Rupert's Land


The following is the Declaration of Independence of the people of Rupert's Land and the North West, adopted at Fort Garry, 8th Dec: -

"Whereas, it is admitted by all men as a fundamental principle that the public authority commands the obedience and respect of all its subjects, it is also admitted that the people to be governed have the right to adopt or reject forms of government, or refuse allegiance to that which is proposed, in accordance with the fundamental principle that the public authority commands the obedience and respect of all its subjects. It is also admitted that the people to be governed have the right to adopt or reject forms of government or refuse allegiance to that which is proposed in accordance with fundamental principles.

The people of this country had obeyed and respected that authority to which the circumstances surrounding its infancy compelled it to be subject. A company of adventurers, known as the H. B Co. and invested with certain powers granted by His Majesty Charles II, established itself in Rupert's Land and in the North West Territory for trading purposes only. This company consisted of many persons possessing a certain constitution, but as there was a question of commerce only the constitution was formed in reference thereto; yet, since there was at the time no government to see to the interests of a people already existing in the country, it became necessary for judicial officers to have recourse to the Hudson Bay Company. They inaugurated that species of government which, slightly modified by subsequent circumstances, ruled this country up to a recent date.

Whereas the government thus constituted was far from answering the wants of the people, and became more and more so as the population increased in numbers, and as the country was developed, and its commerce extended until the present day, when it commands a place among the countries, this people, ever actuated by the above mentioned principles had generously supported the aforesaid government, and gave to it a faithful allegiance, when, contrary to the law of nations in March, 1869, that said government surrendered and transferred to Canada all the rights which it had a pretended right to have in this territory by transactions with which the people were considered unworthy to be acquainted; and whereas it is also generally admitted that a people is at liberty to establish any form of government it may consider suitable to its wants, as soon as the power to which it was subject abandons it or subjugates it without its consent to a foreign power, and it is maintained that no right can be transferred to such foreign power;-Now, therefore,

First - We, the representatives of the people in council assembled in Upper Fort Garry, the 24th day of November, 1869, also having invoked the God of nations, relying on these fundamental moral principles, solemnly declare in the law of our constitution, and in our own names before God and man, that from the day on which the government we had always represented abandoned us by transferring to a strange power the sacred authority confided to it the people of Rupert's Land and the North West became free and exempt from all allegiance to the government.

Second - That we refuse to recognize the authority of Canada, which pretends to have a right to govern and impose upon us a despotic form of government still more contrary to our right and interests as British subjects, than was that government to which we had subjected ourselves through necessity up to a recent date.

Third - That by sending an expedition on the first of November ult., in charge of Mr. William McDougall and his companions, coming in the name of Canada to rule us with the rod of despotism without previous notification to that effect, we have but acted conformably to that sacred right which commands every citizen to offer energetic opposition to prevent his country being enslaved.

Fourth - That we continue, and shall continue, to oppose with all our strength the establishing of the Canadian authority in our country under the announced form, and in case of persistence on the part of the Canadian Government to enforce its obnoxious policy upon us by force of arms, we protest beforehand against such an unjust and unlawful course, and we declare the said Canadian Government responsible before God and man for the innumerable evils which may be caused by so unwarrantable a course.

Be it known, therefore, to the world in general and to the Canadian Government in particular, that as we have always heretofore successfully defended our country in frequent wars with the neighboring tribes of Indians who are now on friendly terms with us, we are firmly resolved in future, not less than the past, to repel all invasions from whatsoever quarter they may come; and furthermore, we do declare and proclaim in the name of the people of Rupert's land and the North West that we have on the said 24th day of November, 1869, above mentioned, established a Provisional Government, and hold it to be the only and lawful authority now in existence in Rupert's Land and the North West which claims the obedience and respect of the people; that meanwhile, we hold ourselves in readiness to enter into such negotiations with the Canadian Government as may be favorable for the good government and prosperity of this people.

In support of this declaration, relying on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge ourselves on oath, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor to each other.

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