Part 16

“92 Resolutions”

 

Here is the sixteenth 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)

 

 

81.  Resolved, That as the grand inquest of the province, it is the duty of this House to inquire concerning all grievances, and all circumstances which may endanger the general welfare of the inhabitants of the province, or be of a nature to excite alarm in them with regard to their lives, their liberty and their property, to the end that such representations may be made to our Most Gracious Sovereign, or such legislative measures introduced, as may lead to the redress of such grievances, or tend to allay such alarm; and that far from having a right to impede the exercise of these rights and privileges, the Governor-in-Chief is deputed by his Sovereign, is invested with great powers, and receives a large salary, as much for defending the rights of the subject and facilitating the exercise of the privileges of this House and of all constituted bodies, as for maintaining the prerogatives of the Crown.

82. Resolved, that since the commencement of the present session, a great number of petitions relating to the infinite variety of objects connected with the public welfare, have been presented to this House, and many messages and important communications received by it, both from His Majesty’s Government in England and from His Majesty’s Provincial Government; that many bills have been introduced in this House, and many important inquiries ordered by it, in several of which the Governor-in-Chief is personally and deeply implicated; that the said petition from our constituents, the people of all parts of this province; the said communications from His Majesty’s Government in England and from the Provincial Government; the said bills already introduced or in preparation; the said inquiries commenced and intended to be diligently prosecuted, may and must necessitate the presence of numerous witnesses, the production of numerous papers, the employment of numerous clerks, messengers and assistants, and much printing, and lead to inevitable and daily disbursements, forming the contingent expenses of this House.

83. Resolved, that from the year 1792 to the present, advances had constantly been made to meet these expenses, on addresses similar to that presented this year by this House to the Governor-in-Chief, according to the practice adopted by the House of Commons; that an address of this kind is the most solemn vote of credit which this House can pass, and that almost the whole amount of a sum exceeding £277,000 has been advanced on such votes by the predecessors of his Excellency the Governor in Chief, and by himself (as he acknowledges by his message of the 18th of January, 1834) without any risk having ever been in incurred by any other governor on account of any such advance, although several of them have had differences, attended by violence and injustice on their part, with the House of Assembly, and without their apprehending that the then next Parliament would not be disposed to make good the engagements of the House of Assembly for the time being; and that this refusal of the Governor-in-Chief, in the present instance, essentially impedes the dispatch of the business for which the Parliament was called together, is derogatory to the rights and honour of this House, and forms another grievance for which the present administration of this province is responsible.

84.  Resolved, that besides the grievances and abuses before mentioned, there exist in this province a great number of others (a part of which existed before the commencement of the present administration, which has maintained them, and is the author of a portion of them) with regard to which this House reserves to itself the right of complaining and demanding reparation, and the number of which is too great allow of their being enumerated here; that this House points out, as among that number.

1stly.  The vicious composition and the irresponsibility of the Executive Council, the members of which are at the same time judges of the Court of Appeals, and the secrecy with which not only the functions, but even the names of the members of that body are kept from the knowledge of this House, when inquiries have been instituted by it on the subject.

2dly. The exorbitant fees illegally exacted in certain of the public offices, and in others connected with the judicial department, under regulations made by the Executive Council, by the judges, and by other functionaries usurping the powers of the legislature.

3dly. The practice of illegally calling upon the judges, to give their opinions secretly on questions which may afterwards publicly and contradictorily argued before them; and the opinions themselves so given by the said judges, as political partisans, in opposition to the laws, but in favour of the administration for the time being.

4thly. The cummulation of public places and offices in the same persons, and the efforts made by a number of families connected with the administration, to perpetuate this state of things for their own advantage, and for the sake of domineering for ever, with interested views and in the spirit of the party, over the people and their representatives.

5thly. The intermeddling of members of the Legislative Councils in the election of the representatives of the people, for the purpose of influencing and controlling them by force, and the selection frequently made of returning officers for the purpose of securing the same partial and corrupt ends; the interference of the present Governor-in-chief himself in the said elections; his approval of the intermeddling of the said legislative councilors in the said elections; the partiality with which he intervened in the judicial proceedings connected with the said elections, for the purpose of influencing the said proceedings, in a manner favourable to the military power and contrary to the independence of the judicial power; and the applause which, as commander of the forces, he bestowed upon the sanguinary execution of the citizens by the soldiery.

6thly. The interference of the armed military force at such elections, through which three peacable citizens, whose exertions were necessary to the support of their families, and who were strangers to the agitation of the election, were shot dead in the streets [Montreal West Ward Elections, 1834]; the applause bestowed by the Governor in chief and Commander of the Forces on the authors of this sanguianary military execution (who had not been acquitted by a petty jury) for the firmness and discipline displayed by them on that occasion.

7thly. The various faulty and partial systems which have been followed ever since the passing of the Constitutional Act [1792], with regard to the management of the waste lands in this province, and have rendered it impossible for the great majority of the people of the country to settle on the said lands; the fraudulent and illegal manner in which, contrary to His Majesty’s instructions, Governors, Legislative and Executive Councillors, Judges and subordinate officers have appropriated to themselves large tracts of the said lands; the monopoly of an extensive portion of the said lands in the hands of speculators residing in England, with which the province is now threatened; and the alarm generally felt therein with regard to the alleged participation of His Majesty’s Government in this scheme, without its having deigned to re-assure his faithful subjects on this head, or to reply to the humble address to His Majesty adopted by this House during the last session.

8thly. The increase of the expenses of the Government without the authority of the Legislature, and the disproportion of the salaries paid to the public functionaries for the services performed by them, to the rent of real property, and to the ordinary income commanded by the exertions of persons possessing talent, industry and economy equal to, or greater than those of the said functionaries.

9thly. The want of all recourse in the courts of law on the part of those who have just and legal claims on the Government.

10thly. The too frequent reservation of bills for the signification of His Majesty’s pleasure, and the neglect of the Colonial Office to consider such bills, a great number of which have never been sent back to the province, and some of which have even been returned so late that doubts may be entertained as to the validity of the sanction given to them; a circumstance which has introduced irregularity and uncertaintly into the legislation of the province, and is felt by this House as an impediment to the re-introduction of the bills reserved during the then prededing session.

11thly.  The neglect on the part of the Colonial Office to give any answer to certain addresses transmitted by this House on important subjects; the practice followed by the administration of communicating in an incomplete manner, and by extracts, and frequently without giving their dates, the despatches received from time to time on subjects which have engaged the attention of this House; and the too frequent references to the opinion of His Majesty’s Ministers in England, on the part of the provincial administration, upon points which it is in their power and within their power to decide.

12thly.  The unjust retention of the college at Quebec, which forms part of the estates of the late Order of Jesuits, and which from a college has been transformed into a barrack for soldiers; the renewal of the lease of a considerable portion of the same estates, by the Provincial executive, in favour of a member of the Legislative Council, since those estates were returned to the Legislature, and in opposition to the prayer of this House, and to the known wishes of a great number of His Majesty’s subjects to obtain lands there, and to settle them; and the refusal of the said executive to communicate the said lease, and other information on the subject, to this House.

13thly. The obstacles unjustly opposed by the executive, friendly to abuses and to ignorance, to the establishment of colleges endowed by virtuous and disinterested men, for the purpose of meeting the growing desires of the people for the careful education of their children.

14thly. The refusal of justice with regard to the accusations brought by this House, in the name of the people, against judges, for flagrant acts of malversation, and for ignorance and violation of the law.

15thly. The refusals on the part of the governors, and more especially of the present Governor-in-Chief, to communicate to this House, the information asked for by it, from time to time, and which it had a right to obtain, on a great number of subjects connected with the public business of the province.

16thly. The refusal of His Majesty’s Government to reimburse the province the amount for which the late Receiver-General was a defaulter, and its neglect to enforce the recourse which the province was entitled to against the property and person of the late Receiver-General.

85. Resolved, that the facts mentioned in the foregoing resolutions, demonstrate that the laws and constitutions of the province have not, at any period, been administered in a manner more contrary to the interests of His Majesty’s Government, and to the rights of the people of this province, than under the present administration, and render it necessary that his Excellency Matthew Lord Aylmer, of Balrath, the present Governor-in-Chief of this province, be formally accused by this House, of having, while acting as Governor, in contradiction to the wishes of the Imperial Parliament, and to the instructions he may have received, and against the honour and dignity of the Crown, and the rights and privileges of this House and the people whom it represents, so recomposed the Legislative Council as to the augment the dissensions which rend this colony; of having seriously impeded the labours of this House, acting as the grand inquest of the country; of having disposed of the public revenue of the province, against the consent of the Reprensentatives of the people, and in violation of the law and constitution; of having maintained existing abuses, and created new ones; of having refused to sign a writ for the election of a representative to fill a vacancy which had happened in this House, and to complete the number of representatives established by law for this province; and that this House expects from the honour, patriotism and justice of the reformed Parliament of the United Kingdom, that the Commons of the said Parliament will bring impeachments, and will support such impeachments before the House of Lords against the said Matthew Lord Aylmer, for his illegal, unjust and unconstitutional administration of the government of this province; and against such of the wicked and perverse advisers who have misled him, as this House may hereafter accuse, if there be no means of obtaining justice against them in the province, or at the hands of His Majesty’s Executive Government in England.

 

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