« AnkstesnisTęsti »
the world where they penetrate, shall lose the most honourable of them all, merely by passing from one part of the empire to another. Nor is it to be supposed that the Nova Scotians, New Brunswickers and Canadians -a race sprung from the generous admixture of the blood of the three foremost nations of the world-proud of their parentage and not unworthy of it, to whom every stirring period of British and Irish history, every great principle which they teach, every phrase of freedom to be gleaned from them, are as familiar as household words, can be in haste to forget what they learnt upon their parents' knees; what those they loved and honoured clung to with so much pride, and regarded as beyond all price. Those who expect them thus to belie their origin, or to disgrace it, may as soon hope to see the streams turn back upon their fountains. My Lord, my countrymen feel, as they have a right to feel, that the Atlantic, the great highway of communication with their brethren at home, should be no barrier to shut out the civil privileges and political rights, which more than anything else, make them proud of the connection; and they feel also, that there is nothing in their present position or their past conduct to warrant such exclusion. Whatever impression may have been made by the wholesome satire' wherewith one of my countrymen has endeavoured to excite the others to still greater exertions; those who fancy that Nova Scotians are an inferior race to those who dwell upon the ancient homestead or that they will be contended with a less degree of freedom, know little of them. A country that a century ago was but a wilderness and is now studded with towns and villages, and intersected with roads, even though more might have been done under a better system, affords some evidence of industry. Nova Scotian ships, bearing the British flag into every quarter of the globe, are some proofs of enterprise; and the success of the native author, to whom I have alluded, in the wide field of intellectual competition, more than contradicts the humorous exaggeration by which, while we are stimulated to higher efforts, others may be for a moment misled. If then our right to inherit the Constitution be clear; it our capacity to maintain and enjoy it cannot be questioned; have we done anything to justify the alienation of our birthright? Many of the original settlers of this Province emigrated from the old Colonies when they were in a state of rebellion—not because they did not love freedom, but because they loved it under the old banner and the old forms; and many of their descendants have shed their blood, on land and sea, to defend the honour of the crown and the integrity of the empire. On some of the hardest fought fields of the Peninsula, my countrymen died in the front rank, with their faces to the foe. The proudest naval trophy of the last American war was brought by a Nova Scotian into the harbour of his native town; and the blood that flowed from Nelson's death wound in the cockpit of the Victory mingled with that of a Nova Scotian stripling beside him struck down in the same glorious fight. Am I not then justified, my Lord, in claiming for my countrymen that Constitution, which can be withheld from them by no plea but one unworthy of a British statesman—the tyrant's plea of power? I know that I am; and I feel also, that this is not the race that can be hoodwinked with sophistry, or made to submit to injustice without complaint. All suspicion of disloyalty we cast aside, as the product of ignorance or cupidity; we seek for nothing more than British subjects are entitled to; but we will be contended with nothing less.
My Lord, it has been said, that if this system of responsibility were established, it would lead to a constant struggle for office and influence, which would be injurious to the habits of our population and corrupt the integrity of the public men. That it would lead to the former I admit; but that the latter would be a consequence I must take leave to deny, until it can be shown, that in any of the other employments of life, fair com1 Chief Justice Haliburton's Sam Slick. (See Professor Pelham Edgar's article
on Canadian Literature in The Cambridge History of English Literature.)
The American frigate Chesapeake, captured off Boston by the Shannon, was brought into Halifax on 6 June, 1813, by Lieutenant, afterwards Admiral Sir Provo Wallis, a native of Nova Scotia.
Midshipman G. A. Westphal.
petition has that effect. Let the bar become the bar only of the minority, and how long would there be honour and safety in the profession? Let the rich prizes to be won in commerce and finance be confined to a mere fragment, instead of being open to the whole population; and I doubt whether the same benefits, the same integrity, or the same satisfaction would grace the monopoly, that now spring from an open, fair and manly competition, by which, while individuals prosper, wealth and prosperity are gathered to the State. To be satisfied that this fair competition can with safety, and the greatest advantage be carried into public as well as into private affairs, it is only necessary to contrast the example of England with that of any Continental nation where the opposite system has been pursued. And if, in England, the struggle for influence and office has curbed corruption and produced examples of consistency and an adherence to principle extremely rare in other countries, and in none more so than in the Colonies, where the course pursued strikes at the very root of manly independence, why should we apprehend danger from its introduction or shrink from the peaceful rivalry it may occasion? But, my Lord, there is another view that ought to be taken of this question. Ought not British statesmen to ask themselves, is it wise to leave a million and a half of people, virtually excluded from all participation in the honourable prizes of public life? There is not a weaver's appre itice or a parish orphan in England, that does not feel that he may, if he has the talent, rise through every grade of office, municipal and national, .o hold the reins of govern ment and influence the destinies of a mighty empire. The Queen may be hostile, the Lords may chafe, but neither can prevent that weaver's apprentive or that parish orphan from becoming Prime Minister of England. Then look at the United States, in which the son of a mechanic in the smallest town, of a squatter in the wildest forest, may contend, on equal terms, with the proudest, for any office in twenty-eight different States; and having won as many as contents him, may rise, through the national grades, to be President of the Union. There are no family compacts to exclude these aspirants; no little knot of irresponsible and self-elected councillors, to whom it is necessary to sell their principles, and before whom the manliness of their nature must be prostrated, before they can advance. But, in the Colonies, where there are no prizes so splendid as these, is it wise or just to narrow the field and confine to little cliques of irresponsible politicians, what prizes there are? No, my Lord, it is neither just nor wise. Every poor boy in Nova Scotia (for we have the feelings of pride and ambition common to our nature) knows that he has the same right to the honours and emoluments of office as he would have if he lived in Britain or the United States; and he feels, that while the great honours of the empire are almost beyond his reach, he ought to have a chance of dispensing the patronage and guiding the administration of his native country without any sacrifice of principle or diminution of self-respect.
My Lord, I have done. If what has been written corrects any error into which your Lordship or others may have fallen, and communicates to some, either in Britain or the Colonies, information upon a subject not generally understood, I shall be amply repaid. Your Lordship will perhaps pardon me for reminding you, that, in thus eschewing the anonymous and putting my name to an argument in favour of Executive responsibility for the North American colonies, I am acting under a sense of deep responsibility myself. I well know that there is not a press in the pay of any of the family compacts, that will not misrepresent my motives and pervert my language; that there is not an over-paid and irresponsible official, from Fundy to the Ottawa, whose inextinguishable hostility, I shall not have earned for the remainder of my life. The example of your Lordship will, however, help me to bear these burdens with patience. You have lived and prospered, and done the State good service, and yet thousands of corrupt boroughmongers and irresponsible corporators formerly misrepresented and hated you. Should I live to see the principles for which I contend, operating as beneficially over British North America, as those immortal acts, which provoked your Lordship's enemies, do in the mother country, I shall
be gratified by the reflection, that the patriotic and honourable men now contending for the principles of the British Constitution, and by whose side, as an humble auxiliary, I am proud to take my stand, whatever they may have suffered in the struggle, did not labour in vain.-I have the honour to be, with the highest respect, your Lordship's humble admirer, and most obedient servant,
#1 Geo. III, cap. 31.
onsist of not
wenty mem ers, and no
usiness to be
Repeal of proision of 1 nd 2 Vict., ap. 9, preenting the making of ermanent
aws; but all
-ermanent aws to be
aid for thirty
ays before Parliament -revious to beng confirmed.
AN ACT TO AMEND AN ACT OF THE LAST SESSION OF
(2 & 3 Victoria, c. 53.)
17th August, 1839.
Whereas, an Act was passed in the thirty-first year of the reign of his Majesty, King George the Third, intituled "An Act to repeal certain parts of an Act passed in the fourteenth year of his Majesty's reign, intituled 'An Act for making more effectual provision for the Government of the Province of Quebec in North America,' and to make further provision for the Government of the said Province," whereby among other things it was enacted that there should be within each of the Provinces of Upper Canada and Lower Canada respectively a Legislative Council and an Assembly, to be constituted in manner therein described, and with such powers and authorities as therein mentioned: And whereas an Act was passed in the last session of Parliament, intituled "An Act to make temporary Provision for the Government of Lower Canada," whereby it was enacted that from the proclamation of the Act until the first day of November one thousand eight hundred and forty so much of the said Act of the thirty-first year of the reign of his Majesty, King George the Third, and of any other Act or Acts of Parliament, as provides for the Constitution or calling of a Legislative Council or Assembly for the Province of Lower Canada, or confers any powers or functions upon them or either of them should cease; and by the said Act now in recital provision is made in the meantime for the appointment by his Majesty of a Special Council for the affairs of Lower Canada, and for the making of laws or ordinances for the Government of the said Province by the Governor thereof, with the advice and consent of the majority of the Councillors present at any meeting of the Council: And whereas it is expedient that some of the provisions contained in the said lastly-recited Act should be altered: Be it therefore enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, that the number of Councillors forming the Special Council in manner provided by the said Act passed in the last session of Parliament shall not be less than twenty, and that no business shall be transacted at any meeting of the said Special Council at which there are not present at least eleven Councillors.
II. And be it enacted that from and immediately after the passing of this Act so much of the said recited Act passed in the last Session of Parliament as provides that no law or ordinance made by the Governor of the said Province of Lower Canada, with such advice and consent as therein mentioned, shall continue in force beyond the first day of November, one thousand eight hundred and forty-two, unless continued by competent authority, shall be and the same is hereby repealed: Provided always that every law or ordinance which by the terms and provisions thereof shall be made to continue in force after the said first day of November, one thousand eight hundred and forty-two, shall be laid before both Houses of
This Act was passed after the Act of Union was withdrawn in 1839 (see No. CXLII, note), pending Poulett Thomson's report on Canadian affairs.
Parliament within thirty days after a copy thereof shall be received by one of her Majesty's Principal Secretaries of States, under the provisions of the said Act of the last Session of Parliament, if Parliament shall be then sitting, or otherwise within thirty days after the then next meeting of Parliament; and no such law or ordinance shall be confirmed or declared to be left to its operation by her Majesty until such law or ordinance shall first have been laid for thirty days before both Houses of Parliament, or in case either House of Parliament shall, within the said thirty days, address her Majesty to disallow any such law or ordinance.
taxes not to
III. And be it enacted that from and immediately after the passing Repeal of the of this Act so much of the said recited Act passed in the last Session of provision of 1 and 2 Vict., Parliament as provides that it shall not be lawful, by any such law or cap. 9, proordinance as therein mentioned to impose any tax, duty, rate, or impost, hibiting taxasave only in so far as any tax, duty, rate, or impost, which at the passing tion; but no of that Act was payable within the said Province of Lower Canada, might new tax to be be continued, shall be and the same is hereby repealed: Provided always for public that it shall not be lawful for the said Governor with such advice and con- works and objects of sent as aforesaid, to make any law or ordinance imposing, or authorizing municipal the imposition of any new tax, duty, rate, or impost, except for carrying government; into effect local improvements within the said Province of Lower Canada, and such or any district or other local division thereof, or for the establishment or be appropriatmaintenance of police, or other objects of municipal government, within ed by Govany city or town or district or other local division of the said Province: ernment. Provided also that in every law or ordinance imposing or authorizing the imposition of any such new tax, duty, rate, or impost, provision shall be made for the levying, receipt, and appropriation thereof by such person or persons as shall be thereby appointed or designated for that purpose, but that no such new tax, rate, duty, or impost shall be levied by or made payable to the Receiver-General or any other public officer employed in the receipt of her Majesty's ordinary revenue in the said Province; nor shall any such law or ordinance as aforesaid provide for the appropriation of any such new tax, duty, rate or impost by the said Governor, either with or without the advice of the Executive Council of the said Province, or by the Commissioners of her Majesty's treasury, or by any other officer of the Crown employed in the receipt of her Majesty's ordinary revenue.
or the law
IV. And be it enacted that from and after the passing of this Act Repeal of the so much of the said recited Act passed in the last session of Parliament as 1 and 2 Vict., provisions of provides that it shall not be lawful for any such law or ordinance as therein cap. 9, prohimentioned to repeal, suspend, or alter any provision of any Act of the biting the Parliament of Great Britain, or of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, Acts of Paror of any Act of the Legislature of Lower Canada, as then constituted, liament; but repealing or altering any such Act of Parliament, shall be and the same is no law to be hereby repealed: Provided always, that it shall not be lawful for the said made affecting the Temporal Governor, with such advice and consent as aforesaid, to make any law or or Spiritual ordinance altering or affecting the Temporal or Spiritual rights of the rights of Eclessiastics, Clergy of the United Church of England and Ireland, or of the Ministers of any other religious communion, or altering or affecting the tenure of of tenure. land within the said Province of Lower Canada, or any part thereof, save so far as the tenure of land may be altered or affected by any law or ordinance which may be made by the said Governor, with such advice and consent as aforesaid, to provide for the extinction of any Seignorial rights and dues now vested in or claimed by the Ecclesiastics of the Seminary of Saint Sulpice at Montreal within the said Province, or to provide for the extinction of any Seignorial rights and dues vested in or claimed by any other person or persons or body or bodies corporate or politic, within the Island of Montreal, or the island called Isle Jesus, within the said Province. V. And be it enacted that every law or ordinance to be made by the Laws, etc., to be published said Governor, with such advice and consent as aforesaid, shall, before the in Gazette. passing or enactment thereof, be published at length in the public Gazette of the said Province of Lower Canada.
VI. And be it enacted that for the purposes of this Act the person Governor.
ct may be nended, etc.
authorized to execute the Commission of Governor of the Province of Lower Canada shall be taken to be the Governor thereof.
VII. And be it enacted that this Act may be amended or repealed by any Act to be passed during the present session of Parliament.
LORD JOHN RUSSELL TO THE RIGHT HON. C. POULETT
[Trans. Imperial Blue Books relating to Canada, Vol. XIII.)
Sir, The Queen having been pleased to confide to you the Government of the British provinces in North America, I now transmit to you the various Commissions under the Great Seal, which authorize you to assume and execute that office. The intimate knowledge which, as one of Her Majesty's confidential advisers, you have acquired, of the progress of Canadian affairs during the last few years, and of the views of Her Majesty's Government on that subject, relieves me from the necessity of entering on various explanations, which it would otherwise have been my duty to afford you. But it is fit that I should on the present occasion record for your guidance the intentions of the Ministers of the Crown on the principal topics of Canadian policy, on which you will be called, as the governor of those provinces, to co-operate with them.
The Bill introduced into the House of Commons during the present session of Parliament, embodied, as you are aware, the results of deliberate reflection on the various suggestions contained in the reports of the Earl of Durham. The hope of passing that measure into a law before the Parliamentary recess was defeated by various circumstances which occurred, and especially by the intelligence which, in the commencement of the month of June reached us from the Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada, of the state of public opinion in that colony, as expressed by the resolutions of the Council and Assembly. We have never concealed from ourselves that the success of any plan for the settlement of Canadian affairs must depend on the concurrence and support of the provinces themselves. To learn their deliberate wishes, and to obtain their co-operation by frank and unreserved personal intercourse, will therefore be the first and most important of the duties which you will be called upon to perform.
In our anxiety thus to consult, and as far as may be possible, to defer to public opinion in the Canadas on the subject of constitutional changes, Her Majesty's Government must be understood as entertaining a very strong conviction in favour of the policy of the measure which they have proposed for the adoption of Parliament. Attaching minor importance to the subordinate details of that Bill, we have found no sufficient reason for distrusting the principles on which it proceeds. These are-a legislative Union of the two provinces-a just regard to the claims of either province in adjusting the terms of that Union-the maintenance of the three estates of the provincial legislature-the settlement of a permanent civil list for securing the independence of the judges, and to the executive government that freedom of action which is necessary for the public good-and the establishment of a system of local government by representative bodies, freely elected in the various cities and rural districts. From any of these
1 The union of the two Provinces was decided on as a result of Durham's Report. In 1838 a bill for that purpose was introduced, but withdrawn by the Government, owing to the protest from Upper Canada. It can be read in Public Bills, 1839, Vol. I. The new Governor-General, Charles Poulett Thomson, afterwards Lord Sydenham, was instructed to gather further information on Canadian affairs and to forward it to England. He reached Quebec September 17, 1839, and his work in Canada is illustrated in the following documents, which also throw light on the growing changes in British Colonial policy. For Sydenham's rule in Canada see A. Shortt, Lord Sydenham.