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HISTORY OF CANADA.   143

stands. Here the plans for the year were discussed and settled, after which the partners dispersed, some to return with the voyageurs by way of the Ottawa to Montreal ; while others—the " wintering partners "—struck again through the wilderness with their coureurs dc bois to the various posts of the company in the fur regions. Selkirk's settlement on the Red River lay right across the path of the Nor'-Westers, and would almost certainly increase the friction between the rival companies. What did happen we shall see later.

CHAPTER XXIV.

LOWER CANADA (1791-1$12).

The First Parliament of Lower Canada.—The division of the old province of Quebec took effect on the 26th of December, 1791. Lord Dorchester was at this time absent in England, and it devolved therefore upon the lieutenant-governor, Sir Alured Clarke, to organize the new government in Lower Canada, Lieutenant-Governor Simcoe performing the like duty in the upper province. Clarke at once formed a legislative council of fifteen, giving nearly one-half of the seats to French-Canadian seigneurs. His executive council was composed of the leading officials, most of whom were also given seats in the legislative council. The first parliament of Lower Canada met at Quebec on the 17th of December, 1792. The French-Canadian population had not been illiberal, and fifteen out of the fifty members of the assembly were English-speaking. The assembly chose as its speaker Mr. J. A. Panet, a French-Canadian lawyer who spoke French and English with equal fluency. It was resolved that both languages should be used in the proceedings of the House, an eminently fair arrangement which was never afterwards disturbed. Loyal addresses to the king were passed, one of gratitude for the boon of a popular assembly, and another ex-pressing horror at the excesses of the French revolution and the hope that in the war which had begun between France and England His Majesty's arms would be successful. The session was further marked by a Quaker Toleration Act,, and by a request


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