New Brunswick, House of Assembly, Debates of the House of Assembly [Delegation on Union] (29 June 1866)
By: New Brunswick (House of Assembly)
Citation: New Brunswick, House of Assembly, Reports of the Debates of The House of Assembly  at 41-50.
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HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY.
Friday, June 29th.
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DELEGATION ON UNION.
Mr. Botsford resumed—When the debate was adjourned yesterday I was replying to the charges, and asking explanations with regard to the statements of the Hon. Provincial Secretary, and the hon. member for Charlotte, (Mr. Stevens,) and notwithstanding the Attorney General does not see what this has to do with the subject before the House, I shall go into this matter, conceiving as I do that as a member of the late Government I should be wanting in the duty I owe myself and my late colleagues, if, after the remarks of the hon. member from Charlotte I did not go into an explanation of the whole matter. I was speaking, Sir, on the differences which occurred in the answers of the Legislative Council in their memorandum of resignation; the Government charged His Excellency with advising with members and persons in the Opposition, and this was not denied.
The Governor admits having held consultations with Mr. Mitchell. But, Sir, the time referred to was not the only time. Whilst Mr. Smith, the leader oft he Government was away on a delegation to Washington, we, the other members of the Government, knew that he was in communication with Government House. On the return of Mr. Smith, we informed him of the fact, and in his next interview with His Excellency, he charged it home upon him. We knew what was going on, and His Excellency could not and did not deny the charge. But there is another point he also admits, and that is that he did not consult with his Council on the answer he intended, and did give to the address of the Legislative Council. On the seventh of April, after a night’s reflection on the first resolution with regard to the address the Legislative Council withdrew that and substituted the other. This I presume was the time when the Provincial Secretary was consulted by Mr. Mitchell. Then Messrs. Botsford and Chandler were appointed a committee to wait on His Excellency to know when he would receive them with the address, and here occurred a case unparalleled in the history of our Province.
His reply was that he would receive them in two hours from that time. This was at one o’clock. At twenty minutes to three a note was brought into this House from His Excellency […]
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[…] to Mr. Smith informing him that at three o’clock he should receive the Legislative Council with their address. It may not be parliamentary language to characterize this as intrigue and treachery, but I would ask is it fair, or manly, or honorable? I do not think such an action likely to add much lustre to the heraldic “name” His Excellency prides himself on bearing, or to the “courtesy” and “honor” he seems to prize so highly,—”a name which for generations has been a guarantee for courtesy and honor of those who bear it”—a guarantee in this case worthless so far as regards His Excellency.
Mr. Smith proceeded to Government House and found the Legislative Council already there, and the Staff of the Garrison in waiting now for the answer. To such an address asking that it may be forwarded to the foot of the Throne, the answer is that the wish of the petitioners shall be complied with. This is the usual, and I may say the only course pursued. But what action was taken in this instance? I think the members of the Legislative Council have cause to blush as long as they bear the name of Councillors. The President presented the address, and instead of handing it to the Clerk, it was passed back to the President, and then His Excellency taking upon himself the functions of Royalty commanded the address to be ready to him. An address to Her Majesty the Queen, received, read, accepted and replied to in his own name by the Lieutenant Governor of this Province, as though he possessed all the powers of Royalty!
Was not this unconstitutional? When we look at the haste shown and the means adopted I have no hesitation in saying that His Excellency knew when he gave his reply his Council would resign, and that it was intended to have that effect. But when charged with giving this reply without the advice and consent of his Council, he says it was merely “an accident.” An accident! Mr. Speaker, I’ll show whether it was an accident or not. I’ll show that it was design, for we now know that the officers of the 15th Regiment received their orders to be at Government House at three o’clock before eleven o’clock in the morning, two hours before the Committee of the Legislative Council had waited on His Excellency to know at what hour he would receive them with the address. He had without doubt arranged the whole matter, and before the appointment of the Committee knew what majority there was to carry any motion, and so at 11 o’clock the coaches at the livery stables were employed to carry the officers to Government House at three o’clock.
It was known that the Government had a large majority on the floors of this House, and that they could not gain their ends by legitimate means, and so His Excellency by the advice of the Opposition took this unconstitutional course, ignored his Council and by design took the only steps possible to overthrow them. I ask is this “courtesy?” Is this “honor?” But the Provincial Secretary has said that the constituencies of this Province have endorsed the action of the Governor, and casts it upon the people of Westmorland that they were unenlightened on the subject. Well, Mr. Speaker, he lectured through that County, and had an opportunity to enlighten them, but did they vote to support the course which had been pursued.
Mr. Tilley—Those that heard me did.
Mr. Botsford—Did they? I will call the attention of the Secretary to the Parish of Sackville, a place having the benefits of academies and every other means of information; there after a year’s deliberation, and after the very able addresses of the Secretary, they cast an overwhelming vote in support of the late Government. He also referred to the speech of Mr. Chandler in the Upper Branch on the subject of Union. Well, that was printed and circulated through the county, but the effect desired was not produced, for after a calm, deliberate and dispassionate consideration of the whole matter, the County of Westmoreland have again pronounced against it. I will now come to the Resolutions submitted by the Attorney General, and the Amendment offered by my colleague. It is proposed to send delegates to England to co operate with delegates from other Provinces in the formation of a plan of union based on the Quebec Scheme.
Now I do not believe there is a constituency in this Province but would condemn the Quebec Scheme. Why the hon. Provincial Secretary, who always openly, fairy and conscientiously supported that Scheme, believing it to be the best that could be got, acknowledged that his people wanted some alterations, and though there may be many in the country who would take that Scheme with certain modifications, the majority of the people are opposed to it. We are asked to appoint delegates, and who are they to be?
Well I presume the Secretary will be one, the Attorney General will be the second, there is the President of the Council three, and if they make the delegation larger, there is the hon. member from Northumberland (Mr. Johnson) four, and if more are sent, there is yourself, sir, who probably as the Speaker and Head of this House, will be included. This will make five. Five leading men who assisted in framing that Scheme, and have given their best attention to the consideration and promulgation of its provisions, and who believe it is the best that can be had; and we are asked to delegate to these men unlimited powers, and yet hon. members seem to imagine that we shall get modifications and improvements on the Quebec Scheme; why it is folly to expect anything of the kind. And suppose they do attempt to gain some alterations, the Canadians will at once say, “you have pronounced this Scheme the very best that can be had,” and what more do you want.
Why even you, sir, if you go, will, methinks, say: “I’ll take that, if I can’t get anything better.” I do not think the Union of these Provinces should be consummated on the principles of a Scheme which has been condemned by the people of this Province, and is condemned today. I think no delegation should be appointed unless the Government will say that modifications shall be made. Hon. members had better beware, for as sure as unlimited powers are given to the delegates, they will give us the Quebec Scheme and nothing more.
I will now refer to a few of the provisions of the Scheme which to my mind are very objectionable. The first ingredient is representation by population, a principle which I believe will be ruinous to this Province. It is clear to all who read that Upper Canada increases in population faster, and will do so in a yet greater ratio, than Lower Canada or these Lower Provinces, and the result of this will be that in a few years they will have the predominant power in the Lower Branch of the Legislature, and yet there is not one solitary check to counteract the influence they will yield. Upper Canada will have the power to control the expenditure of the public money, and as the result, she will dole out a pittance to us, with a shew of justice it may be, but in reality with none, all her desire being to secure her own interests. I look in vain through this Scheme for restrictions to this principle. But we are told that we shall have a larger number of representatives in the Upper Branch, in proportion, than Upper Canada.
But why should the principle of representation by population be thrust upon us? Where did they get the idea? Not from England certainly, for although the population of London is much greater than any other city this principle is not adopted. There the representation is founded on certain interests. No, they have taken it from the United States, but they have left us with no corresponding and controlling power in the Upper Branch. I ask the Attorney General where he can point to, or lay his finger on a Constitution like this? There is nothing like it in the heavens above or in the earth beneath, or in the waters under the earth. No, Mr. Speaker, it is a mongrel Constitution, whose provisions are disastrous to […]
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[…] the best interests of this country. There is to be also a Court of Appeal, and there is nobody, Mr. Speaker, that I should like to see at the head of that body better than yourself. History shows us that great difficulties always arise from the dividing of the people into distinctive classes, and this has been clearly illustrated in Upper and Lower Canada. These distinctions of race and language are, I see, to be perpetuated.
Now, in this House the other day, a Bill came up which was local in its nature, affecting no existing law, but merely asking that the French population of a certain parish should assess themselves for the support of their own poor, and be relieved from the regular parish poor rates, and that Bill was thrown out on the ground of class legislation. Yet here, in this Scheme, they have determined to perpetuate the very thing they so much oppose amongst ourselves.
And not only is the difference of race to be perpetuated, but they provide also for the continuance of two languages in the Federal Government and Federal Courts. I believe they should have decided that the language of the country should be either one or the other, and when you, sir, as one of the Judges of the Court of Appeal, shall be called on to decide on some difficulties which may arise, say between the Government and some of the contractors on the Inter-Colonial line, you will be addressed by some of the lawyers in the polite language of France, whilst others will quote authorities in English.
You, sir, may be qualified for such a position, but there are very few in these Provinces that are. Instead of these differences of race and language being abolished or confined to the places where they have previously existed, we find that this class distinction is to be propagated and engrafted upon Provinces where it has never been before. This has been the cause of the trouble between Upper and Lower Canada, and serious difficulties must arise from it here.
There is another point. Some hon. members have admitted that we cannot have a Union without the Inter-Colonial Railway. Great anxiety has been expressed on this subject, and we have a message from His Excellency showing that despatches have passed on the question; although it is put in the Scheme, there seems to have been a doubt about it. Now, say some, it will be made secure by being put in as a clause in the Imperial Act. But what of that? Is it not a question for the Federal Government to decide? And if they don’t choose where is our remedy? I believe the only way to secure it is to have a provision in the Scheme, that if the railway is not built, the Union shall cease. But even then it will be too late, for we shall have given up to Canada everything we possess, and all will be chaos; and besides I do not think it will be a power that England would permit.
The delegates may agree to put it in the Act, but, after all, it will amount to nothing. In the debate in Canada it was said we should have the power to make treaties and to alter the Constitution, but there is no provision for that in the Scheme. The interests of Upper Canada are not favorable to the Inter-Colonial Railroad. They have a road now running down to Portland, and if the Federal Government find they have not the funds, the road will not be built, and then to whom can we appeal? To England? She will refer it back for the decision of the General Government. What does the Governor say in a despatch in writing to Mr. Cardwell on the 27th of February, 1865:
The Lieutenant Governor to the Secretary of State for the Colonies.
FREDERICTON, 27th February, 1865.
SIR,—A discussion has lately taken place in this Province with respect to one of the. conditions of the Federal Union of British North America, which has excited much interest, and with respect to which it appears to me desirable that I should be placed in possession of the views of he Government.
The Resolutions agreed to at Quebec, and which are to form the basis of the proposed Federal Union of the British American Provinces, have reference to a great variety of subjects of very different degrees of importance. With some of these matters the Local Legislatures are already fully competent to deal, whilst others are of a character which removes them beyond their cognizance.
It was my belief that the aid of the Imperial Parliament would be sought only to give effect to those general provisions of a constitutional nature which could not be brought into operation by the existing Local Assemblies; that it would be called upon to enact the Federative Union, and to define the limits of the authority of the Central and Local Governments and Legislatures, but that the arrangement of matters of purely or mainly local interest would be left to the Federal Legislature, or to those of the separate Provinces, as it may fairly be presumed that these bodies would faithfully carry into execution the conditions upon which their Union had itself been based.
I find, however, that a very general impression prevails that the construction of the Intercolonial Railroad from Riviere du Loup to Truro, is to be provided for by a clause in the Imperial Act giving effect to the proposed Federal Union.
I do not myself consider it probable that Her Majesty’s Government will make such a suggestion to the Imperial Parliament, for I cannot but conceive that such a proposal would appear to Her Majesty’s Government to be either unnecessary or unjust; unnecessary if (as we must conclude will be the case should no unforseen and insuperable obstacles arise,) the new Federal Legislature votes the construction of a work, the immediate commencement of which forms one of the conditions of the agreement to which they owe their existence; unjust, if it were to have the effect of forcing on the people of British America the execution of a work which their Representatives in Parliament may consider it inexpedient to undertake.
Nor does it appear to me very likely that the British Parliament would enact a law involving a very large expenditure of money not collected under its own authority, a law moreover which it would be impossible to enforce, as no penalty could be inflicted after the passage of the Act, in the event of the subsequent neglect of its provisions by the Federal Government and Legislature.
Neither do I imagine that, the question being one which primarily concerns the people of British North America, the British Parliament would consent to fetter the discretion of their representatives in dealing with it as they may consider most conducive to the advantage of the United Provinces more especially when it is remembered that the subject is one which the local Legislatures are already, even under the existing state of things, fully competent to consider.
Still less do I think it probable, even were a clause of a general character, enacting the completion of this great work, to be incorporated in an Act of the Imperial Parliament, that Her Majesty’s Government would consent to introduce into the Bill, or that Parliament would consent to sanction, all those details which would be required to render such a clause effective; for, unless the route, the mode of construction, the minimum sum to be annually devoted to the work, and the time at which it is to be completed, are all prescribed, the scheme may be subject to ultimate defeat by the rejection of one of these points by the Federal Parliament; whilst the assumption of those who believe that a clause concerning the Railway will form part of the Imperial Act is that the completion of the work is to be so secured as to remove all liability of its being affected by any subsequent action on the part of the Federal or Local Governments and Assemblies.
I confess, therefore, that I am unable altogether to share the confident belief of my Council, that this work—(of the importance of which I need not say I am very fully sensible)—will be undertaken under the direct authority of the Imperial Parliament.
At the same time it is possible that I may be mistaken as to the views and intentions of the Government, and I therefore respectfully request to be instructed as to the course which I am to pursue, in the event of my being urged to state in my Speech from the Throne on the opening of the Provincial Legislature, that such a provision will undoubtedly form part of the Act of Union, or be embodied by the Imperial Parliament in a separate Act.
Such a declaration, if it were afterwards proved by facts to be erroneous, would, I need not say, excite very general and not ill-founded irritation.
J.A. Macdonald, a leading member of the Canadian Government, is reported to have lately used, what appears to me very sensible language in connection with […]
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[…] this subject, to the effect that the construction of the Railway was certainly not part of the Constitution,—(a proposition which is self-evident)—and that consequently, with many other details agreed to by the Conference, it would not be embodied in the Imperial Act, but that it was one of the conditions on which the Union was based, and must therefore be carried into effect at the earliest possible period by the Legislature of the Federated Provinces. I am, however, informed that Mr. Macdonald has subsequently stated that the provisions for the construction of the Railroad will form part of the Imperial Act.
As the Legislature of this Province will meet probably in the first week of April, it is highly important that I should be enabled by that time to reply distinctly to the queries which may be put to me by my advisers and by the Legislature, whether, in the event of the Federation of the British American Provinces being accomplished, Her Majesty’s Government will be prepared to submit to the Imperial Parliament, either as a clause of the Constitutional Acct, as a separate Bill, provisions to secure the completion of the Inter-colonial Railway from Riviere du Loup to Truro within a definite time, and framed in such a manner as to preclude the possibility of any subsequent action in a contrary sense on the part of the Federal Government and Legislature.
I have, &c.
(Signed) ARTHUR H. GORDON.
The Governor anticipated the difficulties that would arise, and therefore puts these questions to the British Government, and what was their reply?
The Secretary of State for the Colonies to the Lieutenant Governor.
DOWNING STREET, 18th March 1866.
Sir,—I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your Despatch of the 27th February, in which you request instructions whether provisions will be made for the completion of the Inter-colonial Railway in the Act of Union, or be embodied by the Imperial Parliament in a separate Act. In reply, I have to acquaint you that Her Majesty’s Government have expressed their cordial approval of the proceedings of the Conference at Quebec, and have engaged that if, as they hope, the Provincial Legislatures sanction the scheme of the Conference, they, on their part, will submit to the Imperial Parliament the measures which may be necessary for carrying that scheme into effect.
Of the Resolutions adopted by the Conference, the 68th provides that the General Government shall secure without delay the completion of the Inter-Colonial Railway. Her Majesty’s Government have understood that Resolution, with reference to the Correspondence which had previously passed with the Governments of the several Provinces; while, therefore, they have entered into no new stipulations on the subject, they have by no means excepted the 68th Resolution from the general approval which they have expressed of the entire scheme, or from the engagement respecting it to which I have referred.
What steps it may be proper hereafter for Her Majesty’s Government to take in pursuance of this engagement, cannot be stated positively, until it shall be known what course has been taken by the Provincial Legislatures, and until Her Majesty’s Government shall have received the communications which they hope to receive from persons deputed by the Governor General to give to Her Majesty’s Government the benefit of their counsel upon the various measures necessary for carrying the Resolutions of the Conference into effect.
I have, &c.
(Signed) EDWARD CARDWELL.
Here we are distinctly informed this whole question depends on the correspondence between the Governments. They agree to advance three millions of dollars, taking security on the country, but does any one believe that three millions is going to build the road? Why five or six millions won’t do it, and we can’t expect the British Government to advance that amount. This is a serious question. If you give unlimited powers to the enlightened minds who framed the Quebec Scheme, what can be expected to be the result? When it is found that Great Britain won’t advance the money required, where is it to come from? I believe we shall not get the Railway at all, and even though I may be mistaken, have the hon. members from St. John considered the route which it is almost certain has been already agreed on. It is a foregone conclusion that Great Britain will not permit it to be located near the American frontier. Have they reflected that if they vote for these Resolutions they vote to carry the Intercolonial Railway up by the North Shore?
And what will be the result of Union on the County of York? Where will then be the Provincial Buildings? Where the Post Office, where the other public offices? Where will the Courts then hold their sittings? In Fredericton? No, but all will be removed to St. John. It is to the interest of that city, and also to the Eastern section of the country, that it should be so. There is no more doubt of all this than that the river out there flows down to Saint John. The consummation of Union will be the death knell to the County of York. Do they think they will have a soldier here then? No, for we shall undertake our military and naval affairs, for only in times of danger and actual war will Great Britain then keep her troops in this country. We already learn that the head quarters of the military is removed to Saint John. The regiment now here will spend about £70,000 this year, and York will have to give it up. With these observations which I have offered with no desire to raise a factious opposition, but because my property and interest are in the country like other hon. members, I shall vote for the Amendment and oppose the Resolution.
Mr. Chandler said this question had been so fully discussed that it would be a repetition to go over it all again. It was a lamentable fact that many of our young men who would be an ornament to any country were moving away and becoming absorbed in the neighboring Republic. Every steamer that left Saint John was draining the country. This was what he would call practical annexation. But what inducements were there to remain? None whatever. Why, look at Maine, immediately on our border. There was Mr. Pike could go to Rio Janiero and make his fortune, Mr. Pitt Fessenden could become Financial Secretary of the Union. These men had no superior abilities to the young men in our Province, but they had the field and the higher position to which to aspire. But what, he would again ask, were the inducements offered here why they should remain?
Mr. Smith—Pretty girls.
Mr. Chandler—That might be an inducement to the hon. member for Westmorland, but there must be something more than pretty girls. They must be provided for, and there were no offices save that of Provincial Secretary or Attorney General and a few others to which a young man could aspire, and they generally cost a man more than they were worth to attain them. How was this to be obviated? By combining the resources and interests of all these Provinces in one great Confederation. This he believed to be the hope and salvation of this Province. The Intercolonial Railroad, which would be provided for—there was no mistake about that—would open up a large tract of country, inviting settlers, whilst it becomes itself a source of profit to this Province. He should very well have liked to have had the various terms of Union discussed point by point, but the explanations made by the Secretary were sufficient to prevent this, and he felt satisfied that the delegates would act with a full desire to secure the best terms possible. He would say a word or two about this road. It would cost some millions to construct it, and those who are engaged on it, contractors and workmen, must live, a trade will spring up in fish and agricultural produce to supply their wants, and many new settlers will come into the country. All this will be of great benefit.
He was speaking yesterday to a gentleman from Upper Canada, who told him that in that country they raise large quantities of grain, but the streams are shallow and in the summer they dry up, and consequently are wanting in water power to grind their grain, but in Union much of the wheat grinding will be done in this Province. With regard to the […]
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[…] Court of Appeal, he thought it was almost time we had one. There was a case in Charlotte County of the Saint Andrews Railway and the New Brunswick and Canada Land Company. They got into some difficulty, and there was an appeal to the Courts in England. First there was a 300 guinea fee to one legal gentleman and a 300 guinea fee to another, and another, that it made it rather an expensive affair to the St. Andrews Railway Company. If we had a Court of Appeal here, these cases would be brought before them, and our lawyers would be able to plead in them. But we cannot plead in any Court in England except the Court of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. From these and other causes he was opposed to the passage of the Amendment. He believed that the matter should be pushed on with all haste consistent with the interests of the people. The hon. ex-Attorney General was opposed to the Quebec Scheme, but he had seen nothing in the objections he had raised. One of the great bugbears had been that Mr. Tilley was going to be Governor. With regard to that he did not see that that was very objectionable, keeping in mind the old Latin maxim—
“A crown to he that deserves it.”
The hon. member from Westmorland seemed to have no adequate idea of the dangers by which the people on the border had been menaced. Living away from the scene of danger he could form no just conception of the anxiety felt by the people there. If he had been an eye0 witness of the appearance sad evident designs of the Fenian scoundrels, he would not speak so lightly of the matter as he had done. He (Mr. Chandler) had seen them in their midst with faces scarred, eyes too large for their sockets, distilling tears, with low receding foreheads and looking the foul-fiends they were. He had seen them landing with six shot, breach loading Spencer Rifles in one hand, and sixteen shot Revolvers in the other. They had an immense quantities of ammunition in Eastport, and had it not been for the timely arrival of the gallant 17th Regiment, and the ships of War, he had no doubt they would have made a descent upon the people that very night. The feeling of anxiety was now somewhat dispelled, but it became this Province to unite with the other Provinces for defence against any power that might attempt to invade our shores. He would not go further into the subject but content himself with voting fur the Resolution, believing that the delegates who were sent home would agree to only such terms as would be for the honor and happiness of the people of this Province.
Mr. W.P. Flewelling did not intend make a long speech. The re marks from the hon. member for Westmorland (Mr. Botsford) called for a reply. That hon. member had said that none of the constituencies of this Province were in favor of the Quebec Scheme, and that the measure should be submitted to the people on the return of the delegates from London. He thought so far as King’s County was concerned, the people were perfectly satisfied not to wait for the Scheme to be submitted to them again before it should be consummated. They had confidence in the Government, and those delegates who may be appointed to make such alterations in the Quebec Scheme as are needed. No other Scheme had ever been before the people and on that basis they had returned by large majorities the Confederate members. The hon. member for Westmorland had also said that he did not believe that Canada would advance the money to build the Inter-colonial Railroad, but he believed that Canada was assured that the road would be a great benefit to that Provinces and that they would use therefore every means in their power to secure its being built. He should support the Resolution.
Mr. McQueen did not intend to enter into a lengthy speech on this question, but as hon. members seemed to be desirous to have their ideas go the country, he should like his name to appear as having spoken upon it. It had been hinted that the people of Westmorland were not very intelligent, and if so they could not be expected to send a very intelligent representative, but they had empowered him to speak their views, and that was that if delegates were sent home to mature a plan of Union, they should he restricted in their powers, for if this were not done, as probably all who go on the delegation will be in favor of the Quebec Scheme, and the British Government, are also in favor of it, we should not be likely to get any other. He supposed the “true interests” spoken of in the Resolution was to be taken in the same sense as the pledges made in Canada were understood with regard to the improvements provided there, viz: that they might be qualified to suit the different parties interested. The question had been so ably treated on by other hon. members, that it was only necessary for him to say that he should oppose the Resolution and support the Amendment.
Mr. Ryan was in favor of the Quebec. Scheme, and believed we never should get a better, because we had the best of the bargain now. At any rate he believed the delegates who would be entrusted with the interests of New Brunswick would do the best they could. When the Quebec Scheme was first brought before the notice of the people they opposed it, because they did not understand its provisions. The enemies of the measure went about the country disseminating falsehoods, and as the people had little or no information as to the nature of the Scheme, they believed what was told them. These men would buttonhole one man, and tell him how dreadfully we were going to be taxed, and to another they would tell another story. They managed to feel a man’s pulse before they decided on what ground to mislead him, and so the people thinking it is the best and safest plan, opposed the measure. The result was, the opponents of Union obtained a large majority.
But when the people had time for reflection, when they looked into the matter and became informed, they rose in their might and hurled their deceivers to the ground. One of the cries of the opponents of the Quebec Scheme was the cost of maintaining the militia, and directly they came into power they passed that very meritorious Militia Law, providing for a Camp of Instruction. And after all it was only the scraps of Mr. Tilley’s Bill. The hon. member for Westmorland (Mr. Botsford) said that the framers of the Scheme thought there could be nothing like it, and then he declared himself that there was nothing like it in the heavens above. on the earth beneath, or in the waters under the earth. Well, if that was the case, he did not see why they should not worship it. There could not certainly be anything wrong in that.
Then the hon. ex-Attorney General did not like for us to buy up Newfoundland for $150.000 a year, because they had nothing but rats or something of that kind there, and yet he said they would not come into the Union even then. The other hon. member (Mr. Botsford) had said that the people of New Brunswick were in favor of Union, but wanted modifications in the Quebec Scheme, so that if modifications were made the great majorities the Government party had been returned by would be greatly increased. He had no doubt about the Inter-colonial Railroad—he believed we should have that or nothing. With regard to the route he knew it would be a great benefit no matter where it was located, of course he had his wishes; he would like it to go by the central route. But whatever route might be chosen it must greatly benefit St. John, and what benefitted St. John would be good for all the Province. But it had been raised as an objection that we did not know the route.
As far as that went he thought it hardly worth while locating the line at a great expense before we saw whether we were going to be united or not. Again it was said “we don’t know that it is going to pay.” Neither did a man know if it was going to pay when he planted a hill of potatoes, but be planted for all that, and hopefully looked for the result. He should oppose the amendment, and vote for the Resolution.
Mr. Lewis was one of the noble band […]
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[…] of twelve who were returned to support a measure of Union at the former election, and who had manfully fought, shoulder to shoulder the opponents of Union on the floors of the late House, and who having returned to the people had again been returned by large majorities, and the Province must now see the wisdom of those Counties who returned Confederates a. the first election. With regard to the new measure, he believed if we could get a better Scheme than that which had been before the people, nobody would object to it, but if no better can be had, the Quebec. Scheme is far better than none. The country was now quite conversant with the merits of the Scheme, and, therefore, he would not go into it. He should support the Resolution.
Mr. Young knowing, as he did, that the people had pronounced in favor of Union, was ready to go for the Resolutions with certain restrictions. First, he would not go for the Quebec Scheme; second, he would take the delegates from both side of the House, and third, he would submit the Scheme when matured to the people. He did not think this too much to ask. He thought the delegates should not be clothed with power to change the Constitution of the Country without submitting the question again to the people for their approval. The people had returned thirty-three men to support Confederation, but not to support the Quebec Scheme, and they should know the terms that are to be agreed upon, or at least that it should come back to the House. The Attorney General had said no railway, no Union; but he would ask how was it to be secured? Could it be put in the Constitution?
No, all that we could do was to rely on the faith of Canada was we did in 1862, and we all knew how that fell through. He thought it best to have the road built first and let the Union come after. Then the Attorney General had said that the United States had spent their blood and treasure to maintain their Union. Yes, but that was a Union worth maintaining, but it was a Union very different from the Quebec Scheme. If there was the same representation in the House of Lords, as it is called, as is the Senate it would be very different. The Provincial Secretary had said that no money would be wanted for the improvement of the rivers and lakes of Canada, but he (Mr. Young) had seen dredging machines at work on Lake St. Peters, between Montreal and Quebec, and opposite Montreal they were constantly in use. There was as much improvement needed on the Saint Lawrence as on the St. John.
He believed that the Government should have submitted the terms upon which they expected to obtain Union. In Canada it had been discussed section by section, and why not here? He would ask if ever before men went out of a country empowered to change the Constitution? No, never. Throughout the debate thus far no new ground had been broken. He deprecated the manner in which the Government got into power, but that matter was not before the House, but for the reasons he had stated he should vote against the Resolution.
Mr. Lindsay did not at first intend to speak on this question, but so many had expressed their views and opinions that he should also say a few words. It had been said that the present Government got into power by the unconstitutional action of the Governor. But if the late Government had acted in a fair and constitutional manner they should have resigned their seats when His Excellency refused to accept Mr. Wilmot’s resignation unless they would agree to introduce a measure for Union. His Excellency went to Canada in the interest of the Government, and the ex-President went to Washington, and Mr. Wilmot’s resignation could not be accepted till his return, but when the President got home Mr. Wilmot was allowed to retire, because the Anti Government were willing to go for Union. Some hon. members wanted the Scheme, when matured, to be sent back to the people. Well the question had been sent to the people, but hon. members did not seem satisfied, nor would they ever be.
The hon. member from Gloucester (Mr. Young) wanted the delegates to be selected half the number from his party. That would be quite an idea to send men to consummate a Union of these Provinces who were opposed to it. The ex-Attorney General had referred to the stand taken by the Hon. Joseph Howe, but he read an extract from a speech made by that gentleman in 1865 to show that he had always been in favor of Union till within the past few months. He believed the chief cause of his opposition was because he did not happen to be in the Government which would have the honor of bringing it about. The hon. ex-Attorney General was also anxious to have the measure laid before the House. The best plan would be for him to go to England with Mr. Howe; he had been there before on delegations, and the last time he went when the Government had in their possession a despatch which rendered the delegation needless.
That despatch, it seems by accident, got laid aside. This might be called a Government accident. He had also said that there were no Fenians to cause the troubles we had on our borders. It was all very well for him to make light of the affair when he lived away back from the borders where the Fenians would have to pass over the bodies of thousands to get at him. He believed that it was from expressions such as were made by members on the floors of the house at its last Session that gave the Fenians the idea that they could easily overcome us. It was said that if the British Government attempted to force us into Confederation there would be blood shed, and the people over the border thought that it would not be hard to work up a strong feeling here against England, and so would have taken us and made us a part of the Irish Republic, but how long would that have lasted? Just long enough to hand us over to the United States. But he thought we had pretty well shown them that we did not want to change our nationality
The Resolution before the House was just in accordance with the Speech at the opening of the Session. Mr. Lindsay read some statistics to shew that if they were appointed according to population, the Maritime Provinces would have to send home twenty. He had been in Canada, and he would say that he never knew any one go there and return who were not ashamed of being opposed to Union. He did not believe in keeping the matter in abeyance, but. thought it should be carried through as speedily at possible; As thirty-eight per cent. of all the shipping of British North America was built in this Province, he thought we should be likely to get a pretty good share of the carrying trade. It had been stated that we should be sold to Canada at eighty cents a head, but he did not see that, any more than Canada would be sold to us. Our revenues are paltry and insignificant compared with those of Canada, for where we put into the General Treasury one dollar she puts in twenty. So far as he was concerned, he told his people on the hustings that he should go for the Quebec Scheme if we could not get a better. The Antis in Canada opposed Union because they said we had the best of it, and that we ought not to get the $63,000 for ten years. He would not go any furtherer into the question, but should vote for the Resolution and against the Amendment, which was only a patch to it.
Mr. Caie had listened to the speeches of hon. members, and though some had wandered far from the subject before the House, he had yet gleaned enough to satisfy him that all who are in favor of the Quebec Scheme should vote for the Resolution, and all who were opposed to Confederation, all who had the slightest objection to any of its provisions, and all who desired modifications to be made, should vote against it. Who were to be the delegates? Those men who formed the Convention at Quebec, and who would even take a worse than the Quebec Scheme to pay themselves with some fat office for all the labor they performed in supporting the plan of […]
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[…] Union. He thought very highly of the Government of Great Britain, but did not consider them qualified to sit as arbiters on the destinies of this Province, or to act in reference to the matter at all, as they had already spoken in favor of a Scheme which was refused by the people of New Brunswick. And the reason why they were in favor of the Quebec Scheme, was because many of their members and friends are interested in the canals and other public works of Canada, who had spent millions and tens of millions in their improvements. If left to these parties to decide, we should be swamped. But let restrictions be put on the delegates, that unless such and such concessions are made then no Union can take place. With regard to the Inter-Colonial Railway, he believed it would be built, and that if Confederation had been put aside it would have been underway before this. Mr. Caie was about to enter on some financial statements with regard to our position in and out of the Union, but the hour having come for separation, he merely would say that he should support the Amendment.
Mr. McInerney did not rise to offer any hostile opposition to the Government, or to offer any amendment to the Resolutions. He was sent to oppose the passage of a plan of Union based on the Quebec Scheme, or any other that would take away the rights of the people. Our taxes at present were twelve per cent. a head, whilst in Canada they were twenty-five per cent. a head. If we go into Union we should have to assume part of their liabilities, and we should be taxed according to their rate. The amount of taxes raised will be about a million dollars, and our proportion of that, according to our population, would be $21.00, leaving the balance to go into the working expenses of Canada. He might be wrong, but this was as he understood it. The Scheme provided that public works in Canada should be proceeded with when the finances would permit.
He would ask when was that? Why just as soon as they needed it. He was under the impression that about forty million dollars would be asked for the improvement of the lakes and canals of Canada, that five million dollars would go to buy up the Hudson Bay Territories, and about twelve millions of dollars to build the Inter-Colonial Railroad. These sums we would have to assume in proportion to our population. The resolution now before the House he should have to oppose, for knowing the feelings of his people, he could not stand there and vote for the appointment of delegates to go two thousand miles away to prepare a new Scheme of Union, which we know nothing about, thus abrogating the rights of the people. It was almost a folly for him to stand there and raise his voice when hon. and learned gentlemen had so ably spoken on the question.
The Provincial Secretary had spoken of the ignorance of the people of Kent and Westmorland. He said they had not means for obtaining information. But the supporters of the Quebec Scheme had used every means in their power to gain over the people of these Counties, and as the representative of the County of Kent, he was proud to say they had failed—the people of Kent could not be bought. Expressions had been made with regard to Fenianism; he approached the subject with great delicacy, being an Irishman, and many people seemed to think that all Irishmen were Fenians. This he denied. It was a false position to place them in.
When the time of trial came and war was upon us, if it ever should come, he, for one, would be found in the front rank of the battle prepared to meet the foe, while those who had maligned him and call him Fenian and traitor were skulking in the rear. He stood there the representative of the sixteen thousand men of the County of Kent, men of intelligence, although he did not profess to be a fair specimen, and he wished to ask the Provincial Secretary if in his remarks he referred to the hon. member from Westmorland and his constituencies or to the supporters of that hon. gentleman in the House. He would ask if it was applied to him.
Hon. Mr. Tilley—”No.”
Mr. McInerney was glad to receive the answer of the Provincial Secretary, as his people would expect him to know exactly to whom it was applied. He could not amuse the House with high sounding language like some of the hon. members. He apologized for occupying the time, and should vote for the Amendment.
Mr. Beckwith only rose, as so much had been said, to remove some of the fallacies put forward by the hon. member for Westmorland to shew why he could not vote for the Amendment. That hon. gentleman possessed a very earnest style of oratory, so that things which he could not himself believe—he (Mr. Beckwith) gave him credit for better sense—was likely to make an impression on superficial observers. The very eloquent speech of the member for Charlotte (Mr. Chandler) he did think at the time would convince the hon. member for Westmorland that he was all wrong, and he really expected to see the Amendment to the Resolution withdrawn. Like Festus, he is “almost persuaded,” but can’t come down just to the right thing. There was no doubt that the troublous affair on the border had tended to show the people on what a volcano they stood.
The evident result of success would have been to cast us into the American Union. A late Chicago paper had said perhaps, after all, it was best to let Confederation be consummated, as it would save trouble. Then the United States would be able to swallow all the Provinces at once, instead of morsel by morsel. The movement of the Fenians showed us that it was intended we should be the first morsel. The ex-Attorney General had said that the necessities of Canada was the origin of the idea of Union. He (Mr. B.) agreed with him to a certain extent.. Every inland country requires a seaboard on which to receive and ship material, and it thus becomes a necessity for Upper Canada to unite with the Maritime Provinces.
The French people of Canada are industrious, kind and frugal, but they are not a progressive people. In the House of Assembly in Canada he heard the leading Lower Canadian statesmen oppose a measure providing for Light Houses. But the people of Upper Canada are constantly moving onward; they believe in progress. They see that united to us they will become a great people, but alone they are nothing. If they cannot obtain a Union with us they must have a Federal Union among themselves, which would be injurious to us. Now is the time to strike while the iron is hot. He should be delighted to see the hon. ex-Attorney General one of the delegates to look after the interests of the Antis, but whatever was going to be done, he would like to see done at once. It was objected that Messrs. McGee and McDonald had said that the Quebec Scheme could not be altered to the dotting of an i or the crossing of a t.
But, he would ask, to whom was this remark addressed? It was said to the Canadians that they who formed only one party to the bargain could not alter the slightest provision in the Scheme. But if the other Provinces are agreed then the i’s may be dotted and the t’s crossed, aye and criss crossed. It had also been said that Upper Canada was increasing so fast that we should be swamped. He thought, however, our position and the fact that St. John would necessarily become the winter port for the Confederation, we should increase quite as fast as Upper Canada. The ex-Attorney General also was very much alarmed because, as he said, Canada would tax us for whatever was needed.
Now the fact was, all would tax all. Another great bugbear was the canals of Canada. But these canals were paying more than any public works which we have in these Provinces, and anyone who has read the documents submitted to the Convention held at Detroit, must be aware that we have a great interest in the widening and deepening of these canals. When members from Upper […]
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[…] Canada say to our members, “We want you to assist us to gain a grant to improve our canals,” they will say, “Yes. If you will give us your interest to improve the harbor of Saint John.” And so we shall see in that city large wet and dry docks, for which there is every facility, and then what a prospect opens before that city. Further, the harbors on the North Shore would need deepening, so that ships of a large tonnage could pass up. Canada, therefore, would not get all the money, for we need public works as much as they. Then the movement on the border had convinced even the ex-Attorney General that we should have to spend large amounts to preserve ourselves from invasion. Why, even the late Government brought in and passed a Bill to provide for a navy.
Well, just now, that might look very much like the frog and the ox; but if these Provinces were united, it was something we could have without bursting. The ex-Attorney General also said the soldiers were to be removed. But Great Britain has said nothing of the kind. What they have said is that they cannot trust to have their men cut off in detail, as would be done in case of war but that united, they will give us of their best men and treasure to preserve us.
Then the taxation. If we do not have Confederation, we shall have very soon to resort to direct taxation. But before this can be resorted to by the General Government, they will have to put on nearly a dollar per had upon the other Provinces to bring their rate up to what we are now paying. Our revenue is only about $800,000, and our fixed expenditure over $700,000, so that for our roads and bridges and other works we should have to tax ourselves directly out of the Union. The Quebec Scheme was not so bad a Scheme after all. There were checks that were not known to exist till carefully looked after. He was willing to send men home untrammelled, and he thought that the love of approbation in man was sufficient to guarantee that they would not do anything that would cause them to be looked upon by their fellow-countrymen with scorn and contempt. He thought that it would be well to have a provision inserted that the members of the Legislative Council should live in the Province they represent. If the $63,000 bonus for then years was not generally deemed sufficient, he had no objections to see it increased to $100,000. He should support the Resolution.
Mr. Quinton merely rose to declare himself in favor of the Resolution. He was quite willing to entrust the interests of the country in the hands of the delegates that might be appointed, believing, as he did, that they would use every endeavor to secure Union on the most advantageous terms.
Mr. Skinner wished to speak on the question before the House, but had been so occupied with other matters that he was not then prepared, and, therefore, would ask the House to allow him to speak after the hon. member for Westmorland had made his reply to-morrow morning.
Dr. Dow said he should claim a like favor if the request were complied with. He thought it inexpedient to depart from parliamentary usage, and he should object to such a course being taken.
Mr. Skinner then said the hon. member for York appeared to be very fastidious, and as his request, which he considered a very reasonable one, had not been complied with, he should proceed with a few remarks. Whilst he should vote for the Resolution, he could not but express his dissent from the manner in which this matter had been brought before the House. He could not vote for Mr. Smith’s Amendment, because he believed it would be driving a dirk into the very heart of Confederation. He was, therefore, placed in a very awkward position. He did expect that the Government would have brought the question before the House in a more tangible form; that the question would be discussed in all its bearings, and that instructions would be given to the delegates appointed by which their action would be governed. But if this bald Resolution were passed, they, on their return might say, if the provisions of the plan decided on were not satisfactory. “Why you gave us no instructions.”
The Government should have come before the House and said, that as they had but lately come from the people, and that as the House knew what the people required, they should instruct them what to do. This would have been dignified, this would have been honorable, and the right way to approach the subject. He was in favor of Confederation; it was as strongly enshrined in his heart as in that of any one, but he did think, in reconsidering the terms of Union, the question should be approached calmly and deliberately. The more time taken in its consideration the better. But from the first there appeared to have been a desire to rush the matter on. When the delegates first met at Prince Edward Island this was manifest, but the question had lost nothing in the support it received by being held over for fifteen months. It had rather been gaining support remarkably fast. The question was not new to the people. For twenty-five years they had been in favor of Union, but when they found it was contemplated to push the matter through in a hasty manner, the people would not acquiesce, and so the Quebec Scheme was repudiated.
He would tell the hon. members that representation by population was the hardest thing the people had been called upon to submit to. But the evils that arise from this might be overcome by proper checks in the Upper House. Many people who voted for Union in 1864 were opposed to some of the provisions of the Quebec Scheme. And during the late elections he had frequently been charged not to accept the Quebec Scheme without looking into it, and trying to get some modifications. He hoped this point of representation would be met by providing for an equal representation of every Province in the Upper Branch.
When the election of 1865 came off a majority of the people were against the Quebec Scheme, and if those who came into power had confined their opposition to that Scheme, and not carried it on against all Union, but had gone on and matured a better plan, they would have obtained better terms. They did not do it, the tide turned, and on the next wave the thirty-three men on the floors of the House in favor of Union were returned. Let them now be very careful that the succeeding wave did not carry them all away, as it would be likely to do if they did not treat the question in a calm and deliberate manner. He thought the question should have been laid before the House for their consideration, and then hon. members would have had an opportunity to speak the convictions of their minds on this great matter.
If he could not get Union in broad daylight and openly he would not have it at all. The foundation must be laid and cemented in an open and manly way. He would not speak of some of the alterations the delegates should demand. He would, if he could, secure some modifications to the provision for representation by population. He feared that this could not be done, but still he would claim it as a right and a benefit to all the Colonies. The Quebec Scheme was started at the time of the war in the United States, before Grant had taken Richmond or Sherman had made his grand march through Georgia to the ocean, when they thought that the republic was in the throes of dissolution, and consequently it was the negation of all that was found in the American Constitution. There the states have the power, and that power they wield for the general good. But in the Quebec Scheme the General Government take all the power and dribble it out to the separate States. This was a feature in the Scheme he had always been opposed to. If the delegates had intended to have formed a separate nationality, he could have forgiven them for this, but they did not, neither did the people desire a new flag or the power to make war, to coin money, or any other functions performed […]
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[…] by an independent power.
All they wanted was to form a Union for the purposes of commerce and defence. If the Provinces had been going into a Legislative Union they would not have needed a Scheme, the Common Law would have sufficed as the basis, but in a Federal Union it was necessary that the Constitution should be a written one, and it requires the greatest care and deliberation in the preparation of its provisions. The hon. member for York (Dr. Dow) his fastidious friend who opposed his request, would rear up a nation in a half-an-hour as he would a wood boat. He did not like the arrangement with regard to the appointment of the Judges. For the first ten years they were to be appointed from their own respective bars. He would make it for all time.
In England, Scotland, and Ireland they had their own Judges. It was well known that it took the best minds in the country to make a lawyer, and then it required years of close and careful study to become acquainted with the Common Law, and years again to know the Statute Law, and it should be provided that when Judges are appointed they should be taken from the bars of the respective Provinces where the vacancy occurs. How was it in Maine, and the other States? They all had their own Judges, men whose decisions and writings on jurisprudence are co-even and co-equal with those of the Judges in England.
He had no objection to the appointments being in the hands of the Central Government. Then the General Government had a veto power over all the acts of the Provinces. If New Brunswick or Nova Scotia were to pass a law which they found to be required and it was afterwards declared unconstitutional by the General Government, it would cause a great deal of discontent. The whole might be obviated by placing the matter in the Judiciary, for the reverence of our people for the Bench is deep and constant. See how it is; a man is in political life, deep in the turmoil and strife of an election. He is a fit mark for the wit or sarcasm of any one, but he is raised to the Bench by the party in power, and the people cease to scoff and already reverence. Yes, if the veto power were in the hands of the Judges, the people would bow to their decisions, but they would not if left with politicians.
Next with regard to the eighty cents a head on the population of 1861. He would have it altered so that it should be on the population whatever it might be for all time to come. Why not left the eighty cents go on increasing with the population? But it may be said Canada will go on and get much more than we. That could not be contradicted, but how would it be now? He believed if the people thought they were going to get eighty cents ahead according to the population they would be satisfied. He would have it so arranged that in time the local governments would get the management of the monies rather than the federal, thus giving them less to do, whilst it increased the work to be done by the Local Legislatures. Then he did not see any check by which the Constitution was secured to us provided the other Provinces wished to alter it.
The Constitution of the United States provided that it could not be altered without an appeal and vote of three-fourths of the States. He thought if this were done we should be much safer. Then if they could alter the General Constitution, why may they not after a time obtain the power to alter the local Constitution? If these things were not secured he would have it done. He would pour the oil of good feeling upon the wheels, so that they might run smoothly and work well. He thought the delegates should be instructed but not trammelled. They would leave with his best wishes, but he thought the House should have been informed how many were to be sent, and who they would be. There were some men he would not send for his right arm, whilst there were others in whom he had every confidence. He would pick out five or seven men from the Government and from the House, or from both Houses, but they should be the best men, and the House should know who they were.
On the second application to the people they had decided, as he believed, right; but he told his people that he would bring his judgment to bear upon the deliberation of the whole matter, and now by the action taken by the Government, he was in the position, that if he voted against the Resolution Confederation would be jeopardized. He hoped that all would yet turn out well, that the delegates would not act with selfish or ambitious motives. No delegation ever left these or any other Colonies with such destinies in their hands, and he trusted they would return with a good report. If they did not, the people would not be satisfied. He should vote for the Resolution.
Dr. Dow did not know that there was anything fastidious in asking the same favor of the House as the hon. member had done. All he asked for was that the mover of the amendment should close the debate as was customary. He had always looked upon this question as one that rose above party or prejudice. When was the first objection taken to the Quebec Scheme? not till the people had risen to a sense of the benefits which were to arise from a Union of. these Colonies. It had been objected by the hon. member for St. John, that the power was in the hands of the General Government, and he had referred to the United States during the late war. But did not the hon. member know that it was because there was then a great central head and controlling power that the Union was preserved? Had the power been in the separate States, where would the Union have been to-day? The delegates were going home to a country and a Government who would not do anything to the prejudice of these Provinces.
In his canvas through the County he had said, if you vote for me you vote for the Quebec Scheme, and no railway no Union. He did not say the scheme was perfect; it was drawn up by men, and all are liable to err. But what were some of the objections raised. Oh! the people were going to be taxed to death.
Next Fisher, Tilley and Gray had bought up the Fenians at $50 a head, and so the people got frightened. There was an old lady up in Canterbury who was very much alarmed about them, and one day when he called she asked him how about the Fenians? He replied they were all gone now. But said she, “Don’t you think they’ll come back?” He thought not, unless they might turn up on the fishery question. “There,” she said, “I knew it was some of that Fisher’s work. He is always doing some mischief or other. “And so it is, the impression was made that the Fenians, the Fishery business, and Fisher were all mixed up together. He did not say the scheme was perfect, but he had full faith in the men who would go home that they would labor for the best interests of the country
He had seen 45,000 acres of land bought up by one man for a mere nominal sum, because it was in such a position that roads would not likely to be made through it for many years. But 15,000 acres of that land was as pretty farming land as the eye could desire to look on, and if a railroad were run through it, it would be of immense value. Our young men were leaving our country because there were no improvements going on to open our country and develope its resources. This would only be changed by uniting the interests of all the Provinces. He was prepared to vote for the Resolution.
Mr. Smith, in closing the debate, said—I do not complain of the tone adopted during this debate, except to the remarks made by the Provincial Secretary, and I think the House, on calm reflection, will say that his speech lacked that dignity which was due to the subject and to the House. I stand in a very different position to the Provincial Secretary, for while this feeling of the House is concurrent with his views, I am aware that I address an unwilling audience, but […]
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[…] duty to myself and to my country try to require that I should reply. I think, Mr. Speak er, that the hon. Secretary should have striven to combat my arguments rather than to have entered into personalities. I said nothing to call for his singling me out almost by name, and making me the subject of an attack. In the late election I scarcely referred to any on thing by name, but all his speeches have been directed to the impugning of my motives. Now, if this was the question, he would like to ask the hon. Provincial secretary if he was not influenced in his labors by a desire to go to Ottawa?
Hon. Mr. Tilley—No, I do not think I am.
Mr. Smith—Yes, Mr. Speaker, you see he can’t say he is not so influenced, there is the reservation—I do not think I am. He is not prepared to say in a straightforward manner that such motives have no effect upon him.
Hon. Mr. Tilley—I know, Mr. Speaker, it is hard for a man to know himself, and, therefore, I replied in that guarded way.
Mr. Smith—Now, I don’t say he is thus influenced, but he attacked me, and he says I am the worst politician in this country. Well, in return, I will say that he is the most ambitious and unscrupulous. He has some qualities that I much admire. He is certainly persevering in his efforts to bring about that which he desires, but he is not particular about the means. He said he was willing to get better terms than the Quebec Scheme, but did not leave the impression that they would be had. Did he not strive to prove that it was a perfect Scheme. The Speech he has made here will be read by the delegates from Canada on their way to England and what will he say to them, and how will he meet this people again if the Quebec Scheme be fastened upon us?
But I must do honor to the hon. member from St. John, who although he will cast his vote on the opposite side, has yet taken up and treated this subject on broad and philosophical views. He has acted in a bold, manly, independent manner, and has done himself infinite honor. The matter should have been submitted to us. It is not before us. It is on the Journals of last year, but we can’t retrace our steps and look at it. The Secretary tells us—in a manner unheard of before—that he cannot tell this House what terms they will ask, as somebody may get a hold of it in Canada, and thus defeat the measure. Is this not political fraud and concealment? Is it not clear that they are willing to carry a Scheme against the will and wishes of a majority of the people of this country?
The hon. member for York said the scheme was not perfect, but he did not tell us his objections to it. He says that young men are going away; so they are and others are coming here. This is only natural. Man is restless and roving, and we get men from England, Ireland and Scotland, but we don’t hear anything about them. The Provincial Secretary quoted from the Journals to show that an offer of Union had been made us in 1858. But let us see his reply. Here is Tilley against Tilley.
MEMORANDUM OF THE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL IN COMMITTEE
To His Excellency the Honorable J.H.T. MANNERS-Sutton, Lieutenant Governor, &c., &c., &.
The Committee of Council have had under consideration the Despatch of the Governor General of the 9th inst., containing the Report of the Executive Council of Canada, on the subject of a Federation Union of the British North American Provinces.
The Council are deeply impressed with the importance of the subject, requiring, as it does, the most deliberate and mature consideration.
The British North American Provinces have each attained a great degree of material prosperity under their present Constitution; and the increased power of self-government recently conferred on them has left nothing to envy in the political condition of the citizens of the neighboring Republic.
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This is true; the country has gone on with great rapidity. But the trouble with the Provincial Secretary is that he is too ardent and sanguine. His imagination paints things in very bright colors, and he is apt to believe it is all real. For example, he introduced some years ago the Prohibitory Liquor Law, and he told us that if it was carried it would entail blessings on the country. Well, it was carried, and the result proved that the Secretary’s predictions were all wrong, for not only was the country thrown into two elections, but I believe there has been more drinking since as the consequence of that law then ever was before. Now he say I never introduced any great measure; will, this is one of the great measures brought forward by the Secretary. Then there was the Inter-colonial Railway. He made an arrangement with Canada to build that road, and went to England on a delegation to consummate the whole affair, and when he returned he told us that Messrs. Howland and Sicotte, the Canadian delegates had broken faith, and there was the end of that matter. These gentlemen think they are not guilty of that charge. All that time I was Attorney General, and was associated with the Secretary, and on that question I resigned my office. He says I am opposed to Railways. That is not the case; but in the matter of incurring large liabilities I am, and have been very cautious. He says I show great inconsistency in my action and statements. Now in 1862 I said that the Railway was costing £ 200 a day, and that every passenger cost £ 5. That was a fact, but is that any reason why at the present time I should not look forward to its paying six per cent. Is there any inconsistency in that? Now I will read what I did say in my resignation in 1862.
“RESIGNATION OF HON. A.J. SMITH.
“FREDERICTON, Oct. 10, 1862.
“SIR: The delegates representing the Government of this Province at the Convention recently held in Canada to consider the subject of the Inter Colonial Railway from Halifax to Quebec, have undertaken, on behalf of this Province, to build the railway conjointly with Canada and Nova Scotia, and to bear seven twenty-fourths of the cost of the work; and the Council have affirmed their action, and are preparing to take steps to give effect to the arrangement so made.
“This scheme is, in my opinion, fraught with consequences most injurious to the welfare and best interests of this Province. It involves a heavy charge upon the Province, which, added to our present indebtedness, will impose a financial burden which I think our population and resources will not justify upon any sound principle of political economy.
“A very important element in the consideration of this subject, in my judgement, is the fact that these works are to be constructed with borrowed foreign capital, the payment of the interest of which will be a never-ending drain upon our financial resources, which ultimately must have a most withering effect upon the prosperity and seriously retard the advancement of the Province.
“It should not be forgotten that the interest on the debt already contracted for our present railway is about £ 200 per day. The earnings of the road it may be fairly said are not more than sufficient to pay the running expenses, including wear and tear. The interest is paid abroad, and I am much mistaken if the effect of this has not already been highly prejudicial to the business of the country.
“Our present financial condition is by no means flattering, and will require the most careful and prudent management in order to meet local requirements and preserve public faith.
“The proposed enterprise if accomplished must largely increase taxation, which in my estimation the people are unable and unwilling to bear, our present tariff is as high as circumstances will warrant.
“My views on this subject may be erroneous, but I have given it the most careful and deliberate consideration, with a full appreciation of its magnitude and the importance of the step I am about to take. Under these circumstances I feel myself constrained by a sense of public duty to separate from my colleagues, and retire from the Government, and I now beg to tender to your Excellency my resignation. * * *
The debate and House was here adjourned till to-morrow morning at 9 o’clock.