Obrázky na stránke

mittee, addressing themselves in that instance rather to the local legislature, have advised that mortgages should be special, and that in proceedings for the conveyance of lands, the simplest and least expensive forms of conveyance should be adopted, upon the principles of the law of England; that form which prevails in Upper Canada, being probably, under all circumstances, the best which could be selected; and that the registration of deeds relating to soccage lands, should be established as in Upper Canada. "In addition," it is added, " to these recommendations, it appears to be desirable that some competent jurisdiction should be established, to try and decide causes arising out of this description of property;" (that is the soccage lands) " and that circuit courts should be instituted within the townships for the same purposes."

In these passages the design of the committee was to administer to the relief of the settlers of English origin, and their claims were pressed by Sir George Murray, on the attention of the assembly. Some advance has been accordingly made towards the establishment of a registry of deeds, and of local courts in the townships. Respecting the law of mortgages, and the forms of conveyancing, it does not appear that the assembly have hitherto interposed for the relief of that part of the constituent body.

Concluding at this point the comparison between the advice tendered to the government, and the measures adopted in pursuance of it, it may be confidently asserted, that the general statement made at the commencement of this minute has been substantiated. To the utmost limit of their constitutional power and legitimate

influence successive administrations have earnestly and successively laboured to carry the report of 1828 into complete effect in all its parts. It has already been shewn with how cordial an acquiescence that report was received by the house of assembly, with what liberal es the talent, the patriotism, the knowledge, and intile acquaintance with Canadian affairs, of its authors, were commended; how that document was hailed as the faithful interpretation of the wishes and wants of the Canadian people; and how the British government were called upon by the house of assembly to look to that report as their guide in remedying existing grievances, and obviating difficulties for the future. That this guide should have been studiously followed, that its suggestions should have been invariably construed and enforced, with no servile adherence to the letter, but in the most liberal acceptance of its prevailing spirit, and yet that such efforts should have been unavailing to produce the expected conciliation, may well justify the deepest regret and disappointment.




The perusal of this triumphant document naturally suggests two reflections; first, that the faithful execution of the recommendations of the committee is much more entitled to our approbation than the recommendations themselves; and, secondly, that the Canadian assembly were not to be satisfied with any concession whatever, short of independence.


As the memorials addressed to government by the English and French parties were variance in every material point, a common of enquiry, of which the governor, Lord Gosford, was head, was sent out to Canada in 1835. Whether this commission was necessary or not, is a matter with which I have nothing to do; I merely mention the fact as illustrative of the earnest desire that existed to compose these unfortunate difficulties, and to ascertain on the spot how much of concession could be made, consistently with retaining the sovereignty of the country. The commissioners were told "Your investigations will have for their common object the advancement of the welfare and prosperity of Lower Canada by all methods compatible with the integrity of the empire, and with the authority of the King as supreme in all parts of the British dominions.

"You will ever bear in mind that you are sent on a mission of peace and conciliation. You will therefore proceed in a spirit not of distrust, but of confidence; remembering that much of your success will depend, not only on

the zeal, ability and fairness of your enquiries, but also on your perfect separation from all local and party disputes, and on the unquestionable frankness and impartiality of your general conduct.

"You will observe, that the legislature of Lower Canada must ultimately be the instrument through which any benefits resulting from your mission must, to a very great extent, be accomplished. His Majesty disclaims the intention of provoking any unnecessary parliamentary interference in the internal affairs of the province. To mediate between adverse parties, with an entire respect for the constitutional rights common to them all, is the high office appropriate to his royal station, and this function the King, aided by your enquiries and advice, is anxious on the present occasion to perform."

The governor was told by Lord Glenelg, your lordship therefore proceeds to Canada to advocate no British interest, and to secure no selfish ends. To maintain the peace and integrity of the empire, and to mediate between contending parties, by whom those blessings have been endangered, is the high and honourable trust confided to you."

Every thing that was tangible in the cele


brated ninety-two resolutions, was put into shape, and separately commented upon for his guidance.

1. It is alleged, observes his Lordship, that the patronage of his Majesty's government in Lower Canada has been exercised in such a manner as to exclude the Canadians of French descent, not only from the larger number, but from all the more lucrative and honourable of the public employments in their native country.*

* Had his Lordship thought proper to have entered into particulars, he might have compiled the following table, to show how utterly false this accusation was. He might also have stated that the appointments contained in this table were made under every possible disadvantage, in consequence of the avowed hostility of the French to the government and institutions of the English, and also from the extreme difficulty of finding persons among them competent to discharge the duties assigned to them, and might have illustrated the last assertion by reference to the fact that out of two grand juries at this time at Montreal, only one person was found that could write his name. Of the last seven hundred and thirty-eight appointments the proportion stood thus

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]





29 [having held in all 35 offices,

52 persons.

Of British or Foreign appointed :-
To the Legislative Council


To the Executive


To other offices

18 [having held in all 22 offices.

37 persons.

« PredošláPokračovať »