Newfoundland Legislative Assembly, 6 February 1869, Newfoundland Debates over Confederation with Canada.

FRIDAY, February 6,
The House met at 3 o'clock, pursuant to adjourn ment.
Mr. GLEN complained that his speech of Wednesday fast bad not been properly reposed. Talking of the poor relief he had said that he did not find so much [?] with the Proclamation as with the speech of his Excellency, whcih it was known was [?] speech of [?] been given. Surely the Executive were aware, that such was not the case, that a great portion of the people could not provide themselves with subsistence for the coming winter. They were completely destitute until the fish came—numbers had to go without food to catch fish for their daily food. It was cruel to say that these men should provide, for the coming winter. How could they do it? That part of the speech was heartless. Most of these had no seed potatoes and had to live on their neighbors. He had also mentioned a circumstance which occurred in the East Indies and it was not reported. There was a famine there and those who perished numbered by thousands. A telegram was sent to the Imperial Government. The Secretary for India immediately replied, authorising the use of the public funds to any amount for that they should not permit any British subject to starve. The merchants subscribed £10,000 and telegraphed that that money could be used and more if required. Not only was that sum provided for, but seed for the rice crop was distributed for the next year, and men were employed to bring water from a long way off, so that no second failure should happen. That was a paternal Government and he wanted to contrast it with ours, which was going to allow the people to starve. The Imperial Government would, he (Mr. G.) felt sure, be much annoyed if any people here were allowed to perish. With the Imperial Government whites were as good as black, and he believed the people who were starving in India were blacks. None of this had been reported, while the hon. and learned member for Brigus was reported at such length that every one was afraid to read it.
Messrs. Hogsett, Talbot, and Renouf also complained that their speeches were neither fully nor correctly reported.
HON. A. SHEA.—From the conduct of hon members opposite, a stranger visiting this. Assembly would have considerable difficulty in ariving at the conclusion that it was convened for the transaction of important public business. The last two hours have been frittered away with the most puerile miserable feelings as to the reports and the Reporters. Were hon gentlemen so uncertain of their status in the opinion of the public that they had only to rely upon the clap-trap denunciations, of the reports, which session after session they had been uttering? Surely hon gentlemen whose position was no strong as theirs, could very well afford even to allow their remarks to go unreported. For his hon (Mr S) part he would be willing to make a bargain with hon gentlemen, if the Reporters would only agree to publish every word of what hon members opposite said, he would be quite content that the Government should go unreported. The character of the Opposition would then speak for itself, and the public would say these gentlemen constitute the Opposition and in Opposition they should be left. It appeared then that the leadership of the Opposition had been changed, and he had to congratulate the Opposition on the announcement lately made by the hon member Mr. Glen,that they were now a united body, that they had discarded the hon member Mr Hogsett; they had found him doubtless an able and an energetic leader, a very ene, getic leader, but he was the Jonah of the lot, and they had discovered that it was necessary to throw him overboard. Well, they had east the hon. member overboard,and he (hon Mr.S) did not dispute their discretion. For the last four years they bad the repatation of being rather unharmonious, and the causes of this discord he hon (A. S) would endeavour to trace. Some two years ago ths hon member (Mr Hogsett) discovered that something not very creditable was said of him in one of the Halifax papers.
MR. HOGSETT—Yes, and you wrote it. You are a scoundrel. You always were a scoundrel.
The hon. the SPEAKER—So long as I have the privilege of maintaining order in this House, I shall not allow expressions such as this to pass unmarked by my disapproval, and if there be any approach to a repetition of them I shall certainly take the chair and use such means as are at the disposal of the House to prevent the recurrence of unseeuly language or to punish it.
Hon. A. SHEA—It is an extraordinary fact that those persons who are most free with insolent observations cannot bear the have the pickled rod applied to their bare backs, wriggling and twisting and burning, they exhibit a most uneasy consciousness of their punishment. To proceed. The hon, gentleman want to Halifax to vindicate his reputation, but before going he called upon him (hon. A Shea) for a note of recominendation. He (hon. A Shea) was not very anxious to give the hon. member a note, for there in a certain class of persons whom one does not care to recommend; but he did not want to refuse and he gave the hon. member a note of that kind which a man gives when he would rather let it alone On the faith of that note, and one from the hon. Attorney General, the hon. member got into good company with which he beeane so enamoured that though he had left here a violent Anti Confederate, in one short fortnight he returned a rabid Confederate and denounced his party. The hon. member was impatient of any delay in the matter of Confederation and even in Halifax he had pledged his word that as leader of the opposition he would have the whole matter arranged and delegates would be forthwith despatched to the convention then about to sit in Loudon. After that the hon. member had a travelling fit, and in his absence a great many ugly things were said of him by his friends. When he returned, we had what is popularly termed "wigs on the green." He came in in a temper; he said ugly things of his friends, we had very disgracelul scenes nearly every day, and the propinquity of the parties suggested the necessity of the police. For that session the hoa gentleman was adrift, and no approach to union was made. This time the hon member was the scape-goat, that was episode No. 1 illustrative of the exceeding harmony of this united party. The next year the hon. member Mr. Parsons was the scapegoat. They discovered, he thought that they discovered that that hon. gentleman had been "raising the wind" somewhere, and it was just about the time that the hon and gallant Major was scouting that military appointment of his, and in fact they were all hunting together. As the story goes the hon member. Mr Parsons doubled them all; what he got they did not know, but they strongly suspected that it was some of the stuff with which people buy butter. They said that he had used his share and be should not hunt with them again. They made things very uncomfortable for him and, his desk was actually put up with a broom upon it and a label "For Sale." Ultimately, this came to an end, and this was episode No. 2 in the harmony of the party. The fact is, that though they are so few in number, this eterual itching for something which is got on that side of the House, makes them all so jealous that they are determined that not one shall get before another. The real understanding between them is, in effect,not even as good as it looks At the present time they are threatening, vengeance npon some one else; and this is the harmouious party headed by the hon member Mr Glen. The hon and veutrable geutleman had undertaken an onerous duty, and it his tenure of office depended upon the preservation of order anong his party, he [?] (Mr S) heard that it would soon be given up in disgust. We have listened in vain for the reasons and circumstances which led to the dethronement of the former leader.
He could now refer to the Speech of the hon. member, Mr. Renouf, delivered last evening, a speech which had been very properly characterised by the hon. Member for Carbonear, Mr. Rorke, as one containing merely a rehash of all the old utterances to which we had been listening for the past four years. It was made up of his staple topics, topics, which with him never die out, and without which he would be utterly unable to make a speech. All knew what these topics were; the Amalgamated Government, Confederation, the hon. Receiver General and himself, (hon. Mr. S.) the late Chairman of the Board of Works, Mr. Casey, occasionally because he was an absent man, came in for a share of vituperative abuse. Now suppose the Government and those connected with it deserved all the abuse which the abundant vocabulary of the hon. member heaped upon them; suppose all the charges which he had made were perfectly true, suppose that we were all of that abandoned character which he describes, how does all that affect the question under consideration One would imagine that after having spent four years in abusing us, without strengthening or elevating his own party in the eyes of the public, and without injury to the Government, the hon. member would have made an effort to produce something original. Why did he not consult his colleague, and ask him to suggest something to make a strong impression? But no, it was the old story of the blind horse tarning the mill, and the effusions of the hon. member were so nauseating that they only serveed to put hon. gentlemen on this side of the Honse asleep. Certainly there were some allowances to be made for the feelings of irritation under which hon. gentlemen opposite aboured. They had now been in opposition eight or nine years; and four years ago, when the question of Confederation came before the country, they had great hopes of doing something for themselves. They fell in with the strong and popular side. They took the flowing tide, and year after year expected to see the Government make some false step, by which they would walk into office. They thought that the goal time was near at hand, that the promised land was in view, when they would be called upon to enjoy the exquisite delight of seeing the hon. member. Mr. Hogsett, once more Attorney General, and once more the protector of ther rights and liberties. Things, however, were looking gloomy with them of late. The feeling that existed so strong two or three years ago had undergone a complete change. The tide was slackening, and from present appearances, they feared that the grand objects to which they had been looking forward were not likely to be effected. They saw that public opinion was not what it had been; that Confederation was not now the dreaded bugbear it had becn considered. Lately, in tile district of Harbor Grace, the supposed stronghold of the Anti-Confederates, an important election had taken place, an election that had resulted in the return to this House of a gentleman pledged to support Confederation. This was indeed a deathblow to the hopes of hon. members opposite. They were now desirous of doing away with tile effect of that election, and say it turned on different causes, that the hon. member. Mr. Godden, never published his views of Confederation in his Address. Well, there was an old stager on the other side, who knew very well how the pulse of the district beat, an artful clever tellow, who knew well how to manipulate the people. Wn at was his course? In his Address he spoke of every subject but Confederation; because he had before committed himself to an opinin, upon it, and haul he again referred to the question he would have ruined his prospects. If he had believed that the Electors of that district were opposed to Confederation, would he not have made use of it? Under all these circumstances, then, we were justified in regarding the result of this election as a deliberate expression of opinion upon the subject of Confederation by the people of the district of Harbor Grace. Besides all this, we had the testimony of the hon. member for Carbonear, Mr. Rorke, who was always consistent upon, this question. That election also proved that the people of that district were satisfied with the manner in which the affairs of the Colony had been managed by the present Government, that they desired to see Confederation settled, and the Opposition kept; here they were, in the minority, where they were harmless, and where, for ttie benefit of the country, they should remain. They say, with the Government, of all political imposters keep as clear of the roaring patriots, of those who roar their flatulent rhetoric, day atter day, and whose only desire is to place themselves in positions of emolument, Now what were we called upon to consider in the question before us? He would not contine himself merely to the paragraph before the chair, but would refer also to the one which had been adopted last evening. The question of the condition of the poor necessarily raised another. How was that conditiou to be relieved, and what was the remedy? The doctrine of the Government was, that there was at present no substantial relief to be tound within ourselves, that that relief must come from an agency outside, who had the power and the means of doing for us what we could not do for ourselves. We may be as capable as any men to conduct our own affairs, but the power to do so no longer remained with us. It was not a question, whether we were willing or able, but whether we had the power to effect any benefit for the country as we are. This, then, was the doctrine upon which the Government took its stand. What we were laboring under now was want of employment for the people. If the labouring population had means of employment, we would not have, them now starving about our streets. Additional, means of employment, then, was what was needed. The merchants here were not disposed to exteud their trade, but, on the contrary, were very much curtailing it. That was of course their own business, and they had a perfect right to do what they liked. The supply last year had been a very meagre one, and this year it would be less. Under these circumstances the proposition of saving £25,000 of our Civil Expenditure, however likable in itself, would be useless as a means of restoring the country to prosperity. It was idle to think that it would have any effect. It was certainly wise and proper that we should make all the reduction that was possible and consistent [?] discharge of the public service. But the proposal as it stood was easily comprehended. If such ever were done, the opposition, if they got into power, would bring back the present existing state of things, so that their assumed patriotism has not likely, in this instance, to decieve anyone. Were hon. members [?] enough to [?] be lieve that such a flimsy pretext would effect the purpose they had in view? Look on the [?] dition of the operative population, last spring. Hundreds of them could not obtain employment or supplies, and had to stow themselves away in Labrador vessels, to endeavour to earn a precarious subsistence. What prospect, then, was before us this spring? And what means were at our disposal to free the streets from the starving and wretched creatures that would fill them? If then, we can do no good for them ourselves, if we could find no employment for them, it is surely wise to seek assistance from those who are able to give it; and this was the course which the Government proposed to adopt. As we were likely to have a repetition of the state of things, which existed last spring, and as we were unable to obtain among ourselves employment for the people, we thought it advisable to put ourselves in communication with the Authorities in Canada and obtain employment for our men on the Railway works that are progressing there. He (hon. Mr. S.) was happy to say that the efforts to effect this had been successful, and in the spring he would be prepared to enter into an agreement with and hire eight hundred men for this purpose. They would all be hired by, written agreement, and their wages would be paid thoughly, and one half could be received by their wives and families here. They would be taken to Canada in a steamer, and at the end of the season would be sent back to their homes if they desired it. He would, then, leave it to the public to say what the effect of this would be. This, them, was what the Government had been doing while the opposition were roaring. Take eight hundred men out of St. John's, and it would give employment to all those who remained. However, the opposition might think lightly of it, he (hon. Mr. S.) would tell them that when he said he would be prepared to give employment to 800 men, the public would believe him. He was satisfied to leave the matter to the good judgement of the people, and was assured it would take more than the sneers of the opposition to affect so good an arragenment. He perfectly agreed with those who said that it was a misfortune that we should be obliged to send them away, but surely that was better than keeping them here to to starve, and their absence would be the means of letting others get reasonable wages for their services. This, then, is a part of what we have been doing, and this is what we meant by what opposition call selling the country by Confederation. Here the hon. member referred to a letter read by the hon. member, Mr. Renouf, and which he stated had come from Ottawa, adressing the people of Newfoundland not to come there for employment. He drew atteation to what he called the clumsy way in waich the hon. member, Mr. Renouf, sought to effect his purpose, and pointed out that portion of it which stated that Emigrants were daily arriving from Europe, as a contradiction the position which the hon. member endeavoured to sustain. There was an idea abroad that it was the interest of the merehants to keep down the price of labor. He (hon. Mr. S.) did not agree with that, or that such could be the interest of any class. If the people were not kept employed, all the interests which depended on the laborer must share his circumstances. There was no more sure sign of the state of any country that the condition of its laboring classes [?] might appear badly that the men should go as away but he (hon. Mr. S.) doubted if the men themselves would think so, or if they would place faith in those who endeavored to persuade them to that offset. He hoped improved prospects in this country would enable them to return. No force would be used; they could go or stay, just at it pleased them to do, The House had been treated to great dissertations on pauper relief, and on this paragraph in the address. He (hon. Mr. S.) really found it difficult to comprehend the views of hon. members opposite. On the first day of the session the Government, Proclamation was highly commanded by them, the only exception taken being that the Government should have provided seed potatoes. He (hon. Mr. S.) hardly ever knew of any benefit being derived from the issue of seed potatoes, and he had no faith in such a course, for the seed potatoes were, in most cases, either eaten, or never reached those for whom they were intended. However, last spring, the Government, in deference with wishes of the House, were prepared to issus them, and entered into correspondence with parties in the other Provinces, in order to ascertain terms, &c. They found the prices asked were enormous, about 11s per barrel at the place of shipment, and one fourth of them might be unfit for use on arrival here. No unqualified guarantee to issue had been given by the Government, but only an intimation that if they could do so they would; and if it had been practicable, on reasonable conditions, it would have been done. The finances of the country were in such a condition that they could not make the necessary advances, and they felt that, under the circumstances, they should abandon the idea. Was no one to be thougut of but those who had land? What do hon. members opposite propose to do for the fishermen? Their claims were equally good, yet hon. members did not propose that one shilling should be provided for them. Those who had land ought to be in a position to provide their own seed potatoes, and be independent of such aid from the Government. The effect of the Government's refusal to buy was that the seed patotous came down for sale, and as the Government was not in the market, every industrious man was enabled to obtaian seed potatoes at a reasonable rate. Every barrel that came was put in the ground. The Government could have done no more. They might have given them to differeut people, but that was all. No more would have been planted. Year after year the Government had been taunted with this poor relief. They would now give a trial to its suppression. They meant to abide by the Proclamation to its fullest extent. It was called for. It might be [?] and severe to some, but it was a measure of common justice and fair ply to the country at large. The system of pauper relief was over a quarter of a century old, so that on that score there was 4 THE NEWFOUNDLANDER. very little room for recrimination. All were equally to blame. The attempt of any one to escape his share of the responsibility was mean and cowardly, and could not escape detection, for the facts were before the House. He (hon. Mr. S.) merely disclaimed the right of any hon. member to lay the blame to one side or the other. The dodge of denial had been tried last year also, and so frequently and loudly that he (hon. Mr. S.) would have believed it iſ he had not proof to the contrary,and he had on that occasion to produce to hon. members opposite their own writing and convicted them of mistatement, and showed that they had begged of the Government to issue Poor Relief, and that on their representation relief bad been issued. There had been an attempt at some round about way of communication, but the Government refused to recogmise any thing but direct communication. Yet though hon. members must have known that the Government were in possession of these communications, they disclaim all responsibility and attack the Government. He (hon. Mr. S.) would have the public to judge of men who could thus deny their own acts. Last year was a tolerable good specimen of preceding years, and showed the result of the pressure brought to bear as the Government. He held in his hand a statement of the expenditure of relief to able bodied poor in the year 1868. (Here the hon. mambers read from the statement the amount received by each district.) It would appear that with the exception of Fortune Bay, there was, in proportion to population, but little difference between any one district and another, St. John's having, as usual, the lion's share. Hon. members opposite said they were not responsible, that they did not force the Government to this expenditure. If they knew, as they did, that the expenditure was going on, and that it was not required, why not come to the Government and tell thein so, and request them to stop it? They did not do so, but allowed the expenditure to go on, and by their silence, at least, became rapponsible. How idle it was of them to endeavor by misrepresentation and denial of their hand writing, to escape their responsibility, or fasten on others the odium of poor relief. Was not the amount for Harbor Main expended with the concurence and on the repre[?], from time to time, made by the numbers of that district? Then of that expenditure was not warranted by circumstances, these hon. members were recreant to their duty, in not asking that it should be stopped. He (hon. Mr. S.) did not mean to say that the facts did not bear out the expenditure, but seeing that the members had the supervision of it, they should not attempt to escape their responsibility. The circumstances counected with the system of poor reliaf, last year, brought most men to think that an attempt to put it down should be made. With that intention the Proclamation was issued, and generally approved of. The old system tended to bring all down to one dead level, aud leave the country without an independent middle class.— Symptoms of a desire to give up the Proclamation were now becoming apparent.
Mr. HOGSETT—Not on our side.
Hon. Mr. SHEA.—Yes, and no where else. The hon. leader of the Opposition, Mr. Glen, called it inhuman, and proclaimed his intention of using all means to induce the Government to abandon it, and he is supported by hon. members opposite.
Hon. Mr. SHEA.—You cheered him when he made his statement. The attempt is now made to induce the Government to abandon their position on this matter. Were there not others in the country who had a duty to discharge towards the poor as well as the Government? In no other country was the relief of the poor thrown on the Government. The system had been over 25 years in existence, and no doubt the somewhat abrupt termination of it would bring suffering to many. In such a state of things it became incumbent on all to lend a helping hand to the distressed. He was sorry to see that as yet the people of St. John's did not come up to the mark, and did not appear to appreciate the terrible crisis in which the country is placed. This would bring them to the necessity of considering whether they should not by Statute compel all to contribute according to their means. He (hon. Mr. S.) agreed with the hon. member for Ferryland in the hope that no man would be allowed to starve, but foresaw great difficulties if the question of Poor Relief was opened again. The old abuses would be revived, for it is a thing which contains within itself all the slements and temptations to abuse. He thought it would be matter of great regret if, from pressure of circumstances, the Government should be compelled to yield. The Community had their duty to perform, and it was to be regretted that they were without a law to compel all to assist the poor. He knew there would be many and great difficulties in the way of carrying out the Provisions of such a law, and in adjusting tne due proportions of assessments, but it was impossible for the Government any longer to undertake the duty of keeping the paupers. There were three months of hard suffering, difficulty and privation before them, and he hoped all would do their duty and contribute to tide the people over it. He did not think they would again see such a period of suffering, and if these months were over, he believed the prospects of the country would be found much improved. One consequence of our isolation was that in this crisis we had to depend on our own resources, as we had no legitimate claim on any other people. If we were united to the Dominion, we could make an appeal to the people there. When the Nova Scotia fisheries failed, last year, and great distress cousequently prevailed amongst the fishermen, they were not left to ask for relief, but the Legislatures of Ontario and Quebec and the corporations of different cities, forwarded £10,000 to relieve them. That was a practical proof of the benefit of Union. They had a claim, and they were recognised, and funds were sent them, until the Committees of distribution telegraphed that no more was required. No doubt some would call that a bribe; but call it what you will, would not such relief be welcome here now? We want means of assisting our people, but we have now no right and it would be of great damage to us to go to Canada in formus paupers. The Government was expected to do all, and to be responsible for all. No matter what went wrong, The Government was expected to to do all, and to be responsible for all. No matter wehat went wrong, the Government were to blame, and the responsibility was to be cast on their shoulders. Such was the logic of hon. gentlemen opposite. Let us examine the question. What connection was there between the acts of the Government and the causes out of which pauperism arose? It arose in a great degree from the decline of the seal fishery. Some years ago 120 vessels, taking about 5,000 men, used to sail from St. John's to that fishery. There was not a man who did not, on an average, represent four other persons. There was a substantial benefit to the people, for not only were those who went provided for, but those who remained at home were furnished with the means of getting through the severest part of the year. That fishery has declined, and thus a large amount of poverty was brought on the people. He doubted if 1,000 men would be employed out of St. John's this year, and thus at least 20,000 paople would be left unprovided for. Now in what way were the Government responsible for that? What had they to do with the decline of and short outfit for the seal fishery? The Government were prepared to bear the full weight of that responsibility which properly attached to them, but not that which grew out of a state of things over which they had no control. What had the Government to do with the failure of the potatoe crop? This had been for the past twenty years a great blight on the industry of the people. It was attributable to causes which the most scientific enquiries, conducted by the ablest men, have failed to explain, and when laid at the door of the Government, it is done in the utter recklessuess of party warfare. For the last five years the price of food had been high. In what way was the Government responsible for that? They were no more responsible for the high prices of former years, than they were for the present low prices. Here then were three substautial causes of the decline of the prosperity of the country, and over none of them could it be said that the Government had any control. They were completely outside the functions of Government, and it was strange that in an Assembly of rational men it should be necessary to make such [?], owing to the misrepresentation of party warfare. But so it is the reckless statements of hon. gentlemen opposite forced the Government to replies which would not be thought of anywhere else. Do not the public acts of the Government furnish hon. members with matter for comment and attack? It would appear not. The Government were fully prepared to bear the onus of its acts and its policy, and hon. members opposite, who boast so much of their political attainments, should meet them on these grounds, and not take up such miserable rags of argument as they do day after day. When he said that even the hon. member, Mr. Hogsett, himself a man fit for anything, could not bave succeeded beter than the Government, he felt that it was the highest compliment which the Government could pay themselves. Only consider the aptitude for business which the hon. member possessed. Why, he had actually built a dredge boat, a feat which one might venture to say was never before performed by an Attorney General in a British Colony. A man who could talk law and logic, and had actually the ability to build a dredge boat. Nay, more, he had managed the affairs of the Board of Works. The accounts got into a mess. The hon. member came down to put things straight, and the straight measure he put upon them has never since been taken out of them. The then Receiver General, Mr. Glen, thought that his old fashioned ideas of book-keeping were correct, but the hon. member differed from him, and a row ensued, through which the hon. member was thrown out, just as he had lately been expelled from his leadership. But setting aside all these things, a much more important matter demanded our attention, the irrepressible question of Confederation. His Excellency says that it is high time for us to take some action in this matter. It is high time that the present condition of the people should be replaced by some more wholesome state of things. The very stones call aloud for a change. It is asked, with reckless hardihood, what evidences for such a change exist? The evidences are everywhere. Go through Water Street, and note the unoccupied buildings, from one end of it to another. He (hon. Mr. S.) was never wedded to Confederatian alone as a means of escape from our difficulties. He was prepared to receive any feasible proposition which might be brought forward for that purpose. No feasible proposal had ever been suggested by the opponents of Confederation. However prosperous we might be, we have not in ourselves that inherent force which would enable us to urge on these measures which could conduce to our prosperity. Everybody feels that a stand still policy will no longer avail. The question has never been argued on fair ground. In this Assembly there is a party prepared to deal with the question as never they were before prepared. There is a majority prepared or carry it, and was it to be supposed that these gentlemen would assumue this position if they were ignorant of the state of public feeling, especially with the impending certainty of having soon to render an account of their stewardship? What stronger evidence of a most important change in public opinions? In St. John's the change is notorious. Even in the Commerical Room, where formerly the subject could not be rationally discussed the large majority now upheld the question, and by none was it violently opposed. Doubtless there was a change, and that too founded on a basis which it is impossible to believe can be at any future time disturbed. Why has this change taken place? The minds of those who were formerly hostile to the scheme were impressed with sensations of fear that their operations in trade would be injuriously affected. These sensations have been removed; they have been made to give way before stronger and sterner reasons, the condition of the people of the country. The fisheries are falling off, population is dwinding away, trade of every kind has become depressed. These men had seen that the continuance of the preseat system means the continuance of those disorders under which we have ground, and they would not be men of ordinary intelligence did they hesitate to adopt that change. The Government then should determine to act in accordance with the public feeling. They felt that the time was ripe for action, that arrangements of the most favourable charactar could now be made and they would be untrue to their trusts did they not take steps to bring the matter before this House for consideration. He confessed that he and his hon. friend the Attorney General felt proud of the position which upon this question they had taken. Four years ago they were met with a storm of reprobation. Every description of misrepresentation was put forward to poison the minds of the people. A feeling of terror was arroused in the minds of the people, specially of the women, (and we know how powerful their influence is,) that if Confederation were accomplished thier sons and husbands would be compelled to go to Canada to fight and to die. These tricks however have been all played out. There spectres and hobgoblins have had their time, but they have been killed out by the light of reason and common sense. Was not pride under such circumstances excusable? His hon friend and himself had stood up defiantly in the face of public opinion. They felt that the day would come when the question would force its acceptance upon us. They believed that it was in accordance with the progressive feelings of the present day. They had been no weathercocks; they had no shifts to explain. They did not run a tilt against public feeling, and seek to force it. They had been content to wait the turn of the tide, well assured that in due time turn it must.
[Here the hon. member requested the indulgence of the House for a few minutes and retired. A short time after he sent a message informing the House that he [?], and did not purpose continuing his observations this evening.]
Mr. HOGSETT—Certainly the Government have played the trick of a monkey. They have put forward their best gun as the exponent of their policy, and in supporting that policy he has attacked in the most Billingsgate language every hon. member on this side of the House. The hon. gentleman has appealed to the condition of the country. He Says our trade is languishing, the labouring population is fast leaving the country, and he gives that as a reason why we should ally ourselves with the Dominion of Canada. Supposing that we are in that condition is it policy to disclose our cards and say, "Take us, for God's sake, and make us soldiers, or what you will?" Under such circumstances what terms could we expect? He (Mr. H.) had heard for the first time the doctrine that the remedy for a country's misfortune is the exportation of its inhabitants. Newfoundland has within herself capacities for the support of 3,000,000 people, but because the Government are incapable of stimulating the people in the right direction, we must forsooth go to Canada, and the great remedy is that 800 persons will be employed by the Canadian Government upon the railroad. Hundreds of poor Irishmen, driven from their homes, have died upon the railroads of America from physical exhaustion, and have in many cases left their children to fill paupers' graves, He (Mr. H.) warned the people to pause before leaving their homes and families and committing themselves to the tender mercies of the Canadian Dominion and of Mr. Sandford Fleming, the Canadian contractor. Export them! Not a ship that leaves our shores that does not carry away the pride of Newfoundland, not a single measure was adopted to stop that emigration. The people are tired of struggling against the inactivity of the Government, and, from day to day they are leaving our shores, while the Government pocketing the public money don't move their little fingers to show how the condition of the people may be ameliorated. There was once a Castlereagh, and the last act he ever did, was to cut his own throat, and if the hon member Mr Shea, were to out his own throat, Newfoundland would be benefited, and its liberties preserved. He (Mr H) had years ago been called upon by Mr Shea and Mr Little to sustain the policy of their Government; at Placentia for 9 years he had represented that district, and glad were Mr Kent and Mr Shea to send for George James Hogsett, the humble outcast, to support their policy. When the contest between Mr. Shea and the present sir Hugh W Hoyles took place at [?], he (Mr H) was asked to go there to work up the election. He did go there; his own expenses amounted to £80, and so deeply ingrained is pauperism in the family, that this big bullaboo could not pay his election expenses, and the outcast had to pay £110 for his return. He (Mr H) did not pretend to be a saint, for if he did so he would not be believed, but he could conscientiously, say that from the day when he had first given his adhesion to the liberal cause he had been faithful to it. What were the terms upon which this amalgamated Government was formed, they were that the Receiver General should have office at £300 a year, the hon member Mr Shaa, a seat in the Executive, and his brother the other of Financial Secretary. They had deluded the people of Placentia and St. Mary's, and in order to fix the hon member Mr Barron, they gave him the Secretaryship of the Water Company, at £200 a year. These then were the men who stood up and attacked us, who thro' good report and evil report had remained firm and true to out principles. But what was their plea? Why that there must no longer be any sectarian differences, and yet ever since the hon Attorney General has had the appointment of every office under the Government, since this amalgamated Government had been formed there had not been one single Roman Catholic appointed to any office of emolument. Why, even the Bench had been filled with class men, as well as co-religionists. Well! these traitors would be a blow-away at the bustings. There they would receive the punishments of traitors. The Roman Catholic constituents of this Colony numbering 50,000 were not to be sacrificed for the Sheas or the Kents. But when the hon Attorney General fancied that these traitors expressed the feelings and views of the Roman Catholic community, he never made a greater mistake in his life, and he would find out that mistake at the next election. He (Mr H) cared not for olfice. He did not require a silk gown of a Judge's wig, to sustain his position at the Bar. He could uneet his opponents there as well as here, aud when the Government put forward such a man to attack him (Mr H ) the last of his race, they would find that a man who relied ou honesty and a straightforward course has God for his help. and if he has he does not want the devil. Poor paltry insignificant ours, the dregs of society, the curse of your own county and ours! Men like you sold the fairest country under Heaven, and when you die, and try to make up your account with God Almighty, do you think he will listen to you. And yet you put forward such a bully to malign us. He (Mr H) had been walking the streets for his principles, and God Almighty had given him bread. And yet this man comes forward to disgorge his vile vituperation against us. Does he say a word about the rotten meal that he sold to his (Mr. B.) district and which was so bad that the pigs could not eat it. If ever a family role to the devil with the public chest on their backs it was the Receiver General, the hon. A. Shea, and that, elegant, nice young man the Editor of the Newfoundlander. He would assure the hon. Attorney General that he was mistaken it be fancied that such men would, at the next general election be returned as the exponeuts of the views on the Roman Catholic population. With regard to other hon. members opposite this side of the House was prepared to meet them in fair debate, but when, such men were put forward we would denounce then as long as we were able to do so.
The Committee then rose, reported progress, and asked leave to at again on Monday next.
House then adjourned till Monday.


The Newfoundlander, 1864-1869. Digitized by Google Books



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

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