Province of Canada, Legislative Assembly (Union of Upper and Lower Canada), 5th Parl, 1st Sess (18-19 October 1854)
Date: 1854-10-18 – 1854-10-19
By: Province of Canada (Parliament), The Globe
Citation: The Globe (26 October 1854).
[illegible] annual meeting of [illegible] No. 86,—of Bir[illegible] of Percy Division, [illegible] the Sons of Temperance[illegible] and elders of the Synod [illegible] Church of Canada,—of C. B. of the township of Pembroke, [illegible] and others, of the township of [illegible] Union Daughters of Temperance, [illegible] Canada West, and others,—of [illegible] and others, of the township [illegible] of John Frank and others, of the [illegible] of Caledon,—of John Richardson and of the township of Caledon,—of Henry [illegible] and others, of the village of Burritt’s [illegible] and vicinity,—of Thomas Maley and [illegible], of the village of Kemptville,—of Sarah Doyle and others, of the township of Oxford,—of John H. Holden and others, of the township of Wolford, North Riding of Leeds and Grenville,—of Joseph Adair and others, of the Gore of Downie, county of Perth,—and of the Municipality of Shefford, praying for the passing of a Prohibitory Liquor Law.
Of the ministers and elders of the Synod of the Presbyterian Church of Canada, praying for the speedy and complete secularization of the Clergy Reserves—by Mr. Brown.
Of the ministers and elders of the Synod of the Presbyterian Church of Canada, praying for the repeal of so much of the Act 10 and 11 Vic., cap. 14, as makes it a misdemeanor for persons authorized by law to baptize, marry, or perform the funeral service, to neglect making a return thereof—by Mr. Brown.
Of the ministers and elders of the Synod of the Presbyterian Church of Canada, praying the adoption of measures for the abolition of all labor on the Lord’s day, in the postal and other departments of the public service—by Mr. Brown.
Hon. Mr. Chauveau presented return to an address of the 29th ultimo, for an account of the sums received and expended by the commissioners of the Toronto harbor, from 1st January, 1853, to 30th September last.
HAMILTON AND TORONTO RAILWAY.
Mr. CHISHOLM, in moving for certain returns relative to the affairs of the Hamilton and Toronto Railway Company, and that the company which was shortly to come to the House for an increase to their charter, had no right to do so—that the whole affair was a fraud, and that legally there were no directors in existence.
Mr. MORRISON (Niagara) as one of the directors of the company, said that the charges brought by the hon. member for Halton, were entirely without foundation. The company had advanced far towards the completion of the road, without receiving a farthing of public money.
Mr. MACDONALD (Kingston), having stated that some of the returns asked for, were such as the company were not required to lay before the House,
Mr. CHISHOLM consented to postpone his motion till to-morrow.
INCORPORATION OF MASSON COLLEGE.
On the question of concurrence being put on amendment of committee of the whole to Mr. Prevost’s Bill to incorporate Masson College,
Mr. BROWN said that this was the Bill which was before the House the night before last for the Incorporation of a College in the parish of St. Louis de Terrebonne. It recited that a school had been carried on in that locality under the auspices of the Roman Catholic hierarchy, and went on to enact that certain parties should he incorporated, by some provisions not at all complete, and giving very little information as to the future objects of the Institution. If the honorable gentleman who had charge of the Bill would consent to its being referred to a Special Committee; perhaps it might be so altered as to be made acceptable to the house. In the first place, there was no clause which fixed the future objects of the institution, although the charters of all similar institutions distinctly confined them to educations, and prescribed the branches to be taught. The Bill further stated that the body corporate should consist of the Cure of the parish, the first church warden, and the superior, director, and procurator of the said college for the time being, but it did not say who these parties were, how they were to be appointed, and no provision was made as to their being removed or the appointment of their successors. It might be said that those parties would make bye-laws for the future regulation of the college, but it was surely necessary that they should first be appointed themselves, and if they were to be appointed by the operation of the Bill, surely the House might know who they were appointing. The conclusion naturally drawn was that the college was to be entirely ecclesiastical, and that the Roman Catholic Bishop would settle all that the Legislature left unsettled. If this was not so, then let the Bill be sent to committee, and the names of the parties declared in it. Another objection to the Bill was that it made no provision for securing returns to the legislature in regard to the affairs of the institution. This provision was originally in the Bill, but it had been strangely enough struck out, and a clause inserted that such return should only be made when specially required by the Executive. The general principle applying to all such Bills was this: They had in Upper and Lower Canada a national educational system, and he thought the government should foster it as much as possible, and encourage as little as possible seminaries of a sectarian character. (Hear, hear.) It might be said that they were obliged to incorporate sectarian institutions, because otherwise property could not be transferred from one set of trustees to another. If there was any defect in the law of Trusteeship, he would say let it be amended, but they should not go further. The great object ought to be to provide a national educational system of a free and liberal character; and allow all sects to give such further education as they thought proper. It was alleged that this was a mere private institution, with the internal management of which the Legislature had no right to interfere; but how did this consist with the fact that in the public accounts of last year he found £550 given out of the public exchequer to that institution, and a similar sum in 1852? (Hear, hear.) Again, the Bill did not compel the body corporate to apply the whole of the assets of the institution to the purposes of the corporation; its provisions were left quite loose in that respect. There was another great objection to the Bill; one which applied to all these corporations, namely, that it gave the power of acquiring real estate to the amount of £1,000 a year, and without any practical check even on that limit. He was strongly opposed to the Legislature’s constantly granting these powers to such bodies to hold real estate, and keep it back from improvement and he did hope that the present House would not legislate in the reckless fashion of the last, at the dictation of priestly influence. The measure being so defective, as he had pointed out, he hoped the honorable member who had charge of it would consent to its being referred to a Special Committee, but if not, he would move “That the question of concurrence be not now put, but that the said Bill be referred to a Special Committee of five members, with power to amend the same by declaring distinctly in the Bill the objects of the institution—the parties eligible to manage its affairs, and the mode of their election; also, to provide that full returns of the condition and proceedings of the corporation be made annually to the Legislature; and that the institution may hold necessary personal property, and such real estate as may be required for the actual use and occupation of the corporation, but shall not hold real estate for endowment.”
Seconded by Mr. Hartman.
Mr. DORION (Montreal) thought the object of the Bill was perfectly clear. Its whole tenor showed that the parties were to be incorporated for the purposes of education. The College was already existing and organized, and all they wanted was power to hold and transmit property. It was objected to the Bill that this House should not encourage sectarian education. That was an objection which might have some weight if the Government were asked to give a grant of money to this institution, but the fact was that the College had existed for a long time on money given to it by private individuals, and he could not see what objection there was to people of a particular sect giving their money to promote what education they pleased. In regard to the objection that they were not bound to appropriate their assets to the purposes of the institution, he did not think that that was at all necessary, it being perfectly clear that they could not do otherwise. Another objection made by the honourable member for Lambton was, that there was no provision for making returns to Parliament as to the affairs of the Corporation. This provision had been struck out on the ground that the furnishing such returns would just be encumbering the tables of this House with useless statements which no one would ever look into.
Mr. DEWITT said it was a source of great regret to all who wished will to the country that education was in such a backward state, and he thought the Legislature should encourage every effort to promote it. He should therefore support the Bill.
Mr. MORIN said he supposed the honourable member for Lambton intended to take the same course as he did last session, and pursue the same system of abuse towards the great majority of the people of Lower Canada, because they happened to be Catholic, always attacking these institutions as having for their object the favouring of the Catholic religion more than any other religion. The hon. member for Lambton had been a considerable time in the House, and [illegible] might now know pretty well that such a system [illegible] did not take, not even in Upper Canada [illegible] Cartier) was clad to see the result of the [illegible] in Upper Canada, that, after all that [illegible] had said against the Roman [illegible] Canada, he had not received [illegible] in Upper Canada. He [illegible] the good sense of the [illegible] Province, in their [illegible] to this House who [illegible] for Lambton in [illegible] was Catholic. [illegible] to [illegible] urged [illegible] on [illegible] if the question was [illegible] would receive an annual [illegible] on education of a sectarian [illegible] his vote would never go for this bill.—[illegible] this not being the case, it was not for him to enquire whether the course of instruction was sectarian or not. If education was given in institutions supported by the private charity of individuals, it was not for him to enforce rules and regulations to suit his own views, whether the parties should be Jews, Protestants, or Christians (laughter). The benevolent lady who had founded the Institution might order such prayers as she pleased, and the priests might sing psalms all day, as long as this House was not called upon to support them. There was a motion, however, which he understood would be made by the member for North York (Mr. Hartman) which should have his support, a motion namely, to restrain this or any other Institution from acquiring more land than was required for its actual occupation. There were the public funds of the Province in which all such Institutions should be satisfied to invest their money.
Mr. HINCKS could not but congratulate the House and the country on the course which had been taken by honourable gentlemen on the other side. Notwithstanding all the ingenuity displayed by the honourable and learned member for Glengarry to define his position, this was precisely one of those ecclesiastical corporations about which the whole upper section of the country had been ringing for the last two or three years. [Hear, hear, from Mr. Brown]. Opposition to ecclesiastical corporations was the political capital on which honourable gentlemen had been trading and this was one of those ecclesiastical corporations for which he [Mr. Hincks] and all who had supported them had been denounced from one end of the country to the other. (Mr. Brown—“certainly.”) He said this for the special benefit of the honourable member for Glengarry, the leader of the section who had traded on that political capital. But he also congratulated the country on the speech of the honourable member for Lambton, for he thought there was a great improvement in his views. It now appeared that the only question with that honourable member about ecclesiastical corporations was that they should not hold lands.
Mr. BROWN.—I stated distinctly that I objected to the whole thing, if it was an ecclesiastical corporation, and the object of my motion is to declare on its face, whether it is one or not, so that we may vote upon it at a future stage with a full understanding.
Mr. HINCKS said the misfortune was that the honourable member for Lambton and the members of this House generally could not agree as to what an ecclesiastical corporation was. When he (Mr. Hincks) agreed to incorporate some benevolent ladies down on the Saguenay for the purpose of establishing an Hospital he did not think he was establishing an ecclesiastical corporation, but he knew that thousands and thousands of people in Upper Canada believed that it was an ecclesiastical corporation, for the honourable member for Lambton had a number of people who believed all he said, and adopted all his views. But he [Mr. Hincks] had never changed his course in regard to those Institutions, and if other honourable members from Upper Canada would state to their constituents their grounds for acting, they would be supported in the way that he had been by the electors of Oxford. As to the question of holding land, he thought they should bear in mind the circumstances of the country in which they lived. They were living in a new country where there was a vast amount of land, and they should not prevent these corporations from holding that kind of property which they were most likely to obtain. When a man was owner of a considerable quantity of wild land, and disposed to support an Institution of this sort, he might not find it convenient to give £50 or £100, and would much rather give a lot of land.
Mr. Brown.—Let them sell the land.
Mr. HINCKS.—That might not be so easy in all cases. With regard to the speech of the hon. and learned member of Glengary, who had taken such pains to draw a distinction between his own views and those of the hon. member for Lambton, he begged members to mark the course taken on this Bill, and it would be seen that the member for Glengary and the member for Lambton would be found voting together against the Bill. The hon. and learned member’s speech was one of those which were sometimes characterized as Bunkum speeches. Mr. H. then proceeded to allude to the programme of a new administration to be formed by gentlemen on the other side, which he said had been handed about at the beginning of the Session. The discussion of this evening, he said, was an illustration of the fact that the Upper Canada section of that party and the Lower Canada section of it did not hold views altogether in common. If they had succeeded in forming a Government, it would have been found that there were some little difficulties in the way, and that all was not so smooth sailing in the way, and that all was not so smooth sailing as they had expected. The hon. member for Glengary’s speech was intended to induce the hon. member for Montreal and his friends to believe that he did not entertain the views of the hon. member for Lambton, (hear, hear from Mr. Brown,) but it would be seen when the third reading of the Bill came up that the hon. members for Glengary and Lambton and North York, and Waterloo and West Middlesex and Cornwall, would be all found together voting against it. The hon. member for Glengary made an exceedingly liberal speech in reference to the Bill, but after all was over there was some little exception behind, about an objection to property going into mortmain. There was something on the other hand that he liked about the proceedings of the hon. member for Lambton. He at all events was always straightforward in the course he took in regard to all those Bills. He was beginning to be apprehensive that he was backing out, and that he was to take the course of the hon. Member for Glengary, but he saw now that he was going just as he had always done before.
Mr. MACDONALD (Glengary) denied the justice of the imputations of the hon. member for Renfrew. He had distinctly stated in his speech that he would not vote for this Bill or any other Bill that had a mortmain clause in it, and he had said most distinctly that he was to vote for the amendment of the hon. member for North York, (Mr. Hartman.)
Mr. CAUCHON said the hon. member for Lambton was well know to be an extraordinary enemy of what he called Ecclesiastical Corporations, a word which he [Mr. Cauchon] did not think had any meaning at all. The hon. member was a great champion of religion. The whole of his politics had been religion and he must surely therefore be very devout. In other politics the hon. member had always been a Conservative, a greater Conservative than the hon. and gallant member for Hamilton, or he [Mr. Cauchon] did not know what the meaning of Conservatism was. The hon. member for Lambton was not a Radical at all except in religion. He had done a great deal of harm in the House and out of the House, but he [Mr. C.] was glad to find that he had not this session brought down with him from Upper Canada such an immense tail of followers to support his ideas as might have been expected. Still he did a great deal of harm in forcing some members from Upper Canada, who were afraid of their constituents, to vote in a way that they would not otherwise do. If he forced these to do what they did not consider rational, the sooner they could escape from him the better. The member for Lambton had attempted to raise himself to be the leader of a strong party by taking advantage of the strong religious feeling in Upper Canada. That feeling had by unfortunate circumstances been raised to a great pitch, but the greater part of the responsibility lay on the shoulders of the hon. member. Nothing but evil could result from the course he had pursued. Some of the members who would be forced to vote with him would go into the lobby, and say—“how could we help ourselves? We would like to leave the hon. member for Lambton alone, but our constituents have strong religious feelings against these corporations, and would like to sweep away everything that is not of their own religious creed. We cannot help ourselves.” The measure, however, he had no doubt would be carried by a large majority, and the people of Lower Canada would not be out down by men actuated by such feelings as those which actuated the hon. member for Lambton. They had no desire to multiply corporations to a dangerous extent, but when their powers were limited, and when the object was so pure and benevolent as was the case in the present instance, he had no doubt that a large majority of the House would support the measure.
Mr. FERRES said that in the present age of the world, any man who rose up to condemn efforts for the education of the people would hardly be listened to. It would ill become him, therefore, to offer any objections to charitable individuals bestowing their means for purposes of education; and he must say that he rejoiced to see the liberality with which the Roman Catholic population of this country had come forward on many occasions to support collegiate institutions. But, if Parliament was applied to, to incorporate such institutions, they should at least take care that they knew something of the parties, and of their objects. The honorable member for Glengary was perhaps a little quicker sighted than he was, when he discovered that the objects of the institution which it was now proposed to incorporate, were sufficiently indicated in the Bill. The Bill said that those objects were laudable, but when they were it did not specify. They were asked to incorporate the Superior, Director, Procurator, &c., of the college. He wanted to know who these parties were, and their functions and duties should be clearly stated in the Bill. It was not enough that the mover of it should give the explanations in this House. Every man in the country had a right to enquire of the Statute itself who these parties were whom it incorporated. He was glad to hear the member for Montmorency say that institutions of this king should not be incorporated to a dangerous extent, but he would like to know what he meant by a dangerous extent. By a Parliamentary Report he found that the revenue of all those institutions incorporated since the union, amounted to £86,000 a year, at the date of that Report; and since then others had been added, with a further revenue of £8,400 a year—making a total of £94,400 that these institutions are entitled to draw yearly from the soils of this country, representing a capital of no less than £1,574,000. He would like to know how much further they were to go in in the same course, before they reached the limits of danger. Before the union, according to a rough calculation he had made a good many years ago, there were 1,500,000 acres of land in the country locked up in Mortmain; and since the union they had added as many acres as £1,574,000 would purchase. He thought it was at least time to pause. If they were not already in danger, they should take time to reflect lest they should get into danger. (Hear, hear.) If these accumulations of land in Mortmain continued to increase as they had done for the last fifteen years, ere long there would be a violent revolution of sentiment, and the people would rise against them and sweep [illegible] away, as had been done in several countries in Europe. It was to prevent such violent convulsions, that he urged that the evil should be checked now. Some of the corporations had an unlimited power to hold property. Whenever the Pope of Rome appointed a Bishop to Canada, that Bishop became a corporation sole by the statue law of the Province, and could hold property to any amount. Was there no danger to the liberties of the country in that unlimited power being given to foreigners, appointed by a foreign ruler, to hold land to any amount in this country? It had been said that the Legislature had no concern with the management of this college, because it was a private institution. He found, however, that in 1852 a grant of £550 was given to it from the public funds; and that last year a further grant was made to it, also of £550. And yet, forsooth, he was told that he had no right to say anything about this institution, because it was established by private funds, when, even before the buildings had been completed, the Province had made a grant to it of £1,100. After granting such a sum as that, the House was surely entitled to know something of the objects and management of the institution. He for one could not consent to vote for a measure which he did not understand, and of which he did not see the aim and the object. (Hear, hear.)
Mr. FOLEY stated that he would vote for the Bill, and vindicated his motives for doing so. He should vote for it because he could not believe it to be wrong to legalize that when he conceived to be right in itself. He could not see that it was intended to establish an ecclesiastical corporation. It was stated in the preamble that the Institution furnished a commercial, agricultural, and industrial education. He had yet to learn that that comprehended an ecclesiastical education. He did not say what he would do if a Bill was to come before the House to establish an ecclesiastical corporation. He would just vote on it according to its merits. He would give the Roman Catholics the same rights as he asked for those of his own creed. But this Bill asked for no religious rights, or the recognition of any religious distinctions. Although representing therefore one of the most Radical constituencies in Upper Canada, he had no hesitation in saying that he should vote for the Bill.
Mr. DORION of Montreal explained the reasons why certain provisions of the Bill had been struck out, which, had they been allowed to remain would have obviated many of the objections taken to it. In order to meet the views of all sections of the House, if the hon. member for Lambton would withdraw his motion, he would move the following amendment:—
“That the Bill be forthwith re-committed to a Committee of the whole House, with a view to amend the same, by declaring in the Bill that “the rents, issues, and profits of all property, real or personal, held by the said Corporation, shall be appropriated and applied solely to the construction and repair of the buildings requisite for the purposes of the said Corporation, and to the advancement of education by the instruction of youth, and the payments of the expenses to be incurred for objects legitimately connected with or depending on the purposes aforesaid,” and also by adding the word “annual” between the word “the: and the word “sum” in the first clause of the said bill.”
Mr. BROWN was willing to withdraw his motion in favour of Mr. Dorion’s amendment, as the hon. gentleman’s proposal was a gain of so much, and it was quite clear his own further proposition would not carry. The hon. member for York would propose, however, an addition to Mr. Dorion’s motion, which he trusted the house would adopt.
Mr. HARTMAN wished another instruction to the Committee to be added and after a few remarks moved in amendment to Mr. Dorion’s amendment,
That the following words be added thereto: “With the further instruction to amend the same, by leaving out from the first section the words,
“That the revenue arising from any lands and tenements situate in this Province, other than the land on which the buildings of the said College are erected and its dependencies, shall not exceed the sum of one thousand pounds currency,” and inserting instead thereof the words “that the said Corporation shall not have power to acquire or hold any real estate, except such as may be necessary for the actual use and occupancy of the said College.”
Mr. BROWN spoke in favour of Mr. Hartman’s amendment. It was now proposed, he said, to secularize the Clergy Reserves, but what was the use of pretending to secularize these things with the one hand, while they built them up with the other in an infinitely more dangerous manner. If they went on in the same way for a few years longer, they would find, as had been the case in all Roman Catholic countries in Europe, that a violent movement would be made, and the whole abuse be swept away at the demand of public opinion. He would like rather to see a stop put to such things in a rational manner.
Mr. LANGTON also supported the amendment. He was not disposed to join in the cry against Ecclesiastical Corporations, but at the same time he saw no necessity why their funds should be derived from land.
Mr. MACDONALD of Glengary repeated the objections he entertained to allowing these lands to be locked up in mortmain, and vindicated the course he intended to take in regard to the Bill now before the House.
Mr. SMITH (Northumberland) also spoke in favour of the principle of Mr. Hartman’s amendment. He would vote on the question quite independently of all considerations whether the institution was a Protestant or Roman Catholic one.
Mr. DRUMMOND opposed the amendment, and contended that what was called mortmain in this country was very different from what was said to have occasioned revolutions in Europe. The only revolution that would be occasioned by locking up lands in mortman for the benefit of these institutions in Canada, would be a revolution that would raise the ignorant to a state of education, and so elevate the people instead of depressing them. He regretted that the general measure for regulating all these Corporations was not passed last Session, but he trusted that no long time would elapse before such a measure was introduced and carried, so that incorporations might be made without rendering necessary an application to parliament in each instance.
Mr. Hartman’s amendment was lost on a division of 32 to 68.
YEAS—Messieurs. Aikins, Bell, Biggar, Brown, Chisholm, Daoust of Beauharnois, DeWitt, Dorion of Drummond, Dorion of Montreal, Fergusson, Ferres, Ferrie, Frazer, Freeman, Galt, Gould, Hartman, Holton, Langton, Lumsden, Macdonald of Glengary, McKerlie, Matheson, Mattice, Munro, Murney, Papin, Scatcherd, Smith, of Northumberland West, Somerville, Wright and Young.—32.
NAYS:—Messieurs. Alleyn, Bellingham, Blanchet, Bourassa, Bowes, Bureau, Casault, Cauchon, Cayley, Chabot, Chapais, Church, Clarke, Cooke, Crawford, Daly, Daoust of Two Mountains, Darche, Desaulniers, Dionne, Dostaler, Attorney General Drummond, Dufresne, Foley, Fortier, Fournier, Gill, Guevremont, Hincks, Huot, Jackson, Jobin, Labelle, Laberge, Laporte, Larwill, Le Boutillier, Lemieux, Macbeth, Attorney General Macdonald, McDonald of Cornwall, MacNab, McCann, Marchildon, Meagher, Mongenais, Morin, Morrison of Niagara, Morrison of Simcoe North, Patrick, Polette, Poulin, Pouliot, Powell, Prevost, Rankin, Rhodes, Roblin, Solicitor General Ross, Sanborn, Shaw, Solicitor General Smith, Southwick, Stevenson, Tache, Terrill, Thibaudeau and Valois.—68.
Mr. Dorion’s amendment was then agreed to.
The House accordingly again went into Committee on the Bill, and made the specified amendments thereto, which were reported. The whole of the amendments made to the Bill were then agreed to; and the Bill ordered to be read the third time to-morrow.
The House then adjourned.
THURSDAY, 19th October, 1854.
Mr. SPEAKER acquainted the House that the Clerk had received from the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery, a certificate of the re-election of the Hon. Mr. Spence for the North Riding of the County of Wentworth.
Mr. SPEAKER laid before the House, Accounts and Statements of the Grand Trunk Railway Company of Canada,—Statement of affairs of the Hamilton and Toronto Railway Company,—Statements of the affairs of the Bank of Montreal, City Bank, and Bank of Upper Canada,—and Returns from the Registrars of the Counties of Prescott and Waterloo.
Mr. POLETTE, from the Standing Committee on Private Bills, reported on the Bill to increase the Capital Stock of the Niagara Falls Suspension Bridge Company; and the Bill was committed for to-morrow.
Mr. GALT moved, that all motions for printing petitions or other documents for which a special motion is requisite, shall be submitted to the Committee on Printing, before action be taken on the same,—and the same was negatived upon a division.
REPORTING THE DEBATES.
Mr. POULIOT moved the appointment of a Committee of seven members to enquire and report as to the best means of obtaining and publishing a correct and impartial report of the Debates of this House.
Mr. DeWITT thought that, if all that passed in the House was correctly reported, it would not be much to their credit. (Laughter.)
Mr. PAPIN replied that, if regular reporters were appointed, members would be more careful as to what they said.
After some remarks from Sir Allan MACNAB and Mr. BROWN, the motion was agreed to. The committee to consist of Messrs. Hincks, Morin, Brown, Ferres, Cauchon, Papin, and Pouliot.
THE CHARGES AGAINST THE LATE ADMINISTRATION.
A message was received from the Legislative Council, for leave to Mr. Rhodes to attend and give evidence before the Select Committee of that House appointed to enquire into the accusations made against the members of the late Administration.
ARBITRATION AND CONCILIATION COURTS.
Mr. SMITH [Northumberland] moved the appointment of a Special committee of seven members to consider the propriety of amending the Laws of Upper Canada, so as to enforce Arbitration upon Litigants; with power to report by Bill or otherwise. The honorable member said he was disposed to apply the principle not only to matters of £100, but to all amounts. He thought that, if Arbitration was enforced, the expense and delay of getting decisions would be much lessened, while at the same time the legal profession would be freed from a great deal of suspicion to which it was now open.
Mr. MACDONALD (Kingston) having said that the proper course for the honorable member was to introduce a Bill, which, with several other motions on the same subject, might be remitted to a Special Committee to take the matter into consideration.
Mr. SMITH consented to withdraw his motion.
Mr. DUFRESNE then moved the appointment of a committee of seven members to enquire whether it would not be proper to pass a law for the establishment of Courts of Conciliation in this province, and if so, to draw up a Bill for that object, either for the whole province, or for either of the sections thereof, or for each one separately.
Mr. DRUMMOND said that these Courts of Conciliation had been tried in other countries and had failed wherever they had been tried. Being just prior to the introduction of a general system of Judicature, he thought it would be well to postpone this proposal. So soon as the Municipal Bill was passed, it was the intention of the Government to introduce a Bill for the re-organization of our judicial system, and then would be the time for the honorable gentleman to come in with his proposal for the establishment of Conciliation Courts.
Mr. MACKENZIE denied that the system had failed in other countries. The facts were the very reverse. He was not surprised, however, at the lawyers being opposed to the system. It was against their trade. The moment it was proposed to give the Clergy Reserves to education or anything else, although Lower Canada was a great distance away, they had the whole nine bishops immediately instructing the honorable Commissioner of Crown Lands, and perhaps this had something to do with that honorable gentleman’s losing his election for Terrebonne.
Sol. Gen. SMITH.—What has the Secularization of the Reserves and the nine bishops to do with these Conciliation Courts?
Mr. MACKENZIE said he was simply drawing an analogy. In the same way as the clergy got up in arms at any proposal that was to take away the grist from their mill, so it was with the lawyers.
Mr. DUFRESNE spoke, first in French and then in English, in support of his motion. He said he had seen people in his own part of the country, going to law about a trifle of a few bottles of syrup, and before they got the matter settled, the expenses came to some £25 or £30. If there were conciliation courts in existence, going to law about such trifles would be prevented.
After some further discussion, the motion was agreed to.
REGISTRATION OF BIRTHS, &c.
Mr. CHURCH introduced a bill to provide for the registration of Births, Marriages, and Burials in Upper Canada, and for other purposes therein mentioned; second reading this day week.
UNION OF UPPER AND LOWER CANADA.
Mr. MARCHILDON, amidst the laughter of the house, moved a resolution to the effect that the Act of Union between Upper and Lower Canada was unjust and ought to be repealed. The hon. member contended that the union was unjust, because Lower Canada had nor been consulted about it, because it was free from debt at the time of the union, and because its constitution had been made worse than before by the management of public affairs since that period.
Mr. MACKENZIE said he had laboured for 18 months in London to prevent a union. He had always been opposed to the measure, and he was opposed to it still, but experiments of that sort when once made should have a fair trial. He considered that the union had been injurious to the people of Upper Canada, by saddling them with the expenses of the Grand Trunk Railway which was mainly designed to benefit Montreal. It was now, however, so strongly cemented, that he was afraid it could not be dissolved, the cement being an enormous debt that would embarrass the Province, it was impossible to tell for how many years to come. He supposed it amounted to forty or fifty million dollars, as much as the whole debt of the United States. The government of the United Provinces was just one miserable clique succeeded by another miserable clique, squandering away as much of the public funds as they could. The same had been the case prior to 1837, and just as it had been in 1837, so it would be now, with this exception, that if there were to be any quarrels, he was too old to engage in them now. A burnt child dreaded the fire. [Hear, hear, and laughter.]
Mr. MARCHILDON, with the consent of the house, withdrew his motion.
THE EXERCISE OF GOVERNMENT PATRONAGE.
Mr. MACKENZIE then moved a resolution “that the present mode of carrying into effect the Laws, Rules, or usages under which Justices of the Peace are selected and appointed in Upper Canada by the Executive Government, affords in some Counties just ground for dissatisfaction and complaint.” The hon. member said he would not go into the question whether Justices of the Peace should be elected by the people. But he insisted that this, one of the most important bodies in the country, should be fairly and properly chosen. Instead of this the issuing of Commissions of the Peace was always ruled by partisan considerations, and to influence elections. In his own county, although he had urged the matter in every way he could, he had been unable to get magistrates appointed, simply on account of his opposition to the late and present Governments. In Cayuga, the county town of Haldimand, there was not a single magistrate, and in the township of Canboro the case was just the same.
Sir ALLAN MCNAB said he had no doubt that the late administration had carefully considered the list published by the hon. member for Haldimand, but he put it to the House whether it would be safe to appoint a bench of magistrates on the simple recommendation of that hon. gentleman. He inferred from the statement of the hon. member, that there was a scarcity of magistrates in Haldimand, but no application on the subject had yet been made to the present Government. When that application was made, a sufficient number would be supplied. He was not surprised to hear the hon. member for Haldimand bringing charges of partisanship and partiality in regard to the appointment of Justices of the peace, no one else complained but the hon. gentleman. That hon. member was continually assailing every one else, and talked as if he were the only honest man in the House, and all others knaves.
Mr. BROWN was astonished that the hon and gallant knight should speak as if complaints in regard to appointments to the magistracy only proceeded from the member for Haldimand. During the ten or eleven years that he (Mr. Brown) had attended the parliamentary proceedings, not a session had gone past without members getting up and denouncing the system of appointing Justices of the Peace; and over and over again he had heard it charged against the Government, that men were appointed who could not even write their own names. [Hear, hear.] Whether the hon member for Haldimand had pursued the proper course, in bringing this motion before the House, he was not prepared to say; but of this he was quite sure, that the hon member was doing good service to the country in bringing this matter up at the commencement of a new Parliament, and when a new administration had just gone into office; as it was in the highest degree desirable that some change should be made. If the system was not soon improved, the result would be that they would have elective magistrates without loss of time. [Hear, hear.] In the county which he (Mr. Brown) had the honor to represent, the whole object of the Government had been to make political capital out of the appointment of magistrates. [A Voice:—It is a job all over!] Yes; I dare say the same thing has been elsewhere—it is a job all over. [Hear, hear.] In the great majority of cases, in the appointment of magistrates throughout the country, the only thing looked to was, the best mode of extracting from it political influences. A palpable evidence of it had that moment been put in his hand. The Government had just appointed a long list of commissioners for the Paris Exhibition of 1855, and if there ever was a commission, in the filling up of which politics should be forgotten, surely it was this. But what did he find? Why, that in that list there were only some six members of the opposition, to about fifty supporters of the Government. [Hear, hear.] In Lambton, as was known to the members of the House, he (Mr. Brown) was opposed at the last election by a member of the Government. In the previous election of 1851, that hon. gentleman induced one of his (Mr. Brown’s) requisitionists to go over to Mr. Rankin by the promise of an office—the census commissionership—and he did his work, and other similar work, so satisfactorily, that he first got the commissionership, and after, the registrarship of the county, in payment of his services. Mr. Cameron supposed that it would strengthen the hands of the Government to issue a new Commission of the Peace, so he wrote a letter to the party he had alluded to for the names of “reliables,” and that individual went round the country showing the letter to a number of individuals, with the view of having them understand how they might rise to the eminence of J. P. if they placed themselves in favourable relations to the Hon. Malcolm Cameron. The men of Lambton were not to be influence by such a temptation; but it was undoubtedly true that a commission for the county was issued last fall under the auspices he had mentioned, and utterly unknown to him (Mr. B.) as member for the county. [Hear, hear.] But that was not all. Just after the short meeting of Parliament in June—after the defeat of Government—an hon member said to him (Mr. B.) “I would advise you to look after your county. They are about to issue a commission in order to defeat your election.” He went accordingly to the Secretary’s Office, and found that, after the House of Assembly had declared that they had no confidence in the ministry, that ministry had created a whole batch of new Justices of the Peace for the county of Kent in order to aid his (Mr. Brown’s) defeat, and the return of the late Postmaster General. There cannot be a doubt that the effect of this movement was felt on the elections of both Kent and Lambton. Did the hon and gallant knight, the member for Hamilton, think that that was a right exercise of the prerogative of the crown? (Hear, hear.) Did not the hon gentleman know that for years this had been the system pursued? And the same system had been carried out in other departments. A gentleman who was written to and refused to give his support to Mr. Malcolm Cameron, was ousted from the Post Office which he held, and Mr. Cameron went round offering it to some five or six individuals in the very hear of the election contest, and for a very obvious purpose. And when the election was over, one of the aspirants was appointed, who, if he could read, at all events could not write his own name. [Loud cries of “hear, hear.”]
Mr. DRUMMOND.—I deny those statements. I value too highly the character of my friend, the late Postmaster General, to allow them to be passed over in silence, and I call upon the hon. member to give me now the names of the parties to whom he has referred, as being offered a post-office on condition of supporting Mr. Cameron.
Mr. BROWN.—If the Hon. Attorney General desires it, I can give him, on very short notice, the names of four persons who, while the election was going on, were severally offered the Postmastership of the township of Brooke.
Mr. DRUMMOND (with his pen in his hand).—I consider it due to the character of the late Postmaster General to demand that these names shall be stated now.
Mr. BROWN.—He will get the names soon enough. I cannot at this moment, on mere recollection, and not expecting that this matter would have come up, mention them all, but if the hon. gentleman will go to his own bureau or to that of the Provincial Secretary, I have no doubt he will find the complaint of Mr. McGregor, the postmaster who was turned out of the post-office of Brooke, in order that room might be found for these parties.
Mr. DRUMMOND.—I cannot submit to hear the character of a gentleman, for whom I entertain the highest respect, assailed in this manner, and I demand of the hon. member the names of these six or these four.
Mr. HINCKS.—T he hon. member has mentioned the name of the postmaster who was turned out. I recollect seeing the case in the newspapers, but on enquiring into it, I found that every allegation was utterly false/ (Hear, hear, from the ministerial benches.)
Mr. BROWN.—The hon. member for Renfrew says the allegations are false. I will take the earliest opportunity of moving for a Committee of enquiry, and will prove them to be true. (Hear, hear.) The Hon. Attorney General will not have long to wait for the names. I will repeat some of them now. The case was this: Mr. McGregor had been postmaster of Brooke for two years, and no complaint, as far as I know, had ever been made of the manner in which he discharged the duties of the office. While the late election was going on, Mr. MacGregor was asked for his support by Mr. Cameron. He told Mr. Cameron that he could not support him, but on the contrary canvassed somewhat for me. The Postmaster General thereupon took it upon himself, while the election was still proceeding, to take away the post-office from Mr. McGregor, and to set up two in place of it, one a little to the north of Mr. McGregor, offered to Mr. Brown, and the other to Mr. Watson, and at least two other persons; one of these two is a miller, east of Mr. Watson, whose name I cannot at this moment recall,—
Mr. DRUMMOND—Who was the fourth?
Mr. BROWN desired the hon Attorney General to remember that he was now in Parliament, and not acting as examining counsel within the bar of a law court. The fourth was a gentleman residing near Mr Watson—Mr Shirley he thought—and he did not doubt being able hereafter to supply the names of the whole six, who were spoken of as Mr McGregor’s successors. But had there been only one named, was it not a most outrageous thing for a member of the Administration to use his influence to secure his own election by depriving one postmaster of his office, and putting another in his place? (Hear, hear.)
Mr DRUMMOND—This is not a Government question at all. It is a matter affecting the character of a friend for who I entertain the highest regard. My only object is calling for proof is to vindicate, not the Government, but the character of my friend.
Mr. BROWN said the hon. Attorney General well knew that it was not merely the character of a friend that was at stake, but that it was his own character, and the character of every member of the administration. [Hear, hear.] It would not do for the hon. Attorney General or any other member of the government to hide himself under the cloak of a gentleman not now a member of his house. The whole case had been laid before the public, and the party turned out of office had been before the administration asking for justice, and yet the Attorney General stood up and declared that all he was concerned about was the honour of his friend! [Hear, hear.] There was another case which had also been brought before the public. Shortly before the election it was desired to have a Post Office at Wardsville, in the Township of Mesa, at a short distance from a station of the Great Western railway. The Post Master General having written to the place to find out who would be the proper party to make Post Master, and the name of a merchant, approved of by the inhabitants, was given, who accordingly received the appointment, and was told to send his securities. He did so, and built a Post Office himself. While the election was going on, one of Mr. Cameron’s friends came and asked him whom he was going to support. He said, Mr. Brown. Mr. C.’s friend told him he had better think the matter over, or he might lose his Post Office, to which he replied that he would vote as he thought right, though he should lose fifty Post Offices. Mr. C.’s friend then went to another merchant in the village, and told him that if he would give his support to the government, the appointment would be taken away from the other party and given to him. He received the appointment with instructions to open the office under the name of “Triumph,” in anticipation of the victory which the last Postmaster General was to obtain in the County of Lambton. [Hear, hear, and laughter.] He had thus shown what had taken place in his own county, and he believed there was not a member of this house, who, at the late election, was in declared opposition to the government, but could tell something of the same kind about the appointment of Justices of the Peace, Coroners, &c. [Hear, hear.] To a certain extent he admitted that party appointments were the natural results of party government, but if the present system was to be retained, the prerogative of the crown should be exercised with great care. [Hear, hear.] The doings he had mentioned in his county had had the effect of bringing the system into utter disgrace and contempt, so that from one end of the county to the other, a cry had been raised in favour of elective magistrates, and elective Postmasters. Personally he had always been opposed to the election of such officers, but he must say that his views on that subject had been very much shaken by the proceedings which he had described.—(Hear, hear.)
Mr. HINCKS said that the specific charges which had been brought by the hon. members for Lambton and Haldimand had nothing to do with the motion under consideration. They had not taken up the position that the system was bad in itself, but had brought charges against the late administration for the manner in which they had carried out that system. All such charges, he conceived, should be brought forward separately, and substantiated, if it was possible to do so.
Mr. BROWN said he had already intimated that he intended to move the appointment of a committee, before whom he was prepared to substantiate all the charges he had advanced.
Mr. HINCKS said he had no doubt that the case with regard to the Brooke office was one as to which he had a distinct recollection of making particular enquiries. He had seen in the Globe and other newspapers very serious charges about the atrocious conduct of the Post Master General in that matter. He accordingly spoke to Mr. Cameron on the subject, and that gentleman gave him the clearest explanation that the whole charge was utterly false. His strong impression of the circumstances was that this Mr. McGregor had been appointed at a public meeting to represent the desire of the inhabitants to have another Post office, and that by a piece of fraud he succeeded in getting himself appointed.
Mr. BROWN said he would hold the honourable member for Renfrew to that statement, and by having his name put upon the committee, would give him an opportunity of proving that Mr. McGregor committed a fraud on the public. Mr. McGregor was a most respectable person and he believed utterly incapable of acting improperly.
Mr. HINCKS said he had the authority of the late Post Master General for making the statement. Seeing all those charges in the newspapers, he had been anxious to know whether they were correct or not. If true, he felt that they would be most discreditable to the government, but Mr. Cameron satisfied him that the charges were entirely without foundation. But, as they were still repeated, he should be very glad to see a full examination into the circumstances. In regard to the motion now before the House, Government were of course responsible for making improper appointments, and if they actually made such, the proper course for members cognizant of a grievance of that sort was to bring forward specific accusations against the parties appointed, or, if the complaint was, that notwithstanding strong representations from the particular locality, the government had neglected to appoint a sufficient number of magistrates, let a specific complaint to that effect be laid before the House.
Mr. FOLEY said he had been given to understand that there was an arrangement entered into between the honourable member for Renfrew [Mr. Hincks] and the present government, or at least the members of it from Upper Canada, either before or since the formation of the new government, to the effect that members of this House should have the patronage of their counties, on the condition that they supported the government, and that if they did not support the government, they should not exercise the patronage.
Mr. HINCKS denied that he had ever entered into any such arrangement.
Sir ALLAN MACNAB also denied that any such arrangement had been made.
Mr. MURNEY strongly condemned members of the Government for attempting to set up the doctrine that the whole Government was not responsible for the improper and corrupt acts of some of its members, when those acts were matters of public notoriety. In those circumstances it was the duty of the Administration to inquire into those charges which so seriously affected the character of all its members, otherwise they would be equally responsible with the individual member of the Government who had committed the acts that were stamped with public reprobation.
Mr. MACDONALD of Glengarry said that the late Administration were not the first Government chargeable with an improper exercise of the prerogative of the Crown in the appointment of Magistrates, but it would be difficult to find a parallel to the issuing of the Commission in June last, in order to influence the election for Lambton, by a Government which had lost the confidence and been condemned by a vote of the House. [Hear, hear.] Other members, he believed, could substantiate similar charges to those which had been advanced in the course of the discussion. [Hear, hear].
Hon. Mr. MERRITT said the present system had been denounced, but no better had been pointed out as a substitute. For his own part he was prepared to advocate the application of the elective principle to the appointment of Magistrates. The elective system, he believed, was the only correct one.
Mr. FOLEY condemned the Government for the manner in which they had prepared the list of Commissioners for the Paris exhibition. [Illegible] not reflect truly the industry of the inhabitants of this country, and the first public act of the present Administration was to degrade the very class for whose benefit the Exhibition was to be hold. (Hear, hear.) Where were the names of the men in this Province who had made themselves prominent for the agricultural or mechanical results they had obtained? Where, for instance, was the name of the man who gained so great an honour for this country as to have carried off the prize of the world for wheat at the World’s Exhibition in London? (Hear, hear).
Mr. SMITH of Northumberland, advocated the plan of making the whole of the Municipal Councillors ex officio Justices, but allowing the prerogative of the Crown still to be exercised in the appointment of other Magistrates.
Mr. DEWITT spoke in favour of the elective principle being applied to the appointment of magistrates.
Mr. McKERLIE was not in favour of the elective principle in the department of Criminal justice. He would not like to be tried for his life, or for a crime of any sort, by a man whose election he had at some previous period strongly opposed.
Mr. SMITH of Northumberland.—Is this motion intended as a censure on the late or on the present government for the manner in which they have exercised the prerogative of the Crown in the appointment of Justices? If so, I am not prepared to vote for it.
Mr. MACKENZIE.—The hon. gentleman is at all events a good partisan. (Laughter).
On a division, Mr MACKENZIE’S motion was negatives by 51 to 22.
YEAS.—Messieurs Bourassa, Brown, Cooke, Daly, Daoust of Beauharnois, Darche, DeWitt, Dorion of Drummond, Ferrie, Frazer, Galt, Guevremont, Hartman, Holton, Lumsden, Macdonald of Glengary, Mackenzie, Marchildon, Papin, Prevost, Scatcherd, and Valois.—22.
NAYS.—Messieurs Aikins, Bell, Bellingham, Casault, Cauchon, Cayley, Chabot, Chapais, Church, Clarke, Daost of Two Mountains, Delong, Dionne, Attorney General Drummond, Dufresne, Ferres, Fortier, Fournier, Dreeman, Gould, Hincks, Huot, Jackson, Labelle, Langton, Laporte, Larwill, Lemieux, Macbeth, Sir Allan N. MacNab, McCann, Matheson, Mattice, Meagher, Mongenais, Morin, Morrison of Simcoe North, Munro, Niles, Poulin, Robinson, Roblin, Solicitor General Ross, Shaw, Solicitor General Smith, Smith of Northumberland West, Somerville, Stevenson, Tache, Terrill, and Thibaudeau.—51.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE.
Mr. DRUMMOND moved that the House do now adjourn, the clock pointing to 20 minutes from twelve.
Mr. GALT opposed the adjournment. They were now in the seventh week of the session and only one Bill had yet been passed. He thought they should resolve invariably to go through with the whole order of the day before adjournment.
On a division, Mr. Drummond’s motion carried by 43 to 14.
YEAS.—Messieurs Bell, Bellingham, Bourrassa, Casault, Cauchon, Cayley, Chabot, Chisholm, Cooke, Daly, Daoust, of Two Mountains, DeWitt, Dionne, Attorney General Drummond, Dufresne, Ferrie, Fortier, Fournier, Fraser, Gould, Guevremont, Hartman, Hincks, Jackson, Larwill, Lemieux, Macbeth, Macdonald of Glengary, Mackenzie, Sir Allan Macnab, Marchildon, Mattice, Morin, Prevost, Rankin, Solicitor General Ross, Shaw, Solicitor General Smith, Somerville, Stevenson, Terrill, Thibaudeau, and Valois.—43.
NAYS.—Messieurs Brown, Chapais, Clarke, Darche, Dorion of Drummond, Ferres, Foley, Galt, Holton, Labelle, Mongenais, Papin, Poulin, and Tache.—14.
The House adjourned accordingly.
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