New Brunswick, House of Assembly, Debates of the House of Assembly [Mr. Fisher’s Amendment] (28 March 1866)
By: New Brunswick (House of Assembly)
Citation: New Brunswick, House of Assembly, Reports of the Debates of The House of Assembly  at 67-71.
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HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY.
Wednesday, March 28.
On motion of Mr. Wetmore, the House went into a Committee of ‘the Whole on a Bill to revive. and continue an Act entitled an Act for the relief of insolvent debtors. This. Bill caused a long discussion. and was finally referred to a select Committee.
The House then proceeded to the order of the day:
THE ADJOURNED DEBATE ON MR. FISHER’S AMENDMENT.
Mr. McClellan said that before the Hon. Surveyor General resumed his speech, he would claim the indulgence of the House to reply to some observations which that gentleman made yesterday when he (Mr. McC.) was not in his seat. He was informed that the Hon. Surveyor General had complained of his having made an unfair statement concerning the granting of twenty-seven acres to Mr. Gibson without public sale. What he ( Mr. McClellan) stated was as follows: That on enquiry at the Land Office he had ascertained that amongst other lands granted to Mr. Gibson, were two small lots detached from the main body, one of fifty acres at the Nashwaak Falls, and another of twenty-seven acres at the head of the river, and commanding the waters of St. Mary’s Lake, that the latter, though advertised in the Gazette, along with the other lands applied for at the time, was not sold publicly but granted to Mr. Gibson without being offered to public competition at all, but that the clerk had told him in justification of the proceeding, that this lot was so granted to Mr. Gibson to compensate him for a deficiency in another lot which he (Mr. Gibson) held. The Hon. Surveyor General could not have noticed the whole reference,, or he would not have imputed any unfairness in the statement. Several other hon. members could assert that he had so stated the case, every word of which he (Mr. McClellan) could substantiate. He did not censure this Government particularly in this matter, but the system was open to suspicion. and if this was the proper time to discuss the question of the crown lands, he was quite prepared to show that however much the Government might veneer or whitewash their system of management, a close inspection would reveal the fact, that the interests of the people were neglected and a great public wrong inflicted by the present administration in connection with this matter.
Hon. Mr. Smith rose to order, and said this was not the proper time to argue the question further, when the Hon. Surveyor General was entitled to the floor.
Mr. Anglin said the Hon. member for Albert (Mr. McClelan) had stated the case most unfairly and unjustly yesterday, and he was now putting it in exactly the same light again. His impression, from what his hon. friend had stated, was that these twenty-seven acres were part and parcel of the 10,000 acres sold to Mr. Gibson, and these twenty-seven acres were sold to him by the present Surveyor General without competition, because they commanded tha head waters of the St. Mary’s Lake. This was the impression conveyed to every member of the House, with the exception of the late surveyor General. The sale of this land took place in 1860, by order of the Government, and it passed through several hands before Mr. Gibson bought it.
Mr. McClelan, in reply, said that the hon. member from St. John would do well to keep cool, for if it became a question of veracity between that hon. gentleman and himself, he (Mr. McClelan) had no fear that his assertion would have. as much weight with the people of New Brunswick as that of the hon. member from St. John. He had stated only facts, which he was prepared to prove, and he had done so, too, frankly and openly, and without any prevarication or distortion and concealment.
Hon Mr. Smith again rose to order, and, amidst considerable confusion, the standing order of the House was insisted on by Mr. Needham, and the discussion was continued with closed doors.
Hon Mr. Botsford.—Before the recess my hon. friend from the County of Albert (Mr. McC.) was making some explanation with reference to what I considered a charge made by him against. the Government. I charged him with imparting to the people eroneous information in regard to the twenty-seven acres of land which Mr. Gibson purchased from Mr. Chipman at the rate of $3 per acre. In his explanation he still conveys the same eroneous impression, that this land was purchased from the Government without competition. It has been stated here that I maintained the doctrine that all information regarding Crown Lands should be sought for at the head office of the department, l never made any such assertion. I never said information should not be imparted at the deputies’ office. I said that when they wanted information on which to ground a charge against the head of the department, it, was a fair, open, manly way to come to the head office for information.
In reference to the charge that notice was not given in the Royal Gazette of the rescinding of this Order of Council, it will be borne in mind that from 1862 until June, 1865, all notices in the Royal Gazette for the sale of land, under auction, was subject to a condition of actual settlement, but from the time that order was rescinded in 1865, that notice requiring actual settlement was left out. The very moment that condition was not annexed to the advertisements, the land would be sold at auction to the highest bidder. therefore this gave it. every possible publicity. (Mr. Lindsay—The Royal Gazette says the conditions will be explained at the time of sale, and the deputy said he had no instructions only those which he had received some years ago, and he was led to suppose the same regulations still continued.) If any person will take the Gazette and look at the advertisements for the sale of land by auction, from last June, he will find that there are no conditions of actual settlement attached to those sales after the rescinding of the Order of Council, thereby conclusively showing to every deputy—through this Gazette, which is his rule and guide—that no condition of actual settlement was required. Notwithstanding that notice did take place, it did not increase the sales of land, neither did the publication of the rescinding of the Order of Council, and the comments thereon in the St. John papers, in September. In the month of July there were two thousand one hundred acres sold, in August three thousand one hundred, September three thousand, October three thousand two hundred. November two thousand seven hundred, December three thousand. This shows very conclusively that the sales of land did not increase after the rescinding of the Order of Council was published throughout the length and breadth of the land. The next charge was made in reference to the non-appointment of an Auditor General. (Mr. Botsford then read the law regarding the office.) We have gone according to law and the accounts in that office have been made up, so that they could see at a glance the state of the finances of the country. The hon. member for Westmorland (Mr. Gilbert) has alluded to a vote of want of confidence, which he says has taken place in the other branch of the Legislature. I do not know as it is parliamentary to speak of the proceedings of that body, but I think that I have a right to do so, as the subject has been introduced. It has been represented that that vote of want of confidence is no more or less than that they are favorable to a union in any way whatever. This means nothing more or less than that they are favorable to the Quebec Scheme. It has been stated by the hon. mover of the amendment, that it is perfectly futile for any member of the House of Assembly to object to this question of representation by population, as it was a sine qua non with Upper Canada. Therefore, the Legislative Council, knowing they could get no other scheme, have by their vote of want of confidence declared themselves in favor of the Quebec Scheme. (Mr. Wilmot—The leader of the Government, so far as I understood him, admitted that he would consent to representation by population, provided there were checks in the Legislative Council. I put the question to him and he admitted it clearly and distinctly.)
Hon. Mr. Smith—I made no such statement. I said I never would go for representation, pure and simple. I would not go for it without checks and guards could be placed upon it to neutralize […]
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[…] its effects. The principle, to my mind, is entirely wrong, but if that principle is adopted the number of representatives must be restricted.
Hon. Mr. Botsford.—The hon. mover of the amendment has said that Upper Canada would not accede to any proposition for union unless it contained the principle of representation by population; and, therefore without this any union was impracticable. That is we have to submit, because Upper Canada chooses to put forward a proposition, a sine qua non. New Brunswick, containing 250,000 inhabitants, must swallow the scheme because Upper Canada says so. It is a proposition no free man who knows his rights will ever submit to. The members of the Legislative Council know these facts: therefore, when they passed the amendment to the Address, they promulgated the idea that the Quebec Scheme would be a benefit to the country. In the public prints we find the division in that body, on this question, was nine for the amendment and four against it. I will suppose a case. Suppose the number of members in this House was reduced to thirteen. which was the number present when that amendment passed, and we should rush this amendment through when the mover and seconder were absent, what would the country say to such deliberations? I think my hon. friend (Mr. Fisher) would be the first man to condemn it, for I think he is far above taking that course. Of those nine who voted in the majority, three were delegates who helped to concoct the scheme, and the other six were not opposed to it. This being the case, how can it be said that there was a change of public opinion upon this subject. My hon. friend (Mr. F.) has said that when the principle of one of those resolutions came up which provided that a certain number of gentlemen should be selected from the Legislative Council, that he and his colleagues did not agree about it. The people or this Province. were led to believe that this resolution was the unanimous decision of those thirty delegates. (Mr. Fisher. – I told him more than three-fourths of the delegates were in favor of the mode adopted in the scheme for the constitution of the Legislative Council. I only gave my own opinion as being opposed to them.) My hon. friend was opposed to the principle of forming the Federal Council by selecting members from the Legislative Councils of the different Provinces. Do you suppose that Mr. George Brown, who was the concocter of the scheme, would not have put the screws on and confined us to numbers, when he found there was a disagreement among our delegates in one of the most important points. This I consider one of the most objectionable features in the scheme.
Another objection made was in reference to the reinstatement of Mr. Inches into the Crown Land Office. In 1863, a petition to His Excellency recommending the reinstatement of Mr. Inches into that office was signed by Messrs. Stevens, Glazier, Vail, Allen, Gillmor, Monroe, Lindsay, Ferris, Beveridge, McClelan, Stiles, Scovil, Boyd, Williston, McPhelim, Young, Landry, Dow, Costigan, DesBrisay, Ryan, Crocker, Gray, Skinner, Grimmer.
Mr. Gilbert.—I do not object to the reinstatement of Mr. Inches, because I never thought he was culpable. I never thought that either he, or the hon. mover of the amendment were blameable for the course they took at the time.
Hon. Mr. Botsford.—I merely brought this forward to show that a large majority of the members of the House of Assembly, in 1863, were in favor of reinstating Mr. Inches. In 1865 a similar petition was got up and signed by twenty- five of the members of the present Assembly. (Mr. Wetmore—We signed it because we thought the Surveyor General did not understand the business of the office, and it was very important that some one should be there that did.) My hon. friend likes a passage at arms; he does not give the true reason, but says it was for my especial benefit. We have then a majority of the House of Assembly, just from the people, signing a petition for the reinstatement of Mr. Inches, therefore that could be no charge against the Government. Another charge made against the Government by the hon. mover of the amendment, was in regard to my temporary absence on a visit to my family. ( Mr. Fisher—I did not refer to him in particular. I referred to the fact that the members of the Government were floating over the country, the Attorney General being absent for four or five months, to which I attributed the difficulties in which the Government were involved.) I think the inference is drawn that my duties are not attended to. Why does he not make a charge in a fair way, so it can be understood, and not deal in inuendoes? Why does he allude in general terms to the duties of my office being neglected because I occasionally visit my family? The first question put to me when I was offered the office was, would I remove my permanent residence to Fredericton? I replied that I would accept of no political office upon those terms. I said I would accept of no office if I could not attend to its duties and have time to visit my family. this question of residing in Fredericton involves an important principle to every gentle man on the floors of this House. If accepting a political office outside the County of York involves a permanent residence in Fredericton, it is a virtual denial of any political office to any person living beyond the County of Sunbury, and is an injustice to other parts of the Province. I ask the hon. mover of the amendment to point out what has been neglected in my office during my temporary absence. While other gentlemen enter their offices at ten o’clock in the morning, and retire at three, having an hour’s intermission at noon. I am not confined to hours. I am there from half-past eight in the morning until six at night.
The hon. mover of the amendment charges the members of this Government with being vascillating in their conduct—with being low and mean, more pigmies. This comes with a bad grace from one who boasts of being of such political gigantic stature. We know what he thinks of himself by his card, which he issued to the electors of York. He says, “I have left the impress of my mind upon the institutions of this country. “This was not spoken during the heat of debate. but was written when he had time for calm reflection. He calls us low and mean because we signed a Minute of Council, which he said was insulting to the Queen’s minister. When a question was propounded to us, we gave our views in a calm, loyal and dignified manner, as British subjects in New Brunswick. We had considered whether this scheme of union was beneficial or not, and these were our views, and they were the views of a large majority of the people of this country, who endorse every word of that dispatch. We did not wish to adopt a scheme of union which would subvert the Constitution, and bring upon us “lamentation and woe.” He (Mr. F.) will leave the impress of his mind upon the institutions of this country; and he might have added his actions in this country will stare him in the face. He was tried before a committee of this House and condemned. (Mr. Fisher.—I was not.) He was thrust out as unworthy to serve the Government by the force of public opinion, and now he calls us low and mean, ( Mr. Fisher,—I did not.) and said we had no capacity. After being thrust out of the Government, he was like the spaniel who, after being castigated by his master, would turn round and lick his hand. He was obsequious to the concocters of the Quebec Scheme; he agreed to all but one principle.
There is another charge made against the Government, which I shall touch very briefly upon. We are charged with making our promotions on the Bench on political grounds. I deny it. We say that Chief Justice Ritchie is a man competent and able to fill that situation. As a jurist, Judge and Barrister, he is pre-eminently qualified for that situation. Hon. gentlemen may assert that the promotion was an insult to Judge Wilmot, but that does not detract from his talents or position; it. is a charge based upon a baseless foundation. If Judge Ritchie was incompetent to fill the office, then the Government would allow the charge was valid. Who made it a political matter? My hon. friend, the mover of the Amendment, has made it so, because he justifies Judge Wilmot for exerting his influence in addressing Juries from the Bench on the question of Confederation. Then again, after Confederation had been dead and buried, after all had become calm, and party spirit had died away, there occurred a vacancy in the County of York, and everybody knew that my hon. friend entered the contest to fill that vacancy, with the avowed denial that Confederation had anything to do with it. It was a purely party question between Mr. Fisher and the Government. He put it upon the grounds of hostility to the present Government, and hostility to Tim Anglin, he would not even say Mr. Anglin. It was merely a party question whether Mr. Pickard should be returned or not. When Judge Wilmot descended and entered the political contest without any excitement concerning Confederation, for Mr. Fisher himself ignored the ground that Confederation had anything to do with the election; he prostituted the Bench and made it a political arena. He openly went to the polls and gave his vote, saying at the same time: “there is a vote for Charles Fisher.” If that is not dragging the ermine into politics I do not know what it is. We were discussing in the House, not long since a question whether a Judge had a right to sit in judgment on a case where he is interested to the extent of one- seventh part of a cent: but here you have a Judge descending from the Bench and identifying himself with party politics, by voting for Mr. Fisher, against the Government. (Mr. Wetmore.—Where did you get your information?) He […]
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[…] said, “here is a vote for Charles Fisher.” (Mr. Wetmore—How do you know?) I hard so. I am prepared to show that Judge Ritchie never voted nor took any part in a political contest, and when Confederation came up he had nothing to do with it. there is no instance on record where a judge ever mixed himself up with party political questions. Suppose a row took place between the party he was voting for and the other side and a murder was committed, and he was called upon to try those parties, could he divest himself of political feeling, and bring his mind into that calm state, that he could give a dispassionate judgement.
The ex-Surveyor General chooses to style us traitors. I shall not reply to him in the same way, for I know he gets excited, and we must make allowances for him. He called the Attorney General a mongrel, and he thought he would soon get to the pure breed. (Mr. McMillan—I called him a cross between a Confederate and an anti-Confederate, and I was perfectly justified in saying so, for he has declared in that Minute of Council that he was against all union, and then by the Speech from the Throne he had foreshadowed a scheme of union.) My hon. friend accuses us of being a cross between a Confederate and an anti, because we have respectfully, by the command of His Excellency, put into the Speech that he has received certain commands with reference to a Union of the colonies, and we answer to that and say, that when that correspondence is laid before us it will receive due consideration from this House. He condemns us because we only respectfully allude to it, and my hon. colleague (Mr. Gilbert) takes the other extreme, and condemns us because we put it in at all. these are two antagonistic principles, and it is an unerring law of nature, that different species of vegetables or animals produce hybrids, therefore, when he calls us a cross breed, I will call my hon. friend from Westmorland, and the ex-Surveyor General, hybrid politicians, and I think their constituency would be benefited by destroying this hybrid breed. I will now thank this House for the attention which they have paid me while addressing them. I do not appeal to their sympathy, but I say that, in my opinion, the charges made against the department over which I have supervision are perfectly groundless; other charges brought against the Leader of the Government have been already explained. I ask the House to give the charges a calm investigation, and not pre-judge us, for I feel satisfied, whatever the decision my be, they cannot put their hand on one title of evidence to justify any of the charges made against this Government, for I am satisfied that they have discharged their duty, and I am satisfied the vote of this Assembly will acquit them of any such charges made on so baseless a foundation.
Mr. Connell.—I will make a few observations in reference to the subject of debate, which has arisen out of the following resolution:
“And your Excellency may rely with confidence upon our cordial co-operation and support in the adoption of such measures as may be deemed necessary for the protection of the country; but we respectfully state to your Excellency that your constitutional advisers, by their general conduct, are not entitled to our confidence.”
I am one of those who believe that the course pursued by the Government has not given satisfaction to the country, and I will give my reasons for this belief. During the last sitting of the Legislature, a resolution was brought into the House and supported by the Government, that a delegation should go to England. Where was the necessity for that delegation and what good has resulted from it? That delegation was sent avowedly by the authority of this House, for the purpose of conveying to the British Government an idea of the state of things that existed in this Province, and I ask the Attorney General if he believed it necessary to go to England to convey this information to them? Did he think they had the constitutional right to interfere in our local matters? They had previously sent a despatch giving the result of the elections in this Province, to show that the people had rejected the Quebec Scheme, as they had only returned nine Confederates in the whole Province, although there were four who had not declared themselves for or against the Scheme. It is about time they should write another despatch, for we are all for union now. His Excellency’s speech is for union and some of the hon. members are for union one way and some another. The Attorney General will go for union, provided there are some checks made to counter-balance representation by population. Was it necessary or desirable to put the Province to the great expense of that delegation? It is true the Government may shelter themselves by saying this delegation was authorized to go to England by a resolution of the House which says:
“Whereas, in the exercise of the right of internal self-government enjoyed by this Province, its people are entitled to deliberate and decide upon all questions affecting their own local interests in such manner as to them may seem best calculated to promote their prosperity and welfare;
“Therefore Resolved, As the opinion of this House, that a delegation should at once proceed to England for the purpose of making known to the Imperial Government the views and feelings of this House, and the people of this Province on this important subject.”
I was opposed to this resolution, and I was in the minority; but small as that minority was at that time, it is now the feeling of a vast majority of the people of this Province. The course pursued by the Government in initiating that delegation cost a large sum of money; while it was unnecessary, uncalled for, and, in its results, was of no benefit to the Province. This delegation preformed things which the resolution did not authorize them t do. What authority did they have to enter into any arrangements, or contracts, for building this line of railway between Moncton and Amherst? They had no authority whatever except what was given them under the Facility Act, which gives the Government no authority to make any contracts. They may have had some secret arrangements which were never made public, but they were not authorized by this House or by law to make any contracts whatever. The delegates who went from Nova Scotia were authorized by their colleagues – as appears from minutes of Council to make arrangements concerning the fisheries, reciprocity and railways, but our delegates had no authority to enter into a contract with parties in England to build the railway from Moncton to Amherst. The only thing I can see in the law in reference to the matter is this The facility act in reference to this Railway is restrained, unless Nova Scotia makes a contract for their portion of the line. Then it is allowed to operate, but it gives no authority to the Government to enter into contracts for building it. I should like to know why if is that this line of railway connecting with the Nova Scotia line should have more of the immediate attention of the Government than any of the other lines contemplated under the Subsidy Act. It seems arrangements are made, contracts entered into, and the surveys paid for this railroad. By what authority has the Government entered into a contract to pay them all the cost of a right of way, where it exceeds $200 a mile which will be a considerable sum as the road runs through valuable mash land? why do they give them this preference, while is is very difficult for parties engaged in other railways, to even get their road acknowledged? (Mr. Anglin,—In what case?) In Woodstock the road has not been acknowledge, nor the survey paid, although the work is going on.
Mr. Gilbert.—The survey has been paid. My hon. friend undertook to make another survey, which has not been paid.
Hon. Mr. Smith.—The impression you wish to convey is that we are not doing what ought to be done, in regard to the Woodstock Railway. Mr. Hartley and Mr. Hay came down here to talk the matter over. I told them the Government would give them every assistance, for we felt disposed to encourage them in every way.
Mr. Connell.—It is very important that these matters should be entered into at once. They have not yet been acknowledged even up to the present time. it is true, the Attorney General promised to have the matter closed in ten days after Mr. Hartley and Mr. Hay were here. but the reason now given is that the contract had some slight informality about it. If that is the case, why not inform the company of the fact, that they may remedy the evil and the road be acknowledged by the Government? All I want is fair play. They have not extended the same justice to the Woodstock Railway as they have to the other for they have paid for the survey of that, and, in addition to this, they have paid for a second survey which has been made on the Dorchester line, to suit the convenience of somebody. That being the case, why do they not pay for the survey of the road at Woodstock? But I suppose while the present Government remain in power, we need not expect any justice of that kind. The Woodstock company have furnished their bonds and have done all the law requires, while no such requirements have been made of the St. Stephen branch, Western Extension, or the Dorchester line, and no paper exist in the office showing that fact. If there is any fair play in this, I do not understand it.
There has been a great deal said in reference to the Government offices not being filled up, and in consequence many evils have arisen throughout the Province. […]
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[…] Take, for instance, the office of Solicitor General. The expense incurred in sending law officers to the Circuits, although convenient for the Government to aid their friends, has been charged upon the public revenue, although the hon. mover of the amendment discharges the duties of the Carleton Circuit, yet there are other cases where the presence of a law officer was required. One of which was connected with a matter of sufficient importance to lead to a correspondence between the British Minister at Washington and the Government of this Province. The origin of the matter was trivial, but the results were important, for it has led to a great deal of bad feeling along the border of the Province, besides inflicting a great injustice upon one individual, who, by means of it, has lost part of his form. One of the principal law officers on this occasion, who seemed to lead the whole matter, was the aid-de-camp of the Lieutenant Governor. The Governor rules, and his advisers obey, and this is a sample of it. The result of this matter was in consequence of neglect on the part of the Provincial Secretary. In consequence of informality in the first proceedings taken by the Provincial Secretary, and subsequently, the prosecution was abandoned. This was an important matter. Connected, as it is, with a foreign country, it ought not to have been left in the way and manner it was. This shows the want of proper law officers of the Crown, and a sufficient reason why a Solicitor General should have been appointed. It would save the Government from disgrace, and prevent the loss of the public revenue. I am glad that the whole matter is closed, and I hope that in future the like will not occur again.
The elections for York and Westmorland have been brought before the House, but they have nothing to do with the subject of debate, for the question is, whether the members of the Government have discharged their duty. I will read a note which I received from a farmer in the Country of Carleton:
CARLETON COUNTY, March 9th, 1866.
Mr. C. CONNELL:
Dear Sir,—I hope you will send me the sayings and doings of the House of Assembly, this Session. I hope you will have a good time while there, and that if possible, you will turn out the present Government, and put one in that will save New Brunswick. You have been a good worker in breaking up the old nest, and I hope you will now put your shoulder to the wheel and help turn them out, for we are in jeopardy.
I believe that is the opinion of a very large majority of the inhabitants of this Province, and I know it is of the people of Carleton whom I represent. The hon. member for Kent (Mr. Caie) told us, the other day, that the people in Kent were all dissatisfied with the Government. I can tell the Attorney General that there is one universal feeling of dissatisfaction against the Government throughout the Province. Since the commencement of this debate the eyes of the people of this Province have been opened to see the vacillating eon- duct of the Government They were elected to oppose Confederation, and they have come down here to propound to this House and country that they are in favor of Union. This shows their inconsistency, and their friends and supporters in this House, as well as the people, can have no confidence in them. It is the custom for all Governments in other colonies to propound some policy at the opening of the Session, in order that the House and people may understand their position, but there was nothing of that kind done here last Session. They said there was no time, in consequence of the House being called together late in the season, and a delegation had to be appointed to go to England: but I expected at the meeting of this House the policy of the Government would have been enunciated, and the result of their mission to England made known in this debate, neither of which have we been favored with. It is my opinion, that if we cannot get a better scheme we should take the Quebec Scheme. I am not pledged for or against my scheme. If a better can be got I shall be pleased to have it for we want a union and must have it. We have heard something about being reduced to our original elements by a dissolution of the House, but these things I think will have no influence. The Attorney General said he would go for a scheme of union containing the principle of representation by population, provided there were checks to counter balance it. If the Government have abandoned the principles upon which they were elected they are deceiving their friends and supporters in this House, and throughout the country, by not bringing before the House their policy on this great question, in comparison with which all other questions should sink into insignificance.
The Surveyor General gives his attention to his office, and when any matter is brought under his notice, so-far as I am aware, he gives proper attention to it; but as to the evils existing in the office, it appears he has not the conception of mind to eradicate and reform them. The office requires an over-hauling and re-organizing, for its entire arrangements are a disgrace to the country, but the capacity of the present Surveyor General seems unequal to his position. It is not my intention to go into the question in reference to the sale of lands to Mr. Gibson, for he has got those lands, and is entitled to them by law, if their was a fair competition in their purchase, but if I had been in the Government I would not have done as they did. I would not have come down and found fault with the Tilley Government. I would have come down in a manly, straight-forward way, and said, we found the survey was made and we sold the land (Mr. Smith—It was a charge made against us.) We said the House and country understood that the late Government ordered the survey. There has been a great deal of talk in regard to giving up those lands. I think the Government are chargeable in not standing by their friends (Mr. Smith—it is pretty hard to tell who they are.) Mr. Gibson is one of them at all events, and the Government should have required Mr. Gibson to give up his three years license or withheld the sale, and they had the power to do so; as it was, it was not a fair competition. The Crown Land Office requires over-hauling. I have received a great many communications, particularly during the last year, requesting me to communicate with the office, for the interest of the back settlers through the country, in order to bring under the notice of the Surveyor General the grievances that exist. If the Surveyor General had investigated the matter, all these communications might have been saved, and the people have been satisfied. I will mention a case that has occurred in the settlements of Knowlsville, Johnsville and Glasgow, in the County of Carleton. A vast number of people place in my hand the certificate from the commissioner, that the work and settlement had been done, and all the requirements of the law complied with. I brought the case of some twenty of these under the notice of the Government, and the reply to my application was, that in most of the cases $3 still remained due, and required to be paid. I communicated with the commissioner to know the authority under which he acted, and received the following reply:
“In answer to yours of the 4th of January, 1866, I beg to state that all the parties in the list have done work to the amount of $57, and paid $3 commission. I have the authority of the Deputy for so doing.”
In answer to an enquiry made of Mr. Gowan, dated July, 1864, he made the following statement: “The commission is included in the $60, viz. $57 in work and $3 in cash;” and I have forwarded the said letter to him, the only satisfaction I could get from the department was, a reference to the rules and regulations of the office. With reference to the rules of 1861, establishing the mode of settlement and terms of payment applicable to settlers under the Labor Act, here in the face of these regulations we have the authority of the department to violate them. It is true since this debate has commenced, the Surveyor General has informed me, that all cases up to November, 1865, occurring where $57 have been paid and $3 commission, the grants will issue. There is a direct violation of their own rules and regulations, which shows to the country the outrageous manner in which the proceedings of that office is conducted, and the incompetency of its head. In a blustering way he endeavored to fix some charge upon me with reference to my knowledge of the annulment of the order, that no lands should be sold unless for actual settlement. I can state that, for this hour, no communication of the annulment of that order has been made to the deputies throughout this Province, and the only information they have is through the public Press, which showed its disapprobation of the conduct of the head of the department. But the Surveyor General, in excuse, exhibits to this House a petition signed by myself and some others, in October last, in order to show that I knew of the annulment of the order, and that I should have made it known, particularly to Mr. Harley, who was the deputy. To my certain knowledge Mr. Hartley stated to me, after the exposure in the public Press in December, that it was the first intimation that he had of the repeal of the order. I happened to go into the Crown Land Office previous to my making the application and it was intimated to me, by Mr. […]
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[…] Inches, that the order had been repealed, the grants would issue to all previous sales under the order. This was the way the business of the office was managed. They sold land under certain conditions. and then violated them. Why did they not extend some of these privileges to the Hartley sales? They forgot who were required to perform the conditions of the law to the letter, and received no grants. The inattention of the Commissioner, or the want of knowledge in reference to the matter, has caused persons a great inconvenience. I know it from the many calls I have to attend to in these matters and my communications to the Crown Land Office will show a further evidence in regard to it. I will mention a case where a grant was issued to a man who actually does not own the land and, four or five others have been kept out of their grants where the labor had been performed, within my personal knowledge, for the last three or four years. This matter was brought under the notice of the Surveyor General during the last Session. I had to take the matter in hand myself, and get a survey, and have now the returns in my hand for the purpose of being handed in to the Crown Land Office, which being done I am informed the grants will be issued. If this is the way one of the most important departments, affecting every settler throughout the Province, is to be managed—it the head of the department is incompetent—it is a charge against the Government, and I hope by a vote of this House a change will take place, and a thorough reformation be established that office.
The Surveyor General attacked me in a rather defiant manner, in reference to a case—,that I did not inform somebody that I knew this Order of Council was rescinded. (Mr. Botsford—I did not, I made no charge against him. It was in reply to a charge made against me in reference to a petition, he said it was not known, and I said he knew it.) I made no charge. I said there appeared to be some misapprehension in reference to something in connection with Mr. Hartley. (Mr. Botsford—I made no charge against Mr. Hartley. I asked his hon. colleague (Mr. Lindsay) who the deputy was that stated the land could not be sold, and he replied, Mr. Hartley. I was replying when he ( Mr. Connell rose up and stated it was not known. I replied that he knew of it, and others knew of it.) I stood up for the purpose of removing an erroneous impression so far as Mr. Hartley was concerned. Mr. Hartley knew nothing in reference to this order being rescinded until it was remarked upon by the papers in St. John He said he had seen in the Telegraph, that there was a great difficulty about the Government selling land, and that the order of Council had been rescinded. I replied I had known that some time ago. He said that this was the first he had heard of it. The Surveyor General knows that was Mr. Hartley’s position, and that was the reason I made these observations
The debate was then adjourned until to-morrow.