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Documents in Quebec History


Last revised:
23 August 2000

Documents on the Proposed Union of Upper and Lower Canada (1822)

Letter from Bathurst to Dalhousie, January 13, 1823

Downing Street 13th Jan 1823

MY Lord,

The projected measure of the Union of the Provinces of Upper and Lower Canada was submitted to His Majesty's Government to the House of Commons in the last Session of Parliament, in consequence of a distinct impression, (the origin of which it is not necessary for me here to explain) that it would have met with an almost unanimous concurrence in that House;- I have however now to communicate to you that His Majesty's Government have decided to relinquish for the present the reintroduction of that measure of the policy and propriety of which, in the abstract they still retain their original opinion, but which has been rendered inexpedient by the failure of that support, which they were justified in expecting, and by the train of circumstances which has resulted therefrom-It was the distinct anticipated [sic] of that support which alone induced His Majesty's Government to bring it forward at the time, and  under the circumstances of its introduction, and to connect it with other measures which it was of paramount importance to pass without delay.

The course of the opposition which was offered to the measure was necessarily destructive of that effect of unanimity in Parliament, which could not have failed to reconcile even the prejudices of the Canadian Population if any measure passed under so unequivocal a sanction and which would at once have allayed any retrospective feeling of dissatisfaction, and have prevented the irritation which has been so strongly excited in those Dependencies of the Empire whose individual interests and advantages had been specifically consulted in the measure itself.

I have the Honor to be, My Lord, Your Lordships most obedient


Source: Adam SHORTT and Arthur G. DOUGHTY, Documents Relating to the Constitutional History of Canada, 1819-1828, Ottawa, 1935.