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It does not appear attended with much difficulty, even now, to unite the two houses of assembly, as the Irish was to the English Parliament. Let the governor of Upper Canada be in civil, as he now is in military matters, subordinate. The officers of the crown, and the judges, (as in Scotland and Ireland), might continue to act, each for their own district, under such new regulations as might seem expedient. The laws and language of Upper and Lower Canada being different, need be no objection. The same thing exists between the highlands of Scotland and England, though the same legislature serves both. An union of the two governments seems the only line of policy which can ensure to Englishmen that weight in the country which is highly expedient, not only for their own safety and convenience, but for the good of the province, and the interests of Great Britain. If Canada is to have a representative government (which I by no means think necessary), the whole province should have but one legislature, and one head.
The British government have in more cases than one, acted unwisely, in my humble opinion, in these matters.—There can be little doubt that the kind of government to be given to a conquered country ought to be fitted for the people to be governed, regard being had to their previous habits, and the general state of society.
The English conquered Corsica, for instance, and took it into their heads to give the Corsicans a British constitution. Of all the islanders in the Mediterranean the Corsicans are the most savage, and were the least accustomed to think for themselves in matters of government. What was the consequence? Lord Minto, the first viceroy, could tell you. Their savage manners could not be moulded so as to make them fit for deliberating in council. Like the Canadian members of parliament, many of them could neither read nor write. Such men cannot appreciate the value of a free constitution. The English are so fond of their consitution, that they think it is only necessary to shew it to all the world, and it must be accepted with joy. This way of thinking will naturally enough be adopted by those who have studied politics in their closet, and have never been out of England;—but, by those who have visited foreign countries, who have contemplated man in a state of ignorance and superstition, very different conclusions, I venture to say, will be drawn. The English consitution is, I imagine, too complexa machine to be at once understood, adopted, and put in motion, by a simple and uninformed people, who have not been accustomed to political disquisitions, and abstract reasoning. We ought to recollect, that even in England, a nation ever forward in its advances to refinement, it was only by degrees that a free constitution was introduced,—the country for many centuries being in a state of probation, as it were. The seeds of liberty, which, in one reign, were sown and began to shoot out, were in the next, trodden underfoot and destroyed. Rational and genuine freedom is not the child of theory, it would appear; it cannot, like a book, be taken up and laid down at pleasure.
A truce, however, for the present, to political discussions. I am going with a party to see the Falls in this neighbourhood. The Fall of Chaudiere is, I am told, very grand; and the Fall of Montmorency, will, I doubt not, give as much pleasure, on a near view, as we are led to expect from its grand appearance at a distance.
Quebec, September,- 1806.
Since I last had the pleasure of writing you, I have visited not only the Fall of Chaudiere, but also the Fall of Montmorency, two of the greatest natural curiosities which this country has to boast of. Neither of them is equal to the far-famed Falls of Niagara, in Upper Canada, where the St. Lawrence precipitates itself in a body over a rock about 160 feet of perpendicular height; but they are both possessed of beauties peculiar to themselves, which render them highly deserving the attention of the lovers of the sublime and beautiful.
The river Chaudiere falls into the St. Lawrence, about five miles above Quebec, on the opposite side. When a visit to it is in contemplation, a boat must be procured, for which you must be indebted to some of your friends, as there are none for hire: and you must carry meat and drink with you, (if you intend to eat)—a thing never to