New Brunswick, House of Assembly, Reports of the Debates (18 May 1865)
By: New Brunswick (House of Assembly)
Citation: New Brunswick, House of Assembly, Reports of the Debates of The House of Assembly of the Province of New Brunswick, During the Session of 1865 at 67-72.
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HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY.
THURSDAY, May 18, 1865.
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RESOLUTION RELATING TO THE MILITIA.
Mr. Connell—This is a matter of the highest importance to the interests of this Province. I have not brought forward this resolution for the purpose of making a speech, or of hearing the sound of my own voice or that I expect the result to have any influence on my position in this House or before the country. But I introduce it that it may go abroad. and that the Mother country may know what our position and feelings are on this great subject. If the granting of a small sum of money for Militia purposes, to be wasted in impracticable experiments, is to be the extent of the proof of our loyalty, I think the sooner we cease to boast of it the better. The portion of that country where I reside, and which I represent, would be the first to feel the effect of any troubles which might arise with the United States. Not long since I was present at a review of the Volunteers, at which the Commander-in-Chief of this Province, after praising the men for the efficiency shown in the use of their arms and in general drill, warned them that they would be the first that would be called on in case of difficulty to defend their homes. It is because of this fact that I feel a deep interest in this matter.
In twenty-four hours after war broke out, that whole section of country would be a scene of devastation, and what power have we to prevent it. It has been remarked to me by hon members, since I gave notice of this motion, that it looks like dictating to the British Government what they should do. It does not do so, but I think it right they should know our position, what we intend to do, and what we expect of them. In looking to the message laid before this House on the state of the Militia in New Brunswick. I, and in a dispatch received from Mr. Cardwell, dated 1st Oct., 1864, the statement “that the progress of the Militia in New Brunswick does not at present in any degree correspond with the spirit of patriotism and spirit of loyalty by which the inhabitants are known to be animated, ” and again, “the Militia exists chiefly on paper, being undrilled, and meeting for muster (only) one day in a year, whilst the Volunteers, who form an integral part of the Militia though they drill more frequently, number only 1,738.” And he closes by saying: ” I should sincerely rejoice to hear from you that, on the re-assembling of the Legislature, your advisers will be prepared to take effective measures for remedying a state of things, so little suited to the importance of the subject. and corresponding so little with the well known spirit of the Province. ” Are we to be told that the British Government is not urging us to do something in this branch of the public service? Of what advantage will be the small amount we grant in case we are attacked; could it enable us to defend ourselves, and what use would be our present Militia organization in such a case? Might we not just as well lie down and submit at once?
It is certain we are not in a position to make the first attempt at resistance. We need only refer to the report of Colonel Jervoia to see in what position we stand. What does he say? He informs the British Government that it would be utterly useless to go to the expense of erecting fortifications on the Canada boundary, for their defence, far West of Montreal. If this be true of Canada. how does it apply here? We are perfectly open and defenceless; we have no fortifications, and what is worse, we have no money to give any effectual aid to the British Government in erecting them. And then as to the troops: we are told distinctly, that in case of war all the available forces the Government could spare would be put on board war vessels and sent to the cities on the seaboard of the neighbouring States. From this it is evident that we are to be left in a large measure to ourselves .
His Excellency, in a despatch on page 41 of the Journals, dated 21st Nov., 1864, says : ” I regret to perceive that Her Majesty’ s Government are dissatisfied with the progress which has ben made towards the re-organization of the Provincial Militia.” In speaking of the efficiency of Officers, he says: ” The Head Quarters Staff was in a by no means efficient state; the officers upon it have long held their posts, and being but imperfectly acquainted with modern systems of drill and organization. ” In the same dispatch he goes on further to say that ” since the passage of that Act, I can truly say that my attention to the condition of the Militia. and my endeavors to carry out its re-organization to the furthest extent which the means at my disposal permitted, have been unremitting.” I acquiesce in that, for it is a fact ; but His Excellency goes on further to say on page 44 : ” I perceive that you labor under a mistaken impression, in supposing that the sum annually allotted d to the Militia is fixed in the Militia Law. It is annually voted by the Legislature, and may be indefinitely diminished or increased. The grant is always opposed, and opposed with energy. * * * It is my intention to propose to my advisers before the next meeting of the Provincial Parliament a scheme, the details of which I hope shortly to lay before you, and which will have for its object the training of a certain portion of the Militia for several consecutive days in each year.”
From this it would seem that the Commander- in-Chief evinces a greater interest in the matter of defence than either his advisers or the people. I do not think, however, that the people are so much to blame. I believe that seven-eighths of them want to know what the British Government intend to do; to know if it is their intention […]
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[…] to go on and erect fortifications in this Province. The Government of Canada have, I think, acted wisely; they have sent home delegates to see Her Majesty’s advisers face to face, and there tell them what they are prepared to do if England will aid the. The people of Canada have granted a million of dollars to military purposes, to be used, in case an arrangement can be made with the British Government on fair and equal principles. What is our Government doing? They propose a grant of $30,000 to show their loyalty. I believe if the British Government saw it was for the interests of the people of this Province, they would guarantee the loan to carry on the fortifications and other necessary works. They know there is no danger of our coming into contact with the United States by our own actions.
What was the case in the Trent affair? Who were looked upon as responsible for the depredations of the Alabama? What were the feelings of the North towards England on account of her early recognition of the South as belligerents? These were all Imperial interests, and out of difficulties like these war often comes. If, then, to defend these interests, it is found necessary to have fortifications erected in our Province, is it not reasonable that they should guarantee the funds for carrying on the work? I are not at issue with this Government on the appropriation of $30,000 for Militia purposes ; but I do believe that sum could be best employed in bringing the Staff, the Militia officers, into an efficient state, all over the Province for a day or three days in a year, with no beneficial result. Look at the case in the States. When the war broke out had they any effective organization out of which to make their armies? they had not at least in Maine, and where were men ever found who more nobly distinguished themselves ?
If this amount is to be spent under the system heretofore pursued, I think we might as well throw the money into the river. When we look back on the war in the United States, which is just now subsiding, when we remember that one month before the firing of the first gun at Fort Sumpter, all was peace and quiet ; who did, who could have imagined, what scenes of devastation and woe, what rivers of blood, what widows and orphans would so soon be developed and brought about, as have been since then. And what might be the case here? In arriving at an opinion it may be well to consider the position of affairs on this continent and by the ideas of others arrive at conclusions with respect to ourselves. The London Morning Advertiser of April 21st, contains the following:—
” On receipt of the news of the fall of Richmond, Louis Napoleon proposed to Lord Cowley that England and France should, by a treaty offensive and defensive, make common cause against the United States of America ; that in the event of Canada being attacked by them, France should assist England with all her land and sea forces ; and that in the event of the United States openly or covertly attacking the Emperor Maximilian or in anywise endangering his throne, England should, in conjunction with France, defend Maximilian.”
There are rumours too of expeditions to Mexico, and that the Mexican President Juarez is acting offensive against France. We are told that ” President Juarez of the Mexican Republic, has issued letters of marque for reprisals against French commerce.” Now what will be the natural result of this ? Is it not collision with France? And then from Boston we learn that, “The Mexican emigration excitement increases ; the officers for the enrolment are unable to accommodate applicants ; two more offices are to be opened. It is said that the West has subscribed large sums of money for the enterprise ; 26,000 men are to be raised there.”
And again, the next day we are told that in New York, ” A recruiting office was opened for Mexican soldiers ; there was quite a rush to the office all day, and the large number of 4555 men were recruited.” The excitement on this subject has even shown itself in the Capital, for we hear that, “A Mexican emigration expedition has just been organized in Washington. A general eagerness to join it is manifested. A liberal bounty in gold is offered to able bodied emigrants.” Now, when we hear of these kind of things going on, we may very naturally look for results that will affect us sooner or later.
Hon. Mr. Smith.—Is it not desirable then that we should be in a state of defence ?
Mr. Connell.—Exactly so, and if the Government had brought down a resolution that would have proved for the good of the country, I should have given them my support, and will now, if they do as they have done in Canada. This is not a matter of pounds, shillings and pence, but one of the greatest importance that comes before this House. I think if the Government were to enter into communication with the British Government, and show them our willingness to do all we can for ourselves, and that in the matter of defence we desired to meet their just wishes it would result in good.
This is what I desire, and if followed out would show that we have some gratitude for the blessings conferred on us in the past, not by words only, or bare expressions of loyalty, but by such action as coming from the highest authority of the Province, will carry wright with it. But instead of this, what is proposed to be done? I see by a report in the Journals of information forwarded to the Colonial Secretary, respecting our future action, it is proposed to establish a camp of Instruction, where men who have been drafted from the different parts of the Province, are to be drilled for twenty-eight days in each year ; and that a resolution has been agreed to by the Military commission to call out the balance of the Militia force of the Province for three day’s drill, and one day inspection in each year, and to embrace all the male inhabitants between the ages of 16 and 60.
Of course, in view of the present emigration to Mexico, this plan will be very acceptable. Our young men who volunteer to come forward and get this instruction, will be the ones most likely to go off and be accepted to join the Mexican expedition. But I should like to see where the people have mede a move in this matter. The only ones I ace, who show any activity, are the officers who are to get pay for these twenty-eight days drill. I am not a military man, I never have been, but if anything is to be done in this matter I am willing to contribute my quota forwards furthering its interest ; but this mode of spending money to fit men to join the Mexican expedition is what I don’t agree with. In Canada, where they have a Military School, a great complaint has been that some of the officers when frilled went off to the American war, and what reason have we to suppose that the same will not be the case here. Yet, notwithstanding all the rumours that are afloat, I have not much alarm that we shall be invaded. I am willing to go with the Government if they will promise to give a reasonable sum to the training of officers, while they are carrying on negociations with the British Government.
Hon. Mr. Anglin.—Does the hon. member mean to say that the complaint in Canada has been that the trained officers have gone to the American war, and now wants this amount spent int he same way to qualify men for the Mexican expedition ?
Mr. Connell—I said they made complaint of this, but I have no fear for it here. I think that those who qualify themselves would have too much patriotism to allow anything of the kind to occur I speak with regard to the resolution adopted by the Military commission. The people of England are interested in this matter ; the strong feeling there is that these Colonies should bear the expence of erecting the fortifications for defence. There are some of all shades of politics who think we are a burden to them. When we read of a member of the House of Commons rising in his place and saying that no ministry could stand who would make a grant for Military purposes in these Colonies ; and that the Colonial Secretary stands up and affirms it ; I say when we see this, we must be convinced that the feeling of dissatisfaction in England is gaining ground with regard to these Provinces. I said we are often enabled to arrive at results by hearing the opinions of others, and I will now read an extract from the London Times, a very high authority, on the defences of Canada :—
“The grant of 50,000 for the defence of Quebec is the opening of a question as various in its incidents and doubtful in its issues as if the armies had already appeared before that fortress, shots had been exchanged, and new positions taken. It already transpires that we are expected to do a great deal more, and that what the Canadians do themselves, as their side of the bargain, if a bargain there be, is to be done with money borrowed on the credit of the Empire—that is of the British Treasury —as being for Imperial purposes. As even the interest of this loan would have to be paid by fresh duties upon imports, chiefly from this country, it would amount to our paying, in one shape or another, every sixpence of the cost. From speeches in the Canadian Legislature it appears to be thought entirely our affair, in so much that it is England, her extravagant pretensions, her infatuated pride, and her quarrelsome temper, that have produced the apprehension of an American invasion.
The Canadian meanwhile are most creditably beforehand with us in a just anxiety to know how we are to stand, who is to do it all, who is to pay, and how the defences is to be conducted A deputation of the most distinguished men in the Province is on its way to this country, and we can only regret the deputation does not represent all out Provinces, or even one of those accessible at all seasons to our fleets and armies. The Maritime Provinces we can reach at all times, and one of them contain the only possible basis of operations we possess in that part of the world, indifferently provided a sit appears to be for that purpose.
But these Maritime Province are just those that wish to nave nothing to say to Canada or to the Empire at his particular crisis, unless, indeed, we would be so obliging as to finish for them their Intercolonial Railway […]
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[…] from Halifax to Quebec. The deputation, however, is purely Canadian. and it has come to obtain guarantees of political and commercial value. We cannot think the era of its arrival is so improper a time to re-open the question as far as the question is still open, and to warn those whom it may concern against rash concessions and precipitate pledges. We hail, then the opportunity which now offers for asking some light on these questions. The deputation asks for light, and will be ready to give some in return.
” In the first place, what is that we are to defend—a soil or a people? All the sentiment of the question goes for the people. In these days territorial pride is renounced, and people are cared for. Our Imperial relations are with the inhabitants. But by far the greater part of the Colonists themselves are far away from Quebec, utterly out of our reach. and absolutely dependent on themselves for independence. Mr. Laird, of course, would be glad to receive an order to build twenty gunboats. and place them on any lake we pleased to mention—Victoria Nyznsa if required—and no doubt he would fulfill the order, barring the interference of Governments or the contingencies of war. But colonial audacity itself does not venture thus far to invite our engineers higher up than Quebec, and the merest glance at the great lakes is enough to show that we cannot go there.
So by far the greater part of the people are out of the reach of our defences and could hardly obtain the least benefit from them. But it is even a more serious consideration that another large portion of the (Colonists does not ask for our assistance, or show any anxiety about the matter. The Maritime Provinces, in declining to join the Confederation, thereby indicate, what had been fully anticipated, that they will not commit themselves to any plan of defence or any policy whatever. They will not entangle themselves before their time in either Colonial or Imperial quarrels. Commercially they have much more to do with the States than with their own fellow-Colonists, and they would rather be friends with both, if it be possible. Here, then, is our case as regards the people. Those whom we could defend do not want our defence; and the greater part of the rest are utterly out of our reach. England is asked, in the first instance to strengthen Quebec, chiefly by works on the opposite point, which happens to command it. We have said above how little way that will go. Perhaps, the deputation will be able to say more in favor of this outlay; but with their own shore of the river above Montreal, and with half lake Ontario, we cannot see why an obstruction at Quebec should be so serious an inconvenience to the Americans.
“If, however, it be not the soil, or a fortress , or a river, that is to be defended, but a people, then, whether we can reach them or not, and whether they choose to be defended or not, we really do not see why they should not defend themselves on their own frontier and their own soil. By all ordinary estimates they ought to be able to tun out 400,000 armed men, which would probably ge as great a force as the Americans could bring against them for some time to come. Of course we suppose them to be in earnest. The Canadians have only to let it be known that they are really in earnest, and we are disposed to hope they will have no occasion for our aid. As to the plan and manner of that aid there cannot be two opinions. Whatever earthworks we make at Quebec we shall be cut off from that place for many months of the year. Even the Railway recommended by General Peel is too near the States to he depended on.
All that we can do in the event of war is against the ports on the shipping of the foe. It is a weary work, we know, and England is the very last nation in the world to hint at such horrors before their time; but we are obliged to mention it, for it is all we can do. Soldiers of course we should require, for we could not attempt the destruction of an American dockyard or arsenal without having a large force ready to land if necessary; and the twenty or thirty thousand we could keep on hand for such purposes would be much better employed on that kind of service than five hundred miles up the St. Lawrence. But we should want men elsewhere. So far, then, as regards the frontier and the soil, this must be left to the people, and they are safe enough if they are ready to defend their hearths resolutely. They are as good men as the Americans; better, they often say. The Americans boast to have enlisted more than 40,000 Canadians into the Federal army, so there can be no question as to the stuff they would have to deal with. It only rests with themselves to say to whom they will belong.”
AFTERNOON SESSION—2.30 P.M.
Mr. Connell resumed.—From this extract we see what is the feeling of the people of England with regard to us. In case of difficulties arising the soldiers would be sent to the seaports of the enemy rather than to our immediate assistance. But they not only go thus far; there is evidently a desire in the minds of many that we should be cut off from all connection with England. A gentleman of distinguished abilities, A. Allison, Esq, author of the Philosophy and History of Civilization, has recently issued a pamphlet on the Independence of Canada, in which he says :—
“I am of opinion that England should not only interfere with the civil war now raging in America, but that she should retire altogether from the North American Continent by declaring Canada an independent state. So long as Canada belongs to us we hold out a bait to the United States to go to war with us with a view to its annexation. That being so, it is manifestly the interest both of England and Canada to separate. The press and all our leading statesmen are unanimous in expressing their readiness to give up Canada if the Canadians themselves are willing to accept independence, and if these liberal professions on our part are sincere there will be no difficulty in effecting that object.
“If Canada should prefer dependence, that would be no reason why we should not make her independent. We must look to our own interest as well as to the interests of others, and if it can be shown that it is the interest of all parties that Canada be independent, we ought not to hesitate in making her so even although she should object to it. Two great nations like England and the United States meet each other in every quarter of the globe, and all the disputes which are ever occurring between them must eventually be settled on Canadian ground. But let Canada be an independent state and she will be a neutral power in the event of a war breaking out. Let this view of the question be clearly explained to the Canadians in a despatch properly drawn up from the Foreign Office, and the objections which they have hitherto had to independence will be removed.”
“Now is the time for us to make up our minds to give up Canada, for that step will not only save us a world of money for the armaments which are now called for, but it will prevent the danger of war with the united States. To postpone the consideration of this important question until after we have spent the money, or until we have drifted so far into war that it is impossible to give up Canada consistent with honor, would be the height of folly. I trust therefore that this important question will be taken up at once with a view to its immediate settlement.”
I make this quotation to show that the attention of public men is being called to this matter, and stirring up their minds to consider the result, and so far do they go as to speak of cutting the Colonies off altogether! There must be some cause for this, or it would not be spoken of.
Hon. Mr. Anglin.— I beg the hon. member’s pardon, but I have in my hand a quotation from the London Times, which he considers so good an authority, and as I may have to send it away in a few minutes, I wish to read—
Mr. Connell.— I wish to go on, and if the hon. member is anxious to read it he can do so after I am done. I was about to say that with this writer, I think that the time has arrived hat something should be done. Canada is taking up the matter in earnest, and why should we be left behind? We are told that in case of war the only protection we should be likely to receive would be such relief as a man-of-war could afford at Halifax, or Quebec. If this is the case it is fully for us to devote $30,000 to the Militia purposes; it would be much better to lay it out on the public roads I hope, however, that whatever amount is granted it will be appropriate in such a way as will be of real benefit to the country. And now in closing, I will refer the hon. members of this House to a distinguished authority—a name known throughout the world—Sir. F. Williams, of Kars; a gentleman, who, holding a seat in the English Parliament, and having performed actions in the field as great as any recorded in modern times, at once a soldier and a politician, may be regarded as good authority in military and legislative matters. In an address delivered by him in Toronto, he said:—
“The principal object of my visit to this Western district was to inspect the Military Schools in Toronto and in Hamilton, and I regret a similar institution intended for London is not yet organized. It would be impossible to conduct these establishments without drill-shed, and I was much gratified in seeing the spacious edifices which Toronto and Hamilton have recently erected. they do thee two cities great honour and credit. Never was money better spent.
When you hear and read the various conflicting opinions daily expressed as to the defences and armaments which are proposed for the safety of these great Provinces, you will call to mind former similar discussion as regards the defence of the United Kingdom — begun by the famous letter of the Duke of Wellington to Sir John Burgoyne. In the midst of that controversy and apparent indecision, the Imperial Government steadily matured its plans; and England with its present defensive works and 170,000 volunteers is no long menaced with invasion. It is my present prayer and lively hope that Great Britain and Canada will show equal wisdom and decision in the proposed […]
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[…] works and organization which are intended to guard your frontiers, and to enable you to rally and defend your homes in future times.
And when I express an opinion as to the absence of danger at the present moment, I counsel you not to neglect any department of the military art. In other words, I firmly believe that every national born soldier in the American army yearns for his home and the delights to be found there, and that he has no wish, after having vindicated the honour of his own country, to carry the horrors of war into Canada. Yet, as time passes, complications may arise, and now is the moment to guard against future contingencies. I address these friendly admonition to this city, the capital of that portion of the Empire which lies farthest from the ocean.”
Here is the opinion of a gentleman who was born among us, and who has raised himself by his great abilities and untiring energy to a proud position as a soldier and a statesman. He is Commander-in- Chief of the Forces of British North America. I feel this is no idle matter. It requires that some action should be had upon it. As I said at the first, I do not speak for the love of hearing myself, but because the people in that part of the country which I represent are anxious to know and from their position should know, whether in case of difficulty they would be defended by England, or left to themselves .
Hon . Mr. Smith.—As the hour has come whether should go into the consideration of the Supplies. I think it would be perhaps better to adjourn this debate, and go on with the order of the day ; the discussion can be resumed at any other time.
Mr. Connell.— The Government can do as they choose in the matter, but I wish to have a division of the House on this resolution.
Hon. Mr. Smith.— The fact is, we don’t want to crush the hon. member down, nor to prevent him from having every opportunity to express himself on this question, I only ask the hon. member if he does not think it would be as well to adjourn the debate till we get through the Supplies.
Mr. Gilbert.— I have not yet looked into the resolution. and I think if the hon. mover will consent, that it would be best to adjourn the debate.
Mr. Connell.—If honorable members think so, I am quite willing to let the matter lie over.
At 3 o’clock the House, on motion of the Hon. Mr. Gillmor, went into the further consideration of the
GRANTING OF SUPPLY—MILITARY AND MILITIA $30,000.
Mr. Lindsay stated that he thought this item of Supply was not to be taken up till the Militia Bill has been laid before the House. He found that although the late Government had increased the grant for Militia from $10,000 to $20,000, yet after that, Mr. Cardwell pronounces that the Militia exists only on paper. This Government proceed to add $10,000 more to the grant, and as yet the Bill is no introduced. He had no objection to put the whole resources of the country into the hands of the Government if they are required, but seeing the low state of the finances, the large amounts that would be needed to repair the damage done by the late freshet to bridges and roads, the appropriation should not be so much His Excellency had suggested the idea of training the officers, so that they could easily instruct a large body of men when needed. He thought the plan a good one, and suggested that the men in the rural districts could meet in the evening’s to be instructed in the drill.
Mr. Hatheway was surprised and gratified to hear the very eloquent speech of the hon. member for Carleton (Mr. Connell). It would have done honour to the House of Commons. He thought there was no necessity to go into the consideration of the Bill before making the grant. If the Bill was defeated the amount would not be issued. He informed the hon. member for Carleton, (Mr. Lindsay) that the addition of $10,000 to the grant was not the work of this Government, but of the late one, and, therefore, they should not be blamed for it. He believed that if we do our duty, we need not fear that England will leave us to the mercy of a foe. When he looked at what other Sister Colonies were doing in the matter, he thought it was time we should do something more than we have done in the past, and the passing he was sure was no more than England would look to us to give.
Mr. McMillan said they did not yet know for what purpose the sum was to be expended. He understood some great changes were to be made in the old law, although what they were, he had not yet learned. The freedom which England gave to us was the first step towards the position we occupy, and we should now be willing to do something for our own defence, and no longer throw ourselves on the poor classes of England, who are heavily taxed to support the troops here. If there was any one thing that should be under one’s eye and mind and Government, it was the Militia of all these Provinces. But the majority of the people had decided that this was. not to be attained for the present; ; still he was willing to go to the utmost of the means we possess in our isolated position to show our determination do something for ourselves, and to prove our loyalty to Great Britain. The principle of the Colonies supporting their own soldiers is becoming very general. The troops in India are supported there, and in Australia each soldier receives £40 per year from the public chest. It was not to be surprised at that these Colonies should be asked to do something more than they have, under these circumstances. He was willing to go for a large grant for this purpose, and to show England that we desire our connection with our Mother Country—our glorious Mother Country— to continue.
Mr. Gilbert moved that the blank be filled with $10,000. The hon. Provincial Secretary had brought in his budget, but had preserved an absolute silence as to the amount to be expended for militia purposes.
Hon. Mr. Gillmor thought that was about the only thing he did explain.
Mr. Gilbert did not hear him. The House and the people would ask why the Government, knowing, as he supposed, their strength and the policy they intended to adopt. For this he was denounced by some of the members of the Government, and treated as though they desired all connection between them to be severed. But he would not ask why they should but their hands into the public chest, and take out for militia purpose a sum three hundred fold more than former grants . When the hon. President of the Council had opposed a former grant he was with him, for he did the same. He failed to see why it was necessary for the descendants of the loyalists, and those who came from England, Ireland and Scotland, to need to show their loyalty to the British throne by voting $30,000 for our defence. Did the people of England doubt our loyalty? No; there was not a man in the House of Commons who dared to stand up in his place and say the people of New Brunswick are not loyal.
This reason was not given when the grant for $10,000 was made, and what has occurred since to cause such a change and to call for such an argument to be put forward? He thought this Government would not follow in the steps of the last; but he doubted, if even the late Government had known the position in which we are now placed, they would have increased the expenditure 300 per cent. This Government. however, knowing the revenue is falling off, and that they have to come to the House and ask for extraordinary means in the form of revenue notes to carry on the public works, do come and ask us to grant for militia purposes 300 per cent. on former grants, or one-twentieth of the whole revenues of the Province. Was it to show their loyalty? was it for defence? Look at our coast. Would the whole revenue of the. country be sufficient to defend it? No, it would all be but as a drop in a bucket. We could not erect any fortifications that would prove of any effect. It has been found that no fortifications can prevent Canada from invasion from the United States; and how much more applicable the remark would be to New Brunswick. What we want is population to bring our our resources, open up our roads and develop the bone and sinew of the country, and that would be our best defence. Canada does not do as we are doing, but goes to the British government and says, guarantee us this money. and then we will go to work and erect our fortifications.
Does this Government do anything of this kind ? Not at all; but they put their hands in the public purse, and take $30,000 out of the hard working people of the Province. He was in favor of a grant of $10,000 to keep up some organization, to show how many men are really available in case of difficulties arising, and to drill the officers so that they may be fitted to command the men; but. he could not go for $30,000, which was $10,000 beyond what the late government granted. The Government should first have exhausted all argument and all diplomacy with the British Government, before they decided to ask for this sum If they had done his; if they had told them our position, that revenues were falling off, that we wanted to extend our public works, that the roads were in a shocking state, and the backwoodsmen were crying out for a little money to keep them passable; if they had assured them of our continued loyalty, and our readiness in case of trouble to vote the whole of our revenues for this one purpose of defence, I do not believe they would have failed, or that. they would have needed to come to this House and ask for such a sum for this purpose.
Hon. Mr. Anglin said this Government had only been in power some three or four weeks, and it was therefore impossible for them to have done what the […]
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[…] hon. member suggested. He wished the hon. member to state distinctly whether he referred in his remarks to the present or to the late government.
Mr. Gilbert referred to the present Government. He knew they had but lately come into power, but they could have taken the coming summer to look into the matter, and do what they could to secure an arrangement with the Mother Country. It is now a time of peace, amicable relations are existing between England the United States, there are no signs of war or rumours of war, and it has been distinctly stated that if any difficulties arise they will be such as can only be settled by diplomacy. There was a time when forebodings of war might have taken possession of the minds of hon. members; the difficulties with regard to the Alabama seemed imminent, but that had passed away, and the feelings of the two countries now are friendly and amicable. Under these circumstances he could not see any necessity for the grant to be increased. He had read the dispatches from Col. Winter, but he believed if this country were set right there would be no difficulty .
The new militia law, it was said, was to contain a clause for the men to be taken and drafted into the militia. He was sure this would not go down with the people of this country . He supposed the grant would pass, but he did not believe it would be endorsed by the people of this Province. It might be all very well to let men see who was the best marksman by shooting at a bull’s-eye or a target, but the money could be expended in a more profitable manner. He hoped that at any rate arrangements would not be made with an eye the position a man occupied in the militia. He did not see why the money should be taken from the bye- roads, and he hoped hon. members, whether they were colonels or lieutenant-colonels, would pause before they took the funds that should go to this purpose, and allow it to be blown about the country with no benefit to any one.
Hon. Mr. Smith said his hon. colleague seemed to think he was the exponent of the minds and feelings of the whole country, and asks what change has taken place that so much money should be granted for militia purposes. Was he not aware of the change? Did he not know that the country had passed through a great change within a very short time? Did he not know that he had fought through, side by side, with men he how took to task, a campaign that involved the prosperity or the destruction and ruin of this country ? His hon. colleague had remarked that a change had taken place in his feelings, and he woul say that he had changed, that he had felt that the pressure of the times called for a change. Reference had been made to those gentlemen who had gone from Canada to England; and he would ask: is it their intention to force upon as a scheme that this country has refused ?
When we see how nobly Nova Scotia has acted in this matter, and at a time when Canada is striving to show that this country not willing to do her share toward defence, he thought. seeing this, that. it was time to put forth greater exertions than or ever to vie with our sister Province in showing to England that we still are attached to her, and are willing to do what we can to defend her interests if the emergency demands. He believed the people of the country would uphold the Government in the course. pursued, and see that they were acting in the service of the country, and to show the Mother Country that we were willing to maintain ourselves as tin integral portion of the British empire. He would call the attention of the House to a speech made by Mr. Fitzgerald in the House of Commons, on the 13th of March, on the grant of £50,000 for the defences of Quebec. He said—
“He did not believe there were the men in the House or in this country who would say that they would gravely determine to abandon the Canadas to their own defence to lend them no assistance, to withdraw our troops for fear they should be defended or taken prisoners of war. He did not believe there was a single man in the House out of it who would assent to a course so disastrous and so disgraceful to the British name. His belief was that if Canada were independent to-morrow she would run not the slightest danger of a contest. There were impediments, financial, industrial and political, which would interfere with any project on the part of the American Govt. for annexing Canada. His belief was that they would be content to see the colony, if independent. growing up side by side with them. She was united to this country, and wished to remain so.”
Another gentleman, Mr. W. E. Forster, also said:
” There was a question raised as to the respective shares of expense to be borne by this country (Great Britain) and by Canada, for defending the latter. Into that question he was not disposed to enter, because the principle was becoming every day more established that the relations between this country and the Colonies of British North America was very much on the basis of a defensive alliance between two self-governing communities united together by an allegiance to one legitimate sovereign. Therefore we had a right to call on the North American Colonies by organization and union to assist in their mm defence, and to prove their patriotism by a willing contribution of money and men.”
Mr. Cardwell, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, in speaking of what the Government proposed to do, said: —
” The report laid on the table (that of Col. Jarvis on the defenses ot Canada) points to the fortifications of Montreal and Quebec, positions of the greatest importance for the defence of Canada. The defence of Quebec we engage to undertake ; the defence of Montreal we called on the colony to undertake. Then armament of both we are willing to undertake, so that the division of expense will be about two-fifths to the mother country and three-fifths to the Colony. * * * * As long as Canada made no exertions, and showed no readiness to prepare for her own defence, we felt it would be wrong in us (the Government) to come to the House, and ask for Imperial money to defend Canada; but the moment that spirit was shown which was manifested in the autumn of last year, it became our duty to come and ask the House of Commons to enable us to give assistance to Canada. * * * A war with Canada is a war with England. The Imperial forces will be brought to the aid of Canada, and wherever it will be most effective in destroying the power of the enemy, there will the Imperial power be exercised.”
When we see that this the spirit of the British Government, and the despatches which have passed; when we find that it was the men who favored Confederation and who stated that we were not doing what we ought to do In this matter, who virtually pressed upon the British Government the necessity of urging us to do more in our own defence: he said when we see all this, and that England is willing to help us in the hour of our necessity, they should be willing to pass such a sum as this for the Militia. If this were done. and England saw we were in earnest, he had no doubt but that a much larger sum than ever before would be expended on fortifications, although they already spent for Military purposes in this Province over $100,000 a year. His hon. colleague spoke of the cry of the backwoodsman; he wished his hon friend to know that he had a heart to feel for the back-woodsman too, and he knew that money was needed for the bye roads, but he would tell his hon. friend that the backwoodsman could tell what was bunkum and what was not. Looking at surrounding circumstances he was aura that if they did not pass the grant they would not be doing their duty.
Mr. McMillan said it seemed that the reason why the hon. President of the Council had changed his opinions and military feeling from nothing to $30,000 was that we had had an election. He thought it must have been something outside of the British Government. Was it on account of them that fears arose ? Is not our position as amicable now as it was when his hon. friend opposed any grant to the Militia. The hon. President of the Council had spoken of bunkum in connection with the bye-roads; did not he last year ask for $10,000 to be granted to bye-road? Was that bunkum? There certainly was not the same hostile feeling evinced now as last Session when the grant was but $20,000.
Mr. McClellan quite agreed with the hon. member for Westmorland, (Mr. Gilbert), that this sum of money could be used for a better purpose than this. But then the hon. member did not know how soon he might be in a Government, and find that from outside influence he might be driven to go for just such grants, in opposition to his wishes, and against his own ideas of what was right. His Excellency, in one of his despatches, had said that the money appropriated to Militia purposes was not fixed by law, but annually voted by the House, although not without opposition. The grant will be voted now, no doubt without any difficulty seeing the great changes that have taken place. He agreed with the hon. member for Carleton that the bill should have been laid before the House before passing the grant. The hon. President of the Council had said that the scheme of which he was opposed, was likely to enslave the country. It is well that they make the first step, the first concession to the principles upheld by those who favored it, namely. the policy of putting ourselves in a better state of defence. It is said that on account of what they are doing in Canada a large grant is to be made. This is the cause, the pressure from abroad and from the Home Government, that causes them to grant such a large sum in opposition to their own feelings in the matter.
It is a source of congratulation to the friends of Confederation, that if such a change comes over the Government on the great ground-work of the scheme that a further change may ensure; and he was from the speeches he had heard to-day, that this […]
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[…] was but the beginning of the end. It was chiefly laid down during the late campaign that no large sums should be granted for this purpose, as insignificance was our best defence. While he belonged to as loyal a section of the Province as any, he would ask, what could $30,000 do for our defence? Before entering into this matter the Hill should have been laid before the House, but not till that moment had it been laid on his desk. He held that the calling of the people out for their yearly inspection, was a waste of time and money.
Hon. Mr. Gillmor said it was intended to change that.
Mr. McClellan.—That was just what he wanted to see the Bill ; for, he certainly was not in favor of such a scheme being carried out or retained in the country, although he considered the putting down of a grant of $30,000 for Militia purposes as a concession to the principle of Confederation ; yet he thought it was ill-timed, as we were not in a position to provide for ourselves. Here there is little or nothing to defend. If the Government expect an invasion, it must be from the States ; and he would ask what could we do against their great armies? I do not wish the House to understand that I am opposed to this grant, for I think that the provision for military defence should be the first object of the country, but 1 am opposed to filling up the blank with any such sum as that named.
Hon. Mr. Wilmot said he was against the abolition of the old Militia law. If a Colony was willing to assist in its own defence, it was valuable to the Empire ; but if it was not willing, it became only a burden. He was one of those who had the honor to be a private in the Aroostook war, and he remembered, when a little boy, in the war of 1812, when the 104th regiment was raised in this Province. There was no talk about Confederation then, although the men went and fought in Canada as bravely as any there. It might be true that our weakness was our best strength ; but in case of extremity, he was sure the people would be willing to do what they could, and when the paltry sum of $30,000 is asked for, the majority of the Province and of hon. members on the floors of the House would uphold it.
Mr. L. P. W. Desbrisay, after some introductory remarks on Confederation in reply to those from other members, said . He was surprised to hear the hon. member for Westmorland ask what great change had transpired. He had gone through a campaign in an adjoining County to his own, and he ought to know what had transpired. In Nova Scotia they have given $81,000 for Militia purposes, and he was sorry—this Government had not been able to put down pound for pound for our Sister Province, and to stop the assertion put forth that we are not as loyal as she. With regard to the statement put forth as to the feelings of the people of England being for cutting us off, those who talk in this way are a people who began cutting us off by imposing upon us with regard to our lumber ; they have no care for the greatness the country, save to turn it into a workshop. And there was one thing, that he felt our Government did not do their duty to the English Government at the time of the Trent affair. When they sent out regiments of soldiers, and the best blood of the country too, to provide for our defence, our Government should have taken them by the hand and passed them through the Province free of charge. He was certain we could have passed them through at one-third less than what it did cost the Imperial Government. I am sorry to see the grant so small, as I think we should make it in accordance with the benefits we receive from the protection of England, although he was sure the feeling there is such that whether we spend $300 or $30,000, they will continue to protect us.
Mr. Needham had somewhere read that it was excellent to have the strength of giants, but tyrannous to use it. He thought they could afford to be easy with the poor unfortunates who were left out. He was quite willing they should glory in what they could, even in being beaten. He was not going to vote for the $30,000, to show England that we are loyal, but because the Government informs the House that it is necessary for the wants of the country. As to letting England know we are loyal, it is what she knew long ago. When the old 104th Regiment was raised, and they went to Canada, they did not go to fight for this country, but to defend the flag. We once voted every shilling out of the Treasury in a time of danger ; and what for? To defend the flag. They know we are loyal ; but the Government say they want it : therefore I am willing they should ; but if they do not use it right, he would call them to account for it. He did not believe we are called on to defend ourselves : for we are an integral part of the empire.
If England needs to build fortifications on every headland on our shores, or elsewhere, all we are called on to do is provide well for our militia. The hon. member for Westmorland (Mr. Gilbert) had said, no man dare stand up in the House of Commons and say we are disloyal. Why? where was Sam Slick, or in other words, where was Judge Halliburton? He charged us with disloyalty, and Nova Scotia too ; and no man there to contradict him. He wished he had been there, Sam Slick wouldn’t have written any more novels. With regard to insignificance being our best defence, it was sad to admit it— but true. He did not believe in the United States coming to swallow us up : for the fact was, the war there was dead, and here confederation was dead ; they both died together, only one died a little while before the other, that was all ; as to the latter he hoped never to see the ghost of it again. The ghost of it was bad enough, but he hoped that it would never come back ; if it did he hoped the Lord in His infinite mercy would take him away from here.
Mr. Thompson did not know what this $30,000 would do, but he thought the House should study by putting ourselves in a proper state of defence, to preserve the connection with the Mother Country. Those who talked in the House of Commons about our going off from them were only radicals. We never hear of men like Lord Palmerston making use of such expressions, but that the country might be preserved in its integrity. This is as much a part of the country as the County of Antrim, where he came from. He should support the grant, as he believed it was required.
Hon. Mr. Allen reviewed the various objections that had been made against the grant, exposed the disposition of some Canadians to place our Province in a false light with England, and read an extract from a paper for which the country pays £60 a year, in which it was attempted to be proved that we desire annexation. He showed that the amount granted would be properly expended, and explained at considerable length the provisions of the new Militia Bill about to be brought before the House. Some further remarks were made chiefly on the contents of the bill by different members, but as they will be given more fully when the bill is under debate they are omitted here.
The question was put to the House on Mr. Gilbert’s amendment for $10,000, which was lost.
Mr. Lindsay then proposed that the blank be filled with $20,000, which was rejected 31 to 6.
On the resolution being submitted, it was sustained by an opposite result.
The other items of supply were then passed without debate, and the House adjourned to meet to-morrow morning at 9 o’clock, a.m.