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of a Governor-General, whose principles of legislation he supposed might be at variance with his own, and whose acts, in that distant region of the world, he felt that he might be imperfectly qualified to control through the medium of the India House. From the legislation of Lord Auckland, and of Mr. Macauley, he was sure there was nothing to be expected that could be at variance with Whig principles, howsoever different might be the forms in which it might be necessary that those principles in India should be brought into active operation.
SHORTLY before the recess, petitions for the union of the two provinces of Upper and Lower Canada were laid upon the table of the House of Cornmons, by Sir George Grey, the under secretary of state in the colonial department; and as this measure is by far the most important of those on which Lord Durham, in his capacity of Governor-General, will have to advise her majesty, it may not be uninteresting nor useless to see how the prospect of an union was regarded by the adverse parties in the Lower province, when it was brought to their notice by the bill which was introduced into the British House of Commons in 1822. The following extract is from the journals of the House of Assembly of Lower Canada.
“ Thursday, 23d January, 1823. “ Mr. Viger, from the special committee appointed to “ prepare and report the draft of an humble Address to “ his Majesty, and Petitions to the two Houses of the “ Imperial Parliament, in conformity to the resolutions of “ this House of the twenty-first instant, on the subject of “ the projected union of the legislatures of the two pro“ vinces of Upper and Lower Canada, reported that the “ committee had prepared the said Address and Petitions ; “ which he was directed to report to the House, whenever “ they shall be pleased to receive the same : and he read " the report in his place, and afterwards delivered it in at “ the clerk's table ; where the Address and Petitions were • again read as followeth :
“ To the King's Most Excellent Majesty. “ May it please your Majesty,
“We, your Majesty's dutiful and loyal subjects, the “ Assembly of the province of Lower Canada, in provincial “ parliament assembled, respectfully entreat your Majesty “.to accept our humble thanks for the communication to “ us, according to your Majesty's order, by his excellency “ the Right Hon. the Earl of Dalhousie, your governor“ in-chief of this province, in his speech at the opening of “ the present session, of the information that your Ma“ jesty's ministers having proposed to parliament certain “ alterations in the act of the thirty-first year of the reign “ of his late Majesty, King George the Third, chapter " thirty-first, chiefly with a view of uniting the two legis“ latures of Upper and Lower Canada, the plan had been “ withdrawn, and postponed to the next session, to give “ an opportunity of making known the sentiments of the “ people of these provinces on this subject.
"Sincerely attached to the form of government under “ which we have the happiness to live, we consider the “ postponement of that measure, and the opportunity af“ forded to the people of these provinces of manifesting “their sentiments on a subject of such great importance, " as a fresh proof of your Majesty's paternal solicitude for “ the welfare of all your subjects, and of that justice of “ the British government, on which the inhabitants of this “ province have learned to rely with the firmest confidence, “and with feelings of the most lively gratitude; and with “ a view of fulfilling a sacred duty towards your Majesty, " the Assembly of this province take respectful leave to “ lay at the foot of your Majesty's throne the expression “ of their feelings on this important matter.
“ The Assembly participated in the surprise and grief “ experienced by a very large majority of your Majesty's “ subjects in this province, on learning that your Majesty's “ ministers had proposed those alterations in the act which “ has established our constitution, and especially the union “ of the legislatures of Upper and Lower Canada. : “ The Assembly are fully assured that the constitution “ conferred on this province by the said statute, and the “ separation of this province from Upper Canada, were, “ on the part of the Imperial Parliament, an act of justice, “ as well as of beneficence, towards the inhabitants of both “ provinces, by giving to both the means of maintaining “ entire the rights and privileges which were guaranteed " and secured to them by the faith of government.
“ The passing of the said act hath been one of the “ most effectual methods of making known to the inha“bitants of this province the justice and magnanimity of “ the British character, and hath for ever secured to your “ Majesty's government the inviolable confidence, affection, “and fidelity, of all classes of your Majesty's subjects in “ this colony.
“ The said act, modelled on the constitution of the “ mother country by some of her greatest and wisest “ statesmen, establishes powers sufficient to remedy abuses, “ redress injuries, allay discontents, and provide for the “ general welfare of the province.
“ Not only do the reasons which occasioned the pass“ing of the said act still exist in full force, but they have “ even gained additional strength from the happy expe“ rience thereof acquired by the inhabitants of this pro“ vince, and from their regarding the same, with reason, “ as the unchangeable foundation of their laws, their insti“tutions, and most dearly cherished rights.
“ Were the proposed alterations adopted by Parlia“ment, the result would be that two provinces, having “ laws, civil and religious institutions, and usages essen
. “ tially different, would be subjected to one and the same “ legislature, whose decision would alternately endanger “ the laws and institutions of either province. That there “ would thence result well-founded apprehensions respect"ing the stability of those laws and institutions, fatal “ doubts of the future lot of these colonies, and a relaxa-' “ tion of the energy and confidence of the people, and of “ the bonds which so strongly attach them to the mother "country.
“In fine, a sense of imperious duty must lead us' “ humbly to represent to your Majesty, that were this “ measure to take place, it would tend to weaken that “ deep feeling of interest, which so powerfully enforces " that of gratitude and fidelity with which the people of “ this province are impressed towards your Majesty's go“vernment and sacred person.
“Wherefore, we, Your Majesty's faithful and loyal “ subjects, the Assembly of the Province of Lower Canada, “ most humbly entreat Your Majesty to receive with favour “this humble expression of our sentiments; and to be “ pleased to avert from this province a measure which has “excited among us such strong alarm, and which appears “ to us adverse to the inseparable interests of Your Majesty's “ Government, and of the people of this Province.”
(Then follow Petitions to the House of Lords and
House of Commons of the British Parliament in
nearly the same terms.) Mr. Viger moved, seconded by Mr. Dessaulles, that the question of concurrence be now put upon each paragraph of the said Address, and of the said Petitions.
Mr. Ogden moved, in Amendment to Mr. Viger's Motion, seconded by Mr. Oldham, that all the words after the word “ that” be struck out, and the following inserted.
“ We, Your Majesty's dutiful and loyal Subjects, the