Province of Canada, Legislative Assembly, Scrapbook Debates, 8th Parl, 2nd Sess, (24 February 1864)
By: Province of Canada (Parliament)
Citation: Province of Canada, Parliament, Scrapbook Debates, 8th Parl, 2nd Sess, 1864 at 17-24.
Other formats: Click here to view the original document (PDF).
WEDNESDAY, Feb. 24, 1864.
The SPEAKER took the chair at 3 o’clock.
Among the petitions presented were the following:
By Mr. IRVINE— From certain inhabitants of Leeds, in the County of Megantic, praying for a grant for Colonization Roads.
By Mr. IRVINE— From the Sons of Temperance, of Inverness, in the County of Megantic, in reference to the Liquor Bill now before the House.
CONTESTED ELECTION COMMITTEES.
The first Order of the Day was for resuming the adjourned debate on the Address:
Mr. WALSH resumed the debate.— He began by observing that resolutions such as those which had been submitted, in reply to the Speech from the Throne, were open to comment as well for what they contained as for what they omitted. In offering a few remarks thereon, he would depart from the general rule which had been adopted, at the beginning of the debate, and would refer, generally, to those paragraphs of the Address which, in his opinion, deserved remark or criticism. In the first place, there was the question of the Militia policy of the Government. On this point, he (Mr. Walsh) might remark that there was a very general feeling throughout the country that our present defensive system was proving inefficient.
It was gratifying to see that unanimity of feeling prevailed among Canadians in relation to this all-important question; and no doubt it was a work of time to create and foster a defensive force. But, with regard to the actual system, he must say it was generally believed, and his own impression, derived from a knowledge of affairs in his own country, was that the experiment of relying entirely on the volunteer system had proved a failure. The reports which would doubtless be submitted to the House of the result of the recent inspections would show that this was more particularly the case in the rural districts. Doubtless, as promised, some suggestions would be made of amendments to the law; and in such case they would meet with the hearty support of members on this side of the House. The next point to thwack he would refer was one which more particularly interested the Western members— he alluded to the Reciprocity Treaty. He hoped the Government and the country would endeavor to maintain it. It was hardly to be believed, for a moment, that the American people would consent to the abrogation of the treaty from which they derived so many advantages.
The next point in the resolutions were the reference to the increase of canal facilities and other improvements of a nature to give additional accommodations to trade. This, he was sure, would meet with equal attention from hon. gentlemen on this side as on the other side. The reference to the Ottawa River improvements, however, was too transparent not to be at once fully seen through by the gentlemen to whom it was more particularly addressed, and on whom it was intended to operate. All we were told to do was to consider the expediency forsooth.
Why, it was to be supposed that the expediency was admitted long ago, and that it was only the means which we were to be called upon to consider. The word expediency, therefore, at once shewed the object and intention of the reference. Next, we had a paragraph devoted to the Intercolonial Railway project. Now he (Mr. Walsh) was not a little surprised to learn from hon. gentleman opposite that the responsibility of the failure of this scheme rested altogether upon the authorities of the Lower Provinces. It had always been his opinion, heretofore, that the blame was to be attributed to our own Government who, last year, sent delegates to England, and then— to use an expressive popular phrase— literally “hacked out” of the whole affair.
(Hear, hear, and cheers.)
We were told that “unforseseen obstacles and arisen.” but it was a fact which could [text ineligible] be denied the these obstacles had been created by the Government themselves. The Speech from the Throne likewise foreshadowed measures for the opening-up of the North-west Territory. This promise, however, afforded ample room for censure upon the Government, inasmuch as their system for the opening-up of our own wild lands was so defective.
He (Mr. Walsh) considered it a faulty and a bad system, for he had long been an advocate of giving free grants of lands, and of opening colonization roads which would give free and easy access to these lands. The policy the Government pursued was the sole reason why the fructifying stream of emigration passed our doors and went to fertilize and open up the Great West. He (Mr. Walsh) likewise felt much grieved and pained at the manner in which the original possessors of the soil, the Red Man of the forest, had been treated by the Government. Now that they were driven to the extremity of the Province, from their possessions, it was a matter of right and justice that the should not be disturbed or interfered with any more. This was the general feeling of the country, and it should not be disregarded. Another intimation which we received in the Speech was that this was probably the last time we should meet in this ancient city of Quebec. Certain influences had been at work which combined to push the public buildings at Ottawa towards rapid completion. One of the strange features of this affair was that many of those who were formerly the greatest enemies of the permanent capital were now among its most ardent friends. Before taking leave of this portion of the subject, he could not avoid saying that it was extremely censurable to endeavor, for political purposes, to induce the representatives of the Ottawa section of the country to believe that the occupants of the Treasury benches were the only sincere friends of Ottawa interests. It was only necessary to refer to the history of last session, so far as the Ottawa question was concerned, to see at once where the merits lay. On that occasion an amendment to the address, moved by the hon. member for Ottawa city, forced the Government into a declaration of their policy— a policy that the hon. member for South Oxford at once declared was entirely at variance with the statements made by the Government to him; and so manifest was their double-dealing on this subject that the Hon. Post Master General, on the following day, tendered his resignation, giving as his reason that when he joined the Administration it was that when he joined the Administration it was with the distinct understanding in his part, that the question of the removal of the Seat of Government to Toronto for a further period was to be treated as an open question. Still later in the same session, the hon. member for South Oxford introduced a resolution for the appointment of a Committee to inquire into and report upon the time when the Buildings at Ottawa could be completed; that resolution, strange to say, was supported with all the influence of the Government, although they had already announced that, from official reports and information in their possession, the Buildings could be completed for the session of 1865. Had the resolution received the support of the Opposition, there can be no doubt but that the result would have been the removal of the seat of Government to Toronto for another five years.The Opposition, however, believing that good faith and the interests of the Province alike demanded the early completion of the Parliamentary Buildings, opposed the appointment of this Committee, and the result of that policy is to be found in the announcement in the Speech from the Throne. From these and man other circumstances, it was not difficult to ascertain who have been from first to last the true friends of Ottawa. Amongst other subjects referred to in the speech was the proposed amendment of the law regulating the registration of titles— a fruitful subject, he must say, inasmuch as it had been alluded to at the commencement of the last two or three sessions, and that a bill on the subject was discussed last session. Now the conduct of the Government, with regard to this subject, had been inconsistent in the extreme, as would at once be seen on reference to their acts. Last session, for instance, we had a measure to re-unite the North and South Ridings of Waterloo for registration purposes, as also a measure to abolish the Registry office of Kingston. Recently, if he (Mr. Walsh) was correctly informed, the Government had actually separated the County of Carleton from the City of Ottawa for registration purposes; thus stultifying their former course, for, if they were right in their first policy they were wrong and inconsistent in their late course.
There was, however, a notable omission in the Speech, viewed from the stand-point of many hon. gentlemen opposite. In former years, if mention was not made of Representation by Population, the Speech was immediately declared by these gentlemen to the family. [text ineligible] word in these Resolutions about this very important subject. It appeared, for this time being at least, to have been allowed quietly to pass beyond the reach of Parliamentary discussion. No doubt, it was because, as had been stated by the hon. Commissioner of Crown Lands, at Ottawa, that the Government had given it up altogether.
It was, however, a somewhat strange spectacle to ace the hon. gentleman (Mr. McDougall) who had abandoned his former political faith on this principle, sitting side by side with, and obtaining support from hon. gentlemen like the hon. Postmaster-General and the hon. member for South Oxford. It would serve, however, to convince the country that these hon. gentlemen were really never sincere in their advocacy of this principle. Gentlemen on the Treasury Benches would tell us that their special mission was to equalize our revenue and our expenditure, (laughter,) and that they, therefore, should be forgiven their many political back-slidings. No doubt, when nor canals and rivers were deepened— when our commercial channels were improved— when the Intercolonial Railway was constructed— when all this was done, and above all when our revenue and expenditure were equalized, hon. gentlemen would set earnestly to work and take up Representation by Population.
(Cheers and laughter.)
There is, however, this perhaps small obstacle in the way, in carrying out of these public works, and that is, that according to the statement of the gentleman opposite, we have a bankrupt treasury. He hoped that this House would calmly and seriously consider the important questions which awaited their consideration— that hon. gentlemen, after expressing their views on this Address, as they had a right to do, they would take up the business before them and discharge their duties honestly and faithfully. Speaking for hon. members on his, (Mr. Walsh’s) owe side to the House, he could say that they were sincere in their desire to promote the well-being of the country. He had but one more to say before he concluded. It was the practice of hon. gentlemen on the opposite side of the House to call those on this side corruptionist, and to charge them with being actuated only by a desire to promote the well being of the country. He had but one word more to say before he concluded. It was the practice of hon. gentlemen on the opposite side of the House to call those on this side corruptionist, and to charge them with being actuated only by a desire to obtain the spoils of office, This charge found its best reply in the fact which had come to light yesterday, that an offer of place had been, by the Government, made to the hon. member for Russell, and had been at once refused, in the most honest and straight-forward manner, by that gentleman. This proved, in the most incontestable manner, that hon. members of the Opposition were actuated by higher motives than the simple attainment of office. They had principles to contend for, and he (Mr. Walsh) believed that the result of all the efforts now being made by gentlemen on the Treasury benches would show that hon. gentlemen on his (Mr. Walsh’s) side of the House were not open to corrupt offers.
(The hon. gentleman then sat down amid loud cheers.)
Mr. POPE, in commencing his remarks, said that a matter of great importance had been brought under the notice of the House, yesterday— a matter which should not be allowed to pass without being commented upon in appropriate terms. The sole excuse which could be alleged for the attempt to purchase members was, forsooth, that it had occurred last year or last session, and therefore should not be alluded to.
This was no reply— it was no defence whatever, for it should be borne in mind that though the corrupt proposal alluded to was made last year, the threat which accompanied it was not carried out until the end of the recess, just before the present session of this House. What were the facts? A message was sent to an honorable member of this House offering an office to a friend of his if he would consent to support the Government— and this statement was not denied.
Hon. J. S. MACDONALD— Yes it was; I deny it.
Mr. POPE— And with regard to the offer made to the hon. member for Vaudreuil?
Hon. J. S. MACDONALD— No distinct offer was made.
(Laughter and cheers.)
Mr. POPE went on to say that notwithstanding the distinct statements of the hon. members for Levis and Vaudreuil. the hon. Commission of Crown Lands did not think any charge was made out, and did not think there was anything to justify censure, as this transaction had taken place last year, and because the dismissal was in pursuance of the retrenchment policy of the Government
Hon. gentlemen opposite told us that, by the dismissal in question, they had saved four thousand dollars to the public chest. If this excuse was well founded, who was to blame? By whom had four thousand dollars been squandered during the last year, or year and a half? By whom had the Brigade-Majors been appointed? Would hon. gentlemen on the Ministerial benches deny that it was their own work? Either they were wrong in the appointment or wrong in the dismissals— one or the other.
The plain truth, however, was that Major de Bellefeuille, of No. 2 Military District, had been sacrificed by the Minister of Militia because of the constancy of his friends. He (Mr. Pope) feared very much, at the time the Brigade-Majors were appointed, that an attempt would be made by the Government to use them for political purposes, and the sequel had shown that big surmise was unfortunately correct. With regard to the condition or efficiency of the Volunteer Force, what was the real case? We had not as many volunteers today as we had last year, now were they at all satisfied with the course pursued towards them. It was impossible for him (Mr. Pope), under these circumstances, to join in the thanks which were uttered in the Address respecting the Militia policy of the Government. He believed it was his duty to dissent from this paragraph and he had done so.
Mr. TASCHEREAU regretted that he was obliged to refer to a matter of a personal nature. He had just returned from a voyage; and had learned that certain explanations had been made last night by the hon. member for Vaudreuil. It was his (Mr. Taschereau’s) duty to say that these statements were correct. Towards the end of last session, the hon. Premier had used language to him (Mr. Taschereau) personally to the following effect: “If Major de Bellefeuille’s friends were against the Administration, that gentleman could not be continued in the position which he occupied.” Such, to the best of his recollection, and on his honor, was the language used by the hon. Minister of Militia. On a former occasion, before the appointment of Major de Bellefeuille, the hon. gentleman said to him (Mr. Taschereau) “Well, now, the times are hard— if we appoint Major de Bellefeuille will you support use?” He (Mr. Taschereau) did not and could not consider the conversation in question a confidential one, inasmuch as the hon. member for Argenteuil, who was then a member of the hon. Premier’s Administration, was present on the occasion in question.
Hon. J. S. MACDONALD— That was a year ago.
Mr. TASCHEREAU— Yes, it was just before the nomination of Major de Bellefeuille.— The hon. gentleman went on to say that he had told the Premier, in reply, that he, most decidedly, would give no such promise. He concluded by explaining that the conversation to which he referred was not that to which the hon. member for Vaudreuil alluded.
Hon. Mr. DORION— Yet, notwithstanding your refusal, Major de Bellefeuille was appointed.
Mr. TASCHEREAU— Yes.
Hon. Mr DORION— That shews it was not a bid for support.
Mr. TASCHEREAU— I cannot say what your hopes were.
(Laughter and cheers.)
Hon. J. S. MACDONALD made some remarks, which were not distinctly heard in the gallery. He was understood to say that an unfair or innocent construction had been put upon remarks spoken en badinage.
Mr. HARWOOD wishes to make a few remarks with reference to his explanations of last night. It was a pity the Mercury reporters did not listen more attentively to what he had said, inasmuch as in the report which had been published in that paper, his language had been construed as if he had said that there was a joint “transaction” in which Major de Bellefeuille, the hon. member for Beach (Mr. Taschereau) and himself (Mr. Harwood) were concerned. Now this was not what he had said. The Chronicle had given his version of the affair as he had spoken it. What he did sat was that the three persons referred to knew of the affair; but he had not said that there was any understanding between them or that they had any conversation whatever about it.
Mr. BLANCHET said he had received a letter from Major de Bellefeuille, corroborating what he (Mr. Blanchet) had said in his speech last night, about the message sent him by the Minister of Militia, through the officer in question. He (Mr. Blanchet) had alluded also to personal offers, but he had not disclosed them because he was heartily shamed of the conduct of the Minister of Militia.
He would, however, translate the letter, which would disclose the whole affair, and show that he was correct in his statements. It was over the signature of Major de Bellefeuille, and was in the following terms: Quebec, Feb. 24, 1864. “My dear friend.— In case somebody might deny the facts mentioned in your speech, yesterday evening, I affirm that I was charged by the Minister of Militia to say to you, last session, that if you were absent from the House on the night of the vote on Mr. Cockburn’s motion relating to the nominations of Mr. Sicotte as Judge, I would be nominated Brigade0Major of the Fourth Military District together with the Second, and receive double salary; and that you would have the situation of Inspector of Jails and Penitentiaries, at a salary of $2,000 a year.” He (Mr. Blanchet) did not desire to add any comments to a document which was so direct and straightforward.
Mr. CONGER said that in rising to offer few remarks he felt it his duty to make on this occasion, he must congratulate the Administration on the multiplicity and magnitude of their measures, as foreshadowed in the Speech from the Throne. If they had reason to complain of their meagreness last year, they certainly had no such cause of complaint now— when they found it to contain every thing, form the preservation of a patent of invention.
It was true that no reference had been made in the Speech to the great question of Representation by Population, or to the still more important one, the encouragement of emigration, and the settlement of the waste lands of the Crown in this Province, and none for the introduction of capital and labour; all these matters, however, may have been an omission, as he trusted it had been, which would receive attention hereafter.
The second paragraph in the Address asks us to thank His Excellency for the steps he has taken to carry into effect the acts passed during the last session for the organization of the Militia Force of this Province. He feared that the people of this country as yet received very little on that score to be thankful for. So far as his judgement went the Militia Force was never in a worse condition; the spirit of volunteering, he was sorry to say, had, through bad management, been almost entirely trampled out. The volunteers felt that their services were not appreciated, and unless something was done to dispel that feeling, that branch of the Force would soon cease to exist.
Referring to the third clause in the Address calling attention to the Reciprocity Treaty, the hon. gentleman went on to say that it would be remembered that in 1854 a Treaty of Reciprocity was entered into between the Governments of the then United States of America and Canada, by which certain articles the growth and product of the soil, the sea, and the forest,— of these countries respectively— were to be admitted into either free of duty, and as Canada at that time was considered to be more interested in that arrangement than the States, certain other advantages were thrown in as make weights, giving to our American neighbours by far the best of the bargain. Be that as it may we too were gainers by the arrangement. Our position at that time requiring that our wheat and flour should find some cheaper, and more expeditions route to the English market, than by the St. Lawerence.— Now however it is different, and our own shipping ports offer facilities quite equal to New York. If our wheat and flour found a better market through American channels, our neighbours had the carrying trade. By admitting our sawed lumber free of duty, the people of the East and Western States, were supposed with a better and cheaper article. It also gave them the free navigation of the great St. Lawrence, and our canals, together with the right to use our fisheries— of themselves a mine of wealth, by which they acknowledge to have derived an annual revenue of $12,000,000! This however does not appear to satisfy American cupidity.
and we are threatened with some new demand. It is alleged against us, Mr. Speaker, that we show no desire to annex ourselves to the Northern States, and less to assist them in the prosecution of an unholy and purposeless was upon the people of the South, to all of which I plead guilty. I am forced to admit, Sir, that Canada has been benefitted by that treaty, but at the same time that I admit this, I am prepared to show that our neighbors have secured greater advantages. Abrogate that treaty, and how would matters stand with us then? Who are likely to be the greatest sufferers by that transaction? Certainly not Canada.
It must be borne in mind, Mr. Speaker, that the Northern States are also an agricultural country, and require nothing from us except it be to take the place of their own produce sent to some foreign market open to ours. It will compel us to be more self-reliant; to open a communication through our own territory to the sea-board; to encourage the trade of the West to pass through our waters, and to establish in our own towns and cities, mills and machinery for the manufacture of such employing our own people in the manufacture of such articles as the country may require, and building up amongst ourselves a home market for our agricultural products. Such, sir, are some of the results which I anticipate from the movement set on foot by our American neighbors. While, Mr. Speaker, I refuse to hear that the financial condition of this country is such as to warrant the undertaking of new and extensive improvements, I believe, sir that we want to add largely to the length an breadth of Canada, and greatly to increase its population and wealth before we are in a position to require either canals or railways. What we most require is the settlement of the waste lands of the Crown. Our colonization roads want improvement; our free grants must have settlers upon them. The young men of our country, who desire land, should obtain it on easy terms nearer home, instead of seeking it under a foreign flag. Emigrants desirous of settling in Canada should be informed that thousands of acres of good land are to be found at convenient distances from the frontier, and reached by good common roads. I know, sir, that the hon. the Commissioner of Crown Lands has been advised to say that there are no lands in the Province fit for settlement. That hon. gentleman, however, never made a greater mistake in his life than when he gave utterance to that statement. I am prepared to shew, before a Committee of this house, that there is at this moment over four millions of acres of as fine arable land in the new country, in rear of Peterboro, as can be found in the Great West. It is true that there is much that is not fit for agricultural purposes, but even this is valuable because of its fine timber, water-power and mineral wealth.
(Hear, hear, and cheers.)
The hon. gentleman then went on to say that he hoped the allusion to the great Intercolonial Railway was something more than a mere bubble, and that immediate steps would be taken to secure the construction of that great work. He would also deeply regret if any cause should be found to exist for the charges which had been made against the leader of the Government. Nothing, in his mind, was more desirable than to have the Government of the country carried on upon the strictest principles of integrity and honor. There should be but one object in view whatever party might be in power; and he trusted that however widely they might differ upon matters of public policy, all would be actuated by feelings of loyalty and attachment to the Crown, and an earnest desire to promote the best interests of the country,
Mr. T. FERGUSON arose to address the House, but as it wanted only a few minutes of six o’clock, there was a generally call for the usual order to “make it six o’clock.”
The Ministerial supporters, however, generally opposed this, and the hon. gentleman was therefore compelled to go on.
Mr. FERGUSON made a few preliminary remarks about the character of truth and reliability which, in the mother country, and in former years int his country, had attached to Speeches from the Throne, and contrasted it with the Address now before the House.
It being six o’clock the Speaker left the Chair.
After the recess—
Mr. FERGUSON moved, seconded by Mr. BELLEROSE, that the House adjourn till three tomorrow afternoon.
[There were only two Ministers in their seats, and the Ministerial benches were nearly all empty. Several members of the Opposition demanded that the motion be put, and amid shouts of “carried,”]
Mr. PERRAULT rose, amid cries from the Opposition of “Adjourn,” “Adjourn.” He said he failed to see the object the Opposition had in view in thus suddenly moving an adjournment. This, surely, was not the time to bring forward such a motion, unless the Opposition wished to turn the legislation of the country into a farce.
Hon. Mr. HUNTINGTON said that before the motion was put he would like to ask the hon. gentlemen opposite, who were so anxious for an adjournment, for what particular reason they wished to prolong the debate? He would like very much to know if the could assign any special reason for moving a motion of adjournment on this, the second day of the debate. If hon. gentlemen opposite could show sufficient reason for adjournment, the members on this side would be happy to accede to such a request. Was it possible that the hon. member for South Simcoe was not prepared to speak; if so, surely some of his colleagues would be able to favour the House in that respect.
He had no doubt but that the House and the country would be greatly benefitted by addresses from the hon. gentlemen opposite, and such being the case, he could not understand the motion for an adjournment.
(Hear, hear, and laughter.)
It was really too bad that the hon. gentleman would persist in tearing away from them the pleasure which he had promised them, of listening to a somewhat lengthy and eloquent speech. He did not know how the hon. gentleman would justify the cruelty which he now proposed to inflict in sending them home labouring under such a load of disappointment. He would like to have the hon. gentleman speak, if it was only for the purpose of informing them whether he was really so overcome with grief at his absence from this opening of the House that he was unable to proceed, or whether his inability to speak was owning to some other grief.
Mr. FERGUSON said the House would recollect that it was with great reluctances he was compelled to speak before six. He might assign many reasons for not wishing to speak now. The House could understand that when hon. members commenced taking a certain course at the beginning of a session, it was difficult for them to follow any other course. Consequently he thought it only right to allow the administration abundant time to complete their various arrangements for their own benefit, and he was rather indifferent as to whether he should speak this evening, desiring to give the hon. Solicitor-General a chance, if he found it convenient, to make another O’Halloran of him.
(Laughter and cheers.)
Sol. Gen. HUNTINGTON.—Providence has not laid the foundation which would afford me an opportunity.
(Ministerial cheers and laughter.)
Mr. FERGUSON— It seems the foundation are all exhausted. Should I not have made as good a Judge as many who had the offer? But if it be thought I am not worthy of such an offer I shall go on with my speech.
Mr. BELLEROSE wished to explain that the reason he had seconded the motion of adjournment was, because Ministers were not in their places to hear the many grave charges which hon. gentlemen on this side of the House had to make against them. He wished it to go forth to the country that at eight o’clock there were only two members of the Government— the hon. Solicitor-General and the hon. Attorney-General East— in their places.
Their colleagues were not staying away for their own pleasure— they were staying away because they were ashamed to meet the gaze of the hon. members of this House.— The hon. gentleman then went on, at considerable length, and in eloquent language, to taunt the Government for their craven conduct, which was a fitting sequel to the revelations of corruption which had been made yesterday.
Finally, the hon. mover and seconder consented to withdraw their motion of adjournment, inasmuch as a considerable number of members of the Ministerial side had arrived.
Mr. FERGUSON began to address the House, by stating that nobody now-a-days put any confidence in speeches from the Throne. This was a lamentable fact for which the conduct of the present Administration was mainly responsible. In the Speech from the Throne in 1863, legislation was promised on various subjects which had never received the slightest attention; and when they considered those things, it was no wonder that members could not repose confidence in the premises with reference to the various matters now laid before the House in the last Speech from the Throne. At the opening of the last Parliament it was promised that the subjects not taken up at the previous session would be legislated upon in due course. These questions were not only not taken up last session, but abandoned altogether. The practice in Canada differed widely in this respect from that in other countries. Ministers should in all fairness determine to carry out in good faith all they promised in the Speech from the Throne. He found in this Speech thanks proposed for the steps His Excellency the Governor General had taken in regard to the Militia and Volunteer Bills, and though no gentleman could be more anxious for the welfare of the force, he (Mr. Ferguson) knew of nothing having been done in its behalf.
Hon. J. A. MACDONALD— There have been many false steps taken. (Laughter.)
Mr. FERGUSON continued.— Instead of anything having been done for the welfare of the force in his district, a great deal had been done to injure it. When the vote was proposed last session for militia purposes, he advocated the giving of an equal sum for the erection of drill-sheds, and so forth, to each district— the treatment of country volunteers as well as city volunteers. The Minister of Militia had promised justice to each class; but, as usual, nothing had been done, the hon. gentleman having failed egregiously to perform his promises. Now, as little had been done for the volunteers in Lower Canada, and in this district particularly, as would appear from the recent dismissal of a prominent officer, and the demoralization of the volunteer corps of Point Levi, which had made such a creditable display at the Governor General inspection. And now the result was that this portion of the force was disbanding gradually, one of the causes being the dismissal of a prominent officer because he would not induce his friends to support the Administration. All agreed that some pay should be allowed to members of the volunteers force who gave their services to the country. It was expected that something would be done for the militia force, but not a word was said in the Speech about anything going to be done for either the militia or volunteer force, and it was questionable whether any such intention was entertained. He thought something should be done for the militia to make it a reliable force in the hour of danger. A worse treated militia force was not in existence today, and he believed that if not properly paid it would prove a failure. He saw nothing whatever to call for thanks for what was done for the force. Then, with regard to the Reciprocity Treaty, he hoped it would be continued, and that no alteration would be made except such as might ensure increased trade between Canada and the United States, for their mutual benefit; and he hoped the the day was far distant when the trade between the two countries should be restricted or abolished. There had been talk of abolishing the bonding system, which would be injurious to Canada. This should make us more anxious to procure for this country a highway of its own to the spa, so as to make it independent of the United States. A promise of legislation to improve the navigation of the Ottawa, so as to open for settlement and trade the vast region drained by that river, and attract hither the trade of the West and been made. But, on looking at the financial aspect, there was surely nothing to encourage the great outlay which this improvement would entail, although there could be no doubt of the desirability of such a work. The expense of improving the Ottawa navigation from Grenville to the Georgian Bay was estimated at $24,000,000. The country was not in a position to warrant the incurring of this vast outlay for even such an important work. He would be glad to see such improvements made, if the means of the country were adequate thereto. But, although improvements at the Ottawa would be a national benefit, other localities also deserved attention, and should have it if the hon. Finance Minister was going to borrow money for this improvement of the navigation at Lake Huron, in which a large portion of the Western Province was deeply interested. Improvements made here would well repay the outlay. Then, improvement was greatly needed in regard to the Georgian Bay Canal. Toronto, and other places West would derive equal benefit from this improvement, with the count he represented. The making of the improvement in question would afford an internal water communication unsurpassed. A grant of 10,000,000 acres of land was all that the Company asked to enable them to proceed with the construction of this Canal. This land was at present unless, and its occupation for the purpose intended would cost the Government nothing, and would have the effect of opening up for settlement a large territory, now a useless wilderness. This scheme well merited consideration, and if carried out would be of great benefit to the country generally. He though it unfair to ask this district to contribute to the general revenue, and at the same time have its own claims totally neglected. The hon. Commissioner of Crown Lands had reported that there was no more lands in the Province fit for settlement. This had no doubt, done great injury to the country in connexion with the argument therefrom, that there was nothing left to attract emigrants to this Colony.
Hon. Mr. CARTIER— What about the survey?
Mr. FERGUSON said the survey of lands which the hon. Commissioner of Crown Lands had declared to be valueless for settlement was daily going on. The passage in the Speech with reference to the desire of the Ministry to complete the Ottawa buildings, and remove the Seat of Government thither as early as possible, must be gratifying to the House, especially to the Opposition and its leaders. It would be remembered how warmly, the latter, when in power, advocated concurrence in the Queen’s decision, and how the Cartier-Macdonald Government was defeated in their policy of adhering to this decision by the very party who now appeared anxious to carry out this policy, which they before unscrupulously opposed.
And yet, quite lately, those buildings being almost finished, the hon. Finance Minister had told certain parties from Ottawa, that unless their representatives supported the Minister had told certain parties from Ottawa, that unless their representatives supported the Ministry it was doubtful whether the said buildings would be completed and the Seat of Government removed to their city, in accordance with the Queen’s decision.
(Hear and laughter.)
He believed that no matter what party was in power, the Queen’s decision should be faithfully and promptly carried out. The Speech referred to legislation for the development of the gold mines in Lower Canada. But little had been done to develop these mines with any degree of satisfaction or profit. All [text ineligible] since last session was to send a gentleman to the mines, who had made a short report, but no effort had been made to attract [text ineligible]. Something was promised in the speech in reference to the prevention of shipwrecks. It was not said what would be done, and perhaps the Government would throw the responsibility of doing something on the Opposition, or appoint a commission to examine the focus relative to these calamities, and report. Something should be done calculated to better protect the lives and property of our people on board ship. The loss of the Bohemien was a striking commentary on what the Government had effected in regard to the framing of a contract for the Ocean mall service, more advantageous to the country. Spite of what had been promised, the proprietors of the M.O.S.S. Line had been confirmed in the possession of their monopoly, thus doing an act of injustice to merchants elsewhere, and to other cities, for the benefit of Montreal. The Government not having performed their promise in this matter, deserved the condemnation of the House. The above was the most unfortunate line ever started, the loss of all whose vessels seemed to be owing to gross carelessness or mistakes. He hoped a searching enquiry would be made, and that if the Company should be found culpable the contract would be entrusted to sofer hands. Legislation was announced respecting amendments in the conduct of public elections, for the prevention of bribery, etc. But this had been promised before with no result. The Government, before speaking of the necessity of suppressing corrupt practices at elections, should set a good example themselves and not bribe hon. members in this House to maintain them in power.
Mr. O’HALLORAN— What do you say about that little affair of Innisfil?
Mr. FERGUSON said this affair took place before he entered Parliament. The transaction was this— he bought at public auction, in his country, 100 acres of land at $3 an acre, and he had never made sixpence by the land. He got no favor by this bargain and owed nobody anything therefor. But he had never changed his principles on that account, and had since been three times elected by his constituents. He would not say a word to the hon. member for Missisquoi, but merely leave to his own conscience which would be a sufficient punishment.
He (Mr. F.) had never received, either for himself or friends, a single favor from any Government. Another paragraph called upon the House to rejoice that the revenue of the past year considerably exceeded the estimate, and that the expenditure was less than estimated. The Finance Minister wished us to rejoice over a falsehood— to impose upon us, in fact. He purposely depreciated the revenue to take this House by surprise; but if he miscalculated, he was the more to blame for his inefficiency. Not a word had been said as to whether our liabilities at home had been discharged. In fact nothing had been stated in the address which could be avoided, and he could not see why we should congratulate anybody upon an of the matters mentioned in the Speech, which would only be passed by courts to the Crown and not from any confidence reposed in the Speech itself. The Speech referred to the efforts intended for the prosperity of the people. What did Ministers care for the prosperity of the people? Had they not dismissed men who had grown grey in the public service, and turned them and their families out of the world to starve. (Hear, hear.) The Government should not favor one place or one class of interests at the expense of another. But see how they had made the Bank of Montreal the favorite institution, and removed thither the Provincial deposits from the Bank of Upper Canada. This and the other banks of Canada had been made subservient to the Bank of Montreal, and the cause alleged was one which he would gain believe was not the real one. This had caused the greatest dissatisfaction. He learned that the deposits were lodged with the bank of Montreal because it had loaned the Province $500,000, which it could not, owing to the financial policy of the present Government, have borrowed in England without a heavy discount. But in England without a heavy discount. But he was told that the Bank of Upper Canada was ready to advance the same loan had it been asked for it. The merchants of Toronto and all Upper Canada had condemned the conduct of the Government in this matter. Mr. Ferguson proceeded to express his disbelief of the statement of the Commissioner of Crown Lands that there was no more land in Canada fit for settlement.
Hon. Mr. McDOUGALL.— I never said so.
Mr. FERGUSON contended he did say so.
Hon. Mr. McGER said the hon. gentleman was substantially correct in his version of the statement in question.
Mr. FERGUSON said that half the land in the county of Simcoe was open for settlement and there was abundance of land in other places fit for settlement. While his county, and other places, wanted hundreds of emigrant settlers, not a word had been said in the Speech about encouraging emigration. This was a most grave omission and one calculated to injure the country,
Mr. AULT— How is it hundreds of our people are daily going to the States, seeking employment? You want to encourage emigration for what?
Hon. Mr. CARTIER— To fill up the vacancy.
Mr. FERGUSON said, in reply, that hundreds of American citizens were daily coming into the country. So many of them were coming as to frighten both the American and our own Government, the latter of which had lately gone off and reported to the Federal authorities that a certain portion of our American sojourners were about getting up an expedition to a certain place in the States, and, notwithstanding all the money spent on our Militia, it appeared there had not been enough men to arrest this dangerous expedition.
Mr. Ferguson proceeded to read from the blue-book, issued by the Crown Lands Department, the passage to the effect that the greater portion of the Crown Lands in Canada, fit for settlement had been disposed of etc. He contended the statement was incorrect, and calculated to injure the country materially. Then not a word had been said in the speech in regard to the readjustment of the representation, in order to do justice to Upper Canada. The hon. Commissioner of Crown Lands had changed his views on representation by population. He had formerly pledged himself in favor of a fair adjustment of the representation. Did he still believe the representation was unfair?
Hon. Mr. McDOUGALL— I do.
Mr. FERGUSON— Then you omitted this matter from the speech.
The hon. gentleman condemned the conduct of the hon. Commissioner of Crown Lands and of others on his side for abandoning representation by population, spite of their former piteous companies of the 250,000 unrepresented souls in Upper Canada. The hon. member for Kent had also complained of this injustice in stumping the country; but, on his son being provided for, he forgot the injuries and claims of the remaining 249,999 of the unrepresented Upper Canadians.
He (Mr. F.) believed the policy of the Commissioner of Crown Lands was to drive emigrants to Washington, his depreciating reports being very likely to effect that object. The hon. member for South Oxford referred last session to second his amendment in favor of representation by population, and he was unable to say whether those in favor of the measure would meet with any more success at the hands of its former advocates. The Speech from the Throne promised measures which, even granting the utmost sincerity on their part, they could not possibly carry out; and it would have been far better if they had said in a few words what they intended and were likely to be able to perform. Mr. Ferguson denounced the Intercolonial Railway project, and unfair casting the blame upon the sister Provinces. He thought the necessities of our case demanded the construction of this railroad, which, if possible, without serious injury to our resources, should be constructed. The hon. gentleman concluded by mentioned some of the grounds for his want of confidence in the hon. Finance Minister’s financial policy, among them being the remission of the Quebec Fire Loan, which was effected in a manner to disgrace Quebec, by putting it in the position of a pauper— promising to give that Minister every support if he should prove himself an able and judicious fancier.
Mr. O’HALLORAN rose to make some remarks, which he said would not relate so much to the question before the House as to matters in which his name had been mixed up. About the close of last session, some of the gentlemen of the Opposition, with a hireling press at their back, had treated him to a pretty heavy dose of abuse, and as ingratitude was no part of his nature, he took this, the earliest opportunity, of acknowledging the compliments they had paid to him. He was not so vain, however, as to believe that all their abuse was intended solely for his benefit, for he well knew that the largest portion of it was for the benefit of gentlemen on their own side of the House who were supposed to have conscientious scruples about remaining longer in their former positions. If it were a fact, as he believed it was, that he had been in any degree instrumental in preventing the restoration of the Cartier-Macdonald party to power, he supposed they had a very good cause to complain of his conduct.
That was a golden age for them and their friends when retrenchment was unknown, when extravagant amounts for newspaper advertising were paid twice over, and when stationary contracts were plenty and yielded large returns, and if he had been the cause of putting as end to that state of things, as a matter of course it was hardly in human nature that the should not feel aggrieved, and endeavour to resist the injury. Within a stone’s throw of the House a journal was published which had attacked him violently, but when he examined the Report of the Financial Commission, he was almost disposed to forgive the proprietor for his assaults. He there saw that on the stationery furnished to the House by the proprietor of that journal, during a few years of the Coalition reign, a clear excess over legitimate profits had been realized by him over $15,000. What wonder that the “Chronicle” should feel aggrieved at him for refusing to help to bring back that golden state of things.
On another item, the sum of over $10,000 had been made in a similar way, by the proprietor of that journal.
Then in the accounts against the Post Office Department, the same gentleman, on four items in 1861, received over $22,000, when he should have received but a little over $7,800, making an overcharge over legitimate profits, of $13,129.10.
The total improper gains of the proprietor of the “Chronicle” amounted, in a very brief space, to the handsome sum of $39,029.79.
Was it wonderful that the gentleman owning that journal felt aggrieved at his conduct? Was it wonderful that the “Minereve” was aggrieved and heaped abuse upon him? Then there was the “Hamilton Spectator” denouncing him in the strongest language, and with very solid reasons for doing so, in the shape of advances of hard cash, now no longer to be obtained. Another journal had its special grievance— the “Montreal Gazette.” That journal was noted not only for occasional fits of independence, but for also “getting on the rampage,” as, for instance, when it made the memorable announcement that the Finance Minister had endeavored to make a corrupt bargain with the Grand Trunk Railway people. It had been put forth that he was indebted to the forbearance of the proprietors of that journal for his election, when the fact was that every child about the street knew that he was elected in spite of the opposition not only of that sheet, but of the hon. gentleman representing Montreal East as well.
He was elected, too, by acclamation— an honor conferred upon no representative of that country since the Union. What audacity, then, for any gentleman to question his right to vote according to the dictateshis own conscience.—
With what right did the hon. member for Montreal East claim any allegiance from him, when he brought every influence to bear to prevent his election, and when he was elected by acclamation in spite of those exertions.
He was elected, not for stating that he had no confidence in the Government as the constituted, but in spite of it. He had offended some of his warmest friends in making that statement, but they knew him so well that they were willing to leave the matter in his hands. He came to the House with the desire to co-operate with moderate men in the House in forming a government strong enough, and with the disposition to take up great questions and dispose of them in a manner which would tend to the promotion of the prosperity of the Province. He felt no regret at the position he had taken, and he did not know that he would especially gratify the hon. gentlemen opposite if he stated his belief that no government which they might be able to form would be able to stand or to carry out such measures. The hon. gentleman then proceeded to read from his address to the electors to show that he had made no promise to support the Opposition, but that he occupied an independent position. He had always, ever since he had taken any part in political affairs, been allied with the Reform party. It was quite proper, however, for a man to stand by by his friends without being totally blind to their faults.
It was well known that during the earl part of last session, he acted only with the Liberal portion of the Opposition. It was well known, too, that he had entreated his friends in opposition, not to bring forward bunkum motions, but to oppose, and if it were possible, to upset the Government by legitimate means only. He asked the leaders to take a manly and aboveboard course, and try the Government on its merits and measures.
Hon. gentlemen on the opposite side of the House would bear him out in saying that he sought none of their counsels nor attended any of their caucuses since he first came to the capital. After every vote, he went to his friends in Opposition and entreated them to consider well what they were about, for he saw that while they were all united in the common object of turning out the Government, they were by no means agreed among themselves as to the substitute to be offered the country for the Government. He had enjoyed the honor go giving a vote to turn the Cartier-Macdonald Government out of office, and he could not but consider that he deserved well of the country for having been instrumental in putting an end to that extravagant and corrupt Coalition.
(Ministerial cheers and Opposition groans.)
He went on to explain the course he had pursued with regard to the Opposition. He had had a conversation with the hon. member for Montreal West, with respect to this matter. He had said to that hon. gentleman, let us take such steps as will put the question of a Coalition beyond peradventure. He had said to that hon. gentleman, “I know very well that a majority of the House are opposed to coalition; and we can easily prevent a Coalition Government by talking ground openly and publicly, by having no part or lot with those gentlemen; that we would get up a platform of our own, and then we would see who were sincere and acting in good faith in hostility to that party.
The member for Montreal West said that was just the thing; but it was a matter of great importance, and we should not act hastily, but should consult our friends. In the afternoon of the same day the member for Montreal West called upon him, and stated that the member for Argenteuil wanted to see him in the Library. He (Mr. O’Halloran) went to the member for Argenteuil. The subject was further discussed, and these gentleman expressed their utmost abhorrence of the restoration of the old Coalition party. To please him, (the speaker) the member for Argenteuil said he would go to the honorable members for Montreal East and Kingston, and tell them— you may propose amendments till you are black in the face, but you never will carry them until you promise never again to take office.
Hon. Mr. McGEE was understood to dissent from the latter statement.
Mr. O’HALLORAN.— The statement was perfectly true, and the words were exactly those that were used.
It was common to use the cry of Noti Episcopari; no one of course wished to take office. Those gentlemen were actuated by the purest patriotism alone; they told him they were opposed to the restoration of the Coalition, but at that very moment they were in the secrets of the Coalition.
And if there was anything wanting to prove this fact, it was the conduct of these two gentlemen since.
Lest he might be labouring under any misapprehension as to the advent to office of a Coalition, he had subsequently a conversation with the hon. member for Montreal East. He said to that gentleman, “Sir, in my humble opinion, if you will pardon the freedom I take, you, yourself are the greatest obstacle to the defeat of the Government.” He (Mr. O’Halloran) went as far as to demonstrate with that gentleman. The reply of the honorable member for Montreal East was— I have the confidence of the landed proprietors, of the clergy, and of the members of the House, and am entitled to lead.
It was certainly strange to see members who professed to abhor a Coalition permit themselves to be followers of that leader, who, to his honor be it said, did not seek office on false pretences, but on the ground that he was entitled to it. He would not take office under false pretences, though he allowed his followers to do so.
He (Mr. O’H.) observed— I will not question your right to lead— you are only entitled to lead your own followers, but I am not among that number.
He appealed to the hon. member for Montreal East if these were not his exact words; that honorable member never accused him of want of allegiance, because he never owed any. He would observe that either the member for Montreal East was deceiving these gentlemen, or they were deceiving him, when they said they would like to see the Coalition restored.
Under these circumstances what could he (the speaker) do? what was the consistent course? Should he have adopted the course pursued by the member for Montreal West, who tried substantially to restore the Coalition Government when he voted for the motion of the hon. member for Sherbrooke, (hear, hear,) he would have been grossly inconsistent if he had voted against agains the Government, which belonged to his own part, and with whose administrative acts he could find no fault?
There had been a good deal of puerile talk about a division list.— The matter was very easily explained. The hon. member for East York, as was customary sometimes, had prepared a division list at his desk, writing down the votes as he thought they would be given. He came to him (Mr. O’H.) to see if he knew what way certain French gentlemen would vote, The answer was to look over previous division lists, and he would probably find a guide. The hon. member then went back to his seat. And this was the whole story respecting the Division List.
But small as the matter was it seemed to attract the attention of the hon. member for Montreal West, and furnished him with the material for a long speech. He even threatened to go to his (Mr. O’H’s) county about this matter, but he did not see fit to fulfil the threat.
But this, perhaps, was owing to the propinquity of Fort Montgomery. (laughter) whence the 100,000 men were to issue to devour this country.
(Applause and laughter.)
The emissaries of the hon. member for Montreal East came to this country to get up an indignation meeting with regard to his Parliamentary conduct. But the attempt failed. Mr. O’Halloran alluded to the public dinner which his friends, the leading political men of the country, and some men who had never voted for him, had tendered him. He did not want the dinner, for his constituents knew that his private life was a guarantee for the uprightness of his Parliamentary conduct.
There were two parties— one the Reform, party— the other the good old Tory party, the family compact, who changed their name, first to the conservation, then to the moderate and now to the constitutional party. Well might the hon. member for Montreal West claim to be the father of the constitutional party, when it was well known that he had spent the best part of his days in endeavoring to destroy the constitution.
He (Mr. O’Halloran) would jog the hon. member’s memory. He would read to the House a few sentences which would explain the views of that “constitutional father.”
A VOICE.— Was that the piece of poetry on Niagara?
Mr. O’HALLORAN.— No, but it was something equally spicy. He proceeded to read an extract from “The New York Nation,” dated March 31st, 1849:—
“Brethren! the common enemy relies on your prejudice and your habits of submission. In the last insurrection the Catholic Clergy prevented you from talking up arms against the irresponsible authorities placed over you. Do not let that happen again. Let the Clergy mind their own business— and do not you be turned aside from yours.
“Brethren! cultivate the love and confidence of your French neighbors. Remember the ancient friendship of France and Ireland— remember Saxe and Dillon— Hoche and Tone— the brigade and the United Irishmen. The wily minister who robbed Ireland of her Parliament, hoped the French habitans would, by their prejudice against the Puritans, be a barrier against republicanism. Be it your duty to act as conductors of concord and liberty upon the frontier. Teach the habitans to regard the republicans as their friends; learn to make them such in reality.
“Do not suffer yourself to be cajoled by words or caught with promises. Canada had never a better opportunity. India, the right arm of England’s commerce, is involved with the Sikhs; Ireland is thoroughly disloyal, and thoroughly desperate; both India and Ireland are only held by the strong hand. All transactions of the European Continent demand England’s interference, as an armed negotiator, but England has enough to do with her own dependencies. This combination of events cannot but increase the hopes of a revolution among you, and, in God’s name, do not let it come on you unprepared.
“Let Irishmen be foremost in obedience, if subalterns— in exploits, if leaders. Be bold, be patient, be wise— redeem the Irish name and exalt the Irish race. Let the green flag be your banner, and your war cry ‘Remember Ireland!”
Mr. O’HALLORAN went on to say, this is the hon. gentleman who would come out to teach loyalty to my constituents, and proceed to read the extract:—
“Never had men holier cause. England has ruled you for a century, and at the end of it you find yourself ruined? Are you content? Are you happy? Are you not slaves?
“Never had men holler cause. You strike at the empire in the name of all its victims.— Strike but a blow for each of them, and that empire will plumber round the globe no longer. You are the representative of many retributions— do not stint the measures of God’s justice!
“The colonies of Virginia and New England originated the modern republic— a great achievement. For you, it remains to strike down on the same soil that grinding, imperial system, the implacable enemy of republicanism. Liberty exists for America— you may make it triumphant in Europe.”
Mr. O’HALLORAN continued— This was the hon. gentleman who had entered on a crusade against the present Government. What reliance could be place on the principles of one who had changed so completely around from being the defamer of the constitution to a self constituted father of the constitutional party. For his own part, he could say that he had continued firm to the principles of his youth, and he expected to leave them to be adopted by his children.
Hon. Mr. McGEE said that when he arose to reply to the hon. member for Missiquoi, on a matter of fact, he did so because he believed he would not have another opportunity, inasmuch as he had already spoken to this resolution. It seemed that the hon. gentleman was not contented with endeavoring to rehabilitate his own character, but he must needs go back some fifteen years, to the year 1849, in order to find something upon which to base an attack upon him (Mr. McGee)— he must needs quote a document which he (Mr. McGee) acknowledged to have written at the mature age of two and twenty.
But if the hon. member had taken the trouble to examine closely the paper from which he had obtained this extract he would probably have found in it the celebrated annexation manifesto issued in Canada in the same year— a document adopted in the city of Montreal.
An HON. MEMBER— And signed by the Hon. Finance Minister.
(Hear, hear, and laughter.)
Hon. Mr. McGEE went on to say that if he erred, he at least founded his erroneous opinion on what he then considered good authority. The manifesto bore the signatures of many Montreal merchants and prominent meant, and he (Mr. McGee) at that time an utter stranger to the country, had very naturally accepted as truthful the statements of those men as to the condition of the Province, and the desirability of a change. The hon. gentleman, now a member of the government, whose name had been mentioned a moment ago, was therefore one of those who had furnished him (Mr. McGee) with the text to write the article the hon. member for Missiquoi had quoted.
(Cheers and laughter.)
He had no wish whatever to offer any apology for, or to make any defence of the sentiments which it contained; but he did believe, at the time, as thousands and thousands of the people of the United States believe at the present day, that Canada was governed as Ireland and India had been governed. The hon. gentleman from Missisquoi might endeavor to taunt him by reminding him of his determined hostility to the government in Ireland; but he begged to tell that hon. member— and he was neither afraid nor ashamed to say so— that he (Mr. McGee) had adopted that course, in Ireland, because it was the only course open to an honest man.
He need not enter into a detail of the political grievances of the Irish people— to the sufferings they endured at the hands of a spurious aristocracy—
Mr. O’HALLORAN— Which you wished to transplant to this soil.
Hon. Mr. McGEE begged the hon. member not to misunderstand him. There was a wide distinction to be drawn between the spurious aristocracy of which he complained and the genuine aristocracy of the Empire. Look to the death roll of every war— look at the names of the honored dead who fell on every Orimean field— those would be found the brave, the genuine aristocracy of the united Empire.
He had not the slightest hesitation in saying that, if Ireland had been governed as Canada was governed, he (Mr. McGee) would have been one of the strongest constitutionalists in his native land.
The hon. member for Missisquoi might make what he chose of the article on Canada which he had just quoted; but if he (Mr. McGee) had erred he at least could say that he had erred in highly respectable company.
The whole press of New York were jubilant over the annexation movement and the numbers and influence of its supporters in this country. Aye, and in this Province too, so high ran the feeling that Queen’s Counsels had lost their silk gowns, because of their strong aid to the movement, just as on a recent occasion, silk gowns had been given as the reward of political services.
The hon. member for Missisquoi had talked about [text ineligible] changing their names— well, he would not pretend to contradict the hon. member, who, perhaps, was better acquainted with the habits, manners and customs of the fraternity than he (Mr. McGee) was. He had never changed his name, but he knew those who had changed their erred or stimulated other erreds for the sake of gain. He (Mr. McGee) would not waste words much longer with the hon. gentleman— he would prefer to cope with a foeman of worth, with a champion worthy of his steel. The political and personal status of the hon. member for Missisquoi beyond the possibility of a doubt, last session when he could not get a “pair,” as it was called in Parliamentary custom— when, although there were many hon. gentlemen desirous of getting away form the House for the purpose of attending to private business engagements, not one would consent, however, pressing their urgencies were, to “pair off” with the hon. member because none would recognize him as their peer. The hon. member for Missisquoi was the first member of this House whom he (Mr. McGee) in his parliamentary experience had heard [text ineligible], when his defection occurred. He (Mr. McGee) did not join the almost unanimous text [ineligible] which greeted the hon. member on that occasion; but it must be accepted as an unmistakable proof of the estimate his fellow members had formed of the representative of Missisquoi; and his status having, as he already said, been fixed six months ago, he (Mr. McGee) would not now condescend to recognize him that which his peers refused him six months ago.
The hon. gentleman had tauntingly said that perhaps he (Mr. McGee) was afraid to go into the country of Misssisquoi, because he feared Fort Montgomery. Well, perhaps the hon. member was familiar and well acquainted with that fortification— perhaps he might be able to give to his House that information which it was desirable it should possess.
The hon. gentleman had been in the United States service, and doubtless could tell us all about it. And he would remark that if the hon. gentleman had been in the military services of the United States, if he had ever held a commission, he must have been an American citizen, which he (Mr. McGee) never was, notwithstanding the allies to his antecedents, upon which the member for Missisquoi endeavored to base an attack upon him. If, on the other hand, he was not a citizen, be must have held a subordinate position, and followed the American army in their unjust and unjustifiable invasion of Mexico— an invasion which many of the most talented and honest American statesmen denounced and deplored— if, he repeated, the hon. member had been through that war in a subordinate position, it must have been among the sutlers and camp-followers, among those who bring up the rear, and gather the spoils and booty of war.
(Hear, hear, and cheers.)
If, however, the member for Missisquoi was a citizen, he would be a bee to tell us what were the intentions of the American Government, which it might be desirable for us to know.—The hon. gentleman had carried the burthen of his discourse by reading extracts from the reports of the Financial and Departmental Commission, for the purpose of shewing the extravagances of a past regime, by way of justification for his desertion. Well, the hon. gentleman knew these things when he came into the House— he was fully aware of them long ago, yet it was not until this moment, when attempting to defend his abandonment of party allegiance, that we heard anything about them. He had been silent as the tomb about these departmental extravagances until it was necessary to obtain a set-off for his own conduct, and then he burst forth in a torrent of virtuous indignation.
Was this a justification of his own conduct— would the House, would the country accept it as a justification? Was it candid, was it honest to pretend to have just discovered that which he knew long ago? No! it was neither candid nor honest to stand up in his place in the House and try back for something to justify his unblushing violation of both explicit and implied party co-operation during the last session.—
No doubt the honorable gentleman was a great necessity to the Government, and it was but justice to them. therefore, that everything should be done to preserve this reputation intact.
The hon. gentleman was just the half of the whole ministerial majority.
If there were another like him— but this could not be, for none but himself could be his parallel— if however, there were another like him. how very indispensable would they both be to the Government. A snowstorm blocking up the roads and preventing their advent to the capital would bring about a ministerial crisis— if by any mischance they were not within telegraphic call of the Seat of Government, at a moment of danger, the defeat of the Government would be unavoidable.
(Laughter and cheers.)
He (Mr. McGee) begged most energetically to protest against the injustice of coupling the name of his honorable and esteemed friend, the member for North Waterloo (Mr. Foley) with that of the member for Missisquoi. There was no parity— not the shadow of a resemblance between them. The hon. member for North Waterloo had not cajoled or deceived any one. He had never acted under false pretenses— he had never made promises which he never intended to perform— he had never induced persons to believe that he was about to do that of which he had no intention— his reputation was unstained and unsullied, whatever opinion he (Mr. McGee) might have of the defensibility of a vote he had given.
The hon. member for Missisquoi had followed in the track of his present leaders in taunting him (Mr. McGee) with not having gone into certain constituencies. Perhaps the hon. Premier was aware that he had paid a visit to the South Riding of Leeds.
Up to the very last moment the hon. member for Cornwall had affected to be very sanguine as to the result of the contest in that constituency— he had, he said, a later in his pocket from a highly reliable source in the county, informing him that the ex-Solicitor General would surely be returned by a triumphant majority— he communicated the contents of this letter in confidence, of course, to his butcher, his grocer, his bookmaker, and his hatter— he was quite willing even to lay a wager, although he was, no doubt, not addicted to the youthful indiscretion of betting, that the machinations of the Opposition would be defeated and his candidate returned by a majority of, at least, a couple of hundred.
(Laughter and cheers.)
While alluding to electioneering matters, he would say, in reply to an insinuation which had been made against Mr. Chamberlin by the hon. member for Missisquoi in the pillory of public scorn, where he would remain long enough to prove to posterity that we had in this age a healthy public opinion— a public opinion which would descend with as much force on the shoulders of the traitor as the whip of public justice came down on the shoulders of the criminal.
The hon. member had spoken in contemptuous terms of the demonstration against himself. Well, all he could say was, that the document bore the signature of the Warden of his own county— a position which was but second to that of the county member himself. The document was extensively signed too— it was signed by a gentleman whose name he (Mr. McGee) did not now remember, but who had been induced, under false pretences, to sign a paper inviting the member for Missisquoi to a public dinner. This gentleman had been told that it was only sought to give the hon. member an opportunity to defend and explain his conduct, and on this pretext he had been induced to sign the dinner invitation. But how did the hon. gentleman meet this proposed demonstration? He did not meet it— he avoided it altogether— he did not wish for a dinner, simple, honest man that he was.
He had no desire to parade his conduct or embarrass himself with a justification. He thought it was better to obey the old adage and “let sleeping dogs lie.”
But how did the hon. gentleman dispose of the demonstration? By a letter so tearful, so pathetic, so appealing that he (Mr. McGee) did not recollect to have perused anything so touching since his early days when he first read Mark’s Antony’s Oration over the dead Caesar. And doubtless— if it was not absolutely profane to prolong the parody— he (Mr. McGee) was the “envious Casca” whose dagger had caused such rents in the garment of the hon. member.
(Laughter and cheers.)
The hon. gentleman from Missisquoi was so humble and unassuming that he he was quite content to go unfeted, unwept, unhonored and unsung.
Tonight he had treated the House to all the bottled-up ire and venom which should have given at the proposed demonstration,— supposing, no doubt, that everybody would shrink in horror and disgust from the filthy contact.
The hon. gentleman then referred to a statement made by Mr. O’Halloran, respecting his fears of the possible resuscitation of the coalition party, and denied it, stating that the matter could be explained by the hon. member for Argenteuil, when he was in his place in the House. Mr. McGee next rebuked the member for Missisquoi for his sneer at the clergy, as disclosed in his reference to a statement said to have been made by the hon. member for Montreal East, to the effect that he had the support of a great portion of the clergy of Lower Canada, thus showing an uncompromising, deep-rooted hostility to the clergy of that denomination to which the member for Montreal East belonged. It was, however, in keeping with his opinion, openly expressed in presence of serval of his fellow members, to the effect that it would be well for the country if a priests were hung. He defied the hon. member to deny that he uttered this sentiment; and to prevent the possibility of its being denied hereafter, he would now proceed to call his witnesses, the hon. members for Frontenac, Beauharnois and Carleton— aye, even the Hon. Solicitor General East was present on the occasion.
Mr. W. FERGUSON said the words in question were spoken by the hon. member for Missisquoi. They were not uttered in confidence but publicly, and their import was as stated by the hon. member for Montreal West.
Mr. DENIS said he regretted that he had occasion to advert to this matter; but since he had been called us as a witness he would at once give his evidence. A number of members of this House were together in a room in the St. Louis Hotel, when the member for Missisquoi came in, and stated that he would particularly like to hang two priests in his country.
He (Mr. Denis) then said to Mr. O’Halloran— “Don’t say that,” but he repeated the expression. The Hon, Solicitor General was present, in the room on that occasion, and he (Mr. Denis) had afterwards he repeated this version of the affair in that hon. gentleman’s presence, in the smoking-room of this House, and he did not deny it.
Mr. POWELL said the words were not spoken in confidence but in a open, public manner, as stated by the hon. member for Frontenac. The language of the hon. member for Missisquoi was to the effect that it would be for the peace of this country, and that in fact we never would have peace in this country until we hanged a priest or two; and finally he said that we should hang them all.
(Cries of “Shame.”)
Hon. Mr. HUNTINGTON said since he had been called upon as a witness he would proceed to give his evidence at some length.
Mr. W. FERGUSON said that since the hon. member was going to give his evidence at full length, he (Mr. Ferguson) would have a word or two to say with regard to a very unbecoming sentiment uttered by the Hon. Solicitor General himself.
(Cries of “Hear, hear” and “order.”)
Hon. Mr. HOLTON raised the question of order and suggested that the debate should be kept within proper limits, and that side-issues of this kind should not be raised.
Hon. Mr. McGEE (who had the floor— having only given way for a moment in order that the witnesses against Mr. O’Halloran might be heard,) went on to censure the conduct of the hon. gentleman who had just spoken, for doing injustice to his own tolerant principles by endeavoring to throw a shield over the bigotry of the member for Missisquoi.
The hon. gentleman then remarked that he had gone over the several counts of the indictment against the member for Missisquoi, and had laid before the House the mis-statements that hon. member had made. He had convicted him of a mis-statement in reference to Mr. Chamerlin, by an authorized, downright denial, which the Hon. Finance Minister could corroborate, if he chose to get up in his place and do so. With regard to the attack made by the member for Missisquoi on the clergy, he (Mr. McGee) had called witnesses who at once proved the utterance of that ferocious and blood-thirst sentiment— a sentiment which the country would never forget.
The hon. gentleman stood convicted in the presence of this House, and in the presence of the country, of political duplicity of the blanket dye; and he (Mr. McGee) was willing to let the hon. gentleman repose in peace beneath his well-earned laurels.
The public journals would hand him down to future generations as the type of a species of public man who existed in this Province in our days; and future generations would read and learn, at the same time, that good faith was necessary to a public man in Canada, in this period of the nineteenth century, if he wished to preserve his character and his position among his fellow-men— that he should not lie, or make promises which he never intended to fulfil, or things which he never intended to do— they would learn that there was a public man who would learn that there was a public man who disregarded these principles of the age and violated these rules; but they would learn, too, that his acts had been allowed to pass uncriticized, unstarched, unscorched. And they would read, too, and wonder at the fact, that this man had come to the front rank of the Assembly and attacked his fellow-members; that he talked of corruption, and that charges of corruption, and that charges of corruption came as natural to his lips as filth to the grating of a gutter.
(Hear, hear, and cheers.)
From all these things posterity would learn that, in these days of ours, we had still a sound public opinion; and that the man who had neither faith, nor honor, nor principle, could not make or re-make for himself a character in this country.
Hon. Mr. HUNTING said he was under obligations to the hon. member for Montreal West for having abused him in advance, under the fear that his testimony in relation to the conversation would not be to his mind. The hon. gentleman had the happy fault of telling his story every time he rose, exactly in two hours by the clock.
He gave him great credit for arranging his men so that they might pop up at a given signal and confirm and strengthen his remarks as he proceeded. He did feel disposed to find fault with the course hon. gentleman opposite saw fit to pursue in dragging private conversations into their speeches. All he wished them to do was to go ahead and show to the country that they were prepared to support themselves as they had begun, by accepting the invitation of respectable gentlemen to dine, making a note of every word that passed on those occasions, and then sending the information to the public through the newspapers.
He considered that kind of thing incomparably below the intrigues of a common informer). An informer accepted a glass of grog for the special purpose of lodging information, and nothing else was expected of him. But something better than deception was excepted of those who dressed in the garb of gentlemen and passed as such.
The great statesman and champion of the constitutional party who had just sat down, had stated that if he had remained in the United States he would probably at this day be found doing the dirty work of a party, but it would seem that he had only transferred his field of operations to Canada, for he was now found doing the dirty work of the party here. The hon. member boasted of a reputation that extended not only to the Lower Provinces, but even to California, but he not did know as that was any very great boast to make for Gen. Tom Thumb was known farther off than that.
Let the great constitutional party present themselves to the country as the retailers of private conversation, and the country would understand them. He knew that some of those gentlemen had been obliged to do they had done, out of fear that they would get as great a measure of abuse and denunciation as his friend the member for Missisquoi had for his independent and manly conduct.
He (Mr. Huntington) was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and could not even a distant relationship to those who sneered at honest labor, or who prided themselves on having thoroughly mastered the principles of etiquette. On the contrary his parentage was humble but he had learned from his father and from his mother, that when invited to a private dinner table where private conversation took place, he should preserve a profound silence in respect to such conversation.
Perhaps, what he had learned was not correct, (laughter) but he had always believed it to be in accordance with the principle of common justice between man and man. Shortly after last session he had observed in the “Journal de Quebec” a report of a private conversation in which he had spoken lightly of the Clergy. Ever since that time he had been very careful what he let drop in the presence of gentlemen of the boasted constitutional party, for it was pretty sure to appear in the newspapers on the following day. The editor of the “Journal” had informed him that it was not from members of Parliament the statement came, but that it was overheard but the waiters of the St. Louis Hotel. So it turned out that the constitutional gentlemen had descended to the expedient of accepting the testimony of hotel waiters in reference to private political conversations. Ever since these developments he had made it a practice to carefully record, before he forgot it, any statement he might happen to be led to make in the presence of any of those constitutional gentlemen, for there was no knowing, otherwise, what report they might concoct among themselves of a private conversation in which he should be made to figure.
The hon. member for Montreal West could put his hand to his heart and talk of superior loyalty, just as if he were to the manor born. He did not mean to reproach the hon. member for having once been in open rebellion against the British Crown, but he said it was pretensions that his loyalty was of such very brief standing.
It was a deplorable thing that the tender root of the great constitutional loyal [text cut off]… deeper hold upon the soil but of which it had grown.
If the boasted constitutional party were to come into power, he fancied the little Prince would ask himself how it was that in such a loyal country the people were led by mean who but a short time previously had been so very delicate and gingerly in their attachments. For himself, he (Hon. Mr. Huntington) did not believe there was any disloyalty was raised for party purposes merely, and the object was to fasten it on the party in power for the purpose of getting possession of the Treasury benches. The speeches of the hon. gentleman from Montreal West generally displayed quite as much egotism as eloquence. He had taken upon himself the task of giving the member for Missisquoi (Mr. O’Halloran) a dressing for having remained true to his party antecedents, and in doing so had used language which no gentleman ever used to another. (Hear, hear.) If any gentleman sitting near him ventured to express disapprobation of his mode of warfare, and of the terms he used, he forthwith levelled his intellectual fist at him, and gave him a piece of the same treatment. He seemed to be actuated with such a wonderful degrace of bitterness and spite at every hon. gentleman with whom he had formerly acted, that he could not content himself without giving them a savage and ill-natured thrust as fast as opportunity served. (Hear, hear.) He could not understand how it was that the hon. gentleman was always put up to lecture the House upon the proprieties in debates, and the dignity and decorum which ought to characterize honorable members. Of all men he seemed to be the man who more than all others needed to be instructed upon such matters. He entertained a great degree of respect for the hon. member for Montreal East, (Hon. Mr. Cartier) and heartily sympathized with him in his subjection to the attempts which were being made to unhorse him from the leadership of his party.
Hon. Mr. CAUCHON, at some slight allusion to his conduct, insisted upon replying at once, and amid cries of “Order” from the Ministerial side, gesticulated with his hands and endeavored to make himself heard.
The SPEAKER having finally succeeded in commanding order.
Hon. Mr. HUNTINGTON begged that the hon/ gentleman would not get so excited and shake his fists so threateningly. Being a small man he felt different about engaging him in physical combat, and if he had offended him, he begged to apologize, and that he would not attack him when he left the protection of the Speaker. Then referring again to the hon. member for Montreal West, and his apostacy from the party whose confidence he had once shared, he remarked that the first false step gave the direction to the zigzag course which an unprincipled politician always followed. The hon. member went on to say He did not possess the powers of rhapsody and rhetoric of the hon. member for Montreal West, but at the same time he lacked that flexibility of character which distinguished that gentlemen. (Hear, hear.) The hon. member for Montreal West had friends in Shefford, but those friends were ready to drop tears for the talents which had prostituted to do the filthy work of a party who were prepared to sell him tomorrow. (Hear, hear.) Did any one believe that the party of the old family compact would ever consent to be led by the member for Montreal West? Why, the ghosts of the old Tories would rise up in condemnation of such an infamous departure from the traditions of that party. (Hear, hear.) The hon. member for Montreal West thought he could go to Upper Canada and turn the Irish Catholics from that natural allegiance which they bore to freedom in every country under the sun. (Applause.) He stated that he was the champion of 600,000 or 300,000 men, but he (the speaker) did not know which number was the correct one. (Laughter.) But the hon. gentleman was mistaken if he fancied he could, by a mere stroke of his pen, by treachery to his principles, by merely crossing the floor of the House, draw these 300,000 men along with him. (Hear, hear.) It was a gross insult to the intelligence of the Irish people of this Province if the hon. member supposed he could whip them into the ranks of the opposite party. (Applause.) He (the Solicitor General) would further add that he was no lover of Canada, no real patriotic Canadian, who played with the English, Irish or Scotch elements of our population. We are all Canadians, and it was only in this light that the people of this country ought to be addressed. (Applause.) The hon. member for Montreal West had boasted of driving him (the speaker) out of his constituency. But if this were possible, he (the speaker) would not prevent it by siding with the Hon. Mr. McGee, for the latter would be making so many trips from one side of the House to the other, that the man who would follow him would have to undertake a perpetual journey. (Loud laughter.) It required no prophet to [text ineligible] that the principle the Hon. Mr. McGee adopted today he would endeavor to destroy tomorrow. (Laughter and applause.) As regarded the Tory party the honorable gentleman ought to know that his antecedents were not in his favor. The hon. gentleman had been praised all over the country, but he (the Solicitor General) might be permitted to say that he was neither a Chatham nor a Pitt, this much, however, might be admitted, that he had had abundant political experience, ruminating, if the word might be used, on the pastures on every side. (Laughter.) He (the Solicitor General) would be very glad that the duties of this House could be performed without dragging personalities into the debates. (Hear, hear.) But he appeared to the House if the tactics introduced by the Opposition had not rendered utterly impossible to discuss any question unless dealing to some extent in personalities. (Hear, hear.) He was deeply sorry for this, but the fault lay at the door of the Opposition. The system of retailing private conversation, of tracking a gentleman from hotel to hotel, was abominable. How would the hon. member for Montreal West like to be tracked through all his haunts of friendship, and spied upon at table and at the gatherings of friends? (Hear, hear.) Humble, vulgar, as was he (the speaker) he would not pursue such a course, even if it had the effect of driving the member for Montreal West of out the House tomorrow.— (Hear, hear.)
Mr. BOWN.— I have been tracked. (Laughter.)
Hon. Mr. HUNTINGTON.— The hon. gentleman who has just spoken never, although he changed sides, received the bullying and blackguardism which would have overtaken him had he left the Opposition and came over to this side of the House, as a friend of the Administration. He said he was a party man, and having asked if the Essex election case were a Government case, said he would vote for the Government, even if against his convictions. (Hear.) But Mr. Bown was not called a scrounged, a traitor and such epithets as had been hurled at the head of the member for Missisquoi. The Government party had not so learned etiquette— had not followed the example of the constitutional party. (Applause.) If Mr. Bown had deserted the constitutional party, there would have been three or four witnesses, people who looked into the bed room through the key hole to see how he had disposed of himself. (Laughter.) The Government were not so inveterate, or so much in need of the support Mr. Bown could give, as to prostitute the honorable customs of gentlemen by tracking him through the streets and noting his conversation at tables. (Hear._ He (the Solicitor General) would leave the hon. member for Montreal West to his dreams and his restlessness, and to the contemplation of the political apostasy of which he stood convicted. He (the speaker) regretted the course the hon. member had pursued, but he was sure he did not regret it more than did that hon. gentleman himself. (Loud cheers.)
Hon. Mr. McGEE arose to reply— claiming it as a matter of right, to answer personal charges:
There were cries of “Order,” “Chair,” “Spoken,” &c., &c.
Dr. PARKER arose and expressed his regret at the violent turn the debate had taken, and at the scenes of personal discord which were being enacted. He was understood to say that if they continued he would be compelled to withdraw from the House. Finally, after some debate of a conversational nature, the hon. member for Montreal West was allowed to be heard.
Hon. Mr. McGEE begged to dissent from the opinion expressed by the hon. member for North Wellington. It had, on one occasion, been his (Mr. McGee’s) privilege to witness a four months’ session of the House of Commons, and he could assure the hon. member, and those who thought with him, that our proceedings were in every respect at least as orderly as those of the House of Commons— that, in fact, he had never seen, during his experience of seven or eight sessions in this House such continued and noisy interruptions as were witnessed in the House of Commons. (Hear, hear.) Coming to the speech of the hon. Solicitor-General East, he (Mr. McGee) would say that it was remarkable chiefly for the introduction of new matter, and for the fact that he had not attempted to say a word in defence of his friend the member for Missisquoi. (Hear, hear.) The hon. Solicitor had a great deal to say about the British constitutional party, and a great deal about himself, (Mr. McGee) but nota syllable for Mr. O’Halloran who had been the originator of the whole of this debate. It was patent to every hon. member of this House that the hon. ember for Missisquoi was the sole cause of this discussions. [text ineligible] in his place to speak upon the second paragraph of the Address, relating to the defence question, and what did we hear? Did he [text ineligible] this House upon the question of colonial defence? No. he confined his discourse to a defence of himself, and attack upon the member for Montreal West. (Hear, hear.) The hon. Solicitor-General urged, forsooth, that because he (Mr. Huntington) had supported him (Mr. McGee) white the latter was in power, it was his bounden duty to turn round and follow the lead of the Solicitor-General, because he happened just now to occupy a seat on the Treasury Benches. Who, he would like to ask, had abandoned former principles during the interval? There was not the slightest similarity between the policy of the government formed in May, 1862, and that of today, of which the hon. Solicitor-General was a member. And yet the hon. Solicitor-General forsooth, told the House that it was he (Mr. McGee) who had renounced his principles (Hear, hear.) How could he (Mr. McGee) grant his support to the hon. member for Shefford or to the Government which had set aside very doctrine he (Mr. McGee) professed as a public man. Take up the political programme of May, 1862, issued by the Government of which he was a member, and explained on their behalf, on the floor of this House, by the then member for Laprairie and the present Speaker. What had become of the several clauses which it contained? What had become of the Double-Majority, the adjustment of the representation, and the tariff? (Hear, hear.) The Bankruptcy Law was the one one of the right items of that programme which the present Government retained. The hon. Solicitor General might therefore spare his crocodile tears for his (Mr. McGee’s) defection as well as his hopes for his return to the fold. (Laughter.) Four of the same hon. gentlemen who had once been the supporters of this programme, together with the Solicitor General, in one short hour dropped their principles which it involved. (Hear, hear.) What was done as to the commercial policy of the Macdonald-Sicotee Government—was it adhered to? The adherence of hon. gentlemen at present on the Treasury benches could be best judged by the fact that they had appointed a noted free-treader to be Finance Minister. (Hear, hear.) And as for the fidelity of other members of the Government to their political creed, the Hon. Finance Minister had said of the speech of the Hon. Commissioner of Crown Lands, declaring the abandonment of Representation by Population because of its impracticability was the most immoral political speech ever made. (Hear, hear, and cheers,) It was hardly becoming, under these circumstances, to see the leader of such a Government cheering on the Solicitor General, when he attacked him (Mr. McGee) for inconsistency. Referring to his former differences with leading members of the Opposition when he (Mr. McGee) was on the other side of the House, he said that the warfare he had carried on with them was an honorable, a manly, a straight-forward warfare, and he had always found in them fair and honest, and determined opponents. (Hear, hear.) The name applied to the party at present in Opposition, of the British constituted party, was a name of which he felt proud; and it was certainly not for an advisor of Her Majesty to sneer at it, and endeavor to turn it into ridicule. He (Mr. McGee) did not believe there was any disloyal party in this country; but he did believe that, under the peculiar circumstances in which we were placed, it was necessary to inculcate correct principles of reverence for constituted authority, and sound constitutional principles. (Hear, hear and cheers.) It was with regret, therefore, that he saw the honorable Solicitor-General endeavoring to make little of it. The hon. member for Shefford had referred to his (Mr. McGee’s) wish to his constituency. And why did he go there? He (Mr. McGee) had visited that county at the instance of the Hon. Solicitor-General; and [text ineligible] to whom he was under many obligations. But the honorable Solicitor-General had cunning raised the “resident candidate” [text ineligible] , his line of reasoning being that it would be much more difficult, at the next election, to displace the able and talented Mr. Drummond than his less brilliant opponent. This was the cause of the course of conduct the hon. gentleman had pursued towards his early friend, Mr. Drummond. (Hear, hear.) Turning from the subordinate course on the Ministerial benches, to the leading spirit, he would like to ask, was the Premier consistent? [text ineligible] only instance the determined opposition of the hon. gentleman to Mr. Mattire and Mr. William Cook, in their respective constituencies, because they refused to succumb to his particular views. And yet, these were the men who dared to charge him (Mr. McGee) with inconsistency? He would like to ask if he had changed his policy on the Emigration question? He defied any person to charge him with having done so; and when he was a member of the Government he could never get his Emigration policy considered, although if he had gone out then, he could have done them a most serious injury. Had he changed his principles on the militia or defence question, or on the education question? On the contrary, he had always whether in Opposition or in the Government, rigidly adhered to his principles on these matters. In 1858, being then in Opposition, he had voted for Mr. Cayley’s tariff; he had also supported Mr. Galt’s tariff; he had also supported Mr. Sicotte’s Fishery Bill, although acting at the time in decided hostility to the Government. (Hear, hear, and cheers.) Yet, the hon. Solicitor General dared in the face of these facts to charge him (Mr. McGee) with inconsistency and desertion of principles. The doctrine of the hon. gentleman evidently was that a Premier should be preferred to a principle, and he therefore attacked him (Mr. McGee) for consistently adhering to political doctrines which he (Mr. Huntington) had long since abandoned. He had been taunted in reference to his statements, while a member of the Government, about the disclosures to be made by the Report of the Financial and Departmental Commission. He felt bound to say, now that the second part of the Report was out, that it did not substantiate charges which he had been led to believe, from statements made to him at the time, it would substantiate. The time which he had been able to devote to a perusal of the second report led him to believe that the Commissioners had proceeded rather by way of selection, in making disclosures of extravagance, than in a properly impartial spirit. The labors of the Commissioners had no doubt brought to light enough to show that our departmental system was anything but good, et we had not a word about the necessity of departmental reform in the Speech— we had no promise of the desire on the part of the government to effect a change for the better. (Hear, hear.) The action taken by the Government, in reference to dismissals, was ill-judged and ill-advised in the extreme, and yet this was all they could show us in the way of reform. Look, for instance, at the dismissal of Mr. McGinn, in Montreal— in old public servant of twenty years’ standing, who was removed solely for obeying the old rules or orders he had been accustomed to obey. If these orders were faulty, why not issue others— why dismiss him— why punish him for doing what was right, in following his old orders? (Hear, hear.) He repeated once more that the report of the Financial and Departmental Commission had not proved the very grave delinquencies he was informed it would prove. The mis-statement of fact on the part of the Solicitor-General was in saying that he (Mr. McGee) had ever stated that he knew, of his own “personal knowledge,” that things would be established which would drive some hon. gentlemen from public life. He (Mr. McGee) never said that he knew these things of his own “personal knowledge. He had spoken on the authority of others, which he then believed to be reliable. (Hear, hear.) The hon. gentleman then censured the conduct of the Premier in inviting hon. gentlemen to a ministerial dinner-table, for the purpose of threatening, coercing or making corrupt offers to them; and then, when these things saw the light, raising an outcry about the violation of private confidences. Shame upon the glaring impropriety of inviting gentlemen to one’s own house of the purpose of insulting them! Who committed the breach of delicacy— who violated the rules of hospitality? Would a Baldwin, a Hicks, a Macdonald, or a [text ineligible] done so? (Cheers.) Would any one of these men be found hunting their supporters up and down, through the lobbies of this House, through the streets and public places of the city? No; it was left to the gentle shepherd of the ministerial flock thus to guard his stray lambs. No doubt the public men he had named desired to retain power; but they had never descended to these depths of political shame which were left for the present Premier and his followers. (Cheers.)
The House then adjourned, at three o’clock on Thursday morning.