תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

“ Commons of Lower Canada, in Provincial Parliament “ assembled, hereby entreat Your Majesty to receive our

unfeigned thanks for the paternal solicitude of Your “ Majesty to promote the welfare and prosperity of Your “ Majesty's Canadian Subjects, in whose unalterable

loyalty and attachment to the Person and Government “ of Your Majesty, Your Majesty may most implicitly « rely.

“The Acts of the last Session of the Imperial Parliament laid before us by Your Majesty's Representative “ in this Province, we consider as fresh instances of the “ interest which Your Majesty graciously takes in our prosperity.

“ Your Majesty's Canadian subjects receive with sen"timents of the deepest gratitude the reference of Your

Majesty to the People of this Province, with respect to “ the proposed Legislative Union of the Canadas,-a

measure which, by the enlightened and unprejudiced

portion of Your Majesty's Canadian Subjects, cannot be “ otherwise viewed than as the result of a liberal and “ enlightened policy to this favoured portion of Your “ Majesty's dominions.

“ As adopted Members of the Great British Family, “ and enjoying with them, under your Majesty's paternal “Government, every privilege appertaining to it, Your “ Majesty's Canadian Subjects can have no interests

foreign to those of Your Majesty's Empire,— no feelings “ but those of fellowship for their fellow Subjects, and, “ consequently, no aversion to assimilate themselves in

language, in habits, and in character, with the great * mass of the nation of which they are a dependency, and “ for that purpose, as well as for the common weal, to “ unite in council and act in concert with the Sister “ Province of Upper Canada.

Your Majesty's Canadian Subjects have found by “experience the inconvenience resulting from the division

[ocr errors]

“ of the Province of Quebec into two Provinces, and have

to deplore the disastrous prejudices which have sprung “ from it, and which have seriously retarded the improve“ ment of Your Majesty's Province of Lower Canada, “ while the progress of the Upper Province has proceeded “ with incredible celerity, under disadvantages from which “ this Province is wholly exempt. Among the benefits to “result from the proposed Union of this with the Sister “ Province, the infusion of that Commercial and Agricul“ tural Spirit of Improvement into the united Legislature, “ that so eminently distinguished our fellow-subjects of “ Upper Canada, would not be the least.

“ Among the inconveniences to which the dismem“berment of the Province of Quebec has given rise are “the misunderstandings between the two Provinces in “ fiscal matters, to which the attention of Your Majesty's “ Government and of the Imperial Parliament has recently “ been called. With every disposition to do the fullest

justice to the motives of Your Majesty's Government in “ the course which in its wisdom it has pursued, we, Your

Majesty's faithful Subjects, the Assembly of Lower Canada, feel it a duty we owe to Your Majesty, to

express our conviction of its inefficiency; and that we “ know of no course which would more effectually tend to “ reconcile these conflicting pretensions, than by an Union, “ to create a community of interests, and leaving the “ parties to discuss and adjust them within the same “ walls.

“ For every purpose of legislation, for the internal “ improvement and developement of the resources of both “ Provinces, and for their common defence, in the event of “ war, the collected intelligence, wisdom, enterprise,

liberality, and loyalty, of the assembled Representatives “ of the Canadas would, we humbly conceive, be more “ effectual than they possibly can be, as heretofore and at “present, acting in different Legislatures. Imaginary

“ differences of interests may ultimately lead to lasting “ and irreconcilable feuds which a closer intimacy might “ have prevented; and if instances are wanting in justifi" cation of the views we entertain on this subject, we “would humbly, yet confidently, appeal to the Union of

England and Scotland, which, although vigorously and violently opposed by powerful parties in both nations,

has, after the experience of upwards of a century, been “ found to consolidate the power and promote the hap“piness of Great Britain beyond that of any other nation " in the world.

“ Inhabiting the banks of one of the noblest rivers in “ America, with the advantages of a fertile soil and salu“ brious climate, the inhabitants of the Canadas can have “no diversity of interests, other than those arising from “ill-founded prejudice, which it is alike necessary to the

harmony of Your Majesty's loyal subjects in both Provinces to remove, and which the measure of Your

Majesty's ministers, to which our attention is directed, “ will powerfully contribute to effect.

“ The great extent of fertile territory adjacent to the “ Saint Lawrence, and those inland seas from whence it “flows, the natural advantages of the internal communi" cations, with its richest tract of country in the interior, — the geographical position of the Canadas with respect 66 to each other, and of them both with the mother

country, are such as to afford us a strong and lively

hope that this favoured portion of Your Majesty's “ empire, acquired and preserved at prodigious expense to “ Great Britain, will, for ages to come, afford ample room for her surplus population; and that in the analogy “ and resemblance of our civil institutions to those of their “native country, and those of their forefathers, Your

Majesty's subjects emigrating from Britain will make “ this the Colony of their choice, and lay in it the founda“tions of prosperity and of happiness for their posterity.

“We will not disguise to Your Majesty the excitement “ which the intended Union of your Majesty's Provinces “ of Lower and Upper Canada has produced among Your

Majesty's faithful Canadian Subjects of French origin; “nor is it necessary to explain to Your Majesty the means “ by which it is produced. They are notorious to Your

Majesty's Government; and if instances were wanting to evince the necessity of the measure which Your

Majesty's Government has spontaneously resolved to

adopt, the present might be appealed to as conclusive on “the subject. A jealousy and groundless mistrust in the “ honour and rectitude of the Imperial Government, in

every measure it has adopted for the promotion of the “ welfare of Your Majesty's Canadian subjects, has been

too successfully raised amongst the ignorant and unwary. A. dread of innovation upon inveterate habits and “ customs forcibly operates upon the well-meaning but “ uninformed peasantry of this Province; and, as if this “ barrier to the propagation of British feelings and of “ British principles were not in itself sufficiently irre

sistible, it has been artfully strengthened by consider“ations of religion. The inviolable guarantees of treaties “ and of acts of the British Parliament scarcely suffice to

dispel the distrust which it is found expedient to keep “ alive on this subject; and how far this spirit is justi“ fiable in the realities of things, and whether consistent “ with sound policy to yield to the same, Your Majesty can fully and justly appreciate.

“ Entrusted by the people of this Province with a " share in the legislation of it, we feel it a sacred obli

gation which we owe to them and their posterity, as well

as to Your Majesty, to weigh without prejudice the “important subject upon which Your Majesty has been “ most graciously pleased to consult us; and disregarding

every personal consideration, whether of interest or of popularity, boldly to express our sentiments, whether in

“unison with the prejudices of our constituents, or other

wise, convinced that it is sometimes the duty of legis“ lators to pursue the happiness of the people, in direct

opposition to their own views of the subject; and that in “ no country has the truth of this been more strikingly “ exemplified than in this Your Majesty's Province of “ Lower Canada, whose present state of comparative

prosperity may literally be said to have been gradually “ forced upon it, by the liberal and enlightened policy of “ the Government of your late royal Father, and his “ Parliament, to whose munificence we are indebted for “ the manifold blessings we actually enjoy.

“ The evils resulting from the dismemberment of the " ancient Province of Quebec are too notorious to require “ enumeration. The Constitution which this Province “ has enjoyed, and which was modelled on that of the “ mother country by some of its greatest and wisest “ statesmen, was no doubt intended to promote the hap

piness of all classes of his Majesty's subjects in the then “ Province of Quebec; but experience has shewn that the “powers it confers have been but too successfully perverted “ to the introduction of abuses, to the infliction of injuries, " and to the excitement of discontents, wholly foreign to “ the benevolent purposes of the donors. Your Majesty's “ Government in this Province has but too sensibly felt its “ deleterious results in the palsied and powerless condition “ in which it has been placed and still remains, by the

disability of Your Majesty's Government to discharge “ its obligations towards divers of Your Majesty's public “ functionaries in this Province.

“ An Union of the Legislatures of Upper and Lower “ Canada will, in our opinion, effectually remove those “ fears and apprehensions, and extinguish those jealousies " and discontents which have been artfully excited

among a people warmly attached to their present Consti“ tution, for the manifest purpose of perpetuating that

« הקודםהמשך »