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During the Second Period the government was carried on by a loose interpretation of the Proclamation of 1763 and by various instructions given to the Governors. Of the latter I have only printed those which are of importance. The constitutional arrangement, pending the giving of representative institutions, was almost similar to that in a "Crown Colony."
From the very beginning of this period difficulties began. The presence of British settlers in Canada alien to the Canadians in race, speech and religion, complicated the situation. They took up a position of superiority which irritated Governors Murray and Carleton. Their demands for a strict interpretation of the Proclamation of 1763 in connexion with law and justice, and for a House of Assembly in which the Canadians should not be represented, fill the documents of the period. In this section I have printed documents which illustrate various attempts (i) to interpret the Proclamation of 1763 (ii) to obtain a House of Assembly; and I have added (iii) several despatches which throw light on the chaotic state of the administration of law, and on the general difficulties with which the officials met in carrying on the government. Out of these difficulties came efforts to improve conditions. Ordinances and various reports to the British Government which I have selected illustrate these efforts. The period closes with the debates on the Quebec Act, which received the royal assent on June 22, 1774. From these debates liberal selections have been made, as they are invaluable in studying this period.
INSTRUCTIONS TO GOVERNOR MURRAY, 7 DECEMBER, 1763' [Trans. Shortt and Doughty.]
Instructions to Our Trusty and Wellbeloved James Murray, Esq., Our Captain General and Governor in Chief in and over our Province (L.S.) of Quebec in America, and of all our Territories dependent thereupon. Given at Our Court of St. James's the seventh Day of December, 1763, in the Fourth Year of Our Reign.
1. With these Our Instructions You will receive Our Commission under Our Great Seal of Great Britain, constituting You Our Captain General and Governor in Chief in and over Our Province of Quebec in America, bounded on the Labrador Coast by the River St. John, and from thence by a Line drawn from the Head of that River through the Lake St. John to the South End of the Lake Nipissin; from whence the said Line crossing the River St. Lawrence and the Lake Champlain in forty five Degrees of North Latitude, passes along the High Lands, which divide the Rivers that empty themselves into the said River St. Lawrence, from those which fall into the Sea; and also along the North Coast of the Baye des Chaleurs and the Coast of the Gulph of St. Lawrence to Cape Rosieres, and from thence crossing the Mouth of the River St. Lawrence by the West End of the Island of Anticosti, terminates at the aforesaid River of St. John: You are therefore to take upon You the Execution of the Office and Trust We have reposed in You, and the Administration of Government, and to do and execute all Things in due manner that shall belong to your Command, according to the several Powers and Authorities of Our said Commission under Our Great Seal of Great Britain, and these Our Instructions to You, or according to such further Powers and Instructions as shall at any Time hereafter be granted or appointed You under Our Signet and Sign Manual, or by Our Order in Our Privy Council.
2. And You are, with all due Solemnity, to cause Our said Commission to be published at Quebec, which We do appoint to be the Place of your Residence and the principal Seat of Government, in the Districts of Montreal and Trois Rivieres, and in such other parts of your Government as You shall think necessary and expedient, as soon as possible; which being done, You are in the next place to nominate and establish a Council for Our said Province, to assist You in the Administration of Government, which Council is, for the present, to be composed of the Persons, Whom We have appointed to be Our Lieutenant Governors of Montreal and Trois Rivieres, Our Chief Justice of Our said Province, and the Surveyor General of Our Customs in America for the Northern District, and Eight other Persons to be chosen by You from amongst the most considerable of the Inhabitants of, or Persons of Property in Our said Province; which Persons so nominated and appointed by You as aforesaid, (Five of which We do hereby appoint to be a Quorum), are to be Our Council for Our said Province, and to have and enjoy all the Powers, Privilege and Authority usually exercised and enjoyed by the Members of Our Councils in Our other Plantations, and also such others as are contained in Our said Commission under Our Great Seal of Great Britain, and in these Our Instructions to You; and they shall meet together at such Time or Times, Place or Places, as You, in your Discretion, shall think necessary and expedient: It is nevertheless Our Will and Pleasure, that the said Chief Justice, or Surveyor General of Our Customs, shall not be capable of taking the Admin
Murray's Commission as Civil Governor was dated 21 November, 1763. He did not take up his new position, however, till August, 1764. Doubtless this delay was due to the provisions of the fourth section of the Peace of Paris (q.v.).
istration of the Government upon the Death or Absence of You Our Governor, or the Commander in Chief for the Time Being.
3. And You are forthwith to call Our said Council together, or such of them as can be conveniently assembly, and to cause Our said Commission to You to be read at such Meeting; which being done, You shall then take yourself, and also administer to Our Lieutenant Governors respectively, and to the Members of Our said Council, the Oaths mentioned in an Act, passed in the first Year of the Reign of His Majesty King George the First, intituled, “An Act for the further Security of His Majesty's Person "and Government, and the Succession of the Crown in the Heirs of the late "Princess Sophia, being Protestants, and for extinguishing the Hopes of "the pretended Prince of Wales, and his open and secret_Abettors;”—as also to make and subscribe, and cause them to make and subscribe, the Declaration mentioned in an Act of Parliament made in the Twenty fifth Year of the Reign of King Charles the Second, intituled, "An Act for pre"venting Dangers which may happen from Popish Recusants." And You and every one of Them are likewise to take an Oath for the due Execution of your and their Places and Trusts, with regard to your and their equal and impartial Administration of Justice;-and You are also to take the Oath required by an Act passed in the seventh and eighth Years of the Reign of King William the Third to be taken by Governors of Plantations, to do their utmost that the Laws relating to the Plantations be observed.
4. And You are forthwith to transmit unto Our Commissioners for Trade and Plantations, in order to be laid before Us for Our Approbation or Disallowance, the Names of the Members of the Council so to be appointed by You, as aforesaid; as also a list of the Names and Characters of Eight other Persons in Our said Province, whom You judge properly qualified to serve in that Station; to the End that, if any of the Persons appointed by You, as aforesaid, shall not be approved and confirmed by Us, under Our Signet and Sign Manual, the Place or Places of such Persons so disapproved may be forthwith supplied from the said List, or otherwise, as We shall think fit.
9. You are forthwith to communicate such and so many of these Our Instructions to Our said Council, wherein their Advice and Consent are mentioned to be requisite; as likewise all such others, from time to time, as You shall find convenient for Our Service to be imparted to them.
10. You are to permit the Members of Our said Council to have and enjoy Freedom of Debate and Vote, in all affairs of public Concern that may be debated in Council.
11. And whereas it is directed, by Our Commission to You under Our great Seal, that so soon as the Situation and Circumstances of Our said Province will admit thereof, you shall, with the Advice of Our Council, summon and call a General Assembly of the Freeholders in Our said Province; You are therefore, as soon as the more pressing Affairs of Government will allow to give all possible attention to the carrying this important Object into Execution: But, as it may be impracticable for the present to form such an Establishment, You are in the mean time to make such Rules and Regulations, by the Advice of Our said Council, as shall appear to be necessary for the Peace, Order and good Government of Our said Province, taking Care that nothing be passed or done, that shall any ways tend to effect the Life, Limb or Liberty of the Subject, or to the imposing any Duties or Taxes: and that all such Rules and Regulations be transmitted to Us, by the first Opportunity after they are passed and made, for Our Approbation or Disallowance. And it is Our Will and Pleasure, that when an Assembly shall have been summoned and met, in such manner as You, in your Discretion, shall think most proper, or as shall be hereafter directed and appointed, the following Regulations be carefully observed in the framing and passing all such Laws, Statutes and Ordinances as are to be passed by You, with the Advice and Consent of Our said Council and Assembly; viz.:
That the Style of Enacting the said Laws, Statutes and Ordinances be by the Governor, Council and Assembly and no other;
That each different Matter be provided for by a different Law, without including in one and the same Act such Things as have no proper Relation to each other;
That no Clause be inserted in any Act or Ordinance,which shall be foreign to what the Title of it imports; and that no perpetual Clause be part of any temporary Law;—
That no Law or Ordinance whatever be suspended, altered, continued, revived or repealed by general Words; but that the Title and Date of such Law or Ordinance be particularly mentioned in the enacting part;
That no Law or Ordinance, respecting private Property, be passed without a Clause suspending its Execution, until Our Royal Will and Pleasure is known; nor without a saving of the Right of Us, Our Heirs and Successors, and of all Bodies politic and corporate, and of all other Persons, except such as are mentioned in the said Law or Ordinance, and those claiming by, from, and under them; and before such Law or Ordinance is passed, Proof must be made before You, in Council, and entered in the Council Books, that public Notification was made of the Party's Intention to apply for such Act in the several Parish Churches, where the Lands in Question lie, for three Sundays at least successively before any such Law or Ordinance shall be proposed; and You are to transmit, and annex to the said Law, or Ordinance, a Certificate under your hand, that the same passed through all the Forms abovementioned ;
That in all Laws or Ordinances for levying Money, or imposing Fines, Forfeitures or Penalties, express mention be made, that the same is granted or reserved to Us, our Heirs and Successors, for the public Uses of the said Province, and the Support of the Government thereof, as by the said Law, or Ordinance shall be directed; and that a Clause be inserted, declaring, that the Money arising by the Operation of the said Law, or Ordinance shall be accounted for unto Us in this Kingdom, and to Our Commissioners of Our Treasury, or Our High Treasurer for the time being, and audited by Our Auditor General of Our Plantations, or his Deputy;
That all such Laws, Statutes, and Ordinances be transmitted by You within three Months after their passing, or sooner, if Opportunity offers, to Our Commissioners for Trade and Plantations: that they be fairly abstracted in the Margents, and accompanied with very full and particular Observations upon each of them, that is to say, whether the same is introductive of a new Law, declaratory of a former Law, or does repeal a Law then before in being; and You are also to transmit, in the fullest manner the Reasons and Occasion for enacting such Laws, or Ordinances, together with fair Copies of the Journals of the Proceedings of the Council and Assembly, which You are to require from the Clerks of the said Council and Assembly.
12. And to the end that nothing may be passed or done to the Prejudice of the true Interests of this Our Kingdom, the just Rights of Us, Our Heirs and Successors, or the Property of Our Subjects; it is Our express Will and Pleasure, that no Law whatever, which shall in any wise tend to affect the Commerce or Shipping of this Kingdom, or which shall any ways relate to the Rights and Prerogative of Our Crown, or the Property of Our Subjects, or which shall be of an unusual or extraordinary Nature, be finally ratified and assented to by You, until You shall have first transmitted a Draught of such Law, and shall have received Our Directions thereupon, unless You take care, that a Clause be inserted, suspending and deferring the Execution thereof, until Our Pleasure is known concerning the same.
13. And whereas Laws have formerly been enacted in several of Our Plantations in America for so short a Time, that Our Royal Assent or Refusal thereof could not be had before the Time, for which such Laws were enacted, did expire; You shall not give your Assent to any Law, that shall be enacted for a less Time than two Years, except in Cases of imminent Necessity, or immediate temporary Expediency; and You shall not re-enact any Law, to which Our Assent shall have been once refused, without express Leave for that purpose first obtained from Us, upon a fu