English Conquest, 1758-60, Part 6 to blupete's Essay
"The Canadian Constitution, A History Lesson"
The English upon the conquest of Canada, 1758-60, had before them the challenge of setting up a new country; a challenge quite different, as we will see, from that faced by our American neighbours, when, a couple of decades later, having successfully revolted against the English "needed merely to maintain, develop, and correct the state of things political and religious, which already existed." The French and the English residents in the northern territory, which came to be known as Canada, were at different ends of the poles when it came to political and religious feelings, and in the two hundred and thirty years plus since, the French and the English in Canada, though to a considerably lesser degree, are still culturally polarized.
There is always potential for a bad situation when newcomers take over, but when the newcomers are the victors and the vanquished are people who had come from lines which had settled on the land as a result of one hundred and fifty years of work; well, - you could only imagine the difficulties that might ensue. But, in Canada, as the history books tell us, things did not, in the beginning, go too badly for the English and the French. In fact, two peoples with different backgrounds came together in 1759, and, without too much dishevelment, began anew as one. As the years unfolded the English had exercised a marked influence on the new Canada, particularly in its governmental institutions; but the subjugated people, mainly because of English policy, continued to keep: their French culture, their French religion, their French language and their French law; in short all of their French habits; which, together with the added English influence, made Canada into a most distinctive nation.
The Englishmen that came to Quebec after 1759 were not thought to be, by Quebecers, intruders or enemies; the English were not open oppressors belonging to another creed. The conditions which had existed in the earlier French regime in Canada, the brewing colonial revolt to the south, the British dominance of the sea, the European dominance over the native Americans; all of these historical facts will lead one to understand why the British conquerors were more than just simply tolerated in Quebec, they were in many quarters welcomed. External forces were in play which hushed all lesser differences and jealousies into silence.
Great Britain, in 1763, set up Quebec as one of its colonies. The other two of concern to us, already existing at that time, were Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. Each of these colonies was administered by a governor, who was, "with the consent of the councils, and the representatives of the people, to make laws and ordinances for the peace, welfare and good government." One observes that these first representative councils were more advisory than legislative. The assembly could not tax, except to the extent that "the inhabitants of any town or district might be authorized to assess or levy within its precincts for roads and ordinary local services."
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