The mob again attacked Lafontaine's house, but this time he was prepared and they were driven off after one of their number had been killed. One result of these outrages was the removal of the seat of government from Montreal. As a mark of approval of his conduct during these trying times, Lord Elgin was made Baron Elgin of the peerage of the United Kingdom.
Return of Papineau and Mackenzie.—During the same session (1849) another Act was passed granting a general amnesty to all who had been concerned in the outbreaks of 1837-1838. From time to time pardons had been granted or prosecutions formally abandoned in individual cases, and many of the refugees had already returned to Canada. Dr. Wolfred Nelson had been a member of the last parliament. Papineau himself was a member of this, but, though for a time he showed a disposition toward agitation, he never regained his old ascendancy. He endeavored to put himself at the head of a movement for colonizing vacant districts in Lower Canada, but was skilfully forestalled by Lord Elgin, who, by himself taking up the project, prevented it from assuming a political or racial character. This movement, it may be noted, had a marked effect in stopping emigration to the United States, and in filling up unsettled tracts along the lower St. Lawrence. About the only one left to profit by the amnesty was William Lyon Mackenzie. He had suffered imprisonment in the United States for breach of- their neutrality laws, and after his release had experienced many reverses of fortune. All his old admiration for republican institutions had vanished, and he at once took advantage of the amnesty and returned to Toronto. At a bye-election in 1850 he was elected to the assembly as member for Haldimand, his opponent being George Brown. In the assembly Mackenzie became a somewhat privileged character, but was never again an important factor in politics. He died in Toronto in 1861.
Two Wise Acts.—In the sessions of 1850 and 1851 much useful legislation was passed. The only Acts which call for special mention were two, passed in 1851. By one of these our present decimal currency was introduced. By the other the law of primogeniture was abolished, so that upon the death of any person `without a will his land is divided among his children instead of going to the eldest son or nearest heir,