March 5 1812: Baynes to Brock

On March 5, 1812, Colonel Baynes, from Quebec City, writes to Major-General Brock complaining of the reaction of the assembly of Lower Canada to the opening  speech of Sir George George Prévost which was delivered on February 21, 1812:

I have the pleasure to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 12th February, which I have communicated to Sir George, who is highly pleased to find you are satisfied to retain the important post you fill, and which you appear to govern under such very auspicious prospects. I sincerely trust you will be able to keep your subjects, and particularly your house of representatives, in the same good humour and sound principles which they have hitherto testified. You will perceive in the main sentiments of Sir George's opening address, a perfect accordance with your own: the answer of the assembly led to a very violent and personal debate, which lasted with closed doors for nearly eighteen hours. It would have been more to their credit had they left out the allusion which has drawn from Sir George a very appropriate retort. Your friend, James Cuthbert, was very warm and eloquent upon the occasion, and the demagogue party seemed sensible of the severity of his satire, when he compared the factious cabal to Æsop's fable of the ass kicking at the dying lion. Having vented their spleen, they will, I believe, prove a little more tractable: the militia bill has a prospect of being materially amended, and they will, I think, allow a proportion of about 2,000 men, or perhaps a few more, to be incorporated for two or three months, for three successive years; after the second year to be replaced by a new quota, and to be selected by ballot, and no substitutes permitted to serve in the place of a militiaman drawn by lot: this will be a great point gained.

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