Papers from Upper Canada contain the draft of a petition to the Prince Regent, founded on the resolutions adopted in the province of Niagara, where some discontent has been manifested. The first part is as follows:–
“To his Royal Highness George Prince of Wales, Regent of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, &c. the humble Address of the Inhabitants of Upper Canada
May it please your Royal Highness,
“The subjects of your Royal Father, dwelling in Upper Canada, should need no words to give assurance of their loyalty, if the whole truth had reached the throne of their Sovereign. His subjects have reason to believe that the truth has not been told.
During three years of war, Upper Canada was exposed to the ravages of a powerful and inveterate foe. The Government of the United States had been long concerting the invasion of this province. Hostile preparations against it had been long masked under other designs ; and at last the accumulated torrent of violence burst on the defencless children of the British empire. Nor were they assailed by the weapons of war alone ; an invidious proclamation preceded those host of the enemy, forgetful of honour, regardless of humanity, and daring to seduce the subjects of Britain from their true allegiance. The subjects of Britain remained dauntless and firm. It was not for their property that they rose against their invaders ; the invader would have spared to them their property. They flew to arms in defence of the rights and sovereignty of Britain. Twice has the American standard been planted in Upper Canada, while yet but a handful of British troops aided the native battalions wave the laurel of victory over the protrate intruders on their soil. The second year of war saw Canada contending with yet little assistance from the parent state. The second year of the war saw her sons confirmed in their virtue, and still more determined to resist. Wives and children had fled from their homes ; the face of the country was laid waste, and the fire of revenge was sent forth to consummate distress and misery ; still was the spirit of the people unextinguished, still did it burn with patriotism and loyalty.
“By the third year every risk of conquest was at an end, for now the British aid poured into the provinces, and peace was proclaimed when war was no longer to be feared.
“It is now more than three years since there was an end of war, but, strange to say, these years of peace have manifested no appearance of affection or care from the mother country to the Canadas. Commercial treaties have been made, altogether neglectful of British interests here. Government transactions, which used to give spirit to trade and are at a stand; troops are withdrawn ; fortifications are suffered to go to ruin ; and rumours are abroad too shocking to be repeated in the Royal ear. May it please your Royal Highness to listen calmly to the complains and grievances of the people of Upper Canada who are fully assured that your Royal Highness has been kept ignorant of most important truths ; who are well assured of the generous disposition of your Royal heart, and of your desire that British subjects should every where share equally you paternal regard an affection.
“It was a matter of much provocation to the people of the province to see, even during the war, which afforded such striking proofs of their loyalty and valour, reports went home highly rating the merits of regular troops, while the tribute due to Canadian levies were unfairly set down, may, the principles of the most loyal subjects here were often stigmatised by British officers, ignorant of human character, and still more so of circumstances which affect it in this part of the world. It was not so with the immortal Brock. He justly appreciated Canadian worth, and his memory will happily long cherish, in the minds of the Canadian people, a due regard for the genuine spirit of a British solider, at once generous and brave.
“The loyal inhabitants of Upper Canada would disdain to notice the misrepresentations of individuals, so contrary to notorious truth, if these had not obviously conspired with other causes to lessen the regard which should subsist between British subjects here and at home, to influence the conduct of Ministers towards the general interests of the province.
“The loyal subjects of his Majesty in Upper Canada suffered grievously during the war in their property, and many were bereft of their all. A solemn investigation on this subject took place ; the claims of the sufferers were authenticated, and there was every reason to expect that recompence would immediately follow ; yet nothing has followed but delay and insult. Surely if there is among mankind a single principle of justice, that is one, that the individuals of a nation ought not, partially, to bear the weight of public calamity. Surely individuals who have exposed their lives for Government should not be disgusted with finding Government regardless of those very principles which it is intended to sustain. The people of this province are well aware that their fellow subjects at home are pressed hard with taxations, and far it is from their wish that relief should be afford from thence. Canada contains within itself ample means of exonerating Government from the claims of sufferers by war ; and it is within the fiat[?] of your Royal Highness to remove, by a signle breath, the evil now justly complained of. Millions of acres of fertile lands lie here at the disposal of your Royal Highness, upon the credit of which, under proper management, not only the fair claims of loyal sufferers could be instantly advanced, but vast sums could be raised for the improvement of the provinces, and the increase of revenue to Britain.
“Another grievance, manifesting the neglect of Government to the concerns of Upper Canada, is equally notorious, and must be still more abhorrent to the general feelings of your Royal Highness.
“The young men of this province, who were armed in its defence had, for their spirited conduct, the promise of their commanders, that land would be granted them as a reward for their services, as soon as war was terminated ; and after this promise was universaly confided in the Parliament of Upper Canada passed an extraordinary law, in the face of established British principles, that militia should pass beyond the frontier. With these promises, and in obedience to this law, the militia passed beyond the frontier with alacrity ; yet since the peace, the greater part of them had been denied the pledge of their extraordinary services, and the land is unjudtly withheld.”
The petition further states that such ingratitude, such dishonour, such errors in policy, could not exist without extraordinary influences, and it recommends most important changes equally for the glory of the throne, and benefit of the subject. It says that the scandalous abuses came some years ago to such a pitch of monstrous ingratitude, the the home Ministers wisely imposed restriction on the Land Council of Upper Canada. It seems, however, that all this was insufficient, and that confusion on confusion has grown out of this unhappy system. Upper Canada, it is now said, pines in comparative decay, and that discontent and poverty are experienced in a land supremely blessed with the gifts of nature.
It is insisted that the immediate interference of his Royal Highness might do much to remove the evils which spring from the system of patronage and favouritism, and it asserts that the interposition of the British Parliament is more imperiously required. It concludes as follows:–” Deeply penetrated with these sentiments, and most seriously inclined to have changes speedily effected, the loyal subjects of Great Britain dwelling in Upper Canada now take the extraordinary step of sending home Commissioners to bear this to the throne, and humbly intreat your Royal Highness to give ear to the details which it will be in their power to relate: above all, that your Royal Highness would immediately send out to this province a commission, consisting of discreet
and wise men, men of business and talent, who shall be above every influence here, and who may be instructed to make inquiry into all the sources of evil.
Citation: Caledonian Mercury (Edinburgh, United Kingdom), 16 July 1818, available at the Scissors and Paste Database, http://www.scissorsandpaste.net/127.