The country about Monklands is very beautiful, and there are still abundant openings on the mountain sides for villas, similar to the very handsome and tasteful erections with which they are at present pretty thickly studded. "Leaving Montreal one evening by steamer, I dropped down to Quebec. The St. Lawrence below Montreal is broad, deep, and, in some places, winding.
It was arranged that Lord Elgin should receive this Address at the Government House instead of at Monklands. Accordingly, on April 30, he drove into the city, escorted by a troop of volunteer dragoons, and accompanied by several of his suite. On his way through the streets he was greeted with showers of stones, and with difficulty preserved his face from being injured.
While awaiting, in his retreat at Monklands, the contrecoup from the mother-country of the storm which had burst over the colony, Lord Elgin found a great source of consolation in the numerous sympathetic addresses which poured in from every part of the province: fortifying him in the conviction that the heart of the colony was with him, and that the bitter opposition at Montreal was chiefly due to local causes; especially 'to commercial distress, acting on religious bigotry and national hatred. One of these addresses, coming from the county of Glengarry, an ancient settlement of Scottish loyalists, appears to have touched the Scotsman's heart within the statesman's.
The bill, however, passed the legislature by a large majority, and received the crown's assent through Lord Elgin on the 25th April, 1849. A large crowd immediately assembled around the parliament house formerly the St. Anne Market House and insulted the governor-general by opprobrious epithets, and by throwing missiles at him as he drove away to Monklands, his residence in the country.
It was decided to present the address to him, not at the suburban seat of 'Monklands, but publicly at Government House, the Château de Ramezay in the heart of the city. Such a decision showed no little courage on both sides, but the end was almost a tragedy. Lord Elgin came very near being murdered in the streets of Montreal.
On his return to Monklands he was obliged to take a circuitous route to evade the same mob who were waiting with the object of further insulting him and otherwise giving vent to their feelings.
Lord Elgin shut himself up in Monklands for about three months after this outrage, and the Parliament and court were removed to Toronto, which, until the turn comes round to some other place, has the exclusive honour of hearing the rather strong oratory of the Upper Province.
A few days later, when the assembly, then temporarily housed in the hall of Bonsecours Market, attempted to present an address to Lord Elgin, he was in imminent danger of his life while on his way to the government house then the old Château de Ramesay in Nôtre-Dame Street and the consequences might have been most serious had he not evaded the mob on his return to Monklands.
The 'independent inhabitants' voted him 'democratic' for walking out to 'Monklands' in a blizzard, when hardly any one else was stirring abroad. He was made welcome for another reason. The experiment of popular government was not working particularly well. The constitution did really 'march, but with ominous creakings and groanings, which seemed to threaten a complete break-down.
Leaving his bride behind him, to follow at a less inclement season, he set out for the seat of his new duties early in January, and reached Montreal on the 29th. He took up his quarters at Monklands, the suburban residence of the Governor.