Nova Scotia, House of Assembly, Debates and Proceedings: Union of the Colonies (13 April 1866)
By: Nova Scotia (House of Assembly)
Citation: Nova Scotia, House of Assembly, Debates and Proceedings, 23rd Parl, 3rd Sess, 1866 at 228-237.
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DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS OF THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY OF NOVA SCOTIA. 1866.
FRIDAY, April 13.
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UNION OF THE COLONIES.
The adjourned debate was resumed.
Mr. Annand said:—In rising to address the House on a question for transcending in magnitude any measure ever submitted for our consideration If feel I am under no ordinary responsibility. On this occasion we have arrayed against us a large amount of ability from, we suppose, all the talent of the government combined with that of the leader of the opposition. Although I desire that some one more able than myself was here to put to the members of the House and to the people of this country the important bearings of the question, yet I feel that if the gentlemen who surround me ” speak the truth and feel it,” it will send an echo throught [sic] the Province, and if there should be a majority in the House in favor of a transfer of our privileges to a government to be organized six or eight hundred miles off, yet the gentlemen who oppose the bargain will go down honored to posterity. I feel on this occasion the necessity for more than ordinary calmness—I feel it would ill become me to imitate the p roicious example set on more than one occasion by the leader of the government.
Have we not seen that gentleman approaching a question which involves the dearest rights of the people, which involves the rights of members who sit here, have we not seen him rising to move a resolution which will sweep away our constitution, not in the spirit of a statesman dealing with a large public question, but in the tone and spirit of an angry, an excited, and when this debate concludes, it may be found a disappointed partizan ? I do not intend to approach the question in that frame of mind, or to follow him in the intemperate abuse of gentlemen not here to defend themselves. The mover of the resolution spent an hour and a half in assailing the Pro e of the country and those who contribute to and conduct it. Transferring our thoughts to a wider arena, can we imagine Mr. Gladstone coming to the House of Commons and prefacing his Reform Bill by a tirade against one of the Organs of pub ic opinion? Could that statesman co descend to such a course, he would be hissed out of the House of Commons. And yet that is the […]
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[…] way in which this question has been approached by the Provincial Secretary.
Let me at the outset invite the attention of the House to the state of this country two years ago. There had been discussions in past years in reference to Union, and there had been diversities of opinion, some being in favor of a Legislative and some in favor of a Federal Union; but I challenge any gentleman to show me that beyond the more expression of abstract opinion in favor of Union, any resolution was ever proposed. The country was then peaceful, contented and prosperous ; no one here thought of changing our constitution for the ake [sic] of connection with Canada. Some of us entertained views favorable to a union of the Maritime Provinces. But no one dreamed of giving up our present institutions and accepting a subordinate status in another country. I then ask, How does this question of Confederation arise? By what necessity has it been produced? Does it arise from the necessities of the people or Legislature of Nova Scotia?
Why, sir, we all know that but for the necessities of Canada, as admitted by the Provincial Secretary himself and by his colleague in the delegation, that question would never have been pressed upon our attention Am I to understand, as was said elsewhere, that owing to the Canadian necessities- owing to the fact that the Government of Canada had come to a dead lock, there being three changes of administration in three years, and Parliamentary Government having become impossible, therefore it was that the people of Canada to rid themselves of their difficulties, financial and political, cast their eyes upon these Provinces as affording a means of escape?
We all know what took place in 1864. A resolution passed authorising the appointment of delegates to confer on the question of a Maritime Union; those delegates proceeded to Charlottetown, and there they were met by Canadian speculators in politics, by whom they were spirited away to Quebec, and were seduced from their allegiance to this country and from the mission with which we charged them. In October, after a fortnight’s debate at Quebec, and amidst exhaustive festivities, they passed resolutions favorable to a union of the Provinces of British America. These gentlemen have said that this delegation, was authorised by the ministers of the Crown and by the Governor General, but it had no authority from us. The debate at Quebec was conducted in secret, all its deliberations were carried on with closed doors, and there is good reason to believe that but for the accidental publication of those resolutions the scheme might have been passed at last Session. I was in England when these negotiations were going on, and did not return until a few days before the resolutions were received.
My opinion as to the scheme was asked, my answer was ‘ I have not yet made up my mind, but will take time to consider.” I did take time. and having occasion to make a journey of some 20 miles I put the papers in my pocket, read them, and when I returned l had come to the conclusion that the scheme was unjust to this Province, politically and financially and that I would be recreant to my responsibility to the country if I gave it my sup port. We may be told that the proposition for union was received with acclamation by the people of England, let any man go to England today, and although the allusion is somewhat dispelled we hear it said: ” the Colonies should unite because the time has come when you should assume the burthen of your own defence ” That sentiment will be found in the despatches from beginning to end, it was the burthen of Mr. Cardwell’s recent speech at Oxford.
With reference to the opinion of the Coloniel Secretary of State I would say-when the scheme of union was sent home for approval it was at once indorsed, in 1864 the Imperial Government had no policy on the subject, no desire that we should be confederated, but on the contrary , the Lieutenant Governors were restricted to the consideration of a Maritime Union. I will be told that after the receipt of despatches from this side of the water the Colonial Secretary consented to delegates proceeding to Quebec my argument is that Her Majesty’s Government, until these representations were sent to the Colonial Office, had no policy in reference to union. What followed?
In consequence of strong despatches from the Governor General representing that union was popular in all the Provinces, under this inspiration and believing that the thirty-three delegates truly represented the sentiments of the people Her Majesty’s Ministers committed themselves to the policy of union. I do not hesitate to say, and in saying it I reveal no confidential communication, that l had an interview with Mr. Cardwell, in which I gave him the independent view taken by these Provinces,— for the first time that gentleman obtained the opinions held by the opposition in this House, and the views I gathered from that interview were of this effect: ” Her Majesty’s Government have committed themselves to the scheme and are therefore bound, if possible, to carry it out.”— That is the true position of the question at the Colonial Office Mr. Cardwell committed a grave error which no British statesman in the Colonial Office ever committed before in expressing his approbation of a scheme which had never been submitted to the ratification of the representatives of the people. We have been told that the public opinion in England is in favor of union.
Not one in ten of the people of England know that there are such places as Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, and few have heard even of Canada. The first idea arising in their minds is that the union will be a good thing because the union of the three kingdoms was good ; but I met only two men during my visit to the Mother Country who did not believe that the scheme before us was a Legislative union ; and when I mentioned what it really was —that we were to have a general government and then five local Governments, there was not an intelligent man with whom I met that did not treat it with contempt. The leading and animating opinion of the people of England was that the Union scheme was to take from the Mother Country a large portion of the burthens with which she has been charged in reference to our defence. Among others whom I met, was a very […]
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[…] worthy gentleman who was Warden of Fishmonger’s Hall ; and some will hardly credit me when I say that this is one of the wealthiest organisations in London. That gentlemen was the Warden when the Prince of Wales dined there, and it was in that Hall that Mesrs. Galt and Cartier received their first public dinner in England.
The first observation of my friend the Warden was. “Mr. Annand, I hope you are in favor of Confederation.” I said that I was not. ” What ” said he, ” not in favor of Confederation, I imagined that all your people were so”. I then explained the reasons of my opposition, stating that the Provinces were not connected, that there were four or five hundred miles of wilderness without there being any means of communication. His reply was that he had seen some observation in a newspaper and that his opinion was that the Railway ought to precede the union, and when I mentioned the many prejudices that existed he said: ” this is not a thing to be hurried, satisfy yourselves that Confederation is right and build your railroad “. That was the opinion of this gentleman and I think it is the real opinion of the people of England. But we are told also that the Queen, (God bless Her Majesty ) is in favor of the scheme— Under our constitution the Queen can do no wrong, she is not responsible for a word contained in the speech with which Parliament is opened but her ministers are charged with that responsibility.
The Queen we may imagine, has some thing to think about than the affairs of British North America in her household and the exercises of domestic virtues. I attach no importance therefore to that argument and gentlemen opposite must be weak indeed for argument when they bring Her Majesty’s name into the debate. Her name should not be mentioned here. Then it is said that the British Government are in favor of Union—I have given some of the reasons as stated by the Colonial Secretary. There are fifty or sixty Colonies to be managed and if five or six of those in British America could be knocked into one the labours and responsibilities of the Colonial office would be lightened. We have also been told that the British press are in favor of it, the press are probably animated by the feelings of the Colonial Secretary, and imagine that the change instead of being forced upon us in defiance of our wishes, was desired on our part, but tell intelligent Englishmen that the attempt to unite us will be contrary to the wishes of nine-tenths of our people and the knowledge of this fact would smash the strongest government in England that attempted to [text missing] the measure.
The press believe we desire the change, that the scheme was fair and just, and above all, they believe the scheme will lead us to assume a great portion of that burthen will which the mother country has been charged in connection with our defence. We are told that the Governor, the Hero of Kars, is in favor of it. I do not desire to say anything disrespect [text missing[ that highly repectable and able General, I respecthim as a warrior who stood true to the causes of his country and felt fully served his Sovereign, a would undertake to find in the backwood of Musquodoboit men who understand the bearings of the questions, and the necessities of the Province as well as he.
(Upon interruptions being caused by disturbance in the galleries they were cleared at the instance of Mr S. Campbell, but were subsequently re-opened.)
Mr. Annand continued :—While, as I have said, I have the greatest possible respect for the abilities of the officer presiding over the government of the country, in his military capacity, on questions of local politics, and relating to the formation of a new constitution for these Colonies these are not the men to whom I would look for instruction. The name of the General and of the Admiral have also been improperly introduced into the debate to give weight and authority to the scheme of Confederation—these are the proper judges in time of war, we are ready to follow them in the field and to fight under their flag upon the sea, but it is highly indecorous to bring the names of these functionaries here and least of all, should the clergy be so prominently referred to within these walls, we respect them, in the discharge of their duties in connection with their flocks, but a clergyman is out of place when mixed up with the excitement incident to politics and party strife. Then we have been told ” you have all the religious press of the country against you.” Now, do we go for our political opinions to such newspapers as these?
These are authorities while they confine themselves to the tenets of the doctrines which they uphold, but no longer, and I am authorised here to state, on behalf of many Presbyterian clergymen and of many leading Wesleyans and Baptists, that they repudiate the opinions of these journals. But if it be true, as has been represented, that all this combination is on the side of the Government, I ask how is it that the great body of the people are arrayed against them. The reference to these religious bodies challenges this reply. The Provincial Secretary may quote these distinguished names and refer to these organs of popular opinion, but how is it that he dare not at this moment open a simple constituency in the country? There have been three elections since the scheme was propounded, and at every one of these the Government has been ” routed horse, foot and artillery.”
What do I care for the opinions to which be has referred, when I know he dare not open a single constituency, and that the greatest misfortune that could befall him would be a vacancy in any of the seats? I therefore hurl back the allusions he has made. My mind can carry me back to the time when we were struggling for responsible government, we asked Her Majesty’s Ministers for the concession and we had them against us, we had against us the press of England, Her Majesty’s Representative, and the General here, but we were right, we pressed for the rights and privileges of a free people, and achieved the system that we now enjoy.— Therefore away with the arguments drawn from the opinions of the Admiral, and General, and Governor,—their feeling is to obey the Imperial authorities, and their opinions may be expected to be moulded by their government. We have been referred to the despatch of the 24th June 1865, in which it is said:—
” Such an union seems to Her Majesty’s Government to recommend itself to the Provinces on many grounds of moral and material advantages—[…]
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[…] as giving a well founded prospect of improved administration and increased prosperity.”
What are the matters tending to the prosperity of the country? The improvement of trade and commerce, a large market for the produce of the country. And can it be said that Confederation will increase our market? Will anyone say that we will buy a barrel of flour more from Canada unless a discriminating duty is imposed? Will Canada buy any more fish or coal under Confederation? Can it be said that our productions will be allowed to enter Canada upon terms more favorable than those imposed on American articles? I do not give the Canadians credit for so much love for us. We may have free trade between the Provinces without a political union. It can be effected through our various governments. Would any one hazard a statement of the reverse in the face of the evidence upon our journals? I have entertained some doubts as to whether free trade in manufactures is at present desirable. There are manufactures growing up here which are now so weak as to require legislative aid; and to bring them into competition with the more advanced manufactures of Canada would be to ruin those who have embarked their capital in such enterprises among us; but if it should prove desirable I would throw no obstacle in the way.
Then, is it necessary to have the Union to assimilate our currencies? No one will hazard such a statement. The effort has never been made; and until it fails, I will not admit the argument drawn in favor of a political union. It would be impossible to assimilate our currencies with that of the United States, and with the States we have a hundred commercial transactions for one with Canada— Then comes the question of postage. Our postal system is now nearly the same, the only difference being, that while in Nova Scotia newspapers pass free, in Canada there is a tax which impedes circulation. The question of the usury laws has been brought here for discussion, but I would suggest that if we are to have Confederation we need not discuss the subject,—in Canada the rate of interest is much higher than with us, in some instances as high as from eight to nine per cent. Then there is the question of the tariffs, there may be no great difficulty on this subject if Canada is willing to suffer such a lo s of revenue as would arise from striking off her twenty per cent duties.— In that case there could be no difficulty in assimilating our tariffs, and this it will be remembered was one of the conditions in the arrangements of 1862.
Much has been said about the Intercolonial Railway,—this has been the grand lever used to operate on the people. We are told that we can have no railway unless we confederate, but looking at the necessities of Canada—at the position she would be in if difficulties arose, ice-locked for six months in the year, we find how essential it is to her independence. While these are the facts so little loyal sentiment is there among the public men of Canada that they will not make the effort to secure that road, but will run the risk of severance from the British Empire while using it as a lever to bring about Confederation. Then comes the question of defence— we are told we cannot defend ourselves unless Confederated. I admit the potency of the argument in reference to the Intercolonial Railway as a means of defence, and I believe that that road will be exceedingly useful in time of war, but it might be cut in two or three places in the event of hostilities. Any one reading the history of Sherman’s campaign knows how easy it is to cut a railway, and how easily these Provinces could be separated.
The Pro. Sec. read a speech delivered by me on a former occasion in reference to the question of defence and I am prepared to reiterate the same sentiments to day. My mode would be this: I would have the people contribute liberally pound for pound with Canada, or any other portion of the Empire, for the protection of our homes, I would pay that amount into the Imperial treasury and would charge the Imperial government with the defence. I would be willing to have this levied as a tax per head or a percentage on our revenue. If it be true, and I believe it is, that the British government intend to throw upon Canada, the expense other fortifications and of her gunboats for the lakes, here will be an enormous amount that we must pay into the Canadian exchanges, not. for our defence but: for theirs.
The Prov. Sec. referred on a previous day to my friend Mr. Howe, and to the opinions that he uttered in England in advocating the Intercolonial Railway,—that gentleman did express strong opinions, but they were not so much on the subject of the union of the Colonies as in connection with that railway. Taking advantage of the apprehension existing in connection with the Trent affair, Messrs. Howe and Tilley used every argument they could urge. I do not hold myself responsible for every opinion expressed upon these matters and I may perhaps admit that Mr. Howe has committed mistake almost as grave as those of the Provincial Secretary himself. In reference to the contribution from the treasury for defence, do not let me be misunderstood as to the mode in which the tax should be levied. By the consent of our own Parliament, responsible to our own people, we should contribute such an amount as the country could afford.
What do we require for defence? It is said that as we are now situated we cannot march a militia- man from one Province to another. Then all that is required in case of an attack is an authority by which we can ai l each other. Do we not now see all British America armed to the teeth and prepared for the conflict without Confederation? Then there is this difficulty in the way. When we are confederated the Commander-in-Chief would have his head-quarters at Ottawa; and we will find that if Canada is attacked and these Provinces threatened, the Executive Government at Ottawa will naturally prefer the protection of their own homesteads to our security, and will withdraw our men for their defence. What did we hear some of the Canadian statesmen say some time ago? One of them said, “Look down at the Maritime Provinces; they have 30,000 sailors to man our gunboats.” Another repeated the remark; but it never occurred to them that we might also be threatened with attack, and that it might become necessary to send down some of the yeomanry of the West in exchange for our seamen. Their idea seemed selfish and narrow and limited only to the defence of their own country at our expense. It is said that Confederation will make us much more powerful […]
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[…] for defence. But Confederation does not give us a man more or a pound more; it adds neither to the material nor the sinews of war.
If I need refer to any authority on the subject, I have it under my hand—an authority which even the Provincial Secretary and the Attorney General will admit to be conclusive. I read an ex ract from a leading paper in Canada, the Toronto Globe, in answer to a correspondent who urged the objection “that Canada, under Confederation, would be compelled to furnish a quota for the defence of the Lower Provinces, whereas they could aid us none at all, and therefore we should be relatively weakened.” The Globe, in reply, said :—
“It so happens. however. that for purposes of defence we are already Confederated, the Imperial Government being the central power. It is quite true that we could not in the present state of things be compelled, without the consent of our Legislature, to send troops to serve in Nova Scotia; but the home authorities have a most powerful means of coercion in their hands. They would tell us at once that if we selfishly refused to aid them in the concentration of troops at the point where the Commander-in-Chief judged such concentration to be most needed for the preservation of the whole of British North America they would leave us to our fate.”
* * * * * * * *
“In fact, we regard the addition of their population as a clear gain to Canada. New Brunswick might demand their assistance and ours too—for next to our own Province she is most open to attack but when the danger had passed her strength would be thrown in wherever needed Moreover. the Maritime Provinces, in consequence of the large proportion they have of a seafaring population, furnish a most valuable element of defence which we do not possess.”
The Prov. Sec. said “if you would only unite you would be defended by the entire forces of the Empire.” Will he undertake to say that if we decline to unite we will not be defended by Her Majesty’s army and navy? Will he hazard that opinion? No, because he had to admit that come what would Her Majesty’s Government could not afford to lose these Provinces. Then away goes the story about casting us off, and even the leader of the Opposition said that England was bound to uphold the Colonies.
There is another view of the question and it is not the least interesting,—in connection with finances under confederation as compared with the present position. I have in my hand a calculation made from our public documents— from the estimate laid on the table of this House at this Session, and I will be pre pared to show the House, and through the press the people, the enormous sum we would sacrifice by Confederation. In the event of union the taxes known as Customs duties would be collected and paid into Ottawa treasury , so with the light duties, our railroads would become the property of the General Government, and our revenues would be derived from the following sources :—
|Gold mines||20 000|
|Hospital Insane||20 000|
In addition to this there would be the subsidy of 80 cents per head, amounting to $264000. mak ng in all $419,000. to be appropriated for the public services of the country. Certain large services, such as revenue expenses, civil list, and lighthouses would be transferred. Accepting the estimate laid on the table the other day as correctly representing the actual requirements of this country for the leading public services, I assume that the same amounts will be required under Confederation as now, and cannot well be performed for less.
Local Expenditure—Estimate 1866
|Board statistics||4 000|
|Criminal prosecutions||1 600|
|Coroner’s inquests||1 400|
|Crown lands||18 500|
|Department mines||17 595|
|Colleges, &c||18, 595|
|Poor’s Asylum||12 100|
|Roads and bridges||274 228|
The total cost of these services will be $487,518, and I put it to the house can you afford to reduce any of them? And if so, where are you to begin? Then there is another species of expenditure which refers to the altered condition of affairs under Confederation; we have not yet been informed as to the sort of local government that we are to have,—we know not whether there will be one or two branches of the Legislature, or how many members each will have; but I assume that our Legislative expenses will be $20 000 instead of nearly $50,000, as at present. We will require a Prov. Secretary, he may not be a gentleman of such distinguished talents as the gentleman before me, because he may be called to a more exal ed sphere—he may aspire to be Prov. Secretary of the Confederated Provinces, he may be one of those governors who will be sent down to administer our affairs, cert in it is that all those gentlemen who have acted as delegates will be spirited away from us. The expenses of the Prov. Secretary’s office I have put down at $4 050, and I have included in this the cost of the Financial Secretary’s department.
For our Treasurer I have put down $3,100. We will require a Crown Officer to act as Atty. General, though I presume we can dispense with the Solicitor General, and for that officer I have put down $1,600. Miscellaneous services last year amounted to $35,044, but I have aimed them at 10,000, Navigation Securities I have reduced from $80000 to $26,000,—I may be told that this last will be a charge upon the general government, but many of our small services will be entirely lost sight of by that great government in the extension of her canals, and in attending to the wants of the Nor h West territory. For Public works, in reference to the extension, I have allowed nothing, although we need extension of the Lunatic Asylum, Public works, including Board, maintenance, Hospital for insane. Penitentiary, &c.., I put down at $50,600; Printing, $5,000; Packets and Ferries, throwing out of consideration the steamboat service, $11,070. Altogether we have for Confederation under these services, $131,420.
|Legislative expenses||$20 000|
|Provincial Secretary’s Office||4,000|
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|Attorney General||1 600|
|Navigation Securities||26 000|
|Public Works||50 600|
|Packets and Ferries||11,070|
We have, then, for the first class of items a total of $487,518, and for the second a total of $131.420—making in all $618,938. Deduct from this all the revenue to be got this year, £419 100, and it will leave a balance against the Province, taking the estimate of the present year, in round numbers of $200 000. Do not let the house be mistaken,—this very year if Confederation existed we would lose $200.000, as is shown by the estimate laid upon the table. I put it then to the house, are you going to throw on the people the burden of taxing themselves to maintain these works? Will you enter into a scheme of union that will take from our treasury $20,000 a year? And bear this in mind, that while our wants will go on increasing every year the subsidy will remain at 80 cents a head according to the census of 1861 In the event of a war which would prevent the sale of our coal, our revenue would be $30,000 or $40,000 less.
I ask the gentlemen who went home last year, with special grants of $10,000 for their counties, how they are to be provided for when Confederation is accomplished? You must either throw off the road grant or else deprive the people of the liberal allowance for education. The Pro. Secretary on a former occasion charged me with inconsistency in enunciating here principles contrary to those which I have placed upon the journals. I deny ever having committed myself to any scheme of union with Canada, and I will quote from some of the journals that he referred to. The resolution moved in 1801 by Mr. Howe, was as follows;
“Whereas, The subject of a union of the North American Provinces, or of the Maritime Province of British American has been from time to time mooted and discussed to aid the Colonies.
“And Whereas, While many advantages may be secured by such a union, either of all these Provinces or of a portion of them many an’ serious obstacles are presented, which can only be overcome by mutual consultation of the leading men of the Colonies, and by free communication with the Imperial Government
“Therefore Resolved, That His Excellency, the Lieutenant Governor be respectfully requested to put himself in communication with his Grace the Colonial Secretary and his Excellency the Governor General, and the Lieutenant Governors of the other North American provinces. in order to ascertain the policy of her Majesty’s Government and the opinions of the other colonies with a view to an enlightened consideration of a question involving the highest interests and union when the public mind in all the Provinces ought to be set at rest “
Here you have a resolution stating the fact that a diversity of opinion exists in the Provinces as to union, and that there were two kinds of union, one of the Maritime Colonies and the other including Canada so that the gentlemen voting for that resolution voted for the appointment of Delegates to ascertain whether the union should embrace all the Colonies or only the Maritime Provinces.
The resolution suggested an “enlightened consideration” of the question, and we all know the result of that consideration, and another object of the delegation of that period was to se [missing text] by the Delegates assembled at Quebec in September, 1862. The chief mission of the Delegates was in connection with the Intercolonial Railway. Union was mentioned at the Convention, but only incidentally discussed, no resolution being moved and no record of the proceedings being kept So that it merely amounts to this :—we pass a resolution stating that there is a diversity of opinion on the subject of Colonial union, which should be considered and set at rest; but no man in the House has been committed to any scheme of union, much less to the Quebec scheme.
I am not, therefore inconsistent in taking my present course, nor is any member who was then in the legislature, and I could feel myself at liberty to vote against any scheme that did not commend itself to my judgment But. of all the members of the House, the Prov. Sec’y is the last who should dare to talk about inconsistency. His whole life has been a life of inconsistency, front the first time he took a seat here. We know how he acted in reference to the construction of railways. What is his policy on that subject now ? It is the policy of the gentleman who preceded him. He had a policy in reference to retrenchment, by which $79 000 a year was to be saved; he went to the country with the cry, and that is the last we have heard of it, while nearly every public service has been largely increased under his administration.
The Pro Sec. seems exceedingly sensitive just now; he declares that by those shocking appeals from the press we are disturbing the public mind; why could we not have been quiet, until the gentlemen accomplishing this measure had been spirited away to another country. He said, in reference to some remarks which have appeared, that he would be justified in dealing with me after another fashion. I understand him to mean, by that, that he could have brought me to the bar of the House for these remarks. I challenge him to shew me his right to do so even if I wrote the article alluded to; and Ï challenge him to show anything in the article to warrant the language he has used. Then we are told that the press has had the audacity to charge members of this house with being traitors. Unquestionably the press did so, but did he ever turn to the meaning of the word? Webster says a traitor is one who deceives, who betrays his country; and I say, taking that sense, there are men here who deserve the appellation.
Hon. Prov. Sec.—I think the hon member is safe in making that assertion.
Mr. Annand continued—I hurl back the charge upon the Prov. Sec., because he is bartering the liberties of the country I charge upon him that he is a deœiver, a betrayer of his country—that he is a traitor. There are men in this House who, within the last fortnight, have corresponded with their considerents, sending them down sheaves of pullout against Confederation, by which the people implored the House not to pass any measure on the subject until it had been referred to them. There are men in this House who occupied that position a few days ago, and who today are found in the rants of those who will pass the scheme and prevent the people from expressing their opinion. These men are betraying the […]
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[…] people, and are acting in diametrical opposition to their well known sentiments
The Provincial Secretary intimated that there is one gentleman here who deserves the name of traitor ; he referred on one occasion to the apology which I made for using language that I was sorry for. Any gentleman who has been betrayed into heated and improper language is acting an honest and honorable part in acknowledging his error I did that without hesitation, although the Provincial Secretary did not state the words to which he alluded; but what did I find in the press ? In a portion of the press reflecting the views of that gentleman I saw a most extravagant and distorted account —a most unwarranted and untruthful version of what occurred. To put myself right I wrote to the gentleman to whom the words were used, and I will let my justification go forth with the misrepresentation that has been circulated.
(Mr. Annand here read copies of letters from Mr. B Wier and Mr F. M. McDonald, stating that Mr. A.’s remark in reference to a Fenian attack upon Canada was in reply to an exclamation of Mr Wier )
These, said Mr A, are the naked facts of the case. I met a worthy friend who is perhaps a little excitable, and he used exceedingly strong language to me. I used very strong language to him in retort, but I remember we left laughing at the extravagant expressions on both sides Gentlemen opposite are very sensitive about remarks made in the press, and if they could, would probably stifle the press and muzzle conversations out of doors, but I hold in my hand the record of language scarcely less forcible than mine, but with this distinction, that instead of being uttered in a moment of excitement in a public street these words were deliberately placed upon the Journals of the country, I find here a resolution moved by hon. Mr. Johnson the leader of the opposition in this house at a time when excitement. ran high in consequence of the removal of certain magistrates, an extract from which reads as follows:
“And this House is of opinion that if such an exercise of executive administration should be vindicated the most sacred interests of society would be placed in the power of every corrupt and unscrupulous Government that could command a subservient majority in the Legislature, and the people of Nova Scotia being driven to desire some constitution better balanced and protected the connection between the Colony and the Parent State would be weakened and endangered.
I can any more: I recollect, in 1849 when Canada was in rebellion when the Parliament buildings were burned, when the Governor General was hunted through the streets, there was a Journal in this town in the interest of gentlemen opposite that was so outspoken as to justify fully the persons who committed these deeds,, and yet I never heard of any of them being arraigned here for using disloyal expressions. We have heard much about loyalty,— what makes loyalty? Is it not the institutions of a country? Deprive a people of that which they cherish and every freeman among them will detest those who do the deed. The Pro. Sec. made a great complaint about the reference to Canadian gold and talked about bringing a member to the bar for having published that paragraph. He also more than insinuated that my friend Mr. Howe had been corrupted by American gold, and by implication myself also who he said was the mouth-piece of that gentleman in this house. This is the paragraph referred to by the Pro. Secretary.
“In the course of the Confederate Debate in the Canadian Assembly, last winter, the hon George Brown referred to the large sum that was given for the purchase of the State of Louisiana, and suggested that the expenditure of as large or even a larger sum, in the purchase of the State of the Maritime Provinces, would be a profitable Canadian investment. Mr Brown’s hint, we have reason to believe, has not been lost sight of by the Confederates. Canadian gold, it is said is here, and in sufficient abundance to overcome the scruples of certain representatives of the people. The country has a sharp eye on the House just now, and will duly appreciate the sudden conversion of members, should any unhappily be found willing to accept the base bribe.”
I hold under my hand the language of hon. George Brown to which that paragraph refers and he says:
“He could not understand why we should hesitate about bringing in a million of people with a great country and great resources; we might as well hesitate about some petty allowance of money. There was no such instance in history he believed ; other nations paid large sums for territory. Louisiana was bought tor twenty millions of dollars. What would we not give for Maine or Michigan or Minnesota, which it was possible to pay. Others pay large sums to secure emigrants We spent some $25,000 per annum yet we heard peddling objections raised now in a union. to give us nearly a million of people and vast and rich territories; a few dollars for a few years ought not to stand in the way.”
Does any one need to be told that the meaning of this is that the secret service money of Canada, if required might be had? (Cries of Oh! oh! from government side of house.) Gentlemen need not be so excited, for I tell them that 1 had a conversation with Mr. Brown not very long ago, in which I was led to believe that it I would join the Confederates I might have had money, and place, and preferment in Canada as inducements to my supporting Confederation.
Hon Prov. Sec asked that Mr. Annand’s words be taken down as he intended to test their accuracy by telegraphing to Mr. Brown immediately.
The Speaker said he could take down no words which were not unparliamentary.
Hon Prov. Sec said that he merely desired that no injustice be done to the hon gentleman in the representation of his remarks
Mr. Annand continued:—My remarks I presume have been already taken down by the proper officer and it will be unnecessary for me to repeat them. The Pro. Sec has referred to the union of Canadas, but l do not wonder that the scheme was adopted by at two third vote in the Parliament ot that Colony. We have been told that we extolled Mr. Smith as “an incorruptable patriot.” Whatever Mr Smith’s claims may be on the people of New Brunswick they appreciate them. and without wishing to say a word derogatory to the credit of the members oi the learned profession here, I doubt that there is one of them who, when the office of Chief Justice was vacant, and when he was pressed by friends and foes to take the position, […]
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[…] would pass it by rather than leave the Legislature when the county needed his services. Few men would have made such a sacrifice as that at which the Provincial Secretary sneers.
We have been asked ” what corrupted the Admiral and the General or the city of Halifax ?” I made no such charge against any of them. This city is largely in favour of Confederation, because they believe that they cannot get the railway without it. Then we have been told that we cannot get an expression of opinion from the country. Sir, I ask why not? It has been said that the question will be largely mixed up with others—with the question of education, the railway, retrenchment, and other subjects, but I maintain that there is a mode of getting the opinion of the people—the way in which their opinion was obtained upon the Municipal Corporation bill. In that case the vote was taken upon the measure alone, and such a vote would settle this question in a single day. It has been said also that our only object is to upset the Government, but I ask is it not patent to every man that if this agitation ceased tomorrow gentlemen opposite would not have the ghost of a chance of occupying their positions again. Let them open a single constituency and obtain a decision either on this question or on the general policy of the government, and that decision will be conclusive.
These gentlemen know that their fate is sealed, and they are afraid to meet it—for this reason, as much as for any other has this matter been urged on us this session. The Prov. Sec. took great liberties with a friend of mine and with me, for he counted my name with his as that gentleman’s mouthpiece, in attributing base motives to him. It is said that when Mr. Howe’s salary ceased he became an agitator from personal motives, but I happen to know that in taking this step he is incurring risks which few would run.— He holds letters from leading men m England recognizing his claims upon the consideration of the Imperial Government, and by the patriotic courage he has taken he may have forfeited that consideration I throw back then the foul insinuation that Mr. Howe has [text missing] it into the scale because the inducements of salary have ceased. The Pro Sec spoke about “button holing” and ” sapping loyalty’ in the same connection and this loads me in imagine another scene: I imagine a member of the House being sent for by a distinguished and bring addressed I this language:— my dear sir if you will only move a resolution in the Assembly asking the House to affirm the policy of union and leaving the details to be gentled at the Colonial Office your services will be appreciated and recognized by Her Majesty’s Government” I can imagine such an occurence and I can imagine the person thus addressed though a poor man, with [text missing] thus made, rejecting the proposal.
Yet we are told that we must not speak of corrupt influences. The Pro Sec. cave us an argument the other day on the aspect of an appeal to the people, he said it was our constitutional right to deal with the question. We may have the abstract right to do so but I put it to them one and all when we were elected three years ago if members had told their constituents that they would if elected destroy the constitution of the country how many of them would have been here? The trust reposed in them was for a very different purpose, it was that they should transact the public business according to the well understood wishes of their constituents.
The opinions of Merssrs. Howe. Young and Johnston have been referred to in this connection,—these gentlemen said that the proposition must be ratified by the legislature as of course it must, but will any man undertake to say that either of them dreamed of such a change being effected without an appeal to the people? I have too much confidence in the patriotism of one and all of them to believe that they ever entertained such an opinion. We have however pretty good authority for saying that the constitution should not be changed without submitting the scheme to the people. Mr. Archibald in course of his speech at Temperance Hall last winter said:
“It is for the people of Nova Scotia to ratify or reject what we have done. It will not promote their interests—if they believe the result will be injurious and not beneficial, let them reject it; but it they feel as we have felt that their future prosperity and happiness are identified with, and inseparable from Union—if the time is now come for it—let them be equal to the emergency ; let them accept the position which we believe the progress of events and their own true interests render necessary for their future happiness and prosperity.
What did that language mean? Did it refer to this House or to the people? He knows he meant the people of the country Mr. Tilley in addressing an audience at St. John. said :—
“It was not the intention of the Government of New Brunswick to force the matter up and the people. It was now before them, and he asked for is a calm and candid consideration. He could assure them that if there is the least questions as to the opinion of the people upon it, it shall be submitted to them at the polls”
That was the language of one of the most enlightened statesmen of British America,— he went to the people with this question, and went down gallantly defending his principles Let me read the opinion of Hon. Mr. Dickey, another of the delegates.
These are surely pretty good authorities. for here we have three. of those gentleman who are now pressing the matter on us indorsing the opinions which we hold I have another quotation to make on this point from an authority which the leader of the Government will not venture. to challenge. It is from the speech of the. Prov Secretary at Kentville, in reply to a charge from me that at Windsor he had made a speech ignoring the people where he denied that. he ever entertained such an opinion, and said he recognized their full right in relation to the question ; and yet we find him to-day bringing forward stale arguments about the abstract non: right of this House to deal with the constitution.
“If the people’s representatives are satisfied that the country is opposed to this Union they can yet reject it or they can obtain a dissolution by asking for it. No Government could prevent it. What w[sic] […]
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[…] wish is, to submit the broad question on broad grounds and leave its decision to the independent notion of the Legislature. No more groundless statement could be made than that there would be an attempt made to force this scheme upon the people ln the discharge of my public duty I have felt bound to go wherever l would and submit myself to the criticism of every man—to give all the information in my power—ready to submit as a member of the Government and as a public man of Nova Scotia. to what 1 believe to be the great fountain of authority—that is the clearly understood wishes of the people I am quite certain that under the present Government and Parliament no measure will be ever passed that will be contrary to the public sentiment of the country.”
Here then, you have the recorded opinions of the Delelegates [sic] themselves, recognizing the right of the people to be consulted before such a radical change in the constitution of our country. And again, the Provincial Secretary recorded his opinion, and it was a sound one that the time of peace and prosperity is the time to consider a change in our institutions, and not when we know not at what hour our country may be invaded and our homes desolated :
“The people sent us together not to consider the moans of aggression on the throne ; but to enquire how far we could advance our interests in connection with the parent state, and they wisely sent us at a tim [sic] (mark now!) when we were not convulsed by the throes of civil strife but when we could meet in the midst of peace and prosperity to consider the means of securing our privileges.”
The House of Lords the other day refused to consider the state of affairs in Ireland because that country was in danger of civil war, and we have the authority upon this point of Earl Russell, who, at the time of the Crimean war abandoned his Reform Bill, and allowed it to slumber until now. These are the examples of the mother country. and they should challenge our admiration and respect. How can you ask the men of Shelburne and Yarmouth, knowing the strong opinions they hold, to rally with true enthusiasm and earnestness in defence of the country, when their most valued institutions are being swept away ?
The government in taking this course, assume a fearful responsibility. Members may take this step but they will do an act bearing no example in the history of modern times, and they will leave behind them a riven and distracted country If they borrowed lessons from the past, and looked at what has occurred in other countries. they would pause before they consummate the unholy deed. It is a serious thing to deprive a people of all the institutions they hold dear, and I trust that whatever the government may do in the matter— whatever the delegates to Quebec and their friends may do. I trust there will be found in this House a sufficient body of men. knowing as they must that nine-tenths of their constituents are opposed to the scheme, to stand by the rights of the country
Mr. Miller said :—I feel it a duty I owe to a gentleman occupying a high position in British America who is not here to defend himself to give the version of the conversation referred to by Mr. Annand, as he stated it to me just after it took place. I do not desire to misrepresent the hon. member for East Halifax in a single word, and if, in what I am about to say, I make a mistake, it will be an error of memory and nothing more. On the occasion of Mr. Brown’s visit to this city, Mr. Annand and myself were requested to call and see him. Being very busy at the time I was not able to have that pleasure, and I could do no more than leave a card for him a short time before his departure from the city. The hon. gentleman did see him, and had, as he afterwards informed me, a long conversation with Mr. Brown. He (Mr. Annand) afterwards told me that they took up the question of Confederation, and that he beat Mr. Brown on every point of the argument He informed me that Mr. Brown having been beaten on the argument of Confederation, and the mode of convincing him had used language something like this: “You and I have been personal friends, we have long acted together, and it is too bad that at this period I should be obliged to throw myself into the hands of our opponents to carry this measure; the liberal party to which we both belong are going to rule, if the provinces are united.” These remarks having no effect, he (Mr. Annand) told me that Mr. Brown then said that. ” the Maritime Provinces, during the present. winter, failed to do anything to meet the views of the British Government on this question, Canada would seek some other mode of settling her difficulties, and leave the Maritime Provinces to their fate.
At the conclusion of the conversation I understood the member for East Halifax to say that Mr. Brown used this language: ” Annand, you should not oppose union ; you have nothing to fear; a man of your ability would always have his proper position under Confederation.” I will not deny that Mr. Annand remarked that he thought Mr Brown’s language held out an improper inducement to influence his action, but the words money, place or preferment were never mentioned by Mr. Annand to me, as I feel confident they would have been if they had been used. He would have been too glad to reveal anything of the kind to me if it were true. This was the extent of the conversation as the member for East. Halifax detailed it to me. Mr Brown first arguing the question of Confederation, then appealing to Mr. Annand’s party feelings, and then using the words l have already given. Whether the inference which he has drawn from these expressions is a legitimate one, and whether he did or did not colour the facts in relating them to me, l am not prepared to say. But I will say the hon. member was disposed to make the most of Mr. Brown’s remarks in his conversation with me. I feel bound to give this contradiction to the hon. member, in justice to an absent man.
Mr. Annand—It is unnecessary to say any thing more than that the hon. member has not stated correctly what I reported as having passed.
Hon. Prov. Sec. said he had to request, in accordance with a well known rule of Parliament, that the hon member for East Halifax lay upon the table the letters which he read as a portion of his speech.
Mr. Annand contended that there was no such rule of Parliament, and that the chair had previously decided against such a demand.
The Speaker reserved his decision.
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Hon. Atty. Gen. gave notice that he would move a resolution compelling Mr. Annand to lay the papers on the table.
The house then adjourned to the following day at 3 o’clock.
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