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REVIEWS THE FQURTEENTH COLONY* WILLIAM 'BENNETT MUNRO IN .its ~roader, phases t~e American Revolution ha ,~s nQt ,lacked historIans. Lecky, FIske, Trevelyan, Van Tyne, Egerton, . Fish~r, and Jarrteson have explor~d it from their varied points / of view, while every general history of the Uni ted States accords it both space anq prominence as the dividing line in the evolu tionof Arrieri'can nationalis~. The ,average politician south of the bor.der is inclined to believe, indeed, that the beginnings of all free governm ,ent ,and human liberty date from the Declaration of 1776. But Canada's part in this upheaval has hitherto had scant attention. Both British and American writers have ' bee'n inclined to view this ~spect of the case as relatively inconsequential , with no appreciable influence upon the final outcome, and hence not entitled to much consI'deration. The invasion of Canada has been looked upon as a sort of Galipoli expedition which did not have much, if any, bearing upon what went on in the main theatre of operations. Professor Wrong has corrected 'a number of such' notions in his Canada and the American Revoiution, which is a worthy sequel to his earlier volumes on the Rise and Fal' of New France. Most Americans have never been able to ~nder:stand why the "fourteenth colony" did not go along with the other thirteen. This is because of their relative .unfamiliarity with what had happened in Canada and in England during the in terval between the Peac;e of Parts and the Declaration of Independe,nce~ These thirte.en years were of critical importance in determining the ~ltimate decisio'n of , the French Canadia~,s, and that is why Professor Wrong devotes more than haJf his book to things whicJ1 transpired before the embattled farmers began their sport of ~niping at the redcoats. To understand the attitude of Canadians towards the overtures from the sou'th, it is self-evident that one must know something of h'ow the people lived in t~e stretch of northland along the St. Lawrence , who their leaders were, and what the habitant was thinking about~when he thought at all. ' " *Canada and 'he American Revolution, by George M. Wrong, Macmillan Company of Canada. 550 REVIEWS All this the author sets forth cogently and in a~ engaging way. Contrary to the traditional impression, he finds that relatively few of -the French inhabitants left Canada in the years following the conquest. Being freely permitted to go, they preferred to staywhich is wHat French Canadians usually do. The habitant was robust, and self-reliant; he could make a living more easily in Canada than in France as a member of-the oppressed third estate; what he ~anted was to be left alone on his ribbon of fertile land, and he soon found'that the new suzerains were willing to let him have this privilege. -At least two-thirds, probably more, of these people 'knew nothing of the world outside their own little cotes, or shore-villages, where the new masters of the colony never appeared at all. Revolutions do not thrive in such soil. Nevertheless, the English newcomers in -Canada made some serious errors and narrowly avoided a .few fatal ones. Military governors were none too conciliatory. As always in newly-conquered lands, there were officials who betrayed their trust. The short-lived attempt to impose English common law on the colony made for confusion. There was ominous unrest among the Indian tribes in the western regions, and the Pontiac uprising gave the colony an anxious interlude. But on the whole the transition years following 1763 were passed with less disorder and discontent than might have been expected. Things were quieting in Canada while they were being stirred up in the other colonies. A survey of this stirring-up process occupies several chapters of the book. The 'author reviews the British political system under George III, explains the principal enactments which sought to controLcolonial trade, examines the merits ofthe controversy about stamp taxes, and describes the over-dramatized 'Boston tea-party. All this is well-trodden ground, but it is traversed again without stumbling. Professor Wrong shows himself familiar with whatever...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 550-554
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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