Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:
February 2005

L’Encyclopédie de l’histoire du Québec / The Quebec History Encyclopedia


Quebec Act


Quebec Act, the Act passed by the British parliament in 1774 "for making more effectual provision for the government of the province of Quebec in North America". It superseded the Royal Proclamation of 1763 as the constitution of the colony, and introduced far-reaching changes. It extended the boundaries of the province of Quebec (or Canada) to include the whole of what is known as the Old North West, which comprised the territories bounded by the Ohio river, the Mississippi river, and the southern boundary of the territories granted in 1670 to the Hudson's Bay Company; it substituted the French civil code for the English civil law; and it not only gave freedom of worship to the Roman Catholic Church in Canada, but it virtually endowed it, by ordaining that the Roman Catholic clergy should continue to receive "their accustomed dues and rights". It declared that it was "at present inexpedient to call an Assembly"; and it continued in Canada government by governor and council. The motives actuating the British government in putting this legislation on the statute books have been the subject of prolonged debate, some writers maintaining that the objects of the Act were purely military, and others that the Act was inspired by the same generous policies that have underlain the development of the British Commonwealth of Nations. See V. Coffin, The province of Quebec and the early American Revolution (Madison, Wisconsin, 1896), with the review of this book by Adam Short in Review of Historical Publications relating to Canada, vol. i (Toronto, 1897); R. Coupland, The Quebec Act: A study in statesmanship (Oxford, 1925); and Charles H. Metzger, The Quebec Act: A primary cause of the American Revolution (New York, 1936).

Consult the text on the Quebec Act elsewhere at the site.

Source : W. Stewart WALLACE, ed., The Encyclopedia of Canada, Vol. V, Toronto, University Associates of Canada, 1948, 401p., pp. 204-205.



© 2005 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College