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Twelve Resolutions

  1. Resolved, That a committee be appointed to prepare an Address to His Majesty, setting forth the grievances under which this Colony in these and other respects labors, and soliciting his Royal consideration of them, and a speedy redress, thereof, either by granting an Elective Legislative Council, or by such other re-construction of the Local Government, as shall yield satisfaction to the People.
  2. Resolved, That in the infancy of this colony, its whole Government was necessarily vested in a Governor and Council; and even after a Representative Assembly was granted, the practice of choosing Members of Council almost, exclusively from the heads of Departments, and persons resident in the Capital, was still pursued; and, with a single solitary exception, has been continued for the last thirty years — that the practical effects of this system have been, in the highest degree, injurious to the best interests of the Country; inasmuch as one entire branch of the Legislature has generally been composed of Men, who, from the want of local knowledge, or on account of their official stations, were not qualified to decide upon the wants or just claims of the People of this Province, by which the efforts of the Representative branch were, in many instances, neutralised or rendered of no avail.
  3. Resolved, That among the many proofs that might be adduced of the evils arising from this imperfect structure of the upper branch — it is only necessary to refer to the unsuccessful efforts of the Assembly, to extend to the Out-Ports the advantages of Foreign Trade — to the enormous sum which it was compelled, after a long struggle, to resign, for the support of the Customs’ Establishment — to the difficulties thrown in the way of a just and liberal system of Education; and to the recent abortive attempts to abolish the illegal and unnecessary Fees taken by the Judges of the Supreme court.
  4. Resolved, That while the population of this province is composed, as appears by the last census taken in 1827, of 28,659 members of the Episcopal Church, and 115,195 Dissenters, which proportions may be assumed as fair at the present time, the appointments to the Council always secure to the members of the Church, embracing but one fifth of the population, a clear and decided majority at the Board. That there are now in that body eight members representing the Church; that the Presbyterians who outnumber them by about nine thousand, have but three; the Catholics who are nearly equal, have but one; while the Baptists, amounting by the census of 1827 to 19,790, and the Methodists to 9,498, and all the other Sects and Denominations, are entirely unrepresented, and shut out from influence in a body whose duty it is to legislate for all.
  5. Resolved, That while the Catholic bishop has no seat at the Council Board, and while Clergymen of that and other denominations are, as they ought to be, excluded, the Bishop of the Episcopal Church has been, since the year 1809, and still is a Member.
  6. Resolved, That while Dissenters, as they have a right to, justly complain of a state of things so exclusive and insulting, they would regard its continuance with more indifference if it did not lead to a general and injurious system of favoritism and monopoly extending throughout almost every department of the public service, over which the Local Government have control; thereby vesting in the hands of a part of the population the resources arising from the industry of the whole, and creating invidious distinctions and jealous discontent in the minds of large numbers of His Majesty's loyal Subjects.
  7. Resolved, That two family connexions embrace five Members of the Council—that, until very recently when two of them retired from the firm, five were Co-partners in one Banking Establishment, and to this latter circumstance, mainly may be attributed the failure of the efforts of this Assembly to fix a Standard of Value, and establish a legal Currency in the Province.
  8. Resolved, That the People of this Province have for years asserted, and still most respectfully assert, their right to control and distribute the Casual and Territorial Revenues of the Country, whether arising from the Fees of Office, the sale of Lands, or the Royalty paid upon the produce of the Mines. The Lands of the Province are in effect Mortgaged to pay to the Commissioner a Salary, out of all proportion to the services he is called on to perform; while all the Mines and Minerals of the Province have been leased for sixty years to a wealthy English Company, without the consent of, and independent of all the control by, the Representatives of the People.
  9. Resolved, That, apart from the mere question of Judges Fees, the presence of the Chief Justice at the Council Board is unwise and injurious, having a tendency to lessen the respect which the People ought to feel for the Court over which he presides; from the warm interest he has always manifested in public questions, and particularly in some of those in which the Representative Branch and His Majesty's Council have been diametrically opposed, he has frequently been brought into violent conflict with a People imbued with the truly British idea that Judges ought not to mingle in the heats and contentions of Politics.
  10. Resolved, That the evils arising from the structure of His Majesty's Council, and the disposition evinced by some of its Members to protect their own interests and emoluments at the expense of the public, are heightened and rendered more injurious by the practice still adhered to by that Body, of shutting out the people from their deliberations; this practice they still maintain, although it is opposed to that of the House of Lords in England, and that of the Legislative Councils of Lower Canada, New Brunswick and Newfoundland; and notwithstanding the murmurs and complaints of the people for a long series of years, and the representations and remonstrances of this Assembly.
  11. Resolved, That while the House has a due reverence for British institutions, and a desire to preserve to themselves and their children the advantages of that Constitution, under which their bretheren on the other side of the Atlantic have enjoyed so much prosperity and happiness, they cannot but feel that those they represent participate but slightly in these blessings. They know that the spirit of that constitution—the genius of those Institutions is a complete responsibility to the people by whose resources and for whose benefit they are maintained. — But sad experience has taught them, that in this Colony, the People and their Representatives are powerless, exercising upon the local Government very little influence, and possessing no effectual control. In England, the People by one vote of their Representatives can change the Ministry, and alter any course of policy injurious to their interests—here the Ministry are His Majesty's Council, combining Legislative, Judicial, and Executive powers — holding their seats for life, though nominally at the pleasure of the Crown, and often treating with indifference the wishes of the People, and the representations of the Commons.— In England the Representative Branch can compel a redress of grievances, by withholding the Supplies; here they have no such remedy, because the Salaries of nearly all the Public Officers being provided for by permanent Acts, or paid out of the Casual and Territorial Revenues, or from the produce of Duties collected under Imperial Acts — a stoppage of Supplies, while it inflicted great injury upon the Country, by leaving the Roads, Bridges, and other essential services unprovided for — would not touch the emoluments of the heads of Departments in the Council, or of any, but a few of the subordinate Officers of the Government.
  12. Resolved, That as a remedy for these grievances His Majesty be implored to grant to this Province a Legislative Council, distinct from an Executive Council, whereby responsibility will be secured to the Commons; and, what they value above all other possessions, will be conferred upon the People of this Province, the blessings of the British Constitution.