Despatch from Lieutenant-General J. Michel to the Earl of Carnarvon, No. 5 (4 January 1867)
By: J. Michel
Citation: Despatch from Lieutenant-General J. Michel to the Earl of Carnarvon, No. 5 (4 January 1867) in UK, Parliament, Correspondence respecting the Proposed Union of the British North American Provinces (London: George Edward Eyre and William Spottiswoode, 1867).
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COPY of a DESPATCH from the Officer Administering the Government to the Right Hon. the Earl of CARNARVON.
(No.5.) Montreal, January 4, 1867
(Received, January 25, 1867)
(Answered, No. 131, January 30, 1867, page 51.)
I HAVE the honour to transmit herewith to your Lordship an address to Her most Gracious Majesty the Queen from the Rev. John Bethnne, D.D., and others, residing in Lower Canada and to request that it may be laid at the foot of the Throne.
I have, &c.,
Right Hon. the Earl of Carnarvon,
&c. &c. &c. Lt-General, Administrator of Gov.
Enclosure in N0.28.
To the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty.
MAY IT PLEASE YOUR MAJESTY,
THE undersigned loyal and dutiful subjects of Your Majesty, residing […] Lower Canada, deeply impressed with the importance of a cordial concurrence of Your Majesty’s subjects of all classes in Canada in the union of the British North American Provinces, if resolved on, and while humbly expressing the hope that such union may be made as full and complete as possible, desire respectfully to represent that further and better provisions with respect to the future representation of the English minority in Lower Canada ought in justice to be made in the Act of Imperial Parliament, and also that certain guarantees with reference to education in the interest of the same minority should be afforded.
That without doubting the good faith, or questioning the just intention of our fellow subjects of French origin and Catholic faith, which on the contrary they have often had reason to acknowledge, Your petitioners consider that it would peril that harmony and co-operation which are so much needed for the successful working of the union, if any large minority of Your Majesty’s subjects were made dependent on the forbearance of the majority, instead of having their rights secured by legislative enactment.
Your petitioners consider that it would peril that harmony and co-operation which are so much needed for the successful working of the union, if any large minority of Your Majesty’s subjects were made dependent on the forbearance of the majority, instead of having their rights secured by legislative enactment.
Your petitioners would represent that the English speaking minority in Lower Canada number nearly one-fourth of the population of that part of the Province.
That the total number of representatives in the Local Parliament of that Province is proposed to be […], of which Your petitioners should be entitled to return, as they now do, nearly one-fourth. They therefore pray that as regards the interference in future by the Local Legislature in the electoral limits now existing, or as regards any future increase in the number of representatives, such provision be made in the Act of Union as shall secure to the British minority the same relative representation as the now possess, as well in the Federal as […] the Local Legislature.
On the subject of education Your petitioners would represent that by the resolutions, as agreed to at the Conference at Quebec, it is provided that the Local Legislature shall have power to make laws respecting the following subjects, […], among others, education, “saving the right and privileges which “the protestant or Catholic minority in both Canada may possess as to their denominational schools “at the time when the union goes into operation.”
Your petitioners would respectfully represent that previous to the adoption of these resolutions by the Legislature of Canada, it was distinctly understood and a pledge was given, that before the union of the Provinces should have actually taken place, an Act should be passed securing to the Protestant minority in Lower Canada the control of the education of the children of their own race and religion, and for that object a Bill was introduced by the ministry of the day in the last session of the Canadian Legislature.
That circumstances to which it is unnecessary here […] to refer, led to the withdrawal of the said Bill, and Your petitioners are thereby deprived of the guarantees which its passage would have afforded.
That these guarantees may briefly be stated to be —
First. That all direct taxes for the support of schools paid by Protestants, unless otherwise designated by themselves, should be applied to Protestant or non-denominational education, and that all public money given for the same purpose should be divided between Protestants and Roman Catholics in proportion to population.
Second. That suitable and adequate provision should be made for the protection of the educational interests of Protestants in the management of educational funds, the establishment and proper classification and maintenance of schools and institutions of superior education, and generally in the administration of educational affairs.
Your petitioners desire further to represent that they consider it to be of the utmost moment that the important questions of immigration and the administration of the Crown Lands should be vested exclusively in the General Government, instead of being left within the control of the Local Legislature.
They therefore humbly pray that in any measure to be submitted to the Imperial Parliament, such provision may be made in reference to the foregoing subjects as shall give effect to the prayers of Your petitioners.
And as in duty bound Your petitioners will ever pray.
Signed by JOHN BETHUNE, D.D., and several others
Montreal, 1st December 1866.