Province of Canada, Legislative Assembly, 8th Parl, 4th Sess (7 September 1865)


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Date: 1865-09-07
By: Province of Canada (Parliament), Morning Chronicle
Citation: “Provincial Parliament. Legislative Assembly. Thursday, Sept. 7th” [Quebec] Morning Chronicle (8 September 1865).
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PROVINCIAL PARLIAMENT

LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY

Thursday, September 7

Confederation and Intercolonial Railway Correspondence.


John A. Macdonald
[Kingston, Attorney-General West and Minister of Militia] laid before the House a message from His Excellency the Governor General [Viscount Monck], accompanied by certain correspondence with the Secretary of State for the Colonies [Edward Cardwell] on the subject of Confederation and the Intercolonial Railway.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear, and cries of “Read.”

John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West and Minister of Militia]—The Speaker said he would read if the House desired it, but the documents were somewhat lengthy.

Some Hon. MembersLaughter.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—I shall read it myself.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

House in Committee of Supply

On motion of Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke, Minister of Finance] the House went into Committee of SupplyThomas Street [Welland] in the Chair.

The reserved appropriations of the ordinary estimates were taken up.

On the item for $160,000 for “additional sum for Common Schools, Upper and Lower Canada ($6000 of which, out of the Lower Canada share, to be applied to Normal Schools,)

Christopher Dunkin [Brome] would like to know whether anything would be done towards fhanging the system pursued in regard to what was known as the Superior Education Fund. Its condition was most unsatisfactory. Its permanence was not well assured. The rule of division was most arbitrary, and the division more arbitrary still. In fact there did not appear to be any satisfactory kind of rule at all in reference to it. Nobody knew anything about the system. He (Mr. Dunkin) would like to know whether the Government seriously intended to enquire into an consider the matter with a view to the adoption of a well-defined working principle.—The hon. gentleman then went on to describe the system in force in the neighboring State of New York, which he considered good.

George-Étienne Cartier [Montreal East, Attorney-General East] said that a large amount had been drawn from the education grant, and that was why, in justice to the Common Schools, the Superintendent of Education for Lower Canada was obliged to make grants to the Model Schools and Academies from that fund. It was due to those schools, because a portion of their income was taken from them to be distributed in another form. The efforts of the Government and Finance Minister [Alexander Galt] would be directed in such a way as to bring together those sources of revenue applied to the Common Education Fund to render it as solvent as possible, and put it in a better position than at present. No doubt the higher schools and colleges in Lower Canada ought to receive a larger grant. We were making, almost yearly, advances to that fund in order to a fair distribution. And that portion was taken from the Common School Fund and the income of other property belonging top that fund. The financial question, as regards the Superior Education Fund, was under the consideration of the Finance Minister [Alexander Galt]. He would take proper action respecting it during the recess. It was correct to say that no more institutions should be brought into the class now receiving money from that fund, because such would reduce the grants to the Superior Education Establishment.

Thomas Ferguson [Simcoe South] said that a list of the institutions in Upper Canada receiving money, were given in the estimates, but he could not see a similar list of those in Lower Canada receiving aid.

George-Étienne Cartier [Montreal East, Attorney-General East] said that by the act of 1856, £5000 were set apart for the maintenance of the Normal Schools in Lower Canada, and £5000 for those colleges in Upper Canada referred to. The former went to support the 3 L.C. Normal Schools, and could not be seen in the estimates; but the £5000 for Upper Canadian institutions was reserved to be distributed by the House. The account of the distribution of the L.C. sum appeared yearly in the report of the Superintendent of Education. The sum voted for Grammar Schools of Upper Canada was applied to those institutions, and the report of its expenditure was given by the Superintendent of Education of Upper Canada.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay] said the explanations given disclosed a bad system as to the distribution of the money in Lower Canada. By these explanations it appeared that the distribution of the money among the various Lower Canada institutions rested practically with the Government of the day. He had resisted this feature of the bill at its passage, years ago. The Upper Canada colleges, however, if the Attorney-General East [George-Étienne Cartier] would not apply that system to Upper Canada, having insisted upon having the money distributed by Parliament. He (Mr. Holton) and others advocated the same system for Lower Canada, but the Attorney-General East [George-Étienne Cartier] opposed it, and the result was very great dissatisfaction with the distribution of the Lower Canada grants. All sorts of evils had arisen from that system, as pointed out by the hon. member for Brome [Christopher Dunkin].

Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke, Minister of Finance] said he had listened with attention to the hon. member for Brome [Christopher Dunkin], and could assure him there was no member of the House who took a greater interest in superior education than he did. He was quite alive to the fact that under our existing system the distribution, as made by the Superintendent of Education, was liable to the complaints against it. The grants now given were insufficient for the support of the superior institutions, and a good deal of money was given to what might be called grammar schools. The Government had the matter under consideration, and intended to take action on the matter at the next ordinary session of Parliament, it having been impossible to deal with the question during the present short term. He thought it was plain that, by the system that now prevailed in Lower Canada, the assistance which should be given to really superior education, was diminished continually by the putting of inferior institutions on the education aid list.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—By the operation of that act.

Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke, Minister of Finance] would not enter into the discussion of the political question. He thought the matter ought to be settled, for the benefit of the superior education establishments. He did not think that the Council of Public Instruction would be the body best qualified to suggest a way of getting over what was felt to be an evil or difficulty; and, as has been said, some of the features of the system prevailing in the State of New York might be adopted with advantage. But one objection would occur. The time when those institutions most required public support was their infancy. If we were to base the distribution of the aid on the amount done, clearly, then, those most needing help would get least, on account of not having sufficiently established themselves in public confidence, and thus obtained a requisite number of students to put themselves in a tolerably good position. While institutions which enjoyed an established character, such as McGill College had acquired, stood less in need of assistance than those which might be said to be struggling for existence.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke, Minister of Finance]—Therefore, he did not think that a rule could be rigidly laid down in this matter, or that the public aid should be regulated by the number of students. He thought the great point to be aimed at, as regards those institutions, was the establishment of a proper college curriculum, or standard of education. If the machinery put in force at those institutions did not attract sufficient pupils, it was, of course, a misfortune; but, what we desired to do, in establishing grants, was to ensure the provision of ample education facilities in the country. As to the future dealing with this question of superior education, he could only repeat that he thought that the means must be adopted for the support of those institutions. It was quite absurd to class McGill College and such establishments with the academies in the back parts of the country.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke, Minister of Finance]—They were not, in point of fact, on the same footing. In the Superintendent’s distribution of the grants, he drew the distinction himself, and he thought that gentleman endeavored to administer the funds as fairly as possible. He (Mr. Galt) did not think the Government could be accused of exercising any influence in the distribution of those funds. The inadequacy of the means at the disposal of the Superintendent was a thing for which he was not to be blamed. He (Mr. G.) could assure the member for Brome [Christopher Dunkin] that the question was engaging the serious attention of the Government who desired to establish as perfect a system as possible, but, under existing circumstances they were unable to bring a measure this session.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Christopher Dunkin [Brome] and Antoine-Aimé Dorion [Hochelaga] made some further remarks on the subject.

After some further discussion, and explanatory remarks from the Hector-Louis Langevin [Dorchester, Solicitor General East], the appropriation was carried.

On the next item for “aid to Superior Education Income Fund, Lower Canada, $25,000”—

Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—desired to call attention to one feature of the Estimates which had not yet been touched upon. The other evening when we were in Committee of Supply, he (Mr. Holton) desired in view of the peculiar position which the Hon. President of the Council (Mr. Brown) assumed in regard to sectarian educational grants, that all the items having reference thereto should be deferred so that the hon. gentleman might have an opportunity of offering some explanation on the subject to the Houses and the country.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—He (Mr. Holton) had succeeded in having consideration of the subject in question postponed, and he thought the hon. member ought to feel grateful to him for having done so. The hon. gentleman’s position was certainly peculiar. For years he stood foremost as the champion of certain views which had been utterly disregarded in the drawing up of the first estimates submitted to the House after he commenced to occupy a seat in the Ministry.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—In the first place he had ever been the uncompromising opponent of sectarian grants, and in the second place the champion par excellence of the economy. What was the result, as shewn by the fruits of his first year in office? It so happened, strangely enough, that in the very first estimate the Government of which he (Mr. Brown) was a member submitted, we had an increase of expenditure in every department of the public service.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—In the next place we found that, with regard to educational grants, there was a very considerable increase.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council]—Where’s the increase?

Luther Holton [Chateauguay] said he found in this very item that there was an advance of $5,000.

George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council]—There’s nothing of the sort.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay] said he knew perfectly well what the hon. gentleman was aiming at. He was alluding, of course, to the supplementary estimate. Well, the circumstances at that time were so peculiar. He would ask the Hon. Finance Minister [Alexander Galt] if he was prepared to state, on his own responsibility, that he did not bring down that item in the supplementary estimates, in consequence of the additional strength gained by the hon. member for South Oxford (Mr. Brown.) He (Mr. Holton) had said guardedly and deliberately that this item was over the regular of other years. Of course he knew that the hon. gentleman, by way of defence, referred to the supplementary estimate, but he repeated that what he (Mr. Holton) meant, was that this item was beyond the ordinary appropriation.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council]—Then why didn’t you say so.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay] said he knew before the Hon. President of the Council [George Brown] left his seat, previous to entering the Ministry, that he had abandoned his position as a determined opponent of sectarian grants.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—The hon. gentleman went on to refer to the details of the various grants to educational institutions, and said it was a little singular that Trinity College should be selected for public succor as it had been started, avowedly, as the opponent of the national university of Upper Canada, for which the hon. gentleman and his political friends had earnestly labored. Yet the first thing he hastened to do, on getting into office, was to ask for a grant in favor of that institution.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—He sincerely hoped for an explanation on these items, and he felt certain the hon. gentleman could not but be thankful to him (Mr. Holton) for giving him such an opportunity.

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

George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council] said that the hon. gentleman was quite correct, and his course in this matter was consistent with his usual kindness.

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

George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council]—He (Mr. Brown) expected such kindness, but he was only surprised that his hon. friend had not extended his good nature farther and stated the defence which must naturally have suggested itself to his mind.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council]—But he was free to confess that he believed the hon. gentleman acted kindly, and he was prepared to accept his hint. The hon. gentleman (Mr. Holton) was, however, quite well aware—whatever he might say on the present occasion—of the views he (Mr. Brown) held in relation to the grants now under discussion. If he had power he would sweep away all these grants.

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

Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—Sweep them away now.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council]—Sweep them away now.

Some Hon. MembersLaughter.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—Yes, you have a majority—a large majority.

George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council]—The hon. gentleman had been a member of the Cabinet himself—he had occupied a prominent position in a party Government, and yet he had not done so himself.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council]—He (Mr. Brown) did not hesitate to say that if he were in a party Government he would not consent to occupy a place in it if he did not have his views carried out.

Some Hon. MembersCheers.

George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council]—But he (Mr. Brown) was here for a particular purpose, and if the hon. member for Chateauguay (Mr. Holton) fancied he was going to induce him to play into that hon. gentleman’s hands as an opponent of these great constitutional changes which the country desired, then, all he could say was that he was very greatly mistaken indeed.

Some Hon. MembersCheers and laughter.

George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council]—He (Mr. Brown) was in the Government for the purpose of carrying out a great object, and it would have been absurd on his part if he had not made up his mind to sustain and repel such attacks as those which had been made upon him to-day. He expected such assaults, and he was prepared to defend himself. It was, however, not a very great matter that one should be exposed to such charges when the object in view was to obtain, without delay, a permanent remedy for the evils complained of in a great change which far overshadowed all other considerations. His friends, he felt sure, would fully justify his position.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council]—The people of Upper Canada were exceedingly shrewd in seeing and appreciating that which was honest and straight-forward, and they would discover where truth lay.

Some Hon. MembersCheers.

George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council]—Hon. gentlemen need not fancy that they could embarrass him. We were willing to make sacrifices to attain, without delay, a great and desirable end. The vast change we contemplated would, he repeated, far outshadow all such considerations as these, and he had no fear whatever but that his friends would justify and approve his conduct.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall] said that the hon. member for South Oxford [George Brown] had a particular facility in finding excuses no matter what he had said or how he acted. Now we were told that he acted in this matter because there was something in the dim future—something to be obtained. However, in reference to the hon. gentleman’s opinions on this subject he could only remark that it must be exceedingly gratifying to the hon. gentleman’s colleague.—the Hon. Attorney General East [George-Étienne Cartier]—and it must equally consoling tom the Government supporters on the back-benches to hear that the President of the Council [George Brown] was prepared to sweep away these grants.

Alexander Mackenzie [Lambton]—Is it gratifying to you?

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall]—Yes.

Some Hon. MembersCheers and laughter.

Alexander Mackenzie [Lambton]—Well, then, say so.

Some Hon. MembersLaughter.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall] said he did say so. He had always said so, and he would be glad to see these charges upon the public exchequer removed as soon as possible.

George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council]—Why did you not remove them?

A Hon. Member—He hadn’t time.

Some Hon. MembersLaughter.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall]—It must be very consoling, he repeated, to the Lower Canadian supporters of the Government, to hear the doctrine enunciated by the Hon. President of the Council [George Brown].

Some Hon. MembersCheers and counter-cheers.

George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council] was understood to say that, at a future date, the Lower Canadians could manage these things themselves.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall] said that the hon. gentlemen having now gone over to the Treasury benches, found that the change he avowed himself desirous of effecting was impossible. He found that it was impossible to sweep away these sectarian grants.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall]—He (Mr. Macdonald) could tell the hon. gentleman, from his experience in office, that it was quite impossible, although he might proclaim to the people of Upper Canada that it was intention to do so. The hon. gentleman talked about the confidence of the people of Upper Canada, and the justification of his conduct by the people of Upper Canada. Well, all he could say was that the popular mind was not altogether so engrossed by such ideas the President of the Council [George Brown] supposed. There was a strong under-current of public opinion. It was notorious that the press of that  section of the country, with very few exceptions, did not appear to be by any means sanguine as to the success of the Coalition, and its policy.

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

George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council] asked whether it was fair that the hon. gentleman (Mr. J.S. Macdonald) should get up here, and assail him (Mr. Brown) because he now, in a Coalition Cabinet, permitted that which the hon. gentleman himself had voted for again and again.

Alexander Mackenzie [Lambton]—On both sides.

George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council]—Aye, on both sides. He repeated it was extremely unfair that the hon. gentleman should attack him for doing that which he had sent him (Mr. Brown) into the Government to do. Did the hon. member expect that where we were three to nine, brought together for a particular purpose, that we should have all our own way? He would consider himself a born fool had he dreamt, in his present position, of raising this question now, within two or three months of the time when he expected the whole subject would be taken up for settlement. Had he taken any other course—had he differed with his colleagues, and demanded the adoption of his views upon this subject, he would have to retire from the Cabinet—when might we have expected to obtain those great reforms by which the present and other abuses of which we complained would be swept away. As to the talk of the hon. member about the people of Upper Canada forgiving him (Mr. Brown), he would say that he asked no forgiveness at their hands, feeling that he did not need it. He felt he was doing that of which his conscience approved. He entered the Cabinet against his will, and was so remaining in it, and he questioned whether there ever was an instance of a public man having, for any course he had adopted, received such general approval on the part of the people, as he was aware he had received.

Some Hon. MembersCheers.

George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council]—The hon. member had spoken about under-currents of feeling against him (Mr. Brown) in consequence of his conduct, but he fancied that those currents were so far under that they would never come to the surface.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, and laughter.

George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council]—He contended that the Reform party, in joining this Ministry had done the best thing possible for the country. He thought that he had made sacrifices and done service in entering this Cabinet, and endeavoring to bring about the great reforms, for which the people of Upper Canada owed him a debt of gratitude. Did hon. gentleman opposite think it was a pleasant year he had passed since he entered the Administration?

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

George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council]—Did they think it was anything but. A feeling of patriotism that would have ever induced him to take such a position, involving such personal inconvenience and sacrifice. It was, then, unbecoming and discreditable on the part of the member for Cornwall—who had himself urged him to enter the Cabinet—who had moved and got carried a resolution recommending his acceptance of office—to turn round now and reproach him with the act.

Some Hon. MembersCheers.

George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council]—He (Mr. Brown) called upon the hon. gentlemen who took part in that Opposition caucus to say whether, since he had entered the Cabinet, he had ever asked them to do a single thing that would not be approved of by their constituents. He had not asked them to vote for those particular items. They were, however, in the position of having agreed upon certain arrangements for the carrying out of the great reforms they had at heart, and if they were still sincere they must continue that support of the Government which was requisite to the accomplishment of this great end. There had been no error in the matter, and he defied hon. gentlemen to look back over the last and what was past of the present session, and say he had asked them to give one vote contrary to the views he had held when in opposition. It was not to be expected that the Liberal party who had assented to the coalition could obtain all their wishes. His Conservative colleagues had also been compelled to yield views and principles in order to keep the Cabinet harmonious.

Were we to reveal the secrets of the Council Chamber, there would not be found one man who had not changed his views on some points to maintain the harmony necessary for the carrying out of the great measures for which the Government was formed. The man who did not see that those reforms were necessary for the peace and good government of the country held and opinion entirely valueless.

Some Hon. MembersCheers.

George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council]—And whether we succeed or not in bringing about the Confederation of these Provinces, we would be able, in the future, to look back upon our conduct with perfect satisfaction, and could still most justly entertain the opinion that, successful or unsuccessful, the thing was tight notwithstanding.

Some Hon. MembersCheers.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall] said that the hon. gentleman had worked himself into a great passion in regard to his speech and the remarks he had made as respects the caucus. The Hon. President of the Council [George Brown] was not correct in his assertions respecting the meeting. There were six or seven at the meeting who did not approve of the basis of agreement proposed on that occasion. The fact was the hon. gentleman proposed the measure himself. He had, at that time, emissaries going to the Government making the very proposals which he said were being submitted on their part.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall]—When he (Mr. Macdonald) discovered that a party at the caucus had agreed on the basis, to which he had not agreed—

Alexander Mackenzie [Lambton]—Yes, you did.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear, and no, no.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall] denied he ever did agree to the basis. But, when he found that the President of the Council [George Brown] was delivering up his party as Mr. Hincks did in 1854, he said it was far better that he should go out himself and join the Cabinet than deliver up his party. When he (Mr. M.) perceived that the hon. gentleman was determined to go over to the Ministry, he said to the member for South Oxford [George Brown]—“Go, in God’s name; but go yourself, and do not bring the party with you.”

Some Hon. MembersLoud laughter, cheers and counter cheers.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall]—Why, a regiment of dragoons would not have kept him back at that time.

Some Hon. MembersLaughter.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall]—It was mere mockery on his part to pretend he did not want to go. Well, this being the case, he (Mr. M.) never made a motion that gave him greater satisfaction than that in favor of his entering the Cabinet. He was [text illegible] the member for South Oxford [George Brown] should not be kept back by anything that he could do in this matter. He pleaded guilty of having helped to send the hon. gentleman into the Cabinet, but not for his acts since he went there.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, and laughter.

Samuel Ault [Stormont]—Did you not persistently say yourself that he should enter the Government?

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall]—Of course. The President of the Council [George Brown] stated there were three seats in the Cabinet to be given to the Reformers, but that he did not want to accept one of them, but under all the circumstances, would consent.

Archibald McKellar [Kent]—He said he did not wish any of his friends to go into the Cabinet.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall]—The member for South Oxford [George Brown] stated there were going to eb three vacancies, and that the Hon. Attorney-General West [John A. Macdonald] insisted that he and two of his Liberal colleagues should enter the Administration; that he would decline for himself, but that if he could find any three of his Liberal friends willing to take office instead, he would support the Government just the same for the sake of the constitutional reforms promised.

Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke, Minister of Finance]—He said he would support the Government whether in or not.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Thomas Scatcherd [Middlesex West]—I would like to ask whether it was not stated by the President of the Council [George Brown] that measures distasteful to the Reform party would not be pressed. For instance, the tax on promissory notes, and all that, and afterwards the whole thing went on.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall] would say without hesitation it was stated in the papers that the overtures to the Government had come from the member for South Oxford [George Brown] himself. When we charged him with dereliction of duty, and with perpetuating conduct and policy which, when on this side, he called corrupt, he retorted that it was unfair and unbecoming to call him to account, and especially when we had sent him there.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall]—If he had confidence in the sober, second thought of the people of Upper Canada, it was that, when those members who had deserted their party, went back to their constituents, for re-election, the people would know how to estimate their conduct in endeavoring to change the constitution of the country, instead of working out the old for the benefit of the Provinces.

Some Hon. MembersOpposition cheers.

Antoine-Aimé Dorion [Hochelaga] said that he wanted now to go back to the consideration of the items under discussion.

Alexander Mackenzie [Lambton] hoped he would be allowed to reply to the remarks in regard to the caucus, in order to the settlement of this personal question between the members of the Liberal party,

Antoine-Aimé Dorion [Hochelaga] consented to give way to the hon. gentleman.

Alexander Mackenzie [Lambton] said he never was more astonished than on hearing the extraordinary speech of the hon. member for Cornwall [John Sandfield Macdonald]. He had boldly asserted, as a reason why he voted the President of the Council [George Brown] should enter the Cabinet, that he wanted to kill him and his party.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear and no.

Alexander Mackenzie [Lambton]—If there could be anything more infamous than another it was a statement of that kind. The fact was, however, the member for Cornwall [John Sandfield Macdonald] said nothing of the kind then. The question as to the Liberal members entering the Cabinet was deliberately and cooly argued in the caucus. He (Mr. McK) believed it was necessary for a free country to have party government, and considered, at the time, that it was inexpedient that any member of the Reform Party should enter the Government. He believed it was far better we should give the Conservative Government an outside support on certain conditions. Holding this view, that it was essentially necessary to the pure, party government of this country, that we should merely give the Government an outside support, he conscientiously proposed a motion to that effect. He thought that some ten members supported the motion, of whom the President of the Council [George Brown} was one. But the member for Cornwall put it to the meeting in another light. He said—“I admit, to a certain extent, that is quite correct; but, on the other hand, recollect here is a party Government without a single representative from our body in their midst; matters will come up in Council continually affecting our party, and it is essentially necessary that at least one Reformer should be there to point out the policy necessary to be pursued to maintain the party interest in that Cabinet.” It was on this ground solely that the member for Cornwall [John Sandfield Macdonald] professed to have acted as he did at the caucus.

Some Hon. Members—Hear.

Alexander Mackenzie [Lambton]—Well, it was moved in the meeting that three of our party should enter the Cabinet, and another motion was to the effect that the President of the Council [George Brown] should be one of them. The hon. member for Cornwall [John Sandfield Macdonald] supported those motions. He did so on the ground that it was necessary for the interests of the Liberal Party. They, said he, demanded that three Liberals should enter the Government, and it was further required, said the hon. member for Cornwall [John Sandfield Macdonald], that the hon. President of the Council [George Brown] should be one of the three, both on the ground of his having been the leader of the party, and his having for years taken a leading part in the struggles of the party for years. He (Mr. M.) recollected he insisted at the caucus on having a perfect record of the proceedings made out and signed on the spot, in order to prevent further misconception; and, if we had not got that done, he believed the hon. member for Cornwall [John Sandfield Macdonald] would have denied he ever made a motion at all on the subject.

Some Hon. MembersCheers.

Thomas Scatcherd [Middlesex West]—The record was made out in this House.

Alexander Mackenzie [Lambton] said he remained in the room in the Kent House, where the meeting was held, till the record was made out and signed, and, from the tone of the discussions that had afterwards taken place, he had found abundant reason to rejoice that this precaution was taken.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

The Committee rose, reported progress, and obtained leave to sit again, at the afternoon sitting of the House.

It being six o’clock, the House adjourned.

[…]

House in Committee of Supply

On motion of Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke, Minister of Finance], the House then went into Committee of SupplyThomas Street [Welland] in the Chair.

The discussion on the Lower Canada educational grant having been resumed,—

Alexander Mackenzie [Lambton] continued his remarks. He said he recognized the right of the Opposition to take every fair means of opposing the Ministry of the day. There was a duty devolving upon all Oppositions to see that the items of supply were properly considered previous to being voted; and it was their duty to see that Ministries were kept to their promises and pledges submitted on the acceptance of office. He admitted all that, and that great license was, generally, to be given to the Opposition in virtue of the ground they occupied. But the Opposition, in dealing with questions, were bound to recognize the principles upon which the Administration was formed, without which they could not fairly or honestly carry out their opposition. Well, the policy upon which this Government was formed was the union of the British North American Provinces into one great Confederacy.

The Opposition acted upon another presumption—namely, that the Government was formed for the transaction of ordinary affairs, and that they were to be attacked, not on the great policy which they had assumed at the outset, but upon ordinary party tactics. He believed that every member of the Liberal party from the West was at the caucus, with the exception of one; that all but three voted, and that none was more active than the hon. member for Cornwall [John Sandfield Macdonald] in securing the adoption of the resolutions passed. Either he went to the meeting with the honest objects of a member of the party, or as a spy.

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

Alexander Mackenzie [Lambton]—But, he then pretended to act as a loyal member of the party, and as such must be held responsible. He (Mr. M.) believed that the arrangement entered into by the Liberals and Conservatives was an honest one as regards both parties. He saw it was perfectly clear that it was impossible for us to proceed as we had been doing for years, during which the various Governments had struggled to carry on the public business with only one or two of a majority; and he felt that some change must be made. Under those circumstances, at the formation of the Coalition, the western members of the Liberal party met to consider their duty on the occasion. We had a long meeting, and the matter was fairly, clearly and deliberately discussed. Well, on no occasion during that time did the hon. member for Cornwall [John Sandfield Macdonald] indicate any want of faith in the leader of the Liberal party (Mr. Brown). After all that, the former now came forward and told us he had but one object in his course, and that was to destroy the President of the Council [George Brown], and the party attached to him. There was but one character known to history that could have been guilty of such an act. Nothing more scandalous or unprecedented did he (Mr. Mackenzie) ever know. If the hon. gentleman thought, by his shameless avowal, that he would, in any way, affect the position of the President of the Council [George Brown] and his friends, from the West, he was mistaken. He (Mr. M) knew the feeling of the West, and was prepared to test that feeling at any time. He had tested the feeling of the people before and since last session, and found no change whatever. He believed the people of the West were honestly desirous that all their representatives should support the present Government, in order to the carrying out of Confederation, which was expected within a few months.

Jean-Baptiste-Éric Dorion [Drummond & Arthabaska]—Never.

Alexander Mackenzie [Lambton] said even should it never be adopted the labors of its advocates could not be redound to their credit and honor in the future. He was satisfied that Confederation would soon, however, succeed, and that the Lower Provinces would soon be persuaded that it was more for their interest to join their richer, larger, and more powerful neighboring colony, that sought to consolidate them all into one strong nation under the flag of England.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Alexander Mackenzie [Lambton]—How petty was it for hon. gentlemen to oppose those items for sectarian colleges, which they brought down themselves two or three times in office.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—No.

Alexander Mackenzie [Lambton]—Yes: all except the item for Trinity College. But what difference was there between voting for a grant to the Methodist College, for instance, and opposing the other? Why should they oppose those items now? Simply because they had nothing else to find fault with. The members of the Liberal party, in opposition, never made a greater mistake than in supposing they could make any capital out of a condemnation of parties for acts for which they themselves were equally responsible in times past.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Thomas Scatcherd [Middlesex West] said there was a time when the Hon. President of the Council [George Brown] would not have been satisfied with such explanations as those which he had now himself given. He had shirked the real point which was this—that upon his entering the Government the grants instead of being decreased had actually been increased. Notwithstanding the attempt which he had made to get around this question he could not do so; and his first act on joining the Cabinet was to increase those grants.

George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council]—No, no.

Alexander Mackenzie [Lambton]—That was before he was a member of the Government.

Thomas Scatcherd [Middlesex West]—No, he had joined the combination, and was in consequence sitting on his seat in this House and declining to vote upon certain questions. In reference to the hon. member for Cornwall [John Sandfield Macdonald], he would not say much, as that hon. gentleman was quite able to define his own position, but this he might say that that hon. gentleman certainly appeared on the occasion of the ministerial arrangements to do everything in his power to assist in forming the new combination—perhaps from a belief that it was right the hon. member for South Oxford [George Brown] should go into the new Government and, instead of being a thorn in the side of the Reform party, hear a part of the responsibility.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall]—Hear, hear.

Thomas Scatcherd [Middlesex West] went on to refer to the Hon. President of the Council’s [George Brown] election address previous to his election to the present Parliament, wherein mention was made of the “£100,000 job,” wherein it was further alleged that the books of the Finance Minister’s [Alexander Galt] Department had been falsified in order to cover that job—that corruption and extravagance had everywhere prevailed, and that he (Mr. Brown) would do everything in his power to prevent the men who had been guilty of such acts from again ruling the country. The hon. gentleman made these strong statements, and he was not opposed on that occasion. He (Mr. Scatcherd) had not taken such strong grounds, and yet he had been opposed.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Thomas Scatcherd [Middlesex West]—The House had afterwards recorded its disapproval of this “£100,000 job” as it was called; but the result was that the present Coalition had been formed, and the hon. gentleman (Mr. Brown) was now seated beside the Hon. Finance Minister [Alexander Galt] whom he branded with falsifying the books of his department. And yet the hon. gentleman turned to himself (Mr. Scatcherd) and others who had taken ground upon the matter and called them a corporal’s-guard. The hon. gentleman had no right to use such language. It was he who had changed his coat, and it was only necessary, for the refutation of anything he had said against him (Mr. Scatcherd) to turn to his own recorded statements.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Arthur Rankin [Essex]—Mr. Rankin said he regretted very much the remarks which had fallen from the honorable member for Cornwall [John Sandfield Macdonald]. He had acted with that honorable gentleman, and he might candidly say that no one had heard with greater gratification that he had been sent for by His Excellency [Viscount Monck].

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Arthur Rankin [Essex]—He (Mr. Rankin) might venture to say that he had always acted as an independent member, and he thought it was not presumption on his part, tom say that he could take an impartial view of the matter now under discussion. The hon. gentleman went on to narrate that, on the occasion of the ministerial crisis, when a caucus of the ci-devant opposition was convened in order to consider the position of affairs, he (Mr. Rankin) had been invited by some prominent members to attend. He felt that he was not, properly speaking, a member of the party, and he said so, but he was nevertheless induced to go. He attended the meeting, and listened to all that took place. After it was organized, the hon. member for South Oxford (Mr. Brown) explained his position; and he distinctly recollected that hon. gentleman recommended a course which was not acceptable to the meeting—urging that it would be well if the party extended to the Government an outside support on certain conditions, while others contended that there should be some stronger and more distinct guarantee than a mere promise, and that some one from the Opposition ranks should enter the new Cabinet. Some of those present would have been contented with one representative, and argued that the hon. member for South Oxford [George Brown] should go in; but this was overruled, and finally it was—if he recollected rightly—almost unanimously agreed that three hon. members of the Opposition should enter the Cabinet. It was stated that three seats had been offered to the Liberal party, but the hon. member for Cornwall was under the impression that this was not enough, in view of the strength and importance of the party, and that a greater number of seats should be given. In reference to the great object on which the coalition Government had been formed—namely, the union of the of the Provinces of British North America—had always been a favorite idea of his, although he would have preferred a legislative union. Therefore, though not a supporter of the hon. member for Cornwall (Mr. J.S. Macdonald) or the hon. member for South Oxford (Mr. Brown), he acceded to the proposition for a coalition on the basis of the union of British North America his hearty support. He considered it a truly patriotic proposition—one which every true Briton should support.

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

Arthur Rankin [Essex]—The desire of the meeting in question was general—nay, it was looked upon as a sine qua non—that the hon. member for South Oxford (Mr. Brown) should join the coalition, and he recollected that the hon. gentleman was exceedingly averse to going into office. It was urged, however, by his friends, more particularly by the hon. member for Cornwall (Mr. J.S. Macdonald) that he should take office.

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

Arthur Rankin [Essex]—He (Mr. Rankin), however, desired, in addition to what he had already stated, to say—and he said it was no desire to be unpleasant to the hon. member for Cornwall [John Sandfield Macdonald]—that the object of the latter seemed to be to destroy the hon. President of the Council [George Brown], and the events to-night had proved it.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear, “no, no,” and “yes, yes.”

Arthur Rankin [Essex]—He (Mr. Rankin) did not affect to blame the hon. gentleman for his conduct or, intention in this matter. He supposed it was quite natural in politicians—

An Hon. Member—Very honorable!

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Arthur Rankin [Essex]—Mr. Rankin said he had not used the word “honorable;” he only said natural—he supposed it was natural to some men. In conclusion the hon. gentleman said he desired to say that instead of joining in any censure upon hon. gentleman on the Treasury benches, he was prepared not only to excuse but to support their conduct.

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

James Cowan [Waterloo South], after some prefatory remarks on the subject of the caucus held previous to the formation of the Coalition Government, went on to say that he would support them so long as he believed they were honestly, earnestly and sincerely working for the purpose of bringing about the great and desirable project of Confederation with a view of which it had been formed. He repeated he was prepared to do this, although he was opposed, as a principle, to Coalition Governments. In conclusion, he must say, that he did not think politics had arrived at such a heartless state as one would be led to believe from the drift of the speech of the hon. member for Cornwall [John Sandfield Macdonald], which was neither more or less than to the effect that his object was to kill off the Hon. President of the Council [George Brown].

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Scoble [Elgin West] followed at considerable length on the same side, relating the proceedings of the caucus and expressing his approval of the conduct of the hon. member for South Oxford [George Brown]. In conclusion he proceeded to comment on the educational grants.

Joseph Rymal [Wentworth South]—(the greater portion of whose remarks were inaudible in the gallery)—was understood to condemn the course pursued by the hon. member for South Oxford [George Brown].

Archibald McKellar [Kent] regretted the loss of time, but would nevertheless make a few remarks upon this subject. He had never heard such a version of the negotiations which preceded the formation of the Coalition Government as that which had been given by the hon. member for Cornwall [John Sandfield Macdonald]. Now he (Mr. McKellar) believed he knew as much of the proceedings upon that occasion as any person present, and he felt, to say the least, very much surprised at the manner in which these proceedings had been narrated. It had been stated, in the course of the discussion, that the hon. member for South Lanark (Mr. Morris) had been charged on that occasion with the mission of making a proposition on behalf of the Liberal party. As he saw that hon. gentleman in his place he would at once ask him whether such were the case or not?

Alexander Morris [Lanark South] said that having been asked as to whether he was charged with a proposition from the hon. member for South Oxford [George Brown] to the Government, for the purpose of having himself admitted as a member of the administration, with other members of the Reform party, he (Mr. Morris) had no hesitation in saying that he had never been charged with such a proposition.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall]—That’s not the point.

Alexander Morris [Lanark South] said he never was the bear of any proposal from the hon. member for South Oxford (Mr. Brown) to the then administration. In the negotiations which took place his (Mr. Morris’) name had been mentioned; but he desired to say he had acted entirely on his own responsibility and had not been charged with any mission. This was a simple statement of facts.

Some Hon. Members—Ministerial cheers.

Archibald McKellar [Kent] said that after his exceedingly explicit statement there could be no doubt or question whatever as to this part of the transaction. But as for the language used by the hon. member for Cornwall (Mr. J.S. Macdonald) he considered it a most extraordinary statement for that hon. gentleman to make, here in the high court of Parliament, that he had advised that the hon. member for South Oxford [George Brown] should go into the Government in order to kill that hon. gentleman and his party. The hon. gentleman concluded by some remarks on the conduct of those who condemned the Hon. Mr. Brown’s conduct.

Joseph Rymal [Wentworth South] desired only to say that he felt quite certain the last speaker would support the Government. Of course he would adhere to the flesh-pots. He scented his prey afar off. Where the carrion was to be found there the hon. member was sure to be.

Some Hon. MembersRoars of laughter.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall], after some prefatory remarks, said it was rather singular that those who now took the ground that within the last few years, no Ministry had remained in office long enough to do any good, had but a short time ago expelled from office a Government that had been in power for seven or eight years, and when. They returned, defeated them once more in 1864.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall]—He had opposed constitutional changes throughout, he had ever been opposed to them, and had opposed them in the Constitutional Committee. The hon. gentleman ready lengthy extracts from the printed document containing a narrative of the Ministerial negotiations of June, 1864, and contended that the very language of that p[aper itself shewed that the proposition came from the hon. member for South Oxford (Mr. Brown) and his followers, and that Messrs. Morris and Pope had been authorized to communicate with the Government on the subject. The ministerial statement declared that the hon. member (Mr. Brown) was desirous of communicating with the Government. The fact, in plain language, was that the hon. gentleman had sold his party, and yet forsooth the Hon. President of the Council [George Brown] and friends charged him (Mr. J.S. Macdonald) with treachery.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall]—The hon. member had unblushingly sold his party, yet a number of his followers had no word of reproach for him. The whole thing was a delusion from beginning to end, and because he gave his candid opinion of it he was called a spy and a traitor, and was, he supposed, to be hounded through the country, as other gentlemen had been hounded because they were opposed to the honorable member for South Oxford [George Brown]. The honorable member for South Lanark (Mr. Morris) told the House that he had not been formally or personally charged with making any proposition on behalf of the member for South Oxford [George Brown], but the language of the Ministerial explanations (from which he proceeded to quote) was exceedingly clear. The hon. gentleman talked about the support of his party and the confidence of his party. Why did he enter upon the negotiations with the Government before consulting his party? Why did he enter upon them alone?

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall]—The hon. gentleman was of course ready with excuses about something that was to be accomplished in the future—his followers were ready to support in whatever he did, and furthermore the press was ready to endorse his conduct. In this latter connexion hon. gentlemen had managed to enlist the newspapers in their interest. Je did know whether this arose from the circular of the Hon. Provincial Secretary or from some other cause, but the fact, nevertheless, was there. It would be interesting to observe, to-morrow, what a short garbled notice would be given of his [Mr. Macdonald’s] remarks and how fully the sayings of hon. gentlemen opposite would be recorded.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall]—He (Mr. Macdonald), however, cared little for the attacks of the Hon. President of the Council [George Brown] or his allies, inasmuch as he had never “shunted” off the Reform track—

Some Hon. MembersLaughter.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall]—inasmuch as he had ever been true to his convictions, and had never deviated from the principles with which he had started in political life.

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

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall]—The hon. gentleman then proceeded to comment upon the relations of Mr. Brown’s followers to that hon. gentleman and to the alleged abandonment of principle on the part of the former in obedience to their leader’s will.

John Bown [Brant East]—Didn’t you call a caucus of the Ministerial supporters belonging to the Reform party, for the purpose of getting them to vote for the School Bill?

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

David Stirton—Yes.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall]—No I did not.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Bown [Brant East]—Yes you did. I opposed the matter, and suffered all the abuse.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall] said he had never called such a caucus.

An Hon. Member—You were there.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

James Dickson [Huron & Bruce]—In the Crown Lands Office.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall]—No, I was not.

Some Hon. MembersCheers, counter cheers, &c.

Alexander Mackenzie [Lambton] thought it right, in justice, to state that the hon. member for Cornwall [John Sandfield Macdonald] was not there.

Some Hon. MembersCheers and confusion.

Alexander Mackenzie [Lambton]—He was understood to add that the caucus was, however, called by that hon. gentleman, or by his authority.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall] said he had never called a meeting of the Reform party, nor had he ever advised a meeting, for the purpose of asking the members of that party to support the School Bill.

Thomas D’Arcy McGee [Montreal West, Minister of Agriculture and Statistics] desired to remind the hon. gentleman that before the Government of which he was leader went to their constituencies for re-election, a paper was read in this House, by their authority, in which there was a statement to the effect that there would be a measure to facilitate the working of the school system.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall]—That was not to alter the law, but only to ensure its proper working.—The hon. gentleman then proceeded to say that he denied having taken an active or foremost part in the meeting of the Liberal party previous to the hon. member for Oxford [George Brown]taking office. The whole thing appeared to have been previously cut and dried, the first resolution having been moved by the hon. member for North Oxford (Mr. H. Mackenzie) but the hon. member for South Oxford [George Brown] had, at the times, been negotiating with the Ministry for days, without the knowledge or consent of his party.

David Stirton [Wellington South]—All the party knew it.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall]—Well, at the caucus, the moment the hon. member for South Oxford [George Brown] made his statement, the hon. member for North Oxford (Mr. H. Mackenzie) immediately came forward with a resolution approving of the course pursued by the hon. gentleman, and proposing federation of the Canadas, with a view to its subsequent extension to the Maritime Provinces. He (Mr. Macdonald) was opposed to this.—The hon. gentleman now read from the record of proceedings in caucus, by which it appeared he did not vote.

George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council]—You did not vote against the resolution.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall] said he did not go to the farce of voting against the resolution, which would have been useless, but he was opposed to it, and he said so to those around him.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall]—He saw by the vote that the partisans of the hon. gentleman (Mr. Brown) were determined to accept the whole scheme; that they were in fact irresistible in the meeting, and there was no use attempting to oppose them. He then proposed that Mr. Brown must go in, if the party were to go in at all. When he saw the farce and delusion thus going on he was determined that it should be played out to the end.

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

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall]—He desired the people should have a trial of the scheme which had been thus suddenly burst upon the country. Who was playing the traitor and the spy then? Was it he (Mr. Macdonald) who wished them God-speed in their proposition?

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

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall]—He was determined the hon. member for South Oxford [George Brown] should bear part of the responsibility in a scheme in which he (Mr. Macdonald) had no confidence. He had never abandoned his principles or his party—he had never left the Reform party, but it was reserved for the hon. gentleman opposite to do so. The result of the hon. gentleman’s act had been to plunge us into a state of uncertainty, a state of chaos in fact, but his (Mr. Macdonald’s) hope and trust was that the people of this country would, upon the very first opportunity, set matters right.

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

James Dickson [Huron & Bruce] said the conduct and language of the hon. member for Cornwall (Mr. J.S. Macdonald) was most extraordinary, and there was nothing to justify it. He talked about having been ruled out of the party, several years ago, by the Hon. President of the Council [George Brown]. Well, all he (Mr. Dickson) could say was that he deserved to be ruled out.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear and laughter.

James Dickson [Huron & Bruce]—The President of the Council [George Brown] deserved credit for the manly stand he had taken as a party-leader, when matters came to a dead-lock, and he merited the confidence and support of his followers. The proposal for increased representation, which the Government under the leadership of the hon. member for Cornwall [John Sandfield Macdonald] was understood to advocate would not have done justice to the people of Upper Canada, inasmuch as it proposed an increase in Upper Canada and a similar increase in Lower Canada. It was a mere cheese-paring affair in fact. Not so the political programme of the Hon. President of the Council [George Brown], which was manly and straightforward, and was calculated to protect the rights of the people of Upper Canada, and secure for them self-government and increased representation.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear and cheers.

James Dickson [Huron & Bruce]—He had been opposed to the hon. gentleman (Mr. Brown) going into a Coalition with the Conservative party, because he believed in so doing he would have some dirty puddles to go through; but he believed in the honesty of purpose of that hon. gentleman and would support the Coalition with a view to the accomplishment of the great object for which it was formed.

Some Hon. MembersCheers and laughter.

John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West and Minister of Militia] proceeded to reply to the observations of the hon. member for Cornwall [John Sandfield Macdonald], and others, respecting the President of the Council [George Brown]and the Coalition. As to that gentleman’s remarks about the hon. member for Oxford [George Brown] endeavoring to hound him down, it might be said that it was not he or his friends who had brought on the debate. How did it come up? Why, it was because the member for Cornwall [John Sandfield Macdonald], following the lead of the member for Chateauguay [Luther Holton]—who, with his usual infelicity, which led him to make wrong motions at the wrong time, and which had procured for the ex-Attorney-General West [John A. Macdonald] the solemn anathema maramantha, pronounced by the member for Huron and Bruce [James Dickson], and which had been confirmed by the other members of the Liberal party, had launched into this discussion—that the member for Cornwall [John Sandfield Macdonald] had received the castigation he complained of.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, and laughter.

John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West and Minister of Militia]—Those leaders of the Opposition brought on deliberately, and with malice aforethought, this attack on the political character, prospects and position of the Hon. President of the Council [George Brown]. The member for Chateauguay [Luther Holton] had, on several occasions, stated it was due to the character and reputation of the hon. gentleman that those items should be postponed till he should be present—really to listen to this attack.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West and Minister of Militia]—The hon. gentleman had been elaborately preparing this assault, and thought he was in a position to show up the President of the Council [George Brown] as a man who had deserted his party and policy; and, for the purpose of showing his dislike, which was evidently more than a political one, seeing the member for Chateauguay [Luther Holton] had followed him day after day, and night after night, evidencing that there was something rankling in his mind as regards the member for South Oxford, he brough this attack against him on those items. The object was, also, to throw discredit on that gentleman for the motives that led him into and had induce him to remain in the Cabinet. If, therefore, the member for Cornwall [John Sandfield Macdonald] suffered in consequence, and this he must have done, for he had been denounced by those who formerly had faith in him as their leader as a man who had betrayed them, acted unfairly towards them, and who had gone into the caucus to ruin the party of which he was a member—if he had suffered all this, he owed it to his colleague, the member for Chateauguay [Luther Holton]. The discussion was not sought for by the President of the Council [George Brown] or any Ministerial member of the House.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West and Minister of Militia]—Well, after all, what was the attack made upon that hon. gentleman? The member for Cornwall [John Sandfield Macdonald] said that he had, after the defeat of the last Ministry, sent emissaries to the Government with proposals to be admitted into it. But the member for South Lanark (Mr. Morris) had indignantly denied it. Well, he (Mr. J.A. Macdonald) could assent, in the behalf of the President of the Council [George Brown], that the allegation of the member for Cornwall [John Sandfield Macdonald] was a misstatement of the most glaring and wanton kind. The former had, neither directly or indirectly, sent emissaries nor communications in regard to the expression of a desire on his part to enter the Cabinet. Again and again, in Parliament, even when most opposed to the Cartier-Macdonald Government, he did not hesitate to declare that, much as he was opposed to our general policy, the particular acts, and personal and political conduct of some of its members, he would forget all their faults—he would give them a strong and independent support if they would adopt the policy he believed requisite for the good government of the country, and settlement of tis sectional difficulties.

Some Hon. MembersCheers.

John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West and Minister of Militia]—He had said years ago that, if the Government could make only one step in favor of representation by population he would give them his support; and when he met the Committee of this House, appointed to consider the state of the nation, and its future constitutional prospects—a committee which had led to satisfactory results—sitting with closed doors, in order that we might have free communication of opinion, without prejudice or reserve—strong party men as we were, we found we could approach each other cordially, and that there was not such a great difference of opinion between us as was supposed, and that there was, really, among the leading men of both parties a desire to put an end to the unsatisfactory state of things that had existed, and the difficulties that were destroying the prospects of this great country. We found that parties were so equally divided that it was impossible for either to have a strong party Government, and that if this country had any hope of escape from anarchy it was only by setting aside the old party considerations and divisions, and joining together for the establishment of a new order of things.

Some Hon. MembersCheers.

John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West and Minister of Militia]—On the defeat of the Ministry in June, 1864, remembering the previous speeches of the President of the Council [George Brown], and his course in the above Committee, and having learned that while in conversation with the members for North Lanark and Compton (Messrs. Morris and Pope) the President of the Council [George Brown] had continued to declare that he was still of opinion that the earliest opportunity should be taken to wipe away the record of all the old dissensions, and enter upon a new state of political existence, and do away with the anarchy that seemed to have assumed a chronic form in this country, to attempt to from an empire in North America, on a new basis of British constitutional principles—he (Mr. Macdonald) at once told his colleagues, and they felt that we would be wanting in duty to ourselves and the country to still adhere to our old party principles; we felt it would be unpatriotic in us to agitate the land by another new election, until we had tried to form a junction with the leaders of the great Reform party of Upper Canada, in order to the establishment of a strong and stable Government for the benefit of the whole province.

Some Hon. MembersCheers.

John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West and Minister of Militia]—Well, he was met by the hon. member for South Oxford [George Brown] in the same spirit in which the advances were made to him, and the result was the formation of the present Cabinet, upon a basis, too, creditable to all concerned in the work.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West and Minister of Militia]—It was stated the President of the Council [George Brown] had to relinquish all cherished opinions and ideas, and forget the former struggles with his opponents and the ill-feeling they engendered. True, and so had we on the Conservative side; but we had reaped our reward in succeeding in the formation of a strong Government, and laying the basis of a great empire on true British principles.

Some Hon. MembersCheers.

John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West and Minister of Militia]—The statement that the basis agreed to in the caucus was not that adhered to by the Government was not correct. Now the scheme recommended by the Reformers in 1858, and to which substantially assent was given in the caucus of 1854 was—that there should be Confederation of Upper and Lower Canada; that the principle should be extended to the Maritime and North Western British Provinces so that they could enter the Confederation at the fitting time. Was not this the same principle proposed in our plan and which was identified with the formation of this Government?

True we found the Governments of the Maritime Provinces were ready at once to embrace the scheme. We were not doomed to long delay, after first sitting down and settling our own policy. Well, the resolution was adopted in June, 1864, and at the meeting of the Lower Province delegates, held in September of 1864, they adopted the same resolution. Yet, though the member for Chateauguay [Luther Holton] sanctioned it, and Mr. Brown’s entering the Cabinet to carry it out, he opposed both the President of the Council [George Brown] and the Government ever since for his doing so.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, and laughter.

John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West and Minister of Militia]—He (Mr. J.A. Macdonald) would not discuss the avowal of the member for Cornwall [John Sandfield Macdonald], or the reasons that induced him to move that the President of the Council [George Brown] go into the Government.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall]—I gave them myself.

John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West and Minister of Militia]—They were not the same as you gave to-night. Did he state, in caucus, that his motive was a delusion and a snare, and that he desired—to use his own phrase—that the member for South Oxford [George Brown] “should go over bag and baggage, into the snare?” What could be his object in carrying the motion, but that the policy of the Liberal party should be put in force? He (Mr. J.A. Macdonald) would not believe, even from his own lips, that he moved the resolution with the object just stated by himself now. He believed the member for Cornwall [John Sandfield Macdonald] was really desirous that the President of the Council [George Brown] should enter the Government to aid the party of which he was a trusted representative. He could not believe the resolution was moved for the purpose of ruining the President of the Council [George Brown]. He could not believe he had such a fiendish desire as to request that gentleman and two colleagues to enter Government to destroy them for ever, politically, so as to leave the field open to himself, rid of all competitors.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West and Minister of Militia]—The taunt that the President of the Council [George Brown] had acted untrue to his party in joining the Conservatives, when “the game was in his own hands” was unjust. The game was not in his own hands, though the Ministry had been defeated by a majority of two, in a Parliament elected during the Government of which the member for Cornwall [John Sandfield Macdonald] was the leader. Instead of the game being in his hands it was in the hands of the defeated Government who had the privileges ordering a new election that could have been influenced to some extent by the means and influence necessarily possessed.

Some Hon. MembersCheers.

John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West and Minister of Militia]—The member for Cornwall [John Sandfield Macdonald] had himself abandoned his former policy, including the double-majority and so forth, and by his mismanagement of his party, they would have gone to the country under great disadvantage. But with respect to the accusations against the President of the Council [George Brown], he, too, (Mr. J.A. Macdonald) had been charged by some of his friends with having been untrue to his party instincts, etc. But he was now proud to see the Upper Canada section of the Cabinet supported by the Conservatives of Upper, and the unanimous voice of those from Lower Canada, all having agreed to set aside party feelings to carry out our present policy. Our course, so far, had been successful. True, Confederation might be postponed or defeated; but he was confident that Confederation was to be the law that would yet govern British North America, and that all the Provinces would be yet united in one great empire under Her Majesty. But should we be defeated in this, as the President of the Council [George Brown] and others had said we need not be ashamed of it. The attempt was a great one, even if unsuccessful, which he could not believe. When we knew the people and press of Canada were in favor of Confederation; when we knew we had got the sanction of the Queen and the leading statesmen of all shades of politics, and the Parliament and people of Great Britain, in its favor—we knew that the matter was calmly considered by the people of the Lower Provinces—when the hostile feeling arising from various causes, in the past, and the local prejudices and jealousies had been overcome—that Confederation would be the result of the formation of the present Government of Canada. It was most extraordinary that an attack should have been made upon the President of the Council [George Brown] in regard to those sectarian grants by hon. members who had themselves not only voted for them before but introduced them with the other items of the Estimates. The difference between him and them was this, that he agreed to the items, for the purpose of carrying out a great scheme of policy for the future benefit of the country, but they agreed to oppose them with no such object, but for the sole purpose of retaining office and getting Lower Canada votes and support. For the sake of settling the sectional difficulties and restoring peace to Canada, and doing away with the chronic state of anarchy which hitherto prevailed, we were content to accept questions which, on their own merits, we might have previously voted down. But the leaders of the Opposition who now opposed these grants previously supported them to keep themselves in office. Well, the grants for those objects were increased before the President of the Council [George Brown] entered the Cabinet.

George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council] would state the matter precisely. He had been informed of this grant about the time of the negotiations respecting the Coalition; but, of course, they went on to completion after which the business of the session had to be wound-up. There were some items to which he objected, and the present item among them; but he was told the latter were grants to which the Government was pledged. He then stated that he would not be responsible for them, but would leave them in the hands of Government to settle the matter with the House.

John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West and Minister of Militia]—That was correct. He was not responsible for them.

Alexander Mackenzie [Lambton] said he made a motion against the items, which motion the President of the Council [George Brown] supported, and voted for, going with the minority on the occasion.

John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West and Minister of Militia] said that was true. In conclusion, he would say that he did not think there was one man in the country who would approve of the policy of those who had first urged his hon. colleague to take a seat in the Cabinet, and had been opposing both him and it ever since.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West and Minister of Militia]—If such conduct, as well as that of hon. gentleman opposite, to-night, were to be approved by the people, there would be an end to all personal trust between politicians, and confidence, as between man and man throughout the country.

Some Hon. MembersLoud cheers.

 

A lengthy debate, consisting mainly of a commentary on the preceding discussion, took placeAntoine-Aimé Dorion [Hochelaga], Luther Holton [Chateauguay], Christopher Dunkin [Brome], and other gentleman taking part.

In the course of the subsequent discussion,

Antoine-Aimé Dorion [Hochelaga] said he was glad of the discussion to-night. The hon. member for South Oxford (Mr. Brown) and his followers had, in point of fact, admitted that they were wrong, and had been obliged to come down from the decided position they had formerly assumed on this question. By voting for this item the hon. member and his friends were admitting the principle.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear, and no, no.

Antoine-Aimé Dorion [Hochelaga]—It was no doubt, a retrograde step on the part of these hon. gentlemen, but it was an avowal that they were in error.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council], in reference to the item in the supplementary estimate, last year, for Trinity College, said it was most unfair to attack him respecting that grant. He denied that he was in any way responsible for it.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council]—On the contrary, he had approved of it, as would be seen by his speech in the published reports, and by the record of the division on the 24th June, 1864.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council]—The hon. gentleman concluded by quoting from his speech to the effect that it was very unfortunate this grant had been introduced, and that he hoped it would be withdrawn.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Thomas Ferguson [Simcoe South] said he desired to raise his voice against the manner in which this debate had been carried on.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Thomas Ferguson [Simcoe South]—It had ostensibly arisen out of a desire to obtain explanations from the Hon. President of the Council [George Brown] as to his views on the subject of these educational grants; but it turned into a long discussion on Confederation and Coalition. Better at once start another “Mirror of Parliament,” and have the whole debate over again, than have the merits of Confederation coming upon on every other question that had yet been broached this session.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Thomas Ferguson [Simcoe South]—The President of the Council [George Brown], in reply to the questions which had been put to him, came out boldly and fearlessly, and said that he had been opposed, and was still opposed, to those grants, but that he consented to allow them to be placed upon the estimates for a short time, in view of the importance of working together in order to obtain the great object of Confederation.

Some Hon. MembersCheers.

Thomas Ferguson [Simcoe South]—He (Mr. Ferguson) confessed that he was sorry to see these grants on the Estimates, and he would have been glad had the Government been in a position to come down and say that they had abolished them, or even that they had reduced them by one-half.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Thomas Ferguson [Simcoe South]—The hon. gentleman who had attacked Mr. Brown gave his reasons very plainly, but instead of hon. members adhering to the question the House had been treated to a long rehash about Coalition and Confederation. By this means we had lost a great part of the night, and a very great share of the session had been lost in the same way.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Thomas Ferguson [Simcoe South]—The end was rapidly approaching, and we would have nothing to show for our work. Yet these hon. gentlemen who talked so much—if a formal motion were made to-night—would vote for these same grants they made the subject of attack in another.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Thomas Ferguson [Simcoe South]—The hon. member for Cornwall [John Sandfield Macdonald] talked about the Reform party being made to abandon their principles—yet he it was who brought them away from representation by population—he it was who led them away and made them vote for Separate Schools.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear and laughter.

Alexander Mackenzie [Lambton]—No, no.

Thomas Ferguson [Simcoe South]—Well, he did not exactly say to them, you must vote for the bill, but he told them to do what they pleased, they knew the consequences; “they might go to the devil, for he could swim.”

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

Thomas Ferguson [Simcoe South]—The hon. gentleman concluded by again expressing his opposition, on principle, to all such grants as that under discussion, but at the same time his appreciation of the reasons given by the hon. President of the Council [George Brown].

John Carling [London], in reference to the grants to collegiate institutions, strongly urged the claims of Huron College.

The item more immediately under discussion was then passed, as were the following:—

Salaries and contingencies,

Education L.C.

$19,485
Salaries and contingencies,

Education U.C.

13,600
Beauport Asylum 90,652
Boards of Arts and Manufacture U.C. and L.C., $2000 each 4000
Miscellaneous expenditure 94,000

This closed the ordinary estimates. The supplementary estimates were then taken up. We subjoin the details voted under each heading:

Hospitals and charities $67,770
Canals 95,000
Light Houses 12,000
Slides, booms, &c 16,500
Harbors and piers 22,600
Public buildings 416,200
Miscellaneous 31,000
Administration of Justice 10,000

The Committee then rose, and reported the resolutions. Concurrence to be taken at the next sitting of the House.

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