British Colonial Developments, 1774-1834

By Vincent Harlow; Frederick Madden | Go to book overview

20 LOWER CANADA: PETITION FROM CITIZENS OF MONTREAL TO GEORGE IV, December 18221

The Petition of the subscribers, Your Majesty's dutiful and loyal subjects of British birth or descent, inhabitants of the city and county of Montreal in the province of Lower Canada: MOST HUMBLY SHEWETH:

That Your Majesty's petitioners learnt with the most lively satisfaction that the measure of uniting the provinces of Upper and Lower Canada under one Legislature had been submitted to the consideration of the Imperial Parliament in its last session, and have been impressed with the sentiments of the most respectful gratitude for the attention which has been bestowed on this measure of vital importance to both provinces.

Under the agreeable anticipation that the evident policy and urgent necessity of a union of the provinces will induce a renewal of the measure in the next session, Your Majesty's petitioners most respectfully beg leave to submit the principal considerations that render them in the highest degree anxious for the adoption of the proposed union.

Your Majesty's petitioners in all humility represent that the division of the late province of Quebec into two provinces must be referred to as a measure which has been most prolific of evil. At the time the division took place upwards of thirty years had elapsed from the conquest of the country by Your Majesty's arms; and notwithstanding the unlimited generosity which has been displayed towards the conquered, by confirming to them their laws and religion, by admitting them to a participation in the Government and in all the rights of British subjects, and by continued demonstrations of kindness towards them, no advances had been made in effecting a change in the principles, language, habits and manners, which characterize them as a foreign people. Such change, as well from past experience as from the known operation of the feelings common to mankind, could not be expected while the conquered people were permitted exclusively to regulate their own government, and thus cherish and maintain the national peculiarities, which it was equally the interest of the parent state and of the colony should be gradually effaced by an intimate union with their fellow subjects of British origin. On this account it seemed evidently necessary in framing a new constitution of government that the representation should be so regulated as to ensure a fit and reasonable influence of British feeling and principles on the conduct of the colonial Legislature. The measures for this purpose were at the time facilitated by the increase of the British

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1
Brymner, op. cit., pp. 32-36.

-227-

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