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 La Mothe-Cadillac , 3 Ao?t, 1695.
To whom belonged this world of prairies and forests? France claimed it by right of discovery and occupation. It was her explorers who, after De Soto, first set foot on it. The question of right, it is true, mattered little; for, right or wrong, neither claimant would yield her pretensions so long as she had strength to uphold them; yet one point is worth a moment's notice. The French had established an excellent system in the distribution of their American lands. Whoever received a grant from the Crown was required to improve it, and this within reasonable time. If he did not, the land ceased to be his, and was given to another more able or industrious. An international extension of her own principle would have destroyed the pretensions of France to all the countries of the West. She had called them 25
After some hesitation the harbor called Port l'Anglois was chosen for the proposed establishment, to which the name of Louisbourg was given, in honor of the King. It lies near the southeastern point of the island, where an opening in the ironbound coast, at once easily accessible and easily defended, gives entrance to a deep and sheltered basin, where a fleet of war-ships may find good anchorage. The proposed fortress was to be placed on the tongue of land that lies between this basin and the sea. The place, well chosen from the point of view of the soldier or the fisherman, was unfit for an agricultural colony, its surroundings being barren hills studded with spruce and fir, and broad marshes buried in moss.
The debate on Mr. Villiers's annual motion, on June 10, produced still further evidences of the decline of Protectionist principles. On that occasion Sir James Graham, who was currently believed to be better acquainted with the feelings of the Premier than any other of the Ministers, said, "He would not deny that it was his opinion, that by a gradual and cautious policy it was expedient to bring our system of Corn Laws into a nearer approximation to those wholesome principles which governed legislation with respect to other industrial departments. But it was his conviction that suddenly and at once to throw open the trade in corn would be inconsistent with the well-being of the community, and would give such a shock to the agricultural interest as would throw many other interests into a state of convulsion. The object of every Government, without distinction of party, for the last twenty years, had been to substitute protecting duties for prohibitory duties, and to reduce gradually protecting duties, where it had them to deal with. He approved of this as a safe principle, and showed that it was the keystone of the policy of Sir Robert Peel.... If they could show him that Free Trade with open ports would produce a more abundant supply to the labourer, they would make him [Sir James] a convert to the doctrine of Free Trade in corn. He confessed that he placed no value on the fixed duty of four shillings lately proposed; it would be of no avail as a protection, whilst it would be liable to all the obloquy of a protecting duty; and he therefore thought that if they got rid of the present Corn Law, they had better assent to a total repeal." Sir Robert Peel spoke more cautiously; but he began by striking away a favourite maxim of his party, in observing that experience proved that the high price of corn was not accompanied by a high rate of wages, and that wages did not vary with the price of corn. He said that he "must proceed, in pursuance of his own policy, to reconcile the gradual approach of our legislation to sound principle on this subject, with the interests which had grown up under a different state of things;" but he admitted that it would be "impossible to maintain any law on the ground that it was intended to keep up rents." December 10th. January 11th.
The result of the general election in the Upper Province was favourable to the Government; for of the 62 members returned, 44 were opposed to the organic changes demanded by the majority of the old Assembly. The result was that the Government and the legislature of this province were able to work together harmoniously and satisfactorily. This result, however, was said to be obtained by extraordinary, and not always legitimate influence, on the part of the Government, and there was a large body of malcontents who joined the Lower Province in its rebellion, which occurred in 1837. The Governor of Upper Canada, who brought about this favourable change, was Sir Francis Head, who held the post of major in the army in 1835, when he was employed as Assistant Poor Law Commissioner in the county of Kent. Lord Glenelg, recognising in him a man of capacity and energy, fitted for a great emergency, suddenly appointed him Governor of Upper Canada. He rendered most important service afterwards in conducting the military operations by which the rebellion was put down. Lord Gosford was not so successful in the Lower Province. He was accused of having misled the people by holding out false hopes, and both he and the Colonial Secretary, under whose instructions he acted, were charged with something like treachery, by hinting at great concessions and keeping the word of promise to the ear, for the mere purpose of quieting the agitation and evading the reforms demanded. Lord Gosford, unable to stem the torrent of disaffection, dissolved the Assembly, and was recalled in order to make way for Sir J. Colborne. Both these Governors rendered the most important service in putting down the rebellion which soon afterwards broke out, and effecting the pacification and union of the provinces, which, as we shall hereafter see, were placed upon the solid basis of self-government and equal rights.In the eyes of the Conservatives the League was now the great cause of the political ferment that had spread throughout the land. In the Quarterly Review for December a long and elaborate indictment had been published against that body, and all who were in any way connected with them, in which it was attempted to show that the means by which the League sought to attain their objects were of the worst kind. The writer of the article hinted that the League's system of levying money for the avowed purpose of forcing Parliament to alter the law of the land was criminally punishable. A Mr. Bailey had stated, at one of the League meetings, that he had heard of a gentleman who, in private company, had said that if one hundred persons cast lots, and the lot should fall upon him, he would take the lot to deprive Sir Robert Peel of life. The teller of this injudicious anecdote added, that "he felt convinced that no such attempt ought to be made under any pretence whatever; but he was persuaded of this, that when Sir Robert Peel went to his grave there would be but few to shed one tear over it." The speaker was a minister of the Gospel, and there could be no doubt that he intended his anecdote only as an illustration of the frenzy to which some persons had been wrought by the political circumstances of the time; but this fact circulated by the great Tory organs, together with all the most violent and excited passages which could be found in the innumerable speeches delivered at League meetings, and in the pamphlets and other publications of that body, tended to create a vague horror of the Leaguers in the minds of that large class who read only writers on that side which accords with their own views.
Even inanimate objects or animals it has been thought through many ages reasonable to punish. In Athens an axe or stone that killed anyone by accident was cast beyond the border; and the English law was only repealed in the present reign which made a cartwheel, a tree, or a beast, that killed a man, forfeit to the State for the benefit of the poor. The Jewish law condemned an ox that gored anyone to death to be stoned, just as it condemned the human murderer. And in the middle ages pigs, horses, or oxen were not only tried judicially like men, with counsel on either side and witnesses, but they were hung on gallows like men, for the better deterrence of their kind in future.V1 thus understood, the articles were signed about midnight. They provided that the English should march out with drums beating and the honors of war, carrying with them one of their swivels and all their other property; that they should be protected against insult from French or Indians; that the prisoners taken in the affair of Jumonville should be set free; and that two officers should remain as hostages for their safe return to Fort Duquesne. The hostages chosen were Vanbraam and a brave but eccentric Scotchman, Robert Stobo, an acquaintance of the novelist Smollett, said to be the original of his Lismahago.