Despatch from Lieutenant Governor Arthur Gordon to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, No. 62 (16 July 1866)
By: Arthur Gordon
Citation: Despatch from Lieutenant Governor Arthur Gordon to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, No. 62 (16 July 1866) in UK, Parliament, Correspondence respecting the Proposed Union of the British North American Provinces (London: George Edward Eyre and William Spottiswoode, 1867).
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Copy of a DESPATCH from Lieut.-Governor the Hon. ARTHUR GORDON to the Right Hon. the SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES.
FREDERICTION, N.B., July 16, 1866.
(Received, July 28, 1866.)
(Answered, No. 12, August 2, 1866, page 123.)
THE Session of the Provincial Legislature was closed by me on the 9th instant after lasting for 18 days. During that time 39 acts were passed, but few of which besides the act for suspending the operation of the Habeas Corpus Act which was sent to you in my Despatch, No. 57, of 28th June, are of any but local interest.
2. In the Legislative Council, where, as also in the House of Assembly, the Government had a large majority of supporters, few questions of any interest were debated.
3. In the House of Assembly, the resolution (enclosed in my Despatch No. 55, * of 23rd ultimo) authorizing the appointment of Delegates to arrange with the Imperial Government the terms of the union of the British North American Colonies was introduced by the Attorney General on the 26th ultimo. Mr. Smith, the leader of the late Government, moved to add to this resolution the following words:–“That said no Act or measure for such union shall have force or effect in New Brunswick, until it shall be approved by the legislature or people of this Province.” For this amended only eight votes were recorded.
4. On the 3rd July Mr. Smith moved the resolution of which a copy is herein enclosed. To this the Attorney General moved an amendment, of which also a copy is enclosed. This amendment was carried on the following day, eight votes as before, being recorded in favour of Mr. Smith’s motion.
5. The whole question seems to have lost much of its interest, and it cannot be said that there is slightest agitation or excitement on the subject, indeed its final settlement seems to be regarded with the utmost indifference and empathy, and the debates in the Assembly were, I am told, entirely wanting an animation for interest.
I have, &c.
(Signed) ARTHUR GORDON.
The Right Hon. the Secretary of State for the Colonies.
&c. &c. &c.
Enclosure 1 in No. 32.
RESOLUTION moved by Mr. A. J. SMITH in the House of Assembly, July 3, 1866.
Whereas the Houser, on the 30th day of June last, passed the following resolution, viz, :–
“Resolution that an humble address be presented to his Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor, praying that his Excellency will be pleased to appoint Delegates to unite with Delegates from the other Provinces in arranging with the Imperial Government for the Union of British North America upon such terms as will secure the just rights and interests of New Brunswick, accompanied with provision for the immediate construction of the Intercolonial Railway, each Province to have an equal voice in such Delegation. Upper and Lower to be considered as separate Provinces.”
And whereas the authority given to the Delegates by said resolution authorizes them to accept the Quebec Scheme (so called) or even one more prejudicial to the interests of the people of this Province: and whereas, in view of the transcendent importance of the subject, it is desirable that the opinion of this House in reference to such scheme should be expressed for the information and guidance of such Delegates in the preparation of any measure for the union of British North America; therefore—which does not contain the following provisions:—
1st. An equal number of legislative councillors for each Province.
2nd. Such legislative councillors to be required to reside in the Province which they represent, and for which they are appointed.
3rd. The number of representatives in the Federal Parliament to be limited.
4th. The establishment of a court for the determination of questions and disputes that may arise between the Federal and Local Governments as to the meaning of the Act of Union.
5th. Exemption of this Province from taxation for the construction and enlargement of canals in Upper Canada, and for the payment of any money for the mines and mineral and lands of Newfoundland.
6th. Eighty cents per head to be on the population as it increases, and not to be confined to the census of 1861.
7th. Securing to each of the Maritime Provinces the right to have at least one executive councillor in the Federal Government.
8th. The commencing of the Intercolonial Railway before the right shall exist to increase taxation upon the people of this Province.
AMENDMENT TO MR. SMITH’S RESOLUTION of July 3, moved by Hon. The Attorney-General, July 3rd.
To expunge the whole of the above resolution and preambles, and substitute as follows :–
Resolved that the people of this Province having, after due deliberation, determined that a union of British North America was desirable, and the House having agreed to request his Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor to appoint Delegates for the purpose of settling the plan of union upon such terms as will secure the just rights of New Brunswick, and having confidence that the action of his Excellency, under the advice of his constitutional advisors, will be directed to the attainment of that end, sound policy and a due regard to the interest of the Province, require that the responsibility of such action should be left unfettered by any expression of opinion other than what has already been given by the people and their representatives.