Nova Scotia, House of Assembly, Debates and Proceedings: Union of the Colonies (16 April 1866)
By: Nova Scotia (House of Assembly)
Citation: Nova Scotia, House of Assembly, Debates and Proceedings, 23rd Parl, 3rd Sess, 1866 at 240-258.
Other formats: Click here to view the original document (PDF).
Click here to view the rest of Nova Scotia’s Confederation Debates for 1866.
DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS OF THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY OF NOVA SCOTIA. 1866.
MONDAY, April 16
UNION OF THE COLONIES.
- (p. 240)
The adjourned debate was resumed.
Mr C.J. Campbell said : The Provincial Secretary told us, some days ago, that the Government were awaiting the action of New Brunswick on the question or Confederation. I do not think that this Province should place itself in that position Nova Scotia is the most important of the Maritime Provinces, and I do not see why we should wait for others to lead us on this important question. It is the duty of the Government and of this Legislature to take a leading part in the discussion of this measure. When the question was introduced a year or two ago, much diversity of opinion existed as to the details which had been arranged at Quebec, and matters stood in a different light from that in which they now appear At that time we looked forward to peace and tranquillity with the United States ; we had free trade with that country. But how has the aspect changed since then. We do not stand in the same position as we stood in six months ago.
The United States have shewn every disposition to annex these Provinces, and have shewn a determination to punish us by every means in their power. Besides that we have been threatened with an invasion and it becomes our duty to come forward like loyal citizens and to unite ourselves for purposes of defence. There are sentiments in this Assembly favorable to annexation, and if the country were informed of the fact those sentiments would be hooted at from one end of Nova Scotia to the other. Whatever objections the people entertained to the Quebec scheme twelve months ago matters have entirely changed. There is not a man in my county who is not loyal to the heart and who would not consent to any scheme that would save us from annexation or from invasion Mr. Annand told us that twenty years ago the country was calm, so it was; the dangers of to-day were then far in the distance and the people felt at liberty to discuss the minor points of the scheme of union, and to thwart the government from motives of self interest, but the aspect has greatly changed.
All the trifling disputes which have engaged our attention should be at once buried before the great object of maintaining British connection. The advice of the British Government and press should lead us to look forward to the time when we shall become an ally instead of Colonies of Great Britain,—that is the proud position of which many of us have looked forward ever since we came to the country. Can any one pretend to say that Great Britain would allow us to annex ourselves to the United States when the Government of that country are threatening her in every possible manner? Would the mother country part with all the resources at her command in this Province, and allow them to be handed over to her bitter enemy ? The idea is preposterous.
Mr Annand has told us that the Railway should precede the union-that might be an advantage, but he knows that though that matter has been agitated for ten or twelve years we have failed in obtaining the road It is quite evident that we cannot have these advantages […]
- (p. 241)
[…] without union He then proposes a delegation from the Maritime Provinces to agree on a platform before submitting the matter to the British Government, but such a course I do not consider wise. I may say that I had objections to the Quebec scheme but when the great necessities to which I have referred arose these objections vanished like smoke. Before knowing the wish of the British government, I had objections to the details of that scheme, but knowing now the opinions they entertain and the offers held out to us of becoming a nationality as soon as we are able to protect our selves these objections have been overcome How does the matter stand now! To obviate any objections existing it is proposed to submit the whole matter to the mother country to arbitrate between the Provinces and to form a scheme equitable to all parties.
The proposition of Mr. Annand seems to me, as I have said, objectionable and would only have the effect of deferring the object in view. The scheme has been before the country for two years, and if we are to come to a decision at all it is time we should do so now. The plan proposed in the resolution appears to me to be unobjectionable while the Opposition appears in a great strait to make any suggestion, and as a last resort have proposed representation in the Imperial Parliament. The idea of such a representation I consider ridiculous If it were granted to Nova Scotia it would have to be done to all the other Colonies, and the Crystal Palace would not be large enough to hold the Parliament. That plan was proposed ten years ago by the hon. member’s ender, but it fell to the ground without much attention being paid to it. Looking at the Lower Provinces, it will be seen how subject they are to an attack from the United States; and it has been the policy of that country to thwart the proposed union in order that we may be more willing to annex.
It has been proved by history that small countries are always swallowed up by the larger. At this moment it is not improbable that the United States would negotiate with Nova Scotia for admitting her fish and coal free, and the good feeling between this Province and Canada would be thereby destroyed and variances in interest and feeling created. One after another of the Colonies would by that policy be made willing to be annexed on such terms as the United States would dictate. The conduct of some members of the House appears childish in the extreme — one day they advocate sending to Great Britain for ships and men to protect our fisheries, and the next day they oppose with all their might the proposition to pay any regard to the wishes of the Government to which we send for aid.
My colleague urged the Government to send vessels to protect the fisheries on the Cape Breton Coast while at the same time he is a strong opponent of Union. What do we see every day? War ships, guns and ammunition gathering round to protect us without the cost to us of a shilling, and at the same time we presume to set at defiance the de mands of that Government, which gives us these means of self-protection, that we should unite for defence. If we are able to defend ourselves without the assistance of Great Britain, let us say so; but if we are not, let us concede what the mother country desires. Going along the dock the other day, I looked at our Provincial navy, and the whole affair seemed utterly contemptible There was the Daring. with a two- pounder to protect our harbors and fisheries, and yet we feel quite conceited and clamour against Confederation. My idea is, that instead of awaiting the action of New Brunswick,
We should take the lead. Ours is the most populous Province of the two and should set the example. I think the country should be made aware of the principles of those members who oppose the measure. The hon gentleman whose name has been introduced into the discussion, ever since his return, has been boldly proclaiming annexation sentiments in the streets and in the lobby of the House. Gentlemen holding: such views are getting more and more bold The history of small countries has been that from animosities they have been set: to fight against each other until they have been so weakened as to be unable to present a front to the common enemy. So it will be with us if we do not take steps to strengthen ourselves and to become one people. As I have already said, I think the Government should take such steps as will shew the other Provinces that we are not backward in this matter.
SPEECH OF MR. LOCKE.
Mr. Locke said :—It was correctly remarked the other day that the opponents of Confederation are in an unfortunate position in having nine lawyers and a doctor worth three more, opposed to us, We cannot be expected to exhibit the same ability that will be displayed. upon the other side, but we stand here backed by the strong opinions of our constituents.— Those opinions we believe to be correct and sound, and we feel that the principles which we maintain are correct. This is a question of the deepest moment to the country, we are bartering away our rights and privileges if we hand over this fine Province of ours to Canada and I feel disposed to say,
“Breathes there a man with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath said.
This is my own my native land.”
In adopting this scheme we are giving our country to Canada to be swallowed up with grand schemes and projects of aggrandisement, to a colony notedly disloyal Coming as I do from a county whose inhabitants have come from loyalist stock, a country settled by men who have sacrificed their best interests for the sake of British connection, I feel at liberty to express my opinion freely and without fear of the charge of disloyalty.
The question of Confederation has been before the country now for two years. and its aspect has recently been materially changed. What brought. about this change? We saw gentlemen on both sides of the House last Session exceedingly hostile to the scheme, but a. change has come over the spirit of their dreams. We had the hon. member for Richmond advocating one side of the question with all the eloquence at his command, we had the member for Inverness, Mr. McDonnell, taking the same side with the […]
- (p. 242)
[…] some ability, and all at once these gentlemen rise and propose that another scheme be resorted to and state that circumstances lead to the belief that a better scheme can be procured. I ask, then, ” what has brought about this change? The Prov. Secretary spoke of influences, had we not every reason to suppose that influences were at work? What these influences were it was not our business to enquire, but the suddenness of the change shewd that there were such and that they were of a strong kind.
Three months ago these gentlemen were denouncing the Quebec scheme and now they come forward and advocate a new delegation, although we know to a certainty that the new scheme will be the Quebec scheme; there may be slight variations, but in the main and substantial particulars it will be the same. Loyalty to the Crown, it has been said, requires that we should Confederate, because the Lieut. Governor has been sent here expressly to carry the measure out. No remarks in reference to that officer will be constructed, I suppose, into disloyalty to the Queen, and when the Prov. Secretary spoke about the scheme being urged upon us by such impressiveness as Royal lips alone could evince, and by his mention of the appointment of Sir W. F. Williams to carry it out he invited comment. If it be declared to be disloyal to refer to the action of the Governor I will ask the House to let me refer to 1861 when an election was being run in Victoria County. In the Prov. Secretary’s own organ I find this language; and although I quote from a paper that was particularly under his direction, and the very style. cannot he mistaken, as he used the same or nearly the same words on the floor of the House :—
“Taking into account the position of the Government and the unscrupulous means resorted to by them we can scarcely imagine the possibility of Mr. Campbell being elected. It is now understood that Lord Mulgrave made it an express condition with the usurpers that Mr. Campbell must he unseated and Victoria carried or he would he compelled in his own defence to dissolve the Assembly.” And further on he says: ” Mr. Hugh Munroe was allowed by Lord Mulgrave to abandon the important duties of his office as Chairman of the Board of Works and head of the Lunatic Asylum, in order to take part in an election struggle, contrary to the spirit of the law and policy of the legislature who had removed that officer from politics. The Governor and Government having thus combined against the liberties of the people and determined to obtain a supporter from Victoria, it is not to be supposed that any means would he left untried.”
He ends by saying: ” If there be any man in Nova Scotia who doubts the completely partizan character of the Lieut. Governor let him ponder upon these two recent outrages for which Lord Mulgrave is directly responsible. Sending the Chairman of the Board of Works and the Sheriffs of other Counties to add the Government in the Victoria Election.” In another issue of the paper he says: “That the Chairman of the Board of Works, who could not leave the important duties of his office without the leave of Lord Mulgrave, was immediately despatched with 400 a year of the people’s money in his pocket to aid the Queen’s Printer who carried the bag in the Cumberland Election in corrupting and intimidating the Electors of Victoria. We venture to assert that the history of the Colonies will be perused in vain to discover such daring innovations of the liberties of the people by any Governor. Does Lord Mulgrave think the free spirit of Nova Scotians is to be trampled out by means so fl gi ous and corrupt ?”
If that is not treasonable language to be used towards a Governor, then nothing that has been said in this debate can be considered so. Mr. Cardwell has taken strong ground us we believe against the interests of this country, and in delegating a Governor expressly to carry out the scheme of Confederation, we have every right to believe that Her Majesty’s Government are working against our interest . There is no thing disloyal in that statement, because it is well understood the Queen can do no wrong, her Ministers being responsible. I may say that it is because I believe that this scheme of annexation to Canada will drive us into annexation to the United States that I oppose it. What are the antecedents of Canada?
One of the gentlemen taking a leading part in the movement, one who has lectured in various places in the subject of union, is well known to have been an Irish rebel. Many of the leading men of Canada have stood in the same position, in their conduct during the Canadian rebellion. These are the people with whom we are asked to confederate If we yield, their Orange and Ribbon Societies and other such principles will circulate amongst us, and we would become equally disloyal If, then, annexation is to be brought about, would it not be better to go in at once to the American Union ? Because we would thus obtain all the advantages of a separate State, while if Confederation goes on probably in a few years more we will have to go in as a mere County of Canada.
It is said that trade relations are an inducement, but why cannot we obtain them without a political union? The moment Canada finds it necessary to have free trade with this Colony, she will content to the arrangements being made, it being a sound principle that trade regulates itself. What will the position of our credit be if we unite? At this day our bonds stand higher in the market than those of Canada. Confederate with Canada, and let her carry on her canals and other works, and through the means of her large debt and great expenditure her bonds will go down and ours with them, we being a part and portion of the country. By a political union we must be absorbed and swallowed up We will lose our identity and be subject to their will.
It is well known that Nova Scotia stood by the Crown during the American rebellion. Nova Scotia was loyal then and is now, and by uniting herself to such a country as Canada she will gain nothing. We have enjoyed a Parliament of our own for a hundred years, with all the privileges that a free people could ask ; we have gone on progressing, and after obtaining responsible Government we have become so free that we require nothing more in the way of independence. What will the people say to this Parliament being taken from them? We may be told that the […]
- (p. 243)
[…] local legislatures will remain but who can tell us anything of their formation? I presume that nothing that we can urge will prevent the adoption of the scheme but I contend that it would be unfair for the British government to adopt such a measure without he sanction of our people. In connection with this subject I will quote from the London Review of March 17th: —
THE RECALL OF SIR CHARLES DARLING.—
Mr. Cardwell has found it necessary to recall Sir Charles Darling, the Governor of the colony of Victoria, and we think it will be generally admitted that he has not taken this step on insufficient grounds. It will be in the recollection of our readers that the two branches of the Legislature of the colony came into conflict upon the financial schemes of the Government for the time being. The Lower House passed. the Upper House it was known would reject, the budget. In order to surmount this difficulty, the Appropriation Bill was tacked to the Bill imposing new customs duties. The Legislative Council was thus presented with the alternative of submitting to the dictation of the House of Assembly, or of leaving the Government without any legal power to levy taxes or to defray expenses; but, eventually, they chose the latter course, as they had a perfect right to do.
Pressed by the difficulties of their situation, the Colonial Ministry, thereupon, resorted to more than one irregular and illegal means of raising the wind. It was clearly the duty of Sir Charles Darling, as the representative of the Queen, to refuse his sanction to acts of such a character. But he not only gave his cordial and earnest support to the politicians who were violating the Constitution, he did something even still more objectionable. Commenting on a despatch to the Colonial Secretary upon an address from the Legislative Council, he took it upon himself to express a hope that the gentlemen who had signed it would never be designated for the position of confidential advisers to the Crown, because it is “impossible that their advice could be received with any other feelings than those of doubt and distrust.” When a Governor thus converts himself into a partisan, and descends from his constitutional eminence as the representative of the Crown, to participate in the party conflicts of the colony placed under his rule. it is clear that he can no longer discharge his delicate and dignified duties with success.
His usefulness is at an end, and nothing remains but to replace him by some one who can maintain with greater firmness a position of impartiality, and can hold himself aloof with greater self-command from the excited passions which it is his duty to moderate. ln a despatch of stinging but well- merited rebuke. Mr. Cardwell has insisted upon these obvious considerations, and has relieved sir Charles Darling from the further exercise, of functions which he has so grievously abused.—London Review, March 17.
The cases it may be said are not exactly similar because that governor went into opposition to the legislature of the Colony but our Lieut Governor knows from the petitions that have been presented that the feeling of the country is against the scheme, and that if members would but rise and express the views of their constituents they would be found in opposition to the measure. Mr. Cardwell should surely stay his hand before giving his assistance to the completion of the union under these circumstances. I will now read from the New York Albion a paper well known to be thoroughly [text missing] though published on this side of the Atlantic:—
REMOVAL OF A COLONIAL GOVERNOR—
Careless observers of the working of British institutions have been in the habit of assuming that the Imperial Government desired above all things to maintain its own supremacy in remote settlements, and that it is always disposed to back up its own local representative. These erroneous impressions may perhaps have been partially disturbed by the strange spectacle lately patent in Jamaica; and they will receive another rude shock in the news that has just reached us from Downing Street. Mr. Cardwell, the Colonial Secretary, has advised the Queen to recall Sir Charles Darling, some time Governor of the Colony of Victoria. The circumstances of the quarrel that arose between the House of Assembly and the Legislative Council, in which quarrel Sir Charles interfered injudiciously, or illegally, or both, are detailed in extracts from London papers cited above.
We have only to add that Mr. Cardwell’s despatch, displacing the Governor, most emphatically insists upon the determination of the Colonial Office at home to leave the Colonists to manage their own affairs, and points out most cogently the great blunder of the Governor in identifying himself irretrievably with any political parties. The despatch, we doubt not, will cause a flutter among the occupants of high places. For us, it has but a partial interest; because we knew well beforehand that British statesmen, one and all, have long since abandoned the idea of ruling freemen by edicts from home. If Jamaica be under the present melancholy state of things, an exception to this rule, it is because the free Blacks have shown themselves unworthy of free Government.
When the Lieut. Governor ventures to carry out any scheme of union in opposition to the wishes of the people he identifies himself improperly with a party. This House is elected to legislate according to the well understood wishes of the people, and this particular scheme, changing the constitution, it was never empowered to carry out. In adopting the scheme we do not carry out those wishes and if the people, had the opportunity of expressing their views they would return such a majority that twelve members would not be found to support the scheme. The Prov. Sec. said that it had been used as an argument on our side, in other places, that if this scheme were carried out not one of its supporters would get a seat at Ottawa. This I think very probable, but it makes our prospects still more unfavorable.
We have in this House supporting Confederation a set of trained politicians If these gentlemen went to the hustings, in all probability they would be rejected, and this would be a positive loss to the country. You would then have a new set of men. meeting more astute statesmen, and the interests of the country would be insecure. I assure the Prov. Secretary of these facts for his own interest.; and while I might consider that he would be no loss to us, we have men who have heretofore acted with and led us to care for the true […]
- (p. 244)
[…] interests of the country, who would be. Taking the first view of the question which I took— that annexation to the United States will follow annexation to Canada, it will be seen that we are doing a positive injury to Great Britain by confederating, because the moment she loses her Colonies England must become a second or third rate power.
It will be recollected that the celebrated “Junius” said in one of his letters, “The feathers which adorn the royal bird support its flight;” strip it of its plumage and you fix it to the earth.” The moment you take away the Colonies from Great Britain the feathers which support her flight are taken away, and she ceases to be a first rate power. As loyal men, we should stand by our country in this emergency. It is not certain that New Brunswick will fall in with the scheme. A telegram informs us that a majority of the Assembly will move for the recall of the Governor and that will postpone Confederation for sometime. It seems to me that the Government are too hot and too hasty in this matter Give us time to consider the question. I do not ask them to dissolve and go to the country, but I think we should have the chances of one year more to see if the people will he indoctrinated into favouring the measure, not that I expect them to willingly favor such a union, for I want none, we are prosperous and happy as we are.
I ask the House not to agree to the proposed delegation. for we very well know that the delegates will come back with the Quebec scheme. Mr. Cardwell having taken a decided stand in its favor. I, therefore, call upon the government to stay their hand and to give the country time to consider what is the best course to pursue. But if this new scheme to send a delegation to England to settle terms of union there, should be carried in this House, I would demand as a right of the people of this Province, that after terms being agreed upon by the British Government and the delegates, that it should be referred back to this people for their sanction. If any other course be pursued, you trifle with the liberties and privileges of a free people in bartering them away without. giving, them a voice in the matter, and the consequences, be what they may, will rest upon the men who have so acted.
SPEECH OF MR. BLANCHARD.
Mr. Blanchard said:—The hon. member who has just sat. down has very forcibly expressed the opinion that this is one of the greatest questions ever presented for our considerations; and I feel that I approach it under no ordinary responsibilities, and with the conviction that I am dealing with the great interests of the Province of Nova Scotia. We have been told by that. hon. gentleman that in favor of Confederation are arrayed the chief legal talent and nearly all the trained politicians of the country I consider this a strong argument in favor of Confederation that the trained politicians of all the Provinces—the men who are accustomed to look at great questions and to judge of them. have deliberately made up their minds that the scheme of Union is favorable to the interests of the Province and to our connection with the British Crown.
Let us look at any of the deliberative assemblies, and will we not find that when the leading men adopt any particular view of a question, in nine hundred and ninty-nine cases out of a thousand they are right. I might refer to a great variety of instances in support of this position. In the history of Pitt it is seen that in some cases Fox, Burke, and Sheridan, his greatest adversaries, were found coinciding with him, and history proves that in all such cases they were right. I do not think the hon member did justice to himself in saying that the trained politicians were all on one side, for his speech showed an amount. of eloquence and research seldom exhibited on such occasions. That we have nine lawyers upon this side of the question is true; but I claim that we occupy the right position, and one which many of the lay members of the house will willingly endorse.— The hon. member for Shelburne also told us that he represented a people truly loyal, the descendants of those who sacrificed much for their principles and for their attachment to the mother country.
Sir, I yield to no man in the loyalty of myself or of my constituents. I too am a descendant of a loyalist who sacrificed as much for his loyalty as any of the men who came to Shelburne at that time; nineteen- twentieths of those whom I represent are Scotchmen, and what race have done and suffered so much for their country, and where do you find patriotism if not among them? It has been said that there are influences at work in reference to this question. Sir they have no effect upon me. My friend can say nothing to me upon that score.
My position has all along been different from that of those who actively opposed the measure and who, I presume, are prepared to give good reasons for their change of mind. I feel that I am not called on, nor would it be advisable that I should go into a discussion of the merits of the scheme recently submitted to the country or of its details. That theme has been exhausted, and there will be little effort on my part to crush down the opposition to confederation. I do not therefore intend to discuss the details of the question, but to explain the position which I occupy, which is very different from that of many gentlemen around me. I have felt that the question should be approached with great care I have felt it my duty as a representative of the people seriously to right it before coming to a conclusion, and no man can say that, up to this time, I am bound by any pledges or promises to take any particular position.
We have heard about “traitors” and “treachery,” and “Canadian gold;” I feel it is hardly worth while for me to contradict the statements upon these subjects as far as I am concerned. I have not come from a school of traitors, and the reproach cannot fall upon me. I regret that I am called upon in connection with this subject, to differ from some of my friends, and I regret that personal recriminations, private conversations, have been introduced into this discussion. This is a matter which ought to be discussed calmly, and without temper. We live in an age in which progress is not to be measured as it once was, it is exceedingly rapid at the present day, and men live more in one year now than they formerly lived in twenty. Changes are rapidly approaching, and it is now our duty to look them fairly in the face, and honestly to consider the probable future. The question before the house […]
- (p. 245)
[…] is, in my opinion, whether we shall unite with the adjoining colonies or remain disunited, and involved with the chances of annexation. Mr. Locke has said that Confederation will lead to the latter—if he could convince me of that he would find an opponent of the measure as determined as any man in this country, but I support it because I feel and believe, and am convinced in my heart and conscience that if we remain as we are the time will soon come when we will be absorbed into the American Republic.
My hon. friend from Halifax, who is leading the present opposition, published that which met my approbation a short time ago, when he declared that a change was approaching, that something must be done, that. this country could not remain as it was, and that our future must be looked in the face. I felt and still feel that these were the words of truth and soberness, and I believe that unless these Colonies proceed to Confederate we cannot long continue dependencies of the British Crown. What. has occurred since last session? When the friends of the measure stated last year that they believed that the Reciprocity Treaty was about to be abrogated we were told that this was nonsense, that American interests were too deeply concerned, and that they valued reciprocity as much as we—yet have we not seen it come to pass in the teeth of offers, on the part of our government, such as none of us would have thought of making a few years ago, and such as few men in this country would be disposed to concur in.
So determined were the Americans to abolish that treaty that not only were the arguments of our delegates treated with disdain, but afterwards, when a bill was brought into Senate in connection with the subject, containing propositions that would be indignantly refused here, they refused to receive . Why did they refuse such a measure introduced by their leading minds, and approved by Mr. Morrill? What answer do their leading or ans give to the question? They tell us that it was because they expect. soon to be able to annex these Colonies,—that without free trade with them we cannot. exist, and that we will soon be glad to seek for admission to the Union.
The paid officer of the American Government in reporting on this question broadly put to the government and Senate that the only alternatives were reciprocity or absorption, and while declaring that reciprocity was beneficial to them—yet advised its refusal as favourable to Annexation. They have refused to renew that treaty influenced by these motives. It has been said that the United States have no desire to annex these Colonies Can we believe such a statement? Look at our fisheries at our mineral resources, at the extent of our wood lands and can we imagine that they are not most anxious to possess these Provinces, and especially Nova Scotia.
I feel, therefore, in looking at the question, and for other reasons not necessary to mention, that without confederation annexation is before us. The abrogation of the treaty over its origin to the desire of the American people to bring us within their borders, and I am firmly and honestly convinced that it is my duty to say to my constituents and to the people of Nova Scotia that I am willing to do anything—to resort to almost. any measure rather than run the risk of such a consequence as that. I do not mean to say by this that the scheme before us will not be very beneficial to the people of this country.
My own opinions have undergone no change on this subject, but I have resolved to take this bold and straightforward stand—to declare that we should confederate, and that we should do it now because I feel that the s ep is demanded by the exigencies which surround us, I trust in God that I may never live to see the Stars and Stripes floating over Citadel Hill,—I trust that before we are annexed I and my children shall have gone to the land of the shades, and that not one of us may be left to see our country in such a position. We have been told by the gentleman who preceeded me that Confederation would weaken the ties that bind us to the parent state,— but have we its subordinate officers, and the press of that not the government of Great Britain and all country, and among ourselves our best minds, lay and clerical, urging it on us.
Do they look favourably on the scheme because they believe it, will weaken the ties that bind us to them? I was sorry to hear one member say that the English people would be glad to be rid of us; I do not believe that such a feeling exists in Great Britain, nor that with few exceptions there are any men in great Britain willing or anxious to part with us. The only real question remaining in my mind is whether an appeal to the people should not have been had. It was suggested by Mr. Annand that the people be called on to vote on the question of Confederation alone, but I cannot think that he seriously proposed that we should do what no British country ever did before—resort to a plebiscite on this question.
Mr. S. Campbell—It has been done in Nova Scotia.
Mr. Blanchard continued:—This reference is to the vote taken upon the Municipal Corporations’ bill, but this was simply as to the adoption in each county of a purely local measure; but did any one ever hear of a question of Colonial policy being so submitted? That precedent is no parallel to this case, and I challenge gentlemen who take that side of the question to lay their hands upon any case in which a question of this kind was sent in that wav to the people. If such a mode is un-British, uncertain, and unreliable, how are we to adopt it? What are we to depend on for the decision? We recently took away from a large portion of the people the electoral franchise, are we to send this question to the electors, or to the whole people, and under what regulations?
We have heard a good deal about appeals to the people, and I would like to look back at the history of this country to shew, as I believe I can, that such an appeal is not desirable or necessary. What did we do a few years ago? We passed a bill by which the franchise was nearly doubled in the numbers of the persons called on to exercise it; and is not the franchise the source of all right and power? Did the opponents of that measure ask an appeal to the people? Not at all. Afterwards the suffrage was still further extended and made almost universal without a word about appeals to the people. Not long ago, when Mr. Johnston was in power he introduced a bill altering to a large extent, the franchise and re-distributing the […]
- (p. 246)
[…] seats; did his worst opponent say anything then about an appeal to the people?
No, the whole matter was discussed without such a question being raised. If, when I quote the acts of the conservative party, I am met with the answer from gentlemen on this side that this is poor authority. I ask did we (the liberal party) not within a short time, feeling that the franchise was too extensive, and that the time had come when the property of the country should be represented by the property holders pass a bill striking down one- third, if not one half the electors. There was no appeal to the people in that case, this house did not ask it, although it was sought. by a gentleman in the Upper House. Am I not therefore acting in accordance with the policy of my party, who maintained that the people were here present by their representatives?— Let me come now to another time.
Had we not in 1864 a resolution brought into the legislature, by the leading minds upon both sides, for the Union of the Maritime Provinces? Not to confederate them, but to unite them under one government and legislature. Was anything said about an appeal to the people then? No; it was said that the delegates should return, in order that we, the legislature, might ratify their arrangements. I ask the house whether or not, if the legislature of the different. Colonies had accepted a scheme of legislative union of the Maritime Provinces, there would have been on appeal to the people? We have heard about traitors to the country, and traitors to the party.
We are told that the Liberal party are opposed to the scheme, and my position is not at all agreeable to my friends who sit beside me, or to myself, in separating from them. I got my liberalism very early: I drew it with my earliest breath and learned its principles at the feet of such men as Dr. McCulloch and Jotham Blanchard; and I claim to have been as consistent a member of that party as any one in Nova Scotia, here or elsewhere What was the watchword of that party? They have always claimed as their watchword, Reform and Progress,—and that this movement is a progressive one, I firmly believe.
This is a measure of progress, and if opposition was to be expected, we had little reason to look for it among the Liberals of the country. I feel that I have not forsaken Liberal principles and that it would be as hard to do so as for the “Ethiopian” to change his skin or the leopard his spots.” I feel that I am where I ought to be and where I wish every liberal in the country was following our principles to their legitimate end, going forward and not adhering to the ol fogy and tory principles of keeping every thing in the old position without making an advance, and opposing every change, just because it is change. As I said, I was brought up a liberal, as I advanced in life I sustained the leaders of the liberal party.
When I first came into this house, under a good deal of temptation and trial, I sustained William Young and Joseph Howe in their principles, and if I am to be told that I am deserting the party now I reply that I do not feel ashamed to follow the liberal par excellence of British American, the hon. George Brown and Mr. Tilley of New Brunswick, men who ate liberals at the heart’s core, men who have long fought. for the principles of their party, and under their flag and in their ranks I am not ashamed to stand. Coming home I ask whether when I am in association with the leader of the opposition in this House and in the other, and assisting in carrying forward the question so long and so often proposed by the liberal party of this country, I am not where a liberal should be found.
It was not my intention to address the house at length, and I will not continue longer. The principles which I now to maintain are those of the party of progress; we have with us the young men of Nova Scotia, who are identified with its future progress—the best and most intelligent men in all the provinces, and all who look forward to being not merely Nova Scotians, Canadians, or New Brunwickers, but citizens of British North America, and all who desire to see our country occupying her true position. With their assistance these objects must be soon attained.
REMARKS OF MR. TOWNSEND.
Mr. Townsend spoke substantially as follows:—I feel a great deal of reluctance is rising to address the house on the present occasion, when I see all the legal talent arrayed against the on this important question. I feel, however, that I stand here with the great mass of the people at my back. I contend that we have no right to deal with the question; the people did not send us here to deal with it; they do not yet know its merits. I cannot believe that such immense advantages will spring from Union as some gentlemen profess to see ahead. You cannot force trade out of its natural channels. The State of Maine, and not Nova Scotia, is the natural frontage of Canada. The interests of the people do not lie in the direction of connection with Canada.
As far as my own people are concerned, I know if you were to ask them if they would prefer Annexation to Confederation, they would answer, yes. Their commercial interests are intimately bound up with those of the United States, and it is not therefore surprising that such a sentiment should prevail.— They say, give us connection with a country that will protect us. Canada cannot take care of us. I do not feel this way myself, but still I know what I state is perfectly correct. I know that, simple man as I am, I cannot change your sentiments on this question. All the leading talent of the house is against it.— We have no leader; I do not acknowledge the hon. member for East Halifax as such. The leader of the Opposition is with the Government on this question; he supports them on the School Bill and Confederation, and I am only surprised that he is not one of their number. I deny that Mr. Annand is my leader.
Can I take a man that says a thing on the street, and then comes here to prove it? I have yet to hear the arguments to satisfy me of the necessity for this Confederation. Is it advisable to unite with a. country with such large debts and duties? to have to pay for the enlargement of her canals, and extension of her railways? A large proportion of our population fire fishermen and heavy consumers, and under Confederation when you increase the duties you must increase their expenses. The Intercolonial Railway will only benefit us so far as it connects us with St. John. You cannot carry flour in quantity for any great distance […]
- (p. 247)
[…] over the railways; the barrels are injured; water communication is infinitely preferable. It is only to winner that the road will be found of any particular advantage
What I fear is that if you pass this measure in the mode proposed you will convulse the country from one end to the other. All we require is to be allowed to manage our own affairs in our own way. 1 do not think that we can be better off than we are now under any circumstances. Why not then let well enough alone, and cease disturbing the country at what gentlemen say is a critical period of its history? The Quebec scheme is as good a scheme as any you can devise, but I don’t it want any at all. I know that the constituents are to a man opposed to the proposed Confederation, and I am deter mined to stand by them. I feel that they will look upon the present action with horror and alarm. My people, I say, would prefer Annexation to Confederation, but only let a thousand Fenians come among them, and the fellows would not he heard of. Let England or Canada be assailed, and two thuds of our young men will volunteer to take care of the country. But still we do not wish to be hurried into Confederation. We want the people to have a voice in the matter.
SPEECH OF THE HON. ATTORNEY GENERAL.
Hon Atty General said :—I have been labouring for some days past under a hoarseness, which is not at all pleasant, and I do not feel now in a condition to do justice to the important subject before the House; but as gentlemen appear indisposed to speak on the subject, I shall endeavour, without preparation, to give my thoughts as concisely as is possible. The question is one of such great magnitude that I feel I am hardly doing my duty in addressing the House under the circumstances I have stated. The present question is one which is fraught with most fruitful consequences to the people of this province, as well as of all British North America. We have thrown upon us a responsibility by the tide of events which we must assume, unless we are willing to fail in the duty we owe to the people. It will be for gentlemen, looking at the whole position calmly and dispassionately, to deal with the question as subjects of our beloved Queen, anxious to perpetuate the connection with the British Empire.
All considerations of party politics should be laid aside, and no influences should prevail, except the desire to arrive at a conclusion that will benefit the people whose interests we have in charge. I contend that, as subjects of the Queen of England, as members of the province of Nova Scotia, we have duties now to discharge of a most onerous character. We have been accustomed from our childhood to take an interest in the great country from which we have sprung. We have drawn from that country the principles that lie at the foundation of all our institutions. We should look at the present question, not merely in the capacity of provincial representatives, but as subjects of the great empire of Great Britain. I hold this doctrine, and I believe it is a patriotic one, that we should consider in our deliberations that we are acting not only for the advantage of Nova Scotia but also in the interests of the great empire on which the sun in said never to set. I have listened with some interest to the speech just delivered by the hon. member for Yarmouth (Mr. Townsed), and although I must condemn his disloyal sentiments, yet I feel he is at all events entitled to some credit for the candor with which he stated them.
I can understand that hon. member coming forward and proclaiming, to the House and country that the people of Yarmouth have no loyalty except what puts money into their pockets. We can understand that argument against the union of the Provinces, and need not therefore be surprised that nine-tenths of the people of that section are opposed to Confederation.— We therefore see plainly why the hon. gentleman is opposed to a union of British North America. We can understand gentlemen who argue this way, who prefer annexation with the ” Stars and Stripes” to England’s ” Meteor flag,” but what are we to think of gentlemen who come forward and say that they are actuated by very different motives —that they wish to keep up the connection with the British Crown; they say they are loyal, but that if we confederate, we must be eventually annexed to the United States. That is an argument which requires some explanation before it can satisfy those who have studied the question of union and have come to the conclusion that a union ol the Provinces is necessary to the continuance ol their connection with Great Britain, and their only safety against annexation.
When the resolution was passed in this House, providing for a Conference to consider the question of a union of the Maritime Provinces, we all believed that a union with Canada was impracticable at that time—that she would not be moved by an appeal from these colonies—that any movement on our part would not influence her. That was the sole reason why Canada is not included in the resolution in question. We believed that union of the Maritime Provinces was alone practicable, and that it it would lead to the larger Union.
A delegation was sent to Charlottetown, but before it took place what was announced in all the newspapers? What was everywhere known and understoood? What was the understanding of every man that went on that delegation? Why, that the delegates of the Maritimes Provinces were to meet a delegation from Canada at Charlottetown in reference to a Union of British North America. Gentlemen, now busily occupied in opposing union, were aware what was to take place at that convention. I have no hesitation in saying that the fact was known to Mr. Howe, and publicly stated in his presence at the dinner given to the Canadian gentlemen, but who, in a number of articles, has been obstructing union for the last eighteen months—who has called these connected with the Quebec scheme “traitors”; thereby stigmatizing his own political friends and allies as well as those who have been opposed to him in public life, He has charged them with having sold and bartered away the rights of the people of the country, and when a gentleman under his own hand, makes such charges against others, he need not be surprised that they are thrown back against the individual who made them.
That gentleman knew that the Delegates were to meet for the purpose stated. He did not wait to he asked to join that delegation, but personally solicited the appointment. […]
- (p. 248)
[…] When he was appointed and found that a man- of-war was ready to take him to Newfoundland, and that. he could not go to Prince Edward Island, be expressed his deep regret that he could not join us. Believing and expecting that something would grow out of that meeting, he wrote to the Government expressing regret that he could not join the delegation, but that when he returned in October he would be happy to aid them in any scheme that. might be arranged.
It is not necessary for me to go over the evidence that he was always in favor of a union of the Provinces. Whilst conducting a leading public journal he advocated it for years; within these walls be repeatedly referred to the subject in a manner that was calculated to bring conviction to the people of this country. Who does not remember the story he told so often that. when he arrived in Liverpool a consul from the United States, the bearer of important despatches, was allowed to go ashore, whilst he had to remain in the ship. Should a Colonist, he said, be considered so little entitled to consideration? Should not the Colonies assume a position that would entitle them to more respect among the nations of the world?
I am not going to recapitulate what occurred at Charlottetown, or enter into any elaborate exposition: of the necessity and advantages of union ; it has been throughly discussed in the press and on the platform, and on the floors of this House. I have yet, to hear, in this debate, anything on the subject that has not been often said before. It is complained that. there are eleven lawyers in this House in favor of the scheme; but are not the best minds in the country also supporting it ? I need not tell gentlemen who are opposing this great measure of intercolonial progress, and who the “head centre” is. He is well known in this House and country; he has been receiving pay from the Imperial Government for the past two years, but, opposed to the views of that Government, has been secretly using every means to thwart them and at the same time tried to de ude the people by a letter that he was not opposing the measure in any shape. Now that his pay has ceased, the mask in thrown off, and we find him openly in antagonism to the measure which he pretended he had not endeavored to thwart. He, a servant of the British Government, has been for months past insidiously la boring to destroy a scheme that he knew had secured the approval of that Government, of the British Parliament and people, and the best minds in British North America.
This is a free country, and every man is at liberty to write what he wishes; but there are responsibilities thrown upon some persons in reference to many public measures that should induce them to act with great discretion. That discretion has not been observed by Mr. Howe. He has forgotten the responsibility that he owes to the people of this country. He was not called upon as a public man, for he occupied no position in this country that required his action. but he has gone out of his way to oppose this measure, and to slander and villify members of this House, on both sides. We are told that. this is the patriot of Nova Scotia, and that therefore he is entitled to consideration. Let us see the position that the hon. gentleman occupies before the people of Nova Scotia, and scrutinize his claims to the confidence of the country.
He went to England on a railway mission, three or four years ago, and entered into an arrangement. by which the people of this province would have to pay three and a half twelfths of the entire cost of the intercolonial Railway, and then came back and, by the power of a small majority, whilst an employee of the British Government, passed an act to carry it out. Now, when the road is to be built on most advantageous terms, he is found opposing a scheme of union without which its construction must be delayed for years He went to the county of Lunenburg at the general election in 1863, and the people rejected him by an overwhelming majority. He has since then been in the pay of the British Government, but during that time what evidence did he give of his patriotism ? Did he serve the interests of the people on any single occasion? No; his patriotism was subdued by his salary.
This gentleman, whose ability is undoubted, whose speeches I have listened to on the floor of this House with the greatest. interest, assumes to be the guide of the people. Let us see what claims he has to that position. We all know that the Reciprocity Treaty was entered into in 1854. It came to be ratified in this House, and where do we find that hon. member? We found him endeavoring to defeat that measure, and dividing the House on the question. If the hon. member had been successful, we would never have had any Reciprocity Treaty, as far as Nova Scotia is concerned, and the advantages of that measure and the favorable position it now so strongly enables us to take in dealing with that question, would have been wholly lost. Again, the question of the settlement of the Mines and Minerals came up for consideration in l858. It was arranged by a gentleman taken from each side of the House— by the present Judge in Equity and the hon. leader of the Opposition. Mr. Howe led up an opposition to the measure, and did all in his power to frustrate the arrangements that the delegates had made in London. These were two important questions which have proved most advantageous to the people, and yet Mr. Howe, the patriot, was found throwing obstacles in their way.
Again, the hon. gentleman became a railway commissioner, and I need not remind the House that, in 1856, he was constantly found button-holing members, and endeavoring to upset the Government of his own party, whose subordinate officer he was. If that Government, which he represented as resting over a volcano, was not immediately broken up, it was not his fault. Things went on this way until 1857, when the Gourley shanty riots occurred. We all remember the religious animosities that were excited. Who was the origin? This same gentleman. He destroyed his own political friends by forcing measures upon them which they could not with safety adopt, and which divided, as he knew it would, his own party. He raised religious strife in this country for his own personal objects, and excited neighbor against neighbor who had lived for years in peace and quietude.
He managed by this means to get into power in 1859, but do you think he endeavored to preserve consistency of action? Nothing of the kind. After his success, by a. small majority, which was subsequently melting away. and feeling the power unrighteously obtained fast slipping […]
- (p. 249)
[…] away, and in order to avert it, he did not hesitate to seek aid from the very men he had proscribed, and to assert that his professions to others were false, and that he had only wanted a little capital by which to get back into power This is the gentleman who now attempts to deal with the people of Nova Scotia, and tell them that they should follow his advice. He has been opposed to the continuance in office of the present Government, and he made overtures to Opposition gentlemen likely to support the Confederation scheme, asked them not to allow the present Government to carry it, that if they would only help him to overthrow the present Administration he and they might, if necessary, pass the measure when they got into power. I am not making this statement, rashly. I can prove it by what has passed between them within and without the walls of this building. His opposition is, I am satisfied, not so much to Union as that the men in power should carry the measure. That is the patriotism that influences the hon. member.
There is another gentleman opposite who opposes this measure, and that is the hon. member for East Halifax. I regret to say anything severe about that gentleman, for he has passed through an ordeal in this house which entitles him to commisseration. He endeavored to blacken the character of men connected with the Quebec scheme. We all know the statement made concerning Hon.George Brown, and the refutation it has met, even from his attempt at escape by denying his own words, uttered in our presence.
I ask the hon. member to consider the position he occupies on this question. I am prepared to prove by the most conclusive evidence that the hon member, within the last two or three weeks, would have been willing to go for this very resolution, without any stipulation as to an appeal to the people. What has changed the hon member since? Have there been any new arrivals in this country since he formed and uttered this intention? Has there been any influence brought to bear upon him? A gentleman has written article after article on the subject, who has stated deliberately that he would be willing to support this scheme, now comes here and tells us that he has yet to hear “the first argument in favor of union with Canada.” He attempted to define his position the other day, but I am quite sure that when he was done, nobody knew where to find him.
On the several occasions that this question has been before the House, I have not said a single word on the subject. It was one of those questions that I did not wish to deal hastily with; I was anxious to ascertain how it could be carried out in accordance with the public interests, and how far the measure could be practically dealt with. We went to Quebec, and I listened attentively to the arguments in connection with the subject of Union. When, I saw that a practicable scheme could he mature ed which would do justice to all interests, and believing it was necessary for the welfare and prosperity of the people of British North America, then alone did I consent to be a party to it.
As respects the Quebec Scheme, I may state that I had my doubts as to the correctness of some of its features. and divided the convention on them. I objected to the pardoning power given to the local governors, who are simply delegates from the General Government, believing that feature would be regarded by the British Government as against principle. I objected again to that portion of the scheme by which the number of the Legislative Council is stereotyped; I held that it was preferable to continue the principle of the British Constitution, which allows the Crown to add to the number of the Upper House, but I was overruled by the allegation of the difficulty of arranging the numbers which might be added so as not to alter the relative numbers from all the Provinces.
I felt, however, although opposed to some of the details, that it would be for the interest of the Provinces to adopt it as a whole. I felt that whilst they remain isolated, instead of becoming more intimately connected and better acquainted, they were likely to become more an more antagonistic to each other. I had before me the position of two Australian Colonies which came nearly to war in consequence of some financial dispute between them. Some goods were seized by the one, and attempted to be rescued by the other, and they were only restrained from the adoption of extreme measures by being Colonies instead of independent countries. We have trade relations between the Provinces that are injurious to all of them.
The hon. member for East Halifax says that we can have changes, and those relations improved without union. Well, the hon. gentleman tried that on one occasion, and found that the difficulties that met him were of a most insurmountable character. We are told that the currency could be assimilated, but the hon. member must have changed his opinions on this subject very recently, or he would not now desire to alter or assimilate the currency. A few years ago I introduced a bill for the purpose of giving the country a decimal currency, founded on the basis of the American, Canadian and New Brunswick currency; but he voted against it, and he and his party did all they could to prevent us assimilating our currency to that of the neighboring States and Provinces.
The hon. member denies that Union can increase our capacity for defence, but no one is likely to believe that his opinions are entitled to greater weight than the eminent statesmen and generals who have given their views on the subject. At present each of the provinces looks to its own safety, and does not trouble itself much about its neighbour. We can hear with comparative quietude that the Fenians are about to land in New Brunswick, but if we hear that Nova Scotia is endangered and its soil invaded, our blood is excited, and we feel we must rise and defend our hearths and homes. If we were all united in one, if the Canadian felt that the soil of Nova Scotia is as dear to him as that of Canada—if Nova Scotia felt that Canada is a part of itself—we would all have a greater guarantee of security. We are told that disunited we can as effectually defend ourselves.
I would call attention to the position of Wellington in Spain. Whilst trammeled by the orders of the British Government, Spanish Junta, etc., he was powerless, but the moment he determined to act on his own responsibility, success crowned his arms Everybody must see the great advantage that is derived from the concentration of authority in one hand. The most powerful government for speedy action is that which is despotic. If we have one concentrated authority in the […]
- (p. 250)
[…] country—one general command—our strength will be vastly increased, by the ability to concentrate force when necessary at any important point. The hon. member for East Halifax would have the people of the province pay pound for pound with those of Liverpool, Manchester and London, and leave the expenditure to the British Government irresponsible of any power. We would then have no control over the expenditure, and could no supervise those who would expend the moneys thus raised. If we were united under one Government, and had one Central Legislature, then the money would be under its control; and our own representatives would see that it was judiciously expended.
The hon. member for East Halifax told us that the necessities of Canada forced them to unite with us. I tell the hon. gentleman Union was spoken of, and introduced by the gentleman whose mouth-piece he is, long before it was thought of seriously in Canada. They had no necessities that forced them to a union with the Maritime Provinces. All that they had to do was to agree to the principle that is introduced into the Quebec scheme, Representation by population ; and I believe they will be found ready to adopt that principle in their own local affairs if this scheme fails. When this question is settled they have no important difficulties to disturb them.
If the question of Union has attained its present position rapidly, it has been aided by the resolution that his own government introduced and carried in this House some years ago without a division. When Canada found that the Lower Provinces were taking measures for a union among themselves, her public men asked if we could not unite in a Confederation of all the Provinces. When we went to Charlottetown, we found that, owing to the opposition both of New Brunswick and P. E. Island ,the smaller Union was impracticable. Not a word was said about union with Canada until it was found that union of the Maritime Provinces could not be brought about. I may add, that the question of a Legislative union of the Maritime Provinces was again brought up at the Quebec Convention. Canada and Nova Scotia urged that union, but gentlemen representing the two provinces named would not consent to that union. If, therefore the Maritime union has not been carried, it is not the fault of Nova Scotia or Canada.
Reference has been made to the financial necessities of Canada. We know from our own experience that the revenue will fall off considerably during some years; one year Nova Scotia had a deficiency of £39,000. Three or, four years in succession of failure of crops affected the importations into Canada, and consequently caused a deficiency in the revenue, but I can assure gentlemen that Canada is not now in any position to require assistance. Yet gentlemen who would object to Confederation with Canada for fear of extra taxation, would have no unwillingness to annex us to the United States, with its immense war debt and exhausting taxation. Canada now is as prosperous as any portion of the globe.
The hon. member told us that the Imperial Government had no policy until after the. report of the delegates. In this he may be correct. The British government, looking at the fact that leading men representing both political parties in the provinces were in favour of union and had adopted a measure for their confederation, had every reason to suppose that they represented the feelings and wishes of the country when the British public saw that the Colonies were entertaining the scheme for Union—that the leading men had concurred in its details, they felt that. this was a measure that invited their serious consideration and approval. I tell the hon. member for Shelburne that it is not only Mr. Cardwell who has spoken strongly on this question ; if he did not support it, I believe he could not remain in his present position. No government could be formed in England unless it encouraged and stimulated this union, for public opinion in that country is almost unanimously in favor of that scheme. I know this from leading supporters as well as opponents of that government.
I have already pointed to some of the parties who are opposing the Union of the British North American Provinces. I have shown you that some of these gentlemen profess to be Annexationists to the American Republic— But we had on the promulgation of the Quebec scheme opposition from another quarter.— It will be remembered that there was a paper published in Halifax under the not. very euphonious title of the Bullfrog, patronised and encouraged very largely by gentlemen in the Anti-Confederate interest. This paper was edited principally by gentlemen in the Royal Artillery in this garrison, who have since published a work on Confederation, which I find reviewed in an English paper. I must. say that, if the Review expresses their views, these gentlemen have been guilty of the grossest libel upon the loyal people of Nova Scotia that was ever penned. When we look at a man’s conduct in all its relations, then only can we form a just conclusion as to the motives that actuate him. I will now read to you from a review of the work in question :—
The Confederation of British North America. By E. C BOLTON and H. H. WEBBER, Royal Artillery.— London: Chapman and Ball.
The authors at this volume go dead against a scheme which was received with much approval in this country, and was believed to have been also on the whole, favourably looked upon in the colonies — We mean, of course, the proposal for the Confederation of the British North American Provinces. lt seems , however, according to the authors of the work before us that we were all wrong on the subject — Confederation, they declare, is neither posible nor desirable—indeed. ls not desired, in the wide sense of the word, at all. The maritime provinces. while they are favorable to a federation among themselves, are bitterly inimical to a union with Canada: while all the Colonies—Canada, New Brunswick. Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island—are much more inclined to be annexed to the United States than to the confederation proposed, and only value British connection for the sake of Imperial expenditure among them. The Confederation scheme the authors pronounce to be a farce; and, if carried out, a ruinous farce. The colonies wish to do nothing. and will do nothing to provide defences for themselves. The mother country, they think, cannot do without them— in fact, would sink into the position of a third-rate power were her American colonies severed from her, while they would still retain their trade with the United States, with England and with the rest of the world. The people of all the Provinces are we are told far more Yankee than British in their characters and their habits, and even in their sympathis; and the loyalty to the Crown, of which we hear so much is, if we may trust Messrs. Bolton and Webber, only a mere lip affair, put on to keep up appearances and induce a continuance […]
- (p. 251)
[…] of grants for public works, for fortifications, and for the maintenance of troops in the provinces and of the navy on the station.”
Here you see the supporters of the Anti-Confederation doctrines perpetrating this disgraceful libel upon the people of Nova Scotia. I hold that these gentlemen are no worse, however, than those who here advocate annexation. We are told that our loyal is only a more lip service, that we value British connection only for the advantages it brings with it— for the money it affords us in connection with naval and military expenditures. I ask the hon member for East Halifax and those who are associating with him, ought they not to be proud of their connection with these gentlemen who has libel our country?
We are told that we should not go into this Union—that Nova Scotia is now happy and prosperous, and does not require union to make her more so. Let me ask how are we going to provide for the continuance of that prosperity? Who of all the Anticonfederates can show ns where, without union, we will be in two years?—who can guarantee us our position for that period or less time? We only jeopardize it whilst we remain isolated as at present. Look at the geographical position of Nova Scotia, at her great resources, and ask it she should not wish to be even more prosperous than she actually is, or without union can ever expect to be. What is it that placed England in her present exalted position among thenatlons of the world? What is it that has given her continued supremacy on the sea, and as a manufacturing country? Her mines of coal and iron.
What have we in Nova Scotia? She is partly a fishing and partly an agricultural country, but she has also most valuable mineral resources only is the infancy of their development. If you consider her water power, and mines of coal and iron, and her geographical situation you see all the elements of a rest manufacturing country on this side of the country. Whilst we have no market we cannot expect to see our manufacturing system develop itself, but if we had a market of four millions of consumers, then we might expect, in a fair competition, to see them progress. Give her the population, and I am con dent that she will take a position in the manufacturing world that no country of the same size can far surpass.
We are told that we can have free trade without union, but that cannot be roved; we are told it I repeat, but not the slightest evidence is adduced to show how we can obtain it. There are intercolonial commercial rivalries that prevent that object being attained as applicable to manufactures. Wherever an attempt has been made in this direction, failure has followed, and will follow hereafter. Nothing is more certain than the truth of the principle that when you attach a small country having all the elements of manufacturing, to a greater one with a large population, you benefit that smaller country. Situated as we are on the broad Atlantic, with our ports open at all seasons of the year, with our fisheries, mineral and other resources, we may become the entrepot for a large extra trade between the other British North America colonies and the West Indies and other parts of the world, and only require a union with a larger country to become great and prosperous to an unlimited degree.
A trade will arise that will give employment to our shipping, and we may and will, no doubt, add largely to that shipping and the amount of our carrying trade. But sir, if no increased prosperity will result from union, I again ask who can guarantee to Nova Scotia the position she now occupies ? Look at the state of things on this continent, and ask yourselves is not the danger imminent if we remain isolated as at present. If, on the other hand, we are able to; get by the union a guarantee of the continuance and increase of this prosperity—if we can by it perpetuate the connection with the great Empire of which we form a part, is it not our duty as well as interest to do so without delay, and not risk the continuance of that connection by a selfish and exclusive policy against the unanimous wish of the people who protect us.
We are told by the hon. member for East Halifax that there is a sentiment prevalent in England in favor of getting rid of these Colonies. I had a better opportunity than the hon. gentleman of judging the state of public opinion, and I travel over the country more than he did. I can unhesitatingly state that in no part of the mother country did I discover any such sentiment as he speaks of. We have heard of the Manchester school of politicians who are said to be unfavorably disposed towards those Colonies of the Crown; and desirous for their separation. That party is small,” it is all, which I very much doubt; and it certainly does not represent the sentiment of the people. I had the honour on one occasion, during my late visit to England, of sitting down to a luncheon, at Rochdale, a little out of Manchester, with some one hundred gentlemen of standing and influence.
I was presented to them during the entertainment as having one been of the delegates who went from Nova Scotia to the Quebec Conference, to frame the scheme of the nice of the Provinces. I can only say that the statement was received with universal applause, and I was called upon to respond to the toast. I never felt, grander in in life than to hear in that very heart of the Manchester district the cheers that rang from one end of the building to the other; when I promulgated the opinion that it would not be long before the Colonies were united. A few politicians representing that part of the country may spout such ideas, but I am certain the hearts of the people are not with them. I believe that a similar feeling prevails among all classes of the people of Great Britain. I any such sentiment entertained by parties in England as the hon member says, it is perhaps not difficult to account for it. Persons there may be deluded into the idea that the Maritime Colonies are opposed to Confederation, thanks to the hon member and his associates. But if the hon member is correct, and England does wish to throw us off, what ten, is to be our fate? Where are we? What country do we belong to? What must be the fate of $50,000 people left isolated and alone? Annexation must inevitably follow.
Therefore admitting that such a feeling does exist in the mother country, we have an additional argument in favor of the necessity of Confederation—of a union that will give unity and solidity; a population of four millions of souls bound together […]
- (p. 252)
[…] by the closest ties, determined to aid and strengthen one another and perpetuate the hallowed connection with our honored parent. If the mother country receives from us a pledge of earnestness in this matter, and believes that our great object is to keep up the connection with her, she will feel doubly bound to give renewed assurances for the continuance of that connection, and to sustain and protect us in the hour of need. She will feel that the colonies united in one great country will be a source of strength instead of weakness. If the colonies are consolidated—if they present a united population of millions of loyal subjects, England will feel a greater degree of security than she can possibly do while they remain more isolated communities without unity of purpose or design.
We are told that it is unconstitutional to pass the Resolution before the house—that the question should be referred to the people at the polls, but where is the argument that has been adduced in support of this reposition? We are told that it is a terrible thing to take away the rights of the people. Do these gentlemen correctly estimate the position we occupy? Do they forget that we have certain responsibilities as forming a portion of the Empire of Great Britain? We have a constitution of our own, I admit, and have the right to manage our own local affairs. We had conceded to us years ago the principle of Responsible Government: but did we also obtain the right of exercising it against the rest of the Empire on a question involving Imperial as well as Inter-colonial interests? Are we to use it to the detriment of the mother-country and the sister-colonies?
When Responsible Government was conceded to us, the principle of total independence did not accompany it.— We may pass an act here, but it must be ratified by the home government. We are dependent, and should where necessary, modify our views and measures to some extent when imperial and intercolonial interests are at stake. Whilst we are a dependency, we have the protection of the mother-country, and she can at the same time ask from us the yielding of certain rights as British subjects, for the benefit of the whole Empire. We are asked to—(Mr. Killam—To sell us)—the hon. member says to sell us; I would tell him that he would not ask a great deal to sell us to the United States tomorrow. (Cheers in the galleries.) I contend whenever overpowering interests of the empire demand it, the Imperial Government may fairly ask us to modify and amend our constitution, and that the representatives of the people can constitutionally consider and pass upon; the subject. Let us then look calmly at the position we occupy.
We are told that this matter should be submitted to the people. I would ask these gentlemen to give us examples where such a course has been pursued. Have they cited one case? Not one. How was the constitution changed in New Zealand? By the Legislature first adopting the measures for Union, and subsequently by an Imperial act. I can understand why, if a resolution was moved for Annexation to the United States; some gentlemen would not see anything improper in it, but when we move one, under the authority of the British Government, with the, view of joining the sister colonies, in order to give us strength and security, they prate about the constitutionality of the proceeding. Suppose the British Parliament in the interests of the Empire should pass an Act for the consolidation of those Provinces, could the constitutional right of doing so be impugned?
The British Government have not intimated a desire to pursue that course but no person can deny its right to adopt that course. All, however, that they have done is to manifest their desire that we should manage the affair in our own way, and to give us their opinion that it is for own advantage that we should unite without delay. When gentlemen attempt to introduce a novel doctrine in this Legislature they should adduce some argument derived from the practice of other countries in support of their position. Can they show us an instance of a question after it has passed the Legislature, having been sent to the people? When a government introduces, but fail to carry, a measure, they can go to the country and test the public opinion. When a measure is proposed by a government and passed, the constitutional doctrine prevails that the gentlemen within these walls represent the feelings of their constituents.
That must be the constitutional test, otherwise every measure of importance should be submitted to the people after its passage through the Legislature. We are told that the people are opposed to this scheme but that has to be proved. The people are hardly yet aware of the exact nature of the resolution, and therefore cannot be said to be opposed to it. Some persons have objected to the Quebec scheme ; some have favored a legislative union; others are in favour of a modification of the former measure. Various opinions prevail, but nearly all wish union, of some shape or other. I hold that it is perfectly constitutional to pass this resolution—that we have an undoubted right to do so—gentlemen will remember that it is only a short time since that the Legislature of Jamaica passed an act to destroy its own constitution? Did these Anti-Confederate gentlemen come forward and declare that to be unconstitutional? Not at all.
We propose only to transfer certain powers to a Legislative body comprising a fair representation of our own, chosen on the principle of population. It is not a Confederation in the strict term of the word. it is a Legislative union to a large extent. The people will elect their representatives as they do now, and each county will have its member in the General Parliament. Objection has been taken to the principle of representation based on population, but what else can you have? We could not expect to have as large a representation as Canada, nor could Prince Edward Island ask as many representatives as Nova Scotia or New Brunswick, and if the numbers were not to be equal, I ask these gentlemen upon what principle would they be regulated except on that of population What was the cause of the difficulties that have arisen between Upper and Lower Canada? It was because that principle was not incorporated in the Act of Union.
After a few years Upper Canada, at first less than Lower Canada but subsequently largely increased in population , did not consider that it was fully represented, and demanded that its representation should be based on numbers. We are told that this is not a Legislative Union, because all the subjects […]
- (p. 253)
[…] that come before a Legislature are not embraced in it. If they are not embraced in it Nova Scotia has not therefore much cause for complaint. Education, Roads and Bridges, the control of our jurisprudence, and other subjects in which we take the deepest interest are left to our own control. Then we have the same amount per head for our local government that they have in Canada, and if we manage to spend more money in proportion to our population than she does, it is only right we should pay for it. We go into that Union on the same terms. Every man, woman, and child will owe the same debt— receive the same amount from the general exchequer—as each man, woman, and child in Canada, and we shall have our full share of all the expenditures by the General Government for important public objects. We are told, however, nineteen members will have no influence in the General Legislature.
I contend they will have as much influence relatively as the eight gentlemen representing Cape Breton now exercise in this house of fifty-five. That island is felt to be a part of our country, and entitled to a share of the general prosperity, and in Union each of the Provinces will feel an interest in the prosperity of the others. There may be some little rivalries, as we have now, but these will not exist as to local expenditures so much as affecting general principles and measures. Talent and energy will assert their proper positions in the general legislature as it does here and everywhere under free institutions. Nova Scotia may be a small Province, but her men will be able to hold their own I trust in the United Parliament. The nineteen men she will select to represent her will, I have no doubt, be able to protect her interests.
As I have just said, Cape Breton receives a large influence in this House; her members have received everything that they can reasonably ask. Party Government must prevail in the new Parliament.— here must, as in all countries under Responsible Government be a Government and an Opposition, and Nova Scotia will exercise with her nineteen members a sufficient influence.— There is no party, however strong. that can afford to neglect the legitimate local interests of any one of their supporters. This government came into power some years ago, with a majority such as was never seen before in Nova Scotia, and who can allege that the local interests of any section were neglected.
It is true that no government can satisfy the demands of all their followers—nor can they in adopting a general line of policy satisfy their friends; but I am now referring to the local interests that are to be represented. If any gentlemen have withdrawn their support from the government it is on general subjects; no one can say that local interests are disregarded; and I am free to say that the gentlemen from Nova Scotia will get their fair share of everything that they require for there is no party at Ottawa that could refuse it to them with impunity. We all know that the Irish party, comparatively few in number, to a large extent, controlled public matters for years in the British Parliament.
We have had all sorts of aspersions thrown upon us. It is said that we are actuated solely by selfish motives. One gentleman is to be a governor, another a judge, everybody is to get something. I believe that the gentlemen who talk this way have some ideas floating in their minds that by opposing this scheme they may become something of the kind themselves. They believe, and the secret was let out by the hon. member for East Halifax, that the government is unpopular, in consequence of the School Bill; that if they can only keep things as they are for a few months longer, until a general election, they may come into power themselves; that when the present government is defeated, and they step out of office, they can, if necessary, carry Confederation themselves—then, no doubt, the people will be in favor of it—nothing will be then said about the constitutionality of dealing with it irrespective of an appeal to the people; or, they will have their choice of leaving things as they are, and holding an office as long as they can. Visions of Financial and other secretaryships; offices of Queen’s Printer and others, are no doubt urging their powerful influences upon the patriotic minds of these gentlemen. 80 we may fairly suppose that these are the reasons that sway some hon. gentlemen, rather than these suggestions of patriotism of which we hear so much, but in practice see so little. They wish to have the alternative of choosing or rejecting Confederation, according as it may suit their own personal interests. Therefore they urge delay on the part of the present government in reference to the question. What unselfish patriots!
The hon member for Halifax has admitted that he said to gentlemen in this house that he would go to New Brunswick to see some Anti-confederates for the purpose of ascertaining whether they would not agree to a resolution something like the present one. He will allow me to say that if he had gone to the sister Province he would not have found Mr. Smith opposed to a union of the Provinces. I am not taking a liberty with that gentleman when I say that he has never pronounced himself against a scheme which would remove the objections he entertains to the Quebec plan of Confederation. The state of things in that Province itself proves that the large mass of the people entertain similar views on the subject.
I know that I have not dealt with this question as its importance demands, but although unprepared and not expecting to speak to day I could not allow the resolution to pass with a silent vote. Present and aiding in the Charlottetown and Quebec Conventions, I came to the conclusion that it was for the interest of Nova Scotia as well as her duty to the great Empire to which she belongs, that she should adopt this Union. I have endeavoured to give these crude observations in a dispassionate and calm manner. I have given some of the reasons that influence my judgment in favour of the resolution before the house and now say most emphatically that if there are any persons who prefer annexation to the United States, let them, in Heaven’s name, follow the example of the hon. member for Yarmouth, but do not let them attempt by false representations to thwart the efforts of those who would bring about a Union of the Provinces. I say, however, to gentlemen around these benches, who value the flag that ” for a thousand years has braved the battle […]
- (p. 254)
[…] and the breeze,” and that has planted liberty and freedom in every quarter of the globe—to all those who are inspired by a desire to perpetuate the connection with the British Empire, come forward and support the measure, which will at once achieve this result, and at the same time give that dignity of position and security to the Provinces that in their present isolated position they can never hope to obtain. (Cheers).
SPEECH OF MR. KAULBACK.
Mr. Kaulback said :—I feel some diffidence in addressing the House upon a question of such importance; but I consider it a duty devolving on me to express my views upon it, and in doing so I shall have occasion to refer to the arguments of some gentlemen who have preceded me. I conceive that this subject, having been long before the country, is no new question; it has been before the people for more than half a century, and has been agitated by our leading men for a great span of years. Every man considering the question should surely have solved it and matured his mind by this time.
In 1814 Judge Sewell, of Quebec, urged the necessity of a scheme of British North America on the Duke of Kent. A Union of the Colonies was urged by the Earl of Durham in 1839 when a scheme analogous to that now before us was mentioned. In 1849 a British American League was formed in Toronto who seemed to have had the matter fully before them. In 1854 we had Mr. Johnston moving in the matter, supported by Mr. Howe and Mr. Young. From 1854 to 1860 we have correspondence on the subject. In 1857 Mr. Johnston was delegated to go to England in connection with Intercolonial matters. In 1858 there was a delegation from Canada of the same kind. In 1860 Dr. Tupper delivered lectured on a Union of the Colonies; in 1861 Mr. Howe moved a resolution which was adopted by the House. In 1862 Mr. Annand, Mr. Howe and Mr. McCully went to Canada on the subject. In 1863 Mr. McGee lectured in Halifax, and in 1864 I was present at a banquet in this city when Mr. Howe gave an eloquent address on the question.
It cannot therefore be said, that the time has not arrived when the question should be solved. The hon. member for Shelburne made a reference to some distinguished Canadian politicians and styled one of them an Irish rebel. I have only to reply that we find that Mr. Howe, in 1863, on a platform in Temperance Hall, eulogized Mr. D’Arcy McGee, and declared that he “was with him in all he said” in favor of a Union of all the British North American Colonies ;—now he ridicules Mr. McGee, and denounces any Union with Canada:
In 1863 Mr. Howe declared in Temperance Ball -” Task of the Fall Quebec being a source of sorrow to the inhabitants of this province. It would be more if the St Lawrence were in the hands of our enemies. WE SHOULD BE COMPELLED TO BEG PERMISSION TO TEAR DOWN THE BRITISH FLAG What he wished for Nova Scotia was that she may be the frontage of a mighty Colony upon which it may be truly said, the sun never sets “
Notwithstanding this we find Mr. Howe writing the Botheration articles, and his public character is open to much doubt from that time. As others who were present at the dinner to the Canadian guests, in 1864, have said, the question of Union was then in the public mind. I well recollect the speech made by Mr. Howe on that occasion ; and as his observations were more eloquent than anything that I can say, I will ask attention to a few of his sentences :—
“He was not one of those who thanked God that he was a Nova Scotian merely, for he was Canadian as well. He had never thought he was a Nova Scotian, but he had looked across the broad continent, at the great territory which the Almighty had given us for an inheritance, and studied the mode by which it could be consolidated, the mode by which it could be united, the mode by which it could be made strong and vigorous, while the old flag still floated over the soil. (Loud cheers ) He was delighted to see such a scene as this, which gave promise to that which was the dream of his boyhood would he realised before he died.”
“Thank God the time had come when Her Majesty’s subjects. whether English, French, Scotch, or Irish, might meet together under the old flag, and maintain common sentiments of unity, and look forward to the time when we should make a new England here; not a new England with republican institutions. but a new England with monarchical institutions. He had always been in favor of the intercolonist Railway. He wished every now and again to see the seething falls of Montmorenci, to see the Indians of Lorette dancing about the silvery stream; he wanted to visit Canada not once in a lifetime, not once in five or six years, but once or twice a year “
“With the territory of Canada, with the rivers of Nova Scotia. with the inexhaustible fisheries what a country to live in! And why should Union not be brought about! Was it because we wished to live and die in our insignificance, that we would sooner make money rather than that our country should grow? God forbid! He felt that it was too late to say much, though there was much to say. (” Go on, go on.”) He knew that the Canadian gentlemen would take in good par what he was going to say.— He had always been in favor of uniting any two. three four, or the whole five of the Provinces. Well, they knew the history et the past in Canada; they knew what division had produced there, and how, under the divine dispensation, they at last became united into one magnificent colony. There now came rumors across the land that they were going to split Canada into two parts again; that they were going to reduce that low country to its low status of two provinces instead of one.
O, my friends. said the hon. gentleman. go back to your homes, and say that there is at least one Nova Scotian honest enough to say to you this,—that, if you do that, you will commit an act of political suicide, and although I ought not perhaps to give you the advice. I would rather see every public man upon both sides of politics crucified, than I would divide Canada now that Canada is united. Join the Maritime Provinces if you can; but, at any rate, stick together —hold your own. Let the dog return to his vomit rather than Canada to division. (Cheers.) In conclusion. Mr. Howe said that he was pleased to think the day was rapidly approaching when the Provinces would be united with one flag above their heads, one thought in all their bosoms. with one Sovereign and one Constitution. (Loud and prolonged Cheers.)
I would ask what is Mr. Howe’s position on this question to-day ? He now appears advocating a new line of policy one day, and another the next. The dream of his childhood be told us was Colonial Union, and now he says that it would be ruinous to the constitution. In his recently published letter he has gone far beyond what any public man should go, and his sentiments I consider a di ace not only to himself but to those who accord with them. He tells us that we have an enemy before us whose number […]
- (p. 255)
[…] and power are not to be despised in the Fenians, whose views are sympathized in by the Americans, and what does he advise us to do in the matter? Does he advise us to stand by our country and our flag? No, he desires us to lay down our weapons ; he tells us it is too late that we cannot defend ourselves, and that we are at the mercy of the enemy. His statements are the strongest argument that can be adduced in favour of a Union of the Colonies—they prove that the time is at hand for this measure, and that no time is to be lost. He speaks about putting on a blue-jacket and assisting in our defence; I consider that a man holding such sentiments as his would be dangerous in such a position, for he has been endeavoring to excite a rebellion throughout the country, telling the people that they cannot defend themselves, that our connection with the mother country is unsafe, and that at this moment our better course is to lay down our arms on the approach of an enemy.
He tells us that those who advocate the Union now will not be the men who will go to Canada, and the meaning of his letter seems to be that we must wait for him; only bring him back to power and he will not trouble himself to enquire whether he has been elected on this question or not. He will be the first man to advocate the Union when he returns to office and position. I am inclined to believe that all the opposition on this question are in favour of Union, and that they oppose it because they cannot avail themselves of the highest positions. Mr. Howe opens his second letter by saying ” my advice has not been taken”; we have taken the advice he gave us formerly as to a Union of the Colonies, but how could his more recent advice be taken when it is well known that he is writing disloyal letters injurious to the Province.
I say, sir, that we have seen enough of this gentleman to know that he has broken faith on every public question, and that everything he can say must be received with a large amount of doubt. When in days gone bye he advocated Union, did he ask for an appeal to the people? No, the Legislature was to decide the question, and yet he tells us it is unconstitutional to take such a course. That is the position which this gentleman has assumed. He declared some time ago that Halifax would not be safe without connection with Canada by rail; now he tells us that Canada is only a source of weakness. These are inconsistencies which no man can reconcile. Again he agreed that Nova Scotia should build three-and-a half twelfths of the whole cost of the Intercolonial Railway. We are now to get the Railway built for one-twelfth, and yet he comes out in opposition to the whole thing.
Reference has been made to the recent election in the county of Lunenburg; all I can say is that the result proves to my mind that there is a large majority of the people in favour of Confederation. The government were perfectly indifferent to the election, and it was only the day previous to the nomination that, to my great surprise, I received a telegram stating that the Provincial Secretary was coming down. All the opposition made most strenuous efforts ; they came down and made no secret that they intended to buy the county. Their friends said at a caucus that they could not carry the county on the issue of Confederation, for the people were largely in favour of it. They then resorted to every subterfuge to win the election. The result proves that of 3200 voters only 1300 were in favour of Mr. Hebb. The School Bill was the question that settled the election.
I had not taken any part in the affair, until I saw that the hon. member for Richmond had come down. I did not feel inclined to take any active part because we had no man up. There were two men actually on the same side. I preferred Mr. Zwicker, however, because he declared himself for PROGRESS; but on Nomination Day be declared against the School Bill and Confederation. He spoke, then, however, under excitement, and his card led us to believe he was not as likely to oppose all measures of improvement and progress as Mr. Hebb. He was, therefore, in some respects preferable to the latter. We went into the township of Chester where the question of Confederation was raised and discussed. The day before Nomination Day we had a meeting in the town, which lasted till a very late hour. And what was the result at every polling place ? The friends of the Quebec scheme were two to one. That was the only township where the scheme was put to the people I am no new convert to Union; but from the first hour it has been before the people I have been in favor of it. I believe in all sincerity, after the consideration I have given the subject, that our future prosperity depends largely on the issue of the present movement. I would be willing to go back to-morrow to my own county on this question, but I want to have the same people that sent me here pass on my acts.
I wish to have the same franchise that returned me to the Assembly. The leading minds in the county of Lunenburg are in favor of Confederation. Have you seen more than a single petition against the scheme from my people? There is one purporting to be signed by 111 persons, but any one who reviews it will see that the majority of the names are all written by one or two persons, and evidently at the same time. They had to scour the whole county, too, before they got the names they have to this document. Every man who got up the petition is known to be hostile to the School Bill. This is the way the House is led to believe that the people are opposed to Confederation. It is the easiest thing in the world to get people to sign petitions; that everybody knows.
I have heard with much regret the expressions that some gentlemen have been using on the floor as well as in the lobby of the House of Assembly. I could hardly control my feelings when I listened to the disloyal statements of some gentlemen in reference to the Queen and the representative oi her Majesty in this Province. They have been positively insulting to Her Majesty and the ‘ Hero of Kars ” Then we are told it is better to be annexed to the United States than to unite with Canada. What […]
- (p. 256)
[…] is the use of our Militia and preparations for defence, if we are to be handed over to the American Republic so summarily ? Every man who loves the flag under which he lives should sink all personal and political considerations, and join with those who are laboring to unite the Provinces more closely to the British Empire.
It is not necessary that the hon. member for East Halifax should utter disloyal expressions on the street; we have only to read the articles in his own paper. The logic of events for months past. has been telling us of the danger that is imminent. We know that the Fenian organization has attained to most formidable dimensions The President of the United States has himself deigned to receive deputations from these men. At so critical a period we have the hon member copying from papers in England (the Pall Mall Gazette for instance ) and endorsing their statements, I prove that we are not safe—that all the money England could expand upon us would be spent in vain—that we must be eventually absorbed into the American Union. Is it any wonder, then, that men in the States are to be found in favor of Annexation ? Here is a specimen of what we read in the hon. member’s journal —
“At present we are arming and drilling expending money, time and men without stint, that. we may resist invasion of our territories by the Fenians. Is this because we are Colonists, or because we are Britons? It might be supposed from statement of the Press that it is as Colonists we are arming ; but such is not the case. We are arming and drilling not so much to defend our homes, not so much to defend Canada, New Brunswick or Nova Scotia, as such, but to defend the honor, the integrity, and prestige of Britons. All the expense annoyance and danger to which we are exposed is for the sake of Britain, not for our own. We are free from Britain we should hear nothing of invasion by the Fenians.”
What feeling is a statement like that inclined to make among our own people ? We are told that we are in bondage to Great Britain—that we are endangered by our connection with her, and that our safety lies in getting rid of her This is the way that these gentlemen have been endeavouring to indoctrinate the people with their Annexation ideas. They would rather belong to the United States than even remain Nova Scotians. Shame, I say, upon men who can come into the presence of this loyal assemblage with sentiments like these in their hearts!
When the hon member was Financial Secretary in 1862, the government brought up and carried this very question. He went then on a delegation to Quebec for the express purpose of carrying out the resolution passed unanimously in this House, and uniting us to Canada. Now he veers round when his former political associates, Mesrs Archibald and McCully wish to carry the question, and opposse all Union. Last session he stated that the local revenue under Confederation would be $390 427- the same years he says in his paper that It would be only $62 700. Again, last session he admitted that this province under Confederation would receive from the General Government (beside the 80 cents per head of our population) $731,595 On December 12th of same year he says that all the surplus over 80 cents a head would go to the Northwest of Canada. Could inconsistency go further ? Then he spoke to us about taxation in Canada – that we would have to pay double what we now pay.
The fact is that the people of Canada are not taxed, man for man, as much as we are. He tells us Canada is in debt. So are we. But Canada can point to public works equivalent to her debt—which is more than we can do. The hon member should know that if Canada falls, we fall too ; if she is safe, we are safe. Has not Mr Howe told us this himself? But what more does Mr Annand do? He has actually proposed to tax the people to a larger extent than they can, by any possibility, be taxed under Confederation. He is ready to pass a law by which the men of this country shall be sent to Canada when there is no Confederation —when we have no legislative control over her—when we are different countries.
He even goes so far as to express his willingness to pay in the same proportion for defence as all other portions of the British Empire. Remember, this is not for the protection of British North America alone, but for the whole Empire. Yet this is the gentleman who objects to Confederation because it may heavily burthen us. I believe that if we have railway communication with Canada, it will be the means of making this country safe from invasion. When we feel we are one people—when we have a national sentiment— when we can present a united population of four millions of people animated by the same interests and affections, we shall have a guarantee of security and prosperity that we cannot have now.
Mr. Howe has told the people that the Citadel of Halifax would not he safe unless we had connection with Canada by means of an Intercolonial Railway. I think that neither he nor his friend, the hon member for East Halifax should talk about persons being bought. I heard the hon member quite distinctly say that he could have had money from hon George Brown if he had wished it, and place and preferment too, if he would only promise to support Confederation— If any person should attempt to bribe me with Canadian or American gold, I would look upon it as the greatest insult that could be offered to a man, however humble. Mr. Brown must have had a very low estimate of the hon member if he made such an offer; but now the hon member attempts to deny that he ever made the statement he did on Friday last on the subject. Well, I shall not press the matter further, for he has already been very thoroughly exposed, and all I can say is, that I think the hon member is the last person in the house to charge others with being bought.
The hon. member told us that he had yet to hear the first argument in favor of union, though he had been a delegate on the question to Canada in 1862. Now, I find that in November last, 1865, he expressed another opinion on the same subject— he wanted another delegation. He thought then he might have a chance of being one of the members sent on the mission. He says:—
” This is our case.
“The Confederation Scheme matured at […]
- (p. 257)
[…] Quebec having fallen to secure the approval of any one of the four Maritime Provinces, we would suggest that, with a view to the future of British America, a convention be summoned, with the sanction of the Crown to deliberate upon the many weighty matters and things which would necessarily be involved in debate upon a question of such magnitude and importance. That the convention should be held at such place and at such time as the Governor General, acting under the authority of the Crown, shall determine. And that in the selection of delegates from the several Provinces, due regard shall be observed, besides allotting to each Province a like number of delegates, that the views and opinions of all parties are fairly represented.
” This is our mode of dealing with the question of union. The convention might not, perhaps, agree to any scheme for the future Government of the North American Colonies and their relations with the Mother Country, although we believe they would. And whatever the result, every one would feel that the questions of the deepest importance, involving the present welfare and happiness of four millions of people, had been discussed with a full view of their consequences as well to them as to millions yet unborn, and with the full benefit of all that has been said and written to illustrate this truly great theme since the schem of Confederation was first proposed a little over a year ago “- Morning Chronicle Nov 15th 1865
Yet, this is the hon. member who has yet to hear the first argument in favor of Union with Canada. The hon. member’s inconsistencies are so glaring that I feel I need hardily pursue further so fruitful a topic.
It has been asked, will Confederation save us We have been told over and over again that there is no danger from the United States—that they do not want these Provinces. The lessons of history will tell us the reverse. These gentlemen have proved false prophets for the past, and are likely to be so for the future. The whole police of the United States has been the acquisition of territory. Their ambition is insatiable. They wish to have dominion from the North Pole to the Gulf of Mexico, and from the Atlantic to the Pacific. They have got Texas and California, and a slice of New Brunswick, within a few years, and now they yearn after British North America. If they have had one reason more than another for abrogating the Reciprocity Treaty, is is that they think they will force us to come into the American Union.
The question that we have to decide is, whether we shall belong to the United States or to Great Britain. Shall we have the Red Cross of England, or the Stars and Stripes of the American Republic float over our heads in the future? Shall we have the Queen at St. Jame’s as our Ruler, or the President at the White House in Washington ?
What will be the result of annexation I need hardly tell you. We shall be ruined by most frightful taxation ; our fishermen, all our industrial class, will be burthened beyond their capacity to bear. Our object should be to continue the connection with the great empire from which we have sprung, and under whose protecting care the institutions of this country have grown up, and our prosperity has been secured. No one, as I just said, can look at the feeling in the neighboring Republic without seeing that these Provinces are at present in a position of great jeopardy. In the first place, there is the Fenian organization growing up into most formidable pretensions, and behind them is the great mass of the American people animated by the most deadly hostility against England arrising out of the late civil war. Then there is the question of the fisheries again looming up, and no one can under-estimate the difficulties and disputes it may originate. We see the Senate of the country itself exhibiting a spirit that looks warlike, and should put us on our guard. They are ready to support their fishermen, if they should enter our harbours and bays, and enfringe upon our rights. Suppose war should arise out of this state of things; in what position would Nova. Scotia be, isolated as she is now? Comparatively defenceless.
Union, then, will ensure us security; will give us an immense expansion of trade; raise up manufactures, enlarge the political arena; give us the Intercolonial Railway; and above all preserve us from being absorbed by the rapacious American Republic. We have great natural resources. but they must be dormant whilst we have no population or market to raise up manufactures in our midst. As respects the Intercolonial Railway, it is unnecessary for me to repeat what is now an established fact that we cannot have it without union. The futile efforts of public men of all parties in this Province to obtain its construction are matters of history, and general notoriety. Complete that railroad, and Halifax becomes one of the greatest commercial emporiums of this continent—the New York or Liverpool of the British North American Confederation. No one who looks at the map can believe for a moment that Nova Scotia was intended to remain politically divided from her sister colonies of British North America. She is destined by nature — to quote the sentiment of Mr Howe— ‘to become the frontage of a mighty Empire.”
Give us union, and the stream of immigration will be directed to our shores, for then we can offer those inducements to capital and labour that we cannot give in our present isolated condition. If we remain disunited, then the prophecies of these gentlemen in respect to annexation will be realized. The time may come when we shall have the British flag lowered beneath the stars and stripes, and the last gun fired from the Citadel as a British fort Let the American peeple feel that there is no British sentiment among us—let us obstinate ly reject the advice of the British government and people, and annexation will be the inevitable issue. Then the wish of the hon. member for East Halifax will be realized. The Fenians will have full sway in these Provinces, and the stars and stripes shall float over Citadel Hill.
But I believe that there is a better fate awaiting us—that the loyalty of the people of Nova Scotia is sincere, and that they will see the necessit of union. I believe Confederation is close at hand, and that the […]
- (p. 258)
[…] efforts of those who would lead us into annexation, will be effectually foiled by the loyal people. As far as I am concerned, all my interests are bound up with those of this Province—when she is prosperous then I feel satisfied. I am sprung from the early pioneers who helped to build up the prosperity of this country, and all I desire is to see it progress. I feel I would be recreant in my duty to those who have preceded me, as well as to those who may follow me and hear my name if I stood, at this crisis of our history, opposing a scheme which the best minds of Great Britain and British America have declared is indispensable to the continuance of our prosperity, and our connection with the fatherland. On the 24th June, ’65, the British Government told us through the Colonial Secretary :
” You will at the same time express the strong and deliberate opinion of Her Majesty’s Government that it is an object much to be desired that all the British North American Colonies should agree to unite in one Government. In the territorial extent of Canada, and in the Maritime and Commercial enterprise of the Lower Provinces, Her Majesty’s Government see the elements of power, which only require to be combined in order to secure for these Provinces, which shall possess them all, a place among the most considerable communities of the world In the spirit of loyalty to the British Crown of attachment to British connexion, and of love for British Institutions, by which all these Provinces are animated alike, Her Majesty’s Government recognize the bond by which all may be combined under one Government. Such an union seems to Her Majesty’s Government to recommend itself to the Provinces on many grounds of moral and material advantages—as giving a well-founded prospect of improved administration and increased prosperity
” But there is one consideration which Her Majesty’s Government feel it more especially their duty to press upon the Legislature of Nova Scotia. Looking to the determination which this country has ever exhibited in regard to the defence of the Colonies as a matter of Imperial concern, the Colonies must recognize a right and even acknowledge an obligation incumbent on the Home Government to urge with earnestness and just authority the measures which they consider most expedient on the part of the Colonists with a view to their own defence.
” Nor can it be doubtful that the Provinces of British North America are incapable, when separate and divided from each other of making those just and efficient preparations for national defence which would be easily undertaken by a Province uniting in itself all the population and all the resources of the whole.”
Here you find the British Government imploring us if we are animated by a sincere spirit of loyalty, by a desire to remain connected with Great Britain, to unite without delay. Can any one read these words unmoved? Let me trust that the people will respond to the demand made upon them by those who have the best right to proffer their advice, and hasten the time when we shall be united in one grand Confederation, “with one flag above our heads, one sentiment in our hearts, with one Sovereign and one Constitution.”
Leave a Reply