Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island, 07 April 1868, Prince Edward Island Confederation with Canada.

Hon. LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION—I shall press my motion. It does seem to me unfortunate that extraneous matter is dragged into every subject which comes before us, whatever the matter under discussion may be, whether it is the Land Question, the Barracks or the Fisheries, other questions are mixed up with it. The subject under consideration might be crowded into a nut shell, and therefore there was no necessity for the Attorney General to drag in the building of the Barracks or any other matter. I am prepared to justify the expenditure of the £12,000 laid out by the late Government in the erection of theses buildings. We are to look upon that sum as so much money expended to maintain British law and order, and to put down an association which, if it had not been checked in time, would have ended in open rebellion. The result of this state of things would be, that we would be placed where the people of this Colony do not wish to be—in the great Confederation. I move that the resolution be amended by striking out the words "and contingent expenses," because there is no necessity to pay a person one hundred pounds per year to take care of these Barracks. When the hon. member for Belfast (Mr. Davies) said the troops were brought here for the purpose of injuring the character of the people of this country, and thereby be the means of getting the Colony forced into Confederation, he stated what was politically untrue. He knows very well that there were gentlemen in the late Executive Council who were as much opposed to Confederation as he himself was, and who had a great deal more firmness than he has. Among those hon. members of that Council there was Mr. Henderson—there is not much of the Confederate in him, There was also another strong anti-Confederate, who is now in his grave, and who had more of the blood of a true patriot in his little finger than the hon. member for Belfast has in his whole body—I refer to the late James McLaren. This hon. gentleman who looked upon with confidence from one end of Queen's County to the other. He was respected by both Liberals and Conservatives, by Catholics and Protestants ; in fact he was like Caesar's wife, above suspicion. He was no Confederate, Mr. Speaker. Will the hon. member say that John Longworth is a Confederate? No. Sir. He was the father of those strong resolutions which were brought into this House against Confederation, and much as I differ with him on that question, I believe him to be perfectly honest in his intentions. If either of these gentlemen had had a shadow of a doubt as to the intentions of their party in bringing the troops to this Colony they would have vacated their seats in the late Executive Council. It is know that if that Council had opposed the calling in of those troops the Administrator of the Government, for the time being, would have undertaken to do so, to maintain order and to uphold British law in the Colony. I too, have always said that I would ever by any means, by any back-stair work put Prince Edward Island into Confederation unless the majority if the people were in its favor. I would rather cut off my right hand than be guilty of such under-hand work as to legislate against the wishes of the people ; but, I presume, the hon. member for Belfast measures my corn by his own bushel. We, the members of the late Government wished to maintain law and order, and there was no other alternative, but to call in the troops. If the hon. member was opposed to Confederation, he has proved recreant to his principles, he has proved to be a traitor to his country. The late Government lost grounds at the late elections, not on the Confederation question, but because they opposed the Tenant League. What did the present Government do whenever they obtained the reins of power? They appointed the late Editor of the Examiner to the highest office in the gift of the Colony, although that gentleman had denounced the Tenant League and was strongly in favor of Confederation. We know, Sir, that the Liberal Party promised the people to appoint no Confederate to office, and that they were also pledged against Confederation; but a change came over the spirit of their dreams, and they gave the Queen's Printership to a strong Confederate. The hon. Attorney General, who is the real Leader of the Government, pleads guilty to the soft impeachment that the retaining of this Mr. Hayden in office as Keeper of the Barracks, is a political job. I give the hon member credit for being a moral man and well read in sacred scriptures, but because his brother is wrong should be go wrong also? WHat has the building of the Barracks to do with paying a man one hundred pounds per year to take care of these buildings? If the Barracks were left in a dirty state the Government could have remedied the matter by reporting to General Doyle who would very soon have caused the detachment to pay expenses because there is noting the military are so particular about as cleanliness. The officers in command will not allow a nail to be driven without cause, and they cause all damages to be repaired. But as these Barracks were a necessity, they should not go to destruction for want of proper care, they should be given in charge of the Drill Sergeants, who are best qualified for the offices of keepers. Have the Government got a bond from Mr. Hayden for the value of these buildings? If they are burned down when he is out fishing or when he is about his private business, is he bound to pay the Government £12,000? I very much doubt that any man would be fool enough to join him in giving that bond. The Government would be just as well secured in giving the property in case of one of the Drill Sergeants who would take just as much or more care of it than Mr. Hayden, but now comes in the extraordinary statement of the hon. member for Belfast, that if the Government had appointed a military man they would have to pay a Corporal's guard to relieve him. Well, that is paying a poor compliment to those who have been soldiers. If his theory is sound we will not want any more sergeants to red-coats anywhere, but PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 147 I have no faith in his doctrine, we can get the Barracks looked after at a less cost than a hundred a year. I am not ashamed to own that the buildings cost a large sum because they were a necessity, but I do not wish them to be destroyed now. Although the Tenant League is dead outside of this House, it has a little leaven inside. But we hope that the sword will be turned into a reaping hook, and that these Barracks may yet serve some peaceful and useful purpose. Possibly the building may be turned into a Normal School, goodness knows what is in store for us. If the Government can afford to give a hundred pounds a year for taking care of these Barracks, then can get them insured for a larger sum for the same money as they now pay the keeper. They can get as much insurance as they like, and, therefore, the buildings might be converted into an elegant edifice for Industrial Exhibitions for the whole Island. For these reasons we should keep it insured, and therefore I will press my motion.
Mr. MCNEILL.—I do not care about voting money for these Barracks, but they contain a good deal of valuable property which might be destroyed or carried away by evil disposed persons if it is not placed under the care of a Keeper. I will support the resolution. As the Hon. Leaders of the Opposition has tried to justify the building of the Barracks, I will make a few remarks on the subject, and show why certain individuals offered so much opposition to the Tenant League. I am sorry to mention the name of a gentleman who is no more, for I do not like to bring in the name of a person who cannot reply. The hon member (Mr. H.) has tried to prove that the troops were brought to this Colony on account of the doings of the League, but I can prove that they were brought here to serve the selfish ends of the Confederate party in the ranks of the late Government. I took the late Mr. Whelan's paper for a number of years before there were any signs of a disturbance, and I can show that, by his writings, he encouraged the formation of an association of this kind. And not only did Mr. Whelan do so, but a Colonial Secretary, appointed by the late Government, did the same. Mr. Whelan said that if a few poor devils resisted the law they would be put down, but if the whole body of the tenantry resisted in a mass, something would be done, and the Land Question would be settled. The editors of both the Islander and Examiner were then strong Confederates, and advocated these measures before the people thought of uniting for the purpose of obtaining free land at a reasonable cost. But whenever these two editors saw that the Tenant League declared against Confederation, they opened fire upon the association at once, and said that the troops must be brought here for the purpose of suppressing it. The late editor of the Examiner prophesied that an association would be formed, but when he found that it opposed Confederation, he declared that the late Government were quite justified in bringing the troops here for its suppression. But I do not intend to occupy the time of this hon House about this matter. I do not think these were the only causes for the opposition manifested towards the Tenant League for I believe there were other causes. There was a long spell of tyranny and oppression, owing to the evils of the leasehold system, and the people were deluded by political demagogues, till at last they were out of patience, and determined to arise in their strength and act for themselves. I think the best thing the late Government could have done when their term of office had expired, was to send the troops away, and either to destroy the buildings or take them down and use the materials for some other purpose. As matters are at present, something else must be done with these Barracks ; perhaps the best plan would be to turn them into a workhouse. But the building of them at all, under the circumstances, was a scandalous waste of the public money.
Hon. Mr. DAVIES.—I do not intend to take much time in making a reply to some statements made by hon. members on the other side of the House. The hon. Leader of the Opposition has attempted to justify the bridging of the troops to this Colony, and gave as a reason for so doing, that Mr. Henderson and other gentlemen were in the Government at the time, and that the troops were not brought here for the purpose of disgracing the Colony, to get us forced into Confederation. But, I believe a party in the late; Government had those objects in view. There was a deep laid scheme among their supporters, which that Government were not fully aware of ; this was to stir up the people as they did, and get them to believe that an extraordinary settlement of the Land Question was about to take place, then to completely disappoint the tenantry, and thus drive them to resist the laws, if possible. They would then have a pretext for sending for the troops, and would try to make the world believe that the Colony was not ca PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 148 pable of governing itself. When all this was done they thought to have us forced into Confederation, but they were miserably disappointed. The people were satisfied with the provisions of the Land purchase Bill, and the members of the late Government knew this ; but they declared that the people were imposed upon by that Bill, and they made the whole country believe that by the great settlement of the Land Question, which they would bring about, the lands of the Colony would be bought at a price under which the poorest person would be enabled to become a freeholder. The supporters of the Conservative party especially believed that the Land Question was at last about to be settled, but what was the result ? The people saw that the Award was a mere sham, and they were exasperated. This was just what a certain party in the late Government wanted. They wished to stir up the people to revolt, to show the Mother Country that the people were not worthy of a Free Government, and that the Colony should be attached to another country—in short that we should be forcibly joined to the Confederation. They wished to prove that the Tenant League was a mean, disorderly society, but they knew that it was not. I supported measures which were calculated to relieve the people from the burden which has been imposed upon them. I do not act from selfish motives as they did, when they opposed the League. The Conservative party supported the proprietory faction, and they deceived the people, not only about free lands, but about the main object they had in view.
Hon Mr. LAIRD.—The Government will expend no more on the Barracks than is absolutely necessary, for the current year.
The question then being put on the amendment, the House divided as follows :—In favor of the amendment : Hons. Haviland, McAulay, Henderson, Kelly ; Messrs. Brecken, Owen, MacLennan, Ramsay, Howatt, Green, Prowse, Yeo—12
Against it—Hons. Coles, Hensley, Laird, Davie Callbeck, Howlan ; Messrs. G. Sinclair, P. Sinclair, Arsenault, MacCormack, MacNeill, Kickbam, Cameron, Reilly, Bell—15
So the Resolution passed in the negative ; and the question being again put, it was resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned for one hour.
I. OXENHAM, Reporter.


The Parliamentary Reporter of Debates and Proceedings of the House of Assembly. Charlottetown: The Examiner, 1868. Microfilm copies provided by the Prince Edward Island Libraries and Archives.



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

Personnes participantes: