New Brunswick, House of Assembly, Debates of the House of Assembly [Property Qualification & Amendment to the Fourth Paragraph of the Address] (29 March 1866)
By: New Brunswick (House of Assembly)
Citation: New Brunswick, House of Assembly, Reports of the Debates of The House of Assembly  at 71-78.
Other formats: Click here to view the original document (PDF).
Click here to view the rest of New Brunswick’s Confederation Debates for 1866.
HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY.
Thursday, March 29.
The House went into Committee of the Whole (Mr. Scovil in the chair) in further consideration of a Bill to abolish the property qualification of members to serve in the General Assembly of the Province.
Mr. Costigan explained that the object of the Bill was to do away with the law that now existed. That demanded that candidates offering to serve in the General Assembly of the Province should possess real estate to the value of £300. the true principle, which it was the object of the Bill to establish, was, that the choice of representatives should be left to the constituents. The abolishment of the property qualification would give them a freer choice, and this would be better for the interests of the country. As the law now stood, a man might offer to serve in whom all the electors of a County, save one were perfectly willing to confide, and this one man might object to his election, and say he had no property qualification. Mr. Costigan then quoted from a despatch to Mr. Dundas, Governor of Prince Edward’s Island, from the late Secretary of the Colonies, on the subject of election of the Legislative Council, in which the Duke of Newcastle said, that the property qualification ought to be possessed not by the candidate, but by the voter. In Great Britain no property qualification was now required of candidates to the Imperial Parliament. With regard to the law in the Province, he did not see why it should be allowed to stand on the Statute Book, for it was not carried out. It gave to the man having no property qualifications, but who did not respect the law, and advantage over the honest unqualified man who did.
Hon. Attorney General said he had always opposed this Bill. Though he could not deny that the property qualification had been abolished in England. He did not see that was a conclusive argument for abolishing it in the Province. the principle of safety and conservatism required that the men who sent representatives to the Legislature should be possessed of property. If the electors sent a representative who had no property, would he be a safe man to whom to submit the protection of their property? He did not think that it was too much to demand that all men who proposed to serve as representatives in the House of Assembly should be possessed of real estate to the amount of £300.
Mr. Needham said that the were some great principles connected with the principle of the Bill that ought to be understood. He would take the present opportunity to announce his political faith. He wished the people to understand that he had not been born a politician—the principles he maintained had not grown up with him from his boyhood, but had their commencement about the year 1847 and 48. Ever since the time he had been politically regenerated, he could say that he had never fallen away from political grace. He entertained the same principles now as those he had learnt in the years 1847 and ‘8. In making use of bold expressions of opinion, men were often misunderstood, but the opinion he was about to utter he had before expressed on the floors of the House and outside its walls. He did believe in the principle of universal suffrage, and he would tell the House why he believed in it. In this deliberative Assembly where they legislated on the lives, property and liberties of the people—he wished to say that that principle was consonant with the spirit of the British Constitution, and he wished that opinion put on record. When he spoke of universal suffrage—he meant that every man in the community who paid taxes had a right to vote, and to have a say in the legislation of the country. They were there to legislate on the lives, liberties, and properties of the people—and the most abject man, he meant abject, not in spirit, but in purse, who paid the least amount of taxes had as much right to have a voice in the choice of a representatives as the richest. Liberty was dear to every man—the live of man was not to be measured by the riches he possessed, it was as precious to the man who had scarcely a rag to cover him—as to him who was clothed in purple and fine linen; was not life to Lazarus the beggar as dear as life was to the rich man Dives? He said that the most abject man in condition had the right to an equal voice in the legislature of his country with the most powerful.
He would call the attention of his brethren of the law to a statement made by Sir William Blackstone in his commentaries—a man whose dicta was never dissented from. It was perfectly consonant he said, with the spirit of the British Constitution, that every man who paid taxes should have a vote, and the time would come when that principle would be carried out—might was not always right. The Parliament of England when it established property qualification for members, gave as a reason why a certain class of men ought to be excluded from the right of voting, that they were men of so mean a situation in life that they had no will or mind of their own. If Sir William Blackstone had lived in their day, he would know that it was not always the poor man who was influenced by the will of others, or who was most corrupt. He had seen a poor man in one of the back settlements of York County, whose barns and house had been swept away by fire, who had solicited and received donations to help him to repair his loss; he had seen that man at the polls offered $10 to vote against a candidate whose principles he believed in; but, though homeless, barnless and shelterless, he turned away from the proffered bribe and voted as his judgement and his conscience dictated. And that was a specimen of a York elector. He had assigned the reason why the property qualification was at first demanded, but when Blackstone said that it was consonant with the spirit of the British Constitution that every man who was taxed should have the right to vote, then, he said, policy ought to give way to absolute right. It was the Legislature that gave the people the right to vote. But he held that it was the inalienable right of every man born into the world to enjoy life and liberty. Go back to the most ancient times, and they would find that every man had the same right as he came from the hand of God. Then the weakest and most abject man was equal in these respects with the richest and strongest. That was the original state, and the same rights that existed then existed now. That inalienable right to life and liberty, and to have a voice in the Government, had never been given up by the people. The, if the right to vote had never been given up, there was no reason why they should be asked to give the people the right; and the people had the absolute […]
- (p. 72)
[…] right, why make laws to restrict them, in its exercise?
Mr. Needham proceeded to say that, though he believed the principle of universal suffrage perfectly consonant with the principles of common justice and of the British Constitution, he did not wish to be understood as seeking to carry it out where property was concerned. Take the example of a civic body, who only met to manage the affairs of a county and City, in reference to their property. That was a body created by law, but they were placed there to legislate on property; they had a right to impose rates. He would go for that. He would make a sliding scale to give votes according to property, when the question was simply that of property, and not the lives and liberties of men. He could understand the policy of imposing a qualification of the electors. When the question came to property, let them come down to a sliding scale, and let every man have a vote according to its value. They might think of those things as they liked, they would have to adopt them. He had now enunciated his principles with regard to universal suffrage. He would say, further, that there was nothing that made his blood glow so warmly, nothing that stirred his manhood more than when he thought of the glorious principles of liberty. Let them talk of their parties and their policies of Liberal, Conservative or Tories; the principles of liberty was the vitality and the reality of political life. He was prepared to stand or fall by this principle. It was a matter of little importance what he, individually, thought it was—of no importance what because of himself – but it was a matter of vital importance whether those indefeasible principles were held sacred or not.
Mr. Needham then went on to speak of the abolishment of the property qualification of members in England, quoting from the Imperial Act, which he said, gave an emphatic denial to all who said that a property qualification was necessary in a member of Parliament.
Let them suppose a case, that an election had come round. On the day of nomination, the property qualification of a candidate had been tested, and that he had proved himself qualified and ran his election; but before the day of victory arrived, by some interposition of Providence the property upon which the qualification was founded was swept away, that man would be elected without any property qualification. Was he any the worse for it? But if that election held good, was the spirit of the law in that case carried out? If they make a property qualification, do not let them make any deceit about the matter. If it was necessary before the election, it was necessary after it. With regard to the property qualification, they all knew that it was evaded. By the first law that was enacted in the Province regarding it in 1846, all that a man had to do was to make a statement that he had real estate; it did not make it necessary that he should show it. Under that law it was impossible for any one to prove that a proposing candidate had not a property qualifications, for he had to prove a negative, and to do that he would have to put every man and woman in the Province on the stand to prove that he had not the legal property qualification, and a prosecution under the law would have stretched out until the crack of doom. In the present law they put in a section that made it necessary to state where that property was, but that also could be evaded.
(Here Mr. Needham entertained the House at great length with his own case under that law.)
Mr. Needham then asked what was the good of a property qualification? and proceeded to put a case. He would suppose that when the present House was dissolved, at the end of four years, and he had no property qualification, but that he found some one to give him a deed of property, would that deed of property really be his? would the possession of it make him more capable to act as a legislator? The actual possession of property was no evidence of a man’s powers of mind, it was an evidence that the man had the power of accumulating property, but no evidence that he had legislative talents; it was an evidence of prudence, and forethought, but no evidence of statesmanlike capacity. How could the possession of so many acres of land prove that a man was fit for a legislator? The question was one of great importance, and one that would ultimately become the law of the land, and he hoped the present House would follow the example set them by the Parliament of England and pass this Bill.
Mr. Lindsay thought the Bill required a good deal of consideration. He believed in an extension of the franchise to a limited extent, but he had never been and never would be in favor of universal suffrage. He was opposed to giving the right of voting to the loose, floating population of the country, who had neither interest or concern in its affairs. He objected to the principle of this Bill. He allowed a man to be a representative who had not a right to vote.
Mr. Costigan—That was not a fair way of putting the objection. The Bill did not give a man a right to be a representative who had not a right to vote, but it gave the electors the right to choose whom they pleased.
Mr. Lindsay—That did not change the question. he thought if the hon. mover did not expect an election this year, he had better consent to its postponement for the Bill required a good deal of consideration. He thought that every man, before he was either representative or elector, should have a stake in the country, and every man in this country might have a stake if he choose.
Dr. Thomson, (who was inaudible in the gallery) was understood to say that he agreed with the views of the Hon. member of Carleton who had just spoken.
Mr. Landry was understood to speak in favor of the principle of universal suffrage, and to say that he supported the Bill willingly, as it would enable the French population of Westmorland, whose rights were neglected by the Government to send Frenchmen to good education, and who could speak English, to attend to their interests. He only supported the Government on account of Confederation.
Mr. Otty was glad the hon. member from Carleton, who had expressed his views on this subject, had seen the error of his ways, and given up the doctrine of representation by population, for he had distinctly declared he was opposed to universal suffrage—that property must be represented, and not people; that on the part of the Quebec Scheme was a recantation of Mr. George Brown’s grand principle, representation by population. What would be the effect of that Bill? It would place in the House persons having no stake in the country, and no interest in the prosperity of the country. The principle was bad, and to elucidate it he would read a letter he had received from one of his constituents that morning, wherein he complained that at the parish election four person were elected for parish officers who paid neither rate nor tax in the parish, and one of the elected was a black boy under twenty-one years of age; and yet the Clerk of the peace stated to the Magistrates, when called to give his opinion, that the election must stand, Although the property qualification laws had been repealed in England in 1858, still the circumstances of the people there and here were very different; and what might be very applicable there, would not suit our floating population, where a person might be here to-day and gone tomorrow, and his property was the only chain to bind him to his country. The Bill was an important one, and it required consideration. It was an alteration in the Constitution; and, although the Hon. Attorney General had stated it had been up for discussion before every House for some years back, he could not go for the Bill until he enquired further into the matter. If the hon. member who introduced the Bill would report progress, he might be induced to go for his Bill. And here he would allude, while they were upon the discussion of the qualification of members, to the inconsistency and injustice of the appointment of members of the Upper House under the Quebec Scheme, which while it provided that the first members of the Legislative Council should be appointed from the present members of the different Provincial Legislative Councils, it made no provision or assurance that afterwards, or when vacancies occur, the members representing New Brunswick, Nova Scotia or Prince Edward’s Island, should possess property, or reside in the respective Provinces for which the are appointed. By the 16th Section of the Quebec Scheme Lower Canada had the privilege of always having Legislative Councillors residing and possessing property in that district to represent her, but after the first Councillors die, or vacancies occur, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and P.E. Island might have to submit to be represented by Legislative Councillors, who possess no qualification in the Province they are to represent, need not even reside there and may not even ever have been in the country they are appointed by the Canadian Government to represent.
Mr. McMillan said they were not called upon at the present time to discuss the great scheme, with regard to the Bill before the House; it, in reality, extended the rights of the people, gave them a larger field to make a selection from in their choice of representatives. The law, as it now stood, was imperative, for property qualification was evaded. He should vote for the Bill.
Mr. Lewis said he would be compelled to vote against the Bill. He thought that there ought to be property qualifications demanded of candidates. It had been said that the possession of property did not give a man brains. That was true; but it would be very dangerous to have men with too much brains and no property, as representatives of the constituencies of the Province.
Mr. Boyd was opposed to the Bill, and thought its principle most dangerous. If it became law it would open the door […]
- (p. 73)
[…] and let in representatives who would lower the character of the House and change its complexion entirely. It would change the character of the representatives altogether. There were many young men with winning ways who had no more brains than his bot, who would get into the House if this Bill passed.
Mr. Needham.—It was an exceedingly high compliment For the hon. member of Charlotte (Mr. Boyd) to pay his constituents, to say they could be cajoled by men without brains.
Hon. Mr. Hatheway took a very different view of the Bill from the hon. member for Charlotte. He would put a case that might happen under the law as it stood. If he was a merchant doing business in Fredericton, say to the extent of $60,000, yet if he had not £300 real estate, he could not offer merely because he had not the property qualification demanded by law, yet he could go into the Crown Land Office and take out land to the value of £300, and he would be entitled to sit He would put another case. In St. Mary’s there was a teacher who had been known in the parish for twenty-one years, who was an honest, honorable man and in whom all the people had confidence; what right had the Legislature merely because that teacher had not the property qualification, to restrict the electors from voting for him, and oblige them, were there no other qualified candidate in the field, to tote for Hatheway, say because he was possessed of an estate? The hon. member for Charlotte (Mr. Boyd) thought the Bill most dangerous, but he was not afraid of it, for property would always have its influence. He was in favor of the principle of the Bill, for it gave greater right to the electors in the choice of representatives. He had yet to learn that the man who had little property did not feel as much interest in the prosperity, welfare and good governance of the country as the man who held a great stake. He would give the people free choice. If they had confidence in certain men, why should the Legislature restrict them in the right to return them as representatives?
Mr. Sutton briefly supported the Bill
Mr. Wilmot thought it was much more important to regulate the franchise than to abolish the property qualification. He believed the law was evaded now regarding it. There was no Bill that they could pass in the House through which they could not drive a coach and four. With regard to universal suffrage, while in theory the justness of the principle might be difficult to combat, yet the practical carrying of it out had, it was well known, not worked well, and had been most dangerous and destructive.
Mr. Wetmore said that, so far his judgement went, he entirely accorded with the principle of the Bill. It appeared to him very reasonable. What right, he asked, where people having property if they wanted a certain person to represent their interests in the Legislature, had the law to demand that that person should be possessed of a certain property qualification? He could not see why it was necessary that he should have property. The question arose, who had appointed representatives to the Legislature? Was it not the people who possessed the property of the country? Representatives were sent to the Legislature not because they possessed property, but to represent the people’s interests. It was not requisite that the electors should possess property; but all that was required, he thought, of a man they wished to elect was that the electors should have confidence in him, in his integrity, and his ability to discharge the duties of a representative. As the law stood, however capable a man might be, whatever the amount of confidence the electors could place in him, unless he had a certain property qualification, his abilities were scattered to the wind. If the people had a right to return representatives, he would give them the right to appoint whom they pleased, whether the persons had property or not.
Hon. Attorney General had always opposed the Bill, though, no doubt. in point of principle, the thing was right. It appeared just that electors who had the right to choose representatives should appoint whom they pleased. But the Bill did seem to ignore the protective point of the property qualification. They (the members of the House came to the Legislature to represent the property of those who sent them there; and the law, as it stood, demanded that those who represented the property of the country should have an interest in what they represented. If electors choose to elect a representative without property, that man represented not only the property of those who sent him there, but the property of the whole country. If the principle of the Bill was right, if carried out, he thought that it would have little practical effect as long as they adhered to the principle that the men who voted should possess property; that, after all was the true safeguard, the centre of safety. Though the principle was right, he deemed it undesirable that the election portals should be thrown open to every man. He admitted that, in regard to the Bill, his mind was in a certain degree changed, but he thought, as the subject was of great importance, they should take time for further consideration, and he would recommend that progress be now reported.
Finally, progress was reported.
DEBATE ON THE AMENDMENT TO THE FOURTH PARAGRAPH OF THE ADDRESS.
Mr. Connell resumed. Mr. Connell, on commencing. was understood to remark, that in his last speech he was going on to refer to the conduct of the present Government, and to say. that if the people had an opportunity to pass judgment on the acts of the present Government, they would not defend it in the course it had pursued. The question against the Government had come down to union. What was their position in regards it? It appeared that all were now for union, yet they were not prepared to bring down any measure, or to state what they were going to do. He wanted to put this matter to rest, for the interests of the country were endangered in consequence of the unsettled state of that question. The Government stood condemned before the country for the course they had pursued. In York. where the first opportunity was given to the people to express their opinion. there was an utter condemnation of the Government. The hon. member for York (Mr. Needham) denied that confederation had anything to do with the election. Well, suppose it had not, it showed at any rate that the general conduct of the Government was opposed by York. The people of York, by the course they had pursued had utterly condemned the course of the Government, and that was the matter before the House. On the question of union the Government had shown an utter want of candor. After they put that paragraph in the speech, they ought to have come. down and said emphatically, whether or not they were prepared to bring in a measure. But it was generally understood that the Government themselves would not come down with a measure. There was however, an arrangement that if a measure of some description were brought down by a member outside, they would support it. There was, he believed. an understanding to that effect. The Government. no doubt, were committed in some way to bring down a measure during the present sitting of the House.
Hon. Attorney General.—He had told the House on the first day of the debate that the Government did not intend to submit a scheme.
Mr. Connell.—Neither submit a scheme themselves nor support a measure brought in by an outside member? Was there no subterfuge about this matter—the leader of the Government did not deny they would get one of their supporters to bring in a measure. If a measure were brought down in this way how would they act? It had been rumored that a course of this kind was intended. It would be too inconsistent, the Government said, to bring down a measure themselves, but they would get up a side wind and bring the matter in that way. They would get up an address, moved by one of their supporters, setting forth that whereas they House was in favor of union, and whereas it was the desire of Her Majesty that the union of the Colonies should take place, &c., resolved that an humble address be presented to Her Majesty, &c. They would get the House to pass an address in favor of union, leaving the details to be settled by a delegation to be sent home to Great Britain. He had been assured that that was the course the Government were going to take. Talk after that of a selfish Government, a Government holding on to power. Here was a Government that had so lately talked so loudly about independence, and resistance to coercion, willing now to permit the interests of the country to be encroached upon by the acts of the Imperial Government. Who ever heard of such a thing as to leave the whole settlement of the details of a scheme having such a vast bearing in the interests of the country, to the British Government? He was surprised to find his hon. friend, the member of St. John (Hon. Mr. Cudlip) who had always been opposed to union in any way or shape, remaining in a Government that would take such a course as that he had described. He would be sorry, for his own part, to let the Government send home a delegation to settle with the British Government the details of a measure of union. He would like so see such a matter taken up and brought about by people who were really in earnest. He was not committed to any scheme, but if they could not get a better one than that settled upon at the Conference at Quebec, […]
- (p. 74)
[…] they had better take that than none at all. He could have no confidence in any measure of union brought down by the present Government. How could it be expected that. any man could, when the Government had no confidence themselves in union. At one time they were found denouncing the scheme as destructive to the best interests of the country, and declaring, both in their speeches and addresses that New Brunswick desired no closer union with Canada than it had at present, and yet they were willing not only to adopt union. but to leave the details entirely in the hands of the Imperial Government. It was desirable, he thought that a change in the present condition of the people of the Province should take place. It was said that Canada was in debt, and was bankrupt, and that it desired union with this Province to help it out of its difficulties. But he entertained a very different opinion. He had travelled through Canada, and he knew the extent of its resources and he was of opinion that to be united to such a country could do no harm to a Province like New Brunswick. Then, again, it was said that all the advantages of union would be on the side of Canada. If Canada was to be so vastly more benefitted by union, as some people said, than this Province would be, let those who hold that opinion go there and live. There would be no difficulty about that. He would quote some remarks of a gentleman, Mr. Derby. who had drawn up a report for the United States Government on the Reciprocity Treaty, concerning this poverty-struck country, and they would show what opinions an intelligent writer held of the resources of Canada; then let them cry out about its being poverty-pinched:
“Those persons who are continually trying to depreciate Canada, and create a prejudice against any union with that colony, should read carefully the Report lately prepared by Mr. Derby at the request of the Secretary of the Treasury at Washington. He traces the progress Canada has made in material wealth, and in all the elements that constitute material greatness. He says:—”From 1851 to 1861 the population of Canada increased more rapidly than the population of the Union….In the fifteen years from 1851 to 1865 the whole exports and imports of Canada rose from $35,000,000 to $87,000,000. Her revenue rose also from $3,500,000 to $10,500,000. Between 1851 and 1861 her improved land increased from 7.307,950 acres to 10,855,854 or forty-nine per cent; the value of the same from $263,516,000 to $466,675,780. The wheat crop, which exceeds that of Illinois, and of each of our States, rose from 15, 756,493 bushels to 27, 274, 779, or seventy eight per cent. The oat crop, larger than that of New York. the leading State of our Union, rose from 20, 369, 247 bushels to 38,772, 170, or ninety-one per cent. During the same period the value lumber rose from an average of $7 to $10 per M. And in the interval between 1851 and 1863 her export of lumber rose from $5, 085 628, of which but twenty per cent. reached the United States to a total of $12, 264, 178….. From 1851 to 1861 she has increased her miles of Railway from twelve to nineteen hundred; she has increased her wheat and oat crop, her wool, the value of her forests and wealth more than we have, although she is naturally inferior in climate, soil and position.”
Here was the clear evidence of a gentleman every way competent to judge as to the progress, resources, and the value and extent of the trade of Canada. It was evidence that could not be disputed. It was most desireable that such statements as that he had read should go forth to the people of the Province. It would help them to refute those who repeated the assertion that Canada was a poverty-stricken country. He would refer on this point not only to the evidence of Mr. Derby; he would read the testimony of another witness to the value and the great resources of that country:
“Hitherto, in common with most of our countrymen. as I suppose I have thought Canada, or, to speak more accurately, British America, a mere strip lying north of the United States, easily detachable from the parent state, but incapable of sustaining itself, and therefore ultimately, nay, right soon, to be taken on by the Federal Union, without materially changing or affecting its own condition or development. I have dropped the opinion as a national conceit. I see in British North America, stretching as it does across the Continent, from the shores of Labrador and Newfoundland to the Pacific, and occupying a considerable belt of the temperate zone, traversed equally with the United States by the lakes, and enjoying the magnificent shores of the St. Lawrence, with its thousands of islands in the river and the gulf, a region grand enough for the seat of a great Empire.
“In its wheat fields in the West, its broad ranges of the chase at the North, its inexhaustible lumber lands—the most extensive now remaining on the Globe—its invaluable fisheries, and its yet undisturbed mineral deposits, I see the elements of wealth. I find its inhabitants vigorous, hardy, energetic, perfected by the Protestant religion and the British constitutional liberty. I find them jealous of the United States and of Great Britain, as they ought to be; and therefore, when I look at their extent and resources, I know they can neither be conquered by the former nor permanently held by the latter. They will be independent, as they are already self-maintaining. Having happily escaped the curse of slavery, they will never submit themselves to the domination of slave holders, which prevails in, and determines the character of, the United States. They will be a Russia in the United States, which to them will be France and England. But they will be a Russia Civilized and Protestant, and that will be a very different Russia from that which fills all Southern Europe with terror, and by reason of that superiority, they will be the more terrible to the dwellers in the southern latitudes.
“The policy of the United States is to propitiate and secure the alliance of Canada while it is yet young and incurious of its future. But on the other hand, the policy which the United States actually pursues is the infatuated on of rejecting and spurning vigorous, perennial, and ever-growing Canada, while seeking to establish feeble states out of decaying Spanish Provinces on the coast and in the islands of the Gulf of Mexico.
“I shall not live to see it, but the man is already born who will see the United States mourn ever this stupendous folly, which is only preparing the way for ultimate danger and downfall. All southern political stars must set, though many times they rise again with diminished splendor. But those which illuminate the pole remain forever shining, forever increasing in splendor.”
Here was the opinion of a very eminent statesman, Mr. Seward, and it was very strong and important evidence that Canada was not the poverty struck place the opponents of the scheme endeavored to make out. For his part he thought it was not the opinion of the Province that a closer union with such a country was not desirable. he believed the people of the Province did desire a closer union, and he was perfectly prepared to test that opinion by running another election. (Attorney General.—The hon. member had no means of knowing the mind of the Province.) Well, he was perfectly willing to run an election and try it that way, and he was prepared to find that a great change of feeling had taken place in the country, not only on the question of union, but with regard to the Government. As there was undoubtedly a growing feeling on confederation in the country, and as the feeling was almost unanimous in the House in favor of union, if it was necessary an address, embodying that opinion, could be put int the hands of the Government, and calling on them to dissolve the House and give the people an opportunity to give practical expression to their views at the polls. And, if necessary, a despatch could be got up showing a very great change of feeling had taken place since last March, with regard to the Government. No act of the Attorney General would redound more to his credit, and give more satisfaction than to let the people have an opportunity to show the change of feeling on the question of confederation. He would be lauded and extolled through the Province as a patriotic man.
(Attorney General.—At what time did he want the election to take place?) The sooner the better for the interests of the country. It was necessary, in order to settle the question that something should be done immediately.
He would now refer to military matters, and he must say they were in a most unsatisfactory state. He had directed a letter to His Excellence on the subject of defence in the County of Carleton, for he felt that it would not have been doing himself and his colleague justice. They would not have done their duty if they had not reported to His Excellency on the defenceless state of three important points, Woodstock, Centreville and Richmond. He thought it was high time to look to their defences when the Governor and the Attorney General were travelling night and the country. If there was no cause for alarm, what occasion was there to take such an extraordinary course? He had received from His Excellency a reply to his communication, and he say something in it which he did not approve of. He did not care how high in position the individual was who took such a course with him, he would not submit to it. He would read the letter he had received from His Excellency, and he should certainly reply to it publicly. His colleague and himself had not done any act they were not authorized to do, in having communicated to His Excellency on the defenceless […]
- (p. 75)
[…] state of Carleton, and giving their reasons why something should be done, and in view of what was doing in St. John, St. Stephens and St. Andrews, they were justified in thinking that injustice had been done to their County. He held the Government responsible for everything that was in that correspondence. He was not going to take the position that this was a matter between the Commander-in-Chief and his colleague and himself, but between them and the Government, and he wished it to be distinctly understood that whatever remarks he made concerning His Excellency, he applied to his Government, and he held the Government responsible for these acts. He did not care how high in position the individual was, he should not be allowed to ride rough-shod over the country without his raising his voice against such tyranny. He had done nothing which he was not authorized to do, and what he had said in private to His Excellency, he was prepared to affirm in public. It was said that the Government of the country were powerless in the hands of the Governor. It has been said on the floor of the House that they could do nothing, that there was a power behind them greater than themselves, thwarting their actions, and that in the hands of that power they were completely paralized. He would ask if it was a position for the Government to take, when they said that all militia matters were in the hands of the Governor. If the Governor had power to make appointments without the consent of the Government, and if the Governor had power to refuse appointments recommended by his Council, he held that it was a disgrace to the country. He knew that there had been appointments recommended that had been refused to be made by the Governor. He said that was not a position for the Government of the country to be placed in. If for no other thing, he would condemn the Government for the humiliating position they held on the question of militia appointments with regard to the Governor. He had had the honor of holding a position in a Government, and he would say that he would not have held that position for one hour if any interference had been attempted to be made in the administration of the duties of his office by the highest individual in the land.
Mr. Connell then proceeded to read the following correspondence, on which he commented at great length, and said he wished it published as part of his speech:
May it please Your Excellency,—
The undersigned Representatives of the County of Carleton have learned that since they left Woodstock for the purpose of attending to their Legislative duties, much alarm exists along the Borders in the County of Carleton, and that fears are entertained that unless some precautionary measures are taken, unlawful acts of aggression may occur.
It is now reported that Your Excellency has ordered the calling out of the Militia at St. John; this information to the people of the upper section of the country will have the effect of increasing the excitement which there exists, as they will believe that such action would not have been taken unless strong reasons exist.
We respectfully urge upon Your Excellency the necessity of calling out and organizing a limited number of men, which may easily be procured from the Volunteers, as we believe that this course will have the effect of allaying the existing excitement, and be the means of assuring the inhabitants of their being protected.
We beg to suggest that in case Your Excellency accedes to the suggestions now made, that Woodstock, Centreville and Richmond are the points at which the services of a guard would be of greatest value, as from these places communication could be more easily had with the Volunteers and Civil Authorities of the County.
Chas. Connell, William Lindsay.
To His Excellency, the Honorable A.H. Gordon, C.M. G., Lieutenant Governor, &c.
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter (without date), wherein you state that much alarm exists along the borders in the County of Carleton, and that fears are entertained that unless some precautionary measures are taken unlawful acts of aggression may occur. You add that this excitement will be increased by the fact that a portion of the Militia at St. John has been called out to aid the small garrison of that town, and you request that a body of men should be organized and called out in the County of Carleton as a means of assuring the inhabitants of their being protected.
The House of Assembly, animated by a most patriotic spirit, have placed the entire resources of the Province at the disposal of the Executive for defensive purposes, but their liberality imposes upon me the obligation of a double vigilance as to the unnecessary expenditure of a single shilling of the resources thus bestowed.
The question then to be considered is not whether alarm exists among the more timid of the inhabitants of any particular district, but whether such alarm is reasonable and well founded, or is undeserving of serious attention. It is, perhaps, natural that a certain degree of apprehension should be felt along the whole frontier, but a little reflection will, I think, suffice to show that Woodstock is not exposed to any serious danger. The condition of the roads at this season, and for a month or two to come, is usually such as to preclude all idea of their being traversed by large bodies of men, but even under ordinary circumstances, a descent upon New Brunswick, through Houlton and Woodstock, by any considerable force, would be an enterprise extremely difficult to execute. No great number of men could collect at Houlton without public attention being attracted to the fact, and even supposing the force to be permitted to assemble at Bangor unmolested by the authorities of that city—a most improbable supposition—it could not traverse the long intervening distance without an amount of previous preparation with respect to transport and supplies, which would occupy a considerable time, and become universally known long before a movement could be possibly made. Those who believe the leaders of the Fenian conspiracy to possess some military know ledge, can hardly suppose them so grossly ignorant as to adopt a plan which would be precisely such, as it would be most desirable that they should follow, which would afford ample warning of their intentions, and which would assure their immediate and utter discomfiture. The idea of an invasion of New Brunswick, in the direction of Woodstock, by a Fenian Force, may, therefore, I think be dismissed as chimerical. I was glad on conversing with Mr. Connell on Thursday last, to find that he expressed his full concurrence in these sentiments, and did not partake the silly panic which he represents as prevailing among his constituents.
It is of course possible that a few law- less men whose object was plunder, might under cover of the name of Fenianism, commit some depredations, although it is difficult to see how such men would propose to escape the general indignation sure to be raised against them on both sides of the boundary line. Against isolated acts of burglary or arson, it is evidently the duty of the local authorities to be on the watch and to take such measures as may seem necessary, if suspicious characters are reported to be in the vicinity, against any outrage by a gang of robbers of a more organized description I desired to provide when urging the formation of Home Guards upon the frontier. The appeal then made has been well responded to in the County of Carleton, though not in the Village of Woodstock itself, and the last returns shew me that a force of over five hundred men, armed and provided with abundance of ammunition, are ready to turn out at the shortest notice if required.
Such a force, it appears to me, is more than adequate to encounter any emergency. I will not say of probable, but of possible occurrence; and I should not feel justified in calling upon the Province to incur expenditure which the exigencies of the case do not appear to me to require. I am fully aware of the grave responsibility which, in case of error, would rest upon me, but whilst I shall not of course object to an expenditure which the Legislature may authorize, I cannot recommend its being incurred except at those points where danger appears to me to be real and pressing. In declining to do otherwise, I perform a most disagreeable and unpleasant duty, and it may be satisfactory to you to know that there are localities far from the frontier where the inhabitants are as loud in claiming that extraordinary measures should be taken for their protection as the people of Woodstock are represented by you to be.
Should the measure of precaution already taken at any time appear inadequate, should the organization already effected break down or become illusory, or should danger of the character contemplated appear seriously to threaten the locality in which you are interested, I need not say that steps which, in my opinion, would at present be injudicious and uncalled for, might become not only proper but necessary. In that event I shall not hesitate to assume the responsibility of acting as the circumstances may then seem to require.
I am, Gentlemen,
Your obedient servant,
ARTHUR GORDON Lieut. Governor.
To Messrs. Connell and Lindsay, &c.
You are requested to give publicity to this letter.
- (p. 76)
Mr. Connell said he held the Government responsible for the small protection they had given to Carleton. He considered that in his Excellency’s reply to his colleague’s letter there was couched an insinuation that they desired to get an expenditure of money in their section of the country, and that that was their reason for urging additional defence for Carleton. He said he was perfectly sincere, and in earnest, in fearing the possible occurrence or acts of aggression, and in urging the organizing of a limited number of men. He had told his Excellency, in case any emergency arose that the people of Carleton would do what had been done in Canada, open subscriptions for the families of those who were sent to the frontier; so far as he was concerned he would most willingly subscribe to such a fund, and he would do more if any danger arose: if any conflict happened he would be with those people on the occasion. The letters he had just read had been published. But there were some documents which had not been published to which he desired to draw the attention of the Government. The first was a communication from his colleague and himself to his Excellency, inclosing a letter from L. P. Fisher, Mayor of Woodstock, and others, inhabitants of Woodstock and vicinity, requesting them to urge on His Excellency the necessity of calling out a body of the Militia force of the County. This letter showed that the declarations made by his colleague and himself of the alarm in the County were not without foundation.
HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY,
22nd March. 1866.
May it please Your Excellency:
The undersigned have received by mail last evening the enclosed letters, signed by L. P. Fisher, who is Mayor, J. R. Hartley, Warden, and J. C. Winslow. Clerk of the Peace, and Robert A. Hay, J. P., with one hundred and twenty-eight others, inhabitants of Woodstock and vicinity.
These letters, we think, will assure Your Excellency that we have only anticipated the wishes of the inhabitants in urging that Your Excellency would authorize the calling out of a limited portion of the Militia of Carleton County.
It is important that the existing alarm along the border should be allayed. While the inhabitants are ready to do their part, they feel they are entitled to the same consideration that some other parts of the Province are receiving.
In Your Excellency’s reply (without date) to our communication upon the subject of Militia, Your Excellency seems to be under the impression that the inhabitants of Woodstock have been backward in tendering their services for the formation of the Home Guard. Immediately on Your Excellency’s wish being communicated to the residents of Woodstock, the names of about one hundred volunteers were placed in the hands of the Lieutenant Colonel for transmission to Your Excellency. We believe that this company has not been recognised by Your Excellency, nor any arms distributed to them.
We can only repeat what we have already urged, that Your Excellency will be pleased to direct that a limited portion of the Militia may be called out to aid the inhabitants in guarding the frontier.
We have the honor to be,
Your Excellency’s Most obedient servants,
(Signed) CHAS Connell,
To His Excellency the Honorable A.H. Gordon, C. M. G., Commander-in-Chief, &c.
20th MARCH, 1866.
Messrs. Connell and Lindsay.—
We, the undersigned inhabitants of Woodstock and vicinity, beg to inform you that, owing to the organization in the United States known as the Fenian Brotherhood, and in the rumors that are everyday becoming more startling, and as this section of the country is contiguous to the United States and entirely undefended, and open at any time to the incursions of predatory bands, the people generally feel themselves to be in a state of insecurity.
We therefore, earnestly request that you will urge upon His Excellency, the Commander-in-Chief, the importance of calling out a portion of the Militia force of the County.
And one hundred and twenty-eight others.
He would now read the reply of His Excellency to these communications. a document, it would seem, that the Government had not seen. It seemed to him that there was a change of base in this letter, and that it had been taken in order to put him in a false position.
FREDERICTON, 22 March, 1866
I am directed by His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of this day, transmitting communications from the Mayor of Woodstock and others, on the subject of the alarm said to be felt by the inhabitants, in anticipation of an armed attack upon that place.
I am directed to request that you will furnish to these gentlemen a copy of His Excellency’s letter to you of the 20th inst., in which the reason why His Excellency does not, at the present time, feel justified in the adoption of extraordinary measures of precaution beyond those already taken, are fully set forth.
There is one passage in your letter which His Excellency desires to notice. You say that the inhabitants of Woodstock “feel that they are entitled to the “same consideration as some other portions of the Province.” Every part of the Province is, no doubt, entitled to receive, and does receive, the same con- sideration at His Excellency’s hands. (Mr. Connell—He denied that distinctly He did not believe that.) But that the same measures of defence should be taken alike in all districts without regard to the greater or less degree of danger to which they may be exposed; is a proposition which will not, His Excellency thinks, be advance by the gentlemen whose letters you have forwarded.
His Excellency was glad to hear from Mr. Connell, a few days since, an unequivocal avowal that he did not share this alarm, and did not anticipate serious danger, and that he admitted the cogency of the arguments adduced by His Excellency to prove the extreme improbability of any serious attempt in the direction of Woodstock. His Excellency is confident that if Mr. Connell gave public expression to the same sentiments it could not but have a most salutary influence in checking the apprehensions referred to.
I have the honor to be, Gentlemen,
Your most ob’t servant,
(Signed) D WILSON,
Messrs. Connell & Lindsay, &c. &c.
HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY,
24th MARCH, 1866.
At the request of His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor, we have the honor to enclose the reply of His Excellency to our communication enclosing the request from you and 128 others, urging the necessity of calling out a limited portion of the Militia of Carleton County.
Your obedient servants,
To L.P. FISCHER, Mayor
J.R. HARTLEY, Warden,
J.C. WINSLOW, C.P.,
R.H. Hay, J. P.,
And 128 others, inhabitants of Woodstock and vicinity.
P.S.—You will please hand this with the enclosed to the proprietor of the Sentinel for publication.
He would now read his reply, dated 23rd March, to that communication from His Excellency, and His Excellency’s reply of the 29th March, which he had only received that day.
(It seemed to him as a matter of courtesy he should have received an answer sooner.)
HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY
March 23, 1866
May it please your Excellency:
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your Excellency’s communication of the 22d inst., addressed to Mr. Lindsay and myself.
I am desirous to avoid any misapprehension on the part of your Excellency with regard to my opinion on the danger to be apprehended form invasion originating in the United States.
“Your Excellency states that I made […]
- (p. 77)
[…] an unequivocal avowal, that I did not share in the alarm, and did not anticipate serious danger, and admitted the cogency of the arguments advanced by your Excellency to prove the extreme improbability of any serious attempt in the direction of Woodstock. Your Excellency also states that you are confident that if Mr. Connell gives public expression to the same sentiments, it could not but have a most salutary effect in checking the apprehension rereferred to.”
In reply I have to state to your Excellency, that whether privately to your Excellency, or in my place on the floor of the House of Assembly, I have given expression to but one opinion, but that opinion is not correctly conveyed in the language used by your Excellency.
I have drawn this important distinction, that while I did not apprehend any danger from a large body of men coming in force and invading the Province in the direction of Woodstock, I have serious fears that predatory bands of maurauders might cross the border, and do much injury to property and perhaps life, and it was that I urged the necessity of a small guard being stationed at other points.
That alarm does exist in the minds of many people in the County of Carleton, is proved by the written evidence of the inhabitants already submitted, and in view of these facts I was justified in making the remarks I did in the Legislature. (Mr. Connell believed that the House would think him justified in all he had done.)
Your Excellency should not forget that whether the alarm is well or ill grounded, it has, to a large extent, originated in the personal efforts made by your Excellency at St. Stephen, Woodstock, and other places, to arouse the people to a sense of the necessity of preparation.
Added to this the calling out of volunteers in St. John, the action had by the Legislature at the instance of the Government, for land and sea defences, and the general necessity urged by the Government for wide and general protection, are sufficient to create in the minds of the people of such a suspicion that danger is imminent, and, on all these grounds, I feel that the Government has not discharged its duty to the people in the upper district along the border.
I have the honor to be,
Your Excellency’s Most obedient servant,
(Signed) CHAS. Connell.
To His Excellency the Hon. A. H. Gordon, C. M. G., Lieutenant Governor and Commander-in Chief, &c., &c.
GOVERNMENT HOUSE, March 29th, 1866.
I am directed by his Excellency, the Lieutenant Governor, to acknowledge the receipt, on the 27th inst., of your letter of the 25th. His Excellency does not perceive that there is any essential difference between the statement, to the correctness of which you demur, and that which you yourself make, for you admit that you do not fear an invasion of Carleton County by any large body of men, whilst of course His Excellency was aware that you, like himself, thought it not impossible that in the event of a serious attack being made elsewhere, small border raids might be attempted in the vicinity of Woodstock.
It being then conceded that no attack in force need be apprehended. His Excellency presumes that it is needless that the same measures of defence should be adopted as are required a points where, if a descent is made at all, it will probably assume a more serious character.
The contingency of a small predatory raid is not now forseen for the first time, for it was against such an attack that His Excellency desired to provide when recommending the formation of a Home Guard in Carleton County. In a speech made by you at the meeting held at Woodstock on the 8th December, the report of which, His Excellency understands, was revised by yourself, (whoever advised His Excellency to put that in his letter, gave him very incorrect advice), you discussed the possibility of an attack by a band of some fifty men. (Mr. Connell,—He admitted that expense was not necessary at the time, but another state of things had arisen.) You were then of opinion that it “would be unwise,” and “was needless to increase our expenses by the step of calling out Militia under pay, “and that ” the plan proposed, “i.e., that of enrolling a Home Guard, to serve only in case of need, “would be doubtless sufficient.”
His Excellency entirely concurred at the time, and entirely concurs now, in the sentiments then expressed by you, and he is not aware that any circumstances have since occurred to increase or diminish the danger referred to.
You do not, of course, imagine that the peaceable and settled population on the American side of the border contemplate an assault upon their British neighbors, more than the inhabitants of Carleton meditate a descent on Houlton. The raid, therefore, if made, will be made by strangers. But His Excellency has not learned that any unusual assemblages of suspicious characters has taken place upon the frontier; and had any such information reached you or your colleague, you would no doubt have hastened to put His Excellency in possession of intelligence of so much importance.
His Excellency, therefore, cannot concur with you in considering that the measures of precaution adopted in the district in question are insufficient, and he is well satisfied to know that his opinion in this respect coincides with that of the highest military authorities in these Provinces.
I have the honor to be, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
(Signed) F. S. KEENE Private Secretary.
C. Connell, Esq., M.P.P., &c. &c.
It was a very small operation to incorporate in His Excellency’s reply to his letter that allusion to his having revised his speech. What he had said at the meeting at Carleton he had said publicly, and there could be no mistake about what he did say. With reference having manipulated his speech, he would refer to a letter from the Editor of the Carleton Sentinel, to show that it was not the case. Mr. Connell said that he would take occasion to reply to that last communication from His Excellency and incorporate in it the note from the Editor of the Carleton Sentinel, and would publish the whole as part of his speech. He thought it a small, contemptible business to make that allusion. He did not care what position the individual held, he would not submit to be insulted. He wished the House and the country to know how he had been treated. If he had the abilities of the Hon. Leader of the Government he would let his voice be heard with no uncertain sound on this occasion. Had the Hon. Attorney General been treated in the way he had been used throughout this transaction, would not the House have rung with his wrongs and denunciations of those in high place. He could imagine with what force and eloquence he would have appealed to the House and to the country. But while saying this, he wished to be distinctly understood that he held the Government responsible for every one of these letters, that he considered that an attempt had been made by them to place him in a false position, and that he thought that an injustice had been done to his section of the country.
HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY,
May it please your Excellency:
I am in receipt of your Excellency’s letter of the 29th inst., and to some points therein referred to, have to reply:
Not agreeing with your Excellency in the opinion that the necessary precautions for defence have been taken, I still indulge the hope that the result may snow that these precautions are sufficient to meet the emergency.
Your Excellency admits that the contingency of a small predatory raid is not now forseen for the first time. This admission on the part of your Excellency gives force to, and fully justifies the representation heretofore made by me.
With regard to my speech made on the 8th of December, at Woodstock, to which your Excellency is pleased to allude, I have to say, from the views expressed on that occasion, I have never departed either in private conference with your Excellency or in my place in the Legislature.
I cannot understand why your Excellency has made the reference at all, much less what the question as to that speech having been revised by myself previous to publication has to do with this grave correspondence now.
Your Excellency’s conclusions with regard to my views in several particulars, seems to be quite as far from being correct, as the information your Excellency has received about my having revised my speech already alluded to, which is without foundation in fact, the evidence of which I herewith submit is a letter from the editor of the Carleton Sentinel.
FREDERICTON, March 29, 1866.
Charles Connell, Esq.:
Dear Sir:—In reply to your enquiry this afternoon as to whether you revised the report of your speech made by me on the occasion of a meeting of Magistrates of Carleton County, at which His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor was present, previous to its publication, I have to reply that such was not the case, nor, to my knowledge, did you see my report until it was in print, without my knowledge a revision could not be made. In order to be more fully satisfied, I telegraphed to Woodstock, and am confirmed […]
- (p. 78)
[…] in my above statement, that, you did not see it.
(Signed) SAMUEL WATTS.
Editor Carleton Sentinel.
Your Excellency acquiesces in the prudence of the advice then tendered to Your Excellency with regard to the calling out the Militia, and which subsequent events have justified, as they have also the still later correspondence addressed by my colleague and myself to Your Excellency.
I still adhere to the opinion that if our advice had been acted upon in its earlier stages, this correspondence need not have been so extended, and the general alarm along the border in the upper district might have been allayed.
In the present instance, Your Excellency appears to have been guided by the counsel of Your Excellency’s constitutional advisers, a course quite consistent, placing, as it does, the responsibility where it should fairly rest.
I have the honor to be,
Most obedient servant.
To His Excellency, the Honourable A. H. Gordon C.M. G., Lieutenant Governor, &c., &c., &c.
Mr. Connell then proceeded to speak on the subject of Confederation, and to say that it had been alleged throughout the discussion on the subject—that the delegation from the Province to the Quebec Conference was totally unauthorized. He believed, on the contrary, that it was authorized: but even if the late Government had not any authority to appoint that delegation, he considered they would like to ask, the duty of a Government? Was it merely to draw their salaries and transact the routine business of the country? Was it not rather the duty of a Government to advance, by all the legitimate means in their power, the interest of the country—to introduce measures that would benefit it and lead it on the path of progress and prosperity. Let what might be said to the contrary, be considered they had a perfect right to appoint delegates to consult with the delegates of the other Provinces on a measure that would advance the interests and consolidate the power of all these British North American Colonies. (Mr. Needham—Was it right for the Government to adopt a new Constitution for the country, and determine to put it through the Legislature without giving the people an opportunity to pronounce upon it.?) He would tell the Hose what as the course the late Government ought to have taken. He thought, in the first place, that they should not have gone outside their own members to form the delegation. That, he considered, was wrong. In the next place, they should have been satisfied with reporting to the House the result of that delegation, and with submitting the resolutions passed at the Conference in Quebec; and if they had taken that course and given the Legislature an opportunity to have discussed those resolutions freely and calmly, they would have carried out their measure. They did wrong in dissolving the House and going to the country when they did. But when it was said they had not authority to appoint the delegation, he maintained they had, and he would have made it a grave charge against them if they had not done it.
(Here the hon. member quoted from a dispatch from Mr. Cardwell, of March 9, 1865, to show that the delegation was fully authorized.)
Mr. Connell then, in concluding went on to say that he hoped the result of the vote on the question before the House would be to make the Government place their resignations in the hands of His Excellency, and give place to another set of men who better understood the feelings and wishes of the people. And he hoped that these other men would take an opportunity to allow the people to give expression of opinion on the question that was agitating the country. He wished to put an end to the unsettled state of things in the Province.
[An irregular conversation followed, on a question of order, raised on the Attorney General’s rising to answer Mr. Connell on some charges in the correspondence that that hon. member had just read. He appealed to the justice of the House if he had not a right to answer that gentleman when he brought charges against the Government subsequent to the bringing in of the vote of confidence. It was finally ruled that member had a right to speak twice to the question before the House.]
Mr. Bailey said the Opposition had made a number of charges against the Government, but he could not see that they had established a case against them They had asked hon. members to withdraw confidence from the Government because they had not sooner called the House together. He did not think that change so grave as to merit a vote of want of confidence. The Government had also been charged with having allowed the Export duty Law to expire, and having collected revenue illegally. But as they had pleaded guilty to that charge, and as he did not believe that the interests of the country had suffered, he would not condemn them on that point.
There was another charge of not filling up the public offices—of not having an Auditor General, according as the Constitution demanded—of not having appointed a Solicitor General. He confessed he was not prepared to judge them on those questions. But as to the other charge against them about the sale of Crown Lands, he thought that when Mr. Gibson made his application to purchase lands, if the Government were not prepared to receive his application and sell the lands, they should not have ordered the survey. Why, he should like to know, make out an order of survey, and subject Mr. Gibson to the cost of that survey, if they had no intention that he should have the lands? He considered it a very great hardship that a man should be compelled, as Mr. Gibson was, to pay $500 for the survey of lands if no sale was to follow upon it. He had had personal experience on this head.
(Here the hon. member gave two cases where he made applications for lands on or near the Salmon River, and near Newcastle, where surveys were ordered to be made, for which surveys he had to pay, and pocket the loss of the amount, as no sale followed.)
With regard to the sale of the Crown Lands of the Province, his opinion was that they ought to be sold while they were available, before they were stripped, or before all the timber was burnt off. The sale of the public lands he showed, was far better for the revenue of the country than to lease them for lumbering purposes. Some of the hon. members who had spoken had charged it against the Government that they had not filled up the Auditor General’s office, and the office of the Solicitor General. For his own part, he thought that the present system of Departmental Government was a curse to the country. Here they were in the Government, on the floors, of the House, half-a-dozen political offices, which gave the holders great influence and patronage, and the people had to fight against them. No doubt the Government had been guilty of a few deeds of omission and, it may be, of commission; but no men or Government were perfect. He was not prepared to condemn them on the charges brought against them.
Reference had been made to the delegation that had been sent home to England, and it had been said that no good had come out of it, and that it was an useless expenditure. His opinion was that it had not been sent soon enough, but late as it was sent, he held the Government could not have done otherwise, and he hoped that he would hear of something being done. He found that the House had been in session for twenty-one days, and not much had been done. The cry through the country was. when was the House going to get through with this debate? He had made a calculation of the amount of money this debate had cost the country. and what did hon. members think was the sum total? No less then$12,000. He did not think that the charge of wasting that amount of money could be brought home to the Government. (Hon. member,—What charge had been brought home?) Not one. Under all the circumstances. he could not support the amendment and go with the Opposition. What he had said, and the vote he would give, he was prepared to stand by. He came to the House as an independent member, and he was perfectly unpledged to any party or set of men. He came here to do his duty to his constituents and to his country.
The House then was adjourned over until Saturday at ten o’clock.
Leave a Reply