Province of Canada, Legislative Assembly, Scrapbook Debates, 8th Parl, 2nd Sess, (22 February 1864)

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Date: 1864-02-22
By: Province of Canada (Parliament)
Citation: Province of Canada, Parliament, Scrapbook Debates, 8th Parl, 2nd Sess, 1864 at 2-3.
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                                               MONDAY, Feb. 22nd., 1864.

The SPEAKER took the Chair at three o’clock.


The following, among several other petitions, were presented:

By Mr. WHITE.— To restrict the sale of spirituous liquors.

By Mr. LANGEVIN— From certain inhabitants of St. Isidore, praying for an additional colonization grant.

By Mr. BELLEROSE— From certain inhabitants of St. Vincent de Paul, relative to the Terrebonne Turnpike Roads.


Among the Petitions to be “read and received,” was one from G. C. Dessaulles, and others of St. Hyacinthe, complaining of the undue election and return of Remi Raymond, Esq., for St. Hyacinthe.

Mr. LANEGVIN— Is the petition dated?

The SPEAKER (after examining the petition) said he found no date at the conclusion of the petition. It, however, bore the Speaker’s endorsation of the date of the 15th October last, shewing that the required recognizances had been entered into.

Mr. LANGEVIN desired, under the circumstances, to put the question in a direct manner. Could the petition be received if it was not dated?

The SPEAKER examined the statute, and was understood to say that the law required that the election petition should be endorsed by the Speaker; but that it did not appear it was necessary that it should be dated at the conclusion.

Hon. Mr. CARTIER said the fact that the law required that the petition should be endorsed by the Speaker did not go to say that all other established formalities should be dispensed with. It was the practice of Parliament that petitions should be dated as well as signed.

Hon. J. S. MACDONALD argued that if the endorsation of the Speaker showed that the petition had been filed within the required delay, all necessary formalities had been fulfilled. The Act of Parliament did not say that the petition should be dated.

The SPEAKER was understood to reply that the practice could not over-ride the law of the land as set forth by the statute.

Hon. Mr. BROWN said the date might be added to the petition at the clerk’s table, not the attention of the member who presented it being directed by the Speaker to the fact that it was not dated. It might be so amended and presented in proper form next day. But nobody ever heard of a petition being rejected for such a cause, inasmuch— as he already observed— the required amendment might be so easily made.

Hon. Mr. McGEE contended that it was in the highest degree essential that the petition should be dated. It was necessary, according to law, that as election petition should be presented within a certain delay. Now, if the petition bore no date, what was there to show that it had been presented within the required time.— The hon. gentleman cited the statute in support of his argument.

Hon. Mr. CARTIER contended that it was the practice daily observed in the House, to require the dating of all petitions. Unless duly dated, no such petition could be received.

Hon. Mr. BROWN said ever since he had been in Parliament, he had seen petitions received which were not dated. He had never heard a fatal objection to a petition on this score.

Hon. Mr. CARTIER maintained that it was necessary that all election petitions should be regularly dated, when, in fact, ordinary petitions required to have the date affixed.

Hon. Mr. MCDOUGALL raised a question of order. He objected to the Hon. Mr. Cartier’s continuing the discussion, when the Speaker had decided the matter.

After a few words from Hon. Mr. CARTIER, in the same sense as before,

Hon. Mr. FOLEY said the complaint contained in this petition was that the person returned as member for St. Hyacinthe ought not to have been returned. If the petition be without a date, he would like to know how we could decide to what particular election it referred? If the petition was dated 1864, it would show at once reference was made to the last election; but if no date was set down, no one could say to what election the document referred. The fact of two elections for that consistency having taken place in 1863 did not tend to elucidate the matter.

Hon. Mr. ALLEYN contended that the law and practice of the House demanded the dating of all petitions of this nature.

The matter then dropped.


Reports were received from nearly all the Committees on contested elections relative to the absence of members of those Committees. The usual motions were made and adopted, requiring their presence in their places in the House tomorrow.


Mr. FORD JONES, the new member for South Leeds, was introduced by the Hon. J. A. Macdonald and Hon. T. D. McGee, and took his seat on the Opposition side of the House amend loud cheers.


ohn Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall, Premier, Attorney-General West, and Minister of Militia] said the Government had as yet received no official intimation of the birth of an heir to H. R. H. the Prince of Wales, but notwithstanding he took this, the earliest opportunity enjoyed, of presenting to the House a motion for an address of congratulation to Her Majesty the Queen, and also to Their Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Wales on this auspicious event. The motion would read as follows: he would move

“That an humble address be presented to Her Majesty the Queen, congratulating her on the recent increase of the Royal Family by Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales having been delivered of a Prince; and to express our great joy at this auspicious event.”

George-Étienne Cartier [Montreal East] rose to second the motion.— He said he had no objection whatever to second the motion presented by the Hon. Attorney General West [John Sandfield Macdonald], which every member on this side of the House would willingly support. He had, at the same time, both on behalf of himself and the members on his side of the House, to express his regret at the omission of this subject from the Speech of His Excellency the Governor-General [Viscount Monck].

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

George-Étienne Cartier [Montreal East]—If it were true that Her Majesty’s advisers were

  • (p. 2 in the primary document)

not aware of the fact that the Royal Family and British subjects everywhere had been blessed with an addition to the Royal House, there would have been some excuse for this omission. But they must have known of the matter, having the speech made at the opening of the Imperial Parliament, containing this announcement, before them. Surely there could be no more official announcement than this. They, on this side of the House, as the Speaker knew from their past conduct, were always willing to supply any neglect or short-coming on the part of Her Majesty’s Ministers.

Some Hon. MembersLaughter and cheers.

George-Étienne Cartier [Montreal East]—And certainly a more unjustifiable piece of neglect than that exhibited in the present instance had never come to his knowledge.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

George-Étienne Cartier [Montreal East]—The Ministry were, however, so much occupied with the work of prolonging their own existence that they had actually overlooked or forgotten the commencement of the existence of the young Prince.

Some Hon. MembersLaughter.

George-Étienne Cartier [Montreal East]—If the Government had included this subject in the Speech from the Throne, it would have been our duty to vote, before answering to the other clauses, an address of congratulation to Her Majesty on this auspicious event.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall, Premier, Attorney-General West, and Minister of Militia], in reply, complained that the honorable gentleman from Montreal East [George-Étienne Cartier] had introduced a quantity of irrelevant matter into his remarks to the House. The official announcement of the birth of the young Prince was first seen in the telegraphic summary of the Queen’s speech, which had been received on Saturday. He begged to assure honorable gentlemen on his (Mr. Macdonald’s) side, were quite as loyal as they were, and quite as ready to fulfil the duties which loyalty and patriotism required of them.

Thomas D’Arcy McGee [Montreal West] said there was a right way and a wrong way of doing everything; and the latter had been pursued in this matter by the Hon. Attorney General West [John Sandfield Macdonald]. He (Mr. McGee) had no desire whatever to see a protracted discussion on a motion of this kind, but he did think the Government owed an apology not only to this House and to the country at large; but also, in so far as possible, to the august personage to whom it was proposed to present the address, for the tardy and improper manner in which it was now being done. The Governor of New Brunswick [Arthur Hamilton-Gordon] had very properly announced the important fact in question, to the Legislature of that Province at its opening; and it was left for the Government General of British North America to pass it over in silence. He, of course, felt that it was an unintentional omission, but it was, nevertheless, of a most unfortunate nature, and it should have been repaired with some apology, instead of seeking to justify it, as the Hon. Attorney General West [John Sandfield Macdonald] had done. The great majority of the members of this House would concur with the expression of regret uttered by the honorable member for Montreal East [George-Étienne Cartier] at the omission in question.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall, Premier, Attorney-General West, and Minister of Militia] then made the usual formal motion, appointing a Committee to draft the Address.

This was followed up the usual motions, adopting an address to His Excellency [Viscount Monck], respecting the transmission of the Address, and adopting also a congratulatory message to their Royal Highness the Prince and Princess of Wales.

John A. Macdonald [Kingston] suggested an amendment to the draft of the address. The snobbery of the official bulletin which spoke of Her Royal Highness as having been “delivered of a Prince.” had been denounced by the whole press of England, almost without exception. He observed that the same style of expression had been followed in the Address which it was proposed to present. He was sure that the hon. Premier [John Sandfield Macdonald] would not object to the suggestion that the word “Prince” should be struck out, and the word “boy” or “son” substituted. This would be far more natural, more appropriate and more hearty.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall, Premier, Attorney-General West, and Minister of Militia] at once agreed to the alternation, which was therefore made with the general consent of the House.


George-Étienne Cartier [Montreal East] said that, if not asking too much, he desired to request the leader of the Government to consent to the postponement of the consideration of the address until tomorrow. Several members belonging to the Opposition side of the House were yet on their way to the capital, and of course they desired to have as large a number as possible present as its consideration.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall, Premier, Attorney-General West, and Minister of Militia] said there was no desire to force on the discussion. He therefore consented to the postponement.


Thomas D’Arcy McGee [Montreal West] inquired if the papers relating to the Intercolonial Railway would be brought down before the paragraph in the Address relating to that subject came up for consideration.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall, Premier, Attorney-General West, and Minister of Militia] replied that it was not customary to bring down any such papers until the Address was voted. As soon as possible thereafter they would be laid upon the table.

John Sandfield Macdonald [Cornwall, Premier, Attorney-General West, and Minister of Militia] seconded by Antoine-Aimé Dorion [Hochelaga, Attorney-General East], moved

That the House adjourn until tomorrow.


The House according adjourned at five minutes past four.

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