The basis of the political constitution of Canada is the Act of 31 Geo. III. cap. 31, passed by the Parliament of Great Britain in 1791. By the terms of it, the old province of Quebec—which then embraced the whole of Canada—was divided into the two governments of Upper and Lower Canada, with representative institutions for each. The legislative authority was vested in a Legislative Council appointed by the Crown, and in a House of Assembly elected by the inhabitants; the Lower province was under a governor, whilst the Upper was under a lieutenant-governor. This constitution was suspended in consequence of the rebellion in Upper Canada in 1838, and a Special Council appointed. In 1810 the two provinces were reunited—by an Act 3rd & 4th Vic. cap. 35—and the Legislative Councils of the united provinces were consolidated. The new Legislative Council consisted of twenty members, appointed by the governor for life; while the people were represented in a House of Assembly, comprising eighty-four members, returned in equal proportions by the inhabitants of Upper and Lower Canada. A final modification of the constitution, by an Act passed June 14, 1853, comprises the fundamental laws now in force. The charter thus established vests the legislative authority in a parliament of two houses, the Legislative Council and the House of Assembly.
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