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The Scot in British North America
Chapter IV From 1815 to 1841 Part A

At the close of the American struggle, Upper Canada entered upon a new era. The patriotic spirit which had proved more than sufficient, during that rugged crisis, served to quicken the Province into active and independent political existence. The invaders had been driven from the soil, notwithstanding the odds in their favour, and now the country was to reap the reward of its strenuous exertions in the field. Yet, from a political point of view, there should have been misgivings from the first. No sooner was peace proclaimed than immigration set in on a scale hitherto unprecedented. Large numbers of settlers came in from the United States and were naturally regarded with jealousy by the official monoplists. The ranks of the latter had been reinforced by large numbers of regular and militia officers who had been provided for by gifts out of the public domain. The exclusive caste was definitively formed, and it became only a question of time when the conflict between it and the new comers – mainly democrats – should commence. It is the besetting sin of modern historians to survey the attitude of past generations from a modern standpoint. A lost cause has seldom any defenders after the lapse of a decade or so; yet surely the veracious chronicler ought, so far as may be to project himself so far into the period he describes as to realize, however faintly, the views and feelings of those who are without literary champions to-day. There is no difficulty in eulogizing the asserters of principles which have since asserted themselves, but so much the more necessary does it seem to be a duty to vindicate the motives of those who come into court posthumously without the benefit of counsel.

In 1815 the position was something like this. The loyal defenders of the country had repelled the invaders of its soil. They were in possession of the choicest Crown lands, and controlled every department of government, executive, legislative, judicial, administrative, and municipal as of right divine. That they should assume that position was not surprising. The burden and heat, not merely of the struggle with the United States, but of pioneer settlement had fallen upon them, and it was not in human nature to abstain from a determination to reap the fruits of what they had sown. So soon as there appeared a danger from the influx of American settlers, the dominant party at once set its foot down upon immigration from that quarter. Free grants of land were refused to all new-comers from the United States, and, in order to prevent the acquisition of lands by purchase, naturalization was abolished. A stringent Alien Act was passed under which any American was liable to arrest and deportation on a charge of sedition—a law which virtually amounted to a suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act. Nor was this all. There was a well-grounded feeling of discontent against the authorities for their partiality in the sale of Crown lands. Large numbers of the volunteers and active militia, who had fought during the war, found themselves, on some pretext or other, deprived of the grants promised on the faith of the Crown. It is easy to see why the party objected to American immigration; indeed, under the circumstances, one might have expected some such outcome of jealousy on the part of victors who claimed an exclusive title to the spoils. But their treatment of the disbanded troops is explainable on only one supposition, warranted apparently by the facts. The militia of the Niagara frontier especially had, before the war, been intimately associated in trade and otherwise with their neighbours across the river. They were not, in political complexion, therefore, by any means Conservative. But when the struggle came, they proved manfully loyal to the Crown, to their homes and country. The time arrived for carrying out the promise of reward to all who had risked life during the war, and the government at York, in its alarm at a supposed increase of power to political adversaries—then for the most part imaginary—trifled with the claimants, and in many cases withheld the grants of land to which they were unquestionably entitled.

Meanwhile, so early as February, 1815, the British Government undertook an emigration scheme. A free passage was offered to emigrants, with a hundred acres for themselves and for their sons, on arriving at adult age. No great results flowed from this measure, except in one direction to be noted immediately. Mr. McMullen [History of Canada, p. 330.] very naturally points out that the excitement of the war had unsettled the habits of the people, and that discontent supervened upon it. But it is doubtful whether that be a full explanation of the political change which was imminent. The people had suffered and were strong, not merely in a spirit of national pride, but from the assurance borne in upon every man that he was a unit in the commonweal. The result evident1y must be a strong assertion of individualism—an awakening to national life and vigour. Citizen soldiers do not, as our historian thinks, "return discontented to the drudgery of their farms." On the contrary, they come back with a greater zest for the labours of peace, but with an augmented sense of their own personal importance. Like the youth of Greece and Rome, like the apprentices to chivalry in the Middle Ages, they never felt assurance of manhood until they had met the shock of combat. So soon as they had laid down their arms, the Canadian yeomanry felt that the period of adolescence and tutelage was over, and that they were members, active and independent, of the body politic. War is, of itself, a hateful thing; and yet when it takes the dimensions of a struggle for existence—a conflict for home and hearth, wife and children—there can be no better educator for freemen. That which stirs the fibres of the heart and quickens its action healthfully, stiffens the back-bone of the man, and raises his political stature for all time to come.

The war of 1812-15 accomplished both purposes, and so it came about that when the Assembly met in 1817, signs of dissatisfaction with the Administration were forcibly presented to public notice. At that period, it must be borne in mind that the lands of the Province, except in so far as they had been alienated, belonged to the Crown. A large portion had been granted "for the support of a Protestant clergy," and this was to form a bone of contention for forty years to come. The House found fault with the impediments thrown in the way of immigration, a bad postal system, and the wrongs of the militia. Of course no Executive in those days could submit to legislative impertinences of so pronounced a character, and the Governor hurried down to the House only to send it about its business. A Scot now appeared upon the scene, so unique in character and career, that his life must be sketched at some length.

Robert Fleming Gourlay was born in Fifeshire somewhere between 1780 and 1784. He was evidently a man of keen observation, shrewd and talented. But it must be confessed that he was the victim of a litigious and irritable disposition. The chief materials for his biography are to be found in his collection of occasional pamphlets bearing the singular title of "The Banished Briton and Neptunian." [The latter designation is explained in one of those brochures by the following document written at sea, after a visit to Scotland: "The Pacific, at Sea, Nov. 9, 1838. Notice to Creditors - I hereby intimate that I have sailed for America, not to evade payment of debts, but that all may be paid in full, for which funds are more than sufficient. Witness my hand, Robt. Gourlay, Late of Leith, subject to the King, Robert Fleming Gourlay, of the Ocean, and subject to Neptune."] That he was in every way an honest and conscientious man is clear from first to last. That he was, at the same time, energetic, painstaking and philanthropic seems equally obvious. So early as the first year of the century he was employed by the Imperial Government to enquire into the condition of the English poor and suggest a remedy for prevailing distress. Upon his report a Bill was introduced as a Government measure, but rejected by the Lords. In personal business he was certainly unfortunate, through no fault of his own. He inherited a bankruptcy, and set himself loyally to work to pay off the paternal debts and carve out a fortune for himself. Unhappily he leased a farm in Wiltshire, in England, on a lease, and expended his earnings in improvements; but he quarrelled with his landlord, a Duke, and finally threw all up and resolved to make his fortune here in America. In 1817 he left England for New York, and was accidentally called to Canada to visit some relatives. Notwithstanding his liberal opinions, he was a thoroughly loyal subject, and the idea at once struck him that if the Upper Canadian land policy were improved, and the resources of the country made known, the tide of British immigration might he diverted hither, with advantage both to the settler and the Empire. On his arrival at York he was at first received cordially by the rulers of the day. But the sudden and, as it appeared to him, arbitrary prorogation of the Legislature, with its business unfinished, gave to his career, most unfortunately for him, a political tinge, not contemplated at the outset. ["In Upper Canada my efforts had no view whatever to a reform in Parliament. The people there have a perfect representation, and before long they will make a better use of it than they have hitherto done. Soon after my arrival in that country I viewed it as the most desirable place of refuge for the redundant population of Britain, and I conceived schemes for promoting a grand system of immigration." Statistical Account of Upper Canada, compiled with a view to a Grand System of Emigration. By Robert Gourlay; London, 1822; General introduction, p. vi. It may be mentioned that this introduction is a sort of piece justification, making a volume in itself of over four hundred pages. The work proper, in two volumes, covers with appendices nearly fifteen hundred more.] "Without the slightest idea of evil," as he avers, "he took the novel step of proposing that a Convention should be called of Deputies from all the constituencies to deliberate upon the propriety of sending Commissioners to England to call attention to the affairs of the Province." It may be readily conceived that such an unusual step annoyed, and may possibly have alarmed the authorities. Gourlay’s aims were clearly distinguishable from any ordinary form of political agitation; and there can be little doubt that if the Executive had been less arbitrary, and he had been less pugnacious when threatened, the movement would have proved productive of great good. The Convention was held, and so far as appears, its proceedings were not of a character to alarm anyone. It is true they petitioned the Prince Regent, and made some complaints about the Crown land management, and the hostile attitude taken up with regard to immigration; but the Crown lands then absolutely belonged to the monarch, and there was certainly nothing seditious in meeting publicly and adopting petitions to be laid at the foot of the Throne. [Mr. McMullen somewhat sneeringly remarks that "Upper Canada was too young for patriots; and the public welfare was lightly considered when balanced against personal profit." Page 341. This is to be unjust to both sides; but allowances must be made, no doubt, for what passes as historical impartiality.] The Government at once commenced to assert its authority. It was announced that the Colonial Secretary had enjoined upon the Governor an immediate allotment of lands to the militia; but that the Provincial Government had determined that no grant should be made in favour of any man who had supported the Convention movement.

As for Gourlay himself, advantage was taken of an Act of 1804, which would have been worthy of Lord Castlereagh at a time of absolute danger, to arrest the prime mover. He was twice tried under it, and on both occasions aquitted. Under cover of a new Act (1816), however, and on a sworn information, savouring strongly of perjury, Gourlay, having refused to depart from the Province, was incarcerated at Niagara, and kept in durance for months. Now there can be no question about the illegality of the whole proceeding. Gourlay was arrested under a law which applied only to aliens, and he was beyond question a British born subject, and had never been naturalized in the States, and even if he had the fact would not have been recognized by the Imperial Government at that time. The information and commitment bore falsehoods upon the fate of them, and if the unhappy Scot chafed under the injustice done him, and used violent language after the arbitrary treatment he had received, who can blame him? The man was in fact driven to the verge of insanity and all that he subsequently wrote proves this conclusively. The opinion of English counsel was taken, and it was clearly against the legality of the imprisonment. Finally the prisoner was once more brought to trial, not on the factitious charge of rebellion, but for refusing to leave the Province, and was forcibly banished to the United States. Thus a man who was a British subject, unconvicted of any offence known to the law, was expatriated under a statute directed against aliens.

Now, whatever may be said in disparagement of Gourlay by literary gentlemen "who sit at home at ease," there can be no doubt that he really laboured with effect in two directions. In the first place he was the first to collect statistical information concerning the Upper Province, and thus recommend it to the world as a suitable field for the emigrant. He had only been a few months in the country when he submitted thirty-one questions to the chief inhabitants of every township, with a view of ascertaining definitely the agricultural capabilities of Upper Canada. There can be no reason for any sinister interpretation of his motives. Unluckily for himself, however, his final query was interpreted as having a political significance. It would now be considered an extremely innocent one, even had its purpose been political. "What, in your opinion, retards the improvement of your township in particular, or of the Province in general; and what would most contribute to the same?" were the words used. The ruling party, however, at once scented treason in the air, and although Gourlay’s intentions were then strictly non-political, he became thenceforth a marked man. Forced into the unsavoury slough of partisanship, to some extent from a feeling of natural astonishment, and still more from the strong stubbornness which characterized him, instead of making his way out of the Serbonian bog as fast as he could, Gourlay floundered and struggled with his enemies until he sank in the manner already described.

It is a plausible account of the matter to attribute the poor man’s troubles to infirmity of temper; but the very, laudable attempt he made, apart altogether from party considerations, rendered him obnoxious to the dominant caste. The Imperial Government were on Gourlay’s side, without perhaps being conscious of his efforts. An Act had been passed in England to provide facilities for emigration to Canada, another for the naturalization of aliens; and finally, the Upper Canadian Lieutenant-Governor had been commanded to concede grants of land to the complaining militiamen. And yet it was because he sided with the advisers of the Crown in England that Gourlay was arrested for sedition. The party in power at York was vehemently opposed to immigration, either British or American. It must be borne in mind that at this time the population of the Province was certainly under two hundred thousand, and the influx of settlers had been comparatively small. But the colonial government set its face determinedly against any scheme to augment the population by immigration. Of this there can be no doubt, since the Chancellor of the Exchequer stated in the Commons that "the North American colonies had been so overloaded with emigrants that the Government of Canada had made the strongest remonstrances on the subject." In plain English the ruling clique desired to preserve the Province, not exactly for game, but none the less as "a happy hunting ground" for themselves and their numerous official hangers-on, civil, military, and ex-military. The colonial resistance to settlement from without was quite as strenuous, if not as reasonable, as that of the Australians in after years to the transportation thither of convicts.

Gourlay, in the freshness of his early innocence and enthusiasm, was entirely ignorant of this determined hostility to immigration. He had two objects in view: first, to relieve the suffering poor of Britain during the melancholy years which fo1lowed after the great continental war, and secondly, to fill up the wilderness of Upper Canada with a stalwart yeomanry under the Crown. He was an eminently loyal man, and nothing appears to have galled him more than the accusation of treasonable purposes. So late as 1838 he was a bitter opponent of William Lyon Mackenzie, because the latter had proposed as his object "independence of European domination for ever." [Gourlay addresses Mackenzie thus (Banished Briton, No. 2): "Mr. Hume is a little man, and you, less. During four years in the United States I have witnessed far worse than European domination. You call yourself a patriot, and fly from home, and enlist scoundrels for the conquest of your country. This is patriotism with a vengeance; but God will avenge. I am, more in sorrow than in anger, yours, &c., R.F.G. To Gen. Van Renssalaer, who was mustering the "patriots" he wrote: "David before Goliath seemed little, but God was with him. What are you in the limbo of vanity, with no stay but the devil?" – a sentence eminently Carlylesque.] Moreover, in the Metcalfe controversy he took strong ground in favour of the Governor-General. It is clear that no abstract, theories of government troubled him, and if he had been left alone, Ministries and Assemblies might have done as they pleased. Still his influence, brief though his career in Canada was, had an important bearing upon the future. His Convention—a term he himself disliked because it was American—stimulated the political growth of the colony beyond question. From that time forth there was undoubtedly such a thing as public opinion. The sufferings endured by Robert Gourlay most certainly shook his reason and utterly ruined him: but the fruit of his brief labours remain with us to this day. The Province thus owes to him two inestimable titles to respect. He was the first to lay its claims as a field for colonization before the world in a detailed and systematic form; and the first also to stimulate political activity, and usher in the new era of free responsible government. That he was conscious of no political aim is not at all to his discredit. He was the forerunner of a new dispensation, and, like other forerunners, had only a dim appreciation of its scope and tendency. [It is only fair to Gourlay, as mention has been made of his opposition to the rebels in 1837-8, and his eulogy upon Lord Metcalfe, to quote his views with regard to Lord Durham’s Report, which paved the way for responsible government. "It is highly beneficial to meet and support Lord Durham’s Report." (Letter to the Examiner, May 25, 1839.) "Now that we see his report, I am doubly anxious to give him aid. I read it for the first time this week, and though shortcoming as regards this Province, I am highly delighted with it. From beginning to end, it is candid, fearless, straightforward, and to the point; no useless verbiage - no mystification as in most State papers. In its very style, indeed, we have hope that the age of darkness is over, and that common sense is to have a chance." And then, he adds, looking regretfully back at his own abortive efforts. "Twenty years ago, all this information might have been obtained at one-tenth of the cost had my projects gone into effect; but the fullness of time, unfortunately for me, was not come." – Ibid.] That the treatment he received was not merely unconstitutional and illegal, but simply barbarous, has been acknowledged on all sides. In 1836, Mr. Sherwood only contended for a pardon simply because the other alternative was an acknowledgment of the injustice to which he had been subjected. By this time the extraordinary Act of 1816, under which Gourlay was convicted, had been repealed, avowedly because of its unconstitutionality. The sentence of banishment was kindly annulled, but the matter did not rest there. In 1841 Gourlay, in a petition to the House, gave a detailed account of his sufferings. It was referred to a select committee which reported that the petitioner’s imprisonment in 1819 "was illegal, unconstitutional and without the possibility of excuse or palliation." It went on to set forth that the refusal of counsel, and especially the trying character of the imprisonment, during part of which Gourlay was confined in a close cell, "for five weeks in the dog-days," were unjust, unconstitutional and cruel. Sir Allan McNab stated, during the debate, that he had heard of the sufferings of Mr. Gourlay, which he regretted as much as any man. [In referring to the case, Dr. Dunlop, of whom mention will be made hereafter, argued that the Act of 1804 was unconstitutional, as no body on the face of the earth, whether King, Lords or Commons of Great Britain, or Governor, Council or Assembly of Canada, had the power to banish a British subject unconvicted and uncharged with crime. Moreover the statute only authorized the banishment of British subjects who had not resided in the Province more than six months; whereas it was well known that Gourlay had been an inhabitant for more than two years. He pointed out the absurdity of the judge’s decision that only a freeholder, and not a tenant, can be an inhabitant – in short exposed the invalidity of all the proceedings.] A resolution was carried unanimously in both houses to address the Governor-General praying that the recommendation of the report might be carried out, and to this address Lord Sydenham assented on the following day. In 1842, Gourlay petitioned the House for compensation. The Speaker stated that this petition was informal, and was couched in disrespectful language. To this Dr. Dunlop retorted that it was the natural language of a man who had suffered twenty-eight years’ persecution. Sir Charles Bagot granted Gourlay a pension of £50 from the civil list; but he appears to have declined it on the ground that he did not desire to seem a state pensioner, but a recognised creditor of the Government, and entitled to adequate compensation for wrongs inflicted upon him, now acknowledged to be such by the Legislature. That Gourlay’s reason was unhinged by the sufferings he had undergone there can be no doubt. Naturally of an irritable temperament, he had endured more than enough to madden a man of the most equable and patient disposition. It was not to be wondered at that such a man, conscious of upright intentions, the victim of acknowledged injustice should chafe and fume under a sense of wrong. His imprudent writings were the natural safety-valve by which much dangerous emotion escaped without harming anyone but himself. It is to his credit that from first to last, however his personal wrongs may have crazed him, he never burst out into wild schemes of rebellion. The very charges under which he was imprisoned were in his case even technically absurd. No man ever lived who had a greater horror of sedition, lawlessness and rebellion than he. But his life had been wrecked and the whole fair vision of usefulness to his fellows blurred, and wiped out by the narrowly conceived action of those who might have made of him a valuable servant to the Province. If his life were a failure, for which he was in part to blame, or perhaps his inherited nature, the bulk of responsibility must be borne by those who misconstrued his motives, and were too exclusive in their aims to understand the value of his energy and the manly sturdiness of his nature. In looking over his later utterances no one can fail to be touched by the irrepressible wail of pain which comes up from that rebellious and stricken soul. That his mind was shaken by persecution there is abundant evidence. His protest against the tyranny in London which kept him in confinement for three years and eight months "on the plea of insanity" is sufficient evidence of the fearful consequences of arbitrary rule. Gourlay possessed the consciousness that his motives were pure and patriotic; that he was not, in the remotest degree, guilty of anything that could be construed as seditious or rebellious; it was equally clear that the proceedings taken against him, his imprisonment and banishment, were undoubtedly illegal and unconstitutional, as even his opponents subsequently admitted; and with a man like him a struggle, utterly hopeless as it was, meant the dethronement of reason, at all events for a time. Yet when the fit was off him, in later years, when he ceased to brood over his personal wrongs, no man could be more prescient, more fertile in suggestion, more practically helpful than he. It is not gracious to dwell upon his infirmities of character, because under more auspicious circumstances he certainly would have been a patriotic worker of the highest order. He fell upon evil times, however, and the energy and fiery impetuosity which might have done effective service in a young country was pent up until it broke its bounds and was dissipated in aimless brawlings, to be finally lost in the bosom of the remorseless sea, where alone it found eternal rest. With the after events of Gourlay’s life we are not here concerned. He survived until 1863, when he died in Edinburgh, having attained the age of at least eighty years. Like other men who have passed the prime of life in turbulent excitement, he outlived all the struggles of the past, and nearly all the actors in them, and passed serenely away, with religious confidence, and the sense of old wrongs forgotten. There in the tomb we may leave him, with the simple reflection that, in spite of weaknesses and infirmities of temper, no man in our Provincial history, who intended to do so much for his adopted country, was privileged to do so little. Partly himself at fault, he was only measurably so. He appeared too early, and the enthusiasm of his nature which might have been of so much utility to his adopted country was wasted like a bud in the later frosts of spring. He was at any rate the harbinger of better times to come, and, amongst the Upper Canadian pioneers of progress, there should be a conspicuous niche for poor Robert Gourlay.

Having thus sketched the career of the first Canadian Reformer, it may be well to introduce to the reader’s notice a strong, hard-headed, but generous-hearted Scotsman, who made an imposing figure on the other side in the early annals of Upper Canada. It is not so long since the lithe, slight figure of Bishop Strachan was a familiar sight in the streets of Toronto. The dapper little man, clad in orthodox episcopal fashion, with knee-breeches and gaiters, must have been amongst the earliest reminiscences of young men still on the sunny side of thirty. The brisk gait of the old Bishop, the cheery greeting, the subdued whistle of "Bonnie Dundee," are amongst the writer’s earliest recollections of a man who played no small part in the affairs, ecclesiastical and political, of this country. The biography of the great Upper Canada prelate of the Church of England has been so often presented to the public that it does not appear necessary to do more than sketch it in outline. [Our chief authorities in addition to the other ordinary histories are Fennings Taylor, Dr. Scadding in a brochure entitled "The First Bishop of Toronto; a Review and Study," and Morgan in Celebrated Canadians, and the Bibliotheca Canadensis.] In whatever aspect the character of Dr. Strachan may be viewed, there is no mistaking the strength and consistent earnestness of the man. As Mr. Taylor has well remarked, "men knew where to look for, and where to find him. He took no tortuous course, for he detested all crooked ways;" [Portraits of British Americas. Second series, p. 154.] it might have been added "with the strong conscientiousness of a Scot." His judgment, may at times, have erred; but he was, above all things, a brave, true man throughout.

John Strachan was born at Aberdeen on the twelfth of April, 1778, and received his early education at the Grammar-school of that city. [Mr. McMullen sneers at the "the little classical learning" the Bishop picked up there, evidently from ignorance of the thorough drilling which the pupils underwent in those old borough seminaries.] His father was a poor man, straitened in circumstances; yet with the characteristic ambition of a Scotsman he had determined that his son should be well equipped for future conflict with the world. Whatever else may be laid to the charge of the Scot, he, at all events, stands acquitted, by universal consent, of neglecting the future of his offspring. To place the sons in a better position than their father; above all to equip them with a solid education, moral and religious, no less than secular, is the persistent aim of every cotter in the Highlands and Lowlands, who has no other portion to give his children when he sets them adrift upon the ocean of life. But to secure that generous purpose he toils and works without regard to self, and when the fruit of his labour appears in the early successes of his sons, he is willing to thank God, and lie down in death, with his inward vision turned upon a field only now springing up with the promised grain, to see it, in affectionate imagination, whitening to the harvest. [Carlyle’s Reminiscences show how a Scottish son can reverence the self-denying work of a Scottish father; and the perusal of his noble eulogy upon his parent calls to mind another picture of Scottish family life in The Cotter’s Saturday Night.] John Strachan did not complete his education, as the historian supposes, at the Grammar-school. As he himself has stated, he finished his terms at King’s College in 1796, and proceeded to a Master’s degree.

It was no doubt a proud epoch in the future Bishop’s life when he was declared the successful candidate for the parochial schoolmastership of Kettle. He was then an undersized, fresh and sturdy youth of nineteen, and when he presented himself before the Kirk Session, they were somewhat dismayed at the choice which a competitive examination had forced upon them. They did not then know the energy and will-strength of the man with whom they had to deal, and consequently installed him in office with not a few misgivings. There were nearly a hundred and fifty pupils in the school, among them Sir David Wilkie, the artist, and Commodore Robert Barclay doomed to misfortune on Lake Erie, from no fault of his own. [The Bishop, in referring to this period of his life, said long afterwards of Barclay, "he was a youth of the brightest promise, and often have I said in my heart that he possessed qualities which fitted him to be another Nelson, had the way opened for such a consummation."] John Strachan remained "dominie" of Kettle for three years, when an invitation to Canada came to change the current of his life. It was towards the close of the eighteenth century, that some liberal friends of education, anxiously contemplating the proposed establishment of a high school and university, bethought them of applying to Scotland for a teacher to whom they could confide the training of their sons. ["The families referred to – Hamiltons, Stuarts and Cartwrights – when casting about for the education of their sons appear to have looked toward Scotland rather than England, partly perhaps from national predilection, and partly from a reasonable impression that the economic and primitive university system of Scotland was better adapted to a community constituted as that of Upper Canada then was, than the more costly and more complicated systems of England." Scadding: The First Bishop of Toronto, p. 12.] Amongst these the most directly instrumental in securing Mr. Strachan’s services was the Hon. Richard Cartwright, a man of enterprize and far-sighted views, the grandfather of Sir Richard Cartwright, the ex-Finance Minister of our own time. Towards the end of 1799, the future Bishop, still of course a Presbyterian, sailed from Greenock, by way of New York; but so wretched were the passage and the means of inland transportation that Kingston was not reached until the last day of the year. Mr. Strachan’s first experience of Upper Canada took the form of disappointment. Had nothing more offered itself than the prospect of tutorship, the "dominie" would probably have remained at Kettle, until something turned up in one or other of the universities of his native land. But there was a prospect that he might, within a reasonable time, be placed at the head of an Upper Canada university. Governor Simcoe, with that statesmanlike prescience which characterized him throughout an official term all too brief for the Province, had from the first made the establishment of a university his "first and chief" desideratum. [On the 20th July, 1796, in a dispatch to the Secretary of State, he proposed that one-seventh of the Crown Lands should be sold for public purposes, "the first and chief of which I beg to offer, with all respect and deference to your Grace, must be the erection and endowment of a university from which more than from any other service or circumstance whatsoever, a grateful attachment to His Majesty’s Government, morality and religion will be fostered, and take root through the whole Province." Portraits, &c., p. 162.] Unfortunately the first Governor had been removed before his patriotic scheme was carried into effect, and just when Mr. Strachan arrived at Kingston, there seemed to be no prospect that either the university or grammar school system would be attempted for the present. Mr. Cartwright recognised the trying position of the young teacher, and generously set himself to work on his behalf. He had four sons himself, and his friends could add to the number of pupils and so provide the young Scot with an honourable and fairly remunerative living until the plans of the Government were matured. Mr. Cartwright was a sincere and active member of the Church of England, and, by his advice, the tutor be-took himself to the study of divinity. Dr. Stuart who, in some sort, represented the Bishop of Quebec, advised him in the same direction. The result was that the future Bishop received deacon’s orders in 1803.

Of course it is open to anyone to say that Mr. Strachan was actuated by personal gain, or even ambition, in taking this step. No one who knew him will entertain the suspicion for a moment. Throughout his life he was eminently tolerant in his views, and what is more to the purpose, eminently practical. The prevailing tendency in the Province was towards Anglicanism. He saw that to be useful he would be compelled to surrender inherited views or prejudices regarding church government So far as essentials were concerned he never changed his views in the slightest degree; nor is there any reason to believe that he dissembled or affected an alteration of theological opinions from motives of worldly ambition. At that time, there was the slenderest prospect of ecclesiastical preferment; but he saw that some of his Scottish friends were Episcopalians, and that so as to be of use to them and their children it would be wise to adopt the formulae of the Church to which he had been opposed in his youth. It may well be believed that to him it was a sacrifice, not a betrayal. Those who had the fortune to meet him in later years, know well the thorough catholicity of his nature. He never disguised his own views, or simulated belief in opinions his conscience disapproved; indeed, on occasion, he could be rather too outspoken. But he was eminently charitable to all who differed from him, an apostolic churchman, worthy of the primitive age. And it was that essentially Christian spirit which animated him when he left the church of his fathers and became an Anglican. Stern and inflexible in matters of principle, he could fraternize with fellow-believers of every creed, Protestant and Roman Catholic alike. His own opinions were well known, for he never disguised them; the warm geniality of his nature prompted him to recognise the substratum of truth where, to his view, it was overlaid with an unhappy incrustation of error. His own theology, like all else that he cherished, was crystalline and clear; but he held, in the depths of a fervid and eminently philanthropic nature a deep regard for all who loved his Master "in sincerity and truth." There was still another reason for the change of denomination. Mr. Strachan’s father was an Episcopal non-juror—a champion of the lost cause of the Stuarts, and his earliest recollections of church services were those he attended with his father at Aberdeen, presided over by Bishop Skinner. Subsequently he habitually accompanied his widowed mother to the Relief Church, of which she was a member. He was thus only a Presbyterian by accident. When he arrived at Kingston, and was thrown in contact with the Rev. Dr. Stuart, who, although an Anglican, was the son of a Presbyterian, Mr. Strachan was naturally attracted to the Church of his father. There is no pretext for imputing interested motives to the future Bishop at all, since at the time his future was a sealed book, and there was no reason why he should prefer one communion to the other, except from deliberate choice. That he retained to the last the confidence and friendship of so noteworthy a Presbyterian as Dr. Chalmers, with whom he regularly corresponded until the great Free Churchman’s decease in 1847, is sufficient evidence that the rectitude of his motives was recognised by one whose moral standard was confessedly high. The Bishop of Niagara, who was afterwards one of his pupils, at Toronto, has given a graphic description of Mr. Strachan’s methods, and of his remarkable success as a teacher. [Fennings Taylor: Portrait of British Americans. p. 168.] His great care was to interest the boys in their studies, and draw out their latent capabilities by attractive means. To him education meant what its etymology implies, not cramming, but development. Perhaps no instructor could boast of a larger number of pupils who obtained eminence in after life. Chief Justice Robinson, and his brother the Hon. W. B. Robinson, Chief Justices Macaulay and McLean, Judge Jonas Jones, Dean Bethune, of Montreal, and his brother, Bishop Strachan’s successor in the see of Toronto, the Hon. H. J. and G. S. Boulton, Col. Vankoughnet, father of the Chancellor, Donald AEneas Macdonell [Mr. Macdonell only died the other day. Born in Cornwall in 1794, he was an early pupil of the Bishop’s. In the year 1812, he was with the Glengarries at Lundy’s Lane, Stoney Creek and Sackett’s Harbour. Entering the 98th, he served for some years in the piping time of peace, and then returned to Canada. During the Rebellion he commanded a corps, and was returned three times for the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry. After enjoying the Shrievalty for some years he became Warden of the Provincial Penitentiary, an office he filled for over twenty years, resigning in 1869. At the time of his death, he was over eighty-six years of age.] and others sat at the feet of the ex-dominie of Kettle.

Dr. Strachan [He was made an LL.D. by the University of St. Andrews in 1807, and a D.D., in the same year by that of Aberdeen.] removed to York, at the instance of General Brock, and, in 1812, became rector of York. For the first time he now entered the political sphere, by taking the initiative in forming a loyal and patriotic society. The times were but of joint; war was imminent, and, with characteristic vigour, the new rector came to the fore. There was a strong heart beating beneath the ecclesiastical vestments, and he had an opportunity soon of showing his mettle. When the long expected shock of war came on, there never was a busier or more useful man than Dr. Strachan. It has been remarked that when York was taken, he was "priest, soldier, and diplomatist" all in one. At the capture of York he was incessantly active. After the explosion, by which General Pike was killed at the old fort, the Americans threatened vengeance upon the defenceless town which had been evacuated by General Sheaffe and his forces. The rector, however, was equal to the occasion; and, as a contemporary writer puts it, "by his great firmness of character saved the town of York in 1813 from sharing the same fate as the town of Niagara met with some months afterwards." The sturdy clergyman at once visited General Dearborn, and threatened that if he carried out his threat of sacking the town, Buffalo, Lewiston, Sackett’s Harbour and Oswego should be destroyed so soon as troops arrived from England. His earnestness and determination moved the American, and he spared the little Yorkers from any systematic burning and plunder.

But all the danger was not over; marauding parties wandered about the town seeking for plunder, and not unfrequently were confronted by the sturdy little rector. On one occasion two Yankee soldiers visited the house of Col. Givens, who was an officer in the retreating army. The inmates were absolutely helpless, and the marauders made off with the family plate. Dr. Strachan at once went after them, and demanded back the stolen property. Under the circumstances this was a singularly courageous thing to do, and apparently a hopeless one. But the rector was a man of unwavering resolution, and managed at last, without any other weapon than that which nature had placed in his mouth to secure the return of the goods to their rightful owners. The pluck and bravery displayed by him throughout that trying time showed sufficiently the real "grit" of the man, and the boldness and strength of will shown then, characterized his life. In resolution and determined perseverance, he was every inch a Scot.

In 1818 began Dr. Strachan’s public life in the ordinary sense of the term; for he was then nominated an executive councillor and took his seat in the Legislative Council. He remained a member of the Government until 1836, and of the Upper House up to the union of the Provinces in 1841. There was nothing singular in these appointments; nor do they seem to require the elaborate defence offered for them by Dr. Strachan’s biographers. The state needed all the available talent at its disposal in those days, much as England was sorely bested in the old days when prelates were Lord Chancellors. Moreover the constitutional theory then in vogue required at least some approach to English theory and practice. That "the image and transcript" was a pale and bloodless simulacrum must be conceded; the forms were there, but the substance was to come thereafter. Dr. Strachan was not then a Bishop, indeed he only became Archdeacon of York in 1825. But, as Dr. Scadding and Mr. Fennings Taylor remark, he was the most prominent churchman at York, and, therefore, naturally came forward as the representative of religion in the councils of the state, on as clear a title at all events as the first Protestant Bishop of Quebec when elevated to the rank of an Executive Councillor in the Upper House upon his arrival. [There is another possible reason why the Bishop and Dr. Strachan were made Executive Councillors. Under the old French regime, even before their appointment as Bishops, and more than once during an Episcopal interregnum, Vicars-General sat at the Council Board at Quebec as of right. It is at any rate probably that after the conquest, and especially when a new Church establishment was contemplated, the Governors resolved to remain faithful to ancient precedent throughout the Province. After 1791, of course, the same system would naturally be maintained.]

About the time of Dr. Strachan’s appointment as councillor, began the politico-ecclesiastical conflict which was only brought to a close within the memory of the existing generation. By the Imperial Act of 1774, which conceded to the Gallican clergy the right to collect tithes, provision was made for the support of "a Protestant clergy;"and in 1791, one-seventh of the lands was set apart for that purpose in Upper Canada under the name of Clergy Reserves. Dr. Scadding is no doubt in the right when he interprets the intention of the Imperial Government to have been the establishment of the Church of England in the one Province as an off-set to the quasi establishment of the Roman Catholic Church in the other. But it is not so much with the aim of Parliament as with the letter of the statute that we have to do. Even though it be taken for granted that by "a Protestant clergy," the Government meant the clergy of the Established Church; the question still remains, which of those which are by law established in Great Britain and Ireland? North of the Tweed, the Presbyterian communion was the State Church and Episopalians were Dissenters; south of it, the latter formed the establishment. Across the channel, both were endowed, although the Anglican Church maintained the supremacy, with representatives in the House of Lords. If then, in a new country, towards which people of all the great religious communions were tending, by "a Protestant clergy" were meant the Anglican clergy, why was the ambiguous phrase adopted? The Presbyterian faith was established in Scotland and Ireland, and there seemed no valid reason why it should cease to be in as favourable a position in Upper Canada. Moreover, the Nonconformists, especially the earnest and growing Wesleyan Connexion, as well as the older Congregationalists could not be excluded under the terms of land reserve. No one could fairly deny to them the title Protestant; indeed they were, perhaps, more distinctly Protestant than the Church of England which has disclaimed the term.

The immigration which set in after the peace of 1815, had been of a somewhat miscellaneous character, and so it came about that grave discontent arose amongst the new settlers, occasioned by reserves and grants of all sorts, especially those set apart for the clergy. They were, for the time, in the dead hand of the Church, and where every seventh two-hundred acre lot was closed up and fenced about ecclesiastically though not literally, there was certainly some reason for complaint. In 1819, the Presbyterians of Niagara petitioned the Lieutenant-Governor, Sir Peregrine Maitland, for a grant of £100 for the support of a Scottish Church minister, and boldly hinted that the grant should come from the funds arising from the Clergy Reserves. This memorial was forwarded in due course to Earl Bathurst, the Colonial Secretary, who replied that the Reserves were intended for the Established Churches of England and Scotland, and not for "the denominations," referred to by the Governor. This dispatch at once aroused Dr. Strachan, who in 1823 forwarded a memorial protesting against the attempt to distribute funds intended for the Anglican Church. [One extract from this memorial will suffice. "They" (the petitioners) "are impelled by a sense of duty most earnestly, though most respectfully, to deprecate the rivalry to the Church of England and those endless evils of disunion, competition and irritation of which a compliance with the ministers of the Kirk of Scotland cannot fall, in the opinion of your Lordship’s petitioners, most widely to scatter the seeds." The memorial goes on to urge the need of unanimity in religion, by "a judicious protection of the English Church establishment already formed, and the completion of the plan already provided by the wisdom of the Government."] The rector of York, to be rightly understood, must be viewed from his own standpoint. He had a deep and sincere veneration for the English constitution, and naturally regarded the Anglican Church as one of its chief pillars. The image and transcript of old country institutions could not be regarded as complete, he thought, unless the Church were not merely established, but represented also in the councils of the Province. [McMullen, in his history, utters some harsh words about the Bishop, not to be justified by any impartial judge of the spirit of the time. See especially p. 350.] Dr. Strachan was eminently a patriot; such he showed himself to be from first to last. That he erred in his political course we may readily admit; but in so far as he did so, he merely thought and acted like other men who floated on the current of the time, instead of attempting to stem it. His course during the war, and subsequently, when it appeared necessary to meet the false aspersions and mis-statements of American historians, made him the special champion of Upper Canada.

His somewhat narrow creed, political no less than ecclesiastical, may be readily condoned when one contemplates his vigour and patriotic impulse. It is easy to affect contempt for a strong character like his; but it asserted itself during a long life, and bore well the wear and tear of nearly ninety years of unflinching exertion for the public weal, as he regarded it. Certainly on the two great questions about which Dr. Strachan was so keenly concerned, he was doomed to disappointment. The law officers of the Crown decided that the Clergy Reserves were not intended exclusively for the Anglican Church. As there were two established churches, each equipped with "a Protestant clergy," they were of opinion that the Church of Scotland had an equal right with the sister communion to a share in the land endowment. They went further still, and vindicated the claims of other Protestant denominations, known as nonconformist in England. No sooner was this conceded by Parliament than the entire ground was cut from beneath the feet of those who advocated a monopoly in state support for religion. Before the Union of 1841, no less than sixteen measures which had passed the Lower House for the secularization of the Reserves were rejected in the Legislative Council. The Act of 1840 provided simply for a redistribution; and under it, one-half was devoted to the Anglican and Scottish Churches, and the other to purposes of "public worship and religious instruction, among the remaining denominations, according to the discretion of the Governor in Council." [Scadding, p. 44.] As this burning question will thrust itself frequently upon our attention hereafter, it is only necessary to note here that after a series of bitter struggles lasting over more than thirty years, it was finally set at rest by the Act of 1854. During the whole period, Dr. Strachan was faithful to his principles, mistaken as they now appear to everybody to have been. In matters relating to ecclesiastical supremacy he could brook no compromise. Agreeable in personal intercourse, he was stern and inflexible whenever the cause he had most sincerely at heart seemed to be in jeopardy. In 1836 he resigned his place as Executive Councillor, and in 1839 became the first Bishop of Toronto. The following year he ceased to be a member of the Legislative Council, and abstained thenceforth from taking any part in public affairs, save in that department which may be termed church politics.

The other subject of intense interest with him was the Provincial University. How the first flush of his hopes had been disappointed has already been recorded. Twenty-eight years elapsed before any attempt was made to carry out the project of Lieutenant-Governor Simcoe. In 1827 a royal charter was granted in favour of King’s College. The charter was drawn no doubt mainly on the lines laid down by the archdeacon himself. It was to be essentially an Anglican university. In the four faculties, all the Professors were to be "members of the Established United Church of England and Ireland," and were required "to severally sign and subscribe the Thirty-nine Articles." The only liberal provision in it was an exemption from any religious test on the part of students and graduates in faculties other than that of divinity. King’s College was not opened until 1843, and in 1850 all that made it valuable in the Bishop’s eyes was eliminated. All that was distinctively Anglican disappeared. The faculty of divinity was abolished and, so far as education was concerned, "all semblance of connection between church and state" proclaimed afterwards in the preamble to the Clergy Reserve Act, was done away.

The venerable Bishop was equal to the emergency, for the old fire was not yet dead, although it burned in an aged bosom which had breasted the tide of life during more than seventy years. His mission to England was a wonderful effort at his advanced age. Yet in little more than six months he returned with the first fruits—some sixteen thousand pounds sterling. [Dr Scadding mentions as a noteworthy circumstance that the circular of "the committee of friends" was signed by Mr. Gladstone.] In the spring of 1857 the corner-stone of Trinity College was laid, and in the beginning of the following year the building was so far completed as to be fit for occupation. The Royal Charter was secured in 1853. Thus, by the inextinguishable ardour and energy of one zealous prelate was the purpose of his life at last secured. It may be doubted whether the experiment of a rival University was a wise one, since the establishment of a Divinity Hall was all that the crisis required. By the time that Trinity University was established, the people generally—the bulk of the laity certainly—had come to the conclusion that religious training for the clergy was a matter entirely alien from the purposes of state endowment. In a short time after, whether wisely or unwisely it is not necessary to discuss here, the Legislature resolved that no specially professional education should be given in University College, and the faculties or law and medicine shared the fate of the divinity staff. This radical measure may be open to some objection. Certainly it does seem, in one or two respects, to have maimed our educational system. A liberal culture which excludes a fair modicum of instruction in the constitutional history and polity of the country, in its jurisprudence generally, and in the broader facts of physiological and hygienic science, appears to be singularly defective in character.

To Bishop Strachan, the University was nothing if not rounded and complete in all its parts—modelled after the ancient foundations of England and Scotland. He had no patience with lop-sided institutions; and, having determined to make an Anglican university, he resolved that it should be one in fact as well as in name. In other directions, the memorable prelate certainly effected work of unquestionable value. So soon as the severance between Church and State had been formally proclaimed, his administrative and legislative tact was employed in placing the Anglican Church upon a sound governmental basis. To him the laity of that communion owe it that they are represented in the Synods of the church as substantially as with the Presbyterians. The elders of the latter correspond with the lay delegates of the former; they are elected alike by the members of congregations, and have given a stimulus to parochial and church life generally, which cannot be estimated too highly.

The Bishop’s later years were passed in efforts to extend the usefulness of the Church to which he was so ardently attached, and to promote harmony amongst the various types of thought, doctrinal and ceremonial, within its pale. He was a warm-hearted man, unspoilt by the fierce contentions, political and ecclesiastical, through which he had passed. Like other ardent spirits, he was at once dogmatic and tolerant; firm, not to say stubborn, in opinion; yet in practice catholic, and systematically benevolent. During the evening of his long and eventful life, the venerable Bishop was universally respected by men of all creeds and political parties. The embers of departed struggles had burned themselves out, and everyone felt respect for the statesman-prelate who served as the chief remaining link between a distant and almost forgotten past, and the new and altered life of the present. That he had combatted the reforming spirit of progress in the earlier time, and had failed, was no ground for prejudice in men’s eyes, now that the battle had been lost and won. It was enough that Dr. Strachan was active, earnestly human and undaunted even when the people had decided emphatically that he was mistaken in his zeal, as well as in his methods. So, at the last, when he was almost alone in the world, bereft of domestic solace, he found human sympathy from the large and liberal heart of the entire community. ["For several years before his departure hence, however, his well-known form, caught sight of in the streets, or at public gatherings for patriotic or benevolent purpose, had him regarded and saluted with the same kind of universal interest that used to accompany the great Duke towards the end of his career, in the parks and squares of London." Dr. Scadding, p. 66.] He had lived in the Province and been a conspicuous actor in its affairs from the days of Governor Simcoe to the opening year of confederation, and died on the second of November, 1867, in the eighty-ninth year of his age, manful, energetic and courageous to the last. Funereal pomp is not always the evidence of either respect or regret. Still there was no mistake about the sincerity of the tribute paid to the deceased Bishop. The two universities with whose early fortunes his name was indissolubly associated, the national societies, the clergy of all churches, Protestant and Catholic, [Bishop (now Archbishop) Lynch took part in the mournful procession, and his presence there reminded the writer of an incident which occurred some four years before. In connection with a philanthropic movement on foot at the time, it had been resolved that the aid of two Bishops should be solicited. The mayor and those associates with him, first visited Dr. Strachan, who received them with a cheery smile, and, when informed that the delegation intended to visit the Catholic Bishop, he looked and said in that hearty, but rather rough Fifeshire accent of his; "Ech, Dr. Lynch is a fine mon, and a great frien’ of mine; we often hae a crack thegither." In turn, the Catholic Bishop expressed himself with equal warmth touching his rival in the See, but his friend by the hearth.] all the civic dignitaries and institutions, were fully represented on the occasion. It was not without significance that the troops, regular and other, lined the streets and that the strains of martial music were heard at the burial of one who was first a churchman of the militant type, and next a patriotic citizen. The new order had succeeded to the old; but the military authorities had not forgotten the brave rector who stepped into the breach, when the invader attempted to sack the town wherein he lived and died. With many, perhaps with most, of Bishop Strachan’s earlier views it is impossible to express more than a qualified sympathy; still he was a brave, strong, conscientious man, rough-hewn in some respects, yet worthy of sincere admiration for all the good he accomplished, apart from the theories he held concerning church and state. Scotland has no reason to be ashamed of her prelate-son, since the weaknesses of his policy were frustrated, and only the sturdy, sharply-cut figure of the courageous little Bishop remains as a salient example of good Scottish pluck, energy and perseverance.

We have already alluded to Dr. Dunlop, and this appears as fitting a place as any that may present itself hereafter to sketch a character singularly eccentric and almost bizarre. William Dunlop was born at Greenock, in the last decade of the eighteenth century. He came to Canada with Mr John Galt—of whom hereafter—in 1826, and took part in the founding of Guelph. He had been an old contributor to Blackwood’s Magazine, and was intimately acquainted with John Wilson, Maginn, Hogg, and the whole circle celebrated in "The Recreations of Christopher North." He resumed his contributions to Blackwood after his arrival in Canada and their character may be inferred from the title of one of them "The Autobiography of a Rat." In an article from Fraser, quoted by Morgan, [Bib. Canaden, p. 112.] we find some interesting details of his early career. He was a surgeon in the Connaught Rangers (88th), of all regiments in the world, for some years, and served in America from 1813 to 1815. Thence he accompanied the regiment to India, where he edited a news paper, hunted and lived convivially after the old Edinburgh fashion. At last the jungle fever laid him low, and he was compelled to return home on half-pay. His next move was a characteristically eccentric one. He delivered a course of lectures on medical jurisprudence at Edinburgh, described as a mixture "of fun and learning, law and science, blended with rough jokes and anecdotes, not at all of the most prudish nature." He then went to London and played the editor for a time in his usual jaunty fashion. Sometimes leading articles appeared; at others, the British Press appeared without them, especially when he had more serious work on hand. He had a strong antipathy to the French, and, on a significant change of Ministry under the Bourbons, he simply wrote: "We perceive that there is a change of Ministry in France; we have heard of no earthquakes in consequence." He next published an edition of Beck’s Medical Jurisprudence, and started the Telescope, a Sunday paper, "the history of which would be a comedy of the drollest kind." It fared tolerably well; but after a year, he got tired of it, as he did of most other undertakings which involved continuous labour. In 1825 when the stock mania was at its height, Dr Dunlop was interested in brick, iron, salt, and other companies either as secretary or director. He superintended the salt works in Cheshire. "But," says Fraser, "as the Tiger is an honest fellow—a strictly honest fellow in every sense of the word—it is perfectly unnecessary to state that he made nothing of the bubbles except what salary he may have received." About the same time, he founded a club bearing the peculiarly euphonious name of "The Pig and Whistle."

In 1826 the Doctor came to Western Canada in company with John Galt, and still continued his contributions to the press in England and here. He wrote for the literary and political press—for the former chiefly in the Canadian Literary Magazine of York, and the Literary Garland of Montreal. In 1836 he founded the Toronto Literary Club, before which he frequently lectured. The first Union Parliament met in 1841 at Kingston, and Dunlop was returned to it from the County of Huron, a constituency he represented until 1846, when he resigned; his death took place in 1848. During his brief public career, the Doctor was a general favourite, partly on account of his well-known eccentricity, and partly from the racy character of his speeches. He was a forcible, but scarcely an eloquent, speaker; yet, no sooner was he expected to speak than the House filled at once.

Dr. Dunlop had a brother almost as eccentric as himself, residing with him, and they kept a housekeeper possessed of means, from whom they had been compelled either to borrow money, or, what was much the same thing, to go in arrears in the payment of her wages, in order to tide them over an emergency. It was found, on an examination of the accounts, that they were hopelessly in her debt; the Doctor, therefore, startled his brother by stating that the only way out of the difficulty was for one or other of them to marry Betty. This was agreed upon at last, and the Doctor gave his brother a penny with which to toss up for the wife. It is said that the coin had two heads, so that there was after all no element of chance in the matter. The coin went up, the Doctor cried, "heads," and of course head it was. The housekeeper was nothing loth, and the brother was married to her without unnecessary delay. Doctor Dunlop was unquestionably a most eccentric man; but he had a strong practical vein in him, and although somewhat fitful at work, could, on occasion, as in the service of the Canada Company, approve himself a man of vigorous energy and intelligence. No sketch of the man would be complete which did not conclude with a copy of his will. As a mutilated version has often appeared in the press—indeed, it appears to go the rounds periodically—a correct copy is here given from the Surrogate Court records of the County of Huron. [To the kindness of Mr. John Macara, of Goderich, the writer is indebted for this document, as well as for access to a rare volume of Canadian political pamphlets.] It reads as follows:—

In the name of God, Amen.

I, WILLIAM DUNLOP, of Fairbraid, in the Township of Colborne, County and District of Huron, Western Canada, Esquire, being in sound health of body, and my mind just as usual (which my friends who flatter me say is no great shakes, at the best of times), do make this my last Will and Testament as follows, revoking of course all former wills:—

I leave the property of Fairbraid, and all other landed property I may die possessed of to my sister Helen Boyle Story, and Elizabeth Boyle Dunlop, the former, because she is married to a minister whom (God help him) she henpecks. The latter because she is married to nobody, nor is she like to be, for she is an old maid, and not market-rife. And also, I leave to them and their heirs my share of the stock and implements on the farm; Provided always, that the enclosure round my brother’s grave be reserved, and if either should die without issue, then the other to inherit the whole.

I leave to my sister-in-law, Louisa Dunlop, all my share of the household furniture and such traps, with the exceptions hereinafter mentioned.

I leave my silver tankard to the eldest son of old John, as the representative of the family. I would have left it to old John himself, but he would melt it down to make temperance medals, and that would be sacrilege—however, I leave my big horn snuff-box to him, he can only make temperance horn spoons of that.

I leave my sister Jenny my Bible, the property formerly of my great-great-grandmother, Bethia Hamilton, of Woodhall, and when she knows as much of the spirit of it, as she does of the letter, she will be another guise Christian than she is.

I also leave my late brother’s watch to my brother Sandy, exhorting him at the same time to give up whiggery, radicalism, and all other sins that do most easily beset him.

I leave my brother Alan my big silver snuff-box, as I am informed he is rather a decent Christian, with a swag belly and a jolly face.

I leave Parson Chevasse (Maggy’s husband), the snuff-box I got from the Sarnia Militia, as a small token of my gratitude for the service he has done the family in taking a sister that no man of taste would have taken.

I leave John Caddie a silver teapot, to the end that he may drink tea therefrom to comfort him under the affliction of a slatternly wife.

I leave my books to my brother Andrew, because he has been so long a Jungley Wallah that he may learn to read with them.

I give my silver cup, with a sovereign in it, to my sister Janet Graham Dunlop, because she is an old maid and pious and therefore will necessarily take to horning: And also my Granma’s snuff mull, as it looks decent to see an old woman taking snuff.

I do hereby constitute and appoint John Dunlop, Esquire, of Fairbraid; Alexander Dunlop, Esquire, Advocate, Edinburgh; Alan C. Dunlop, Esquire, and William Chalk, of Tuckersmith; William Stewart and William Gooding, Esquires, Goderich, to be the Executors of this my last Will and Testament.

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the thirty-first day of August, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty two.

(Signed) W. DUNLOP. L.S.

The above Instrument of one sheet was, at the date thereof, declared to us by the Testator, William Dunlop, Esquire, to be his last Will and Testament, and he then acknowledged to each of us, that he had subscribed the same and we at his request, signed our names hereunto as attesting witnesses.




I, Daniel McDonald, Registrar of the Surrogate Court of the County of Huron, hereby certify that the within is a true and correct copy of the original last Will and Testament of the said William Dunlop, Esquire, deceased.

Given under my hand and seal at Goderich, in the said County, this eighteenth day of April, in the year A.D. 1881.

(L.S.) D. McDONALD, Registrar.

To return to the period properly under review, Robert Gourlay, driven to the verge of insanity, had been banished. That he had no special predilection for constitutional change has been seen; but in 1820 another Scot appeared upon the scene, who was destined to play a more conspicuous part, and indirectly to revolutionize the old colonial system of the time. William Lyon Mackenzie was born at Springfield, Dundee, Forfarshire, on the 12th of March, 1796. Daniel, his father, who died within a month of his son’s birth, left behind a widow and an only child in rather straitened circumstances. Educated but imperfectly at school, he was obliged at an early age to work for his living. [The chief authority here is The Life and Times of William Lyon Mackenzie. By Charles Lindsey. Toronto, 1862. The Histories and Morgan’s Celebrated Canadians have also been used.] His mother appears to have been a woman of singular force of character, and it was from her, doubtless, that Mr. Mackenzie inherited the salient qualities in mind and action for which he was afterwards noted. From school, while yet a lad, he went into a draper’s shop at Dundee; thence to the counting-house of a wool merchant named Grey, of whom he always spoke with the greatest respect. There the mysteries of the accountant’s craft were made plain to him, and by the knowledge thus acquired, he afterwards profited when in a sphere of life he never contemplated in those early times. With Scottish pluck and independence, when only nineteen, he went into business for himself at Alyth, keeping what in America is called "a general store," and also a circulating library. Mackenzie was always an insatiable reader, and he knew good literature from that which was worthless; hence the latter feature in his venture. His business, however, was unsuccessful as perhaps might have been anticipated under the circumstances, yet his creditors were all paid to the uttermost farthing years after he had left the country.

In 1817 we find him in England, in Wiltshire, where he became managing clerk in the service of a Canal Company, and subsequently for a brief time in London. After paying a flying visit to France, in the spring of 1820, Mackenzie sailed for Canada. Although only twenty-four years of age, he was bald from the effects of fever; but his slight, sinewy frame was capable of great exertion, informed as it was by a quick, nervous and resolute spirit. Shortly after his arrival, Mr. Mackenzie was appointed on the survey of the Lachine Canal, but his tenure of that situation must have been brief, for he turns up soon after at Little York (now Toronto). There he was in business with Mr. Lesslie in the book and drug business. [This conjunction of the trades in medicine for the body and the mind was continued to a comparatively recent period by Mr. James Lesslie, who was also the proprietor of the Examiner newspaper until it ceased to live.] The profits of the books, we are told, went to Mr. John Lesslie, whilst Mr. Mackenzie received those arising from the drug business. A second business establishment was afterwards opened at Dundas, placed under the care of Mr. Mackenzie, and conducted by him apparently with profit for about a year and a half. [Mr. Lindsey writes (p. 30): "In a printed poster I find the firm styled Mackenzie & Lesslie, Druggists, and Dealers in Hardware and Cutlery, Jewelry, Toys, Carpenter’s Tools, Nails, Groceries, Confections, Dye-stuffs, Paints, &C., at the Circulating Library, Dundas."] In 1823 this partnership was dissolved, and Mackenzie removed to Queenstown, on the Niagara, and opened a general store, which, at the end of the year, he abandoned to embark upon the stormy sea of politics. That he did so from necessity is clear, since, as he has himself stated, his business was not highly remunerative. Perhaps that constitutional unrest which followed him through life was the moving cause, since he had hitherto taken no part whatever in public affairs. [Mr. McMullen’s personal description is clearly the portraiture of the man in later life; still it is sufficiently graphic to bear quoting in this connection: "Of slender form, and only five feet six inches in stature, his massive head, bald from early fever, and high and broad in the frontal region, looked far too large for the small body it surmounted. His eyes clear and piercing, his firm set Scotch mouth, his chin long and broad, and the general contour of his features, made up a countenance indicative of strong will and great resolution, while the ceaseless activity of his fingers, and the perpetual twitching of the lower part of his face betrayed that restlessness and nervousness of disposition which so darkly clouded his existence." History, p. 359. Lindsey, p. 35.] At all events, on the 18th of May, 1824, he issued twelve hundred copies of a newspaper called the Colonial Advocate, without having, as he himself has left on record, a single subscriber. In a letter, quoted by his biographer, Mr. Mackenzie explained his motives. The "family compact," to his view were the enemies of immigration, of popular education, of civil and religious liberty, and although he might have been united with them on terms personally advantageous, he preferred "at nine-and-twenty to join the oppressed." [This letter is too long for insertion, but as it was written in exile, there are two sentences worth preserving because they show that he was not quite so headstrong and unyielding as is generally thought. "So far," he writes, "as I or any other professed Reformer, was concerned in inviting citizens of this (the American) Union to Interference in Canadian affairs, there was culpable error. So far as any of us, at any time, may have proposed that the cause of freedom would be advanced by adding the Canadas to this Confederation, we were under the merest illusion.]

The truth is, as Mr. Lindsey partly admits, that Mr. Mackenzie employed Rembrandt tints too plentifully in pourtraying the political landscape of the time, and in his paper he certainly aimed at being a pen-and-ink Hogarth. He had at hand a strong vocabulary, and used it without stint; and the sardonic humour in which he indulged, must have been galling to those who then held power. They had now a second Gourlay on their hands, whom they could not banish, and were not as yet able to silence. After having changed the form of his paper, the neophyte in journalism resolved to beard the dragon in its lair, and removed to York. Already the Government was alarmed; but its organs confined themselves to vague threats and such return of the Mackenzie fire as came to hand.

Singularly enough, the Colonial Advocate gave utterance to moderate views on most subjects. [Lindsey, p. 43.] The endowment of religion it regarded as a most laudable act. ["In the part of the constitution of the Canadas," he writes, "Is the wisdom of the British legislature more apparent than in the setting apart a portion of the country, while it yet remained a wilderness, for the support of religion."] The University, for which Dr. Strachan was earnestly contending, met with his entire approval. All that he urged in both cases was that there should be no exclusiveness in the matter of endowment. He favoured the levelling up of the denominations, not the exclusive establishment of one. But while Mr. Mackenzie was, on the whole, exceedingly moderate, and even conservative in his general views, he made bitter onslaughts upon the whole official and privileged class or coterie, from the Lieutenant-Governor downward. The pen he wielded was hard-nibbed, and there was an excess of gall in his ink. It was this, more than anything else, that exasperated the party in power. They did not so much object to gentlemanly remonstrance as to personal assault. Political discussion, being a sign of nascent vitality in the Province, was distasteful to them; but when it took the form of invective against the Governor, the Executive, the judges and office-holders generally, it seemed time to take alarm. After all, Mackenzie’s views were far from being revolutionary in 1824. He was a constitutional Reformer; yet his programme was certainly moderate enough. He was a staunch friend to British connection, opposed to the abortive Union Bill of 1818, and one of the first to propose a British North American confederation. He certainly objected to the Clergy Reserves being monopolized by a single Church, and also wrote against maintaining the right of primogeniture. But on the endowment question in general he was at one with Dr. Strachan at that time, and would have denounced secularization as a monstrous piece of sacrilege. [Lindsey, p. 47. McMullen (p.360) says: "The very first issue of the Advocate awoke the greatest alarm in the minds of the Family Compact. Another prying Scotchman of the Gourlay stamp had come to disturb their repost, and their organ suggested that he should be forthwith banished the Province, and the whole edition of his paper confiscated."]

But if the editor of the Colonial Advocate did not offend by the extravagance of his political creed, he certainly gave just cause for trepidation in other ways. To begin with, he had made his journal, in fact as well as in name, a newspaper, and this feature in the case irritated the other editors. But his chief offence, we repeat, lay in the restless energy with which he exposed abuses, corruption, official pluracies, nepotism—the final flower and fruit of a primitive and stagnant political life. The language used in the Advocate was of the vituperative order, and a native genius for humour and sarcasm had made its editor somewhat callous to the feelings of others whose only crime was that they had enjoyed the good things at the command of the Government, according to the prescriptive order of the time. ["He speedily became noted as a grievance-monger and a hunter-up of abuses in the various public departments." – McMullen, p. 360.] It was clear that the Gourlay experiment could not be tried again; but violence might be employed to silence the agitator. In the ninth Provincial Parliament, the Assembly for the first time contained a Reform majority. To this result Mr. Mackenzie can scarcely be said to have contributed, since only a few numbers of his paper had been issued, and that was not a reading age. Postage was so high as to be an insuperable obstacle to any extended circulation. [This was, no doubt, the moving cause of that dead-set which Mackenzie made against the Post Office department.] By removing to York, the editor of the Advocate was on the spot, could report the debates, and beard his political adversaries in their den. It is hardly necessary to remark that no such system as "responsible government" then obtained. The Ministry was in a minority in the House, but had the Lieutenant-Governor and the Legislative Council at its back. Constantly defeated, the Executive paid no attention to the want of confidence votes of the Assembly. When Mr. (afterwards Dr.) Rolph spoke of Cabinet responsibility to the House, the Attorney-General, afterward Sir John Beverley Robinson, disdained any united responsibility at all. [Mr. Robinson said "he was at loss to understand what the learned member for Middlesex" (Mr. Rolph was then practicing at the bar) "meant by a Prime Minister and a Cabinet; there was no Cabinet; he sat in that House to deliver his opinions on his own responsibility; he was under no out-door influence whatever." – Lindsey, p. 67.]

During this time Mackenzie was engaged in stimulating Liberalism at last triumphant in the Assembly; but his paper had not been a success. An effort was made, in 1826 to secure him the moderate grant of £37 16s. currency, for publishing the debates. As it appeared in the Bill of Supply when passed by the House, the Legislative Council could not eliminate it; but the Lieutenant-Governor struck out the item with his own pen. The Advocate had been published irregularly, and Mackenzie was vacillating in his intentions, when a sudden act of violence restrained him from going to Dundas, to Montreal, or the United States. His residence and printing office were situated on the north-eastern corner of Palace street and Post-office (now Caroline) streets, immediately fronting the bay. On the opposite side was the residence of Col. Allan, the Police Magistrate, and on the same side to the north were the Post-office and the Bank. On the eighteenth of June, 1826, in broad daylight, a number of young gentlemen entered the Office and set about the destruction of everything in it. Three pages of the paper, and some other work were upon the imposing stones. The face of the type was destroyed, some of it scattered on the floor, some thrown into a neighbouring garden, some taken boldly down to Allan’s wharf and cast into the bay. The press was demolished and the stone thrown on the floor. The respectability of those concerned was one bad feature in the case. They appear to have been all of them —there were fifteen—young men of position; either the sons or subordinate officers of men in place. The Inspector-General had two sons engaged in the exploit; there were the son of a Judge, also the son of a magistrate, and the confidential secretary of Sir Peregrine Maitland, the Lieutanant-Governor, as well as others intimately connected with the family compact. Besides this awkward fact, there can be no doubt that at least two magistrates were eyewitnesses of all that occurred outside the office; for they were noticed on the street during the affair, and certainly saw the type thrown into the bay.

This act of violence, committed during Mackenzie’s absence from the city, excited greater indignation than had been anticipated, and the parties against whom the evidence was clear were at once arrested. The Hon. J. B. Macaulay, appeared for the rioters, and made several ineffectual attempts to come to a settlement. Mackenzie, when the terms were made known, rejected them with scorn. [Mr. Macaulay (who, of course, only appeared professionally) urged on behalf of his clients, that they had always been willing to pay a reasonable amount of damages, and were only deterred from making an immediate offer because of the clamour, and the exertion used to prejudice the public mind. He further pleaded that the act was "not to be ascribed to any malice, political feeling or private animosity; the personal calumnies" contained in the Advocate being a sufficient motive.] The truth is that in their endeavour to destroy Mr. Mackenzie’s influence, the rioters had added to his popularity, or, as McMullen puts it, made a political martyr of him. [History, p. 363.] Hence their anxiety to secure peace at the price of two or three hundred pounds. [See Macaulay’s letters in Lindsey, pp. 82 and 84.] So far as the "personal calumnies" were concerned, it is clear that Mr. Mackenzie did not begin them in the columns of his paper. On the contrary, in one of the earliest numbers he had said: "When I am reduced to personalities, I will bring the Advocate to a close." That he criticized official acts with a freedom and warmth to which the ruling class were unaccustomed, must be admitted. But he was generous enough to recognise the good qualities of his opponents, and, until they assailed him personally with a virulence nothing he had written could justify, he never assailed individual character. He even expressed regret for strong language he had used in regard to public acts. [Speaking of Mr. (Sir J.B.) Robinson, he frankly wrote that he had risen in his estimation, and that, having observed him without disguise, and "watched his movements, his looks, his language, and his actions, I will confess this, I reproached myself for having used him at one time too harshly.] He had quarrelled with Dr. Rolph, because he thought his assaults on the Government too severe; and there is nothing to prove that, if he had been spared those bitter personal attacks, he would not have maintained his policy of moderation and forbearance.

No settlement having been arranged in the matter of the riot and destruction of printing plant, the trial came off at York, in 1826. It was a civil action, and conducted before Chief-Justice Campbell, with a special jury. Before proceeding with the case, it seems proper to give a slight biography of the judge. Mr. (afterwards Sir) William Campbell was born in Scotland in 1758. He came to America as a noncommissioned officer, or private, in a Highland Regiment to take part in the Revolutionary War, and his career ended with the surrender of Cornwallis, in 1781, when he became a prisoner with the rest of the command. In 1783, he retired to Nova Scotia, and, having obtained his discharge, devoted himself to the study of the law. After nineteen years’ practice, he was appointed Attorney-General of Cape Breton, and elected to the Assembly of that Province. In 1811 he was promoted to a puisne judgeship in Upper Canada, and, in 1825, upon the retirement of William Dummer Powell, became Chief-Justice. In 1829 he retired from ill health, and was succeeded by the Attorney-General, afterwards Sir J. B. Robinson. On this occasion he received the honour of knighthood, and died in 1834, in the seventy-sixth year of his age. His funeral was attended by both Houses of Legislature, the Bench and the Bar. He appears to have been a man of great force of character, sterling integrity, and personal worth. [Scadding, p. 131; Morgan, 238. The former quotes from a work by Dr. Henry, the physician who attended him in his last illness. Finding medicine of no avail, he prescribed a diet of snipes. "On this delicate food the poor old gentleman was supported for a couple of months; but the frost set in, the snipes flew away, and Sir William died."]

To return to the trial. With the Judge were seated, as associates, two Magistrates, the Hon. William Allan and Alexander Macdonell. The evidence, all on one side, proved conclusively that the eight defendants had taken part in the riot. They were defended by Messrs. Hagerman and Macaulay; but after being confined for thirty-two hours, the jury returned a verdict for £625, which was paid not long after by subscription. As Mr. Mackenzie himself said: "This verdict re-established the Advocate on a permanent footing." So that the net results of the type-riot were, that an obnoxious journal, which probably would have perished of inanition, received a new lease of life, and its proprietor was at once elevated to a prominent place in the sympathies of the people. Mr. Mackenzie declined to prosecute criminally; he had already been largely a gainer by the violence of his opponents, and, no doubt, thought that to appear vindictive would do himself more harm than good. But by a singularly complicated series of prosecutions, seven of them were brought to trial criminally, though distinctly against Mackenzie’s wishes. Mr. Francis Collins of the Freeman, was criminally prosecuted for libels upon the Attorney-General. In 1828 Collins retaliated by laying an information against the rioters, who were tried and found guilty; but they escaped with nominal punishment. Then there was a murder trial, also set on foot by Collins, against two of his opponents, for participation in a fatal duel; but they were acquitted. The next step was to prosecute Mackenzie himself. The accused appeared in his own defence behind a rampart of law books and political authorities; but the trial was first postponed, and afterwards abandoned. [Collins was not so fortunate; for in October, 1828, he was found guilty, and sentenced to a fine of 50 pounds and imprisonment for a year.]

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