صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

place in the Assembly. New names were added daily to the list of the League.

This was the state of affairs when a rumor became general that Lord Elgin would sanction a measure known as the "Rebellion Losses Bill." It provided for indemnifying those who had sustained losses through the insurrections of the province-among whom, through a singular oversight of legislation, were several who had been outlawed by Lord Durham, for participating in the commotions for which indemnity was to be granted. The former loyalist party were greatly incensed. Mobs collected in various quarters, anxiously inquiring the news. On the afternoon of April 25, the governor repaired to the council-chamber, where he signed forty-eight bills. The "Rebellion Bill" was one of them. Reports of this proceeding spread so rapidly, that before Lord Elgin left the chamber, fifteen hundred persons had surrounded it. On entering his carriage, the governor was pelted with stones and other missiles. In one hour, all Montreal was in commotion. While alarm bells were ringing, men passed through the streets crying aloud that a popular meeting would take place that evening at the Champs de Mars. Five thousand people assembled. Resolutions of a most decided character were passed. One speaker mounted a chair, and with a loud voice announced "We have passed resolutions enough-they have been disregarded. The time for action has arrived." Deafening cheers interrupted him. "To the Parliament-house," shouted the orator. The words were echoed amid tremendous uproar, and with lighted torches dancing over their heads in every direction, the masses moved at a furious pace toward the legislative chamber. At ten o'clock eight thousand persons were in front of the legislative buildings. The Assembly was in full session, having their hall brilliantly lighted. A loud crash announced to the members their danger, and the glass panes were dashed in by thick showers of stones which poured through the windows. The terrified Assembly rose and rushed together into the lobby. The next moment, one hundred men, completely armed, entered the hall. One of them took possession of the speaker's chair, another carried away the Others chopped to pieces the furniture. Some cried fire. The members, clerks, and ladies, led by Colonel Gugy, collected in a body, and rushing through the hall, escaped at the principal door. The buildings were discovered to be on fire. In fifteen minutes the Assembly hall was in flames; by midnight the whole was one mass of ruins. Outside, an immense mob gazed upon the spectacle in stupid wonder. The troops had now arrived in considerable numbers. They were enthusiastically cheered, but could do nothing to arrest the flames. All the

mace.

CANADA UNDER THE BRITISH.

677

public records and documents, the recent bills, and the public library, were consumed with the buildings. The loss of the books, an immense collection, on the early history of the province, was irreparable. A picture of the Queen was destroyed in the streets. Before morning the mob had dispersed.

Next day, four of the popular leaders were arrested on a charge of arson. Three thousand persons followed them to the prison, and great excitement prevailed; but the "liberal" chiefs exerted themselves successfully to prevent an outbreak. Troops continued to arrive throughout the day, but seem to have made no efforts to prevent the assembling of large concourses of people. Several houses of obnoxious persons were attacked, and another meeting was called to deliberate upon the condition of the province. It voted a petition to the queen, demanding the immediate recall of Lord Elgin. The governor imprudently armed five hundred young Frenchmen, and placed them among his escort, thus augmenting the irritation of the "British party," as the more numerous portion of the people styled themselves. The escort, known as "Lord Elgin's guard," were hooted and threatened; and the governor burned in effigy. The popular leaders exerted themselves to arrest this dangerous tendency toward rioting; and by the 1st of May, order had been restored throughout the provinces. On the 10th, fresh disturbances occurred at Montreal. While the governor-general, with the ministry, and a large number of radical members, were at a dinner given at Titus's hotel, five hundred men surrounded the building, and demanded an entrance. A scuffle ensued, during which shots were fired from the hotel, and several of the people were wounded. The affair terminated, however, without any event more serious.

During the summer and fall of this year, Canada remained in a very unsettled state, and the cause of "annexation," as it was called, gained strength in many places. That there is now much latent distrust entertained by one part of the population of the other, and by both of government, cannot be doubted; the phases which society and politics are assuming, in consequence of this feeling, it will be impossible, for some time, to describe impartially. When history loses itself amid the chaotic movements of contemporary events, it is not for the impartial narrator to speculate upon the probabilities of the future.

APPENDIX.

THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

Framed during the year 1787, by a convention of delegates, who met at Philadelphia, from the states of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia.

WE, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

ARTICLE I.

SECT. I.-All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a congress of the United States, which shall consist of a senate and house of representatives.

SECT. II.—1. The house of representatives shall be composed of members, chosen every second year by the people of the several states, and the electors in each state shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the state legislature.

2. No person shall be a representative, who shall not have attained to the age of twenty-five years, and been seven years a citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of that state in which he shall be chosen.

3. Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several states which may be included within this Union, according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons, including those bound to servitude for a term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three-fifths of all other persons. The actual enumeration shall be made within three years after the first meeting of the congress of the United States, and within every subsequent term of ten years, in such manner as they shall by law direct. The number of representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty thousand, but each state shall have at least one representative: and, until such enumeration shall be made, the state of New Hampshire shall be entitled to choose three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five, and Georgia three.

4. When vacancies happen in the representation from any state, the executive authority thereof shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies.

5. The house of representatives shall choose their speaker, and other officers and shall have the sole power of impeachment.

SECT. III.-1. The senate of the United States shall be composed of two senators from each state, chosen by the legislature thereof, for six years; and each senator shall have one vote.

2. Immediately after they shall be assembled, in consequence of the first election, they shall be divided as equally as may be into three classes. The seats of the senators of the first class shall be vacated at the expiration of the second year; of the second class, at the expiration of the fourth year; and of the third class, at the expiration of the sixth year, so that one-third may be chosen every second year; and if vacancies happen by resignation, or otherwise, during the recess of the legislature of any state, the executive thereof may make temporary appointments, until the next meeting of the legislature, which shall then fill such vacancies.

3. No person shall be a senator who shall not have attained to the age of thirty years, and been nine years a citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of that state for which he shall be chosen.

4. The vice-president of the United States shall be president of the senate, but shall have no vote, unless they be equally divided.

5. The senate shall choose their other officers, and also a president pro tempore, in the absence of the vice-president, or when he shall exercise the office of president of the United States.

6. The senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments. When sitting for that purpose, they shall be on oath, or affirmation. When the president of the United States is tried, the chief-justice shall preside: and no person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two-thirds of the members present.

7. Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honour, trust, or profit under the United States; but the party convicted shall, nevertheless, be liable and subject to indictment, trial, judgment, and punishment, according

to law.

SECT. IV.-1. The times, places, and manner of holding elections for senators and representatives, shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof; but the congress may, at any time by law, make or alter such regulations, except as to the places of choosing senators.

2. The congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall be on the first Monday in December, unless they shall, by law, appoint a different day.

SECT. V.-1. Each house shall be the judge of the elections, returns, and qualifications of its own members, and a majority of each shall constitute a quorum to do business; but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the attendance of absent members, in such manner and under such penalties as each house may provide.

2. Each house may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behaviour, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel. a member.

3. Each house shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such parts as may, in their judgment, require secrecy; and the yeas and nays of the members of either house, on any question, shall, at the desire of one-fifth of those present, be entered on the journals.

4. Neither house, during the session of congress, shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other place than that in which the two houses shall be sitting.

SECT. VI-1. The senators and representatives shall receive a compensation for their services, to be ascertained by law, and paid out of the treasury of the United States. They shall, in all cases except treason, felony, and breach of peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the session of their respective houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any

« السابقةمتابعة »