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ness of legislation, and the practical improvement of the country, subordinate to its struggle for power, and, being denied its legitimate privileges, it endeavored to extend its authority in modes totally incompatible with the principles of constitutional liberty."
Whether the Assembly was not perfectly right in this "struggle for power," and of availing itself of every possible expedient, and of every constitutional form, even to the point of what their opponents would term an "abuse" of them, there will scarcely, we imagine, be two opinions among our readers. The conflict with the Executive Government embraced of course the Legislative Council, of which the majority was always composed of members of the party which conducted the Executive Government, and of which Lord Durham frankly admits that its composition was "such as could give it no weight with the people," and that it “ was practically hardly any thing but a veto in the hands of public functionaries on all the acts of that popular branch of the Legislature in which they were always in a minority. This veto," he rather pithily adds, "they used without much scruple." The instances which he cites of the "systematic abuse of constitutional forms" are, first, an attempt to give the force of law to the resolutions of the Assembly, by declaring the seat of a member who had been appointed an executive Councillor to be vacated, though the Legisla. tive Council had rejected a bill passed by it to operate generally to vacate the seats of members on the acceptance of office under the crown; secondly, the habitual practice of "tacking" together, under one enactment, bills which they expected to be thus "vetoed," with other bills of necessity; and in the renewal of expiring laws;— of including in one and the same bill all those acts, and those acts only, which it approved, and compelling the Council and Governors either to accept or reject the whole, without choice or discrimination; thirdly, the practice of the dispersion of the members to their homes, towards the close of every recent session, so as to break up the quorum without waiting to be prorogued, immediately after sending up a number of bills to the Council, leaving it no opportunity of proposing amendments, and no option but that of rejecting or confirming by wholesale the measures of the Assembly; fourthly, the alleged abuses of Legislative power in the distribution of money for works of public improvement, which, in the total absence of local municipal institutions, depend entirely upon the colonial Legislature. This, it is charged, has been made a means of political patronage, aad as a means of obtaining influence over constituencies-hostile counties being tempted or coerced into submission to the policy of the majority by the impossibility of procuring necessary improvements on any other terms. Upon this charge, which Lord Durham does not endorse, he merely remarks, that "whether it be true or false that the abuse was ever carried to such a pitch, it is obviously one which might have been easily and
safely perpetrated by a person possessing Mr. Papineau's influence in the Assembly." The grants for education constituted also, it is said, another bold and extensive attempt for erecting a system of patronage independent of the Government. The amount thus dispensed was about £25,000 per annum, equal to nearly half the ordinary civil expenditure of the Province. For refusing to renew the act regulating these, and for thus suddenly stopping upwards of one thousand schools, and depriving of education no less than forty thousand scholars, the Legislative Council have been most severely reproached. Lord Durham justifies that body, on the grounds of the misapplication of the funds by the county members, in whose hands the superintendence and patronage of these schools had been, by the expired law, vested—that there was no accountability-and that, as there existed no sufficient supply of teachers in the Province, they filled up the appointments with persons utterly and obviously incompetent and that the whole system was, in fine, a gross political abuse, the appointments being jobbed by the members among their political partizans. We leave it to our readers, without remark, to judge of the sufficiency of such alleged partizan reasons by an avowed oligarchy, engaged in a hostile struggle with the great mass of a people, for thus suddenly, at one general sweep, arresting the education of the whole population against whom they are accustomed to charge their "ignorance" as the head and front of their offending-even conceding their truth, which is earnestly denied on the other side.
He then proceeds to describe the state of thorough disorganization of all the institutions of the Province, consequent on the natural neglect of good legislation in such a contest for power, remarking that
"The time which should have been devoted to wise legislation, was spent in a contest for power between the Executive aud the people, which a wise Executive would have stopped at the outset, by submitting to a legitimate responsibility, and which a wise people would have ceased to press, when it had virtually obtained its end."
This is certainly very true, while it conveys, at the same time, a severe censure to the Government, and a virtual acquittal of the Assembly from the responsibility of these unhappy consequences of perpetual and embittered civil dissensions; for Lord Durham throughout fully admits, that the latter never did "attain its end" of compelling the Government to "submit to a legitimate responsibility."
The defective system of Government, from the effects of which the Province is now so severely suffering, commences at the very source of power. "The fact is," says Lord Durham, "according to the present system, there is no real representative of the Crown in the Province; there is in it literally no power which originates and conducts the Executive Government." We often hear of "his
excellency the Governor-in-chief," but "he is in fact a mere subordinate officer," receiving his orders from another subordinate, in some back office, in some back street in London, who never saw the unfortunate colony over which he is suddenly called to preside, and is "disqualified" for the office he is called on to fill, "first, by want of local information, and very often," adds Lord Durham, "by an entire absence of all acquaintance with the business of civil Government." From the difficulties of the position in which the Governor is thrown, it naturally "has been the tendency of the Local Government to settle every thing by reference to the colonial Government in Downing street." And the following bears Lord Durham's testimony to those advantages of colonial Government from a mother country three thousand miles distant, and dependent on the vicissitudes of parties and politics "at home," as it is termed, to which so many of the descendants of the authors of our revolution are now surprised and indignant that the Canadians should be so ungratefully insensible: "In every crisis of danger, and almost every detail of local management," says the report, "the colony has felt the mischief of having its executive authority exercised on the other side of the Atlantic." The emphatic force of the general testimony will preclude the necessity of our giving any of the illustrations of its truth, which will readily suggest themselves to every reader. A general want of proper responsibility is represented as extending through all the leading branches of administration. The real and sole advi sers of the Governor have, in fact, been, says Lord Durham, the Executive Council; "and an institution more singularly calculated for preventing the responsibility of the acts of Government resting in any body can hardly be imagined." One of the constant demands of the Assembly has been the responsibility of the executive council, as well as the election of the legislative council by the people; and behold, Lord Durham testifies to the propriety of the demand, by proposing totally "to alter the working of this cum> brous machine, and place the business of the various departments of the Government in the hands of competent [and responsible] public officers."
There is scarcely any regular administration at all in the rural districts out of Quebec, and two or three other principal placesno sheriffs, mayors, constables, or public functionaries of any kind, except the justices of the peace; the total disorganization of the militia has put an end even to the officers of militia, who formerly used to be employed (voluntarily and not very assiduously) for cer tain purposes of police; no municipal institutions-the Government even appearing "to have discouraged the American settlers from introducing their own municipal institutions by common assent." The administration of justice is described as difficult, expensive,
and exceedingly embarrassed by ill-defined and often conflicting law, and imperfect provision for its proper dispensation. The petty local tribunals of commissioners of small causes are represented as being, from the method of their constitution, considerably worse than nothing at all. The Executive Council has been the court of appeals a political, unprofessional, and utterly incompetent body. The provisions for the administration of criminal justice are quite as bad. The people have not the slightest confidence in it. There is no jury-law now in existence in the Province, and the selection of juries is entirely in the hands of the Executive, through the sheriffs of the judicial districts, political partizans holding lucrative offices under the Government.
"The French complain," says the report, "that the institution of both grand and petit juries have been repeatedly tampered with against them. They complain that when it has suited the interests of the Government to protect persons guilty of gross offences against the French party, they have attained their end by packing the grand jury;" and they cite some very strong cases, to one of which Lord Durham alludes, on the occasion of an election riot in Montreal, in 1832, when the troops fired upon the people and killed three of them, when a most unblushingly packed grand jury threw out the indictment which was preferred against the magistrates and officers who ordered the troops to fire, and quashed all judicial investigation into the circumstances! Nor does the discontent of the people, with the mode in which this vital institution is administered, stop here:
"The French Canadians further complain that the favorable decision of a grand jury was of no avail to those who had fallen under the displeasure of the GovernThere are several instances in the recent history of Lower Canada, in which an attorney-general, being dissatisfied with the conduct of the grand jury in ignoring a bill, either repeatedly preferred indictments for the same offence, antil he obtained a grand jury which would find them, or filed ex-officio informations.”
It should be observed that Lord Durham does not deny or question the justness of these complaints, which he certainly would have done, had it been in his power. He merely sets off against them the complaints of the English, of the impossibility of getting a just verdict in a political case from a French jury; though it is conceded that, in cases not connected with politics, "nothing could be more proper than their behaviour." It would, indeed, be astonishing if, under all the circumstances, even so far only as they are conceded in this document, the Government even could get a verdict from a French jury in "a political case."
The character of the magistracy also, by whom the primary stages of criminal justice are attended to, is in keeping with that of the other institutions of the country. The justices of the peace throughout the colony are named by the Governors, and are almost universally destitute of the popular confidence, owing to the gen
eral belief that the appointments have been made with a party and national bias." It cannot be denied, the report adds, "that many most respectable Canadians were long left out of the commission of the peace, without any adequate cause; and it is still more undeniable that most disreputable persons, of both races, have found their way into it, and still continue to abuse the power thus vested in them." The people have long been anxious to remedy this disorder, by introducing into the Province the system of township government, or municipalities, which have been so long the pride and ornament of the New England States; but the bills passed by the Assembly during a course of ten years for this object (a fact not alluded to by Lord Durham) have been invariably thrown out by the Legislative Council. Even some Vermonters, who were anxious to introduce with them into their new settlement these municipal customs, were told of "the impropriety of electing their own officers." The corporations of Quebec and Montreal have been allowed to fall into ruins, and now in Lower Canada "there are no county, no municipal, no parochial officers either named by the Crown or elected by the people."
There is, fortunately, no bitterness of religious dissension in the Province. The French are all Catholics, and the Catholic clergy are described as a most valuable social, as well as religious, institution. Their influence is stated to have been very rigorously and efficiently exerted, during the late troubles, in favor and support of the Government.
Among the Protestant population there has arisen of late an agitation on the subject of the "clergy reserves," somewhat similar to that in Upper Canada, which it is highly important to put speedily at rest. And after some not very important allusions to the financial and monetary systems of the Province-to the public revenue, which is principally derived from the custom-house, and, till within the last four years, amounted to about £150,000 per annum, though now little more than £100,000, (the permanent expenditure of the civil Government being about £60,000,)—to the financial disputes between the two Provinces-and to the post-office, from which it appears that a surplus revenue of £10,000 per annum is transmitted to England, contrary to the just remonstrances of the Assembly. Lord Durham concludes this first general division of his report with the following remark, which would seem to have been particularly designed for that portion of the American press which considers immunity from high taxation the sum and substance of national well-being, and which has manifested so much righteous indignation against the unreasonable discontents of the Canadians :
"For the reasons I have before explained, there is hardly the semblance of direct taxation in Lower Canada for general and local purposes. This immunity from taxation has been sometimes spoken of as a great privilege of the people of Lower