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MICHIGAN CHAPTER 13

Progress of the Colony Under the Improved Conditions

The people of the colonies along the Atlantic seaboard had turned their eyes westward. They had seen the land and declared it worth possessing. So, in spite of royal proclamations, in spite of treaties which they did not share in the making and the validity of which they did not recognize, they moved over into the Ohio valley, the advance guard of a mighty army of pioneer settlers who in a little more than a generation were to occupy the land, while the poor Indian took up his final journey to the reservation beyond the Mississippi.
In 1765 Sir Guy Carleton was made the first Governor-General of Canada. Complicated questions, some of them of a very serious character, developed. The population of the Province of Quebec, which included Michigan, was almost wholly French. The form of government, the laws and usages and religion to which these people were accustomed were so different from those of their new rulers as to be wholly incomprehensible. The making and enforcement of laws, the dispensing of justice and settlement of civil disputes fell into the hands of the military authorities. This government was for the most part mild and sensible, though the inhabitants grumbled at some of the exactions, especially those relating to taxes for the maintenance of the fortifications and for other purposes the importance of which they evidently did not appreciate. But it may be truthfully said of the British commanders that they were honest and sincere; they had not learned the art of plundering their subjects, as had the officers of some other nationalities. However much the people might find fault, they yet respected their governors. But in the province generally the serious complications which arose led to the passage by parliament in 1774 of the Quebec act. This act provided for a governor and council and for the enforcement of all the criminal laws of England; the crown reserved to itself the establishing of courts of civil, criminal and ecclesiastical jurisdiction.

MICHIGAN


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