The Father of British Canada: a Chronicle of Carleton eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 160 pages of information about The Father of British Canada.

But the chance of perverting this excellent intention was too much for Germain, who succeeded in foisting one worthless nominee after another on the province just as Carleton was doing his best to heal old sores.  One of the worst cases was that of Livius, a low-down, money-grubbing German Portuguese, who ousted the future Master of the Rolls; Sir William Grant, a man most admirably fitted to interpret the laws of Canada with knowledge, sympathy, and absolute impartiality.  Livius as chief justice was more than Carleton could stand in silence.  This mongrel lawyer had picked up all the Yankee vices without acquiring any of the countervailing Yankee virtues.  He was ’greedy of power, more greedy of gain, imperious and impetuous in his temper, but learned in the ways and eloquence of the New England provinces, and valuing himself particularly on his knowledge of how to manage governors.’  He had been sent by Germain ’to administer justice to the Canadians when he understands neither their laws, manners, customs, nor language.’  Other like nominees followed, ’characters regardless of the public tranquility but zealous to pay court to a powerful minister and—­provided they can obtain advantages—­unconcerned should the means of obtaining them prove ruinous to the King’s service.’  These pettifoggers so turned and twisted the law about for the sake of screwing out the maximum of fees that Carleton pointedly refused to appoint Livius as a member of the Legislative Council.  Livius then laid his case before the Privy Council in England.  But this great court of ultimate appeal pronounced such a damning judgment on his gross pretensions that even Germain could not prevent his final dismissal from all employment under the Crown.

Wounded in the house of those who should have been his friends, thwarted in every measure of his self-sacrificing rule, Carleton served on devotedly through six weary months of 1778—­the year in which a vindictive government of Bourbon France became the first of the several foreign enemies who made the new American republic an accomplished fact by taking sides in a British civil war.  His burden was now far more than any man could bear.  Yet he closed his answer to Germain’s parting shot with words which are as noble as his deeds: 

’I have long looked out for the arrival of a successor.  Happy at last to learn his near approach, I resign the important commands with which I have been entrusted into hands less obnoxious to your Lordship.  Thus, for the King’s service, as willingly I lay them down as, for his service, I took them up.’



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The Father of British Canada: a Chronicle of Carleton from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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