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Notre-Dame Basilica suit
Posted by: Jan Date: December 14, 2000 at 23:15:06
  of 1317

To those working on the land grant lawsuit, here's some good background info that lays the groundwork for the suit. It was a very tangled mess that went back more than a century before the suit was actually filed. The whole suit was a set of contradictions and double standards that capitalized on the discrimination of the French by the British.

Also, as you can see half way down the first paragraph, the Crown had already addressed this issue in the mid-1800s, which is a major reason the case was doomed from its outset.

From the "Catholic Encyclopedia":

"...This period is marked by the solution of a question which had been agitated since the conquest: the recognition by the British Crown of the property of the Sulpicians, which being of considerable value, aroused great cupidity. The bigoted counsellors who surrounded Sir James Craig at the beginning of the nineteenth century urged its confiscation. Sewell made reports and suggested plans; Ryland made vigorous use of his pen and was most active in promoting the cause; he went to London for the same purpose. The British Government did not reply. In his memoir of 1819 M. roux, superior of Saint-Sulpice at Montreal, answered every adverse claim, and Bishop Plessis pleaded the same cause with great force before Lord Bathurst (1821). The attacks were renewed in 1829, and the seminary was on the point of giving up its rights in exchange for an annual income. Rome, when appealed to, refused to ratify any such transaction, and the matter dragged on. Finally Queen victoria, by an ordinance of the Privy Council, declared the Seminary of Saint-Sulpice the lawful owner of its holdings, an act of justice which permitted the Sulpicians to continue their beneficent work. Montreal owed to them its prosperity, the settlement of the surrounding districts, its flourishing college and great church of Notre-Dame, the work of M. Roux (1825-30). It owed to them also its schools. A short time previous M. Quiblier, successor of M. Roux, had brought to Canada the Brothers of the Christian Schools. The Grand Séminaire, now so prosperous, was soon to open (1840).

"In 1840 the union of Upper and Lower Canada, so long fought off by the latter as an act of gross injustice, was accomplished. The avowed aim of the Protestants of Ontario was to make Quebec subject to Ontario, the French element to the English, the Catholic to the Protestant. Contrary to all expectation, this act turned out favourable to the liberty and progress of Catholicism. Far from abrogating the provisions of the constitution of 1791 concerning the Catholic religion, it extended them, at the same time providing for their enforcement. For in 1840, after the guarantees of liberty given the Catholic Church by the British Government, the spiritual supremacy of the king in religious affairs could not be maintained as defined in the Royal Instructions of 1791. Let us add that Lord Elgin, a broad-minded governor, appeared on the scene, and recognized that it was time to put an end to a system of government based on partiality and the denial of justice."


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