Nova Scotia, House of Assembly, Debates and Proceedings: Union of the Colonies (17 April 1866)
By: Nova Scotia (House of Assembly)
Citation: Nova Scotia, House of Assembly, Debates and Proceedings, 23rd Parl, 3rd Sess, 1866 at 258-295.
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DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS OF THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY OF NOVA SCOTIA. 1866.
TUESDAY, April 17.
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The House met at 3 o’clock.
UNION OF THE COLONIES.
Mr. Miller presented a large number of petitions from Antigonish on the subject of Confederation.
Mr. Ross presented two petitions from St. Anns’ on the same subject.
The adjourned debate was resumed.
Mr. S. Campbell said:—I quite concur with those gentlemen who have attributed to this subject a magnitude and importance second to none that has ever been discussed in this House. Notwithstanding that there has been a good deal of excitement brought into this debate, and something more than excitement, a good deal of temper, it shall be my endeavor so to moderate my tone and language that not only shall these be in keeping with Parliamentary decorum, but the remarks which I have to offer shall be otherwise entitled to the calm and sober consideration and reflection of the members around these benches. In short I shall not, in addressing this Assembly, exhibit any other demeanor or style of intercourse than that which I practice everywhere.
On looking at the past I find satisfaction and comfort in the reflection that my bearing in the debates that have taken place here has been such as to enable me to meet gentlemen on all sides in pleasant relations, and I hope that in the future nothing will transpire to alter the character in those relations. On this subject, sir, I cannot but express regret that those from whom a better example should have proceeded should not have preserved something like moderation and decorum. Those who are in opposition are always most likely to be excited, but those in charge of a great measure such as this, especially the members of the government of the country, should ever feel it incumbent upon them so to guard themselves in this respect that no one here or elsewhere can possibly offer an objection to the course they have pursued.
And, sir, I feel in observing on this portion of the discussion, that I have reason to charge the Provincial Secretary with having imported into this debate matters which should never have been brought here. He has alluded to the press—that is a branch of our constitution, if I may so term it, that ought not to be so frequently and so prominently referred to here. We know that on all sides and on all subjects political characters are apt to speak and write strongly and to go to those extremes which cannot be justified in or out of Parliament.
But in my view, it was unjust in him to attribute licentiousness to one portion of the press rather than to others, for on all sides we find observations, criminations, and recriminations, which render both liable to censure. The less that is said in this place about the press the better, and with this remark I shall dismiss all further allusions to that branch of the subject. But the Provincial Secretary was not content with references to the press, he introduced into the debate other authorities and influences that should not have been referred to here. Least of all should he have brought here the name of that illustrious lady, the […]
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[…] Queen of these realms, one whom, by virtue of her position no less than by the virtues that surround her throne, every British subject is bound at all times to venerate. That Sovereign not only commands the respect of every subject of her Crown—her virtues are not alone the theme of every British lip and the pride of every British heart, but surrounding nations attest her worth and admire her example. But it is a gross breach of parliamentary decorum to mention that name here. Disloyalty has been charged upon those who stand in opposition to the present proposition; as one I repel it with indignation. It is not in my nature, as it is not in my name, to harbour for an instant a disloyal sentiment. I can proudly appeal to the history of our country and ask if any who have borne the name which I have the honour to bear, could ever be supposed to be tainted with that vile trait?
Sir, as a British subject, entitled to the free exercise of an undoubted right, I intend to deal with this question, and if, in doing so, any aspersion touching my loyalty to my Sovereign be cast upon me, I shall hurl it back with utter contempt and thorough indignation upon its author. Sir, I regret, deeply that Her Majesty’s name has been brought into this discussion; I do not regard it as of so much consequence that Her Ministers have been mentioned, because it is at all times the privilege and indeed the duty of every subject to criticise their acts.
We have been told too that the Queen’s representative in this country was in favor of the present measure;—sir, I attach the same importance and distinction to the representative of the crown as to the crown itself; it is Her Majesty speaking by her properly authorized agent, and the rules which apply to the exclusion of the Queen’s name from debates in Parliament should apply equally to the exclusion of the Lieut. Governor’s name. We have been also told that the General in command and other distinguished individuals, civil, religious and military, are combined in favor of the measure. But, sir, notwithstanding all this potential phalanx that is arrayed in its favor I feel that I am a free man, I claim the rights and attributes of a free man, speaking in the presence of a British free Assembly, I have the right to criticise the judgment they have formed and an equal right to give expression to my own.
Therefore when this list of authorities is paraded before us I cannot but feel that it is an empty parade— it is worth nothing in my estimation—it does not weigh a tittle in the scale. I feel, sir, and I claim the right to express the sentiment, that those individuals, eminent though they be, are not more capable of forming an opinion upon this subject than myself, and I might add that my judgment is formed under the influence of a responsibility which does not attach to them. in saying this I mean no disrespect to any of them, and I feel well assured that none of them would charge me with any design of disrespect. I therefore think that the allusions to which I have referred were unjust and reprehensible attempts to influence this Assembly. What is the measure that we are now called upon to sanction? Twist it or turn it as you please, it is no less than a decided change in our constitution; and how has the scheme effecting that change been brought here? Have the people of this country at any time suggested the expediency of the proposal to the government or to the legislature? No sir.
This house was elected entirely independent of that question—it was not before the people when we were elected. Had the case been otherwise we should not perhaps have seen the faces of some gentlemen who are sitting here to-day. It seems, however, that a good many years ago the question of a Confederation of the British North American Colonies was propounded in this house:—I would ask those who were present at that time whether it was intended to be a practical measure—a proposition to result in anything, or was it a more theoretical declaration of the abstract advantages of union? No one can presume to say that it was anything more than the latter.
Again, some years ago this house, by a pretty large majority, declared it expedient that a delegation should proceed to England to confer with delegates from the neighbouring Provinces to ascertain whether it was not desirable and practicable to effect a union between the Maritime Provinces of British North America. But, sir, that was a very different idea from that now pressed upon our attention. What is the condition of these Maritime Provinces? Their people are situated in connection with each other—are possessed of the same interests, have the same common sympathies, residing on each other’s borders, and having daily intercourse with each other. Is that the character of the people with whom this scheme is to force us to unite?
Why, as we know, there is a wilderness between the Lower Provinces and Canada, we have no sympathies or interests in common with the people of that country. They are as much strangers to us as the people of West Indies. Surely those gentlemen who talk so vociferously about disloyalty can have no sympathy with the people of a Colony in which disloyalty has been so rife as it has been in Canada. This House proposed a delegation for a union with a people with whom, as I have said, we had many interests in common, and who, if the union were consummated, would form with us one homogeneous whole. What then happened? For some reason or other those charged with the authority to perform this duty which I have mentioned felt themselves at liberty to disregard the authority of this House.
They went to Prince Edward Island and there they found another body of gentlemen from Canada,—instead of turning back as they should have done, and asking this Legislature to concent [sic] to a conference with delegates from that country they ignored our feelings and authority and went straight into the arms of the Canadains [sic] delegates. That was the first step and it was a fatal step—a step subversive of the powers of the Legislature, and injuries to the feelings and interests of the people of this country. That was the step which has caused so much agitation, so many heartburnings, if not worse, throughout this country. Had they come back here and told the people of this Province that they failed in their original mission, and that no Union of the Maritime Provinces could be effected, they would at least have afforded the people an opportunity of saying how far they ware disposed to go into the large a question; they did not do this, but they took upon themselves the whole responsibility of concocting the scheme called […]
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[…] Quebec scheme. Many gentlemen have hitherto spoken of the scheme then arranged, but I have been surprised that long as it has been before scarcely one syllable has been utterd in this debate in reference [sic] to it.
It has been praised abroad as a great and magnificent scheme, but what is its position now? “But yesterday it might have stood against the world, now none so poor to do it reverence,” and it is here, or not here just as men may choose. We have heard something about the petitions presented to this house against Confederation, we have yet heard nothing of petitions in its favor. And now we are asked to deliberately ignore the expressed sentiments of this people : we are told that these petitions are to be disregarded, and that no notice is to be taken of the rights of the electors. We are reminded of the action of the British Parliament in dealing with the Reform question, and we are told that that measure involved an important change in the constitution of the country and no one ever contended that Parliament was incompetent to deal with it without reference to the people; but, will any one tell me that the questson [sic] was not before the people of Great Britain before the last General Election?
That is the answer which I give to those who assert that this legislature has the right to deal with an irrevocable change in the Constitution, and refer to the action of the British Parliament in justification of the step. The subject of Reform was, as I have stated, before the people of England previously to the General Election held there, and if it had not been for the influence of one of the greatest statesmen that England ever saw, that question would have had more bearing on the results of that election than it had ; gentlemen, therefore, must not refer to that as any example for denying to the people of this country the opportunity of passing on the present measure. It has in deed been pretended that the people of this country are in favor of this important step, but I ask gentlemen around these seats it they can say so consistently with the honest and deliberate sentiments of their minds, unoperated upon by any pressure? Is there a majority here who will say that the majority of the people are in favor of the Quebec scheme ?
No sir, I will not be content with that, I will ask is there a majority of the people in favor of any union? I deny it, and I have some means of fortifying the assertion. In the course of the last two years since the question has been agitated in the country, there have been no less than three appeals to the constituencies of this Province, and they are not by any means the most inconsiderable of our constituencies. There is the county of Annapolis which for many years elected to a seat within these walls a gentleman who, without reference to politics, I would say was one of the first men in this country, and the fact of their returning that gentleman proves the electors of that county to be among the most intelligent constituencies of the Province. Since this question has been agitated that constituency has spoken, and how? By an immense majority it returned the present member, Mr. Ray. Another constituency, one of the most populous and thriving in the Province, that of Lunenburg, was opened. Shall I be told that the question was not before the people of Lunenburg ?
I heard one of the representatives of that connty [sic], Mr. Kaulback, say to yesterday, but I have in my possession testimony that will confirm me in the statement that that constituency pronounced on this question when by a very large majority they elected the present member, Mr. Hebb. I go then to the township of Yarmouth, and the gentlemen who represent that constituency need not be ashamed of it—for if there be a portion of the province in which active industry and enterprise prevail, it is the township of Yarmouth Her ships are on every sea. Look abroad at all quarters of the globe, and you see Yarmouth ships and Yarmouth men. When I am told, then, that the opinions of this constituency are to be disregarded, or that their views upon this measure were not expressed, I feel that I must turn a deaf ear to such statements, because they are abundantly contradicted by the facts and circumstances. But some gentlemen argue that on this question, of all questions, the people should not be appealed to, because the people would decide on other issues and not on this.
From whom does this statement come ? Does it not come from those who ought to use language more respectful,—language precisely the reverse—from the administration which the breath of the people has created ? It comes faom [sic] gentlemen who hold their offices by virtue of the popular voice, and yet the inhabitants of this country are to be told that they are incapable of pronouncing a judgment on this particular question; that other subjects would be introduced, and that no decision could be obtained upon this particular subject. Have the people lost all discernment and discrimination that this, the most important question that ever agitated the public mind, is one upon which no reliable opinion could be formed and expressed. Sir, I think very differently of the people; I believe they would appreciate the magnitude of the proposition. and while they would be disposed to condemn much of the public conduct of the administration, their intelligent discernment would lead them to sink all other considerations and all other questions of policy, in order that upon this they might pronounce the decisions of their minds and hearts. It will be perceived that I am for submitting this question to the people.
Sir, I hold that in a matter which concerns their interests for all time to come, it is our duty to them. But taking the argument of the other side, and supposing that the people are not as intelligent as I assert they are, there is another mode of testing their opinions. and that is by submitting to them the question of Confederation, pure and simple. We are told that this is not a British practice— that there is no precedent for this ; but I reply that we have on our statute book a precedent established by a gentleman long before the public eye, and now holding an important public position, I refer to the Judge in Equity. The […]
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[…] provisions of the Municipal Corporation Bill required that it should be submitted for every man to vote upon, favorably or otherwise, and I therefore maintain that we have an illustrious precedent for the course that we suggest. But if there were no precedent, I might properly introduce here what was improperly introduced the other day by the Att. General, a reference to the law of necessity—I would say, here is a case the like of which has never occurred, and for which there can be no precedent,—here is an unparalleled case, and therefore we are justified in establishing a precedent
We can find no precedent for the attempt to subvert and destroy the constitution of the country, and hence I think that in this special emergency we are not merely at liberty but are abundantly and imperatively called upon to take that course which will best meet the necessities of the case and promote the interests of the people. It lies not upon us who oppose this measure, but upon those who insist on its passage, to prove the necessity uncalled for by the people for taking away the institutions of the country.
Sir, I was astonished when I was told yesterday that in addition to all the arguments that could be adduced in favor of Confederation the circumstance that all the lawyers and trained politicians were in favor of it should be a reason for the adoption of the scheme without any appeal to them. Sir, I protest against such a doctrine, and the people will protest against it, and I fancy I can hear them say—” It is all very well for the lawyers and trained politicians to be in favor of the measure, they are those who are to be most largely benefitted by the change—these are the men who are to be the ‘ upper ten.'” That is something like the language that they will use, not will it be inappropriate. But, sir, it is not for lawyers or for trained politicians that we are to act in this place. This is the people’s house ; their interests must be the polar-star of every man’s action here, and this measure is to affect those interests for weal or for woe for ever.
Mr. S. McDonnell:—I am glad we have one honest lawyer in the house.
Mr. S. Campbell continued. After the course which the hon and learned member has taken, nothing he can say will at all affect my sensibilities, and I think his remarks will pass with little notice at the hands af [sic] every one else. But, sir, while he has suggested to my mind this observation upon the course which he has pursued, I will not suffer myself to be hurried into a charge against any member of being a traitor. I shall pursue the course which my conscience suggests, and leave it to others to settle their own course before the same tribunal. I hope the verdict may give the same satisfaction as that which I am now experiencing. I have referred to the necessity for an appeal to the people, and if I stood alone, I would insist on the propriety and the justice of that cause, But, sir, we have been told that because Fenianism is rampant, and because the Reciprocity Treaty has been abrogated, we should go into Confederation.
Before the Reciprocity Treaty existed we were not confederated, and l have too much faith in the industry and enterprise of our people to imagine that the repeal of that treaty will materially impede our progress. As regards Fenianism, I am at a loss to see the connection between that subject and this. If New Brunswick be threatened, does any one feel it to be necessary to confederate for greater security ? In view of that state of things, I ask myself—Does the British Government intend to retain these Provinces or not ? If they do, New Brunswick is safe—Confederation will not make it safer. If the United States desired to have possession of British North America, and Great Britain be unwilling to defend us, is Confederation going to save us ?
We have heard the story about defences. Well, I am but a young soldier, but I cannot understand how on that branch of the subject any argument can be founded. British North America is now a portion of the British Empire, the people of these colonies owe fealty and allegiance to the British Crown, and while that allegiance is given and that fealty paid, a corresponding duty rests upon the British Government to afford protection to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island, on the same ground as that on which they protect Kent, Surrey, or Middlesex, or any other county of the British Isles.
Sir, I assert that Great Britain is not only bound but is disposed to maintain her authority in these countries, and to afford us protection as British subjects. As a Nova Scotian and as a British subject dwelling upon British soil, I shall be prepared at all times to sanction any means of cooperation with the British government to maintain in these colonies the integrity of the British Empire. It has been said, and truly said, that Confederation will not give us a man or a pound more than we have now. No one in this house has argued the question in a military point of view, but even arguing it in that aspect nothing can disturb the fact to which I have referred, that we would have no greater power than now, and it is a libel on the British Government to say that if we do not adopt the scheme we will be deserted.
No sir, I believe that England would no more desert us in the hour of extremity than a parent would desert his child in the hour of danger. It is not the desire or intention, it has never been the policy of the British government to deal with these Provinces in any other manner than comported with the wishes of the people Reference has been made to the despatches of Mr. Cardwell,—I wish that statesman were here on the floor of this House to-day to hear, as he would, that it is the desire of a number of members, and of the majority of the people of this country that the question should be submitted for their consideration at the polls. Were he here I feel safe in saying that as a British statesman charged with the protection of Her Majesty’s subjects, he would not hesitate to command the government of this country to submit the measure to the people. The British government, as I have said , have no other interest in dealing with us than to further our wishes. Let us go […]
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[…] back to the period when the mother country gave us a constitution ; what was the language of the Imperial ministry then ?
It amounted to this, “Only tell us what you want and you shall have it, you shall be governed according to the well understood wishes of your own people, we will not interfere, the constitution which you propose shall be the one that we will maintain.” That constitution has continued to be ours from that day to this, and it is one that I will strive to guard. It does indeed come with a bad grace from men brought, I may almost say, from the backwoods of the country, who but for that constitution would never have dreamed of being elevated to the positions they now fill,—I say it comes with a bad grace from them to strike down the constitution from which they have derived such distinction. I trust that they will pause before doing so, and if they reflect for a moment upon the consequences of the present measure, if they reflect that when once done it cannot be undone, that this decree which we are called upon to pass will be irrevocable and irretrievable, they will see how great will be the evils that must ensue. If we have a ministry that is not agreeable to our wishes, and that does not promote the interests of the country, we may bear with it for a while, knowing that the time will come when the people will assert their rights and substitute better men, but in reference to this measure only pass it now and it will be passed forever—the doom of Nova Scoita [sic] will then be sealed.
I have not said a word as to my views respecting union in the abstract. I find Nova Scotia a happy, prosperous, loyal country ; I find her on the high road of progress and advancement, a country in which every man may pursue industry in any branch he may select, a country enjoying civil and religious liberty in the largest degree, I find her a comparatively untaxed country, enjoying blessings and advantages not to be found in any other country beneath the sun, and these are to be lost or to be perilled for what ? Where is the necessity for the change ? Until I can see some greater necessity than I now see, my banner shall be Nova Scotia for Nova Scotians, my device shall be that the privileges we now enjoy shall be maintained inviolate. At present “I seek no change, and least of all such a change as this would bring us.”
Mr. Speaker, I hold in my hand a resolution which I intend to offer in vindication of my position. I trust it will meet with the concurrence of a large number of members. This resolution recites among other matters the fact that an unauthorized conference was held at Quebec. It further recites the proceedings, and generally covers the ground and antecedents of the present question. In reference to the present condition of the Province—I mean the present crisis of alarm and danger—I would ask in what position would every man who truly loved his country desire to see her stand ? He would desire to see his countrymen one in heart, and hand in hand, without any question agitating their minds in connection with political considerations.
Our people, especially at the present moment, should have but one object in view,—to arrest the common danger and save the common country. At such a crisis it is above all things necessary, just, and wise, that there should be but one sentiment abroad—that of loyalty to the British Crown, and that of a determination to sustain the integrity of the British Empire. It is because an agitation such as this measure is inducing will produce consequences of an unfavorable character, consequences affecting the regard of the people for the institutions under which they live, and dividing their power to resist an enemy, if an enemy should venture an attack; it is because, in addition to the other objections which I have stated that I am apprehensive of such results as these, that I ask this house to pause before they consummate a union which the people do not desire—one in fact against which they have petitioned, and that at a time when they should be found warm in their allegiance, as united as one man to protect the soil on which they live and upon which they hope to die.
In opposing this perilous consummation, I am discharging my duty to my constituents, to myself, and to the country at large. I do trust, that wedded though some gentlemen in high position maybe to this measure, the house, in view of the present danger, will stop at the point of consummation of this act. It may matter not to me individually what the decision of this house may be; it may be that in the changes of political life, when the term of this Legislature expires, I may not be found again within these walls, or have the ambition to seek another county for the advancement of my position—but there are those behind us whose interests to all futurity are involved, and in their name I beseech the Government of the country, the constitutional guardians of the people, to pause, ere they force upon a loyal population a scheme against which the country is arrayed, and which must inevitably engender feelings which will militate in all time to come with the true interests of that common country within whose borders it is our pride and privilege to dwell. Entertaining these opinions, I offer for the consideration of the house the following amendment ;—
“Whereas certain resolutions were adopted at a Conference of Delegates from the Provinces of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, and the Colonies of Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island, held at the city of Quebec on the 10th day of October, 1864, as the basis of a proposed Confederation of those Provinces and Colonies. ” And whereas such Conference was held without the authority or sanction of the Legislature and people of this Province. ” And whereas, since the holding of such Conference, and the adoption of such resolutions, no genera1 election has been held in this Province, but three special elections in the important constituencies of Annapolis, Lunenburg, and Yarmouth, have taken place; and at such elections the people at the polls have expressed themselves as decidedly hostile to the proposed Confederation, and the members elected by such constituencies are prepared to act in obedience to the declared wishes of their constituencies. ”
And whereas, during the last, and at the present session of the Legislature of this Province, petitions very numerously signed, and coming from every constituency in Nova Scotia, have earnestly prayed that this House would refuse its concurrence in the arrangement for the Confederation in question; and further, that no measure, involving a fundamental […]
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[…] change in the institutions of the country, should be attempted to be passed by any Government until the people were afforded the opportunity of giving a legitimate expression to their wishes respecting it at the polls.
“And whereas, with a single exception, no petitions have ever been presented to this House praying for the ratification of such or any other scheme for Confederation, and in the absence of a decided and distinct expression in favor thereof, by a large majority of the people oft his Province. it would, especially at the present crisis, be unwise, and dangerous to the peace and general interests of the country, to force the same upon the acceptance of its people.
“Resolved therefore, That it is the opinion and sense of this House that the Government and Legislature of this Province should be no parties to the consummation of any scheme for the Confederation of the British North American Provinces and Colonies, until an opportunity shall have been first afforded to the several constituencies of the Province at large to express their views and opinions thereof in a constitutional manner at the polls.”
SPEECH OF DR. HAMILTON.
Dr. Hamilton said:—If ever there was a question of magnitude before the Legislature it is the one which is now under discussion. I would have wished that this question had been discussed more on its own merits, but unfortunately it has assumed a party aspect to a large extent, and a great deal of irrelevant mater has been introduced. It is a subject which has agitated the public mind for a length of time, though it has never assumed so serious an aspect as at present. There are two or three points in which this question may be viewed. I will say first that any question should be considered first in reference to its merits, and again in connection with the parties who are in favour or are opposed to it. There is now some ground upon which to base an argu-[sic] or there is not. In all the discussions that I have heard since this question has been up there are few persons who have taken that stand upon it which it appears to me its merits demand.
As one of the people of Nova Scotia, as one having an interest in its welfare, in every particular, I would like to see the question settled on its own merits for the benefit of this Province as well as of all British North America. It is one which not only affects us at the present time, but for our future for weal and woe. Consequently a hasty decision or an improper action might be calculated to injure this Province irremediably. It is true the question has been before the public for some time. It has been discussed since the delegation returned from Canada, as well as in the Press, though not in that intelligent and deliberate manner necessary to enable the people to come to a fair and honest conclusion.
We are here as a part and parcel of the British Empire—lying between the Atlantic and the Pacific—and we must be very materially affected by whatever position the question assumes in the future. In considering this question, we must not look at it in its pounds, shillings and pence view only, but in connection with our duties to the British Empire. Changes are continually going on in the world, in reference to political questions more especially. We find that the constitution which Nova Scotia had some thirty or forty years ago, cannot be that of the present day. Refinement, education, and the resources of the province, are daily and gradually improving—we have to pass and amend laws continually, as the country progresses. I regret that this question should have assumed the party aspect it has.
Like Education, it should be kept free from anything that may give it a party character, and should be determined in accordance with the best interests of the people. The future of these Provinces, as consolidated, has been fully portrayed by a great number of gentlemen who have preceded me and spoken on the subject, and therefore it will not be necessary for me to deal with that part of the question. It is true that Nova Scotia is a choice little province, and has got along very well for the last fifty years, and I would be quite content to let things go on as they are, if I had a guarantee of their continuance. Whilst we have not this guarantee, it is necessary to prepare for any emergency that may arise.
If the Provinces were consolidated into one empire—perhaps that term is too extensive—or a Confederation, we would have unity of action, design and sentiment. If that would be the result we would have union which is strength, population which is wealth, and knowledge which is power. I think a confederation of British North America might be so arranged and so adapted to our wants and circumstances that their combination would be brought about to benefit the whole. I will sun- that the United States had remained different and independent States, and had not united, what would have been the result? Would the 13 States he the 32 United States with all the power and influence that they now exercise under the one government managed by one general legislature—with identity of interest, purpose and design. If each had chosen its own president—its own representatives—arranged its own trade relations, customs. and revenues would not the state of things on this continent present a very different aspect at this present time. I want to know if Massachusetts could have become the great manufacturing state she now is, if the hostile tariffs and arrangements that exist between the States were in force
The question has been asked if we have territory enough to form a Confederation. As far as territory is concerned, extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from 42 degrees to the North Pole, British North America is much larger than the present United States, and is under British control. I think that this territory is enough to form a small kingdom to connection with the British Empire. I don’t think I can do better than to read an extract from a work, speaking of the territory that would form the proposed Confederation.
“1. Come from whose hand it may, the resolution before the committee opens for discussion the broadest field, the noblest subject ever presented to the consideration of this Legislature. A day, or even a week, may be well spent upon such a theme. If, sir, such topics were oftener presented here our ideas would expand beyond the charmed, it may be, but the contracted circle of party disputations ; our debates would assume a higher tone; and the hopes and aspirations of our people, clustering around their fire-aides, would point to interests more enduring than […]
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[…] even the result of half our controversies—some poorly paid office, or paltry Provincial institution
2. But yet, rising with the magnitude of this great theme, I shall endeavour to catch its inspiration; remembering only that I am a Nova Scotian, the son of a loyalist, a North American, a true subject of the Queen; but one whose allegiance, to be perfect, must include every attribute of manhood, every privilege of the empire.
3. In no vain spirit do I wish also that the sentiments which I am about to utter might be heard and pondered, not only as they will be by those who inhabit half this continent, but by members of the British Parliament, by Imperial statesmen, by the Councillors who stand around, and by the Gracious Sovereign who sits upon the throne.
4. Sir, the first question which we men of the North must put to ourselves is, Have we a territory large enough of which to form a nation? At the risk of travelling over some of the ground trodden over yesterday by the learned member for Annapolis. I think it can be shown that we have. Beneath, behind, and around us, stretching away from the Atlantic to the Pacific. All Europe, with its family of nations, contains but three million seven hundred and eight thousand, or two hundred and ninety-two thousand miles less. The United States include three hundred and thirty thousand five hundred and seventy-two square miles, or seven hundred and sixty-nine thousand, one hundred and twenty-eight less than British America.
5. We North americans, living under the British flag, have one-ninth of the whole, and this ought to give us ” ample room and verge enough” for the accommodation and support of a countless population.
6. The great Province of Canada is equal in size to Great Britain, France, and Prussia. Charmed by her classic recollections, how apt are we to magnify every thing in the Old World, and to imagine that Providence has been kind to her alone. Yet the noble St. Lawrence is equal in proportion to the Nile —the great granary of the East which, from the days of patriarchs, has fed millions with its produce. Take the Italian’s Po, the Frenchman’s Rhone, the Englishman’s Thames, the German’s Rhine, and Spaniard’s Tagus, and roll them into a stream equal to the St. Lawrence The great lakes of Canada are larger in volume than the Caspian Sea; and the Gulf of St. Lawrence (with which we are so familiar that we forget what it is), contains a surface of one hundred thousand square miles, and is as large as the Black Sea, on which the proud fleets of four hostile nations may at this very moment be engaged. Accustomed to think and feel as Colonists, it is difficult for us to imagine that the Baltic, illustrated by Nelson’s achievements and Campbell’s verse, is not something different from the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and yet it is not. Its dimensions are about the same; its climate rigourous; its coast originally sterile, and the sea kings and warriors who came out of it, made of no better stuff than are the men who shoot seals on the ice flakes of Newfoundland, till farms on the green hills of Pictou, or fell trees in the forests of New Brunswick.”
I think it would not require anything more from me to show that there is territory enough to make a nation, which I trust, if it does come to that—will be ruled by the mild sway of Queen Victoria. In this extensive territory we have a great many natural advantages—we have agricultural capabilities, we have forests and the fisheries, iron, coal and gold, and a variety of other sources of wealth. It is water power, coal and iron that enable a country to excel in manufactures. We have spread all over the face of the country these substantial elements to make a people great. I need not speak of the harbours bars and rivers, for they are innumerable.
There is no more healthy climte [sic] in the world than we have in British North America. We are away from the fever of the South; and it is true we have cold, severe winter in many parts of the Provinces, but, at the same time, it always invigorates the body and improves the activity of the mind, and renders the people who occupy this territory equal in physical vigor and mental power to those of any portion of the world I might refer you to statistical tables to shew the health of the country, but I do not wish to weary you. In this territory we have about 4,000,000 of population, rapidly increasing. That population consists of farmers, fishermen and miners, seamen, lumbermen, &, who are well calculated to bring to fruition all the various resources which are necessary for our support and happiness. There are no conflicting interests between these Provinces. Nova Scotia has fishing, mining and agricultural capabilities. New Brunswick is agricultural and lumbering; Canada the same; P. E. Island is purely agricultural; Newfoundland is a fishing community; therefore you have in these Provinces the various elements that constitute greatness, and the Union will combine these elements. Therefore an interchange of commodities would take place from time to time, as circumstances require it. There are various objections urged to a Union with Canada.
One is, because she rebelled in 1837, or rather manifested a rebellious spirit. I do not like to see that spirit, but if there was not something of the same kind in Nova Scotia, there was at least a good deal of excitement and feeling manifested when Canada assumed the position she did. In view, however, of the many evidences of loyalty that Canada has exhibited in times past, it is hardly worth while to charge upon her that, many years since she was dissatisfied in consequence of the existence of political grievances. Canada, we are told again, is greatly in debt. If she has an amount of debt which is greater than that of Nova Scotia at the present day, but not equal to that of New Brunswick in comparison with their respective populations, she has an amount of wealth to show for it that perhaps no other Province among the whole can show. I think the debt of Canada is about $21.60 a head; in New Brunswick it is $23. Nova Scotia is getting fast on to the stage that Canada has reached. The last estimate was $16 or $17.
By the time all her public works are completed, she will have as large a debt as Canada, but whether she will have as much to show for it as Canada is quite another question. With regard to the productive wealth of Canada, there are no less than 500,000 persons who cultivate the soil directly or indirectly There are 237,654 persons who own and occupy farms. The value of the farms is put down at $464,322,217. The value of products annually raised is no less than $100,000,000. She has 2000miles of railway, 216 miles of canals, valued at $16,000,000. She has 40 colleges, with 8,000 students; 8,000 Grammar and Common Schools, educating 500,000 pupils, and the most perfect system of education in the world. If this is a country that is dangerous to unite with, it appears to me that the gentlemen around these benches misunderstand the resources and state of Canada at the present time. In […]
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[…] Canada every fifth person is at school—in Nova Scotia one-tenth,—that is, under the old law. The per centage of education in Canada is greater than that in New York, Massachusetts, or Pennsylvania. I think, therefore, that those who undertake to say that Canada is a country not to be desired—that we cannot either properly or judiciously unite with her—have not taken the trouble to inform themselves upon these facts that are within their reach. The greatest misrepresentation has been sent to the country by the Anti-Union press concerning Canada.
Not a fight occurs, not a train runs off the track and kills one or two persons in that Province but it it is blazoned forth in that press ; but you hear nothing of the great capabilities of the country, and the surplus of crops and revenue.— With regard to the subject of Union and the Quebec scheme, I shall only remark on one or two points, for the whole subject has been already most fully and ably discussed. Some 15 years ago the hon. member for East Halifax introduced a bill to provide for representation by population; but I think nothing was done with it. A few years afterwards it was introduced again.
We had a very unequal representation : Queens with her population 9,000 had as large a representation as Pictou with her 29, 000 people. Hants had five, Annapolis three, and Kings four members, with nearly an equal population. This discrepancy could not be accounted for on any just principle This state of things has been the result of the progress of time Whenever a dead-lock occurred between parties, and government necessities demanded it, the representation of some particular county was increased. It will be remembered what a hue and cry was raised when a bill was introduced by the present Judge in Equity to a ter and equalize the representation of the country. My own opinion is that there is no other true principle than representation by population It has been said that wealth should be the basis. When discussing this question with a gentleman who has since passed away, I asked him: as Halifax has an amount of wealth equal to Lunenburg, Queens, Shelburne, Yarmouth and Digby combined would you give her the same representation that all these counties have?
Certainly you would not Take production again. I might bring statistics to show that there is more production in Antigonishe than in any other county in the province, according to her population. Guysboro is another county which produces very heavily in fish, etc. Therefore I cannot see that it is possible to base representation upon any other principle than population. My attention has been turned to this subject ever since the hon. member for East Halifax introduced the bill I spoke of, and I have come to this conclusion. If you form a union with the other provinces, on what other principle can you base it? You could not base it on wealth, or production, or territory.
Population is the only true and safe principle. Therefore, so far as that principle in the Quebec scheme is concerned, it has my hearty cooperation. With regard to the financial part of the scheme that has been so fully and ably dealt with by Mr. Archibald and other gentlemen who are generally considered au fait with figures, that it would be idle for me to say anything on the subject A great deal has been said on the subject, and were I to compare all the calculations that have been made, you would see what a diversity of opinion exists Take the resources of Canada and divide it into population, and do the same with Nova Scotia or any other of the Colonies, and you will find pretty much the same result—only a few cents difference.
Take the expenses of the government, and you find very much the same thing. Canada is obliged to collect a large amount of revenue on certain articles of importation, for she manufactures more largely than we do. I shall now turn your attention to another feature in this question. Let me sup ose that there is an individual desperately sick. The physician attending him feels hardly able to grapple with the disease alone, and calls in assistance. The physicians then hold a consultation, but they may disagree. How are they to settle the difficulty ? They will consult the best authorities on the question and the men who have written and given the results of their experience, and the issue is that the weight of authority carries the day. The same thing may be said in respect to a Court of Law. The Judges consult the authorities, and bring to bear all the examples relating to the case, and decide accordingly.
I do not wish to draw any invidious comparisons between individuals, but I would ask who have advocated Confederation in Nova Scotia. We find on the list the late R. J. Uniacke, the present Judge in Equity, Mr. Howe, the Chief Justice, the Provincial Secretary, Mr Archibald, Hon. Mr. Henry, Hon. Mr. McCully, Hon. Mr. Ritchie, and others I need not now name. Here is an array of men who have occupied a very prominent position in Nova Scotia ; every one of these gentlemen have expressed themselves in favor of Union, and no better authorities can be cited than they. Mr. Howe said, years ago, it was the dream of his boyhood and the purpose of his political life but I am told that it was only a theory with him— theory generally precedes practice.
Now is the time to put that theory into practice—never was there a more auspicuous period to do so than now. When I say that the most eminent men in this Province have supported, and are supporting Confederation, I need hardly add that the same thing may be fairly stated of the other Provinces. Whom have we in opposition to this scheme ? We have the hon. member for Guysboro, who may be presumed to be the leader of the Opposition since he introduced the amendment to the original resolution. We have Mr. Jones, Mr Andrew Uniacke, and two or three other gentlemen in Halifax. I do not wish to make any invidious comparisons between these gentlemen. If you can produce an array of talent against Confederation like what I have given as supporting it, I would like to hear of it. I will merely say that from the year 1834 up to the present time I have been a reader of the ” Nova Scotian” […]
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[…] and ” Morning Chronicle,” and I must confess that if I have been impressed in favour of Confederation it has been from perusing the able and eloquent writings and speeches of Mr. Howe on the subject Mr. Howe’s opposition cannot now effect anything, he cannot wipe away the principles to establish which he has devoted his whole public life.
It will be remembered that, some time ago, he wrote a letter denying that he had written anything on the subject of Confederation. Now I have always entertained the opinion that he has been opposing the scheme from its very inception by the present government. I have read his productions so long, that I can detect them anywhere. If he would come out under his own name. and oppose the scheme fairly and honorably, I would respect him much more than I can possibly under present circumstances. He said he had not written a line to any one, except to his wife A gentleman told me that he saw an article that was corrected by Mr. Howe’s own hand; and yet a short time before he published a letter in “The Reporter” which was copied generally by the press, stating that he had not written an article for several months.
I received a letter last night from a friend of mine in the country, who writes that he hopes the House will adopt Confederation. He is one of the most influential men in my own county, and has been an admirer of Mr. Howe, but he speaks in the strongest terms against the course pursued by that gentleman on this question. I met a gentleman last night from Cornwallis, and I asked him what was the feeling in Kings. ” Mr. Howe has done two things,” was the reply; “he has cemented the Conservatives to a man, and has divided the progressive Liberals from those who are opposed to union and progress.” As respects the hon. member for East Halifax, he has been on both sides of this question. He puts me in mind of the boy who complained to his mother that Bill took all his portion of the bed out of the middle, and he had to lie on both sides. I regret that he should have introduced into this debate the reference he made to the Queen, to the representative of Majesty, and to Hon. Geo. Brown. It is not necessary to refer to the papers that support Confederation.
It has been said that clergymen have no right to deal with matters like this. Clergymen, I contend, exercise their legitimate functions when they instruct their people in an important crisis. Therefore I believe that the religious press is only performing its duty in discussing this question and advising the people on the subject. Temperate and argumentative articles have appeared in its columns, and no fault can be found with it for pursuing this course. As respects the secular press, the weight of authority is in favor of Confederation. The only influential press that opposes the measure is the Chronicle, and we all know the inconsistent and extraordinary course it has pursued.
Therefore, whether you take the leading presses or the ablest minds in the country, you find the overwhelming weight of authority in favor of Confederation. I have had consultation with many leading men in my own County and they have said that they believe the time has. come to adopt Union.— As respects the question of an appeal to the people, that has been very effectually settled by Mr. Blanchard and the circumstance which was brought to the notice of the House by the hon member for Guysboro does not apply at all. Mr. Johnston succeeded after a great deal exertion, in passing the Municipal Incorporation Bill through the Legislature, but it was with the proviso that it should be left to the acceptance or rejection by the people. That was the clog put on it by the Liberal Government. The only two Wards in Kings that adopted it were those where meetings were held and the question was fully discussed. An important change took place some years ago in reference to Government when the Departmental System was introduced
I do not remember that it was submitted to the polls. I believe the peoples’ representatives have the right to judge of the matter themselves. It will be remembered that the Morning Chronicle’s second exposition of a well known despatch from the Col Secretary was, that it meant “the well understood wishes” of the educated portion of the people as expressed by their representatives.” Assuming this to be correct, I think it would be found that if the present question was submitted to the polls, we would not get “the well understood wishes of the more intelligent portion of the community, as this question would be mixed up with the school bill, and other matters connected with the government of the day I believe the people have the right, not only to discuss questions of public policy at meetings held for that purpose, but they have the right of petitioning. I see by the papers that they have been holding a meeting at Canning for the purpose of’ discussing this question. This is not the first one held there.
Being a native of the County I represent, and for upwards of thirty years a praticetioner [sic] of medicine in Canning and vicinity, I ought to know the people pretty well, and while I must acknowledge having received a great deal of kindness and professional support there, as well as having very warm political supporters, but there is no place int he North Riding where political feelings are carried to a greater extent than in Canning, and consequently where I have stronger political opponents. There is no difficulty at any time in getting up a political meeting in Canning, especially when the subject appears to affect party interests. I believe this meeting was suggested by parties in Halifax for the purpose of influencing the votes of the members for North Kings on the subject of Confederation. I have some knowledge of the mode of getting up and circulating petitions, and do not think that petitions can always be looked upon as the exact exponent of public sentiment. Many persons are careless about the matter and allow their names to be placed there without considering the subject, especially when no pecuniary interests are at stake. New Brunswick has been referred to in this debate.
All I can say is there has been a great change in the public sentiment of that Province since the election a year ago. Every constituency that has since been opened has returned a Confederate; […]
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[…] Fredericton, for instance, returned Mr. Fisher by an overwhelming majority. This change must occur wherever the question is fairly and temperately viewed and discussed. There is no use denying the fact that the time has come when we should unite ; everything that is transpiring around us points to that result, I have not come to a hasty determination to support this resolution on. This question is like a jug of yeast it must. go through a certain amount of ferment ; but it will come out all right in the end. Mr. Howe, and Mr. Annand, who are now opposing this measure, would be the first to put their shoulder to the wheel and carry Confederation, it they could come into office tomorrow. Under these circumstances I do not feel disposed to stand in the way of a question that mist come sooner or later These are the convictions of my own mind.
It is not because I feel disposed to occupy any preferment. If the House were dissolved tomorrow I should not regret if I went home and never returned to public life. I often wish I had never studied or paid any attention to political history; it only keeps a person constantly perplexed. Let me here. mention what struck my observation on a visit I paid to Canada last autumn. I travelled some 3000 miles and attended two Public Exhibitions. I was much gratified by what I saw of the great manufacturers Some of the most delicate surgical instruments are manufactured in that province. Agricultural Implements are largely produced in the country. The cloth manufacturers are far beyond anything I had expected to see. I attended a ploughing match, and there saw some 102 teams enter for competition ; fully 6000 persons were present.
Never in the course of my life did I see such excellent work, but what surprised the particularly was the fact that I saw a host of boys discussing the merits of the ploughing. When boys took such an interest as that in ploughing, 1 thought there need be no fears as to future agricultural operations in Canada. Whilst in the Province I mixed as much as I could with the people, for I wished to learn all I could about Canada’s industrial resources, the intelligence of the people, and especially her fruit culture. When persons found 1 was from the Lower Provinces, they would ask me, ” What are you afraid of ? Why do the Lower Provinces oppose the Union with us.” I must say that from what I saw of the Agriculturalists they are a very desirable class of people to associate with. Under all the circumstances I cannot think we have any reason to fear a union with the flourishing province of Canada. On the contrary I believe that Nova Scotia will be largely benefitted by the consolidation of all the Provinces of British North America under one government and under the protection of the British Empire.
SPEECH OF MR. KILLAM
Mr. KILLAM said: I rise to deliver to you a message, not from the Lieutenant Governor. not from the Legislative Council, not from the Colonial Secretary; but from 16,000 of the loyal inhabitonts [sic] of this province whom I have the honour of representing in this Assembly. They are closely identified in interest and feeling with the inhabitants of the other portions of the Province, are known far and wide, as well as in this country, for their industry and enterprise, were the first pioneers in one of our great industrial pursuits—one that has done more to elevate our position and make Nova Scotia, known far and wide than any other. This Message is sent to me by these. To protest in their behalf against a Union of this Province with Canada, believing as they do, that such a. measure will demoralize the people, alienate their affections from Great Britain and endanger British institutions- transfer our revenues into the hands of strangers, disarrange financial affairs, and jeopardize our local improvements.
We, as the oldest colony of British North America, have enjoyed a Legislative Assembly for over one hundred and Responsible Government for 20 years, with full liberty to levy and appropriate taxes; and to deprive us of these privileges, as proposed by the resolution, they believe to be most unjustifiable. In making these statements they do not arrogate to themselves any superiority over other counties. They acknowledge the claims of all other sections to consideration, and are proud that this is our common country. It is with pride they remember that they can claim as their own one of the ablest statesmen that ever stood on the floor of this house, to watch over the interests of the people of Nova Scotia. He did not come here, like our leading men of the present day prepared to destroy, but to improve the constitution we now possess, and not to hand over. this Province to another country, irrespective of the wishes of its people.
The arguments that have been advanced in support of this resolution shew that the scheme is more one of theory than of practice. The argument which they have most labored is this: that it is necessary to unite with Canada in order to ensure our common safety. Everybody admits that numbers are strength ; but those numbers must be in a position to assist each other. If you haven large territory, exposed at all points to danger,—just as Canada,—separated from you by a great tract of count , you cannot expect assistance from it. Its union With you does not bring strength, but weakness—if you are to have trade. it must be in a position to afford it.—If we look at the map, and see the configuration of British North America, you can recognize how absurd are the arguments of the advocates of Union. Nova Scotia has no natural relation whatever to Canada.
[Mr. Killam here pointed out the relative positions of Nova Scotia and Canada on the map, and contended that neither in defence nor trade would we gain any benefit by union.]
Between us and Canada extends a vast tract of desert country.—If you look at the water communication, you see how roundabout it is, and unsatisfactory as far as trade relations are concerned. In winter the St. Lawrence is closed for five months, and the communication must be made either by the United states, or over the uninhabited waste lying between New Brunswick and Canada. We cannot expect any assistance from that country in case of war, for the nature of its territory, running along for many hundreds of miles by the frontier or the American Republic, requires that all its forces should be kept at home for their own defence. In case of a war with the United States, therefore, no troops can come from Canada to our aid.
In case of a Union we could give no aid to Canada except in a financial point of view—by the revenues that they would draw from us. Separated from us as it is, is folly to suppose it could be otherwise. When in 1783 Great Britain gave up the old colonies which she had settled on this continent the great mistake was that they had not all, including Canada, […]
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[…] been given up in one block. I can give you a good authority on this point, as some gentlemen may take issue with me. Lord Brougham, in his historical sketches of eminent Statesmen, speaking of Sir John Jervis, says: His sagacity no man ever found at fault, while his provident anticipations of future events seemed even beyond the reach of human penetration He says we shall give a remarkable example of this matter in 1889, in a matter of deep interest at the present moment—(if of deep interest then, the interest is much greater now). When Lord Shelburne’s peace (1783) was signed, and before the terms were made public, he sent for the Admiral, and showing them asked his opinion. I like them very well, said he, but there is a great omission. In What? In leaving Canada as a British Province. How could we possibly give it up, inquired Lord Shelburne ” How can you hope to keep it,” replied the veteran warrior. With an English republic just established in the sight of Canada, and with a population of a handful of English settled among a body of hereditary Frenchmen, It is impossible; and rely on it you only retain a running sore, the source of endless disquiet and expense. Would the country bear it ! Have you forgotten Wolf and Quebec! asked his Lordship. ” Forgotten Wolf and Quebec.” No, it is because I remember both, I served with Wolf at Quebec; having lived so long I have had full time for reflection on this matter, and my clear opinion is that if this fair occasion for giving up Canada is neglected —nothing but difficulty in either keeping or resigning it will ever after be known.
It is quite evident that Great Britain has nothing to be proud of in the management of her affairs as respects the arrangement here spoken of. She has had war with the United States and came out of it without accomplishing her objects. Consequently she neither acquired honor nor glory as far as the American people are concerned. Nothing is more probable that what has been prophesied will occur sooner of later. I have another extract bearing upon the samg [sic] subject, which I do not think gentlemen will say come, from a disloyal source. Mr. Oliphant, M. P., delivered an address at Stirling on America. In speaking of Republican institutions, he said :—
“To his mind there was no spectacle furnished by the world at this moment se interesting as the 30,000,000 Anglo Saxons working out by hard experience the unworked problems of Republican government In the first place there was no other race fit to cope with these problems or to understand the principles they embodied, but that to which we and they belong Although he did not believe in them for this country, he did most devoutly believe in republican institutions for America. As an Englishman he had no sort of objection to the Monroe doctrine and the spread of Andglo Saxon republics all over the American continent —the more the better. That was the reason he had no particular objection to see the Union divided, provided slavery was abolished, nor did he think it would matter half as much as Americans imagined. Moreover he thought some day or other it must come to that. We shall be quite prepared to see Canada erected into an independent republic, and Australia, when old enough. There is no reason because we were a constitutional monarchy, and well satisfied to remain so, that we should insist upon our Colonies, who had none of the traditions or associations which had made us what we are, adopting monarchial institutions after they left us.”
Here is a speech delivered by a member of the British Parliament; he believes in Republics for all America. Look at the geographical position of this continent and consider what seems to be the most natural arrangement. We have thirty millions of people directly before us, in every way more convenient to us than Canada; they are of the same stock, same feelings, as ourselves; they have everything that can make a people great and glorious. If you have to make any political arrangements, let them be consistent and natural. I do not think that the people of Nova Scotia want annexation to the United States but why should you drive them against their interests and inclinations into a union with Canada—with which they have no natural means of communication, and no sympathy. Why, if our young women were to attempt to-morrow to go to Canada by way of the States, they would be courted and married before they got half-way there. I have wondered often when I have heard gentlemen in this Legislature talking of the advantages that will accrue from Union with Canada.
A great amount of words has been used on the subject, but I cannot see how our manufactures are to be developed by Union, Just look at the map, and see where our products would have to go. Why before they got there, they would cost so much that the people of Canada could not afford to buy them when they could purchase similar articles, which paid duty at a lower price. We cannot expect to manufacture as largely as Canada. We cannot compete with her, or the great manufacturing countries of the world. If the Provincial Secretary says that a great stimulus will be given to manufactures, I give him credit for thinking otherwise, We have now 350,000 people busily engaged in carrying on all the industrial pursuits that they able to carry on. We know by the statement that has been laid on the table that Nova Scotia owns 400,000 tons of shipping. Consider what an immense amount of labor and money has been expended to create it ; but also remember that ten years hence every one of them must be renewed. We own more ships in proportion to our population than any other part of the world, and our experience has shown that they must be renewed as I have stated.
This renewal will cost an immense sum of money. We are carrying on a fishery of a most extensive character, which must tax to the utmost the energies of those engaged in it. More vessels han [sic] ever are leaving my own county —filled with able bodied men, to endure the privations and labors of a fisherman’s life on the Banks. We are largely engaged in Mining and Lumbering, and Trade—Agriculture engrosses the attention of a large proportion of the people. Everybody has his hands full, and yet you say we want more work. We are now one of the greatest manufacturing countries of the world in one great branch; our shipping is a more lucrative source of wealth than any manufacturies that can be created by Annexation to Canada. As to what Mr. Young, Mr. Johnson, or Mr. Howe may have said, it makes little difference now. It is the duty of this Legislature to look at the present circumstances of the country, and provide for its best interests. We should not wander away from the subject immediately before us.
This Union question has been tried in British North America and has failed The Union between Upper and Lower Canada has failed. and now they come asking us to help them out of their difficulties. Mr. Brown formed a coalition with Cartier and Macdonald and they came meet the Maritime Delegates and persuaded them to join in a political Union with Canada. Nova Scotia should pause before injuring herself irremediably for the sake of helping the Canadians out of their political embarrassments, They got into a mess, and now wish to mix us up with it. You have all heard the story about the Spider and the Fly. The Spider told the Fly a ” fine story, and got him that way into his mesh, and there was the end of the poor thing.” And it was just so with the Canadians. The Maritime Delegates were dazzled. if not by Canadian gold, by fine stories—and thus fell into the net prepared for them. ” We give larger salaries to our public men. we are more liberal in our expenditure; we shall have five or six Lieutenant-Governors to appoint— number of other offices to select from; here is your chance.” This is the language that was probably used to cajole our delegates. Elated by the prospect before them, our delegates came back thinking that the people would take their view of matters. All these things make people wonderfully loyal at times.
They can hardly bear to hear a whisper about annexation to the United States. Let us hear what Mr. Murdoch says in his history of Nova Scotia about a matter bearing u on this point. At page 448, No. 13., speaking of the excitement in the old American Colonies in reference to the stamp act, he says :—
“That it was not much felt in Nova Scotia, that they were satisfied, for the reason that the great trouble and expense of the Crown to complete the conquests here, and the generous aid to settlements […]
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[…] in Parliamentary grants, all tended to knit their affections. In addition, the great number of military and navy who had become inhabitants and the liberality displayed to settlers. Beside the personal welfare and comtort of so many of our people depended on the expenditure of public money which flowed freely hither in naval and military channels and otherwise.” Things like these make a great many people intensely loyal.
Take away their salaries and their cocked hats, and their honours, and they become a good deal like other people. c am not going to acknowledge that I am not as loyal as an gentleman who sits on their benches. I love, and wish to live under British institutions, I have no desire to change them : but if we are to have a change, if it is necessary, should not every man be at liberty to say how that change should be made. Should we press the people into Union with a country with which they have no wish to unite, and not allow them to express their opinions? It is said that the people of Yarmouth are disloyal—I deny it, they are as loyal, and have done as much to show it, as any people in the province.
When we see our present institutions about to be swept away, it is enough to rouse our feelings and passions. Gentlemen have had an opportunity of watching my public conduct for very many years in this house and country, but can any of them say that I have had an other object in view except the advancement of this province. I have done much to place the present party in power; but when I came here and found that they were about to desert the principles on which I had supported them, I left them, and assumed an independent position. I have pursued this course whenever the interests of my country demanded it. I did as much as anyone to advocate the retrenchment scheme. and was pledged to support it. It has been charged against me in a paper supporting the government that I and another hon. member would not sustain them became 1 could not get office.
The Provincial Secretary knows that I never wanted office; I was above it; I have business enough of my own to attend to. I do not think myself suited for office. I have been tied up to indoor business; but I had my eyes about me, and saw through the designs of some political gentlemen. If I had been disposed to yield to some of them, I could have had anything that I wanted; but that is foreign to my nature. If I can support a government on principle, I must leave them. Now these gentlemen with whom I was formerly associated come here to barter away the rights and interests of the people of Nova Scotia. There is no principle in a course like that. It is beneath the dignity of statesmen to do such a thing, in the face of public sentiment. Such a union could never last; there would be no unity of feeling and sympathy. Suppose an election were to come off to-morrow, how many of the gentleman who are pressing forward this unjust measure may expect to see Ottawa? Hardly one of them.
The members that will go to Canada will carry with them a feeling of hostility to this Province—they will bring discord into the councils of the Confederation; your present conduct can lead to no other result, The members of this House know the sentiments of our people, from Cape Sable to Cape North, and should hesitate before pressing this measure rashly upon them. We should allow more time for the consideration of a question fraught with such important results. There is no necessity whatever for dealing with this subject with such intemperate haste. It is reported, from day to day, that we are to be invaded by a band of robbers called Fenians, who wish to seize and destroy our property; and yet, at this critical time, you are going to agitate and distract the people of the country, and to divide one section against another.
The people are quite prepared to meet any invaders, an with the help of Great Britain. they will be successful—why then this haste? I do trust that if any words of mine can have any effect on this House, that a majority will not be found ready to sell their country to the Canadians. If the day should come when Nova Scotia will be wrested from us and given to Canada, it will be one of mourning and lamentation among the people. Of course we shall have to submit to it—for I am not going to counsel rebellion. We are going to disturb all our financial arrangements, and hand into the Canadian treasury much more than we can expect to receive, We have had revenue enough for our purposes, and when it was not sufficient we have raised the duties to suit ourselves.
If any money is spent improperly it is soon made up, and we are able to exercise the strictest supervision over our expenditures. But now we are about to entrust the extensive power to the Parliament at Ottawa, to be used as the Canadians may choose. The sum of 80 cents a head that we are to receive is a most contemptible amount to offer to a people for the amount of money they are to put into the treasury. We have now a large revenue, and there is every reason to believe that as our pub lic works are extended we shall be able to meet our liabilities. It will be far more satisfactory to have the management of our own revenues, and to be able to raise the duties when we think proper. than to entrust the power to a Legislature 800 miles off.
Our trade with Canada is small, not as much as with Newfoundland or New Brunswick, while the population is ten times as great. Our exports to that Province are mostly of Foreign productions. The estimate on which our revenue an expenditure is based for the current year, now in the hands of every member, shows that all we should have to apply for provincial purposes, including the 80 cents per head, would only amount to $419,000 out of a gross revenue of about $1 500.000. I have not closely estimated myself what our imports of 1865 with the Canadian tariff would have amounted to, but have been informed by a competent person who has done so, that it would have added $680,000 —enough to pay the interest on the $8,000,000 of debt proposed to be assumed by the General Government, and leave $220,000. How is our education, educational institutions, roads, bridges, Lunatic Asylum, Penitentiaries, Legislative expenses, and improvements and casualties of every kind to be provided for. The $419,000 is very little over half we have in the estimate for this year for similar purposes, with the present tariff. Mr. Speaker I thank you and the House for the very attentive hearing you have given on this important subject.
SPEECH OF THE HON. FINANCIAL SECRETAYY. [sic]
Mr. McDonald then said :—The present question is one of the most important subjects that can engage the attention of a free people, involving as it does their political rights and condition for all time. It is not therefore to be wondered at, that each member of this house, in the discharge of his duty to his constituents, should be desirous of placing on record the sentiments by which he is influenced in coming to the conclusion at which he may arrive. This is the only excuse I shall offer in detaining the house with a few remarks on the resolution under consideration. The arguments for and against Confederation have been widely disseminated throughout the country—the subject in the form of the Quebec scheme has been discussed in this house by the Delegates who originated it, on the public platform, and in the columns of the press. The people therefore, we may assume, are more or less familiar with the grounds and reasons on which the framers and supporter of the measure ask public support. It will not be necessary for me, under these circumstances, to go at any length into the arguments which have influenced my own mind. Since this debate arose nothing has been evolved that has not already appeared in the press of the opponents of the scheme.
The advocates of Union to-night have not to meet a single argument that has not been previously considered [….]
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[…] and refuted—that the people had not had a full opportunity of discussing and reflecting upon. Therefore it is that I shall feel myself at liberty, as a representative of one of the most important counties in Nova Scotia, to state in a very brief and concise manner the reasons which induce me to support the resolution before the house. There is one argument which has been used by the opponents of the scheme which requires consideration. I admit that, if it be true, it is a fundamental argument, for it lies at the very basis of the question we are discussing. It is one which should therefore be fully and satisfactorily answered before we ask the people of Nova Scotia to accept this measure at our hands.
That argument, if I understand it aright, and as it has been advanced by all the speakers on the opposite side, and more particularly by the only lawyer who is supporting the opposition, is this : that we are not in a position constitutionally to pass on the measure in this Legislature; that this House, in its legislative capacity, is not competent to decide upon this important measure, affecting as we all admit it does to a large degree, the rights and interests of the people, without a reference to them at the polls. If this be true, we are attempting to discuss a question with which we have no right to deal—we are assuming a power and authority which the constitution does not invest us with—and we would be guilty of one of the highest crimes of which public men can stand convicted before the people who have entrusted their rights to their hands.
If, however, as I contend we have a right to pass upon this question under the constitution handed down to us from the earliest days of constitutional authority then the question assumes a different aspect, and we have only then to consider whether it is not for their benefit and welfare that the people should seek by this union to become an integral part of what in a short time must be one of the commanding nationalities of the world. I must say that I was astonished not only to hear a lawyer but other members of this Legislature who from their position, ought to be somewhat versed in constitutional knowledge— for I need not tell you it does not require a legal mind to understand the general principles of constitutional law upon which the rights and interests of this Parliament are based—attempt to delude this House with the style of argument resorted by the hon. member for Halifax and the hon. member for Guysborough in dealing with this important branch of the subject.
The hon. member for Halifax, who is one of the oldest members of this Legislature, and who has taken an active part in all the discussions which have agitated this country, for a long time, has no excuse for misinterpreting those principles of constitutional law with which he should be familiar. Much less should the hon. member for Guysborough, a gentleman of legal attainments, who has filled the position of Speaker of this House, attempt to deal with a question of such magnitude and dogmatically assert doctrines in constitutional law without asserting a single authority in support of his argument. In propounding an argument radically striking at what I consider one of the highest privileges of this Legislature, he ought to have given us the result of his reading, and have shown this House and country at least one instance in the whole constitutional history of England where the right of Parliament to deal with a question like this was denied. I challenge the hon. member and any gentleman in this House who assumes the same views, to show me in the whole constitutional history of England down to the present time a single case in which it was contended that the Parliament of England, or of any Colony enjoying the blessing of the British constitution, were not absolutely and constitutionally authorized in their legislative capacity to discuss and finally decide upon any measure which, in their opinion touched the rights and interests of the people they represented.
I shall not occupy any time in debating a question which is as plain as the sun at noon-day. But I feel it important that the people of this country should be rightly informed on the question, and see how baseless are the assertions of those who contend that the representatives of this House— that the Legislature of this country, for some. reasons, have been arrogating to themselves a power which is not delegated to them by the constitution and are bartering away most unjustifiably (to quote the hon. member for Yarmouth) the rights and liberties of the province. In order that the people and the country may be satisfied on this point I will read one or two authorities of very high standing—which are recognized in England as of the highest weight in matters of constitutional law and practice. May in his work on the privileges of Parliament says :—
“The Legislative authority of Parliament extends over the United Kingdom and all its Colonies and foreign possessions, and there are no limits to its power of making laws for the whole empire than those which are incident to all sovereign authority— the willingness of the people to obey, or their power to resist. Unlike the Legislatures of many other countries it is bound by no fundamental charter or constitution; but has itself the sole constitutional right of establishing and altering the laws and Government of the empire.”
In addition to this I shall quote the opinion of one of the highest authorities on all such matters—from a book which is not only of the highest authority, but is familiar to every man of ordinary reading and information. Sir W. Blackstone, treating of the power of Parliament and quoting from Coke, says:
“The power and jurisdiction of Parliament, say Sir Edward Coke, is so transcendant and absolute that it cannot be confined, either for cause or persons within any bounds. And of this high court, he adds it may be truly said: ” Si antiquetatem, spectes, est vetustistima, si dignitatem est honoratissima, si jurisdictionem, est capacissima.” It hath sovereign uncontrollable authority in the making, confirming, enlarging, restraining, abrogating, repealing, revising and expounding of laws concerning matters of all possible denominations, ecclesiastical or temporal, civil, military, maratime, or criminal; this being the place where that absolute, despotic power, which […]
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[…] must in all Governments reside somewhere, is entrusted by the constitution of these kingdoms. All mischiefs and grievances, operations and remedies, that transcend the ordinary course of the laws, are within the reach of this extraordinary tribunal It can regulate or new model the succession to the crown, as was done in the reign of Henry VIII and William III. It can alter the established religion of the land, as was done in a variety of instances in the reigns of Henry VIII, and his three children. It can change and create afresh even the constitution of the kingdom and of parliament themselves, as was done by the act of the union, and the several statutes for trienial and septenial elections. 1t can, in short, do anything that is notnaturally impossible.”
I could, if it were necessary, quote other, many other high authorities to the same purport, recognizing and asserting the powers, rights, and privileges of Parliament as they are enunciated by this great authority. Powers and rights far above what this resolution asks this House to exercise; and, sir. I think I have established my right to ask the hon. member for Guysboro to produce to this house and the country the authority on which he founded the bold assertion that the members of this Legislature are forgetting their duties to the people when they undertake to consider for the benefit of the country, not a radical change in the constitution, but simply a modification of their present relations and circumstances.
If what I have read be sound constitutional law—if we have the right to consider and finally pass upon this question, I hope we shall not again be told we are ignoring the just authority of the people and the duty we own to our constituents in our efforts to promote their interests by multiplying their sources of wealth, while we secure their enjoyment of all their just rights and privileges.
And now, sir, we can legitimately examine the expediency of the proposed change, and enquire whether the Union of these Colonies be a proper and judicious measure on the part of the people of this country. But first let me refer to one view of the question which is perhaps of some importance, in the opinion of some, and has indeed been referred to in this debate I refer to the position occupied in reference to this question by its present opponents in former times. It is quite true men may legitimately change their opinion on public questions, but in doing so they invite inquiry as to the motives by which they are actuated and the reasons for the change—and although I do not think it of very much consequence, nor will the people of this country, I imagine think it of much consequence, what have been or are now the opinions of the Honble member for Halifax, yet his position in this house as one of the leading opponents of Uniou and his well known and recognised connection with a gentleman outside of this house whose opinions exercise much more influence in the country than his own—make it perhaps worth our while to inquire whether it be true as the hon. member for Halifax has ventured to assert that neither Mr. Howe nor himself have ever been committed to a Union of these colonies.
It is quite natural, Mr. Speaker, that a man like Mr. Howe who for many years has filled a large space in the public eye, who has borne a prominent part in the political contests and changes of many years, and occupied a foremost position in the discussion of the most important and grave public question which have agitated the country for a quarter of a century—it is natural I say that the sentiment of such a man should be received by the country with some weight of authority [sic]. Mr. Howe has recently assumed a position on this great question which his mouthpiece in this house, the hon. member for Halifax as well as the hon. and learned member for Guysboro has sought to justify—while they have ventured to assert that Mr. Howe was never committed to a Union of these Colonies, other gentlemen have called attention to the resolution of 1362 and other public acts indicating his desire to promote this Union, unless indeed, we accept the shameless assertion that their measures were a sham and delusion. I shall therefore only detain the house by reading one or two paragraphs from a speech of former years.
It is not necessary that I should say one word derogatory to that gentleman, and I am sure I have no desire to do so I shall compare his past with his present course, but I shall accord to Mr. Howe his due influence and position in this country. Unless I was willing to do so, I could not venture to ask this House and the country to contrast his former with his present opinions, and to ask the people to accept from his own mouth the evidence which condemns his present course and that of gentlemen opposite. When he chooses for personal or other grounds to recede from the position he occupied in former days, he occupies a position which, I may say, will not be accepted by the country as worthy of himself or of his past greatness. Nothing surprises me so much as the hon member for East Halifax who is the Editor of the book which I hold in my hand entitled “Speeches and Public Letters” of Hon. J. Howe, who has prepared the very evidence on which I intend to convict both himself and Mr. Howe of attempting to deceive and betray the people of this country in the most important matter ever submitted to them, and who, on more than one occasion, endorsed the sentiments which Mr. Howe promulgated to the country on the subject.
I wish, sir, I had time to quote a very great deal from the volume before me; it is one which ought to be read more than it is in this country at this particular time. If I wished to impress upon the people the necessity of a Union of the Colonies I do not think I could do it more convincingly than by scattering this contribution to our literature over the face of this country. Sir, it is filled with arguments in favour of Union, and therefore it is that the people who have accepted these opinions of Mr. Howe as of great weight ought to pause before giving their opposition to these same views when they are being carried out by his successors, and not to accept at the hands of his disciples or of himself views diametrically opposite to those he so long laboured to inculcate.
Mr. Howe on various occasions, in the discharge of his public duties, advocated not only in this country but in Great Britain a Union of the Colonies; and perhaps no colonist (without derogating from the position of many eminent men who have justly acquired great influence in this country) over obtained a higher position in the mother […]
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[…] country than did Mr. Howe by his intellectual displays. On one occasion he said:—
“This is the prospect before us, and the duties it imposes we must learn to discharge with energy; the destiny it discloses we may contemplate with pride. England forsees yet fears it not. * * She believes in the existence of the old feelings here which are to strengthen with our strength and bind us to her by links of love, when pecuniary obligations have been cancelled. She virtually says to us by this offer, there are seven millions of sovereigns at half the price that your neighbors pay in the markets of the world; construct your railways; people your waste lands; organize and improve the boundless territory beneath your feet ; learn to rely upon and to defend yourselves and God speed you in the formation of national character and national institutions. “
Again he says:—
“I am not sure, sir, that even out of this discussion may not arise a spirit of union and elevation of thought that may lead North America to cast aside her colonial habiliments, to put on national aspects, to assert national claims, and prepare to assume national obligations. Come what may, I do not hesitate to express the hope that from this day she will aspire to consolidation as an integral portion of the realm of England, or assert her claims to a national existence.”
This is very significant language from Mr. Howe, and I now quote Mr. Annand’s comments thereon:
“Mr. Howe desired to create a NORTH AMERICAN NATION, watchful of republican America, even while pursuing common objects, but in perpetual friendship and alliance with the British Isles.”
Here we have the sentiments of the hon. member for East Halifax, under his own hand, nearly eight or nine years ago,—when he did not expect that his political opponents would succeed in carrying into effect what he and Mr. Howe then expressed a desire to form, a British American Nation. What does this mean? Is not that a Union of the Colonies? Or is it some new combination of which we have not yet heard?
The House will recollect that the hon. member for Halifax, in the discussion of this question last night, while endeavoring to avoid the dilemma in which he was placed by the resolution which he moved in 1862, stated that they did not intend to do anything—that the resolution was a delusion— that they looked forward to a Union after the Railway was completed. Mr. Howe always declared that a railway was an essential precedent of Union, but be also as invariably contended that the railway was only the means towards that great end. ” Why do I want a railway? Perhaps for the pecuniary and commercial advantages that it may bring to us, but the great object I have in view is a Union of the Colonies.”
That was the sum and substance of his arguments I ask then when we attain the great end he had in view and at the same time, and by means of the Union obtain the Railway which he vainly laboured so hard to secure, why does he now factiously oppose the measure which brings about the very result he wished to obtain. Mr Howe says on the same occasion :—
“Of one thing I am proud to-day : of the unanimity and evident attachment to the home of our fathers which have characterized this meeting. In the generous offer of the government and people of England, we have felt John Bull’s heart, beating against our own. * * Until the time arrives when North America shall rise into a nation nothing can be more honorable than our connection with the parent state. * * I do not disguise from you that I look hopefully forward to the period when these splendid Provinces, with the population, the resources and intelligence of a nation, will assume a national character. Until that day comes we are safe beneath the shield of England, and when it comes we shall stand between the two great nations whose blood we share, to moderate their counsels and preserve them in the bonds of peace.”
Shortly afterwards Mr. Howe visited New Brunswick, and in a speech delivered there, thus reported by the hon. member for Halifax in the book I have ef erred [sic] to :—
“I thought it was now full time that we had higher objects in view than a mere transit traffic, and I therefore urged the general views and aspects of these Provinces, for the purpose of preparing the public mind in England to promote their elevation to a far higher status in the scale of nations.” And Mr. Annand thus comments on the above and previous parts of the same speech.
‘Having very adroitly detached some of the prominent public men of New Brunswick, and brought out in bold relief the proportions of that great field of honorable emulation and exertion which they would tread, when Union of the Provinces by iron roads had been followed by the political organization which would be the immediate result, he said:—
“If the sphere were wide enough here, what would you do with such men? You would send Judge Wilmot to administer justice. Where? To a small Province? No: but to an American Empire. You would place Mr. Chandler on the bench of the United Provinces; you would hold out to the young men of your country a sphere and a field for their exertions and their ambition which none of them have open to them now. How? By violence? By rebellion? By bloodshed? No. You would seek to live under the old flag. You would seek not separation from the mother country—that would be madness, folly, bad faith; but with the consent of the Sovereign, and the acquiesence of the Imperial authorities, by the united action and good sense of all the Provinces. You would seek by union to elevate them all to a higher status than any of them separately can ever enjoy. I believe that Railways will be of great use to these Provinces, but I believe also that it is necessary, nay almost indispensable, to produce a social and political organization of the people, to raise these Provinces to a higher position than they can ever singly attain ”
And in his report to his own government, in 1851, he says :—
“Among all ranks and classes the railroad seemed to be regarded as indispensable agencies by which North Americans would be drawn into a common brotherhood, inspired with higher hopes, and ultimately elevated by some form of political association, to that position, which, when these great works have prepared the way of union, one half of this continent may fairly claim in the estimation of the world.”
In his speech on the organization of the empire, he said :—
“If, then, the British and Colonial statesmen do not incorporate this people into the British Empire, or make a nation of them, they will, long before their numbers have swelled so much, make a nation of themselves.”
What did Mr. Howe mean by all that? Higher status in the scale of nations, Union? Higher position when North America shall rise into a nation, &? Did he mean that little Nova Scotia would rise into a great nation?—He was speaking then of British America—asking them to build the road and obtain that standing in the world which the advocates of union are now endeavoring to bring about. He was advocating then exactly what we are advocating now. I would like, before passing from this subject, to read another extract to the hon. member for Yarmouth who, pointing to the map before him, said that Canada was a dreary waste—that we could not expect any commercial or manufacturing advantages from connection with her—that she, from her natural […]
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[…] position, was worthless to us as an ally, either commercially or politically.
The hon member is in unison with Mr. Howe on this question now, but let us see what. the hon. member’s friend has said on former times about Canada, when it was not his interest to traduce that country :—
“But, sir, daring as may appear the scope of this conception, high as the destiny may seem which it discloses for our children, and boundless as are the fields of honorable labor which it presents another, grander in proportions, opens beyond; one which the imagination of a poet could not exaggerate, but which the statesman may grasp and realize, even in our own day. Sir. to mind these disjointed Provinces together by iron roads; to give them the homogeneous character fixedness of purpose, and elevation of sentiment, which they so much require, is our first duty.
But, after all, they occupy but a limited portion of that boundless heritage which God and nature have given to us and to our children. Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are but the frontage of a territory which includes four millions of square miles, stretching away behind and beyond them, to the frozen regions on the one side and the Pacific on the other. Of this great section of the globe, all the Northern Provinces, including Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland, occupy but four hundred and eighty-six thousand square miles. The Hudson’s Bay territory includes two hundred and fifty thousand miles.
Throwing aside the more bleak and inhospitable regions, we have a magnificent country between Canada and the Pacific, out of which five or six no le Provinces may be formed, larger than any we have, and presenting to the hand of industry, and to the eye of speculation, every variety of soil, climate, and resources. With such a territory as this to overrun, organize and improve, think you that we shall stop even at the western bounds of Canada? or even at the shores of the Pacific? Vancouver’s, Island, with its vast coal measures, lies beyond The beautiful islands of the Pacific and the growing commerce of the ocean, are beyond. Populous China and the rich East, are beyond; and the sails of our children’s children will reflect as familiarly the sunbeams of the South, as they now brave the angry tempests of the North The maritime Provinces which I now address, are but the Atlantic frontage of this boundless and prolific region; the wharves upon which its business will be transacted, and beside which its rich argories are to lie. Nova Scotia is one of these
Will you, then, put your hands unitedly, with order, intelligence, and energy to this great work? Refuse, and you are recreants to every principle which lies at the base of your country’s prosperity and advancement: refuse, and the Deity’s handwriting upon land and sea, is to you unintelligent language; refuse, and Nova Scotia, instead of occupying the foreground as she now does should have been thrown back, at least behind the Rocky Mountains. God has planted your country in the front of this boundless region; see that you comprehend its destiny and resources—see that you discharge, with energy and elevation of soul, the duties which devolve upon you in virtue of your position.”
I scarcely require to make an apology for reading to this house an extract so eloquent. 1 may say that eloquent as have been the speeches of the advocates of this scheme, none of them can exceed this, or more fully recognize the importance and benefits of Union. I would be quite content to put these words of the eminent man from whom I quoted against the remarks that the hon. member for Yarmouth thought proper to make. And I would ask him to give the same weight to these words of Mr. Howe, as he is ready to give the opinions of the same gentleman to-day. There is no man who is acquainted with the resources of Canada—with the industry and energy of her people—with the great progress that has been made in all the elements of prosperity, but must recognize the want of truth in the statements of the hon. member, and the want of magninimity he displayed in disparaging a colony which has increased more rapidly in recent years than any other part of the world. There is no country in North America that, in the last fifty years, has advanced so rapidly and so steadily in all the sources of material wealth and greatness as the Province of Canada.
On another occasion, in a great speech which the same gentleman delivered in this House on the Organization of the Empire he says :—
“Sir, the first question which we men of the North must put to ourselves, is have we a territory broad enough of which to make a nation? At the risk of travelling over some of the ground trodden yesterday by the learned member for Annapolis, I think it can be shown that we have. Beneath, around, and behind us, stretching away from the Atlantic to the Pacific are four millions square miles of territory. All Europe with its family of nations, contains but three million seven hundred and eighty thousand. or two hundred and ninety-two thousand miles less. The United States include three million three hundred and thirty thousand five hundred and seventy-two square miles, or seven hundred and sixty-nine thousand one hundred and twenty-eight less than British America. Sir, I often smile when I hear some vain-glorious Republican exclaiming :—
“No pent-up Utica contracts our power,
The whole unbounded continent ours !”
forgetting that the largest portion does not belong to him at all. but to us, the men of the North, whose descendants will control its destinies forever. Sir, the whole globe contains but thirty-seven million square miles. We, North Americans, living under the British flag. have one ninth of the whole, and this ought to give us “ample room and verge enough” for the accommodation and support of a countless population.”
These were the sentiments that Mr. Howe impressed upon the people of this country What then did they lead to? When the Provincial Secretary moved the resolution, two years ago, for the Union of the Maritime Colonies, I stated in a very short speech, that from my earliest recollection of the political history of this country I had been impressed with the conviction that the leading men on both sides had always advocated the Union of the British North American Colonies, and that a desire for such Union largely pervaded the public mind of this country. I regretted, on that occasion, that instead of a Union of the Maritime Provinces, we could not aspire to a Union of all the Colonies in British North America.
Sir, I did not stand alone in entertaining that opinion, and I venture to assert that it was the opinion of the large majority of the people of this country, until their fears and prejudices were aroused by demagogues who had other ends to serve, and not a leading man but has been found in the front pressing forward this great question. But Mr. Howe, in a letter which he published the other day, says we are powerless to defend ourselves. Let us see what he thought on that subject a few years ago; after eloquently referring to the necessity for the future consolidation of these colonies. he said:—
“Taking our population at two millions and a half, (it is now nearer four millions.) every fifth person should be able to draw a trigger, giving 500,000 men capable of bearing arms. Such a force would be powerless as an invading army, but in defence of these Provinces invincible by any force that could be sent from abroad.” […]
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[…] “How often have we heard that our republican neighbors were going to overrun the Provinces. They have attempted it once or twice, but have always been beaten out, and I do not hesitate to say that the British American over whom the old flag flies, are able to defend every inch of their territory, even though Her Majesty’s troops were withdrawn.”
So much then for Mr. Howe, and now let us enquire what are we to obtain from a Union of the Colonies. It is hardly worth while detaining the house on this branch of the subject, for it has been so very amply discussed; but let me say that this union will give us commercial great ness, political status, social distinction, and military power I will not say we are going all at once to become a great Empire, to be able to compete with the great nation close to us—but let us unite these colonies, consolidate their strength and resources, and we start fair for all the greatness which the Anglo-Saxon race is sure to attain when it has the means and the opportunity. We start with a larger population than the United States had when their national existence began, with a country far in advance of those States at the time of their separation, in all the elements of national prosperity and greatness. We will have direct railway communication with the whole country behind us, as soon as the political union is consummated. The hon member for Yarmouth says that we cannot have extensive commercial relations with Canada, and that union will give no impulse to our commercial enterprise, and he scouted the idea that we can sustain manufacturing establishments. Why should we not have manufactures ?
He says we have not the population. True, I reply, and whilst we remain isolated as at present—whilst we have had only a population of 330,000 people, he is quite right to say we cannot rise above our present condition. No one knows better than he that a large manufactory in Halifax or Yarmouth of any particular article could supply the Province. We can afford no inducements to men of large capital to expend their money in developing our resources. Give us, however, the population of four millions that union will give, strike down the hostile tariffs that now stand like a Chinese walt between the Provinces. and you have the market for manufactures which is now wanting to stimulate enterprise. The hon. member says we have not the means or resources, Then again I say the hon member’s knowledge of this country should have prevented him making this assertion. If there is a country in the world of equal dimensions, that by virtue of its geographical position and natural resources, has greater facilities for commerce and manufactures, 1 have yet to learn where it is ? You have immense tracts of the finest quality of coal at the pit’s mouth, you have mines of iron, and alongside them again you have the lime required to convert iron to useful purposes.
Only give facilities for making these resources productive, and what portion of the Union will develope itself more rapidly than Nova Scotia ? This Province has rapidly developed her resources, notwithstanding the disadvantageous position in which she is placed ; her mines of coal and iron have made progress, and her commercial progress bears witness to the energy of the people, but give us the demand that the wants of four millions of people will create, and she will increase to a remarkable degree in all the elements of prosperity. What has made Massachusetts the great manufacturing state it is? That the cotton of New Orleans comes to to be converted into cloth—that the iron of Pennsylvania comes to be converted into cutlery in the manufacturies of Boston. Why can Massachusetts supply manufactures to the whole Union? Because the hostile tariffs meet her productions at every state boundary. Why should not Halifax be the Boston of British North America?— Why should not the cotton of New Orleans be manufactured in this city, and supplied to every town in the Confederacy? Why should not tobacco be made, and sugar refined here as well as in Boston? No reason in the world is there why it should not be so, except that we have no market, no population, fenced in as we are by the hostile tariffs of every surrounding country Supposing each of the United States had remained isolated and separate communities, that each state had preserved its own revenue and trade loses, in what position would they be in now?— Weak, insignificant communities, instead of component parts of one of the strongest and proudest nations of the world. I ask then, is it not our duty to adopt this measure.
If our trade shall be enlarged and wealth will be increased, then it is an answer to all the story we have heard about taxation. The people have been told time and again until they began to believe it is so—that they are going to be taxed to pay the debt of Canada. There is no foundation for such a belief, but suppose I assume for the sake of argument that the statement is partially true, and that instead of paying 10 we shall pay 15 or 17 percent; but if our commerce prosper as largely as I have predicted, then I ask the hon. member for Yarmouth whether the mere trifle of increased duty should stand in the way, when compared with the progress that this country will make in all the elements of productive industry. It is not many years since the construction of railways was commenced in this country, and I remember how many persons said they were to be our ruin.
Mr. Howe was going to swamp us.— Our taxation was to be doubled. And a great many persons thought that if our duties were largely raised we would be ruined beyond redemption. I dare say the hon. member for Yarmouth did a great deal to create the idea throughout the country, for he was then as now opposed to every progressive measure.— We built the Railways and the croakers have turned out false property. Our duties have been doubled, and I will undertake to say that there is not a man in the House who will say that we are not now better able to pay our increased duties than we were to pay the lesser duty ten years ago This is an illustration of what may be the result of the Union with the British North American Colonies It gives us room and expansion—it gives us what population will always afford ; and everything that promotes the wealth of a country, and while we have these no fear of taxation ruining us or cramping our […]
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[…] energies. I do not intend to occupy the House in the discussion of other branches of the subject. With Union, our social and political statue will be enlarged, and our means of defence against aggression increased and consolidated, it will give you thousands of men that we cannot otherwise have, and 1 will tell you how.
We are rapidly increasing in population even now but give us the facilities for commerce and manufactures that Union will afford then you will have hundreds where you have now one added to the number of the people. And the same thing will occur in Canada and the other Provinces. What is the reason that this Province has been for so many years sparsely settled —it is only where mines have been worked that you have any large centres of industry. Immigration seeks a country where there is plenty of room and work. Give us the population and the industry that Union will certainly bring with it, and you will have a greater ability to contribute towards defence, both in money and men. When I listened to the hon. member for Yarmouth, I thought of the last occasion when he pointed to the same map which now hangs before me.
He is the last mm in the world of whom I would say a single disrespectful word but from his anxiety to see anything beyond Yarmouth, he is at times, I might say at all times one of the most inconsistent man that ever sat in this House. No doubt every one is disposed to give the hon. member credit for his commercial enterprise for the zeal with which he discharges his duties, but the people of this country must know that on almost all the great questions which tend to promote the wealth and prosperity, he has always been a drag on the wheel. Therefore I say that on a question like this gentlemen will not be disposed to accept his assertions or opinions with the confidence that they would otherwise be disposed to extend to them. When we were discussing the intercolonial Railway, three years ago we saw the same map before us.
On that occasion the hon. member in his attempt to defeat the Intercolonial proposition resolved to the argument that the road we ought to build was the one to Pictou. But when the hon. member had an opportunity of being consistent with himself building that road to Pictou what did he? His party came into power, and in fulfilment of the pledge which they had given when the hon. member was one of their supporters, proposed to construct the railway to Pictou, but this consistent gentleman opposed the measure to which he was solemnly pledged left his party because they would not violate their pledges as readily as himself. Yet the hon. member told us to-day that he invariably acts upon principle. He left his party on that very question, although standing in the presence of the House bet re that very ma.» he promised to support us in carrying it— He says he did not want office, I daresay he did not for himself but he has put it into my power to declare that if he did not wish to enter the Government himself be left the party that he sustained on the very Pictou Railway question three years ago because some of his friends did not get office. (Mr. Killam—No.) I say yes; the hon. member took occasion at a recent date to state that he left because I was appointed Railway Commissioner. He wished that another gentleman, a personal follower of his own, should be appointed.
I shall not trouble the House with any lengthy observations on the financial branch of this subject, but there are one or two points in the speech of the hon member for East Halifax, that I may briefly notice. He stated that the revenue derived from local sources, under Confederation, would be $155,000. This sum added to the subsidy of 80 cents a head, amounting to $264,800, gives a total of $419,800, to be appropriated for local purposes. Here I am quite content to take the figures of the hon member, but he went further. Now to make a set off to this revenue for local purposes, the hon member for Halifax resorts to the most unfair method of assuming that future grants for local purposes will, for the future, be as large as they are this year.
That hon member knows well, Sir, that never in the history of this country have the grants for Education, Roads and Bridges, Navigation securities, and special grants for such purposes as the St Peter Canal, and opening and enlarging many of the Harbors on our coasts been so large and munificent as during the last three years. And he also knows, Sir, that it has never been imagined by any one in this House that these large grants could be continued. Where Sir, are we to obtain the means to meet the obligations the country has assumed except by discontinuing these exceptional grants as the necessity arises. Whence is to come the interest on the Pictou Railway which already forms a considerable sum to the debt of our account? Where are we to find the subvention we are to pay to the Annapolis and Intercolonial Railways?
Why, Sir the hon member well knows that if Union did not take place, and all these liabilities fall upon our own shoulder, that notwithstanding the prosperity of the country, we should be obliged not only to reduce all these special and exceptional grants, but be obliged to resort to additional taxation to sustain the credit of the country, and yet the hon gentleman ventures to place before the country the figures quoted in his speech as a fair estimate of our local outlay after the Union is consummated Now, Sir, I shall submit my estimate to the House and challenge a comparison of my figures with those of the hon member. The liabilities I put as follows:—
|Crown lands||14 000|
|Roads and bridges||140,000|
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|Board of Works||25,000|
|Packets and Ferries||5,000|
or $4,640 dollars less than the amount now available for local purposes. The House will see that I have given the full amount of the Educational grant, and I have also been induced to leave all the principal services at the full figure our altered circumstances will require The road grant I have somewhat reduced, as it is evident to all that as soon as our new obligations begin to weigh on the Treasury, that and other services must be curtailed to meet their demands.
The Hon. member for Halifax has also unfairly increased the amount of local liabilities by including in many of the services named by him, sums which under Confederation will be borne by the general Revenues. Now Sir, this estimate is based on the supposition that the sources of our local Revenue will not in the future yield a larger amount than at present, but such a proposition seriously made would be laughed at. Why, Sir, what do we see on the papers on this table ? — This, Sir, that the casual Revenue and receipts from Crown Lands above, two items of our local Revenue have increased three fold within the last four years, while the receipts from Gold Mines, also form a new and increasing source of Revenue
Now, Sir, without being subject to the charge of being too sanguine, I may fairly assume that all those sources of Revenue shall be as prosperous for the next five years as they have been in the past. But to keep within the safest bounds, suppose they only double within that time, and the Hon member would have an additional $l55,000 for local purposes, so that instead of being obliged to resort to direct taxation, he might by the exercise of the economy and financial skill for which he is so famous, not only meet all his wants in a liberal manner but actually leave a balance in the chest.
The hon member for Yarmouth tells us that we cannot expect any commercial advantages from connection with Canada that there was not nor could there be any communication between us I am surprised to hear the hon member make such a statement. Is the trade of a country which reaches the enormous sum of one hundred millions a year worth nothing? Does he not know that our intercourse with that country is already very considerable and is rapidly increasing Her politicians and merchants are opening up new outlets for trade, and endeavoring in every way possible to develope the resources of the country to the utmost limit, and it only requires time to make these efforts successful. Indeed, the merchants of that country manifest a spirit of enterprise and energy which our own would do well to observe.
Many hon members, the hon member for East Halifax among the number, have stated that this question is not understood in England—that Mr Cardwell has been hastily drawn into the support of a measure that his own judgment would not approve of. I can only say that I have lately had an opportunity of seeing some of the loyal dependencies of Great Britain—of seeing a group of colonies having as enterprising and intelligent class of men as are to be seen in any part of the globe.
Under the most adverse circumstances they have pressed forward the industrial resources of their respective countries, small as they are, until now they feel encouraged in looking to the future. These men understand as thoroughly as any men that I have ever met with, the condition of the Empire and the colonial dependencies; and I was never more gratified than to find that they one and all, manifested a strong desire to see this union perfected. They are British in all their feelings and aspirations, and look upon the consummation of this union as another step towards the strengthening and consolidation of British power in the world. Men more capable of forming a correct judgment on the subject I did not meet anywhere. That is an evidence of the opinions formed respecting the proposed union by men not biased by prejudice; in fact, wherever you find Englishmen who understand the condition and relations of these colonies they are all in favor of this scheme. This is a reply, to a large extent, to the argument of the hon member for East Halifax.
It has been said outside of this House that the result of this scheme will be the political extinction of its promoters. A good authority with some has told us that the men who carry this scheme must make up their minds to go off the arena of public life, and their places will be filled by those who are opposing this measure I am quite content. Starting young in politics I am naturally desirous of seeing the country prosper for I feel I must more or less participate in that prosperity; but all I can say personally is this—if the union be carried I shall be quite satisfied whoever may reap the fruits. It makes little difference after all who shall receive the political advantages whilst the interests of the country are advanced, as they will be by the successful consummation of the measure of Union. But this also let me say the opponents of Union may succeed in deriving a little temporary popularity by their course, but the people sooner or later, when they see the benefits that the scheme confers upon them will acknowledge their mistake and give their confidence and esteem, where it is properly due. I am quite content to wait the coming of that time when the very men who may now reject Union will be the same who will accept it and recognize the claims of its friends and promoters to their consideration. (Cheers.)
SPEECH OF MR. MCLELAN.
Mr. McLelan said :—If I consulted my own feelings, I should perhaps remain silent on this occasion, for I know not how to address the house—what words to utter appropriate to this momentous question. Notwithstanding all that has been said by the gentleman who has just sat down, I feel that it is not I who should speak at this time, nor is it the men who sit around me; it is the people of Nova Scotia, the men who own and cultivate her soil, who work her mines. who build her ships, or whatever may be their avocations, who ave [sic] made this country their home, and linked […]
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[…] their destines with her’s, who should first speak and instruct their representatives on this great question. But this right—their right—as I shall hereafter attempt to show, having been denied them, it becomes imperative on us to speak in their behalf; and when I reflect upon this, and consider that perhaps I am participating in the last discussion of the last Parliament of Nova Scotia, I feel almost borne down by the responsibilities of the position— by the solemnities of the hour.
The Prov. Sec. says we shrink from the discussion of this question. No sir, we do not. We never have been backward on any public occasion to discuss it, and all we ask now is that it may be carried down to every village and town in Nova Scotia, and upon full and fair discussion the decision of the people accepted. The member for Inverness says all the lawyers, all the leading statesmen—all the professed politicians favour the scheme and therefore the strong inference is that it is right. I beg to differ with him in his conclusion.
When the professional politicians of a country—the men who make a living hy politics—agree upon any measure I cannot regard it as evidence that it will be beneficial to their country. The simple fact that it is to improve the passion of those of them who may be successful may make them unanimous in supporting it, and comparing the list of salaries in Canada with those in Nova Scotia we find so great a difference that it is not impossible, but it has influence here. Let me mention a few of the salaries found on that list.
|Atty General East and West||$10,000||$2,000|
|Solicitor General ditto||6,000||800|
|Contingencies ditto||3 800||000|
|Provincial Secretary||5 000||2 800|
|Clerks and contingencies||30,000||4 089|
|Surveyor General||5 000||2,000|
|Clerks and contingencies||94,049||3150|
|Receiver General||5 000||2,400|
|Clerks and contingencies||43 649||1,878|
|Executive Council expenses||25,510||400|
From this comparison we might, if so disposed, draw the inference that the unanimity of our professional politicians arises from the fact that Confederation will give them very much larger salaries. But, much as we desire to discuss this question, we must protest against treating it in the tone and style of the past few days. The most dissolute and abandoned character, when brought into the presence of his death-warrant, assumes a more reformed and sometimes evinces a Christian-like spirit.
The house has now before it its death-warrant, and while we may not hope to see it die like a Christian, it should at least imitate the Indian savage, who sings his death song with calmness and dignity, in the belief that he is about to enter the happy hunting-grounds. and in like manner did I expect to see the advocates of this proposition sing the death-song, inasmuch as it will give them the entrance to Canada, the ” happy hunting-ground” for office-seekers. The government charged as who oppose this scheme with merely desiring delay, that on a change of government we may be in a position to carry the measure ourselves and divide the spoils. I do not accept the charge. l fling it back to those who make it, and tell them they are not the men to impugn our motives. They who raised this question—who gave it existence—who have arranged all the offices: the Judgships, the Governorships, and others, and who, when this measure is forced through as they are doing, shall fill those high positions, are the men of all others open to a charge of motives, and they should have more modesty than raise it.
Sir, I envy no man his office or his honors, and God forbid that I should ever enjoy them at the sacrifice of my countrymen’s rights. Others may take them, but however great their reward may be personally, it will not make their country’s wounds the less sore. It is not true, as was believed in the dark days of superstition, that “a salve to the sword will cure the wound it has given.” I oppose this proposition because I believe it wrong in itself ; because, territorially situated as we are, it will tend to destroy the harmony and good feeling existing among these Provinces by bringing into conflict their diversified interests; that it will retard the prosperity of this province, by imposing upon us heavy financial burthens ; that it will weaken our connection with the Mother Country and our means of defence, by rendering the people less attached to their form of government, and ultimately carry us into the arms of the Great Republic. Having taxed the patience of the House on a former occasion with my objections to the Quebec scheme, I need not now repeat them, although they are exactly applicable as against this resolution.
For although not mentioned in it, the hon. introducer of the resolution has declared his entire approval of it, and will take care to appoint on the delegation a majority holding the same opinions as himself. Beside this we have before us nothing from any of the other Provinces to lead us to suppose that they have abandoned the Quebec arrangement. Indeed I do not see how the Canadian ministry can, when they only carried the measure through their house on a distinct pledge, that there should be no departure from the terms agreed upon at Quebec. I shall trouble the house with but one extract to this point, and from the speech of Hon. Atty. Gen. Carder, who said:—
“I have already declared, in my own name, and on behalf of the government, that the delegates who go to England will accept from the Imperial government no act but one based on the resolutions adopted by this house, and they will not bring back any other. (Hear, hear.) I have pledged my word of honor, and that of the government, to that effect.”
After such a pledge how can the Canadian delegates depart from the Quebec scheme? And presuming that the honorable members for Richmond and Inverness, Messrs. Miller and McDonnell, are appointed on the delegation they will be overruled by the Canadians and their co-delegates from Nova Scotia. I had proposed to direct the attention of the house to the obstacles to a Union, other than exists, in the configuration of the territory which it is proposed to confederate; but the hon. member for Yarmouth has so well illustrated this that I need not detain the house, I am sure those who listened to the hon. gentleman this afternoon must have felt the utter impossibility of uniting and so interweaving the several interests of that territory as to make them harmonize and blend as one.
Our Province is almost an island,—detached […]
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[…] from New Brunswick by the bay of Fundy,— while New Brunswick is separated from Canada by the State of Maine, and a trackless forest of great extent. Mr. Fleming, in the report of his survey for an intercolonial railway made in 1824, gives us some insight into the nature of this country. He says :—
“A parallelogram, bounded on the South-East by a line drawn from Fredericton to Chatham, on the North-East by a line drawn from Chatham to Metis, on the South-West by a line drawn from Fredericton to River du Loup, and on the North-West by the settlements along the River St. Lawrence; about 90 miles in width, by 200 miles in length and embracing nearly 18,000 square miles, is both unsettled and roadless.”
Here is a territory the size of the entire Province of Nova Scotia, so long as it remains unsettled must render a union between New Brunswick and Canada an impossibility. The Fin Secy. in addressing the house read extracts from speeches of Hon. Mr. Howe, advocating the Intercolonial Railway as “a means to an end.” The end contemplated here, I presume, is the settlement of this territory, and the making, in such settlement, that connection between the two Provinces as might render, at some period, a political Union possible. And until that be first done I hold it is madness to enforce such a Union. Nor did I believe that with the boundary line of the two Provinces wiped out by settlements can the extraordinarv anticipations of the Delegates be realized from a country shaped as are these Provinces. Turn to the map of the world and you will find every country, occupying a first. class position, compact in shape, and just as the country departs from that it descends in the scale of nations. England has been styled ” the tight little isle of the sea.” There is in her a compact territory, which affords that blending of interest which leads to a harmonious co-operation for the good of the whole.
We have been frequently reminded since this question arose of the Heptarchy in England, and the great results of her Union. Union for her was a natural act, and so may it be said of England and Scotland. The boundary line is wiped out by the dense population, which flow back and forth, that the influence of the interest of each extends into and operates upon the other, forming a strong and enduring union. Ireland has not this territorial connection. The influence of her interests is bounded by the sea-shore, and naturally seeks a centre within her own territory. There is not the same interweaving of interests, and consequently the bond of union ia acknowledged to be weaker than between England and Scotland. England grew in greatness and power by every union which commanded territory and people and interests, having for each a natural affinity, but when she went beyond that she gained only elements Of weakness, She crossed the Channel into France, and attempted to draw that people and country to her, but the more territory she acquired the weaker she became, and eventually yielded to the inflexible law of nature that the drawings of all people are to their natural centre of interest. Look at France upon the map No straggling arms or long jutting head lands, but all compact, and forming a country which claims and holds a first position among Empires.
Go over the map of Europe, and just as you find countries departing from that compact shape you find them descending in the scale of nations. But I may be referred to England’s colonies scattered all over the globe and having no territorial connection with England, and be asked how she has held them without their being a source of weakness?— Simply by permitting them to manage all matters of internal policy as suited themselves. Attempting no action affecting the internal interest of a colony further than was compensated for by a protection of her external interests. By this wise and liberal policy she has seen her colonies grow and prosper in a remarkable degree. She departed from this policy when she proposed to tax the thirteen New England States, but the people regarded it as a violation of their chartered rights, and they severed the connection with the parent state. England saw the mistake Lord North had committed, and compelled him to repeal the act imposing a tax on colonists, and from that time to the present the policy pursued by England towards her colonies has been growing more enlightened and liberal.
But we have been told in this discussion. that England takes very strong ground on this question, and urges it for our acceptance, and so far have members of Government gone as to bring to their aid the name of Her Majesty the Queen. I have for some months seen that name used in the public newspapers in connection with this scheme, and felt it difficult to restrain my indignation at these who resorted to such unjust means to influence public opinion, but when the hon. Prov. Seccretary took the same course in introducing his resolution, I listened to him with absolute disgust. Who taught those men to take such liberties with the name of our beloved Sovereign? It was Governor Eyre, of Jamaica, and his officials who headed proclamations ” The Queen’s Wish,” and who in their administration first exasperated the people and then butchered them.
Let our officials beware how far they follow that unfortunate example. But, says the Prov. Secretary, it is mentioned in the speech at the opening of Parliament. Suppose it is, we all know that except in cases where ministers do not feel that it would interfere with their policy, the Sovereign does not alter a line or syllable of the opening speech. If there is one thing more than another for which we love and honor Queen Victoria, it is for her home virtues, and yet the ministry claim the right to regulate even her household—to say what maids of honour shall surround her person. Again we are told that we should accept this scheme from respect to the wishes of the British Government.
Sir, I yield to no man in my respect for a government, which is a reflex of the opinions and sentiments of so liberty-loving a people as those of the British Isles, and when I study the policy established by that reflex of British ideas, I both admire and respect it. Commencing with the repeal of that law under which Lord North taxed the New England Colonies, and from which they rebelled, I trace down a policy growing year by year more liberal, progressing with the spirit of the age, and conferring upon us colonists all the privileges and freedom which the most ardent lover of self government can desire. And now should Mr. Card […]
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[…] well, who, in a short administration has had in Jamaica a butchery and in Australia the machinery of government brought to a stand, insist upon our accepting a certain scheme, no matter how injurious we may consider it to our interests our respect for the long established policy of England should of itself make us hesitate. No man nor no single government changes the policy of Britain in a day. No policy lives there unless founded upon public sentiment. And when a Colonial Secretary attempts to enforce a change in the entire constitution of the country in which we live, regardless of our wishes, we may well regard it only as the act of an individual, until we know that the people who make and unmake Colonial Secretaries have turned their attention to it and approve of it.
I am told that public opinion in England does favor this scheme. It may and still be in harmony with the policy pursued towards us. Public opinion in England may be founded upon the information given that the leaders of all parties had combined in the scheme of Union and the usual inference would be that the mass of the people approved. But if the Pro. Secy. will grant us a general election; and if a majority, overwhelming as I believe it would be, is found against this Union, and public opinion thereafter insist upon our adopting it then shall I believe there is a change of policy by the people of England, and then, but not until that is thus shown, shall I think it necessary to consider what sacrifices of our interests we should make from respect to the British Government. We are told that there is not time for this; that events are gathering about us that preclude the possibility of a dissolution; that we are threatened with invasion and that unless we yield to the wishes of the British Government, our country will not be protected.
The men who tell us this slander Old England and are guilty of treason. What danger threatens us now? Whence comes the threatened invasion? Not from any act we or any of our people have committed, nor from anything connected with our internal or external interests, but from that which is akin to the act about to be perpetrated here: a forced union. Ah, sir, forced marriages seldom prove fortunate, and the forced union of Ireland with England is bearing fruit. We had a few years ago O’Connoll’s great agitation for a repeal of that union, but it was restrained in its action by the master mind of the great Dan and by the influences of the Crown, but thousands of Irishmen have gone out from under the British flag, feeling in their heart that their country has been wronged, and have found under other flags the influences that have strengthened and perpetuated that sense of wrong, and thus they and their offspring have been but too easily led by designing knaves into this Fenian movement, which now threatens our peace. And now are we to be told, when we have placed the entire resources of our country for defence—when every militia man is falling into line, and Nova Scotia one vast drill shed, that England will not help us—meet the danger she has brought upon us—unless we agree to this scheme of Confederation.
Then, sir, would she stand disgraced before the civilized world. If the British Parliament sustain a government that makes this the condition upon which they will now aid us, the whole world will ring with the Frenchman’s cry, ” Perfidious Albion,” and old Cromwell will come back to empty another Parliament House. No, every war ship that comes steaming into our harbour contradicts this assertion, and every intelligence we receive from England assures us that the people sustain the government in making our protection their honor. I have under my hand a letter from a manufacturer in Manchester, who holds the position of Major in the volunteers. in whose ranks some of the best blood of England has enlisted, and in this letter there are the strongest assurances of an interest in our position and a desire to aid us in repelling the danger. Speaking of Fenianism I am reminded that the hon member for Richmond announced, on the authority of a New York paper, that one of the planks of the Fenian platform is to oppose the confederation of these Provinces. The Prov. Sec’y also attempts to draw from this an argument in favor of his resolution.
Now the object of Fenianism is the liberation of Ireland. The first necessity in this attempt is to secure a territory that will serve as a base for operations. This territory must also be British, because the seizing of any other would involve a double conflict, hence it is of the first importance to Fenianism that there shall be a British Province within easy reach of them. Suppose that to-morrow we should be annexed to the United States, that organization would cease to exist. Othello’s occupation would be gone. There would be no suitable and assailable British territory left for them to secure as a base of Operations, and I do not doubt that the leaders of that movement, seeing plainly that annexation to Canada will soon be followed by annexation of the whole to the American States, and feeling the strong necessity of having us remain British provinces, do not favour Confederation.
I do no mean to say that those who here favor it do so as the means to the end : annexation to the United States, but I firmly believe that will be the result ; and if I did not value British connection; if I did not value the liberty and blessings which flow to us from the constitution under which we live, and if I were so craven hearted as not to be ready to meet any danger arising to us because of our connection with England, I, too, would become a Confederate, and seek to enter that current which will sweep us all into republicanism. I acknowledge England expects us to do more for our own defence than we have hitherto done, but when this is expected of us, and when we are ready and willing to meet the expectations, is it, I ask, the time to curtail our liberties—to take away our rights? When a greater strain is put upon the wheel, it is not the time to cut out part of the spokes; when the gale increases, it is not the time to weaken the cable; nor is this the time to weaken our attachment to the mother country by this Confederation under which we shall at all times feel perplexed to know whether we owe allegiance to England or Canada.
Like one of Brigham Young’s children adrift in the harem, we shall feel we have too many mothers. We have here a good many men claiming descent from the old Loyalists, men who settled this country in the belief that the British Government gave up the claim to tax these colonies […]
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[…] in the repeal of the American duties in 1778. They came here in the belief that the revenues they or their descendants raised would be entirely under their own control and disposal; and now after nearly a century, will England, without the consent of the people of this Province, hand over our entire revenues, our entire property, and our constitution, to a Province more difficult of access to us than the mother country is, and yet at the same time claim from us greater contributions to the national defences? We have been told that it is necessary to place all our means of defence under one head . If this means that our Militia systems shall be assimilated, it can as well be done without as with confederation: but if it means that being under one control the men shall be drawn from one province to another, then I question very much the propriety of so doing.
I believe the local militia of England or Scotland cannot be taken beyond certain limits without a special Act of Parliament, and the cases in which it would be wise to do so are rare indeed. The man who may not have a natural inclination nor a training to the “pomp and circumstance” of military life is comparatively useless except for home defence. His home and his household altars he will defend with his life, but take him beyond these influences and he needs a long training to be any service in warfare. The means of defence to a country depends upon the population to territory. These Provinces are alike assailable through their whole frontier, and while we have twenty of a population to the square mile of territory New Brunswick and Canada have only eight.
Hence the only result of placing the control of the militia of the provinces under one head by confederation will be to draw the militia men from this province to the others: a proposition which we have already seen does not find favor with the militia. We have seen already two regiments refuse the oath of allegianch under the impression that power had been given to take them to Canada—and I believe that such a feeling is general. The people will rise en masse to defend this country, which is dear to them. but will utterly refuse to be taken away into the wilderness, and leave their homes unprotected.
Hon. Pro. Secy.—No, no.
Hon. Mr. McFarlane.—Shame, shame.
Mr. McLelan continued.— Can any man cry shame on them for holding this view? No sir—they are ready to defend Nova Scotia the utmost. With their faces seaward they will wait and watch for the foe, and should he come they will give no man occasion to cry shame. Every breeze that comes across the waters to them from old England will bring courage to their hearts and nerve to their arm; but take them a thousand miles away into Canada and their arms will fall unnerved and powerless at the thought that their own homes are undefended. Connected with this argument of defence we are told the intercolonial railway is essential and can only be had by confederation. I admit its value for defence, but why cannot it be had without this scheme. Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have always been ready and anxious to build it, and have offered to do more than perhaps their just share, and now we are quite willing to build it upon the principles which form the basis of this scheme of confederation and which the Canadians declare is just and the only one upon which Union can take place.
Now if this principle of representation by population and eighty cents per head all round be just it can easily be applied to the building of this railroad. The total population of the three Provinces is 3,090,561, and the length of road, as given by Mr. Fleming, from Truro to River du Loup is 422 miles. Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have a population of 582,904, which would make their share a fraction less than 80 miles. Now they are not only willing to build this but have actually contracted for 109 miles from Truro to Moncton,—29 miles more than their share by the principle of population,—and all that the Canadians require to do is to apply the principle and build down to meet us at Moncton. I should like much to see them thus reverse the principle and give us a foretaste of it, but there is no probability that they will. They know too well that under confederation our excess of contributions to the general fund will more than meet the interest on the entire cost of the road. I shall not trouble the house at this late hour with any calculations or arguments to this point but I believe on a former occasion I proved to the entire satisfaction of the Provincial Secretary that Nova Scotia alone would be better off in a financial view to build the road herself than enter into this confederation under the Quebec scheme.
The hon. Prov. Sec’y has often characterized the proposition of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to build seven-twelfths of the road as monstrous; but the Hon. George Brown, speaking at Toronto of the building of it under Confederation, says:—” It may, however, be some comfort for my friends to know that we have a prospect of getting the road built upon terms much more reasonable than we had ever hoped to obtain.” Now, while we object to these terms, we say that if it be so necessary for defence, we have already contracted for 29 miles more than our share by the principles which are represented as just under Confederation. A great deal has been said of the commercial advantages of this road, and of the great effect it is to have upon this city. That it is to make the Province one vast beehive, and that the traffic of a continent is to centre here. I think the report of the last survey made in 1864 by Mr. Fleming, should be sufficient to dispel any such delusion.
I find that nearly all the lines given by him strike the European and North American railway about 37 miles from St. John, and then he shews that all the freight traffic passing down from Canada will seek the nearest outlet, which will be St. John or St. Andrews.— But supposing we take the central route, that route strikes 13 miles west of Moncton, making St John a nearer port than Halifax by 112 miles. He says on page 90:—
“By the projected lines for the Intercolonial Railway, St. Andrews and St. John, on the Bay of Fundy, are the nearest open winter ports to Canada within British territory, and they would, therefore, be the most available outlets for Canadian produce while other nearer ports remain closed.”
St. John must, then, be the outlet for freight, but he says suppose you build that road, then it is probable that it will be of most advantage to Canada when it is doing the least. He says […]
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[…] that the distance from Toronto to New York is 540 miles, while the distance to St. John by Riviere du Loup is 913, and he argues that if Canada is allowed to send produce through the American territory it will seek New York, but he looks at the possibilities of America prohibiting such a traffic, and he says, ‘ if you build the Intercolonial Railway the United States Government will see that there is a possibility of the traffic being diverted, and they will grant permission to send produce to New York direct. He says:
“As the probable through freight traffic depends on so many contingencies, it is impossible to form any proper estimate of its value; but of this we may rest satisfied, if the construction of the Intercolonial Railway, by opening out an independent outlet to the ocean, prove instrumental in keeping down the barriers to Canadian trade which our neighbours have the power to erect, it might in this respect alone be considered of the highest commercial advantage to Canada. It is scarcely likely that the people of the United States would permanently allow themselves to place restrictions on Canadian traffic, when they discovered that by so doing they were simply driving away trade from themselves; and in this view the contemplated railway may fairly be considered, especially by the people of that part of Canada west of Montreal, of the greatest value to them when least employed in the transportation of produce to the seaboard.”
The European and North American line now under contract, is 25 miles shorter than it will be by the Intercolonial line. He says:
“Thus it is evident that the passenger traffic of the Intercolonial way, on any of these lines being constructed, be tapped near its roots. and much of it drawn away. Under these circumstances, it is too apparent that the Intercolonial Railway may find in the United States a route formidable rival for Canadian passenger traffic, to and from Europe, by way of Halifax. Fortunately, with a view to counteract this difficulty, a line by the Bay Chaleurs would offer special advantages, which may here be noticed.”
He then goes into an elaborate argument to prove the propriety of making Shippigan the place of landing for all steamers passing between America and England, thereby taking away all ground of argument concerning the commercial advantages of the intercolonial road. It may be said that Shippigan being closed for seven months of the year, during that period the passenger traffic could land at Halifax,, but in the winter months there is little travel to or from Canada, and even the European and North American line, as he shews, will have the advantage. But 1 do not consider it necessary to weary the House with a discussion of the arguments against the measure, because I believe that we have not the right to change in the manner proposed by this resolution, our constitution. It is not in our commissions.
The supporters of the resolution argue on the extent of our powers; but I look more to our right to do so, without first consulting those whom we represent. If I understand Responsible Government, it means that we either have the sanction of the people to carry a measure, or that we shall decide upon questions in such a way as we feel will meet their approval—that we must ever keep in view a going back to the people to have our acts approved or condemned. The charter of our rights is not found in any one despatch from the Colonial Office, but runs through a number, granting one concession after another, all tending to this one point, that the people shall be consulted, and to them we are to be responsible for our action here. Earl Grey says to us, 2nd March, 1847 :—
“The two contending parties will have to decide their quarrel at present in the Assembly, and ultimately at the hustings.”
Again, on the 31st of the same month :—
“The practical end of Responsible Government would be satisfied by the removability of a single public officer, provided that through him public opinion could influence the general administration of affairs.”
Under this resolution before us public opinion cannot have is legitimate influence. It is not proposed that the action of members is ever to he passed upon by the people. Neither can it be said that because the question of Union has been for some years agitated that we were empowered at the last general election to pass it. The resolution of this house in 1861, on which the hon. Pro. Secy. lays such great stress, speaks of the obstacles to Union and of the desirability of having “the question set at rest.” From the action of the delegates appointed under that resolution it was supposed to be ” set at rest” as impracticable, and therefore was not a question before the people at the last General Election, and to pass it now and put it forever beyond their reach would be unconstitutional and unjust. The supporters of this resolution claim Lord Durham as one of the early promoters of a Union of the Colonies. I refer them to his views on this point, as given in his Report to the British Government. He says:
“But the state of the Lower Provinces, though it justifies the proposal of an union, would not, I think, render it gracious or even just on the part of Parliament to carry it into effect without referring it for the ample deliberation and consent of the people of those Colonies.”
Strongly as Lord Durham advocated a Legislative Union of these colonies, he tells us it would not be just to adopt it without the approval of the people. But I find that even the politicians of Canada admit that it should be referred to the people, if there be any doubt as to the opinions which they held. Mr. Cameron, in the Canadian Assembly, after approving of the scheme, proposed a reference to the people, arguing that if they gave their approval the Union would be more permanent ; he says:
Mr. Brown, whose name has been mentioned in this debate, and on whose abilities the Prov. Secretary has passed such high enconiums, said ;
“If we base this structure, as it ought to be based on the expressed will of the people themselves, then I think we will be offering to those who come after us, as well as to ourselves, a heritage that every man should be proud of.”
“If there were any doubt about public feeling there might be propriety in going to the people. But is there any doubt about it? I am not opposing the hon gentleman’s resolution on constitutional grounds. I am not denying the rights of the people; if I had any doubt whatever about what would be the verdict of the people. I should be the first to say we ought to go to the people. But it is simply because I am satisfied there would be a sweeping verdict in favor of the measure that I think it unnecessary to take it to the country.”
Here is the opinion of one of the first statesmen of British America, that if there be a shadow of […]
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[…] doubt as to the opinions of the people, the measure should be submitted to them before being passed. In Canada, perhaps, there was no doubt, but it is very different here. There are few men in this house who do not believe that a large majority of the people are opposed to the measure. The hon. Atty. General, who aids in forcing it through, entertained different opinions in 1861. In a speech delivered here by him on the 8th of March in that year I find him using this language:
“There is an honorable principle which must pervade and govern men in every position in life, and I would not envy the position of those who, hanging on to the tail of a majority in this house, must feel that in doing so they are betraying the trust reposed in them, and misrepresenting the views of their constituents.” Again : “This is a matter connected with the interests of the people, and they should be the sole judges.”
Mr. Archibald.—Read what we said.
Mr. McLelan continued :—We said at that time that we acted with a view to our accountability to our constituents at the next election, and that we were willing to take the responsibility of having our acts endorsed or not; but the hon. gentleman will see the difference between the two cases.—You are proposing to pass a Resolution upon which no man voting for it will go back to the people for the ratification of his act. The Atty. General says we have no precedent for asking a dissolution on this question. I think it is ho who should have precedents before handing over the entire Province to a distant colony without the permission of the people. He says, he saw one in the union of New Zealand.
The cases differ, but even there he should have told us that the people are dissatisfied and seeking a repeal of the Union by petitions to the British Parliament. And so it will be here, if you pass this resolution and carry out its intentions without consulting the people. But if you can obtain a majority to favor it, then you may hope for it to be enduring. It is one of the principles inherent in the minds of all claiming British origin to accept and obey the opinions of the majority. I do not believe, however, that a majority can be found to assent to a proposition which would sweep away our constitution and even blot out the name of Nova Scotia from the map of the world.
The hon. member for Richmond, Mr. Miller, in calling for this resolution, told us how proud he is of Nova. Scotia. It is not he alone who is proud of her. We are proud of being British subjects, of being British Americans, but not less so, of being called Nova Scotians. That gentleman, however, seeks to blot out this name. Whilst he addressed the House I thought of that anecdote told by Hugh Miller of the codfishing captain on a voyage to Newfoundland, who, on going down to his cabin to consult his chart. and finding it in shreds and tatters, told his men they might as well turn about, for the rats had eaten Newfoundland. I do not mean to say that Nova Scotia will be literally devoured, but the rats are striving to eat out the name from the map of North America. Sir, if this proposition be carried into effect without consulting the people, I anticipate the most serious results. There is in the breast of every man claiming British allegiance a principle—a feeling—implanted by God himself that he should be consulted in all changes affecting his rights and privileges and the constitution under which he lives? In no part of the British Empire is that feeling more strong and irrepressible than in this country, and if the Provincial Secretary carries out his proposition without consulting the people, this principle will rebel against the act.
I have no hesitation in telling the hon. gentleman that he is tampering with the loyalty and allegiance of the people. He knows our attachment to the mother country is strong, but he must not count too much on it. Let me read to him as a warning an extract from the report of that celebrated Statesman, Lord Durham:
“Indeed, throughout the whole of the North American Provinces there prevails among the British population an affection for the Mother Country, and a preference for its institutions, which a wise and firm policy, on the part of the Imperial Government may make the foundation of a safe honorable and enduring connection. But even this feeling may be impaired, and I must warn those in whose hands the disposal of their destinies rests, that a blind reliance on the all enduring loyalty of our countrymen may be carried too far.”
Then he says speaking of the evils of having a colony disaffected :—
“If the British Nation shall be content to retain a barren and injurious Sovereignty, it will but tempt the chances of foreign aggression, by keeping continually exposed to a powerful and ambitious neighbour a distant dependency, in which an invader would find no resistance, but might rather reckon an active co-operation from a portion of the resident population.”
The passage of this resolution before us seems a small matter, but it may produce the evils, named by Lord Durham. The most trifling causes often produce the most alarming results. The Castle may be strong and bid defiance to the invader, but a rat may undermine its walls. The ship may outride many a storm but a small insect may so destroy the strength of her timbers, that she will go down at the first blast of the next gale. Our city is healthy and happy, but a single breath drawn by a visitor, to the Cholera ship in the harbor, may bring to us pestilence and death. Taking Walter Scott’s beautiful simile, the tree may strike deep its roots and send wide its branches, clothed in luxuriant foliage, but a small worm may destroy its vitality and make of it an unsightly trunk, from which the raven and the vulture shall watch for their prey, or the majestic eagle find a perch.
“I asked the strong oak of the forest, wherefore, its boughs were withered and seared like the horns of the Stag, and it showed me that a small worm had gnawed its roots.”
Our forefathers brought to this country the British Acorn; they gave it congenial soil. Their descendants have carefully guarded and tended it, and wherever the sons of Nova. Scotia have stood, beside the men of the fatherland in the hour of danger, the world has seen that we too have “hearts of oak”, but strong and vigorous as this plant of loyalty may be, the passage of this resolution may touch its vitality. […]
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[…] It will not wither in a night; it did not spring up in a day, but its decay will be more rapid than its growth. And when in after years the Nova Scotian is asked ” wherefore the tree is dead—its branches withered and scared and a resting place for the great American Eagle” he will point to this little resolution as the worm which gnawed its roots.
I ask the Prov. Sec.—I ask the House to pause, and reflect upon the consequences which every judicious man who understands the people of this Province will see are but too likely to flow from the passage of this resolution. When these consequences are developed then perhaps the Prov. Secy. will lament the evil he has brought upon the country. Lord Palmerston speaking of the Emperor of Russia said, ” there is no greater calamity can befall a man than to be born to a heritage of triumphant wrong.” Sir, the Prov. Secy, had not the ” heritage.” He sought the” wrong,” it remains with this House to say whether the “wrong” shall be “triumphant.”
I entreat the House to withhold from him the power to make his wrong triumphant—to prevent the evils which may flow from this confederacy. The Financial Secretary says we prophecy evil. I am no prophet, nor yet am I the son of a prophet, but I may close by repeating the words which the great King of Prophets, Isaiah, tells us God himself commanded him to utter, “Say ye not, a confederacy to all them to whom this people shall say, a confederacy, neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid.” Sirs, “Say ye not, a confederacy.”
SPEECH OF HON. MR. MCFARLANE
Hon. Mr. McFarlane said:—It being the intention to divide this evening on the resolution under discussion, I do not intend at any length to occupy the time and attention of the House, but the question is one of such great importance that I cannot allow the resolution to pass with a silent vote. There is no doubt that of all the momentous questions that have agitated this country, this is, beyond measure, the most important. The step we are about to take, in every probability, will affect for all time to come the destinies of our native Province—will doubtless bring prosperity or adversity, and therefore, demands grave and careful consideration. No one should assent to the measure unless assured that it is calculated to promote our future safety and happiness.
There is no doubt that a large majority of the reflecting men throughout British America, as well as in Britain herself, viewing the condition of affairs on this continent, have come to the conclusion that the time has arrived when these valuable provinces can no longer continue in their present disconnected position, and must either form a united confederacy for purposes of defence, or be swallowed up by the gigantic powerful republic on our borders. For many years we have moved on peacefully and prosperously under the fostering care of the Mother Country, until we have outgrown the state of infancy, and reached that condition of maturity, population, and prosperity, which entails upon us increased responsibilities.— There can be no doubt that valuable and important as these North American Provinces are to the Mother Land, from their position to the United States they necessarily are the weakest and least secure of the outlying Colonies of the Empire, and more than all others are calculated to cause fears for their safety.
Hence the extreme solitude of Imperial statesmen and soldiers, as well as politicians, to see them at the earliest possible moment placed in such a position and so united together as will best ensure their safety, and strengthen their connection with the Crown. It is however all important for us as Legislators, empowered to deal with the interests of the people, to see that the contemplated Union is consummated on terms fair and equitable to all the Colonies proposed to be united and that the just rights of our own Province should be carefully guarded. The question is important to us both in a political and financial point of view. But above all others, to those who value British connection, towers the question of defence. And at the present time when hordes of armed Fenians threaten an invasion of our land, it assumes increased importance. I believe in the maxim that ” Union is strength” and the whole current of entreaty and advice from the Mother Land, whence we must look for protection in our time of need, unmistakeably points to a similar conclusion.
If we desire to ensure a continuance of that protection, it is evident, that whatever opinions in the matter we may entertain, the parties from whom we expect to receive it, believe that protection can be best provided, and our safety secured by the whole of the Provinces being united under one common head. With the financial features of the case I will not attempt to deal as it has been viewed in all its aspects, by gentlemen who have given to this branch of the subject much care and research. It was fully gone into during the debate of last session, and even under the Quebec scheme, I have been unable to discover where the interests of the province are not fairly guarded. I cannot however, say, that I was ever a defender of the entire scheme of Union agreed upon. Its basis undoubtedly is sound and the measure was prepared as far as possible to guard the interests of the weaker provinces. But where the independent judgments of a number of gentlemen with different interests to serve, are brought in contact, it is impossible that each can have his own way and there necessarily must be mutual compromises, or nothing could be accomplished.
This we are informed was the case in reference to the Quebec scheme, and there being no controlling influence, the wonder is that so much was done. But under the resolution to which the House is now asked to assent, this will be remedied, and the unfair pressure of any province justly modified. We can place the utmost confidence in the integrity and love of justice which characterises British Statesman, when the facts are fairly brought before them under the terms of the resolution, which affords the smallest and weakest colony, little Prince Edward Island the same voice in the advocacy of its claims as will be enjoyed by either of the enormous Canadian provinces. There is no reason to suppose that the interests and wishes of each, colony will not be strongly urged and justly dealt with. But it is said Upper Canada, from its rapidly increasing wealth and population after Confederation, will use her power and […]
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[…] crush the Maritime Provinces. I deny that any such power will be exercised. But even should this be the case, what possible motive could there be for such a course?
On the contrary, with a common revenue and common interest, it would clearly be for the benefit of the people of Upper Canada that the lower provinces should prosper equally with themselves—that their population should increase—their resources be developed, and their manufactures and trade be extended. And the same feeling would be felt towards Canada by the lower provinces. The prosperity and advancement of one would be felt to be to the advantage of all, and the local jealousies which now actuate us would speedily pass away. It is true, our present means of communication with Canada are circuitous and liable to interruption ; but with the construction of the Intercolonial Railway which will immediately follow union, this defect will be remedied, and with the rapid and easy communication, and the increased trade that will doubtless spring into existence, we will soon get to know each other—confidence will take the place of distrust, and our people will feel that a larger field is thrown open to their enterprise.
It is said the corrupt statesmen of Canada, in their anxiety for union, are animated with selfish motives, and want to get control of our country and revenues to pay their burdensome public debts. This is a device of the enemy got up to frighten our people. Any person who has travelled over that vast country and become acquainted with its great resources and growing trade, cannot fail to be convinced that this is entirely groundless.—The public debt of Canada, in proportion to her population, is little in excess of our own, while her resources and ability to meet it are equally good. But I am satisfied that altho’ Canadians are certainly anxious for Union with us, it is not on this selfish ground. They know that, while their country is rapidly increasing in population and wealth, without more intimate connection with the Maritime Provinces and an outlet to the sea at all seasons, they will be continually at the mercy of the people of the United States; who having cautiously put an end to the Reciprocity Treaty, threaten also to terminate the transport of Canadian bonded Goods over their territory and thus worry the people into a desire for Annexation.
Should this be the case and the United States be thus increased by the addition of three millions of people, and their great country severed from British rule ; could the maritime provinces even with the aid of Britain, for any length of time maintain their connection with the empire? No, Mr. Speaker, let Canada fall under Yankee rule, and we may make up our minds soon to follow. The old flag under which we have hitherto rested in peace and revelled in liberty will depart from our shores, and the Stars and Stripes flaunt in triumph over our Citadel and Forts. But it is agreed by our opponents that this resolution should not be adopted without an appeal to the people being first made—and that the course we are pursuing is unconstitutional. In my opinion the objection is unsound and if the request was assented to it would lead to no practical result. Of the constitutional right of the Representatives of the people in Parliament, to deal with all matters affecting their constituents, there can be no doubt, the principle is admitted by all authorities on constitutional law, and certainly under no circumstances could representatives of the people be returned and this House so untrammelled by pledges, and free to exercise an independent judgment on the question as the gentlemen who now occupy these branches. But we are told that nine tenths of the people are against Union, and that they have proved this to be true from the petitions laid on the table of the House.
Now what proofs do they give us that this is true, or that any large number of the people are opposed even to the Quebec Scheme. I have before me a list of every petition presented from every part of this Province during this session up to this time. The only parties that have done anything—which have sent in any respectable number of names—are those to which the hon member for Richmond was instrumental in sending petitions; namely Inverness, Richmond, and Antigonishe. From Inverness we have 1119 petitioners out of 20,000 people; Hants sends 607; Lunenburg, 502; Digby, 584; Antigonishe, 1920; King’s 445; Guysboro, 367; Victoria, 531; North Colchester, 126; Shelburne, 250; East Halifax, 205; Cumberland, 172; Richmond, 638. Making a total of 8000. Digby, Cape Breton, and Yarmouth do not appear to have sent in a single petition. Are not these facts proof that there is no such feeling of excitement against the scheme as has been represented? ls that evidence that the people of Nova Scotia are working to exhibit their indignation against any person who deals with this scheme?
I believe that the people of this Province having considered this matter, have made up their minds that the event is inevitable, and that they are content to trust their rights and liberties to the gentlemen who are within these walls. They are satisfied that tied up with the people as we are all of us—that whatever we possess being bound up in the prosperity of the country— we are not likely to jeopardize the public interests. Under these circumstances I feel that we are safe in passing the resolution before us, and that on its adoption largely depends the safety of the people of this country. lt is for us to consider if the Confederation of these Provinces will increase their strength and power, it is not our duty as well as interest, to yield to the advice of the British Government and pass this measure. 1 believe that such will be the results of Union, and I am therefore ready for one to support the resolution, believing that in doing so we are tending to perpetuate British rule, and British liberty through the length and breadth of British North America.
Mr. Townsend—I wish simply to observe that the people have not petitioned because they feel that the petitions are not regarded.
SPEECH OF MR. TOBIN.
Mr. Tobin said :—I feel that I cannot allow this question to be decided without at least offering a few observations on the resolution before the House. I have waited until the last hour to address the House on the subject, feeling that every opportunity should be given to my constituents, as they are in this immediate neighborhood, if they wished to raise their voices against the Confederation of these Provinces of British North America. I have waited, and now find that no united action has been taken by my constituents in the Western […]
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[…] Division of the county of Halifax, against this scheme, although they have had abundant time to do so. It is hardly necessary for me to allude to their sentiments, since the hon. member who has last spoken has shown that the Western Division of Halifax has not sent in a single petition against the Confederation of these Colonies (Cheers)
Before I came into this Legislature—before I had any idea of political life, I was in favour of a Union of British North America. I was in favour of it because I thought it would give a higher standard to the people—that it would give them an elevation of sentiment and thought, and a respectability of position that they cannot expect to have in their present isolated position. Therefore it has been from my first inception of public life that I have earnestly and zealously advocated the object which the public men of the day have in view—a Union of British North America. When I looked at the state of feeling in this House last session, I was of opinion that there were hardly half a dozen of men belonging to the party with which I was connected, that were ready to come up to the mark and vote for a Union of the Provinces. To my utter surprise, on the meeting of this House, I found that an entire change had taken place in the opinions and feelings of gentlemen, and I of course could not otherwise than suppose that they are influenced by the knowledge they have gained of the views of their constituents during the recess of Parliament. I have in my conversations with members of this House stated over and over again that I was not in favour of a Union of these Provinces without the consent of the people. I feel that with their consent a Union might be consummated that would be highly beneficial, and be regarded with esteem and respect.
I have offered my opinions so often on this subject, that if the question was not to be taken to-night, I would not raise my voice, for I am utterly unable to address the House at length, labouring as I have been for some days under indisposition. Now I find that the discussion of this question in the Canadian Parliament, in 1865, occupied from the 3rd Jan. to the 26th March. The House discussed the question as in Committee, and everybody had an ample opportunity of expressing his views. The subject, however, has been so often discussed in this Legislature—at public meetings, and in the Press, that it is an old question here, whilst it was a comparatively new one in Canada. Therefore, it is not all necessary that a great deal of time should be occupied with the discussion of this question.
If we regard the condition of these Provinces we must at once see that the time has come when a change must take place in their present condition. They have, to some extent, outgrown their present Colonial condition—their state of pupilage; and, therefore, we believe the time has come when they want to be united for greater security—for mutual protection. I believe that the people of this Colony do wish to continue the connection with Great Britain, and if Union is an indispensable condition to the perpetuity of that connection, as we are told by the British Government and statesmen, we should not hesitate to adopt it. Great Britain has turned her attention towards the condition of these Colonies; she has looked at them with a parental regard, and offered them her advice; and it is only our duty that we accept that advice in the same spirit in which it is offered.
In view of the importance of this question, it is necessary that we should all approach its discussion with that gravity and respect that is due from us as the representatives of the people. In the commencement of the debate I raised my voice against anything like a display of personal feeling and party prejudices— that we should deal with the question in a becoming spirit, and entire regard to the interests of the people who have entrusted their affairs to our care. I do not intend to refer to the speeches which have been made on this question, but there is one part of the address of the hon. member for Yarmouth that I cannot allow to pass without a comment.
He pointed to the map and showed the difference of latitude and longitude between Nova Scotia, Montreal, Toronto, and other parts of Upper Canada, for the purpose of showing that the characteristics of the country were unfavorable for union. I confess the confederacy will not present that compact appearance which the United States present, but when you look at the difference of longitude between Maine and California, you need not think of the difference between Halifax and Toronto. You do not hear of California being discontented with the Union, separated as she is by natural barriers from the rest of her sister States. She is a flourishing member of the Union. Railroads and telegraphs have brought communities together heretofore at distances which precluded the possibility of feeling.
It will therefore be seen that the argument of the hon. member does not amount to a great deal after all. When we look back at the position which this question has occupied for a great many years, we find that all of the leading minds of this province have advocated Union; but it was not until 1863 that Canada was willing to listen to propositions from the Maritime Provinces. Circumstances have changed in the Province of Canada, and as an evidence of the feelings of the people I need only refer to the fact, that after the Quebec scheme was matured, no less than 50 constituencies were appealed to, and only four candidates appeared on the hustings opposed to the scheme, and only one was returned in opposition. Here you have an evidence of the popularity of the scheme of Confederation in Canada.
The result of the elections in New Brunswick has been different, but now we find that a great change is rapidly taking place in the sentiments of the people of that Province. In Newfoundland the question has assumed a most satisfactory aspect; although occupying an isolated position, the legislature has shown a most favorable disposition to enter the union when Nova Scotia and the other provinces give their assent to the measure. As respects Prince Edward Island, I am not able just now to say anything definite, but no doubt she will also fall in in good time. It has been said by the Provincial Secretary that a Union was impracticable whilst New Brunswick occupied a position of uncompromising hostility to the scheme, but the feeling of that Colony, as I have just stated, is under going is constant change, and it is therefore […]
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[…] right that we should be prepared to embrace the first opportunity of dealing with the question. As respects the Quebec resolutions, I have examined them myself.
They were submitted to the Imperial Government, and Mr. Cardwell only takes exception to two of the resolutions —with respect to the constitution of the Legislative Council, and the pardoning power granted to the Lieutenant Governors. After having been examined by the statesmen and press of England, as well as of North America, and approved by such eminent authorities on both continents, I think these resolutions must be entitled to much respect; and therefore I cannot go to the length that some people do in respect to this scheme. Although delegates may be appointed by the Provinces to discuss the question of Colonial Union in England, the resolutions must form the platform—the basis of that discussion. I would myself prefer a legislative Union of the Provinces, but I feel that it is impracticable, in view of the fact that it is opposed by Lower Canada, with its large French population and peculiar laws and Institutions which they have retained since the time of Wolfe.— Their prejudices must be respected, and there fore I believe, from my conversation with gentlemen of influence in Lower Canada, that we cannot have a legislative Union at present, though do not know what may be in the womb of time. The first course that is to be pursued to adopt is a Federal Union, as propounded in the Quebec Scheme.
Mr. Tobin concluded by apologizing for detaining the House at so late an hour, but he could not refrain from offering some remarks on account of the importance of the question, and set down amid cheers. In answer to an enquiry, the Provincial Secretary stated that it was the intention of the Government to bring the debate to a close that night. The session was already far advanced, and gentlemen were desirous of returning to their homes. A great deal of ordinary business yet remained to be transacted.
Mr. Miller said:—I am desirous that we should get to the ordinary business of the House as soon as possible, and I am therefore ready to forego any observations that I might feel disposed to make. I have indeed peculiar reasons for wishing to address the House in reply to the attacks made upon me. Some gentlemen have attempted to charge me with inconsistency in connection with the question of a reference to the people at the polls, but if I could reply I would soon show the fallacy of the statements that have been made in reference to my course. I could justify my action, in this great crisis of the affairs of British North America, in a way that would be a conclusive answer to the charge made against me. If the present crisis was an ordinary one, I would be one of the last men to consent that any great question should be decided without going to the people, but I feel that to pursue such a course at the present time would be suicidal—that it would be tantamount to throwing the whole thing away. Therefore there is no man in this House who has greater reasons than myself to wish to speak tonight, but in deference to the desire of the majority I am ready to forego that privilege, and allow to pass unnotice the slanders that have been uttered against me for pursuing what I consider is a patriotic course.
Mr. Robertson—I think, as we are discussing the Quebec scheme, it is due to the House and the country that every gentlemen who is connected with that scheme, should explain fully the reasons that induced them to sign those resolutions. The Attorney General is the only gentlemen who has attempted to deal with the question. The Quebec scheme has been discussed here, and I did not know it was to be brought up.
Hon. Prov. Sec. I have seen quite enough to prove to me that gentlemen have been speaking against time, and wish to delay this question.
Hon. Atty. General—Gentlemen will remember that we wasted a considerable time during the morning and afternoon sessions because no gentleman was disposed to speak, and we were obliged to adjourn even before the proper hour. It has been well understood that this question was to be decided to-night.
Hon. Prov. Secretary— I have been obliged every day, since this question has been under discussion, to move a call of the House in order to have the attendance of gentlemen.
Mr. Ross—The members of the opposition are always here.
Mr. Locke—It is twelve o’clock. Surely we should adjourn.
Hon. Prov. Secretary—I find in the press of this country most dishonorable attempts made to stir up strife and disaffection and disloyalty in this county. We have given every opportunity to gentlemen to speak on this subject, and if they have not availed themselves of it, it is their own fault entirely. I do not think that it is right that this House should longer continue this debate, and retard the general business.
Mr. Locke—The Provincial Secretary is afraid of public opinion operating on this Legislature.
Dr. Brown—I hope the government will consent to an adjournment, for I do not feel well enough to address the House.
Mr. Ray said he did not intend to occupy the time of the house on this question, but the Provincial Secretary having made some observations in reference to him and his constituents on a previous day, he felt it his duty to place before the house and the country a contradiction of the statement which had been made.
Dr. Brown suggested that the Government adjourn the debate.
Hon Prov. Secy. said that the session being far advanced, and in view of the appeals being made to the country by the Opposition press, the debate, according to previous announcement, would be urged to a conclusion.
Mr. Robertson said that the Prov. Secy., in moving the Resolution, remarked that the time for discussing the question had passed,—the manner in which the debate was forced on seemed to support the assertion.
Dr. Brown moved that the debate be adjourned.
Mr. Campbell seconded the motion.
Hon. Prov. Secy. moved that the main question be now put.
Mr. S. Campbell moved that the house adjourn.
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The motions were subsequently withdrawn to allow the discussion to proceed.
REMARKS OF MR. BLACKWOOD.
Mr. Blackwood said :—I think that no member should hesitate to give his opinions to the country on such an occasion as this, and I fear that the undue pressure brought to bear to force us to a division will have the effect of preventing some gentlemen from expressing their views. Occupying the position in which this Legislature is placed, I think that ample time should be given to every member to collect his thoughts and bring them to bear upon the discussion. The resolution before us I do not intend to support. I al 1in believed in Responsible Government and the principle upon which that sort of Government rests—that the people shall be ruled according to their well understood wishes. A member who knows the views of his constituents on this question should be prepared to give his vote like a man; but a member not knowing those views, or knowing that a majority of those whom he represents are against the measure, is in duty bound to vote against the resolution which will takeaway their privileges without appeal.
I feel it to be my duty to refrain from giving away the rights of the people without affording them an opportunity of expressing their opinions and judging for themselves. If the great intelligence possessed by the people of this country were brought to bear on this house to-night, it would be seen that they would not part with their rights without a struggle. Union may be a good thing, but I should like to be sure that we are going to gain some substantial advantages by it. I find in the speeches of those who advocate the scheme a great deal of mere theory. Looking at the matter as a surrender of some of our privileges, I think it behooves us to examine well before passing the resolution.
I have yet expressed no opinion on the principle of Union, but I will now say to the house and to the country that I will assent to no scheme until the people have passed upon it. By the division to-night we may establish what will be called an union, but will that be a union of the people ? Give me a union of heart, and thought, and action—a union that will strengthen the arm and nerve the heart upon every occasion. The people, I maintain, are able to judge of the question for themselves, and if they choose Union, I will gladly assent, but if they reject the scheme, away goes the proposition. It may be said that this Legislature constitutes the united wisdom of the country; and, while I admit that a large amount of intelligence is to be seen around these benches, I feel that, in the locality which I represent, there are men from whom I should like to hear. As the hour is late, I will not further occupy the time of the house, and I will conclude by saying that this matter should be placed in the hands of the people.
SPEECH OF MR. ROSS.
Mr. Ross said ;—At this hour of the night, or rather of the morning, I do not intend to say much on the question now before the house. As remarked by my friend, Mr. Blackwood, the Provincial Secretary is driving us into a corner, when forcing us to a division when we should be in our beds. I have taken a large number of notes, and intended defining my position, if not to the satisfaction of the majority of this house, at least to a majority of the people of Nova Scotia, and particularly that of my own constituents. A singular but unholy union had taken place.— Even during the delegation to Quebec a certain gentleman in the Legislative Council and the Provincial Secretary could scarcely find language strong enough to express the terms of abuse and reproach which the one applied to the other.— When they got those princely dinners,—those ovations, with abundance of good wine, they began to forget what was due to Nova Scotia and to the interests of the people. As long as these were opposed to each other the wrongs and injuries done to our people were well exposed; but now both support each other, without regard to the interests of Nova Scotia.
We are told that we are on the eve of a great crisis, and it is true that some Fenians are organizing in the States, but they intend to restore to Ireland what we are about destroying in this Province, namely, our noble and glorious Constitution. The American people are now beginning to enjoy peace, and it will be the work of years to place their financial affairs on a sound and proper basis.— They desire peace, and both France and England will look with jealous eye on any extension of their power on this continent. France is interested in Mexico, and Great Britain in the North American Provinces, and both would unite to prevent further increase of territory to the States. This is the best guarantee for peace. In the event of war it is acknowledged by those sent out officially to report on our defences that Canada, with its long line of land and water boundary is our weak spot, and that it cannot be defended as well as Nova Scotia, which is almost surrounded by water.
Here we have men who will defend us, and are willing to do so ; but force us into a union with Canada, and you will create a feeling of disloyalty among our people. the extent of which it is painful to contemplate, Therefore, in the question of defence we gain weakness instead of strength. It is said that, with the present rate of consumption, coal will be soon scarce in Great Britain, and then Nova Scotia and Cape Breton would be the last places that would be abandoned. Mr. Archibald says that this house will remain. But take away from us the power of self-government, and you take away what we most dearly cherish. The Quebec scheme is largely copied from the constitution of New Zealand, and it is singular that the constitution of that country was published by Mr. McGee about the time that our delegates were giving away Nova Scotia to meet Canadian necessities. In New Zealand there are nine different Provinces, each having its own distinct local Government, and there they complain that they are expensive, without any benefits arising from the expenditure. In that country they are strongly advocating separation, and the whole […]
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[…] Province of Auckland is unanimous in agitating a separation from the Southern Island.
The Confederation works injuriously to the interests of the people, and we are about adopting what they are most anxious to reject. The Governor of New Zealand is called the Superintendent, and is elected by the people ; but here our local Governor, selected by the Government at Ottawa, would be some creature that had claims on the. ‘ political party in power and who would not have popularity enough to get a seat at Ottawa. Such will be the men who will be the future Governors of these Colonies. The House of Assembly is bad enough now, but then it will be worse ; theywill be like the case ofa certain house from which the money-changers were driven. The Provincial Secretary says he did not approach the member from Richmond. That reminded me of an old man once in my county having a a copy of Bunyan’s Holy War, and showing a neighbor the picture of the taking of Mansoul, said—” See, see, what the big D – l won’t do, he has got the little d is to do for him.” Some influences are at work, as will be seen by the sudden change in the minds of some members: If we are to have British institutions, why do we not follow their pattern?
When Scotland was united to England, the local Parliament was abolished, and such was the case in Ireland. If we are to have Union, let it be a legislative one. There is something grand in the idea of one Government, one Legislature—but in retaining the local legislature, we will have the expense without any corresponding benefit—the shadow without the substance,—a nest of corruption for persons who will not be able to obtain seats at Ottawa. Our present revenue is about $ 3.20 per head on our population ; out of this we should have to hand over to Canada for the General Government $ 2.40, leaving 80 cents for all local purposes, to which we add royalty on coal and some other small amounts. The first clause of the local articles gives the power of self-taxation, which is just what we should avoid; but without it our roads and bridges will go down. There is no doubt but that the delegates anticipated in their happy moments the great position that they would occupy under Confederation, forgetting the interest of Nova Scotia in the desire for position and self aggrandisement—imitating Nero, who fiddled when Rome was burning. The member for Kings, Dr. Hamilton, said that in medical practice, physicians often try experiments, but it only on sick men or dead bodies. Novascotia is neither sick nor dead, but sound and in good health, wealth, and prosperity.— The Prov. Secretary says that there are but few petitions against the measure; but was it not sent to all parts of the Province that Confederation would not be considered this session ?
This was no doubt a piece of strategy on the part of the Pro. Secretary, who now takes everybody by surprise. There was one petition that I presented signed by all the magistrates at sessions with the Custos at the head,—a pretty strong indication that I at least am representing the views of my constituents. The whole history of Confederation is based on the ambition of some of our public men and on the necessities of Canada.— Ambition is the sin of angels, and even politicians finding that they were losing power, must go to Ottawa. They are like the evil one, as described by Milton, who would rather rule in hell than fill a subordinate place in heaven. I have no ambition to gratify, no self interest to advance—but as I was early taught that Responsible Government was government according to the well understood wishes of the people, I will not agree to sell their birthrights without asking their consent, but will on the contrary stand by what I consider the dearest rights of Nova Scotia, and the express views of those whom I represent.
SPEECH OF MR. FRASER.
Mr. Jas Fraser said :—If this were a question of ordinary importance, I would content myself by giving a silent vote, as I have frequently done, but on a. measure of such great consequence I do not think that I would be justified in doing so. I will tell the house candidly that my opposition to the resolution before us is not due to any hostile feelings in reference to the principle of union. I do not think it. is necessary that petitions should come from my constituents to inform me of their wishes, because, living as I do among them, I must be aware of their views, and un— less a very great change has taken place since I left them I know that they are not prepared to adopt the proposition of union at present. At this time last year a scheme of Confederation was before the people, and they had an opportunity of examing [sic] and judging it. They did examine it, and a majority of them became opposed to it—not because a great deal of pains and talent had not been taken with the measure; because now that we are about to form a new delegation, I do not think that we can send gentlemen of more talent and more knowledge of the business they have to perform than those who went before.
If I vote for this resolution, when I return to my constituents and tell them that I voted for union they will naturally ask what kind. of a union we are to get, and I shall be unable to tell them ;—last year I could give them the details, this year I can only say that the matter is to be arranged three thousand miles away, and if they ask me whether the representatives of the people will have an opportunity of passing on it afterwards can, only tell them no such opportunity will be afforded, and that they will be bound by the arrangements which are made in England. I regret that my convictions compel me to ditfer from many whose opinions I value, and whose friendship I desire to maintain, but I must act conscientiously, and do what I believe to be for the best interests of the country. I must say I cannot understand those who say that persons who do not fall in with the idea. of union are disloyal, —the people whom I represent are as loyal as any upon the face of the globe, and if any man had the hardihood to charge disloyalty upon them it would not be necessary to hurl back the imputation—it would rebound with greater force than that with which it came.
Union I believe to be desirable when we are prepared for it, but at present the people are not prepared, and they do not understand how […]
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[…] we would be in a better or stronger position if we disturbed our institutions. While union, if not formed in opposition to the wishes of the people would be strength, a union so forced upon them would be weakness. I hope to see the day when all these colonies will be united, and I am hardly prepared to go the length of some who propose to wait until another general election,—we can understand the opinions of our constituents without waiting for that, and it is to be feared that other matters would be brought in on such an occasion. I will not longer detain the house, and I can assure you that when the people are prepared for union I will not be found an obstacle in the way believing that a majority of them are at present opposed to the measure; I cannot be a party to an act which will sweep away their rights.
Hon. Fin. Secy. explained to the house that in parting with Mr. LeVesconte, who was abroad upon public service, he had promised that gentleman to pair off with him in case the question of Confederation was brought, forward. He had no reason to believe that Mr. L. would be opposed to the resolution before the house, but lest it might be supposed that he had broken faith, he would refrain from voting on the division.
SPEECH OF MR. LAWRENCE.
Mr. Lawrence said :—I rise to make a few remarks on the question before the House, in discharge of the duty I owe to my constituents, and also to the country at large. I feel some reluctance in addressing the House at this late period of the session, but the profound anxiety with which I regard the feeling of the people impels me to speak. Standing as I do the representative of a free and intelligent people, honored with their confidence, anxious to discharge faithfully the trust reposed in me, I feel it is my duty to express my sentiments freely on the present occasion. There can be no great love for union where the parties to be joined have not the slightest desire to associate with each other,—right or wrong, beneficial or otherwise, it is impossible to persuade the mass of the people that the system which gives to them an equal voice in the government of the country is not the best. How many of the present members would be here, if they said to the people in 1863, that they were going to change the constitution of the country?
All great questions ought to be examined with caution. Party considerations should sink, and as to the spirit with which I enter into this debate, I claim nothing more than to know what course is best to secure harmony and loyalty in our country. Neither the smiles of friends nor the frowns of foes no political thunder either on the right hand or the left will move me, or change my mind as regards the action taken by the government on this question. A mere politician, thrown up by the dark and turbid waters of party, actuated by self-interest, can have no lasting influence over a question of this sort,—this is no party question; it passes beyond all such considerations, and such feelings should be far from every mmd, Gentlemen mistake the feeling of the people of this country, if they hope to excite their admiration, or secure their confidence by displaying such newborn zeal in forcing confederation on the people.
The spirit of liberty will make itself heard wherever it exists. Let us take care of our rights, for political expediency in limiting a people’s freedom is a dangerous principle, and will never satisfy a free people. I believe one of our great objects, at the present time, should be to foster a spirit of peace and harmony amongst our own people, and harmony can only be maintained by a patriotic, wise, and noble use of power. The people in every part of this country must feel that their rights are protected. So far from lending ourselves to any scheme which would threaten the safety or prosperity of our country, we should not hesitate to plant ourselves in opposition even to our political associates when they seek to promote it.
We are a free people, prosperous beyond doubt, advancing cautiously in wealth, under the protection of our good old flag, the only banner which floats over a limited monarchy and a free people. Under the British constitution we have far more freedom than any other country on the face of the earth. We have sprung from a nation in whose veins the blood of freedom circulates, and who carry everywhere the deepest attachment to their Sovereign. It is the spirit of that constitution which unites and invigorates every part of the Empire, down to the lowest member, but to pass confederation, without asking the voice of the people, will only be sowing the seed of dissatisfaction and contention among a vey large portion of our population. A representative of the people is bound by the highest moral obligations to respect their wishes, and obey their will, when their sober judgment has been ascertained.
Now I deplore the intolerant spirit which I see every day manifested around these Benches; it is utterly inconsistent with the true spirit of freedom. The foundation of free constitutional government is the voice of a majority of the people, and so long as it deserves the name, and wins the affection of the people, it can never be in any great danger. Now if a question of right arises between the constituent and the representative body, by what authority shall it be decided? If you leave it to the Judges, they will tell you that the law of Parliament is above them. What then remains but to leave it to the people to decide for themselves? My political career may be short and the accomplishment may fall far short of the purposes, but the consciousness of duty discharged shall be glorious. The people are not asking for any change, and this subject would sleep if it were not for the rising zeal of some who dread an appeal to the people. Interested men may call for measures which they themselves should be most ready to lament and condemn, but upon them let the responsibility rest.
Now, in regard to Confederation, I say frankly, that whenever a majority of the people speak in favor of union, let them have it; but I will not consent to a change of the constitution without their consent. If the representatives are unfaithful to their trust, and abuse their powers by disposing of the birth-right of the people, then responsible government is not worthy of the name. We have no right to surrender the liberties and privileges which we were appointed to guard. The multitude, even though they know very little of political science, […]
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[…] can form a good practical judgment upon government in general, and even a better one than those in office, who cannot see their own defects and errors.
The first move in regard to a union of any kind was made in the session of 1864 by this Legislature. The Provincial Secretary then moved a resolution asking us to empower the Lieutenant Governor to communicate with New Brunswick and P. E. Island, in reference to the appointment of delegates to meet at some central point, to take into consideration and agree upon a basis for a union of the maritime provinces. That resolution was passed almost without opposition. I think it was the duty of the delegates first to have reported, for the information of the people of these provinces, what their success was as regards a union of the maritime provinces. But the action taken by the delegates at that time as to a maritime union passed away like a morning cloud or a dream in the night,—poor Nova Scotia was lost sight of, and a delegation to Canada was formed, without asking the lower provinces whether they were willing or not.
I think it is the duty of every man around these benches to define his position in regard to this great question. My position is this: I am in favor of a union of the maritime provinces, but not a union with Canada; that was my position from the time the scheme of union was first brought forward, and I still entertain the same views, and I believe that it is the view of a very large portion of the people of this country. Before I would betray the trust reposed in me, or consent, by any act or vote of mine, to surrender one jot or one tittle of the rights, or the honor, or the glory of this country “my right hand shall forget its cunning, and my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth.”
We have heard a good deal said about the Fenians, and about disloyalty to the Crown.— What does all this mean ? Is it to frighten the people into Confederation? Nova Scotia is as loyal as any other country on the face of the earth, but do not disturb the birthright of the people without their consent. Sir, as regards the Fenians or any other foe, whenever they come to disturb the peace of our country, I as one am ready to meet them under the British flag—the flag of freedom; but I intend on this occasion, at whatever hazard or sacrifice of a personal kind, to do what I consider is my duty to my constituents and the country at large.
The principle which lies at the foundation of our constitution, is that which declares the people to be the source of political power. A constitution written on paper is not a safe one, a constitution to be safe must be written on the hearts of the people. The powerful temptation to betray our trust, held out by the Government, to surrender up our own convictions, ought to be resisted; a steady adherence to truth, whether in favor or out of favor, must mark the course of every man who will not lose his own respect. I do not despise popularity, I respect it. But it is that popularity which follows, and not that which is sought after; and if there be one quality, which a representative of our country ought to cultivate at the present time above all others, it is independence. Not a defiance of the well understood wishes of the people; his course should be a manly and steady adherence to principle, through good report and evil report: a stout defiance of what he considers right through sunshine and through storm. Such independence every man should cultivate who undertakes to serve his country.
Caesar, who yielded to that infirmity of noble minds—the love of power, fell in the very Senate Chamber under the avenging dagger of Brutus.— Again, Napoleon’s brilliant but unwise career was checked, at the moment when he gained his highest position. When he had kept the nations in dread, he was sent a prisoner to an island far from every field of his glory, and where the dashing billows mocked at the surges of his own passions. Our liberty, once taken away, may never return, and I see by the features of the proposed scheme, if it be carried into effect, we would be exposed to two dangers: centralization and disunion;—the General Government would have gigantic power, and might employ its functions to enrich one section of the union at the expense of the other. Its complex character—blending the powers of the General Government with those of the several Local Governments, exposes it to dangers from its own action.
We are yet in the freshness of youth, and the fairest of our sisters, our seaboard and mineral wealth hold out a strong temptation to those abroad. But, sir. I would say with all sincerity, let the people of Nova Scotia make their own choice. The power of figures has been brought forward in gigantic appearence before the people of this country, differing in the various calculations to the amount of some millions of dollars, but it would puzzle the brain of the best mathematical scholar to arrive at the real truth of the matter. We may rely upon it that trade will regulate itself like water, it will find its level. That union is strength, is true, but to be strength it must be a whole union, not a half. We see nothing like a united public opinion in favor of Confederation in this country,—the contrary is the case, public opinion seems to be split throughout the hand,—so much so, that a small majority in favor of the resolution would be a very poor safeguard of a lasting union. It has been said with a good deal of force, that the power to deal with this question is invested in the representatives of the people. I do not deny but they have such power, for a government with a large majority can do almost anything. But such power in regard to a change in the constitution without the consent of the people of this country will never be exercised by me. Slight causes have given rise to the fiercest and most cruel wars which history records, the ploughing up of a few acres of soil plunged the states of Greece into a sanguinary conflict. An attempt to collect ship money shook the empire of England, and drove Hampden to the field, where he lost his life in one of the first battles ever fought for constitutional liberty, and brought the annointed head of a king to the block. A tax of a; few cents on a pound of tea drove the colonies into a war, which broke the dominion of the British government, and left them independent states.
Again, look at Ireland. She constitutes a portion of the British Empire. What battle has been fought in modern times by the British […]
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[…] arms, where Irish blood has not been freely spilled, and where Irish valor has not contributed to win the day? The Irishmen in the ranks have ever been true to their trust. They bore the British flag in triumph against the marshals of France. At Waterloo, they upheld it for Wellington against the splendid array which Napoleon mustered in person, and yet what is the state of Ireland to-day? Why, the fertile soil of Ireland, teeming with abundance, is made to support foreign landlords, absentees, who squander abroad the wealth which Ireland yields, and thousands of her sons and fair daughters have to come to America, where they can have all the safeguards to industry and enterprise.
Every Novascotian can survey his country with patriotic pride; he may sit in her councils, an equal among equals, and no man who represents her people should surrender their rights. If he does so he is already dead to the noble impulses which can alone preserve peace and liberty. The protracted discussion carried on in this House, and the angry feelings which too often characterized it, only fill the country with apprehension, and impede the progress of public business. A storm which sweeps the ocean and drives the vessel before its fury, makes the mariner look more closely to his means of safety, and a political storm which threatens to disturb the constitution of a country, only brings about a new impulse as to the great elementary principles upon which the fabric rests.
Now, as regards the petitions that have come from the country, they have not met with that cordial reception which they are entitled to. It has been said that they were signed by men, women and children, and were got up by a political opposition. Now, sir, as regards the petitions that came from North Hants, I beg to say from my own personal knowledge of the names attached to them that they were not signed by women and children, but were signed by Conservatives and Liberals (so called); men that know their duty both to themselves and their country, and would not be backward in speaking out for the protection of their birth right, if called upon to do so. General Harrison, when about to give his vote on a great question, made a noble reply to a friend, who told him he would ruin himself by the vote which he proposed to give, he exclaimed, ” It is better to ruin myself than to destroy the constitution of my country.”
In a free government there must always be divisions and parties; and there should be,— because eternal vigilance is the price of liberty, and nothing so stimulates vigilance as the conflicting opinions of parties. But we should ever remember that the claims of our country stand far above the claims of party. Why does a patriot await the result with suspended animation and pale cheek? Because upon the issue hangs the fate of his country. If victory light upon his standard, his altar and his fireside are safe.
Now, sir, with our fertile soil, our noble streams, our mineral wealth, large seaboard for navigation and shipbuilding—our population intelligent, enterprising, and religious,—these will enable us to advance with a steady and sure march in civilization. And I am for that sort of industry which spreads wealth among the laboring classes, and elevates them gradually in the scale. I believe in firm protection of the rights of the weak, whensoever they are in danger by the power of the strong; and wherever you find Englishmen, Irishmen, and Scotchmen, you will find that they carry with them the high qualities of their race, which have led the way in civilization, by spreading the great principle of freedom—freedoom in religion and freedom in government— over the world. Their prosperity has been brought about by an overruling Providence. There are many who look more to the creature than to the Creator; they trust to their own strength instead of looking to Him who governs the affairs of men; and if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, il is also probable that an empire cannot rise without His aid. May the light of liberty which now shines over our land long remain to gladden generations yet unborn! May the flag that floats over every part of British territory, and catches the eye of the navigator returning from every country, which is borne by our ships upon all the waters of the globe, and which is known and honored as the flag that is associated with all the glories of our past history, let its folds glitter before the eyes of mankind as the sign of hope and universal freedom.
I have thus expressed a few of my thoughts on this important subject now under consideration, and if the time has come when all independence of public opinion must be sacrificed at the shrine of power, when the people will sustain no man who dares to be candid, then, sir, I desire to have no participation in the administration of public affairs. I can be much happier and much more profitably employed in giving my attention to humbler duties. The right for the people to decide this question for themselves, is one of those great political rights of which no one should desire to deprive them; and I cannot consent, for one single moment, to abandon any part of their claims. I hope there is yet independent spirit in this house, that we shall not be guilty of so great an outrage as that proposed.
Those who concur in passing Confederation at the present time, will take upon themselves an awful responsibility; a responsibility for which their constituents will call them to a strict account. This resolution may pass, but if it does, those who vote for it will lose the confidence, and the judgment and good sense of a very large majority of the people. I see that party training is going on; prescriptive spirit is rising; every appeal that can be made to human passions is urged, and names not of the most pleasing kind are freely bestowed upon those who have the firmness to oppose a change in the constitution. Sir, names can never effect principles or change position Ingenuity may coin them, and effrontry apply them, but the actual relations of life remain the same,— therefore let us be faithful to our great trust— From the battlefields of all the earth upon which liberty has set up her standard, there comes to us the cry “be faithful;” from the crumbled senate halls of nations for ever passed away, there comes to us an imploring appeal to be faithful to those who put their confidence in us. But, if Confederation must pass by a majority in the House, without the consent of a majority of the people of this country, then I say to my constituents, and also to the country at large, ” thou canst not say I did it.”
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SPEECH OF MR. COFFIN
Mr. Coffin.— I regret that I am obliged to address the House at this late hour of the night ; but as we are denied the privilege of another day’s debate, and as the death-knell of my country is sounding, I do not wish to give a silent vote. The subject before the House is one of too great magnitude to be passed over lightly ; it is a question of greater magnitude than any that has hitherto been before the Legislature. It is one calculated to sweep away our constitution, the dearest rights of Nova-Scotians as free men ; it is one, sir, calculated to raise the ire of every one of Nova Scotia’s sons ; it is one that cannot be passed without ignoring the rights of the electors of Nova Scotia. Sir, I regret exceedingly that a resolution was passed in this House in 1864, authorizing a delegation to consult as to the propriety of a union of the Maritime Provinces, for out of that has grown the delegation to Quebec, and there with closed doors a consultation was held which ended in bartering away this fine Province, the people, and the constitution, to Canadian rule.
There we have been sold, there we have been valued, there the rights dear to us of governing ourselves, and of being in ourselves a free, independent and contented people, were given up ; and when it is, known through the length and breadth of the land that this resolution has been passed, then it is that the indignation of the people will be aroused to an extent perhaps that will be calculated to weaken the strong feelings of attachment to their rulers that had hitherto existed. If this question had been approached in a way that was fair and honorable by first submitting the whole question to the country at the polls, and if it were then passed by the Legislature there would not have been the cause of complaint which at present exists.
This is indeed a most dangerous step which is about to be taken; we have a thinking and intelligent people in Nova Scotia—a people that will not be likely to tolerate having their constitution bartered away without their consent, and without having those privileges which responsible government was intended to secure to them. I do not believe that the Imperial Parliament will ratify this scheme, if they are made properly acquainted with the whole transaction and with the facts which bear upon the case. Loyalty to the Crown has been spoken of. Sir, we pretend to foster that feeling, whilst at the same time a few men who now govern the country—who are expected to govern the people according to their well understood wishes, and who obtained place and power at the polls in 1863 under the cry of retrenchment, but who have so managed the public affairs as to gain for themselves, as they well know, the withering rebuke of seven-eighths of the people, to cap the climax—without submitting the measure to the people—they urge us to pass a resolution to deprive our beloved country of its Constitution.
Sir, I would ask can language be employed sufficiently strong to convey the disapproval of this act? I have heard strong language made use of here at times; I heard only the other day the Prov. Secretary make use of the word ” traitor” to another hon gentleman across the floor of this house. Sir, I will not make use of that term, but I am at a loss for language sufficiently strong and severe without doing so. What can be said of the men who, in the face of the fact of nine-tenths of the people of this Province being decidedly adverse to the passage of this resolution, propose to sweep away our constitution and make us subservient to the rule of Canadian Statesmen, in whose wisdom for governing a country we have but little faith, and from whom we are severed for six months of the year as to any mode of travelling over British territory by land, and entirely shut out by sea, and for the other six months we have very indifferent communication.
It is said we are to have the Intercolonial Railway. This may be the case in the course of time, but the Intercolonial Railway should have preceded the Union of the Colonies. Why, sir, suppose a war was to break out between the United States and G. Britain, and the General Parliament had to be convened in winter months at Ottawa, how are we to reach there? Would it be over the ice. or on snow shoes over land? Sir, had the public men of Canada been true to their interests, and the Colonial Secretaries of England been true to their engagements, we should long before this have had the railway built.— Can Canadians or Nova Scotians expect to build that railway on terms made easier as to finances than by the offers made by the British Government in 1862, to which the Canadians refused to accede? If they had acceded, the road might now have been built.
The reason for Canada not accepting the offers then made may have been that they expected at some future day to use that work as a lever by which to force the Maritime Provinces into a union; and, sir may we not well believe that they have accomplished the end in view? They must be famous for their powers of persuasion or they never could have buttered the delegation from this Province so smoothly as to get them to sign that document at Quebec. I believe it was at the last great dinner at Montreal that the iniquitous scheme was completed—a scheme so unjust to the people of this Province—a scheme by which the country and the Constitution they loved so well have been most grossly bartered away—and a scheme that the government of this Province will not, nay, sir, dare not, submit to the people at the polls. But it may be said by the friends of this measure that the scheme is to be altered, they having met the propositions of the hon gentleman from Richmond, but does not every one know that this is a farce, a delusion? Does not every one know that that proposition was known to the government long before it was announced on the floors of this house?
The resolution is that the British Government shall arbitrate between contending parties, when the British Government have already declared in favor of the Quebec scheme, and, I believe, without looking minutely into the matter; but having passed on the Quebec scheme already, they will not retract;—and the government of Nova Scotia having already pledged themselves over and over again to the Quebec scheme, does any one suppose that they will compromise themselves by going as a delegation to England to persuade the British Government to make alterations which they well know Canada will not agree to. They would be fools if they did, seeing the way in which this resolution passed this house, […]
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[…] if it does pass. Do you wish to heap insult upon injury by trying to delude the people of this country with such a resolution?
Sir, I say again do you wish to insult the common intelligence of Nova Scotians? Several questions that should be answered by the promoters of this scheme are these: Did not the delegation at Quebec sit in secret? Did they not conclude that Quebec scheme with closed doors? Was it not understood by all the parties then that the terms of the scheme were not to be disclosed until all the delegates should return? Did not the Canadian delegates proceed post haste to England, there to implore the Secretary for the Colonies to aid their propositions? And was it not urged at the Colonial Secretary’s office nearly as soon as in Temperance Hall? Sir, I do not wonder that the Canadians should with such haste endeavour to excite the sympathies of the British government in favour of this scheme when they had made a bargain so much to their own advantage.
I believe that could the disadvantages that this involves to Nova Scotia have been shewn to the British government they could not have been so blind to our interests as to favour such a scheme; but all this will be represented to the British government. It is not impossible nor unlikely that this may yet be a question of greater moment in the Parliament of England than may now be imagined, and when it is known that this Quebec scheme is so distasteful to the people of this province; when the injustice of the case comes to be known, and the discontent and strife that will be engendered thereby, I feel some hope that the British government will pause before they pass an act to make this resolution become the law of the land. I presume that the British government will have a detailed account of the whole scheme; a pounds shillings and pence version of the whole affair; a matter of fact proposition for them to solve; and when they do know, as I believe they do not know, that Nova Scotia must lose at least $200,000 a year by the arrangement, which they will have to make up by direct taxation—and that that will be a mode of raising money—that will be likely to create a very bad feeling and perhaps almost a revolution in the country, they will pause before they pass the act.
But, sir, in making use of this language, I am quite aware that I shall be styled by the promoters of this infamous scheme an annexationist; but this I deny, and I claim to possess as loyal feelings to my beloved Queen as any man in this assembly. and it is with feelings loyal to the crown of Great Britain that I warn you now of the danger there is of creating a feeling of hostility to the Government of Britain by the passage of this act. The feelings of the people of England have been quoted here by the hon. Attorney General, and the applause he received at the Manchester dinner when introduced as one of the union delegates. But, sir, did the honorable Attorney General ask them their views of our relation to England under the union? If he had they would have told him that united we would no longer be an expense to England for protection.
And this is the general impression of the people of England. I was in England last winter, and in Manchester, and was in conversation with gentlemen there of high standing, some of the Manchester school, and found that this was the general idea that these Provinces united would no longer be a burthen to the people of England for protection, and I found this to be the idea of a very large proportion of the people there with whom I came in contact, but I do not mean to say that the British government entertain that idea. Now, sir, having kept the house so long at this late hour I will not prolong my remarks, but should have done so if time had been allowed. I feel that I am doing my duty to Nova Scotia, as my native land, to the people I am here to represent, and to myself, by voting against the resolution laid on the table by the hon. Prov. Secy., and for
REEARKS [sic] OF MR. HATFIELD.
Mr. Hatfield said:—I feel that the duty devolves upon me of expressing my views on this resolution. I may state that until this evening no one has been informed of the way in which I intend to vote; when meetings were held at Yarmouth and Argyle I said I would not give a decided opinion until the legislature met, and the pros and cons of the question laid before us. I have come here, I have heard speeches upon both sides, and have made up my mind to vote against the resolution which the government have introduced. I feel that the duty which I owe to my constituency, and that duty is not a small one, requires that I should take this action. Since coming to this house I have supported the government almost to a vote, sometimes with a disregard of my personal position, but on this measure I will do what is right irrespective of political feelings and with a determination to stand or fall by the course which I pursue.
I have frequently felt diffident in addressing the house, feeling that I was a young member and unaccustomed to public speaking, in comparison with some gentlemen who frequently address us, but to-night I stand firm in the conviction that the course I am taking is one that becomes my position. We find that out of the ten or eleven lawyers who have seats in this house, nine are in favor of the scheme, and what is their object unless it be personal aggrandisement? To-night we have seen a gentleman sitting here, and not revealing even to his own colleagues that he had ” paired off” with another member and did not intend to vote on the division. That certainly looks suspicious, and has convinced me that all the circumstances connected with the transaction have not been revealed. I have made these few remarks without preparation, and would not have spoken to-night if the Prov. Secretary had not forced the division.
REMARKS OF DR. BROWN.
Dr. Brown said :—At this hour of the night, Mr. Speaker, and fatigued as I am by a long journey, it is not possible for me to collect my thoughts sufficiently to make a two hours speech on this all-important subject, I shall therefore content myself with a few remarks directed to one or two points only. I should not object to the resolution before the house, provided the people were allowed to decide the question. It is not impossible, though I confess I cannot see it, that Union with Canada may be ultimately beneficial to the country. If so, the people in process of […]
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[…] time would gradually alter their tone, and at last willingly adopt the change. But I ask, sir, where is the necessity for this indecent haste? Haste in a two-fold sense. Haste, not only in cramming this measure down the people’s throats without their consent and against the will of a vast majority, but haste in bringing this debate to a close to-night, and thus stifling the voice of free discussion.
Nothing can be more arbitrary than the conduct of the government. They can fritter away days and weeks on useless and frivolous matters, but on the great question, whether Nova Scotia shall retain her rights and liberties—her very existence, the Provincial Sec’y denies us an hour. I ask, sir, where is the necessity for action? Why not remain as we are? What is the emergency? Is it, because, as the Provincial Secretary has admitted, the government and union party in this house are afraid to hear the voice of the people? I thank the Pro. Secy. for the admission—it is candid, and explains his position. The emergency, Mr. Speaker, is not the emergency of the people, it is the emergency of the rulers of the people. Why is it that they will not refer this measure, this most momentous of all measures that ever came before this Legislature, to the people whom it most concerns? simply because they dare not. Do you suppose, sir, can any man imagine, if the government had a ghost of a chance they would hesitate to appeal to the hustings? The voice of the people and the voice of their representatives are stifled, because they know it is against them.
Now, sir, this act may be perpetrated, the rights of the people of Nova Scotia may be trampled on, and ignored, but I apprehend this will not be the end of the contest. The voice of the people though silenced for the present will make itself heard. I mistake much if the free and intelligent people of Nova Scotia will quietly submit to be crushed and overridden— I mistake much if the honest and enlightened farmers of Kings County will quietly submit to it. And when I speak of Kings County I mean not only South Kings, which I have the honor to represent, but North Kings which is, I have every reason to know, equally strong in its condemnation of this measure. I do not hesitate to declare it as my opinion in the presence of the members for North Kings that three-fourths of the electors of that district are opposed to it, and are only waiting for an opportunity to sweep it and its authors away together. My learned friend from North Kings, Dr. Hamilton, says he has learned from a correspondent in Kings that Mr. Howe’s letters have had the effect of cementing the Conservatives in that county. I agree with him that the minds of all parties, With few exceptions, concur in one point—in denouncing union with Canada. I have just returned from a visit home, and find the anti-union feeling stronger than ever.
Several of my pro-confederate neighbours said to me, they would like confederation but not without the test of the people’s approval.— Dr. Hamilton also disputes the reported issue of the Canning meeting, now I have it from the most reliable authority, authority that the learned member himself will not question, that against one of the resolutions carried, there was but one vote, and against the other only three or four. Canning is in the Doctor’s immediate vicinity and a large number of his constituents reside there. The learned member referred also to his provable retirement from public life. I advise him to do so by all means. He certainly could not do a more prudent thing. I should be glad also to hear my friend and colleague Mr. Bill give his opinion on the resolutions before the house. On a question of such transcendant proportions and magnitude, a question truly of life and death, no man should be content with giving a silent vote. I conclude by imploring the house to let the people he heard at the polls.
Dr. Hamilton:—My observations merely referred to North Kings, I did not refer to South Kings, and I am prepared to-morrow to resign my seat, if Dr. Brown will contest it with me. With regard to the meeting at Canning. I have four letters in my pocket referring to it; one says there were sixty persons present; another says eighty; another says that the number was one hundred, and a good many of them were boys. I should like to ask Dr. Brown who instigated the meeting? I think the suggestion came from a gentleman not far from me. As to South Kings, the hon. member knows that I have stood at the polling places pleading for him before he chose to change sides. I have in my possession a letter from one of the first men in King’s, and he says he hopes the House will pass Confederation; another letter is from a person who says he would like to see the American flag floating over the Province, and perhaps such sentiments as his had a good deal to do with the Canning meeting.
Dr. Brown :—I accept the learned member’s challenge to meet him at North King’s. It will give me great pleasure to vacate my seat tomorrow, if he will do the some for that purpose. It will be a pleasant and innocent way for him to learn the opinion of his constituents. I don’t know who the learned member’s correspondents are. D. R. Daton, Esq. was mine, and the Doctor himself will agree with me that this gentleman is entitled to credit and respect. I did not, as he insinuates, suggest the meeting at Canning—in that my learned friend has only made a bad guess.
Mr. Killam: —It is well known, as was admitted by the Pro. Sec. himself, that the government do not possess the confidence of the country and what then is our position? The government, in the face of this fact, bring forward a measure to change our entire constitution, and call upon members to support them. What would the leader of the House of Commons do if he were obligod to make such an admission ? The observations of some gentlemen who have spoken to-night I think will give the government a lesson that cannot soon be forgotten.
Mr. McKay said :—I intend to adopt a different course from that pursued by my colleague on this question, and I will state a few of the reasons which influence me Last winter I was opposed to the Quebec scheme; this session : resolution has been introduced to modify that scheme in its details. If a change has become necessary for our security. let us form our institutions […]
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[…] by our own judgment. and not by the direction of the neighboring Republic. One of the members for Yarmoutb admitted that nine-tenths of the people of that county are in favour of annexation,—these are opinions which no loyalist can endorse. Another gentleman taking a prominent stand in this discussion has made remarks concerning our Lieut Governor which I cannot endorse. I have received some letters from my constituents, asking me to support the resolution, and I have received none to the contrary.
Mr. Killam replied that his colleague, Mr Townsend, had merely intimated that a majority of the people of Yarmouth preferred annexation to Confederation.
Mr. Locke said that in the session of 1862 the Atty. General applied the phrase “dumb logs” to gentlemen whom he opposed,—that expression could be very appropriately applied to gentlemen on the government side, who allowed the speeches of gentlemen opposed to the resolution to pass unanswered.
Hon. Atty Gen said that the gentlemen to whom that phrase was applied in 1862, bore it pretty easily, and he presumed that his friends could do the same on this occasion.
The question was then taken upon Mr S. Campbell’s amendment, which was negatived, eighteen voting for it and thirty-one against it For the amendment—Messrs. Killam, Hebb, Hatfield, Balcom, Townsend, Lawrence, Moore, Robertson. Locke, S. Campbell, Blanchard, McLelan, Ross, King, Ray, Brown, Coffin and Annand
Against :—Messrs. Bill, Hill, C. J. Campbell, Shannon, D Fraser, Allison, Jno Campbell, Whitman, Pryor, Longley, Parker, Heffernan. Kaulback, McKay, Jost, Donkin, Bourinot, Tobin, Miller, McDonnell, McKinnon. Robicheau, McFarlane, Prov Sec., Atty. General, Blanchard, Cowie, Hamilton, Colin Campbell, Smith and Archibald.
The resolution passed 31 to 19, Mr. J, Fraser voting with the minority.
The House adjourned