“The Ministry—Its Task” The Globe (1 July 1864)
By: The Globe
Citation: “The Ministry—Its Task”, The Globe [Toronto] (1 July 1864).
The Ministry — Its Task
The Country will not be surprised to hear that immediately upon the adjournment of the Houses, the understanding entered into between Mr. Brown and the leaders of the Conservative Party respecting a change in the personnel of the Cabinet has been carried out. Mr. Brown has accepted the office of President of the Council, Mr. William Mc-Dougall that of Provincial Secretary, and Mr. Oliver Mowat that of Postmaster General; succeeding respectively to Messrs. Isaac Buchanan, Simpson and Foley. The new Ministers were sworn in yesterday, and proceed with as little delay as possible to their several constituencies to seek re-election.
In the present state of affairs the division of the Cabinet offices is a matter of comparatively little movement. If the new Ministry had nothing more to do than many which have preceded it – to administer the business of the Province to expend and to collect the revenue, to make appointments, and to give out contracts – then the fitness or unfitness of each man for the [sic] he occupies, would justly be a matter for [sic] consideration. Would Mr. Brown make an efficient President of the Council, would Mr. McDougall occupy fittingly the post of Provincial Secretary, would Mr. Mowat discharge with capability the duties of Postmaster General – these are the questions which would rise to the lips of all But it is needless to say that if there remained nothing more to be considered, neither Mr. Brown, nor Mr. McDougall, nor Mr. Mowat, would be found sitting by the side of Messrs. J. A. Macdonald, Cartier and Galt. Important as the proper administration of the internal affairs of the country undoubtedly is, and fully as that importance has been recognized in the construction of the Cabinet, not for this have the leaders of the Reform and of the Conservative parties united. It is no question of trade, of tariff, of militia, which has brought them together, but the prominent, all-absorbing necessity which has arisen for the remodelling of our political framework, whereby the difficulties which have forbidden the proper administration of public affairs in past times may be removed, and wise provision made for the future good government, prosperity, and happiness of the country.
The satisfaction with which the news of the coalition in the first place was received ere the names of the Reformers who would enter the Cabinet were known, was sufficient proof [sic] that men, were lad to see an opportunity afforded to put an end to the strife which has so long been waged. True it is, there are those who hold that things might have been allowed to go on in the old way. Very unwisely, they would wait until the bursting of the much tried dam. But even they, as well as a far larger number, who acknowledged the necessity for a change, must admit that Constitutional Reform having to be effected, the Province affords no men, on either side of the House, better qualified to the task than those who have taken it in hand. Actuated, as we have the fullest reason to believe they all are, with a sincere and earnest desire to find means whereby the principles of government handed down to us by or fore-fathers may be more fully carried out than under the anomalous Union Act, they have good change of success, and will receive the God-speed of every true patriot throughout the length and breadth of the Province.
Hitherto, Canada, instead of being a united, has been a divided country. In the very means which were taken to bind the East and West together, the seeds of our present difficulties were laid. The sectional strife which has arisen was a natural outgrowth, irresistible, irrepressible. The two nationalities of the Province were brought into direct antagonism one with the other. The most distinct and opposite characteristic of the descendants of Britain and of France were compelled to strive for the mastery. Had the scheme of government under which we have lived been devised for the especial purpose of producing trouble and confusion, it could not have been more skillfully done. To getting rid of the chains with which he was bound, Upper Canada has had to subordinate almost all other considerations. Not upon questions of internal economy has she had time to expend her strength. All has been concentrated in the one great effort to constitutional reform. On the other hand, Lower Canadians, deeming their political existence at stake, have pressed in everything to maintain the status quo. With little other thought than to this end have they legislated, intrigued, and ruled. Nothing have they left undone which could, in their view, give strength to their position.
There can be no doubt that this state of matters was exceedingly detrimental to the interests of the country. Perhaps only one thing could have been worse – the continuation of the injustice against which Upper Canada strove. But let us hope that the time has now come when the causes which created the strife will be removed, and when Canadians of whatever origin, will all be able to unite in seeking the common good. The people at large would hail such a consummation with the deepest satisfaction; but none among them with the greater joy than the leaders of those party armies by whom the brunt of the conflict has been borne.