Newfoundland Legislative Assembly, 1 February 1865, Newfoundland Debates over Confederation with Canada.

1 THE NEWFOUNDLANDER. St. John's, Thursday, February 9, 1865.


The House met at 3 o'clock.
Mr. KAVANAGH presented a petition from F. Fitzgerald and others, of Forbay, which was received and read, praying for a grant to make a road from thence to Beaullen.
Ordered that the petition lie on the table.
Mr. WYATT presented a petition, from Thomas Fish Parker and others, of Middle Bill Cove, which was received and read, praying for a grant to build a bridge over the river at Anthony's Gut.
Mr. WYATT, in moving that, the petition lie on the table, would observe that the bridge has been down for some time, which orcasioned great inconvenience to the people in the heighbourhood, and especially to ths children in attending school.
Ordered that the petition lie on the table.
Mr. WYATT gave notice, that on to-morrow, he would ask the hon Acting Colonial Secretary for a return showing the number of voyages made by the steamer Ariel, to the Westward and Northward, during the year 1864, dates of departure from St. John's, and dates of return; also particulars of ports called at, and time of arrival and departure from these ports.
Mr. LEAMON presented a petition from John Harley and others of Cap in Cove, South Side of Port-de Grave, which was received and read, praying for a grant to make a road to that settlement.
Ordered that the petition lie on the table.
Mr. KENT presented a petition from Michael Wade, of Fiat Rock, which was received and read, praying for a grant to open a road from the main road to his farm.
Mr. KENT, in moving that the petition lie on the table, would observe that it referred to a matter of very great importance, to the progress of agriculture in the Colony. His Excellency the Governor, had urged upon their attention the importance of the road service, as well as the encouragement of agriculture, Agriculture could not progress without roads, and if they desired to see a prosperous agricultural population, it was essential that they should be provided with the means of access to their land, and of bringing their produce to market. It was admited on both sides that the fisheries alone were not sufficient to sustain our increasing population, therefore it became their imperative duty to give every facility to those who directed their attention, to other industrial pursuits, The petitioner had peculiar claims which ought not to be overlooked.
Mr. PARSONS had much pleasure in supporting the prayer of that petition. He had long been the advocate of agricultural improvement. This country had great agricultural capabilities, which had hitherto been very much neglected. No person who had witnessed the exhibition of agricultural produce in the front of the building in the month of October could have any doubt on the subject. We had extensive tracts, of most fertile land in the interior, which had not yet been rendered accessible for cultivation. He need only refer to the narrative of Mr. Cormack of his journey across the island. He passed over fine plains with grass five or six feet high, on which numerous herds of deer found pasturage. In addition to our prolific fisheries, which for a few seasons had partially failed, and our valuable mineral resources, we had tracts of land which could not be surpassed in fertility, and which required only the fostering hand of a paternal government to give due encouragement and assistance for their cultivation, when they would be occupied by a hardy and industrious population. It was not the miserable and degrading dole of the pauper that our people required to sustain them. Give them aid to cultivate the soil, and roads to render their lands accessible, and the able bodied would maintain themselves in comfort.
Mr. MARCH concurred in the views of the hon member who had just sat down respecting the importance of agriculture. He never was so convinced on the subject as last summer. He touched in at one settlement on the French shore, where one man had 50 sheep, and another had 11 milch cows, and these persons had no complaint of poverty. And it was well known that the land on the French shore was comparatively barren compared with the other parts of Newfoundland. On his return from the Labrador he met with that eminent statesman Mr. Howe, who had done so much to promote the progress of Nova Scotia. That gentleman spoke in the highest terms of the fine land which he had seen up the Bays, and along the streams flowing into them. Nearly the whole of that land was unoccupied. The people had settled on the head-lands, for the convenience of prosecuting the fishery in punts, and were located in the vicinity of the poorest land for cultivation. Yet, we saw that excellent vegetables were raised here. Mr. Howe saw at once the mistake which had been committed. He said if the people went up into these Bays, where there was fine land and fine timber they might have large craft, and come down to follow the fishery wherever the fish were to be found, and have their firms at home, to fall back upon, where they could raise much of the produce necessary for our consumption. In place of importing cattle from Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, they might have thousands of cattle in these Bays, which would find a ready market in St. John's, with millions of sheep, which would furnish them with both food and clothing. He (Mr. March) had hope for this country yet, He did not despair of seeing it raise again to prosperity. If we have a good seal fishery thin spring, and he did, hope providence would again smile upon us, we would ston, see industry revive, and the merchants would give out supplies with their accustomed liberality, as no other merchants in the world would do. There were one spring, no fewer than 680,000 seals brought in, an i with favourable winds, there was reason to anticipate a good fishery this spring, for but few seals had been taken last year. He would not put it at the highest rate; but assuming that there would be 400,000 seals taken; at 10s each, they would be worth ÂŁ200,000 If we had a fair cod-fishery we might calculate on a million quintals. There had been considerably more in some seasons. Fish would be worth a pound a quintal. It was now worth 26s., and there would be none in the market when the new fish came in. This exclusive of the cod oil, the salmon and the herrings, gave us ÂŁ1,- 200,000 for a population of 130,000, besides the produce of Agriculture; and if our people were assisted by the government and by the merchants to go up into these fine Bays, we would soon have a prosperous agricultural population. There was Mr. Tilly, who was so comfortable with his family in Hants' Harbor. That venerable and respected gentleman was far seeing. He saw that in fishery would be liable to failures, and as population was increasing, that some other means of support would become necessary; and he went up into Random Sound at the head of Trinity Bay, where here was as fine a soil as in the land of Goshen. He and his sons had cultivated a fine tract of land there, where they raised abundance of produce, while they attended to the fishery in the height of the season. One year lately they raised sufficient wheat to make 35 barrels of flour, and this year Mr. Tilly had such fine turnips that one of them could not be put into a flour barrel. Several other families had been induced to follow Mr. Tilly's example, and with the same industry would soon be comfortable. Now with all this we had our minerals, There was no country that possessed more valuable resource than this island, and though we had for some years severe distres amongst our people, yet when it, passed away it would be, the means of doing us good; and after all, if Providence afflicted us with a failure of the fisheries, we were exempt from the scourge of war, which was desolating the United States, our government had met the crisis with much energy and judgment, and no person was allowed to person of want; and with the protection of the noble 2 THE NEWFOUNDLANDER. British government we would yet see brighter days. He felt proud of being a British subject, and desired no other connection. It was not the rule of a race of French and Dutch Canadians that he would substitute for the liberty we now enjoyed under the best government in the world. He (Mr. March) had every confidence in the leader of the present government, but he wished more had been done to settle the people in those fine Bays where the land was so productive, and where there was abundance of manure from the sea weed that washed up on the beaches, and grass grew higher than a man's head. It was only now that we were coming to know the capabilities of our country, and he hoped that the hardships we had gone through would render our people more careful to husband their means when prosperity returns, and to invest them in those agricultural improvements which would be an inheritance to their children.
Ordered that the petition lie on the table.
On motion of Mr. Wyatt, pursuant to order of the day, the House resolved itself into Committee of the whole on the addrass in reply to his Excellency's speech, Mr. KNIGHT in the chair.
On motion of Mr. Wyatt, the next section of the address in reference to education, was read.
Mr. WYATT moved that the section be adopted.
Mr. TALBOT —The Governor in his speech had referred to Education and to the necessity of establishing a training school. There were already two or three such schools in existence here, and it was very remarkable that his Excellency the Governor was not aware of it. Why did not his constitutional advisers inform him of it? He (Mr. Talbot) was aware of their existence, and they were provided according to the principle of the Education Act, on the denominational basis—The Roman Catholics had one and the Protestants had two or three, and he (Mr. Talbot) had yet to learn that they were not satisfactory, or that they did not fully answer the purpose for which they were established. He could positively assert that the Roman Catholic one was as good and efficient as it was possible to establish. It was in connection with St. Bonaventure College, and was placed in charge of a teacher eminently fitted by the excellent training he had himself received at the Dublin training Institution, to train young men for teachers.—There were always from six to nine pupils under a course of training in this college, and he (Mr. Talbot) presumed that it was the same with the Protestant institutions; and that the most satisfactory results were attained. And was it proposed now to establish another school, in the place of one which could not possibly be excelled? What, therefore, could be the motive for suggesting the establishment of a Normal School? If it was intended that a central training School for all religious denominations should be established, it would be necessary that a school-house should be built for the purpose, and a staff of teachers employod; and thus a very large amount of unnecessary expense would be incurred, thus reducing the general grant now given for Educational purposes.—The only thing which he (Mr. Talbot) saw that would be beneficial was to increase the grant, so as to provide adequate salaries for the teachers. The great eivil in this country was that the teachers did not receive that compensation for their services to which they were entitled, or which would render them satisfied with their position. It was not worth training them, if they only received a paltry £25 a year. Let hon members just reflect for one moment on that subject. You give a liberal education to these young men who are designed for teaching in the outports. You raise them intellectually and morally, instil into their minds a laudable ambition, and then you send them to the Outports on the pitiful stipend of £25 a year. Under this system the great difficulty was in retaining the services of these teachers. In the outports they found young men in mercantile establishments, intellectually far their inferiors, and yet receiving salaries double the amount they received. Hence they become dissatisfied with their position, and on the first opportunity they give it up and seek for employment in which they may receive adequate return for their services. The least salary such men should get was he (Mr. Talbot) would say, £80 a year, with whateyer else they were able to make. That would render them satisfied with their positions; and being satisfied, they would remain and do their work well. Unless this change was effected, it would be useless to incur expense in further training teachers, for the better educated our young men became, the less inclined would they be settler permanently in the outports on such starving salaries as they at present received. The second point which he (Mr.Talbot) would refer to, was the proposition to compel the people to contribute to the support of their schools. The principle was a sound and unexceptionable one; but he was satisfied it would not work well. It was notorious that in some of the Outports the people were so indifferent to education, that they would do without a school forever rather than contribute one penny to its support. The Inspectors had loudly complained of the indifference of the parents, who in many instances did not send their children to school at all; while others only sent them when they could not employ them at home. But surely if the people were unwilling to contribute to the support of their schools, you would not, on that account, take away from them the blessings of education altogether. Aid Education as much as you can, foster it, improve it, but do not strike at the root of the present system, and sweep it away altogether. He (Mr. Talbot) felt it necessary to make these observations, in anticipation of any Bill that might be introduced on the subject.
Mr. KENT was perfectly satisfied the leader of the government would do nothing to disturb the denominational arrangements which we all knew tended very much to allay the sectarian feeling with at one time ran so high in the country,and under which education has made some progress. The duty of the government consisted in supplying the nueans for the purpose of education, and exercising a severe surveillance over its expenditure, but to leave the carrying it out, especially as respected the religious feelings of the people, to parents aud pastors; and if they had the means to increase the grant, parents and all who were interested in education would not object. He knew nothing else that was required. As to the government setting up a normal school for the training of teachers for all denominations in the colony, he did not believe it would be attempted. He agreed entirely with the hon. member, Mr. Talbot, that unless sufficient emolument were provided for the teachers, any improvement would prove nugatory, as the teachers would be dissatisfied when they saw others, perhaps inferior to them in attainments, in the enjoyment of much more ample salaries.
The hon. ATTRRNAY GENERAL was satisfied that when the measure proposed to be introduced by the government was submitted to hon members, it would prove satisfactory to both sides of the House. With Reference to the expense of the proposed formal school, he did not think any additional expenditure would result from its establishment. There could be no doubt whatever that a normal school was one of the first necessities of an educational system for the training of those who were to teach the people. Teachers who were uneducated could not instruct others. The reports of the Inspectors and of the Boards of Education showed the necessity of a better instructed class of teachers than many of those now employed, and the experience of all who were acquainted with the state of our elementary schools sustained that view. The hon. member opposite objected to any interference with the existing arrangements for the training of Roman Catholic teachers. He said they had a training school already. The hon gentleman also objected to the salaries provided for the teachers. But still he admitted that notwithstanding the inadequate salaries, young men came to be trained, and the Boards commanded the services of parties, after being trained, although their emoluments were certainly much les than it was desirable they snould be. This showed that it was not necessary to inerease the grants to enable the Boards to secure the services of efficient teachers. The hon member was mistaken when he said we had training schools already. The hon member referred to the arrangements for training Roman Catholic teachers in St. Bonaventure College. The Education Act provided for the training there, and in several Protestant institutions. But it was found that the teachers trained in these institutions were inefficient, and it was thought expedient to have a normal school, in which the training of the teachers might be conducted. Last summer circulars were sent to the several outports, and to the head of the Colonial and Continental Church Society, and important information had thus been obtained which would be laid before the House. It was not a training school only that was required. Several of the Boards were in the habit of keeping large sums of money unemployed. Reform was necessary in that respect. The limits of the Education districts were not found so convenient as was desirable. There were also some other improvements required, and an arrangement had been entered into by the Government for the supply of a uniform set of school books at a cheaper rate than they could be procured by depending on the book-sellers for their importation. That should be provided for by law. With respect to the normal school, there was an appropriation under the existing Act for the training of teachers at the several Protestant institutions. It was thought that the training could be made more efficient by combining the money thus expended in one sum; and that it would be sufficiant for the maintenance of a normal school. They did not propose to interfere with the existing denominational arrangements. From the opinions expressed by those who might be considered as expressing Roman Catholic opinion, they appeared to be satisfied with the system of training which they had already at St. Bonaventure College, and they would not be interfered with, and the appropriations for training Protestant teachers would be combined for the support of a Protestant normal school.
Mr. KENT—Would any portion of the Roman Catholic grant be touched?
Hon. ATTORNEY GENERAL—Not without the consent of the Roman Catholic members.
Mr. KENT—They might do what they pleased with their own.
The motion that the section be adopted was then put and carried.
The several sections of the address down to that in reference to the currency were read seriatim and adopted.
The section respecting the currency having been read,
Mr. WYATT moved that it be adopted.
Mr. GLEN said the measure introduced by the Government, and passed the session before last, was undoubtedly a good one. But in order to perfect the arrangements it should be made compulsory on the merchants and all engaged in the trade of the country to keep their accounts in dollars and cents. At present there was a good deal of misunderstanding and discontent among poor people relative to the copper currency, as they were under the impression that they lost two pence on every shilling. It was absolutely necessary that it should be made incumbent on the trade to keep their accounts in accordance with the provisions of the Act, otherwise we would have to go back to the old system of pounds, shillings and pence.
Hon. Attorney GENERAL –The observations of the hon memner were well worthy of the attention and serious consideration of the Government and the Legislature. The law, however, had only been a few weeks in operation.
The motion was then put and carried.
Some othar sections, down to the 11th, on the subject of confederation, were read seriatim and adopted.
The Committee then rose, and the Chairman reported progress.—To sit again to-morrow.
Mr. RENOUF gave notice that on to-morrow he would ask the Acting Colonial Secretary to lay on the table of the House a copy of tenders, notice and agreement, for the hire of the vessel to carry the Commissioner of Fisheries, Judge, and Collector of Revenue to the coast of Labrador in 1864.
The house then adjourned until Thursday at three o'clock.


The Newfoundlander, 1864-1869. Digitized by Google Books



Selection of input documents and completion of metadata: Isabelle Carré-Hudson.

Personnes participantes: