Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island, 14 May 1867, Prince Edward Island Confederation with Canada.

Mr. HOWAT would give his support to the amendment. The hon. Attorney General seemed to complain that we would not exempt the Volunteers from burdens imposed upon other people. He was going to draw the Volunteers into the service with kindness. Then if one of these same Volunteers wished to be made a Constable, there was the fact of his being a Volunteer to exclude him from that appointment, or any other public duty which others had to bear? Some hon. members referred to him as the third member for Charlottetown; but certain men in the city seemed to claim more privileges than they were entitled to. He hoped to see the day when persons from the country would exercise more power in this House than they did now.
Hon LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION asked if the hon. member meant Mr. Callbeck ?
Mr. HOWAT said we were not to be frightened, or bribed into it, which he believed was attempted to be done. Now were we going to put military service upon the people until they were aware of it.
Mr. PROWSE remarked that no doubt the House Government wished us to go into Confederation, and would like to see the whole military force of the Colonies put together. If we wished to avoid this, we would have to give due attention to our military defences. He did not see how we could treat this Bill lightly, in the face of the telegram which he had just taken from the Report's desk.—"Earl Derby says the Government will not make public the real history of the recent Fenian uprising, on account of apprehended trouble with certain Foreign Governments which are involved in the plot." When hon. members considered this announcement, he did not think they would say that it was a matter of indifference whether we gave attention or not to military preparations. He believed would justly compel us to go into Confederation from a military necessity, if in these matters we did not do our duty. He would not give the Volunteers more privileges than the Militia. He understood that the Bill was similar to the Act in operation in Nova Scotia, and if they, who were going into Confederation, gave such attention to these duties, sure we who were not going into it, should be prepared to keep ourselves out of trouble. He would heartily support the Bill.
Hon. LEADER OF THE GOVERNMENT thought that if the Volunteers were to throw up their arms every time they took offence at something, there was not much dependence to be placed in them. He would like them to know more about the duty they owed to their superior officers. He did not hesitate to say again that in so far as the present manner of calling out the Militia was concerned, it was nothing but a piece of "tomfoolery." When called out and put through the drill, what was the result ? A few might have learned to wheel a little better than the others, but the bulk of them paid very little attention to the drill, and were none the better qualified for the discharge of military duties ; and he would still say that it was wrong to be calling out the Militia for ten or fifteen days, when the people could ill afford to
lose the time. He considered it a serious matter to interrupt the agricultural mercantile, and mechanical pursuits of the whole people for such a period, when it was well known that fifteen days' drilling would never qualify them for soldier's duty; but the volunteers could meet and drill as often as they pleased. If a foreign invasion was to take place, or was likely to happen it would be different; every man would then be in earnest, and would feel it to be a please and a duty to do all in his power for the defence of the country. But at present there was no more necessity for anything of the kind, than there was for our getting alarmed at the telegram read by the hon. member for Murray Harbor. The terror of Fenianism must not frighten us into foolish acts. As to the Bill, he thought hon, members opposite were under a mistake, and had been fighting with a phantom. The Bill brought down by the Government last year had been amended in committee, and surely members of the Government might submit an amendment to this one. It had been said that indifference on the part of the Government in this matter might be usual as an argument for Confederation. The Government had not shown indifference on military matters. They intended to support the volunteers, and this they had made manifest in the appropriation for that service. Before the general election the late Government were going to do something for the volunteers, but these becoming offended. threatened their representative or the Government with their opposition. Again if the Commander-in-Chief did that they considered not fully right, they would not retain their arms. Men so acting lost respect for themselves. It was too much like a Bull's Run affair. He hoped, bye-and-bye, that the Volunteers would do better than to throw down their arms one day and take them up another. As to the exemption from statute labor, it was but three shillings a year, and was not a matter worth an exemption. If the bulk of the people on a road in the winter were exempted, there would not be enough to turn out to break the roads, and travelling for a time might be entirely stopped. In the summer it would not be of so much importance.
them rather go naked than vote for him (Dr. Jenkins.)
Hon. Mr. HENDERSON was surprised at the manner in which the hon. Leader of the Government was acting in relation to his Bill. There appeared to be some misunderstanding between him and His Excellency the Lieut. Governor. He was astonished that some hon. members should contend that raw recruits were as good as trained soldiers. They might with equal justice, say that the shop boy with one day's acquaintance with his business was as good as the trained clerk. He did not understand how the Militia movement could be regarded as a Confederate "dodge." Confederation was a new question, while Militia acts were of old standing. Though he did not advocate carrying the matter of Militia training too far, still it was absurd to suppose that people could be prepared for action in the field with only a few days' notice.
Hon. ATTY. GENERAL would assure the hon. member for Murray Harbor, that there was no misunderstanding with His Excellency in the matter of this Bill. all anxiety on that point might be dismissed.
The amendment that the words "and the performance of the Statute labor," be struck out of the clause, was then put and carried.


The Parliamentary Reporter of Debates and Proceedings of the House of Assembly. Charlottetown: The Patriot, 1867. Microfilm copies provided by the Prince Edward Island Libraries and Archives.



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

Personnes participantes: