A blupete Essay

Lord Durham & Union Act, 1840, Part 8 to blupete's Essay
"The Canadian Constitution, A History Lesson"

Shortly after outright rebellion (1837-8), Lord Durham was sent out and in time communicated his report to the British parliament, recommending to it that "no time should be lost in proposing to Parliament a bill for restoring the union of the Canadas under one legislature, and reconstructing them as one province." In the result the Union Act, 1840, was passed by the British parliament; it provided for "most liberal concessions, which would never have been thought of under the old system of restrictive colonial administration." However, there was one part of the 1840 act which gave great offence to the French Canadian population, that is to say, the clause restricting the use of the French language in the legislature. The British policy was plain, but unacceptable, "without effecting the change so rapidly or so roughly as to shock the feelings and trample on the welfare of the existing generation, it must henceforth be the first and steady purpose of the British government to establish an English population, with English laws and language, in this province, and to trust its government to none but a decidedly English legislature." (The Durham Report.)


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