Province of Canada, Legislative Assembly, Scrapbook Debates, 8th Parl, 2nd Sess, (16 June 1864)

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Date: 1864-06-16
By: Province of Canada (Parliament)
Citation: Province of Canada, Parliament, Scrapbook Debates, 8th Parl, 2nd Sess, 1864 at 199-200.
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THURSDAY, 16th June, 1864.       

The SPEAKER took the Chair at three o’clock.


The SPEAKER laid before the House the telegram received from the St. John, N. B., Chamber of Commerce, inviting the members of both Houses of Parliament to meet them at Shediac after the prorogation.

Some remarks, which were inaudible in the Reporters’ Gallery, were made on the subject by one or two hon. members.

Hon. Mr. MCGEE suggested that there would be no harm at least in saying that we were much obliged to the citizens of St. John’s for the invitation; but that circumstances might prevent us from accepting it.

The matter then dropped.


Hon. Mr. HOWLAND presented the final Report of the Terrebonne Election Committee, declaring Mr. L. Labreche-Viger duly elected, and declaring that neither the petition for the defence was frivolous or verations[?].


The members of the North Waterloo Election Committee were sworn in, and

On motion of Mr. ARCHEAMBAULT, the petition complaining of an undue election was referred to that Committee.


Hon. Mr. SIMPSON laid on the table the Report of the Chief Superintendent of Education, for Upper Canada, for 1863.

Also, a return relative to the sale, forfeiture and resale of the Wallace Mine.

Ministerial Explanations

John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West]—Mr. Speaker,—As I have already stated, owing to the vote of the House on Tuesday night last, the Government felt it their duty to communicate with His Excellency [Viscount Monck]; and we are not yet in a position to state what was the nature of that communication. I therefore move that the House do now adjourn.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall]—Before I make any observations on the proposition of the hon. member for Kingston [John A. Macdonald] to adjourn the House, I should like to ask the Government if any resignations have been tendered by any of the members of the Cabinet and by whom?

John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West]—There have been no resignations.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall]—That is satisfactory, because any resignations would have been acts which we should have had a right to know. The branch of the question discussed here yesterday is still open to the same argument. I am not aware of any precedent of an adjournment being asked for on the second day after the defeat of a ministry, without some announcement more pertinent to the occasion being made, or some foundation on public grounds being shown why the House should adjourn. We might have been expected, on the second day after the crisis, to have addressed His Excellency [Viscount Monck], or have given notice of an address praying him to form a strong administration to carry on the affairs of the country. That would have been no disrespect. We would have been only offering that advice which we have a right to give on an occasion of such importance. The hon. member for Kingston [John A. Macdonald] said yesterday and repeats to-day that the Government had tendered advice to His Excellency [Viscount Monck], but nothing as to the nature of the communication could be made know. No doubt he required time to deliberate on the course to be pursued, and I, believing the statement made by the hon gentlemen. As to what the Government have done, and the position in which they are placed, as far as I am [Illegible], will now propose to press the question. This state of things cannot, at this season of the year, last much longer. The patience of the House and the country would soon be exhausted were this crisis to continue. It was necessary that a Government should be speedily formed and the business of the country proceeded with.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—I desire to occupy the time of this House for an instant, on a matter somewhat personal to myself—which has been made personal to me, I think, unproperly. I understand that, while I was out of the House the other night, the hon. member for Montreal Centre (Mr. Rose) charged me with having violated the obligations of personal friendship heretofore existing between the hon. Finance Minister [Alexander Galt] and myself, by the course that I saw fit, in the discharge of my duty as a member of this House, to adopt in reference to the motion which was under debate on Tuesday last. I desire to ask the hon. member for Montreal Centre [John Rose] whether I have been correctly informed—whether he did, in the debate, and afterwards, elsewhere, charge me with having, by an act of mine in this House, been guilty of violating the obligations of private friendship in reference to the hon. Finance Minister [Alexander Galt]?

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—I am not aware that the hon. gentleman had any right to ask me what occurred in the public debate in this House. What I stated was in the hearing of every member of this House; and what I many have stated out of doors, privately, I am personally and individually responsible for.

Some Hon. MembersCheers.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—The answer does not surprise me, knowing as I do that hon. gentleman. But, out of courtesy to him and respect to the House, I chose to put the question, before proceeding with any remarks on this matter. I took occasion, it having become my duty, as I conceived, to speak to the motion early in the debate, after replying to the hon. member for Sherbrooke (Mr. Galt) to state, to the strongest term I could use, that he was entirely mistaken in attempting to make a personal quarrel of this motion; that it was wholly a political issue; that I wished, at all events, to invite the judgement of Parliament upon an administrative act of a former government with which that hon. gentleman was connected; and that it was in no respect an attack on himself personally, on his integrity or honor, so far as I was concerned.

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

Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—I stated it explicitly, and I think that every hon. gentleman who hears me, and who was then present, will confirm my assertions. But are we to be d[Illegible]ed, because we happen to have had private personal

  • (p. 200)

relations with hon. gentlemen on the opposite side, from expressing our opinion of their public sets? When I occupied the seat lately occupied by the hon. Finance Minister [Alexander Galt], did I receive may extraordinary amount of political forbearance from him because of the personal relations that had theretofore subsided between us? Did I ever ask for such—were those relations ever a moot-point in the debate? On the contrary, during my whole term of office, that hon. gentleman gave to the Administration of which I was a member the most untiring, and, sometimes, as I thought, the most unreasonable opposition. And yet did I ever talk of our personal relations as a reason why he should change his course? And why do hon. gentlemen now charge me because I, on Tuesday last, united with the majority of this House, in condemning an administrative act which I have never failed to condemn when discussed in or out of Parliament. By what right then do hon. gentlemen opposite charge me with violating the relations of personal friendship?

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—I come now to the hon. member for Montreal Centre (Mr. Rose), who said he was not particularly responsible to me for his statements here or elsewhere. I grant that. He has not, however, denied that he was correctly reported, with regard to the point under notice, and I have no doubt whatever, in my own mind, that he was correctly reported. As to his statement that he is not responsible to me or anybody else for what he said, I will say that I choose to hold a member of Parliament responsible here in the face of the country and of the House for any course he may pursue in respect to another hon. gentleman whom he has chosen first publicly to malign and the, in the most dastardly way, privately to slander.

Some Hon. MembersCheers and counter-cheers.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—Who is this hon. gentleman, my accuser, who charges me with violating the sanctities of private friendship? Had he ever a friend or a colleague he did not betray?

Some Hon. Members—Oh! oh! and ironical cheers.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—What has been his course from first to last, since he has entered into public life? I go back to the period when he was stripped of his silk gown by His Excellency Lord Elgin, for his connection with the celebrated annexation movement, of which he was the leader. I go back to that time when he deceived the men with whom he had acted, and sought to regain that badge of professional distinction through the instrumentality of the Attorney-General of that day. And what was his course towards that hon. gentleman subsequently when he became his colleague, in the direction of the Grand Trunk Company? He knows full well what that course was—he knows he sought by every means within his power to stab and ruin that hon. gentleman—through whose favor he had obtained his seat, in order to regain the professional distinction which he had forfeited by reason of his part in the Annexation movement. And come we to his relation with the hon. members for Sherbrooke [Alexander Galt] and Kingston [John A. Macdonald]. Who does not remember the series of diabolical—

Some Hon. MembersLaughter.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—diabolical attacks on those two hon. gentlemen that appeared in the columns of a Montreal newspaper whose editor is the bosom friend, whose paper is the chosen organ—was then, was before, is now—of that hon. gentleman how it charged them with all sorts of public and private profligacies, while the hon. member (Mr. Rose) was acting in the same Council chamber with them.

Some Hon. Members—Oh! oh! and laughter.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—And this is the gentleman who rises in his place to-day, and charges me with the violation of the relations of private friendship, because, boldly, on a political question, fairly discussed before this House, I made observations and gave a vote in reference to the political conduct of an hon. gentleman who has heretofore been my intimate personal friend. I say that of all the men in this House—that honorable gentleman (Mr. Rose) should be the last to make such a charge if well founded, but being utterly unfounded, perhaps he is the most fitting man in this House to make it. I propose saying a word before I sit down, respecting the course which the hon. member for Kingston (Mr. J.A. Macdonald) the leader of Her Majesty’s Government in this House, chose to adopt in reference to the events of Tuesday night. Instead of taking part in the debate, as I think he was bound to do if the Government of which he is a leading member was on its trial—instead of objecting to the line of argument I addressed to this House—he saw fit to make a charge against myself in respect to the course I adopted—saw fit, after the Speaker left the Chair, to address to me language with which no gentleman would sully his mouth, which language I allowed to pass in silence, but which was utterly unworthy of a man who enjoys the confidence of the Sovereign and seeks to obtain the confidence of this House.

Some Hon. Members—Oh, oh, and laughter.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—Having said this much, I dismiss this personal matter, with the repetition of my former statement that, in no respect, was this a personal attack upon the hon. Finance-Minister [Alexander Galt]; and none but the most disingenuous could construe it into a personal attack upon him, or being a proceeding at all at variances with any obligations of personal friendship that may have subsisted between any hon. gentleman and myself.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—I wish to say a few words in reference to the excitement and observations of the hon. gentleman who has just sat down. I stated during a public debate in this House, on Tuesday last, and I repeat what I then said—that I thought the motion, which was subsequently carried, was a personal attach against my hon. friend the Finance Minister [Alexander Galt],—one directed against him personally, and not against the Government of which he was a member.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—I stated that I saw the handwriting of the honourable member for Chateauguay (Mr. Holton) on that motion, and that I thought he ought to be the last individual in this House to make a personal charge against the hon. Finance Minister [Alexander Galt]. I stated this on that occasion, and repeat it now.

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

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—The hon. member for Chateauguay [Luther Holton] has worked himself up into an extraordinary passion with reference to my conduct towards my former colleagues. I will leave them to answer in regard to that matter.

Some Hon. MembersCheers.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—I don’t know whom the hon. gentleman alludes to in saying I received a silk gown from my colleague the then Attorney General West [John A. Macdonald]. I presume he alludes to my hon. friend who now fills that office.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—I mean Hon. John Ross.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—Then, I can only say, with reference to the restoration of my silk gown, that I never asked it at the hands of any individual, either Hon. Mr. Ross or anybody else.

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

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—In relation to the charge against me that there exists a newspaper at Montreal whose editor is my bosom-friend, and who has been in the habit of making injurious accusations against the hon. Attorney General West [John A. Macdonald] and the hon. Finance Minister [Alexander Galt], I really do think that the heat of an exited imagination could not carry any one into a more preposterous or absurd position, or one more ridiculously untrue. I have no more control over that journal then any hon. gentleman in the House—I have nothing and never had anything whatever to do with prompting a single sentiment ever expressed in that paper, with reference to the hon. gentlemen in question, as they well knew, and nothing has ever occurred to mar our personal friendship,

Some Hon. MembersCheers.

Luther Holton [Chateauguay]—(excitedly.)—Hear, hear, hear, hear, (and general laughter.)

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—I hope the hon. gentleman will hear and reflect a little more, and he will not make himself so ridiculous before this House.

Some Hon. MembersRenewed laughter.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—Not only have I not prompted a single sentiment which has ever appeared in the journal referred to, but I have never, to my knowledge, addressed a single line of communication to it, except on one or two occasions, when I published a letter under my own signature with reference to ungrounded personal attacks on my honor made in the interest of the honorable gentleman—I think in connection with the last election. But, really, I do not think I should be either consulting the dignity of this House, or my own personal character, were I to follow the most extraordinary, unwarranted and most ridiculous assertions made by the honorable gentleman opposite.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—I am not certainly one of those who carry the feeling that may be excited by a debate in this House out of it; but I do reserve to myself the right to express my opinion both here and beyond the House; and I shall not be deterred either by the frowns or the solemn denunciations of the hon. member for Chateauguay [Luther Holton] from expressing freely my opinions of the political conduct of any hon. gentleman opposite in reference to public matters.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Rose [Montreal Centre]—And if the hon. gentleman chooses to consider me amenable for my sentiments out of this House, he knows when and where to find me.

Some Hon. MembersLoud cheers.

Lucius Huntington [Shefford] said that he had observed that his charge to the effect that it was a personal and not a political attack which had been made by the hon. member for Chateauguay [Luther Holton] upon the hon. Finance Minister [Alexander Galt], had pervaded the whole debate the other night. He (Mr. Huntington did not wish to see friendly relations disturbed between these hon. gentlemen; but he would be very sorry indeed to see that friendship turned to account for the purpose of saving the Government from the censure which it deserved. It was a little too much of hon. gentlemen opposite to attempt—on the floor of this House and through the press in their interest—to take advantage of the private friendly terms between hon. members, in order to prevent the Government from being thrown into embarrassment. He, for one, was g[Illegible] that friendship had not been turned to such an unworthy account.—The hon. gentleman concluded by deprecating the practice of raising an outcry about the violation of friendship when political matters were being discussed.

George Brown [Oxford South] made a few remarks in the same strain as the hon. member for Shefford [Lucius Huntington].

John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West], after one or two remarks which were inaudible in the Gallery, went on to say that he did not remember having heard the hon. Finance Minister [Alexander Galt], during the debate the other evening, treat this as a personal matter between himself and the hon. member for Chateauguay [Luther Holton]. He did not think that any remark was made by the former or any other hon. member on this side which could be construed in that sense.

Some Hon. MembersCries of “Yes, yes,” and “No, no.”

John A. Macdonald [Kingston, Attorney-General West]—It was to be regretted that such a discussion as the present should have taken place to-day. As to his (Mr. Macdonald’s) course, on Tuesday evening, in not speaking on the motion of the hon. member for Hochelaga (Mr. Dorion) he thought it was quite Parliamentary. He (Mr. Macdonald) believed, on the occasion in question, that the speeches of the hon. Finance Minister [Alexander Galt], the Minister of Agriculture, and other hon. gentlemen on this side of the House, fully covered the ground taken by the Government, and left nothing to be said by him. Believing this to be the case, and not desiring to occupy unnecessarily the time of the House, he thought it his duty to remain silent.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall] remarked that the hon. member for Sherbrooke [Alexander Galt]  was not in his place. He would not now, however, imitate the example of hon. gentlemen opposite last year, with reference to his (Mr. Macdonald’s) Lower Canada colleagues, by asking the reason of the hon. gentleman’s absence.

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

John Scoble [Elgin West] said he did not wish to prolong the debate; but merely to draw the attention of the House to the fact that the closing remarks of the hon. member for Montreal Centre (Mr. Rose) seemed to indicate hostile measures.

Some Hon. Members—Oh, oh, and laughter.

John Scoble [Elgin West]—He sincerely hoped, however, that they were not so intended by that hon. gentleman, and that they would not be so interpreted by the hon. member for Chateauguay (Mr. Holton.) He ventured to suggest that the hon. gentleman (Mr. Rose) should withdraw the remarks in question.

Some Hon. MembersLaughter.

The motion for adjournment was then carried; and the House rose at four o’clock.

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