Nova Scotia Legislative Assembly, 1 April 1867, Nova Scotia Confederation with Canada.


MONDAY, April 8th.

The house met at 3 P. M.


Hon. FIN. SEC. introduced a bill to amend chap. 2 Acts of 1866. He said that the object was to enable parties to withdraw from bonded warehouses articles for manufacture, giving bonds for the payment of the duties.
Mr. TOBIN said that some cargoes of merchandize, after being deposited in the warehouse, could be re-guaged before being taken out, and the duty paid according to the last measurement, but articles of bulk could not be re-weighed. There was frequently a great loss of weight in a cargo of sugar, after remaining warehoused for some months; and it was unfair to dealers and consumers to charge the duty according to the original weight. This circumstance had seriously diminished the trade with Canada, for purchasers there had preferred going to New York, where they could get the article re-weighed. There was no danger of embezzlement from the warehouse, and it was unfair to make parties pay for quantities which they did not get.
Hon. FIN. SEC. thought that the practice of paying duties on the original weight must have originated in a desire on the part of the wholesale dealers to sell at the original marks. There was no desire to exact a revenue from that which did not go into use. He would make enquiries and ascertain the position of the matter.
The Legislative Council announced that they had agreed to the bill concerning departmental officers and their salaries.
Mr. S. CAMPBELL presented two petitions— one for the removal of obstructions in Salmon River, the other for a way office at Indian Harbor.
Mr. TOBIN presented a petition from A. M. Uniacke and 1500 other citizens of Halifax, against the bill to amend the charter of the City Street Railway Company.
Mr. Hill presented a petition from Hants, on the same subject.
Mr. ANNAND presented three petitions from Dartmouth, Bedford, and Elmsdale, on the same subject.
Mr. MCKAY presented four petitions from Pictou, on the same subject.
Mr. PRYOR presented a petition from citizens of Halifax, praying for an amendment of the charter of the City Street Railway Company.
Mr. ANNAND presented a petition from Waverly asking for a change of Polling place.
Mr. TOBIN presented a petition from 875 merchants, grocers and liquor dealers asking such a change in the license law as would prevent the separation of the sale of groceries from that of liquors. The petition also contained a recommendation from nine Aldermen.
Mr. PRYOR presented a petition from forty junk dealers asking a reduction in the charge for their licenses.
Dr. BROWN introduced a bill to incorporate St. George's Lodge of Freemasons, Wolfville.
Mr. PARKER presented five petitions from Colchester County against the proposed am endment to the Charter of the City Street Railway Company.
Mr. HATFIELD introduced a bill to authorise the inhabitants of Argyle to sell a fire engine.
Mr. ANNAND called attention to an omission in the Act recently passed in reference to representation: In the Acts of 1859 there was a statute providing for nominations in the different ridings. There was nothing in the bill to show in what localities the nominations could be held under the new law.
Hon. ATTY. GENERAL said that the matter had not been forgotten, but would be dealt with when the amendment to the Act relating to Elections was introduced.
Hon. FIN. SECY. by command laid on the table several petitions in reference to loss on the Railway. They were referred to the Railway Committee. Also a petition in reference to loss of money through the Post Office, which was referred to the Post Office Committee.
Hon. PROV. SEC. laid on the table the Calendar of King's College. Also further papers relating to the removal of Tweedell from the Insane Asylum.
Mr. C. J. CAMPBELL asked the government to lay on the table a return of the quantities of American coal admitted to the Province during last year.
Mr. PRYOR presented a petition from a number of inhabitants of polling district No. 11, West Halifax, against a proposed change in that district.
Mr. MACDONNELL moved that papers which he had previously asked the Government to lay on the table, in reference to a grant of Crown Lands, be referred to the Crown Land Committee. Passed.
Dr. HAMILTON introduced a bill to authorize the purchase of land and erection of a poor house in Cornwallis.
Mr. ANNAND said that as the time was approaching when gentlemen would be anxious to become acquainted with the financial condition of the country, he was desirous of knowing whether any contracts had been entered into with the Pictou Railway beyond the contract with Mr. Fleming.
Hon. FIN. SEC. said that no contracts had been entered into for matters included in Mr. Fleming's contract, but purchases of rolling stock had been made.


The house then went into Committee on Bills, and took up the bill to incorporate the Windsor and Annapolis Railway Company.
Mr. KILLAM thought that this was not the time for such a measure. It was essential to ascertain the financial state of the country, so as to see how the construction was to be provided for. He did not wish to oppose the extension, provided the Province had sufficient means, and it should be remembered that the revenues would be very small after Confederation. It would be seen also that the bill was not the same as last Session, and the House should be cautious in making the change which would leave too much power in the hands of the contractors. The bill gave them the right to build the road to Annapolis or Troop's Point, and as to the bridge, it was stipulated to be built of iron, or otherwise as they might think proper, while the former agreement was for a OF THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY. 111 bridge with a roadway for the accomodation of the public. These matters should not be left indefinite in a work of such extent and importance.
Mr. COLIN CAMPBELL said he was glad to hear the member for Yarmouth express his views on this question, as he (Mr. C.) intended to ask for an extension to Digby. It was evident that danger might arise from leaving too much power in the contractors' hands, and he hoped that the Government would not allow the terminus to be at Troop's Point.
Hon. PRO. SEC., as to the financial part of the question, said that under Confederation Nova Scotia would be allowed to come in with a debt of eight millions, and in case the debt exceeded that amount, the assets representing the increased amount would belong to the Province. The delegates had found it impossible to make a contract for the extension except on the terms of allowing the contractors to choose from the routes surveyed by Mr. Fleming, but the best guarantee that could be desired was the fact that those gentlemen were investing large sums of their own money, and their interest depended on a selection that would be favorable for traffic. The reason why a roadway had been stipulated for in the Windsor Bridge was that a sum was provided for its construction, and that sum was more than sufficient for a wooden railway bridge, but the cost of an iron one would be largely in excess, and therefore the company could not be asked to provide a roadway.
Mr. S. CAMPBELL said that when the Government or their officer made a contract under the authority of an Act, the terms of that act should be kept in view. The law authorized the Government to enter into a contract for an extension from Windsor to Annapolis, while the agreement left a discretionary power which had not been authorized. It could not be said that Annapolis county was meant, for in that case the road might stop at the very border. if the agreement were not consistent with the Act it was not binding in the Legislature. The Government, therefore, had not shewn that regard for the law which they should have shewn, and they might as well have contracted for the- road to be carried to any other part of the Province as to Troop's Point. As to the bridge, he thought it was understood that ample accommodation should be afforded for the ordinary traffic, but this had been lost sight of. These facts should throw matters connected with the work into their original position, and that being the case it would be wise to consider whether the country was in a position to carry on the extension.
The SPEAKER said that his position prevented him on most occasions from mingling in debate, and he regretted that the Government had not enabled him by allowing the House to go into committee on the general state of the Province, to express his views on the great public question before. He, however, had at last an opportunity of giving to his constituency his views on the subject. The railway policy was one that he had been educated up to by Mr. Howe, and ever since that gentleman moved on the question, he had felt that that subject and the question of the Union of the Colonies, to which public attention was then turned, were matters which, in the interest of the Province, should be steadily kept in view. In speaking upon the latter question, it was not improbable that he spoke to his own prejudice; but he was not the man who would fail to give the people his views, or who would pander for a seat in the house when a question involving the interests of the Empire was brought forward. He would be happy to resign his seat and retire from public life, if called upon to do so, on the question of Confederation. He put the two questions of Railway Extension and Union on the same ground as regards the breadth of view in which they should he regarded. It was greatly to be regretted that such opposition had been shown to the Western Extension, and it was surprising to see the rejoicing when Knight and Company failed in their engagements. As to the objections raised by the member for Yarmouth it was well known that the previous agreement was worded in precisely the same way. He would have preferred that all mention of Troop's Point had been omitted; but any man knowing the Western part of the country would have no hesitation in saying that the road could not stop there. He well recollected the opposition given in 1851 by the member for Yarmouth to railway construction, and the cry all through the country was that the country would be ruined, and the tax-gatherer would be at every door, but it was found that notwithstanding the extension to Pictou, our road and bridge service was doubly as well provided for as it was in 1851. The same difficulties as to the terminus had arisen in connection with the Pictou line, and the same local feeling would always exist, but members must rise superior to such influences. There could he no doubt that this line, instead of stopping either at Annapolis or Troop's Point, must eventually reach the Bay of Fundy, and for that purpose must go to Digby Gut. In a few days his colleague would move a resolution, which he trusted, would receive the unanimous assent of the house, authorizing the Government to contract for the extension of the road to the waters of the Bay of Fundy. With such a line of communication, the distance from Halifax to Portland would be lessened by hundreds of miles.
Hon. ATTY. GEN. said he was not surprised at the obstruction to the bill. The Government were told, in introducing the resolution for the extension, that they were not sincere, and had taken the step merely to secure support for the Pictou line, that had been repeated over and over again, and some members interested in the Western counties were rather pleased when the commercial depression in London enabled them to point to the scheme as a failure. He had never felt any duty a more pleasing one than when he took steps to carry out the terms of the act, and to give to the western people the road which they had been expecting. Mr. Killam's desire seemed to be that the people should consider the matter and decide,—if he knew anything of the people they were anxious to keep their honorable obligations, and you had only to shew them that they were in justice bound to do anything in order to induce them to demand that it should he done. It was not at that time to be considered whether the road should be built,—that had been decided long ago. The opposition had increased very much in their solicitude to secure the advantages of the road to Annapolis since the time when they voted 112 DEBATES AND PROCEDINGES against giving the road at all,—he congratulated members on their change of views, and was willing to admit that further security should be pressed for if it could be obtained, but it should be remembered that the original Act said nothing about the bridge excepting for the railway traffic, and £40,000 was agreed on as the sum that the Province should pay for that work, but it was found that a substantial bridge, affording the desired accommodation, could not be built for double the money, and it had to be left with the Company to build as good a wooden bridge as they could, if not of stone, and it would be to their interest to make it substantial as the cost of its maintenance would rest on them. Nothing was said in the act of last year about the bridge, and it was only in London, in 1865, that the first mention was made of it, and the company asked the insertion of a clause to authorize them to build an iron or stone bridge if possible, but not obliging them to make the roadway in addition. The Government then had acted in this matter according to their instructions, and would have been blamed for going beyond their commission if the negociations had failed in consequence of further accommodation being insisted upon. As to the route, a survey had been made, and the company insisted on having the selection of lines; but one great inducement to the enterprise was that the road might be made the through route to the United States, connecting Halifax with some place from which a ready passage could be made to New Brunswick and enabling passengers to be in Montreal or Boston as soon as by steamer. In order to do so the company had resolved to build such a road that the journey to Annapolis could he made in four hours, and they would require bridges of a very substantial kind. The true interests of the country had been well cared for in securing a first class road for the amount of the subvention. So strong was the opinion in the minds of some that no company could be got to do the work for the sum offered, that a member of the Upper house had voted last year against the bill on that ground. The Government had, however, been enabled to complete the contract for the amount offered, and the effect of the capitalisation would be highly favorable in a financial point of view.
As to Annapolis being mentioned in the original bill as the terminus, it would be observed that in the contract Troop's Point was also mentioned, and the contract was embodied in the act; but even if it had been otherwise, the duty of the Legislature was to take a fair and broad view of the matter, and not to take technical objections. When the question had been previously under discussion, it was considered that Annapolis might not be the best terminus in consequence of the tide and for other reasons; and although it would have been preferable to have had the line to that place, in order to extend it to Digby and Yarmouth, yet all the interests bad to be looked to, and the contractors insisted on having the alternative. The act, however, provided that not a mile should be built except on the recommendation of the engineer, and the contractors possessed no power to force it to Troop's Point. All these stipulations were in the former agreement with Knight & Co., which was ratified last year, and the objections, therefore, came a year too late. The fears of some gentlemen, however as to the road being built to Troop's Point, were groundless; it would be built to Annapolis and was located there already. Some gentlemen would, no doubt, be sorry it would not go to Troop's Point, so that they could have something to grumble at. The arrangement made by the delegates in reference to this railway was the only railway negotiation that had been effected during the year, owing to the depressed condition of business; and the Government having so far succeeded, and having acted in good faith, the house was in duty bound to fulfil the engagements entered into under its authority.
The SPEAKER expressed his pleasure at hearing the announcement that the road would go to Annapolis and not to Troop's Point. He was not aware of this in making his previous observations, but he had felt little doubt on the subject from what he knew of the locality. As he would not be in a position to speak to the resolution for the extension to Digby when his colleague might move it, he would say a few words on that subject. He did not wish that proposition to interfere with the bill under discussion, but when the latter was disposed of no gentleman could fairly consider the request that would be made an unreasonable one. Any one acquainted with the Western part of the country and its capabilities must be aware that the people would not remain satisfied so long as the public improvements they required were within the means of the Province. It would seem that the hon. member for Yarmouth was desirous of preventing the railway moving any further Westward than at present, but if he would soften a little in his desire to oppose the Government he would feel it his duty to come to the aid of Western countries. In five or seven years the road might be expected to reach the town of Yarmouth, for as long as the public finances warranted it, the Western extension would he demanded.
Mr. LONGLEY regretted that the members for Yarmouth and Guysboro felt it their duty to oppose the bill; the former had a direct interest in the extension, and the latter was in no position to complain after the favorable consideration that the Eastern interest had received. By the projected railway Yarmouth would be placed within a day's journey of the capital, and it was therefore difficult to believe that the hon. member was truly representing his constituency in making the captious objections he had made to the contract. The members for the Western counties had supported the Pictou extension from a sense of duty, and had thereby established a strong claim to the support of the other members on this question. Too much credit could not be accorded to the Government for their untiring efforts in relation to this contract. But for the presence of the delegates and their exertions in London no contract would be in existence. The Annapolis Railway would be built on much more favorable terms than the existing lines. As to the extension to Digby, he thought that when the road reached Annapolis all would have been done that could reasonably have been asked. The measure was entitled to the support of all members representing the Western constituencies, for the terms were so favorable that not only local, but the general interests of that part of the country were benefited. As to the Pictou line, he rejoiced to be able to say OF THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY. 113 that by the 31st May it would be in a fit condition to carry the whole traffic, and this was under an arrangement that was so emphatically condemned a year ago. The question of our railway extension was involved with the question of Confederation, and the success of the Government in maturing the contract was to a great extent due to the fact that the Union of the Colonies had been secured. Too much praise could not be accorded to the Government in relation to the bill.
Mr. ANNAND expressed his regret at hearing the opposition styled obstructive, because they had discharged their duty in criticising the measure before the house. It was not correct to say that he was opposed to western extension, but he denied the right of the Government to insert any provision in relation to Troop's Point in the contract.
Hon. ATTY. GEN. said that the name was used in the contract which was part of the act of last year.
Mr. ANNAND denied that the act of 1866 authorized the use of the word. It was well known that the cost of construction would be cheaper on the north side of the river than on the south side, and that it might be a gain to the contractors to adopt the northern route; but looking to the interests of the country, and the probability of an extension to Yarmouth at some future day, he thought it should terminate at Annapolis. Troop's Point is a quarter of a mile above the ferry and deep water, and would therefore be quite useless as a terminus. This fact should have induced the Government to secure the line and terminus beyond the discretion of the contractors. It would, too, be of importance to consider this question in relation to the financial position of the Province under Confederation. The debt incurred by Nova Scotia beyond the eight millions would be treated as a loan, on which five per cent. must be paid to Canada; and as the country was in a transition state, he thought a little more enquiry should be bestowed on the subject. He assumed that the indebtedness of Nova Scotia amounted to considerably over five millions, in addition to two and a half millions for the Pictou railway and rolling stock. This, with over a million for the Annapolis line, would probably bring our debt up to nine millions. Assuming this to be the case, we would commence Confederation with a debt ofa million of dollars, which would stand as a first charge on the local revenues. As to the bridge he would only say that as under the original agreement it was intended to give accomodation for foot passengers and vehicles, a great wrong had now been done to the inhabitants of Hants and Kings in not making such a provision as would give them a free passage over the river for all time to come. He thought the house should pause, and take up the question after fuller information had been given.
Hon. ATTY. GEN. said that there was no doubt a great deal in the suggestion of the hon. member, and that an estimate of the character asked for would be of value. But the present was not the time to bring up such an estimate. The Province had already incurred liabilities in connection with this railway, and must carry out its agreement. A proper time no doubt would come when the hon. member could have his wishes gratified. It was a great pity that hon. gentlemen would not take the trouble of reading public documents before coming forward and making incautious and incorrect statements. If the hon. member would look at the act of 1866 he would find that it recited the agreement. (The hon. Atty. General here read from the act to show that the agreement was made part of it.) That being so, he went on to say, were they not justified in assuming that the house would ratify the agreement that was made conditionally, in case it should be shown to be the best line?
Mr. S. CAMPBELL said that it was the privilege of the minority to criticise the acts of the Government, for they were there for that purpose. The question he had to consider was not whether he was opposed to the Annapolis Railway or not, but whether the Government had performed their duty in a business-like manner. He contended that they had failed to do so. The hon. member had referred to the Act of 1866, but the articles of agreement recited the Act of 1865. They were bound by the terms of that act and should not go one iota beyond it. The house should not be asked to take the mere ipse dixit of the hon. gentleman, that the company had abandoned Troop's Point—it should be shown in black and white. He (Mr. C.) felt that it was his duty not merely to protect the rights of the people of Guysborough, but of the whole Province as well. When he saw an injustice being done to any portion of the people, he was bound to state his objections.
Hon. PROV. SEC. said that the arguments of gentlemen opposite shewed very clearly how difficult they found it to find fault with the Government. No observations could be more puerile than those that had been made in the course of the afternoon by the opposition. The house had solemnly pledged itself to the construction of the railway, and after a year's deliberation had re-affirmed that decision. The Government having been charged to make a contract for the construction of the line immediately set to work to perform the duty entrusted to them. They entered into a contract with parties to build a railway to Annapolis town or to Troop's Point, and the house, with that contract before them, deliberately re-affirmed their former decision and authorized the carrying out of their agreement. Though the hon. member was told that the representatives of the Government, when in London, could only make the contract by leaving it optional with the company to go to Annapolis or Troop's Point—both of which points had been left by the house to the choice of a previous contractor—yet he now declared that they should not have entered into the agreement at all for the construction of the road, but should have deprived the western counties of that means of railway communication with the capital which they so anxiously desired, and to which the faith of the Province had been pledged. He felt it was the greatest compliment that could be paid to the Government for gentlemen opposite to take up the time of the house with objections and assertions which everybody must feel were perfectly puerile and unworthy the serious consideration of any intelligent man.
The house would remember that these hon. members once undertook to settle the railway 114 DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS policy of this country, but did they carry the road to Annapolis? They put on the Statute Book an act pledging themselves to carry the road to Victoria Beach, instead of going to the town of Annapolis, to which they now declared it should go. The Government were authorized by the deliberate vote of the house a year ago to carry the road to Troop's Point, if necessary; not a single member then rose to object to such a policy. When the Government came to negotiate this matter, the best terms they could obtain were that they should leave this matter an open question for the contractors to decide. As respects the other matter in question, he would again mention that as the iron bridge would cost a great deal, the company were unable to include the roadway at the same time.
Mr. S. CAMPBELL said that the agreement did not state that the bridge would be of iron.
Hon PROV. SEC. replied that the agreement provided that the bridge should be constructed in one way or the other. If it was built of wood then the roadway would have to be included. If it was, on the other hand, constructed of iron, the roadway would not be made. By the following letter it would be seen that the company had decided to build the work of iron:—
24 Great George Street, Westminister, S. W., February 25, 1867.
" We have very great pleasure in informing you that we have made all arrangements necessary for the due completion of this line.
Our first and most important step, that of providing the capital necessary for the completion and equipment of the line, we have arranged with an eminent city firm; and for the security alike of the Province, the capitalists just alluded to, and ourselves, we have deemed it advisable to let the contract to Mr. Thomas Brassey, who has undertaken the same, and is now incorporated with us in the company established for the purposes of the railway.
We may add, that it is our intention to execute the works in a manner that we believe will give you entire satisfaction, and we have concluded to build the Windsor bridge of iron.
As this latter work will have to be prepared here, we have telegraphed to our agent, Mr. Grant, to come over with the plans of this and the other bridges by the next steamer, that the work may be immediately let; and we have made such arrangements as we believe will enable us to finish the principal bridges during the coming season, and the whole line by the end of the year 1868."
To the Hon. CHARLES TUPPER, Provincial Secretary.
Mr. KILLAM said that he thought it unwise to have allowed the contractor to take his choice of two points of termination, or to build the bridne of iron or wood. He was of opinion that the Government should have kept the company to the roadway. What he urged particularly, however, was that the Government should show the House and country what our financial position was likely to be. It was now admitted that if we exceeded the debt of $8,000,000, we would have to pay the excess, though the assets would be placed to our credit. The assets, in the case of the present railway, would be nothing, for they belonged to the company. It was the duty of the Government to show how we were to raise the large sum required for the work and at the same time have money enough to provide for other things. When the House was called upon previously to deal with this question, it was under very different circumstances, then we had our revenue to fall back upon, whereas now the largest portion was handed over to Canada. If things remained as they were we could build the railways to Annapolis, to New Brunswick, to Pictou, and eventually to Yarmouth—in fact, from one end of the Province to the other. He believed that the terms of the contract were injurious to the best interests of the country. The company were allowed to choose the way through the counties of Annapolis and Kings, besides to obtain gratis all lands required for the railway track and appurtenances. They were to build such a railway as they might think proper—in reality, there was nothing binding on them. They could use a rail that would not weigh much above 30 lbs. to the yard. He calculated the cost for a mile of rails would be $1320; the cost of sleepers would be about $400; and the whole cost of a mile of roadway would be $1720. It was quite evident that the company would have to take little or nothing out of their own pockets. He did not like to see the government getting mixed up with private companies. But when they did make a bargain, they should take care that it was a safe one for the Province. If we went on as we are now, and built all the railways ourselves, our debt would reach say $13,000,000, on which we would have to pay an interest of about $750,000. Our revenues from excise and customs would amount to at least $1,250,000. We would, therefore, have $500,000 independent of the railway interest, with a duty of say 10 per cent. With our revenues under our own control, we could increase them it necessity compelled us. Besides there was no doubt that the railways to Annapolis, Pictou and New Brunswick, under proper management, would bring us one or two per cent. Even the present railway, extravagantly as it was worked, had left something above its working expenses. As the trade increased, the different railway lines would become productive, and eventually we would be in a position to build a road to Yarmouth. As it was now, however, no such results could be expected. The revenues were to be taken from under our own control, and we were obliged to get along the best way we could under most adverse circumstances.
Hon. ATTY. GEN. said that it was really most refreshing to hear the hon. member for Yarmouth, who had so frequently urged that the country was not in a condition to build railways, now declaring that we should go into debt to the extent of $13,000,000 for such public works. It would be remembered that the hon. member had, on a former occasion, even OF THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY. 115 made an apology for voting for the Pictou Railway, because it prevented us from going into debt for the Intercolonial Railway; he voted for the former because it was the lesser evil. Now the hon. member said that we should build railways to Annapolis, to Pictou, to New Brunswick and everywhere else. In fact there was not a day that the hon. member did not assume some inconsistent position; it was impossible to know where to find him, so erratic was his public policy. The hon. member had just declared that the Government should not have entered into the agreement but anybody who knew him would feel that if they had not done so he would have been the first to complain that they had sacrificed the interests of the West to the East.
Mr. COFFIN said that it was assumed by the Government that we would pass into Confederation with a debt of $8,000,000. Anything that exceeded that amount would have to be paid for us. Now it appeared that the first charge upon the little revenues left us would be the interest on this railway. If we had no other means of paying it, we must do it by direct taxation. He would be quite willing to pay for the Windsor and Annapolis Railway if he could seo any way of doing so. We were legislating ahead of the means at the disposal of the country, and saddling it with a debt which it would be most difficult and burdensome to pay. He was quite positive that instead of going into Confederation with a debt of $8,000,000, the amount would be rather $9,000,000.
Mr. TOBIN said that it seemed to him that gentleman were always looking for troubles, and anyone listening to the debate that afternoon would imagine that the country was on the verge of ruin. He saw our revenues increasing, our railways extending and opening up new sources of trade, all branches of industry prosperous and progressing, and yet it was said that we were unable to get along. He saw ahead, not a prospect of ruin, but of prosperity. Our revenue in 1850 was not above $382,000. Then we were told that if we built a single mile of railway we would be ruined. Now we had a revenue of nearly a million and a half of dollars, derived from the same sources. We had built railways, devoted large sums to education, roads and bridges, and other great public improvements, and yet the people were not oppressed with taxation, but were less burdened than any other country in the world. He did not expect, however ever to find the hon. member for Yarmouth satisfied; it was his privilege to find fault with all Governments. The Government had only done their duty in redeeming the pledge they had given to the people of the West. He was unable to see on what ground some hon. members argued that the construction of the Annapolis Railway would burden the local revenue. Mere assertion, however, amounted to nothing, and that was all the hon. gentleman and his friends indulged in.
Mr. ANNAND said that his hon. friend had attempted to prove too much. If our revenue had more than trebled since 1850, it proved that Nova Scotia was now a prosperous country, and that any change in our political condition was unnecessary. We were to exchange this prosperous state of things for a union, under which we would hand over our revenues to Canada, and only get back a paltry sum in return. He was also quite prepared to prove by figures that if we were left in the possession of our revenues we would soon be in a position to extend our railways both to Yarmouth and the Gut of Canso.
Hon. FIN. SECRETARY said that he would suggest to the hon. member the advisability of taking into consideration the possibility of the present Government having control of the revenues. The House remembered that, under the financial management of the hon. gentleman, the Province went backward to the tune of many thousand dollars a year, whereas the revenue went up the moment he and his friends were out of power. It would be therefore necessary for the hon. member, in making hypothetical assertions as to the revenues and what could be done with them, to take into consideration who would have charge of them. Everybody, in the most remote settlements, always expected to find the hon. member for Yarmouth bringing something about railways into every speech he may make. When the hon. member asked for information respecting the financial position of the Province, he was quite aware that he had every paper under his hand requisite for his purpose. He did not wonder at the assertions of the hon. member for Shelburne (Mr Coffin) who could not be expected to be so well informed on such subjects as the hon. member for Yaimouth. When the hon. member for Shelburne declared that we would enter the Confederation with a debt of $9,000,000, he did it for merely electioneering purposes, and without anything whatever to sustain him. He was quite gratified, however, at the arguments adduced by gentlemen opposite, for they clearly proved that they had really no substantial reason for finding fault with the course pursued by the Government.
Mr. HATFIELD said it was the duty of every body to express his opinion on a subject of such great importance.
Dr. HAMILTON said that he had watched with much surprise the course pursued by a certain public journal, and a certain party in this country in reference to this railway. It was now , however, settled despite all the prognostications of the opposition, that Kings and Annapolis would have the railway, owing to the strenuous exertions of the Government. He thought that the railway had been surveyed through the wrong route in the county of Kings. He was quite satisfied, however, to know that we were to have the road at last constructed. He didn't attach any importance to the figures which some gentlemen were so fond of adducing on every possible occasion. It was well known that figures could be twisted in any shape one chose. It was urged many years ago, the Province was not in a position to build railways 116 DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS and yet she had done so without burthening the people to any large extent. Our revenues were increasing, and the country generally was prosperous. As this prosperity increased, the funds at our diposal would grow larger. Under all the circumstances he believed that there was no reason for the fears entertained by some gentlemen; they were either chimeras of the imagination or got up for electioneering purposes.
The bill then passed through committee.
The House then adjourned.


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



Selection of input documents and completion of metadata: Gordon Lyall.

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