Province of Canada, Legislative Assembly, Scrapbook Debates, 8th Parl, 2nd Sess, (14 June 1864)

Document Information

Date: 1864-06-14
By: Province of Canada (Parliament)
Citation: Province of Canada, Parliament, Scrapbook Debates, 8th Parl, 2nd Sess, 1864 at 196-199.
Other formats: Click here to view the original document (PDF).


TUESDAY, June 14th, 1864.        

The SPEAKER took the Chair at three o’clock.

After the presentation and reading of petitions, and other routine business—


Hon. Mr. GALT moved that this House do resolve itself into Committee of the Whole, at its second sitting this day, on the subject of the appointment of a Board of Commissioners of Customs, Excise and Stamps.—Carried.


Hon. Mr. COCKBURN moved that the House do resolve itself into Committee of the Whole, at its first sitting to-morrow, on the subject of resolutions relative to the fees of Registrars of deeds in Upper Canada.—Carried.


George Brown [Oxford South], from the Committee appointed to consider and report upon certain constitutional difficulties between both sections of the province, referred to in a certain despatch of Hon. Messrs. Cartier, Galt and Ross, reported that the Committee have held eight meetings, and have endeavoured to [Illegible]lsome solution for the existing difficulties, likely to receive the assent of both sections of the Province. A strong feeling was found to exist among the members of the committee in favor of the change in the direction of a federative system, applying either to Canada alone or to the whole of British North American Province; and such progress has been made as to warrant the committee in recommending that the subject be again referred to a committee at the next session of Parliament. The committee differed as to the adoption of this report, and the yeas and nays being called for, were then taken as follows:—


Hon. Messrs.



Hon. Messrs.

J.A. Macdonald,
J.S. Macdonald


Hon. J. A. MACDONALD suggested that the third reading of unopposed private bills be proceeded with.

The following were then read a third time:—

Bill to incorporate the Mississaga River Improvement Company.—Mr. MORRIS.

Bill to enable the Art Association of Montreal to establish an Art Union in connection with the other operations thereof.—Mr. DUNKIN.

Bill to amend the Act of incorporation of the Canadian Literary Institute of Woodstock.—Mr. MACKENZIE (North Oxford.)

Bill to remove doubts under the Will of the late John Gray, in his lifetime of St. Catherines, near Montreal.—Hon. Mr. ROSE.

Bill to amend the 1sr William the 4th, Cap. 56, and to incorporate the Trustees of the American Presbyterian Society of Montreal.—Hon. Mr. ABBOTT.

Bill to amend the Act incorporation the Canadian Marine Insurance Company.—Hon. Mr. ABBOTT.

Bill to amend the Act incorporating the Merchants’ Bank.—Hon. Mr. ABBOTT.

Bill to grant certain powers to the Canada West Farmers’ Mutual Stock Insurance Company.—Mr. RYMAL.

Bill to authorize the Incumbent and Church Wardens of St. James’ Church, in the Village of Carlton Place, to lease certain minerals in and upon certain lands to the said Church belonging.—Mr. MORRIS.

Bill to incorporate the Fergus, Elora and Guelph Railway Company.—Mr. STIRTON.

Bill to amend the Act of incorporation of the Iberville Academy.—Mr. DUFRESNE (of Iberville.)

Bill to erect the Parish of St. Brigitte and certain other localities into Local Municipalities.—Mr. GAUDET.

Bill to incorporate the Town of Napanee, and for other purposes.—Mr. CARTWRIGHT.

Bill “An Act for the relief of the Western Canada Permanent Building Society.”—Mr. WHITE.

Bill to change the limits of certain Municipalities in the County of Arthabaska.—Mr. J. B. E. DORION.

Bill “An Act to enable the proprietors of the Islands Du Moine and Des Barques to make regulations for the better government of the said Islands” (from Legislative Council.)—Mr. DUFRESNE (Montcalm.)

Bill to facilitate the administration of the Estate of the late Robert Shaw Miller and Eliza Mitchell, his wife.—Mr. MORRIS.

Bill to extend the Charter of the Upper and Lower Canada Bridge Company.—Mr. POUPORE.

Bill to divide the Municipality of the Township of Lochaber, in the County of Ottawa, into two separate Municipalities, to be named respectively “Lochaber” and “St. Malachy.”—Mr. WRIGHT (Ottawa.)

Bill to amend the Acts incorporating the St. Lawrence Mining Company.—Mr. MORRIS.

Bill to incorporate the Congregational College of British North America.—Mr. DUNKIN.

Bill to empower the Municipality of the Village of Caledonia to issue new debentures in lieu of those outstanding.—Mr. THOMPSON.

Bill to amend the Act to consolidate the Debt of the Town of Bowmanville.—Mr. MUNRO.

Bill respecting the Waterloo and Saugeen Railway Company.—Mr. COWAN.

The “$100,000 Transactions.”

On the motion being made by Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke, Minister of Finance], for the House to go into Committee of Supply— 

Antoine-Aimé Dorion [Hochelaga] said that when the House was in Committee of Supply, the other evening, some curious developments had taken place with reference to a sum of one hundred thousand dollars which was advanced some years ago to redeem the bonds of the city of Montreal; but which, in reality, went to the Grand Trunk Railway.—The hon. gentleman went on, at great length, to quote extracts

  • (p. 197 in the primary document)

from the Report of the Financial and Departmental Commission relative to the transaction in question, which he characterized as a most extraordinary transaction, and one on which this House should express an opinion. Holding this view he would therefore move

“That the Speaker do not now leave the Chair, but that it be resolved—that an humble Address be presented to the Governor General representing that in June, 1859, an advance of $100,000 was made from the public chest without the authority of Parliament, for the redemption of bonds, for a like amount, of the city of Montreal, which bonds were redeemable by the Grand Trunk Railway Company; that by the terms of the Order in Council, of the 1st June, 1859, the Receiver-General was authorized to redeem the said bonds, on account of the City of Montreal, and to hold the same until the amount so advanced ($100,000) with interest at 6 per cent., be repaid to the Government by the City of Montreal, subject to the condition that the said city do immediately levy the necessary rate to meet the indebtedness under the Municipal Loan fund Act, and that the amount so advanced be repaid within three months; that the city of Montreal having fulfilled the condition of paying its indebtedness under the Municipal Loan Fund Act, the bonds in question were delivered by the Receiver-General to the City Treasurer on the 15th September, 1859, whereby all claim against the City of Montreal for the said advance was relinquished; that, under the instruction of the then Minister of Finance, conveyed in a letter dated London, 28th December, 1859, addressed to Mr. Reiffenstein, of the Receiver’s-General Department, the amount of the said advance was transferred to the debit of the Financial Agents of the Province in London, who deny that they ever consented to become liable therefor; that, in view of the facts above recited this House would be failing in its duty if it did not express its disapprobation of an unauthorized advance of a large amount of public money, and of the subsequent departure from the conditions of the Order in Council under which the advance was made.”

Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke, Minister of Finance] said the House had now before it a motion calculated to stop the supplies, and which had reference to transactions of an Administration of three years ago.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke, Minister of Finance]—The hon. gentleman who had just sat down read a portion of his (Mr. Galt’s) evidence before the Financial Commission, with reference to the redemption of bonds to the amount of $100,000; but he would read the remainder of it, which that hon. gentleman had failed to go over.

He (Mr. Galt) had been asked—“Are you aware that when the item appeared on the accounts of the London Agents, as rendered by your department to them, they did not admit it, and that they have ever since disclaimed liability for it?” To which he (Mr. G.) replied: “The first time when I became aware that it was not entered in their accounts, in conformity with the entries made under my direction here, was last spring, a few days before I resigned office, and the information reached me in answer to an enquiry of mine, as to whether the balances shown in the Public Accounts, as due to the financial agents, corresponded with the accounts as rendered by them. I was then informed that the £25,000 had never been credited in their accounts. When I resigned office, I requested Mr. Langton, the Auditor, to draw the immediate attention of my successor to this circumstance as being one that required immediate correspondence and explanation. I have no further knowledge of the matter.”

That disposed of the statement that he (Mr. G.) intentionally allowed the matter to remain quiescent after it came to his knowledge. And his statement on this point was corroborated by the remarks that fell from the Hon. Mr. Howland the other night, by which it appeared that Mr. Langdon had informed his (Mr. Galt’s) successor, in the office of Finance Minister, of the matter.

Now that honorable gentleman (Mr. Howland) was asked this question:—“There is a difference amounting to $100,000 between the Government and the London agents of the Province; have you had any personal communication with them on the subject? If so, when and what.” He answered the Commissioners as follows:—“On the 19th November last, being in London, I had an interview with Messrs. Glyn, in the course of which I expressed a desire to know whether they could furnish me with any further information than they had already communicated by letter, with reference to the charge of $100,000 in the books of the Province, made as against the London agents, on account of advance to the city of Montreal.

At the same time, I read an extract from a letter of Mr. Galt to Mr. Reiffenstein, directing the entry to be made against the agents, and I called the attention of the Messrs. Glyn to the fact that, in giving this directions, Mr. Galt had connected it with another transaction relating to the Northern Railway, which I hoped would enable them to recall to their recollection the circumstances connected with the interview with Mr. Galt, at which, according to his letter, the matter had been spoken of and arranged. I also requested Messrs. Glyn to examine and inform me whether they had held any securities payable by the city of Montreal, that had been paid by this arrangement. Messrs. Glyn, seur. and junr., stated that they had no recollection whatever of the transaction,” and so forth.

Antoine-Aimé Dorion [Hochelaga]—You will find letters before that—a letter of the 19th September.

Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke, Minister of Finance] said it was quite certain that no correspondence took place on the matter till the end of September. The point, however, was one to which he attached little importance. He would draw attention to the fact that he gave evidence in regard to this matter on the 23rd March. And what did we find in the Report of the Financial Commission? Why, that the gentleman who succeeded Hon. Mr. Howland as Finance Minister [Luther Holton] waited until the 14th December following before he communicated what he (Mr. G.) had stated on this important subject to the Financial Agents, and waited until the gentleman to whom he had referred as having been present on the occasion, and who was consequently in a position to corroborate his (Mr. Galt’s) statement was dead.

He had occasion to complain, the other evening, of hon. gentlemen opposite having allowed very injurious charges to be made against him in the Report of the Financial Commission and that, after they had received evidence calculated to remove those injurious imputations, they had not given them publicity. The Financial Commissioners declared in their second Report, as follows:

“In their first Report, the Commissioners recited at some length the circumstances connected with the payment of $100,000 for the redemption of Montreal city bonds, for which the Grand Trunk Railway Company was primarily responsible. Some emphasis was placed upon a transaction by which the Railway Company and the city of Montreal equally profited, and which was marked by a degree of disingenuousness amounting to deception, which cannot be too severely condemned. The question, who were the bona fide holders of the bonds at the time of their redemption by Mr. Galt,—remained to be answered. It is unanswered still.”

And, in another portion of the Report it is stated:

“From whom the New York Agents of the Bank of British North America received the $55,000 they decline to tell. Their reticence is a circumstance not calculated to remove the cloud which overhangs the whole transaction.”

Immediately after this statement came to light, he wrote to the manager of the Bank of British North America, intimating that the statement made respecting the matter was calculated to raise a suspicion as to his (Mr. Galt’s) and the other members of the Cabinet having had an interest in the redemption of this bonds. He requested the bank to forward the fullest information in their power with regard to all those matters, and the answers received from Mr. Paiton were in his (Mr. Galt’s) possession, in Quebec, and could have been produced had any notice of this motion—this attack upon his character, as an individual, been given by hon. gentlemen opposite. Mr. Paiton replied, stating he had communicated with his New York agents, and fully recognized his (Mr. Galt’s) right to the information, and would endeavor to obtain it.

In the course of four or five days afterwards, he was informed that Mr. Paiton had forwarded the information to the Financial Commission. That correspondence took place immediately before the opening of the House, and, if he recollected right, the second Report of the Commission, some weeks before the House met in February last. The information from Mr. Paiton was certainly sent to the then Government. At that time he believed that the course taken by gentlemen opposite, in regard to this matter, had been a fair one towards him, on hearing that the letter had been transferred to the Provincial Secretary.

But his (Mr. Galt’s views on this point had since changed, and he believed that the letter was sent to the Provincial Secretary’s Office for the purpose of its remaining there in the pigeon-hole—a more unfair and more unprovoked course to a political opponent was never undertaken.

Antoine-Aimé Dorion [Hochelaga]—To what letter do you refer?

Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke, Minister of Finance]—To the letter sent to Mr. Sheppard, of the Commission, by Mr. Paiton. A more unfair thing towards a political opponent was never done than to leave lying in the pigeon-hole of the Provincial Secretary’s Office a letter, the terms of which entirely removed every imputation that could be cast either against him personally or his colleagues in the Government, as having been interested in the redemption of those bonds. He was surprised that a question such as this should have been brought up [Illegible]ly as a personal attack against himself.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—No, no.

Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke, Minister of Finance]—Yes. Who was attacked if not himself (Mr. Galt.) Never was a more cowardly act done than for the Opposition to attack an individual member of an administration, whom they were afraid to assail as a body.

Some Hon. MembersLoud cheers and counter cheers.

Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke, Minister of Finance]—It well became the hon. gentleman opposite to prate about their devotion to the interests of the country, when the two administrations composed from amongst them had, daring the two years they held the reigns of power, neglected to take any action in this matter.

Some Hon. MembersCheers.

Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke, Minister of Finance]—Hon. gentlemen opposite, before bringing forward their charges against him, in relation to this item, had waited till the gentleman was dead who could have corroborated his (Mr. Galt’s) statements in every particular. He did not thank hon. gentlemen opposite for their conduct towards him in regard to this matter—it was most unfair and unwarranted treatment of a political opponent. Did they suppose that the passing of this motion would affect the Government. If he (Mr. G.) were the only objectionable man of this Ministry, let the Opposition attack him in a manly way, and say his being in the Ministry was objectionable to the country. To bring forward a motion such as this, respecting transactions of five years ago, and in reference to a Ministry, only three members of which were now in the present Government, with a view of damaging it—to do so in this unfair manner was a most unworthy course to take. If the House had not a sufficient appreciation of what was done by one party to their political opponents they would vote for this motion, and in that case he should be perfectly satisfied to stand the consequences of it.

Some Hon. MembersCheers.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay] said this motion was not an attack against the hon. Finance Minister [Alexander Galt] as a private individual, but as a Minister, and against the Government to which he belonged. The transaction called in question at this time was one of the most indefensible in which any Government was ever interested.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—The only charge he (Mr. Holton) brought against the hon. gentleman (Mr. Galt) was great irregularity and looseness in the management of his department; and that was all, he presumed, other hon. members on the Opposition side of the House intended to charge him with. Hon. gentlemen wished to know why this matter was not brought up before—why it was only agitated now? They should bear in mind that this was the first opportunity we had of bringing it up. The transaction had never appeared on record in its true character, it had been ante-dated, in fact, in order to avoid difficulty. It did not appear in the Public Accounts for 1860 or 1861—it was not to be found anywhere.—The hon. gentleman concluded by explaining and justifying, at great length, his view of the $100,000 transaction.

William Howland [York West] also made some explanations which were inaudible in the gallery.

George-Étienne Cartier [Montreal East, Attorney-General East] denounced the motion of the hon. member for Hochelaga [Antoine-Aimé Dorion] as a most inopportune motion. It was an attack, not on the present Government now on the administrative acts of the present Government—it was directed against the hon. gentleman who held the office of Finance Minister in the present Government [Alexander Galt] for a course of action taken by the same hon. gentleman, several years ago, when a member of the Cartier-Macdonald Government.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

George-Étienne Cartier [Montreal East, Attorney-General East]—Why did not the Opposition adopt the course which manly straightforward enemies would have adopted—why did they not move a motion of want of confidence or a motion attacking some portion of the policy of the Government?

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

George-Étienne Cartier [Montreal East, Attorney-General East]—They tried to produce the impression that the matter under discussion involved some grave cause of censure upon the present Government; but the pretention was hollow and flimsy in the extreme; and it was worthy of the presumption which had always characterized the hon. member for Hochelaga (Mr. Dorion) to make a motion setting forth such an unfounded statement.

Some Hon. MembersLaughter and cheers.

George-Étienne Cartier [Montreal East, Attorney-General East]—It would have been the duty of the hon. member for Chateauguay (Mr. Holton) to make this motion; but he shrunk from the attack, although he made a speech in support of it and attempted to defend his conduct by saying that the motion sought to censure an administrative act and was not intended as a personal attack. This attempted distinction, however, had no application whatever, and the House would know how to appreciate this special pleading, just as the hon. member for Sherbrooke (Mr. Galt) would accept at their proper value the professions of friendship in which the hon. member for Chateauguay [Luther Holton] had so liberally indulged after framing the resolutions which singled him out for personal attack.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

George-Étienne Cartier [Montreal East, Attorney-General East]—Hon. members should clearly understand that it was not a direct, manly assault upon the Government, but a miserable and an unworthy attempt to condemn a transaction of some five years age, with which

  • (p. 198)

the name of the Hon. Finance Minister [Alexander Galt] was coupled.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

George-Étienne Cartier [Montreal East, Attorney-General East]—Was there any precedent for such a course to be found in English parliamentary practice? No, he hesitated not to say there was no precedent, no justification whatever for such a course. Would Lord Derby, for instance, move a vote of censure upon Lord Palmerston and his Government because of the acts of Lord John Russell several years ago?

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

George-Étienne Cartier [Montreal East, Attorney-General East]—The noble lord whose name he (Mr. Cartier) had last mentioned, had so mismanaged matters in his capacity of minister plenipotentiary on a certain occasion, that his acts had been disavowed by his colleagues, yet would Mr. D’Israeli or any other hon. gentleman think of singling out this past act, and attempting to cast blame on Lord Palmerston’s Government because of it?

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

George-Étienne Cartier [Montreal East, Attorney-General East]—No, such a thing never occurred and never would occur in the English Parliament. It was necessary to come to Canada and to have to deal with the present Opposition, in order to behold such an act. It was reserved for one so distinguished by his presumption as the hon. member for Hochelaga (Mr. Dorion) to be the author of this act. He (Hon. Mr. Cartier) hoped that hon. members—after hearing these explanations—would understand the precise nature and application of this motion. The real and only object of this attack was to create a prejudice against the city of Montreal; and the motive which actuated this conduct was the fact that the hon. member for Hochelaga (Mr. Dorion) and the hon. member for Chateauguay (Mr. Holton) had received their conge from the people of Montreal.

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

George-Étienne Cartier [Montreal East, Attorney-General East]—Now this sum of $100,000 to which reference was made, was not lost to the Province, as hon. gentlemen pretended.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

George-Étienne Cartier [Montreal East, Attorney-General East]—There was the sworn testimony of the hon. Finance Minister [Alexander Galt] to the contrary. The reimbursement of the money was certain. But if it happened that this payment was not secured to the country, upon whom did the blame rest? Why upon those hon. gentlemen who succeeded the hon. member for Sherbrooke [Alexander Galt] in office, and who, instead of following up the matter closely, acknowledged to have completely lost sight of it.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

George-Étienne Cartier [Montreal East, Attorney-General East]—They had blundered, and now they attempted to thrust the responsibility and the blame upon others. If the motion now under discussion had been made by the ex-Finance Minister [Luther Holton] it might perhaps be looked upon as sincere; but, coming from the hon. member for Hochelaga (Mr. Dorion) it was insincere—nay, it was hypocritical, inasmuch as it was unfair, unjust and dictated by personal hostility.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

George-Étienne Cartier [Montreal East, Attorney-General East]—He repeated that it could not be characterized otherwise than as a hypocritical and miserable attack. Such a thing would never have taken place in the English Parliament and he (Mr. Cartier) was sure the good sense of the House would unhesitatingly condemn it.

Some Hon. MembersCheers.

Antoine-Aimé Dorion [Hochelaga] replied in a brief speech.

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

After the recess—

Paul Denis [Beauharnois], in a short but eloquent speech, defended the Government and denounced the motion of the hon. member for Hochelaga (Mr. Dorion.)

Christopher Dunkin [Brome] disclaimed anu personal feeling in the vote he was about to give; but condemned the transaction under discussion. His duty prevented him, therefore, from taking any other course but to vote for Hon. Mr. Dorion’s amendment.

Isaac Buchanan [Hamilton, President Executive Council] spoke against the motion of the hon. member for Hochelaga [Antoine-Aimé Dorion].

Thomas D’Arcy McGee [Montreal West, Minister of Agriculture and Statistics] desired to draw attention to the very peculiar nature of this motion. Five years after the transaction referred to therein took place, and two years after the Government under whose regime it occurred had ceased to exist, hon. gentlemen had at last come to the conclusion that it was their duty to bring a motion of censure before the House. Hon. gentlemen on the Treasury benches might, however, console themselves with the belief that there was no administrative act of the present Government deserving of censure, since the Opposition had to try back five years for a cause, and endeavor thus to get together a fragmentary support which they could not otherwise hope to obtain.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Thomas D’Arcy McGee [Montreal West, Minister of Agriculture and Statistics]—It was an unusual thing in Parliamentary tactics to make a particular attack on any individual Minister. And it should be borne in mind, too, that when any hon. gentleman was singled out as the object of individual censure, full notice was given to him beforehand. This was the practice pursued in the British Parliament, and it was a fair and honorable practice. It had been observed by Mr. Sandys, who, before attacking Sir. R. Walpole, crossed the floor of the House, and notified him of the fact that he intended to do so. It was surprising to find the hon. members for Hochelaga [Antoine-Aimé Dorion] and North Ontario [William McDougall] lending their support to such a motion as that now under discussion; and it was surprising also to find the hon. member for Chateauguay [Luther Holton], while loudly professing friendship for the hon. Finance Minister [Alexander Galt], yet bringing forward the heavy artillery of his declamation to hear upon him in condemnation.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Thomas D’Arcy McGee [Montreal West, Minister of Agriculture and Statistics]—If he might venture on such a comparison, it was like the conduct of Joab, as related in the sacred volume, who, while caressing his friend Amasa with one hand, and saying to him “How is it with thee, my brother,” smote under the fifth rib with the weapon he held in his other hand.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Thomas D’Arcy McGee [Montreal West, Minister of Agriculture and Statistics]—Such was the personal friendship of the hon. member for Chateauguay [Luther Holton] for his dear friend the Finance Minister [Alexander Galt].—The hon. gentleman then went on to refer to the Financial and Departmental Commission, saying that he had had no objection to the formation of the Commission, because he was desirous we should have full information, on oath, on certain subjects; but he would say what he had voluntarily declared before—that the Commission was a failure, so far as bringing home to members of the former Government any malfeasance of office.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Thomas D’Arcy McGee [Montreal West, Minister of Agriculture and Statistics]—All it proved was that there was looseness in our departmental system, and that it needed reform and improvement. The House and the country had been led to expect awful revelations; but the only shadow of a case which hon. gentlemen could attempt to raise, by misleading the public, was this $100,000 transaction. And here he (Mr. McGee) would remark that the only accusers of Montreal, in this matter, were the rejected of Montreal—these who had been ignominiously driven from that city.

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

Thomas D’Arcy McGee [Montreal West, Minister of Agriculture and Statistics]—The hon. gentleman then went into a lengthy, eloquent and lucid explanation of the $100,000 case, quoting from the evidence of the Commission. He concluded by denouncing the motion before the House as frivolous and vexations, and expressing a hope that it would be treated as such.

Some Hon. MembersCheers.

John Cameron [Peel] said there could be no doubt that, as had been said, this motion was merely a picking out and an assault on one hon. member of the Government, because the Opposition was afraid to attack the Administration as a body.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Cameron [Peel]—But this motion, if successful, could lead to no result as regards the position of the Government. The hon. gentleman proceeded to eulogise the character and ability of the Finance Minister [Alexander Galt], asserting that there could be no comparison between him and any other members who had filled the same office form many years, in regard of fitness. And the members on the Ministerial side of the House were desirous of preventing the success of any attempt to exclude the present Finance Minister [Alexander Galt] from holding office.

Some Hon. MembersCheers.

John Cameron [Peel]—He would move in amendment

That all after the word “that” in the amendment be struck out, and the following words substituted:—

“A resolution, the intention of which is to object to the regularity of any official act of a single member of a Ministry now existing, and after two successive Ministries have not considered it necessary to act in the matter, can accomplish no good purpose, but would serve only to obstruct the business of the country.”

A question of order was raised as regards the above amendment, and after some discussion thereon—

The Speaker was understood to decide that both according to the English practice and that which had prevailed here, only one amendment could be proposed to the motion that the House go into Committee of Supply.

John Rose [Montreal Centre] said this was the third vote of want of confidence proposed in a House not elected at the insurance of the present Government, against it by hon. gentlemen opposite, many of whom had declared they would afford it a fair trial.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—He asked those anxious to go on with the business of the country whether it was a fair or honorable course to propose a motion like that before the House at this particular time? He would ask those hon. gentlemen opposite, not insensible to the ties of personal friendship, if this were not a cruel, cowardly attack by the member for Chateauguay [Luther Holton] on a gentleman in the Government to whom he professed personal friendship. It was left to that hon. gentleman, (Mr. Holton) who was a party to this motion—who had not a single follower in the House, to bring forward all those obstructive motions which had really nothing to do with the policy of the present Government. How was it that, notwithstanding the fact that all the information in reference to this sum of $100,000 was in possession of the two preceding Governments, they did nothing whatever to recover this large amount. The transaction which had been condensed was a perfectly fair one, and he recorded the conduct of the Opposition in this matter as a factious attempt to defeat the Government and obtain office themselves.

Some Hon. MembersCheers.

Arthur Rankin [Essex] disclaimed any feeling of factiousness in dealing with any subject before the House. He had no desire to cast an imputation on the character or honor of the Finance Minister [Alexander Galt] for whose talents and motives he entertained the highest respect. But, he (Mr. R.) could not approve of the transaction before the House, in itself, and this being so, he must vote for the amendment.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Thomas Street [Welland] said the Ministry had brought in a bill to prevent any public expenditure without the authority of Parliament, and he was not prepared to vote for a motion which would have the effect of defeating the Government and prevent their carrying this excellent measure into effect. The result of this vote would be either to drive the Government from power or compel them to apply to the Governor General [Viscount Monck] for permission to appeal the country for its decision.

Some Hon. MembersOpposition cheers.

Thomas Street [Welland]—As the hon. Finance Minister [Alexander Galt] had shown an honest desire and great ability to administer the financial affairs of the country, and as the Government had introduced various admirable measures and accomplished much in the way by wise legislation, he, for one, would not vote to defeat such a worthy administration, and also destroy the good work already accomplished.

Richard Cartwright [Lennox & Addington] defended the Government from the attacks made against it, and stated his determination to oppose the amendment.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke, Minister of Finance] said that gentlemen opposite, in attempting to impose upon him individually a responsibility which did not thus belong to him, did an injustice. He was willing to accept his share of the responsibility for the acts of the Cartier-Macdonald Government, and he was sure that his brother colleagues would not shrink from assuming their share of all the responsibility attaching to the conduct of that Government. The Opposition not being able to charge the present Government with any act either of commission or omission, brought forward a charge, or motion of censure in reference to a transaction of the Government in existence five years ago, in order to deprive his hon. friends beside him of the confidence of this House.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke, Minister of Finance]—The present Government, only ten short weeks ago, had accepted the reins and responsibilities of office, which gentlemen opposite had abandoned, and had brought forward those measures of public utility which their predecessors in office had, for two years, neglected to bring down.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Alexander Galt [Sherbrooke, Minister of Finance]—The present Government had endeavored to do its duty, and had accomplished sufficient already during its short tenure of office, more than its predecessors, and sufficient to ensure the confidence of the country, which the late Government never possessed, and which the present course of the Opposition would certainly not command. He was prepared to accept the verdict of the House on the conduct and policy of the Government of which he was a member, as also upon the motion under discussion.

Some Hon. MembersCheers.

Thomas Ferguson [Simcoe South] defended the Government in an able, argumentative speech, a report of which want of space and the lateness of the hour prevented our giving. He concluded by declaring his confidence in the Administration, and intention of giving it a fair and generous support, to which by its conduct in the past, and policy for the future, it was justly entitled.

Thomas Scatcherd [Middlesex West] spoke in favor of the motion.

The division was then taken on Antoine-Aimé Dorion [Hochelaga]’s motion, which was carried on the following division:



Bell (Lanark)
Dorion (Drummond & Arthabaska)
Dorion (Hochelaga)
Dufresne (Iberville),
Macdonald (Cornwall)
Macdonald (Glengarry)
Macdonald (Toronto West)
Mackenzie (Lambton)
Mackenzie (Oxford North)
Ross (Prince Edward)
Smith (Toronto East)
Smith (Durham East)
Wallbridge (Hastings North)
and Wright (York East)—60.



Bell (Russell)
Cartier (Attorney-General)
De Boucherville
Dufresne (Montcalm)
Ferguson (Frontenac)
Ferguson (Simcoe South)
Jones (Leeds & Grenville North)
Jones (Leeds South)
Le Boutillier
Macdonald (Attorney-General)
Ross (Champlain),
Ross (Dundas)
and Wright (Ottawa County)—58.

  • (p. 199)

On motion of John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West], the House them as a quarter to twelve p. m., adjourned.


[1] The newspaper report is missing Cameron’s name–we have inserted it. For the vote and the Report see Province of Canada, Legislative Assembly, Journals of the Legislative Assembly, Vol. XXIII, 1864 at 383-384.

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