Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island, 30 March 1870, Prince Edward Island Confederation with Canada.


WEDNESDAY, March 30.

Hon. Mr. Howlan presented to the House supplementary estimates, which were laid on the table.
House again in committee on the despatches.
Hon. COL. SECRETARY said the matter referred to in the resolution submitted by the hon. Leader of the Government, last night, was of vast importance to the Colony, and it was expected that each hon. gentleman on this committee would express an opinion thereon. He (Mr. Davies) expected that the hon. Leader of the Opposition would have risen and given his opinion whether the resolution under consideration met his views or not; but, perhaps the hon. member was waiting, under the impression that fuller PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 137 information would be laid before the committee. But the Government had nothing more to lay before the Legislature on the question. From the correspondence on the table, it was to be seen that we were asked to unite as a colony with the Dominion of Canada. To this he objected, because he believed our present constitution was sufficient to meet all the governmental requirements of the Colony ; and he knew our people considered that to hand over the collection and expenditure of our revenue, with all the other splendid privileges we enjoyed, to Canada, would be to relinquish our birthright. Should this Colony do so, it would then be nothing more than a municipality, and he thought the people of this Island should seriously consider the consequences of such an important and irretrievable step before it was taken. The first effect this Island would experience under confederation would result from having our usual revenue expended upon the public works in the Dominion, the whole of which would be under the control of the Government of Canada ; while our own necessities would compel us to resort to direct taxation for local purposes. Our roads, wharfs and public schools would, in common with other public requirements, have to be maintained from the same source. Looking at confederation from that point of view, he had great objections to it. This Island never asked or sought confederation ; but the public men of the Dominion came first down here and sought our co-operation. Of course they were received as became gentlemen occupying their high positions, and before they left, succeeded in inducing some of our public men to follow them up to Canada, where the most of them signed the terms agreed upon at Quebec.
Hon. Mr. HAVILAND.—They all agreed to them.
Hon. COL. SECRETARY.—The people were in utter ignorance with respect in those terms, and were indebted to Hon. Edward Palmer for placing them in their true light. And so strong was public opinion, from the information given at that time, that the House of Assembly felt it to be its duty to pass a strong no- terms resolution. In adopting that course, he was of opinion that the House acted prematurely, for he believed it would have been sufficient to have said that the overtures made were not acceptable. Such would have been a wiser and less offensive line of policy. No doubt the British Government had a strong desire to see those colonies united, and in giving expression to these opinions her public men were guided by the impression that British interests in those Colonies would thereby be more likely to be continued. That opinion had recently been again expressed by Earl Granville, in his despatch to Sir John Young, who brought it to the notice of the Government of this Island in the despatch on the table; and we had a right now to express our opinions also. Yet he thought it would be wrong to go directly and positively against what was known to be the earnest desire of the Imperial Government, and he might add, the people of England, whose wishes were made known to us in the despatches which were then under consideration. While he would not deny but that Great Britain might exercise a control over us which would all but compel us to unite with Canada, yet he did not suppose she intended to do so; and this, he thought, might reasonably be inferred from an extract which he would read from the despatch of Earl Granville to Governor Musgrave, dated August 14th, 1869:—
"I have now to inform you that the terms on which Rupert's Land and the North West Territory are to be united to Canada, have been agreed to by the parties concerned, and the Queen will probably be advised before long, to issue an order in Council which will incorporate, in the Dominion of Canada, the whole of the British Possessions on the North American Continent, except the then conterminous Colony of British Columbia."
From this he inferred that Great Britain would, in so far as she constitutionally could do so, place all her colonies on this continent into confederation. But to this Island she had granted a constitution which could not be taken away but by the consent of our own people. Rupert's Land was in the position of this Island, previous to 1850, and, therefore, Her Majesty's Government could place that country into confederation when she pleased ; but he regarded our situation as entirely different. The fact was, we were an independent people, having had self-government granted to us, which was confirmed and sanctioned by the statute law of the Colony. He mentioned these facts to show that Her Majesty had not power now, constitutionally, to annexions to Canada, and hence our destiny was in our own hands; but it nevertheless was our duty to pay due respect to the Imperial wishes, and not PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 138 to treat disrespectfully any offer coming to us either from England or the Dominion. Taking these matters into consideration it would not be prudent to pass a no- terms resolution. If we did no, Earl Granville, speaking for the British Government, might say, we had placed ourselves in opposition to the policy of the empire ; and that as we were but a colony of 100,000 people, it could not be permitted that we should thus obstruct the Imperial wish. Canada might be instructed to offer terms which, on reference to the Home Government would be regarded as fair and just ; then if that was the case and we declined to accept them, the question would arise whether it would be right to allow each a small colony to set at defiance the policy of the mother country and the probability was that the Imperial ministry would say they could not ; and those ideas, he (Mr. D.) thought were worthy the serious consideration of that hon. committee, for he believed if a resolution similar to the one passed by the late Government should be carried this session, it would but defeat the end which the country had so much at heart, namely, the retaining of our constitution intact, as it was now happily enjoyed. The Canadian Government, in compliance with instructions received from Great Britain, had offered us better terms, by $800,000, thank those contained in the Quebec Report, and said;--
"That in the event of the Island becoming part of the Union, the Government of the Dominion will endeavor to secure for the Island, from the Imperial Government, fair compensation for the loss of Crown Lands. Should the Dominion Government fail in their efforts to secure such compensation, they will undertake to raise by Loan; guaranteed by the Imperial Government; or upon their own securities, should such guarantee be refused, either hundred thousand dollars ($800,000), and pay the same to the Island Government, as a compensation for the loss of such Crown Lands–this sum to be in addition to the other sums mentioned in the preceding proposals. That the Dominion Government will also use their influence to secure such legislation as will enable the Government of the Island to purchase the Land, now held in large blocks, upon terms just and equitable to all parties concerned."
This paragraph merely promised that if we entered the union, the Dominion Government would use its effort to procure this addition to the propositions of the Quebec terms. He felt that the Government should do its duty but no more ; and in the reply given to those proposals it did that, and we were today as free as we were before the offer was received. No overtures were made by the Government of this Island, or promises held forth that this Island would accept of any terms. He (Mr. D.) admitted the right of the learned Leader of the Opposition, on any other gentleman on that hon. committee, to ask for all papers which had passed between the Government and the delegates from Ottawa, but these were all given. No meeting was held with them but the informal one mentioned, nor was any record kept, and he could assure that hon. committee that no overtures made to the delegation. Nor did the Government endeavor to throw unreasonable obstacles in the way or hold out delusive hopes. He had himself stated that the people of the Island would never listen to any proposals of union until the land question was just finally settled ; and that even if it was they should then be still as free as ever, either to receive or reject any proposals which might be made. But there were other meetings held by the delegates from Canada, and these were the gentlemen in Charlottetown outside of the Government.
Mr. BRECKEN.–who were they ?
Hon. COL. SECRETARY did not know. But, in their report the delegates said that they–
"Visited the Island of Prince Edward, in August last, and having, while there, had the opportunity of discussing, informally, with members of the Government, and other leading public men, the question of the political union of the Island with the Dominion."
This showed that they discussed the question with " other leading public men, " and as the government of the Island gave them no encouragement, it appeared to him (Mr. D.) that overtures were made to them by some parties, or the Canadian government would not have sent any proposals down. He knew there were a few in Charlottetown and vicinity who arrogated to themselves all the respectability and influence in the country, and from the heights of their own creating looked down with contempt upon the present government, and regarded the party new in power as being composed of men who obtained their position by misrepresentation ; and they very likely led the gentlemen from Canada to believe that public opinion would not long support the government ; therefore it was that he (Mr. D.) believed that the Delegation formed their opinions, not from the government, but from what they heard from gentlemen outside. This to him was also more apparent from the PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 139 fact that in the House of Commons as Ottawa they were upbraided for the unsuccessful and unsatisfactory result of their recent mission to this Island, and were unable to defend themselves for having led the authorities at Ottawa to believe the overtures would be accepted. The hon. member (Mr. Davies) then reviewed the despatch of Earl Granville, and drew the inference therefrom that no coercive measures were to be used towards this Island, but he would pass that by and dwell for a moment upon the $800,00 item. When he first read that part of the despatch, he thought the money, under confederation, could be at once obtained ; but, on examining the matter more closely, he saw that it would be then as far from us as it was twenty years ago. There was, however, an acknowledgment in that offer which he regarded as important, and worthy the earnest attention of that Committee. The admission was therein made that this Island had been unjustly dealt with. The crown lands, which belonged to the colony, had been given away ; and the quit rents, which should have become the property of this colony also, were never paid. It was in fact an admission from the Home and Canadian Government that this colony had been unfairly treated. He regarded the offer as no equivalent for what we were expected to give up in return, yet hoped the Committee would not forget that the probability of our ever receiving the money, even if the terms were accepted, was doubtful. If Britain would not pay it at once, Canada might fairly ask to be allowed a reasonable time to use its influence with the Home Government, and that reasonable time might extend over a period of thirty or forty years, and then the question be as far from being settled as ever. But as discussing all such details was premature, he would pass on to consider the real value of our lands, and here he found the answer supplied by Great Britain herself. Our lands, as a whole, were worth four times acre for acre, that of the average value of those of the Dominion, and had been valued by the Imperial Government in the rent which had been exacted, and its payment enforced by Imperial Troops under the influence of the late government ; and that annual rent ranged from £2 10s. to £7 10s. per hundred acres. The average might be set down at £5 sterling as the annual rent of each one hundred acres. This value, he held, the Home Government established, for, quite recently, when a few of the Tenant Union men refused to pay their rent, British soldiers were brought to this Island and employed to enforce its payment at the point of the bayonet—an act which conclusively proved the value set upon our lands by Great Britain. Therefore, if we were asked to set a price upon them, we would have but to say, " You have set a price upon them yourselves ; and when that was figured up it would amount, not as had been stated, to $1,240,000, but probably to that many pounds sterling, a sum which would surprise the Home Government itself, but to which, by its own decision, it could not object. His (Mr. D.'s) opinion was, that the Canadian delegates had, by some means or other, been deceived. We knew as the hon. leader of the Government had said last night, that Scotland and Ireland had had promises made to them before union, which had not for a long time been fulfilled ; and, with respect to the latter country, the promises made were only being earnestly and fairly considered now. He thought, therefore, that this question required careful and cautious attention, and that it was the duty of all to treat any proposals which might be made firmly, but at the same time, to avoid giving the least offence. This the government had done, and it was no light duty successfully to discharge. He knew that there were some who maintained that acceptance of the terms proposed would confer immediate advantages upon this Island ; but, admitting they were correct in the opinions which  they had formed, he thought it must be evident to every man who would carefully look into the matter that eventually, or in four or five years, we could not possibly be in any better position than our fellow colonists in Canada ; and we knew that for roads, education, and other objects which must be attended to, they had now to resort to direct taxation. It was unreasonable to suppose but that we would, under confederation, have to do the same. He saw lately in a letter from a friend who removed from this Island to Canada a few years ago, that the local tax on his farm of one hundred acres was $26, and, unquestionably, in a short time, every man whose farm would be worth £500 or £600 on this Island would, for local taxes, have to pay a like annual amount if we should become a part of the Dominion of Canada. Representing, therefore, as he did, an agricultural constituency, he would oppose any measure which would have a tendency to bring us into confederation. He knew that his constituents sought no bounty at the hands of Canada to induce them to consent to any such proposals. He would be ashamed of his country if, for any amount of money, his countrymen  PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 140 would sell their glorious birthright. We had bought out the rights of most of the landed proprietors, and our excellent measure for affecting that object was working so admirably well, he hoped the time was not far distant when a landed proprietor would be numbered among the things of the past on Prince Edward Island. Our position as a colony was good. Our public lands, including the bonds held for what was sold, would meet the greater portion on our public debt. In arriving at this conclusion he was guided by the Report of the Lands Commissioner, who, he noticed, had very properly placed the lands at the lowest figure ; and, independent of this, there were 60,000 acres to which no value had been affixed ; therefore, as his hon friend, the leader of the Government, observed, if we were to follow the rule adopted in Canada of making out our public accounts, we would not merely have no public debt against this colony, but a surplus in its favor. Turning to figure he found a balance against the colony of £145,885, against which was to be placed the value of lands and bonds in hand for lands sold, which amounted to £105,945, which left a balance of £39,940 against the colony ; but when the land not valued, public works, buildings, &c., were taken into account, it would be seen that our position was far in advance of that of any of the provinces in the Dominion. He had thus made matters as plain as he thought necessary, and went into details as far as was then required, believing, as he did, that a bright future was before the Island. Canada proper would not purchase our exports, and offered us no market ; but new and better ones would be gradually opening up, which would confer increased advantages upon the colony. We had successfully encountered difficulties which none of the other colonies had to contend with ; and he thought there was no fear as to the future if a prudent course was persevered in for the time to come. He had thus expressed himself as clearly as he deemed it his duty, and thought when that hon. committee would calmly review the action of the government during the recess, it would admit it did its best to discharge that duty which it owed to the Legislature and the country as faithfully as it was possible for men placed in their position to do.
Hon. Mr. HAVILAND felt that he must congratulate the House on the changed tone that had taken place on this question since a few years ago. Then it was almost dangerous to rise on this floor and admit the principle. of confederation. The present government, however, had admitted the principle. Their leader in this House had last night given a lengthy speech, in which there was not one word against the principle; and the hon Colonial Secretary, in his opening remarks to-day, had declared that it would be dangerous to pass a no-terms resolution ; - and no wonder, because if they did, it would conflict with the part played by the Executive during the recess. Neither in the minute of Council of the 7th January, nor in that of the 4th February, was there anything set forth as standing in the way of union but the land question. In these minutes the members of the Executive in effect say, " if the Canadian govenrment will use their influence and obtain a settlement of the land question, they will establish their prestige, and we will go into confederation. Then Newfoundland and the other colonies outside of the confederacy will enter the union, and the Dominion shall become a great and powerful nation." Again, the hon member from Wilmot Creek had said that because of the position he (Mr. Laird) had taken on this question, perhaps he might lose his seat. That member of the Executive, who had been the only one of its numbers who had discussed the policy of the government, and he (Mr. H.) would then be fighting shoulder to shoulder. Then the hon leader of the government had expressed the opinion last night that it would not be right to change our constitution until every acre of land in the colony was our own. What other inference could be drawn from this remark than that when the land question was settled we would go into confederation ?
Hon. Mr. HOWLAN would explain that by- and-bye.
Hon. Mr. HAVILAND had no doubt the hon member would attempt to wriggle out of it in some way. That gentleman had quoted authorities last night to show that the union of Scotland and England had produced injurious results. When he (Mr. H.) asked him at the time for the name of the author from whose works he had read, he was told this morning that it was Smollett. That writer might be a very good novelist, but of all the authorities on history that he (Mr. H.) ever heard of, a more disgraceful one could not be cited.
Hon. Mr. HOWLAN had also quoted MeCulloch.
Hon. Mr. HAVILAND. - Yes, and like Dr. Tupper, who, in his controversy with Mr. PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 141 Howe, had quoted that gentleman against himself, he (Mr. H.) would quote McCulloch against McCulloch. Here was what that writer had also said :
"No old settled country, of which there is any authentic account, ever made half the progress in civilization and the accumulation of wealth that Scotland had done since the year 1768, and especially since 1787."
Hon. Mr. HOWLAN - That was sixty years after the union.
Hon. Mr. HAVILAND.-No matter, the principle was the same. And since the hon member had gone into history, together with the press in the pay of the government, as he say by a later number of the paper issued from the office of the Queen's Printer, he (Mr. H.) would quote authorities also. He would first read from Jeffery, the father of the Edinburgh Review:
"If any one doubts of the wretchedness of an unequal and unincorporatingalliance of the degradation of being subject to a provincial parliament and a distant king, and of the efficacy of a substantial union in curing all these evils, he is invited to look to the obvious example of Scotland. While the crowns only were united, and the governments continued separate, the weaker country was the scene of the most atrocious cruelties, the most violent injustice, the most degrading oppressions. The prevailing religion of the people was proscribed and persecuted with a ferocity greater than has ever been systematically exercised, even in Ireland; her industry was crippled and depressed by unjust and intolerable restrictions; her parliaments corrupted and overawed into the degraded instruments ofa distant court, and her nobility and gentry, cut off from all hope of distinction by vindicating their rights or promoting the interests of the country at home, were led to look up to the favour of her oppressors as the only remaining avenue to power, and degenerated, for the most part, into a band or mercenary adventures ; - the more considerable aspiring to the wretched honor of executing the tryannicalorders which were dictated from the South, and the rest acquiring gradually those habits of subserviency and selfish submission, the traces oi which are by some supposed to be yet discernible in their descendants. The Revolution, which rested almost entirely on the prevailing antipathy to Popery, required of course, the co-operation of all classes of Protestants ; and, by its success, the Scottish Presbyterians were relived, for a time, from their Episcopalian persecutions. But it was not till after the Union that the nation was truly emancipated ; or lifted up from the abject condition of a dependant at once suspected and despised. The effects of that happy consolidation were not indeed immediately apparent ; for the vices which had been generated by a centure of provincial mis-government, the meannesses that had become habitual, the animosities that had so long been fostered, could not be cured at once, but the mere removal of their cause. The generation they had degraded, must first be allowed to die out - and more, perhaps, than one generation : But the poison tree was cut down - the fountain of bitter waters scaled up, and symptoms of returning vigour and happiness were perceived. Vestiges may still be traced, perhaps, of our long degradation ; but for, at least, forty years back, the provinces of Scotland have been on the whole, but the Northern provinces of Great Britain. There are no local oppressions, no national animosities. Life, and liberties, and property, are as secure in Caithness as they are in Middlesex - industry as much encouraged, and wealth still more rapidly progressive while not only different religious opinions, but different religious establishments subsist in the two ends of the same island in unbroken harmony and only excite each other, but a friendly emulation, to greater purity of life and greater zeal for Christianity."
Then hear what Jeffry said in reference to Ireland, which had had a most corrupt and venal parliament:
"So far from tracing any substantive part of her miscries to the Union of 1800, we think they are to be ascribed mainly to its long delay, and its ultimate incompleteness. It is not by a dissolution of the Union with England then, that any good can be done, but by its improvement and consolidation. Some injury it may have produced to the shopkeepers of Dublin, and some inconsiderable increase in the number of the absentees. But it has shut up the main fountain of corruption and dishonor ; and palsied the arm and broken the heart of local insolence and oppression. It has substituted, at least potentially and in prospect, the wisdom and honor of the British Government and the British people, to the passions and sordid interests of a junto of Irish boroughmongers, -and not only enabled, but compelled, all parties to appeal directly to the great tribunal of the British public."
These were the opinions of Jeffery, and he (Mr. H.) would place them in the scale against those of Smollett. And if one authority was not enough he would quote another. He would read an extract from the works of one of the brightest men of modern times - one whose 1ight went out before he came to years of ripeness. He alluded to Henry Thomas Buckle, who, 1n his History, of Civilization, said: —
"The Union with England, which was completed in 1707, produced immediate and striking effects on trade. Its first effect was, to throw open to the Scotch a new and extensive commerce with the English colonies in America. Before the Union, no goods of any kind could be landed in Scotland from the American plantations, unless they had first been landed in England, and paid duty there; nor even, in that case, might they be conveyed by any Scotch vessel. This was one of many foolish regulations by which our legislators, interfered with the natural course of affairs, and injured the interests of their own country, as well as those of their neighbors. Formerly, however, such laws were considered to be extremely sagacious, and politicians were constantly contriving protective schemes of this sort, which, with the best intentions, inflicted incalculable harm. But, if as seems probable, one of their objects, in this instance, was to retard the improvement of Scotland, they were more than usually suc PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 142 cessful in effecting the purpose at which they aimed. For, the whole of the western coast, being cut off from direct intercourse wit the American colonies, was debarred from the only foreign trade it could advantageously follow ; since the European ports lay to the east, and could not be reached by the inhabitants of Western Scotland without a long circumnavigation, which prevented them from competing, on equal terms, with their countrymen, who, [illegible] from the other side, were already near the thief seats of commerce. The consequence was, that Glasgow and the other western ports remained almost stationary ; having comparatively few means of gratifying that enterprising spirit, which rose among them late in the seventeenth century, and not daring to trade with those prosperous colonies which were just before them across the Atlantic, but from which they were entirely excluded by the jealous precautions of the English parliament.
"When, however, by the Act of the Union, the two countries became one, these precautions were discontinued, and Scotland was allowed to hold direct intercourse with America and the West India Islands. The result which this produced on the national industry, was almost instantaneous, because it gave vent to a spirit which had begun to appear among the people late in the seventeenth century, and because it was sided by those still more general causes, which, in most parts of Europe, predisposed that age to increase industry. The west of Scotland, being nearest to America, was the first to feel the movement. In 1707, the inhabitants of Greenock, without the interference of government, imposed on themselves a voluntary assessment, with the object of constructing a harbor. In this undertaking, they displayed so much zeal, that, by the year 1710, the whole of the works were completed ; a pier and capacious harbor were erected, and Greenock was suddenly raised from insignificance to take an important part int he trade of the Atlantic. For a while, the merchants were content to carry on their traffic with ships hired from the English. Soon, however, they became bolder ; they began to build on their own account; and, in 1719, the first vessel belonging to Greenock sailed for America. From that moment, their commerce increased so rapidly that, by the year 1740, the tax which the citizens had laid on themselves sufficed, not only to wipe off the debt which had been incurred, but also to leave a considerable surplus available for municipal purposes. At the same time, and by the action of the same causes, Glasgow emerged from obscurity. In 1718, its enterprising inhabitants launched in the Clyde the first Scotch vessel which ever crossed the Atlantic ; thus, anticipating the people of Greenock by one year, Glasgow and Greenock became the two great commercial outlets of Scotland, and the chief centres of activity. Comforts, and, indeed, luxuries, hitherto only attainable at enormous cost, began to be diffused through the country. The productions of the tropics could now be procured direct from the New World, which, in return, offered a rich and abundant market for manufactured good. This was a further stimulus to Scotch industry, and its effects were immediately apparent. The inhabitants of Glasgow, finding a great demand among the Americans for them, introduced its manufacture into their city in 1720, whence it extended to other places, and, in a short time, gave employment to thousands of workmen."
There was one statement here which was rather curious, namely, that it was not until the year 1718 that the first Scotch vessel sailed from Glasgow for America. After noting the progress of events a few years later, Duckle further said:—
"Such as the state of Scotland towards the middle of the eighteenth century ; and surely a fairer prospect was never opened to any country. The land was at peace. It had nothing to fear, either from foreign invasion, or from domestic tyranny. The arts, which increase the comfort of man, and minister to his happiness, were sedulously cultivated; wealth was being crested with unexampled speed, and the blessings which follow in the train of wealth were being widely diffused ; while the [illegible] of the nobility was so effectually curbed, that industrious citizens could, for the first time, feel their own independence, could know that what they earned that likewise they should enjoy, and could hold themselves erect, and with a manly brow, in the presence of a class before whom they had long crouched in abject submission.
And he (Mr. H.) could cite other authorities to the same effect. We all knew that previous to the reign of Queen Anne, Scotland could not trade with the colonies. Nor could she receive manufactured goods from England on account of the high duties, and her own linen, the only Scotch manufacture of that time of any importance, was almost excluded from England owing to the same cause. Before the union a great rivalry existed between the two nations. About the close of the 17th century the Scotch organized a great company called the Darien Company, which was to plant a colony on the Atlantic side of the isthmus by that name, and so form a commercial entrepôt between the eastern and western hemispheres; and so high did the feeling run between them and the English, that, though under the one sovereign, a vessel was seized and the captain hung. All this was because instead of having the generous rivalry, occasioned by being placed on the same footing, the Scotch were under a disadvantage in not being allowed to trade with the colonies. Scotland had succeeded wonderfully since her union with England, not only in agriculture and manufactures, but in the progress which her sons had made in engineering skill, in the sciences generally, and in literature ; they were the first people in the world, and he, (Mr. H.) if he had the choice of his country, would sooner be a Scotchman than anything else, except, of course, a British American. The hon. member (Mr. Howlan) thought he had made a great point when he quoted from PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 143 the celebrated Tobias Smollett about the dissatisfaction in Scotland relative to the imposition of a malt tax. It was to be expected that troubles would sometimes arise, for no state could make laws to please all parties. But those cases cited by the hon. Leader of the Government were chiefly those which took place about the time of the rebellions of 1715 and 1745. They were disputes which had nothing to do with the Act of Union—they more properly related to the glory argument, and arose from the loyalty of the Scotch to the house of Stuart. He would now say a word with respect to Ireland—that country which was held up to be miserably downtrodden. Her union with England was a blessing, for it did away with the Irish parliament, than which there had never been a more useless, corrupt, venal, and miserable body of the kind anywhere. We know that up to the year of 1783, by the action of what was called Poyning's law, a bill could not be introduced into that parliament until it was first submitted to the parliament of Britain. Grattan, Flood, Plunket and Purke by their eloquence obtained a repeal of this law. He wondered at Roman Catholics regretting the loss of the Irish parliament, for no man could vote for a member, or sit as a member in that parliament, unless he were a Protestant. There was no independence about that body ; it had not a few of what was called " borough members." About 200, out of the whole 300 of which it was composed, could be returned by about 100 gentlemen outside. Such was the great Irish parliament. And when it obtained the power to introduce a bill without submitting it to the English parliament, it did not remove the disabilities from Roman Catholics. The measure for their relief did not originate in Ireland, but in England under the great Pitt. Had the Irish parliament remained as it was in 1783, we would never have seen Roman Catholic emancipation in that country, nor Gladstone's great bill of last year for the disestablishment of the Irish church. The measure which had brought about this was the one introduced by Pitt, which united Ireland with Britain, and placed her in an equal position under the same parliament. By that union she became part of the greatest empire in the world ; and by it she obtained in time the franchise for her Roman Catholic population. There was no guarantee when the union took place that this emancipation would follow. Pitt pledged his word that it should be carried ; but King George would not agree to it, as he thought it would be a violation of his coronation oath. Then, again, with respect to the Irish land question, which had been a grievance from time immemorial, and was bandied about from one political party to the other, it was now about to be remedied by Gladstone. For all these measures, then, the Irish Roman Catholics had to thank the union of their country with Protestant Britain. After referring to history, the hon. member (Mr. Howlan) had taken up the glory argument. The Imperial Government, he said, were going to leave us to our own resources. To show that, if this took place, we should be in a bad position, he had read an extract from a speech of Lord Carnarvon's. He quoted Bright and Lowe in support of his position, that the colonies would have to look out for themselves. But he (Mr. H.) was not a little astonished, after the hon. member had quoted these statesmen, as if he was giving views expressed by them during the present session of the Imperial parliament, to find that he had been reading from speeches delivered by them six or seven years ago. He had given their opinions when they were on the opposition benches, but he could not show that they had made such remarks since they became Her Majesty's Ministers. they must have approved of the despatches recently sent to the Dominion, otherwise they would have resigned. He had also cited Earl Granville's announcement that the troops were to be withdrawn from Canada, to show that the policy of the British government was to leave us to our own resources. But the hon. member had omitted the best part of the noble Earl's speech, wherein he referred to the duty of self-defence. He (Mr. Haviland) entirely agreed with the Colonial Minister ; the Provinces should prepare for their own protection, and not be always dependant upon the British red coats. We should defend ourselves on the land, and Great Britain would do it for us on the sea. The sentiment of British statesmen appeared to be that if the Colonies preferred to join the United States—to come under a government that was a despotism for four years, we should be allowed to go free, but if we chose to retain British connection, they would defend us with the last man that could stand under the old flag. But this subject had been so much discussed by public men and through the press that he would not dwell on it here. The great argument in favor of confederation was the breaking down of hostile tariffs ; and union would not prevent, but rather assist us in obtaining free trade with the United States. PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 144 It would, in short, give us a chance to become great and prosperous. No doubt the people had been frightened to a great extent by persons going round the coun0 try, and telling them that under union the taxes would be increased — that almost every time they opened the door they would meet a tax-gatherer. But he (Mr. H.) thought that the manufactures of the Dominion itself were so extensive, that if we were included therein, we would not require to import much from the outside world. There were certain articles, of course, which could not be produced in the country, such as tea, sugar and tobacco, and on these the duties would be raised. With respect to the last mentioned, he did not look upon it as a requisite—the less, he thought, people used of it the better; therefore, he did not look upon it as all loss to have a high tariff on some articles. Then we had the prospect of a cloth factory going on at Spring Park, which he hoped would turn out tweeds and other cloth of a description that would enable us to do without the imported article to a great extent. It was his wish to see all the colonies united as he thought it would tend to establish British insitutions on the American continent. He entirely agreed with the hon. Colonial Secretary, that it would be dangerous for us to pass no-terms resolutions; Great Britain would not all this Colony to be a stumbling-block in the way of consummating the confederation scheme. He believed that there were several hon. members among the Government supporters who were more of his opinion on this question than some of his own side of the House; still he would not go with the Government in supporting the resolution which had been proposed. He could not approve of that part of the resolution which endorsed the general tenor of the minutes of Council. He would, therefore, move a resolution of his own, which he did not suppose he would get many to support, but he believed it would be awkward for some to oppose it. He would cast it upon the waters, feeling assured that it would bear fruit hereafter:—
Resolved, That the best interests and future prosperity of this Island will be promoted by a Federal union with the Dominion of Canada, provided the said union can be effected upon such just and equitable terms as may be approved of by the people at the polls.
Progress was reported and the House adjourned.


The Parliamentary Reporter of Debates and Proceedings of the House of Assembly. Charlottetown: Partiot Book and Job Printing Rooms, 1870. Microfilm copies provided by the Prince Edward Island Libraries and Archives.



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