Province of Canada, Legislative Assembly, Repeal of the Union (21 July 1858)
By: Province of Canada (Parliament), The Globe
Citation: “Provincial Parliament”, The Globe (23 July 1858).
HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY.
(Report for the Globe)
WEDNESDAY, July 21.
REPEAL OF THE UNION.—Continued.
Mr. McGEE said he did not believe that grievances existed sufficient to justify the Repeal of the Union, and he should, therefore, feel it his duty to vote against the motion. But a state of feeling existed in the Province which, if it could not be remedied by timely concessions, would of itself lead to a dissolution of the Union without a motion from the hon. member for Haldimand or any other member. (Hear, hear.) It would take place without Parliamentary form. The spirit of the Act of Union was fast disappearing, and after it was gone, it would be impossible to maintain the latter. The only way for the Union to be maintained was by a mutual disinclination to take advantage by either side of an accidental superiority in numbers or position ,and by the exercise towards the people of each section of that etiquette which governed mankind in their social relations. He repeated that this motion was premature—if a separation of the political fortunes of the provinces took place, it would not be heralded by discussion, but would result from the stern, democratic, irresistible, popular will. It would be demanded by the voices of the English speaking people of the West, and their demand would not be unheeded. When the House had not been sitting he had spent some time in the by-ways of Western Canada, and he was firmly persuaded from all he had seen that there was a spirit abroad which , if not disarmed by justice, reason, mutual forbearance, and straightforward explanations would of itself repeal the Union (Hear, hear.) He remarked upon it that by a singular coincidence the member for Haldimand had made himself famous for dissolving unions—the other day he brought in a Bill for facilitating divorce, and now he moved a resolution for dissolving our political connection. (Laughter.) It had been alleged as a ground for dissolving the matrimonial union that had existed between Upper and Lower Canada since 1840, that there had been “incompatibility of temper,” and he believed it had been contended by his learned friend (Dr. Connor) who had brought the case into Doctor’s Commons, that there had also been ill-usage towards one of the parties litigant. (Laughter.) Well, he did not think, after all, that a sufficient case had been made out to warrant them in dissolving the marriage tie. The Union had done much to make the people of Upper and Lower Canada acquainted with each other, and the great majority of the members from Upper Canada were deeply impressed with the acquirements and abilities of the new members of the House whose mother tongue was the French language. But the French almost invariably spoke in English and they often expressed themselves far more clearly and elegantly than many of the English members, in proof of which he instanced the speeches just made by the member for Portneuf (Mr. Thibaudeau) and the member for South Simcoe (Mr. Ferguson). (Laughter.) The member for Portneuf modestly apologises that he had been speaking in a language which was not his own; but he (Mr. McGee) saw no obscurity in the speech. On the other hand the member for South Simcoe, though his vocabulary was more abundant—(laughter)—was not nearly so select as that of the member for Portneuf. If he might venture to draw comparison between the two members he would say that that of the member for Portneuf was select and grammatical, whilst that of the member for South Simcoe was abundant and emphatic (Laughter.) It seemed that the practical difficulty in the way of continuance of the Union arose from the religious elements in both sections of the Province, and they all know how sensitive almost every man was on the subject of religion. He was not one of that school who believed that the refuge of our race from the dangers of fanaticism, which had broken out in all countries, was indifferentism to religion; and he honored any man who was serious for his faith. But he saw no reason why the House should be engrossed in religious broils, instead of giving their attention to those subjects which tended to promote the welfare of the people, such as that of developing the material resources of the country. He had consoled himself with the thought, that after the Session was over he would return home, and when his constituents asked him what he what had been done during the past five months, he would be able to say that if they had not passed the useful laws, they had at least discouraged by the high example of parliament, the spirit of intolerance which unhappily paralleled in the province, and that they had inaugurated a better feeling than prevailed at the general election of 1857. Exemptions to this high example had come from those directly under the patronage of the Atty, General West, and with his expressed sanction. when the question for incorporating the Orange Association was under debate, and the member for South Simcoe was speaking, the Attorney General West acted the part of nomenclator in the Roman Circus, and every now and then he was seen to turn his supporters with sundry signs and signals, as though to say, “Here comes the applause.” (Laughter.) And the Attorney General West could not in his own place, sufficiently express himself in favor of the sentiments expressed by the object of his admiration—the member for South Simcoe—except by removing to a bench immediately behind him. The opposition to the separate clauses of the Common School Act, when the matter was brought up the other day, came for the most part from the same quarter period there was no doubt that the hon. member for Toronto and the newspaper and which he controlled, had helped to produce that feeling of opposition; but the General West was not guiltless in this matter and it did not lie with him to cast the first stone. He had always respected the member for Toronto for the above-mode he took of making his attacks upon what he considered Roman Catholic aggression; but he despised the stealthy thrust of the member for South Simcoe, the friend of the administration who at Middlesex, charge the hon. member for Halton with being a sneak and a false Protestant, because he had sufficient liberality to introduce two of the Catholic inhabitants of his constituency—themselves politically opposed to him—to certain Catholic members of the house, from whom they solicited subscriptions, with which to build a church. This was the liberality of the hon. gentleman opposite. (Hear, here.) He asked the host to believe that there was not a man within the walls of the house who more anxiously desired to allay the ill- blood, to put an end to the religious war now raging then he was. On more than one occasion it had been stated, both by the Attorney General East and the member for Brome, that before the last election he [Mr. McGee] appealed to the religious prejudices of the people. on those occasions he had referred to the fyle of his journal in the custody of the House, and had defied both those hon. gentlemen to quote a single sentence in which he had spoken disrespectfully of shy denomination of Christians as such. He had the conviction through that the great evil in this country was a secret political society—Orangeism. He had written a great deal against this Society. The first article which would be found in his paper was when they went to Quebec to hold their assembly, and the second article was when, on the 12th of July, they elevated in Great Saint James St. their peculiar symbolic flag. He did not commence the controversy, neither did he shrink from it. If the question were to be put to the Protestant population of Canada West, “do you recognize the Loyal Orange Association as peculiarly a Protestant institution: do you believe it represents the spirit of your religion? Are you, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Methodists and Quakers willing to be answerable for the doings of this society, as representing the Protestant spirit in Canada?” He believed that the vast majority of of their denomination would answer that they did not recognize them [Hear, hear] Whatever they might think of its services at special times, there was not one of the denominations which would say they recognized it as representing Protestant religious principles, and be willing to stand or fall by its act; and, therefore, when he attacked this association, he did not attack any denomination of Protestants. If any hon. member would say he knew of Ribbonism existing in Canada in any shape, he (Mr. McGee) would help that hon. member, with all his might, with his voice and with his pen, to put down and render odious any such institution. (Mr. Gowan here made some remark.) Mr. McGee only invoked public opinion—free and open discussion—not a speaking, like the ghost of Hamlet’s father, though a trap-door. As a mode of strengthening the Union—as a mode of perpetuating the union, which on every account was highly desirable—there was no better means than to promote a feeling of good neighborhood between the different religious denominations of the province. That spirit must be shown on both sides; and here he would make a statement, all the consequences of which he was prepared to take. He believed there had been errors and excesses on both sides, and there had been cause, to some extent, for the feeling which existed in Upper Canada. When he said this, he took his full share of the responsibility. The attempt to interfere with an Italian monk was a great mistake. When this monk was making his unholy crusade, he (Mr. McGee) was a resident of New York. He then said in his journal to his countrymen, “Do not go near this man; Let him strut his little hour upon the stage.” in New York, he appeared night after night without interruption, and he opened parentheses Mr. McGee) regretted that his countrymen by birth, who were apt to take offence, whether Protestants or Catholics, who were generally hasty as powder to the match, should have interfered with him in Montreal. Unfortunately they did so; unfortunately, also, in the parish of St. Sylvestre, a party murder had about the same time occurred which gave some cause for increasing the feeling which existed in Upper Canada; the people fearing that there was growing up a spirit of interference with their religion. But he (Mr. McGee) had this session moved to look into the murder of Ferrell, in the county of Wellington. he had moved for a copy of the indictment, and of the instructions given to the prosecuting counsel, and from that day to this time, more than two months ago, he had never been able to get a return. It did not suit the Attorney General West; He had the leaders of the Orange party in his pay period he (Mr. McGee) acquitted the Lower Canada section of the government from a knowledge of his proceedings, but there was circumstantial evidence, as strong as that upon which many a man had been condemned to death, to prove that the Attorney General, finding that he could not compete with the Upper Canada majority openly and honestly, had resorted to a subterranean system of influencing the people,—of raising his political position; and had thereby proved himself to be one of those politicians who were willing to resort to any means in order to retain office, and to carry out the half finished intrigues into which he had gone so deeply, that he could not withdraw with honour or credit. In recounting his triumphs, he (The Atty. General) had counted the member for North Leeds and Grenville, as one of his trophies since the session. The public had not forgotten the scene which took place in the House on the night when that hon. gentleman presented himself here. He (Mr. McGee) simply mention this as a fact, to shoe that he, (Mr. Gowan) in giving aid and succour to the Attorney General had sought his natural affinity’s with his dear friend and brother. He was the sponsor and godfather for all the political foundlings of the government. At this moment if he (Mr. McGee) was correctly informed, the gaoler of Toronto, the Grand Master, was in Wellington, opposing the ex-member for that riding, who was not considered pure enough to sit in the immediate neighbourhood of the member for Russell—(loud laughter);—but who if he had gone to the other side of the house would have had the three members for Quebec to keep him in countenance, and be there lost in the crowd (Renewed laughter.) Now he would ask the hon. gentlemen from the eastern province if they were ready to defend the patronage of this (the Orange) institution by their honorable colleague? After enlarging on this point Mr. McGee preceded to say, that he still hoped the members of the House would go home with one source of consolation—that the success of 1858 had tended to allayed and discourage the religious ferment which existed in Canada West in 1857. As this was the last opportunity of addressing the House, which he would probably enjoy before the close of the session, there were one or two matters of fact of fact which he wished to remark. It had been stated in the organ of the government, that at a late meeting in this city, over the result of which the Attorney General rejoiced;—yes, the Attorney General rejoiced over a row, and he had given the ring-leader of the row a Parliamentary prominence by citing his name with that fellowship which he felt for such characters; he had called him Bob Moodie. Straws showed which way the wind blew. Would it not be strange if the gilding when taken off this conservative, a demagogue should be found underneath? This row was rejoiced over, by the very party who ought to have looked upon it with grave disapprobation; who are even to have “affected of virtue if he had it not.” (Hear, hear.) It had been stated in the organ of the government—the world bearing Atlas—it must be a milk and water world—that he (Mr. McGee) had been in collusion with the member for Toronto, whipping up parties to attend the meeting. This statement was utterly false. Another report was that some compromise or understanding of some kind or other existed between so humble an individual as himself and the gentleman who occupied so prominent a position as the hon. member for Toronto. This also was untrue; he (Mr. McGee) never heard any sentiments from the hon. member for Toronto except those he had expressed in this House. If he had shewn in his method of putting his views to the house any alteration in his method of speech for the better, then it ought to be rejoiced at period from whichever side of the house and modification of language came, it ought to be welcomed. He (Mr. McGee) would even rejoice in the conversion of the hon. member for Carlton to something like decency and common sense. (Loud laughter.) The Protestants of Upper Canada were great people let them speak out openly and boldly. Let Catholics speak out with equal boldness; let both parties remember their common country and find such a common mean as would satisfy both. Then we should put down that organized bigotry which broke out everywhere when it was least expected; which from its subterranean cisterns drew up the draughts which made men mad. This country had glorious resources and great destiny in store for it. If the Catholic was not afraid of the Protestant; and he (Mr. McGee) was afraid of no men who openly expressed their opinions; if the Protestant was not afraid of the Catholic; If both were candid with each other, and showed each other their wants;—then we should have a better, a nobler Canada. Then we should have none of those village murders, those church burnings, like that at Mount Forest the other day, no Corrigans murders, no Farrell murders; but the two races in Canada, like the waters of the Ottawa and the St. Lawrence, one river through the two streams, would flow on in peace, until they met those tides of commerce and prosperity, in which both should pass to the great future that this country must attain, if not prevented by our faults, our folly, or our fanaticism.
Mr. GOWAN moved in amendment to the amendment, “That after seventeen years’ experience of the working of the Union between Upper and Lower Canada, and in view of the large responsibilities undertaken by the united Provinces, this House does not deem it desirable to take any step to weaken the Union, but rather by united forbearance and good will, to cement the ties which bind the two Provinces together.” In moving this amendment, he would take leave to make a few remarks on the conduct of the member for South Oxford, and also of the hon. Member for Montreal. Having dispatched Dr. Connor, he commenced with Mr. McGee. That gentleman had condemned the Attorney General because he had cried “hear hear” to some sentiments which were uttered by a member when speaking on the Orange Society. Was that liberal? Had not the hon. gentleman himself denounced Orangemen as murderers? He (Mr. Gowan) hoped the time had not come when the least members of that society was not as liberal as the member for Montreal. In reply to Mr. McGee’s argument that he never had attacked the Protestant religion as such, Mr. Gowan replied that as the great bulk of the Protestants in Upper Canada were Orangemen, he had, in fact, attacked the Protestant religion. Having addressed himself to the Gavazzi and Brodeur cases, he did not deny that he went to Middlesex, but he did deny that he acted as agent for Atty. Gen. West. Having exhausted himself so far as the hon. member for Montreal was concerned, Mr. Gowan turned to the hon. member for Portneuf, and charged him with converting a statement made by the member for South Simcoe, in reference to Sectarian Schools, into an attack upon the Catholic Church. Whilst the hon. member was yet speaking, there were heard loud cries for “adjournment!” He moved the adjournment of the House.
Mr. WHITE said before the House adjourned he desired to make an explanation with regard to what had been said respecting himself. In the early part of the session, two of his Roman Catholic constituents came to this House in order to solicit aid from the members of their own faith, for the erection of a church, and being strangers, they asked him to introduce them to the Roman Catholic members. He thought it only an act of courtesy to comply with their request, and he went round the House with them, and introduced them to the members of their own faith, from most of whom they received subscriptions. Nothing was solicited from Protestant members, except from the Attorney General West, who was known to one of the visitors, and that gentleman gave them a donation. The member for South Simcoe had got it from the member for Pontiac, (Mr. Heath) that a subscription was solicited from him; that when he (Mr. White) called upon the member for Pontiac, he did not know he was a Protestant, and as soon as he found him to be so, he passed him by. (Hear, hear.) He would refrain from saying anything to the member for South Simcoe respecting the illiberality of the attach—that hon. gentleman had already received a sufficient castigation, and he might now be safely left for his constituents to deal with him.
Mr. FERGUSON—I never charged him with going round for subscriptions—I only charged him with denying the fact. (Oh! Oh!) Mr. FOLEY—How could he deny the fact if he was never charged? (hear, hear.)
Mr. POWELL (Carleton) attacked Mr. McGee for charging him with want of decency, and then turning fiercely upon Mr. Hogan, taunted that hon. gentleman for not having cleared himself from the charge made against him the other night of his having offered to sell his political influence to the Grand Trunk Railway Company, through the hon. Mr. Ross, for the pecuniary consideration in the shape of a wood contract.
Mr. McGEE replied to the attack that had been made upon him, and in the course of his speech, remarked he had nearly given up all hopes of converting the member for Carleton but he did not altogether despair, for the Psalm said—“And while the lamp holds out to burn. The vilest sinner may return.” (Laughter.)
Mr. HOGAN said he had never on any occasion attacked any hon. gentleman’s private character, nor had he spoken of him in relation to his private affairs. A charge had been made against him, that he had offered his political services and the political influence of a newspaper with which he was associated, to the Hon. John Ross, for a wood contract on the Grand Trunk Railroad. He had denied it, and he still denied it. He had not been on speaking terms with Mr. Ross since the beginning of the session—he was opposed to the Government of which Mr. Ross was a member, and he did not extenuate a single sentence of what he had said during the session. Still he challenged any member of the House to get a work from Mr. Ross to prove that he had ever offered him his political services for a wood contract. He thought the House owed it to itself and to him (Mr. Hogan) that Mr. Ross should be asked if ever such an application was made to him. Accompanying this charge was another—that he had offered to sell to the Government his political principles in connection with an Essay or a work which he had written on Canada, but he had asked his hon. Friend from South Ontario (Mr. Mowat) to apply to Messrs. Thompson, the publishers, to enquire into the facts, and if the House desired it, he would now request that hon. gentleman to state the results of that application.
Mr. TALBOT then rose and said it would be in the recollection of the House that on the occasion when he alluded to this affair an unprovoked and unjustifiable attack was made upon the Hon. Joseph C. Morrison, and charges of corruption were flung recklessly against members on that side of the House. Upon that occasion he (Mr. Talbot) gave Mr. Daniel Morrison as his authority. The hon. member for Grey denied the charge in toto, and said he had letters to disprove it from Mr. Holton and the Hon. John Ross. But these letters had not been produced. He would now read the correspondence which had taken place on the subject.:—
“TORONTO, 25th June, 1858.
“MY DEAR SIR,—You will see by the Parliamentary report that a discussion has arisen as to the truthfulness of a statement made by Mr. Talbot respecting certain overtures of Mr. Rogan to furnish a supply of wood for the Grand Trunk Railway.
“Mr. Talbot, it appears, gave my name as his authority for the allegation, and of course I do not shirk the responsibility of substantiating the truth of the charge. but it is evident that the easiest way to arrive at the true state of the case is by a reference to yourself. You will no doubt recollect the circumstance of my having casually mentioned to you, sometime in the end of 1856 or the beginning of 1857, that Mr. Hogan was in a position to tender for a supply of wood for the Grand Trunk Railway. You may also remember my saying that Mr. Hogan represented himself as having been badly treated by Mr. Cameron and other of his conservative friends, and I was then under the impression that Mr. Hogan was a martyr to his principles (a foolish enough impression no doubt) I should be glad to see him served if it could properly be done. You replied that personally you would be disposed to serve Mr. Hogan, but that you could not, in the interest of the Company, except Mr. Hogan’s tender, unless it should prove to be more advantageous than others.
“You will probably further remember stating to me that Mr. Hogan repeatedly made personal application to yourself for the contract, offering to carry it on in connection with a person named McGaffey, and promising at the same time a quid pro quo in the shape of newspaper services. “It is needless to add that, whatever may be your opinion of Mr. Hogan the present time, I have lived to regard him, instead of being a martyr to principle, as a treacherous, unreliable person.
“Will you oblige me with an early answer to this note,
“And believe me to be,
“To the Hon. John Ross,
“TORONTO, 25th June, 1858.
“MY DEAR SIR,—I have received your note on this days date, and in reply beg to state, that I have a very distinct recollection of your having spoken to me, about the time you’re mentioned, on behalf of Mr. Hogan, for a wood contract on the Grand Trunk Railway.
“Mr. Hogan subsequently made several applications to me personally on the same business, and from him I learned that Mr. McGaffey was to be connected with him in the contract, if obtained.
“I did not think it for the interest of the Grand Trunk Company, to recommend the acceptance of the proposals made, but the facts in relation thereto, as stated in your note, are substantially correct.
“Yours very truly,
“D. MORRISON, Esq.”
25th June, 1858.
“MY DEAR SIR,—I am told that John S. Hogan had the hardihood to repeat in his place in parliament a denial of his having been an applicant for a wood contract from the Grand Trunk Railway Company.
“as I am under the impression that the matter came under your knowledge, will you be kind enough to state what you recollect of the facts.
“D. MORRISON. “ROE. DAVIS, Esq., TORONTO.”
“TORONTO, 25th June, 1858.
“MY DEAR SIR,—in reply to your note just received I have only to say that Mr. Hogan’s application for the supply of wood to the Grand Trunk Company is perfectly within my recollection, and I confess my surprise that any men having pretensions to truthfulness could have made the denial which I understand Mr. Hogan to have done. I most distinctly recommend being consulted by Mr. Hogan respecting the price at which it would be desirable for him to take it.
“Among other matters Mr. Hogan informed me that Mr. McGaffey was to participate and to find funds to commence operations with.
“There are, I presume, indeed I will know it to be so, several parties in Toronto, equally conversant with myself of all the main features of the transaction.
“Mr. Hogan’s position, as regarded in his newspaper connection at the time was, as you know, somewhat peculiar if not critical period I had repeated conversations with Mr. Hogan with regard to grand trunk matters. In these conversations he unreservedly expressed his willingness to throw such influence as he possessed upon the Colonist, as editor, in favor of the President and Company if he succeeded in getting the contract period from this and other disappointed expectations from the same source arose, I presume, the vigilant opposition of the Colonist to the Grand Trunk interest.
“It is unnecessary to go further into detail, as you were cognizant of all facts as they arose. If, however, further explanation of the points to which I have alluded are required, I shall not have the slightest hesitation in stating such information as I possess. There was no secret about the matter, it formed the subject for gossip for weeks.
“ROBERT DAVIS. “DANIEL MORRISON, Esq., &c., &c.”
He [Mr. Talbot] would not make any comments on these letters further than that the hon. gentleman opposite had halloed before they got out of the woods.
Mr. HOGAN—The whole of these letters are beneath the notice of any hon. gentleman.
Mr. FOLEY—They are perfectly shameful.
Mr. HOGAN Said that in every transaction of his political life he was innocent of a mercenary motive or transaction to the extent of a single penny. He would relate the facts of this case. At a period after the first Coalition Government was formed, a difference of opinion arose between himself, Mr. John Hilley and Cameron, and another gentlemen connected with the Colonist newspaper. In that difficulty he was subjected to the painful feeling that he was placed at a disadvantage by the forces of money. As the Premier well knew he (Mr. Hogan) was silenced on the Colonist newspaper on account of the greater capital of those who differed with him. shortly after this, or some two years since, the wood contracts of the Grand Trunk Railroad were about being given out; and, being in Montreal at the time, he mentioned the matter to Mr. Holton, a friend of his, who agreed with him (Mr. Hogan) that he should endeavour to improve his position commercially by taking an interest in one of the contracts. He (Mr. Hogan) made answer that he should like to improve his commercial position for the reason that when he had a difficulty with the gentleman connected with the colonist newspaper, they had put him down by the mere force of capital. But in this he (Mr. Hogan) had not the remotest idea of selling his political influence—On the contrary, he desired to be in a better position to assert his independence. When he came to Toronto, Mr. Ross and himself conversed on the matter. Mr. Ross said to him—“You may have a wood contract; but you can have it only as the lowest tenderer.” He (Mr. Hogan) said it before this House—and the honorable John Ross would never gainsay it with impunity—that a word about his political influence—a word about the independence of the newspaper he edited and ash or a word about his future life, or the chaining down of his principles to suit the views of anybody, ever was uttered by Mr. Ross of himself. Mr. Ross said he might have a contract as the lowest tenderer, and he referred himself to Mr. Betts office to get the necessary figures. He went there. he did not then no Mr. McGaffey. The clerk at Mr. Betts office told him he had better take the advice of some practical person, and either he or someone at Mr. Betts office, mentioned Mr. McGaffey. he (Mr. Hogan) returned to the Colonist office, and mentioned the matter to Mr. Homes, the sub editor, who asked him not to have anything to do with Mr. McGaffey, because he was a blackleg, and a person of indifferent character. He (Mr. Hogan) then determined to have nothing to do with Mr. McGaffey, and he proposed to Mr. Homes that he should go into it himself, with his brother. They went into an investigation of the matter, and found that, instead of making anything by the contract, they would, in all probability, be ruined by it. He (Mr. Hogan) then went to Mr. Samuel McLean, a wooden coal merchant, of high character in the city, and asked him if he would go into partnership with him, or take the contract himself. Mr. McLean made a calculation, and said that, instead of making anything by the Contract, they would be seriously injured if they entered into it. He never had had a conversation with hon. Mr. Ross about it afterwards. And was it possible that the Attorney General West, the head of the Government, who well knew his (Mr. Hogan’s) personal independence—who well knew the hundreds of inducements he had refused, in order to maintain that kind of independence—would, or could censure himself in this business? Was it possible that there were in the House men who would [illegible] him down, and condemn him, because the hon. John Ross offered him a wood contract, out of which nothing could be made? Was there anything dishonorable or corrupt in that? He had lived to see men who once occupied a position inferior to him, with regard to this world’s goods become enriched by their association with the Grand Trunk Company; but was there an hon. member who could lay his hand upon his (Mr. Hogans) shoulder and say he had profited a solitary farthing by a contract connected with it? And could it be possible that lawyers—men who were in the habit of investigating and weighing evidence—who would say that he was dishonoured by being offered a contract which would profit him nothing? He trusted that hon. gentleman would have more respect for the feelings of those who sought to rise in the world by honest means, then to censure them for that which would have profited them nothing. He had nothing further to add; and he regretted having been compelled to take up the time of the house with a personal matter. But, if gentlemen of that House, who had made a legitimate endeavour to preserve their independence and to place riches and power at defiance, were to be condemned because of these efforts, an example would be set which would be alike dangerous, unjust, and oppressive.
Mr. DORION said when the grave accusation which had been now repeated against the member for Grey was first made, they were told that affidavits and important documentary evidence was to be given in support of the charge. And he must say he expected something more than a mere letter—(hear, hear)—mentioning that at the latter end of 1856, or the beginning of 1857—at a time when Mr. Ross operated no official position in the government, and the member for Grey had not a seat in the house—he applied for a wood contract on the Grand Trunk Railway, which he did not obtain because he was not the lowest tenderer.
Mr. POWELL rose to a point of order. He thought it would be to the interest of all parties that nothing further should be set on the subject.
Mr. HOGAN I had forgotten to remark that before and at the time of the application, and up to last session of parliament, when he left it, the Colonist newspaper was opposed to the Grand Trunk. He (Mr. Hogan) was not the owner of that paper. The capital invested in it was £18,000, of which two gentlemen alone held £7,500; and how could he, if he wished it, control the columns of the paper in a matter of this kind? (Hear, hear.)
Mr. DORION said the letter of Mr. Ross was special, except as to the fact of an application for a special contract being made, and the condition of the contract being given to the member for Grey, was that his tender was to be lower than any other period the other letter was from a Mr. Davis, who said he believed Mr. Hogan was in Opposition because he did not get the contract. Really, he never heard more miserable proof in support of a grave accusation. (Cheers.) If the hon. gentlemen on the other side had nothing more weighty to bring against members of the Opposition side of the House than the accusation brought the other night by the member for Carleton against the senior member for Toronto, and that which the member for Middlesex had just urged against the member for Grey, such trumpery charges the opposition could suffer to pass by unnoticed and fear nothing. (Cheers.)
Mr. FOLEY called the attention of the host to that position of Mr. Davis’ letter in which it was said there was no concealment about the matter. Was it not the height of absurdity to charge the member for Grey with being a party to a personal intrigue, when one of the gentlemen brought forward as a witness against him said there was no secret about it? (Loud cries of “Hear, hear.”) It was in the face of such facts as these that the members on the other side desired to destroy the credit and blast the character of a brother member.
Mr. DUNKIN and Mr. POWELL rose to a point of order; but
Mr. FOLEY continued his remarks. He said they found, furthermore, Mr. Daniel Morrison brought as a witness—a gentleman who, since he had turned against the Government, had been made the victim of similar accusations [Hear, hear.] But would the house say that such charges had been substantiated upon evidence of this kind? a more disgraceful attempt to blast the character of a member of this House had never been heard of. [Hear, hear.] There word in the letter of Mr. Ross that the member for Grey had offered to sell his political influence—he declared the simple fact that a contract was asked for upon fair and honorable terms. [Hear, hear.] The member for Grey had also been charged with acting in connection with Mr. McGaffey; But did not even the hon. Mr. Morrison endorsed the notes of Mr. McGaffey? And Mr. McGaffey was a director of the Northern Road, associated with gentleman of the highest standing. Mr. Fully read the list closing with Fred Cumberland, Esq., John B. Robinson, Esq., Alfred A. McGaffey, Esq. [Hear, hear.] Yet his hon. friend was attempted to be hounded down, because he had happened to come into Business Contact with this person. A more contemptible attack—a more shameful accusation, sustained by more paltry evidence, was never brought against this man. [Cheers.] He Thought the manliness and self-respect of every member of the House must lead him to the conclusion that there had been nothing dishonorable in the conduct of his hon. friend; But that, On the contrary, he had come out of the ordeal to which he had been subjected with his reputation untarnished. [Cheers.]
Mr. TALBOT said he had not the legal experience of the two lawyers who had stood up to defend the honourable member for Grey, and could not be expected to be a skillful as they in dissecting evidence. He had made the charge, not voluntarily, but provoked to it by the charges brought to the honourable member against gentleman on his side of the house, that they supported the ministry from corrupt motives. And the charge he made was this that the honourable member had offered, in consideration of getting a wood contract, to give his political services in the Colonist newspaper (cries of “not proved.”) And the correspondence he had read shewed that Mr. Ross stated that the particulars as given by Mr. Morrison were substantially true. He could say further that Mr. Ross had stated distinctly that Mr. Hogan had offered his political influence to him in consideration of a contract on the Grand Trunk.
Mr. HOGAN desired that those words should be taken down.
The SPEAKER said that words could not be taken down, unless by a vote of the House.
Mr. TALBOT said that Mr. Joseph Morrison had told him that he had spoken to Mr. Ross and Mr. Ross informed him that every word he (Mr. Talbot) had said was correct.
Mr. MOWAT said that another charge had been brought against his hon. friend from Grey, that he made an offer of his political services, for the sake of securing some advantage in connection with his essay on Canada. His hon. friend was desirous that he [Mr. Mowat] should wait on Mr. Samuel Thompson an ascertained the truth of this. He did so, and Mr. Thompson, feeling at liberty on account of Mr. Hogan’s request to state circumstances that were confidential between that gentleman and himself, had told him enough to show him that there was no foundation whatever for the charge. In regard to the other charge, certain letters had been read, but he [Mr. Mowat] entirely concurred with the honourable member for Montreal, and the member for North Waterloo, that the evidence was utterly insufficient to substantiate it. the member for Grey had been a consistent opponent of the Grand Trunk, and the charge was that he had been willing to forego that opposition for the sake of a wood contract. He was satisfied there was not a member of the house, who could believe that, if Mr. Hogan, with his well-known talents as a public writer, had been willing for the consideration of a wood contract to four go his opposition, that is offer would have been refused. With that they knew of the grand trunk, it would be insanity for any one to suppose that such an offer would have been refused. [Hear, hear.] and every one, who was possessed of the least candour, must be satisfied that no such offer was ever made. [Hear, hear.]
Hon. M. CAMERON was proceeding to draw the inference for Mr. Hogan’s statement, that he did not wish to take a contract unless he got it below the fair price, when he was interrupted by general cries of Shame! Shame!
Hon Mr. CAUCHON rebuke the member for Lampton for showing so much warmth and a matter in which he was not interested, and asked him if he really expected that Mr. Hogan would have wished a contract by which he would have lost money. The whole charge rested upon the letter of Mr. Ross, and that was expressed in so misty away that nothing could be made of it. For his own reputation, the hon. John Ross should never have written such a letter. If a gentleman occupying the position of a minister of the crown chose to compromise himself at all, he should have condescended on specific words and acts, so that the public might have an opportunity of judging of the evidence. (Hear, hear.)
The House then adjourned.