Times and Daily Colonial Advertiser, Montreal 8 August 1842, page 2
The Constitution of England – her institutions – her triumphs in arts and arms – and the fact that for centuries, she was the single free state in Europe – are naturally a source of exaltation to her people. The diffusion of liberal principles, and the spread of the representative system, have deprived her of the last distinction; but enough remains for the gratification of national pride. With a constitution partaking as little of the spirit of unlimited democracy, as it does of unlimited monarchy, she holds the balance between contending nations, and great conflicting principles. If the liberty and independence of other nations have been advanced, these nations have kindled their torches at the flame of British freedom. These circumstances have given an elevation to the national character, and imparted to it a moral vigour, and a fortitude, which has sustained the country amidst foreign wars – against the rivalry of foreign powers – the pressure of an enormous national debt- and the ruinous policy of occasional administrations. The literature of the country reflects this national character in a great degree. The discussions in her Parliament sensibly partake of it. Many of the questions there agitated bear upon the interests of society at large, and are regarded with as much anxiety abroad, as by the millions whom they immediately affect at home. The consequences of such a state of things, is that the talents, combined with great elevation of sentiment of the country, are employed in the public service. The men who fill the higher departments of the state, are uninfluenced by sordid considerations; and office is sought after, not for the emoluments which it confers, but for the honourable distinction it conveys, and for the means which it affords of rendering talent and knowledge available to the service of the state. The journals of the country approach the examination of important questions, with a view to their bearing upon the interests of the community. If there is violence, there is not indecency. Men there do not openly expose themselves to sale; and traffic and barter their principles and conscience for place. The minister of the day, scorns to uphold his government, by the arts of sordid corruption. The bestowal of an office in a high department of the public service does not discredit, alike, the giver and the receiver. What ought to be dear to a man of honour – the means of serving his country- is rarely considered a disgrace.
In these provinces, the reverse of the picture is shewn; the great ends of society and legislation are but partially understood. Little furniture of mind appears to be requisite for conducting the affairs of the country – and meanness and ignorance combined with gross political dishonesty, and absence of principle, are the qualifications which attract the attention of our rulers.
To be a native of Canada, or a resident of long in the province, is a term of reproach – a term indicative of every thing that is servile, and base, and unnoticeable in the human character. The corruption and decay of a people begins at the head. The evil example of their rulers will convey a moral contagion to the extremities – and can our people be expected to exhibit an of the qualities which adorn and dignify human nature elsewhere; when it is considered by whom their affairs are administered – when it is felt that the power and influence of the government are wielded by the wretched men who composed Lord Sydenham’s Cabinet, and who have been admitted to the confidence of his successor.
The people are blind to their position. Debt and degradation await them. Their sinews are strained, and their earnings taxed, to accumulate funds out of which an army of harpies may be fed- and the struggle amongst men in power appears to be, not, who shall best discharge the trusts committed to him, but who shall appropriate, the largest share of the plunder, can be gleaned from an exhausted and suffering community.
The facts cannot be suppressed. Dollars and pounds, are the test of Patriotism. It is interest, which ignites the flame of Loyalty. It is interest which feeds and sustains it.