« PreviousContinue »
a letter to Hammond, in which he characterised Carleton's words as "hostility itself.” Hammond, as in duty bound, forwarded the despatch to England.
On the receipt of this letter, Dundas addressed Dorchester in a tone which it is not possible to consider in any light but that of official censure. He pointed out that Dorchester could not fail to have been impressed by the wish of the ministry for the preservation of peace, and the desirability of the avoidance of anything like hostility in the disputes concerning the treaty line. He took exception to the message to the Indians and the re-establishment of the fort of the Miamis, as not within the limit of the post of Detroit, as more likely to provoke hostilities than to prevent them, adding that "all that was called for was the immediate (sic) protection of the posts.”*
Dundas' letter was one of the many examples in Canadian history of despatches written by British ministers from the standing point of imperial politics and with but secondary thought of Canada. When Dundas wrote, on the 5th of July, Jay had been nearly a month in England, having arrived on the 8th of May. His meeting with lord Grenville had been friendly and satisfactory. Dorchester's address, undoubtedly, had become known in the United States by its publication in the press, but it was only a reflex of the utterances by United States public men and of the manifold attacks on Great Britain in the republican press. More importance was attached to it from Dorchester's character and status. It was also known that he had only returned from England the preceding September, and it was inferred he spoke by authority. Accordingly, it had been accepted as a proof of the hostile intentions of Great Britain, and thus suggested the probability of hostilities. Dundas,
*“I should not deal fairly and candidly by your lordship if I were not to express my apprehensions that your answer to the message from the Indians of the upper country, and your proposing to Colonel Simcoe to occupy nearly the same posts in Miamis River, which was demolished after the Peace, may not rather provoke hostilities than prevent them." Dundas to Dorchester, 5th of July. (Can. Arch., Q. 67, p. 175.)
که همه زنده یاد خدا اس ام نشست
however, not only knew the desire for peace on the part of the British cabinet, but Dorchester's own letters had also forcibly shewn his own personal feeling that peace was the true policy to be followed with regard to Canada. Dundas was also well informed of the bitterness of spirit that had been awakened by Genet, for he dwells on "the present situation, temper and disposition of the American states and the existence of a considerable and certainly a most violent party
whose whole object appears to be to drive all subsisting matters of dispute between the two countries beyond the bounds of accommodation." He gave no consideration to the difficulties of Dorchester's position, and to the exercise of his judgment, whether it was possible, or not, to remain quiescent. He knew, moreover, from the presence of Jay in England, that not only no bad result had proceeded from the speech, but, on the contrary, that with the United States government there was a desire to accommodate all matters in dispute by a treaty of peace and commerce.
Dorchester, in his reply, acknowledged the general correctness of the copy of the address sent to him. Не knew the friendly feelings of the government towards the United States, and he was not wanting in them himself, but, on his return, he had seen the spirit animating the people, "all things moving by a French impulse towards hostilities.” He considered Lower Canada in danger of being overwhelmed. Both parties in the United States were desirous of profiting by the supposed embarrassment of Great Britain, having the opinion that she dared not resist any act of aggression. It had been impossible for him to give the Indian deputies any hopes of peace through British mediation agreeably to their request of 1791.* He had not changed his opinions. He concluded by asking leave to resign his command, so that he might return home at the first opportunity. The request was answered by the duke of Portland, who wrote that he
aware of [Can. Arch., Q., 4th of September, 1794, Q. 69.1, p. 176.]
Dorchester's difficulties, and that he considered the reply to the Indians to be satisfactory. He did not regard Dundas' advice to exercise forbearance as a reason that he should retire from his command, and he pointed out that the step would be prejudicial to the king's service.*
The matter for the time being was so arranged, but it greatly influenced Dorchester ; and he appears to have felt that in the future he could look but for little support from Dundas.
Dundas in his letter to Dorchester had alluded to a fort built in the Miami country. The facts of the case are that, owing to the threatening state of affairs shortly after his arrival, Dorchester gave instructions for the reconstruction of a fort on the Maumee, at the foot of the rapids, some fifteen miles distant from lake Erie, into which that river discharges, and forty miles from the tributary, the Glaize. Simcoe gave the matter his personal superintendence, and in April, with a strong detachment from the garrison of Detroit, rapidly constructed the fort. From its strength it was capable of defence against an ordinary force without heavy artillery. The work was rapidly carried out, and its construction caused much outcry in the United States, and was described as an invasion of territory. The view taken by both Carleton and Simcoe was that, although the Maumee was not included within the boundaries of Canada, the country extending to the Ohio and west to the Mississippi had remained the domain of the Indians, to be independently held by them, and until transferred to the United States by treaty could not be regarded as a portion of their territory. The fort was first occupied in 1781, when it had been built by captain Potts, of the 8th, and the British flag had been kept flying since that period. In 1786 it had been occupied by a party of the 53rd. Indeed, since the peace of 1763 small detachments from Detroit had been stationed in the towns of the Miamis.
In 1790, on the occasion of General Harman's invasion, the Indians had established themselves at the mouth
[Can. Arch., Q. 69.1, p. 197, 25th of December, 1794.]
RIOT IN MONTREAL.
of the Glaize, the tributary of the Maumee, at which time the lower fort was abandoned as a trading post. The belief having arisen that the posts would be assailed, and that among the first attacked would be Detroit, it was considered expedient to re-occupy the station. The old fort being ruinous, the new structure was placed in a new location, not far from it. While the main reason assigned was the protection of trade, the fort was in reality looked upon as an outpost for the defence of Detroit, of which it was a dependency.
In February, 1794, Dorchester complained to Hammond of the aggressive action taken with regard to the posts on lake Champlain. Two years previously, in 1792, sir Alured Clarke had drawn the attention of the United States government to the tumultuous interference with the small garrisons on the part of the inhabitants of Vermont, and Jefferson, as secretary of state, had disavowed on the part of the central government all responsibility for the aggression. From the time that Great Britain was engaged in a war with France, this spirit of moderation was changed and the population of Vermont had on all occasions shewn extreme malevolence. A small party sent in search of a deserter near Dutchman's point had been seized and taken to Burlington gaol, and fined £13 6s. At point au Fer, a court of Vermont had been held surrounded by armed men. Dorchester was of opinion that these measures should be met in time, and steps taken for the security of Canada. He deemed it proper that his sentiments should be known, for, if these differences were not settled, war was inevitable. To avoid so great a misfortune no approach should be permitted to the forts. He asked Hammond to communicate this condition of things to the king's ministers, as he might not be able to do so at that season.
In April, one of those incidents happened which caused results of a totally different character from those anticipated from it. A scene of riot, followed by weakness and indecision on the part of the authorities, which apparently promised immunity to disturbers of the peace, awoke so powerful a feeling throughout the community that counter demonstrations were held to be necessary if anarchy was to be avoided. The direct consequence was the formation of associations to sustain the government, and to inflict punishment on all who failed to observe the law. One L'Eveillé, a canoe man, being under written articles to a firm to serve in the upper country, entered under a feigned name into a second engagement and received a guinea on account. Brought before the magistrates for the fraud, he was sentenced to stand in the pillory for an hour. On the morning when the punishment was to take effect, a number of canoe men assembled, and by their riotous conduct plainly shewed that it was their intention to prevent the sentence being carried out. The sheriff felt it necessary to apply to the commanding officer to protect the civil power, but, before a guard could arrive the mob destroyed the woodwork of the pillory, and threw the wreck into the river, down which it was carried by the current. There was to have been a proposition to rescue the prisoner; but, a guard being present at the prison, the attempt was not made. In place of thus acting, the mob riotously proceeded to the house of Frobisher, one of the magistrates, who was weak enough to promise to obtain the man's pardon, and upon this assurance the crowd dispersed.
Shortly afterwards, Mr. McGill, the founder of the university at Montreal, arrived from Quebec with the information that the governor declined to interfere, considering that it was a matter to be disposed of by the justices and sheriff.
It was then considered that as the day named for the punishment of L'Eveille had passed it could not be inflicted, and he could no longer be kept in custody. The justices of the peace, however, declined to interfere ; accordingly, the sheriff on his own responsibility discharged him. Subsequently, four men were apprehended for having taken part in the riot. Although the evidence as to the participation in the tumult was sufficiently plain, they were liberated on bail and held to answer to the charge. There the matter remained.