The Labrador Boundary

Privy Council Documents

Volume II

23 August,

(Instructions Quebec 1786-1791.)

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No. 193.



Instructions to Our Right Trusty and Welbeloved Guy Lord     Dorchester, Knight of the Most Honorable Order of the Bath—    Our Captain General and Governor in Chief in and over Our     Province of Quebec in America, and of all Our Territories     dependent thereupon—Given at Our Court at St James's the     23rd Day of August 1786. In the Twenty Sixth Year of Our     Reign.

    First. With these Our Instructions you will receive Our Commission under our Great Seal of Great Britain constituting You Our Captain General and Governor in Chief in and over Our Province of Quebec in America, and all Our Territories thereunto belonging bounded and described as in Our said Commission is set forth; In execution therefore of the Trust We have reposed in You, You are to take upon You, the Administration of the Government, and to do and execute all Things belonging to your Command according to the several Powers and Authorities of Our said Commission, and these Our Instructions to You, or according to such further Powers & Instructions, as you shall at any time hereafter receive under Our Signet & Sign Manual, or by Our Order in Our Privy Council, and you are to call together at Quebec the following Persons whom We do hereby constitute and appoint to be Our Council for the Affairs of Our said Province and the Territories thereunto belonging Vizt Henry Hope Esqr Lieutenant Govr of Our said Province of Quebec, or the Lieutenant Governor of Our said Province for the time being: William Smith Esqr Our Chief Justice of Our said Province of Quebec or the Chief Justice of Our said Province for the Time being, Hugh Finlay, Thomas Dunn, Francis Les Vesques, Edward Harrison, John Collies, Adam Mabane, Chaussegros de Lery, George Pownall Secretary of Our said Province

    [¹ Canadian Archives, Q 26B. formerly M 230, p. 231. Just before leaving for America Sir Guy Carleton was raised to the Peerage as Baron Dorchester. He arrived in Quebec on Oct. 23rd, 1786. On comparing these Instructions with those given to Carleton in 1775 and Haldimand in 1778, it will be observed that the changes are not very numerous, beyond embodying the additional instructions issued in the interval, as in articles 2, 16, 37, and 40 to 43; or readjusting the wording to harmonize with certain ordinances passed in the meantime, as in articles 12 and 14.]

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of Quebec, or the Secretary of Our said Province for the Time being, Picotté de Bellestres, John Fraser, Henry Caldwell, William Grant, Rocque St Ours Junr Francis Baby            De Longueuil, Samuel Holland and George Davison Esquires, Sir John Johnson Bart, Charles de Lanaudiere            de Boucherville & Compte du Pré Esquires, every one of which respectively shall enjoy his Office of Councillor aforesaid during Our Will and Pleasure and his residence within Our said Province of Quebec and not otherwise.

    2d  It is Our further Will and Pleasure that any five of the said Council shall constitute a Board of Council for transacting all Business in which their Advice and Consent may be requisite, Acts of Legislature only excepted (in which Case you are not to act without a Majority of a whole) you are however not to select or appoint any such Members of Our said Council by Name to the Number of five as you may think fit to transact such Business, or term any select Number of such Members by the Name of a Privy Council, but you are on every Occasion where the Attendance of the Members is necessary or required, to summon all such who may be within a convenient Distance; And It is Our further Will and Pleasure that the Members of Our said Council shall have and enjoy all the Powers, Privileges and Emoluments enjoyed by the Members of Our Councils in Our other Plantations, and also such others as are contained and directed in Our said Commission under Our Great Seal of Great Britain and in these Our Instructions to you, and that they shall meet together at such time and times, place and places as you in your Discretion shall think necessary, except when they meet for the purpose of Legislation, in which case they are to be assembled at the Town of Quebec only.

   Art. 3
same as 3

  [to Guy Carleton, ante pp. 821-823,   except for "Our Commissioners for   Trade and Plantations." Arts. 5 and 6   read "Lords of the Committee of Our         Privy Council."]

    7.  You are at your first calling together Our Council to communicate to them such and so many of these Our Instructions wherein their Advice and Consent are mentioned to be requisite, or which contain any Directions as to the framing of Ordinances for the Peace, Welfare and good Government of Our said Province, as likewise all such others from time to time as you shall find convenient for Our service to be imparted to them.

    8.  You are to permit the Members of Our said Council to have and enjoy freedom of Debate and Vote in all Affairs of publick Concern that may be debated in Council.

    9.  And whereas by the aforesaid Act passed in the fourteenth year of Our Reign Intituled, "An Act for making more effectual provision for the Government of the Province of Quebec in North America" It is

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further enacted and provided that the Council for the Affairs of the said Province to be constituted and appointed in manner therein directed, or the Major part thereof shall have power and Authority to make Ordinances for the peace, Welfare and good Government of the said Province with the Consent of Our Governor or in his Absence the Lieutenant Governor or Commander in Chief for the time being, Provided that no Ordinance shall be passed, unless upon some urgent Occasion at any Meeting of the Council, except between the first Day of January and the first Day of May, You are to take especial Care that the Directions of the said Act be duly observed and that no Ordinance be passed at any Meeting of the Council where less than a Majority is present, or at any time except between the first Day of January and the first Day of May as aforesaid, unless upon some urgent Occasion in which case every Member thereof resident at Quebec or within fifty Miles shall be personally summoned to attend the same.

    10.  That no Ordinance be passed for laying any Taxes or Duties, such Rates and Taxes only excepted as the Inhabitants of any Town or District may be authorized to assess, levy and apply within the said Town or District for the making of Roads, erecting & repairing of publick Buildings, or for any other purpose respecting the local Convenience and economy of such Town or District.
    That no Ordinance touching Religion or by which any Punishment may be inflicted greater than Fine or Imprisonment for three Months, be made to take Effect, until the same shall have received Our Approbation.
    That in all Ordinances imposing Fines, Forfeitures or Penalties, express Mention be made that the same is granted or reserved to Us, Our Heirs and Successors for the publick Uses of the said Province, and the Support of the Government thereof, as by the said Ordinance shall be directed, and that a clause be inserted declaring that the Money arising by the Operation of the said Ordinance shall be accounted for unto Us in this Kingdom, and to Our Commissioners of Our Treasury for the time being, and audited by Our Auditor General of Our Plantations or his Deputy.
    That no Ordinance be passed relative to the Trade Commerce, or Fisheries of the said Province, by which the Inhabitants thereof shall be put upon a more advantageous footing than any other of Our Subjects, either of this Kingdom or of the Plantations, who have retained their Allegiance.
    That no Ordinance respecting private property be passed without a Clause suspending its Execution until Our Royal Will and Pleasure is known, nor without a Saving of the right of Us, Our Heirs & Successors and of all Bodies Politick and Corporate, and of all other persons, except such as are mentioned in the said Ordinance and those claiming by, from, and under them, And before such Ordinance is passed Proof must be made before you in Council and entered in the Council Books, that publick Notification was made of the Parties' Intention to apply for such Ordinance in the several Parish Churches, where the Lands in question lye for three Sundays at least successively before any such Ordinances shall be proposed, And you are to

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transmit and annex to the said Ordinance a Certificate under your Hand that the same passed through all the forms abovementioned.
    That, except in Cases of imminent Necessity or immediate temporary Expediency, you shall not enact any Ordinance for less time than two years, and you shall not re-enact any Ordinance, to which Our Assent shall have been once refused, nor give your Assent to any Ordinance for repealing any other passed in Your Government, which shall have received Our royal Approbation, unless you take care that there be a Clause inserted therein suspending the Execution thereof until Our Pleasure shall be known, and in either case it will be your Duty to make full representation to Us by One of Our principal Secretaries of State, and to the Lords of the Committee of our Privy Council for Trade & Plantations for their Information of the reasons and Necessity which appeared to you for passing such Ordinance.
    That all such Ordinances be transmitted by you within six Months after their passing, or sooner if Opportunity offers, to Us by one of Our principal Secretaries of State and Duplicates thereof to the Lords of the Committee of Our Privy Council for Trade & Plantations for their Information; That they be abstracted in the Margins and accompanied with very full and particular Observations where they may be necessary, together with fair Copies of the Journals of the proceedings of the Council, which you are to require from the Clerk of the said Council.

    11.  In the Consideration of what may be necessary to be provided for by Law within Our said Province, as created and established by the aforesaid Act, Intituled, "An Act for making more effectual Provision for the Government of the Province of Quebec in North America," a great Variety of important Objects hold themselves forth to the Attention of the Legislative Council.

    12.  The Establishment of Courts and a proper Mode of administering Civil and Criminal Justice throughout the whole Extent of Our Province according to the Principles declared in the said Act for making more effectual provision for the Government thereof demand the greatest Care and Circumspection, for as on the one Hand it is Our gracious purpose, conformable to the Spirit and Intention of the said Act of Parliament, that Our Canadian Subjects should have the Benefit and Use of their own Laws, Usages and Customs in all Controversies respecting Titles of Land, and the Tenure, Descent, Alienation, Incumbrances and Settlements of real Estates and the Distribution of personal property of Persons dying intestate, so on the other hand it will be the Duty of the Legislative Council to consider well in framing such Ordinances, as may be necessary for the Establishment of Courts of Justice, and for the better Administration of Justice, whether the Laws of England may not be, if not altogether, at least in part the Rule for the Decision in all Cases of personal Actions grounded upon Debts, Promises, Contracts and Agreements, whether of a Mercantile or other Nature, and also of Wrongs proper to be compensated in Damages, and more especially where Our Natural born Subjects of Great Britain, Ireland,

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or other Plantations residing at Quebec, or who may resort thither or have Credit or Property within. the same, may happen to be either Plaintiff or Defendant in any Civil Suit of such a Nature.

    13.  Whereas an Ordinance hath been passed in Our Province of Quebec, Intituled, "An Ordinance for securing the Liberty of the Subject and for the prevention of Imprisonments out of this Province," It is Our Will and Pleasure that you do take effectual Care that the said Ordinance be duly enforced, so that every Security to personal Liberty, which is thereby provided for, may be fully enjoyed by Our Subjects in that Province.

    14.  Whereas, in pursuance of Our former Instructions to Our Governors and Commanders in Chief, Courts of Justice have been established within Our province of Quebec, It is Our Will and Pleasure that you do take due care that in all Cases whatever the Powers and Authorities granted by Us, or by any Ordinance confirmed by Us, to the said several Courts be duly observed and enforced, and that the Proceedings therein be in all things conformable to the said Act of Parliament "for making more effectual provision for the Government of the Province of Quebec," and to such Ordinances as may have been or hereafter may be enacted by the Legislature for those purposes; And that the Governor and Council (of which in the Absence of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor the Chief Justice is to be President) shall continue to be a Court of Civil Jurisdiction for the hearing and determining of all Appeals from the Judgment of the other Courts, where the Matter in dispute is above the Value of ten Pounds; That any five of the said Council (if no more shall upon Summons be present) with the Governor, Lieutenant Governor or Chief Justice shall constitute a Court for that purpose, and that their Judgment shall be final in all Cases not exceeding the Value of five hundred Pounds Sterling; In which Cases an Appeal from their Judgment is to be admitted to Us in Our Privy Council; It is however Our Will and Pleasure that no Appeal be allowed unless Security be first given by the Appellant that he will effectually prosecute the same, and answer the Condemnation, as also pay such Costs and Damages as shall be awarded by Us, in case the Sentence be affirmed; Provided nevertheless, where the Matter in Question relates to the taking or demanding of any Duty payable to Us, or to any Fee of Office, or Annual Rents or other such like Matter or Thing, where the Right in future may be bound, in all such Cases Appeal to Us in Our Privy Council is to be admitted, though the immediate Sum or Value appealed for be of less Value; And it is Our further Will and Pleasure that in all Cases where Appeals are admitted unto Us in Our Privy Council Execution be suspended until the final Determination of such Appeal, Unless good and sufficient Security be given by the Appellee to make ample restitution of all that the Appellant shall have lost by means of such Decree or Judgment, in case upon the Determination of such Appeal such Decree or Judgment should be reserved, and restitution awarded to the Appellant: Appeals unto Us in Our Privy Council are also to be admitted in all Cases of Fines imposed for Misdemeanours, Provided the Fines so imposed amount to or exceed the Sum



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