Province of Canada, Legislative Council, 8th Parl, 4th Sess (16 September 1865)

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Date: 1865-09-16
By: Province of Canada (Parliament), The Quebec Daily Mercury
Citation: “Provincial “Parliament. Legislative Council. The Quebec Daily Mercury (19 September 1865) & “Provincial “Parliament. Legislative Council. The Quebec Daily Mercury (20 September 1865).
Other formats: Click here and here to view the original documents (PDF).
Note: All endnotes come from our recent publication, Charles Dumais & Michael Scott (ed.), The Confederation Debates in the Province of Canada (CCF, 2022).


Saturday, September 16, 1865[1]


The Speaker informed the House that he had received a communication announcing the intention of His Excellency [Viscount Monck] to prorogue Parliament on Monday, the 18th inst., at three p.m.

Supply Bill

The order for the resumption of the debate on the Supply Bill—

 Benjamin Seymour [Canada West, appointed 1854] said that not having been present in the early part of the session and not having had the opportunity of losing unto matters much he would not have thought it necessary to address the House, had it not been for the remarks of the hon. members for Gore [George Alexander] and Saugeen [David Macpherson] Divisions, which not being able to agree with, he was not willing to allow to go uncontradicted. The hon. member for the Gore [George Alexander] especially seemed to be in a peculiarly happy state of mind, and in his felicity, saw every thing couleur de rose. In his estimation a deficit of $540,000 was a mere trifle, hardly worth a moment’s thought and the country had reason to be gratified that it was not very much larger.

Well even $340,000 in his (Mr. Seymour’s) apprehension, though it should be correct, which be thought doubtful, was a very large deficit upon a revenue like that of Canada. Compared with the revenue of the United Kingdom, it would be equivalent to about $30,000,000. And suppose the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Imperial Parliament were to bring down his budget and admit a deficiency of thirty millions of dollars in times of peace, how would the announcement be received? Would the Government be sustained unless they were prepared at once to propose some strong measure of retrenchment which would restore the balance between the income and the expenditure?

He was satisfied they would not. Then as to the receipts themselves he found one sum credited as ordinary revenue in the Crown Lands for the year ended 30th June 1865 of $830,970 which he did not think fairly belonged to it. The hon. Commissioner [Alexander Campbell] would probably explain the matter, but if he understood the item it was not revenue at all but capital to other words it was made up in great part of old debts which had been collected during the year. Were a proprietor to adopt the same policy and sell out part of his estate would he consider the proceeds as revenue. If he did so he would not do it long for he would soon find himself without any revenue at all. Then there were a number of special funds the capital of which has been used by the Government and in lieu thereof they paid in the interest year by year. Formerly the Government issued debentures and offed the interest to the carpal of the special funds, but this system had been changed, they used all the money and merely paid the interest.

The hon. member for Gore [George Alexander] had given no particular reason for the satisfaction he experienced with the condition of things, and he (Mr. Seymour) could not understand it unless it was that the property of the hon. member had largely increased in value while the country largely increased in debt. He probably competed the value of his estates now with what it was in 1865, or possibly that of his stocks. When the hon. member first entered the House he was one of the most resolve advocates of economy and retrenchment and so continued until last Session when possibly the discussion of the great subject of Confederation had changed his views.

But he (Mr. Seymour) had not been able to adopt similar opinions and he counted whether he would be able to do so until some very important reforms were initiated and carried out. It might be useful to compare the Supplies asked for during some years past as we would thereby be able to form some idea of the gradual increase of our expenditures. In 1856 they were $2,800,000; in 1857 $900,000; in 1858 $2,283,000; in 1859 $2,000,000; in 1860 $2,570,000; in 1861 $2,349,000; in 1862 $3,230,000; in 1863 $3,963,000; in 1864 $6,797,000; in 1865 $5,006,000. Here we had nearly a three fold increase, and let it be understood that these cast sums were not for Public Works were by debentures, but for current expenses.

He would now refer to the loans negotiated. In 1856 $1,000,000 was borrowed; in 1857 $1,300,000; in 1858 $1,000,000; in 1859 there was none; in 1860 $1,500,000; in 1861 $2,000,000; in 1862 $3,000,000; in 1863 $1,500,000; in 1864 $4,000,000, and now in 1865 $1,000,000. Every year except one since 1856 we had had new loans. This had been the role not the exception. Large sums had been constantly raised and the effect might be seen in the present condition of our credit. Why our bonds were now worth $2 or $3 per cent, and a large discount had moreover to be submitted to whenever a loan was needed. Besides all this he believed that a large amount of debentures were pledged as security with our financial agents in London, and that they may yet have to be forced upon the market at a great sacrifice.

Alexander Campbell [Cataraqui, elected 1858, Commissioner of Crown Lands]—The hon. member was mistaken.

Benjamin Seymour [Canada West, appointed 1854]—Well, there was the loan of the Bank of Montreal and he felt assured that if the Finance Minister [Alexander Galt] had to go on the money market his bonds would have to be sold at an enormous discount. Such were the results of the system of meeting the emergent obligations of the country by loans. But the hon. member for Gore [George Alexander] compared the debt of the United States and that of Canada, and drew interferences unfavourable to the former country.

He forgot, however, to state that when the war commenced the Republic was entirely free from debt, and if they had not been so they certainly could not have provided the means for suppressing the rebellion. And it should be remembered that the debt was not due to foreign countries but to themselves. Then the money was expended in their own country and the people had had the advantage of it. Sir Morton Peto, in a speech which he recently made at Philadelphia, clearly showed that with the large public territory they still possessed, they could wipe out the whole of that debt large as it was.

In what position would Canada be with its heavy debt if in addition it were called upon to contribute largely for its own defence? Could it do so and keep faith with the public creditor? It would absorb its whole resources and even these would not suffice. He hoped and believed, however, that such a necessity would never occur. The hon. member (Mr. Alexander) had also conjured up the phantom of annexation, and to hear him one would almost believe that we were fast rising towards such a consummation.

George Alexander [Gore, elected 1858]—I merely alluded to the fact that there was in some quarters a feeling of that kind, but I myself have no such apprehensions.

Benjamin Seymour [Canada West, appointed 1854] said he had never seen anything in that direction sufficient to cause dread. Out people were satisfied with British rule and are desirous of continuing under it, but the best way to prevent the growth of annexation sentiments was to practice economy, and not go borrowing year by year. It was this system of borrowing and increasing debt which drove people out of the Province, and he earnestly hoped we would soon have an efficient reform in that particular.

The hon. member for Saugeen [David Macpherson] had stated that a hundred millions of foreign capital had been expended upon our railways and had asked defiantly what Canada would be without them. Well he (Mr. Seymour) was ready to admit that the Railways had contributed largely to the progress of the Province, but that the grand Truck was now perfectly independent and out of the reach of all attacks, although there was a constant desire to nibble at it, was something new to him.

Canada had guaranteed $3,000 per mile to that concern when it was first started and it was to have the first lien upon it. The amount prickle and interest due from it to the Province could not now fall short of $24,000,000 which was something widely different from a state of perfect independence. Now all that was really wanted of the Grand Trunk was a line from Quebec to Toronto where it could connect through the Great Western with Sarnia. The country did not require parallel roads nor did it need the link to River du Loup, and these extensions were not contemplated at first.

Well what would have been the cost of such a road? The portion between Montreal and Portland hard been built and distinct enterprise and all that required to be done to constitute a line to Toronto was a link from Quebec to Richmond, and from Montreal to Toronto. The hon. member for Saugeen [David Macpherson], if he were here, and he was snotty he was not in his place, could probably have told the House what was the price for which a certain company, of which he no doubt knew something, had undertaken to build the portion from Montreal to Toronto.

He (Mr. Seymour) was not quite sure but he thought that price was $6,500 per mile for the half of which they were to take the guarantee of the Province and for the rest provide the money themselves. But for the sake of making an estimate he would suppose the road would have cost $30,000 per mile, and if so the amount necessary to build it would have been $9,990,000. From Quebec to Richmond $3,280,000 more, or $3,000,000 less than the principal sum advanced to the Grand Trunk Company by the Province.

The Province had thus actually paid out enough to build the road from Quebec to Toronto, but notwithstanding that, all its security had passed away—and the road itself was being fast worn out. Then as a further advantage to the company the postal rates had been increased by the arbitrators contrary to agreement and to law. The Executive instead of themselves deciding as they ought to have done the value of the service had chosen to shift the responsibility from themselves upon Commissioners and we all knew the results. Was such a course pursued in the United States? Not at all.

There the Postmaster General [William Howland] had recommended the passage of a law to compel the Railway Companies to accept such rates as the Government would deem reasonable and at this present moment the rates they paid were not comparable with ours in largeness. The Great Western Railway carried at this moment the American [?mail?] to Buffalo for $50 per mile, and the Grand Trunk performed the same service from Portland for $100 or $110 per mile, including side services. He had not the vouchers any him but he believed he was correct, and it should be borne in mind that they reviewed their payments in a depreciated currency.

But in Canada the Grand Trunk had not ceased to ask until they at last got the $150 per mile it wanted, and yet there were gentleman in Canada who having been all their lives opposed to the Company had new undertaken its defence. The Lower Provinces had entered into contracts with the same company for the construction of their railways, but the contracts were broken and the Provinces had resolved to make their own trades. They had done so, and although they carried at very low rates, the roads paid 3 per cent interest upon the outlay.

He could see no sufficient reason for interference with the personal arrangement and he had heard nothing said in its favour, calculated to make him change that opinion. With regard to the acquisition of the North West Territory, he did not know the policy of the Government but he expected to hear it immediately and he hoped it was not intended to enter rashly into an agreement for the purchase of a desert which we could neither settle, govern or defend. It was quite impossible without a Railway to open up that country, and the construction of one was entirely out of the question. We had better lands both in Upper and Lower Canada still unoccupied than there were in that territory, and yet it seemed that we could neither sell nor give them away. And yet these lands were comparatively close to the markets.

As to the mode of acquiring the property in question from the Hudson Bay, he would read to the House the option of the Duke of Newcastle on the subject of the contemplated purchase of the same region by the Imperial Government a few years ago[2]. The hon. member then read from a report of that nobleman in which he proposed to acquire the territory for the same of $250,000 but the Company were to guarantee the title and moreover they were to be paid only as the lands were sold, [?at?] [?1s?] per acre and settled. That was something like a statesman like arrangement. He feared that was not the plan at present contemplated.

Still he trusted the Government would proceed cautiously in the matter and also that they would be careful how they expended the $1,000,000 voted them last Session for defensive purposes, so that when Parliament met again we might be able to approve of their course in relation to these two important subjects.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Alexander Campbell [Cataraqui, elected 1858, Commissioner of Crown Lands] would assure the hon. member that there was no danger whatever of the Government rushing unadvisedly into the purchase of the Hudson’s Bay territory.

Antoine Duchesnay [La Salle, elected 1858] said he regretted very much that it was not within the powers of the Legislative Council to offer amendments to this Bill of Supply, for, in his opinion, it contained several particulars which ought to be so amended or entirely rejected. He also desired to express his great regret that the Government had not thought it proper to effect large retrenchments in the public expenditure. The first retrenchment to be made, in his opinion, under the auspices of the Government, was in the indemnity to the members of both Houses, which for this Session would be equal to about $20 per day, thanks to a very absurd law.

This indemnity for the two Sessions held this year would amount to the extraordinary sum of three hundred thousand dollars. Then the salaries of the minsters themselves and those of some of the public officers ought also to have been somewhat reduced; but for his part he feared that there would not be a very speedy remedy to these abuses, unless this House by a sentiment of patriotism should intervene and refuse its subsidies when they are not in harmony with the condition of the country in respect of its finances. The hon. Member then read the following extract from the programme of the Government now in office delivered in March 1864.

“Departmental reform will be steadily pursued, and the entire public expenditure will be administered with the strictest economy, and measures will be submitted this Session for equaling the revenue with the expenditure.”[3] He was prepared for this part to forget the errors of the past but trusted that the Government would perform its promises for the future.

Alexander Campbell [Cataraqui, elected 1858, Commissioner of Crown Lands] said that at the commencement of the debate ground of accusation had been found against the Government by the hon. members for Grandville [Luc Letellier de Saint Just], Wellington [John Sanborn], and Niagara [James Currie], for the lateness of the hour at which the Supply Bill had been brought in and for the necessary to be used in its passage.

James Currie [Niagara, elected 1862]—I did not make it a ground of accusation.

Alexander Campbell [Cataraqui, elected 1858, Commissioner of Crown Lands] thought the hon. member had, and at any rate the two other hon. members he had designated and certainly done so. Now with respect to the hon. member for Grandville [Luc Letellier de Saint Just] he (Mr. C.) could not understand how that hon. member could feel surprise for he had been in the Government and knew that the course pursued on this occasion was identical with that pursued by his own Governments of the country. It was in the nature of things that a Supply Bill should come into in the Session to this House and it could not be otherwise.

The items of this measure were laid before the other Branch early in the Session, for that House could change them if its chose which this House could not do. In that House it had happened this session that the Supply Bill was introduced at an unusually early period, in fact at so earlier period than over before since the union of the Province. On the 14th of August, or a week after the opening of Parliament, the Estimates were laid on the table so that all parties had had abundance of time to consider them and thus for more than a month they were in debate, where then was the ground for a charge of haste. It was trifling with the House to make such assertion and he must express surprise on his part that these hon. members could have made a charge of that kind.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Alexander Campbell [Cataraqui, elected 1858, Commissioner of Crown Lands]—He quite agreed of course with the hon. member for Wellington [John Sanborn] that as a general thing, important measures should be brought down as early as possible. This was a reform that was wanted but no one could ever contemplate that under our system the Supply Bill should be one of them. With reference to other bills what could be amended ought to be, and every proper effort would be made to bring about the improvement. The same difficulty had long existed in England and the House of Lords had tried means to effect the reform, but hitherto had not succeeded; in fact it was extremely difficult to control measures in that way. It would, hoverer, rest with this House to make a stand and to indicate the amount of reform that was needed.

When the hon. member for Grandville [Luc Letellier de Saint Just] was in the Government the Bills of Supply were brought in at the two Sessions into in the evening, for he perceived from the journals that they were among the last items, and the next morning they were passed through all their stages. Knowing this as he could not fail to know it, he wondered that he should attempt to make capital out of the lateness of this particular Bill. The debate on the measure had been initiated any the hon. member for Tecumseth [Donald McDonald] yesterday afternoon, and it had been debated again in the evening this being in fact the third sitting, equal to three Parliamentary days, that the Bill had been before the House and he was sure that all were satisfied there was no ground whatsoever for the accusation unduly to press the question.

Then the hon. member for Grandville [Luc Letellier de Saint Just] had talked of broken promises, but it would be instructive to contrast the promises of his Government and their performance with those of the Government now in power. They came down with a strong of 12 or 13 great measures they were going to pass, but that was the first and last of them for we never heard of them again. That was the mode in which they redeemed the promises they had made to the country through the mouth of His Excellency [Viscount Monck].

Now let the opening speech of this session[4] be examined and what would it be found to contain? It contained the promise of a renewal of the measures staled at the end of last session and a report of the mission of the Delegates to England[5], nothing more. The hon. member in fact poke unadvisedly, without authority contrary to fact. [Here Hon. Mr. Campbell] read from the speech of His Excellency [Viscount Monck], and having quoted all that related to the business of the Session, again demanded from the member for Grandville (Hon. Mr. LeTellier) where were the promises of new measures which he alleged had been disregarded.

Luc Letellier de Saint Just [Grandville, elected 1860]—Why did you not complete the Session and pass the Bills which had been deferred.

Alexander Campbell [Cataraqui, elected 1858, Commissioner of Crown Lands]—The answer to the question of the hon. member had been supplied in the report of the Delegates and it was not just now, because the evils which were then apprehended did not happen, to turn round and assail the Government for having used the means to meet them if they did. No human being possessed the gut of prescience, and it was the province of wisdom when danger threatened to prepare for it.

There were at that time grave casques of apprehension and they were probably better known to the Government than to the general public, but the Imperial Government itself was much more impressed with them, because of their greater experience no doubt, and probably also because of their more certain means of information than the Canadian Administration. It was well known that strong ground was taken at Washington about the transactions on the frontier and the results which appeared likely to that Government to follow what they regarded as want to adequate action on our part to repress them. If hon. members took a proper view of the critical position of affairs at that time they would not find any difficulty in accounting for the course that the Government had pursued.

James Currie [Niagara, elected 1862]—Were not the views of the Imperial Government made known before this to our own in relation to their subjects.

Alexander Campbell [Cataraqui, elected 1858, Commissioner of Crown Lands]—No at least not to the same extent. Mail after mail the representations of the Imperial Government became more urgent in pressing upon us the necessity go immediate action. The hon. member for Niagara [James Currie] had asked whether these things could not as well be arranged by correspondence but he knew very well as every body knew that in all important and pressing affairs involving a great many considerations and requiring much confidence and communication there was noting like free personal intercourse. And in the grave matters then apparently at issue it was deemed essential by the Home authorities as well as by those in this country that there should be personal interviews between the Ministers of both countries.

(Here the hon. member quoted an extract from the report of the Delegates[6] presenting the advantages of the meeting on both sides.)

It was well known to the House that a conference of Commissioners from the two belligerent parities in the States had taken place at Fortress Monroe, to consider the means of averting the war and again reuniting the hostile sections; but it might not be so well known that at that connect be so well known that at that conference sentiments hostile to Canada had been expressed, and a suggestion made by some of the parties tending to an invasion of this country. The negotiations failed to reestablish peace, but the fact that turning the tide of war upon Canada had been even the subject of discussion was sufficiently calculated to create alarm, and the British Government felt not a little alarmed.

And no wonder, for they felt the responsibility which, under the circumstances, would devolve upon them. The honor of the Kingdom was at stake, for if they undertook to defend us, they must defend us to the last. Under the circumstances, it was most essential, most important, in order to have proper understanding of the position, that there should be a personal conference of Ministers from both countries, who in full confidence could communicate with each other as to the best means to be employed in the event of active measures being required. But it was asked what had the Canadian Delegates[7] accomplished? and were we not precisely in the same position now as then towards the United States?

Well he (Mr. Campbell) thought they had accomplished a great deal and he had the satisfaction to know that the position we occupied today towards the United States was a very different one indeed from that of six or eight months ago. The mission of the Canadian Delegates had changed distrust of us into confidence and on our side it had solved the question concerning which, there had been many painful doubts as to whether England would in case of need defend us, as she was of old disposed to do with all the resources of the Empire. The mission further had set at rest in the British mind the question of a supposed deposition on the part of a portion of the people of this Province towards annexation to the United States.

Hon. members all well knew the strong feeling which had been created in England by the rejection of the Militia Bill in the Canadian Parliament in the early part of 1862[8]. They ought not to have felt as they did, had they been properly aware of all the facts of the case. If they had known as we in Canada did that the rejection of the measure was more a party political act than an indication of active aversion to the conditions it embodied they would not have attached such importance to it as they did but they did not and could not be supposed to understand these things. They judged from the act itself as they had a right to do and the conclusion they drew from it were extremely unfavourable to our depositions towards the mother country.

Those who asked what the Delegates had accomplished and who answered their own questions by answering “nothing” would do well to reflect upon the change which had taken place in public opinion and in that of the Parliament and Government of England in Canada and Canada affairs as evidenced by the rise in the price of our securities, the course of Government and the wonderfully altered tone of the press in illustration of the effect of the mission of the Ministers to England he begged to read to the house portion of an article from the “Star” of London, one of the leading newspapers there.

(It was of course in the effect that the mission had been in the highest sense fruitful of good and had in every respect answered the ends proposed, but the length of the extract itself and that of the hon. member’s speech preclude our giving it insertion.)

The Duke of Wellington had once made a speech upon the defenceless condition of the coasts of England[9] which had caused an extraordinary anxiety in the country, but it had led to the erection of fortification which quieted the public mind. Well the report of Col. Jervois[10] upon the exposed frontier of Canada and the rejection of the Militia Bill of 1862[11] had together produced a like influence upon the British mind, so that the people of England became doubtful of us, and that was the state of public opinion in England when the Delegates from Canada reached that country. He must of course give credit for candour and sincerity to hon. members when they questioned the usefulness of that mission, but be thought they must have forgotten the feelings with occupied the mind of the nation towards us and he was sure that any person in the habit of reading the English papers will recall the evidences of that fact as constantly exhibited in articles written to our disadvantage.

The burden of those articles was that we were indisposed to exert ourselves even for our own defence, and similar language was hold in both Houses of Parliament. The visit of the Delegates had completely changed all that and restored to us the hearty coincidence of the Government and the nation. Any one having friends at home could bear witness to these things for the privateer correspondence of the country was filled first with complaints of the action of our Legislature in rejecting the Militia Bill[12] and of inferences not at all flattering to the loyalty of our people.

Now the correspondence told another tale. Then the visitors from Canada to England also told of the indignation which was felt against us, and such was the state of feeling that he had been told by gentleman who went to England shortly afterwards that they felt actually ashamed of acknowledging themselves Canadians. Other hon. members beside himself (Mr. Campbell) could refer to these things perhaps from personal knowledge. But when it became known that we were willing to do all we could for ourselves and that the Government of England was satisfied that such was the case the current was entirely changed. But some hon. members would perhaps estimate this at a very trifling value.

True the Delegates brought back no gold or bonds or other treasures wherewith to enrich the country, but notwithstanding that he (Mr. Campbell) and he was happy to believe, a vast majority of the people of the country regarded the mission[13] as abundantly successful. There were a few persons, however, so constituted that they were never happy except in the contemplation of disasters and calamities, and were ever prophesying ruin and decay, and if they could but detect what they considered symptoms of trouble they rejoiced exceedingly. With them the cry was always, “Down, down, down.” Well, he had no sympathy with such persons, and he was happy to think that their number, after all, was very small.

He would now quote a passage from the Pall Mall Gazette, showing what was the opinion of the English press on the subject of the mission and of the bargain the Delegates had made. It forms part of a letter, and the writer after giving the extract, adds a few words of his own:—

The Pall Mall Gazette begins an article on the Far-West of British American in this fashion:

“If the British Government will build one-third of our fortifications, and guarantee the loan with which we will build the other two-thirds, and give us an intercolonial railway, and make us a present of a million or so square miles of territory, we will allow it the privilege of defending us with the whole forces of the empire. That would really not be an unfair description of the bargain which the Canadian envoys have succeeded in driving with Mr. Cardwell?

The whole article is written in this spirit. I must say that the impression prevails that the Canadian Ministers made an extremely good bargain, and that Mr. Cardwell was no match for them. So much the worse for England, say our grumblers; so much the better for Canada, say you.[14]

Here, then, we had the option of an influential English journal, which would serve as a fair specimen of hundreds of others, and its view of the mission was unquestionably the correct one. This, however, was not the view of the hon. member from Niagara [James Currie]. No, his view was a jaundiced view; he saw everything through a gloomy and distorted medium, and he accused absolutely to revel in the gradual impoverishment and prospective downfall of the country.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Alexander Campbell [Cataraqui, elected 1858, Commissioner of Crown Lands]—That hon. member never seemed content but when contemplating coming evils and prognosticating certain approaching destruction. Well, he would leave to the hon. member the enjoyments he loved as well, but he must take the liberty to question his taste.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

James Currie [Niagara, elected 1862] here rose to explain and complained that the hon. Commissioner for Crown Lands [Alexander Campbell] was misrepresenting him very much.

Alexander Campbell [Cataraqui, elected 1858, Commissioner of Crown Lands] said he had not interrupted the hon. member when he was speaking, and he would be obliged if he would let him proceed. As to the ability with which the Delegates[15] had performed their task the British press seemed as if they could not sufficiently admire it. They were praised and applauded in an extraordinary manner for their skill and succeed. He would again refer to the upper from which he had first quoted, and read a few words more in proof of the correctness of his allegations.

(The hon. Commissioner then read from the London Star[16], in corroboration of his position, an article in the greatest degree eulogistic of the remarkable talents the Canadian Delegates had exhibited.)

The hon. member for Niagara [James Currie] in pursuance of his determination to censure and damage the Government, was not content with the deficiency of $510,000 in the revenue as compared with the public expenditure of Province. To be sure the hon. member allowed that $540,000 was the deficiency at the end of the present fiscal year, but then at the end of last it was $897,000.

James Currie [Niagara, elected 1862] said he had given as his authority the hon. Minister of Finance [Alexander Galt].

Alexander Campbell [Cataraqui, elected 1858, Commissioner of Crown Lands]—The hon. member was not content to take the general result of the eighteen months, which were embraced in the report of the Finance Minister [Alexander Galt], but must take an antecedent portion of the same period when the deficiency appeared larger. But supposing that he (Mr. Campbell) granted that the deficiency was, as stated by the hon. member, $897,000, it might not be amiss to use if there were not items charged to the [?current?] expenditure which were of an abnormal character; and as such should be deducted from the totals if we desired to have a correct view of the relations between the income and the outgoings of the Province.

The expense during the period embraced in the returns for the frontier service of the volunteers was $393,000; and surely the hon. member would not say that this sum was an ordinary item. But though an extraordinary one, it was one which every body approved; one which was attended with extremely gratifying success, for its immediate result was the abolition of the vexatious passport system, which had been attended with so much inconvenience and expense.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Alexander Campbell [Cataraqui, elected 1858, Commissioner of Crown Lands]—The action of the Government in despatching the volunteers to the frontier had been viewed by the American Government with the greatest satisfaction and interest, the confidence in our readiness to do all in our power to prevent the recurrence of new views. There was another item which ongoing not to be treated as current expenditure, that of $557,683 expended upon the Public Buildings at Ottawa, which like the other he had named, was unusual and would never again occur. Now these two items alone would balance, even the largest sum slammed to be deficient by the hon. member and over which he gloated with so much apparent delight.

James Currie [Niagara, elected 1862]—These two items were not in one year.

Alexander Campbell [Cataraqui, elected 1858, Commissioner of Crown Lands]—Yes in one year. Then there was the $50,000 to the St. Albans Banks[17], and $49,120 for the Administration of Justice of Lower Canada consequent upon the Frontier troubles, two other abnormal amounts. In this way hon. members who were aiding to see the rights of the matter would at once observe that instead of a deficit of the income as compared with the ordinary expenditure, there was in fact a balance; over of some $50,000. But the hon. member for Niagara [James Currie] who was now so severe in his census of over expenditure actually complained the early part of the Session that the Government had not expended enough upon the Volunteers.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

James Currie [Niagara, elected 1862] said he only wanted them to pay what they had agreed to pay them.

Alexander Campbell [Cataraqui, elected 1858, Commissioner of Crown Lands]—But as if the picture which the hon. member had drawn were not dark enough to satisfy him the hon. member went on to remark upon what he repented as a deception practised upon the people of England, because the Government had not proceeded at once to the erection of costly fortifications. According to him the pretence or engagement was all a sham on our part. In fact every thing done was wrong, one would have thought that he might possibly have discovered some one good thing to whiten the dark and forbidding catalogue but no his criticism had failed to detect the slightest trace of any thing of this kind. If the expenditure was large it was wastefulness and extravagance; if not made at all it was a mere sham. Then he must also impugn the motives of the Government. According to the hon. member the Delegates[18] did not go home for the objects stated, but for the purpose of inducing the Imperial Government if possible to adopt coercive measures towards the Lower Provinces, and against their will to force these into the Confederation.

To be sure there had never been any such purpose and he (Mr. Campbell) defect the hon. member to point to a single word or act of the Delegates which would justify such a charge. But doubtless the honorable member had a purpose to serve and probably thought that his words would have some effect in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Was that the course that a truly patriotic man would pursue?

He (Mr. Campbell) understood that the hon. member was in favor of some kind of union, and he could hardly conceive it possible he should deny that the result would be increased strength, the strength which unity always imparted. It he did favor a union of some kind was it proper, was it generous, was it patriotic to endeavor to sow the seeds of distrust in these Provinces against Canada, which if effectual would militate against any scheme of union which could be proposed?

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Alexander Campbell [Cataraqui, elected 1858, Commissioner of Crown Lands]—Then the hon. member spoke of imaginary immense majority in Province of New Brunswick against Confederation[19], which he said had swept away every hope of its ever being adopted, but in so speaking he exhibited his ignorance of the facts of the case, for although there was a large majority in Parliament opposed to the measure, that of the electors amounted over the whole Province to only some four or five hundred. How many electors in Canada were there in favour of the project? Why millions, and then there were millions upon millions in England and not only were the people as such favourable but the men who directed the public mind, the men who thought for the people, they approved of the measure and surely these vast numbers and these commanding minds at least ought to weigh something against the 400 adverse votes in New Brunswick. But even in New Brunswick itself he was well advised that the objections to the project were fast passing away, and he trusted that when they had signified their change of opinion, even the hon. member would rejoice that by means of this union we were likely as a people to present and head down to our children the privileges and honors of a connection with the British Empire.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Alexander Campbell [Cataraqui, elected 1858, Commissioner of Crown Lands]—As to the Nova Scotia resolutions[20] they were not adverse to the scheme but only defend his consideration for the present and so far as he knew they were now ready to accept the measure. But New Brunswick was between Canada and Nova Scotia and we could not therefore have union with the latter until the former has some into the agreement.


[1]      Source: “Provincial Parliament,” The Quebec Daily Mercury (Sep. 19, 1865).

[2]      Duke of Newcastle, Report (n.d.). Unconfirmed reference.

[3]      Taché-Macdonald Government’s policy announcement, Legislative Assembly (Mar. 30, 1864), p. 112.

[4]      Lord Monck, Speech from the Throne, Legislative Council (Aug. 8, 1865), p. D:1.

[5]      The Canadian delegation consisted of John A. Macdonald, George-Étienne Cartier, and Alexander Galt. They drafted a report on their discussions with the Imperial Government on Jul. 12, 1865 and it was presented to the Legislative Council on Aug. 9, 1865, p. C:2.

[6]      ibid.

[7]      Supra footnote 5.

[8]      Bill: An Act Respecting the Militia (Province of Canada, 1862).

[9]      Speech from the Duke of Wellington on the state of British defences. Unconfirmed reference.

[10]    William Jervois, Report on the Defence of Canada (1864).

[11]    Supra footnote 8.

[12]    Bill: An Act Respecting the Militia (Province of Canada, 1862).

[13]    Supra footnote 5.

[14]    Unknown letter quoting Pall Mall Gazette. Unconfirmed reference.

[15]    Supra footnote 5.

[16]    Unknown article from the London Star. Unconfirmed reference.

[17]    Confederate raiders robbed banks in St. Albans, Vermont. They did so from the Province of Canada in the U.S. Civil War.

[18]    Supra footnote 5.

[19]    Facing considerable suspicion and fierce hostility to the Quebec Scheme in New Brunswick, Tilley did not submit the scheme to the provincial parliament and a general election on its adoption was inevitable. The legislature was dissolved on February 9th 1865, and writs were issued for a general election be returned in March 1865. Tilley’s Ministry was soundly defeated, with the Premier himself losing his seat in the legislature, and an anti-confederationist ministry led by Albert Smith was brought into power, taking 35 of 41 seats in the Legislature. Fears of higher tariffs and debt, in addition to lack of clarity on the intercolonial project, and a competing railway project to the United States, raised distrust in the confederation project.

[20]    Facing similar discontent, Nova Scotia Premier Charles Tupper delayed introducing the Quebec resolutions to the legislature. Instead, Tupper introduced a resolution in the Assembly, on April 10th, 1865, signaling a return to the safer topic of a Maritime union. While those resolutions spoke of a union of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, it was believed to be a strategic move merely to bide for more time. Prince Edward Island quickly rejected the Quebec scheme and prorogued the legislature on April 3rd.

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