Canada under British Rule 1760-1900 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 395 pages of information about Canada under British Rule 1760-1900.

On the 16th August, 1784, as a consequence of the coming of over ten thousand Loyalists to the valley of the St. John River, a new province was formed out of that portion of the ancient limits of Acadia, which extended northward from the isthmus of Chignecto to the province of Quebec, and eastward from the uncertain boundary of the St. Croix to the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  It received its present name in honour of the Brunswick-Luneburg or Hanoverian line which had given a royal dynasty to England, and its first governor was Colonel Thomas Carleton, a brother of the distinguished governor-general, whose name is so intimately associated with the fortunes of Canada during a most critical period of its history.  The first executive council, which was also the legislative council, comprised some of the most eminent men of the Loyalist migration.  For instance, George Duncan Ludlow; who had been a judge of the supreme court of New York; Jonathan Odell, the famous satirist and divine; William Hazen, a merchant of high reputation, who had large interests on the St. John River from 1763, and had proved his fidelity to the crown at a time when his countrymen at Maugerville were disposed to join the revolutionary party; Gabriel G. Ludlow, previously a colonel in a royal regiment; Edward Winslow, Daniel Bliss and Isaac Allen, all of whom had borne arms in the royal service and had suffered the loss of valuable property, confiscated by the successful rebels.

The constitution of 1784 provided for an assembly of twenty-six members who were elected in 1785, and met for the first time on the 3rd of January, 1786, at the Mallard House, a plain two-storey building on the north side of King Street.  The city of St. John ceased to be the seat of government in 1787, when the present capital, Fredericton, first known as St. Anne’s, was chosen.  Of the twenty-six members elected to this assembly, twenty-three were Loyalists, and the same class necessarily continued for many years to predominate in the legislature.  The first speaker was Amos Botsford, the pioneer of the Loyalist migration to New Brunswick, whose grandson occupied the same position for a short time in the senate of the Dominion of Canada.

Coming to the province of Lower Canada we find it contained at this time a population of about a hundred thousand souls, of whom six thousand lived in Quebec and Montreal respectively.  Only two thousand English-speaking persons resided in the province, almost entirely in the towns.  Small as was the British minority, it continued that agitation for an assembly which had been commenced long before the passage of the Quebec act.  A nominated council did not satisfy the political ambition of this class, who obtained little support from the French Canadian people.  The objections of the latter arose from the working of the act itself.  Difficulties had grown up in the administration of the law, chiefly in consequence of its being entrusted exclusively to men acquainted

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Canada under British Rule 1760-1900 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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