Province of Canada, Legislative Assembly, Repeal of the Union (23 April 1856)
By: Province of Canada (Parliament), The Globe
Citation: “House of Assembly” The Globe (25 April 1856).
House of Assembly
WEDNESDAY, 23rd April, 1856.
The Speaker took the chair at three o’clock.
Hon. Mr. MORRISON introduced a Bill to amend the charter of the Zimmerman Bank.
Second reading on Monday next.
Mr. J. B. E. DORION introduced a Bill to legalize a certain School assessment in St. Christophe d’Arthabaska.
Second reading to-morrow.
Mr. RHODES introduced a Bill to amend the Act incorporating the Quebec and St. Francis Mining Company.
Second reading on Monday.
A motion to suspend the 67th rule in regard to this Bill to avoid the payment of the usual fees, was carried on a division by 58 to 18.
Mr. GOULD moved to suspend the 62nd rule in regard to the Bill to confirm certain By-laws of the late Home District Council.
After a good deal of discussion, the motion was withdrawn, the suspension of the rule not having yet been reported on by the Private Bills Committee.
Hon. Mr. ROBINSON introduced a Bill to authorize Henry Augustus Fitzgerald McLeod to practice as a Provincial Surveyor.
Second reading on Monday.
Hon. Mr. CAMERON introduced a Bill to admit Hewitt Bernard to practice as an Attorney in all the Courts of Law and Equity in Upper Canada.
Second reading on Monday next.
REPRESENTATION BY POPULATION.
Mr. BROWN rose to move the resolution of which he had given notice, on the subject of Representation by Population. He spoke for more than an hour in support of it, when—
Provincial Secretary CARTIER took exception to the motion, in that it had been already decided this session in the course of the debate on the Address.
The SPEAKER supported the objection, and after some discussion on the point, the subject was dropped.
Mr. HUOT moved the following resolutions:—
1st. That this house is of the opinion that the penalty of death is a kind of punishment which ought no longer to be inflicted in the present state of society, as being repugnant to the feelings of humanity.
2nd. That the penalty of death for all crimes for which it is now inflicted by the penal laws, be therefore abolished in the province of Canada.
Hon. Mr. DRUMMOND said, although he hoped the time would come when capital punishment would be looked upon as unnecessary, yet the public mind at the present time appeared to be in a different direction, and it was found necessary to keep the old system. (Hear, hear.)—He did not think that this committee should be chosen exclusively of those who had pronounced strong opinions on favour of the abolition of capital punishment. It should be composed of impartial gentlemen, chosen not by the present hon. Mover, but if it was agreed to, he wished to recommend the attention of the hon. Gentleman forming the committee, to a report that was mad by Mr. Sullivan some years ago, in the Legislature of the State of New York, upon the practicability of doing away with capital punishment. That report contained all the views pro and con, and it urged the abolition of punishment by death in the most strong terms. There were several other reports also, which should come under the committee’s consideration.
Mr. BROWN enquired if the hon. Gentleman meant to allow the appointment of a committee to enquire into the propriety of abolition of punishment by death for capital crimes?
Hon. Mr. DRUMMOND replied in the affirmative.
Mr. BROWN was quite sure that the hon. Attorney General was very sincere, and felt it to be a question open to discussion, and a great many of his (Mr. B’s) hon. friends held the same opinion, but some hon. members thought differently, and he himself was not prepared to vote that it was a question open for consideration. They must all have made up their minds upon the question long ago, and he was prepared to vote against abolition.
Mr. Solicitor General SMITH thought that the motion was not put in the proper shape. The consent of the Government was not given to the principle of the resolutions, for he would not vote for them himself. He would suggest as alteration of the motion to the hon. mover, asking that the house should appoint a committee to whom resolutions should be referred, without committing the house to the principle contained in them.
Hon. Mr. DRUMMOND did not want now to commit himself to the resolutions.
Hon. Mr. CAMERON hoped that the house would not grant the committee. The house ought not now to adopt any course of reference of the principle itself to a committee, or take any step by which it would appear that it was prepared to express a decision upon unsettling the present mode of punishment by death where life is taken away.
Mr. MERRITT was surprised at this stage of the world, to hear hon. gentlemen get up and attempt to oppose enquiry on so important a subject. Could the investigation of this committee do any harm? He would like to see an able report from them. Solitary confinement was as great a punishment as death, and it was not the fear of punishment which prevents crime. There were higher motives to be looked at.
Mr. J. S. MACDONALD was convinced that the moment the punishment is taken away which is before the man who commits murder, a premium was offered for the commission of crime. Under the present system it was very difficult to get a man hanged in this country, even if he had murdered his fellow creature in cold blood. The Executive, in such cases, were implored by petition to spare the life of the criminal, and that being granted, he was sent to the Penitentiary, and eventually was probably pardoned. In some of the Western States they formerly did away with capital punishment for some time, but afterwards were obliged to repeal the law prohibiting it. Now if the house had taken up and passed the Temperance Bill long ago, murders would not be committed. He would consider the state of society to be a most desperate one, where we take away the power of putting a man to death for a most atrocious murder, (hear, hear.) and he would never be found in or out of the house to advocate the principle of allowing men to murder in cold blood and then to seek Executive shelter. Why was it that the Attorney General East should entertain even a doubt about entertaining this motion?
Mr. HARTMAN was in favour of the appointment of the committee to investigate the matter.
Mr. FOLEY wished to say that while he agreed that it was inexpedient at the present moment to abolish this punishment of death, (hear, hear,) he was not prepared to say, that it was not expedient to make some inquiry into the subject. He could only express his regret that the leader of the Opposition should wish to prevent enquiry.
It being now 6 o’clock, the house took a recess.
Mr. FELTON did not think there were many in this house who went for the abolition of the death penalty. Still as there might be several who should desire to see some modification in the law touching this matter, he would move in amendment to Mr. Huot’s motion that “a committee of seven members be appointed to enquire into the propriety of modifying the laws which provide for the infliction of capital punishment.”
Attorney General DRUMMOND, in French, made a few remarks.
Mr. TURCOTTE said he could not understand any utility in a committee. Everybody had formed their opinion on this subject, and for his part he was altogether opposed to the abolition of the punishment of death. In proof of the impropriety of adopting such a change he gave an account of a murder recently committed at Three Rivers, after the pretended reformatory effect of a detention in the Penitentiary. To keep men from crime it was necessary to make them fear. They feared death because they saw it, and understood it. They did not fear the Penitentiary, because they did not know the difference between working in one place or another.
Mr. DRUMMOND said that the fact cited by Mr. Turcotte might perhaps, if the subject were examined, be counterbalanced by many other facts, and it was well known that crimes had in England decreased after punishment had been rendered light. The most practical men in England, and especially in France, had often been opposed to this punishment; and even among those who inclined to severity as a means of repressing crime, it was very doubtful whether death was the most severe of punishments. Men had mounted the scaffold like heroes, while they had shrunk from banishment like women. In allusion to a statement by Mr. Turcotte that the criminal he had spoken of had been pardoned in deference to theorists of the Victor Hugo stamp—of the stamp of the Opposition—he said this was too serious a question to be made one of party. It was one to be approached in the sight of God, as a question with respect to life which he gave, and which man could take away, but could not restore. His opinions in favour of the total abolition of death were somewhat shaken of late years, but he wanted inquiry to be made; and he did not desire especially to have the punishment preserved in law for crimes against which it was never enforced. He also reproved Mr. J. S. Macdonald for the jesting manner in which he had spoken of the matter, and concluded by repeating that he thought it desirable to let the motion go.
Mr. LABERGE followed in favour of the abolition of capital punishment.
Hon. Mr. CARTIER said that precedents had been quoted by friends of abolition of the death penalty from the United States, but they must not forget that there were precedents on the opposite side. Michigan had tried this system, but they had been compelled to re-establish the penalty of death. There was the case also of California, which thought of abolishing the death penalty when a territory, but when it became a State, it refused to do so. He was willing, however, to accede to the proposition now before the house.
Mr. PAPIN, Mr. MARCHILDON, and Hon. Mr. CHABOT followed in French.
Attorney General DRUMMOND quoted the opinion of Sir Robert PEEL, as against capital punishment.
Solicitor General ROSS, while voting for a reference, expressed himself in favour of capital punishment. He considered the principle a sound one, that whoso sheddeth man’s blood should expiate his crime by death.
On a division the motion for reference was carried, by 55 to 34, and the following gentlemen were appointed a committee to carry out the provisions of the motion, viz: Messrs. Turcotte, Loranger, Attorney General Macdonald, Hon. Mr. Cameron, Attorney General Drummond, Polette and Papin.
REPEAL OF THE UNION.
Mr. MACKENZIE rose to make his promised motion on the repeal of the Union between Upper and Lower Canada. He said the Union was an act of bad faith. The two portions of the country were essentially different in origin, in language, in laws and in religion. The Union took away the power possessed over the finances. Under the old system the house had a right to fix its own quorum, now one thirteenth of the present house could legislate on the most important measures as in the case, of the sectarian clauses of the school bill passed last session. He approved of Lord Durham’s opinion that the outnumbering of Upper Canadians by French, was a lesser evil than the want of representation based upon population. The principal French members from 1840 to 1841 said the same thing, and clamoured for what they now oppose.—The whole expenses of the country were swelling up every year, under the present system, and the people had to pay for it. Just now the Inspector General was to add 25 per cent. to the taxes, in order to build a £200,000 castle at Quebec. Profligacy in expenditure was the order of the day, and the Union was the cause of it. Look at the sums of money the people of Upper Canada had to pay for the Jurors and the Court Houses and the Gaols of Lower Canada. We had run up $20,000,000 of debt in three years, a debt equal to that of the English Monarchy when Queen Anne took possession of the throne. Why should we have had to pay twenty millions of dollars for a road to Portland, when we could get to New York or Boston without paying a penny? The Inspector General knew as well as he did that there was no necessity for paying £150,000 for collecting the revenue. Then there were the landing piers below Quebec, and the only use of them was to pay a number of Frenchmen to look after them. Look at our legislation. Before the Union the Legislature sat at 10 in the morning. Now are legislation was of the midnight kind. When he saw the Presbyterian Church in Quebec splattered with blood, when he heard of thirteen unoffending Protestants in Montreal being shot down in cold blood, when he saw the jeering and mockery with which the Corrigan murder was treated even by the Judge on the Bench, he came to the conclusion that we must have a dissolution of the Union. Governor Head was of opinion that Celts like him (Mr. Mackenzie) and the French were an inferior race. Should not the inferior race, then, be separated from the inferior? He did not like an amalgamation of black and blue and green, French and Saxons, Indians and savages. He was willing to call every French Canadian a brother, but when twenty of their counties sent begging petitions for seed wheat to put into their miserable soil, at the same time they claimed as many representatives as Upper Canadians had, although 200,000 more numerous, he said that such a system should be put a stop to. Our bar, our bench, our laws,—everything was separate. Last year the Parliament gave the priests $20,000 for sectarian colleges, to teach man to hate man. That was another reason why he wanted to part company with them. Mr. Mackenzie then quoted with approval a speech by Sir Allan MacNab in 1849, complaining that Upper Canada was suffering under the domination of French masters. He was glad to follow the lead and re-echo the sentiments of the head of the Government in this instance. He went heartily for a Dissolution of the Union, and wished to send all the French members back to Quebec, and he would be most happy to ship along with them the Postmaster General and all his colleagues. (Laughter.) He was told that a certain exalted personage had made a great speech to-night at the St. George’s Dinner in favour of the union, and if his Excellency—(Order!)—well, if any body had given as strong arguments for the Union, as he (Mr. Mackenzie) had given against it, the people of Upper Canada might be contented. But he scarcely believed that much arguments could be produced.
Hon. Mr. CARTIER moved the previous question.
Mr. HOLTON said that the discussion of this great question could not be evaded by moving the previous question. And to secure a proper discussion on a future day, which was impossible at this late hour, he moved that the house do now adjourn.
Attorney General MACDONALD explained that the object of the Provincial Secretary’s motion was to obtain a distinct vote on the question submitted by Mr. Mackenzie, unembarrassed by any amendments. Mr. BROWN agreed in the propriety of bringing a question of this kind to a direct issue, but it was clear that, if the Provincial Secretary persisted in his motion, there would be another debate of the same character brought up in some other way. It would save the time of the house if the Hon. Provincial Secretary would withdraw his motion.
The house then adjourned at half-past eleven, the debate on Mr. Mackenzie’s motion remaining as the first order of the day for to-morrow.
REPEAL OF THE UNION.
Mr. FELTON, in reply to the arguments used by the hon. Member for Haldimand on the previous evening, in support of this motion, said that the hon. Gentleman had heaped [illegible] upon the people of Lower Canada. He would, in reply to the hon. Member assert that Upper Canada did consent to the Union. To prove it, the resolution passed at the time by the Legislature of Upper Canada was to this effect: that she wanted to relieve herself from financial embarrassments—(hear, hear,)—and to be enabled to complete her public works. One resolution set forth, that it was desirable that there should be an equal representation of both Provinces in the United Legislature. (Hear, hear.) The hon. Member had stated that Lower Canada was inextricably in debt. Well, compare her present situation in that respect, with that of Upper Canada at the time of the Union. She had a population at that time of 465,357, and owed a sum of money which would exceed considerably as a piece for every man, woman and child throughout her whole breadth, and her whole income did not then suffice to pay the interest of her debt. But Lower Canada was now not only able to pay the whole debt which the Upper Province left her, but the interest upon it. The hon. member had painted Lower Canada as being worse that the country inhabited by the Kamschatdales, and as if the people were a beggarly lot of fishermen; that it possessed a meagre soil, and could not support herself. It was strange, if this was the case, that Upper Canada, from the time of the Union, had been enabled to pay her debts, raise herself up, and walk abroad among honest men. (Hear, hear.) But by this political fraud, Lower Canada was obliged to pay half of Upper Canada’s debt at the time, and was now responsible to pay her share of two millions and a half of principal and interest. And then as to Lower Canada getting the best in Public Works, she was not able to dip her hands so deep into the public purse as the Upper section, which gets up Debentures and Municipal Loss Funds, and Lower Canada has “to pay the piper.” (hear, hear.) So far as the administration of justice was concerned, it was true that the expenses in Lower Canada are greater than those of Upper, but for the support of agriculture the latter got the most benefits, and she stocked the Penitentiary better than the Lower section did.—The latter had the advantage in 1851 of native born population, and exceeded that of Upper Canada by 243,000, according to the census, and the emigration there had not continued to increase since 1851. But in face of all these facts, the compact was made, and must be abided by, whether bribery was resorted to at the time to bring about the Union, or not. And an insuperable difficulty was offered, now to its dissolution, for the debts of the Province must be paid; although, if Upper Canada liked to pay ten millions in discharge of her debt, he did not think that Lower Canadians would be backward in assenting to all that the hon. member for Haldimand desired by this motion. Lower Canada received, at this moment, about half of the whole Customs revenue, and, altogether, her credit was quite equal to that of Upper Canada. He hoped that the house would not entertain the motion. The whole arguments of the hon. member for Haldimand, both in the house and out of the house, were not advanced, with a view of the interests of the Province, but to get up an agitation which might in some way benefit himself. He trusted too much in the knowledge and political wisdom of the people of Upper Canada, to suppose that they could endorse many of the sentiments of that hon. member.
Mr. HARTMAN denied that the agitation for the Dissolution of the Union had been got up by the member for Haldimand, to make some profit out of it to himself. But whatever might be his motive, the member who had just sat down, had gone far to strengthen the position taken up by the member for Haldimand, who argued last night that Upper Canada suffered from its connection with Lower Canada, and now the member for Richmond’s argument, if it amounts to anything at all, went to show that Lower Canada suffered from its connection with Upper Canada. The hon. member founded an argument on the circumstance of about two-thirds of the inmates of the Penitentiary being from Upper Canada, while only one-third came from Lower Canada. That, however was an argument which cut both ways, the member for Haldimand having shown last night that the Administration of Justice cost more in Lower than in Upper Canada. The fact mentioned by the member for Richmond, perhaps, proved that criminal justice was more strictly administered in Upper than in Lower Canada. He (Mr. Hartman) agreed with the hon. member for Haldimand, that the time had arrived when the Union should be dissolved. He believed it had accomplished already all the good that it could accomplish to either section of the Province, while the evils that daily accrued from it were many and grievous.
After a few words from Mr. CHAPAIS,
Mr. MACKENZIE replied to Mr. Felton’s speech. He said that if in Lower Canada such justice was administered as had been in the case of the murderers of Robert Corrigan, he did not wonder that the member for Richmond could taunt Upper Canada with contributing more convicts to the Penitentiary. Besides, Upper Canada was far more populous. The hon. member had alluded to the revenue. The fact was that Toronto alone contributed about £150,000 to the Customs Revenue, at an expense of £4,000, while the whole of the Lower Canada ports, except Montreal, collected together only £87,000, at an expense of £15,000 for collecting it. When he first knew Lower Canada it bid an economical Legislature, under a man whom he admired. Mr. Papineau, a man who kept the priests in order, and as firm a friend of Civil and Religious liberty as King William the Third. But since the Union matters had gone on very differently. Let me get rid of a connection which is playing the same game with United Canada, as the profligate system in 1837 did with Upper Canada, bringing the country to the verge of bankruptcy. He wondered how much revenue that fine railway from Trois Pistoles to Quebec was to yield. He would be surprised if it yielded enough to grease the wheels on its locomotives. The hon. member said that the Great Western Railway had got four millions of our money. He did not know as to that, but he knew that the other day it declared a dividend of eight per cent. Who ever heard of a Lower Canada railway giving a dividend? Instead of raising anything, by which to contribute to the general wealth of the country, they had to export even their flour from Upper Canada. What they paid it with he could not fancy, unless it was with the public money. He looked upon Lower Canada as a partner, that furnished no capital and no labour, and at the same time swallowed up the dividend. He wanted to cut the partnership. But if they would give him Representation by Population, he would bring forward no more such motions. Things would then go on more smoothly. They could then make Lower Canada contribute something by taking all her nunneries and monasteries and selling them by auction, which would yield at least six or seven millions sterling.
Mr. MARCHILDON had always opposed the Act of Union, as [illegible] to the best interests of Lower Canada: and from the intercourse he had with the people of Upper Canada, he was satisfied that the two populations could never live together in harmony. The Lower Canadians were constantly getting insults spit in their faces, and the sooner the Union was dissolved the better. Complaints were made about the extravagance of Lower Canada, but the fact was that the Upper Canadians were ravaging and pillaging Lower Canada from one end to the other.
Mr. A. A. DORION said that any one who would compare the recent declaration of the Attorney General East, that Lower Canada, if Representation by Population was forced upon her, must seek for a new state of political existence, with the growing demand in Upper Canada for Representation by Population, must see that the Union could not remain long on its present footing. (Hear, hear.) He would not, like the hon. member for Haldimand on the one side, or the hon. member for Richmond on the other, take up all the grievances which either section of the Province had suffered from the Union. But he must say that in the populations of the two sections of the Province, ns their habits, in their language, in their religion, in everything that constituted nationality, he saw difficulties in the way of a proper understanding between the two sections. He was satisfied that not a single member from Upper Canada dared to go to his constituents, without pledging himself to advocate Representation by Population, as they saw at the late election for Peterboro and Renfrew. Not one of the candidates for those counties had dared to say he would not advocate that principle. On the contrary every one had pledged himself distinctly to it. (Hear, hear.) And he could not complain of Upper Canada insisting on having a greater representation, when its population was increasing. He did not think there was a man in this house or in the country who could say it would be fair or just to Upper Canada, when she should have a population half a million or three quarters of a million greater than Lower Canada, that she should not have Representation based upon Population. (Hear, hear.) The difficulty stared them in the face, and the question could not be much longer evaded by any attempts on the part of the Administration to shirk it, by moving the previous questions as they did last year, or by raising a point of order as they did last night.—(Hear, hear.) It was the duty, therefore, of every one who had the interests of country at heart, to see whether there might not be some means by which the difficulty might be met. On the other had it was well known that there was a strong feeling against Representation by Population in the Lower Province, the feeling being that if that were granted, their rights, their religious feelings, their institutions would be jeopardized. How far that feeling was right or wrong he would not now enquire. He merely stated the fact. But it appeared to him that the difficulty about Representation by Population arose from the nature of the existing Legislative Union. He believed there would be no difficulty in getting the people of Upper and Lower Canada to coincide as to those general interests which were common to all. He thought there would be no difficulty in finding a p[illegible], by which the commercial interests of this country, our railway interests, our public works, our trade and navigation would be left to be dealt with by a general legislature, representing the whole Province according to population, while at the same time legislation as to education, and matters of a local character might be left to local legislatures. In that way the rights, the privileges, and the prejudices, for there were prejudices even entitled to be respected, of each section of the Province, would be safely guarded. He considered that the difficulties resulting from the Union were growing, instead of diminishing.—Advantages had resulted from it, but they had been overrated. On the other hand there were considerable disadvantages which had accompanied it. For instance they had contracted a habit of lavishly spending the public money. By the growth of our population, and the increase of our taxation, we had obtained such a revenue as had accustomed us to a pr[illegible] which had brought us almost to the brink of ruin. Our debt had enormously increased, and what was the corresponding advantages we had obtained, he had yet to learn. Before the Union, with a revenue of something like £150,000, Lower Canada was able to make more public works in proportion, than since the Union. From 1814 to 1837, with a revenue averaging from £100,000 to £125,000, they appropriated to public works alone, £25,000 a year. And to show the difference in the style of management, he might mention that while the whole of the St. Lawrence Canals now yielded only £11,000 a year, the small Lachine Canal alone 20 years ago was yielding £5,000 a year. He regretted that the Administration should systematically endeavour to put down every enquiry, every discussion, which had for its object the [illegible] us of the difficulty. His own opinion was, and he said it candidly, that the present Legislative Union could not [illegible]sist for any length of time. He had said there was a growing feeling in Upper Canada in favour of Representation by Population. Any one who would [illegible] the journals of 18[illegible] and 1858 would see that all the gentlemen now on the Treasury Benches from Upper Canada had voted on that measure. He would ask hon. members to look at the speeches then delivered, and at the articles in the newspaper which was then edited by the Postmaster General, and say whether it was possible to believe that Upper Canadians would not insist on having Representation by Population and that in a very short time, Lower Canadians might be satisfied that at the next election there would not be a single candidate for an Upper Canadian county who would dare to say that he would oppose Representation by Population. (hear, hear.) He did not think that a Federal Union of the British American Provinces would be at the present time a desirable thing. He considered that the late Provinces of Upper and Lower Canada united were sufficiently large, had a sufficiently numerous population, and had sufficient elements of prosperity, to admit of a subdivision, which would allow of local legislatures for local purposes, and at the same time a general legislature to represent the general interests of the Province. Under such a system he believed we would enjoy greater harmony, and spend a great deal less money wastefully than we did now. Whenever a sum of money was voted to one section of the Provinces, as equal sum had to be voted to the other, whether it was wanted or not. This last session when the house voted £5,000 to pay Jurors in Lower Canada, an equal amount had to be given to the municipalities of Upper Canada. And when £150,000 was voted for the abolition of the Seignorial Tenure in Lower Canada, again a like amount had to be appropriated for the Municipalities in Upper Canada. He could give many other instances of the same kind, and in this way we had come to have a debt which was frightening every one who looked at it. Holding these views he regretted that the honourable member for Haldimand had brought up the question in the shape he had. It would have been much better if he had asked for a Committee to discuss the whole subject, and the elicit the views of different members. He had no doubt the question would be very soon submitted to the people of Upper Canada; the feeling with the great majority would be—“we must have Representation by Population, or, if we can’t get it, a dissolution of the Union. In Lower Canada the feeling with the great majority would be rather to go for a dissolution of the Union than yield Representation by Population. But, although he was against the existing order of things, he could not vote for the motion of the honourable member for Haldimand, and much less endorse the arguments upon which he had based it. He sought for other arrangements and other combinations than the mere adoption of that motion would lead to, and he intended to give notice of motion to-morrow for a committee to enquire [illegible] the whole subject, that the Administration might no longer shirk and [illegible] the question as they had hitherto done. But he believed that if the present Union was to continue to exist. It could only exist on the basis of Representation by Population. On no other principle could the present Union be worked. If it continued he should be in favour of Representation by Population, because he considered it was the only just system. (Hear, hear.) He did not wish, however, to be misunderstood. He considered the present existing state of things as the worse we could have. A Federal Union he considered the best, but second to that, and as preferable to the present order of things, he would say Representation by Population, and he would go for that, if after trying he should fail to obtain a Federal Union. (Hear, hear.)
Hon. Mr. DRUMMOND then rose and spoke as follows: I beg to inform the hon. Member for Montreal that the ministry are not afraid to discuss the matter. (Hear, hear.) They are anxious, however, to carry out practical and real reform, and they wish to save the time of this house as much as possible from the idle attempts of theorists—(hear, hear,)—and also from the expense of appointing committees to consider whether we should not take up the constitution of France or of some other country. (Hear, hear.) They are satisfied with the constitution of this country as they have it, and wish to resist the attempts that are made by some hon. Gentlemen in this house, merely for the purpose of producing effect out of doors, some of whom have wasted a long life in doing nothing. (Hear, hear.) They would wish to resist such discussions as are provoked by motions made by hon. Gentlemen, who know that no practical results can arise from their motions—(hear, hear,)—and whose only desire is to disturb the public mind—(hear, hear,)—and to take away from the eyes of the representatives of the people here the great object for which they were sent into the Legislature. It is with feelings of disgust that I look at the attempts which are being made by some hon. members to shake this Union, which has raised us up from a poor miserably colony to be the great nation we are now; which has given us a credit in the markets of Europe, when in former times our name was unknown, and our paper of no more value than waste. (Hear, hear.) I say that I look upon them with perfect feelings of disgust. Now the hon. member for Montreal wishes to throw upon me the wish to disturb the Union. I deny it. From the beginning I always looked forward to the Union as a means of making us a great people. But would I stoop to advise the people of my adopted country to resort to such a plan as that proposed by the hon. member for Montreal? I would scorn to do so. I would scorn the idea of breaking up our Legislature into small municipal bodies. It might suit the hon. member for Sherbrooke very well indeed to have the Legislature sitting in Sherbrooke, and the hon. member for Montreal to have a Legislature sitting at his door, and I am quite sure that it would suit the enlightened mind of the hon. member for Champlain, (laughter) to have a Legislature at his door. (Hear, hear.) But if the district of Montreal is entitled to be formed into a separate Province, I do not see why Champlain should not require the Government to be located down there, and then this United Province, which is looked upon as a great country, would be broken up into small fragments, which the people would have to support, and then with our split up houses what would be the result? Why, we should be thrown into that confusion, which we could not extricate ourselves from. I can very well look forward to a time when a Federal Union can be formed of all the British North American provinces, (hear, hear,) but to think of breaking up this united Legislature into small bodies, is preposterous. Have we not got bodies now gifted with sufficient powers to legislature for all local purposes. Have we not our municipalities throughout the country, and what, I demand to know, would these subdivisions be, which are proposed by the honourable member for Montreal, but municipal bodies. That is the bright idea which the hon. member accuses me of having shut out from the light of the day, and he would wish to appoint a committee to reorganize a new constitution, although we have one now, and have had for so many years, but he wishes to come here and upset it, and why? Because taking up the arguments made use of by the friends of Representation by Population, by those who wish to destroy the federal principle of the Union, and taking ground against the Lower Canadians as he has lately done during this session; he tells us that he is prepared to go for Representation by Population if we do not give him a repeal of the Union, or consent to this now and bright idea of breaking up the Provinces into small governments. Well, I can tell that hon. member that I am prepared at this moment to say, that I will never consent to a retrograde movement in the government of this country. If there is to be any change it must be a change in advance, which will place us in a prouder position then we are now, and not to do as the hon. member for Sherbrooke and Montreal have said, to tear the system to pieces! If we are to have any change it must be a Federal Union. But as the hon. member for Montreal has been kind enough to take up my views upon the subject, I think that the day is far distant when such a Federal Union can take place. There is no interchange of trade or sympathy with the trade of the Lower Provinces, but we must be connected with those relations before we can be placed in a position even to talk or think seriously of a Federal Union. I am not in the slightest degree alarmed by this demand of Representation by Population, and I am prepared to go further and say, that if the population of Lower or Upper Canada should exceed each other by a very large figure.
Mr. BROWN.—What figure?
Hon. Mr. DRUMMOND.—By a very large majority. I beg the hon. gentleman not to interrupt me. I do not say that this demand should be resisted—(hear, hear)—but I say that it is insisted upon that, which ever section happens to be in the minority must certainly endeavour to place itself in a better position than that in which it was before. [A Member—“What position?”] It is only a few years since we laid down the basis of our representation upon a federal system; and since that time, no change has taken place which should induce me to alter that principle. Nay, I believe, in the first place, that the [illegible] if Lower Canada was not properly made—[A Member—“Very bad”]—that the people there were deterred from giving a true statement of population, because, in many places, they were given to understand by many of those who are ever eager to rouse up the predjudices [sic] of the people, (there are some to be found of that class in both Upper and Lower Canada) they were given to understand that the object of the census being taken was, “taxation.” There are reasons to believe that there will be no disproportion in population for some years to come, in the two sections of the Province, for while at the present moment the lands which are available for settlement in Upper Canada are few, in Lower Canada there are vast tracts of land to be peopled, and since this census was taken large tracts of this land have been settled by an industrious population. And there is another reason why I foresee that the population of Upper Canada will not exceed, to any great extent, that of Lower Canada, and it is the falling off of emigration to the former. We looked principally to Ireland, before, for our emigration, but for some years past the affairs of Ireland have assumed a different aspect. The Encumbered Estates Bill has restored prosperity to the people of that country, and its people cease to emigrate. Look at the returns of the present year, and you will find the smallest proportions of our emigration come from Ireland, and that there has been an immense falling off from year to year, some 25,000 or 20,000. If it was upon the situation in emigration alone, Upper Canada fails in comparison with Lower Canada.—In the latter section the natural increase of population is greater than that of the former. Although she possessed but about 65,000 inhabitants at the time of the conquest, her population has now, without any very remarkable increase from emigration, reached a point nearly, if not equal, to that of Upper Canada, with all the resources that she had of emigration. I do not intend to go fully into the subject. I am most anxious to proceed with the business of the house, and to avoid as much as possible all these discussions upon organic measures. Not that we wish to shrink from discussion where it may lead to some practical and immediate benefit; but we wish to save the time and money of the country, by avoiding those discussion which used to be indulged in at a certain period, in a country where, in the space of some four or five years, no less than four or five new constitutions were submitted to the Legislature. But there are some hon. gentlemen who seem to fancy that they have been sent to this Legislature not to work out the moral and material property of the country, but merely to indulge their own desires to break up the constitution. The hon. member for Montreal still returns to his own love, and says that those are not changes which he would have wished to see, but that as he cannot get these changes which he would have wished, he will adopt the other. I think that that change is perfectly well understood, and which the hon. member maintained some years ago. The change which he has alluded to, in rather an obscure manner, was, “annexation to the United States,” and that is a change, Sir, which, I trust, will never come about; but I do trust that, proceeding in that way of progress is which I should like to see us proceed, if we find that this Union cannot continue to be worked out with the success which has attended it hitherto. I trust that we shall have a Federal Union of the British North American possessions, and then I say that, if ever that time should come when we should be required to separate from the mother country, I trust that we should establish an independent state, and not form part of the slaveholding Union.
(Debate to be concluded to-morrow.)