§ On the Motion that the Report of the Committee of Supply be now read,
§ Mr. Roebuck
said, he was anxious to call the attention of the House to the condition of one of our most important North American Colonies, in which recent events threatened to be attended with serious consequences. He was desirous of calling attention to this subject by way of warning to the noble Lord, and he assured him that he referred to it in no spirit of hostility to the Administration, and influenced by no personal feeling. He hoped the House would allow him to state a few of the circumstances connected with the present state of the Colony, in order that at least his view of the case might be thoroughly understood. That House and the Parliament generally had thought fit, in spite of the warnings of many who had paid attention to the condition of the Colony, to pass a Bill for the re-union of Upper and Lower Canada into one Colony thinking that that measure would be best for the interests of Canada. The Government of this country was told then that this was not a question of race, but of principle; that the question was, whether the people of Canada should be subject to a government abroad or a government within their own lands. The Government were warned also that the rock upon which they would split was that of American democracy, and that the only chance they had of avoiding it, was to conciliate the good feelings of the Canadian people. The hon. and learned Gentleman here referred to the circumstances of the country at the time of the union of the two provinces, but in a scarcely audible tone. When that Act was passed, Mr. Poulett Thomson was sent out to administer the government of that province. He wished to speak of that noble Lord's condin 32 this part of his public career without the slightest asperity. That noble Lord was not here to defend himself; he could not be here for he was no more in this life, and in these days, he did not always find, that public men after their death had many friends to stand forward and speak in their defence. The first important act of Lord Sydenham's government in Canada was to separate the country into disricts for the purposes of elections. In doing this, he (Mr. Roebuck) did not hesitate to say that there was fraud from beginning to end of the proceedings. In many instances polling places were put up in spots which would be most difficult and inconvenient of access. In the case of the town of Montreal, a large portion of the town chiefly inhabited by French Canadians, was cut off under the denomination of the suburbs. In fact, throughout, the noble Lord had endeavoured so to fashion and mould the country, in regard to the number and character of the constituency, that he might secure such a representation as he desired. This was the charge which he made against Lord Sydenham. If there was any man a friend of the noble Lord in this House, he dared him to get up and deny what he had said. So gross was the attempt, so apparent the fraud in this transaction, that the House of Representatives, and that very party amongst the Representatives which was intended to be favoured by it, declared that it was a fraud. The hon. and learned Gentleman quoted a passage from the Westminster Review in confirmation of this statement and declared that the article in question was written by a gentleman with whom he was well acquainted, and for whose accuracy he was ready to pledge his own personal responsibility. But Lord Sydenham was not content with fraud; he also introduced intimidation and violence into the election proceedings of Canada. He held in his hand a record of all the acts of violence committed by the authority of the noble Lord, and by his agents, and especially by one man whom he imported into Canada with him from Ireland. By all these means the noble Lord succeeded in obtaining a majority of one in the House of Representatives. To show, however how contrary this was to the feelings of the country after an investigation had taken place, and these abuses were rectified, there was a large majority in favour of liberal principles. Upon the death of Lord 33 Sydenham, Sir C. Bagot was appointed his successor. But the majority against his Government was so manifest that he found he could not continue his government under the existing system and a remarkable change took place. Sir C. Bagot made a declaration of the principles upon which he would henceforth conduct his government. He referred to the resolution of the House of Assembly of the 3rd of September, 1841, a resolution in favour of responsible government, and declared that he would govern Canada upon the principles of that resolution. Acting in the spirit of that resolution, he selected from the body of the House of Assembly certain persons who seemed to possess the public confidence in the strongest degree, and of them constituted his executive council, determining at the same time that so far as the internal polity of the country was concerned he would be guided by their advice. In matters of metropolitan polity, of course, as heretofore, he would continue to receive his instructions from the Home Government. He thought the distinction a very clear one; he thought that in matters relating to the metropolitan or imperial relations of the Colony, the governors should be under the control of the Home Government; but that in matters of purely internal polity, the local council should have the controlling voice; and this, also, was the declaration and explanation of Sir C. Bagot. Accordingly, Sir C. Bagot appointed his council, consisting of men possessing the confidence of the people; and it was touching to see how this conciliatory act was received by the people. That people, who had been so long subject to the iron rule of previous governors—who had been hunted by soldiers, and tried by soldiers, and executed by soldiers, and whose wives and families had been insulted by soldiers— this people, who had thus cruelly suffered, seemed to forget at once all the evil which had been done them, and turned with a gushing outpouring of gratitude to their new governor, who had shown this goodwill towards them; and when that governor who had done so much for them, was oppressed with sickness, a heartfelt prayer was put up from one end of the country to the other for the alleviation of his sufferings. Upon the death of Sir C. Bagot, Sir C. Metcalfe was appointed his successor; and when he went out, he admitted that he was not quite prepared to 34 handle a representative Government, and particularly in America. He did not take the same view of the matter as his predecessor had taken. Indeed, he acknowledged, to use his own words, that the Government established by Sir C. Bagot introduced a principle of "antagonism" which he foresaw could not long work smoothly. Sir C. Metcalfe, however, announced at the same time, that he intended to govern the Colony upon the principles of a responsible Government; but from that hour to this he had never explained what he meant by a "responsible Government." He would beg to refer to a passage in the Life of Lord Sydenham, by Mr. Murdock, a gentleman well known to the noble Lord. The hon. and learned Gentleman read an extract to the effect that the events which had occurred since the death of Lord Sydenham had afforded lamentable confirmation to the previous remarks; that it would be invidious to make any comparisons between his Government and that of his successors; but that there could be no doubt that embarrassments had accumulated to such a degree as to threaten a recurrence of the events of 1837–1839. Now, he wanted to know whether it was the opinion of the noble Lord opposite, that Sir C. Bagot took a wrong view with respect to the principles upon which the Government of Canada should be carried on? He was anxious that the noble Lord should explicitly declare, in the face of the House of Commons, what he really intended by that somewhat mystical form or phraseology, "a responsible Government." He was anxious to hear the noble Lord make that statement, in order that the people of Canada might know what they had to expect from the noble Lord, or any one appointed by him. He was anxious for it also on behalf of the emigrant, whose future interests were involved in the question. What was the case with respect to the emigrant? A river divided him from the United States, where everything was open to him, every office in the Government, every legitimate influence in the conduct of the affairs of the State. In Canada, on the contrary, under the tutelage of England, he could expect nothing in the shape of public honours or emoluments, but, at best, some wretched petty office of a subordinate character; he would have no sympathies with the Government which was put over him; be would have to 35 lead a sort of existence upon sufferance under the Colonial Office in Downing street. He entreated the noble Lord so to fashion the destinies of the emigrant to the Canadas, that he might not be forced, for the future, into invidious comparisons of this sort. On the contrary, the noble Lord ought to lend his assistance to lead on the Canadian people, step by step, to that result which one day must inevitably occur—complete self-government—in order that when the separation from the mother country took place it might be of a friendly, and not of a hostile nature. Sir C. Metcalfe, he contended, acted in violation of the principle adopted by Sir C. Bagot, and particularly in the appointment of persons to local offices without any consultation with the Executive Council. One of these appointments so made, was that of the Speaker of the Upper House of Representatives. This appointment was offered without any advice with the Council, and the people heard for the first time in the streets of Kingston that the offer of this high office had been made to one of their bitterest opponents. He should like to know what the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government would say if he were to hear that the office of Speaker of the House of Lords had been offered to Lord Cottenham. The two cases were exactly analogous. It was fair, therefore, to draw the analogy. This was an internal piece of policy, and was bringing the question in dispute to an issue. They went not to vague generalities, but taking a specific case, they said, "Such is the polity you have pursued in this case, do you intend to continue it?" And the answer of Sir C. Metcalfe was most distinctly, that he did, declaring, to use his own phrase, "that he would not violate his duty by surrendering the prerogatives of the Crown." The Executive Council then said, in that case we can no longer act as your Ministry, and they tendered their resignations, which Sir C. Metcalfe accepted, and from that day to this the Colony had been without an Administration. There was a Governor General and nothing else. There was, it was true, the President of the Council (Mr. Daly) a gentleman for whom he (Mr. Roebuck) had personally the highest respect, who acted with the Governor, but had not actually accepted office, in order to avoid the necessity of being re-elected; but the Attorney General, the Solicitor General, 36 and all the important Members of the Executive had retired, and the present Ministry consisted of Mr. Daly and Mr. Draper. There was no longer a Receiver General; the duties of that office being now performed by the clerk of the late Receiver General, M. Turquand, who acted as Receiver General for the Colony though he had given no security whatever. Up to the present hour the Governor General had altogether failed in forming an Administration. At the end of this year the present Parliament of Canada would cease to exist, and another Parliament would have to be elected, in which there could be no doubt that the majority against the Government would be in creased; then they would have the consummation which had been prophesied. The course which the Government had pursued had had the effect of uniting the democratic party of Upper Canada with the Liberals of Lower Canada, and the force of circumstances had produced a party united against the Government in Parliament, so powerful that they could not overcome it, and they had, therefore, no hope but in one of two things—either to yield to the will of the people, or to govern by the bayonet. There was no other alternative left. He would ask the noble Lord—at present Sir C. Metcalfe was the sole Governor of Canada—was that the sort of Government the noble Lord contemplated when he spoke of a responsible government? He would ask the noble Lord whether his understanding of a responsible government, meant a government like that now existing in Canada—a government carried on by a Governor General without any responsible advisers; or whether his idea of a responsible government, was a government chosen out of those persons who enjoyed the confidence of the people expressed in the Representatives they return to the Legislature, as was understood and expressed by Sir C. Bagot? There could be no medium here. Either the noble Lord must mean Canada to continue to be governed by Sir C. Metcalfe, irresponsible to all but the Government at home, or by a government responsible to the people of Canada, such as he (Mr. Roebuck) spoke of. If the former, the most direful results would follow. As he had stated, since the resignation of the Executive Council in November, 1843, to the present hour, Sir C. Metcalfe had not been able to select more 37 than the three gentlemen he had named to act in responsible situations of Government, and he had not been able to call the Parliament together, knowing well what would be the consequence if the Parliament met. Sir C. Metcalfe, however, must meet the Parliament at one time or other, and when he did, that consequence would follow; there was no hope of escape. Now, with regard to the election at Montreal, he had been told that that election had been carried by violence. He denied it; and although the Irish agitators, enlisted, as it were, and paid and organised by Lord Sydenham, had set an example that might unhappily have been followed, he denied, and he defied any one to prove, that anything more of riot or confusion had taken place at the election at Montreal than occurred at every election in Covent-garden. Out of the whole number of polling-booths, in one only had anything like a scuffle occurred. And the result of the election at Montreal, where, if there was an English party in Canada, it existed, the result of the election was against the Government —the English party being as much Canadians as the French party itself. There were also other grounds of complaint; and seeing the right hon. Member for Coventry (Mr. Ellice) in his place, he might refer to the interference with the colonial interests by Private Bills passed in this country. The Session before the last (he believed) an Act of Parliament had been passed, giving powers to a company of adventurers to form a bank of issue in Lower Canada [an expression of dissent from Lord Stanley, we believed]. It was during the Sydenham Administration, and while that noble Lord was arranging matters with the legislative body there, that the British House of Commons passed a British North American Bank Bill, which bank was made a bank of issue for Canada. The result was, that the Parliament of Canada refused to listen to Lord Sydenham's proposals, and passed a resolution that it was the bounden duty of the House to protest against the Charter, on behalf of the people of Canada, as being an interference with the affairs of the Colony, opposed to the instructions contained in the recent despatches of Lord J. Russell. He (Mr. Roebuck) had said, that this banking company had been constituted by Act of Parliament, but he found it was by Charter from the Crown, 38 and that circumstance rendered the proceeding still more objectionable. Then there was the North American Colonization Company, which, under an Act of the Imperial Parliament, was invested with powers, which had been increased by a subsequent Act, to acquire lands in Canada. He contended that no Private Bill should be passed affecting the interests of a colony, unless due notice be given to the Colony of the intention to pass it. The cases he had quoted were instances in which great powers had been given to particular bodies to interfere with the internal affairs of the Colony without first consulting the Colonial Legislature, and thus depriving the Colonial Legislature of its constitutional functions. With regard to the Colonization Bill, it might be matter of surprise that, taking, as he believed he did, his fair share of the business of the House, and being pretty regular in his attendance, it should have passed without his knowledge; but he had been since informed that great pains were taken to exclude the progress of that measure from his cognizance, and that it was passed during his absence from London. But what he wished to put to the House and the noble Lord was, whether it were just that the interests of an important Colony like Canada, having a Legislature of its own should be affected by any Private Bill passed in the British House of Commons? He would call upon the House and the Government to remember what had been the results of a similar system of interference with the internal polity of other Colonies. The attempt to tax the colonists, and to impose on them a permanent civil list, without their consent, had occasioned us the loss of the United States. The discontent in Canada was the result of the same system of interference. Treat the Canadas fairly, and they would remain the firm friends of the mother country and of British connection; but continue the system which they were now pursuing, and they would become the firm supporters of democratic institutions, and the chances of their union with the United States would be increased.
had expected that the statement of the hon. and learned Member would have been followed by a Motion on which the sense of the House might have been expressed. The importance of the question and the principle involved in it, as bearing upon the future possible 39 relations between this country and Canada, could not be over-estimated. With the tone the hon. and learned Member had assumed, or with the frankness of his statements, he personally had no right to quarrel. But his objection to the principle kid down by the hon. and learned Gentleman, and upon which he said, that to avoid American democracy in Canada we must interpose the principle of self-government —his objection to the distinction the hon. and learned Gentleman had drawn between the Government at home and that abroad in our Colonies was this—that however true and unanswerable his principles were, as applied to an independent Republic, if pushed to the extent to which the hon. and learned Member would carry them, they were inconsistent with the existence of monarchical institutions; and in the next place, with the relations which should exist between a colony and the mother country. If he admitted the full extent of the principle on which the hon. and learned Gentleman had laid so much stress—of the right of the colony to govern their own local affairs—he should yet be prepared, on the part of the Government, to express their unhesitating and cordial approbation of the course which Sir C. Metcalfe had pursued, and their unqualified approval of his conduct in the two matters which had been made grounds of accusation against him by the Members of the Executive Council, and which had been brought forward on their behalf by the hon. and learned Gentleman. Now, what were those two points of accusation? They were not left to conjecture on the subject, for the Governor General and the Executive Council had both stated them distinctly as the grounds upon which the Members of that Council resigned their offices, and on which their resignation was accepted by Sir Charles Metcalfe. The Governor General had stated publicly, and it had not been contradicted—it had been stated by one of those who still adhered to his Government, and in the presence of the Executive Council who had left him—that the Executive Council demanded from the Governor General that he would agree, under his hand and seal, to make no appointment, and no offer of an appointment whatever, without previously taking the advice of the Council; that the list of candidates should always be laid before them, and that they should 40 have the power to recommend any other persons, at their discretion, and that the Governor General should not make any appointment which they might consider prejudicial to their views; in other words, that the whole patronage of the Crown in the colony should be surrendered to the Executive Council for the purposes of Parliamentary support. It was not merely that the Council said to the Governor General, you must act with us—you must consult with us—with regard to all the great measures of Government; but it was this—you must bind yourself under your hand and seal, that under all circumstances, and on all occasions, no appointment to any Government Office shall be made without our consent—the patronage of the Crown in every direction and in every department shall be, by an instrument under your hand and seal, submitted to the Executive Council. Sir C. Metcalfe at once rejected that proposal; and he (Lord Stanley) thought he was right in rejecting it. The hon. and learned Gentleman had sought to draw an analogy between the position of the Governor General in Canada and that of the Sovereign in this country. He (Lord Stanley) denied the analogy. But even admit, for the sake of argument, that the analogy existed, and he still contended that the demand which the Executive Council had made of the Governor General was one which no Minister would allow. But he denied the analogy. The constitution of Canada might be formed upon the model of the Constitution here; but still they could not give to it the life of the British Constitution. Observe what was the nature of the British Constitution—what were the functions of the Sovereign. The basis of the British Constitution was, that the Sovereign was personally irresponsible for every act of the Government— that the responsibility rested with the confidential advisers of the Sovereign, who were responsible to Parliament and the people for the advice they gave, and he admitted and allowed that no Minister could hold permanently the reins of power in this country who did not, in addition to the confidence of the Sovereign, possess the confidence of the popular branch of the Legislature. But because the Crown was not responsible for the acts of Government, the Crown particularly exercised no political power; and it was obvious that the exercise of political power without re- 41 sponsibility would not be more dangerous to the liberty of the country than the exercise of responsibility without power would be an absurdity and a contradiction. He said, therefore, that no Minister in this country would make or allow such a proposition as had been made by the Executive Council of Canada to Sir C. Metcalfe. The theory was well understood, and the practice followed. The Sovereign, in deference to the opinion of the constitutional advisers of the Crown, made the appointment on the recommendation of the Minister; and every Minister, in making a recommendation to the Crown, so far as higher and more important considerations would permit, paid and was bound to pay deference to the personal convenience, wishes, and feelings of the Sovereign; and, on the other hand, although the Sovereign had the power to reject the appointment recommended by the Minister, it was usual to sacrifice all personal considerations to the public advantage. But the case of a colony was totally different from that of this country. Here the people respected the dignity of the Crown from its hereditary nature, and were influenced by a loyalty and attachment to the person of the Sovereign and the Monarchy that was almost inherent. Then there was the House of Lords, the hereditary Peerage of the country, exercising no unimportant power, and possessing an influence over public opinion by that hereditary rank, high station, territorial possessions and wealth, and hereditary title, which gave to the Peers importance in their several localities, individually and collectively with the country in general. Compare this with the position of Canada; there they had the representative form of constitution, chosen by the people: but where was the parallel to the House of Lords? There was the Legislative Council, but it possessed none of the advantages of the Peerage of this country; its Members were not elevated much by rank, station, or property, above their fellow-citizens, and possessed no great influence; they were nominated by the Crown, and held office for life. Then the Governor General had none of the dignity of the Sovereign about his position, having an income not more than that of a country gentleman—a stranger to the colony—having probably no personal interest or influence in it until his appointment, and previous to his ar- 42 rival no connection with it. Place that Governor and the Legislature so constituted in the position of a Minister being himself responsible, and compelled to act in every respect with Parliament, stripped of all real power and authority, liable to act under the control of the leading politicians and parties of the day, and what would they institute in Canada? That which, but for the influence of the Crown and the Peerage, and the necessity of the Prime Minister of this country possessing the confidence of the House of Commons, would be the result here, a republican government—a Governor placed in a state of absolute dependence on the Crown. He said to the hon. and learned Gentleman that he proposed a course which, by no gradual steps, but certainly and at once would place the whole authority in the hands of the dominant party for the time, and convert Canada into a republic, independent of the Crown of this country. It was inconsistent with monarchical Government that the Governor who was responsible, should be stripped of all authority and all power, and be reduced to that degree of political power which was vested in the constitutional Sovereign of the country. Not only would such a course be inconsistent with monarchical Government, but also with the colonial dependence. The hon. and learned Gentleman might desire to see the Colony divested of that dependence; but if that was the object, let him say so. ["No."] But the argument the hon. and learned Gentleman laid down would lead to that conclusion. The system which the hon. and learned Gentleman proposed was inconsistent with that which at all times had been held forth by all British and Colonial authorities as responsible Government. The sketch of the hon. and learned Gentleman of Canadian affairs went from the period of Lord Durham's Report to the present time, and he stated that that Report was remarkable only for confirming that which had been demanded by the legislations of both provinces for twenty years. Lord Durham, said the hon. and learned Member, confirmed the doctrine of responsible Government. Now he had looked into the recommendations of Lord Durham as to the principle of responsible Government, and although that noble Lord did enunciate certain views, he did not appear to him to have seriously considered the mode in which they were to be carried out, 43 or the practical results to which these principles would give rise if carried to their full extent. But he did not find Lord Durham laying down, even as a principle, the doctrine which the hon. and learned Gentleman would wish to see carried out of responsibility to the people of Canada. The noble Lord proceeded to quote the Report of Lord Durham, to the effect that responsibility to the United Legislature of all the Officers of the Government, except the Governor and the Secretary, should be secured by every means known to the Constitution. The Governor, as representative of the Crown, should carry on the Government by means of heads of departments, on whom the United Legislature shall repose confidence, and who must not look for support from home except in points of imperial interest. The noble Lord continued: Here Lord Durham laid down the doctrine that internal administration should be administered by heads of departments—each of them being in the Legislature answerable for his own department, prepared to defend it, and if not supported by the Legislature, prepared to resign. To that principle, from the time when Lord Sydenham went to Canada until now, when Sir Charles Metcalfe had declared his adherence to responsible Government, he had not heard any objection. But that there might be no doubt as to what was the understanding of the Government of this country upon the point, at a later period than when Lord Durham drew up his Report, when Lord Sydenham was sent out to carry into practice Lord Durham's principles, the noble Lord, the Member for London, officially stated to Lord Sydenham, on the part of the Government, what were the views taken by it of the system under which the affairs of Canada were to be administered. The despatch was as follows:—It appears from Sir George Arthur's despatches that you may encounter much difficulty in subduing the excitement which prevails on the question of what is called responsible Government.' I have to instruct you, however, to refuse any explanation which may be construed to imply an acquiescence in the petitions and addresses on this subject. I cannot better commence this despatch than by a reference to the Resolutions of both Houses of Parliament, of the 28th April and 9th May, in the year 1837. The Assembly of Lower Canada having repeatedly pressed the point, Her Majesty's confidential advisers at 44 that period thought it necessary not only to explain their views in the communications of the Secretary of State, but expressly called for the opinion of Parliament on the subject. The Crown and the two Houses of Lords and Commons having thus decisively pronounced a judgment upon the question, you will consider yourself precluded from entertaining any proposition on the subject. It does not appear, indeed, that any very definite meaning is generally agreed upon by those who call themselves the advocates of this principle; but its very vagueness is a source of delusion, and if at all encouraged, would prove the cause of embarrassment and danger. The Constitution of England, after long struggles and alternate success, has settled into a form of Government, in which the prerogative of the Crown is undisputed, but it is never exercised without advice. Hence the exercise only is questioned, and however the use of the authority may be condemned, the authority itself remains untouched. This is the practical solution of a great problem, the result of a contest which from 1640 to 1690 shook the monarchy, and disturbed the peace of the country. But if we seek to apply such a practice to a Colony, we shall at once find ourselves at fault. The power for which a Minister is responsible in England, is not his own power, but the power of the Crown, of which he is for the time the organ. It is obvious that the Executive Councillor of a Colony is in a situation totally different. The Governor, under whom he serves, receives his orders from the Crown of England. But can the Colonial Council be the advisers of the Crown of England? Evidently not, for the Crown has other advisers, for the same functions, and with superior authority. It may happen, therefore, that the Governor receives at one and the same time instructions from the Queen, and advice from his Executive Council, totally at variance with each other. If he is to obey his instructions from England, the parallel of constitutional responsibility entirely fails; if, on the other hand, he is to follow the advice of his council, he is no longer a subordinate officer, but an independent sovereign.These were the opinions upon the point of the noble Lord opposite. But the hon. and learned Gentleman stated that he admitted that there were many questions in which the Imperial Legislature must interfere, in which the Colonial-office must interfere, in which the Minister of the Crown must be put above the Local Legislature, and in which the Local Legislature must succumb; but that, said the hon. and learned Gentleman, was only in cases which affected the metropolitan as well as the local interests; but in cases of internal legislation, the power of the Council should be supreme over the Government. Now, 45 would the hon. and learned Gentleman tell him who was to draw the line of distinction, or how that line was to be drawn between objects of local and metropolitan interest? The noble Lord, the Member for London, answered the question:—It is now said that internal government is alone intended. But there are some cases of internal government, in which the honour of the Crown, or the faith of Parliament, or the safety of the State, are so seriously involved, that it would not be possible for Her Majesty to delegate her authority to a Minister in a Colony. I will put for illustration some of the cases which have occurred in that very province where the petition for a responsible Executive first arose—I mean Lower Canada. During the time when a large majority of the Assembly) of Lower Canada followed M. Papineau as their leader, it was obviously the aim of that gentleman to discourage all who did their duty to the Crown within the province, and to deter all. who should resort to Canada with British habits and feelings from without. I need not say that it would have been impossible for any Minister to support, in the Parliament of the United Kingdom, the measures which a Ministry headed by M. Papineau, would have imposed upon the Governor of Lower Canada: British officers punished for doing their duty; British emigrants defrauded of their property; British merchants discouraged in their lawful pursuits, would have loudly appealed to Parliament against the Canadian Ministry, and would have demanded protection.He made no apology for quoting from this despatch, because it laid down broadly principles in which he concurred. The noble Lord went on to say,—The principle once sanctioned, no one can say how soon its application might be dangerous, or even dishonourable, while all will agree that to recall the power thus conceded would be impossible. While I thus see insuperable objections to the adoption of the principle as it has been stated, I see little or none to the practical views of Colonial Government recommended by Lord Durham, as I understand them. The Queen's Government have no desire to thwart the Representative Assemblies of British North America in their meaures of reform and improvement. They have no wish to make those provinces the resource for patronage at home. They are earnestly intent on giving to the talent and character of leading persons in the Colonies, advantages similar to those which talent and character, employed in the public service, obtain in the United Kingdom. Her Majesty has no desire to maintain any system of policy among Her North American subjects which opinion condemns. In receiving the Queen's commands, therefore, to protest against any declaration at variance with the honour of the Crown and 46 the unity of the empire, I am at the same time instructed to announce Her Majesty's gracious intention to look to the affectionate attachment of her people in North America, as the best security for permanent dominion.The noble Lord subsequently observed,While I have thus cautioned you against any declaration from which dangerous consequences might hereafter flow, and instructed you as to the general line of your conduct, it may be said that I have not drawn any specific line beyond which the power of the Governor on the one hand, and the privileges of the Assembly on the other, ought not to extend. But this must be the case in any mixed government. Every political constitution in which different bodies share the supreme power, is only enabled to exist by the forbearance of those among whom this power is distributed. In this respect the example of England may well be imitated. The Sovereign using the prerogative of the Crown to the utmost extent, and the House of Commons exerting its power of the purse, to carry all its resolutions into immediate effect, would produce confusion in the country in less than a twelvemonth. So in a colony; the Governor thwarting every legitimate proposition of the Assembly; and the Assembly continually recurring to its power of refusing supplies, can but disturb all political relations, embarrass trade, and retard the prosperity of the people. Each must exercise a wise moderation. The Governor must only oppose the wishes of the Assembly where the honour of the Crown or the interests of the empire are deeply concerned; and the Assembly must be ready to Modify some of its measures for the sake of harmony, and from a reverent attachment to the authority of Great Britain.He much lamented that in the exercise of his discretion Mr. Poulett Thomson had not thought it necessary to lay before the Legislature of Canada this clear and explicit despatch. Had he done so, and had he also communicated to the Colonial Legislature that despatch, dated two days afterward, in which the noble Lord laid down clear regulations for the tenure of political office, and in which he stated that the tenure of office was to be dependent upon those holding it maintaining the confidence of the Assembly — he | thought that much misrepresentation and misconception might have been prevented. But the hon. and learned Gentleman asked him whether he concurred in the views which were taken by Sir Charles Metcalfe on the subject of responsible government, and the hon. and learned Gentleman begged him to state especially to the House, the principle of responsible government as he understood it. He 47 would endeavour to do so; he understood by responsible government that the Administration of Canada was to be carried on by heads of departments enjoying the confidence of the people of Canada—enjoying the confidence of the Legislature of Canada for the due exercise of the functions of their departments; and more, that the Governor in preparing and introducing with their sanction, legislative measures to the Colonial Parliament, was to be guided by the advice of those whom he had called to his councils; that he was to introduce measures upon their advice, and upon the advice and information of the local authorities throughout the kingdom, taking the responsibility of conducting them through the Colonial Legislature. But if the hon. and learned Gentleman asked this, whether he meant by responsible government that the Governor was to be a mere machine—a passive instrument in the hands of the Executive Council, or of any other different body—he replied that he did not so understand it. He quite well understood to what that led; but he did not understand that it was a constitutional method of governing a British Colony. He therefore approved of the discretion exercised by Sir C. Metcalfe in refusing his consent to a proposition which bound him in every respect to the will and pleasure of the Executive Council. But Sir C. Metcalfe had signified his adherence to that principle which the hon. and learned Gentleman desired to see established as the basis of Canadian Administration. The Resolution of the 3rd of September, 1841, bore upon the face of it that the head of the Executive Government, being the representative of the Sovereign, was responsible to the Imperial authority alone, but that the internal management of local affairs could only be conducted by and with the assistance of the Council and the subordinate officers of the province. He did not now enter into the question of whether responsible government were or were not likely to be conducive to the prosperity and welfare of Canada—whether it were most likely to enlist in the ranks of a Government the greatest number of men of talent, honour, integrity, and station. The principle had been fully recognised on the part of Government, both here and in Canada; and it was upon the principle of that recognition that Sir C. Metcalfe had 48 avowed his determination to conduct the Government of that Colony. But what did this Resolution state? That the Governor General was responsible to the Imperial authority alone. Responsible! For what? The doctrine of the hon. and learned Gentleman would leave him no responsibility, for it would leave him neither power, authority, nor discretion—a mere instrument in the hands of the Executive Council, nominated by the dominant party in the province—and yet, forsooth, that Governor General, who was to be at the feet of the Executive Council —itself the organ of the dominant power of the day—that Governor General was to be solely responsible to the Imperial authority. Why this was a practical absurdity. Taking the principle as he interpreted it, it was to be exercised with mutual forbearance and good sense, neither party straining their powers, but making concessions to the wishes of the other. Interpreting the principle in this way, it was possible—nay, it was not difficult—successfully to administer the affairs of Canada by its application. But taking it as urged by the hon. and learned Gentleman, it was a mere absurdity. Without power there could be no responsibility. Yet the hon. Gentleman proposed to take away all power from the Governor, and then mock the Government at home by calling him responsible to it. For what was he to be responsible? Not for the exercise of patronage, which the Executive Council would deny him; not for the exercise of the prerogative of the Crown, in withholding the assent of the Crown from the measures which he considered dangerous. Well, for what was he to be responsible, if it were not on these two heads—for the proper distribution of the rewards and honours in the power of the Crown to bestow, and for the exercise of that prerogative of the Crown which consisted in interposing the authority of the Crown with respect to certain acts of the Legislature. Both of these powers the Council withheld from the Governor General, and not only withheld, but they claimed that as to one of them he should declare by an instrument under his own hands that he for one surrendered it—that that demand was made, he presumed that the hon. and learned Gentleman would not deny. [Mr. Roebuck: There was no proof of it at all.] Yes, but there was; the Governor General had 49 made the statement in the House of Assembly, and in the presence of the Executive Council; and it had never been contradicted from that day to this. This statement was made under very remarkable circumstances, too. The Executive Council had furnished to the Governor a statement in writing, of the grounds which they intended to state in the Legislative Assembly, as having acted upon, and the Governor was obliged to enter a protest against its accuracy, and the statement which he had made through his representation in the Assembly, in the presence of the Executive Council, was not repudiated by any of them. At the time of this discussion, and when the demand in question was made, the Governor wrote to inform him of what had taken place, and that he had subsequently four or five hours' conversation with the Executive Council the following day. He wrote back, that approving of the course which he had taken in accepting the resignation of the Executive Council, he regretted that he had not required that the demand when made had not been reduced to writing and laid before the House. And for this reason, that he thought the effect of his subsequent conversation with the Council would have led some of the Members to change the issue of the question, and to put forth statements, as to the causes of their resignations, varying from the fact on which their resignations had been formerly tendered and received. He had stated that he thought this would be the case, and within two days after the despatch had been sent out, he had from the Governor General an account that his anticipation was correct—that the Executive Council had circulated incorrect statements of what had passed, and that he had been compelled publicly to contradict them. The hon. and learned Gentleman talked of the Governor General not having exercised patronage in accordance with the wishes of the Executive Government. In May last he had seen reason to anticipate the nature of the demands which would be made on him, and he wrote as follows:—I am required to give myself up entirely to the Council; to submit absolutely to their discretion; to have no judgment of my own: to bestow the patronage of the Government exclusively on their partisans; to proscribe their opponents, and to make some public and unequivocal declaration of my adhesion to these 50 conditions, involving the complete nullification of Her Majesty's Government.The Governor General wrote again on the 26th of December last year, in the following strain:—The facts of the case are, that I scarcely ever heard of a vacancy, except by a nomination from them for a succession; that I rarely made an appointment otherwise than on their recommendation; and that I do not recollect a single instance in which I made an appointment without being previously made acquainted with their sentiments regarding it. I certainly did not consider myself absolutely bound to consult them regarding every appointment, nor to surrender my judgment to their party views; and when a demand was made that I should surrender Her Majesty's Government, I decidedly refused. But, practically, they had more than they could desire, and not only had the means of expressing their opinion on every appointment about to be made, but had actually most appointments given away on their recommendation. Were I endeavouring to account to your Lordship for my exercise of patronage, I should be much more fearful of being found guilty of too much consideration for the Council, than of too rigid a maintenance of the prerogative of the Crown.Now, as to Canadian patronage, let not the House run away with the idea that it was a question in which the Colonial Government or the Government at home were interested. Long since, the whole of the patronage of the Crown in North America had been placed in the hands of the Governor; and for himself he could say that he had not had the distribution of 50l. worth of patronage in North America since he had held the reins of office. All the appointments had been made, on recommendations of the Governor General, from residents in the Colonies; and he declared that since he held office he had never, by instruction, recommendation, hint, or suggestion, interfered, directly or indirectly, with any appointment which had or had not been made in Canada. Do not let the hon. and learned Gentleman tell him that the distribution of patronage, in a country like Canada, is of such little importance that it might be safely, or could be wisely entrusted to the absolute discretion of the dominant political party of the day. He doubted whether it was for the advantage of any small community—he was sure it was not for the advantage of a colony—that political patronage should be dispensed as a reward for political subserviency. Let him illus- 51 trate the principle. Take a judicial office; in all small communities, and in colonies, the leading men were very frequently gentlemen of the legal profession. They were generally found near the seat of Government; they were often men of superior education, and of some leisure—men, too, whose attendance upon Government did not materially interfere with their professional pursuits. Therefore such persons generally formed a very large proportion of colonial legislatures, and had great influence in them. Did the hon. and learned Gentleman think that that was a class of persons from among whom judicial offices should be filled at the recommendation of a Council composed of the same general materials? Judicial offices were the best paid, and rightly so—they were among the highest prizes which talent in the Colonies generally struggled for. Now, did the hon. Gentleman think it advisable to hold out judicial offices as a reward for political partizanship? He confessed, that in a small community, a principle more likely to tarnish the sources of justice, and to destroy the confidence of the people in the administration of the law, he could not conceive. Judicial patronage, on the other hand, was safely vested in the discretion of the Governor General, exercising the influence of the Crown. But suppose a case should occur, in which the rivalry of races should spring up, and compose the elements of party dispute. Suppose it should so happen, in the mutability of affairs in Canada, that the British party, to the exclusion of the French party, should attain political power—did the hon. and learned Gentleman think that it be would be right, or safe, or wise, that a dominant political party, so constituted, should have the power of excluding from all office, of whatever description, the whole of the French population, as being connected with their political enemies? Did he think that the minority, whether it were Tory, Radical, English or French, or whatever it were—did he not think that it would have a better chance of fait play in the distribution of patronage, when that patronage was vested in the hands of the Governor General, than it would have if it were in the power of their political opponents. But he would go further. Suppose an Administration, formed mainly of those persons who had been, to say the least of it, lukewarm when that Colony 52 was in danger of being wrested from the Mother Country—some of whom might have given a tacit encouragement to those who wished for the separation,—suppose that the Legislature so constituted, and the Administration so formed, had the absolute disposal of the patronage of the Crown—did the hon. Gentleman think it would be consistent with the dignity, the honour—to use his own phrase—the metropolitan interests of the Crown, that the patronage should be in the hands of such an Administration, and should be used to reward the very men who in the hour of peril had hung back, and to proscribe and drive out of the service of the country all who in the hour of peril had come forward to maintain the Union of the Colony with England? And did the hon. Gentleman think that it would be wise or consistent with the honour of the Crown, that such rewards and privileges in the one instance, and such proscriptions in the other, should be in the one case conferred, in the other inflicted, not in the name of the Legislature of the province, but in the name of the Crown—that the Crown should confer honour and rewards upon those who had favoured the curtailment of its dominions on the one hand, and should inflict proscription upon those who had wished to maintain their integrity on the other? He did not know what the House would think of this. Yes, perhaps he did know what it would think of such a plan: but this he did know, that sooner than submit to such a demand, there was no privation, no sacrifice to which the Governor General would not first succumb. But the hon. and learned Gentleman had stated that Sir Charles Metcalfe was unfortunately not educated for the service of a free country. What! Sir Charles Metcalfe! Was he a man of extreme opinions—a favourer of absolute and despotic Government—was he a man unpractised in public affairs—with no prudence or discretion—of stern and repulsive manners— hostile to popular institutions, and willing to be an instrument for their subversion? Those who knew anything about Sir Charles Metcalfe, knew that he was precisely the opposite of all this—that he was a man not a supporter of the present Government—of liberal views in political matters —practised in public business—having passed a long and honourable career in two important portions of the British Empire— into one of which—into India—he had 53 introduced the liberty of the press. It was known to all who knew Sir Charles Metcalfe that he was a man of the most sociable, the most unassuming, the most courteous manners—of the most princely liberality in pecuniary matters—a man so far from being unfit to conduct affairs of Government by means of a representative assembly, that he had been selected by the late Government to go to the Island of Jamaica to deal with the legislative body there, which was at that moment in such a state of jarring hostility to the Home Government, that it had been attempted utterly to do away with it as an unfit instrument for the regulation of the country over which it was called to preside. He repeated, that he was sent out not for the hatred he bore to free institutions, or the resistance which he was likely to oppose to the demands of a popular assembly— and what was the result? In the course of two years he rescued Jamaica from a state of discontent and distraction, and placed it in a condition of perfect harmony and contentment, in which state, brought about be it remembered by the wise, liberal, and conciliatory policy of Sir Charles Metcalfe, that colony had remained from that day to this. That is the man, continued the noble Lord, whom the hon. and learned Gentleman (I believe he is the only man in the House that would use the expression) says, was unfortunately brought up for the management of affairs in Canada. I feel I owe considerable apology to the House for having on this subject—this most important subject—trespassed at considerable length, and I fear, it will be necessary to draw somewhat further on its attention, as I wish not to leave unanswered any statement of the hon. Gentleman, or to treat it with a want of frankness and explicitness. The hon. Gentleman says, that Sir C. Metcalfe never explained what he means by responsible government. I must say, of all the charges made against Sir C. Metcalfe, that was one I heard with most astonishment. Has the House or the hon. Gentleman ever heard Sir C. Metcalfe's answer to the Address from the Town Council of Gore on the subject? If not, I will take the liberty of reading it; and I think, after hearing it, the hon. Gentleman and the House will admit, that on this point, Sir C. Metcalfe has been tolerably explicit. 54With reference, (said Sir Charles) to your views of responsible Government, I cannot tell you how far I concur in them without knowing your meaning, which is not distinctly stated. If you mean that the Governor is to have no exercise of his own judgment in the administration of the Government, and is to be a mere tool in the hands of the Council, then I totally disagree with you. That is a condition to which I can never submit, and which Her Majesty's Government, in my opinion, never can sanction. If you mean that every word and deed of the Governor is to be previously submitted for the advice of the Council, then you propose, what, besides being unnecessary and useless, is utterly impossible, consistently with the due despatch of business. If you mean that the patronage of the Crown is to be surrendered for exclusive party purposes to the Council, instead of being distributed to reward merit, to meet just claims, and to promote the efficiency of the public service, then we are again at issue. Such a surrender of the prerogative of the Crown is, in my opinion, incompatible with the existence of a British Colony. If you mean that the Governor is an irresponsible officer who can, without responsibility, adopt the advice of the Council, then you are, I conceive, entirely in error. The undisputed functions of the Governor are such, that he is not only one of the hardest-worked servants of the Colony, but also has more responsibilities than any other officer in it. He is responsible to the Crown, and the Parliament, and the people of the Mother country, for every act that he performs, or suffers to be done, whether it originates with himself, or is adopted on the advice of others. He could not divest himself of that responsibility by pleading the advice of the Council. He is also virtually responsible to the people of this Colony, and practically more so than even to the Mother Country. Every day proves it, and no resolutions can make it otherwise. But if, instead of meaning any of the above-stated impossibilities, you mean that the government should be administered according to the well-understood wishes and interests of the people; that the resolutions of September, 1841, should be faithfully adherred to; that it should be competent to the Council to offer advice on all occasions, whether as to patronage or otherwise; and that the Governor should receive it with the attention due to his constitutional advisers, and consult with them in all cases of adequate importance; that there should be a cordial co-operation and sympathy between him and them; that the Council should be responsible to the provincial Parliament and the people; and that when the acts of the Governor are such as they do not choose to be responsible for, they should be at liberty to resign—then I entirely agree with you, and see no impracticability in carrying on responsible government in a colony on that footing, provided that the respective parties engaged in the un- 55 dertaking be guided by moderation, honest purpose, common sense, and equitable minds devoid of party spirit. As you have considerately tendered to me your advice in the supposition that I stood in need of it, I trust that I may, without offence, offer some counsel in return. You have all the essentials of responsible government. Keep it. Cling to it. Do not throw it away by grasping at impossibilities. Do not lose the substance by snatching at the shadow. You desire to perpetuate your union with the British empire. Do not imagine that this purpose can be promoted by obstructing Her Majesty's Government in order to reduce its authority to a nullity. You have every privilege freely granted that is compatible with the maintenance of that union. Her Majesty's Government has no inclination to exercise an unnecessary interference in your local affairs; but can never consent to the prostration of the honour and dignity of the Crown, and I cannot be the traitor that would sign the death warrant of British connection. Cherish responsible government and British connection. Let them work together in harmony and unison in a practicable manner. Let no man put them asunder, but do not pursue a course that must destroy one or the other, or both. This advice is offered with perfect sincerity by a friend, whose only interest in the counsel that he gives, is an anxious desire to secure the welfare of Canada and the integrity of the British empire.There is the opinion, advice, and declaration of Sir C. Metcalfe, as to his view of responsible government, as regards the happiness of the people of Canada. Observe with regard to the distribution of patronage, no single act has been laid to his charge; no single appointment has been objected to by the Council; no appointment has been up to this day questioned on the ground of propriety, fitness, or even as prejudicial to party interests; no one legislative or administrative act has been called in question by that Executive Council, which has abandoned Sir C. Metcalfe in the midst of his difficulties. No act has been charged against him—yes, there is one—that he reserved for the consideration of the Crown an Act which he permitted them to introduce. That Act was against secret societies. It was directed by the party in power against a party obnoxious to it—I mean the Orange party. I have no sympathy whatever with that party. I believe that any advantage derived from the loyalty they profess, and which I believe they sincerely feel, is more than counter-balanced by the religious animosities and political dissensions which as a body they excite. I repeat, I have no sympathy with Orange lodges, and I regret their existence in Ca- 56 nada and elsewhere. But the Council pressed on Sir C. Metcalfe, that he should pass not an act, but that on his own authority he should give effect to an act analogous to the party processions of this country, and which would have the effect of virtually proscribing every person that belonged to an Orange society. Sir C. Metcalfe, well knowing that amongst that body—whatever be their errors—and he is as little disposed as I am to lean to them —there are many loyal, faithful, and devoted subjects of the Crown refused, on the part of the Executive, to take any harsh or arbitrary measure, which should go to the verge of legality, for the purpose of suppressing that institution. They next pressed for the introduction of a Bill. Sir C. Metcalfe's answer was, if anything was to be done in the matter, he should infinitely prefer legislation. A Bill was introduced, and in its progress it was repeatedly and constantly objected to by Sir C. Metcalfe, as containing arbitrary provisions of an oppressive and unconstitutional character, and as being one to which he felt the strongest objection. And I do not think the House will be of opinion that these terms were too strong, when I state the leading provisions of that Bill. Every Orangeman was declared by the Bill incapable of holding municipal or civil office, o serving in the militia, or of serving as jurors when challenged. Every person holding office was to make affidavit that he was not an Orangeman, and penalties of the severest character were inflicted for holding office without making such an affidavit. In the last place, the furniture was to be sold and license forfeited of any public house in which a lodge was held. What did the Governor do? He had the power of assenting to any Act in the name of the Crown, leaving it to the Crown to disallow his decision if it were thought proper. He has the power, and, according to his instructions, he was bound to cause any Bill of an extraordinary or unusual character to be reserved for the signification of the Queen's pleasure: the effect of which was, that such a measure should not become law until the Crown in person signified its assent or dissent. The course he took was pursuant to his instructions. He reserved the Bill for the signification of the Queen's pleasure, in order to leave to the constitutional advisers of the Crown the discretion of exercising that preroga- 57 tive which he felt too weighty to take on himself. And that was the single executive administrative or legislative act with which the Council found fault, and that on the ground that the exercise of the prerogative should be controlled by the advice of the very party to the passing of this Bill. Could a more complete, entire, and absolute surrender be demanded, not of the power of the Governor General, but of the prerogative of the Crown? But the hon. Gentleman canvassed various proceedings of Lord Sydenham in altering the limits of Montreal. I will not go into the motives of Lord Sydenham, or throw out, like the hon. Gentleman, charges of fraud and corruption of all kinds, for an act which at that time the Governor General was perfectly competent to see effected. But when the Colonial Legislature made complaint of the local distribution of Montreal, which the hon. Gentleman so strongly condemns, did the Governor adhere to the views of Lord Sydenham? Not at all. He promised that the matter should be fairly submitted to the local Legislature as soon as the united Parliament met. They reversed Lord Sydenham's plan, and the Governor, without a moment's hesitation, stated that there was every disposition, as it was a local matter, to adopt the principle decided on by the Legislature. The hon. Gentleman says, that private Bills were passed through this House interfering with the privileges enjoyed by the Canadians. I do not know the circumstances of the particular Bill the hon. Gentleman alludes to, as it was introduced four or five years ago. But this I do know, that the company which I believe was referred to by the hon. Gentleman came to me, asking for powers to amend an Act by the interposition of the British Parliament. The answer I gave them was this: So far as relates to the privileges and powers exercised by you in this country, I do not object to an Act of Parliament; but, mind this, I insist that whatever has been done by the Canadians, this Act shall be of no avail until it has obtained the assent of the Colonial Legislature. So much for the justness of the principle of the hon. Gentleman, when he gave me cautious warnings. The best answer to his prophecies is my conduct on this very Bill. The hon. Gentleman also touched on the important and difficult question of the Civil List of Canada. I am not about to 58 re-open the policy of the re-union of the two provinces; I am not about to question the necessity which Parliament felt of insisting, when the re-union of the provinces was effected, on such a Civil List, for the purpose of carrying on the business of the Government, so as to make the principal officers, by whom it was conducted, independent of an annual vote of the local Legislature—I say for the working of any constitution, that the Civil List should be independent of the annual caprice of the local Legislature as absolutely indispensable to the due administration of justice, and the proper disposal of the business of the State. But I had, in the present year, an address laid before me, not from Mr. Hincks, but from the Legislature of the province, complaining of the imposition of a Civil List, and praying for its removal. Perhaps it will not be considered unwarrantably trespassing on the time of the House, if I read my reply. [The noble Lord read his despatch. It was to the effect that her Majesty heard with regret any objection to an enactment which was intended only to give stability to her rule. That her Majesty would gladly owe the provision of the Civil List to the spontaneous bounty of the Canadians; and that if the Legislature, in concert with the Governor, provided a Civil List adequate to the purposes intended by Parliament, he should gladly introduce a Bill removing any restriction on the finances of the United Provinces.] The hon. Gentleman warned me that the effect of the course I was pursuing was seen by the elections. I was rather surprised that he referred to the election of Montreal as an illustration of the unbiassed and independent feeling of Canada, because my information with regard to those proceedings is so completely at variance with that received by the honourable Gentleman, telling, as it does, of the disturbance which took place; of so many polling-booths closed, not in one district, and on the second day; but in several districts, and on the first day of the election being completely controlled by an organised band of persons, not inhabitants of Montreal, but composed of Irish labourers, brought from the Lachine Canal, which, in order to prevent the possibility of those willing to work taking their places, was destroyed previous to the election—I have, I say, such testimony on that subject, that I, for one, cannot assent to the allegations of the hon. Gen- 59 tleman, founded, no doubt, on the information which he received, or subscribe to the opinion which he expressed, that the election of Montreal indicates in the slightest degree or manner the unbiassed feelings of the people of Canada. The hon. Gentleman calls on us to beware of the course we are taking, and carefully to consider the effect of our measures. I do trust—I have a confident belief, that the moderation, discretion, firmness, conciliatory temper and disposition of Sir G. Metcalfe—his earnest desire to carry on the Government of Canada in accordance with the well understood wishes and views of the people of that province—that his determination to act in accordance with his instructions, to the effect that this country is not disposed to interfere in the local administration of purely internal affairs—and that the honesty, simplicity, and straightforwardness of Sir C. Metcalfe's character will not be without its influence on the feelings of the population. I believe that the clamour raised against him through a misrepresentation of his words, actions, and sentiments, will die away within a limited period; and I do entertain a confident belief that his acting on his own sound and determined views—reconciling the Colonial dependency of the Provinces with the entire responsibility of the Government in local matters, will obtain for Sir C. Metcalfe, in the long run, the concurrence and support of the people. The question for that people to solve is a very grave one. It is one to which I trust they will give their deliberate, their calm, their impartial consideration. Sir, I do not underrate the importance of Canada to the empire. I do not look on it as a source of strength in war—it is more likely to be a source of weakness. It would give us little or no support in an European war, and in case of a war with the United States, which God forbid, it would be our most vulnerable point. In a military point of view, therefore, Canada adds little to the strength of the empire. Indirectly, the connection strengthens us by forming a nursery for our seamen; and, in a commercial point of view, it is of great importance to us, as giving us a command over the inlet and outlet to a great Continent, through a mighty river, which is one of the finest water communications on the globe. Commercially and politically, then, I will not deny that it is of great 60 importance to us; but if the connection be of importance to this country, I ask the hon. and learned Gentleman, whether, in his judgment, it is not infinitely more advantageous to the population of Canada? Are they slight advantages which the people of Canada derive from it? They enjoy as free a Government, and, I venture to say, the lightest taxation of any people on the inhabited globe. They have perfect religious freedom. They have, at no cost to them, the naval and military protection of one of the mightiest powers. They have annually an immense expenditure in the shape of Commissariat and other establishments distributed over their territory. They have been enabled during the last year to borrow (while the United States are unable to obtain money at 6 per cent.) from their connection with this country and nothing else, for the improvement of their internal communications, a million and a-half at little, if at all, exceeding 3½ per cent. Canada has an immense indirect expenditure from the establishment of British merchants, and the investment of British capital. I have stated already she has the protection of this country. She has also for her produce (and no inconsiderable addition has lately been made to this advantage) the exclusive benefit of a free admission to the richest market in the world. These are the advantages which Canada possesses through her connection with this country; these are the advantages which Canada must be prepared to sacrifice if a separation should unhappily result. It is for Canada well to consider whether the price she has to pay in the slight and all but nominal subordination to this country is too high a price for the protection, advantages, and substantial benefits conferred on her. But Canada must not expect, as the hon. and learned Gentleman seems to think she has a right to expect, that she can at once enjoy the unlimited and entire independence of a separate republic, and the advantages derived from British protection and commerce. I believe the mass of the people of Canada are cordially attached to this country. I believe, when they seriously consider the results of the alternative I have put, they will follow, not the advice of the unprincipled demagogues—bad, rash, and interested counsellors, but take as their guide the liberal, sound, and honest views of the Governor General. I am persuaded, that by the 61 exercise of sound sense and discretion, the people of Canada may long continue to enjoy the advantages she now possesses; and that in connection with, rather than in subordination to this country, she may assume the position of a thriving and happy Colony. [The noble Lord sat down amid loud cheers.]
§ Mr. Hume
would not, after the lengthened discussion which had taken place, do more than notice a few points which had been neglected by the noble Lord, He believed the statement which had been made to the House by the hon. Member for Bath to be perfectly correct. The conduct followed by Sir C. Bagot had given the greatest satisfaction to the people of Canada, and he wished the noble Lord had stated whether he approved of it. He wished to know what it was that had produced the state of discontent and disaffection existing in that Colony. He understood the noble Lord entirely to deny the acts which were charged against the Governor General. With respect to the noble Lord's statement, that the Governor had engaged to administer his patronage in accordance with the sentiments of his Council, that was expressly denied by the resigned Ministers. Sir Charles Bagot had frankly adopted the course of acceding to the demands of the Colonists to possess a responsible government, to manage, in fact, the public affairs by the representatives of the people. On the other hand, the late Ministers of Canada had found it impossible to conduct the Government under Sir Charles Metcalfe, and at the same time give satisfaction to the House of Assembly, and had therefore felt it their duty to resign their offices. He asked any hon. Member who had attended to what had passed in the debate, if he could tell what was the meaning of responsible government? It seemed to be now one thing, now another. It was for the Government, who had approved both Governors General, though acting on entirely different principles, to explain what parts of Sir C. Bagot's conduct they thought peculiarly deserving of approbation. With respect to the course taken by the late Colonial Ministers on the Bill which had led to their resignation, he had no doubt they were in the right, for they appeared to have differed from the Governor on the construction to be attached to the principle of responsible government from the very commence- 62 ment. He greatly deplored the misunderstanding which had taken place; for if there was one man by whom he had expected the people of Canada to be conciliated it was Sir C. Metcalfe. From everything he knew of Sir C. Metcalfe's conduct in India and Jamaica, he had been led to believe his appointment one of the most fortunate that had been made by the Government, and he had thought that if any one could carry on Canadian affairs quietly and harmoniously, Sir C. Metcalfe was the man. Indeed he had no doubt that right hon. Gentleman would have done so had he not been trammelled by the noble Lord. [Lord Stanley: I beg your pardon, he is not.] He had a high opinion of Sir C. Metcalfe, and he had not a high opinion of the noble Lord: therefore, whenever a doubt existed he must be excused for throwing the blame, if blame was to be attached to any one, on the noble Lord's head. It appeared to him utterly impossible that Sir C. Metcalfe could get out of his present difficulties. Responsible government would be a delusion if the noble Lord's interpretation of it were adopted. The Canadians expected that a majority of the House of Assembly should appoint the Ministers of the Governor, as a majority of the House of Commons appointed the Ministers of the Crown. What, he should like to know, would be the feeling of the people of this country if any set of Ministers were to be maintained in power contrary to the opinion of Parliament repeatedly expressed? At this moment Canada was without a single responsible Minister; and if the noble Lord's doctrine were adhered to, the inevitable consequence would be that the Colony would be deprived of even the shadow of popular rights. No one could expect that the Canadians would be contented, unless the Government were conducted as it had been by Sir C. Bagot, and Ministers were allowed to act in unison with the Representative Assembly. Allow this, and you would have a happy and a united Colony; deny it, and the worst consequences might be feared. At present we seemed to be plunging into the same career of misgovernment for which England had already paid so dearly, and which had caused so much misery in our Colonial possessions. In every Government there must be a disposition to conciliate, and no man in the House regretted more than he did the 63 first account he had heard of the resignation of Ministers. He had no hesitation in declaring that he thought they might have waited till some overt act had occurred. [Lord Stanley: "Hear, hear"]. He had stated so at the time, but from the turn which affairs had now taken, he saw no hope if the Government persisted in remaining counter to the wishes of the great mass of the people. He hoped that both parties might be disposed to relax somewhat in their demands, but unless the noble Lord set an example of conciliation, he regarded the prospect as one of the gloomiest kind. Every answer made by the Governor General to the addresses presented to him was of the most inflammatory nature, calculated to stir up disaffection and animosities among every class. He had expected that the conduct of Sir C. Metcalfe would be marked by that forbearance, prudence, and conciliation which had distinguished him in other situations. He knew that the principles of the right hon. Gentleman were in favour of liberty, as he had manifested through a long course of public life; and he was very much disappointed to find that he was in the hands of such imprudent advisers.
§ Mr. C. Buller
said no man in the House could feel greater interest than he did in the particular question which had now arisen between the Governor-General of Canada and his Executive Council, though many, perhaps, might feel as strong an interest in the welfare of Canada.' The recommendation of responsible government, or, as he preferred calling it, in a general sense, Parliamentary government, was the main feature of Lord Durham's Report; and though his hon. and learned Friend had insinuated that Lord Durham was not the originator of the idea, but took it from Mackenzie, he could assure the House it was borrowed from no such source. Inquiring into the causes of the disorders of Canada, Lord Durham picked this out from the chaos of Canadian discontent and mismanagement, as that which appeared to him, conversant with the Government and constitutional principles of this country, the main obvious cause of the disaffection, the Executive Government being carried on by persons not possessing the confidence of the Legislature, to which was entrusted the full power of making laws, and the entire control over the public purse. No 64 arguments had ever shaken his conviction, that if you had the power of legislation vested in a Parliament, the plainest and simplest reason dictated that you must place the Executive Government in the hands of those who possessed its confidence. ["Hear."] He need not now refer to the spectacle which the North American Colonies presented at the time when Lord Durham's Report was made, or the anarchy which had prevailed for ten years before. In spite of any difficulties which might have lately occurred, he could not but look with triumph to the success of that recommendation, wherever and in so far as it had been fully and honestly applied. There was no one of the British American Colonies, in which, when acted upon, it had failed to produce perfect harmony between the different branches of the Legislature, and content among the people. He felt confident that any attempt to abandon that principle, and revert to the old system of previous years, would only produce confusion and collision, a stoppage of the machine of Government, and a prostration of that prosperity for which the situation of the British Colonies offered so fair an opening, and in the ultimate result an ignominious and disastrous separation from the Mother Country. These were considerations which should induce every man in this country, and in the Colonies, to pause before they trifled with this question. Personally interested as he was in the recommendation of that principle, in which he had borne his full share, he felt bound to insist that it should be fairly carried out. But while he should resist any attempt to abandon it, he felt it to be equally his duty to resist any attempts from those on the popular side to abuse it, by encroaching on the just and due prerogatives of the Crown. He would not lay down any definition of the principle of responsible government. It seemed to him to be very unwise to attempt to frame too strict a definition of constitutional principles, and still more unwise to put—which was the only fault he could find with the noble Lord—hypothetical cases, in which those principles might be pushed to extremes. Of this there could be no doubt, that in every instance of Parliamentary government, the business of that Government must be carried on by heads of departments, who enjoy the confidence of the executive authority, and of a majority of 65 the Legislative Assembly 5 and no man could seriously think of saying, that in the appointment of every subordinate officer in every county of Canada, the opinion of the Executive Council was to be taken. No man could seriously believe, that any one thought that a revenue officer, in a remote county of Canada, would be appointed by any government, otherwise than by recommendation of the local authorities. No ruler could hope to carry on the business of Government, if he did not take that course; for the local authorities were those alone who could possess the knowledge requisite for giving a sound recommendation in such a case. So far then they were agreed as to the principles upon which Canada ought to be governed; and he might say, that the people of Canada had had the full benefit of those principles; but, he differed from the hon. Members for Bath and Montrose, as to the facts. In the first place, Sir Charles Metcalfe did not violate the principle of responsible government; in the second, he did not turn out his Executive Council; and, in the third, he did not refuse, in the manner stated, the pledge which had been demanded of him. And now, he must say, that he could not perceive the resemblance which had been discovered by some hon. Members who addressed the House between the condition of Canada and that of Great Britain. He could not conceive how any one could insist upon the existence of any such resemblance, or how any one, whether he supposed such a resemblance to exist or not, could think of calling upon the governor of a colony to give a general pledge, that he should, in no case, make any appointment, without the consent of the Executive Council. To call upon the Crown, or upon any representative of the Crown, for any pledge of the sort, appeared to him unheard of. In the present instance the story told was that Sir C. Metcalfe made a great number of appointments, in which he selected the objects of his patronage from amongst the political opponents of the Government, and that it was not until then that they called upon him to promise, that he would not make any further appointments without their consent. Sir Charles very plainly told them, that upon that point he totally differed from them, and thereupon nearly one-half of them resigned. Now, when it was said that a great quan- 66 tity of appointments were disposed of in this way, it was only fair to call upon those who made that statement, to specify one case of this alleged abuse of patronage. A member of the Executive Council thus challenged, did specify a single case; but he was obliged to come down to the House of Assembly the next day, and retract his statement. It was true that the Speakership of the Legislative Assembly—an office which had been compared to that of Lord Chancellor in this country—had been given away contrary to the wishes of the Executive Council. That, it must be acknowledged, if the analogy were correct, was a case of the very gravest importance. Let he House only suppose, that the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government met any one in the street, who told him that the Queen had appointed his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Worcester (Sir T. Wilde) to the office of Lord Chancellor, would not the right hon. Baronet at once consider that as tantamount to a withdrawal of confidence from his Government? Under such circumstances a Ministry ought to resign at once. The offer of such an appointment to such a man, was a mark of the withdrawal of the Governor General's confidence. That offer was made three or four weeks before the resignation took place; and he really did not believe, that the offer of the appointment was the real cause of their resignation. It was not mentioned in Mr. Baldwin's letter, and he looked upon the complaint rather as an after-thought. The fact then was, that a set of gentlemen resigned, because, as they said, appointments had been made without consulting them; and yet, when called upon to state what those appointments were, they could not mention a single one. The unfortunate consequence of that had been, no doubt, that the Government of Canada had not been filled up satisfactorily—that the Governor General not wishing to throw himself immediately into the hands of his political opponents, had not been able, from amongst his own supporters, satisfactorily to fill up the offices of the Government. But, after all, his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Bath had rather overstated the mischiefs that had resulted, for many of the offices of the Government had been filled—that of Provincial Secretary, by Mr. Daly; of Attorney Gene- 67 ral, by Mr. Draper; and of Solicitor General of Lower Canada, by Mr. Barnard. His hon. and learned Friend said, that the matter had been settled by the Montreal election, which he did not think was the case; for he knew that there were numerous instances of gentlemen of French origin, who adhered to Sir C. Metcalfe's government. As to the Montreal election, he could not altogether acquit Sir C. Metcalfe of blame upon that head, because he could only attribute it to some neglect in using the powers of the Executive Government in a most material point, inasmuch as he did not put a stop to riots and tumults at elections. His hon. and learned Friend said that those riots had begun in Lower Canada under Lord Sydenham. He believed, on the contrary, that there never was an election there before without the most dreadful riots, which were only settled by the Irish coming in with their sticks and driving out both parties. With respect to the election at Montreal, he could prove that the most unfair practices had been resorted to—that during the first day some of the polling booths were closed—that after the first day not a single agent or poll clerk appeared at the booth of the defeated candidate—and that bad votes were tendered and received. Upon that occasion about 900 French Canadians voted for Mr. Drummond, and about fifteen for the other gentleman. Every respectable voter who went to the poll had his clothes torn from his back, which prevented many respectable people from voting at all, and he believed that not above one-third of the French Canadians of Montreal were polled. That was a very strong indication, he thought, that violence had been employed, especially when that circumstance was coupled with the fact that the military had to be called out, and that the voters went to the poll through a double line of soldiery. His hon. and learned Friend had chosen to consider this as a portion of a crusade upon the part of the noble Lord the Secretary for the Colonies, against the principle of responsible government in all the Colonies, and in support of his argument had instanced the case of Nova Scotia. Upon that point he would remind his hon. and learned Friend that Mr. Howe, a gentleman who was highly respected throughout the whole of North America, had stated that the cases of Nova Scotia and of Canada were quite 68 distinct, and that all the difficulties in Canada arose from a bungling Administration. The question of the first importance was, what view would the Canadian people and their Parliament take of this matter. He was firmly convinced, looking at the subject with no bias whatever against the gentlemen who had gone out of office, that the errors in this case were upon the part of those who had quaralled with Sir C. Metcalfe. The question was, what party ought to triumph in this contest, and which must. First, it was for the Canadian Parliament to give a solution of it, and no doubt that question would be much complicated if they were to approve of the conduct of the retiring officers. In that case Sir C. Metcalfe would have the resource of appealing to the constituent body, and despite the Montreal elections he believed that such an appeal would be responded to by the good sense of the electoral body. But in order to give that good sense fair play, one thing must be done in this country, and that was that Parliament should strongly express an opinion as to the question at issue between Sir C. Metcalfe and the Executive Government, and as to the course which the Government and the Parliament were prepared to pursue. The tone adopted by the noble Lord, he must say, would be most satisfactory to the people of Canada, and he believed that it would be so, because he understood that the noble Lord was prepared to support Sir C. Metcalfe; because he understood that the noble Lord's support was not confined to one part, but to the whole of the Governor General's policy — because the noble Lord approved of the marked attention paid by Sir C. Metcalfe to the sound and fair practice of Government, and of his resisting any, the slightest, infringement upon the fair prerogatives of the Crown. His firm belief was, that if it was once fairly stated to the people of Canada that such was the determination of the Legislature and Government of this country, the people of Canada would gravely and seriously consider the consequences of maintaining a contest with this country on grounds so untenable as those which their leaders had taken; and he believed this from looking at the principles involved, because those principles were not exactly of the same moment as they were in this country; they were more important in Canada; they were the 69 safeguards of imperial connexion. If the people of Canada believed that an encroachment on the rights of the Crown was meditated, he believed that their good sense would make them resist any such attempt. Whatever might be the advantages to this country in political and commercial points of view of the connexion with Canada, he believed with the noble Lord that the balance of advantages was infinitely on the side of Canada. He knew by experience what mischief a want of reliance on the good faith of the Government of this country, and on its determination to preserve the connexion with the Colony, had worked, and he believed that the best thing which the Legislature could do would be to take means to strengthen the belief of the people of Canada in that good faith and that determination, and that he considered would best be done by taking measures to support Sir C. Metcalfe in the course he was pursuing. He thought that course would be the best for the security of the Government and the welfare of the people. He believed that Her Majesty's Government could not have made a more wise selection than when they took Sir C. Metcalfe out of the ranks of their political opponents and appointed him to the high office he held, as the man best fitted for it by the experience he had had in colonial government. He believed that it was impossible to find any man better adapted to carry on the Government in a conciliatory as well as a perfectly just and liberal manner.
Lord J. Russell
had been unwilling to give any opinion on this matter, because, on the one hand, the facts on which his judgment was to be formed with respect to the conduct of Sir C. Metcalfe, had been presented to him now for the first time, and, on the other hand, those facts had had very little light thrown on them; but as the question had been brought forward, and as he had been concerned formerly in the affairs of Canada, he did not think it right altogether to be silent. He had been one of those who counselled the appointment of Lord Durham, and he had also been one of those who counselled the appointment of Lord Sydenham. With respect to the principles contained in the Report of Lord Durham, he had concurred in them in the despatch which the noble Lord had quoted, to the extent therein stated; but if what he (Lord J. Russell) 70 there said were taken without sufficient limitations, misapprehensions might be, and perhaps had been created. With respect to Lord Sydenham, he was sure that no man could have been appointed who was so likely to use his faculties for the benefit of the people of Canada, and the maintenance of the connexion with this country. Lord Sydenham, he believed, had been struck with an observation of his (Lord J. Russell's), that there was no place where a man could do so much good to a large portion of his follow-creatures, as in the situation of Governor General of Canada. Lord Sydenham on that account accepted that office, and when he got out devoted his energies to the good of the country. Lord Sydenham possessed great influence with the Assemblies of Canada, chiefly on account of the knowledge which Lord Sydenham possessed of Parliamentary business, and the manner in which free discussion ought to be carried on. The knowledge he had of affairs of trade and commerce was likewise a recommendation. Accordingly, those who were engaged in affairs of state felt that his advice was useful to them, and therefore his opinion had great weight with the Representative Assemblies. Those resolutions which the noble Lord had read to the House were passed by the advice of Lord Sydenham, in opposition to those put forward by Mr. Baldwin. They purported, that the Government could be carried on in accordance with the wishes of the representative body of Canada, but that the Governor General could not divest himself of his duty to the Crown. On those two principles the Government had since been carried on. With respect to Sir C. Bagot, he did not think it at all necessary to recur at length to his conduct in the government. He thought that Sir C. Bagot, in the circumstances in which he was placed, could have done no other than choose the Ministry out of the large majority of the representative body; but he thought that circumstances did occur which certainly tended to weaken the authority of the Governor General in those provinces. It must be remembered, however, that for a long period Sir C. Bagot was suffering under indisposition. When Sir C. Metcalfe was placed in the situation of Governor General of Canada, he declared his adherence to the resolutions of 1841; he declared his adherence to the principles of responsible government, so 71 far as they were applicable to a colony; he continued the Ministry of his predecessor; but he found, but not till after a considerable time had elapsed, a difference of opinion between himself and his Ministry; they required concessions from him, which he considered it not to be consistent with his duty to the Crown to make. The noble Lord had read the terms of those demands, with Sir C. Metcalfe's answer, and he had read also the answer to an address of the people of Gore county, which explained more fully the principles and opinions of Sir C. Metcalfe with reference to the question at issue. Now, in his opinion, taking that view of those demands, and of his duty to the Crown, Sir C. Metcalfe could do no other than resist those demands. It was impossible for Sir C. Metcalfe to consent to the demand, that in all cases, he would bind himself to the Executive Council, to follow their will, and thus make himself a cypher in the Government. If Sir C. Metcalfe had declared that he would in no case take the opinion of the Executive Council as to any appointment that was to be made, he should have thought Sir C. Metcalfe took an erroneous view; but the House had heard to-night, from the noble Lord, that no such thing was the case. The other point in dispute, besides that of the appointments to offices, was with respect to a Bill which had been passed by the Canadian Legislature, and which Bill Sir C. Metcalfe had reserved for Her Majesty's consideration. Now, the House had been told, that on that point of dispute there was a difference of opinion as to the facts. The hon. Member for Montrose said that it was merely a question whether or not a slight was put on the Legislature by reserving the Bill; but if that were so, he could not conceive how that could be made a ground for the resignation of the Members of the Council. If their opinion was, that Sir C. Metcalfe should listen to them and not obey his instructions from England, they took, he must say, an exaggerated view of their own power and importance, to which it was impossible for Sir C. Metcalfe to assent. Taking, then, the high authority of Sir C. Metcalfe for the facts—and there could not be higher authority—it appeared to him that Sir C. Metcalfe was right in the disputes with his late Executive Council; and, looking to the future, he must say it was to him 72 some ground of hope, that the late Executive Council seemed to shrink from the ground that Sir C. Metcalfe stated to have been at first put forward by them; they seemed not now to take up those grounds, but to state that the ground was only the want of that confidence in his Ministers which a Governor General ought to show. If, then, as he hoped, they did not mean to insist on those demands, it would be far easier for the Assembly to come to some agreement than if some great constitutional question were at issue. But he imagined that neither Sir C. Metcalfe, nor any other Governor, would deny that with regard to certain persons appointed to offices, their general conduct towards him, and his towards them, ought to be marked with confidence in all transactions. Therefore he did not take the gloomy view of the hon. and learned Member for Bath, supposing that those persons were not at once replaced. He trusted that the Legislative Assembly of Canada would see that it was far better for them to have men who were likely to carry on the business of the Government solely with a view to the prosperity of the country. The noble Lord had stated, in a way not warranted by the fact, the great advantages which Canada derived from her connection with this country. It was impossible to imagine that Canada could obtain any more advantageous position at any price. Even if she were to become an independent republic, she could not last so but for about six months; and if she were to join the United States, what would become of her independency, and especially of that peculiar regard to her religious establishments which this country had always shown in her connection with Canada. He could not but think, then, that the people of Canada and their representatives would ultimately agree in the appointment of Sir C. Metcalfe; and also that his arrangement with regard to the Executive Council would be for the benefit of Canada. He was sure that they would not improve their situation by endeavouring to deprive the Governor of that authority which was so necessary for the maintenance of the connection between this country and the Colony.
§ Mr. Trelawny
complained that the hon. and learned Member for Bath had anticipated a Motion which he had placed upon the Paper, and the House he thought ought to bear in mind the promises which 73 had been made to the people by the Government, and particularly by the noble Lord.
§ Sir R, Peel
said, that his noble Friend had so fully stated, and with so much ability, the general views of the Government, with reference to the unfortunate disputes with Canada, that it was wholly unnecessary for him to add anything to his statement, in every word of which he agreed. But, in justice to his own feelings, he could not allow this debate to close without expressing the sentiments which he entertained with respect to that distinguished officer, to whom, at a period of great difficulty, the administration of affairs in Canada was entrusted. For his part, he did not think the Ministers could have given a stronger or a greater practical proof of the principles upon which they desired the Government of Canada to be conducted, than by the selection they had made of Sir C. Metcalfe. He believed he was stating what was exactly the truth when he said, that not one single Member of Her Majesty's present Government was personally acquainted with Sir Charles Metcalfe—he doubted, indeed, whether any one of them had ever seen him until the period when the Government of Canada was offered to him. He was not connected with them either by political or by personal ties; and they disregarded all political claims in their desire to make an appointment to Canada which should be an intimation to the people of that Colony of the principles on which their Government was to be carried on. They selected a man who had been a most distinguished civil officer of the East India Company. They selected a man who had been in the administration of the affairs of a popular Government in Jamaica, and who in that situation had achieved great honour by the moderation and firmness with which he had acted. That was the man to whom the Government of Canada was entrusted. And when he looked back and considered the general tenor of the reports which had been that night alluded to—when he also glanced at the views Sir Charles Metcalfe took of the conduct of all who were concerned in the rebellion—the uniform tenor of his recommendations—his desire to bury in oblivion everything that had passed—his desire that there should be, as far as possible, a complete pacification, and a complete indulgence, as far as was 74 consistent with the administration of the first principles of justice, he must own he was surprised that a more favourable construction of the motives and conduct of Sir Charles Metcalfe had not been adopted. It appeared to him that Sir Charles Metcalfe had been completely in the right in this respect, and that he was entitled to the entire confidence of Her Majesty's Government, and to the fullest support that the Government could afford. As to the proposal that he should bind himself to act upon the recommendation of the Executive Council, whether conveyed in writing or by a tacit understanding, he thought Sir C. Metcalfe would have submitted to a great humiliation if he had consented. The first principle undoubtedly of a representative Government, was that the Sovereign should be guided in making appointments by the advice of the Ministers; but it was quite a different thing whether the Sovereign should adopt the advice of the Ministers, when or whether the Sovereign should contract obligations to act upon all occasions by that advice. In that case the Sovereign would become the slave, instead of the master. But independently of the humiliation, waving altogether the consideration of the question whether or no that obligation was admitted by the Council of Sir C. Metcalfe, it was perfectly right for him in substance to decline such an engagement. There was no analogy between the position of the Governor and the Council of Canada, and the position of the Sovereign and Ministers of this country. The Governor was bound, and he admitted the distinction which had been drawn by the hon. and learned Member for Bath—he thought the Governor of Canada would be unwise who did not in all local matters consult the feelings and opinions of his Council; but then he would say this, that, with respect to all these questions of patronage, he thought that Government in England or in Canada would be mad that sought for the possession of patronage or power, excepting for the benefit of the community. But in his opinion the position of an Executive Council towards a Governor was perfectly distinct from the relation of a Minister towards his Sovereign. The very fact of a Governor standing in a double relation as it were, responsible to his Sovereign, at the same time that it was his duty to defer to the Colonial Legislature, 75 at once established that distinction. But there was another ground also on which, in the case of a Colony, a distinction existed. He thought it might be for the interest of the governed that the Governor should refuse to place himself under the entire control of the Executive Council, and that it was impossible to govern Canada on the same principles on which this country was governed. The greater the population and the more regular the Constitution, the easier was the country governed by party. But in a small community he did not think that party could govern with any advantage. It was possible that there might be a Government connected with the ruling power; and supposing that there was a party possessed of a majority in the House of Assembly, and held the reins of power, that viewed with intolerance the minority, and exhibited a disposition to tyrannies over the Government, he was not certain if in that case the Governor ought to be bound to adopt the recommendations of the predominant party in Canada. He thought the Governor would have a perfect right to say, if an appointment were suggested to him by his responsible Government that was offensive or unjust, as in the case he had supposed, towards the French Canadian party, "I owe a duty to my Sovereign. I am the Governor of the whole population in this country. I must exercise a judgment myself whether that particular appointment be right or not. I think it will be offensive to a considerable party, though that party is a minority of those whom I am sent here to protect." In that case he thought the Governor would be quite justified in rejecting the advice of the Executive Council; and it was because the population was small, and that political asperities and animosities were greater in proportion to the limited amount of population, that he thought it good reason why a Governor representing the Sovereign of England, and bound to administer justice to all, ought to refuse to enter into any such engagement as that which Sir Charles Metcalfe had refused. Reference to-night had been made to promises to the Canadian people; but he trusted they had not shown—he was sure his noble Friend had not shown—any disposition to withhold from the people of Canada the fulfilment of any engagements which, by the Act of Union, or the disposition evinced by Parliament in the course 76 of the discussion of that measure, had been undertaken by this country. He was perfectly satisfied, as he had always said, that the utility of our connexion with Canada must depend upon its being continued with perfect goodwill by the majority of the population, otherwise it would be a source of weakness and discontent. The connexion would be extremely onerous to both parties, unless it were continued with the good-will and kindly affection of the majority of the people. It would be infinitely better that that connection should be discontinued rather than that it should be continued by force and against the general feeling and conviction of the people. He trusted nothing had passed in the course of this night's debate, or in the tolerably unanimous desire which had been manifested to support that most able and distinguished man who, under the pressure of severe suffering and ill health, was now discharging what he felt to be a paramount duty to this country—which would be at all an inducement to the people of Canada to show any feeling of ill-temper or disposition to prolong these unhappy dissensions. He did believe there was a firm determination on the part of Sir C. Metcalfe, he was sure there was on the part of the Government and the Legislature, that the Government of Canada should be a just one; and they would seek for no power or patronage except what was believed to be essential to good government in Canada, and necessary to maintain the connexion between the two countries. It seemed to be the impression on the part of some that a vast majority of the people of Canada were adverse to Sir C. Metcalfe; but, as far as he could collect public opinion in Canada, he believed Sir C. Metcalfe had shown such temper and judgment mixed with firmness, that the ultimate result would be to conciliate the good opinion of the majority of the people of Canada. He had great confidence in his ultimate triumph. Even at the commencement of these discussions, of ninety-three addresses presented to Sir C. Metcalfe, ninety were in favour of his policy, and three against it. He did trust this might be considered an indication that when the present feeling had a little subsided, the deep conviction there must be on the part of the people with reference to the motives of Sir C. Metcalfe would induce them to feel sensible that it would be difficult for any Government of this coun- 77 try to find a successor to Sir C. Metcalfe more competent to administer public affairs, or one who in addition to many admirable qualities was actuated by a sincere desire to promote their interests, and conduct his Government in the mode best calculated to increase their prosperity and confirm their connexion with this country.
§ Report of Supply brought up and agreed to.
§ House adjourned at a quarter to one o'clock.