Previous The History of the Dominion of Canada (1897) Next

 

230   HISTORY OF CANADA.

however, after pecuniary provision had been made for carrying on the public business for another year, an address to the Crown was passed by the assembly reiterating the charges made against the council. The prayer of the address is notable as disclosing the uncertainty which then existed in the minds of colonial reformers —except perhaps in Upper Canada—as to the exact method to be adopted to ensure responsible government. "As a remedy for these grievances we implore your Majesty to grant us an elective council ; or to separate the executive from the legislative council, providing for a just representation of all the great interests of the province in both ; and, by the introduction into the former of some members of the popular branch, and otherwise securing responsibility to the Commons, confer upon the people of this province what they value above all other possessions, the blessings of the British constitution." However, when once convinced that the British system of government through a "responsible" executive council, or cabinet, was as feasible in a colony as in the motherland, colonial reformers were quick to demand it.

A Satisfactory Reply.—The reply of Lord Glenelg, the colonial secretary, to the above address was received with much satisfaction. Although he was not prepared to concede the principle of executive responsibility to the assembly, he instructed Sir Colin Campbell to divide the council, and to take care in forming the new councils to avoid all appearance of favor to sectional, sectarian, or special commercial interests. The judges were to be entirely excluded from the executive council, and, as far as possible, from the legislative council. The claim of the assembly to control the revenue was fully conceded, subject only to the settlement of a proper civil list. In Nova Scotia, therefore, as in New Brunswick, the reformers toward the close of 1837 were inclined to be well satisfied with their prospects.

CHAPTER =VI.

THE NORTH-WEST AND NEW CALEDONIA.

The Red River Settlement.—Meanwhile, in the great North-West, Lord Selkirk's colony of Assiniboia on the Red


Previous The History of the Dominion of Canada (1897) Next