Newfoundland Legislative Assembly, 15 February 1869, Newfoundland Debates over Confederation with Canada.

Monday, Feb. 15.
The House met pursuant to adjournment.
Upon motion of the Hon. ATTORNEY GENERAL, the House resolved itself into a Committee of the whole on the Address of Thanks.—Mr. Knight in the Chair.
The hon. the SPEAKER said that he considered it to be his duty, occupying the position of Speaker of this House, to refer to certain remarks contained in the Chronicle of this morning, in which he had been charged with uttering language derogatory to Mr. C F Bennett. He must contradict that statement, and call upon the House to endorse what he now said, that he neither directly nor inferentially referred to Mr. Bennett. He had done so he would have been guilty of a violation of the rules of this House, and he thought all would do him the justice to say that since he had the honor of presiding here he had always endeavoured to sustain the dignity of the House and adhere to the rules governing our debates. Had the remarks in this paper merely referred to himself personally, he would have deemed them unworthy of notice, but when they referred to his position as the Speaker of this House, he considered that in recognition of that duty which he owed to that office and to this House, he was bound to take notice of this matter and contradict it. He would again declare that he had neither directly nor inferentially referred to Mr. Bennett in the speech which he had made.
The hon. Receiver General, Mr. Prowse, and the Colonial Secretary also sustained the assertion of the hon. and learned Speaker, and bore testimony to the dignity with which he had always upheld his position.
The RECIEVER GENERAL remarked that the official Reports were confirmatory of what the Speaker had declared.
Mr. TALBOT could not say whether the words had been used or not, but he denied that the official Reports were any authority upon the matter.
Mr. GLEN was glad to see that every one read the Chronicle, it shewed that it was the true exponent of public opinion. He thought that it was carrying this matter too far when he heard that the Editor of the Chronicle had been ejected from the Clerk's room by the order of the Speaker. The Opposition were attacked in the most outrageous manner every day, but they paid no attention to it.
The hon. A. SHEA was sorry that the hon. and learned Speaker had taken the trouble to occupy a moment of time with a matter so paltry. Suppose he had said Mr. Bennett was the Head Centre of the Anti-Confederates? What then? Was that gentleman ashamed of being so called? What then was there in it that any man should feel thin skinned about? But the hon, the Speaker had never mentioned Mr. Bennett's name. How then could he have spoken disrespectfully of him?. He (Mr S) had referred to Mr. Bennett in this House and would do so again when he deemed it uecessary, but he had never spoken disrespectfully of him. He was sorry any importance had been attached to this matter. He would now refer to the paragraph before the Chair, This section then affirmed that the time had arrived for considering this question of Confederation, so that it might be referred to the various constituencies. Now the hon. member Mr, Talbot the other evening in a speech of considerable length, denied this. He (Mr. S.) admitted that the hon. member had discussed the matter with a great deal of ability and in language that was certainly entitled to respect, and he made this admission freely and readily, altho' both in the premises and conclusions of the hon. member he entirely disagreed. The hon. member had asserted that the time had not arrived for dealing with this question, and that this House had no authority to deal with it, He thought that the time had fully arrived for this question to be considered, and further, that was in accordance with the existing state of opinion. Why, what was the reproach that had been uttered against us time after time? That we did not bring down the terms, so that the people might be fully instructed upon them, and now, with a strange and marvellous inconsistency, they tell us that we have no right to go into the discussion and investigation of those very terms, for which they had so often asked. Now how would it be possible for us to go into the discussion of terms, unless we assented to the section before the chiair. There was not a man in this House, who might not vote for this Section, and when the terms are brought down with perfect honesty and consistency dissent from any or [?]. Hon members opposite had twisted this [?], and the Government had never intended that it should be regarded in that light. Were merely tell you and the country by this section that we will enquire into the matter, and see if terms favorable to the interests of this Colony cannot be agreed to. Why the hon member Mr Glen, says if we get terms satisfactory, he was ready to go in for Confederation, and yet the hon member would debar us by his proceeding from ascertaining what were satisfactory terms or not. It could not be too well known, he thought, that no proceeding was contemplated by this House by which this question would be finally determined. We simply desired to show the country what the terms were—so that they might give them earnest consideration, and be in a position at the general election to say whether they were acceptable or not. He could not, therefore, agree to this paragraph being amended, and he could not agree to the amendment, because it contained a statement that was untrue. The question of Confederation had never been rejected by this Legislature or by the country, because it had never been submitted to either. This House would certainly be open to censure it it permitted such a statement to go unchallenged. Hon members opposite a few years ago, when there was a paragraph in the address relative to Confederation, said, if you pass it, you affirm the principle of Confederation. The Government declared at the time that that was not a right interpretation to place upon it, as the section was one which pronounced no opinion, and went merely for delay. But so assured were they that it affirmed the principle of Confederation, that they proposed an amendment to it. (Here the hon member read the same.) Now if that amendment had been carried, the hon member would have been borne out in his statement that the question had been rejected. But the fact was, that that amendinent had been ignominiously rejected by a majority of eighteen to six. How then could it be said that the Quebec scheme had ever been rejected by this House. Now he (Mr S) did not claim that thut majority aſfirined the principle of Contederation, he merely claimed that it rejected the amendment against the principle. His was indeed somewhat surprised that the hon member Mr Talbot should deal with so important a question in the manner he had. The clap trap about our lives and liberties was not worthy that gentleman's position or ability. Then he appeals to the natives not to sell their country. That question of [?] could never arise in this case. But assuming for arguement sake that it did, he (hon Mr S) knew of few countries that had been sold that had not been the gainers. Looks at Louisiana when she was purchased by the United States from France—that was a sale, and money paid for it, and see how prosperous Louisiana had been since. Had she not been a gainer by that sale? He merely referred to this in reference to the question which had been raised, and to shew that selling a country was not after all so terrible a thing, but was a proceeding by which many countries had been benefitted. The hon member then referred to Irish encumbered estates Act, and shewed the advantages it had conferred, regarding it in the light of a forced sale. The hon meuber Mr Talbot tells us that the Irish Union was caused by bribery, and that some three millions were spent for that purpose. Well, that was true. But who was it that received that money? Why the opposition, who then occupied that position in the Irish Parliament which hon gentlemen opposite do here. It was to purchase their woes that this money had been spent.
MR. LITTLE.—Are you going to give us some.
Hon. Mr. SHEA –Don't let the hon. member's mouth water too soon, He would not have hon. gentlemen opposite indulge in extravagant expectations of what might happen here. The Union of Ireland was an exception and was not one that should be quoted. That was a Union between people not, on an equality. It was a Union of a dominant race with a slavish and enthralled one. It was the Union of men who enjoyed civil and religious rights with men who had neither the one nor the other, was it then anything surprising that the dominant class should regard the others as slaves and treat them so? But were the same conflicting elements to be found here? Had we not all civil and regious liberty? Were we not all upon the same footing? Were we not equal in the eye of one Government and it universal laws? Would the hon gentleman say that the Union of the States was a failure? Canadian Union he says was a failure. Where does the hon. member get his facts for making such a statement? The result to the country was great prosperity. He had not then a hand the statistics of population, produce, &c., but he knew that they showed sufficient to justify the assertion that the Union of the two Provinces had proved a succes. Was the fact that the people of England last year demanded a new Reform Bill any proof that the bill of 1832 was a failure? No it only showed that the time for further changes had some, and just so with the question of Union. The time for change came, and when the question which had agitated the Lower Province, was ripe for settlement, Canada could scarcely believe that Nova Scotia, the cradle of Union, would turn its back on its own offspring. It was stated that the Delegates had condemned the Quebec Resolutions. Such was not the case, neither the hon. and learned Attorney General nor he (hon. Mr. S.) had ever said so. They never entertained such opinions as would justify them in saying so. Having regard to the time of its origin, he denied that it was a plan which deserved condemnation. It was most favorably received, and commended the admiration of the ablest and most intelligent men in England. It had since then been slightly modified, but how? Was it not by making concessions all round, on the one side as well as the other? The result of monetary consessions would be that while we might get more money for our own immediate purposes, we would not be benefited to the full extent supposed, because to the extent of the increase received we lessen the money which would remain in the hands of the General Government for general purposes. The only changes made as yet were monetary ones. The framework and character of the constitution, the powers of the general and local governments, are still the same as adopted in Quebec, so that in these principal points those resulutions remain intact. In one other point only was any change made, and that was by the British Government in the number of Senators, so as to provide for the happening at any time of a deadlock in the Government. As to the objections [?]. The only ones raised by the [?], were that the people would be [?] more than was fair, and that they would not recieve enough. To no other [?] plan was any objection raised, and [?] it would be [?] to raise objections 3 THE NEWFOUNDLANDER. to a plan which was so perfect in all its parts. He (hon. Mr. S.) had taken a very humble part in the great work; but he was proud to have it to say that it fell to his lot to take any part, however humble, in so important a work. That plan had met with the approval of the leading men of England of all politics, and were they blind and incapable of forming an opinion? Not one of them but spoke in praise of the Constitution as framed at Quebec, and was not that a significant fact, which might well influence the minds of some who ought to feel that they were incapable of forming an opinion on such a subject? . A test like that, the opinions of men well versed in the science of Government, whose integrity and impartiality cannot be doubted, who look calmly on from a distance, and say that this system of Government calculated to advance the interests and secure the prosperity of these Colonies, should have due and great weight with men whose experience and knowledge of such matters is by no means so large. He did not mean to say the hon. gentlemen should not exercise their own reason on the subject. The duty and the responsibility lay with them, and they were bound to see and examine into the matter, for themselves. After all, what was Confederation? It simply meant that four or five provinces, having similar institutions and laws, aud owing allegiance to a common sovereign, should unite for their common benefit. Those who advocated this proposition believed that Union would lead to more beneficial results than isolation. Enlightened by the example of the United States, they believed that such a Union would promote general prosperity and give stability to all, and that in Co-operation each would find benefits which individually they could not obtain. To his (hon. Mr. S's.) mind, Confederation meant increased means of employment. What was that the want of which was most severely felt now? Employment. It had been asked what good would this country derive from the expenditure in Canada on Railways. He (hon. Mr. S.) replied that it would advauce the value of labor in this country, and that would be most beneficial to the laboring classes; and though we may not derive such direct advantages as will the other Provinces, yet those which we most require we will have. Hare was a practical proof of what he said. He was authorised to engage 800 men to work at the public works in Canada. Would not the taking of these 800 men off our streets, where they now wanderr up and down, willing to work but unable to find it, advance the value of labor? He did not speak for any party purpose, and would not be so foolhardy as to make an assertion which could be contradicted by the 1st of May next. He agreed that it was a misfurtune that the population should be required to go away, but it would be a greater misfortune to have them remain here in the same position as they were in last year. Nothing would give him (hon Mr. S. ) greater pleasure than that the state of the country should be sush as to enable these men to stay at home. No man had a greater interest in seeing the people employed than he had, that they should come as purchasers and not as beggers. Why then should he yield to any in hid desire to see the people prosperous aud happy? Not one of the 800 who would be engaged by him would be paupers next winter, for all their wages would be kept here for them. While [?] were so depressed in the country, he (hon Mr. S.) considered this as a godsend. He looked on it as the beginning of a system which would save this country from future deterioration in the value of laour. The fact shows that if labor be law here, it will be taken up for the other colonies. If we have Confederation, we will have regular Steamers with Quebec and Montreal, which would enable the people to go away in bad time. In this country the labor question underlies all others, and anything which tended to advance, the interests of the laboring classes also tended to the advance of the interests of the country at large. All that was needed was a well employed people, and then the country would be contented and happy. He did not look on it as at all desirable that the people should leave the country, but he did think it desirable that when they were so badly off they should have some backdoors. Iſe was surprsised to hear it said that our men were not fit for this work. Any man who will see the men going, will acknowledge that no finer body of men ever left any port. He had never heard any complaint of the man on the Telegraph line, and did not think the work on the Rilway was any harder. Nor did he fear, as had been imputed to them by those who call themselves their friends, that were so degraded as to forget those whom they had left behind. He thought differently of them, and believed them to be possessed of social qualities which attached then to those who had good and legitimate claims on them. Of course, if any of them chose to remain away, if they thought it would be better for them, they would be right in doing so. They would have the means of coming home if they chose to come. There could be no compulsion. Those who wished to go would go as volunteers. He could understand that such matters as these would be distasteful to those who were interested in keeping down the value of labor. Last year the men were in such a wretched condition that they were glad to ship on any terms. Those wuo desired to perpetuate that state of things would, of course, be dissatisfied with ant attempt to disturb it. He thought that in view of the question which they were now considering, he might with propriety speak of Mr. Charles Fox Bennet, who required a large number of men to work his mines, and would, of course, try and get them at as low a rate as possible. He was, of course, right, but in that his interests and the interests of the people were directly opposed to each other. He (hon. Mr. S.) was glad Mr. Bennett had these mines to work, and wished there were more like mines in the country. To say that Mr. Bennet entered into these speculations for the benefit of the people was arrant nonsense. He entered into it as a commercial matter, solely for his own benefit. This was no matter of reproach to him, for it was the spirit of all commercial speculations. If the demand of labor be stimulated, all those who give employment will feel it, for they will have to pay increased wages. He mentioned these matters incidentally. It, however, came in, as an argument, stronger than any force of rhetoric. A stimulus of the kind was not needed to procure a majority favourable to Confederation. The minds of the people had come to the conclusion that the time had come when the question should be taken up. The hon. member, Mr. Talbot, had spoken of his preference of a commercial union before a political union. The present measure comprehended both. He would see, on relfection, that even if practicable, a commercial union would be of very little advantage. How was it to be had? There must be consenting parties on both sides, and would Canada be willing to consent to such a [?] proposition as we could make? How could we enter into a commercial treaty for any purpose, the effect of which would to deprive us of the power to legislate with regard to the matter it referrd to? The former treaty with the United States was not made with us, but through the agency of the other Provinces. What we required here was employment, and the opening up of the resources of the country, and a commercial union would not do that for is. We hoped to have our mining interests brought into life and activity, and no commercial union would do that. He hoped the day was not far distant when the Bay of Islands, Porteau Port, and the other parts of the Western Shore will be filled with flourishing settlements. Commercial union would not do that, but political union would, for it would give us that which is now so much needed, steam communication with these extern Districts. Last year, after the fisheries had closed, value to the extent of £100,000 was shipped form Bay of Islands, and of that £5,000 did not belong to us, because we had no steam communication, and that we cannot have except we form part of the Dominion. When the United States resolved to from a union, were they content with a mere commercial union? Did they not form a political union, believing it to be the best way of advancing their interests at home and abroad? And have not the results justified that belief, while a commercial unoin alone would have left them thirteen separate and independent States. Could any of the United States separately treat with Foreign countries? And was it not by their combined and concentrated authority that they were enabled to have weight with diplomatists abroad? Suppose we could effect a Commercial Treaty with Canada. To his (hon. Mr. S's.) mind, it would be a bald, naked, inoperative document, not worth the parchment upon which it would be written. If, on the other hand, we combined with Canada, we would instantly possess these commercial advantages; bread, flour, pork, butter, and all the Canadian manufactures would be aduitted duty free. Besides this, with a creditable liberality, they had agreed to allow breadstuffs from the United States to come in free. These advantages comprehend what no more commercial treaty could obtain for us. Look again at the effect of Confederation upon our foreign relations. Here was Spain, where a revolution was going on, which must necessarily have the effect of liberalizing her institutions, and lead her rules to the cousideration and acceptance of treaties with foreign powers. Look at Cuba and Brazil, which are, after Spain, our most important markets. The Dominion Government have treaty making powers, and can it be doubted that seeing the desire of Spain to extend her trade, they will take steps to place their commercial arraugements with Spain upon a proper footing? Already they are contemplating a commercial treaty with Brazil. We cannot possibly obtain a participation in these advantages without the co operation of the Dominion Government. At present we know that Government will not look with any great favour upon us, should we refuse to join the Confederation; and it is only by an authority greater than ourselves that we can secure these treaty privleges. He (hon. Mr. S.) urged these arguments on purely abstract grounds. He would not take notice of the assertions of hon. members opposite as to the interference with our lives and liberties. This was simply a bread and butter question. The hon. member, Mr. Hogsett, had asked where would we be if Confederation were accomplished, with 8 members out of 194, as if the other 186 members must necessarily be antagonistic to our interests. Now looking at the United States, which present an analogous case, did we find that less consideration was accorded to the smallest State of the Union than to the wealthy and extensive State of New York? These 8 men would be equal to 27 in the British House of Commons, and when we considered that a compact body of 27 men would, in many cases, be sufficient to overturn a Government, we must come to the conclusion that our numbers are not so insignificant. If it could be shown to him that the interests of Upper and Lower Canada were adverse to our, he would say, by all means, let us keep clear of this Confederation. But what was the fact? We produce [?] or nothing but fish and oil. We want food and clothes. Canada can give us nearly all that we require in that respact. If than we were prosperous, we should be good costomers. If not, they could gain notning by oppressing us. Would it, then, be for their interest to damage us, who would be good customers, and who would probably spend our surplus means in the purchase of their productions? In fact it must be palpable that it would be for their interest to promote our welfare, and that from mere selfish considerations, by which all men and all countries must be more or less actuated. It had been asserted that at the present moment we could import nothing from Canada. This was not the fact. We could now import from Canada via Boston, as cheaply as in the month of November. Our importations would be made by means of screw steamers, and thro' the Banking facilities which would be afforded, extended means of importation would be given, so that even, at an extra cost, it would suit our importers better to deal with Canada. No man could now import from the United States without money on the spot or credit on London. The Banking system which would be established would enable men who in this market would get credit for £1000, and who could not now import from the United States, through not having credits in London,to import from Canada upon the same terms as it they were purchasing in this market. He (Mr. S.) had always said that we could not allow any of our markets to be shut up. We must be at liberty to buy in the Canadian or American market as it suited out purpose. When hon. members say that you can purchase more cheaply in the American than in the Canadian market, they are not correct. At times you can purchase more cheaply in the one market, at times in the other. When you consider that a large quantity of wheat grown in Canada is exported to the United States, was it likely that you could purchase more cheaply there than at the fountain head? It had been stated that this question was brought forward because the Government were in difficulties. Hon. members knew well that he had from the other side of the House spoken as strongly in favour of Union as he had ever spoken. He had no changes of sentiment to atone. The late leader, Sir Hugh W. Hoyles, and the present hon Attorney General were quite as pronounced in their opinions. They held to their opinions on this great question, confident that it would ultimately find its way to public acceptance. It was idle to assert that the substitution of one Government for another could effect any radical change. The Government could, it they thought proper, sit down and fold their arms, and no rational man would admit the probability of their being disturbed. But they had an interest in the welfare of the country, and they felt it a duty to announce their opinions, that in Confederation alone did the hope of redemption and regeneration of the country lie. If hon. members opposite knew that they were correct in their assertions as to the state of public opinion, why did they not urge on the Government to its own destruction? Hon. members on this side were prepared to give their constiuencies an opportunity of putting other men in thier places. Could hon. members opposite, by any artificial means, supply the vacuum created by the withdrawal of capital from the country? The only remedy for our evils was capital, and consequent employment of the people, and he (hon. Mr. S.) had yet to learn that the people were so [?] as willingly to remain in their present degraded state, and that they would not enterprise any change rather than that the present state of things should continue.
(To be Continued.)
1 THE NEWFOUNDLANDER. St. John's, Wednesday, February 24, 1869.


MONDAY, Feb. 15.
Mr. HOGSETT.—The hon. gentleman had made a very lengthy and elaborate speech to show the people that Coufederation was the best thing for their interest, and that the exportation of 800 men before the 10th of May would be the beginning of the blessings of Confederation. He (Mr. H.) might admit that for an old and overpopulated country, emigration might be a good thing, but who would assert it with regard to a colony which had capacities for supporting 3,000,000 of people? If no bettar argument for Confederation than this could be found, the case must be a bad one. From day to day our people are leaving our shores, and going under the Government of the stars and stripes. It this Dominion be what they say, why don't emigrants remain there? Do they do so? No, they go to the United States. Was the Dominion independent? Why, 14 or 15 Bills passed last year, had been ignored by the Imperial Government.
Hon. Mr. S.—I heard of one.
Mr. HOGSETT could name them. The fact was that the Yankees would have us before the good times spoken of would over arrive.
Mr. RENOUF.—There was no evidence before the House that the people were in favour confederation. In fact all the evidence pointed out the contrary. Hon. members representing Outports had ample opportunity, during the past five years to have got up petitions in favour of it, had the people approved of the measure— And had they approved of it? We might be assured that there would have been some effort made to prepare these petitions. The hon member, Mr. Pinsent, had lately visited his district, and read them a lecture on Confederation. Had he been authorized by the people to sustain it? If we look at the mother country we find that in all great, measures the public mind was always consulted, and that legislation was controlled by it. Some three years ago a petition had been presented by Mr. Wyatt against Confederation. He (Mr. R.) had the honor of presenting one of a similar character, and with a similar object, from the District of Placentia. Last year he had been entrusted with one from the monster meetting which had been held in the Fishermen's Hall. Surely, then, if the people were in favour of it, where was the evidenue that would prove that the Government was correct and the opposition wrong. If the people viewed the matter in the same light that we are told, how is it that that opinion is not expressed by any petition before this House? It was indeed easy to say that a change had come over their minds. But we want something more than mere assertion—something more taugible, while there existed before this House the many posttive assurances and evidence that the people did not desire us to take any action upon this important question. The hon. Attorney General, when he went to Burin in 1865, told the electors that his individual views inclined to the principle of Confederation. Indeed, he only inclined to the principle in 1865, whereas, in 1864 he was unequivocally in favor of it, and signed the Quebec Resolutions. He had pledged himself while in Canada to use his utmost endeavours to carry Confederation, upon the basis of the Quebec Resolutions. Why did he not hpnestly ten the people of Burin he was in favor of Confederaion, and upon these terms, and not to have hoodwinked and deceived them as he did. (Here the hon member referred to the Year Book of 1868, and read from it certain passages relative to the sittings of the delegates. In 1884, and their proceedings in Canada. Why, then, had not the hon. Attorney General [?] told the people that he had signed the Quebec scheme, and that be would stand or fall by it? Oh, no. He knew very well, had be done so he would not now be in the position he was. He had to eat humble pie when he went to Burin. He then promised them that there, should be no legislation upon, the matter without consulting the people, and yet be now proposes take action upon it without the consent of the people. Perhaps, however, it is true that the hon. Attorney General is not going back to Burin, and thus can afford to violate his plighted faith. Well the Receiver General went to the hustlings in 1853 and he also was forced to pocket Confederation and to eat humble pie. He had cast his eyes up to Heaven and had solemnly asserted that he would do nothing upon the matter without consulting his constituents.
Hon. RECEIVER GENERAL—I made no such declaration.
Mr. RENOUF.—Would refer to the hon. member's memory. Here the hon. Imember read an account of proceedings attending the elections of 1865. He then proceeded to read the address of himself and his colleague, Mr. Talbot, to the elector in that year, and commented upon the speech pf the Attorney General in which they had been accused of eating their own words. He contended that they had distinctly in this audress told the people that they were opposed to Confederation, as they were now. He contended further that they had truly foretold what had come to pass. That the malgamated Government was corrupt, had increased the civil expenditure and the taxes, and added to the burdens of the people, that there excessive taxation had killed out the middle man, and that the short issue of supplies to the fishermen the past year was to be attributed to the increase of taxation which precluded the man of merely moderate means from competing with the more wealthy importers, who thus had a monopoly and could charge what they liked. Then the great [?] was the exportation of 800 men to Canada. This was to produce quite a [?] among the labourers and increase their wages. They had received no instructions to bind the Legislature of the country, but when they signed the Resolutious they bound themselves to urge the principle and the terms on the people. The hon, and learned Attorney General and the hon. Mr. Shea would say that they approved of them but that it was subject to the approval of the people, but when the British Government saw that all had signed the document was it at all wonderful that they should conclude that all were in favour of Confederation? It was said that the House did not reject the principle that he (Mr. R) asserted that it did. The Government of the day was afraid to lay the principle before the House for discussion, but substituted that very mild Resolution by the accepting of which the House and country virtually rejected the Quebec scheme. A great deal had been said about the influence our representatives would have in the Dominion Parliament. In the last session the members from the Lower Provinces were opposed to the proposed tariff, but they might as well have held their tongues. It was passed in spite of them, and not a Canadian member gave them any assistance. It was also said that Lower Canadian sympathies and feelings would go with the Maritime Provinces. It might be so when Upper and Lower Cauada disagreed amongst themselves, but when the question was Canadian they would be found united. The hon. member, Mr. Shea, referred to the case of Rhode Island, which has only one member in the House of Representittives. Though such was the case she was represented in the Senate equally wiyh New York or any other State in the United States. In the Senate all the States were represented alike. Was such the case in the Dominion? There was no analogy between the constitutions. In the Dominion the arrangements were made so that Canada should always have a majority. Confederation for our benefit indeed! It was never so intended. The Imperial Government were always anxious for it, simply that Imperial taxpayers might be relieved from the expenditure of troops in these Colonies. They heard a great deal of reciprocity— that we cannot have reciprocity without Confederation. They had yet to learn that the United States were disposed to establish reciprocity. From all that he (Mr. R.) could learn they were not at all disposed to re-establish it. When they heard hon. gentlemen opposite praise Reciprocity it should be remembered that at one time they were its bitterest enemies. It was strange how men would wheel round when they had an object in view. In 1864 they saw that no benefit whatever could be derived from Reciprocity, while to-day they are enamored with it. The hon member, Mr. Shea, took his (Mr. R's.) hon. colleague, Mr.Talbot, to task because he had said that it was possible to have Reciprocity without Confederation. He (Mr. R.) agreed with his hon. colleague. What was to prevent their having Reciprocity without Confederation? The reason was said to be because we cannot afford to strike £32,000 off our taxes. It could be had by striking £30,000 a year off official robbery, jobbery and extravagance, The hon. membr, Mr. Shea, says the salaries come to only £32,000 a year, and asks how could £30,000 be struck off that. But the public expenditure of last year citus to £170,000, and off that the hon. members of the opposition proposed to strike £30,000, would not the saving of that sum be preferable to selling the country, to deporting 800 men to work in the wilds of Canada? The Government was puzzled to know how it could be done, but at the proper time they would be shown how to do it. Do they increase the taxes when, in other countries the revenue falls short of the expenditure? No. They reduce the expenditure; and that is, ought, and shall be the duty of the Government of this country. By a system of rigid economy they could have reciprocity, and every other, advantage, and need not be obliged to surrender the country into the hands of strangers. Hon. gentlemen ask where is Mr. Howe. He (Mr. R.) was free to admit that that hon. gentleman was the great anti- Confederate leader in Nova Scotia. It would appear now that he was President of the Executive Council of the Dominion, but does that show that he had deserted his colors? Nova Scotia was in a different position from ours; she had been sold by her representatives; but he (M. R.) and his colleage's would take care that no such thing suould happen here. Canadian gold brought the majority against Confederation in the Nova Scotia Assembly down to a minority, and so Confederation was carried there. When the people saw how affairs stood they got up hundreds of petitions, and sent Mr. Howe and a delegation to England to represent the true facts of the case. A second time did Mr. Howe go to Englaud, but he found the people there so absorbed by the question of Reform that he could not get his case fairly heard. Howe fought the battle well, and yielded only when he saw how little the people at home cared for Colonial as distinguish from Imperial interests. The hon. member, Mr. Shea, said it was the desire of the mother country that these Colonies should Cenfederate, all that she knew what was best for us. He (Mr. R.) denied it. They were the best judges of their own interests, and had no occasion to refer to those who evidently knew very little about them, and cared less. It was said that the cry of "bleaching bones" had been abandoned. Was it indeed? That it had a meaning was sufficiently proved by the fact that in 1835 the Canadian Conferderates, in pointing out the advantages of union with the Lower Provinces, urged that Newfoundland would supply 30,000 of the best seamen that ever trod the deck of a [?]wer. Now suppose men were required, was it to be supposed that the Newfoundland fishermen would be exempted? They would have to go and some of their bones would be bleaching. A good deal was said about the present Chief Justice having been favourable to Confederation He, it was said, cited the case of the Irish reaper going to England to reap the harvest, and returning home with money in both pockets. Crossing the Channel was one thing. It could be done in a few hours. But Quebec was 1,000 miles away, and how could our poor labouresr travel up, and down that distance? There was no analogy between the cases. It was said that adter Confederation we would have steam, Coastal and inter- provincial and that when labour was scarce here, our people could go to the other Provinces in search of it. They were also told that after Confederation the land would flow with milk and honey. How did the two notions stand together? The people were leaving the country; but they went to the United States, and not to Canada. Would that be the case if Canada offered the greater advantages? The Canadians [?] have to seek employment in the United States have, even those who come to Canada from England have frequently to cross the border. The Government saw they did not increase the expenditure, that it was now actually less than in former years. It that be the case, how comes the increased tariff of 1833, 1837, and 1868? Surely if the expenditure was less,there was no reason to increase the tariff. They ask where are our means of giving employment? The public gave to them the largest revenue any Government here ever had, yet where was there any evidence that that revenue was applied for the benefit of the people? Let the people exercise their legitimate authority, and return men who will carry out the wishes of the people, and with similar means the people would be made contented and happy.
The hon. gentleman concluded a lengthy speech by stating that he had some further remarks to make, which he woull reserve for another occasion.


The Newfoundlander, 1864-1869. Digitized by Google Books



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

Personnes participantes: