Province of Canada, Legislative Assembly, 8th Parl, 3rd Sess (15 March 1865)


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Date: 1865-03-15
By: Province of Canada (Parliament)
Citation: “Provincial Parliament”, [Quebec] Morning Chronicle (16 March 1865).
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PROVINCIAL PARLIAMENT

LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY.

WEDNESDAY, March 15, 1865.

[…]

Concurrence in the Estimates

Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke, Minister of Finance] moved

That the report of the Committee of Supply be concurred in.

The two resolutions reported from the Committee were read a first time.

1. Resolved, That there be granted, for the completion of the several services of the Government not otherwise provided for, for the remainder of the Financial year ending 30th June, 1865, and for the first quarter of the year ending 30th June, 1866, a sum not exceeding $2,000,000 00.

2. Resolved, That there be granted, for the permanent Defence of the Country, a sum not exceeding $1,000,000 00.[1]

On the motion for the second reading—

Luther Holton [Chateauguay] rose to move an amendment, He said the proposition before the House was of such an extraordinary nature that he deemed he would be wanting in duty if he did not call the attention of hon. members to what he believed to be its objectionable character, and to protest against it. The Hon. Finance Minister [Alexander Galt] had not yesterday controverted his (Mr. Holton’s) assertion that no precedent could be found for such a proceeding as that now taken by the Government. The hon. gentleman briefly reviewed the circumstances under which the votes of credit taken during the past few years had been asked for, as also those in connection with the votes of credit referred to by the Hon. Finance Minister [Alexander Galt] yesterday.

Now, what were the circumstances under which the present vote was solicited? We were asked to vote en bloc all the Government might see fit to expend within the limits of $2,000,000, for the first quarter of the ensuing fiscal year. Here, at an early period of the year, at an early day of the session, we were denied a detailed statement respecting our financial position, and asked to repose confidence in the Government, and put it in a position to spend money at discretion during the ensuing quarter of the financial year.

And why? There was no other reason alleged than the fact that the people of New Brunswick had, in the recent elections, voted against Confederation. But the real reason was that the Finance Minister was afraid to offer a detailed financial statement, afraid to take the vote upon many of the items, to support which they apprehended their followers would not allow themselves to be dragged further through the mud.

Some Hon. MembersMinisterial derisive cheers.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—The effect of this vote of credit would be to relieve the Government of the obligations it contracted on the introduction of their audit bill. They would thus manage to evade the operation of their own act for two years. Why should the Liberal members of this House, as well as those in the Government, be asked, in supporting this vote, to trample upon and belie all those great political principles which they had professed to admire throughout their former life? Why should the Liberal Party, merely for the purpose of retaining in office a few months longer the present occupants of the Treasury benches, be urged to vote down their life-long principles?

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear and counter-cheers.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—He would move in amendment

That the said resolution be not read a second time, but that it be resolved that, while this House will cheerfully grant the supplies required for the public service, regrets there should be any departure from the long-established and wise course practiced of inviting the House to base the appropriations of public money for the ordinary service of the year upon detailed estimates submitted by the Crown, and cannot but regard with profound disapprobation a proceeding which tends to subvert the surest safeguards of the rights and liberties of the subject—namely, “the control over the expenditure by the representatives of the people.”

Joseph Bellerose [Laval] made some enquiry about the expenditure of the money. He was not distinctly heard in the Reporters’ Gallery, but was understood to ask whether the claim of one Delisle against the Government for some sixteen thousand or twenty thousand dollars was included in the vote and would be paid.

Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke, Minister of Finance] said it was impossible for him to answer such a question without having notice, so that he might ascertain how the matter stood.

After some conversation the matter dropped—

Jean Chapais [Kamouraska, Commissioner of Public Works] stating that there was no special appropriation under the head of arbitration for the claim referred to by the hon. member for Laval [Joseph Bellerose].

Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke, Minister of Finance] said that it was not at all necessary for the member for Chateauguay [Luther Holton] to be constantly assuming the position of defender of the constitutional rights of the people of Canada, as such were not at all in danger and required not his special safe-guard. There was a precedent for this course, however, in the action of the Imperial Government, which had, in 1857, obtained a vote of credit amounting to upwards of £1,500,000, under precisely similar circumstances. This House, however, knew how to deal with its own financial affairs, and need not be bound by precedent against its own wish and convenience. The members of this House represented the tax-payers of Canada, and would take what course it pleased in regard to voting supplies for the public service. The present amendment was not presented out of anxiety for the constitutional rights of the public, but simply amounted to a motion of want of confidence in the Government, and a declaration that the House was afraid to entrust it with the expenditure of the money asked for. The motion was merely  clap-trap, and the House was able and willing to guard the interests of Canada in regard to money matters.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Antoine-Aimé Dorion [Hochelaga] proceeded to attack the Government for the course they pursued, contending that there was neither precedent nor cause for such a course, and that hon. gentlemen opposite had entirely failed in making out such a case of urgency as would justify the House in supporting hon. gentlemen in their course.

Joseph Cauchon [Montmorency] pointed out, briefly, the flimsy nature of the arguments advanced by the hon. member for Hochelaga [Antoine-Aimé Dorion], and contended that never before had we such an important matter before us as the question of Confederation.

Joseph Bellerose [Laval] was understood to express himself satisfied with the explanations which had been elicited in the course of the discussion relative to the question he had put; and to state that he felt condiment that the Government would act properly in the matter.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall] next attacked the Government, denying that there was as much necessity for a vote of credit now as in 1848, and on other occasions cited by hon. gentlemen opposite. The fact was that a number of liabilities were pressing upon these hon. gentlemen and they wanted this vote of credit in order to enable them to clear off these liabilities.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear, and oh, oh.

George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council] knew nothing about, and never heard of this claim before. But he could promise that both with regard to this and all other claims justice would be done and nothing more. If the member for Cornwall [John Sandfield Macdonald] had listened, he would have heard that there was not a single item of expenditure proposed to be taken out of this vote of $2,000,000, but $5,000 in reference to the Dublin exhibition. The money was simply asked for to enable the Government of the country to be carried on till the House met again.

The Hon. Finance Minister [Alexander Galt] had also stated that he hoped that not a penny of the $2,000,000 would be required to be paid out before the next session. This motion of the hon. member for Chateauguay [Luther Holton] was, therefore, mere clap-trap—it was really intended as a vote of want of confidence in the Government. If the House had confidence in the Administration, then let it grant the present vote to enable us to carry on the business of the country.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay] asked had the Government received any information other than that as to the elections in New Brunswick to lead it to change its policy. Did the necessity for providing for defence, for instance, appear more urgent than before; in short, what had urged the Government to its present course? If the Government had any information or cause for their altered course, they should submit it to the House before asking our approval thereof.

George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council] said that there was an easy answer to the question. Negotiations had been going on between the Canadian and Imperial Governments respecting our defence, in view of the passing of Confederation. Those negotiations had not been completed at the time of the result of the elections in New Brunswick, and this led to the necessity of Canadian Government’s immediately confessing with the Home Government respecting the defence of the country. In order to do this, the House would have to be prorogued forthwith. In the meantime, the Government of this Province required the means of carrying on the business of the country, and consequently had come before its representatives for the necessary vote of supply now asked for this purpose. The result of the elections in New Brunswick had rendered the present course of the Government an absolute necessity.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Lucius Huntington [Shefford] did not at all see that the altered circumstances of the case—only altered by the reverses of the confederation policy in New Brunswick—rendered it necessary that we should lay down the whip, drop the reins and rush in hot haste across the Atlantic. It might perhaps be that we did not properly appreciate the state of affairs, but he could not see that the relations between the mother-country and the colony, and the state of the Reciprocity question, were such as to require such action. In any case he thought we might have spared a few hon. gentlemen out of this House to proceed as delegates to England to carry on whatever negotiations might be necessary, while we, in the meantime, went on with the business of the session in the usual way.

James Biggar [Northumberland East] believed it was right and necessary that the delegates should proceed to England, and he was not, therefore, prepared to offer any factious opposition to them on this vote. If they made a good use of the money he would vote for them; and if not, he would vote against them.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Rose [Montreal Centre] said that what to his mind was one of the strongest reasons for supporting this vote, was the relation give us the other day by the Attorney General West [John A. Macdonald] of the action of the House of Lords in the matter of our defence. That hon. gentleman had stated that there was not that perfect understanding or accord between the Government of this and the mother-country which was desirable on that important question. It was this state of things which induced him to support the Government on this vote. The circumstances of the country were pressing, and such as to demand that the House should clothe the Government with the most absolute authority in regard to this matter.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

The question was then put on the Luther Holton’s [Chateauguay] amendment, which was lost on the following division:

Amendment [Luther Holton]: That the said resolution be not read a second time, but that it be resolved that, while this House will cheerfully grant the supplies required for the public service, regrets there should be any departure from the long-established and wise course practiced of inviting the House to base the appropriations of public money for the ordinary service of the year upon detailed estimates submitted by the Crown, and cannot but regard with profound disapprobation a proceeding which tends to subvert the surest safeguards of the rights and liberties of the subject—namely, “the control over the expenditure by the representatives of the people.”[2]

Yeas

Bourassa
Caron
Coupal
A.A. Dorion
Eric Dorion
Alex. Dufresne
Fortier
Geoffrion
Holton
Houde
Huntington
Joly
Labreche
Viger
Laframboise
Lajoie
J.S. Macdonald
O’Halloran
Paquette
Perrault
Rymal
Scatcherd
Thibaudeau—23.

Nays

Abbott
Archambault
Ault
Bowman
Beaubien
Bellerose
Biggar
Blanchet
Bown
Brousseau
Brown
Burwell
J.H. Cameron
M.C. Cameron
Carling
Cartier
Cartwright
Cauchon
Chambers
Chapais
Cockburn
Cornellier
Cowan
Currier
De Boucherville
Denis
De Niverville
Evanturel
William Ferguson
Gibbs
Galt
Gaudet
Harwood
Higginson
Howland
Huot
Haultain
Irvine
Jackson
Jones
Ford Jones
Knight
Langevin
Le Boutillier
Magill
John Macdonald
J.A. Macdonald
Alex. Mackenzie
Hope Mackenzie
McConkey
McDougall
McFarlane
McGee
McGiverin
McIntyre
McKellar
Morris
Morrison
Parker
Pinsonneault
Pope
Poulin
Poupore
Powell
Raymond
Rémillard
Robitaille
Rose
J.J. Ross
J. Sylvester Ross
Walter Ross
Scoble
Shanly
A.M. Smith
J. Shuter Smith
Somerville
Stirton
Street
Tremblay
Thompson
T.C. Wallbridge
Walsh
Webb
Wells
White
Wilson
Wood
Amos Wright
Alonzo Wright—93.

1. Resolved, That there be granted, for the completion of the several services of the Government not otherwise provided for, for the remainder of the Financial year ending 30th June, 1865, and for the first quarter of the year ending 30th June, 1866, a sum not exceeding $2,000,000 00.[3]

The first resolutions of the Committee of Supply was then carried.

On the second resolution for $1,000,000, for the permanent defence of the country:—

John Rose [Montreal Centre] said, I feel that the duty which devolves upon the Government, with reference to this measure, is one of the most serious character.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—It is one of a nature which, I hope, will not very often arise in this or any other colony. I think it is the duty of the House and of every member who loves the country and its future prosperity, and who has a regard for the defence of it, to strengthen the hands of the Government in every possibly way. I feel it is desirable that they should be enabled in their intercourse with the Imperial Government to feel that they represent not merely a party in this country, but the unanimous opinion of nearly three millions of British subjects.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—I trust, therefore, that the resolution to which the Government are asking our assent will meet with the unanimous concurrence of the House; because I do feel that, in dealing with the Imperial Government, they who go to England to represent the interests of Canada should be really conscious that they speak the voice of nearly three millions of colonists, and not a mere portion of the people of a divided country. The Canadian delegation to England will have no enviable task. It is a serious and solemn responsibility that will devolve upon them, and for which the Province will hold them to a strict account. I say this because I feel that the vote which the Government are asking for must be looked up on merely as an instalment, or an earnest of what the desire and intention of this country is with reference to its own defence. It is useless for us to do anything unless we are prepared to adopt such measures as will enable the country to be put in an efficient state of defence.

It would be useless for us to spend—as the Imperial Government appeared, by the recent debate in the House of Lords, inclined to do—the small sum of £50,000 this year and £30,000 per annum for two or three succeeding years in our defence, unless the assent of that Government is obtained to co-operate with this country in that fair and liberal expenditure for defensive purposes, which, if it is to be of any service, must be made within the shortest possible time; and it is because I feel we ought to strengthen the hands of our Government in its negotiations with the Home Government upon this important question, that I trust there will be no dissent from this resolution. I believe that of the Government can go to England with a spirit of conciliation, and, at the same time, of firmness, knowing what this country is prepared to do, on the one hand, and what it is their right to demand, on the other, that we should receive that same measure of consideration from the Imperial Government ever before extended to us. There is no reason to apprehend anything else.

I feel, at the same time, that the crisis is very grave—for there is no doubt a crisis in our national affairs is upon us—and that we have not only to enlist the assent and approval of the Government of England, but the sympathies of the people of England, but the sympathies of the people of England, in order that full justice be done to us on this side of the water by those on the other side. I know the influence of that school of politicians in England who affect to despise the colonial connexion and shirk the obligation it entails, and that consequently my hon. friends  on the Treasury benches will have a stubborn battle to fight with that school and to overcome its influence with the Government and home; and in the present juncture when the Imperial Parliament is upon the eve of a dissolution, and when it may be its desire to strengthen its hands by conciliating its influence will not, probably, be an easy one. I, therefore, consider it the more incumbent upon this House and the people of this country to back up the Government of this country and increase its weight with the Home Government in the conduct of those negotiations about to be entered upon.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—But, at the same time, there are other considerations which the delegation from this country can present—and which from the confidence I have in them I feel sure they will present to the attention of the Imperial authorities, and if need be, to that of the English people, if justice cannot be got from the other quarter—which I believe will have the effect of obtaining for us that co-operation on the part of England necessary—but also those solemn assurances which are necessary to our coming to an explicit and right understanding with reference to the question of defence. It is high time that an explicit understanding should be arrived at on this subject. We have had too much quarrelling, recrimination and bandying on both sides.

On our part, we have been accused of neglecting our duty, and we, at the same time, have accused the Imperial Government of neglect and lukewarmness in the matter of the defence of Canada. It is time, in this time of danger, that these misunderstandings and bickerings should cease between us, and that we should arrive at an explicit knowledge of what England expects from this country, and a decision as to what we are prepared to do. This is what should be done, not only to escape from a temporary difficulty, but in order that our relations with England should be placed on such a footing as to put an end to all those misunderstandings, recriminations and disagreeable bandyings on either one side or the other.

Some Hon. MembersCheers.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—The first duty of the Government is to arouse the public attention in England in reference to our present position—to press upon the English Government and people the gravity of the present crisis—because this is a crisis in our history, and one which must be dealt with by a very temperate, but, at the same time, with a very firm hand. I feel that if the Government of England cannot be influenced by our Ministers to meet us in a fair, rank, and liberal way in the work of defending the country, that we can call upon the people of England to give us that aid and sympathy to which, in our performing our part, we are justly entitled.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—This is one of the considerations to which the attention of the Imperial Parliament may be profitably called:—We know our defence has been made a much more difficult matter in consequence of the manner in which the rectification of the frontier has been carried out, and that the negotiations leading to this were those in which Canada had nothing to do. We all know the history of the Old Red Line of Franklin’s map, which gave us a boundary many more miles to the southward than the present line between us and the United States. We know that the frontier has been brough much nearer the heart of our country than it should have—that it is now almost within sight of the place in which we stand. The result of this rectification has been to hand over to the United States the important position of Rouse’s Point. I believe that the effect of the surrender of this portion of our territory to our neighbors has almost doubled the difficulty of the defence of the country. We know what Daniel Webster said in his speech in defence of the Washington Treaty—viz: that if he had gained that, and that only (the concession Rouse’s Point), it would have been worth all the other equivalents and concessions made to England. This involves, consequently, the construction of the defences at Montreal, and the employment of 20,000 or 30,000 men to man them. I think, then, that the English Government should be told that they have, by previous negotiations, made this question of defence much more difficult than before. I feel that the Government will not overlook this point when they come to deal with the Home Government, and that our Ministers will not fail to represent to them, not only their duty to vote some £50,000 for the fortification of Quebec, but to contribute their fair share towards our defence, in view of their having rendered it much more difficult by concessions, in negotiations with which Canada had nothing whatever to do. This ought to have its full weight in the consideration of the matters.

Some Hon. MembersCheers.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—Here is what Daniel Webster said on the invasion of Canada:—

“Of one thing I am certain, that the true way to Canada is by way of Lake Champlain. That is the old path. I take to myself the credit of having said here (Congress) thirty years ago, speaking of the mode of taking Canada, that, when our American woodsman undertakes to fell a tree, he does not begin by lopping off the branches, but the strikes his axe at once into the trunk. The trunk, in relation to Canada, is Montreal, and the St. Lawrence down to Quebec; and so we found in the last wars.”

England should not be allowed to forget that, by giving up this piece of territory, including Rouse’s Point, she has rendered the defence of the country ten times more difficult than before. There is another point which I am sure our Government will not fail to urge upon the home authorities, this point—namely, that in the whole history of the difficulties which have arisen between England and the United States there is not a single one to be found that originated with Canada. For instance, there was the difficulty respecting the right of search, the boundaries of New Brunswick and of Oregon, the question respecting Ruatan, in South America, the enlistment question, the Alabama difficulty and Trent affair—of all those causes of trouble between Great Britain and the United States, which almost involved those two countries in war, not one was attributable to the policy or action of Canada. It might be said, however, that the St. Albans affair was one cause of trouble between those two great powers for which Canada was responsible. I deny the allegations.

All that we had to do with the difficulty arose merely from our position geographically. Is it to be supposed that if it had not been the intention of parties to embroil England with the United States, that we should have had any difficulty whatever in relation to the St. Albans’ raid? I say that the causes of our danger are not those which Canada might be responsible for, but which will, probably, always arise from questions of Imperial policy. But, on the other hand, the very fact of our being connected with England, while a source of danger, was, also, a sort of guarantee of protection to us; because war with Canada is a war with England—with her armies on land and her fleets on every sea. That, certainly is a source of protection to us.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—There is another point I would like to allude to. I think it is all important that the Government at home should, at the present moment, know that there is a readiness on the part of our people to bear its full share, whatever it may be, in the defence of the country, no matter what sacrifices it involves. I believe that is the opinion, not only of 19 out of every 20 men in the country, but of 99 out of every 100. But if Canada and England would calmly consider what the Empire owed to us, and what we owed to ourselves and the Empire at large, and come to a fair, amicable conclusion with reference thereto, I do not believe there is a man in this country who is not prepared to fulfil the full measure of our duty.

I am sure that the country is prepared not only as to money, but as to men, and to everything else to contribute to the largest possible extent to its own defence. But what concerns us largely, also, is that those bickerings and recriminations which have been going on between this and the mother-country should cease; and I do augur from the mission of our Ministers that they and the British Government will come to a right understanding, once for all, on this question of defence. Let us not have the two countries, in the moment of danger, puddling, squabbling and bargaining about what each is to do, and with regard to the shortcomings of each other, but let us set to work and labor earnestly and practically for the attainment of the object we all have so much at heart.

It has been stated in the House of Lords and in the English newspapers—”Oh, we can hold Quebec and Halifax, in any event.” They speak of those two cities as if they were rocks in the sea, isolated from the Provinces of which they form part, seeming to forget there are such places as Canada and Nova Scotia. It is supposed possible for England to hold the fortifications here and those of Halifax without, at the same time, possessing the affections and sympathies of the people of Nova Scotia and Canada. It is absurd to speak then of holding these two points as England holds Gibraltar and Malta, as mere military stations.

The idea of giving up the colonies and at the same time retaining Quebec and Halifax is purely nonsensical, and the sooner people got rid of such an absurd supposition the better. It has been stated by men who ought to know better that if this country were at war the troops, in case of defeat in the open field, could retire to those fortresses and hold the country in this way. How many hours could those cities be held, with all their fortifications, if the rest of the country were in the possession of our enemy? If this colony is to be abandoned, how long will it be before England will also have to give up all the other British Colonies both on Atlantic and Pacific Coast, the West Indies and Pacific Islands.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—I have no doubt that if the question of our defence, and our rights in the matter, be boldly, firmly and manfully put before, not only the Government, but the people of England—I have no fear whatever but that the doctrine of colonial abandonment will be exploded, and the views and doctrines of the Manchester men, which have received more consideration than they were entitled to, because the English Government have required their votes and assistance, will soon cease to have any weight in England. I do not believe that any Ministry that could be formed in England would venture to propound, as a practical question to be submitted to the approval of the English people, and abandonment of the colonies. We have a practical illustration of this fact ion the speech of Lord Ellenborough the other day.

Look at his speech last year, to which the Times devoted a leader, and compare it with that made lately in the House of Lords, in which, in stirring language, he denounced the absurd trifling amount the Government proposed expending upon the fortifications of Quebec. That noble Lord stated on the latter occasion that what he meant before was that England should supply this colony with every military necessary, and then look to Canada for the men required to defend the country—that to the latter, on this condition, England should supply all the armaments, ships, material of war, and so forth, required for the defence of this Province. We find this nobleman so apathetic before when danger now fairly threatens, the first to hold the English Government to a strict and solemn account for the defence of Canada.

I believe it will ever be thus in England with the majority of her statesmen and people. I do not deny that there are very grave difficulties to be considered at this juncture, but I consider that this is the greater reason why the hands of the Government should eb strengthened so that they may be able to speak plainly and firmly and with the united voice of nearly three millions of people when they go to England to confer respecting our defence. As I understand this vote it is taken for this purpose—as an earnest of what the people of Canada are prepared to do in behalf of themselves—that in reference to any fair scheme that may be discussed, and respecting any fair conclusion which may be come to by this country and England, Canada is prepared to bear her full weight of responsibility.

I do not understand this vote as meaning that we are to expend one million of dollars as a contribution towards any particular defensive works, but merely this, that the Government, on going home, can say—the people of Canada are serious in this matter, and as an earnest of what they are prepared to do for defence, they have armed us with authority to say—we are prepared to spend money if necessary for this object, on condition that a correct understanding be come to with reference to the future entire system of defence, and that all those anterior misunderstandings which have exited between the two countries should be brought to an end.  I will refer to a passage in Dr. Russell’s book, on Canada, in illustration of this point; and I may say that no man understands better the real feelings of the people of England with reference to this question than he. But first, I will observe that I do not wish to raise any feeling against hon. gentlemen opposite with regard to the defeat of the militia bill of the Cartier-Macdonald Ministry People in England should remember that it is only three years since this question of defence, or call upon Canada to do so much for herself, has been mooted at all.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—We have done a good deal in this direction, and I feel that, whatever our own party difficulties may have been then or are now, we should let bygones be bygones, and enter upon a new career—a new understanding between ourselves, so that in dealing with the Imperial Government the question of defence may be settled to the best advantage.

Some Hon. MembersCheers.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—This is the passage I will quote from Dr. Russell’s book:—

“In the face of very frigid warnings from the press, and very lukewarm enunciations of policy from her best friends, Canada had some reason to fear that there is a secret desire to let her ‘slide,’ and that nothing would please England so much as a happy chance which placed the Province beyond our care without humiliation or war. The duty of Canadians to their own country os very plain indeed. If the people of England refuse to give them distinct guarantees that, under certain conditions, they will give them the whole aid of money, men and ships that is required; but those are implied in the very fact of suzerainty of the Crown.

It must, however, be made known—if it be not plain to every Englishman, that the abandonment of Canada implies a surrender of British Columbia, of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward, Newfoundland, if not also the West India Islands. Many bitter words, written and spoken here, rankle in the breasts of Canadians, and I have quoted the words in which a Canadian statesman has placed before Englishmen the terrible consequences which Canada may suffer from war, because she is a part of the British Empire, engaged in a quarrel, on Imperial grounds, with the Government of the United States. We do, undoubtedly, owe something to Canada, from the bare fact that for many years she resisted temptation and remained under the flag, unmoved by the blandishments and threats of the United States. In my poor judgment, the abandonment of Canada would be the most signal triumph of the principle of democracy, and the most pregnant sign of the decadence of the British Empire, which could be desired by our enemies. No matter by what sophistry, or by what expediency justified, the truth would creep out through the fact itself that we were retiring, as the Romans did, from Britain, Gaul and Dacia, but that the retreat would be made in the face of united and civilized enemies, and that the sound of our recall would animate every nation in the world to come forth and despoil us. As yet there is nor reason for such a pusillanimous policy.”

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—I believe that is the feeling and political doctrine of the heart of England. I do not care what political exigency the present English Government may have to consider, or what difficulty it may have to deal with, I believe that if the real estate of our position be considered, as also the consequences that would result from their not co-operating heartily and generously with us in the policy of defence, and aiding us when disposed to aid ourselves—if this matter was properly put before the English people—that the answer would be what I have said already. I believe that they would never think of abandoning, but that, on the contrary, our willingness to aid ourselves, as expressed in the present resolutions before the House, being known, we would find no backwardness or unwillingness, and no reticence on the part of the English Government to do their full share in our behalf.

Some Hon. MembersLoud cheers.

Thomas Street [Welland] hardly thought that sufficient explanations had been given by the Government relative to this money for permanent defence. He heartily approved, however, of the idea of our Ministers going to England to discuss the question of defence, so that we should understand fairly and fully what our proportion of the burthen of defence would be.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Thomas Street [Welland]—After that, it would be right and proper to discuss the matter on the floor of this House, and he thought the people of Canada, through their representatives would be found willing to do all that could be expected of them, all that was in their power to, defend their soil from invasion. But it would be utterly unreasonable to expect us to do so unless we had the hearty co-operation of England.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Thomas Street [Welland]—The report of Col. Jervois seemed actually to involve the abandonment of a large portion of Western Canada—one of the most wealthy and important parts of the Province. He indignantly repudiated such an idea; he indignantly repudiated such a proposal as that of voting a mere paltry sum for the defence of Quebec, which was considered an Imperial fortress, while all the rest of the country was to be left utterly defenceless.

Some Hon. Members—Hear.

Thomas Street [Welland]—He knew the loyal hearts of the people of this country; he knew that they were truly and firmly loyal; they had proved it in the past and they were ready to do so again whenever called upon; they were ready to take their fair share and proportion of the defence of the Province, but they should know what was expected of them. We should know whether there was any proper, reliable and complete scheme for the defence of the Province. We should have the details so that we might judge of them, and know what was our real position. We were told that part of the scheme of the defence of the country was the placing of gunboats on the lakes; but how were they going to do this without keeping the Welland Canal open, and he did not see that there was any proposition, or scheme of any kind for the protection of the Welland Canal. This canal was a most important point if you intended to defend the western part of the country. If it was not intended to defend the West, why by all means let us know it. We should have full details—we should know why we were called upon to vote a large sum of money and what was going to be done with it, so that we could demonstrate the necessity of it to our constituents.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Thomas Street [Welland]—He (Mr. Street) would vote for the resolution; he would vote for this appropriation as an earnest of what we were prepared to do.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Thomas Street [Welland]—The hon. member for Montreal Centre (Mr. Rose) had given the same reason, but had stated that he understood this to be the declaration of the Government. In this the hon. gentleman was in error, inasmuch as the Government had stated that it was intended to spend the money, and that it would be a mere delusion—that it would be absurd to vote the money if it were not intended to spend it.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Thomas Street [Welland]—We might be told that it would be dangerous to make the information public, but he held that this was wrong. In England there was no such hesitation. Col. Jervois’s report on the defence of the Province was unhesitatingly made public.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Thomas Street [Welland]—There was no delicacy whatever felt in making public information of this kind. He certainly had confidence in the Government, but he believed they should have equal confidence in us. They should have come down with full particulars as to what was expected of us, what they proposed to do, and in what manner the money was proposed to be expended, so that we might inform our constituents.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear and loud Oppositions cheers.

It being six o’clock the Speaker left the Chair.

The Legislative Assembly stopped for dinner recess.

After the recess—

Antoine-Aimé Dorion [Hochelaga], after some introductory remarks, moved an amendment, in substance to the effect

That the resolution before the House be not now concurred in, but that it be resolved that inasmuch as sums exceeding one million dollars have already been expended on the militia and volunteers, this House, although recognizing the necessity of defending the country, cannot authorize the expenditure of a large sum for permanent fortifications, without knowing full details—the nature of the proposed works, where they are to be constructed, what they will cost, and what is the proportion of the burthen which we are called upon to bear.[4]

George-Étienne Cartier [Montreal East, Attorney-General East] said that no one but the hon. member for Hochelaga [Antoine-Aimé Dorion] would have undertaken to propose such an amendment as that which was now before the House.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear and laughter.

George-Étienne Cartier [Montreal East, Attorney-General East]—What was the real nature of the hon. gentleman’s proposition? It was simply this. That the hon. members of this House should become, all at once, military engineers and strategists, and take upon themselves to judge how the Province might be best defended, where defensive work should be erected, and how much they ought to cost.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

George-Étienne Cartier [Montreal East, Attorney-General East]—Hon. gentlemen might speak as they pleased of Col. Jervois’s report; but he would say, at any rate, that this gentleman was admitted to be one of the most skilful engineers of the day.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

George-Étienne Cartier [Montreal East, Attorney-General East]—It was but right we should be put in a position to go to England and shew this vote as an earnest of what we were prepared to do. It was folly for hon. gentlemen to quarrel in advance over the distribution of the expenditure for fortifications, as if they imaged in could be distributed equally among the different localities, according to their population, like the Clergy Reserve or Seigniorial Tenure moneys.

Some Hon. MembersLaughter and cheers.

Richard Cartwright [Lennox & Addington] approved of the course of hon. gentlemen on the Treasury benches, and would vote for the resolution in favor of the appropriation for permanent defences. He thought it would be well if our exertions for the defence of the country were devoted mainly to the thorough organization and training of our militia, and that the Imperial Government should take charge of the construction of fortifications, inasmuch as our own Government might find some difficulty in apportioning the money for that purpose to the satisfaction of the several localities.

He believed the Government had taken the right course in proposing to go home and discuss this question of defences thoroughly, and know what we were required to do; and it was only fair and proper these hon gentlemen should have the power to do so, and should be placed by us in such a position as would enable to do so effectively.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Matthew Cameron [Ontario North] said he was prepared to support the resolution of the Hon. Finance Minister [Alexander Galt]; and he thought it was absurd in hon. gentlemen to insist on obtaining information and details which did not exist.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Matthew Cameron [Ontario North]—He was somewhat astonished at the course pursued by the hon. member for Welland (Mr. Street). That hon. gentleman did not manifest such anxiety as to cost and financial burthens a few evenings ago, when an expensive plan of Confederation was under discussion. He regretted the attitude of a certain party in England with regard to the questions of colonial connexion and colonial defence; but he believed, should a necessity arise, when we called upon England to aid us we should find a ready response. He had opposed the Government strongly on the proposed change in our constitution; but in this matter he was prepared to support them, because that he believed it was necessary they should be fully empowered to act in our own behalf in the settlement of this important question, and that they should bear with them this vote as a guarantee of our readiness to do our share.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear and cheers.

Thomas D’Arcy McGee [Montreal West, Minister of Agriculture and Statistics] said he did not hope that the few words he had to say would add much to the information already in the possession of the House on this subject; but he thought the urgency of the case—which some hon. gentlemen opposite affected to doubt—might again be briefly brought before the attention of the House. We were asked what was the urgency? He thought it had been made out satisfactorily, if not in the individual arguments of hon. gentlemen on the side of the House, at least by the circumstances of the case, which were evident to all.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Thomas D’Arcy McGee [Montreal West, Minister of Agriculture and Statistics]—Our position was just this—that before the close of the season upon which we were just now entering, our preparations would come under the ban of the fatal word “too late,” or else our efforts would have the desired effect and the question of defences would be satisfactorily settled.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Thomas D’Arcy McGee [Montreal West, Minister of Agriculture and Statistics]—What we wished was to be able to take advantage of the very earliest moment in order to settle this question and make proper provision for our defence. Hon. gentlemen who were advocating delay in the matter were in reality advocating the abandonment of the country, although they did not know it, and although they were no doubt sincere in the belief that their conduct was proper under the circumstances. But they were wrong, inasmuch as we were told by the most reliable authority, by the only authority we could look to, in fact, that whatever we do must be done quickly.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—Where?

Thomas D’Arcy McGee [Montreal West, Minister of Agriculture and Statistics]—In the report of a prominent public officer, in the debates of the Imperial Government, in documents which the hon. gentleman had seen and in others which perhaps he had not seen.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Thomas D’Arcy McGee [Montreal West, Minister of Agriculture and Statistics]—The hon. member for Hochelaga [Antoine-Aimé Dorion] had said that unless these works were to be used they should not be erected. He thought every hon. member in this House would at once dissent from such a dictum.

He, (Mr. McGee,) for one, sincerely hoped the strength of our defensive works would never be tested. The best means, however, to prevent the possibility of attack was to be well prepared. Undefended we held out a temptation to our neighbors—we offered a premium for invasion. It was argued that the sum was large. But what was even the expenditure of a million dollars in comparison with the destruction of property—not to speak of the loss of valuable life—which a single year’s was would involve.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Thomas D’Arcy McGee [Montreal West, Minister of Agriculture and Statistics]—He was not one of those who believed we could be easily walked over or crushed out by the United States. He was far from thinking that three millions of British freemen in these North American Provinces could be at once and easily overcome.

Some Hon. MembersCheers.

Thomas D’Arcy McGee [Montreal West, Minister of Agriculture and Statistics]—It was wrong to repeat statements to this effect, and he regretted that this doctrine should find utterance, inasmuch as the first duty of defence was to keep up the public courage and the public spirit.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Thomas D’Arcy McGee [Montreal West, Minister of Agriculture and Statistics]—The hon. gentleman went on to refer (in answer to some remarks by hon. gentlemen opposite) to the American influence which had been at work in New Brunswick during the elections.

An Hon. Member—How did your countrymen vote?

Thomas D’Arcy McGee [Montreal West, Minister of Agriculture and Statistics] said they had been played upon by appealing to their feelings and not their judgment; by stirring up the memories of the past; and by making absurd comparisons between the legislative union of England and Ireland, and the proposed union of the Colonies, although there was not even the shadow of a parallel between the two cases. One had degenerated an historic kingdom into an ill-represented Province, while the other sought to build up the nucleus of a powerful nation—and yet the New Brunswick allies of hon. gentlemen opposite had not for a moment hesitated to use an argument like this against Confederation.

In conclusion, the hon. gentleman, referring to the resolution immediately before the House, said that we should have an understanding on the subject of defence. We should do whatever our resources permitted in a fair and honorable spirit, and the balance must be supplied by the Empire. We should be enabled to go before the Imperial Government and shew that we were determined to do our share, and ready and willing to discuss the whole subject, and to undertake our fair share of the burthen; and when we were enabled to do this we should be in the right course.

Some Hon. MembersCheers.

Lucius Huntington [Shefford] at considerable length, went on to argue that hon. gentlemen on the Opposition side of the House were quite as loyal and as willing to undertake the burthens which might be necessary for the proper defence of the country as hon. gentlemen opposite.

Alexander Campbell [Lambton] did not [text illegible] anything wrong in the amendment in the abstract; but he believe it was [text illegible], under the circumstances, that the resolution should be allowed to pass unconditionally.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay] said that if war came we would all be ready to do our duty, but he believed this constant cry was doing us the utmost injury. There was less danger of war at the present day than there had been for many years past.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—What was the position of the United States—the only power from which we had any reason to fear attack. The debt of that country was almost beyond calculation; it was involved in a war of which no one could see the end; and its resources were impoverished to a fearful extent. Why should the United States seek a war with England—for a war with Canada meant a war with England—while in such a condition?

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear, and cheers.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—Then charges of want of loyalty were made, and the cry of annexationist tendencies or annexationist principles was raised. This was not a blunder alone, it was a crime—a crime of the deepest dye.

Some Hon. Members—Oh, oh, and hear, hear.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—If there was really any danger from abroad, was this a sound policy? Was it a sound policy to send it forth to the world that we were divided in our allegiance? This was a false and unpatriotic cry, which deserved to be condemned. None but a madman would wish for annexation with a country in the position in which the United States were at present. There was at on time, in 1849, an annexation party in this country—a party who advocated annexation to the neighboring Republic, if agreeable to the majority of the inhabitants of this country, and if the mother-country would consent. The hon. member for Montreal Centre (Mr. Rose) was one of the prominent men in that movement, as was also the hon. member for Sherbrooke [Alexander Galt].

He (Mr. Holton) was at that time a very humble individual, engaged in the struggle for existence, and he could hardly be blamed if he had been induced to follow the lead of these hon. gentlemen.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear, and laughter.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—Even at that period the hon. gentleman for Montreal Centre [John Rose] occupied a prominent position, and had won the highest honors of his profession. It was not fair for these hon. gentlemen or other hon. gentlemen opposite to charge him (Mr. Holton) with annexation tendencies. It was unjust that, at this time of day, he should be charged with disloyalty. He was as loyal as any man in Her Majesty’s broad dominions, and his loyalty was an intelligent loyalty, founded on a thorough appreciations of the blessings we derived from the system under which we lived, and a desire to preserve that system.

Some Hon. MembersCheers.

John Rose [Montreal Centre] could not allow the remarks of the member for Chateauguay [Luther Holton] to pass unnoticed. He had been often taunted with the events of 1849. In the course of no observations that he (Mr. Rose) had made on any occasion had he ever accused any member of the House with disloyalty. He had been content to allow the events that led to the signing of the annexation manifesto in 1849 to pass into oblivion. He did not, therefore, think it was fair or right that the hon. gentleman should, upon every occasion, right or wrong, direct attention to this matter.

He (Mr. Rose) had stated before that the document in question was signed under a momentary feeling of agitation and excitement, and that the sentiments therein sanctioned would not have been approved of after serious and earnest consideration of and judgment upon the subject. It was useless to recall those events, which could lead to no good result, but merely to that strife and recrimination which could not possibly advance the interests of the country. He believed the people of Canada were all animated by the same sentiment of loyalty. He never impugned any man’s loyalty, and would not suffer his own to be called in question.

He was not pusillanimous enough, although a younger man than the member for Chateauguay [Luther Holton], during the annexation excitement, to say he was led or dragged into it by others, and thus endeavor to shrink from the responsibility of this course at that time. What he (Mr. R.) did at that time was done under strong excitement, and he now saw it was wrong. His sole object in supporting this resolution was that the whole country, in which we all had just pride, should be defended in such a way as military men considered best.

He was not actuated by any feeling in favor of Montreal, or by any sectional motive whatever. He did not think as to whether the Western Peninsula, Montreal, Quebec or any place should be defended, being willing to trust this matter to the Government. He did not think this was the proper place or time to discuss the details of defence.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear

Luther Holton [Chateauguay] said he was not the aggressor. He had sat silent under a number of attacks and insinuations on this subject—not it was true from his hon. friend from Montreal Centre [John Rose], but from other hon. gentlemen, and from their organs of the press. He had no desire to shrink from the responsibility of his own acts, but he did not wish to be maligned or misrepresented. The other evening the hon, member for Drummond and Arthabaska (Mr. J.B.E. Dorion) made a two hours’ speech on Confederation—which had been condensed into three or four inches and travestied into a declaration in favor of annexation; and he, (Mr. Holton) having had occasion to say “hear, hear,” to some remarks about the good management of the New York Canals, was represented as having cheered the hon. member already mentioned (Mr. J.B.E. Dorion) in annexation sentiments. He did not, of course, pretend to hold hon. gentleman opposite personally responsible for these things; but he held that, in a party point of view, they were responsible. He had submitted to things of this kind in silence hitherto, by the was determined to repel them once and forever.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

George-Étienne Cartier [Montreal East, Attorney-General East] said he could not now recall, by the aid of his own memory, what part of the speech of the hon. member for Drummond and Arthabaska [Jean-Baptiste-Éric Dorion] it was that the hon. member for Chateauguay (Mr. Holton) had applauded. He did, however, recollect that the main object of the speech of the hon, member for Arthabaska (Mr. J.B.E. Dorion) was to show that we ought not to go into Confederation, that it would be burthernsome, and he had proceeded to shew that it would be far more costly to us than annexation.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—No, no.

Jean-Baptiste-Éric Dorion [Drummond & Arthabaska]—I deny what you state.

George-Étienne Cartier [Montreal East, Attorney-General East] went on to say that, if there was anything in the state of New York which was grossly mismanaged it was the canals.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

George-Étienne Cartier [Montreal East, Attorney-General East]—There was, in fact, nothing in the Union so mismanaged as these canals. He (Mr. Cartier) thought he was at least as conversant with the subject as his hon. friend for Chateuaguay (Mr. Holton) and he could say that they were worse than even the Canadian canals under the management of the hon. member for Cornwall [John Sandfield Macdonald].

Some Hon. MembersLaughter.

George-Étienne Cartier [Montreal East, Attorney-General East]—He was therefore surprised to find the hon. member admitting that he had applauded statements relative to the alleged good management of these canals, when he ought to be aware of the great corruption which canal influence in the State of New York had brought about.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

George-Étienne Cartier [Montreal East, Attorney-General East]—The hon. gentleman went on to relate the history of the rise and progress of canal influence and remarked that it was so strong that it had succeeded in having a tax placed on the New York Central and the Erie and Dunkirk Roads, with a view of crushing any adverse interest.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Jean-Baptiste-Éric Dorion [Drummond & Arthabaska] disputed the accuracy of the details given by the Hon. Attorney-General East [George-Étienne Cartier] relative to the New York Canals. He desired, in reference to a statement made by his hon. friend the member for Chateauguay (Mr. Holton) to say that the statement of that hon. gentleman as to the portion of his remarks at which he had said “hear, hear,” was correct.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Carling [London] said he had no desire to detain the House at this late hour, but he nevertheless thought it right to make a few remarks before recording his vote. He regretted exceedingly that the Government had not been able to bring down Col. Jervois’s complete report, inasmuch as he thought it would have allayed a great deal of misapprehension in this country. About a year ago there had been a discussion in the Imperial Legislature and articles in the leading journals, the purport of which was that the Western Peninsula could not be defended; and the result at the time was that the troops had been withdrawn from that part of the country. The statements then made and the action which was subsequently taken had produced a very bad effect. The portion of Col. Jervois’s report, which had been published, spoke of the importance of the fortifications of Quebec and Montreal, but did not say a word about the western peninsula. He therefore regretted that we had not the whole report. He was prepared, however, to accept the guarantee of the Government that the defence of every part of the country would receive attention, and that the western peninsula would not be neglected.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Carling [London]—He therefore cheerfully voted for the appropriation sought for by the Hon. Finance Minister [Alexander Galt], but he hoped that that hon. gentleman would press on the Home Government the desirability of meeting us in a proper spirit, and the necessity of aiding us in any difficulty which might unfortunately arise.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear, and cheers.

Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke, Minister of Finance] said he had no difficulty, whatever, in replying to any request for information as to the intention of the Government. He would speak in the most explicit terms. The intention of the Government was to send delegates to England, one of whose most important duties would be to discuss with the Imperial Government the question of defence, in all its bearings, and to ascertain the proportion of liability which should be borne by the colonies and mother-country respectively. It was not the intention of the Government to apply that money until after we had been in communication with the Imperial Government on the very important matter of defence. We have already stated distinctly that we believe it is necessary we should confer with the Imperial Government as to how the country should be defended. The feeling of the people at large, and the tone of this debate showed that the people of this Province were willing to do their full share; but there was a clear responsibility on the part of their fellow-subjects in England, and this was what we were prepared to discuss and decide.

We wish, however, to be able to show the Imperial Government that our Parliament was fully alive to any possible emergency, and had fully determined to prepare for it—not sending us home penniless, but supporting the resolution, putting us in a position to show the good will of the people of Canada by acts and not by words alone. If there was not a shilling at our disposal how could we presume to go before the Imperial Government and say we were willing to undertake our fair share of the burthen of protecting this country from invasion? Why did we adopt the course we now pursued? Because we did not desire to proceed in an incomplete unsatisfactory or useless manner, but to be able, after a full discussion and thorough understanding of the whole matter to present a complete and effective scheme of defence.

Some Hon. MembersCheers.

Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke, Minister of Finance]—It was folly to say that, with small driblets meted out to us, we could undertake the proper defence of the country. We could only act efficiently with the full sanction and authority of Parliament. He, therefore, hoped the House would accept the assurance now given it on this matter. If ever there was a time when it was necessary for us to be armed with full powers for the defence of the country it was now. There never was a moment so fraught with consequences as the present, and the relations between the mother-country and the colony must be understood and settled at once. One hour of war would entail a far greater loss upon us than even the expenditure of this million of dollars asked for. The question was—how could peace be best preserved? Not certainly by holding out a bait to our neighbors, but by letting them know they would be met in the frontier by the men, arms and resources, power and wealth—not of Canada alone but of the whole Empire.

England must and would help us, unless she was prepared to see her tide of conquest recede and her own existence as the bulwark of civil and religious liberty imperilled. It was for the representatives of Canada to show we were worthy of the British connexion. The basis of all our liberty was the defence of the institutions we enjoyed, and, if we were not prepared to defend them we were unworthy or their long possession.

Some Hon. MembersCheers.

François Evanturel [Quebec County] said that, as a French Canadian he called upon the Opposition, after the speech of the Hon. Finance Minister [Alexander Galt], after the declaration that hon. gentleman had made—in the name of the people at large, in the name of his countrymen he called upon to withdraw their amendment.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear and cheers.

François Evanturel [Quebec County]—He trusted his hon. friend (Mr. Dorion) would withdraw the amendment and would allow the resolution to be carried unanimously. If hon. gentlemen persisted in their determination to oppose this resolution, he thought they would have reason to regret that they had not better represented the feelings of the people of Upper and Lower Canada.

Some Hon. MembersLoud cheers.

Antoine-Aimé Dorion [Hochelaga] said he was quite prepared to hear the clap-trap which the Hon. Finance Minister [Alexander Galt] had indulged in, but he certainly did not expect to hear such an outburst of military ardor from his hon. friend from the County of Quebec [François Evanturel]. The hon. gentleman went on to contend that Ministers and their supporters had failed to make out such a case with regard to this resolution as would warrant the House in supporting them.

Amendment [Antoine-Aimé Dorion]: That the resolution before the House be not now concurred in, but that it be resolved that inasmuch as sums exceeding one million dollars have already been expended on the militia and volunteers, this House, although recognizing the necessity of defending the country, cannot authorize the expenditure of a large sum for permanent fortifications, without knowing full details—the nature of the proposed works, where they are to be constructed, what they will cost, and what is the proportion of the burthen which we are called upon to bear.[5]

The amendment was then put to the vote and rejected on a division—Yeas 21, Nays 93.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall] then moved in amendment that the following words be added to the resolution

“That while this House are unwilling to refuse their consent to a grant of money for the defence of the country, if it be recommended by the responsible advisers of the Crown, they, nevertheless, express regret that full information has not been afforded to Parliament, as well as explanations as to the necessity for such an enormous outlay, which the Provincial Legislature is now called on for the first time to concur in, and which will, inevitably, tend to entail vast additional burdens on the country; and this House is, furthermore, of opinion that no portion of the said grant should be expended until information as to the nature and cost of the various works proposed should be submitted to Parliament.”

The hon. gentleman contended that the Government, notwithstanding their loud protestations, had been extremely remiss in this matter of defence. The same urgency which, they alleged, existed now had existed months ago. Many months ago they had Col. Jervois’ report before them, and yet they raised a cry now about the necessity for immediate action, and denounced as wanting in loyalty all who were not of their way of thinking. These attacks on the subject of loyalty were of the most unwarranted and gratuitous order. He thought it was particularly unbecoming in the Hon. Minister of Agriculture (Mr. McGee) to lecture hon. gentlemen about loyalty. The hon. member went on to read a poem written by the Hon. Minister of Agriculture [Thomas D’Arcy McGee] some years ago, entitled “The Celt at Niagara,” in which the British flag was spoken of as a “cursed flag.”

Some Hon. Members—Oh, oh, and laughter.

George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council] expressed his surprise that an hon. gentleman who had been a leader of the Government, like the hon. member for Cornwall [John Sandfield Macdonald], persisted in stating that reports and despatches on the defence question ought to have been brought down, and to attack hon. gentlemen on the side of the House, after they declared they did not believe they would be justified in bringing down such information. It was improper in the hon. member to do so, and it was unworthy of the hon. gentleman’s position as an old statesman.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Thomas D’Arcy McGee [Montreal West, Minister of Agriculture and Statistics] said that the hon. member for Cornwall (Mr. J.S. Macdonald) had done him the honor of reading some juvenile poetry written by him many years ago.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall]—Seven or eight years ago only!

Thomas D’Arcy McGee [Montreal West, Minister of Agriculture and Statistics]—Sixteen years ago, and the hon. member should bear in mind that, in Ireland, one was considered a boy until he was married.

Some Hon. MembersLaughter.

Thomas D’Arcy McGee [Montreal West, Minister of Agriculture and Statistics]—But he did not believe that the hon. member for Cornwall ever was a boy. He believed that, like the Duke of Gloster, he had come into the world with his eye-teeth out, and that he had eaten a crust on the second day of his existence.

Some Hon. MembersRoars of laughter.

Thomas D’Arcy McGee [Montreal West, Minister of Agriculture and Statistics]—The hon. gentleman was mistaken. He (Mr. McGee) has no desire to lecture him on loyalty, but he might lecture him on honor, and honesty, and propriety, he might lecture him on acts which resulted in obtaining a choice of exist between the door and the window.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall]—What do you mean?

Thomas D’Arcy McGee [Montreal West, Minister of Agriculture and Statistics] said he would lecture him on putting eyes to key-holes; he would lecture him on right and wrong.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall]—Speak out. Explain your meaning.

Thomas D’Arcy McGee [Montreal West, Minister of Agriculture and Statistics] said he would not insult the House; he would not go into details, but he would make this offer to the hon. gentleman—he (Mr. McGee) would take a friend with him and go into a room with the hon. member for Cornwall [John Sandfield Macdonald], accompanied by any friend he might select, and he would convince him that he had spoken truly. The witnesses were within reach, and he was prepared at any moment to fulfil the offer he had made to the hon. gentleman.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Thomas D’Arcy McGee [Montreal West, Minister of Agriculture and Statistics]—He would convict that hon. gentleman—not of writing rebel poetry in his youth, but of indefensible acts in his manhood.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Thomas D’Arcy McGee [Montreal West, Minister of Agriculture and Statistics]—He would not inflict these things on the House, but he made an offer and he would hold to it.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear, and cheers.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall] said he looked with contempt on any assertion made by the Hon. Minister of Agriculture [Thomas D’Arcy McGee], but he defied that hon. gentleman, or any other person to prove that he had committed any act of which he had reason to feel ashamed.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear, and cheers.

John Pope [Compton] and Alexander Mackenzie [Lambton] spoke briefly in favor of the resolution.

Thomas Scatcherd [Middlesex West] spoke against it.

Amendment [John Sandfield Macdonald]: “That while this House are unwilling to refuse their consent to a grant of money for the defence of the country, if it be recommended by the responsible advisers of the Crown, they, nevertheless, express regret that full information has not been afforded to Parliament, as well as explanations as to the necessity for such an enormous outlay, which the Provincial Legislature is now called on for the first time to concur in, and which will, inevitably, tend to entail vast additional burdens on the country; and this House is, furthermore, of opinion that no portion of the said grant should be expended until information as to the nature and cost of the various works proposed should be submitted to Parliament.”[6]

The question was then put on John Sandfield Macdonald’s [Cornwall] amendment which was lost on a division: Yeas 16, Nays 84.

1. Resolved, That there be granted, for the completion of the several services of the Government not otherwise provided for, for the remainder of the Financial year ending 30th June, 1865, and for the first quarter of the year ending 30th June, 1866, a sum not exceeding $2,000,000 00.

2. Resolved, That there be granted, for the permanent Defence of the Country, a sum not exceeding $1,000,000 00.[7]

The resolution itself was then carried—Yeas 84, Nays 16.

[1] Source: Journals of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada (15 March 1865), pp. 227. Inserted for clarity. Not part of original article.

[2] Reinserted from earlier in the debates for clarity sake.

[3] Source: Journals of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada (15 March 1865), pp. 227. Inserted for clarity. Not part of original article.

[4] The full resolution reads, “That all the words after ‘That,’ to the end the Question be left out, and the words ‘the sums already granted for the Militia and for the Volunteer Force employed on the frontier, for the current year, and for the first quarter of the next financial year, exceed $1,000,000, and that this House, whilst declaring that it will always be disposed to grant whatever sums may be necessary to ensure the proper defence of the Country nevertheless believes that it cannot, without abdicating its right to control the public expenditure, authorize a large expenditure for permanent defences, until the Government shall have informed this House as to what works of defence are intended to be constructed, what will be the probable cost of such works, and what is the proportion to be paid by this Provinces’ inserted thereof.” Journals, p. 229.

[5] Reinserted from earlier for clarity.

[6] Reinserted for clarity.

[7] Source: Source: Journals of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada (15 March 1865), pp. 227. Inserted for clarity. Not part of original article.

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