New Brunswick, House of Assembly, Debates of the House of Assembly (23 May 1867)

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Date: 1867-05-23
By: New Brunswick (House of Assembly)
Citation: New Brunswick, House of Assembly, Reports of the Debates of The House of Assembly [1867] at 66-72.
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Hon. Mr. Tilley.—Mr. Speaker, I have just received a note and telegram containing the information that the proclamation of Union has been issued, which, by permission of the House, I will read.


My Dear Sir :

The enclosed arrived last night, but I have only this moment received it.

You will see that the General received it in St. John.

I am, yours faithfully,


The Honorable S.L. Tilley.



Fredericton, New Brunswick,

A proclamation uniting, on the first of July next, the three Provinces, has this day been approved by the Queen In Council.


Colonial Office, London, May 22nd.

Mr. Smith.—We received that intelligence last night in the papers by the way of Canada. I will now follow up this information by enquiring of the Secretary the names of the persons composing the Senate.

Hon. Mr. Tilley.—When we get the Proclamation the names will be made known.

Mr. Smith.—This is a clear evasion of the question. To any mind it is a most extraordinary thing that the Proclamation of Union should be issued, twelve men appointed to represent this Province in the Senate, and yet the Government refuse to let the House and the country know who they are. If the information is not given I shall move a resolution with regard to it.

Hon. Mr. Tilley.— The question of the hon. member is entirely premature. No reliable information has yet been received by the Government, but as soon as it arrives not an hour will be delayed in laying it before the House.

Mr. Smith.—I know the Secretary cannot say whether the list they have sent home has actually been inserted in the proclamation, but he can say who the Government have recommended. Various rumours are afloat as to the names of Senators, and yet although the proclamation is now made known containing the list of Senators, the Secretary refuses to let the House and country know who have been recommended to Her Majesty as fit men to represent this Province in the Upper House of the General Parliament.

There is another question which the crown officers should answer, and that is whether those who are appointed from the Legislative Council and this House can retain their seats now the proclamation is issued. This is a point of great importance, and should be well defined, so that we may know whether they are still in a position to legislate for this country. I am aware that I have no physical power to make the Government answer the questions I put, but the country will now know why it is the information is not given, and with whom the responsibility rests.

Hon. Mr. Tilley.— I am no lawyer, and do not therefore pretend to give a legal opinion, but I can express my conviction that nothing in the Imperial Act precludes those who are appointed to the Senate, from holding their seats till the first of July. It is a subject for the Crown lawyers, and when the proclamation is received it can be looked into and decided.

(p. 67)



Hon. Mr. Tilley moved that in accordance with a Resolution of the House, making this the day for going into Supply, the House do now go into Committee for the purpose of granting Supply to Her Majesty.

Dr. Dow in the Chair.

Hon. Mr. Tilley.—I do not intend to go into the whole question of Supply to-day, as I find that the printed Financial Statement is not yet ready to lay before hon. members. I shall therefore only now ask that the amount for bye road appropriations may be granted, as it is necessary the various amounts should be distributed as speedily as possible. I therefore move that a sum not exceeding $55,000 be granted for the Bye Roads and Bridges of the Province.

Mr. Smith.—I do not think it is usual to put the Resolution for Supply in that form. By inserting the words “not exceeding” we cannot tell how much of that amount will be appropriated. I think it should not be left in this way, but that the exact sum should be stated.

Hon. Mr. Tilley.—The Resolution is in the usual form. The words “not exceeding” are always used. I copied the form of the Resolution from the Journals, as my hon. friend may see by reference.

Mr. Smith.— It is usual to pass the Resolution in blank, but at any rate it is not right that the Government should have the power to withhold any portion of the amount granted. I am sorry the Government have not seen fit to make a larger appropriation, for the Roads and Bridges in all parts of the country are in a very bad condition, and the people at some places really in a state of suffering. I am aware that the amount is ten thousand dollars more than was granted last year, but when we take into consideration the great damage done by the rains and freshet, I think it will be found to be not more, in proportion. to what was then given. I really wish they could give a few thousand more, for this will be found to be one of the most useful grants we make, especially at the present time. when flour and provisions are so high, and report says still rising.

Hon. Mr. Fisher—Both my hon. friend from Westmorland and myself represent great rural constituencies, and it is a matter of congratulation that we can go to than: and say that although flour and provisions are so clear and business generally so dull. yet the Government are enabled to give $10,000 more for the Bye Roads than was given last year. There are also amounts expended on the Bye Roads and Bridges I refer to the work performed under the Labor Act for grants of Crown Lands, which in itself would form a considerable item if considered as money expended. There are two things for which this country should receive all praise, and that is that there is no Province of the British Empire that does as much, in proportion to tho population, for Bye Roads and Schools as New Brunswick.

Mr. Smith.—I suppose the Attorney General wants to make it appear that the present satisfactory state of the Finances is due to Confederation. but I will remind him that the late Government had something to do with the matter; for the present Government did not come into office until nearly half the fiscal year was passed. Instead of our present condition showing that we shall prosper under Confederation. as the Secretary tried to show the other day, it only proves how well we could get along if we were only left alone. With regard to our large appropriations for Bye Roads and Schools, I think there are many countries that do as much, if not more, than we do for these objects. But as far as the increased amounts of our revenues are concerned the Attorney General must remember that if any praise is due, it is not to his Government, or to the effects of Confederations, but to the late Government.

Hon. Mr. Fisher.—I did not. say that our present financial condition was due to Confederation, but that in this time of commercial depression it augurs well that my hon. friend and I can go back to our constituents and say, that the Government has granted $10,000 more this

(p. 68)

year than last for the Bye Roads of the country.

Hon. Mr. Williston.— I quite agree with my hon. friend from Westmorland that the people in some parts of the country are in great distress, and it will be necessary to take part of the Bye Road appropriations to assist them, they making a return by performing labor on the roads. It is therefore necessary the monies should be distributed as soon as possible, so that the people may get the money for their use.

The Secretary has done all he could to meet the views expressed by the hon. member for Westmorland ; he has done all he could to meet the distress, arising from the high prices of flour and provisions, in certain parts of the Province. Not only has the grant for Bye Roads been increased $10,000 above last year, but $20,000 more than last year are to be put upon the Great Roads. Already the Chief Commissioner has sent funds to various parts of the country to repair the damage which has been occasioned by the heavy freshet, and very soon the Roads will be in as good or better condition than they have been for some years past.

Mr. Wetmore.—My hon. friend from Westmorland intimates that the present satisfactory state of the finances is not due to the present Government ; well, I suppose Providence had something to do with it, but I should like to know to what human agency it is due ? and who we should thank for it ? Not the late Government, I think, for I did not know that we had to thank them particularly for anything but for getting the country into a state of confusion and turmoil. But I should like for my hon. friend to say to whom the thanks of the people are due.

Mr. Smith.—The hon. member has only just got back from Saint John, where hs has been during the greater part of the Session, so far, and I suppose he thinks he must do something to let the people know he is here. He used to put a great number of questions to the late Government, and it seems he is disposed to do the same thing yet.

Mr. Wetmore.—I did ask questions, but could get no answer.

Mr. Smith.—The hon. member did ask questions, day after day, and received answers, but they were not such as he wanted. He surely knows that now he has no right to interrogate me. If he wants to know anything he should direct his questions to the Government. There is no doubt but he is very much interested in the state of the revenues, for we have some papers before us that clearly show that ; but that I suppose is all right. He has perforated labors on behalf of the Crown, and I hope the Government will do something for him. With regard to the Bye Road appropriation I wish the Government could give a few thousand dollars more. It is said that they have given some two thousand five hundred or three thousand dollars to wards a boat race that is to come off in Paris. That I think is a misapplication of the public money, which should have been kept in the Province. (Hear. hear.)

Mr. Caie.—As has been already stated, the Roads are in a very bad state, and a large amount of money will have to be expended upon them. The poor people in some of the back settlements are almost in a state of starvation, arising from losses they have sustained, and the high price of provisions, and I should he very glad if a larger sum could be granted for the purpose of assisting them, but, of course, if it cannot be done we must do the very best we can with what is allowed.

Mr. Wetmore.—The hon. member for Westmorland refers to labors performed by me, and hopes I shall be compensated by the Government. I am happy to say for all services rendered by me I have been pretty well satisfied already. I have done nothing for the present Government ; what l did was on behalf of the last, who were so weak that they could not get through their work. They had no Solicitor General, for they were afraid to fill up the office, and the Attorney General could not devote his time to the legal business, they therefore had to appoint Tom, Dick and Harry all over the country to do it for them, and so I happened to get some of the Crown business to do for them among the rest, the present Government paying the Bills. My hon. friend says I used to ask him questions, which is quite true, but the trouble was I could not get a straightforward answer, although I kept it up for about forty days, and that is just the case now. I required information, and therefore asked my hon. friend to whom we are indebted for the increase of the revenues. He has not answered that question, although it is a very simple one, and one he should answer in a straightforward manner.

Mr. Smith.—If the hon. member for Saint John will put himself under my direction I will show him, but unless he does this he certainly has no right to question me. The late Government are not now on their trial, and yet the hon. member from Saint John sees fit to make a vile attack upon it. The reason is clear enough ; he only desires to give vent to his revengeful feelings. He is not satisfied that the late Government is down. They know that their opinions were not endorsed by the people, and now they are willing to comply with their wishes and give the measures which are being introduced a fair trial, and yet without the slightest provocation the hon. member pours forth a torrent of abuse against them, and makes an outrageous personal attack on me.

He says that the late Government were so weak that we could not appoint a Solicitor General, and that I was so indifferent to the duties of my office, that we had to give the Crown business into the hands of private legal gentlemen, and so we had to employ him. But if he was employed he has been amply paid for his services, and therefore it little becomes him to speak as he has done. The hon. member and I have always been on the most friendly terms ; when he was employed on Crown business he was a supporter of the late Government, and it therefore seems most strange that he should now impute weakness and indifference to us. He knows very well why it was we did not appoint a Solicitor General, and he knows too that I was in England and could not attend to the duties of Attorney General here. He would have been quite willing to have got the Solicitor or Attorney Generalship, and would be willing, I dare say, to accept it now, but at present all the offices are filled up. I do not think it at all generous in him to attack in such a caustic and severe way a Government that has passed away. Why, they are in a state of dead ducks, and surely the hon. member does not want to shoot a dead duck !

Our Government was killed by the action of the Governor, who was urged on by the party now in power, some of whom were not on the floors of this House. The people expressed their feelings against us ; they went for the men who were willing to carry them into a Union which we considered fatal to the best interests of the country, and we were forced to comply. But as I said the other day I am willing even now to go back to the people and leave the verdict with them, feeling assurred that they would now endorse the policy and opinions of the late Government. As to the hon. member from Saint John, when I consider that for many years we have been on terms of personal friendship, and the position he occupied with regard to the late Government, I cannot but look upon his present attack upon me as ungenerous and uncalled for.

Mr. Wetmore.—I did not attack him ; I merely spoke of the reasons why my name appeared in the public accounts, to which my hon. friend had referred, and stated that there being no Solicitor General, and the Attorney General not attending to the duty, the legal business of the Crown had to be entrusted to the hands of gentlemen outside of the Government,

(p. 69)

and so I, among others, was called in to do the work. This my hon. friend construtes into a vile attack upon the late Government and a personal outrage on him. Why, one would suppose that he was the heart, soul, body and bones of the late Government, a regular one man Government, in fact. But this is how he wanders off from the question which I put to him. He said that the Provincial Secretary had no right to arrogate to himself or the present Government the praise for the present satisfactory state of the revenues.

Now, I did not rise to defend the Secretary, for I think he is quite able to take care of himself ; but I simply asked for information—Who, then, are entitled to the praise ? On this my hon. friend gets up and makes a fierce attack on me, but all that is no answer to my question, and I again ask him, Who are the men we should thank for a state of affairs by which we are able to grant so much larger sums for public purposes than we were able to do last year ?

My hon. friend has insinuated that I changed my position ; but, Mr. Chairman, it is well known that it was not I who changed but the late Government. My views changed, it is true, but I was elected an Anti-Confederate and I stood to the principle throughout. My personal views had changed, but so long as I represented an Anti-Confederate constituency I was bound to go against anything like Union. Who, I would ask, were the first to change ?

Why the late Government came down with a speech that was based upon Union—they, who had been elected in opposition to it were the first to put it in the speech. I then opposed them, as I was bound to do. I asked them over and over again what they meant by the reference to Union, but could get no satisfactory answer. Here was reason enough why I should oppose them, but when they allowed the Governor to dictate to them what course of action they should pursue, the reasons strengthened and multiplied, and I did my best to deprive them of the power they held. When I was first elected I did think that Union would be adverse to the best interests of this people ; I had little time to examine into the subject, and the ruin and danger to which we should be subject were continually dinned into my ears, till I came to believe it.

I did not, however, desire to become a politician. It was pressed upon me most urgently to allow myself to be put in nomination. Thus I was forced into the position, and having entered I would not draw back. I never hesitated to express my opinions as adverse to Union ; but after a time as I had opportunity to examine the subject, I saw that I was in error, and that the consolidation of these Provinces would prove to be an immense benefit.

When I was an Anti Confederate I supported the measures of the Government on that principle. My hon. friend says that I was willing to take office ; he knows that I could have been in the Government, and with an office, too, if I had chosen—but that is apart from the question. As long as the Government stood to the principles, I was bound to support them, and when my own views changed, if they had wished to have brought in a measure of Union, I should have gone back to the people of Saint John and told them my views on the subject had changed ; but I think my position was right, that I could not support a measure of Union while I was an Anti- Confederate representative. When I went before the people of Saint John at the first they thought with me that Union was bad, but when I went back to them and told them my views had changed I found that their’s had too ; they believed in the sincerity of my convictions, and placed confidence enough in me to return me to this House.

My hon. friend hints that I was afraid to accept the office of Solicitor General because I should have to run my election over again. But I will ask him if he is aware that the fear lay not with me, but with the Government ? The office was needed, but they were afraid to fill it up. The office is still wanted, for it is impossible for the Attorney General to attend to all the duties that would otherwise be required of him. Now, I suppose my hon. friend will think that I want the office of Solicitor General, because I have referred to it, or that I may have some desire to become Attorney General, but I will tell him that I think I am quite as capable as many others to fill either office.

And I will tell him more, that if the Attorney General gives up his office, and a good Government think it right and proper to offer me the situation, I should be willing to accept it, and run my election over, against the best man the late Government can bring in Saint John, and beat him, too, by a majority of 500, and my hon. friend can just put that down on his memorandum. I very much regret that my hon. friend gets so annoyed at the simple question I put, and I really hope that his not answering will not have a tendency to mar that close friendship which he has felt for me for so long a time.

Mr. Smith.—I have always been very suspicious of these sudden conversions. He says he came here an Anti and bound to support the Anti Government, but it was but a very short time before he was right round and opposed the Government with all the power he could command. The hon. member at the first Session said a good deal about Mr. Tilley, but now he is found fighting his battles. When occupying the position of forty-second member, he must have heard the language used against him by the hon. member from St. John (Mr. Wetmore), and I should now like to ask the Secretary what his opinion is of sudden conversions? When the second Session arrived, however, the hon. member came here disaffected, and I might say why.

Mr. Wetmore.—Well, do. Don’t spare me at all ; let us know why it was I became disaffected.

Mr. Smith.—I remember his conversion to the idea of Union was very sudden indeed, and followed immediately after he had strongly urged upon the Government his desire to become Solicitor General.

Mr. Wetmore.—I did not ask for the appointment, but said that I believed I was as capable of filling it as any one.

Mr. Smith.— If the hon. member did not put himself boldly forward, still in his mild way he let us know that he wanted it. He came out afterward and assailed me with preventing his being appointed, and he knows that when what had transpired in the Government could be disclosed it was found that I was the only one who favored his being appointed. The other members of the Government, and his colleagues from Saint John among them, were afraid to open the constituency, and that was why he was not provided for. He now says that he would be willing to take the office of Attorney General if it was offered to him, and I have no doubt he would. He has only been in this House about two years, and yet has shown his desire twice to take office.

I have shown no such greed for office as some have done. I have been here about sixteen years, and have held office but two years in all that time. Why the Attorney General has expressed his willingness to hold on to his seat in this House and go to Ottawa, too, in the interests of the people of his County. I don’t think my friend from Saint John cares about going to Ottawa ; he would rather stay here and be Attorney General. He says he can run his election and beat any one we can put forward, and wants me to write down to my friends that he challenges them to bring out their man. I certainly don’t know why I should take so much trouble for him, but I have seen so much of political life that I know how to estimate such confidence, for l have heard many declare that they could run, who, when they tried it, found they could not. Why, the Secretary thought he could run on the Quebec Scheme—

Hon. Mr. Tilley.—I did run— (laughter).

Mr. Smith—Yes, he did run, but the trouble for him was that he ran out instead of in—(laughter). Now here is the difference between the Secretary and I : that whereas I have been in the House longer than he has, I have only held office two years, he has held office every year

(p. 70)

but one since he was elected and has received a salary of £600 a year. The hon. member for Saint John (Mr. Wetore) thinks he could run his election again if he got the Attorney Generalship, but he might be disappointed—indeed, he may not get the chance as soon as he would like, but for the Attorney General, finding that the dual representation idea won’t work, will probably continue to hold on and not go to Ottawa at all, at least not for some time to come. Then, again, even if he does decide to lay aside his office, I doubt very much whether the Solicitor General would yield his rights in favor of the member from Saint John. But I shall not protract this discussion, I have already given an explanation of the action taken by the late Government, which has gone to the country, and there is no need to go into it all again, especially as it is entirely outside of the question now before us.

Mr. W. P. Flewelling.—I think the time of the House has been taken up quite long enough with this matter ; the business before us is the granting of Supply, and I trust, Mr. Chairman, you will at once put the question on the Resolution without a further discussion on matters so entirely outside of the subject before us.

The Resolution granting $55,000 for By Road purposes was then put and carried.


(p. 72)

Hon. Mr. Fisher moved for leave to bring in a Bill to establish County Courts in this Province.

Leave granted and the Bill read a first time.

On motion of Hon. Mr. Fisher this Bill was read a second time and ordered that 200 copies be printed for the use of the Legislature.


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