New Brunswick, House of Assembly, Debates of the House of Assembly [Want of Confidence Debate] (6 April 1866)
By: New Brunswick (House of Assembly)
Citation: New Brunswick, House of Assembly, Reports of the Debates of The House of Assembly  at 96-101.
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.
Friday, April 6.
- (p. 96)
Mr. L.P.W. Desbrisay seeing the Chief Commissioner of the Board of Works in his place would ask if any, and what arrangement had been made by the Government with regard to putting a steamer upon the North Shore. The Spring was opening out now, and if anything was to be done it should be done at once.
Hon. Mr. Hatheway replied that no arrangement had yet been made. Mr. Finlay, the agent, was here a few days ago, and they had given him ten days to go to Canada and see what arrangement […]
- (p. 97)
[…] could be entered into. He had heard that the Canadian Government would grant a subsidy, but Mr. Galt had telegraphed that they would not do so, but were willing to enter into an arrangement for the transmission of mails. It was now some fourteen days since Mr. Finley left, and if he were not heard from by Monday next they would enter into negotiations with other parties at once.
WANT OF CONFIDENCE DEBATE.
Mr. Anglin resumed. When the Debate was adjourned yesterday, he was speaking as to the appointment of the Judges. He had explained how the offer of the Chief Judgeship had been made to Mr. Justice Parker, and how the present Chief Justice had been appointed. With regard to the late appointments, he was not in the Government at the time, and therefore was not responsible, but still he was ready to endorse the action of the Government in the matter. It had been said that great injustice had been done to Mr. Justice Wilmot, and through him to the whole Methodist body of the Province, by passing him by; but he could not look upon it in any such light. If Judge Wilmot were entitled to the position on account of his religious principles, and had been appointed on such grounds, then would injustice have been done, not to the Methodists alone, but to every other religious body. His first appointment had been denounced by his own party. The hon. member for York (Mr. Fisher) not only resigned his connection with the Government on that occasion, but four years after he is reported to have said that in that appointment the rights of the people had been trampled on. But look on the matter on the proper grounds upon which Judge Wilmot was passed over. He had seen fit to take such action as was never before taken by any member of the Beneh. He had publicly denounced the religious body to which he (Mr. A.) belonged, and as an Irishman end Irish Catholic, he felt called on to oppose the promotion of such a man. After this we had seen him acting the part of a violent political partizan. It was said that at Sunbury County Court House, and also in his official position in this House he had taken most active part in political discussions of the day. Again, we find that at a subsequent election, when the question of Confederation did not enter into the contest at all, he took an active part and loudly announced his views on this matter to influence the votes of others. Now, whatever his qualities may be as a lawyer, this was sufficient to debar his promotion to a higher position. It had been said by the hon. member for York (Mr. Fisher), and also by his hon. colleague from the City of St. John (Mr. Wetmore), that Mr. Chief Justice Ritchie had caballed with the present Government.
Mr. Wetmore remarked that he did not say this, but that he had referred to a report of certain actions, which Mr. Anglin could ask Mr. Cudlip to explain when he came into the House.
Mr. Anglin could not reply for any one else, nor should he be called on to prove that certain statements made with reference to other parties was not true, as it was frequently a hard matter to prove a negative, but he could speak on his own behalf, and that he would say that he never said that Chief Justice Ritchie took the slightest part in that election. He was at almost all the meetings that were held, but never saw Mr. Ritchie at any of them, and only on one occasion had he spoken to him on the subject. That was one day immediately after the inauguration of the Quebec Scheme. He met him on the steps of his own building and jocularly said, after the usual courtesies, “I congratulate you on the prospect of an increased salary,” In the most serious voice, and in the most noble and manly tone he replied, “Not even at that price, Sir, will consent to sell my country.” Until he heard the remark the other day from an honorable member he never knew that the Judge had said that he “would sooner vote for a hedgehog than for a Confederate.” But even if he had done as another had, in showing his partizanship, yet it was the duty of the Government to appoint Judge Ritchie to the office of Chief Justice, even on the worst ground that had been alleged, that of favoritism; it was their duty to appoint him as their friend, and it would have been an insult to the whole Province if they had otherwise appointed. But he contended that this was not the reason why Mr. Ritchie received the offer. To the Government it was a question, not of friendship, but of qualification. They regarded him as the best man for the office, the possessor of sterling qualities, admirably fitting him for the discharge of his high duties. It was not a question of seniority.
Mr. Anglin then referred to a paper being taken round by an honorable member with regard to the appointment of Judge Wilmot.
Mr. Wetmore enquired if that paper was not sent in to Government before the appointment of Chief Justice Parker on September 8th.
Hon. Mr. Smith replied that he could not recollect.
Mr. Anglin said the office was offered to Judge Parker on the day Chief Justice Carter retired, and before Mr. Smith’s return from England.
Mr. Wetmore wanted to know if there was a division in the Council on the appointment, or whether the Lieutenant Governor came down and pressed the appointment of Judge Ritchie upon them.
Mr. Anglin replied the matter was never mooted in what he might call the Committee of the Council, that is in the absence of the Lieutenant Governor, and they knew nothing about it till he came down and laid the resignation of Chief Justice Carter before them. Then at once, and without any division or expression of conflicting opinions, it was unanimously decided to proffer the position to Judge Parker.
Mr. Wetmore asked what about the question of salary.
Mr. Anglin said the question of the salary was not discussed till afterwards. After the appointment was tendered, Judge Parker stated his acceptance of office must be dependant on the salary he was receiving as a Puisne Judge being retained. His hon. colleague from the City of St. John (Mr. Wetmore) had stated that.
Mr. Wetmore remarked that he had not stated any thing, but that certain things were currently reported.
Mr. Anglin said yes, these ideas, re ports and rumors were the substance of the speeches made by those preferring these charges against the Government, and this it was that made it so difficult to reply to them.
Mr. Wetmore would explain that with regard to this question what he knew was this, that he was at Newcastle at the time the appointment was made, and called on Judge Parker to offer his congratulations, when in the course of the conversation the Judge told him that his salary was to be retained as it was before.
Mr. Anglin said, yes it was now explained as it really was. He would not now say how and when the question was discussed, but Judge Parker’s demand was that the Government should bring in a Bill to this House, fixing his salary at the same as that of a Puisne Judge. This was straightforward, open and manly. He did not wish the amount paid him without the authority of the representatives of the people, and although it had been charged that this action of the Government was the cause of loss to the country, it had in reality been the means of saving a small sum of some fifty pounds.
Mr. Wetmore asked, then if it was such a saving, why not bring forward the papers and let the people see it.
Mr. Anglin said this was the cry—”Why not produce the papers?” He might with greater reason ask—Why not go on with the business of the country? Why act as the Opposition had done? Why throw obstacles in the path of the Government, and then hold them up to the country as unwilling to go on with
Mr. Wilmot said he had received authority to speak on this matter. He knew what opposition was raised in the Council, and from what source it came. At the time the resignation of Chief Justice Carter was received, he moved the appointment should be offered to Judge Parker at the salary he then held. He was of opinion that the salary should not be reduced.
Mr. Anglin said the hon. member was mistaken as to the time the discussion of the salary took place. On the day the resignation was received and the new appointment made, there was not one word as to the salary. It was subsequently, when the Governor brought the matter before them that the question was discussed. He had the most distinct recollection of what took place, and he was confident that on the first occasion, the hon. member moved that the appointment be offered to Judge Parker, and without any discussion whatever, and without any previous deliberation, it was decided to offer the situation to him. He was rather surprised that the movement was approved at first, till after the discussion was raised in the House, and then he saw and understood the whole thing. He was averse to dragging our Judges thus before the public, for he was satisfied that their characters could not be discussed in the papers, or on the floors of the House, without lowering the just dignity they should hold.
Mr. Anglin again referred to the paper which had been handed round, which he would call a “round robin,” and to the statement of the hon. member for Charlotte, that when offered to him for signature, the hon. member for the City had remarked that Judge Wilmot was an inferior lawyer. He went on to condemn the conduct of the hon. member in this matter, but cries from all parts of the […]
- (p. 98)
[…] House and galleries rendered it impossible for the reporters to catch the concluding remarks of the speaker.
After calling the attention of his Honor the Speaker to the interruption, he went on to remark that even Mr. Cardwell—the man who was thought by some to speak by inspiration the words of divine wisdom—even he had assented to the appointment made by the Government. In passing from this point, if he had said anything to hurt the feelings of any member of the Bench, he was extremely sorry, as they were, individually, men he ever desired to hold in the highest esteem.
The chief point of the speech of the hon. member for the city (Mr. Wetmore) had been the cry of “office, office, office,” and he was proud when he appealed to the hon. member from Charlotte (Mr. Boyd) to know if he had not been offered an office, that gentleman replied, “That, Sir, was a private affair, and is no business of yours.” It is charged that offices were promised, but never filled. Now what was the condition of things when these promises were made? Did we not all expect that the mother country would respect the decisions of these Colonies? Did we not all imagine that the fight was fought and the victory won? That we would settle down to manage our own affairs and carry on the legitimate business of the country? But how was it? We find that when the first shock of defeat was over, the enemies within our borders, with renewed force, and, he might say, with increased malignity, set to work to overthrow the independence of this Province. They had not accomplished their purpose yet, and he trusted the friends of freedom would still hold together, and agree to do what lay in their power to save our country from the mean and sordid grasp of those who, in its overthrow, only sees their own aggrandizement. Was ever a Government so beset? Surrounded by difficulties—the influence of Canada on the one hand, and the furious attacks of the unscrupulous, lying, slanderous and bireling press of their opponents, on the other. The Minister of the Queen even succumbing and descending to be the tool of Canada to bring about this Union. Again he would ask, was ever a Government so beset? Under circumstances like these, any promise made could only be conditional. His hon. colleague (Mr. Wilmot) has admitted that he did not want the Audit Office.
Mr. Anglin.—Yes, he remembered the hon. member’s taking him into a back room at a Stubbs Hotel and having quite a talk on the subject.
Mr. Wilmot said, then his hon. friend’s memory must be greatly at fault, for he had never spoken to him about it except in open council.
Mr. Anglin said, he believed his hon. friend was to have had that office, and it was kept open for him, but the objection seemed to be that the salary was too small.
Mr. Wilmot would now ask whether one of the points considered at the time of the construction of the Government was not the carrying on of Western Extension?
Mr. Wilmot then wanted to know if they had not had troubles and difficulties with regard to this question, and if he had not distinctly said that if action with regard to this was not embodied in the Speech, he would resign. Was there not also difficulties in regard to the Railway management?
Hon. Mr. Smith rose to order. The hon. member had made his speech, and had been listened to attentively by the House, and unless there was some point upon which he needed an explanation, or a question he wished to ask, he had no right to interrupt the hon. member who was speaking by cutting in and making another speech.
Mr. Wilmot said he had rights as well as other hon. members, and when he spoke he was constantly interrupted by three hon. members of the Government, and on every occasion he gave way and did not object to their questions and remarks. His hon. colleague had made statements yesterday of what had occurred, and had striven to show that all had gone on harmoniously and smoothly in the Council, and now he wanted to show that difficulties did exist, and that all did not go as smoothly as a marriage bell.
Mr. Fisher rose to the point of order, whilst he was speaking he was subjected to a running fire from all quarters. He thought it was now too late to say members should ask only one question; what was sauce for the goose was sauce for the gander.
Mr. Needham thought that was all very well, but before applying the same it was best to get it. He did not hear any running fire kept upon his hon. colleague. True, a few questions had been asked, but they naturally arose out of the statements made. And even though interruptions had occurred before, which were wrong, that fact did not make it right now.
Mr. Anglin was sorry his hon. colleague misunderstood him. They never had any angry words in the Government, and hoped they would not, now they were both out. He had told him yesterday that the Government had differences among themselves, and serious differences too, but they were men, and upheld by arguments the opinions they entertained. He was the first to leave the Government on the grounds of Western Extensions, and although his hon. friend had threatened to resign, if action were not taken, he did not do so. He did not say yesterday that all deliberations in the Council were smooth and harmonious; he thought he spoke plain, but the hon. member had evidently misunderstood him. It was not to be supposed that nine men coming together would harmonise in their opinions on all the subjects that came before them, for honest men would speak out what they thought. He did not wish to impute motives to anyones, but wanted to work in harmony with his colleagues. But he was trying to answer the charges brought against the Government by the member for the City, that the Audit Office had not been given to Mr. Wilmot. He thought members of this House should not be appointed to such offices—this House, which is the bulwark and fortress of the liberties of the people. With regard to the minor appointments, it was charged that the Government did not fill them because they were restrained by political cowardice. But no, they were influenced by no such feelings. He was now out of the Government, but he was assured that they refrained from filling these offices from higher motives. He had differed on many points with the hon. Attorney General, but that hon. member had never showed any such spirit as has been evinced by some others from whom he differed. But supposing these offices had been filled, would the Government have been justified, in the position of affairs, to have made the appointments and thus sacrifice their principles. Were they who were elected by the people, and the Government who were the elect of the people’s representatives, to act in such a way as to throw the country into the expense and confusion of another election, when strangers were ready to come in with their gold and scatter the elements of discord and ruin amongst us. Under such circumstances, he would say that any honesty, candid man, who had more principle than to be accused by mere feelings of friendship alone would have acted exactly as the Government had done. He did not wish to disturb any man in his right to holding any political opinions, to prevent his expressing those opinions and voting for them at the polls, but he would now distinctly state that if he had his own way in the matter he would turn out many of the political partisans who fill some of our public offices. He would again repeat that in this matter any honest, conscientious man would have acted just as the Government did, and more, he believed his hon. friend who brought these charges would have acted just as he did, had he been a member of the Government.
Another charge was that there were not more representatives from the North Shore in the Council. To this he would say, that it was the universal understanding that when Confederation was put out of view the North Shore was to be more fully represented. If the North feel that they have reason to complain it was not the Government upon whom the blame should rest, but upon those whose machinations, as so ably described by the Provincial Secretary in his most able speech the other day, have so surrounded the Province and its Government with difficulties. These were they upon whom the blame should rest. It was well known the Government were thus beset. and as long as the North sent men to represent them, who work with and for those who are thus employed, the Government could not take them into their Councils.
Mr. Kerr asked if it was the meaning of the hon. member that he, as a North Shore member, was sent here by constituents who were working with those who were seeking to ruin the country. He wished the hon. member to know that he represented a constituency who were as respectable and loyal a people as that which he (Mr. A.) represented.
Mr. Anglin meant nothing of the kind; but when he spoke upon this scheme, he must speak warmly—a scheme to ruin and break up the country, and although the hon. member might entertain other opinions upon it, yet he thought and the majority of the people thought, and had unmistakeably spoken out, that they thought differently.
Mr. Lindsay.—”Try it again.”
Mr. Anglin.—”Try it again!” yes, and whom the time comes to demand it they would try it again, and as they returned to their constituents they would say, “We as, not because we desire it, but because of the clamoring of our opponents, that you will speak again […]
- (p. 99)
[…] on this question, and that you will speak in more thundering tones and by still more startling majorities than before, that in this we have been the true exponents of the public feeling.”
Mr. L.P.W. Desbrisay wished to be allowed to ask why it was the Government pledged themselves to make these appointments, and did not fulfil them? Was the promise given but to deceive, or to place the followers of the Government in a humiliating position?
Mr. Anglin replied. It was from no such motive, but because the Government had to care for the interests of the whole people; because they had to act with caution in the face of their opponents, like a small body of armed men in the presence of a superior foe. Hon. members complain because the Audit Office was not filled, and seek for all sorts of reasons why it was not filled. They act as they did at the time Confederation was being discussed, imagine all sorts of things, and search for something and anything to show if possible that the interests of the country have been neglected, when the fact is that by not filling this office some £300 have been saved, and the accounts are presented to the House in a better form than ever they were before.
Last year they brought in a Bill to abolish the office of Postmaster General, and it was said that this was the first step to the removal of the General Post Office to St. John. They forgot that the General Post Office had always been in St. John up to within a few years, and now he would say that he had heard it hinted in this House, that somehow or other that traitor and scoundrel Anglin was going to make something out of it. Mr. Howe was to be Postmaster General, but that vagabond was somehow or other going to put money in his pocket by it. The hon. member from Carleton (Mr. Lindsay) had hinted that by some plan, though the Postmaster Generalship might be done away, yet there would be a need of an inspector, and he (Mr. Anglin) was to get this appointment. Now the hon. member must know very little about the position of members in the House, if he supposed anything of the kind, for were this the case he would have to resign his seat, and at the same time neglect his duties as editor and proprietor of a newspaper.
Mr. Lindsay said he had not mentioned the hon. member’s name at all.
Mr. Anglin said it was not always necessary to mention names, they understood all about that, but his hon. friend seemed to be of the pachedermous kind, the more he was pounded the harder his skin became. His hon. colleague from the City (Mr. Wetmore) had said he seemed to be the dictator, and had charge of the Government.
Mr. Wetmore remarked that it seemed so still.
Mr. Lindsay would ask the hon. member (Mr. Anglin) to reconcile the position he assumed on the hustings, when he stated he would not belong to, nor remain in, a Government which would not build Western Extension.
Mr. Anglin said that was a bombshell! But he was coming to that bye and bye. He was now speaking of the Postmaster Generalship. The Government believed that they could save the salary of that officer, £600 a year, and that the business would be better performed by a regular paid head. He was pleased, however, to say, that since the gentleman who now fills the office had been appointed, the affairs of the Department had been performed as well as by any previous head, and any one who had reason to consult with him in the affairs of his office could not but be impressed by the business skill and tact evinced by him.
Another charge was, that the Government had not filled the office of Solicitor General. His hon friend on his left (Mr. Wetmore) was marked out for that, but it was found that gentleman could not run his election, and so the office was left to be filled by some member from the North Shore. He did not know that the country had suffered much by the non-appointment. If the office had been filled, it is probable the other charge with regard to the expiry of the Act on the Export Duty would not have come up, as between the Attorney General and the Solicitor General it could hardly have been overlooked, and this brought him down to the charge with regard to the Export Duty. Here the Government was to blame, and here only. During the last session of the House, the Government worked hard morning, noon and night. They were overwhelmed with work. To begin with, they had no money. It had been said that there was some $95,000 left in the treasury by the late Government, but the account with the Commercial Bank shows that this was not the case. For out of all the large revenue received from all sources, they found, on taking office, only some $8.000 or $9.000, and, as a set off, an account of the Post Office considerably over that. They had to look into these matters, and to see what was the arrangement with the Messrs. Baring, our agents in London. They asked the Treasurer; he did not know. They asked the clerks in the office of the Provincial Secretary, but neither they nor anybody else could tell them anything about it, and the Government had to go over the large fyle of letters to find out what arrangement the late Government had made with them. Then in the Surveyor General’s Office there was another mess. The people there were clamering for the issue of grants of land. It seems that pending the negotiations with regard to the Inter-Colonial Railroad, no grants could be issued on the line of railway, and as everybody was made to believe that the road was going by their door, no grants were issued at all, till the matter of route should be decided. Then there was the providing for the business of the session, the preparation of the speech, and that was no easy matter. So there was work, and hard work, for the Government all the time.
This matter of expiring Acts was peculiarly the duty of the Attorney General to look after; but hard-worked as he was, sometimes till two o’clock in the morning, he would say, under the circumstances, he relieved him of all blame, and took a share of it himself. The Act expired not from want of industry; they might, if they choose, call it incapacity, but not lack of industry or vigilance, and they now throw themselves for this dereliction of duty on the hands of the country, and that was this House.
Then there was the great bugbear of the sale of Crown Lands, yet after all the slanders circulated by a hireling press, the Opposition had failed to take up this charge in earnest and push the matter home, some having fone so far as to say that they wished there were more Mr. Gibson’s. The House knew that theprinciple in every office should be that the heads should not stand upon fine points. The Government did put up 5000 acres for sale; but then the trouble was the rescinding of that celebrated order. Now this order was made about the time Mr. Tilley went to Canada on the Inter-Colonial Railroad, and this regulation was made pending those negotiations. It is said that these are still pending. Pending? Between whom? Is it the Government or the small minority who are in the Opposition who to day are in the country? These sayings can only be put forth to mislead those who have been called by an hon. member “the free and enlightened electors.” With regard to those applying for lands, the Surveyor General decided that all the parties should come and make their own applications. These thousands of acres of land the Government are charged with selling have gradually lessened till now they have dwindled to twenty-seven acres, and this was all that was left of the thousands. But it turns out that these twenty-seven acres was land granted to Z. Chipman in 1860, and so pure are the present Government that the Opposition have to go back and charge upon them the dereliction of their predecessors six years ago; and more than this, he learned that the charge was to be reiterated, and these lands were now to be announced as the key to very valuable tracts of lands, but he was in a position to say that the position of these twenty-seven acres, far from being what was now alleged, was situated at about four miles above where log-cutting had taken place, and here it was intended to construct a dam for the purpose of bringing down the logs.
The Government were also charged with disloyalty, and why? Because he and six others dared to speak out in the language of freemen on a question affecting the rights and liberties of the people. Feeling the position they occupied, and the dangers that threatened out country, they spoke in the interests of the people what they had given them the right to say, and he was proud that his name was on that expression of the people’s opinion. It had been said that that dispatch was drawn up by him and signed by the other six after dinner at Government House: in plain words, when they were drunk. When he heard these charges made, he looked upon his colleague, (Mr. Wilmot) who claimed to be the personification of knightly courtesy, the man who could read Bishop Butler’s opinion on what true courtesy consists, and remembered that if the term, “low, despicable fellow,” which had been applied by an hon. member, was applicable at all, then he, as well as himself, was one of those characters, for his name stands first on the list. But what a charge is this. Is it to be believed that men like the Hon. Mr. Odell, the Provincial Secretary, and the Surveyor General, at the Government House table, while drunk, were worked upon by that wily trai or Anglin, to sign that memorandum? No. It was worked on paragraph by paragraph, sentence by sentence, and line by line. And how the whole thing is brought down to the point that the “low fellow” dared to doubt the meaning of certain words used by Mr. Cardwell, and to refer to the “Times […]
- (p. 100)
[…] newspaper. He would like his hon. friend to shew the book where it is laid down that, if a man is in doubt, it is ungentlemanly to say he doubts; and if no other charge than that could be brought against him, then he should go through life without being thought by very many as a “low fellow.” It was said that the reference to the newspaper paragraph was extraordinary, but then the circumstances were extraordinary. The hon. member on his left had said that at one time he did not believe the question of Union came from the Queen, and had since found out that it did. He thought it was rather hard to find out what had never occurred, and on this question he wished to say a few words. It was probable that Her Majesty had never seen the dispatch which was sent from this Government to Mr. Cardwell, nor that from him to us. But however that might be, it was certain that the question of Union did not at first come from the British Government, or that the so-called delegates had any “just authority” to confer on the question of Confederation. In the report of the correspondence between Nova Scotia and Mr. Cardwell, on the Union of the Maritime Provinces, in a letter under date September 29th, 1864, Sir Richard Graves Macdonnell says:
“My Ministry are very anxious for the appointment of delegates from this Province to confer at Quebec with delegates from the other Maritime Provinces and Canada. The subject of the Conference is intended to be the feasibility of a Union, whether Federal or Legislative, of all British North America. Even Newfoundland is sending a representation; and as the Conference is intended to commence on the 10th October, it would be impossible for the representatives of Nova Scotia to reach Quebec at that date, if I await your sanction to their appointment by the mail due at Halifax on the 12th October.”
There is no authority from the British Government for the Convention here. He goes on to say:
“I find, however, on further enquiry, that no official invitation such as I could recognize has been yet received from Lord Monck, adequate to justify my nominating representatives of this Province to a Conference, where, strictly speaking, they should not proceed at all, without your previous sanction.”
There is no authority yet. And again, on the 1st October, Mr. Cardwell replied:
“I have to thank you for the interesting intelligence you have conveyed to me, and to state, with reference to your request for authority to permit certain members of your Executive Council to repair to Quebec, there to resume the discussion of this subject, that I have received an intimation from Lord Monck that he intends communicating with me upon it.”
So that up to the 1st October, only a few days before the meeting of the delegates, no dispatch had been received by Mr. Cardwell from Lord Monck on the subject, and the British Government had given no authority for such a Conference.
They had all, at one time or another, been in favor of a Union of some kind, but this scheme of Confederation was the grafting of old principles upon a new stock, and, consequently, could bring forth nothing but fungi and rottenness.
Mr. Anglin then read from a paper, the organ of Mr. J. A. S. MacDonald, to show that that gentleman had said that Canada was virtually without a Government, and it was to fill that want that this plan of Confederation was brought up. Here the secret sessions were first originated, and why? Because their deliberations could not bear the light. No, they loved the darkness, and it seems very much adapted to the politicians of Canada. And so, by involving these Lower Provinces in ruin, a plan was laid by which a Government could be provided for Canada. The scheme was matured and presented to the people of this Province. Mr. MacDonald says it was to be put through the three Legislatures at once and he (Mr. Anglin) though that the bold stand taken by the Chief Commissioner of the Board of Works was the means of saving to us the liberties of this people. The people here solemnly announced their decision; they had been told that it must be passed without any change, either the dotting of an i or the crossing of a t, and then after all this, and the matter, so far as we were concerned, was concluded, they had the audacity and insolence to speak for the people of this Province, and appeal to Great Britain to pass a law enforcing Union upon us. Under such circumstances had the Government not the right to clothe the expression of their loyalty in such words as would show to the British Government that they rightly estimated the liberties of the people as well as the privileges of the Throne.
Mr. Anglin then read from page 204 of the Journals of Assembly for last Session an extract from the despatches laid before the House by the Government to shew the Lieut. Governor had received a copy of the Resolutions from Lord Monck, and that, when submitted to the Canadian Parliament, the 24th section had been altered. These Resolutions, which we were told could not be departed from one iota, where coolly altered to suit the wishes of Canada without consulting with the various parties interested. That section, as passed by the Conference, was as follows:
“The local Legislature of each Province may, from time to time, alter the electoral districts for the purpose of representation in the House of Commons, and distribute the representatives to which the Province is entitled in any manner such Legislature may think fit.”
But, instead of the words “in the House of Commons,” as they called the General Assembly, they substituted the words “in such local Legislature.”
Now if Canada could serve us in such a manner when treating with us on the preliminaries—if they would thus alter the great charter of our rights, is it to be expected that they would treat us otherwise afterwards? It appears that after they had gone over the whole matter and decided upon it—after even a clear draft was made of the resolutions, they found that a mistake had been made. But did the Canadians thus alter the scheme without the assent of, or consultation with, our delegates. The Hon. Mr. Steves, in reply to a circular addressed to the delegates by the Provincial Secretary, at the request of the Lieutenant Governor, says:
“I beg to state for the information of His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor, that my consent has not been requested to any change in the wording of the resolutions agreed to by the Conference held at Quebec in October last, subsequently to their signature.”
J.M. Johnson, Esq., says the same, although his letter is not given. Hon. Mr. Chandler says:
“I have to say that no such consent was requested, nor was I made aware of any change being made in the wording of any of the resolutions, after the same were agreed to at the Conference.”
The Hon. P. Mitchell says the same. The Hon. J. H. Gray says the same, only, unfortunately, he says too much. He says:
“No such consent was asked of me, nor have I directly or indirectly received any communication upon such a subject.”
This would have been sufficient, but, unfortunately for the result, he goes on to add:
“And if I may be permitted to add the expression of my personal belief, I do not believe that in the wording of the original resolutions, as signed by myself and others of the delegates, any alteration whatever has been made.”
Mr. Tilley was the only one of the delegates who was consulted, and he remarks that he did not give his consent to a change in the decision of the Conference. He also says that in a letter he had received from Mr. Galt, that gentlemen had asked, “if there was not a mistake in the wording of the 24th resolution in the record signed by the members of the Conference at Montreal, leaving to the local Legislatures the power of determining the electoral limits of the Confederate Legislature. I find this letter on file, but I cannot no remember whether or not I answered it; if I did I have not kept a copy.”
We had all heard of the very wonderful manner in which the business in the office of the Provincial Secretary was carried on, but he would not say anything against that gentleman, as he had made it a point, both in his public and private life, not to remark upon the proceedings of those who were not in a position to reply, and he was sure that gentleman would bear him out in the remark, that he had on all occasions refrained from any personal expressions calculated to wound his feelings. Again, another delegate says in his reply to the circular:
“My assent was never requested to any change in the resolutions agreed to by the Conference held at Quebec in October last.”
He goes on to say:
- (p. 101)
“I cannot now remember what took place in the Conference when that resolution passed, nor do my minutes show, as it was of very secondary importance when compared with many of the questions which were discussed.”
It is a question whether this was of very secondary importance. But he goes on: “I was not present when the revised copy, engrossed on parchment, was signed by the delegation; but I signed alone some time afterwards upon the assurance of Colonel Barnard, the Secretary, that it was a true copy of what had been agreed upon.” He signed on the sole authority of Mr. Barnard! on so large and important a measure without investigation! This letter is signed by Charles Fisher.
Here then it is distinctly proved that the Canadian delegates, without consulting any others who were equally interesting in the Union proposed, altered this document, which was to be at once the bulwark and fortress of freedom.
It had been charged that the despatch received from the British Government was held back so as to send our delegation home, but he believed that had that despatch been laid before the House by the Government, it would have influenced a larger number to vote for that delegation. The Hon. Attorney General had explained this matter, but he (Mr. A.) was under the impression that it was not received till a day or two before the rising the House, and after the delegation had been resolved on. Upon this he could not now be confident, but he was very strongly impressed that such was the case.
Hon. Mr. Smith said that the despatch bore no date of its receipt, but he was sure it was but a few days before the rising of the House that it was laid before them.
Mr. Anglin continued—The dispatch of the 12th July had been condemned in unmeasured terms, but what do the Government there put forth to call down the charge of disloyalty? They say:
“A large majority of the people of this Province are opposed to any closer political connection with Canada than that afforded by the tie of a common allegiance to the British Crown, and consider that such union would have a decided tendency to weaken that dependence on the British Empire which they so highly prize, and would lead to the neglect and injury of their local interests.”
And, he would ask, were we not better qualified to judge on these points than Mr. Cardwell? No man will venture to dispute that it was our right and duty to consult our own interests in the matter, and when Mr. Cardwell speaks of “just authority,” though it may not be coercion, yet it was so near it that it became the duty of the Government to speak out and say, you may speak of ‘ just authority,’ but we have rights upon which you cannot infringe without weakening that authority.”
Again, the Government in their dispatch had said:
“When a wish is expressed by Her Majesty’s Government, it will be received with that deference which is due to suggestions emanating from so high a source.”
“They feel assured that Her Majesty’s Government will expect and desire that the Government of this Province should act according to their own convictions of right, and in conformity with the sentiments of the people they represent.”
When the resolutions were first sent home, Mr. Cardwell had complained of some of the provisions, and yet now he was anxious to thrust it upon us, and well had he expressed his own and Mr. Bright’s views, which were, that we should be thrown off on our own resources and made to provide our own means of defence. The disposition of this people is to hold on to the land they love, but he looked upon the carrying out of this scheme as the first stepping stone to annexation. When he heard in the Legislative halls of Canada the statement of one of their members, that he had done much for that Province, and at length had “brought these Colonies to the threshold of independence,” he knew that the whole scheme pointed to this result. On their late trip to Canada, they were at the small town of Tecona, and learning that Mr. Cartier was also there, he (Mr. A.) called on him to pay his respects. In the course of the conversation, Mr. Cartier asked: “What do you say to the dispatches down in the Lower Provinces?” He replied that we were now almost dispatch proof. Mr. Cartier said: “Oh, but you must come in.” He answered that we should not come in if we found it was not to our advantage. Mr. C. replied: “Oh, but wait a few weeks till after Smith gets back, and see what dispatches you will get.” Mr. Anglin said he did not know, to which he replied, “But I know.” Here, then, was the source from whence the dispatches came—these dispatches which were put forth as the ipsissima verba, the sacred word of Her Majesty, when it was more than probable that Her Majesty had never even seen the despatch. It is well understood that the Queen can do no wrong, and herein consists the disloyalty and the treason, for instead of making the Minister of the Colonial Office responsible for these acts they desire to turn the point back upon the throne itself; and what, he would ask, is the good of constitutional liberties if such action is to be tolerated. When the Government received that despatch from Mr. Cardwell, preceded as it had been by all that previously had been said and done, they felt themselves to be in a perilous position. Was it any wonder that they sat down and carefully, calmly and seriously took the matter in hand, and in speaking to Mr. Cardwell to speak in unmistakeable language to the people of Canada. Not in the midst of drunken revelry, but as to slow, solemn and earnest work, they sat themselves down to the task. And now he would ask, was there in that Memorandum of Council one word derogatory to the Queen; if there was, he was willing to go on his knees and recall it; but there was not one, and in all his public and private life since his coming to the country, he challenged any one to say that he had committed an act that was derogatory to his character or damaging to the best interests of this Province, and once more he would express the pride and satisfaction he felt that his name was appended to that document.
The House and Debate were then adjourned.
As I have been called to take the position of Official Reporter, suddenly vacated by Mr. Archer, and as I am conscious of having done far less than justice to this portion of Mr. Anglin’s speech, I may say that not having followed the debate through its windings, and coming in on the middle of a speech abounding with allusions to what had preceded it, it was almost impossible that I should be in a position to report with that correctness and precision that an accurate acquaintance with the other speeches would have given.
J.MARCH, Official Reporter.
[ERRATA—On 90th page, 20th line from top of 2nd column, read Mr. Hill said—By the amendment, &c. T. P. D.]
Leave a Reply