The London Times has given importance to a Montreal municipal dispute,—which only a local paper noticed at the time,—by making it the subject of a leading editorial, and an opportunity for denouncing French Canadian ingratitude. The Times enumerates the benefits that the French population of the Province have derived from British rule ; and they are so far correctly stated that there is probably no dependency of the British Crown more favored at the present day than that of Lower Canada. Every effort has been made to conciliate her people—their national prejudices have been respected, their language has been preserved, and their religion has been placed on a footing of perfect equality with that of the Episcopal establishment. If Lower Canada had remained a French colony, ti could not have been as politically free as it is now ; if it had been absorbed by the United States, or by the English colonies that sweep around it, the anomaly of an unprogressive Province in the center of the North American Continent would not be witnesses, nor would a crop of ungenial prejudice be found flourishing in the midst of an Anglo-Saxon empire. In the nature of things French Lower Canadian influence ought long ago to have been swamped ; and it undoubtedly would have been swamped if it had not been for the protecting ægis of the British Rule. Many people, on both sides of the line, imagine that the policy of the British Government in this respect has not proved beneficial to the best interests of Canada, and was not adopted and pursued from purely unselfish motives. The French population in Canada—the most peaceful and contended probably in the world—were once goaded to rebellion, and American sympathy, then displayed in their behalf, opened the eyes of the Home Government to the danger of having a discontented colony lying within the very shadow of the great Republic. Ever since 1838, the fullest liberty has been granted to the French Canadians. They have been allowed and encouraged to retain a nationality of their own, and their religion, especially, has been fostered. They dislike, at present, no people more than they do the Americans. They detest our democratic institutions, and dread nothing so much as an influx of American ideas, which would soon overturn the little idols they have set up to worship.
The remarks of the Montreal Alderman which the Times makes the text of its indignation article, were utterly beneath contempt or notice. The man must have emerged from the dregs of society, if we are to judge him by the vulgarity of his language or the stupidity of his statements. The Times makes a great mistake in supposing that they are indorsed by any section of the French Canadian population. In cities like Quebec and Montreal, where society is mixed, and where most of the citizens of the citizens of French extraction are, so to speak, parvenus, and looked upon as such by their more aristocratic fellow-subjects of English birth, a great deal of jealousy exists. That jealousy would of course be embittered by such an event as the Royal visit, especially if more notice was taken of one party than the other. But it is quite absurd to regard such a feeling as evidence of disloyalty, or even of a passing dissatisfaction with British rule. [...]
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