Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island, 5 April 1870, Prince Edward Island Confederation with Canada.

TUESDAY, April 5.
House again in committee on the despatches.
Hon. Mr. MCAULAY.—Those who had spoken upon this subject had taken a wide range; they had alluded to countries and states not mentioned in the despatches. But their references were confined to one part of the world. If they had wished to make their statements general, they would have appealed to the histories of states of a greater antiquity, and also to some of a more modern date than those which they had cited. At the opening of the session this House promised to His Honor the Administrator to consider the question under consideration calmly, and be hoped he would be able to adhere to such a good resolution. Why we should give up the constitution of the colony, and consent to be annexed to Canada, he could not conceive. No state or country so far from the seat of government as this Island was from Ottawa, was ever contented. Ireland was referred to yesterday as having received benefit from union with England. If such had been the case, he (Mr. McA.) did not know it. Since the union, Ireland had produced few great men besides O'Connell. Allusion had also been made to Scotland in this debate. There had once been a place called Scotland, but it was now North Britain. England at one time knew there was a Scotland. It had been said that the Scotch were an idle people; but there was a day when the were not idle—that was on the field of Bannockburn. (Laughter.) She had had distinguished men; but not so many now PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 163 since her union with England. He, however, would refer to other unions. England herself was once a province of Rome. Would England be the great country she was to-day, if she had continued a Roman provmce? France was once a province of the same kind; but in that position she could not have become rest, as she was too far distant from the seat of government at Rome. If we went farther back still, we would find other instances to prove the same thing. When Greece was growing into a country her people sent to Egypt to see what kind of government she had. They discovered nothing there worth imitating. After their masses are returned home, the Greeks founded a great confederacy—so compact and so powerful that when Artaxerxes came against it his hosts were defeated. The Greeks gave a noble account of their valor at the pass of Thermopylae. They afterwards thought of punishing Persia for her attack upon them; they did so under Alexander, who conquered, that great country, but his victory was the ruin of Greece. A central state always absorbed the wealth of the outlying provinces to their injury. This being the case we should be careful about acceding to the wooing of the Canadians who came here asking us to join them. He did not apprehend that Great Britain ever expected this Island would enter the Dominion. In the British American Act the two Canadas were allowed twenty-four senators each, and Nova Scotia and New Brunswick each twelve. This being the full number of twenty-four for the Lower Provinces, where was there a place for Prince Edward Island? As he read the Act, if this Colony were admitted into the confederacy, it might be a generation before she would attain her representation in the senate, because the number of senators for Nova Scotia and New Brunswick was not to be reduced except by death or resignation.
Hon Mr. HAVILAND, said his hon. colleague was in error. He could not have read the Act with sufficient attention. This Island would get her four senators as soon as she became a part of the Dominion, but the number would not be reduced in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick until it was effected by the means which the hon. member described.
Hon. Mr. MCAULAY thought he understood the Act correctly enough, but he would pass on to look at another aspect of the question. The neighboring Provinces, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, were blessed with great resources with which those of this Island could not compare. The mines of Nova Scotia yielded her a large revenue, and the timber of New Brunswick did the same for that province. All these thin would help to augment the wealth of the Dominion, but what was to augment our wealth ? He was ashamed to say there was nothing. Why then should we go into confederation? Were we not just as able to manage our own affairs as the Canadians were ? He believed we would be committing an act of political suicide by joining the Dominion. A short time ago Canadian affairs came to a dead lock, and gentlemen were sent down to attend the conference of   Lower Province delegates, to attempt to wheedle our statesmen into a union with Canada. They took our men off in a steamer to a place in Lower Canada called Quebec, where certain resolutions were agreed upon. But our people had sense enough not to accept the Quebec Scheme, which empowered the Dominion to raise money by any mode or system of taxation whatever. By going into confederation we would enable the people of Canada —for they were the power—to tax us to any extent; and as according to all accounts they were always needing money—like the grave ever needing and never satisfied—he thought it would be well for us to retain our resent constitution. We could not, if in to Dominion, in any wise control the votes of the general parliament; our five men would have no voice amid the large number in that body; and the money, when once it was raised from us, would probably be taken to build a railway to the Pacific. The debt of the Dominion was about $24,000,000 sterling; he, however, was not very sure about the amount—indeed he did not know whether the Canadian statesmen were certain about the amount themselves. If the government here were to act in that way, we would be very apt to turn them out of office. It was a sign of corruption when the statesmen of a country did not know what its debt was. Confederation was a very pretty word, but the thirteen colonies were confederated and what was the result? A war broke out which deluged that country with the blood of its people. The government of Great Britain had sent word across the Atlantic to this Island that the colony was to be governed according to the well understood wishes of the people. He contended, therefore, that the confederates were those amongst us who were disloyal. (Applause.) It was not fair that they should be railing against us as they were PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 164 doing. He would conclude by saying that he was an honest anti-confederate, and would show his opinions by tabling a resolution, which he would now read :—
"Whereas, His Excellency Sir John Young, Governor-General of the British North American Provinces, in a Despatch to His Honor the Administrator of the Government of this Colony, dated at Ottawa, on the fourteenth day of December last, proposed certain terms on which this Colony would be admitted into the Canadian Union ; and
"Whereas, a union of this Colony with the Dominion of Canada, would not be advantageous to Prince Edward Island ; and as the inhabitants of this Colony are not desirous of disturbing their existing connection with Great Britain.
"Therefore, Resolved, That this House, on behalf of the Colony, decline to become part of the Dominion of Canada."
Hon. Mr. HENDERSON, in rising to support the hon. member's (Mr. McAulay's) amendment, was free to acknowledge that he had nothing particularly new to offer on confederation ; nor was it necessary that he should, for his views in regard to it were still unchanged, and as their correctness had not been disproved, he should hold them firmly until the force of truth convinced him of some error. After having maturely considered the report of the Quebec Conference, in 1864, it was his humble opinion that little P. E. Island would prove, at any future time, of as much importance to the other provinces as they would be to her. And now, after the lapse of more than five years, the documents before this hon. committee endorsed the correctness of that opinion ; for the one which contained the better terms assumed it as a fact that the Quebec Conference under-estimated the importance of the Colony to the Dominion by the sum of $800,000. It was very evident that our people were never more determined to keep aloof from the proposed union than they were at this moment. But they and their representatives also were prepared to give, to all concerned, just and sufficient reasons for that determination. This implied that the representatives especially had carefully studied all the more prominent events which led to the establishment of the Dominion, as well as the public character and conduct of the principal actors in those events. And it implied, besides, that they had paid particular attention to the policy pursued by the Dominion government during its short history, as well as to the present state and future prospects of the Dominion. Conclusions based on anything short of this would not be just to them nor creditable to ourselves. That the confederation scheme took its rise in Canada, and had had for its chief object the relief of Canadian difficulties, both political and financial, did not now admit the shadow of a doubt. Was not the coalition government in 1864 formed to save the country, for a time at least, from positive anarchy ? If any hon. member had any doubt on the subject he must, to say the least of it, be uninformed in respect of their "sixes and sevens" and their frequent dead locks ! Canada West had entirely outgrown the provisions of the Union Act of 1841, and the coalition government were charged with the confederation of the two Canadas, which involved serious risks, for they could not avoid the opening up of old sores that might result in another rebellion. This state of feeling accounted for the eagerness with which they availed themselves of the first chance that offered to attempt the accomplishment of a general union, whose foreign elements might, to some extent, neutralize the bitterness of their home disputes. It must thus appear to unprejudiced minds that Canadian necessities and selfishness, so to speak, took the lead in concocting the Quebec Scheme, and stamped their own impress upon it, as well as upon every other step and movement in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, that contributed to the formation of the Dominion as it now existed. This colony had had its peculiar disadvantages of position and circumstances, totally ignored by the Quebec Conference and equally so by the concoctors of the North American Act. These were among the facts that had aroused the people's opposition to confederation, and when coupled with the extreme extravagance of the Dominion government their opposition to it was greatly enhanced. Looking at the question from these points of view, it was by no means surprising that they could not regard any overture made to us by the Canadians without extreme suspicion, and hence their desire for no terms. He had already hinted at the manner in which New Brunswick and Nova Scotia had been treated in connection with confederation. But feeling as he did that now was the time when the people should have all the reliable and pertinent information which had transpired, he must contribute a few additional and telling facts. In regard to New Brunswick, it would suffice to say, that Canadian agents from among themselves and from Canada, grossly imposed upon the people, with respect to PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 165 county branch lines of railway and other promises, which had not been, and never were intended to be performed. And as to the official coercion brought to bear upon the government by the Lieutenant Governor, it was a matter of more public notoriety than the other. But if that province was now reaping a golden harvest from its connection with Canada, all he could say was, that the repeated and positive statements of its own confederate journals must be very untrue. With respect to Nova Scotia, the manner in whic it had been dragged into the union, constituted one of the darkest pages to be met with in the very dark and uninviting history of such unions. The Quebec Scheme was no sooner published than the people of that noble province became greatly alarmed for their own safety ; and in 1865, 183 petitions, signed by 15,000 of the people, were sent into the Legislature against that scheme. In the session of 1866, owing to the intense feelings and opposition of the people, the question of confederation was not as much as once alluded to in the Governor's speech. The country was thus led to believe itself secure, and this state of things continued until the session was pretty far advanced. By this time, however, craft and deception had proved successful in New Brunswick. The leading confederates thus encouraged, would, no doubt, ply the same weapons in Nova Scotia and their success might be judged of by the results ; for a conspiracy had been evidently formed between the government and opposition, and a resolution carried by a large majority, to send delegates to England, to barter away their country's dearest rights for some infamous consideration ! It is note-worthy that some nineteen of this majority, gave a silent vote for the resolution ! This event filled the province with surprise and amazement. But let us briefly follow the question as it came before the Imperial Parliament. Able and influential delegates were sent to England on behalf of the people, also, to oppose any act that would include Nova Scotia in the confederation. 'In this they were supported by a petition bearing 31,000 signatures, and which was presented to the House of Commons by Admiral Erskine. We had it on good authority, that, "in the Commons the petition was never read and scarcely referred to. In the Lords its existence was hardly recognised, * * and the allegiance and affection of a high--spirited and loyal people was treated with supreme indifference" "On the second reading of the bill (N. American Act) in the House of Commons, (in 1867) the hon. member for Stockport (Mr. Watkin) declared that at the general election, in Nova Scotia in 1863, the question of confederation had been discussed at every polling-booth in the country. The House of Commons with this false statement ringing in the ears of its members, passed the bill without a [illegible]. "In the recent debate, on Nova Scotia's petition for repeal, both Mr. Adderly and Mr. Cardwell flatly contradicted Mr. Watkin, and admitted that at the elections in 1863, the question had not been discussed at the hustings. But strange to say that both those gentlemen misled the House of Commons by drawing an inference from it of the most vital import in such a controversy, not only unsupported by, but utterly at variance with the facts. Both assured the House that the subject was not mentions, only because all the public men were in favor of confederation, and the people fully instructed and prepared for it!" This statement was made by Messrs. Cardwell and Adderly, in 1868, some six months after the general election of the previous year, and of which the following is an abstract:—
Members opposed to Confederation 18
Members in favor of Confederation, 1
Members opposed to Confederation, 36
Members in favor of Confederation, 2
It will thus be seen how completely the statement of those colonial office worthies paled before the above figures, which represented the truth. But it may be asked 'what these details have to do with the question now under consideration? He contended that they had much to do with it from two distinct points of view. The first was that the men who had directly or indirectly to do with those dark affairs, from the moment of their conception, until each of them had become an accomplished fact, were the very same men through whose brains and hands the "Better Terms" had to pass before they were proposed to us. And if that fact was not sufficient to inspire us with caution—suspicion if you will—in regard to them, we must be very deficient in common sense. The second was, that it was the next thing to an impossibility for a union, consummated by such means, and consisting of such jarring elements as the Dominion now was, to PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 166 become strong or successful without a radical change. If it ever should, the thing might be noted as an event contrary to the laws of nature. This being the case, our watchword should be, no-terms-no surrender. Those who could not produce a better argument, were fond of saying that loyalty demanded a sacrifice at our hands. In reply it was natural to ask what it was that constituted true practical loyalty? In the meantime he would submit a definition of his own. True loyalty, he contended, comprehended obedience to the laws- active obedience to all good laws, when required, and passive obedience to bad laws until they were constitutionally repealed; coupled with a firm constitutional defence of our own rights and liberties. If a British colony ever existed that made greater sacrifices than this colony had done, to the old policy of the British Government, with respect to its public lands, he must confess that he was ignorant of its history. We had had to expend many thousand of pounds in the erection of barracks, and for other military purposes, entirely on account of our land question. And what the people had sustained in the loss of time, and subscriptions paid to the escheat and other associations, it was utterly impossible to estimate. But no sooner had we appeared to be getting our heads above water, in the struggle of purchasing back our lands, which had been given or thrown away, than repeated and peremtory demands were made upon us, till we consented to pay our Governor's salary. We now paid our own civil list entirely, and any other expense that the British Government were put to, purely on our account, was merely nominal. Yet after having thus survived the wrongs and hardships of our very checkered history, we were asked, virtually, to sacrifice our all to Canadian cupidity, and the Manchester policy of the present British Government. With the Canadians, forsooth, we were asked to cast in our lot, as if we had not been sufficiently fleeced already - as if we could envy the people with whom everything was tared down to the very dogs, to satisfy the extravagance of their government. If we had become Arabs that policy might succeed, but if we were Britons still it could not. Among the most remarkable speeches of this session, if the Reporter was correct, was that piece of special pleading set up by the hon. member (Mr. Brecken) in defence of the public men of Canada, who had been actively engaged in the rebellions of 1837-8. Those men were not only excused but praised also, simply on the plea that they rebelled for the purpose of obtaining responsible government. But the anti-confederates of this Island - representatives and people- were, by the confederate press, denounced as disloyal, because they were determined to the utmost of their constitutional power, to preserve the responsible government which they obtained by truly loyal means! A precious specimen this of confederate consistency! With these general remarks he was prepared to support the amendment.
Mr. BRECKEN thought the hon. member (Mr. Henderson) made an ingenious statement when he said that he (Mr. B.) stood by, and perhaps was prepared to close with the offer of the Canadian Statesmen.
Hon. Mr. HENDERSON would be sorry to misrepresent the hon. member; and he (Mr. B.) knew that nothing but a sense of duty would induce him (Mr. H.) to oppose the representative for the city. Yet he knew the hon. member, with his flowery arguments and eloquence, could make his words carry a meaning which might deceive some people; but presumed the hon. member was himself the best judge of what he intended to say.
Mr. BRECKEN had to charge the hon. member with misrepresenting him. He (Mr. H.) was afraid to speak out his mind fairly and freely on the question of Confederation, yet he would charge Dr. Tupper with inconsistency. If the hon. member had but taken the trouble to read the despatch which came to them last year, and calmly pondered over it and spoken the sentiments it would have produced, it would have been more to the purpose. He had before him the speech delivered by the hon. member last year. His reasons last year were different from those with which the hon member had now favored the hon. committee. He thought the hon. member had not taken a statesmanlike view of the matter, and he (Mr. B.) would appeal to his common sense for proof in favor of his (Mr. B.'s) assertion. (The hon. member then fully referred to the history of the Nova Scotia difficulty, in that province and in England, and pointed out the result of the recent partial elections in that province.) When he (Mr. B.) first saw the Quebec Scheme he opposed it. The hon. member (Mr. H.) had boasted of his loyalty, and hinted at contending for his rights, but he (Mr. B.) would remind the hon. PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 167 member, that while they had rights to protect and look after, they owed duties also to the Home Government which he thought the hon. member had entirely forgotten.
Hon. Mr. HENDERSON thought the hon. and learned member for Charlottetown had misunderstood his remarks. He (Mr. H.) had said that some of his (Mr. B.'s) remarks early in the session, if correctly reported, appeared as an apology for the public character and policy of Canadians rebels, and contended still that the drift and general tendency of that speech was calculated to make that impression. But if the hon. member would affirm that such was not the impression he intended to make, he (Mr. H.) would accept such disavowal. Nor did he see how the hon. member could now with any consistency defend those whom he had so lately characterized as "an extravagant set." The hon. member had given a glowing description of the public works of Canada, &c., but he (Mr. H.) would ask, had they been constructed with Canadian money? Or were they not built at the expense, to a great extent, of the British Government? It was not so in Prince Edward Island. Our lands, public works, and buildings, had been secured and constructed at the expense and labor of our own people. Some who favored confederation appeared to look upon Canadian taxation as a light matter. Yet it was well known that even the printer's types were taxed 15 per cent; an ordinary mechanic's shop ÂŁ3 15s. 0d. per annum, and other things in the same proportion.
Mr. BRECKEN, believed the hon. member felt himself in a very tight place, especially when a perusal of his speech last year was compared with his remarks in the debate then going on. He (Mr. B.) would read from the Parliamentary Reporter of 1869, page 156:-
"Hon. Mr. HENDERSON. - If this debate is to be closed this evening, I wish to make a few remarks on the matter before the Committee. I gave my first impressions on the subject, but left the door open for myself to follow any course I saw fit and proper. I took up the common aspect of the question and spoke of the injustice of the demand; that was the sum and substance of my remarks. The debate which has taken place has not changed my opinion on the subject-any change of sentiment has been the result of my own reflection. As to the character of the despatches from the Colonial Office, in reference to Nova Scotia, we know thata they were as foreign to the strict honest facts of the case, morally or politically, as any statements could possibly be. Notwithstanding the fact that the hon. Joseph Howe went home and stated the case, backed up by a petition, from 18,000 of the loyal inhabitants of Nova Scotia- because the Imperial Government had the fact that the Legislature of Nova Scotia had consented, by the most foul and unjustifiable [illegible] to the union of that country with Canada- they heeded not the petition nor the representations of that gentleman, although they [illegible] they were acting against the well-understood wishes of the people. Then assuming that the address of this House, or any portion of it, were presented to the House of Commons, and that the Colonial Minister, backed up by his predecessor, got up and made a statement contrary to the prayer of our appeal, what would be the effect upon the House of Commons? It would [illegible] to the winds any impression made by the address upon that body, and the result would be that there would be no chance for little Prince Edward Island to obtain her wishes. There seems now to be no alternative for us, but of two evils to choose the least. When I consider that Newfoundland is about being legislated into Confederation, that a ring is being formed around us, and that the British Government have reduced our defences as far as they have done, I cannot but come to the conclusion that it would be unsafe to risk the result of refusing to accede to this demand. I am as [illegible] that the people should be relieved from every burden, as any hon. member of thise House, but I think it necessary to submit to this demand, for I believe that the British Government would not be particularly scrupulous, in regard to forcing us into the Confederation against our wishes, if they had what they thought a slight pretext for doing. I would not favor any movement on the part of this House which might call for reflection in future. I shall, therefore, support the resolution introduced by the hon. Leader of the Government."
Those were the statements which the hon member made when the despatch having reference to the Lieutenant Governor's salary was under consideration. The whole burden of that speech went to show that if the House refused to vote that salary, the colony might be forced into confederation with Canada. He would be sorry to charge the hon. member with inconsistency; he (Mr. B.) merely thought the hon. member had a bad memory. Last year the hon. member thought it better to vote ÂŁ2,100 a year, rather than to offer a point blank refusal to the demands of the Imperial government, and what he (Mr. B.) now wished the hon. member to do, was to give a satisfactory reason to justify his action on the question under consideration when he was so tame last year.
Hon. Mr. HENDERSON had not been put in a "tight place" by the hon. member, in consequence of his speech last year. Being required to pay the Lieutenant Governor's salary was one thing, to give up our constitution was PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 168 another and much more serious demand. He consented to the former as a matter of policy, thereby depriving the British government of the last plea they could use to justify a coercive policy to place us in the Dominion. But while he gave his consent to that measure, he condemned the injustice of the demand; and if a demand or command to join the Dominion should be transmitted to us from the Colonial Minister, our reply should be a respectful but emphatic no ! A beautiful affair, indeed, if our dearest rights were to be sacrificed, and this colony to be made a prop to support Canadians who had once forfeited their constitution and had so often been a bill of expence to the mother country, while Prince Edward Island had done full justice and honor to its constitution !
Mr. BRECKEN was not satisfied with the explanation of the hon. member in answer to the challenge which he (Mr. B.) had given.
Hon. Mr. HENDERSON never denied that Great Britain had the physical power to coerce them into confederation, but could not believe she had the moral power to perpetrate so great a wrong. It was all very well for the hon. member to ring the challenge on what he would fain prove inconsistent on his (Mr. K.'s) part, but with all his eloquence he might as well have tried to prove a horse chestnut was a chestnut horse as to attempt to upset the logic of facts.
Mr. BRECKEN.—The hon. member need not reter to the horse chesnut, he had but to refer to himself.
Hon. Mr. LAIRD was a good deal surprised when he heard the hon. and learned member for Charlottetown commenting last night upon sdme remarks which a gentleman in the other end of the building had made at a public meeting in the country. He (Mr. L. was surprised that the hon. member for the city, (Mr. B.), had the presumption to compare himself with that hon. gentleman, for if he had for a moment considered his own past political career, he would not have compared his with that of the Hon. Poore Haythorne. He thought his (Mr. B.'s) egotlsm would hardly have allowed him to presume for a moment to think he   should, as a public man, be placed beside that gentleman. When he (Mr. L.) considered the manner in which the quotation from that gentleman's speech was taken, and used, and reflected how unfair it was, he could not but feel surprised to think the hon. member should have risen in his place and spoken as he did. And when he (Mr. L.) further reflected upon the high position which Mr. Haythorne occupied, he must regard the manner in which he had been attacked as unmanly. If what Mr. Haythorne said at that meeting was fairly considered, and looked at as a whole, it would not bear the construction which was attempted to be put on it. Why did not the hon. member (Mr. B.) read the last part of the speech, in connection with what he quoted? The hon. Mr. Haythorne connected with the terms which he thought the country might accept, the construction of a railroad throughout the Island. The hon. member had no proof which he could produce, to show that the views of Mr. Haythorne and his, were similar. The hon. Mr. Haythorne had been but a short time in public life; he now held the highest position in the gift of the people to which any man could attain. He (Mr. Laird) would ask that hon. committee to contrast that position with the one attained by the hon. member for Charlottetown, who, though much longer in politics, had attained no higher dignity than that of a political threshing machine. Mr. Haythorne said, should an offer of confederation be made, he should give it his consideration; and after making that statement, he had been elected by one of the largest constituencies in this colony; and now when a public meeting was held in a part of his district, he merely said that he looked forward to the time when terms might be offered which he would be willing to accept. But did he mention that time? No, he did not. It might be after that line of railroad was built from Cascumpec to Georgetown. But the Hon. Mr. Haythorne very prudently said the time for confederation had not yet arrived. But how was it with the hon. member for the city, (Mr. B.) who, he supposed, prided himself as being the orator of that hon. committee. He formerly voted for a no- terms resolution, and when his hon. colleague (Dr. Jenkins) was returned for the city, at the last election, the hon. gentleman (Mr. B.) regretted that his constituents had returned a confederate along with him. The hon. member (Mr. B.) took the votes of his constituents as a no-terms man, and as such, told them that he regretted the citizens of Charlottetown should have sent to his PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 169 assistance a gentleman who held opposite views. But to him, (Mr. Laird,) nothing was more amusing than to hear the hon. member for the city comparing himself with a gentleman who would scorn to do a mean act, whose past political history was so consistent. Every man who knew Mr. Haythorn's character had confidence in his unswerving integrity. He might not have the fearless courage of the hon. member for Charlottetown, but he had the courage to be consistent.
Mr. BRECKEN said the hon. member for Bedeque had pretty well abused him. He (Mr. B.) had not compared himself with Mr. Haythorne, nor had he attacked that gentleman's character. He had just as much respect for the Hon. Mr. Haythorne as the hon. member (Mr. Laird) had. The hon. member had called him (Mr. B.) a political threshing machine; but as it was then late, he would defer replying to the silver-tongued, ponderous, political philosopher of Wilmot Creek, until to-morrow evening.
Mr. REILLY, in rising to address the hon. committee upon the all-important topic of confederation, had before his mind the advice of His Honor the Administrator of the Government, to use calmness and deliberation in the consideration of the question; and he had also in view the manner in which he had been treated by the advocates of the scheme, both inside and outside of this House. The suggestion of the venerable and honored gentleman who so worthily represented our good and virtuous Sovereign in this colony, would not be forgotten; neither would the defamation and foulmouthed abuse of those who desired that he, like themselves, should turn traitor to his constituents, and accept a paltry bribe, in prospect, as a recompense for a violation of conscience. He had never, during all the years that this matter had been before the public, declared the absurd doctrine that there were "no-terms" upon which a union between this colony and the Dominion of Canada could be advantageously effected. On the contrary, he believed that there were terms upon which a union might be consummated; at the same time he was also bound to express his earnest conviction, that Canada would never offer terms which it would be worth our while to accept. He had looked upon the scheme of confederation in all its length and breadth, heighth and depth, and he could see the advantages of intercolonial free trade, uniform laws, tariffs, currency, and mutual defence. He would even sacrifice a portion of his private convictions to attain those objects, and to do away with those bitter politico-religious feuds which had marred the history of this colony--feuds in which he himself had been mixed up--feuds which had been forced upon him and often by the very parties who were now casting the reproach upon his co-religionists of having been the slanderers of female virtue, because they repelled, as best they could, the foul and unprovoked abuse heaped upon them for political purposes. Our zealous Bishop, our wives, our daughters, and our religion--in fact, all that we esteemed most, was ridiculed and spat upon by those who then sought to blindfold the people in order to retain sway over the destinies of this colony, and who now adopt similar tactics to accomplish the scheme of confederation. Religious feuds, in the first instance, were employed to array the population into hostile factories; and it was only the keen point of the bayonet which finally opened the eyes of all classes to the sinister designs of our aristocratic leaders. By these means, they sought to recover that which they had lost, and that which they had long been accustomed to regard as their hereditary right--he meant the absolute management of the affairs of this colony. To retain their position was all they aimed at; to maintain themselves in luxury was their only desire. The people might groan under a landed system as iniquitous and oppressive as that which crushed the serfs of Russia, and which made exiles of four millions of Irish peasants within twenty years; they might be arraved into hostile factions, ready to cut each other's throats in the name of God; and they might be wheedled into a confederacy, in which their last condition would be worse than their first-- in which the evils of dominionism would be ten times more oppressive than the misfortunes of short leases and rent paying. All these things must happen, as long as our aristocracy were permitted to hold sway. The Tory Samson clung to the pillars of the edifice, and sooner than surrender his cherished and long-enjoyed privileges, he was resolved to perish in the ruins of the edifice which sheltered him, rather than enjoy equal privileges with his fellow-citizens. But he (Mr. R.) was quite ready to admit that a broader field of politics, which was destined to cut the ground beneath the feet of political traders and knaves, and which would place beyond their reach the power to divide a people whose interests were identical, into hostile factions, either in the name of religion or of politics, had its ad PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 170 vantages. In times past, all that a political rogue, intent upon some selfish scheme, had to do to accomplish his object, was to elongate his visage to an unusual extent, to give the whites of his eyes an extra roll heavenwards, and trail his religions coat-tail in the mire. The result, as we a11 well know, was a " ruction,'' (as his fellow-countrymen would say) which would put Donnybrook in the shade. What had happened in the past was just as likely to occur in the future, but not, he must admit, to as great an extent, even should our state be that of isolation. However, he for one was prepared to submit to these little inconveniences rather than surrender our rights to self-government, trusting that all his fellow-colonists would come to the conclusion to exercise forbearance, charity and goodwill towards each other under all and every circumstance, His inward convictions were embodied in the words of Shakespeare, whose sentiments and advice; it appeared to him (Mr. R.) were appropriate and applicable to all times and places :— .
"'Tis better to bear the ills we have Than fly to those we know not of."
It might, possibly, be his opinion that confederation would he forced upon us. It was the only doubt he had, upon this question ; and because he had the temerity to express that doubt, he was set upon a few nights ago by one of the representatives of the capital of this colony, and denounced as a deceiver and hypocrite. Everything that could possibly be said and distorted in defamation of him (Mr. R.) was used to destroy his prospects and whatever influence he might be supposed to have. The living and the dead were arrayed against him. The former were in a position that sheltered them from the reply which, under other circumstances, he should have made, and the dead forbade retort. The good taste and propriety of the attack was for the public to consider; but personally, he must say, that from a review of the antecedents and history of the gentleman, he could expect nothing better than the ruthless, unprovoked, and malignant attack which he had made uppn him (Mr. R.) Believing in the description which he had given of him, of being the political gas-bag of this House—the member with the most wind and brass and the least information and reading—he (Mr. R ) had allowed many of his statements to pass with silent contempt. He (Mr. R.) would not say that he himself was a paragon of political virtue ; but be submitted that the hon. member was not in a position to read lectures to others upon honesty or consistency. The hon member had called him a " political upstart." He would ask, why not say "upstart" unqualified by any epithat ? He would tell him - it was because he dare not. It was the acts of a coward who raised his arm to strike; but had not the courage to give the blow. He would not call him a villain, because it would be unparliamentary. He would not call him a fool, because he happened to be a lawyer ; but he would say, he was one who had abused the privileges of parliament and the freedom of debate, to the uttering of language, which, is spoken out of the House, should be answered only with a blow, The hon member had charged him. with many things which were mean and contemptibly false, but he (Mr. R.) scorned to answer and man for his conduct, whether he were a political coxcomb, or whether he fought himself into power by a false glare of courage or not, so long as his accusations were based upon falsehood. The hon member's fanatical aire had no influence upon him, (Mr. R.) nor upon the majority of his constituents, as he himself anticipated, when he informed us, at the conclusion of a scene which he (Mr. R.) had hoped never to see repeated that he did not expect to make another speech in this House. The result of the forthcoming election would realize his prophecy ; because he was already known as a traitor to his country, and because he had proved false, at a most important crisis, to his solemnly recorded votes and promises. But he would leave the hon. member with his constituets to be dealt with, neither caring himseld for his smiles or his frowns, so long as he discharged his duty to the people. And now, if ever he desired the gift of eloquence,- it was at the present juncture, when the question of confederation was brought before us. He should desire to speak now, or for ever hold his peace : now, when the dearest rights and liberties for which a people ever fought were hanging in the balance, - now, when the enemy lurked in the secret places, with honeyed words, and gilded palms-and now, when gold, or abuse and misrepresentation where equally ready to be employed to accomplish the transfer of our liberties to Canada. Over five years ago, a scheme was submitted to us for colonial union, which pronounced just and equitable by those who now sought to impress upon us the idea that confederation was inevitable, and that we should never obtain better propositions than those before us. Our best policy, in their estimation, was to grasp at the proffered terms, or suggest PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 171 those which we would be williing to accept. Our confederate friends, philosophers and guides, were not correct in asserting that the terms of the Quebec Scheme were just and equitable - nay, even liberal, as far as Prince Edward Island was concerned. We had now the evidence before us, in minutes of Council of the Dominion Government itself, and in the tabular statements of their advocates and admirers here, whereby it was shown that they were willing to supplement their former offer by an increase of £25,520 per annum for local governmental purposes. He would submit, that having proved false prophets once, they were likely to prove so again, and the people of this colony, having gained that amount by their opposition, they would act the prudent part by still continuing their hostility to the scheme. To the stout-hearted men who scorned the Quebec Scheme, was due the credit of these better terms ; and to the same class would be due the credit of still better terms, should it ever prove the misfortune of the colony to join the Dominion ; but he earnestly trusted that the day was far distant when such a calamity would befal us. He held in his hand the original Quebec Scheme, wherein we were promised the munificent sum of 80 cents per head for the transfer of our liberty, and the consoling representation in the Senate of the Dominion, of four, and in the commons, of five—a representation, in all, of nine out of 258. That feature of the scheme, which placed as utterly at the mercy of our purchasers, had been rendered worse by the North American Act of 1867, inasmuch as it reduced the representation of the maritime Provinces; and who was there amongst us, except those favored few, possessed of property to the extent of $4000, anxious to bask in the sunshine which beamed around Ottawa, or the few needy hangers-on in our midst to whom every change was acceptable, who would not just as soon see the Island thrust into the confederacy without a representative at all as with the contemptibly limited number allowed us by the act referred to ? Had we no representation, we could, at all events, appeal to the sense of justice of mankind for fair play ;   we could adopt the patriotic cry of the people of the early American colonies—the New England States—that taxation without representation was tyranny, but by the proposed arrangement—although we in effect would have no influence whatever in regulating taxation, yet we might be fleeced to any extent, as the Act in question permitted— our mouths would be closed, because we had five commoners and four lords to represent us, and we could not say that we had been taxed without our own consent. In the better terms, he noticed the offer of $800,000 to settle our land question. He thanked Canada for the assurance. We granted the money for the purpose, but he thought the duty of relieving our hard-workding tenants from the thraidom into which they had been cajoled, devolved rather upon the Imperial government than upon the Canadians. Knowing, as we did, that it was the former and not the latter that inflicted the evil upon the colony, - and that it was the same power which now desired to place these colonies in the position of a target against republicanism, and make these Provinces the battle-ground for the feuds between Europe and America. And this we were requested to do at a time when the Imperial troops were being withdrawn from the colonies, and when we stood in the relative proportions of four to forty millions of people. With reference to the financial part of the scheme, we would, according to the new arrangement, have received last year £103,518 3s 10d, as an offset to £77,998 3s 10d, which we raised as our revenue proper, leaving a balance in our favor, as shown by the tabular statement of a confederate committee, who applied the Dominion tariff to our imports. The calculation was correct enough, barring the error of several thousands of pounds which had no right to be placed to our credit; but even admitting that the statement was correct in every particular, was it a sufficient inducement for us to enter the Dominion? It was a matter of fact that our revenue nearly doubled itself every twelve years, and estimating it at that of last year, £90,000, how, he might ask, would the account stand between us and Canada twelve years hence? Why, we should be a loser to the extent of £77,000 in round numbers; and as our tariff was only eleven per cent, whilst that of Canada was fifteen—with the strong probability of being raised to twenty - and as the sum proposed for the management of our local affairs was, with the insignificant exception of the 80 cent arrangement, a fixed one, the probability was that if the colony was to keep pace with its past prosperity, our loss would increase with our increasing prosperity; and our increasing wants would have to be supplied by direct taxation—by repulsive stamp and newspaper taxes, to which, hitherto, we had, happily, been PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 172 strangers. There was no promise made for public works in this Island, surrounded by an ice barrier for five months out of the year, for whilst we were called upon to contribute equally with our fellow-colonists on the mainland, to the construction and maintenance of costly public works, such as railroads, &c., which enhanced the value of their property, contributed to their wealth, and were available at all times, we were, by a special clause of the B. N. A. Act, debarred from such works unless at our own expense. But as an offset to these practical suggestions, our loyalty and religious convictions were appealed to. We had any number of promises; and prophetic visions were as plentiful as misquitoes in summer. The land question was to be settled, universal harmony was to prevail, and commerce was to raise us to the very pinnacle of prosperity. History, it was said, but repeated itself; and looking at the arguments of the friends of confederation, he was almost a believer in the doctrine of the transmigration of souls, and fancied that they were animated by the spirits, nay, the very language of those who were instrumental in effecting the union between England and Ireland in the early part of the present century. Reviewing the prophetic visions of national prosperity in which the Irish ministers indulged, the illustrious Grattan remarked:
"The minister has not done with bribes; whatever economy he shows in argument here he has been generous in the extreme. Parson, priest (I think one of his advocates hints the Presbyterians) are not forgotten; and now the mercantile body are all to be bribed, that all may be ruined. He holds out commercial benefits for political annihilation; but offers you a abundance of capital, but first he takes it away; he takes away a great portion of the landed capital of the country by the necessary operation of Union; he will give you, however, commercial capital in its place; but first he will give you taxes. It seems it is only necessary to break the barrier of liberty, and the tides of commerce will flow in of course; take away her rival in a landed capital, and then commercial capital advances without fear. Commerce only wants weight, i.e. taxes, it seems, in order to run with new spirit. He not only finds commerce in the retreat of landed capital, but he finds corn also. His whole speech is a course of surprises; the growth of excision, the resource of incumbrance, and harvests sown and gathered by the absence of the proprietors of the soil and of their property. All these things are to come. When? He does not tell you. Where? He does not tell you. You take his word for all this. I have heard of a banker's bill of exchange, Bank of England's notes, Bank of Ireland's notes; but a prophet's promissory note is a new traffic; all he gets from Ireland is our solid loss; all he promises are visionary, distance, and prophetic advantages. He sees, I do not, British merchants and Brit ish [illegible] sailing to the provinces of Connaught and Munster; there they settle in great multitudes, themselves and families. He mentions not what description of manufacturers; who from Birmingham; who from Manchester; [illegible]   matter, he cares not; he goes on asserting and asserting with great ease to himself, and with out any obligation to fact. Imagination is the region in which he delights to disport; where he is to take away your parliament, where he is to take away your final judicature, where he is to increase your taxes, where he is to get an Irish tribute, there he is a plain, direct, matter- of-fact man; but where he is to pay you for all this, there he is poetic and prophetic; no longer a [illegible], but an inspired accountant. [illegible]    gives her wand; [illegible]  takes him by the  hand; Ceres is in her train."
Is not this precisely the style of argument employed by colonial confederates? What our burdens, taxation and helplessness in the confederacy will be, we are informed accurately enough; but when we ask the confederates to point out to us the advantages of union, then they are poetical and visionary, and talk largely of the glory of the belonging to a great country, and the benefits of intercolonial free trade, as if we were not already part and parcel of one of the first nations of the earth, and as if intercolonial free trade could not be accomplished without a political union. The history of Ireland has been quoted to us to prove that no greater blessing could have befallen that country than the surrender of its parliament. We are told that the people of Ireland should rejoice at the destruction of a corrupt parliament, and unusual prosperity is attributed to the union. The confederates are unfortunate in their illustrations. The Legislature of Ireland was undoubtedly corrupt; but, bad as it was, the people of Ireland never consented to its annihilation, for the very good reason that they had no voice in the matter. As a matter of fact, we know that of the 300 men who committed that act of "damnable violation," as an eminent Irish member of the House of Commons termed it, 116 were actually placemen, and 216 the representatives of boroughs, and manors, and nominees of patrons, returned without the exercise of the shadow of elective right by the people. Placemen and all, as these so-called representatives were, yet, however, it required a lavish expenditure of gold to blunt their consciences to commit the deed which they knew would at once destroy the independence of the country, and blast its prosperity. The coercive Bills, Algerine Acts, and Martial Law, of the first twenty years of PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 173 union; the agitations of O'Connell, the famines of 1846-47 and 48, with the wholesale exodus consequent thereon; and the Fenian conspiracies of the present day, testify in unmistakable terms as to the folly of destroying, instead of reforming, the Irish Parliament. But he would not detain the committee by going over the history of Ireland's miseries. He would simply say, that as the members of this House, were the free choice of the people, he trusted that they would prove worthy of the confidence reposed in them, and that no considerations of honor or emolument would ever induce them to betray their constituents in so important an affair as the surrender of the constitution of the colony. The government, he was happy to find, had acted promptly and openly in the matter. The dates of the various despatches and documents, relating to the "better terms," clearly showed that the government lost no time in coming to a decision thereon, and the charge of waiting to see the direction of the popular breeze, therefore, fell to the ground. As far as this government and assembly were concerned, the country was safe with regard to confederation. It would be for the people to see that the next Legislature was equally honest and patriotic. Bribery and deception would doubtlessly be tried at the general election to swell the number of confederate members; but he had sufficient confidence in the intelligence of the people, and the love of liberty by which they were animated, to cherish the belief that they could not be cajoled by any specious artifices on the part of the confederates; and that they would adopt the most efficacious means by rejecting every unionist who might offer himself for election, to preserve the privileges which they enjoyed under the present constitution and form of government. The experience of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and the difficulties which beset the Dominion to the Red River revolt, should not be lost upon us. For himself, he (Mr. R) had discharged his duty to his constituents by opposing the "better terms". Were he to do otherwise, he would consider himself a traitor of t he blackest dye, in whom no honest elector should place confidence.
Mr. PROWSE said as this question of confederation was one on which every hon. member of the House should express his opinions, he would not be doing his duty did he not fearlessly express his sentiments. Were the committee discussion a resolution which could put us into confederation, he (Mr. P.) would feel himself bound, by his obligations to his constituents, to oppose anything which would put the Island into confederation without the consent of the people. But as the members of the Legislature would soon have to go back to the people for re-election, they should now express their honest convictions on this question, and not act in a double- dealing manner, as he (Mr. P.) believed the government of the day were doing. This question had been the means of showing up the present government in their true character, and he (Mr. P.) thought it would be safer to trust the country in the hands of men who honestly avowed themselves in favor of confederation, and yet would promise not to vote for union without an appeal to the people, than to men who had acted like the present government. The goverment were now upon their trial for their actions during the recess, and the House was asked to pass a resolution endorsing the sentiments of two minutes of council. One of these minutes read as follows:-
"Resolved, That inasmuch as said terms do not comprise a full and immediate settlement of the land tenures, and indemnity from the Imperial government for the loss of territorial revenues, the committee cannot recommend said terms to the consideration of their constituents and the public."
The only interpretation which could possibly be put on this, minute of council, was that, if the British Government settled our land question, we would go into confederation. Afterwards the government wrote a longer minute of council than the one just quoted, on the same subject, but he (Mr. P.) could not understand what the longer document was for, except to darken the meaning by a multiplicity of letters and words. The government stated that the land question was one of great importance, and they stipulated that it should be settled before we joined Canada, but if we could obtain the settlement of [illegible] question, it did not matter much where the money came from; he (Mr. P.) would not blush to take the money from Canada. We were badly treated by the Imperial Government with regard to our lands, they took away our crown lands to pay the debts of the empire. Canada was a part of that empire; she owed debts to Great PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 174 Britain, and if Canada was now willing to reinurse Prince Edward Island for the loss of our crown lands, in consideration of the obligations she owed to Great Britian, we might as safely accept this indemuity from Canada as from Great Britain. He (Mr. P.) did not wish to be understood to be in favor of the present terms, or of this House accepting any terms, for no terms should be accepted without the consent of the people at the polls. If he believed it was possible for this Island to retain its present position, or its isolation, be as prosperous in the future as it had been in the past, he would oppose confederation ; but, believing as he did, that isolation was nearly played out, he considered it right that this question should be discussed from one end of the Isalnd to the other. Some years ago the question of our land tenures was entertained by the British Government ; they appointed commissioners to settle it. These commissioners sent in a voluminous report, but there the matter rested. The British Government went so far as not only to admit that grievance existed, but actually submitted to the Island government a plan for the settlement of that question, but the Island did not approve of the scheme. Soon after, this confederation scheme was proposed and the people of this Island did not favor it. Ever since that time, our Island government had been snubbed by the British government on this land question, and we were told at last that they would not discuss the matter with us, but very significantly told us that this question would be taken upon by the Dominion Government in the event of our joining confederation. A great deal had been said about giving up our liberties, but he (Mr. P.) believed we would have as much liberty when united with Canada, as we now enjoyed. We had a beautiful exhibition of liberty when the highest legislative body on the Island—the lords in the other end of the building—could not pass a bill for the appointment of one of their own officers without adding a suspending clause,—that was the liberty the Legislature of this Island enjoyed ! (Hear, hear.) He (Mr. P.) did not think it the proper time to discuss the financial part of the question, as he was not prepared to advocated the present terms, but there were arguments which might be used to show that this Island was justly entitled to much better terms than had yet been offered to us—and it was the duty of the party in power to state what terms should be accepted by this Island. The settlement of the land question should always be kept in view by the government. It was the burden of the song of the late leader of the liberal party, hon. George Coles, who did not think it derogatory to the dignity of the Legislature of the Island to demand, when in Canada, the price of the lands from the Dominion government ; and he (Mr. P.) thought no member of the present government would claim to be above him (Mr. Coles) in intelligence and legislative ability. It appeared that every means was taken to blacken confederates' conduct on this question. He. (Mr. P.) had been accused of taking an undue advantage of his position, and of changing his opinion on the subject ; but he would state that he never was a "no-terms" man. The first time he (Mr. p.) had said anything in public on this question was at a meeting in his district at which the Hon. Mr. Duncan was present, after the return of the delegates from Quebec in 1864, and when he (Mr. D.) expressed himself opposed to any terms, and desired the meeting to pass a no-terms resolution. he (Mr. P.) had differed with him, and stated that if he (Mr. D.) was opposed to any terms, he, as a member of the government, should not have voted for sending delegates to Quebec. It had been stated that we did not want to trade with the Dominion, but from the tabular statement which ahd been got up by gentlemen of ability, as well as from other sources, it could be easily ascertained that we had a large and ever increasing amount of exports to the Dominion, and we must conclude that a remunerative market was obtained there, or so much would not be sent. We were also in a large measure dependent upon the Dominion for our fuel, so that our trade with that country was not so small as some hon. members tried to make out. The main question, however, was whether we could maintain our isolated policy in the future, as we had done in the past, when it was plainly the policy of Great Britain to increase the pressure until we joined the union. This policy of Great Britain was plainly observable in their conduct with regard to the land question and the payment of the governor's salary. He (Mr. P.) had voted for paying the Governor's salary, for he believed our refusal to do so might have been made a pretext for PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 175 putting us into confederation, and he did nto wish to see this Island placed into union as Nova Scotia had been. A great deal had been quoted from newspapers and speeches to show the dissatisfaction which prevailed in parts of the dominion, but these statements ahd been put forth by those who were opposed to the government of the Dominion, or were dissappointed office hunters ; and if we would judge by the statements of the opposition in any country, we should have a very poor idea of the state of public matters, although a good healthy opposition to a government was one of the greatest blessings to the country. At one time on this Island a great cry was raised about the corruptions of the family compact, and almost every man you met was talking about the Blue Book, while many of them hardly knew what it was. Soon after, another party took the reins of government, and then the religious question arose and the cry was raised that the Roman Catholics were going to ride rough-shod over the country. And so it would always be, one party trying to make out that the other was the worst in the world, which shewed that we could not judge of the prosperity of a country or of the purity of a party without hearing both sides of the question.
Hon. Mr. DUNCAN said he must have misunderstood the hon. member who had just spoken, at the Murray Harbor meeting to which he referred. At that meeting the hon. member, as he (Mr. D.) thought, was so opposed to confederation that he found fault with the government for sending delegates to Canada at all. He (Mr. D.) had pled guilty to the fault, and excused himself as best he could by saying that the delegates had gone further than he ever expected them to go, and that he would never consent to another delegation being sent.
Mr. PROWSE carried a resolution at the meeting.
Hon. Mr. DUNCAN was outdone. If the hon. member had carried a resolution against him, he (Mr. D.) could have no more to say.
Hon. Mr. HOWLAN asked how it came that the hon. member (Mr. Duncan) supported, at the last election, the return of his friend (Mr. Prowse), if that gentleman was a staunch confederate, and had opposed him at meetings.
Hon. Mr. DUNCAN could assure the hon. committee that he had supported the hon. member (Mr. Prowse) because he believed him to be a good anti-confederate; but he had been deceived. (Laughter.)
Hon. Mr. HOWLAN said he asked the question, because he observed by one of the newspapers, that the people in the Murray Harbor district had proposed at a recent meeting, to pledge their next representatives against confederation, upon oath in writing.
Hon. Mr. HAVILAND observed that he saw in the same paper that the government should be recommended for being anti-confederate. He (Mr. H.) thought this was strange, when the leader of the government himself had declared that he was in favor of the principle of confederation.
Mr. PROWSE explained that he was opposed to the late government sending delegates to Canada, because he believed that some of them could not be trusted on the confederation question ; and the people of the district had approved of the hon. member (Mr. Duncan) in taht respect.
Hon. Mr. DUNCAN.—Hon. members were wheeling round so that he did not know what to do. The question which he went down at that time to ascertain the views of his constituents upon, was the school Act.
The debate was then adjourned.


The Parliamentary Reporter of Debates and Proceedings of the House of Assembly. Charlottetown: Partiot Book and Job Printing Rooms, 1870. Microfilm copies provided by the Prince Edward Island Libraries and Archives.



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