New Brunswick, House of Assembly, Debates of the House of Assembly [Amendment to the 4th paragraph in the Address] (22 March 1866)
By: New Brunswick (House of Assembly)
Citation: New Brunswick, House of Assembly, Reports of the Debates of The House of Assembly  at 42-47.
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HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY.
Thursday, March 22.
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At eleven the adjourned debate on the amendment to the 4th paragraph in the address, was taken up.
Mr. Fraser resumed his speech from yesterday afternoon. He said that there was the charged of which the House was asked to [text missing] Government; and it was a very delicate subject [text missing] connected as he was with the [text missing] Province, to, [text missing] he meant [text missing] Judicial appointments. But [text missing] was afraid to [text missing] would give his opinion plainly and he felt bound to say that the Government could not have appointed Judge Wilmot to the position of Chief Justice and done justice to themselves. The hon. member of York (Mr. Fisher) said that there was no great political excitement at the time Judge Wilmot addressed the Grand Jury in Fredericton on the subject of Confederation. He wished to show that the political excitement was running very high at the time. The country was agitated on the question of the Quebec Scheme. Mr. Fisher himself, who was the first who began the discussion, he spoken in Carleton; he was followed by his friend Mr. Needham. Mr. Tilley and Mr. Gray not long afterwards repeatedly addressed crowded audiences in the Mechanics Institute, St. John, and in Carleton. The excitement throughout the country was, there could be no doubt, running high. A keen political contest was looked forward to, for it was pretty well understood that the Governor was going to dissolve the House. It was amidst all this excitement that Judge Wilmot addressed the Grand Jury in Fredericton. His hon. colleague (Mr. Fisher) said that it was a common practice for Judges in their addresses to speak on the topics of the day, and he had pointed to a precedent in the case of the late Chief Justice Parker. But there was a great difference between Judge Parker addressing a Jury on a School Law, and that of Judge Wilmot speaking with all the judicial authority of the Bench on a question affecting the very constitution of the country. He denied his right to throw himself into the political excitement of the time, and his saying that he would, in case it was necessary to carry the Scheme of Confederation, resign his seat up on the Bench and contest the County of York, was sufficient to condemn him in his mind. Further than that, Judge Wilmot voted against the Government of the day. If he (Judge W. chose to mix himself up with the politics of the day, he must as men in the humbler situations of public trust, take the consequences: considering his position, he was bound to preserve a dignified silence.
Mr. Fraser then proceeded to speak on the charge against the Government for not filling up the office of Auditor General, and referred to the late Auditor General, a gentleman who was well known to be a great financier, but equally well known for several years before his death to be incapable to discharge the duties of his office. He was not pleased, he confessed, that the Government had filled up that office before this time, but was he to turn round, because they had not done so, and oppose them, and help probably to being in a Government that would inflict the Quebec Scheme upon the country. But he would say that as far as the business of the Audit Office was concerned, he had no fault to find with the Government. He never knew the public accounts to be presented in such a clear, plain, mercantile manner as they had been this year. With regard to the Solicitor Generalship. As far as he himself was consulted in the Crown business, he had given good advice, that is, in Crown judgment, and he could not have given [text missing] been Solicitor General. He was are [text missing] say as much [text missing] man who had been called upon [text missing] crown [text missing] the country. [text missing] of the country had [text missing] the Government had not made the appointment, particularly if the pay of the gentlemen employed did not exceed […]
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[…] the salary of the Solicitor General. Mr. Fraser then went on to show that the crown law expenses under the late Government were not confined to the salaries of its officers; he took up the public accounts of 1862 and proved that the late Government, when they had a Solicitor General employed gentlemen to conduct the business—quoting a case where Mr. Charles Fisher had been paid $187 for attending to the criminal business in Carleton.
Mr. Fraser then referred at length to the course Mr. Fisher had taken during the election of York, and denounced his attack on Mr. Hatheway as cruel and unkind. Mr. Fuller had attacked every one of the three gentlemen who represented York, and who had been returned by large majorities over himself, and all, he believed. for the express purpose of raising himself at their expense.
Mr. Fraser then proceeded to say the mover of the amendment, Mr. Fisher, had made a grave charge a against the Government in reference to Minute of Council. He had called it an insulting document, and said that any one who would answer a courteous letter in the spirit of that paper, he would call a low fellow. He could not agree with Mr. Fisher, he said, and he did not fear boldly to express his opinion. There was no insult to that dispatch to Her Majesty’s Secretary of State. He thought that the gentlemen who signed that Minute had taken a bold and independent stand. Could Mr. Fisher say that they had no right to differ with Mr. Cardwell on a matter of policy so nearly affecting their interests? Would he say that Her Majesty’s Ministers could not be approached with remonstrance? that they were never censured for their policy in the Imperial Parliament? What, he would like to know, did Earl Derby state, the other day, in reference to Mr. Cardwell and his Colonial policy? Mr. Cardwell was, like any other man, liable to error and mistakes of judgment, and open to censure. While he had the highest respect for the Queen’s Secretary of State, he thought, on the question of Confederation, he had a right to his opinion, and that he had the better judgment of what would be best for the country. Mr. Fisher had displayed a new-born reverence for dispatches, but what did he say in 1854? Why, that the Government should not he governed by dispatches from Downing Street, but Mr. Fisher only cared for dispatches when it suited him. The Government had been charged with neglecting the defence of the country. He had no hesitation in saying that it had been the hon. member of Carleton (Mr. Connell) who had raised the alarm about the unprotected state of the frontier. He did not wonder at the alarm in Carleton, and that weak women and children should be frightened; but he believed it was got up that some political purpose might be served. He had not the slightest doubt that the Government would look after the defences of the country, if for no other reason than that their own lives and properties were at stake. Mr. Fisher had referred to the coat of the delegation to England, and said that the money had been absolutely wasted. But be thought that delegation had done good. By it Mr. Cardwell got some information as to the feeling in this Province regarding the Quebec Scheme, that might be useful ro him. With regard to the question of Confederation, he was not, he would say, opposed to the abstract principle of union, but he would never consent that the Quebec Scheme should be inflicted upon the country. He would go down with the ship first, and he would never consent to any scheme unless it was first submitted to the people.
Mr. Fraser quoted from the Canadian News, to the effect that it was said the British Government were going to appoint Hon. Mr. Tiller Governor of British Columbia and Vancouver’s Island—a report that the News hoped was not true, for Mr. Tilley had yet good work to do, and in doing it he would serve the British Government and the Colonies. What was that good work, he would like to ask? Was it not to work up the scheme and have it forced upon the Province? Mr. Tilley, in doing this, might be serving the interests of the Imperial Government, but was he serving the interests of the Province? He believed the British Government were deceived as to the unanimity of feeling in favor of the scheme. They were told that men of all political parties wished to carry it out. But, he would ask, who represented the Opposition of this Province at the Quebec Conference? The Hon. J. H Gray. Did he represent the Opposition? No. Did Hon. E. B. Chandler, one of the greatest politicians this country had produced—did he represent the Opposition? No. Somehow he was generally found supporting the Government of the day. Did his hon. colleague Mr. Fisher represent the Opposition? No. He would tell his colleague, when the Tilley Government turned him, they turned him out. But it was no less true that, after he was turned out, he invariably gave that Government his support. When the British Government were told that men of all parties supported the scheme, he maintained they were told what was not true. He would refer to another delegation. the delegation to Washington with reference to the Reciprocity Treaty. (Here Mr. Fraser quoting from an American paper, referred to a debate that had taken place at some meeting in Washington, at which Mr. Merrill & Co. on the-American side and the Hon. Messrs. Galt, A.J Smith and Henry, delegates of the Provinces, were present, and showed that the Hon. A. J. Smith was reported as arguing strongly in maintenance of the right of lumbermen to raft their lumber down the head waters of the St. John.) Should they say, after this, that the Hon. A. J. Smith, who, it had been said, was hostile to this section of the country, was the man who was going to sacrifice interests of the people on the St. John River? Or would it be said that the delegation to Washington was useless when, though the treaty was abrogated, that right was not lost? A great deal had been said about the cost of delegations. How much he would like to know, did the delegation of Mr. Fisher and the Hon. J. Robertson cast the Province? £350,000. because the country lost that sum when they bought out Jackson & Co. He heard that his hon. colleague kept back the contract, and it was a singular thing that memorandum attached to it, in which Jackson & Co. professed willingness to build the Railway upon concession of time, could not be found. (Mr. Fisher decried this.) The contract was kept back. He would refer to his hon. friend Mr. Kerr, if that was not the fact.
Mr. Kerr did remember that the contract was missing at the time, and that it was never seen till after the debate on the question was closed. The Attorney General (Mr. Fisher) said that it had been mislaid in a pigeon-hole of some desk in the Provincial Secretary’s office.
Mr. Fisher—It was a singular thing that the original contract was never produced during the debate. But there was a duplicate of it. It was also a singular thing that., after the debate, the original contract should have turned up in the Secretary’s office. He would rather be called a liar to his face than to have these insinuations thrown out. His colleague (Hr. Fraser) would find the whole words of the original contract in the Journals of 1856, page 52, with the, memorandum.
Mr. Fraser—If his hon. colleague would show, he would withdraw his assertion.
(Here Mr. Fisher produced the Journals, and showed the copy of the contract, and pointed out that the memorandum for extension of time was in the body of the agreement.)
Mr. Fraser,—But it was a distinct memorandum. He had heard the present Judge Allen make the statement on the hustings. With reference to the cost of the delegation of Hon. A.J. Smith and J. Allen. it had been said that it cost £800. Then, he said, the delegation of his hon. colleague (Mr. Fisher) cost £350,000; for who could say, if they had not been bought out, if they had got an extension, that Jackson & Co., the wealthiest railway contractors in England, who had built a railway in the Crimea and made a present of it to the British Government, were men not able to build the Railway? But, apart from this view of the case, it was said that the delegation of Fisher and Robertson cost £900. One thing more he would touch upon. An observation of the hon. member (Mr. Fisher) had fallen on his ears and given him a great surprise, when he said that the troops of Her Majesty would not be sent to the borders of the Province because they would desert. Were they not sent two or three years ago? And when the disturbance on the Railway took place, sent to the border, and had they heard of one desertion? It came with a very bad grace from him (Mr. Fisher) to cast this slur upon Her Majesty’s groups. (Mr. Fisher denied that what he had said could bear the interpretation Mr. Fraser had put upon it.) That slur that had been thrown upon Her Majesty’s troops he would throw back as a slur upon the hon. member.
Mr. McClelan referred to his friendly relations with the members of the present Government, had a high regard for each separately, but they had lost their individuality, and as a political combination he (Mr. McC.) hoped their policies would be confounded, and their fantastic and knavish tricks frustrated.
Contrasted their coasted strength of last Session with their acknowledged weakness of this.
Delegations extravagant and useless. Burial of Confederation, and its resuscitation now.
The Government acknowledge guilt on the Export Duty. Count, and throw themselves on the mercy of the court. They are unwilling witnesses on their own trial;—refuse the records, and, therefore, have all the advantages Defeated in Legislative Council, but refuse to rescind Address for fear of consequences.
The Press and the platform—the elements […]
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[…] of progress—ought not to be denounced by the Government. If their deeds were not evil they should not fear the light of free discussion.
The Government unable to fill up the offices; the people refuse to endorse their policy, and unable, also to dismiss officials after attempting to do so. His Excellency very properly holds his imbecile advisers in check.
The York election—a fair criterion of public feeling all over the Province. Replied to Fraser and Hatheway, as to the influences at work in York which caused return of Fraser.
The Government to blame on the Governor’s salary question. The Private Secretary continues to receive full amount, and the principle of drawing on the Province for the larger amounts, so strongly condemned by the Freeman, still continues.
The delay in calling the House, unwise, especially this year, when important laws had expired. Tilley and Fisher should not be blamed for not coming earlier to their rescue. Such an act of kindness could scarcely be expected.
Gibson’s land ought not to have been brought to sale till a formal notice of rescinding the former order had been published. The Surveyor General, last Session, stated that the Government had not then concluded as to this matter. Now they say, the order lapsed when the Inter-colonial Railroad Act expired. Five thousand acres of the land surveyed for Gibson advertised in name of other parties. The public deceived. Twenty-seven acres granted at the head of Nashwaak River, which commands the business of St. Mary’s Lake, which was not offered at public sale at all, said to have been given to make up for some deficiency.
The Attorney General cannot blame the Opposition Press for furnishing timely information of the Fenian conspiracy; he is not the greatest alarmist himself on this subject. We are not asked for concord and harmony in view of this emergency. The Attorney General finds “emergencies” sufficient to enable him to get the loaves and fishes; but such appeals are too transparent.
The famous Minute of Council, undignified, untruthful and insulting.
The Judges appointments condemned. The claims of Wilmot unjustifiably overlooked. The despotic conduct of these men in the exercise of “a little brief authority” cannot be sustained by the people.
The Attorney General’s present Confederation policy examined, and the “checks,” or “equivalents,” which he proposes for representation by population alluded to.
The “Dorchester Scheme” vs. “Quebec Scheme” contrasted.
The inconsistencies of Attorney General and Chief Commissioner of Works, the best illustrations of professional politicians. “Everything by turns and nothing long.”
The former objections to Union removed, and the manifest tendency of the times, illustrated by a reference to concurrent events.
“Something must be done quickly” or the present unpopular Government will ruin the Province, “politically, commercially and financially.” The ship of state, with its mutinous crew will soon be wrecked, involving the loss of the peoples’ best and dearest interests, unless placed in charge of another captain and more reliable men.
[Mr. McClelan addressed the House for about three hours; but owing to our unfortunate misunderstanding about reporting, we are unable to furnish more of this speech than some of the leading points.]
Hon. Mr. Gilmour said he was pleased to hear his hon. friend, Mr. McClelan say that if the Government were all right on the question of Confederation, he would not feel bound to vote against them on any of the minor charges which had been preferred at this time. He thanked his hon. friend for the complimentary allusion which had been made to him; personally they had been on the most intimate terms for ten years, and had, until the last election, acted together in politics, and if there was any circumstances which he regretted, it was that his hon. friend and himself differed in reference to Confederation. There was no member with whom he should be more pleased to be associated than with him. He should not trespass long upon the time of the House, for he was quite sure that he could not make a speech which could for any length of time be interesting. The Government, of which he was a member, were not upon their trial. He had listened to the charges and denunciations which had been made without any feelings of alarm or fear: first, because he knew that he had endeavored to do his duty, and that it had been done in such a manner that the public interest had been carefully guarded, and whatever the result of the vote might be, it could make little difference to him personally, for he valued the honorable position which he held only because it was an evidence of the confidence of the people; he was not in need of its emoluments, he was not a all in love with its responsibilities. One would suppose that some of the Opposition in the House, and many more out of it, imagined that the Government had done some great injustice to the late Government; such was not the case; in the words of the famous Memorandum of Council, the late Government were parties to the Quebec Scheme; they submitted it to the people in their own way and at their own time, and it was rejected, and in rejecting it they rejected its advocates. The present Government had no concerted action during the elections; each discussed the question in its own way, and he should trust fairly and honorably; and no matter how highly the services of the late Government had been valued, the most of them had been defeated, and their services had been dispensed with. If any injustices had been done to them, they had to blame their own constituencies and not this Government. He had no apology to make to the late Government or any member of it; he never wronged them either individually or collectively, and neither was he under any obligation to them; he thought if the accounts were balanced, they would be largely indebted to him, so far as political favors were concerned. It was true, as the Attorney General had stated, that most of the members of the present Government were called hastily and unexpectedly to seat in the Executive Council, and a generous public would not expect new men to be just so ready in all duties of an Executive as men who had been for years directing the affairs of the Province; but while they had not their experience, neither had they learned the art of mystifying and humbugging the people.
Without any wish to operate upon the sympathies of hon. members or the people generally, he would refer for a few minutes to some of the influences which had been used against the Government. First, he alluded to the press, the most of which had been not only in favor of Confederation, but in direct opposition to the Government. He was aware that some portion of the religious press had been devoted to advocating Confederation, but other portions of it had exerted all their influence against the Government, and had not hesitated to scatter through society “firebrands, arrows and death.” He was not one of those who would, if he could exclude the discussion of important political questions from religious journals, but they should be expected, from their high and holy calling, to urge a calm and dispassionate consideration of any important matter, and to endeavor to operate upon men’s reason and judgment, and upon the better part of human nature, but some of them, he regretted to say, had pursued an entirely different course. He had no disposition to say anything disrespectful, and should leave them to their own reflections, which he was sure, in their calm moments, must punish them more than anything which could be said of them; but there were some honorable exceptions. The secular Press had pursued a course of opposition unprecedented in the history of this or any other Province, and if the “liars have their place,” he pitied the men who had prompted and published such base and calumnious falsehoods. They had learned the art of lying and misrepresentation to perfection, and would be entitled to a first class certificate for those qualifications. They had acted upon the principle of throwing dirt in hopes that some might stick; they had endeavored to give a false coloring to the most plausible acts of the Government and the papers had teemed with one continued strain of personal abuse, slander and misrepresentation, and when such characters call a man a fool the public are to understand him to be an honest man, and one who will endeavor to do his duty. Their humor means scandal and falsehood. Patriot– one who wants to humbug the people and get into office. Promises-mean nothing. Rogue and rascal-means a man of a different political party from themselves; in fact, the public should understand them, to get at the truth, to say. Such papers had been spread, broad-cast over the land, at whose expense he was not prepared to say, but he could say, that none of the public money had been used since the present Government came into power, to subsidize the Press. In connection with a portion of the Press there had been employed an organized band of sneaks, who had no taste for anything that was decent or good, who would see nothing to please in the most lovely landscape […]
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[…] but if they could only see something filthy and decayed they were sure to stick their bill into it. And such was the character of the miserable band who had so industriously endeavored to poison the public mind by base and dishonest means, and some men who hold their heads high, and present a friendly appearance, had encouraged it; but “a man may smile, and smile, and be a villain.” He had borne their personal abuse and slander for twelve months, and was now going to free his mind, and as he cared little personally for political distinction, he should speak without reserve his honest conviction, let it cut where it would.
Their political opponents, with some honorable exceptions, had pretended to look upon the Government with contempt. This was a quality seldom seen in a gentleman, it was most prominent in the lower order of men. Gentlemen, although superior in education and in position, seldom looked with contempt upon those, who in reality were their inferiors; but there was a class of men who became intoxicated with their own supposed greatness and superiority, having excessive vanity, who in order to gratify a low principle, treated with contempt men who were quite their equals, this quality increased as you descended in the scale of manhood, and was very prominent in the negro character, and he had been informed that in the South the slaves looked upon and treated with contempt not only those of their own class who might not be just equal with them in the social scale, but even the white men who were free and in every respect their superiors. And in animals it is the same. Writers who had studied their habits said, that the lion and the horse were never known to have been influenced by any such disposition, while the ass and the meaner beasts were strongly influenced by that principle. He had been amused to see with what contempt some of the very meanest specimens of humanity pretended to look upon the present Government. A great many of the public officials, from the judge upon the bench down to the humblest employee upon the railroad, had been opposed to the Government, and, with some honorable exceptions, they had been industriously endeavoring to defeat them. It had not been the policy of the Government to remove from office their opponents and replace them with their friends, but acts of kindness and forbearance in too many cases had been met with base ingratitude.
Personally he had, since his first entrance into public life, been opposed to removals, except where the public interests require it. He had never been disposed to use any brief authority or power which might have been entrusted to him in any unkind or ungenerous way, and for pursuing that course he had suffered to some extent with the extreme men of the Liberal party, and now, he believed, that he was likely to suffer from the extreme men of the Conservative party, but so far he had had courage enough in that respect to do what he thought was right, but there was a point beyond which forbearance ceased to be a virtue.
Having now dwelt long enough upon general matters, he would allude to a few of the charges which had been urged against this Government; and as all of them had been so ably answered by speakers who had preceded him, it was not necessary that he should dwell long upon any of them.
Mr. Fisher charged the Government with having called the House together on the 8th of March instead of the 14th of February. This House was prorogued on the 8th day of June last, and was called together on the 8th of March, covering a recess of only nine months, when formerly twelve months was the time between the sessions; and what interest had suffered in consequence of this delay of three weeks from the usual time? He knew of none. Had any constituency or any hon. member been put to inconvenience in consequence of it? He knew of none. Perhaps his hon. friend, Mr. Fisher, fancied the session might be a few days shorter in consequence of it, or that some of the large stock of poultry he had said in might not keep during the long days of March. The charge was unworthy of any further notice, he was satisfied the House and the country would so view it.
The next charge preferred by Mr. Fisher was, that an Auditor General had not been appointed, and that he was satisfied there were thousands of accounts in that office not checked at this day. Now he was sure that the duties of that office had never, since its first formation, been better and more efficiently done than they had been the last year, and he denied the assertion that such a number of accounts remained in that office unchecked. The last quarter, or rather the first quarter of the fiscal year 1866, might not be yet entirely checked, because after the close of the fiscal year, a good deal of time was required to prepare the report for the Legislature, and then as there were only two persons in the office a few accounts may not be examined immediately on their receipt, but as soon as the report was completed, Mr. Johnson at once attended to that duty; but he (Hon. Mr. Gillmor) would inform the hon. member for York, Mr. Fisher, if there were any accounts in the Audit Office unchecked, when they were neglected, it was when there was an Auditor General and three clerks in that office, at an expense of six or seven hundred pounds more than it was now, and when Mr. Fisher was in the Government also, that was the time, and not since the office of Auditor General had been vacant, that the public interests had been neglected, and this he thought could be fully substantiated. There was no fear of the public interest suffering in that department when Mr. Johnson had charge; he was a most efficient and faithful official.
Up to 1854 there had been only a partial audit of the public accounts. At that time the political necessities of Mr. Fisher and his friends, together with the consideration for an old public servant, caused the Government to appoint Mr. Partelow, and he remembered that his hon. colleague (Col. Boyd) and himself agreed at the time that £100 per annum was sufficient salary for that official. But it was also very convenient to have a financier so competent to give information and advice convenient to the Government; but it was well known that for four years before his death he was entirely unfit to discharge the duties of the office, and that the whole duties devoted on Mr. Johnson. Mr. Fisher told them that the Constitution had been violated in not filling up the office. Why did not the late Government fill it up? Three or four months elapsed between the death of Mr. Partelow and their resignation. The reason was, that so many of them wanted it that they could not agree, and they concluded not to fill it until after the election. He thought, if they could not agree to give it to one of their own number, there was more than one gentleman who had given them a generous support for ten years, who would have accepted it and would have discharged its duties well. He would not charge them with having violated the Constitution in not filling it up, but he thought they were unmindful of their old friends. Gratitude in old politicians was a rare commodity. He thought the Opposition would fail to convince either a majority of the House or the public that the Government deserved censure for not appointing an Auditor General, when they knew and understood that the duties of that Department had been done as well, certainly and some persons thought better, than they ever were before, and at an expense some $2000 less than formerly. Mr. Fisher said the Minute of Council was an insult to the Queen. He did not so understand it, and he was sure it was not so intended and he was not afraid to allow an intelligent public to pronounce on it. He thought there could not in the history of New Brunswick, be found a memorandum of Council, in answer to any dispatch from the British Government, that was more respectful, and at the same time more determined to maintain the rights which belonged to them under the Constitution. His hon. friend (Mr. Fisher) thought it a great offence to beg to differ from the Colonial Secretary in a matter which affected out best interests; but he did not think it any offence to the Queen’s representative to call his advisers “thimble riggers,” traitors, hypocrites, &c. Such language to men on this side of the water was considered by him quite right, but to dare to differ from Mr. Caldwell, in the most respectful manner, was a crime of the deepest dye. Such arrant nonsense was unworthy the least consideration. He was proud of that dispatch.
Another charge was, that the Government had not made proper provision for the defence of the country; that the money which was to be expended during the summer for militia purposes, should have been expended on the frontier before now. What would the hon. member have said if the Government had expended $30,000 to $40,000 up to the present time for militia purposes. Had they done so, he thought they would justify have deserved censure, for until very recently, the Government was not aware of any danger that would have justified such as expenditure; and he was sure the people, of the frontier Countries, who were most exposed, had not yet been so much alarmed that they would have justified the large expenditure that would have done no good. He charged the Government with vascillation and hypocrisy, and with having pursued a sinuous course. If there was a man in the world who deserved to be styled a crooked disciple, it was Mr. Fisher. Politically, he was known as a dodger. There appeared to be a constitutional predisposition to do everything by a sort of side-winded round-about way. He was really the best illustration of the Irishman’s gun, that would shoot round a corner, that he had ever seen. He hastened to a part of his speech on declaration day in York, that such frequent reference had been made to during this Session. At that time he […]
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[…] wrote a letter to a friend, a copy of which he read as part of his speech:
“ [text missing] day in Fredericton was [text missing] forenoon. There were no more than two hundred and fifty men in the Temperance Hall to listen to Mr. Fisher’s speech. Surrounded as he was by a packed audience, for very few of Mr. Pickard’s friends were present, he was very bold and very loyal if his own assertions are proof of either. I could not have believed that Mr. Fisher would have indulged in so much self-glorification, and personal abuse of others. John Pickard, he said, was a good fellow, and had always supports him until the last election, and he (Mr. Fisher) was sorry he had got into such bad company now. (Mr. Pickard is a young man, but rather too old to be caught by the hollow- hearted compliments of Charles Fisher.) He would still continue to be a good fellow, in Mr. Fisher’s opinion, was he to spend his money for him, and adopt all his opinions. but Mr. Pickard is a man who thinks for himself, and is known, both by his opponents and supporters, to be an honorable man; and Mr. Pickard knows, also, that these professional politicians are dangerous men, seeking, generally, to elevate themselves at the expense of the public, and in too many instances, at the sacrifice of truth and honor. Mr. Fisher stated that he had been urged by requisitions from all parts of the country to come forward at this election—the people stating, in their letters, that they had been deceived at the last election, and that they now wanted a chance to reverse what they had done; and they had now shown most nobly that they were in favor of British institutions and of a great British North American nationality. He repeatedly stated that this election was tested upon the question of Confederation. That, and that alone, was the issue. (If there were any anti- Confederates present, who had voted for him, they must have felt exceedingly annoyed for having been thus shamefully deceived, and must have most heartily despised the man who could practice such deception, and it will no doubt be remembered by many, should he again appear before them.) He read from the Freeman what he called Anglin the Dictator’s challenge to the noblemen at York, which they had accepted, and the result would speak for itself. He had beaten them by a majority of seven hundred (meaning the Catholics) many of the best of whom, he said, had voted for him. He accepted the challenge much as a coward would, who, sheltering himself behind some fortification, would shoot his adversary, and then come forth to boast of his pluck and manliness. He repeatedly called Anglin a traitor, said over and over again that there was not a drop of British blood in his veins, and, as an offset, said that the blood which coursed through his veins had descended from the true old Loyalists. These sentiments, which were several times repeated, invariably called forth hearty cheers. He was very sever on the Government; said they got into power by practising lies and deception, but that the voice from York had sounded their speedy downfall. (it occurred to me that he knew full well that when the members of the present Government were elected, Mr. Tilley and his colleague were then in power, they appealed to the people—the dear people in whom Mr. Fisher has such an abiding confidence and the electors throughout the Province returned the men who compose the present Government to represent them. He (Mr. Fisher) several times said that Anglin the traitor was the leading genius of the Government; that he held them in the hollow of his hand, and could rule them as he pleased. but he was most surprised that men like R. D Wilmot and W. H. Odell could be influenced to sign a document, so full of disloyalty to the Queen and British Government, as that Memorandum of Council signed by seven of the Council and sent to Mr. Cardwell. It had been written by Anglin, the traitor, over night, and signed by the rest after dinner. These declarations seemed to please the most part of the audience very much. It could hardly have occurred to them that Mr. Fisher could not possibly know who wrote it, or when it was signed. Had they thought of this, they would have agreed with me that he was a most unscrupulous man for making such a declaration.
He talked a great deal of nonsense about Fleming’s Report, and the Inter- Colonial Road, which was soon to traverse the whole length of the County of York and the Province. It occurred to me, while listening to him, that it would be rather unfortunate for some politicians should that Road be built, as it could not be so conveniently used for different local canvasses as it could now. The report is remarkable for accommodating a great number of politicians, who can place the Road just where it will secure the most votes. He strutted with great dignity upon the platform, and completely snuffed the audience with his lip loyalty, all of which was loudly cheered. He would occasionally give the men of York credit for some loyalty, but reserved much the largest share for himself. His audience did not appear to discover the emptiness of such an exhibition. He was very personal in referring to the Representatives of York, and referred to some of them in a very insulting manner. He hinted something in reference to Judge Allen’s going on the bench, which I could not understand; he said the business of York had been neglected by them, and about the time the House closed, Allen, Fraser and Hatheway were engaged in figuring how to sustain a miserable Government, while Billy Need- ham was drunk and very boastingly, and I think foolishly, said that he had more stake in the country than the three of them put together, he had not much money, and could not, therefore, spend much in elections. And as to their morality, look at George L. Hatheway and W. H. Needham. Lord help the country if they were the standard; men who had not the least regard for the scared and holy ties of matrimony, notoriously unfaithful to every obligation of that kind; then he went into a great deal of twaddle about marriage ties, sacredness of home, regard for religion and virtue, and recommended his devoted friends to go home peaceably and return to their workshop and their counting-house, and that at the general election, WHICH WOULD COME SOON, he with three others, who he would not name would carry York with an increased majority.
It was quite apparent in a large part of his speech that he had endeavored to excite their prejudices, which every true and good man should seek to allay. He could, in conclusion, with truth had said, I have endeavored to deceive the people in reference to the matter of Confederation, both in my card and my speech on Nomination Day. I treated that matter so ingeniously, that in the event of a defeat, I could have said that Confederation was not the question, but should I be elected, I can claim it a great victory for Confederation. I have been informed that the questions was put to Mr. Fisher by some anti-Confederate: “Is this to be a test of Confederation?” and he answered them IT IS NOT! With that declaration they voted for him. He could say, I have attempted to make the electors of York believe that the men in power intended to remove the Seat of Government, and in other ways do great injustice to York County. I know that I have not the least foundation for this in truth, but it answered my purpose for the time being, and I did it. I know that there has been no effort made to remove the Seat of Government since 1858, when I was a member of the Government with Smith, Tiller, Watters, Brown, Johnson and Steves, all of whom were favorable to the removal. Knowing this, I remained in the Government with them UNTIL THEY PUT ME OUT. I know also that there are three members of the present Government at the head of three important public departments, with twenty-four hundred dollars a years each, that these gentlemen all reside in York County, having their business, their property, and their interest there, and I know full well that the Government would not under those circumstances, even if they wished, attempt a removal of the Seat of Government. YES, I know this well; but I was untruthful enough to state to the electors of York that there was great danger, and that it was necessary that I should be returned in order to prevent it. I know very well that nearly every official in the Provincial Offices in Fredericton are fill by the inhabitants of York County. I know that they are all paid from the public Treasury, and that persons in other parts of the Province are just as much entitled to them as the men of York. Yet I endeavored to make the people believe that the Government was disposed to do injustice to her. I know that the thirty thousand dollars appropriated for Militia purposes, was expended in York, which was a great benefit to the people there. I know that others had to contribute this money, and that we got the benefit of its expenditure; yet I tried to make the people believe that the Government was hostile to her interests. I have charged the members of the Government with being tools in the hands of T. W. Anglin, and that they were all a disloyal set together, when I knew that Anglin had no more influence than the other members, as is shown by the difference of opinion on Western Extension; yet it answered my dishonest purpose to say that they were all dictated to by him. I said that Anglin wrote the famous Memorandum of Council over night, and that it was signed by six of his colleagues after dinner, when I knew nothing about who wrote it. I have said repeatedly that the Memorandum was full of disloyalty to the Queen and British Government; yet I did not attempt to point out the paragraphs that contained disloyal sentiments. I know that the whole document is strictly in accordance with the principles of Responsible Government, and claims only the rights which are due to us under the Constitution. I know that I opposed Downing Street […]
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[…] dictation, when it suited my purpose, and that I am willing none to be dictated to from the same quarter;—and I know that I was about as honest in the one case as I am in the other; they both answered my purposes as a politician, and he could truthfully have said what matters is how much social hate and discord I produce, or how much untruthfulness I am guilty of, if I can only succeed in defeating the Government, for I shall then be elevated to their position. Opposition means to oppose, right or wrong, at least in my case. Yes! I know these things, but who on earth could doubt my piety, my truthfulness and my loyalty, that heard me at the close of my speech recommend peace and good will. I fixed the whole matter by throwing over all misrepresentations, this hypocritical mantle of deception, and this quotation will give you a good description of his appearance at the close:
“Then richer grown in gilts and grace,
With every rite complies,
And deeper lengthens down his face,
And higher rolls his eyes.”
The debate was then adjourned until eleven to-morrow, Hon. Mr. Gillmor to resume.
The House was then adjourned until to-morrow at nine.