George Brown Papers, Drafts of the Quebec Resolutions, Notes on the Division of Powers with Revisions (12 October 1864)

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Date: 1864-10-12
By: George Brown
Citation: George Brown Papers, Drafts of the Quebec Resolutions, Notes on the Division of Powers, October 12th, 1864 (MG 24, B 40, Vol. 21, p. 3768-3769).
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Click here for our e-book, The Quebec Resolutions: Including Several Never-Published Preliminary Drafts by George Brown and John A. Macdonald & a Collection of all Previously-Published Primary Documents Relating to the Conference (Calgary: Canadian Constitution Foundation, 2021).
Note: The text also contains handwritten notes and other marginalia. Click here to view an explanatory document on how we have transcribed handwritten notes.

3768[Note [1]]

Trade Education – with reservation
Currency & Coinage Inland Fisheries
Banking Public Laws & Settlement
Taxation Prisons
Interest Hospitals & Charities
Insolvency Agriculture – [illegible] [Concurrent]
Weights & Measures Road & Bridges
Navigation Power to borrow money under restriction [illegible]
Light Houses Registration of titles
Sea fisheries Municipal Laws
Patents & Copyrights All Private & Local legislation except matter specially made general by the constitution
Telegraph Incorporation Appointments –
Naturalization Administration of Justice
Marriage & Divorce Civil Laws
Agriculture – [illegible] [concurrent] Executive –
Census Legislative Council:

Postal Service

NS 21

Militia & Defence

NB 22

Adm of Justice. Criminal Law

Canada 72

Intercolonial Works

P.E. 13

Power to Subsidize Local Leg.


Assume Property & Debts

All general legislation except matters specially made local

Emigration – Concurrent

72 or 75

Power to establish a Court of appeal

To be paid
? Leg. Assembly:
Civil Law, Judiciary N.S. 55
Court of Appeal N.B. 43
Tariff? Canada 130
How local gov. [illegible] P.E. 13
Uniformity or? 258
150 to 200
How often meet.


3769[Note [2]]

Power of disallowance [checkmark]


Power to alter our government [checkmark]

Ferries [checkmark]

[illegible] of law?


All matters affecting [illegible]






Clerks of the Peace

Country attorneys

Indians? [checkmark]

Inspection of commodities? [checkmark]

Imprisonment for debt? [checkmark]

[illegible] foreign bills?


Transference of Public Buildings [checkmark]

Seats of Gov. [checkmark]

Preservation of [illegible]

[illegible] Religious rights


Veto to General Government [checkmark]

Power to Parliament to distribute [illegible] [checkmark]

Nothing to prevent members in both chambers

Power to compel fulfilment of obligations

Who gets criminal power?




[1] MG24 B40 3768 (above) follows primarily the same structure as MG24 B40 3764-3765. The amendments in Brown’s longhand on MG24 B40 3764-3765 are found incorporated into this document. Like MG24 B40 3764-3765, I have tentatively dated MG24 B40 3768 and 3769 October 12th 1864 for the simple reason (again) the number of legislative councillors proposed for the new federation on MG24 B40 3768 is “72 or 75” whereas the number formally proposed during committee is first 72 councillors on October 13th, 1864. These notes must predate that formal resolution. There was I believe a drafting side-session on the evening of October 12th 1864 (as suggested by A.A. Macdonald’s (PEI) “Notes”), and these are Brown’s working notes of that session which saw the formal drafting of a number of resolutions (see A.A. Macdonald’s (PEI) “Notes”, p. 139 in this volume). [C.D.]

[2]  I have included MG24 B40 3769 as an extension of MG24 B40 3768 since it features notes on the division of powers, and it is inserted in this order by Library and Archives Canada. However, there are too many provisions that are illegible. Future work will determine whether this is in fact its proper place.

Briefly, I would also note two lines that are surprising on this page. First, it is surprising to find ‘the power to alter our government’. But it was probably only discussed in the context of local constitutions, since this provision would otherwise oddly refer to a power to amend what would be British legislation. Second, it is also surprising to find the topic of indigenous peoples (“Indians”) in what seems to be among secondary draft provisions for the division of powers. The question of indigenous peoples or “Indians” was incorporated in later drafts when considering the topic of the uniformity of laws in Brown’s “Resolutions on Indians, etc.”, October 25th-26th 1864, p. 19 in this volume. [C.D.]

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