The terms Governor Vaudreuil accepted were much harsher than those imposed the previous year when Québec capitulated. They implied the surrender of the colony of New France. The first 3 articles denied the French army the usual honours of war. The colonists were given the choice of removing to France should the colony remain in British hands after the signing of a definitive treaty of peace. Private property rights and the civil law according to the Coutume de Paris were guaranteed, as was the freedom to practice Catholicism. Article 40 guaranteed the rights of France's native allies to their property and missionaries. Historians have been everlastingly grateful that Vaudreuil also asked that the archives of the French administration be protected.
In addition to transferring control of Canada to a British military regime, the terms of the Capitulation of Montréal had additional importance in international law. Lord Mansfield ruled in 1774 that the articles of capitulation had the force of an international treaty unless specifically rescinded.
Author CORNELIUS J. JAENEN