Provisional Government [Manitoba], Convention of Forty, Formation of the Provisional Government of Rupert’s Land (11 February 1870)
By: Provisional Government (Manitoba)
Citation: Manitoba, Reconstituted Debates of the Convention of Forty/La Grande Convention, 1870, 2010 at 103-104.
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FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 1870
Last Acts of the Convention
Formation of the Provisional Government of Rupert’s Land
LOUIS REIL [sic], President.
THOS. BUNN, Secretary of State.
LOUIS SCHMIDT, Assist. Sec. State.
W.B. O’DONOGHUE, Sec. Treasury.
JAMES ROSS, Chief Justice.
Council of the People to be Elected.
THE BILL OF RIGHTS
THE DELEGATES TO CANADA
The situation at present is one which enables the Canadian Press fond of using the word “rebel” to apply that epithet equally to all in this Settlement. The Convention of forty representatives from all Parishes, English, Scotch, and French, after drawing up a Bill of Rights to be demanded, insisted upon, and guaranteed, before this Territory shall pass into Confederation, has terminated its labors by unanimously confirming the election of Mr. Louis Riel as President of the Provisional Government: by the election of Mr. Jas. Ross as Chief Justice; Mr. Thos. Bunn, Secretary of State; Mr. Louis Schmidt as Assistant Secretary, and Mr. W.B. O’Donoghue as Secretary of the Treasury. A general election is to take place at once for the formation of a Council composed of twenty-four representatives from every portion of the Colony. In short the Government will, as speedily as possible, be completed in all its functions and in perfect running order.
We cannot too highly commend the members of the Convention for their persevering, untiring efforts culminating in the final and irrevocable union of the different factions in our midst, and it should be a matter of congratulation, that thus far no violent display of hostilities has occurred, and bloodshed has been avoided. Henceforth we trust that actuated by common desires and kindred interests, the kindly feeling now pervading every bosom may be a guarantee for perfect peace and harmony. The Hudson Bay Government having voluntarily surrendered the Administrative power to the people, the people now rule, and for them we hope and expect a magnificent future.
The selection of a President has been a most judicious and politic one. It places as Chief Executive an individual possessing administrative abilities of the highest order, and who – fully understanding and appreciating the public mind upon the momentous questions at issue, will deal with them in the manner which will best subssrve [sic: subserve] the general weal. The other officers elected are too well known in this Colony to require any eulogy at our hands. Their high personal characters and well known capacity and integrity, we feel assured, will win the warmest approbation for their selection.
The Bill of Rights framed by the Convention we take to be a very moderate one, and one which, if Canada is as deeply desirous of attaining this Territory as represented, she will unhesitatingly grant. Should she not, however, there is another country toward which we look with longing eyes, and which will guarantee us interests compared with which those held out by the Dominion are truly insignificant.
The confirmation of Louis Riel as President of the Provisional Government of Rupert’s Land, by the Convention, was announced amid salvos of artillery from the Fort, and the cheers of the delegates. The Town welcomed the announcement by a grand display of fire-works and the general and continued discharge of small arms. The firing and cheering were prolonged untill [sic] late in the night, everyone joining in the general enthusiasm. As a result of the amicable union of all parties upon one common platform, a general amnesty to political prisoners will shortly be proclaimed, the soldiers remanded to their homes to await orders, and everything be placed upon a peace footing.
“Vive la Republique.”
The following gentlemen were yesterday appointed Delegates to Canada, on behalf of the people of Red River:—
Judge Black, Rev. Mr. Richot, Alfred H. Scott.
The English Delegates have arranged the mode of election for their twelve representatives, to the Provisional Government, and apportioned the representation as follows:—
St. Clements 1; St. Andrews 2; St. Paul’s 1; Kildonan 1; St John’s and Town of Winnipeg 1; St. Jame’s [sic] 1; Headingly 1; St. Ann’s 1; St. Margaret’s 1; St. Mary’s 1; — 12.
The elections are to come off if possible during next week. The voters in each Parish are all the male residents of the age of 21 years, and the mode of election will be by public meeting. No time has been fixed for the first Council, but it is understood that it will be as soon as possible.