Province of Canada, Legislative Assembly, 8th Parl, 4th Sess (9 August 1865)


Document Information

Date: 1865-08-09
By: Province of Canada (Parliament), Morning Chronicle
Citation: “Provincial Parliament. Legislative Assembly. Wednesday, August 9” [Quebec] Morning Chronicle (10 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

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 9, 1865[1]

The Address—Ministerial Explanations

The first order of the day being the consideration of His Excellency’s [Viscount Monck] speech[2] at the opening of the session having been called—

Charles Magill [Hamilton] moved, seconded by Jean Brousseau [Portneuf]

That an humble Address be presented to His Excellency the Governor General, to thank His Excellency for His Gracious Speech at the opening of the present Session, and further to assure His Excellency that we learn with much satisfaction, that in conformity with the announcement which His Excellency made to us at the end of the last Session of Parliament, a Deputation from the Canadian Ministry proceeded to London to confer with Her Majesty’s Government on questions of importance to the Province.

2. That we are grateful to His Excellency for having called us together at the earliest convenient moment after the return of the Deputation, in order that we may receive the report of their mission, and complete the important business which, at the conclusion of the last Session, was left unfinished.

3. That we thank His Excellency for having directed that the correspondence referring to the mission to England, shall be communicated to us for our consideration.

4. That we share with His Excellency the belief, that the happy termination of the Civil War which has for the last four years prevailed in the United States of America, cannot fail to exercise a beneficial influence on the commercial and industrial interests of this Province, and that we trust, with His Excellency, that the re-establishment of peace will lead to a constantly increasing development of friendly relations between our people and the citizens of the great Republic.

5. That we receive with great pleasure the announcement, that the circumstances which rendered it necessary to place a portion of the Volunteer Militia of the Province on permanent duty, having ceased to exist, the force has been re-called; and the expression of His Excellency’s feeling of satisfaction at the readiness with which the men responded to the call of duty, and the general good conduct which they exhibited, during the period of their service.

6. That we thank His Excellency for having directed that the estimates for the current year, and the statement of the expenditure, which has been incurred, chargeable against the vote of credit of last session, shall be laid before us: and we feel assured that we shall find, with reference to both, that economy has been combined with a due regard to efficiency.

7. That we learn with pleasure, that His Excellency has transmitted to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, for presentation to Her Majesty, the Addresses to which we agreed during the last Session, in favor of a Federal Union of the Colonies of British North America.

8. That we thank His Excellency for the assurance that the reply of the Secretary of State shall be communicated to us; and that we trust, with His Excellency, that mature examination of the project will, ere long, induce the Legislatures of the other Provinces to concur with us in giving their sanction to a measure which has been adopted as a great feature of Imperial policy, and has been twice noticed with approbation in Her Majesty’s Speeches from the Throne.[3]

Charles Magill [Hamilton]—was sorry to have been selected to move the address on this occasion, feeling that one more competent might have been chosen. At the end of last session a delegation had been despatched to England[4] to treat with the Imperial authorities upon matters of the greatest importance to this country. Their reception had been of the most gratifying character, and the result of the deliberations could not fail to be of the most beneficial character to the province at large. Reference had been made in the speech to the termination of the civil war in the United States. He was quite satisfied that every member of this House would join in expressing satisfaction at the happy end of that fearful calamity which has desolated the whole country.

Some Hon. MembersCheers.

Charles Magill [Hamilton]—He had no doubt the conclusion of the civil war would redound to the prosperity of this country as well as that of the United States, and that friendly relations and extended commerce would follows as regards Canada and the States from the restoration of peace. We must rejoice at the termination of the war from the fact that it had led to the emancipation of 4,000,000 of slaves, and also from the fact that it was our neighbors who were engaged in the dreadful conflict, and that their object during the contest was the benefit of the human race. He trusted that peace and harmony would be permanently established between the late belligerents and that they would be in a position to take into consideration the renewal of the Reciprocity Treaty[5]. He would not approve of going down on our knees craving this as a boon; because he felt that Canada could do without this treaty as she had before. He felt, moreover, that in case of the refusal of the United States, we would be able to master the new emergencies that might therefrom arise.

Some Hon. MembersCheers.

Charles Magill [Hamilton]—Reference had been made to the prompt response of our volunteers to the call of the country. They had acted in the most commendable spirit and were entitled to the fullest credit for their conduct. But this was not surprising, as their fathers had not failed to come forward to defend in times of necessity, the rights they enjoyed; and he trusted their descendants would ever remain of the same temper.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Charles Magill [Hamilton]—It was gratifying to know, in relation to the scheme of Confederation that Great Britain had ratified the scheme agreed upon by the colonists; and he had no doubt whatever that this scheme would be ultimately carried out. What other means was there of perpetuating British rule in this hemisphere and establishing a strong British nationality on this continent? He had no doubt that when the leading men of the Maritime Provinces had considered the whole matter they would consider it their duty to unite themselves with those striving to build up a common nationality, cementing British power in North America and handing down to posterity all the rights, privileges and blessing we at present enjoyed. He begged leave to move the address.

Some Hon. MembersCheers.

Jean Brosseau [Portneuf], in seconding the address, said he had much pleasure in doing so, in as much as it afforded him an opportunity of congratulating the Government upon the promptitude they had shown in carrying out the desire of the Legislature by sending a delegation to England[6] on the subject of the Confederation of the British North American Provinces. He had no fears whatever as to the result of the mission in question, but at the same time, the House would look anxiously for communication of the correspondence relative thereto, so as to be able to judge of the matter in detail. We had every reason to congratulate ourselves on the fact that peace had been concluded between the great belligerent sections of the United States, in as much as it was to be hoped that it would have the beneficial result of promoting our own local commerce and industry, and would thereby tend to the material increase of our revenue. There was no doubt whatever but that the pacific state of our neighbors would have this very desirable effect.

Some Hon. MembersCheers.

Jean Brosseau [Portneuf]—The trouble which had taken place in the adjoining country had given a number of our young men an opportunity of shewing their real and patriotism by coming forward for the purpose of preserving peace on the frontier.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Jean Brosseau [Portneuf]—They had done so in the most noble and disinterested manner, shewing that they were worthy of their old renown; and deserving inheritors of the valour of their fathers.

Some Hon. MembersCheers.

Jean Brosseau [Portneuf]—The spirit they had displayed should not be forgotten. We had, however, reason to thank the Government for withdrawing the volunteers, and thus saving any further expense, the moment peace was concluded and the occasion for their services had passed away.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Jean Brosseau [Portneuf]—As to Confederation, it was most satisfactory for us to know that the project which had for its object to make us a great and powerful people had met with the approbation, as well of Her Majesty as of Her Majesty’s Government—shewing that the mother-country cordially recognized the principle that we knew better what was suited to the exigencies of our position than those who resided thousands of miles away from us.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Jean Brosseau [Portneuf]—It was to be hoped that their interests and ours were identical in respect to this matter. United, we would be strong, respected and in a position to provide for our own defence and to develop the numerous and important natural resources which we possessed.

Some Hon. MembersCheers.

John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West and Minister of Militia] said that before proceeding further with the discussion of the address he would prefer giving explanations as to the re-construction of the Government. The correspondence relative thereto had been reduced to writing, and he therefore had to request permission to read the same, in as much as it contained a full minute of the proceedings which had taken place.

The hon. gentleman then read the following document

Ministerial negotiations for the reconstruction of the Government, consequent on the death of  Sir E.P. Taché.

No. 1—Memorandum made 4th August, 1865, of conversation, held on the preceding day between Messrs. Macdonald and Brown:

Mr. Macdonald, yesterday, sought an interview with Mr. Brown and informed him that His Excellency the Governor-General had sent for him, that morning, and had stated that the Administration, as it was formed in 1864[7], should continue in office, with as few changes as possible, in order to carry out the policy announced by the Government on its formulation—that, with that view His Excellency had expressed the opinion that the most obvious made of supplying the place, vacated by Sir Etienne Taché, would be for Mr. Macdonald to assume the position of Prime Minister—as being the senior member of the Ministry—and that Mr. Cartier would, on the same principle, become the leader of the Lower Canadian section of the Government—and that, for the purpose of carrying those views into effect, he had commissioned Mr. Macdonald to take the post of First Minister—at the same time requisition all the other Ministers to retain their offices. Mr. Macdonald further informed Mr. Brown that he had assented to this proposition of His Excellency, and had seen Mr. Cartier, who, at once, agreed to it. He then invited Mr. Brown to accede to the proposal of His Excellency.

Mr. Brown replied that he was quite prepared to enter into arrangements for the continuance of the Government in the same position it occupied previous to the death of Sir Etienne Taché; but that the proposal now made, involved a grave departure, from that position. The Government, here to fore, had been a coalition of three political parties, each represented by an active party leader, but all acting under one chief—who had ceased to be actuated by strong party feelings or personal ambitions, and who was well fitted to give confidence to all the three sections of the coalition that the conditions which united them would be carried out in good faith to the very letter. Mr. Macdonald, Mr. Cartier, and himself (Mr. Brown) were, on the contrary, regarded as party leaders, with party feelings and aspirations; and to place any one of them in an attitude of superiority over the others, with the vast advantage of the Premiership, would, in the public mind, lessen the security for good faith, and seriously endanger the existence of the coalition. It would be an entire change of the situation. Whichever of the three was so preferred, the act would amount to an abandonment of the coalition basis and re-construction of the government on ordinary party principles, under a party leader unacceptable to a larger portion of those on whose support the existence of the Ministry depended. Mr. Brown reminded Mr. Macdonald that when the coalition was formed, the Liberal party in opposition, constituted a majority of the House of Assembly:—that, solely for the accomplishment of a great measure essential to the peace and progress of the country, they had laid aside, for the time, party considerations, and consented to form a coalition with their opponents, on conditions which nothing but the strongest sense of public duty could have induced them to accept. He reminded Mr. Macdonald of the disadvantageous and embarrassing position he (Mr. Brown) and his colleagues, Mr. McDougall and Mr. Howland, had occupied during the past year,—united as they were with nine political opponents, who held all the important departments of State;—and he asked him to reflect in what light the Liberal party must regard this new proposition to abandon their distinctive position, and place one of their chief opponents in the premiership, though his conservative supporters in Parliament were much inferior, numerically, to the reform supporters of the coalition.

Mr. Brown stated his conviction that the right mode of settling the question would be to invite some gentlemen of good position in the Legislative Council, under whom all the three great parties to the Coalition could act with confidence, to become the successor of Colonel Taché. In no other way, he thought, could the position, heretofore existing, be continued. Mr. Brown concluded by saying that the proposal of Mr. Macdonald was, palpably, one for the construction of a new Government, and that if the aid of the Reform Party in Upper Canada in the Assembly were desired in its formation, a distinct statement of the policy of the new Government must be made, and a definite proposition submitted. Speaking, however, for himself alone, he (Mr. Brown) occupied now precisely the ground that he had in the negotiations of 1864[8]; he stood prepared to give an outside, but frank and earnest, support to any Administration that might be formed, pledged like the Coalition Government, to carry through Parliament, in the spring session of next year, either a measure for the final completion of the Confederation scheme of the Quebec Conference, or one for removing existing difficulties in Canada, by the introduction of the Federal principle into the system of Government, coupled with such provisional as will permit the Maritime Provinces and the North-west Territory to be incorporated into the system.

Mr. Macdonald stated in answer, that at the time the coalition was effected in 1864, Sir Etienne Taché held the position of Premier with him, (Mr. Macdonald), as leader of the Lower House, and of the Upper Canadian section of the Government. That on reference to the memorandum containing the basis of coalition[9], it will be seen that Mr. Brown at first preferred to support the Government in its policy, as then settled, without entering the Government, but that it was afterwards agreed in deference to the wishes of his supporters, and at the pressing instance of Mr. Macdonald that he and two of his friends should enter the Government. These terms were acceded to, the offices that happened to be then vacant placed at Mr. Brown’s disposal, and the coalition was completed. Mr. Macdonald further stated that Sir Etienne Taché was not selected at the time of the Coalition, as First Minister, but he had been previously and was then the head of the Conservative Government, and was accepted with all his Lower Canadian colleagues without change. That on the lamented decease of Sir Etienne, His Excellency had, without previous communication of his opinion to him or (as he understood) to any one else, come to the conclusion that the best mode of carrying on the Government was (as already stated) for Mr. Macdonald to take one step upward; that Mr. Cartier, as next in seniority should do so also, and that the other arrangements should remain as before. That he (Mr. Macdonald) thought with His Excellency that this was the best solution of the matter, and could not but accede to it; that, however, he had no personal feeling in the matter, and that if he had, he thought it his duty to set aside such feeling for the sake of carrying out the great scheme so happily commenced, to a successful issue.

He therefore would readily stand and waive his pretensions, so that some other party than himself might be appointed to the Premiership; that he thought Mr. Cartier should be that party; that after the weather of Colonel Tache, Mr. Cartier, beyond a doubt, was the most influential man in his section of the country, and would be selected by the Lower Canadian supporters of the Government as their leader; that neither Mr. Brown nor Mr. Macdonald could dictate to Lower Canada as to their selection of leader; that the Premier must be, according to usage, the leader or senior member either from Upper or Lower Canada: and that as he (Mr. Macdonald) had, in consequence of the position taken by Mr. Brown, waived his own pretensions, it followed that Mr. Cartier should be appointed as Prime Minister. Mr. Macdonald stated in conclusion that although he had no reason to suppose that His Excellency would object to the selection of Mr. Cartier, yet he must of course submit the proposition to him, and obtain His Excellency’s assent to it.

Mr. Brown replied that in some of the views suggested by Mr. Macdonald, there was a difference between this proposition and the original one; but still that this, like the other, would be a proposal for the construction of a new Government, in a manner seriously affecting the security held by the Liberal party. Before saying anything upon such a proposition, however, were it formally made, he would desire to consult his friends, Mr. McDougall and Mr. Howland.

The interview then terminated, and the following correspondence took place.

No. 2—Hon. John A. Macdonald to Hon. George Brown.

Quebec, August 4, 1865.

My Dear Sir,

Immediately after our conversation, the heads of which we have reduced to writing, I have obtained His Excellency’s permission to propose to you that Mr. Cartier’s, as being the leader of the Ministerial majority of Lower Canada in Parliament, should assume the position of Prime Minister, vacated by the death of Sir Etienne Taché, the other members of the Administration continuing to hold their position and offices as before. All the Lower Canadian Members of the Council assent to this proposition, so do Mr. Campbell and myself; and I am sure I can also speak for Mr. Solicitor General Cockburn who is now absent.

May I request the favor of an early reply.

Believe me,
My dear Sir,

Yours faithfully,
John A. Macdonald.

The Hon. George Brown,
&c., &c., &c.

No. 3—Hon. George Brown to Hon. John A. Macdonald.

Quebec, Aug. 4, 1865.

My Dear Sir,

I have received your letter of this afternoon, inviting me to retain my present position in a Government to be formed under the Premiership of Mr. Cartier. In reply, I have now to state, after consultation with Messrs. Howland and McDougall, that we can only regard this proposition as one for the construction of a new Government, in a manner seriously affecting the security heretofore held by the Liberal party. Anxiously desirous, as we are, however, that nothing should occur at this moment to jeopardize the plan of the Coalition Government on the constitutional question, we cannot assume the responsibility of either accepting or rejecting it, without consultation with our political friends. This I am prepared to do without any delay, and to that end it will be necessary that I have clearly stated in writing the basis on which Mr. Cartier proposes to construct the new Government.

I am, my dear sir,

Yours truly,
George Brown

The Hon. John A. Macdonald,
&c., &c., &c.

No. 4—Hon. John A. Macdonald to Hon. George Brown.

Quebec, August 5th, 1865.

My Dear Sir,

I regret to learn from your note of yesterday that you cannot assume the responsibility, without first consulting your political friends, of either accepting or rejecting the proposition that Mr. Cartier should be placed at the head of the Government in the stead of the late Sir Etienne Taché, with the understanding that the rest of the Council should retain their present offices and positions under him. I have conferred with Mr. Cartier on the subject, and we agree that, at this late hour, it would be highly inexpedient to wait for the result of this consultation.

Parliament is to assemble on Tuesday next, and in our opinion, it would greatly prejudice the prospects of the great scheme in which we are all engaged, it we met Parliament with the Administration in an incomplete state and therefore with no fixed policy.

I have His Excellency’s permission to state his concurrence in this view, and his opinion that the public interests require the immediate reconstruction of the Ministry.

Under these circumstances, and to prevent the possibility of the scheme for the Confederation of British North American receiving any injury from the appearance of disunion among those who coalesced for the purpose of carrying it into effect, Mr. Cartier and I, without admitting that there are any sufficient grounds for setting either of us aside, have agreed to propose that Sir N. Belleau shall assume the position of First Minister and Receiver General vice Sir Etienne Taché, that the position and office of the other members of the Executive Council shall remain as before and that the policy of the Government shall be the same as was laid before Parliament in July, 1864[10], as the basis of the Coalition which was then formed. His Excellency authorizes me to make this proposition and expresses his desire for an early answer.

Believe me,
My dear Sir,

Yours faithfully,
John A. Macdonald.

The Hon. George Brown,
&c.. &c., &c.

No. 5—Hon. George Brown to Hon. John A. Macdonald.

Quebec, 5th Aug. 1865.
Saturday, 5 p.m.

My Dear Sir,

Your note of this afternoon was handed to me by Col. Bernard, and having communicated its contents to my colleagues, I now beg to state the conclusions at which we have arrived.

Without intending the slightest discourtesy to Sir Narcisse Belleau, we deem it right to remind you we would not have selected that gentleman as successor to Sir Etienne Taché; but as he is the selection of Mr. Cartier and yourself, and as we are equally with you desirous of preventing the scheme for the Confederation of British America receiving injury from the appearance of disunion among us, we shall offer no objection to his appointment.

I think, however, it will be necessary that Sir Narcisse Belleau shall have stated to him and shall have stated to him and shall accept, in more distinct terms than you have indicated, the policy on which our coalition now rests. It is quite right that the basis of June 1864[11], should be stated as the basis still, but he should also clearly understand the modification of that agreement, rendered necessary by succeeding events, and which was ratified by Sir Etienne Taché in March, 1865. The agreement of June, 1864, was as follows:—

“The Government are prepared to pledge themselves to bring in a measure next session, for the purpose of removing existing difficulties by introducing the Federal principle into Canada, coupled with such provisions as will permit the Maritime Provinces and the North-West Territory to be incorporated into the same system of Government. And the Government will seek by sending representative to the Lower Provinces and to England, to secure the assent of those interests which are beyond the control of our own legislation to such a measure as may enable all British North America to be united under a general legislature based upon the Federal principle.”[12]

Sir Narcisse Belleau should understand that occurrences in the Maritime Provinces[13] unfortunately prevented this agreement from being carried out, so far as regards time; that it became necessary to consider what course ought to be pursued in consequence of these occurrences; and that we came to an agreement that we should earnestly strive for the adoption of the scheme of the Quebec conference, but should we be unable to remove the objections of the Maritime Provinces in time to present a measure of the opening of the session of 1866 for the completion of the Confederation scheme, we would then present to Parliament and press with all the influence of Government, a measure for the reform of the constitutional system of Canada, as set forth in the above agreement of June, 1864.

I remain,
My dear Sir,

Yours truly,
George Brown

The Hon. John A. Macdonald.

No. 6—Hon. John A. Macdonald to Hon. George Brown.  

Quebec, Aug. 7, 1865.

My Dear Sir,

Sir Narcisse Belleau returned from the country yesterday, and I am happy to inform you that he has, though with great reluctance, acceded to the request of Mr. Cartier and myself, and accepted the position of First Minister, with the office of Receiver-General.

He accepts the policy of the late Government as stated in your note of Saturday to me, and adopts it as that which will govern his administration.

This policy will of course be announced in both Houses of Parliament, as soon as possible.

Believe me,

Faithfully yours,
John A. Macdonald.

The Honorable George Brown
&c., &c., &c.”

The hon. gentleman concluded by adding that this written statement contained a report of all the explanations the members of the Government had thought proper to offer as to the change of the Administration to consequent upon the death of the late Sir E.P. Taché.

George-Étienne Cartier [Montreal East, Attorney-General East] expressed his regret that the French translation of the correspondence relative to the reconstruction was not yet ready. He would however state the substance of the various documents for the benefit of hon. members speaking the French language.

The hon. gentleman then briefly related the contents of the letters read by the Hon. Attorney General West [John A. Macdonald].

George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council] said it was only necessary he should say a few words in addition to what had fallen from his colleagues. On the morning after the funeral of Sir E.P. Taché, he received a note from His Excellency [Viscount Monck] inviting him to call upon him. He (Mr. B.) went to see him, when he stated very much what had been read to the House by the hon. Attorney General West [John A. Macdonald]. A long conversation ensued between him (Mr. B.) and His Excellency [Viscount Monck], the result of which had been reduced to writing by him, and he (Mr. B.) would now read it to the House.

(The hon gentleman now proceeded to read the memorandum, the substance of which we give.)

He (Mr. B.) was informed that the best mode of filling the vacancy caused by the death of the late Hon. Premier [Étienne Pascal Taché], was to instruct the Hon. Attorney-General West [John A. Macdonald], as the member next in seniority to the late Sir E.P. Taché. and with the view of making as little change as possible in the personal character of the Administration, to undertake the task of reconstructing the Cabinet. Having asked him (Hon. Mr. Brown) to give him his opinion on the existing state of affairs, he stated that the course he anticipated the Governor General [Viscount Monck] would have taken, was to place the Government in the same position which it occupied previous to Sir E.P. Taché’s death—namely, putting some member at the head of the Government under whom both the Hon. Attorney-General West [John A. Macdonald] and he (Mr. B.) might have served. He said, moreover, that he greatly feared that, were he (hon. member for South Oxford), as representing one of the great political parties, placed at the head of the Ministry, the result would be to imperil the existence of the coalition that had lasted for thirteen months; that he (Mr. B) had never desired to solicit the Premiership for the purpose of acquiring consideration; but that he was most desirous of retiring from office at the earliest possible moment, and that His Excellency [Viscount Monck] might rely on it that any Administration formed on the basis of the Government of 1864[14] would continue to receive his support. He also tendered his resignation. His Excellency [Viscount Monck] said he would refuse it in the meantime. The correspondence then took place which the hon. J.A. Macdonald had read.

He (Mr. B) looked at the matter in this way: he and his friends, hon. Messrs. McDougall and Howland, in entering the coalition Government considered they accepted a trust from the great Liberal party of Upper Canada, and that they should agree to no change in the Cabinet to which that party had not consented. It must be understood that in entering the Government they accepted a trust not only as regards the matter, but as regards the time, and all the members of the Government were fully alive to bargain being fully carried out as regards the time.

John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West and Minister of Militia]—Hear.

George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council]—So when Parliament met last spring, we were in strong hopes that Confederation would be adopted by all the Provinces except Prince Edward Island. Then it was not necessary we should propose any scheme of lesser arrangements. But, afterwards, when Nova Scotia and New Brunswick had rejected the scheme[15], it was agreed that, failing the acceptance of Confederation, a lesser scheme should be proposed; but that if we afterwards found there was a hope of Confederation being passed within a few months, we should then take steps for the carrying out of the measures to which the coalition was pledged; that we should on opening the session of 1866, if we had in the meantime succeeded in removing the objections of the Lower Provinces—and if we were then in a position to say we were able to proceed with the remainder of the scheme—the plan for the local Governments under Confederation—that we should go on with it. But, if on the contrary, we should find we could not give the House the assurance of the adoption by all the Provinces, of Confederation, we should bring down measures for the reform of the constitution on the basis agreed to in 1864. He was bound to say that all in the Cabinet had acted with the most perfect good faith in coming to the present arrangements.

As to His Excellency ’s [Viscount Monck] part in the negotiations, he (Mr. B.) thought he pursued the proper course in sending for the Hon. Attorney General West [John A. Macdonald]. He was bound, in opening negotiations, at any rate, to find some principle of action, and there could be none more natural and less open to objection than that of taking the senior member of the Executive in commencing communications of this nature.

As far as he (Mr. B.) was concerned, he never dreamt of being called to the head of a coalition government. He would not have taken such position. He was only anxious of seeking the object of this coalition carried out. It had been said he and colleagues were placed in an awkward position in regard to the present Government. He was not complaining of that, because they went into the Government alive to the position in which they would stand. But what all must understand was that they were a coalition Cabinet; that on one side there were three Liberals, and on the other nine Conservatives, of which he made no complaint whatever; consequently, to a certain extent, there must be different views among them on some points. But, take it as a whole, this coalition had answered all the expectations we entertained at its formation; and, while both sections were not able to obtain all they wanted, still the manner in which the members got along could not possibly be more agreeable, and they never hoped to see the Cabinet in a more agreeable position than it had been hitherto.

Some Hon. MembersCheers.

Antoine-Aimé Dorion [Hochelaga] said that a rumor had obtained circulation to the effect that the Premiership had been offered to the Hon. Mr. Campbell. This was not mentioned in the correspondence which had first been laid before the House, and he supposed it was therefore to be understood that it was incorrect.

John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West and Minister of Militia]—Quite so. The whole proceedings were precisely as stated in the documents which had just been read.

Antoine-Aimé Dorion [Hochelaga] went on to comment upon the appointment of Sir Narcisse Belleau to the Premiership—stating that it not only took the public by surprise, but that it took Sir Narcisse himself by surprise as well. In fact he must have been more astonished than any other person.

Some Hon. MembersLaughter.

Antoine-Aimé Dorion [Hochelaga]—The fact of the Premiership being placed in the hands of the honourable and gallant knight in question [Narcisse Belleau], shewed the fearful weakness of the coalition,—The honourable gentlemen went on to charge the Government with having completely departed from the policy which they proposed to follow last session. Every item of that policy had been postponed or cast aside.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay] asked whether the House was to understand that the two Attorney-Generals [John A. Macdonald & George-Étienne Cartier] had offered the Premiership to Sir Narcisse Fortunant Belleau, with the concurrence of the President of the Council [George Brown] and without any reference to the head of the state?

John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West and Minister of Militia] said that Sir Narcisse Belleau had of course had communication with the head of the state and representative of the sovereign, and had accepted the Premiership at his hands.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West and Minister of Militia]—The hon. and gallant knight [Narcisse Belleau] had accepted the charge with great reluctance, but from a sense of duty and in order to enable the Government to carry out the great projects they had in view. The sneer at Sir Narcisse Belleau came with a bad grace indeed from the hon. member for Hochelaga [Antoine-Aimé Dorion].

He (Mr. Macdonald) had had the pleasure of being a colleague of Sir Narcisse Belleau and he was thoroughly acquainted with his merits. There was no man so deserving or so talented but that some would be found to decry and belittle him. For instance, there were no doubt persons who would sneer at the hon. member for Hochelaga [Antoine-Aimé Dorion].

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West and Minister of Militia]—Sir Narcisse Belleau was a modest and worthy man, who never blew his own trumpet; but this was no reason he should be sneered at.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West and Minister of Militia]—Hon. gentlemen opposite need not find fault with the course which had been pursued in this instance, in as much as they had themselves afforded abundant precedents. In reply to the charges made by the hon. member for Hochelaga [Antoine-Aimé Dorion] respecting the alleged postponement of the discussion of important questions, the Hon. Attorney-General West [John A. Macdonald] argued that the most fitting time to discuss and settle the local constitutions of Upper and Lower Canada would be immediately after the concurrence of the Legislatures of the Lower Provinces in the principle of Confederation.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West and Minister of Militia]—If, however, they rejected confederation—if they insisted on remaining single, and would not accept union—we would have to consider a very different question, that of the position of Canada standing alone, and the relations of Upper and Lower Canada towards each other. It would, during this hot weather, be a piece of absurdity to go on discussing local constitutions without knowing whether they were ever going to be used.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay] said that the avowed intention of the Government at the close of last session was that we should be called together in June in order to discuss the details of the local constitutions. Surely, hon. members must have expected that we would have hot weather in June. Their excuse, therefore, about the weather just now would hardly hold good.

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

George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council] briefly replied in defence of the course pursued by the Government.

The first paragraph of the address—

That an humble Address be presented to His Excellency the Governor General, to thank His Excellency for His Gracious Speech at the opening of the present Session, and further to assure His Excellency that we learn with much satisfaction, that in conformity with the announcement which His Excellency made to us at the end of the last Session of Parliament, a Deputation from the Canadian Ministry proceeded to London to confer with Her Majesty’s Government on questions of importance to the Province.[16]

—was carried.

On the second paragraph—

2. That we are grateful to His Excellency for having called us together at the earliest convenient moment after the return of the Deputation, in order that we may receive the report of their mission, and complete the important business which, at the conclusion of the last Session, was left unfinished.[17]

Antoine-Aimé Dorion [Hochelaga] went on to review the subjects alluded to in the speech from the throne, and topics connected therewith, distinguishing between “live issues” and “dead issues,” and referring at considerable length to representation by population, the Hudson’s Bay Territory, and separate schools. In connexion with the latter subject, he proceeded to read analysis of some correspondence which he had taken place in the month of March last between a number of Lower Canadian members and the Government in reference to the securing of certain rights and privileges to the Protestants of Lower Canada respecting the education of their children[18].

He contended that this correspondence afforded a key to the manner in which the “strong government” had obtained support by giving extra-parliamentary pledges to their supporters[19]. This explained how it was that hon. gentlemen who had been loud in their denunciations of the Government were finally induced to grant a cordial support to the great scheme of Confederation.

Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke, Minister of Finance] said there was no use, whatever for the hon. member for Hochelaga [Antoine-Aimé Dorion] going on to make a mare’s nest of this matter.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke, Minister of Finance]—Every point in the correspondence to which that hon. member referred had been stated upon the floor of this House, last session, by the Hon. Attorney General East [George-Étienne Cartier], in reply to certain categorical questions put by the hon. member for Montreal Centre [John Rose].

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke, Minister of Finance]—He (Mr. Galt) would, however, like to know who it was had made these letters public, in as much as he believed they had been marked “confidential.”[20] He was somewhat surprised to find the hon. member for Hochelaga [Antoine-Aimé Dorion] making such a fuss about this matter as if something extraordinary had happened, although the hon. gentleman must remember perfectly well that explanations to the same effect were given in the House by his hon. colleague.

The report of the debate on that occasion had just been placed in His (Mr. Galt’s) hands by his hon. friend from Montreal Centre [John Rose], and the hon. member for Hochelaga [Antoine-Aimé Dorion] in making such a fuss about this matter as if something extraordinary had happened, although the hon. gentleman must remember perfectly well that explanations to the same effect were given in the House by his hon. colleague.

The report of the debate on that occasion had just been place in His (Mr. Galt’s) hands by his hon. friend from Montreal Centre [John Rose], and the hon. gentleman opposite could see on reference to it that the circumstances were precisely as he (Mr. Galt) had stated.

Antoine-Aimé Dorion [Hochelaga] went on to comment for nearly an hour on the Grand Trunk postal subsidy, the $100,000 “job,” the old cry of French domination, coalitions, the negotiation in England, and concluded by stating that the policy of the Government—if policy it could be called—was merely spending money and nothing else.

The second,—

2. That we are grateful to His Excellency for having called us together at the earliest convenient moment after the return of the Deputation, in order that we may receive the report of their mission, and complete the important business which, at the conclusion of the last Session, was left unfinished.[21]

—third,—

3. That we thank His Excellency for having directed that the correspondence referring to the mission to England, shall be communicated to us for our consideration.[22]

—fourth—

4. That we share with His Excellency the belief, that the happy termination of the Civil War which has for the last four years prevailed in the United States of America, cannot fail to exercise a beneficial influence on the commercial and industrial interests of this Province, and that we trust, with His Excellency, that the re-establishment of peace will lead to a constantly increasing development of friendly relations between our people and the citizens of the great Republic.[23]

—and fifth paragraphs—

5. That we receive with great pleasure the announcement, that the circumstances which rendered it necessary to place a portion of the Volunteer Militia of the Province on permanent duty, having ceased to exist, the force has been re-called; and the expression of His Excellency’s feeling of satisfaction at the readiness with which the men responded to the call of duty, and the general good conduct which they exhibited, during the period of their service.[24]

—of the Address were then carried.

On the sixth paragraph—

6. That we thank His Excellency for having directed that the estimates for the current year, and the statement of the expenditure, which has been incurred, chargeable against the vote of credit of last session, shall be laid before us: and we feel assured that we shall find, with reference to both, that economy has been combined with a due regard to efficiency.[25]

Luther Holton [Chateauguay] said he must insist on explanations from the Government. He would like to know whether hon. gentlemen opposite were going to reply to the questions put by his hon. friend from Hochelaga [Antoine-Aimé Dorion], or whether they considered themselves so strong that they could afford to dispense with all discussion. He had some questions to put to the Hon. Finance Minister [Alexander Galt], who, he saw was not in his place.

Joseph Perrault [Richelieu] arose to speak amid cries of “six o’clock.” He proceeded to denounce the Government for their course in reference to the reconstruction, and said that the country disapproved of it also. The great name of the late Sir E.P. Taché had served as a shield for these hon. gentlemen, but they would find that the name of his successor, Sir Narcisse Belleau, would not serve them for the same purpose. After some further remarks in the same strain—

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

The Legislative Assembly adjourned for dinner recess.

After the recess—

Luther Holton [Chateauguay] said that in Mr. Cardwell’s despatch to His Excellency the Governor General [Viscount Monck][26], reference was made to the securities that would be required by the Imperial Government for the loans which Canada proposed raising in the event of Confederation.

He (Mr. Holton) would like to know whether the nature of those securities was discussed between the Canadian delegates and the Home Government, and whether the Hon. Finance Minister [Alexander Galt] proposed to introduce any measure this session to give effect to the establishment of the securities contemplated. He (Mr. H) would also like some information in regard to the recent mission some information in regard to the recent mission to Washington respecting the renewal of the Reciprocity Treaty[27], and also what steps were taken therefor.

Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke, Minister of Finance] said that although the Government had always the greatest desire to satisfy the wishes of the House in reference to information, still he thought the questions put were singularly inappropriate to the subjects under consideration embraced in the Speech from the Throne[28]. They referred entirely to matters not in that speech; and he thought the House would understand that the proper time to have information on the subjects the hon. gentleman had referred to was when the Government proceeded to express its views thereupon. As to the last question, nothing could be more important than the question of the Reciprocity Treaty, but he thought this was not the time to give information on the question. Information could only be given in this matter incidentally and inappropriately, the subject not being now before the House. He thought he would be out of his duty in travelling out of the usual course on this occasion by replying to the question just asked.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay] said that when he (Mr. Holton) was on the other side of the House, and his hon. friend opposite (Mr. Galt) was in Opposition, the latter was exceedingly exacting with respect to information under circumstances analogous to the present. He (Mr. Holton) thought parliamentary practice justified him in referring in general terms to all topics included in the speech from the Throne.

Now, it was said that his (Mr. Holton) questions were irrelevant; but he considered that they were quite in order, in as much as they were connected with the object of the recent mission to England[29] which was alluded to in the speech. Therefore he held that his questions were altogether relevant to the issue. He considered that the Finance Minister [Alexander Galt] was wrong in refusing information in matters connected with his own department and his recent visit to England. It was quite right, no doubt, and he agreed with his hon. friend opposite in principle, that financial affairs should not be brought into the discussion on the Address; at the same time it should be borne in mind that deceptive statements had been put forth simultaneously in three of the leading organs of the Government, to the effect that the public accounts for the last eighteen months had been closed, and that the deficit would be a mere trifle. Now he ventured to say that the defect would be— not four thousand, nor four hundred thousand but close upon two millions of dollars.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—The hon. gentleman then went on to review the financial position of the country at various periods during the last five years. In conclusion, he said that he put these questions and made these remarks through a sense of duty, although it appeared that hon. gentlemen opposite were going to allow the masterly and scathing speech of his hon. friend (Mr. Dorion) to pass unanswered.

Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke, Minister of Finance]  said he thought every member who had heard the hon. gentleman’s speech must see this was not the time for it. He had based his speech on newspaper fallacies, but it would have been better had he waited for the official documents. He thought the hon. gentleman’s congratulations were virtually expressions of the conviction of his own soul that the country was going to the dogs.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke, Minister of Finance]—He (Mr. Galt) was afraid that in this matter the hon. gentlemen was going to be disappointed. He could easily understand that the hon. gentlemen would prefer a party triumph even if it were to be at the cost of the country. He had made a speech this night while possessing no information on the matter, based upon the most contracted information possible, for the purpose of allowing it to go abroad that there had been a deficiency of two millions in the revenue of last year.

Without saying anything more on this point, he (Mr. Galt) would give this information— that his (Mr. Holton’s) statements were quite as fallacious as he had declared certain newspaper paragraphs to have been. As to information respecting the finances before refused by the Government, he (Mr. G.) would reply that the hon. gentleman, when Finance Minister, had even refused information when the supplies were under discussion. He had even allowed the House to be prorogued without bringing down a measure on the finances. He (Mr. G.) was not, however, going to be drawn into a discussion on matters not before the House, and which would only lead to a waste of its time.

The sixth paragraph—

6. That we thank His Excellency for having directed that the estimates for the current year, and the statement of the expenditure, which has been incurred, chargeable against the vote of credit of last session, shall be laid before us: and we feel assured that we shall find, with reference to both, that economy has been combined with a due regard to efficiency.[30]

— was then carried.

On the seventh paragraph—

7. That we learn with pleasure, that His Excellency has transmitted to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, for presentation to Her Majesty, the Addresses to which we agreed during the last Session, in favor of a Federal Union of the Colonies of British North America.[31]

Luther Holton [Chateauguay] said he did not believe that the reference made to colonial union in Her Majesty’s speeches from the Throne[32] justified the statements contained in the two last paragraphs of the Address[33]. It should be borne in mind that mention was merely made of union, not of federal union nor confederation—all mention of the federal principle being studiously avoided.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—The only inference we could draw from this was, that while union was favored, confederation, or union upon a federal basis, was not favored.

Francis Jones [Leeds & Grenville North] said that as he had not troubled the House with any remarks on the subject last session, he would now take the opportunity of saying a few words on Confederation. In reference to this subject, he was somewhat surprised to hear from the President of the Council [George Brown] a sort of boast that Confederation had been hurried through the Legislature. He did not think such a thing should have been made a subject of boast. He (Mr. Jones) confessed that in this age of railroads, he had never seen anything like it.

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

Francis Jones [Leeds & Grenville North]—Referring to a statement made by the member for Peterboro’ (Col. Haultain) which he (Mr. Jones) had not an opportunity of replying to at the time, he would have a word or two say in answer, now that hon. gentleman, in moving the Address, last session, said that he supposed he was selected because he was an Englishman, and remarked that he believed that there was no English representatives at the Quebec conference. In this it appeared the hon. member was in error, in as much as there were a couple of English delegates. However, what he (Mr. Jones) desired chiefly to remark was just this— that four-fifths of the hon. gentleman’s (Col. Haultain) constituents of Peterboro were Irish, so that the hon. gentleman might have said that he had been selected because he represented an Irish constituency.

Some Hon. MembersCheers and laughter.

Francis Jones [Leeds & Grenville North]—The hon. gentleman (Mr. Jones) then went on to comment upon the great numbers of Irishmen and their immediate descendants, in Upper Canada, who were without any representative in the Government. Alluding to the question of Confederation, he said that he believed that the people of the country were averse to any force being used towards the Lower Provinces in order to bring them into the proposed union—they would not have a union accomplished by force.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Francis Jones [Leeds & Grenville North]—He did not believe that British North America was too extensive to be united together under one Parliament and he differed entirely from those who supported this view. The hon. gentleman then commented strongly upon the views enumerated by the Hon. President of the Council [George Brown], and read a number of extracts from the Globe newspaper and from speeches to show what amount of weight was to be attached to that hon. gentlemen’s present opinions. Mr. Jones went on to advert to the various confederations mentioned in history—from the first ages down to the present day, observing in conclusion that he had studied them all closely, and that they had never proved successful.

The seventh paragraph—

7. That we learn with pleasure, that His Excellency has transmitted to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, for presentation to Her Majesty, the Addresses to which we agreed during the last Session, in favor of a Federal Union of the Colonies of British North America.[34]

— was carried.

On the eighth paragraph—

8. That we thank His Excellency for the assurance that the reply of the Secretary of State shall be communicated to us; and that we trust, with His Excellency, that mature examination of the project will, ere long, induce the Legislatures of the other Provinces to concur with us in giving their sanction to a measure which has been adopted as a great feature of Imperial policy, and has been twice noticed with approbation in Her Majesty’s Speeches from the Throne.[35]

—a short discussion took place—Luther Holton [Chateauguay], Antoine-Aimé Dorion [Hochelaga], Joseph Cauchon [Montmorency], and Christopher Dunkin [Brome] taking part.

A division was called for by the Opposition, and the members having been called in, the eighth and last paragraph of the Address—

8. That we thank His Excellency for the assurance that the reply of the Secretary of State shall be communicated to us; and that we trust, with His Excellency, that mature examination of the project will, ere long, induce the Legislatures of the other Provinces to concur with us in giving their sanction to a measure which has been adopted as a great feature of Imperial policy, and has been twice noticed with approbation in Her Majesty’s Speeches from the Throne.[36]

—was carried on the following division:—

YEAS

Messrs.

Archambeault
Beaubien
Bellerose
Biggar
Blanchet
Bown
Brousseau
Brown
Burwell
Bowman
Carling
Cartier (Attorney-General)
Cartwright
Cauchon
Chambers
Chapais
Cockburn
Cornellier
Currier
De Boucherville
Dickson
Dufresne (Montcalm)
Dunsford
Evanturel
Ferguson (Simcoe South)
Ferguson (Frontenac)
Gagnon
Galt
Gaudet
Gaucher
Gibbs
Higginson
Haultain
Jones (Leeds & Grenville North)
Knight
Langevin
Magill
Macdonald (Attorney-General)
Mackenzie (Lambton)
McConkey
McGee
McIntyre
Morris
Munro
Poulin
Raymond
Rémillard
Rose
Ross (Dundas)
Ross (Prince Edward)
Scoble
Stirton
Walsh
Wilson
Wood
Wright (York East)
Wright (Ottawa County)—37.

NAYS

Messrs.

Caron
Coupal
Dorion (Hochelaga)
Dorion (Drummond & Arthabaska)
Duckett
Dufresne (Iberville)
Dunkin
Fortier
Geoffrion
Holton
Houde
Huntington
Jones
Labrèche-Viger
Laframboise
Lajoie
Macdonald (Glengarry)
Macdonald (Toronto West)
O’Halloran
Paquette
Perrault
Pinsonneault
Pouliot
Rymal
Scatcherd
Taschereau
Thibaudeau
Tremblay— 28.

John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West and Minister of Militia] moved

To refer the resolutions for the Address in reply to the speech from the Throne to a Select Committee.

Carried.

Charles Magill [Hamilton], from the Committee, reported the Address, which was then read a first and second time.

MAY IT PLEASE YOUR EXCELLENCY:

We, Her Majesty’s dutiful and loyal subjects, the Commons of Canada, in Provincial Parliament assembled, humbly thank Your Excellency for Your Gracious Speech at the opening of the present Session.

We learn with much satisfaction that, in conformity with the announcement which Your Excellency made to us at the end of the last Session of Parliament, a Deputation from the Canadian Ministry proceeded to London to confer with Her Majesty’s Government on questions of importance to the Province.

We are grateful to Your Excellency for having called us together at the earliest convenient moment after the return of the Deputation, in order that we may receive the report of their mission, and complete the important business which, at the conclusion of the last Session, was left unfinished.

We thank Your Excellency for having directed that the correspondence referring to the mission to England shall be communicated to us for our consideration.

We share with Your Excellency the belief, that the happy termination of the Civil War, which has for the last four years prevailed in the United States of America, cannot fail to exercise a beneficial influence on the commercial and industrial interests of this Province; and we trust, with Your Excellency, that the re-establishment of peace will lead to a constantly increasing development of friendly relations between cur people and the citizens of the great Republic.

We receive with great pleasure the announcement, that the circumstances which rendered it necessary to place a portion of the Volunteer Militia of, the Province on permanent duty, having ceased to exist, the force has been re-called;, and the expression of Your Excellency’s feeling of satisfaction at the readiness with which the men responded to the call of duty, and the general good conduct which they, exhibited during the period of their service.

We thank Your Excellency for having directed that the Estimates for the current year, and the statement of the expenditure which has been incurred, chargeable against the Vote of Credit of last Session, shall be laid before us. And we feel assured that we shall find, with reference to both, that economy has been combined with a due regard to efficiency.

We learn with pleasure, that Your Excellency has transmitted to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, for presentation to Her Majesty, the Addresses to which we agreed during the last Session, in favor of a Federal Union of the Colonies of British North America.

We thank Your Excellency for the assurance, that, the reply of the Secretary of State shall be communicated to us; and we trust, with Your Excellency, that mature examination of the project will, ere long, induce the Legislatures of the other Provinces to concur with us in giving their sanction to a measure which has been adopted as a great feature of Imperial policy, and has been twice noticed with approbation in Her Majesty’s Speeches from the Throne.[37]

John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West and Minister of Militia] moved

That the Address be engrossed.

Carried.

This was followed by the usual formal motions for the presentation of the Address to His Excellency [Viscount Monck] by the whole House, and for ascertaining the pleasure of His Excellency, as to when he will be pleased to receive the same.

Correspondence About the Mission to England, &c.

George Brown [Oxford South, President Executive Council] presented a message from His Excellency the Governor General [Viscount Monck], accompanied by copies of correspondence relative to the mission to England—also the despatch from the Secretary of State in reply to the addresses agreed to in favor of a Federal Union of the colonies.

MONCK.

The Governor General transmits for the information of the Legislative Assembly, Copies of a Correspondence with the Secretary of State for the Colonies, relating to the deputation from the Executive Council which proceeded to England, in order to confer with Her Majesty’s Government on questions of importance to the Province.

Quebec, August 9th, 1865.[38]

Papers relating to the Conferences which have taken place between Her Majesty’s Government and a Deputation from the Executive Council of Canada, appointed to confer with Her Majesty’s Government on the subject of the Defence of the Province.[39]

Copy.

Canada—No. 14.

Downing Street,
21st January, 1865,

My Lord—Her Majesty’s Government are unwilling, under the present circumstances, to press upon the Government of Canada, any decision which can with prudence be postponed upon a subject of so much importance to the future welfare of the British North American Provinces, as the subject of the defence of Canada. They are sensible of the considerations which render it expedient to wait for such a decision, until some further progress shall have been made in the discussion of the proposal for the Union of those Provinces, and until it shall have been ascertained whether the question is to be considered by the Ministers of the United British North American Provinces, or by the Ministers of Canada alone.

But without anticipating that any causes of difference are likely to disturb our present friendly relations with the Government of the United States, they think it necessary to bear in mind the vast accession which has recently been made, and still continues to be made, to the military Forces of that powerful country. They cannot forget the very small proportion which the numerical strength of British Troops on the North American Continent bears to the Force which might at any moment be brought into the field against them. It would be a cause of just reproach against the British Government if those troops were suffered to remain in a position which, on the outbreak of war, they might not be able to hold until the military and naval resources of the country could be made. available for their support.

These considerations seem to Her Majesty’s Government to render it absolutely necessary that the defences of Quebec should be materially strengthened and without delay. They intend, therefore, on their own part, to include in the Estimates of the present year a vote for improving the defences of Quebec.

The proposed defences of Montreal are so important as to the general safety of the Province, and to the maintenance of the communication between the districts west of Montreal, and the naval and military power of the Mother Country, that Her Majesty’s Government trust that they may look with confidence to the Government of Canada for the immediate construction of these Works.

Her Majesty’s Government will be prepared to provide the armaments for the Works at Montreal as well as those at Quebec.

I have, &c.,

(Signed,) Edward Cardwell.

(Enclosure in No. 1.)

Report of Committee of the Honorable the Executive Council, approved by His Excellency the Governor General on the 24th March, 1865.

The Committee respectfully recommend that four Members. of Your Excellency’s Council do proceed to England to confer with Her Majesty’s Government:

1st. Upon the proposed Confederation of the British North American Provinces and the means whereby it can be most speedily effected;

2nd. Upon the arrangements necessary for the Defence of Canada, in the event of war arising with the United States, and the extent to which the same should be shared between Great Britain and Canada;

3rd. Upon the steps to be taken with reference to the Reciprocity Treaty, and the rights conferred by it upon the United States;

4th. Upon the arrangements necessary for the settlement of the North-West Territory and Hudson’s Bay Company’s claims;

5th. And, generally, upon the existing critical state of affairs by which Canada is most seriously affected.

The Committee further recommend that the following members of Council be named to form the Delegation, viz.: Messrs. Macdonald, Cartier, Brown and Galt.

Certified,

Wm. H. Lee, C.E.C.

To His Excellency the Right Honourable Viscount Monck, Governor General of British North America, &c. &c.

May it please your Excellency—

The undersigned having, by Order in Council of 24th March 1865, been appointed a committee of the Executive Council of Canada to proceed to England and confer with Her Majesty’s Government on certain subjects of importance to the Province, sailed for England in April last; and having discharged the duty entrusted to the and returned to Canada, we now beg to submit for your Excellency’s information, a statement of our proceedings while in London.

The circumstances under which this mission became necessary are doubtless fresh in your Excellency’s recollection. For a considerable time past, in view of the civil war going on in the United States, and the impossibility of anticipating what international questions might at any moment arise, Her Majesty’s Government felt it their duty from time to time to direct the attention of the Government of Canada to the insecure position of the Province in the event of disturbed relations unhappily resulting, and to urge the adoption of protective measures. In these communications it was not concealed that Her Majesty’s Government expected the people of Canada to assume more onerous military duties than they had previously borne. Your Excellency’s advisors were always prepared frankly to consider these proposals, and to submit for the approval of Parliament such measures as might be found just and reasonable. But they felt at the same time that to secure the hearty assent of Parliament and the country for any important changes in the military relations between the Parent State and the Colony, an explanation on the whole subject first had, so that a clear understanding as to the share of defence to be borne by each might be arrived at, and all ground of irritating and hurtful reproach for alleged neglect of duty by the Colony, entirely removed. In view also of the anticipated early union of all the British North American Colonies—so well calculated to simplify the system of defence — the Government of Canada deemed it highly desirable that the settlement of this important question should be reserved for the action of the Government and Legislature of the new Confederation. Her Majesty’s Government concurred in these views.

In early part this year, however, events occurred that changed the situation of affairs. The conference at Fortress Monroe for the cessation of hostilities, the disturbances on the Canadian frontier, the imposition of the passport system,  the notice given by the American Government for a termination of the conviction restricting the naval armament on the lakes, and other events, tended to revive and deepen the feeling of insecurity; and Her Majesty’s Government urged the immediate erection of permanent works of defence at Quebec and Montreal—the cost of the former to be borne by the Imperial Treasury, and of the latter by the people of Canada. Your Excellency’s advisors were most anxious to meet the wishes of Her Majesty’s Government, but they could not feel it their dirt to propose to Parliament a vote for defensive works at Montreal while the defence of Upper Canada, on land and on the lakes, was provided for. The position of affairs was further complicated by the result of the New Brunswick elections, which postponed, at least for a time, the Union of the Provinces,—and by the formal notice by the American Government for the termination, in March next, of the Reciprocity Treaty. It became evident that the time had arrived and could no longer be postponed, for a full and frank explanation with Her Majesty’s Government on the whole state of affairs; and with that view an immediate mission to England, with Your Excellency’s assent, was resolved upon. The state of the case was forthwith communicated to the Legislative Council and Assembly, which were then in session; and Parliament was shortly after prorogued on the business of the session, so soon as the delegates returned from Great Britain.

On arriving in England we lost no time in placing ourselves in communication with Her Majesty’s Secretary of State for the Colonies; and a committee of the Imperial Cabinet, consisting of his Grace the Duke of Somerset, the Right Honorable the Earl De Grey and Ripon, the Right Honourable William E. Gladstone, the Right Honorable Edward Caldwell, having been appointed to confer with us, negotiations were opened and continued at frequent interviews, up to the close of our mission.

The subject to which we first invited the attention of the conference was the proposed Confederation of the British North American Colonies. We reminded the Imperial Ministers how largely all the questions, with the discussion of which we were charged—and especially those of defence, foreign commercial relations, an internal communication—would be affected by the Union, and how greatly their satisfactory settlement would be facilitated by it. We explained the reasons that existed for obtaining the assent of all the Colonies to the Union at an early date, and the promise to which the Government of Canada stood pledged to proceed without delay with constitutional reforms for Canada alone, in the event of the larger measure failing to be obtained. We received at once from the members of the Imperial Cabinet assurances of their hearty approval of the Confederation scheme, and of their anxious desire to promote its early accomplishment by all the legitimate influence of the Imperial Government. In the discussion of the means to be adopted for effecting Confederation, we trust it is unnecessary to assure your Excellency that the idea of coercing the Maritime Provinces into the measure was not for a moment entertained. The end sought was to ascertain in what manner the question of Union, in all its bearings, could be best brought under the full and fair consideration of our fellow Colonists, and the grave responsibility urged upon them, which they would assume by thwarting a measure so pregnant with future prosperity to British America, so anxiously desired by the great mass of the people to be affected by it, and which had been received with such marked satisfaction by our fellow subjects throughout the British Empire. We received assurances that her Majesty’s Government would adopt every legitimate means for securing the early assent of the Maritime Provinces to the Union. In the course of these discussions, the question of the Intercolonial Railway came up as a necessary accompaniment of Confederation, when we sought and obtained a renewal of the promised Imperial guarantee of a loan for the construction of that work.

The important question of the future military relations between the mother country and Canada received earnest and grave consideration. Before entering on the discussion of details, we referred to the recent debates in the Imperial Parliament on the subject of Canadian defences, and especially to the assertions confidently made by certain members of the House of Commons that Canada was incapable of efficient protections against in case ion from her inland border. We explained the unjust such statements tended to produce, and the necessity of our ascertaining, as a preliminary step to our discussions, whether or not they were well founded. We asked that a report on the whole subject of the defence of Canada, with plans and estimates, might be obtained from the highest military and naval authorities of Great Britain. Such a report was obtained and communicated to us confidentially; and we rejoice to say that it was calculated to remove all doubt as to the security of our country, so long as the hearts of our people remain firmly attached to the British flag, and the power of England is wielded in our defence.

On the part of Canada we expressed the desire that this plan for the defence of all parts of the Province should be taken as the basis of arrangement; and that a full and candid discussion should be had as to share of the cost that ought be borne respectively by the Imperial and Provincial exchequers. We expressed the earnest wish of the people of Canada to perpetrate the happy existing connection with Great Britain, and their entire willingness to contribute to the defence of the Empire their full quota, according to their ability, of men and money. But we pointed out that if war should ever unhappily arise between England and the United States, it could only be an Imperial war, on Imperial grounds—that our country alone would be exposed to the horrors of invasion—and that our exposed position, far from entailing on us unusual burdens, should on the contrary secure for us the special and generous consideration of the Imperial Government. We explained, moreover, that though Canada continued to progress steadily and rapidly, it was a vast country, sparsely populated—that the difficulties of first settlement were hardly yet overcome—that the profits of our annual industry were to be found not in floating wealth, but in the increased value of our farms an mines—and that, at this moment especially, from the failure of successive crops, the effects of the American civil war on our commercial relations, and the feeling of insecurity as to our position (greatly aggravated by statements of the defencelessness of the country in the British Parliament and by portions of the British press)—Canada was labouring under a temporary but serious depression. We pointed out that, while fully recognizing the necessity and prepared to provide for such a system of defence as would restore confidence in our future at home and abroad, the best ultimate defence for British America was to be found in the increase of her populations as rapidly as people, and the husbanding of our resources to that end; and without claiming it as a right, we ventured to suggest that by enabling us to throw open the north-western territories to free settlement, and by aiding us in enlarging our canals and prosecuting internal productive works, and by promoting an extensive plan of emigration from Europe into the unsettled portions of our domain—permanent security would be more quickly and surely and economically secured than by any other means. We did not fail to point out how this might be done without cost or risk to the British exchequer, and how greatly it would lighten the new burden of defence proposed to be assumed at a moment of depression by the people of Canada.

Much discussion ensued on all these points, and the result arrived at was, that if the people of Canada undertook the works of defence at and west of Montreal, and agreed to expend in training their militia, until the Union of all the Provinces was determined, a sum not less than is now expended annually for that service, Her Majesty’s Government would complete the fortifications at Quebec, provide the whole armament for all the works, guarantee a loan for the sum necessary to construct the works undertaken by Canada, and in the event of war undertake the defence of every portion of Canada with all the resources of the Empire.

The question having arisen as to the time and order in which these propositions should be submitted for the approval of the imperial and Provincial Legislature, it appeared that no action could be taken upon them during the present year; and it was therefore deemed inexpedient to complicate the Confederation question by changing the basis of the Quebec Conference resolutions, which might result from the present adoption of these propositions. The further consideration of the defensive works was accordingly deferred for the action of the Government and Legislature of the proposed British North American Confederation; but the assurance of Her Majesty’s Government was at the same time given, that if circumstances arose to render an application would be received in the most friendly spirit.

On the subject of the American Reciprocity Treaty we entered into full explanations with the Imperial Ministers. We explained how advantageously the treaty had worked for Canada, and the desire of our people for its renewal; but we showed at the same time how much more advantageously it had worked for American interests; and we expressed our inability to believe that the United States Government seriously contemplated the abolition of an arrangement by which they had so greatly increased their foreign commerce, secured a vast and lucrative carrying trade, and obtained free access to the St. Lawrence and to the invaluable fishing grounds of British America—and that on the sole ground that the Provinces has also profited by the treaty. We explained the immediate injury that would result to Canadian interests from the abrogation of the treaty; but we pointed out at the same time the new and ultimately more profitable channels into which our foreign trade must, in that event, be turned and the necessity of preparing for the changes, and out readiness to discuss and favourably entertain any jus propositions that might be made for an extension on modification of its conditions; we requested that the views of the American Government should be obtained at the earliest convenient date; and that his Excellency Sir Fredrick Bruce should act in connect with the Canadian Government in the matter. The Imperial Government cordially ascended to our suggestions.

The important questions of opening up to settlement and cultivation the vast British Territories on the north-west borders of Canada, next obtained the attention of the Conference. Your Excellency is aware that the desire of the Government of Canada for a satisfactory and final adjustment of this matter has been often formally expressed. In your Excellency’s Despatch of 19th January 1864, to the Colonial Secretary, the anxious desire of the Canadian Government was communicated “for some speedy, inexpensive, and naturally satisfactory plan” for settling definitely “the north-western boundary of Canada,” and the claim of Canada was asserted to “all that portion of Central British America, which can be shown to have been in the possession of the French at the period of the cession in 1763.”

In reply to this Despatch, Mr. Caldwell, on 1st July 1864, requested to be informed whether the Government of Canada was prepared to assist in negotiations with the Hudson’s Bay Company, with the view of accepting any portion of the territory now claimed by that company, and providing the means of local administration therein; and he suggested that if so prepared it would be desirable that some person daily authorized to communicate the views of the Canadian Government should be sent to England for that purpose.

On the 11th November 1864, a minute of Council was approved by your Excellency, in reply to Mr. Cardwell’s Despatch. It set forth that the Government of Canada was ready and anxious to co-operate with the Imperial Government, in securing the early settlement of the north-west territories, and the establishment of local government in it settled portions; but that in its opinion the first step towards that end was the extinction of all claim by the Hudson’s Bay Company to proprietary rights in the soil and exclusive rights of trade. It suggested that it was for the Imperial Government, and not for the Government of Canada, to assume the duty of bringing to an end a monopoly originating in an English charter, and exercised so long under Imperial sanction; but that when the negotiations were brought to a close, the Government of Canada would be ready to arrange with the Imperial Government for the annexation to Canada of such portions of the territory as might be available for settlement, as well as for the opening up of communications into the territory and providing means of local administration. Or should the Imperial Government prefer to erect the territory into a Crown Colony, the Canadian Government would gladly co-operate in the opening up of communication unto the territory, and the settlement of the country. The minute finally suggested that the Hon. President of the Council while in England would communicate more fully to Mr. Caldwell the views of the Canadian Government.

The negotiations that followed in this Despatch satisfied us of the impossibility of enforcing the end sought by Canada without long-protracted, vexations, and costly litigation. The Hudson’s Bay Company were in possession, and that if time were their object, could protract the proceedings indefinitely; and Her Majesty’s Government appeared unwilling to ignore pretentions that had frequently received quasi recognition from Imperial authorities. Calling to mind, therefore, the vital importance to Canada of having that great fertile country opened up to Canadian enterprise, and the tide of emigration into it directed through Canadian channels—remembering also the danger of large grants of land passing into the country large masses of settlers unaccustomed to British institutions—we arrived at the conclusion that the quickest solution of the question would be the best for Canada. We accordingly proposed to the Imperial Ministers that the whole British territory east of the Rocky Mountains and north of the American of Canadian lines should be made over to Canada, subject to such rights as the Hudson’s Bay Company might be able to establish; and that the compensation to that company (if any were found to be due) should be met by a loan guaranteed by Great Britain. The Imperial Government consented to this, and a careful investigations guaranteed by Great Britain. The Imperial Government consented to this, and a careful investigation of the case satisfies us that the compensation to the Hudson’s Bay Company cannot, under any circumstances, be onerous. It is but two years since the present Hudson’s Bay Company purchased the entire property of the old company; they paid £1,500,000 for the entire property and assists,—in which were included in our arrangement, a very large claim against the United States Government under the Oregon Treaty—and ships, goods, pelts, and business premises in England and Canada valued at £1,023,569. The value of the territorial rights of the company, therefore, in the estimation of the company itself, will be easily arrived at.

The results of our communications with the Committee of Her Majesty’s Government were placed, by Mr. Caldwell, in the form of a Despatch to your Excellency; that document bears date the 17th June 1865, and has already reached your Excellency’s hands. It contains a correct statement of the result of the conference.

Although the subject was not specially referred to us, we did not fail to call the attention of the Colonial Minister to the anomalous position of foreigners who have settled in Canada and become naturalized subjects under our Provincial Statutes Mr. Cardwell at once admitted the hardship of the ease, and stated that it was the desire of her Law Officers of the Crown for their opinions as to the best mode of doing so.

It will be gratifying to many devoted subjects of Her Majesty throughout British America, whose fears have been excited by the language too often heard of late years on the subject of Colonial connexion, that we received from Her Majesty’s Ministers the assurance that the British Government acknowledge the obligation of defending every portion of Canada with all the resources at its command.

Such, in brief, is the outline of our communications with Her Majesty’s Government, and we cannot conclude this report without gratefully acknowledging the distinguished consideration extended to us as the representatives of Canada, not only by the Ministers with whole we were brought more directly in contact, but by many eminent personages with whole we had the honour of conferring on the objects of our mission. To Mr. Cardwell we are especially indebted for unremitting kindness and attention. We are happy to believe that the result of our visit to England had been to inspire more just views as to the position and feelings of the Canadian people, and to draw closer the ties that have so long and so happily attached our Province to the Mother Country.

John A. Macdonald,
Geo. Et. Cartier,
Geo. Brown,
A.T. Galt.

Quebec, 12th July, 1865.

No. 2.

Copy of a Despatch from the Right Honorable Edward Cardwell, M.P., to Governor General Viscount Monck.

No. 95.

Downing Street, 17th June, 1865.

My Lord,—I have the honor to inform your Lordship that several conferences have been held between the four Canadian Ministers who were deputed, under the Minute of your Executive Council of March 24th, to proceed to England to confer with Her Majesty’s Government on the part of Canada, and the Duke of Somerset the Earl De Grey, Mr. Gladstone, and myself, on the part of Her Majesty’s Government.

On the first subject referred to in the Minute, that of the Confederation of the British North American Province, we repeated on the part of the Cabinet the assurances which had already been given of the determination of Her Majesty’s Government to use every proper means of influence to carry into effect without delay the proposed Confederation.

On the second point, we entered into a full consideration of the important subject of the defence of Canada, not with any apprehension on either side that the friendly relations now happily subsisting between this country and the United States are likely to be disturbed, but impressed with the conviction that the safety of the Empire from possible attack ought to depend upon its own strength and the due application of its own resources. We reminded the Canadian Ministers that on the part of the Imperial Government we had obtained a vote of money for improving the fortifications of Quebec. We assured them that so soon as the vote had been obtained the necessary instruction had been sent out for the immediate execution of the works, which would be prosecuted with despatch; and we reminded them of the suggestion of Her Majesty’s Government had made to them to proceed with the fortifications of Montreal.

The Canadian Minister, in reply, expressed unreservedly the desire of Canada to devote her whole resources, both in men and money, for the maintenance of her connection with the Mother Country; and their full belief in the readiness of the Canadian Parliament to make known that determination in the most authentic manner. They said they had increased the expenditure for their Militia from 300,000 to 1,000,000 dollars, and would agree to train that force to the satisfaction of the Secretary of State for War, provided the cost did not exceed the last-mentioned sum annually, while the question of confederation is pending. They said they were unwilling to separate the question of the works at Montreal from the question of the works west of that place, and from the question of a naval armament on Lake Ontario. That the execution of the whole of these works would render it necessary for them to have recourse to a loan, which could only be raised with the guarantee of the Imperial Parliament. They were ready to propose to their Legislature on their return a measure for this purpose, provided that the guarantee of the Imperial Parliament were given now, and that they were authorized to communicate to the Parliament of Canada the assurance that, the occasion arising, England will have prepared an adequate naval force for Lake Ontario. They thought that if the guarantee were not obtained now it was probable that the Canadian Government and Parliament would think it desirable that the question of defensive works should await the decision of the Government and Legislature of the United Provinces.

On the part of Her Majesty’s Government we assented to the reasonableness of the proposal that if the Province undertook the primary liability for the works of Defence mentioned in the letter of a Lieutenant-Colonel Jervois, and showed a sufficient security, Her Majesty’s Government should apply to Parliament for a guarantee for the amount required; and we said that Her Majesty’s Government would furnish the arrangements for the works. But we said that the desire and decision of the Provincial Legislature ought to be pronounced before any application was made to the Imperial Parliament. On the subject of a Naval Force for Lake Ontario, we said that, apart from any question of expediency, the convention subsisting between this country and the United States rendered it impossible for either nation to place more than the specified number of armed vessels on the lakes in time of peace. In case of war it would, as a matter of course, be the duty of any Government in this country to apply its means of naval defence according to the judgement it might form upon the exigencies of each particular time, and the Canadian Ministers might be assured that Her Majesty’s Government would not permit itself to be found in such a position as to be unable to discharge its duty in respect. This was the only assurance the Canadian Ministers could expect or we could give.

Upon review of the whole matter, the Canadian Ministers reverted to the proposal which has been mentioned above, that priority in point of time should be given to the Confederation of the Provinces. To this, we, on the part of Her Majesty’s Government, assented. In conformity, however, with a wish strongly expressed by the Canadian Minister, we further said, that if, upon future consideration, the Canadian Government should desire to anticipate the Confederation, to propose that Canada should execute the works, they would doubtless communicate to Her Majesty’s Government that decision; and we trusted that after what had passed in these conferences they would feel assured that any such communication would be received by us in the most friendly spirit.

On the third point, the Reciprocity Treaty, the Canadian Ministers represented the great importance to Canada of the renewal of that treaty, and requested that Sir F. Bruce might be put in communication with the Government of Lord Monck upon the subject. We replied that Sir F. Bruce had already received instructions to negotiate for a renewal of the treaty, and to act in concert with the Government of Canada.

On the fourth point, the subject of the North-western Territory, the Canadian Ministers desired that the territory should be made over to Canada, and undertook to negotiate with the Hudson’s Bay Company for the termination of their rights, on condition that the indemnity, if any, should be paid by a loan to be raised by Canada under the Imperial guarantee. With the sanction of the Cabinet, we assented to this proposal, undertaking that if the negotiation should be successful we, on the part of the Crown, being satisfied that the amount of the indemnity was reasonable, and the security sufficient, would apply to the Imperial Parliament to sanction the arrangement and to guarantee the amount.

On the last point, it seemed sufficient that Her Majesty’s Government should accept the assurances given by the Canadian Ministers on the part of Canada, that that Province is ready to devote all her resources both in men and money to the maintenance of her connexion with the Mother country, and should assure them in return that the Imperial Government fully acknowledged the reciprocal obligation of defending every portion of the Empire with all the resources at its command.

The Canadian Ministers in conclusion said, that they hoped it would be understood that the present communications did not in any way affect or alter the correspondence which had already passed between the Imperial Government and the Governments of the British North American Provinces on the subject on the Intercolonial Railway. To this we entirely agree.

I have, &c.

(Signed) Edward Cardwell

Governor General
Viscount Monck, &c. &c.

(Copy, Canada, No. 103.)

Downing Street, 24th June, 1865.

My Lord,—I have the honor to inclose for your Lordship’s information, a copy of a dispatch which I have addressed to-day in the Lieutenant Governors of the Maritime Provinces.

I have, &c.

(Signed) Edward Cardwell

Viscount Monck,
&c., &c., &c.

Mr. Secretary Cardwell to the Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick.

(Copy.)

Downing Street.

24th June, 1865.

Sir,—I have the honor to transmit to you the copy of a correspondence between Viscount Monck and myself, on the affairs of British North America, which have lately formed the subject of conferences between Her Majesty’s Government and a deputation from the Canadian Government.

The correspondence having been presented to both Houses of Imperial Parliament by command of Her Majesty, I have to direct you to communicate it also to the Legislature of New Brunswick, at its next meeting.

You will at the same time express the strong and deliberate opinion of Her Majesty’s Government that it is an object much to be desired that all the British North American Colonies should agree to unite in one Government. In the territorial extent of Canada, and in the maritime and commercial enterprise of the lower Provinces. Her Majesty’s Government see the elements of power which only require to be combined in order to secure for the Province which shall possess them all a place among the most considerable communities of the world. In the spirit of loyalty to the British Crown, of attachment to British connexion and of love for British institutions, by which all the Provinces are animated alike, Her Majesty’s Government recognize the bond by which all may be combined under one Government. Such an union seems to Her Majesty’s Government to recommend itself to the Provinces, on many grounds of moral and material advantage, as giving a well-founded prospect of improved administration and increased prosperity. But there is one consideration which Her Majesty’s Government feel it more especially their duty to press upon the Legislature of New Brunswick. Looking to determination which this country has ever exhibited to regard the defense of the colonies as a matter of Imperial concern, the Colonies must recognize a right and even acknowledge an obligation to incumbent on the Home Government to urge with earnestness and just authority the measures which they consider to the most expedient on the part of the Colonies, with a view to their own defence. Nor can it be doubtful that the Provinces of British North America are incapable, when separate and divided from each other, of making those just and sufficient preparations for national defence, which would be easily undertaken by a Province uniting in itself all the population and all the resource of the whole.

I am aware that this project, so novel as well as so important, has not been at once accepted in New Brunswick with that cordiality which has marked its acceptance by the Legislature of Canada; but Her Majesty’s Government trust that after a full and careful examination of the subject and all its bearings the Maritime Provinces will perceive the great advantages which in the opinion of Her Majesty’s Government, the proposed Union is calculated to confer upon them all.

I have, &c.

(Signed) Edward Cardwell[40]

Monck,

The Governor General transmits for the information of the Legislative Assembly, a Copy of a Despatch from the Secretary of State for the Colonies, in answer to Addresses transmitted to Her Majesty the Queen during the last Session, on the subject of a Union of the British North American Provinces.

Quebec, August 9th, 1865.[41]

(Copy, Canada, No. 58)

Downing Street,

8th April, 1865

My Lord,—I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your Lordship’s despatches, Nos. 73 and 74, of the 15th March, accompanied by addresses to the Queen, agreed to respectively by the Legislative Council and House of Assembly of Canada, praying that Her Majesty will be pleased to cause a measure to be introduced into the Imperial Parliament, for the Union of the Provinces of British North America, on the basis of the Resolutions adopted by the Conference of Delegates from those Provinces, who met at Quebec in October of last year.

I have not failed to present these addresses to Her Majesty, who was pleased to receive the same very graciously.

Her Majesty’s Government have seen with great satisfaction that both branches of the Canadian Legislature have adopted Addresses to the Crown expressive of their desire for the accomplishment of a measure calculated materially to add to the strength and promote the welfare of the British North American Provinces.

I have, &c.,

(Signed,) Edward Cardwell[42]

Sessional Orders

John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West and Minister of Militia] suggested that the sessional orders should be read so that no time should be lost in forwarding the unfinished business of last session.

The suggestion was agreed to, and the orders were read accordingly.

The House then, at 20 minutes to 10 p.m.. adjourned on motion of John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West and Minister of Militia].


ENDNOTES

[1]      Source: “Provincial Parliament,” [Quebec] Morning Chronicle (Aug. 10, 1865).

[2]      Lord Monck, Legislative Council, Speech from the Throne, (Aug. 8, 1865), p. D:1.

[3]      Journals of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada (1865), pp. 5-6. Added for completeness.

[4]      The Canadian delegation consisted of John A. Macdonald, George-Étienne Cartier, and Alexander Galt. They drafted a report on their discussions on Jul. 12, 1865 and it was presented to the Legislative Assembly on Aug. 9, 1865. The report is found towards the end of today’s proceedings.

[5]      Canadian-American Reciprocity Treaty of 1854 (Elgin-Marcy Treaty). The United States passed a Joint Resolution abrogating the treaty in Jan. 1865. It was formally terminated on Mar. 17, 1866.

[6]      Supra footnote 4.

[7]      The Great Coalition was formed on Jun. 22, 1864 between the Conservative Ministry of Taché-Macdonald and opposition Reformers led by George Brown. For the agreement see “Memorandum—Confidential,” Legislative Assembly (Jun. 22, 1864), pp. 205-206. A series of bi-elections in July 1864 confirmed the appointment of three reform members in cabinet. The purpose of the coalition was to singularly pursue the confederation of the British North American colonies as a permanent solution to the protracted sectional conflicts that had arrested the normal functioning of the Canadian parliament since 1856-1858. If confederation was deemed to be impracticable by the next legislative session, the Ministry would then commit itself to a smaller federative union of the two Canadas, focused on representation by population, and provisions to admit other provinces and territories at a later date. The principal members of the Coalition were Pascal Etienne Taché, John A. Macdonald, George-Etienne Cartier, A.T. Galt, and George Brown.

[8]      ibid.

[9]      ibid.

[10]    Supra footnote 7.

[11]    ibid.

[12]    ibid., p. 205.

[13]    Facing considerable suspicion and fierce hostility to the Quebec Scheme in New Brunswick, Tilley did not submit the scheme to the provincial parliament and a general election on its adoption was inevitable. The legislature was dissolved on February 9th 1865, and writs were issued for a general election be returned in March 1865. Tilley’s Ministry was soundly defeated, with the Premier himself losing his seat in the legislature, and an anti-confederationist ministry led by Albert Smith was brought into power, taking 35 of 41 seats in the Legislature. Fears of higher tariffs and debt, in addition to lack of clarity on the intercolonial project, and a competing railway project to the United States, raised distrust in the confederation project.

Facing similar discontent, Nova Scotia Premier Charles Tupper delayed introducing the Quebec resolutions to the legislature. Instead, Tupper introduced a resolution in the Assembly, on April 10th, 1865, signaling a return to the safer topic of a Maritime union. While those resolutions spoke of a union of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, it was believed to be a strategic move merely to bide for more time. Prince Edward Island quickly rejected the Quebec scheme and prorogued the legislature on April 3rd.

[14]    Supra footnote 7.

[15]    Supra footnote 13.

[16]    Journals. Supra footnote 3.

[17]    ibid.

[18]    This charge against Galt—a letter promising the guarantee of English, Protestant rights in Lower Canada in exchange for a vote on Confederation—was a charge that had been made in the Legislative Assembly as early as Mar. 18, 1865, p. B:7. Luther Holton is the first to make the accusation. The letter itself remains an unconfirmed reference.

[19]    ibid.

[20]    Supra footnote 18.

[21]    Journals. Supra footnote 3.

[22]    ibid.

[23]    ibid.

[24]    ibid.

[25]    ibid.

[26]    Despatch from Edward Cardwell to Governor General Monck (Jun. 17, 1865). This despatch is found amongst the correspondence presented to the Assembly, later in today’s proceedings.

[27]    Canadian-American Reciprocity Treaty of 1854 (Elgin-Marcy Treaty). Supra footnote 5.

[28]    Lord Monck, Speech from the Throne. Supra footnote 2.

[29]    Supra footnote 4.

[30]    Journals. Supra footnote 3.

[31]    ibid.

[32]    For the speeches see, UK, House of Lords, “The Lord Commissioners’ Speech,” (Feb.  7, 1865) and UK, House of Lords, “Speech of the Lords Commissioners (Jul. 6, 1865).

[33]    The last two paragraphs of the address read, 7. That we learn with pleasure, that His Excellency has transmitted to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, for presentation to Her Majesty, the Addresses to which we agreed during the last Session, in favor of a Federal Union of the Colonies of British North America.“

“8. That we thank His Excellency for the assurance that the reply of the Secretary of State shall be communicated to us; and that we trust, with His Excellency, that mature examination of the project will, ere long, induce the Legislatures of the other Provinces to concur with us in giving their sanction to a measure which has been adopted as a great feature of Imperial policy, and has been twice noticed with approbation in Her Majesty’s Speeches from the Throne.”

[34]    Journals. Supra footnote 3.

[35]    Journals. Supra footnote 3.

[36]    ibid.

[37]    Journals, p. 7. Added for completeness.

[38]    Journals, p. 8. Added for completeness.

[39]    These papers were presented on Aug. 9, 1865 to both the Legislative Council and the Legislative Assembly. The Morning Chronicle didn’t include these papers in their reporting on the Assembly, while the Daily Mercury did, while covering the Legislative Council. For completeness, we have inserted the papers as reported by the Mercury. Please note that the wording is almost verbatim, but there are some slight variations from the Journals account. See also Journals, pp. 8-16.

[40]    “Provincial Parliament,” The Quebec Daily Mercury (Aug. 10, 1865).

[41]    Journals, p. 16. Added for completeness.

[42]    Supra footnote 39.

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