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194   HISTORY OF CANADA.

the same favoritism was shown and the same results followed. The mercantile members of the Family Compact managed to secure for themselves trade advantages of which the assemblies long tried in vain to deprive them. They were able, for instance, to dictate what ports should be ports of entry* for foreign produce, and thus to retain a monopoly of foreign trade.

Local Improvement.—ln those days the executive government of each province controlled the local affairs of every corn. munity within its borders. Local taxation was fixed in quarter sessions by the magistrates—all Crown-appointed ; and thus road-making, bridge-building, and all the other necessary work of local improvement were, in their hands, under executive control. The influence which the government was thus able to exert in all parts of the yet sparsely settled provinces was very great. In Lower Canada there was a somewhat peculiar system (a relic of the old regime) for making and repairing roads and building bridges. This work in each of the three districts of Quebec, Three Rivers and Montreal was under the control of a grand roger, who, though he could act only upon petition of the inhabitants, was the sole judge of the route to be followed and of the share to be paid by each of those benefited by the work. In the case of the main highways, for which grants were freely made by the assembly, complaint was made that the course of these highways was fixed with a selfish view to the improvement of the vacant lands held by large proprietors.

Road Grants.—In the effort to control road expenditure the assemblies frequently came into collision with the executive. Proper accounts of this expenditure were insisted upon but were long refused. When the assemblies, particularly in Lower Canada, declined to make road grants unless .upon conditions which would ensure to them some control over their disposal, they were represented to the colonial secretary as factious drags upon public improvement. In Nova Scotia, from very early times, the assembly insisted upon giving control of its road grants to the members for the constituency in which the money was to be

In the Maritime Provinces, Halifax, Pictou, Sidney, St. John and St. Andrews were long the only ports of entry. It was only as the result of persistent petitioning to the colonial office that such important shipping towns as Liverpool and Yarmouth, and, afterwards, Lunenburg, Windsor and Arichat, were added to the list.


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