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Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island, 9 March 1870, Prince Edward Island Confederation with Canada.

PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 152

MONDAY, April 4.

House met at 5 o'clock.
Hon. Mr HOWLAN introduced a Bill for taking the Census of Prince Edward Island.
Confederation.
Hon. Mr. HOWLAN delivered to Mr. Speaker a message from his Honor the Administrator of the Government, transmitting various Circulars and Despatches to the House, among which was Despatch No. 8, of the 7th of March, 1870, on the subject of the terms offered by Canada for the incorporation of the Island into the Dominion.
PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 153
The message was referred to the Committee of the whole House on the despatches, and on motion the House again resolved itself into said committee.
Hon. Mr. HAVILAND—.When the Committee rose on Wednesday night last, he was obliged to cease speaking before he had concluded his remarks, owing to the oppresgive state of the atmosphere in the room. He purposed now to notice a little further the advantages which had arisen to Scotland and Ireland from union with England. It might seem strange that he should advert to this subject again but he considered it important, on account of the position taken up by prominent anti-confederates at several public meetings, and by the Executive in their minute of council. He would not give his own views but those of men who lived at or near the time in which the events happened. The last time he spoke on this question, he quoted so great an authority as Jeffery ; he would now give another, who was no less a one than the celebrated author of the History of Europe, Sir Archibald Alison. In his Essay on Bruce, after describing the efforts made by that brave men for preserving the independence of his country, he says:—
"In these observations we have no intention, as truly as we have no desire, to depreciate the incalculable blessings which this country has derived from her union with England. We feel as strongly as we can do the immense advantage which this measure has brought to the wealth, the industry, and the spirit of Scotland. We are proud to acknowledge that it is to the efforts of English patriotism, that we owe the establishment of liberty in our civil code; and to the influence of English example, the diffusion of a free spirit among our people."
These were Sir Archibald Alison's views. But to show that Scotland had greatly increased in wealth since her union with England, he need only had the following short extract from the 5th vol. of Macaulay's History :—
"A great part of Scotland was then (1699) as poor and rude as Iceland now is. There were five or six Shires which did not altogether contain so many guineas and crowns as were tossed about every day by the shovels of a single goldsmith in Lombard Street. Even the nobles had very little ready money ; they generally took a large part of their rents in kind, and were thus able, on their own domains, to live plentifully and hospitably. But there were many esquires in Kent and Somersetshire, who received from their tenants a greater quantity of gold and silver, than a Duke of Gordon,or a Marquis of Athol, drew from extensive provinces. The pecuniary renumeration of the clergy was such as would have moved the pity of the most needy curate, who thought it a privilege to drink his ale and smoke his pipe in the kitchen of an English manor-house. Even in the fertile Meuse, there wore parishes of which the minister received only from four to eight points sterling in cash. The official income of the Lord President of the Court of Session, was only five hundred a year. The land tax of the whole Kingdom was fixed some years later by the Treaty of Union at little more than half the land tax of the single County of Norfolk. Four hundred thousand pounds probably bore as great a ratio to the wealth of Scotland then,as forty millions would bear now."
Then with respect to Ireland, He (Mr. H.) thought he was justified in saying that had it not been for her union with Britain, she would not now have her church question settled, and her land question in a fair way for adjustment, These reforma would never have been granted to Ireland by her own parliament, which consisted wholly of Protestants, a large proportion of whom were. landlords. He would again quote from Thomas Babington Macaulay, who was one of the greatest historians who had figured in modern times. In a speech which he made in Parliament in 1833, in answer to Daniel O'Connell, who had been setting forth the grievances of Ireland, Macaulay said :—
"Ireland has undoubtedly just causes of complaint. We heard those causes recapitulated last night but he honorable and elarned Member, who tolls us that he represents not Dublin alone, but Ireland, and that he stands between his country and civil war. i do not deny that most of the grievances which he recounted exist, that they are serious, and that they ought to be remedied as far as it is in the power of legislation to remedy them. What I do deny is that they were caused by the Union, and that the Repeal of the Union would remove them, I listened attentively while the honorable and learned gentleman went through that long and melancholy list; and I am confident that the did not mention a single evil which was not a subject of bitter complaint while Ireland had a domestic parliament. Is it fair, is it reasonable in the honorable gentleman to impute to the Union evils which, as he knows, better than any other man in this house, existed long before the Union? Post hoc: ergo, propter hoc is not always sound reasoning. But ante hoc: ergo non propter hoc is unanswerable. The old rustic who told Sir Thomas More that Tenterden steeple was the cause of Godwin sands, reasoned much better than the honorable and learned gentleman. For it was not until after the Tenterden steeple was built, that the frightful wrecks on the Godwin sands were heard of. But the honorable and learned gentleman would make Godwin sands the cause of Tenterden steel. Some of the Irish grievances which he ascribes to the Union, are not only older than the Union, but are not peculiarly Irish. They are common to England, Scotland and Ireland ; and it was in order to get rid of them that we, for the common benefit of England, Scotland and Ireland, passed the Reform Bill last year. Other grievances which the honorable and learned gentleman mentioned are doubtless local : but is there to be a local legislature where ever there is a local grievance? PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 154 We all remember the complaints which were made a few years ago about the Welsh judicial system ; but did any body therefore propose that Wales should have a distinct parliament ? Cornwall has some local grievances ; but does any one propose that Cornwall shall have its own House of Lords and its own House of Commons ? Leeds has local grievances. The majority of my constituents distrust and dislike the municipal government to which they are subject ; they therefore call loudly on us for corporation reform : but they do not ask us for a separate legislature. Of this I am quite sure, that every argument which has been urged for the purpose of showing that the north of Ireland and the south of Ireland ought to have two distinct parliaments. The House of Commons of the United Kingdom, it has been said, is chiefly elected by Protestants, and therefore cannot be trusted to legislate for Catholic Ireland. If this be so, how can an Irish House of Commons, chiefly elected by Catholics, be trusted to legislate for Protestant Ulster ? It is perfectly notorious that theological antipathies are stronger in Ireland than here. I appeal to the honorable and learned gentleman himself. He has often declared that it is impossible for a Roman Catholic, whether prosecutor or culprit, to obtain justice from a jury of Orangemen. It is indeed certain that, in blood, religion, language, habits, character, the population of some of the northern counties of Ireland has much more in common with the population of England and Scotland than with the population Munster and Connaught. I defy the honorable and learned member, therefore, to find a reason for having a parliament at Dublin, which will not be just as good a reason for having another parliament in Londonderry."
He (Mr. H.) could adduce much more evidence of the same kind in support of his position, but he had quoted sufficient to meet the arguments of the hon. member on the opposite side of the House (Mr. Howlan). That hon. gentleman had also read from the Patriot of last week, an article from the Daily Telegraph published in St. John in the Province of New Brunswick, complaining of some acts of the Dominion parliament, which appeared to afford him great satisfaction. He (Mr. Haviland), however, would say that the advocates of union did not contend that there would always be unanimity of sentiment in the Dominion. There would be difference of opinion as in other countries, but this need not cause any alarm. One of the questions in dispute to which the Telegraph referred was vote by ballot, and the other the currency question. Upon the ballot, that journal had taken up views of its own, and on the currency question Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were at issue. The people of Nova Scotia were in favor of retaining the sovereign as the standard of value, and those of New Brunswich contended for the dollar. With respect to the ballot, New Brunswick itself was not agreed upon it. The Dominion had been in existence only about three years, and though a few questions still remained unsettled yet that afforded no sufficient reason to say that it would not succeed. Even after the flight of James II. from England, there were certain parties who wished for his return. When any public movement took place there was always a reaction to a certain extent ; therefore he looked upon those grievances which a portion of the Dominion press made such a noise about, as very trivial. Then again there was a paragraph in the minute of council—this wonderful minute which the government organ called a statesman-like document—which, referring to Nova Scotia, said that she had sent a deputation to Washington. He (Mr. Haviland) might affirm that this Colony was in the same position, for the hon. leader of the government in this House had been at Washington to negotiate a free trade treaty. In the next place we had been told by the hon. Colonial Secretary and his leader that we had no trade with the Dominion ; and that if we came under her tariff we should be nothing better than slaves. He (Mr. H.) could tell those hon. members in reply, that if we had the Dominion 15 per cent tariff, together with its free list, we would not be much more heavily taxed than at present. In Canada everything connected with the building of ships, and the various articles of raw material used in the manufactures, were all admitted duty free ; whereas here under our miserable tariff there was nothing worth speaking of on the free list. Only the other day there was a petition brought before this House praying that the duty might be taken off articles used in the manufacture of soap. This circumstance showed the nature of our tariff. But in the Dominion last year out of some $66,000,000 worth of imports, $22,000,000 were on the free list. Then with respect to the statement that we had no trade with the Dominion, he would read a few figures, which he had compiled from the Journals of the House, to prove that it was not correct. In 1869 the Dominion took us in oats alone to the value of £30,285 18s. 4d.
Hon. Mr. HOWLAN.—That was to Nova Scotia.
Hon. Mr. HAVILAND.—Well, Nova Scotia was a part of the Dominion. The value of pork which went from here to the Dominion in 1869 was £33,116 ; of potatoes, £18,387 ; of upper leather, £1,112 ; of oysters, £1,697 ; of butter, £3,112 ; of sheep—principally to the St. John mar PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 155 ket—£2,227. Who could say now that we had no trade with the Dominion ? And more that this, he could show that it was a growing trade. He would first give our imports and exports from and to the Provinces in 1863, and then compare them with that of last year. In taking 1863, he was choosing a year that was one of the most prosperous in the history of these colonies—a year in which the tonnage of shipping built in this Island was nearly double of what it was in 1869. In 1863, our exports to the Provinces were: Nova Scotia, £31,511 12s 3d ; New Brunswick, £23,340 5s 4d ; Canada proper, £1,255 12s 11d ; total to the Provinces that now form the Dominion, £63,107 10s 6d. Our imports for the same year were: from Nova Scotia, £66,890 11s 5d ; New Brunswick, £19,975 3s 11d ; Canada, £6152 8s 3d ; total from the Dominion Provinces, £83,018 3s 7d. He would now give the returns for 1869. In that year our exports to Nova Scotia were: £82,013 10s 3d ; to New Brunswick, £30,100 13s 5d ; to Canada proper, £1,681 11s 4d ; total to the Dominion, £113,795 15s. Our imports for the same year were, from Nova Scotia, £68,215 18s 5d. New Brunswick, £35,124 12s 8d ; Canada proper, £32,946 3s 9d ; total from the Dominion, £136,286 14s 10. These figures, he ought to say, were all in British sterling. Last year our exports to the United Kingdom, exclusive of shops, were, £108,860 16s 8d ; and to the United States, £48,205 11s 6d. Our imports for the same year from the United Kingdom were, £165,095 7s 10 ; and from the United States, £55,826 7s 6d. It would thus be seen that our exports to the Dominion were greater than to any other country ; and our imports from her nearly equal to those from the United Kingdom. Having met his opponents on the trade argument, he (Mr. H.) would next refer to their bugbear of local taxation. Articles had been repeatedly published in the newspapers, setting forth the amount of direct taxes the people in Canada had to pay. But in this colony we would not require to resort to such a method of taxation as long as we could carry on the government, and pay our way with the sums allowed by the general government. He believed that with proper management those subsidies would be enough for the next generation to come. The expensves of the local government might be curtailed. We would not need so many public officers. With all deference to the honorable body in the other end of the building, he believed we might dispense with its services altogether. If Ontario—the largest province of Ontario —could do without an upper chamber, surely this little Island might get along in the same way. He (Mr. H.) was also of opinion that the number of members in this House might be reduced. When he first came to it, there were only twenty-four members ; after a time, however, so many office holders obtained seats in the House, that the authorities at home called attention to the insufficient proportion of independent members which it contained, and a measure was introduced to increase the representation. But as only a few office-holders were now admitted into this House, we might very well go back to the former number of members, or lower still, to the old number, eighteen. By thus cutting down our expenditure, we would find that the grants from the Dominion government would be quite ample to meet our wants for a generation, and after that our people would have become so wealthy, that they would be able and willing to submit to a little more taxation. Though this colony remained in her isolated position, her taxes would have to be increased. It might be all very well to stave off taxation on the eve of a general election ; but not longer ago than last session, the leader of the government talked of increasing the land tax. Though it was put off for the time, yet it must come. Lately we had a coleur de rose statement of the financial condition of the colony, but on examining into the matter, he found that it was not all gold that glittered. In 1854, the Worrell estate was purchased for £20,500, and after working it for some fifteen years, there was only £2,600 to the credit of the estate, to meet the purchase money. And in the working of all the estates in the hands of the government, during the last financial year, after paylng interest and all, there was the amount of £154 11s 11d on the wrong side of the book. Only one estate among the whole, had been self- sustaining, and that was the one represented by the hon. member for Belfast. He (Mr. H.) did not think, from the calculations he had made, that the others would ever pay.
Hon. Mr. HOWLAN.—"Figures are dangerous things."
Hon. Mr. HAVILAND.—"Yes they are PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 156 dangerous things." And he (Mr. Haviland) thought the hon. member would find the $800,000 offer a dangerous thing, after the buncombé speeches which he and the Colonial Secretary had made, the one setting down the compensation which we should receive from the Dominion for the loss of crown lands at $1,240,000, and the other fixing it at as many pounds sterling. It would not do for us to be indulging the vain hope, that the British government would pay for the loss of these lands. If we were to judge from the short, pithy despatch laid on the table this evening, the government might make up their minds that they would receive no help from that quarter. They must get up some other political cry before the elections came off. But he supposed he ought not to speak againsthon. members on the other side of the House; they were so much confederate that it seemed wrong to be twitting them. They appeared to be more his friends than some on this side of the House, who were no-terms men. There, for example, was the hon. the Leader of the Government in the other end of the building, who was reported by a writer in Saturday's Patriot, to have said at a late meeting held at the Ten Mile House, Lot 35:—
"That he had opposed the Quebec scheme, which he considered unfair to the people of the Island, but that he was not, nevertheless, a no- terms man: that be anticipated a time when proposals of a union of this Island With Canada might be entertained."
After this it seemed cruel to attack hon. members opposite, seeing that they had such a red-hot unionist as leader. And when we turned to the minute of council what did it say :—
"The long delayed settlement of the Land Question is thus made contingent upon the on- trance of Prince Edward Island into the North American Confederation; and the Dominion, from whom the Island has received no injury, and to whom no purchase monies or rents of lands have been paid, is required to assume a duty which clearly is not hers; but which, if just and liberal treatment is a debt due the Island, as Earl Granville seems to imply, undoubtedly belongs to Imperial Britain.
"The Council can only further express a hope that the Government and Parliament of the Dominion will adopt this question as their own, and make such persistent and powerful representations thereon, to the Imperia authorities as may result in obtaining redress for this injured Colony.
"Success would be productive of the best results. It would establish the prestige of the Dominion—cause a spontaneous, not an artifi cial reaction of public opinion in Prince Edward Island."
Here there was nothing said to be in the way, but this land question. True, it might be objected that what this statesman-like document stated in one paragraph it toppled over in the next. And the best of the joke was that the supporters of the government in the House would have to eat the leek, as the resolution proposed by their leader, required them to approve of the "general tenor" of the in notes of council. With respect to the $800,000 offered by the Dominion for a settlement of the land question, he was surprised to see it so strongly objected to by the government. The Hon. Mr. Coles, who was as great a Liberal as any in this House, moved at the Quebec convention that this Island should receive ÂŁ200,000 in consideration for the loss of her lands, and there was a rivalry between Hon. E. Palmer and Hon. A. A. McDonald as to which of them should second the resolution. But now he observed that Hon. Mr. McDonald said he could not accept the $800,000 unless it came from Britain; and Hon. Mr. Palmer had said something of the same kind. He (Mr. H.) contended that the government instead of pursuing the tortuous policy which they had done, since they admitted the principle, ought to have set to work and drawn up a statement of such terms as they thought would be fair to the Colony, and sent it to Ottawa in place of those contradictory minutes of council. But he would not despair of them; their leader was with us, and he believed Confederation, was only a question of time. Those who were now opposed to it, in his (Mr. H.'s) opinion, would soon the heater champions for it than himself. Even the hon. member for Belfast (Mr. Duncan) he expected to see among its advocates, perhaps their very leader in chief. (Applause.)
Hon. Mr. DUNCAN asked the last speaker (Mr. Haviland) if it was not possible for this Legislature to put the land into Confederation, as he (Mr. D.) understood him to say that the cuss could not do it.
Hon. Mr. HAVILAND.—If the members of this House were political vagabonds, they could put the Island into Confederation.
Hon. Mr. DUNCAN was satisfied; he did not wish the idea to go abroad that the Legislature had not the power to unite the Island with the Dominion.
PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 157
Hon. Mr. LAIRD.—The two leaders in this end of the building in discussing Confederation had edified the House by going into the misty records of the history of Ireland and Scotland, and the effects of union upon them; but he (Mr. L.) thought the chairman of this committee (Mr. Kelly) must have been very much amused with it, for he believed that he (Mr. Kelly) had forgotten more of the history of those countries than these two hon. members ever knew. The hon. Leader of the Opposition had stated that the tariff of the Dominion was preferable to ours because it protected home manufactures, and he (Mr. L.) thought the hon. member must be a new convert to the protective system, because judging from his speeches for many years he always appeared to be an advocate of free trade. Of all the causes which the Leader of the Opposition had adovcated, free trade was the one he (Mr. L.) thought most of, and he was very sorry the hon. member had fallen from the high position he occupied as an advocate of free trade, by joining the protectionists. How did it happen that proposals for the union of this Island were made? In 1864 a proposal for the union of the Maritime Provinces was sent to our Legislature, and although opposed to it they agreed to meet the delegates from the other provinces to discuss the question. At the time this was taking place, some of the statesmen of Canada came down as suitors soliciting these provinces to unite with Canada, and ever since, the question of Confederation had been agitating the minds of the people of this Island. In considering the proposals made to us, we should endeavor to acquire as much information as possible of the country with which we were asked to unite, and also the history of the government which ruled that that country.   A book had been published called, "Eighty, Years' Progress in British America" from, which he (Mr. L.) would read a few extracts showing that the government of Canada had been almost supported by the Imperial Parliament— immense loans were guaranteed, and British gold was freely spent in the country. The Rideau Canal was built by the Imperial government at a cost of £900,000 sterling. When had the British Govemment spent money here? They had spent a few sovereigns in building a battery near Charlottetown, which was about all the money we received from them. Further on in the same book was an account of the building of Railways, and also of the effect which the spending of so much money in the country had on the politicians—training them up to extravagance. The influence of contractors in the country was felt, as the following would show:—
"Before the invasion of the province at the east, by a deputation from the most experienced railway men of England, bringing with them all the knowledge and appliances of that conservative country, it had been penetrated on the west by some contractors from the United States, bred in that school of politics and public works which brought New York to a dead stand and Pennsylvania to the goal of reputation. These practical men had built state canals with senators and even governors as silent partners, and were versed in all the resources peculiar to a democratic community. The convergence of these two systems on the poor but virgin soil of Canada, brought about an education of the people and their representatives more rapid than the most sanguine among them could have hoped for. One bold operator organized a system which virtually made him ruler of the province for several years. In person or by agents he kept 'open house,' where the choicest brands of champagne and cigars were free to all the peoples' representatives, from the town councillor to the cabinet minister; and it was the boast of one of these agents that when the Speaker's bell rang for a division, more M. P. P.'s were to be found in his apartments than in the library or any other single resort."
This was the school in which the statesmen of Canada were trained. Another extract would show how this gigantic contractor had to be brought off before another could take a contract.
"An English contractor was, without competition, about to pounce quietly upon the contract for the Toronto and Hamilton Railway, when his American 'brother' demanded and received a royalty of ÂŁ10,000 sterling, before he would allow a corporation to be imposed upon."
These things were winked at by the governmen, and we should be cautious in uniting with a country whose rulers would act in such a manner, and also as was stated a little farther on.
"A member of the government paid away nearly ÂŁ10,000 of the first mortgage bonds of the Toronto Northern Road company in the purchase of real estate."
Again when the Great Western Railway Company applied to the government for power to lay a double track --
"They were gravely assured that the government was powerless to give them their bill, in consequence of the influence of the enterprising Pennsylvanian, in the house. The contractor's price for permitting the bill to pass was - the contract for the work to be done."
Thus in Canada twelve years ago contractors rules the country, while in this Island the government was carried on as faithfully and honestly as it was now.
PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 158
"Canadians, indeed have had cause to blush at the spectacle of men filling the highest offices in their province, with a seat at the council board of their sovereign, accepting fees and favors from contractors and officials of a railway company (between whom and them there should have been a gulf as wide as that which seperates the judges of [illegible] from the suitors before them), and laying the honor of their country in the dust, often at the feet of boorish and uneducated men whose only recommendations were - the material one of ill-gotten wealth, and the immoral one of unscrupulousness in the use of it."
With this history of Canada before them, any colony that wished to unite with the Dominion, he (Mr. L.) thought, had no interest at stake. It might be said that the statesmen of the Dominion had reformed; but in looking at the politicians in Ottawa at the present time, it would be difficult to see where the improvement was. Judging from the amount of British gold expended there, and the number of railroads and other public works, we should expect to find a country in a flourishing condition, carrying on a large trade, and having plenty of money. But what were the facts? A statement made by Sir Francis Hincks, Finance Minister in the House of Commons, would show the way in which the accounts of the country were kept.
"It must be perfectly obvious to gentlemen that years might elapse before anything connected with the debt could be brought down. Items were constantly springing up from time to time, and had to be considered as they came up."
If the government of this Island kept accounts in such a way, the representatives of the people would soon send them about their business. It could easily be seen, from the account of Sir F. Hincks' banking scheme, how the Dominion Government were pressed for money.
"It is imperatively necessary also to a right understanding of the question now before parliament, that the confession of Sir Francis Hincks on Tuesday night should be kept steadily in view-namely:- that the scheme of the 1866 was gone into by government before of 'their financial difficulties,' and 'they were obliged to accept whatever terms the banks thought proper to put upon them."
He (Mr. L.) was proud of our banking institutions, but he would be very sorry to see the government in such a position that they would be obliged to take whatever terms the banks chose to put upon them. Yet such was the humiliating position of the government of the Dominion-at the mercy of the banks of the country. Sir F. Hincks proposed a banking scheme, not because any fault was found with the banks, but on account of the imperative necessity of the government to raise money. A country that was already indebted to the amount of twenty-five dollars per head of their population in such want of money! A country that took money, guaranteed for the building of a railroad, for other purposes, lauded to the skies in our day! The following comments were made by a member of the Dominion Parliament:
"There was one phase of the proposed measure to which be desired to call the attention of the House, and that was that the Finance Minister had signed that the measure was brought in not because the country stood in need of a revised banking system, but because the government necessities imposed on him the duty of providing a certain amount of money. The system of raising money was brought to the greatest perfection by the present government. The government had obtained from the Insurance Companies $4,000,000, a million and a half from the Savings Banks- they had also sold one million of silver, exchanging Dominion notes for it, and paying a large commission, and they had also five and a half million of Dominion notes in circulation. Now there was a scheme proposed by which the government wished to increase this indirect load of debt to the extent of $12,000,000, making an aggregate increase of $20,000,000- an increase of the greater portion of which the country was altogether in ignorance."
The scheme proposed an aggregate increase in the debt of $20,000,000 which increase was to be made without the knowledge of the people, so that it required a scheming, talented man as Finance Minister of the Dominion. Was ever a country in such a state before as to be obliged to substitute government bonds for gold in the banks? The following was the scheme proposed to the Dominion parliament by the Finance Minister:-
"Sir. Francis Hincks proposes that the banks shall be prohibited from issuing notes of a less value than $4 and that all the one, two, and three dollar notes in circulation throughout the Dominion shall be government greenbacks. He alleges that this will only yield the government ÂŁ2,500,000, but as he intends to force out of the country the American silver now in such vast circulation, it may safely be stated at double that amount. But Sir Francis is not content with this, he proposes that all the banks shall hold AT LEAST one-half of their cash reserves in government greenbacks. On the 31st of January of this year, the said cash reserves of the banks of the Dominion exceeded fourteen millions of dollars. This demand of Sir Francis, therefore, covers no less a sum than seven millions of dollars. And not to conceal his determination to get hold of as much more of these reserves as possible, Sir Francis plumply proposes to free the banks from all obligation to hold any specie for the protection of their liabilities! They may have all their reserves in greenbacks if they so PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 159 choose. Sir Francis gravely assured the House of Commons on Tuesday night that it was 'rather dangerous than otherwise' to require banks 'to hold a certain amount of specie, and that for the very curious reason that they might imagine the prescribed amount to be quite sufficient and confine themselves to it."
Such was the state of the Dominion that expedients of such a nature had to be resorted to for the purpose of raising money. A talented correspondent of the St. John, N. B., "Globe" summed up the whole matter as follows:-
"The time may come when the Finance Minister may have scattered all over the country $10,174,000 in Dominion notes, and yet, without violating the law, hold only $1,174,000 in gold as security! Whether this is sufficient security, is, of course, another question."
It was indeed a very important question whether that was sufficent specie for the government to keep. He (Mr. L.) would now direct attention to the power the representatives of the maritime provinces had in the Dominion, from which we might judge of our influence were we to go into confederation. Hon. Joseph Howe, in speaking on the election law, said:-
"He had yet to learn that Nova Scotia could control this great Dominion. (Hear, hear.) There must be an accommodation of the various systems of the provinces; Nova Scotia must give up something, New Brunswick must give up something, Canada might perhaps learn something, but if Canada did not choose to learn, Canada had votes and could control the measure."
This was what we should probably be told "if Canada did not choose to learn", we must humbly submit to them. It had been said that if we joined the Dominion we should become a part of it, and our interests would be identified with theirs, but it appeared that the party lines had been kept up, and that Canada could rule. It had been stated that the population of Ontario was increasing very fast, and that she would soon be able to control the vote in the Dominion Parliament. The representatives of Ontario had been asking for a tariff of twenty per cent, so that if we joined the union we might expect to pay that tariff before long. He (Mr. L.) was proud he belonged to a colony that bought in the cheapest market and sold in the dearest, and did not go in for the Japanese policy of putting a very heavy duty on some articles and letting others come into the country free. One of the reasons why the British Government wished to cast off the Dominion was because they had exhausted their liberality, and instead of opening a market for British goods had virtually closed their market against British manufactures. One of the objects of Britain in founding colonies was to get a market for their manufactures, but her ungrateful child, Canada, had put heavy duties on all her manufactures. We were asked to unite ourselves with that spendthrift colony. There was no comparison between our Island and Canada, for while money had been lavishly spent on Canada, we were refused even a loan to buy out our lands, of which we were unjustly deprived. One of the reasons which induced Canada to seek confederation with the other provinces, was because they had a political deadlock- they could not carry on the business of the country. Was that symptom of intelligence? If they had the interests of the country at heart, they would have sunk their differences for the country's welfare. They did not form a coalition for the purpose of carrying out the pet scheme of confederation, and some of the means made use of to carry out their purpose were not very commendable. In New Brunswick, a Fenian scare was got up to intimidate the people, and three routes were proposed for a railroad, so that the people near the whole of them might be induced to vote for Confederation, which was going to bring a railroad to their doors. By such means the election was carried in New Brunswick. Nova Scotia was used still worse- language would fail to picture the duplicity of the representatives of that unhappy, much-abused country. And Canada was to be execrated for receiving Nova Scotia in such a way. It did not say much for either the parliament of the Dominion or the Imperial Government, that they sanctioned such an act as to confederate Nova Scotia without her people having a voice in the matter. He (Mr. L.) hoped the day was far distant when the government of this Island would take any terms that might be offered without submitting the matter to the people. The terms lately sent from Canada might be subjected to a closer scrutiny than they had yet been. Canada agreed to pay a number of our officials, and well she might, when she took our revenue to do it with. They offered to pay us five per cent on the difference between our debt and that of the Dominion, but we would have to help to pay the interest on the whole debt of the country at seven or eight per cent, if we became part of the Dominion, and our share of that interest according to our population would be $2,250 a year; and if they paid us in Canadian bonds, which were selling PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 160 at latest quotations at 95 percent, we should lose $4,500 more every year. We never asked the British Government to indemnify us for the loss of territorial revenues; we only asked to be allowed to test the proprietors' titles. But the Dominion Government said we were entitled to compensation for the loss of our public lands, which was one of the reasons which induced the Government to frame their reply in the way they did. When the Dominion government, with Sir John Young at their head, made that statement, the government thought it time to demand their rights, even should they never join the Dominion. The reply of the government to the proposals from Canada had been misrepresented, and the Leader of the Opposition had stated that the government were bound to go into confederation if compensation was received for the loss of terrirorial revenues, but he (Mr. L.) would challenge any hon. member to prove that they were so bound.
Hon. Mr. HAVILAND.— Lord Granville said so.
Hon. Mr. LAIRD.—Were we to be bound by Lord Granville or any understrapper in the Colonial Office? The government said we could not go into confederation until the land question was first settled — this means that if such a settlement was accomplished the government would feel it their duty to submit the matter to the people. When it was considered that on the formation of a government in this Island in 1770, this land question was discussed, and ever since had been a vexed question, it would be only fair to submit the question of confederation to the people, if indemnity was obtained for our lands. Even had the government said they would accept those terms, the people would not be bound to do so; but the only course the government were committed to in the event of our obtaining indemnity for our lands, was to submit the matter to the people. If we did obtain the $800,000 we should still be far from receiving as much from Britain as Canada had. Some had said it was no difference whether this money was received from Britain or Canada, but he (Mr. L.) considered it of vital importance where it should come from, and the reasons were very fully given in the minute of Council. This $800,000 would not be sufficient to buy up the remainder of our township lands, even had it come from the proper source. The Council stated that the inion would not prove successful unless it was accomplished "with the free and unbiased consent of the contracting parties." That was surely a self-evident fact. Then again, it was stated "that the interests of the Island with reference to public works had been overlooked." As the public works of Canada were not self-sustaining we should have to help to pay their expenses, as well as contribute our share towards building others, while we should have none built on the Island out of the general revenue. He (Mr. L.) supposed some would think the most difficult part of the minute of Council for him to "success" in settling the land question would "cause a spontaneous reaction in the minds of the people of Prince Edward Island." When the Canadian Government had, unsolicited, been making offers to us, there was nothing wrong in trying to get their assistance in settling this long vexed question. When agents, swells, or pedlers travelling through a country became too troublesome, the best way to get rid of them was to give them a difficult job to perform without any compensation. The members of the Dominion Government came here and said we were wronged by the British government, and the government told them to redress this grievance, and it would cause a spontaneous reaction in the minds of the people of this Island. If the Dominion government settled this great question, the people of the Island would regard them with very different feelings from what they did at present, but at the same time they would not be bound to unite with them. The Dominion government would deserve to be well thought of by the people of this Island if they should settle this question of a century's standing. The minute of council declared that before the people of this Island should be called upon to discuss the question of confederation, they should be placed in the same position as the other colonies. It had been stated that, in our present isolated position, we should never have any influence, but that united ot Canada, we should be a part of a great nation. He (Mr. L.) would ask what constituted greatness? A large population did not constitute greatness, or China would be the greatest empire in the world. Neither did large extend of country, or Russia would be great; neither did wealth make a country great PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 161 unless there was also freedom. The greatness that was to be desired was to have freedom of conscience, and to have every man educated. We should not be improved in these respects by joining the Dominion, and as far as wealth was concerned we could also compare favorably with them. Some had said we would be safer from invasion in the union; but he would ask where would the great Dominion be if the Republic of America made a raid on them, as Canada was without an army, without a navy, without an able statesman to manage affairs. We would gain nothing commercially by uniting with the Canadians, as they grew everything we did, and we would aid them in building railroads, which would be a means of conveyance for their produce, and enable them to supply the different markets more readily than we could. If we paid one-fortieth part of the civil service of the Dominion, it would be more than the whole expense of our government at present, ad we would be obliged to keep up our local government besides. We had now a cheap government and a contented people, and could manage our affairs very well. It was all very well to talk of the duties being taken off certain articles in the event of union, but if so, higher duties would have to be imposed on other things, for government must be sustained, and it made no difference to a man whether he paid his duties on what he ate or what he were. We had nothing to fear if we remained in our present isolated condition. We had a soil capable of yielding a great deal more than it did at present, and he (Mr. L.) believed the time would come when our Island would be a market garden, and the whole world a market for its production. Our loyalty had been called in question, but when a raid was threatened the whole revenue of the colony was placed at the disposal of the government for defence; and he would ask was the like ever done in any other colony? Our loyalty was beyond dispute, and he (Mr. L.) believed that in case of war with any foreign power, no colony would send more men to assist Great Britain than Prince Edward Island, in proportion to population.
[Mr. Brecken followed, reading several length extracts, which have not been furnished the Reporter; consequently he is compelled to omit the speech.]
House adjourned.
[...]

Source:

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

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