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100   HISTORY OF CANADA.

influential of the French-Canadians in her struggle with the older American colonies, then on the point of revolt. The Act which was passed to carry out this decision is known as "The Quebec Act, 1774." It came into force on May 1st, 1775.

Provisions of the Act : (1) Boundaries.—To the west the province was extended to the Mississippi, including all the regions north of the Ohio to the territories of the Hudson's Bay Company. To the east, Labrador, Anticosti and a number of other small islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, which had previously been under the government of Newfoundland, were added to Quebec, and remained part of that province until 1809. The people of the added regions, both east and west—other than Indians—were of the French race.

  1. The Old Laws Restored.—The Quebec Act states in its preamble that the provisions of the proclamation of 1763 had been found upon experience to be unsuited to the circumstances of the province, "the inhabitants whereof amounted at the conquest to above 65,000 persons professing the religion of the Church of Rome and enjoying an established form of constitution and system of laws by which their persons and property had been protected, governed, and ordered for a long series of years." Accordingly, the proclamation and all ordinances passed since 1763 were annulled, and it was enacted that in all matters relating to property and civil rights the old laws and customs of Canada should prevail. Power was given, however, to the legislative council (created by the Act) to alter this provision, if it should be found expedient. The Quebec Act also recites that the certainty and lenity of English criminal law, and the benefits resulting from its use, had been " sensibly felt by the inhabitants " ; and that law was therefore continued.

  2. An Assembly Refused.—The reasons for not calling an assembly are not stated in the Act, but can easily be gathered from the evidence given before parliament. More than fifty years were to elapse before the harsh laws against Roman Catholics were struck from the British statute book ; but even in 1774 it was thought unjust to the French-speaking population of Canada to impose upon them an assembly so long as those laws precluded them from being elected to it. The state of affairs, too, in the neighboring British colonies made it, to some extent, a matter


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