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HISTORY OF CANADA.   185

plain, which was obstructed by the Chambly Rapids. Among the enterprises of the period the Desjardins and Burlington canals, at the head of Lake Ontario, should also be mentioned. The Rideau Canal, between Kingston and Bytown (now Ottawa), was an Imperial undertaking. It was built (1827-1834) in order to open a couununication between Montreal and Lake Ontario which would be free from danger of interruption in case of war with the United States. The old Carillon' canals on the Ottawa were part of the same enterprise. For many years this was a favorite passenger route between Kingston and Montreal, but it fell somewhat into disuse after the St. Lawrence canals were opened for traffic. It still, however, affords a delightful trip during the summer months.

CHAPTER XXIX.

THE RULE OF THE EXECUTIVE.

The system of government in the British provinces in America must now be examined as a first step toward a proper understanding of the various phases of the struggle for civil and religious liberty. For the present, attention may be confined to the five provinces possessed of representative assemblies.

Political System of Great Britain. — Government in England at this time was, as at present, divided into two branches : (1) the legislative or law-making branch, and (2) the executive or law-enforcing branch. In theory, the two were entirely separate. Parliament, the law-making body, consisted of the King, the House of Lords, and the House of Couunons, the latter (often called the "people's house") being composed of members elected by the people of the various towns, boroughs, and counties of Great Britain. Parliament had no power to interfere directly in the daily routine of administration. It could pass laws, but the enforcement of those laws must be left to the king and his officers,.the executive branch. In truth, however, parliament had secured even at this time complete control over public affairs. The king could levy no tax without the consent of parliament, and from very early times the House of Commons had claimed the right to determine what moneys should be granted for the public


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