Part 13

“92 Resolutions”

 

Here is the thirteenth 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)

 

 

56.  Resolved, That in addition to administrative and judicial abuses which have had an injurious effect upon the welfare and confidence, attempts have been made, from time to time, to induce the Parliament of the United Kingdom, by deceiving its justice and abusing its benevolent intentions, to adopt measures calculated to bring about combinations of the nature above mentioned, and to pass Acts of internal legislation for this province, having the same tendency, and with regard to which the people of the country had not been consulted; that, unhappily, the attempts to obtain the passing of some of these measures were successful, especially that of the Act of the 6 Geo 4, c. 59, commonly called the “Tenures Act,”[British North America (Seignorial Rights Act 1825- abolishing the Seignorial system in Canada] the repeal of which was unanimously demanded by all classes of the people, without distinction, through their representatives, a very short time after the number of the latter was increased; and that this House has not yet been able to obtain from His Majesty’s representatives in this province, or from any other source, any information as to the views of His Majesty’s Government in England in regard to the repeal of the said Act.

57.  Resolved, That the object of the said Act was, according to the benevolent intentions of Parliament, and as the title of the Act sets forth, the extinction of feudal or seigniorial rights and dues on lands held en fief and a cens in this province, with the intention of favouring the great body of the inhabitants of the country, and protecting them against the said dues, which were regarded as burdensome; but that the provinsions of the said Act, far from having the effect aforesaid, afford facilities to seignors to become, in opposition to the interests of their censitaires, the absolute proprietors of the extensive tracts of unconceded lands which, by the law of the country, they held only for the benefit of the inhabitants thereof, to whom they were bound to concede them in consideration of certain limited dues; that the said Act, if generally acted upon, would shut out the mass of the permanent inhabitants of the country from the vacant lands in the seignories, while at the same time they have been constantly prevented from settling on the waste lands of the Crown on easy and liberal terms, and under a tenure adapted to the laws of the country, by the partial, secret and vicious manner in which the Crown Land department has been managed, and by the provisions of the Act aforesaid, with regard to the laws applicable to the lands in question; and that the application made by certain seigniors for a change of tenure, under the authority of the said Act, appears to prove the correctness of the view which this House has taken its practical effect.

58. Resolved, That it was only in consequence of an erroneous supposition that feudal charges were inherent in the law of this country, as far as the possession and transmission of real property and the tenures recognised that by law were concerned, that it was enacted in the said Act that the lands with regard to the tenure of free and common soccage; that the seigniorial charges have been found burdensome in certain cases, chiefly by reason of the want of adequate means of obtaining the interference of the Colonial Government and of the courts of law, to enforce the ancient law of the country in that behalf, and that the Provincial Legislature was, moreover, fully competent to pass laws providing for the redemption of the said charges in a manner which should be in accordance with the interests of all parties, and for the introduction of the free tenures recognised by the laws of the country; that the House of Assembly has been repeatedly occupied, and now is occupied about this important subject; but that the said Tenures Act, insufficient of itself to effect equitably the purpose for which it was passed, is of a nature to embarrass and create obstacles to the effectual measures which the legislature of the country, with a full knowledge of the subject, might be disposed to adopt; and that the application thus made (to the exclusion of the Provincial Legislature) to the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which was far less competent to make equitable enactments on a subject so complicated in its nature, could only have been made with a view to unlawful speculations and the subversion of the laws of the country.

59. Resolved, That, independently of its many other serious imperfections, the said Act does not appear to have been founded on a sufficient knowledge of the laws of Great Britain to be applicable to certain incidents to real property therein enumerated; and that it has only served to augment the confusion and doubt which had prevailed in the courts of law, and in private transactions with regard to the law which applied to lands previously granted in free and common soccage.

60. Resolved, That the provision of the said Act which has excited the greatest alarm, and which is most at variance with the rights of the people of the country, and with those of the Provincial Parliament, is that which enacts that lands previously held en fief or en censive shall, after a charge of tenure shall have been effected with regard to them, be held in free and common soccage, and thereby become subject to the laws of Great Britain, under the several circumstances therein mentioned and enumerated; that besides being insufficient in itself, this provision is of a nature to bring into collision, in the old settlements, at multiplied points of contiguity, two opposite systems of laws, one of which is entirely unknown to this country, in which it is impossible to carry it into effect; that from the feeling manifested by the colonial authorities and their partisans towards the inhabitants of the country, the latter have just reason to fear that the enactment in question is only the prelude to the final subversion, by Acts of Parliament of Great Britain, fraudulently obtained in violation of its former engagements, of the system of laws by which the persons and property of the people of this province were so long happily governed.

 

 

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