Calverton near Southwell, Notts., 14th March, 1822.
My Lord, I have been honoured with your Lordship's private and confidential letter of the 11th inst., the contents of which shall not transpire, and in reply to your question "Whether the Union of Upper and Lower Canada would have a beneficial effect," I answer, that if these Provinces continue in the same state they were in at the time I relinguished the Government, an Union would be very desirable, provided it could be established on proper principles, so that the undue influence of the Assembly should be somewhat controlled and the power of the Crown increased. But if such a measure were to be attempted considerable difficulties must be expected before it could be reconciled with the jarring interests of the inhabitants and the variety of wild opinions so generally entertained.
Your Lordship's description of the persons usually returned to the Legislative Assembly of Lower Canada is perfectly correct. And the mischiefs arising from this cause are incalculable. I also agree that the Assembly of Upper Canada appears more tractable at present. But when I consider the vicinity of the latter Province to the United States, the population continually flowing in from thence, the constant communication and intermarriages between the families on both sides of the line, the number of Americans who purchase the best of the lands as soon as they are cleared and every other description of property in Upper Canada worth having; and when I look to the loose demoralising principles introduced by those people, I very much doubt whether reliance can be placed on a continuance of this tractable disposition.
I am fully aware my Lord of the evils arising from that ascendancy which the Catholics of Lower Canada exercise to the prejudice of whatever relates to the Protestant interest, but I suspect a very erroneous idea prevails in this country of the state of religion in Upper Canada. It might be supposed that the generality of the inhabitants being called Protestants were either of the communion of the established Church or of the Kirk of Scotland. Whereas the greater part are Methodists and Sectaries of every description. And I am sorry to add there are many who appear to have no sense of religion whatever.
Circumstances have materially changed since the separation of the two Provinces, and I could not avoid remarking when I was in Upper Canada, that in many instances a stronger bias prevailed in favour of the American than of the British form of Government. Whereas the Catholics in Lower Canada have a rooted antipathy to the Government of the United States, and have no dread equal to that of one day falling under its Dominion. This trait of character I venture to press on your Lordship's attention, as whatever may be the fate of the Upper Province, the Americans will never be able to establish themselves in Lower Canada whilst this feeling is cherished.
In giving my candid opinion of the state of the two provinces, I shall be happy if I have in any degree answered the expectations your Lordship has done me the honour to express. And I have only to assure you of my willingness at all times to attend to your Lordship's commands. In repeating that I shall not fail to hold your Lordship's communication confidential, I must request that my answer may be looked upon in the same light, and have the honour to be, my lord,
Your Lordship's, very obedient and
Faithful humble servant,
J. C. Sherbrooke.