M2001.30.3 | Lord Elgin and Staff leaving Government House for Parliament, April 1849

Lord Elgin and Staff leaving Government House for Parliament, April 1849
Francis Augustus Grant, 1829-1854
1849, 19th century
Ink on paper
20.3 x 27.8 cm
Gift of Mr. George R. MacLaren
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Drawing (18637) , drawing (18379) , Figure (1339) , Figure (1339)
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Keys to History

Feelings ran high against colonial officials in the late 1840s as Britain announced its support for responsible government, for free trade that would replace protectionism and mercantilism, and for a reduction of its military and administrative expenses in colonies like Canada. English Montrealers vented their anger at Governor General Elgin by stoning his carriage in Montreal.

Source : The Aftermath of the Rebellions [Web tour], by Brian J. Young, McGill University (see Links)

  • What

    Montreal was the scene of most of the violence with the Governor General's coach being stoned and the Parliament buildings burned.

  • Where

    The year 1848 was a critical time in Europe with upheavals in countries like France, Denmark, Italy and Hungary. Montrealers read accounts of these rebellions; in addition, many began to display an interest in American democracy and republicanism the following year.

  • When

    The year 1849 was a time of keen disappointment for English Montreal. After being victorious in the rebellions, it saw the patriotes receiving compensation for their losses, while free trade instituted by Britain jeopardized the protected markets from which Montreal merchants had long benefited.

  • Who

    The Governor General was the symbol of British power in Canada. Elgin accepted responsible government by signing the Rebellion Losses Bill, which compensated the patriotes for damage resulting from the rebellions. This enraged many in the English community.