Province of Canada, Legislative Council, [Address] 8th Parl, 3rd Sess (24 January 1865)


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Date: 1865-01-24
By: Province of Canada (Parliament), The Globe
Citation: “Provincial Parliament”, The Globe (25 January 1865).
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Note: All footnotes come from our recent publication, Charles Dumais & Michael Scott (ed.), The Confederation Debates in the Province of Canada (CCF, 2022).


After routine business the House resumed the considered of the Address[1].

Jacques-Olivier Bureau [De Lormier, elected 1862] expressed his approval generally of the course the Government had taken with respect to the raiders, and said he was prepared to give the Confederation scheme an honest and candid consideration.

Thomas Ryan [Victoria, elected 1863] spoke in favour of Confederation. As to the border troubles, he brought our proceedings should not be dictated by any servile dread of the United States. If there had been raiders on this side, there were fenians[2] on the other side cherishing hostile designs against us, and we had the same right to ask the United States Government to look after those fenians as the had to ask us to look after the raiders. Our duty was to act justly, doing all that honourably lay in our power for the preservation of peace.

Philip Moore [Canada East, appointed 1841] spoke in complimentary terms of the personnel of the Government, and approved of their proceedings with respect to the raiders, but disapproved of their Confederation scheme.

Joseph Armand [Alma, elected 1858] supported Confederation. When the scheme of a union of the colonies was propounded at the close of last session, he determined, and intimated his determination to his friends, to fight it to the death. At that time he had no idea of the great resources of the Lower Provinces, and thought they would be merely a burden, if they entered into partnership with us. His visit there during the summer, however, had changed his opinion, and he had felt bound to state publicly in the City Hall at Fredericton, that he was astonished that we should have remained separate so long. He was now ardently in favour of Confederation.

The Address was there carried unanimous, and will be presented to His Excellency tomorrow afternoon at half-past three o’clock.

The House was adjourned at 5 o’clock.

After some time, the House was resumed, and—[3]

Étienne Pascal Taché [Canada East, appointed 1848, Premier, Minister of Militia, and Receiver General] reported an Address prepared by the Committee, as follows:

To His Excellency the Right Honorable Charles Stanley, Viscount Monck, Baron Monck of Ballytrammon, in the County of Wexford, Governor General of British North America, and Captain General and Governor in Chief in and over the Provinces of Canada, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the Island of Prince Edward, and Vice-Admiral of the same, &c., &c., &c.

MAY IT PLEASE YOUR EXCELLENCY:

We, Her Majesty’s dutiful and loyal subjects, the Legislative Council of Canada, in Provincial Parliament assembled, respectfully thank Your Excellency for Your Gracious Speech at the opening of the present Session.

We cordially unite with Your Excellency in expressing thankfulness to a beneficent Providence for the general prosperity and contentment of the people of this Province, and the continuance to us of the inestimable blessing of Peace.

We desire to express to Your Excellency the regret with which we have learned that outrages have been committed on the commerce and territory of the United States of America by persons who, after the perpetration of these acts, have sought refuge on Canadian soil.

We have heard with great satisfaction that in order to prevent the organization of any such enterprises within this Province, and also to enable Your Excellency to discharge in an effective manner your duties towards a neighboring power on terms of friendship with Her Majesty, Your Excellency has seen fit to organize a system of detective Police on the frontier line of the United States, and with the same design has called out for permanent duty a portion of the Volunteer Force of the Province.

We shall give our early consideration to the Bill, which Your Excellency bas been pleased to inform us will be laid before Parliament, framed for the purpose of arming the Executive Government with stronger powers than it now possesses for dealing with persons, who, while availing themselves of the right of asylum which has always been allowed on British soil to political refugees from all foreign countries, may be unmindful of the implied obligations which, by their residence amongst us, they contract to obey our laws and to respect the declared policy of our Sovereign.

We rejoice to hear of the zeal and alacrity displayed by the members of the Volunteer force when called upon to turn out for active service; and we agree with Your Excellency that their conduct shows that the present population of Canada has not degenerated from the manly virtues which characterize the races from which it derives its origin, and that it may be relied on, under all circumstances, to respond to the call of duty, either for the maintenance of internal order, or to repel foreign aggression.

We thank Your Excellency for the information that the Commissioners appointed under the provisions of the second chapter of the Consolidated Statutes for Lower Canada to frame a Civil Code, and also a Code of Civil Procedure for Lower Canada, have completed the former part of their duty, and that the Code of Civil Procedure is in a very advanced state; and also for your assurance that the result of the labours of the Commissioners shall be laid before this House.

We agree with Your Excellency in the opinion that the completion of the Codification of the Civil Law, in both French and English, cannot fail to be of great benefit to the inhabitants of Lower Canada, by enabling the people of all origins to read, in their own languages, the Civil Law under which they live, and which hitherto has only been accessible in a language which is not the mother tongue of a portion of the people whose civil rights are regulated by it.

We recall with satisfaction Your Excellency’s statement at the close of the last Session of Parliament, that it was your intention, in conjunction with your Ministers, to prepare and submit to Parliament a measure for the solution of the constitutional problem, the discussion of which has for some years agitated this Province.

We receive with earnest attention Your Excellency’s announcement that a careful consideration of the general position of British North America induced the conviction that the circumstances of the times afforded the opportunity, not, merely for the settlement of a question of Provincial politics, but also for the simultaneous creation of a new Nationality.

We thank Your Excellency for informing us that preliminary negotiations were opened by Your Excellency with the Lieutenant Governors of the Provinces of British North America; and that the-result was that a meeting was held at Quebec, in the month of October last, composed of delegates from those Colonies, representing all shades of political party in their several communities, nominated by the Lieutenant Governors of their respective Provinces, who assembled here, with the sanction of the Crown, and at Your Excellency’s invitation, to confer with the members of the Canadian Ministry on the possibility of effecting a Union of all the Provinces of British North America.

We have learned with the deepest interest that this Conference, after lengthened deliberations, arrived at the conclusion that a Federal Union of these Provinces was feasible and desirable, and that the result of its labours is a plan of Constitution for the proposed Union, embodied in a series of resolutions, which, with other papers relating to the subject, Your Excellency has directed to be laid before Parliament; and that the general design of a Union, and the particular plan by which it is proposed to carry that intention into effect, have both received the cordial approbation of the Imperial Government.

An Imperial Act of Parliament being necessary in order to give effect to the contemplated Union of the Colonies, this House is gratified to learn that Your Excellency has been officially informed by the Secretary of State that Her Majesty’s Ministers will be prepared to introduce a Bill for that purpose into the Imperial Parliament, so soon as they shall have been notified that the proposal has received the sanction of the Legislatures representing the several Provinces affected by it.

And we assure Your Excellency that this subject, which you have been pleased to commend to our attention, and the importance of which to ourselves and to our descendants it is impossible to exaggerate, shall receive from this House the calm, earnest and impartial consideration which Your Excellency claims for it.

We desire to convey to Your Excellency a sense of the profound respect with which this louse has received the assurance of your conviction that with the public men of British North America it now rests to decide whether the vast tract of country which they inhabit shall be consolidated into a State, combining within its area all the elements of National greatness, providing for the security of its component parts, and contributing to the strength and stability of the Empire; or whether the several Provinces of which it is constituted shall remain in their present fragmentary and isolated condition, comparatively powerless for mutual aid, and incapable of undertaking their proper share of Imperial responsibility.

We unite with Your Excellency in fervently praying that in the discussion of an issue of such moment, our minds may be guided to conclusions which shall redound to the honor of our Sovereign, and to the welfare of Her subjects.

Which said Address being read by the Clerk, was unanimously agreed to.

Ordered,

That the said Address be engrossed, and that the same be signed by the Honorable the Speaker of this House.

Ordered,

That the said Address be presented to His Excellency the Governor General by the whole House.


ENDNOTES

[1]      For the address, see the Legislative Council proceedings from the day before (Jan. 23, 1865), p. A:2.

[2]      The Fenian movement gained strength in North America when British antipathy in the United-States heightened after American politicians blamed “unneutral” British interference during the civil war after it concluded and after raids on the Irish Republican Brotherhood in Ireland in the Fall of 1865 angered American immigrated Irish. In America, membership in the Fenian movement swelled late in 1865 and it aimed at invading British North American to encourage rebellion and free Ireland from English subjugation. While the movement itself did attempt actual invasions of British North America, these were inefficient and unorganized.

[3]      The rest of the proceedings are from the Journals of the Legislative Council of the Province of Canada (1865), pp. 26-28. Added for completeness.  

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