Open main menu

Council for the Affairs of the Province of Quebec

The Council for the Affairs of the Province of Quebec, more commonly called the Legislative Council of Quebec (but not to be confused with the later institution with that same name), was an advisory body constituted by section XII of the Quebec Act of 1774. Together with the representative of the Crown (the Governor, Lieutenant-Governor or the temporary Administrator of the province), it acted, between 1774 and 1791, as the legislature of the old Province of Quebec.

Contents

PowersEdit

The Council had the "Power and Authority to make Ordinances for the Peace, Welfare, and good Government, of the said Province, with the Consent of his Majesty's Governor, or, in his Absence, of the Lieutenant-governor, or Commander in Chief for the Time being.", excepting the power to "lay any Taxes or Duties within the said Province, such Rates and Taxes only excepted as the Inhabitants of any Town or District within the said Province may be authorized by the said Council to assess, levy, and apply, within the said Town or District. for the Purpose of making Roads, erecting and repairing publick Buildings, or for any other Purpose respecting the local Convenience and economy of such Town or District."[1]

EligibilityEdit

Section VII of the Quebec Act opened the door of all provincial offices to Roman Catholic subjects. The section exempted Catholics from taking the Test Oath (the abjuration of the Catholic faith) and made them take an alternative oath of allegiance to the British Crown:

I, A.B., do sincerely promise and swear: That I will be faithful, and bear true Allegiance to his Majesty King George, and him will defend to the utmost of my Power, against all traitorous Conspiracies, and Attempts whatsoever, which shall be made against his Person, Crown, and Dignity; and I will do my utmost Endeavor to disclose and make known to his Majesty, his Heirs and Successors, all Treasons, and traitorous Conspiracies, and Attempts, which I shall know to be against him, or any of them; and all this I do swear without any Equivocation, mental Evasion, or secret Reservation, and renouncing all Pardons and Dispensations from any Power or Person whomsoever to the contrary. So help me GOD.

— Section VII of the Quebec Act, 1774

Because of this special oath they were required to vow, Canadian Catholics, who formed the immense majority of the population in the province, were permitted to take a more direct part to the legislation of their native country. In practise however, Catholic Legislative Councillors remained a minority in the Council from its creation in 1774 to its abolition in 1791.

CompositionEdit

Councillors numbered between at least seventeen and no more than twenty-three. In 1775, Colonial Secretary Lord Dartmouth instructed Governor General Guy Carleton to call in these individuals to fill in the Council:[2]

Some of these members had been sitting on the first Council of Quebec constituted by Governor General James Murray in 1764 to advise on all matters of State.[11] About 12 years later, in May 1787, the Council's composition was:[12]

With the adoption of the Constitutional Act of 1791, the sections of the Quebec Act dealing with the Council, its composition and powers, were repealed. However, most of the members then sitting on the Council were called into the new Legislative Council of Lower Canada created by the said act.

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Sections XII and XIII of An Act for making more effectual Provision for the Government of the Province of Quebec in North America, 14th year of the reign of George III, chapter 83 (U.K.), 1774
  2. ^ "Instructions to Governor Carleton, 1775", in Shortt, Adam and Doughty Arthur G. Documents relating to the constitutional history of Canada 1759-1791, p. 594, online through Canadiana.org, retrieved July 23, 2008
  3. ^ Steele, I. K. (1983). "Finlay, Hugh". In Halpenny, Francess G (ed.). Dictionary of Canadian Biography. V (1801–1820) (online ed.). University of Toronto Press.
  4. ^ Poirier, Jean (1979). "Cuthbert, James". In Halpenny, Francess G (ed.). Dictionary of Canadian Biography. IV (1771–1800) (online ed.). University of Toronto Press.
  5. ^ Gervais, Jean-Francis (1979). "Lévesque, François". In Halpenny, Francess G (ed.). Dictionary of Canadian Biography. IV (1771–1800) (online ed.). University of Toronto Press.
  6. ^ Richardson, A.J.H. (1979). "Harrison, Edward". In Halpenny, Francess G (ed.). Dictionary of Canadian Biography. IV (1771–1800) (online ed.). University of Toronto Press.
  7. ^ Hayward, Robert J. (1979). "Collins, John (d. 1795)". In Halpenny, Francess G (ed.). Dictionary of Canadian Biography. IV (1771–1800) (online ed.). University of Toronto Press.
  8. ^ Grenier, Fernand (1979). "Pécaudy de Contrecœur, Claude-Pierre". In Halpenny, Francess G (ed.). Dictionary of Canadian Biography. IV (1771–1800) (online ed.). University of Toronto Press.
  9. ^ Blais, Marie-Céline (1979). "Tarieu de La Naudière, Charles-François". In Halpenny, Francess G (ed.). Dictionary of Canadian Biography. IV (1771–1800) (online ed.). University of Toronto Press.
  10. ^ Tousignant, Pierre; Dionne-Tousignant, Madeleine (1979). "La Corne, Luc de, known as Chaptes (Chap, Chapt) de La Corne or as La Corne Saint-Luc". In Halpenny, Francess G (ed.). Dictionary of Canadian Biography. IV (1771–1800) (online ed.). University of Toronto Press.
  11. ^ The Council members appointed by James Murray were Chief Justice William Gregory, Paulus Aemilius Irving, Hector Theophilus de Cramahé, Adam Mabane, Walter Murray, Samuel Johannes Holland, Thomas Dunn and François Mounier. Burpee, Lawrence J. (1926). The Oxford Encyclopaedia of Canadian History, London and Toronto: Oxford University Press, 699 p., pp. 350-351. (online)
  12. ^ "Extracts from Proceedings of the Council, 26 March 1787", in Shortt, Adam and Doughty Arthur G. Documents relating to the constitutional history of Canada 1759-1791, p. 854, online through Canadiana.org, retrieved July 23, 2008
  13. ^ Thorpe, F.J. (1983). "Holland, Samuel Johannes". In Halpenny, Francess G (ed.). Dictionary of Canadian Biography. V (1801–1820) (online ed.). University of Toronto Press.
  14. ^ Veilleux, Christine (1987). "Pownall, Sir George". In Halpenny, Francess G (ed.). Dictionary of Canadian Biography. VI (1821–1835) (online ed.). University of Toronto Press.
  15. ^ Caya, Marcel (1983). "Caldwell, Henry". In Halpenny, Francess G (ed.). Dictionary of Canadian Biography. V (1801–1820) (online ed.). University of Toronto Press.
  16. ^ Pelletier, Gérald (1983). "Le Moyne de Longueuil, Joseph-Dominique-Emmanuel". In Halpenny, Francess G (ed.). Dictionary of Canadian Biography. V (1801–1820) (online ed.). University of Toronto Press.
  17. ^ Cyr, Céline (1983). "Le Comte Dupré, Jean-Baptiste (1731-1820)". In Halpenny, Francess G (ed.). Dictionary of Canadian Biography. V (1801–1820) (online ed.). University of Toronto Press.

ReferencesEdit

  • Shortt, Adam and Doughty Arthur G. Documents relating to the constitutional history of Canada 1759-1791, Ottawa : J. de L. Taché, 1918. (online through Canadiana.org)
  • An Act for making more effectual Provision for the Government of the Province of Quebec in North America, 14th year of the reign of George III, chapter 83 (U.K.), 1774

See alsoEdit