Historical Voices – John Russell

To the Right Honourable Poulett Thomson

I am writing this to you in the hopes that you can give me some of your esteemed advice upon the following matters regarding Upper and Lower Canada.

I have been, as you know, promoted to be in charge of the Colonial Office in Britain, and right now my biggest problem is Upper and Lower Canada.  These French are so depressing.  They refuse to do anything.  All they are interested in is making sure that the English commit no perceived slight against them.  They don’t want to merge with Upper Canada, they don’t want to accept ANY taxes at all, they don’t want anything except to make sure that England can’t do anything.  It’s ridiculous!  I mean, NO TAXES?  How else will the British Empire support itself.  It’s almost treasonous not to pay taxes!  Ha, next they’ll be wanting a responsible government!  And I will not stand for that.  They haven’t proven themselves to be anything other than a bunch of violent rebels.  Yet, though they haven’t proven themselves to be responsible at all, they are already demanding privileges!  I am almost at my wit’s end.  I don’t know what to do.  I wish that I could just leave it all for someone else to sort out.  I’m sick of this mess.  I’m sick of these French people.  I’m sick of Lower Canada.  I’m sick of Upper Canada.  I’m sick of the continent of North America in general!  It wasn’t enough for those Americans to revolt and force us into a war, and this was after we just HELPED them in a war, but now Canada wants to break away too!  At least the Maritimes are still in our control.  I have heard rumours of a rebellion starting to break out in Canada.  I think that we should send someone over to Upper and Lower Canada to see what the state of our colony is.  Someone who we don’t need…..perhaps someone like John Lambton?  Sometimes I feel so depressed.  Upper Canada, long a stronghold of the English, is beginning to crumble.  Even with the recent infusion of Loyalists, the people have been slowly turning.  They are starting to take the lead of Lower Canada, and their recent rebellion.  And I say rebellion in that it wasn’t a revolution, and thankfully, the British army showed their military might and quickly crushed these misguided fools.  They seem to think that they can face the might of the British Empire and come away victorious.  Yet I simply can’t drive it into their heads  I feel like we have nobody over in North America that we can trust to uphold Britain’s values and beliefs, except for Sir Francis Bond Head.  A commendable man, the epitome of an honest British man.  In essence, the perfect person to run Upper Canada.  He knows what he is doing, he continues to be loyal to Britain, and is firmly allied with the Family Compact.  Exactly what we need.  We must send more men like him over. I am stuck at home in Britain, relying on, for the most part, worthless men to act as my consort in North America.  It is like being blind, mute, and deaf all at once.  I don’t have a true grasp of the situation, and no way to act upon it.  Meanwhile, at home, the public is getting more and more restless over our spending on foreign wars, and much of that blame is falling upon myself.  I am in a very tight spot, and  I have come to you, as you have always provided me with sound counsel in the past.  I hope that you can show me a path that I can take to regain full control over the British Empire’s territories, and continue to accelerate my path to hopefully achieving the post of Prime Minister.

Anxiously awaiting your advice,

Lord John Russell