Governor Lawrence To Lords of Trade and Plantations December 8th, 1755.

My Lords,- I have the honour by this opportunity to transmit to your Lordships the opinion of the Chief Justice 2 upon the manner of convening an Assembly in this Province. Tho’ this is a matter, that in many of its parts, I am by no means qualified to judge of, yet I think it my duty to lay before your Lordships such reflections as have occurred to me upon so important a subject.

The general necessity of convening an assembly upon account of the present invalidity of the laws, being altogether a point of law, I can say no more upon that head than that the Laws are chiefly such, as it appeared indispensably necessary to make, for the good regulation of the Town of Halifax and the encouragement of its commerce, they were mostly made at the request of the Merchants, or the people whom they concerned, who have been perfectly satisfied therewith and have never made the least question of their validity that ever I heard, I have been well informed that at the first establishment of the Colony of Virginia, Laws were enacted in the same manner and continued in force until an Assembly could be easily convened for their confirmation.

The enclosed opinion seems to be founded upon the necessity of performing a promise made to the first Settlers of their having an Assembly. I believe from the first settlement of the Province to the present time the Governor has been required by the 86th Instruction to call an Assembly, by causing two Members to be elected for each Township, but as the Town of Halifax is the only place qualified to elect two members, they alone would not be sufficient to form an Assembly, therefore I humbly apprehend such a promise, cannot in any wise be said to have been broke through, but its performance not yet become possible, by the circumstances of the Province. As to the manner proposed by the Chief Justice for convening an Assembly at present, by electing 12 Members for the Province in the form of a County Election if it is to be any precedent for future elections, it will be attended with a very great inconvenience. As it is to be held at Halifax, which most likely will not be the residence of the landed people, but of the Merchants, the former whose well being is much more connected with the security of the Province, will be mostly excluded and the Assembly chiefly composed of the latter, who are not so nearly concerned in its welfare, and who may sometimes have views & interests incompatible with the measures it may be necessary to take in a Province so contiguous both by land and water, to the whole force of the French in North America.

I have now laid before you fully my thought upon this subject, which I flatter myself, your Lordships will receive with your usual candour, and excuse any error that may be found therein, upon reflecting how seldom it has fallen in my way to consider things of this nature.

If it is thought necessary to put this Plan or any other to the same purpose in execution, I beg of your Lordships that I may have full instructions upon the subject, which I will take care most punctually to execute. It would be necessary, in this case, to provide for the expense of a House for the Assembly to sit in, and for a Clerk and sucli salaried Officers as may be thought necessary for their attendance, for I can venture to assure your Lordships that the people here in general, are not in a condition of contributing any sum of money to defray such an expense.

I am, &c. CHAs. LAWRENCE

Kennedy, William P. Statutes, Treaties and Documents of the Canadian Constitution: 1713-1929. Oxford Univ. Pr., 1930.