Legislative Assembly, 23 March 1866, New Brunswick Confederation Debates


FRIDAY, March 23.

Hon. MR. SMITH called the attention of the House to a communication in the Morning Telegraph, which professed to give a statement of what took place between Mr. Tilley and himself. This letter was signed by "A Looker on," and he thought he knew the writer, who was one of the most malicious, unprincipled political partisans in the Province, and was a person who had frequently attempted to injure him. He would state that the statements contained in that letter were utterly untrue, which could be proved by twenty witnesses, and he would be much obliged if that paper would publish this denial of their truth.
MR. GILBERT called the attention of the Chief Commissioner of the Board of Works to the unsafe condition of the bridge over the Memramcosk River, in the County of Westmorland. He had received a letter stating that the bridge was likely to be carried away by the ice in the spring. If this took place it would cause a great deal of inconvenience.
HON. MR. HATHEWAY said if his hon. friend would place the letter in his hand, he would refer it to the Supervisors, and if they reported the bridge to be in that state, he would have it repaired.
The House in Committee then agreed to "A Bill to provide for the settlement and support of the poor in this Province"


MR. CONNELL in explaining the objects of the Bill, said it was [?] the purpose of getting[?] abroad, and every one would[?] desirability of introducing[?] the country, to open up the mines and minerals, which are extensive, the operations upon which are only now beginning; under the General Act there was some doubt about holding lands, and it was necessary in operations of this kind that the company should hold a great deal of land.
MR. KERR said that there was no doubt whatever under the General Act but what they had power to hold lands. There were several companies of this kind got up in other parts of the Province with quite as large a capital as that propossed in this Bill, and the general law gave each of these corporations all the power they needed for the purchase of lands. Unless some special provisions were required, he did not see the necessity of this Bill.
HON. MR. SMITH said the company would have to go abroad to obtain capital, and if the parties could show a special Act of incorporation it would, no doubt, facilitate their operations very much. Therefore, if this Bill simply contains the provisions of the General Act, it would be unwise in this Legislature to refuse to pass it.
Mr. ANGLIN stated that under an Act of this kind, stock could be secured more readily; for at the stock exchange it would be proof that the company had a real existence, although it might be a mere nominal existence, but it was something tangible, and parties could recommend themselves more readily in consequence of it. But he thought it would be advisable to re-enact the old rule that required $30 to be paid on all private Bills that came there, because many other Bills of a like nature would be coming in.
The Bill was then agreed to. The House then went into Committee on "A Bill to empower the Justices in the several Courts in this Province to act in several cases relating to Parish rates and taxes," which produced a long discussion, after which progress was reported.


HON. MR. GILLMOR resumed—I regret I had not finished my remarks last evening, which I would have done had the House remained in session a few minutes longer.
If any further reasons were necessary
to justify the personal allusions which I
have made to my hon. friend from York
(Mr. Fisher) that the attack which he
has made upon the Government, I can
give them. I entered the Temperance
Hall in Fredericton on declaration day,
a comparative stranger to most of the
audience, and my friend, not satisfied with attacking the Government, referred to me
personally, pointing me out, and said,
"There is the Provincial Secretary; An-
glin has him in the hollow of his hand,
and can rule him as he pleases." I have
kept quiet upon this point until I could
meet him face to face in this Assembly. To be attacked in that manner before an audience in the city of Fredericton was quite enough to move the indignation of any man, and I would not be worthy to [?] of the constituents of Charlottetown [?] [?] [?] [?] [?] [?] [?] [?]
A charge against the Government, which I did not notice yesterday, in their neglect in not renewing the Export Duty Law." The Chief Commissioner of Public Works has acknowledged that the Government have been guilty of that omission, and none of us will deny that the present Government are responsible for it. It has given me a great deal of anxiety. I am personally responsible, as well as all my colleagues, but notwithstanding the omission, the evil has been entirely remedied, and not one cent has been lost to the people of the Province. ( A member,—You need not thank the Government for that.) Such is the result. Who should we thank? The Government are responsible for the management of public affairs, and cannot shrink from it if they would, but must bear the blame of the omission. It is not an evidence of inability, but is an oversight that might have occurred in any Government, and in extenuation of it, I will not even urge the circumstances under which the Government was formed, and when the country knows that no harm has resulted from it, I am sure that a generous public will not condemn us on that charge.
I was a little surprised at the remarks made by the late Surveyor General. One reason he gave for opposing the Government, was that the interests of the North had been neglected in the formation of the Government, and I thought it ungenerous in him to make such an allusion as he did to the Hon. Mr. Hutchison ; from my short acquaintance with him, I believe him quite competent and quite ready to protect the northern interests, and, although comparisons are odious, I think he will compare favorably with that hon. gentleman, morally, intellectually, or as a business man, or with any man on the floor of the House. I consider him a man of prudence, ability and sterling integrity. The hon. member (Mr. McMillan) may be opposed to him politically, but that is no reason he should charge him with incapacity. (Mr. McClelan—In the absence of my friend (Mr. McMillan) I will say I understood him to refer to his want of political experience, and not his want of ability.) I understood him to say both, and I do not think it fair to decry a man thus in his absence. If the interests of the North suffer, it will not be for want of capacity in Mr. Hutchison.
I should be glad indeed, if the Northern interests could be more largely represented at the Council Board, but the great question decided at the last General Election precluded them from taking into the Executive Council those who entertained different opinions upon that question, although it would have been very gratifying to my colleagues and myself if it could have been done. ( Hon. Mr Hatheway—My hon. friend on my left says there were two members from the County of Gloucester who were anti- Confederates. Does he not know that there was a scrutiny going on, and while that was pending they could not become members of the Government.)
Mr. WETMORE —[?] no! a [?] [?] [?] [?] [?] [?] [?] [?] that office [?] me, and I am sure my hon. friend thinks me sincere in this; 48 DEBATES OF THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY FOR 1866. did I not think so I am sure I would not so speak.
There are other hon. members who get credit for knowing a great deal about finance, and without wishing to depreciate them, or recommend myself, I feel quite satisfied there is not one among them who can discharge the duties better than I can.
As I made allusion, yesterday, to the Inter-colonial Railway, and it has been talked about considerably during this debate, and has been held out as a great inducement for us to go into Confederation, I will venture, although a little out of connexion, to read an extract from the Toronto Globe, which speaks Mr. George Brown's sentiments on that question:—
"Upper Canadians have not suffered enough, it appears, in the estimation of Upper Canadian members of the Cabinet, from being tied to one poor Eastern Province, it must have three more added to its already heavy burdens. One Legislature is not a sufficiently cumbrous, unwieldy and expensive body, buyt must add to it the representatives of three other communities, each section with varying local interests, and all pulling at the same purse. And to show what we may look for in the future, we are to pay four-twelfths of the cost of a Railway to unite us to these new allies, and to keep the road running besides. Truly a charming scheme to be proposed by a retrenchment Government, whose sole aim was to be the reduction of expenditure, and the correction of abuses in administration. New burdens of an enormous amount are to be imposed upon the people of Upper Canada, a Railway job to be undertaken, likely to be as disastrous and disgraceful as the Grand Trunk, and an already unwieldy political system to be encumbered three fold; all that Messrs. Sicote and Sandfield McDonald may get rid of the difficulties with which their Government is surrounded."


"There is a refreshing coolness in the demand that Canada shall pay for the construction of a road, which is professedly designed to draw away trade from its great estuary. We have been building up the St. Lawrence at immense expense, and have had very hard work to compete with the Hudson and Erie Canals. According to the views of the late Hon. Mr. Merritt, steamship lines were alone needed to secure the object we desire. The ministry purpose, however, to withdraw the steamships from the St. Lawrence. If this could be done it would be an act of suicide in Canada to take part in the scheme. As it cannot be done it is simply an absurdity. It may be difficult to escape from pledges given to the representatives of the Lower Provinces, but the members of the Cabinet may rely upon it, that they will have their reward for the abandonment or postponement of the measure in the approbation of their constituents and the Province at large."
Another extract from the Globe of Toronto:
"We have a debt of seventy millions and a deficiency of three or four millions, created by undertaking works which have failed to pay any return for the cost of construction. But no enter- prise, the burden of which we have as- sumed, comes anything near the Intercolonial, in the poverty of its promised results. It will not secure the profitaable settlement of an acre of land; it will now help our trade; it will not pay its own running expenses; the few barren acres at the East are to get $50,000 a year of our money, while half a continent is to get a few words addressed to the Colonial Minister."
MR. FISHER —When was that written?
MR. GILLMOR —In 1862.
MR. FISHER —Mr. Brown has changed his mind since that time.
MR. GILLMOR —Those men broke faith once in reference to the Intercolonial Railroad, and could do it again. Mr. Brown changed his views on this question because he wanted to get representation by population, and when in Confederation, the Inter-colonial Railroad depends upon a majority of the Federal Parliament. It is not a part of the Constitution of the Confederated Provinces.
MR. FISHER —It would be perfectly constitutional if we make that in the agreement.
MR. WILMOT —The British Government agree to guarantee the amount necessary to build the Road.
MR. NEEDHAM —They guaranteed that before, but I promise you they will not send the money until they get security.
HON. MR GILLMOR —I will now read an extract from a speech made in Canada, to show why Mr. Brown was willing to go to such an expenditure for a non-paying railroad. It was in order to get representation by population:
"After many years of political strife between the two Canadas, the principle of representation equal for each of the Canadas was fully established. The Hon. Mr. Brown has been for a long time trying to effect a change in that part of the Constitution of the Canadas. Every effort having failed to effect that, he, as a last resort, adopted Confederation as the only means of effecting his darling object. Had he been able to bring that about without asking the aid of the Maritime Provinces, we should never have heard anything of Confederation. Is it wise for the Lower Provinces to go in and help Mr. Brown and his followers break up an arrangement solemnly entered into between the two Canadas? Will it not be the means of forcing a million of Lower Canadians into an arrangement contrary to their wishes, and consequently they will not work harmoniously in the new order of things, and the number can make some trouble.
MR. FISHER —What authority is that?
MR. NEEDHAM —I will endorse it.
MR. GILLMOR —My hon. friend, Mr. Wilmot, occupies a singular position ; he has heard the charges brought against the Government, and all the charges which have been made were for acts done or omitted while Mr. Wilmot was in the Government; and yet in his speech he never alluded to one of them. I was surprised, for he was equally with myself and my colleagues responsible for all that had been done up to the date of his resignation, and he was even more responsible, being an old politician and one of the gentlemen called upon by His Excellency to form a Government. He said he was offered the office which I hold. I was anxious he should have taken it, and it was only at the last moment that I accepted it. My friend said that he soon discovered how things were going on, and he was not going to take the office, and act "Jack in the Box." He has no right to charge me with being the mere instrument of any man or body of men. He knows me too well to imagine any such thing, and if he wishes to convey any such impression, he does me great injustice.
MR. WILMOT —I did not charge you with any improper conduct. I differed with the leader of the Government, and my hon. friend agreed with him.
MR. GILLMOR —I have differed from the Attorney General, and I have agreed with him as matters appeared to my mind, but are we to come before the country, having been sworn to secresy, and state what we have differed upon. When I went into the Government, although I knew little about the duties of an Executive Councillor, yet I knew that as long as I remained there I was responsible for every act, whether I agreed personally to it or not, and I am bound to come before the House and the country and sustain my colleagues and the Government on all their acts. I think the impression has gone abroad in the country that we have had a great deal of discord; such is not correct. There has been, I think, a great deal of harmonymore than I anticipated on entering the Government. It is only reasonable to conclude that nine men will on many matters entertain different opinions.
My hon. friend says he had written out his resignation at the close of the Session. I never saw it. I think he did go out of the Council Chamber once, in a pet, and wrote out what he called his resignation, but I was told he tore it up, and was back again in fifteen minutes as pleasant as ever.
MR. WILMOT —Did you know I made an arrangement to leave the Government at the close of the Session?
MR. GILLMOR —Why do you ask me about an arrangement made before I came in? If I had the making of an arrangement, I would not buy any man to come into the Government by the promise of an office.
MR. WILMOT —Do you charge me with being bought?
MR. GILLMOR —You say you would not go into the Government and take the office of Provincial Secretary, but you did go into the Government on a promise that you was to get the office of Auditor General. No man should stipulate for any reward of that kind on going into a Government. I did not do so. I thought, under the circumstances, it was my duty to help all I could, and do the best I could, to help along the Government of the country.
MR. WILMOT.—I was anxious not to join. I was not willing to go in without some voice in the formation of it.
MR. GILLMOR.—My hon. friend had a voice in the formation of the Government. There might have been a difference of opinion, for it is difficult to get men who can run their elections and discharge the duties of the Departments.
[Here there was quite a lengthy discussion between Messrs. Wilmot, Smith and Hatheway, about arrangements made at the formation of the Government and the matters upon which differences of opinion existed.]
MR. GiLLMOR.—One difference in the Government was in reference to the appointment of a Mr. Travis, and as there was no, vacancy there could be no appointment. We were all anxious to assist our friends in every way we could consistent with the public interest.
My late colleague (Mr. Wilmot) said he would not sustain any Government that would allow a member of the Opposition to carry a resolution to reduce the salary of a public official. He heard the discussion regarding the reduction of the Auditor General's salary, and I did not hear him say much against it, but some of my colleagues said he had found fault; but he remained with the Government from that time until his resignation, and never made any complaint, but has taken part in all the Government has done, and is responsible for all.
MR. WILMOT.—The cause of dissatisfaction on my part was on account of the President of the Council saying that the Government wished the House to fix the salary, when, by order of the House, the Government themselves were to fix it ; and I am now charged with not taking the Audit Office on account of the reduction of salary.
[Here another discussion arose between Mr. Hatheway and Mr. Wilmot.]
MR. GlLLMOR —My hon. friend and late colleague says he never was opposed to the abstract question of Union of the Colonies, and that the Government has done him injustice. The abstract question of union has never been submitted to the electors of New Brunswick, and an abstract question of union never will be, except the Confederates can work it in some way to assist them to carry the Quebec Scheme. To submit the abstract question of union to the people would be an abstract absurdity, for the conditions and details of any agreement is the all- important part of it.
MR. FISHER.—I would ask my hon. friend what he means, then, by the paragraph in the Address in answer to the Speech, which refers to that subject? ln answer to a question put by Mr. Wilmot, did you hear me say that I was not opposed to union in the abstract ?
MR. GlLLMOR.—I remember to have heard His Excellency say that there were some members in the Executive who were not opposed to union, and he pointed to Mr. Wilmot and Mr. Hutchison; and l have heard Mr. Wilmot say he preferred a Legislative Union to a Federal Union.
MR. SMITH —You (Mr. Wilmot) never said before the Council that you was not opposed to the abstract principle of union of British North America.
MR. WILMOT.—I did and am authorized by Judge Allen to say so.
MR. FISHER —My hon. friend says the mere question of union in itself amounts to nothing. I would ask him what he means by the eleventh paragraph in the Address?
Mr. GlLLMOR.—The time has not come to explain that. It explains itself. We are now considering a vote of want of confidence. ( A member,—You as it is a mere dodge.) I say the question of abstract union is a mere dodge to catch somebody—for it means anything, or nothing. It is a phrase manufactured to meet every person's view, and bring them in to work on a majority against the Government. Do you suppose, Mr. Speaker, that the Province will ever be called upon to decide the question of union without going into the details and conditions ? Some are for the Quebec Scheme, some for union in the abstract, and some opposed to both these, but are opposed to the Government, and they hope, by this dodging, to carry a majority on this amendment.
My hon. friend (Mr. McClelan) states that dame rumor say the Government have made a great many offers of office to hold a majority on this vote. Dame rumor now says the Opposition have promised all the offices, should they succeed, and are now offering six hundred pounds for a vote. ( Mr. Fisher,—Did my hon. friend say I have offered anybody an office? I challenge him to produce the man to whom I have offered office or money.) Dame rumor says they have filled, in prospective, all the offices, and are now offering money.
There are no persons more liberal than those who have nothing to give. I am quite sure that the Government would not insult any hon. member by holding out any offer as a bribe, and am sure there is no constituency that has sent any men mean enough to sell himself.
There are very extraordinary efforts being made to prolong this debate in order that some fortuitous circumstance may turn up to help the Opposition. lf it is true that such liberal offers have been made in the anticipated new Government, the liberality of the Opposition is much like the man who was exceedingly willing to give away milk after his cows went dry.
The Opposition have to get the present Government out, and then get in themselves, before they have anything to give, and before that is done there is rather a serious operation to go through.
MR. KERR. After this very exciting discussion, which has taken us by surprise. I may say it is a wonder how the Government have so long held together, when we know the difference of opinion they have maintained on almost all questions; it is surprising how they were enabled to come together and sit at the some Council board. I have been in the House fourteen yours. The President of the Council came in the same day that I did. He has had the sweets of office, and l have been left out in the cold. I regret the warmth to which the debate has given rise. It is not desirable we should have such scenes, more especially between those who have the destinies of this Province in their charge to a large extent. I did hope—after the Hon. Provincial Secretary had stated in the House that he would not say hard things, as he was too well bred for that—he would not have gone to the extreme length to which he has. I think there was some things he might have omitted without marring the beauty of his speech. He has thrown a bomb shell among the members of the Government, causing them to reveal the secrets of the Council Chamber of last season, and if these scenes were freuent there must have been some hard feelings. I am not surprised that there was difference of opinion there. I believe this Government was formed upon one single idea. The most discordant elements were brought together, and the members of the Government scarcely agreed upon any question except anti- Confederation. I regret the dissolution of the Assembly took place. I believe if the House had met last winter, and the subject of Confederation had been discussed. and the debates had gone abroad in the country, people would have understood the arguments for and against that great question, and at the next election we would have had the matter settled one way or the other. Confederation is the main question now, for every speaker has said more or less about it. Before the last election, I, like man others, was undecided whether the Scheme propoundcd in Quebec was one this country should adopt, but I thought that disturbance might take place, as it was expected that at the 0 me of the American war, disbanded soldiers who were without employment might create disturbance on our borders, and if we did all in our power to assist ourselves by entering into confederation which was highly approved of in England, the whole power of the nation would be put forth for our assistance. I did not think this union was going to give us such great prosperity as some predicted, neither did I think it would bring desolation und ruin on this Province. No great change of this kind is ever made without a great deal of dissatisfaction being expressed by the minority. In Scotland there was no dissolution of the Legislature when the union with England was effected, and since that union has been consummated, that country has prospered as well as any other portion of the world, although the representation of that country in Parliament is very small. In Ireland union was not brought about by an appeal to the people. Union appears to o the order of the day; we have union in commercial matters, union in Australia and the Cape Coast Colonies. lt has been stated that union is strength. It certainly would be strength for a poor country like this to be joined to a large wealthy country. And it is my opinion that the confederation of these colonies must ultimately take place. After the election no man was qualified to sit in council, or fit for any office throughout the country, unless he was known as an anti-Confederate. In the North there was only one member chosen to represent the whole of the Northern Counties. where we have had three during the last ten or fifteen years, all men of ability. I do not mean to say the present member is not capable, for I believe there are few better business men in the Province. He is a strong Conservative, and is a man that will think and act for himself; but there were other men in the North quite as competent to have taken a seat at the Council Board. We have been left with only one gentleman in tho Council, and that gentleman attending to his business 50 DEBATES OF THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY FOR 1866. in England, so that we have not a single member in the Government at present. ( Mr. Smith —No injustice will be done to the North.) I am glad to hear it, but I am very sceptical about it. I have been for many years in opposition to the Government, but I have always been ready to give them a hearty support in any measure which I believed to be right They have not done right in leaving the important office of Auditor General unfilled. The accounts may have been well audited, the gentleman who occupies the office may have discharged his duty faithfully, but I do not think, as the matter stands, he can make such a report of the accounts as ought to have the entire confidence of the country. He is not furnished with the materials to examine the accounts in such a way as ought to be done. Then again, we have reason to find fault with the Government for incurring the heavy expense of delegation to England on a useless mission. A despatch was written the 12th of April last, to be laid before this House. That despatch must have been received at the opening of the Legislature, and any person looking at it would say, that anything we could do by delegation could be effected by a despatch of the Government. They certainly have not done anything to change the views of the Bristish Government on confederation. In order to carry out that delegation, the country had to give up the services of the Attorney General for three months, and incur an expense of £700, which is a large sum of money to throw away without receiving an equivalent. I spoke and voted against that delegation, and I disapprove of it yet There is a matter connected with out debentures, coupons, and other matters lying in various hands. He might have made some arrangements about having them taken up and destroyed, but I fear it was not done. There are £17,000 of our debentures which fall due the 1st April, and we have debentures lying in St. John which are not accessible to the public. A large amount of money will be required which will have to be paid in new debentures, and those new debentures should be sold in this country so as to save so much interest to the country.
MR. GILLMOR —Is my hon. friend not aware that there are £16,000 in debentures in the treasury at St. John which have been there four weeks.
MR. KERR.—I am aware of that fact. I took down money to purchase some of those debentures, and was told no person was authorized to sell them.
MR. GILLMOR.—Those debentures are kept in the treasury for the purpose of exchanging them for those that fall due in May. We had no occasion to raise money upon them. If our debentures were absorbed in New Brunswick we would not have to draw £5,000 sterling [?] the interest on our railroad [?] along Canada being in debt, are we not £6,000,000 in debt, and only [?] piece of railroad to show for it. ( Mr. Needham—who built it?) A larger amount of money was expended in building it than it was worth and it [?] upon the Province for [?] debt of £70,000 currency annually, which was what we owe besides, gives us a debt for which we have to pay £88,000 per annum. This is a heavy charge for the few public works we have. We are owing that money, and when that money is falling due we should look ahead and see where the means are to come from to pay it. There should be no default in paying the interest in England, for if they lose confidence in us, our debentures will go down in the British market. I desire to see these debentures placed where the people can get them, if that can be done without any risk of the public funds of the country. We hear a great deal said about the theory of union. I do not know what this theory is. There was a delegation appointed last session to effect a union of the Maritime Provinces. I do not know whether it was done to keep up some sort of appearance, or whether there was any intention to effect such a nation. I have never heard of anything being done.
HON. MR. SMITH —It was distinctly understood that we were requested to do it by Nova Scotia.
MR. KERR —That may be the case, but it stands recorded upon the Journals of our House. We have no assurance that they intend to bring down any scheme of union, and as I believe Confederation must ultimately be carried, I intend to give my assistance to any improvement upon the Quebec Scheme; but at the same time I believe the Quebec Scheme as it is, is better for us than to be alone.
MR. CORAM —I am here to-day an independent representative of the City and County of St. John. I have no other objects in supporting any Government than the best interests of my country. What is the indictment brought against this Government? A great many arguments have been brought forward by members on both sides, and a great many charges made in a rambling way, without proving one single point. I cannot see why the present Government cannot carry on the business of the country as well as a new Government could. If I have not been misinformed, the mover of the Amendment has always been finding fault and bringing a vote of want of confidence against every Government of which he is not a member himself. This being the leader that some other gentlemen have. I was elected to oppose the Quebec Scheme, and I am in the confidence of those who sent me here. If I change my views, it is my duty to tender my resignation; until I do that, I will carry out the views of those who sent me here by supporting the present Government. When we look at the indictment and lift the veil, we see nothing but Confederation under it, and the object is to carry out the Quebec Scheme as it was, is, and shall be. We should not go into Confederation until the route of the Intercolonial Railroad is settled and put under seal, so that it cannot be altered. A reason given why we should go into Confederation is that we would be better protected; we would have soldiers sent down to guard us by night against Fenians. I do not believe there would be one [?] down from Canada to defend [?] New Brunswick. Will going into Confederation make us more loyal? No, I am just as loyal as ever [?] for I am prepared to [?] defend the [?] and the liberty [?] this [?] results will allow [?] all men to live in friendship and move, instead of hatred and strife. It is our duty to protect all men when we can, whether they are Protestants or Catholics, but if they come against the laws of my country, I will put them down. A charge brought against the Government is the great expense of the delegation going to England. At the last sitting of the Legislature a majority of the House decided to send a delegation to England, and they went according to the wishes of the House and the people. Why should we condemn the Government, before the correspondence between the Government and the Mother Country is laid before the House? They have not brought any evidence to prove they have done wrong in this particular. When the documents are produced, if they have not done according to the wishes of the people, I will vote against them. I will try them before condemning them. I like to see fair play and justice dealt out to every man. With regards to railroads, that is a question with which I will deal when it comes before the House in proper shape. When they are called upon for the agreement in regard to Western Extension, then I will do my best to sustain them or go against theme as I think proper. Another complaint was, why was not the House called together sooner? Where is the damage done? We know the Attorney General was at Washington negotiating regarding the Reciprocity Treaty, and we should not condemn him betore he brings his documents before the Home so that we can see whether he has carricd out the trust reposed in him. On these grounds I think the indictments are wrong, therefore I cannot condemn the Government without a fair trial.
MR. SCOVIL —As we are progressing so slow in this debate, I will occupy but little time. I am not in the habitat of making long speeches to place myself before my constituents. When this House was first formed, the people were called upon to decide one of the greatest questions that ever came before them. They gave their decision, and we were returned by a two-thirds majority, to oppose this Quebec Scheme, which was a scheme propounded by the wise men of the different Provinces, and laid before the people of this Province for them to accept. When the House was dissolved, I was determined not to offer as a candidate on that occasion, but from the pressure of circumstances, I came to the conclusion that, as this question was agitating the minds of the people, and they having elected me three times before, I would come forward and advocate my principles, and they returned me. My hon. friend (Mr. Kerr) says if this Government was turned out, the prospects of Confederation would be almost certain. He has good reason for saying so, and I look upon him with honor, as carrying out the principles advocated by him on the hustings. When I came forward to advocate my principles, I declared myself an anti- Confederate, and my reason for going against this amendment is to maintain those persons in [?], who have taken the charge of the Province. [?] thing to induce me [?] mind of [?] this scheme of Confederation [?] should be in favor of the Quebec Scheme I would not enter this House, for I [?] [?] it my duty to resign my [?] [?] these boards [?] [?] their own [?] but they tell them they are now in power, and they will have Confederation though DEBATES OF THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY FOR 1866. 51 elected to oppose the scheme. Among all their indictments, I cannot see that one has been sustained. I cannot see one reason for turning out the present Government. It is true, since they came into power there has been a continual cry throughout the country that the people had changed their minds about Confederation. In the County of King's, if there is any change, it is rather against the scheme. I admit there has been an oversight in not observing that the Export Duty Law was about to expire. Of that overnight the Government have taken the responsibility and the difficulty has been remedied without the loss of a single dollar. If they have been guilty of the omission, they might well be excused under the circumstances. There was a continual pressure brought to bear upon them from Canada, England, and the Confederates of this Province; and the press has been most unscrupulous. The Provincial Secretary has said all I had to say about them, and I agree with every word he said concerning them. My hon. friend from Carleton (Mr. Lindsay) has said the British Government wished us to enter into Confederation. I look upon this question as one for the people of New Brunswick to decide. I do not believe we are to be dictated to even by the British Government, and we should not submit to Downing Street dictation. I have heard the hon. mover of the amendment harangue the House in former times, complaining of the Government being led by Downing Street dictation. My hon. friend has told us that if we were loyal subjects of Great Britain, we would submit to any thing. ( Mr. Lindsay,—I said loyalty consisted in obedience.) When I speak of the Queen I speak with respect; but those men in office are no more than we are. They may be there to-day and out to-morrow. What does Mr. Cardwell know about the benefits arising from Confederation? The people have told Mr. Cardwell that they do not want Confederation. but still the scheme is agitated; and we have the forty-second member of the House going through the length and breadth of the land, lecturing the people upon the benefits of the scheme—a professional politician, with nothing to do but to stir up people's minds about Confederation. He is now on the floors of the House, or the next thing to it. l heard, my hon. friend (Mr. Wetmore) talk about the stuffing process. I think he is getting as much stuffing as any other hon. member in this House, and I think my hon. friend from Westmorland is getting stuffed too.
MR. WETMORE.—My hon. friend refers to stuffing. I shall be haupy to hear him go on and tell how the Government
are stuffing him.
MR. SCOVlL.—l will tell him that no Government is stuffing me. I did not come into this House to seek for office. ( Mr. Wetmore—They stuff you, and you don't know it.) I have common sense, and I do not allow the Attorney General or the forty-second member to stuff me. Those individuals who are looking up with their mouths open, getting stuffed, will have to disgorge, to explain themselves to their constituency.
There has been a great cry raised about a Minute of Council, signed by the members of the Government and addressed to Mr. Cardwell, whom the hon. mover of the amendment wishes to bow down to and worship. I saw this dispatch and thought it a well-written article. I read that dispatch over to a person who had told me it was one of the worst documents he ever saw. But before I got through, he said the country ought to be proud that they had seven men, such men in the Government, who would honestly express their opinions.
I was always in favor of union, and when the Quebec Scheme came up, I tried, if possible, to agree with it. I sifted it, and came to the conclusion that New Brunswick would be nowhere under that scheme; for under it, I do not believe the rights and interests of the people are protected. ( Mr. Lindsay,—How, then, can you eulogize the men who said they were opposed to a union of the Provinces?) I gave them credit for using those strong terms. We do not want any closer union with Canada, unless we see the rights of the people protected. ( Mr. Wetmore,—Did you say, during the election, that you were in favor of union?) We had the Quebec Scheme, and we had to allow the whole of it or reject it. I told the people that l looked upon a union of the colonies as advantageous, but I did all I could to satisfy the people that the Quebec Scheme was not the scheme for New Brunswick; and I should be recreant to my trust if I went against those men who formed this Government on those principles, for if they were ousted, I have no doubt but it would be an advantage to the scheme. I believe people are apt to change their mind. I have changed my mind in some things. I was a young politician when I came here, and in the course of my political life in this House, I always condemned a Government for dismissing good public servants to put others in their place, but I have got to be almost a smasher on that point. I used to think the Government would live down such opposition, but I believe now that when a public officer goes out to canvass, and uses his office for a canvassing shop, he should be turned out of his office at once. ( Mr. L. P. W. DesBrisay.—I would ask him how he supports a Government that is unable to turn out even the meanest man holding an office in this Province?)
There was then some conversation he- tween Mr. Wetmore and Mr. Scovil regarding the appointment in offices, and bribery, after which the debate was then adjurned until 12 o'clock to-morrow.
MR. SCOVlL. by leave, brought in a Bill to change the Constitution of the Legislative Council, after which the House was adjourned until 10 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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