Newfoundland Legislative Assembly, 9 February 1869, Newfoundland Debates over Confederation with Canada.

1 THE NEWFOUNDLANDER. St. John's, Wednesday, February 17, 1869.


TUESDAY, Feb. 9.
House met pursuant to adjournment.
On motion of Mr. GODDEN, the House resolved itself into Committee of the Whole on the Address of thanks, Mr. KNIGHT in the chair.
Mr. GODDEN moved the adoption of the 4th section.
Mr. HOGSETT.—The section now before the House was one of the most vital importance to this country. It was important because it involved a right which had seen conceded years ago, by the Imperial Government, which had been sanctioned by treaty, and which, only a few months ago, had been ignored by a Colonial Secretary of the name of Carnarvon. He (Mr. H.) contended that it was the most important clause in the Address. Before, however, he went into the consideration of the question he would refer to the whole of His Excellency's speech. Now he had heard hon. members speak of it as a glorious speech, as the most wonderful one which had ever been delivered by a Governor. It opened up such an expanse of view, and suggested so many remedies that all the Government members have fallen down on their knees and worshipped it. Well now, we have had a good deal said, session after session; about Outport Steam. The Surveyor General was a great supporter of Outport Steam. It would be in his opinion the panacea for every ill in Newfoundland. Every egg that would be laid, in Bonavista; every lobster that was caught along our coasts, every heifer that was at the Northward, were to find their way o the St. John's market by Outport Steam. Poverty was not to be know. Well, we have no steam consuunication now, and there was not a word about it in the speech. The little "Ariel" was lying in the harbor motionless. Now do the Government mean to abandon Outport steam communication? Do they mean to forsake their first love. They were silent upon the subject, and are we then wrong in saying that they are a party of do-nothings who thus allow their own offspring to perish. Now that was the first omission in the speech. Now we had been paying for some years past seven or eight hundred a year for a Geological survey of the Island. Is there a single word about the exploration? No not one word. What did this show? Why that the Executive were lax in their duty in not knowing what their employee was about. There was not even a report from that gentleman, and hence the Government are unable to congratulate the country on the expenditure that had been made for this service. But the public had an opinion upon this matter, and that was that the Dominion Government were in possession of that information which we should of right have. Leaving the Geological survey, he would now refer to the St. John's Hospital. There was not a man that entered that building but got infected with typhus fever. The matter had been brought before the Executive two years ago, and a promise had been made by the Government that it would be intended to, and yet it never had been. These were some of the dilemmas upon which we hang the Government. They bad left not a single monument, a mark of progress during their administration, except the mark which is ever seen in the lace of a man, fed upon Indian meal and molasses. The only promise which the Government made was the one they made to themselves, to receive their salaries every quarter day. Here the hon. member referred to that portion of the Speech relative to the Reciprocity Treaty, and said that a more insulting paragraph had never been seen in a Governor's speech, addressed to a deliberative Assembly. We had got Reciprocal Free Trade bafore, and when there was no New Dominion, and we could get it again at the present moment. If we were merely in this House to obey Imperial behests, what was the use of a Representative form of Government, and telling the people that we could do this that and the other thing? This then was the great speech which after four years they had come down with, and expect the public to endorse. The time was not far distant when, the people would be fully alive to the way in which they had been deluded. The whole burden of this speech was Confederation, Confederation, Confederation. Then we come to the next insult that had been offered, and that was the clause referring to the French Shore. Here the hon member read the clause and continued. This House did not delegate His Excellency to go to England, any more than they did the hon. Receiver General. He went there of his own motion, and he botched the matter, and if he wishes now to throw dust in the eyes of the people, this House should meet him on the threshold, and put the public, or at least those of them, who may be inclined to invest money on that part of the coast, on their [?], before they place themselves in a position in which they cannot protect themselves, and in what His Excellency may not be able to help them, because he will be far away. If his Grace informed His Excellency there was only one way in which it could be done with courtesy to the Governor and to the Colony, and that did not appear to have been adopted. "I am informed" says his Excellency, that his Grace sees no reason why grants should not be sanctioned in the interior of the island. Go where the good niggers go; where the aborogines used to dwell, long, long ago, and dig and delve,and when mines are found, you dare not bring your minerals to the sea shore. His Excellency goes on, "provided that no right is granted which will enable buildings to be erected on the strand, or which would cause the French to apprehend any interruption to the full enjoyment by them of any of the privileges belonging to their Fishery rights." This was the grand boon, the great work accomplished by his Excellency during his four months' absence from the Colony. The matter stands exactly as it did last session. It is not one whith advanced. The French are just as secure in their rights, and the difficulty of working mines by British subjects on British soil is as great as when that celebrated despatch to which his Excellency alludes was written. The policy indicated in that despatch is emphatically declared by his Excellency to be the policy of the British Government, and it we are to believe his Excellency, it remained unaltered up to the time he left England. That despatch read as follows:—
DOWNING STREET, 7th December, 1866.
SIR.—I have had under my consideration your Despatch No. 116, of the 8th August, 1866, reporting your return from a visit to the South and West Coasts of Newfoundland, and communicating to me the impressions you derived from the journey.
I have also received from you a more recent despatch, enclosing a memorial from Mr. C. F. Bennett, who appears to have been engaged in searching for Minerals on the West Coast of Newfoundland.
Mr. Bennett does not see n to be fully aware that some of the conclusions which have been advocated from time to time by the British Government in relation to the French Shore, and to its neighboring waters, have never been admitted by the Government of France, and that it is the difference which has hitherto existed on these points between the two Governments which creates a difficulty in dealing with the Coasts of Newfoundland in the manner most calculated to develope the resources of the Colony. Her Majesty's Government much regret the unsettled state of this question, and the serious inconvenience to which this leads. But it would be a far graver evil to embroil the Government of England in a dispute with that of France on the grounds which a careful consideration of existing Treaties did not clearly justify. They are unable, therefore, to treat as decided questions which are really matter of controversy. They would, however, most readily re-open the negotiations with the French Government, which were broken off in 1861, if only satisfied that there were a reasonable prospect of bringing them to a successful termination. Meanwhile, pending the settlement of the questions of French and British rights on the coast, I am unable to authorize the appointment of a British Magistrate on the socalled French Shore, nor have I any alternative but to instruct you, for the present, not to make any grants of land on that Coast.
There is no doubt that the provisions of the existing Treaties, as they stand, are ill adapted to meet the real exigencies either of the French Fishermen or of the Newfoundlaud Colonists; and might be greatly modified for the advantage of both parties. And I should gladly resume negotiations with a view to such a modification; but I think it necessary to add that any such negotiations must be attended with considerable difficulty, so long as it is liable to be disturbed by unforeseen objections on the part of the Colony.
I have the honour to be, Sir, Your most obedient humble servant, (Signed,) CARNARVON.
Governor Musgrave, &c., &2., &c.
That is the despatch which his Excellency tells us is kept intact, and that its principles still actuato the British Government. What does the Governor say "In anticipation of the formal agreement, which has been proposed to the French Government. I have been acquainted by His Grace the late Secretary of State that he approve; of the policy indicated in Lord Carnarvon's Despateh at the 7th December 1863, that no action should be taken which could in any way be construed into for interference with the French in their fishery rights. Was not that a re-echo of the despatch. Lord Cardarvon does not say that grants shall not be issued of the interior, but only that he his "no alternative but to instruct you tor the present not to make any grant of land on that coast." Was not that the Whole question between this Legislature and the Imperial Government? What then has his Excellency done? What better position has he placed us in? He (Mr. H.) did not think he need point the House to the addresses and resolutions aud debates and the stern opposition given to the despatch of Lord Carnarvon. We are told we may go into the interior, but must not come near the coast. We might as well be told we could dig into the bowels of the earth like moles. Was this namby pamby speech, the only reply to house was to have to its resolutions and addresses? Common courtesy should at all events dictate an acknowledgment of the receipt of our despatches. How are we treated in this matter? So as to approach the Imperial Government with all due respect and with words of loyalty, but yet breathing our deep feelings of grievances on this subject. We sent home joint addresses, which went through the usual channel, and yet we have received no reply to them, at least from the only proper source from which the reply should come, that is to say from the office of the Secretary of State for the colonies. There had been no modification of the Carnarvon policy, it still stood out in bold relief [?] the people of the Colony. Written not in letters of gold but of disgrace, and deeply imprinted in the minds of the people. It was nonsense to talk of issuing grants where the foot of no white man, not even our sainted Geologist had ever trod. Our people would perish there as certainly as they would in the wild woods of Canada, where they are to be sent to work at Railways. If hon. gentlemen, who call themselves patriots and say they have the interest of the country at heart, can be content with such myths as these, all others could do was to pity them, to try to arouse them, aul if they cannot iupel them in a right direction, to appeal to the people whose voice they must hear and whose opinions they must respect. Though in the struggle between the French and English Governments, the French should have the best of it, was this House to ignore the rights of the people of the Colony? It the British Government commit a wrong, why let them. Let this House at all events discharge its duty to the people. Why should the House be called on to congratulate the Government or any delegate in a question which by his own acknowledgement is still open? The British Government is only about to submit terms to the French. Are thes terms agreed on between them? Are they not still going on with negotiations. When we are still without that reply to which as a Representative body we are entitled, are we to take the ips dixit of any man who choses to go on a rambling excursion? This House is not dead yet, nor is the country killed out yet, neither are our representative institutions yet worn out, and though hon. gentlemen with large salaries may find it difficult to stem the difficulties which surround them. Yet though poor as the people are, their skeleton forms will rise up assert their rights, show their power and beat their opponents. The hon. and learned gentlemen concluded by moving the following amendment.— [Here the hon member read the Amendment, and moved its adoption.]
Hon. A. SHEA.—The matter before the chair had reference to a question of very great importance. He had no fault to find with the way in which the hon. and learned gentleman who spoke last treated it. But he (hon. Mr. S.) differed with him in his conclusions. To hear him, one would suppose that we were in a posiion to determine this question for ourselves. This question was a very old one, and had been matter of consijeration for almost every legislature which had sat in the Colony. It is a matter on which the British Government alone can pronounce definitively. There were two parties concerned; and as far as could be seen by the correspondence, they had not arrived at any conclusions by which the exercise of their rights should be defined. It was well known that this was a subject which was always approached, with great tenderness by the British Government. Fiance attached great importance to these, fisheries, and in the absence of any clear definition of their right, Great Britain was not in disposed to a compromise which might laid to such a definition. The subject was brought before the House last session, and petitions to Parliament and to the Imperial Government were adopted. There was much difference of opinion as to the expediency of this course, and it was the opinion of many that it would not be wise to bring the matter before Parliament. Parliament, they thought, would be unwilling to take any extreme course in the matter, and the effect of elicisting the opinion of Parliament would be to relieve the Executive of the day from any responsibility it might feel in view of the representations of this House. As the event shewed, they were justified in their anticipations. British statestmen say that they cannot proceed in the question with too much care, that the interests of the Empire are in a measure involved with it, and that they are not prepared to risk a war with France for its settlement. It was idle to suppose that the British Government would, for any interest of our jeopardise their good relations with France; and it would be unreasonable in one part to expect it. The result of our application was that it did not place the matter in any favourable light. There was not a man in Parliament who would support the Colonial view, for they all regarded the matter in an Imperial light, aad said it would be impolite and dangerous to carry out our views. It was a false move on our part to give them such an opportunity of pronouncing on the matter. It had been stated that his Excellency had no authority from this House to visit England and enter into negotiations on this matter. His Excellency was not responsible to this House, and did not for a moment suppose he was acting under its authority. It was by the special instructions of the imperial Government he visited England. The Government supposed that one who took such a deep interest in the question, and had written so ably on it, would be of valuable assistance in its settlement; and on that account and that alone, and independently of this House, he went home. He is not responsible to this House, nor is the Imperial Government responsible to this House, for the course they may pursue respesing this matter. The Imperial Government felt that we were largely interested in this matter, and they had exhibited every disposition to meet the views of the people of the Colony. But when asked to do that which would conflict with their policy towards France they demurred. It was perfectly idle to imagine that any consideration for our interests would ever induce them to abandon their Imperial policy. He (hon. Mr. S.) did not say that we should lie down quietly and, as the expression was, "accept the situation." He thought it would be advisable to jog the memory of the Imperial Government, to induce them to use every means consistent with their avowed policy, for the delimite settlement of our rights. Though we have not accomplished all we aimed at, nor obtained such a settlement of the question as would enable the Government to issue clear grants, we have nevertheless acquired a very in portant advantage, which would enable parties requiring tracts of land to obtain these lands, and work them virtually free from all these obstructions with which the letter of the law might seem to encumber them. This advantage was owing entirely to the personal exertions of the Governor, who had a this metter displayed an ability and a zaal which entiled him to the gratitude of every man who was in terested in the welfare of the Colony. Under the authority obtained by His Excellency, power resides in him to issue grants of land, not exactly upon the sea coast, but more or less inland. No practical difficulty will obstruct the issue of three out of every four grants applied for on that shore. No Government could over turn the law of the treaties. No law could authorize the issue of any grants invading the occupation of any part of the sea coast which is reserved to the French; and such grants would necessarily be construed as an infraction of their treaty rights. Therefore, in an any grants that may be issued, a reservation will be made against the erection of any buildings upon the sea coast, though it was not at all likely that parties would be necessitated to adhere to a this condition, as the greater number of applications are for land upon that part of the coast where the French do not fish; and where already British subjects reside, against the letter of the treaties, but altogether unobstructed by the French. Already some very important grants have been issued to parties who, acquainted with the premises, are perfectly willing to take them with all the conditions. No doubt the subject would, in time, be satisfactorily dealt with, so that these things which we have now, by sufferance, would be confirmed as legal rights. Our proceedings of last year were doubtless perfectly well intended, but he (hon. Mr. S.) could not but repeat the opinion which he then expressed, that it was a grand mistake for us to go to the Imperial parliament. We merely enabled the Government of the day a to make a pronouncement that they would do nothing by which the Imperial relations with France might be disturbed. And it was unwise in us to call on a discussion which would necessarily have the effect of producing that expression of opinion. This was no case in which Parliament would bring pressure upon the Government. It was a matter of international obligation, approached on all sides with great caution, and Parliament could not but approve of the course of reticence which the ministry adopted. He (hon. Mr. S.) could not see the necessity of introducing in the speech from year to year a mention of the Geological Survey, which has now become a mere matter of routine. As to the suspicion that the Report of the Geologist is better known in Canada than here it is most unfounded. Mr. Murray was a gentleman who had always most religiously respected the obligatious which he owed to the local Government. He (hon. Mr. S.) was personally acquainted with the fact that in Cauada complaints were made of Mr. Murray's reticence, so that his intimate friends had sought from him (hon. Mr. S.) information on the commonest affairs. Sir W. Logan is Mr. Murray's superior, and his (Mr. Murray's) relations require him to report to Sir Willian in the first place. In that professional course which these proceedings require, they have to pass through his hands before being communicated to us; and he (hon. Mr. S.) believed that they were just as religiously raspected as it he were the sworn servant of the Colony. Supposing however that this suspicion were correct, do we care that all the world should know our resources? Would it not, as a matter of fact, be hightly desirable that the attention of others should be directed to those resourses which, og ourselves, we cannot develop. He would not justify Mr. Murray if he were to allow Canada to anticipate us with this information; but wrong as it might be in him, the results could not be otherwise than advantageous to ourselves. The hon. member had referred to the introduction of the reciprocity question into the speech, and had commented upon a remark of his (hon. Mr. S.) which was not open to dispute. When he referred to the subject he had said that it was incidentally introduced. That was perfectly true, but nevertheless the question aross as a matter of prominent consideration in connection with Coufederation. Reciprocity could not be obtained without the intervention of those agencies which under Confederation would be brought into play, at least until house members oppsite introduce that plan which has been heraldad with such a flourish of trumpets. We had had eleven years experience of recprocity; and we had found it greatly to our advantage. The proprosition of the hon. member, Mr. Glen, as to reciprocal duties, could hardly carry the slightest weight with it. We must know too that even if we were in a position to dispense with duties on the necessaries of life, it was only turo' the Imperial or the Dominion Government that we could obtain a renewal of the treaty. We were not in the position of a great negotiating power, and it we fancied so we should only place ourselves in the ridiculous position of the wiseacres ot Prince Edward islaud. Hon. gentleman ought to be ashamed of themselves to talk at this time of day of reciprocal duties of 5 per cent. Such terms would never be proposed by the other Provinces, and the British GOvernment will permit no piebald policy. This allusion then had been properly iutroduced into the speech in the position it occupied, as an incidental matter powerfully bearing upon the main question. Independently of this, to his (hon. Mr. S's) mind, the main question had sufficient attractions of its own. Reciprocity however is one of those things, which under Confederation we are certain to gain, and it therefore occupied in the speech that place to which [?] prominence and its importance [?] led [?]
Mr. TALBOT approved of the amendment which had been put forward by the hon. member, M. Hogsett. It stated what was perfectly correct. Now the speech of his Excellency the Governor had been viewed in different lights. Some hon. members had praised it with no light praise, others had criticised it severely. So if he (Mr. T.) took a middle course, he thought he would be near the mark. It was by no means an extraordinary speech; but it was not wholly destitute of matters of considerable interest. It was one of those kind of speeches usually delivered at the opening of each session of this House, fairly written, and fairly delivered. But in important matters there was an almost entire absence of decision, of a clearly defined policy; which we all must regard as not very complemantary to this House. A speech from the throne was always supposed to define a specific policy. Now in this speech there were references made to certain matters properly enough; but there was no course of policy defined for the Government to pursue. Now when the present Government came into power, a speech somewhat similar to the present, one had been addressed to this Assembly; and in that the Government did think it necessary to say what they intended to do, in order to restore the country from its deplorable condition, and to moving it forward in the career of improvement. The policy then put forth was the encouragement and improvement of Agriculture; and in persuance of that a Bill was introduced and passed, having that end for its object,as well as the reduction of pauperism. At the time this measure was under discussion, he (Mr. T.) had given it as his opinion that it would be productiv of no good. Well, the Bill was passed, came into operation,and we now find that it has been powerless to effect those results which the Government predicted, but which were never anticipated by this side of the House. Pauperism, so far from receding, had advanced; so far from being checked, it had been accelerated; so that our present position was really worse than when this great curative measure was so triumpuantly usherd in. Now that was one point which should be distinctly remembered. In that policy, then, Government had failed. Well, if we judge them by their failures, we cannot have much hope for their capacity to do any good. We had watchad carefully their proceedings, and we had watched the operation and working of this measure with pecaliar caution. He (Mr. T.) had taken the Government at its word. They said they were the greatest men in the country. He said granted. They said they would accomplish what had never been done before. He said granted. They said they possessed the collective wisdom of the country. He said granted. The said they were the Goliaths of this Colonial Parliament. He said granted. They said they were the only representatives of the public. He said granted. They said they would never fail. He said doubtful. Well, all their sayings had come to nothiag, and his doubts had been verified. They were evidently impressed with the belief that it was impossible for any body of men to rule this country; because they would not and could not confess their own inability to do it, their own inability to grapple with the difficulties that surrounded them. They would doubtless assert that because they failed, it was impossible for others to succeed. Now what had they tried to do? Their first essay was to destroy pauperism; and how did they try to effect that purpose? By saying to a pauper go into the woods and clear land,and for the first acre you clear we will give you $8, and for every one after the first, $9. This they said to a man without any means at his control, without being able to buy a loaf of bread, a pick-axe to work with, or the means to erect a dwelling to live in. At the time it was proposod he (Mr. T.) said it was impossible to succeed, as it was, that the Government must surely mean to do something more, must give them roads, must try to sustain them, or if not, we are only mocking the miseries of the poor. Well; the Bill had become, as he (Mr. T.) anticipated, a perfect failure. But did they do anything else? Having failed in this instance, did they look around and see if they could devise any means that would be beneficial? Did they encourage those who had cultivated the land, but who, from poverty, were unable to work it? There were hundreds of acres of cultivated land which has been lying idle for years. Did they woo the people to recover it from its present wilderness state, and make their support dependent upon the culture of the soil? No. You made them believe they would get their support from you, and thus you degraded them. Pauperism increased, and pauper Relief expenditure increased. No effort was made to check it until the eleventh hour. He contended that when the Government desired to check this system, they should have done so by degrees, and not at one full bound. It would appear that the Premier felt his embarrassed situation, and his inability to stem the tide of corruption and malversation of the public funds. His only desire was to save himself, protect, if possible, his Government, and depend on luck for the result. The monster pauperism was not to be killed but by one blow; but was to be gradually weakened. Then there was another evil quite sufficient to crush the country of itself, increased taxation. Their reasoning in support of that was that they could not support the people without facing additional burdens upon their backs. Your burdens, say they, are heavy, but we'll cure them by putting on heavier ones. Now would any one say that these two measures were calculated to benefit the county, though they were put forward for that purpose? They either did it for an evil purpose, or else because they were unabled to rule the country. We are told that this increase of taxation was inevitable, and had been universally approved of by the country. Here the hon. member referred at length to the late election at Harbor Grace,and contended that the question of Confederation had never been put to the people, who were perfectly indifferent whom they returned this session, knowing that the question would come before them for final decision at the general election. The fact that only one half of the electors votes, probed this. Then we had a new policy ushered in, the all abording one of Confederation. That was the policy that was shadowed forth in his Excellency's speech, two years ago, and every hon. member was aware of what then occurred. A paragraph had been smuggled into the address, which it was afterwards alleged affirmed the principle of Confederation. Hon. members who had voted for it were in a state of great excitemant. They solemnly repudiated in this House that they had intended to affirm any such principle. They'd clared that they were opposed to Confederation on any terms, How men then could so change their minds without any reason, he (Mr. T.) was a loss to imagine. We are surrounded by the same circumstances now as we were then. Yet we are told that those who had before expressed their opinion to be that no circumstances would justify Union with Canada, are now most anxious that very Union should be accomplished It was said, but he (Mr. T.) did not know whether it was true or not, that the Government feel they are in such a position that they cannot retrieve themselves. They are in such a condition of governmental misery, that they cannot retrieve their position, and rather than give way, rather than permit toher men to seize the helm, they would abandon the country and let it drift into a Union with Canada, provided only, that they should drift with it, and have the iron chest still with them. Next session, that was the last session, they had another speech, and it was remarkable that the politics of the two former sessions were dropped, and the third policy was a policy of taxation. We were told that the country was in a very bad state, Agriculture had effected no good. Confederation was senuted, and Taxation only remained—and certainly taxes were piled on. It was said this was really a policy, and that its object was to prove to the country that it would not be worse off by going into Confederaion. One objection made to confederation was that the Canadian Tariff was very high, and the policy was to make the tariff of the country as high as that of Canada, and thus remove that objection, and, as it proved, hon. gentlemen opposite swallowed the bait. Did it strike them that though the Tariff of the country may be pretty much as is the Canadian Tariff, if we should be confederated it will be kept as its present rate, if not made higher, and we will have lost all control over it. It may be asked how can we lessen it now? It never appears to strike hon. gentlemen that the expenditure could be brought down a little. When it was proposed to increase taxation, the hon. gentlemen on his (Mr. T's.) side of the House suggested a reduction of the expenditure instead, but they were not listened to. In their simplicity they thought that by reducing the expenditure they would be able to avoid increased taxation, and do many, things which would tend to advance the interests of the country and the comfort of the people. They fancied that it would well to act as honest individuals surrounded by financial difficulties would to do, that is to retrench and live in a less luxurious and expensive stylem and thus by making income and expenditure square, get rid of difficulties and be independent. This is the fourth session, and they had again the old policy of the second session, and were asked to adopt Confederation, as that was the only thing which would improve the condition of the country. Of course they would have that question before them bye and bye. He (Mr. T.) was of opinion, and he thought the country was of the same, that the only thing they required was retrenchment. The public believed that the expenses are excessive, and that some £20,000 or £30,000 a year, might easily be saved, and applied for the public benefit. Men in office say, such a saving would be worth nothing, that it would not give sixpence all round, and what good would that effect? Why it would give £100,000 to £120,000 in four years, and in a small community like this, if such a sum were judiciously and properly expended, there need not be a poor man in the country. The people were now in a transition state, from the time in which the fisheries were able to support them for the whole year round, to the time when they do not give sufficient for their support during the summer. If that £100,000 were avaliable now, it would be sufficient to tide them over their difficulties, and establish them in a course of industry which would render them prosperous and happy. He (Mr. T.) believed that this saving might be accomplished, at all events it was worth trying, and if it failed, if being judiciously applied it did not tide the people over the difficulties if it did not help to aid the fishermen in the establishing agricultural pursuits to aid the fisheries, then let us have Confederation or anything else. Before you take a step which will plunge you into irretrievable Union, try it. It is better than parting with your libery your poverty, and possibly with your lives. It was not because people were surrounded by poverty that they should part with their liberties and rights. and link themselves to another country which had no sympathy with them. No country was so discordant as Canada, which was made up of so many antagonistic elements and races. He (Mr. T.) said it would be wise to pasuse and try all feasible things before surrendering themselves in that way. The question just before the House was that of the French Shore rights. He had heard it said by some one on the Government benches, that we had gained a great privilege. He could not see it in that light or that they were one bit better off. The treaties remained exactly as they were. How then was is possible to say that they were better off or had more privledges than before? No conclusion had yet been come to, so things remained as they were last year, and ever since the treaties were made. The Government blundered most tremendously when they refused licenses two years ago. The same treaties existed then as now. No final determination had been arrived at by the Convention. Who refused to licenses? The Government did, because directed to do so by the Secretary of State for the Colonies. But he need not have directed them at all, for the treaties were there to refer to. When the Secretary said they could not grant the licences, why did not the Government say they intended to do so without infringing on the fishery rights of the French? They did not do so, and so neglected their duty. Now, when his Excellency went home and said so, the Secretary replied, Oh you may do that of course; it was never intended that you should not do as you pleased with the land; and we have the Government gloritying themselves on the fact that they have repaired their own blunder. It was a great privilege to be allowed to search on the land, and be at the same time told you must not erect buildings on the French Shore. Where was the service doing, or what was precisely due to the Governor? The proposed amendment simply embodied that which he (Mr. T.) had said. The treaties were the difficulty, and they were still in existence. He felt much plessure in supporting the amendament.
Mr. PROWSE.— The hon. member for St. John's West had just given them a dissertation on the art of Government, but had been very reticent on the political moves of the opposition. The paragraph before the chair related to the French Shore question and to it the opposition proposed an amendment. Regarding the question, an important move had been made last session, inaugurated by the hon. and learned leader of the opposition, who prepared a series of resolutions, moved the House into Committee, and not only got his resolutions passed, but had peitions to the Queen, the Lords and the Commons prepared, written in the very best text on the finest of parchment. Not content with all this the hon. and learned gentlemen personally superintended the preparation of the tin case to carry home these important documents. As first presented the resolutions were such as it would not be creditable to the House to permit to be seen outside. But all lent a hand, and they were licked into shape, and yet all the credit og the whole affair, tin box and all, devolved on the hon. and learned mover. The amendment now proposed was a natural addendum to the resolutions of last sesstion. Other men, Governments, and Legislatures had tried their hand at the affair, but had not advanced it one bit; but when the hon. and learned gentlemen took it up of course, it was to be settled right off. Of course, then, it was quite natural there should be a wall of lamentation when, after all this exertion, the result was nothing at all. It reminded him (Mr. P.) of the question but by Mr. Jefferson Brush to Martin Chuzzlewit, as to which of his articles produced the greatest sensation in the Court of St. James's. So with the hon. gentlemen opposite, they were quite surprised that their great resolutions produced no effect. He (Mr. P.) wanted to know who wrote that amendment. It could not be the hon. member for Ferryland, for he would make it shorter and more succinct. The British Government not only take no notice of the tin box resolutions and petitions, but they dare to approve of Lord Carnarvon's policy. Why, it was a casis bclli, and if he (Mr. P.) were in opposition; he would be for annexation after that. It was a pity such a grand move should turn out a fiasco. There was another great movement yet to be made. It had been two nights hatching, and though they tried to shroud it in mystery, they could not keep it quite, but let it out. He could not then go into the question of what that movement wa to be. One thing struck him (Mr. P.) after listening to the long speeches of hon. members opposite. It was, what an uncommonly good Government we have, when gentlemen blessed with such lungs can find nothing so say against it. Seed potatoes had been the stock subject of the hon. and learned member for Harbor Main, but he had changed his tastics to suit those of the new leader, who did not approve of the problamation. That proclamation had produced, and would produce, good results, and the Government intended carrying it out to its final end. If hon. gentlemen opposite had the good of the country at heart, they would return to their former straightforward course respecting the prolamation.
Mr. RENOUF.— No doubt that was a grand display of elocution and statesman like ability to which they had just listened from Daniel Woodley Prowse, the wodden-headed representative of the wooden-headed constituency of Burego and LaPoile. Goodness help the Government when he was thier best man. It was laughable in the extreme to hear him talk of the hon. and learned member for Harbor Main, Mr. Hogsett, a man who enjoyed the confidence of the public of the country North, Southm East and West. He (Mr. R.) regretted that, whilst the hon. and learned member, Mr. Hogsett, was packing up these tin cases, he did not pack up the hon. and learned member for Burgee and LaPoile in them. If he had been thus packed off it would have rid the House of a great nuisance. As for the amendment, he (Mr. R.) held the same opinion as did his colleague, that the matter stood in the same position as it did before the resolutions and addresses were sent home. They had been told that applicants for grants had recieved them, and were prepared to go to work under the conditions contained in these grants. To his (Mr. R's) mind they had no security, there was nothing before them to conclude that the matter was so satisfactorily settled as to ally all anxiety on the part of those who had discovered minerals on that part of the island.— They were told that a great deal had been accomplished, and in the same breath that the matter was still under discussion. The subject was now recieveing the attention of Her Majesty's Government, and whilst the policy of Lord Carnarvon is to be upheld, licenses to search are to be issued. He (Mr. R.) contended that a grant to work mines could be of no value without a right to the use of the strand. A few years ago private individuals in the course of their explorations dsicovered valuable marbles and other things. They then went to England to endeavor to induce capitalists in invest. The first enquiry made was also their title, and although they were fully satisfied of the great value of the minerals dsicovered, yet there being no secure title, the capitalists refused to invest. The question in fact remained as it was two years ago. For the sake of argument, let us assume that a grant has been issued. He to whome the grant was made discovered minerals, he commences operations, develops a valuable mine, and has a number of people employed, he requires means of shipment, and has to bring his minerals three or four mines to the strand, when arrived there some Frenchmen comes and says you are interfering with my fishery rights, and although that may be said merely for the sake of annoyance, he has to remove to one side or the other; and no sooner is he settled in the place to which he removed than another Frenchman comes and again says that he is interfering. Of what use, then, were these licenses, when any single fisherman might object to any erection being made? We are aware that we, of ourselves, can do nothing, that the Imperial Government would never quarrel with France for us, and that if we were confederated the voice of four millions of people would not effect what we cannot. Any one who read the debates upon this question in the Imperial Parliament must be struck with the entire ignorance of the subject evinced by those who took a part in that debate. We actually found a Minister of the Crown saying that there should be mutual concessions, that we should concede to the French the right of fishing all along our coast. Did not that show the Imperial authorities know nothing at all about the matter? He considered that it was a first subject of complaint that when we sent petitions to the Imperial Government, we should recieve no reply—He knew that it was the usual course to send a reply in such cases; and upon a matter of such vital importance be thought it was right for us to express our views as contained in the amendment.
The original motion was then put and carreid on a division;
The Committee then rose and reported progress. To sit again on Thursday.
The House adjourned till Thursday at 3 o'clocl.


The Newfoundlander, 1864-1869. Digitized by Google Books



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