Part 12

“92 Resolutions”

Here is the twelfth 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, and I 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)

51. Resolved, That the approbation expressed by the Colonial Secretary, in his said despatch, of the present composition of the Legislative Council, whose acts, since its pretended reform, have been marked by party spirit and by invidious national distinctions and preferences, is a subject of just alarm to His Majesty’s Canadian subjects in general, and more particularly to the great majority of them, who have not yet yielded at any time to any other class of the inhabitants of this province in their attachment to His Majesty’s government, in their love of pace and order, in respect for the laws, and in their wish to effect that union among the whole people which is so much to be desired, to the end that all may enjoy freely and equally the rights and advantages of British subjects, and of the institutions which have been guaranteed to and are dear to the country; that the distinctions and preferences aforesaid have almost constantly been used and taken advantage of by the Colonial Administration of this province, and the majority of the Legislative Councilors, Executive Councilors, Judges and other functionaries dependant upon it; and that nothing but the spirit of union among the several classes of the people, and their conviction that their interests are the same, could have prevented collisions incompatible with the prosperity and safety of the province.

52. Resolved, That since a circumstance, which did not depend upon the choice of the majority of the people, their French origin and their use of the French language, has been made by the colonial authorities a pretext for abuse, for exclusion, for political inferiority, for a separation of rights and interests; this House now appeals to the justice of His Majesty’s Government and of Parliament, and to the honour of the people of England; that the majority of the inhabitants of this country are nowise disposed to repudiate any one of the advantages they derive from their origin and from their descent from the French nation, which, with regard to the progress of which it has been the cause in civilization, in the sciences, in letters, and the arts, has never been behind the British Nation, and is now the worthy rival of the latter in the advancement of the cause of liberty and of the science of government; from which this country derives the greater portion of its civil and ecclesiastical law, and of its scholastic and charitable institutions, and of the religion, language, habits, manners and customs of the great majority of its inhabitants.

53. Resolved, That our fellow-subjects of British origin, in this province, came to settle themselves in a country, “the inhabitants whereof, professing the religion of the Church of Rome, enjoyed an established form of constitution and system of laws, by which their persons and their property had been protected, governed and ordered, during a long series of years, from the first establishment of the province of Canada;” that, prompted by these considerations, and guided by the rules of justice and of the law of nations, the British Parliament enacted that, “in all matters of controversy, relative to property and civil rights, resort should be had to the laws of Canada;” that when Parliament afterwards departed from the principle thus recognised, firstly, by the introduction of the English criminal law, and afterwards that of the representative system, with all the constitutional and parliamentary law necessary to its perfect action it did so in conformity to the sufficiently expressed wish of the Canadian people; and that every attempt on the part of public functionaries or of other persons (who on coming to settle in the province, made their condition their own voluntary act) against the existence of any portion of the laws and institutions particular to the country, and any preponderance given to such persons in the Legislative and Executive Councils, in the courts of law, or in other departments, are contrary to the engagements of the British Parliament, and to the rights guaranteed to His Majesty’s Canadian subjects, on the faith of the national honour of England, and on that of capitulations and treaties.

54. Resolved, That any combination, whatever effected by means of Acts of the British Parliament, obtained in contravention to its former engagements, or by means of the partial and corrupt administration of the present constitution and system of law, would be a violation of those rights, and would, as long as it should exist, be obeyed by the people from motives of fear and constraint, and not from choice and affection; that the conduct of the Colonial Administrations and of their agents and instruments in this colony, has for the most part been of a nature unjustly to create apprehensions as to the views of the people and government of the mother country, and to endanger the confidence and content of the inhabitants of this province, which can only be secured by equal laws, and by the observance of equal justice, as the rule of conduct in all the departments of the government.

55. Resolved, That whether the number of that class of His Majesty’s subjects in this province, who are of British origin, be that mentioned in the said address of the Legislative Council, or whether (as truth is) it amounts to less than half that number, the wishes and interests of the majority of them are common to them and to their fellow-subjects of French origin, and speaking the French language; that the one class love the country of their birth, the other that of their adoption; that the greater portion of the latter have acknowledged the generally beneficial tendency of the laws and institutions of the country, and have laboured, in concert with the former, to introduce into them gradually, and by the authority of the Provincial Parliament, the improvements of which they have, from time to time, appeared susceptible, and have resisted the confusion which it has been endeavoured to introduce into them in favour of schemes of monopoly and protecting government.