Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island, 14 April 1870, Prince Edward Island Confederation with Canada.


THURSDAY, April 14.


Debate on the despatches resumed.
Hon. Mr. HENDERSON was aware that speech-making was not now regarded as agreeable, and hon. members knew he made lengthy ones. But any hon. gentleman on that committee who could make a speech to successfully contradict the statements he had previously made, would find it somewhat difficult. He had noticed that members of the government said nothing about the last despatch, which he (Mr. H.) regarded as an important one, in consequence of the plain statements which it contained respecting the state of the land question, and thought it was well they should know how they stood in relation to that question with the British Government. Indeed, from the nature of the demand made for the payments of the Lieutenant Governor's salary, it might be inferred that the Home Government would not consent to the proposals in the minute of council. Hence the curt reply in the despatch. In that document they were told that it was their interest to form a part of the Dominion, but he (Mr. H.) thought there was no analogy between the position of this Island and that of the other provinces. Looking at the question, in connection with their public works, there certainly was none. They need not go to Ireland to enquire into the nature of their land question, for no reason could be shown to justify the manner in which the people of this colony had been deprived of their public lands, and the idea that this colony was to be forced into Dominion, against the will of the people, was what he thought the Home Government would not do. the hon. the leader of the Opposition said Earl Granville's despatch was not the end of the question, and in his reply referred to the speech he made before he (Mr. H.) voted for the Governor's salary. He (Mr. H.) in doing so protested against the injustice of the 1870 PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 249 demand, and gave satisfactory reasons for the vote he gave. He did not wish the British Government to have the shadow of a reason which could be laid hold of as an argument for forcing this Island into a union with the Dominion, and felt his reasons for voting as he did would bear examination. Yielding on that point took away the only plea which could be urged. We were but a small body of people, nor did he mean to say we had much influence ; but we had rights, and when we coupled those with the benefits which were conferred upon the other provinces, he thought the Home Government would not coerce us. Troops were left among them, where they spent a great deal of money, but when they came here, in one sense, we were treated like strangers, and were called upon to pay the last [illegible] which the presence of the soldiers here cost. The Home Government had small claim on the gratitude of the people of the Island, nor had it a claim to one inch of the soil, and where was the man who, knowing his rights would not defend them? Should a coercive policy be resorted to, our moral obligations to the Home Government, he feared would now be regarded as small. Reference had been made to the union of Scotland and Ireland in the minutes of Council, He thought such reference unnecessary. The union of Scotland, with England was more natural. Was it the Tweed which separated them? The Scotch were simply Saxons, growing corn upon a poorer soil than those who lived in England. That they should unite was therefore more natural than that they should be separated . but when it was said that Scotland's prosperity was owing to her union with England, he must demur against such an assertion, because it was not strictly true. He admitted that the result had practically benefitted the people on both sides of the border, because it put a stop to their feuds. Scotchmen, as such, at that time, had, in self- defence, on account of the frequent inroads of the English, to be constantly armed, and that was a tax upon their time, and a drawback to their prosperity but in so for as England was concerned, she had but to turn the swords she used so unjustly against Scotchmen, into ploughshares. When due allowance was made for those considerations, Scotland's inherit native energy of her sons.
Mr. BRECKEN agreed with the hon. gentleman on that point.
Hon. Mr. HENDERSON.—The things to which he referred, with the introduction of a better and purer system of governing the country, and administering the [?] all in the course of time, contributed to make Scotland what this was. But this Island had never been at war with Nova Scotia or New Brunswick, and there were no feuds to put down. What surprised him (Mr. H.) most was to hear the hon. member for Charlottetown say that Parliament, while it existed, could do that which was really morally right or wrong, just [?] and yes. all it might thus do, would be lawful ! That was that Parliament had power to turn the constitution upside down! and the hon. the leader of the Opposition repeated what the hon. member (Mr.B.) said. If that was the case, then the responsibilities of this hon. committee, were little more than that of a debating club, But he contended that Parliament had not such powers. He also argued that even if what the Parliament of Nova Scotia did was constitutional, still there was a difference between her and us ; for her representation were not pledged as we had hoped, at the polls. But as soon as the people in Nova Scotia could, when they heard what was doing, they sent 183 petitions in against the measure. And when the general election took place, the result showed how opposed the people were to it. The act of Nova Scotia's representatives was a political wrong, and what was a political wrong could never be made out to be righ. In reference to the general question, he thought if the they took into consideration the acknowledged state of the Dominion exchequer and they acknowledged policy of the Canadian government, with the fact that the estimates for the year, if they were not misrepresented— setting aside the construction of the Intercolonial Railroad, and other public works—it would be a suicidal bet for us to give up on our present position to unite with the Dominion
Mr. BRECKEN.— With respect to Nova Scotia, the people were dissatisfied because they had not bee treated as they were in New Brunswick. He had no doubt but the result in each Province would have been the same had the same course been adopted. Some of the ablest and best minds in Nova Scotia were in favor of confederation. Mr. Johnston, one of the ablest men in those colonies, when in the Legislature, favored the principle ; and all knew that 250 PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 1870 Chief Justice Young was a unionist. The main reason why the question had not been submitted to the people at the polls was, because of the feeling which then existed against Mr. Tupper, on account of their education act. And in so far as his reelection was concerned, that, and not confederation, it was that turned the people against him. Again, there was Mr. Howe ; he had accepted the situation, and was returned by the people to represent them in the Dominion parliament, Mr. Archibald had also been lately returned, although at first they were so opposed to him. He (Mr. B.) thought, when all these facts were duly considered, it would be admitted that it was not opposition to a union with Canada, but the manner in which they were treated, that led to the feeling which had been evoked in Nova Scotia.
Hon. Mr. MACAULAY did not think the conclusion drawn from Nova Scotia's history, in her connection with confederation, was legitimate. She struggled to free herself from the yoke imposed upon her, and being unable to succeed, had to make up her mind either to accept, and make the best of her position, or choose sedition and look to Washington. Her people and government chose the former, and acted wisely in choosing and sending their best men to represent them in the Dominion parliament. With Nova Scotia it was choosing the least of two evils.
Dr. JENKINS, ever since he had a seat in this House, had been careful not to make any statement which he could not substantiate. He had been charged by a member of the Government, with saying what was not true, when he (Dr. J.) stated that the government here had taken the land question out of the hands of the Dominion government. The hon. Colonial Secretary, however, had admitted that his (Dr. J's) view of the case was correct, when he (Col. Secy.) said that the Home government had rejected the method of settling the question set forth in the Minute of Council. How could the hon. member from Wilmot Creek, then, make the charge which he did, when his colleague in the government not only corroborated what he (Dr. J.) stated, but said he was proud that the Colonial Minister had written about the land question as he had done! But he would give an illustration to convince the hon. member from Wilmot Creek that he was in error. Supposing that he had a claim against a man, and was to write to him that unless it was settled at a certain time, he would take some other course to collect it, would not that take the case out of the hands of the Solicitor? In the same way the Island government had taken the land question out of the hands of the Canadian government. We could not expect them now to exert their influence with the Home Government in the matter. He (Dr. J.) might also state that he did not look upon the offer of $800,000, by the Dominion Cabinet, as in any way compromising us if it were accepted. It was offered as a free gift. We had never asked them for it; they simply said that if the British government would not grant any compensation to the colony for the loss of territorial revenues, they would give us $800,000. The hon. member for New London, (P. Sinclair) had said, that were we in the union we would pay double the taxes we did at present. He (Dr. J.) could not allow such a statement to pass unnoticed. The tariff of the Dominion would not raise anything like the revenue for them out of the Island, which was raised now by our present tariff, at least for the first five years. With the facilities for smuggling which existed around our coast, he did not believe the Canadians would collect half the revenue here with their tariff, which was done now with out 11 per cent.
Hon. Mr. DUNCAN thought this Island could not calculate to gain much by her facilities for smuggling; Nova Scotia had the same facilities, and what advantage were they to her.
Mr. McMILLAN could not see any benefit this Island would derive from confederation. If he thought it would be any advantage to the country he would support it. Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, he knew a little about, and he thought we were better off than the people of those Provinces. Our roads and bridges were better than theirs, and indeed almost everything we had. He had travelled from Gaspe all the way to Halifax, and saw nothing in that extent of country to compare to this Island. Upper Canada, he knew little about; but he had lived in both New Brunswick and Lower Canada for a number of years, and he was somewhat able to judge of them. We raised more crops than the Dominion, taking it through; nearly as much as Upper Canada did, and more than the other Provinces. With respect to the $800,000 offer, he valued it as nothing, for the politicians of the Dominion might very soon take it out of us again. He had asked a little money for Summerside to procure 1870 PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 251 safes required in some of the public offices, and some other person had added handcuffs. (Laughter); but the hon. member for Charlottetown immediately inquired if we had not received a sum of money to purchase a square. That would be pretty much the fate of this Colony at Ottawa; if our members were to ask for some grant, the Canadians would rise and say that the Island had for $800,000, and what more did she want? Reference had been made to Scotland; and he (Mr. McM.) did not deny that she had received benefit from her union with England. But the reason was that John Ball happened to be a warring sort of person, and would be crossing the border, and so the Scotchmen had to fight to prevent him. Scotland, however, in many respects, was not so well off as this Island. He (Mr. McM.) had lived in that country until he was fourteen years of age, and he had travelled a great part of it since. In many places there were neither roads nor bridges; and towards the West of Scotland you might go twenty miles or so at a time, and see nothing but sheep, sheep, and dogs. (Laughter.) You would find it difficult to raise an army of soldiers in many parts of that country now. He had been across to Ireland, likewise, and in a very rough season, the year 1842. They had pretty hard times there, too, and especially in supporting a church which they did not attend, and the houses of worship belonging to which would be seen on Sunday with two or three people in them. If Ireland had had no grievance, in the way the church was supported, would Gladstone have taken up the question? The land grievance was also pretty severely felt in Ireland; many of the proprietors lived in England, and the rent was consequently taken out of the country, and the people had to follow to dig canals, and do other work. He (Mr. McM.) had made a calculation about our lands, as to the loss we had sustained by having them taken from us, and he thought we should receive about three million dollars instead of $800,000, to compensate for that loss. If our lands had been left to us, we might, by this time, have had a railway from East Point to West Cape. If the present government were only left in power for a few years longer, he believed the Island would become like Jerusalem in the days of Solomon—gold would be as plenty as stones in the streets.
(Laughter.) We had heard a great deal about the Tenant League; but he believed that nothing made tenant, or any other leagues, except bad government. Hon. Joseph Howe had been frequently referred to in this debate; well he (Mr. McM.) did not think much of him; if he had not been bought himself he had sold us about the land commission. (Laughter.) With respect to the confederate members of the House, he (Mr. McM.) did not wish to say as much. He had always been a Liberal himself. There was the hon. leader of the Opposition—a red-hot confederate; but for all that he (Mr. McM.) did not believe he would sell his country. However, supposing he were to turn round, we would be glad to have him on our side. With respect to the hon. member for Charlottetown (Mr. Brecken), it was said that he had changed his opinions from what they were at the time he stood on the hustings. He (Mr. McM.) did not know whether it was so or not. It had been said that on account of this change in his opinions, the hon. member should resign; that would be too much to expect him to do; but if a majority of his constituents were to ask him to give up his seat, he (Mr. McM.) believed the hon. member had too much noble spirit about him not to comply with their request. He (Mr. McM.) had not changed his opinions on confederation yet, but he might do so some day. It would be natural to expect that some Antis would turn after the long speeches they had heard from the other side of the House.
Hon. Mr. DUNCAN.— The hon. member had referred to the Tenant League; as their friends were in power now, would the hon. member state what they had done for the league?
Mr. MCMILLAN was prepared to support any measure that was calculated to do them good. He believed they were respectable people. He met both parties one night, the leaguers and the force that was pursuing them, and the leaguers were the better behaved of the two. The constables almost dragged him out of his wagon; and had it not been for the respectable person they had for High Sheriff, he supposed they would have shot him, for he would have been shot before he would have given up. They took into custody some of the most honest men in the country, and many of their deeds were most discreditable than those of the leaguers.


House in committee on the further consideration of despatches.
Mr. GREEN rose to speak a few words on the all-important question of confederation, but felt himself unable to do that justice to the subject which its importance demanded. It had been so long before the committee, and so many speeches had been made on it, that it was almost impossible to find any new matter; but as it was a question in which great interests were involved, and a very large extent of country concerned, there migh be some points of interest which had not yet been referred to. He (Mr. G.) would first refer to the minutes of Council, as in them reference was made to the discontent prevailing in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, which now formed part of the Dominion. It had been said that as Nova Scotia did not join the union, by the consent of the people, it should now be freed from that union, but according to the same argument, those counties of New Brunswick that did not vote in favor of confederation should be freed. Those provinces had been estranged so long, separated by hostile tariffs, having little or no communication, no intercoloninl free trade, that it could hardly be expected that in so short a time, they would settle down to the new order of things, and be altogether contented. A great deal had been said about the people of Canada— their statesmen in particular had come in for a large share of abuse during this discussion, they had been represented as almost unfit to govern the country. But what were the facts of the case? Canada, before the union, was the most enterprising and progressive of the Brit 254 PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 1870 ish American provinces. They had a great deal to contend with; they had to expend large sums of money in opening up the resources of the country, they had built most magnificent canals- the most magnificent in the world.
Hon. Mr. MACAULAY.- No, they had not.
Mr. GREEN.- The canals of Europe were mere ditches compared with those of Canada. They had opened up those canals, which, with their great inland seas, would monopolize the greatest part of the carrying trade of Canada, and also a very large portion of the trade of the United States. It was stated by scientific men, that the Missouri and Mississippi rivers were fast filling up, and when whole trade would have to flow through the canals of Canada. It had been said that the maritime provinces would not participate in the advantages resulting from this trade, but this was a mistake, for if this trade was opened up to our ships, we must reap some benefit. Then, again, the Northwest Territory was capable of maintaining a population of twenty millions, and when it became settled, there would be a large increase in the trade through the Canadian canals. The disturbance in the North-west had been mentioned in the minute of Council as an obstacle to union, but he (Mr. Green) looked upon that disturbance as a mere "tempest in a teapot." A great deal had been said about the way in which Nova Scotia had been pitchforked into confederation; but it appeared that Nova Scotia was now perfectly willing to lend a helping hand in opening up the resources of the country. British North Americans had a country which was capable of becoming a great nationality. Its resources were almost unlimited. It had the finest coal fields in the world, and they were so near the seaboard, that the coal might almost be shovelled into vessels. Coal, for manufacturing purposes, could be procured in Nova Scotia for one dollar per ton, which was cheaper than it could be obtained in any other country. There was also an abundance of iron in the Dominion, and the iron of Nova Scotia was superior to the far-famed Swedish iron, which cost as much for transportation to the sea coast, as the Nova Scotia iron could be procured for. In Canada, there were mountains of iron that would supply the market of the world for the next century. British America had all the minerals that were useful to man; it contained immense forests, its fisheries were the best in the world, and it was inhabited by as fine a race of man as could be found in any part of the globe. He (Mr. G.) believed that British America was destined to run the race of the Empire, and if the people were determined to settle down as separate communities, they would be like a man sitting down in a crowded street to try to stop the throng of people. By uniting all the provinces, a country would be built up which would be the means of preserving British institutions on this continent, and handing them down to posterity. It was an acknowledged principle that union was strength, and since the first union was consummated in the Garden of Eden, that principle had a powerful influence on the human family. Much fault had been found by hon members with the constitution of the Dominion, but that constitution, drawn up by the statesmen of the different Provinces, P. E. Island included, had been shown to some of the greatest statesmen of the world, and was pronounced a masterpiece of statesmanship. The people of Canada were an educated people; they enjoyed the advantages of Responsible Government; and if the present parliament was corrupt, they would never return them again to power. (Hear, hear.) Fault had been found with the representation we would have in the Dominion Parliament, but the principle of representation was one adopted by the United States - that country to which some hon members took great pleasure in referring- and was found to work well, and he (Mr. G.) believed it to be a sound principle. He (Mr. G.) attributed the great prosperity of the United States to union, for if each state had remained separated from the 1870 PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 255 rest, and a duty would have to be paid on manufactured articles as soon as taken over the lines, manufactures would never have flourished. The hon member for Georgetown (Mr. McAulay) had stated that the late rebellion in the United States was chargeable to union, but he (Mr. G.) was of quite a different opinion. One great cause of that rebellion was slavery; and another was the diversity of interests on account of the great extent of their country. The South were as different from the North as any two nations. The southern people were not much engaged in manufactures, and they argued that they had a right to sell in the dearest markets and buy in the cheapest. If British North America stood in the same position as the United States, he (Mr. G.) would never advocate union, for they could never be bound together. They had one rebellion, and he feared it was not the last. Anti-confederates were in the habit of belittling Canada; they called it a narrow belt, and spoke of the extensive frontier that would have to be defended in case of invasion; but on this frontier there were forests where an army might wander as long as the children of Israel did in the wilderness; and, besides, the United States had enough to settle among themselves without taking British America. A line of communication from the Western shore to the Red River country would open up a vast territory, which was capable of sustaining ten millions of inhabitants. The valley of the Saskatchewan was eight hundred miles long, and one hundred and eighty miles wide. The land there would grow forty bushels of wheat per acre; and there were also grown flax and hemp and tobacco. As this great country became settle,d there would be great demand for manufactures, which would be supplied by the maritime provinces. The interests of all the provinces were so mixed up that he (Mr. G.) did not see how they could remain separated. If we remained in our isolated position, the Dominion could shut their gates against our products, and thus cripple our trade. The hon member from Belfast (Mr. Duncan) said that Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were going to grow all they required for themselves, as they were agricultural countries; but the present government had sent a delegation to Washington to try and open up a trade with the United States, and it was one of the greatest agricultural countries in the world. He (Mr. G.) well remembered the time when all the ports between here and New York were filled with every description of eatables produced by the United States, not excepting wooden hams and nutmegs. But now we were anxiously seeking a market for our products in the United States. What had caused the change? The vast increase in the population of the seaport downs of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York. Those States were like a beehive, and foreigners were flocking in from all parts of the world, and now they were importing Chinese workmen. In Great Britain, which was over-peopled, we heard of riots, but the law was strong enough to suppress them; but in the United States, as soon as it became densley populated, they would have riots also; but as they had a free franchise, and so many foreigners in their country, the case would be very different. Before that time came, it behoved British Americans to look to their safety. A great deal had been said about the union of England and Scotland, and Ireland and England; but although they united under very unfavourable circumstances, they had fought together, and become almost masters of the world. They had maintained their institutions, the freest and best institutions in the world; and would any person say they would have risen to such greatness had they not been united? They counted their ships by thousands; their sails whitened every sea, and their flag was unfurled on every ocean. He (Mr. G.) was prepared to make sacrifices to maintain British institutions. His was no lip-loyalty; neither did he carry his loyalty in his pocket. Britain had given us a constitution in common with the other provinces. She now wished us to unite under one government, and it was only reasonable for us to pay respect to 256 PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 1870 the wishes of the Imperial authorities. Something had been said about the outlying portions of a country not participating in the benefits of the general government; but in the United States those territories two thousand miles from the seat of government were just as well satisfied with the doings of Congress as any other portion of the country. Members of the House of Commons of the Dominion were now returned from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Canada ; but soon the dividing lines would be obliterated, and members of parliament would feel that they represented, not one particular section, but the whole of British America. As regarded Prince Edward Island, an offer had been made before the last election, and the present party in power had raised a great cry against the Canadians. They represented the Canadians as being the most intolerable people in the world. Had he (Mr. G) been a member of the government that raised such a cry against the Canadians, he would have told those who came as a delegation last summer that he would have nothing to do with them ; that would have been antlng consistently. But the present government had entertained the question, the had debated it with closed doors, and a member of the government in the other end of the Building, had stated at the opening of the session, that what took place in that secret Council should be laid before the House, but it had not been done. It was said that some of the members of the government went to the country bursting with confederation, and he (Mr G.) heard same of them utter sentiments which they denied in this House. Unfortunately for them, however, they had penned the minutes of Council which had been referred to so often, and if it were those minutes of Council that were before the House, he (Mr. G.) would vote for them, for they breathed as strong confederate views as pen could on paper. Settle the land question and there would be a " spontaneous reaction" from one end of the Island to the other, was the assertion made in the minute of Council, but now they said that meant nothing. It would be better for the government to make a clean breast or affair, endlet the pen is know the conclusions they came to in that secret Council. The government thought to move around quietly, and feel the public pulse before giving an expression of opinion, and if the people were in favor of confederation, they would have carried it. But the people were not in favor of it. The press took their views from an unscrupulous opposition in Canada, and everything that would tell against confederation was brought to the notice of the public, so that a strong prejudice against union was created in the minds of the people. Irrespective of creed or party, all should view this great question impartially, and if it could be shown that confederation would increase our trade, and develop our resources, we should not throw cold water on the scheme, but wish it God speed. He (Mr. G.) did not wish, however, to press his views on the people of the Island, he entertained his own opinions, and let every person do the same. He believed in the consolidation of British America; union would knock down the barriers to commerce, and open up a trade with four millions of people, and if proper arrangements could be made, a fair proportion of the revenue obtained for public works, and a railroad built on the Island, if the people could make up their minds to accept confederation, it would be for their benefit. We could send our produce to the markets of the Dominion in a few days, while it would take months to send to England; and he (Mr. G.) believed the day was not far distant when it would tax our capabilities to the utmost to supply their markets.
Hon. Mr. DUNCAN would leave the members of the government to reply to the remarks of the last speaker, which referred to them, but he thought he could satisfy the committee that some of the hon. member's arguments, in favor of confederation, rested on a very sandy foundation. He (Mr. Green) stated that under confederation our ships would share in the trade of the canals of Canada, but he (Mr. D.) contended that our ships would not be shut out of those canals whether we joined Canada or not. He (Mr. Green) also wished all those provinces to be united, because they were in the same latitude, but that was an argument against union, for they would produce the same kind of crops, and there would not be the same interchange of productions as if they were in different climates. He (Mr. D.) did not know what we were to send to Red 1870 PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 257 River; the hon. member (Mr. Green) should have informed the House. The hon. member (Mr. Green) had made a great glory argument; the idea of belonging to a large country seemed to have great weight with him, and paying for the privilege was nothing at all. He (Mr. Green) stated that every country that confederated, prospered, but Belgium and Holland united, and they could not agree at all.
Hon. Mr. HAVILAND—Religions was the cause of their disagreement, the northern portion was a strong Protestant country, and Belgium was an ultramontane Catholic country.
Hon. Mr. DUNCAN—We were also told that Canada had the largest canals in the world. He (Mr. D.) thought that the Suez canal, which would take a ship drawing eighteen feet of water, and was wide enough to allow two vessels to pass, was the largest in the world. He (Mr. Green) also referred to the United States, and said that Rhode Island had only one representative in Congress, but he forgot to tell that she had two in the Senate, so that in the Senate, little Rhode Island had the same representation as New York. The Senators in the United States were not nominated by Congress, but chosen by the Representatives of the State, so that they were a check on the Lower House, but in Canada the Senators were chosen by the government, and the representation was by population both in the upper and lower branch of the Legislature. The last speaker also referred to the manufactures that Canada would require, but had it never occurred to him that Canada West was as good a manufacturing country as Nova Scotia or New Brunswick. If the Mississippi river was to be closed up, would they bring cotton down to Nova Scotia to be manufactured. And poor Prince Edward Island could never be a manufacturing country, because it was shut out the rest of the world for five months in the year. If the Dominion put a tax on our produce, as it was expected, we had nothing to fear, for our pork would bring two cents a pound more than theirs, and it was probable we should find a market for our potatoes in the United States. Oats were, at the present time, worth only sixteen pence half penny in New Brunswick, and letters had been received from there, sending for vessels to take them away.
Mr. GREEN.—As regarded the canals of Canada, he would assert it broadly that they were the best in the world. The Americans wanted the right to get through them, and if the trade of the Great West came down that way, those canals on the route would pay 15 or 20 per cent. A person whose mind was so narrow that he could not judge of these things was not fit to argue about them. A great part of the grain which came down the canals in the canal boats to New York was not fit to ship, a waste that could be prevented by sending it down through this canals of Canada in vessels, without breaking bulk. He contended that the capital expended on the Dominion canals would yet become productive capital. The hon. member for Belfast, (Mr. Duncan) had asked what trade we could have with the Great West? Let him ask the sea-board States, what their trade was with that great country. The Western States, in his (Mr. G's.) opinion, could not begin to manufacture in comparison with Nova Scotia, and one reason of this was because of the expense of taking up coal.
Hon. Mr. DUNCAN said the Confederates did not pay any attention to taxes or the price of pork or oats. All they wanted was the glory of belonging to a big country, but he was content to live on our own little Island, and had no wish to go up to Ottawa.
Hon. Mr. LAIRD rose merely to reply to the charge made by the hon member, Mr. Green, against the government, as the arguments in favor of confederation advanced by that hon member had already been answered by the hon member from Belfast (Mr. Duncan.) The cry was that the government sat with close doors with the delegates from the Dominion, but the statement of the delegates themselves was sufficient to refute that—they "had an opportunity of discussing informally with members of the Government and other public men" this great question. The fact was, the government never sat as a government with the delegates. The hon member (Mr. Green) said the Dominion was sparsely populated, and they had to be heavily taxed to purchase the Red River territory, and he thought it a legitimate question to ask what benefit Red River would be to us. If it was the country it was represented to be, we should not be able to export anything to it. We were asked 258 PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 1870 to join a country and submit to taxation to conquer a province that was united to them without their consent, and to be governed by men who were unfit to rule any country. The hon member had predicted that the members of the present government would never be returned to the House, because they appended their names to the Minute of Council, and that this Minute of Council committed the Island to confederation. But the very first words of the Minute of Council were: -
" Inasmuch as the said terms do not comprise a full and immediate settlement of the land tenures, and indemnity from the Imperial government fro loss of territorial revenues, the committee cannot recommend said terms to the consideration of their constituents."
Was it an expression of approval to say they could not recommend the terms even to the people's consideration ? Another paragraph read as follows:-
" The opinion of the people of this Island on the question of union has been expressed by them, in the most decisive language, as opposed to any union with the Dominion. This opinion the Council has no reason to believe has been changed, and therefore conceives it is unnecessary for them to enter into any other details to which they believe many valid and serious objections are entertained."
There were the sentiments expressed by the members of the government, and it was said they would never be returned to the House. By whom was such a statement made? Surely he must be a paragon of perfection. The immaculate member censuring the government for favoring confederation appeared to him like Satan rebuking sin. He (Mr. L.) would now look at another part of the Minute of Council which confederates were very fond of quoting :-
"The Council can only further express a hope that the government and parliament will adopt this question (that is the Land Question) as their own, and make such persistent and powerful representations thereon to the Imperial 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 artificial reaction of public opinion in Prince Edward Island." (Hear, hear, from several hon members.)
He would ask was it any harm to request the Dominion Parliament to make the Land Question of this Island their own? And if they succeeded in settling it there would be a great reaction in the feelings of the people of this Island towards them. They said they would settle the question, and the government told them to do so. It was used as an argument in favor of confederation that the Dominion Gov ernment had so much more power with the British Parliament than we had, and it was deemed advisable to test their power. The result proved that they had no more power than ourselves to settle this long existing grievance. He (Mr. L.) would challenge his hon member to put his finger on any passage in the Minute of Council to prove that the government pledged themselves to accept confederation, even had the Dominion Government settled the Land Question.
Mr. BRECKEN said the government could not pledge themselves to that, but they threw in their weight, and did all they could.
Hon. Mr. LAIRD. - He (Mr. Brecken) presumed so; and he (Mr. L.) presumed he (Mr. B.) was a very bad judge. There was not even a wish expressed ; it was only giving them a chance to prove that their pretended power was real, and had they been honest statesmen, they would have performed what they were asked to do. It was states, in a speech delivered in the Ottawa Parliament, but Sir John A. McDonald, that the British Government saw eye to eye with the Dominion Government on the question of coercing the people of Red River into submission to the Canadian authorities. The British Government had stained their escutcheon when they forced their trade upon the unwilling Chinese; and he (Mr. L.) hoped we might never see their banner unfurled to crush the free-born people of Red River unless justice was first meted out to them. He (Mr. L.) was sorry to see the hon member for Charlottetown (Mr. Brecken) desire that we should join a country and pay taxes to a government to help carry on a war against another colony. The hon member (Mr. Brecken) was willing to take the " Better Terms, " with the addition of a railroad from Summerside to Georgetown.
Mr. BRECKEN. - So were you.
Hon. Mr. LAIRD would deny the change, and the hon member would have to prove his accusation or stand convicted of falsehood. We should be in a very different position under confederation from what we were now. Now the members of the upper branch of our parliament were chosen by the people, but then they would be chosen by the politicians of Canada.
Hon. Mr. HAVILAND remarked that if he had the same feelings against the British Government as the hon member who just sat down, he would not hold a 1870 PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER. 259
seat in the Executive Government. The hon member had also spoken very hard against the Canadians ; but the truth was, Canada had made rapid strides in civilization, in agricultural progress, and commercial prosperity. In 1841, when the two Canadas were united, they had not half the population they had at present. With the difficulties of an unhappy situation to contend with, they had made rapid progress - they had built railways.
Hon. Mr. LAIRD.-Whose money built them?
Hon. Mr, HAVILAND. —Whose money   built all the railroads in the United States ?
Hon. Mr. LAIRD. - They paid interest for it in the United States.
Hon. Mr. HAVILAND.-In 1867 the debt of Canada was sixty-seven millions of dollars, which was very small in proportion to the great benefits derived from the expenditure of the money. Canada had two-thousand miles of railroad, and the finest canals in the world, and their public buildings had cost millions of dollars. The hon member seemed to have a great horror of confederation now than when he made his speech at Summerside, or when he signed the Minute of Council. The United States were opposed to the confederation of those provinces, because they considered that if they remained separate there would be a greater probability of them being united to their great country. The government had a great horror of receiving money from Canada, but they wished them to settle the Land Question. A Machiavellian policy again. The hon member (Mr. Laird) said they had not pledged themselves to accept confederation in case the Canadians succeeded in settling the Land Question ; but Lord Granville thought differently. He (Mr. H.) believed the Dominion Government would never have taken the trouble to send down those proposals unless they had been encouraged to do so by the Island Government. The hon member talked of shedding blood at Red River ; but the only blood shed there was that of a man named Scott, who was shot by Riel, and this was the man the hon member had such sympathy for. That territory was given to a company in the reign of Charles II, and all the Dominion Government had done was to buy out the rights of that company ; but the hon member (Mr. Laird) would not wish Canada to get possession of it, because it was the keystone of the Dominion, and if not taken possession of by Canada, the Stars and Stripes would soon be floating over it.
The Committee then divided on the amendment proposed by Hon. Mr. Haviland.
Yeas- Hon. Mr. Haviland; Messrs. Brecken, Green, Jenkins, Prowse - 5.
Nays - Hons. Howlan, Col. Secretary, Laird, Callbeck, P. Sinclair, Henderson, Duncan, McAulay, the Speaker, Messrs. McNeill, Bell, McCormack, McMillan, Owen, Howat, Kickham, Cameron, Reilly, McLean - 19.
The Hon. Mr. McAulay then proposed his resolution as an amendment to the resolution proposed by Hon. Mr. Howlan, when the House divided.
Yeas - Hons. McAulay, Henderson, Duncan ; Messrs Owen, and Howat - 5.
Nays - Hons. Howlan, Col Secretary, Laird, Callbeck, P. Sinclair, the Speaker, Haviland ; Messrs. Brecken, McNeill, Bell, McCormack, McMillan, Kickham, Reilly, McLean, Cameron, Jenkins, Green, Prowse - 19.
The question was then put on the original resolution proposed by Hon. Mr. Howlan :-
Yeas - Hons. Howlan, Lard, Callbeck, P. Sinclair, the Speaker, Col. Secretary ; Messrs. McNeill, Bell, McMillan, McCormack, Kickham, Cameron, Reilly, McLean - 14.
Nays - Hons. Haviland, Henderson, McAulay, Duncan ; Messrs. Brecken, Owen, Green, Prowse, Jenkins, Howat. - 10.
Hon. Mr. HOWLAN then proposed another Resolution (No. 2 of those reported on Saturday), but it was decided that said resolution would have to lie 24 hours on the table before a division could be taken thereon. Progress was reported, and the House adjourned till Saturday.


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.



Selection of input documents and completion of metadata: Gordon Lyall.

Personnes participantes: