“The New Political Combination!: The Proposed Constitutional Changes! Public Opinion!” The Globe (11 July 1864)
By: The Globe
Citation: “The New Political Combination!: The Proposed Constitutional Changes! Public Opinion!”, The Globe [Toronto] (11 July 1864).
The New Political Combination!
THE PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGES!
(From the Saugeen Vindicator)
If […] correct, and the plan is carried out, certainly the […] injustice to the populous […] […], and Upper Canada will have no cause to complain. In the course of a shot time probably the other Provinces will […] into the Federation and British America will attain to the dignity of a nation. In view of such great advantages we can well afford to pardon seeming inconsistencies in statesmen. It is truly creditable to a Government armed with power to strengthen themselves by an appeal to the people, that they thus sacrifice their own personal interests and do violence to their private feelings out of deference to the wants and wishes of the country, and we certainly cannot den to Mr. Brown our need of praise for the […] and straightforward […] with which he has consented to support those to whom has been so long and so bitterly opposed. In doubt, as he himself says, only the most vital public interests could justify him in such a step, and we sincerely hope that in the full accomplishment of this great measure he will find his […] and most grateful reward.
(From the […], North American)
The question of representative reform has been a leading one in Upper Canada for years, and has been the main cause of the bad feeling engendered between the two Provinces […] the basis and first cause of this apparently, and congruous union is to settle, and that forever, this question. It was truthfully stated by both parties to the matter that nothing but a determination to arrange this difficulty would justify their meeting for combined political action. And from the explanation given in another place from the official paper, it will be seen that an earnest effort will at once be made for a satisfactory solution, and the details are sufficiently foreshadowed to promise a measure of great importance. The Government, when the reconstruction takes place, will embrace the ablest men in the country — men who are perfectly acquainted with the workings of our political system, and who, actuated as we believe they are by a desire […] to meet and overcome the difficulties of their situation, will devote their energies fully to the work, thus setting at rest that continued agitation which has scarified many of our brightest minds, as well as squandered millions of our public money. So long as this is done they deserve support, for surely no one is anxious to see repeated the continued state of uncertainty of which the past two years have furnished an example. It is demoralizing as well as disgraceful, and almost any remedy should gladly hailed. Let us free our minds from any consideration of who it is that settles it, and merely watch how It is done, and what are the prospects for the success of the plan adopted. The charge of bad faith has already been preferred, or at least that a sufficient guarantee has not been given ; to this it need only be said, that in creating such revolution the parties concerned ran a great risk, and any semblance of duplicity would justly condemn them to the execration of the people, and forever drive them from public life. Thus far, it is admitted on all hands, the proceedings have been conducted with the utmost candour and fairness, and the disinterested conduct of the members of the Government, as well as Mr. Brown, is highly creditable to their loyal devotion to the true interests of the country.
(From the London Free Press.)
It is with some pleasure we record the fact that we were the first and only journal in Upper Canada that plainly and boldly advocated the propriety and imperative necessity, under the existing circumstances of the country, of the formation of a Coalition Administration, composed of the leaders of both political parties, upon a sound, well-defined basis of public policy. The doctrine was not popular, and we knew it, but there are times when it becomes a duty to speak boldly when the public interests are concerned. We have now the satisfaction of seeing, no matter what turn the pending negotiations at the seat of government may assume, that the prominent leaders of both parties — the Hon. G. Brown, John A. Macdonald and Galt, have taken precisely the same view of the position — have accorded exactly with our sentiment — have entered upon negotiations to effect, if practicable, the object we aimed at, and in their explanations in Parliament, have adduced the very same reasons assigned by us in support of that course of policy. We do not claim this as entitling us to any especial merit, but as an incontrovertible evidence of the truth and soundness of the views we felt it our duty to promulgate.
If we do not mistake, there has been no Canadian Government since the period that Baldwin and Lafontaine commanded the confidence of over three-fourths of the House from both sections, so strong as the present Coalition, if properly consolidated. It will be strong in talent, and strong in outside support. The advantages to the country cannot fail to be immense. We trust the new Government will be successful in settling the constitutional and sectional difficulties they have undertaken to dispose of, and we think it is the duty of the country to five them a generous support.
(From the Hamilton Spectator.)
In our opinion the Government will be successful; and we live in the hope that the federation scheme will be duly perfected and carried out to a successful issue. Everything now depends upon the plan of federation. In our opinion it is the best and surest method of securing peace and prosperity to the country, but others think differently, and of course they are entitled to their opinion; but we hold that the federation scheme alone can save us from anarchy and confusion. That a remedy of some kind is needed, all appear to admit, but nothing is proposed in lien of what is denounced, and we therefore claim that the federation scheme has a decided advantage over all others, inasmuch as it would bind the various peoples of the respective Provinces together, and do away with all that party bitterness we have had for years past. Of such a consummation we do not think there is the slightest doubt, and we believe that all that is claimed for it will be gained by the federation scheme.
(From the Guelph Herald)
The great feature of the session has been the production of the nucleus of a plan for the abatement of the difficulties which have arisen from the legislative union of Upper and Lower Canada — difficulties which neither of the political parties which have recently ruled the State have been able to remedy, and which wile prompting and promoting dissatisfaction, jealousy, and irritation were the fruitful source of political agitation, and threatened, at no distant day, to violently dissever that union of the Provinces, which, under equitable arrangements, is so well fitted to be of great and lasting advantage to both. As the difficulties which obstructed the cordial feeling which ought to subsist between the two sections of the Province have been a subject of regret to all true patriots, they must needs rejoice that a plan has at length been found by which these difficulties may be obviated, and the enlentee rdiule be re-established, increased, and made […] enduring; and such, we doubt not, is true feeling awakened in the hearts of the great majority of the population in both sections of the Province. We have no sympathy with those persons — few in number, we believe — who decry the conduct of the Conservative leaders in cordially responding to the overtures of Mr. Brown, and in going hand in hand with him and his friends in the arrangement of a plan for bringing about a more equitable system of government than is provided for by the existing legislative union. We hold that the leaders on both sides merit all honour for throwing aside party views and party predilections, when in so doing there was every reason to believe they would bring about a consummation devoutly to be wished for, in the restoration of harmony between the people of these affiliated provinces, and the inception of a system of equitable and judicious self-government. The large majority of the Conservative party of Upper Canada, within and without the Parliament House, have long favoured a federal union of the British North American Provinces, and representation by population — that is to say, such a reconstruction of the representation as would give to Upper Canada that share in the legislation of the Province to which her population, her wealth, and intelligence, so justly entitle her. We have all confidence in the wisdom and integrity, in the legislative and executive acts, of a government in which Messrs. J. A. Macdonald and Galt occupy the chief positions and must continue to be the leading spirits, while sustained by so large a majority in the cabinet, while we give all due praise to Mr. Brown and his friends, who, in order to carry out a beneficial reform, have consented to hold office under […] who have for so many years been their political opponents and we sincerely trust that this fusion of parties may be the means of bringing about an equitable, and honourable and lasting reconstruction of the union.
(From the Peterboro Review.)
It was impossible not to see that the idea of injustice has obtained a strong hold of the public mind; and that in proportion as Upper Canada was becoming united to demand it, Lower Canada is seemed more united to resist it. A general election might have changed the complexion of parties, to the extent of giving to the Government an increased majority in Parliament; and to whose highest ambition is the mere success of party, this would doubtless have been all satisfying. But we are convinced that even after another election the sectional majorities would have been found strongly […] against each other; and the government of the larger section by a majority from the lesser, must have created a dissatisfaction of the most […] description. It is because of this conviction that we urged in a former number of the Review, that before an appeal to the people was made, the leaders of the Government should endeavour, by a fair and candid approach to the leaders of the Upper Canada Opposition, to bring together the hostile majorities and thus do away with much of the grounds for its agitation which had sprung up. When the Government were defeated on an issue which it was quite open to them to have refused to regard as a vote of want of confidence, but which they chose so to regard, and when the Government had given them a carte blanche to dissolve the House, it became them to look the difficulties of the position fairly in the face. There was no denying that this sectional difficulty had rendered impossible the three preceding Governments; and the question for them, as enlightened statesmen, having a regard to the permanent wellbeing of the country, was not so much — will this dissolution give us a majority in the United Canada as will enable us as a party to go on and half the reins of power as it was, what position will place us in as towards the sections, and will […] be so apportioned as to enable us to govern the country in such a way as to bring Judging by the past, […] they might doubtless hope for a majority — and we think would unquestionably have obtained it, we doubt exceedingly if they could satisfy themselves, that that majority could be otherwise than merely sectional. And they were bound, as patriotic men, not to plunge the country into the turmoil of a general election, having such a consummation in view, without first exhausting every means to avoid it, and to bring the majorities into harmony. We are bound to say that the position taken by Mr. Brown in the crisis, greatly facilitated the exit from the difficulty, and that he is entitled to the highest credit for having done so, Mr. Brown did not once whit too greatly estimate the danger which he ran in intimating his willingness, on any terms, to assist men to whom he had been so strongly and determinedly opposed; and he is entitles to the fairest and most candid consideration for having done so. We have no sympathy with, indeed we utterly despise the littleness of some of those, who, unwilling to come out boldly and denounce the whole arrangement, still strive to get vent for their old spite against eh member for South Oxford, while expressing their confidence in the leaders of the Government. If Mr. Brown has done an act which is blameworthy, those who have induced him to it, and who consent to act with him in giving it full effect, are equally blameable; and we are satisfied that the Hon. Attorney General West and his colleagues, as honourable men, must esteem, as its true value, that kind of confidence in themselves, which can only find expression in smear and abuse of the gentleman whom they have invited to their counsels, and whit whom they consent hereafter to act. The object of the coalition is the settlement of our sectional difficulties. We care not to inquire any further into the matter than that. Deeply impressed as we are, with the evils which have already occurred from those difficulties, and with the increased evil which must flow from them in the future if they are permitted to fester in the body politic without remedy, we look upon the object as fully justifying the coalition that has been formed. We have full confidence in the sincerity of the gentlemen who have undertaken the task, and we confide in their conservatism to save us from the evils of extreme democracy to which we have heard persons complain that we […] […]. For ourselves, we shall be no party to the embarrassment of the proceeding by a premature agitation of supposed details. It is clear that to mature a constitutional system such as that indicated by the memorandum placed before Parliament, will require the earnest thought and best abilities of our ablest men for weeks and months to come. It is purely a question of detail — and until the details are submitted, we shall not even try to find out what may be true propositions of the Government. And this we believe is the true policy of that portion of the press which favours a solution of the sectional difficulty more than it does mere party triumphs, or the advancement of the interests of particular […]. Any agitation either for or against the scheme until it has been matured, springs, we have no hesitation in avowing it, not from a patriotic desire to benefit the country, but from a desire to embarrass and retard the settlement of the question.
(From the Owen Sound Advertiser.)
We are inclined to put the best construction on Mr. Brown’s conduct. He has taken a bold step. He will either, as the prover goes, make a spoon or spoil a horn. Time is a grand commentator on human actions. Time will show Mr. Brown’s wisdom and motives in their true light. We cannot help, however, rejoicing that now, at length, there seems some prospect of an end being put to the wretched strifs between Upper and Lower Canada. When matters have become so desperate, and when the time for relief was fast passing away, we cannot help wishing success to the scheme now proposed of uniting British America into one Government, and we cannot help taking the best view of the Curtius who to save the State has leaped into the gulf.
(From the Smith’s Falls Review.)
It does appear somewhat strange to see Mr. Brown arm in arm with men he has for years denounced so violently, but for this, until we have a clearer knowledge of how the course of events is to shape itself, we are not prepared to find fault with him. Every one will admit that matters had reached such a climax that some attempt to find a remedy for existing difficulties was imperative. That this remedy is found we are not prepared to say. The scheme, having for its ultimate object the federation of all the British North American Provinces, has its advantages, doubtless; but there are also many arguments which could be adduced against it. It would of necessity complicate the Government machinery still more, involve a greater cost in legislation, and what is of some importance, might ultimately be the means of causing Ottawa to lose the seat of government. The present combination, however, will have one good effect. It will in a great measure tone down the violent party spirit which has so long existed in Canada, sand bring men of both parties to look with less prejudice on all national affairs.
(From the Perth Expositor.)
There are, of course, already various opinions as to the disability of bringing about this change in our constitution, many contending that while there is no doubt as to the ultimate necessity for such a change, that, as yet, the country is not ready for it. This to a certain extent may be true. But we believe the matter was hastened by the conviction which was forcing itself upon the attention of our statesmen, that matters could not long go on in the present style without great danger and injury to the country. Parties are so equally divided in the country and in the Legislature, and so loud and persistent has been the demand of Upper Canada for increased representation, that it became plain something had to be done. The Federal idea has been resorted to as a sort of compromise; and are glad that it is to be attempted with a Ministry in power of the ability of the present.
(From the Strarford Examiner.)
As the plans resulting from the new state of things so recently inaugurated are being developed, there seems to be a comfortable and reasonable hope that good will come of the sudden and homogeneous amalgamation of political parties. In the contemplation of constitutional changes of such pressing magnitude, it will be wise not to make “more haste than good speed.” In a discussion of the federal union of all the British North American Provinces, much may be said upon both sides of the question. While, as a general rule, union is strength, yet even here there must be exceptional cases. Extent of territory has not historically proved itself the true test of national greatness, when the representative power of that territory has assembled at a common centre for legislative purposes. The proposed re-adjustment of the relations of the two Canadas would seem to possess more practicable features. A reconstruction of the now jarring elements of our country, which shall give fair and equal representation to population and property, and at the same time consolidate and strengthen the Provincial bonds, will have the lasting gratitude of an appreciating people towards the worth architects of so grand a scheme.
(From the Montreal Herald)
We have long been convinced of the necessity of a settlement of the difficulties between Upper and Lower Canada, by the frank admission that, under a system of government by majorities, that majority must not be subjected to the minority. We shall no doubt find many very earnest converts just now to this doctrine from among those who have long pooh-poohed it, and pushed it off under one pretence or another, till they have come to that pass where it will challenge adoption, perhaps, in the least desirable form. We believe that if our voice had been heard, and the fair demand of the Upper Canada population had received that consideration and support to which it was entitled from Lower Canada, we need not now have been casting about for well understood principles of a federation and foreign government; nor have been apprehending that in curing one evil we may be creating a worse. We believe that we might have been going on quietly in our accustomed form of British responsible government, everybody satisfied, because everybody would be exercising his just influence; but no one injured, or likely to be injured, by the fact that he brought no greater weight than justly belonged to him to the deciding of legislative questions. However, that has not been the case, George Brown has for years been held up as a merely unscrupulous selfish agitator, who was desirous of nothing else than to […] the patriots then kindly taking charge of our affairs, in order to enrich himself by the ruin of the country; and though now and then a word was said by those who thus spoke and wrote in favour of the theoretical justice of his demands, those demands were associated with himself in the same condemnation, and thus made use of by contre-coup throughout all Lower Canada as the equivalent of praise for all who resisted him. Now affairs will be changed. Those who have been calling Mr. Brown rascal, opposing representation by population, and ridiculing checks and balances, will find, with more reason than they have hitherto had, that this vile demagogue is a large minded, energetic statesman, and we dare say will add that his projects are the very aeme of political wisdom. Here is something gained. It is now admitted that wrong must be righted — that justice must be done.
(From the Daily St. Catharines Journal.)
It must be highly gratifying to every patriotic and loyal inhabitant of the country to learn by the news of Quebec that a solution of the sectional difficulties environing our position and clogging useful and necessary legislation has atlas been arrived at, and that the basis of the arrangement is such that no reasonable objection can be made to it. The position of parties in the House, and in the country, was such that, unless a compromise of some kind was made, legislation, except of the most trivial and harmless description, was impossible.
For years the country has been agitated, deeply agitated, on one question, Representation by Population, and the excitement had reached such a pitch that the question had to be grappled with. It was certain that with Upper and Lower Canada arrayed against each other — with large sectional majorities in the House — nothing could be accomplished except on the principle of compromise, and as that compromise has taken the direction of Federation, instead of seeing anything in it to condemn, we, and every patriot, will see much to commend. It is a principle long considered as the only one applicable to British America. It was recognised as the true principle for the government of the country prior to and at the time of the Union. The Maritime Provinces, with the single exception of Prince Edward Island, have acknowledged and accepted it. Surely, then, it is but right that when an opportunity offered, not only of effectually settling a most vexed and troublesome question and of inaugurating a Federation, which will ultimately tend to cement the Provinces and build up a great and might nation under the fostering care of Great Britain — when such an opportunity offered, it would have been the supremist folly for our legislators to have neglected it. Supposing the agreement to be such as has been foreshadowed, we most heartily concur in it, and believe that nine-tenths of the people of Canada will do so also. The agreement now entered into, if honestly and fairly carried out, will give greater security to all classes; our government will be placed on a […] […] basis, and we shall obtain a position among the nations of the earth which we never could have hoped for under the condition of things existing since the Union.
(From the Huron Signal.)
Now that the excitement incident upon the startling changes proposed in the Government of Canada has somewhat subsided, it becomes the duty of the journalist to discuss in a calm and rational manner the probable bearing of the foreshadowed innovations upon our present and future welfare as a people. It has been asserted, and, we think, may now be accepted as a fact, that the period had arrived when some step such as has taken was indispensably necessary, […] order to the […] of very grave sectional difficulties.
The principle upon which this solution is to be effectually wrought out, must necessarily, we apprehend, be one of mutual concession, and the Federation scheme seems admirable calculated to foster and encourage a blending of the conflicting elements as far as that is attainable under existing circumstances. Under no other conditions than the concessions essential to the final established and successful working of a Federal Union of the British American Provinces can we see a way out of the dangers which have gathered like a brooding storm, black and dark over our political horizon. Representation according to Population might have been thrust upon Lower Canada in course of time, but we must ask ourselves whether the boon would have been great enough to warrant us in endangering the peace of the country in its attainment; or whether, in case of a rupture between the sections, it would ever be possible to bring about a peaceable union on any point of national policy. Until we can see our way out of the difficulties involved in these considerations, and others which protrude themselves as we endeavour to purse the subject further, we must state our sincere belief that a well-considered and carefully erected Federal Union will be the means of rescuing us from a state of anarchy and confusion, and stamping upon the whole of the British American Provinces what they so much require — a well-defined Nationality, which shall command alike the respect of the world and the confidence of those who range themselves under its sheltering branches.
The proposed constitutional changes however, have yet to be wrought out. What is now misty must me made clear — the whole subject must be calmly and dispassionately discussed, and before the step is taken which must, one way or another, decide the future of our country, it is to be hoped that every precaution will be taken to save us from some day being compelled to fall back upon the starting point in grief and despair. One thing is certain, the wisest and best of our statesmen have under-taken the serious task of studying out the changes to be made, and watching that nothing shall be done derogatory to the interests of any one section. If they can effectually heal up our differences and set in motion a good sound Government, they will have merited our lasting gratitude as a free and happy people.
(From the Cayuga Tribune)
We publish today the documents submitted to the House by Mr. Macdonald, containing the terms of the agreement entered into between the Government and Mr. George Brown, and a full statement of the negotiations which took place prior to the completion of the alliance. It will be seen that the new Coalition is to be a Federal Union of the two Canadas, with a provision for the reception of the Maritime Provinces and the North-west, whenever they may wish to enter the combination. Such a measure, if properly carried out, cannot fail to win the approbation of the people of Upper Canada, because the effect of it will be to secure to them those rights of which they feel that they have been so long deprived, and to free them from that Lower Canada domination they have so much and so bitterly complained of.
(From the Brantford Expositor.)
We have got space to comment at length on the new Ministerial arrangements negotiated by Mr. Brown on behalf of the Liberals of Upper Canada. We do not hesitate to say, however, that we heartily endorse the principles laid down as the basis of the Coalition and of the constitutional changes foreshadowed, and show the details prove as unobjectionable, we will have no hesitation in according to the re-modelled Government and honest and hearty support. The principles laid down by the Toronto Convention in 1859, are almost identical with those adopted by the Administration. We regard the proposed change, therefore, as a great advance of Reform principles — greater than we had dared to hope for ten years to come.
(From the Canada Observer.)
Did not Mr. Brown follow his favourite remedy of Representation by Population till it became a desperate expedient? Did not a spectre arise in this Province that was enough to appal and grieve all true-hearted me? Was the Province not threatened with a strife on tongues and religions and races, that might end in war? Were not golden opportunities of opening up the North-west, and of uniting British America, fast passing away? Were not the finances of the Province fast drifting into hopeless embarrassment? Was there any hope that a new election and a new ministry would mend matters? In these circumstances, a man that acted as Sir Robert Peel did in 1846, can surely demand from the public impartial examination, and patient waiting on the result of steps now doubtful, before they pass on him a verdict that must consign him and his name to infamy. We cannot, after careful consideration on several circumstances, see adequate reason for the steps Mr. Brown has taken, save that of a desire to benefit Canada. He may be wrong as to his judgement, wrong as to the degree to which he may make demands on that confidence of the people of Upper Canada, wrong as to his hopes that Cartier and Macdonald will stand true to their promises — this may be admitted; but after all we cannot see that to this it can be added that Mr. Brown is actuated by selfish motives. There is no doubt the step he has taken will shake to the very centre the confidence of a large body of Mr. Brown’s friends in Upper Canada, and that it will place the Globe in a disadvantageous position. And what advantage is there to set off against this? Office, emolument, power, it is replied. To as a young politician these might be attractive, but we believe that Mr. Brown knows too well the nature of the prize that is now within his reach, to sell his bright-right, to barter the affection and esteem of a million of people, for a few months of office. All we ask, therefore, from our readers, — and they comprise a large number of the supports of Mr. Brown, — is simply that they wait patiently the development of events, before passing sentence on Mr. Brown. If Mr. Brown has acted in bad faith, his crim will come to light, for “murder will out.” But if — which is at least probable — he has done all to subserve the interests of the Province and of British America, then this also will come to light. Let us wait, therefore, and events will throw light on this startling passage in the history of our politics.
(From the Peterboro’ Examiner.)
The Lower House is to be chosen on the basis of Representation according to Population, and really to consist of the two local legislature. The details of the measure are all to be worked out before the coming session, and it would be altogether premature to speculate on the effect this measure will have on the policy of the country. It may never become law. A goodly number of the members in the House are opposed to it altogether; others, again, who may be called favourable to it, would like some impossible thing mixed up with it; whilst others, whose ambition has been disappointed by this extraordinary moves, will not give it a very reliable support Certain it is, that if the measure be carried out in its entirety, it must go far to settle many of those sectional differences that have so long distracted the country.
(From the Port Hope British Canadian.)
It was not to be supported that after the very evenly balanced state of parties which existed prior to the late adverse vote against the Tache-Campbell Administration, and which has resulted in a coalition with Mr. Brown, that universal satisfaction would be felt as the new state of affairs; and such has proved to be the case. There were men on both sides of the House intriguing for place, or for personal or local advantages, who, like Othello, have found that their occupation is gone. They no longer hold the fate of Ministers in their hands, and they grumble loudly enough at the sacrifice of virtue which the coalition involves. The country, however, will rejoice at the bitter disappointment, and laugh at the wailings of such men. Our politics will be purer, much purer by the change. The ablest men in […] are brought together to exercise their unfettered intellects for the good of the country, and they will dare always to do just what they think best. But then again there are other men, honestly wedded to party, who lament unselfishly over a change which so utterly confounds their notions of political allegiance and faith in leaders. All these things are certainly hard to be got over; but we cannot help thinking that from the very bitterness which has heretofore existed between the parties, the more credit should redound to those men who, having been for so many years opposed to each other, have sunk their personal feelings and have sincerely joined each other in an effort to steer the ship of State safely throughout the breakers which on all sides threatened it with annihilation.
As announced in our last, political combinations have taken place at Quebec, which are calculated to have a vitally important effect on the future of the British North American Provinces. No political movement, since the union of the Canadas, has possessed equal significance; and should the arrangements entered into be carried out in their integrity, they […] will […] change the Constitutional Government of Canada. It is scarcely necessary to say that this scheme is precisely that adopted by the celebrated Toronto Convention a few years ago, and which the Tory press ridicules ad the “joint authority” scheme, which is certainly a great triumph for Mr. Brown’s principles. We dislike Coalitions. The misdeeds of the Cartier Macdonald Coalition were enough to make the name odious among the people; but if there was a just cause for a Coalition, the present sectional difficulties between Upper and Lower Canada is surely that one. Should the Federal scheme be carried into effect next session, the Coalition, as well as the present Canadian Legislature, will be at an end; and the foundation will be laid for a great Northern Federal Nationality. It is impossible to fully estimate, at the present moment, the importance of the movement. In the meantime, the Ministry should receive a fair and reasonable support in their efforts to carry the Federal scheme into effect; while the presences of Mr. Brown and his two Reform colleagues in the Cabinet will be a guarantee to the public that none of those flagrant acts of jobbery and corruption, so peculiar to the old Coalition, will be permitted on the part of the Ministry.
(From the New York World.)
The news from Canada is of very unusual interest. The deadlock in legislation which has lasted some time, owing to the inability of either party to command a majority in Parliament, has led to a constitutional change which will excite no little surprise on both sides of the ocean. The proposition, which is as good as adopted, by the Ministry is, to change British American into a general federation. Heretofore Canada has been governed by one executive head and one legislative body, comprising an Upper and Lower House. Hereafter it is to be divided into three or four provinces. Canada West will form one, Canada East another, while New Brunswick and Nova Scotia will form two other provinces. In time, perhaps, other Provinces may be added from the possessions lying north of Canada West. In the scheme, which has been as good as adopted, each Province or State will have its own local Legislature, and will be represented in the general Parliament, after the model of our Senate and House of Representatives. It will thus be seen that, while a civil war is raging to break up one federation on this continent, influences are at work to form a new and powerful one upon our northern borders. It is strange that the Canadian have not adopted this form years since. Composed of different races, with very diverse interests, and scattered over an immense extent of territory, it was impossible for one homogenous Legislature to please, or even do justice to, all the varied interests and populations committed to its care. Hereafter there will be more local self-government, and the general Parliament will give far better satisfaction than it was ever possible for it to do before.
(From the Milwaukee Sentinel.)
The prospect of a satisfactory adjustment of the difficulties that have so long distracted the Provinces are quite encouraging. Indeed, something more than the harmonization of any party quarrels is aimed at Mr. Brown proposes a federation of all the British Provinces, with a general Government, a general Parliament, and a general constitution, the different States to have their local legislatures and to manage, within certain restrictions, their local affairs. This is a bold undertaking. If Mr. Brown succeeds, he will have accomplished what the Canadians themselves have regarded as about impossible, and proved himself one of the first statesmen on the day. For to do it successfully, it will be necessary for him to conquer, not only the antipathies of parties, but the antipathies of religion and race.
(From the Kinston News.)
The Lower Canada organs of liberal opinion are giving vent to bitter invectives against Mr. George Brown for the part he has played in the recent Ministerial negotiations, and do not forgive him for allying himself with their antagonists, Messrs. Cartier, Galt and Macdonald. Such dissatisfaction is not expressed in Upper Canada, principally for the reason that the people in this Province are more impressed with the value of the stipulation which Mr. Brown has laid down in lending his services to the Ministry of Colonel Tache. Representation by Population, a principle which has ever been dreaded in Lower Canada even by the Liberals, is cherished in the Upper Province as a means which will enable the population of this country to exert that influence in our affairs which our numbers, wealth, and intelligence, demand as a right. Mr. Brown has never wavered in his efforts to secure this principle of representation. Others professing liberal principles have suffered themselves to be staggered at the apparent impossibility of expecting compliance with the demand, but he has never abrogated his cherished principle. By his persistent adherence to an advocacy for constitutional changes of a nature calculated to remove sectional difficulties, it has become his lot, as now appears, to be an instrument in their removal. Representation by Population has been accorded with avowals of such a nature that we must look upon the granting of this principle as abundantly secured. Judged by the views which gain expression within the circle of the horizon of Kingston, Mr. Brown’s course will not be without general approval in Upper Canada. It is but too often the misfortune of great deeds to be undervalued in the day that they are done by time will vindicate Mr. Brown from the assaults which the Lower Canada Liberals are hurling upon him, and speedily do full justice to him in Upper Canada.
(From the Strathroy Home Guard.)
We think that the country should give the Coalition credit, for sincerity and a desire to further the interests of the Province, till proof is furnished to the contrary. All are agreed that, as the political parties now stand, neither Conservatives nor Reformers are equal to the emergency, or competent to sail the Ship of State alone. Both have tried and both have failed. Why, then, object to a fusion, when it is evident that it is the only possible way of obviating our political difficulties? In some quarters the opposition is not to the plan proposed, but to the parties with whom it originated, and the circumstances under which it is put forward. Extreme party men on both sides are unwilling to embrace the political child, because it is the offspring of what they deem a very unnatural marriage. Still, as a general thing, the country is hopeful, and regard the present efforts of men who have heretofore been so bitterly opposed to each other as an omen for good; and, in this, we trust, the expectations of the people will not be cut off; but that the Ministry will go to work right earnestly to accomplish the object for which they have coalesced.
(From the Niagara Mail.)
Of late years Ministerial positions have been so critical, and have been attended with such disastrous results to our country, that we are pleased to be able to announce that the […] Ministerial crisis has been amicably settled, and in such a manner that exemplifies, in the highest degree, the most patriotic motives in gentlemen on both sides of the House. Ministers deemed it advisable — to put an end on the embarrassing state of affairs which has prevented wither party from forming a sufficiently strong government, and to avoid plunging the Province still deeper into that sectional agitation which has so long and so greatly marred the harmony of political working — to accept the proffered assistance of the Hon. George Brown in forming a Coalition; and we only hope — and, from the professions made by Mr. Brown, we have every reason to believe — that the coalescence of Mr. Brown and his political followers with Messrs. John A. Macdonald Cartier and Galt, will work harmoniously, and be the means of putting an end to the sectional bickering’s which have been so detrimental to the real interests of the country of several years past.
(From the Owen Sound Times.)
The constitutional changes agreed upon at Quebec mark the most important political movement in this country for a generation. By the wisdom and firmness of the parliamentary leaders, the chief praise of which is certainly due to Hon. George Brown, the cherished panaceas of all political parties are virtually secured. The Conservatives want the federation of all the Provinces, and they are in a fair way to obtain it; beginning with the sensible and obtainable measure of federating Upper and Lower Canada first. The Liberals have insisted on a larger share of influence and representation for Upper Canada, proportionate to her population and contributions to the revenue they git this and more, for in addition to representation in the popular branch of the Legislature according to numbers, they get local self-government. Those who, with the late W. L. McKenzie, advocated a repeal of the Union, virtually get […] autonomy of the two Provinces. The Lower Canadians, who have opposed the just rights of Upper Canada, because they thought they saw danger to their own institutions, have now all cause of complaint removed, with the concession of a local legislature for their section. We are glad that Mr. Brown was firm in insisting upon the lesser federation to begin upon. This is feasible and may be made immediate; the federation of all the Provinces, however desirable, is beyond the control of Canadian statesmen. And if the larger federation never takes place (though we believe it will within a year or two). We have still the remedy for the evils we have lately complained of by the new arrangement with Lower Canada.
(From the Sarnia Observer.)
Our political difficulties had been gradually thickening, and at the commencement of the crisis no one could hazard a prediction as to what would be the result, or by what process the dead-lock into which the country was placed, would be removed. We in the West, have long felt satisfied that Representation by Population, without respect to a dividing line between the two sections, was the true and equitable remedy; but the fear of oppression so operated on the Lower Canadian mind, that though unable to deny its justice, they fortified themselves against it by the argument referred to, and by maintaining that the compact between the two sections, as it now exists, should on no account be disturbed by any change in the relative representation of each in the legislature. The resistance to this scheme came from all parties in Lower Canada. The Rouges, although the natural allies of Western Reformers in nearly everything else, resisted any change in the constitution as stoutly as the Blues; and strange to say, the English representatives of Lower Canadian constituencies, (with one solitary exception — that of Mr. Somerville), were as much opposed to giving us justice, as were those of French origin. All parties admit that a general election would not have materially changed the political position, and that in all probability a recurrence to the dead-lock would have taken place, immediately after the new House met. Under these circumstances, therefore, ti is not a matter of surprise that the country, on the whole, seems inclined to give those who undertaken the task of settling our sectional difficulties, by a federation of the whole B.N.A. Provinces, or failing that at once, by a Federation of the Canadas themselves, an opportunity of maturing their scheme, and in the meantime to quietly await the result. With the exception, therefore, of discussion of the scheme, and speculations upon its details by the Press we will not hear much more of the matter till the House meets next winter. By that time, the Ministry, as reconstructed by the admission of Mr. Brown and two of his friends, are to be prepared with a measure which, it is to be hoped, will place the country in a more satisfactory position that it has been for many years; or than it could be placed in by any other scheme than the adoption of Representation by Population. That, doubles, would be the simplest, the most economical, and the most thorough remedy; but failing its accomplishment, on account of the causes referred to, it is satisfactory to note that a basis of settlement, on a principle somewhat different in some respects, but embodying that of Representation by Population in others should have been so promptly devised and agreed to by the high contracting parties on this occasion. That it will result in effectually settling the discord which has so long prevailed between the two sections, if carried out in a spirit of fairness, and according to the basis agreed upon between the Ministry and Mr. Brown, we have no doubt whatever; and believing that the Ministry will honestly and earnestly endeavour to secure a remedy for our sectional troubles, by carrying out the arrangement entered into between them and Mr. Brown, on behalf of himself and his friends, we are quite willing to wait the result trustfully and we have no doubt that this feeling will be found to be prevalent one, in both sections of the Province.
(From the Brockville Monitor.)
Elsewhere we punish, for the information of such of our readers as do not see daily papers, a complete narrative of the circumstance connected with the reconstruction of the Ministry, and the arrangements made with Mr. Brown as the real leader of the Reform party of Upper Canada. That narrative comprises a careful minute of the arrangements alluded to by the Premier, Sir Etienne Tache, and the explanatory speech of Mr. Brown in the House of Assembly. These documents merit the most careful perusal and are unquestionably the most important in their bearings which have met the public eye in Canada since the Union. We have not the slightest doubt that the agreement made with Mr. Brown will be honourable and fairly carried out, and that a new era of political peace and national prosperity is about to dawn upon this country.
(From the St. John’s News, LOWER CANADA.)
Both parties were so equally balanced in Parliament, and apparently equally so in the country, the Upper Canada majority standing in hostile array to the Lower Canada majority, that it became impossible for either to govern. What, then was to be done? We believe that under all the circumstances the best was done that could be done. Perhaps time and circumstances may prove otherwise; but so far as we can see at present, we think that the people of Canada will not have to regret the very important step undertaken by Mr. John A. Macdonald and his congress. Many good results will, at all events, arise from it, and net amount the least that it has brought together the most talented and clever men we can boast of; and has broken down the personal animosity that has so long prevented these men from working together for public good. We have ever acknowledged the abilities of Mr. Brown, though we could seldom approve of his public career. We believe that, taking office under existing arrangements, he can and will be of great use to our country. We have every hope that Mr. Brown in power with colleagues from Sir E. P. Tache’s Government will be very different from Mr. Brown out of office. At any rate our course shall be to judge him and the administration by what they will do, and not by what any of them have said or done, and this, we think, should be the course pursued by the forgiven on all sides, and let us look upon the man who strive to create further dissensions as an enemy to his country.
(From the Cobourg Star.)
To Mr. Brown is due the greater portion of the credit for this new state of affairs. It is something to be prudent in a period of recklessness; something to be modest in an age of pretensions. To forecast the future is among the highest faculties of statesmen and earns a more solid reputation for those who exhibit it, than the rapid acquisition of fortuitous retention of office. We attribute the action of Mr. Brown to a thoughtful consideration of the interests and the necessities of the country. Whenever we turn our eyes, homeward or […], we find reason for union and co-operation, not for antagonism and contention. We see around use everything which demands unity of legislation and union of parties, — nothing that can warrant the bickerings of parliamentary strife, or the perpetuation of parliamentary jealousies. There is much in our present condition to perplex the wise, to alarm the bold, and to tranquilize the violent. We have done with ancient factions — they have had their mission. It is fulfilled. There is work to be done more urgent, more immediate, than going to the country with a cry. Mr. Brown has built his wise and temperate resolve upon a grave consideration of the embarrassments and difficulties which already beset the Government of the country — of the responsibilities which must press heavy on those who seek to thwart, obstruct and impede a ministry — solely for the purposes of party gain and popularity. If this be so, and we see no reason why it should not be so, then we willingly accord to him the high praise of having preferred the lowly way of moderation to the bold course of ambition, and the interests of his country to the selfish aggrandizement of a faction.
The grand basis of the new arrangement is a Federal Union of the Provinces. That a Union of the British Provinces is desirable, is a proposition which admits of the most complete demonstration. Both as regards foreign and domestic concerns will a Union be invaluable. It will diminish the chance of war with our American neighbours; it will […] the Central Government to protect the rights of the people; it will diminish public expenditure; it will insure respect abroad and confidence at home; and it will unite in one common bond the interests of agriculture, commerce, and manufactures. But the great object of a Federal Union is to insure domestic tranquillity. This can only be done by destroying old factions. It is well known that factions are far more violent in small than in large communities, and that they are even more dangerous and enfeebling, because success and defeat more rapidly succeed each other in their domestic affairs, and foreign influence can be more easily brought into play to divide and corrupt them. A Federal Government is calculated to sidearm the violence of domestic factions by its superior influence, and to diminish the exciting cause, and to leave fewer chance of success to their operations. Another important object of union is to provide for […] against aggression. It is an […] saying that they would preserve peace must be prepared for war, and to prepare ourselves for that state a union of numbers and resources is absolutely necessary. Look at the present position of these Provinces. Could Upper Canada, Lower Canada, New Brunswick or Nova Scotia, singly, support even a respectable militia to preserve themselves against the encroachments of neighbouring states? But let them unite their numbers, interests, wealth, laws and institutions, and a foreign power would be very cautious of disturbing them. Finally, a Federal Union is that alone which can permanently sustain the interests of civil. Political and religious liberty in solid foundations. It will combine durability with moderation in power; energy with equality of rights; respectability with a sense of independence; steadiness in […] with popular elections; and a lofty spirit of patriotism with a love on enterprise. In short it will combine the greatest happiness of the whole with the least practicable restraint; […] as to insure permanence in the public institutions, intelligent legislation, and incorruptible legislators. A Federal Government aims at these ends by the arrangements and distributions of its powers; by the introduction of checks and balances in all its departments; by making the existence of the Provincial Government an essential part of its own organization by leaving them the management of all local affairs, and at the same time by drawing to itself those powers only which concern the common good of all. Its duties and its powers thus naturally combine to make it the guardian and friend of all the local governments, and in return they, while they may exercise a salutary vigilance for their own protection, are persuasively taught that the blessings of liberty secured by a Federal Government, are more certain, more various, and more extensive than they would be under their own distinct independent sovereignties. All honour […] to the Governor General who proposed the Coalition — to the able and wise men who had the courage to enter it — and to the legislators who will sanction it. Henceforth our country will become truly enlightened — the spirit of our civil and religious persecutions will cease, and the factious food of our shameful quarrels will fail.
(From the Ingersoll Enquirer.)
We apprehend that the most absorbing topic of thought and conversation in Canada at present, is the Coalition of the Government; and the person most closely connected with it is, of course, the Hon. George Brown, whose political conduct heretofore we have consistently and honestly opposed, believing that no good could possibly result from the determine opposition of that gentleman to everything not in accordance with his particular views. In regard to Mr. Brown’s political history in the past, we still hold the same opinions; but we are nevertheless, willing to do justice to him to the fullest extent for the almost herole manner […] which he has performed his part in the […] crisis. Mr. Brown may feel assured that South Oxford feels proud that her representative […] been instrumental in inaugurating a new and happier state of political affairs in Canada […] the most sanguine anticipates was possible, and also that never before did he enter the […] with more willing hands ready to crown him with the laurels his conduct has so nobly earned.
(From the St. Thomas Home Journal.)
This Coalition is not formed for the purpose of ordinary government. It has a special mission — to frame a new constitution that will enable us to govern Canada in love and harmony — that will make of French and English east and west, a happy family. Well, so […] it be. With the promised results, the Liberal party has every reason to be fully satisfied. They are promised in the main, all that they have ever asked for. For years they have contended that a man in Upper Canada is as good as a man in Lower Canada, and should possess equal power and influence in the Legislature the country — that population should be made the basis of representation. In the Legislative Assembly we are to have Representation based upon Population, without reference to a […] line between the two sections of the country. But in conceding this, which is as much as we would dare to expect, they are prepared to go further. We will have something to […] of federation when the scheme is definitely submitted. A great advance is meantime […]. The injustice under which Upper Canada laboured is at last acknowledged, and His Excellency, together with his Ministers –[…] leaders of both parties in the House, are pledge in the most solemn and public manner to […] our grievances, and to find a solution […] our sectional difficulties by the time Parliament is again convened for the dispatch of business.
(From the Quebec Daily News)
All are agreed that a remedy is require, […] the period as which we have arrived in legislation demands some other appliances than those which have failed, broken down and the pressure of existing difficulties which has accumulated year by year, till the strain on […] constitution threatened violent disruption. Under these circumstances, necessity rendered […] device necessary, and the Government […] they have discovered it in federation. The sense of an imperative necessity brooking further delay without entailing imminent danger, led the chief men in Government and Opposition to coalesce, and devise some scheme to meet the public exigency. Of the […] of those men there […] be no doubt, for […] have […] their personal and public honour on the venture, from which, as individuals, […] cannot derive advantage. In this sense, if no other, the “memorandum” deserves […] consideration. It is on no consequence to the community to whom it owes its […]; to Mr. Brown, Mr. Galt or even to […] Holton, who observed he had long believed the principle of federation as correct. […] scheme may be old or new to us as an […].