Nova Scotia Legislative Assembly, 18 March 1867, Nova Scotia Confederation with Canada.



MONDAY, March 18.

The House met at 3 o'clock.
The adjourned debate on the Answer to the Address was resumed and all the clauses excepting the last were adopted.

Mr. Stewart Campbell's Speech.

Mr. S. CAMPBELL said :—In accordance with the intimation given by me on a previous day —on the first occasion when I had an opportunity of doing so, I now proceed to move an amendment to the last clause of the Address in answer to His Excellency's Speech, and I will at once read the paragraph which I propose to substitute.
We regret that we are unable to perceive any grounds whereon to reciprocate your Excellency's congratulation upon the assumed success of the Delegation, commissioned by your Excellency under the resolution of this House to confer with Her Majesty's Government on the subject of the Union of the Colonies.
On behalf of the free people of Nova Scotia we would respectfully submit that in relation to that question the present is in our opinion a most important crisis in the history of this Province, and imperatively demands the exercise of the wisest discretion in the administration of its public affairs. Thus firmly impressed, we deem it to be our duty to convey to your Excellency our solemn protest against the action of the Delegates referred to, and most distinctly to claim and demand, on behalf of Nova Scotia, that no such measure as that proposed should have any operation in this Province until it has been deliberately reviewed by its Legislature, and sanctioned by the people at the polls.
Mr. Speaker, it is with no ordinary feelings that I view my position in regard to the topic of to-day. Gladly would I exchange the prominency in which I have been placed for one of less responsibility, one calling upon me in a more subordinate capacity to advocate the principles which I am prepared to avow. Truly would I have rejoiced if the occasion which has rendered my election necessary had not arisen—if in short there had not been the necessity for presenting to the house the views of the people of this country as we conceive them to exist. But although on personal grounds I would have preferred the substitution of another state of things, yet being placed in such a position, and feeling called upon as I am for action in this matter, I do not hesitate to approach this subject as a member of a free legislature representing a free people In answer to His Excellency's Speech, I feel that we are called on to say that we cannot reciprocate the language in which it is couched,—we cannot see that there is any ground for congratulating ourselves upon the success of a measure in which the people have no sympathy or concurrence. In ransacking the pages of history it is exceedingly difficult to find a case parellel to this. There are records of wrong, and spoliation, and injustice, in comparatively modern times, but we must go back, very far back indeed to find an instance such as that which calls for this amendment. It is true we need only go back a hundred years to find an unhappy state of things subsisting between the mother country and her colonies on this side of the water, and we know the results of the disaffection then induced by arbitrary enactments affecting the integrity of the Empire as it then existed, but I can find no record of rejoicing in such a condition as that in which we are placed until I extend my retrospect and revert to a history of a tyrant, Emperor though he may be called, who fiddled while Rome was burning. In that case alone can I find a similarity of circumstances and a paralleled contempt and disregard of na tional feeling. The delegation referred to in the Address was constituted under a resolution of this Legislature at its last session, which reads as follows:
Resolved, That his Excellency the Lieut. Governor be authorized to appoint delegates to arrange with the Imperial Government a scheme of union which will effectually ensure just provision for the rights and interests of this Province; each Province to have an equal voice in such delegation, Upper and Lower Canada being for this purpose considered as separate Provinces.
That delegation was commissioned as I understand it to arrange with the Imperial Government a scheme of union, but was it even contemplated by the people or the house that that delegation was empowered to be parties to an Imperial act of Parliament, an arbitrary act? I am convinced that no such idea could have entered into the minds of gentlemen around these benches. Did we, the Parliament of Nova Scotia entrusted with and empowered to decide on the weal or woe of our country, and charged with the protection of the interests of the people, part with a right so deeply affecting their welfare as this Union will? No, sir. I conceive then that this delegation has exceeded its authority, and that the commission under which they probably acted was not authorised by this resolution. We had delegates in connection with this subject on a previous occasion, and the resolution under which they were appointed was similar in its terms to this, but was it supposed that the delegates sent to Charlottetown and Quebec were empowered to do anything but prepare a scheme to be submitted {or the ratification of this house? Not by any means, and therefore when those gentlemen went across the water and became parties to an imperial act, when they were engaged in the lobby of the British Parliament promoting that act, they exceeded the authority conferred upon them by this house and by their commission. In that view I think that the action of the delegation is such as the house and the people should not sustain. This is a matter which should have been brought back here and subjected to the consideration of the legislature. But they have consummated the act as far as it was in their power to do so, and under what circumstances have their proceedings transpired? It is well known that the people of this country in every section petitioned by thousands praying that the scheme should not receive any consummation at the hands of the Imperial Government until it had been submitted to them at the polls, but how have these petitions been treated? Have we heard that they have even been read or even presented, in order that the wishes of the country should be known? Then this bill, framed by the delegates, under an authority which they assumed but had not, was introduced into the House of Lords, a body composed, I think, of between 300 and 400 members, and how was it there received when presented for consideration? Of the hundreds of members, there could not be found one to witness its formal presentation one round dozen, and that important bill, touching the rights, the property and persons of our people for all time to come, was not even read. It was read by its title only, and the important details it embodied never 6 DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS reached the ears or the hearts of the members composing that branch of the Imperial Legislature. It passed the House of Lords with more facility than a bill imposing a tax on dogs would have done. It was hurried through in indecent and disgraceful haste, and sent to the House of Commons. How was it received there? I cannot imagine how it should have met with any other reception than it did when I read the observations of members of that house—observations which must have proceeded from information coming from a quarter from which sounder information should have been supplied. It was there stated by prominent members that this matter had been before the people just previous to the last election; that the Premier had gone to every hustings, and at every polling booth in the Province had preached on the question of Union. It was on information such as that that the enlightened House of Commons proceeded and I need scarcely ask members whether that information was true or false. Is there a member of this house or a man in the country who will venture to say that previous to the last election—at the time when the canvass was taking place—this question was presented to the people, or that on any hustîngs it was even mentioned. And if not, I care not whether it had been at any previous time. In the course of my professional training I have learned this principle: that the last will which a man makes is that which must; be recognized. Whatever his previous dispositions may have been, they are cancelled and annulled by his subsequent wishes. When, therefore, at the last election, the matter was altogether ignored I am right in saying that it was not before the people, and that they did not then express their views upon it. But let me be more particular. I have in my hand a copy of the London Times, an authority which will be especially acceptable to members of government, and it contains the debate on this question. This report contains so many amusing pieces of misinformation that I must trouble the house with a few extracts. Mr. Watkins who, for many good reasons, but none of them referable to the interests of Nova Scotia, took a deep interest in the proceedings and action of the delegation is reported to have said in reference to this Province: " There was a general election in 1863, and the Prime Minister went through the country preaching this Confederation of the provinces. It was brought under the notice of the electors at every polling booth, and at every hustings the issue was distinctly raised " I am willing to give the leader of the government credit for great versatility of talent, but I never knew that he had the qualifications of a, preacher, unless it be true which I do not assert, that a great sinner is likely to be most successful in converting man from sin. If I read on further it would be still more apparent that the Parliament of England has been grossly deceived at a time when there were present about them men who ought to have taken care that the subject should be looked into most carefully. I find also that the debate embodied the idea that this measure was a treaty of peace between these Provinces. I am rather disposed to view it as a declaration of war—war on the rights, the feelings, the interests and the liberties of the people of this country. Those gen tlemen who, since the last session, have visited their constituencies must be well satisfied of that opposition for no man with open eyes and ears could have travelled through the rural districts without seeing and hearing that the measure was obnoxious to the feelings of the people. If it were a measure good instead of bad, if it had merits instead of demerits without number, I conceive that the people who are to be affected by its operation should be heard upon it in a constitutional manner at the polls, and until they are so heard you may pass this Act of Parliament, calling it an Imperial Act if you will, but it will be a blank piece of paper until the hearts and sympathies of the people rally round it to give it effect. By the amendment which I have submitted we ask to obtain for the people the liberty to speak on the subject, and why should they not speak. According to the constitution of this house the day is not far distant when under any circumstances the House would be dissolved,— its existence can last but for a few weeks and why this haste? I must say that we have approached a crisis of a momentous character in our history. This Province until a recent period was a loyal and happy Colony, having every reason to be loyal, every reason to be happy until this unfortunate and unhappy measure was brought in and cast among us. Shall I be told that loyalty exists now in the same richness among us as it once and recently did? Mr. Speaker, I strenuously opposed the measure last Session on the ground that the course about to be taken would endanger the allegiance and undermine the loyalty of the people and since that time I have seen that that result is but too probable. We are told by members of the Imperial Parliament that it is desirable we should be separated from the British Empire and further we are told that it is not alone for the interests of Nova Scotia that the scheme has been projected—that there are reasons making it desirable that we should be connected with a large country. To secure Canada from foreign invasion the right of Nova Scotians are to be interfered with and trampled upon I conceive that Nova Scotia has at least as just a claim to the protection of England as Canada, Nova Scotia has been truly loyal, and in every hour of danger she had exhibited a disposition, to the uttermost extent of her resources to stand by and maintain the honor and integrity of the Empire. I conceive that the transactions of the past few months are exhibiting a poor return for that loyalty and that allegiance. The loyalty which I desire to see is the loyalty of the heart, not the loyalty pampered and fed and fattened by the contents of the treasury The loyalty of the heart, springing from just and honorable motives—that is the loyalty which is desirable, and anything else is unworthy of the name. In this amendment we beg to approach His Excellency with the respectable, submission that this is a most important crisis in our history. The men who best know the country feel this as they travel through its length and breadth. Pass this act without reference to the people whose rights are to be affected, and do you make them its friends? Do you not rather create in them feelings precisely the reverse? Do you not make them enemies and disloyal? Those who are in opposition have been denounced as disloyal, but OF THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY 7 that reproach can hardly come from men who by their conduct have brought about this state of feelings. The men who are open to the charge are those who are forcing it on the country. I have said that the country was. peaceable, loyal and happy before,—if it is not so now it is because of t is measure, and for no other reason whatever. The amendment suggests a solemn protest against the action of the delegation. For the reasons I have mentioned, I think the house should concur in that protest. The delegates have exceeded their authority : they were delegates from the house for the purpose of preparing a scheme, not for converting that scheme into an Act of Parliament, while we had within our own borders a legislature with a right to exercise its own judgment, and one that has never done aught to induce an abridgement of its rights. I need hardly repeat that I desire to see the scheme of Union submitted to the people. That is the view that I have always maintained and expressed, and I should view with sorrow rather than with anger, the adoption of any other course for I believe that any other course would endanger the happiness, the loyalty, and the best interests of our people. It is not my intention now to press upon the House any. other view than the necessity which exists for preserving this Province in a peaceful and happy condition, and I think it is our bounded duty to adopt the course which I have urged. I wish before detaining the House further, to hear reasons why that course should not be pursued. I ask those gentlemen who stand in the the positions of guardians of the public liberties why they are not prepared to submit the measure to the people? Why this haste? What is the pressing necessity? The more the subject is discussed, the more averse are the people to its features. During the past summer the feeling was comparatively mild and moderate to what it is to-day, and the reason was that in the trustfulness of their hearts the people never could have supposed that a measure so seriously to aflfect them would have reached the point it has without their voice being heard in a constitutional manner. But the awful note has lately sounded in their ears telling them that their fate is approaching, that their constitution is about to be a thing of the past, that their liberties are to be abridged forever, and they now feel excited if not enraged. If that be their feeling they have just cause for it. Men in whom they trusted- men who held their positions and ate their bread by the breath of the people- these were the men who stood between them and their liberties. and sought to cut of their freedom forever. It is a painful thing to receive an injury at the hands of friend—it is a gall ing thing to receive the blow, of ingratitude, and that is the state of feeling existing in the breasts of the people of. this country, They are indignant that the men whom they elevated to power for other and noble purposes, should have been the instruments of the annihilation of their freedom. What should be the feelings of a representative? There should be some regard for the feelings of the men who sent him here and elevated him to so honorable a position, and if any among us should disregard these feelings, the day cannot be distant when their consciences will be grievously disturbed. I trust none of these individuals will suffer from the remorse which such considerations will induce; for my part I shall have the satisfaction of having in a humble way asserted the rights of the people on this question. I think that the friends of England and the friends of Nova Scotia should require and acquiesce in no other course then t at which 1 have advocated, for he is no friend to this country and an enemy to England who would force this measure on the necks and hearts of an unwiiling people
Mr. Pryor, hear, hear.
Mr. S. CAMPBELL continued:—The hon. gentleman says hear! hear! I wish he would hear and act in conformity with the views I expressed. What placed him in the position he occupies? It was the voice of the people of this city of the metropolis, and for what? To destroy the rights and sacrifice their liberties? No, not for that, and when he next appeals to his constituents for their suffrages if ever he ventures to do so, I hope they will tell him so. He was placed here to preserve the the constitution of the country and to perpetuate its loyalty, and I hope he will he told in a voice of thunder that he is one of those who have forfeited the pledges which he gave. I trust that gentlemen will carefully consider this amendment, they will see that it contains no idea that it is not founded in justice and truth, and is in all respects entitled to their concurrence and support.

Speech of Mr. Killam.

Mr. Killam :—I rise for the purpose of seconding the amendment which has just been moved by the hon. member for Guysboro, with whose remarks I fully agree. It is well known in this house that I do not make any pretentions to the eloquence of other gentlemen, but the views I entertain on this question are the result of deep conviction. I may not be able to express these views as I would wish, but I feel them very strongly. The hon. gentleman has referred to the recent delegation and the manner in which the authority given by this house has been exceeded, but he hardly went deep enough into that, matter in my opinion. He must recollect that when the Provincial Secretary was pressing his resolution upon the house, last session, he referred some years back for the purpose of strengthening his argument. He stated that the leaders of the political parties in this Legislature had moved resolutions in favour of this scheme of Union but did he ever hear of a single resolution that had not coupled with it the condition that the question would be referred back to the Legislature, and that means the people. Mr. Johnston, Mr. Young, Mr. Howe were all quoted in illustration of his argument, but can he assert that the question was ever treated by them in a practical point of view. The hon. gentleman has in England quoted these gentlemen as the advocates of this scheme and tried to make the public men of that country believe that the people of Nova Scotia are in favour of a Union of these provinces with Canada. These delegates were to go and see if they could agree on some measure that would suit the members of 8 DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS this Legislature better than the Quebec scheme. There has never been any measure of Union submitted to this house for its deliberation. Instead of bringing back what they agreed on they have put their hands to an Act of Parliament. We are hereafter to be bound by a paper constitution which has never been submitted to us for our consideration. No more important question than this was ever before the people of this country. If this bill is passed we are deprived of the power of hereafter legislating for ourselves. We shall certainly have a voice in the General Parliament, but that the people don't want at all. Nothing can reconcile the people to the manner in which this measure is being forced upon them. They might have submitted to an Act of Union, if the British Parliament and people had declared that it was positively necessary for Imperial purposes, but that has not been the case. It appears by the papers that Her Maiesty's Ministers have all the time been under the delusion that in promoting the measure they are pleasing the people of Nova Scotia—a delusion created and fostered by the delegates. It is not difficult to understand the motives that have prompted the delegates to take the course they have. These politicians wish to put themselves out of the power of the people—to obtain place and emolument without the wishes of the people being at all consulted. The public men ot New Brunswick dissolved the legislature when they returned from Quebec, and the people returned a large majority opposed to Union with Canada. Another election subsequently took place. and the people, for some reason or other, reversed the verdict they had given previously. So the the people of New Brunswick have been appealed to twice on this question, whilst the people of Nova Scotia have not been consulted even once. The course pursued by these gentlemen is, as far as I know. unprecedented in the history of legislation. Even Napoleon did better than they have done. I look upon this Act of Parliament, if it is passed, as destroying the colonial system
If British colonies anywhere find that their rights and privileges can be transferred at any time to another country against their wishes— to some other people with whom they can have no sympathy—thev will feel that their security and prosperity rest upon a very insecure basis. The people of Nova Scotia are not the only ones opposed to that measure ; for we have reason to believe that a large number of the Lower Canadians entertain similar views. Nearly one half of the people of New Brunswick are opposed to the measure. We know how few people it takes to turn the scales in an election. It is quite true that measures often pass the Legislature which are very objectionable to the people, but they know that the time will come when they will be able to express their opinions on these obnoxious measures, and have them repealed. Now. however, you are to fasten a measure upon them which will fetter them for all time—hand them over to Canada for ever. I agree with the hon. member for Guysboro', that this scheme states a fatal blow at the connection between these colonies and the mother country. Nova Scotia has always hitherto been considered a loyal province. I feel as loyal as any person in this house ; I have not been ready to bow down to the authority of every person, but I pay respect to the laws and the government under which I live. I have British feelings in my breast, I feel proud to see England great and prosperous, but a measure of this kind must create discontent among the whole population of this province. The majority in this house who decide against the people assume a very grave responsibility Many of them will regret it deeply if they act contrary to the sentiments of the people. We are too near a great country to be trifled with in a matter of this kind. Let no one attempt to make the people believe that the British government would barter away their rights unfairly. Let gentlemen consider, therefore, the great responsibility that rests upon them in the present important emergency, and decide wisely before it is too late.

Speech of Hon. Prov. Secretary.

Dr. Tupper replied as follows:—I feel by no means disposed to find fault with the mode and temper in which this subject has been approached. No doubt the hon. mover of the amendment, in confining himself mainly to the con. stitutional point which he has raised, felt that the peculiar circumstances under which the House meets—the very advanced period of the session and the necessity of dealing immediately with certain portions of the public business which will not admit of postponement—induced him to limit his remarks to the range he has done. The hon. member who has seconded the resolution, with that due regard to the public time which he has always shown, felt also that this was not an occasion when a great deal of debateable matter should be opened up. I intend to follow the example of these hon gentlemen, and shall as succinctly as possible deal with the constitutional point that has been raised, without going into any lengthy observations on the great subject which is brought under the consideration of the House.
It would have been perhaps too much to expect that the hon. members opposite who entertain very strong opinions on this question should not have availed themselves of the present opportunity ot putting upon record their views and opinions in reference to the Address. As one of the advisers of His Excellency I would have been glad, had it been possible, if a different course had been pursued and no debateable issue had been raised on the Address. That course on the present occasion seems to have been impossible, and I must frankly admit that I was fully prepared for an amendment from the hon. gentlemen. I may say with a great deal ot pride and pleasure that I feel I can approach this question under circumstances upon which I may congratulate the government, the Legislature. and the country. As far as I am individually OF THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY. 9 concerned, I need hardly tell the house that from the first hour I felt it necessary as a public man to give my earnest consideration to public matters—from the first hour I felt it due to the people, the management ot whose affairs I had undertaken, to express my opinion on public questions—I have never hesitated openly, at all times and everywhere, to avow my deep and settled conviction that in a union of British North America lay the only great future for any portion of these provinces. True to these principles, whether in power or in opposition, to the best of my ability I advocated and sustained these views,—I pledged myself to my countrymen, at all times and under all circumstances, that whatever power and influence they might place in my hands, I would feel bound to use for the purpose of advancing the interests, elevating the character and promoting the security of our common country, by a union of British North America. Believing as I do that not only the most marked prosperity would have followed, but that the only security and guarantee for the continued possession of British principles in any portion of British North America, was involved in that great question, I have never hesitated to declare my opinion that it would have been wise on the part of Nova Scotia to have entered into that union under the terms propounded by the Quebec scheme.— There were many gentleman around me, however—many for whom I entertain great respect—who felt that better terms should be obtained for the Maritime Provinces than were contained in that scheme. To-day I stand in the proud position of being able to claim confidently the support of gentlemen who were unable to give it to me before because whilst their general principles were in favour of Union they did not consider that the scheme of Union devised at Quebec gave to these provinces all the advantages and consideration to which they are entitled. The position, therefore, that we occupy on this question is one of no little pride for we are able to say that we have not only obtained everything which was granted at Quebec, but that very important concessions have been made in the arrangements that are now being consummated, and that all these alterations are most favorable to the interests of these Maritime Provinces The narrow range taken by those gentlemen who have opened up this question precludes me from dwelling on this particular feature of it, but an occasion will offer itself later for discussing the scheme in all its bearings Then gentlemen in this house will have ample opportunity to place before the legislature and country an expression of their opinion on this great question. It will be therefore only necessary that I should briefly call the attention of the house to the position that this question now assumes, and deal with the constitutional point which has been raised by gentlemen on the opposite side.
I need not remind the House that no man can pretend that this is one of the occasions on which a great surprise is attempted. No man can contend that this question of a Union of British North America is not one to which the public mind and consideration of all classes of the intelligent people of this country have not been again and again turned, until it has become perfectly familiar to all. I need not go into any lengthy review of circumstances that took place on this question, but twenty-five years ago the whole subject, in all its bearings, was placed in the report of Lord Durham before the people of British America and of the whole British Empire, and attracted an amount of attention that few other great public measures ever received. We might claim the proud distinction that this question has been examined and discussed within these walls with an acumen and ability that did the greatest honor to gentlemen on both sides. If there was a section of British America ready to come to the consideration of this question and pass upon it intelligently, it was the Province of Nova Scotia, familiarized as the people have been with it in all its aspects. So far as I am personally concerned I have never hesitated to express my sentiments whether as a member of the Government or Opposition. When opposed to the administration of the day in 1860 I was invited to deliver a lecture at the Mechanics' Institute of St. John, and I was permitted the privilege of choosing the subject upon which I would address them. I took that occasion to proclaim not only to the people of my own province but of British North America, that all the power and influence that I might ever obtain should be exerted to accomplish and consummate the great scheme of British American Union which had been so ably discussed in previous days. I returned from the neighbouring province, and what was the first thing that met me ? Some gentlemen opposite who perhaps felt that the eulogiums which that address had received might make me a little giddy, immediately declared that after all there was nothing novel in these sentiments, that they were borrowed from my political opponents, and that the gentleman then at their head, Mr Howe, was one of the originators—as I have never denied he was— of this great scheme of Union. I felt there was no originality in my views, that all I had endeavored to do was to give favor and substance to the question—to pledge myself as a public man, devoted to the service of the country, to promote the consummation of this great scheme. I came back to this city, and at one of the largest assemblages that I have ever addressed, repeated these sentiments and pledged myself, in the face of my country, that, it entrusted with power by the people of this Province, I would use that power as energetically as I was able for the accomplishment of this great project. I went up, then, into the neighbouring counties of Hants and Kings, and Colchester. and there proclaimed plainly to the people of this country my sentiments on the same great question; I did so by public invitation, and delivered these sentiments amid the united plaudits of men of all shades of politics. Everywhere I was proud to find that 10 DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS this great scheme which I was advocating was received as an open question, upon which all political parties could co-operate. After I had thus re-opened this question, the leader of the government to which I was opposed, recommitted himself to the principles of British Colonial Union, by moving a series of resolutions on the subject. These resolutions originating with the government, of which he was the leader, broadly stated that so manifold and so great were the advantages that would result from union, that the government asked for power from this House to have a conference for the purpose of taking it up and placing it in a position so that it might receive the solemn ratification of the Legislature of this country. Consistent with the views I had always entertained, I gave my earnest co-operation to the government on this question, and a similar course was pursued by every Conservative sitting on the benches with me. The Lieutenant Governor was requested to appeal to the British Parliament on this question. Mr. Howe having received the authority from the Imperial Government immediately, under his own hand, urged upon Canada and the other British North American Colonies the importance of dealing with the question. In a statesmanlike spirit he pointed out to them that there was only one mode in which this question could be dealt with—that the only true constitutional course was not to refer it to the people at the polls, but to the Legislature. I challenge the gentlemen opposite, instead of indulging in mere empty declamation addressed not to members inside this House but to uninformed persons outside—to point out a single authority here or elsewhere, in this province or in the mother country whence we obtained our system of government, that has ever propounded such a principle as the resolution lays down ; and when they are able to do so, I shall be prepared to extend to this amendment an amount of consideration that I feel now it is not entitled to. In Mr. Howe's letter, under his own hand, he says there is only one way of dealing with the matter—that there should be a conference of the different provinces to arrange a scheme of Union—but there is not one word said about submitting the question to the people, but on the contrary, he proposed that it should be disposed of by the legislature. Mr. Howe, sustained by all his colleagues in the government, claimed for the Legislature of this country the right of dealing with this question—a principle which the hon. member for Yarmouth has himself just acknowledged as the correct one, though it conflicts with the position he has taken in seconding the present amendment. That hon. gentleman said that he was imbued with a love for British principles. He was one of the earliest and strongest advocates of colonial responibility, and true to his principles what has he to-day told you? "The Legislature represents the people." That is the reason when Mr. Young led that side of the House—when Mr. Howe led the government of the Liberal party,—when Mr. Johnston, on this side, led the Conservative party, each and all, recognizing the fact that we enjoyed responsible government in all its completeness, on every occasion when this question came up, maintained the indisputable right of the Legislature to deal with this question. When Mr. Howe and Mr. Killam were demanding that the people should have the principle of responsible government extended to them, they affirmed the responsibility of the Ministry to the people—that the Ministry should have the people's representatives to sustain them, and that whilst they had that support, they were quali fied to discharge all the duties of legislation in such a manner as they thought was consistent with the interests of the country.
The hon. member (Mr. Killam) has referred to Napoleon, and given us the only precedent that these gentlemen can adduce in support of their position. The hon. member for Guysboro', a gentleman of legal attainments—who has sat in the chair you, sir, now occupy.—who has, therefore, held the highest constitutional position in this Legislature, was obliged to sit down without having been able, from the whole range of constitutional history, to bring forward a single example in support of his course. The hon. member for Yarmouth, who has himself a pretty wide acquaintance with the constitutional system we enjoy, did at last find a precedent; but was it under the constitutional principles which it is our pride and glory to have received from Englang ? Did he find it in Great Britain or in any portion of her colonial empire ? No; but he had to travel to despotic France, where the universal popular franchise had placed the country under the heel of the most iron despotism that ever existed. All the public men in this house, Liberal or Conservative, have placed on record their deliberate sentiment that the Legislature of the country is the place where this question should be discussed and decided. But that is not all. The Duke of Newcastle was appealed to, and what did he reply ? You have only to go to the journals and you will find him endorsing the same principles. Mr. Cardwell was subsequently appealed to, and you see that gentleman himself taking the same view of the question, and declaring the right of the Legislature to deal with it. The present Marquis of Normanby, reflecting the views of the government of the day as he does now his own, embodied in a state paper his opinion that the Legislature is the proper place to deal with the matter.
It was stated that if the British Government had only proper information on this question— if that dark cloud which prevented them from seeing the real facts of the case was only blown away, they would sustain the views of gentlemen opposite. Well all that has been done ; I hold in my hand the statement of the late Colonial Secretary, the Earl of Carnarvon, who submitted this question with great ability to the House of Lords. But first let me ask when these gentlemen were advocating responsible government in this country, what did they tell OF THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY. 11 us they were going to give us? The institutions of Republican America? No. The despotism of France ? No. They said that they intended giving us Responsible Government, the British system of government, so that the people of this country might be governed in precisely the same manner that the people of the British Islands are governed Who are the best interpreters of the British system ? When gentlemen raise an issue upon constitutional practice, they should sustain their course by reference to the authorities of that country from which we take our system. Now this whole question was put fully before the statesmen and people of England by a gentleman second in ability to none in this country—who is one of those who can almost make the worse appear the better reason—who can put his views before the public in the most conclusive manner that it is possible to place them. Now when this gentleman had exhausted months in enunciating his views, before the statesmen of the mother country, what did Lord Carnarvon say after full consideration of the whole question? Lord Carnarvon said:—
" Then the noble lord has founded an argument on the franchise of Nova Scotia, but really if this House is to go into all the intricacies and details of colonial government there can be no end to the matter. Such a course would have the effect of raising questions on every clause of the bill. The House has simply to ascertain who are the constituted authorities of Nova Scotia, whom we are bound to listen to and whose opinion we are bound to accept. Now, what have they said? In 1861 the then parliament of Nova Scotia passed a resolution in favour of confederation in general terms. In 1863 that Parliament was dissolved and a fresh Parliament was elected and is in existence at the present moment. Well, it was only in April last that that Parliament came to a distinct resolution in favour of confederation—a resolution as distinct as words could express it. That resolution empowered certain gentlemen to proceed on their behalf to England to negotiate with her Majesty's Government. These accredited envoys were accordingly sent and the terms have been negotiated and embodied in this measure. It appears to me that it is not competent for us to look behind that vote of the Nova Scotia Parliament, and to inquire what other parties may be in the colony and under what circumstances the colonial local authorities and legislatures were elected. If responsible government means anything, it means this—that you not only give to a colony free institutions and enable the inhabitants to elect their own Parliament, but you also undertake, in matters of colonial policy, to deal only with that colony through the legally constituted authorities. Any other view of the case would lead us to endless difficulty."
This is the opinion of a gentleman to whom the whole press, irrespective of party, has awarded unqualified praise for the able and perspicuous manner in which he dealt with this question. In fact, we have the opinion of the statesmen and press of all parties in England in support of the principle—that our Legislature has the authority of legislating on all matters touching the constitution for this country save where it conflicts with Imperial interests. I confess I feel mortified when we enjoyed the great principles of responsible government—when these principles had been worked out so as to reflect the highest credit upon all parties—when Nova Scotia had advanced to that position of intelligence that she could be entrusted with the ma nagement of her own affairs; I felt mortified, I say, to see the very men who had laid claims to having given us this constitutional system,going to the foot of the Throne and attempting to prove, as far as all the evidence they could gather would prove, that this province was unfit for the government she enjoys—that we were in that condition of corruption and ignorance that the Parliament of the country could not be trusted to discharge thoae legislative duties which had been entrusted to them under our constitutional system. If these petitions had any effect—if the British Government had accepted such statements as true, they would have been greatly misled, and would have estimated the character, education, and intelligence of this country at a very low standard indeed. We can point with pride to evidence that under the institutions we have enjoyed the people have chosen the best men they have as their representatives, whose acts may challenge the closest scrutiny of the mother country and of the world. If it had been shown that the action of the Legislature had been unworthy of the confidence of Parliament and Government of England,then we would have occupied a position that would indeed be most humiliating to us all. But we have another construction of this resolution besides Lord Carnarvon's. Here is the declaration not of the late Colonial Secretary only but the Queen's Speech, in which the United Cabinet of England give expression to their sentiments :-" Resolutions in favor of a more intimate union of the provinces of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have been passed by their several Legislatures, and delegates duly authorized and representing all classes of colonial party and opinion have concurred in the conditions upon which such a union may be effected in accordance with their wishes. A bill will be submitted to you which by the consolidation of colonial interests and resources will give strength to the sovereign Provinces as members of the same empire, and animated by feelings of loyalty to the same sovereign." I have given you the authority of the leading men of this country — of the Colonial Minister, of the British Ministry — and in addition you have the authority of the Houses of Peers and Commons of Great Britain. Let detraction assail that parliament as it may, the hon. member may endeavour to throw odium upon it, but there is not a freeman through the length and breadth of the British Empire who can fail to admire and respect the body which, amid the convulsions that have shaken nations from centre to circumference, has maintained the proud pre-eminence of England. It does not become a colonial public man, at a time when the Parliament of Great Britain is attracting the admiration of the civilized world — when it is the great object of other nations to assimilate their institutions as nearly as possible to those of the mother country, to attempt to cast obloquy upon such a body. But they require no defence at my hands; the proud position that they occupy—the eminent character of 12 DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS the statesmen who are called upon to discharge the functions of legislation in that country need no eulogium from me. It is with pride that I am able to state that having sat in the one House and stood in the other, I listened to the discussions on this great question, and not only the constitutional points which are at issue, but the true character of this union were clearly and ably propounded by the Parliament and statesmen of Great Britain. Having had both sides of this question before them they were able to render such a verdict as they never gave before on a great public measure. We are able to stand here and claim that the friends of Union were sustained by the friends of British institutions everywhere—that they have had the support and co-operation of the friends of the colonial empire in the Parliament of England ; and what do you find to-day ? In the " Morning Chronicle"—the organ of the gentlemen opposite— the debate on the question has been given in full, as I am happy to see, and what do you find in the House and Commons? You find this striking fact to which I wish to call the attention of gentlemen opposite who have said that this Union would weaken the connection with the Crown, that the statesmen of Great Britain, without regard to party, Liberal and Conservative, Whig and Tory, united in one common acclaim that the colonies would not only be rendered more prosperous, but that the ties that now bind them to the Empire would be strengthened. The very few members who could be induced by gentlemen opposite to reflect their sentiments did so on the ground that the colonies were a burthen, and that the sooner they were got rid of the better. These are the views of Mr. Bright who complained that if this Union was accomplished the result would be to burthen the Empire with the defence of these provinces and what position did Mr. Ayrton take? He would not commit himself so far as to oppose Union, but what he complained of was that millions of British money were to be expended in connection with a great highway between this provmce and Canada. Thus we find the British Government, and all statesmen who value the colonies as one of the great sources of the importance and influence of Great Britain among nations arrayed in support of colonial Union, whilst in opposition to to this great scheme we find only the men who wish to get rid of the colonies altogether.
I must for a single instant call the attention of gentlemen opposite to the fact that they are bound by their own recorded votes in 1864 to vote against this resolution. I had the honour to move in the session of that year a resolution authorizing a conference to make a much more radical change than it is now intended to make in our constitution. It proposed a scheme of Union that would have merged our local institutions altogether—the Parliament and capital would have been transferred to another place. When I moved that resolution to appoint delegates for a Conference to bring about such a result, was there a man to raise an objection that as it would change the constitution, there should be an appeal to the people. Where were the gentlemen who now raise these objections when I declared that this House had the power to do what I have said? There was no one then to raise an objection to such a course. They bound themselves to the constitutional principle that this Parliament had the undoubted power, and right to change the constitution of the country without an appeal to the people at the polls. But I can give them another illustration how lately it is that they have discovered this new constitutional doctrine—that it is not constitutional for the peoples' representatives, here in Parliament assembled, to discharge what they believe to be a solemn duty to the country. Can it be possible that these gentlemen have forgotten that in 1863, just before an appeal to the people, the Government of the day brought forward one of the most radical changes, a change in the constitution   which, I have no hesitation in saying, would revolutionized England it propounded there to-morrow. This measure was to strike down one-third of the electoral body who were about to go to the polls. When we, on this side of the House, urged specific grounds that it had already been proved that the entire majority which they had obtained at the last general election had been subsequently lost at the polls, that they were only nominally the government, and that therefore they ought not to propose so radical a change before going to the people, we heard no such pathetic speeches from gentlemen opposite as we have had to-day, intended to have effect in the back settlements of the country ? What had the hon. member for Guysborough then to say in favour of the people who were so ruthlessly to be deprived of their privileges. He stood here then one of the most violent and declamatory supporters of the Government, declaring that they would carry this measure, that they had the constitutional right to do so. Then he backed up his leader, Mr. Howe, who had put on record the most unequivocal testimony of the views of himself and the Liberal party on this question. It will be remembered that some 26,000 electors, rather taken aback at this attempt to change the election law, appealed to the Lieutenant Governor asking for a dissolution of the Legislature, and what was the answer? That the petitioners had a right to be heard? That such constitutional changes must be preceded by an appeal to the people? No! I hold in my hand the declaration of the leader of the Government stating that it was the undoubted right of "Parliament to pass a law in defiance of the people. Yet the gentlemen who voted in support of such declarations are here to-day to express a mock sympathy which the people will never give them credit for. Mr Howe said:—"I am not one of those who shrink from the performance of a duty. I have never yet backed down through outside pressure, or waived my sense of right because of popular influence." He goes on to say:—"The hon. gentleman complained that no answer was ever returned to the petitions for a dissolution. Had they been sent through the Provincial Secretary, the proper official channel of communi OF THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY 13 cation between the people and the Lieutenant Governor, no doubt they would have received an answer; but they pursued a different course—the petitions were sent by a deputation, and handed in through a spokesman to His Excellency." These gentlemen, it appears, considered that it was a sufficient reason to treat the petition of 26,000 electors of this Province with profound contempt because they did not come through the Provincial Secretary. Suppose, now, we say to these same gentleman that if they had sent in their petitions through the proper channel there would have been a dissolution long ago. (Laughter.) But they have never condescended to bring these documents under our notice, and I think I know the reason why, they did not send them through the Provincial Secretary's Office
I was surprised at the contempt with which the hon. member asserted that this measure was actually being passed in Parliament without these petitions having ever been read All I can say is that I sat in the House of Commons the night before I left England, and, up to that time, these petitions had never even been seen. I think when I put this and that together I may be able to venture a pretty good calculation why they had not been seen, and why they had not come through the Provincial Secretary's office. We know that all that men could do was done, by appeals in the press and by public lectures and a paid organization, to excite and stir up disapproval that never existed and does not exist now. Yet despite all the exertions that were made for many months; they could not get 10,000 petitioners to put their names on this table. When I know this fact—that after years of excitement and misrepresentation they were unable to get anything but a response of so feeble a character—I can understand why these 30,000 petitioners were not subjected to the scrutinizing eye of the Provincial Secretary or of any other person who would be able to verify whether there was any substance in these petitions or not. The reason why the Parliament of England had not seen these petitions down to the hour of the second reading of the bill in Commons, was probably that they were of a character that would have excluded them from being presented. I give this to the hon. gentleman opposite as the excuse why these petitions have not been presented, although that apology is not demanded at my hands.
But I must continue my quotations from the constitutional maxims of the late Government Mr. Howe said: "But, sir, if they received no reply in words, they were completely answered otherwise. The constituents of Digby unconstitutioually asked for a dissolution; we answered the prayer of the petition by constructing a valuable wharf in that locality." (Laughter.) Well, I think we have also constructed a few wharves and bridges in that community and elsewhere. (Renewed Laughter). Again Mr. Howe continued: "As fast as possible I am running a road through Inverness, that the life-blood of that county may flow on through a healthy channel." (Great laughter.) "Queen's has received a grant for deepening Liverpool harbour. To the counties through which the railway passes my answer is the balance in the treasury to the credit of the railway, at the close of the present year. To all the counties I reply, the general increase in your revenue—the general provincial prosperity—the peace and order that have reigned everywhere—these are the bases of my reply to this charge." 'Well, I think we can claim public support on much stronger grounds than those adduced by the hon. gentleman. "But I tell the hon gentleman that even in a legal point of view he is wrong. I defy him to put his finger on an instance where Parliament has been dissolved at the instigation of petitions. A dissolution involves the exercise of the extreme power of the Crown, and should rarely, if ever, be resorted to, except under necessity most urgent and overpowering. * * * Let me now refer to the opinion of a very eminent divine, who has marked the operation of universal suffrage, and hear what this gentleman says on that subject. After describing the gigantic evils of the system, he says: 'What then is to be done? Universal suffrage is the law of our land. Every one knows that this law cannot be repealed, for I repeat it the masses must vote its repeal; and this, of course, they will not do. There are many indications that of late years, through the vast flood of immigration, through the infamous conduct of designing demagogues, through the increase of intemperance, these degraded masses are gaining in number and in power.' We have the power, if we possess the will, to repeal this law—to strike down once and forever the evil—to relieve ourselves from the charge of being the only British colony, save Australia, governed by universal suffrage—to purge our constitution, and purify our electoral system. Let no man at this crisis hesitate or falter, but manfully and honestly perform his duty, to himself and to his country.
This is the doctrine that suited gentlemen in 1863,—they endorsed it to the fullest extent they possibly could. In 1863 to make a radical change in the constitution was right and proper—to ignore the voice of the 26,000 petitioners was right and proper—to force a law upon the statute book, to prevent a large body of the people passing no. on their acts, was fully sustained by these gentlemen, I am glad that I cannot include the hon member for Yarmouth in these observations, l'or he was then on this side of the House.
I was a good deal astonished when I heard the hon. member state that the delegates had exceeded the powers which they had received from the house in dealing with this question. I must confess I have had occasion sometimes to find fault with gentlemen opposite for their very short memories, but I was hardly prepared for a statement like that. Is there a man in this house with the exception of the mover of this amendment who does not know that this question was debated in this parliament plainly upon the basis that under that resolution the delegates were to be empowered to go to the Imperial authorities and obtain the passage of an Act without future reference to this Legislature? Is there a single man on either side who will endorse the statement made by the mover, that the delegates exceded their authority in the slightest degree, or that the whole question was 14 DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS not argued and discussed upon the basis that we were, to deal with it finally ; but I do not require to tax the memory of gentlemen opposite, for I shall refer them to the journals of the House, and prove by the resolution moved by the hon. member himself, that he knew that the action taken here last session was the consummation of the measure as far as this Legislature was concerned. In the amendment moved by the hon. member for Guysboro', we read :
"Therefore resolved, That it is the opinion and sense of the House that the Government and Legislature of this Province should be no parties to the consummation of any scheme tor the Confederation of the British North American Provinces and Colonies, until an opportunity shall have been first afforded to the several constituencies of the Province at large, to express their views and opinions thereon in a constitutional manner at the polls."
It was, therefore, perfectly plain that the delegates were to go to England and arrange with the Imperial Government a plan of Union which would become the law through the Imperial Parliament, and yet in the face of this well known fact we have heard the hon gentleman declaring that the delegates had exceeded their authority. The debate in this House, the discussion in the press, all go to show that it was everywhere known that the delegates were to finally arrange a scheme of Union. I have already read to you the Queen's Speech, declaring that we came clothed with the most thorough constitutional power to deal with this question, and that too finally.
New Brunswick, said the hon. gentleman, has been appealed to twice. Why is it that the people of Nova Scotia have not been allowed to express their opinions even once ? At Quebec it was agreed that the scheme of Union should be submitted to the several Parliaments. It was the last session of the Legislature of New Brunswick, and the Government found that they had not a majority to carry the measure. They appealed to the people, who decided against the Government, and therefore all action in relation to the measure in this house was prevented, for every man felt that whatever were his opinions on the subject no Union was practicable unless New Brunswick came into it. Action was accordingly suspended in this province until a change should take place in New Brunswick. Subsequently the people there, having had the question fully explained to them, reversed their former verdict and gave a large majority of Union. When it became obvious here that New Brunswick would concur we submitted the question to this House. I ask the hon mover of the resolution as well as its seconder if either of them will venture to say to the House that the position of the government in this Legislature is in the slightest degree analogous to that of the government of New Brunswick. They were called upon to take action upon the measure, and believed that by an appeal to the country they would be sustained, and consequently they made that appeal. Subsequently it was found that the tide of public sentiment had turned—the explanations which were made on this question had shown the people that they had been egregiously deceived before, and accordingly the moment they were allowed to speak again they returned an overwhelming majority in favor of the great principle of union. The hon. member said that the Government had pressed this matter here with "indecent haste." Does he not know that this scheme of Union was decided upon at Quebec in 1864 ? It was a subject of agitation for nearly two years, down to 1866, but more than that, are not these same gentlemen who now charge " indecent haste" against us the men who, session after session, not only two years ago, but last winter as well, taunted the government and myself with cowardice, with failing in what was our duty to the house and country—for not having had the manliness to come forward and submit the question to the members of this Legislature. But when we knew that the time had come, when we could deal with this question not as a hypothetical measure, but one on which the House could take action in consequence of the change of sentiment in New Brunswick in favor of Union—when we found that the duty we owed to the House and country demanded that we should bring the question before the Legislature, to be dealt with in the proper constitutional manner, what did these gentlemen say and do? When they saw that they had mis— calculated the intelligence and patriotism of this House and the public sentiment of this country —that instead of having the overwhelming majority that they had deluded themselves into believing they had, they were in an insignificant minority; then these gentlemen suddenly dis covered that we were not open to the charge of cowardice and want of statesmanship, but that we were pressing the matter with "indecent haste." (Applause)
The hon. member for Yarmouth asked why we did not submit the question to the people as they did in New Brunswick. No man, sir, in the history of constitutional legislation ever heard of so unstatesmanlike a course as a government dissolving the parliament in which they had a clear, undoubted majority to carry a measure which they believed would promote the general prosperity of the country. I do not appeal only to gentlemen who are ready to support the government on the question—not to gentlemen in opposition, who are ready to sacrifice the best interests of party at the shrine of patriotism —who think more of their country than of subserving the ends of party—but I ask the opponents of this measure not to give their votes in favour of such a resolution, when its advocates are obliged to confess that they have not in the whole range of constitutional government a single precedent in favour of the course they have chosen to pursue. But what does the hon. member for Yarmouth say about the sat election in New Brunswick? " A very few votes did it, I would not be surprized if New Brunswick now went against it." Then the hon. member has himself given us a very clear idea of the futility of appeals to the people. He has seen New Brunswick one day giving its decision in favour of, and on the next against, Union.
But certain gentlemen deputized by some one or other—I do not think there will be anybody hereafter ready to father the act—have written a remonstrance against Union to the Colonial Secretary. If ever there was a libel on the British constitutional system—if responsible government was ever brought down to the very depths degradation, as far as it was in the power of certain parties to put it there, it was when the three unauthorized men, two of whom had been rejected by the people at the polls, presented themselves at the foot of the throne, and told the Imperial Government that notwithstanding our system of government the people are too ignorant, and the Parliament is too corrupt to be entrusted with the free institutions we enjoy, and asked that they should be considered the true constitutional authorities to whom the Government and Parliament of the mother country should pay respect. I know not who authorized this delegation, but I was not a little surprized to find these gentlemen who presented themselves with the authority of some one or other, asking the Government and Parliament of England to accept them as our representatives and to ignore the voice of the government and legislature of this country, but especially was I astonished to find them putting their names to a state paper in which they declared that the position of the people of New Brunswick—where the very thing they are are now asking for has been done—is perfectly contemptible and compared the verdict they have given at the polls to that of a brow-beaten jury under Jeffreys. Yet these same gentlemen, professing to represent the sentiments of the people of Nova Scotia, ask the Government of England to allow the people to express their opinions at the polls—on the ground that they had such an appeal in New Brunswick.
The hon. gentleman has taken exception to a statement made by Mr. Watkin. I admit freely that that statement was too strong, and to some extent inaccurate. I think, however, the hon. member for East Halifax who was one of the deputation will admit that it is not a very easy matter to get gentlemen constantly occupied with questions of great national importance immediately touching their own country to understand all the "ins and outs" of our colonial discussions and struggles. I am glad, however, to be able to fully acquit myself of having misled, any one on this question in England. I took the liberty of placing in the hands of Mr. Watkin and every other member of the House of Commons an authentic statement of my own, and in that document I have shown accurately as I contend every step that has been taken in the progress of this questiton. I may state to the House, and I do it in all sincerity, that from the first I have never entertained but one opinion, and that is, the intelligent sentiment of the people of this country is in favour of Union. I do not say that I have ever felt it would be a wise experiment to appeal to the people on this question; that would be an en tirely unprecedented proceeding; but I know enough of appeals to the people to be aware that it is quite possible for the public sentiment to be in favour of a measure, and yet for this measure to be unsuccessful when put to the people. I believe a public man is bound in the advocacy of public measures to study as far as possible what is required to promote the public good, and to go as far as he can in his public legislation as the public sentiment will sustain him. I have been, perhaps, as strong a party man as any in this country, but I am proud to be able to say, that anxious as I have been to promote the views of party, much as I believe in the existence of parties in the state, and the advantage of having a strong opposition as well as government,—anxious as I am to serve the partv from whom I have received such unqualified support and co-operation—I am able to say that I have regarded one thing as of paramount importance, and that is, the interests of my country. It is not the first occasion on which as a public man, standing in the responsible position in which it has pleased the people of this Province to place me, I have brought forward measures and advocated them with all the zeal and earnestness that I could bring to their discussion, although at the same time I believed them to be as fatal to the interests of my party as it was possible for any measures to be. I need not tell the House what was the sentiment of the country in regard to taxation for the support of schools. I need not tell the House how perfectly I was satisfied that, in the ranks of the party which sustained me throughout this country, there was a very large body of people who would not only resist, but resent such a change in the law as would impose a large burthen upon the people for the support of the schools. But I came to this table, and imposed such a burthen, under the conviction that it was my duty so to do, for my conscience told me that that measure was imperatively required to promote the best interests of the country at large ; but although I expected to produce temporary dissatisfaction, I never had a doubt what the result would be after the people had had abundant opportunity of testing the merits of the law.
I believe that the intelligent sentiment of the country is in favour of this Union, but then the mode by which it might be defeated would be this : Whilst the opponents of the measure in the ranks of the conservative party would withdraw their confidence and support from the government, gentlemen who oppose the measure, but prefer another party in this province, would combine with the former, for the purpose of defeating the men in power. How could I have any doubt as to the intelligent sentiment of this country ? Long ago it was acknowledged as a question removed from party—one which public men, irrespective of party considerations, should unite in promoting. When it was found that the government must under all circumstances stand or fall by this question, then for the first time were public men who had been them 16 DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS selves most enthusiastic advocates of Union prepared to take advantage of the opportunity thus afforded.—I will not say an unfair advantage, though I would be justified in saying so—for party purposes. Dcspite such facts, however, I feel convinced that not only the great body of the conservative party, but the majority of the liberals of this country—the standard bearers of which have given this question a support which does infinite credit to their patriotism—are just as warmly in favour of Union as when Mr. Howe was its most able exponent. I do not deny that there has been a large and formidable opposition to this measure, but I believe when the people look at it without reference to other public questions or any considerations of a party character, when it is no longer sub judice but become the law of the land, the constitution of the country for weal or woe, all classes will combine to sustain it, and the opponents of Union themselves will feel that there is but one course to pursue if they wish to lay claim to the character of statesmen and patriots—and that is to work out our new institutions in a manner that will be most conducive to the interests of the province at large. (Cheers.)
The hon. member referred to the London Times as a great authority, but no person knows better than he does that that journal has been regarded as antagonistic to the interests of British America, and that it has always favoured the Australian colonies. It will be also remembered that it has taken the same view of this question as has been taken by the opponents of Union in Parliament, that these colonies are a burthen to the mother country. The great objection, in fact, which it has urged against this scheme is, that instead of dissevering the connection. Union has bound us for ever to the Crown, and that the British Government are committed to the guarantee for the construction of the Intercolonial Railway.
Reference has been made to the defenceless position of Canada. Now I have always regarded —and I am glad to find that every man who has had an opportunity of studying the question has coincided with me—it would be utterly impossible to retain Nova Scotia unless Canada and New Brunswick were retained. New Brunswick is especially defenseless, and if that province and Canada should fall into the possession of a foreign power there is no British statesman who will undertake to say that the security of this province could be maintained. Therefore this is not a question whether one province is more defenseless than another, but whether the combination and the consolidation of the whole will not give increased security to all. The gentlemen who havc been deputed to advocate the views of the opponents of Union have placed on record what I suppose are the opinions of the gentlemen they represent. The organ of the party led by Mr. Howe was the first to propound the principle that British subjects in this country were bound to pay pound for pound for the defence of the empire with every other portion of the British Empire. When the " Morning Chronicle" was wrested from the hands of its former editor because he had become the friend of British America Union, and the hon. members for East Halifax became its editor as well as proprietor, the first thing he did was to put on record what their scheme was for the defence of the country. If the hon. member says " Leave well enough alone," I will turn him to the record of the leader of the Anti-Union party. The hon. gentleman (Mr. Howe) has given in the most authentic form his opinion that the province has in the present condition of affairs " no security for peace." A number of articles which are now known to be written by Mr. Howe were published in the hon. member's paper, and in these the declaration was made, in so many words, that their scheme for the defence of the Empire was to levy a tax upon the people equal to that borne by the rest of the Empire. The hon. member for East Halifax, in a pamphlet which he wrote as the representative of the Anti-Union party has put it on record that he is prepared to pay "pound for pound with the Canadians." I ask, then, the hon. mover of this resolution with the fact before him that the leader of the Anti-Union party has propounded a scheme—a scheme endorsed by the other Anti- Union delegates—that would absorb the entire revenue of this province for defence alone; does it lie in his mouth or of any opponent of Union to charge us with having attempted to increase the burthens of the country in relation to defence. Not only is this scheme the only means by which British America can remain British America— by which we can retain the free British institutions which it is our pride and happiness to possess—but it opens up to these countries an avenue to prosperity such as was never offered to any people before. Therefore I say this measure of Union instead of increasing the burthens of these people is effected upon terms which are going to continue us under the aegis of Great Britain—to preserve to us her free institutions, to give us the largest amount proaperity; all this, too, with an immunity from burthens that might well make us the envy of the world.
Look across the borders, and what do you see the allies of our opponents doing? We see the Governor of Maine in his annual message declaring his hostility to Confederation, and asserting that the friends of the United States in these provinces were doing their utmost to prevent the consummation of that scheme. Is there a man in this country who can be so blind as not to see what that means? Can any one fail to see the opinion the sagacious statesmen of the United Statcs entertain of the future which is in store for British America under the scheme of Confederation. The statesmen-of that country are bound to do all in their power to promote the stability of the institutions which they possess, but I am not less able to draw my deduction from the course they are pursuing. In the report of the Parliament of Maine, founded upon that portion of the Governor's Address which refers to Confederation, you find a contrast drawn between British America and the United States. They tell you that the population of New Brunswick is increasing three times as OF THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY. 17 rapidly as that of Maine, and look with disfavor upon a scheme which is going to increase the prosperity of that province as well as of all British America. They see that this scheme will give an increase of power and influence to these provinces—will bring into them a large amount of capital and wealth—will enable them to enjoy an unparalleled amount of prosperity, free from that heavy load of taxation which is now weighing down the people of the United States. It is for reasons like these that the statesmen of the United States look with a jealous eye upon the establishment of institutions that are going to strengthen the connection that now binds us to the parent state and to make us great and powerful. I ask gentlemen opposite to weigh carefully the opinions which American statesmen express in respect to this measure of Confederation, and ask themselves whether the are justified in (pursuing a policy antagonistic to the establishment of institutions which are not only going to make us prosperous but to place us in a position that will excite the envy of one of the greatest nations of the world. (Cheers.)

MONDAY, March 18.


The house resumed at 7.30. The adjourned debate was resumed.

Speech of Mr. Annand.

Mr. ANNAND said — I have been for twenty-five years a member of the Legislature —so long a time that, though not very far advanced in years I have become the father of the house, but long as my experience has been, I never until the present occasion witnessed an evening session on the second day of our meeting. But I take this to be all of a piece with the arbitrary proceedings by which Confederation is to be forced upon the people of this Province—time is not to be given for deliberation and free discussion. We have been told that the season is advanced, and that the revenue laws will soon expire, but certainly we had a right to expect that upon so important a subject as changing the constitution of the Province, at least a week's debate would have been allowed us without seriously interfering with the public business. The revenue bills last year were brought down on the 28th of March, and we could therefore have been allowed ten days for this question, and still have left as much time as was deemed necessary last year for arranging the tariff. The Provincial secretary has said that he stood here last year as the defender of the Quebec scheme—that he was a consistent defender of that scheme—but I was surprised to hear him tell us that its terms were inferior to those which he and his colleagues at Westminster Palace Hotel have obtained for us. I was surprised at that statement, because after a calm examination I have come to the deliberate conclusion that those terms are far worse. Let me remind the House of the remarks made by the gentleman who made overtures; to the Government to bring down a resolution for the appointment of delegates. He said he rose to condemn the Quebec scheme —that he desired to see it destroyed, and a bet ter one framed. Another gentleman, representing a distant constituency, made similar observations, expressing his pleasure that the Government had abandoned the measure adopted at the Quebec Conference. But what do we find in the English press, and the speech of Mr. Adderly in the House of Commons? That the bill introduced by the Earl of Carnarvon, at the instance of the Delegates, is in substance the Quebee scheme. Whom then, are we to credit, the hon. Provincial Secretary, or the Under Secretary for the Colonies? And then we have the bill, which speaks for itself. The delegates were charged under the resolution of this house to arrange a scheme of union with the Imperial Government which would effectually ensure just provision for the rights and interests of this Province—far better terms than those embodied in the Quebec scheme, which the Government had virtually abandoned.
We are told that "better terms" have been obtained, and I ask the Provincial Secretary to point out in what respect the new Confederation scheme is an improvement on the old one. Why confine himself to a bald declaration upon a subject of such magnitude and deep interest to the people of this country? I join issue with the hon. leader of the Government on this point. I contend that the terms obtained by the delegates, instead of being better, are far worse than those embodied in the resolutions adopted at Quebec. Under the Quebec scheme our local legislature would have had the right to impose an export duty on coal, from which a large revenue might, if it was thought proper, be raised and applied to the local wants of the country. That right has been taken away from us, and transferred to the Government of Canada, who are clothed with the power of taxing as they please one of the most valuable exports of the Province. It is clear, then, that in respect to our minerals, worse instead of better terms have been the result of the negotiations on the other side of the water. Then there is the much discussed subject of the Intercolonial Railway, estimated to cost four millions of pounds sterling, which it was said would be guaranteed by the British Government if the Provinces consented to unite in a Confederation. But, as I understand the present position of affairs, the Imperial authorities will not venture to ask Parliament to guarantee more than three millions—a sum sufficient to carry the road into the midst of a howling wilderness, leaving it there, and benefitting no one but those charged with the expenditure of the money. But then I will be told that the financial terms are better—that much larger grants for local purposes have been secured under the new arrangement than the old one. The delegates will say, " have we not procured $60,000 a year for defraying the expenses of your local government, over and above the 80 cents a head you were to receive under the Quebec scheme;— and have we not also made an arrangement by which you will continue to receive your 80 cents a head until your population is 400,000?" This is quite true, but the concession will be estimated at its true worth when I inform the house of the large increase of revenue which has taken place in the Province since the adop- 4 tion of the resolutions of the Quebec Conference. These were framed in 1864, and the fi 18 DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS nancial arrangement which was to give us 80 cents a head was based upon the revenues of 1863. Since that time our customs revenues alone has increased $351,822—considerably more than the annual subsidy; and yet we are expected to be thankful when we are promised an additional $60,000 a year—about one- third of the increase of the revenue for a single year, 1866, under our present low tariff.— The terms may seem better, but are they such as we were entitled to receive—such terms, as with a full knowledge of the facts, the delegates were bound to secure for the people they professed to represent? $60,000 a year; what is it? By a single enactment the general government could levy a larger export duty on coal every year. The increased taxes from the advalorem duties alone of a Canadian tariff, 50 per cent above ours. will add nearly $300,000 a year to our taxation. Talk of taxes! Our people are for the first time in their lives about to realize what taxation is under this precious scheme of confederation.
A great mistake was made in seeking to change the institutions of these Provinces, under which they have all grown to be free, happy and prosperous. They would not leave well enough alone,—and they must take the consequences of their folly in seeking to establish a new nation, which can only exist upon the forbearance of a powerful and exacting neighbor. We are told that the country is familiar with the question. Yes, with the question in the abstract. It has been discussed here from time to time. some favoring a Legislative and others a Federal Union, but no one having a clear and definite view of the subject. Mr. Howe, who I heartily wish was here to defend himself, has been charged with being the originator of Confederation. I deny the truth of that assertion, and challenge an investigation of that gentleman's speeches and writings for a single instance in which he advocated such a scheme as that now pressed upon our acceptance. My friend has written and said much on the subject of Union; he has discussed the subject in its various phases, but he raised objections to them all—to a Legislative Union, to a Federal Union, to union with the United States—and only gave in his adhesion to the larger and more comprehensive scheme known as the "Organization of the Empire." Mr. Howe never favored any scheme of Union that would have destroyed the autonomy of this Province, and certainly never would have been a party to any measure that would have handed over the revenues and resources of Nova Scotia to Canada, or any other country. The Provincial Secretary says that he (Prov. Secy.) held meetings in various parts of the country, where he lectured upon Union. And if he did, what then? He does not pretend to say that he advocated a Confederation scheme like the present, but like Mr. Howe, whom he appears to have a mania for imitating, he was in favor of Union of some sort, without any very clear or definite views upon the subject. But suppose Mr. Howe had written all his life long in favour of Union, or even in favour of Confederation, what then? We are here to decide for ourselves and for the people of this country, and we are bound to examine and see whether it is for their benefit or not to reject this or any other measure, but, above all, to claim their right to be heard before any change is made.
The Pro Secy. referred to the suffrage question, and told us the late Government introduced a bill to disfranchise a large body of the electors. They did. But the difference between that case and the present is: they did not succeed in passing the measure into law, and going to the elections their action was condemned, and they paid the penalty. The people returned a majority in favor of universal suffrage—they rebuked the action of the late Government, but what chance have the electors of reversing the Confederation policy and bringing back their constitution, when the Bill before the Imperial Parliament becomes law? The hon. member knows that they have none, and that the cases are not parallel.
He has asked us to show a precedent for the course which we urge. It is not for him to ask that of us, but we demand of him where in the history of the world any such attempt has been made to deprive a people of their government and institutions against their will—without even the Parliament being allowed to review the measure. Such a policy may be tried with impunity in a province like Nova Scotia with its 350,000 people, but could it be safely tried in the Canadas with their two and a half millions? Could it be tried in England? Suppose any ministry in the mother country were to bring forward a measure for the annexation of the British Islands to Austria or any other any other kingdom— could it be done without a revolution? We are too weak to rebel if we had the disposition, but it is a fair principle that what could not be done constitutionally in England should not be done here. It is said that the resolution of 1861 introduced by Mr. Howe committed the late Government and every member of the house to the support of Union. That resolution merely declared that the subject of union had been frequently discussed, and that the time had come when it should be set at rest. That resolution speaks for itself—it bound no gentleman to support any particular form of union, or union at all; much less a scheme prepared three years afterwards at Quebec containing provisions which no one could have dreamed of in 1861. That resolution led to a conference in 1862 at at which were present delegates from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and the whole Executive Council of Canada. I was one of the delegates, and was present when the question of colonial union was discussed. And what was the decision? This House had asked that the question should be " set at rest." and the answer they received was that it was premature even to discuss the question. The delegates considered it premature to consider the subject until the Intercolonial Railway had been built, and free trade between the Provinces established. That then is the answer to the argument drawn from the resolution of 1861 which, it should be remembered, was not even debated in this House. The Prov. Sec. spent nearly an hour in enlarging upon the rights and powers of Parliament. No one disputes the power of Parliament.—what we were discussing is not the power, but the sound and wise exercise of OF THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY. 19 that power by a body elected for very different purposes—elected to carry on the business of the country under the existing constitution. We are told by high authority that Parliament can do anything but make a man a woman, and while we may admit that it might be tight on the part of the Imperial Parliament to override the constitution of a Colony were a great State necessity to arise, we have no right under the limited powers which we possess to transfer to a body of men assembled on the other side of the water our legislative functions. This fact must be borne in mind; that this measure is not the result of the action of the Parliament of the country; the Quebec scheme and the bill before the Imperial Parliament have never been before us, and I deny the right of any body of delegates, however appointed, to make laws for us. We are told that there never was such an attempt to violate the principles of Responsible Government as was manifested by the minority in this house endeavoring to counteract the action of last winter by which the delegates were clothed with power to prepare a scheme. My idea of Responsible Government is that the Administration shall be carried on according to the well understood wishes of the people, and I hold that the gentlemen who crossed the sea as delegates knew that the people were opposed to any such change as they proposed to make; that they were arbitrarily seeking to change the Constitution contrary to the well known sentiments of the people. The Prov. Secretary calls upon us to show him an example in the history of the world where a statesman was idiotic enough to dissolve the house when he had a majority at his back. We do not ask a dissolution. Let the duration of the house run down, and the question come before the people in its natural course. But was not Mr. Tilley, who had such a majority, "idiotic" enough to dissolve the house in New Brunswick? We all know that he did, and the consequence was that he and his Government were defeated at the polls. His was the manly course, for which he fairly earned the respect of the people of that Province. This may not be a very inviting precedent, but that is the answer I give to the honorable gentleman. If there can be any doubt about the force of this precedent, I will give another: It was asked in the Canadian Parliament whether Confederation should not be placed before the country, and Mr. Brown, the President of the Council, said that if there could be any doubt about the feelings of the people, then, decidedly, the question should be referred to them.
One reason why this Union is to be forced upon us maybe gathered from a conversation between two Canadian gentlemen who were present on the opening of the present Session. When that part of the Lieutenant Governor's Speech was read which referred to the large increase of our revenue, one remarked to the other " Good for us." It is " good for us," says Canada, to get these Maritime Provinces, with their surplus revenues, with unlimited power to tax them as we wish. The Provincial Secretary asked why the petitions of the people against Confederation had not been forwarded through the Lieutenant Governor I will tell him. In the first place, these petitions were addressed to the House of Commons. The Provincial Secretary made a complaint of their not being sent through him, but I was not aware before that it was customary to send such petitions through the Secretary of the Colony. Petitions to the Queen are in a different position ; but the hon. gentleman is incorrect in intimating that he never saw the petitions, for one of them was forwarded to the Lieutenant Governor, and there were other proceedings that passed through his office to which he has not referred There were petitions and addresses from eight counties. There were addresses asking the members from six counties to resign their seats, because they voted for Confederation; and let me say that if such proceedings had taken place in England—proceedings affecting the entire majority in the House of Commons, no ministry dare attempt to resist such an appeal. The hon. gentleman spoke about the subject being familiar with prominent men in England; let me ask how many members of the houses of Lords and Commons read " The case of the Maritime Provinces," as put before them by the People's Delegates? I use the term " People's Delegates" because we did represent the people; for though a tyrannical majority may rob us of our constitution, yet there is an overwhelming majority behind us who denounce the arbitrary manner in which the measure was pressed.
What where the facts in connection with the Confederation Bill? A more indecent proceeding never took place, even in this house than was witnessed in the House of Lords on the third reading of that bill. When delay was urged by one peer, although the house had been comparatively full at the commencement of his speech, there were but nine members on the benches when he ceased speaking. That is an illustration of the wicked indifference to the wishes and interests of the people of this Province which has prevailed throughout. My hon and learned friend from Guysboro' very justly said, this afternoon, that more interest would have been excited by a bill imposing a tax on dogs than by a measure involving the future welfare of these British North American Colonies. I was in England for some time, and therefore have had a pretty good opportunity of guaging the public mind, and I know that the recent yacht race across the Atlantic, at which everybody laughed on this side of the water, excited the greatest attention in England, and produced articles in the press which were nauseating to read, while the ablest writers of the day were unable to interest the public in a measure affecting the interests and welfare of these loyal Provinces, and involving perhaps their separation from the mother country. What took place in the House of Commons? The bill was sent down one day, and for the first time in the history of that house, it was read a second time on the following day. Before the papers illust 20 DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS rating the subject had been presented—before our " case was printed—the indecent spectacle was witnessed of the bill being hurried through a second reading. I give that has a reason why the petitions were not laid before the house. The bill was brought down, as it were, yesterday, and before they could be presented on the following day, it was read a second time
I can fancy I understand the influences that were brought to bear upon some members of Parliament, among whom was the late Under- Secretary of State for the Colonies There was evidently a feeling that it was necessary to smuggle the measure through. But although there was hot haste as to the second reading, time was afterwards given for consideration, and I am not without hope that there may yet be manly spirit enough to send the scheme back to the people of Nova Scotia. That second reading was carried by declarations that we had no grievance at all, that the subject had been before the people at the last general election, that the opposition was factious and did not represent popular opinion. One very significant fact has already transpired; last year it was said that the Queen desired Confederation—that the Secretary for the Colonies, the Parliament, press, and people of England all desired it, but now, when the responsibility is thrown on the British Cabinet, what do they say? Her Majesty says that the bill has been prepared in conformity with the wishes of the delegates from the various provinces. And what does the act itself say? It says it is introduced because the delegates desire the measure. Her Majesty's Ministers, fearing that trouble may come—that the new nationality may come to grief—shake themselves clear of the responsibility, and can hereafter point to the bill and say—" This is no measure of ours ; we merely gave the force of law to the enactment, which you desired." I was amused to hear the Provincial Secretary say that the friends of union were sustained by the friends of British connection in England. I have had opportunities unsurpassed by any Colonist of ascertaining the feelings of gentlemen connected with the press of England, and I here declare that the leading opinion of the governing classes of England is, that these colonies should be made into an independent nation, and they would gladly have separated Canada from the Maritime Provinces, but they felt that a maritime frontage was essential for her existence. The opinion, I repeat, of the friends of Confederation is that we should be united, and put in such a position that by a single stroke of the pen we may be separated from the parent state. Examine that bill and you will find that the only link of connection which it will leave us is the Governor General who is to receive out of our revenues a salary of $50,000 a year. Do you suppose that when we are charged with our foreign relations; as was intimated by Mr. Adderly, when we have our own army to maintain; for the troops are evidently to be withdrawn un less we are prepared to pay them, when the appointment of the Governor General by the Crown is the only connecting link, can it be supposed that it will be long before we have our President? You cannot engraft this mongrel system upon monarchical institutions,—when you change you must become a Republic, and the game played by the American Gov.ernment in Mexico will be played over again here. I look upon this scheme as the first step towards a separation from the Mother Country, and I prophecy that ten years will not pass before this new nationality will drift into the United States. Look how easily the thing can be done—just as easily as the Confederation scheme was accomplished.— Several gentlemen were appointed, at the instance of this house, to attend a conference in Prince Edward Island to mature a scheme for the union of the Maritime Provinces. The Canadians came down and spirited them to Quebec where, for reasons best known to themselves, they all agreed to go in for the larger union. They afterwards by some means succeeded in securing the assent of New Brunswick and of this house, though not of the people, and they are now about to consummate it. Can it be supposed that the Americans will not imitate an example which has been so successful, and that by the exercise of that acute diplomacy for which they are famous, and by the expenditure of money, when it is required, sweep the whole concern into the American Union? The Canadians are just the men, and the Confederate Government will be just the place to try such an experiment.
I have ever felt that the moment we ceased to be separate provinces, and came under the dominion of Canada, her fate must be our fate, and we must be dragged wherever she might be pleased to carry us. Many leading men in England entertain that opinion strongly, and tell us that it would be our advantage to join the American Union There is another reason given why we should confederate and be got rid of, and it has force from an English point of view. It is said in England, " as long as we maintain these colonies, particularly Canada, with its long and defenseless frontier, so long must we have a running sore ; but if we were rid of them, we would talk to the Americans in a different style; we would not submit to insult and indignity which we are now obliged to do from day to day." But we are told that the friends of British connection are the friends of union. What, for example, says the Times? In a recent number that great organ of public opinion wished Confederation God-speed, and trusted it would soon eventuate in the independence of these colonies. But those supporting our opinions took a larger and more OF THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY. 21 statesmanlike view ; they held that when England loses the Maritime Provinces she begins to go down in the scale of nations— that when we are gone, with our 60,000 seamen, our mercantile marine, our noble harbours and fisheries, and our inexhaustible coalfields, then America becomes the first naval power in the world, and England must stand second on the list. I share in these opinions ; and it is because I see in Confederation the beginning of England's decline and fall, that I have been heartily opposed to the measure. It has been said that the people's delegates in England manifested great contempt for responsible government. Sir, I hold that those who have had entrusted to them the petitions of well nigh 40,000 of the people—equal to about two-thirds of our adult male population— that they are not unauthorized men, and that the occupy a prouder position than the gentlemen sent by the Government, but not representing the opinions of the country. There are members sitting here who know that they, are here contrary to the wishes of their constituents—who have been requested to resign their seats, and who, if they had the spirit of Englishmen, would not for a day occupy their present positions. We were so far authorized as to be recognized as duly accredited delegates at the Colonial Office, where we were treated with deference and respect. Mr. Bright on this subject holds the. language of every Englishman I ever met, he says, "give the people of these Colonies the right to speak, let them decide their own future, let them, if they please, confederate, join the American States, or remain as they are in "connection with this country." Then we are told that the, intelligence of the country was in favour of Union. I should like the Prov. Secy. to tell us how he arrives at that conclusion. When'at the last General Election his party were returned with a large majority he boasted that there was a large and enlightened public opinion in the country, but when he looks around the benches of this house and knows that not one of its members dare face a constituency, I ask him, how he can make the statement that the intelligence of the country is in favor of this measure ? I have been taunted with saying that Nova Scotians should pay pound for pound with the Canadians towards the common defence. I believe that the time has come when our people cannot escape paying a reasonable contribution, and the question has come-to this : shall we pay to the mother country, which with all her armaments of war is able to de fend us, or to a new nationality without an army or a navy,or the means to create either? Or on the other hand shall we pay to the United States?- We must pay such reasonable sum for our defence as we can afford, and I ask if there is any doubt that England would grant us by far the most favourable terms. I assert boldly that these Maritime Provinces must belong to a great maritime power— the first in the world, if they are allowed—and if not to the second, they cannot and will not be governed by Canada. Our position forbids that we should be governed by a people living .in the Canadian backwoods. We must, therefore, belong either to the mother country or to the United States, and if we are once separated from England there is no question about our final destination. And while on this point I may remark that in Great Britain I encountered highly intelligent gentlemen to whom I spoke of the strong feeling of loyalty and attachment which prevails among us, and the earnest desire of the people to remain forever connected with England, to equally share her dangers and glories,—I said we would like to be treated as a county of England, as Kent or Surrey, sending members to the British Parliament, and whatwas the reply: " Well your sentiments do you honour, but we cannot reciprocate them ; we care little or nothing a out you." We have been asked for a precedent for the course that we urge, and I in return have asked gentlemen opposite to show us a precedent for their action. It is an unfortunate precedent that I can point to for their conduct—that of legislating Ireland into the Union contrary to the sentiments of the people. But even for that measure a majority of the Irish Parliament was obtained,—by what means we know; By what means the majority was obtained in this Legislature we do not know now, but there the majority was secured by corruption most foul, and history is filled with the record of the misfortunes that have grown out of that forced union. Is it not plain that if this union be forced on us you will make Nova Scotia a second Ireland on this side of the Atlantic, but so near the United States that only a few miles of water separate us? By adhering to a policy of coercion you are breaking the loyal hearts of the people of this country. It is not yet too late to refer the scheme to our constituents, and if we can get their consent I pledge myself to never again lift up my voice in opposition to it, but will use every effort to make the measure work well. If, however, the people are forced into the 22 DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS union, I do not hesitate to say that I will dedicate the remaining years of my life, be they many or few, to endeavor to repeal a union so hateful and obnoxious. I am an Englishman in spirit, if not by birth ; I love the institutions of England, but if I am deprived of them and of my liberties as a British subject,—then all I can say is, that by every constitutional means, I will endeavor to overthrow and destroy a union brought about by corrupt and arbitrary means.
Speech of Hon. Financial Secretary.
Hon. JAMES MACDONALD said:— It was not, my intention to address the House this evening but as no gentleman appears ready to speak just now I shall endeavor to compress the few observations I have to make in as brief a compass as possible. I did certainly expect, and the House had a right to expect, that when gentlemen claiming to possess the sympathy of a large number of the people challenged the action of an overwhelming majority of the representatives of the people assembled in their deliberative capacity, on a great and important constitutional question they would have been prepared to adduce some precedent and cite some authority in support of the course they have thought proper to pursue. Especially had we a right to expect this from a gentleman who is a leading member of the legal profession, who has sat in the highest position in this House, and who appears to occupy the position of leader of the Opposition on this great question. The hon. member for Guysboro', the mover of this resolution, has challenged the constitutionality of the action of this House in dealing with this question. That branch of the subject has been so fully and ably dealt with by the hon. Prov. Secretary, that it is unnecessary for me to refer to it at an length, but I must recall to the recollection of hon. gentlemen that, during the debate of last year on the Union question, I took the liberty of laying before the House and country certain authorities which, I claimed, proved conclusively the right of the Legislature to deliberate and finally decide upon this or any other measure which in their judgment affected the right or interests of the people. On that occasion I challenged the hon. member and those holding similar views, to bring forward a single authority from the whole constitutional history of England or of any other country enjoying British constitutions in favour of the proceeding which they wish to pursue. Now these gentlemen have had a whole year to search for these authorities—a whole year during Which this question has been engaging the attention of the ablest minds of the Empire—but they have not been able this session any more than they were at the last, to do more than deal in the vaguest generalities and to substitute for argument and authority empty assertions and worthless declamation. It was not respectful on the part of the hon. member for Guysboro', to the members of this Legislature, it did not comport with his own character and self-respect that he should fail to bring forward a single authority in support of his position, and that he should have felt himself justified in being content to give us only the opinion of a gentleman whom I am not disposed to deal harshly with—but still only the opinion of merely a colonial lawyer against the opinions of the other lawyers in this House sustained and supported as those Opinions are by the leading statesmen and lawyers of the whole Empire; that is to say, the opinion of Mr. Stewart Campbell against that of the ablest and best authorities in the Empire at large. That hon. member had the audacity, then, influenced by an arrogant opinion of his own standing in this country not only to oppose every authority which has been produced, but tells you, asks this House to believe that the leading minds of the Empire, the Peers and Commoners of England— men who control the destinies of the greatest Empire in the world—who have passed triumphantly through the storms and passions of parties, and of popular excitement—men who at this moment when the country is violently agitated by a widespread movement for Reform, refuse to be actuated by impulse of mere party aims—that men like these are not entitled to the respect and confidence of the House and country on a question like this. Without condescending to produce one single sentence of law or authority, he asks the people of this province to take his unsupported word against the united opinion of the est minds of British America, and of the parent state besides.
I did expect that after the able and argumentative address of the Provincial Secretary we would have seen an effort made by gentlemen opposite to combat the position he has taken, but it is quite evident from the remarks of the hon. member who last addressed you that there is no wish on the part of members opposite to convince the members of this House. Their game is to excite, if it be possible, a feeling of dread and dislike to this measure outside these walls. The amendment of the hon. and learned member for Guysboro' raised only the constitutional feature of this question, but I am relieved from the duty which I felt incumbent upon me to produce authority after authority, record after record, from English constitutional history down to the present time; for the hon. member for East Halifax says boldly, " I admit the authority of Parliament; it has the right and the power to deal with this question; I do not deny that the position we took last winter and that taken by this amendment is entirely unconstitutional ; but all I ask you is, whether the exercise of that power at the present time is judicious or not." Who is right? Which is the best authority? I leave the hon. member for Guysboro' and the hon. member for Halifax to answer the question, and reconcile the respective positions they have taken.
We have to decide whether it "is at the present moment judicious—whether under circumstances which are transpiring in British America—whether in view of the position of these colonies towards the mother country and the great power on our border—we should accept the terms of OF THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY. 23 Union offered, or decline more intimate relations with our colonial brethren ? The hon. member for Halifax has answered himself. In a Parliament of Englishmen—of gentlemen who all profess to be devoted subjects of their royal Queen, who entertain respect for those institutions which have placed England so largely in advance of other countries, the declarations of the hon. member ought to suffice, ought to be more than enough too for the opinions of the most undecided and irresolute. He has said, and said truly, that we must belong to the United States or to England. If he means anything, he intends that for a declaration of separation from England. He has undertaken to tell you that so regardless are English statesmen of the colonies that they do not know what they are. He has told you that the leading minds and governing classes of the old country desire the separation of the colonies. He has gone further and boldly declared that rather than assist our brethren in Canada to build up a strong power on this side, which will establish British institutions firmly on this continent, he is ready at a moment to rush into the arms of the neighbouring Republic. That is not the first occasion in which the hon. member for East Halifax has taken a similar position. The policy of that hon. member and of the majority of the men associated with him, down to the present time, has been nothing more than annexation to the United States. I regret I have not under my hand just now the manifesto of the anti-Union delegates to the statesmen of England—the case, as they call it, of the Maritime Provinces—but I would ask the people of this country, all who have seen that document, whether it does not contain sentiments most obnoxious to those who desire to live under British laws and institutions, and direct encouragement to those in the United States, who are engaged in promoting the annexation of these colonies. I have said that this hon. member is desirous of annexing this country to the United States, and this is an assertion which nothing but the strongest proof could justify. Let me then recall to the recollection of the House some of the productions of that hon. member's pen—the position which he has assumed from the very commencement of the discussion on this question. What do we find in the paper conducted by that hon. member? From the beginning of this discussion—from the "Botheration" articles down to the present hour—the strongest declarations of the un-British and disloyal sentiments of the hon. member are to be found. In the paper which the hon. member claims as presenting the case of the people of this country— in this paper, purporting to be a vindication of a British colony, the hon. member undertakes to compare the scheme of Union with the sister colonies, and the scheme of annexation to the United States devised by Mr. Banks. Take that document and compare the description of the Confederation scheme—a description which could only emanate from a man imbued with hostility to the country which he pretends to love—with the description of a plan of Union which he proposes with the United States. Mr. Banks' scheme is portrayed in the most flattering colours; our colonial institutions are vilified, while those of the United States are bespattered with fulsome praise. But to what does he invite us ? To pay a portion of the enormous taxation which now weighs down the United States—to participate in the political struggles and convulsions of that country ; we are to see our mercantile marine, which is now progressing with a rapidity that no other country can equal, transferred to the United States. And what will be the result when that measure is so transferred ? At the present time , according to the belief of the most eminent men of that country, the mercantile marine of the United Sates is at the lowest ebb, and it would not be at all surprising if a wiser commercial policy does not soon prevail in that country, to see almost all their trade eventually carried in foreign bottoms. Yet the hon. member and his friends would have us enter a union which, in the course of a very few years, has brought the formerly great commercial navy of the Republic to so deplorable a condition.
Let me here call the attention of the House to another interesting fact in connection with this question. The hon. gentleman complains of the indifference of English statesmen to colonial matters. When the bill of Union was introduced to a very full House by the Earl of Carnarvon, in a manner that has attracted the praise of journals of all parties, a noble Lord arose to speak in support of the anti-Union party. And what was the reception he met with? Whilst the supporters of the Government sat in their places, every one of the friends of the noble Lord arose and left the House—so thoroughly did they disapprove of the course pursued by him. Is it at all surprising that the Peers of England should have been disgusted when they read the sentiments expressed by these Nova Scotians professing to be the delegates of the people in favour of annexation to the United States, and that they should have declined to compromise themselves by seeming to encourage their views. When they saw the disloyalty that appeared in every line of that document, I do not wonder that so many of the Peers should have manifested their contempt for those who wished to place them in a wrong position, by rising and leaving the House on the instant. The hon. member tells you that the Parliament of England exhibits the most utter indifference to the interests of the colonies. Yet the same Parliament has always shown the deepest interest in the welfare and progress of the colonies, and we have only to look at the speeches of the leading men in the Peers and Commons to see how deeply desirous they are of promoting the welfare and progress of every section of their great Colonial Empire.
The hon. member says that the governing classes of England desire the separation of the colonies from the mother country. I will take the liberty of joining issue directly with him on that point. I believe that the governing classes of Great Britain have a higher appreciation of what constitutes 24 DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS the wealth and greatness of the Empire, and I think the people of this country will require higher authority than that of a disappointed partizan for the assertion that the men who have spent the blood and treasure of the Empire, for their colonial possessions, feel any disregard for their interests and the continuance of the connection, But we have higher authority on this point. The debates in the Houses of Lords and Commons are supposed to convey, in the most conclusive manner, the intelligent public opinion of the country—to disseminate through the world the clearest views and ideas of the public sentiment; and every noble lord who rose to speak on this bill vindicated not only the position taken by the Legislature of Nova Scotia, but the conditions upon which this Union is to be effected, but even went further and gave it as his deliberate opinion that the retention of the colonies was essential to the best interests of the British Empire. Even a nobleman whom the hon. member thought he might fairly count upon—a nobleman from whom he perhaps fairly thought he might expect encouragement—told him frankly he could not sustain him because he believed the measure of Union was essential to the best interests of the country, and the Marquis of Normanby even went further and declared to these people's delegates that his residence in this country enabled him to form a pretty accurate estimate of the value of such petitions as those which the delegates pretended gave them authority to present themselves in England on behalf of the people of Nova Scotia.
Mr. ANNAND—I hope the hon. gentleman has authority for what he is saying.
Mr. MACDONALD—The hon member will not deny that the Marquis of Normanby was the friend of the government of which he was the Financial Secretary. It will be remembered that when the hon member was a member of Lord Mulgrave's Government, some 26,000 petitioners approached that noble lord as the governor of this province, and the hon member took the liberty, as the constitutional adviser of his Excellency, of putting on record the statement that these petitions were not worthy of, or entitled to be shown, credit. Lord Mulgrave took the advice of his government at that time, and now naturally feels disinclined to recede from the position he was advised to take. "Gentlemen," he says now, " I hold the same opinion of these petitions that you did when I was Governor. You appear to have changed your opinions: I have not." The Parliament of England was in session for five or six weeks before the delegates returned, and yet these anti-Union petitions had never been presented. The hon member must have been afraid to present them, or the House of Commons would not receive them. Let him tell us how this is. If the people of Nova Scotia entrusted him as their delegate with the petitions against Union, and he has failed to present them, then he forfeited the greatest trust that was ever reposed in any man.— If he has done this great wrong to the people who entrusted him with so sacred a duty, he should hide in humiliation and shame from an outraged people. But let me call the attention of the people to a most extraordinary and curious fact. What has become of the petitions which we have been told were entrusted to Messrs. Howe and Annand? Who has seen them? Nobody in this country certainly and as far as we yet know no one in England has had that pleasure.
But I can acquit the hon. member of blame on one ground—he was not the delegate of the people of Nova Scotia. The people repudiate the connection which the hon. member wishes to fasten upon them. The people are not only loyal to the Queen, but they are intelligent enough to appreciate the arguments by which. they are asked to change their condition. I must protest in their name against the belief that they are ready to tear down the Union Jack and associate themselves with the Republic on their borders. (Applause.) But what is the duty of the people in the present crisis? What will the loyal Scotchmen, Irishmen, and Englishmen of his country do? Are they ready to take the extreme step urged by the hon. member for East Halifax to become rebels and traitors because Mr. Annand is a disappointed partizan? I ask the intelligent people of this country to do this —to act as honorable, sensible men should do on every question—to consider it calmly and on its merits. I do not ask them to take the views of the politicians of Canada, of New Brunswick, or of Nova Scotia; but I ask them, and it is fair to ask them, to take the views of the Parliament and people of England, the body of men who, for centuries, have ruled the destinies of the world—who have worked out the free institutions of England in a manner that attracts the admiration of other nations. I ask the people of this country if with the unanimous opinions of such a body in favour of this Union, .they are ready to attach any value to the sentiments of the hon. gentlemen opposite. I do not think that the intelligent people of this country are the men to reject the public opinion of England at the dictation of gentlemen who have themselves entertained views directly adverse to those they entertain now.
Let me advert for one moment to another position taken by the hon. member. The House knows that early in the commencement of this question a gentleman standing high in the estimation of the hon. member—who has occupied a OF THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY. 25 prominent position in this country—offered a counter scheme of Union in lieu of that submitted to this Legislature. That scheme has been rejected as far as my observation goes by the whole Anti-Union press up to the present hour. I have heard of no opponent of Union who has had the hardihood to advocate the scheme for the organization of the Empire until the hon. member did so to-night. He has had the boldness to declare that this scheme is the one which he and his party favor. He says he does not deny that some political change in our condition is necessary, and has expressed his readiness to adopt the scheme propounded by Mr. Howe for the organization of the Empire. By that scheme we are to pay for the wars of the whole Empire. He says he will make us pay pound for pound with the other portions of the Empire. That same idea was enunciated some years ago by Mr. Howe, but I never heard of any who was prepared. to consider it seriously until the hon. member to-night declared that he would make Nova Scotia as Kent or Surrey or any other county of England. The objection to the Quebec scheme was that our representation in the General Legislature was too insignificant, and that we would have to pay for the defence of Canada, that our burthens would be much heavier than they are now. Yet under the plan prepounded by Mr. Howe our people may be summoned at any moment to Canada, or any portion of the world, wherever her broad empire extends, to fight the battles of England ; we shall be taxed pound for pound with our fellow-subjects of the British Islands—whilst we shall only have a representation of three or four men in the House of Commons. Are the people of this country prepared to accept such a scheme in preference to the one now offered for their acceptance?
In concluding these few imperfect remarks, I may say that perhaps I shall be able to address the House on another occasion when better prepared to deal with it; but I could not permit the remarks of the hon. member to ass without immediate notice. I shall on y repeat what I said previously that before the hon. member can lay claim to the favorable consideration of the loyal people of this province, he should explain away the sentiments which say so little for his allegiance and loyalty to the British Empire.
Mr. ANNAND:—I desire to make an explanation in reply to the hon. gentleman. I have never advocated annexation to the United States, I advocate nothing but that we all remain as we are, and maintain our present institutions. As to the taunt about my adhesion to the scheme for the organization of the Empire, I reply that I advocate that scheme because it will make us English How the hon. gentleman will reconcile his imputation of disloyalty with my desire that we should become as a county of England I will leave it to his ingenuity to say.
Hon. PROVINCIAL SECRETARY remarked that the house would be expected to divide on the question on the following evening. Another opportunity would be afforded for discussion when the papers in reference to the delegation were brought down.
The debate was adjourned.
The house adjourned to the following day at 2.30


Nova Scotia. The Debates and Proceedings of the House of Assembly. Halifax: Croshill and Bourinot, 1864-1867. Digitized by Canadiana.



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