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The constitution of Canada in its history and practical working
By William Renwick Riddell, LL.D.


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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