New Brunswick, House of Assembly, Debates of the House of Assembly [Resignation of the Government] (13 April 1866)
By: New Brunswick (House of Assembly)
Citation: New Brunswick, House of Assembly, Reports of the Debates of The House of Assembly  at 108-118*.
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FRIDAY, APRIL 13.
RESIGNATION OF THE GOVERNMENT.
Hon. Mr. Smith said he was expected on this occasion to make some explanation of the position he and his colleagues occupied before the House and country. They prepared their resignation on Monday last, and sent it up on Tuesday a little before noon. Last night (Thursday) about six o’clock he had received his Excellency’s reply, accepting the same. He was not aware whether another Government had been framed, but if not, the House and country occupied a novel and unparallelled position. If one had been formed, it was somewhat extraordinary that no announcement of the fact had been made to the public.
They were now brought down to the position that the great question of Responsible Government had to be fought over again. The great question to be decided by the House and country was whether they should submit to the whim and will of a nominee of Downing street, or be governed by a Government responsible to the people for all their acts. He was now going to speak of the Governor, and whilst he wished to speak respectfully of the high position His Excellency occupied as the representative of Royalty in this Province, he should yet speak of him as a man, for they must remember that however lofty the position he occupied, he was still but a man. High birth and lofty position, a cocked hat and gold lace, did not make the man, and many a lowly garb and humble position covered up greater worth than is sometimes possessed by men in high and commanding positions.
He should, therefore, stand there to defend his actions and position against the charges which had been brought against him from whatever source they might come. It had been charged and whispered about, that great revelations were to be made in His Excellency’s reply to the resignation of the Government, and one of these statements was, that he (Mr. S.) was bound hand and foot by certain papers which he had signed, conclusively proving him to be traitor to his country, and by his actions to have compromised the best interests of the people.
Mr. Fisher asked if the papers relating to the resignation were not to be read.
Mr. Smith intended to read the correspondence that had passed between the Government and the Governor, and he should also read, as part of his speech, a paper he had prepared, which he believed would fully justify him in the eyes of the House and of the people. It had come down to a point of veracity between him and the Governor, and when he was through the House would be able to decide who was to be believed.
Mr. Wilmot said it seemed as though the hon. member was making an attack on the Governor, and he would like to know whether the correspondence was to be submitted, and if so, he thought it would be wise (if the correspondence was not concluded) to wait until it was closed before going on with the matter. The Lieutenant Governor was not represented on the floors of the House, and had no means of replying to any attack made on him. Under these circumstances it would be best to wait until the paper in which the Attorney General had answered the charges of the Governor was sent to him and an answer obtained.
Mr. Smith said the resignation of the Government had been accepted, and he was not bound to reply to his Excellency’s long paper. He might, and probably should, send it to him, but he was bound to lay the reasons of his actions before the House and justify himself before the people of this Province. It had been rumored about that strange and startling developments were to be made in his Excellency’s reply, and among them the fearful charge that he (Mr. S.) had signed a paper which in his present position would destroy his character and blacken his reputation for ever. But let them bring that paper forward and prove the assertion made; he felt that he stood there before the members of that House and the people of this country, true to his integrity.
True, he had been placed in positions of extraordinary temptation and difficulty—offers of a very alluring character had been made to him during the past summer, but he thanked God he had been able to withstand them. He would speak of some of the sacrifices he had made to the principles he professed, not in a spirit of egotism, but to clear up the charges made against him, for he had made sacrifices, and with the help of God he was prepared to make still more. A time of trial was coming, when men would have to prove their principles—conspirators within and enemies without—and the rights of the people must be maintained against all who attempt to override them. Responsible Government they had had, but now it lay bleeding before the people of this Province. He did not wish to speak hastily of the Lieut. Governor, but while he would keep in mind the high position he held, he should yet treat him as a man.
Mr. Fisher again said he should like to see the whole papers laid before the House.
Mr. Smith said if he would wait with patience, he and the House should know, and the people should know, all about it. It had been rumored that when the Governor’s communication was made known, something extraordinary was going to occur. He (Mr. S.) was to be politically destroyed for life. If the country, and the interests of the people demanded it, he was willing to suffer political martyrdom, but if he was to be sacrificed to the Scheme of Confederation, he would resist to the last. This was the plan they had laid to destroy him. Was there ever such an occurrence before, that whilst a Want of Confidence debate was going on, plans should be devised and carried out to effect the overthrow of a Government?
For four weeks he had sat in that House while the debate was pending, and knowing what was transpiring, he had no hesitation in saying that life had been a burden to him. All knew that he would have willingly done anything to be relieved of the burden which was resting upon him, but duty and the circumstances compelled him to stand to his principles, while his character had been maligned and his reputation attacked in a manner he had not deserved. When the hon. member for the city of St. John (Mr. Wetmore) made his onslaught upon him, he felt hurt beyond measure. For that gentleman he had feelings of personal friendship for more than fifteen years. Every step in advancement made by him in his profession had given him unmeasured
The House knew, for it had been told them by the hon. member for St. John (Mr. Wilmot), that when the offer of the Attorney Generalship was proffered him he did not wish to take i, but strongly urged that it should be given to Mr. Wetmore. Behind his back he had even spoken favourably of him. He appealed to his friends to testify that he would not take the office till they had urged it upon him again and again with the statement that the well-being of the party rendered it indispensably necessary for him to accept. For this he had been attached, and duty called on him to reply. He did not wish to speak so much of himself, but he knew the House would pardon him if he spoke for a moment of some of the sacrifices he had made in this struggle.
On the death of Chief Justice Parker, that post became vacant—a post that any man might be pardoned for applying to, and one worthy to be fitted by and anabler and better man than himself. He would now return his thanks to his hon. collegues for the offer they had then unanimously made him. They said, “you have fairly won the spurs and should wear them.” This was a great temptation, and it was made stronger by the urging of all his friends to accept the office. They said, “We have worked for you for years, and have elected you six or seven times, now here is the office for you, where you can retire from all the turmoil and strife of political life. What more do you want?” But he told them he had received a trust from the people, and duty called upon him to fulfil that trust faithfully, and so he refused.
He would appeal to his friends on the floors of the House and to his friends throughout the country, to substantiate this fact. He invoked the expression of the knowledge of his honour the Speaker, whether, after the death of Chief Justice Parker, he had not met him at his home, and told him how great the temptation, was, but that duty would not allow him to accept; that he might die in a workhouse, but would never sacrifice the interest of the people to save him from it. It was charged that he had proved false to his friends and false to his country, but those who brought the charge had proved themselves unable to substantiate their position False to his friends and the people? Had he sold his integrity for gold?
No, he had his shortcomings, but thank God, he stood firm to the principles he had professed and the trust of the people. It was said that he had never brought forward any measures of importance, but for fourteen years he had sat in the House, and only on one day during that lengthened period had been absent from his seat. He had taken a fair share in all the discussions of the House, and had never deviated from the path that conscience told him he should pursue. He might not have introduced great measures, but for the discharge of his public duties he stood with clear conscience before himself and his God. If confederation was to come by the means now being adopted, all he could say was, then let it come. But he had an abiding sense that the people would speak differently. His constituents might reject him, but he should nevertheless return to them. A dissolution was now demanded, and the people were entitled to it.
He would now proceed to read the correspondence that had passed between the Government and His Excellency.
RESIGNATION OF THE GOVERNMENT.
“To His Excellency the Honorable Arthur Hamilton Gordon, C. M. G., Lieutenant Governor and Commander in Chief of the Province of New Brunswick, &c. &c, &c.
The Executive Council in Committee beg to acknowledge the receipt of Your Excellency’s memorandum of the 7th instant, and the Reply therein referred to, which are as follows:—
“His Excellency the Lieutenant. Governor transmits to his Council a Copy of the Reply which he has this afternoon returned to an Address of the Legislative Council, requesting His Excellency to transmit to Her majesty an Address, praying that Her Majesty will be pleased to cause a measure for the Union of the British North American Provinces to be introduced into the Imperial Parliament.
FREDERICTON, APRIL 7TH 1866
“Mr. President and Honorable Gentlemen of the Legislative Council:
“I will immediately transmit your Address to the Secretary of the State for the Colonies. In order that it may be laid at the Foot of the Throne.”
“Her majesty the Queen has already been pleased to express a deep interest in the Union of Her North American Dominions, and will, no doubt, graciously appreciate this decided expression of your opinion.
“I rejoice to believe that the avowal of your desire that all British North American should unite in one Community under one strong and efficient Government, cannot but tend to hasten the accomplishment of this great measure.”
The Council would subjoin a copy of the Address referred to in the above.
“TO THE QUEEN’S MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY.
Most Gracious Sovereign:
“We, Your Majesty’s faithful and loyal Subjects. the Legislative Council of New Brunswick. in Provincial Parliament assembled. humbly approach Your Majesty with the conviction that a Union of all Your Majesty’s British North American Colonies. based on the Resolutions adopted at the Conference of Delegates from these several Colonies held at Quebec on the tenth day of October, 1864 is an object highly to be desired, essential to their future prosperity and influence, and calculated alike to strengthen and perpetuate the ties which bind them to Your Gracious majesty’s Throne and Government, and humbly pray that Your Majesty may be graciously pleased to cause a measure to be submitted to the Imperial Parliament for the purpose of thus uniting the colonies of Canada. Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island, in one Government.”
The Council, in reply, would respectfully remark. that in their opinion it was incumbent upon your Excellency to consult your Constitutional Advisers in regard to the answer so given, and in assuming to yourself the right to reply to such Address without consulting them, your Excellency has not acted in accordance with the true spirit of the Constitution.
In this connection the Council would beg to refer to the statement appended hereto, giving an account of two interviews between your Excellency and the Attorney General.
The Reply so given by your Excellency to the Legislative Council is a distinct and emphatic approval of their proceedings, the responsibility of which your advisers are unwilling to assume for the following reasons:
1st. That in any measure involving an organic change in the Constitution and political rights and privileges of the people, they should be consulted, and unless approved of by them no such measure should be adopted or forced upon them.
2d. That in march last a dissolution took place professedly with a view to ascertain the sense of the people upon the Quebec Scheme, and they pronounced unmistakably against its adoption by large majorities.
3d. That the Representatives of the people at the last Session of the Legislature passed resolutions condemnatory of such Scheme, by a majority of twenty-nine to ten.
4th That the Legislative Council are not elected by the people, and are not constitutionally responsible to them for their Legislative conduct and have no right authority to pray Her Majesty to give effect, by Imperial Legislation, to any measure which the people have rejected.
5th. That such proceeding violates every principle of responsibility and self- government, and is subversive of the rights and liberties of the people, and seeks to take from them their Constitution, not only without their consent but against their clearly expressed wishes.
6th. That such a course is calculated to bring the Legislative Council and House of Assembly into collusion, and disturb that harmony that should subsist between them, and manifests an entire disregard of the power and majesty of the people.
That the Legislative Council have a legitimate right to express their opinion upon any public question, the council do not deny; but to invoke the aid of the British government to coerce the people into Confederation, is a proceeding in the opinion of this council without parallel and wholly unwarrantable.
The Council would further remark, that they have good cause to believe your Excellency has, ever since the opening of the legislature, consulted and advised with gentlemen of the Opposition, and made known to them matters which they think should be regarded as confidential. This we feel your Excellency has continued to do, notwithstanding the repeated objections of one or more Members of the Council who told your Excellency that it was not right, and that it gave the Opposition a decided advantage in the debate then pending; and your Excellency having taken the advice, as they truly believe, of a gentleman of the Opposition, as to the answer given to the Legislative Council on Saturday last, instead of that of your Constitutional Advisers, they would respectfully express their conviction that such a course was unconstitutional, and without precedent
in any country where Responsible Government exists.
The Council would further state that the Government were supported by a majority of the members of the House of Assembly, of [text missing] fact your Excellency was fully aware.
Under these circumstances, the undersigned would beg respectfully to tender to your Excellency the resignation of their offices as Executive Councillors.
GEORGE L. HATHEWAY,
JOHN W. CUDLIP,
“Memorandum of Conversation between His Excellency and Mr. Smith.
On Saturday the 7th instant, about 11 o’clock A. M., I called at Government House and had an interview with His Excellency, and in the course of conversation, the proceedings of the Legislative Council were referred to, when I spoke in terms of disapproval of the course which they had adopted in reference to the subject of Union. Something was said about the presentation of the Address, and His Excellency’s Reply thereto, when he asked me what answer I would advise, I replied that in my opinion the answer to be given should simply be that he would transmit it to Her Majesty. His Excellency said that he would think of it and see me again. He did not state that he intended to receive them that day, and I had not the most distant idea that he intended to do so. I then parted with him.
A few minutes before three o’clock of the afternoon of the same day, in my place in the House of Assembly, I received a note from him saying that he wished to see me at once. I immediately repaired to Government House, and after a short conversation with him upon other matters, he informed me that he was going to receive the Legislative Council with their Address at three o’clock. I expressed my surprise at this, and inquired what answer he intended to make. He then handed me a paper which contained his proposed answer, accompanied with a Memorandum for the Executive Council. I expressed my disapproval of it, and complained that he had not advised with his Council before preparing it; that as they were responsible for it, they should at least be consulted before it was given. He remarked that, if they did not approve of it, they could relieve themselves of responsibility. I replied, even if that were true, was it courteous and fair that the Council should be treated in that way; that what they asked from His Excellency was fair play, not as a favor, but as a matter of right?
He then proposed that I should drive down to the House of Assembly and see me colleagues, and return in half an hour, and he would keep the Legislative Council (who in the meantime had arrived at Government House) waiting until I returned. I said I could not do this, that the Debate on the Vote of Want of Confidence was going on, and that they could not leave the House, and besides, they could not possibly consider so important a question in a few minutes. His Excellency then proposed to send one of the carriages that were standing at the door for them. I then stated they could not leave the House. He replied, ” I suppose not.” I further stated that it was unfair and ungenerous, and not such treatment as the Council had a right to expect, to be called upon in this sudden and extraordinary way in a matter so important.
I expressed my condemnation of the course adopted by the Legislative Council, and urged the impropriety of their praying Her Majesty the Queen to cause a Law of the Imperial Parliament to be passed, giving effect to a scheme of Union which both the People and the House of Assembly had rejected by overwhelming majorities, and that I never would consent to any Address which authorized the Imperial Parliament to pass an Act for Union without reference to the people. I thought His Excellency seemed disposed to yield the point and strike out the last paragraph of the answer, which I consider very objectionable.
He then asked me to excuse him, and left the room to consult, as I thought at the time, and from information received since, I am confirmed in that opinion, a gentleman of the Opposition and a member of the Legislative Council, who was in the House at the time. He returned in a few minutes, and after some conversation similar to that already detailed, told me that he would deliver the answer as it was, and send me a copy in the evening. I remonstrated against such conduct, but concluded by saying that if he had resolved upon that course, it was in vain to protract the interviews. I then left him.
(Signed) A. J. Smith.”
He wanted this matter tried before the House and the country fairly and impartially, as between a Judge and a criminal, for it had been whispered about that he stood before the country as little better than a criminal. He maintained that it was not himself alone who was aggrieved. The Governor might treat him with contempt and contumely, but while he held a position from the people, he would stand a claim for them their constitutional rights. The grounds of the resignation were now before the House and the people, and it was for them to decide if they had done right.
It was not necessary to touch on the point of the unconstitutionality of the Governor’s consulting with, and taking the advice of, members of the Opposition. Was there ever a time when the Opposition were more vigilant, cunning, and politically unscrupulous as they had been on this question? If it was true that the Governor had done this, and he believed it was true, for he had many times remonstrated with His Excellency on the subject, to allow the Government to pass into the hands of the Opposition under such circumstances and by such means, would have been prejudicial to the best interests of the people The most extraordinary measures had been employed to win and bribe the members of the House from the path of duty; but to their honor he would say it, the efforts put forth had miserably failed.
These facts becoming known, and the Opposition, fully conscious that on constitutional grounds the Government could not be defeated, other means had to be, and were, devised and executed to accomplish their object, and to-day the members of the Government stood relieved from the cares of office by the accomplishment of their schemes. The paper he had read was signed by all the members of the Government except Messrs Gillmor and Hutchinson. The latter was away in England, and the former had notified them that he agreed in their decision. That gentleman was called away from his official duties to soothe the dying moments of a father, and whilst engaged in that sacred duty the mine was sprung under their feet.
He would now call the attention of the House to the answer returned to their communication by His Excellency.
HIS EXCELLENCY’S REPLY.
“The Lieutenant Governor has received from the members of His Executive Council a Minute, tendering the resignation of their seats at the Council Board.
The reason assigned by them for this step is a disinclination to accept the responsibility of a reply made by His Excellency to the Legislative Council when requested by that body to transmit to Her Majesty an address, praying that a scheme for the union of the British North American Provinces may be introduced into the Imperial Parliament.
“Several causes for this disinclination are enumerated by the Council. They may, however, all be resumed in the objection, that the Legislative Council, in adopting the address in question, overstepped the limits of action prescribed to it by constitutional principles and usuage.
“In this view, His Excellency cannot at all concur, and he perceives with regret the name of a member of the Upper House, for whose character and abilities he has a sincere respect, appended to reasoning which would, in His Excellency’s opinion, go far to destroy the position of that Chamber as an independent and co-ordinate branch of the Legislature.”
A wonderful amount of respect and sympathy he had for Mr. Odell. He (Mr. S.) did not thing the feeling was reciprocated by that hon. gentleman, nor that he regretted that his name was appended to that paper.
“The papers on which the address in question was founded, were laid before both Houses of the Legislature by Her Majesty’s express command at the commencement of the present Session.”
Was that statement in accordance with the fact? Where were the papers and who laid them before the House? He was sure he did not, neither did any of his colleagues. So if they were brought down, it must have been by some member of the Opposition, it certainly was not by the Government.
“It had at that time long been known to Her Majesty’s Government, that the General Election in New Brunswick in 1865, had terminated unfavourably to the cause of Union, and the communication of these papers was made to the Provincial Parliament in the avowed hope that the question might be again considered and more favourably received there.
The Address in answer to His Excellency’s Speech at the opening of the Session, even as originally proposed, conveyed an assurance that those papers should receive a careful and respectful attention from the Legislative Council.
But the chief documents which the Members of that body thus pledged themselves to consider, were the Resolutions adopted at Quebec, the approval of that Scheme by Her Majesty, and the expression of a hope on the part of Her Majesty’s Government, that its provisions might be favourably reconsidered in New Brunswick.
On the questions then thus submitted to them by Her Majesty’s command, the Legislative Council was bound to form
and to express an opinion. In so doing they have intimated their approval of a Union of the British North American Colonies, and indicated the basis on which it might in their judgment be accomplished.
It is neither constitutional nor reasonable to maintain that the Legislative Council is incompetent to act with reference to a Scheme thus submitted to them, until after its previous approval by the House of Assembly, nor can it be imagined that the Legislative Council alone is debarred from that right of appeal to Her Majesty which is accorded to all Her subjects without distinction.
The Council also take exception to His Excellency’s having delivered this Re ply, without previously communicating to them the terms in which is was couched.
Without enquiring how far their Ministerial responsibility, from which it is always in their power to escape, requires that the Council should possess a previous knowledge of all the Lieutenant Governor’s Words and actions, His Excellency must observe that the non-communication to the Council, of the Reply in question, was the result, not of design, but of accident, and that it was his intention and desire to have afforded his Council an ample opportunity for consideration.”
This was the reason given. Not the first concession that it was the right of the people that their Government should be consulted. Not at all. The great battle for constitutional rights and liberties had been fought and won. It had been conceded that the people should govern themselves. This was part of the great Magna Charta; yet now the Governor commits his Government to an Address expressing opinions contrary to those entertained by them, when that Government is responsible to the people. Was it right in ethics that a Government should be made responsible for the acts of a Governor, in reference to which they had not been consulted? It would be for the country to decide on this question. Here was the House and Government in Session, the Governor living within a short distance of the House, all the members of the Government here with the exception of Messrs. Gillmor and Hutchinson, and yet the reason as signed by the Governor for not consulting his Council on a matter involving the dearest interests of the people of this Province was simply “accident.”
It had been charged that the Government had committed themselves to Confederation in the Address of His Excellency at the opening of the Session. But he could show that there was not a word on Union in that Speech that committed the Government at all. The Governor had received despatches from Downing Street to lay the [text missing] of the British Parliament [text missing] but for the Queen. The [text missing] was in no way responsible for this, but when in his Reply to the Address of the Legislative Council he says, ” I rejoice,” that moment he makes his advisers responsible. He (Mr. S.) and his colleagues were now without office by this act, but they were not without regard for their country, and while life and heart should last, he would labor to save it from the ruinous effects of the Quebec Scheme.
“The language employed by His Excellency to the Legislative Council was not, however, inconsistent with the policy of his Advisers; or, in his judgment, with the reply which, with their knowledge and consent, he had returned a few days previously to an Address from the same body. His words were: ” I rejoice to believe that the avowal of your desire that all British North America should unite in one community under one strong and efficient Government, cannot but tend to hasten the accomplishment of this great measure.” This by no means conveys an approval of the particular scheme to the provisions of which his Council so strongly object, although it does express a hope that an Union of the British North American Provinces may shortly be accomplished.”
Now then the successors of the late Government must endorse the action of those who have gone out of office. This was constitutional. Let no man attempt to justify on the floors of the House the action of the Legislative Council. That body had no delegated power as the Lower House had. If the prayer of the Legislative Council should be responded to, then the Legislature, the rights and liberties of the people would be demolished and taken away. Had the people been consulted on the question of union? They had. What was their reply? The reply was emphatic and decisive. “No, that scheme would only deprive us of our rights, and we will have nothing to do with it.”
He would now make a slight digression. When he first saw the scheme and read the terms of the proposed union, he saw it was prepared with the special intention to give it life and activity. He said at once, It will go through the Legislative Council. He heard it stated in the Upper House the other day that in consequence of the provisions of that scheme ten men of that Council should not vote on the question before them, as without doubt they were provided for in the arrangement. He heard the whole of that debate, and his friend the Hon. Mr. Hazen and his coadjutors saw and said that it was useless to oppose it. The House would doubtless be surprised when he informed them they had passed an address to the Queen, calling for an Imperial enactment to consummate a scheme of union which had never been read before the House, either by the President or either of the Speakers, in their advocacy of union under its provisions.
The question now to be decided by the people was, shall the Legislative Council govern this country? It might be said that the scheme was read by the members individually; but he would ask what of that? It was passed by them in a few minutes, and yet the scheme was never even read from the chair. Ten men from the [text missing] were[text missing] and as was the case with the Hon. Mr. Steves, who was supposed to represent the County of Albert, yet he moved to St. John and still held his seat as for Albert. If this should occur, they would be left without a representative in the Upper Branch. Was not this a case for careful consideration by this House and people? He thought the Council had shown most extraordinary haste; they had passed their Address on one day, it was received by His Excellency the next, and sent on to England the day after. But he had too much confidence in the integrity, uprightness and sense of justice of the British Government to suppose that they would accede to the request.
“But from previous communications with the leader of the Government, His Excellency was fully entitled to assume that this hope was shared by his Council.”
Was this any reason, he would ask, because he had said that he would not go for the Quebec Scheme, believing, as he did, that it was fraught with ruin to this country—was that any reason why the Governor should thus treat his Council with contempt, and trample on their constitutional rights?
“On the 8th January His Excellency received from the Honorable R. D. Wilmot, a letter tendering the resignation of his seat in the Executive Council, and assigning as his chief reason for so doing, the indisposition of his colleagues to entertain propositions for a closer Union of the British North American Provinces. To that resignation His Excellency declined to reply until after the return of the President of the Council from Washington, which took place on the 14th February.
On the following day His Excellency had several communications with that gentleman, in the course of which His Excellency observed that the resignation of Mr Wilmot, and the fact that the Legislature had now been summoned for despatch of business, rendered it necessary that a distinct understanding on the subject of union should be arrived at between himself and his Advisers
It would be His Excellency’s duty, in accordance with his instructions, to submit the question again to the Legislature on its assembly, and to express the conviction of Her Majesty’s Government with respect to the benefits likely to attend the adoption of the measure.
If Mr. Wilmot were mistaken in supposing that the Government were hostile to all measures of union, and Mr. Smith and his colleagues were prepared to consent to the introduction into the speech at the opening of the Session, of the recommendation of Her Majesty’s Government, conveyed in Mr. Card well’s despatch of 24th June, 1865, it would be my duty to accept the proffered resignation; but if, on the contrary, the statements made by Mr. Wilmot were correct, it would be a matter of grave consideration whether His Excellency could accept the resignation so tendered, and whether His Excellency would not be bound to the [text missing] accomplishment of which His Excellency
was directed by every means in his power to promote.”
In the month of March, 1865, he (Mr S.) with his friend Mr. Wilmot, formed a Council on anti-Confederation principles. But where was that gentleman to be found now? Forming a Government on the Quebec Scheme. He desired the hon. members to think of it. Only thirteen months had yet elapsed, and now that gentleman, elected and pledged to oppose Confederation, and who assisted to form a Council on an Anti basis, was found working with those who were determined to force upon the people of this Province that very scheme.
Mr. Wilmot here stated that at the time of his resignation he impressed upon the leader of the Government the necessity of opening new negotiations for Union.
Mr. Smith would come to that bye and bye; at present he would proceed with the reply:
“The Lieutenant Governor also endeavored, to the best of his ability, to point out to Mr. Smith the advantages of a real and effective Union of the British North American Provinces, and the urgent necessity, under existing circumstances, of effecting such a measure.
His Excellency stated his confident belief, that after having been accepted as a basis, it were found that the details of the Scheme agreed to at Quebec were open to just and serious objections on the part of the Maritime Provinces, the representation of their Legislature to that effect would be certain to receive a respectful attention from Her Majesty’s Government, and from that of Canada. His Excellency concluded by handing to Mr. Smith the following confidential Memorandum :—
“The Lieutenant Governor has been instructed by a despatch from the Secretary of State for the Colonies, bearing date 24th June, 1865, to express to the Legislature of New Brunswick, on its next re-assembling, “the strong a deliberate opinion of Her Majesty’s Government, that it is an object much to be desired that all the British North American Colonies should agree to unite “in one Government.”
The Lieutenant Governor has now fixed the 8th proximo as the day upon which the General Assembly is to meet for despatch of business, and that before that period it is highly desirable that he should be informed whether his advisers are prepared to recommend the Legislature to give effect to the opinion thus expressed by Her Majesty’s Government.
(Signed) A. GORDON.”
Fredericton, February, 1866.
This Memorandum, in compliance with Mr. Smith’s urgent request, was not formally transmitted to the Council, but it was carefully read by him, and its substance communicated to his colleagues.
Mr. Smith must have perceived, although His Excellency abstained from any expression calculated to rouse his susceptibility, that had the enquiry embodied in that Memorandum received a negative response His Excellency was prepared to decline to accede to the recommendation that Mr. Wilmot’s resignation should be accepted, and to entrust to that gentleman the responsibility of attempting to carry into effect the policy on account of his adherence to which he desired to quit the Government.
After several communications with the other members of the Council, Mr. Smith ultimately informed His Excellency that, whilst unable to accept in its integrity the Scheme adopted at Quebec, he and his colleagues were not indisposed to meet the wishes of Her Majesty’s Government; and that it appeared to him that the requisite sanction for the adoption of such a course might be obtained if the Message transmitting the papers on this subject to the Legislature were refused to a Joint Committee of both Houses, with an understanding that that Committee should report in favor of a measure of Union.”
Here hon. members would see how the Government were pressed. Whenever his duty brought him in contact with the Governor, the question continually was, ” What are you going to do on Union?” The friends of the Government knew all along what they intended to do. They had spoken to their friends and laid their plans before them, but the trouble was that the Opposition seemed to be as well informed on what transpired in the Council as the Government itself. They had all heard the reports and rumors which had been whispered about. He would ask hon. members if it had not been said that Smith had signed a paper committing him to the Quebec Scheme, provided four more members were added from the Legislative Council?
Mr. Wilmot asked, Who said it?
Mr. Smith did not say it came from his hon. friend. He, at least, out to know him too well to circulate such a story as that.
Mr. Wetmore thought those who heard this report and those who told it should be named.
Mr. Needham said it had been said to him, no matter by whom.
Mr. Caie said hon. members in Opposition had better not say too much. He would expose more of their secrets than they would like to hear.
Mr. Smith would declare before the House, and to his friends, and to those who knew what he had agreed to do, that he had never signed any such paper. He felt he would stand by the ship to the last, and if the people wished confederation, then he might die politically, but he would in that case die standing by his friends.
“His Excellency replied that he had no objection to such a course, provided it was clearly understood beforehand that this reference was to be made only with a view of rendering it easier for the Government to adopt a course which they had themselves in any case resolved to pursue, and with no intention to cast upon the Committee the duty of finding a policy for the Government; for that a reference of such a description, besides involving an abdication of their proper functions as a Government, would cause much delay, and might after all terminate in a report unfavorable to union, in which case it was needless to point out to him that so far from any progress having been made in the desired direction, the position of the cause would have been materially injured.
Mr. Smith answered that he could not of course formally pledge beforehand a Committee of the Legislature, but that in making himself responsible for the recommendation, it would be with the view of honestly carrying out the policy so indicated.
The Committee having reported, the next step to be taken appeared to His Excellency to be the introduction by the Government of an Address to the Queen, praying Her Majesty to take steps for the accomplishment of the union; and His Excellency drew out the rough outline of such an Address, similar in substance to that adopted by the Canadian Parliament; but adding a representation that portions of the scheme agreed to at Quebec were received with apprehension and alarm by a large part of the people of this and the adjoining Province, and a prayer that Her Majesty would be pleased, in the preparation of any Imperial Act to effect the desired union, to give just weight to the objections urged against such provisions on their behalf, and would afford the Provincial Legislature an opportunity of considering the scheme agreed upon, before its final adoption. His excellency understood Mr. Smith to assent to this proposal, and his impression to that effect is confirmed by finding it so stated in a note made at the time, and read by His Excellency a few days subsequently to Mr. Smith, and in the Despatch based on these notes, addressed by His Excellency to the Secretary of State for the Colonies.
Mr. Smith has lately, however, assured His Excellency that he only meant that such an Address might “grow out of the Committee,” but did not intend, in the first instance, to propose it.”
Those words “grow out of Committee,” he would show who made use of those words. He wished the House to understand that his mind had never wavered. He was in England, and saw Mr. Cardwell, and after a short conversation, he was fully convinced that the British Government was committed to the Quebec Scheme He saw that they were inspired entirely by Canada in their desires and wishes; but it would be better to take the Quebec Scheme than to send home a delegation to ask this Imperial enactment. By that means they would save their money, for they might make up their minds that the Imperial Parliament were committed to that Scheme without the slightest change.
The same influence was at work in Nova Scotia. These men who were opposed to Union last year were now right round, and petitioning the British Government to consummate it by Imperial enactment. He wanted the House to know that the enemy was at the door, and it became every man to know and understand the position in which they stood. He would not say what the means were which were being used to enslave the people, but he would leave it with the country to decide if any had been, and what they were.
“A controversy with respect to the words used in conversation, and the meaning intended to be conveyed by them, is seldom capable of satisfactory settlement, and it is not His Excellency’s intention to discuss the greater accuracy of Mr. Smith’s memory, or his own.
Whatever the precise nature of the course agreed to on the 17th February was, it was one to which it was felt that
it would be more difficult to reconcile the friends and supporters of the Government, than its actual members, and Mr. Smith at once left Fredericton in order to prepare his principal adherents for the altered policy he proposed to pursue, asking His Excellency to observe the strictest secrecy on the subject until his return to report either the acquiescence of his friends, or the failure of his efforts.
A word with regard to this point. When he (Mr S.) returned from his delegation to Washington, his colleagues informed him that strange rumors were afloat. The House was to be dissolved, and the Opposition called on to carry on the business of the country. When he saw the Governor he related to him what he had heard, and His Excellency did not deny their correctness. His Excellency turned from the subject and asked him what the Government intended to do with regard to Union. He (Mr. S.) replied that when the despatches and papers were laid before the House, they might decide to reconsider the subject, by the appointment of a Special Committee.
“Mr. Smith on his return informed His Excellency, on the 3rd of March, that his party generally were willing to assent to the course which he had consented to pursue. It was accordingly agreed to insert in the Speech on the opening of the Session, the recommendation of Confederation made by Her Majesty’s Government, and as early as possible to move the appointment of such a joint Committee of both Houses of the Legislature as should ensure the adoption of a Scheme of Union, whilst the objections to the Quebec Scheme were to be carefully weighed and examined at the same time by the Committee.
What the precise alterations in that Scheme were which would have satisfied Mr. Smith His Excellency was never able exactly to learn; but he found that representation according to population, to which he entertained a strong objection, would not be regarded by him as an insuperable obstacle to union, should a larger share of representation be secured to New Brunswick in the Upper Branch of the proposed Federal Legislature.”
The hon. member for York (Mr. Fisher) seemed to experience great delight at the position of affairs. He appeared, when in opposition, to be continually in the blues, but now he was quite elated, and the whole aspect of the man had changed, but he must caution his hon. friend to beware; the responsibility was now changed to his shoulders, and he should exercise great care and caution.
He (Mr. S.) could not boast that noble blood coursed through his veins, he was not descended from a proud ancestry, he could not look back upon a long line of titled lineage, he was but of humble origin, was one of the people, but he had rights, and the people, to whom he belonged, had rights, and among the people he had friends, who had stood by him in troublous times, and he believed would do so again. It was a matter of little moment for the Governor that his Government should retire to the ranks of the people, but it was a question of paramount importance to the people whether a nominee of Downing Street should act with and by, or without and in direct antagonism to, the Council which was responsible to the people. He hoped a dissolution would now come, so that they could go to the country that this great question might be settled. This the rights of the people demanded.
“His Excellency, considering that the speedy accomplishment of a measure of union was now a matter of almost absolute certainty, on the 7th March, addressed to Mr. Smith a letter, of which the following is an extract, viz :
“I have been much gratified, though “not surprised, to find that you are disposed to approach the question of union, as it now presents itself, in a large and statesmanlike spirit, and to realize as facts the necessities which are imposed by the actual condition of affairs. There is nothing which more distinguishes a statesman from a man incompetent to deal with great affairs, than this power of appreciating the changes thus made, and the obligation, (often a most irksome one,) of acquiescing in a course which, per se, he considers open to objection, in order to prevent evils of yet greater magnitude.
* * * *
“You have it in your power to render “the Province the inestimable service of depriving its accession to the principle of union of that character of a party triumph, which it must otherwise wear, and of those feelings of bitterness which such a triumph would engender.”
Mr. Smith did not contradict the presumption on which this letter was founded, and verbally expressed his acknowledgements for the terms in which His Excellency had spoken there in of his conduct.”
He (Mr. S.) would refer more particularly to this letter bye and bye. He had the power to show it in its true light, and thought he could unmistakably prove that it was called for entirely to get him into a snare.
“Having thus, therefore, as he presumed, ascertained that his Council were not indisposed in their own way, and at their own time, to recommend to the Legislature the adoption of an union policy, His Excellency felt that much forbearance was required in order that this change of course might be accomplished in the manner which the Council might think least injurious to themselves, and most calculated to ensure the ultimate success of the measure; and with this view he sought to secure the co-operation of some of the leading friends of Confederation ordinarily hostile to the Government.
In doing so it was His Excellency’s desire to secure and strengthen the hands of his administration in the conduct of a difficult enterprise, believing it to be of the highest importance that this measure should not be carried out as a mere party triumph, but as the expression of a national wish; nor did he suppose that the course he then tool could be misunderstood by those in whose interests it was taken.
It is true that Mr. Smith, and on one occasion one other member of the Government, remonstrated against this course, and Mr. Smith observed that it was unnecessary, as he felt that he could carry out his plan without any assistance from his political opponents, and assertion the correctness of which His Excellency felt disposed to question, and which, even if accurate, appeared to him of doubtful policy, as it was desirable that the union should be accomplished in virtue of as general an agreement as possible among the leading men of every political section in the community; and His Excellency more than once suggested that the principal advocates of Confederation should be called upon to meet Mr. Smith and his colleagues in order that a line of action might be adopted by common consent with regard to a question of such general importance, and with respect to which, now that the Government had adopted the principle of union, it seemed difficult to believe that a common understanding might not be reached.
Upon the distinct understanding, therefore, that the Government was endeavoring to procure the passage through the Legislature of resolutions affirmative of the principle of union, and with the impression that an address praying Her Majesty to move the Imperial Parliament to give effect to such resolutions was to be subsequently adopted, His Excellency felt justified in omitting, at the request of his Council, from his speech at the opening of the Session the strong recommendation of union which he had originally intended to introduce, but the responsibility for which his Ministers felt they could not then assume.
To what extent the other members of the Executive Council agreed with their President, His Excellency cannot say, as excepting on a few occasions in February, he held little communication with any of them on the subject; but His Excellency is convinced that when Mr. Smith returned to Fredericton on the 5th of March, he imagined that he would be able to carry out the pledges that he had given, and that he fully intended to do so.”
“Little communication with the members of the Council on the subject.” Yes, for he (Mr. S.) had always found His Excellency unwilling to discuss any matter of importance with more than one member of the Council at a time.
“Since the commencement of the Session, however, the course of the Government has shown little indication of a movement in this direction.”
He would again appeal to his friends in the House as to what he had told them had passed between the Governor and himself on this question. He would ask them if they did not know what the Government intended to do, if they had not been informed and consulted with and advised of the policy and course the Government intended to pursue? It was to appoint a select committee, not indeed to draw up and pass resolutions, but to report and suggest objections to the Quebec Scheme. And now in what a new and strange position did they stand. At that moment the people of the country were without a Government and His Excellency without advisers. He had to doubt the position was satisfactory to His Excellency, and that he would be glad to assume the whole responsibility of governing the country without any Council at all.
“His Excellency has never ceased to urge on Mr. Smith, the expediency, and indeed necessity of a bold avowal of his intended policy; nor has he failed to express his apprehensions as to the consequences of delay in doing so, believing until that avowal was made, Mr. Smith would become daily more and more entangled in contradictory pledges, from which he would find it impossible to extricate himself, and which might act most prejudicially on the prospects of the cause; whilst at any time circumstances might call for such action on the part of His Excellency as would place him in a position of apparent antagonism to his Council and prove productive of very serious embarrassment. This course, however, the Government did not pursue, and it became more and more apparently clear to His Excellency that they lacked the power—he will not suppose they lacked the will—to carry out their original intentions. Their opposition to the particular form of union agreed to at Quebec, was distinct and emphatic, whilst their approval of even an abstract union of an uncertain character, became daily more vague and uncertain.”
“They lacked the power to carry out their original intentions!” Who told him so? Had the Government shown any signs of weakness? No, they were surrounded and supported by the friends who had stood by them and who would do so again. His Excellency acknowledges that a Select Committee was to have been appointed to consider a plan of Union, yet before the Answer in Reply to the Address had passed through the House, before any papers had been, or could be brought down, whilst a vote of Want of Confidence was pending, and before it was possible to take any action in regard to the matter, the Governor coolly informs his Council that it was apparent to him that they lacked the power to carry out their intentions. When, he would ask, did the Government say they lacked the power? Never.
“Declarations were, it is said, publicly made that no proposition for an Union would be made during the present Session, and arguments were reported to be used by members and supporters of the Government not only against the Quebec Scheme, but of a character applying with equal force to any plan of whatever description, for a closer Union with Canada.
On more than one occasion His Excellency noticed these facts to Mr. Smith, who replied that the reports received by His Excellency as to the language used were inaccurate; that it was desirable not to indicate too soon the line he meant to take, as it would give an advantage to his opponents and might estrange some of his friends.”
Again he would ask, Had he not again and again said in reply to questions from members in opposition, that the Government had not scheme to introduce? It was for the House to decide whose varacity was to be doubted on this point—to decide not on the grounds that the Governor was a great man and he a humble one, but on the broad principles of truth and right.
Mr. Hatheway wished to ask his hon. colleague if the question as to who should constitute the Committee was not discussed.
Mr. Smith replied that it was, not only between the Governor and himself, but between His Excellency and Mr. Odell.
“In the desire to avoid giving any cause of embarrassment to his Government, and at their request, His Excellency delayed for nineteen days the reception of the Address of Legislative Council, in reply to the Speech from the Throne; nor was it until it became evident to His Excellency that further delay in this respect would seriously imperil the harmony of the relations between himself and the Legislative Council, and the Legislative Council and House of Assembly, that he fixed a day for its reception.”
The Government explained their position to His Excellency, and desired that he should not reply to the address of the Upper Branch till the address in reply had passed through the House. They, however, would not ask it as a favor, but desired him to act constitutionally. In spite, however, of their expressed wishes, and contrary to all experience and practice, the Governor saw fit to receive and reply to the address of the Upper House. He says that he was afraid there was going to be a collision between him and the Legislative Council if he should delay any longer. Who, he would ask, frightened His Excellency with this idea? Was it the friends of the Government? Was it their enemies? It was not hard to decide. They found that the Government had a majority on the no confidence motion then going on, and to bring matters to an issue they had to act in this way, and so prevented the Government from appointing a Special Committee.
“Mr. Smith frequently expressed a hope that the Lieutenant Governor did not entertain any doubt as to the sincerity of his intentions in carrying out to the letter the understanding between them, as to the passage of resolutions on the subject of union.
At length the presentation of the Address to the Queen by the Legislative Council brought the question to a decided issue.
Up to that time the Government had given no public sign of an intention to grapple with the question, or to substitute any amended scheme of union for that agreed to at Quebec and the Lieutenant Governor in accordance with his instructions—as the Representative of the Queen—and as an officer of the Imperial Government—could not but feel it his duty to express satisfaction at the avowed approval, by one branch of the Provincial Legislature, of a policy the adoption of which had been recommended by him in his Sovereign’s name, and by her command, at the opening of the Session.
If the Lieutenant Governor’s Advisers cannot concur in these sentiments, and decline to become responsible for their utterance by His Excellency, it is no doubt their duty to tender, as they have done, the resignation of the offices held by them.
His Excellency accepts these resignations with regret. His relations with his Advisers during the past year have been harmonious and cordial;—for many among their number he entertains strong feelings of personal esteem; nor can he forget to acknowledge the attention which his views have generally received at their hands, or the readiness with which his wishes have on most occasions been met by them. But he has no doubt as to the course which it is his duty to pursue in obedience to his Sovereign’s commands, and in the interests of the people of British America.”
In retiring from office, the members of the Government had left no constitutional right impaired. They had yielded to His Excellency on that question; they did not wish to come into collision with him, or with the Imperial Parliament. They found that Canada was pushing for Union, and the Imperial Parliament yielding to their wishes, and here there had been men who had been in the counsels of Canada, Downing Street and the Lieutenant Governor, and who could for some time say, ” We shall have a dissolution,” and could point almost to the day and hour it would occur. Surrounded by all this pressure, the Government stood not for themselves, but for the rights of the people, and in going out the Governor might well speak of the readiness with which they complied with his wishes.
“His Excellency may be in error, but he believes that a vast change has already taken place on this subject in New Brunswick, and he fully anticipates that the House of Assembly will yet return a response to the communication made to them not less favourable to the principle of Union than that given by the Upper House I and he relies with confidence on the desire of a great majority of the people of the Province to aid in building up a powerful and prosperous Nation, under the sovereignty of the British Crown.”
A change in the feelings of the people ! Did he reckon on that? Never would that House be found passing a Scheme that had been forced upon the people. He was proud to say that even Confederates had expressed their disapprobation of the procedure of the Governor and the Legislative Council, and that even they would stand firm for constitutional rights. If the constitution was to be taken away, let it be done in a constitutional manner. If the people were to decide in favor of the Quebec Scheme, he would not raise one word against their decision, but whenever and as long as he found the rights of the people being trampled upon, he would stand up and fight to maintain them.
“The Council also express dissatisfaction at His Excellency’s personal conduct in regard to his relations with them.
This is a matter of infinitely less importance to the public, and will be very shortly dealt with by His Excellency, although as he has met at all times with the utmost courtesy and consideration from the Members of the Government, it would be a source of sincere regret to [text missing] believe [text missing] he was [text missing].
[text missing] a leading member of the Opposition was more than once [text missing] by His Excellency is perfectly [text missing]. This communication was [text missing] Mr. Smith [text missing] and in the belief on His Excellency’s part, that it would facilitate Mr. Smith’s accomplishment
of the end in view. The gentleman referred to met Mr. Smith at Government House on the 5th of March, and His Excellency believes that a very protracted interview subsequently took place between them; nor was [text missing] a very late period that His Excellency relinquished the hope of seeing a combination effected to smooth the passage of the contemplated Resolutions.”
And had it been shown that this method of advising with and taking the advice and counsel of a leading member of the Opposition, had been so very beneficial or so conducive to bring about the end in view? Had it been the means of furthering the business of the House? They had been in session some four or five weeks, and had not yet passed the Address, and never would, and the Government had been prevented by the Opposition from going on with the necessary business of the country.
“His Excellency thinks it right also to state, that his reply was prepared by himself alone, and that the Council are in error in supposing that its terms were the subject of advice from any member of the Opposition.
His Excellency does not admit the entire accuracy of Mr. Smith’s report of his conversations with him, appended to the Minute of Council, but at the same time readily acknowledges that the difference between his own impression of those conversations and that of Mr. Smith, is only such as might naturally arise under the circumstances. Mr. Smith has, however, omitted to state that at his first interview His Excellency pointed out, as he had frequently done before, the embarrassing results of the non-avowal of his Union policy, and observed that the Legislative Council had now passed an Address, at the adoption of which he should probably feel obliged to express satisfaction.
The Lieutenant Governor of course feels that previous communication between himself and his Advisers as to any step he is about to take, is, when practicable, both desirable and convenient; and it was His Excellency’s full intention to have submitted the draft of his reply to the consideration of his Council, and he much regrets that accident should have frustrated an intention.
The Committee of the Legislative Council did not wait on His Excellency till after 12 o’clock, and until the terms of Address was in his possession, he could not officially communicate with the Council on the subject of his Reply to it.
He then immediately sent for Mr. Smith, intending to put the draft into his hands, and request him to communicate it to his colleagues.
Mr. Smith, however, appears not to have received His Excellency note until half-past two o’clock, and His Excellency’s intentions in this respect were consequently foiled.”
Then why had His excellency not told him when he was at Government House at eleven o’clock in the morning, of the course he had decided to pursue? Why this haste? Were the Government aware of his intentions? No; for when he left Government House after remonstrating with His Excellency on the course he was pursuing, His Excellency told him he would think over what he had said to him and see him again; and when he said him, he meant his Council.
“The only other observation which he feels called upon to make is, when, during their interview, His Excellency left the room as stated by Mr. Smith, it was not, as that gentleman supposes, to consult a member of the Opposition respecting the omission or retention of a paragraph in his Reply,—a point on which His Excellency received not advice from any other person than Mr. Smith,—but for the purpose of ascertaining whether it might not even then be possible to postpone the reception of the Address for a few hours. He found however, that it would have been impossible to do so without gross discourtesy to the Legislative Council,
(Signed) ARTHUR GORDON.
Fredericton, 11th March, 1866.”
If the statement the Governor here made were true, if he was really desirous to make them acquainted with the contents and nature of the reply he intended to deliver, why did he not do it? Was this a respectful way in which to treat his Council? And, if he felt that he should make them acquainted the reply, why not have communicated with the President of the Legislative Council, and obtained further time in which to advise with his Council? No, forsooth, no time must be lost; there must be no delay, or it would have been “gross discourtesy” to the Legislative Council. No thought here of the gross injustice done to the people, no intimation of a recognition of an infringement of their rights.
He (Mr. S.) held the members of the Opposition in respect, and could not doubt but they would discountenance such actions on the part of His Excellency. If the debate had been allowed to close, and the Government had died constitutionally, they would have died gloriously, but to be thus thrust out was an outrage not only on them but on the people they represent. He saw from the first that means were being employed to entrap the Government. He had told the Governor that what transpired between them was talked all over the town. Was it not stated, by some of their opponents that they did not care for the want of confidence vote at all, for even it it was not sustained, the Government would be defeated within a week after? And did not that show that plans were already laid, matured and ready for execution?
Mr. Smith then proceeded to read his written reply to the charges of His Excellency, but it was objected by Mr. Wilmot that as it was part of the correspondence on the resignation of the Government, it should be laid before His Excellency before being submitted to the members of the House.
Mr. Fisher also objected on the ground that the Governor was not and could not be there to answer anything that might be brought against him, and he thought such a procedure unparallelled in any ministerial crisis.
Mr. Smith urged that His Excellency had been heard, and now he would be heard, and lay that paper before the House and the people as part of his speech. He then proceeded to read the following
“I have read with surprise His Excellency’s Memorandum in answer to the paper containing our resignations, and I regret that it becomes my duty to give a contradiction to many of the statements contained therein, and I shall proceed to give a brief by truthful resume of the different conversations I have had with him on the subject of Union since my return from the United States.”
He would here observe that up to a certain time the Governor was as much opposed to Confederation as he. He was always against the clause on Representation by Population without some neutralizing power. He had corroborative evidence of all he had said. He had always related to his esteemed friend and colleague Mr. Gilmor the conversations that had occurred between himself and the Governor; and now that they were about to part politically, it might be forever, he would say of Mr. Gilmor that he had known him intimately for a number of years, and had ever found him to be a man of the highest integrity, the noblest virtues, and the purest economy. If he had a fault, it was that he was too economical. The son of an honest and industrious father, he had by the exercise of these virtues reared himself to the position of trust which he was called to fill, and knowing by experience the value of every dollar, he was sparing in letting it go. He ever regarded the public money as sacred, and to be used as he would have done his own. He might not be the most brilliant, nor the most able, although his talents were far above the common, but he certainly had never been excelled, and he could say, and be borne out in the statement, that this Province never had a better Provincial Secretary than Arthur H. Gilmor.
Mr. Odell, too, the Postmaster General, was a man of honor, integrity and prudence, and as a Government, he challenged those who should follow them, to watch, look, and examine into their actions, and shew that they had been guilty in the slightest degree of any malpractice. They go out with clean hands, without, since the opening of this correspondence, appointing a magistrate or voting a penny to gain political influence, and he challenged their opponents to show a point in which they had proved direlect to the public interests. There was his friend, too, the Chief Commissioner of the Board of Works, Mr. Hatheway, though he had been most foully abused, yet the greatest complaint they could bring against him was that if he had more money put into hands he would spend it all on the roads and bridges.
These things even the Opposition would agree with. And when he heard the attack of the hon member for York (Mr. Fisher) on Mr. Botsford because of his absence for a few days from his office, when that gentleman had returned home to his family to minister to a sick daughter, he felt hurt and indignant. If the official members of Government must live in Fredericton, the Departmental Government must be a monopoly for the members who live in Fredericton.
“On my arrival in Fredericton, I was told by my colleagues that they had reason to suspect that His Excellency had been in communication with the opposition, and that they believed Mr. Mitchell had been sent for during my absence, and that he, Mr. Wilmot, and others opposed to the Government, had been consulting together with a view to upset the Government. At the second interview I had with His Excellency I told him what I had heard. He did not deny that he
*Pages 116-117 are missing and will be ordered as soon as possible.*
[…] their successors were appointed, and then their resignation was formally announced as having [text missing] tomorrow morning.
Mr. Anglin said as Mr. Smith’s efforts in speaking were very exhausting he thought it would be better to adjourn till the afternoon.
Mr. Wilmot said he wished to ask of the House time to form a new Government, and desired an adjournment till Monday afternoon at half-past two.
Mr. Smith said it was usual, under such circumstances, to adjourn, and he should express no objection.
Mr. Otty then gave notice that he should, on Tuesday next, move a series of Resolutions in opposition to those passed by the Legislative Council on the question of Union.
The House then adjourned till Monday afternoon at half-past 2, P. M.