Resolutions of the St-Polycarpe Meeting
The following resolutions appeared in La Minerve on October 19, 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.
The citizens of St. Polycarpe, and some from St. Ignace, met Sunday the 15th of this month at 3:00 p.m. across from the church bridge in an appropriate spot. The meeting was large and respectable. The meeting having been called to order, John McDonald was named chairman, G. Lalonde vice-Chairman, and Messrs Dugald McLaghlan and Etienne Merleau were asked to fulfill the function of secretary. The order having been given to those who had resolutions to present to submit them, the following were duly proposed and adopted by the meeting:
Proposed by M. McDonald, seconded by sieur Jospeh Devaux:
RESOLVED, 1: That this meeting, after having learned of the speech of the throne at the last session of the provincial parliament, and of the energetic, noble, and firm response of the House of Assembly to this same speech, approves of the vote of the majority in these circumstances for the adoption of the address; and that the conduct of the House of Assembly in these circumstances was in conformity with the wishes, demands, and needs of the country, which appreciates the courage, firmness, and independence of the sole body of the legislature that knows the needs and strives to obtain the reforms insistently demanded for so long by the people of this province.
Proposed by M. Jean Bte. Bourbonnais, seconded by M. Chs. Pharant.
RESOLVED, 2: That strong in the right that voters have to charge the representatives they send to the Chamber with their mandate, to dictate their conduct in their quality as deputy of the people, to oblige them to support their demands or to constrain them to return to the people the powers they received from them, the reformists of this meeting commit themselves to only support as candidates at future elections individuals who, as a precondition, will solemnly swear and promise to support the 92 resolutions in their entirety, to demand the abolition of seigneurial rights, which the people take for a slave code and a hindrance to industry; the abolition of customary dowers ; a secret ballot at elections; an elective legislative council and an executive council responsible to and friend of the country and its happiness; the revocation of the iniquitous land company act; the renewal of the elementary school bill; the extension of the elective principle in the choice of parish officers, road superintendents, etc.
Proposed by Mr. Etienne Merleau, seconded by Mr. God. Lalonde
RESOLVED, 3: That the Executive Council, having been attacked by the Governor, an attack it had long merited, can at present no longer have the confidence of the people which it never deserved; that in the future the Governor cannot form another Executive Council having the people’s confidence and the will and the ability to realize the good off the country except by making it responsible and composing it of disinterested men knowing the needs of the country and in harmony with the people and the reforms they demand; and that it would be with pain that this meeting and the reformists in general would see His Excellency attempt to recompose the executive with men with pecuniary interests, to have His Excellency, his subalterns, and members of the legislative council treat with consideration individuals rejected by the people, whose confidence they had never deserved or who had always shown themselves to be extreme and determined partisans of the official opposition. Such choices can only serve to lead the administration further along in its adopted march towards the unhappiness of a country whose happiness it should be striving for.
Proposed by Mr. Louis Bourbonnais, seconded by Mr. Joseph Cholette.
RESOLVED, 4; That by virtue of the constitution, since the people should have control over all public revenue through its representatives, and the governor and the government officers should have their salaries voted by the House, the governor, by taking control of any of the revenue public without the vote of the House for any goal at all, commits an act manifestly in opposition to the constitution and bodes ill for colonial freedoms.
Proposed by Mr Chairman, seconded by M. Dvaux.
RESOLVED, 5; That the entire parish knowing the truth and authenticity of the events which occurred there, and seeing that (truly slanderous, hypocritical , and unjust) individuals have published or had published in a Montreal newspaper called “Le Populaire” correspondence in which insult and slander were poured upon honest and respectable citizens, this meeting finds itself duty-bound to loudly speak out against such writings, and consequently publicly declares that the editorial of said “Populaire,” entitled “St Polycarpe Parish,” and the correspondence signed “Someone Better Informed” in the same newspaper last Monday, do not contain a single truth; that the Commissioners , the Justices of the Peace of this parish, and the militia officers are in firm possession of public confidence, that is those of all origins, all beliefs, and all political shades; that the greatest wrong of these gentlemen is to not have favored the maneuvers of these vile slanderers who strive in vain to tarnish in our eyes and vis-à-vis all that know them those individuals they strive to sully with their mud.
Proposed by Mr. J Lalonde, seconded by Mr. Mcpherson.
RESOLVED, 6; That we have the greatest confidence in the talents, virtues, firmness, courage and integrity of the Honorable L.J. Papineau and the majority of the House of Assembly, as well as the other defenders and supporters of popular rights and those who strive to keep us current as to the affairs of our country; that the insults and calumnies that liars strive to spill upon these respected citizens through the channels of the anti-reformist press, far from dividing our ranks will contribute in no small amount to rallying us ever more and uniting us more strongly than ever with the defenders and supporters of the popular cause.
Proposed by Mr. D. McLaughlin, seconded y Mr. D. Ranger.
RESOLVED, 7; That the citizens of this parish, of all origins, of all religious beliefs and of all political opinions saw with sorrow that His Excellency the Governor-in-Chief stripped captain Antoine Lantier, Esq. of his commission without allowing him to know the cause, or to defend himself from the accusations against him; and that this meeting and the citizens of this parish are only too happy to openly render justice to Antoine Lantier, Esq., to publicly testify that he is an honest, respectable, just, upright, and fair citizen, as well as a firm and sincere reformist.
Ordered; That the proceedings of this meeting be published in the reformist papers.
Thanks were voted to the officers of the meeting, which broke up with the cry of “Vive Papineau!”
By order of the chairman.
Dugald McLaughlin, secretaries.
October 19, 1837
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