Feb 4 1812: Brock's Speech to the Legislature

Major-General Sir Isaac Brock who, in 1812, was Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada and Commander of the forces, accompanied by a numerous suite, opened the session of the legislature at York. With war still about four months away,  Brock gave the following speech:
Honorable Gentlemen of the Legislative Council, and Gentlemen of the House of Assembly.
I should derive the utmost satisfaction, the first time of my addressing you, were it permitted me to direct your attention solely to such objects as tended to promote the peace and prosperity of this province.
The glorious contest in which the British empire is engaged, and the vast sacrifice which Great Britain nobly offers to secure the independence of other nations, might be expected to stifle every feeling of envy and jealousy, and at the same time to excite the interest and command the admiration of a free people; but, regardless of such generous impressions, the American government evinces a disposition calculated to impede and divide her efforts.
England is not only interdicted the harbours of the United States, while they afford a shelter to the cruisers of her inveterate enemy, but she is likewise required to resign those maritime rights which she has so long exercised and enjoyed. Insulting threats are offered, and hostile preparations actually commenced; and though not without hope that cool reflection and the dictates of justice may yet avert the calamities of war, I cannot, under every view of the relative situation of the province, be too urgent in recommending to your early attention the adoption of such measures as will best secure the internal peace of the country, and defeat every hostile aggression.
Principally composed of the sons of a loyal and brave band of veterans, the militia, I am confident, stand in need of nothing but the necessary legislative provisions, to direct their ardour in the acquirement of military instruction, to form a most efficient force.
The growing prosperity of these provinces, it is manifest, begins to awaken a spirit of envy and ambition. The acknowledged importance of this colony to the parent state will secure the continuance of her powerful protection. Her fostering care has been the first cause, under Providence, of the uninterrupted happiness you have so long enjoyed. Your industry has been liberally rewarded, and you have in consequence risen to opulence.
These interesting truths are not uttered to animate your patriotism, but to dispel any apprehension which you may have imbibed of the possibility of England forsaking you; for you must be sensible that if once bereft of her support, if once deprived of the advantages which her commerce and the supply of her most essential wants give you, this colony, from its geographical position, must inevitably sink into comparative poverty and insignificance.
But Heaven will look favorably on the manly exertions which the loyal and virtuous inhabitants of this happy land are prepared to make, to avert such a dire calamity.
Our gracious prince, who so gloriously upholds the dignity of the empire, already appreciates your merit, and it will be your first care to establish, by the course of your actions, the just claim of the country to the protection of his royal highness.
I cannot deny myself the satisfaction of announcing to you from this place, the munificent intention of his royal highness the prince regent, who has been graciously pleased to signify that a grant of £100 per annum will be proposed in the annual estimates, for every future missionary of the Gospel, sent from England, who may have faithfully discharged, for the term of ten years, the duties of his station in this province.
Gentlemen of the House of Assembly,I have no doubt but that, with me, you are convinced of the necessity of a regular system of military instruction to the militia of this province;—on this salutary precaution, in the event of a war, our future safety will greatly depend, and I doubt not but that you will cheerfully lend your aid, to enable me to defray the expense of carrying into effect a measure so conducive to our security and defence.
I have ordered the public accounts to be laid before you, and have no doubt but that you will consider them with that attention which the nature of the subject may require.
Honorable Gentlemen of the Legislative Council and Gentlemen of the House of Assembly, I have, without reserve, communicated to you what has occurred to me on the existing circumstances of this province. We wish and hope for peace, but it is nevertheless our duty to be prepared for war.
The task imposed on you, on the present occasion, is arduous; this task, however, I hope and trust, laying aside every consideration but that of the public good, you will perform with that firmness, discretion, and promptitude, which a regard to yourselves, your families, your country, and your king, call for at your hands.
As for myself, it shall be my utmost endeavour to co-operate with you in promoting such measures as may best contribute to the security and to the prosperity of this province.

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