The Election of 1834
The legislature met as usual in November, 1832, but it was at once apparent that the constructive activity which had gone on continuously for three sessions, in spite of investigations and political controversies, was at an end. When the assembly adjourned in April 1833, the moderates, who had worked indefatigably to adapt the machinery of government to new conditions, were aware that they were powerless to continue their labours. For them the future was dark since they were accustomed to think in terms of monarchical institutions whereas the men who controlled the assembly were open in their admiration for the practices of the republic to the south. In an editorial in the Quebec Gazette of 25 March Neilson wrote:
The experiment of the Constitution of 1791 has failed. It was so pronounced by the Governor of the Province from 1822 to 1828 -- by the Legislative Council, partially at least, at different times -- and now by the House of Assembly. Never was a poor Constitution so condemned by all bodies constituted and authorized to carry it into effect.
To Neilson the heart of the tragedy was that the constitution had been rejected by the assembly, who had always supported it, at the moment when it was beginning, with the aid of the British government, to be for the first time effective. He had earlier warned those who wanted to see it remodelled that they were throwing away the shield which had served them well since 1822. The English party would at last be given the opportunity they had always sought to persuade Parliament to make the changes they regarded as necessary. On the other hand the changes urged by the radicals would be unacceptable to the English ministers, whether Whig or Tory, and were inconsistent with all earlier resolutions of the assembly on constitutional points.
The editorial of 25 March was provoked by a vote of the assembly in favour of making the legislative council an elective body and of calling a
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: The Revolt of French Canada, 1800-1835:A Chapter of the History of the British Commonwealth. Contributors: Helen Taft Manning - Author. Publisher: St Martin's Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1962. Page number: 355.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.