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HISTORY OF CANADA.   99

vince, though leather was badly tanned and the better kinds of boots and shoes were brought from the neighboring colonies. At the St. Maurice forges edged tools were made. Pearl ashes and potash were obtained in the course of clearing away the forests, though the amount produced was as yet small. With the coming of peace the habitants had been left free to devote their time more closely to the soil, and the clearing and cultivation of the land was rapidly extended. There was apparently a fair amount of farm stock—horses, cattle, sheep, and swine—in the province, and, though ready money was scarce, the people were "at their ease and comfortable."

CHAPTER XVI.

THE QUEBEC ACT, 1774.

Political Agitation.—As already mentioned, the English-speaking minority in the province of Quebec continually clamored for an assembly. From time to time they sent petitions to England praying that the governor should be directed to call one, or that, at all events, a larger council, exclusively Protestant, should be appointed to act with him. They asked, also, that the governor should not have power to dismiss the members of this council. In 1770, Carleton himself went to England to lay his views before the British ministry, remaining there until 1774. A petition was sent by the French-Canadians in 1773, asking that no assembly should be called and that the old laws should be entirely restored. This petition had Carleton's hearty support.

Passage of the Quebec Act. —The British parliament proceeded with extreme deliberation. The former governor (Murray), the present governor (Carleton), the Canadian chief justice, the attorney-general, and Lotbiniere, a Canadian seigneur, were examined as witnesses before a committee, and every effort was made to ascertain what was best for the new colony. It was finally decided that the British minority ought not to be allowed to set up an assembly of men selected from themselves to rule the country, and that the laws to which the Canadians were accustomed should be again restored. By taking this course Great Britain, as we shall see, gained the hearty support of the most intelligent and


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