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

Document Information

Date: 1865-09-04
By: Province of Canada (Parliament), The Quebec Daily Mercury
Citation: “Provincial “Parliament. Legislative Council. The Quebec Daily Mercury (5 September 1865) & “Provincial “Parliament. Legislative Council. The Quebec Daily Mercury (6 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).



Monday, 4th Sept., 1865

The SPEAKER took the Chair at three o’clock.

After routine—


The Bill to Incorporate the London Collegiate Institute was read a third time and passed.


A number of bills were received from the Assembly, and read a first time.


Among others, the Bill respecting the Civil Code of Lower Canada which was read a first time and ordered for a second reading tomorrow.


On motion of Hon. Sir N. F. BELLEAU, Hon. Mr. Seymour’s name was added to the Committee on Banking and Commerce.


On motion of Hon. Mr. CHRISTIE, the hon. gentleman’s name was also added to the Committee on Contingencies.


Hon. Mr. GUEVREMONT moved,— “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 copies of the accounts presented by the proprietor of the Newspaper published under the name of “Le Defricher,” in the village of L’Avenir in the Eastern Townships, by J. B. E. Dorion, Esquire, Member of the Legislative Assembly from Drummond and Arthabaska, or notices and other matters published for the Government in the said newspaper called “Le Defricheur.” showing amount of each of those accounts of which payment was claimed by the said J. B. E. Dorion, the proprietor of the said newspaper, for the publication thereof, and the amount paid to him by the Government for such publication.”

Hon. Mr. FERGUSON BLAIR said he had too objection to the motion as it was a Lower Canada matter, but he thought a motion pointed at a member of the other House ought not to appear on the journals of this House. How did we know that Mr. J. B. E. Dorion was the proprietor of the paper in question?

Hon. Mr. SIMPSON was in favor of the motion but he wished it extended to all the papers in the Province, the Globe included.

Hon. Sir. N. F. BELLEAU suggested to the mover to strike out the name of Mr. Dorion from the motion, to which he agreed.

After some further conversation, on motion of Hon. Mr. Currie, the motion was further amended by including all the printing and advertising done by any and every newspaper establish for the Government since the 1st January, 1863.

Free-Grants of Crown Lands

David Macpherson [Saugeen, elected 1864] resumed the debate on this subject as follows:—The resolution I had the honor to present to the House on Thursday last have two objects in view— the one, a change in the system of granting the public lands of the Province, so as in my opinion to render them attractive to settlers; this resolution applying to the whole country. The other the redress of the grievances of certain localities and the removal of hardships which have grown up under the existing system. The mode in which I suggest that such redress should be given, is that a revaluation of the lands should be had, and such reduction of price made as may be found after proper inquiry to be fair and reasonable.

Some Hon. Members—Hear.

David Macpherson [Saugeen, elected 1864]—I believe, honourable gentlemen, that we could make no announcement as to the future policy of this country which would be so effective in attracting population as to say that we will give free grants to actual settlers, in whatever part of the public domain they may select their lands. In moving my resolutions I showed that previous to 1832, more settlers came to America by the St. Lawrence than by other routes. But although the majority since then have gone to the United States, still the numbers who have come to Quebec and Montreal have been very considerable; even long after that I find the emigration by the way of the St. Lawrence to have been,

In 1842 44374
In 1847 90150
In 1851 41076
In 1854 53183

Now, however, emigration may really be said to have almost ceased. I shewed by the return I quoted the other day that the total number of emigrants who had arrived at this port, (Quebec) from the commencement of the year to the present date is only 14,783, and of this small number only about 2,265 are supposed to have remained in the Province. Now I do not attribute this great falling off to the passing of the United States Act which secure homesteads to actual settlers, but I do say that the adoption of a similar system in this country would be calculated to promote settlement here, and hold out a greater inducement than anything else I can think of to make emigrants remain in the Province.

Some Hon. Members—Hear.

David Macpherson [Saugeen, elected 1864]—The hon. Commissioner of Crown Lands [Alexander Campbell] seemed to have misapprehended my meaning. When replying to my remarks the other day, he appeared to confound the Act to which I referred with another enactment which is to be found on the Statute Book of the United States, exempting certain things comparatively unimportant, from seizure in certain cases, for he said we had substantially the same Act ourselves. I should be very glad indeed could I learn that we had such an Act as the United States Act of 1862, to which I referred, and which gives free land to actual settlers.

Some Hon. Members—Hear.

David Macpherson [Saugeen, elected 1864]—The hon. Commissioner [Alexander Campbell] said the Government had reduced the price of lands in some parts to one shilling an acre, coming practical near my proposition in all but the name I will show, however, before sitting down, that this has not been exactly the case.

Alexander Campbell [Cataraqui, elected 1858, Commissioner of Crown Lands]—I said the lands near Lake Nipissing were being sold at one shilling an acre, and that the Government were contemplating the reduction of price of lands elsewhere, though I did not say how much.

David Macpherson [Saugeen, elected 1864]—It is not, however, a mere reduction in price that is my object; what I want is so to alter the policy of the country that free grants of land should be given to actual settlers. To say “we have reduced the price of lands” might be to make a statement open to grace misapprehensions. It might lead people to suppose that having disposed of our best lands and having none left but those of an inferior quality—which I believe is not true, but that we have a great deal of good land remaining— we were reducing the price accordingly. That, so far from being an advantage to the country, would be a great misfortune. The Commissioner [Alexander Campbell] very properly [text ineligible] any remarks that could be constructed to the prejudice of Canada, and also gave the same reasons for the superior attractiveness of the United States to emigrants that I had given, as the following extract from his speech shows:

“In his (Mr. Campbell’s) opinion it was a great mistake to decry our country for the purpose of glorifying the United States (hear, hear.) He did not say that the hon. member had done this, but it was too much the custom of some people to do so, just as if there were a great difference in the legislation or government of this country or in fact in anything else in this country unfavorable to the happiness and prosperity of its inhabitants as compared with those of the United States. The causes of superiority in the extent of immigration and increase of population, if there were such, must be sought for in other directions: In a very large and populous country like the United States and correspondence with the old world was of course proportionally greater than in a country like Canada. Then it occupied a larger share of attention in the public mind. In public discussions of any kind, through the press and in the various legislatures and in all sorts of ways such a country would have a prominence which we could not hope to have.”

I entirely concur in these views, but it seems to me on this very account the more important for us to put forth all our efforts— to do all in our power—to adopt a policy which is calculated to attract a larger share of the emigrants who come to this country to settle.

Some Hon. Members—Hear.

David Macpherson [Saugeen, elected 1864]—My hon. friend went on to submit to the House statements calculated to prove that this Province had prospered materially to a greater extent—in a more rapid ratio—not only than any old State of the Union, but than the whole Union itself. Now I rejoice to believe that the country has progressed very rapidly, but these statistics are not always to be relied on. He compared this Province with the told settled States of the Union—States in which there are no lands to sell. Now I should hope that, seeing that we have a large quantity of land to sell, while the old States of the Union have had none for a very long time— our country would increase in population in a more rapid ratio than these.

Some Hon. Members—Hear.

David Macpherson [Saugeen, elected 1864]—He next stated that the settlement of the Western States was chiefly by the population from the older States, and in so far as this was the case the country at large lost nothing by their changing from one State to another. Unfortunately, however, the people who leave our country for the Western States are lost to this Province for ever. When you institute comparisons of progress by percentage you must be sure that the circumstances are identical, for if they are not, fallacy underlies the whole, and your comparisons instead of being true, will be entirely delusive. If two States, each with two millions of people, increase at the same rate per cent, their population will continue equal, but if one State with four millions increases in the same ratio as another with only two, the difference in their population will be constantly on the increase. Suppose the increase to be 50 per cent, in a decade, then the population of the first will be, in ten years, six millions, of the second three, and the larger State will thus have a positive gain over the smaller of a million. At the end of the second decade the population will be respectively 9 and 4 ½ millions. At the end of thirty years one state will have 14 ½ million, the other only 6 ¾. The difference will here become very great, and these figures are enough to show the fallacy that underlies the system of calculating progress by percentage.

Some Hon. Members—Hear.

David Macpherson [Saugeen, elected 1864]—But hon. gentlemen, even could we bring ourselves into such a contended state of mind as to believe that we are getting on faster than our neighbours, we should still put forth every effort to promote the settlement of the country. Even were it true, we ought not under the circumstances, to accept the “rest and be thankful” policy; it is not suited to this new country to this progressive region. I believe the plan I recommend would do more than anything else to induce settlers to come to this country, and I exceedingly regret that my hon. friend the Commissioner of Crown Lands [Alexander Campbell], who could do so much to promote it, thought so lightly of it.

Some Hon. Members—Hear.

David Macpherson [Saugeen, elected 1864]—My hon. friend asked if I thought the American Act giving free homesteads to all actual settlers was generally known in Europe. He said,

“Then the honorable member says the land was free or given gratuitously to settler on condition of occupation and culture, but did he suppose that the hundreds of thousands of emigrants who came to the states knew the could get land free? He (Mr. Campbell) doubted it. Indeed it was not the new comers who went and settled upon the free lands of the west but old residents who had hung and always hung upon the outskirts of civilization and who were ever passing away into the new openings. These were the people who availed themselves of the homestead law and he (Mr. Campbell) were persuaded that inquiry would show that few English, Irish or other Europeans went into those new countries.”

Well, honourable gentlemen, I believe this American homestead law is posted up in every American Consular Office, and in ever Emigration Office and also advertised, in the United Kingdom and on the continent of Europe, I had occasion to visit those parts some 15 years ago, and I there investigated this question in which I even then took a deep interest. I found that the American Consuls and Vice-Consuls were real active agents of their country. They are not merely commercial agents, but they super-intended emigration and took lively interest in it. It is impossible for us to expect British officials to do all this for us. There are other British officials to recommend intending emigrants to come to Canada, Australia or some other colony would interfere and perhaps complain that justice was not done to her.

Some Hon. Members—Hear.

David Macpherson [Saugeen, elected 1864]—Is there any doubt, honorable gentlemen, that large numbers of our Irish follow country men go West? Is there any doubt that large numbers of English and Scotch go there? Do not even French Canadians of there; and are there not two large French Canadian settlements in the Western States? Where, I should like to know, do the Germans, Swedes and Norwegians go except to the West, to those free lands that are open for them there? We should not only adopt this free grant policy too, but make it generally known, and have it understood that our emigration agents are instructed to assist emigrants— bond fide settlers—in choosing the very best lands in the country to settle upon. I propose moreover that we should offer 200 acres, while the Americans only give 160. They charge $10 for a registration fee; I would have even that reduced or done away with. This is what I want to reduced or done away with. This is what I want to see proclaimed as the policy of the country; not simply to have the price of our wild lands reduced.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

David Macpherson [Saugeen, elected 1864]—I now pass on to notice the objections raised to my scheme on account of its financial consequences, and I am free to admit that anything affecting the finances of the country is of very great importance now; had I believed that any such results as appear to be dreaded would really flow from the adoption of my resolutions, I should have shrunk from proposing them. My honorable friend said:—

“Then what would we lose if we adopted that system. He would show by the results of the lands sold and the money received what that loss would be. From 1st July 1863 to 30th June 1864 the receipts of the Crown Lands Department for lands sold amounted to $1,358,636.74 and from the same date in 1864 to the same date in 1863 $1,374,517.58. For the 9 years commencing with 1857 and ending 1865 the gross sum so received amounted to $10,202,000.”

Alexander Campbell [Cataraqui, elected 1858, Commissioner of Crown Lands]—There is something wrong with these figures. What I wished to say was that the aggregate amounts received for lands during 1862, 1863, 1864 and half of 1865 were $2,301,617.

David Macpherson [Saugeen, elected 1864]—I suppose my hon. friend took the “collections” instead of the “land sales,” but even then his statement appears much too high. He went on to state:—

“By adopting the hon. member’s, plan those vast sums of money would be lost to the country with all the advantages which would flow from their profitable employment, for if the land must be free it must according to his argument be free alike all over. But what should be said to the parties who owed money for lands bought in the past? Could we in the face of such a system tell such persons that they must pay to the last farthing? We could not of that. If we changed the present plan of conserving lands for that recommended by the hon. member we must remit all that was now due, and how much did hon. members suppose, was now due for lands? Why almost $7,000,000 in Upper Canada and $2,000,000 in Lower Canada. Was the House prepared to give up this sum and with it to unhinge the sound morals which taught people to discharge their honest obligations? For his part he thought it would be a most unsafe proceeding. It was not prudent or fair to ask the House to surrender the large amount involved.”

My honorable friend has corrected his figures, but he has even now taken in a number of items—timber dues, trust funds, &c., which would not be at all affected by my proposal, which extends to Crown lands only. On referring to the Crown Lands report, I find that the recipes of the Department considered as revenue were—

In 1862 $622,327
In 1863 693,[?]79
Half of 1864 231,683

The sums received on account of Crown lands, and included in these amounts, were—

In 1862 $276,746
In 1863 244,857

These figures shew that the financial considerations are too insignificant to stand in the way of the adoption of free lands as a part of public policy—which, while beneficial to ourselves, would be a step onwards in enlightened policy that would raise us in the estimation of the mother-country, and generally throughout the world. My hon. friend gives the totals for the year ending 30th June— the published reports give them for the years ending 31st December, except for the last half year—still the figures are, I presume, substantially the same.

Alexander Campbell [Cataraqui, elected 1858, Commissioner of Crown Lands]—The actual results are as I have stated.

David Macpherson [Saugeen, elected 1864]—The published reports give the figures as I have quoted them.

Alexander Campbell [Cataraqui, elected 1858, Commissioner of Crown Lands]—The accounts are kept under three heads— Crown Lands, School Lands and Clergy Lands. If you sell one, however, at say half a dollar an acre, you must sell the others at the same rate. My hon. friend’s proposition would endanger the collection of revenue for the trust funds, too. If he said to a man who held a Crown lot, “You shall not be obliged to pay up, “he could not say to the man who held a School lot,” You shall pay.”

Some Hon. Members—Hear.

David Macpherson [Saugeen, elected 1864]—To deal first with the question of the prices realised of late from Crown Lands sales, I find that the number of acres sold and the prices for which they were sold, have been as follows:

Year U.C. L.C.
Acres Price Acres Price
1862 101,511 $120,627 232,186 $106,197
1863 91,069 90,432 235,390 121,070
*1864 79,145 $4,113 203,459 101,715

*1st half of year.

Alexander Campbell [Cataraqui, elected 1858, Commissioner of Crown Lands]—My hon. friend is altogether under a wrong idea. One column in the reports from which he selects his figures gives the numbers of acres sold, the other the amount of collections.

David Macpherson [Saugeen, elected 1864]—No, there are two money columns in the reports; one shows the amount for which the lands have been sold, the other the amount for the year. I have taken the amounts for which the lands were sold. The result shows that the lands in Upper Canada sold for the average sum of 81.09 per acre, and those in Lower Canada for just a fraction under 50 cts, an acre. I also find a paper issued by the Colonial Emigration Society of England, and posted in all the shipping ports of that country, dated June, 1865, in which it is stated that “Crown Lands in Upper Canada may be bought for cash for 2s. 10d, per acre, and on credit at 4s. 1d. per acre; one fifth to be paid at the time of sale and the remaining four fifths in our equal annual instalments, with interest at the rate of six per cent.” I have no doubt this paper is as extensively circulated in the United Kingdom as the American Homestead Act, giving free lands to actual settlers, but what chance is there, putting aside the superior attractions the U. States possess over our own country.— what chance is there of any considerable number of emigrants coming here after comparing the two? Is not this another indication that, if we desire to have emigrants, we also must adopt a free grant system, especially as I think the figure I have given show that the financial considerations alluded to, are not of sufficient importance to prevent it, but are altogether too insignificant to interfere for one day with the adoption of the policy I recommend.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

David Macpherson [Saugeen, elected 1864]—Now, hon. gentlemen, I come to the question of arrears, which my hon. friend, the Commissioner of Crown Lands [Alexander Campbell] thinks would be jeopardised by the adoption of a free land policy. I confess that the amount of these arrears—$9,000,000—is enormous, is indeed astounding, but still I believe that if anything could contribute to the collection of a considerable portion of them it would be the adoption of my proposal, because it would induce emigrants to go into the country and fill it up, and in that way they would enrich the neighborhood they might select and enable those indebted to the Government to pay. But do honorable gentlemen suppose that any considerable proportion of that large sum ever will be paid? We should then do as people in business do, when they make a bad or doubtful debt, they write it off or write off so much of it as they consider lost. Now, these arrears are about one-eighth of the whole public debt of the Province, and who believes that more than about three millions of them will ever be collected? I am sure nobody here does. Consider too the amount of interest on the debt. The annual interest on the sum, at 6 per cent., is $540,000— nearly the whole sum collected by the Crown Lands Department as revenue in any of the years I have named! If anything could prove how wrong the present system is, it is this that the farms of recent settlers are mortgaged for $9,000,000, and this amount of arrears, remember, is constantly increasing— that is, if the interest is calculated in the Department, of which I am not aware, but if it is, it is a waste of time.

Some Hon. Members—Hear.

David Macpherson [Saugeen, elected 1864]—What I think desirable, if that the Commissioner should cause an enquiry to be made— not that he should act indiscriminately or unjustly. When men are prospering and able to pay, I do not desire that their debt should be reduced, but when they are unable to pay, the interest of the Province requires that their energies should be unfettered, and that they should be placed in such a position that they can go on working, feeling that they are working for themselves. It must have been quite evident to all who heard my remarks the other day, that I did not contemplate any general sweeping away of these arrears— nothing of the kind; my resolutions were intended to apply solely to Crown Lands—not to lands act apart for trust funds, nor yet to mineral lands or timber limits, for of course it would not do to have the timber of the country cut down and destroyed. I will now fertility my opinions by quoting those of Mr. Cottingham, the Warden of Victoria, of whom most hon. gentlemen have heard before, as a gentleman of position and influence. The article is from the Kingston News as follows:—

Mr. Cottingham, the Warden of Vitoria, has recently made a visit of inspection along the Bobcaygeon Colonization Road. This is the opinion he forms of the quality which the government should pursue towards settlers on the Crown domain: —

“Taking the country as a whole I am of opinion it is quite as fit for settlement as the state of Vermont, where the farmers are well off; where they cultivate the valley and good plough lands, and keep the rough and high lands, for pasturage; where they raise large quantities of sheep and cattle, and make plenty of butter and cheese. Had I anything to do with the Crown Lands Department, I should advertise the Government to make good leading roads into the interior and give the actual settler his land free, and as soon as he had made certain clearings, created suitable buildings, and resided on the land for a certain length of time, a deed. And I would advise them to sell land to no person unless an actual settler. The amount of goods consumed by the settler and the revenue arising from the same would be of more value to the Government than holding a quantity of wild land in a settlement like Galway.”

We find the opinion gaining ground that a settler earns the worth of his land by clearing off the trees and bringing it into cultivation. — The first few years of his labors in the bush are attended with very little return. In there years he needs all the money that he has to pay to the Crown to enable him to live and go on with his improvements and there can be no question that if we would stimulate the reclamation of our wild lands we must do just what Mr. Cottingham has intimated he would do—we must give the actual settler a deed in free gift after he has reduced a certain acreage of his lot from a state of nature to a state of cultivation. This view has not originated with Mr. Cottingham, but it forced itself upon his practical mind for recommendation, and it is a view which the Department should take into consideration.

I will conclude this branch of my subject by expressing a hope that my hon. friend, the Commissioner of Crown Lands [Alexander Campbell] will think more favorably of my proposal than his remarks the other day would lead to expect. If he were to bring his great industry, his great administrative ability to bear on the question the very best results would follow.

Some Hon. Members—Hear.

David Macpherson [Saugeen, elected 1864]—Now, honorable gentlemen, I must say a few words upon what is more a local question, affecting my own division, and I must remark less there should be any misapprehension about my [text ineligible] in reference to free grants, that my constituency is not concerned in the free grant system; if it were adopted it would be of no direct advantage the countries I represent, except in that it would benefit them by benefiting the country at large. My hon. friend stated that a large amount—some $229,000—had been spent for roads in the counties of Grey and Bruce, and he thought that a triumphant answer to my charge that the government were doing little there. Now in Bruce, as far as I know, only $15,000 has been expended by government, and in Grey only about $40,000. The expenditure to which the Commissioner [Alexander Campbell] has alluded extended over other countries as well—Huron, Wellington, and I think, the county of Simcoe also. Besides, the greater portion of the amount expended in the Counties of Grey and Bruce was taken from what is formed the Improvement Fund, and if the House will hear me out, I will explain how the fund was created. The price of land was fixed at $1.50 and $2.00, and the condition on which it was occupied was that 20 per cent in the one case, and 25 per cent in the other, should be refunded to the municipalities, to be expended on their local improvements. This was acted upon to 1859, but was then suspended, though it has since been paid up to 1861, from which time it has remained unpaid, but I hope my hon. friend the Commissioner of Crown Lands [Alexander Campbell] will see the propriety and justice of having the payments from it resumed for from the reports received from his agents in Grey and Bruce, some $75,000 are due to each of these counties, which they very much require. The amount appears large, yet if you look at the extent of territory, you will see that the sum would very soon be used in the making of roads and bridges. Grey has indeed, 177 miles of excellent gravel roads—I know no roads in the Province equal to them— but they were constructed by the County, at a cost of $250,000. Bruce, however, has not been able to do anything towards such an object, and is in great want of roads. Bruce is also without a harbor—it has not along it whole lake border a single port where a vessel of the smallest size can load with safety—and I am very glad to hear that an item for harbor improvement there has been placed in this year’s estimates.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

David Macpherson [Saugeen, elected 1864]—I am aware that free grants to a certain extent were at one time made in these counties, and it would have been well if the system had been continued. There was a considerable stream of emigration into them—the opening of roads induced settlers to go in, and it was the impression of most people that the free grant system would have been carried out there to its fullest extent, but instead of that when the lots along the roads were taken up and people were beginning to enter on the rear lots, expecting to find them free, to their great disappointment, a price was imposed upon the lands.

I offer these resolutions believing that the present time is propitious. The political calm existing at the present day renders it a peculiarity favorable period for introducing the sanitary change I recommend and in the hope that my hon. friend the Commissioner [Alexander Campbell] will take it up—that the powerful and able Government of which he is a member will countenance it—and that it will be carried out so as to develop rapidly our agricultural and commercial resource and give the whole population cause for real gratitude to their political leaders for prosperity such as we have never yet seen—I leave the subject with the Honorable House.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

James Currie [Niagara, elected 1862] said that on this occasion his judgment would oblige him to vote against the resolutions. Having confidence in the Hon. Commissioner of Crown Lands [Alexander Campbell]—

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear, and laughter.

James Currie [Niagara, elected 1862]—he was satisfied to leave the results to him.

(Amid the merriment the remark was not clearly heard in the gallery.)

He was struck, however, with one facts brought out in the course of the debate and among other sight the fact stated by the hon. member for Saugreen [David Macpherson] that out of 14,000 emigrants who had landed here this year only 2,265 had remained in Canada. It was an extraordinary fact that—as proved by the public accounts—in proportion as the emigration decreased in the same proportion another side flowed in upon the public exchequer. The expenditure on account of these 2,256 emigrants seemed to have cost between fifty and six thousand dollars. In 1860 the cost was $36,000, next year with a smaller number it was [text ineligible]; in 1862 with a still smaller number $51,000, and so it went on. Now, in his opinion it was too much to keep such an expensive do-nothing department going. It was too bad to have such large sums to pay for sending emigrants directly into the United States. All the expenses incurred on behalf of the emigrants at the port of New York only amounted to about $2 a head.

Alexander Campbell [Cataraqui, elected 1858, Commissioner of Crown Lands]—Was this expense incurred by the State of New York?

James Currie [Niagara, elected 1862]—They landed at New York and the expense was increased there, and this was all they cost the American Government. He had noticed another important feature in the course of the discussion, and it was that which the hon. Commissioner of Crown lands acknowledged the Department had received from its three land agents in Huron, Grey and Bruce $1,045,000 only $83,000 of public money had been given to those countries. Now he really did not think the statement credit able to the Government, for if those counties had received their fair proportion for roads and other improvements, they would have got between $250,000 and $300,000. Considering the large population in these counties, and the fact of much larger sums being expended upon localities known to few persons in Canada, he did not think that they had been liberally dealt with. It was true, that at the beginning, the hon. member for Saugeen [David Macpherson] had highly complimented the hon. Commissioner [Alexander Campbell] had handsomely returned the compliments; but as they got into the spirit of the discussion each had held his own, and it was hard at this stage of the proceedings to say who had got the best of the argument. He must, however, say, he had been greatly pleased with the able and eloquent speech of the hon. member for the division—

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

James Currie [Niagara, elected 1862]— (Hon. D. McDonald,) and the more [text ineligible], as that hon. member did not often favour the house with any remarks. Indeed it was a long time since he had heard so clever and well delivered a speech. In the course to the fact that the Government notwithstanding their policy of defence had not yet spent the first dollar upon fortifications and it was remarkable that the hon. Commissioner of Crown Lands [Alexander Campbell] had not even so much as alluded to the fact in his subsequent remarks.

Several Voices—Oh it will be after Confederation.

James Currie [Niagara, elected 1862]—The hon. Commissioner of Crown Lands [Alexander Campbell] in the beginning of his speech had said it was not patriotic to decry one’s own country, and he, (Mr. Currie) fully agree with him in that sentiment. If we had had less of his it would have been better for us every way. At the same time while not decrying our own country there was no necessity for decrying that of our neighbours, which, in many respects, possessed advantages over ours. He had also been struck with another remark of the hon. Commissioner [Alexander Campbell] to the effect that after all Canada had prospered more not only than the United States taken as a whole, but more than any single State of the union. If this were so we would indeed have reason to be proud of our country. True we had made greater progress in proportion than the whole of the Republic, but not so much as some of the free states, for Illinois had advanced at the rate of 162 per cent, while our progress was but 38.

He, (Mr. Currie) did not however, think that that hon. minister had paid a very high compliment to Lower Canada when he had compared it with the slave states of Georgia and Tennessee. Indeed very few of the older states were making a progress equal to that of Lower Canada, but it must be admitted that the Western States were advancing in a ratio which astonished the world. And it was a fact that there was a large tide of emigration setting from our own shores to those states.

Walter McCrea [Western, elected 1862]—Our population must be interesting very fast to stand such a drain.

James Currie [Niagara, elected 1862]—Such was the fact however, and the emigration instead of being into is out of Canada. There was no accounting for popular feeling, and it would often take a strange course. Possibly the emigration might set toward Canada again. Meanwhile our duty was to do all in our power to develop our resources. While our great public works were in course of construction the tide of emigration flowed towards Canada, and the labourers who were employed mostly remained and became our best settlers. The hon. member for Montreal (Hon. Mr. Ryan) says that when we commence our defensive works the labourers will come, but he (Mr. Currie) thought the works we wanted, were the enlargement of the Welland and St. Laurence Canals.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

James Currie [Niagara, elected 1862]—On the whole, our progress had been very great, and he was satisfied that judicious legislation and a stable condition of things would bring us back all the emigration we wanted. Let us try to get rid of our difficulties and misunderstandings, and come to some satisfactory finality, and no doubt we should become a still more prosperous and happy country.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Billa Flint [Trent, elected 1863] said there was clearly no danger that the Government would break up now that the hon. member had come to their rescue.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear, and laughter.

Billa Flint [Trent, elected 1863]—It was said there was nothing new under the sun. but when he heard the hon. member tending the Government his services, he hardly knew what to think of it. With respect to the resolutions he (Mr. Flint) thought that both the House and the country were greatly indebted to the hon. member for Saugeen [David Macpherson] for having brought them up. In his (Mr. Flint’s) opinion a change was wanted in the system which had hitherto prevailed with respect to the settlement of our wild lands, and he believed that if the present Commissioner of Crown Lands [Alexander Campbell] took hold of the subject with the view of divising a better one he would succeed. For his part he agreed with the hon. member for Saugeen that it would be better to give away those lands, if by so doing we could induce emigrants to settle upon and cultivate them, for a family to settled was of far more value to the country than the land they would occupy in it wild state. He had long contended for this principle which experience had taught him to be the true one, and he had advocated it and was prepared to advocate it in Parliament and out of it. He had been told that the land was poor, and so it was along the colonization roads. He had travelled those roads in the division represented by the hon. Commissioner of Crown Lands [Alexander Campbell] (the Catarqui) and his own (the Trent), and he would ask that hon. member it he had done so.

Alexander Campbell [Cataraqui, elected 1858, Commissioner of Crown Lands]—Yes in my own division.

Billa Flint [Trent, elected 1863]—At what time of the year.

Alexander Campbell [Cataraqui, elected 1858, Commissioner of Crown Lands]—In winter.

Billa Flint [Trent, elected 1863]—Oh! That was comparatively a pleasant way with good sleigh and furs and capital horses, but he (Mr. Flint) had travelled the Addington and Hastings and up to Bobcaygeon in winter, summer and fall, not in a time sleigh but in a under wagon, the only kind of vehicle that would stand such travelling. If the hon. member had been obliged as he had been to get out every half mile and then walk two or three miles—

Some Hon. Members—Bursts of laughter at the bull.

Billa Flint [Trent, elected 1863]—he was satisfied that he would hardly have thought the roads or the country very good. He (Mr. Flint) was opposed to the colonization roads in toto.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Billa Flint [Trent, elected 1863]—It was out of the question to run roads 50 or 100 miles into the bush and expect the settlers to keep them in repair; it could not be done. Why the people living on those roads could not actually get the wherewith to live upon, even though they had the money to purchase it. Why the carriage of a barrel of flour from Peterborough and 30 miles up the Bobcaygeon cost $3; and no wonder, for the road was in an all but an impassable state. On one side there were a few scattered houses, while on the other there was not a single one.

Then there was a Township bought by an English Company on speculation who held the land at $4 and of course the could not sell it. These long roads were an injury rather than an advantage. If the Government would revert to the old plan, which was to survey Townships, in the rear of those already settled, making concession roads between, and giving free grants upon them, they would soon be settled; but as he had before said any one who travelled the present Colonization Roads, would soon be convinced that it was impossible to settle them. In his own division upon the Hastings Road across what were called the Bald Mountains, there were some forty hills or stone mounds in some miles, with here and there a hut having a shingle sticking outside to inform the traveller that he might be accommodated within with whiskey and tobacco,

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Billa Flint [Trent, elected 1863]—which was about all. You might travel for miles upon that road without seeing a bird or any other living creature, unless it were some poor starved squirrel sharpening his teeth with a piece or gravel, while the tears were standing in his eyes.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear, and laughter.

Billa Flint [Trent, elected 1863]—It had been stated that of 14,000 settlers which had arrived in the Province only 2,265 had remained, well that was better than in his Townships form which 10 per cent of the population had gone away, and he had been under the impression that it was pretty much the same all over the country. The question then was, were we to continue the present system of settlement, or were we to desire some other? The hon. Commissioner [Alexander Campbell] had told the House of the gross receipts of the Crown lands, but he had not stated the expense, and he (Mr. Flint) feared the expense nearly absorbed the receipts. From a Blue Book of 1863 he had found that the excess of receipts over the expenditure was but $14,000.

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

Billa Flint [Trent, elected 1863]—It was possible that he was, but he had failed to discover it. Then the Hon. Commissioner [Alexander Campbell] had said that the value of the [text ineligible] per acre on the Ottawa was $14.

Alexander Campbell [Cataraqui, elected 1858, Commissioner of Crown Lands]—No, not the value, but the amount collected.

Billa Flint [Trent, elected 1863] was glad to be corrected. then as to the conflicting claims they were entirely due to the action of the Department, and if this debate had no other effect, he trusted it would have the effect of procuring some measure of justice to the lumbermen.

George Crawford [St. Lawrence, elected 1858]—To lumbermen? Are you not one yourself?

Billa Flint [Trent, elected 1863]—Yes, and I have suffered injustice, (the hon. member then went on to complain that lots unfit for settlement, for which he had regularly paid lease, had been sold and taken from him, while upon said lots there was still timber worth two or the times the amount for which they had been disposed of. When he had represented this as an injustice he had been told it was not the business of the Government.)

Alexander Campbell [Cataraqui, elected 1858, Commissioner of Crown Lands] said the hon. member certainly knew that this was not according to the rules of the Department and that if any complaints of this nature were made to him no time would be lost before they were enquired into.

Billa Flint [Trent, elected 1863] gave the hon. Commissioner credit for his promptitude and said that in two instances he had interfered to prevent the injustice, but in another case three lots upon his limits had been sold for one-third less than the timber was worth. On two lots sold for £50 there was £100 worth of timber, and on the other more than £300 of timber dues had already been paid. Indeed it was impossible for the Government to know the real value of the timber lands. It was, however, their duty to promote the settlement of the country by all proper means, and whether by the free gift of lands or by selling them at a nominal price it was to be hoped they would succeed in drawing a thrifty population into the Province. It was too evident that on one side of the line there was prosperity while on the other there was adversity. To induce people to come among us and to stay when once they had come, they should be made to understand that they would get as good terms as they could possibly expect elsewhere.

Canada might yet become a great country, but it was clear that it needed a better system of land administration. If the hon. Commissioner [Alexander Campbell] would but pay a personal visit to the Colonization Roads—

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear, and laughter.

Billa Flint [Trent, elected 1863]—and see for himself he (Mr. Flint) was sure he would discover the necessity of doing something better for the settlement of emigrants.

(The hon. member concluded by again recommending his plan of new concessions and expressing his best wishes for the success of any attempt to meet the necessities of the case, for he had no other wish than the success and prosperity of the country of his birth where also he expected to pass the remainder of his days.)

James Skead [Rideau, elected 1862] said—The honorable gentleman who introduced the resolutions now before the House certainly deserves our thanks and those of the province, for he has originated a discussion which cannot but have a beneficial effect, both on our staple trade and on the settlement of the country. There is no doubt that those who settle on our wild lands have great difficulties to contend with, and it is our duty in every way to aid them; our lands should de disposed of at the lowest possible rates; we should not look to them as a source of direct revenue. If we obtain what they cost us for surveys and incidental expenses we shall do well. And this he estimated would amount to about 1s. per acre. At this price let them be sold. He was not an advocate for free grants, as a rule, but thought they might work beneficially in exceptional cases. Of course, in both instances, this should be confined to actual settlers. I beg hon. members to bear in mind that that which we get too easily we are apt to value too lightly. The hon. member for the Trent Division [Billa Flint] had condemned the present colonization road system as a whole.

Here he, (Hon. Mr. Skead,) thought the honorable gentleman wrong. On the whole, they were well placed, and of the greatest advantage to the country they traversed. Their greatest fault was that they did not extend far enough. He was well acquainted with several of these roads, which were right enough in their original projection, but they have, in most instances, stopped short in the pine wood districts and have left untouched the hard wood tracts which lay beyond, and where land every way suited dance. This has led to much injury and to much misery. German and other emigrants have been located on these pine lands; lands unsuited for cultivation, and out of which it was impossible for them to extract a living. But he begged particular attention to the fact that in attempting to make their clearances (which were almost valueless when made) the woods had been fired in every direction, and miles upon miles of the most valuable forest in the country had been utterly destroyed. The system of granting settlers’ licences led, in too many cases, to this result: the settler managed to live for a year or two by the sale of the timber on his land, but the moment that was exhausted he had either to have his location or starve.

The Hon. member wished it to be clearly understood that he was a zealous advocate for the settlement of the country. He would go further than many of those who regarded the lumber interest as autogonistic to settlement. He would locate the best lands of the country; he would sell these for 1s. per acre; he would give the settler an undisputed right to all the timber that was on them; and he would make leading roads for him at the public cost. But all means leave those tracts of country, when agriculture was an impossibility, to the growth and preservation of our noble forests. A great deal has been said about the waste caused by the operations of the lumberer. It could not be denied that there was waste and great waste, and this would continue until there was a radical change in the system under which the business was carried on.

At present the lumberer’s licenses were from year to year; it was true lie sometimes held them for extended periods, but there was so much uncertainty about his tenure, that he hastened, utterly regardless of the future, to realize all he could out of his limits. This would not be so under a lease-hold system which should embrace proper precautions for the safety of the revenue, for the legitimate settlement of the country, and for the preservation of the forests descendants. He had no hesitation in saying that; with an improved system, the trade would last and flourish for ages, and would produce a revenue double that it at present yields. A few facts and figures will illustrate the present importance of the trade, and it may not be amiss to compare the revenues from this source with those obtain from the sales of Crown Lands.


Total from Crown Timber Dues and Slide dues:— | Total from Public Lands and Jesuits’ Estates & Seig. Lauzon

1858…308,790,27 … 308,479,20
1859…309,566,47 … 95,824,92
1860…385,460,42 … 884,492,97
1861…361,908,79 … 847,142,93
1862…345,108,43 … 741,767,61
1863…459,660,71 … 609,566,27
Total area under license in 1863.
30251 square miles.
Total Ground Rent, | 62.786
On do do
Add Dues…. 459.660
522.446 [text ineligible]
Total value of Public Lands sold in 1863, in Upper Canada,

By the foregoing it will be seen, taking the ear 1863 as a guide, the entire Crown Lands Sales for Canada amount to very little more than a half of the revenues derived from the timber business. This is an important fact and demands the serious attention of the House and the Country. It may not be out of place to state that Crown Lands sales are greatly diminishing as a scource of revenue. Hon. gentlemen will, perhaps, be surprised to hear that, in several instances, timber limits have paid in dues upwards of one dollar per acre, and they are still being worked and making revenue, and may contribute double that amount before they are exhausted. And yet this land is utterly unfit for cultivation. It behaves us to see that such lands are preserved as a public domain. Such is and has been for some time past the practice in the pine growing districts of Europe. The hon. gentleman proceeded to make some remarks on the great importance of the timber trade to the Province, and stated that a business, scarcely half a century old, at this day gave employment to a thousand ships of large tonnage to near 25,000 sailors, to multitudes at the ports of shipment; that it had mail induced the settlement of the Upper Ottawa, where a flourishing population of more than a quarter of a minimum now dwell, many thousands of whom are directly employed in the manufacture of timber, and it creates the best, and a never failing market, for all the agricultural produce that can be raised in the districts around which it operates. Be careful of this trade; let it not be ruined by quacks and pretenders; remember, it is something like Goldsmith’s bold peasantry— once destroyed it can never be restored. The hon. gentleman concluded with some remarks on immigration. He much regretted to learn that out of 14,000 emigrants landed in our ports, only 2,000 remained in the province. He thought it was absolutely necessary to our progress that means should be found to bring about a better state of things. He was an advocate for public works on an extended scale, such as the Ottawa canals and the Intercolonial Railway, for government encouragement and aid; for a more liberal and judicious treatment of the public lands, and for an improved system of settlement. The hon. gentleman said he had not lost sight of our present financial position, still he thought that ways and means could be found for the commencement of those great works and for the general promotion of immigration.

Hon. Mr. SIMPSON said he hardly knew what course was best to adopt in view of the object they all had at hear, the more speedy and effectual settlement of the country by the promotion of emigration. He agreed with the hon. member for Saugeen, as the necessity of doing something to draw emigrants to Canada and to keep them in it when once they had come. He had long received this subject in his mind and had been endeavouring to find locations which eh could conscientiously recommend to settlers. It was said there was good land back of Hamilton, and also in rear of his own part of the country as well as some in Lower Canada, but it seemed that in the regions represented by the hon. member for Saugeen, Ottawa and Trent there was not much. For the express purpose of examining the country he had organized hunting parties of a number of gentlemen in his neighbourhood and they had penetrated by all manner of conveyances, on horseback, on foot, by waggons and by boats, up beyond Bobcaygeon and across the many lakes in that section of country. This he had done several times. He had tried for five years to find out a desirable place for he had six boys of his own and was interested in a number of young men whom he was desirous of seeing established in some favourable locality. He had never yet owned a single acre of Crown Lands, but if could have found such a location as he approved of, he would have gladly acquired it. He had indeed seen some very fine spots; he had found some fine lakes and shot some fine deer but he had not yet found a tract of land such as he had sought for, though he had sought it for more than five years. He had once gone out to see Mr. Cottingham who had opposed him in his Division and had footed a great part of the way, and in that journey had gone where the British Land Company had ten Townships and he would honestly say that he would not have taken those Townships as a gift. The Company had located sixty three German families there, and had sustained them for one year at the end of which sixty of the families had left and gone to the United States, three only being left. He had taken the counsel of old settlers who had lived for 28 years in the country and had been told of a good tract Forth East but it was too far away, and he would now ask the hon, member for Sangeen where the lands were situated of which he spoke and which he proposed to offer to Emigrants? In Saugeen there were fine lands and they had been sold at 7s 6d an acre which was not too much and for his part he would not forego one cent of the payment. Those who got them got them cheap and ought to be able to make a good living out of them. But while he spoke of the lands in the rear of his own vicinity as unfit for settlement he must say that they were highly valuable for the timber which grew upon them. To be sure some tracts which at one time were rich with the most splendid wood were now desolate, not a single tree for twenty miles being left standing, the whole area having been swept by fire or as with the besom of destruction. For the timber on these lands the lumberers paid half a dollar per square mile per annum and one half penny for every square foot of the wood which they made away, but they did not take away all they cut down. On the contrary they felled a great many trees of which they made no use perhaps because they were a little knotly or decayed or had some other slight defect. Out of three or four trees so cute down they would approve of one and the others were left to not or to burn. When a settler came to such places he had to clear away the debris and for greater speed applied fire to it. In this way the fire had been communicated to the forest many times and had scorched and desolated it for sixty miles before it stopped it ravages. For days and days the smoke of their burning woods had enveloped his part of the country and was so dense that it was impossible to see through it even in the house, we had still nevertheless great wealth of wood in Canada which if properly cared for would be a source of great grain in after times but at the rate at which it was at present wasted it could not last very long. Our timber was held too cheap and by over export was held too cheap in Europe. Instead of encouraging large exports in his opinion they had rather to be checked and under proper management he believed we had enough left to pay our Provincial debt vast as it was. As to giving away our remaining lands with the necessary consequence of relinquishing a debt of nine millions due the Province for good lands sold he considered the proposition a most injudicious one which he trusted would not be entertained. He would advise the hon. Commissioner of Crown Lands to do all in his power to preserve the timber and to render it more valuable. When he witnessed the waste and destruction of which he had spoken, he felt quite sad and if the Government could devise some plan for preventing such slaughter in future and preserving to posterity this valuable source of wealth and prosperity they would well deserve the thanks of the country but he hardly knew what to recommend and believed the matter was an exceedingly difficult one to deal with. As to the resolutions, he he felt he would not be justified in voting for them and he hoped they would be abandoned.


The Speaker announced the following bills from the Legislative Assembly which were read a first time.

Bill to amend the 75 Ch. of the Consolidated Statutes of Upper Canada, as to the relations of Master and Servant.

Bill to enable aliens to inherit property by descent.

Bill to secure to wives and children the benefit of Assurance on the lives of husbands and parents.


Bill to amend the law relating to Attorneys in Upper Canada.

Bill relating to— McDonnell’s estate


Hon. Mr. SIMPSON moved the adoption of the Report of the Joint Committee on Printing, and said that the only item upon which he felt called upon to remark was that for Printing the debate of last Session on Confederation. When the printing of this debate was mooted, he was adverse to it, but now that it was done, and although it had cost a good deal he was not sorry. It was thought at first that a book of 300 pages would contain all that would be said, but it had run up to 1060 pages with the Index. Then instead of 10,000 copies, 11,500 had been wanted; the result was that instead of an outlay of $2,500 as was anticipated the publication had cost 14,000 yet the cost of each copy was only $1.26, whereas the Hansard published in London cost [text ineligible] sterling, of $10 per copy. He considered it an extremely cheap and valuable book. The work had been well done in every respect and was a credit to all parties engaged on it as well as to the Province. It need no apology and he offered none. The Committee could not know that so many gentlemen would speak and speak so long but as the had spoken they had to be reported. In connection with all the other work done under [text ineligible] of the Printing Committee, the extras had not amounted to $5 (hear, hear.)

Hon. Mr. CURRIE, desired to have information about one item. How was it that the paper alone had cost more than the original estimate for the whole work.

Hon. Mr. SIMPSON. The paper had been supplied by the contractors at the same price for which they supplied the other paper needed by the Committee viz 11 cents the lb. which was very reasonable. the printing was not done at the contract price but at a very small advance, and he really believed the printers, who were the contractors for the printing of Parliament, would have been better without the job than with it. The landing was also done well and cheap. The landing was also done well and cheap. He would now move the adoption of the report.

Hon. Mr. LETELLIER DE ST. JUST Tellier de St. Just secluded the motion which was carried without debate and it being six o’clock the speaker left the chair.

The debate was resumed in the evening, Messrs. Ressor, Skead, Flint and others taking part—after some explanations from Hon. Mr. Campbell.

Hon. Mr. MACPHERSON said, after the explanations given by the Hon. Commissioner of Crown Lands, he had no desire to press his resolutions to a vote. (Hear, hear.)

He considered the opinion expressed by that hon. gentlemen, that a system might be adopted almost equivalent to that which he suggested was a very gratifying one; and though the Government was in no way committed by such a declaration, he had every confidence that means would soon be found to apply his policy. Another important admission had been made during this debate, not only by the Hon. Commissioner of Crown Lands, but also by the hon. member for Grandville, who is an ex-minister of the Crown— that no settler’s land had ever been forfeited, and so long as as he remained in actual occupation it was not the policy of the Government to harass him for the payment of arrears. In reference to the remark of the hon. Commissioner of Crown Lands, he would only say that the government should not act as if the country were a land speculator. As, however, he had no wish to prolong the discussion, he would only say that at the desire of the Hon. Commissioner of Crown Lands, he begged to withdraw the resolution. (Cheers.)

Other explanations followed from several hon. members and the resolution was withdrawn.

After the recess,—

The SPEAKER took the Chair at eight o’clock.

Prorogation of Parliament

Narcisse F. Belleau [Canada East, appointed 1852, Premier and Receiver General], arose in his place, and informed the House that if the public business would permit, it was His Excellency’s [Viscount Monck] intention to prorogue Parliament during the ensuing week.

The Adjourned Debate

David Reesor [King’s, elected 1860] occupied the floor and resumed the adjourned debate on the David Macpherson [Saugeen, elected 1864]’s resolutions.

He thought the House would agree with him that those resolutions embraced the most important subject which had been brought before the hon. gentlemen this session. They were obliged to the hon. member for Saugeen for bringing them before the House, and for the great amount of valuable information which had been elicited during the debate. He believed if the hon. gentleman had confined himself entirely to the free grant system, he might have carried the resolutions even at the risk of defeating the Government. He objected to the present mode of colonization, and suggested that the Government should set apart two or three townships in the neighborhood of Parry Sound where there were good grazing lands, which would pay well for dairy purposes. Those lands would soon be taken up by our young men, who now were leaving for the United States, and who were much better calculated to go on new land than emigrants from the old country. It was the duty of the Government to do everything to induce those young men to stay in the country. If those townships were laid out as he suggested many of the old settlers would sell out their small farms and take up larger tracts, to be divided among their sons. He thought the experiment well worthy of a trial. He was also in favor of grants of land being made to aid in building the Ottawa or Georgian Bay Canals. The country would thoroughly be opened up and emigration would be encouraged. He could not, however, agree with all the resolutions, especially that portion which would reduce the amount due on lands already sold.

Ebenezer Perry [Canada West, appointed 1855] agreed with the hon. member for Saugeen as to the importance of attracting emigration to this country, but would this proposed system of free grant succeed? His own experience led him to believe that to place an emigrant on a bush farm was to place him in misery and ruin. It was almost impossible for a man to succeed until his sons grew up to assist him. Clearing lands was as much a branch of trade as the ordinary professions. Logging fencing and burning required to be understood, and learned by experience. He lamented that so many of our young men who understood that work had left the country.

An Hon. Member—And what is the reason?

Ebenezer Perry [Canada West, appointed 1855]—One reason wan, the readiness with which all sorts of employment could be obtained in the United States. Another reason was that the repeal of the usury laws in 1858 the value of real estate had gradually fallen 50 per cent. This was the root of the evil. He believed government should have power to issue exchequer bills, which could do much to remedy the lack of capital felt in the country. On the whole, he would vote against the resolutions.

Alexander Campbell [Cataraqui, elected 1858, Commissioner of Crown Lands] would only add a few words to what had already been said on this subject. He congratulated the House on the amount of information which the debate had brought out, but he regretted that the hon. member for Queen’s Division [John Simpson] should have stated so positively that there were no Crown Lands now unsold on the colonization roads which were fit for settlement. That hon. gentleman was mistaken. The lands remaining unsold in numerous instances were comparatively good, although perhaps not so good as those of the Western peninsula. It could scarcely be expected that the best lands would be allowed to remain to be taken up last. He had examined the reports of disinterested parties—surveyors and others, and he was glad to say that by those reports 70 per cent of the land yet unsold, was capable of cultivation. It was, therefore, his (Mr. Campbell’s) duty to contradict the assertions of the hon. member for Queen’s Division [John Simpson], who had said that he would not accept as a gift the lad granted to the Canada Emigration Company. The hon. gentleman referred next to the working of the United States Homestead Law, and proceeded to show how the Consuls of the United States influence emigration by acting as agents throughout the different countries of Europe. He stated that the Government had no large areas of lands in the surveyed portions. Settlers must have access to new lands by roads.

On the propriety of constructing those roads there was a great diversity of opinion. The hon. member for Rideau [James Skead] said they were an advantage—the hon. member for Hastings that they were positively bad. Those colonization roads, however, were arranged to suit the best lands as much as was practicable. The surveyor first ran a line in the required direction. Then he branched from that line three miles on each side to find the best land and the best location. He (Mr. Campbell) strongly objected to the proposed system of appointing a Commissioner to compromise in reference to arrears due on Crown Lands. It would not answer. Eight or nine millions of dollars could not be thrown away that way. Besides who was to be the judge of who would pay and who should not pay. No one could be more in favor of the settlement of public lands and promoting immigration than he (Mr. Campbell) was, but he could not consent to agree to the system asked for the hon. member for Saugeen [David Macpherson], and considered it his duty to point out the danger, and probably of loss, which would certainly be entailed on the Province. It was holding out a premium to defraud the Crown out of just arrears. He trusted that the day was far distant when, under Confederation, a larger field would be opened up for our young men—

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Alexander Campbell [Cataraqui, elected 1858, Commissioner of Crown Lands]—when the prairies of the West would offer the same inducements for them to remain on the banks of the Saskatchewan, as the prairies of the Western States did to the young men from Vermont and New Hampshire who went westward. The hon. gentleman concluded by saying that, speaking for himself and without committing the Government, he believed a system of selling lands at the cost of survey and a small charge for management, reserving the Crown timber dues, would be found an equally effective and far more satisfactory arrangement than that of indiscriminate free grants, as by this means the large sum now in arrears would not be jeopardized, and the parties who had already bought lands would have nothing to complain of. He hoped the hon. member for Saugeen [David Macpherson] would be satisfied with the discussion which had taken place, and not force the House to give a decision on a question upon which he (Mr. Campbell) felt assured every member would rather be excused from pronouncing an opinion, considering the imperfect information in their possession in comparison with the important interests involved.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

Luc Letellier de Saint Just [Grandville, elected 1860] addressed the House in French, and our principal reporter happening to be absent, was not understood by the person present.

David Macpherson [Saugeen, elected 1864] said, after the explanations given by the Hon. Commissioner of Crown Lands [Alexander Campbell], he had no desire to press his resolutions to a vote.

Some Hon. Members—Hear, hear.

David Macpherson [Saugeen, elected 1864]—He considered the opinion expressed by that hon. gentleman, that a system might be adopted almost equivalent to that which he suggested was a very gratifying one; and though the Government was in no way committed by such a declaration, he had every confidence that means would soon be found to apply his policy. Another important admission had been made during this debate, not only by the Hon. Commissioner of Crown Lands [Alexander Campbell], but also by the hon. member for Grandville, who is an ex-minister of the Crown—that no settler’s land had ever been forfeited, and so long as he remained in actual occupation it was not the policy of the Government to harass him for the payment of arrears. In reference to the remark of the hon. Commissioner of Crown Lands [Alexander Campbell], he would only say that the government should not act as if the country were a land speculator. As, however, he had no wish to prolong the discussion, he would only say that at the desire of the Hon. Commissioner of Crown Lands [Alexander Campbell], he begged to withdraw the resolution.

Some Hon. MembersCheers.

Other explanations followed from several hon. members and the resolution was withdrawn.


On motion of Hon. Mr. ROSSÉ, the Bill intituled: “An Act to incorporate the Curé of the parish of Notre Dame de Quebec,” was read a second time and referred to the Committee on Standing Orders.


On motion of Hon. Mr. FLINT, after some discussion, the Bill intituled: “An Act respecting the Gaspé Mining Company” was read a second time, and it was ordered that the sixty second Rule of this House be dispensed with in so far as it relates to this Bill, and that the same be referred to the Committee on Standing Orders and Private Bills.


On motion of Hon. Mr. BOSSÉ, the Bill intituled: “An Act to limit the application of a certain general hypothetic created by Daniel McCallum and his wife to a certain lot of land,” was read a second time and referred to the Committee on Standing Orders and Private Bills.


On motion of Hon. Mr. BOSSÉ, the Bill intituled: “An Act to authorize the Curé and Marguilliers of the [Illegible] and Fabrique of the parish of Notre Dame de Québec, to borrow a certain sum of money on the security of the property of the said Fabrique,” was read a second time, and referred to the Committee on Standing Orders and Private Bills.

The House then adjourned at ten minutes past ten o’clock.

Leave a Reply