Province of Canada, Legislative Assembly, Conclusion of the Debate on the Address (27 May 1850)
Date: 1850-05-27 – 1850-05-28
By: Province of Canada (Parliament), The Globe
Citation: “Parliamentary Proceedings,” The Globe (30 May 1850).
[REPORTED FOR THE “GLOBE.”]
(Conclusion of the Debate on the Address.)
Mr. SHERWOOD, of Brockville, was not disposed to support the amendment, and he regretted that any allusion to annexation had been introduced into the House. It only showed, however, the freedom with which discussions were conducted there; and no where else, he believed, did so much toleration exist. He was satisfied that annexation would not be so beneficial as had been represented; but that, on the contrary, were it to take place, the results would be highly injurious to the province. That being the feeling which he entertained upon to subject, it became his duty thus openly to express his sentiments. But while he entertained this opinion, he thought the people of Lower Canada had some excuse for their conduct as to that subject; protection had been withdrawn, and they felt that the conduct of the Government towards them, in passing the Rebellion Losses Bill, had rendered them no longer entitled to their respect. They thought it proper to pay rebels for the losses they sustained during the rebellion, and then dismiss gentlemen for expressing their sentiments as to a separation from the parent state. Although the dismissal of persons holding commissions, who so acted, he considered as proper on the part of the Government, yet he did not approve of every instance in which the prerogative had been exercised in this respect. He knew more than one instance in which gentlemen who felt grieved had resigned, but who were gazetted as having been dismissed. There should have been some explanation given. He was not in the House when the amendment relative to the Court of Chancery was under discussion; but he was always opposed to that court, and was in favour of abolishing it altogether. Even if it were necessary that it should exist, the conduct of the Government in the recent appointments had not been consistent with economy; and he (Mr. Sherwood) suggested last session, that there should be but one judge presiding over the proceedings of that Court, which was quite sufficient for all the duties he had to perform. The country, he felt satisfied, would not bear the Ministry out in the course they pursued in that instance, and he believed they would either have to repeal the law or retire. The effect of increasing the jurisdiction of the inferior courts, would only be father to relieve the judges of the superior courts of a portion of their duty; and the Court of Appeal might be so framed as not to entail any additional expense upon the country. Much had been said relative to the Clergy Reserve, which it had been contended very properly, should have been made a Government measure; and he trusted no difference of opinion among the members of the Cabinet, would prevent the Inspector-General from passing a Bill. As to the removal of the seat of Government from Montreal, why leave to the individual the expenditure of £30,000, when the measure was opposed by the other House? The Government themselves, however, assumed the responsibility by removing it. They could have made preparations at Montreal fit for the reception of the Legislature, and should not have given the cowardly advice they did, and which showed that they had not the courage to remain there; which he thought it was the duty of the government to do, till peace should have been restored. Other subjects had been introduced, as to which he would not detain the House by making any further remarks, but to which he would doubtless gave an opportunity of alluding on further occasions.
Col. GUGY said, those persons who had signed the memorial for a separation from the Parent State, had forfeited the right of censuring persons who had previously been charged with disloyalty; that act had effectually closed their mouths, and they could not pretend to support those institutions of the country which they had expressed themselves willing to overturn. He did not believe their declaration, that they were not desirous of procuring separation without the consent of the Parent State; he considered it as a sort of saving clause—a pitiful evasion and subterfuge; and was intended merely to satisfy the minds of those who hesitated, until they were induced so far to implicate themselves, that they would find it impossible to retreat. Every persons who was acquainted with history, knew that the object of those who desire to overturn the existing order of things, is first to agitate the public mind, and excite it to opposition to authority—from opposition it advanced to hatred—and hatred resulted in combat; and unless the movement of a separation is put down, it will end in hostile collision. To his own knowledge, there are now individuals who exult in the prospect of taking up arms; and in the Colony of Sherbrooke there are persons, who declare that they are determined by force of arms to procure annexation, and make Canada a second Texas. If such were not the intention of the principal movers in this scheme, they continue to agitate the subject, after the determination of the British Government, as communicated through the authorised channel, of its determination to prevent the contemplated dismemberment of the empire—why is it that a persons is found coming forward in that House, who has resided in the Province but a short time, and who perhaps is still an alien and citizen of the United States—at all events has but recently become a British subject—and unblushingly expressing his desire, in a British Parliament, for the annexation of this Province to a foreign State. He (Col. G.) knew if an attempt were made to overrun the country, that three hundred thousand men would fly to arms repel the invaders; but he could not allow the opinion to go forth uncontradicted, that a large portion of the inhabitants of Canada were willing to submit to such an inroad as had been made upon Texas; and the movers should be taught that they had already taken the first step in a wrong cause. If persons were found combining to overturn the institutions of the country, should not those who cherish those institutions combine to sustain them? If the others were about to attack, were they not to defend? The true conservatives are those who are desirous of maintaining the institutions of the Province. He (Col. G.) looked to principles and not men; and he should watch both sides of the House, for parties had became so mixed that they were in the utmost confusion—resembling a paper of pins thrown into disorder, when compared with the regularity with which they had been originally arranged. The hon. member of Sherbrooke, Mr. Sanborn, had said the annexation movement did not originate in the Rebellion Losses Bill, and had expressed himself very dogmatically with reference to the measure, and also as to the course he meant to pursue, with reference to the administration during the present session. That bill was not intended to pay rebels; he (Col. G.) had no communication with the ministry that such had not been the case, but was satisfied it would be shown by the papers which would be produced relative to the proceedings of the commission, and which must satisfy the public mind. As to the outrages perpetrated at Montreal, he said they had been justly and universally condemned; he took a decided part against the bill which produced them. And when he saw the Parliament House in flames, he told a friend that with them were destroyed the hopes of the Annexation part, and to which the encouragement they had yielded to a separation from the Parent State, had given the finishing blow. Col. G. again referred to the hon. member for Sherbrooke, whose professions to support the administration were not at all reconcilable with his declarations in favour of annexing Canada to the United States. The sentiments which he (Mr. S.) had openly avowed, when he recently had taken his seat in that House, and who must be considered as a foreigner and an alien, showed the impropriety of admitting to the privileges which he now enjoyed, persons of his class and description, who would openly avow a desire of annexing Canada to the universal Yankee nation; and to effect which would pull down the roof over their heads. He hoped the occurrence would call the attention of the Legislature to the impropriety of allowing men so actuated, who could neither appreciate nor be actuated by true British feelings, from taking seats as legislators in future. Nothing, Col. G. said, was more detestable than the Yankee slang in which the hon. member had indulged, and which was used by a class which was certainly the most perverse, if they were not the most vicious; and which he was sorry to see used in a House where only gentlemen should assemble; and what, he would ask, could be the object of these aliens who were thus endeavouring to overturn the institutions of this Province, other than to embroil the United States in a war with England. He would call the attention of members to what is now going on in the island of Cuba; where a set of scoundrels from the neighbouring Republic, like locusts, were devouring all that came within their reach, and who did not respect man, woman, or child. And were persons to be allowed to settle in this Province, who are aliens by birth and in disposition, and protected by the laws of England, deliberately to plan the ultimate perpetration of similar excesses here? As Mr. S. had said, his (Col. G.’s) popularity might be affected by the course he was pursuing, this, he should regret, but he did not believe such would be the result; at all events he should prefer the maintenance of opinions which he had expressed, to being floated into the house, as the hon. member had been with a mere majority of ten, while he Col. G. had received the unanimous support of his constituency; who had left him free with regard to annexation, to adopt any course which he might deem proper. The hon. member, he said, had resorted to a common trick—that of putting into the mouths of others expressions which they did not use, that he Mr. S. might hereafter avail himself of the misrepresentation when making some stump speech, and, consequently, what he (Col. G.) had said in allusion to men who had been ruined by speculation or commercial disaster, or who were notorious for their indulgence in every form of vice, and who expected to be benefitted by any changes that would uproot society, having swelled the list of annexationists, his language had been tortured into the expression, that all annexationists were of that stamp. With reference to the conduct of the hon. member himself since he entered the house, had he not sworn before Mr. Speaker and in the presence of his God, allegiance and loyalty to the Queen of Great Britain? How could he then immediately after, rise in his place, and declare his desire to effect the severance of any portion of her dominions—it was a terrible contradiction. Not only had the member who had been returned for Sherbrooke acted thus as to a public measure; but with reference to his own election, he applied every vituperative epithet to the gentleman who opposed his return. Did he mean by such a course to operate on the Committee, or to affect the evidence and destroy what ought to be extended to the witnesses who might be brought against him? He (Col. G.) would say in conclusion, that he had dwelt longer than perhaps was necessary, on the course pursued by the hon. member for Sherbrooke who possessed all that coolness and address, which is peculiar to the class to which he belongs; and who would say and do things in the most offensive manner; but he would find that such a mode of procedure would not answer in that House—at all events, the petition of annexation, in favour of which he [Mr. S.] had expressed himself so warmly, had found but five or six supporters.
Mr. SANBORN wished to say a few words in reply to the hon. gentleman who had just sat down, and who had referred particularly to the position which he (Mr. S.) occupied in that House. Because he was opposed to the administration on the subject of annexation, did it follow that he should not support them in carrying out liberal measures? and whenever they introduced such they should have his support. The hon. member had cast an imputation on him, as not being of British origin and birth;—he presumed that gentleman did not know where he was born. At all events he was at present a British subject, and had duties to perform in that House; he (Col. G.) had no right therefore to attack a young member in the manner he had just done, and who according to his (Col. G.’s) own statement, stood in a peculiar situation. He said he felt no desire again to allude to a subject which had been formerly before the House, but felt bound to repel the attack that had been made of him. He had not said the gallant member would not again be returned, nor was he so presumptuous as to suppose he could influence the constituency against him.
Mr. DRUMMOND, Solicitor General, said, the hon. member for Sherbrooke, Mr. Sanborn, had made an attack on a former day, on a particular friend of his, to which he had listened with astonishment, and if it could have been considered as severe with reference to a member, who could reply to the charges brought against him, it was ten times more so, when the party against whom the attack was levelled was not present to defend himself. The hon. member had stated on the occasion alluded to, that that gentleman had been driven from the profession; and as he had ceased to practice, he did not know if it were true, of for what reason. But he had since made enquiries, and found that the statement was totally unfounded—that he had never acted in the manner that had been described, and was never degraded; and as to the disrobing of a member of the profession, such an occurrence had never taken place at the Bar of Quebec or Montreal. And he (Mr. D.) must question if the member for Sherbrooke would dare to stand up in the presence of Mr. Felton, and repeat what he had said in that House. There was not a man of greater honour and integrity in the country than Mr. Felton. The very fact of his having enlisted the sympathies of so powerful an opposition as Mr. Sanborn met with, showed, not only, that he must have considerable influence in the County, but that he had the support of an highly influential and independent class of freeholders. He was aware than an annexation feeling had been got up in the County of Sherbrooke, and the hon. member had been indebted to the views he entertained upon this subject, for much of the support which he had obtained. But it was a very prevailing error to suppose that the Eastern Townships were all infected in the same manner. The hon. member for Missisquoi could say that was not the case in his County, and in the County of Stanstead there was a strong opposition to the movement, from which there was not a single petition for annexation; and in Missisquoi, after a desperate effort, only twelve signatures could be obtained. There were persons who signed the petitions in the County of Sherbrooke, who supposed they were signing a petition for a road or to get rid of taxation; two instance of this kind came under his own observation, while riding through the country. From information he had been able to obtain, he was satisfied that many of those who were in favour of the project of annexation, were willing to abandon it, if Reciprocity could be obtained with the United States; and in Montreal that was the prevailing feeling. But, history, the honourable gentleman said, afforded no instance so audacious as the recent proposition to separate from the Parent State, which had been so sedulously agitated, and for annexing this Province to the neighbouring Republic; there was no complaint of oppression, nor of a bad form of government, or violated rights. But a set of men unblushingly came forward, and in the face of the world, expressed their desire to separate from the country of their birth, renounce their allegiance, and become citizens of a nation, in whose acts originated the pecuniary difficulties of which they complain as respects trade. To whatever party members might belong, they, as Canadians, were bound to support the Constitution; and as Reformers, the obligation was more binding. For what was the accusation that the urged against them, when they were struggling for their rights, but that the covert object was annexation, and that they wanted to annex themselves to the United States. It therefore behoved them to prove, that they are not the hypocrites they were represented; that they were actuated by higher motives than those which were attributed to them; and were only contending for their rights as British subjects. He would ask the hon. member for Sherbrooke, with all the slander and misrepresentations of the press at his command, what there had been affected in Lower Canada, and what progress annexation principles had made with the Lower Canadians? They had made no progress, and would make none. The gallant knight had said, that the organ of the Government had published an article in favour of annexation. He (Mr. D.) was aware of the article alluded to, which appeared in La M’nerve, and which gave dissatisfaction. The words quoted by the gallant knight were not the same as appeared in the paper alluded to. By some accident the paper had been torn out of the file which had just been put into his hands; but whatever were its expressions, they were repudiated by every member of the Administration; and it would be found explicitly stated in the next paper, that in inserting the article in question, the editor was not acting with the knowledge or sanction of Government; but only expressing his own individual views.
The House then adjourned during a recess of an hour and an half, it being half-past three o’clock, to meet again at four.
Mr. DEWITT addressed the House at considerable length, but was almost entirely inaudible in the reporters’ box. He was understood to argue, that the population of the States being rich, powerful, and enterprising, a peaceful Union with Canada must necessarily add considerably to the wealth and population of the latter.
Mr. MEYERS supported the ministry in the step they had taken, in dismissing Magistrates and Militia Officers who had signed the manifesto. In his opinion, they had done no more than their duty.
DR. NELSON said, he had not, as yet, had an opportunity of expressing his views on the Speech from the throne. He would, therefore, avail himself of that opportunity, and at the same time endeavour to remove an impression that appeared to exist in the mind of the venerable member [hear, hear, and laughter], for Norfolk; that he had rendered a great service to the government, by volunteering his services to induce him [Dr. N.] and two or three other persons who had lost a considerable amount of property, to relinquish any claim they might have under the Indemnity Bill. Now, there was nothing very new in this. For, at the time the Upper Canada Indemnity Bill was under consideration, and when he had been attacked in a rather severe manner, by a gentleman, who at present, does not sit in Parliament; he [Dr. N.] told the Attorney General West, that if an Indemnity Bill were passed for Upper Canada, it would be necessary to pass a similar measure in Lower Canada, but that he intended to relinquish any claim that he might have. He said that in the presence of his hon. friends, Mr. Scott of Two Mountains, and Mr. Cartier. That conversation, he believed, had been repeated to the venerable member for Norfolk. Now, that hon’ble member’s description of his interview with him, in the street in Montreal, was in the main correct.
Mr. BOULTON—in what respect was it incorrect.
Dr. NELSON would tell the hon. gentleman, if he were compelled to do so. There was an air of officiousness about the hon. gentleman, that was exceedingly disagreeable. He had every reason to believe that the hon. gentleman obtruded himself on the government—most certainly he obtruded himself on him, [Dr. N.] In short, the hon. gentleman exhibited qualities on that occasion, that he was convinced were not characteristic of a Statesman. The hon. gentleman, no doubt, remembered, that when the Attorney General was informed that it was his intention to relinquish all claims for indemnity, he [Mr. Boulton] said, “you shall not lose by it,” and was immediately corrected by the Attorney General, saying, “make no promises, sir!”
Mr. BOULTON did not make any promise.
Dr. NELSON. What! Did the hon. gentleman deny that? If he denied that—he would deny any thing. He must say that from that moment, his respect for the hon. Attorney General West was greatly increased; for he perceived that he was an honorable man, who did not wish to make rash promises that he could not fulfil. Now he felt that it was necessary for him to revert to his past life, although it was with considerable pain, that he did so. It was true that in the eyes of the world, he might be looked on as a rebel, but he would ask, had he been proved to be a rebel? Had he ever been prosecuted for rebellion? No. He and five or six others wishing to restore peace to their country, yielded themselves to that high-minded nobleman, whose enlarged views and truly noble administration was attended with the most beneficial results. And when he and they left their native country it was under the impression that they would never see it again. And what was his position now? Why that nothing but an Imperial Act prevented him from taking legal proceedings against those parties, who had expatriated him, without proving him guilty of any offence. But he could say, and it was with delight that he did say it, that when the Bermuda Exiles heard of the course which events were taking, there was a unanimous feeling among them to surrender every claim, aye if they had claims for thousands, and leave every thing to the disposal of Lord Durham. He had another reason for referring to this subject. He had suffered more in every way than the hon. member for St. Maurice. Well he felt grateful—he felt thankful to the British Government for the boon it had granted to him. It had granted more than he had ever asked; [hear, hear from Mr. Lafontaine] and every man of sense, reading or reflection knew how difficult it was to obtain a favour or a right from the powers that be. Well he had obtained what he asked, and more than he asked, and he felt proportionably grateful. [Hear, hear, from Mr. Lafontaine.] There was no crime more revolting, more disgusting than that of base ingratitude; and there was no man who had exhibited it in a stronger light than the hon. member for St. Maurice. [Loud and prolonged laughter from Mr. Papineau.] He [Mr. P.] had been granted more than he had ever rebelled for, and if he had a heart in his breast, he ought to act as another man had done; who disliked the government, and had the manliness of heart to say that he would never come back to cause further troubles.—Why did that hon. member return here, if he still disliked the Government? At least as he had returned, let him not attempt to renew strife again. Had not the blood that was shed through his means, and the tears of the widow and the orphan that he had caused to flow, any power to touch his heart? Yes, the hon. gentleman had a heart, but he had proved that it was a false one, that could feel for himself alone. Was it because his wife and children had not been abused; had not been driven from their homes into the woods and the snows of winter, that he could not feel for others? There was not language strong enough to describe a man of that character, who was not fit to represent a set of savages, much less a constituency of brave and civilized people. For the peace of his country and the honour of that House, he hoped that after the next elections, that hon. Member would not be suffered to pollute it with his presence. There was a possibility, there existed a chance, that the hon. Member might again enter its halls, for the purpose of marring the bright prospects that were before them, but most certainly it would not be the French Canadians that would enable him to do so. (Hear, hear; from the French Members.) It would be from some other quarter; by means of some new allies, that were hugging him to their breasts for purposes of their own. (Cheers from the Ministerial benches.) The Hon. Gentleman then apologised, if he had ever on any occasion said anything calculated to hurt the feelings of Sir A. McNab. The was a good deal of sunshine in the life of that hon. Gentleman—fresh green spots that it was pleasing to look upon; and although he (Dr. Nelson) found fault with many parts of his conduct—and he had no doubt the honourable Gentleman could find fault with him—yet there was a manliness of disposition, a bravery of heart about him, that caused him to be admired even in his greatest ebullitions of passion. He said this, because he had been an unfortunate man, but nevertheless had no desire to offend any one. As to the hon. member for Stanstead, he too had suffered great woes and performed very valorous feats. The hon. member for Stanstead’s domestic habits had been completely upset in the unhappy times which were gone, and worse—much worse—the hon. member for Stanstead had been awakened in the night, and obliged to join a party of ten or a dozen men in order to capture a poor half famished, exhausted wretch [Laughter.] He would say, “let those who live in glass houses refrain from throwing stones.” An hon. gentleman sitting opposite, had alluded to him the other evening in a manner that hurt his feelings very much, for it should be remembered that altho’ he was a spiller of blood, and a carver of bones—in a medical way—he was not without some feeling. [Hear, hear.] It had often afforded a balm to his heart in his most anxious moments. He would however say nothing more on that subject, but would have a touch at the gallant Colonel, (Mr. Prince,) who had tipped him rather hard on two of three occasions. He could bear it however from that hon. gentleman; for there was a jovial John Bull frankness about the gallant Colonel, even in his fiercest moods that distinguished him very favourably from the hon. member for St. Maurice. [Laughter.] He would advise a small outlay, in order to have a large mirror placed opposite the seat of that hon. member. He (Mr. P.) thought it would have a very good effect, for when he got up to attack the Ministry—the point at which he certainly arrived at last, however far from it he started—he would be able each time to see the worst passions of humanity depicted in his countenance—envy, hatred, malice, and uncharitableness. [Hear, hear, and laughter.] With regard to the removal of the Government to Toronto, and the riots last year in Montreal, he said that he never would have submitted to such a set of vagabonds, that dared to insult the Representative of their Sovereign, and fire the Parliament house over their heads—he would have crushed them and broken them down. However some good had resulted from the removal. The French members were made acquainted with their brethren in Upper Canada; and he for one would be able to tell his constituents, when he went back to the banks of the Richlieu, that the people of Upper Canada were not their enemies. (Cheers.) He would tell them that he wished they could come up themselves, and they would see a skilful and enterprising people; and to say the truth, he did not think the Upper Canadians would lose a great deal by forming such an acquaintance; on the contrary, they would be delighted with the open hearted candor and frankness of their friends of the Lower Province. (Cheers.) Now with regard to the value of our securities. If the English people were aware that the Canadians are not all annexationists, and that they were determined not to throw off their allegiance, and if they knew that the people of Lower Canada did not desire a change—it was possible that there might be a few, but they were a very few, ambitious men that wished to raise themselves to power on the ashes of their country—if they knew all that, he had no doubt that they would freely advance whatever sums were required, and might depend confidently on receiving on it a good interest. With regard to reciprocity—from a common sense view of the case, he was confident that it would be granted, as the Americans were too shrewd a people not to be aware that they would derive a benefit from it. The management of prisons and asylums, was a subject which had received but too little attention in Canada. If we would but reflect how soon those who were dearest to us might be consigned to those melancholy abodes, we would become more interested in the matter. Many evils had been allowed to continue in our prisons for years, for want of a proper system of supervision, and he trusted that a great reform would be affected. The Administration had done a great service to the public by the appointment of the Penitentiary Commission of Enquiry; the able and luminous report of the commission, which he had carefully examined, manifested an extent of information on the subject of prison discipline and management, which had surprised him. The hon. member then referred to the evils existing in the gaols of Lower Canada, the improper mode of punishment by depriving the prisoners of food. Every body wished retrenchment, reasonable, necessary, wise retrenchment; they should not put twelve men to do three men’s work; they should not employ Peter to tell John to order James to do so-and-so; but they should pay their officers well and work them well, so there should be no excuse for dishonesty. They should avoid the example of the United States, where the low salaries, and the principle that to the victor belonged the spoil, which was universally received, had produced speculation and dishonesty in every department. As to annexation, he could say from his own knowledge, that it received no countenance whatever in Lower Canada, and he believed, from the information he had received, it had received as little in the Upper Province. They deceived themselves grossly, who imagined that any portion of the loyal and peaceable people of Lower Canada favoured this movement. They saw nothing to envy in the institutions of the neighboring country; they were better satisfied with the British Constitutional Government they already possessed.
Mr. CAMERON (Cornwall) did not blame the government for dismissing the annexationists from office, but he blamed them for not prosecuting them before doing so, and he referred to the course of the British Cabinet, who had first prosecuted Mr. O’Connell and others before they dismissed any magistrates from office in Ireland. He then referred to Dixon’s case, and the refusal of the names of his accuses, and cited an instance where complaints made against a clerk of a local court in England, to the Home Secretary; the name of the complainant was given to the accused, a libel suit was instituted, and a verdict returned against him before the government had examined the case. The hon. member passed on to Mr. Stanton’s case. He said that the Inspector General had not told them in his speech in the morning, that Mr. Stanton had paid over the £700 which was said to be missing, the very day after it was demanded, and that he now claimed £169 for arrears of salary from the government. He had not told them either that the government had instituted proceedings against Mr. Stanton, but had not brought the case into court, although informed that the defendant was ready to go on with it. He was also told, that the government, or Mr. Dunscomb, the Inspector of Customs, was aware that monies were received by the subordinate office, Mr. Roy. He then referred to the charge preciously made, that Mr. Mendell had been the judge of the late collector, and then stepped into his place. He enlarged on the evils of such a system, and said that no officer in the army, who could be benefitted by the dismissal of a delinquent, was permitted to sit upon a court martial. He said that Mr. Stanton had served long and faithfully, both in his former office and that of collector, and he did not believe that his character would be destroyed by the statement of the Inspector General without proof. He supposed that he had no objection to the papers being sent down. Mr. Stanton had been called upon to settle his accounts in the middle of a quarter, his own private accounts were mixed with those of the government; but when the money was demanded, it was promptly paid up. Mr. Cameron then blamed the government for their appointment of the Warden of the Penitentiary, and for liberating Dr. Keyes from that institution because he was insane, whereas he was now practicing his profession in Brantford. The change in the management of the public roads, was the next subject of animadversion; the system of letting the roads by public contract had been changed, and the tolls collected by officials in order to find situation for the partizans of government. Her dared say that there had been a reduction, in consequence, of the amount of revenue. The dissensions in the Cabinet required explanation. The Clergy Reserve question, if it were to be taken up, should be a Cabinet measure. He would never join in any measure to take away the clergy lands from their present appropriation in Lower Canada, and he did not believe one gentleman at present on that side of house would do so; but the members from Lower Canada should consider that their successors might not be so scrupulous, and that they would be apt to retaliate were the Clergy Reserves of Upper Canada taken away by Lower Canadian votes. He could not possibly join in the disapprobation of the British Government, although he regretted their change of policy; he would support the ministry in their course upon annexation. He did not believe that we had anything to envy in the United States with her three millions of human beings in slavery; he knew no part of that country which, to use an American phrase, had gone a-head more rapidly than Upper Canada. They had nothing to gain by annexation and everything to lose.
Mr. HOLMES said his constituents were favourable to annexation to the United States, if it could be effected with the consent of the British Government, and if it could not be effected without such sanction in was totally impracticable. He said he was not aware that he was holding a commission in the militia, when the dismissals took place, as he had tendered his resignation four years before; and although he was informed that his resignation would not be accepted, yet he considered it a mere complimentary affair, and that he was no longer an officer in the militia. He believed annexation would be attended with no advantage if the principles of Free Trade were in operation on both sides of the line; and that there were no natural resources to be found in the United States, that Canada does not possess. But they could have the benefit then of British capital, which the people of this Province will not have while in a state of colonial dependence. Persons, he said, had gone from this Province, to procure capital, for the purpose of engaging in works of improvement which were sanctioned by Legislative enactment. But had they ever been successful? Yet let a persons from the other side of the line proceed to England on a similar errand, and the people there would afford them that assistance which they refuse to those of this Province; because they were still retained in a state of Colonial tutelage. The State of Ohio, he said, had recently obtained a large quantity of railroad iron from the iron masters of Wales at nine years credit, on the mere security of the bond of the President of a railroad company, and the payment of interest at 7 per cent. Notwithstanding what had been said to the contrary, the annexation movement had not been stayed; and he was satisfied the time would arrive, when not seven but seventy members of that House, would come forward and sign a petition for independence; and he believed the magnanimity of the British nation would induce them to grant it, when desired by a majority of the people. The movement to be opposed successfully must be met by argument.
In consequence of a question put to the hon. Mr. Hincks, he stated that he had omitted to mention in his previous statement, that the Collector of the Customs had paid over the amount of £700; but that ten days having elapsed subsequent to the investigation being made, and the deficiency not being paid in, he (Mr. H.) directed a letter to be sent Mr. Stanton, and the money was subsequently received.
The question was then taken on Col. Prince’s amendment:
Yeas:—Messrs. Badgley, Boulton of Norfolk, Boulton of Toronto, Christie, DeWitt, Egan, Holmes, McNab, McConnell, McLean, Papineau, Prince, Robinson and Sanborn.—14.
Nays:—Messrs. Armstrong, Attorney General Baldwin, Boutillier, Cameron of Cornwall, Cameron of Kent, Cartier, Cayley, Chabot, Chaveau, Davignon, Solicitor General Drummond, Duchesnay, Dumas, Fergusson, Fortier, Fournier, Gugy, Inspector General Hincks, Jobin, Lacoste, Attorney General LaFontaine, LaTerriere, Laurin, Lemieux, Lyon, Malloch, McFarland, Merritt, Methot, Meyers, Mongenais, Morrison, Nelson, Notman, Price, Richards, Ross, Sauvageau, Scott of Bytown, Scott of Two Mountains, Sherwood of Brockville, Sherwood of Toronto, Smith of Durham, Smith of Wentworth, Tache and Viger.—46.
Mr. H. J. Boulton’s amendment was then put:
Yeas:—Messieurs Boulton of Norfolk, Boulton of Toronto, Christie, DeWitt, Holmes, McNab, MacConnell, McLean, Papineau, Prince, Robinson, and Sanborn—12.
Nays:—Messrs. Armstrong, Attorney General Baldwin, Boutillier, Cameron of Cornwall, Cameron of Kent, Cartier, Cauchon, Chabot, Chaveau, Davignon, Solicitor-General Drummond, Duchesnay, Dumas, Fergusson, Fortier, Fournier, Gugy, Guillet, Inspector-General Hincks, Jobin, Lacoste, Attorney-General LaFontaine, LaTerriere, Laurin, Lemieux, Malloch, McFarland, Merritt, Methot, Mongenais, Morrison, Nelson, Notman, Price, Richards, Ross, Sauvageau, Scott of Bytown, Scott of Two Mountains, Sherwood of Brockville, Sherwood of Toronto, Smith of Durham, Smith of Wentworth, Tache and Viger.—45.
CLERGY RESERVES AND MINISTERIAL EXPLANATIONS.
Mr. CAMERON addressed the House, reviewing the speech at the opening of the Session, very generally; with reference to much of which, he said, the House were unanimous in its approval. Notwithstanding the endeavors that had been made to injure the public credit of the Province, by persons in England and elsewhere, who had circulated unfounded reports, as to a desire on the part of the people of this Province to be annexed to the United States, in relation to which they were grossly mistaken; the members of the House would be surprised to hear that the debentures in the English market had all been taken up; which was a proof that the Province was not ruined, either in trade or reputation. Last fall, owing to the zeal and energy of the inhabitants of the city of Montreal, and the opening of the Portland Railroad to a certain extent, trade was returning to that city; and he was satisfied, that in two years it would exceed what it was five years ago—as the reception of fifty or sixty thousand dollars in toils on canals, consequent upon the arrival of foreign vessels, must have a beneficial tendency; and arrivals are at present expected from New Orleans and other parts of the United States. As to an internal reciprocal free trade between the Republic and the Province, he felt satisfied that that would be the result of the present discussions in Congress on the subject; and when he was at Washington, he regretted to find persons from this Province using their influence to prevent the accomplishment of so desirable an object for both countries, which would effectually destroy the annexation movement. In the United States, he said, the only opposition to the proposed measure originated with the canal interest. The government of the Province were doubtless prepared to give more extensive information; and he was satisfied that Canada is in a more prosperous condition than any State in the Union; and which possesses the advantage which the others do not possess, of appropriating their revenue to works of local improvement. There they have a higher tariff, the proceeds of which must go into the treasury of the general government, to be spent in a Mexican war, and to maintain slavery; while here the Legislature had the control, annually, of three or four millions of dollars. It was notorious, he said, that the United States government had never made a mile of road throughout that extensive country. He admitted there were grounds of complaint here; and the people naturally ask what becomes of the immense revenue which is received, as it was not spent in forming harbors and making roads that are required throughout the Province. With reference to postage, all parties would be benefitted by increased facilities, and by a reduction, such as might be effected; and as to representation, it should undoubtedly be based on population, and nothing less than this, and the abolishing the small townships, would satisfy that House and the country. The reforms intended with respect to prison discipline and the penitentiary, he hoped would be such as were worthy of humanity. The subject of the Court of Chancery, he said, had been fully discussed; but the language in the speech, on the question of retrenchment, he thought was ill advised, as the people had made up their minds for an extensive reform, by the government, in that respect; and he for one, was not prepared for the declaration, that it was to be managed by a committee; the recommendations of which the government might not be support the government in any policy which was consistent with what the House had a right to expect from the professions which its members had made. He then referred to the Clergy Reserves, which he said had agitated the country for the last thirty years, and which it had been declared should be given up for the education of the people, of whose true sentiments upon the subject, the last election could leave no doubt; and persons had then declared that they would never vote for the party in power, unless they could obtain justice on this subject. He did not anticipate any difficulty with Lower Canada; all he knew was, that it was not to be made a Cabinet question. For the expectations formerly held out by the reform party, it was only reasonable to expect, that when they came into office, that they would carry out the measure, and satisfy the public mind. Then, why refuse to make it a government question? He warned the administration, that they would not have the support of Upper Canada, if the question was not settled upon the terms contemplated by the union; there must be no excuses, for there must exist equal religious rights, and an equal division of church property. As to the assertion that the Clergy Reserves could not again be legislated upon, and that they partook of the character of private property, after the possession of sixty years; the very term Reserves, had enough in it to satisfy him that it was still an open question; and that the lands were not so much reserved for the support of a Protestant clergy, as for the good of the people, and to procure for them a religious education. The government of Great Britain has the power to sustain those alterations, which will be acceptable to the people, and will give peace to the Province. The appointment of a committee to report upon this subject, would not give satisfaction, it was a shrinking on the part of ministers from a duty which they ought to have performed, who should have introduced a Bill, which of course would have been reserved for the Royal Assent, and would have been sent home and assented to. He (Mr. C.) was astonished at the explanation which had been given by the members of the government, as after what had occurred during last session, the House had a right to expect that a negotiation with the Home Government would have taken place; the words used in debate at the time, certainly led to that inference; and Mr. Price had stated that he held it to be the duty of the government to settle the question; but that all which could be done was to negociate with England; whatever risk might be incurred, it became the duty of the government to settle this question. With this understanding, all action on the subject, on the part of members of the House, had been withdrawn. Now, it is said, the government are not agreed on the subject, and therefore did not intend to prepare any measure. But if, as the Commissioner of Crown Lands and the Inspector General had contended, the question should be the subject of negotiation by the government; why send an address to England, when no negotiation had been entered into? This was what the people could not understand. If the measure, therefore, which will be introduced during this session, is not supported by the government, the country at a future election would oppose them, an he (Mr. C.) would. He concluded by moving the following amendment to the proposed Address, to be at the end thereof:—
“That this House deeply regrets that the absorbing question of the Clergy Reserves and Rectories was not alluded to in the Speech from the Throne, and that His Excellency’s Advisers have not thought the settlement of this question of sufficient importance to introduce a measure on the subject, this House firmly believing that the upper portion of this Province cannot enjoy political contentment so long as the present arrangements respecting the Reserves and Rectories continue.”
In reply to a question put to him by Mr. Malloch, Mr. Cameron stated that he had the consent of the Governor General, for making such explanations as to his resignation as he deemed necessary.
Mr. BALDWIN considered the time had arrived for stating the grounds upon which the government acted with reference to the retirement of the hon. member from the Cabinet. The course which he [Mr. C.] had adopted in his letters, went to induce the conclusion that his colleagues were desirous of getting rid of him. That was not the case; in fact there could not be any such desire, consistent with what was mutually expedient. He [Mr. B.] would presently refer more particularly to the items contained in those letters; but he must first call the attention of the House to two or three preliminaries. In the first place, the reason originally given for wishing to leave the Cabinet, was entirely irrespective of public affairs—it referred solely to his own private interests; and the hon. gentleman must recollect, that more than once different members expressed the hope, that in two or three years he would be able to return and resume his public duties.—Another impression, which it was evidently intended by the letter to create was, that he was urged not to retire until after the occurrences of last Session. From the terms of intercourse, in which at that time he was with the hon. member, he [Mr. B.] did not know, whether this statement had reference to any conversation between themselves. But if it applied to any such intercourse, he [Mr. B.] could only say, the request was that he would not retire until the Session was over, and not until the troubles consequent upon that Session had ceased—and he did not think the hon. member intended of doing so. He might however have reference to a communication in 1848, but which had reference to an entirely different matter, from that to which he now wishes to attribute his resignation. He certainly was dissatisfied with the appointment of Mr. Sullivan, and his dissatisfaction assumed the shape of personal resentment. The hon. gentleman on that occasion, was urged not to act hastily; and he did not so act, for he remained in the government some twelve or eighteen months afterwards. But in the face of all this, from the letters which he had published, it is apparent, that the desire of the hon. gentleman is, that it should go forth to the country, that a disagreement on the subject of retrenchment was the cause of his retirement, and he (Mr. B.) could safely say, that such was not the ground. It was true he expressed himself desirous that the public works should be under the management of one commissioner; but when the difficulties attending such a measure were pointed out, he could not show how both Provinces were to be satisfied. The late government had found it necessary to have two Commissioners, and the present administration also found it so. The hon. gentleman never explained how the difficulties attendant upon his proposition were to be met, not does he explain why having been offered the Chief Commissionership, he chose to return to his former office of Assistant Commissionership, owing to the necessity which the government felt that the chief appointment should be otherwise filled up. But retrenchment was not the object of the hon. gentleman at an early period of his connexion with the government, as was evident from the fact that so far from wishing the situation of Assistant Commissioner which he held should be abolished, he proposed that the salary should be raised; and subsequently complained that when the salaries were settled by Parliament, they had not both been put on the same footing—that of the Chief Commissioner. These facts therefore, went to show that retrenchment was not the ground upon which the hon. gentleman desired to retire from the government. Then in his letter of the 5th December, 1849, he states that the wish of Mr. Price to retire, would remove all the difficulty;—not by abolishing the Commissionership of Crown Lands, for he did not wish it abolished; and had a vacancy occurred, he would gladly have accepted the situation. How then was the retirement of Mr. Price to have removed the difficulty if his object were retrenchment, unless the office were abolished? which he [Mr. C.] was not desirous of effecting. In the letter of the 22nd December, there was another statement, in which it was endeavoured to be shown that a desire for retrenchment was the motive by which he was actuated; and they were told that the difficulty which had occurred was not of his [Mr. C.’s] seeking; but that if Mr. ——— could have Mr. Viger’s place, this would remove it. But how he [Mr. B.] would ask, would it remove the existing difficulty, if it originated in retrenchment? But retrenchment was undoubtedly not his object; and this was only another of the flights of the hon. gentleman’s imagination, in which he so frequently indulged, and to which he was so prone. Another ground of his retirement, which had been thrown out in the documents, was his difference of opinion from other members of the Cabinet, as to the line of public policy to be pursued. Nothing was more unconstitutional or improper, than that, after advice had been given, and which had not been acted upon, a gentleman should feel at liberty to go back, and say, that months before, he had expressed himself of a different opinion. If the members of a Cabinet were all of the same opinion, they had better dispense with it altogether. The object was to have a difference of sentiment, that thereby truth might be elicited. Was the public opinion of this Province so debauched, he would ask, as to allow the gentleman to go back, and state what were his individual sentiments originally expressed with reference to any particular measure? If the course the Cabinet were pursuing, was such as he could not concur in, then he should retire. Unless that House and the Country held members individually responsible for the acts of the Cabinet of which they formed a part, no man of integrity would place himself in a position to be thus dealt with. To elucidate this he would refer to what took place as to the public roads. The hon. member for Kent differed on that question, but agreed to remain in the government, allowed the Bill to be brought into the House, and voted for it. He (Mr. B.) would ask, had the hon. gentleman a right to go back and state what was his opinion on that occasion. The fact was, the hon. gentleman had set his heart upon obtaining the situation of Commissioner of Crown Lands; and anything short of that would not afford him satisfaction—Mr. Price was to be got rid of—Mr. Tache was to be passed over, and a gentleman who was not a member of the Cabinet, was to be made Receiver General; he (Mr. C.) was offered the Chief Commissionership, but no arrangement would answer unless he were made Commissioner of Crown Lands. Of course there might be a difference of opinion as there always would be; but in making choice of an officer to fill that situation, he [Mr. B.] would prefer the member for the South Riding of York, to the Hon. member for Kent; and this preference would be consistent with the desire which existed, that Mr. Cameron should not leave the Cabinet. When he ultimately did so, however, he had not stated on what grounds he had acted. There was therefore no impropriety in the Member for Oxford writing a memorial, and sending it to the Hon. member for Kent for his approval. But if the other members of the Cabinet were at a loss as to the cause of his retirement, it would be seen that he was in the same difficulty himself. The memorandum that had been sent was returned, with no alteration, except that he had expressed a desire to retire from the Assistant Commissionership of Public Works, and an addition to the effect that—he had returned from the Cabinet because he had been shamefully treated and deceived. How much of retrenchment was there in that? He felt full of indignation at the time, and undoubtedly wrote under the impulse of the moment. Then came the first additional step in the ladder of his alleged grievances. Then he asserted, that he had not been consulted in arrangements that were made, when he was really consulted as much as he [Mr. B.] was himself, for they were both absent from Montreal at the time referred to. It was very evident, Mr. Baldwin said in conclusion, from the documents to which he had referred, and also from the alteration which the hon. Member had made in the memorandum referred to, that he was actuated by a feeling of personal grievance, and that it was evidently the ground of his retirement from the Cabinet. The insinuation relative to the President of the Legislative Council, was without foundation, as he had made no objection with regard to that office. But the Hon. Gentleman had gone on adding to his list of grievances. First he wished to retire from mere personal motives; then arrangements that had been made were unsatisfactory; then the public interest was not consulted; and he comes down at last to public measures, the construction of roads and harbours, and the establishing of tariffs and custom-houses. And so varied and inconsistent were the grounds alleged by the hon. member for retiring from the Government, that it was easy to be perceived that the reasons adduced, with one exception, were not the true ones, but which it was denied would be more acceptable to the people of the province. The learned Attorney-General said, he had gone through the leading points contained in the documents and statements put forth by the hon. member for Kent, and had shown that the impression he had endeavoured to create on the public mind, was not sustained by facts, and that had he received the appointment of Commissioner of Crown Lands, there would have existed no difficulty.
Mr. CAMERON, [Kent,] said that he had never seen the hon. Attorney General West, fail so signally as on the present occasion, although he had twenty years practice in making the worse appear the better cause. He would now endeavour to recall to the hon. gentleman’s recollection, two or three circumstances, which he appeared to have forgotten. When the Ministry was in course of formation, after a great deal of discussion and preparation, Mr. Price offered him the Commissionership of Crown Lands. Well, he went with that gentleman to Mr. Lafontaine’s house, where the Administration was assembled, and took his seat among them, under the impression, which he believed was general, that he was to have that office. Finding that Mr. Sullivan did not wish to accept the office assigned to him, the first thing he [Mr. C.] did, was to propose that he should retire in order to make room for Mr. Sullivan. Mr. Price also wanted to go out, but he [Mr. C.] being the youngest member, insisted on retiring, and Mr. Price became Commissioner of Crown Lands. At the same time, he was always of opinion that Mr. Merritt should have been in the Public Works department—but when that gentleman was spoken to on the subject, he positively refused to go in, as Assistant Commissioner. It was then proposed, although the Attorney General did not seem to recollect it—that the Assistant Commissionership should be abolished, and that Joint Commissioners should be appointed, with equal salaries, in order to obviate Mr. Merritt’s objections—but the proposal was rejected, and the original plan adhered to, although his own opinion was, that the Assistant Commissionership, and the office of President of the Council should have been abolished, and Mr. Merritt appointed as sole Commissioner. He then was appointed Assistant Commissioner, but always expressed his dissatisfaction at the arrangement, and would have left the ministry in Montreal, if it had not been for the burning of the Parliament Buildings. Mr. Price advised him to apply for an increase of £100 a year to his salary, but he always refused to do so, and would not have accepted it. All that he wished was to leave the ministry, and not be made responsible for their acts. He wished to leave it quietly, and without doing them any injury. If he chose he might very easily have resigned on questions which would have done them a great deal of harm, and made political capital by it. But it was not his intention to do so. He desired throughout to support them as a Reform Government, and he would do so still. The Attorney General had admitted himself that the Chief Commissionership of Public Works had been offered to him, and he had refused it. Other offers had been made to him also, but he had refused them, because he wished to get on the floor of that House as an independent member, and because he was satisfied that their arrangements would not be satisfactory to the public, but on the contrary would be injurious to their interests. He would ask whether the arrangement that made Mr. Bouthillier, Collector, and Mr. Chabot Chief Commissioner, would be acceptable to any man. To be sure the Attorney General East said that Mr. Tache would take care of him, (Mr. Chabot.) But that was not enough to satisfy him (Mr. C.) and he left the Government immediately. Now it was not very kind in the Attorney General West to intimate that it was proposed to get rid of Mr. Price. The truth was, that no person had a right to suppose that there was any design to get rid of Mr. Price, but that he had himself given every persons reason to suppose that he was going to retire. He said in his letters that nothing on earth should keep him in the Government. He went to his [Mr. C.’s] house and told him, and told his family that he was going to resign. He asked him [Mr. C.] to choose the time at which he should wish his re-election to take place. Were not all these reasons enough to believe, that he intended to resign and would resign. There was no intention of getting rid of him. Now he had been asked where the retrenchment would have been if his [Mr. C.’s] plan had been acted on? He had been taunted with saying, that if Mr. Merritt were transferred to the Board of Works it would be perfectly satisfactory. The hon. gentleman ought to have known himself where the retrenchment would be, and not leave him [Mr. C.) to say it. There would have been a retrenchment of £1650. He proposed that the Assistant Commissionership should be abolished and that the office of President of the Council should be abolished. Would not that have made a retrenchment of £1650? Would not that have been perfectly satisfactory.
Mr. HINCKS—It would have been exceedingly satisfactory to Lower Canada!
Me. CAMERON continued—He was glad that the hon. gentleman had said that. He was glad that the hon. gentleman had admitted that it was necessary to bring in gentlemen from Quebec, and that he was turned out in order to make way for them. The hon. gentleman was dreadfully afraid of making a retrenchment of £1650—no doubt! He must have feared the issue of such an event in that House! But yet in a month after, he and his colleagues made no difficulty whatever in suppressing that office. But he was told that there were insuperable difficulties in the way! He could not see what those difficulties were. He had been offered the Chief Commissionership repeatedly, when the ministry might have known, if they had the slightest discretion, that he would never take that office upon the terms they offered. But they wanted to damage him in the public opinion, or to injure his self-respect, for he had repeatedly told them he would not accept the Chief Commissionership, but that he would do the duties of both Assistant and Chief Commissioner till the meeting of Parliament—and he should like to know if that would not be full as satisfactory as to bring in two other parties that they could not keep? Now with respect to consultation; he would say, that if ever it was necessary to consult a member of the Cabinet, it should be on the proposed addition to its numbers; and yet at what time was he informed of the appointment of the Receiver General? He never was consulted on it—he never knew anything about it, until the day that he met that gentleman walking in the streets with a friend! Was that the manner in which he should be treated? Had not he a right, as a member of the Cabinet, to expect that he should be consulted? But has advice had never been asked; and in answer to all his complaints, he was told that he had attempted to raise difficulties, and that the public morals would be debauched if he spoke of them now. On the question of local roads, he different entirely, and had always differed with the hon. member for Lincoln, and had told him when the question was under discussion, that altho’ he did not wish to split the Cabinet upon a question of that kind, he must not be surprised, if when he (Mr. C.) was in a different position, he should be found agitating that question in opposition to the Ministry, and in favor of local roads; and now that he had found himself in the position that he spoke of, was it strange that he should be found avowing those opinions that he had acquainted them with long ago? Why the Attorney General himself admitted that he had been opposed to the course taken by the Cabinet, and attempted to make it appear that he was bound by the Cabinet measure. But he was not disposed to admit that by any means, not could he see how the Attorney General could state fairly that the government could not go on with those roads for want of funds. He had always understood—but he might possibly be in error—that the real reason was, that they had resolved never to spend a shilling in local works. The hon. gentleman then concluded, asserting that the charge of want of sincerity, brought against him by the Attorney General, was unfounded, as he advocated now, exactly the same views that had influenced his conduct for the last sixteen years.
Mr. PRICE said he had a few remarks to make, explanatory of the part he had taken in these transactions. He said it was undoubtedly true, that Mr. Cameron had been mentioned as Commissioner of Crown Lands, before the formation of the Ministry was completed, but that in consequence of the arrangements that were made, he did not take that office. When Mr. Sullivan was elevated to the Bench, Mr. Cameron went to him, and said that he (Mr. P.) should fill the vacant office of Secretary, and that he would himself take the Crown Lands Department. He refused. He said he had been forced into office, and that he would not go back to his constituents again under any considerations. The Hon. Gentleman appeared to have misunderstood him, and imagined that he did not wish to meet his constituents at the hustings; for after some conversation with the Hon. Attorney-General, he spoke to him (Mr. P.) again on the subject, and said that there was no necessity for re-election, as he might go into the Upper House. He replied, that as the people of the County of York had elected him as their representative, he would never go into the Upper House to get beyond their reach. The Hon. Gentleman was at that time Assistant Commissioner of Public Works, and spoke constantly about the low rate of his salary. He said he would never cease dinning in into the ears of his colleagues, that he had been robbed of £100 a-year by the Inspector-General.
Mr. CAMERON. Did he not say that he would not take the £100, if it were offered to him?
Mr. PRICE. No. When the Hon. Gentleman joined the Administration, he certainly said that money was not an object to him then, but a short time previous to his leaving it he said, that money was an object to him, and when that was the case, he could not conceive that the Hon. Gentleman would have refused an increase of salary. Now the Hon. Gentleman had said on several occasions, that he [Mr. Price] had repeatedly offered him his office. The fact was, that he intended to resign at the end of November, so as to be able to return to his own home before the navigation closed, for he was determined that he would not stop in Montreal another winter, while his family was in Toronto. He therefore went to the Hon. Gentleman, and told him, that if he [Mr. Cameron] was to succeed him in office, it would be as well to appoint the time at which he wished to be re-elected; and at the same time informed him of his desire to leave Montreal before the end of November, but that he would be willing to wait until December, if the roads were frozen up by that time, but was resolved that he would not stop any longer. He could not conceive anything he had said on that occasion could be supposed to bind the Government, or would be considered as a pledge on his part. In fact, it was absurd to suppose that he could give a pledge of the kind, when he was going out of the Administration himself. It was really a pity that the Hon. Gentleman had not gone quietly to his room after resigning, and then having written out the causes which had caused his resignation; waited quietly until the meeting of the House, in order to make his explanations, instead of leaving it a matter for newspaper speculation and newspaper discussion. He had felt all the difficulty of the Hon. Gentleman’s position, and at a public meeting, held in the county of Oxford, had whitewashed him completely, and from that moment he [Mr. Price] had never been forgiven by the Examiner, and he supposed it never would forgive him. It was at a time when it was supposed that the Government would remain at Montreal, that it was first publicly stated that he [Mr. P.] was about to retire from office, and he found that the fact was distorted to the disadvantage of his friends, and he was at length brought out, by an article which appeared in the Examiner, stating that he was about to retire because he could not get his colleagues to join him in taking up the question of the Clergy Reserves and Rectories. Now that article was false. He never took any pledge when he entered the Cabinet, nor did he take any pledge when he left it. He retained his principles when he went into the Cabinet, and retained them when he went out. But he stated the fact when he said, that he had no difference with his colleagues on this or any other question, but that he wished to leave the Government solely from a desire to retire from public life altogether. As to the Clergy Reserve question itself, he only had one conversation respecting it with the Hon. Member for Kent, and that was at the time that they and the Attorney-General West boarded together in Montreal. One evening after having discussed several topics, the Attorney-General said, “And what about the Clergy Reserves?” The Hon. Member for Kent replied, that “he considered that question settled, and would oppose their re-investment.” But he [Mr. Price] objected in his warm way, that he never could consider that question settled, or could ever consent that one-seventh of the lands of the province should remain in the hands of a particular class to the prejudice of the great mass of the community.” “Ah!” said the Hon. Member for Kent, “it is just such men as you that will never let the country have any peace.” Well, it appeared now that the Hon. Member for Kent did not consider the question settled, and he hailed him with the utmost satisfaction as a brother agitator in this great cause; and he hoped to see him agitate it steadily and firmly, but not rashly. Well, feeling called upon, in justice to his colleagues, to contradict the statement which appeared in the Examiner, he wrote a letter for the press in the Council Chamber, and taking the Hon. Gentleman aside, read it to him. Now, so far from his finding any fault with the statements contained in that letter, he complimented him [Mr. Price] highly upon its style. If it were incorrect, why did not the Hon. Gentleman tell him so then, instead of allowing it to be printed.
Mr. CAMERON asked the hon. gentleman if he had not once told him [Mr. Cameron] that he would have to retire on the Clergy Reserve question, and whether he had not replied, “wait until that time and we will go out together”
Mr. PRICE—The fact was, that the hon. gentleman called on him at his office one day, and in some conversation he (Mr. Price) remarked, that it was contrary to his wishes to be in office, and that he would have to retire; as the hon. gentleman turned on his heel, he said, “would it not be better to go out with him on the Clergy Reserve question.” It was just in that careless sort of manner that the hon. gentleman spoke; but he did not sit down quietly, and, after having reasoned it out, say that he was resolved to retire. He (Mr. P.) replied that he had no difference with his colleagues and would leave them in a friendly manner. Now with regard to the statements made by the hon. gentleman, that he was anxious to retire from the Ministry previous to the meeting of Parliament, he did not know what form of language to employ without transgressing the rules of the House. The hon. gentleman had certainly said that he wished to retire, but on account of private circumstances alone. One day he met him [Mr. Price] in the street with some of his colleagues, and with much anxiety and perturbation of manner said, that he was desirous to see and inform them that it was absolutely necessary for him to resign, in order to attend to his private business. It afterwards appeared that he had made such arrangements that there was no immediate occasion for his to resign. But he thought it most strange that the hon. gentleman should attempt to make it appear now that he was influenced by any other motives than those he had alleged at the time.
Mr. CAYLEY—At what time was that?
Mr. PRICE—In October 1848, The hon. gentleman stated in his letters printed in the newspapers, that he had in vain urged on the Ministry the questions of the Clergy Reserves and Retrenchment. Now, he protested most solemnly, that he never was in the Council, when the hon. gentleman introduced either of those questions. It was very possible that he might have spoken to individual members of the Cabinet about them, but he had no knowledge of his ever having done so otherwise. Respecting retrenchment in his [Mr. Price’s] office, which the hon. gentleman said he had proposed, all he knew about it was, that having entered his office one day, he said there were too many clerks in it. But the hon. gentleman had himself got him to take in two of his friends, and although they were absolutely required, it showed that the hon. members retrenchment views were not very deeply seated. He perceived, however, that a statement was made, that a saving of £4,000 a-year could be effected in his office alone, by cutting off ten clerks at £400 a-year. It so happened that there was not a single clerk in the department who received that amount of salary. The only persons who received a high salary was the Assistant Commissioner, who got £600. Since he came up here, he had disposed of seven clerks, and he was told that he might dispose of more. But the fact was that the clerks in his department were harder worked than any others in the Province, and after working until ten o’clock at night in the office were frequently obliged to carry part of their work home in order to complete it. He mentioned this, to show, that however true such a charge might be at one time, there was no foundation for it at present, and that it was impossible to dispense with the services of a single clerk. Whatever was the reason, there were incessant attacks made on his department, and he supposed it was because every person had business to do with it, and every person wanted the business done in his own way. As to the Clergy Reserve question, he repeated, that he had never heard the hon. member urge it in Council, but as it was a question that must speedily come up he would not detain the house by saying any thing respecting it at that time, except that he thought that the hon. gentleman might have waived to see what steps he [Mr. Price] intended to take respecting it, and then chalk out a course for himself, if he were dissatisfied. He would conclude by saying, that this discussion would be a lesson to all future Governments, and that they would see the danger of allowing the country to be agitated through the press, by letters and discussions that should never have appeared in newspapers, and that the hon. member would have occupied a better position, and acted with more dignity if he had deferred his explanation until he stood on the floor of that house. For his part, he could only say, that if he had placed himself in the position taken by that hon. gentleman, he could never expect any government to put confidence in him again.
Mr. LAFONTAINE said it was true, that at the formation of the Cabinet, Mr. Cameron had been mentioned as Commissioner of Crown Lands, but subsequently another arrangement was made, and the hon. gentleman took the office of Assistant Commissioner of Crown Lands. Well the first thing that he did was to present to the President, a minute of Council proposing that his salary should be increased by an addition of £100. To that proposition, he [Mr. Lafontaine] objected. The hon. gentleman then began to speak of a sort of promise that had been made to him by the Inspector General, and said that he was entitled to an increase of salary; and as he had been informed had applied to the Receiver General for it—although he asserted now that he would not have accepted it, even if it had been offered to him! Subsequently the hon. gentleman wished them to introduce a Bill into Parliament for that purpose, but he [Mr. L.] ridiculed the idea, and said that it would be absurd to introduce a Bill into Parliament for such a purpose. That the hon. gentleman was dissatisfied, there could be no doubt; and that was one cause of his dissatisfaction. Another cause of dissatisfaction as he [Mr. C.] had told Mr. Price was, that he had not been consulted on the appointment of a member of the Cabinet, and there was not a doubt in the minds of his colleagues that he was also dissatisfied, because he did not get the office of Commissioner of Crown Lands. But whatever causes of dissatisfaction the hon. gentleman may have had, he never alleged them as reasons for retiring, but always stated that he wanted to retire merely in order to attend to his private affairs. There was one statement to which the hon. gentleman had given currency, that he would refer to. The hon. gentleman had stated that he had been offered the Post Mastership. He could only say he was not aware of it. The Post Office was not under their control. Then how could they offer him the highest situation in it? It was true that a conversation on the subject of the Post Office had been held by him with some of his colleagues; and that he named Mr. Cameron as a very fit person to be Post Master, from his acquaintance with all parts of the country. That conversation was repeated to the hon. gentleman, and he immediately circulated through the newspapers, a statement that he was offered, and had refused the situation! Respecting the assertion of the hon. gentleman, that he [Mr. Lafontaine] had said that Mr. Tache would take care of Mr. Chabot, he gave it an explicit denial. He had never said so, and he wished that he could believe what the hon. gentleman said—that he was a conscientious man.
Mr. HINCKS said it was a fact, that he had held a long conversation with Mr. Cameron, previous to the formation of the Ministry, but he believed that certain facts having a bearing on the case had been omitted. The first arrangement proposed, and which was finally adopted was, that Mr. Sullivan should be Secretary, and that Mr. Cameron should have the office of Assistant Commissioner of Public Works. Mr. Cameron was offered the office, and refused it, because it did not give him a seat in the Cabinet. In a conversation he [Mr. Hincks] had subsequently with the hon. gentleman, he again pressed him very strongly to accept it. When Mr. Sullivan found that he (Mr. C.) would not accept that office, he immediately refused to enter the ministry, but afterwards an arrangement was made, by which he consented to act as Secretary, and Mr. Cameron took the office of Assistant Commissioner of Public Works. He regretted that conversations of this nature should be referred to, as it could serve no good purpose, for no honourable gentleman would suppose that the Cabinet were bound by any opinions expressed in conversation by individual members. He had never been authorised by his colleagues to say that the salary of the Assistant Commissioner should be raised from £650 to £750; and he was quite sure that he had given no pledge of that nature. It was very possible that at the time it might have been considered desirable to appoint Joint Commissioners—equal in rank and salary—but it was out of his power to give any promise that such an arrangement should be made. In point of fact the hon. gentleman seemed to think that everything that passed in confidential conversations, was to be held as binding the whole Cabinet—a proposition that he [Mr. Hincks] was by no means disposed to concur it. Now, with regard to what the hon. gentleman had said about his not being consulted; he entirely agreed with the hon. gentleman that if there were one point upon which every member of the Cabinet ought to be consulted more than another, it was upon additions to their number. And he stated most distinctly, that no addition of the kind was ever made, without his being first consulted; the best proof of it was, that on the retirement of Mr. Viger, the vacancy was not filled up for several weeks, in consequence of the opposition he offered to every proposal made by the other members of the government. When the Attorney General was about to leave Montreal for Toronto, a few members of the Cabinet met for the purpose of suggesting to him the person whom they wished to fill the office; and although the present Receiver General’s name was mentioned, the appointment did not take place until after the government was removed here. Now, the hon. gentleman had said a great deal at different times about retrenchment, and it would no doubt be highly satisfactory, if several thousands a year could be saved, as he stated, but the plan proposed by the hon. gentleman could not by any possibility be carried into office; for in the present state of the country it would be impossible for any Cabinet to exist without a large amount of support from the other section of the Province, and he was sorry to say there was a stead desire on the part of that hon. gentleman to throw the largest number officers into the hands of Upper Canadians exclusively. Now, if all these important offices were to remain in the hands of gentlemen from the Upper Section of Canada, was it to be supposed that their other friends would be satisfied, or think that they were dealt with justly? Yet, in accordance with the arrangement proposed by the hob. Gentleman, there would have been five Upper Canadians and only three Lower Canadians in the Cabinet. It was not for him to say, whether such an arrangement would be satisfactory or not—at all events he thought it would not, and he would have been the last man to propose it. Hon. gentlemen well knew how much dissatisfaction existed in Lower Canada, when the Board of Works was presided over by an Upper Canadian, in consequence of a belief that their interests were sacrificed to the interests of Upper Canada, and yet, the hon. gentleman was prepared to set the interests and wishes of the people of Lower Canada, on one side altogether, and put, not only that department, but the Crown Lands Office also, out of their reach. He could not remember any thing distinctly of the conversation inspecting the proposal to abolish Mr. Dunscomb’s office, and he thought it was indeed rather hard that ministers, who have quite as much as they can do to defend themselves in that House, should be called on to remember all the conversations in which they may have been engaged at different times. In conclusion he said, it was well known, that if a member of a Cabinet were defeated on any particular point, he generally returned, and had it in his power some times to make a very strong case against the ministry. Now, he confessed that he thought there was some little intention on Mr. Cameron’s part, to cabal against his colleagues, when he proposed to Mr. Price to retire on the Clergy Reserve question. And he hardly thought it was fair to himself or the Attorney General West, not to give them an opportunity of going out with him, on such a popular question.
Mr. CAMERON (Kent_ said, that the ministry were endeavouring to lead the public mind away from the real question at issue. They had not denied any of the facts of his case, no material statement had been denied.
Mr. BOULTON (Norfolk) spoke at considerable length, amidst constant cries of question and interruptions.
Mr. NOTMAN opposed the amendment, because it was not the proper time for discussing the question.
Mr. L. M. VIGER explained that he had not left the Administration, because of personal objections to coming to Toronto, but because he disapproved of the government being removed.
Motions of adjournment were made by the Opposition, but were all rejected by large majorities.
The vote was then taken on Mr. Cameron’s amendment.
Yeas:—Messieurs Burritt, Cameron of Kent, DeWitt, Egan, Homes, Lyon, McConnell, and Papineau.—8.
Nays:—Messieurs Armstrong, Badgley, Attorney General Baldwin, Boulton of Toronto, Boutillier, Cartier, Cauchon, Cayley, Chabot, Chauveau, Christie, Davignon, Solicitor General Drummond, Duchesnay, Dumas, Fergusson, Flint, Fortier, Fournier, Guillet, Hall, Inspector General Hincks, Jobin, Johnson, Lacoste, Attorney General LaFontaine, Laurin, Lemieux, MacNab, Malloch, McLean, Methot, Meyers, Mongenais, Morrison, Nelson, Notman, Price, Richards, Robinson, Ross, Sauvageau, Scott of Two Mountains, Seymour, Sherwood of Brockville, Smith of Durham, Smith of Wentworth, Stevenson, Tache, and Viger.—50.
The House then divided on the original motion of Mr. Fergusson.
Yeas:—Messiers Armstrong, Attorney General Baldwin, Boutillier, Burritt, Cameron of Kent, Cartier, Cauchon, Chabot, Chauveau, Davignon, DeWitt, Solicitor General Drummond, Duchesnay, Dumas, Egan, Fergusson, Flint, Fortier, Fournier, Guillet, Hall, Inspector General Hincks, Holmes, Jobin, Johnson, Lacoste, Attorney General LaFontaine, Laurin, Lemieux, Lyon, Methot, Mongenais, Morrison, Nelson, Notman, Price, Richards, Ross, Sauvageau, Scott of Two Mountains, Smith of Durham, Smith of Wentworth, Tache, and Viger—44.
Nays:—Messieurs Badgeley, Boulton of Toronto, Cayley, Christie, MacNab, Malloch, McConnell, McLean, Meyers, Papineau, Robinson, Seymour, Sherwood of Brockville, and Stevenson.—14.
The House adjourned at half-past two.
TUESDAY, MAY 28TH.
N O T I C E O F M O T I O N S.
Mr. PRICE, will, on Tuesday 11th June, submit for the consideration of the House, a series of resolutions, on the subject of the Clergy Reserves.
Mr. NOTMAN, will, on Monday next, move for leave to introduce a Bill to regulate fees to be taken by Justices of the Peace for Upper Canada.
Mr. NOTMAN will, on Monday next, move for leave to bring in a Bill to amend the Upper Canada Census Act.
Mr. BOULTON, [Norfolk,] will, on Monday next, move an Address to the Queen, praying that an Act may be passed for the establishment of an Elective Legislative Council.
Hon. Mr. BOULTON gave notice of his intention to introduce a Bill to abolish Imprisonment for Debt.
Hon. Mr. BOULTON gave notice of a Bill relating to Warrants.
Mr. BOULTON [of Toronto,] have notice of motion for an Address to His Excellency, for a Return relative to the Stationery used in the Public Departments, for the year ending 31st Dec. 1849.
Mr. BOULTON [of Toronto,] of an Address to His Excellency, for a Return relating to the Harbor Dues at the Port of Toronto, for 1849.
Mr. BOULTON [of Toronto,] of a Bill to provide for the Public Printing.
Mr. BOULTON [of Toronto,] of a Bill to provide for Annual Reports from the Heads of Public Departments.
Hon. Mr. CAMERON [of Kent,] of an Address to His Excellency, for copies of certain correspondence relating to Education.
Hon. Mr. LAFONTAINE, of a Bill to extend the period, limited for certain purposes, in the Montreal Registry Act.
Hon. Mr. LAFONTAINE, of a Bill to grant fixed and annual salaries to certain officers of Justice in Lower Canada, and to create a special fund of the fees and emoluments attached to their officers.
Sir A. N. MCNAB, of an Address to His Excellency, for copies of certain Despatches on the subject of the Indemnity Bill.
Hon. Mr. HINCKS, of a Bill to establish a more just system of Assessment in Upper Canada.
Hon. Mr. HINCKS, of a Bill for the better establishment and maintenance of Common Schools in Upper Canada.
Hon. Mr. HINCKS, of a Bill to alter the current value of certain Foreign Coin.
Hon. Mr. HINCKS, of a Bill for the transfer of the Post Office, and for the regulation and management of the Provincial Post Office.
Hon. Mr. HINCKS, of a Bill to facilitate Reciprocal Free Trade between this Province and the other British Provinces in British North America.
Hon. Mr. HINCKS, of a Bill to extend the Act for the formation of Companies for constructing Roads and other works to Companies formed for the purpose of acquiring Public Works of a like nature.
Mr. CHRISTIE moved the resolutions of which he had given notice in favour on funding the fees of office, reducing salaries, and excluding the Attornies General from the Cabinet. He proposed to reduce the expenditure of the Province and fund the fees of office. He spoke of the recent retrenchment in New Brunswick and the low salaries paid in the State of New York, which he compared with those of Canada to the disadvantage of the latter. He maintained that the law officers should not be members of the Cabinet. He then spoke of the advantages of an Elective Legislative Council. He had heard much of the motion which was passed last Session, giving the members of the House £1 per day. He had moved that resolution and he was not sorry for it.
Mr. BALDWIN was surprised that the member for Gaspe should have brought forward this resolution, after the distinct expression of the opinion of the House that the whole question of retrenchment should be left to a committee. He appeared to think that course had been chosen by the Administration in order to avoid meeting the question fairly. The ministry had many precedents in the Proceedings of Parliament in England for the course they had taken. In reference to the paragraph of the address which spoke of “illusory expectations of retrenchment,” he thought that nothing could be more proper or more necessary at the time that the House was about to enter upon the question, at the recommendation of the highest authority in the country, than that they should say not that every expectation on the subject was illusory, but that illusory expectations were indulged in, and that these could not be fulfilled. If the member for Gaspe thought that a committee of the House would be unable to arrive at proper views of this question with all the information at their command, could there be anything wrong in saying that of the thousands out of the house, there were some who were not well informed on it? No countenance ought to be given to the notion that these changes should be carried out to the detriment of the public service. Every member of the administration was about to enter upon the duty of making them with a hearty desire to do all that was possible for the public good, and they pledged themselves to give every assistance and information in their power to arrive at that end. He was sorry to see that before any information was obtained, his hon. friends opposite were prejudging the question; how were they prepared to judge this question now if they would not be able to do so after receiving it. He should move that the question be postponed till the committee on the general subject had been appointed. With reference to the subject of the attorney’s general being members of the Cabinet, the member for Gaspe would find that although these officers were not Cabinet ministers in England, it was the custom there to have as members of the Cabinet certain persons who were fitted to advise on legal subjects; the Lord Chancellor was a member and also the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. He did not suppose that the hon. member or any other would propose to bring our judges into political life, which was the custom formerly both in Upper and Lower Canada, and which had been loudly complained of. But it was absolutely necessary to have some leading legal minds in the Cabinet, and who could take the places of the Attorneys General? There was a sort of notion prevalent, he was aware, that there were too many lawyers in the House and Cabinet; all he could say was that it was the people who sent them there, and in objecting to it, they were objecting to the voice of the people. It was the same in the States, all the leading public men were lawyers, and it was incident to the state of society; other professions did not provide so many men fitted to take part in public life, and there was no body of individuals in the country so independent in circumstances as to be able to devote their whole time to it as in England. He maintained that under our system of government we had something else to look for besides the fulfilling the departmental duties of the government. There must be looked to—the influence which parties can bring to the government, and the confidence with which they were regarded by this House and the country. In England it was sometimes thought necessary, in order to strengthen to the Government, to introduce persons who had no departments at all; the present Earl of Carlisle and the Duke of Wellington had been so appointed. The members of the Cabinet under our system, had other duties to perform, besides those of their departments, and which were equally important. With reference to the charge against him of neglecting the Crown business of the Assizes, to attend to his political duties, it would have served his private interests much better to have gone the Circuit, where the Crown Prosecutor generally got a fair share of private business, than to have stayed in his office at the Seat of Government. The first Administration after the union, had placed the Solicitor-General even—in the Cabinet, in order to strengthen their influence; and the late Administration had found it necessary for the same reason, to introduce the member for Cornwall, then Solicitor-General, to strengthen their hands. It was necessary that it should be in their power to make the Cabinet larger or smaller, and a circumstances required.
Mr. H. J. BOULTON was opposed to the postponement that had been proposed. But it was the same kind of opposition which he experienced on introducing a Bill relative to the expenditure of the finds of the Province, and which he had not been permitted to read. He would compel the administration of the day to come down and say what monies were required, and for what purposes; he would make it contrary to law to confer fee or emolument without the sanction of that House; the Cabinet must then come down with their table of expenditures, and it would be for the House to sustain it or not; and salaries would not then be given to speculators or persons who were not efficient. He (Mr. B.) thought the Attorney General should not be a member of the Cabinet, who, from his position at the bar, was entitled to the first situation in the country next to the Governor General; and who would necessarily have to devote his attention to political instead of professional studies. The leader of the party in power should also be the Secretary of the Province. That was the case under Lord Sydenham. At the same time, he said, he admitted that there must be lawyers in the administration, as their profession necessarily made them better fitted for public business. But as for the Attorney General, he should have to go on the circuits; it was due to the lives and rights of the subject, that the first law officer of the crown should be in attendance. He protested against any remarks he might make, being considered as of a personal nature, but it was monstrous to see the duties of the Attorney General performed by persons who were appointed to do that duty for him. He had carefully examined the Lower Canada papers, and found that the Attorney General never attended; and although the Solicitor General was frequently there, yet such was not the case in other parts of the Province.
Mr. DRUMMOND contended that in the constitution of a cabinet in the colonies, it was not possible to apply the rules and practice which prevails in England, where educated men study law and statesmanship as a science; whereas in this country the only standard for legislation is law. If the Attorney General were taken from the cabinet, other professional men must be introduced; and if another lawyer were added, must he not have an office. The lending statesmen in the United States he said were lawyers; there, it was true, the education of persons of influence and ability, included the study of the law, but still lawyers would become leaders. He [Mr. D.] could scarcely believe, the object of the learned member for Gaspe, in introducing the resolutions before the house, was the prosecution of the public good; the discussion of which would occupy much of their time, which should be directed to the consideration of various measures of great and immediate importance. During Lord Metcalfe’s time no such proposition was made; then the friends of the learned member were in power; but since those friends had gone out of office, every objection was urged to a form of government to which there was then no objection. If attacks were to be made on the administration let it be after those important measures, that call for immediate consideration were attended to; but he thought hon. gentlemen could be better employed than in constitution making, which might well be left for older countries in Europe; and even the attempts recently made by them had not been very successful.
Mr. CHRISTIE said he had introduced the Resolutions of ’43, without the knowledge of the then government; and with reference to a want of consistency, which had been attributed to him by the hon. member who had just sat down, he would only say that he had always endeavoured to promote the best interests of the Province, and should persevere in doing so.
Mr. SHERWOOD of Toronto rose to make a proposition which he thought would meet the views of both parties; he believed the hon. member for Gaspe was actuated by a sincere desire to discharge a public duty, and thought that the principles contained in his resolutions would prove beneficial to the country. He [Mr. S.] had read the resolutions with much care, and found they contained propositions of the greatest magnitude, and which deserved much consideration, before they were accepted or rejected. He then alluded to the proposal to reduce the legislative and civil expenses of Government. This proposition would require considerable time; he was disposed, however, to effect this so far as is consistent with the exigencies of the public service. Was any member, he would ask, prepared to go on with a useless expenditure? The next resolution went to abolishing all fees of office; this had been found to answer so far as it had been tried, and might be carried out to a farther extent; but he was not prepared at that time to record his vote on the subject. The salary of the Governor, it was proposed, to have paid out of the Imperial Treasury. When the question was brought under the consideration of the House before, he was opposed to it; but he had recently understood that the Governor of Australia is to be paid by the Imperial Government; he did not, therefore, look upon the question in the same light as formerly. If the Governor of this Province were paid in England, he thought it would reconcile the people to the alteration in the laws respecting trade. As to the Attorney General not being a member of the Cabinet, but that he should attend merely to his departmental duties, he would only say that, when he was in the Government, he would have considered it a monstrous proposition. He felt disposed, therefore, to propose to the learned member for Gaspe, to modify his resolution, so as it should read, with reference to retrenchment, “so far as is consistent with the exigencies of the public service,” and let it stop there; and his learned friend might then postpone the other resolutions, till after the report of the Committee should have been made.
Mr. HINCKS rose to express his astonishment at the course pursued by hon. gentlemen on the opposite side of the House. But he would ask the learned member for Gaspe, if any leading member of Parliament would pursue the same course as he had done. He [Mr. H.] was prepared to show that all the great economical reforms in England, were produced by committees; and would adduce precedents on the subject. If the member from Gaspe were sincere, he would wait till he heard what were the intentions of Government, particularly as he [Mr. H.] had given notice, that on Friday—the earliest period that would be proper—he would be prepared to bring the subject up. If the House should be in favour of the appointment of a committee, which, if it were not carried, would be expressive of a want of confidence, a committee would be agreed to; he might then watch the subsequent proceedings. He [Mr. H.] found that in the House of Commons, whenever measures of reform were proposed by ministers, the appointment of a committee was hailed with delight by such members as Mr. Hume and Mr. Cobden, and instead of embarrassing the government, they cheerfully lent their assistance, till the desired reforms were effected. But here an entire evening was lost in discussing a measure, without knowing what the government meant to propose on the subject. From what he learned member for Norfolk, Mr. Boulton, had advanced, it would seem that the keeping of the accounts of the Province is involved in great mystery, and that a systematic plan was in operation for expending money without the authority of law. He was sorry the estimates were not laid earlier before the House, but it would be found that the particulars of any expenditure was recorded with as much minuteness as it is in the United States; and that instances where public monies were paid without the authority of law, were very rare. The other evening the learned member alluded to the hiring of Monklands; and he [Mr. H.] did not consider him as very happy in his selection, for the entire transaction was based upon an address of the House. He would concur with the hon. gentleman, that the expenditure was not judicious, and was afterwards made the subject of Parliamentary enquiry. The Administration were as much opposed to the expenditure of money, without Parliamentary sanction, as the learned member for Norfolk, or any other gentleman in that House could possibly be; and in every instance refused, except where a public inquiry could be sustained by so doing. He [Mr. H.] agreed with what fell from the learned member for Toronto, although he did not arrive at the same conclusion; as he considered the House was as far pledged as it well could be on the subject of retrenchment, until informed as to the measures which the government intended to propose. The next branch of the subject embraced by the resolutions, was the Governor’s salary; he should not discuss that question them, particularly as it had been stated that the salary of the Governor of Australia was defrayed from the Imperial Treasury. He [Mr. H.] was under the impression, however, that on enquiry in would be found, that this new arrangement had been made, in consequence of the determination recently arrived at by Her Majesty’s government, that in future it would not pay any expense, that might be incurred in providing for the defence of that colony. And having came to that determination, it might have resolved to pay the salary of the Governor. There had been a strong pressure in England, as to the propriety of paying for the defence of any other colony; and it had been asked with great plausibility, why the poor people of England should be taxed to pay for the defence of a colony, when its inhabitants can afford to pay better than they? The Statesmen of England, however, were not disposed to agree to this pressure; and therefore he did not think it a wise course to go to England, who has to maintain a large force here, and say we want the people of England also to pay the salary of the Governor. The Resolution with reference to the Attorneys General, had been sufficiently discussed already; but it was generally admitted that some seats in the Cabinet must be filled by lawyers, or it could not well exercise the functions that belong to it. As to Mr. Sullivan, he stated explicitly that he would not join the Cabinet, if it were to prevent his elevation to the Bench. The learned member for Norfolk had said that the Attorney-General had a just claim to the situation at the head of the Bench, and therefore should not hold a seat in the Cabinet—the effect of which would be to exclude perhaps the most eminent members of the profession, who could not assume any part in the Government without abandoning the fair honours of his profession, who could not assume any part in the Government without abandoning the fair honours of his profession. Gentlemen seemed to think that when a lawyer was engaged in political life he surrendered every pretension to promotion in the line of his profession. In the United States the President is elected for a term of years, and selects his Cabinet without reference to the opinion of Congress. Here, on the contrary, the Administration must command the confidence of the people as expressed by the Assembly. It had been said in debate that the Cabinet should not consist of more than five or six members. If the two Attorneys General therefore were withdrawn, the remaining number would be that which they required. The hon. gentleman here explained what took place with reference to the Resolutions formerly introduced by the learned member for Gaspe, to which that gentleman had referred, and said that he [Mr. H.] voted on that occasion, and seconded some of his resolutions, he believed. As he had said formerly, he was not prepared to decide against an elective Legislative Council; but before he came to a decision he wished to know what was wanted by the advocates of that measure.—There are two parties asking for an elective Legislative Council, with different objects in view. How were they to agree as to any object? One wants to strengthen the democratic influence—the other the conservative. It would therefore be impossible for him to vote for the principle, unless he knew how it is to be carried out. To its application to appointments to office, he was decidedly opposed.
Mr. PAPINEAU and Mr. PRINCE addressed the House, but as they went over ground already taken up, it is not necessary to publish them
Col. GUGY spoke at considerable length.
Mr. ROSS spoke of the delays which the opposition had caused.
Mr. RICHARDS made a very humourous and powerful speech.
Mr. CHRISTIE withdrew his resolution, and the House adjourned.