Province of Canada, Legislative Council, 8th Parl, 4th Sess (14 August 1865)

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Date: 1865-08-14
By: Province of Canada (Parliament), The Quebec Daily Mercury
Citation: “Provincial “Parliament. Legislative Council. The Quebec Daily Mercury (15 August 1865).
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MONDAY, 14th AUG, 1865.

The House met at three o’clock.

After routine,—


The SPEAKER presented a report from the Law Clerk of the House touching the laws to expire before the end of the session of 1866.


Hon. Mr. FERGUSSON BLAIR brought in a report from the Committee of Standing Orders and Private Bills.

Hon. Mr. ROSS called attention to the insufficiency of notion given to members of the Committee to attend the meeting thereof.

Some conversation on the subject ensued between the hon. gentlemen and Hon. Messrs. Fergusson Blair and Moore, and
On motion of the Hon. Mr. FERGUSSON BLAIR, a paragraph in the report recommending the reduction of the quorum of the Committee to five members, was adopted.


Hon. Mr. CURRIE, from select Committee, reported, with certain amendments the Bill to amend the law relating to the assignment of dower in Upper Canada.


The SPEAKER reported messages from the Assembly with the following Bills:

To amend the Act incorporating the Town of Levis.

To encourage the planting of fruit, shade and ornamental trees on the public Highways of the Province and for other purposes.

For more effectually securing the liberty of the subject.

To prevent the spread of Canada thistles in Upper Canada. (Cries of “hear, hear” from various parts of the House, on the announcement of this bill.)

To amend the law relating to the division of Lower Canada into Counties, in so far as the same relates to the Counties of Rimouski and Gaspé.

These bills were severely read a first time and on motion of the hon. members who took them in charge, ordered to a second reading.


Hon. Mr. CURRIE then moved to the following effect:—“That an humble address be presented to His Excellency the Governor General, praying that His Excellency will be pleased to cause to be laid before this House a copy of the Militia General Order calling out Volunteers for service in the month of April last, and the instructions to the Officers of such Volunteers in reference to their pay and term of service.”—The hon gentleman said his object in making this motion was to direct attention on the part of the Government to what he conceived to be a manifest injustice done to the Volunteers lately in active service on the frontier. In the Speech from the Throne the other day, a high compliment had been paid to the Volunteers for the zeal and alacrity with which they had responded to the call of duty, and the uniform good conduct which had marked their stay at the different posts to which they had been assigned. Now, while he thought the Province had every reason to feel proud of its young defenders and to compliment them when occasion offered, he felt that it would be time enough so to do—and the compliment would have been more acceptable he doubted not—after more substantial justice had been done them in the payment of their just due. Honorable members were aware that in December last, owing to unfortunate circumstances which necessitated the guarding of the frontier, the Government had been obliged to call out a contingent of Volunteers from the active Militia of the Province for the duty. The term of service of the contingent in question having expired and the circumstances to which he had alluded still continuing, the Government was under the necessity of carrying out another quota about the first of April last. The men forming this quota were engaged on the express understanding that they should be employed for a term of three months from the time of their engagement. Before the end of the three months, however, owing to the disappearance of the circumstances which had necessitated their calling out, the men were recalled and disbanded by the Government. Now a larger number of these men had obtained leave of absence from their regular employers for the space of three months—others had been engaged in their stead, so that by their recall many of them were thrown out of employment for the remainder of their time on that account. This was, the least to say, a hardship to which they ought not to have been subjected, and he thought the least the Government could do would be to pay them for the full time they had engaged. If the matter had not yet received attention he hoped the Government would not show any unnecessary delay in taking it up and seeing that justice was done to the gallant volunteers.

Hon. Sir. N. F. BELLEAU.—There is no objection on the part of the Government to bring down the papers.

The SPEAKER was about to put the motion, when,—

Hon. Sir N. F. BELLEAU again rose and made some additional remarks, which were inaudible in the gallery.

Hon. Mr. CAMPBELL said he desired to add a few words to what his hon. friend, Sir. N. F. Belleau, had just stated on the subject. The question had received the most attentive consideration of their late respected colleague, Hon. Sir E. P. Taché, than whom none had more at heart the interests of the Force, nor none more anxious to afford them every just encouragement. After examination of the Militia General Order, calling them out, Hon. Sir E.P. Taché and the other members of the Government came to the conclusion that they were at liberty to recall the Volunteers, the more so as they, the Government, felt that no wrong was thereby being done to the men, and as they believed, moreover, that their recall at the time, instead of making them suffer any injury, would prove of benefit to a majority of them, being aware at least with regard to some of the companies forming the quota on service, that the men were extremely anxious to return home in time for the hay harvest then about to commence. Though recalled, their pay did not cease, however, from the date of their leaving their several posts, but ran on for some days after their abandonment of active service.

Hon. Mr. CURRIE.—It continued until they were disbanded.

Hon. Mr. CAMPBELL—That is to say some nine or ten days after quitting their posts. The Government desired to treat the volunteers with that consideration which their spirited conduct deserved, but, under all the circumstances, taking into consideration the terms of the order, the possibility of effecting a saving to the Province, and the anxiety of the men to return to their homes, they thought themselves justified in recalling them. There was a saving to the extent of $40,000 or $50,000 effected by the step, and no hardship, as they believed, had been inflicted on the men. The matter, however, would receive attention.


Hon. Mr. OLIVIER moved that a committee be appointed to inquire into the causes of the inundation of the12th of April last which was attended with the loss of human life and a great devastation and damage of property in the parishes of Berthier, Sorel St. Cuthbert, St. Barthelemy, Maskinongé and other parishes along the river St. Lawrence, with power to call for persons and papers and thereupon to make their report, with such suggestions as they may think fit to prevent the recurrence of such sad events: said Committee to be composed of the Hon. Messrs. Armstrong, Lacoste, E. Duchesnay, Armand, Archembault, Bossé, Dumouchel, Coaffers, and mover.

In support of his motion Hon. Mr. Olivier stated that he would not enter into details of the calamitous events to which resolution referred as the particulars had been widely circulated by the press, but he might say that not less than 10 lives had been lost and that the damages sustained in the parishes named and in several others, to wit: Nicolet, Three Rivers and Becancour, amounted to $200,000. There was an impression abroad which might or might not be well founded that certain works constructed in the harbour of Quebec or its vicinity had acted as an obstacle to the descent of water in the spring by stopping the ice and that whereas the ice broke up sooner on the river above, it floated down and meeting that which was still stationary at Quebec, a sort of dam was created which caused the water to flow back and inundate the low lands. He hoped no objection would be offered to the appointment of the Committee and believed that the named he had submitted as a committee would be a sufficient security for carrying on the investigation in a proper spirit and with all possible economy.

Hon. Sir. N. F. BELLEAU said it was very desirous to ascertain, if possible, the causes of the inundation. There had been others of the same kind before, though not so considerable, and the only recommendation the Government had to make, was that all due economy should be practiced by the Committee while pursuing the inquiry.

The motion was then put and carried.


Hon. Mr. CURRIE, pursuant to notice, inquired from the Government whether the Public Departments are to be removed to Ottawa immediately after the present Session? and if not, at what subsequent date such removal will take place?

Hon. Sir N. F. BELLEAU answered from a written memorandum in these precise words—“It is the intention of the Government to transfer the Public Departments to Ottawa as soon as possible after the present Session.”


Hon. Mr. BOULTON moved for an address for a return by the several Sheriffs in Upper Canada of the amount paid to them respectively on each lot of land advertised for sale for arrears of taxes, for the expenses of the advertisement of such sale during the year.

The hon. member stated as his reason for desiring this return that their [sic] was no uniform practice among the Sheriffs of Upper Canada in relation to this matter. When the desired information was received he would move to have it submitted to a committee, and if abuses were found to exist steps could be taken to have them removed. The motion was made in the public interest and all would be equally benefited if evils supposed to exist were amended.—Carried.


Pursuant to order the House resolved itself into Committee of the whale, Hon. Mr. Hamilton (Kingston) in the Chair, on the Bill to enable the Church Societies and Incorporated Synod of the Church of England Diocese in Upper Canada to sell Rectorial Lands, &c.

The bill was passed through the Committee without amendment, was reported a third time and passed.

The other orders were postponed, the bills not being printed and

The House adjourned.


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