Legislative Assembly, 4 July 1866, New Brunswick Confederation Debates



Certain Bills received a second and third reading after which Mr. WETMORE read and laid before the House the petition and protest of George McLeod and others, voters in the County of Kent, against the return of William S. Caie and Own McInerney, as members of the General Assembly, on the ground that the election was illegal, inasmuch as the Sheriff had notified the people that the election would take place at a certain time, and had afterward changed the date; and also on the gournd of bribery and corruption.
On motion of Mr. WETMORE it was order that on Saturday next the 7th instant, at the hour of 10 A. M., the House do go into consideration of the charges contained in the petition of Geo. McLeod and others against the return of Messers. Caie and McInerney.
Mr. LINDSAY moved for leave to bring in a Bill to place the road from North Richmond to South Richmond, in the County of Carleton, on the Great Road list. Leave granted, and the Bill was read a first and second time, and referred to the Chief Commissioner of the Board of Works.
Mr. BECKWITH moved for leave to bring in a Bill to place the road from the North of Keswick, in the County of York, to the River St. John, opposite Woodstock, on the Great Road list. Leave was granted, and the Bill was read a first and second time, and referred to the Chief Commissioner of the Board of Works.
Mr. BECKWITH moved for leave to bring in a Bill to place the road from Thompson's Mills, in the Parish of Douglas, passing through Stanley to Bonestown, on the Great Road list. Leave was granted and the Bill was read a first and second time, and referred to the Chief Commissioner of the Board of Works.
The order of the day was then taken up.


Mr. LINDSAY said he thought it was not right that delegates should be bound down in their action by any restrictions laid upon them by this House
Mr. SMITH rose to close the debate and said:
I had some anticipation that some amendment would be offered by the Government to the resolution I laid before this House, but I had no thought that they would have moved such an amendment as they did. I always thought we were a deliberative Assembly, sent here by the people to exercise our judgments and intellects on all matters pertaining to the well-being of the people of this Province. But it appears the Government do not entertain such an opinion. They talk as though all the blessings which they predicted Confederation was to bring, had already been experienced. Rather than the course they have pursued, I think they should have come before this House, and said "the country have determined to try the experiment of Union" and explained the course they intended to follow, so that hon. members might bring their powers of mind to bear upon the subject, and suggest such modifications and alterations as to them was deemed necessary. Instead of this they are shrouding their conduct in mystery and concealment. When I asked the Attorney General if it was the intention of the Government to confederate New Brunswick and Canada if Nova Scotia decided not to come in, the required information was concealed. They bring forward a resolution intimating that the Union is to include all the Provinces, yet refuse to say if they will agree to a Union of only two. The people of New Brunswick may be wiling to go into a Union with all the Provinces, while they would not agree that this Province should unite with Canada alone. I do not believe the Government are justified in pursuing such a mysterious course, nor that hon. members will do justice to their constituents if they vote for the amendment.
Mr. SMITH then referred to a misunderstanding which had arisen with regard to the working of Hon. Mr. Fisher's Amendment, and then proceeded: -
In the Amendment made by the Government they make the declaration that hon. members of this House are not here to deliberate on the terms of Union, but simply to clothe with unlimited power the delegates who may be sent on this mission; that they will not admit of opinions being expressed by those whom the people have sent to speak for them. I ask the House if they are willing to ignore their functions, to shirk all the responsibility and place it on the shoulders of the Government? I repudiate any such doctrine that in a case like this, when the changing of the Constitution is contemplated, that the people's representatives should take no responsibility. All the responsibility of the acts of the Government will rest upon them and the people. I think hon. members had better pause, for notwithstanding the doctrine here laid down by the Government, the result, if disastrous, will rest with them, and the people will call them to account for it. It does not seem to me that it is not possible there can be a majority of the members of this House willing to stultify themselves and ignore their functions, and do nothing more on this great question than to appoint delegates with power to change the Constitution of this Province without their having a voice in the matter. The hon. member for Northumberland ( Mr. Johnson) told us that Mr. Galt contemplated reducing the taxes in Canada. Does he? I'd show that he contemplates greatly increasing them Mr. Galt himself admitted in his speech in the Canadian Parliament that they are in such financial difficulty that he should call upon them to give the Government power to issue five million dollars of Treasury notes. The duties they now pay in Canada are much higher than with us, and although Mr. galt says that that would probably be their last Session, yet before Confederation is accomplished, he is compelled to raise the duties on various articles to meet their present emergencies. I hold in my hand a report of Mr. Galt's speech when presenting his financial statement, and I will read what he says, as also the remarks of Mr. Geo. Brown on the course pursued by the Government. The Provincial Secretary (Mr. Tillney) had told us that in Canada they had an excise duty of theiry cents a gallon on whiskey. Does he knwo that it is now intended to raise that to sixty cents, and under Confederation we will have to pay that amount. The people of Canada want more money than they have, and even now they are paying eight per cent. for it. Their finances are in a very bad state.
Mr. Galt says ( I shall merely read a few extracts from his speech): -
"This year the financial statement included the expense of the election of Legislative Councillors last fall, but it was not likely that this Parliament would ever have to provide means for another General Election."
For Militia he would not ask for $50,000 as usual, but "he wished to be empowered to spend a sum no less than $1,500,000." And then he goes on to specify the articles upon which a higher duty must be paid. "It would be his duty to increase the excise duty on spirits from thirty to sixty cents." "On Indian corn, coarse grains, &c., imported from the United States, there would be a duty of ten cents a bushel. On flour the duty would be fifty cents a barrel." "On tea the Government proposed adding to the specific duty three cents a pound, making the duty on tea as nearly as possible twelve or twelve and a half cents a pound, instead of nine cents as heretofore." There is also to be a change in the duy on molasses. It is put down at $1 per gallon, DEBATES OF THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY FOR 1866.  75  but that I presume must be a mistake. I take it, it is meant to put a duty of $1 for every 100 pounds. So then we are to have a duty on flour, a charge which I have always resisted. This is intended to prevent our importing from the States and compel us to use the grain and flour of Canada. Free ports are to be abolished, and then twelve and a half cents is a pretty heavy duty to pay on a pound of tea. I ask if these changes are made when the Parliament of Canada are not expected to meet again, shall we pay less when we are united with her?
HON. Mr. TILLEY - Yes.
Mr. SMITH - He says yes, but it is know that the expenses of the General Government will be very great, and that on this account the taxes must largely increase. The popel here us more tea in proportion they they do in Canada, and this item is but a forerunner of what must follow. Even with their present duty on molasses we should have to pay $10,000 more for the quantity we use than we do now, and even this is to be increased. And then at last he goes on to say the Government will issue $3,000,000 of legal tender notes to meet the immediate requirements of the country. And yet we are told that they ahve a surplus of funds. It is evident they are driven to the last extremity to met their liabilities. The power and influence of Canada is felt in this country even now. I felt it in the late Government. It seems incredible, yt it is a fact that they attempted to influence the time of the meeting of our Legislature, and I believe that the Secretary is under the influence which the Canadians wield.
Now hear what Mr. George Brown says:
Hon. Mr. BROWN regretted that the honl gentleman had made such a speech as he had done at the present juncture. This was certainly a very bad time to make such propositions as he had laid down in the Budget. He ventured t say that when that Scheme (that is the financial statement of Mr. Galt) went before the country it would produce the wildest commotion. He was greatly surprised at the magnitude of the expenditure. The hon. Finance Minister had stated that he would not have submitted the Scheme now had he thought it would throw and obstacles in the way of Confederation. He (Mr. Brown) certainly considered it most unfortunate that such a thing had been done on the eve of the consummation of the Union of the Provinces. The Scheme in many important particulars was bad. He considered that taking off a tax and putting on another was a way of robbing Peter to pay Paul. So far from mending matters they had been made worse. He (Mr. B.) intended to meet the proposition at length at another time. He held that the Scheme of the hon. Finance Minister would throw the country into political commotion which the Government had been formed to set at rest, and that putting forward such propositions at this time was little short of madness. By this, too, no one would say that the House would rise for months to come."
Now these are the remarks of George Brown, one of the Quebec Schemers. You see he says that there is no knowing that the House will rise for months to come. At the opening of the present session the members of the Government were terribly anxious to bring on the business, and get the delegates appointed. I believe they intended to have sailed by the steamer that sails from Halifax tomorrow. But now there seems to be some hitch, they don't seem to mind how long the session lasts.
Hon. Mr. TILLEY. - Our lives are not a burden to us at any rate.
Mr. SMITH. - Then they ought to be. I put it to him if he was not in collusion with the Governor, and assisted the backstairs Government in undermining the late administration. Mr. Speaker, at that time we were like a man surrounded by enemies, who did not know which way to move lest he should be endangering his life. We were surrounded by an unscrupulous Opposition, and by secret influences which were at work to overthrow us, and at that time I did feel that life was a burden. But I would ask the Provincial Secretary if he approves of the actions of the Governor? Last winter was spent by him in looking after politics; day after day he was in this House watching the proceedings, and he seemed to have little else to do. I say if he thinks the course pursued, the wily influences used by this backstair's Government, this Talleyrandism, right, then his life ought to be a burden to him.
His Honor the SPEAKER asked Mr. Smith to confine his remarks to the subject before the House as much as possible.
Mr. SMITH. - It seems, Mr. Speaker, that hon. members of the Government may be allowed to go out of their way to make attacks on us, but I am to be strictly confined to the bare subject in hand.
His Honor the SPEAKER hoped the hon. member would not think that he would not act as justly and impartially with him as with any other member of the House.
Mr. SMITH. - I should be sorry to think, Mr. Speaker, that any such course would be adopted, but the hon. Attorney General was permitted to wander away into the action of the late Government, yet I am not to be allowed to reply to the charges he put forth.
Mr. WETMORE. - I rise to a point of order. The hon. member for Westmorland has stated that the Opposition in the last House was unscrupulous. Now I was in the Opposition last session. I beg to say that my opposition to them was neither factious nor unscrupulous, but the fact was the Opposition had an unscrupulous Government to deal with.
Mr. SMITH. - There it is. The hon. member for St. John takes great umbrage at my speaking of the late Opposition as unscrupulous, but does not hesitate to speak of the late Government in the same terms.
Mr. WETMORE. - You first made use of the expression, and I certainly had a right to return the compliment.
Mr. SMITH. - I havae challenged the Secretary, and I do so again, to show that the late Government were unconstitutional in any of their acts, or that they were guilty of mal-practice or mal-administration. To return, I was reading the financial statement of Mr. Galt, to show that the fiscal condition of Canada is very bad. Now I will refer to the constitutional part of the question. The hon. member for Northumberland (Mr. Johnson) in his speech yesterday sai, and he read largely from a book, to show that the people of the United States were not appealed to in the preparing of their Constitution. But let us look into the matter, and first see the care taken in the organization of a State. I shall quote from the same work as he did,
"When a new State is proposed to be organized, the people elect delegates to a Convention, for the purpose of framing a Constitution. After that instrument has been adopted in Convention, it is submitted to the vote of the people, and, on ballot, they declare 'for the Constitution,' or 'against the Constitution.' If the affirmative receive a majority of votes, it is adopted; if the majority vote for the negative, the Constitution is rejected. Whenever the people desire it, another Convention is called. In the old States it is difficult to effect a revision of that instrument."
It is usual for the Legislature to pass a law to take the vote of the people whether or not a Convention shall be authorized to meet for the purpose of revising the Constitution. The people ballot directly upon the question - "For a Convention," "against a Convention." If carried in the affirmative, the next Session of the Legislature passes a law authorizing a Convention to be convened, and its members to be elected. The delegates are then elected and the Convention assembles according to law, and proceed to revise the Constitution. This body sometimes continues in session several weeks. When the revised instrument has been completed the Convention orders its submission to the vote of the pople, and then adjourns. The people cast their ballots either "for the Constitution" or "against the Constitution." If adopted, a new Government is organised, but if rejected and the effort to change the Government has failed, the old Constitution is continued in force.
These proceedings, namely, the passsing of the Bill by the Legislature, and the taking of the vote of the people whether or not a Convention shall be convened; the passing of the Bill for the election of the delegates and the other formalities alluded to, occupy some four or five years."
"The sovereign power of a State is derived from the people." But here they take the ground that the General Government is the fountain of all power, and sends out her little streams to the local Legislature, thus reverting the idea of the United States. Now let me show you that they did appeal to the people to ratify what they had done in Convention. "The Convention continued in session four months, and on the 17th day of September, 1787, the following organic instrument was adopted." Then follows the Constitution signed by George Washington - "This Constitution was reported to the Congress; and from that body was sent to the respective States for ratification, in accordance with proceedings of the Convention." The Resolution of Congress passed on the 28th September, 1787, was as follows:
Resolved unanimously- That the Report of the Convention be transmitted to the several Legislatures, in order to be submitted to a Convention of delegates chosen in each State by the people thereof, in conformity to the resolves of the Convention made and provided in that case."
Here the Convention showed proper respect for the rights of the people. I have gone into the subject more than I intended at first. The House will probably vote for the Amendment, taking from us the right of expressing our opinions on the subject of Union. The Resolutions I submitted are surely reasonable. There is one point on which I think none can take exception to, and that is that these Lower Provinces shall have at least one member each in the Executive Council of the General Parliament, to secure the rights and interests of their own people for all time to come. This I hold should be put in the Scheme, for in a written Constitution it is necessary that every point should be well defined as the management of affairs will necessarily be in strict accordance with the letter of the Constitution. Canada will form the all- powerful part of the Confederation, and we ask for the appointment of one of our members to the Executive; and let it be as a right, as part of the great Magna Charter, and not be humiliated to ask it as a favour from Upper Canada. I think, too, that the Inter-colonial railway should be bona fide commenced before the General Government should have the right to tax us for its construction. No arrangement, I fear, will be made by which they will be able to proceed except by taxing us, unless their hand it stayed. I believe the first Session of the General Parliament we shall have the Stamp duties fixed upon us. We shall also have a tax put upon newspapers. 12 1/2 cents a pound on tea, a tax on flour, and a heavy export duty on our lumber. Then the only means to take to secure the building of the Inter-colonial railroad is by preventing these burdens being placed upon us till the work is underway. The putting in of this provision will not affect Confederation at all, it will only secure us if it is put in. Mr. Galt expresses the opinion that soon we shall be entirely sepeerated from England. He expects to see us a great nationality on this Continent, friendly to England, but yielding her no allegiance. This is I am opposed to I want to see no seperation from the Mother Country. I think the Resolutions I have offered deserve the support of this House. If hon. members are willing to yield up their right of opinion they will of course vote for the Amendment, but if not they must support the Resolutions.
The House then divided on the Amendment. Ayes- Hon. Mr. Tilley, Hon. Mr. Fischer, Hon. Mr. Williston, Hon. Mr. McClellan, Hon. Mr. McMillan, Hon. Mr. Wilmot, Hon. Mr. Connell, Mr. Lindsay, Mr. Perley, Mr. McAdam, Mr. Ryan, Mr. Babbit, Mr. Ferris, Mr. J. Flewwelling, Mr. Glazier, Mr. Wetmore, Mr. Quinton, Mr. DesBrisay, Mr. Thompson, Mr. Beckwith, Mr. Chandler, Mr. Beveridge, Mr. Sutton, Mr. Kerr, Mr. DAvis, Mr. Stevens, Mr, Hibbard, Mr. Skinner, Mr. Johnson, and Dr. Dow - 30.
Nays- MR. Smith, Mr. Young, Mr. CAie, Mr. Botsford, Mr McQueen, Mr. Meehan, Mr. McInerny, and Mr. Landry - 8.
Messrs. W.P. Flewelling and Herbert were absent.


Mr. SKINNER moved the House into Committee of the Whole on a Bill to in— corporate the Shipwrights' Union. of the City of Saint John. Mr. DesBrisay In the Chair.  
  Mr. SKINNER said this was a similar Bill to that passed the other day to incorporate the Caulkers' Association. It was merely a Mutual Benefit Society.
The Bill was agreed to.
Hon. ATTORNEY GENERAL moved the House into Committee of the Whole on a Bill further to amend the Law relating to Parish Schools. .
Hon Attorney General explained that this Bill was before the last Session. It merely provides that where a County adopts the assessment principle they shall receive the amount. of ten per cent above what is granted to other Parish Schools, which by the old law is confined to Parishes.
Hon. Mr. CONNELL was in favor of the principle of assessment for Schools, but should prefer to have the Bill left over till the next Session of the Legislature.
Mr. SMITH - was surprised at the Attorney General bringing in this Bill as it was imperfect. It did not provide the regular machinery for carrying out its provisions. No power was given in the School Act to the Sessions to assess for School purposes, and consequently it could not be carried out.
Hon. ATTORNEY GENERAL said the provision requiring the peole of a Parish to meet together was applicable under this Bill to a County.
Mr. STEVENS thought it would be better for the Attorney General to look into the matter of Education and hiring in a Bill that would remedy the evils existing under the present School Law, which has been found to be very inoperative. The money now paid was frittered away in supporting ten Schools where two are sufficient for the wants of the people. In 1863, he brought in a Bill to remedy the matter, and it was the duty of the Government to take hold of the question and see that the law is carried out. He would ask if the Board of Education had done their duty in limiting the number of Schools to the requirements of a Parish or district? He did not speak against the present Bill, but to draw the attention of the Attorney General to the preparation of a new Bill that will remedy the evils that now exist, for we grant more money for the purposes of Education than any other country in proportion to our population, but we do not get results commensurate with the amount we pay out. His idea was that there should be fewer Schools and they more effective.
Mr. HIBBARD thought it would be better to have a general revision of the School Law than to fill up the Statue Book with amendments to the existing law. He thought the present system of inspecting schools very unsatisfactory, inasmuch as they have so much ground to go over that they canoot give more than an hour or two to a school when the work should not be got through within half a day. The law also provides that rate-payers shall be called together in cases of assessment, but who were they? The law does not define it sufficiently. It should say rate-payers on real and personal property. If the law needs amending it would be best to thoroughly revise the existing law.
Mr. LEWIS said the present system of inspection was very unsatisfactory. He knew that in his part of the country the Inspector (Mr. Duval) would go to a school and go from it without producing any benefit. The people were crying out all over the country, and he should op DEBATES OF THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY FOR 1866. 77 pose any Bill till there was a revision of the whole law.
Mr. BABBITT agreed with the remarks made. There was much dissatisfaction existing with regard to the present law. The average attendance principle he thought had worked badly in the back settlements. The system of in spection he thought was worthless, and denominational grants he did not believe in. He thought the best plan was to give the amount to a general seat of learning and improve the status of the Parish Schools.
Mr. WETMORE also called the attention of the Attorney General to the subject and while he could not oppose the passage of the present Bill, he thought it necessary that the whole School Law should be revised.
On motion of Mr. SKINNER the further consideration of the Bill was postponed till the next session of the Legislature.
Hon. Mr. FISHER moved the House into Committee of the Whole on a Bill to provide for defraying of expenses of the civil Government. Mr. LEWIS in the chair.
The Bill was agreed to.
Mr. BECKWITH moved the House into Committee of the Whole on a a Bill relating to the City of Fredericton. Mr. CHANDLER in the Chair.
The Bill was agreed to with certain amendments.
Mr. QUINTON moved the House into Committee of the Whole on a Bill to enable the Corporation of St. John to effect certain improvements in the streets of said City on the Eastern side of the Harbor. Dr. DOW in the Chair.
The Bill was agreed to.
Hon. ATTORNEY GENERAL moved the House into Committee of the Whole on a Bill to provide for the repairs and improvement of the Roads and Bridges, and other public works and services Mr. J. FLEWWELLING in the Chair.
The Bill was agreed to.
Mr. SKINNER submitted the following Report :
The Committee to whom was referred the Bill to incorporate the International Telegraph Company submit the following Report :
The Committee have taken the matter into consideration, and whilst they are in favor of the Bill with some amendments, they find that certain persons and interests are opposed to the passage of the Bill, and desire to be heard in opposition thereto, and there being not sufficient time to hear them during the present session of the Legislature, the Committee recommend the further consideration of the Bill remain over until next Session, and the Committee ask that in the meantime their organization may remain with power to them to make a further report at the next session of the Legislature.
Sept. 4 1866
Mr. SKINNER moved for leave to bring in a Bill to permit the annexation to British America upon certain conditions, by and with the consent of the Imperial Parliament, of the States of Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut, with provisions for the organization of Territorial Government for Pennsylvania, Nantucket Island and New York.
Mr. SKINNER stated that this was intended as a set off to the Bill introduced into the Congress of the United States to annex these Provinces to them.
The Bill caused much laughter, but was not received.
Mr. SKINNER moved the House into Committee of the Whole on a Bill relating to Marriage. Dr. Dow in the Chair.
Mr. SKINNER explained that this Bill contemplates the reduction of the time for publishing banns, and the reduction of the license fees, and the remission of the fee demanded from the clergy for registration by the Clerk of the Peace. It would be better to take the fee for registration at the time of issuing of the license.
Mr. SMITH was opposed to the short ening of the time of publication of banns ; he thought three weeks was quite little enough time. He should therefore oppose that section, although he was in favor of the other two.
Mr. McQUEEN thought the two provisions would clash ; he was of opinion that it would be better to make the time of publication three months.
Mr. BABBITT was in favor of the Bill, especially of the section relieving the minister officiating from paying to the Clerk of the Peace a fee of three and nine pence for registration.
Hon. Mr. TILLEY thought that great inconvenience would arise if the party were compelled to produce to the clergyman a certificate from the Clerk of the Peace that the fee of fifty cents had been paid for registration. Many marriages that take place in the back settlements are by the publication of banns., and then the party would have to go the county town to get the certificate. He was afraid that this Section would not work.
Hon. Mr. FISHER was opposed to the shortening of the time of publication of banns, and thought it best to lay the Bill over till next Session.
Mr. STEVENS, Mr. LINDSAY, and others, also spoke on the Bill.
Mr. TILLEY moved that the further considerations be postponed three months House divided on postponement—Yeas 13, Nays 18.
A further discussion then ensued with regard to the propriety of making the al terations proposed by the Bill.
Progress was reported, without leave to sit again.
House adjourned till tomorrow morning at 9 o'clock.
J. M.


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.



Selection of input documents and completion of metadata: Gordon Lyall.

Personnes participantes: