Resolutions of the Meeting of the Electors of the City and Suburbs of Quebec held at Malhiot's Hotel, 13th December 1827
At a Meeting of the Electors of the City and Suburbs of Quebec, who approve of the conduct of the House of Assembly, called for the purpose of considering the expediency of submitting, by humble Petition1 to His Majesty and both Houses of Parliament, the present state of the Province, and the abuses and grievances which prevail therein and praying for relief and justice; held at Malhiot's Hotel, 13th December 1827;—
Louis Abraham Lagueux, Esquire, in the Chair.
It was Resolved,
1st.—That there was reason to hope, that in the Session of the Provincial Parliament assembled on the 20th November last for the despatch of public business, the state of th province would have been improved, and the evils which weigh on its inhabitants remedied, or put in a course to be removed, and its peace, welfare and good government promoted.
2nd.—That the said session has been interrupted by the refusal on the part of His Excellency the Governor-in-chief to approve, according to Parliamentary usage, the Speaker chosen and presented by the Assembly in the usual manner, and by the proclamation of the 22d November, proroguing the Provincial Parliament.
3d.—That it is expedient, under the foregoing circumstances, to submit, bу humble petition to His Majesty and the two Houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, the present state of the province, and the evils to which its inhabitants are exposed, in the hope that in the exercise of the Royal Prerogative, and the justice of Parliament, a remedy may be applied, whereby the constitution of this province, as now established by Act of the Parliament of Great Britain, may be preserved and maintained unimpaired.
4th.—That for several years past the income of real estate in this province, the profits of trade and industry, and the wages of labour therein, have greatly diminished, and are still diminishing, with new and alarming features.
5th.—That besides the ensuring to the subject the most perfect security of his person and property, the aiding and facilitating the diffusion of useful knowledge, and the free exercise of industry and enterprise, are amongst the most efficient means of promoting the general prosperity, and preventing its decline.
6th.—That although large sums of public money have been appropriated by the Legislature of this province, since the conclusion of the late war, in aid of education, and for facilitating industry, by opening and improving internal communications, and that these appropriations have been applied under the direction of the Provincial Executive, they have produced no adequate advantages, while many of the persons entrusted by the said Executive with the expenditure of the said monies have tardily or insufficiently accounted for the same.
7th.—That under the present circumstances of the province, no taxes or new duties for the public uses thereof can equitably be imposed, and no dependence can be placed on any funds for aiding in the diffusion of education, and facilitating the exertions of individual industry and enterprise, other than such funds as may be derived from the existing public revenue of the province.
8th.—That more than one half of the gross amount of the said public revenue has been applied for several years past to the payment of the salaries, emoluments and expenses of the officers of the Civil Government of the province, exclusive of the usual special appropriations.
9th.—That the said salaries, emoluments and expenses have been greatly increased without the concurrence or consent of the Legislature for many years past, and are in several instances paid to absentees and persons who have rendered no service therefore to this province; and in other instances the said salaries, emoluments and expenses are excessive compared with the services rendered, and with the income derived from real estate, and the usual recompense obtained by individuals of talent, character and industry equal to those of the persons who hold the said salaries and emoluments.
10th.—That besides the unnecessary and excessive salaries, emoluments and expenses, fees increasing to a heavy and grievous amount are paid by the subject to divers officers of Government, whereby individuals are burthened, the protection of the law and the benefit of government are lessened, and the resources of the country for its necessary wants diminished.
11th.—That a majority of persons, chiefly dependent, for the support of themselves and their families, on the salaries and emoluments of public offices held during pleasure, have been placed in the Executive and Legislative Councils of this province, several of whom have a direct individual interest in maintaining and increasing the said excessive salaries, fees, emoluments and expenses, and perpetuating other abuses profitable to persons in office.
12th.—That a majority in the said Legislative Council, chiefly consisting of Executive Councillors, Judges and other officers so holding, during pleasure, have year after year rejected, refused or neglected to proceed upon various necessary bills sent up, by the Representative Assembly of the province, for the remedy of abuses grievous to the subject, for aiding in the diffusion of education, for furthering the general convenience and improvement of the country, for increasing the security of persons and property, and promoting the common welfare and prosperity; particularly,
- Various annual bills, granting the necessary sums for all the expenses of the Civil Government of the province, but regulating and settling limits to the expenditure.
- For affording a legal course to the subject having claims against the Provincial Government.
- For regulating certain fees and offices.
- For enabling the inhabitants of the towns to have a voice in the management of their local concerns, and a check on the expenditure of monies levied upon them by assessment.
- For facilitating the administration of justice throughout the province, for qualifying and regulating the formation of juries, and introducing jury trials in country parts, and diminishing the expenses occasioned by the distance of suitor from the present seats of justice. * For providing a new and sufficient gaol for the district of Montreal.
- For qualifying persons to serve in the Office of Justice of the Peace.
- For continuing the Acts regulating the Militia of the province.
- For increasing and apportioning the representation in the House of Assembly equally among the qualified electors throughout the province, particularly in the new settlements and townships.
- For the security of the public monies in the hands of His Majesty's receiver general in this province.
- For the independence of the judges, by securing to them their present salaries, upon their being commissioned during good behaviour, and for providing a tribunal for the trial of impeachments by the Assembly, so as to ensure a just responsibility in high public officers within the province.
- For appointing and providing for an authorized agent for the province, to reside in England, and attend to its interests there.
13th.—That the repeated rejection, the refusal or neglect to proceed upon these and other necessary bills sent up by the Assembly to the Legislative Council, by a majority of the said Council, formed of Executive Councillors, judges and officer holding their commissions during pleasure, must be held to be the Act of the Executive Government of the province, and as such constitutes a public grievance, destructive of the ends of the constitution of the government as by law established in this province.
14th.—That large sums of money of the proceeds of the public revenue levied in province, have been applied by warrant of the Executive Government, year after year, without any appropriation by the legislative body therein (while the necessary appropriations were rejected in the said Legislative Council,) for the payment of alleged expenses of the Civil Government, and other expenses, for which no services were rendered to the province, or for new and increased salaries and allowances never recognized by the Legislature.
15th.—That large sums of monies of the proceeds of the public revenue raised within this province, in the hands of the late receiver-general, and other depositaries of public monies, then and still under the control and superintendence of the Provincial Executive, have been dissipated, and other officers appointed in their stead, without any adequate securities being taken for the future, thereby occasioning and exposing the public to grievous losses, wasting or endangering the resources of the province, and subjecting its its inhabitants to unnecessary burthens.
16th.—That various other sums of money appropriated by the Legislature have been advanced to divers persons appointed by the Executive, many of whom have not accounted for such advances in due time, have insufficiently accounted, or not accounted in any shape whatsoever, as appears by the statement laid before the Assembly, on address, in the session of 1826; and that persons then in default on the said statement have been appointed to other situations of honour, trust and profit.
17th.—That the college and revenues of the estates of the late order of Jesuits in this province, originally erected and formerly applied for the civil and religious education of the youth of this province, have not been so applied for many years past, and are in no way accounted for to the Legislature or the inhabitants of this province.
18th.—That large portions of the waste lands granted or reserved by the Crown in this province have been long held, and continue to be held, in the midst of, or in the immediate vicinity of actual settlements, without the owners or possessors thereof having been compelled to perform the duty of settlement upon which such lands were granted by the Crown, or any other duty in relation to the said lands, to the grievous burthen of the actual settlers, the hindrance of new settlers, and the obstruction of the general increase and prosperity of the province.
19th.—That during the prevalence of these and other abuses and grievances, false representations and attempts have been repeatedly made by divers officers of the Provincial Executive, to obtain from His Majesty's Government in England, and the Parliament of the United Kingdom, various alterations in the constitution of the government of this province, as established by an Act of the British Parliament, prejudicial to the rights and interests of this province, without their knowledge, and at a time when the said inhabitants were prevented by the said majority of executive councillors, judges and other officers in the Legislative Council, from having an authorized agent in England to attend to their interests, and enable them to he heard by the Government of the mother country.
20th.—That the revival or continuation, by the Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom (4th Geo. IV c. 6), of temporary duties imposed by the Provincial Acts, were so obtained, as well as the Acts affecting the tenures of land in this province, the whole prejudicial to the dearest rights and essential interests of the inhabitants of this province, and without knowledge or consent of the chiefly affected by the said Acts.
21st.—That the aforementioned
- Application of monies levied in this province, without appropriations by the Legislature thereof,
- The said advances of money to persons who have not sufficiently accounted for the same,
- The said dissipation of public money, and appointment of person to be entrusted with public monies without full security given,
- The diversion of the revenues of the estates of the late order of the Jesuits from purposes of education of the youth of this province,
- The inexecution of the conditions of the grants of the waste lands of the Crown, and aforesaid attempts on the part of the officers of the Executive Government to obtain alterations in England of the established constitution and laws of the province, without the knowledge of the inhabitants generally, and without their having had an opportunity of being heard,
Are grievances dangerous to the peace, welfare and good government of this province.
22nd.—That the prayer of the petition to His Majesty be, that He would take the premises into His most gracious consideration, and so exercise His Royal Prerogative that His subjects in this province be relieved from the said abuses and grievances, and that justice be done therein; that the inhabitants of this province be secured in the full enjoyment of the constitution of government, as established by the Act passed in the 31st year of the reign of His late Royal Father, of revered memory.
23d.—That the prayer to both Houses of Parliament be, that they would take the premises into consideration, cause an inquiry to be made, and the petitioners to be heard, that justice may be done thereon, and the subject in this province be secured in the full enjoyment of the constitution of government, as established by the Act of the Parliament of Great Britain, passed in the 31st year of the reign of His late Majesty, without any alteration thereof whatsoever.
24th.—That a Committee of Thirty-five electors, duly qualified by law to vote for members of the Assembly of this province, be appointed to draft and prepare petitions an the foregoing resolutions, with full power to take all the necessary steps for submitting them for the signature of the electors generally, for causing the said petitions to be laid at the foot of the Throne and presented to the Lords and Commons, and also to give effect to and support the same by evidence.
25th.—That this meeting will contribute and assist in procuring voluntary subscriptions to cover the necessary expenditure for the aforesaid purposes.
26th.—That Messrs. Amable Berthelot, François Blanchet, J. L. Borgia, J. B. F. Bacquet, Robert Blakiston, Michel Borne, J. Bigaouette, Michel Clouet, John Cannon, Joseph Dorion, Etienne Defoy, John Duval, John Fraser, H. G. Forsyth, Pierre Faucher, Joseph Gagné, A. R. Hamel, H. S. Huot], Louis Lagueux, Joseph Legaré, père, Louis Lagueux, fils, Jacques Leblond, Et. C. Lagueux, Jean Langevin, Ignace Legaré, J. L. Marett, Louis Massue, Joachim Mondore, John Neilson, Vallières de St. Réal, Pierre Pelletier, Joseph Roy, Augt. Gauthier, and Louis Fortier, do compose the said Committee, and that nine form a quorum; notices in writing of the time and place of meeting being previously left at the domicile of each of the said Committee.
27th.—That the said Committee have power to add to their number, and be empowered to aid in forwarding similar petitions from any other parts of this district, in cases where applications may be made to them to that effect, and where contributions may ave been made to the funds of the said Committee in aid of the afore-mentioned expenditure.
28th.—That Joseph Roy, esquire, be treasurer of the said committee, and be held to account to the said committee, and a meeting of electors publicly called, and that all payments made by him be vouched by orders of the said committee, attested by the signature of the secretary.
LOUIS A. LAGUEUX, President,
H. S. HUOT, Secretary.
At a meeting of the Committee, Friday, 14th December 1827, the following officers were appointed:— J. R. Vallières de St. Réal, esquire, president; Henry George Forsyth, esquire, and Louis Abraham Lagueux, esquire, vice-presidents; Messrs. H. S. Huot and J. B. E. Bacquet, secretaries.
H. S. HUOT, Secy.
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