Nova Scotia, House of Assembly, Debates and Proceedings (14 April 1866)
By: Nova Scotia (House of Assembly)
Citation: Nova Scotia, House of Assembly, Debates and Proceedings, 23rd Parl, 3rd Sess, 1866 at 237-240.
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DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS OF THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY OF NOVA SCOTIA. 1866.
SATURDAY, April 14th.
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The house opened at 5 o’clock.
Mr. Miller presented several petitions against Confederation, which he had sent to Richmond previous to the session, but which, he said, were meagrely signed.
Mr. Longley, a petition for the separation of the sale of groceries from liquors.
Mr. Blanchard, a petition on the subject of Confederation.
Mr. Tobin reported from the Railway Committee.
Hon. Prov. Secy. said:—I wish to call the attention of the house to the fact that on Friday the hon. member for East Halifax (Mr. Annand,) made a statement destructive of the character of a public man in British America of high standing, and I rose immediately to state that it was my intention to telegraph to Mr. Brown on the subject. My object at the time was to give the member for East Halifax an opportunity of correcting me if I misstated him. I at once telegraphed to Mr. Brown these words:—
To Hon George Brown, M.P.P., Toronto:
Mr Annand said, on the floor of the House to-day:
‘I had an interview with the Hon. George Brown recently I could have had money if I had wished it, and was promised preferment and place in Canada if I would support Confederation’”
I will take my oath that this was the language that was used. Mr. Brown’s answer here is before me. He says: —
“It is impossible Mr. Annand could have made such a statement. It is true that he called upon me at your house and we discussed the question of Confederation; but money, or preferment, or any other personal consideration was neither promised nor suggested, nor harboured in speech or thought by me—The speech, however concocted, is a villainous falsehood.
[Cheers in the galleries.]
Mr. Annand.—In the first place, let me say—and I am in the judgment of my friends who heard me—that the word money never came out of my mouth. Let me state the facts. I was not offered money; I was not offered preferment directly, but the hon. member for Richmond has correctly stated the substance of the conversation. I was reminded by Mr. Brown that I belonged to the Old Liberal party, of which he had been for very many years the leader in Canada. I was approached by him in this way: “I have always sworn by the Chronicle and the Nova Scotian. We are all Liberals. They are in the ascendancy in Canada; they will also be in the ascendancy in Nova Scotia. Come up to Canada, and the Liberals will rule. It will be your interest to come.”
Mr. Miller.—It will be in the recollection of the house that the Provincial Secretary interrupted the hon. member, and asked that his words be given in writing, in order that there might be no misconception. Now, I not only hear the language read by the Prov. Secy., but the words as they fell from the hon. member.—I was not allowed at the time to give the contradiction of the statement, but did so as soon as I could. Then I stated precisely what the hon. member has now said, and yet he replied: “All I have to say, is, that the hon. gentleman is mistaken.” Now he says—“it is true.” If there is a man in Nova Scotia or British North America who, within the last ten days occupies a position that has drawn upon him the contempt and the pity of every one, it is the hon. member; but if there is anything that could add to his degradation, it is the humiliating spectacle which he presents to-day.
Mr. Annand.—The last person who should rise on the floors of this house and impeach the veracity of any hon. gentleman is the hon. member for Richmond. I have under my hand the evidence how little importance can be attached to anything he says. It will be in the recollection of the house that the hon. member for Inverness asked me, the other day, how the petitions I presented against Confederation got down into that county. I replied it was through the instrumentality of a gentleman who went over to the Government on Confederation.
The hon. member for Richmond rose and said that he was no party to it. I hold in my hand this remarkable paper to show that the hon. gentleman was in favor of having the question referred to the polls, but what more? He came to my office to put into my hand this paper, and as he did so he said: “I don’t want to be known in this matter; I don’t wish to go into Inverness, as Mr. McDonnell is a friend of mine; will you send these petitions asking that the question of Confederation be submitted to the people at the polls?” These petitions were sent, and, as you have seen, have come back to the house. The hon. member, with the view of stimulating the people, wrote the paper which I hold in my hand, and I had it printed from his own manuscript. This circular that went with the petition, was as follows:—
“The necessity for petitioning against Confederation is greater this Session than ever. It is greatly t be feared that some underhand scheme is being matured to carry the measures. None of your representatives have publicly declared themselves against Confederation, although it is understood that two of them will oppose the Quebec scheme wile it is a matter of notoriety that the other is ready, if opportunity offers, to sacrifice his constituent. Inverness should, therefore, speak out to her representatives,—This is a question where no man should be allowed to stay on the fence. A member has no right to play fast and loose with his constituents [text missing] so great a question. He who is not heart and soul with us, is against us. —Petition strongly and quickly.
Mr. Miller.—I think the hon. member will feel, before I sit down, that he has not made much out of the wonderful revelation he has just given. It is a matter of notoriety that up to a very recent period I was a determined opponent of the Quebec scheme, and on every occasion I did all I could to thwart it. But as respects the paper in question it was written weeks before the house met.
Mr. Miller.—It was. I tell the hon. gentleman; it was written at the same time the petitions were sent into my own county that I presented […]
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[…] to-day. I was prepared then as now, to defeat the Quebec scheme. Let me state to the house that a committee was appointed in the city to operate against the Quebec scheme; and at the last meeting, when it was wished to adopt a policy adverse to all union, I told them then that I would not assist them. My opposition was entirely to the Quebec scheme. It was then determined to send these petitions over the face of the country. I went to Lunenburg, and assisted in returning the gentleman who now sits here. In respect to the petitions, I said I would send them into Richmond, but I would not interfere with Mr. McDonnell’s county. I was going to write to Mr. McDonnell, but I heard he was coming up to Halifax. I then saw Mr. Annand, in his own office, and he suggested the very words that are written in the paper which he has just read.
Mr. Annand.—Oh! Oh!
Mr. Miller.—It is true; it was at his own table they were suggested, and they were printed in his office. He presented, the other day, petitions from Dr. Cameron, which he had sent with his own frank.
Mr. Annand.—I did; at the hon. member’s instance.
Mr. Miller.—I denied at the time having sent these petitions, and yet he contradicted me; now he acknowledges having franked them.
Hon. Fin. Secretary.—I must corroborate to the fullest extent the language taken down by the Provincial Secretary. I took the words down at the same time. The hon. member said—”I would have received money or office if I had wished it.”
Mr. McDonnell.—I also took the same words down.
Mr. Miller.—The hon. member now stands convicted before the house and country of having uttered a ” villainous falsehood.”
Mr. Locke.—The word money never struck my ear. I heard preferment and place—that is all.
Hon. Atty. General—Then the hon. member must have a deaf ear for some things.
C.J. Campbell.—Was not the language read here in his presence, and he never contradicted it?
Mr. Annand.—Substantially it was the same statement made by the hon. member for Richmond. It differs, however, in the fact that Mr. Brown used the word interest. What is the difference between interest and money ?
Hon. Atty. Gen.—The hon. gentleman first referred to Canadian gold, and then said he himself could have had money if he had wished it.
Hon. Prov. Secy—The present question is one of great importance, for it involves the character of a public man. The question came up in reference to a paragraph which the hon. member had put in his paper concerning some remarks on the sale of Louisiana, by Mr. Brown. That gentleman said, even if the Union of the Provinces did cost Canada something for a few years it was but a small matter in comparison with their value. The hon. member for Halifax knew that he was guilty when he made the charge he did against Mr. Brown of the greatest crime of which a public man can be guilty—that of putting a false construction on the language of another, for the purpose of misleading the public mind. Mr. Brown said—suppose Canada has to contribute a few dollars more to the intercolonial union —what does it amount to?
Look at the sale of Louisiana to the United States. The hon. member knows that this was a bona fide transaction ; there was no secret service money connected with it. Mr. Brown is one of the most sagacions statesmen in British North America; but a man would be an idiot if he were to come forward on the present occasion and say—Canada was going to use secret service money for the acquisition of these Provinces. The hon. member must have known that he was putting a false estimate on the language of Mr. Brown. When he was met by a derisive cheer from this side of the house, he said that he had an interview with Mr. Brown, and followed that up with the declaration that he could have had money if he wished it,—that he was proffered place and preferment in Canada. Then I felt this was a grave charge, requiring investigation.
All I can say is, if any one had attempted to bribe me, I would have felt that it would never do for me months afterwards to come forward and mention it. I knew enough of Mr Brown to be aware that wherever he was known the charge would be scouted as too absurd I read the words at the table. and stated my intention to telegraph them to Mr. Brown He would not repeat the words. but said the official reporter had taken them down I did all I could to enable him to correct me if I was wrong. He did nothing of the kind and therefore I telegraphed to Mr Brown, whose answer is now before you. The country will now understand the value of charges of corruption coming from such a quarter. Now he comes forward and denies his own language, and gives the same version of the conversation with Mr. Brown that was given by Mr. Miller, and which he contradicted at the time.
Mr. Annand—I will merely say to the Provincial Secretary that I have not backed down. What Mr Brown stated to me made the impression upon my mind-that it was for my interest that I should join him and his friends in carrying Confederation.
Hon. Pro. Sec—The hon member only endorsed the statement made on Friday by the hon member for Richmond. Under the circumstances not the slightest imputation can rest upon Mr Brown’s character. All that he said was, that a man of Mr Annand’s position ought to be able to make himself some standing in the Confederation. He would have as good a chance as any one else. Perhaps if Mr Brown understood the talents or the position of the hon member he would not have said so much. What would he thought of a hon. member who was going about day by day. and button-holing gentlemen. and telling them that the best way to get to Ottawa is by opposing the scheme of Confederation. Is that corruption ? I do not think the non. gentleman would like to say so?
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Mr Miller—The hon. member has brought two charges against my veracity First, with regard to the conversation with Mr. Brown which he now admits to he substantially true. Secondly, with regard to the petitions which he presented here on the day I explained my position on the question He accused me of having sent these particular petitions to Inverness, and I denied it on the instant I never denied that I was a party to sending petitions through the country He now admits that he sent and franked these petitions himself Where, then, is his charge of want of veracity on either side?
Mr Annand—The hon member was one of an organization in the city who unfortunatelv had too much confidence in him ; for it now appears he was only there as a spy. On one occasion in the presence of some of the most influential merchants of the city, so inflated was he that he offered to take charge of the whole Island of Cape Breton, and send petitions to it The hon. gentlemen told you that I with my own stamp, sent these petitions to Dr. Cameron, but I did so at his request . because he said he did not wish to come into conflict with Mr Mc Donnell The hon member thought so much of his own shillings and pence that he would not take his own stamps The hon gentlemen said that I dictated the paper in question; but can you believe that a gentleman of his importance, who offered to take charge of the whole island of Cape Breton. would allow any one to dictate to him ? All l can say is, the hon. member wrote it with his own hands
Mr. Tobin—I think we have had about enough of these contradictions and I do trust that a question of such importance as the present will be deliberately and calmly discussed
Mr. Miller—It was the hon member for East Halifax who brought the matter here, and he also is blameable for the discussion that has ensued I thought, when the hon gentleman got up, he was going to expose me but now i find that all he has done is to bring a charge of vanity against me.
Hon Atty Gen—I recollect distinctly yesterday when the hon member for Richmond gave the version of the conversation with Mr. Brown, the. hon member for East Halifax got up and contradicted it: now he says it is substantially the same version. But we all know the hon gentleman’s speech was not intended tor this house. The object was to irritate the public mind of this country.
A good deal of further desultory conversation ensued, which it is impossible to give in extenso.
Mr Blackwood thought every gentleman should be only held responsible for the opinons he held and expressed himself
Mr Locke said that the country had not petitioned very [text missing] during the present session, in as much as the impression prevailed that the question of Union would not come up
Hon Prov Sec said that he was prepared by the most conclusive evidence to prove that the whole effect of the policy of the Anti- Union party was to annex us to the American States He then went on to say that they dared not send petitions to the country against all Union, for they knew that the Union sentiment among the intelligent masses was very strong. All that they could do was to get signatures to petitions taking objections to certain features of the Quebec scheme. Yet despite the efforts made by the wealthy and powerful Anti-Union organization in this city, only about 15000 names of men, women and children, could be got last year in the whole province. He had himself in a few weeks, some years ago, got 25000 persons to petition for a matter of comparatively small importance, namely a dissolution of the Assembly.
Now another year had passed, and despite all the agitation in the press and otherwise, only four or five thousand petitioners appeared in opposition—not to Union, but to some details of the Quebec scheme. Now when the opponents of that scheme came forward an I offered to meet the friends of Union half way, it was the duty of the latter to consent, in view of the prevalent sentiment of the country. He had heard from Annapolis and the Western counties and was proud to be. able to say that the course the government wished to pursue in respect to Union met with the enthusiastic approval of the people
Mr Locke said that the government had appealed to three constituencies since the question of Confederation came up, and had lost them. If the hon Provincial Secretary was convinced that the people were not opposed to Union why did not he dissolve and appeal to them.
Mr Blanchard said that the house had heard the way the petitions against Confederation got into the country, and yet despite all the efforts that had b: been made, only a few hundred names had been received from Inverness with a population of 20 000 people.
Mr Killam said that the people of Yarmouth were against confederation. He knew that the people of Digby were also opposed to Union. He presumed when the vote was taken, the members of that county would act in accordance with the sentiments of their constituents
Hon. Atty. Gen. said that no gentleman in favour of Annexation would be expected to favour Confederation
Mr Ross said that it had been understood in Victoria that the question of Confederation would not come up this session, amt therefore it was not thought necessary to get up petitions. The best way to test the feeling of the people would be to appeal to them
Hon. Prov. Sec. said that the election in Annapolis was not decided on the Confederation scheme. The Dalhousie College question, the Pictou Railway and the School Bill were the questions that influenced the election The Quebec scheme had only just been propounded when the election was over, and was not one of the issues Not one word was said about it on the hustings. At a public meeting subsequently held in it that county where he had been present, the Anti Unionists could not pass a resolution against Union Again in the shiretown the only resolution passed was one of thanks to himself […]
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[…] for being present and giving so much information on the subject As respects Lunenburg he believed if it were not for the Education Measure he could have brought in a government candidate pledged to support a Union of the Colonies As respects the other county mentioned the hon. member for Yarmouth (Mr Killam) could not get his own candidate in, and Mr. Townsend had been returned. He (Dr T ) believed that Yarmouth might be considered opposed to Union, but every one knew what was the ruling sentiment in that county At a meeting held in that county for the purpose of sending delegates to the Detroit Convention. leading men came forward with the hon. gentleman for Yarmouth and declared that if the treaty were abrogated the sooner Nova Scotia was annexed to the United States the better He was informed that the other hon. member (Mr. Townsend) stood up manfully. and said they ought to be ashamed. Under such circumstances it was not strange that a portion of the county of Yarmouth opposed the Union of the Colonies
Mr. Colin Campbell said that the hon. member for Yarmouth would know the sentiments of the representatives of the county of Digby at the proper time They were prepared to assume themselves the responsibility of dealing with the question in that spirit and manner that would best advance the interests of the country.
Mr. Killam said that he would deal with the question of Confederation at the proper time He had not attempted to influence the constituency against Mr Townsend He was not aware that any opinions in respect to annexation had been m oted in the meeting referred to.
Mr Hatfield regretted that so much time had been wasted that might be more profitably employed.
Mr. McLelan said that he believed the effect of Confederation would be to annex the Provinces to the United States
Mr C J. Campbell presented a petition from H. Cameron and others against Confederation.
The subject then dropped
Mr. Whitman introduced a bill to legalize assessment rolls of the county of Annapolis.
The house then adjourned.