Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island, 22 March 1864, Prince Edward Island Confederation with Canada.



At 4 o'clock the House waited on His Excellency with the address, and, on their return, the Speaker reported the reply.
Hon Col. Gray, Messrs Coles, Longworth, Hensley, and Messrs Sinclair and McLennan were appointed a Committee to join a Committee of the Legislative Council to prepare an address of congratulation to Her Majesty, on the occasion of the birth of the Son of the Prince of Wales.
Hon Col. Gray, in moving the 2d reading of the Bill, for vesting the Command of the volunteers in the Commander-in-Chief of the Island, explained that doubts had arisen as to the command of the colunteer force; the latter were in a different position from the regular army and militia. In Britain the volunteers were under the command of the Lords Lieutenants of their respective Coun ties, and the Commander-in-chief exercised no control over them, save when on active service. Here we had no officers analogous to Lords Lieutenants of Counties, and the Bill would vest the command of the volunteers in the Lieutenant Governor of the Island, during the absence from it of the Governor General. The Bill and the despatch relation to it having been referred to Committee of the whole, the former was agreed to.
Hon Mr. Longworth submitted the report of the Medical Attendant of the Lunatio Asylum. Hon Col. Secretary, the Blue Book for 1862, and the returns of the Bank of P.E. Island, for 1863
On motion, the House resolved itself into a Committee of that whole to take into further consideration the various Despatches and papers, transmitted by Message to the House this Session. The Correspondence relative to a Union of the three Lower Propose, Mr. Chairman, on the correspondence before you, which is to the following effect:-
Resolved, That His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor be authorized to appoint Delegates (not to exceed five) to confer with Delegates who may be appointed by the governmentss of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick for the purpose of discussing the expediency of a Union of the three provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brinswick and P.E. Island, under one government and Legislature - the report of said Delegates to be laid before the Legislature of this Colony, before any further action shall be taken in regard to the proposed question.
The question of a Union of the Colonies, is one, Sir, of very great importance; and I might occupy a large share of the time of this hon Committee in advancing the views which I have long entertained on the subject; but, Sir, the present aspect of the question does not call for much remark. Being ignorant as to he terms of Union which may be proposed be the sister Provinces, we are scarcely in the position to discuss whether or not such a Union would be advantageous to this Colony. If the Provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were to be annexed to Prince Edward Island, great benefits might result to our people; but if this Colony were to be annexed to these Provinces, the opposite might be the effect. From the documents before you, Sir, it appears that the Governments of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick intend to bring before their respective Legislature a resolution authorizing the appointment of Delegates to confer with other Delegates who may be appointed, for "the purpose of arranging a preliminary plan," respecting a Union of the three Maritime Provinces; and we are called upon to take similar action. Now, Sir, I cannot avoid expressing my opinion that our neighbors are proceeding too hastily in this matter. I think the first point to consider is, Shall there be "a preliminary plan?" Is it advisable to have a Union at all? On the resolution which I have submitted it is proposed to appoint Delegates, simply for the purpose of discussing the expediency of a union of the three Provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and P.E. Island, under one Government and Legislature. This is as far as I deem to be prudent for us to proceed at present. It beloves this House to view the question in all its bearings before it should take any action which might be considered as a willingness on our part to have the constitution of the Colony taken away. Owing to our insular position, and the difficulty of crossing the Straits at certain seasons of the year, a legistative union might in many respects operate to our disadvantage. I, however, am free to admit that weighly reasons can be adduced to show why the three Provinces in question should be united under one Government. It is an old maxim that "union is strength," and in the case under consideration, I believe union would be strength. What would have become of the thirteen Colonies had there not been union among them at the time of the revolutionary war? What would have become of Massachusetts if good old Virginia had not stepped forward to assist her, and given her gallant troops, and more than all a George Washington - conduct which, I am sorry to say, has met with base ingratitude from the dollar-worshipping aristocracy of that northern State? And the strength which union affords may ere long be required in these British Provinces. it is understood that Maximilian has accepted the Crown of Mexico, and he may even now be almost landed in America. Once seated upon the throne of this new Empire, his government will, in all pro PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 33 bability acknowledge the independence of the Confederate States. This [illegible] would be followed by France, and the recognition of France, no doubt, by a peace between the Federal and Confederate States. What then would become of Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Kansas, and others of the Western States and out from the Mississippi. Sir, they would find it expedient to join the [illegible] Confederacy. Thus stripped of their territory south and west, the Northern States would seek to extend their boundaries in other directions. What then would be the position of these Colonies? The British Government maintaining, or pretending to maintain a neutrality as witness the case of the steam rams at Liverpool- has given satisfaction to neither contending party. When the [illegible] of two nations of government are trembling in the balance, they are each disposed to imagine that every offence not exerted directly in their favor, operates against them. Owing to recent occurances the South does not now look with favor on our government, this I regret, for the [illegible] population of the Confederate States are the natural sons of Britain. On the other hand, the North has never seemed satisfied with the course [illegible] by the British Government during the present war, and [illegible] one view of the [illegible] this need not be wondered [illegible], for her people are a mixed population gathered from all the nations of the earth. In the event of its peace, the South would [illegible] respects be in a better position than the North. The Confederate States unquestionably have a large debt, but [illegible] is chiefly in the hands of her own people, and might for some [illegible] be [illegible]. With the North, however, it is different; [illegible] [illegible] are held all over the world- in England, France, Russia, and other countries, and her debt, now [illegible] of Great Britain, will have to be paid. The army of the North now numbers above 600,000 men, nearly all mercenaries; men whose services can be bought and sold. These troops will have to be provided for, and should hostilities come against the South, the government which employed them would have to seek for them another [illegible] of those men are the soldiers of New York, and other large cities, and to satisfiy their thirst for plunder, they within all probabily demand to be [illegible] Canada. The village and town of the fine Province will afford them [illegible] in which to [illegible] and gratify their [illegible]. Taking [illegible] of the case I think that something will [illegible] long [illegible] to be [illegible] these Colonies for self- defence. A Union must be effected [illegible] legislators [illegible] federal. I am not prepared to say, however, how it is to be carried out or what are to be the [illegible]. If there is to be a Legislative Union of these Maritime Provinces, are new government and parliament buildings to be erected, and where are theyt to be built? Is Charlottetown or Summerside to be the capital of Canada or Acadia, or whatever the country may be called? Are we to be the Ottawa of the United Provinces, and are buildings to be erected here, [illegible] as in Canada, millions of dollars? Then again when are the Sessions of Parliament to be held - in December, January, February, or in June, July or September? Are we to be required to keep our Representatives [illegible] some capital in one of the sister Provinces, from autumn to spring, or are they to be expected to take pole in hand and lean from ice-berg to ice-berg across the Straits in the dead of winter. All these questions which would require to be answered, before I would be prepared to say whether it would be expedient or not for this Colony to enter into the proposed union. I have heard it objected by some that, this Island could have no representation in the executive government of the United colonies, as on a count of the distance, and the inconvenience of travelling, members of government from here would be unable to attend the cabinet meetings of council .I, however, can see no force in this objection, as any gentlemen who might obtain a seat in  the executive of the United Provinces would no doubt have a salaried office of £1000 a year. It is also objected by some that this Colony would be swamped in a Union with the other Provinces. I, Sir, have an apprehensions on their ground, - I would not allow myself or my country to be swamped by any body of men on earth. We, Sir, are here to maintain our rights, and we shall never enter a Union which will deprive us of this birthright in a united Legislature we might possess the balance of parties, and if refused our [illegible], might force the government to do us justice. We would be in a position similar to the Irish member in the British Parliament who frequently compel the government, yield to their requests. But as I have already stated the only coarse which is [illegible] for us at present to adopt, is that pointed out in the resolution which I have submitted, namely to authorize the appointment of Delegates in the first place simply to consider the expediency of a Union.
Hon. COLONIAL SECRETARY- hon Chairman, [illegible] with much pleasure, the resolution just submitted by my honorable friend, the Leader of the Government. It proposes that this House shall authorize His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor to appoint delegates to confer with delegates who may be appointed by the neighboring Provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, for the purpose of discussing the expediency of a union of the lower Provinces- or rather a reunion of three dependencies. Chief among the [illegible], from which have sprung the evils under which this Island suffers, in my opinion, may be ranked the granting the Township lands in the year 1767 and the constituting the Island a separate government three years afterwards. The one evil produced the other. In [illegible], in answer to the prayer of a large number of the grantees, this Island was separated from the Province of Novia Scotia, of which New Brunswick was then a part and constituted a distinct government, on condition that the grantees should provide funds for the payment of its civil establishment. The grantees, although they failed to perform their contract in this respect [illegible], nevertheless, been [illegible] to control the destinies of the colony, from the first day of its existence as a separate government, to the present hour. They also, without an exception, neglected to fulfill the conditions upon which they received their Townships, yet such was the influence which they were enabled to command, that they did so with impunity. Their lands became liable to [illegible], and should have been [illegible] by the Crown, but the grantees induced the Ministers of George III, from [illegible] , to waive the forfeitures; and the evil created by the original grantes has, in consequence, been perpetuated to this day. I have stated that this Island was, prior to 1769, a portion of the Province of Novia Scotia, although this was the case, the inhabitants were not represented in the parliament of Nova Scotia, nor were the laws of that Province made to extend to Prince Edward Island. In 1768 the Government of Nova Scotia sent to the Island a Mr. Morris- Survey or of the Prince of Nova Scotia- who [illegible] off Charlottetown [illegible] a Mr. Deschamps, who was appointed by Governor Frank [illegible] the first Magistrate of the Island of Saint John. This gentleman in that year opened the Court of Common [illegible] in Charlottetown, and from his reports, I learn that the population of the Island then consisted of 271 souls- of whom 2016 were French Acadians. There is something very ludicrious in the idea of a colony so limited in extent as this Island, and containing only a few hundred of inhabitants, having a "Captain General" and "Governor-in-Chief" and two Legislative Chambers- playing at Kings, Lords and Commoners. In 1774, the fifth year of the existence of the Island as a separate government - a census was taken- and it was found that the population of the Island had increased to [illegible] souls. In 1784 our Island was re-annexed to Nova Scotia. It nevertheless [illegible] its separate government  and legislature, although Walter Patterson, therefore "Captain-General and Governor-in-Chief," received Dutch promotion, and was afterwards known as "Lieutenant Governor." Mr. Chairman, the inhabitants of this Island have never been able to remedy the first of the two evils of which I have spoken, that caused by the original grants and to reinvest in the Crown the lands so injudiciously granted in 1767; but Sir, they may now remedy the second, they may now again become one with the neighboring Provinces. I purpose to enquire. How would such re-union effect this Island. It must be plain to every gentleman of this Committee, that the legislation of this Island cannot be of a nature calculated to develop its resources and to promote its prosperity, so long as the inhabitants are divided into two parties, the one violently antagonistic to the other- so long as the chief object of one party is to hold office, and of the other to obtain office. I readily admit, Mr. Chairman, that, in my opinion, we have party legislation in the worst form, and that neither of the parties into which we are divided, is free from the influence of party spirit. Partly [illegible] are violent in all communities, in proportion to their size. Our ocmmunity is a very limited one, and the difference which divide us partake of a religious character. 85,000 of our inhabitants are arrayed in bitter antagonism to the remaining 45,000. We 34 PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER 1864 PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 34 have 35,000 Roman Catholic, the majority of them Irish, of the extreme, ultramontans stamp, and we have 45,000 Protestants, the majority of whom are Scotch Presbyterian, many the sons of covenanters, who will never submit to be made by Roman Catholics. If this Island were united with the neighboring Provinces, our protestant populations would have less ??? to speed Popish supremacy than they have at present, religious animosities would be weakened, and great good would be the consequence. Another result of such union would be the establishment of an uniform currency, an uniform Tarrif, a common Legislature, and a common Judiciary. The deliberation of the Legislature of the United Provinces, upon our Island matters, would be more distinterested, more liberal, and enlightened, than we can ever expect from our little Legislature constituted as at present. Judges who now preside in our Courts, have practised for many years at our Bar, and are acquainted with almost every suitor who comes into Court.It occasionally happens that they are disqualified or try actions brought, and consequences of their having then employed as Attorney or Counsel in such actions, and, Sir, although in their impartiality and integrity have never been questioned, in my opinion, they cannot but I take in the prejudices of the little community in which they have so long lived. I would ask, Sir, what has been the chief subjects of legislation in this House during the past half century ? The Land Question, - the Land Tenures - conflicts between Landlords and Tenants, and, Sir, when proprietors of land in this Island, have, at the Colonial office, objected to bills passed in this house, and urged that such bills were passed by tenants to the prejudice of their landlords, is it not reasonable to suppose that their objections have carried with them as influence, attributable chiefly to the character of the legislators. I can readily understand that Bills passed by our Legislature, as at present constituted, would, if opposed by the Proprietors, be disallowed, which, should they be enacted by a Legislature such as we shall have, in the event of a union, would be confirmed by the Sovereign in the face of greater opposition. The people of this Island should ask themselves these questions. In the even of a union will they be called upon to pay more in the shape of taxes than they pay at present ? If so will they derive more than corresponding benefits ? It must be evident to every member of this Committee, that if the farmers of this Island shall have better Roads, Bridges and Wharves, better accomodation for shipping their products better communication by means of steamers over our rivers, and with the other Provinces, and better markets than they possess at present, they will be able to pay a moderately increases taxation with greater ease than they pay the taxes now extracted from them. The farmers may rest assured that a ???? with the adjoining Provinces would not cause their lands to yield less than they yield at present. Would the circumstances of our being united cause capital to be invested in this Island ? If so, it is for our interest that we should be united. The chief exports of this Island are Ships and Agricultural Produce - Oats. I, Mr. Chairman, cannot regard the future of this Island as being as bright, or as promising as many consider it. The past year, it is true, has been one of unexampled prosperity. But do we not owe this to the fact that shipbuilding is a most precarious business, and that whether it shall continue profitable or otherwise, it must soon cease with us, simply because the day is very near, when materials for the construction of ships will not be found on the island? Already our shipbuilders import materials from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The report from Mr. Wightman has showns us that forty per cent of the tenantcy of this Island do not produce from their farms a sufficiency of food. How do these people procure the necessities of life ? I answer by the employment which shipbuilding demands. What will become of such persons when shipbuilding can no longer be carried on in this Island - when our forests shall have entirely disappeared ? They must emigrate - or depend upon the sailor upon the fisheries. We have during the year just passed exported from the Island about 1,490,000 bushels of oats, for which our farmers received remunerative prices. The demand in the United States, consequent upon the war, had greatly increased the value of oats. But this unhappy war must come to an end. The termination of the American Reciprocity Treaty we may look for, and should this event occur during the present year, and, a duty, as formerly, be imposed upon our agricultural produce on its importation into the United States, we shall have to depend chiefly upon England as a market for our oats, and the English market is an uncertain one. At present it is very low. Mr. Chairman :-Many persons consider the enormous export of oats during the past year as a proof of agricultural prosperity. I view this exportation in a very different light. I consider it proof of bad farming - an evidence that, tempted by the high prices which oats have commanded during the past three of four years - our farmers have grown them, to the great injury of their lands. It is well known, that land which will not yield wheat, or barley, will give good oats, and that oats are a very exhausting crop. Where oats have been grown upon the same land several years in anccession, without manure, as they generally have been in this Island, the result must necessarily be the conplete exhaustion of the soil. Mr. Chairman : - Those who pride themselves upon the agricultural prosperity of this Island at the present time, should not forget that of this 1,400,000 bushels of oats exported, at least 800,000 would be required to pay for the bread stuffs imported, - for the more than 40,000 barrels of flour brought into the Colony in 1863. Not only are the lands of the great majority of our farmers, becoming exhausted by injudicious cropping ; they are also fast being denuded of materials necessarily required for fuel and fencing. Many farms are not destitute of both. Such ??? for fence poles may be found in hedges and dykes ; and these the farmers can themselves construct ; but when firewood shall have disappeared, coal will have to be purchases and when the agriculturists of this Island shall be necessitated to pay for coal, and to haul it from the harbors on the coast to their farms in the interior - ??? then shall have no more new land - rich in the mould formed by the decayed leaves or fertilized by the ashes obtained from wood burns in the process of clearing to fall back upon, when manure will have to be obtained in order to render productive the lands which over-cropping have exhausted yield when hedges will have to be planted, and dykes constructed, ??? will large portions of Prince Edward Island be far less prosperous than they are at present. Add to this, the evils something from the inhabitants being divided into two parties, each regarding the other with animosity. Under such circumstances, Mr. Chairman, I fear that if left to ourselves, we shall share the fate of the Killkenny Cats. We have no mines, no minerals, no quarries of limestone, no extensive forests. Our dependence, ultimately must be solely upon our Agriculture and our Fisheries. To develop these, we require capital. Would a Union with the sister Provinces, cause capital to be invested in this Island ? I think Mr. Chairman, it would. This, I repeat, is a very important consideration. If it can be shown that one result of a union would be that persons in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick would employ capital in this Island, in farming and fishing, it is clearly for our interest that we should assent to the proposed Union. The Railroads of Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, will soon connect our island, very closely with the commercial capitals of those Provinces. Our lands are more easily cultivated than are those of either Provinces, and are quite productive as the land of Nova Scotia or New Brunswick, - the alluvial lands of those Provinces excpeted. Our Fisheries are the best in the British Provinces. Soon being the case, I think it may fairly be assumed that if this island, were a portion of the Union, under a common Legislature, in which the people of the adjoining Provinces had confidence, and which would afford a guarantee for enlightened legislation, and the protection of the rights of property, we should find many disposed to invest their capital in this Island, who will never do so, so long as it remains what it now is, a very little community torn by the contentions of rival political and religious parties. I have said, Mr. Chairman, that I cannot regard the future of this Island as bright, I view that of Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick very differently. It has been stated that the debt of those Provinces is enormous and their taxation excessive. As to taxation it is very little in advance of our own. The amount of their debt is not such as should occasion any alarm. They have constructed Railroads, and in doing so, have created a debt it is true ; but in this ago, in every country, Railroads are a PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 35 necessary. Mr Chairman, hope are long to see Rairoads ___ those Provinces Halifax to Canada and accessible to immigrants. The resources of the neighboring Provinces are boundless. In Nova Scotia, especially, __, Coal, and ___ are to be found in inexhaustible quality. In New Brunswick, in addition to minerals, these ____ forests had extensive districts of land suitable for cultivation. In those Provinces are noble Harbors open all the year round, and, Sir, I cannot believe that the day is far distant, when by means of the railroads, of which I have spoken, the trade of Canada will find its outlet during a great portion of the year, in the Harbors of St John, and Halifax. I should have been better pleased, Sir, had the resolution before you, proposed a Union of all the British Provinces on the Atlantic Board. Such a Union, I consider, made some day take place, and I trust the Union of the maritime Provinces will prove the first step towards it. Who can ever ___ the commercial greatness which these dependencies of Great Britain are destined to attain ? Less than a century ago, the entire exports of Great Britain did not exceed $50,000,000. The exports of Canada alone, for 1868, reached more than half this amount. At the time of the accession of Queen Ann, the exports of Great Britain were less by one fourth than the exports of Canada, for 1868. Burke, the friend and advocate of the British Colonies, employed his eloquence to portray, the commercial growth, which during a life time, those of the North American Colonies of his day, — now included in the neighboring Republic,—had attained. He pictured them in 1704, men in a commercial sense, utterly insignificant—of Countries which served for title more than to amuse with stories of savage life and unsouth manners. In 1776, he saw them possessed of a Commerce equal to this, which, seventy years previously, had made England the envy of the world. The progress of the Colonies, after they attained their independence, was far greater than that which had excited the wonder of Burke. Mr Chairman, at this day, British North America comprises a larger territory than was possessed by the Revolted Colonies in 1776, larger than the limited States now possess, and although much of this territory must necessarily remain sterile, so far as agriculture is concerned, it is nevertheless valuable. The population of Canada, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island, is greater than was that of the Revolted Colonies of the date of their independence. Our mines and minerals and forests are as valuable as were theirs. We have magnificent, rivers and lakes connecting the Atlantic with the far West. Our people are a hardy race characterizes by determination of character, and fitted to overcome those ___ which are caused by the nature of our climate, which however, is not more savage than in portions of Germany, of Sweden, of Norway or of Russia. We possess all the elements, essential to the formatio of a great and powerful people. Why should we not advance towards greatness in something like the same ___ as did the Revolted Colonies ? The manufactures of England, are the chief source of her wealth. Those who have travelled through that Country are aware, that it is little other than a vast workshop, from which a great portion of the world is supplied. Why should not the people of British America have their manufactures ? They have iron, and coal, and ___, why should they not turn them to ___ ? Why should they depend upon England for articles manufactured from iron ? I can see no reason why. Food is __ easily obtained int he Colonies then in England and after all, Mr Chairman, the question of labor ___ itself into bread and butter. It is well known to this Committee, that the people of New England, before the Reciprocity Treaty was ___ carried coal, and __ and ___ from Nova Scotia to the Unitefd States, manufactured them, and brought them back to us,—that we ___ them and notwithstanding the manufactures had paid the duties, and a double ___, they became __ Mr Chairman, I was satisfied that Canada, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, will be united, and that, after the example of the Revolted Colonies, they will become a great and wealthy people. I desire that this my native Island may ___ their greatness, she not remain, ___ present, the ___ of assembly contests, which prevent all ___ legis lation. In conclusion, Mr Chairman, the question under discussion that they should be fully consulted, that the matter should be fully discussed, and notwithstanding my individual opinions. I shall not be prepared to vote for a Union. Until after they shall have been consulted, and the question discussed among them ; but, Sir, this House is not called upon to come to any such vote. The question before the Comittee is, shall we send delegates to confer with the delegates from the other Provinces, on the expediency of a Union, and, whatever may be the opinions of hon. members—however much they may be opposed to the proposed Union—common courtesy requires us to send delegates as proposed by they resolution before you.
Hon. Mr. COLES.—Mr Chairman, this is a subject, which, as the hon. Col. Secretary has justly remarked, is not a party question ; but I presume it will be like other questions, there will be a party in its favor, and a party opposed to it. The hon. member who last spoke, hinted that there is no security of property in this Colony. Now, Sir, I believe there never was a measure introduced into this Legislature so calculated to interfere with the rights of property as the Bill on the Land Question, submitted this morning by the hon. leader of the Government. It is only a piece of political clap-trap. The subject of the war in the neighboring States has been introduced into this debate, and we have been told that when it terminates, a host of mercenaries will be ready to rush in upon these Colonies. I entertain no fears on this ground, for I have every confidence in the power of Great Britain to defend her possessions against the combined force of either the Northern or Southern States. The hon. leader of the Government said that he could not support a resolution similar to those passed in the adjoining Province, _ that delegates should be appointed to arrange a preliminary plan in regard to Union. I concur with the hon. member in this view of the subject; we ought first to consider whether a union at all is desirable. I hold my own opinions respecting a union of the Colonies. I have long thought that these Provinces ought to have more influence at the Colonial Office. This Island as also the other Colonies have labored under great disadvantage in this respect—a disadvantage which a union of the whole would probably have removed. Still it does not appear to me that great benefit would result from a union of the three maritime Provinces. We have been making progress, small as our Colonies. I hold in my hand an order of the date of 1790, for is, which is a fair specimen of our currency at that time. Now we have two or three Banks, and an extensive trade ; so I think we better work along with our separate government, until it is thought that "the time has arrived" to consummate a federal union of the whole of British America, allowing each Colony to retain its own Legislature. If this could be effected with the good will of the Home Government—Britain acting towards us in a friendly and paternal manner, just as a father does with a son setting up for himself—it might be well. The new government might be either a monarchy or a republic, but I, for my part, would prefer a monarchy. All the Colonies united from Newfoundland to Columbia, would be one of the most powerful governments on the face of the earth ; but with only Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and this Island united, we would still be looked down upon by our neighbors. I do not think the people of this Island would agree to such a union as is proposed ; if they would consent to a change at all, I believe they would desire a union that would place the Colonies in a position that would give them some weight among the powers that be. As to religious strife here being an argument in favor of our union which the other Colonies, a differ from the hon. Colonial Secretary. If people are disposed, to be contentious in regard to creeds, union with another body of men will not prevent it. In fact, I believe that the religious strife which exists in this Island was an infection from the other Provinces. It occurs to me that this union delegation will be like the one on the land question ; it will cost several hundred pounds and produce nothing, I do not __ that I shall oppose the motion for the appointment of delegates but I would prefer taking higher ground than a legislative union of the three maritime Provinces. We might again _ some points by such a union, yet the other Colonies have a __ debt, and I am inclined to believe that PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 36 we would get along just as well without being connected with them. This question should be considered solely on its own merits, altogether irrespective of what it is taking place in the neighboring states, or any other country, and I hope hon. members will take no hasty view of the matter. We might to some extent the committing ourselves to union, by if very appointment of a delegation.
Hon. Mr. McAULAY - It is true that by passing the resolution before the Committee we are acknowledging that a union may possibly be desirable; would while doing so, it carefully goes against committing us to any course which Might result in our destruction. A union of these three Provinces, has much to recommend it. The suggestion has come from the other Provinces, and it would be uncourteous in us Not to send delegates to me the delegates whom they may appoint. We might wait until we hear the report of those delegates before we pronounce an opinion as to whether It would be desirable for this colony to enter the proposed union or not. For my own part, I would rather hear arguments against than for the union, because it is better to endure the ills we know man to endure those with which we are entirely unacquainted. United with the other Provinces, we would raise money here for revenues that would be divided by other hands. Supposing even that there was a territorial division of the money, we would scarcely be allowed to obtain our share, as if they would maintain that their railways were in part for our advantage as well as theirs. Another consideration is that our roads in this Island are not so durable as in Nova Scotia, and consequently it would require more to keep them in repair-a necessity which the united Legislature might not be willing to meet. Religions agitation has been referred to as an argument in favor of the union, but it is very doubtful if strife would cease where the same elements continue to insist, merely because the community was enlarged. I have never taken any active part iIn this agitation, but I have felt it's effects ever since I first offered for the seat in this House. It is an evil which a union of the Provinces would not quash ; we must wait until it dies out of sheer shame. Now, Mr. Chairman, one point ought to be considered before we enter into the details of the union. Would this colony be allowed to retain a representation of 60 members in the lower House of the United Legislature, in would Nova Scotia and New Brunswick be allowed to retain the same representation as at present? If our representation were decreased, and theirs permitted to continue as now, I conceive it would be doing our Island an injustice. This is a matter for the delegates to consider. I shall support the resolution, because the delegates, on't it authorizes His Excellency to appoint, are not to be empowered to decide why [illegible] but merely to hear suggestions, and report to this Legislature.
Mr. CONROY - Mr. Chairman, this subject was partially discussed here last session, and on that occasion there was a general expression of opinion against a union of the Colonies. I believe that I was the only member who spoke in its favor ; and my reason for so doing was one assigned by the hon. Colonial Secretary, namely that it might be the means of allaying the religious feeling in the Island. I have weighed the matter since then, and must state that I have arrived at a different conclusion, and now think that this agitation would not be any argument in favor of a union, but rather the reverse. What have the other Colonies to give us in return, if our Legislature is taken away? Nothing, unless they aid us in settling our Land Question, If they could give our people free land as an equivalent for depriving us of our constitution, it might be something. But as the Bill which was introduced this morning respecting the land question will probably be passed, I cannot see what we are to gain by a union. At the meeting which my colleague and I had with out constituents, before we came to the opening of the session, the subject of a union of the Colonies was discussed, and they desired us to vote against it should it come up in this House for consideration, as it might place the Colony in a worse position than at present.
Hon. Mr. LONGWORTH - Mr. Chairman, the subject and in consideration is one of vast importance. It appears that the Legislature of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have adopted a resolution to appoint delegates to arrange a preliminary plan for a union of the three maritime Provinces, and therefore it seems that they have come to the conclusion that such a union is expedient. The question is one which has been discussed for a length of time. The present leader of the Government in Nova Scotia advocated the scheme years ago, as also did the leader of the late Government in that Province. The [illegible] description which [illegible] politicians have [illegible] future of these Colonies [illegible] while in [illegible] [illegible] away the [illegible] of [illegible] lower Provinces [illegible] of the proposal. The union of Canada with these Colonies [illegible] immediately [illegible] . Objectives have [illegible] the part of Canada, and this [illegible] difference of population [illegible] [illegible] [illegible] have changed, and Upper Canada has become the most [illegible]. [illegible] quite an agitation between backwit parts of that Province with respect [illegible] by population, and [illegible] of the results is that Upper Canada objects to a reign with the lower Colonies, on the ground that as they adjoin Lower Canada, they would probably take part with her. On the other hand, Lower Canada [illegible] objects to the union fearing that [illegible]  the population of these Lower Colonies as regards nationality and religion, resemble the people of Upper Canada, she would be such a union be placed in a worse position than at present. Hence a new scheme of union has arisen and it is proposed that these three maritime Provinces alone should unite. It is argued that from their proximity and similarity of interest, they should be united under one Legislature, and that this is necessary to give us of these Colonies standing and respectability in the scale of governments. It is not contemplated to alter our connection with the Mother country, but merely to make us a larger dependency of the British Crown. As we are peculiarly situated in this Island, I think it would be imprudent in us to raise such resolution as has been agreed to in the other Provinces. They no doubt feel that the advantage would be on their side, and therefore they had no hesitation in adopting such a resolution as has been referred to. They anticipate no danger to their interests in resolving to take little Prince Edward Island under their wing. We are not burdened with the same proportionate amount of debt as the adjooining Colonies, consequently though we might hesitate in deciding as to the expediency of a union, they at once commit themselves in the course. They have nothing to lose for as they have more railways to construct, their debt must go on increasing. At the present moment, we hear of several Railways being projected in New Brunswick, as well as a very expensive one in Nova Scotia to connect Truro with Pictou, and Bills, it is reported are now actually before the Legislature of these Provinces for giving effect to those projects. In addition to all this, it would appear that a change in the policy of the Canadian Government in regard to the Intercolonial Railroad had recently taken place, and that that vast scheme for the purpose of opening a great railway through Canada and New Brunswick to Halifax is likely to be realized. These undertakings must involve a large amount of expenditure, and entail upon the Provinces of Canada, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia a large sacrifice to their public debts, and, as a necessary consequence, an increased [illegible] upon the people of those Respective Provinces. The local Railways must be both at the cost of the Provinces to with htey belong, and the Intercolonial at the joint ecpense of the [illegible] . The question now arises, as these works are to be constructed for the [illegible] of these Provinces, and [illegible]  of is, what advantage [illegible] from a union with Nova Scotia and New Brunswick that we do not enjoy in our present position ? As an agricultural country, we [illegible] benefit by the [illegible] of these works to supply [illegible]  [illegible] our Island ; but what [illegible] which we will enjoy [illegible]  we enter the union or [illegible] our independent condition. The hand of nature to be giving us our fruitful a soil and so [illegible] a climate, has secured [illegible] advantage to be independent of all political or national consideration similar [illegible] present position we enjoy comparative [illegible] from taxation. There [illegible] facts  which bargained we lose sight of [illegible] we are prepared to yield up our local Legislature and the right of taxation [illegible] for our local purposes and improvements and [illegible] besides all the other advantages which our independent position as a [illegible] Colonial Government confer upon us, we must [illegible] that  we are to receive larger and more permanent advantages - in fact, as [illegible] for what we are called upon to surrender.  The question, then, as has been already remarked is, what are we going to gain by such a union ? Should it [illegible] of religious feeling it might be something in the scale ; but there is very little prospect of this being a result, seeing it is a matter entirely among ourselves. It is [illegible] been which the other Colonies can offer, it is only an effect which might arise out of union. It appears to me that they can scarcely offer us an equivalent for PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 37 our independent position, and hence I consider that the resolution proposed by the hon. leader of the Government, is the only one we can safely adopt. We must not commit ourselves to the union as the other Colonies, by their Resolutions, appear to have done. We should first consider the expedience of a union ; but before we can be in a position to do so, we must hear the arguments and reasons which may be offered in support of it, and therefore, it is our duty to appoint delegates ; to refuse this much, would be uncourteous to our sister Colonies. Besides, we cannot lose by obtaining information; upon all colonial questions which may have a tendency to affect us as a government or a people. If the time should arrive when we might be necessitated to enter into a union, by refusing to confer on the subject now, we might be placed in a disadvantageous position hereafter. But while we appoint delegates, we must not tie up our hands, and commit ourselves to a union, without knowing what equivalent we are to receive. I admit that it might add to our importance to be a part of a larger Province which might be called Acadia or Cabotis, or any thing else, still this would not satisfy our people unless there was some material and great permanent advantage to be gained by the change. Though united with Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, we could do little in giving battle to a government like the United States, if it should ever be the policy of that country to go to war with England or her North American Colonies ; consequently, I can see no force in the argument drawn from probable occurrences in that country. We must look to ourselves, and our own interests, and act accordingly. The practical difficulty that would be experienced by us in sending Representatives across our ice-bound Strait in the winter season to attend the United Legislature in Halifax, or some other favored city on the other side of the water, seems to me at present almost sufficient to overbalance every argument in favor of the project, unless indeed, Charlottetown were made the capital of the United Provinces, which we could not expect it would be. The question is, then, should we give up our independent position—our separate Government—and become a part of a greater Province ? My own opinion is decidedly in the negative, but the question can only be satisfactorily answered when we ascertain the terms of union, which it would be the duty of delegates, if appointed, to learn ; therefore, I will support the resolution before the Committee authorizing such appointment, reserving to ourselves, as a Legislature, our own action hereafter upon the results of that Delegation.
Adjourned for one hour.


The Parliamentary Reporter of Debates and Proceedings of the House of Assembly. Charlottetown: The Protestant, 1864-1865. Microfilm copies provided by the Prince Edward Island Libraries and Archives.



Selection of input documents and completion of metadata: Dave Lang.

Personnes participantes: