Documents illustrative of the Canadian constitution

“The events recorded in the left hand column belong to the history of what is now British America; those in the right hand column belong for the most part to this history of what is now the United States:

1492First Voyage of Columbus
1497Cabot discovered Newfoundland
First Voyage of Jacques Cartier1534
Second Voyage of Jacques Cartier1535
Third Voyage of Jacques Cartier1541
1542De Soto discovers the Mississippi
1564French settlement in Florida
Gilbert in Newfoundland1583
1584Raleigh’s first voyage (Virginia)
1606London and Plymouth charter
1607Jamestown (Virginia), founded
Quebec founded by De Champlain1608
Fourth voyage of De Champlain1610Discovery of Hudson River
Fifth voyage of De Champlain1611Discovery of Hudson Bay
Sixth voyage of De Champlain, and ascent of the Ottawa1613
1614New Amsterdam founded
De Champlain at the Georgian Bay1615
1619First Legislative Assembly in America (Virginia)
Tenth voyage of De Champlain1620Landing of “Pilgraims” at Cape Cod and at Plymouth
Nova Scotia granted to Sir William Alexander by James I1621Dutch West India Company
1623New Hampshire settled
“One Hundred Associates”1627
Quebec taken by Sir David Kirke1629Massachusetts charter
1630First General Court of Massachusetts
Canada and Acadia restored to France by the Treaty of St. Germain-en-Lye1632Maryland granted to Calvert
Twelfth voyage of De Champlain (first “Governor” of Canada)1633
Death of De Champlain1635First Assembly of Maryland
De Montmagny Governor [of Canada]1636Roger Williams in Providence
1636Harvard College formed
1639First written constitution in America adopted by Connecticut, and first General Court of the Province
Settlement of Montreal1642Charter granted to Rhode Island
1643New England Confederacy
D’Ailleboust, Governor of Canada1648Treaty of Westphalia
De Lauson, Governor [of Canada]1651
1652Maine annexed to Massachusetts
D’Argenson, Governor [of Canada]1658Indian war at Esopus
Bishop Laval at Quebec1659Quakers hanged at Boston
D’Avangour, Governor [of Canada]1660
Colbert, Prime Minister of France1661
1662Charter granted to Connecticut
“Sovereign Council” established with De Mesy as Governor of “New France”1663Rhode Island charter
Seminary of St. Sulpice acquire Montreal1663
De Tracy Viceroy, and De Courcelles Governor [of Canada]1664New York taken by the British
West India Company granted Monopoly of Canadian trade1664Connecticut and New Haven united
Iroquois country invaded1666
Bay of Quinte Seminary mission1668First Assembly of New Jersey
1669First Assembly of North Carolina
Hudson Bay Company chartered1670Charleston South Carolina founded
1673Mississippi discovered by Joliet and Marquette
Laval Bishop of Quebec1674First Assembly of South Carolina
De la Salle visits France1674New Netherlands (New York), New Jersey and Delaware ceded to Britain by Holland
Reduction of tithe to one-twenty-sixth1679First Assembly in New Hampshire
Indian Council at Montreal1680De la Salle on the Illinois
De la Barre Governor [of Canada]1682Penn founds Pennsylvania
1682De la Salle descends the Mississippi
1684The Mississippi Company established
De Denonville Governor [of Canada]1685
Hudson Bay forts taken1686Andros Governor of Massachusetts
Departure of Bishop Laval1688New York annexed to New England
Massacre of Lachine1689William III King of England
De Frontenac Governor [of Canada]1689Andros expelled from Massachusetts
Quebec attacked by Phips1690New Hampshire annexed to Massachusetts
1697Treaty of Ryswick
Death of De Frontenac1698
De Calieres Governor [of Canada]1699Penn visits America
Indian Treaty of Peace (Montreal)1701New charter for Pennsylvania
1702War of Spanish succession
De Vaudreuil Governor [of Canada]1703
“Superior Council” created1703
Capture of Port Royal (Annapolis) [Nova Scotia]1710Hunter Governor of New York
Expedition of Walker and Hill against Quebec1711
1712Crozat’s Mississippi Charter
1713Treaty of Utrecht
Nicholson Governor of [Nova Scotia]1714George I, King of Great Britain
Death of Louis XIV1715
Phillips Governor of [Nova Scotia]1717Law’s Mississippi charter
1718New Orlean’s founded
Louisburg fortified1720Burnet Governor by New York
1722Fort Oswego built by Burnet
Armstrong governor of [Nova Scotia]1723Paper money in Pennsylvania
Fort Niagara rebuilt1725
De Beauharnois Governor of Canada1726
1727George II King of England
Newfoundland a British Province1728
1731Crown Point occupied by the French
1732Louisiana made a Royal Province
1733Georgia Settled
Iron forges at Three Rivers1737
Verandrye ascends the Red River1738New Jersey separated from New York
Mascarene Governor of [Nova Scotia]1740
Louisburg captured1745
De la Galissonniere Governor of Canada1747
De la Jonquiere Governor of Canada1748Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle
Halifax [Nova Scotia] founded1749Slaves admitted to Georgia
Cornwallis Governor of [Nova Scotia]1749
Fort Rouille built at Toronto1749De Celeron’s Ohio expedition
Hopson governor of [Nova Scotia]1752
Duquesne Governor of Canada1752
Lawrence Governor of [Nova Scotia]1753Osborn Governor of New York
1754First Assembly of Georgia
1754Interprovincial Congress at Albany
Expatriation of the Acadians1755Braddock’s Expedition to Fort du Quense
De Vaudreuil Governor of Canada1755Dieskau defeated at Fort George
First Assembly of Nova Scotia1758Abercrombie defeated at Fort Ticonderoga
Quebec taken by Wolfe1759Niagara taken by Johnston
Montreal taken by Amherst1760George III, King of Great Britain
Province of Quebec created1763Treaty of Paris
1765The Stamp Act passed
Carleton Governor of Quebec1766Repeal of the Stamp Act
Prince Edward Island made a Province1769Pontiac killed
1769Colonial Tax Act passed
First Assembly of Prince Edward Island1773Destruction of tea at Boston
Lord Mansfield’s judgement1774Boston port closed
The Quebec Act passed1774First Revolutionary Congress, (Philadelphia)
Montgomery and Arnold invade Canada1775Battle of Lexington
1776Declaration of Independence
Haldimand Governor of Quebec1778Articles of Confederation
1778Colonial Tax Act repealed
Immigration of United Empire loyalists1783Treaties of Paris and Versailles
New Brunswick made a Province1784
Lord Dorchester Governor of Quebec1786Cotton introduced into Georgia
1787Constitution of the United States
1789George Washington, President
Constitutional Act passed1791
First Parliaments of Upper and Lower Canada1792Washington made the capital
1794The Jay Treaty (London)
Prescott Governor of Canada1796Washington’s retirement
Second Parliament of Upper Canada (York)1797John Adams, President
1801Thomas Jefferson, President
Selkirk’s Colony in Prince Edward Island1803Louisiana ceded by France
Craig Governor of Canada1806Lewis and Clark reach the Pacific
1809James Madison, President
Prevost Governor of Canada1811
Selkirk’s settlers at Red River1812War declared against Britain
1814Treaty of Ghent
Sherbrooke Governor of Canada1816
1817James Monroe, President
Richmond Governor of Canada1818Convention of London
1819Florida purchased from Spain
Dalhousie Governor of Canada1820Maine admitted as a State
Cape Breton annexed to Nova Scotia1820Missouri compromise
1825John Quincy Adams, President
Canada Company formed1826
1829Andrew Jackson, President
Aylmer Governor of Canada1830First railway in the United States
Revenue Control Act1831
First Assembly in Newfoundland1832
Gosford Governor of Canada1835
1837Victoria Queen of Britain
Rebellion in Canada1837Martin Van Buren, President
Lower Canadian Constitution Suspended1838
Durham Governor of British America1838
Sydenham Governor of the Canadas1839
Union Act1840
Sydenham Governor of Canada1841William H. Harrison, President
First Parliament of Canada1841John Tyler, President
Responsible Government introduced1842
Bagot Governor of Canada1842Ashburn Treaty (Washington)
Matcalfe Governor of Canada1843
Great fire in Quebec City1845James Knox Polk, President
Elgin Governor of Canada1846War with Mexico
1848Treaty with Mexico
Rebellion losses agitation1849Zachary Taylor, President
1850Willard Filmore, President
1850Fugitive Slave Bill
Gavazzi Riots in Montreal1853Franklin Pierce, President
Clergy Reserves secularized1854Reciprocity Treaty (Washington)
Feudal tenure abolished1854Kansas-Nebraska Bill passed
Head Governor of Canada1855Kansas riots
1857James Buchanan, President
1857“Dred Scot” case
Canadian Federation mooted1859Harper’s Ferry uprising
The Anderson (fugitive slave) case1860
Monck Governor of Canada1861War of Secession begun
1861Abraham Lincoln, President
Self governing Colonies made responsible for their own defence1862The Alabama sails from Liverpool
Colonial Habeas Corpus Act1862
Quebec Conference1864
Colonial Laws Validity Act1865Andrew Johnson, President
Fenian Raids1866
Confederation Act1867
Lisgar Governor of Canada1868
Northwest Territories acquired1869Ulysses S. Grant, President
Province of Manitoba1870
British Columbia added to Canada1871Treaty of Washington
Dufferin Governor of Canada1872
1877Rutherford B. Hayes, President
Lorne Governor of Canada1878
Canadian Pacific Railway organized1881James A. Garfield, President
1881Chester A. Arthur, President
Landowne Governor of Canada1883
Northwest rebellion suppressed1885Grover Cleveland, President
Stanley Governor of Canada1888
1889Benjamin Harrison, President


  1. The text is reprinted from the “ Collection of Treaties between Great Britain and other powers,” published by George Chalmers at London in 1790. In that collection the Treaty of Utrecht is, according to the compiler, “printed from the copy which was published by authority in 1713.”
  2. The two dates here given are according to the Old Style and the New Style ; the latter had been adopted by France in 1582, and it was not adopted in England till 1751.
  3. For the Charter of the Hudson Bay Company see Ontario Sessional Papers, vol, xi, No. 31.
  4. The boundary was never determined by the commissaries appointed under the Treaty of Utrecht (Ont, Sess. Papers, vol. xi. No. 31, p. 136 p.), and it remained un- settled until Canada became a British Province. There was then no pressing reason for defining it, and it remained undetermined until it was defined by the Imperial Act of 1889, 52 & 53 Vict. cap 28, which settled the northern boundary of Ontario.
  5. These ancient boundaries are thus given by Murdoch in his “History of Nova Scotia or Acadia”: “Acadia was then bounded on the north by the Gulf of St. Lawrence, on the east by the Atlantic, on the south by the river Kennebec, and on the west by the Province of Canada, its northwesternmost boundary being in Gaspe Bay.” Thus defined, Acadia included the present Provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and part of the State of Maine. The St. Croix river is named as the boundary, instead of the Kennebec, in the Commission to Walter Paterson. Prince Edward Island, in 1769, and this definition is repeated in the Commission to Thomas Carleton. the first Governor of New Brunswick, in 1781. (See Dominion of Canada Sessional Papers, vol. xvi. No. 70.) For an account of disputes between the French of Acadia and the British Colonists of New England over the district between these two rivers, see Kingsford’s “History of Canada,” Murdoch’s “ History of Nova Scotia,” and the volume of “Selections” mentioned in Note 6.
  6. Governor Philipps was instructed, in 1729, to appoint Commissioners to confer with Commissioners appointed by the Governor of Canada as to the boundaries of Acadia. This was never done, and for correspondence on the subject see “Selections from the Public Documents of the Province of Nova Scotia,” Halifax, 1869. Gov. Philipps’ instructions are given in the Dom. Sess. Papers, Vol. xvi, No. 70.
  7. Compare the provisions of this treaty respecting fishing privileges with those reserved to France in the Treaty of Paris, 1763. See also the provisions in the Treaty of Versailles, 1783, relating to the same franchises; and the provisions of the Treaty of Paris, 1783, the Treaty of Ghent, 1814, the Convention of 1818, and the Treaty of Washington, 1871, dealing with the claims of the United States to the Canadian fisheries. For these documents see Appendix A.
  8. This right was exercised in the case of Louisburg, which was made the centre of French operations in Acadia. Cape Breton was finally ceded to Great Britain by the Treaty of Paris, 1763.
  9. Compare the concessions made in the articles of capitulation of Montreal, 1760; in the Treaty of Paris, 1763; in the Quebec Act, 1774; and in the Constitutional. Act, 1791.”

Houston, William. “Documents illustrative of the Canadian constitution” Toronto : Carswell, 1891″