Previous The History of the Dominion of Canada (1897) Next

 

128   HISTORY OF CANADA.

there schools— usually for the winter months only—were started through private enterprise. In 1791, when the division of the old province took place, the population of the upper province was placed at about twelve thousand. The total immigration into the Maritime Provinces and Canada during the years immediately following the peace has been computed at about forty-five thousand. The majority went at first to the Maritime Provinces, but after 1791 many of these removed to Canada.

CHAPTER FYI.

THE CONSTITUTIONAL ACT, 1791.

Divided Opinions.— The English-speaking population in what is now the province of Quebec had greatly increased, and in 1791 it numbered about five thousand out of a total population of about 125,000. The majority of this class had always desired an assembly, but they wanted the representation so arranged as to put them on a footing of equality, at least, with the French-speaking Canadians. Among the latter there had gradually taken place a marked change of opinion, and they were now about equally divided upon the question, the division showing itself "even in the bosom of families." Those who advocated an assembly did so of course in confidence that no religious test would limit their right to elect as members men of their own race. The new settlers in what is now Ontario were not only in favor of an assembly ; they also wanted the province divided in order that they might relieve themselves from the old French law, to which they were entirely unaccustomed. To this division the British party (as they were called), in and below Montreal, were opposed, as it would leave them in a hopeless minority in the lower province. Thus we see that the various classes who favored an assembly were actuated by widely different motives, and that there was little agreement as to the details of the change which should take place in the government of the province. The council and the officials were throughout opposed to any change, and they of course had friends and adherents, particularly in Quebec, to support their views.


Previous The History of the Dominion of Canada (1897) Next