Land minute books of the Executive Council of Lower Canada

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Land minute books of the Executive Council of Lower Canada
Land books of Lower Canada
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Lower Canada. Executive Council. Land Committee
The Executive Council was among the first institutions established in each colony of British North America. Designed to advise and assist the governor in his executive, legislative and judicial functions, the Executive Council was formed pursuant to the Royal Instructions which partnered the governor's commission. Members of the Executive Council were appointed on instruction from the Crown, conveyed by a Royal Warrant, or at the governor's discretion. The Executive Council was replaced by the Executive Council of the Province of Canada in 1841. Series consists of minute books of the Executive Council which record that body's deliberations and decisions concerning land business during the period 1792-1835. These records are commonly known as the "Land Books". The sequence of entries within the volumes is chronological, such that a report appears according to the date of its presentation, rather than by its date of preparation. In the later volumes, the practice of inscribing the meeting date at the head of each page makes this more obvious. The minute books were provided with a nominal index by the Clerk of the Executive Council. All volumes except vol. 13 contain a table of contents or index. The series includes both original minutes for the years 1792-1835 (vols. 3-4 and 13-17) and transcripts for the years 1792-1800 only (vols. 8-12). The transcripts are certified typed copies of the originals, prepared by the National Archives in the period prior to the microfilming of the originals, in order to avoid damage to the originals from frequent use. Although they are copies, these transcripts have been accorded the status of records in their own right within this series and assigned permanent volume numbers accordingly. The transcripts include marginal notations of the corresponding page or folio numbers for the original text. A separate set of minute books was maintained to record the deliberations of the Executive Council concerning land business, distinct from the minute books in which state business was recorded. The evidence does not suggest that the Executive Council met in separate meetings for its "land" and "state" work but, rather, that two separate agendas were presented at each meeting at which there were both land and state matters to be discussed. The proceedings and decisions were then recorded in different minute books. The line of distinction between "land" and "state" issues was not always clearly maintained in the two sets of minutes. Matters relating to particular land grants, leases and associated topics are documented in the land minute books. Land-related issues of a broad or policy nature, on the other hand, were generally considered to be "state" matters and are found documented in the "state" minute books. As a result, one finds records of land-granting policy, of the acquisition and distribution of Indian lands, of military reserves (Ordnance lands transferred to civil control), and similar topics documented in the state minute books (see the State Minute Books of the Executive Council series, elsewhere within this fonds). It is important to bear in mind that the records in this series are the minute books of the full Executive Council, recording that body's exercise of its land disposal functions. As such, they are distinct from the minute books of the Land Committee of the Executive Council (for which see the discussion of "minutes" in the Land Petitions and Related Records of the Executive Council series, found elsewhere within this fonds). That said, since the reports of the Land Committee and its sub-committees are generally written into the minutes found in the present series, the result is a certain duplication of texts.
Le Conseil exécutif figurait parmi les premières institutions établies dans chacune des colonies de l’Amérique du Nord britannique. Il avait pour mission de conseiller et d’aider le gouverneur dans ses fonctions exécutives, législatives et judiciaires. Le Conseil exécutif a été constitué en vertu des instructions royales accompagnant la commission du gouverneur. Les membres du Conseil exécutif étaient nommés selon les instructions de la Couronne transmises par voie d’un mandat royal ou à la discrétion du gouverneur. En 1841, le Conseil exécutif a été remplacé par le Conseil exécutif de la province du Canada.