[No Title], The Globe (30 October 1854)

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Date: 1854-10-30
By: The Globe
Citation: The Globe (30 October 1854).
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[illegible] at [illegible] which [illegible] Conservative [illegible] more [illegible] of Wellington [illegible] himself to take [illegible] it was left by the [illegible] Robert Peel had [illegible] made “the Bill, the [illegible] the Bill” a Government [illegible] found an example of [illegible] paint. But even Lord [illegible] Free-trade had too much [illegible] voluntary act, or rather of [illegible] evitable necessity, to allow of its [illegible] as a precedent for Sir Allan MacNab [illegible] of office in his present character. [illegible] Canadian Minister has a task more difficult [illegible] it might have been supposed even more [illegible]—than that of simply acquiescing in a [illegible] compli, and pacifying disappointed [illegible] whom he had deluded into the belief that he could undo what had been done. He had [illegible] only to take the seats, but to carry out the policy of his predecessors. He has to admit that, in a question which he and his followers have always considered as of vital importance, he has been all his life in the wrong; and moreover, he has to account, as best he may, for the awkward fact that, by a very unfortunate coincidence, his conversion has taken place at the precise moment when faction in the Legislature, and internal dissension in the ejected Cabinet, opened the way for his accession to office.

The secularization of the Clergy Reserves is not it appears, the only measure which the new Administration is compelled to borrow from its predecessors. There were bills prepared for the seigniorial tenured, for the reconstruction of the Legislative Council, and for the reduction of the tariff. By pledging himself to support each of these in its integrity, the new Premier has obtained promises of assistance from many of the most influential Liberals of Upper Canada; and there can be little doubt that, whatever may be his inclinations, he will be compelled to redeem the pledge which he has given. It is not a little discreditable to the Conservative party that, at the elections which preceded the meeting of Parliament, votes were sought in their favor, on the ground that the alienation of the Clergy Reserves would form a part of their policy. “In common with the whole Canadian public,” says Mr. Hincks, in the address to his constituents which we yesterday published, “I noticed with astonishment the conduct of Mr. Brown, the leading opponent of the Government on the liberal side. In almost every instance, he supported candidates who had previously been identified with the Conservative party in opposition to the Reformers, and especially in the city of Hamilton, he supported Sir Allan McNab against Mr. Buchanan. He assured the country, that the Conservatives would settle the Clergy Reserves question by devoting the fund to secular purposes—an assertion little credited at the time; but which is now about to be realized.” In fact, the history of the case appears to be, that the late Premier—who, acting under the responsibility of office, wisely declined committing himself irrevocably in a matter of so much importance until the time should arrive for introducing a specific measure—has been outbid by others who are free from that restraint, and who are disposed to avail themselves, with little regard to conscience or consistency, of every means by which their object could be attained.

It is evident, from the address just referred to as well as from the composition of the new Cabinet, that personal feelings has in no small degree contributed to bring about this singular alteration in the cast of the political drama. One member of the late Administration voted, on the first or second evening of the session, against his colleagues on a government question, and private cabals appear to have gone on among individuals in high office, without the knowledge of the Premier. In the Administration just formed, the Lower Canada section of the late Ministry all retain their position, while these belonging to the upper portion of the province, including the Premier himself, are newly introduced; and, on the whole, Sir Allan McNab has been able to introduce into his Cabinet only three of his Conservative friends, who will be associated with seven Reformers. No trial of strength has taken place in the House of Assembly when our correspondent of the Opposition of all grades would not exceed 40, in a Chamber consisting of more than three times that number. It is also stated that one or two influential members of the late Government have influential members of the late Government have intimated their intentions of giving a general support; and “the sympathies of the Roman Catholic clergy” and counted upon, as it is understood that the provincial journal supposed most accurately to represent their opinions will lend its aid to the coalition.

So far as Sir Allan McNab’s prospects appear to be not unfavourable; and perhaps our correspondent is right in his surmise that the new Ministry may be the best which the country could desire at the present moment. We must confess, however, to some misgivings—misgivings excited not by the circumstances that old party names have been laid aside, or than an avowed union has taken place between politicians who were formerly opposed to each other, by the unscrupulous means which appear to have been adopted for the attainment of power. We do not write as partisans of Mr. Hincks, who is not to be regarded as an impartial authority, and whose statements we cannot, in justice to his opponents, receive as absolutely decisive on the points at issue. But from other and wholly independent authority, we are led to the conviction that an act of flagrant political immorality has raised the new Premier to his present position, and we believe that, sooner or later, delinquencies of this description will meet with the punishment which they deserve. There is an old proverb which sets forth the advantages of honesty, and we shall not be surprised to see its converse verified, as so often has been in the history of the world.

It may, perhaps, seem somewhat singular that, neither at the crisis when the late Parliament was abruptly dissolved, nor in the recent discussions and the negotiations which followed them, has a single word been said of any movement on the part of the Legislative Council. No declaration of adherence to Mr. Hincks and the via media Cabinet has reached us; and, on the other hand, we hear of no promise of support to the new Administration, regarded either in its Conservative or in its Democratic aspect. Even at a time when the balance of power has evidently been wavering, the Council has wanted either the will or the ability to decide the preponderance one way or the other. We need hardly seek a stronger proof of the inefficiency of the Upper Chamber as a check upon the caprices of the Lower House, or as the great conservative element in the constitution. These high-sounding phrases were indeed liberally employed by domestic orators in the debates of last summer; but their real value is shown by the test of experience. It is also worthy of notice that the coup de grace is at length to come from the hands of the conservative party, for whose especial benefit it was contended that the system of nomination ought to be retained. As to the necessity of reconstruction, men of all parties have been agreed; yet it could hardly have been expected that the final blow would come from such a quarter. The nominees will, it may be hoped, be prepared to meet their political annihilation with due decency, as the new Brutus thinks proper to deal “the godlike stroke,” and their places will be supplied by men better able, in periods of political excitement, to assert those rights which the constitution gives them. We apprehend that, when the country is again called upon to express its opinion, two elective Chambers will not approve by their votes, the intrigues and the abandonment of principle which have secured for the present Premier a temporary possession of office.

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