New Brunswick, House of Assembly, Debates of the House of Assembly [Mr. Fisher’s Amendment] (7 April 1866)


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Date: 1866-04-07
By: New Brunswick (House of Assembly)
Citation: New Brunswick, House of Assembly, Reports of the Debates of The House of Assembly [1866] at 101-105.
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HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY.

Saturday, April 7.

  •             (p. 101)

[…]

ADJOURNED DEBATE ON MR. FISHER’S AMENDMENT.

Mr. Anglin.—Before I begin, I will express my regret at having occupied the attention of the House so long. I felt, and still feel, that the debate has hung on so long that it is scarcely warrantable to protract it, but some of the hon. members wanted explanations of various kinds, which so interrupted me as rendered it impossible for me to get through yesterday. I do not want to complain of it, but I bring it forward as an excuse for taking up the time today. I concluded last evening with drawing your attention to a despatch from Mr. Cardwell, and was endeavouring to show what there was to justify us in entertaining some doubts as to the exact meaning of the despatch. There was nothing ungentlemanly or uncourteous in our conduct in expressing such doubts. I would like to have you point out to me what paragraph—what sentence—what line, or what word there is in that Memorandum in which there is any thing disloyal or any thing that evinces disrespect. True, we alluded to the Times newspaper, but we knew that those Canadian delegates were in England plotting against the liberties of this country, and we knew they had with them extraordinary resources to enable them to do so. We found in that paper false statements which had originated in this Province, but had been copied in that leading paper of the world, and made the foundation of newspaper articles; we believed these articles were inspired by these Canadian delegates and Mr. Cardwell and the members of the Imperial Parliament […]

  •             (p. 102)

[…] were told the same stories, and were led to misunderstand the whole nature of our position. That was the reason which led us to say:

“The Committee, of course, cannot suppose that the British Government share the ignorance with regard to the history and character of the Federal Scheme which appears to prevail among the British public, and which induces the “Times” newspaper of the twentieth of June, to observe that “the two Canadas have put aside their ancient jealousies, and are ready to meet in a common Legislature, in apparent forgetfulness of the fact that they have so met for the last five and twenty years,” &c.

We thought he did show that ignorance in that dispatch, but we think new light has been thrown upon it by subsequent events. When we found statements of this kind in the “Times” newspaper operating upon the English people, who are Mr. Cardwel’s [sic] masters, we did not think it unjustifiable to make an allusion to an article which we believed was put before the people of England to create an erroneous impression of the state of things which existed in this Province and I do not think we should be characterized as mean and low by so doing. The House will judge whether it was justifiable or not. I am free to admit it was out of the ordinary course of proceeding, but it had become somewhat necessary from the state of things that existed. It was not in accordance with strict decorum, but by so doing we were bringing the matter more forcibly, fully and clearly under the observation of the Colonial Secretary, and I appeal to the House to say if there was anything low or mean in our referring to that paper. We go on to say:

“The resolutions agreed to by the leading Canadian politicians in the month of June, 1864, as the basis of the formation of the existing Cabinet, and adopted solely under the pressure of local exigencies, contain the statement that on consideration of the steps most advisable for the final settlement of sectional difficulties, the remedy must be sought in the adoption of the Federal principle, and provide that if such negotiations were unsuccessful, they would be prepared to pledge themselves to legislation during the next session of Parliament, for the purpose of remedying existing difficulties, by introducing the Federal principle for Canada alone.”

Was there anything disloyal, or not in strict accordance with facts, in that? Having heard so many attacks upon this “Minute of Council,” I did expect to find it pointed out what particular part of it deserved such epithets. I have heard nothing beyond this, that we dared to doubt the precise meaning of Mr. Cardwell’s words, and a reference to the Times newspaper. We continue:

“It is perfectly clear that the existing difficulties were the motive and groundwork of the scheme, and that the Federal Union was only sought as a means of separating the Canadas—a separation which the Canadian Government are pledged in all events immediately to effect—a fact which perhaps sufficiently accounts for the eagerness with which they seek to force its immediate adoptions upon unwilling communities, for they are well aware that did the plan avowedly contemplate only the separation of the Canadas, it would be impossible even speciously to present it to the Imperial Government as in a manner a scheme of union. Mr. Cardwell is perfectly right in supposing that the views and wishes of Great Britain are entitled to great weight, and they will be ever received with respectful attention in this Province; but the Committee feel certain that if there be one view with regard to the Colonies which is more clearly and distinctly held than another by Her Majesty’s Government and the people of England; if there be one wish on their part, with respect to which there can be neither hesitation nor doubt, it is, that the people of this Province, and others, enjoying, through the wise liberality of England, parliamentary institutions and free self-government, should act in reference to their own affairs, as seems to themselves most consistent with their duty to their sovereign, and most conducive to their own interests.”

Could the representatives of free men, having to assert the rights of free men, speak in more respectful language than that. We had to assert the rights of the people of this Province, but in doing so I declare again emphatically, that it was our most anxious wish and earnest desire to cloth our thoughts and ideas in such respectful, deferential, loyal language as would leave no room to doubt of our expressing what we believed to be due to the loyal people of this Province. We continue:

“To confer on this Province the right of self government would have been mockery, if in consequence of its claims to deference as a protector the wish of the mother country was in all cases to be followed whenever expressed, whatever the opinion of those to whom the power of judging has been solemnly entrusted by the Sovereign and Legislature of Great Britain, and who being on the spot and fully conversant with the subject, consider themselves not unable to judge with respect to their own affairs.”

Who are they to whom the Sovereign and Parliament have entrusted the right of judging in the affairs of this Province? Is it not the people of the Province themselves through their representatives. If any man says otherwise he misconstrues the spirit of our Constitution. We say;

“When a wish is expressed by Her Majesty’s Government, it will be received with that deference which is due to suggestions emanating from so high a source, and will be considered with an anxious desire to meet the views of Her Majesty’s advisers.”

Is that the treason of which I have been accused before my country? If it be, it is treason which is shared in by every man who holds a high place in the history of his country. If I was endowed with any share of vanity, I would feel proud that I was deemed worthy to be placed in so high a position. I prefer retirement, but when attacks are made on me, and through me on the Government, which is working for the welfare of the country, I feel it my duty to repel those attacks, and prove how unfounded they are. We continue:

“But if such views should unfortunately not coincide with the views of those on whom alone the responsibility of action in the Province falls, the Committee feel assured that Her Majesty’s Government will expect and desire that the Government of this Province should act according to their own convictions of right, and in conformity with the sentiments of the people they represent.”

I again proclaim my solemn conviction, that that is the language of loyalty and truth, and that it was our duty on that occasion to have spoken as we did. If there be in that memorandum one word an honest, impartial man can say is unbecoming for the Government of this country to utter in an address to the Imperial Government, I would humbly retract it. We pondered and deliberated over every word in it, and we had no intention, wish desire or idea o conveying in it either insolence or disrespect, much less disloyalty or treason, and I defy any man to make treason, disloyalty or disrespect out of it. It stands before the intelligence of the empire, and it speaks for itself. I feel proud of it, and I am prepared to reiterate every word it contains. There has been no change of the opinions of the people in regard to Confederation. I meet men day after day, of all classes and all creeds, I speak to them in familiar intercourse, and I receive letters from all parts of the Province; but from the time of the last election up to the present moment, I never yet met the man who has changed from being in opposition to Confederation and become an advocate of the Quebec Scheme. True, the strong declarations of the Imperial Government have produced an effect upon the minds of some parties in the Province. We declare we are willing and anxious to meet and carry out the views of the British Government so far as is consistent with our interest; but this Quebec Scheme, the more we reflect upon it, the more we feel it will bring ruin and destruction upon the Province It is said that you, the people of New Brunswick, must abandon everything—sacrifice your independence—throw away your property, and place yourselves completely under the control of Canada, because Mr. Cardwell says you ought to do so. That would be an unreasonable, slavish loyalty We say we object to that scheme, more particularly to the principle of representation by population; but we are told that the people of Upper Canada have fought for that for twenty-five years, and they will never give it up. Some people say they object to the federal principle; but the people of Lower Canada say they can only be protected by that, and they never will consent to any other scheme. All our objections go for nothing; we must consent to any thing Upper or Lower Canada may demand. They may refuse to consent to this or that, but if we refuse to accept any of the terms which they choose to give us, we are denounced as being disloyal. Will such arguments as that be accepted by the people of this country. That Memorandum has been one of the chief charges against the Government, and I have shown how disgraceful those charges are. They have charged the Government with being in my hand as […]

  •             (p. 103)

[…] though I was dictator. What would make me dictator? Were my talents of such wonderful power that I, a comparative stranger in this country, should have the control of the Government. The advocates of the Scheme found they could not appeal to the common sense of the people with any chance of success; they therefore, appealed to the passions and prejudices of the people to do their work. At the very time was denounced at the hustings of York as “the great monster that held the Government in the hollow of his hand.” I was not virtually a member of the Government. My colleagues knew at that time it was my intention to resign, and that I was in the minority and could not have my own way. At the time when it was proclaimed that the contest was between Anglin and the people of York, I said to the Attorney General, “you know best whether you and I are to part; you know best whether the proceedings of the Western Extension Company are such as to satisfy you; if they are, I must leave you, and you might as well have benefit of my absence.” The Attorney General said he never would consent to truckle to such a cry, and I felt he was right, although I urged him to make any sacrifice, for I did not want my position and character to stand between his country and its prosperity. Another charge made against this Government was, that they refused to publish for the information of the people of this Province. the despatches which were sent from the Colonial Secretary. The Government never refused any thing of the kind. It has been shown by the Attorney General that it is an unusual course to publish despatches; the usual course being to submit them to the people through the Legislature. Under the circumstances in which we were placed Mr. Cardwell expected those despatches to be published, and now it is called a serious crime because they were not published here as soon as they were published in Halifax. In order to give coloring to those charges they have to put aside physical position, geographical difficulties, space and time. I had one of those despatches which had been printed in Halifax, and my men were putting it in type before it reached His Excellency. The despatch received during the last Session of the Legislature was forgotten until a few days after the House was adjourned. It has been said that persons holding Governmental offices should reside at Fredericton. I hold that the County of York is not the Province, and they are not entitled to all the political offices. If every member of the Government, upon taking office, would have to remove to Fredericton, no man having a family in any other part of the Province would leave his business and remove his family to Fredericton upon the uncertain tenure of a political office. We cannot perpetually have a quorum to attend upon His Excellency. The duties of the Commissioner of the Board of Works often call him to different parts of the Province, and so do the duties of the Postmaster General. Must they be at Fredericton when every steamer from England comes in, because there is a possibility of their receiving a despatch, which must be published within twenty-four hours? What difference does it make so long as it comes before them in ample time for them to consider and take action upon it. This is an absurd charge against the Government, and which, when tested by the light of common sense, disappears altogether. ( Mr. Lindsey—Why was not the despatch of the 12th of April published during the Session?) That was an oversight, it was published a few days after the Session closed. I think have taken up every count in the indictment, and shown how futile they are. In regard to Confederation, under the Quebec Scheme, there has been no change in public opinion whatever, and it is almost a waste of the time and patience of the House to argue against it. It is a scheme which cannot bear the light, for the more light that is thrown upon it the more hideons [sic] does it appear. When the scheme was first devised its advocates set their wits to work to find arguments in its favor, and their chief argument was, that it was necessary for defence. They said, whatever else you may think of it, this one point cannot be disputed. “union is strength.” We must have this Confederation scheme, as it is the best we can get We must have some scheme of Union for the purpose of defence. It cannot be postponed, the army of the United States will cross our frontier, and unless we are united we cannot offer any resistance, therefore the urgency of the case admits of no delay. The people felt that there was nothing in this, for that scheme would not give us one additional man, or one additional dollar, or enable us to use one man more efficiently. We have to look to our own right arms, and our own means, to defend ourselves if trouble should come, for it is ridiculous to think we should receive any help from Ottawa. We cannot concentrate our strength where there is no interior; and no military men of any character would venture to take the grounds, that by uniting with Canada we would concentrate our strength. Have those fortifications been erected which the Hon. John A. MacDonald said would admit of no delay when he was advocating this scheme of Union. Since his return from England the Canadian Legislature has met, but they have made no provision for defence. There has been nothing done to erect fortifications from Halifax to Sarnia; the only money that has been expended has been expended by the Imperial Government. It has been said that if we went into union the Inter-colonial Railway would be built, and we would concentrate our troops. If this railway was built, it would have to occupy a position no over twenty-five miles from the frontier, and a mere handful of men could cross the border and tear up the rails, burn the bridges, and render the road impassable for weeks. From the position of the country, it would take all our forces to guard that road and the line of telegraph which would have to be constructed alongside of it. If that road was constructed we could not spare any men to send to Canada, neither could Canada spare any for us. If war did occur with the United States, it would not be a pigmy war, for we would have to content with hundreds of thousands of men. I have been through Canada and examined the country with it view to this question. and I can say, that in case of war with the United States, that Canada, with all the aid the empire could afford her, would have as much as she could do to take care of herself, and she could not send a single man to our aid. Under the old arrangement for building this Inter colonial Railroad, it was said we would have to pay 3 1-2 thirteenths of the amount required, but under the present arrangements we would have to pay but one thirteenth. I believe that there are some men in this country so easily duped to believe that absurd statement. Instead of paying the one thirteenth, we will have to pay it all, and they have power to extract it from us by means of their tariff. They promise to build the road, but we have no security that they will do so. If they did, it would be charged to the general revenue, and so would the extension of the canals and the purchase of the North West Territory. It had been calculated that this territory could be purchased from the company for $1,500,000 but they have refused to part with 4,000,000 acres of that territory for £5,000,000 sterling. We would have to pay our share of that, and we would have to pay our share of all their extravagance. Within the last ten years the expenditure of Canada has increased four-fold. It has been stated at several public meetings that it was not the intention of the Conference. or rather the Government of Canada, to undertake the construction of this road from River du Loup to Truro. but they were to give $12,000,000 as a free gift to a company to build it. That’s $12,000,000 could be obtained under the Imperial guarantee at four per cent., the interest on which would amount to $480,000. We had submitted to us last year the report of the Controller of Customs; and it is a most extraordinary coincidence that according to his calculations of what our revenue of last year would have been by the adoption of the Canadian tariff, we would have paid into Canada the precise sum of $180,000, which would have been the interest on the whole sum required to build the road.

A few years ago, at the beginning of the war, there was a foolish and excessive sympathy shown, by some of the people of these Provinces, for the Southern states and their cause. We know that in several places, and in our own Province amongst the rest, expeditions were fitted out against the Northern States. A body of men went from St. John to take the Chesapeake, and the Government did not do their duty to the United States, for they should have taken means to have punished a crime like that. We know that such things occurred throughout Canada, but when the fortune of war turned, they soon quailed before the increasing strength of the neighboring Republic, and to satisfy the Government of the United States, they passed the Alien Act, that deprived any stranger coming into the country of his legal rights. It enabled any person to go to a Magistrate and say, I suspect such a one, and he was imprisoned without the benefit of the habeus corpus. Having passed this Act, they were relieved of certain restrictions which were placed upon these Provinces. I was told by some of the hotel keepers of St. John that we must do something to satisfy the people of the United States, for those restrictions were ruining their business. I said I would never consent to the passage of any law that would virtually bar this country against the stranger or the alien, and any law this kind I […]

  •             (p. 104)

[…] would consider an insult to the independence of this people, for we should maintain our independence no matter what our losses may be. If we had been into Confederation, we would have had the Alien Law too, and no Southern refugees would have dared to linger about our streets. Our land would no longer have been an asylum for the unfortunate, and while we shared in the glory of Canada, we should have drunk to the dregs that cup of humiliation. The remark was made during the course of the debate that it was a pity that we had to go as five different Provinces, to negotiate concerning the Reciprocity Treaty. If we could all act as one country, and have our interests in common, how much more influence we would have, and how much better terms we could get. If nothing else would satisfy the people of this Province that they are better off out of Confederation, the proceedings at Washington ought to do so, and we should be glad that Mr. Galt had no authority to speak for us.

It is said that Canada would reduce her tariff, that there were to be two additional Legislatures and two additional Governments; we were to have the inter Colonial Railway build, and were to buy out the North Pole; we were to open up the canals, and the Northwest territory; we were to support a great army and navy; we were to keep up bridges, schools and all additional expenses, and do it for a smaller sum than we now require. To prove this, they pile figures together until ordinary minds cannot distinguish falsehood from truth. It is perfectly absurd, and insulting to the intelligence of the people, to tell them all this can be done for a less sum of money than is now expended. Under the tariff as it stood last year, we pay to the General Government $700,000, and we receive for local purposes only $201,000. In thirty years our population is likely to be doubled and of course our revenue will be increased in proportion, but it will all have to be absorbed in the maelstrom at Ottawa, while we will receive only $201,000, notwithstanding our increased expenses. We came here to oppose that scheme The hon. leader of the Opposition said Confederation had nothing to do with this question. If he got a majority he would speak differently. It is very well for him to make that assertion now for the sake of getting the votes of those who proclaim themselves to be anti-Confederates. This is precisely the same as was done at the York election. My hon. friend (Mr. F.) got people to vote for him as an anti-Confederate, little supposing they would find themselves declared converts to the Confederation scheme. It has been said that there is some scheme of Confederation in the Speech. The very men who abused the Government of the country because they did not publish dispatches the moment they received them, now turn round and say, because you say you have received certain dispatches, and presume to submit those dispatches, you prove to us that you have some foul design against the liberties of the people. I undertake to say they have no scheme to submit. If they had a scheme I should judge of it as it deserved. If there be any attempt to force Confederation upon us, I shall be found one of the most resolute opponents of such a scheme. I believe the Imperial Government has a right to hold communication with this House. Mr. Cardwell has a right to require that any dispatch which he chooses to send out shall be submitted to the House, and it is the duty of the Government to submit them. They do not commit themselves when they express the hope that those dispatches which they submit shall receive that respect and attention which is due to suggestions emanating from so high a source. It is quite true that the paragraph in the Speech is broad enough to cover anything. It frequently happens that the language of the Speech is very enigmatical, even in regard to the Reform Bill now before the Imperial Parliament, there is no promise in the Speech that such a bill would be introduced. The members of the Government have been repeatedly asked whether they intended to bring in a Scheme of Confederation, and they have declared they have no such intention. I feel bound to believe what they say until I see good reason to the contrary. As the Amendment stands, it strikes out of the Address the passage which says the rights and interests of the people of this Province must be protected. This is the one portion of this whole Address that this Amendment swept away: to all other parts they have no objection. This is the most serious blunder, and I think the whole proceeding is a blunder, for it he had allowed the Address to pass, and then brought in a motion of Want of Confidence, he could have received all the document he choosed to ask for; neither will he have the privilege of making the last speech, for there are other paragraphs to pass and other members will have an opportunity of replying. I have made repeated allusion to the extraordinary position in which I have found myself placed in this country, without having done anything to deserve it. While those attacks are made on me, I do not allow myself to feel annoyed because I feel conscious that I do not deserve them. No man can injure me in the estimation of my friends, or in my business, but if the late York election is any criterion of the state of things that exist in this Province, if those misrepresentations upon my character had the effect, which it is said they had, it is a reason why I should stand here and refute those attacks as I am now prepared to do. It was reported that I was proclaimed a traitor by the successful candidate; he has denied that he said so, but we know from experience that it is exceedingly difficult to know what he says. His voice is clear and distinct, but there may be something in the atmosphere which does not harmonize with it. It may be that ordinary mortals cannot distinguish the sounds which he utters Certain it is that while he positively and repeatedly denies that he said certain things, almost every person imagined they heard him utter them. When he denies that he uttered a certain word or expression, I am bound to accept that denial, and act as if the denial was true. I do not mean to say that the denial is not true an apology may satisfy for a charge of that kind, but the most complete, the most abject disgusting apology any man can conceive, is when he who has uttered such words afterwards says, I never uttered them. I cannot believe any man holding his head erect or any man who is thought worthy by his fellow-men to occupy a seat in this House, would ever be guilty of conduct so contemptible. I prefer to believe when he says “I did not use such words,” he says what he believes to be true. I am prepared to meet the charge of treason, and to vindicate my character from the day I came to the use of reason to this hour; but as my hon. friend denies making the charge, I am on that point most thoroughly vindicated. The hon. member (Mr. F.) does admit making several charges against me; one of them was that I challenged the people of York to do what I did not. I have often been called a scoundrel, traitor, and every description of vile names in the category, but I have yet to learn that I have been called a fool, and surely nothing could be more foolish and absurd on my part—wishing, as I did, that the people of York would speak out as they had spoken before on the great question of Confederation—than to challenge the people of York to exercise their free will, or to say anything that implied that they had not the right to act as they thought proper. I did put a challenge in my paper, but it was not a challenge to the people of York. I thought they were then prepared, as they were before, to fight for their country against Confederation. I had no idea that they were going to be called to fight against me.

(Mr. Anglin then read his challenge to the confederates of York, to bring out a confederate to test public opinion in regard to confederation, and after commenting on this, he read Mr. Fisher’s address to the electors of York, on which he also made some comments.)

Mr. Anglin continued. He (Mr. Fisher) said he was forced out by the challenge, to vindicate the people of York against a man who thus dare insult them, and who sympathised with the enemies of the country during the Crimean war and the Indian Mutiny. ( Mr. Fisher.—True.) It is untrue; if he (Mr. F.) believed me to be a traitor, he should not have worked with me day and night in the House of Assembly, or been willing to take me into the Government if he had got the chance to form one. He should have turned his back on me and said, “You may have talent and strength, but with men of such a description of loyalty I can have nothing to do.” He was glad to accept my support, take me into his councils and be my intimate friend. I was charged with sympathizing with the enemies of my country, because during the Crimean war I dared to copy Dr. Russell’s letters to the London Times. There were many at the commencement of the war who said that to conquer the Russians was mere holiday amusement. They little knew what was due to British soldiers, for by thee misrepresentations they were depriving them of the credit and glory due to their deeds. I believe it was best that the truth should be known, although I was told that I was offending parties, and would lose my business. I said it was the truth, and it was my duty as a public journalist to tell the truth. Then, in regard to the Indian mutiny, an outcry was raised because I stated the truth. After the massacre at Cawnpore, little garrisons in various parts of the country were surrounded by overwhelming forces, and deeds of valor were displayed and courage exhibited unexampled in the history of the world. When the tide turned, we find men clothed with Her Majesty’s commission forgetting humanity, and committing deeds which, according to their own accounts, were not justifiable. We find […]

  •             (p. 105)

[…] men who were five hundred miles away from Cawnpore, and had never heard of the massacre there, executed without trial or condemnation. I placed the facts before the public then, as I did in the more recent affair in Jamaica. where men have been summarily put to death without one tittle of evidence against them, and this affair is now being enquired into through a commission appointed by the British Government, through the influence of religious bodies in England. Fortunately for the blacks, they happened to be members of a denomination which is just now very powerful in London; if it was not so, there might never have been a commission appointed. lt makes no difference to me whether a man is a Protestant or a Papist. I deal to all the same measure of justice. I would stand up for the Musselman, if unoffending, as freely as I would stand up for my own countrymen. I am in favor of freedom of speech, and I attempt to find fault with no man who chooses to address his fellow men as he pleases; but there is a limit to freedom of speech. License is not freedom of speech. A man may utter falsehoods, but the people; when they find how they have been deceived, will turn on those men and teach them a lesson which they never will forget.

It is much to be regretted that this Fenian association exists in the United States. We here can do nothing to interfere in any way to lessen its power. There are various opinions in regard to the object of that association. Some people may think they are the greatest scoundrels that ever disgraced the face of the earth; others may consider them mistaken men who, goaded by the remembrance of bitter wrongs, are led into foolish paths. It is hard for anyone who has witnessed the famine of 1848 to speak harshly of them. At that time, hundreds of my countrymen died on the streets of starvation day after day they disposed of their property at a sacrifice, to prolong their lives, and when that was gone, they huddled into some back place to starve on a pile of straw, exposed to the pitiless rain and cold winds; and thus, day after day, they pined away until they died, and morning after morning their bodies were thrown into some pit, and often but half covered up. Those who have witnessed such scenes can hardly speak harshly of those men, whatever they may think of their present undertaking. If this body of men should come and attempt to conquer this Province. their project would not only be foolish but most wicked, for these provinces have never given them cause of offence, but have always offered an asylum and a home to their fellow countrymen. No hope of redressing the wrongs of their native country can justify them in invading this Province; and if they did, they would find the Irish people of this Province ready to take the foremost rank to meet and repel such invasion. If there was danger, at the time of the York election, that these parties would come down upon us like wolves in the fold, was that the time to create jealousy in the country, by setting race against race, man against man. Can any man who really values the peace and welfare of his country, think of such proceedings without horror?

I spoke yesterday of an address presented by the Canadians to Her Majesty, asking her to submit to the Imperial Parliament a Bill for a Union of these Provinces, contrary to our expressed wishes. I did not expect that conduct to be repeated by the members of our Legislative Council to-day. I hold in my hand a document which I think will startle and alarm the people of this Province. I want to speak with respect of the other branch of the Legislature. I presume that in this matter the hon. members of that House have acted as they thought best, and I do not want to question their motives, but they have placed themselves in a most unenviable position. Under the Quebec Scheme, ten of the Legislative Councillors are selected from the small body of eighteen members in the Upper House. This is a large bribe to offer them, for they sit there for life. where, as has been remarked, they can see acres of plaster and miles of cornice. They ought to be careful not to give the people of this country the slightest cause of suspicion that they were influenced by anything of that kind. They are not the representatives of the people of this Province, and they have no authority to speak in their behalf. They, acting without the concurrence of this House, will scarcely be regarded more than a mere aggregation of individuals. Shall it be said that gentlemen selected as they have been, by the Government—by the Crown, representatives of the men appointed to choose them, some of them not representatives at all—shall be heard above the representatives of the people? They have undertaken to address Her Majesty, asking her not simply to give a favorable consideration to Confederation, but boldly asking her to lay a Bill before the Imperial Parliament to sweep away the independence of this Province. I regret it exceedingly on their own behalf, but beyond that I am delighted, as it shows their animus. It shows what they think of the people and the people’s rights. The address is as follows:—

“To the Queen’s Most Excellent Majesty:

“MOST GRACIOUS SOVEREIGN: We your Majesty’s faithful and loyal subjects, the Legislative Council in Provincial Parliament assembled, humbly approach your Majesty with the conviction that a union of all your Majesty’s British North American Colonies based on the resolutions adopted at the Conference of delegates from these several Colonies, held at Quebec on the 10th day of October, 1864. is an object highly to be desired, essential to their future prosperity and influence. and calculated alike to strengthen and perpetuated the ties which bind them to your gracious Majesty’s throne and Government, and humbly pray that your Majesty may be graciously pleased to cause a measure to be submitted to the Imperial Parliament for the purpose of thus uniting the Colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Prince Edward’s Island into one Government.”

These gentlemen may have acted from the best motives, but they had no right to act in that way, while the representatives of the people were debating the same subjects and in so doing they have insulted the Government. They should not have gone beyond passing a resolution in favor of adopting the scheme and asking the concurrence of the House. That would have been going to the extreme limit of their power and authority, and I think the Imperial Government have too high a regard for constitutional principles to pay the slightest attention to a document of that kind. They will regard it as an attempt of those men to get possession of those ten seats in the upper House at Ottawa. Should this scheme come before us, we will speak on behalf of the people and say, in this matter the people of the Province are the parties who have a right to speak and determine concerning this matter.

 Mr. Wetmore.—Will this anti-Confederate Government permit an answer to be given to this address, unless they think proper to take the entire and complete responsibility of it?’

Mr. Anglin.—My hon. friend may put his question to the Government.

Mr. Gilbert.—Before my hon. friend concludes his address, I would like to ask him whether he is opposed to all political union with Canada. 

Mr. Anglin.—The hon. member has put a serious question which requires an extended answer. I do not believe at the present time a political union of any kind can be formed with Canada which would be a benefit to the people of this Province. I do not know of any one opposed to union in the abstract, but my impression is that the time has not arrived for any kind of union, and I will oppose it to the last. At present the Provinces are distinct communities with conflicting interests, and the Quebec Scheme does not reconcile them, and the difficulties can only be overcome by sacrificing the Lower Provinces altogether. If any new scheme comes up, it will be for the people to decide upon its merits, and I trust they will retain the power in their own hands to finally settle the destiny of this Province. I will now thank the House for their attention and close my remarks.

The House was adjourned until 10 o’clock Monday morning, the debate to be resumed at 11 A. M.

 

T.P.D.

 

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