Legislative Assembly, 30 May 1865, New Brunswick Confederation Debates

[...] Williston in 1858, and my mind is still unchanged. I am thoroughly in favor of responsible Government as any man in this country, and it is the ruling principle in my mind ; but I do not see that it at all bears on the placing the members of departments out of the House. It is more dangerous to the liberties of the people to have those salaried officers in the House, because when a man gets one of those offices he will struggle for life and death to hold it ; he will go round soliciting votes here and there, and resort to many things he otherwise would not, in order that he may not lose his salary. When we have three paid members of the Government on the floors of the House, we have as many as we should have. The Attorney General, I think, is the best paid man in the country, as in addition to his salary, his office gives him a status in the profession, while it does not interfere with it, as it does not take the whole of his time ; but it is necessary for his salary to be high to secure the most talented man to fill the office. In regard to the office of Post Master General, I am prepared to vote for removal of the office, even if there is no saving to be effected by it, for the office is merely local in its character, and is not one of much importance, as is the case in England, where they keep a correspondence with all parts of the world. I do not think it is necessary to have an inspector appointed, for clerks can often be sent out of the office to inspect the different Post Offices without interfering with the duties of the department. There has been a cry raised that this was preparatory to a removal of the seat of Government to St. John. I do not think removing a couple of clerks to St. John will have any influence in moving the seat of Government. If the question of removing it to St. John came up, and I voted against it, I do not think there would be five of my constituents would find fault with me. The resolutions which I have placed before the House, will be the means of perpetuating the seat of Government here, because the difficulties in getting to Fredericton will not be so great as they have been. This system of railways will prevent the necessity or desirability of removing the seat of Government. If a city is in a position to go vigorously into manufacturing and trading operations, the accumulation of public offices and idlers will weaken and destroy the business habits of young men, and they will not acquire the habit of application necessary to put them forward in the world.
Mr. WILLISTON.—It is unnecessary for me at this stage of the proceeding to say much on this subject ; but I feel bound by the position I have taken in reference to this subject, to say a few words before the vote is taken. You must remember in 1858, after the office of Post Master General became political, I felt bound to bring in a Bill to repeal that Act. I have been Post Master for some years past, and am pretty well acquainted with the routine of duties which he has to perform. I felt satisfied that eight or nine heads of departments in a House of forty-one members were more than was required, and I felt it my duty to do all in my power to bring about some reform. Mr. Howe, having been educated at his father's office, who was a Post Master at Halifax, has a through acquaintance with the duties of the office, and could perform them much more satisfactorily than a person who knows nothing of the duties, but is appointed because his party has come into power. I have been here for seven years fighting against political influence. I thought that the Government had too many political heads on the floors of the House, and I for one was determined that I would do all in my power to lessen the number of them. In 1859, I brought in a Bill to repeal the Act making this office a political one. I found my hon. friend from St. John, (Mr. Cudlip) who was a prominent member of the House, voting with me, although we numbered but ten. It is gratifying to me now to find members who opposed me on that occasion, when endeavouring to effect that wholesome reform, have changed their minds, and are now introducing this as a Government measure. It is a proud satisfaction to all of us who voted on that occasion. to find public opinion so changed that the Government now comes forward to effect that change which the exigencies of the case require. I was sorry to hear my hon. friend from Carleton (Mr. Connell) deny a case where he ignored the decision of the Council. The case was the loss of a money letter sent by "Elijah Clark," and the Postmaster General himself, without the advice of his Council, paid that claim. (Mr. Connell.—" I deny the accusation.") He did that without the advice of his Council, and against the advice of his predecessors. (Mr. Connell —" Bring forward your proofs.") I can bring forward the proofs. It has been said that if we abolish the office of Postmaster General, we should have to appoint a Post Office Surveyor to inspect the Post Offices. This is unnecessary, as the work could be done by the head Clerks in the St. John office. The Postmaster General receives £600 a year. besides his travelling expenses, which amounted last year to $548 ; the public has to pay those travelling expenses, even when incurred on an electioneering tour. I am happy to see the day when the President of the Council, after seeing the necessity of the case, has the correctness to come forward and propound a measure of this kind, which I, an humble number of this House, advocated some years ago.
Mr. NEEDHAM.—I confess my mind is not made up on the same grounds as the hon. member who last addressed you. I do not think became he entertained an opinion that was wrong, and the President of the Council now entertains an opinion that was wrong, that he should keep that opinion. If the arguments, which appear to have borne very heavily upon the mind of the hon. member who last addressed you, are sound, then no political office ought to be sustained. If the head Clerk in the office can bear the responsibility, then abolish the whole of them. There is not a question that has come before the Legislature at this time that has occupied so much of my thoughts and attention, and to which I have given so much serious consideration as this subject. I stand in an anomalous position ; here is a Government measure brought down by a Government I was sent here to sustain—in whom I have confidence both financially and politically, and whose acts in this House I am prepared to support so far as I can consistently with my own responsibility to the people that sent me her. They sent me here to support that Government, or a Governement formed on Anti-Confederate principles. Unfortunately for me. I took a different view from the Government in reference to this question. I was here in 1854, when a resolution was introduced by some hon. member of the House, in order to make the Surveyor General's office and the Postmaster General's office political. I then opposed making the Surveyor General's office a political one, because I believed that the head of that office ought to be a Surveyor himself, and understand his business, so as to know when his subordinates did right or wrong. Unless we got a political man on the floors of the House who understood all the operations that belonged to an office of that kind. I did not think it right to make it a political office. I opposed it then, and if there was a question of that kind before the House now, I would still oppose it ; for I believe the office of political Surveyor General to be useless. With regard to the Post Master General's office, I say this : If the Government can show that by making the office non-political the country is going to save a great deal of money, that they can save twelve or fifteen thousand dollars, I am prepared to go for it, however inimical it may be to the interests of my constituents ; but they have not done it. and cannot do it. (Hon. Mr. Smith. We will save $3.000.) Have they shown it? They have not, and cannot show it. They cannot get along without more clerks, and they will have to increase the salaries of the officers they now have on account of the increased labour and increased responsibility. With regard to my own private views about all these officers being on the floors of the House, I think in a House of only forty-one members, the fewer political officers on the floors of the House the better for the country ; but that is not the reason why I oppose the Bill. I oppose it because the Government do not show that it is going to benefit the country by saving any money. Another ground is, because by late arrangements the Post Office Department has almost become a banking institution. I saw an account that an increase of $24,605 in money orders over six corresponding months of last year, had passed through the Post Office since the money order system had been introduced by the late Government. Now I ask it this House prepared to put this into the hands of irresponsible men ? If the Government appoint a man to a situation, and that man does wrong, I hold them responsible for his acts. If they choose to make an office non-political that is political, and put a man in that office, I hold that, according to true, sound political principles, the Government is answerable for the acts of that man if he has done wrong ; otherwise, let that man be a political officer, and alone be responsible for his own acts when on the floors of the House. It is perfectly absurd to talk about Responsible Government, if we say the Government can appoint a man to an office where such a large amount of money is at stake, and that man becomes a defaulter, that the Government is not responsible. There is no necessity for abolishing this office, for the Government cannot show that there will be any saving in money to this Province to justify them in throwing to the winds an office that is so much needed at present, when there is such an amount of money passing through the Province. You allow every man in this country, Nova Scotia, Canada and Great Britain to issue money orders, and give them the guarantee that they have got the Government responsible, and where is it when the head of the department is a non-political officer? If you do what is right now you will abolish your money orders, unless you tell the people that they issue those money orders under a man who is not responsible. [ Mr. Smith. —There is no political office of this kind in Nova Scotia.] We have nothing to DEBATES OF THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY FOR 1865. 109 do with Nova Scotia or Canada ; we will act for ourselves, and in our acts we should show we are willing to keep public faith with those abroad as well as with those at home. I ask the members of the House how they can—with the issue of these money orders—sustain abroad the integrity they ought to sustain in regard to them ? They cannot. I have expressed my views, and I must confess, if they had established a new dynasty, a new regime, propounded a new system of Government, they might have adopted a different system from what they have now ; but when they have a system of Responsible Government in operation, whether it is for weal or woe, we are bound to carry out that principle of responsibility in all our actions. It is something extraordinary if thirty-six members are afraid of some three or four Generals. I am not afraid of them, and I doubt whether any member of the House is. If they bring forward any measure that the other members of the House feels is inimical to the interests of the country, they cannot get it to pass with all their acuteness and generalship, even if they had a majority of one. If we had truth and justice on our side, I should feel that " he is thrice armed whose quarrel is just." I do not care how many Generals there are on the floors of the House ; if the principles of- responsible and departmental Government are true, there are no offices but what the head officer should be a political one. These are the political views I entertain in regard to responsible and departmental Government. So long as I entertain these views, I cannot vote for a Bill that will place the head of so important a department as the Post Office where he cannot be called to account.
Mr. CONNELL.—There was a very grave reflection made upon me by two hon. members of this House. I expected, from the standing which those hon. members have in this House that they would have understood the usage of the House. and when they made a statement respecting the character of a late head of a department, they would have been prepared to have proved it. I challenge them to bring forward their proof of the statements they have made. I wish to show to the country the position they occupy by the course they took with reference to my position while head of a department. If the office had not been here, but had been kept at the City of St. John, I would not have got an important missive from the office, and the just indignation of the House and country would have been poured upon my head. Happily for me I am in a position to show to the House and country that those statements are not founded in truth, and have no foundation whatever. In reference to Elijah Clark., it is true there was an investigation into this loss of a letter. It was investigated by Mr. Johnson, and I also investigated the matter, and I found the direction of Elijah Clark was to send it by steamer from St. John ; instead of that it was sent by the way of Calais, in the United States. The department having sent the letter contrary to the direction. I believed the money ought to be paid, and I reported these facts without taking any action in the matter. I was not present during the sitting of the last Legislature when these charges were made against me. I am surprised that no member of the Government was found to place me in a proper position. I am now here to answer for myself. While I held that office I challenge any man to show where I was derelict in my duty or did not discharge the duties of that office faithfully. What was the state of facts, after I left the office. An order in Council was made, and Post Master General Steadman paid the money. I obtained authority from the President of the Council and went over to the office with this memoranda : To Mr. Hale—"Give Mr. Connell every information in regard to the payment of the claim of Elijah Clark.—A. J. S., and received this reply :—" I have to inform you that you made no order for payment of Elijah Clark. He was paid by order of Council, by Hon. James Steadman in 1861." J. HALE.
Now, those gentlemen having made a statement affecting my reputation, I think some explanation is due from them.
Mr. COSTIGAN.— When I first heard that this office was to be abolished, I was opposed to it ; but if it is to be a saving to the country I will go for it. I have listened to the arguments for and against it, but I have not see wherein there will be any great amount of saving. This is a great change, and ought not to be made without some reason. The same arguments used for removing this department can be used for every department on the floor of the House. It is said that the Post Master General, in running an election in his own County, will yield to unreasonable demands in regard to Post Offices and mail rides, for the purpose of securing his election. This same argument might be used against any other department. Suppose the Chief Commissioner of the Board of Works runs an election in the County of York, it may be urged that his constituents will call upon him to give them more than reasonable share of the expenditure on roads and bridges. I have no doubt but this bill will be carried, although it may be that before four or five years the office will be again on the floors of the House, because it is too important an office to remove.
Mr. KERR.—I did state that a sum of money had been paid to Mr. Clark by order of the Post Master General without the concurrence of the Council. I have seen and examined the vouchers on fyle in this House. and I find that matter commenced in 1856 and continued to stand over from time to time, and after my hon. friend left the Government. On the 4th of January, 1861, the matter was brought up and a report made that the amount should be paid. I now acknowledge that I was labouring under a mistake. I retract the charge and avow that I made the mistake unintentionally ; when I made that charge I was under the conviction that the order was made without the sanction of the Council. Mr. Williston also apologized, and Mr. Connell said he was satisfied with the explanation. The Bill was agreed to. 30 yeas ; 9 nays.
On motion of Mr. CUDLIP the House went into a Committee of the whole to take into consideration


Mr. CUDLIP.—I see by the last mail fiom England that this question, although decided by the people of this Province legitimately at the polls, is still being agitated in England. It has been boldly stated by various parties there, that the election In New Brunswick was not the true exponent of public opinion, and that there had been a reaction since the election had been held, and there Would now be a majority in favour of the Scheme, that taking out two constituencies the present position would have been reversed. The whole Government has been carried on by one or two constituencies, the late Government had a majority of four or five, and without the support of St. John they would not have been in existence ; therefore they had not the confidence of the country. We cannot have one rule to apply to one case and one to another. It is said the question was tried on false issues: that many voted against the Scheme for the purpose of turning out those in power. The same argument can be used on the other side. I have known men who voted the anti- Confederate ticket in the County, yet in consideration of a feeling of regard for Mr.Tilley they voted in favour of the Scheme in the City ; and if ever there was a true exposition of public opinion, it was on that question. The Union between England and Scotland, and also between England and Ireland was carried by bribery. It is said false statements are circulated In England bv the Canadian delegation, to induce them to legislate for us in regard to this Intercolonial Union. If there is anything of that kind in contemplation, they had better pause before they attempt it, for we would resist coercion whether it was brought against us directly or indirectly. I think it would be a prudent course to send a delegation home to correct those false representations, and have therefore prepared the following resolutions, and will now move that they be adopted :-
" Whereas, the House in a Committee of the Whole had under consideration the resolutions of the Conference held at Quebec on the 10th day of October last, on subject of the proposed Confederation of the British North American Colonies."
" And Whereas, it is the opinion of this House that the consummation of said Scheme would prove politically, commercially, and financially disastrous to the best interests and prosperity of this Province;"
" And Whereas, the loyalty and attachment of the people of this Province to the Throne and Government of Great Britain cannot be justly impunged, and they have always manifested a desire to maintain their connection with the Mother Country, and to remain a portion of the British Empire;"
" And Whereas, in the exercise of the right of internal self-Government enjoyed by this Province, its people are entitled to deliberate and decide upon all questions affecting their own local interests in such manner as to them may seem best calculated to promote their prosperity and welfare;"
" And Whereas, the General Assembly of this Province was, in the month of February last, dissolved by His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor avowedly to obtain the decision of the people upon the resolutions adopted at the Conference and now before this House;"
" And Whereas, at the elections consequently holden the people of this Province clearly and unequivocally pronounced a judgment adverse to the adoption of the said resolutions;"
" And Whereas, this House confidentially believes that Her Majesty's Government will receive with due attention the expression of opinion of this Province so pronounced;"
" And Whereas, this House has reason to fear Her-Majesty's Government are but imperfectly aware of the true state of the feelings of the people of this Province on this subject;"
" Therefore Resolved, as the opinion of this House, that a delegation should at 110 DEBATES OF THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY FOR 1865. once proceed to England for the purpose of making known to the Imperial Government the views and feelings of this House and the people of this Province on this important subject."
Mr. MCMILLAN —A resolution of so much importance should be fully explained by the members of the Government, as I imagine it was brought in with their cognizance. The first proposition say that is the opinion of this House that the consummation of this Union would prove politically, commercially and financially disastrous. I for one have strong feelings in favour of this Union, and entirely dissent from this proposition. Every one knows that political Union is strength. do not believe that to unite these British North American Colonies under one rule would be a political injury to them. neither do I believe the people of the country think so. I do not believe that the people are prepared to say that it will be commercially injurious to them to have a free intercourse in all articles and manufactures between the Provinces, setting aside the barriers of the Custom House. I should like to hear the hon. mover show us how it is going to be politically, financially and commercially disastrous, and how the country is going to suffer by it.
Mr. CUDLIP.—I do not intend to shirk the question, for I want it to be thorough ly discussed, and I should like to see some of the leading members of the House take it up.
Hon. Mr. SMITH —I thought the ex- Surveyor General would feel it his duty to justify the course he has taken on this Union, and would have been prepared to show wherein it would have been advantageous; having done that, I think he did find plenty of hon. members on the other side to meet any arguments which he may advance.
Mr. COSTIGAN.—I have heard, and the people of this Province believe, that influences are at work to endeavour to force this Union upon us; that representations are made in England that we are a people disloyal, and do not wish to do our share of whatever is necessary to maintain the connection between them and the British Government. It is our duty to protect that character of loyalty by sending a delegation to correct those false representations. The ex-Surveyor General has stated that the first part of the resolution is not correct, in stating that this Union would be injurious to the people of this Province. There are many hon. gentlemen in this House better qualified to show wherein that Union would have been injurious, and the necessity for this resolution; but I wish to say a few words in order to show the disadvantages and ruin it would bring upon this Province. It does not require a masterly mind to see it. It has been said that Union is strength, but it would not be so in this case. The more the people became acquainted with the Scheme, the more they opposed it The opponents of the Scheme had to contend with many disadvantages. I contend that when the people defeat a Scheme proposed by the Government in power, it is a sure sign that they have a two-third majority of the people of the country, because the Government by their position have an influence upon the country, and there is not a locality but what feels this influence, because there is a sympathy existing between the Government and the office holders in the country which leads them to adopt their measures when they otherwise would not ; many of those who advocated the Scheme of Confederation did not know what the conditions of the Scheme were, but because the Government proposed it they were bound to carry it out. I know this to be a fact, that many who took an active part against Confederation could not explain how it was to be carried out. We were three distinct people, but were to be governed by one general Government, and that was to be carried on by a majority vote; that majority was to rule the country and tax the people as they saw fit. According to the construction of Government we would be represented by fifteen representatives, and these would have to fight against 145. Although I might have much respect for the ability of our representatives, yet I would not have much reason to expect that they would have much success in anything they undertook for the benefit of the Province. Then the question of the Intercolonial Railway was brought up, and it was said under Confederation we could have the Railway wherever we wished it ; but my opinion is, that if the people of Canada really desire the railway, the same facilities for building the road exist without Confederation as with it. There was no guarantee that we would have this railroad under Confederation; it might grow out of the Scheme, and it might not. I was said that the general revenues could not expended in the construction of the Canal system, as that was guarded against by a resolution of the Conference, which said that this work should be prosecuted so soon as the finances of the country permitted. Who was to decide when the state of the finances would permit it to be built? The general Government of Canada ; and they would not object to have the work go on immediately if they had Confederation, because they would have an additional inducement to extend them when they drag in those three Lower Provinces to bear their proportion of this great work. This was one of the grand reasons which induced the Canadians to advocate Confederation. They were involved in difficulties in regard to the Union with Lower Canada and in regard to their finances, and they really required an additional field—not for public expenditure in improvements—but an additional field for taxation and revenue ; that was the reason why they were so anxious to secure the Union of these Colonies. The Canadians would have no reason to complain if they were taxed, because it would be expended and circulated among themselves, and would bear upon the people of this country, because they would have to pay this money which would never be returned again. It was said that the Government to each Province should have a certain sum to expend for local purposes ; this was true enough, we had to provide for our own local expenditure, and so had the other Provinces except Canada, who had the additional advantage of having the general revenue expended on her public works, and it, therefore, became local expenditure, and we would have to pay for that from which we would derive no benefit. Now, in regard to representation by population. There is one Section of the Scheme which provides for the readjustment of the representation by population every ten years. In such readjustment Lower Canada is always to be assigned sixty-five members, and each of the other Provinces shall have the same number of members to which it will be entitled on the same ratio of representation as Lower Canada will then have. According to that in a few years, taking the increase of population according to the past as the nearest criterion to judge by, the representatives of Upper Canada in seventeen years would out-vote the whole of the other Provinces. It has been argued that if we had Confederation it would make a great change, and we would become a great country for capitalists, and emigrants would be induced to come here. Would it change the course of our rivers and give more facilities to manufacturers ? The only change it would make would be to place at the disposal of the General Government in Canada the whole resources of the Colonies, and emigration would tend to that part of the Confederation, for we would be removed from any benefit arising from the construction of public works. I believe that there is reason for making the assertion that influences are brought to bear abroad to place the people of this Province and the Government of the day in a wrong position. It is asserted by those who are very anxious about the Confederation scheme, that the Government of the day is merely called into its present position by accident. I contend that if those who are favourable to Confederation wish to see the present Government retire from their present position, they had better say nothing about Confederation, for so long as the people of the country are reminded of the Scheme, just so long will they rally round those who defeated it.
Mr. MCMILLAN.—I should like to hear from the hon. mover of the Bill, as those resolutions for the appointment of Delegates was not named when it was proposed that this subject should be the order of the day; therefore, I think it would be unfair to decide this question at so short a notice. If the Government of the day are desirous to have this delegation appointed, they should take the responsibility of it, and not throw it upon the House. It will be recollected how some of the hon. members spoke of the delegations of the late Government, and now they are going to take the same course without taking the responsibility. ( Hon. Mr. Smith.—Those delegations were unauthorized.) They had the Imperial despatch of 1862 to authorize them ? Did they do anything to bind the House in consulting upon a great question and submitting it to the country for their decision ? They never claimed any right to force it upon the people. I do not wish to go into the discussion to-day, as there has not been sufficient time given.
Mr. CUDLIP.—I do not desire that this resolution should be carried without a discussion, because I wish to put upon record the opinion of the country as expressed through their representatives. I am bound to say that while I am opposed to those delegations as involving unnecessary expense, yet I now think it necessary, because this is a question affecting our whole political existence—affecting the constitution of our country. It is a question upon which every person in the country has a right to express his opinion, and the people of the country have done so, and expressed an opinion, and I think it now becomes the duty of their representatives to send a delegation to England to protect their rights. The delegation which was appointed to confer on a Union of the Maritime Provinces took upou themselves other duties which the Legislature had not assigned to them, and to avoid falling into the same error, we wish this delegation to be appointed by the representatives of the people. It is not right that after the people of this country have expressed their opinion at the polls against Confederation, that this agitation should DEBATES OF THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY FOR 1865. 111 be kept up directly or indirectly as it has been done. Statements have been put forth by the press that we will have to come into this Confederation, because i will be forced upon us We ought to express an opinion in this House, and endorse that by a delegation confirming that opinion that they never need hope to carry Confederation in New Brunswick, and I think we would save money in the end by so doing.
Mr. MCMILLAN.—It is amusing to find the Anti-Confederate patty asking for this expensive delegation in order to set themselves right before the people of England. It shows that they are not satisfied with the position they hold in the eyes of the English people in reference to this question. What were the arguments put forth by the member of the Government, and the leading members of the Anti-Confederate party in reference to the appropriation of money for the Militia ? They said it would be a waste of money so far as defence was concerned, but they stood in an unfavorable position in the opinion of the British public, and to prove their loyalty they voted the people's money for this purpose. They are not satisfied with asserting that two thirds of the people are against Confederation, but it becomes necessary to appoint another delegation to make known the fact, for they feel they are not in a right position before the British public. The hon. member for Victoria (Mr. Costigan) said that the more the people discussed this question the more unpopular it would become. My experience is right the reverse of this ; the question came upon them so suddenly, and so few months elapsed before they were required to vote at the polls, that they had not time enough to form a correct opinion upon the subject, and the general tendency of the people, when they do not understand a question, is to vote against any change until they do understand it. If that question was submitted to the people to-morrow, and the people were required to deposit their votes in the ballot box, either for or against it, two thirds of the people in the Province of New Brunswick would vote in favor of it.
Mr. NEEDHAM.—The hon ex-Surveyor General wants to know how this scheme would ruin us, politically. What would we have been had Confederation taken place under this scheme ? Would we have been a Province? certainly not. O, it is said we can have a local legislature ; so we could, and its powers would be confined to making laws to prevent cows from running on the commons, providing that sheep shall wear bells, and to issue tavern licences. Hon. members may talk about their loyalty and disloyalty. I would like to ask some of the members of the late Government whether their idea was not this—that they would not have gone for Confederation if they had not believed that it was the first step towards the independence of New Brunswick. ( Mr. McMillan —it is not true.) I have no hesitation in saying that thousands of men believed in Confederation, honestly and sincerely, but they do not seem willing to give us any credit for sincerity ; they think they have all the argument, all the honesty and all the loyalty. We have now a direct communication with the Home Government, as they appoint our Governor ; but if we go into Confederation our Governor would be appointed by the Governor General ; that would raise our dignity very much, to have a local Governor appointed by the Governor General ; would not that be derogatory to our political standing, both at home and abroad. I heard a Judge, in addressing a Grand Jury, in the County of York, strive to impress upon their minds the necessity for this " Great British Nationality as he termed it. Great British Humbug! I should like to know where there is any nationality in this Confederation scheme that we have not got now. We are "par excellence" Bluenoses ; those born in Ireland are Irishmen, in Bath Englishmen, in Wales Welshmen, but we are all British subjects. Are not we British subjects as much as if we were born " Cockneys." We have the real British nationality, and because we did not want any other we rejected the great Botheration or Confederation scheme, for it all amounts to the same thing ; thus it is that so far as politics are concerned we are not going to gain anything. I will now allow you that it will be financially disastrous. We will have to give up all our revenues to Canada, and they will only refund $201,000;. (Mr. McMillan, will not they assume our debts.) We. are prepared to assume
our own debts. Canada has to borrow money to pay the interest on her own debts, and then wants to assume ours. It is like a bankrupt wanting to assume the debts of a rich man. The General Government will give us $201,000 a year for all time to come. That is, financially, the position we are in. No matter how much the population may increase in twenty years, or how many new roads, bridges or schools may be required in that time, we can receive no more than that sum. If a man had a million dollars a year, and he owed the sum of five millions, and had plenty of friends to back him, do you suppose he would want to make arrangements with another man to take his debt and give him just enough to live on until he died. If he would do that he would he a fit subject for the Lunatic Asylum. It was enough to condemn the scheme, that this delegation assented to tho proposition that whatever arrangements made between Canada and the Home Government from that time to the time Confederation went into operation should form part and parcel of the obligations to be assumed by the General Government. At that very time England had said to Canada—what are you prepared to do in reference to your own defence ? Did she say that to New Brunswick, Nova Scotia or Prince Edward island ? No ! Why ? Because she knew from the history of the past that these colonies would when the time arrived; they would be ready at a moment's notice to gather round the British flag; but there was a time in the history of Canada when it was otherwise, and there was a necessity for asking the question of Canada. At that very time Canada sent home a delegation charged with a power to agree with the British Government. to expend a million of money for their defence, to be borne not only by Canada, but by all that Confederation. There would be a direct tax upon every man. woman and child in this Province, to pay their proportion of that money. When I saw that agreement I felt as every son of New Brunswick ought to feel, that if it cost me my life, my all. Confederation should never be carried if I could help it. It has not come. I do not say I stopped it, but if I was but one little entering wedge I am satisfied for the remainder of my life ; so far as that is concerned I have done my duty, and am sincere in my opposition, and it is a matter of moonshine whether they acknowledge it or not. Canada has sent home a delegation to influence the British people in favor of this Confederation. I do not say that this scheme is going to be forced upon us, but they may pass a provisional Confederation Bill, but we do to not want that or any thing to look like it. Forty-eight thousand men in this Province have said we don't want Confederation, and that should be an end of it. They have said this, notwithstanding all the influences that have been brought to bear by the Government, telling them the Inter- colonial railway was going past every man's door, whether he lived at Fredericton. Sussex, or the North Shore. Statesmen in framing a scheme of this kind should look forward to future ages. In this scheme of Confederation, fifty years hence, Upper Canada would have a majority of thirty-five over all the other Provinces. This is the position We would be in, and we are called to pay homage to the statesmen who framed this scheme, as though they possessed all the wisdom in the world.
House adjourned until 9 A. M., tomorrow.
T. P. D.


New Brunswick. Reports of the Debates of the House of Assembly. St. John: G.W. Day, 1865-1867. Microfilm copies provided by the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick.



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