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THE NEW PARTY

general; Hon. John Ross, president of the legislative council.

Lower Canada. Hon. A. N. Morin, commissioner of crown lands; Hon. L. P. Drummond, attorney-general for Lower Canada; Hon. P. J. O. Chauveau, provincial secretary; Hon. E. P. Taché, receiver-general; Hon. J. Chabot, commissioner of public works.

The new cabinet contained four Conservatives, and six members of the old ministry. Henry Smith, a Conservative, became solicitor-general for Upper Canada, and Dunbar Ross continued in the same office for Lower Canada, but neither of them had seats in the cabinet. The Liberal-Conservative party, organized under such circumstances was attacked with great bitterness by the leaders of the discordant factions, who were greatly disappointed at the success of the combination formed through the skilful management of Messrs. J. A. Macdonald, Hincks and Morin.

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The coalition was described as "an unholy alliance" of men who had entirely abandoned their principles. But an impartial historian must record the opinion that the coalition was perfectly justified by existing political conditions, that had it not taken place, a stable government would in all probability have been for some time impossible, and that the time had come for the reconstruction of parties with a broad generous policy which would ignore issues at last dead, and be more in

harmony with modern requirements. It might with some reason be called a coalition when the reconstruction of parties was going on, but it was really a successful movement for the annihilation of old parties and issues, and for the formation on their ruins of a new party which could gather to itself the best materials available for the effective conduct of public affairs on the patriotic platform of the union of the two races, of equal rights to all classes and creeds, and of the avoidance of purely sectional questions calculated to disturb the union of 1841.

The new government at once obtained the support of a large majority of the representatives from each section of the province, and was sustained by the public opinion of the country at large. During the session of 1854 measures were passed for the secularization of the reserves, the removal of the seigniorial tenure, and for the ratification of the reciprocity treaty with the United States. As I have only been able so far in this historical narrative to refer in a very cursory manner to these very important questions, I propose now to give in the following chapter a succinct review of their history from the time they first came into prominence down to their settlement at the close of Lord Elgin's administration in Canada.

CHAPTER VII

THE HISTORY OF THE CLERGY RESERVES, (1791-1854)

FOR

a long period in the history of Canada the development of several provinces was more or less seriously retarded, and the politics of the country constantly complicated by the existence of troublesome questions arising out of the lavish grants of public lands by the French and English governments. The territorial domain of French Canada was distributed by the king of France, under the inspiration of Richelieu, with great generosity, on a system of a modified feudal tenure, which, it was hoped, would strengthen the connection between the Crown and the dependency by the creation of a colonial aristocracy, and at the same time stimulate the colonization and settlement of the valley of the St. Lawrence; but, as we shall see in the course of the following chapter, despite the wise intentions of its promoters, the seigniorial tenure gradually became, after the conquest, more or less burdensome to the habitants, and an impediment rather than an incentive to the agricultural development and peopling of the province. Even little Prince Edward Island was troubled with a land question as early as 1767, when it was still

known by the name St. John, given it in the days of French rule. Sixty-seven townships, containing in the aggregate 1,360,600 English acres, were conveyed in one day by ballot, with a few reservations to the Crown, to a number of military men, officials and others, who had real or supposed claims on the British government. In this wholesale fashion the island was burdened with a land monopoly which was not wholly removed until after the union with the Canadian Dominion in 1873. Though some disputes arose in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick between the old and new settlers with respect to the ownership of lands after the coming of the Loyalists, who received, as elsewhere, liberal grants of land, they were soon settled, and consequently these maritime provinces were not for any length of time embarrassed by the existence of such questions as became important issues in the politics of Canada. Extravagant grants were also given to the United Empire Loyalists who settled on the banks of the St. Lawrence and Niagara rivers in Upper Canada, as some compensation for the great sacrifices they had made for the Crown during the American revolution. Large tracts of this property were sold either by the Loyalists or their heirs, and passed into the hands of speculators at very insignificant prices. Lord Durham in his report cites authority to show that not "one-tenth of the lands granted to United Empire Loyalists had been occupied by the persons to whom they

THE CLERGY RESERVES

were granted, and in a great proportion of cases not occupied at all." The companies which were also in the course of time organized in Great Britain for the purchase and sale of lands in Canada, also received extraordinary favours from the government. Although the Canada Company, which is still in existence, was an important agency in the settlement of the province of Upper Canada, its possession of immense tracts-some of them, the Huron Block, for instance, locked up for yearswas for a time a great public grievance.

But all these land questions sank into utter insignificance compared with the dispute which arose out of the thirty-sixth clause of the Constitutional Act of 1791, which provided that there should be reserved for the maintenance and support of a "Protestant clergy," in the provinces of Upper and Lower Canada, "a quantity of land equal in value to a seventh part of grants that had been made in the past, or might be made in the future." Subsequent clauses of the same act made provision for the erection and endowment of one or more rectories in every township or parish, "according to the establishment of the Church of England," and at the same time gave power to the legislature of the two provinces "to vary or repeal" these enactments of the law with the important reservation that all bills of such a character could not receive the royal assent until thirty days after they had been laid before both Houses of the imperial

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