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Documents in Quebec History


Last revised:
23 August 2000

Documents on the Proposed Union of Upper and Lower Canada (1822)

Petition from Kingston, Upper Canada, for Union, November 12, 1822

To the King's Most Excellent Majesty.

The Petition of sundry inhabitants of the Town of Kingston and County of Frontenac in the Midland District and Province of Upper Canada.

Most humbly Sheweth.

That Your Majesty's Petitioners availing themselves of the opportunity graciously afforded them by the postponement of certain measures lately entertained in the Imperial Parliament, on the subject of uniting the Legislatures of the Canadian Provinces, beg leave with humility and deference, to present at the foot of the Throne, their reasons and Motives, for praying the immediate furtherance of that Union.

Not that Your Petitioners are insensible to the value of that excellent Constitution which this Province received in the Thirty first year of the Reign of our Late most Beloved Sovereign, by which under the wise and fostering administration of the present Lieutenant Government, [sic] they acknowledge with gratitude, that this favored portion of Your Majesty's Dominions Enjoys much happiness and prosperity.

But that nevertheless this Province of Upper Canada being from its Geographical situation dependent on the sister Province of Lower Canada, for a channel whereby to import or export the various articles of its Commerce; and no adequate provision having been made on the division of the Province, for its free use of that Channel, numerous unhappy disputes have of late Years arisen, as, touching its due proportion of Revenue arising from Duties on Articles imported, to the manifest injury of its fair and equitable claims, as has been fully laid before Your Majesty's Ministers by a Commissioner appointed by the Provincial Parliament for that express purpose.

That your Petitioners tho' they hail with all gratitude the measures which the parental and considerate wisdom of your Majesty's Government has already devised, in the Canada Trade Act, for the remedying of these Evils, yet humbly suggest their anxious fears that this Act does not go to their root.

They have too much reason to be assured that every impediment will still be thrown in the way of fair and equitable adjustment; and that as often as the right of objecting to Revenue Laws is exercised by Upper Canada; great and unpardonable offence will be given to the Legislature and people of Lower Canada, and that in Short, the misunderstanding now unfortunately existing on this Subject between the Provinces, will be kept up and thereby National prejudice and antipathy already violent, will become so inveterate, that the Union of the Legislatures, which your Petitioners conceive must be the ultimate remedy, will in time be difficult, if not altogether impracticable.

Your Petitioners further beg leave to suggest that, the Canada Trade Act will not effectually remove the causes of complaint which exist from the nature of the present state of things, viz. The want of a Cordial co-operation between the Provinces in improving the navigation of the St. Lawrence, an object of the first importance to Upper Canada, but which without the concurrence of Lower Canada, cannot be accomplished; together with the other numerous obstacles, to the better regulation of Trade and Commerce, which the mutual jealousy of the two Separately existing Legislatures rather tends to increase than to diminish.

That from the Sketch which Your Petitioners have received thro' the medium of the Public Prints, of the lately entertained Union Bill, they are fully confident that it is sufficient to obviate effectually the present existing causes of Jealousy and distrust, to harmonize the mutual feelings of the two people, and to produce to both Provinces an abundant increase of strength, wealth and happiness; securing to each all the essential privileges of their present constitutions; or if affecting as is the opinion of some persons among us, the Elective Franchise, and freedom of Parliamentary Proceedings; yet your Petitioners rest contented, that in these and all other Matters, consistent with sound policy, Your Majesty will lend an indulgent ear to whatever may be the general wish of your faithful Canadian Subjects.

And therefore Your Petitioners humbly request that y our Majesty will be graciously pleased to recommend your Ministers to further the projected Union in the Imperial Parliament, in such way and under such terms as may be deemed most expedient to our Mutual Wants and necessities, and most conducive to the happiness and prosperity of both Provinces.

And Your Petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray ,

Kingston, Upper Canada l2th November 1822.

Source: Adam SHORTT and Arthur G. DOUGHTY, Documents Relating to the Constitutional History of Canada, 1819-1828, Ottawa, 1935.