John George Bourinot.

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and settlement), which would tend to confound and sub-
vert rights instead of supporting them." In 1772 and
1773 Attorney-General Thurlow and Solicitor-General Wed-
derburne dwelt on the necessity of dealing on principles
of justice with the province of Quebec. The French
Canadians, said the former, " seem to have been strictly
entitled by the jus gentium to their property, as they possessed
it upon the capitulation and treaty of peace, together with all
its qualities and incidents by tenure or otherwise." It seemed
a necessary consequence that all those laws by which that
property was created, defined, and secured, must be continued
to them. The Advocate-General Marriott, in 1773, also made
a number of valuable suggestions in the same spirit, and at the
same time expressed the opinion that under the existent con-
ditions of the country it was not possible or expedient to call
an assembly. Before the imperial government came to a posi-
tive conclusion on the vexed questions before it, they had the
advantage of the wise experience of Sir Guy Carleton, who
visited England and remained there for some time. The
result of the deliberation of years was the passage through the
British parliament of the measure known as "The Quebec
Act," which has always been considered the charter of the
special privileges which the French Canadians have enjoyed
ever since, and which, in the course of a century, made their
province one of the most influential sections of British North

The preamble of the Quebec Act fixed new territorial
limits for the province. It comprised not only the country
affected by the proclamation of 1763, but also all the eastern
territory which had been previously annexed to Newfoundland.
In the west and south-west the province was extended to the
Ohio and the Mississippi, and in fact embraced all the lands

46 Canada under British Rule. [CHAP.

beyond the Alleghanies coveted and claimed by the old
English colonies, now hemmed in between the Atlantic and
the Appalachian range. 'It was now expressly enacted that
the Roman Catholic inhabitants of Canada should thenceforth
"enjoy the free exercise" of their religion, "subject to the
king's supremacy declared and established" by law, and on
condition of taking an oath of allegiance, set forth in the act.
The Roman Catholic clergy were allowed "to hold, receive,
and enjoy their accustomed dues and rights, with respect to
such persons only as shall confess the said religion "that is,
one twenty-sixth part of the produce of the land, Protestants
being specially exempted. The French Canadians were allowed
to enjoy all their property, together with all customs and usages
incident thereto, " in as large, ample and beneficial manner," as
if the proclamation or other acts of the crown " had not been
made"; but the religious orders and communities were excepted
in accordance with the terms of the capitulation of Montreal
the effect of which exception I have already briefly stated. In
" all matters of controversy relative to property and civil rights,"
resort was to be had to the old civil law of French Canada " as
the rule for the decision of the same "; but the criminal law of
England was extended to the province on the indisputable
ground that its " certainty and lenity " were already '^sensibly
felt by the inhabitants from an experience of more than nine
years." The government of the province was entrusted to
a governor and a legislative council appointed by the crown,
"inasmuch as it was inexpedient to call an assembly." The
council was to be composed of not more than twenty-three
residents of the province. At the same time the British parlia-
ment made special enactments for the imposition of certain
customs duties "towards defraying the charges of the administra-
tion of justice and the support of the civil government of the
province." All deficiencies in the revenues derived from these
and other sources had to be supplied by the imperial treasury.
During the passage of the act through parliament, it evoked

II.] Beginnings of British Ride. 1760 1774 47

the bitter hostility of Lord Chatham, who was then the self-
constituted champion of the old colonies, who found the act
most objectionable, not only because it established the Roman
Catholic religion, but placed under the government of Quebec
the rich territory west of the Alleghanies. Similar views were
expressed by the Mayor and Council of London, but they had
no effect. The king, in giving his assent, declared that the
measure " was founded on the clearest principles of justice and
humanity, and would have the best effect in quieting the
minds and promoting the happiness of our Canadian subjects."
In French Canada the act was received without any popular
demonstration by the French Canadians; but the men to whom
the great body of that people always looked for advice and
guidance the priests, cures, and seigniors naturally regarded
tj^ese concessions to their nationality as giving most unques-
tionable evidence of the considerate and liberal spirit in which
the British government was determined to rule the province.
They had had ever since the conquest satisfactory proof that
their religion was secure from all interference, and now the
British parliament itself came forward with legal guarantees, not
only for the free exercise of that religion, with all its incidents
and tithes, but also for the permanent establishment of the civil
law to which they attached so much importance. The fact
that no provision was made for a popular assembly could not
possibly offend a people to whom local self-government in^
any form was entirely unknown. It was impossible to consti-
tute an assembly from the few hundred Protestants who were
living in Montreal and Quebec, and it was equally impossible,
in view of the religious prejudices dominant in England and
the English colonies, to give eighty thousand French Canadian
Roman Catholics privileges which their co-religionists did not
enjoy in Great Britain and to allow them to sit in an elected
assembly. Lord North seemed to voice the general opinion of
the British parliament on this difficult subject, when he closed
the debate with an expression of " the earnest hope that the

48 Canada tinder British Rule. [CHAP.

Canadians will, in the course of time, enjoy as much of our
laws and, as much of our constitution as may be beneficial to
that country and safe for this"; but "that time," he concluded,
"had not yet come." It does not appear from the evidence
before us that the British had any other motive in passing the
Quebec Act than to do justice to the French Canadian people,
now subjects of the crown of England. It was not a measure
primarily intended to check the growth of popular institutions,
but solely framed to meet the actual conditions of a people
entirely unaccustomed to the working of representative or
popular institutions. It was a preliminary step in the develop-
ment of self-government.

On the other hand the act was received with loud expres-
sions of dissatisfaction by the small English minority who had
hoped to see themselves paramount in the government of the
province. In Montreal, the headquarters of the disaffected, an
attempt was made to set fire to the town, and the king's bust
was set up in one of the public squares, daubed with black,
and decorated with a necklace made of potatoes, and bearing the
inscription Voila le pape du Canada 6 le sot Anglais. The
author of this outrage was never discovered, and all the influ-
ential French Canadian inhabitants of the community were
deeply incensed that their language should have been used to
insult a king whose only offence was his assent to a measure of
justice to themselves.

Sir Guy Carleton, who had been absent in England for four
years, returned to Canada on the i8th September, 1774, and
was well received in Quebec. The first legislative council
under the Quebec Act was not appointed until the beginning of
August, 1775. Of the twenty-two members who composed it,
eight were influential French Canadians bearing historic names.
The council met on the 1 7th August, but was forced to adjourn
on the 7th September, on account of the invasion of Canada
by the troops of the Continental Congress, composed of
representatives of the rebellious element of the Thirteen

II J Beginnings of British Ride. 17601774. 49

Colonies. In a later chapter I shall very shortly review the
effects of the American revolution upon the people of Canada ;
but before I proceed to do so it is necessary to take my readers
fust to Nova Scotia on the eastern seaboard of British North
America, and give a brief summary of its political development
from the beginning of British rule.

SECTION 2. The foundation of Nova Scotia

The foundation of Halifax practically put an end to the
Acadian period of Nova Scotian settlement. Until that time
the English occupation of the country was merely nominal.
Owing largely to the representations of Governor Shirley, of
Massachusetts a statesman of considerable ability, who dis-
tinguished himself in American affairs during a most critical
period of colonial history the British government decided at
last on a vigorous policy in the province, which seemed more
than once on the point of passing out of their hands. Halifax
was founded by the Honourable Edward Cornwallis on the
slope of a hill, whose woods then dipped their branches into
the very waters of the noble harbour long known as Chebuctou,
and renamed in honour of a distinguished member of the
Montague family, who had in those days full control of the
administration of colonial affairs.

Colonel Cornwallis, a son of the Baron of that name a
man of firmness and discretion entered the harbour on the
2ist of June, old style, or 2nd July, present style, and soon
afterwards assumed his duties as governor of the province.
The members of his first council were sworn in on board one
of the transports in the harbour. Between 2000 and 3000
persons were brought at this time to settle the town and
country. These people were chiefly made up of retired military
and naval officers, soldiers and sailors, gentlemen, mechanics,

B. C. A

50 Canada under British Rule. [CHAP.

farmers far too few and some Swiss, who were extremely
industrious and useful. On the whole, they were not the best
colonists to build up a prosperous industrial community. The
government gave the settlers large inducements in the shape of
free grants of land, and practically supported them for the first
two or three years. It was not until the Acadian population
were removed, and their lands were available, that the founda-
tion of the agricultural prosperity of the peninsula was really
laid. In the summer of 1753 a considerable number of
Germans were placed in the present county of Lunenburg,
where their descendants still prosper, and take a most active
part in all the occupations of life.

With the disappearance of the French Acadian settlers
Nova Scotia became a British colony in the full sense of the
phrase. The settlement of 1749 was supplemented in 1760,
and subsequent years, by a valuable and large addition of
people who were induced to leave Massachusetts and other
colonies of New England and settle in townships of the present
counties of Annapolis, King's, Hants, Queen's, Yarmouth,
Cumberland, and Colchester, especially in the beautiful town-
ships of Cornwallis and Horton, where the Acadian meadows
were the richest. A small number also settled at Maugerville
and other places on the St John River.

During the few years that had elapsed since the Acadians
were driven from their lands, the sea had once more found its
way through the ruined dykes, which had no longer the skilful
attention of their old builders. The new owners of the Acadian
lands had none of the special knowledge that the French had
acquired, and were unable for years to keep back the ever-
encroaching tides. Still there were some rich uplands and
low-lying meadows, raised above the sea, which richly rewarded
the industrious cultivator. The historian, Haliburton, describes
the melancholy scene that met the eyes of the new settlers
when they reached, in 1760, the old homes of the Acadians at
Mines. They came across a few straggling families of Acadians

II.] Beginnings of British Ride. 17601774. 51

who "had eaten no bread for years, and had subsisted on
vegetables, fish, and the more hardy part of the cattle that had
survived the severity of the first winter of their abandonment."
They saw everywhere "ruins of the houses that had been
burned by the Provincials, small gardens encircled by cherry-
trees and currant-bushes, and clumps of apple-trees." In all
parts of the country, where the new colonists established
themselves, the Indians were unfriendly for years, and it was
necessary to erect stockaded houses for the protection of the

No better class probably could have been selected to settle
Nova Scotia than these American immigrants. The majority
were descendants of the Puritans who settled in New England,
and some were actually sprung from men and women who had
landed from "The Mayflower" in 1620. Governor Lawrence
recognized the necessity of having a sturdy class of settlers,
accustomed to the climatic conditions and to agricultural
labour in America, and it was through his strenuous efforts
that these immigrants were brought into the province. They
had, indeed, the choice of the best land of the province, and
everything was made as pleasant as possible for them by a
paternal government, only anxious to establish British au-
thority on a sound basis of industrial development.

In 1767, according to an official return in the archives of
Nova Scotia, the total population of what are now the provinces
of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island,
reached 13,374 souls; of whom 6913 are given as Americans,
912 as English, 2165 as Irish, 1946 as Germans, and 1265 as
Acadian French, the latter being probably a low estimate.
Some of these Irish emigrated directly from the north of
Ireland, and were Presbyterians. They were brought out by
one Alexander McNutt, who did much for the work of early
colonization ; others came from New Hampshire, where they
had been settled for some years. The name of Londonderry
in New Hampshire is a memorial of this important class,

52 Canada under British Rule. [CHAP.

just as the same name recalls them in the present county of
Colchester, in Nova Scotia.

The Scottish immigration, which has exercised such an
important influence on the eastern counties of Nova Scotia
and I include Cape Breton commenced in 1772, when about
thirty families arrived from Scotland and settled in the present
county of Pictou, where a very few American colonists from
Philadelphia had preceded them. In later years a steady tide
of Scotch population flowed into eastern Nova Scotia and did
not cease until 1820. Gaelic is still the dominant tongue in
the eastern counties, where we find numerous names recalling
the glens, lochs, and mountains of old Scotland. Sir William
Alexander's dream of a new Scotland has been realised in a
measure in the province where his ambition would have made
him " lord paramount."

Until the foundation of Halifax the government of Nova
Scotia was vested solely in a governor who had command of
the garrison stationed at Annapolis. In 1719 a commission
was issued to Governor Phillips, who was authorised to appoint
a council of not less than twelve persons. This council had
advisory and judicial functions, but its legislative authority was
of a very limited scope. This provisional system of govern-
ment lasted until 1749, when Halifax became the seat of the
new administration of public affairs. The governor had a
right to appoint a council of twelve persons as we have
already seen, he did so immediately and to summon a
general assembly "according to the usage of the rest of our
colonies and plantations in America." He was, "with the
advice and consent " of the council and assembly, " to make,
constitute and ordain laws" for the good government of the
province. During nine years the governor-in-council carried
on the government without an assembly, and passed a number
of ordinances, some of which imposed duties on trade for the
purpose of raising revenue. The legality of their acts was
questioned by Chief Justice Belcher, and he was sustained by

II.] Beginnings of British Rule. 1760 1774. 53

the opinion of the English law officers, who called attention to
the governor's commission, which limited the council's powers.
The result of this decision was the establishment of a repre-
sentative assembly, which met for the first time at Halifax on
the 2nd October, 1758.

Governor Lawrence, whose name will be always unhappily
associated with the merciless expatriation of the French
Acadians, had the honour of opening the first legislative
assembly of Nova Scotia in 1758. One Robert Sanderson,
of whom we know nothing else, was chosen as the first speaker,
but he held his office for only one session, and was succeeded
by William Nesbitt, who presided over the house for many
years. The first sittings of the legislature were held in the
court house, and subsequently in the old grammar school at
the corner of Barrington and Sackville Streets, for very many
years one of the historic memorials of the Halifax of the
eighteenth century.

At this time the present province of New Brunswick was
for the most part comprised in a county known as Sunbury,
with one representative in the assembly of Nova Scotia. The
island of Cape Breton also formed a part of the province, and
had the right to send two members to the assembly, but the
only election held for that purpose was declared void on
account of there not being any freeholders entitled by law to
vote. The island of St John, named Prince Edward in 1798,
in honour of the Duke of Kent, who was commander-in-chief
of the British forces for some years in North America, was
also annexed to Nova Scotia in 1763, but it never sent repre-
sentatives to its legislature. In the following year a survey was
commenced of all the imperial dominions on the Atlantic.
Various schemes for the cultivation and settlement of the island
were proposed as soon as the surveys were in progress. The
most notable suggestion was made by the Earl of Egmont, first
lord of the admiralty ; he proposed the division of the island
into baronies, each with a castle or stronghold under a feudal

54 Canada under British Rule. [CHAP.

lord, subject to himself as lord paramount, under the customs
of the feudal system of Europe. The imperial authorities
rejected this scheme, but at the same time they adopted one
which was as unwise as that of the noble earl. The whole
island, with the exception of certain small reservations and
royalties, was given away by lottery in a single day to officers of
the army and navy who had served in the preceding war, and
to other persons who were ambitious to be great landowners, on
the easy condition of paying certain quit-rents a condition con-
stantly broken. This ill-advised measure led to many trouble-
some complications for a hundred years, until at last they were
removed by the terms of the arrangement which brought the
island into the federal union of British North America in 1873.
In 1769 the island was separated from Nova Scotia and
granted a distinct government, although its total population at
the time did not exceed one hundred and fifty families. An
assembly of eighteen representatives was called so early as
1773, when the first governor, Captain Walter Paterson, still
administered public affairs. The assembly was not allowed to
meet with regularity during many years of the early history of
the island. During one administration it was practically with-
out parliamentary government for ten years. The land question
always dominated public affairs in the island for a hundred

From the very beginning of a regular system of government
in Nova Scotia the legislature appears to have practically
controlled the administration of local affairs except so far as it
gave, from time to time, powers to the courts of quarter sessions
to regulate taxation and carry out certain small public works
and improvements. In the first session of the legislature a
joint committee of the council and assembly chose the town
officers for Halifax. We have abundant evidence that at this
time the authorities viewed with disfavour any attempt to
establish a system of town government similar to that so
long in operation in New England. The town meeting was

II.] Beginnings of British Rule. 1760 1/7-]. 55

considered the nursery of sedition in New England, and it is
no wonder that the British authorities in Halifax frowned upon
all attempts to reproduce it in their province.

Soon after his arrival in Nova Scotia, Governor Cornwallis
established courts of law to try and determine civil and criminal
cases in accordance with the laws of England. In 1774 there
were in the province courts of general session, similar to the
courts of the same name in England ; courts of common pleas,
formed on the practice of New England and the mother
country ; and a supreme court, court of assize and general gaol
delivery, composed of a chief justice and two assistant judges.
The governor-in-council constituted a court of error in certain
cases, and from its decisions an appeal could be made to the
king-in-council. Justices of peace were also appointed in the
counties and townships, with jurisdiction over the collection of
small debts.

We must now leave the province of Nova Scotia and follow
the revolutionary movement, which commenced, soon after the
signing of the Treaty of Paris, in the old British colonies on the
Atlantic seaboard, and ended in the acknowledgement of their
independence in 1783, and in the forced migration of a large
body of loyal people who found their way to the British pro-



SECTION i. The sitccessftd Revolution of the Thirteen
Colonies in America.

WHEN Canada was formally ceded to Great Britain the
Thirteen Colonies were relieved from the menace of the pre-
sence of France in the valleys of the St Lawrence, the Ohio,
and the Mississippi. Nowhere were there more rejoicings on
account of this auspicious event than in the homes of the
democratic Puritans. The names of Pitt and Wolfe were
honoured above all others of their countrymen, and no one in
England, certainly not among its statesmen, imagined that in
the colonies, which stretched from the river Penobscot to the
peninsula of Florida, there was latent a spirit of independence
which might at any moment threaten the rule of Great Britain
on the American continent. The great expenses of the Seven
Years' War were now pressing heavily on the British taxpayer.
British statesmen were forced to consider how best they could
make the colonies themselves contribute towards their own
protection in the future, and relieve Great Britain in some
measure from the serious burden which their defence had
heretofore imposed on her. In those days colonies were con-
sidered as so many possessions to be used for the commercial
advantage of the parent state. Their commerce and industries

CHAP. III.] The American Revolution. 57

had been fettered for many years by acts of parliament which
were intended to give Great Britain a monopoly of their trade
and at the same time prevent them from manufacturing any
article that they could buy from the British factories. As a
matter of fact, however, these restrictive measures of imperial
protection had been for a long time practically dead-letters.
The merchants and seamen of New England carried on smug-
gling with the French and Spanish Indies with impunity, and
practically traded where they pleased.

The stamp act was only evidence of a vigorous colonial
policy, which was to make the people of the colonies contribute
directly to their own defence and security, and at the same
time enforce the navigation laws and acts of trade and put an
end to the general system of smuggling by which men, some of
the best known merchants of Boston, had acquired a fortune.
George Grenville, who was responsible for the rigid enforce-
ment of the navigation laws and the stamp act, had none of
that worldly wisdom which Sir Robert Walpole showed when,
years before, it was proposed to him to tax the colonies.
"No," said that astute politician, "I have old England set
against me already, and do you think I will have New England

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