Papineau receives a flawed argument

In 1835, Lord Glenelg, Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, offered perhaps the most hilarious argument for not reforming the constitution of Lower Canada.

69. It must be recollected that the form of Provincial Constitution in question is no modern experiment or plan of government, in favor of which nothing better than doubtful theory can be urged. A Council nominated by the King, and possessing a co-ordinate right of Legislation with the Representatives of the People, is an invariable part of the British Colonial Constitution in all the Transatlantic possessions, with the exception of those which still remain liable to the Legislative authority of the King in Council. In some of these colonies it has existed for nearly two centuries. Before the recognition of the United States as an independent Nation, it prevailed over every part of the British possessions in the North American Continent, not comprised within the limits of Colonies founded by Charters of incorporation. The considerations ought indeed to be weighty which should induce a departure from system recommended by so long and successful a course of historical precedent.

Given such an argument, Canadians could scarcely be blamed if they took the hint and rebelled the following year.

Consulted for this post

“Copy of a Despatch from Lord Glenelg to the Earl of Gosford, the Right Hon. Sir C. E. Grey, and Sir G. Gipps, His Majesty’s Commissioners of Inquiry in Lower Canada”, reproduced in Journals of the House of Assembly of Lower-Canada, 46 (1836): 45-46

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