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100   MILITARY HISTORY OF CANADA

peal to the nearest British commandant or to himself. In the event of capital crimes, officers of militia were authorized to arrest the criminals and their accomplices, and to conduct them under guard to Montreal, furnishing also an account of the crime and a list of witnesses. In civil cases involving small amounts not exceeding twenty livres, all officers of the militia were individually granted authority to adjudicate, with right of appeal to the militia courts of the district, and they were especially enjoined to maintain peace and order within their respective localities. Provision was made for the payment of the militia officers for these special duties, by a scale of fees, a treasurer being appointed for each court. This employment of the officers of the old French militia was clearly an honest attempt to place the administration of the French laws, the temporary continuance of which had been promised to the Canadian people at the capitulation of Montreal, in the hands of those best versed in them.

In Quebec, the population was not so well disposed to-wards the new rulers, and the militia appears to have been called upon to assist only with regard to statutory labour and the repair of roads and bridges. Murray appointed a military council of seven British army officers, as judges of the more important civil and criminal pleas. Two prominent French Canadians were appointed public procurators and legal commissaries before this council: Jacques Belcourt de Lafontaine, ex-member of the Sovereign Council of New France, for the country on the right bank of the St. Lawrence, and Joseph Etienne Cugnet, seigneur of St. Etienne, for that on the left side.

In Three Rivers arrangements almost identical with those of Quebec were made. The commissions in the militia were generally held by the seigneurs and other local gentry. To strengthen the hands of the militia officers, arms were issued them for free public distribution on loan during good behaviour, in order that the recipients might hunt, and "keep their hands in" against an emergency.\ In one case, there was a refusal to perform


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