or burthens, shall show, to the satisfaction of his Majesty's executive council, or of his immediate superior lord or seignior, as the case may be, that no such claim hath been made or signified, or that having been made, it hath been satisfied or discharged, or been declared by a judgment of a competent court of law to be unfounded.
VIII. And whereas doubts have arisen whether lands granted in the said province of Lower Canada by his Majesty, or by any of his royal predecessors, to be holden in free and common soccage, shall be held by the owners thereof,
or will subsequently pass to other persons, according to the rules of descent and alienation in force in England, or according to such rules as were established by the ancient laws of the said province for the descent and alienation of land situate therein: Be it therefore declared and enacted, that all lands within the said province of Lower Canada, which have heretofore been granted by his Majesty, or by any of his royal predecessors, to any person or persons, their heirs and assigns, to be holden in free and common soccage, or which shall or may hereafter be so granted by his Majesty, his heirs and successors, to any person or persons, their heirs and assigns, to be holden in free and common soccage, may and shall be by such grantees, their heirs and assigns, held, granted, bargained, sold, aliened, conveyed and disposed of, and may and shall pass by descent, in such manner and form, and upon and under such rules and restrictions, as are by the law of England established and in force: in reference to the grant, bargain, sale, alienation, conveyance, disposal, descent of lands holden by the like tenure therein situate, or to the dower or other rights of married women in such lands, and not otherwise, any law, custom, or usage to the contrary in anywise notwithstanding: Provided nevertheless, that nothing herein contained shall extend to prevent his Majesty, with the advice and consent of the legislative council and assembly of the province of Lower Canada, from making and enacting any such laws or statutes as may be necessary for the better adapting the before-mentioned rules of the law of England, or any of them, to the local circumstances and condition of the said province of Lower Canada, and the inhabitants thereof.
IX. And whereas under and by virtue of a certain Act passed in the forty-ninth year of the reign of his late Majesty King George the Third, intituled "An Act for establishing courts of judicature in the island of Newfoundland, and in the islands adjacent; and for re-annexing part of Labrador, and the islands lying on the said coast, to the government of Newfoundland"; and of the Act* passed in the fifth year of the reign of his present Majesty, intituled "An Act for the better administration of justice in Newfoundland, and for other purposes," the coast of Labrador, from the river Saint John to Hudson's Streights, and the island of Anticosti, and all the islands adjacent to the said coast, except the islands of Madelaine, are annexed to and form parts of the said coast of Labrador should be re-annexed to and form part of the province of Lower Canada: Be it therefore enacted, that so much of the said coast as lies to the westward of a line to be drawn due north and south from
the bay or harbour of Ance Sablon, inclusive, as far as the fifty-second degree north latitude, with the island of Anticosti, and all other islands adjacent such part as last aforesaid of the coast of Labrador, shall be and the same are hereby re-annexed to and made a part of the said province of Lower Canada, and shall henceforward be subject to the laws of the said province, and to none other; and so much of the said recited Acts passed in the forty-ninth year of the reign of His late Majesty King George the Third, and in the fifth year of the reign of His present Majesty, as relates to such part of the Coast of Labrador as last aforesaid, and the said Island of Anticosti, and ther adjacent islands, shall be and the same is hereby repealed.
X. And whereas it is necessary to enable his Majesty more easily to resume from time to time such uncultivated lands within the said province, holden in free and common soccage, as now are or hereafter may be liable to escheat and become forfeited to his Majesty, by reason of the non-performance of the conditions of settlement and cultivation or other conditions mentioned and contained in the letters patent or grants thereof heretofore made, or which shall hereafter be made by his Majesty, either in virtue of this Act or otherwise: Be it enacted, that it shall and may be lawful for the governor, lieutenant governor, or person administering the government of the said province, with the advice of the executive council thereof, to constitute and appoint, by a commission under the great seal of the said province, one or more person or persons to be a commissioner or commissioners of escheats and forfeitures of land within the said province; which said commissioner and commissioners is and are hereby authorized and empowered, from time to time, on information being made and filed before him or them by the attorney general or solicitor general of the said province, or other person appointed for that purpose on behalf of his Majesty, his heirs or successors, concerning the performance or non-performance of the conditions of any grants or letters patent by which any such land as aforesaid shall at any time have been held, to inquire, on the part and behalf of his Majesty, by the oaths of twelve good and lawful men, to be duly summoned for that purpose by the sheriff, upon a precept to be issued and directed to him from the office of the secretary of the province, whether the lands mentioned in the said information are or shall be liable to escheat and be forfeited to his Majesty, by reason of the non-performance of any of the conditions of the respective grants or letters patent thereof; and the said commissioner or commissioners shall proceed in the cognizance of the matters aforesaid, as nearly as circumstances will admit, according to the rules, course, and practice of the law of England in the like cases, and shall have power and authority to summon witnesses to attend and give evidence before the said inquest; and the testimony, on oath, of one or more competent witness or witnesses, either before the said inquest, or taken in writing before a person or persons to be appointed for that purpose by the said commissioner or commissioners, and returned and exhibited before the said inquest, shall be good and sufficient evidence of the matters alleged in such information; and the said commissioner or commissioners shall duly return the inquisitions which he or
they shall from time to time take by virtue of this Act, under his or their seals, and the seals of those by whose oaths he or they shall have taken the same, into the office of the secretary of the province, within thirty days after the taking thereof, and also within the same time return a transcript thereof, and of the whole proceedings relating to the same, into the supreme court of original jurisdiction holding civil pleas in the district in which the lands and premises comprised in the information shall be situate; and thereupon such lands and premises as are thereby found to be forfeited to his Majesty for nonperformance of any of the conditions on which the same shall have been granted shall be and they are hereby declared to be re-vested in his Majesty, his heirs and successors, any former grant or letters patent thereof notwithstanding: Provided always, that no new grant of such lands shall be made for the space of one year from the date of such inquisition, except to the person or persons holding or claiming the same under the former letters patent thereof, or by a lawful title derived under the same.
XI. And be it further enacted, that the clerk of the said court of escheats and forfeitures, to be appointed in like manner as the said commissioner or commissioners, shall, within fourteen days after the filing of such information, insert in the Quebec Gazette, published by authority, a notice signed by him, and shall, as soon thereafter as may be, cause the same to be posted upon a public place as near to the lands mentioned in the said information as circumstances will admit, thereby notifying to all persons interested in such lands that such information has been filed for the purposes aforesaid, and of the time and place of holding an inquest of office before the said commissioner or commissioners, concerning the matters therein alleged, which time shall not exceed four or be less than two calendar months from the publishing of such notice; and such notice, being so published, and proof thereof made to the satisfaction of the said commissioner or commissioners, shall be instead of all other notice, process, writ, summons, or other proceeding whatever, for the notification and appearance of the person or persons interested in such lands, and shall conclude all such persons for ever; provided, that it shall be lawful for all persons interested in or entitled to such lands as are comprised in any office or inquisition so made and returned as aforesaid to traverse the same in the court into which it shall have been returned, within three calendar months from the date thereof; and the notice herein-before required, and the inquisition so to be taken in pursuance thereof, shall be deemed sufficient and conclusive notice to the traverser, and all others concerned in such traverse; and such court shall thereupon hear, try, and determine the said traverse, as nearly as circumstances will admit, according to the rules, course, and practice of the law of England in the like cases, and the judgment of the said court thereon shall be final.
XII. And whereas divers persons within the said province of Lower Canada hold or claim by occupancy, lawful prescription, or transfer, or by doubtful titles, divers of the lands which, in pursuance of the Act of Parliament made in the thirty-first year of the reign of his said late Majesty King George
the Third, have been appropriated within the said province of Lower Canada for the maintenance of a protestant clergy: And whereas divers parts of the lands so appropriated as aforesaid for the support of a protestant clergy are from time to time required as the site of public buildings and other works carried on at the public expense within the said province: And whereas divers parts if such appropriated lands as aforesaid, which have not been brought into cultivation by or for the benefit of the protestant clergy within the said province, are sometimes required to enable his Majesty to complete the settlement of other waste lands in the immediate vicinity thereof; but by reason of the said land being so appropriated as aforesaid, it is impossible, except by the consent of Parliament, to quiet the possession of such persons so claiming the same by such titles as aforesaid, or to obtain a surrender and conveyance, or to effect an exchange, of such parts thereof as may be so required as aforesaid for the public service, or for the completion of any such settlements as aforesaid: Be it therefore enacted, that whenever and so often as it shall appear to the governor, lieutenant governor, or other person administering the government of the said province that the surrender and cession of any part of the lands so appropriated as aforesaid for the benefit of a protestant clergy in the said province is necessary for quieting the titles of any of his Majesty's subjects to lands held or claimed by them by occupancy, lawful prescription, transfer, or by doubtful titles as aforesaid, or is necessary; or would be convenient for the carrying on of any public buildings or works, or for the more effectual settlement of any district or tract of land within the said province, or otherwise for his Majesty's service, or for the benefit of the said province, or of his Majesty's subjects therein resident, then, and in any or either of the cases aforesaid, it shall and may be lawful for the bishop of Quebec for the time being, on behalf of the said protestant clergy, in compliance with any requisition in writing to him for that purpose made by such governor, lieutenant governor, or other person administering the government of the said province, and he is hereby required, by a deed under his hand and seal, duly attested by two or more credible witnesses, to surrender, yield up, and convey to his Majesty, his heirs and successors, the lands comprized and described in any such requisition as aforesaid, in exchange for other lands situate in the said province of equal extent and value, to be by his Majesty appropriated and set apart for the support and maintenance of protestant clergy therein; and which deed, so executed by the said bishop of Quebec for the time being, shall be valid and effectual in law, to vest in his Majesty, his heirs and successors, all the lands therein included and comprized; and such lands shall and may, by his Majesty, his heirs and successors, be re-granted and re-conveyed to any other person or persons, for quieting their possession and titles, or otherwise, as may from time to time be expedient or necessary, without any further appropriation of land being thereupon made for the benefit of a protestant clergy.
* Printed in Part VIII. E, No. 21.