“South Oxford Election. Nomination at Ingersoll […] Mr. Brown Re-Elected by Acclamation” The Globe (12 July 1864)
By: The Globe
Citation: “South Oxford Election. Nomination at Ingersoll”, The Globe [Toronto] (12 July 1864).
SOUTH OXFORD ELECTION.
Nomination at Ingersoll.
A THOUSAND PEOPLE PRESENT.
The nomination of a member to represent the South Riding of Oxford in the Legislative Assembly, vacated by the acceptance of the office of President of the Council by the Hon. George Brown, took place yesterday (Monday) at Ingersoll. The hustings were erected on a vacant lot of ground were present near the English Church. About a thousand people were present from the town and all parts of the Riding. There was no opposition to Mr. Brown’s re-election, and the utmost harmony prevailed throughout the proceedings. The Ingersoll and Norwich brass bands were on the grounds, and enlivened the grave business of the day by performing in excellent style a number of lively pieces, both before and after the election.
Mr. Brown was accomplished to the hustings by many of the leading men of both the South and North Riding, among whom we observed W. Peers, Esq, of East Oxford, Warden of the country; James Barr, Esq, Norwich; Col. Van Norman, Dereham, E. V. Bodwell, Esq., Reeve of Dereham; John Smith, Esq., Tillsonburgh; Jacob Topping, Esq., Woodstock; J. Galliford, Esq. Reeve of Ingersoll; T. J. Clarke, Esq., Woodstock; Adam Oliver, Esq., Ingersoll; Thomas Oliver, Esq., Woodstock; Hervey Hogan, Esq., Dereham; William Grey, Esq., Woodstock; E. Hall, Esq., Ingersoll; Chas. Hawkins, Esq., Dereham; Jas. Sczrff, Esq, East Oxford; Hiram Shattuck, Esq., Norwich; A. Marr, Esq., Ingersoll; G. V. DeLong, Esq., Dereham; Thomas Balmer, Esq., Ingersoll; E. D. Tillson, Esq., Tillsonsburgh; Malcolm Smith, Esq., Dereham, &c. Hon. Oliver Blake, M. L. C. for Thames Division, and Alexander Mackenzie, Esq, M. P. P. for Lambton, were also present The press was represented by Mr. Gurnett, of the Ingersoll Chronicle; Mr. Sutherland, of the Ingersoll Enquirer; Mr. Law, of the Tillsonburgh Observer; Mr. McWhinnie, of the Woodstock Sentinel; Mr. McClenighan, of the Woodstock Times; and reporters for the Toronto GLOBE, Hamilton Spectator, and the London papers.
Sheriff Ross officiated as Returning Officer, and shortly after twelve ordered silence while the Queen’s writ of election and proclamation should be read.
These documents having been read by Mr. Frank Ball, Country Attorney,
THE SHERIFF called upon the electors to name some fit and proper person to represent them in the Legislative Assembly of the Province.
WM. PEERS, Esq., Warden of Oxford, said he had much pleasure in coming forward again to nominate, as he had done on a former occasion, the Hon. George Brown, as the member to represent this Riding. (Cheers.) He did so because he though Mr. Brown had done all for them he could do, and the people of South Oxford had every reason to be satisfied with the course their representative had taken in Parliament. (Cheers.)
JOHN SMITH, Esq., of Tillsonburgh, had great pleasure in seconding the nomination, and felt proud to have the opportunity of doing so. In six years there had been seven elections in this Riding, and during that time he (Mr. Smith) had done his utmost to unite the moderate men of both parties, in order that they might secure the carrying out of what they wanted in Parliament. He had long seen that, while this was not done. Matters were fast coming to a dead-lock. They had at last come to that position, and now they had a new aspect of affairs to deal with. He thought they were now all agreed, men of all parties, whatever had been their political creed in times past, to send the Hon. George Brown to Parliament to represent them—(cheers) —since they all believed that that gentleman was perfectly honest in his desire to carry out what they all wanted. (Cheers.) He would not detain them longer, but would retire, in order to give the hon. gentleman an opportunity to speak for himself.
E.V. Bodwell, Esq., Reeve of Dereham, said the electors were again called … to … had been privileged… pretty frequently during the last few years. The recent changes in the Government now rendered another election necessary, Mr. Brown, by his acceptance of the office of President of the Council, having vacated his seat. At the election last year he (Mr. Bodwell) stood before them as a candidate. Today he stood before them in a different capacity—the occasion for his appearing before them in a different capacity being one of very deep interest to the electors of the Riding, and of the Province at large. (Hear, hear.) For many years our politics had been in a very unsatisfactory condition. Bickerings and quarrellings, criminations and recriminations, had been too much the order of the day. The great questions which had divided the Conservatives and Reformers of Upper Canada having been settled, it had become difficult to distinguish on what important principles the two parties were divided. Recent changes of Government had demonstrated this. When the Macdonald-Dorion Government resigned, their platform and their very measures were adopted by their successors, the Tache-Macdonald Ministry. Whenever a crisis resulted in a change of Administration, the new Government had stood on almost the same platform as their predecessors. But, during all this time, there had remained one great unsettled difference—not a difference between the two parties in Western Canada, but a difference between the two sections of the Province. We in Upper Canada having a large excess of population, had been claiming some constitutional change which would place us on a level with the people of Lower Canada. And while this question remained unsettled, our mere party differences had a tendency to degenerate into squabbles between different sets of men for place and power—a state of things fitted to demoralize our public men and to induce one Ministry after another to resort to corrupt and improper means to sustain itself in power. The result had been that, while our public men had been looking to their own interests, the interests of the country had suffered, and corruption in high places had had a debasing effect on the whole of society. At last, however,, the demand of Upper Canada for an adjustment of our sectional difficulties had reached such proportions, that the public men of Lower Canada had come to feel that they could no longer resist that claim, but must proceed to consider on what terms they and we could meet, in order to have these difficulties put out of the way. A Coalition accordingly had been formed for that purpose. As a general rule, he was opposed to Coalitions, and if the present had been a Coalition of the parties who had entered into it, for ordinary governmental purposes, he for one could have given it no support. But where great constitutional reforms were to be carried, there was sufficient reason why coalition should take place. (Hear, hear) A reform carried by one party would be merely a party measure. But where reform was to be a national matter, and to change the constitution of the country, it was most desirable that there should be a coalition of all parties to carry it out. (Cheers.) This consideration, and this only, in his opinion, could justify the coming together of such discordant elements as were to be found in the present Cabinet. (Hear, hear.) Mr. Bodwell went on to say that, while in common with the people of Upper Canada, he would have been satisfied with Representation by Population and the continuance of the Legislative Union, for his own part he preferred what was now proposed, namely a Federation of the Canadas, and ultimately of all the British American Provinces, which would give us the management of our own affairs, in accordance with the resolutions of the Reform Convention of 1859. He concluded by saying that he sincerely hoped that the hon, gentlemen who had taken this matter in hand would be able to carry it out. He should give his hearty support co-operation for that purpose, and with this view had much pleasure in supporting the nomination of the Hon. George Brown to represent the interests of this Riding in Parliament. (Cheers.)
The SHERIFF asked—Have you any other nominations to make? (Cries of “No! “no!”)
The SHERIFF then, after a pause, said that, as there was no other candidate, he had to declare the Hon. George Brown duly elected. (Great cheering)
Hon. Mr. Brown then addressed the electors speaking for about an hour and a half, entering very fully into the various topics connected with the recent re-construction of the Cabinet and the measure which it is proposed to mature for settling and constitutional difficulties between Upper and Lower Canada. The detailed report of his speech we must reserve until tomorrow. He commenced by thanking the electors of South Oxford for the very kind manner in which they had acted to him on this occasion, in electing him by acclamation; remarking at the same time that he had nov been ten times before different Upper Canada constituencies soliciting their suffrages, but that never on any previous occasion had he come before the electors with such a perfect consciousness that he was entitled to their support, or with such an undoubting assurance that the course he was pursuing was one calculated to serve the best interests of the country. He expressed his gratification that that in the crowd before him he saw men of all parties—those who had formerly been opposed to him, as well as those who had always stood by him, and that now, at last, they were all agreed, and that he could go to Parliament faithfully to represent them all. He proceed to claim it as matter for congratulation that so great an advance of the objects for which the people of Upper Canada had long been striving. On one occasion before this, he had had the satisfaction of appearing before a constituency, as a member of an Administration that was pledged to the settlement of the constitutional difficulties between Upper and Lower Canada. But on that occasion he occupied that position, merely as a member of a party. Immense difficulties were then in their way, and, although he believed these difficulties would have been overcome had they been allowed that constitutional appeal to the electors to which he believed they were entitled, still it was obvious that he stood in a vastly better position today, as a member of an Administration having an immense support from Upper Canada, and from Lower Canada as well, with the whole Reform party and the whole Conservative party of Upper Canada thoroughly united, and with a large majority from Lower Canada also firmly united for the settlement of those sectional questions which had heretofore marred the prosperity of our country. Mr. Brown went on to recall what had been the origin of the difficulties under which we had laboured for a number of years—namely, the provision made in the Union Act that there should be an arbitrary dividing line, on either side of which the number of representatives should be exactly equal, no matter what increase in population or in wealth might be made by either section. He showed that many of the most eminent British statement had pointed out at the time that this arrangement was unsuited to the circumstances of Canada, expressing their preference for a union on the Federal principle, sch as was now proposed, and that further back, in 1792, statesmen like William Pitt and Edmund Burke had declared that that was the true principle to be applied to the government of Canada. He went on to show how the difficulties of working the Government under the system established by the Union Act had gone on increasing, until at last things had come to a virtual dead-lock, and anything in the shape of vigorous Government had become impossible; and to narrate how, under these circumstances, when he had intimated his opinion that the time had arrived for dealing with the evil at its root, the leaders of the Conservative party and of the Lower Canada majority had come to him and invited his co-operation in forming a Government to settle their difficulties. He then explained the points which had been discussed in the course of the negotiations, and the principles of the basis which had been finally arrived at He proceeded to meet objections which had been raised from certain quarters to the course pursued by himself and his friends, as regarded its interruption of the relations heretofore existing with Mr. Dorion and his party in Lower Canada, the number of seats obtained for the Reform party in the Cabinet, and other such points, and having concluded by declaring that the reform now in progress could only be accomplished by the hearty co-operation of the people of both Upper and Lower Canada, and their hearty confidence in each other’s good faith, retired amidst enthusiastic cheering.
Three cheers for the Queen, and three cheers for the Returning Officer, were then called for by Mr. Brown, and given with a will by the large assemblage. Another round of cheers was then given for Mr. Brown. and the proceedings terminated by the bands playing the National Anthem.