Resolutions of the Quebec Meeting (Patriot)
The following resolutions appeared in La Minerve on June 8, 1837 and were reproduced in the book Assemblées publiques, résolutions et déclarations de 1837-1838, texts collected and presented by Jean-Paul Bertrand, Montréal, VLB Éditeur et l'Union des écrivains québécois, 1988, 304 p. ISBN 2-89005-313-X.
Proposed by Mr. Joseph Legaré, father, seconded by Mr. Ignace Gagnon
RESOLVED, 1: That for a great many years the vices of the political institutions of this province, the unfair, partisan, and impolitic manner in which the government has been administered here, the system of ascendancy and division of castes and parties that they have strived to maintain and the complicity and culpable apathy of the authorities of the metropole have introduced and perpetuated a system of abuses, oppressions, violations of the law, peculation, embezzlement, corruption of public justice, irresponsibility of colonial functionaries, and of ills and grievances of all kinds from which the inhabitants of this province, without distinction as to origin, religion or language have suffered; that the people and the House of Assembly, having frequently and humbly represented this state of things to the government on the metropole, have not obtained a change, but on the contrary our just grievances have been rejected in order to serve the interested views of the colonial functionaries accused by the country and to support the deceptive and arbitrary policies of the ministers of all stripes who have succeeded each other; that we had hoped that the British Commons would show themselves to be friends of the liberties and rights of all parts of the Empire, and in particular of Lower Canada, whose attachment to the institutions of the Crown of Great Britain amidst great trials has been demonstrated; that we saw with regret mixed with astonishment, by the adoption of resolutions recently proposed by ministers on the part of the Crown, that this last rampart of our rights has yielded to and is acting in concert with the authorities we had denounced in a complete denial of justice and in measures of violence and coercion whose example we have only seen in that time of blindness that cost England at first the affection, and then the rule over its former colonies.
Proposed by Mr. McVeigh, Esq, seconded by N.F. Belleau, Esq.
RESOLVED, 2: That our surprise in seeing these projects was even more founded since the reality of the grievances we complained of was admitted by all, and in particular the harmful effect upon the legislation and policies of this province of the Legislative Council that currently exists here, and that nevertheless England’s definitive measures refuse to remedy these grievances and maintain this discredited body as well as the entire colonial framework of which is was the protector, while they tend to punish the people for having justly complained, to crush them under new violence, and violations of laws that they don’t know how to palliate, and to completely destroy by this means the little power that still remained to it to oppose the growing mass of abuses and to make felt their constitutional and necessary influence and impose their legitimate control over all servants of the state; that in keeping with past experience, and the known and promulgated intentions of the three branches of government, the ministers of the former Royal Commission, and the metropolitan and provincial functionaries, we can have no doubt that these measures have as their sole goal, not to establish in the country an effective, popular, responsible, protective government, but rather to indefinitely increase the powers of the bureaus of Downing street and the colonial administration at the expense of those that legitimately belong to us and our representative; and in addition we believe that the intervention in all the principles capable of assuring order and liberty is nothing but a prelude to our enslavement, our destruction as a distinct people covered by particular rights, to the violation of the most solemn pacts, the overturning of the liberties, immunities, franchises, laws, religion, language, morals and institutions of the inhabitants of this province.
Proposed by Barthélemi Lachance, Esq., seconded by Mr. Georges Larouche
RESOLVED, 3: That among the rights common to ourselves and all the subjects of the Empire, one of the most recognized, the most sacred, and the most esteemed, and of which the people have been most jealous and has maintained with the greatest success, is the right to tax oneself and its correlative, the complete control over the revenue created by this method; that these two rights, inseparable from both the title of English citizen as well as the respect attached to the right to property, were guaranteed to the people of this province by its accession to the British Empire by the declaratory act of the Imperial Parliament passed in the 18th year of George III and confirmed and put in practice by the constitutional act of 1791; that the representation of the people is the sole intermediary through which it can exercise its essential rights; that the people of this province are not represented in the House of Commons of England and cannot effectively be so; and that the sole legitimate authority that we can or will recognize, either to create a public revenue in this country or to apply or control it, is the Commons in the House of Assembly in this province, along with the additional collaboration of the other branches of parliament, within their attributed limits.
Proposed by R.M.M. Bouchette, Esq., seconded by Mr. John Teed
RESOLVED, 4: That among the number of resolutions introduced in the House of Commons by Lord John Russel on the subject of the affairs of this province, that which should especially excite a universal and virtuous indignation is the eighth, which includes an alarming invasion of the essential rights of taxation, control, property, and governmental action, and has the violent, illiberal and destructive tendency commented on above; that the alienation of Lower Canada’s public revenues is a usurpation that discredits and blackens in the eyes of the entire people the whole government in England and its pale creation, the colonial government of this province; that our fellow subjects of all classes have an interest in the results of such an exorbitant act of those in power, and we particularly hope that those who have until now supported the measures adopted or proposed against the liberty of this country, feeling the consequences for themselves of such a coup d’etat, will nobly reject the role of oppressors that is destined for them so as to maintain this violent state, and will honestly recognize the efforts of the great mass of the Canadien people to establish and preserve the liberty of all without distinction, and will join with us and rally around the House of Assembly and support with the dignity of free subjects the privileges that they seek to undermine; and that in return for ourselves, for our fellow citizens, and our representatives we solemnly promise our brothers of all origins to, as in the past, zealously work to make disappear the distinctions fomented by the government, and to ensure the same rights, the same freedoms, the same advantages, and the same protection to all classes of citizens.
Proposed by Mr. P.G. Tourangeau, senconded by Michael Quighley
RESOLVED 5: That such flagrant acts, which are naught but the effect of the same spirit that dominated the British councils at the time of the passing of the Stamp Acts and the Tea Tax, which set the free colonists to establish their rights and to found the broadest and most flourishing republic in the world, will affect not only this province, but all others that are also interested in good government, and even in a quite possible future the freedoms of the English people; that the colonies in general are threatened in advance in those case where, in order to obtain reparation for their grievances, in their representative assemblies they use methods authorized and ordered by the constitution; that we also thank our friends of said colonies who, suffering from the same evils and fearing the same future, have supported us in our just demands and in our honest and conscientious declarations on the remedies for the misfortunes of the country; that in particular the House of Assembly of Nova Scotia, in demanding an elective council, the absolute control of its funds, and a responsible government has powerfully assisted in making clear that the spirit of liberty, growing with the varied needs and existences of peoples, is not dead in any part of this continent, and that despite the ephemeral causes that might have temporarily paralyzed some of these colonies, any government that bases its measures, not on the principles on justice, but on vain calculations of force and experience, will have naught but a precarious existence, an irregular progress, and a power without roots in the will and affection of the people.
Propsed by Jos. Légaré, Esq, seconded by Mr. Jos. Des-trois-maisons, alias Picard
RESOLVED, 6: That these coercive measures, proposed with deliberation and whose consequences could not be lost from sight are, on the part of the British authorities, a willful renunciation of the affection and confidence of the people as a political tie between Canada and the Empire; that those who overthrow the laws cannot aspire to the advantages of this sentiment, and that if they were to solicit this it would be an act difficult to characterize; that consequently we must look on the metropole as having assumed the responsibility in all that concerns the public affairs of this province on every occasion in the future when the wishes, declarations, rights and interests of the people are offended; that such a state of affairs can unfortunately have, as a result of the violence already begun, new violence which the country must prepare for; that in these grave circumstances, and given that the provincial parliament was not immediately convoked in order to put it in a state to energetically protest and propose protective measures, it is an imperious obligation for the people in all parts of the province to, on its own, full will and with deliberation, to gather in public meetings as long as justice has not been rendered the country so as to demand its encroached upon rights, to seek the means to have them respected, and to prevent a greater violation.
Proposed by Eugene Trudeau, Esq., seconded by J.D. Lépine, Esq. N.P.
RESOLVED, 7: That at the beginning of the present provincial administration the government openly gave as the reason for its wish to obtain a vote of confidence and the granting of the public funds the determination to render justice and repair grievances; that nevertheless, in now taking hold of these funds with parliament’s sanction the metropole absolutely and formally refuses the essential demands of the people; that it only shows sympathy for the functionaries and courtiers that have destroyed all the provincial administrations and justly irritated the people, and that it remains cold to the prayers and sufferings of the latter; that consequently, no longer being able to be mistaken about the policy of the government in our regard, we refuse and deny it our confidence, determined not to support it as long as justice will not have been rendered to us and the current coercive measures are not rescinded, as long as we and our representatives find it appropriate and advantageous to the interests of the people so as to avoid greater evils; and on the sincerity of this determination on our part, as well as for the triumph of our freedoms in the future, we solemnly submit to the providence, to the perseverance and virtues of the people of all origins, to the support of our sister colonies, and in general to the greater or lesser sympathy we will find outside our country for our social and political existence and for our institutions and freedoms.
Proposed by Dr. Rousseau, seconded by M. Tessier, Esq., N.P.
RESOLVED, 8: That the promulgation of the reports of the so-called Royal Commission offers us abundant and irrefutable proof that the resolutions of Lord John Russel and the other coercive measures owe their origin to the violent, unjust, and prejudiced recommendations of said commissioners, who at the very time that they offered peace and sought to create an illusory hope of conciliation, solicited from ministers the coercive measures that have since been unveiled, and which have reduced to their true value the false promises of the present administration; and this latter, in founding its progress on these coercive measures and in putting them into effect will render itself increasingly responsible in the yes of the inhabitants of the country.
Proposed by Mr. Rémi Moulin, seconded by Mr. Michel Patry, son
RESOLVED, 9: That if oppression should triumph through the final passing of said resolutions in the British Commons, their subsequent sanctioning and their application in any shape or form, it shall be the duty of the people to occupy themselves with the means of diminishing their effect and organizing an effective opposition; and that we view the propagation of education in general, the diffusion of political information, the preference given to products of the country and domestic manufacture, and the regular organization of the people by parish, township and county as among these methods; that in order to discuss them and regularize them, and to ensure unanimity and understanding among all, it is appropriate to approve the proposal of a convention of the delegates of the different counties of the province who will gather in some site central to those members of the assembly and the council who disapprove of said coercive measures in order to arrive at wise, discreet, firm and protective measures in the imminent danger in which we find ourselves and which the circumstances of the time will demand; that said delegates for the city and the suburbs of Quebec shall be: MM. Eugene Trudeau, Dr. Ed. Rousseau, Chs Hunter, Jos Legare, son, R.S.M. Bouchette, Jean Tourangeau, Michael Connolly, and Barthelemi Lachance; who, with the members of the House of Assembly who are enemies of the proposed coercion and friends of elective institutions and good government, will form a Committee of Correspondence so as to enter in relations for the same ends with the other parts of the country and to communicate with the citizens by means of the press, public meetings, or otherwise, with the power to add new members.
Proposed by N.F. Belleau, Esq., seconded by M. Zacharie Chabot
RESOLVED, 10: That the people of this province is full of a lively and affectionate gratitude towards the generous friends who defended its rights and its honour, assailed by the House of Commons; that it is also honored to have sharing in its attachment to free institutions and its aversion for oppression, the working class of London and other cities, who had the courage to speak in favor of our cause; and that we hope that the entire mass of liberal people who inhabit the British Isles will not allow itself to be circumvented by the arbitrary conduct of its government, but will look with sympathy on our struggle to preserve our dearest rights and will support us in our repeated efforts to obtain an elective Legislative Council that will work for the people’s happiness in concert with the popular branch, an executive more directly responsible in the colony, the preservation and the free enjoyment of the laws and institutions to which we are attached and which have yet preserved order and hope in the country despite attacks on them by the government, the repealing of harmful acts and odious monopolies, the recognition of the authority of the provincial parliament over the land of the country, and the establishment of a system which facilitates access to them under direct and free tenure and common laws, on the part of the inhabitants of the country as well as to the other subjects of the Empire, and the total correction of the abuses and grievances which we have complained of.
Proposed by Chs. Hunter, Esq., seconded by Rémi Quirouet, Esq.
RESOLVED, 11: That in all the various struggles of a people against arbitrary power it has ever been expedient and necessary to place full confidence in some man equally distinguished by his talents and his patriotism and who, in the opinion of all his fellow citizens, is deemed worthy of being the organ and the leader of the people; that the era we are touching on and which presages important events doesn’t offer any exception to the adoption of so salutary an example – but on the contrary it demands of us a unanimous declaration that the public conduct of the Honourable Louis Joseph Papineau, Esq., Speaker of the House of Assembly, in the course of a long career, marked by events and numerous political difficulties, deserves our most sincere praise and the expression of the gratitude of every noble and generous soul. That consequently the thanks of this assembly should be voted to Louis Joseph Papineau, Esq., as the testimony of a grateful people to one of their fellow citizens whose zeal, integrity, perseverance, and talents have illustrated public life and who, for thirty years, without interruption, has dedicated himself to the cause of the inhabitants of this province, a period of public service whose duration offers the best guarantee to the people of the firmness and consistency of a man who, in the most difficult trials, has always shown himself to be the friend of liberty and the rights of the people of Canada.
Prosposed by R.M. Bouchette, Esq., seconded by Mr. John teed
RESOLVED, 12: That the thanks of this meeting be voted for Mr. Chairman and the secretaries.
Et. Defoy, chairman
J.C. Hart, R.G. Belleau, secretaries.
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