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1780] GERMAIN'S ENCOURAGEMENT OF COMPLAINT.
were obscure, and escaped detection. They were, however, not the less active, a fact attested by the immediate dissemination of the proclamation of d'Estaing and La Fayette's address.
The fact of so many applications for passes for the west, totally in excess of the requirements of the trade, which owing to the war had greatly diminished, created suspicion that supplies, of which they were in much need, were being conveyed to the congress troops. The avowed design was to obtain furs and Indian commodities, in exchange for rum and goods sold at exorbitant rates. The preservation of the country formed no part of the ethics of the trader. Haldimand felt it his duty to limit the number of licenses. It was represented to him by those interested in the applications that the restriction would alienate the Indians ; a result which, in carrying out his policy, he endeavoured to avoid.
The consequence was, that letters were immediately sent to lord George Germain complaining of Haldimand's policy as mistaken, and attributable to his want of judgment, and to his personal partialities. It was the ordeal through which all had to pass who were placed in official relationship with Germain. He encouraged subordinate officers to write to him, and to regard him as alone being the source of patronage whence advancement could be obtained. It may safely be said, that writers of such letters never commit unpleasant tidings to paper.
As their correspondence is suggested by the benefit which they themselves will derive from it, so they contrive to shape their text to the form most agreeable to its recipient. To such a height was this carried that Haldimand felt called upon to appeal to Germain on the subject.*
This protest retains its teaching for men in Germain's position. “I have therefore to hope that your lordship will communicate to me without reserve all representations, whether civil or military, that may be made to your lordship from the Province, that do not reach you through the channel of my command, and likewise that your lordship will not give your countenance, particularly in the present situation of affairs, to any applications that may otherwise approach you (for if designing or interested men, and such there are without a possibility of your lordship knowing them) find they are permitted to state circumslances and offer
In the matter of the trade passes Haldimand vindicated himself from the charge of partiality, and sustained his view of the necessity of the regulation by the report of colonel Sinclair, the governor of Michillimackinac. Sinclair wrote that half of the merchandise sent up would purchase all the furs, and that £40,000 worth of goods remained unexchanged. The traders were unwilling to submit to any restraint, and it was perfectly easy to forward supplies to the congress troops by lake Superior and the Mississippi.
In June, 1779, reports had reached Canada of an intention to invade the province at Detroit to the west ; at the same time by the Mohawk river to Oswego, a force would descend the Saint Lawrence; while a third would follow the Saint Francis to eastern Canada. Further anxiety was created, owing to the intelligence of these contemplated hostile proceedings being known throughout the parishes before it had been communicated by the agents of the government. In connection with these reports, it was foretold that a French fleet would ascend the Saint Lawrence to carry all before it. The story was so pertinaciously repeated that it was everywhere believed. The sympathy of many of the French Canadians was shewn by their anxiety concerning the vessels which arrived. From the general expression of feeling at this date, extracted from Haldimand's letters, there was one common opinion that if any serious reverse had been experienced by the British the whole country would have risen in arms against the government; an opinion, added Haldimand, not founded upon distant and precarious intelligence, but upon a precise knowledge of the general disposition of the habitants.
What made the situation more trying was the exhausted condition of the salt provisions. On the 15th of June, there 1780]
opinions without communicating them first to me, it will not only be a source of continued Trouble to your lordship, but create and encourage discontent here already too easily Fomented.” (Haldimand to Germain, 28th January, 1780. B. 54, p. 272.]
(Can. Arch., B. 97.2, p. 356.]
THE THREATENED FRENCH INVASION.
was not sufficient for a month's supply. No vessels were arriving. Any large body of troops entering the province in French uniforms would have thrown the whole of Canada into confusion, and the government was in dread of being deserted by the entire population. The news from Halifax was not more cheering. It was known that there were several privateers in the gulf, strongly manned and armed, threatening the Canadian fisheries and all vessels not under convoy, and there was no naval force to oppose them.
A painful event took place on the 22nd of May, 1779. Mr. John Stiles, master of H.M.S.“ Viper," under the command of captain Augustus Hervey, when engaged with a pressgang in a scuffle which took place, had the misfortune to kill a seaman on board the "Retrieve," from Jamaica, bound to London. Stiles, who was in command of the “ Viper” in Hervey's absence, refused the admiralty marshal admission on the vessel, and made his escape down the river. The event caused much excitement, and Haldimand was called upon to intervene. Active steps were immediately taken for Stiles' arrest, and on the officer with the warrant meeting him, he surrendered and was confined. Public feeling became much modified. On his trial, Stiles was found guilty of manslaughter. Owing to the peculiar circumstances of the case, the prisoner not having been actuated by private malice, and the judges having authoritatively declared the king's right to impress in the time of war, Haldimand granted him a pardon.
The threatening aspect of events, as they have been described at the commencement of 1780, offered little guarantee for the continuance of Canada as a British province. Weakly garrisoned in the sense of capacity to resist attack, threatened both from the west and the east, the French Canadians no longer entertaining the loyal feeling which two years previously had been so strongly displayed by the clergy and the higher class, numbers of active and unscrupulous sympathisers of congress scattered through the country on all sides, there was ground for dread of an approaching calamity. Those charged with the defence of the province were made to
feel the trying nature of the duty they had to fulfil. We must keep this situation in view, when we undertake to estimate the zeal and ability with which Haldimand performed his onerous obligations.
I have dwelt upon the fact how impossible it was for him to learn what was happening in the southern provinces. The reports which reached him by no means tended to lessen his anxieties. They rather 'encouraged expectation that active operations would with little delay be undertaken against the province. In this position of danger and uncertainty he never faltered in what he held to be the true performance of his duty ; undeterred by the limited support accorded to him in London; by the opposition he received in the Quebec council; by the personal unpopularity which many of his acts called forth, and by the more painful feeling that the bulk of the French Canadian population had become alienated from British rule, under which they had lived so prosperously. He exerted himself with wisdom and determination to assure the welfare of the whole community, and, while guarding the province against invasion, he strove, as far as in him lay, to protect every interest.
The facts which establish the views I am expressing are incontrovertible. Nevertheless, the character of Haldimand has been persistently assailed. He has been represented as in no way recognizing the principles of constitutional government, and, as a ruler, naturally harsh and austere, who, from an unrestrained love of arbitrary power, was ready to persecute on the slightest provocation. The vindication of his government is completely established by the records in which his acts are narrated. It was fortunate for the tranquillity of the province that a man of his well regulated and undemonstrative firmness was placed in the position he held. He did not magnify the difficulties with which he had to contend, but met them calmly and resolutely with unfailing judgment. However severely his acts may be judged, not a single one calls for reprobation as even inexpedient; and his personal conduct during the trying times of his government remains 1780]
entirely unassailed for any departure from integrity, for any want of truth, or for the least unworthy furtherance of his own interests. The history of his government is a sufficient reply to the trumpery, unsubstantiated statements of a writer like du Calvet, whose account of himself is throughout based upon falsehood, and who, with the other agitators of his day, was deservedly kept in prison.
I will hereafter have to speak in detail of the material traces of his presence which Haldimand left behind him in the province. I may so far allude to them here as to say, that under his administration the citadel of Quebec was designed and begun ; that it was he who constructed the first small canals to overcome the rapids of the Saint Lawrence, the Cascades, Cedars and Coteau, which remained in use and brought a fair revenue until the opening of the Beauharnois canal in October, 1845. He may be regarded as the very first man in Canada who introduced the love of gardening. He laid out the public gardens in Quebec. The handsome residence at Montmorenci Falls, and the gardens, as they exist, were in the first instance his work. Madame Riedesel gives a most pleasing impression of his character. She tells us how she taught Haldimand to pickle cucumbers, and how through him the art, if such it may be called, became generally known in Canada.* It was Haldimand also who constructed the chateau de Saint Louis, on the present Durham terrace, as a residence for the governor, which unfortunately was destroyed by fire in 1834.
Madame Riedesel thus speaks of Haldimand in 1781-2. “Man wollte uns Misstrauen gegen ihn einflössen, wir hörten aber keinen an, und gingen offenherzig mit ihm um, welches er uns desto mehr Dank wusste, da er ein solches Benehmen dort wenig gewohnt war. Es waren grosse Veränderungen im Gouverne. ments. Hause gemacht worden, das vorher einer Baracke ähnlich sah. Er hatte es auf englischen Fuss meublirt und eingerichtet, und ob er gleich nur erst 5 Jahre da war, so waren doch seine Gärten schon voller trefflicher Früchte und fremder Gewächse, von welchen man nicht geglaubt hätte, dass sie in diesem Clima fortkommen könnten. Er hatte aber die Lage gegen die Sonne gut benutzt. Das Haus lag auf einer Anhöhe und fast ganz zu oberst.” (p. 290.]
“ Alles wuchs in unserm Garten vortrefflich, und alle Abend gingen wir