The Quebec Act of 1774

Administration of the conquered province by a governor and an appointed council was established by royal proclamation. In 1774 the English Parliament passed the Quebec Act. This was the first important milestone in the constitutional history of British Canada. Under its terms the boundaries of Quebec were extended as far as the Ohio River valley. The Roman Catholic church was recognized by the Quebec Act, and its right to collect tithes was confirmed. Also of enduring importance was the establishment of the French civil law to govern the relations of Canadian subjects in their business and other day-to-day relations with each other. British criminal law was imposed in all matters having to do with public law and order and offenses for which the punishment might be fine, imprisonment, or in some cases death. These imaginative gestures on the part of the English government won the admiration of the religious leaders in Quebec and to a large extent the goodwill of the people themselves. The privilege of an elected assembly continued to be withheld, however.

The loyalty of the new province was soon put to the test. Within a year of the passing of the Quebec Act, the rebelling 13 Atlantic colonies sent two armies north to capture the "fourteenth colony." Sir Guy Carleton, the British governor of Canada, narrowly escaped capture when one of these armies, under Richard Montgomery, took Montreal. Carleton reached Quebec in time to organize its small garrison against the forces of Benedict Arnold. Arnold began a siege of the fortress, in which he was soon joined by Montgomery. In the midwinter fighting that followed, Montgomery was killed and Arnold wounded. When spring came, the attacking forces retreated. During the rest of the American Revolutionary War, there was no further fighting on Canadian soil.

Discovery of Canada

Rediscovery and Exploration

Cartier's Explorations

End of the First Colonizing Effort

The Founding of New France

The Father of New France

For the Glory of God

Seigneur and Habitant

Governor, Intendant, and Bishop

French and English Rivalry

The Final Struggle for the Continent

Early British Rule

The Quebec Act of 1774

The United Empire Loyalists

Upper and Lower Canada

Settlement and Exploration in the West

The Selkirk Settlement

The War of 1812

Struggle for Self-Government

Mackenzie and Papineau Rebel

The Durham Report

Canada West and Canada East

The Colonies Grow Up

Settlement on the Pacific Coast

The Confederation Idea

Dominion from Sea to Sea

New Dominion Is Launched

Macdonald's National Policy

The Age of Laurier

Canada and World War I

Canada Between the Wars

The British Commonwealth of Nations

Canada and World War II

Postwar Developments

Centennial of Canadian Confederation

Quebec Separatism

Modern Canadian Leadership

Native Peoples Issues