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Description found in Archives
Place of creation
Scope and content
The principal surviving records from the Parliament for Lower Canada consist of bound copies of the Journals for the Legislative Council, 1809-1813, and the Legislative Assembly, 1792-1837; a variety of Addresses, Resolutions, Bills, Reports and Minutes of proceedings from both houses, 1807-1837, and bill registers for 1831-1836. The texts for many of these loose documents may be found in the Journals or as sessional papers in the accompanying Appendix volumes. To appreciate these records in the context of their creation, reference may be had to testimony regarding records accumulated by the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly and the Clerk of the Legislative Council as given to the Select Committee inquiring into Judicial and Parliamentary records, the Report of which was printed as Appendix KK to the Journal for 1846.
Researchers should use the printed statu
tes and Journals (available on microfilm) for general consultation and copying purposes. Only photography is allowed for parchments, bound volumes or whenever the physical condition of the documents would be placed at risk during copying.
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Textual records The finding aid consists of shelf lists. MSS0818 90 (Electronic)
Biography / Administrative history
In the province of Quebec from 1764 to 1791, legislation was enacted by the Governor in consultation with his Council (see RG 1, E 1). The Constitutional Act of 1791 provided for the establishment of a Parliament in Lower Canada. The members of the Legislative Council were appointed by the Governor while members of the Legislative Assembly were elected. The first elections were held in 1792. Candidates and voters were required to be twenty-one years of age and British subjects by birth or naturalization, and to meet a property qualification. Women who met the property qualification could vote. After the suspension of the legislature in 1837, a Special Council was appointed by the Governor to deal with legislative matters, 1838-1841. By the Act of Union of 1840, the Parliament of Lower Canada was replaced in 1841 by that of the new united Province of Canada.
The apparent non-survival of records created or accumulated by Parliament and its officers cannot be attributed exclusively to the fires. Dispersal of existing records creates an illusion of loss. Some speeches or Addresses of the Governor Parliament and the Replies are found in the "S Series" (RG 4, A 1), as are some drafts of Bills and the opinions of the Law Officers of the Crown on Bills. The text of Speeches and Messages were also recorded in entrybooks for the governor (See RG 7, G 18, volumes 37-45). Proclamations summoning, proroguing and dissolving Parliament are found in RG 4, B 7. Oaths of allegiance and of office taken by Members of both Houses are recorded in RG 1, E 11.
The conduct of elections was the responsibility of the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery, whose records are found in RG 4, B 72. Poll books are not found in any single, central location. The largest of them is described in MG 8, 27.
Many of the records created and accumulated by Parliament and its officers haveperished in several disastrous fires. Most notable is the loss of petitions presented to the legislature. The preservation of manuscript and printed copies of Parliamentary records by officials elsewhere creates the illusion of dispersal and survival. In fact, copies of Addresses, minutes and proceedings, resolutions and other documents were supplied routinely to the governor's office, where the Civil Secretary ensured that these texts were forwarded to London for the information of imperial authorities, and kept on file for future reference. He was also responsible for preparing the formal texts of the governors' Speeches and Messages to either or both houses of Parliament, for presentation and printing, and kept entrybook copies (see RG 7, G 18, volumes 37-45).
Copies of Speeches, Messages, Addresses, Replies, Bills and Opinions of the Law Officers of the Crown on them are also found scattered through the Civil Secretary's correspondence files (see RG 4, A 1). Proclamations summoning, proroguing and dissolving Parliament were preserved by the Provincial Secretary (see RG 4, B 7). Oaths of allegiance taken by Members of Parliament are found in RG 1, E 11. Annotations and other evidence on the Speeches and Messages, Addresses, Votes and Proceedings, Resolutions, Reports and other documents on paper found in RG 14 indicate that these texts were preserved by the Civil Secretary [and once formed part of the S Series]. The various documents inscribed on parchment and the bound journals, are believed to have been preserved by the Clerks of the Assmembly and Legislative Council.
1. Legislative bodies - Lower Canada, 1775-1836 Lower Canada. Legislature. Legislative Council. Journal, 1809-1813.
2. Legislative bodies - Lower Canada - Publication of proceedings, 1775-1836 Lower Canada. Legislature. House of Assembly.Votes and Proceeding, [1792-1836]
3. Lower Canada. Legislature. Legislative Council - Publication of proceedings, 1775-1836 "Orders du jour", (Lower Canada, House of Assembly), 1835-1836.
4. Government publications - Lower Canada, 1775-1836 Lower Canada. Legislature. House of Assembly.Journal, 1792-1837.
5. Legislation - Lower Canada, 1775-1836.
6. Resolutions, Legislative - Lower Canada, [1775-1836]
7. Lower Canada. Legislature. Legislative Council - Resolutions, [1775-1836]
8. Lower Canada. Legislature. House of Assembly - Publication of proceedings, 1792-1836.
9. Statutes - Lower Canada, [1775-1836]
10. Lower Canada. Legislature. House of Assembly - Registers, 1831-1836.
11. Laws - Lower Canada, [1775-1836]
12. Lower Canada. Legislature. Legislative Council - Registers, 1831-1836.
13. Lower Canada - History, 1775-1836.
14. Lower Canada - Politics and government, 1775-1836.
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