Prince Edward Island, House of Assembly, Debates and Proceedings: Confederation Question (8 May 1866)
By: Prince Edward Island (House of Assembly)
Citation: Prince Edward Island, House of Assembly, The Parliamentary Reporter; or, Debates and Proceedings of the House of Assembly of Prince Edward Island, For the Year 1866, 22nd Parl, 4th Sess, 1866 at 54, 110-121.
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THE PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER,
TUESDAY, May 8, 1866.
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[…] The adjourned debate on the subject of Confederation was resumed at the hour of 5 o’clock in the afternoon, and kept up with much interest till after midnight.
Hon. Sol. General opened the debate by resuming his speech which he had commenced in the forenoon, and spoke for nearly two hours.
He was followed by the Hon. Mr. Coles, who also spoke at great length.
During the debate on that great and momentous question, a most every hon. member of the House expressed his views on the subject, all of whom were present excepting the Hon. Colonial Secretary, absent from the Island on the Delegation to Brazil, the West Indian Islands, and Mexico.
Hon. Mr. Cole, in the course of debate, remarked that had he been consulted in framing the Resolutions, he would have suggested an alteration in that which stated, that any Federal Union of the British Provinces which would include Prince Edward Island could ever be accomplished upon terms that would prove advantageous to the best interests of the latter; but although that Resolution was not worded exactly as he would like to see it, yet, from the statements of one of the leaders of the Government in Canada, Mr. Cartier, to the effect, that the Resolutions at the Quebec Conference in 1864 should not be altered; and also statements published in Quebec reflecting the views of the Government of that country on the question of Union, to the effect, that should England favor the Resolutions of the House of Assembly of Nova Scotia, to the prejudice of the Quebec Scheme, she could not hold Canada against her will. With such statements as these before him, he felt bound to support the Resolutions, as submitted by the Hon. Leader of the Government, as there appeared to be no hope of getting any modification of the Quebec Report.
Mr. Sinclair, while expressing himself pleased with the Resolutions submitted against Confederation, thought the language in the second Resolution almost too strong. He believed terms could be given which would justify P. E. Island in going into a Federal Union, but, at the same time, he firmly believed such terms never would be given to this Colony.
Mr. Brecken also said, in his speech, that he would not go so far as to say that a Union of the Colonies, on terms advantageous to P. E. Island, was a matter of impossibility; but from the present construction of the question, as advocated by the supporters of the Quebec Report, he felt it his duty to give the resolutions in question his hearty support.
Hon. Leader of the Government admitted that the paragraph in question was worded in very strong terms, and had he consulted his own individual views on that point, he would have modified it. Last year he admitted the principles of a Union in the abstract; and he still thought that terms might be proposed which would be advantageous to this Island; but such terms could not be had, and in consequence of the very extraordinary course pursued with regard to this question in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, it behoved us to resist everything in the shape of a Union, lest we might be committed to the Quebec scheme. He believed nineteen out of every twenty of the people of this Island were opposed to Union at any kind with Canada. He, therefore, conceived it to be his duty in deference to their wishes, and to secure a strong vote in this House; to pursue the course he had done. At the same time, he must say, expressing his own opinion, he wished the second Resolution were struck out.
The question was then put on the Hon. Mr. Whelan’s Resolutions in amendment to the Resolutions submitted by the Hon. Leader of the Government, and negatived on the following division:—
For Hon. Mr. Whelan’s amendment—Hons. E. Whelan Col. Gray, Sol. General, Davies, Kaye Messrs. McLennan, and Green—7.
Against it—Hons. J. C. Pope, the Speaker, Longworth, Coles, Warburton, Thornrton. Hensley, Kelly, Laird, McEachen; Messrs. Howat, Brecken, Duncan, Haslain, Ramsay, Montgomery, Howlan, Conroy, Sutherland, Walker, Sinclair—21.
The Resolutions of the Hon. Leader of the Government were accordingly reported to the House agreed to.
Mr. Sinclair then submitted the following Resolution:—
Resolved, That inasmuch as the will be a general election this summer, it is, therefore, inexpedient for the Government to appoint any farther delegations on the subject of Colonial Union or Confederation, or to take any action calculated to commit the people of this Colony to any scheme of Union until authorized by the people and sanctioned by their Representatives, returned at said general Election.”
The supporters of the Government on that question contended that the above Resolution was uncalled for, inasmuch as hon. members of the Executive, in their places on the floor of that House, had during the debate just ended, declared that the Government would take no action whatever on the subject, and that therefore it would be unfair to throw a doubt on their expressed declaration.
The supporters of the resolution contended that their object was to arm the Government against making any concessions that might lead to the appointment of any delegation tending to commit the people of the Colony to any measure not sanctioned by their Representatives.
After considerable debate on the subject, the question was put and the Resolution negatived on the following division, viz:—
For Mr. Sinclair’s Resolution—Hons. Messrs. Coles, Laird War-burton, Hensley, Thornton, Kelly, Messrs. Sinclair, Howlan, Howat, Walker, Sutherland, Conroy,—12.
Against it—Hons. J. C. Pobe. Col. Gray, Sol. General, Whelan, Kaye, Longworth, Davies, McEachen, Messrs. Duncan, Yeo, Haslam, Montgomery, Ramsay, McLennan, Green, Brecken—16.
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House in Committee of the whole on Despatches. Mr. JOHN YEO in the Chair.
Mr. Conroy. Sir, I have very little to say in addition to what I said upon the question last Session. I am decidedly opposed to Confederation. I am quite satisfied to remain as we are, and to retain the management of our own affairs. I have considered the question with all the ability and attention I could bring to bear upon it, and l have failed to discover any advantage which would accrue to us through a Federal Union with Canada. But whilst I am persuaded that We should reap no advantages from it, I am convinced that, in almost every particular, it would be highly injurious, if not absolutely ruinous to us.
According to the Quebec Scheme, we would have to give up our revenue, however great its amount, in exchange for £30,000 or £40,000 per annum; and we would have to surrender to strangers the power to raise our duties of impact and excise to any amount they chose. We would be allowed to retain our local Legislature; but of what service would the […]
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[…] machinery of legislature be to us, without the power to appropriate our revenue for our own immediate benefit? A great part of the allowance of £30,000 or £40,000 a year would be required to keep up the useless paraphanalia of a local Government and local Legislature. All that was said last night upon the subject, was merely a repetition of what was urged for and against the Union last Session. I have myself noting to advance against it; and I will, therefore, say no more but that I heartily support the Resolutions submitted by the Hon. the Leader of the Government, although I must admit I see nothing objectionable in the Resolution submitted, in amendment, but my hon. friend the member for St. Peter’s (Mr. Whelan).
Hon. Col. Gray apologized for his absence from the House for the last two or three days; which, he explained, had been occasioned by indisposition. The Resolutions which had been submitted by the Hon. the Leader of the Government, he presumed he had before him in the Legislative Summary; but he was not exactly aware of the purport of the amendment which, it seemed, had been submitted thereto. He would, therefore, feel obliged by the Chairman’s reading it for his information.
The Chairman having, in compliance with the request of the hon and gallant Colonel, read the amendment submitted by the Hon. Mr. Whelan, he—the Hon Col. Gray spoke as follows: I will say I am glad that I have now, in my place, an opportunity to give my opinion upon the Resolutions submitted by the Hon. the Leader of the Government. It appears to me that he House in saying,—as, by the words of the second of those Resolutions, they are made to do,—”That they cannot admit that a Federal Union of the North American Provinces and Colonies, which would include Prince Edward Island, could ever be accomplished upon terms that would prove advantageous to the interests and well-being of the people of this Island,” are in a most arrogant, and almost impious manner, assuming to themselves two of the grand attributes of the Deity—prescience and omniscience. I must say I would be very sorry to have my name, as a supporter of such a Resolution, recorded for transmission to posterity.
I do not look for posthumous fame; and I regard popular applause as little, perhaps, as most public men; but I regard my own conscience, and nothing, I trust, will ever induce me to give my sanction or concurrence to any act, project, or declaration, which, through a cool and dispassionate exercise of my judgement, I cannot conscientiously approve. I regard my own conscience much more than any thought of future fame or prospect of immediate popular applause. As a parliamentary representative of the people, I endeavour to act in accordance with its dictates. On every public question which comes before the Assembly, I claim the right to exercise my conscientious judgement, independently of all party connexion or considerations; and that right I not only, most willingly concede to every other member of the House, but I most sincerely desire that, on every occasion, whatever the nature of the question at issue may be, he may freely exercise it.
The hon. member from Cascumpeque (Mr. Conroy) has very properly said, if I understood him aright, that nothing more than was enunciated upon the question of Federal Union, in the last Session, could now be advanced concerning it. In the last of the Resolutions against the Union, agreed to by the majority of this hon. House, last session, it is said, “That this House disagrees to the recommendations of the Quebec Convention; and, on the part of Prince Edward Island, emphatically declines a Union, which, after a serious and careful consideration, it believes would prove politically, commercially, and financially disastrous to the rights and interests of its people.” This, surely, was language strong enough; and its simple re-affirmance now, without the most absurd and censurable assumption of the Divine attributes of prescience and omniscience, ought to have fully satisfied the opponents of Confederation in this House.
On my return from Canada in 1864, I publicly declared that, in my opinion, simple justice to the people demanded that no further action, either executive or legislative, should be taken, either for or against the projected Union, until after they should have had an opportunity to pronounce concerning it at the hustings. That was my opinion then; and it is still my opinion; and, I, therefore, hold that this House is not in a position to pronounce constitutionally concerning the matter. Whether the people as yet rightly comprehend the question in all its features, it is not for me to determine. By my individual opinion is that they have not yet, through the labours of any competent and impartial instructers, been enabled to arrive at that full understanding of it, to which, before they can wisely conclude concerning it, it is necessary they should attain.
So vast a subject has never before been submitted to their consideration; no question so likely to arouse their prejudices, and, with reference to which, there has been so great a probability to misconceptions on their part, has ever before been propounded to them for solution. They are called upon to deal with a matter of such gravity and importance, as may, according to their decision concerning it, either settle or unsettle the whole balance of our Constitution; and, therefore, it seems to me to be absolutely necessary that, before they form a final judgement upon it, they should be enabled to understand the measure in all its bearings, and have ability to look upon it with an enlarged and comprehensive view. I do not see, however, that any remarks made in this House, at this time, can in any way alter the state of the question; nor can I perceive that—uninstructed, as we are, by our constituents with regard to it—we can with any regard to constitutional propriety, take action upon it.
Such being my view of the present state of the question, it is only in consequence of the unexampled features of the Resolutions which have been submitted by the Hon. the Leader of the Government, and which I apprehend will be sustained and carried by a majority of the House, that I have risen to offer any remarks upon the subject. The Resolution which asserts that “this House cannot admit that a Federal Union of the North American Provinces and Colonies, which would include Prince Edward Island, could ever be accomplished upon terms that would prove advantageous to the interests and well-being of the people of this Island;” shuts out every member who shall agree to it from every again entertaining the question, how changed soever, and how much more favourable soever may be the terms upon which acceptance of Confederation may be required of the Colony. Nothing can be more preposterous than such a Resolution. We know not what changes even a single day may bring forth.
And yet, as if all the events of futurity were laid open to our view, we are called upon to decide against the projected Union of these Provinces upon any terms. We talk of this Island being cut off and separated, by an immovable barrier of ice from the neighbouring Provinces. Science and art may yet overcome the obstruction of that barrier. An unobstructed intercourse and communication with the Mainland, by properly fitted Steam-propellers may yet be secured to us in the winter season. What is the barrier which Britons cannot overleap? But, if the Island is to be bound by the Resolutions in question, it will indeed by more effectually cut off and separated from neighbouring Provinces, and-denied for ever all participation in the growing strength, wealth, and and [sic] prosperity of the Confederated Provinces—it will have little prospect for the future beyond a dwarfed existence, or ultimate absorption into the neighbouring Republic.
The great burthen of all the speeches which have been delivered in the Island, both in this House and out of it, against Confederation has been that the terms offered to us are not commensurate with our wants or such as our exceptional position demands that they should be that they are not sufficiently favorable. But now, by these Resolutions, you shut yourselves out from the acceptance of any terms which may be offered, however favourable they may be. In declaring that a Union of these Provinces can never be effected on terms favourable to Prince Edward Island, you arrogate to yourselves the power of Omniscience. The hon. and gallant Colonel, then ridiculed the idea which had been put forth by some anti-confederates, […]
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[…] that, in the event of the Federation’s taking place, and Canada’s being imided by Fenian marauders or any other enemy, we would be called upon to send tip our Militia or Volunteers to assist. the Canadians to defend themselves. What probability, he asked, was there that a Province which, in obedience to a call to arms, could, within 24 hours, have an army of 150,000 well disciplined men, fully equipped, and ready to encounter whatever foe might menace or assail them, and which, besides, had at its disposal a surplus revenue of one million dollars, should stand in need of any direct aid, either of men or money from Prince Edward Island? Bankrupt Canada! The idea was most preposterous.
The hon. member then significantly hinted to the Committee the very great probability that their determination to remain out of the Union, in opposition to the wishes of the Home Government, might prove a cause of such irritation as they might, when too late, have reason to repent their having provoked. As a proof that he had never contemplated the forcing of the Quebec Scheme upon the people against their will, he stated that after his return from Canada, in 1864, he had, at a public meeting of his constituents, at Belfast, told them that the question of Confederation. so far as it was intended to apply to Prince Edward Island, was one for the people—and for the people alone—to decide.
The Delegates had drawn up a Report, embracing a scheme of Union; but the people were at perfect liberty to accept or reject it as they themselves should think best. Because I, as one of the island Delegates, assented to that Scheme I have been accused of having sold my country. and been stigmatized by the name of traitor, Even a clergyman—I will not say of what denomination—has declared that he had been told that I had been bribed to give my assent to that Scheme. When that rather amusing charge was brought against me, it was brought equally against the other Delegates from Prince Edward Island. for we all assented to the Quebec Report, and the Hon. the Leader of the Opposition (Hon. Mr. Coles), who was one of us, when—after the Conference had terminated—publicly speaking of the Report, at the Dejeuner, at Ottawa, said: “He thought they (the Delegates) had reason to congratulate themselves upon the labours of the Conference. That thirty-three men, representing the various political Opinions of six different Provinces, could have assembled so and amalgamated their opinions as to agree upon a Constitution Suited for that great Confederation, was something, he believed, the Delegates were worthy of the position they held.
He said this, although there was no man more disappointed than himself with respect to some parts of that constitution; but, by mutual concessions, they had arrived at a result which they could all agree in supporting and submitting to the people; for he held that it must be submitted to the people. They could not force it on the people; they must endeavour to shew them that it was for their benefit, and thus induce them to accept it.” The foul charge of his having been bribed to agree to the Report—a Report which was agreed to by all the Delegates—must apply equally to all the other Island Delegates; but a charge so scandalous was one which they with him, would trample under foot, By a part of the Island press, it had been said that he and his brother Delegates who were advocates of the complete Federation of these Provinces were prepared to thrust it down the threats of the people. He, on the contrary,—and he wished it to go forth to the public—took the very earliest opportunity which presented itself, to publish in the papers that, in his opinion, it would be most unjust to the people to take any action with respect to the Quebec Scheme, until it should have been fairly put to them at the Hustings.
The people have not had it before them, and therefore what we may say now can be but of little avail. This is the last Session of the House; and, at the ensuing General Election, every candidate for the suffrages of the people will have an opportunity of declaring his sentiments concerning the Confederation Scheme; and such as shall be elected will take their seats in the Assembly duly instructed how they are to vote concerning it. If I be again returned to this House—I shall, according to the instructions of my constituents, know how to comport myself with respect to that momentous question. As to the appointment of Delegates to a London Convention, I do not see how His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor, as the question now stands would dare to make such an appointment. Before any step of that kind can be constitutionally taken, there must be an appeal to the people; and that appeal must be first responded to by no approval of Confederation views.
I believe there are members on the flor of the House who, although adverse to the terms of the Quebec Scheme, would yet willingly vote for a reconsideration of it. I believe the Hon. the Leader of the Opposition is not opposed to a Federal Union of all the Provinces; but he wants better terms than those offered to us by the Quebec Scheme. He wants the very best terms which it may be possible for us to obtain; and so do I. His opposition to the Quebec Scheme is based upon his conviction that the terms which it accords us are not sufficiently favorable to our interests—I am not much in the habit of looking to members in opposition for amendments to Resolutions submitted from this side of the House. I was returned to support the Conservative party; and, in good faith, I have fought with them, and done my duty in every conflict which they have had with the Opposition. In the support of any particular policy or measure to which the Conservatives have been pledged, I have never flinched. This, however, is the lost Session of this House and with it my immediate connexion with the Conservative; will cease.
At the ensuing General Election, if I offer myself again as a Candidate for a seat in the Assembly; I will not do so either as a Conservative or as a Liberal and, if elected I will not pledge myself to support either party. I will reserve to myself the privilege of judging for myself, independently of all party consideration. The present question is not a Government question; but a free and open one; and, therefore, in voting, as I shall do, for the amendment submitted by a member of the Opposition—the hon. member for St. Peter’s (Hon. Mr. Whelan)—l shall not be forsaking my party. The good sense and moderation of that amendment, especially when contrasted with the assumption, at once arrogant and fatuous of the Resolutions to which it is opposed, so recommend it to my judgment and sense of propriety, that I can have no hesitation in voting for it. In sneaking against the Resolution submitted by the Hon. Premier, I have done soon account of their binding character. As to the Resolutions of amendment, I do not see how any member, on either side of the House, whatever his opinions concerning the Quebec Scheme may be, can object to it.
But, by the other, we are called upon to exclude ourselves for over from a Confederation which, in all probability, is destined to become one of the greatest nations on the earth. What! are we going to ostracise ourselves from the community of our Sister Provinces? Are we going to stand alone to become the resort of strugglers, and a nest of hornets in the sides of the Confederation? Do we suppose that Her Majesty’s Government will allow such a political solecism? Will not our declared hostility to any scheme of Union which will include Prince Edward Island, in opposition to the well considered and truly parental desire of the Government of Great Britain, be very likely so far to exasperate them, as to cause them to legislate us into the Confederation even against our will? As to the Hon. the Leader of the Government, I have the highest respect for him, both politically and socially; and although voting against the Resolutions submitted by him, I am not voting against the Government of which he is the Leader.
The Confederation question is not a Government one [Hon. Mr. Coles. It should be, though.] I will not say whether the questions might or might not have been made a Government question. A Government question, however, it could not have been made constitutionally without an appeal to the people. But I will ask how can the hon. the Leader of the Government now tell that his own or other constituencies are at present opposed to Confederation, even although he may have had reason to believe they were so at the time of the last general election. Events of a most […]
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[…] in some districts they who were formerly opposed to Confederation, may now be in favor of it. The great objection has been to the terms offered us by the Quebec Scheme; but not, I believe, generally to Federation on any terms. Thinking men who, at first, were opposed to it may now take another view of it; and recognise the possibility of our obtaining better terms, if, through a constitutional channel, we should be wise enough to seek them. In accepting the Premier’s Resolutions, the Committee will be blindly committing themselves to a rejection of they know not what. Not a member of the Committee knows how the Quebec Scheme of Confederation may yet be modified; and, therefore, I say every member who may now vote in favor of those Resolutions, may afterwards find that, by having done so, he has bound himself to reject terms of Union, which, in his own judgment, be is forced to admit could not, if accepted, fail to be for the lasting benefit and welfare of the country! Can anything be more absurd than such a course as this?
To bind ourselves down to reject terms of Federation which, perhaps, may be of so favorable a character, and so advantageous to us, that, if accepted, they would, in a manner, pour down showers of gold upon us! I cannot see the soundness of the spirit in which these Resolutions have been conceived; and I fear the acceptance of them, by the Committee, may be so far exasperate the Home Government, that we may have much reason to regret the determination which they express. The hon. and gallant Colonel, then,—referring to the time when, not long since, he had the honor to fill the post of President of the Executive Council, and to the part, which, with the concurrence of his hon. colleagues therein, he then took with a view to the accomplishment of a Federation of the whole of the British North American Provinces and Colonies,—said, he hoped that, not only such of those hon. gentlemen as still agreed with him in opinion as to the desirability of such Federation, but also such of them as now differed with him, on that subject, would kindly bear with his free and independent expression of his sentiments concerning it and the Hon. Premier’s Resolutions then before the Committee; and that although, as respected those Resolutions, be stood forward politically opposed to some hon. gentlemen, of whom, not long since, he was a colleague in the Government, he should not, on that account, bare any reason to believe that he could not still socially look upon them as his friends.
The Government of Great Britain, continued the hon. gentleman, had ever been truly parental to this Island as well as to our sister Provinces, and our opposition to what the Imperial Government were thoroughly convinced would be our lasting benefit, could not be viewed, by them, in any other light than that of a most ungrateful return for benefits and privileges, which Great Britain had most abundantly and generously showered upon us; and we could not, therefore, reasonably expect that she would submit to be thwarted, by that ungrateful opposition, with respect to so grand a scheme as the Confederation of the British North American Provinces—the inauguration of another great power in the world. The Hon. and gallant Colonel—after again expressing a gear that the determined rejection of the Confederation upon any terms, by the House, would be so exasperate the Imperial Government as to cause them to determine concerning us, as respected Confederation, according to the practice of resolute parents when necessitated to enforce submission on the part of refractory and disobedient children—concluded by saying he gave his hearty support to the Resolution of amendment submitted by the hon. member for St. Peter’s (Hon. Mr. Whelan.)
Hon. Mr. McEachen. It appeared from the great sensitiveness of some hon. members on the subject of bribery, that only to hint the possibility of their being accessible to the influence of bribes, was a crime almost as gross as blasphemy. But we knew that no man was infallible; and that traitors had been found in higher circles than any in which those hon. but sensitive gentlemen had ever moved in, or were likely ever to move in. The hon. member who had spoken last had ridiculed the idea of Canada, with her army of 150,000 disciplined men being saved through the aid of little Prince Edward Island; but we had read of a lion’s having been saved by a mouse. It was crouching and cowardly to accept the idea that Great Britain would ever force us into Confederation against our will. What reasons could Mr. Cardwell have to assign for so arbitrary a step? We were not disloyal, we were not traitors. They terms of the Quebec Scheme were unjust to us in every point of view—most glaringly so in a financial one—but the wrong done to us in that respect, would be light indeed when compared with the loss of our liberty—the loss of the power to regulate our own affairs.
Hon. Mr. Coles denied that he had ever agreed to the Quebec Scheme, and declared that when he found that, financially, it was impossible to obtain justice for Prince Edward Island, he told the Conference that they had better leave us out of the Scheme altogether. The hon. gentleman then argued that they only means by which we could escape being dragged into the Union, was positively to declare that we would not enter into it upon any terms. Unless we declared ourselves altogether hostile to the Scheme, we would be dragged in. It was true that the Home Government had not endeavoured to compel our acceptance of the Scheme by threats of compulsion. Although we are the smallest o the Provinces, Mr. Cardwell knows better than to do that.
Let us, then, decidedly take our stand against our being included in the projected Union, resolved not to be comprehended in it, until we find that we can no longer keep out. Some Confederates argued that if we agreed to go into the Union, even upon the proposed terms, there would be no insuperable difficult, after its consummation, in any way of our obtaining better terms, should our claims be fully urged by our representatives in the Federal Parliament. Such an idea was absurd in the extreme. Of obtaining better terms, or even a revision of our claims, through the exertions on our behalf of our 5 members, in the Federal House of Commons, opposed to 147 Canadian members, we should just have as little chance as a cat without claws in Hell.
It was folly, indeed, to think that we might go into the Federation, and then obtain better terms than were offered to us by the Quebec Scheme. The Canadian statesmen thought we were too well of in being free from direct taxation; but happily free from burthens of that kind as we were, we had quite enough to do with all our money. The hon. gentlemen then commented with some severity on what he called the anomalous position of the Government with respect to the Confederation Question,—four members of it, in the Legislature, arguing in favor of Union, against fine opposed to it. For a Government when so divided in opinion concerning the most important, the most vital question that the Government and Parliament of any country could be called upon to entertain—the remodelling of its Constitution and Government,—was a thing unheard of.
In the British Parliament, it was never found that, upon important questions, one member of the Administration voted in one way, and another, in another. It was said by those who argued in favour of Confederation, that if we valued British institutions, if we valued our rights and privileges as British subjects, we would accede to Confederation. He, however, maintained that were we to become a member of the projected Union, we would actually be deprived of all these, and retrograde a century. Confederation, instead of being a means of binding us more closely and indissolubly to the British Crown, would, eventually, be the cause of our separation from it. The moment the Upper House should come into collision with the Lower House, some extreme measure would be had recourse to. Should we, however, remain as we were, we would be safe.
If we entered into Confederation, we would be much more in danger of quarreling with the United States than we are now. As we were, should we be assailed by the United States, what would Great Britain do with us, but protect us? The glory argument was, that, by confederating with Canada and the other Provinces, we should become part and parcel of a great nation; but the people of Prince Edward Island knew themselves to be already part and parcel of a great nation, and they had no desire to belong to any other. As to defence, we were quite willing to contribute our full quota for that purpose according to our ability. We were told that, as it was the positive desire of the Home Government that we should agree […]
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[…] to confederate, we would be looked upon as rebels if we did not. No fear of that. So long, said the hon. gentleman, as Great Britain shall allow us to remain in our present independent position, there will be no fear of our assuming, towards her, any thing like a disloyal or rebellious attitude; and a manifestation of our sacred regard for the priceless boon of Self-Government, which she has conferred upon us, and our determination to retain it unimpaired, as long as we shall be able to do so, will never be looked upon by her as a proof of disaffection, but rather as an undeniable evidence of our most just and grateful appreciation of that inestimable blessing.
What drove Canada into rebellion was the Home Government’s refusal to grant her Responsible or Self Government; and what had brought her back to loyalty and affection was the conferring upon her, and under a free representative Constitution, the full control and management of her own revenue and affairs. Great Britain well knew that the boon of Responsible or Self-Government was the greatest which she could confer upon any of her Dependencies or Colonies, and that which bound them most strongly in loyalty and affection to her; and, as respected any Colony or Dependency, upon which she had conferred that privilege, as long as it continued true in its allegiance to her, and obedient to the laws, and desired to retain that form of Government in all its independent integrity, so long, he firmly believed, would she consider it to be beyond the constitutional stretch, even of her Imperial power, either to suspend or withdraw that form of Government from such Colony or Dependency, or even to impair it.
We had not obtained that form of Government by rebellion, but by an exercise of constitutional means; and, both as account of the mode by which we had obtained it, and the happy manner in which—although even to the establishment of universal manhood suffrage [sic]—we had carried its privileges into practice, we were entitled to the especial consideration of the Home Government; and, he doubted not, we would receive it. Hon. members who advocated our being embraced by the Confederation Scheme had very plainly hinted their belief that if we did not, of our own accord, agree to enter it, the Home Government would compel us to do so; but he did not believe that the British Parliament would allow us to be coerced. Hon. members may refer to speeches made by me in Canada, and endeavour, by attaching undue weight to the import of some isolated expressions which I then, perhaps rather unguardedly made us of, to shew that I then approved of the Quebec Scheme; but, at the same time, these hon. members well know, in their hearts, that I was not so; and you, yourself, Mr. Chairman, might, I think, testify so much in my behalf, for you will, doubtless, recollect that when I met you, in New Brunswick, on my way home from the Quebec Conference, I told you it would be impossible for Prince Edward Island to go into Confederation upon the terms of the Quebec Scheme, without a sacrifice of her independence, and of her best and dearest interests; and that, therefore, I was decidedly opposed to the Island’s being included in it.
But even granting that, as has been said, I changed my views concerning Confederation after my return from Canada to Prince Edward Island, what will that matter? If we are never to change our views concerning any measure which may be projected, f what use is our debating upon it. In a Legislature, if members were never to be allowed to change their opinions, there would be no chance whatever of return, and abuses would for ever remain unredressed. In Great Britain, every reform, every rectification of wrong, every redress of grievances, which has been effected by parliamentary action has been brought about by a change of opinion, not infrequently both with out, as well as within, the walls of Parliament.
It has been said, by some hon. members, that with our tariff lower than that of the Federation we would not be left out, because in that case we would become the resort of smugglers; but I believe, if the people would submit to be governed by the opinion of mercantile men, and consent to the abolition of customs and impost duties, and fully establish free-trade privileges, and have recourse to direct taxation in lien of those duties, they would find the change a most beneficial one. It was also said by hon. members who advocated Confederation, that no action should be taken with respect to it, by the Assembly, until it should have been fairly put before the people at the coming General Election.
Well, we would all be glad, no doubt, to have an opportunity of again appealing to the people. When we do so, they will certainly wish to know who of the candidates for their suffrages, are in favour of Confederation, and who are opposed to it; and I am quite willing that “Confederation or No Confederation” shall be the issue to be submitted to the people for their determination, and the test of the fitness of candidates for election. As respects the amendment, said the hon. gentleman, if we vote for it, we shall vote for Confederation; and yet, most inconsistently, it concludes by saying that, in the opinion of this House no vote should be passed by the Legislature of this country in favor of Confederation until the people shall first have been afforded an opportunity of pronouncing their judgment on the question at a General Election.”
Now, as I do not wish to go into what I said last Session, I will be brief in any further remarks which I have to make touching the subject. As respects the Resolutions which have been submitted by the Hon. the Leader of the Government. I will now merely observe that, had I been consulted concerning them, I would have advised the striking out of the middle one, and the retention of only the first and last. I know not what pressure has been brought to bear upon the Government, but I believe some has, and the effect has been the bringing down of the Resolutions in their present form. As they stand, however, I will vote for them. I certainly was once, I must confess, in favor of a Federal Union of these Provinces, because I was of opinion that it would give us greater weight at the Colonial Office, where the influence of the large proprietors had always prevailed against us to the hinderance of any fair and equitable settlement of the Land Question.
But now I am fully convinced that any advantage we might, on that score, derive from our confederating with the other Provinces, would be far overbalanced by the losses which it would, politically, commercially, and financially, directly bring upon us; and, therefore, with the qualifications which I have already made with respect to them, I am prepared unhesitatingly to vote for the Resolutions of the Hon. the Leader of the Government. I do not wish to say any thing harsh against those hon. members who differ with me on this question. If we went into the proposed Union, we would be at the mercy of those who do not think as we do on the subject of parliamentary representation. We have universal manhood suffrage and an elective Legislative Council; but they have neither.
I think that, if we, in little Prince Edward Island, be left as we are, we shall be able to manage our own affairs quite as well as the people of Canada have managed theirs, and, indeed, I believe a great deal better. We are told that Her Majesty the Queen is earnest in her desire that such a scheme of Confederation as will, without exception, embrace all these Provinces, shall speedily be carried into effect; and that, if we oppose ourselves to that earnest desire of Her most gracious Majesty—a desire entertained by her solely in consequence of her belief that such Confederation […]
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[…] would afford the best security for the preservation of our free British institutions and for the promotion of the present and future well-being of the whole we shall justly lay ourselves open to the imputation of disloyalty. From this view of the question, I, however, wholly dissent. I sincerely believe, indeed, that our good and gracious Queen is, at all times, animated by a truly parental solicitude and regard for the well-being of her faithful subjects, in every quarter of her immense empire; but 1 do not believe that she will ever determine to manifest that solicitude and regard towards any portion of them, constituting a people, by urging them to do that which they believe will be either fatal to their best and dearest interests, or at least be greatly inimical to them. I do not, therefore, believe that Her gracious Majesty, if duly informed of our unwillingness—and of the grounds of that unwillingness—to be included in the projected Confederation of these Provinces. will ever consent to our being coerced into it; or that, because—after the experience of a long and, upon the whole, successful management of our own affairs—we presume to know better, than we believe she can possibly do. what is best for our own interests, she will ever be brought to think of us as a disobedient or disloyal people.
But besides, Sir, I do not believe that the question of the Confederation of these Provinces has ever been submitted to Her Majesty for the purpose of ascertaining her views concerning it, or that she has really, of herself, expressed any opinion either for or against it—any wish either that it should or should not take place. Her present ministers are indeed, in favor of it; and, in the usual ministerial style, when recommending it, they give to their own views the semblance of the Royal will. But all this we fully understand; and we know that neither in Parliament nor out of Parliament, are parties or individuals opposing an administration ever, on account of such opposition, accused of disloyalty to the Sovereign. Therefore to say that we shall deservedly subject ourselves to the imputation of disloyalty, if, on the question of Confederation, we oppose the views of Her Majesty’s Ministers—men who, although in, power to-day, may, tomorrow, have to give place to others of a different way of thinking—is truly absurd.
As respected the hints which had been thrown out concerning the probability of our obtaining, by means of Delegates to the proposed London Convention, the concession of better terms than those which are offered to us by the Quebec Scheme of Confederation, he was fully persuaded that, should any attempt of that kind be made, it would be altogether futile. The leading Canadian statesmen and the Home Government were pledged to the integrity of the Quebec Scheme; and, even although the Heme Government might be found willing to have it modified, either for the benefit of Prince Edward Island, or that of any of the Lower Provinces, leading Canadians had declared that no modification whatever of that scheme should be made, and that, rather than it should, Canada would declare herself independent of the Mother Country and defy the power of Great Britain to control her.
To show how really small are the chances of our obtaining, by any means, better terms than those which are offered us by the Quebec scheme, I will read from an article on this point from the Quebec “Weekly Citizen,” of 5th May, 1866. The hon, gentleman then read as follows:
(From the Weekly Citizen, 5th May, 1866.)
Mr. Cartier, in the Canadian Parliament, in 1865, in reply to a speech of the Hon. Mr. Dorion, intimating that the British Government might introduce into the Act to be passed by the Imperial Parliament features not contemplated by the original Resolutions, said:
“In reply to what the hon. member for Hochelaga has just said, I shall merely tell the honorable member of this House that they need not take alarm at the apprehensions and predictions of that hon. gentleman. 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. I have pledged my word of honor and that of the Government to that effect.”
Will this satisfy the opponents of the Quebec Scheme in the country, how unsubstantial and insincere are the representations that have been made as to the possibility of the terms of Union being changed? If not, if anything more is wanted to convince them, let them read the following from the Journal de Quebec, the organ of Mr. Coucheon [sic], an able and influential supporter of the McDonald Cartier Ministry and of their Confederation policy:—
“The Canadian Parliament has adopted a scheme of constitution which has been approved of by England, and that of Nova Scotia has adopted a simple resolution which permits the Government of the Empire to determine its future lot. The first Province numbers more than three millions of inhabitants; the second has but three hundred thousand. Which of these two Provinces will make its opinions prevail in the Council of the Sovereign? Moreover, if it is the Parliament of Nova Scotia which has adopted the resolution of which we have just spoken, it is the Parliament of Canada. which has adopted the plan of the Quebec Convention, and our Ministers cannot renounce it without the consent of the some authority. Hence we may, and do say that if the Delegates should go to England, on the invitation of the Imperial Government, before the opening of our Legislature, they must go there to maintain absolutely the plan of the Quebec Convention; and England, even if she desires it, could not go beyond that, because she NEITHER WOULD NOR COULD RETAIN CANADA AGAINST HER WILL.”
The hon Gentleman then argued that, such being the opinions of the fathers of the Confederation Scheme—and as, in all probability, the Delegates who should be appointed to the London Convention, as well on the part of the Lower Provinces as on the part of the Canadas. would be such as had already pledged themselves to support the Quebec Scheme in its entirety—any Delegates from Prince Edward Island who might be appointed to that Convention for the purpose of obtaining a modification in the Quebec Scheme favourable to our interests, would—however talented, and however zealous they might be in their endeavours to obtain such a modification of it—be overborne and outweighed by the Canadian Delegates. In further evidence of the soundness and tenability of my opinion, said the hon. gentleman, I will read another short passage with reference to the same point from a late number of La Minerve, the Hon. Mr. Cartier’s own organ. He then read as follows:
“The position taken in Nova Scotia requires the formation of a new Convention at London, for the elaboration of a scheme to be presented to the Imperial Government. This Convention, as we have already said, will have little to do since THE QUEBEC SCHEME CANNOT BE AMENDED.”
The hon. gentleman then concluded by saying, that these opinions concerning the Quebec Scheme, expressed in no abiguous [sic] language, fully warranted, he thought, his belief that neither by any appointment of Delegates to the London Convention, nor by any other means to which it was possible for us to have recourse, could we either procure the framing and adoption of such a new scheme as we could approve of, or such a modification of the terms of the Quebec one as would render it. worthy of our acceptance. Prince Edward Island, would, therefore, in his opinion, not wisely in remaining as she is—leaving to others the hazardous experiment of abandoning their present several independent and assured positions to engage in an untried connexion. and to assume burthens and responsibilities, the weight of which is unknown.
Hon. Sol. General: I would like to give some explanation respecting a clause in the Quebec Report referring to the manner in which the Legislative Councillors for this island were to be selected. The hon. member has laid down the theory that, by that Report, the Councillors were not to be selected from the Council as it stands, and no doubt, he said, the Canadians would not select them for particular reasons; but I say to you, Mr. Chairman, and to this House, and to the public. that the clause referred to, Was placed in the Report at the unanimous request of the Delegates of Prince Edward Island. because we considered it unfair that, as the other Colonies had nominative Councils. and we had our elective one, the choice should be narrowed down to twelve or thirteen hon. members who were elected by constituencies, and make them Councillors for life. We considered that they should have the length and the breadth of the Island to choose from. That, I considered a sound principle.
Mr. Duncan: If they were chosen from the Council there would be some probability at least that they would be the choice of the people; but very little respect was paid to the wishes of the people. The members of the […]
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[…] Council were elected by men of property, and therefore, are more likely to be lit to be members of the Federal Council than men chosen by the Government of Canada, which knew nothing bout the Island, and cared less.
Hon. Sol. General: The hon. member himself has laid down the principle that the members of Council should possess a property qualification, and real and personal estate’ was placed in the Constitution at the suggestion of the hon. the Leader of the Opposition. He showed that, if it was confined to freehold, it would not be fair because many tenants on the Island were as well qualified as freeholders. When he threw out that suggestion the other Island Delegates were in favor of it; and it should be remembered that they were to be chosen by the Federal Government, not by the Canadian Government. If members of the House and the people would look upon it independently of party views. and if they were asked whether they would have them chosen from the Council or have the whole Island to choose from. I believe nine-tenths would pronounce in favor of the mode adopted in the Report.
Mr. Duncan: I was not opposed to a property qualification. either real or personal; but I said, and I think it is very strange, that they should be taken from the Councils in the other Provinces, and this Island be made an exception. The views of both parties were to be respected; but it is very possible that they had little prospect of finding persons favorable to their views in the Council of this Island. Whatever it was, I hope it will never be put to the test, for I hope we will never have more to do with them in that way than we have at present.
Hon. J. C. Pope: It is not my intention to occupy the attention of the Committee for any length of time; but, regarding the remarks made by the Hon. the Leader of the Opposition. I must object to the principle that some members of the Government disagreeing with others should resign. On the contrary, I think they should state their views on this great question freely, and independently. We know that the hon. member agreed to the Report of the Delegates at Quebec, as well as members of’ the Government. Therefore, having been assented to by both, sides, it could scarcely be expected that it would be brought down as a Government measure; and suppose it had, there is a majority in the Government opposed to the Quebec Scheme, who do not think that Prince Edward Island should go into Confederation with Canada. And how is a Government to be carried on in the country? Suppose some members favorable to Confederation should resign-the Leader of the Opposition was favorable to it himself, and how would a Government be formed? Under all the circumstances, I do not think a resignation was called for, and it was so understood when Resolutions were introduced by myself last year. It was plainly stated that it was a free and open question, and that members could act as they thought proper. Allusion has been made to some pressure, brought to bear upon the Government.
Hon. Mr. Coles: I only repeated what the hon. the Solicitor General said.
Hon. J. C. Pope: I do not acknowledge a pressure from any quarter so long as I represent the views of the people and the majority of the Legislature. If a pressure were brought to bear upon me I would not hold the position which I occupy to-day. If the question were put to me I would, perhaps, say the Resolutions are stronger than I desire; but at the same time, there is a necessity at present to make them strong, so that there can be no possibility of mistaking what the views of the Legislature are. It has been said that Confederation could not be carried without an appeal to the people. In Nova Scotia it was not submitted to the people. In two or three places where elections were held the friends of the Scheme were rejected; but now there is a Delegation to be sent to England to arrange a Scheme of Confederation, and that Scheme is the Quebec Scheme of would be useless for us to send Delegates. This Island in so small in comparison with Canada and the other Provinces, that they would have no influence beyond the proportionate extent of country they would represent. I believe the Governor of New Brunswick has taken an improper course.
The Quebec Scheme was rejected at the polls; and how could the Governor carry on the business of the country with a Government opposed to the wishes of the people? Therefore, it behoves this House to pass stronger Resolutions than it would, perhaps, otherwise do, because I do think that if Nova Scotia and New Brunswick go into the Union, this Island must, sooner or later, go in also—At the same time we will not be told by the British Government that we must go in, but a pressure will be brought to bear upon us, and we will be made to feel that it will be for our own interest to go in. The reason the Resolutions were made so strong was that a large majority might support them, for if they were not strong, while there is such a strong feeling in the House and in the country, stronger Resolutions would be introduced, and parties would be split up. One or two more, perhaps, may declare in favor of Confederation than voted for it last year; but the course pursued by the Colonial Secretary last year was such that members were debarred from voting on the abstract question of a Union of the Colonies.
I dare say some will be prepared to vote against the Resolutions; but, as I believe that ninety-nine out of every hundred of the people are against Confederation, I think we, as their representatives, are bound to represent or express their views, even though the matter has not been submitted to them at an election, And as to the Government not being composed of members who are all favorable to the Quebec Scheme, if so, the Leader of the Opposition would support the Government, and we would have no Opposition at all. Now, there are two or three points in that Scheme which I particularly object to, though I do not intend to go into the details. Representation by population is not fair as regards this country. Where there are large towns there are not so many different interests as there are in a country like this—Therefore, I do not believe in it as a principle. It is not favorably looked upon by reformers of the present day.—Even Earl Russell does not believe in representation by population. As was said here last year, by that rule London would have more representatives than Scotland—If I had acted as a delegate when the delegates from Canada were here, and when they laid it. down that they would not entertain the question at all, unless representation by Population were acceded to. I would stopped there and said no. I will not agree to it and [blame the Leader of the Opposition and those other delegates who agreed to it. They should not have done so; for it is one of the strongest objections to that scheme. The Solicitor General says he was opposed to Legislative Union; but, in my opinion, that is the proper Union for us to have if we have any. If we have a Parliament in Canada, what do we want with a Governor and Legislative Council and House of Assembly here?
It is considered the next thing to a farce now. We are looked upon as too small to have a Government and Legislature. The thing would be absurd. If the Colonies were confederated, and we had our Local Legislature, you […]
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[…] here and go through the farce of legislating. The Island would dwindle down to the position of a small rotten borough. These are two of the strongest objections I have to the Quebec Scheme. I do not find fault with gentlemen for adhering to what they agreed to in Canada; but I do not think it was fair for the Canadians to come here and say “We will not entertain the question unless you acknowledge this principle.” The Leader of the Opposition said he would rather see the middle paragraph struck out of the Resolutions. So would I; but I said they were here for the House to deal with them as it thought proper. The Resolution says:—
“This House cannot admit that a Federal Union of the North American Colonies, that would include Prince Edward Island, could ever be accomplished upon terms that would prove advantageous to the interests and well-being of the people of this Island, cut off and separated as it is, and must ever remain, from the neighbouring Provinces, by an immovable barrier of ice for many months in the year; and this House deems it to be its sacred and imperative duty to declare and record its conviction, as it now does, that any Federal Union of the North American Colonies, that would include Prince Edward Island, would be as hostile to the feelings and wishes, as it would be opposed to the best and most vital interests of its people.”
Now, that is the strong part of the Resolutions; but what is meant is that we presume that no terms could be got from the Canadians, that would be just and acceptable to the people of this Island. But once make an admission that we are favorable to a Union and there is a probability of our being dragged into it in such a way that we could not well extricate ourselves from it. As I believe these Resolutions represent the views of the majority of the people, I have, so far, very little objection to them. I am prepared to vote for them as they are; and, if the House should choose to strike out the middle paragraph, I would care very little about it. The Resolutions of last year were strong, and the first Resolution here conveys all that is required to confirm them; which, for me, would have been strong enough. I said, Sir, on rising, that I did not intend to prolong the debate, and it may be considered presumption in me to criticise the amendment of the hon. member for St. Peter’s (Mr. Whelan); but I do not think I can give him credit for its being a very able and straightforward Resolution. It says:
“RESOLVED, as the opinion of this House, that the Confederation of Her Majesty’s American Colonial possessions would be—while in conformity with Her Majesty’s frequently expressed desire—conducive to their welfare, separately and collectively. * * * * But inasmuch as the people of Prince Edward Island do not appear to be prepared to regard with any favor the project of Confederation, it is unwise to press it upon public attention, as its discussion is only calculated to produce excitement and apprehension, without a reasonable cause.
Now, I consider it to be the duty of a representative of the people, if he considers that any measure would be for their benefit to bring it before, and urge it upon them; but to say that although, in his opinion, it would be conducive to the welfare of the people, yet, because they do not think so, it should be pressed, is not a good argument. If I considered any matter to be for the good of the country, I think it would be my duty to advocate it, whether the people were satisfied with it or not; and if he believes his constituency would be benefited by Confederation, he should use every means in his power to bring the people up to it, instead of saying because the people do not think so it is fully to press it. Then, if he admits that the people are not in favour of it, the proper way would be to go against Confederation in any shape. I take it, that a gentleman standing here should represent the views of his constituency. If he is satisfied that any measure is for the good of the country, it is his duty to go to the country and stand or fall by it; and if he cannot make the people believe that it is for their interests, he should either keep his opinion in abeyance, or retire, and let the people choose another who would represent their views.
Hon. Mr. Coles: The Hon. the Leader of the Government said that the Delegates should not have consented to the principle of representation by population. They did not consent to it; for, after the Canadian Delegates came here and stated their case, the first Delegation ceased, and another was appointed. Therefore, it was for the Government to consider the matter.
Hon. Col. Gray: The Hon. the Leader of the Opposition was not present when the Canadian Delegates declared that they would not entertain the question unless the principle of representation according to population were acceded to.
Mr. McLennan: It was my intention to have addressed the Committee at an earlier stage of the debate; but as the big guns wished to fire off first, I was prepared to listen to their report, if not to feel their shot; and as the remarks I intended to make have been already expressed, I shall not now detain the House by repeating them.—When the question of the Quebec Scheme was before us last year, I said that anything I might say would not hasten or retard the Union. I am of the same opinion still. Whatever change may have taken place outside, it is evident that there is some change in the members of this House since last year. It is certainly a very important question, and the hon. member for New Glasgow (Mr. Longworth) said, yesterday, that we should be very guarded for it would be legislating for our children’s children. That I admit; but at the same time I would not say that there never could be a scheme of Union propounded which would be a benefit to the Island.
I have no desire to misrepresent any member of this House; but I believe there are some who are extremely strong anti-confederates; and without doing any injustice to the hon. member for Murray Harbour (Mr. Duncan) I believe he would bind his children and children’s children never to take any action in Confederation; but I have no desire to do that. I stand here as the representative of as independent, progressive and intelligent a constituency as there is on the Island; but I have no desire to bind them, or their children, not to go for Confederation. The hon. and learned member for Charlottetown, (Hon. Mr. Brecken) said, yesterday, that the British Government was determined to carry Confederation. If so, anything I can say will not prevent it. He, at the same time, admitted that we would be a great deal stronger if we were united. I was glad to hear him say so, for I am of the same opinion. I would be satisfied to remain as we are, if the other Colonies would do so.
I believe we have progressed, according to our means and resources, as much as the other Colonies for the last few years; but, if they will unite, the great question for us to consider will be, whether we will go with them or remain as we are? I want to leave it an open question; and, for that reason, I will support the amendment introduced by the hon. member from St. Peter’s (Mr. Whelan). Many things have been said about bribery—that those in favor of Confederation are bribed: as well might we say that those against it are bribed. I believe that those in the other Provinces who have the most means are against Confederation, and why would not they be as likely to use bribery as those who are in favor of it. I consider the conduct of the hon. member, the Leader of the Opposition, to be as inconsistent as that of any member of this House; and, in fact, I believe it is getting like the land question. I did not think, when the Conference was held at Quebec that this question would be settled in such a short time. We hear some members express some very extraordinary ideas.
The hon. member from the East Point (Mr. McEachen) would defy the British Government to take away our Constitution. And then it is said we will show our loyalty by placing the whole Revenue at the disposal of the Government. What would our whole Revenue do towards defending us, if the British Government should cast us off? We acknowledge Great Britain as our parent, and we know that parents, when their children disobey, will cast them off; so will she do with us. If I were to support the Resolutions of the Hon. the Leader of the Government, I believe I would be advancing or advocating Confederation more strongly than in supporting the amendment. We are not going to say to the Mother Country “We will not listen to your suggestions”: We are not going to say “They may withdraw all their troops; but then see how loyal we are!” What would our whole revenue do? It would not equip and command one good gun boat. We talk about our Militia and Volunteers. I spent some time in connection with the volunteer […]
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[…] movement myself; but I got tired of it, and tendered my resignation last year.
Hon. Col. Gray. It was not received through the proper authority.
Mr. McLennan. Well, I never was notified that such was the case. I shall not detain the Committee any longer. I have listened to long speeches here, but I often think they are intended for electioneering dodges, but it is not so with me. I believe my constituency understand my views, and I will abide by the consequences. I do not see why any hon. member should object to the amendment; nor do I see why we should say that no Scheme of Union that could be propounded would be a benefit to the Island. Circumstances alter cases and circumstances have changed since last year. Then we had a flourishing trade with the United States, but now it is cut off. I would not bind myself or my children to pursue any particular line of conduct. With these few remarks I will support the amendment.
Mr. Brecken. I did say that union would strengthen British America, and I am of the same opinion still; but at the Quebec Conference, due regard was not paid to the interests of this Island. I have no respect for the man who would advocate or condemn this Scheme for the purpose of popularity. Perhaps the advocates of Union occupy a more honorable position in this House than those who oppose it; but I would not advocate it for that reason. I do not altogether agree with the wording of the Resolution; but I would not entertain the question at all unless there was a prospect of getting the terms changed. I give the hon. member (Mr. Whelan) credit for the ingenious way in which he has worded the amendment. It admits the principle of Confederations, and the terms were said, by the Colonial Secretary, to be just and liberal to Prince Edward Island.
I presume the hon. member did not refer to the Quebec Scheme, though I think the amendment has some connection with it. And is there any prospect of a change being made so that the interests of this Colony will be protected? I do not want to see a Union at the expense of the people of this Island; and I believe the men who propounded that scheme did not know anything about the local circumstances of this Island. I have not thrown out any improper insinuations. I would accord to every man the same respect as I would claim for myself. But I believe it is mere delusion to talk about the Quebec Scheme. Let the Canadians show the people of Prince Edward Island that, while they pay due regard to the broad principle of Union, they will give us a chance to live—that our peculiar wants and circumstances will be properly looked after—and not say to us “you must take any particular scheme of Union,” when they do not know anything about our circumstances.
Mr. Sinclair the hon. member from Summerside (Mr. McLennan) will not vote for the Resolutions of the hon. the Leader of the Government, because they would bind us for all time to come; but that is only a matter of opinion. The next House may pass very different Resolutions. I do not see how any hon. member can vote for the amendment; for it is certainly a strange Resolution. It admits that Confederation would be for the benefit of the Island, and yet says it is unwise to press it upon the attention of the people, because it would create unnecessary apprehension in their winds. The meaning I take out of it is, that it is better to let the thing slide on—to let Delegates be appointed and sent to England—to let a Scheme be concocted and carried into effort, and the people allowed to pass an opinion on it at a general election afterwards.
The Resolution says:—”And this House believes that a plan of Confederation might be so framed as not to involve the sacrifice of any material interests on the part of any Province; but, inasmuch as the people of Prince Edward Island do not appear to be prepared to regard with any favor the project of Confederation, it is unwise to press it upon public attention, as its discussion is only calculated to produce excitement and apprehension without reasonable cause.” What is the meaning of this, if it is not that the people of Prince Edward Island are not capable of forming an opinion, and, therefore, it is better to pass a Resolution to allow the British Government to take action, and then it will be time enough to press it upon public attention. I agree with the hon. member from Murray Harbor (Mr. Duncan) inasmuch as I do not see how we could vote for that Resolution, and refuse to appoint a Delegation. The hon. member from Summerside (Mr. McLennan) said that if the British Government was determined to unite the Colonies, it was little matter whether he supported the Resolution or not—that it would be as well to drop the subject and leave it alone.
Mr. McLennan I did not say that it would be as well to drop the subject and leave it alone.
Mr. Sinclair I understood the hon. member to say that it would be as well to take no action on it. The British Government has certainly expressed a desire that the Colonies would unite; but we are not told that we are to be forced into a Union. The Colonial Minister, in his Despatch, expressed an earnest desire for the consolidation of the British Provinces in one Government. In regard to Colonial defences, I would be willing that the views of the British Government should be urged upon the Colonies with all just authority. While I believe we are willing to allow that—for I consider it to be our duty to give all due consideration to the opinion of the British Government in things of that kind—yet, sir, I am of opinion that we owe a higher duty to our country and to our children—the duty to preserve the inalienable right of self-government. “Self-preservation is the first law of nature.” and it will hold good with regard to nations and colonies, as well as individuals. We are willing to contribute of our means, but not to give up our liberties, which our fathers have obtained for us. Though we are a small Colony and unable to offer any formidable resistance, that is no reason that we should voluntarily surrender a Constitution with which we are satisfied.
We are prepared to do everything in our power, within the bonds of reason, to maintain our connection with the British Empire. We have liberty to tax ourselves, and we are prepared to do our part; therefore, I do not think the British Government will ever attempt to coerce us into a Union against the wishes of the people, and which we believe would be prejudicial to our interests. It is useless for us to go into the details of the Scheme or to point out all the disadvantages to the Island of a Union with Canada. It is admitted by nearly all, even those in favor of a Union, that it would not be an advantage to the Island to enter the Union on the basis of the Quebec Scheme; and, for my part, I do not expect to get better terms, though, even if we could we are an exception to the other Colonies. and a basis of Union which would be suitable and advantageous to them would not be so to us. I might point out objections which I have to the form of the Constitution, but I do not intend to go minutely into the merits or demerits of the Quebec Schemes. It is a conglomerate Constitution which I do not think would be, or should be, sanctioned by the people of British North America.
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Mr. McEachen. I think it would be better if the hon. member from Georgetown (Mr. Haviland) would propound some feasible scheme of Union than to work himself into such a flaring passion. It is a very bad sign of a cause when its advocates lose their temper. Indeed the advocates of Confederation appear to be very thin-skinned. I never accused them of being bribed, but I have no doubt but they may have seen something looming in the distance which dazzled their eyes. I do not say it was gold; perhaps it was something else. I suppose those gentlemen who sold Ireland for £600 000 were as sensitive touching their personal honor as the gentlemen who held the Conference at Quebec. The Hon. Sol. General made allusion to the stand the Catholic Bishops have taken, but I do not believe they understood the situation of the question; and, if they think to get us bound to Canada, they are mistaken. The people who hunted the Prince of Wales from town to town as if he was a wild beast escaped from a menagerie, are not the people with whom they would be willing to be united. I wish the advocates of Union had propounded some Scheme instead of scolding us; and, as they have not done so, I still adhere to the opinion I expressed yesterday.
Hon. Mr. Duncan. In reply to the Hon. Sol. General, I would say that when I was young there were very few public schools, and when he was going to school, I was probably holding the plough or working in a ship-yard. I do not pretend to be able to use very classical language, but if I can make people understand me, that is all I want. Though I have not had a liberal education, yet I have some natural ability. Nature has not been so niggardly to me that I have not been able to provide for myself; and I did not need the help of a father to set me agoing. I feel the want of education—I do not deny it; but I would call the attention of the House to the amendment which says; “This House believes that a plan of Confederation might be so planned as not to involve the sacrifice of any material interests on the part of any Province.”
Now, if that is the case, who is the party to frame it? I know the gentleman who drew up that Resolution has had a good education, and he has drawn it up in a very nice way. Perhaps he will not deny that there is some prize in the distance. The Resolution implies that it is possible to frame some plan of Union which would be acceptable to the people, and if we make that admission, just when the House is rising, it will be an excuse for appointing a Delegation I believe the man who votes for that resolution votes for a Union of some sort, and he must do so either ignorantly or intentionally.
Hon. Sol. General. I must reply to the hon. member from Murray Harbour again. He says that if we agree to this amendment we will be selling the rights of the people—that the Governor will be bound to appoint a Delegation to Downing Street. Do we not know that Governors who come out here have previously served an apprenticeship in the House of Commons? And if one should come here who is a stranger, would he not enquire if a majority in the Legislature would support a Delegation? If not, he would say he could not appoint one. The hon. member has made a great blow off respecting his position, which he has obtained altogether in consequence of his own merits. He has thrown out an insinuation—and I take his challenge—that I hold my position in consequence of the assistance of my father.
I say, before this House and the country, that I owe nothing to my father as regards my political or pecuniary position. Though I have a father who is well off, he has kept his money to himself, and left me to fight my own battles. The hon. member boasts that his talent has placed him where he is; but what I produce is my own, and free from outside influence. What I protect against is, that members of the House do not enunciate their own views, but use what is placed in their hands by back-street influence outside of the Legislature. This I say deliberately, and hon. members are at liberty to take the constitutional course relative to the statement I now make. But I am not going to stultify myself with regard to this question. It is my interest to advocate what I consider to be for the interest of the Colony. I have three sons and three daughters who were born here, and that shows that it is not a mere matter of moonshine with me. Hon. members may say what they like about gold, but let them prove their base insinuations.
Mr. Howlan. No member used the word “gold.”
Hon. Sol. General. I say it was used.
Mr. Howlan. If any person used it, it was the hon. member from St. Peter’s.
Hon. Sol. General. I have heard a member of this House use it outside of these walls.
Mr. Howlan. We should not say anything here about assertions made outside.
Hon. Sol. General. It is my firm belief that it has been used, but if the majority say it was not, I will bow to their decision, yet I will not bow to the individual opinion of the hon. member from Cascumpec. The hon. member from the East Point may say that I speak in an excited manner on this subject, but when I hear the Hon. member from Murray Harbor (Mr. Duncan) attempt to put a construction upon this Resolution which I will not bear, I must speak as I have done. And when it says that no action should be taken till an appeal is made to the people, and he says that it will authorize the appointment of a Delegation—that the country may be sold—and such like assertions; I say he does not understand the Resolution, and he must believe that every man in the Government is as corrupt as he can be.
Mr. Haslem. I think such insinuations are quite uncalled for, and are highly improper. I have heard the term “Canadian gold” used, but I cannot believe that any hon. member of this House would be so corrupt as to accept a bribe to sell his country.
Mr. Duncan. I said that if the Government would not do so, others would.
Hon. Col. Gray. The hon. member from Murray Harbour (Mr. Duncan) insinuated a great deal, such as a member by his vote being guilty of treason to his constituency. What does he mean by treason? If a gentleman goes down to a constituency at the request of another, and that gentleman turns round and throws out a groundless insinuation against the gentleman who supported him, what connection would that have with treason? Or will he say how far my supporting the amendment will be treason to my constituency?
Mr. Duncan. I do not know what the hon. and gallant Col. means unless it is that he returned me to the House of Assembly. If so, I was not aware of it, and if it is the case, I must thank him, not my constituency; but they did not give me to understand that they were voting for Col. Gray. I thought they were voting for James Duncan. I am still of opinion, that if we pass this amendment, the Governor will have it in his power to send a Delegation to Downing Street.
Hon. J. C. Pope. He can do that at any time.
Mr. Sinclair. Should we vote for the amendment would it not be voting in favour of Confederation?
Hon. Sol. General. We want no action taken till it is decided at the polls; and no action to bind the Colony would be proper without an appeal to the people. If the hon. member would read the Resolution carefully, I think he would form the same opinion.
Mr. Sinclair. I have read the Resolution carefully, and the opinion I have formed is that if it is adopted this House will be voting in favour of Confederation.
Hon. Sol. General. It merely admits that practicable terms of Union could be devised, and it is impossible to lay down the principle, that no terms could be devised, which would be beneficial to this Colony. We admit that such terms could be devised, but in consequence of the extraordinary feeling in the country against Confederation, it would be injudicious to press the matter till after a general election. […]
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[…] Were the Governor to appoint a Delegation without an appeal to the people, he would be guilty of an unconstitutional act, unless he had a majority in the Government to support him in doing so.
Hon. Mr. Whelan. I mean to say a word about the amendment. You know, Mr. Chairman, that I have not trespassed on the patience of the Committee, and you, Sir, have exercised a degree of forbearance highly commendable during this long debate; but it would be unwise to trespass upon your time at this late hour with any lengthy remarks; yet I think I should say a word or two in reference to some remarks which have been made in this debate. Before doing so, let me express my satisfaction at the calmness and moderation with which this debate has been conducted. It is certainly an improvement on the debates of last year, and leads us to suppose that, though we are not improving very extensively in regard to Confederation, yet we are in good temper; but I believe we are also improving in our views of Confederation—improving inasmuch as we admit that if the other Provinces unite we cannot stand out. I will not trespass upon your time, but I have a right to ask the indulgence of this hon. Committee for five minutes to refute some observations made in opposition to my views yesterday evening and to-day.
Yesterday evening in particular, I was assailed by my hon. friend from Cascumpec (Mr. Howlan) on the ground of my inconsistency in making a speech in this House, in 1864, on this question of Confederation. But it was not on the broad question of Confederation I then spoke, and the hon. member knows that he did not fairly represent me. It was in reference to a Legislative Union of the Colonies, and he knows that I have always been opposed to a Legislative Union.
Mr Howlan. I did not state anything in disparagement of the hon. member; but I showed that the views held by him now, were not the same as those held by him then. I quoted this passion:—
“I care not for the nature of the Union, whether it be Federal of Legislative, either will be absurd while we remain tied to the apron-strings of our venerable mother—Great Britain. The time will come when, as foreshadowed by the statesmen and politicians of Britain, the Colonies will be cast off; and when that time shall arrive, they may, with far more propriety than at present, discuss the principle and details of a Union, either Federal or Legislative.”
Hon. Mr. Whelan. I ask you, Mr. Chairman, to protect me in my position on the floor. I do not wish to hinder independent members from speaking, especially young members; and I am always willing to give to my friend, the junior member from prince County, a latitude which I would not be disposed to give to others. The extract from the speech he has read ought to be thoroughly impressed upon my mind, inasmuch as it has been called to it so frequently. It does not establish the proof of my inconsistency. I protest against it. That speech will show that I was not favorably disposed towards a Legislative Union at the time. A Federal Union is another question. In what light did I view it, or how was it viewed by other members of this House?—that we would still be subservient to the Colonial Office as we are now?—It is not that the experience I have gained—not that the intelligence communicated to me from other quarters—not that I am inspired by undue motives that cause an apparent change of sentiment on my part—but that I have a perfect right to exercise my judgment in reference to this and other matters. But even if I admit that there was a slight shade of inconsistency on my part, why should this be brought up as an argument against Confederation?
We know that a great change of opinion has taken place in all the other Colonies. Has it not been the case in Canada? And in New Brunswick, where the Government came in with a large majority, a little more than twelve months ago, has not a chance taken place there? In all the other Colonies public opinion has been undergoing a change in reference to this question. it has changed in the Nova Scotia Legislature, inasmuch as last winter Dr. Tupper could not venture to ask the House to pass a Resolution in favour of Confederation, and this year it has been carried by a majority of 31 to 19. Does not this show that there is a change in public sentiment?—That it is progressing with the progress of intelligence all over the Continent? Does it not show that public men have a right to exercise the privilege at times of correcting their ideas? I scorn the man—I say it without disrespect to any gentleman in this House or community—I scorn the man who says he is incapable of changing his mind on important public questions. I change mine from time to time, if it is in conformity with the progress of the age in which I live. And I do not think I bring any discredit upon myself by doing so.
This has been the character by which public men have been distinguished in Great Britain and all over the world. I would allude to one who has changed his opinion on this question. I mean the Hon. Mr. Howe of Nova Scotia. He was at one time decidedly in favor of a Confederation of all the British North American Colonies. Now he is not. The reason why. I shall not explain to you at present; but I believe that if he had been at the Quebec Conference he would have acted a very different part from what he has done.
Now, the hon. member from Cascumpec has referred to the speech of Mr. Gladstone wherein he says—
“We are told that Canada and New Brunswick are threatened with fire and slaughter from the revenge of the Fenians for the wrongs inflicted by England upon Ireland; and this I must say, that if the men of Canada and New Brunswick, who are wholly guiltless of these wrongs—be they what they may—who are not entangled in the controversy, who have no more to do with it than the people of the Sandwich Islands—if the Fenians, as they call themselves in America, are capable of the abominable wickedness of passing their frontier and of making their impotent miserable attempts, which they will be (cheers) to carry desolation over these peaceful districts and among those harmless colonists, then, I say, that so far from your treating the conduct of these men—let them be Americans or whom they like—with allowance or indulgence, no more execrable manifestations of folly or guilt have ever been made in the annals of the human race from the time that it commenced its existence upon the earth. (Cheers.) Men who are capable of such proceedings would at once by their insanity and their guilt place themselves entirely beyond the sympathy of the whole civilized world (Loud cheers”.)
What interpretation can the hon. member put upon these words? Is it that of Great Britain finds the Colonies in a position to help themselves, then the power of the British Government will be employed to supplement their resources for defence. Can any hon. member place any other interpretation on these words? Again, Mr. Gladstone says in the same speech:—
“I feel the fullest confidence that these men who inhabit the provinces of British North America, who have proceeded from our loins, and who are governed by principles in the mun our own, know well how to defend their homes, their wives, and children; and if, unhappily, the need arose, there is no resource possessed by this country that she would not fairly spend to assist them in their holy work. (Cheers”.)
What does that indicate? A feeling on the part of the British Government that the people of these Colonies will have to defend their own homes, and in the event of their failing to d so then Great Britain will withdraw her support. I will not address myself to the questions at present as to whether we should be influenced by the opinions of Statesmen in England or not. The hon. member from Cascumpec gave the opinion of the British Minister; but he did not give his words. I have given the words of Mr. Gladstone’s speech t show the connection in which they were used, and they plainly indicate that when the Colonies use their proper amount of influence to protect themselves, then the power of Great Britain would be used in their behalf. That was the opinion I set forth last year. It is borne out by the opinion of Mr. Gladstone, and also by Her Majesty’s Colonial Minister. I will read an extract from the Colonial Minister’s despatch, not only for the information of the hon. member from Cascumpec, but other members who may have forgotten it:—
“But there is one consideration which Her Majesty’s Government feel it more especially their duty to press upon the Legislature of Nova Scotia. Looking to the determination which this country has ever exhibited to regard the defence of the colonies as a matter of Imperial concern, the colonies must recognize a right and even acknowledge an obligation incumbent on the House Government to urge with earnestness and just authority the measure which they consider most expedient on the part of the colonists, with a view to their own defence. […]
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[…] “Nor can it be doubtful that the Provinces of British North America are incapable, when separate and divided from each other, of making those just and efficient preparations for national defence which would be easily undertaken by a Province uniting in itself all the population and the resources of the whole.”
Now, what lesson are we to take from these words? Is it not that the Colonies must accept the Imperial policy? Is it not that one Colony will not be allowed to stand int he way of the Imperial policy which will be found acceptable to the majority? Is it not clear that the whole question of Confederation, no matter what view we may take, depends on the action of the continental Provinces. I am sure that I am quite willing to stand up for our rights and privileges; but is it to be supposed that we will be allowed to be regarded by the British Government as obstructive to the Continental Provinces, if they choose to adopt a Scheme of Confederation? I think not. Others may think differently, and we may agree to differ. My opinion is that if Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Canada and Newfoundland, unite, Prince Edward Island may hold out for a short time, and seek for better terms; but it cannot hold out long. The Quebec Scheme is not before the Committee, and it is unfair to argue upon that Scheme. If it were before us then I might express my opinion upon it.
Hon. J. C. Pope: There is no other Scheme proposed.
Hon. Mr. Whelan: No, there is not plan at all; and the bare question is whether it is desirable that the Colonies should be confederated or not. I do not press it upon the people’s attention now, and when I was at Quebec I thought some of the details were such as the people would be dissatisfied with.
Hon. Mr. Thornton: What is your scheme?
Hon. Mr. Whelan: I propounded none. It was not my place to do so. I was there as a delegate, and though I objected to some of the details, yet I felt myself in that position that I could not refuse to accept it as a compromise. The delegates from all the Provinces had complaints to make about it; and who, pray, in his sense would suppose that a written Constitution could be framed that would be acceptable to all the people concerned in it? Could it be possible that a Constitution, affecting the rights of nearly four millions of people would be so framed that no fault could be found with it? When it came up that the Constitution was to be framed on the principles of representation by population, I had to yield to the majority.
Now, though perhaps I am trespassing in making these observations at this late hour. I would, before sitting down, ask the question of the hon. member from Murray Harbour (Mr. Duncan) whether he really believed what he said when he declared that this Resolution would give the Government authority to send a Delegation to England without the people being first consulted? But I believe he is not in his place. There is no mistaking the language of the Resolution; and no language could be more moderate. I believe it will be considered by a succeeding House that Confederation will be for the benefit of all the Colonies, and that it would be possible to frame a Constitution that would not involve the sacrifice of any material interests on the part of any Province. Can any body doubt for a moment that a plan might be devised which would not involve the sacrifice of the interests of Prince Edward Island? Are we to be for ever excluded from what the Continental Provinces consider a benefit? Well, I cannot congratulate these members who think we should remain forever in our present feeble, isolated position. It would render us contemptible to pass a Resolution to that effect. The amendment says:—”This House believes that a plan for Confederation might be so framed as to not involve the sacrifice of any material interests on the part of any Province.” Who is to deny that? The Hon. the Leader of the Government, in the course of his speech, made some reference to this paragraph, and said those who believed that Confederation would be a benefit to this Colony should use their influence in every way to press it upon the people. I do not think so.
I think it would be unwise to force public attention to anything in which the minds of the people have not been properly schooled. I think it would be better to leave it to take its course, and let the hand of time use its ameliorating influence in reference to this as well as every other question. I bow to the public opinion of this country in reference to all public questions. When I returned from Canada, in 1864, I called meetings and told my constituents the opinion I entertained, and which I will probably entertain as long as I love; but I told them that I would not seek to force it upon them. This is the proper course for a representative of the people to take I conceive that a spirited man, like the Hon. The Leader of the Government, may sometimes seek to control public opinion; but let him take this advice: the better way is to follow public opinion while he seeks to control it. The hon. member from Murray Harbor (Mr. Duncan ) alludes to the great sacrifice of having our rights and privileges destroyed, and it sounds strange from gentlemen who, up to 1851, were opposed to what they now term a “priceless Constitution.” It sounds strange, I say, that gentlemen should now value that Constitution so highly, whip, up that that time, had no faith in it.
Hon. J. C. Pope: That was before the commencement of my political career.
Hon. Mr. Whelan: I am speaking in reference to the party, and particularly in reference to the Hon. member from Murray Harbour; for I remember that no gentleman was more disposed than he to use his influence to oppose the introduction of Responsible Government. Does it not sound strange that a gentleman should have worked himself up to the consciousness of the “priceless blessing of our Constitution,” just at this particular hour, when a few years ago he was fighting against it most indignantly? But, as he is not in his place, I will not press my observations against him. In reference to the original Resolutions, if we put them upon record we place ourselves in the most extraordinary position that ever a Colony occupied. They say that Prince Edward Island will not have anything to do with Confederation—that we will not accept it on any terms—no matter how advantageous they might be to the people. The words of the Resolution cannot bear any other interpretation. I am not wedded to any particular scheme of Confederation, but to the principle. I will not occupy further the time of the Committee at this late hour, now close upon mid-night. I did not hear all the arguments used before this Committee to-day. but I can hear testimony to the good spirit and feeling which has characterized this debate; and if anything has been gained it has been by the moderation of those who have not pressed unduly upon the attention of this House.
The question was then put on the amendment, and the Committee divided:—
YEAS: Honorables E. Whelan, Sol. General, Col. Gray, D. Davies, Dr. Kaye, Messrs. Green and Maclennan—7
NAYS: Honorables J.C. Pope, J. Warburton, J Hensley, E. Maceachen, E. Thornton, F. Kelly, J Longworth, A. Laird, G. Coles, Messrs. Conroy, Howlan, Sinclair, Sutherland, Duncan, Howat, J. Yeo, D. Ramsay, F. St. C. Brecken, D. Montgomery, W. Haslam, and R. Walker—21
The question was then put on the original Resolutions, which were agreed to on a division the same as that above given—the Yeas for the amendment being taken as the Nays against the Resolutions, and the Nays against the amendment, as the Yeas for the Resolution.
Mr. Sinclair then rose in his place, and move the following Resolution, for the purpose, he said, of fortifying the Government with an opinion of the House against any attempts which might be made to induce them to appoint a Delegation to the projected London Convention for the final consideration of the Report of the Quebec Conference of 1864.
“RESOLVED, that inasmuch as there will be a General Election this summer, it is therefore inexpedient to appoint any further Delegation on the subject of Colonial Union or Confederation, or to take any action calculated to commit the people of this Colony to any Scheme of Union until authorized by the people and sanctioned by their Representatives returned at the said General Election.”
The Resolution was seconded by the Hon. Mr. Kelly, and then a short discussion ensued, in which it was argued on the Government side of the House, that the adoption of such a restrictive course would be tantamount to a direct expression of a want of confidence in the Government, and would, in fact, be an imposition of an unconstitutional restriction upon the Administration.
The hon. members who spoke in favor of it, were Mr. Sinclair, and the Hon. Mr. Coles; they who spoke against it, were the Hon. J. C. Pope, Hon. J. Longworth, and Hon. E. Whelan. The question having bee put thereon, it was negatived on the following division:
YEAS: Messrs. Sinclair, Conroy, Howlan, Walker, Sutherland, Howat; Hons. F. Kelly, J. Hensley, G. Coles, J. Warburton, E. Thornton, A. Laird,—12.
NAYS: Hons. E. Whelan, Sol. General, D. Kaye, E. Maceachen, D. Davies, J. Longworth, J.C. Pope, J. H. Gray; Messrs. Green, D. Duncan, Maclennan, J. Yeo, Brecken, Montgomery, Haslain, Ramsay,—16.