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106 MILITARY HISTORY OF CANADA

 

burne, on November 25th, 1767, setting forth in detail the actual state of affairs. After commenting on the wretched condition of the defences of Montreal and Quebec, he proceeded: "The King's forces in the Province, supposing them complete to the allowance, and all in perfect health, rank and file, would amount to 1,627 men; the King's old subjects (of British or British Colonial birth), supposing them all willing, might furnish about 500 men able to carry arms. Supposing all the King's troops and old subjects collected in Quebec, with two months' hard labour, they might put the works in a tolerable state of repair, and they would amount to about one third of the forces necessary for its defence. The new subjects could send into the field about 18,000 men, well able to carry arms."

Carleton advised that some steps be taken to give military employment to the French-Canadian gentry, as a measure of relief to them, as a means of securing their interest in the new regime, and to secure a valuable addition to the forces of the Crown. He proposed the raising of a regiment officered by French Canadians, and suggested that in some cases commissions in the regular army might be granted. But he was informed that under the laws of England, the French Canadians, being Roman Catholics, could not hold commissions in the army.

Meanwhile the British colonies south of Canada were rapidly drifting towards rebellion. The whole patchwork fabric of British Colonies in North America appeared ready to fall to pieces. If rebellion did break out it would be essential to have the French Canadians friendly, and so, partly in the hope of conciliating them, the British Parliament in 1774 passed the Quebec Act, which extended the boundaries of "the Province of Quebec" from Labrador to the Mississippi and from the Ohio to the watershed of the Hudson Bay, abolished Roman Catholic disability, confirmed the tithes to the Catholic clergy, but exempted Protestants from payment, re-established the French civil code and seigniorial tenure, confirmed the English


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