The legislative assembly of Lower Canada was to consist of not less than fifty members, that of Upper Canada of not less than sixteen. The electoral franchise was what was known in England as the forty shilling freehold for counties and the £5 freehold and £10 leasehold for towns. Roughly speaking, these figures had reference to the annual rental or income of the property in respect of which the right to vote was claimed. No member of the legislative council and no clergyman was to be eligible to a seat in the assembly. The oaths required, as well from voters as from members of the council and assembly, contained nothing in the nature of a religious test to debar any citizen from voting at an election or from being elected.
The provincial parliaments were to meet at least once a year. Their legislative power over certain matters was restricted, not by way of absolute prohibition, but by requiring certain formalities to be observed. Laws relating to religion (including tithes) were among these, and the restrictions were imposed apparently in order to prevent hasty legislation at any time of religious excitement. The power to pass laws relating to the granting of Crown lands was also restricted as these were relied on to provide a revenue, and in the interest of the Crown their too rapid sale was not considered desirable. The greater part indeed of all the revenues of the provinces continued to be collected and spent by the officials under Acts of the British parliament, so that for many years the assemblies were able to exercise very little control over them—a defect in the system of colonial government which was remedied only after a long struggle.
Tithes—Clergy Reserves.—The right of the Roman Catholic clergy to collect tithes from adherents of that Church was confirmed, but provision was also made for the setting apart of a certain part of the Crown lands for the support of a " Protestant clergy." Out of this enactment grew, about thirty years later, the celebrated "Clergy Reserves" question, which for many years created intense political excitement, particularly in Upper Canada. It was not finally set at rest until the year 1854.
Legal Systems.—The only other provision of the Constitutional Act which need now be noticed is the clause which continued all existing laws in Canada, subject, however, to future repeal or variation by the provincial assemblies. What would