—Out of such a system grave abuses were sure to arise. But, while we must strongly condemn the system, we must not forget that even among the officials there were very many able and upright men, to whom we owe much for the material progress of the country during those years. Colonial government was then in its infancy, and many men both in England and on this side of the Atlantic conscientiously believed that to give entire control to the colonial assemblies would be but a step toward separation from Great Britain. We know now that they were mistaken. We have long enjoyed a full measure of self-government in Canada without any loosening of the strong tie of affectionate attachment which binds us to the motherland.


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