Part 10

“92 Resolutions”

 

Here is the tenth installment of the 92 Resolutions.  Again, because it is seriously long, I am parceling the resolutions out five at a time, and for interest’s sake, am providing biographical information on those mentioned by name in the document.  Enjoy.

 

Taken from :

“The 92 Resolutions” taken from Statutes, Treaties and Documents of the Canadian Constitution, 1713-1929 (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1930).

(notes my own)

 

41. Resolved, That His Majesty’s Secretary of State for the Colonial Department has acknowledged his despatches, that it has frequently been admitted that the people of Canada ought to see nothing in the institutions of the neighbouring States which they could regard with envy, and that he has yet to learn that any such feeling now exists among His Majesty’s subjects in Canada; to which this House answers, that the neighbouring States have a form of government  very fit to prevent the abuses of power, and very effective in repressing them; that the reverse of this order of things has always prevailed in Canada under the present form of government; that there in the neighbouring States a stronger more general attachment to the national institutions than in any other country, and that there exists also in those States a guarantee for the progressive advance of their political institutions towards perfection, in the revision of the same at short and determinate intervals, by conventions of the people, in order that they may without any shock or violence be adapted to the actual state of things.

42.  Resolved, That it was in consequence of a correct idea of the state of the country, and of society generally in America, that the Committee of the House of Commons asked, whether there was not in the two Canadas a growing inclination to see the institutions become more and more popular, and in that respect more and more like the United States; and that John Neilson, esquire [John Neilson, Politician, (1776-1848) born in Scotland.  See: http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=Q1ARTQ0002548] one of the agents sent from this country, answered, that the fondness for popular institutions had made great progress in the two Canadas; and that the same agent was asked, whether he did not think that it would be wise that the object of every change made in the institutions of the province should be to comply more and more with the wishes of the people, and to render the said  the institutions extremely popular: to which question this House for and in the name of the people whom it represents, answers, solemnly and deliberately, “Yes, it would be wise; it would be excellent.”

43. Resolved, That the constitution and form of government which would best suit this colony are not to be sought solely in the analogies offered by the institutions of Great Britain, where the state of society is altogether different from our own; and that it would be wise to turn to profit by the information to be gained by observing the effects produced by the different and infinitely varied constitutions which the Kings and Parliament of England have granted to the several plantations and colonies in America, and by studying the way in which virtuous and enlightened men have modified such colonial institutions when it could be done with the assent of the parties interested.

44. Resolved, That the unanimous consent with which all the American States have adopted and extended the elective system, shows that it is adapted to the wishes, manners and social state of the inhabitants of this continent; that this system prevails equally among those of British and those of Spanish origin, although the latter, during the continuance of their colonial state, had been under the calamitous yoke of ignorance and absolutism; and that we do not hesitate to ask from the Prince of the House of Brunswick, and a reformed Parliament, all the freedom and political powers which the Princes of the House of Stuart and their Parliaments granted to the most favoured of the plantations formed at a period when such grants must have been less favourably regarded than they would now be.

45. Resolved, that it was not the best and most free systems of colonial government which tended most to hasten the independence of the old English colonies; since the Province of New York, in which the institutions were most monarchial in the sense which the word appears to bear in the dispatch of the Colonial Secretary, was the first to refuse obedience to an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain; and that the colonists of Connecticut and Rhode Island, which though closely and affectionately connected with the mother country for a long course of years, enjoyed constitutions purely democratic, were the last to enter into a confederation rendered necessary by the conduct of bad servants of the Crown, who called in the supreme authority of the Parliament, and the British Constitution to aid them to govern arbitrarily, listening rather to the governors and their advisors than to the people and their representatives, and shielding with their protection those who consumed the taxes rather than those who paid them.

 

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