New Brunswick, House of Assembly, Debates of the House of Assembly [Albert Railway Company & Amendment to the Address] (24 March 1866)
By: New Brunswick (House of Assembly)
Citation: New Brunswick, House of Assembly, Reports of the Debates of The House of Assembly  at 51-56.
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HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY.
Saturday, March 24.
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Mr. Boyd called attention to a paragraph in the Morning News—which he read—reflecting upon his popularity as a militia officer, and asserting that he had been superseded. So far he said from being the most unpopular officer in the militia; he would take it upon himself to say that there was not a more popular office in the service. Instead of superseding him, the Government had asked him if he could conveniently take command of his battalion at this time. He (Mr. Boyd) had told His Excellency that he could not, and His Excellency then said, if he could not go, he would send another office to take command in his place. The statements in the News were a parcel of the greatest lies ever fabricated.
Hon. Mr. Hatheway called the attention of the House to a statement in an article in the Fredericton Reporter in which he (Hon. Mr. Hatheway) was made to say that His Excellency had entrusted him with this formation of the Government. He gave that statement a flat contradiction. The editor or reporter of that paper in which it appeared, having sat through the debate, must have known it to be untrue What he had said was that His Excellency had called upon him to form an administration, but he declined.
House went into Committee of the Whole on a Bill to amend the act to incorporate the Albert Railway Company.
Mr. Kerr spoke first (but owing to noise in the House we could not catch the exact purport of his observations). He called the attention of the Attorney General to the Bill.
Attorney General said the observations of the hon. member of Northumberland showed better than any observations he could make the effect of going into Confederation under the Quebec Scheme, with its cardinal principle of representation by population. It was said there was no danger of the Province with its limited representation being swamped. But here at home in the attitude assumed by that hon. member in this Bill, was an illustration on a small scale of what would happen to the Province under Confederation. It had been said that if the Province went into Confederation, that it would not be taxed for the construction of Canals in Canada, for it would have a voice in the matter. But how, with an overwhelming Canadian majority, and on questions affecting Canadian interests, could the representatives of the Province protect it against large expenditures. With regard to the Bill under consideration, its object was simply to extend the time given to the Company to construct the railway from two to five years. The Subsidy Act under which the Company was formed was now the lay of the land; there was no limitation to it. It was no act of grace; therefore to give any Company the privileges of the Bill; it was a legislative right. He thought the Company ought to have the extension of time; they were expecting aid from England, and the result would, he anticipated, be the construction of the railway.
Mr. Connell had no objection to support the Bill. With reference to the objections raised by the hon. member of Northumberland (Mr. Kerr), he thought that the people of the North Shore were much more able to take advantage of the Subsidy Act, and build a railway in that district, than the people of St. Stephen and Woodstock to construct their branches.
Mr. Hill doubted very much the policy of incurring large debts for railways; he had always thought that railways should not be built faster than the interests of the Province required. Though opposed to the principle, yet now that the Province had adopted the course of construction of railways under the Subsidy Act, he thought that fair play to these sections that had not yet taken advantage of that Act demanded that they should not now go back. He was [text missing] […]
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[…] for the Bill, and to give the North Shore every facility to build a railway also.
Mr. Kerr said it was perfectly out of the question to suppose that the public of the North Shore could construct a line of railway from Shediac to Miramichi, 186 miles long, under the Subsidies Act. He had made a calculation if the 128 miles of railway, for which Acts had been passed, were constructed under the Subsidy Bill, they would involve the Province in a debt of $11,400,000, and he did not think that that was an amount of debt the Province was prepared to carry. He feared if the Province went on and made a very large expenditure for railway construction, it would, in a short time. find itself in a tight place.
Mr. Cudlip went into the history of the Subsidy Act. It had been introduced under a very strong pressure, and he believed now it was only brought in as a delusion. He supported it because he was not much in earnest for connection with the United States. With reference to the Bill, he could not see how they could refuse to pass it, unless the General Act was repealed.
Mr. Anglin said it would be but right to give the people of Albert this chance to secure the railway. His opinion was, that they had not the means to build it, but he would give them the chance. He hoped he would be mistaken.
Mr. Lindsay could not see how the hon. member for Northumberland had made out his calculation of $11,400,000 as the amount of debt that would be incurred by the Province for railway construction under the Act. He (Mr. L) made it out $1,200,000. He was perfectly willing to give the company the extension of time, but thought they should be obliged either to build the railway immediately themselves, or make room for others who would.
Mr. Bailey had doubted at first if the Government. would ever be called upon to subsidize any company under the Act. But he had seen reason to change his opinions; and he thought if the St. Stephen and Woodstock branches, and, as he hoped. Western Extension, were built under this Bill, and if the people of these districts get the benefit of the Act, he would go for extending it to Albert and likewise to the North Shore.
Mr. McMillan could see no reason why the Bill under consideration should not pass. and he would certainly support it. He thought if all the Bills that had been passed were carried out, and Western Extension, Eastern Extension, and the branches, were secured, the country would be greatly benefitted by the Act passed by the late Government. The present Government now took the benefit of that Act, they had taken great credit to themselves for the contract for Eastern Extension, but that contract was founded upon the Subsidy Act.
Hon. Mr. Hatheway said, that the less the hon. member for Restigouche said about the Subsidy Act the better. He would like to know if the Bill was not introduced under a strong pressure, and did any member in the late Government believe a mile of railway would be built under that Act. The less that they, as members of the late Government, took credit for that Bill the better for themselves.
Mr. McMillan entirely disagreed with the Hon. commissioner of the Board of Works. He (Mr. McM.) knew exactly what the influences were that were brought against the Government. He thought the late Government had conferred a substantial benefit on the country by the passage of that Act. He appealed to the House if this throwing out insinuations and inuendoes against the late Government by a member of it, did not place that gentleman in a most unenviable position. He (Mr. McM.) did not feel ashamed of the course he had pursued in reference to that Act; nor did he think that any member of the late Government need be ashamed of it.
Hon. Mr. Hatheway—The hon. member of Restigouche knew perfectly well the circumstances under which the Bill in question was brought in. He knew that the late Government, in the speech, came down, saying, that they did not intend to go on with Railway construction. He knew when Canada threw up the agreement with regard to the Inter-colonial Railway, and all hope was given up of that work, that a strong pressure was brought to bear upon the Government to proceed with Railway construction in the Province. The Subsidy Act, like all other measures, was not carried by a majority in council, and he (Mr. H.) was in the minority. His hon. friend must remember the castigation he (Mr. H.) received from Hon. Mr. Gray on the floors of this house for expressing an opinion while supporting the Bill, that not a mile of a Railway would be built under it. He would ask the member of Restigouche if he, at the time the Facility Bill was under consideration of Council, believed that the branch to the North Shore would be built under it? He (Mr. H.) had always great doubts about the Bill. He never believed that any roads but the St. Stephen and Woodstock and Fredericton branches would be built under it. He’ believed the Fredericton branch would be built under it, because it was only twenty miles long; the road was easy of construction, and because he thought this opportunity of thus easily connecting themselves with St. John ‘ would not be lost hold of by the people of York. But he never did believe that one hundred and eighty miles of Railway would be constructed under it. With regard to Western Extension. he thought that it ought to have been taken hold of by the Government. The Legislature could not do less in good faith than carry out the Act given to the Albert Company, and assent to the Bill under consideration.
Mr. Lewis briefly supported the Bill.
Mr. Gilbert said he would support the Bill cheerfully. He was sorry that the Chief Commissioner had shown such an aptitude for being squeezed, and that he could be under pressure, made a party to introduce n measure that he thought prejudicial to the country. He was astonished that the Chief Commissioner had made such a confession; but he hoped he did not carry out that principle of acting under pressure in the execution of the responsible duties of his office. Mr. Gilbert then proceeded to speak of Railway matters. He thought it ought to be the policy of the Government to go on building Railways, it could not be expected that these works would, in a young country like New Brunswick, pay directly; but in an indirect way they would, by improving the value of property and opening up the country. He hoped that the Western Extension, and other railways, would be built under the Subsidy Act; but he confessed he had great doubts if they could induce capitalists to come in and expend money to carry such works. If they expected to have more Railways they would, he feared, though he hoped otherwise, have to build them out of the Provincial Revenue.
Mr. Cudlip said, he could perfectly understand what the Hon. Mr. Hatheway had said about pressure; it was nothing but. pressure that induced the Government to bring in their Facility Bill. The hon. member then quoted from the Journals of 1864 the resolutions moved by himself for the repeal of the Inter-colonial Railway Act, and dwelt on the subsequent Legislative action that brought about the introduction of the Facility Bill. He voted for the Bill, though he thought it in some degree a delusion, he was not without hopes that something would grow out of it. Here Mr. Cudlip quoted from the Journals of 1864, the division, April 5th, of the resolution to postpone further consideration of the Facility Bill. (Mr. McMillan said. the hon. member’s name did not appear on the negative side of the division.) Would the hon. member of Restigouche dare to say that he shirked his vote on that question? He would not permit any one to throw out insinuations against him. It appeared to him that the policy of insinuation ran through everything, the Press of the country teemed with it; the whole business of the country was carried away by insinuation. (Mr. McMillan never supposed that the hon. member of St. John shirked the question.) Though his name did not appear on the division, as he was unavoidably absent from the House when the vote was taken, he had supported the Bill.
Mr. Needham asked what on earth was the matter? Every member who had spoken had declared himself in favor of the Bill. If they thought it right, why did they not vote for it at once, without branching out into an irrevelant discussion. If the time given by the Bill to the Albert Company had elapsed, let the House renew it. The Bill merely sought for an extension of time to carry out the construction of the Railway. With regard to railway policy, he would tell hon. members that railways ought to be owned by the Government of the country, and ought to be built out of the revenue of the country, but only as fast as not to entail too heavy a burden on the people. He did not believe in the principle of subsidizing Companies to build railways. ‘ Western Extension and Eastern Extension and other lines might be built under the Act. but eventually they would all have to be ceded over to the Government.
Mr. McMillan said the hon. member of St. John was very’ apt to fly off at a tangen; he was very sensitive as to any thing that appeared like an insinuation thrown out against himself; but he was quite willing to throw out insinuations against the late Government. He had tried to leave the impression that that Government were not sincere when they introduced the Facility Bill. He (Mr. Cudlip) forget the position of the Government.
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They opposed the resolution moved by that hon. member to repeal the Intercolonial Railway, and moving, as an amendment, that it would be inexpedient to repeal the Act, and that it was not prudent by immediate legislation to incur any new liabilities for the construction of railway. The discussion of the question excited great interest. It was in the midst of it, it would be remembered, that the Government got news that the Nova Scotia Government had repealed the Intercolonial Act; and it was after that action of Nova Scotia that the Government came down with the Subsidy Bill. He was astonished that any member of the late Government would traduce it by saying that that Government brought down a bogus Bill; he was. astonished, that their Chief Commissioner should appear in such a position. Much as that Bill had been condemned, the present Government wished to take to themselves all the merits and advantages of it.
Hon. Mr. Hatheway was perfectly willing to take the responsibility of what he had said, but he was not prepared to give the late Government all the credit the hon. member of Restigouche assumed for that Subsidy Bill. He would ask that hon. member if, when that measure was first introduced, he expected that one mile of the Railway from Shediac to Miramichi would be built under it. He knew perfectly that a mile would never be built. He (Mr. McM.) should not come and laud the late Government, for he should recollect the pressure put upon it, and the circumstances under which the Bill was introduced. He (Mr. Hatheway) believed that the Bill was one of the most dangerous that was ever introduced into the country If those, the railways, went on, there would be hundreds of thousands of dollars of debentures floating at interest. While his (Mr. H.’s) constituents would be in a position to receive the benefit of the Act, his (Mr. McM.) would never be.
Mr. Fisher—The course he had pursued had put the screws on the Government. Mr. Fisher here referred at length to the action of the Legislature from the debate on the amendment to the resolution to repeal the Intercolonial Railway Act. (a repeal be resisted from determination to maintain the integrity of the Province, irrespective of the action of Nova Scotia or Canada.) to the introduction of the Subsidy Act. He read from the Journals of 1864 the resolutions he had moved calling on the Government to order surveys to be made of the Western Extension, Eastern Extension, and Woodstock and St. Stephen routes. With regard to the Subsidy Act, or the Lobster Bill, as it had been called, though he did hope that something might be done under it, he did not think at the time it was passed that many miles of railway would be built under it. But he had changed his opinion regarding that Bill, and he now believed that it was one of the most important acts ever passed in the Province, but he also believed that had it not been for his action in ordering surveys of the routes of the different lines, the whole affair would hare been in the most chaotic condition. He believed that the Fredericton branch would give York a connection with St. John, and different Countries, would be built under the Bill, and that the road would be built very cheaply.
The discussion continued some time on matters apart from the Bill under consideration, and finally progress was reported.
ADJOURNED DEBATE ON THE AMENDMENT TO THE ADDRESS.
Mr. Lewis.—The most important question argued in the course of the debate was Confederation. He had been elected to go in for Confederation, and he was there to support that policy. During his canvass in Albert, he had met with strong Opposition from His Honor the Attorney. who went lecturing through that County, and by his powers of oratory and eloquence influenced many who were in favor of Confederation to vote against it. Now it appeared that Government of which the Attorney General was leader was now in favor of Confederation. The Government had been arraigned on a number of counts, and all these had been so fully argued that it was not necessary now to do more than touch upon them. They had been arraigned on a charge of not calling the House sooner together. He could see no objection at all to postponing the Legislature until March. He thought it an improvement from the usual course of meeting in February. Hon. members would now all be able to get home by water, and thought this would be much preferable to breaking up before the navigation opened, and when the roads were in an unfit state for travel. At one time, he remembered, he had to pay $16 for a passage down the Nerepis road, and had to walk more than half the way. Another count was, they had not appointed an Auditor General. He thought the Government were highly capable for not having an officer to take charge of the Audit Office. The public accounts that had been put forth this year might be easily understood; but that fact did not clear the Government from the charge of not having a responsible officer at the head of the office. In 1854 the Government was condemned for building railways without Commissioners according to law, and he thought this present Government was equally culpable in conducting the Audit Office without a responsible head, as the law required. The defence of the country was another count against the Government. The country was alarmed about the Fenian movement and he was somewhat alarmed himself. He did think, considering the excitement in the country, that the Government ought to have done something to put the country in a proper state of defence. He hoped they would take efficient steps to place the country in a state that it would be able to resist an invasion should it take place.
A great deal had been said about the York election. He could not see that the country was interested in that election or that it had anything to do with the business of the country, or affected its interests. He could see no use whatever in dragging it into the debate, and it was high time to bring the matter to a close. One charge the Government had plead guilty to—that was, their neglect about the Export Duty Law; and they had thrown themselves upon the mercy of the country. If this was the only charge they were guilty of, they might be forgiven, and still keep the confidence of the country. But this was not their only neglect of dutv. and be thought it would be better for their interests if they voted them out and brought in a better set of men. He had come here to carry out Confederation. He thought that was the far most important question before the country. He believed that the union of the Provinces would be of a great benefit to New Brunswick. It would lead to the construction of the inter-Colonial Railway. to the opening up of the country and its advancement in wealth arid progress. Notwithstanding all that had been said against the Quebec Scheme, it was better than no scheme at all. If the Government were not prepared with a better measure, better let them accept the Quebec Scheme at once.
A great deal had been said about the staffing process, and about delegations. He could not see for what object the delegation was sent to England. The delegates, he thought, must have crossed the water just to have a good time. He did not think the money of the country should be wasted in that manner. The £800 that delegation had coat would have made a very large piece of bye- road. He considered it a very useless expenditure. He thought that the Railway contract which the Attorney General said would be of such vast benefit to the Province, could have been made without the delegation. In making the contract, the delegates had agreed to give more than the $10,000 a mile for which they had no authority. In closing up, he would say that he hardly thought that the Government were prepared to bring in a scheme of Confederation. If they did bring in a measure. he should be reluctantly obliged to vote against them.
Mr. Young said he felt some embarrassment in addressing the House upon this question, inasmuch as he differed with some of the anti-Confederate members, who were elected, as he was, to oppose the Quebec Scheme, and also inasmuch as he differed with some of the members representing the Northern Counties. The question that was now before the House was, whether the Government was entitled to the confidence of the Representatives of the people or not. If the Government was entitled to the confidence of the House, it would be his duty, and that of the hon. members to support them, and if they (the Government) were not entitled to the confidence of the House, it would be his duty, and that of hon. members, to turn them out.
The position of many of his hon. friends who represent the Northern Counties was entirely different to his. Many of them were elected to support the Quebec Scheme, and having been returned to support that scheme they cannot very well do otherwise than oppose the policy of the present Government. His position on the question of Confederation was just the reverse; he was elected by the electors of his County to oppose the Quebec Scheme, he put it in his election card, he declared it on the hustings, and he was here today to carry out, in good faith, the pledge that he had made to the electors of Gloucester. Had he changed his mind on this important subject, had he felt convinced since his election that the views he entertained twelve months ago (with reference to the scheme) were erroneous, he would have considered it his duty, as a matter of fair play and […]
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[…] justice to his constituents. to resign his seat and allow them the privilege of again giving an expression of their opinion on the Quebec Scheme; this, he thought would be much better than for him to advocate a measure that they sent him to oppose. (Hear, hear.) But he would tell this House that he had not changed his mind in reference to Confederation: he was as much opposed to the Quebec. Scheme now as he was when he was elected twelve months ago; he was as determined to vote against it now as he was when he came here last session, and in doing so he was doing neither more nor less than carrying out the views and the wishes of his constituents. When hon. members talked about the influences that were used at the last general election, he could tell them that he had not forgot the influences—the Canadian influences—that were used in the Northern Counties. The hon. member from Victoria (Mr. Costigan) alluded the other day to the Canadian official that came into his County during the election, enquiring about the prices of lime, railway sleepers, and material for constructing the Inter-Colonial Railway; he could tell his hon. friend, and he could he tell the House, that this influence was used in the Northern Counties also, he was glad to say that in his County the Canadian influence did not succeed.
It had been stated that the Times advocates the Quebec Scheme; that the Colonial Secretary, Mr. Cardwell, is strongly in favor of Confederation, and that Her Majesty the Queen is anxious to see the British North American Provinces united. He (Mr. Young) had not the slightest doubt about this, he knew that Union was desirable, and he had no objections to a Union of the Provinces, provided the interests of New Brunswick were protected; otherwise he would not consent to Union. With the permission of the House he would read an article he had copied from the Times some time ago, in which that paper criticised the Quebec Scheme, viz.:—
“But the most important clause in the whole Resolution, and unfortunately by no means the easiest to understand, is the one which defines the powers of the Central Federative Legislation. By Resolution 29. the General. Parliament shall have power to make laws for the peace, welfare and good government of the Federated Provinces, owning the Sovereignty of England and especial laws respecting the following subjects. Then follow thirty- six heads of legislation, and a thirty- seventh which is as follows: And generally respecting all matters of a general character not specially and exclusively reserved for the Local Governments and Legislations. We cannot find that the Local Legislatures have any exclusive power of legislation given them. They have power, by the 43rd Resolution, to make laws respecting seventeen subjects, the eighteenth being:—And generally matters of a private or local nature, not assigned to the General Parliament. It is exceedingly difficult to construe these provisions. First, general powers of legislation are given especially to make laws on thirty-seven subjects, one of those being all matters of a general character, not exclusively reserved to the Local Legislatures. Nothing is exclusively reserved to Local Legislatures, and it would seem, therefore, that the effect of this clause is to cut the power of Central Legislation down to matters of a general character—a most vague and unsatisfactory definition, and one sure, if it be retained, to produce conflict and confusion.
He (Mr. Young) stated that this was an extract from the London Times, which he had found in the St. John Telegraph, of the 7th Dec., 1964, which paper, he believed, was opposed to Union at that time, but, from some cause of other that he did not know, had since gone over. If the opinion of the Times was worthy of consideration, and if its statement in reference to the Quebec Scheme was reliable, it went to prove that the scheme was nothing but a mass of confusion, and in his opinion we ought to reject it, and should not adopt it under any consideration. These were his views with regard to the scheme, and it was surely his duty as an opponent of this scheme to support this Government. Unless it could be shown that they had not discharged their duty faithfully, or been recreant to their duty, he would support them; he had no hesitation in stating that he believed this Government had carried on the administration of the country in accordance with the well understood wishes of the people, and, therefore, were entitled to the confidence and support of honorable members.
His hon. friend from Restigouche (Mr. McMillan) the other day, in complaining that the Northern Counties had not sufficient representation in the Government, stated: “How could any member from the North Shore support them or vote for them.” He (Mr. Young) would tell the hon. member that he had not desire to ignore the right of the people of the North Shore from being represented at the Executive Council Board, and he did think that the Northern Counties ought to have more representation in the Government than they have at present. But he would ask the hon. member in what position had the North placed itself on the question of Confederation? Take the Counties of Restigouche, Northumberland and Gloucester, and what would they find? They would find that out of thirty members elected at the last general election to oppose the Quebec Scheme, and the three Counties that he had just named had sent but three anti-Confederates, vis: the hon. Mr. Hutchinson, his colleague (Mr. Meehan) and himself. The former was called ot the Executive; and without knowing the intentions of the Government in the matter, he would undertake to say that, if they had been disposed to take his colleague or himself into the Government, it could not have been done in consequence of the Scrutiny that was pending against them. He (Mr. Young) referred to this to show hon. members from the Northern Counties that if the people of the North Shore had not the representation in the Government that they ought to have, they have only themselves to blame. And, while he was upon this subject, he would do the Hon. Mr. Hutchison the justice to say that, notwithstanding the abuse that gentleman had received from a portion of the Opposition press, and notwithstanding the remarks, the other day, of the ex- Surveyor General, that he (Mr. Hutchison) had no political experience, and, consequently, was unfit to represent the North Shore alone. He would tell the hon. member that the interests of the Northern Counties during the past year had not been neglected. They had received just as much money for their bye roads, and great roads, and public works as when the late Government were in power. He (Mr. Young) had not forgot that, during the years 1863 and 1884, how difficult it was to get a steamer for the North Shore; that notwithstanding all the political experience and ingenuity of his hon. friend the ex-Surveyor General, it could not be done. The people’s representatives were put off from time to time by being told that a steamer could not be got—that they were all down South during the war. But how did it happen that the Acadia was not engaged? She was built by a company at Sorel, in Canada, expressly with a view of being put on the North Shore; but the Government of which his hon. friend was a member would not engage her. He (Mr. Young) referred to this to shew that when the North was represented by gentlemen who claimed to possess great political knowledge, the local requirements of the North were not better attended to then than they are now.
With reference to the charges that had been made against this Government by the leader of the Opposition and his followers, he could only say that they were not sustained; it was not necessary for him to refer to them, for they had been ably answered by the Attorney General and the Provincial Secretary. He believed the Opposition have been premature in their movements; they want to turn out the Government before they have time to lay before this House an account of their stewardship; they do not want to wait until the reports from the several heads of Departments are laid on the table. Their cry is, “Turn them out. turn them out, they are a parcel of loafers and traitors.” And in their great anxiety to turn them out they have acted imprudently, and if the term was not unparliamentary) had acted like office seekers, and he had no doubt they (the Opposition) had brought upon themselves the indignation of every lover of fair play and justice in the country. He would vote against the amendment.
Mr. Williston said, before going into the general questions he would touch upon a few of the matters that had come up during the course of the debate. A great deal of irrelevant matter had been thrown into the discussion, and a great deal said about the York election. but he could not see what that had to do with the question. It seemed to him the whole aim of Mr. Fisher’s colleagues was to break him down. The Hon. Chief Commissioner had, in his speech, directed the weight of his attack against that gentleman and he had been followed by his friend Mr. Fraser, who had also attacked Mr. Fisher with great severity and acrimony. He thought that it would be much more dignified if the members of York had settled their disputes about the election outside, and not have brought them before the Legislature. He was very sorry that the Provincial Secretary for whom he personally had the greatest, regard, and in whom he had unbounded confidence, should so far have forgotten his dignity as to have thrown the weight of his position on the side of the attack against Mr. Fisher. Mr. Fisher he had always found courteous, kind and affable. […]
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[…] He did not stand there as Mr. Fisher’s apologist, for he was perfectly well able to take care of himself. but it was due to the position he (Mr. W.) held, and to the country, that he should not use such language as would bring disgrace upon the halls of the Legislature. If Mr. Gladstone, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, attacked any member of the Imperial Parliament in the way the Provincial Secretary had attacked Mr. Fisher, it would raise such a whirl of indignation throughout England as was never raised before. Another point that had been taken up by his hon. friends the members of York, (the Hon. Mr. Hathaway and Mr. Fraser), was that the Opposition in their County had attempted to excite class against class, and raise the fires of religious hatred. If that were true, he had not language strong enough to denounce those who attempted to take that course. He would be derelict to his duty if he did not stand up and condemn it. The man who attempted to raise the firebrand of religious strife and class hatred in this mixed community, ought to be looked upon as a moral criminal, and shunned by every honorable man. In this community they had all equal rights, they were nearly as possible for men to on an equality, and it was the duty of all to promote good feeling, and not to disturb the concord and harmony that had hitherto always prevailed. Mr. Willtston then proceeded to speak to the general question the mode the Quebec Scheme placed before the people. The late Government had thought proper to dissolve the Legislature before submitting the Scheme. He differed with them upon that point, for he thought they ought first to have brought the scheme before the Legislature, and there thoroughly ventilated the subject, and then gone to the country, when the people would have been better prepared to pronounce upon it. But that was merely a question of policy. There was no doubt that they would have to proceed and consolidate the country. New Brunswick, as it stood alone, was a most insignificant place, and while it remained a community by itself. would always remain so. What was the great object of Confederation but to throw down the barriers that hemmed the Province in, and allow them to unite with a larger people; and would any one say that the great and prosperous Canada was not a country they would be willing to be united to? He was there as a Confederate and to support the principle of Confederation. At a large meeting in Chatham, he publicly enunciated his principles on that great question. and had pronounced without fear, favor, or hopes of personal aggrandizement, his judgment. Though he came to the House a Confederate and though the Government was formed on anti-Confederate basis, he had felt that as there was a Conservative element in it, he would sustain the Government on every point except Confederation. He felt that it was his duty to support them, and he had done so to the best of his ability. But what did they did when the House rose. They found [text missing] of the members of the Government went off on the [text missing] to England. In their absence his colleagues drew up the Minutes of Council of which so much has been said. He objected to that Minute on several points.
(Here the hon. member quoted the Minute and commented upon it.)
He thought it most undignified and unstatesmanlike in a grave official document to quote from a newspaper. England dealt with the question of union as a national question. It appeared to be the disposition of the British Government that the Colonies should unite. (Mr. Williston, he referred to the New Zealand Colonies, and also to the Cape of Good Hope Colonies as cases in point. In the latter, Caffraria had been united by Imperial legislation.) The mother country was anxious that the North American Colonies should adopt the scheme, and also had a right to make them if she though proper. They had a right to suppose, if the British Government wished to unite these Provinces, that it was their interests and general interests of the Empire. Was the British Government bound, he would ask, to protect them? Was the mother country bound to throw her ægis around these Provinces? Was she bound to defend them if, when she said that her policy was union, they refused to obey, and unite? When they looked at the position of these Colonies, and considered from whom their protection came, had the British Government not the right to say to them that they must unite for the general interest? What was their situation? The found they had upon their borders a restless and aggressive people, who were now amongst the first military nations of the world, and whose constant dream it had been to make this Continent a vast republic. the British people saw what might arise — they wished to remain on the most friendly terms with the Americans; they had no wish to fight; but they saw that the time might come, and they said to the Colonies: “consolidate, unite under one strong general government.” If union took place, they might possibly send out a Viceroy. He said that the Minute of Council, in standing in the way of the general interests of the Empire, was not based on a correct political principle; and that Minute was not based upon political principles. It did not give an exposition of the sentiments of the people, when it said that the majority were opposed to any closer union with Canada. He believed that they were not opposed, and the Minute did not even speak the mind of the Government, for what did they find the leader of the Government saying that he would be willing to go for a scheme of Union based on equitable principles, and that would advance the interests of the country. If the Government were not favorable to Union, why did they not come down with a scheme. They had told the people in the speech from the throne that they were in favor of a Union, yet they did not advance any scheme. When they told the country they were in favor of Union they either did it to perpetuate their own power, or for some other reason. He was opposed to the Government on Confederation. [Text missing] in the Council; if the truth were known he believed he (Mr. H.) was promised a seat before the Government were formed. He was not going to disparage Mr. Hutchison, he was known to be a first rate business man, a man of good capacity and standing, but possess of no political experience or attainments; and the interests of the North were ignored when the Government passed over the other anti-Confederate members. His hon. friend Mr. Young, had defended the Government, and said they could not have taken either himself or his colleague (Mr. Meahan) into the Council because there was a scrutiny against them. But was there not a scrutiny against Mr. Hutchinson when he was taken into the Government, was there not a charge against him of the gravest kind? Mr. Williston then proceeded to say that he had been seven years in the House, battling against a Liberal Administration, yet they had given the North Shore a fair shake at the Council Board. But what had the present Government done for the North? They had placed in the Government a gentleman who had no large amount of administrative experience, a gentleman unable to cope with his colleagues when questions attacking its interests came up. His hon. friend, Mr. Young. had stated that the interests of the North Shore had not been neglected by the present Government, that it had received as much school money and bye- road money, and great road money as it had formerly received. But the people of the North Shore could not thank the Government for that. There appropriations were rights that no Government could take away, and deserved no t thanks for conceding. What the North had reason to complain of was that their interests had not been properly attended to; that they had not a greater representation at the Council Board. The Government policy he proceeded to say would be disastrous to the North. Its interests had not been sufficiently served, and on that, at one ground. he would vote for the Amendment.
The question had been raised had the Government done their duty about the Export Duty Law. He was not going to condemn that oversight, but was willing to forgive them. It was certainly an oversight which might have taken from the revenues of this Province $60,000, had it been discovered by the exporters of lumber. Fortunately for the position of the Province and the revenues, such had not been discovered and the mistake had been rectified by the unanimous vote of the House. ln his mind highly creditable to it. In such a case, faction might lead to injurious consequences, and he felt delighted that the representatives of the people have risen above party. and corrected what appeared to have been an unintentional oversight.
With regard to the charge against the Government regarding the disposal of the Crown Lands to Mr. Gibson, he would not condemn the Government for that act. He only wished that there were a number of people, with plenty of money in their hands, who would come into the country, and take up the wilderness lands of the Province. If there was a Gibson junior about, they would be glad to see him in Northumberland. As far as that [text missing] was concerned, he was [text missing] both the present and the late Government, [text missing]
Hon. Surveyor General—But [text missing]
Mr. [text missing]—[text missing] Reciprocity Treaty that had expired? He had been told there were a [text missing] […]
- (p. 56)
[…] of gentlemen in New York and Boston who were buying up large quantities of all the articles that came into the Province duty free. He had understood that the Government did not intend to collect duties on those articles that before the Reciprocity Treaty were subjected to a duty of 3 per cent. St. John would soon be flooded with articles and not pay a cent of duty. But let it be supposed that the Government did impose duty on these articles, the Southern part of the Province would get them duty free. St. John being an open port, while the people of the North would have to pay duty. Such a policy would not be tolerated were the Northern Counties properly represented at the Council Board.
Mr. Fraser.—Did not flour come into the Province, duty free, before Reciprocity.
Mr. Williston.—He would vote against putting a duty on flour, beef. &c. He would like to know what the Government intended to do.
Attorney General—The Government did not intend to put a duty on flour.
Mr. Williston was glad to hear that, yet it would be necessary to put a protective duty on certain articles in order to checkmate the American Government, should they put a heavy duty on exports. He was not going further into the charges against the Government. He had already stated the grounds on which he stood against them. The moment he read their Minute of Council he made up his mind to oppose them. He was opposed to them also for the reason that the Government, as at present constituted, did not sufficiently represent the interests of the North. He regretted very much that he should have to vote against the Government. For individual members of it he felt great respect. He had always been on the most friendly terms and had received the greatest kindness from the Attorney General, the Surveyor General, and the Provincial Secretary. He felt very great reluctance to vote against them; but conscientiously believing that Confederation would advance the interests of the country, and believing that the Government were not prepared to bring in a scheme, he should therefore, vote for the amendment.
The House then adjourned over until Monday, at 10 o’clock.