by Pierre Beaudry, 7/30/2007

[Following my internal memo on THE TRAGIC CONSEQUENCES OF THE QUEBEC ACT OF 1774, sent to you on 7/4/2007, I am putting out some questions for public discussion to the Montreal LYM in order to suggest guidelines for a joint Canadian-American history project in line with LaRouche’s mission of {America’s Manifest Destiny}. This report was written before the author had the opportunity to read the book of Henri Gosselin, {George Washington’s French-Canadian Spy.}

The Significance of the Quebec Act for the US and Canada.

In 1776, at the time when in the American colonies, the greatest liberation movement in all of history was asserting itself, as the “{Beacon of Hope and the Temple of Liberty}” for all of mankind, a wall of British oligarchical lies, known as the Quebec Act of 1774, was erected around a “{neighboring Province}” in order to prevent the United States from being born. For the American Continental Congress, the Quebec Act became the most important reason for pushing the 13 colonies of America to unite and to “{dissolve their political bands}” with Britain on July 4, 1776.

The irony of this Quebec Act is that it was not designed for improving the lives of Canadians, but for the purpose of destroying Americans and their constitutional principles. This Intolerable Act, as it was called in America, was concocted by the British East India Company, otherwise known as the Lords of Trade and Plantations, for extending invasively the territorial boundaries of the Province of Quebec deep inside of the American territory, south to the Ohio River and West to the Mississippi River, by means of the Gentleman Adventurer’s Hudson’s Bay Company, in order to prevent the Americans from reaching westward toward the Pacific Ocean, thereby, putting an end to the unique experiment of American exceptionalism, that is, George Washington’s {Manifest Destiny}. From that strategic standpoint, both North and South America were to be secured and isolated from the infection of British oligarchism that had taken root in Canada. It was within the context of that exceptional moment of history that the Quebec Act was also meant to prevent the French Canadians from joining the American Revolution. Moreover, this infectious disease known as the Quebec Act was to hang like a Damocles’ sword over the Americas from that day forward.

Since the Quebec Act is still, to this day, the founding document that established British Canada as a colony, the following thoughts are therefore aimed at provoking public discussion that will help define political guidelines for taking appropriate actions in changing this continuously intolerable and fraudulent state of affairs inside of Canada, and to see how that nation-state can become a fruitful participant in the Grand Design of the LaRouche Bering Strait tunnel proposal linking up the Americas with Eurasia.

If 1776 reflected a great moment of history that was missed by a little people in Canada, let it be understood that the current opportunity of the LaRouche Grand Design, today, is a similar moment of history. So, the question is: will the Canadian people seize the opportunity of joining this second American Revolution?

Here, however, a note of caution is required. These questions are not aimed at raising a public debate over the Constitutionality of Canada at this time. It would have been better to initiate that dialogue, a few years ago, when the Vancouver proposal for a constitutional consensus amendment formula was introduced. But it is too late for that now. However, there is a preliminary step which can be taken before a full debate over the Constitutional reform of Canada may be undertaken. The focus for raising these questions must be the mission of planetary self-development for the next fifty years, along the lines of LaRouche’s Eurasian Landbridge and the Bering Strait. This requires absolutely that Canadian citizens and Canadian political leaders resolve in their own minds the crucial anomalies posed by the Quebec Act. Without solving these fundamental questions, there is no chance that Canada could appropriately tackle the challenge of the next fifty years and more, in collaboration with the four primary powers, namely, the United States, Russia, China, and India. Therefore the time has come to get rid of the fallacious British oligarchical thinking that has been preventing the nation of Canada and the rest of the world from developing.

America’s Manifest Destiny.

In the retrospective search for attempting to explain the causes for the deeply rooted discontent between the English and French in Canada, invariably, one has to come to grips with the nature of the Quebec Act of 1774 that created the modern form of Canada in the first place. So, investigating the historical specificities that derived from this legislation is the prerequisite historical work that can help explain what caused the present state of political and cultural crisis in Canada. This work will also help us discover the alternate policies that will restore Canada as a more truthful sovereign nation-state for future generations. Therefore, the first and most important aspect to be considered lies in the fact that this intolerable Quebec Act did not succeed in destroying Americans but has been destroying Canadians for over 200 years. In other words, to this day, this founding legislation has not been serving its intended purpose. This is not a matter to be taken lightly and with fleeting discussions; this is a matter of life and death for a people and its posterity.

The truth of this matter is so crucial that it was deemed necessary to be included explicitly in the American Declaration of Independence itself. The signers of the Declaration denounced this Quebec Act:

“{For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies.}”

There are two points to be considered here. One is with regard to Americans and the other is with respect to Canadians.

To Americans, the Quebec Act was considered to be the most dangerous of all five Intolerable Acts legislated by the British Parliament between 1763 and 1774. The Quebec Act created, in North America, the precedent that actually banned the idea of self-government and erected a barrier against the George Washington project of {Manifest destiny,} that is, the project for the development of western territories all the way to the Pacific Ocean. This {Manifest Destiny} idea was precisely the original root-idea that gave birth to the LaRouche’s Bering Strait project, linking the entire world with anti-oligarchical republics around the principle of basic human rights and self-development of constitutionally sovereign nation-states and grounded in the principle of the benefit of the other of the Peace of Westphalia.

02-01-bw manifest dest

As LaRouche demonstrated, the idea of {Manifest Destiny} actually originated in ancient Greece, with Solon of Athens, was later restored with the Renaissance of Nicholas of Cusa and was defined in America by the founder of New England, John Winthrop. The founding father who most embodied the idea of {Manifest Destiny} was Silas Deane. However, the idea became the official American policy doctrine under John Quincy Adams and was established as the basis for a community of principle in his Monroe Doctrine. This policy is always standing today and must pursued with renewed vigor.[1]

The term “destiny” attached to this policy was coined originally by John Quincy Adams in a letter written from Russia to his father John Adams, and in which he stated:

“{The whole continent of North America appears to be destined by Divine providence to be peopled by one nation, speaking one language, professing one general system of religious and political principles, and accustomed to one general tenor of social usages and customs. For the common happiness of them all, for their peace and prosperity, I believe it indispensable that they should be associated in one federal Union.}”[2]

The idea was meant to cut off the newly created republic from the poison of oligarchism coming from the East and to push the development of American republicanism westward. Bring civilization to the West. “{The struggle was always–colonize westward}, noted Lyndon LaRouche. “{Bring the best people from Europe, the best common people who believed in this idea; bring them to this land, develop this land, move westward, open the way to the west, keep moving westward.}”[3]

This is why, in their {Declarations and Resolves of Oct. 14, 1774}, the American Continental Congress of Philadelphia recognized that the Quebec Act was a direct assault against the idea of {Manifest Destiny}. They identified the Quebec Act as being “{unjust, and cruel, as well as unconstitutional, and most dangerous and destructive of American rights.}” I will recall, here, only a few of the most vocal American leaders who denounced the Quebec Act for the fallacy of composition that it is and for the danger it represented against the American progress of civilization westward.

On October 21, 1774, John Jay, the first Chief Justice from New York, drafted a letter to the People of Great Britain, in which he denounced the Quebec Act as follows:

”{In the session of parliament last mentioned, an act was passed, for changing the government of Quebec, by which act the Roman Catholic religion, instead of being tolerated, as stipulated by the treaty of peace, is established; and the people there deprived of a right to an assembly, trials by jury and the English laws in civil cases abolished, and instead thereof, the French laws established, in direct violation of his Majesty’s promise by his royal proclamation, under the faith of which many English subjects settled in that province: and the limits of that province are extended so as to comprehend those vast regions, that lie adjoining to the northerly and westerly boundaries of these colonies.}”[4]

On the same day (October 21, 1774), Patrick Henry of Virginia drafted the following address to the king:

“{Judge Royal Sir what must be our feelings when we see our fellow subjects of that Town & Colony suffering a Severity of punishment of which the British History gives no Example, & the Annals of Tyranny can scarcely equal? And when we see in the Fate of this our sister Colony that which awaits us, we are filled with the most terrible apprehensions–Apprehensions which are heightened & increased almost to Despair, when we turn our Attention to the Quebec Act.}”

It was Silas “Ticonderoga” Deane, Chairman of the Committee on Safety for the colony of Connecticut, who sounded the alarm about the explicit danger to {Manifest Destiny}, by sending a letter to Samuel Adams, Chairman of the same committee for Massachusetts, warning him of the dangers respecting western territories. Deane called for immediate migration of large numbers of Europeans (up to a million settlers) to stake their claims in these territories. He considered that “{This, or some such plan, will most effectually defeat the design of the Quebec Bill, which if not broke thro’ & defeated in some shape or other, will be the most fatally mischievous to the British Colonies of any Bill ever framed by the Ministry, or that may possibly ever enter into their Hearts To conceive of}.” In fact, the Quebec Act had stripped Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Virginia of their lawful claims to western lands.  Like Silas Deane, the Virginian, Richard Henry Lee, considered the Quebec Act as the “{worst grievance}” of all intolerable acts against America.

On November 13, 1774, Silas Dean explained why the Quebec Act represented such a great danger to the grand design of {Manifest Destiny}:

“{The extending & fixing Settlements of Protestants Westward will not only bring about this wished-for event, but will be in future Days Our greatest Strength & Security. Another Tier as I may say of Colonies settled back of Us will be, an inexhaustible resource to Us, &c render Us humanely speaking invincible though the united Powers of the whole World should attack Us. Look at a Map, & see, the situation of the Countries between 40.° & 45.° through the Continent. This is the New England Inheritance, as fairly secured for them, by their Ancestors, as any one Acre they Now possess, and once well settled with Our People, & their descendants, will give Law, not to North & South America alone, but to the World if they please.

“This will, & must be the most independent Country on the Globe, inland Seas or Lakes, and Rivers extending quite across the Continent in those parallels, and the Western extremity lands Us at the very Door, of the Treasures of the East, and The South. If the Contemplation of these future events give Us pleasure every effort of Ours to ripen them if successful, in degree realizes them. This can hardly be called the pleasure of the imagination only, but rather the pleasure of anticipating great, & important realities, & such as are hastening on, &in the arrival of which, the happiness of Mankind is most deeply interested}.”[6]

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Figure 2. Map of colonial America representing how under the Quebec Act 1774 the British had claims west of the American colonies.

The American Congress Invitation to French-Canadians.

For the benefit of Canadians, however, the most important American intervention against the Quebec Act came on October 26, 1774, from Richard Henry Lee, a Senator from Virginia, who drafted for the Continental Congress a 12-page letter {To the Inhabitants of Quebec,} calling on the French-Canadians to repudiate the Act and join the American Revolution.

“[…]{The injuries of Boston have roused and associated every colony, from Nova-Scotia to Georgia. Your province is the only link wanting, to complete the bright and strong chain of union. Nature has joined your country to theirs. Do you join your political interests? For their own sakes, they never will desert or betray you. Be assured, that the happiness of a people inevitably depends on their liberty, and their spirit to assert it. The value and extent of the advantages tendered to you are immense. Heaven grant you may not discover them to be blessings after they have bid you an eternal adieu.”

“We are too well acquainted with the liberality of sentiment distinguishing your nation to imagine, that difference of religion will prejudice you against a hearty amity with us. You know that the transcendent nature of freedom elevates those who unite in her cause above all such low-minded infirmities. The Swiss Cantons furnish a memorable proof of this truth. Their union is composed of Roman Catholic and Protestant States, living in the utmost concord and peace with one another and thereby enabled, ever since they bravely vindicated their freedom, to defy and defeat every tyrant that has invaded them. […]}”

After describing to the French-Canadians the American “{invaluable rights}”; 1) the right to share in one’s own government; 2) the right to a trial by jury; 3) the right of liberty of the person with a writ of Habeas Corpus; 4) the right of holding lands by the tenure of easy rent; and 5) the right of freedom of the press, the letter made an amazing critique of the Quebec Act by identifying its shortcomings, point by point. The complete version of the letter {To the inhabitants of Quebec} accompanies this text in attachment.

{These are the invaluable rights that form a considerable part of our mild system of government; that, sending its equitable energy through all ranks and classes of men, defends the poor from the rich, the weak from the powerful, the industrious from the rapacious, the peaceable from the violent, the tenants from the lords, and all from their superiors.

“These are the rights without which a people cannot be free and happy, and under the protecting and encouraging influence of which these colonies have hitherto so amazingly flourished and increased.

“These are the rights a profligate Ministry are now striving by force of arms to ravish from us, and which we are with one mind resolved never to resign but with our lives.

“These are the rights you are entitled to and ought at this moment in perfection to exercise. And what is offered to you by the late Act of Parliament in their place? Liberty of conscience in your religion? No. God gave it to you; and the temporal powers with which you have been and are connected, firmly stipulated for your enjoyment of it. If laws, divine and human, could secure it against the despotic caprices of wicked men, it was secured before.

“Are the French laws in civil cases restored? It seems so. But observe the cautious kindness of the Ministers, who pretend to be your benefactors. The words of the statute are-that those “laws shall be the rule, until they shall be varied or altered by any ordinances of the Governor and Council.” Is the “certainty and lenity of the criminal law of England, and its benefits and advantages,” commended in the said statute, and said to “have been sensibly felt by you,” secured to you and your descendants? No. They too are subjected to arbitrary “alterations” by the Governor and Council; and a power is expressly reserved of appointing “such courts of criminal, civil and ecclesiastical jurisdiction, as shall be thought proper.” Such is the precarious tenure of mere will by which you hold your lives and religion.

“The Crown and its Ministers are empowered, as far as they could be by Parliament, to establish even the Inquisition itself among you. Have you an Assembly composed of worthy men, elected by yourselves and in whom you can confide, to make laws for you, to watch over your welfare, and to direct in what quantity and in what manner your money shall be taken from you? No. The Power of making laws for you is lodged in the governor and council, all of them dependent upon and removable at the pleasure of a Minister.

“Besides, another late statute, made without your consent, has subjected you to the impositions of Excise, the horror of all free states, thus wresting your property from you by the most odious of taxes and laying open to insolent tax-gatherers, houses, the scenes of domestic peace and comfort and called the castles of English subjects in the books of their law. And in the very act for altering your government, and intended to flatter you, you are not authorized to “assess levy, or apply any rates and taxes, but for the inferior purposes of making roads, and erecting and repairing public buildings, or for other local conveniences, within your respective towns and districts.” Why this degrading distinction? Ought not the property, honestly acquired by Canadians, to be held as sacred as that of Englishmen? Have not Canadians sense enough to attend to any other public affairs than gathering stones from one place and piling them up in another?

“Unhappy people! who are not only injured, but insulted. Nay more! With such a superlative contempt of your understanding and spirit has an insolent Ministry presumed to think of you, our respectable fellow-subjects, according to the information we have received, as firmly to persuade themselves that your gratitude for the injuries and insults they have recently offered to you will engage you to take up arms and render yourselves the ridicule and detestation of the world, by becoming tools in their hands, to assist them in taking that freedom from us which they have treacherously denied to you; the unavoidable consequence of which attempt, if successful, would be the extinction of all hopes of you or your posterity being ever restored to freedom. For idiocy itself cannot believe that, when their drudgery is performed, they will treat you with less cruelty than they have us who are of the same blood with themselves.

“What would your countryman, the immortal Montesquieu, have said to such a plan of domination as has been framed for you? Hear his words, with an intenseness of thought suited to the importance of the subject.— ‘In a free state, every man, who is supposed a free agent, ought to be concerned in his own government: Therefore the legislative should reside in the whole body of the people, or their representatives.’—The political liberty of the subject is a tranquility of mind, arising from the opinion each person has of his safety. In order to have this liberty, it is requisite the government be so constituted, as that one man need not be afraid of another. When the power of making laws, and the power of executing them, are united in the same person, or in the same body of Magistrates, there can be no liberty; because apprehensions may arise, lest the same Monarch or Senate, should enact tyrannical laws, to execute them in a tyrannical manner.

“The power of judging should be exercised by persons taken from the body of the people, at certain times of the year, and pursuant to a form and manner prescribed by law. There is no liberty, if the power of judging be not separated from the legislative and executive powers.” […]

“We do not ask you, by this address, to commence acts of hostility against the government of our common Sovereign. We only invite you to consult your own glory and welfare, and not to suffer yourselves to be inveigled or intimidated by infamous ministers so far as to become the instruments of their cruelty and despotism, but to unite with us in one social compact, formed on the generous principles of equal liberty and cemented by such an exchange of beneficial and endearing offices as to render it perpetual. In order to complete this highly desirable union, we submit it to your consideration whether it may not be expedient for you to meet together in your several towns and districts and elect Deputies, who afterwards meeting in a provincial Congress, may chose Delegates to represent your province in the continental Congress to be held at Philadelphia on the tenth day of May, 1775.}”[7]  

The point to be made here, for Canadians, is that the entire sequence of historical events, which have shaped the national character of Canada for the last 233 years, including most prominently the conflicts between the French and English parts of its population, have been caused by the fallacy of this fraudulent Act of Quebec as explained by the members of the American Continental Congress. This means that the very history of Canada cannot be understood without explicit reference to the American Declaration of Independence prepared and established by such a Continental Congress and without investigating its historical specificity with respect to Canada. This must be done simply because the {Arbitrary government}, created by that Quebec Act, had been designed, in reality, under the guise of flattery. How can the people of a nation live under such false pretense of its founding moment and continue living the same lie after two centuries, year in and year out, without ever looking for ways and means to properly correct that long standing mistake?

Now, unless the Americans were wrong in their declarative judgment of 1776, this also means that, for Canadians, the Act of Quebec must also be adjudicated as intolerable to themselves, as against their own self-interest, and that the matter must be dealt with, consequently, in light of the very same principles that the British had trampled on two hundred years ago. Indeed, if the signers of the American Declaration of Independence saw fit to explicitly identify that neighbouring “{Arbitrary government},” as evil and despicable to human freedom, its correction must therefore be viewed by Canadians from the vantage point of the very same principles of {life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness}, that such an Act had been aimed at eradicating also in Canada during the last two centuries.

So, in the spirit of the American {Manifest Destiny}, the time has come for Canadians to break with the chains of oligarchism within your own minds. Let’s get to work! Go West young man!


[1] John Quincy Adams described in a most beautiful manner the purpose of his policy of Manifest Destiny with respect to the American Declaration of Independence. He wrote:

In a conflict [of] seven years, the history of the war by which you maintained that Declaration, became the history of the civilized world…It was the first solemn declaration by a nation of the only legitimate foundation of civil government. It was the cornerstone of a new fabric, destined to cover the surface of the globe. It demolished at a stroke, the lawfulness of all governments founded upon conquest. It swept away all of the rubbish of accumulated centuries of servitude. From the day of this Declaration, the people of North America were no longer the fragment of a distant empire, imploring justice and mercy from an inexorable master in another hemisphere. They were a nation, asserting as of right, and maintaining by war, its own existence. A nation was born in a day…It stands, and must forever stand, alone, a beacon on the summit of the mountain, to which all the inhabitants of the earth may turn their eyes for a genial and saving light…a light of salvation and redemption to the oppressed.” (Quoted without source by Nancy Spannaus, Adams’ Community Of Principle: The Monroe Doctrine, EIR, November 16, 2007, p. 68.)

[2] Letter from J.Q. Adams to J. Adams, St. Petersburg, August 31, 1811, in {Writings}, IV, p. 209. Italics added by Samuel Flagg Bemis, {John Quincy Adams, and the Foundations of American Foreign Policy}, New York Alfred A. Knopf, 1949, p. 182.

[3] Lyndon H. LaRouche Jr, {The issue of America’s Manifest Destiny for today}, EIR, January 28, 2000.

[4] John Jay, {Journal of Continental Congress}, October 21, 1774.

[5] The Times Atlas of World History.

[6] Letters of Delegates to Congress: Volume 1, August 1774 – August 1775, Silas Deane to Samuel Adams, p. 262.

[7] Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789, WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 26, 1774. {To the inhabitants of Quebec}.

[8] Letter from J.Q. Adams to J. Adams, St. Petersburg, August 31, 1811, in {Writings}, IV, p. 209. Italics added by Samuel Flagg Bemis, {John Quincy Adams, and the Foundations of American Foreign Policy}, New York Alfred A. Knopf, 1949, p. 182.

[9 Lyndon H. LaRouche Jr, {The issue of America’s Manifest Destiny for today}, EIR, January 28, 2000.

[10] John Jay, {Journal of Continental Congress}, October 21, 1774.

[11] The Times Atlas of World History.

[12] Letters of Delegates to Congress: Volume 1, August 1774 – August 1775, Silas Deane to Samuel Adams, p. 262.

[13] Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789, WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 26, 1774. {To the inhabitants of Quebec}.