Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island, 11 April 1870, Prince Edward Island Confederation with Canada.


Monday, April 11



House again in committee on the further consideration of Despatches.
Mr.McLEAN considered it imperative on every independent representative of the people in the House to express his candid opinion on the great and all- absorbing topic of confederation. It was a question of the greatest importance ; in fact the most momentous that had been discussed in this House for years ; for on its decision depended, in a measure, the future prosperity or ruin, the weal or woe of the inhabitants of the Island. We were now a free and independent people —free to make our own laws and disburse our own revenues, but were we confederated with the Dominion our condition would be very different—our general laws would be framed almost entirely by men who knew very little about us, and were unacquainted with our circumstances or requirements ; our revenue would be disbursed by a government many hundreds of miles from us, and we should be taxed at the discretion of that government. He (Mr. McL.) would like to see the free and glorious constitution of our little Island handed down to posterity. Did any hon member require proof of the evils of confederation? Look' at the once beautiful and classic land of Greece, which, for lack of an independent spirit in her people, became enslaved, and that country in which was once centred nearly all the refinement and literature of the 1870 PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 221 world, was now scarcely ever spoken of. And if the people of this Island did not manfully maintain their independence, they too would become enslaved. If we turned to the great Germanic Confederation, and there beheld the disastrous effects of union, it should be a warning to us. One of its effects was the great struggle which took place there a few years ago, in which hundreds of thousands of men were arrayed against each other in deadly hostility. In the United States of America, confederation was the cause of the battles which covered the country with rain and desolation, and deluged it with human blood. Washington foresaw the difficulties which would arise between the different sections of the Republic, and in his farewell address prophesied the great struggle which took place. He (Mr. McL.) the jealousy which existed between the North and the South. The Southern peole were opposed to the bounties paid to Northern fishing vessels, and this was one great cause of the discontent and dissatisfaction which existed. They had different interests, and so it was with the Dominion—the Interests of the maritime provinces were totally different from those of Canada, which would give rise to continual jealousy and discontent. The history of Scotland had been frequently referred to during this debate, and the hon member for Charlottetown (Mr. Bracken) had stigmatized the Scottish people as lawless and indolent. If the people of Scotland were lawless, it was because they were driven to desperation ; and as regarded the charge of indolence, every person was well aware that the Scotch were a thriving, energetic people, and that they always sustained a high character in whatever country they happened to reside. The learned Leader of the Opposition had quoted Knight's History of Scotland, a history which was well known to be unreliable. Knight took his views of Scottish History from Define, the author of Robinson Crusoe and other such works. Sir Walter Scott's history was very different from Knight's. It was said that Scotland did not prosper before union with England. Perhaps not, but neither did she prosper for a considerable time after it. There was continual strife between the people of Scotland and those of England, and between 1707,1745, a period of 38 years,there were three rebellions, —one in 1815, another in 1823, and a third in 1845. So much had been said about the union of Ireland and England, that very little farther remained to be added, but be (Mr. McL.) would just remark that when that union was consummated, it was an understanding that Ireland was to have a separate exchequer, but that part of the agreement was not fulfilled. The public debt of Ireland at that time, was £26,000,000, while that of England was £420,000,000, and Ireland had to bear her share of both debts combined, which was a piece of gross injustice. It had been argued that the Irish Parliament was corrupt, but, if so, what made it corrupt? English gold. To turn to the proposed union of this Island with the Dominion of Canada, it appeared to him (Mr McL.) that no terms which Canada could offer would be an equivalent for the loss of our liberties. The Dominion government might order us what terms they liked, because if they had us in the union, my would then have the power of taxing us at their own discretion. and could take from us more than we had received from them. It had been stated that if we joined the Dominion, the proprietary lands would all be purchased, and rent paying, which had been so long a curse to the Island, would cease forever ; but if those who were freed from from the thraldom of rent paying would be obliged, in the event of confederation, to pay more in taxes than they now paid in rent, it was difficult to see how their condition would be improved. He (Mr. McL.) would like to hear from the hon. leader of the Opposition, and also from the hon. member for Charlottetown, (Mr. Brecken) their reasons for changing their views on this great subject. When men in such high positions changed their minds on a great question, the public should know what induced them to do so. It appeared from the speeches of the Hon. Mr. Haviland, the present leader of the Opposition, that in 1864 he entertained very different views on the question of confederation from what he had expressed during this debate. The following were some extracts from that hon. member's speeches:—
" It was urged this morning, as an argument in favor of the union, that, the event of a cessation of the present civil war in the States, we would be powerless against a northern army, or against the forces of the restored union. If that be the only argument which can be advanced by the advocates of the suggested association, their position is weak indeed; for I ask what could the united colonies effect against the forces which could be brought at them? Assuming the population of the Canadas to be two and one-half millionw, can it be expected that we could, in case of invasion, offer successful resistance to 222 PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER.   1870 the disciplined armies, which a population exceeding twenty millions, would send forth? The minds of hon. members may be seduced from a sober consideration of this question, by the idea that we would be laying the foundatoions of a great country, and I admit the influence of that feeling on my own mind last session, But, Sir, i confess a change has come o'er ther spirit of my dream. What benefits are we to reap from the proposed reunion, for we were united up to 1769? New Brunswick has a large funded debt, in comparison to which our public liabilities, the fruitful subject of so much grumbling, are mere matter of moonshine. The public debt of the Island amounts to not more than £60,000 or £70,000, and we have the public domain to the credit of the country. Although the resolution submitted does not commit this House to the expression of any opinion on the subject of the union of the colonies, it is but right that the delegates, who may be appointed as representatives of the Island, at the proposed conference, should have their position fortified by the avowed sentiments of members of the Legis;ature, that they should be able to tell the representatives of the sister colonies, what are the feelings of those whom they represent. I am decidedly of opinion, that we should, as an act of common courtesy, assent to the appointment of delegates, if for no other purpose than that of hearing what propositions may be offered by representatives of the other provinces. With this view, I shall support the resolution, but I entertain very decided objections to the proposed union. * *  *  In his speech on the union of the lower colonies, the Hon. Mr. Tupper, Provincial Secretary of Nova Scotia, said that the time had not yet arrived for a union with Canada, because of the large debt of that colony. "I thank thee, Jew, for reaching me that word." for the argument deduced from it is applicable against our union with the other colonies. Canada is burdened with a debt of more that sixty millions of dollars, and there is an annual deficit in the revenue of a million. As to the idea attributed to the Imperial Government, that these colonies are able to bear the burden of defending themselves against the invasion of a foreign foe, the sooner Great Britain awakes from that dilusion the better. * * * Our status, if united, would,  I am bound to assume, be adjusted on the basis, either of territorial area or numerical ratio of population. If the first criterion be adopted, we would occupy a very inconsiderable position in the united Legislature. If our representation is to be regulated by population, the official statistics on that point, afford but little prospect of Prince Edward Island exercising much influence in the halls of the united colonies. * *  *   We might expect to recieve the treatment that Scotland and Ireland were subjected to whhen their separate Legislatures were abolished. * * *  At present the money we raise among  ourselves is spent on the Island, and I ask what guarantee have we that, once absorbed in the union, we may not have to pass a budget framed to meet the railway charges of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick? I know not what may result from this oventire, but I caution hon. members, that if they sell their birthright they may expect their country to retrograde as Cape Breton has done since her annexation to Nova Scotia. We have, at present, the system of self-government and self-taxation, and if there be some defects in the practical working of our institutions, it is 'better to bear the ills we have, than to fly to others we know not of'. We have already an independent judiciary, and if our professional men and their clients, should have to appear in the great Supreme Court of Acadia, I do not see what improvement would be effected by the change. At present we enjoy the advantages of the railways in the neighboring provinces without the burden of the cost, and if we were prevented from these advantages, I admit, an argument might be drawn in favor of the union, but it should also be borne in mind, that the railway in New Brunswick derives a large amount of income from this Island. * *  *  The hon.  Col. Secretary told us that our internal communications would be improved by the increased outlay which the revenue of the united colonies could afford, and that capital would flow in on us after our separate constitution should be merged in the union. As to the first argument, my impression is very decidedly opposed to it, and I cannot concieve that our identification with other countries deeply involved in debt, will have the effect of including men of wealth to invest their property in the colony. The statistics of the Island, show that, without the public lands, which they possess, without the Imperial expenditure for naval and military purposes, which had been so abundantly, nay, lavishly, disbursed in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, we have thriven and advanced in material prosperity, as did the old thirteen colonies, by our own unaided resources. The very first result of a union with those provinces would be a uniform tariff; and while we hear complaints of our present scale of duties, let it be remembered that in the neighbouring colonies, the people are taxed far more heavily. In view of all these facts, I repeat the question, what are we to gain by a union? Consider further, Mr. Chairman, the peculiarity which would necessarily arise from our insular position. All who hear me, know that our Colonial Legislatures meet in the winter season; and I ask hon. members on either side, if they would fancy the idea of crossing the straits of Northumberland in January or February, to attend to their Legislative duties. Sir, I believe this scheme has been devised mpre in the interests of the ruling parties in the neighboring colonies than in regard for those of the people. The Tilleys and Tuppers would fain have a wider field for the exercise of their talents, and the extension of their sway, but it is our duty to protect the rights of those whose reprentatives we are, aud what public man will not hesitate ere he votes that our institutions shall become nonentites? We have been told, and with truth, that Scotland prospered after, and in consequence of her union with England, in 1707. There might be some cogency in the argument, if, before the union, she had possessed free institutions; but such was not the case. * *  *  The argument that we shall be materially benefited by forming a part of a country which will count its population by millions, finds no acquiscence in my mind, when I reflect in what Tell achieved for Switzerland against the most powerful nation of his time."
There was, he (Mr. McL.) believed, a federal union between England and Ireland before the union of their Parliaments, and also between Scotland and England, from 1707 to 1763.
Hon. Mr. HAVILAND said that hon member for East Point had paid him the same compliment as the Leader of the Government had done, namely, shown up his inconsistency; but unhappily they could not distinguish the difference between a legislative and a federal union. It was a legislative union that he (Mr. H.) had spoken against - a union which would annihilate our local legislature, and the general government would have power over our local affairs. There was no federal union between Ireland and England, nor yet between Scotland and England - they had one king, but separate parliaments. the authenticity of Defoe's writings had been called in question; but there was no man better able to write a history of Scotland at the time of the union that Defoe, for he had been a commissioner in the secret service of Queen Anne to bring about about that union.
Hon. Mr. HOWLAN.- And was well paid for it.
Hon. Mr. HAVILAND.- It was a rash assertion for the hon member (Mr. McLean) to state that every union of two countries was disastrous, for he (Mr. H.) believed that constitutionally organized confederacies had always been prosperous. if he (Mr. McLean) would go back to Phillip II of Spain, he would find that a union of the seven provinces of Holland saved them from being crushed under the iron heel of despotism, and made them one of the leading powers of Europe. He (Mr. H.) thought the hon member from Alberton (Mr. Bell) would not agree with the last speaker that the federal government of the united States was the cause if the fractracidal war which devastated that country a few years ago. The idea of the South going to war because a bounty was given to Northern fishermen, was too absurd to be entertained. The cause of the struggle was slavery. Did the hon member get his statement, that General Washinggton, in his farewell address, foretold the war which took place, from history or from the jackals outside the House? General Washington helped to frame the Constitutional, and would not run down what he helped to frame. The hon member (Mr. McLean). He was winning his spurs, and seemed to be aspiring to a seat in the Executive Council, and he (Mr. H.) would warn the Leader of the Government to be on his guard lest he (Mr. McLean) should, when he got there, treat him like the young cuckoo did its fellow-nestlings — throw him out and keep the nest to himself. I had been said that it was unconstitutional for a legislature to vote against the people, as had been done in Nova Scotia; but he (Mr. H.) contended that the legislature of Nova Scotia acted in a perfectly constitutional manner; but, at the same time, he thought they acted unwisely in not appealing to the people on the subject of confederation. British history was full of precedents for carrying important measures without appealing to the people. The succession to the throne, in the time of William and Mary, was changed by an Act of Parliament; and at the time of the union of England and Scotland no appeal was made to the people. He (Mr. H.) would now give the opinion of Sir Robert Peer on this subject in 1846, when he was carrying the repeal of the Corn Laws through Parliament; and it was stated that he and his party were returned to carry the Corn laws. At the same time he had quoted the opinions of a greater statesman than himself, the second Pitt, on the question of passing an Act to legislate Ireland into union, when some objection had been made by the celebrated Sheridan
"Whatever may have been the circumstances that may have taken place at an election, I never would sanction the view that any House of Commons is incompetent to entertain any measure that is necessary for the well-being of the community. If you were to admit that doctrine you would shake the foundations on which many of the best laws are placed. Why, that doctrine was propounded at the time of the union between England and Scotland. It was maintained in Ireland very vehemently, but it was not maintained in this country by Mr. Fex. it was slightly adverted to by Mr. Sheridan at the time when the message, with regard to the union, was delivered. Parliament had been elected without the slightest reason to believe that its functions were to be fused and mixed with those of another legislature, namely, the Irish Parliament, and Mr. Sheridan slightly hinted it as an objection to the competency of Parliament Mr. pitt met that objection at the instant in the following manner. Mr. Pitt said: The first objection is what I heard alluded to by the hon. gentleman oppisite to me, when His Majesty's message was brought down, namely, that the Parliament of Ireland is incompetent to entertain and discuss the question, or, rather, to act upon the measure proposed, without having previously obtained the consent of the people of Ireland - Their constituents. This point, Sir, is of so much importance that I think that I 224 PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 1870 ought not to suffer the opportunity to pass, without illustrating more fully what I mean. If the principle of the incompetency of Parliament to the decision of the measure be admitted, or if it be contended that Parliament has no legitimate authority to discuss and decide upon it, you will be driven to the necessity of recognizing a principle, , the most dangerous that ever was adopted in any civilized State- I mean that Parliament cannot adopt any measure new in its nature, and of great importance, without appealing to the constituent and delegating authority for directions. If that doctrine be true, look to what an extent it will carry you. If such an argument could be set up and maintained you acted without any legitimate authority when you created the principality of Wales. Every law that Parliament passed without that appeal, either as to its own form and constitution, as to qualification of the electors, or elected, as to the grand and fundamental point of the succession to the Crown, was a breach of treaty, and an act of usurpation."
Mr. Pitt contended, therefore, that Parliament had a right to alter the succession to the throne, to incorporate with itself another legislature, to disfranchise its constituents, or to associate others with them. That was the constitutional rule laid down by great authorities, but the authority and right of Parliament, was one thing and the expediency of exercising that right, was another thing. It had been said that the hon. member for Charlottetown, (Mr. Brecken) when he changed his opinions, should either hold his tongue, or resign his seat, but he (Mr. B.) had quoted the opinions of great statesmen on the other side of the Atlantic, in justification of his conduct. He (Mr. H.) would now quote hon. Joseph Howe, as to the unconstitutional idea of calling upon a member of Parliament to resign his seat. In Nova Scotia, in 1861, when Mr. Howe was Prime Minister, several members who had been returned as conservatives, had changed their political views, and, in consequence, petitions were poured into the Government praying for a dissolution, and these petitions were answered by Lord Mulgrave, and as Mr. Howe was his Prime Minister, it was Mr. Howe speaking through Lord Mulgrave. The reasons assigned by the petitioners were that members were acting and voting contrary to their own previously avowed principles, and contrary to the well known wishes of their constituents. In reply, the following broad principles were laid down:-
"It is the undoubted principle of the British constitution, that a member once returned byh a constituency, has to consider what he be lieves to be the interests of the whole country, and not the single wishes of his own constituency. He is elected a Representative, and not a Delegate, and the constituency have given up to him for the limited period fixed by law for the duration of the Parliament, the power which they possessed. They have a right to represent to him their views, and to refuse to re-elect him at the end of the Parliament if they are dissatisfied with his conduct, but they have no right during the duration of the Parliament to coerce his actions, still less have they the right to expect that the royal prerogative would be used, because they are dissatisfied with the choice they have made."
Great fault had been found with the hon. member for Charlottetown (Mr. Brecken) for changing his opinions on this subject, but he (Mr. H.) thought while members of the government had such a large beam in their own eyes, they should not be so anxious to get the mote out of the hon. member's eye. Hon. Mr. Haythorne the Premier of the colony, had stated at a public meeting, that he was not a "no terms" man, and the hon. member for Charlottetown had done no more. The hon. member for Bedeque (Mr. Laird) had also spoken on the subject at Summerside, and he was not a "no terms" man. The hon. member, Mr. Callbeck, should have put the figures, with which he favored the House, into the celebrated minute of Council. The minute of Council admitted the principle of confederation. The construction put upon it by Lord Granville was, that the only obstacle to confederation was the settlement of the land question. The Government seemed to have taken a lesson from Talleyrand, or Machiavelli, and put into this minute of Council, words to hide the meaning. It was hard to tell what the government meant- they were waiting with bated breath to ascertain the opinions of a majority of the people.
MR. McLEAN did not expect that when the hon. Leader of the Opposition followed him, he would enter into personalities. Some hon members appeared to wish to make themselves conspicuous to persons in the gallaries. He (Mr. McL.) could not see that talking about Souris and the wise men of the east had anything to do with the question before the Committee.
HON. MR. DUNCAN. - The hon leader of the Opposition, or rather the leader of the confederate party, seemed to stand by the position which Howe had laid down that hon. members might change their opinions. He (Mr. D.) thought it was one of the beauties of limited monarchical government, that when the representatives of the people were 1870 PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 225 doing contrary to their wishes, the Crown dissolved the House, and sent them back to the people. For example, in this Island, Sir Alexander Bannerman - though he (Mr. D.) did not like it- once dissolved the House on the plea that it was acting contrary to the wishes of the people. In Nova Scotia the Assembly carried confederation against the desire of the people, but the governor did not dissolve that body, because he himself was in favor of seeing the union scheme consummated. New Brunswick was constitutionally dealt with; in that Province there was an appeal to the country. No doubt the Legislature of Nova Scotia had the power to alter the constitution without the consent of the people; still they had no right to do such an act.
HON. MR. HAVILAND said there was no analogy between the cases of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. In the latter Province, Smith and his party resigned their seats in the government, and a new executive was appointed which dissolved the House, and appealed to the people. In Nova Scotia, there was no such resignation. The hon. member (Mr. Duncan) had in the course of his speech the other night, read from a letter written in New Brunswick, complaining of the results of confederation in that Province. He (Mr. H.) did not give the letter much attention, as there were people in all countries opposed to change; but it seemed as if great importance were attached to the epistle, for it had been published in the newspapers. He would read something of a different character, namely an extract form a speech made by a gentleman of position in St. John, and his statements could be set over against those of the hon. member's letter. [The extract was here read but the Reporter did not obtain a copy of it.] The hon. member for East Point, (Mr. McLean) had referred to personalities, but for a young member, he (Mr. McL.) could be as personal as any one in this House. Insinuations had also been made during this debate; the Queen's Printer had said that all unions were brought about by gold. He (Mr. H.) would say that all unions had also been opposed with gold. There was as much honor, he could tell the hon. member, on this side of the House, as there was on the other side. This question should be discussed on its own merits, and character left alone; neither the character nor the patriotism of those around him would suffer by a comparison with t hat of hon members opposite.
Mr. McNEILL said the hon member who had just spoken had gone far back, in some of his authorities, for precedents to show that a parliament could destroy itself. The cases which he quoted were like the treachery of Judas, beacons to prosperity. After such examples being brought forward to establish the point that this House might do away with the constitution of the Colony, he thought it was no wonder that some people were preparing to swear their candidates at the next election. It was well that the opinions which we had heard advanced by the hon and learned member for Georgetown should go to the country; the people might judge of them for themselves.
Hon. Mr. HOWLAN was amused at the recommendation the hon. leader of the Opposition have in favor of one of the authorities which he quoted, namely, that it was used in the education of the royal family. Some person had said that one reason why princes were fools, was because that they did not go to school with other boys. Defoe had also been given as an authority. No wonder that he was in favor of union, for he had been employed to aid in carrying it out. Jeffreys had likewise been quote,d but he (Mr. H.) would not give much for his opinion, for he was a great tory.
Hon. Mr. HAVILAND- That was all the hon. member knew about it.
Hon. Mr. HOWLAN.- The Edinburgh Review, for which he wrote, was certainly a tory publication. But he (Mr. H.) would give some authorities to meet those which had been quoted by the confederate members opposite. He would read an extract from Erksine May's Constitutional History of England, to show the corruption which existed in the English parliament about the time of the Irish union. In vol. 1, p. 299 that writer says:-
"According to the law of Ireland, freeholds were created without the possession of property; and the votes of the freeholders were considered as the absolute right of the proprietors of the soil. Hence it was that after the union more than two-thirds of the Irish members were returned, not by the people of Ireland, but by about fifty or sixty influential patrons."
"According to a statement made by the Duke of Richmond in 1780, not more than 6000 men returned a clear majority of the House of Commons. It was alleged in the petition of the Society of the Friends of the People presented by Mr. Grey, in 1793, that eighty-four individuals returned 157 members to Parliament; that 70 influential men secured the return of 150 members; and that in this manner 307 members- being the majority of the House before the union with Ireland - were returned to Parlia 226 PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 1870 ment by 154 patrons, of whom 40 were peers. In 1821 Mr. Lambtor stated that he was prepared to prove, by evidence at the bar of the House of Commons, that 180 individuals returned, by nomination or otherwise, 850 members."
"There can be little doubt that the King himself was cognizant of the bribery which, at this period, was systematically used to secure Parliamentary support. Nay, more, he personally advised and recommended it. Writing to Lord North, 16th Oct. 1779, he said: 'If the Duke of Northumberland requires some gold pills for the election, it would be wrong not to satisfy him.'"
And as some hon. members in this House appeared to have Macaulay on the brain, he (Mr. H) would also read an extract from that author on this corruption. At page 164 of vol- he says:-
"The plague spot began to be visible and palpable in the days of the Cabal. Clifford, the boldest and fiercest of the wicked five, had the merit of discovering that a noisy patriot, whom it was no longer possible to send to prison, might be turned into a courtier by a goldsmith's note. Clifford's example was followed by his successors. It soon became a proverb that a Parliament resembled a pump. Often the wits said when a pump appears to be dry, if a very small quantity of water is poured in, a great quantity of water gushes out; and so, when a Parliament appears to be niggardly, ten thousand pounds, judiciously given in bribes, will produce a million in supplies. The evil was not diminished; nay, it was aggravated by that resolution which freed our country from so many other evils."
"Honest Burret, with the uncourtly courage which distinguished him, ventured to remonstrate with the King. 'Nobody,' William answered, 'hates bribery more than I, but I have to do with a set of men who must be managed to this vile way, or not at all. I must strain a point or the country is lost.'"
There were the opinions of Macaulay on this subject. Now, he (Mr. H.) might quote from McCulloch, to show what the Irish had to endure. That writer, under the head of Ireland, states:-
"The Treaty of Limerick, in 1691, between the Generals of Williams III and those of James the II, guaranteed to the Irish Roman Catholics the same religious privileges they had enjoyed during the reign of Charles the II. But this treaty was most shamefully broken, and during the reigns of Anne, George I, and George II, a series of Acts were passed, constituting what has been called the Catholic Penal Code, which had for its object the extermination of the Roman Catholic religion in Ireland. It is unnecessary to recapitulate the provisions of these statutes. Their spirit was succinctly and truly described by Mr. Burke- 'The laws made in this Kingdom (Ireland) against papists, were as bloody as any of those that had been enacted by the Popish princes and states, they were worse- they were slow, cruel, outrageous in their nature, and kept men alive only to insult in their persons every one of the rights and feelings of humanity." - Letter to Sir H. Langrishe.
"Everybody knows that this atrocious code entirely failed of its object and that instead of being exterminated the Roman Catholics gained new strength and vigor from the persecution to which they were exposed.
"In the earlier part of the reign of George III, the leading statesmen of England became alive to the impolicy and mischievous operation of parts, at least, of the penal code, and its more offensive provisions were gradually repealed. In 1798 the elective franchise was conceded to the Roman Catholics, but they continued down to a comparatively late period, to be excluded from the privilege of having seats in the legislature, of being members of corporations, and of holding numerous public offices of trust and emolument."
At the time the union of Ireland with England was sought to be forwarded, not only gold was employed, but the clergy were told that the church would be supported. After the union was consummated, this promise was denied. Although corruption did its work in the Irish parliament, there was material enough in the country to make it pure; and with all its faults, that parliament did more for Ireland than it usually received credit for. Grattan, page 39, says:-
"A Legislature, the parent of both countries he talks of a Legislature, as far as relates to Ireland, free from the influence of vicinity of sympathy- the Isle of Man is all that (free from the influence of duty directed by prejudices and unencumbered by knowledge). In order to judge what this parental legislature would be, let us consider what the British Parliament has been, and let us compare that parliament, for this purpose, with the legislature of Ireland. In this comparison I do not mean to approve all the parliaments that have sat in Ireland; I left the former parliament because I condemned its proceedings; but I argue not like the minister from the misconduct of one parliament against the being of parliament itself. I value that parliamentary constitution by the average of its benefits, and I affirm that the blessings procured by the Irish parliament in the last twenty years, are greater than all the blessing afforded by British parliaments to Ireland for the last century; greater even than the mischief inflicted on Ireland by British parliaments; greater than all the blessings procured by those parliaments for their own country within that period; within that time Legislature of England lost an empire, and the Legislature of Ireland a constitution.
This was Grattan's opinion of the Irish parliament at that time.
Mr. BRECKEN.- Will the hon. member make this clear? Why was it that such a parliament sold the country?
Hon. Mr. HOWLAN.- Because they were bought with English gold.
Mr. BRECKEN.- How then could they be called an honorable body of men?
Hon. Mr. HOWLAN had only given Grattan's opinion; but he (Mr. H.) would say this, he would not accuse the hon. member for Charlottetown of ever having read the history of Ireland. But he would turn from the history argument to another aspect of the question. Our trade with the Dominion was referred to as having increased. Since the abrogation of the reciprocity treaty, our trade, of course, to a certain extent had turned into other channels. But a great part of this increased trade to the Dominion was in pork, which had only become an article of export, within the last few years. To show how some branches of trade had sprung up here of late, and that the Colony was in a highly prosperous state, he had prepared a few figures. Our exports in staple articles of produce were for the following years, in bushels:
Oats. Potatoes. Barley.
1849. 231,339 ,718 10,087
1850. 1,111,961 465,360 97,935
1860. 1,652,952 534,053 57,281
From 1849 to 1859 our people were largely engaged in shipbuilding, and neglected farming; but from 1859 to 1869, much more attention was paid to agriculture, and let us note the results:-
1849. 1859. 1869. Increase.
Butter, 1/2 ton 5 1/2 tons 45 tons 80 p. ct.
Eggs, 0 bbl 102 bbls 5119 bbls 500 "
Pork & Ham 62 " 1706 " 9111 " 530 "
Follow this increase on for twenty years more, and what would be the state of our trade? Add it to our hay, which, together with fat cattle, would very soon form a considerable item, and we would have still greater results. Now all this had been done with a banking capital of $3 1/4 per head of our population, while our neighbors in the Dominion had $9 1/2 per head. There was scarcely any doubt but the prosperity of the Island would go on at a still greater ratio. This colony might be said to be a complete agricultural college and stock farm; and our farmers now were about the graduating class. The log house of the new settlement was giving way to the more modern and stylish house; and the tidy sitting room to the well-finished parlor, with its accompaniments, in many instances of a melodeon or a piano. There was nothing in the way of comfort that our people did not enjoy; we were not, therefore, in such a position that any change must be for the better. We had an increasing revenue, which it was acknowledged, would double itself every twelve years. But what was the state of matters in the Dominion? The Upper Canadians were asking for a tariff of 20 per cent, and the opening up of the North West. Before all the schemes which the Dominion had undertaken were completed, he (Mr. H.) believed the tariff would be still higher than 20 per cent. There had been a great deal of figuring as to what this Island would gain or lose were we to accept the Better Terms. One set of financiers had pronounced that these terms would be a gain of £23,000 to the Colony. Then we had a Tabular statement, very ably prepared, but yet inaccurate, which showed that the Better Terms would give some £12,000 to the credit of the Colony. In calculations of this kind, there must be much about them which would be uncertain, but the committee that had prepared the report in question had blundered sadly bout certain articles, such as rum, dry goods, &c., which showed that they were not the ablest financiers. He (Mr. H.) had endeavored to make a statement, but he had failed to bring it near either of those to which he had referred. He would give it briefly, and the House and the country might judge of it for themselves. The estimates of the Dominion, as just published, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1871, was $23,915,917, from which deduct for the Intercolonial Railway $6,000,000, which would leave $17,915,917. Our share of this amount, namely the 40th part, would amount to about £140,000 currency. All that we would receive in subsidies, salaries, &c., from the Dominion would be about £90,000, thus leaving a loss to the Colony for the current year of some £50,000, which would go on increasing as the taxation or expenses of the Dominion increased. After considering these figures the thought no sensible person would think of going into confederation. He considered it his duty to meet a statement of the hon. leader of the Opposition with respect to the public accounts, when he was attempting to show that the finances of the Colony were not in a satisfactory state. He said that the returns of the Land Office for last year showed a balance of £154 on the wrong side of the books. This was a very disingenuous way of stating the case. The money of that office had been taken for other purposes, and it was not fair that all the interest in the accounts of that office should be charged to it. The 228 PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 1870 expenditure in connection therewith was £8,636, but of that amount some £5,839 had been paid for interest ; £691, in money refunded to settlers on the Selkirk estate, and £250 for a claim on a format Cascumpec point. The hon. member for Charlottetown had stated the other night, that Scotchmen prosperedwherever they Went all the world over. One would think from the remarks of hon. members that Irishmen never succeeded anywhere. He (Mr. H.) could point to gentlemen in high positions, such as the Governor General of India, who were Irishmen. Then again with respect to the Minute of Council, the example of Talleyrand had been quoted —it had been got up to conceal the ideas, of members of the government, as they did not wish to commit themselves, until they saw how public opinion would turn. The first minute was dated the 7th January, some days before the proposals of the Dominion Government were made public, consequently it could not be said that the, Executive waited to see what turn public opinion would take in regard to them. The members of the government entertained the same ideas respecting the better terms on the first day they saw them as they did now. And he did not see how they could arrive at any other opinions. Besides the more extended Minute of Council of 4th February did not differ in sentiment from the short one prepared by a committee of Council on the 7th January. He would read an extract from the minute of 4th February :—
"Some may consider it a matter of indifference whether the money payment by which those questions must eventually be settled, be provided by the Dominion of Canada or by Great Britain. But to accept the offer of eight hundred thousand dollars, as a free gift from the Dominion, which would not establish this Colony in a position as regards Land Tenures and territorial Revenues, similar to that occupied by the adjoining Provinces, yet the independence of the Island would thereby be compromised, and the Union question would be discussed, and finally decided not upon its intrinsic merits, but because it might become the means of settling the Land Question, which is of a totally different character. The Council feels it to be their imperative duty to express their conviction that no Union can prove successful and advantageous to the people of British North America, unless it be accomplished with the free and unbiased consent and approval of the contracting parties. England's own experience of the rebellious, the seditions and the emigration which occurred during almost three quarters of a century, which followed the two unwelcome Unions of Scotland and Ireland, with her, should warn her as well as the Dominion, to pause ere they commit a similar error in North America."
The government when they agreed upon this paragraph had more particularly in view the case of Nova Scotia. With respect to Ireland, some hon. members appeared to think that her union with England was the best thing that ever happened that country. If so Daniel O'Connell and D'Arcy McGee must have been fools for what they did. The minute of Council continues thus:—
"If, therefore, the duty of settling the Land Question should be assumed by the Dominion, the relations between her and the Island would be ill-adapted to elicit a genuine expression of opinion ; they would in fact, closely resemble those which have heretofore subsisted in certain British boroughs between candidates and a bribed constituency.
"Even if a Union could be affected on the terms proposed, it is obvious that the Representatives of Prince Edward Island would occupy a very invidicus position when voting in the Ottawa Parliament, more especially on questions involving the use of Dominion funds, for the purpose of reconciling the objections of other Colonies to Confederation."  
We see that at Ottawa this session, Hon. Mr. Tilley was called the silent member, because he could not get the policy which was best for New Brunswick carried out. And this Island would be in a still worse position, especially if she accepted the terms proposed. Hear what the St. John Telegraph, of April 11, a union paper, says about the new tariff of the Dominion, and its effects upon New Brunswick :—
" But the duties on breadstuffs, coal, etc., would never have been imposed for purposes of more revenue. They are protective duties pure and simple, and are fitted to defeat the fiscal policy of Canada, which has hitherto aimed at making it a cheap country to live in, and to manufacture goods in, so that we might build up an export trade. The new policy, so far as it goes, is in the opposite direction; it will certainly compel us to pay more for flour—flour was more firmly held on Saturday with upward tendencies in consequence of the new tariff—it will limit our choice of a market, and will virtually make us, in New Brunswick, pay tribute to Ontario, without any compensating advantages. These are matters on which we should have supposed the men we sent to Parliament to look after our interests would have had a good deal to say. We have yet to hear what they did say, or whether they left the disagreeable duty of giving expression to the sentiments of their constituents entirely to the newspapers."
The same paper speaking of the whole management of Dominion affairs says :—  
"Those who are best informed believe that we 1870 PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 229 have too   many heads of departments, too many deputy heads, too many clerks and that, altogether, a little more economy, a little less extravagance in buildings and festivities and in our general style of public house-keeping would be more becoming a young nationality like Canada. Then, as to the need of Revenue whence does it arise? According to the showing of the Government and its Finance Minister, it, for the most part, is enabled to rejoice in a surplus. But this is not the fact. It is a scandalous and most reprehensible perversion of fact. By dragging into the Revenue account large sums of money which do not belong to it— sums of money which belong to 'capital' accounts or 'open' accounts—the Government show a surplus of revenue over expenditure. Last year, it appears, our Government had a revenue of over $600,000 from ' premium and discount !" But the principal part of this large revenue was derived from the premium which the Intercolonial Railway loan was sold for, which loan and any premium derived from its sale, ought to be sacredly devoted to one single object, namely, that for which it was obtained. So with several other items in both sides of the account, an account which shows that Canada, instead of making money by 'premium and discount', is paying the enormous sum of over $280,000 a year to its banker, on this side of the water, for 'managing' the public debt, a duty which ought to be performed by the Finance Minister and his deputies and subordinates. The Government thus leads the people to think that no additional taxes are needed, especially as the great public works are undertaken out of revenue. This causes no little grumbling, and allowing to the reprehensible and demoralizing financial strategy of the Finance Minister.
"The facts are otherwise. The opening up of the Northwest, the protection and management of the Fisheries, the Census, the payment of the interest on Provincial debts, largely increased by Railway subsidies and outlays in Canals, and now constituting the debt of Canada—these and other expenditures connected with the material development of the country and the promotion of its best interests, create a necessity for an increased revenue. If these facts were frankly admitted, instead of being concealed and misrepresented, and if all possible reductions were made in the general expenditure, the people would not grumble. They would rather give the Government a suitable revenue than have it pay a quarter of a million of dollars a year for 'managing' its debt; making forced loans in several different forms, endangering the convertibility of our currency and menacing us with the degradation of ' shin-plasters.' "
This he (Mr. H.) thought was a state of affairs which was by no means desirable. He had, however, turned aside from the minute of Council; he would next read the paragraph relating to public works :—
"Second—the Council does not admit that any responsibility with reference to the Land Tenures (involving a free gift of money), properly attaches to the Dominion, but they indicate as one reason for the dislike to Confederation, which so generally prevails, that the interests of the Island with reference to Public Works, have been overlooked, inasmuch as the ninety-second clause of the North American Act defines local works to he such as do not connect one Province with another or others. And as the people of this Island, if united to the Dominion, would contribute largely, in proportion to their numbers, to the construction and maintenance of Public Works on the mainland, from the free use of which their insular position would debar them, it is, therefore, indispensable, if the Dominion Government desires to recommend the question of Union to the serious consideration of the people of Prince Edward Island, that the clause referred to should be declared not to apply to Public Works, generally, in the Island, and particularly to a trunk line of railway, connecting the three principal outports with each other and the capital, such a railway being urgently required."
This view of the Executive with respect to public works would also bear investigation. He might likewise go over the whole of the minute of Council in the same way, and nothing could be found in it of which the government need be ashamed. We had been told our voice would not be listened to by the British Government, if we remained out of Union, and the fact that our postage to and from the mother country had not been lowered, at the time it was granted to the Dominion, had been quoted as an evidence of this. But when it appeared that said reduction of postage did not apply to the Island, it was brought to the notice of the Home authorities, who at once agreed to extend it to this Island, and ordered that it should go into operation on the first of June next. So it seemed that our applications were not altogether unheeded in Britain, notwithstanding that we were no part of the Dominion. He (Mr. H.) had taken up considerable time of the committee, and would add no more at present.
Mr. BRECKEN was not going to follow the hon. member into figures, as the hon. member was more at home than be (Mr. B.) pretended to be. He (Mr. B.) would first say that as the hon. member for Souris, (Mr. McLean) came from where the wise men once did, he seemed to have no hesitation to rush in where wise men would not even dare to tread; yet he very much doubted if the hon. member, although he was from the east, had the wisdom of those who presented offerings to the Son of the Highest. But as the hon. member was a young man, he would merely say to him that if he saw himself, politically, as others did, he would not feel so politically proud of 230 PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 1870 his position. In saying this, he (Mr. B ) alluded to the remarks the hon. member made about theopposition. He (Mr. B.) believed when the better'terms came down, the hon. member, Mr. Callbeck, was enamoured with them. But the hon. member was correct in what he told the House; he retured to his chamber alone to peruse them, and afterwards thought his first impression was but a will-o'-the-wisp. But he believed the the hon. member was, previous to that, a confederate.
Hon. Mr. CALLBECK said he read the proposals carefully before he gave expression to any opinion respecting them.
Mr. BRECKEN had a great deal of respect for the hon. gentleman, but thought his. memory was faulty; and while he did not think he would willingly express that which was not correct, yet he could not but think the hon. gentleman had trimmed. He (Mr. B.) would merely ask the hon. leader of the government, in this House, in what position, as a statesman, did he stand? There was not one word in the minute of Council respecting the commercial aspect of the question, yet the hon. gentleman devoted the greater portion of his long a eech, to the commercial prospects whic he fancied were involved in the question to the entire exclusion of that view of the matter to which his attention should have been directed. Statesman should take a broader and more comprehensive view of that important subject, than was involved within the narrow view to which the hon. gentleman had so elaborately drawn the attention of that hon. committee. He (Mr. B.) despised the attempt which had been made to prejudice Scotchmen against him, because he said that at the time of the union, Seotchmen, to a great extent, were a lawless people. All knew that it was not until 1745, that the administration of justice could be fairly dispensed in that country, and he would say now, what he did on a former occasion, that Scotchmeu, from that position, soon became, in every respect, the reverse of what they formerly had been, and no country in the world, considering its area and population, could boast of as many men occupying important positions in the world, as Scotland could. Even the wise man from the East, he meant the hon. member for Souris, was a Scotchman. But as his hon. colleague said, there was noanalogy between the union of Scotland or Ireland, with that existing between the Provinces of the Dominion. The former was a legislative, the latter a federal one ; and hon. members who reason from the effects of the one; to show the probable results of the other, ought to have more fully considered the question before they made the statements they did. If this Island went into confederation, and sent proper men to represent her in the Dominion, they would find that the island would be as fairly treated as the upper Province. Did not Mr. Tilley speak, and had he not as much influence there as any man from Ontario?  
Hon. Mr. HOWLAN had seen a confederate paper, published in New Brunswick, which represented Mr. Tilley as the silent minister of New Brunswick.
Mr. BRECKEN.—He had been represented as the silent minister, as he (Mr. B.) understood, simply because he did not think proper, recently, to ye expression to his opinions. But New Brunswick never had a son better able to maintain their rights, or one that she should feel prouder of than Mr. Tilley. He (Mr. B.) would like to see the government ta e up the question fairly, and express their real sentiments without reserve. Their children would consider whether in the course they might then pursue, they had attended to the true interests of the country. He had been compared to an Arnold, and told that he should resign his seat, but be (Mr. B.) felt there was a great principle at stake in the question, and would not have been true to himself, his constituents, or his country, had he failed to give expression to his views on the proposals which were recently sent down to the government by the Dominion, and did hope there would have been public spirit enough in the government to have given expression to their opinions upon this nest on, but instead of that, attacks ha been made upon himself, and when such was the case, he claimed the right of reply. All kinds of questions ha been referred to by the government, such as the army, militia, and commerce, but Earl Granville's despatch had not been approached. The hon. member was afraid of it, and probably had good reasons.
Hon. Mr. HOWLAN.—No! he was not.
Mr. BRECKEN Would tell the hon. member when he went into figures, after signing the minute of Council, he had 1870 PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 231 forgotten his duty. But he did not wish to severe upon the hon. member, for it was a matter of small consequence to this Island what the immediate advantages were which confederation might confer. There was a nobler principle involved, and one more worthy the attention of the statesmen of Prince Edward Island.
Progress was reported, when the House adjourned until to-morrow.


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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