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



to the seigneurs should the rents previously exacted he held legal. It did not attempt to abolish the tenure. This bill was rejected by the legislative council, in which the influence of the seigneurs was strong. The result was an increased agitation for a total abolition of the tenure. The Act of 1854 made provision for this. It provided for the appointment of a special court--usually spoken of as the Seigneurial Court—to determine what legal rights and privileges the seigneurs really possessed and what compensation should be paid to them for their loss. The amount fixed was duly paid by the province, and so vanished the abuses of this feudal tenure.

Lord Elgin.—Toward the close of 1854, Lord Elgin's term of office cause to an end. In their efforts for public improvement his ministers had always found iii him an eager ally, and by his eloquent speeches throughout the province he had done much to spur the people to further endeavor. At the same time he had, during a somewhat trying period, held an even balance between opposing parties. His subsequent career was distinguished, and he was finally made Viceroy of India, which position he held at the time of his death. His successor in Canada was Sir Edmund Head, who was promoted from the lieutenant-governorship of New Brunswick.

Sectional Difficulties. —The alliance of parties which sup-ported the MacNab-Morin ministry was sufficiently powerful to retain the control of public affairs for nearly eight years,* with one notable intermission to which reference will he made later. The legislation of 1854 had settled the last of the great questions which had divided political parties and a short season of comparative calm now followed. The strength of the government lay in the difficulty experienced by the opposition—led by such men as George Brown, A. A. Dorion, and John Sandfield Macdonald—in agreeing upon a political platform which would find support in both sections of the province. In Upper Canada an agitation had been growing up for some years against Separate Schools, for which provision had been made by the School Act of 1841. The granting of public money to sectarian institutions was another subject of attack. Upon these questions there was little prospect of agreement- between the two sections of the province.

' During these years the ministry underwent many changes in its composition, and was known by various names—MacNab-Morin, Mac\ab-TachF, Tachd-Macdonald, Macdonald-Cartier, Cartier-Macdonald.

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