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No. 289.

NOTES ON THIRD DRAUGHT OF QUEBEC BILL.
¹



      The first preamble, and enacting clause of the present Bill are entirely new, and are introduced in order to annex to Quebec during The King's Pleasure the Territories therein described, which are now, for the greatest part, without either the protection or comptrol of any Government whatever and for the rest subjected to the incompetent and improper Jurisdiction of Newfoundland. This possibly might have in general been done by the sole authority of the Crown, but it is conceived that it would have been liable to doubts that cannot exist in the present mode which is conceived to be more effectual, & of more proper notoriety.
      The whole preamble of the former Bill, reciting and condemning the Proclamation and other consequential Acts of Government is omitted, and in lieu of it a very short preamble introduced stating the general inadequacy of those Regulations to the present State and Circumstances of the Colony.
      The first enacting Clause of the present Bill does not materially differ from the first enacting Clause of the other, the only difference is that it does not revoke any other Commission to the Governor but the one now existing.
      The Second and Third Clauses of the present Bill are proposed by Mr Hey in the place of the Second Clause in the old Bill that restores to the Canadians generally their Property, Laws, Customs and Usages, including as it is conceived under the word Laws not only all Civil Rights, but also all Ecclesiastical Laws and Authorities incident thereto, which general Provision is restrained by the present Act to the free Exercise of the Romish Religion, as far as is consistent with the King's Supremacy, exempting Protestants from Payment of Tythes and making the Laws and Customs of Canada in Civil Cases the Rule for Judgement in the Courts, under certain Limitations & Exceptions in respect to disposition of Property by will, and a mode of changing the Tenure of Lands held by Seigniory into Common Soccage.
      The fourth Clause of the present Bill introduces the whole Criminal Laws of England which by the Corresponding Clause of the old Bill was only in part introduced & under Limitations.
      The rest of the Clauses in both Bills respecting the Legislative Council are very much the same; there is no material difference except by the new Bill their appointment is to be by sign Manual in like manner as Councillors in other Colonies are appointed—by the former Bill they were to be appointed under the Great Seal of Great Britain, which besides deviating from the rule in other Cases is liable to other obvious Objections.

Endorsed:—Notes of Alterations in the Quebec Bill.

      ¹  Canadian Archives, Dartmouth Papers, M 385, p. 337.   These notes are evidently by Sol. Gen. Wedderburn, as may be gathered from his criticisms on the second draught of the bill addressed to Lord Dartmouth.

[1927lab]

 

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