Province of Canada, Legislative Assembly, 8th Parl, 4th Sess (18 August 1865)


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Date: 1865-08-18
By: Province of Canada (Parliament), Morning Chronicle
Citation: “Provincial Parliament. Legislative Assembly. Friday, August 18th” [Quebec] Morning Chronicle (19 August 1865).
Other formats: Click here to view the original document (PDF).
Note: All endnotes come from our recent publication, Charles Dumais & Michael Scott (ed.), The Confederation Debates in the Province of Canada (CCF, 2022).


LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY

FRIDAY, AUGUST 18, 1865[1]

William McDougall [Lanark North, Provincial Secretary], one of Her Majesty’s Executive Council, presented, pursuant to Addresses to His Excellency the Governor General [Viscount Monck],—Return to an Address of the Legislative Assembly, dated 10th August, 1865;

For Copies of all Correspondence since the beginning of last Session, between the Government of Canada and the Governments of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, in relation to the Confederation of the British North American Provinces. (Sessional Papers, No. 9.)[2]

The Report of the Committee of Supply

Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke, Minister of Finance] moved

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

Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke, Minister of Finance]—The hon. gentleman, in making this motion, said he might state generally that every exertion was being made to bring down the financial statement and estimates at the earliest possible moment. He hoped to be able to place the ordinary estimates before the House on Tuesday next. Those items of the estimates most likely to produce a protracted discussion, he would not be able to bring down till Friday next; and on that occasion, he proposed on Committee of Ways and Means, to make the financial statement. On Tuesday, he proposed to bring down those items of supply which were likely to pass without more than a trifling discussion, and to endeavor to proceed with them as far as the House would consent thereto.

The hon. member for Chateauguay [Luther Holton] was aware he (Mr. G.) must get the concurrence of the House to an item at least, before it could go into a Committee of Ways and Means. With the view of its not being postponed till Friday, a notice was placed on the paper for Tuesday next, that the Government would, on Thursday next, ask that this measure have precedence after half-past seven o’clock. This motion would be made on Tuesday, with the view of having the necessary steps taken in order to the financial statement being made on Friday.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay] rose for information. Government had announced that it was not proposed to invite the House to sanction any material change this session in the vacation of the country, or make any addition to the present burdens of the people. Well, it was unfortunately true, and generally known, that the revenue at present was not equal to the expenditure—that a deficit of greater or lesser magnitude existed in the financial collections of last year, as compared with the expenditure. It was equally patent that at the present value of our securities, no loan in England could be undertaken by us successfully.

Now, there was some anxiety to know—whether the Government would propose an emission of paper, whether in the form of exchequer bills or debentures, with the view of their passing with the currency of the country, and being therein absorbed. This has been the inference from our present finical condition. The House were promised last session that the report of Mr. Fleming on the Intercolonial Railroad[3] would be printed and distributed to the members during the recess, unless some important reason interfered. He was sorry this had not been done. He thought the report should have been on the table before the House was invited to go into the Committee of Supply, and also the report of the Commission, with the evidence on the subject of the Postal Subsidy. He heard that copies had been in the hands of private parties for some time, implying disrespect to the House, to whom copies had not yet been handed.

Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke, Minister of Finance] said that with reference to the first point, he was quite sure the hon. member would not ask him to state now what he (Mr. G.) intended to do as to the financial question. He would assure the member for Chateauguay [Luther Holton] that he continued “a hard money bigot,” as the Hon. Mr. Buchanan had called him; but the mode in which the principles of such a character were to be applied, he (Mr. G.) would have to reserve till he made his financial statement.

As to Mr. Fleming’s report, it had not reached the delegates to England[4] when they left Canada, and he had not had an opportunity of seeing it till within a few days. Some delay in the distribution of the report had taken place from the maps which were to accompany it not having been furnished the Government. He thought they would, however, be able to bring the report down on Thursday. The delay had arisen from causes beyond the Government’s control.

William McDougall [Lanark North, Provincial Secretary] said that the evidence accompanying the postal report was taken and printed from day to day as the business proceeded, and this was how a portion had appeared in the public papers.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay] did not refer to what was published by the newspapers, but to copies of the report with the accompanying evidence having been furnished to private parties by the Government. He (Mr. Holton), however, had not been able to procure a copy.

William McDougall [Lanark North, Provincial Secretary] said this was a case in which certain parties, railway companies, and a few others, only got the report, by which it became a public document, but through no other channel. He was not aware how the printed evidence got into the hands of private parties.

The motions carried.

Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke, Minister of Finance] moved

That, on Tuesday next, the House do resolve itself into the Committee, to consider of the supply.

Carried.

Both Houses of Parliament

Antoine-Aimé Dorion [Hochelaga] moved

The second reading of the bill to amend Chapter three Consolidated Statutes [of] Canada, intituled “An Act containing special provisions concerning both houses of the Provincial Parliament.”

George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council] said he was compelled to oppose the passing of the bill on precisely the same grounds upon which he had opposed the measure which had for its effect to change the election law, last evening. He was not, of course, opposed to the principle of the present bill—on the contrary, he had had a great deal to do in the work of framing it—although it contained in its present shape one or two clauses of which he did not approve.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council]—What he did say, however, was that if we were not now called upon to consider the merits of the measure at all—what we had to look at was the inadvisability of making any change whatever now when the whole subject must necessarily come up again, in a very short time, in view of the question of Confederation. Hon. gentlemen opposite must know too that a bill of this kind should come from the Government. The only desire of those who pressed it was to embarrass the Government. Under these circumstances, he (Mr. Brown) would have to move, as he had done last evening, in reference to the other bill,—

That the bill be not now read a second, and that the subject be not taken into consideration until the 1st March, 1866.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

A lengthy discussion ensued, Hon. Messrs. Dorion, Holton and Huntington attacking the Government for opposing a bill which they admitted to be good in principle; and arguing that if the change in the law proposed by the measure now under discussion was likely to be productive of good at any time, it should be adopted now.

Finally the vote was taken, resulting in the postponement—

That the bill be not now read a second, and that the subject be not taken into consideration until the 1st March, 1866[5].

—of consideration of the bill,—

The second reading of the bill to amend Chapter three Consolidated Statutes [of] Canada, intituled “An Act containing special provisions concerning both houses of the Provincial Parliament.”[6]

—on the following division:—

YEAS

Messrs.

Alleyn
Archambault
Ault
Bell
Blanchet
Bown
Brown
Burwell
Caron
Cartier (Attorney-General)
Cartwright
Chambers
Chapais
Cockburn
Cornellier
De Boucherville
Dufresne (Montcalm)
Dunsford
Ferguson (Simcoe South)
Galt
Gaudet
Gaucher
Harwood
Haultain
Higginson
Howland
Irvine
Jones (Leeds & Grenville North)
Langevin
Le Boutillier
Mackenzie (Lambton)
Mackenzie (Oxford North)
McConkey
McDougall
McIntyre
McKellar
Magill
Morris
Munro
Parker
Pinsonneault
Pope
Poupore
Rankin
Rémillard
Robitaille
Rose
Ross (Dundas)
Scoble
Shanly
Smith (Toronto East)
Stirton
Sylvain
Taschereau
Tremblay
Wells
White
Wilson
and Wright (York East)—59.

NAYS

Messrs.

Biggar
Bourassa
Cameron (Ontario North)
Caron
Coupal
Dorion (Hochelaga)
Dorion (Drummond & Arthabaska)
Dufresne (Iberville)
Dunkin
Geoffrion
Hilton
Houde
Huntington
Labrèche-Viger
Laframboise
Lajoie
Macdonald (Glengarry)
Macdonald (Toronto West)
O’Halloran
Paquet
Perrault
Ross (Prince Edward)
Scatcherd
Thibaudeau
Wallbridge (Hastings North)—25.

As soon as the division had been taken, there was decided inclination to adjourn on the part of many hon. members, and cries of “adjourn” arose from all parts of the House. There were however, counter-cries of “go on,” “six o’clock.”

Christopher Dunkin [Brome] moved the adjournment, but opposition was made to the motion, and the hour of recess having arrived, the Speaker left the Chair.

The Legislative Assembly adjourned for dinner recess.

After the recess—

[…]

Rate on Interest

François Bourassa [St. Johns] moved

The second reading of the bill to amend the act respecting interest.

Some Hon. MembersCheers of “carried,” “oh, oh” and laughter.

George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council] suggested that the bill might be read a second time and sent to the Committee on Banking and Commerce.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay] taunted the Government with their position on this bill; and wished to know why it was they did not propose to postpone consideration of it until next session, as they had done respecting the important subject of the election law and the law relating to members of the legislature. They advocated and carried postponement last night, because the Hon. Attorney General East [George-Étienne Cartier] told them to do so—to night they dare not do so because that hon. gentlemen would not allow them.

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

François Bourassa [St. Johns] would not accept the suggestion of the Hon. President of the Council [George Brown]. He had no desire that his bill should go before the committee on Banking and Commerce; and would therefore persist in his motion for the second reading—intending to follow it up with a motion to refer the bill to a select committee.

Fitzwilliam Chambers [Brockville] was, in principle, favor of limiting the rate of interest, and intended to introduce a bill, himself on the subject.

Thomas McConkey [Simcoe North] was opposed entirely to the principle of the bill, from his own experience in this matter, and would, therefore, move the six months hoist.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—Oh no! move to postpone it until the 1st March.

Christopher Dunkin [Brome]—Yes, the 1st of March.

Some Hon. MembersCheers.

Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke, Minister of Finance] seconded the motion.

Thomas Scatcherd [Middlesex West] believed that much of the misfortune which had befallen the farmers of Upper Canada was occasioned by the facility with which they could borrow money, and the exorbitant rate of interest they had had to pay for it. He was convinced, then, that it was necessary to fix the rate of interest at a reasonable figure, and would, therefore, oppose the amendment and support the bill.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall] commented upon the evils which had resulted to the agriculture class from the facilities for borrowing money at ruinous rates of interest, remarking when the extravagant habits engendered by reckless borrowing and the expectation of rapid fortune, in consequence of the construction of the Grand Trunk Railway. He would go with the Majority of this House in limiting the rate of interest to the lowest figure. He would vote against the hoist and for the bill.

Alexander Morris [Lanark South] thought the serious objection to the present state of the law was that it legalised the most extravagant rates of interest, amounting to the greatest extortion. He would vote against the six months hoist and for the bill.

John Macdonald [Toronto West] said the question was—was money a commodity or not? The law might reduce the rate to five or even four per cent., but the extortionate lender would continue to get 25 or 50 per cent. He thought it was improper and impracticable to endeavour to restrict trading operations by fixing the rate of interest, which could no more be regulated by statute than the price of sugar. He would vote against the bill.

Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke, Minister of Finance] said there was nothing in the nature of things to prove that 6 per cent. should be the rate of interest, or that this was a better figure then any other for money lent. If any rate at all be fixed it was likely to produce an injurious effect. It was fallacious to state, as the honorable member for Cornwall [John Sandfield Macdonald] had done, that facilities for borrowing money were injurious to the farmer or the poor man. It was opposed to experience and common sense to say that the parties who, during the existence of usury laws, ran the risk of losing both principal and interest, did not and would not exact higher rates when they lent their money.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke, Minister of Finance]—We should not throw any shackles upon the operations of capital, but give it the greatest liberty possible in matters of trade. Unless we throw as wide open as possible the door for the introduction of capital, we could never expect to see it in the country in large volume. As to the argument that farmers would borrow at exorbitant rates, it must be evident that this class were the best pledges of what they could pay for the loan of money. Let use encourage the influx of money, because when it flowed into the land, the rate of interest would be reduced to and retained at a proper figure, by the law of competition and supply.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke, Minister of Finance]—He was opposed to going back to such antiquated and fallacious methods as fixing the rate of Interest by public statute.

Thomas Parker [Wellington North] concurred in the views so lucidly expressed by the Hon. Minister of Finance [Alexander Galt]. He did not believe we could manage to fix the rate of interest by law, inasmuch as there were so many modes of evading it. The effect of the proposed legislation would only be to increase the price of money in account of the risk which lenders would incur. Another bad effect of limitation would be to drive all the floating capital out of the country, because people would naturally seek other and more profitable channels of investment. Not only would it do this, but it would prevent forgiven capital from coming into the country. The bill would defeat its own object—it would increase the difficulties of the poor man in his efforts to obtain money, instead of affording him facilities. He would therefore vote for the amendment and against the second reading.

Christopher Dunkin [Brome] ridiculed the Government for pursuing a course on this bill which was utterly inconsistent with the position they assumed last night on another question. We were told that there was to be a Confederate Council[7] here next month, on subjects of trade. Now, what on earth could be more intimately connected with trade than the rate of interest on money? Why therefore did not hon. gentleman on the Treasury benches refer this subject to the proposed council.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Christopher Dunkin [Brome]—The hon. gentleman went on to point out what he considered, required not amendment merely, but revising from beginning to end. He pointed out that such corporations as building societies, trust and loan companies, &c., exacted the most ruinous rates of interest—from precisely that class of the population who were least able to beat such burdens. We would do very little good until we found some Government courageous enough to grapple with the subject, and thoroughly reform the law. At the same time he would vote for the bill now under discussion, because he believed it went a very little way in the right direction.

Richard Cartwright [Lennox and Addington] did not enforces all that the hon. member for Brome (Mr. Dunkin) had said, although there were many portions of it which contained undeniable facts. He could say that there was a great deal of usury in the agricultural districts, and if he were sure that the proposed repression would have the effect of remedying the evil, he would support it. He also concurred in the remarks made as to the rather anomalous state of our law in the subject of money at the present moment, and thought it would be highly desirable that the government of the country should undertake the revision of the law.

Thomas Wallbridge [Hastings North] thought the Hon. Finance’s Minister’s [Alexander Galt] arguments were fallacious—being based apparently upon theories and not upon practice. The great mistake was in supposing that money was wealth. It was not wealth—it was the representative of wealth.

Alexander Smith [Toronto East] said that if a measure could really be framed, as suggested by the hon. member for Brome (Mr. Dunkin), which would have the effect of preventing the money-lending cormorants from extorting eighteen or twenty per cent from the unfortunate farmer, he would support it, or he would be prepared to support a measure giving us unlimited free trade in money.

James O’Halloran [Missisquoi] said he did not approve of the principle of the bill, and had heard nothing to show it should be carried into law. It was unreasonable to say that a man who lent money on doubtful security should not be allowed to charge a rate of interest sufficient to protect him against the risk attending the transaction. He considered it highly absurd to endeavour to fix the rate of interest by legislation. He would vote against the bill.

Henri Taschereau [Beauce] was glad to see that the bill was like to pass, despite the motion for the six months’ hoist. There was no doubt the French-Canadian population of Lower Canada were unanimous in support of the principle off the measure. He failed entirely to see the force of the argument that we should not attempt to restrain usury, because, forsooth, usurers would ply their calling, despite any prohibitory legislation. This was most fallacious reasoning. We might just as well be told, that because there were thieves despite the laws against theft, we should pass an act in order to legalize dishonesty.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Henri Taschereau [Beauce]—In accordance with the popular opinion of the country, and of his own convictions on the subject, he would vote for the bill, and against the motion for the six months’ hoist.

Archibald McKellar [Kent] did not think the bill would have the object which the prompted alleged—namely the relief of the agricultural class. He had observed, in regard to this bill, that most its supporters were lawyers. The complaint had hitherto been not the high rate of interest for money, but the largess of the lawyer’s fees incidental to the borrowing of money. The best relief to give the unfortunate borrower would be for the lawyers to cease the exaction of those enormous fees charged for effecting loans through societies. Let the lawyers who professed such sympathy for the poor borrower cut down their fees from $20 and $30 to $5. He believed the effect of this bill would be to bring about an increase of the rates of interest and of the burdens of the needy borrowers. He would, with these views, oppose to bill.

George-Étienne Cartier [Montreal East, Attorney-General East] was of opinion that the legislation of 1858 should have been confined to the abrogation of usury laws in regard to commercial transactions. He thought that we should allow complete freedom to prevail as to the rate of interest, with regard to commercial transactions. Why not take up the law of 1858 int elation to other commercial men? We ought to adopt a compromise in this matter. Let the rate of interest be fixed at 6 per cent; and, beyond that, allow a certain margin, but not to exceed 8 per cent; and as to those loans at the latter rate, they should only be for one year.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

George-Étienne Cartier [Montreal East, Attorney-General East]—He was willing to vote for complete freedom as to the rate of interest on loans in commercial transaction, to be only loans for 12 months; and as to loans on mortgages and such other securities on the part of corporations, etc., he was willing that 6 per cent. should be the rate, with a margin, however, in certain, of 8 per cent, on loans to be only for year.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay] was unwilling to declare by his vote that nothing should be done on the subject. He believed the present law required very great change, and he would therefore vote for the second reading of the bill now under discussion, and for sending it to a committee hoping that some good would result from it. He was glad to learn from the speech of his hon. friend the Attorney General East [George-Étienne Cartier] that some legislation upon this subject might preceded with, notwithstanding the course he had taken so recently on two other important matters. The fact, however, was that if hon. gentleman opposite were correct in the course they took deferring the other subjects, then this matter, more than all other, should be deferred in order that the laws of all Provinces should be uniform on the subject. The hon. gentleman concluded by taunting the supporters of the Government with the position in which they stood upon this and other measures.

Francis Jones [Leeds & Grenville North] believed that the farmers of Upper Canada were strongly in favor of this bill, and many petitions had been sent here from time to time praying that the rate of interest be fixed. The United Counties of Leeds and Greenville, a few days ago, directed a petition to be forwarded to Parliament asking that the rate of interest be fixed at 7 per cent. He did not approve of this figure, but would make it 8 per cent. The money of the country was principally in the hands of a few capitalist who fit not scruple to change for it 30, 40 and even 50 per cent. He know of a case the other fay where a farmer had been obliged to consent to the payment of 54 per cent. Now, if the House fixed a certain rate, most capitalists, finding they were prohibited by law from charging the present usurious rates would lend their money at the Government rate, which would be of great advantage to the farming community and those other compelled to borrow. He would vote for the present bill.

John S. Ross [Dundas] could not concur in the remarks of the Finance Minister [Alexander Galt]. He believed the present law was working very injuriously in the agricultural portions of the community. Members talked of the importance of encouraging the influx of money at any rate. He believed that it would be for the interest of the borrower and community generally, to shut out money for which parties must pay 15 and 20 per cent interest. He did not believe the prosperity of the country depended on foreign capital coming here, but upon the amount of the goods and commodities we produced in the country. No business he knew of in Canada could afford more than 8 per cent on loans; and the facility of lending money at exorbitant rates of interest prevented capitalists embarking their means in trade and manufactures. The Government ought to take up this whole subject of interest on money and bring in a proper measure as early as possible.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council], after replying to the honorable Mr. Holton’s personal remarks, said that no law could prevent, abuses, doubtless, but there were ten times as many before his (Mr. Brown’s) bill was passed in 1858. If people were so foolish as to give 15, 20 or 50 per cent interest for usury, no law would make them wise, or prevent them from giving more than the legal rate. He contended that money in Canada was abundant, and all the capital needed for manufacturing enterprises was forthcoming, when the least promise of a return was evident. No law the House could pass could override the laws of trade, or make anything exchangeable for more than it was worth. People talked of the necessity of protecting the farmers; but from his knowledge of his countrymen he could say that a sharper set of men or a set more capable of protecting their interests, he never saw.

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

George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council]—He thought this bill was the most absurd that could be proposed.

[After some further remarks from Hon. Mr. Brown, in reply to Hon. J.S. Macdonald, and Mr. Dunkin’s arguments, Hon. Mr. J.S. Macdonald spoke in answer to Mr. Brown and Hon. Mr. Dorion afterwards supported the measure.]

Finally, the division was taken on the six months’ hoist which was lost, on the following division:

YEAS

Bell (Russell)
Biggar
Bown
Brown
Barwell
Cameron (Ontario North)
Carling
Dickson
Dunsford
Galt
Higginson
Howland
Jackson
Magill
Macdonald (Toronto West)
Mackenzie (Lambton)
Mackenzie (Oxford North)
McConkey
McKellar
O’Halloran
Parker
Pope
Scoble
Somerville
Stirton
Wells
Wilson
Wright (York East)—28.

NAYS

Archambault
Ault
Blanchet
Bourassa
Brousseau
Caron
Cartier (Attorney-General)
Cartwright
Chambers
Chapais
Cockburn
Cornellier
Coupal
De Boucherville
Denis
Dorion (Drummond & Arthabaska)
Ducket
Dufresne (Iberville)
Dufresne (Montcalm)
Dunkin
Ferguson (Simcoe South)
Gaudet
Harwood
Hilton
Houde
Huot
Haultain
Jones (Leeds & Grenville North)
Labrèche-Viger
Laframboise
Lajoie
Langevin
Macdonald (Cornwall)
Morris
Munro
Paquette
Perrault
Pinsonneault
Pope
Powell
Rémillard
Robitaille
Ross (Dundas)
Ross (Prince Edward)
Scatcherd
Shanly
Smith (Toronto East)
Taschereau
Wallbridge (Hastings North)
White—52.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay] arose to make a personal explanation. He had been charged by the Hon. President of the Council [George Brown] with having been uniformly in favor of a union of the Provinces and with having uniformly voted against it.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—The hon. gentleman went on the say:— I ask him when did I so express himself? I deny having even uttered an opinion in favor of the Confederation of these Provinces as a measure of present practical policy. I could shew, if time would allow, that the Hon. President of Council [George Brown] has denounced that measure time and again as no remedy for the evils which existed in the country. I call upon him, either to substantiate the statement he has made or to retract it broadly and unqualifiedly. I have admitted that the operation of the federal principle might be a remedy for the difficulties of these two Provinces, but I have not approved of Confederation.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council] appealed to every member of this House, if the hon. gentleman had not established by his own speech every word of the charge. He had admitted that he had a hand in the companion of the Reform manifesto[8], which was signed by the leaders of the party to which the hon. gentleman belonged. He (Mr. Brown) knew that at the conference and elsewhere, he had stated that the Federal principle was the very best to adopt in settlement of the difficulties of the Province.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council]—He had not only done this, but had expressed a hope that those principles would be applied as regarded the other Provinces. He (Mr. Brown) only spoke of the hon. gentleman’s public opinions, which were that this difficulty should be settled upon a basis of representation by population, with checks and guarantees.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—I was in favor of what?

George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council]—In favor of constitutional changes, all tending to the Confederation of the Provinces.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—Oh! Oh!

Some Hon. MembersOpposition dissent.

George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council] said the hon. gentleman had denounced him (Mr. B) as a traitor to his party and principles, while and because he was trying to carry out those principles which that hon. gentleman himself had professed for years. His course in this had been contemptible. He had admitted that he (Mr. Brown) could not do otherwise than join this Government to carry out the principles he had so long advocated. He professed great sympathy with the people of Upper Canada just now when he ought to mind his own business and the people of Lower Canada.

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

Antoine-Aimé Dorion [Hochelaga] was surprised to hear the hon. President of the Council [George Brown] state that the hon. member for Chateauguay [Luther Holton] ever was in favor of Confederation. He (Mr. Dorion) had never heard him utter a word in that sense, and the reform manifesto[9]—which, by-the-way, Mr. Holton did not sign—though he (Mr. Holton) denied, and which that hon. gentleman could not prove. He desired it to be distinctly understood, that when asked to prove this statement or retract, he went into all sorts of side-issues and declarations respecting his private conduct on other occasions.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay] said he denied it, and wished to nail the hon. gentleman to the statement. His approval of the President of the Council’s [George Brown] course in entering the Ministry was expressed on the understanding that that gentleman would undertake, as he had promised to the liberal party, to get the Federation of the Canadas in the first six months, and Representation by Population and other reforms[10]. He (Mr. Holton) had said that if that hon. gentleman (Mr. Holton) disapproved of the combination, and considered the approval of the liberal party should no longer be extended to the hon. gentleman’s course.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council] denied the accuracy of the hon. gentleman’s representations, reading a portion of the resolution of the reform Convention to the effect that the true statesmanlike solution of our difficulties was to be sought in the substitution of a purely federative for the present legislative union; that the former, it was believed, would enable us to escape all the evils and retain all the advantages of the existing union; and that the proposed system could, in no way, diminish the importance of the colony or impart its credit, while it presented advantages of being susceptible, without any disturbances of the federal economy, of such territorial extension as the circumstances might render desirable.

Some Hon. MembersMinisterial cheers.

George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council]—We were carrying out now that system of territorial extension. The hon. gentleman concluded by retorting upon the hon. member for Chateauguay [Luther Holton] his charge of desertion of principle, and political dishonesty in this matter.

Antoine-Aimé Dorion [Hochelaga] again contended that there was not a word in the reform Manifesto about Confederation, but only about Federation as applied to Canada; and that the words “this scheme may be susceptible thereafter of any extension circumstances may justify”[11] did not imply an approval of the scheme of Confederation.

After some further remarks on the personal discussion, from John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall] and Christopher Dunkin [Brome], the matter dropped.

The motion for the second reading of the bill was carried, and the House adjourned at ten minutes past twelve.

Sessional Paper No. 9

RETURN

To an Address of the Honorable the Legislative Assembly, dated 10th August, 1865; for Copies of all Correspondence, since, the beginning of last Session, between the Government of Canada and the Governments of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, in relation to Confederation of the British North American Provinces.

By Command.

W. McDOUGALL,
Secretary.

SECRETARY’S OFFICE, Quebec,
18th August, 1865.

LIST OF PAPERS.

No. 1. Honorable A. H. Gordon to Lord Monck, 9th January, 1865.

No. 2. Sir R. G. Macdonnell.to Lord Monck, 9th January, 1865.

No. 3. Lord Monck to Sir R. G. Macdonnell, 18th January, 1865.

No. 4. Lord Monck to Lieutenant Governors, 30th January, 1865.

No. 5. Honorable A. H. Gordon to Lord Monck, 8th February, 1865.

No. 6. Lord Monck to Lieutenant Governors (one enclosure), 27th February, 1865.

No. 7. Sir R. G. Macdonnell to Lord Monck, 9th March, 1865.

No. 8. Lord Monck to-Lieutenant Governors (one enclosure), 20th March, 1865.

No. 9. Sir R. G. Macdonnell to Lord Monck, 4th April, 1865.

No. 10. Sir R. G. Macdonnell to Lord Monck, 10th April; 1865.

No. 11. Sir R. G. Macdonnell to Lord Monck, 3rd May, 1865.

(Copy.) Honorable A.H. Gordon to Lord Monck.

FREDERICTON, N.B., 9th January, 1865.

MY LORD,—I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your Lordship’s Despatch of the 23rd ultimo.

I have communicated that Despatch, with its, enclosures, to my Executive Council, and when I receive the advice of its Members as to the steps which in their opinion may be best calculated to give effect to the Resolutions of the Quebec Conference, I will not fail to do myself the honor of again addressing your Lordship.

I have, &C.,
(SIGNED,) ARTHUR H. GORDON.

His Excellency Viscount Monck,
&c., &c., &c.

Sir R.G. Macdonnell to Lord Monck.

(Copy.—No. 50.—Lieut. Governor’s Office.)

GOVERNMENT HOUSE,
Halifax, Nova Scotia, 9th January, 1865.

MY LORD,—I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your Lordship’s Despatch of the 23rd December, transmitting copy of the reply of Her Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State to your Lordship, expressing the views of the Queen’s Government on the Resolutions adopted by the Quebec Conference;

2. In reference to the course which your Lordship suggests for the purpose of giving effect to the instructions of Her Majesty’s Government, viz., to submit to the respective Legislatures the project of the Conference, I am in a position to state that this Government will take similar steps to those proposed to be taken in Canada, that is to say—when the papers and correspondence connected with the subject shall have been laid before Parliament, which I have summoned to meet on the 9th February, an Address to Her Majesty will be moved by the leader of the Government, praying Her Majesty to direct steps to be taken for passing an Act of the Imperial Parliament to unite the Provinces of British North America. The Resolutions of the Quebec Conference will be suggested as the general basis of such union, to be carried out in such manner as may be judged by Her Majesty’s Government most compatible with the joint interests of the Crown and of these portions of the British Empire.

3. It is evident, from the communication of the Right Honorable the Secretary of State, that Her Majesty’s Government expects to be aided in the preparation of a Bill embodying the suggestions of the Quebec Conference, by Deputations from the respective Provinces. It also appears to myself and the Members of my Government that to avoid the probable multiplied divergence of opinion in each Legislature—inseparable from discussing a great variety of details in several independent Parliaments—despite of a general agreement in the main objects and principles of the general scheme, it is better for these Provinces to avail themselves of the friendly arbitrament of the Queen’s Government, and send Delegates to consult with the latter during preparation of the proposed Imperial Bill. The peculiar views of each Legislature might, if necessary, find appropriate expression in instructions to the Delegates from each.

4. This seems the wisest and most complete mode of disposing of all questions of Prerogative, as well as of all suggested amendments of the Quebec Resolutions. On all such points, I and my Council feel that the simplest and most effectual mode of serving these Provinces is to confide in the wisdom, discretion, and friendly disposition of the Imperial Government.

5. Any other course appears to this Government calculated to open a door to the renewal not of one but of as many Conference as there are distinct Legislatures. Such a course might possibly end in the indefinite adjournment of all union, and this Government would view with serious apprehension the grave consequences and general embarrassment to public business which might be caused by thus holding in suspense such important questions, and protracting their discussion so late as to prevent their settlement by Imperial legislation within the current year.

6. I trust the above views of myself and of this Government coincide with those of your Lordship, and that all these Provinces may attain the early realization of their hopes of inion by reposing a general confidence in the ability and wisdom of Her Majesty’s Government to arrange satisfactorily whatever details the Quebec Conference may have left incomplete.

I have, &c.
(Signed,) R.G. MACDONNELL

The Right Honorable Viscount Monck,
&c., &c., &c., Governor General.

(Copy.)

QUEBEC, 18th January, 1865.

SIR,—I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your Despatch of the 9th instant, in reference to the course to be pursued in the several Provincial Legislatures on the subject of the proposed Union, and I will at once lay it before my Executive Council for their consideration.

I have, &c.,
(Signed,) MONCK.

Lieut. Governor Sir R. G. Macdonnell, C.B.
&c., &c., &c., Nova Scotia.

Lord Monck to the Lieutenant Governors of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and to the Governor of Newfoundland.

(Copy.)

QUEBEC, January 30th, 1865.

SIR,—I have the honor to transmit for your information a Copy of the Resolution which it is proposed by my Government to move in both Houses of the Legislature of this Province, on the subject of the proposed union of the British North American Provinces.

I also enclose, as printed by the Legislative Assembly, Copies of correspondence that has been laid before both Houses of the Canadian Legislature.

I have, &c.,
(Signed,) MONCK.

Lieut. Governor Sir R. G. Macdonnell, C.B.
Lieut. Governor the Honorable A. H. Gordon, C.M.G.
Lieut. Governor George Dundas, Esquire.
Governor A. Mulgrave, Esquire.

(Copy.)

Resolved, That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that She may be graciously pleased to cause a measure to be submitted to the Imperial Parliament for the purpose of uniting the Colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island in one Government, with provisions based on the following Resolutions, which were adopted at a Conference of Delegates from the said Colonies, held at the City of Quebec, on the 10th day of October, 1864.

(Here follow the Resolutions, verbatim.)

(Copy.) Mr. Gordon to Viscount Monck.

FREDERICTON, N.B., 8th February, 1865.

MY LORD,—I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your Lordship’s Despatch of the 30th ultimo, transmitting to me a copy of the Resolution which your Government propose to submit to the Canadian Legislature on the subject of the proposed union of the British North American Provinces; and also a Copy (printed) of some correspondence on the same subject.

I have, &c.,
(Signed,) ARTHUR GORDON.

The Viscount Monck, &c., &c.

Lord Monck to the Lieutenant Governors of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and the Governor of Newfoundland.

(Copy.)

QUEBEC, February 27th, 1864.

SIR,—I have the honor to enclose for your information a Copy of an Address which I have received from the Legislative Council of Canada, requesting me to transmit to Her Majesty the Queen an Address from that body, praying “that Her Majesty may be graciously pleased to cause a measure to be submitted to the Imperial Parliament for the purpose of uniting the Colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, and Prince Edward Island in one Government, with provisions based on the Resolutions which were adopted at a Conference of Delegates from the said Colonies, held at the City of Quebec, on the 10th day of October, 1864.”

I have, &c.,
(Signed,) MONCK.

Lieut. Governor Sir R.G. Macdonnell, C.B.
Lieut. Governor the Honorable A.H. Gordon, C.M.G.
Lieut. Governor George Dundas, Esquire
Governor Anthony Mulgrave, Esquire.

(Copy.)

To His Excellency the Right Honorable CHARLES STANLEY, Viscount MONCK, Baron Monck of Ballytrammon, in the County of Wexford, Governor General and Governor in Chief in and over the Provinces of Canada, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Island of Prince Edward, and Vice-Admiral of the same, &c., &c., &c.

MAY IT PLEASE YOUR EXCELLENCY;

We, Her Majesty’s dutiful and loyal subjects, the Legislative Council of Canada, in Provincial Parliament assembled, beg leave to approach Your Excellency with our respectful request, that you will be pleased to transmit our Address to, Her Majesty on the subject of the union of Her Majesty’s Provinces of British North America in such a way as to Your Excellency may seem fit, in order that the same may be laid at the foot of the Throne.

(Signed,) U.J. TESSIER,
Speaker of the Legislative Council.

LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL, Monday, 20th February, 1865.

Sir R. G. Macdonnell to Viscount Monck.

(Copy—No. 78.—Lieut. Governor’s Office.)

GOVERNMENT HOUSE,
Halifax, Nova Scotia, 9th March, 1865.

MY LORD,—I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your Lordship’s Despatch of the 27th February last, enclosing Copy of an Address from the Legislative Council of Canada, requesting your Lordship to transmit to Her Majesty the Queen an Address from that body, praying for an Imperial Enactment for the purpose of uniting the British North American Colonies.

I have, &c.
(Signed,) RICHARD GRAVES MACDONNELL,
Lieut. Governor.

His Excellency the Right Honorable Viscount Monck,
&c., &c., &c., Quebec.

Lord Monck to the Lieutenant Governors of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and the Governor of Newfoundland.

(Copy.) QUEBEC, 20th March, 1865.

SIR,—I have the honor to enclose for your information a Copy of an Address which I have received from the Legislative Assembly of Canada, requesting me to transmit to Her Majesty the Queen an Address from that body, praying that Her Majesty may be graciously pleased to cause a measure to be submitted to the Imperial Parliament for the purpose of uniting the Colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, and Prince Edward Island in one Government, with provisions based on the Resolutions which were adopted at a Conference of Delegates from the said Colonies held at the City of Quebec, on the 10th day of October, 1864.”

I have, &c.
(Signed,) MONCK.

Sir R. G. Macdonnell to Lord Monck.

(Copy.—No. 94—Lieut. Governor’s Office.)

GOVERNMENT HOUSE,
Halifax, Nova Scotia, 4th April, 1865.

MY LORD,—I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your Lordship’s Despatch of the 20th of March, enclosing Copy of an Address from the Legislative Assembly of Canada, requesting your Lordship to transmit to Her Majesty the Queen an Address from that body, praying for an Imperial Enactment for the purpose of uniting the British North American Colonies.

I have, &c.,
(Signed,) R. G. MACDONNELL
Lieut. Governor.

His Excellency the Right Honorable Viscount Monck,
&c., &c., &c.

Sir R. G. Macdonnell to Viscount Monck.

(Copy.—No. 97.—Lieut. Governor’s Office.)

GOVERNMENT HOUSE,
Halifax, Nova Scotia, 10th April, 1865.

My LORD,—I have the honor to transmit, for your information, Copy of a Resolution moved by this Government, in the Nova Scotia Assembly, this day.

That Resolution is to the effect that, as immediate union of the British North American Provinces has now become impracticable, the original proposition of a Legislative Union of the Maritime Provinces ought to be again entertained, in accordance with the Resolution passed during the last Session of the Legislature.

Such a Resolution sufficiently explains to your Lordship the position in which this Government has been placed, by events beyond their control, in relation to the wider question of an immediate general Confederation of the British North American Provinces, adverted to in your Lordship’s Despatches of the 27th February and 20th of March.

I have, &c.,
(Signed,) RICHARD GRAVES MACDONNELL,
Lieut. Governor.

The Right Honorable Viscount Monck,
&c., &c., &c., Canada.

Whereas, under existing circumstances, an immediate union of the British North American Provinces has become impracticable; and whereas a Legislative Union of the Maritime Provinces is desirable, whether the larger union be accomplished or not:

Resolved, That, in the opinion of this House, the negotiations for the union of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, should be resumed, in accordance with the Resolution passed in the last Session of the Legislature.

Sir R. G. Macdonnell to Viscount Monck.

(Copy.—No. 119.—Lieut. Governor’s Office.)

GOVERNMENT HOUSE,

Halifax, Nova Scotia, 3rd May, 1865.

MY LORD,—I have the honor to transmit herewith to your Lordship Copies of two Resolutions on the subject of a Union of the Maritime Provinces; the first adopted by the Legislative Council, and the second by the House of Assembly of this Province, during the Session which has just passed.

I have, &c.,
(Signed,) RICHARD GRAVES MACDONNELL,
Lieut. Governor.

His Excellency the Right Honorable Viscount Monck,
&c., &c., &c., Canada.

(Copy.)

LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL.—1st.

Whereas, under existing circumstances, an immediate Union of the British North American Provinces has become impracticable; and whereas a Legislative Union of the Maritime Provinces is desirable, whether the larger union be accomplished or not:

Resolved, That, in the opinion of this House, the negotiations for the Union of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, should be resumed, in accordance with the Resolution passed at the last Session of the Legislature.

HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY.—2nd.

Resolved, That, in the opinion of this House, the negotiations for the Union of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, should be resumed, in accordance with the Resolution passed at the last Session of the Legislature.[12]


ENDNOTES

[1]      Source: “Provincial Parliament,” [Quebec] Morning Chronicle (Aug. 19, 1865).

[2]      “[…] Copies of all Correspondence, since, the beginning of last Session, between the Government of Canada and the Governments of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, in relation to Confederation of the British North American Provinces,” [No. 9] Sessional Papers (1865). Reproduced at the end of today’s debate.

[3]      “Report on the Intercolonial Railway” [No. 8] in Sessional Papers (1865).

[4]      The Canadian delegation consisted of John A. Macdonald, George-Étienne Cartier, and Alexander Galt. Their report can be found later in the volume on Aug. 9, 1865, p. C:15, where they presented their discussions in London to the Legislative Assembly.

[5]      Inserted from earlier in the debate for clarity.

[6]      A.A. Dorion’s motion is reinserted from earlier for clarity.

[7]      The Confederate Council of the British North American Colonies was composed of the Governor General and one voting member from each colony (Upper and Lower Canada each getting one vote). The Canadian delegates included Brown, Cartier, Macdonald, and Galt although only one vote per colony was allowed—this ended up being Brown for Upper Canada and Cartier for Lower Canada. The other members were Shea (Newfoundland), Pope (P.E.I.), Ritchie (Nova Scotia), and Wilmot (New Brunswick). They would meet in Quebec a month later, where seven unanimous resolutions were passed by the Council (Sep. 18, 1865).

[8]      The Reformers of Upper Canada met in Toronto on Nov. 9-10, 1859. “Meeting of the Liberal Convention of Upper Canada,” The Globe (Nov. 10-11, 1859), “The Convention Yesterday,” The Globe (Nov. 11, 1859), “Meeting of the Liberal Convention of Upper Canada,” The Globe (Nov. 12-16, 1859), and Constitutional Reform Association of Upper Canada, Address of the Constitutional Reform Association to the People of Upper Canada (1859).

[9]      Supra footnote 8.

[10]    This may be a reference to the Upper Canada Liberal Caucus Meeting of Jun. 21, 1864, which met to discuss the proposed coalition agreement. It was agreed that, “That we approve of the course which has been pursued by Mr. Brown in the negotiations with the Government, and that we approve of the project of a Federal Union of the Canadas, with provision for its extension to the Maritime Provinces and the North-western Territory, as one basis on which the constitutional difficulties now existing could be settled.” No timeline is mentioned, as Holton claims. It may be the case the report is insufficient in details or there is another source he is pointing to. “Latest From Quebec. Very Full Caucus of the Upper Canada Liberals,” The Globe (Jun. 22, 1864).

[11]    ibid.

[12]    “RETURN To an Address of the Honorable the Legislative Assembly, dated 10th August, 1865; for Copies of all Correspondence, since, the beginning of last Session, between the Government of Canada and the Governments of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, in relation to Confederation of the British North American Provinces,” [No. 9] in Sessional Papers.

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