New Brunswick, House of Assembly, Debates of the House of Assembly [Naval Defence & Amendment to the Address] (20 March 1866)
By: New Brunswick (House of Assembly)
Citation: New Brunswick, House of Assembly, Reports of the Debates of The House of Assembly  at 32-38.
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HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY.
Tuesday, March 20.
The House went into Committee of the Whole (Mr. Young in the Chair) on a Bill “to make better provisions for the naval defence of the Province.”
The Provincial Secretary said, the Bill explained itself. The House had already given the Lieutenant Governor and Council authority to make such provisions for the defence of the Province as the exigencies of the time might require, and the present Bill asked no further authority than had been given, further, than it gave special legislative power to provide for naval defence.
Mr. Wetmore remarked, when the Provincial Secretary said the Bill explained itself, he did not understand him, for the Bill did not explain itself at all. He was not opposed to it, but he thought that the House had a right to expect some further information. […]
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[…] Let them consider how dangerous it was to give up power without knowing fully what was the necessity of granting it, and for what purpose it would be used! The House had a right to information, and, as a matter of common decency, the Government ought to give it.
The Provincial Secretary. The Government were not disposed to withhold information. He had stated that the Bill only carried out the resolution passed by the House. It gave the Governor and Council authority to make use of every means to defend the Province by employing armed vessels. If any attack was made, it would likely be by sea. In Nova Scotia, it had been though necessary to pass a similar Bill. It might not be necessary to use the power granted in the Bill, but it was necessary to give the power. The time was unprecedented in the Province, and they must take every precautionary measure to meet any danger. If any expense for naval defence was called for, he was disposed to be as prudent as possible in expenditure from the general revenue, and to use all proper, economy. He assured the hon. member for St. John (Mr. Wetmore) that the Government did not refuse and were always willing to give the most ample information.
Mr. McClelan quite agreed with the remarks of the Provincial Secretary; the House had already given the Government full authority to take every precautionary measure for the defence of the Province, but he hoped, that in the execution of their trust, they would exercise the most rigid economy. There was a danger, at this time, that the resources of the Province would be drawn upon too largely.
Mr. Connell said he was going to vote for every Bill regarding the army and navy. It was time to give the Government all the authority and all the means they required, and to show that they were determined to defend their homes and firesides. But when he said that the Government should have the fullest authority, he wished to be understood they must exercise proper economy, for they would be held strictly responsible for the expenditure of every dollar. If there was great alarm in the country, he though that it had been created, in a great measure, by the Government. It was reported that the Government were taking active measures for the protection of St. John, that the militia were called out there. That was right; but why all these preparations at St. John, when the country of the Upper River was most exposed to danger? As he had said before he did not fear an invasion from a large force, but from incursions from call bands of marauders upon the border; and the Government had fallen very far short of their duty when they neglected to protect the frontier.
Mr. Lewis said, that the Bill ought to be passed unanimously. He felt that the country was in great alarm about the Fenian movement. He hoped the Government would take every precautionary measure for its defence, and that the country would sustain them.
Mr. Boyd said, that this was the first time when such a Bill had been introduced in the House. He did not fear that the Government would expend a great deal of money for naval defence, and he had every confidence in them. The Bill was necessary, if for no other purpose than the protection of the Fisheries. He did not doubt that the Imperial Government would order here armed vessels to protect the Fisheries, but the country ought to show that it was willing to do something.
Mr. McMillan, quoting the first section of the Bill, wished to have information how the Government were going to make use of the power when they got hold of it. Did they intend to purchase or build gun vessels for the defence of the country and the Fisheries?
Provincial Secretary.—The member of Restigouche knew that it could not be the intention of the Government to purchase or build armed vessels of war. It was not the object to employ the vessels in the protection of the Fisheries.
Mr. Needham spoke of the cause that had produced all the alarm and excitement. As regarded the alarm, he confessed it had made no impression upon him. It appeared to him mere nonsense; and he would prophesy that at the end of this time next year, it would be found that there had been a great deal more smoke than fire about the Fenian alarm. The House had already given the Government all the resources the Province, and authority to take every measure for its defence. Then what was the use of asking them to explain a part? The member of Carleton (Mr. Connell) said that the Government has credited the alarm; but if he could believe his ears, that hon. member had done more to create alarm than any one else, and had been himself most frightened of any, Mr. Connell said that Woodstock was absolutely undefended; but he (Mr. N.) (here the hon member gave the details of the information he had received from an individual from that part of the country,) knew that in Woodstock, Florenceville, Hardscrabble, &c., there were seven or eight companies, and a home guard fully armed and equipped. As to the Bill, it was all nonsense to suppose that the Government were going to build or purchase war vessels. All they asked power to do was to hire them if necessary. The Bill gave the Government no more authority than the Imperial Act. If the Government thought is absolutely necessary to have a portion of a navy, they ought to have the power. The moment the Bill was passed the Government must go to work and show that they were determined to do something. With regard to economy, that was all very fine; but were he in a Government, he would do what was right, irrespective of what might be said, no matter whether he might be kicked out or kicked in. He was perfectly willing to vote, for the Bill, and had every faith that the Government would exercise economy. He had great faith in the Government. Let the hon. members take up the public accounts now published, and examine for themselves, and see if from first to last the most rigid economy had not been exercised. Never, until this year, had the public accounts been put forth in such a simple manner of Dr. and Cr., showing what was received, expended, and what was owed, so that every man, of whatever capacity, in the country could understand them. Very different from the old hugger-mugger system, that only made multiplication more mystified. Economy, he went on to say, was all very well; but he did not like cheese-paring. He would not support a paltry, cheeseparing Government. When he supported a Government, he must be sure when they were born somebody must have died. With regard to the Bill, if there was an expectation of serious trouble, he was prepared to give the Government all the power that was necessary, and would put the country in a proper state of defence. If Carleton and Woodstock, were unprotected, he would protect them; and if St. Stephen and St. Andrews were unprotected, he would also protect them. If they were not now protected, they ought to be. Mr. Needham then proceeded to to read an extract concerning Fenianism and the contempt in which it was held in the States, from the New York Times, copied into the Globe.
Mr. Lindsay.—The Globe is no authority.
Mr. Needham.—The Globe was good authority. It had never been bought and sold. He read the whole of the extract from it, and commented upon it. He quoted with particular emphasis the following passage:
“But should the necessity arise for the United States Government to assert the supremacy of the municipal law of the country, that duty will be loyally performed, even if our lately neutral friends are the first to profit thereby.”
He said he had read that sentiment with an immense amount of pleasure. Those words ought to be engraven in gold, and hung up in the most conspicuous places in the halls of every Provincial Legislature, and in the House of Commons in England; and they ought to be engraven in the heart of every true man. Here was a great nation that had been deluged in blood, and been overwhelmed with taxation, and all this to work out and prove to the world that glorious principle of self-government; and in that mighty struggle to stay rebellion, he must say that they received anything by sympathy from these Colonies. Here was that great nation proclaiming that, though its “neutral friends” would be the first to share the benefit, it was determined to assert the supremacy of its municipal law, and protect these Colonies from any raid from American territory. He rejoiced that he was here to pay to the men of that great nation a just tribute to their nobleness. This great Northern American Continent had the salvation of many a crown head in Europe. Many of them would have been tottered to the centre long before this, had not this great Continent received their disaffected subjects as free men, who otherwise would, by rebellion, have obtained the glorious privilege of freedom. These men looked across the broad Atlantic to this great, glorious and free land, and when they landed on North American soil they breathed the air of pure and unalloyed freedom. It had been said that the Antis were disloyal, but he flung back the charge with contempt. He was loyal to his Queen; he was loyal to his country; he loved the British law and he loved the British Constitution. These were the honest sentiments of his heart.
Mr. Lindsay said that this Bill was working out one thing. One of the greatest bugbears held up by the Antis was if the Province went into Confederation we would have to support a navy. It appeared by the Bill that we were going to […]
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[…] get one by degrees. The member of York had highly eulogised the United States, and had quoted from a New York paper to the effect that Government would protect the Colonies from invasion. He had also flung back the charge that the Antis were disloyal. Now he questioned the obedience of that child that would not obey its parent—loyalty was of the heart and not of the pocket, and no men could be loyal unless they obeyed the Government. He would quote also from a New York paper. (The hon. member read extract.) Here we found that they were opposed in the United States to the Union of the Colonies and the Intercolonial Railway, and the Antis were opposed to them also. He thought that there was some connection between disloyalty and anti-Confederation. Mr. Lindsay went on to quote from the Freeman, and extract from a letter signed A I, and commented upon it, denying that he was there charged, had ever said that the Fenians belonged to one denomination. He had never tried to set denomination against denomination, or class against class; be believed every man was entitled to equal privileges and freedom. He then went on to deny the truth of the statement made to the hon. member of York (Mr. Needham) that there were six or seven companies in Woodstock well armed and equipped; there was only one company. He thought something should be done for the defence of Carleton and the frontier. If the object of the raiders was plunder, they were more likely to attack small towns and villages than cities.
Mr. Wilmot asked, was the country prepared to go into an army and navy, and support them out of the ordinary revenue? He thought the Government ought to tell the House what steps they were prepared to take to raise the ways and means.
Mr. Fisher supposed the object of the Bill was to meet the present emergency. As the House had already given the Government all power necessary to meet it, he could not see how they could refuse to pass the Bill. He was not disposed to let his hon. colleague (Mr. N.) laugh this matter off. He believed that there was ground for serious danger. The time had arrived that had been looked forward to with apprehension for years. When the war of the Union over, the difficulty would arise when a lawless mob, accustomed to the use of arms, and indisposed to industry, would be thrown out upon the country, ready to engage in any raid or desperate undertaking, and enlist in any cause so that they could indulge their taste for rapine and plunder. This Bill did not refer at all to the Fisheries We had, for that protection, flung over us the powerful arm of the British Empire—an Empire, before whose power the grandeur of Rome in its palmiest days paled. Mr. Fisher then quoted from the Memorandum from His Excellency regarding the defence of the Province, to prove that this alarm in the country was not a mere matter of moonshine. It lay not in the mouth of any man to laugh this thing away.
Mr. Wetmore said he had looked over the Bill, and he had found in it a great number of blanks. It was evident the Government were determined that the House should get no information on this or any other subject. He thought it was his right that he should get the information he wanted. It was extraordinary that the Attorney General was not found in his place now. All the available resources of the Province had gone for military purposes, and now the country waited the mercy of the Government. If the Government expected to retain the confidence of the country, they must in their turn, be more confiding. Mr. Wetmore then read the Bill, and commented upon it, and said he found it a prefect blank. He did not intend to oppose the Bill, but called upon the Provincial Secretary to give some information respecting it.
Provincial Secretary. The hon. member did not intend to oppose the Bill, but he caught at every opportunity to say something derogatory of the Government. He had told them he asked the House to pass the Bill, that the Government might have full authority to take the necessary steps for the defence of the country. He had told them that there was reason to fear that some danger would approach the Province by the sea The Bill explained itself and it did ask for more money than had already been granted. The hon. member of St. John (Mr. Wetmore) had made allusions to the Attorney General being away. It was no proof of talent to say these saucy things. He could say them if he liked, but he was better bred. If the hon. member intended to pursue the course he had taken it would be necessary to meet him in his own manner. He would assure him (Mr. W.) that the country saw through the low, mean insinuations he was continually making against the Government.
Mr. Wilmot. Where are the ways and means to come from? That was a political question at any rate.
Mr. Wetmore. One would think from the ferocious manner in which the Provincial Secretary attacked him (Mr. W.) that he was sufficient in himself to drive out all the marauders that would ever attempt to come into the Province. He could thoroughly understand why the Provincial Secretary was so sensitive about any reflection upon the Government. With regard to the Government, the existing opinion in the country was, that they had no mind of their own. They had not even power to appoint to office and, it was said, that the chief head was not a member of the Council at all. He would like to get the information he asked for, if the Provincial Secretary was permitted to give it.
The Bill was then passed.
ADJOURNED DEBATE ON THE AMENDMENT TO THE ADDRESS.
Mr. Wilmot said, he was now called upon to explain the position in which he stood with regard to the present. He had received permission from His Excellency to use anything where his colleagues and himself had been in conflict. It appeared that he had been charged as being entirely in error, when he had said he was in favour of the abstract principle of union. There was a distinct difference of opinion between them with regard to the Minute of Council; and, when the gentlemen who signed that memorandum, said, that he never expressed an opinion in favor of union, he had the authority of Judge Allen to say, that he repeatedly heard him state an opinion in favor of union; and he was allowed by His Excellency to say, when that celebrated Minute was before the Council, that His Excellency referred to him (Mr. W.) as not opposed to the abstract principle. When those gentlemen who signed the Minute said, that he expressed no such opinion, he said, it was not the fact. He saw Mr. Fraser in his place. He happened to be in his (Mr. W.’s) house when the question was talked of, and he (Mr. R.) knew whether he was in favor of the abstract principle or not. (Mr. Fraser. There was not the slightest doubt about it.) He had expressed the same opinion to hundreds of persons. He had the satisfaction of knowing that when he was called a traitor to the cause of anti-Confederation, that the Governor had endorsed his opinion. He would ask the Government if they were opposed to union? What did the paragraph in the Speech mean?
[The hon. member here quoted from the Speech]
If these gentlemen were still disposed to union, he would ask again, how was it they agreed to put that paragraph in His Excellency’s Speech?
[The hon. member quoted the paragraph relating to union in the Reply to the Address.]
He would like to know if he was entirely wrong—if the Government were entirely right? When he stated his opinion in Toronto, it was in reply to a speech made by Mr. McDougall, who said, that not only the people of Canada, but the people of the Lower Provinces, were in favor of the Quebec Scheme. In reply, he (Mr. W.) stated, that, certainly, the Quebec Scheme had been put before the people at the polls and they had condemned it. But though they had condemned that scheme, there was a vast number in favor of the abstract principle of union, and that it was only a question of time when a union would be carried—why, it was carried now. He had, he supposed, had more foresight than his former colleagues in this question.
Mr. Wilmot then went on to say, that the paragraph in the Speech certain y foreshadowed some Scheme of Union, and he thought the Government ought to come down with it. But he would tell them that any Scheme of Confederation they might submit must involve those two principles:—one, the Federal principle, the other, Representation by Population. Lower Canada would insist upon the first, in order to protect her rights, and Upper Canada must have Representation by Population. [Attorney General. That was unfair.] Fair, or unfair, no Scheme could be carried that did not involve those two abstract principles. He had strong feelings against these two principles before he went to Canada. But when he attended the Convention there, and heard the whole question of trade opened up and discussed, he came to the conclusion that Union must take place. He foresaw also, that the Reciprocity Treaty would be repealed. There was one subject brought forward at that Convention that impressed his mind with the necessity of Union—the Mother Country was prepared to give those Colonies the right to make Commercial Treaties. When he considered that there were six different Governments, and six different tariffs, and all the difficulties in the way, he concluded there must be one General Government to carry them out.
It was stated in the papers, that it was because he could not get the Auditor Generalship, or some office, that he left the Government. He would require to […]
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[…] enter into some details. After the late election, when the late Government was thrown out, he was called upon in conjunction with the Attorney General (hon. A. J. Smith) to form an Administration. He thought they were then in a position to form a strong and stable Government. When he met the Attorney General, he (Attorney General) proposed that he (Mr. W.) should be Provincial Secretary. He had been Provincial Secretary before, and he said that if they could not get a better man, he was willing to take the office. He asked if he could not have had the office of he had chose? Differences of opinion arose betwixt them as to the gentlemen who should hold the Departmental Offices. He thought that the Government should have a Solicitor General, that there should be a responsible law officer to whom questions of importance should be referred; but the Attorney General opposed any appointment.
(Attorney General here objected to Mr. Wilmot entering into these detail.)
He was charged with falsehood, and further charged with being bought in Canada and he was bound to defend his own character.
(Mr. Wilmot then quoted from his tender of resignation, Jan. 4, in which he expressed an opinion in favor of the principle of Union, and the Government’s reply thereto)
When those gentlemen that signed that memorandum stated, “that they were not aware that he was in favour of Union up to the time of his mission to Canada, “they stated what was untrue. They knew the Government referred to his opinion in Council when they went on to state, “what induced a change of his mind while there, the Council have no means of knowing.” What induced him? It was not office that induced him; he could have taken the Secretaryship if he had chose. That was one of the best offices in the country. The leader of the Government said, he (Mr. W.) had no right to expose matters in Council, but hoped, when he was charged with falsehood and with being bought, he had a right.
Attorney General though that he (Mr. W.) had a right to explain all matters that touched on his resignation; but what took place in Council was as binding upon him as himself (Att’y Gen.) They were both called upon to form the Government. They had worked together for months, and he was now as much bound to preserve silence as to what took place in the Government as any member of it.
Mr. Fisher—If his conduct was impugned, had he not a right to explain? Most certainly he had.
Mr. Wilmot proceeded to quote from his letter of resignation, February 21st, concerning the differences between himself and the leader of the Government as to the composition of the Council at its formation. He could have taken the Provincial Secretaryship if he had chosen.
Mr. Wetmore.—Why did he not take it?
Mr. Wilmot.—Because he was not disposed to be a more jack in the box, to move as the strings were pulled. When he saw the course the leader was pursuing, he came to the conclusion that the Government would not last long, and he would tell him (Att’y Gen.) to-day, if he could not carry his man. Such was the difference of opinion on the first formation, that he came to the conclusion not to go into the Government at all, and returned home, when a messenger came to him in his house at Belmont, summoning him to Saint John. It was then that he should return at the close of the session, and take the Audit Office. After having been so long in different Governments as Provincial Secretary and Surveyor General, he thought, if a death vacancy occurred in the Audit Office, he had as much right to it as any other man. After it was agreed that he should have the Audit Office, a resolution was moved in the House last Session to reduce the salary, and it was agreed that the matter should be referred to the Executive Council to deal with. After that, Mr. McClelan, a member of the Opposition, moved that the salary should be reduced from £500 to £100, and then the leader of the Government got up and said the House had a right to fix the salary. When he saw the leader of the Government take that course, and vote for the reduction of the salary after the question had, by previous resolution, been referred to the Executive Council, he was very much astonished.
Attorney General.—Did he not, in conversation with him (Mr. W.) about the Audit Office, say that he thought the salary of £300 was too high, and the £400 was sufficient, that it was competent for the House to fix the amount.
Mr. Wilmot had no doubt about the right of the House to fix the salary, but what he objected to as that the leader of the Government should, after the resolution was passed referring the matter to the Executive Council, have taken the course he did. If the leader of the Government chose to arrogate to himself the whole Government, he was not disposed to submit.
Attorney General. He had put a plain question to him (Mr. W.)—did he not tell him that the salary was too much.
Mr. Wilmot. The question ought to have been referred to the Executive Council. That was not the only cause of his dissatisfaction with the leader of the Government. What had caused his friend Mr. Anglin to resign but the fact that the Attorney General took upon himself the authority of the whole Government and the Lieutenant Governor when he signed the agreement about Western Extension. He (Mr. W.) did not, under the circumstances, care to take office, as he was no prepared to live under a despotism, and he certainly thought that an act of despotism.
Attorney General. He thought the Government would see the unfairness of the course the hon. member was taking. He (Mr. W.) was as much responsible for the acts that took place in Council as he (Attorney General) was. He would ask did Mr. Wilmot ever complain in Council that he had noted despotically in this matter.
Mr. Wilmot. When the action that led to the resignation of Mr. Anglin took place he was in Canada, but he reserved his right to protest.
Attorney General. Did he (Mr. W.) protest when he explained the transaction. Did he not approve of the course he (Attorney General) had taken.
Mr. Wilmot. He did not approve.
Attorney General explained that he had written the paper of agreement regarding Western Extension, knowing the minds of all his colleagues, and it was necessary to do it immediately, as Mr. Parks and Mr. Skinner were obliged to go to Boston.
Mr. Wilmot. He was in Canada at the time. When he returned and heard of the transaction, he expressed his opinion to Mr. Anglin, and he then reserved his right to protest against the whole affair.
Attorney General. Answer this question. Did he (Mr. W.) express to him (Attorney General) when they met, any dissatisfaction?
Mr. Wilmot. He expressed his opinion of the matter in Mr. Troop’s office, and he certainly did not approve of the action of the leader of the Government.
Attorney General. Did he (Mr. W.) disapprove of it to him.
Mr. Wilmot. He most unquestionably did not approve.
Mr. Wetmore. He recollected, when the outrage committed by the Attorney General occurred, meeting Mr. Wilmot, when he spoke in terms of entire disapprobation of the conduct of the Attorney General in taking charge of the country.
Attorney General. He wanted to know when he told Mr. Wilmot the circumstances under which he gave the paper to Mr. Skinner if he did not approve of it.
Mr. Wilmot. Certainly not.
Attorney General. Did he disapprove of it.
Mr. Wilmot was certainly not in the habit of approving of what he did not know. The leader of the Government and himself, in fact, never could agree. He never could even get a local matter passed through Council without a fight, and he now felt perfectly satisfied to be out of the Government. Mr. Wilmot proceeded to speak of the Union of the Colonies. In Canada he had expressed his opinion that some Union must take place. He saw many reasons that made him come to that conclusion. He saw the United States were determined to abolish the Reciprocity Treaty and that there would be an opportunity of opening up a large trade between the Provinces. He also saw that in consequence of the unsettled condition of the United States, and the high taxation there, the Maritime Provinces would be a better field for emigation, and they would have the advantage in the shipping trade. His view at first was that the Lower Provinces had nothing to send to Canada; but now, that they had a right to make treaties with other British Colonies and with foreign nations, a large and profitable trade would spring up.
Mr. Wilmot proceeded to say that the Government were now a Confederation Government. Their conversation had been very sudden. It had taken place between the 19th of February, when his resignation was accepted, and the 8th of March, when the House opened. In his last conversation with the leader of the Government, that gentleman said; rather than consent to the Quebec Scheme, he was determined to go down with the ship. He could not understand what influences had been at work to bring about so sudden a change of opinion.
Mr. McMillan.—What ship did he mean? The Anti ship?
Mr. Wilmot.—Yes. He would ask the leader of the Government [text missing] prepared to go against representation by population?
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Attorney General—He would never consent to representation by population under the Quebec scheme.
Mr. Wilmot.—Canada would never consent to forego that principle. Then he understood the leader of the Government to say that he would never go for any scheme with representation by population?
Mr. Fisher thought the House ought to know how the Government stood with regard to the two principles—Federal Union and Representation by Population. The hon. member of St. John (Mr. Wilmot,) in arguing on the position of the Government on the question of union, had said that in any scheme that was submitted, these two principles must be included. It was as well for the House to understand where they were.
Attorney General.—What he had said was, he would never consent to representation by population under the Quebec Scheme. He would go down with the ship before he would do so. In any scheme he would support, there must be something to neutralize the effect of that principle.
Mr. Wilmot.—These two principles must be included in whatever scheme was submitted. When he was in Canada he was told that the Canadian Government were prepared to meet that Government of New Brunswick on those two points. He was informed by Mr. George Brown that he was willing to do so. When he returned to New Brunswick, he told his late colleagues of the willingness of the Canadian Government to confer with them. He did not do it by writing, but he did so in conversation.
Attorney General.—The Government were willing to meet Mr. Brown at any conference.
Mr. Wilmot.—He understood the Government had come to a very different conclusion. He would now wish to read the sixth and seventh resolutions passed by the Confederate Council of Trade, held in Quebec:—
6th. “That in the event of negotiations for a new Treaty of Reciprocity with the United States Government, but not concluded before the 17th March next, application be made to Her Majesty’s Government, suggesting that an arrangement be entered into with the United States Government for such a continuance of the existing Treaty as may afford time for concluding the pending negotiations.”
7th. “That Her Majesty’s Government be requested to authorise the members of this Council or a Committee to be appointed from amongst them to proceed to Washington in the event of negotiations being opened for the renewal of the Reciprocity Treaty, in order to confer with the British Minister there, and afford him information with respect to the interests of the British North American Provinces.”
These resolutions were passed at the Confederate Council, sent off to Her Majesty’s Government, sent back to the Government in New Brunswick; and his report was read in Council, approved of and adopted. What was done there was approved here.
Mr. Wilmot proceeded to say that he was in Fredericton, where he met the Government after they received a telegram from Sir N. Belleau, communicating the fact that the Government of Canada proposed sending delegates to Washington, but he was not told of the fact. he would have been quite willing to forego his right to proceed as a delegate to Washington, but he was not willing to be superceded without even bring referred to.
(Here followed some conversation between Mr. Wilmot and the Attorney General, Provincial Secretary, and Hon. Mr. Hatheway, on the subject of the meeting of Council in Saint John, at which the Attorney General was appointed delegate to Washington.)
Mr. Wilmot then concluded by saying that he had now explained the position in which he stood with regard to the Government.
Hon. Mr. Hatheway said he would in all probability address the House longer on the present occasion than he had been in the habit of doing, and he would ask the indulgence of the hon. members for the remarks he would make. It might be that his hon. friend, Mr. Wilmot, in going out of the Government had taken a leaf out of his (Mr. H.’s) book. It might be that his hon. friend saw the clouds gathering, and a storm coming, and made haste to escape. It was said that he (Mr. H.) saw last year which way the tide of popular opinion was running, and that he saw a crash was coming, and that he left the Government just in time to save himself. It might be that his hon. friend saw further into futurity than his late colleagues, and had resigned because he thought another change in the variable tide of popular opinion would turn the Government out. His hon. friend said he had not been anxious to get into the Government, but he (Mr. H.) thought that he (Mr. W.) had been dissatisfied to remain in the Government because he could not get his own way; and he believed that it would have been much better for his late colleagues if that hon member had never entered it, if the Government had had him in the Opposition from the very commencement. No member of the Executive Council could carry every measure he desired. Difficulties arose at the first formation of the Government, and he knew well that he and the present Judge Allen differed in opinion upon a certain question. But were the whole Council bound to take his hon. friend’s opinion. He had (Mr. H.) permission, he would like very much to tell the House the reason his hon. friend would not take the office of Provincial Secretary, but he could not, and he would tell him (Mr. W.) that having from the first formation worked with his late colleagues of the Government, their acts were his, and the oath of secrecy was as obligatory on him; he was as much bound to preserve silence as to what had transpired in Council as himself or any other member of it. But what were his colleague’s real reason for resigning? Because he had been refused the trip to Washington! Perhaps if he (Mr. W.) had been present at the Council he would have urged the appointment. If he had been sent to Washington he was satisfied they never would have heard of this question of his resignation Mr. H. proceeded to say, that he had a great mind to tell the House what had taken place in Council when the Hon. George Brown was present when the question of Confederation was discussed. His hon. friend Mr. W. had said, that Mr. Brown, when he saw him in Canada, expressed his opinion that the Government of Canada were prepared to meet the Government of New Brunswick on the details of the Scheme. But he (Mr. H.) would say that Mr. Howe in Canada and Mr. Brown in New Brunswick, were two very different men. He (Mr. H.) had seen Mr. Brown in Canada. He was then quite willing and prepared to open up the question; but how did the Government find Mr. Brown in New Brunswick after he had been subjected to two days influences from certain quarters, and had been crammed with stories of the change of opinion upon the Quebec Scheme—the country then being excited about the York election—they found him holding off an saying the Canadian Government cannot consent to any change, “you must take it as it is.” His hon. friend said the Government agreed to give him the office of Auditor General. No one disputed his right to go into the office. But he was offended because the salary had been reduced. It was considered that £500 was too high a salary for the Auditor General—and he thought £400 a year in that office was a far better salary than £600 a year in any of the Government Departments. [Mr. Wilmot—had he refused £400?] It was perfectly well known that, if the hon. gentleman had chosen to accept the office, the Government were prepared to give it to him at the time. He (Mr. Wilmot) had accused the Attorney General of assuming the whole Government upon his shoulders, and said he was not prepared to live under a despotism.
[Here Mr. H. entered into some detail concerning the franchise of the Government.]
But it was entirely out of his mouth to accuse the Leader of the Government of having acted despotically.
The Government, he proceeded to say, had been arraigned on four charged. To one of the counts in the indictment they had plead guilty. In trying them on the other three the Government would throw themselves on the justice of the House. Thought the Government had arrayed against them a grwat deal of talent, and though a great deal of recrimination had taken a place he trusted that calm judgment would prevail, and he had no doubt that the Government would satisfactorily show that they were guiltless of the charges preferred against them, and that at the end of their trial they would come off conquerors and more than conquerors. The mover of the amendment (Mr. F.) spoke of the wheels of popular opinion; that they were rumbling and rolling through the country against the Government. Public opinion, they all knew, was liable to very sudden changes, as no one should know better than that hon. member himself. He (Mr. H) could remember well when the wheels of public opinion rolled him (Mr. F.) in 1851 out. He could remember when they rolled him out again in 1854. Mr. Fisher said that popular opinion had changed in the Province with regard to the Quebec Scheme. What was all this clamor raised about this change of opinion. Was it not raised and kept up by a few restless and unscrupulous politicians, who made the Quebec Scheme subserve their own ends of personal aggrandizement? Rumblings of popular opinion! How were the wheels that produced the rumblings set in motion at the time of the York election. He challenged his colleague (Mr. F.) to show one requisition from the electors of the County that had not emanated from the office of the Colonial Farmer, of the office of the Fredericton Reporter. How was popular opinion influenced against the Government. Bills an placards were printed and thrown broad cast over the […]
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[…] Province, throwing out poisonous insinuations against the Government. It was proclaimed all over the country that the Government was under Roman Catholic influenced that Anglin, the traitor, was its dictator. It was said that if the electors would save the country, and tear the reins of power out of the hands of disloyal men, they must vote for Fisher, the staunch loyalists, the old boy—vote for Fisher and save the country—vote for Fisher and the British Constitution, British Law, British Nationality, and British Christianity! He would not tell how many men during the excitement of the election were fed in the back settlements, or what other influences were brought to bear. Every effort was made to prejudice him (Mr. H.) in the mind of the country.. It was said that Smith ruled the Government, and the Smith was hostile to York, and Hatheway was powerless—the interests of the Country was suffering in his hands. He had not the ability el his hon. and learned friend (Attorney General), but he was quite able to face him whenever the interests of his Country were concerned. One of the canvasses during the election was that the Government intended to remove the Post Office Department from Fredericton, and that was the first step towards the removal of the seat of Government; and the cry was raised, if the Country was to be saved, and the Seat of Government secured, they must elect Fisher, for he was the only man that could face Smith on the floors of the House. He thought the hon. member for Restigouche had handled the sale of the Gibson lands very cautiously; he did not wonder that his colleague (Mr. F.) had done so. But they did not dare to condemn the Government for that transaction: they knew the Government were only carrying out the acts of their predecessors. The member of Restigouche knew that, had the late Government remained in power, they would have rescinded the regulation. He thought that was what the hon. member said. (Mr. McMillan.—He said, if there was no prospect of the Inter-Colonial Railway, there would be no need of the regulation) Just so. Mr. Hatheway then proceeded to speak of the influences that had been brought to hear during the first election in York? What were the arguments that his colleague, (Mr. F.) when he went lecturing through the back settlements had put forth in his canvas? First, if York would secure the seat of Government, it must go for Confederation; and secondly, if York wanted to set the Inter-Colonial Railway by the Valley of the Keswick, it must go for the Quebec Scheme At one of these meetings he had met his hon. colleague, (Mr. F.) and put to him the question, would he go for Confederation if the Railway went by the North Shore. well, he said he would not. He (Mr. F) told the people that the Railway would go by the Keswick Valley, and Mr. Fleming, the Canadian Surveyor’s Report would soon be out, confirming his statement. Let them refer to the law and the testimony, let them refer to Fleming’s report [here the hon. member referred at great length to Fleming’s report, reading several extracts concerning the various routes to show that the Central line fixed upon by the members of York (Mr. F.) was the longest and would be the most expensive in construction, and would cost £600,000 more than other routes.] would the hon. member after what Mr. Fleming said about the Central line succeed in gulling the people as he had done, that the Railway would go by it. The hon. member (Mr. Fisher) had during the time of the election the line absolutely staked out, and he told the electors that he had induced the Canadian Government to order that the survey to be made along the Keswick Valley.
Mr. Fisher said he had written to the Canadian Government asking them to order a survey of the Central route, and he had no doubt that it was through his urgent endeavours that the survey came to be made.
Hon. Mr. Hatheway proceeded to say that it was astonishing that with all his knowledge, all his reputation as a constitutional lawyer that the name of Fisher was never mentioned in Canada, while the names of Smith, and Tilley and Gray were familiar was never heard. He was astonished when he looked over the map accompanying Fleming’s report to find that whilst there was a line laid down that was denominated the Mitchell line, it showed no Fisher line. The inter-colonial railway had always been held forth as the great boon New Brunswick would get by Confederation, but he doubted if it was looked upon with much favor in Canada. Would any one tell him that Galt the great finance minister of Canada who possessed immense property in the City of Portland, and had held a large amount of stock in the Railway, was in favor of a Railway through New Brunswick! They might try to delude the people that he was in favor of it, but that would not go down with him. In fact that there was little feeling in Canada in favor of the Intercolonial, and he was opinion that the feeling on the whole was decidedly against it.
Hon. Mr. Hatheway proceeded to speak to another charge against the Government with reference to the appointment of Judge Ritchie over Judge Wilmot. He would say very little about it. But he well remembered at the opening of the Court in Fredericton, seeing Judge Wilmot occupying the seat of his honor his speaker. Never in his life had ho seen the hall where the hon. members were now assembled so crowded as on that occasion, for it was well known in Fredericton, that the Judge would deliver a harangue. He doubted much the right of a Judge to deliver from the bench at a time when political feeling was rising high, such an address as Judge Wilmot did. It might be said by some that he (Judge W.) had a right to speak on a subject that was agitating the minds of the people; but when the words caught his ears that if it was necessary to carry the scheme, he would come down from the bench, he thought that statement Judge Wilmot had no right to make, and he justified the appointment of Judge Ritchie on the ground of the same harangue. When they heard the opinion of Chief Justice Robert Parker, and knew that he advised the Government to appoint Judge Ritchie, the mouths of those who had murmured because they thought Judge Wilmot had been superseded ought to be closed.
Mr. Connell he would like to hear the letter of Chief Justice Parker read.
Mr. Fraser—The hon. member of Carleton had better apply to the hon. member of St. John, Mr. Wetmore. He (Mr. F.) gave him as an authority.
Mr. Wetmore—What did his hon. friend (Mr. Fraser) say.
Mr. Fraser—He said he gave the hon. member of St. John, (Mr. Wetmore) as his authority for the statement that Judge Robert Parker would not have accepted the office of Chief Justice, if he had not known Judge Ritchie would succeed him.
Mr. Wetmore—What could his hon. friend (Mr. F) mean? He most positively and distinctly denied that he ever made such statement.
Hon. Mr. Hatheway proceeded to speak of the course his colleague, Mr. Fisher, had pursued against him during the election of York. He called to his recollection the many occasions he had befriended him in his political trouble; he had always been his friend; he well knew his friend= ship for him; he knew the position he (Mr. Hatheway) was placed in about the time of the election—lying sick in bed attended to by two medical men, and he knew that $300 were offered to one of these medical men to keep him lying on the broad of his back. (Mr. Fisher.—He knew nothing of the kind.) One would think he (Mr. Fisher) did know; when he was lying in this condition, he made a public speech in the Temperance Hall, in Frederiction, that was calculated to harrow up the innermost feelings of those most nearly related to him, and it was a most remarkable fact that two copies of the Reporter, containing the report of the speech, were directed to his wife. He charged it home to him that he knew that; hon. members knew that Mr. Fisher was in the habit of saying that after political discussion he went home to his family, and forgot all the angry feelings that had been engendered, and he prayed upon his knees for forgeiveness to his enemies. But when he though of that, the words of his supplication ought to have been in the words of the fine prayer in the Litany: “From all blindness of heart, from pride, vain glory and hypocrisy, from envy, hatred, and malice, and all uncharitableness, deliver me.” (Mr. Fisher.—He denied that he knew the papers to have been sent and said that the language he had used in his speech was justified by the strong language uttered by Mr. Hatheway against himself.) The least Mr. Fisher ought to have done was, after the excitement of the occasion, to have gone to the office of the paper, and asked the editor not to put in the report of the speech of the offensive statements. To send the paper with that speech into private family, was a low, mean, cowardly act, unworthy of the character of a man. Every influence had been brought to bear against him; heedless expression in casual conversation had been caught up and turned against him. When in St. John he met that inflated little animal, Johnny Boyd, (he knew he was not here to defend himself) Boyd said to him, “You cannot resist the British Government; they will oblige you to take the Quebec Scheme,” (or words to that effect) and he answered hastily, “The British Government may go to the devil, or some hotter place,” and on the strength of that heedless expression, he had been accused of disloyalty. He respected the British Government, but he though that on a question that so nearly affected their own interests, the people of the Provinces were the best judges.
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Hon. Mr. Hatheway proceeded to make some further personal remarks, and then spoke against the Quebec Scheme, and said that but for the influences brought to bear upon the Hon. Mr. George Brown, they would have had much better terms of union offered them than those proposed by that scheme, and he did not think the country was yet prepared to adopt it. He then concluded by saying he had endeavored to justify the course he had taken.
Mr. McClelan.—There was one count, the hon. member said, the Government plead guilty to. What was that?
Hon. Mr. Hatheway.—The Export Duty Law.
Mr. McMillan.—Should the Government agree to a scheme of union, would they require the route of the Inter- Colonial Railway to be defined?
Hon. Mr. Hatheway.—As a member of the Government, he would give him the necessary information that day week.
The Debate was then adjourned over until to-morrow at eleven.
The motion being put the House was then adjourned over until to-morrow at ten o’clock.