New Brunswick, House of Assembly, Reports of the Debates (2 June 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 121-129.
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HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY.
FRIDAY, June 2, 1865.
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Mr Connell resumed.—The minority in this question of Confederation have been denominated ” conspirators,” and it has been said that they are using ” secret influences” to force it yet upon the country, that there is a ” hidden hand” at work. What, I would ask, is the object of sending a new delegation to England? Is it to overcome the action of those who, though defeated and in the minority, have still a greater influence over the English mind and the English Parliament than those who hold power in the present House? Is this the “hidden hand” spoken of? They were not afraid to submit the question to the people of this Province, and dissolved the House that no other issue than this great question might be before the people’s minds. That dissolution was called for by the hon. President of the Council, although he now condemns the late Government for it.
And who brings forward this resolution ? Is it not done at the instigation of the Government? If they are convinced that the interests of this country are in peril, why not take the responsibility of appointing this delegation upon themselves? It is said that owing to the dissolution this resolution has been found necessary to bring these resolutions forward. It seems something very extraordinary that at this late period of the session, when hon. members are all anxious to get home, that another week should be given to debate this question, and all to justify the Government in appointing a delegation to go to England to tell the Imperial Parliament that we are still a loyal people. It has been put forth here and elsewhere that there was no authority for the action taken by those in favor of Confederation. But I think the despatches of the Secretary of State have settled that question, and he, it is to be presumed, is pretty good authority : he says it was done ” with the sanction of the Crown.” But I want to say a few words on these ” conspirators.”
I have here an extract from a speech made by a gentleman, who is a French Canadian, and who was said to be concerned in the difficulties in Canada some years ago. It was said that the people of Canada at that time were guilty of rebellion, because they stood out for certain rights which they supposed they had, and the leaders were termed ” rebels.” But the people of England have see that the rights claimed were just, and two who were charged with being leaders of that rebellion have since received much honor, and Her Majesty has seen fit to reward them, and their conduct has been justified more I think than the professed loyalty of Anti-Confederates ever will be. One of these, Sir H. LaFontaine, has gone to his rest, the other, Sir E Tache, who in 1812 shouldered his musket in defence of his country, and was appointed Aid-de-Camp to Her Majesty, is still living, and giving his influence and energies to the forwarding of this great Scheme.
When the Scheme was first brought forward, as the Hon. President of the Council knows, I regarded it with disgust, but the fact that it would give us the Intercolonial Railway, and on terms which were most favorable, my mind became convinced that the Scheme was good, and this impression has become stronger the more I have looked into the matter. One honorable member has said that an insignificant body in St. John—the Chamber of Commerce—was at the bottom of the whole affair, as they invited the Legislature of Canada to come down and visit us. If this is the case, then the hon. mover of these Resolutions (Mr. Cudlip) must be regarded as one of the “conspirators,” as he, I believe, was the President of that body. But I think the term applied to such men as the Hon. John Robertson and Lauchlan Donaldson, Esq., men of the highest respectability in this Province, and who are leading members of that body, is unjust and uncalled for. At that very time when the Canadians were with us, in those festivities of which we have heard so much when men’s minds were not in train to say and do the things they would, the sam hon. gentleman who now charges those favorable to Confederation with being ” conspirators,” said that ” we must have a Union of these Colonies or drift into Annexation.”
I will now read the extract from a speech delivered by Mr. Cartier, Attorney General of Lower Canada, now in London as one of the delegates who have gone home from that Province. He says : —
“I, however, avail myself of this opportunity of remarking that if we in Canada take our share in the defence of the country, that will necessarily involve a great expenditure ; but I may add that you need not fear what you have been told will happen—an increase in the duty on the goods imported from England into Canada. (Hear.) Assertions to that effect are not warranted ; and as they are causing a great deal of mischief, I am glad of the opportunity of making the statement that there is no foundation for them. (Hear, hear.)
It has been stated in speeches in both Houses of Parliament, as well as in certain newspapers in this country, that since Canada is so vulnerable it would be better for the security of England that Canada should be left either to assume a position of independence or to be annexed to the United States. (” No, no.”) We understand in Canada that a cause of war can scarcely arise from ourselves. War in Canada must arise from an Imperial cause. We understand that we are vulnerable ; but we are willing that our country should be the battlefield in order that the honour of England may be vindicated. (Loud cheers.) We have no desire to be independent of this country, and still less have we any desire to be annexed to the United States ; we have no desire to become a portion of the American republic. (Cheers.)
Such an idea we view with horror—(renewed cheers)—but from Her Majesty’s speech on the opening of the present session of Parliament we know that our scheme of confederation is approved by her Majesty’s Government, and by the sense of the English people. (Hear, hear.) Subsequent proceedings have shown that it has the approval of both Houses of Parliament, and we feel that, under such a system, we can aid England in any struggle she may have with the United States. (Cheers.) if the fallacious argument prevailed that, because the defence of a particular colony was likely to become expensive to the mother country at a particular juncture, that […]
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[…] colony should be left to itself, then all the colonial possessions of England must go. (Hear, hear.) If that argument was carried out to its logical extent, the result must be that the British Empire is to be reduced to England, Ireland, and Scotland ; and I presume that no one present was in favour of that proposition. (Cheers.)
Mr. Galt.—The toast of the British colonies, which has been so warmly received by this company, is one in which not merely those colonies but all England must feel deeply interested. By the course of the struggle which has been going on for the last four years in America, the interests of England have been, to a certain extent, imperilled. We have all hope, and we still hope, that our friends and neighbours in the United States will be enabled once more to come together. We desire, in the interests of humanity, that the struggle between the North and the South should cease, and cease at an early period. (Hear, hear.)
We desire that, irrespective of any personal interests which we may have in the matter—we desire it on account of the disastrous results of war, in respect of the interests of the world at large. (Hear, hear.) And now I may take this opportunity—the first which has been afforded to me—of alluding to the sad news which has reached London to-day—(hear, hear)—news which I believe will be a subject of regret. to every Englishman and every inhabitant of the North American colonies. (Hear.)
We have not got the particulars of the tragedy to which I allude, but whatever may have been our sentiments—whatever our sympathies—with regard to the struggle in America, we cannot but feel that the death of these two men, the first men in America, who have fallen victim to the hands of the assassin, is an event which must shock the public mind of this country and of the whole world. (Hear, hear.) I must say of these two men, differing as I do from much of their policy and many of their acts, that I believe Mr. Lincoln, who has now passed away, was a pure-minded and patriotic citizen of the United States—(hear)—and I will say of Mr. Seward that I deplore most sincerely his removal from a position in which I believe he was performing very high duties in a manner which proved that he had not only the interest of his own country at heart, but that he was de- desirous of preserving peace with this and every other country. (Cheers.)
I am sure, therefore, that the news which has reached London to-day, will carry a shock of alarm to the mind of every one who is desirous that the peace of the world should be preserved. (Cries of ” Hear, hear.”) With regard to the proposed Confederation of the North American Provinces, after what hsa been said by my friend Mr. Cartier, I will only observe that our object is not to weaken our ties with the mother country, but to put ourselves in a position to perform those duties which we think may he demanded of a great and growing British Colony. (Cheers.)
We are not coming to ask of the mother country to undertake a greater responsibility than that which has hitherto devolved upon her. On the contrary, we are come to show that if this Confederation be carried out, we shall be able to assume a greater responsibility than that which has hitherto fallen upon Canada. (Hear.) And let me add this, we feel that the North American colonies ought not only to be a support to the mother country in time of war, but that they should also aid in developing the sources of Imperial industry in the time of peace. (Hear, hear.)
It is our desire that the thousands and tens of thousands who emigrate from this country should not pass from under the dominion of the British Crown. (Hear, hear ) We wish that they should come to the North American provinces, where we can offer them employment and the means of advancing in life, and where they may still remain connected with the empire of Great Britain. (Loud cheers.)”
This is a credit to Lower Canada to have such a gentleman among them, who could express such noble sentiments, and so strongly attest to the loyalty of the French Canadian. The hon. President of the Council spoke of the difficulties in Canada with regard to the difference of race and creed. There is no doubt but there were and are difficulties ; but is it any disparagement to this cause that men are found who, seeing these difficulties, have determined to rise above them, and place these Colonies in such a position that they cannot occur again? The hon. member for St. John, (Mr. Anglin) said that this Government could in two hours pass a Bill calling on the Governor General to call out every man capable of bearing arms in time of trouble ; yet, when the Militia Bill was being discussed, he took a very different ground. I believe that when the people of this Province awake to a sense of their true interest, and have an opportunity to express their feelings on this subject, a change will then be made apparent [sic].
Our securities now have fallen in the English market, and we hardly dare to put out any more lest they should fall still lower in value ; but I am of opinion that under Confederation we should have been able to have got what money we required on the most advantageous terms, and that is something that cannot be done by any delegation this Government may now send Home. We are told by the hon. President of the Council of the disadvantages the opponents of Confederation labored under at the late elections by the late Government having the power to offer certain vacant offices to those who would support their Scheme ; but he did not tell us that the leader of the Opposition had still greater power to influence voters and candidates than the then existing Government. I heard it said that the holders of office under the late Government were to be turned out all over the country. It was known that the hon. President of the Council would be the leader of the Government, if Confederation was not upheld, and it was reported that those who announced themselves as opponents to the Scheme would have a chance of filling these offices. Such being the case,—
Hon. Mr. Smith.—Now, Mr. chairman, I rise to order. The hon. member says, I made offers of filling certain offices, if I were supported. I deny it most emphatically.
Mr. Connell.—I did not say you did ; but if such were the case,-
Hon. Mr. Anglin.—Mr. Chairman, I also rise to order. The hon. member need not deny his words, they were after stating that promises of offices had been made, ” such being the case ;” and, if necessary, I would be willing to swear to it. His denial is in keeping with his whole course.
Mr. Connell.—I said that it was reported that offers were made, and if such were the case, they had a greater power than that of the late Government, and the statement of the hon. member for St. John does not make it more true.
Mr. Wetmore.—Mr. chairman, I took especial notice of the words, and they were, “such being the case, clearly affirming that the hon. President of the Council did not make promises of office. He need not try to shuffle out of it. Why can’t he tell the truth ?
Mr. Connell.—I will now repeat what I said, that when it was said the late Government used influences to bring about the accomplishment of their Scheme, the President of the Council, and others who opposed it, had a greater power to influence voters and candidates and could if they chose, and if the reports which circulated were true, they did make offers of offices to aid them in their canvas. It has been said that our roads, bridges and schools would be in a worse condition under Confederation than now. But look at the condition of the Province ; we have to pay now £90,000, besides other sums annually to meet an interest here and at home ; under Confederation we should receive $200,000 beside the $63,000 subsidy for ten years Export duty and Crown Lands annuity to nearly $150,000, in all more than we have now for local purposes ; but what, I ask, will be our position now if the contemplated railways are carried on ?
By the the [sic] Intercolonial Railway Act which was adopted in 1851, they agreed to pay $15,000,000 for the work, of which we were to pay three-twelfths, which would be $l,375,000. By the Confederation Scheme we should pay one- thirteenth, which makes $1,153,846, leaving a balance in favor of Confederation on this work alone of $3,221,153. The highest estimate of expenditure for Canals is $22,500,000, which added to the cost of the railroad $15,000,000 is $37,500,000. New Brunswick’s share of cost, one-thirteenth, equals $2,884,615 or $1,490,384 less than the amount assumed by our Act of 1861. Thus it would cost New Brunswick $1,490,384 less to build the Canals and the Intercolonial Railway under Confederation, than it would cost us to build the railroad out of Confederation. I believe with reference to these Canals that they would be of immense advantage to us and that therefore we should be interested in the matter. We should be able to get our rivers improved and a Canal cut across from the Gulf to the Bay of Fundy, with other public works.
M . L.P.W. Desbrisay.—That has been looked into and found to be impracticable.
Mr. Connell —I believe that it would be practicable and of immense advantage to our shipping interests. Then as to our position with regard to Canada, have we no interest in the protection and prosperity of the people of that Colony ? I believe that we have, and that we should encourage emigration so that the resources of that great country might be developed. Look at the Valley of the Sakatchewan, one of the finest agricultural districts in the world, a valley 1,000 miles long and eighty wide, and capable of supporting an immense population. No part of the United States can compare with it, and we have an interest that it should be opened up by canals and railroads, so that emigrants may go in there. It has been shown that through this valley and across this country from the Pacific to this shore commodities will be brought from the East Indies, and Saint John or Halifax be made the great entrepot of Western traffic. We cannot stand still, we want an introduction of foreign capital that we cannot get without Confederation. The Intercolonial Railway would open up our farming lands right […]
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[…] through to the Canadian boundary so that in a few years there would not be an acre but would be taken up and settled.
It would pass through the great iron district of these Colonies, and develop our mines and mineral resources. The value of our iron deposits is untold : the small operations so successfully prosecuted by Norris Best, Esq., shews what could be done if they were but properly developed. But it is useless now to go to England to try to obtain money for any such purpose. Capitalists there would tell us to show some interest in the means of our defence ; they would say we are split up and have no bond of strength, and that there is no security that money invested would be at all profitable. But if we had Confederation this would not be brought against us, and the railway would give to our shipbuilders a new strength by opening new fields for ship timber, whilst our young men would no longer have to go to other countries to obtain a livelihood, but go back to our rich interior and open up homes for themselves in their native country and under the protection of the British flag.
Great alarm has been expressed with regard to the debt of Canada ; it has been said that they cannot raise means to meet their liabilities, and so want us to help them along. I will now give some statistics to show the position and resources of Canada and ourselves : —
Statements relating to the Area, acres surveyed and acres disposed of in the Five Eastern Colonies of British North America, 1863.
|—||Area in Square Miles.||Acres Surveyed, to Dec. 31st, 1863.||Acres disposed of by Sale or Grant to Dec. 31st, 1863.|
The figures marked with an asterisk (*) are not taken from official sources, but are believed to be approximately correct.
There would thus remain 214,282,817 acres in the hands of the Crown.
Population and its rate of Increase.
|—||Population by the last Census.||Date of that Census.||Rate of annual increase sincre previous Census—per cent.||Estimated population, January, 1864, assuming the same rate of increase.|
|Nova Scotia||330,857||1861||1 82||349,300|
|New Brunswick||252,047||1861||2 60||272,780|
|Prince Edward Island||80,857||1861||2 07||85,992|
The population is calculated to the end of 1863, (or beginning of 1864.) In order to arrive at a correct estimate of the Debt. Revenue, &c., of the several Provinces per head. for which see Calculations as to the Revenue, Expenditure, Debt, Imports, &c. on next page.
* Including the Labrador Shore.
Revenue, Expenditure, Debt, Imports, Duty and Exports, in 1863.
|—||Revenue, 1863||Expenditure, 1863||Funded Debt, 1863, less Sinking Fund, held for its redemption.||Imports, 1863.
Total Value. Total Duty.
|Prince Edward Island||197,384||171,718||240,573||1,428,028||145,372||1,627,540|
*There is also a duty on Exports (Lumber) of $68,634.
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Calculations as to the Revenue, Expenditure. Debt, Imports, &c,. per head of the Population in each Province,
|—||Population to the square mile.||Revenue per head of the population.||Expenditure per head of the population||Debt per head of the population.||Imports per head of the population.||Duty per head of the population.||Exports per head of the population.|
|$ cts.||$ cts.||$ cts.||$ cts.||$ cts.||$ cts.|
|Newfoundland||3.41||3 50||3 49||6 90||38 27||3 53||43 81|
|Nova Scotia||18.72||3 39||3 10||13 91||29 20||2 46||24 11|
|New Brunswick||10.06||3 29||3 24||20 91||28 46||2 81||32 86|
|Prince Edward Island||40.95||2 29||2 00||2 79||17 61||1 69||18 93|
|Canada||8.40||3 51||3 86||21 69||16 51||1 85||15 03|
|Average||8.32||3 45||3 68||19 83||19 18||2 04||18 42|
|Canada, 1864||8.69||3 79||3 67||20 93||18 23||2 30||13 42|
My object in making use of these figures is to lay a fair statement before the country, and I believe in reviewing these figures it shows that if we connect ourselves with Canada, we go with a country that has resources that we have not. We are curtailed, circumscribed and fenced round. We are told that our market is the United States; that argument is put forth in favor of Western Extension. Of course it is very desirable that we should be able to buy in the cheapest market and sell in the dearest, but this is not all. We should look at the position to which we should arrive under a Union with Canada that we cannot attain without it. These are some of my ideas on Confederation and why we should not send a delegation to England to tell the people what they already know.
Very great stress has been laid on the 14th Section of the Resolutions adopted by the delegates at Quebec, and although it has been said in this connection that no movement dare to be made towards the carrying out of the Scheme in Nova Scotia ; yet I have no doubt that the whole proposition will be laid before that people and they be allowed to express an opinion upon it. The 14th Section reads thus ; “The first selection of the members of the Legislative Council, shall be made, except as regards Prince Edward Island. from the Legislative Council of the various Provinces, so far as a sufficient number be found qualified and willing to serve ; such members shall be appointed by the Crown at the recommendation of the General Executive Government, upon the nomination of the respective local Governments, and in such nomination due regard shall be had to the claims of the members of the Legislative Council of the opposition in each Province, so that all political parties may, as nearly as possible, be fairly represented.” In fixing the appointment of the Legislative Council thus, and in making them permanent, the delegates had the best interests of the Colonies before them. I look upon this as a safeguard against any encroachments that might be made.
I would not go into Confederation unless the building of the Intercolonial Railway was guaranteed and prosecuted, and what an advantage it would be to this country to have $16,000,000 laid out on this work ; the majority of which would be spent here. A few days ago the Militia Bill passed, and we granted $30,000 to form a Camp of Instruction, and now in such great haste are we to show our loyalty that I find an announcement in the Royal Gazette calls the Militia out in July, when the whole country will be in the midst of haying, withdrawing the labor from farms and increasing the rates of wages, and injuring other Agricultural products. Perhaps this is done that the delegates, who I suppose are also to be sent in like haste, may convey to the English people a report of what we are doing to show our loyalty. The Hon. President of the Council brought in a Resolution with regard to a Maritime Union, but there was no debate upon it. I think that subject should have been thoroughly discussed, so that it might have some weight on the delegates who are now to be sent home, and that it might be explained for the benefit of the country ; but that did not suit their purpose. But why need the Government come down to this House to ask us to appoint delegates? Why not appoint them themselves? they have the power. I want to know if, when delegations have been appointed before, the Government has pursued such a course? When Messrs. Howe, Tilley, and others, went to Canada, did the Government then bring down a measure to relieve them of all responsibility in the matter?
And the same will apply to our Railway delegates, the President of the Council being then a member of the Government. Oh, but things have changed now. Yes, a change has taken place, but one I think that does not add to the dignity if the Executive. They are expected to initiate measures and being them before this House for an expression of an opinion, but now they strive to get the opinion of the House without commiting themselves to any measures, as is evident by these Resolutions, and by those that are to be brought in by the hon. member for St. John (Mr.Cudlip) with regard to Western Extension. The hon. President of the Council says the delegates to the Quebec Conference had no authority to meet. I say they had.
Hon. Mr. Smith.—I said they had no authority from the people.
Mr. Connell.—The delegates who are now to be appointed will have no authority from the people either. The matter of Confederation was brought before the people, and the decision for the present is adverse to it.
Hon. Mr. Smith.—They were invited by the Governor General to meet but they bound themselves to the provisions of the Scheme.
Mr. Connell —Yes, they bound themselves ; they did not shrink from the responsibility, and what is the result ? They have gone out and others have taken their places. The hon. President of the Council, and the hon. Chief Commissioner of the Board of Works differ on the question of authority and I take sides with the Board of Works on that point. That hon. gentleman made up his mind that he would not hold office unless it was submitted to the people. This was done, and the Government suffered by it. The hon. Chief Commissioner took grounds against the Scheme as early as the first of November ; but he does not tell us what took place between that time and the 19th January, when he resigned his office. He does not say why he did not resign before, although I believe he acted conscientiously in the matter. It is not a matter of any great importance, however. He complains that a despatch was received in 1364 that he did not see till a long time after, although he was a member of the Government. He was busy, no doubt, about his office duties when it was received, and it was known that he was not opposed to any action with regard to Railways ; but I will not go into this, as the hon. member opposite (Mr. McMillan) will doubtless take it up and explain it satisfactorily. Some observations have been made by the hon. member from Victoria, (Mr. Costigan) and the hon. member from the County of St. John, (Hon. Mr. Anglin), with regard to the hardware and stoves in Canada.
It is well known that the iron of this Province is not fit for the manufacture of hollowware and stoves ; but that of Canada, from the Marmora Mines, is just suited for that purpose. But this fact is no argument at all, as those who know anything about the subject, are aware that the iron for farm implements, and most other purposes, is now imported from Scotland at considerable cost, whilst in Canada the iron for hollow-ware is found on their own soil and manufactured. In this respect, therefore, they have the advantage of us. But it is no argument against Confederation that we have to import iron. The hon. member for St. John, (Mr. Anglin), says the delegates were not sanctioned ; but it is well known that they were sanctioned, both by the Governor General and the Home Government. He says, also, that scheming measures were employed to force it through the Legislature. There might have been scheming, but I think if such were the case, it was carried on by those of whom he seems to have the most knowledge.
With regard to the conference being conducted with closed doors, I think, although such is the usual course, that it would have been better to have made it public. It is said that Confederation would have had on injurious influence on our finances ; but the opening up of our country, the introduction of foreign capital, the cultivation of our soil, […]
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[…] the natural results which would flow from Union—would have proved at immense benefit to the country. And then the question of defence is one of great importance. If we are to be protected, and if Imperial interests here are to be protected, we ought to know it at once the sooner the better. The hon. President of the Council has now gone into the question pretty fully ; but it is said that he was invited to discuss the matter in public by Mr. Tilley, before the elections, and declined.
Hon. Mr. Smith.—That was wrong ; it was not so.
Mr. Connell —I am glad to hear it, for the people would very much have liked to hear the arguments for and against the Scheme from such able men. I regret that that distinguished gentleman is not now on the floors this House to cope with the hon. President of the Council. But I think that there are men still on the floors of this House, who, though humble, will be able to adduce arguments as convincing to the public mind as those given by those opposed to the Scheme, and they will be so convinced that a change will take place. It is said that the question is to be forced on the people of this Province. The hon. member for St. John, (Mr. Anglin), puts his views before the public, and they should be replied to. It is to be regretted that he can come here and discuss the question, while Mr. Tilley’s mouth is shut.
Mr. Needham.—The people shut it.
Mr. Connell.—Yes, the people shut it ; but who shut the mouths of these gentlemen before the elections, when the people might have been informed on the subject by a full discussion of it ? The hon. member for St. John says, there are plotters. and tricksters, and schemers all around us, at the corners, on the streets, in the hotels, and he applies these terms to the men who are in favor of Confederation. But I should like to know who were the plotters in Ireland in 1848 ? Perhaps if he were to go Home as one ol the delegates, he would be well known by his antecedents, and it might come out, and maybe that would be as good a way as any to cut off some of these plotters and schemers. I think we should have heard less about plotters if some hon. gentlemen had stayed in the home of their fathers. I was born in this country, and I remember when there were not more than fifty houses on the upper St. John, and they were the homes of those who have made the bone and sinew of the country.
But new comers step in and take it upon themselves to call our people plotters and schemers ; the very men who are upholding the rights and interests of the Province are thus called. The majority of votes east in opposition to Confederation were by men who are not natives of this Province ; but I think a short time will suffice to convince many of them that they were in error,—many of them are so already. The reason why I speak strongly on this subject is that I am strongly in favor of Confederation, and so these terms may be applied to me. But even though the question comes up before this people again, and fail to he carried, we will not rebel,—as it was said on the floors of this House that if Co federation carried, those who opposed it would have rebelled. Why, this question of Confederation was urged on the old colonies by Benjamin Franklin, and why did he fail to carry through his measure? Because the British Government were opposed to it, and afraid that their power would be lost if the Colonies united.
They said if we allow them to unite we shall lose all control over them ; they are increasing in numbers and strength, and we shall not be able to hold them. But what is the case now? Instead of this the Imperial Government are anxious that we should unite, and feels that her power would be strengthened by it. If this had been the case before the revolution, instead of now being divided up into a vast number of States, the British flag would have floated over the whole of this continent. But in spite of all, Franklin stood to his post ; neither gifts nor emoluments could move him from his purpose.
Hon. Mr. Anglin.—He was Post Master General.
Mr. Connell.—Yes, and lost his office too.
Hon. Mr. Anglin.— Yes, but his head is on the postage stamps now.
Mr. Connell.— His son was appointed as Governor of one of the Colonies ; but that is what a Colonist can’t get now, although I believe they would make as good Governors as those that come from across the water.
Mr. Needham.— Was not Mr. Hinks made a Governor ?
Mr. Connell.— Yes, but Mr. Hinks was an Irishman. He lived in Canada, and I wish he were out here now ; he would have carried through a railway system before this. I think that we in these Colonies have men of ability and talents that fit them for the office of Governor ; we should still have a link to bind us to England- the Governor General. I would not object to have a French Canadian for Governor of this Province, by way of exchange, for they have men of talent and influence there, who would fill the office well,—so they have in Nova Scotia. Among distinguished and able men I need only mention the name of the Hon. Joseph Howe, of Nova Scotia, and the Hon. J. A. MacDonald, of Canada. I think we need not look upon ourselves as so very diminutive ; we have men who have gone away from us and became famous. Look at the Inglis, of Nova Scotia, and General Williams, of Kars. I have no doubt that the hon. President of the Council and the hon. member for St. John, (Mr. Anglin), will be appointed delegates to go home, and show the people of England what a great wrong they intend to inflict upon us.
And yet I hope there will be some means by which we shall be able to show the British Government that there was a very large minority in favor of Confederation, and that it has been stated that the people have not had a fair chance to test the question. I believe the not getting it has already shown that we should have been financially and commercially better off it we had got it. I believe that the great minority will not be over-ridden by the delegates who go home. The Government are the patriots now ; they hold the interests of the people in their hands, they guide the ship of State, and should keep it off the shoals in time of peril. We shall see what they can do in managing the affairs of a country with 250,000 inhabitants, less than many towns in England. In Nova Scotia the question is in abeyance ; but I hope that it will be decided favorably.
In Lower Canada there was but a small minority in opposition to the Scheme, and that was led by Mr. Dorion, the leader of the Rouge party. I oppose the delegation now, because I believe it will be useless. I happen to know that it will have no effect there. I will now close by quoting the opinion of a great Colonist, (General Williams), expressed in a speech made at Toronto. He is not a ” conspirator;” he did not conspire against the people of England ; he did not publish his feelings and triumph in a paper when the British soldiers were compelled to retire before the Russian troops ; but he is a man, and a General, whose name will go down to posterity with honor :
” The concluding paragraph of your address alludes to the great questions of colonial policy which at the present moment are under discussion, and expresses your regrets that I should quit your shores during that discussion. I nevertheless leave you with every hope that the unity of all the British Provinces will be a great fact, which will grow out of the mature, calm and friendly debates now in progress. I think those legislators will at last come to the right conclusion, and that unity and strength will take the place of division and weakness. This unity bears with greater weight upon the defences of those vast colonies than it does on the commercial advantages, which are in themselves obvious and most important.”
Mr. Gilbert.—Mr. Chairman, the Resolutions in your hand, which have been submitted by the hon. member for Saint John (Mr. Cudlip) express that the Confederation of the B. N. A. Provinces would be injurious to the best interests of these Colonies, and recommends that a delegation proceed to England to force that idea on the ministry of that country. I have listened with a great deal of attentention [sic], and I may say patience too, to the long address of the hon. member from the County of Carleton. He says he has given this subject his attention prior to the elections, and turned it over, and revolved it in what he is pleased to term his mind, and come to the conclusion that it will be beneficial. I have listened , willing to be convinced, ready to yield to reason whether it comes from a friend or an opponent ; and I must confess I have not discovered anything to lead me to believe that his premises are correct.
When, in the early part of Session, we had under discussion the Governor’s Speech, I took occasion to express my disappointment at the policy which the Government were pleased to set forth in that Speech, I not in reference to a Union of the Colonies, but in reference to the great public works which should have been taken up. I said I regretted that the Government was not formed on any defined policy. I then expressed my desire and intention to give them my support so far as they introduced measures which I believed for the good of the country.
Not taking my position as a tame follower, or servile supporter of the Government, I have supported them when their measures were good, and opposed them when I considered they were not so. On the Militia Bill I opposed them, as I thought the money could be better expended. The Post Office Bill I supported, thinking it would save some $3,000 or $4,000 a-year to the country. I supported the Treasury Note Bill also, because I believed it would be the means of saving a large amount of money to the country. And now lest the people might misconstrue my position on Confederation, I desire to express my opinions on these Resolutions, so that I may not be misinterpreted or misunderstood by my constituents on a question, the greatest that ever came before this House. I say it is of great importance, and therefore we feel a deep regret that we are called on to discuss it, for it has not grown out of our wants, but of the local necessities of Canada—out of the differences which exist between Upper and Lower Canada, and their pecuniary difficulties.
We all […]
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[…] regret that the late Government took hold with such avidity and adopted the Canadian views, without having come to this House and asked the appointment of the delegation. I think if this had been done, from my knowledge of the position they held in the estimation of the Imperial Government, although they ran round from place to place on a regular spring and autumn tour, yet they would have been met by nothing more than a Resolution of want of Confidence. The Constitution of a country cannot be changed except by the consent of the people, or by the employment of force. In matters that did not contemplate the annihilation of the Constitution, it would have been legitimate to appoint a delegation ; but to discuss the Constitution under which they were acting was unconstitutional. If they had come to this House and asked for a delegation, they would have been met by a vote of want of confidence, and we should have had an incoming Government who would have appointed a delegation which would have represented the true ideas of the people, instead of a delegation which represented the views and feelings of the late Government only. In the late election in my County the question stood on that of Confederation ; although they felt the do-nothing policy of the Government they would not make the election turn on any thing but Confederation or non-Confederation.
I say this Scheme, as far as I have looked into it, is a one-sided Scheme ; a Scheme by which the interests of Canada would be promoted to our detriment ; a Scheme for the legislation of British North America which would be entirely Westward, a territory immense when compared with ours. The preponderance in ten years would be largely in favor of Western Canada. This we know, and if it contemplated to open up their canals, and populate that great country west of Lake Superior, that would increase the population greater than ever. The great influence then would be centred in Western Canada, and the power would be all in the their hands. Those delegates who visited us said we have the population element, and the agricultural element, we want your maritime element. If they valued our maritime element, why did they not leave the seat of Government to be settled afterwards? Why did they not appoint St, John or Halifax as the place where the archieves of a great people should he deposited. where ships of war could come and protect them? Why did they place it at Ottawa, on the head waters of a river far in the interior?
I look upon the choice of the seat of Government as one of vast importance, as of great importance as when they took the capital from Ireland to England, from which influences grew up to the detriment and destruction of Ireland. Our population and our capital would all go to Canada, and we should become the hewers of wood and drawers of water to them. How much do they value our maritime element ? They give us fifteen members out of 194, according to population. Now the question of representation by population is a debatable one. We have a great country, with a noble river running through it, one of the finest in the world, with a great extent of sea board, and a territory larger than that of Great Britain. Why did not the delegates urge our importance upon them ?
Suppose this principle were applied to the kingdom of Scotland, as compared to the City of London, with her great natural beauties her mountains, her valleys and lakes and mines, would the people have submitted to it for a moment? Would it not be unjust that a whole country should have a less representation than a City, merely because her population was less? And shall we be neutralized and equalized by the Cities of Montreal and Quebec. These Cities have as great a population as all New Brunswick. There is one thing that requires explanation, and that is, why the Conference carried on their deliberations in secret conclave ; the hon. President of the Council has very ably referred to this. It is not constitutional. Look at the history of the United States, and the discussion on the framing of their Constitution.
Mr. McMillan.—Will the hon. member say that when they were framing the constitution of the United States that they discussed it openly.
Mr. Gilbert.—There might have been some preliminaries that were attended to in secret, but it was openly debated, but of this Conference at Quebec we are not able to get the opinions of the men who framed the Scheme ; we are shut out from asking the delegates, for they are not now in the House, and they were afraid to bring the matter before the late House. On Section 71, we require some information. It reads thus, ‘ That Her Majesty the Queen be solicited to determine the rank and name of the Federated Provinces.” What does that mean? Was not the idea that we should still be a Colony depending on England? Did they intend to establish a Viceroy here with all the pomp and circumstance of Royalty ? Would any man vote for that?
Let us not copy after antiquated Europe ; let us copy anything that is beneficial ; but for Heaven’s sake not the antiquated forms that do no good. Imagine the hon. ex-Surveyor General, on bended knee kissing the boney hand of a Viceroy ; he would have no objection to kiss a lady’s hand, that would be nice enough, but I do not think he would be willing to try the other. I think these Colonies have a mark to make in History, when they become able to fly their own flag, but that time has not yet arrived. We even now can compare with almost any country save England, France, the United States and perhaps Russia in our commercial importance as owners of tonnage, and if we had it all within the borders of our own Province it would be all right ; but with a line to defend from the farther Cape of Newfoundland to the head waters of Lake Superior, and a population sparse and scattered along the whole of this line, numbering only some four millions, it would be folly to think of hoisting our own flag and striving to guide the ship of State. Does any one suppose would put up with dictation from Downing Street?
Look at our own House with only 41 members ; we will not submit to their dictation in anything that we think is injurious to our inserests ; and would the united Colonies long remain attached to the mother country ? They would not ; we should soon all be “gobbled up” by the neighbouring republic, and I am not prepared as a descendant of the old refugees, wtth the blood of the Loyalists in my veins, to be annexed to the United States. And when the time comes for us to go off by ourselves, will this one-sided Scheme be the one to be adopted ? No : it will be one that is fair in every respect. We shall then have a population of some fifteen millions, and then we may heave the anchor, hoist the sails and steer the ship of State without fear of breakers. If this question has not been decided as it has been, the consequences would have been most disastrous. The hon. member has referred to the Upper House of twenty- four members being able to put a veto upon anything that might prove disadvantageous. But it is well known that the Upper House cannot always hold out against the people’s House ; this has been proved in the House of Lords in England, and at last they must yield.
Our very best rights would be jeopardized, and if we have no local rights then why should we keep up a local Parliament here, and another in Nova Scotia ? We have heard of delegations proceeding from Canada, as the most influential of the British North American Colonies, to make known the state of the Provinces, and it seems they wish to bring to bear the powerful influence of England, to force us to this Union. They doubtless intend to press the Scheme, and leave room for us to come in afterwards. I think the Government very wise in bringing in their resolutions, for although they come from an independent member, yet I presume from the remarks of the Hon. President of the Council that the Government sanction it. This is something practical, and although I am opposed to delegations as a general thing, this one under the circumstances has my support, and I think the Government will act wisely and well in sending our best men to “frustrate their knavish tricks.”
Mr. McClellan.—The hon. member (Mr. Gilbert) says something about frustrating their knavish tricks, and further says that he has Loyalist blood in his veins ; I think the difference between him and his good old ancestors is, that whereas they suffered because they stood by the British Government, their descendant will not. With regard to this question, I am only anxious that the people should have a full and clear statement laid before them. The Hon. President of the Council, previous to the elections, travelled round through our part of the country expounding his views ; I had no time to reply to him then, and therefore it will be expected that I should do so now in reply to his speech of yesterday. The Hon. President of the Council said our delegation should have gone to the Conference and returned without pledging themselves to any Scheme.
Hon. Mr. Smith.—I said that it was unprecedented that a constitution should be changed without being submitted to the people.
Mr. McClellan.—Now I do not know what our constitution really is ; I thought we had always been under the British Government and Constitution, and I cannot see how the fact of the delegates going to Quebec to confer with regard to the management of our local Government can affect the constitution at all. It was all right they admit to go to Charlottetown for this purpose, and why then could they not extend their operations. Since this Province has been under a separate [sic] Government there have been a good many delegations on different subjects, some on a Union of Colonies, some on Railways, to one of which the Hon. President of the Council belonged, and I think then the question of Union was discussed ; at any rate I think I can show from the Journals that the question has been discussed. Nearly all these delegates went without the knowledge of the people or consent of the House, and this is a good precedent. But the delegates to Quebec had authority.
Hon. Mr. Botsford.—Sir. R. G. Mac- Donnell says they had not, and Mr. Card- well agrees with him.
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Mr. McClellan —Another point dwelt upon was the origin of the idea of a Union of the Colonies. I do not know whether he refers to the difference in the race and creed of the Canadians. He quotes from Mr. Galt’s speech, and says these difficulties were sufficient in themselves—
Hon. Mr. Smith.—No ; I said that the idea was form from these difficulties.
Mr. McClellan.—He said the difficulties were sufficient in themselves to bring this about, but it might have been lapsus linguce. But let us look at the opinion of the Lower Canadians on this point. Mr. McClellan here read from Cartier’s speech, who is a Frenchman himself, to show that the difference of races and religions was an additional argument in favour of Union; thus merging everything in one general rally around one general constitutional Government, filled from petty sectarian, or national, factious, impediments and entanglements. That I think is a much higher view to take than to bring it down to a matter of creed and races, and to get her out of her difficulties while we incur none ourselves by this great Union. It is somewhat embarrassing to rise and speak for Confederation, for we may be charged with being actuated by selfish motives ; it may be said that we are looking toward Ottawa.
I should like to see the Hon. President of the Council at Ottawa, for I am sure his abilities would shine there, and I think he would gain a wider and a higher view of the wants of these Colonies. It is a poor principle, however, to refuse great national benefits, because some personal benefit may arise from it. If this principle were to hold then all would be precluded from doing anything for the good of mankind. But all these charges of ambitious and selfish motives need not be confined to one side. May we not also ask if the Hon. President of the Council did not in the position he took, see his present seat looming up in the distance ? I say nothing against it ; I am glad to see him there, and should like to see him higher, but I do not like to see him in his present company. Is he not as open to these kind a charges as these delegates ? Did not some other office even than that he now occupies open up before him ? And I do not blame him if it did. I do not say it was so, but simply that he is as open to such charges as others. He says the Government was unpopular ; why not say that they were a dead weight on Confederation ?
And that if as they went down the great talents of my hon. and learned friend were to be called up, there would be chance opened for many for office and emolument ; I say this might have been if the principle he enunciates be true. Although this question has been a long time before the mother country, yet it has only been a short time before our people, and to take up a great principle and oppose it on the simple basis of taxation is certainly taking advantage of the ignorance and credulity of the people. This argument of the opponents of the Scheme had its weight. And then in the southern part of the Province the people were vary much guided by ecclesiastical influences ; for although the Archbishop of Halifax had boldly come out and declared in favor of the Scheme, yet by some means or other the priests in the southern part of the Province at least were combined to use their influence over the people to vote against it.
(This proposition was denied by Hon. Mr. Anglin on the part of the Catholic Clergy of St. John, and by Mr. Landry on the part of those of Westmorland.— Reporter.)
My impression at any rate is that such was the case. I do not wish to utter a word against that body, but I do believe that a strong and combined effort was put forth to get the people to oppose it. I do not say, and I do not believe that it was general, for I know many intelligent and respectable men of that church who were favourable to it.
Mr. L. P. W. Desbrisay.—I would ask if the clergymen of other denominations used their influence in favor of the Scheme? I know they did.
Mr. McClellan.—They might have done so, and if the hon member knows that such was the case he need not have asked.
(At this stage there was considerable disorder arising from a regular round of calls to order as one member after another stood up to say something with regard to the length of the speeches of different members, and the state of feeling which should be exhibited by the supporters of the Government toward the small opposition, at the close of which Mr. Wetmore remarked that if hon. members choose to go outside and get crammed and plugged with what to say indoors, he did not know that other hon. members need to put themselves out at all to listen, but the speakers could get the plugging out as best they could. The Reporter was in his place and that was enough.—Reporter.)
Mr. McClellan.—I do not know what the hon. member for the City of Saint John means by cramming and plugging, but from such expressions becoming frequent of late and appearing in the Reports, I am getting used to it. He cannot stifle free discussion in this House, if such did prevail at elections. It seems to be inferred that all who are opposed to Confederation must necessarily be in favor of these Resolutions. Now although there may be a majority here against the Scheme, yet they may not all be willing to appoint the delegation, as the people of England by the Times and the action of this country know all about it. There may be many who may think the state of the country will not admit of these splendid delegations. We heard that we were not to have so many of them as heretofore, but the anxiety to have one now appointed puts me in mind of a boy going through a churchyard and whistling to keep his courage up.
It seems as though after all the apparent carelessness as to the result that there was a feeling lest Confederation was not quite dead yet, or at least that it might after all rise up and frighten them. I do not know who the delegates will be, probably the hon. President of the Council and the hon. member from Saint John, (Mr. Anglin) will be among them, and if so it may be as well for the one to visit the home of his childhood and the familiar scenes that will be presented to him there, the other may perhaps go to Paris, where he would have a very nice time of course, and all at the people’s expense. The Resolutions now under discussion clearly affirm that the judgment of the people has been pronounced, and that Her Majesty’s Government has been apprised of the fact, and it goes on to ask the appointment of a delegation to go home to tell them again.
I will now read a little article I have here, transcribed from the London Times to the columns of the Freeman with the comments of A ? an hon. correspondent who does not report the remarks of members always fairly or correctly : ” Confederation comes to us from the Colonies and it is for the Colonies to decide upon it. We cannot coerce the New Brunswickers into a new political union, nor can we object to their remaining in the position which they have so long occupied without complaint on our part or theirs.”
The hon. member, (Mr. Anglin) quoted the Times, to justify his position. I give the above, as his own quotation too—a complete offset. The hon. President says the sayings of public men can be properly referred to. He was a public man in 1857, and what did he then say in this House of Mr. Til- ley, when that gentleman had been rejected by his constituents on another question. He (Mr.Smith) deeply regretted the absence from office of the late Provincial Secretary, Mr. Tilley. To that gentleman, who was now within his hearing—so was he yesterday—he would offer no eulogism ; but this he would say, his absence from the office was a great loss, and was so regarded throughout the whole Province, where his talent and honesty were known and recognized. Was it such a man who would lend himself to the systematic ruin of the Province ? or were hon. members to be told by the political proteous who now held the office that Mr. Tilley was not fit to discharge his duty, &c.. &c.” What change has “come over the spirit of his dreams,”- -the political proteus, his colleague now, is converted into a miracle of finance, and the Hon. Mr. Tilley has been plotting and conspiring to enslave his native country ! It is perfectly understood that Confederation will not be forced on this country, and yet I heard an hon. member say that unless a delegation were sent Home this conspiracy would have its effect, and the country would be enslaved.
I can imagine my hon. friend going to Fishmonger Hall and making his mark there ; but I hope if they go they will tell not only the truth, but the whole truth. Tell them that the number of Anti-Confederate members in this House does not correspond with the feeling on the question in the country. I hope that they will show that there were not over six hundred votes majority against the Scheme in the late elections, and that many of those who opposed it then have since changed their views. This is the case I know in Albert ; I find, in conversation with intelligent men, that it is so in Fredericton, and I hear it is the same in many other parts of the country. I hope they will tell the people of England and Ireland, or where- ever they go, that the people of this Province are not such fools as to reject Colonial Union—a Union upheld by all the colonists of distinction for the past half century.
The Hon. Joseph Howe has always stood up for this Union, and so has Judge Johnston, a man of the highest attainment. I may here advert to a remark of Lord Durham, to show that a Colonial Union was necessary in the opinion of that eminent constitutionist, in order to rid the separate colonies of the disorders arising from the influence of designing and ambitious individuals, as by affording a large scope for the desires of such men as shall direct their ambition into the legitimate character of furthering, and not of thwarting, their Government. ” By creating high prizes, in a general and responsible Government, we shall immediately afford the means of pacifying the turbulent ambitious, and of employing, in worthy and noble occupations, the talents which are now only exerted to foment disorder.” I am anxious to give my friend, the President of the Council, a wider scope for his powers and ability, and I hope that he […]
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[…] will not take any ground that may tend to foment any differences that may exist in Canada, but to pursue such a course as will cement us all into a great and united people. He says that the late Government did not intend to submit the scheme to the people.
They clamoured for the delegates to go to the people, and when this was done, the cry was reversed, and the charge was made of cruelty to the people, to make them go about in the frost and snow and cold. But I think the time was not inopportune ; the people were mostly at liberty to give their attention to the subject ; there was no pressing duties from they had to be taken to go to the polls, but it was a time when they could best spare their time and labour.
Hon. Mr. Smith.—My hon friend seems to desire to make me say that it was cruelty and oppression to submit the question to the people, but I say it was cruel to do so in the winter, at that most inclement season.
Mr. McClellan.—In the course of his remarks the Hon. President of the Council referred ? Mr. Galt’s speech, and inferred from ? that Mr. Tilley, in his address, was not actuated by proper views, and had taken ground he should not have done. I notice that the hon. President of the Council has changed his views with regard to that gentleman. In 1857 he lost his election, and the hon. President of the Council was placed in the opposition, and in a speech he then made in this House he eulogized Mr. Tilley, who was then standing in the gallery, as he was the other day when the remarks of the hon. President of the Council were not so flattering. I mention this merely to show that people’s minds change.
Hon. Mr. Smith.—People change too.
Mr. McClellan.—He referred to Mr. Galt’s speech at Sherbrooke, and in reply to that I have an extract from a speech of Mr. Dorion, who is on the same side as the hon. President of the Council, which I shall read to shew his opinion of the scheme, as giving to New Brunswick a great advantage over Canada, in a financial and commercial point of view. Mr. Dorion opposes the scheme because the people of New Brunswick get the best of the bargain. The hon. President quotes Galt’s speech at Sherbrooke, to shew the origin of the movement, which proves nothing, unless it be that to remove a social or political evil existing amongst our Canadian fellow-colonists without at the same time injuring ourselves, forms an objectionable feature. Surely the hon. member ought to attach great weight to the arguments of Mr. Dorion, who, like himself, has the patriotism to oppose British interests, and Colonial progress. A fellow-feeling ought to make them co-incident in opinion, if not wondrous kind to each other. Another objection taken was, the Bills framed by the local Legislatures would be liable to be disallowed by the General Government. I do not see the point of this objection, as our local bills may now be disallowed by a power farther off, and whereas in the General Government we should have representatives to explain and support them, in England we have none at all.
Then another, objection was, a large expenditure of money would be made on canals in Canada. It is evident, however, that this is entirely dependent on the state of the finances ; it is not made a basis of the scheme, but a subject for future consideration. It may be found necessary to extend the canals of Western Canada, but the lines would all be taken away, and we should not look upon Canada or New Brunswick, but upon one great united country. The hon. member has further said that our voice will not be heard in Canada ; but taking our representatives in both branches our voices would be something after all, and then we shall have more there after a while, for our increase of population is 3 per cent, while that of Lower Canada is only 2 1-2 per cent. And then there is no danger of our being swamped by Western Canada. How has it been in the United States? Where does the population centre and increase most? Is it not on the sterile sea coasts? There the manufactories arise, there the mechanics and artizans congregate, whilst the great and fertile interior is given up to the pursuits of agriculture.
The hon. President of the Council further said that our railway would, before long, be likely to pay per cent interest, and it would be folly to give this up. He must think the country is improving very fast, and that the population is also increasing. I want these delegates, who go home, to tell them in Downing Street the truth and the whole truth, to tell the views of the people of this Province, and the means used by the Antis to carry our their purposes. Tell them that in the Upper House there is a large majority, men of the highest respectability, who are in favor of this scheme. I do not know how they regard this branch of the Legislature, but I think they deserve the thanks of this people. Today I learn that the third Government Bill this Session has been laid aside by that body.
There was the Banking Bill, the result of twenty years study, summarily disposed of ; then the Treasury Note Bill, that wheel-barrow steam engine, double-back-action, money-producing machine, is thrown out, as it ought to have been, and now the Post Office Bill, that was to move the office to St. John, and save so much money to the country. I want the delegates to tell them that that House has a large majority in favor of Confederation. The hon. member says our railroad is good to give up, but he says nothing of the the value of public works in Canada. He does not speak of their 234 miles of canals, costing $16,000,000 ; the Victoria Bridge, costing $10,000,000 ; the lines of railway, 2000 miles ; their navigable lakes ; their 4000 miles of telegraph &c. &c. &c.
Hon. Mr. Smith.—Does the hon. member mean to say that the railways in Canada would belong to the General Government?
Mr. McClellan.—Let me get through. I wish to say that these are all great public works in Canada in which the people have an interest. Another remark was about the Conference being carried on with closed doors.
(Mr. McClellan here quoted from ” Guizot’s Life of Washington,” to prove that the Convention of America, held their consultations with closed doors.)
But we need not look to the United States for a precedent, the same thing is done in all countries when any change is considered requisite in the form of the Constitution, and the hon. President of the Council would have had closed doors too if he had been a delegate. And if it be wrong to hold secret sessions on matters of this nature, why not have the doors of the Executive Council thrown open, so as to let the people know all that is going on? Now about the bearing of the Union on the country financially. My friends Mr. McMillan has taken up and treated on it length. Mr. Dorion thinks New Brunswick would get the best of the not most important part of the Scheme. We should be all fellow-colonists, and if one man gets a few more cents than another it is not worth talking about. In the consideration of such a question as this, I hold that taking into consideration the deductions that will be made, that we shall have enough to carry on the General Government without taxing the people more than a few cents a head more, and this not worthy to be thought of when we look at the great principles of trade and defence relying upon it.
These are the higher magnitude and more worthy of the attention of statesmen. I think that even without the Intercolonial Railroad, it will be shown that we should have the best of the bargain, yet when we remember that we are to get over 200 miles of this road built through the heart of our country, it is sufficient argument against any cry of taxation that has been raised. It may do at election times, and people may be influenced by it for a time, but when they learn that the amount we are to pay for a Steamer on the North Shore is about as much as our share of interest on the amount that would carry on the work of road, they will change their views. The hon. member for St. John spoke of the remarks he made at the dinner given to the Canadians at Stubb’s hotel, where he said that they need not interpret the feelings of the people of the Province as favorable to a Union by the demonstrations with which they were received ; but did he not go on to say, what is stated as a fact, that he further observed that we must either have Confederation or Annexation ?
Hon. Mr. Anglin.—I did not say it.
Mr. McClellan.—It was so reported, and I did not hear that it had ever been denied, or that it was susceptible of denial. But now Confederation is to be killed, and we are to have a Western Railroad to assist in carrying us into the United States. I am not averse to Western Extension, but I do wish to have the Intercolonial road, when it can be built at so small a cost.
Hon. Mr. Smith.—Where will Canada get money to build ?
Mr. McClellan.—Where is the Government going to get money to carry on public works now, the Banking Bill is defeated? I might go on to speak of the influences brought to bear on our electoral franchise, and our little country, not larger in proportion than many towns in England, while with the smaller Provinces the same still more applies. When there are so few offices, and so many to fill them ; when there are so many members in the Government, and each wanting to be a general, it shows that we need a larger House ; where everything of a general interest to the Colonies could be discussed without party or money interests, and be carried out on the plan of the English Government, which has been found to work so well. The Hon. President of the Council referred to the four corners of the Constitution. I don’t know exactly what that means, nor how it is made up, but perhaps it may be that one is the Military corner in the person of the Hon. Attorney General ; the Social corner represented by the Hon. Chief Commissioner of the Board of Works ; Financial corner personified […]
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[…] by the hon. member for St. John, who introduced the Treasury Note Bill ; and the Patriotic corner so ably represented by the other hon. member for St. John in the Government.
It will be seen the Council, and the Hon. Provincial Secretary ; they are not corner stones, and should not be in it at all, and I hope they will attach themselves to some other party and work in a different manner—more in accordance with their political antecedents. But there is a military point of view in which this matter should be viewed. I trust there will be no difficulty with the United States ; I have favored the North all through their struggle, but we all know that the Americans are avaricious of increased territory. We know that under the Ashburton Treaty they took a good slice off us, and that would not have been done it we had been united. Then on the Pacific Coast it was the same, and now they are casting longing eyes and would very much like to get a slice of the fertile belt of the Red River Settlement. They have 10,000 miles of Railways projected, and it is stretching out to cover the continent ; but if united these encroachments would cease at least in our direction.