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- The Charter of the Hudson's Bay
Company, 1670 ("The Governor and Company of Adventurers of
England trading into Hudson's Bay")
- A charter by Charles II which created the Hudson's Bay Company for
Prince Rupert (hence Rupert's Land) and a group of entrepreneurs.
- Defined the territory and the purpose of the Company, and who was in
the Company as its Board of Directors.
- The territory defined spanned the entire Hudson's Bay watershed.
- The territory would be re-purchased in 1868 through the Rupert's Land Act, 1868 and become part of the
Dominion of Canada through section 146 of the Constitution Act, 1867 and the Rupert's Land and North-Western Territory
- The Treaty of Paris, 1763
- This treaty ended the Seven Year's War, or the French-Indian
War, as it is known in the United States, between Great Britain,
France, Spain and Portugal.
- Article IV of the treaty ceded the French colony of Canada and its
dependencies including Cape Breton Island, to Great Britain. It also
granted liberty to practice Catholicism in that colony and gave any
inhabitants 18 months to leave of their free will for France.
- Article V and VI granted fishing rights to French fishermen, as well
as ceded the Island of St. Pierre-Miquelon to France as a shelter for
- It also determined the fate of many lands in the East Indies, as well
as the Carribean, most notably, Spain's surrender of Florida. (Article XX)
- The Royal Proclamation of 1763 [London Gazette]
- A declaration that England is now in the possession of former
French territories, one of which is called Quebec, which were
all ceded by the Treaty of Paris, above.
- Also a survey of those possessions.
- Guaranteed the protection of lands for Indians under the Crown
that were not within the boundaries of the newly acquired provinces.
- Required any colonists occupying Indian lands without the
permission of the Crown to leave those lands.
- Also prevented colonists from buying land directly from Indians
and required them to obtain a licence for trading with the Indians.
- Report of Attorney and Solicitor General
regarding The Civil Government of Quebec, April 14th 1766.
- A report concerning the judicial problems surrounding the
province of Quebec.
- Contains an interesting paragraph hinting at the real motives
behind the Quebec Act, 1774.
- The Quebec Act, 1774 (The British North America (Quebec) Act, 1774)
- An Act of the British Parliament to protect rights of Catholics,
the French civil code, French language and culture.
- It addressed numerous concerns raised by the Royal Proclamation
of 1763, as well as other ordinances and laws passed at that time.
- Believed by some historians to be one of the causes of the
American revolution. From the U.S. Declaration of Independence:
"For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighbouring
province [Quebec], establishing therein an arbitrary government,
and enlarging its boundaries, so as to render it at once an example
and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into
- The Constitutional Act, 1791
- Largely written by William Windham Grenville, cousin of Prime Minister
William Pitt (Elder)
- Also known as The Clergy Endowments (Canada) Act, 1791 in the UK after 1896
- Repealed part of the Quebec Act, 1774 dealing with the
- Intended to divide Quebec into the provinces of Upper Canada and Lower Canada.
- Gave each province an Assembly, but did not make the Legislative or
Executive Councils responsible to those Assemblies, giving rise to the
rebellions of 1837-38.
- Expanded the prominence of the Protestant Clergy by giving them more
preference in land allotments, etc.
- Royal Assent on
June 10, 1791 and proclaimed into force December 26, 1791.
- Lords Committee of the Privy Council report on dividing the province of Quebec into Upper Canada and Lower Canada. Presented at Whitehall, 19 August, 1791.
- Found in the Privy Council Register of the UK, p. 304, AALT.
- Defined proposed boundaries between the two new provinces.
- Order-in-Council [ PDF ] dividing the province of Quebec into Upper Canada and Lower Canada, 24 August, 1791.
- Found in the Privy Council Register of the UK, p. 310, AALT.
- Approved the report presented 5 days before at Whitehall and formally divided
the province of Quebec into Upper Canada and Lower Canada.
- Letter of General Sherbrooke to Earl Bathurst
- A response to a question posed by the Secretary of State for War and the Colonies the
Earl of Bathurst by the former Governor General of British North America,
General Sir John Sherbrooke
- The question asked if there would be benefit to uniting the provinces of Upper
and Lower Canada
- The retired colonial administrator's response was in the positive, noting
that problems within and between the provinces were already bad and would only worsen
if they weren't united again as they were before 1791.
- Eventually led to the tabling of a bill at the UK Parliament in 1822 to follow-through
but was pulled over opposition in Lower and Upper Canada.
- Proposed Union Act of 1822
- Triggered by a petition of 1,400 English-speaking Montrealers who wanted to counter
the dominance of the majority, Catholic French-speaking Canadiens.
- Tabled at the UK Parliament by Sir Robert Horton, Under Secretary for the Colonies.
- Would have united Upper and Lower Canada in 1822 and set down rules of trade.
- The bill was withdrawn for 3 reasons: Lower Canada opposed it as it was trying to
eliminate the use of French in government within 15 years and beyond (as part of a larger British
sentiment that the use of more than one language was considered a problem); Upper Canada
signalled mixed and lukewarm support; and, some members of the UK Parliament complained it was
introduced too late in the session to consider it fairly.
- The bill was withdrawn and the financial portions extracted and made into law as the
Canada Trade Act, 1822, which only made things worse in the colonies.
- Lord Durham's Report
- Published in 1838 and authored by Lord Duham ("Radical Jack")
- Tabled in the British Parliament on February 11, 1839.
- Written in the wake of the 1837 rebellions.
- Called for the abolition of the use of the French language in
government and legislatures in the hope of fostering eventual assimilation.
- Recommended increased immigration to Canada of English settlers to 'swamp'
the French Canadian population, as favoured since 1763. (In fairness, France was
not a militant advocate of migration to Canada.)
- Concerned over the increase of debt brought on by the Family Compact
which could be covered by uniting with Lower Canada and accessing its
- Recommended the implementation of responsible government which
was rejected by London and not implemented for another 10 years in Canada.
- The actual text of the report as scanned by the Internet Archive and
others, in three volumes:
- This gave rise to the British North America Act, 1840 also known as the Act of Union, 1840 (see below).
- Lower Canada Government Act, 1838
- Passed in the wake of the 1837 rebellions in Lower Canada.
- Suspended the Legislative Assembly.
- Created a "Special Council" of appointees to rule over Lower Canada.
- Lower Canada Government Act, 1839.
- Re-enabled the ability for the government to impose taxes limited to public works.
- Increased the minimum number of members of the "Special Council" to 20.
- Protected the clergy from any laws made by the "Special Council".
- The Act Of Union, 1840 (also known as the British North America Act, 1840 changed by the Short Titles Act, 1896i (U.K.).)
- Proclaimed February 10, 1841 in Montreal.
- Delayed for 2 years due to opposition from Upper Canada when first
introduced in 1838.
- United Kingdom Parliament Act based in part upon the recommendations
of Lord Durham's Report (Released 1839).
- Replaces some parts of the Constitutional Act, 1791 and repeals others
as well as in Quebec Act, 1774.
- Re-united Upper Canada and Lower Canada to become, "the
Province of Canada."
- Created a legislative body: an appointed upper house called
the, "Legislative Council," and an elected Assembly.
- Introduced the concept of the double-majority, required to
pass bills, which would lead to numerous political deadlocks and would
eventually give rise to the Constitution Act, 1867.
- Abolished bilingualism in official functions, operations and
proceedings of government, a part of an attempt to fully assimilate
the inhabitants of French Canada. (Section XLI)
- Contains elements of the Constitution Act, 1867, such as the
Power of Disallowance (section XXXVIII.) and the existence of
a Consolidated Revenue Fund (section L.)
- Gave rise to the "Great Ministry" of Baldwin-LaFontaine from
1848 to 1851, which oversaw numerous progressive reforms which laid the
foundations of Canada in 1867.
- Also intended to stop future rebellions.
- The Canada Union Act Amendment, 1848 (U.K.)
- Restored bilingualism in the Parliament of the province of Canada by
repealing section XLI of the Act of Union, 1840.
- The Union Act Amendment Act, 1854 (U.K.)
- A technical revision to the Act of Union, 1840, permitting the Parliament of Canada to make changes
to the Legislative Council.
- The Union Act Amendment Act, 1859 (U.K.)
- Amended the Act of Union, 1840, to allow the Speaker of the Legislative Council to be elected or appointed.
- The Confederation Debates
- Debates of the then legislative assembly, discussing the proposals
that arose from the Charlottetown Conference. Full text at the Internet
- The Quebec Resolutions of 1864
- The first blueprint for a federal union between the British
North American colonies.
- Colonial Laws Validity Act, 1865
- Gave the United Kingdom Parliament the power to over-ride
any conflicting colonial laws.
- Repealed by the Statute of
- London Resolutions of 1866
- A refinement of the earlier Quebec Resolutions of 1864.
- Royal Proclamation of 1867, for the BNA Act, 1867
- Proclaims the British North America Act will become law on July 1, 1867.
- Also appoints the first Senators.
Last HTML revision: 28 October, 2018.
William F. Maton