THE aim of this book is to give a popular account of
its subject and it succeeds. It commences with a lucid exposition of the
system under which French Canada was governed, and we find this was
wholly feudal, arbitrary, and military. British rule was introduced
after the conquest of 1759, and English criminal law established. But
the former was much modified to give a place to the French Canadians,
and in 1774 the 'Quebec Act ' was passed, which for a time at least
conciliated that population.
Canada was divided in 1791, but, being subject to an
oligarchy, rebellions broke out in both provinces. In 1840 following on
Lord Durham's famous Report, the two provinces were united and
Responsible Government was granted and a Constitution given. The
alterations, improvements and additions to this, made necessary by the
changes of circumstances and enormous increase of territory, are well
recounted until we come to the present 'nine provinces, all of which
have (generally speaking) the same legislative rights and powers.' It is
interesting to read the chapters on the written constitution and its
practical working, and to notice the fact that 'No province with only
one Chamber has ever desired two ; while at least one of those with two
has groaned under the imposition.'
This book should be studied by politicians.
A. FRANCIS STEUART.
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