Province of Canada, Legislative Council, 8th Parl, 4th Sess (9 August 1865)
By: Province of Canada (Parliament), The Quebec Daily Mercury
Citation: “Provincial “Parliament. Legislative Council. The Quebec Daily Mercury (10 August 1865).
Other formats: Click here to view the original document (PDF).
Note: All endnotes come from our recent publication, Charles Dumais & Michael Scott (ed.), The Confederation Debates in the Province of Canada (CCF, 2022).
Wednesday, AUGUST 9, 1865
The Address—Ministerial Explanations
On the first order of the day, which was for the consideration of His Excellency’s [Viscount Monck] Speech from the Throne on the opening of the Session, being called,
The speech having been read by the Clerk,—
Léandre Dumouchel [Mille Illes, elected 1856] moved
That an humble address be presented to His Excellency the Governor General, to thank His Excellency for his gracious Speech at the opening of the present Session of the Provincial Parliament.
To express to His Excellency the satisfaction with which this House learns that, in Excellency made from the Throne at the end of the last Session of Parliament, a Deputation from the Canadian Ministry proceeded to London to confer with Her Majesty’s Government on questions of importance to the Province.
To thank His Excellency for having called Parliament together at the earliest convenient moment after the return of the deputation in order that it may receive the Report of their mission, and complete the important business which, at the conclusion of the last Session, was left unfinished.
To assure His Excellency that the correspondence referring to the mission to England, which he is pleased to say he has directed to be communicated to this House, shall receive our most attentive consideration.
To agree with His Excellency that the happy termination of the Civil War which has for the last four years prevailed in the United States of America, cannot fail to exercise a beneficial influence in the commercial and industrial interests of this Province, and that we may trust that the re-establishment of peace will lead to a constantly increasing development of friendly relations between our people and the citizens of the great Republic.
To assure His Excellency that this House learns with the greatest pleasure that the circumstances which rendered it necessary to place a portion of the Volunteer Militia of the Province on permanent duty, having ceased to exist, the force has been re-called; and to join with His Excellency in expressing a feeling of satisfaction at the readiness with which the men responded to the call of duty, and the general good conduct which they exhibited during the period of their service.
To acknowledge, with thankfulness, His Excellency’s assurance that he has not failed to transmit to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, for presentation to Her Majesty, the address to which this House agreed during the last session, in favor of a Federal Union of the Colonies of British North America, and that he has desired that the reply of the Secretary of State shall be communicated to this House; and to unite with Excellency in trusting that mature examination of the project will ere long induce the Legislatures of the other Provinces to concur with that of this Province in giving their sanction to a measure which has been adopted as a great feature of Imperial policy, and has been twice noticed with approbation in Her Majesty’s Speeches from the Throne.
James Skead [Rideau, elected 1862] seconded the motion. The hon. gentleman said,—It was with pleasure, mixed, to a certain extent, with embarrassment that he rose to second the address in answer to His Excellency’s [Viscount Monck] gracious speech. That speech, short and simple as it was, was pregnant with importance to the future of this Province, and he could have wished that the task he had assumed had fallen into abler hands. We stand, hon. gentlemen, on the threshold of momentous events, out of which, if we are influenced by wisdom and patriotism, a glorious future may be created for Canada. We may congratulate ourselves on the safe and speedy return of the English delegation.
He believed, when the papers connected with that delegation were laid before the House, accompanied by the explanations that would be given, it would be seen that we and the country owed the distinguished gentlemen who composed it a deep and great debt of gratitude. That they were eminently successful might be inferred from the fact that the bitterest enemies of the administration have failed to discover any grounds of censure, and if they did not applaud they certainly did not condemn. The establishment of peace among our neighbors of the United States was of the greatest importance to the welfare of this Province.
He hoped to see an entire cessation of the angry feelings, which to a certain extent, had existed between us and them, and the re-establishment, or even the extension of our former friendly relations. It was gratifying to see that this wish had already been so far realized that we were able to dispense with the armed force that circumstances compelled us to peace on the frontier, and to restore our brave volunteers to their homes. The alacrity with which our volunteers obeyed the call of their country should make our hearts throb with pride and exultation. It gave us a pleasing proof, hon. gentlemen, that in the hour of proof, hon. gentlemen, that in the hour of proof, hon. gentlemen, that in the hour of danger Canada will not want for defenders. In the estimates which are to be laid before us, he trusted provision would be made for the construction of the Ottawa Canals. Here was to be found, not only a commercial undertaking of the great importance, but a certain and easy work of defence. And, if practicable, he should also like to see the St. Lawrence canals enlarged, and a beginning of that great work, the Intercolonial Railway.
In conclusion, hon. gentlemen we have the best reason for believing that there are bright and happy days in store for Canada. The prospects of that grand and patriotic project, the Confederation of the Provinces, were improving. Those who impeded its progress were beginning to see their error. The great works which were about to be undertaken would pour a wide stream of emigration over our fertile fields. Providence had blessed us with a glorious and a bountiful harvest, the like of which had rarely been known. Let us show our gratitude to the giver of all good, by endeavoring, peacefully, quietly, and thankfully, by our example, by our exhortations and by our legislation, to turn his previous gifts to advantage for the promotion of the happiness of all.
Narcisse F. Belleau [Canada East, appointed 1852, Premier and Receiver General] said, before the House proceeded with the consideration of His Excellency’s [Viscount Monck] speech, he desired to offer some explanations in regard to the administration of the Government. Since the last Session of Parliament a sad and mournful event had occurred, which had deprived the country of one of its most honored and patriotic representatives, and shed a gloom over the entire community—he alluded to the lamented decease of the hon. Sir. E.P. Taché, the result of which had been to entail the dissolution of the Coalition Government, of which he (Hon. Sir E.P. Taché) had been the distinguished head, and the formation of a new Cabinet.
A new Government having been formed, it became their duty to lay before Parliament and the country as soon as possible, the details of the programme on which they had accepted office, and the nature of the policy they intended to pursue. He therefore hastened to make these explanations, but they would be [illegible] brief, as after all they amounted to this, viz, that the new Government accepted the programme of the last Ministry.
In so far as the question of Confederation was concerned, the new Cabinet wholly concurred in the views and plans of their predecessors, with this addition viz, that it was proposed, owing to occurrences in the Maritime Provinces which had rendered impossible the carrying out of the scheme within the time originally proposed, to extend the period for endeavouring to accomplish the measure, before resorting to the smaller scheme.
The decision come to on the subject was contained in the following extract from a memorandum made at the time the formation was going on which he would read, viz:
“That we came to an agreement that we should earnestly strive for the adoption of the scheme of the Quebec conference,—but should we be unable to remove the objections of the Maritime Provinces in time to present a measure at the opening of the session of 1866 for the completion of the Confederation scheme, we would then present to Parliament and press with all the influence of Government a measure for the reform of the constitutional system of Canada, as set forth in the above agreement of June, 1864.”
The agreement of June, 1864, the hon. gentleman went on to say, had been put before Parliament and thoroughly discussed; so that every one was conversant with the details. Then again, while the formation of the Administration was going on, certain negotiations had taken place between prominent members of the Government on the subject, which had been reduced to writing at the time, and which he also deemed it necessary to submit to the House. He did so with the more pleasure, having His Excellency’s [Viscont Monck] authority to do so. They were as follows:—
Ministerial Negotiations for the Reconstruction of the Government Consequent of the Death of Sir E.P. Taché
No. 1—Memorandum Made 4th August, 1865, of Conversation, Held on the Preceding Day Between Messrs. Macdonald and Brown,
Mr. Macdonald, yesterday, sought an interview with Mr. Brown and informed him that His Excellency the Governor-General had sent for him, that morning, and had stated that the Administration, as it was formed in 1864, should continue in office, with as few changes as possible, in order to carry out the policy announced by the Government on its formulation—that, with that view His Excellency had expressed the opinion that the most obvious made of supplying the place, vacated by Sir Etienne Taché, would be for Mr. Macdonald to assume the position of Prime Minister—as being the senior member of the Ministry—and that Mr. Cartier would, on the same principle, become the leader of the Lower Canadian section of the Government—and that, for the purpose of carrying those views into effect, he had commissioned Mr. Macdonald to take the post of First Minister—at the same time requisition all the other Ministers to retain their offices. Mr. Macdonald further informed Mr. Brown that he had assented to this proposition of His Excellency, and had seen Mr. Cartier, who, at once, agreed to it. He then invited Mr. Brown to accede to the proposal of His Excellency.
Mr. Brown replied that he was quite prepared to enter into arrangements for the continuance of the Government in the same position it occupied previous to the death of Sir Etienne Taché; but that the proposal now made, involved a grave departure, from that position. The Government, here to fore, had been a coalition of three political parties, each represented by an active party leader, but all acting under one chief—who had ceased to be actuated by strong party feelings or personal ambitions, and who was well fitted to give confidence to all the three sections of the coalition that the conditions which united them would be carried out in good faith to the very letter. Mr. Macdonald, Mr. Cartier, and himself (Mr. Brown) were, on the contrary, regarded as party leaders, with party feelings and aspirations; and to place any one of them in an attitude of superiority over the others, with the vast advantage of the Premiership, would, in the public mind, lessen the security for good faith, and seriously endanger the existence of the coalition. It would be an entire change of the situation. Whichever of the three was so preferred, the act would amount to an abandonment of the coalition basis and re-construction of the government on ordinary party principles, under a party leader unacceptable to a larger portion of those on whose support the existence of the Ministry depended. Mr. Brown reminded Mr. Macdonald that when the coalition was formed, the Liberal party in opposition, constituted a majority of the House of Assembly:—that, solely for the accomplishment of a great measure essential to the peace and progress of the country, they had laid aside, for the time, party considerations, and consented to form a coalition with their opponents, on conditions which nothing but the strongest sense of public duty could have induced them to accept. He reminded Mr. Macdonald of the disadvantageous and embarrassing position he (Mr. Brown) and his colleagues, Mr. McDougall and Mr. Howland, had occupied during the past year,—united as they were with nine political opponents, who held all the important departments of State;—and he asked him to reflect in what light the Liberal party must regard this new proposition to abandon their distinctive position, and place one of their chief opponents in the premiership, though his conservative supporters in Parliament were much inferior, numerically, to the Reform supporters of the coalition.
Mr. Brown stated his conviction that the right mode of settling the question would be to invite some gentlemen of good position in the Legislative Council, under whom all the three great parties to the Coalition could act with confidence, to become the successor of Colonel Taché. In no other way, he thought, could the position, heretofore existing, be continued. Mr. Brown concluded by saying that the proposal of Mr. Macdonald was, palpably, one for the construction of a new Government, and that if the aid of the Reform Party in Upper Canada in the Assembly were desired in its formation, a distinct statement of the policy of the new Government must be made, and a definite proposition submitted. Speaking, however, for himself alone, he (Mr. Brown) occupied now precisely the ground that he had in the negotiations of 1864; he stood prepared to give an outside, but frank and earnest, support to any Administration that might be formed, pledged like the Coalition Government, to carry through Parliament, in the spring session of next year, either a measure for the final completion of the Confederation scheme of the Quebec Conference, or one for removing existing difficulties in Canada, by the introduction of the Federal principle into the system of Government, coupled with such provisional as will permit the Maritime Provinces and the North-west Territory to be incorporated into the system.
Mr. Macdonald stated in answer, that at the time the Coalition was effected in 1864, Sir Etienne Taché held the position of Premier with him, (Mr. Macdonald), as leader of the Lower House, and of the Upper Canadian section of the Government. That on reference to the memorandum containing the basis of coalition, it will be seen that Mr. Brown at first preferred to support the Government in its policy, as then settled, without entering the Government, but that it was afterwards agreed in deference to the wishes of his supporters, and at the pressing instance of Mr. Macdonald that he and two of his friends should enter the Government. These terms were acceded to, the offices that happened to be then vacant placed at Mr. Brown’s disposal, and the coalition was completed. Mr. Macdonald further stated that Sir Etienne Taché was not selected at the time of the Coalition, as First Minister, but he had been previously and was then the head of the Conservative Government, and was accepted with all his Lower Canadian colleagues without change. That on the lamented decease of Sir Etienne, His Excellency had, without previous communication of his opinion to him or (as he understood) to any one else, come to the conclusion that the best mode of carrying on the Government was (as already stated) for Mr. Macdonald to take one step upward; that Mr. Cartier, as next in seniority should do so also, and that the other arrangements should remain as before. That he (Mr. Macdonald) thought with His Excellency that this was the best solution of the matter, and could not but accede to it; that, however, he had no personal feeling in the matter, and that if he had, he thought it his duty to set aside such feeling for the sake of carrying out the great scheme so happily commenced, to a successful issue.
He therefore would readily stand and waive his pretensions, so that some other party than himself might be appointed to the Premiership; that he thought Mr. Cartier should be that party; that after the weather of Colonel Tache, Mr. Cartier, beyond a doubt, was the most influential man in his section of the country, and would be selected by the Lower Canadian supporters of the Government as their leader; that neither Mr. Brown nor Mr. Macdonald could dictate to Lower Canada as to their selection of leader; that the Premier must be, according to usage, the leader or senior member either from Upper or Lower Canada: and that as he (Mr. Macdonald) had, in consequence of the position taken by Mr. Brown, waived his own pretensions, it followed that Mr. Cartier should be appointed as Prime Minister. Mr. Macdonald stated in conclusion that although he had no reason to suppose that His Excellency would object to the selection of Mr. Cartier, yet he must of course submit the proposition to him, and obtain His Excellency’s assent to it.
Mr. Brown replied that in some of the views suggested by Mr. Macdonald, there was a difference between this proposition and the original one; but still that this, like the other, would be a proposal for the construction of a new Government, in a manner seriously affecting the security held by the Liberal party. Before saying anything upon such a proposition, however, were it formally made, he would desire to consult his friends, Mr. McDougall and Mr. Howland.
The interview then terminated, and the following correspondence took place.
No. 2—Hon. John A. Macdonald to Hon. Geo. Brown.
Quebec, August 4, 1865.
My Dear Sir,—Immediately after our conversation, the heads of which we have reduced to writing, I have obtained His Excellency’s permission to propose to you that Mr. Cartier’s, as being the leader of the Ministerial majority of Lower Canada in Parliament, should assume the position of Prime Minister, vacated by the death of Sir Etienne Taché, the other members of the Administration continuing to hold their position and offices as before. All the Lower Canadian Members of the Council assent to this proposition, so do Mr. Campbell and myself; and I am sure I can also speak for Mr. Solicitor General Cockburn who is now absent.
May I request the favor of an early reply.
My dear Sir,
John A. Macdonald.
The Hon. Geo. Brown,
&c., &c., &c.
No. 3—Hon. George Brown to Hon. John A. Macdonald.
Quebec, August 4, 1865.
My Dear Sir,—I have received your letter of this afternoon, inviting me to retain my present position in a Government to be formed under the Premiership of Mr. Cartier. In reply, I have now to state, after consultation with Messrs. Howland and McDougall, that we can only regard this proposition as one for the construction of a new Government, in a manner seriously affecting the security heretofore held by the Liberal party. Anxiously desirous, as we are, however, that nothing should occur at this moment to jeopardize the plan of the Coalition Government on the constitutional question, we cannot assume the responsibility of either accepting or rejecting it, without consultation with our political friends. This I am prepared to do without any delay, and to that end it will be necessary that I have clearly stated in writing the basis on which Mr. Cartier proposes to construct the new Government.
I am, my dear sir,
The Hon. John A. Macdonald,
&c., &c., &c.
No. 4—Hon. John A. Macdonald to Hon. George Brown.
Quebec, August 5th, 1865.
My Dear Sir,—I regret to learn from your note of yesterday that you cannot assume the responsibility, without first consulting your political friends, of either accepting or rejecting the proposition that Mr. Cartier should be placed at the head of the Government in the stead of the late Sir Etienne Taché, with the understanding that the rest of the Council should retain their present offices and positions under him. I have conferred with Mr. Cartier on the subject, and we agree that, at this late hour, it would be highly inexpedient to wait for the result of this consultation.
Parliament is to assemble on Tuesday next, and in our opinion, it would greatly prejudice the prospects of the great scheme in which we are all engaged, it we met Parliament with the Administration in an incomplete state and therefore with no fixed policy.
I have His Excellency’s permission to state his concurrence in this view, and his opinion that the public interests require the immediate reconstruction of the Ministry.
Under these circumstances, and to prevent the possibility of the scheme for the Confederation of British North American receiving any injury from the appearance of disunion among those who coalesced for the purpose of carrying it into effect, Mr. Cartier and I, without admitting that there are any sufficient grounds for setting either of us aside, have agreed to propose that Sir N. Belleau shall assume the position of First Minister and Receiver General vice Sir Etienne Taché, that the position and office of the other members of the Executive Council shall remain as before and that the policy of the Government shall be the same as was laid before Parliament in July, 1864, as the basis of the Coalition which was then formed. His Excellency authorizes me to make this proposition and expresses his desire for an early answer.
My dear Sir,
John A. Macdonald.
The Hon. George Brown,
&c.. &c., &c.
No. 5—Hon. George Brown to Hon. John A. Macdonald.
Quebec, 5th Aug. 1865.
Saturday, 5 p.m.
My Dear Sir,—Your note of this afternoon was handed to me by Col. Bernard, and having communicated its contents to my colleagues, I now beg to state the conclusions at which we have arrived.
Without intending the slightest discourtesy to Sir Narcisse Belleau, we deem it right to remind you we would not have selected that gentleman as successor to Sir Etienne Taché; but as he is the selection of Mr. Cartier and yourself, and as we are equally with you desirous of preventing the scheme for the Confederation of British America receiving injury from the appearance of disunion among us, we shall offer no objection to his appointment.
I think, however, it will be necessary that Sir Narcisse Belleau shall have stated to him and shall have stated to him and shall accept, in more distinct terms than you have indicated, the policy on which our coalition now rests. It is quite right that the basis of June 1864, should be stated as the basis still, but he should also clearly understand the modification of that agreement, rendered necessary by succeeding events, and which was ratified by Sir Etienne Taché in March, 1865. The agreement of June, 1864, was as follows:—
“The Government are prepared to pledge themselves to bring in a measure next session, for the purpose of removing existing difficulties by introducing the Federal principle into Canada, coupled with such provisions as will permit the Maritime Provinces and the North-West Territory to be incorporated into the same system of Government. And the Government will seek by sending representative to the Lower Provinces and to England, to secure the assent of those interests which are beyond the control of our own legislation to such a measure as may enable all British North America to be united under a general legislature based upon the Federal principle.”
Sir Narcisse Belleau should understand that occurrences in the Maritime Provinces unfortunately prevented this agreement from being carried out, so far as regards time; that it became necessary to consider what course ought to be pursued in consequence of these occurrences; and that we came to an agreement that we should earnestly strive for the adoption of the scheme of the Quebec conference, but should we be unable to remove the objections of the Maritime Provinces in time to present a measure of the opening of the session of 1866 for the completion of the Confederation scheme, we would then present to Parliament and press with all the influence of Government, a measure for the reform of the constitutional system of Canada, as set forth in the above agreement of June, 1864.
My dear Sir,
The Hon. John A. Macdonald.
No. 6—Hon. John A. Macdonald to Hon. George Brown.
Quebec, Aug. 7, 1865.
My Dear Sir,—Sir Narcisse Belleau returned from the country yesterday, and I am happy to inform you that he has, though with great reluctance, acceded to the request of Mr. Cartier and myself, and accepted the position of First Minister, with the office of Receiver-General.
He accepts the policy of the late Government as stated in your note of Saturday to me, and adopts it as that which will govern his administration.
This policy will of course be announced in both Houses of Parliament, as soon as possible.
John A. Macdonald.
The Honorable Geo. Brown
The hon. gentleman, having concluded the reading of the memorandum, repeated in French the explanations he had just given in English.
David Christie [Erie, elected 1858] said, that as the papers read to the House by the Hon. Premier [Narcisse Belleau], presented matter deserving of serious consideration which it could not be supposed hon. members would be prepared at once, to discuss, he would suggest that the debate be adjourned until to-morrow.
Narcisse F. Belleau [Canada East, appointed 1852, Premier and Receiver General] did not think that the papers in question had anything to do with the answer to the address, and in his opinion ought not to interfere with its passage.
David Christie [Erie, elected 1858] said, that a new government had been formed, and that on one point, at least, there was a difference between the policy of the former cabinet and the present Government. The House was not in possession of accurate knowledge as to the point of difference, and that this of itself was a sufficient reason for asking the delay of one day. Indeed, he conceived it wrong to refuse it, and hoped that the Ministers would not persist in doing so. The hon. Mr. Brown, himself, had deemed it right to consult his friends upon that very point, and all that he (Mr. Christie,) desired was to understand the matter better before passing the answer to the address.
John Ross [Canada West, appointed 1848] said, that the hon. member had evidently misunderstood the explanations of the hon. Premier [Narcisse Belleau]. The point upon which the hon. Mr. Brown had desired to consult his part, was as to whether he should office under Mr. Cartier, but he had accepted office, and the whole policy. Indeed there was no change in the policy further than the postponement of the time for carrying out the greater Confederation and the consequent deferment of the consideration of the changes, which failing that, would required to be made in the constitution of Canada itself.
David Christie [Erie, elected 1858]—There was evidently a different of opinion among hon. members as to the meaning of the paper submitted to the House, and that of itself was a sufficient reason for asking delay. The Government had done right in bring down the papers, but, it was equally right to ask for time to consider them. As he understood it the papers in question were printed, but they had not been distributed and hon. members had not been able to examine them. And then, why this haste? Was it not proper that the explanations should be fully understood before they are accepted as satisfactory.
Philip Moore [Canada East, appointed 1841]—It seems to him that the question before the House had no relation at all to the explanations of the Government, but to the Speech from the Throne. In England, the practice was, to receive such explanations without debate.
David Christie [Erie, elected 1858] said he had no wish to detain the House, but, why had the Government made the explanations at this stage unless they were desirous of having them considered?
Alexander Campbell [Cataraqui, elected 1858, Commissioner of Crown Lands]—Because it was the usage.
David Christie [Erie, elected 1858]—And why this usage? Because a new Government had been formed whose policy the House and the country had a right to know. If when the policy was fully understood it were disapproved of, then the answer to the address would not be supported, and before voting that address it was proper to know to what policy they were committing themselves. Some hon. members understood that policy one way, and others seemed to understand it in another—we were asked to five our assent to a policy before we fully understood it, and he contended that it was but right and reasonable that time should be given for the consideration of the correspondence before the Address was passed.
Alexander Campbell [Cataraqui, elected 1858, Commissioner of Crown Lands] said the Government had always been willing to give ample time for the consideration of any matter requiring consideration, but the hon. member was in error in stating that the answer to the Speech from the Throne would commit the House to a policy which was not understood. All it would commit the House to, would be the policy enunciated in the Speech itself and nothing more. But the hon. member had said the explanations were indistinct.
David Christie [Erie, elected 1858] had said nothing of the kind, but that some members understood them one way and some another.
Alexander Campbell [Cataraqui, elected 1858, Commissioner of Crown Lands]—Well that was about equivalent, but whatever indistinctness there might be in the explanations, there was certainly none in the resolutions in answer to the speech.
(The hon. member then read from Mr. Brown’s letter, to the effect that the basis of the arrangement of 1864 was to continue and that there was only to be a short postponement.)
With that single exception the policy of the present and the last Government was identical. It might be a new Government in form, but in substance it was the same. Now the explanations might have been given by word of mouth as was generally done, and in that case the hon. member would not have thought of asking for delay. But as had been stated by an hon. member (Mr. Moore) the question before the House had no relation to the explanations but to the answer to the address from the Throne, and the House was only asked to say whether or not it concurred in the said answer.
For his part he could see no reason for delay, and the hon. member, in his opinion, had offered none. But perhaps he had some other reason, and that after all, the explanations were not the trouble. All the difference in the policy if it might be called a difference, was that instead of considering the changes which might be necessary in the constitution of Canada in 1865, the matter was postponed until 1866, when if the larger Confederation did not take place, that of Canada could be dealt with. And the Government was as earnestly resolved to carry out its purposes as it ever had been. What was the use to mystify the matter, and attempt to make the House suppose that the explanations were susceptible of being understood in different senses.
James Currie [Niagara, elected 1862] said he did not see the remarks of his honorable friend (Mr. Christie) justified such warmth on the part of the Hon. Commissioner of Crown Lands [Alexander Campbell]. The request he had made for delay was a very fair and legitimate one. The Premier [Narcisse Belleau] had clearly stated that there was some difference between the policy of the late and the present Government.
Alexander Campbell [Cataraqui, elected 1858, Commissioner of Crown Lands]—No, no.
James Currie [Niagara, elected 1862]—Then he had not understood the correspondence read and he knew that the other hon. members were like him in this respect. This at least showed the propriety of having the explanations distributed before proceeding further. It was as usual to discuss the policy as the personnel of the Government on occasions like this.
David Christie [Erie, elected 1858] said the Hon. Commissioner of Crown Lands [Alexander Campbell] had made unjust insinuations which he ought to withdraw. He (Mr. Christie) had given what he conceived to be good and sufficient reasons for the delay he had asked for and he had none other.
Alexander Campbell [Cataraqui, elected 1858, Commissioner of Crown Lands] said he had no intention whatever of attributing improper motives to the hon. member, but as he considered the reasons he had advanced as insufficient and he persisted in [?pressing?] his request, he conceived he must have some others of a more satisfactory character.
Luc Letellier de Saint Just [Grandville, elected 1860] said the request for delay should be granted, without regard to any reasons whatever. It was the ordinary usage to grant such delays when asked by the Opposition without requiring any reasons.
David Christie [Erie, elected 1858] then moved
That the debate be adjourned until to-morrow.
Some Hon. Members—Cries of question! question!
The motion was then put and lost on the following division:—
The Speaker then read the resolutions—
MAY IT PLEASE YOUR EXCELLENCY:
We, Her Majesty’s dutiful and loyal subjects, the Legislative Council of Canada, in Provincial Parliament assembled, respectfully thank Your Excellency for Your Gracious Speech at the opening of the present Session.
We learn with satisfaction that, in conformity with the announcement which Your Excellency made from the Throne at the end of the last Session of Parliament, a deputation from the Canadian Ministry proceeded to London to confer with Her Majesty’s Government on questions of importance to the Province.
We thank Your Excellency for having called Parliament together at the earliest convenient moment after the return of the deputation, in order that it may receive the Report of their mission and complete the important business which, at the conclusion of the last Session, was left unfinished.
The correspondence referring to the mission to England, which Your Excellency is pleased to say you have directed to be communicated to this House, shall receive our most attentive consideration.
We agree with Your Excellency that the happy termination of the civil war which has for the last four years prevailed in the United States of America cannot fail to exercise a beneficial influence on the commercial and industrial interests of this Province, and that we may trust that the re-establishment of peace will lead to a constantly increasing development of friendly relations between our people and the citizens of the great Republic.
We learn with the greatest pleasure that the circumstances which rendered it necessary to place a portion of the Volunteer Militia of the Province on permanent duty, having ceased to exist, the force has been recalled; and we join with Your Excellency in expressing a feeling of satisfaction at the readiness with which the men responded to the call of duty, and the general good conduct which they exhibited daring the period of their service.
We acknowledge, with thankfulness, Your Excellency’s assurance that you have not failed to transmit to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, for presentation to Her Majesty, the Address to which this House agreed during the last Session, in favor of a Federal Union of the Colonies of British North America, and that you have desired that the reply of the Secretary of State shall be communicated to this House; and we unite with Your Excellency in trusting that mature examination of the project will ere long induce the Legislatures of the other Provinces to concur with that of this Province in giving their sanction to a measure which has been adopted as a great feature of Imperial policy, and has been twice noticed with approbation in Her Majesty’s Speeches from the Throne.
—which were concurred in detail and a committee of Hon. Messrs. Dumouchel, Skead and Belleau was appointed to prepare an answer founded thereon.
The Committee retired and shortly after returned with the answer which was adopted, ordered to be engrossed, signed by the Speaker and presented to His Excellency [Viscount Monck], on Saturday afternoon, at three o’clock.
Philip Moore [Canada East, appointed 1841 inquired whether the delay until Saturday would prevent the House proceeding to business.
Narcisse F. Belleau [Canada East, appointed 1852, Premier and Receiver General] said it would not.
Alexander Campbell [Cataraqui, elected 1858, Commissioner of Crown Lands] then informed the House that he was charged with a message from His Excellency [Viscount Monck], which he handed to the Clerk.
The House rose to receive the message which communicated to the House the following:—
The Governor General transmits for the information of the Honorable the Legislative Council, copies of a correspondence with the Secretary of State for the Colonies, relating to the deputation from the Executive Council which proceeded to England in order to confer with Her Majesty’s Government on questions of importance to this Province.
Quebec, August 9th, 1865.
Papers relating to the Conferences which have taken place between Her Majesty’s Government and a Deputation from the Executive Council of Canada, appointed to confer with Her Majesty’s Government on the subject of the Defence of the Province.
21st January, 1865,
My Lord—Her Majesty’s Government are unwilling, under the present circumstances, to press upon the Government of Canada, any decision which can with prudence be postponed upon a subject of so much importance to the future welfare of the British North American Provinces, as the subject of the defence of Canada. They are sensible of the considerations which render it expedient to wait for such a decision, until some further progress shall have been made in the discussion of the proposal for the Union of those Provinces, and until it shall have been ascertained whether the question is to be considered by the Ministers of the United British North American Provinces, or by the Ministers of Canada alone.
But without anticipating that any causes of difference are likely to disturb our present friendly relations with the Government of the United States, they think it necessary to bear in mind the vast accession which has recently been made, and still continues to be made, to the military Forces of that powerful country. They cannot forget the very small proportion which the numerical strength of British Troops on the North American Continent bears to the Force which might at any moment be brought into the field against them. It would be a cause of just reproach against the British Government if those troops were suffered to remain in a position which, on the outbreak of war, they might not be able to hold until the military and naval resources of the country could be made. available for their support.
These considerations seem to Her Majesty’s Government to render it absolutely necessary that the defences of Quebec should be materially strengthened and without delay. They intend, therefore, on their own part, to include in the Estimates of the present year a vote for improving the defences of Quebec.
The proposed defences of Montreal are so important as to the general safety of the Province, and to the maintenance of the communication between the districts west of Montreal, and the naval and military power of the Mother Country, that Her Majesty’s Government trust that they may look with confidence to the Government of Canada for the immediate construction of these Works.
Her Majesty’s Government will be prepared to provide the armaments for the Works at Montreal as well as those at Quebec.
I have, &c.,
(Signed,) Edward Cardwell.
(Enclosure in No. 1.)
Report of Committee of the Honorable the Executive Council, approved by His Excellency the Governor General on the 24th March, 1865.
The Committee respectfully recommend that four Members. of Your Excellency’s Council do proceed to England to confer with Her Majesty’s Government:
1st. Upon the proposed Confederation of the British North American Provinces and the means whereby it can be most speedily effected;
2nd. Upon the arrangements necessary for the Defence of Canada, in the event of war arising with the United States, and the extent to which the same should be shared between Great Britain and Canada;
3rd. Upon the steps to be taken with reference to the Reciprocity Treaty, and the rights conferred by it upon the United States;
4th. Upon the arrangements necessary for the settlement of the North-West Territory and Hudson’s Bay Company’s claims;
5th. And, generally, upon the existing critiçal state of affaire by which Canada is most seriously affected.
The Committee further recommend that the following members of Council be named to form the Delegation, viz.: Messrs. Macdonald, Cartier, Brown and Galt.
Wm. H. Lee, C.E.C.
To His Excellency the Right Honourable Viscount Monck, Governor General of British North America, &c. &c.
May it please your Excellency—
The undersigned having, by Order in Council of 24th March 1865, been appointed a committee of the Executive Council of Canada to proceed to England and confer with Her Majesty’s Government on certain subjects of importance to the Province, sailed for England in April last; and having discharged the duty entrusted to the and returned to Canada, we now beg to submit for your Excellency’s information, a statement of our proceedings while in London.
The circumstances under which this mission became necessary are doubtless fresh in your Excellency’s recollection. For a considerable time past, in view of the civil war going on in the United States, and the impossibility of anticipating what international questions might at any moment arise, Her Majesty’s Government felt it their duty from time to time to direct the attention of the Government of Canada to the insecure position of the Province in the event of disturbed relations unhappily resulting, and to urge the adoption of protective measures. In these communications it was not concealed that Her Majesty’s Government expected the people of Canada to assume more onerous military duties than they had previously borne. Your Excellency’s advisors were always prepared frankly to consider these proposals, and to submit for the approval of Parliament such measures as might be found just and reasonable. But they felt at the same time that to secure the hearty assent of Parliament and the country for any important changes in the military relations between the patents state the Colony, an explanation on the whole subject first had, so that a clear understanding as to the share of defence to be borne by each might be arrived at, and all ground of irritating and hurtful reproach for alleged neglect of duty by the Colony, entirely removed. In view also of the anticipated early union of all the British North American Colonies—so well calculated to simplify the system of defence — the Government of Canada deemed it highly desirable that the settlement of this important question should be reserved for the action of the Government and Legislature of the new Confederation. Her Majesty’s Government concurred in these views.
In early part this year, however, events occurred of affairs. The conference at Fortress Monroe for the cessation of hostilities, the disturbances on the Canadian frontier, the imposition of the passport system, the notice given by the American Government for a termination of the conviction restricting the naval armament on the lakes, and other events, tended to revive and deepen the feeling of insecurity; and Her Majesty’s Government urged the immediate erection of permanent works of defence at Quebec and Montreal—the cost of the former to be borne by the Imperial Treasury, and of the latter by the people of Canada. Your Excellency’s advisors were most anxious to meet the wishes of Her Majesty’s Government, but they could not feel it their dirt to propose to Parliament a vote for defensive works at Montreal while the defence of Upper Canada, on land and on the lakes, was provided for. The position of affairs was further complicated by the result of the New Brunswick elections, which postponed, at least for a time, the Union of the Provinces,—and by the formal notice by the American Government for the termination, in March next, of the Reciprocity Treaty. It became evident that the time had arrived and could no longer be postponed, for a full and frank explanation with Her Majesty’s Government on the whole state of affairs; and with that view an immediate mission to England, with Your Excellency’s assent, was resolved upon. The state of the case was forthwith communicated to the Legislative Council and Assembly, which were then in session; and Parliament was shortly after prorogued on the business of the session, so soon as the delegates returned from Great Britain.
On arriving in England we lost no time in placing ourselves in communication with Her Majesty’s Secretary of State for the Colonies; and a committee of the Imperial Cabinet, consisting of his Grace the Duke of Somerset, the Right Honorable the Earl De Grey and Ripon, the Right Honourable William E. Gladstone, the Right Honorable Edward Caldwell, having been appointed to confer with us, negotiations were opened and continued at frequent interviews, up to the close of our mission.
The subject to which we first invited the attention of the conference was the proposed Confederation of the British North American Colonies. We reminded the Imperial Ministers how largely all the questions, with the discussion of which we were charged—and especially those of defence, foreign commercial relations, an internal communication—would be affected by the Union, and how greatly their satisfactory settlement would be facilitated by it. We explained the reasons that existed for obtaining the assent of all the Colonies to the Union at an early date, and the promise to which the Government of Canada stood pledged to proceed without delay with constitutional reforms for Canada alone, in the event of the larger measure failing to be obtained. We received at once from the members of the Imperial Cabinet assurances of their hearty approval of the Confederation scheme, and of their anxious desire to promote its early accomplishment by all the legitimate influence of the Imperial Government. In the discussion of the means to be adopted for effecting Confederation, we trust it is unnecessary to assure your Excellency that the idea of coercing the Maritime Provinces into the measure was not for a moment entertained. The end sought was to ascertain in what manner the question of Union, in all its bearings, could be best brought under the full and fair consideration of our fellow Colonists, and the grave responsibility urged upon them, which they would assume by thwarting a measure so pregnant with future prosperity to British America, so anxiously desired by the great mass of the people to be affected by it, and which had been received with such marked satisfaction by our fellow subjects throughout the British Empire. We received assurances that her Majesty’s Government would adopt every legitimate means for securing the early assent of the Maritime Provinces to the Union. In the course of these discussions, the question of the Intercolonial Railway came up as a necessary accompaniment of Confederation, when we sought and obtained a renewal of the promised Imperial guarantee of a loan for the construction of that work.
The important question of the future military relations between the mother country and Canada received earnest and grave consideration. Before entering on the discussion of details, we referred to the recent debates in the Imperial Parliament on the subject of Canadian defences, ad especially to the assertions confidently made by certain members of the House of Commons that Canada was incapable of efficient protections against in case ion from her inland border. We explained the unjust such statements tended to produce, and the necessity of our ascertaining, as a preliminary step to our discussions, whether or not they were well founded. We asked that a report on the whole subject of the defence of Canada, with plans and estimates, might be obtained from the highest military and navel authorities of Great Britain. Such a report was obtained and communicated to us confidentially; and we rejoice to say that it was calculated to remove all doubt as to the security of our country, so long as the hearts of our people remain firmly attached to the British flag, and the power of England is wielded in our defence.
On the part of Canada we expressed the desire that this plan for the defence of all parts of the Province should be taken as the basis of arrangement; and that a fall and candid discussion should be had as to share of the cost that ought be borne respectively by the Imperial and Provincial exchequers. We expressed the earnest wish of the people of Canada to perpetrate the happy existing connection with Great Britain, ad their entire willingness to contribute to the defence of the Empire their full quota, according to their ability, of men and money. But we pointed out that if war should ever unhappily arise between England and the United States, it could only be an Imperial war, on Imperial grounds—that our country alone would be exposed to the horrors of invasion—and that our exposed position, far from entailing on us unusual burdens, should on the contrary secure for us the special and generous consideration of the Imperial Government. We explained, moreover, that though Canada continued to progress steadily and rapidly, it was a vast country, sparsely populated—that the difficulties of first settlement were hardly yet overcome—that the profits of our annual industry were to be found not in gloating wealth, but in the increased value of our farms an mines — and that, at this moment especially, from the failure of successive crops, the effects of the American civil war on our commercial relations, and the feeling of insecurity as to our position (greatly aggravated by statements of the defencelessness of the country in the British Parliament and by portions of the British press)—Canada was labouring under a temporary but serious depression. We pointed out that, while fully recognizing the necessity and prepared to provide for such a system of defence as would restore confidence in our future at home and abroad, the best ultimate defence for British America was to be found in the increase of her populations as rapidly as people, and the husbanding of our resources to that end; and without claiming it as a right, we ventured to suggest that by enabling us to throw open the north-western territories to free settlement, and by aiding us in enlarging our canals and prosecuting internal productive works, and by promoting an extensive plan of emigration from Europe into the unsettled portions of our domain—permanent security would be more quickly and surely and economically secured than by any other means. We did not fail to point out how this might be done without cost or risk to the British exchequer, and how greatly it would lighten the new burden of defence proposed to be assumed at a moment of depression by the people of Canada.
Much discussion ensued on all these points, and the result arrived at was, that if the people of Canada undertook the works of defence at and west of Montreal, and agreed to expend in training their militia, until the Union of all the Provinces was determined, a sum not less than is now expended annually for that service, Her Majesty’s Government would complete the fortifications at Quebec, provide the whole armament for all the works, guarantee a loan for the sum necessary to construct the works undertaken by Canada, and in the event of war undertake the defence of every portion of Canada with all the resources of the Empire.
The question having arisen as to the time and order in which these propositions should be submitted for the approval of the imperial and Provincial Legislature, it appeared that no action could be taken upon them during the present year; and it was therefore deemed inexpedient to complicate the Confederation question by changing the basis of the Quebec Conference resolutions, which might result from the present adoption of these propositions. The further consideration of the defensive works was accordingly deferred for the action of the Government and Legislature of the proposed British North American Confederation; but the assurance of Her Majesty’s Government was at the same time given, that if circumstances arose to render an application would be received in the most friendly spirit.
On the subject of the American Reciprocity Treaty we entered into full explanations with the Imperial Ministers. We explained how advantageously the treaty had worked for Canada, and the desire of our people for its renewal; but we showed at the same time how much more advantageously it had worked for American interests; and we expressed our inability to believe that the United States Government seriously contemplated the abolition of an arrangement by which they had so greatly increased their foreign commerce, secured a vast and lucrative carrying trade, and obtained free access to the St. Lawrence and to the invaluable fishing grounds of British America—and that on the sole ground that the Provinces has also profited by the treaty. We explained the immediate injury that would result to Canadian interests from the abrogation of the treaty; but we pointed out at the same time the new and ultimately more profitable channels into which our foreign trade must, in that event, be turned and the necessity of preparing for the changes, and out readiness to discuss and favourably entertain any jus propositions that might be made for an extension on modification of its conditions; we requested that the views of the American Government should be obtained at the earliest convenient date; and that his Excellency Sir Fredrick Bruce should act in connect with the Canadian Government in the matter. The Imperial Government cordially ascended to our suggestions.
The important questions of opening up to settlement and cultivation the vast British Territories on the north-west borders of Canada, next obtained the attention of the Conference. Your Excellency is aware that the desire of the Government of Canada for a satisfactory and final adjustment of this matter has been often formally expressed. In your Excellency’s Despatch of 19th January 1864, to the Colonial Secretary, the anxious desire of the Canadian Government was communicated “for some speedy, inexpensive, and naturally satisfactory plan” for settling definitely “the north-western boundary of Canada,” and the claim of Canada was asserted to “all that portion of Central British America, which can be shown to have been in the possession of the French at the period of the cession in 1763.”
In reply to this Despatch, Mr. Caldwell, on 1st July 1864, requested to be informed whether the Government of Canada was prepared to assist in negotiations with the Hudson’s Bay Company, with the view of accepting any portion of the territory now claimed by that company, and providing the means of local administration therein; and he suggested that if so prepared it would be desirable that some person daily authorized to communicate the views of the Canadian Government should be sent to England for that purpose.
On the 11th November 1864, a minute of Council was approved by your Excellency, in reply to Mr. Cardwell’s Despatch. It set forth that the Government of Canada was ready and anxious to co-operate with the Imperial Government, in securing the early settlement of the north-west territories, and the establishment of local government in it settled portions; but that in its opinion the first step towards that end was the extinction of all claim by the Hudson’s Bay Company to proprietary rights in the soil and exclusive rights of trade. It suggested that it was for the Imperial Government, and not for the Government of Canada, to assume the duty of bringing to an end a monopoly originating in an English charter, and exercised so long under Imperial sanction; but that when the negotiations were brought to a close, the Government of Canada would be ready to arrange with the Imperial Government for the annexation to Canada of such portions of the territory as might be available for settlement, as well as for the opening up of communications into the territory and providing means of local administration. Or should the Imperial Government prefer to erect the territory into a Crown Colony, the Canadian Government would gladly co-operate in the opening up of communication unto the territory, and the settlement of the country. The minute finally suggested that the Hon. President of the Council while in England would communicate more fully to Mr. Caldwell the views of the Canadian Government.
The negotiations that followed in this Despatch satisfied us of the impossibility of enforcing the end sought by Canada without long-protracted, vexations, and costly litigation. The Hudson’s Bay Company were in possession, and that if time were their object, could protract the proceedings indefinitely; and Her Majesty’s Government appeared unwilling to ignore pretentions that had frequently received quasi recognition from Imperial authorities. Calling to mind, therefore, the vital importance to Canada of having that great fertile country opened up to Canadian enterprise, and the tide of emigration into it directed through Canadian channels—remembering also the danger of large grants of land passing into the country large masses of settlers unaccustomed to British institutions—we arrived at the conclusion that the quickest solution of the question would be the best for Canada. We accordingly proposed to the Imperial Ministers that the whole British territory east of the Rocky Mountains and north of the American of Canadian lines should be made over to Canada, subject to such rights as the Hudson’s Bay Company might be Abe to establish; and that the compensation to that company (if any were found to be due) should be met by a loan guaranteed by Great Britain. The Imperial Government consented to this, and a careful investigations guaranteed by Great Britain. The Imperial Government consented to this, and a careful investigation of the case satisfies us that the compensation to the Hudson’s Bay Company cannot, under any circumstances, be onerous. It is but two years since the present Hudson’s Bay Company purchased the entire property of the old company; they paid £1,500,000 for the entire property and assists,—in which were included in our arrangement, a very large claim against the United States Government under the Oregon Treaty—and ships, goods, pelts, and business premises in England and Canada valued at £1,023,569. The value of the territorial rights of the company, therefore, in the estimation of the company itself, will be easily arrived at.
The results of our communications with the Committee of Her Majesty’s Government were placed, by Mr. Caldwell, in the form of a Despatch to your Excellency; that document bears date the 17th June 1865, and has already reached your Excellency’s hands. It contains a correct statement of the result of the conference.
Although the subject was not specially referred to us, we did not fail to call the attention of the Colonial Minister to the anomalous position of foreigners who have settled in Canada and become naturalized subjects under our Provincial Statutes Mr. Cardwell at once admitted the hardship of the ease, and stated that it was the desire of her Law Officers of the Crown for their opinions as to the best mode of doing so.
It will be gratifying to many devoted subjects of Her Majesty throughout British America, whose fears have been excited by the language too often heard of late years on the subject of Colonial connexion, that we received from Her Majesty’s Ministers the assurance that the British Government acknowledge the obligation of defending every portion of Canada with all the resources at its command.
Such, in brief, is the outline of our communications with Her Majesty’s Government, and we cannot conclude this report without gratefully acknowledging the distinguished consideration extended to us as the representatives of Canada, not only by the Minsters with whole we were brought more directly in contact, but by many eminent personages with whole we had the honour of conferring on the objects of our mission. To Mr. Cardwell we are especially indebted for unremitting kindness and attention. We are happy to believe that the result of our visit to England had been to inspire more just views as to the position and feelings of the Canadian people, and to draw closer the ties that have so long ad so happily attached our Province to the Mother Country.
John A. Macdonald,
Geo. Et. Cartier,
Quebec, 12th July, 1865.
Copy of a Despatch from the Right Honorable Edward Cardwell, M.P., to Governor General Viscount Monck.
Downing Street, 17th June, 1865.
My Lord,—I have the honor to inform your Lordship that several conferences have been held between the four Canadian Ministers who were deputed, under the Minute of your Executive Council of March 24th, to proceed to England to confer with Her Majesty’s Government on the part of Canada, and the Duke of Somerset the Earl De Grey, Mr. Gladstone, and myself, on the part of Her Majesty’s Government.
On the first subject referred to in the Minute, that of the Confederation of the British North American Province, we repeated on the part of the Cabinet the assurances which had already been given of the determination of Her Majesty’s Government to use every proper means of influence to carry into effect without delay the proposed Confederation.
On the second point, we entered into a full consideration of the important subject of the defence of Canada, not with any apprehension on either side that the friendly relations now happily subsisting between this country and the United States are likely to be disturbed, but impressed with the conviction that the safety of the Empire from possible attack ought to depend upon its own strength and the due application of its own resources. We reminded the Canadian Ministers that on the part of the Imperial Government we had obtained a vote of money for improving the fortifications of Quebec. We assured them that so soon as the vote had been obtained the necessary instruction had been sent out for the immediate execution of the works, which would be prosecuted with despatch; and we reminded them of the suggestion of Her Majesty’s Government had made to them to proceed with the fortifications of Montreal.
The Canadian Minister, in reply, expressed unreservedly the desire of Canada to devote her whole resources, both in men and money, for the maintenance of her connection with the Mother Country; and their full belief in the readiness of the Canadian Parliament to make known that determination in the most authentic manner. They said they had increased the expenditure for their Militia from 300,000 to 1,000,000 dollars, and would agree to train that force to the satisfaction of the Secretary of State for War, provided the cost did not exceed the last-mentioned sum annually, while the question of confederation is pending. They said they were unwilling to separate the question of the works at Montreal from the question of the works west of that place, and from the question of a naval armament on Lake Ontario. That the execution of the whole of these works would render it necessary for them to have recourse to a loan, which could only be raise with the guarantee of the Imperial Parliament. They were ready to propose to their Legislature on their return a measure for this purpose, provided that the guarantee of the Imperial Parliament were given now, and that they were authorized to communicate to the Parliament of Canada the assurance that, the occasion arising, England will have prepared an adequate naval force for Lake Ontario. They thought that if the guarantee were not obtained now it was probable that the Canadian Government and Parliament would think it desirable that the question of defensive works should await the decision of the Government and Legislature of the United Provinces.
On the part of Her Majesty’s Government we assented to the reasonableness of the proposal that if the Province undertook the primary liability for the works of Defence mentioned in the letter of a Lieutenant-Colonel Jervois, and showed a sufficient security, Her Majesty’s Government should apply to Parliament for a guarantee for the amount required; and we said that Her Majesty’s Government would furnish the arrangements for the works. But we said that the desire and decision of the Provincial Legislature ought to be pronounced before any application was made to the Imperial Parliament. On the subject of a Naval Force for Lake Ontario, we said that, apart from any question of expediency, the convention subsisting between this country and the United States rendered it impossible for either nation to place more than the specified number of armed vessels on the lakes in time of peace. In case of war it would, as a matter of course, be the duty of any Government in this country to apply its means of naval defence according to the judgement it might form upon the exigencies of each particular time, and the Canadian Ministers might be assured that Her Majesty’s Government would not permit itself to be found in such a position as to be unable to discharge its duty in respect. This was the only assurance the Canadian Ministers could expect or we could give.
Upon review of the whole matter, the Canadian Ministers reverted to the proposal which has been mentioned above, that priority in point of time should be given to the Confederation of the Provinces. To this, we, on the part of Her Majesty’s Government, assented. In conformity, however, with a wish strongly expressed by the Canadian Minister, we further said, that if, upon future consideration, the Canadian Government should desire to anticipate the Confederation, to propose that Canada should execute the works, they would doubtless communicate to Her Majesty’s Government that decision; and we trusted that after what had passed in these conferences they would feel assured that any such communication would be received by us in the most friendly spirit.
On the third point, the Reciprocity Treaty, the Canadian Ministers represented the great importance to Canada of the renewal of that treaty, and requested that Sir F. Bruce might be put in communication with the Government of Lord Monck upon the subject. We replied that Sir F. Bruce had already received instructions to negotiate for a renewal of the treaty, and to act in concert with the Government of Canada.
On the fourth point, the subject of the North-western Territory, the Canadian Ministers desired that the territory should be made over to Canada, and undertook to negotiate with the Hudson’s Bay Company for the termination of their rights, on condition that the indemnity, if any, should be paid by a loan to be raised by Canada under the Imperial guarantee. With the sanction of the Cabinet, we assented to this proposal, undertaking that if the negotiation should be successful we, on the part of the Crown, being satisfied that the amount of the indemnity was reasonable, and the security sufficient, would apply to the Imperial Parliament to sanction the arrangement and to guarantee the amount.
On the last point, it seemed sufficient that Her Majesty’s Government should accept the assurances given by the Canadian Ministers on the part of Canada, that that Province is ready to devote all her resources both in men and money to the maintenance of her connexion with the Mother country, and should assure them in return that the Imperial Government fully acknowledged the reciprocal obligation of defending every portion of the Empire with all the resources at its command.
The Canadian Ministers in conclusion said, that they hoped it would be understood that the present communications did not in any way affect or alter the correspondence which had already passed between the Imperial Government and the Governments of the British North American Provinces on the subject on the Intercolonial Railway. To this we entirely agree.
I have, &c.
(Signed) Edward Cardwell
Viscount Monck, &c. &c.
(Copy, Canada, No. 103.)
Downing Street, 24th June, 1865.
My Lord,—I have the honor to inclose for your Lordship’s information, a copy of a dispatch which I have addressed to-day in the Lieutenant Governors of the Maritime Provinces.
I have, &c.
(Signed) Edward Cardwell
&c., &c., &c.
Mr. Secretary Cardwell to the Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick.
24th June, 1865.
Sir,—I have the honor to transmit to you the copy of a correspondence between Viscount Monck and myself, on the affairs of British North America, which have lately formed the subject of conferences between Her Majesty’s Government and a deputation from the Canadian Government.
The correspondence having been presented to both Houses of Imperial Parliament by command of Her Majesty, I have to direct you to communicate it also to the Legislature of New Brunswick, at its next meeting.
You will at the same time express the strong and deliberate opinion of Her Majesty’s Government that it is an object much to be desired that all the British North American Colonies should agree to unite in one Government. In the territorial extent of Canada, and in the maritime and commercial enterprise of the lower Provinces. Her Majesty’s Government see the elements of power which only require to be combined in order to secure for the Province which shall possess them all a place among the most considerable communities of the world. In the spirit of loyalty to the British Crown, of attachment to British connexion and of love for British institutions, by which all the Provinces are animated alike, Her Majesty’s Government recognize the bond by which all may be combined under one Government. Such an union seems to Her Majesty’s Government to recommend itself to the Provinces, on many grounds of moral and material advantage, as giving a well-founded prospect of improved administration and increased prosperity. But there is one consideration which Her Majesty’s Government feel it more especially their duty to press upon the Legislature of New Brunswick. Looking to determination which this country has ever exhibited to regard the defense of the colonies as a matter of Imperial concern, the Colonies must recognize a right and even acknowledge an obligation to incumbent on the Home Government to urge with earnestness and just authority the measures which they consider to the most expedient on the part of the Colonies, with a view to their own defence. Nor can it be doubtful that the Provinces of British North America are incapable, when separate and divided from each other, of making those just and sufficient preparations for national defence, which would be easily undertaken by a Province uniting in itself all the population and all the resource of the whole.
I am aware that this project, so novel as well as so important, has not been at once accepted in New Brunswick with that cordiality which has marked its acceptance by the Legislature of Canada; but Her Majesty’s Government trust that after a full and careful examination of the subject and all its bearings the Maritime Provinces will perceive the great advantages which in the opinion of Her Majesty’s Government, the proposed Union is calculated to confer upon them all.
I have, &c.
(Signed) Edward Cardwell
Alexander Campbell [Cataraqui, elected 1858, Commissioner of Crown Lands] acquainted the House that he had a message from His Excellency the Governor General [Viscount Monck] under his sign manual, which His Excellency had commanded him to deliver to this House.
The same was then read by the Clerk, and it and is as follows:—
8th April, 1865
The Governor General transmits for the information of the Honorable the Legislative Council, a copy of a dispatch from the Secretary of State for the Colonies, in answer to addresses transmitted to Her Majesty the Queen during the last Session, on the subject of a Union of British North America.
Quebec, August 9th, 1865.
(Copy, Canada, No. 58)
8th April, 1865
My Lord,—I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your Lordship’s despatches, Nos. 73 and 74, of the 15th March, accompanied by addresses to the Queen, agreed to respectively by the Legislative Council and House of Assembly of Canada, praying that Her Majesty will be pleased to cause a measure to be introduced into the Imperial Parliament, for the Union of the Provinces of British North America, on the basis of the Resolutions adopted by the Conference of Delegates from those Provinces, who met at Quebec in October of last year.
I have not failed to present these addresses to Her Majesty, who was pleased to receive the same very graciously.
Her Majesty’s Government have seen with great satisfaction that both branches of the Canadian Legislature have adopted Addresses to the Crown expressive of their desire for the accomplishment of a measure calculated materially to add to the strength and promote the welfare of the British North American Provinces.
I have, &c.,
(Signed,) Edward Cardwell
Then, on motion of John Hamilton [Canada West, appointed 1841], seconded by Alexander Campbell [Cataraqui, elected 1858, Commissioner of Crown Lands],
The House adjourned.
 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. The report is found at the end of today’s proceedings.
 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.
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.
 Brown’s letter to John A. Macdonald (Aug. 4, 1865) is reproduced later in this debate [No. 3].
 The Great Coalition was formed on Jun. 22, 1864 between the Conservative Ministry of Taché-Macdonald and opposition Reformers led by George Brown. For the agreement see “Memorandum—Confidential,” Legislative Assembly (Jun. 22, 1864), pp. 205-206. A series of bi-elections in July 1864 confirmed the appointment of three reform members in cabinet. The purpose of the coalition was to singularly pursue the confederation of the British North American colonies as a permanent solution to the protracted sectional conflicts that had arrested the normal functioning of the Canadian parliament since 1856-1858. If confederation was deemed to be impracticable by the next legislative session, the Ministry would then commit itself to a smaller federative union of the two Canadas, focused on representation by population, and provisions to admit other provinces and territories at a later date. The principal members of the Coalition were Pascal Etienne Taché, John A. Macdonald, George-Etienne Cartier, A.T. Galt, and George Brown.
 Brown’s letter to John A. Macdonald (Aug. 4, 1865) is reproduced earlier in this debate [No. 3].
 Journals of the Legislative Council of the Province of Canada (Aug. 9, 1865), pp. 15-16. Added for completeness.