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HISTORY OF CANADA:   263

 

of responsible government; that he was his own prime minister; and that his policy of "no-party" government was doomed to prove a failure. So indeed it turned out; but, in a time of transition, his skill and tact did much to obliterate old feuds. At all events, his policy commended itself for a time to the moderate majority not only in Canada but in all the provinces.

Sir Charles Bagot.—After a short interval, during which Sir R. D. Jackson, comnnander-in-chief of the British forces in America, acted as administrator, a new governor arrived in the person of Sir Charles Bagot. In England, Lord Melbourne's ministry had given place to the Conservative cabinet of Sir Robert Peel. Lord St:uiley was now again colonial secretary. Sir Charles Bagot was known as a strong supporter of the new British administration, and the Family Compact in Canada took heart when they heard of his appointment. He, however, kept entirely aloof from party strife in Canada, and gave his advisers for the time being a constitutional support. He displayed much zeal in forwarding the work of public improvement, particularly in the matter of road communication. The appointment of a French-Canadian to the position of chief justice in Lower Canada gained for him the confidence of that section of the province.

United States — Strained Relations. — For some time there had been growing friction between Great Britain and the United States, and, of late, war between them had appeared not improbable. There were several matters in dispute. In her efforts to suppress the African slave trade, Great Britain had found that many ships, strongly suspected, had, when pursued, hoisted the Stars and Stripes. She insisted upon her right to search such ships ; the United States objected ; and meanwhile the inhuman traffic was assuming large proportions. Great Britain's refusal to surrender fugitive slaves was another ground of complaint. Upon touching British soil or the deck of a British ship the slave became a freeman, and Great Britain positively declined to change her law in this respect. The law as to the surrender of fugitive criminals was also in an unsatisfactory condition. The • Caroline affair, too, had reached an acute stage in 1841. One of the crew of the steamer had been killed by the boarding party under Captain Drew, and a man named McLeod had been arrested in the United States charged with his murder. Great Britain


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