Legislative Assembly, 16 March 1866, New Brunswick Confederation Debates

On motion of COL. BOYD, the House went into Committee to take into consideration. A Bill to incorporate the St. Andrew's Friendly Society.
COL. BOYD in explaining the object of the Bill, said, that there was another Society in St.Andrews called the St. Andrew's Benefit Society, which Society had lost a considerable amount of money which they had invested in Charlotte County Bank Stock. That Society was still in existence, and this Society is formed for the same object—viz: a Society to render mutual assistance to its members, and to enable them to invest their money in Provincial Debentures.
HON. MR. GILMOR laid on the table a Report on Public Accounts.


MR. COSTIGAN moved the House into Committee on the above Bill and said, he always had doubts about the propriety of that portion of the law providing for a property qualification of members serving in the Assembly. He had prepared a Bill somewhat different from this, but, upon speaking to several members of the House, he found there was a general willingness that the property qualification should be done away with entirely. The law requires that the candidate, before coming before the constituency, shall possess an estate valued at ÂŁ300 over and above his liabilities. The spirit of the law is, that no person can represent a constituency in this Assembly unless he is possessed of an estate of ÂŁ300. Suppose a member of this House has a ship at sea, and by some accident the ship was lost, and the loss of that ship placed him in a position that enabled his creditors to come down upon him, so that he would not be possessed of ÂŁ300 of real estate; to carry out the spirit of the law, he should resign his seat in the Legislature, because the law says no man shall be qualified to represent any constituency uless possessed of that sum. In the debates which took place on this question in the Parliament of England, some of the most able men on the other side of the Atlantic, took strong grounds in favor of doing away with this property qualification. He would read the arguments put forth by one of them which will corroborate the arguments he had made use of. He then read from Lord John Russell's speech on this question.
COL. BOYD said, the property qualification was a very small one, and any person could not expect to represent the people of this country without having some interest in the country. He considered the property qualification as entirely too low now, and he would therefore oppose the Bill.
HON. MR. CUDLIP said, he was inclined to support the principle of the Bill, but he should not support the Bill without it went further. It should take from the members all the privileges they have, as members all the privileges they have, as members, over other men. They should be liable to be arrested for debt, except during the meeting of the Legislature, and for twenty days before and twenty days after it has met. The law of property qualification, which they had, was of no service, as it is so often evaded.
MR. ANGLIN said, it was a matter of little important whether it passed or not. They ought to study not to teach the people to violate the laws, or not to teach them they are something that could be violated. This law is scarcely ever regarded at all. If you go back to the history of the formation of the British Parliament, you will find the reason why it was required. At that time, when the King of England called a Parliament, he found it very difficult to get the members to attend, and he had to compel the attendance of persons in distant districts, for they did not like to come to London, and spend their time, besides being to a considerable expense, which they could not afford. They did not have as much relish for Parliamentary life as the people of the present day; and, as they received no pay for their services, it was necessary they should have a certain income of their own, to enable them to attend. This is the reason a law was made requiring a property qualification, but it is now abolished, and it is absured that we should require a property qualification when it is not required in England. The law is so easily evaded that it is of no effect, and only serves to bring the law into contempt.
DR. THOMPSON thought they should get the opinion of their constituents upon a Bill of that kind. He did not think it right to pass a law to lower the property qualification of the voters, or the person voted for. There were very few candidates for a seat in that House who were not possessed of ÂŁ300 worth of property. As to the qualification of voters, it gives poor men a kind of stimulus, and induces them to strive to acquire property for the purpose of enabling them to vote, thus acquiring a habit of industry which enables them in time to become well off. He thought the Bill had better stand over until they had a revision of the election law, for he would like to see a good election law made, which would commend itself to the views of all; for these reasons he thought they had better report progress.
MR. NEEDHAM said, that a law relating to elections had been introduced, and another for the registration of votes. They had better let them all go together, and they might be incorporated in one.
MR. COSTIGAN remarked that the more they took off restrictions from the candidate, the more they increased the privileges of the elector, because they gave them a larger field from which to select their representatives.
MR. NEEDHAM had no doubt but a great deal could be said on both sides; but he thought the fair, honest, legitimate principle was this: the qualification of a member of the House should be the same as that of the elector. The idea of property qualification ought to have been buried long ago. When the election law was brought forward by the former Government he went for universal suffrage will be adopted. That is the principle of the sound constitutional lawyer. Blackstone, who speaks, though he is dead. When he had heard that Nova Scotia had passed that law and then went back, it reminded him of "the dog that went to his vomit, and the sow to her wallowing in the mire."
Progress was reported upon this Bill.


MR. L. P. W. DESBRISAY asked the Government whether several companies of volunteers had not been called out. If so , to what part have they been called, and to what extent.
HON. MR. SMITH doubted the propriety of making public everything done in reference to the defence of the country. He could only assure this House that the most active and energetic steps are being taken for the defence of the country. The military authorities are vigilant, and the volunteers are being organized and drilled in different places.
MR. LINDSAY did not think it would do any harm to let the people know whether there will be a force sent to the frontier to prevent an invasion of our borders. It had been stated that a large number of arms had been sent to Woodstock. He found that it was not the case. A company had been formed there, one hundred strong, and they had never received any arms.
HON. MR. SMITH replied that there were 500 rifles in the County of Carleton, in the hands of men able to use them. He would further inform him that so far as information has been received from abroad from those persons best able to form an opinion on the subject, that Woodstock is not in danger at all, for it is not the intention of any parties to make a raid upon it.
MR. LINDSAY wished information in regard to a company of Home Guards, which had been organized two months ago at Woodstock, and of which he had the honor of being elected captain, but which had never received a gun.
HON. MR. SMITH asked whether there had not been some local difficulty regarding them.
MR. LINDSAY was not aware of any. They had requested to have arms, but had never received a reply whether they could have them or not.
MR. HILL could scarcely understand why there should be so much alarm felt in the County of Carleton, as the nearest point from which it could be reached was from Bangor, which was about one hundred mile from Houlton Village, which contained about one thousand inhabitants, and where it was not at all probable that any Fenian organization existed, it being so far from the centre. In Bangor he believed the organization did exist, but to reach Houlton they would have to travel one hundred miles, and we would receive notice of it from the American authorities. They would not invade us from that quarter when they could reach Calais so much easier, and be met by others from Boston and New York; but for all this, they did not feel any great alarm there. They try to embarrass the Government by questions. He did not think information of this kind should be put in the newspapers, for it would not be wise policy to tell the enemy just what we intended to do. He did not think the Government knew just what they were going to do. (Laughter.) He would venture to say if the Government expended $200,000 for the defence of the country, as certain gentlemen seem desire is they should do, DEBATES OF THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY FOR 1866. 25 after the danger had passed away, the gentlemen would turn round and abuse the Government upon the other tack, and say the money was not wisely expended. He believed the Government would do all in their power to prevent invasion. He would rest satisfied in the ability of the Government and Commander-in-Chief to provide for the defence of the Province.
Mr. McClelan thought the hon. member, when he accuses members of the House of asking questions to embarrass the Government, should remember that it was announced by the leader of the Government that this was a time of emergency ; that a crisis had arrived in which the Government should not be engaged in party politics ; therefore, the people have a right to be alarmed, and to know what means are to be taken for their defence. It is not right for the Government to withhold that information, for there is no reason why they should not tell us how many volunteers they have attached to the service, and what the service is to be. He did not expect them to state where they were going to concentrate those volunteers ; that would be no object with the people of the country, if assured that a certain amount of forces are available, and certain means and precautions are being taken to provide against invasion.
Mr. Wetmore - Should fancy that the Attorney General did not feel much anxiety as to what has been done for the defence of the country, as he did not have a very large family ; but it was different with those who had wives and homesteads to look after. If his hon. friend had received such letters from home as he had received, he might feel some anxiety. The question was not put to embarrass the Government, but to know if the volunteers were to be called out ; that would satisfy those persons who reside in their homesteads, while we are looking after the interests of the country. The hon. gentlemen who had just spoken was in the same position as the Attorney General ; they could put their families on their backs and walk off when the Province was invaded ; but for those who had families it was an important matter. He would be sorry to ask any question to embarrass the Government, but the people have a right to know the number of troops that are to be called out, in order that the alarm in the country may be allayed.
Col. Boyd said, if there were any gentlemen here who ought to be alarmed it was his hon. colleague and himself, as his hon. colleague lived within a stone's throw of the place upon which the enemy would make their first attack, while he himself only lived three miles away, and they were not alarmed ; although they got those " bogus telegraphs" they were satisfied no body of men would enter this country.
Mr. Coram remarked that it was not proper for members of the House to come forward every day and call upon the Government to know the state of defence, stating that the women at home could not sleep nights. It was their duty to keep their preparations for defence secret from their enemies, and have confidence in the Governor, who rules the Province and his Executive Council. If there is any danger they will give us timely notice, and he would depend upon the loyalty of people of the Province to fill up any call for troops when required. He resided in Carleton, and there was not one hundred stand of arms in that part of the City, while there was every facility for the land ing of an enemy ; but he had no letters from any individual saying they were alarmed.
Mr. FISHER brought in a Bill to authorize the County of York to assess for agricultural purposes.
The House then proceeded with the adjourned debate.


Mr. Costigan - I consider it my duty to give my views upon this question, and my reasons why I shall vote against this Amendment. I do not rise to tell this House what side I am on, for that is well known by the course I have always pursued in this House, and before my constituents. When a question comes fairly before the House I do not think it is to the credit of any representative of a consitituency to remain in a position which allows the public to speculate on the course he will take. I was rather surprised at a remark made by the hon. member from Kent that he considered that no anti-Confederates could consistently vote for this Government unless he was their mere tool.
MR. L. P. W. DESBRISAY - I rise to order. If any man on the floors of this House speaks plainly and means what he says, I am one, and I ask him not to misrepresent or misconstrue what I did say, and which I am ready to stand or fall by.
Mr. Costigan - I will not be positive as to the exact words. I can only assure the hon. member that there is no intention to misrepresent him. I wish to keep as near as possible to what he did say. What he said was : Those who supported the Government on this question were prepared to swallow everything at their hand.
Mr. DesBrisay - I did not say so.
Mr. Costigan - I will tell you what I took down in writing : " The hon. gentleman said no one would support the Government but those prepared to swallow everything at their hand."
Mr. DesBrisay - That hon. gentleman had better take down all, and not take a fractional part ; he should preserve the connection, and not take one part and leave another.
Mr. Costigan - All I can say is - that I understood the hon. gentleman to make an allusion, at that time, to the supporters of the Government, which I considered uncalled for, and I should be pleased to think I was mistaken. In regard to " sides" on this question, it appears to me that queer arguments must have been used by the Opposition to convince those gentlemen who are anti-Confederates, and intend to vote for the Amendment, that they are anti-Confederates still. To show you an instance of what arguments can be brought forward, I will relate an anecdote. There were two young men standing on the bnk of a river engaged in fishing. One of the young men proposed that they should cross over to the other side of the river; the other said they were on the other side now. How do you make that appear ? Because you are on the other side. It is no such thing. But I tell you that you are on the other side, and I will stand a bet upon it. The bet was taken at once. Now, says the young man who proposed this bet, how many sides are there to this river ? Two, of course. Well, is not  that one side over there, and is not this the other side. (Laughter.)  I suppose the same kind of arguments were used to convince the anti-Confederates in the opposition that they are anti-Confederates still. Let us look around and see who are anti-Confederates, supposing the question of Confederation should come up. I hold that the great paramount anti- Confederate is the hon. member for the Count of York (Mr. Fisher) ; constitutionally speaking, he is pledged beyond all other anti-Confederates. I, as an anti- Confederate, pledged myself to my constituents to oppose this Quebec Scheme, and that pledge extends as long, and no longer, than I occupy my seat in the present House of Assembly. Should they be dissolved, my pledge will be redeemed. The hon. member from York stands pledged to oppose the Quebec Scheme or any other Scheme, as long as this House lasts. We are in the same position. He  could not pledge himself beyond the term of his service as a representative for the County of York ; therefore, to look at the matter fairly and honestly, he stands pledged as an anti-Confederate in this House more so than any other member. It has been said that the return of that hon. member was a proof that a change of opinion was going on in the country in regard to the Quebec Scheme. I believe the hon. gentleman was true to the Scheme then, and I believe he is true to it today. I believe those pledges were given to secure the votes of the anti-Confederates of York. He saw that if he came out to fight the battle on the question of Confederation, he would not have been returned. There was no reason why anti-Confederates should not vote for him when he had pledged himself to oppose the Quebec Scheme. This fact should prevent him from boasting of being returned as an anti- Confederate, and claiming that return as a victory over anti-Confederates. It was unfair to claim that as a victory, and send it abroad through the newspapers that the people had changed their minds in regard to the Scheme. When the Scheme was first brought before the people, the press advocated it, and there were agents travelling through the country - men brought from Canada and paid by politicians in this country, to go among the French. (Hear, hear.) They went from  house to house, asking, how much cedar can you furnish to make Railway sleepers ? What facilities have you for getting limestone ? What is the rate of wages ? Ignorant people began to look around and enquire what all this meant. They told them that Confederation was going to be carried, and the Canadian Government had sent them down to get the material to build your Railways at once. Was not that a strong influence brought against us? I wonder they were not carried away by these influences and inducements that were held out to them. How is it today ? We find the same thing going on, and we are not in a position to go through the country and counteract its effects. They boast of a change of feeling in the country. It may be true that there are changes. People change from one side to the other. Some change in favor of the scheme and some against it. I believe if the question of the Quebec Scheme was to be put before the people of this country today, and they were required to vote for or against it, they would find as many votes in favor of it as there was at the last election. ( A member, - They had better try it.") I have no more reason to be 26 DEBATES OF THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY FOR 1866. alarmed at a dissolution than any other member of the House. It might be annoying, for there were very few willing to have an election without some good cause ; but I can assure you I do not feel at all in fear of a dissolution in giving my vote. I believe that as an anti-Confederate it is my duty to sustain the present Government, not under any circumstances, but under present circumstances. Before the election in York, there were several dispatches published in some of the papers about " Fenian raids, " and the excitement in the country. This had its effect on the election. After the election was over, one of these papers, after giving the result of the election, puts in a paragraph as a postscript : " Fenian rumors all contradicted. " It turns round and laughs at the people of York after it had gained its own ends. I believe that if a majority of this House vote against the present Government and defeat them, it would be the greatest step towards carrying the Quebec Scheme which could be given. A great deal has been said with regard to the delay of the meeting of the House. Why do not the hon. gentlemen give us some information about the delay in calling the Canadian Parliament together ; possibly they could throw a good deal of light upon that. There have been questions which have from time to time come before the country, upon which Governments have been defeated and Governments formed. But there has never been a question before the country involving the same amount of interest as this. It is not only a question that affects our rights for to-day but it affects our rights for all time to come, and the rights of those who come after us. If that scheme is adopted, the time will come when it will be looked upon with horror, and then they will think of those who tried to ward off the blow. No Government introducing a scheme for the union of the Colonies under the system of representation by population would advance the interests of this country. There could be improvements made in that scheme, if a scheme was absolutely necessary, but I do not say it is necessary. I will throw out these suggestions, which will have the effect of showing how inconsistent that scheme is regarding representation by population. I contend that upon entering into union with another country we should secure equal rights and privileges, and have equal power to maintain them. We cannot go into an Assembly with fifteen votes against one hundred and forty-seven which Canada has, and obtain equal rights there. Suppose a union of these Colonies was decided upon, and the details of that union had to be considered, the first steps which should be taken, in order to give fair play, would be to blot out all lines of distinction between these Colonies, and bring them together as one Province. Then we might be in a position to say to Canada, we will go into union, but give us equal representation. They contend they have done this in giving the Maritime Provinces a fair proportion in the Legislative Council. But have they not left the division lines, and taken us as three or four small Colonies, each with our representation in the Legislative Council. If we could have equal representation in the Legislature at Ottawa, we might be in a position to advocate our interests ; but with fifteen members it is perfectly absurd. It has been stated by several members of the House, and in the press of this country, that the people have so changed their minds and feelings that this Government had not the confidence of the people of the Province, nor of any one County of it. If a dissolution took place to-morrow, and the question of Confederation had to be tried over again, I am not prepared to say whether I should be here. But I do state boldly that the County I represent would send representatives pledged to sustain the present Government.
MR. NEEDHAM rose for the purpose of explaining the remark made by the hon. member for Kent, referred to by the last speaker. The hon. member in referring to the injustice that had been done to the County of Kent, said, that although an Anti-Confederate, he felt he would not be acting as a man of spirit, if he did not pursue the course he was pursuing at present.


HON. MR. SMITH laid before the House a message from His Excellency the Lieut. Governor, desiring to call the attention of the House of Assembly to the expediency of furnishing means to enable him to provide more effectually for the protection of the frontier of the Province from possible insult.
Also, a memorandum stating that the amount required for the ordinary militia service, and the sums paid in connection with the prevention of deserters from Her Majecty's forces, might be estimated at about $40,000.
Mr. FISHER. The Government would find them united as one man on this occasion. He was disposed to provide the Government with all the means they wanted, and would hold them responsible for the way it was disposed of.
DR. THOMPSON said, the Attorney General should prepare a resolution so it could pass the Legislature to-day.
MR. ANGLIN remarked, they should be prompt in this matter, so as to show to the people of this country that the Legislature was determined to strengthen the hands of the Government in providing means of defence, as far as they possibly could, by an act or vote of this House.


MR. McMILLAN. I feel, that in declaring I have no confidence in the general conduct of the Government, that I am giving expression to the feelings of the country. Before I attempt to meet the points in the speech of the Attorney General, which is composed chiefly of declamation and special pleading, let me say I disapprove of the course pursued by that gentleman in making attacks upon members of the House, and persons out of the House, who cannot reply to them. The most eloquent part of his speech was made up of attacks upon the hon. mover of the Amendment. He says, " Was he influenced by patriotic motives ? Look at his motives—is he not looking at his own interest ?" and going on in the same strain, " I know that gentlemen well ; he and I know each other well—I would say nothing to hurt his feelings. " Do you suppose if he had anything to injure him politically he would withhold it ? This course is beneath the dignity of a gentleman assuming the position of the leader of the Government. I raise my voice to condemn such a course. Then he brings another charge against another gentleman who is not on the floors of this House. He states the late Provincial Secretary has been going through the country, from schoolhouse to schoolhouse, poisoning the minds of the people of the country. Is it not a mean thing for him to bring those charges against a gentleman who is not in a position to answer him. He made a charge against the hon. mover of the Amendment that he had assailed the Government when he was not present to meet him, but he thinks it is a perfectly fair thing when he is guilty of it himself. He said that when he had an interview with the Colonial Secretary, he never forgot the fact that he was a man. I ask him now, if it was a manly act to attack a man who was not in a position to answer him ?
HON. MR. SMITH. If he makes it his business to go through the country and attack the individuals who compose the Government, I am not precluded from answering any attacks made upon us.
MR. McMILLAN. Would it not have been more manly for him, when he attacks this great Quebec Scheme, to have met Mr. Tilley when he challenged him to meet him and discuss that scheme ? A man having the right side of a question, even if no great debater, is superior to a first class debater who has not the right side. If he felt that scheme was going to be the ruin and destruction of the country, why did he not accept the chalenge ? I put this question to him last year, and he denied that he was challenged, but I have heard him admit it since. It would have been more manly to have done so than have attacked a man occupying the high position Mr. Tilley does in the hearts of the people of this country. Haman like, he will never be satisfied until he will get Mordecai Tilley strung up ; but I hope the fate of old Haman will be the fate of Haman Smith. The first charge made against the Tilley Government is, that they were guilty of an act of tyranny upon the people of this country. Was it an act of tyranny for the leading men of British North America to meet in conference and consider, week after week, a scheme to consolidate the British North American Provinces ? Was it an act of tyranny for the Government of New Brunswick, after considering that scheme and feeling it would be a benefit to the country to adopt it, to appeal to the people of the country, and say to the independent electors of New Brunswick, here is a scheme, we think, is for your advantage, politically, commercially, and financially. Instead of forcing it through the Legislature, we ask you to judge for yourselves, whether you will adopt or refuse it. I ask you again, is that an act of tyranny, to appeal to the people themselves and let them judge, whether to adopt it or not ?
If I am any judge of what is foreshadowed in the Speech, I believe the present Government is prepared to force upon the people of this country a Union Scheme without leaving it to the people of the country to judge whether they will adopt it or not. The Attorney General laughs at this. He has condemned the Quebec Scheme, the most important principle of which is representation by population. I had a great difficulty in making up my mind upon that point. I felt the point was this. Suppose we departed from the basis of representation by population, where were we going to land at ? I ask DEBATES OF THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY. 27 you now, whether you will, in this House, by delegation, by resolution, by a committee of the House, or any any other means, agree to force upon the country a scheme which holds the principle of representation by population without submitting the details of their scheme to the representatives of the people in this House, or to the people themselves ? The hon. Attorney General refuses to answer this. I will then take it for granted it is the intention to do so. The Speeches from the Throne, no matter in what way they come - by the command of Her Majesty, or any other way - are the policy of the Government, if I understand the principles of Responsible Government. The hon. member for Kent asked him what side he was on. I ask him not whether he is Anti or Confederate, but I will give my opinion by a peculiar operation : he is just a cross between the two, and after a few more crosses I expect to see the Attorney General come out the pure breed, and a splendid specimen of a Confederate. The Government opposed the scheme for a union of the Provinces, to save the country, and now they have got into power, they have adopted a principle of union, not, probably, to save the country, but to hold their offices. The Attorney General said he would not take office unless the emergencies of the country required it. I am not aware of any emergency having arisen, and I believe any other legal gentleman in the House would have filled the office as well and as satisfactorily as the Hon. Mr. Smith. He said they should not be condemned without being heard. Give us an opportunity to submit our reports ; give us an opportunity to defend ourselves ; before condemning us, let us be heard. I maintain they have been heard, and they have had an opportunity to show what their capacities were, both in an executive and administrative point of view, and the country, I believe, condemns them after a trial of twelve months. In 1854 he did not think there was anything wrong in him condemning the Government without being heard ? Had the Government of that day any opportunity of showing what they had done ? Was it right for them to condemn the Government without being heard ? Why, then, is it wrong now ? It is right to move this amendment, and it is the proper time, for the acts of the Government are foreshadowed in the Speech, and by that we are supposed to know what the acts are to be. The next point is that cry got up about Fenianism. He tries to make it appear that hon. member from Carleton is trying to make difficulties in the House on religious grounds. No person would regret it more than my hon. friend from Carleton. I would feel as indignant as any hon. member in this House at an attack being made upon them on religious grounds, for the Head Centre, Stephens, is a Presbyterian. I have always had a sympathy with the Irish people. They have grievances to complain of, and if an Irishman, I would take every constitutional means in my power to relieve those grievances. But it is not right to get up religious feelings in this House, for which I will put the responsibility upon the Attorney General. He stated that he endorsed every sentiment in that Minute of Council, which states that they do not desire any closer relationship between the Colonies than now exists, and he is now prepared to go for a scheme of union on such terms as he considers for the good of the country. I maintain that if there is anything the Government of the country should take the responsibility of, it is a matter affecting our Constitution. The Government decline the responsibility for the sake of their offices. They decline the responsibility of maturing a scheme but will bring forward the papers, and let the representatives of the people do as they like with them. Responsible Government, which the people of this country so long fought for, is a complete farce in the hands of such men. They will submit to anything as long as you allow them to hold their offices. If the Government act recreant to the duty of the people who put them in that position, it is sufficient to condemn them. I maintain that whatever the decision of the House may be, if an appeal is made to the people, the people will decide against them. The very Antis will reject them. Let them appeal to the people, and they will find themselves in as great a minority as we found ourselves last election. There is no great danger of the present Government taking any responsibility as long as they can hold office. Look at the position which they occupy in regard to Western Extension. One member of the Government denouncing it as a Government work ; another member in St. John, having committed himself at the hustings, having declared there that he would oppose any Government that would not advocate Western Extension as a Government work. If there is anything the Government are responsible for, it is anything affecting the finances of the country or the Constitution, and they throw both these questions upon the representatives of the people. He has declined to answer my question concerning Confederation. I believe the course will be to submit the papers, and appoint a Committee of the House to report upon them, pass an Address affirming the principles of union, and then send a delegation home to confer with the British Government, while they are passing through the Imperial Parliament, refusing to leave the details to the people of this Province. They have denounced the Confederation scheme, and our act, in leaving it to the people, as an act of tyranny. How, then, will they justify themselves ? How will they meet this country and this House again, and those Antis that are around these boards ? The Hon. Attorney General, in a speech delivered on the hustings in Westmoreland, informed the electors of the feelings of emotion which almost ovecame him when he was signing the contract for building the Railway to connect New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. He was overcome in signing that contract. I suppose concience was nipping him, for if he had succeeded in 1864 in his opposition to the Bill in aid of building Railways, he would not be in a position to enter upon that contract. I hope these feelings arose from the pricking of conscience, for " While the lamp holds out to burn, the vilest sinner may return." He states that when he explained this great scheme to the people of England, they were astonished that men of ordinary intelligence could agree to such a scheme. Only two had ever read it. He charges the British Government and the Colonial Secretary with ignorance.
  Hon. Mr. Smith. - I do not think any hon. member has a right to make a statement, and say I made a statement I did not make. I did not charge the Colonial Secretary with ignorance. I said, outside of the British Government only two persons had read the scheme at all.
  Mr. McMILLAN. - Notwithstanding  the British Government had given the scheme all the consideration that they always do to these questions, and pronounced it good, and paid the highest compliment to the delegates that met in Quebec, the people were astonished. It was from the manner in which he explained it that caused the people of England to express astonishment. He said, in the formation of the Government was the County of York neglected ? No, it was not neglected, but other Counties were. Only one man, who had no political experience whatever - the very first day he took a seat in this House, he was taken into the Executive Council. This man was to represent the four Northern Counties in the Province. But he throws out a bait now. He says, upon the basis upon which the Government was formed, they could not take a member in but one of their own Anti principles. They really desired to take a member from the North into the Government. Look at the position the Northern members occupy, and ask him if he is sincere in that statement. There were two members from Kent and two from Gloucester who supported the Government on Anti principles, so there was no necessity for doing injustice to the North in having only one member for four Counties. Upon that ground alone, if I had no other grievance, I would condemn them.
  There is another bait thrown out in the  Solicitor Generalship, and I ask my friend on my left if he was not induced to believe he would get the office. ( Mr. Fraser, - No.) Then I have been misinformed. The next point is the Crown Lands. There may be difference of opinion as to whether the Minute of Council should be recinded, which says no lands shall be sold except for actual settlement. If their course was such as to prevent the Inter- Colonial Railroad being built, they were right in repealing it, for the object of it was to prevent speculation pending the negotiations for that Railway. But it was their duty to have informed the public of the rescinding of that Minute of Council the moment it was done. I maintain they were wrong in thinking this Railroad would not be built, for I have no doubt it will be built by one route or the other. I ask the Hon. Surveyor General if he is not aware that his deputies did not give right information. Persons who applied for this land were told they could not get it, the Deputies not being aware that this Minute of Council was cancelled. If that be so, what a spectacle the Crown Land Office presented ; the Department guided and regulated by one regulation, and their Deputies by another. See the confusion to which it led. The very moment that Minute of Council was cancelled, it should have been published in the Royal Gazette. I do not say anything against Mr. Gibson, for I consider he is a credit to the country. His enterprise has no doubt been an advantage to the section of the country where he resides, and it was in his name the Attorney General says, these lands were published, and any person could oppose him. I deny that. The first application was not published in Mr. Gibson's name, but was published in the names of A, B and C, and no person would know Mr. Gibson was connected with it. This was carrying out the principle which has been so much denounced throughout the 28 DEBATES OF THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY. country. When these charges were made against my predecessor, Mr. Brown, he was ignorant of the fact that fictitious names were used, but there was no ignorance about these. The survey was made for Mr. Gibson, but the application was made in the names of other parties, so they cannot screen themselves in any way .
Mr. FRASER—Did you not make an order for the survey of 10,000 acres for Mr. Gibson. What did you intend by that order.  
Mr. McMILLAN — I can explain that, I did make an order for the survey. upon the application of Mr.Gibson, but I do not recollect the number of acres. I submitted it to the Council, a majority of whom were not prepared to rescind the Minute of Council, but ordered the survey to take place. It was the intention of the Council, if the Government remained in pow r—and there was no prospect of the Inter-Colonial Railroad being built—to rescind that Minute of Council. In regard to the appointment of Judges. I do not feel in a position to touch upon that point at all. I believe that a great injustice, by an unjustifiable act, has been done to Judge Wilmot. With reference to the other vacancy which took place I do not pretend to be a judge whether it is properly filled or not. When a vacancy takes place upon the Bench it is natural to suppose that the Government would take a view of the leading man of the Bar, and from them make selection of a man to fill that high position, which is one of the highest in the Province. Have they done so? I said I was not a judge, but those that are judges think they have not done so. I doubt the propriety of having to go to "Insurance offices" to select a man to fill one of the highest positions in the Province. They should have full confidence that the person so appointed will be looked up to.
The Attorney General's excuse for allowing the Export Duty to expire was, that no government ever had such difficulties to contend with as the present Government. What were the difficulties ? Were they not returned to the House by an immense majority. In the history of New Brunswick there never was a time when the Opposition was so small. What Acts had they to bring in, and what opposition was given them to take their attention from seeing what laws were about to expire? Even the members of the Government who went back to the country for re-election were not opposed in a single instance, and they were supported by a two-thirds vote in the House of Assembly. Why then do they try to excuse themselves in that way ? There is no foundation for this excuse whatever, for they had no difficulties to draw their attention from looking into these matters. The arguments advanced by the Attorney General are peculiar ;  he would say the Attorney General was responsible when he was not here. It was not partof the Provincial Secretary's duty, but he says it was his predecessor's duty to know it, and he should have come to the Provincial Secretary's office and told the Provincial Secretary that this law was about to expire. The principle is, that the previous Provincial Secretary ought to have come to the present one and told him what his duties were; thus admiting at once their own incapacity to administer the affairs of the country.
Hon. Mr. SMITH — I stated distinctly that the whole Government were respon sible. It was the duty of the Attorney General, as he had undertaken to see what laws were about to expire. I said the Provincial Secretary was a young man and inexperienced in the duties of his office, and if his predecessor knew of the fact of this law being about to expire, he should have communicated it to his successor.
Mr. WETMORE—When he wanted to get the Bill through the House he said the whole Government were responsible, but as soon as he got that through he tried to throw the responsibility upon the previous Attorney General. and the former Provincial Secretary's name was lugged in.
Hon. Mr. SMITH—I will leave it to the House. I said we were all responsible.
Mr. McMILLAN — If he wishes to withdraw the statement that the Provincial Secretary was not responsible.
HON. Mr. SMITH — I did not say so.
Mr. McMILLAN—He charges the late Government with being guilty of an act of tyranny and despotism, because they appealed to the people at an inclement season of the year ; but he now says. if the Government are defeated he will appeal to the people. He will be guilty of the same thing he condemned in his predecessor, in order that he may hold office a little longer. No man in this country pretended to be so careless about offices as that hon. gentleman, but we find he holds on to them most tenaciously. In viewing the political career of the leading men of British North America, I am not aware of one individual who has made more political summersaults than that hon. gentlemen. Look at his position in reference to railroads, and in reference to military matters. He left the late Government because they would undertake a greater responsibility than twenty thousand pound per year for the Inter-colonial Railway, and in the Opposition he advocated the Western Extension as a Government work, which would involve an annual liability of over sixty thousand pounds per year. When a Bill was brought before the House to appropriate $10,000 for this purpose he moved an amendment that the money be appropriated for Bye-Roads. Next year he brings down a Bill to appropriate $30,000 to the Militia service. If in one case he was sincere, in the other he must have been insincere. If he is in the Government he is for certain measures, if not he is in opposition. When in opposition he was not only against the Quebec Scheme, but against a Union of any kind. Now he has foreshadowed in the speech a Union of British North America. I asked him if he was not going to support something in the shape of appointing a Committee, a delegation, or something of that kind, for the purpose of carrying a scheme of Union of some kind, and he would not answer me.
HON. Mr. SMITH. I stated to Mr. Brown that we were prepnred to consider the question of Union, but not the Quebec Scheme.
Mr. McMILLAN. If that is so, how does he endorse every word of that Minute of Council which says, "they desire no closer union." If he is sincere in one case. he must be insincere in the other. It has been stated by the Canadian and New Brunswick Press, and stated by Mr. Wilmot in Canada, that they were prepared to meet the members of the Government of New Brunswick — and [?] par ticularly Mr. Smith — to discuss a Scheme of Union.
Hon. Mr. SMITH.—Mr. Brown had no authority to make such a statement. He distinctly declined a conference altogether.
Mr. McMILLAN.—Did he not write and make a proposition ?
Hon. Mr. SMITH.—Mr. Brown distinctly declined another conference when he was here.
Mr. McMILLAN.—We have Mr. Brown's and Mr. Wilmot's statements for it. The Government formerly denounced a union of any kind, and now, having gone half over to a union policy, they occupy the position they do under false pretences. I ask him again, if he is prepared, either by a resolution, committee, address or delegation, to support any scheme of union that has representation by population in it. I repeat, I take it for granted he is.
HON. Mr. SMITH.—Don't take it for granted.
Mr. McMILLAN.— You have answered every other question. I will take it for granted .
HON. Mr. SMITH—He seems determined that I shall answer all the questions he has a mind to put. l stated distinctly my views in regard to the principle of representation by population, as contained in the Quebec Scheme. I would never consent to it, unless there are other protections to counterbalance it, I attempted to explain the effects of representation by population, as contained in the Scheme, but I do not know how to provide checks, and if checks cannot be provided, I never will give my consent to representation by population.
Mr. McMILLAN.—I think the country and the House will give me credit for getting half am answer from the Attorney General, and I believe, from the answer, he is prepared to support a scheme (hear hear) that contains the principle which he has denounced throughout the country, viz: representation by population, counteracted by something else. The most important part of the whole scheme he is prepared to go for; having a large representation in the upper branch is not so much protection. The most important body is the people's representatives who have control of the people's money. ln order to hold his office, he is prepared to swallow all this. He has swallowed the half' pill now, and he will swallow the whole pill to hold on to office. I hope the expression drawn from him will open the eyes of the Anti members. The members of this Government have proved recreant to their professions. They professed to be "Antis," and then when it is drawn out of their leader, he is going to support a scheme of union on the principle of presentation by population. When the Quebec Scheme was introduced the cry throughout the country was, we are going to be swamped; only fifteen men in the Canadian Parliament. Is he not prepared to go for a similar scheme with only fifteen members ?
Hon. Mr. SMITH—I never have been, and never will be.
Mr. McMILLAN. —Does he withdraw that too? No, he will not withdraw it, for I believe he is committed to it. I believe he has not told his supporters that he is prepared to submit such a scheme. This is tyranny. He was elected to oppose a scheme, and he will come forward and support it without any appeal to the people. If that is the [?] gov DEBATES OF THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY FOR 1866. 29 ernment are going to adopt, then good bye to Responsible Government. And her cry got up by the Attorney General was that the press was against them. The press was exposing their incapacity, and they do not desire to hear these things. It is the duty of the press to deal with Governments. It really appears an injury to the country to denounce a press because it speaks out boldly and manly, and condemns the acts of a Government. He says no injustice has been done to York. I think an injustice has been done to York, and to other sections of the country too. Did not they attempt to do injustice to the principles of Responsible and Departmental Government, by doing away with one of the most important offices, that of Postmaster General ? Notwithstanding the additional labour to be performed ; the labour is done more economically now than it was before the office became responsible. He did not think it right for the hon member for York to state at the hustings that this was the first step towards the removal of the seat of Government. I stated that last year. I believed it then and I believe it now, that it is not the only first step towards the removal of the seat of Government, but to do away with departmental government altogether. The present Government would then rule the country with tyranny and despotism, holding their position without any responsibility at all. Look at their whole career- at their measures of last year- the measures foreshadowed in the speech- their course in reference to Union principles- their neglect in allowing the law to expire for collecting export duty, and ask yourselves are you prepared to sustain this Government. I believe the day will come when the country will not sustain those men who support them. Then in reference to Fenianism, I do not think there is much  danger. The leaders keep the excitement up for the purpose of getting money. True, I am in the Northern part of the Province, where there is no great danger. But I ask the Attorney General if he was sincere when he appealed to the house in a tremulous voice, and said this was no time to discuss a motion of Want of Confidence, when the country was in danger of a conspiracy on our borders. If he was, has he been sincere lately in ridiculing the whole movement? If he was sincere in the one case he must have been insincere in the other. Viewing the whole policy of the Gvoernment I have no hesitation in saying, they have not my confidence, nor the confidence of the people.
  The debate was then adjourned until  to-morrow at 11 o'clock.
Hon. Mr. SMITH presented the following resolution :-
"Resolved unanimously, that an  humble address be presented to His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor, respectfully assuring His Excellency that this House, representing the whole people of the Province, will provide for all precautionary measures, that the Executive Governmern may deem necessary in the present emergency for the defence of the country."
Mr. FISHER hoped the House would be unanimous, as it would meet a unanimous response from the whole people. They must trust the Government to use economy ; but money is no object when the country was in danger, and as far as their means went they must give effect to that resolution.
Mr. WILMOT also expressed himself in favor of the resolution, which was carried unanimously. The House then adjourned until 10 A. M., to-morrow.
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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