Canadian Perspectives on Law and Society: Issues in Legal History



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CONCLUSION
How then, should we do justice to “British justice?” First, by attempting to recover a potentially rich and complex symbolic tradition that linked law to political culture. Despite the class inequalities of British North American society, British justice and British liberty were not simply pillars of elite ideology or state hegemony, but concepts deeply enshrined in popular culture. Second, by recognizing that the law’s class instrumentality co-existed with a degree of popular legitimacy. The interaction of state ideology and institutions on the one hand and popular attitudes and responses on the other is a promising research area. Historians must develop strategies for evaluating both popular resistance to and the popular legitimacy of the legal order. This will not be the way to do legal history or a new organizing principle for social history, but a possible, corrective to the internal focus of legal historiography and the “great man” focus of political and intellectual historiography. Legal historians cannot afford to ignore the legal consciousness of the masses, however crude and imperfect it may be. British justice and its meanings may also prove useful in social history where there will be increasing interest in ambiguity and less in conflict and control. Working-class historians, if they are to retain their claim of being on the cutting edge, must come to grips with these traditions. Recovering them will present methodological obstacles, notably the challenge of gauging the opinions of the common people, but will broaden our understanding of law, society and the state. [61]

ENDNOTES
1 Canadian Labour Defence League, Report of the First Repnesentative Convention (Toronto, July 1933), A.E. Smith Papers, Box 39, R.S. Kenny Collection, Robarts Library, University of Toronto [hereinafter CLDL]. For the CLDL, see J. Petryshyn, “Class Conflict and Civil Liberties: The Origins and Activities of the Canadian Labour Defence League, 1925-1940” 10 Labour/le Travailleur 35-42. In 1933 the CLDL had over 350 branches.

2 Toronto Worker (15 September 1922) (2 November 1929). See also Reverand A.E. Smith, All My Life: An Autobiography (Toronto: Progress Books, 1974); I. Avakumovic, The Communist Party in Canada: A History (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1975); R.Betcherman, The Little Band: The Clashes Between the Communists and the Legal Establishment in Cannda, 1928-1932 (Ottawa: Deneau Publishers, n.d.); R. Whitaker, “Official Repression of Communism During World War II” 17 Labour/le Travail 135-166.

3 CLDL, supra, note 1.

4 A similar point is made in G. Marquis, “Anti-Lawyer Sentiment in Mid-Victorian New Brunswick” (1987) 26 U.N.B. L.J., 163-174. See also D. Hay, “The Meanings of Criminal Law in Quebec” in L. Knafla, ed., Crime and Criminal Justice in Europe and Cannda (Waterloo: Wilfred Laurier University Press, 1981) at 78-81.

5 G. Marquis, “The Contours of Canadian Urban Justice, 1830-1575” 15 Urban History Review/Revue D`Histoire urbaine at 269-273.

6 F. Ouellet, Lower Canada 1790-1840: Nationalism and Social Change (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1980) has a dim view of the political consciousness and sophistication of Lower Canada’s peasants. See also J.B. Wright, “Towards a New Canadian Legal History” 22 Osgoode Hall L. J. 367-368.

7 L. Kramer, “Intellectual History and Reality: The Search for Connections” 13 Historical Reflections at 537. See also J. Tosh, The Pursuit of History : Aims, Methods and New Directions in the Study of Modern History (New York: Longman, 1984) at 85-88.

8 R. Gordon, “Critical Legal Histories” 36, Stanford L. Rev. at 101.

9 R.F. Harney, “Ethnicity and Neighbourhoods” in R.F. Harney, ed., Gathering Place: Peoples and Neighbourhoods of Toronto, 1834-1945 (Toronto: Multicultural History Society of Ontario, 1985) at 12. See also C. Gaffleld, “Social Structure and the Urbanization Process: Perspectives on Nineteenth-Century Research” in G.A. Stelter and A.F.J. Artibise, eds., The Canadian City: Essays in Urban and Social History (Ottawa: Carleton University Press, 1984) at 271.

10 Ontario, Immigration Office, The British Farmer’s and Farm Labourer’s Guide to Ontario (Toronto: C. Blackett Robinson, 1880) at 7.

11 For the moral power of British institutions and law, see: The Sixth Book of Reading Lessons for the Use of Schools in the British American Provinces (Toronto: James Campbell and Sons, 1868); The Fifth Book of Reading Lessons (Toronto: James Campbell and Sons, 1867); A.E. Marty, Ontario High School Reader (Toronto: Canada Publishing, 1919).

12 C. Berger, The Sense of Power: Studies in the Idea of Canadian Imperialism, 1867-1914 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1970) at 49. See also C. Berger, The Writing of Canadian History: Aspects of English-Canadian Historical Writing, 1900-1970 (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1976), c. 2; J. Herbert Denton, “Systems of Law Within the Empire” Empire Club Speeches 1910-11 (Toronto: Warwick Bros. and Rutter, 1910), 30-37; S. Leacock, Our Heritage of Liberty: Its Origin, Its Achievement, Its Crisis (London: John Lane: 1942); A. R. M. Lower, This Most Famous Stream: The Liberal Democratic Way of Life (Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1954), c 14; A. Smith, “American Culture and the Concept of Mission in Nineteenth-Century English Canada” in J.M. Bumstead ed., Canadian History Before Confederation: Essays and Interpretations (Georgetown, Ont.: Irwin-Dorsey, 1979) 480-492.

13 R. Colls and P. Dodd eds., Englishness: Politics and Culture, 1880-1920 (London: Croom Helm, 1986).

14 J.G.A. Pocock, The Ancient Constitution and the Feudal Law; A Study of English Historical Thought in the Seventeenth Century: A Reissue with a Retrospect (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987) (orig. pub. 1957); C. Hill, Intellectual Origins of the English Revolution (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1965). Examples of this rich tradition include H. Care, English Liberties, Or, The Free-Born Subject’s Inheritance (London: G. Larkin, for John How, c. 1680); A Guide to the Knowledge of the Rights of Englishmen (London: Printed for J. Williams, 1771) at the Douglas Library Special Collections, Queen’s University.

15 A. Pallister, Magna Carta: The Heritage of Liberty (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971) at 4.

16 Ibid., 106.

17 B. Bailyn, The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution (Cambridge: Belknap Press, 1967). See also H. T. Colburn, The Lamp of Experience: Whig History and the Origins of the American Revolution (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1965); J.G.A. Pocock, ed., Three British Revolutions: 1641, 1688 and 1776 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1980); J. Appleby, Capitalism and a New Social Order: The Republican Vision of the l790s (New York: New York University Press, 1984), ch. 1.

18 J. Potter, The Liberty We Seek: Loyalist Ideology in Colonial New York and Massachusetts (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1983), ch. 5.

19 W.R. Riddell, Magna Carta: An Address Delivered by William Renwick Riddell (Philadelphia: The Law Academy of Philadelphia, 1917); L. Knafla, “From Oral to Written Memory: The Common Law Tradition in Western Canada”, in L. Knafla, ed., Law and Justice in a New Land: Essays in Western Canadian Legal History (Toronto: Carswell, 1986), 74-75.

20 P. Rich, “The Quest for Englishness” (June 1987) 27 History Today, 24-30.

21 D. Hay, “Property, Authority and the Criminal Law” in D. Hay, P. Linebaugh, J. Rule, et al., eds., Albion’s Fatal Tree: Crime and Society in Eighteenth-Century England (London: Pantheon Books, 1974).

22 E.P. Thompson, “Patrician Society, Plebeian Culture” 7 J. of Social Hist., 389. See also, E.P. Thompson, Eighteenth-Century Society: Class Struggle Without Class?” 3 Soc. Hist. 133-165.

23 E.P. Thompson, Whigs and Hunters: The Origin of the Black Acts (New York: Pantheon Books, 1975), 263-264. See also, T. L. Chapman, “Crime in Eighteenth Century England: E.P. Thompson and the Conflict Theory of Crime” (1980) 1 Crim. Just. Hist. at 139-155.

24 M.J. Horwitz, “Legal Theory and Legal History” (Address to American Society of Legal History, 25 October 1986) [unpublished].

25 S. Wilentz, Chants Democratic: New York City and the Rise of the American Working Class (New York: Oxford University Press, 1984); C.G. Steffen, The Mechanics of Baltimore: Workers and Politics in the Age of Revolution, 1763-1812 (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, l984); J.P. Diggins, “Workers and Comrades: New Mythologies in American Historiography” with comments by P. Conkin and J.P. Diggins (1985) 90 Am. Hist. Rev. at 614-649; L. Kerber, “The Republican Ideology of the Revolutionary Generation” (1985) 37 Am. Quarterly at 494-495; E. Countryman, “The Heirs of the American Revolution” (May 1986) 11 Reviews in Am. Hist. at 239-247.

26 Wilentz ibid., at 15-15.

27 S.J Ross, “The Politicization of the Working Class: Production, Ideology, Culture and Politics in Late Nineteenth-Century Cincinnati” 2 J. of Soc. Hist. at 171-196.

28 Gordon, supra, note 8 at 68.

29 T. Chapman, “The Measurement of Crime in Nineteenth-Century Canada: Some Methodological and Philosophical Problems”, in L. Knafla, supra, note 4 at 147-155; J.M. Craig, “The 1830s” J.M.S. Careless, ed., Colonists and Canadiens (Toronto: MacMillan, 1971) at 173-174: K. Walden, Visions of Order: The Canadian Mounties in Symbol and Myth (Toronto: Butterworths, 1982) at 126-128; J. M. Torrance, Public Violence in Canada (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1986). The traditional smugness of Canadians towards the social ills and dangerously democratic legal system of their southern neighbour was summed up in the 1917 comment of Ontario Supreme Court Justice William Renwick Riddell: “What a country for a white man to live in!” See W.R. Riddell, The Constitution of Canada in its History and Practical Working (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1917) at 147. The relative orderliness of early twentieth-century Canada was a source of amazement to American police experts, including Ernest Jerome Hopkins. See “How Canada Curbs Crime” (October 1934) The Rotarian at 9-11, 50-52.

30 Clark, Movements of Social Protest in Canada, 1640-1840 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press) at 10.

31 K. McNaught, “Violence in Canadian History” in M. Horn and R. Sabourin, eds., Studies in Canadian Social History (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1974) at 377-378.

32 See, e.g., A. Prentice, The School Promoters: Education and Social Class in Mid-Nineteenth Century Upper Canada (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1974) at 377-378.

33 Canadian women’s studies journals include Signs and Atlantis.

34 K. McNaught, “E.P. Thompson vs. Harold Legan: Writing About Labour and the Left in the 1970s” 62 Canadian Hist. Rev. at 141-168; D.J. Bercuson, “Through the Looking Glass of Culture: An Essay on the New Labour History and Working-Class Culture in Recent Canadian Historical Writing” 7 Labour/le Travailleur at 95-112.

35 B. D. Palmer, A Culture in Conflict: Skilled Workers and Industrial Capitalism in Hamilton, Ontario, 1860-1914 (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1979); G.S. Kealey, Toronto Workers Respond to Industrial Capitalism, 1867-1892 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1980). There are several Marxian theories of the role of ideology, but there is basic agreement that ideology, including law, is part of the social superstructure that wins support for class rule. Thus ideology is “any set of values which has the social function of consolidating a particular economic order, and which is explained by that fact alone, and not by its inherent truth or reasonableness.” See R. Scruton, Dictionary of Political Thought (London: Pan Books, 1983) at 213.

36 B.D. Palmer, Working-Class Experience: The Rise and Reconstitution of Canadian Labour, 1800-1980 (Toronto: Butterworth, 1983).

37 B. Bailyn, “The Challenge of Modern Historiography” 87 Am. Hist. Rev. at 1-24. For a different opinion see E.H. Monkkonen, “The Dangers of Synthesis” 91 Am. Hist. Rev.at 1146-1157. Canadian urban history, however, did not fall victim to the quantification craze that occurred south of the border.

38 C. Gaffield, “Back to School: Towards a New Agenda for the History of Education” 15 Acadiensis at 169. See also T. Judt, “A Clown in Regal Purple: Social History and the Historians” (1979) 7 History Workshop at 55-94: M. Ignatieff, “State. Civil Society and Total Institutions: A Critique of Some Recent Social Histories of Punishment” in D. Sugarman, ed., Legality, Ideology and the State (Toronto: Academic Press, 1983) at 183-211. It is less politic to criticize working-class historians, as criticism of methodology is often taken to be ideological criticism. For example, one sympathetic reviewer of this literature called the response of established historians “a fiercely political response masquerading as scholarly discussion.” See R. Price, “Class Formation in Canada: Some Recent Studies” 13 Arcadiensis at 175.

39 M. Cross and G.S. Kealey, eds., Economy and Society During the French Regime: Readings in Canadian Social History I (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1982); Pre-Industrial Canada, 1760-1849: Readings in Canadian Social History II (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1982); Canada’s Age of Industry: Readings in Canadian Social History III (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1982); Consolidation of Capitalism: Readings in Canadian Social History IV (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1983); Modern Canada, 1930s-1980s: Readings in Canadian Social History V (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1984)

40 Monkkonen, supra, note 37 at 1151; J.H. Baker, The Refinement of English Criminal Jurisprudence, 1500-1848” in Knafla, supra, note 4 at 17; Chapman, supra, note 29 at 148; G. Parker, “Canadian Legal Culture” in Knafla, supra, note 19 at 28.

41 B. Young, “Law `in the round’” 16 Acadiensis, 155.

42 M. Cross, “‘The Laws Are Like Cobwebs’: Popular Resistance to Authority in Mid-Nineteenth Century British North America” in P.B. Waite, S. Oxner and T. Barnes, eds., Law in a Colonial Society: The Nova Scotia Experience (Toronto: Carswell, 1984) at 105. See also M. Cross, “The Shiners’ War: Social Violence in the Ottawa Valley in the 1830s” 54 Can. Hist. Rev. at 1-26; S Kenny, “Cahoots and Catcalls: An Episode of Popular Resistance in Lower Canada at the Outset of Union” 65 Can. Hist. Rev. at 184-208. Cross adopts a similar thesis in “1837: The Necessary Failure” in Pre-Industrial Canada, supra, note 39 at 141-158.

43 John Weaver, “Crime, Public Order and Repression: The Gore District in Upheaval, 1832-1851” (September 1986) 77 Ont. Hist. at 175-207.

44 P. Craven, “Law and Ideology: The Toronto Police Court, 1850-1880” in D. Flaherty, ed., Essays in the History of Canadian Law II (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1982) at 249-307. For other police courts, see G. Homel, “Denison’s Law: Criminal Justice and the Police Court in Toronto, 1877-1921” (September 1981) 73 Ont. Hist. at 171-184; N.B. Watson and T. Thorner, “Keepers of the King’s Peace: Colonel G.F Sanders and the Calgary Police Magistrate’s Court” 12 Urban Hist. Rev. at 45-55.

45 M. Katz, M.J. Doucet and M.J. Stern, The Social Organization of Early Industrial Capitalism (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1982) at 201-241; J. Fingard, “Jailbirds in Victorian Halifax” in Waite, Oxner and Barnes, supra, note 42 at 81-102; G. Marquis, supra, note 5; G. Marquis, “A Machine of Oppression Under the Guise of the Law: The Saint John Police Establishment, 1860-1890” 16 Acadiensis at 73-76; G. Marquis, “Cheap Justice: The Charlottetown Police Court 1855-1900” (1985) [unpublished]; G. Marquis, “Anti-Lawyer Sentiment” [unpublished]. For examples of judicial leniency to the poor, see L. Knafla and T.L. Chapman, “Criminal Justice in Canada: A Comparative Study of the Maritimes and Lower Canada, 1760-1812” (1983) 21 Osgoode Hall L. J. at 255-257.

46 The literature on the Mounties is voluminous, but most of it is antiquarian or hagiographic. Recent scholarly works include: S.W. Horall, “The Royal North-West Mounted Police and Labour Unrest in Western Canada, 1919” (1980) 61 Can. Hist. Rev. at 169-190; R.C. MacLeod, The North-West Mounted Police and Law Enforcement 1873-1905 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1979); Walden, supra. note 29. For a somewhat critical official history of the Ontario Provincial Police, see D.D. Higley, O.P.P.: The History of the Ontario Provincial Police Force (Toronto: Queen’s Printer, 1984).

47 N. Rogers, “Serving Toronto the Good: The Development of the City Police Force, 1834-l884” in V. Russell, ed., Forging a Consensus: Historical Essays on Toronto (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1984) at 135-136. For policing in Montreal, see E.K. Senior, British Regulars in Montreal: An Imperial Garrison, 1832-1854 (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1981); J. Turmel, Police de Montréal historique du service: premiéres structures et evolution de la police de Montréal 1796-1971 (Montreal: n.p. 1971-1974).

48 G. Marquis, “A Machine of Oppression” supra, note 45 at 58-77; G. Marquis, “Enforcing the Law: The Charlottetown Police Force” in D. Baldwin and T. Spira, eds., Gaslights, Epidemics and Vagabond Cows: Charlottetown in the Victorian Era (Charlottetown, Ragweed Press, 1988); G. Marquis, “The Early Twentieth-Century Toronto Police Institution” (Ph.D. thesis, Queen’s University, 1987) [unpublished].

49 W.A. Rosenbaum, Political Culture (New York: Praeger, 1975) at 119.

50 R. Williams, Marxism and Literature (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1978) at 55. Williams describes three concepts of “ideology” common in Marxist writing: a system of beliefs characteristic of a particular class or group; a system of illusory beliefs – false ideas of false consciousness – which can be contrasted with true or scientific knowledge; the general process of the production of meanings and ideas.

51 S. Skebo, “Liberty and Authority: Civil Liberties in Toronto, 1929-1935” (M.A. Thesis, University of British Columbia, 1968) at ii. For political culture, see D. Bell and L. Tepperman, The Roots of Disunity: A Look at Canadian Political Culture (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1979) at 3.

52 “The Political Destiny of Canada” in H.D. Forbes, ed., Canadian Political Thought (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1985) at 122.

53 L. Hartz, The Founding of New Societies: Studies in the History of the United States, Latin America, South Africa, Canada and Australia (New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1964); G. Horowitz, “Conservatism, Liberalism, and Socialism in Canada: An Interpretation” (1966) 32 Can. J. of Economics and Pol. Science at 143-171; S.M. Lipset, Revolution and Counterrevolution (New York: Basic Books, 1970); L. Stone, “The Results of the English Revolutions of the Seventeenth Century” in Pocock, supra, note 17 at 61-62; Potter, supra, note 18 at 116-118, 180.

54 Kenneth C. Dewar, “Charles Clarke’s `Reformator’: Early Victorian Radicalism in Upper Canada” (September 1986) 77 Ont. Hist. at 233-252.

55 P. Romney, Mr Attorney: The Attorney General for Ontario in Court, Cabinet and Legislature, 1791-1899 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1986); P. Romney, “From the Types Riot to the Rebellion: Elite Ideology, Anti-Legal Sentiment, Political Violence and the Rule of Law in Upper Canada” (June 1987) 79 Ont. Hist. at 134-140.

56 R. Gourlay, Statistical Account of Upper Canada I (1822) (New York: Johnson Reprint, 1966), 211. See also, J.M.S. Careless, “Robert Baldwin” in J.M.S. Careless, ed., The Preconfederation Premiers: Ontario Government Leaders, 1841-1827 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1980) at 89-147.

57 Speeches of Louis J. Papineau, Esq., on the Hustings (Montreal: David Duvernay, 1827); M. Wade, The French Canadians 1760-1967, I: 1760-1911 (Toronto: MacMillan, 1983) at 127-128; M. Fairley, ed., The Selected Writings of William Lyon Mackenzie, 1824-1837 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1960); Sir C.P. Lucas, ed., Lord Durham’s Report of the Affairs of British North America (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1982), vol. 2; G.M. Craig, Upper Canada: The Formative Years, 1784-1841 (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1963), ch. 11. Papineau later described the English constitution as an illusion.

58 J.A. Chisolm, ed., The Speeches and Public Letters of Joseph Howe (Halifax: Chronicle Publishing, 1909), vol. 1 at 263.

59 G. Spragge, ed., The John Strachan Letter Book, 1812-1834 (Toronto: Ontario Historical Society, 1946) at 222-223; “Address of the British American League to the Inhabitants of Canada” [Kingston] Daily British Whig (3 August 1849); J. Igartua, “A Change of Climate: The Conquest and the Marchands of Montréal” in Can. Hist. Ass’n, Historical Papers, 1974 (Ottawa: Tanamac International/Mutual Press, 1975) at 74-101; W.W.T. Wylie, “Instruments of Commerce and Authority: The Civil Courts of Upper Canada, 1792-1819” in Flaherty, supra, note 44 at 5; G. Wynn, Timber Colony: A Historical Geography of Nineteenth-Century New Brunswick (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1981) at 48; Romney, “Types Riot” supra, note 55.

60 D.V.J. Bell, “The Loyalist Tradition in Canada” 5 J. of Can. Studies at 22-33; M. Barkley, “The Loyalist Tradition in New Brunswick: The Growth and Evolution of an Historical Myth” 4 Acadiensis at 3-45. For the role of invented traditions in modern nationalism, see E. Hobsbawm, “Introduction: The Invention of Traditions” in E. Hobsbawm and T. Ranger, eds., The Invention of Tradition (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1983) at 1-14.

61 P.B. Waite, The Life and Times of Confederation, 1864-1867: Politics, Newspapers and the Union of British North America (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1962); I.A. Chisolm, supra, note 58, vol. 2 at 432-433, 438-441, 468-492.

62 [Charlottetown] Ross’ Weekly (28 April 1864). See also [Queenston] Colonial Advocate (14 February 1829); C. Read, The Rising in Western Upper Canada 1837-38: The Duncombe Revolt and After (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1982) at 86.

63 [Charlottetown] Ross’s Weekly (12 May 1864). See also, G. Brown, “The Grit Patty and the Great Reform Convention of 1859” 16 Can. Hist. Rev. at 245-265.

64 Gourlay, supra, note 56 at 607; [Toronto] Correspondent and Advocate (30 April 1835). The ritualistic aspect of eighteenth-century petitions is noted in D.G. Bell, Early Loyalist Saint John: The Origin of New Brunswick Politics, 1783-1786 (Fredericton: New Ireland Press, 1983) at 114-115. Even controversial docurnents such as the Ninety-Two Resolutions, the 1834 manifesto of Lower Canada’s Patriote party, included the usual professions of loyalty to the Crown. See Wade, supra, note 57, at 143. The French-Canadian experience also suggests that in many instances, particularly in rural areas, persons “signing” petitions of protest were not always literate.

65 [Fredericton] New Brunswick Courier (12 January 1833); [Saint John] Morning Freeman (24 January 1865). For the Norman Yoke as a theory of lost rights, see C. Hill, Puritanism and Revolution: Studies in the Interpretation of the English Revolution of the 17th Century (London: Secker and Warburg, 1958), ch. 3.

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