“Union of the Colonies. Mr. Lynch’s Speech at Halifax”, Quebec Mercury (26 January 1865)
By: P. Lynch
Citation: “Union of the Colonies. Mr. Lynch’s Speech at Halifax”, Quebec Mercury (26 January 1865).
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UNION OF THE COLONIES.
MR. LYNCH’S SPEECH AT HALIFAX.
At a recent public meeting in Halifax, after Dr. Tupper and other gentlemen had spoken,
Mr. Lynch spoke as follows:—The subject is one upon which I have for many years bestowed a good deal of thought, and I have ever believed that our best interests are to be promoted by a Confederation of the Colonies. I am glad that the scheme has met with active opposition, because it has led to the careful discussion of it, and enabled us the more thoroughly to examine and criticise it.
Many of these gentlemen who have preceded me have complained that Canada will be benefited by the Union, (A voice—That’s so.) but to this I have no objection. Indeed it is my desire that all should be gainers by it, and I believe they will, but I do think that to us it holds out the largest advantage. (Loud applause.) That Canada is desirous of the Union is obvious. One great reason for her being so is, that having no seaboard of her own she is desirous through us of securing a way to the ocean at all times of the year through a friendly territory, but Mr. McDonald has told you that she has political reasons for the Union, and in this I perfectly agree with him. As you all know Canada is a divided country. The two Provinces are and ever have been at variance and are more thoroughly estranged from each other than any of the Colonies. This feeling of hostility has now become so great that it is almost impossible to transact the business of the country, and I think it is to remedy this evil that Canada has now become so great that it is almost impossible to transact the business of the country, and I think it is to remedy this evil that Canada has now proposed the Union. Now, if this be so, what will be our position? We have been told that with our small number of representatives for the Maritime Provinces we will be swamped in the great legislature, but if we are in be the preponderating power our position, instead of being one of weakness will, if judiciously managed, be one of power and great influence. But we are told by others that we had better have nothing to do with Canada because she is bankrupt. Canada bankrupt! I wish we were all such bankrupts. She is overflowing with wealth. This is now rapidly developing itself, and must eventually place her among the first nations of the earth. I have travelled over and examined that great country, and it would take more than all the time allotted to me to tell you of her wealth and resources. Her rivers are among the largest in the world and her lakes are mighty inland oceans. I never had any idea of their extent until I stood on the shore of Lake Erie, saw before me a large square rigged ship, and was told that such was the class of vessels that navigated those waters. Why, sir, 7,000,000 tons of shipping trade upon those mighty lakes. Again look at the growth of the population. Sixty years ago it was 60,000 now it is 3,000,000. Upper Canada doubled her population in ten years, and Toronto in the beginning of this century the abode of the red man of the forest, is now one of the finest cities in British America, with a population of 40,000. The soil is of the richest description, indeed it is only too much so. In some places rich alluvial deposit is found to the depth of 50 feet, and in many instances lands have yielded their crops for years without the aid of a spadeful of manure. Canada has not only the greatest yield but the best wheat in America. It is a well known fact that the people of the United States in exporting their best flour mix it to a large extent with Canadian wheat, and in order to give you an idea of the increased growth of it, I would inform you that while in ten years the wheat crop increased in the States 50 per cent. (an immense increase), it in the same time in Canada increased 400 per cent.
The average crop is equal to that of the best wheat growing countries in Europe, while some places have yielded the almost incredible quantity of 100 bushels to the acre. The yield of last year was 27,000,000 bushels; and to give you an idea of the agricultural wealth of that bankrupt country, I have to tell you that her livestock is estimated at $89,000,000. Canada is seven times as large as England, while British North America comprises a ninth of the whole world. Again, the timber of Canada is of the finest in the world, and of illimitable extent. The great pile erected at the Exhibition in 1862 was an object of the greatest attention to those capable of appreciating it, and as I stood between it and our own huge coal seam I little thought that in all probability the wood of Canada and the coal of Nova Scotia would so soon be blended together for such mighty purposes to both countries. Now this great wealth is to be ours. In all the treasures of that magnificent country we are to participate if we become united to her. That union will break down all boundaries, sweep away all hostile tariffs, and cement us into one people. That union is to give us, and that immediately the intercolonial Railway—the object of our desires—the fond dream of the last quarter of a century. Mr. Bright, in one of his speeches some time since, said—“Don’t tell me of great warriors or statesmen; the great men of the present day are the engineers.” And Lord Macaulay, in his history of England, says—“After the inventors of letters and printing, the greatest benefactors of mankind are those who have aided in constructing roads whereby communication has been facilitated and interests of commerce advanced.” We all know that the improvements of the highways in England did more in the beginning of the present century to promote her best interest than any other cause what ever. Now all this and more, the railroad will do for us. I believe it is going to develop a resource is, bring out our energies, and afford this great an immediate prosperity. And upon what terms are we to have it? If Mr. Archibald’s figures are correct (and they are in excess of Mr. Tilly’s), it and all the other benefits of the union are to be had for 40 cents a head period now we have offered to assume $220,000 a year for 40 years, which would be about 65 cents a head, and could not get it for that. We have been willing to pay 3 1/2 twelfths of $17,000,000, and could not obtain it on those terms; and now we’re asked to assume only one-tenth of the amount should we refuse it? I think not. The government pledged themselves at once to begin the road which is to extend from Riviere du Loup to Truro; and unless they do it, I believe the day is far distant when it will be done. We are told that we can build a road for ourselves to Moncton; But can it be done without great expense; and when made it would be of little worth to us, while the other road would have brought us in connection with all the railroads of America; and we must remember that union alone can secure us the trade of Canada. There are intermediate ports to which she can resort if we reject her offer 70: well if we become one people with one interest; if the prophet of the one is the other, the trade of that mighty country is secured to us forever. (Applause.)
But it is asked, if we get the road what do we expect to do with that? What have we that we can send to the Confederated Provinces? My reply is, Our manufacturers. Manufacturers! We have none—yes, and never will have any while we remain as we are. Who that looks at this Province can doubt that she has great manufacturing capabilities; that she is destined to become the workshop of America, if she can only secure a market for her products. Political economists tell us that where there is demand there will be a supply; but the demand must come first. A stranger, who some two years ago, came here with capital to invest in a manufacture, after explaining the capabilities to the country, and its extent, left at, alleging that while the country afforded every facility for its operations, it had no market for his goods after they were manufactured. Already we have tried manufacturing with success. A shoe factory but a few months in operation, is affording employment to from 80 to 100 families, and making about 12,000 pairs of boots and choose a week. For these there is already demand, and they are made cheaper than English or American goods, and are of equal quality. But I have been told that this is only a consequence of the present condition of the State, and will cease as soon as the war is over. Is this so? We know better period the present taxation, which presses oppressively and ruinously on the industry of that unhappy country can never be removed. The mighty debt now crushing all the energies of the land must be paid or utterly repudiated before the States can hope to compete with us. There is one staple article we have which must always give us great advantages as a manufacturing country. I refer to our coal. Besides this, we have iron of the best quality, and I believe in any quantity. But it is upon our coal, I chiefly rely, because where it is, there manufacturers can be most profitably conducted. Need I add that the conveying of the coal from the pit to a distant factory would of itself yield a fair profit on the articles manufactured. But suppose we have no manufacturers. We have the coal, and that of the best quality in America, and when we remember that its consumption is daily increasing; that there is not an invention in science which does not require coal to bring it into successful operation, we perceive how unlimited must be the demand for this article; and just as boundless as is the demand will be the supply.
But we are told that we are to have increased taxation period to be sure we are to some extent under any circumstances. We must almost at once expect to bear a portion of the expense of a defence. As far back as the year 1859 a committee of the House of Commons named by Mr. Secretary Peel, reported that the colonies should either provide a portion of their troops, or pay a part of the expense of British soldiers, and this feeling has been growing from that day until the present period we have been paying the generous sum of 6 cents a head for our defence, but Mr. Uniacke told you that in addition to this, our able bodied men have been going 5 days drill, which brought their tax up to $5.06, but have we in this done more than others. Has not every colony contributed in this way, while it has borne its money tax also. And if we look to England what do we find there—why a tax of $5 a head, while her volunteers not only do five days drill, but a day in every week or 52 in the year. My friend, Mr. Uniacke, complained inadvertently [for I know his sentiment so well that it was, I am sure, through inadvertence he said it] that are people might have to go to Canada to aid them in case of invasion. “So they should,” said a voice in the gallery, and so they should responded every heart. (Cheers and hisses.) So they virtually did. For when some years ago the cry came to us that the photo was about to invade the hearthstones of our Canadian neighbors, the Hon. Judge Dodd and the Hon. Joseph Howe then antagonists of the legislature at once cast aside their party flags, grasped the broad banner of their country, and with the unanimous votes of the legislature placed the friends of their country at the disposal of Canada.
So they should may we will say while the sons of Britain are here 3000 miles from their homes to defend us. So they should when we remember that from the time when Britons went forth with The Crusaders under the banner of the Cross to the days of Alma and Inkerman, or the shores of China and India, Japan and New Zealand, every soil has been saturated with their blood and their bones white and under every sun. At the present time the banners of the old Irish Brigade are in the custody of Mr. Uniacke, and although tattered and torn, I have no doubt that if the shreds were spread to the breeze and the descendants of Irishmen gathered together beneath them to do battle for their neighbors, my friend would not be found among the laggards.—(Applause.)
And now let me say to you a word about taxation. This is one of the mighty shadows conjured up to frighten you. This is only imaginary. Unions may to a small extent increase our taxes period I don’t believe that of itself it will do so. But if it did we cannot expect to have a great good without paying something for it. Taxation is one of the necessary accompaniments of improvement and where legitimate, is good I don’t mean to say that taxation in itself is a benefit, but I say that the country which is without it, is a poor one indeed. Taxation one for the purposes of trade and bringing out the industrial resource is of a country is a means of wealth. And if you will show me a place with small taxes, small rents and small prices, I will show you a land of small means in small people. England and France have been heavily taxed, but where shines so bright the sun of prosperity? If you want small taxes you can go to Shelburne or Chester, or if you want to buy at cheap prices you can do so at Chezettcook [sic]. The late lamented Chief Justice used to tell a story of a countryman of my own, who said he could get more at home for sixpence than for a shilling here, but when he asked him why he did not return home, the reply was that he could not get the sixpence there.
Now sir, let me turn your attention to our real condition. We owe at present $5,000,000. The two railroads we are now about to build will cost us $3,000,000 more. Then there must be an intercolonial road of some kind. No one believes that we will be mad enough to delay further a road, if to be had on any reasonable terms. Well, that, according to our past offers would probably cost us 3½-twelfths of £35,000,000 sterling, or $17,000,010, say $45,000,000. This would add 150 per cent to our debt period now we pay 10 per cent, what do you believe, what does common sense tell you what would be our rate then? Why 15 per cent at least, perhaps considerably more. And here I wish to correct a great mistake which has gone abroad, nay to contradict a rumor which has been promulgated throughout the country. It has been plausibly said that the Canadian tariff having been 20 per cent, and ours 10, that if it is made uniform at 15, Canada will gain 5 per cent by the bargain, and we lose five. This is a fallacy. The average Canadian rate is not 20 per cent, but about 15. Some imports pay over 20 but many under it, end of $48,000,000 of imports, $2,000,000 are of bullion, and 22,000,000 pay no duty whatever. We therefore in having our duties brought up to 15 per cent are only asked to make them uniform with those of Canada, and to do that which common honesty prompts us in dealing with the people whose interests are to be identified with our own. I am not going to pester you with figures. You have had enough of them already. Let me, however turn your attention to a small statement which I think will give you a fair idea of our proposed increased burthens Let us make three statements. Mr. Tilley tells you our whole expense will be $11,500,000, Mr. Archibald makes it $12,000,000. Mr. Smith’s figures I have nothing to do with period we know nothing of him in this matter, and he may or may not be accurate, but I will take one we all know, and I’ll put my friend, Mr. Stairs in Mr. Smith’s place, and he tells us that the whole expense for the service enumerated by Mr. Archibald would be $12,000,000. Now see what on enviable position this puts Mr. Archibald in, and how completely it tests and proves the accuracy of his calculations. Mr. Tilley is half a million under him and Mr. Stairs a little over half a million over him. But suppose we adopt Mr. Stairs’ estimate, what is their own position After unfolding [illegible] of figures to us until he made our hair stand on end, he discloses to us the awful fact the weird to be weighed down an crushed under the additional burden of 12½ cents or 7½d a head. I must however, do my friend Mr. Stairs the justice to add that he, in addition to this, enumerated other resources of expense, namely, canals and defence, especially the Navy period now, as respects canals, we have the assurance that they are not to be touched, until the finances of the country justified the expenditure, and when built they will prove a source of increased wealth to Canada and profit to ourselves. They will open up the way to the treasures of the West, and enable our ships during the summer to lade their cargoes on the spot and carry them to their ports of destination without further expense in trouble Then as to a naval force, who that knows the strength of Britain’s bulwarks, believes that we will be called upon to acquit a single ship. Believe me that while Britannia rules the waves, Chebucto harbor is as safe as the Thames or the Mersey.
I had now intended to have spoken to you of the proposed constitution and the form of government, but as my time is up I must abandon it. This, I regret as it is the portion of the subject which I ought to be best qualified to consider, and to it I principally turned my attention Suffice it to say I believe we are going to have a constitution both Legislative and Federal—Legislative for all the great interests of the country, Federal without being democratic for the successful management of our local affairs. With no great party question to excite our oratory, we will have no material over which to snarl and fight, while for all local purposes we need not half the stuff or expenses we are now subject to. Mr. Galt very properly says our local legislatures will be mere municipal bodies period now for all this I think we have ample means without one single shilling of direct taxation. With our subsidy of $264,000, I think our revenues from our minds, we have enough for the present. With a certain increase in our minds we will have ample for the future. (Mr. Lynch cheer stated that he was provided with a statement which, as he had not time to read, he would hand to the press, and he’d as accordingly handed us the following):
I believe that the total expense of the Province will be more than covered by the revenue retained by us, and that while they are more than adequate for present exigencies, they in the future will be so increased as to afford us abundant means to carry out any improvements which we may desire. I therefore think that if ordinary economy is used we will not require a shilling of direct taxation, and in order to illustrate my views I submit the following estimate of expenses and revenue. This, I have no doubt, is far from perfect, and might be materially improved. I have not consulted any one in reference to it north compared notes with others, but I believe it contains all we would be called upon for in the way of charge, and what we have in the way of revenue at the present.
Agriculture …………$ 5,000.00
Education ………… 100,000.00
Roads and Bridges … 150,000.00
Legislative Expenses … 15,000.00
Crown Lands ………… 14,000.00
Hospital for Insane … 13,470.00
Prov. Penitentiary … 10,000.00
Miscellaneous ………… 3,000.00
Coroner’s Inquests … 1,000.00
Distressed Seamen … 200.00
Poor Asylum ………… 8,100.00
Relief (Transient Poor) 6,000.00
Public Office Department 10,000.00
Pensions ………… 1,500.00
Provincial Budlings … 4,000.00
Subsidy …………$ 264,000.00
Mines (6) ………… 76,000.00
Crown Lands ………… 35,000.00
Insane Hospital … 17,000.00
Leaving a balance of ……………………$16,864.00 to the credit of the Province to provide for any charges which he might have left out, or increase any of those enumerated.
1. Agricultural Grant for 1862, $2,300; for 1863, $5,000.
2. Grant for Education for 1862, $67,000; for 1863, $67,000, and for present y’r, $100,000.
3. For roads and bridges in 1862, $110,000; for 1863, $140,000; for 1864, $257,000; a sum unprecedented and increased so much by an overflowing exchequer and [illegible].
4. He proposed to construct and provide for the Legislature and its expenses as follws:—
2 members for [illegible] 36
1 “ for city…..1
11 members of Legislative O’neil he would incorporate with the Lower House, with privilege of holding their seats for life .. 11—48, ea. $100, $9,000
1st Clerk 800
2nd do 600
To this amound I have added 50 per cent to meet any other views and changers.
5. This is for all internal steam communication and ferries, all other being provided for by General Government.
6. The returns for three quarters of 1864 are $52,431.94, the fourth quarter added will give the same as above.
I have thus shown you that we have ample funds for all local purposes, and in order to convince you that I am justified in believing that they would largely increase in the future, I would inform you that our receipts for gold in 1863 were $18,700.00
Leaving a balance against the Province for $4,600.00
Receipts for 3 quarters of 1864 $26,652.25
Leaving a balance in favor of Province of $13,916.94
The Royalty on Coal in 1863 was $30,959.45
For three quarters of 1864 $33,745.60
During the year 1863 the licenses to prospect for Coal yielded $2690, in 1864 they in three quarters have yielded $5590. This, I mention not to show the amount received, but to satisfy you how immensely the operations in coal have increased, and why I am justified in believing in a vastly increased trade in the future.
Mr. Lynch continued—
Let me say a word to you before I sit down about another fallacy. It is said we are to have all our revenues taken away from us, and carried to Ottawa. Who believes such nonsense as this? Who is to take and have charge of them? Ourselves, in a Legislature where I have shown you we are to have our full amount of weight and influences. And for what are they to be taken? Why, to supply our own wants, disburse our own expenses, and foster our own interests. We might as sensibly talk of Pictou, Cumberland, or Kings County parting with their funds when they come here into the common chest of the country.
One more parting word as to the advantages of this Union. What is it going to do for us? If satisfied to remain as we are—Nothing. Hitherto our [illegible] has become a bye-word and a subject of jest. One writer, I remember, said he presumed Halifax was a perfect city, as no alteration had been made in it for 50 years. But can we hope to remain as we are? It is impossible. We must either go forward with our neighbors or be trampled under foot. Any one who looks on the map must see the peculiar advantages of our situation. Jutting out into the ocean we form the nearest point to Europe, while British America, extending across the whole continent, is laved by the waters of the Atlantic and Pacific. Suppose a mighty railroad running across this great country, it would pass through the finest of its territory, and bring us in juxtaposition to the best part of the continent of Asia—China and Japan. These two wonderful nations, with a population equal to that of half the world are now about opening up their commerce to the rest of the world, and their immense trade would be ours. Civilization had its earliest home in the remote East, and its march has been steadily Westward. Already its giant tread shakes our continent to its centre; already its mighty shadow has fallen on our land, and we might as well attempt to stay the winds in their course as to check it. If made only a place of transit for the mighty trade which I have pourtrayed, it would be of incalculable benefit to us. What made Venice and Genoa but there being situated somewhat as we are, but without half the advantages. To me the certainty of benefit from union does not appear to be a matter of speculation. To the country and our farmers it will be of great advantage. Every county will be dotted with factories, lands will be increased in value, and the increase of population will open up markets for the disposal of all the produce which can be raised. To us in the city it seems to me to be suicide to [illegible] it. Our city in a short time would extend over the peninsula—our streets be filled with the people of all the nations of the earth—our warehouses be filled with all the staple products of the continent, and our magnificent harbor gay with the flags of all nations. (Loud applause.)