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Title: Wilmot and Tilley
Author: Hannay, James, 1842-1910
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Wilmot and Tilley" ***

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              THE MAKERS OF CANADA

                   EDITED BY



[Illustration: L. A. Wilmot]







_Entered according to Act of the Parliament of Canada in the year 1907
by Morang & Co., Limited, in the Department of Agriculture_

Transcriber's Notes:

    Unique page headings have been retained, placed within {braces} and
    positioned before the relevant paragraphs. Minor typographical
    errors have been corrected without note. Variant spellings have been
    retained. Inconsistent hyphenation has been standardised. The oe
    ligature is represented by [oe].


                  LEMUEL ALLAN WILMOT

                      _CHAPTER I_                 Page
 ANCESTRY AND EARLY LIFE                             1

                     _CHAPTER II_
 EARLY EFFORTS FOR REFORM                           13

                     _CHAPTER III_
 WILMOT IN THE LEGISLATURE                          31

                     _CHAPTER IV_

                     _CHAPTER V_

                     _CHAPTER VI_
 THE READE APPOINTMENT                              67

                     _CHAPTER VII_
 WILMOT'S VIEWS ON EDUCATION                        83

                     _CHAPTER VIII_

                     _CHAPTER IX_
 THE VICTORY IS WON                                113

                     _CHAPTER X_
 JUDGE AND GOVERNOR                                131

                  SIR LEONARD TILLEY

                     _CHAPTER I_
 EARLY LIFE AND BUSINESS CAREER                    143

                     _CHAPTER II_
 ELECTED TO THE LEGISLATURE                        159

                     _CHAPTER III_
 THE PROHIBITORY LIQUOR LAW                        171

                     _CHAPTER IV_
 REFORM AND PROGRESS                               183

                     _CHAPTER V_
 THE INTERCOLONIAL RAILWAY                         195

                     _CHAPTER VI_
 THE MOVEMENT FOR MARITIME UNION                   201

                     _CHAPTER VII_
 THE QUEBEC CONFERENCE                             215

                     _CHAPTER VIII_
 DEFEAT OF CONFEDERATION                           231

                     _CHAPTER IX_
 TILLEY AGAIN IN POWER                             239

                     _CHAPTER X_
 THE BRITISH NORTH AMERICA ACT                     253

                     _CHAPTER XI_
 THE FIRST PARLIAMENT OF CANADA                    269

                     _CHAPTER XII_
 FINANCE MINISTER AND GOVERNOR                     277

 INDEX                                             293




The contest for responsible government which was carried on in all the
provinces of British North America for so many years resembled in some
of its features a modern battle, where the field of operations is so
wide that it is impossible for a general to cover it with his eye or to
keep control of all the movements of his subordinates. In such a case,
everything depends on the ability of the generals who command the
different army corps, who, operating in remote parts of the field, must
take the responsibility of success or failure. The two Canadas were so
far removed from New Brunswick, and the means of communication were so
poor, that there was but little help, even in the way of suggestion, to
be expected from them, while the contest for responsible government was
being carried on. Even the efforts in the same direction which were
being made in the province of Nova Scotia had but little influence on
the course of events in New Brunswick, for each province had its own
particular grievances and its own separate interests. Thus it happened
that the battle for responsible government in New Brunswick was fought,
to a large extent, without reference to what was being done in the
other provinces which now form the Dominion of Canada, and the leaders
of the movement had to be guided by the peculiar local circumstances of
the situation. Still, there is no doubt that the efforts of all the
provinces, directed to the same ends, were mutually helpful and made the
victory more easily won.

Among the men who took a part in the contest for responsible government
in New Brunswick, Lemuel Allan Wilmot undoubtedly held the foremost
place, not only by reason of the ability with which he advocated the
cause, but from the trust which the people had in him, which made him a
natural leader and the proper exponent of their views. There were,
indeed, men working in the same field before his time, but it was his
happy fortune to witness the fruit of his labours to give the province a
better form of government, and to bring its constitution into line with
the system which prevailed in the mother country. He not only viewed the
land of promise from afar, but he entered into it, and he became the
first native lieutenant-governor of the province,--a result which even
he, sanguine as he was, could hardly have contemplated when he began his
career as a public man.


Lemuel Allan Wilmot was born in the county of Sunbury, on the banks of
the St. John River, on January 31st, 1809. He was the son of William
Wilmot, a respectable merchant and lumberman, who was in partnership
with William Peters, grandfather of Sir Leonard Tilley. William Wilmot
was the son of Lemuel Wilmot, a Loyalist, who was a resident of
Poughkeepsie, New York, at the beginning of the Revolution. He (Lemuel)
raised a company of soldiers for the service of the king, and became a
captain in the Loyal American Regiment which was commanded by Beverley
Robinson, serving in that corps during the war. At the peace, he came to
New Brunswick and settled in Sunbury County on the river St. John. The
Wilmots were a respectable English family, and the first of the name in
America was Benjamin Wilmot, who was born in England in 1589 and came to
America with his wife Ann, probably prior to 1640. He was one of the
early settlers of New Haven, Connecticut, and the records of that colony
show that he took the oaths of fidelity at a court held on May 2d, 1648.
He died in 1669. His son William, who was born in 1632, was probably
also a native of England. He married Sarah Thomas in 1658, and died in

Thomas Wilmot, his son, was born in 1679. He married Mary Lines, and
their son Ezekiel was born in 1708. Ezekiel Wilmot and his wife Beulah
were the parents of Lemuel, who was born in 1743. Lemuel Wilmot married
Elizabeth Street, and William, the father of the subject of this
biography, was their son. William Wilmot married Hannah Bliss, a
daughter of the Hon. Daniel Bliss, a Massachusetts Loyalist, who became
a member of the council of New Brunswick and was the father of John
Murray Bliss, one of the judges of the supreme court of that province.
His grandfather was Colonel John Murray, a Massachusetts Loyalist, who
was for many years a member of the general court of that colony and who
became a mandamus councillor. It will thus be seen that Lemuel Wilmot
came from the best New England stock, and that his connections were
highly respectable and even distinguished. He was proud of his New
England descent, and claimed the usual ancestor from among the
passengers of the _Mayflower_ who landed at Plymouth in 1620. If this
claim is correct, his descent from the Pilgrim Fathers must have been
through the female line, and no record of it has been preserved. The
matter is not of much consequence at the present day, for the Wilmots
have made a record in their province far more distinguished than that
which they won in New England, for they have given to New Brunswick five
members of the legislature, a senator and member of the House of Commons
of Canada, two members of the executive of New Brunswick, and one of the
privy council of Canada, an attorney-general and a provincial secretary
of New Brunswick and two lieutenant-governors.


The system of government which existed in all the British North American
colonies at the time when L. A. Wilmot was born was practically the
same. New Brunswick had been separated from Nova Scotia in 1784, and, in
the autumn of that year, its first governor was sent out in the person
of Thomas Carleton, a brother of Sir Guy Carleton. Thomas Carleton had
been an officer in one of the regiments which fought during the War of
the Revolution, but he was in no way distinguished, and had no special
qualifications for the position he was called upon to fill. That fact,
however, did not concern the persons in England who appointed him. In
those days, fitness or ability had very little to do with colonial
appointments. Carleton continued to fill the office of governor and
lieutenant-governor until his death in 1817; but for the last fourteen
years of his term he resided in England, and the duties of his office
were performed by a succession of administrators under the name of
presidents. To assist him in his deliberations, Carleton had a council
of twelve members, who were appointed by the Crown and were therefore
wholly under the influence of the governor and the authorities in
England. In 1809, its number had been reduced to ten, and it was
composed of the four judges of the supreme court, the provincial
secretary and the surveyor-general, who held their offices for life, and
four other persons. This council, in addition to its executive
functions, also sat as the upper branch of the legislature, and, besides
being wholly irresponsible except to the governor, it sat with closed
doors, so that the public had no opportunity of knowing what was being
done. It was not until the year 1833 that any portion of the journals of
the legislative council was published.

The House of Assembly consisted of members chosen by the freeholders of
the several counties and the freeholders and freemen of the city of St.
John. This House was able to exert but a limited influence on the
government of the country, for all authority was vested in the
lieutenant-governor and he was able to act in a manner quite independent
of the legislature. All the appointments to office were in his hands,
and they were made in many cases even without the knowledge of his
council. In England, even under the most despotic kings, parliament was
always able to curb the power of the Crown by refusing to grant
supplies; but this check did not exist in New Brunswick, or in the other
colonies of British North America at that time, because the governor had
sources of revenue quite independent of the legislature. The British
government maintained a customs establishment in the colonies, which
levied duties on all merchandise imported, and over which the
legislature had no control. The British government also retained the
revenues arising from the Crown lands of the province, and these
revenues the governor expended as he pleased. The House of Assembly,
therefore, might refuse to vote supplies; but the governor could go on
without them, and the only effect of such a procedure was to injure its
own officials, and to deprive the people of the money which was expended
on roads and bridges.


Another feature of the system of government in New Brunswick was the
predominant influence it gave to the members of the Church of England.
Every member of the council of the province belonged to that
denomination, and it was not until the year 1817 that any person who was
not an adherent of the Church of England was appointed to the council.
This exception was William Pagan, a member of the Church of Scotland,
and his was a solitary instance because up to the year 1833, when the
old council was abolished, all its other members were adherents of the
Church of England. The same rule prevailed with respect to all the great
offices in the gift of the Crown. All the judges of the supreme court
for the first sixty-seven years of the existence of the province were
members of the Church of England. L. A. Wilmot, who became
attorney-general in 1848, was the first person not a member of the
Church of England who filled that office, and he was the first judge not
a member of that Church who sat on the bench of New Brunswick.

For some time after the foundation of the province, the salaries of the
Church of England clergymen were paid by the British government, and
large grants of land were made for the purpose of supporting the
churches. In addition to this, financial assistance was given to them
in erecting their places of worship. No dissenting minister was allowed
to perform the marriage ceremony, that privilege being confined to
clergymen of the Church of England, the Church of Scotland, the Quakers
and the Church of Rome. This was felt to be a very serious grievance,
and, needless to say, produced a great deal of inconvenience.

Another grievance was the fact that the great offices were held by
members of certain favoured families. These families, from their social
position and in some cases from their wealth, had the ear of the
governor, or of the authorities in England, and were able to obtain and
hold all the valuable places. The two Odells, father and son, held the
office of provincial secretary for sixty years. The Chipmans were
another favoured family, both the father and son being successively
judges of the supreme court, and the former receiving large sums from
the British government as one of the commissioners who settled the
boundary between Maine and New Brunswick. One of the greatest offices in
the province--that of the surveyor-general--was held by one person for
thirty-three years, and this individual was in no sense responsible to
any authority in New Brunswick except the governor. Those in power at
that day were very fond of expatiating on the glories of the British
constitution and the privileges the people enjoyed under it. But nothing
less like the British constitution can be imagined than the system
which then prevailed in the British North American colonies.


One feature which is not to be lost sight of in considering the
political condition of the province at that time is the social element.
The distinctions between the upper classes and others was then far more
marked than it is at present. The officials and the professional men
formed a class by themselves, and looked with contempt upon those who
were engaged in business. The salaries of the government officials were
then three or four times as large as they are at present, and they kept
up a corresponding degree of state which others were not in a position
to imitate. This assumption of superiority was carried out in all the
relations of life, and the sons of those who occupied an inferior
station were made to feel their position keenly. This was the case with
Lemuel Allan Wilmot, for, although his family was as good as any in the
provinces, he was the son of a man who was engaged in business and who
was not only a Dissenter but was actually a preacher in the denomination
to which he belonged. No doubt the insults which the son received from
those who claimed to occupy a higher station had a good deal to do with
his zeal for the cause of Reform, and influenced his future career to a
considerable extent.

William Wilmot, although he afterwards failed in business, was in
prosperous circumstances when his son Lemuel was born. He was a Baptist
and was one of the original members of the Baptist Church at Canning,
in Queens County, which was founded in 1800. On Christmas Day, 1813,
William Wilmot and nine others received their dismissal from the Canning
Church for the purpose of founding a Baptist Church in Fredericton.
Wilmot was a local preacher and used his gift of eloquence in that way.
He also aspired to legislative distinction, and was elected a member of
the House of Assembly for the county of Sunbury in 1816. He was an
unsuccessful candidate for the same seat in 1819, and again in 1820. At
the general election of 1827 he ran for the county of York, to which he
had removed several years before, but was again defeated. This was his
last attempt to become a member of the House of Assembly. His loss of
three elections out of four had certainly been discouraging, and was in
singular contrast to the fortune of his distinguished son, who never
experienced a defeat.


Lemuel Wilmot's mother died when he was only eighteen months old, so
that he never knew a mother's love or a mother's care. But his father
early recognized his youthful promise, and gave him all the educational
advantages then available. He became a pupil at the College of New
Brunswick, which was situated in Fredericton, of which the Rev. Dr.
Somerville was the president and sole professor. This college was in
fact merely a grammar school, but Wilmot acquired there some knowledge
of the classics. However, his scholastic career was not prolonged, for
in June, 1825, he entered as a student-at-law with Charles S. Putnam, a
leading barrister of Fredericton. He was admitted an attorney of the
supreme court in July, 1830, and a barrister two years later. He was
then twenty-three years of age.

The men who were contemporaries of Mr. Wilmot as a youth are all dead,
and not many anecdotes of his career as a student have been handed down
to us. Being of an ardent and ambitious disposition, he took a keen
interest in the stirring events that were being enacted around him; for
it was a time of great political excitement, and the business troubles
of the province increased the difficulties of its inhabitants. In 1825,
all the lumbermen in the province were ruined, and the bad management of
the Crown lands office which had added to the business difficulties
became more than a political question, for by cramping its leading
industry it affected the prosperity of every man in New Brunswick. It
was then that young Wilmot resolved to enter upon a political career and
to do what he could to redress the wrongs from which the people were
suffering. Strange to say, at this time he, who afterwards became most
eloquent, had an impediment in his speech, which it took much labour to
overcome. To improve his knowledge of French, he spent some months with
a French family in Madawaska, among the descendants of the ancient
Acadians. In this way he acquired a colloquial knowledge of that

Wilmot's ambition was to become a public man and to assist in the
reformation of the constitution of his native province. He enjoyed many
advantages for the rôle he had undertaken. He was tall, his height being
upwards of six feet, well proportioned, handsome and striking in his
features, and he possessed a voice of great strength and sweetness. He
was proficient in all athletic exercises, and took an interest in all
those movements which commend themselves to young men of enterprise and
force of character. He was a lieutenant in the first battalion of the
York County Militia when he was only eighteen years of age, and his
devotion to the militia force continued until the end of his life.
Possessed as he was of all the elements which make men popular and
prominent, he was early marked for advancement in the field that he had
chosen for the exercise of his talents.



The agitation for an improvement in the constitution of New Brunswick
began long before L. A. Wilmot was born. The first man who took a
prominent stand for reform in the legislature was Mr. James Glenie, a
member for the county of Sunbury from 1792 to 1809. Mr. Glenie, who was
a Scotchman and a man of much ability, had been an officer in the Royal
Engineers during the Revolutionary War. His efforts to obtain reforms
were met by the friends of the governor, Mr. Carleton, with the most
violent opposition. He was denounced as an incendiary, and indeed there
was hardly a limit to the fierceness with which he was attacked for
attempting to bring about an improvement in the system of government.
The old Family Compact and their friends were ever ready to tell the
public how loyal they were, and to denounce as a traitor any person who
presumed to object to the existing state of things. Mr. Glenie was not
able to effect anything substantial for the improvement of the
constitution, because the time was not ripe for the changes he proposed.
England itself was suffering at that time from a relapse from true
constitutional methods, so it was not to be expected that much
attention would be paid to complaints which came from a remote province
of North America.

The cause of Reform would not have been nearly so well supported as it
was, had it not been for the fact that the abuses which existed touched
the self-interest of many persons who were by no means Reformers at
heart, and who in fact cared nothing about responsible government. The
first successful attack which was made on the existing order of things
was with regard to the fees charged on land grants. These fees went to
the various officials, including the governor, and it was shown that on
a lot of land not exceeding three hundred acres, the enormous sum of
forty-seven dollars was charged as fees, while on a lot of one thousand
acres to ten grantees, the fees amounted to about two hundred dollars.
The reader will be able to understand from these figures how it was that
the officials of the government were able to live in such princely
style. This evil was remedied by permission being obtained from the
colonial secretary to include a large number of grantees in one grant.


Another grievance which was attacked long before Mr. Wilmot entered
public life was the law which related to the performance of the marriage
ceremony. At that time the only clerical persons authorized to solemnize
marriages were the clergymen of the Church of England, ministers of the
Kirk of Scotland, Quakers, and priests of the Roman Catholic Church.
This was felt to be an intolerable grievance, because it prevented
Methodists, Baptists and all Presbyterians except those connected with
the Church of Scotland from being married by their own ministers. In
1821 a bill was passed in the House of Assembly authorizing all
ministers of the Gospel to solemnize marriages. This was rejected by the
council, a fate which befell many subsequent bills of the same kind. For
several years the House of Assembly continued to pass the Dissenters'
Marriage Bill, and the council as steadily rejected it. Finally, in
1831, the House of Assembly concluded that nothing would serve to bring
about the reform asked for but a petition to the king, and accordingly a
petition was prepared in which the facts were set forth and His Majesty
was asked to give instructions to the administrator of the government to
recommend the legislature to pass a bill extending the privilege of
solemnizing marriages to all regularly ordained clergymen of dissenting
congregations in New Brunswick. In 1832, a bill was passed by both
Houses carrying out these views. It contained a suspending clause,
however, which prevented it from going into operation until approved by
His Majesty. It was thought that this would settle the question, but in
1834 a despatch was received from His Majesty's secretary of state for
the colonies in which it was announced that the royal assent had been
withheld on the ground that the Act was confined in its operation to
four denominations of Christians,--the Wesleyan Methodists, the
Baptists, the Presbyterian seceders from the Church of Scotland, and the
Independents. It appeared, therefore, that the Act had been disallowed
because it was not liberal enough, but this defect was speedily remedied
by the passage of another bill during the session of 1834 in the terms
suggested by the colonial secretary, and the Dissenters' Marriage
Question was thus settled.


It has already been stated that the British government continued to
maintain a custom-house establishment in New Brunswick, and to impose
duties on goods imported into the province. These duties, which were
levied for the regulation of trade, were disposed of by the British
government and by the lieutenant-governor of the province with little
reference to the wishes of the legislature. The old restrictive system
which placed shackles on trade was modified by two Acts passed by the
imperial parliament in 1822, under which the importation of provisions,
lumber, cattle, tobacco and other articles from any foreign country in
North and South America and the West Indies, into ports of British North
America and the British West Indies, was allowed under a fixed scale of
duty, and a free export was allowed to goods going from all our ports to
these countries. The importation of the productions of foreign countries
in Europe into the ports of British North America was also permitted,
and a schedule of duties annexed. Under these Acts it was provided that
the duties on both imports and exports were to be collected by the
imperial officers of customs, and the net revenue thus obtained was to
be placed at the disposal of the colonial treasuries. This arrangement
was a decided gain to New Brunswick, because, for the first time, it
placed nearly all the revenue collected by the imperial officers under
the control of the legislature.

The Acts of the imperial parliament, 6th George IV, Chapters 73 and 114,
went still farther in the way of removing restrictions from colonial
trade. These Acts provided that the duties imposed under them should be
paid by the collector of customs into the hands of the treasurer or
receiver-general of the colony, to be applied to such uses as were
directed by the local legislature of such colony, exception being made
in regard to the produce of duties payable to His Majesty, under any Act
passed prior to the eighteenth year of his late Majesty, George III.
This exception is important for the purpose of illustrating the
pernicious system under which duties had been collected. Even so late as
the year 1833, Messrs. Simonds and Chandler, the New Brunswick delegates
to the imperial government, were complaining that duties were collected
at the several custom-houses in New Brunswick upon wine, molasses,
coffee and pimento under the provisions of the Acts of parliament, 6th
George II, Chapter 13; 4th George III, Chapter 15, and 6th George III,
Chapter 52, amounting to upwards of one thousand pounds sterling
annually, which duties were not accounted for to the legislature, and
that it was not known to the House of Assembly by whom and to what
purpose these duties were applied. The reply to this on the part of the
imperial government was, that in pursuance of the directions contained
in the statutes themselves, the duties levied under them were remitted
to the exchequer in England in aid of the expenses incurred for the
defence of the British colonies in North America. Thus ten years after
the British government had undertaken to remit the duties collected in
the colonies to the exchequers of the colonies in which the money was
collected, there still remained a considerable revenue, obtained under
old and obscure Acts of parliament, which was held back, and the
destination of which was not known, until disclosed to the delegates
sent to England to obtain the redress of New Brunswick's grievances.

But the grievance which caused the greatest amount of dissatisfaction in
New Brunswick was that which arose from the management of the Crown
lands. It was bad enough that the revenues arising from the public
domain should be disposed of without the consent of the legislature; but
it was still worse when such regulations were made by the
surveyor-general as hindered the settlement of the country and
interfered with one of its leading industries. One great abuse was that
large areas of the best land in the province were locked up as reserves
for the production of masts for His Majesty's navy. Another grievance
was the imposition of a duty of a shilling a ton on all pine timber cut
in the province. This was done by the authority of the surveyor-general,
and its effect was seriously to injure many of those who were engaged in
lumbering. This tax was remitted for a time after the panic of the year
1825, but it was revived when that crisis in the commercial life of the
province had passed. The management of the Crown lands office had been
the subject of criticism at almost every session of the legislature for
twelve or fifteen years before Lemuel Wilmot entered public life, and
every year the complaints grew louder.


At the session of 1831, an address was presented to the president, the
Hon. William Black, asking him to lay before the House a detailed
account showing the amount of the casual and territorial revenue from
the beginning of 1824 to the end of 1830, and the expenditures from that
fund for the same period. This was refused on the ground that it was
inconsistent with his instructions. The House then resolved to bring the
matter to the notice of the king in an address, the spirit of which may
be gathered from the following paragraphs:--

"By the operation of the system practised in this office, very large
sums are taken from the people of this province for licenses to cut
timber on Crown land, and, although the assembly do not question the
right Your Majesty undoubtedly has to the lands in question, they think
the tremendous powers with which the commissioner is vested, with regard
to impositions of tonnage money and the enormous exactions for fees, to
be incompatible with a free government, and to require redress.

"It is generally understood, as well as universally believed, that the
commissioner in question is under no control in this province, and to
this may be ascribed the mode in which licenses to cut timber are issued
in very many cases, in quantities less than one hundred tons, subject to
a duty of one shilling, three pence per ton, and the excessive fee on
each of forty-five shillings. By this mode, a large part of the receipts
is paid in the shape of fees, at once injuring the subject without
benefiting the revenue; and the assembly feel convinced, if the office
were under colonial management, that while the oppressions would be
removed, the revenue would be more productive; and besides, the assembly
cannot but view with just alarm that the day may possibly come when, by
a single mandate from the office, exactions of such magnitude may be
made as literally to stop the export trade of the country, a power which
no person should have even the shadow of authority to exercise.

"The assembly at an early day in the present session, by an address to
the administrator of the government, sought for documents regarding
this office, to enable them officially to bring the subject more in
detail under the consideration of Your Majesty, but this information, so
highly desirable and necessary, has been withheld from them; and the
assembly, therefore, with great submission, lay before Your Majesty
herewith, a copy of the said address, with the reply thereto, for Your
Majesty's gracious consideration.

"It will by that be seen that the objects contemplated by the assembly
are no less than relieving Your Majesty's government permanently from
the burthen of the whole civil list of the province, a subject which the
assembly humbly conceive to be of great advantage to the parent state,
and only requiring that the revenues, from whatever source or sources
derived in or collected within the province, should be placed under the
control of its legislature."


A portion of the Crown-land revenue went to pay what was termed the
civil list, which included the salaries of the lieutenant-governor, the
judges, the attorney-general, solicitor-general, private secretary,
provincial secretary, auditor, receiver-general and commissioner of
Crown lands. The latter official received seventeen hundred and fifty
pounds sterling per annum besides enormous fees, so that his income was
greater than that of the lieutenant-governor. Thomas Baillie, an
Irishman, who had been a subaltern in a marching regiment, had filled
that office since the year 1824, and continued to hold it until 1851,
twenty-seven years in all, when he retired with a pension twice as large
as the salary of the present surveyor-general of New Brunswick.

What the Reformers in the legislature of New Brunswick sought to obtain
was the control of the public lands, and the disposal of the revenues
derived from them. To accomplish this they were willing to undertake to
pay the salaries embraced in the civil list, although these salaries
were looked upon by the people of the province generally as altogether
too large. Yet there were great difficulties in the way of this
necessary reform, for King William IV was known to be violently opposed
to it. At a later period, 1835, in the course of a conversation with the
Earl of Gosford, who had been appointed governor of Lower Canada, "I
will never consent," he said with an oath, "to alienate the Crown lands,
nor to make the council elective. Mind me, my Lord, the cabinet is not
my cabinet. They had better take care, or by ---- I will have them

Such was the language which this king used in regard to his
constitutional advisers. It was fortunate for New Brunswick and the
other colonies of British North America that at that time he had done
his utmost to get rid of his ministers and had been defeated and
humiliated, so that they could set him at defiance. But in 1832 they
were more disposed to defer to his wishes, and in May of that year we
find Lord Goderich, the colonial secretary, writing to Sir Archibald
Campbell, the lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick, in the following

"The preservation to the Crown of the territorial revenue is an object
of the first importance, and it would only be resigned on its being
clearly proved that the right of the Crown could not be maintained
without producing still greater inconvenience. You cannot, therefore,
more usefully exert your influence than in endeavouring to prevent the
assembly from urging the surrender of this revenue."


The question of the control of the Crown-land or casual and territorial
revenues was made the subject of an address to the king by the House of
Assembly in 1832. In this it was stated that the expense of collecting
these revenues was far greater than it would be under proper management,
and it was proposed that they be placed under the control of the
legislature, which would undertake the payment of all the necessary
expenses of the civil government of the province by making such
permanent and other grants as might be necessary for this purpose. The
reply to this proposition was received during the legislative session of
1833. In it Lord Goderich, with some appearance of sarcasm, observed
that "His Majesty did not consider it necessary at present to call upon
the House for a grant of the nature proposed, as he did not anticipate
such a falling off in the revenue at his disposal as the House appeared
to have apprehended." This reply can hardly be regarded otherwise than
as an insult to the House of Assembly, for the meaning of their address
to the king was deliberately misrepresented. They were contending for a
principle, that the revenue derived from the public domain should be
under the control of the legislature, and the amount of the revenue did
not enter into the question.

In 1833 the House of Assembly appointed a committee on grievances for
the purpose of taking into consideration and investigating all matters
in connection with the Crown lands, which were the subject of complaint.
After this committee had reported to the House, it was resolved to send
a deputation to England to endeavour to make some arrangement with the
colonial secretary in reference to the Crown lands.


The deputies appointed to proceed to England and lay the grievances of
the province at the foot of the throne were Charles Simonds and Edward
B. Chandler, both men of wealth, influence and position, and well
qualified for the performance of the work with which they were
entrusted. Messrs. Chandler and Simonds arrived in England in June,
1833, and immediately placed themselves in communication with the Right
Honourable E. G. Stanley, who was then colonial secretary. Their report
was laid before the legislature in February, 1834, and the result was
highly satisfactory to the House of Assembly. A few days later a
despatch from Mr. Stanley to Sir Archibald Campbell was laid before the
House, in which he stated the terms on which he should feel that His
Majesty might properly be advised to place the proceeds of the casual
and territorial revenue under the control of the assembly of New
Brunswick. He would, he said, be prepared to advise His Majesty to
accept a permanent appropriation by the legislature, duly secured to the
amount of fourteen thousand pounds per annum, and that the Crown should
undertake to charge on any such permanent grant the salaries of the
lieutenant-governor, his private secretary, the commissioner of Crown
lands, provincial secretary, chief-justice, three puisne judges, the
attorney-general, auditor, receiver-general, the expenses of the indoor
establishment of the Crown lands department, and a grant of one thousand
pounds to the college. It would be necessary, Mr. Stanley stated, that
any bill passed in consequence of the proposal contained in this
despatch should contain a suspending clause in order that it might be
submitted to His Majesty before it was finally assented to. It was also
stated, in order to prevent misunderstanding or delay, that the House
should be apprised, that, unless some other fully equivalent and
sufficient security could be devised, it would be expected that the Act
should provide that the stipulated annual commutation should be payable
out of the first receipts in each year, and that in case of any default
in such payment the whole of the revenue surrendered should revert to
the Crown. A committee was appointed to prepare the bill on the subject
of the surrender by His Majesty of the casual and territorial revenues
of the province. The House of Assembly had previously passed a
resolution that the sum of fourteen thousand pounds required by His
Majesty's government as a permanent grant for the surrender of the
casual and territorial revenues of the province was greater than the
charges contemplated to be thereon required, yet that the great desire
of the House of Assembly to have this important subject finally settled
should induce them to accept the proposal contained in Mr. Stanley's
despatch. On the day after this resolution was passed, the
lieutenant-governor communicated to the House of Assembly an extract
from a despatch received the previous day by him from the Right
Honourable Mr. Stanley, dated January 4th, 1834. This extract was as

"In your message communicating to the assembly the proposal contained in
my despatch of the 30th September, you will take care distinctly to
explain that the payments expected from the New Brunswick Land Company
are not included in the revenue which is offered to the acceptance of
the assembly." It is with great regret that an historian of this period
must record the receipt of such a despatch from an imperial head of
department to a colonial governor, for the spirit displayed in the
message was not that of an enlightened statesman, but such as might have
been expected from one who was endeavouring to drive the hardest
possible bargain with the province of New Brunswick, in order that a
number of officials, swollen with pride and enjoying enormous salaries,
might not suffer.


A few days after the receipt of this despatch, a resolution was passed
by the House in committee, regretting that the additional condition
contained in Mr. Stanley's last despatch would prevent the committee
recommending to the House further action in the matter of preparing a
civil list bill. Thus ended the attempt to settle this vexed question in
the year 1834. The House of Assembly, however, still continued to
agitate the matter, and to make Sir Archibald Campbell's life a burden
to him. On March 7th, they addressed him, asking for accounts in detail
of the casual and territorial revenues, and calling for a number of
statements which they had not received except in such a shape that they
could not be properly understood. They also addressed His Excellency,
requesting him to lay before them copies of all official despatches
transmitted to him by the secretary of state for the colonies, since he
assumed the administration of the government, relating to the subject of
the casual and territorial revenues. The reply of His Excellency to the
request for more detailed accounts was a courteous one; but while he
consented to furnish the accounts requested in detail, it was with the
understanding that his compliance was not to be considered as a
precedent. He declined, however, to give the names of the parties who
had their timber seized or forfeited, or the names of the petitioners
for Crown land. He also refused to furnish the accounts of the
receiver-general and commissioner of Crown lands, on the ground that
they were accounts exclusively between these officers and the Crown.

With regard to the request for his correspondence with the colonial
secretary, Sir Archibald Campbell in another message gave a tart
refusal, stating that such a request was subversive of the principles
and spirit of the British constitution, and that he would ill deserve
the confidence put in him by His Majesty were he to hesitate in meeting
so dangerous an encroachment, not only on the independence of the
executive, but the prerogatives of the British Crown, with a most
decided and unqualified refusal. This military officer considered
himself a proper exponent of the principles and spirit of the British
constitution. He failed to understand that the British constitution
rests upon the support of the people, while his system of government was
intended to ignore the people altogether.


A few days after the receipt of this message, a resolution was passed
by the House of Assembly declaring that the language used by the
lieutenant-governor, in his reply to the address of the House, was at
variance with all parliamentary precedent and usage, and such as was not
called for by the address. Some of the governor's friends attempted to
weaken the force of this resolution by an amendment of a milder nature,
but their amendment was defeated, and the resolution carried by a vote
of fifteen to eight. Another address on the subject of the casual and
territorial revenues and civil list was prepared and passed by the
assembly for the purpose of being forwarded to His Majesty. It recited
the proceedings, in regard to the matter, which had taken place already,
and the desire of the House of Assembly to accept the proposition
contained in Mr. Stanley's despatch, and expressed the regret of the
House at the new condition imposed with regard to the New Brunswick Land
Company, which made it impossible to accept the settlement as amended.
The House concluded by expressing the hope that the terms proposed in
the original despatch might yet be considered definitive, and that the
proviso with regard to the New Brunswick Land Company might be
withdrawn. This was transmitted to England; but, before the year ended,
Sir Archibald Campbell concluded to rid himself of the House of
Assembly, which had given him so much annoyance, and accordingly it was
dissolved early in November; so that when the legislature met again in
January, 1835, the House was a new one, although largely composed of the
old members.



Wilmot acquired a good legal practice soon after his admission to the
bar, and was recognized as a highly successful advocate in cases before
a jury. In the opinion of the legal profession he never was a deeply
read lawyer, either as a barrister or as a judge, but in the conduct of
a case at _nisi prius_ he could hardly have been surpassed. He had the
gift which has been possessed by all great advocates, of seizing on the
leading feature of a case, and, regardless of all minor issues, pressing
it home on the minds of the jury. His eloquent and impressive speeches
on behalf of his clients soon began to attract general attention, and
the court-house was thronged when it was known that he was about to
address a jury. He was speedily marked as the proper person to represent
the views of the people in the House of Assembly, and, on a vacancy
occurring in the representation of the county of York in consequence of
the death of one of the members in the summer of 1834, Wilmot was
elected without opposition, none of the government party having the
courage to oppose him. Before the time came round for the meeting of the
legislature, the House was dissolved by Sir Archibald Campbell, in the
hope that he might be able to get an assembly more amenable to his
wishes, and, at the general election which followed, Wilmot was again
elected, at the head of the poll. At that time he had barely completed
his twenty-fifth year. It was a great triumph for Wilmot and the friends
of Reform, for all the influence of the friends of the governor and the
Family Compact was arrayed against him.


Mr. Wilmot took his seat as a member of the House of Assembly on January
25th, 1835. Young as he was, he had already made a great reputation as a
public speaker, and there was no man in the legislature or in the
province who could stand any comparison with him in point of eloquence.
Indeed, it is doubtful whether the British North American provinces have
ever produced a man who was Wilmot's superior in that style of oratory
which is so telling on the hustings or where great masses of men are to
be moved. The evidence of this fact does not rest on the testimony of
his countrymen alone, for he acquired a wider fame for eloquence than
they could give him. At the Portland Railway Convention of 1850, where
the ablest men of the Northern States were gathered, he easily eclipsed
them all by his brilliant and powerful oratory. The reporters are said
to have thrown down their pencils in despair, being unable to keep pace
with him as he aroused the enthusiasm of all who heard him by his
burning words. Unfortunately, there is no form of ability which is so
transient in its effects as this perfervid style of oratory. So much of
its potency depends on the action of the speaker, on the glance of his
eye and the modulation of his voice, that no report could do justice to
it, even if there had been reporters at that time capable of putting
down every word he uttered. The speeches of even Gladstone, when
reported word for word, read but indifferently when seen in cold type,
and no speech of Wilmot's was ever properly reported. He was incapable
of writing out a speech after he had delivered it, so that we must take
the united testimony of his contemporaries, whether friends or enemies,
that he was, upon his own ground, an unequalled speaker.

The House in which he now found himself was not one that was remarkable
for its eloquence. Unlike most of the legislatures of the present day,
the proportion of lawyers was very small, there being only five in a
House of thirty members, and of these five the only one who was an
orator was Wilmot. The other twenty-five members were mostly business
men and farmers, some of whom could express their views on public
questions clearly enough, but had no pretensions to eloquence. Yet it
was a good House, and one of its best features was that its members were
able to appreciate the worth of the new representative from the county
of York.

The aim of Wilmot, when he entered the legislature, was to bring the
province into line with the principles of responsible government as
understood in the mother country. Yet, looking at the state of New
Brunswick then, it is easy to see that the task he had undertaken was
one of enormous difficulty. Most of the evils of which the people had
been complaining still existed. The casual and territorial revenue was
still under the control of the home authorities, the custom-house
establishment still remained unreformed, the Family Compact still
controlled all the great public offices, and none but members of the
Church of England were thought worthy to serve their country in a public

Two years earlier the executive and legislative councils had been
separated; but the change had made little or no improvement in the
system of government. The executive council consisted of five members,
all of whom held public offices from which they could not be removed by
any act of the legislature. The first on the list was Baillie, the
surveyor-general, whose record has already been referred to; next came
F. P. Robinson, the auditor of the king's casual revenue; another was
William F. Odell, whose father had been provincial secretary for
twenty-eight years, and who himself filled the same office for
thirty-two years. George F. Street, the solicitor-general, was another
member of the executive, and the last on the list was John Simcoe
Saunders, who was advocate-general and held three or four
commissionerships besides. All these men were so solidly entrenched in
their positions that it seemed impossible they should ever be disturbed.
They formed a solid phalanx opposed to all reform, and they were
supported by the governor, Sir Archibald Campbell, most of whose life
had been spent in India and who, however well fitted to govern Hindoos,
was hardly the man to give laws to white men who claimed to be free.


As soon as Wilmot entered the House of Assembly, he began to take a
leading part in its debates. The very day he took his seat he was
appointed on the committee to prepare an address in reply to the speech
from the throne. On the following day he gave notice of a resolution
with regard to the boundary between Maine and New Brunswick, a subject
that was then coming to the front. A day or two later he brought in a
bill to continue the Act to provide for the expenses of judges on
circuits. Indeed, no man was more active during that first session than
the new member for the county of York.

There were two questions that came up for discussion in which, as a
Reformer, he was specially interested,--the salaries of the customs
establishment, and the casual and territorial revenue. With regard to
the latter, when the House had been sitting about a month, the reply of
the colonial secretary to the address of the previous session was laid
before it. That address, it will be remembered, related to the offer
which had been made to the British government to take over the Crown
lands and provide for a civil list of fourteen thousand pounds sterling,
the payments expected from the New Brunswick Land Company to be included
in this arrangement. The reply of the colonial secretary was as

"From various parts of the address I infer that the proposal conveyed to
the assembly, through my predecessors, must have been misapprehended in
more than one important particular; and I have especially remarked the
erroneous assumption that, in offering to surrender the proceeds of the
Crown lands, it was intended also to give up their management, and to
place them under the control of the legislature.

"From the course of their proceedings, as well as the tenor of the
present expression of their sentiments, the assembly must be understood
to consider it an indispensable condition that the payments of the Land
Company should be comprised among the objects to be surrendered to them.
This is a condition to which His Majesty's government cannot agree. His
Majesty's government would also be unable to recognize the
interpretation which was placed on their former offer, so far as regards
the control over the lands belonging to the Crown in New Brunswick.
Under these circumstances, I can only desire you to convey to the
assembly His Majesty's regrets that the objects of their address cannot
be complied with, and, adverting to the wide difference between the
views entertained by the government and those manifested by the assembly
on this subject, it seems to me that no advantage could be anticipated
from making any further proposals at present respecting the cession of
the territorial revenue."


This despatch, which brought a sudden close to the negotiations with
regard to the casual and territorial revenues of the province, did not
emanate from the government with which the House of Assembly had been
previously negotiating, but from a new administration which had just
been formed under the premiership of Sir Robert Peel, and which lasted
just one hundred and forty-five days. The creation of this
administration was due to the action of King William IV, in dismissing
his advisers on the death of Earl Spencer, which removed Lord Althorp
from the House of Commons. The king had grown to detest his cabinet for
their reforming spirit, but his designs were thwarted by the failure of
Sir Robert Peel to form an administration capable of facing the House of
Commons. As a consequence, Viscount Melbourne again became premier, and
a renewal of the negotiations with the government in regard to the
casual and territorial revenues was rendered possible.

The House of Assembly was still determined to keep the question of the
casual and territorial revenue to the front, and at a later period in
the session another address on this subject was prepared by the House of
Assembly, to be laid before His Majesty. In this address the grievances
with regard to the management of the Crown lands of New Brunswick were
recited, and the willingness of the legislature to provide for the civil
establishment of the province was stated. The address urged the benefits
that would result to the people of New Brunswick from placing the net
proceeds of the Crown-land revenues under the control of the
legislature. Attached to this address was a schedule of salaries
proposed to be paid out of the casual and territorial revenues,
amounting in all to £10,500 currency. The address was transmitted to the
governor to be forwarded to His Majesty. No specific answer was ever
made to this proposal, a fact which was probably due to the confusion,
incident to the change of government, which took place about the time
the address reached Downing Street.


Another matter which engaged the attention of the House during this
session, and in which Wilmot took an active interest, was the settlement
of the salaries of the custom-house officials. Although the surplus
revenue from this source went into the provincial treasury, the amount
thus received was much less than it ought to have been, in consequence
of the large salaries which were paid to the officials. In the year 1830
the amount of custom-house duties collected in the province was £16,616
18s. 11d. sterling, from which was deducted for salaries £7,073 6s., or
nearly one-half of the whole amount. The House of Assembly objected to
the payment of such large salaries, and in 1831 proposed to the British
government to make a permanent annual grant of £4,250 sterling for the
payment of customs officials in New Brunswick. This proposal was
accepted, and in the following year a bill was passed in accordance with
this arrangement. But it was protested against by the customs
authorities in England and disallowed because the salaries of the
officers of customs were not made the first charge on the revenue.
During the session of 1835, an amended bill embracing this provision was
passed, and the question was settled for the time. Mr. Wilmot was not
satisfied with this arrangement, because it was a violation of the
principle that the House of Assembly should have control of the
provincial revenue, and he therefore voted against it. Nevertheless, the
measure apart from this violation of a fundamental principle, was a gain
to the province, as it placed a considerable sum additional in the
public treasury.



Mr. Wilmot took a very active part in the proceedings of the legislature
during the session of 1836, and was the moving spirit in the committee
of the whole to inquire into the state of the province during that
session. The result was the passing by large majorities of a series of
twenty-six resolutions condemning the management of the Crown lands
office, the composition of the executive council and also of the
legislative council, and declaring that the control of the casual and
territorial revenues should be placed in the hands of the legislature.
These resolutions were made the basis of an address to His Majesty,
which was to be carried to England by a deputation of two members of the
House of Assembly. This address relates at length the principal facts of
the management of the Crown lands and the reasons of the House of
Assembly for dissatisfaction therewith. Mr. Wilmot, in recognition of
the active part he had taken in this business, was appointed a member of
the delegation, the other member being William Crane of Westmorland, a
gentleman of experience, wealth and standing in the province. This
appointment was the highest compliment that could possibly have been
paid to Wilmot's capacity, for the negotiation then to be conducted with
the colonial office was of the most important and delicate character,
and one which vitally affected the interests of the province.

The colonial secretary at that time was Lord Glenelg, a statesman whose
character has been drawn by Sir Henry Taylor, who was then a clerk in
the colonial office. "Amiable and excellent as he was," says Taylor, "a
more incompetent man could not have been found to fill an office
requiring activity and ready judgment. A dart flung at him by Lord
Brougham in 1838 points to his notorious defect as a minister called
upon to deal with a crisis. The then crisis was that of the Canadian
Rebellion." "It is indeed," said Lord Brougham, "a most alarming and
frightful state of things, and I am sure must have given my noble friend
many a sleepless day." It was probably because of Lord Glenelg's habit
of procrastination that the delegates had to remain in London for four
months before they were able to bring their business to a conclusion.
They arrived there about the middle of June, and it was well on in
October before they were able to leave. The result of their work was
that an arrangement was made satisfactory both to the British government
and to the delegates representing the House of Assembly, by which the
casual and territorial revenues were to be transferred to the province,
in consideration of the legislature undertaking to provide for a civil
list of £14,500 currency annually, for the payment of certain salaries
chargeable to that fund. A draft of a Civil List Bill was prepared and
agreed to by the lords of the treasury, and the understanding was that
this bill should be passed by the legislature, and receive the assent of
the lieutenant-governor, when it would immediately become operative.


The first clause of this bill transferred the proceeds of the
territorial and casual revenues, and of all woods, mines and royalties
which had been collected and were then in hand, or which should
thereafter be collected, to the provincial treasurer, who was authorized
to receive them for the use of the province, while the Act remained in
force. The second clause charged the revenues with the payment of
£14,500 for a civil list. The third clause enacted that all the surplus
over and above the sum of £14,500 currency, should remain in the
treasury of the province until appropriated or disposed of by an Act or
Acts of the general assembly. The fourth clause gave the
lieutenant-governor, with the advice of his executive council, power to
expend such sums as they might deem necessary for the prudent
management, protection and collection of the said revenues, a detailed
account of which was to be laid before the legislature within fourteen
days of the commencement of each session, with all vouchers for the
same. It was also enacted that all grants or sales of Crown lands should
be void, unless the land had been sold at public auction after due
notice in the _Royal Gazette_. By this arrangement the House of Assembly
had obtained the boon for which it had so long been contending, but
there was still one more obstacle to be overcome,--the opposition of the
lieutenant-governor, Sir Archibald Campbell, who had entered into a plot
with some of the enemies of freedom in the province for the purpose of
thwarting, not only the wishes of the House of Assembly, but also the
intentions of the home government. As soon as Sir Archibald Campbell was
apprised of the intention of His Majesty's advisers in England to
transfer the casual and territorial revenues to the provincial
legislature, he commenced a correspondence with the colonial office,
pointing out what he deemed to be imperfections in the scheme which they
had prepared for the management of the public lands. He pretended to
have discovered that there was some error in the calculation of the
lords of the treasury with regard to the sum to be paid in lieu of the
civil list, and that the amount of £14,500 currency would not be
sufficient to defray all the expenditures chargeable on the civil list.


Sir Archibald Campbell, soon after the opening of the session of the
legislature, in December 1836, requested the House of Assembly to add a
suspending clause to any Civil List Bill they might pass, so that he
might forward it to the home government for their approval. As this was
entirely contrary to the understanding which had been reached between
Messrs. Wilmot and Crane and the colonial secretary,--it being
understood that the bill if passed in the form agreed upon would be
immediately assented to by the lieutenant-governor,--the House of
Assembly very naturally refused to comply with Sir Archibald's wishes.
He, however, held firm in his resolution, and the Civil List Bill which
had been agreed to by the home authorities, after being passed by both
Houses, did not receive his assent. At the close of the session, while
the matter was under discussion, at the instigation of the
lieutenant-governor one of the executive council, Solicitor-General
Street, was sent on a secret mission to Downing Street. The object of
this mission was to make such representations to the home authorities as
would induce them to delay giving their assent to the Civil List Bill.
The truth of the matter seems to have been that Sir Archibald Campbell
and his advisers in New Brunswick thought if they could only gain time
the Liberal government of England which had granted such favourable
terms to the province might be defeated, and a Tory government come into
power which would speedily undo all that their predecessors had done,
and refuse to grant any concessions to the legislature of New Brunswick.
There was great excitement in the province in consequence of the action
of the lieutenant-governor, and this excitement was fairly voiced in the
House of Assembly, where an address was prepared representing the
condition of affairs to His Majesty, and detailing the manner in which
the lieutenant-governor had sought to thwart the intentions of the
imperial government. This address was passed by a vote of twenty-seven
to two, the only members of the House who ventured to stand with the man
who occupied Government House being John Ambrose Street and William End.


Messrs. Crane and Wilmot were again appointed a deputation to proceed to
England with the address of the House of Assembly, and took their
departure two days after it was passed, amidst great popular
demonstrations by the citizens of Fredericton. The legislature was
prorogued on March 1st, on which day the House of Assembly again
requested the lieutenant-governor to pass the Civil List Bill, pointing
out that under the arrangements made with the colonial office it was his
duty to do so, but their request fell upon deaf ears. In the speech
proroguing the legislature, Sir Archibald Campbell stated that he had
withheld his assent from this bill because a suspending clause had not
been appended to it. These were the last words that this obstinate
governor was destined to speak before a New Brunswick legislature.
Finding that all his hopes of impeding the progress of the province in
the direction of political liberty were in vain, he tendered his
resignation to save himself from being removed, as he would have been,
for his direct disobedience to the commands of his superiors in
England.[1] Sir John Harvey, another soldier, but a man of a very
different spirit, was appointed to succeed him as lieutenant-governor.
The Civil List Bill was again passed at a special session of the
legislature and received the assent of the governor, becoming law on
July 17th, 1837. From that time to the present, the province of New
Brunswick has controlled the revenues which it derives from its Crown
lands and similar sources, and, whether wisely expended or not, the
people of this province have at least the satisfaction of knowing that
the money is appropriated by their own representatives, and by a
government which is responsible to them for its actions.

The death of King William IV took place during the summer of 1837, and
brought about another general election. Mr. Wilmot again stood for the
county of York and was returned at the head of the poll. This was only a
proper recognition of his eminent services to the province in the
legislature and as a delegate to England. At this election, Charles
Fisher, a young lawyer, was also returned for the county of York. Mr.
Fisher, although not so fluent a speaker as Wilmot, was second to no man
in the legislature in devotion to Liberal principles, and he proved a
most valuable lieutenant in the battle for responsible government which
now began. The contest for the control of the Crown lands of the
province had been won, but a still more difficult task remained for the
friends of constitutional principles to accomplish,--the making of the
executive responsible to the people. The members of the House of
Assembly had been almost unanimous in demanding the control of the Crown
lands, but, when it came to applying the principles of responsible
government to the affairs of the province generally, there were many
deserters from the ranks of those who had called themselves Reformers.
This was partly due to the principles of responsible government not
being well understood even by some members of the legislature, and
partly to the fact that the question did not touch the self-interest of
the members in the same manner as the mismanagement of the Crown lands
department had done.

Under a thoroughly constitutional system of government the initiation of
money grants would have been in the hands of the executive, but in 1837
not a single member of the executive council had a seat in the House of
Assembly. Three of the five members of the executive council were also
members of the legislative council, but the two others had no seat in
either House, a fact which shows on what lax principles the executive
was constructed. The initiation of money grants being in the House of
Assembly, any private member had it in his power to move an
appropriation of money for any object that he pleased. In this way a
system of "log rolling" was inaugurated in the legislature, which
resulted in extravagant expenditures and the appropriation of money for
objects which, under a better system, would not have received it. It was
impossible to put any check upon the expenditure or to keep it within
the income under such an arrangement, and one of the first efforts of
the Reformers was therefore directed to the removal of this abuse.
Unfortunately this was, of all the proposed reforms in the constitution,
the one most difficult to carry, and it was not accomplished until after
Wilmot had retired from public life.


One of the subjects which engaged the attention of Mr. Wilmot, at an
early period of his legislative career, was the charter of King's
College. This charter had been obtained in 1828 from His Majesty, King
George IV, and the legislature had granted the college an endowment of
eleven hundred pounds currency a year, in addition to ten hundred pounds
sterling granted by the king out of the casual and territorial revenues
of the province. The aim of the charter was to make the college a Church
of England institution exclusively, for it provided that the bishop of
the diocese should be the visitor of the college, and that the president
should always be a clergyman in holy orders of the United Church of
England and Ireland. No religious test was required of students
matriculating or taking degrees in arts, but the council of the college,
which was the governing body, was to be composed of members of the
Church of England, who, previous to their appointment, had subscribed to
the thirty-nine articles. The professors, to the number of seven, who
were members of the Church of England, were to be members of the
council, so that, although no religious test was required of them, it
was reasonably certain that none but persons of that denomination would
be appointed to professorships. These terms were much complained of, and
surely it was absurd to place a provincial college under the control of
a single denomination which could not claim more than one-third of the
population of the province as belonging to its communion. It is stated
in Fullom's _Life of Sir Howard Douglas_, who was lieutenant-governor of
the province at the time, that the charter would have been much less
liberal than it was if it had not been for his efforts. The Bishop of
Nova Scotia and the Bishop of London desired to confine it entirely to
students belonging to the Church of England, and to make subscription to
the thirty-nine articles a condition precedent to the granting of
degrees in arts. On the other hand, Attorney-General Peters in 1845,
when the amendments to the charter were discussed in the legislative
council, stated that the charter as originally drafted and sent to
England was much more liberal in its provisions than when finally
passed, but that in 1828, to the surprise of Sir Howard Douglas, the
then existing charter came out copied from one obtained by Dr. Strachan
for Upper Canada. If this statement was correct, it affords a singular
illustration of the injury that the bigotry of one man can cause to
future generations. If King's College had treated all denominations on
equal terms, all would have resorted to it for higher education. As it
was, it became the college of only a section of the people, the
different denominations established colleges of their own, and when
finally the connection between the Church of England and King's College
was severed and it became the University of New Brunswick, the
denominational colleges had become so well established that it could
hardly compete with them on equal terms.


During the session of 1838 Mr. Wilmot, as chairman, submitted to the
legislature the report of the select committee which had been appointed
to take into consideration the state of the college. In this report it
was proposed to make certain alterations in the charter for the purpose
of rendering it more acceptable to those who were not in the communion
of the Church of England. In 1839 he introduced a bill in the House of
Assembly embracing these amendments. The principal changes were to make
the lieutenant-governor visitor of the college instead of the bishop, to
repeal the section which provided that the president of the college must
be a member of the Church of England, and to make persons of every
denomination eligible for members of the college council. The
professorship of theology was still retained, and students in that
course were still required to subscribe to the thirty-nine articles,
while services were held in the college morning and evening according to
the rites of the Church of England. These changes were certainly of a
very moderate character, but they were stoutly resisted by the college
authorities and their friends. They put forward the plea that the
legislature had no right to alter a royal charter, that to do so was an
interference with the royal prerogative, and that the direst consequence
would ensue if the constitution of the college was changed. According to
their view, a royal charter once granted, the king himself, even with
the assistance of both branches of the legislature, could not amend it.
The college authorities also denied that they were under the control of
the legislature in any way, or responsible to it for their management of
the institution, although they were living on money voted by the
legislature for its support.


Wilmot's bill passed the House of Assembly, but was defeated in the
legislative council. A similar bill was introduced by him in 1840, but
postponed in consequence of a communication from the college council
which seemed to show an inclination to yield something to the demands of
the public. But a fatal objection to these modifications being accepted
was the insistence of the college council that the bishop of the
diocese, or in his absence the archdeacon, should be a member of that
body. Representatives of the Presbyterians, Methodists and Baptists
pointed out in a memorial to the lieutenant-governor that the exclusive
character of the council would still remain, as that body would be
composed wholly of members of the Church of England. Lord John Russell,
the colonial secretary, to whom the matter had been referred, suggested
that the college should surrender its charter and that a new one should
be prepared embracing the proposed changes, but the college council took
no steps to carry these suggestions into effect. This being the case, at
Wilmot's instance the House of Assembly proposed an address to the queen
setting forth the facts of the case and asking Her Majesty to assent to
a bill, a draft of which was enclosed, which the House of Assembly was
prepared to pass.

At the session of 1842 Wilmot again introduced the King's College Bill,
and it was passed by the House, but again rejected by the legislative
council. Early in the session of 1843, the lieutenant-governor
communicated to the House by message two despatches from Downing Street
on the subject of the college. One of these was from Lord John Russell,
and the other from his successor, Lord Stanley. Lord John laid down the
doctrine that "it is a principle of undoubted validity that a grant of
franchise by the Crown is irrevocable and unalterable by a further
exercise of the royal authority unless the power of revocation and
change be embodied and reserved in the original grant, or unless the
grantees make a voluntary surrender of their franchises." Lord John had
evidently forgotten his English history, or he would have known that
English kings on many occasions had revoked charters granted by
themselves or their predecessors.[2] Lord John desired the college to
surrender its charter and accept a new one, but Lord Stanley and the law
officers of the Crown whom he had consulted held a different view, and
thought that a new charter could be granted to supersede the old. Both
colonial secretaries were desirous that the changes in the constitution
of the college should be effected by a new royal charter. But this did
not suit the views of the House of Assembly, and after another college
bill had been defeated in the House and rejected by the council, on
March 20th, 1843, the following resolution, which was moved by Mr.
Wilmot, was passed by the House without a division:--

"WHEREAS, The assembly, during several years past, have endeavoured,
without success, to effect certain reasonable modifications in the
charter of King's College; and whereas those modifications as contained
in the bill which has been rejected by the legislative council, during
the present session, have been loudly and repeatedly called for by
numerous petitions from nearly every county in the province, while no
petition has ever been presented against those modifications; and
whereas it is in vain to expect the amount of public benefit from the
institution which its munificent endowment from the provincial revenue
should ensure; therefore,

"_Resolved_, That this House have learned with much regret and
disappointment that a majority of the legislative council have rejected
the said bill during the present session; and further

"_Resolved_, That this House should persevere in their endeavours to
amend the said charter by legislative enactment, and not resort to an
address to the throne for a new charter; and that this House will
steadfastly adhere to the principle that all the educational
establishments of the province, which are endowed from the colonial
revenues, whether incorporated by royal charter or otherwise, should be
at all times subject to the supervision of the local legislature."


This resolution embodied a great principle to which the House of
Assembly was determined to adhere, and which was very soon carried out.
In 1844 the college amendment bill was again rejected by the council,
but this was the last effort of that reactionary body to defeat the
wishes of the people. At the session of 1845, the college bill was
again introduced by Mr. Wilmot, and this time it passed both Houses.
But like many important bills of that day it was reserved for Her
Majesty's pleasure and although passed in March, 1845, it was not until
December, 1846, that it received the royal assent and became law.


[1] This is shown by the correspondence of Sir John Harvey with the
colonial office. Sir John was then governor of Prince Edward Island.

[2] Charles II annulled the charter of Massachusetts, and disposed in a
similar fashion of the charter of the city of London, as well as of many
English towns.



In the session of 1840 Sir John Harvey, the lieutenant-governor,
communicated to the legislature a despatch which he had received from
Lord John Russell a short time before. This dealt with the question of
the tenure of public offices in the gift of the Crown throughout the
British colonies. Lord John had been struck by the fact that, while the
governor of a colony was liable to have his commission revoked at any
time, the commissions of all other public officials were very rarely
recalled except for positive misconduct. In New Brunswick offices had
been held generally for life and sometimes for two lives, as was the
case with the Odells, father and son, who filled the position of
secretary of the province for sixty years. One attorney-general of the
province had held office for twenty-four years, another for nineteen
years and a third for twenty years. One surveyor-general held office for
thirty-three years and another for almost thirty years. Under such a
system, it was clear that responsible government could make no advance,
for these officials held their positions quite independently of the
wishes of the legislature. Lord John Russell thought that the time had
come when a different course should be followed, and his despatch was
for the purpose of announcing to the lieutenant-governor the rules which
would hereafter be observed in the province of New Brunswick. He said:--

"You will understand, and cause it to be made generally known, that
hereafter the tenure of colonial offices held during Her Majesty's
pleasure will not be regarded as equivalent to a tenure during good
behaviour, but that not only such officers will be called upon to retire
from the public service as often as any sufficient motives of public
policy may suggest the expediency of that measure, but that a change in
the person of the governor will be considered as a sufficient reason for
any alterations which his successor may deem it expedient to make in the
list of public functionaries, subject, of course, to the future
confirmation of the sovereign.

"These remarks do not extend to judicial offices, nor are they meant to
apply to places which are altogether ministerial, and which do not
devolve upon the holders of them duties, in the right discharge of which
the character or policy of the government are directly involved. They
are intended to apply rather to the heads of departments than to persons
serving as clerks, or in similar capacities under them. Neither do they
extend to officers in the services of the lords commissioners of the
treasury. The functionaries who will be chiefly, though not exclusively,
affected by them, are the colonial secretary, the treasurer or
receiver-general, the surveyor-general, the attorney-general and
solicitor-general, the sheriff or provost marshal, and other officers,
who under different designations from these, are entrusted with the same
or similar duties. To this list must be also added the members of the
council, especially in those colonies in which the legislative and
executive councils are distinct bodies.

"The application of these rules to officers to be hereafter appointed
will be attended with no practical difficulty. It may not be equally
easy to enforce them in the case of existing officers, and especially of
those who may have left this country for the express purpose of
accepting the offices they at present fill. Every reasonable indulgence
must be shown for the expectations which such persons have been
encouraged to form. But even in these instances it will be necessary
that the right of enforcing these regulations should be distinctly
maintained, in practice as well as in theory, as often as the public
good may clearly demand the enforcement of them. It may not be
unadvisable to compensate any such officers for their disappointment,
even by pecuniary grants, when it may appear unjust to dispense with
their services without such an indemnity."


This despatch produced consternation among those who had been accustomed
to regard their offices as held on a life tenure, but it was looked
upon by all the friends of good government as the beginning of a new
and better order of things with respect to the public services. The
matter was considered by a committee of the whole House a few days after
the despatch was received, and an effort was made by Wilmot to have a
favourable vote with regard to it. But although the friends of the old
Family Compact always professed to be extremely loyal and to pay great
deference to the wishes of the British government, on this occasion they
pursued a different course. A majority of the House voted down a
resolution which affirmed that this despatch should be "highly
satisfactory," "affording, as it does, the most satisfactory proof of a
sincere desire on the part of our Most Gracious Queen and her government
to infuse principles in the administration of colonial affairs strictly
analogous to the principles of the British constitution." Instead of
passing this sensible resolution the committee, by the casting vote of
the chairman, passed the following absurd amendment:--

"_Resolved_, As the opinion of this committee, that there is nothing in
the despatch of the Right Honourable Lord John Russell, now under
consideration, to call forth any expression from the House on the
subject of colonial government, and that in the event of any occurrence
taking place to disturb the present happy political state of the
province, the House cannot but entertain the opinion that any loyal and
dutiful representations which they may have occasion to lay at the foot
of the throne will receive, as they have always done, the royal

The vote on the original resolution was fifteen to thirteen, so that,
although defeated, it had a strong support in the House, yet it was
years before the principles embodied in the despatch of Lord John
Russell were carried into full effect in New Brunswick.


When the Civil List Bill was passed in 1837, the salaries of the public
officials which were provided for in it were placed on a very liberal
scale. The lieutenant-governor was to receive £3,500 sterling, or almost
double the present salary of the lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick.
The commissioner of Crown lands was to have £1,750 sterling, or about
five times as much as the present holder of that office; the provincial
secretary got £1,430 sterling, or more than three times as much as the
secretary of the province now receives. All the other salaries were in
the same proportion, and on a scale altogether beyond the means of the
province. It was admitted by Lord Glenelg, when the arrangements were
being made for the transfer of the casual and territorial revenues, that
these salaries might require modification, and he suggested that the
legislative council and the House of Assembly should at some future day
present him with their views on this subject. At the session of 1837, a
committee of the House of Assembly, of which Wilmot was a member,
reported in favour of a reduced scale of salaries, and this report was
adopted by the House. During the same year, a committee of the council
recommended that the salary of the surveyor-general or commissioner of
Crown lands should be reduced to twelve hundred pounds currency. This
reduction was protested against by Mr. Baillie, who had held the office
for many years, but it was thought to be reasonable by Lord Glenelg. The
executive council, however, took no steps to effect this reduction,
possibly because Mr. Baillie himself was a member of that body. At the
instance of Mr. Wilmot, the matter was taken up by the House at the
session of 1839, and a strongly worded resolution passed censuring the
executive council for not carrying into effect the reduction of the
salary of the surveyor-general, according to the views of Lord Glenelg.
At a later period in the same session, a committee, of which Wilmot was
an active member, laid before the House a scale of salaries which they
had prepared and which they considered sufficient for the public
officials embraced in the civil list. Under this scale, the salary of
the surveyor-general was reduced to £600 currency, and that of the
provincial secretary to the same amount. This report was not accepted by
the House. There were strong interests working for the retention of the
existing salaries, and it was not until a much later period that the
salaries of the public officials were placed on a footing that agreed
in some measure with the means of the province.

At the session of 1842, Wilmot was an active member of a committee which
was appointed to take into consideration the subject of fees and
emoluments of the public officers, and at a later period in the session
they made a report recommending that all fees should go into the
treasury of the province and that all public officers should receive a
certain fixed salary. They presented with their report a scale of
salaries which they considered sufficient, which gave the provincial
secretary, surveyor-general and attorney-general each six hundred
pounds. Bills were introduced for the purpose of carrying these
recommendations into effect, but, although passed by the House, they
were rejected by the council, which for many years was the graveyard of
all measures for the improvement of the province.


The general election of 1842 was mainly fought on the Reform issue, and
the question of responsible government was discussed on every hustings.
Unfortunately very few of the candidates who offered their services as
legislators had a clear idea of what responsible government really
meant, and some of the gentlemen who were not ashamed to confess their
ignorance of the principles of the British constitution were men of
education and position, from whom better things might have been
expected. Mr. Robert L. Hazen, an eminent lawyer, who was a candidate
for the representation of the city of St. John, declared in his
nomination speech that he never met with any one who could explain to
him satisfactorily what responsible government meant. Mr. Humbert, one
of the candidates for St. John County, was entirely averse to the new
principles. "And what," he asked, "are these principles?" "Why," he
would ask, "should the old system be altered; it had never given cause
for complaint, it had always worked well,--then why should the people
complain?" He was not in favour of any innovations on British colonial
government. Very few people understood what responsible government
meant. He hardly understood it himself. It was, in his opinion, just
introducing another branch into our government. He was not in favour of
the government initiating the money votes. He was always sensitive about
the rights of the House--to them ought the power of originating the
supplies to belong, and to none other--and if returned he would oppose
the measure.

Such absurdities as the above would not be worth quoting, but for the
light they throw on the views of the average New Brunswick politician of
that period. Mr. Humbert had been for many years a member of the House
of Assembly, and yet he had been unable to understand the significance
of the changes which the Reformers proposed in the constitution of the
country. The result of the election in St. John showed that the people
of that city and county were quite indifferent to the new doctrines.
For the county, Mr. Partelow was at the head of the poll, and that
gentleman on the hustings had declared that he was opposed to any change
in the constitution. He went into the House, he said, under a
constitution of fifty years' standing, and he was determined to leave it
as he found it, unimpaired. He disapproved of the initiation of money
votes being placed in the hands of the executive. He thought "such a
system would be wrong and pernicious in the extreme."


When the legislature met in January 1843, it was found that the
Reformers were in the minority. Mr. Partelow was determined to make this
fact very clear, for in nominating the speaker he made a speech of some
length in which he declared that the time had come for testing the
principles on which the House should act, and with this object in view
he would throw down the gauntlet to the friends of responsible
government by nominating Mr. J. W. Weldon, to fill the chair. This
gentleman was a very fit representative of the old system, for besides
being a member for Kent, he filled almost all the offices in that county
which one man could hold. He was postmaster of Richibucto, deputy
treasurer for the port of Richibucto, issuer of marriage licenses for
the county of Kent, keeper of the seals and clerk of the peace and of
the inferior court of common pleas, and registrar of probates for the
same county.

Mr. Wilmot was nominated for the speakership by Mr. Hill, of Charlotte,
but declined to run; the odds were too great, and so Mr. Weldon, the
opponent of responsible government, was elected without opposition. This
was an unsatisfactory result after so many years of conflict, but the
friends of Reform, although they had to admit defeat, were neither
daunted nor discouraged. They knew that many other questions besides the
abstract one of the adoption of responsible government had influenced
the recent election, and that the new principles had been blamed for
results that would have been avoided if they had been in operation. For
instance, the transfer of the casual and territorial revenues to the
treasury of the province in 1837 had placed a very large sum, amounting
to £150,000, at the disposal of the legislature. All this money had been
dissipated by extravagant grants, and in 1842 the province was actually
in debt. Many ignorant electors were made to believe that this result
was due to the Reformers who had been the means of obtaining this money,
which the legislature had squandered; and this feeling was so strong in
the county of York, that Messrs. Wilmot and Fisher stood lower on the
poll than the two anti-Reformers who were elected with them.



Although elected in opposition to responsible government, the
legislature of 1843 at its first session took one important step in
favour of Reform. The arrangement by which the executive and legislative
councils were separated, which had come into force ten years before,
although a decided improvement on the old state of affairs, did not
produce universal satisfaction.[3] The constitution of the legislative
council was complained of, and it was described as an obstructive body
which disregarded the wishes of the people. Bills of the utmost
importance, which had been passed by large majorities in the House of
Assembly, and which were demanded by the people, were frequently
rejected by the council without being even discussed. Most of its
members were opposed to any change in the constitution of the province,
and everything which seemed to be in the direction of giving power to
the people was denounced as an innovation and condemned as an
infringement of the vested rights of the council. One of the chief
causes of complaint against the council was their rejection of every
bill for the amendment of the charter of King's College. Wilmot had so
frequently had his efforts in this direction nullified by the council
that he introduced a resolution in the assembly condemning the conduct
of that body for rejecting the college bill, and the council retaliated
by unanimously voting this a breach of privilege.[4] The complaints of
the House of Assembly against the legislative council were now embodied
in an address to the queen. In this address it was stated that in the
opinion of the House the legislative council should be composed of
persons not only representing all the leading interests of the province,
but so independent in respect to property and so free from official
control as to form a constitutional check on the executive. Although, by
the laws that existed then, members of the assembly were required to be
possessed of real estate to the value of two hundred pounds, over and
above all encumbrances, there was no property qualification whatever
required for members of the legislative council. The address of the
House expressed the opinion that members of the council should be
required to possess a certain amount of real estate, and that their
seats should be vacant on the loss of this qualification, or on their
becoming bankrupt, or public defaulters, or from neglect to give their
attendance for a given time without leave of the lieutenant-governor.
The address also stated that the constitution of the legislative council
was defective and objectionable in other respects, because, of the
eighteen members who composed it, a great proportion held offices at the
pleasure of the Crown, and the principal officers of the government
usually formed a majority of the members present. It was also complained
that members of the Church of England had too great a preponderance in
the council, the only members not of that communion being one
Presbyterian and one Baptist.


At the next session of the legislature, despatches from Lord Stanley
were laid before the House of Assembly in which it was stated that the
council would be increased in number to twenty-one, and four new members
of the council were to be appointed. The new members then appointed were
T. H. Peters, Admiral Owen, William Crane and George Minchin, while the
Hon. Thomas Baillie, the surveyor-general, the Hon. Mr. Lee, the
receiver-general, the Hon. James Allanshaw, of St. Andrews, and the Hon.
Harry Peters, of Gagetown, retired. No doubt the retirement of two
officials who received large salaries was some improvement, but the
council required further remodelling before it could be said to be an
efficient body, or one in sympathy with the inhabitants of the

The legislative council has now ceased to exist, and it may be said of
it that it was never a very satisfactory body for legislative purposes.
Perhaps the original composition of it created such a prejudice against
legislative councils as to hamper its activities; and, from having been
at first merely the echo of the wishes of the governor, it became
latterly, to a large extent, the echo of the wishes of the government.
Gradually it became relieved of its official members, and in its last
years no head of a department ever occupied a seat in the legislative
council; for it was thought, and rightly, that the power ought to be in
the House, where the responsibility to the people was most felt, and
that it was not wise to place an official whose department expended
large sums of money in a body which properly had no control over the
public expenditure. The legislative council had undoubtedly from time to
time many able and useful members, and, at certain periods in the
history of the province, particularly during the confederation
discussions, it took a firm stand in favour of measures which seemed
essential to the prosperity of the British North American provinces. No
one can deny that at that time it exercised an authority fully equal to
that of the Lower House, but it cannot be doubted that some of this work
was done at the expense of the proper balance of the constitution. Such
an exercise of unusual authority on the part of a body not elected by
the people may serve a purpose at a particular crisis, but cannot be
commended as an example, and if frequently repeated would end in the
destruction of the constitution.


The legislative council lost a considerable proportion of its able men
at the time of confederation by the removal of eleven of its members to
the senate of Canada, although one or two remained with it who were not
inferior to any of those who then took their departure. The new members
who came in as their successors were naturally inferior to the old in
practical experience and ability, and this had, no doubt, an influence
on the future of the House. The example of Ontario, which was able to
conduct its affairs with one House, showed that two independent branches
of the legislature were by no means necessary, and that the council
might be abolished with safety. No doubt it was difficult to bring this
about among a people who had been trained to believe that there was
something essential to legislation in the balance of king, lords, and
commons, making up one legislative body. But in the course of time the
electors began to think that the council was not exactly the proper
equivalent of the House of Lords, and the lieutenant-governor very far
from standing in the position of a king. Old prejudices in favour of a
constitution framed after a particular model are difficult to remove,
but, in the case of New Brunswick, these prejudices were at length
overcome, and it is safe to say that in the course of time all the
provincial legislatures of Canada will consist of but a single chamber.
It is equally safe to assert that under the new system the work of
legislation will be as well done as it was under the old.

The session of the legislature in 1843 came to an end on April 11th, and
on the seventeenth of the same month Wilmot became a member of the
government. His appointment had been preceded by the resignation of five
members of the government--Messrs. Black, Shore, Robinson, Odell and
Crane--and by the appointment of Messrs. E. B. Chandler, Hugh Johnston,
John Montgomery and Robert L. Hazen, to fill the vacancies thus created.
Of the retiring members two--Messrs. Black and Shore--were members of
the legislative council; one of them, Mr. Crane, was a member of the
House of Assembly, while the other two were officials who did not belong
to either branch of the legislature. Of the new members of the executive
council, Messrs. Chandler and Johnston were members of the legislative
council, Messrs. Hazen and Wilmot were members of the House of Assembly,
while Mr. Montgomery had no seat in either House. The executive council
as made up at that time included four members of the legislative
council, three members of the House of Assembly and Mr. Montgomery, who
did not become a member of the House of Assembly until three years
later. There is no doubt that the composition of the new executive
council was more in accordance with correct principles than its
predecessor; yet little could be expected from it in the way of Reform,
for Wilmot was the only member who was in favour of responsible


Mr. Wilmot has been censured for entering a government composed of men
who were opposed to the liberal views he held on public questions. It
was thought by many that his conduct in this respect looked too much
like a surrender of his principles for the sake of office or official
position, and it certainly would have been better if he had continued in
Opposition. Yet we can easily conceive that he may have thought at the
time he could do more for the cause of Reform inside the government than
out of it, and, although this proved to be an error, it was a natural
one for which it is not difficult to find an excuse. Fortunately for the
cause of Reform, Wilmot's connection with the government did not last
long at that time. A storm was gathering in an unexpected quarter which
was destined to wreck the government, and to cause some of its
Conservative members to reconsider their opinions with reference to some
questions which until then they had regarded as fixed and unchangeable.

It has been already stated that the governor of the province made such
appointments to office as he pleased, usually without the advice of his
council. He was supposed to have the power to do this as the
representative of the sovereign and in the exercise of what was termed
"the royal prerogative." In this way persons were frequently appointed
to offices who were not residents of the province, and in all other
cases appointments were given to the members of certain favoured
families. In 1834, a vacancy was created on the supreme court bench by
the death of Chief-Justice Saunders. Ward Chipman was appointed
chief-justice in place of Mr. Saunders, and the vacant puisne judgeship
was given to James Carter, who afterwards became chief-justice of the
province. Carter was a young Englishman then living in London, and was
certainly no better qualified to fill the position of judge than many
natives of the province, so that it was regarded as a gross insult to
the members of the New Brunswick bar, to give such an appointment to a
stranger. Yet so slow was public opinion to make itself felt in regard
to the evil of the appointing power being given to the governor without
qualification, that ten years later the House of Assembly presented an
address to Sir Charles Metcalfe, governor-general of Canada, expressing
the high sense entertained by them, as representatives of the people of
New Brunswick, of the "constitutional stand" taken by him in maintaining
the prerogative of the Crown in the then recent memorable "conflict."[5]
The city of St. John also, to show its loyalty, presented a similar
address; and one signed by one thousand persons was sent from the county
of York.


Yet nothing can be more clear than that the stand taken by Sir Charles
Metcalfe in 1844 was wholly wrong, for it consisted in refusing to
consult with his council in regard to appointments, and in making
appointments contrary to their advice. What would the people of Canada
say to-day to a governor-general who insisted on appointing men to
office against the advice of his cabinet? Yet it was for doing this that
the New Brunswick House of Assembly, the city and county of St. John and
the county of York actually grovelled in the dust before this despotic
governor, thus approving of all his acts. Such abasement and
subserviency to an unconstitutional governor was certain to bring its
own punishment, and it came much sooner than any one could have
anticipated. On Christmas Day of the same year the Hon. William Franklin
Odell, who had been provincial secretary for thirty-two years, died at
Fredericton. Mr. Odell's father had been secretary before him from the
foundation of the province, so that the Odell family had held that
important and highly lucrative office for sixty years.

The governor at this time was Sir William Colebrooke, and on January
1st, 1845, just one week after the death of Mr. Odell, he appointed his
son-in-law, Alfred Reade, who was a native of England and a stranger to
the province, to the vacant office. The gentlemen who had been most
prominent in shouting their approval of the "constitutional stand" taken
by Sir Charles Metcalfe, now suddenly discovered that Sir William
Colebrooke's conduct in making this appointment without consulting his
council, was a fearful outrage, and their distress was pitiable to
behold. Several members of the government, including such zealous
upholders of the prerogative as the Hon. Robert L. Hazen, of St. John,
at once resigned their positions. A communication from three of
them--Hugh Johnston, E. B. Chandler and R. L. Hazen--addressed to His
Excellency gave as their reasons for resigning that they could not
justify the exercise of the prerogative of the Crown in respect to Mr.
Reade's appointment, because they felt that "the elevation to the
highest offices of trust and emolument of individuals whose character,
services, and claims to preferment, however appreciated elsewhere, are
entirely unknown to the country generally, is prejudicial to the best
interests of the province." They did not, however, make it a ground of
objection that the appointment of Mr. Reade was forwarded for the royal
approbation without the advice or concurrence of the council. These
gentlemen evidently thought it was too early for them to eat the words
in regard to the prerogative of the Crown, of which they had been so
free a few months before, but they showed their true characters by
deserting the governor because he had been foolish enough to believe
that their profuse expressions in favour of the royal prerogative were


Mr. Wilmot, who also resigned, sent a separate communication to the
lieutenant-governor in which he stated what he considered to be the true
constitutional doctrine which should govern such matters. He said:--

"In the first place, I consider it justly due to the people of this
province, that all the offices of honour and emolument in the gift of
the administration of the government should be bestowed upon inhabitants
of the province who have made this country their home, and, in the cases
of the principal offices, those persons should be preferred who have
claims for public services rendered to the province, and who can command
the respect and confidence of the country. With these views, which I
hope I shall ever retain, I must necessarily disapprove of the
appointment in question, as I can only look upon Mr. Reade as a
comparative stranger and a transient person, while, at the same time, I
am of opinion that he has no claim whatever on the ground of public
services rendered to this province.

"It would be in vain for the parents of our youth to make every exertion
in order to qualify their sons for the higher offices of the province,
if the avenues to honourable and profitable preferment are to be thus
closed against them; and I therefore cannot but view the appointment
under consideration as an act of great injustice to the people of this
country; and I can safely assure Your Excellency that it will be thus
considered throughout the length and breadth of the province.

"Your Excellency is well aware that ever since I have had the honour of
having a seat in the council, I have approved of, and advocated those
principles of colonial government which are now in full operation in
Canada, which have been distinctly enunciated by the present government
in the House of Commons, and which require the administration to be
conducted by heads of departments responsible to the legislature, and
holding their offices contingently upon the approbation and confidence
of the country as expressed through the representatives of the people.
Still entertaining a strong attachment to those principles from a clear
constitutionality, and, from a conscientious belief in their safe and
practical adaptation to a British colony enjoying the privileges of a
representative form of government, I can see no sufficient reason for
withholding their salutary influence from the loyal and intelligent
people of this province; and considering it more advisable that a
gradual advancement should be made by the government itself towards
those principles as opportunities may offer, than that a concession in
gross should hereafter be made to the urgent demands of the country, I
am of the opinion that the provincial secretary should now be brought
into the executive government, and should hold a seat in one of the
Houses of the legislature--his tenure of office being contingent upon
the successful administration of the government; and therefore, as the
appointment in question has been made irrespective of any of these
conditions, I am bound to give it my opposition."


When the House met in the latter part of January, the Reade appointment
immediately became the subject of discussion, and by the vote of
twenty-four to six, an address was passed to Her Majesty the Queen,
condemning the appointment, not, as the members said, because they
questioned "in the remotest degree the prerogative in its undoubted
right to make such appointments," but because they thought that the
right of appointment had been improperly or unjustly exercised. In other
words, the members of the House of Assembly surrendered the principle
that appointments should be made by the governor, with the advice of
his executive, and only objected to the Reade appointment because, in
their opinion, some one else should have been chosen. It is easy to see
that in subscribing to this address the members of the House stultified
themselves; for if it was a part of the prerogative of the Crown to make
appointments without the advice of the council, surely the exercise of
the prerogative in the appointment of a particular individual could not
be fairly questioned. The result of the difficulty, however, was the
cancelling of Mr. Reade's appointment by the home government. This
decision was communicated to the House of Assembly by message on
February 3rd, 1846. The despatch from the colonial office, upon which
the lieutenant-governor acted, was written on March 31st, 1845, and must
have been received by him at Fredericton not later than the last of
April. But notwithstanding this despatch Mr. Reade held office until
July 17th, so it will be seen that Sir William Colebrooke was in no
hurry to carry out the wishes of the home government. Lord Stanley, the
writer of the despatch in question, expressed the opinion that public
employment should be bestowed on the natives or settled inhabitants of
the province, and he thought that Mr. Reade did not come under this
description. He closed his despatch with the following singular


"I observe with satisfaction that the House of Assembly have not only
abstained from complicating the subject with any abstract question of
government, but have rejected every proposal for laying down formal
principles upon such questions. The House has, I think, in this course
done justice to the earnest desire of Her Majesty that the colonial
administration generally should be conducted in harmony with the wishes
of her people, whatever may be the variations arising out of local
considerations and the state of society in various colonies, subject to
which that principle may be carried into practice; and it is anxiously
hoped that the same wise forbearance which has led the House of Assembly
to decline the unnecessary discussion of subjects of so much delicacy,
may lead them also to regard the practical decision now announced as the
final close of the controversy, and to unite in the promotion, not of
objects of party strife and rivalry, but of the more substantial and
enduring interests of the colony which they represent." If these words
have any meaning, they seem to show that at that date the British
government believed the right of appointment to be in the Crown, without
reference to the council, and that they were unwilling that any general
principle should be laid down by the legislature of the province which
conflicted with this view.


[3] This change had been effected by a royal commission under the signet
and sign-manual dated December 3d, 1832. There is nothing in the records
of the province to show why this was done. Neither the council nor the
House of Assembly had asked for it. The Nova Scotia council was not
divided until 1838.

[4] Mr. Wilmot's resolution was carried in the assembly without a
division, so that he had the solid support of the popular branch of the
legislature, yet little good was to be expected from such votes in the

[5] The resolution to present this address was strongly opposed by Mr.
Wilmot and his colleague, Mr. Fisher, who both declared the conduct of
Lord Metcalfe to be contrary to the principles of responsible
government. Mr. Wilmot's speech led to a singular result. He was
attacked in the _Loyalist_ newspaper for his opposition to the address,
and this attack having been brought to the notice of the House of
Assembly was voted a breach of privilege. Messrs. Doak and Hill, the
proprietors of the paper, were arrested on the warrant of the speaker
and committed to prison. On the application of their counsel, Mr. D. S.
Kerr, they were released by Mr. Justice Carter on a writ of _habeas
corpus_. Doak and Hill both brought actions against the speaker, Mr.
Weldon, and the result was a decision of the Supreme Court of New
Brunswick that the House of Assembly had not the power to arrest and
imprison the publisher of a libel on a member of the House touching his
conduct and proceedings in the House.



Among the questions in which Wilmot took a deep interest was that of
education. His views on this subject were far in advance of those of
most of his contemporaries. Education was in a very unsatisfactory
condition in the province of New Brunswick when he entered public life,
and it continued in that condition for many years afterward. If we may
judge from the statute-book, the founders of the province had very
little appreciation of the advantages of education, for no law was
passed with a view to the establishment of public schools until the year
1805. In that year "An Act for encouraging and extending literature in
this province" was passed, under the provisions of which a public
grammar school was established in the city of St. John, which received a
grant of one hundred pounds for the purpose of assisting the trustees to
procure a suitable building for school uses, and also an annual grant of
one hundred pounds for the support of the master. The same Act provided
for the establishment of county schools, and the sections relating to
them, being limited in respect to time, were continued by 50th George
III, Chap. 33 to the year 1816, when they expired and were replaced by
"An Act for the establishment of schools in the province." This Act
expired in 1823, and in its place "An Act for the encouragement of
parish schools" was passed the same year. This last Act was repealed by
"An Act in relation to parish schools" passed in 1833, which continued
in force for many years. All these Acts were essentially the same in
principle, as they provided for government aid to teachers who had been
employed to teach schools in the parishes under the authority of the
school trustees. The Act of 1833, which was considered to be a great
improvement on former Acts, provided for the appointment of three school
trustees in each parish by the sessions, and these trustees were charged
with the duty of dividing the parishes into districts and directing the
discipline of the schools. They were required to certify once a year to
the lieutenant-governor as to the number of schools in their parish, the
number of scholars and other particulars, and on their certificate the
teacher drew the government money. This money was granted at the rate of
twenty pounds for a male teacher who had taught school a year, or ten
pounds for six months, and ten pounds for a female teacher who had
taught school a year, or five pounds for six months, provided the
inhabitants of the school district had subscribed an equal amount for
the support of the teacher, or supplied board, washing and lodging to
the teacher in lieu of the money. Thus a male teacher in a district
where a school was always kept, would receive for his year's work his
board, lodging and washing, and twenty pounds in money; and a female
teacher ten pounds. Such a rate of remuneration was not well calculated
to attract competent persons, and the result was very unsatisfactory.
Most of the teachers employed were old men who had a mere smattering of
learning and who were very incompetent instructors. They usually lodged
with the parents of the pupils, living at each house in proportion to
the number of scholars sent. This system, which raised them but one
degree above the condition of paupers, was not conducive to their
comfort or self-respect. As there was no uniformity in the books
prescribed and no sufficient educational test, the results of such
teaching were not likely to be satisfactory. Sometimes the teacher was a
woman who eked out a scanty subsistence by communicating her small
learning to a few scholars whom she gathered in her kitchen. Generally,
however, the school building was a log hut without any of those
appliances which are now regarded as essential to the proper instruction
of youth.


In 1816 an Act was passed providing for the establishment of grammar
schools in the several counties of the province. At that period St. John
and St. Andrews had already grammar schools which had been established
under separate Acts, and Fredericton had an academy or college, which
was founded by a provincial charter granted by Lieutenant-Governor
Carleton in 1800. The counties of St. John, Charlotte and York were
therefore excepted from the operation of the general Act for the
establishment of grammar schools. This Act, after being amended in 1823,
was finally repealed by the Act of 1829, which endowed King's College at
Fredericton and made new provisions for the establishment and support of
grammar schools throughout the province. King's College at a later
period developed into the University of New Brunswick. It had its
beginning in the original charter of 1800, already referred to, which
established the College of New Brunswick. In the same year the governor
and trustees of the College of New Brunswick received a grant, under the
great seal of the province, of a considerable tract of land in and near
Fredericton for the support of that institution of learning. Until the
year 1829, the New Brunswick College was merely a classical school
receiving from the legislature annually two hundred and fifty pounds,
which was the same amount then allowed to the St. John Grammar School.


At an early period, the attention of the people of that province was
directed to what was called the Madras system of national schools as
conducted by Dr. Bell, the real founder of the system being Joseph
Lancaster. This system depends for its success on the use of monitors,
who are selected from among the senior pupils to instruct the younger
ones. It was supposed at the time to be a notable discovery, but, like
other short cuts to learning, has fallen out of favour. In July, 1818,
the first Madras school was established in St. John by a Mr. West from
Halifax. This was a boys' school; and a school for girls, on the same
system, was opened a year or two later. In 1819, a Madras school charter
was procured under the great seal of the province, and the Madras school
system established on a substantial foundation. The province gave a
grant of two hundred and fifty pounds for the erection of a suitable
building in St. John, and the National Society in England contributed to
its support. This charter was confirmed by an Act passed in 1820. The
St. John school was to be regarded as the central school, but it was the
design of the charter that the benefits of the system should be extended
to other parts of the province, and this was accordingly done. The
Madras schools received liberal appropriations of money, and large
grants of land, and they continued to exist until the introduction of
the free school system in 1872. Two or three of them, indeed, continued
in operation after that time, but they had lost their original character
and had become simply Church of England schools, that denomination
having appropriated the Madras school endowments to the support of
schools in which its principles and creed were taught. In 1900, by Act
of the legislature, the Madras school property was handed over to the
diocesan synod of Fredericton, with the exception of about ten thousand
dollars, which went to the University of New Brunswick.

From the day when Wilmot became a member of the House of Assembly in
1835, he began to press upon the attention of that body the necessity
for an improvement in the schools of the province. But the same spirit
of apathy which prevailed with regard to purely political questions
affected the legislature with respect to education. The people
throughout the province were not prepared to make the sacrifices
necessary to obtain sufficient schools. Their attitude with regard to
education was well described in a speech made by Wilmot in 1846, when
Mr. Brown, of Charlotte, brought in his bill to provide for a normal or
proper training school for the education of those who were to become
teachers. This bill did not become law, in consequence of the opposition
raised against it in the legislature on the ground of expense. It was
estimated that it would cost an additional two thousand pounds to
provide a normal school, and this sum the men who were at the head of
the government were not willing to pay for the purpose of giving the
children of the province properly trained teachers. Wilmot's speech on
that occasion concluded as follows:--


"Before I sit down I must again revert to the greatest difficulty which
has to be encountered to render the provisions of that bill effective in
promoting a better system of education in the parish schools. This is a
difficulty which in this country legislation cannot reach--I earnestly
wish it could. I mean the apathy of the parents themselves. The
honourable member now in the chair can bear me witness as to the extent
to which this apathy prevails in this county at this day. That
honourable member, when out of the chair, could tell the committee that
in a certain district of this county where there is no schoolhouse, a
philanthropic individual told the inhabitants that if they would get out
a frame and provide the boards, he would at his own expense provide
nails, glass, locks, and the necessary materials for finishing a
schoolhouse. What was the result? They did get out the frame and raised
it, and when I and the honourable chairman had occasion to visit that
part of the county together, we enquired why they did not go on and
finish it. The worthy individual who had made the proposition, and
bought and had in his house the materials for finishing the building,
told us that the inhabitants of the district would not find the boards,
and, in consequence of that, the erection of the schoolhouse had not
been gone on with. A gentleman now present (I will not mention names, as
the chairman might blush) offered to give them the boards from a
neighbouring mill if they would go and fetch them, but even this they
would not do. Although everything was to be had without money, there was
no one who felt interest enough in the education of their children to
go and bring them to the spot--and to this day the frame stands, as it
then did, a melancholy monument of the dreadful apathy which is
sometimes to be found even in this comparatively intelligent county."

Mr. Wilmot lived long enough to see a free school system in force in his
native province, although he had no share in bringing this result about.
Yet that his views on this subject were sound and far in advance of his
time is shown by a speech which he made at the time of the opening of
the first exhibition in the province in 1852. He said:

"It is unpardonable that any child should grow up in our country without
the benefit of, at least, a common-school education. It is the right of
the child. It is the duty not only of the parent but of the people; the
property of the country should educate the country. All are interested
in the diffusion of that intelligence which conserves the peace and
promotes the well-being of society. The rich man is interested in
proportion to his riches, and should contribute most to the maintenance
of schools. Though God has given me no child of my own to educate, I
feel concerned for the education of the children of those who do possess
them. I feel concerned in what so intimately touches the best interests
of our common country. I want to hear the tax collector for schools
calling at my door. I want the children of the poor in the remote
settlements to receive the advantages now almost confined to their more
fortunate brethren and sisters of the towns. I know full well that God
has practised no partiality in the distribution of the noblest of his
gifts--the intellect; I know that in many a retired hamlet of our
province--amid many a painful scene of poverty and toil--there may be
found young minds ardent and ingenious and as worthy of cultivation as
those of the pampered children of our cities. It is greatly important to
the advancement of the country that these should be instructed."


The initiation of money grants by the executive, and the responsibility
of the latter to the people, are the two corner-stones on which
responsible government must rest. From the very first, Wilmot was an
earnest advocate of both these measures; but, owing to the apathy of the
people and the disinclination of the members of the legislature to give
up what they considered their privileges, it was a difficult matter to
accomplish these objects. A reference to the journals of the legislature
will show that on numerous occasions he pressed these subjects on the
attention of the House of Assembly, and he was ably assisted by his
colleague from the county of York, Mr. Charles Fisher, who deserves a
foremost place among the men who should be honoured for their efforts to
bring about responsible government in the colonies of British North
America. It was a peculiar feature in the struggle for responsible
government in New Brunswick that, before it ended, the opposition to it
came not so much from the British government as from the members of the
provincial legislature. It was evident that the system of appropriating
money which existed in the House of Assembly was one which was wrong in
principle and resulted in getting the province into debt, because there
was no guiding hand to control the expenditure. The transfer of the
casual and territorial revenues to the provincial treasury in 1837 had
placed a very large sum, amounting to about £150,000, at the disposal of
the legislature, but this sum was speedily dissipated; and in the year
1842, when Sir William Colebrooke became lieutenant-governor of the
province, its finances were in an embarrassed condition.

Towards the close of 1841, a despatch was received from Lord Stanley,
the colonial secretary, suggesting that it was desirable that a better
system of appropriating the funds of the province should be inaugurated.
This brought up a discussion in the legislature during the session of
1842 in regard to the propriety of adopting the principle of placing the
initiation of money grants in the executive council. Mr. Wilmot moved a
resolution in committee of the whole House "that no appropriation of
public money should be made at any future session in supply, for any
purpose whatever, until there be a particular account of the income and
expenditure of the previous year, together with an estimate of the sums
required to be expended, as well for ordinary as extraordinary services,
respectively, and also a particular estimate of the principal amount of
revenue for the ensuing year." To this an amendment was moved by Mr.
Partelow that "Whereas the present mode of appropriation, tested by an
experience of more than fifty years, has not only given satisfaction to
the people of this province, but repeatedly attracted the deserved
approbation of the colonial ministers as securing its constitutional
position to every branch of the legislature, therefore resolved, as the
opinion of this committee, that it is not expedient to make any
alteration in the same." This amendment was carried by a vote of
eighteen to twelve.


Such an amendment as that passed by the House of Assembly of New
Brunswick in 1842 would now only be an object of ridicule, because, as a
matter of fact, the financial condition of the province showed that the
system of appropriation which prevailed was based on false principles,
while the alleged approval of the colonial ministers of which so much
account was made, had been extended to the most illiberal features of
the constitution. There was, however, some excuse for the reluctance of
the members of the House of Assembly to surrender the initiation of
money votes to the executive, because the executive council of that day
was not a body properly under the control of the legislature, or in
sympathy with the people.

When the House met in 1843, it was seen that the friends of responsible
government were still in the minority. Yet they brought up the subject
of the appropriation of the public moneys by a resolution which sought
to fix the responsibility of the expenditure on the government. This was
met by an amendment moved by Mr. J. W. Weldon, that the House would not
surrender the initiation of the money votes. The amendment was carried
by a vote of twenty-four to seven, which showed that the friends of
Reform had still much leeway to make up before they could hope to
impress their views upon the legislature.


As it was hopeless to expect that a House of Assembly thus constituted
would vote in favour of the transfer of the initiation of money grants
to the executive, Wilmot did not bring up the subject again during the
remainder of its term; but by the operation of the Quadrennial Act,
which came into force in 1846, a new House was elected in that year,
which was largely made up of the same members as the previous one, and
at the first session of this House, held early in 1847, Wilmot, during
the discussion of the revenue bill, brought up the question of the
initiation of money grants in a vigorous and characteristic speech. He

"Can my honourable gentlemen tell me within five thousand pounds of the
money asked for, or required for the present session? No, they cannot,
and here we are going on in the old way, voting money in the dark, with
a thing for our guide called an 'estimate'--a sort of dark lantern with
which we are to grope our way through the mazes of legislation. Where is
the honourable member for Gloucester who talked so much about the good
old rules of our forefathers? I am opposed to the present principle of
voting away money; it is, in fact, but giving to tax and taxing to give,
this way and that way--every stratagem is used which can be invented in
order to carry favourite grants, and thus we proceed from day to day by
this system of combination and unprincipled collusion. [Cries of 'Order,
Order!'] Honourable members may cry order as much as they please, it is
true, and I care not who knows it--let it go forth to the country at
large. This system is what the honourable and learned member for
Gloucester [Mr. End] denominates 'the glorious old principles of our
forefathers,' which should be held as dear as life itself. It is not now
as in times gone by, when the legislative council and executive council
were one, and consequently we cannot now take the initiation of money
grants. This left the whole power in the hands of the assembly; and now,
with the report of the committee of finance before us, His Excellency's
messages, petitions and everything else, there is not one honourable
member around these benches can tell me within five thousand pounds of
the amount to be asked for, much less within ten thousand pounds of the
amount that will be granted during the present session; and yet, here we
are in committee of ways and means for raising a revenue. But it will
never answer to have too much information upon this point--if we knew
exactly how far we could go and no farther--I perhaps would lose my
grant, or another honourable member might lose a grant; this is the
system that is pursued. I have held a seat here for twelve years and
know the 'ropes' pretty well."

In the following year there was another discussion on the initiation of
money grants, arising out of a despatch which had been received from
Earl Grey, then colonial minister, in which he referred to the laxity of
the system by which money was voted in the New Brunswick legislature
without any estimate, and suggested that the initiation of money grants
should be surrendered to the executive. This proposal was fiercely
opposed, and all the forces of ancient Toryism were rallied against it,
one member from Queens County, Mr. Thomas Gilbert, going so far as to
apply to the advocacy of the old rotten system the soul-stirring words
contained in Nelson's last signal at Trafalgar, "England expects that
every man this day will do his duty."


In 1850, the last year that Mr. Wilmot sat in the House of Assembly, the
matter came up again on a resolution moved by a private member. This
was met by an amendment moved by Mr. End, of Gloucester, in the
following words:--

"WHEREAS, the right of originating money grants is inherent in the
representatives of the people who are constitutionally responsible to
their constituents for the due and faithful user of that right;

"_Resolved_, As the opinion of this House, that the surrender of such
right would amount to a dereliction of public duty and ought not to be
entertained by the House of Assembly."

This was carried by a vote of sixteen to eleven. The three members of
the government who sat in the House, one of whom was Mr. Wilmot, who had
joined it in May 1848, voted with the minority. It was not until the
year 1856 that a resolution was passed by the House of Assembly
conceding to the executive the right of initiating money grants, and
this was carried by a majority of only two in a full House. The first
estimate of income and expenditure framed by a New Brunswick government
was not laid before the House of Assembly until the session of 1857.



When Mr. Wilmot first entered the House of Assembly, many of the members
were office-holders and therefore depended on the goodwill of the
governor for their positions. At the session of 1842, a bill was
introduced for the purpose of putting an end to this evil, in which it
was declared that any member of the House of Assembly who should accept
the office of executive councillor or any office of profit or emolument
under the Crown should be incapable of taking or holding his seat in the
General Assembly while in such office, unless reëlected after acceptance
thereof. An amendment was moved to exempt executive councillors who did
not hold any office of emolument from the provisions of this section,
but it was lost by a close vote. Mr. Wilmot voted for the amendment on
the ground that a man who was merely an executive councillor without
office, and who received no emolument as such, should not be required to
go back to the people for reëlection. The bill, nevertheless, was passed
by a full House, but it was disallowed by the home authorities on the
ground that it was not in accordance with British precedents. The
colonial secretary said, "This Act as actually drawn would therefore
seem to establish a principle of great importance as well as
novelty--the principle, namely, that the Crown may not select its own
confidential advisers from amongst representatives of the people unless
the person so chosen should be willing to hazard a new election. How far
it is wise to erect such a barrier between the executive government and
the popular branch of the legislature would seem to be a matter well
meriting serious consideration." In the same despatch, the propriety of
seats in the assembly being vacated for the same reasons which would
vacate seats in the House of Commons was fully conceded. The stand taken
by Wilmot in regard to this subject was therefore the one which was
approved by the home government and was further endorsed by subsequent
legislation. Yet it was not until 1849 that the Act was passed which
finally settled the question, and required members of the legislature
accepting office to vacate their seats in the House of Assembly and go
back to their constituents for reëlection.


Sir William Colebrooke had not been a popular governor since the
appointment of his son-in-law to the office of provincial secretary. The
House of Assembly, therefore, was disposed to watch his conduct very
closely and to criticize actions which perhaps would not have attracted
so much attention under other conditions. During the session of 1846, it
was shown that he had appropriated a portion of the surplus civil list
fund, amounting to about three thousand pounds, for the purpose of
defraying the expenses of surveying Crown lands in Madawaska.[6] This
money was taken by the order of the colonial secretary, Lord Stanley.
Thus it appeared that, although the province was supposed to have the
control of the territorial revenue, the British government assumed the
right to dispose of a portion of this revenue without the consent or
authority of the House of Assembly. The conduct of the governor in
connection with this matter was censured in a strongly worded resolution
which was passed by the House of Assembly almost unanimously.[7] The
time had gone by when the representative of the Crown could do as he
liked with the public funds of the province, as had been the case in
former years.

The legislature was dissolved in 1846 under the provisions of the Act
which limited its term to four years. On the last day of the session
Wilmot bade farewell to the members of the House, and stated that he did
not intend to offer himself again for reëlection. No doubt he was quite
sincere in making this statement at the time, but he soon had reason to
change his mind. The people of the county of York were unwilling to lose
the services of the champion of their rights in the House of Assembly,
so that he found it necessary to consent to be again nominated. He was
returned at the head of the poll, and with him Mr. Charles Fisher, who
had been his colleague in two previous legislatures.

The general election of 1846 brought a considerable number of new men
into the House, and in point of liberality the new assembly was a slight
improvement on its predecessor. The legislature met near the end of
January in the following year. The government at that time consisted of
only five persons, of whom two were members of the House of Assembly and
three of the legislative council. It appeared that negotiations had been
going on with some of the members of the Opposition for the purpose of
filling up the vacancies in the executive council. Wilmot had been
offered a seat in that body, but made it a condition of his acceptance
that he should go in with two of his friends, provided the council was
filled up to the number of seven, or three, if filled up to the number
of nine. This was not agreed to, so he remained outside the government.
During the first week of the session three new members were added to the
government, one of them being the surveyor-general, Mr. Baillie, who had
been elected a member of the House of Assembly for the county of York.
The arrangements made were not satisfactory to Wilmot and his friends,
and the government had to face what was practically a want of confidence
resolution. It was moved by Mr. Fisher and was as follows:--

"_Resolved_, As the opinion of this House, that while it fully
recognizes the accountability of the executive council to the assembly,
it will expect that henceforth the provincial administration will, from
time to time, prepare and bring before the legislature such measures as
may be required for the development of the provincial resources and the
general advancement of the public interests."


In the course of the debate Wilmot spoke with great power and effect.
The following report of his speech on that occasion may serve to convey
to the reader some idea of his manner and method as a public speaker:--


"The honourable gentleman might have spared himself the trouble of
making the defence he did. I have heard that he was to be presented with
a gold medal for his admirable defence of that nearly extinct race--the
old Family Compact. I see that I shall have to cross a lance with my
honourable and learned friend [Mr. Hazen] politically. Yet I hope the
same good feeling which has characterized the debate thus far will be
continued. A great deal has been said about politics and political
principles, but my political principles are not of yesterday--I have
gleaned them from the history of my country, a country which we are all
proud to own. Will any honourable member dare to tell me that because we
are three thousand miles from the heart of the British empire the blood
of freemen shall not flow through the veins of the sons of New
Brunswick? If so, I have yet to learn the reason. Before I sit down I
will endeavour to show my honourable friends what the distinction is
between Liberals and Conservatives--what the Liberals have done, and
what the Conservatives have not done. Now to the resolution. My
honourable friend said yesterday that the resolution meant initiation of
money grants. When this announcement was made I heard a shout from the
direction of my honourable friend, Mr. Partelow, in a tenor voice, and
an honourable member in the rear [Mr. Barberie] joining in a sort of
falsetto accompaniment. I think my honourable friend [Mr. Hazen] is much
to blame for having accused his honourable colleague [Mr. Woodward] with
writing an article in a city paper. What, suppose he did write it, do
not some of the first noblemen and statesmen in England write for the
papers? I will not deny that I have written for the papers myself some
little squibs. But it is wrong to place an honourable member in the
position where he will have to affirm or deny it. A great cry has been
raised of a contemplated attack on the government, and, after all, it
has turned out that their fears have been excited by a newspaper
paragraph. The government has fortified all their outposts, and His
Excellency and two aides have been on the lookout for the coming attack.
At length my honourable colleague [Mr. Fisher] brought forth his
resolutions when they said to each other, 'Why, this doesn't mean
anything; there is no attack.' But they slept over it one night, cracked
some wine upon it, and while sitting under the mahogany they
said--'Hazen, there is something in these resolutions of Fisher's,
depend upon it--some hidden meaning--what shall we say it is? what will
we call it? we must give them some ugly name, or they will pass.' 'Oh,'
said Hazen, 'I have it--initiation of money grants--that'll do; I'll
just go down to the House and cry out "mad dog," "initiation of money
grants"; members will become alarmed, and we'll succeed in defeating
them.' But the honourable member from St. John [Mr. Jordan] has made the
most wonderful discoveries; he has taken a peep from the lookout station
at the enemy; he has looked through a political microscope, and has
discovered more than the commander-in-chief himself. 'Why,' says he,
'there's everything there--I see "free trade" and "protection" both, and
let me see--I--there's the "Board of Works," too; and round on the other
side I see "Municipal Corporations."' I will endeavour before I sit down
to prove that the arguments of my honourable friend Mr. Hazen are
fallacious. He has been developing at a great rate yesterday; he was not
asked to develop the money, but to bring down such measures as would
develop the provincial resources; this is the meaning of the resolution,
and, had not my honourable friend become alarmed for the safety of the
government, there is no man into whose hands I would sooner place the
resolution. But he has chosen to put the construction upon the
resolution which he has done, and other honourable members said, 'Oh, he
knows what it means better than I do; he has cried "mad dog" and we'll
follow him.' The government is not asked to bring in the revenue bill,
or any other bill which involves the principle of money grants. All the
resolution requires is, that they shall be prepared, at the opening of
the session, with such measures as may be considered for the general
welfare of the country, and not keep the assembly waiting two or three
weeks for the motion of the government, as has been the case this
session. Honourable members will recollect that there is a constituency
behind them to whom they are accountable; but they may resolve and
re-resolve as they please. There is a spirit of inquiry abroad among the
people, a political intelligence, which was not to be found a few years
since when my honourable friend denounced responsible government as all
nonsense! What was the case when responsible government was first talked
of in this province? Who descended from their lofty eminence to warn the
people to beware of these new doctrines? The old official Family Compact
party--they who entrenched themselves behind the prerogative of the
Crown in 1836, came down to the people and said, 'We who have done so
much for you--we who have watched over and guarded you, beware of that
dreadful monster, responsible government.' These are the people who call
themselves Conservatives. What, I would ask, did they conserve?
Everything but the good of the country; and, had the Conservatism of
1836 been carried out, an insulted people would ere this have risen in
their majesty and would have shaken off the yoke of bondage under which
they had been labouring.



"It has been said by honourable members of the government that there is
no distinction between Liberals and Conservatives. If this is the case,
why did they object to have me and two others take seats in the council
because we were Liberals? Here is a question which I would like my
honourable friends to answer. The Conservatives do not wish to see any
power in the hands of the people. [Interjection from Mr. End--'Not too
much.'] The honourable member from Gloucester, Mr. End, has receded from
his principles wonderfully; his speech yesterday was certainly a most
extraordinary one. He said to the government in a most supplicating tone
of voice, 'Give me fair play--give me the appointment of all the
bye-road commissioners, magistrates, sheriffs, and so on, in Gloucester,
and I will support you; that is all I want.' I will take care not to be
misunderstood in these matters, I will not allow any man to be the
exponent of my political principles. I believe departmental government
to be inseparable from our institutions, but will oppose the immediate
introduction of the whole system; I will bring it in step by step as the
country is prepared for it. Some extraordinary notions are entertained
as to the source from whence the power of the government is derived; the
freedom of government does not come down from the Crown, it goes up from
the people; and if the people are fit for these institutions they are
fit for self-government. I have frequently said that they who get the
people's money shall do the people's work. [From Mr. Partelow--'Yes,
that's right.'] I will now come down a step further--what was the case
in 1837? I am not going to disclose any secrets this time--but will
speak low. I wish to ask my honourable friend [Mr. Hazen] if, after the
administration changed in 1837, the government had the cordial
coöperation of the heads of departments? No! There has been a
counter-working going on--a constant endeavour to lead the government
astray and place them in a wrong position, and my generous-hearted
friend [Mr. Hazen] has to come down to this House and defend them. It is
a political fact, that previous to 1841 the heads of departments in this
province were in open hostility to the government. [From Mr. End--'They
could do no harm.'] If the departmental system were in operation, and
their tenure of office depended upon their ability so to conduct the
government as to merit the confidence of the assembly and the people,
there would be none of this stabbing in the dark, and running off the
track. It is, in my opinion, the only constitutional remedy for the good
working of the government. These five gentlemen who have lately formed
the mixed government, asked for departmental government when they signed
the address to the queen; yet now they refuse to adopt it. I should like
to know when they intend to graduate--does it depend upon the age of the
country or the state of the atmosphere? The fact is, whenever the people
of this country, through their representatives, choose to ask for it
they must get it. In 1844 they ran to the rescue of the prerogative in
Canada; but the very next year the same case came down to their own
doors! The tune was changed then, and an address was prepared to the
queen signed by the whole assembly except five. Why is this brought
about--why is the tune changed so suddenly? They at first said
responsible government is not fit for a colony--the next cry was, it is
not fit for New Brunswick, and finally they said, when they addressed
the queen--we must have it. Mr. Roebuck called upon Lord John Russell to
explain what responsible government was, which he has done [reads the
speech as delivered in the British parliament], and, when they had first
asked for it here, it was in full operation in Canada. My honourable
friend [Mr. Hazen] has accused me of having receded; but I will now ask
him to point out how I have done so? He has also said that I was brought
forward at the last election by the Conservatives. True, but I was
backed by all my old friends, and I told them if they took me, they must
do so with all my former opinions--opinions which I never will give up.
When they talk about there being no difference in political
names,--there is a difference; those who have contended for Liberal
principles have their names covered with obloquy. We ask for a
constitution that, while it protects the queen upon the throne, throws,
at the same time, its paternal arms around the helpless infant. This we
ask for, this we want--the pure, the free, the glorious constitution of
England; for this we have contended, for this the Liberals of New
Brunswick have fought, and let them call us rebels who have nothing else
to write about, I care not; we ask for a system that will give fair play
to all--that will upset all Family Compacts, and give to the sons of
New Brunswick their birthright, the benefit of free institutions and
self-government. This is what we want, and I will not submit tamely to
be called a rebel; I defy any honourable member to look at my political
life and say where I have overstepped the bounds of the constitution? If
I do live three thousand miles from the great body of the empire, still
that empire sends its blood through the veins of every British subject.
A son of New Brunswick has the same right to the benefit of her
institutions as has a resident of London, and I will not submit to be
cut off by any political man[oe]uvring."


After a long debate, Mr. Fisher's resolution was defeated by a vote of
twenty-three to twelve, which showed that the friends of Reform had
still much work to do.


[6] This occurred during the time of the "rump" government composed of
Messrs. Simonds, Allen and McLeod, the members of the executive who
refused to resign at the time of the Reade appointment.

[7] The following resolutions which were moved by Mr. Partelow were
carried in the House of Assembly by a vote of twenty to two:

"1st. _Resolved_, That this committee deeply regret that His Excellency
the lieutenant-governor in council should not have felt himself
authorized to communicate to the House the despatch of the Right
Honourable the Secretary of State for the Colonies, of January 5th,
1845, relative to the appropriation of the surplus civil list, in answer
to the address of the House of Assembly of March 14th, 1845, whereby the
House was prevented from representing, by an humble and dutiful address
to Her Majesty, that such appropriation was not in accordance with the
despatch of the Right Honourable the Secretary of State for the Colonies
of August 31st, 1836.

"2d. _Resolved_, As the opinion of this committee, that any funds
necessary to carry out the fourth article of the Treaty of Washington,
being a national treaty with a foreign power, ought not to be chargeable
upon the funds of this province; and that the House should, by an humble
and dutiful address to Her Majesty, pray that any appropriation made for
that purpose from the surplus civil list fund may be refunded to the



The session of 1848 was destined to be a memorable one in the history of
responsible government in New Brunswick. It was evident that with the
House as then constituted no progress could be made unless a change were
brought about in the views of some of its members by outside pressure.
In this instance the pressure came from the imperial government, which
desired to bring the political condition of New Brunswick into line with
that of Canada and Nova Scotia. In March, 1847, Earl Grey, the colonial
secretary, addressed a despatch to Sir John Harvey, the governor of Nova
Scotia, in which he laid down the principles which he thought should
control colonial administration. The most important feature of this
despatch was its declaration with reference to the composition of the
executive council. With regard to office-holders in general, Earl Grey
thought that they ought not to be disturbed in consequence of any change
of government, but he was of opinion that a different rule should apply
to such officials as were members of the executive council. On this
point he adopted the language of Mr. Poulett Thomson (Lord Sydenham),
who, in a despatch to Lord John Russell, written at Halifax, in the
year 1840, said:--

"The functions of the executive council, on the other hand, are, it is
perfectly clear, of a totally different character; they are a body upon
whom the governor must be able to call at any or at all times for
advice, with whom he can consult upon the measures to be submitted to
the legislature, and in whom he may find instruments within its walls to
introduce such amendments in the laws as he may think necessary, or to
defend his acts and his policy. It is obvious, therefore, that those who
compose this body must be persons whose constant attendance on the
governor can be secured; principally, therefore, officers of the
government, but, when it may be expedient to introduce others, men
holding seats in one or other House, taking a leading part in political
life, and above all, exercising influence over the assembly.

"The last, and in my opinion by far the most serious, defect in the
government is the utter absence of power in the executive, and its total
want of energy to attempt to occupy the attention of the country upon
real improvements, or to lead the legislature in the preparation and
adoption of measures for the benefit of the colony. It does not appear
to have occurred to any one that it is one of the first duties of the
government to suggest improvements where they are wanted; that, the
constitution having placed the power of legislation in the hands of an
assembly and a council, it is only by acting through these bodies that
the duty can be performed; and that, if these proper and legitimate
functions of government are neglected, the necessary result must be not
only that the improvements which the people have a right to expect will
be neglected, and the prosperity of the country checked, but that each
branch of legislature will misuse its power, and the popular mind be
easily led into excitement upon mere abstract theories of government to
which their attention is directed as the remedy for the uneasiness they

He concluded by expressing the opinion that the peculiar circumstances
of Nova Scotia presented no insuperable obstacle to the immediate
adoption of that system of parliamentary government which had long
prevailed in the mother country.


A copy of this despatch was sent to the lieutenant-governor of New
Brunswick and it was laid before the House in pursuance of an address
which had been passed a few days before. It was understood that the
principles laid down in this despatch would be equally applicable to the
province of New Brunswick, and Mr. Fisher moved that the House should
approve of them and of their application to New Brunswick. This
resolution was carried by a vote of twenty-four to eleven, which was a
complete reversal of the vote of the previous session. Among those who
voted for the resolution were the three members of the government who
had seats in the House of Assembly and who had been previously opposed
to any such change in the political system of the country. Thus the
victory for responsible government was practically won, and it only
remained to perfect the details.

Immediately after the prorogation of the legislature, a reorganization
of the government took place, Messrs. Baillie, Shore and Johnston
retired and their places were taken by Messrs. Wilmot, Partelow, Fisher
and Kinnear. Mr. Wilmot became attorney-general in the place of Mr.
Peters, recently deceased, who had filled that office for twenty years.
Mr. Partelow became provincial secretary in place of John Simcoe
Saunders. Mr. Kinnear, who had been made solicitor-general in 1846, now
became a member of the government under the new system, while Mr. Fisher
took his seat as a member of the government without office. Thus were
the principles of responsible government vindicated and established in
New Brunswick. The provincial secretary, the attorney-general and the
solicitor-general became political officers subject to change with every
change of government. The surveyor-general, Mr. Baillie, by resigning
from the government escaped this condition for the time being, but it
was not long before that office also became political, Mr. Baillie
himself retiring with a pension in 1851.


Messrs. Wilmot and Fisher were much censured by their friends for
becoming members of a government that was essentially Conservative and
in which they were in a minority. But as the principles for which they
had contended had been admitted and were now in a measure established,
there seemed to be no reason why they should not assist in working them
out. Wilmot as attorney-general certainly had greater opportunities of
advancing the cause of Reform than as a private member, and he and
Fisher working together were able to exercise a strong influence on the
administration. In the following year, as has already been seen, a
measure was carried voiding the seats of members of the assembly who
became heads of departments in the government, or enjoyed any office of
profit or emolument under the Crown, and this was all that was necessary
to establish responsible government on a firm basis. There was indeed
one other difficulty, the interference of the colonial office and the
influence of the governor, who had been accustomed to govern the
province largely by means of despatches. This influence was one which
could only be got rid of by degrees, for the wise men of Downing Street
always thought they knew much better what colonists required than did
the colonists themselves. The colonial secretary undertook to dictate to
the province as to the kind of tariff it should pass, and to refuse
assent to the passage of bills by the legislature giving a preference
to any particular county or granting bounties to fishermen or others
engaged in any special calling. It was felt to be a hardship that the
province was not permitted to give encouragement to any industry which
it desired to assist, and so strong was this feeling that at the session
of 1850, immediately after the receipt of a despatch from Earl Grey
disallowing the bill of the previous session granting bounties for the
cultivation of hemp, a bill was introduced and carried by an
overwhelming majority in the assembly appropriating three thousand
pounds for bounties to fishermen. This bill was rejected by the council,
so that the colonial secretary was spared the difficulty which would
have been involved in being defied by the New Brunswick legislature. It
was also felt to be a great hardship that, at a time when the colonies
were being deprived of the preferential tariff they had so long enjoyed
in the English markets, they should be debarred from entering into
commercial arrangements with foreign nations. A series of strongly
worded resolutions on this subject was moved by Mr. David Wark, and was
well supported, although not carried. The language used by many of the
speakers during the debate showed that the loyal feelings which had
always distinguished the people of the province were being subjected to
a severe strain by the policy of the British government. These
interferences with provincial rights continued for many years after
Wilmot had retired from public life, and therefore it is unnecessary to
refer to them further.


Wilmot had but few opportunities during his active career as a public
man of displaying his abilities outside of his native province. His fame
as an orator was therefore mainly a local one, and the Portland Railway
Convention of 1850 was the first occasion on which he was recognized as
one of the best speakers on the continent. That great gathering of the
railway and business men of the United States and Canada was assembled
for the purpose of taking measures to secure a shorter ocean route to
Europe than was afforded by steamships sailing from New York. It was
thought that a better plan would be to run steamships from some port on
the west coast of Ireland to a port on the east coast of Nova Scotia, a
distance of about two thousand miles, and to connect the latter with New
York by a line of railway. No one doubted at that time that this was a
plan that was likely to succeed, and probably it would have done so if
there had been no improvement in the construction of steamships. No one
dreamed in those days that boats with a speed of twenty-five knots an
hour and of twenty thousand tons displacement would be running to New
York before the century was ended, and that the voyage to Liverpool
would be reduced to less than six days.

The Portland Convention included many eminent men from the United States
and Canada and not a few that could justly be described as orators, but
it was universally admitted that in eloquence Attorney-General Wilmot,
of New Brunswick, exceeded them all. The reporter of the proceedings of
the convention stated, in the pamphlet afterwards published, that it was
due to the speaker and to himself to say that "he had been entirely
unable to give anything like a report of the remarks of Mr. Wilmot." The
reporter also quotes the statement of another that "Mr. Wilmot delivered
one of the most spicy, eloquent and enlivening speeches which he ever
heard, which, while it kept the audience in the best spirits, was
replete with noble sentiments commending themselves to the hearts of all
present. His remarks were generally upon the moral, social and
intellectual influences which would result from the contemplated work.
No sketch would do justice to its power and beauty, its flashes of wit
and humour."


The following report of Wilmot's great convention speech, although
admittedly very imperfect, is given as almost the only example that
survives of his eloquence:--

"I find myself in a new position in addressing a convention in a city,
in a state, and under a government that is foreign to me, as far as
citizenship is concerned. But I feel myself at home, for I am among
those who derive their inheritance from the same common ancestry. I am,
Mr. President, not a son of New England, but a grandson, and I can find
the old gravestone which indicates the graves of my ancestors, in a
pleasant village of Connecticut [cheers].

"We in the provinces came to this convention at your call. We have
responded to your invitation and you have given us a brother's welcome.
Physiologists affirm that the exercise of the muscles tends to their
enlargement and fuller development; and phrenologists affirm that the
exercise of the different faculties develops in a corresponding degree
the bumps upon the cranium. I would beg to add something to this
category,--the exercise of benevolence and kindness enlarges the heart,
and since I have been among you I have felt my heart growing big within
me [cheers].

"I am delighted to see this day, and could I give expression to the
emotions which swell up within me I would do so, but my power fails in
the attempt, and I cannot presume to make a speech. We do not, however,
meet to consult about California, where one hundred and twelve hour
speeches are necessary, or about the admission of New Mexico into the
Union. Our object is to effect an admission into the great railroad
union, and on this question we admit of no 'compromises.' We go straight
ahead in our purpose and the union will be effected [cheers].

"I know, Mr. President, it is a great work in which we are engaged. I
know that it looks vast, if not impossible of achievement to those who
have not studied its relations and its details, but those who look at it
through the enlarged medium which its contemplation presents will find
that difficulties diminish as its importance grows upon their vision.

"Look at the progress of similar enterprises among yourselves in the
state of Maine, and other parts of New England, and then say whether
anything is required of us but union of effort and faith in the result
of our exertions. In prosecuting our work in this matter, we must have
faith; but as faith without works is dead, let us put forth our
exertions and go steadily forward to a speedy and glorious completion of
our great enterprise [cheers].

"If the timid falter and the doubting hold back, there are others who
will take their places and keep our ranks full. We have only to hold our
position, and drive back the army of doubters, or opposers, who may
resist our march. We must give them the same reception that General
Taylor gave to the army of Santa Anna at Buena Vista. If opposed by
superior numbers, or if on any part of the field there are those who
hesitate, or hold back when a stronghold of the enemy is to be carried,
I would repeat the order of General Taylor: 'A little more grape,
Captain Poor'[8] [tremendous cheers].

"It is written in the decrees of eternal Providence, Mr. President,
that we shall learn war no more; we may then go on side by side with
glorious emulation for the cause of virtue and philanthropy throughout
the world, striving who shall out-vie the other. How changed in every
respect, now, is the condition of our race! How glorious the sight of
two great peoples uniting as one, 'to draw more closely the bands of
brotherhood, that yet shall make of all mankind but one great
brotherhood of nations.' The sentiment of that resolution which embodies
this idea is worthy of its author and of the American character; but it
is also a sentiment to which the people of the British empire will
respond [cheers].

"Sir, I found in the circular which invited us here this sentiment
expressed, in terms which aroused to the fullest enthusiasm the mind of
every man in the British provinces: 'The spirit of peace has at last
prevailed--national animosities, sectional and political hostility have
disappeared between the English races since the establishment of the
boundaries of Maine and Oregon, and the contests of war have been
succeeded by a noble and generous rivalry for the promotion of the arts
of peace. The introduction of the steamship and the railway has made
former enemies friends. National hostility has given way to commercial
and social intercourse, and under whatever form of government they may
hereafter exist, they can never again become hostile or unfriendly'

"To this sentiment I respond with all my heart. It is this sentiment
that has brought us together. I know not who was the author of this
circular, but whoever he may be, in the name of every Englishman--in the
name of every American, sir, in the name of humanity, I tender him
thanks [cheers].

"An enterprise aiming to accomplish such results, and which is in and of
itself calculated to produce such results, cannot fail of success. The
whole civilized world is interested in its accomplishment. There are
some good old-fashioned people who think we are going too fast and too
far in our railroad enterprises. We have, they say, lived and got along
well enough without railroads, and now you seem to think that your
temporal salvation depends upon it! Blot out your telegraphs, lay up
your steamboats,--what darkness would come upon the world! We must form
ourselves into a council of war for the purpose of combating these old
prejudices, and, instead of being turned away from our objects, we will
take stronger grounds than ever occupied before.

"Mr. President, we of the provinces have made up our minds no longer to
remain quiet in our present condition. With all the fine natural
advantages our country possesses, we make comparatively slow progress,
and our province itself is scarcely known to the world. I shall be
pardoned here for relating an anecdote to illustrate the truth of this

"In a recent visit to Washington upon official business, I had occasion
to tarry a few days in the city of New York, and among the places that I
visited with a friend was one of the colleges in the city. My friend
introduced me to a learned professor as his friend, the
'Attorney-general of New Brunswick.' We entered into conversation on a
variety of subjects, and he inquired when I came over to the city, and
as to various matters going on in the neighbouring state. Seeing the
mistake of the learned professor, I thought it hardly kind to mortify
him by correcting it, and I answered in the best way I could, and took
my leave; and to this hour, I suppose, the learned professor thinks he
was talking with the attorney-general of the fine old state of New
Jersey [tremendous cheers].

"Seeing that my own country itself was hardly known beyond its bounds, I
felt a little concern that she should not always remain in this
condition. I felt, as many of my friends and neighbours have long felt,
that we must look at home for the means of making our province honoured
and respected abroad. And we intend to open this line of railway
entirely across the breadth of our province and bring ourselves into
connection with the world [cheers].

"Mr. President, I cannot omit, in this connection, the expression of my
profound regard for the American Union. It is the union of these states
that has given you greatness and strength at home and the respect and
admiration of the civilized world [long-continued cheers].

"The great interests of Christianity, of philanthropy and of liberty,
throughout the world, depend upon the union of these states. We of New
Brunswick, of Nova Scotia, and of Canada are deeply interested in its
existence. If there is any question of the day that interests us more
than all others, it is this very question of the perpetuity of the
union. For myself, I think there should be passed a law providing that
the man who would even conceive the idea of a dissolution of the union
should be guilty of treason. In the sincerity of my heart, I say, perish
the man who should dare to think of it [tremendous cheers]!"

With respect to railway legislation Wilmot was not in advance of many
others in the province whose general political views were less liberal
than his own. There was always a good deal of local feeling injected
into the discussion of railway matters and Wilmot, who was a resident of
Fredericton, incurred a good deal of censure for the ridicule which he
threw on the proposal to build a railway from St. John to Shediac, which
is now a part of the Intercolonial. As this railway brought the counties
bordering on the Straits of Northumberland and the Gulf of St. Lawrence
into easy communication with St. John, nothing is more clear than that
of all the railways then projected in the province it was the one most
likely to be useful and profitable, but Wilmot apparently could not
forget the fact that it did not touch his own county. His speech on this
subject was made in the legislature before the meeting of the Portland
Convention, and it is worthy of note that five-sixths of the Shediac
Railway was to be used as part of the magnificent European and North
American Railway scheme which was so much lauded by him in his Portland


There is not much to be said in regard to the political life of Wilmot
after he became attorney-general. His principal legislative achievement
while he filled that office was an Act for the consolidation of the
criminal law with regard to the definition of certain indictable
offences and the punishment thereof. This was a useful but not a
brilliant work, which many another man might have performed equally
well. In the session of 1850, Wilmot carried a bill through the House of
Assembly for the reduction of the salaries of the judges of the supreme
court and some other officials, but this measure did not pass the
legislative council. He had always been in favour of a low scale of
salaries as best suited to the conditions which prevailed in the
province. The scale had been fixed in 1836, when the casual and
territorial revenues were placed under the control of the province, but
an agitation soon afterwards commenced for further reductions. The
imperial government would not consent to the reduction of any salary
while the holder of the office lived, except in the case of the
surveyor-general, whose duties had been decreased, but it agreed to a
lower scale for future occupants of the offices. In this way the salary
of the provincial secretary had been reduced from £1,599 11s. to £600;
that of the surveyor-general from £2,019 4s. 4d. to £1,209 12s. 4d., and
that of the auditor-general from £500 to £346 3s. The salaries of the
judges, however, remained the same in 1850 as they had been in 1836,
viz., £1,096 3s. for the chief-justice and £750 for each of the puisne
judges. Wilmot's bill reduced these salaries to £700 for the
chief-justice and £600 to each of the other judges. He also voted for a
resolution in favour of making the legislative council elective, and
that an address should be presented to Her Majesty asking her to consent
to the passage of such a bill. A favourable answer was received from Her
Majesty, but the scheme to make the legislative council elective was
never carried into effect, in consequence of the opposition which it
encountered in that body.

There is no doubt that the popularity of Wilmot seriously declined after
he entered the government. This was very plainly seen at the general
election which took place in June, 1850, when he narrowly escaped
defeat, being the lowest on the poll of the members elected, while his
colleague in the government, Mr. Fisher, was defeated, polling less than
one-half the number of votes given to the candidate who was highest on
the poll. But, on the whole, the result throughout the province was
favourable to the cause of Reform, and among those elected in York who
stood higher on the poll than Wilmot were two new members who held
advanced views with respect to the amendment of the constitution.


Although responsible government had been conceded to New Brunswick, and
it was admitted that public offices should be bestowed in accordance
with the wishes of the people, the close of Wilmot's legislative career
was marked by an event which showed that the old order of things had not
entirely passed away. Chief-Justice Chipman, owing to failing health,
resigned his seat on the bench in the autumn of 1850, and it became
necessary to provide for a successor. A meeting of the executive council
was called for the purpose of filling the vacancy, and six members of
the council out of the eight who were present signed a memorandum to the
effect that it was not advisable to appoint any person to the vacant
office, but that such a division of the work of the judiciary should be
made by the legislature as would secure the efficient discharge of the
judicial duties by three judges, together with the Master of the Rolls.
Wilmot was one of the persons who signed this memorandum, but on the
following day he called on the governor and asked that his name might be
withdrawn from it, he having in the meantime apparently changed his
mind. The governor, Sir Edmund Head, asked the judges whether, in their
opinion, three of them would be able to do all the judicial business of
the country, and received from them a strongly worded protest against
any such alteration in the number of judges. Mr. Fisher, who was one of
the members of the executive present at the meeting, submitted to the
governor a paper in which he took strong grounds against the proposal to
reduce the number of judges. Sir Edmund Head referred the matter to the
home authorities, and they decided that the proposed change in the
number of judges was not advisable. Moreover, they decided as to who
should fill the vacant offices, and asked the governor to appoint Mr.
Justice Carter to the position of chief-justice and to offer a puisne
judgeship to the attorney-general, Mr. Wilmot, and if he refused it to
the solicitor-general, Mr. Kinnear. Mr. Wilmot accepted, and thus
brought his political career to an end.


[8] This is an adaptation of General Taylor's words. John A. Poor was
the chief promoter of the European and North American Railway and the
chairman of the committee of arrangements of the Portland Convention.



The opinion that was entertained of Mr. Wilmot by those who were closely
associated with him in the work of Reform was well expressed by the late
Mr. George E. Fenety, in his _Political Notes_.

"A great luminary," says Mr. Fenety, "set in semi-darkness on the day
that Mr. Wilmot left the forum for the bench. He was the light of the
House for sixteen years, the centre from whence radiated most of the
sparkling gems in the political firmament. It was at a time of life
(comparatively a young man) and a period when talents such as his were
most wanted by his party and his country. Notwithstanding his supposed
mistake in having joined a Conservative government, the Liberals were
always willing to receive their old leader back with outstretched
arms--ready to forgive and go along again with him over the old road,
and, to a man, would have held to him had he made a stand against Sir
Edmund Head, and told him--'thus far and no farther shalt thou go'."

Many of Wilmot's friends regretted that he should have accepted the
office of judge on the conditions under which it was offered. They
thought that as attorney-general he was entitled to the position of
chief-justice, and that in consenting to take the puisne judgeship he
had lowered himself. It is hardly necessary to discuss a question of
this kind at the present day. No doubt he had reasons of his own for
retiring from the arena of politics. The work he had been doing for the
public had placed a great strain upon him and interfered with his legal
business to a very serious extent. He was never a wealthy man, and had
therefore to consider his own future, while a position on the bench was
one of honour and dignity which was regarded as worthy of acceptance by
any member of the legal profession.

There was nothing worthy of note in the career of Mr. Wilmot as a judge.
He was never considered to be a deeply read lawyer, but he filled the
office of judge with dignity and general acceptance. His duties were not
sufficiently arduous to prevent him from having leisure to engage in
other lines of inquiry, for his mind was much interested in questions
connected with science. He frequently appeared on the lecture platform
and always with success.

When confederation was accomplished, it was felt that of all the natives
of New Brunswick he was the most worthy to be appointed its first
lieutenant-governor under the new régime. Judge Wilmot himself was
willing to accept the office as a fitting close to his long and active
career as a public man; but for some reason, which it is now impossible
to ascertain, the appointment was not made until about a year after
confederation. Judge Wilmot became lieutenant-governor on July 23rd,
1868, and continued to hold that honourable and important office until
November 14th, 1873, when he was succeeded by the Hon. S. L. Tilley.


So far, we have been considering Wilmot as a politician and member of
the legislature, but a very imperfect idea of his character would be
gathered from regarding him merely in these capacities. He was a
many-sided man, and had other interests which occupied his attention as
much as, or more than, those public questions to which he devoted so
much of his vigour. It has already been stated that his father was a
member of the Baptist Church, and one of the founders of the church of
that denomination in Fredericton. It does not appear that the son ever
identified himself with that Church, or that while a youth he gave much
attention to religious matters. It was not until after the death of his
first wife, which took place in 1833, that he became affected by
religious influences and began to attend the services of the Methodist
Church, the pulpit of which was then filled by the Rev. Enoch Wood, a
man of much ability and eloquence whose style of oratory was very
impressive. Under his ministrations Mr. Wilmot became a convert, was
baptized and joined the Methodist Church in Fredericton, and from that
time until the close of his life he was a very prominent figure in it.
He filled the office of superintendent of its Sunday School for upwards
of twenty-five years, and was the leader of the church choir for thirty
years. When he was appointed governor it was thought that he would give
up these offices, but he still continued to fill them, and was
superintendent of the Sunday School up to the day when his life came to
an end. He always took a great interest in questions relating to the
Bible, and frequently lectured on topics connected with it. He
vehemently opposed the teachings of Darwin and others who followed the
same line of inquiry, and he stoutly maintained that wherever the Bible
and science were in conflict, science was in the wrong. He seems to have
been, from first to last, an unquestioning believer in the doctrines of
the Christian religion, and he viewed with great disfavour any one who
ventured to question any part of its creed. As a lecturer he was
eloquent and though discursive, always interesting. None of his lectures
were written, so that to-day they are only a fading memory to those who
heard them delivered. Though found acceptable at the time, it is hardly
likely that, if delivered at the present day, they would enjoy so high a
degree of popularity. People are not now so willing to accept sweeping
assertions which are in conflict with the conclusions of scientific men
who have devoted their lives to a patient study of the phenomena of life
and the records of creation.


One of the most pleasing features of Judge Wilmot's character was his
fondness for children. He was never so happy as when among the young
people, and long after he became a judge he took an intense interest in
drilling the schoolboys and instructing them in all martial exercises;
indeed, he seemed to be quite as much devoted to this work as he was to
any other of his numerous employments. When a very young man, he became
an ensign in the first battalion of York County militia, and speedily
rose to be captain. When the so-called Aroostook War[9] broke out in
1839 he was major of a company of rifles attached to that battalion, and
he volunteered for active service at the front. His interest in military
matters continued until a late period, and, in the first military camp
organized in the province by the lieutenant-governor, the Hon. Arthur
Gordon, in 1863, he commanded one of the battalions. If Wilmot had not
been a politician and a lawyer, he might have been a great evangelist or
a great soldier.

Judge Wilmot was very fond of flowers, and the beautiful grounds at
Evelyn Grove, where he resided, were looked upon as the finest in the
province. Nearly every visitor to Fredericton found his way to that
charming place and was sure of a cordial welcome from the judge, who
delighted to show strangers what he had been able to accomplish in
growing flowers and rare plants. Not the least interesting feature of
such visits was the conversation of the host, who abounded in knowledge
of horticulture, and was always ready to give others the benefit of his
information. It was in this lovely retreat that the last years of Mr.
Wilmot's life were passed. When his term as governor expired, the
government of Canada very properly gave him a pension as a retired
judge. In 1875 he succeeded the Right Hon. Mr. Childers, as second
commissioner under the Prince Edward Island Land Purchase Act. He was
nominated as one of the arbitrators in the Ontario and North-West
Boundary Commission, but did not live long enough to act in that


During the last two or three years of his life he suffered much from
chronic neuralgia, which sometimes prevented him from stirring
out-of-doors. No serious result was anticipated, and he was generally
able to take active exercise and engage in his usual routine of duty. On
Monday, May 20th, 1878, while driving in his carriage with his wife, he
complained of a sudden and severe pain in the region of the heart. He
was at once driven home and a physician summoned, but in a few minutes
he passed away. He had not quite completed his seventieth year. His
death evoked expressions of regret and sympathy from every part of the
province, and tributes of respect and admiration from many who resided
in other parts of Canada and in the United States.

Judge Wilmot was twice married. His first wife, whom he married in 1832,
was Jane, daughter of Mr. James Balloch, of St. John. She died very soon
after their marriage, and in 1834 he married Miss Elizabeth Black,
daughter of the Hon. William Black, of Halifax, and granddaughter of the
Rev. William Black, who is regarded as the apostle of Wesleyan Methodism
in the Maritime Provinces.

In estimating the character and achievements of L. A. Wilmot, regard
must be had to the conditions under which the battle for responsible
government was fought, and the peculiar difficulties he had to face. He
had not only to contend against governors determined to use their power
to the utmost, an immovable legislative council and a reactionary
executive, but he had to attempt to inspire with something of his own
spirit a House of Assembly which had but little sympathy with his views.
That he did not accomplish more is less a matter of surprise than that
he accomplished so much. With heavy odds against him, he contended for
the rights of the people and the improvement of the constitution, and he
lived to see the principles for which he had fought so firmly
established in his native province that they can never be disturbed.


It was never his good fortune to be the leader and master of a
government or to have a free hand in the work of legislation. We are
therefore left in the dark as to what he might have accomplished under
more favourable conditions. Yet there is but little doubt that, had he
remained in public life, the progress of Reform would have been greatly
accelerated, and that such important measures as the establishing of
free schools would have been brought about much earlier than was the
case without his vigorous support. The faults of Wilmot were those that
belong to an ardent, enthusiastic and liberty-loving temperament. He
hated injustice in every form, and in his denunciation of evil he was
sometimes led to use stronger language than men of cooler feelings
approved. In this way he aroused opposition and left himself open to
attack. Yet it is doubtful whether the censure of his enemies was as
injurious as the flattery of some who professed to be his friends, and
who were ready to applaud whatever he said or did. Being accepted as a
leader when a mere youth because he had made a few eloquent speeches, he
missed the wholesome discipline which most men have to undergo before
they achieve fame. He would have been a greater and wiser man if he had
been spared the unthinking flattery which was too lavishly bestowed upon
him. Yet, after all has been said by those who would seek to minimize
his merits, the fact remains that this son of New Brunswick stood for
years as the foremost champion of the rights of the people, and that it
is impossible to deny him a place among the great men who have assisted
to build up Canada.


[9] The Aroostook War arose out of the unsettled boundary question
between Maine and New Brunswick. There was a large area on the St. John
River, the ownership of which was in dispute, and in 1839 the difficulty
came to a head in consequence of the governor of Maine undertaking to
solve the question in his own way by taking possession of the territory.
Governor Fairfield, of Maine, sent eighteen hundred militiamen to the
front and Sir John Harvey, the governor of New Brunswick, issued a
proclamation asserting the right of Great Britain to guard the territory
while it was in dispute, and calling on the governor of Maine to
withdraw his troops. Fairfield denied the right to issue a counter
proclamation and called on the state for ten thousand men. Sir John
Harvey then sent Colonel Maxwell with the 36th and 69th Regiments and a
train of artillery to the upper St. John to watch the movements of the
militia. A large force of New Brunswick militia was also embodied and
sent to the front. Fortunately, President Van Buren sent General
Winfield Scott to Maine with full power to settle the difficulty. He got
into a friendly correspondence with Sir John Harvey, which led to an
understanding by which the troops on both sides were withdrawn and all
danger of war averted. The boundary question was afterwards settled by
the Ashburton Treaty.

[Illustration: S. L. Tilley]




The political career of Samuel Leonard Tilley did not begin until the
year that brought the work of Lemuel Allan Wilmot as a legislator to a
close. Both were elected members of the House of Assembly in 1850, but
in the following year Wilmot was elevated to the bench, so that the
province lost his services as a political reformer just as a new man,
who was destined to win as great a reputation as himself, was stepping
on the stage. Samuel Leonard Tilley was born at Gagetown, on the St.
John River, on May 8th, 1818, just thirty-five years after the landing
of his royalist grandfather at St. John. He passed away seventy-eight
years later, full of years and honours, having won the highest prizes
that it was in the power of his native province to bestow.


In these days, when a man becomes eminent an effort is usually made to
trace his descent from distinguished ancestors, but most of the early
inhabitants of New Brunswick were too careless in such matters to leave
much material to the modern maker of pedigrees. Sir Leonard Tilley was
unable to trace his descent beyond his great-grandfather, Samuel Tilley.
At one time it was thought that his first ancestor in America was John
Tilley, who came over in the _Mayflower_ in 1620, but a closer search of
the records of the Plymouth colony reveals the fact that John Tilley
left no sons. But there were persons of the name of Tilley in the
Massachusetts Bay colony as early as 1640, and there seems to be no
doubt that Sir Leonard Tilley's ancestors had been long in America. They
belonged to the respectable farming class which has given the Dominion
of Canada and the United States so many of their most distinguished
sons. Samuel Tilley, the great-grandfather of Sir Leonard, was a farmer
on Long Island at the time of the American Revolution. His farm was then
within the boundaries of the present borough of Brooklyn, and the
curious in such matters can find the very lot upon which he resided laid
down upon some of the ancient maps of that locality. At the time the
British occupied Long Island, after the battle which took place there in
the autumn of 1776, resulting in the defeat of the Americans, the
Brooklyn farmers were called upon to provide cattle for the sustenance
of the troops. Samuel Tilley, being a loyal man and a friend of the
government, complied, and for this he was made the subject of attacks by
the disloyal element among his neighbours, and in the course of time was
compelled to seek shelter within the British lines. The occupation of
Long Island by the British during the whole period of the war made it
secure enough for Samuel Tilley, as well as for all loyal men who lived
in the vicinity of Brooklyn; but when the war was over it became
necessary for him to seek shelter in Nova Scotia, the acts of
confiscation and banishment against the Loyalists being of the most
severe character. Samuel Tilley came to New Brunswick with the spring
fleet, which arrived in St. John in May, 1783, and was a grantee of
Parrtown, which is now the city of St. John. He erected a house and
store on King Street, on the south side, just to the east of Germain,
and there commenced a business which he continued for several years. He
died at St. John in the year 1815. His wife was Elizabeth Morgan, who
survived him for many years and died in 1835, aged eighty-four years.

Sir Leonard Tilley was not born when his great-grandfather died, but had
a clear recollection of his great-grandmother, who lived for about four
years after he came to reside in St. John. James Tilley, the grandfather
of Sir Leonard, was also a grantee of Parrtown, he having purchased for
a trifling sum, when a boy, a lot on Princess Street, which had been
drawn by some person who was anxious to dispose of it. James Tilley was
a resident of Sunbury County and a magistrate there for a great many
years, dying in the year 1851. Sir Leonard Tilley's father, Thomas
Morgan Tilley, was born in 1790, and served his time with Israel Gove,
who was a house-joiner and builder. He spent his early days as a
lumberman, getting out ship timber, his operations being carried on
mainly at Tantiwanty, in the rear of Upper Gagetown. He afterwards went
into business at Gagetown, and kept a store there down to the time of
his death, which took place in 1870. Sir Leonard's great-grandmother, on
his father's side, was Mary Chase, of the Chase family of Massachusetts,
she having come from Freetown, in that state. Sir Leonard's mother was
Susan Ann Peters, daughter of William Peters, who was for many years a
prominent farmer in Queens County, and a member of the legislative
assembly. William Peters owned a large property and had one of the
finest tracts of land possessed by any man in the province in his day.
But he was unwise enough to sell it for the purpose of obtaining money
with which to enter into lumbering with William Wilmot, the father of L.
A. Wilmot, and, being unsuccessful in his operations, his whole fortune
was swept away. The ancestors of William Peters were from New York
state, from which they came with the rest of the Loyalists in 1783.


The house in Gagetown in which the future governor of New Brunswick and
finance minister of Canada was born, is still standing and is now used
as a hotel. Gagetown was at that period, and still is, one of the most
beautiful places in New Brunswick. The river St. John flows in front of
it, and Gagetown Creek, which is almost as wide as the river, laves its
shores. The land in the vicinity is fertile, and fine old trees line the
streets, giving an air of beauty and refinement to the locality. Sir
Leonard was named after his uncle, Samuel Leonard Peters, and the latter
was named after an English schoolmaster named Samuel Leonard, who was a
great favourite with William Peters, the grandfather of the subject of
this biography. Samuel Leonard, after leaving Gagetown, appears to have
removed to Nova Scotia, and probably died in that province. When Sir
Leonard was five years old he was sent to the Madras School in Gagetown,
of which Samuel Babbitt was the teacher. He attended this school from
1823 until 1827, when the grammar school was instituted in Gagetown. The
Madras school system was at that time in high favour with the people of
the province, and these schools received large grants from the
government, it being thought that this system was more advantageous than
any other for the instruction of youth. This idea, however, did not
prove to be universally correct, for in the course of a few years we
find the legislature declaring that while they believed the Madras
system suitable to towns and populous places, it did not answer so well
in rural districts. Samuel Babbitt, the teacher of the Madras School,
was clerk of the parish, and, according to the custom of that day, led
the responses in church. The rector of Gagetown at this period was the
Rev. Samuel Clark. The teacher of the local grammar school which young
Tilley attended from 1827 to 1831 was William Jenkins, a graduate of
Dublin University. Jenkins was a very severe man, and believed in the
doctrine that he who spares the rod spoils the child, and Sir Leonard
had a very vivid recollection of the vigour with which he applied the
birch. He removed from Gagetown shortly after 1831, and took up his
residence in Quebec, where he conducted a large school for many years,
dying about the year 1863. Sir Leonard, after he had become a well-known
political character and a member of the government of New Brunswick, had
the pleasure of paying him a visit some time in 1858.

An interesting incident occurred in 1827, at the time young Tilley
commenced to attend the grammar school. Sir Howard Douglas, who was then
governor of New Brunswick, paid a visit to Gagetown and was the guest of
Colonel Harry Peters, the speaker of the House of Assembly. While the
governor and his host were walking through Gagetown, they met young
Tilley and a son of Harry Peters returning from school, and the boys
were introduced to His Excellency, who presented each of them with a
Spanish quarter-dollar. Sir Leonard could remember and often spoke of
the appearance of Sir Howard Douglas, dressed in a blue coat with brass
buttons, a fine-looking gentleman, with a pleasant face and a kindly
smile. Little thought the then governor of New Brunswick that the boy to
whom he was speaking, a lad of nine years of age, would fifty years
later sit in his own chair in the government house.


Young Tilley was not the kind of youth likely to be satisfied to reside
all his life in Gagetown. Other boys of less ambition might be content
to settle down on the farm and to fulfil their destinies within the
comparatively limited sphere of action which that little town in Queens
County afforded, but he had within him longings for a higher destiny
than he was likely to attain as a resident of a rural district.

Young Tilley came to St. John in May, 1831, at the age of thirteen. He
at once entered the drugstore of Dr. Henry Cook, as a clerk, it being
the fashion of those times for medical men to have a dispensary in
connection with their professional practice, so that they could give
advice, and dispense their own prescriptions with equal facility. He
continued as clerk with Dr. Cook until February, 1835, when he entered
the service of William O. Smith, who, in later years, was mayor of St.
John. It was while a clerk with Smith that Tilley became a member of the
St. John Young Men's Debating Society, an organization which, if it has
no other claim to the remembrance of posterity, at least has that of
giving one distinguished statesman to British America, and a governor to
New Brunswick. It was in this society that he made his first attempt at
public speaking, and it may be said that from the very beginning he
showed a remarkable aptitude for debate and public discussions.

In December, 1837, he took one of the most important steps of his life
in espousing the cause of total abstinence. Having taken up this
movement, he threw his whole energy into it, and from that time down to
the day of his death he was a consistent temperance man, and a strong
advocate of the principle of total abstinence. It was, perhaps, this
strong advocacy of the cause of temperance, more than anything else,
that brought him before the public as a suitable person to become a
candidate for the House of Assembly, and led to his first election as a
representative for the city of St. John in the local legislature
thirteen years later. Certainly the fact that Tilley, from that time
until the close of his public career, had always the support of the
temperance societies, gave him a strength which he hardly would have
obtained otherwise, and rallied around him a phalanx of friends, who,
for fidelity to his interests and zeal for his political advancement,
could hardly have been surpassed.

Tilley commenced business on his own account in 1838, before he had
attained the age of twenty years, as a member of the firm of Peters &
Tilley, and he continued a successful career until 1855, when he
transferred his business to Mr. T. B. Barker, the founder of the present
firm of T. B. Barker & Sons. It is unnecessary to say anything more in
regard to Mr. Tilley's life as a business man than that it was a highly
prosperous one. He showed so much energy and enterprise that when he
entered political life he was comparatively wealthy. There is no doubt
that if he had continued in business instead of devoting his energies to
the service of the province and Dominion, he would have made far more
money than he obtained as a politician.


The movement in behalf of free trade, which was changing the fiscal
policy of the United Kingdom in the closing years of the first half of
the nineteenth century, did not meet with much favour in New Brunswick,
because it seriously affected the leading industry of the province.
Colonial timber had long enjoyed a preference in the British market, but
this preference had been seriously impaired by imperial legislation and
was likely to be taken away altogether if free trade principles should
prevail. Many remonstrances had been sent to the British government
against the reduction or abolition of the duty on foreign timber which
came into competition with the colonial product, but these remonstrances
proved wholly unavailing, and it was seriously believed that the
colonial timber trade would be destroyed. This led to the annexation
movement of 1848, which affected all the provinces, while it also caused
the formation of organizations pledged to resist the free trade
movement. Tilley was in sympathy with these efforts to preserve colonial
trade, and it was in consequence of this that he first made his
entrance into political life.


At a meeting of the electors of St. John in favour of protection, which
was held previous to the general election of 1850, Tilley was nominated
as one of the candidates for the city of St. John. He was not present at
the meeting and had no knowledge whatever of the intention of the
electors to make such a nomination. A meeting was called a few nights
later in Carleton to confirm the nomination, and at that meeting Tilley
was present. He then made the strongest possible protest against the
nomination, but the electors present would not take "No" for an answer,
and he eventually consented to stand as a candidate, informing them at
the same time that he had an engagement to be in Boston on the day fixed
for the nomination, and could not be at the hustings on that day.
Notwithstanding this statement they still persisted in his nomination,
but as Tilley was absent in the United States, his nomination speech on
that occasion was made by Joseph W. Lawrence, who afterwards was found
among his strongest political opponents. At the general election of 1850
all the candidates elected for the city and county of St. John were
avowed opponents of the government. Tilley was returned at the head of
the poll, while W. H. Needham, who ran with him, was likewise elected.
The members elected for the county were R. D. Wilmot, William J.
Ritchie, John H. Gray and Charles Simonds; while J. R. Partelow,
Charles Watters and John Jordan were the three defeated candidates. The
list of candidates for the city and county of St. John included two
future governors, a future chief-justice of the supreme court of Canada
and two other judges, to say nothing of the provincial secretary, Mr.
Partelow, a speaker of the House of Assembly and a future mayor of St.
John. It must be admitted that few elections that have ever been held in
any part of British North America have had so many candidates presented
to the electors who were afterwards eminent in public life. This
election took place at an important epoch in the history of the
province, when the old order was passing away and men's minds were
prepared for a great change in political affairs. It was a Reform House
of Assembly, and, although all the members elected for the purpose of
upholding Reform principles did not prove true to their trust, still it
contained a larger number of men of Liberal views than any of its

Among the members of this House were several who had taken a very
important part in public affairs, or who afterwards became members of
the executive. The county of York sent among its representatives, Lemuel
A. Wilmot, who had been a member of the House for sixteen years, and who
had taken a leading part in many measures of importance for the
improvement of the system by which the country was governed.

Mr. Charles Fisher, who had been a colleague of Mr. Wilmot in the county
of York, was defeated at the general election, but soon afterwards
became a member of the House. Mr. Fisher had not the oratorical gifts
possessed by Mr. Wilmot, but he was even stronger in his Liberal views,
and as a constitutional lawyer he had no equal, at that time, in the
province. Although his manners were somewhat uncouth and his address far
from polished, Fisher had strong individuality and a singularly clear
intellect. His services in the cause of Liberalism in New Brunswick can
hardly be overestimated, and these services were rendered at a time when
to be a Liberal was to be, to a large extent, ostracized by the great
and powerful who looked upon any interference with their vested rights
as little short of treason.

Tilley's colleague from St. John city was William H. Needham, who
afterwards represented the county of York in the legislature. Mr.
Needham had some remarkable gifts as a speaker and a public man, and he
might have risen to a much higher position than he ever attained had it
not been that his principles were somewhat uncertain. In truth, Needham
never succeeded in getting sufficiently clear of the world to be quite
independent, and this misfortune hampered him greatly in his political


One of the members from St. John County was William J. Ritchie, a lawyer
who had risen by his own efforts to a commanding position at the bar,
and who became chief-justice of Canada. Mr. Ritchie had been a member of
the House of Assembly for several years, and always a useful one. He
possessed what few members at that time had,--a clear knowledge of the
true principles of responsible government. He had an eminently practical
mind; he was a forcible and impressive speaker, and he was bold in the
enunciation of the Liberal principles to which he held. It was a serious
misfortune to the province that at a comparatively early age he was
transferred to the bench, so that his great abilities were lost at a
critical period when they might have been useful to New Brunswick in
many ways.

John H. Gray, a new member, also sat in this House for the county of St.
John. Mr. Gray was a man of fine presence, handsome appearance, and had
a style of oratory that was very captivating and impressive. His
fluency, however, was greater than his ability, and he injured himself
by deserting the Liberal party, which he had been elected to uphold.
Gray never quite recovered from the unpopularity connected with this
action, and he never became in any sense a real leader. The party he had
deserted soon obtained the control of the province, and his final
appearance in the legislature was as a supporter of Mr. Tilley, content
to play a secondary part during the great confederation conflict.

Robert Duncan Wilmot, another of the St. John County members, a first
cousin of L. A. Wilmot, was not new to the legislature, and his mind
being naturally conservative, it is in connection with the Conservative
party that he is best known in the history of the province. He was
elected as a Liberal, however, in 1850, but seems to have forgotten that
fact as soon as he reached the House of Assembly. This was not the only
occasion on which Wilmot contrived to change his principles, for he
performed a similar feat during the confederation contest, and left the
anti-confederate government of 1865 in the lurch at a moment when its
existence almost depended on his fidelity. Wilmot never was an eloquent
man, and he entertained some highly visionary views in regard to an
irredeemable paper currency, but he was a useful public servant, and he
afterwards became a member of the government of Canada and eventually
lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick.


The Hon. John R. Partelow, who was defeated in St. John but elected for
Victoria, was a man who might have acquired a great political reputation
had the stage on which he appeared been a larger one. Partelow's
qualifications for high public position did not depend upon his oratory,
which was not of a high order, but upon his moderation and good sense.
Partelow's origin was humble, and his early days were spent as a clerk
in a store on the North Wharf, St. John. In that subordinate position he
made himself so useful and displayed so much ability that he was marked
for promotion. The idea of bringing him forward as a candidate for the
city of St. John seems to have originated with his employers, but when
he gained a seat in the legislature he speedily made his influence felt.
Partelow spoke but seldom, but when he did address the legislature it
was generally with good effect, and after the subject had been to a
large extent exhausted by previous speakers. He then had a faculty of
drafting a resolution which seemed to express the general sense of all,
and which was usually accepted as a solution of the matter. He was a
good business man, understood accounts thoroughly and, therefore, had a
great advantage in legislative work over those who were not so well
equipped in this respect. New Brunswick may have produced greater men
than he in public life, but none whose talents were more useful to the
province, or better fitted to serve its interests at a critical period
in its constitutional history.



Shortly after the general election, Chief-Justice Chipman, who had been
in infirm health, resigned his office, and a vacancy was thus left on
the bench of the supreme court of the province. In the natural course,
this office ought to have gone to the attorney-general, Mr. L. A.
Wilmot, but this appointment was not made. The council were unable to
unite in any recommendation to the governor, who consequently laid all
the facts before the home government and in reply received instructions
to give the chief-justiceship to Judge Carter and to offer the puisne
judgeship to Mr. Wilmot, or, if he should refuse it, to Mr. Kinnear, the
solicitor-general. The executive council complained that the appointment
of Mr. Wilmot to a seat on the bench by the authority of the secretary
of state without the advice or recommendation of the responsible
executive within the province, was at variance with the principles of
responsible government which were understood to be in force. They,
however, had only themselves to thank for this, for they were
continually appealing to Downing Street. As a majority of the House had
been elected as opponents of the government, it was supposed there
would be no difficulty in bringing about a change of administration. Mr.
Simonds, of St. John, who was reputed to be a Liberal, was elected
speaker without opposition, and at an early day in the session Mr.
Ritchie, of St. John, moved, as an amendment to the address, a
want-of-confidence resolution. This resolution, instead of being carried
by a large majority as was expected, was lost by a vote of fifteen to
twenty-two, Messrs. Alexander Rankine and John T. Williston, of
Northumberland, Messrs. Robert Gordon and Joseph Reed, of Gloucester,
Mr. A. Barbarie, of Restigouche, and Mr. Francis McPhelim, of Kent,
having deserted their Liberal allies. Had they proved faithful, the
government would have been defeated, and the province would have been
spared another three years of an incompetent administration.

In this division, Tilley and Needham, who represented the city of St.
John, and Messrs. R. D. Wilmot and Gray, two of the county members,
voted for Ritchie's amendment. As Wilmot and Gray showed by their votes
that they had no confidence in the government in February, 1851, it was
with much surprise that the people of St. John, in the August following,
learned that they had become members of the administration which they
had so warmly condemned a few months before. Their secession from the
Liberal party destroyed whatever chance had before existed of ousting
the government. Mr. Fisher had seceded from the government in
consequence of their action in reference to the judicial appointments,
and John Ambrose Street, who was a member for Northumberland, became
attorney-general in place of Robert Parker, appointed a judge. Mr.
Street was a ready debater and a strong Conservative, and his entrance
into the government at that time showed that a Conservative policy was
to be maintained.


Mr. Street, as leader of the government in the assembly, presented a
long programme of measures for the consideration of the legislature,
none of which proved to be of any particular value. The municipal
corporation bill was passed, but it was a permissive measure, and was
not taken advantage of by any of the counties. A bill to make the
legislative council elective, which was also passed in the Lower House
at the instance of the government, was defeated in the Upper Chamber.
The bill appointing commissioners on law reform was carried, and
resulted in the production of the three volumes of the revised statutes
issued in 1854. The most important bill of the session, introduced by
the government, was one in aid of the construction of a railroad from
St. John to Shediac. This bill provided that the government should give
a company two hundred and fifty thousand pounds sterling, to assist in
the construction of the line referred to. There was also a bill to
assist the St. Andrews and Quebec Railroad to the extent of fifty
thousand pounds, and a bonus or subvention to the Shediac line
amounting to upwards of eleven thousand dollars a mile, for which sum a
very good railway could be constructed at the present time. It may be
stated here that, although the company was formed and undertook to build
a railway to Shediac under the terms offered by the government, the
province had eventually to build the road at a cost of forty thousand
dollars a mile, or fully double what a similar road could be constructed
for now.


One of the measures brought forward by the government at this session
was with reference to the schools of the province. The idea of taxing
the property of the county for the support of public schools had not
then found any general acceptance in New Brunswick; indeed, it was not
till the year 1872 that the measure embodying this principle was passed
by the legislature. The government school bill of 1851 provided that the
teachers were to be paid in money, or board and lodging, by the district
to the amount of ten pounds for six months, in addition to the
government allowance. This bill was a very slight improvement on the Act
then in force, and as the government left it to the House to deal with,
and did not press it as a government measure, it was not passed. A
private member, Mr. Gilbert, of Queens, at this session proposed to
convert King's College into an agricultural school, with a model farm
attached. King's College had been established by an Act passed in 1829,
and had received a large endowment from the province, but it never was a
popular institution because of its connection with a single Church. The
original charter of the college made the bishop of the diocese the
visitor, and required the president to be always a clergyman of the
Church of England; and, although this had been changed in 1845 by the
legislature, the number of students who attended it was always small,
and it was shown in the course of debate that it had failed to fulfil
the object for which it was created. The college council consisted of
fifteen members, of whom ten were Episcopalians; and the visitor, the
chancellor, the president, the principal, five out of seven of the
professors and teachers, and the two examiners were members of the same
Church. The services in the college chapel were required to be attended
by all resident students, and of the eighteen students then in the
college, sixteen were Episcopalians. It was felt that this college
required to be placed on a different footing, and Mr. Gilbert's bill,
although it provoked much hostile comment at the time, certainly would
have been more beneficial to the educational interests of the country,
if it had passed, than the state of affairs which resulted from the
continuance of the old system. An agricultural school was the very thing
the province required, while, judging from the limited attendance at the
college at that time, the people of this province were not greatly
impressed with the value of a classical education. In 1851, however,
any one who proposed to replace a college for the teaching of Greek and
Latin with a college of agriculture, and the sciences allied to it, was
looked upon as a Philistine. Then youths were taught to compose Latin
and to read Greek who never, to the day of their death, had a competent
knowledge of their own language; and agricultural studies, which were of
the highest importance to more than one-half of the people of the
province, were totally neglected. Mr. Gilbert's bill was defeated, as it
was certain to be in a legislature which was still under the domination
of old ideas. Had it passed, New Brunswick might at this time have had a
large body of scientific farmers capable of cultivating the soil in the
most efficient manner, and increasing its productiveness to an extent
hardly dreamed of by those who only consider it in the light of the
present system of cultivation.

During this session, Mr. Ritchie of St. John moved a series of
resolutions condemning the government, and complaining of the colonial
office and of the conduct of the governor. These resolutions declared:
first, that the House was entitled to full copies of all despatches
addressed to or received from the colonial office, and that it was not
enough merely to send extracts from a despatch which had been received
by the governor. They declared that the power of making appointments to
offices was vested in the governor by and with the advice of the
executive council, and that the appointment of the chief-justice and a
puisne judge by the governor, contrary to the advice of his council, was
inconsistent with the principles of responsible government. They
complained that the salaries were excessive, and condemned the refusal
of the British government to allow the colonies to grant bounties for
the development of their resources. These resolutions, after being
debated for about a week, were rejected by a vote of twenty-one to
nineteen, the smallness of the majority against them at the time being
looked upon as virtually a Liberal victory. If the nineteen had been
made up of men who could be relied on to stand by their colours in all
emergencies, it would have been a Liberal triumph, but, unfortunately,
among the nineteen there were some who afterwards deserted their party
for the sake of offices and power.


Early in August it was announced that John H. Gray and R. D. Wilmot, two
of the Liberal members for the county of St. John, had abandoned their
party and their principles and become members of the government. The
Liberals of St. John, who had elected these gentlemen by a substantial
majority, were naturally chagrined at such a proof of their
faithlessness, and their colleagues were likewise greatly annoyed.
Messrs. Gray and Wilmot made the usual excuses of all deserters for
their conduct, the principal one being that they thought they could
serve the interests of the constituency and of the province better by
being in the government than out of it. The friends of the four members
who still remained faithful, Messrs. Tilley, Simonds, Ritchie and
Needham, held a meeting at which these gentlemen were present, and it
was agreed that they should join in an address to their constituents
condemning the course of Messrs. Wilmot and Gray, and calling on the
constituency to pronounce judgment upon it. As Wilmot, who had been
appointed to the office of surveyor-general, had to return to his
constituency for reëlection, the voice of the constituency could only be
ascertained by placing a candidate in the field in opposition to him.
This was done, and Mr. Allan McLean was elected to oppose Mr. Wilmot.
The result seemed to show that the people of St. John had condoned the
offence, for Wilmot was reëlected by a majority of two hundred and
seventy-three. As this appeared to be a proof that they had lost the
confidence of their constituents, Messrs. Simonds, Ritchie and Tilley at
once resigned their seats and did not offer for reëlection. This act
was, at the time, thought by many to indicate an excess of
sensitiveness, and Needham refused to follow their example, thereby
forfeiting the regard of most of those who had formerly supported him.
The sequel proved that the three resigning members were right, for they
won much more in public respect by their conduct than they lost by their
temporary exclusion from the House of Assembly.


The gentlemen returned for the three seats in St. John which had been
vacated by the resigning members were James A. Harding, John Goddard and
John Johnson. Mr. Harding, who ran for the city, was opposed by S. K.
Foster. Harding was a Liberal, but this fact does not seem to have been
kept in view when he was elected. The net result of the whole affair was
that the constituency of St. John could not be relied upon to support a
Liberal principle, or any kind of principle as against men. That has
always been a peculiarity of the St. John constituencies, men being more
important than measures, and frequently a mere transient feeling being
set off against the most important considerations of general policy.

Tilley was not in the House of Assembly during the sessions of 1852,
1853 and 1854; that period was one, however, of development in political
matters and of substantial progress. The governor's speech at the
opening of the session of 1852 was largely devoted to railways, and it
expressed the opinion that a railroad connecting Canada and Nova Scotia,
and a connection with a line from St. John to the United States, would
produce an abundant return to the province, and that by this means
millions of tons of timber, then standing worthless in the forest, would
find a profitable market. It was during this session that Messrs. Peto,
Brassy and Betts proposed to construct the European and North American
Railway, on certain conditions. The subsidies offered by the province at
this time were twenty thousand pounds a year for twenty years, and a
million acres of land for the European and North American Railway, as
the line to the United States was termed; and for the Quebec line,
twenty-two thousand pounds sterling for twenty years, and two million
acres of land. A new company, which included Mr. Jackson, M. P., offered
to build the New Brunswick section of both railroads, upon the province
granting them a subsidy of twenty thousand pounds a year for twenty
years, and four million acres of land. Attorney-General Street
introduced a series of railway resolutions favouring the building of the
Intercolonial Railway jointly by the three provinces, according to terms
which had been agreed upon by the delegates of each. The arrangement was
that the Intercolonial Railway should be built through the valley of the
St. John, and for favouring resolutions in the House confirming this
arrangement, Mr. Street's Northumberland constituents called upon him to
resign his seat, a step which he refused to take.


The government railway resolutions were carried by a large majority.
During the recess Mr. Chandler, as a representative of New Brunswick,
and Mr. Hincks, a representative of Canada, went to London to endeavour
to obtain from the British government a sum sufficient to build the
Intercolonial Railway. The request of the delegates was refused on the
ground that such a work had to be one of military necessity, and that
the route which had been selected, by the valley of the St. John, was
not a proper one for military purposes. As Mr. Chandler could not obtain
what he wished from the British government, he applied to Messrs. Peto,
Brassy and Betts, who said they were prepared to build all the railroads
that New Brunswick might require, upon the most advantageous terms. Mr.
Jackson visited the province in September of the same year, and it was
agreed that his company should build a railway from St. John to Amherst,
and from St. John to the United States frontier, the distance being then
estimated at two hundred and fourteen miles, for the sum of sixty-five
hundred pounds sterling per mile. The province was to take stock to the
extent of twelve hundred pounds per mile, and to lend its bonds to the
company for one thousand eight hundred pounds additional per mile. The
completion of this arrangement caused great rejoicing in the province,
especially in St. John, a special session of the legislature being
called on October 21st for the express purpose of amending the Railway
Act so that it might conform to the new conditions. As both branches of
the legislature were strongly in favour of the railway policy of the
government, the necessary bills were speedily passed and the legislature
was prorogued after a session of eight days.

The meeting of the legislature in 1853 derived its principal importance
from the fact that much of its time was taken up with the discussion of
the question of a reciprocity treaty with the United States of America.
The discussion disclosed a strong disinclination on the part of many
members to any arrangement by which the fisheries would be surrendered.
An address to the queen was agreed to by both branches of the
legislature in which it was stated that the exclusive use of the
fisheries by the inhabitants of British North America would be much more
advantageous and satisfactory than anything which the United States
could offer as an equivalent. It was also stated that no reciprocity
treaty with that country would be satisfactory to New Brunswick which
did not embrace the free exchange of raw materials and natural products
and the admission of colonial built vessels to registry in American
ports. The tone of the discussions on this subject, both in 1853 and
1854, shows that reciprocity with the United States was not generally
regarded as being an equivalent for the giving of the fisheries to our
neighbours, and it is quite clear that, so far as New Brunswick was
concerned, the reciprocity treaty would not have been agreed to had it
not been that the matter was in the hands of the British government, and
that the legislature of the province was not disposed to resist
strenuously any arrangement which that government thought it wise to



The House which had been elected in 1850 was dissolved after the
prorogation in 1854, and the election came on in the month of July. It
was a memorable occasion, because it was certain that the topics
discussed by the House then to be elected would be of the very highest
importance. One of these subjects was the reciprocity treaty, which at
that time had been arranged with the United States through the British
government. This treaty provided for the free interchange of certain
natural products between the great republic and the several provinces
which later formed the Dominion of Canada, and it had been brought about
through the efforts of Lord Elgin, who at that time was governor-general
of Canada. The treaty was agreed to on June 5th, and was subject to
ratification by the imperial parliament and the legislatures of the
British North American colonies which were affected by it. In the St.
John constituencies there was at that time a strong feeling in favour of
a protection policy, but this did not interfere with the desire to
effect the interchange of raw material with the United States on
advantageous terms. Tilley had been originally nominated as a
protectionist, and still held views favourable to the encouragement and
protection of native industries by means of the tariff, but he was also
favourable to reciprocity with the United States if it could be obtained
in such a manner as to be beneficial to the province. At the general
election he led the poll in the city of St. John, his colleague being
James A. Harding, who had been elected at a bye-election to the previous
House. For the county, Mr. William J. Ritchie was one of the successful
candidates, and the only Liberal returned for that constituency. The
other members for the county were the Hon. John R. Partelow, Robert D.
Wilmot and John H. Gray.

The new House was called together on October 19th for the purpose of
ratifying the reciprocity treaty, and the Hon. D. L. Hanington was
elected speaker by a vote of twenty-three to thirteen. This gave the
opposition an earlier opportunity of defeating the Street-Partelow
administration than would, under ordinary circumstances, have been
possible. An amendment to the address was moved by the Hon. Charles
Fisher, which was an indictment of the government for their various
shortcomings and offences. The amendment was to expunge the whole of the
fifth paragraph and substitute for it the following:--

"It is with feelings of loyalty and attachment to Her Majesty's person
and government that we recognize, in that provision of the treaty which
requires the concurrence of this legislature, a distinct avowal by the
imperial government of their determination to preserve inviolate the
principles of self-government, and to regard the constitution of the
province as sacred as that of the parent state. We regret that the
conduct of the administration during the last few years has not been in
accordance with these principles, and we feel constrained thus early to
state to your Excellency that your constitutional advisers have not
conducted the government of the province in the true spirit of our
colonial constitution." This amendment was debated for six days, and was
carried by a vote of twenty-seven to twelve.


The general ground of accusation against the government, and the one
most strongly insisted upon, was that it had yielded to the influence of
the colonial office in the appointment of Judge Wilmot. It was well
known that the government at that time, or at least a majority of them,
did not consider it necessary to appoint another judge; at all events,
they took no steps to bring about another appointment; but they yielded
to the colonial office, and the pressure put upon them by Sir Edmund
Head, the lieutenant-governor, so far as to acquiesce in the appointment
of Judge Carter as chief-justice, and the elevation of Mr. Wilmot to the
bench. This was a fair ground of attack, because it was clear that if
the executive council of New Brunswick was under the orders of the home
government, representative institutions and responsible government did
not exist.

Thus the Street-Partelow government fell, and with it disappeared, at
once and forever, the old Conservative régime which had existed in the
province from its foundation, and which, unavoidably no doubt, had
presided over the early political life of the colony, but the undue
continuance of which was wholly incompatible with the full development
of representative institutions and responsible government. It was a
great triumph for the cause of Liberalism that the Conservatives of that
period were not only defeated, but swept altogether out of existence.
After that a government of men who called themselves Conservatives might
go into power, but the old state of affairs, under which the
lieutenant-governor could exercise almost despotic powers, had departed
forever, and could no more be revived than the heptarchy. All that a
Conservative government could do after that was to fall into line with
the policy of the men they had displaced, and proceed, less rapidly
perhaps, but none the less surely, along the path of political progress.

The new government which was formed as the result of this vote had for
its premier the Hon. Charles Fisher, who took the office of
attorney-general; Mr. Tilley became provincial secretary; Mr. James
Brown, a few weeks later, received the office of surveyor-general; J. M.
Johnson, one of the members for Northumberland, became solicitor-general;
and William J. Ritchie, Albert J. Smith and William H. Steeves were
members of the government without office.

The bill to give effect to the reciprocity treaty passed its third
reading on November 2d, only five members voting against it. On motion
of the Hon. Mr. Ritchie, one of the members of the new government, it
was resolved that it was desirable and expedient that the
surveyor-general, who was a political officer, should hold a seat in the
House of Assembly, and that the government should carry out the wishes
of the House in this respect. Before the House again met the wishes of
the House had been complied with, and Mr. Brown, of Charlotte, became


The House met again on February 1st, 1855, and then the real work of
legislative and administrative reform began. In the speech from the
throne it was stated that the Customs Act would expire in the course of
a year, and that it was necessary that a new Act should be passed. A
better system of auditing the public accounts was also recommended, and
a better system of electing members to the legislature. On March 5th,
correspondence was brought down, dated the previous 15th of August,
announcing, on the part of the imperial government, the withdrawal of
the imperial customs establishment, which was considered to be no longer
necessary, and stating that as the duties of these offices were now
mainly in connection with the registration of vessels in the colonies,
and the granting of certificates of the origin of colonial products,
this work would hereafter be performed by the colonial officers. A
letter addressed to the comptrollers and other customs officers had
informed them that their services would be discontinued after January
5th, 1855. So disappeared the last remnant of the old imperial
custom-house system, which had been the cause of so many difficulties in
all the colonies and which had done more than anything else to bring
about the revolution which separated the thirteen colonies from the
mother country.

The great measure of the session of 1855 was the law to prevent the
importation, manufacture or selling of liquor. This bill was brought in
by Mr. Tilley as a private member, and not on behalf of the government.
It was introduced on March 3d. Considering its importance and the fact
that it led to a crisis in the affairs of the government and the
temporary defeat of the Liberal party, it went through the House with
comparatively little difficulty. It was first considered on March 19th,
and a motion to postpone its further consideration for three months was
lost by a vote of seventeen to twenty-one. The final division on the
third reading was taken on March 27th, and the vote was twenty-one to
eighteen, so that every member of the House, with one exception, voted
yea or nay. The closeness of this last division should have warned the
advocate of the measure that it was likely to produce difficulty, for it
is clear that all laws which are intended to regulate the personal
habits of men must be ineffectual unless they have the support of a
large majority of the people affected by them. That this was not the
case with the prohibitory liquor law was shown by the vote in the
legislature, and it was still more clearly shown after the law came into
operation on January 1st, 1856.


The passage of the prohibitory law was a bold experiment, and, as the
sequel showed, more bold than wise. The temperance movement in New
Brunswick, at that time, was hardly more than twenty years old, and New
Brunswick had always been a province in which the consumption of liquor
was large in proportion to its population. When it was first settled by
the Loyalists, and for many years afterwards, the use of liquor was
considered necessary to happiness, if not to actual existence. Every
person consumed spirits, which generally came to the province in the
form of Jamaica rum, from the West Indies, and as this rum was supposed
to be an infallible cure for nearly every ill that flesh is heir to,
nothing could be done at that time without its use. Large quantities of
rum were taken into the woods for the lumbermen, to give them sufficient
strength to perform the laborious work in which they were engaged, and
if it had been suggested that a time would come when the same work would
be done without any more powerful stimulant than tea, the person who
ventured to make such a suggestion would have been regarded as foolish.
Experience has shown that more and better work can be done, not only in
the woods, but everywhere else, without the use of stimulants than with
them; but no one could be persuaded to believe this sixty years ago.
Every kind of work connected with the farm then had to be performed by
the aid of liquor. Every house-raising, every ploughing match, every
meeting at which farmers congregated, had unlimited quantities of rum as
one of its leading features. It was also used by almost every man as a
part of his regular diet; the old stagers had their eleven-o'clock dram
and their nip before dinner; their regular series of drinks in the
afternoon and evening; and they actually believed that without them life
would not be worth living. Some idea of the extent of the
spirit-drinking of the province may be gathered from the fact that, in
1838, when the population did not exceed 120,000, 312,298 gallons of
rum, gin and whiskey, and 64,579 gallons of brandy were consumed in New
Brunswick. Spirits, especially rum, were very cheap, and, the duty being
only thirty cents a gallon, every one could afford to drink it if
disposed to do so.

It was at midnight on December 31st, 1855, when the bells rang out a
merry peal to announce the advent of the New Year, that this law went
into force. This meant little less than a revolution in the views,
feelings and ideas of the people of the province, and, to a large
extent, in their business relations. The liquor trade, both wholesale
and retail, employed large numbers of men, and occupied many buildings
which brought in large rents to their owners. The number of taverns in
St. John and its suburb, Portland, was not less than two hundred, and
every one of these establishments had to be closed. There were probably
at least twenty men who sold liquor at wholesale, and who extended their
business to every section of the province, as well as to parts of Nova
Scotia, and their operations also had to come to an end. It was not to
be supposed that these people would consent to be deprived suddenly of
their means of living, especially in view of the fact that it was by no
means certain that the sentiment in favour of prohibition was as strong
in the country as it appeared to be in the legislature. It has always
been understood that many men voted for prohibition in the House of
Assembly who themselves were not total abstainers, but who thought they
might make political capital by taking that course, and who relied on
the legislative council to throw out the bill. No men were more
disgusted and disappointed than they when the council passed the bill.


The result of the attempt to enforce prohibition was what might have
been expected. The law was resisted, liquor continued to be sold, and
when attempts were made to prevent the violation of the law, and the
violators of the law were brought before the courts, able lawyers were
employed to defend them, while the sale of liquor by the same parties
was continued, thus setting the law at defiance. This state of confusion
lasted for several months, but it is unnecessary to go into details. In
the city of St. John, especially, the conflict became bitter to the last
degree, and it was evident that, however admirable prohibition might be
of itself, the people of that city were not then prepared to accept it.
At this juncture came the astounding news that the lieutenant-governor,
the Hon. H. T. Manners-Sutton, had dissolved the House of Assembly
against the advice of his council. This governor, who had been appointed
the year previous, was a member of an old Conservative family, one of
whom was speaker of the British House of Commons for a great many years.
The traditions of this family were all opposed to such a radical measure
as the prohibitory law, and, therefore, it was not to be expected that
Manners-Sutton, who drank wine at his own table, and who considered that
its use was proper and necessary, would be favourable to the law. But
even if he had been disposed to favour it originally, or to regard it
without prejudice, the confusion which it caused in the province when
the attempt was made to enforce it, would naturally incline him to look
upon it as an evil. At all events, he came to the conclusion that the
people should have another opportunity of pronouncing upon it, and, as
the result of this view of the situation, resolved to dissolve the
legislature, which had been elected only a little more than a year, and
had still three years to run.


The election which followed in July, 1856, was perhaps the most hotly
contested that has ever taken place in the province. In St. John,
especially, the conflict was fierce and bitter, because it was in this
city that the liquor interest was strongest and most influential. All
over the province, however, the people became interested in the
struggle, as they had not been in any previous campaign.

By the Liberals and friends of the government, the action of Governor
Sutton was denounced as tyrannical, unjust and entirely contrary to the
principles of responsible government. On the other hand, the friends of
the governor and of the liquor interest declared that his action was
right, and the cry of "Support the governor," was raised in every
county. At this day it is easy enough to discern that there was a good
deal of unnecessary violence injected into the campaign, and that
neither party was inclined to do full justice to the other.



The result of the election was the defeat of the government. Mr. Tilley
lost his seat for St. John city, and the Hon. James Brown, the
surveyor-general, was rejected by the county of Charlotte, so that two
of the principal members of the executive were not in their places when
the House was called together in July. The city of St. John, and the
city and county of St. John, sent a solid phalanx of six members opposed
to prohibition, and an Act repealing the prohibitory liquor law was
passed by a vote of thirty-eight to two. The new government which was
formed had for its principal members, the Hon. John H. Gray, who became
attorney-general; the Hon. John C. Allen, solicitor-general; the Hon. R.
D. Wilmot, provincial secretary; the Hon. John Montgomery,
surveyor-general, and the Hon. Francis McPhelim, postmaster-general. The
other members of the executive council were the Hon. Edward B. Chandler,
the Hon. Robert L. Hazen and the Hon. Charles McPherson.

When the House met in July, the Hon. Charles Simonds, of St. John, was
elected speaker, and it was soon discovered, after the liquor bill had
been disposed of, that the majority supporting the government was so
small as to make it impossible for them to accomplish any useful
legislation. When the legislature again met, in the early part of 1857,
it was seen that in a House of forty-one members twenty were arrayed
against the government, and the only way in which government business
could be done was by the casting vote of the speaker. This condition of
affairs speedily became intolerable, because it practically made
legislation impossible, but it was brought to an end by Mr. McMonagle,
one of the members for the county of Kings, withdrawing his support from
the government. Two courses only were now open to them, to tender their
resignations or advise the dissolution of the legislature, and they
chose the latter. The House of Assembly was dissolved by proclamation on
April 1st, 1857, and the writs for the election were made returnable on
May 16th.


The excitement attending this second election was, if possible, even
greater than during the election of 1856, for the public mind had been
wrought up to a high state of tension by the proceedings in the House
and the numerous divisions in which the government was supported only by
the casting vote of the speaker. The result of the election was so
unfavourable to the Gray-Wilmot government that they at once tendered
their resignations to the lieutenant-governor, agreeing to hold office
only until their successors were appointed. The most bitter contest of
the election centred in the city of St. John, and it resulted in the
election of Mr. Tilley, with Mr. James A. Harding for his colleague, the
latter having changed his views in regard to the question at issue since
the previous election, when he was chosen as an opponent of the
government of which Tilley had been a member. When the Gray-Wilmot
government resigned, the lieutenant-governor sent for Mr. Fisher, and
entrusted to him the business of forming a new government. The
government thus formed comprised the Hons. James Brown, S. L. Tilley,
William Henry Steeves, John M. Johnson, Albert J. Smith, David Wark and
Charles Watters. The Hon. Charles Fisher became attorney-general, and,
resigning his seat, was reëlected for the county of York prior to the
meeting of the legislature on June 24th, 1857. The session lasted only
until July 1st, being merely held for the purpose of disposing of the
necessary business. James A. Harding was elected speaker of the House,
and the legislation was confined to the passage of the supply bills, and
matters that were urgent. Tilley took no part in the legislation of this
session, for his seat immediately became vacant by his appointment as
provincial secretary. The other departments were filled by the
appointment of Mr. Brown to the office of surveyor-general; of Mr.
Charles Watters, to the office of solicitor-general, and of John M.
Johnson as postmaster-general.

The legislature met again on February 10th, 1858, and the speech from
the throne dealt mainly with the financial crisis, the Intercolonial
Railway, and the progress that was being made in the construction of the
line between St. John and Shediac as a part of what was termed the
European and North American Railway. The speech also referred to the
fact that the surplus civil list fund had been, by arrangement with the
British government made the previous year, placed at the disposal of the
House of Assembly. It was soon seen that the government was strong in
the House, the first test vote being that taken on the passage of the
address in reply to the speech from the throne. This came in the form of
an amendment, regretting that the arrangement in regard to the surplus
civil list fund had been acceded to without the consent of the House.
This amendment to the address received the support of only six members.
A return brought down at an early period in the session showed that the
revenue of the province for the fiscal year, ending October 31st, 1857,
amounted to $668,252 an increase of $86,528 over the previous year. Of
this sum upwards of $540,000 came from import duties and what were
termed railway impost, which was simply duties levied on imports for the
purpose of defraying the cost of the railways then building. The casual
and territorial revenue yielded only eighteen thousand pounds but the
export duties reached almost twenty thousand pounds.


The Intercolonial Railway still continued to engage the attention of the
legislature, and correspondence with the secretary of state, with the
government of Canada, and with the government of Nova Scotia, in regard
to this great work, was laid before the House soon after the session
opened. The government of New Brunswick consulted with the governments
of Canada and Nova Scotia as to what assistance should be given by the
imperial government towards the construction of the Intercolonial
Railway from Halifax to Quebec, in the form of a guarantee of interest.
The British government professed to feel a strong sense of the
importance of the object, but thought they would not be justified in
applying to parliament for the required guarantee, because the heavy
expenditures to which Great Britain had been subjected did not leave
them at liberty to pledge its revenue for the purpose of assisting in
the construction of public works of this description, however desirable
in themselves. The correspondence on the subject of the Intercolonial
Railway extended over a period of more than twenty years and grew to
enormous proportions, but it is safe to assert that this line of railway
would not have been constructed in the nineteenth century but for the
fact that it was undertaken by the Canadian Dominion as a work which had
to be built for the purpose of carrying out the terms of confederation
as set out in the British North America Act (section 145).

The railway to Shediac was finally completed and opened for traffic on
August 5th, 1860, its length being one hundred and eight miles. The
nineteen miles between Pointe du Chêne and Moncton had been open as
early as August, 1857, and the nine miles from St. John to Rothesay, on
June 1st, 1858. The railway was opened from St. John to Hampton in June,
1859, and to Sussex in November of the same year. Although the people of
the province had abated something of their enthusiasm for railways by
the time the St. John and Shediac line was finished, still its opening
was a great event, because it was the commencement of a new era in
transportation and gave St. John access to the north shore, from which
it had previously been practically shut out. Goods could now be sent by
means of railway and steamer to Prince Edward Island, and to the New
Brunswick ports on the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and a community of interest
which did not exist before was thus created between the most remote
sections of the province.

The traffic receipts of the complete line were thought to be highly
satisfactory; the business for the first three months amounted to about
$45,000, and yielded a revenue of $18,000. This was a good showing and
gave promise of still better things for the future. It may be
interesting to state that in the last year that the railway was operated
by the government of the province, the gross receipts amounted to
$148,330, and the net receipts to $51,760. The gross and net revenue of
the road had shown a steady increase from the first, and although it had
been a costly public work the people of the province considered it a
good investment. It was only after it had passed into the hands of the
government of Canada, and become a part of the Intercolonial Railway,
that any colour was given to the accusation that it was an unprofitable
line. The railway from St. John to Shediac had always paid well, and
probably, if dissociated from its connecting lines, would at this day
pay three or four per cent, upon its original cost.


The legislation of the province between 1858 and 1861, although it
included many useful measures, evolved nothing that calls for particular
mention, with the exception of the law which provided for voting by
ballot. This was an innovation to which many were opposed, but which the
Liberal party very properly considered necessary to the protection of
the voter, who was liable to be coerced by his employer, or by those who
had financial relations with him. The ballot system introduced by the
government was quite imperfect and did not insure absolute secrecy,
because it did not provide for an official ballot such as is required in
the system of election which now prevails in connection with the choice
of members to our Canadian parliament. Yet it was a vast improvement on
open voting, not only because it gave the voter a certain degree of
protection, but also from the fact that it tended to promote order at
elections, and to do away with that riotous spirit which was
characteristic of the earlier contests in the province.


In 1859 an important step was taken for the reorganization of King's
College, which by an Act passed in that year, was changed into the
University of New Brunswick. There had always been a great deal of
dissatisfaction with the college in consequence of its denominational
character, and in 1854 an Act was passed empowering the
lieutenant-governor to appoint a commission to inquire into the state of
King's College, its management and utility, with a view to improving it.
The commissioners appointed were the Hon. John H. Gray, the Rev. Egerton
Ryerson, J. W. Dawson, the Hon. John S. Saunders and the Hon. James
Brown. The report, which was dated December 28th, 1854, was laid before
both branches of the legislature in 1855. In 1857 the college council
appointed a committee and prepared a draft of a bill which was laid
before the legislature. This, with a few slight alterations, was the
bill which was passed in 1859 for the establishment of the University of
New Brunswick, and in this bill were embodied the principal
recommendations of the commissioners appointed in 1854 to enquire into
the state of the college. This Act transferred to the University of New
Brunswick all the property of King's College and its endowment, and made
the university liable for the payment of the debts and the performance
of the contracts of King's College. It created a new governing body for
the college to be styled the senate, to be appointed by the governor in
council, and the president of the college was required to be a member of
that body and also to be a layman. It conferred upon the senate the
power of appointing the professors and other officers of the university,
except the president, and also the power of removing them from office,
subject to the approval of the governor in council. It also authorized
the senate to fix their salaries. It abolished the professorship of
theology and provided for the affiliation of other institutions with the
university, and also for a number of free scholars. This Act, which was
passed in April, 1859, was especially approved by Her Majesty in council
on January 25th, 1860. Thus a new era in the higher education of New
Brunswick was commenced, and a long step was taken towards making the
college more acceptable to the people of that province. Great hopes were
entertained at the time that this liberalizing of the constitution of
the college would lead to a large increase in the number of its
students, and a more general interest in its work, but, unfortunately,
as the sequel showed, these hopes were only partially realized.

During the spring of 1860 circumstances occurred which led to the
resignation of the postmaster-general, the Hon. Charles Connell. The
legislature having adopted the decimal system of currency in the place
of the pounds, shillings and pence which had been the currency of the
province since its foundation, Mr. Connell, in March, 1860, was
authorized to obtain a new set of postage stamps of the denominations
required for use in the postal service of the province. No person, at
that time, thought that a political crisis would arise out of this
order, but it appears that Mr. Connell, guided by the example of
presidents and postmasters-general of the United States, had made up his
mind that instead of the likeness of the queen, which had been upon all
the old postage stamps of the province, the five-cent stamp, the one
which would be most in use, should bear the impress of his own
countenance. Accordingly the Connell postage stamp, which is now one of
the rarest and most costly of all in the lists of collectors, was
procured and was ready to be used, when Mr. Connell's colleagues in the
government discovered what was going on and took steps to prevent the
new five-cent stamp from being issued. The correspondence on the
subject, which will be found in the journals of 1861, is curious and
interesting; it ended in the withdrawal of the objectionable stamps and
in the resignation of Mr. Connell, who complained that he had lost the
confidence of his colleagues, and in resigning, charged them with
neglecting the affairs of the province. Only a few of the Connell stamps
got into circulation, the remainder of the issue being destroyed. Mr.
Connell's place as postmaster-general was filled by the appointment of
James Steadman.


In the early part of 1861 a very important event occurred in connection
with the government which produced a lasting effect on provincial
politics. Charges were made by a St. John Conservative paper, _The
Colonial Empire_, in which it was stated that members of the government
and certain Crown lands officials had been purchasing the most desirable
and valuable Crown lands of the province for speculative purposes, and
that in bringing these lands to sale the government regulations had been
violated and the public treasury had suffered. A committee of the House
was appointed to investigate these charges, and inquiry established the
fact that an official of the Crown lands department had purchased some
eight hundred acres. These lands were all bought at public sale, but in
the forms of application other names were used, which was a violation of
the rules of the department. A portion of the press at the time created
a widespread excitement upon this subject, and the services of the
official referred to were dispensed with. Some of the supporters of the
government also took such ground in reference to the attorney-general,
Mr. Fisher, that his retirement from the government became necessary,
the accusation against him being that he had negligently permitted some
improper sales of Crown lands to be made. It was felt at the time by
some that the penalty that was paid by the attorney-general was
excessive for the offence; but, under the excitement then existing, it
was the only course that could be taken to avoid the defeat of the
government. At the general election that followed a few months later,
Mr. Fisher was reëlected for the county of York, and later on, after the
excitement had passed over, the delinquent Crown lands official was
reinstated. At the same election, that took place in 1861, the
government was handsomely sustained, after one of the warmest contests
that had ever taken place in New Brunswick. Probably the most effective
nomination speech ever made by Tilley, during his long political career,
was the one then delivered at the court-house, St. John, in his own
defence, and in the vindication of his government against the charges
made by the Opposition candidates and press.



The imperfect means of communication between the Maritime Provinces and
Canada had long been recognized as a great evil, and very soon after the
introduction of railways into England a line of railway was projected to
run from St. Andrews, in New Brunswick, to Quebec. The transfer of a
considerable tract of territory, which had been believed to be in New
Brunswick, to the state of Maine, under the terms of the Ashburton
Treaty, gave a check to this enterprise, and financial difficulties
afterwards prevented its accomplishment. A more promising scheme was
that of a railway from Halifax to Quebec, and this so far received the
approval of the British government that an officer of engineers, Major
Robinson, was, in 1847, detailed to conduct a survey of the proposed
line. As this gentleman was influenced by purely military
considerations, his line was carried as far from the United States
boundary as possible, and consequently by a very long and circuitous
route. During the session of 1852, Attorney-General Street introduced a
series of resolutions in the New Brunswick legislature favouring the
building of the Intercolonial Railway jointly by Canada, New Brunswick
and Nova Scotia, according to terms which had been agreed upon by the
delegates of each. This arrangement was that the Intercolonial Railway
should be built through the valley of the St. John. These resolutions
were carried by a large majority. During the recess, Mr. Chandler, as
the representative of New Brunswick, and Mr. Hincks, the representative
of Canada, went to London to endeavour to obtain from the British
government financial aid to build the Intercolonial Railway. This was
refused on the ground that such a work had to be one of military
necessity. Further efforts were made in 1855, and again in 1858, to
influence the British government in favour of this railway, but without
result; the answer of Downing Street being that the heavy expenditure
involved in the Crimean War prevented the government from assisting in
the construction of public works, such as the Intercolonial Railway,
however desirable in themselves.


The effort to secure the construction of the Intercolonial Railway was
renewed in 1861. At a meeting of delegates representing Canada, Nova
Scotia and New Brunswick, which was held at Quebec on September 30th, it
was resolved that the three governments should renew the offers made to
the imperial government in 1858 with reference to the Intercolonial
Railway, and that the route to be adopted be decided by the imperial
government. The Hon. Mr. Tilley, who was at this Quebec meeting, was
sent to England as a delegate to confer with the imperial government
with regard to the railway, while Nova Scotia was represented by the
Hon. Joseph Howe, and Canada, by the Hon. P. M. Vankoughnet. The
delegates reached England in November and placed themselves in
communication with the Duke of Newcastle, who was then colonial
secretary, and they also had interviews with the prime minister, Lord
Palmerston, the chancellor of the exchequer, the secretary of war, and
the president of the board of trade. While in England, the seizure of
the commissioners of the southern confederacy, Messrs. Mason and
Slidell, by Commodore Wilkes, on board the British mail steamer _Trent_,
produced a crisis in the relations between Great Britain and the United
States which seemed likely to lead to a war, and greatly strengthened
the position of the delegates, who were able to point out the difficulty
involved in defending Canada without a railway to the sea. They
presented their views to the colonial secretary in a very ably written
state paper, which should have convinced those to whom it was addressed
that the railway was an absolute necessity. The delegates estimated the
cost of the railway at £3,000,000 sterling, and they asked the imperial
government to join in a guarantee of four per cent. interest on this
sum, each of the provinces to guarantee £20,000 a year for this purpose
and the imperial government, £60,000. This proposal was rejected by the
British government, but it offered "an imperial guarantee of interest
towards enabling them to raise by public loan, at a moderate rate, the
requisite funds for constructing the railway." The British government,
therefore, would do nothing for this great work except to indorse the
bonds of the provinces to a limited extent, for it was stated in the
Duke of Newcastle's letter to the delegates that "the nature and extent
of the guarantee must be determined by the particulars of any scheme
which the provincial governments may be disposed to found on the present
proposal and on the kind of security which they would offer."

Delegates representing the three provinces met in Quebec in September,
1862, to consider this offer, New Brunswick being represented by Messrs.
Tilley, Steeves and Mitchell. The delegates from the Maritime Provinces
declared their willingness to propose to their respective governments to
accept the proposition of the Duke of Newcastle if Canada would bear
one-half of the expense of the railway instead of one-third. The
Canadian government offered to assume five-twelfths of the liability for
the construction and working of the Intercolonial, and to this the
delegates for New Brunswick and Nova Scotia had to agree. This imposed a
very serious burthen on two provinces, which, between them, had only six
hundred thousand inhabitants, and their willingness to assume it shows
the interest they took in this great work.


In pursuance of an arrangement made at this Quebec meeting, delegates
from the three provinces went to England to arrange the terms of the
guarantee with the British government; the Hon. Mr. Tilley represented
New Brunswick, and the Hon. Joseph Howe, Nova Scotia. Mr. Gladstone, who
was then chancellor of the exchequer, insisted on a sinking fund being
provided, which was to be a first charge on the revenues of the several
provinces. This sinking fund was objected to by the colonial delegates,
but the only modification in its terms which they were able to obtain
was that the sinking fund was not to take precedence of any existing
liability. Before leaving England, Messrs. Tilley and Howe prepared and
submitted a memorandum to the Duke of Newcastle in which they expressed
a hope that Mr. Gladstone might be induced to reconsider the matter of
the sinking fund, and that it would not be insisted on. The Canadian
delegates left England without an acceptance of the terms proposed by
Mr. Gladstone, and without a formal rejection of them. Previous to the
meeting of the Canadian parliament, Tilley proceeded to Quebec to urge
upon the Canadian government the preparation of the necessary bills to
carry out the agreement entered into for the construction of this great
railway. He reported to the lieutenant-governor on his return that the
government of Canada, for reasons stated, could not then undertake to
pass the legislation required, which they greatly regretted, but that
they had not abandoned the arrangements for the construction of the
railway. The Canadian government's declaration in the course of the
session that they had abandoned this important enterprise was,
accordingly, a source of great surprise and regret. The governments of
New Brunswick and Nova Scotia passed the necessary legislation at the
next session, but the government of Canada took no further step in the
matter until the confederation negotiations were commenced in 1864.



We now come down to an event of the greatest interest, in which Mr.
Tilley took part, and one of such vast and far-reaching importance that
it quite overshadows all the other events of his career. The
confederation of the Canadian provinces was, beyond all question, the
most notable colonial movement within the British empire since the
American Declaration of Independence. It changed at once the whole
character of the colonial relations which had subsisted with the mother
country, and substituted for a few weak and scattered colonies a
powerful Dominion, able to speak with a united voice, and stand as a
helpmeet to the nation from which most of its people had sprung. No man,
whatever his views as to the wisdom of that political union may have
been at the time, can now deny that it was timely and necessary, if the
colonies and the mother country were to preserve their connection with
each other. It is safe to say that, if confederation had not taken place
in 1867, British interests on this continent would have suffered, and
possibly some of the colonies would now have been a part of the United
States. The policy of separating the colonies from England, which has
been so much advocated by many leading public men in the great republic,
would have found free scope, and by balancing the interests of one
colony against those of another, promoting dissensions and favouring
those provinces which were disposed to a closer union with the United
States, something might have been done to weaken their connection with
the British empire, which is now the glory and the strength of the
Dominion of Canada.

The question of the union of the several colonies of British North
America was by no means a new one when it came up for final settlement.
It had been discussed at a very early period in the history of the
provinces, and indeed it was a question which it was quite natural to
discuss, for it seemed but reasonable that colonies of the same origin,
owing the same allegiance, inhabited by people who differed but little
from each other in any respect, and with many commercial interests in
common, should form a political union. No doubt it might have been
brought earlier to the front as a vital political question but for the
fact that the British government, which was most interested in promoting
the union of the colonies, took no step towards that end until almost
compelled by necessity to move in the matter. The colonial policy of
England, as represented by the colonial office and in the royal
instructions to colonial governors, has seldom been wise or far-seeing,
and the British colonies which now girdle the world, have been built up
mainly as the result of private enterprise; for the part taken by the
government has, in most cases, been merely to give official sanction to
what private individuals have already done, and to assist in protecting
British interests when they have become important, especially in new
regions of the world.


When the Earl of Durham was sent out as governor-general of Canada after
the rebellion there in 1838, he suggested in his report that the union
of the colonies of British North America was one of the remedies which
ought to be resorted to for the pacification of Canada and the
reconstruction of its constitution. While a large proportion of the
people of the colonies looked with favour upon the idea of a political
union, there was in all of them a large body of objectors who were
steadily opposed to it. People of that kind are to be found in all
countries, and they have existed in all ages of the world's history.
They are the persons who see in every new movement a thousand
difficulties which cannot be surmounted. Their minds are constructed on
the principle of rejecting all new ideas, and clinging to old forms and
systems long after they have lost their vitality. They are a class who
look back for precedents for any step of a political character which it
is proposed to take, and who judge of everything by the standard of some
former age. They seem to forget that precedents must be created some
time or another, and that the present century has as good a right to
create precedents as any of its predecessors. To these people every
objection that could be urged against confederation was exaggerated and
magnified, and whenever any proposal was made which seemed to tend
towards the union of the colonies, their voices were heard upon the
other side. We need not doubt the honesty or loyalty of these objectors,
or consider that they were unfavourable either to British connection or
to the building up of the empire. It was merely their misfortune that
they were constitutionally adverse to change, and could not see any
merit in a political movement which involved the idea of novelty.

For some time the principal advocate of confederation in the Maritime
Provinces was the Hon. Joseph Howe, a man of such ability and force of
character that on a wider stage he might have risen to eminence, and
ranked amongst the world's great statesmen.[10] It is impossible indeed
not to regret that so great a man, one so imperial in his instincts and
views, should have been condemned to spend his life within the bounds of
one small province.


The question of the political union of the British North American
provinces was brought up in the House of Assembly of Nova Scotia in
1854, and then the leaders of both parties, the Hon. Mr. Johnson for the
Conservatives, and the Hon. Mr. Howe for the Liberals, united in
advocating the measure, and in depicting the advantage which would
accrue from it not only to Nova Scotia, but to every British province in
North America. In 1858 the question of confederation was discussed in
the parliament of Canada, and such a union was made a part of the policy
of the government; for Mr. A. T. Galt, on becoming a member of the
administration, insisted upon its being made a cabinet question, and Sir
Edmund Head, the governor-general, in his speech at the close of the
session, intimated that his government would take action in the matter
during the recess. Messrs. Cartier, Galt, and Ross, who were in England
representing the government of Canada, waited upon the colonial
secretary, Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton, asking the authority of the
imperial government for a meeting of representatives from each of the
colonies to take the question of union into consideration. The colonial
secretary informed the Canadian delegates, no doubt after consultation
with his colleagues, that the question of confederation was necessarily
one of an imperial character, and declined to authorize the meeting,
because no expression of sentiment on the subject had as yet been
received from any of the Maritime Provinces except Nova Scotia. The Earl
of Derby's government fell a few months after this declaration of its
policy in regard to the colonies, and was succeeded by the government of
Lord Palmerston, which was in office at the time when the negotiations
which resulted in the confederation of the colonies were commenced. At
first Lord Palmerston's government seems to have been no more favourable
to the union of the colonies than its predecessor; for in 1862 the Duke
of Newcastle, then colonial secretary, in a despatch to the
governor-general of Canada, after stating that Her Majesty's government
was not prepared to announce any definite policy on the question of
confederation, added that, "If a union, either partial or complete,
should hereafter be proposed, with the concurrence of all the provinces
to be united, I am sure that the matter would be weighed in this country
both by the public, by parliament and by Her Majesty's government, with
no other feeling than an anxiety to discern and promote any course which
might be the most conducive to the prosperity, strength and harmony of
all the British communities of North America." It must always be a
subject of astonishment that the British government for so many years
should have had no definite policy on a matter so momentous, and that
they should have sought to discourage, rather than otherwise, a project
which has been of such vast importance to the empire.

The first impulse in favour of confederation in the minds of the members
of Lord Palmerston's cabinet seems to have developed about the time when
it became evident that the result of the civil war in the United States
would be the defeat of the southern confederacy and the consolidation
of the power of the great republic in a more effectual union than that
which had existed before. No one who was not blind could fail to see
that this change of attitude on the part of the United States would
demand a corresponding change in the relations of the British colonies
towards each other; for from being a mere federation of states, so
loosely connected that secession was frequently threatened by states
both north and south, the United States, as the result of the war, had
become a nation with a strong central government, which had taken to
itself powers never contemplated by the constitution, and which added
immensely to its offensive and defensive strength.


In 1863, Thomas D'Arcy McGee, a member of the Canadian cabinet and a man
of great eloquence and ability, visited St. John and delivered a lecture
in the Mechanics' Institute Hall on the subject of the union of the
colonies. His lecture was fully reported in the _Morning News_, a paper
then published in that city, and attracted wide attention because it
opened up a subject of the highest interest for the contemplation of the
people of the provinces. Shortly afterwards a series of articles on the
same subject, written by the author of this book, appeared in the
columns of the _Morning News_, and were widely read and quoted. These
articles followed closely the lines laid down for the union of the
colonies by the late Peter S. Hamilton, of Halifax, a writer of ability
whose articles on the subject were collected in pamphlet form and
extensively circulated. Thus in various ways the public mind was being
educated on the question of confederation, and the opinion that the
union of the British North American colonies was desirable was generally
accepted by all persons who gave any attention to the subject. It was
only when the matter came up in a practical form and as a distinct
proposition to be carried into effect, that the violent opposition which
was afterwards developed against confederation began to be shown.

An event occurred in the summer of 1864 which had its effect on the
question of confederation. Up to that time the people of Canada and New
Brunswick had been almost wholly unknown to each other, because the
difficulties of travelling between the two provinces were so great. Any
person who desired to reach Montreal at that time from St. John had to
take the international steamer to Portland, Me., and was then carried by
the Grand Trunk Railway to his destination. Quebec could be reached in
summer by the steamer from Pictou which called at Shediac, but in winter
the journey had to be made by the Grand Trunk Railway from Portland, the
only alternative route being the road by which the mails were carried
from Edmunston north to the St. Lawrence. Under these circumstances the
people of the Canadian provinces and of the Maritime Provinces had but
few opportunities of seeing each other, and the people of all the
provinces knew much more of their neighbours in the United States than
they did of their fellow-colonists. One result of the Hon. D'Arcy
McGee's visit in 1863 was an invitation by the city of St. John to the
legislature of Canada to visit the Maritime Provinces. The invitation
was accepted and a party of about one hundred, comprising members of the
legislature, newspaper men, and others, visited St. John in the
beginning of August, 1864. Their trip was extended to Fredericton, where
they were the guests of the government of New Brunswick, and to Halifax,
where they were the guests of that city and of the government of Nova
Scotia. This visit produced a good effect upon the public mind, and
enabled the Maritime people to see what kind of men their
fellow-colonists of Upper and Lower Canada were.


In the meantime a great crisis had arisen in the government of Canada,
which was the immediate cause of the active part which that province
took in the confederation movement. When Upper and Lower Canada were
united in 1841, it was arranged that the representation of each province
in the legislature should be equal. The arrangement at that time was
favourable to Upper Canada, which had a smaller population than Lower
Canada; but in the course of time, as the population of Upper Canada
increased faster than that of the lower province, the people of Upper
Canada felt that they had less representation than they were entitled
to, and this state of affairs led to the raising of the cry of
"Representation by Population" which was so often heard in that province
prior to the era of confederation. In 1864 Upper Canada had half a
million more people than Lower Canada, and yet was only entitled to the
same number of members in the legislature. Another serious difficulty,
which arose out of the union, was the necessity, which not long
afterwards began to be recognized, of the government having a majority
in the legislature from each section of the province. This, in time,
grew to be so great an evil that the successful government of Canada
became almost impossible, for the majority for the government in one
province might at any time be disturbed by some local feeling, and as a
consequence the government overthrown. To trace the history of the
difficulties which arose from this cause would be to recite twenty years
of the history of Canada; but it is only necessary to point out thus
plainly the reasons for the willingness of the people of Upper and Lower
Canada to resort to confederation as a means of getting rid of their


In 1863, the Hon. John Sandfield Macdonald was leader of the government,
but he was compelled to resign when parliament met in the early part of
1864, and in March of that year a new administration under the
premiership of Sir E. P. Taché was formed. This new government
developed very little strength, and was defeated on June 14th by a vote
of fifty-eight to sixty, on a question relative to some transaction
connected with bonds of the city of Montreal. A deadlock had come, and
as it was evident that no new government which could be formed was
likely to command sufficient support, it became necessary to make some
new arrangements in regard to the system of administration. Immediately
after the defeat of the government, Mr. George Brown, leader of the
Opposition, spoke to several supporters of the administration strongly
urging that the present time should be availed of for the purpose of
settling forever the constitutional difficulties between Upper and Lower
Canada, and assuring them that he was prepared to coöperate with the
existing or any other administration that would deal with the question
promptly and firmly, with a view to its final settlement. After much
negotiation Messrs. Brown, Mowat and McDougall, three prominent members
of the Reform party, agreed to enter the government for the purpose of
carrying out this policy based on a federal union of all the provinces.


Prior to this time there had been various efforts made by the government
of New Brunswick to enter into closer relations with Nova Scotia and
Prince Edward Island. Previous to the year 1861 a number of factories of
various kinds had been established in the Maritime Provinces, but the
limited market they then enjoyed prevented their extension and crippled
their operations. To remedy this, Mr. Tilley, with the approval of his
colleagues in the government, visited Nova Scotia and Prince Edward
Island and proposed to the governments of both provinces free admission
of their natural products and a uniform tariff on dutiable goods. In
Halifax he had a lengthy and satisfactory conference with Mr. Howe, then
leader of the government, and with Dr. Tupper, the leader of the
Opposition. Both gentlemen agreed that the proposed arrangements would
be in the interests of the three provinces, and Mr. Howe agreed to
submit the matter to his government with the view of legislative action
at the next session. Mr. Tilley then proceeded to Charlottetown, Prince
Edward Island. At the conference held with the government there, his
proposal was not so favourably entertained, the objection being that the
existing tariff of Prince Edward Island was lower than the tariff of
either Nova Scotia or New Brunswick, and sufficient for the financial
wants of the Island, and that the necessary advance would be imposing
taxation beyond their requirements. Notwithstanding the failure to
secure the coöperation of the Island government, it was decided that the
joint action of the Nova Scotia and New Brunswick legislatures in the
direction named was desirable. When the Nova Scotia legislature met and
the public accounts were proposed, it was found that a reduction of
tariff was not practicable, and Howe informed Tilley that the scheme
would have to be postponed, "though in other respects desirable." But
the subject was not allowed to sleep, and in 1864 there was a renewal of
the movement for a union of the Maritime Provinces. At the session of
the New Brunswick legislature held that year, resolutions were passed
authorizing the government to enter into negotiations with Nova Scotia
and Prince Edward Island to hold a convention for the purpose of
carrying such a union into effect. Similar resolutions were carried in
the legislatures of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, and the
convention thus authorized was appointed to meet at Charlottetown in the
month of September following.


[10] For a full account of Howe's views on confederation see the Hon. J.
W. Longley's _Joseph Howe_ in this series.



The delegates appointed by the government of New Brunswick for the
purpose of representing the provinces at Charlottetown in the convention
for a union of the Maritime Provinces, were the Hon. Messrs. Tilley,
Steeves, Johnson, Chandler and Gray. The first three were members of the
government, while Messrs. Gray and Chandler were leading members of the
Opposition, so that the arrangement had the assent of the leaders of
both political parties and was in no sense a party movement. The Nova
Scotia delegation consisted of the Hon. Charles Tupper, the leader of
the government, the attorney-general, Mr. Henry, and Mr. Dickey, a
Conservative supporter, and also the Hon. Adams G. Archibald and
Jonathan McCully, leaders of the Liberal party. The Prince Edward Island
delegates were also chosen from both sides of politics. The convention
was opened in due form at Charlottetown on September 8th, in the chamber
of the House of Assembly. The delegations had no power to decide finally
on any subject, because any arrangements they made were necessarily
subject to the approval of the legislatures of the three Maritime
Provinces. But at this time the sentiment in favour of maritime union
was so strong it was confidently believed that whatever was agreed upon
at Charlottetown would become the basis of a future union.


The government of Canada had full knowledge of what was going on at
Charlottetown, and they considered the time opportune for the purpose of
bringing to the notice of the delegates from the Maritime Provinces the
subject of a confederation of all the British North American colonies. A
telegram was received while the delegates were in session announcing
that representatives of the government of Canada had left Quebec for the
purpose of meeting the delegates of the Maritime Provinces, and placing
certain proposals before them. On the receipt of this message the
further consideration of the question which they had met to discuss was
deferred until after the Canadian delegates had arrived. They came in
the government steamer _Victoria_ on the following day and were found to
embrace the leading men then in Canadian political life,--the Hons. J.
A. Macdonald, George Brown, Georges E. Cartier, Alexander T. Galt,
Thomas D'Arcy McGee, Hector L. Langevin, William McDougall and Alexander
Campbell. These delegates represented the Reform, as well as the
Conservative party, and were therefore able to speak with authority in
regard to the views of the people of both Upper and Lower Canada. They
were accorded seats in the convention, and at once submitted reasons
why in their opinion a scheme of union, embracing the whole of the
British North American colonies, should be adopted. The Hon. John A.
Macdonald and Messrs. Brown and Cartier were heard on this subject, the
financial position of Canada was explained, and the sources of revenue
and wealth of the several provinces were discussed. Speeches were also
made by Messrs. Galt, McGee, Langevin and McDougall, and after having
commanded the attention of the convention for two days the Canadian
deputation withdrew. Before doing so they proposed that if the
convention concluded to suspend its deliberations upon the question of
Maritime union, they should adjourn to Quebec at an early day, to be
named by the governor-general, to consider the question of
confederation. On the following day the convention adjourned, on the
ground that it would be more for the general interest of British North
America to adopt the larger union than a union of the Maritime Provinces
merely, and it was thought that this might be effected without any very
great difficulty, for there was then no strong feeling evinced in any
quarter against confederation.

From Charlottetown the members of the convention and the Canadian
deputation went to Halifax, where they were received most cordially and
entertained at a banquet. They then took their departure for St. John,
where they were entertained at a public dinner at which many leading men
of the city were present. The chair was occupied by the Hon. John H.
Gray, one of the delegates, and the expressions in favour of the
proposed confederation were strong and hearty. No one could have
suspected at that time that the movement for confederation would meet
with so much opposition in New Brunswick. All seemed plain sailing but,
as the result showed, the battle for confederation had yet to be fought,
and it was won only after a long and doubtful struggle.


According to arrangement, the delegations from the other provinces met
in convention at Quebec on October 10th, all the colonies, including
Newfoundland, were represented and the delegates were as follows:--

Canada.--Hon. Sir Etienne P. Taché, premier; Hon. John A. Macdonald,
attorney-general west; Hon. Georges E. Cartier, attorney-general east;
Hon. George Brown, president of the executive council; Hon. Alexander T.
Galt, finance minister; Hon. Alexander Campbell, commissioner of Crown
lands; Hon. William McDougall, provincial secretary; Hon. Thomas D'Arcy
McGee, minister of agriculture; Hon. Hector Langevin, solicitor-general
east; Hon. J. Cockburn, solicitor-general west; Hon. Oliver Mowat,
postmaster-general; Hon. J. C. Chapais, commissioner of public works.

Nova Scotia.--Hon. Charles Tupper, provincial secretary; Hon. W. A.
Henry, attorney-general, Hon. R. B. Dickey, Hon. Adams G. Archibald,
Hon. Jonathan McCully.

New Brunswick.--Hon. Samuel L. Tilley, provincial secretary; Hon. John
M. Johnson, attorney-general; Hon. Edward B. Chandler, Hon. John
Hamilton Gray, Hon. Peter Mitchell, Hon. Chas. Fisher, Hon. William H.

Newfoundland.--Hon. F. B. T. Carter, speaker of the House of Assembly;
Hon. Ambrose Shea.

Prince Edward Island.--Hon. John Hamilton Gray, premier; Hon. Edward
Palmer, attorney-general; Hon. W. H. Pope, provincial secretary; Hon.
George Coles, Hon. A. A. Macdonald, Hon. T. H. Haviland, Hon. Edward

Sir Etienne P. Taché, who was then premier of Canada, was unanimously
chosen president of the conference, and Major Hewitt Bernard, of the
staff of the attorney-general west, private and confidential secretary.
It was arranged that the convention should hold its meetings with closed
doors, and it was laid down as a principle of the discussion that, as
the matters to come up for debate were all of a novel character, no man
should be prejudiced or held liable to the charge of inconsistency
because he had changed his views in regard to any particular matter in
the course of the discussion. It was also agreed that the vote, in case
of a division, should be by provinces and not by numbers, Canada having
two votes, representing Canada East and Canada West, and each of the
other provinces one. This arrangement made it quite certain that the
interests of the Maritime Provinces were not likely to be prejudiced by
the result of the vote, or the work of the convention. It was soon
decided that a federal union was to be preferred to a legislative union,
and on the second day of the meeting the outlines of the proposed
confederation were submitted in a series of resolutions by the Hon. John
A. Macdonald. The general model of the proposed confederation was that
of the United States, but with this difference, that whereas in the
United States all powers not expressly given by the constitution to the
federal government are held to belong to the several states, in the
Canadian constitution all powers not expressly reserved to the several
provinces were held to belong to the federal parliament. Thus in the
United States the residuum of power is in the several states, while in
Canada it is in the federal union and in the parliament of the Dominion.
No doubt the recent example of the civil war in the United States, which
was the result of an extreme assertion of state rights, was largely
responsible for this feature of the Canadian constitution. It is clear,
however, that it is a feature that is to be commended, because its
tendency is to cause Canadians to regard themselves rather as Canadians
than as belonging to any particular province, while in the United States
the feeling of statehood is still very strong. There are, of course,
many other contrasts between the Canadian confederation and the federal
union of the United States, arising from radical differences in the
system of government. Nothing like responsible government, as understood
in the British empire, exists in the United States, while this essential
feature had to be preserved in the Canadian constitution, not only with
reference to the Dominion parliament, but also in the legislatures of
the several provinces.


In all the proceedings at Quebec, Mr. Tilley, as the finance minister of
New Brunswick, took a very prominent part. One great difficulty which
arose was with respect to the amount of money to be given by the federal
government to the several provinces for legislative purposes, in lieu of
the revenue which they had been accustomed to obtain from customs duties
and otherwise. The whole customs establishment was to be transferred to
the central government, and as most of the provinces would have no other
means of obtaining a revenue except by direct taxation, this feature of
the matter became of very vital importance. The difficulty was increased
by the fact that by the municipal system prevailing in Upper Canada the
local needs of the municipalities, in the way of roads, bridges, schools
and other matters, were provided for by local taxation, whereas in the
Maritime Provinces the provincial government had been accustomed to bear
these burdens. It was therefore an essential requisite to any scheme of
union, to make it acceptable to the people of the Maritime Provinces,
that sufficient money should be given to the provincial governments to
enable them to continue these services as before. It was difficult to
convince the representatives of Upper Canada of this, and it appears
that the conference nearly broke up without arriving at any result,
simply because of the apparently irreconcilable differences of opinion
between the representatives of the Maritime Provinces and those of
Canada in regard to this point. Finally these differences were overcome,
and the conclusions of the conference were embodied in a series of
seventy-two resolutions, which were agreed to, and which were to be
authenticated by the signatures of the delegates, and transmitted to
their respective governments, and also to the governor-general, for the
secretary of state for the colonies. These resolutions formed the first
basis of confederation and became what is known as the Quebec scheme.

It was perhaps inevitable that during the discussion of the scheme of
confederation by the Quebec convention, the proceedings should be
secret, but this restriction should have been removed as soon as the
convention adjourned. That this was not done was the principal reason
for the very unfavourable reception which the Quebec scheme met with
from the people of New Brunswick, when it was placed before them. It was
agreed at the Quebec conference that the scheme should not be made
public until after the delegates had reported to their respective
governments for their approval, but it was impossible that a document,
the terms of which were known to so many men, should be kept wholly
concealed from the public, and so the details of the scheme leaked out
and soon became a topic for public discussion. These discussions would
have been conducted in a much more friendly spirit if the Quebec scheme
had been given freely to the world, but as it was, prejudices and
jealousies, in many cases, darkened the question, and made men, who were
otherwise favourable to confederation, assume an attitude of hostility
to the Quebec scheme.


One of the points which at once attracted the attention of the opponents
of the scheme was the sum allowed to the several provinces for the
purpose of conducting their local affairs. As the provinces had to
surrender to the general government their right to levy customs and
excise duties, it became necessary to make up in some way a sum
sufficient to enable them to carry on those services which were still
left to the provincial legislatures. It was arranged that this sum
should be eighty cents a head of the population of the provinces as
established by the census of 1861, which would give to New Brunswick
something more than two hundred thousand dollars. This feature of the
confederation scheme was eagerly seized upon as being a convenient club
with which to strike it down. The cry was at once raised that the people
of New Brunswick were asked to sell themselves to Canada for the sum of
eighty cents a head, and this parrot-like cry was repeated with
variations throughout the whole of the election campaign which followed
in New Brunswick. It has often been found that a cry of this kind, which
is absolutely meaningless, is more effective than the most weighty
arguments, for the purpose of influencing men's minds, and this proved
to be the case in New Brunswick, when the question of confederation was
placed before the people. It was conveniently forgotten by those who
attacked the scheme in this fashion that, if the people of New Brunswick
were selling themselves to Canada for the sum of eighty cents a head,
the people of Canada were likewise selling themselves to New Brunswick
for the same sum, because the amount set apart for the provincial
legislatures was precisely the same in each case. It would not, however,
have suited the enemies of the confederation scheme to view the matter
in this light; what was wanted was a cry which would be effective for
the purpose of injuring the scheme and making it distasteful to the
people who were asked to vote upon it.


It is not necessary to assume that those who opposed confederation were
all influenced by sinister motives. Many honest and good men, whose
attachment to British institutions could not be questioned, were
opposed to it because their minds were of a conservative turn, and
because they looked with distrust upon such a radical change that would
alter the relations which existed between the province and the mother
country. Many, for reasons which it is not easy to understand, were
distrustful of the politicians of Canada, whom they looked upon as of
less sterling honesty than their own, and some actually professed to
believe that the Canadians expected to make up their financial deficits
by drawing on the many resources of the Maritime Provinces through the
confederation scheme. On the other hand confederation was opposed in the
province of New Brunswick by a number of men who could only be described
as adventurers, or discredited politicians, and who saw in this contest
a convenient way of restoring themselves to influence and power. There
were also among the opponents of the scheme some men who recognized in
its success the means of perpetuating British power on this continent,
and who, being annexationists, naturally looked with aversion upon it
for that reason. The vast majority of the people, however, had given the
matter but the slightest degree of attention, and their votes were cast
in accordance with prejudice hastily formed, which they had an
opportunity of reconsidering before another year and a half had elapsed.


It had been arranged at the convention that the first trial of the
scheme before the people should be made in New Brunswick, the
legislature of which was about expiring, and accordingly the appeal was
made to the people and the elections came on in the month of March,
1865. The enemies of confederation were very active in every part of the
province, and they left no stone unturned to defeat the measure. The
great cry upon which they based their opposition to the union with
Canada was that of taxation, and, as the voters of New Brunswick were
not inclined to favour any policy which involved high taxation, the
appeals made in this way had a powerful effect. All through the rural
constituencies the Opposition candidates told the electors that if they
united themselves with Canada direct taxation would be the immediate
result. They said that every cow, every horse, and every sheep which
they owned would be taxed, and that even their poultry would not escape
the grasp of the Canadian tax-gatherers. In the city of St. John, Mr.
Tilley and his colleague, Mr. Charles Watters, were opposed by Mr. J. V.
Troop and Mr. A. B. Wetmore. Mr. Troop was a wealthy ship-owner, whose
large means made him an acceptable addition to the strength of the
anti-confederate party, although previously he had taken no active part
in political affairs. Mr. Wetmore was a lawyer of standing in St. John,
who was considered to be one of the best _nisi prius_ advocates at the
bar, and who carried the methods of the bar largely into his politics.
In the course of time he became attorney-general of the province, and
later on a judge of the supreme court. Mr. Wetmore, when haranguing St.
John audiences, used to depict the dreadful effects of confederation in
a manner peculiarly his own. His great plea was an imaginary dialogue
between himself and his little son, that precocious infant asking him in
lisping tones, "Father, what country do we live in?" to which he would
reply, "My dear son, you have no country, for Mr. Tilley has sold us to
the Canadians for eighty cents a head."

In the county of St. John, the Hon. John. H. Gray, Charles N. Skinner,
W. H. Scovil and James Quinton, who ran as supporters of confederation,
were opposed by John W. Cudlip, T. W. Anglin, the Hon. R. D. Wilmot and
Joseph Coram. Mr. Cudlip was a merchant, who at one time enjoyed much
popularity in the city of St. John. Mr. Anglin was a clever Irishman, a
native of the county of Cork, who had lived several years in St. John
and edited a newspaper called the _Freeman_, which enjoyed a great
popularity among his co-religionists. He was admitted to be the leader
of the Irish Catholics of St. John, and had acquired an ascendency over
them which was not easily shaken; yet he was not, as a politician, a
great success, nor did his efforts to improve the condition of his
countrymen always lead to satisfactory results. The Hon. R. D. Wilmot
had been a prominent Conservative politician, but was defeated, and had
retired to his farm at Belmont. For some years he had been devoting his
abilities to stock-raising; but at the first note of alarm on the
confederation question he abandoned his agricultural pursuits and rushed
into the field to take part in the contest. Mr. Joseph Coram was a
leading Orangeman, and a highly respected citizen.


In the county of York, the Hon. George L. Hatheway, who was then chief
commissioner of the board of works, appeared in the field as an
Opposition candidate, in company with John C. Allen, John J. Fraser and
William H. Needham. Mr. Hatheway deserted the government in its hour of
need, apparently because he judged from the cries that were raised
against confederation that the current of public opinion was strongly
adverse to the Quebec scheme. Having left Mr. Tilley in the lurch on the
eve of the confederation contest, he deserted the Smith government
sixteen months later, when the second confederation election came to be
run, thereby inflicting upon them a blow from which it was impossible
they could recover. William H. Needham, whose name has already appeared
in this volume, did not lay claim to any high political principles; but
having retired some time before to private life, he found in the
confederation struggle a good opportunity of getting into the
legislature. He was a man of very considerable ability, and had his
principles been only equal to his knowledge and talents, he might have
risen to the highest position in the province. But his course on many
occasions made the public distrustful of him, and he died without having
enjoyed any of those honours which men of far less ability have
obtained. John James Fraser, afterwards governor of New Brunswick, was a
man of a different stamp, and seems to have been a sincere opponent of
confederation from conviction. The same may be said of John C. Allen,
afterwards chief-justice of the province, a man whose sterling honesty
has never been questioned.



The result of the election was the most overwhelming defeat that ever
overtook any political party in the province of New Brunswick. Out of
forty-one members, the friends of confederation succeeded in returning
only six, the Hon. John McMillan and Alexander C. DesBrisay, for the
county of Restigouche; Abner R. McClelan and John Lewis for the county
of Albert; and William Lindsay and Charles Connell for the county of
Carleton. Every member of the government who held a seat in the House of
Assembly, with the exception of the Hon. John McMillan, the
surveyor-general, was defeated. The majorities against the confederation
candidates in some of the counties were so large it seemed hopeless to
expect that any future election would reverse the verdict. Both the city
and county of St. John, and the county of York, made a clean sweep, and
returned solid delegations of anti-confederates. With the exception of
the two Carleton members, the entire block of counties on the River St.
John and the county of Charlotte, forming the most populous and best
settled part of the province, declared against the Quebec scheme. On the
north shore, Westmorland, Kent, Northumberland and Gloucester
pronounced the same verdict, and, on the day after the election, the
strongest friends of confederation must have felt that nothing but a
miracle could ever bring about a change in the opinion which had been
pronounced with such emphasis and by so overwhelming a majority. Yet
fifteen months later the verdict of March, 1865, was completely
reversed, and the anti-confederates were beaten almost as badly as the
advocates of confederation had been in the first election; such are the
mutations of public opinion.

Mr. Tilley and his colleagues resigned immediately after the result of
the elections became known, and the Hon. Albert J. Smith was called upon
to form a new government. Mr. Smith had been attorney-general in Mr.
Tilley's government up to the year 1862, when he resigned in consequence
of a difference with his colleagues in regard to the negotiations which
were being carried on for the construction of the Intercolonial Railway.
He was a fine speaker, and a man of ability. At a later period, when
confederation had been established, he became a cabinet minister in the
government of the Hon. Alexander Mackenzie. His powerful influence was
largely responsible for the manner in which the North Shore counties
declared against confederation, and he also did much to discredit the
Quebec scheme by his speeches delivered in the city of St. John. Mr.
Smith did not take the office of attorney-general in the new government,
but contented himself with the position of president of the council,
the Hon. John C. Allen, of York, becoming attorney-general, and the Hon.
A. H. Gillmor, of Charlotte, provincial secretary. The Hon. Bliss
Botsford, of Westmorland, was made surveyor-general; and the Hon. George
L. Hatheway retained his old office as the chief commissioner of the
board of works. The other members of the government were the Hon. Robert
Duncan Wilmot, of Sunbury, the Hon. T. W. Anglin, of St. John, and the
Hon. Richard Hutchinson, of Miramichi.


The new government looked strong and imposing, and seemed to be secure
against the assaults of its enemies, yet it was far from being as
compact and powerful as it appeared to the outward observer. In the
first place, it had the demerit of being founded solely on a negative,
and upon opposition to a single line of policy. The reason why these men
were assembled together in council as a government was that they were
opposed to confederation, and, this question having been disposed of,
they were free to differ upon all other points which might arise. Some
of the men who thus found themselves sitting together at the same
council board had all their lives been politically opposed to each
other. The Hon. R. D. Wilmot, an old Conservative, could have little or
no sympathy with Mr. A. H. Gillmor, a very strong Liberal. The Hon. A.
J. Smith, also a Liberal, had little in common with his
attorney-general, Mr. Allen, who was a Conservative. Mr. Odell, the
postmaster-general, represented the old Family Compact more thoroughly
than any other man who could have been chosen to fill a public office in
New Brunswick, for his father and grandfather had held the office of
provincial secretary for the long term of sixty years. As he was a man
of no particular capacity, and had no qualification for high office, and
as he was, moreover, a member of the legislative council, his
appointment to such a position was extremely distasteful to many who
were strongly opposed to confederation. The Hon. Bliss Botsford, of
Moncton, who became surveyor-general, was another individual who added
no strength to the government. In a cabinet consisting of four men in
the government who might be classed as Liberals, and five who might be
properly described as Conservatives, room was left for many differences
and quarrels over points of policy, to say nothing of patronage, after
the great question of confederation had been disposed of. Local feelings
also were awakened by the make-up of the government, for the North Shore
people could not but feel that their interests were in danger of being
neglected, as instead of having the attorney-generalship and the
surveyor-generalship, which had been theirs in the previous government,
they had to be content with a single member in the government, without
office, in the person of Mr. Richard Hutchinson, who, as the
representative of Gilmour, Rankine & Co., the great lumber house of the
North Shore, was extremely unpopular, even in the county which had
elected him. The Hon. Robert Duncan Wilmot was perhaps the most
dissatisfied man of any, with the new cabinet in which he found himself.
He had not been a fortnight in the government before he began to realize
the fact that his influence in it was quite overshadowed by that of Mr.
Smith and Mr. Anglin, although neither of them held any office. Mr.
Wilmot was a man of ability, and of strong and resolute will, so that
this condition of affairs became very distasteful to him and his
friends, and led to consequences of a highly important character.


The new government had not been long in existence before rumours of
dissensions in its ranks became very common. Mr. Wilmot made no secret
to his friends of his dissatisfaction, and it was understood that other
members found their position equally unpleasant. An element of
difficulty was early introduced by the resignation of the chief-justice,
Sir James Carter, who, in September, 1865, found it necessary, in
consequence of failing health, to retire from the bench, rendering it
immediately necessary for the government to fill his place. The Hon.
Albert J. Smith, the leader of the government, had he chosen, might have
then taken the vacant position, but he did not desire to retire from
political life at that time, and the Hon. John C. Allen, his
attorney-general, was appointed to the bench as a puisne judge, while
the Hon. Robert Parker was made chief-justice. The latter, however, had
but few weeks to enjoy his new position, dying in November of the same
year, and leaving another vacancy on the bench to be filled. Again, as
before, the Hon. Mr. Smith declined to go on the bench, and the Hon.
John W. Weldon, who had been a long time a member of former
legislatures, and was at one time Speaker, was appointed to the puisne
judgeship, and the Hon. William J. Ritchie was made chief-justice. The
entire fitness of the latter for the position of chief-justice made his
appointment a popular one, but he was the junior of the Hon. Lemuel A.
Wilmot as a judge, and the Hon. R. D. Wilmot, who was a cousin of the
latter, thought the senior judge should have received the appointment of
chief-justice. His disappointment at the office being given to another
caused a very bad feeling on his part towards the government, and he
would have resigned his seat forthwith but for the persuasions of some
of those who were not friends of the government, who intimated to him
that he could do them a great deal more damage by retaining his seat,
and resigning at the proper time than by abandoning the government at
that moment. Mr. Wilmot remained in the government until January, 1866,
but although of their number, his heart was estranged from them, and he
may properly be regarded as an enemy in their camp.


Mr. Anglin also had some difference with his colleagues with regard to
railway matters, and he resigned his seat early in November, 1865;
still he gave a general support to the government, although no longer in
its councils. But the most severe blow which the administration received
arose from the election in the county of York, which followed the
seating of the Hon. John C. Allen on the bench. The confederation party
had been so badly beaten in York at the general election that no doubt
was felt by the government that any candidate they might select would be
chosen by a very large majority. The candidate selected by the
government to contest York was Mr. John Pickard, a highly respectable
gentleman, who was engaged in lumbering, and who was extremely popular
in that county, in consequence of his friendly relations with all
classes of the community and the amiability of his disposition. The Hon.
Charles Fisher was brought forward by the confederation party as their
candidate in York, although the hope of defeating Mr. Pickard seemed to
be desperate, for at the previous election Mr. Fisher had received only
1,226 votes against 1,799 obtained by Mr. Needham, who stood lowest on
the poll among the persons elected for York. Mr. Fisher by his efforts
in the York campaign, which resulted in his election, struck a blow at
the anti-confederate government from which it never recovered. His
election was the first dawn of light and hope to the friends of
confederation in New Brunswick, for it showed clearly enough that
whenever the people of the province were given another opportunity of
expressing their opinion on the question of confederation, their verdict
would be a very different one from that which they had given at the
general election. Mr. Fisher beat Mr. Pickard by seven hundred and ten
votes, receiving seven hundred and one votes more than at the general
election, while Mr. Pickard's vote fell five hundred and seventy-two
below that which Mr. Needham had received on the same occasion.



Among the causes that had assisted to defeat confederation in New
Brunswick, when the question was first placed before the people, was the
active hostility of the lieutenant-governor, Mr. Arthur Hamilton Gordon,
a son of that Earl of Aberdeen who was prime minister of England at the
outbreak of the Crimean War. Mr. Gordon had been a strong advocate of
maritime union and had anticipated that he would be the first governor
of the united province of Acadia, or by whatever name the maritime union
was to be known. He was therefore greatly disappointed and annoyed when
the visit of the Canadians to Charlottetown, in September, 1864, put an
end to the conference which had met for the purpose of arranging the
terms of a union of that character. While a governor cannot take a very
active part in political matters, he may stimulate others to hostility
or to a certain course of action, who, under other circumstances, would
be neutral or inactive, and there is reason to believe that some of the
men who were most prominent in opposing confederation at the general
election of 1865 were mainly influenced by the views of the
lieutenant-governor. Confederation, however, had been approved by the
British government, after the terms arranged at Quebec had been
submitted to it in a despatch from the governor-general; and those
officials in New Brunswick and elsewhere, who expected to find support
in Downing Street in their hostility to confederation, were destined to
be greatly disappointed. Not long after the new government was formed in
New Brunswick, Mr. Gordon returned to England, and it was generally
believed that he was sent for by the home authorities. Instead of being
favourably received on the ground of his opposition to confederation, he
is said to have been compelled to submit to a stern reproof for his
anti-constitutional meddling in a matter which did not concern him, and
to have been given decidedly to understand that if he returned to New
Brunswick, to fill out the remainder of his term of office, it must be
as one pledged to assist in carrying out confederation and not to oppose
it. When Mr. Gordon returned he was an entirely changed man, and
whatever influence he was able to exert from that time forward was used
in favour of confederation.


Another cause which made confederation more acceptable to the people of
the province arose from the threats of the Fenians to invade Canada,
which were made during the year 1865, and which were followed by armed
invasions during the following year. Although there was no good reason
for believing that the opponents of confederation were less loyal than
its supporters or less inclined to favour British connection, it was
remarked that all the enemies of British connection seemed to have got
into the anti-confederate camp. The Fenian movement had its origin in
the troubles in Ireland arising out of oppressive land laws and other
local causes, and it soon extended to America, where the politicians
found it useful as a means of increasing their strength among the Irish
people. At that time, there were in the United States many hundreds of
thousands of men who had been disbanded from the army at the close of
the Civil War, and who were only too ready to embrace any new
opportunity of winning for themselves fame and rank on other fields of
glory. Among these disbanded soldiers were many Irishmen, and it soon
came to be known that bands of men could be collected in the United
States for the invasion of this country, with the avowed object of
driving the British flag from the American continent and substituting
the stars and stripes. It was impossible that the people of Canada could
view without emotion these preparations for their undoing, and in New
Brunswick, especially, which was the first province to be threatened,
the Fenian movement materially assisted in deciding the manner in which
the people should vote on this great question of confederation when it
came to be submitted to them a second time.

The House of Assembly met on March 8th, 1866, and the speech from the
throne, delivered by the lieutenant-governor, contained the following
paragraph: "I have received Her Majesty's commands to communicate to you
a correspondence on the affairs of British North America, which has
taken place between Her Majesty's principal secretary of state for the
colonies and the governor-general of Canada; and I am further directed
to express to you the strong and deliberate opinion of Her Majesty's
government that it is an object much to be desired that all the British
North American colonies should agree to unite in one government. These
papers will immediately be laid before you." This paragraph was not
inserted in the speech without considerable pressure on the part of the
lieutenant-governor, and it excited a great deal of comment at the time,
because it seemed to endorse the principle of confederation, although
emanating from a government which had been placed in power as the result
of an election in which confederation had been condemned. When this
portion of the speech was read by the lieutenant-governor, in the
legislative council chamber, the crowd outside the bar gave a hearty
cheer,--a circumstance which never occurred before in the province of
New Brunswick, and perhaps not in any other British colony.

The members of the House favourable to confederation immediately took up
the matter, and dealt with it as if the government had thereby pledged
themselves in favour of that policy, and indeed there was a fair excuse
for such an inference. When the secret history of the negotiations
between the lieutenant-governor and his advisers, prior to the meeting
of the legislature, comes to be told, it will be found that at least
some of the members of the government had given His Excellency to
understand that they were prepared to reverse their former action and to
adopt confederation. The difficulty with them was that they feared their
own supporters, and thought that if they made such a move they would
lose the favour of those who had placed them in power, and this fear was
certainly a very natural one.


As soon as the House met, it was discovered that Mr. A. R. Wetmore, one
of the prominent supporters of the government who had been elected to
represent the city of St. John as an anti-confederate, was no longer in
sympathy with the government. Mr. Wetmore's long experience as a _nisi
prius_ lawyer, and his curt and imperturbable manner, rendered him a
most exasperating and troublesome opponent, and at a very early period
of the session he commenced to make it unpleasant for his former
friends. He cross-examined the members of the government in the fashion
which he had learned from long experience in the courts. Such attacks
proved extremely damaging as well as very annoying.

The address in reply to the speech from the throne was moved in the
House of Assembly by Colonel Boyd, of Charlotte County, and when the
paragraph relating to confederation was read, Mr. Fisher asked him what
it meant. Mr. Boyd replied that the government had no objection to
confederation, provided the terms were satisfactory. This reply still
further strengthened the feeling that the government were inclined to
pass the measure which they had been elected to oppose. Mr. Fisher moved
an amendment to the fourth paragraph of the address, which referred to
the Fenian conspiracy against British North America, expressing the
opinion that while His Excellency might rely with confidence on the
cordial support of the people for the protection of the country, his
constitutional advisers were not by their general conduct entitled to
the confidence of the legislature. This amendment was seconded by Mr.
DesBrisay, of Kent, who had been elected as a supporter of the
government, and it was debated at great length. The discussion upon it
continued from day to day for about three weeks, when, on April 10th,
the government resigned in consequence of difficulties with His
Excellency in regard to his reply to the address of the legislative
council. The legislative council had proceeded to pass the address in
reply to the speech, but in consequence of the delay in the House of
Assembly, this reply had not before been presented to the governor. In
answer to the address of the legislative council, His Excellency said:
"I will immediately transmit your address to the secretary of state for
the colonies in order that it may be laid at the foot of the throne. Her
Majesty the Queen has already been pleased to express deep interest in a
closer union of her North America colonies and will no doubt greatly
appreciate this decided expression of your opinion, and the avowal of
your desire that all British North America should unite in one
community, under one strong and efficient government, which cannot but
tend to hasten the accomplishment of this great measure."


The resignation of the government was announced in the House of Assembly
on April 13th by the Hon. A. J. Smith, and the correspondence between
the lieutenant-governor and his advisers was laid before the House at
the same time. The immediate and ostensible cause of the resignation was
the terms of approval in which the lieutenant-governor had replied to
the address of the legislative council in reference to confederation.
Mr. Smith claimed that it was the duty of the lieutenant-governor to
consult his constitutional advisers in regard to the answer to be given,
and that, in assuming to himself the right to reply to such an address
without consulting them, he had not acted in accordance with the true
spirit of the constitution. This was certainly sound doctrine, and the
reply of the lieutenant-governor was by no means satisfactory on this
point, but he was able to show that Mr. Smith had himself expressed his
willingness to enter into a scheme of union, although opposed to the
Quebec scheme, and had suggested that, as a preliminary step, the papers
on that subject should be referred to a joint committee of both Houses
with an understanding that the committee should report in favour of a
measure of union. At a later period Mr. Smith seemed indisposed to carry
out this arrangement, his conduct evidently being the result of
timidity, and so he found himself, to use the language of Sir Arthur
Gordon, "entangled in contradictory pledges from which he found it
impossible to extricate himself." He had, in fact, placed himself in the
power of the lieutenant-governor, and his only resource was to resign.
It was understood at the time, and has never been denied, that His
Excellency was acting under the advice of the Hon. Peter Mitchell, a
member of the legislative council, who was a strong supporter of
confederation. Mr. Mitchell was a man of great force of character, and,
next to Mr. Tilley, must be regarded as the most potent factor in
bringing about the change in the sentiments of the people of the
province with respect to confederation.

The lieutenant-governor called upon the Hon. Peter Mitchell, who was a
member of the legislative council, to form a government. Mr. Mitchell
had been very active in the cause of confederation, and was the moving
spirit in the legislative council in all the proceedings in its favour
taken in that body; but, when asked to form a new government, he advised
the lieutenant-governor that the proper person to undertake that
responsibility was the Hon. Mr. Tilley. The latter, however, declined
the task on the ground that he was not a member of the legislature,
whereupon Mr. Mitchell associated with himself the Hon. Mr. Wilmot for
the purpose of forming a new government. The government was announced on
April 18th, and was formed as follows:--Hon. Peter Mitchell, president
of the council; Hon. S. L. Tilley, provincial secretary; Hon. Charles
Fisher, attorney-general; Hon. Edward Williston, solicitor-general; Hon.
John McMillan, postmaster-general; Hon. A. R. McClelan, chief
commissioner of public works; Hon. R. D. Wilmot and Hon. Charles
Connell, members without office. The latter afterwards became


While the government was being formed in New Brunswick, a Fenian army
was gathering upon the border for the purpose of invading the province.
This force consisted of four or five hundred young men, most of whom had
been in the army of the United States. It was recruited at New York, and
its chief was a Fenian named Doran Killian. A part of his force arrived
at Eastport on April 10th, and a schooner, laden with arms for the
Fenians, soon after reached that place. From this schooner, which was
seized by the United States authorities, one hundred and seventeen cases
of arms and ammunition were taken,--a clear proof that the intentions of
the Fenians were warlike, and that their presence on the border was not
a mere demonstration. The Fenians appeared to have been under the
impression--as many residents of the United States are to this day--that
the people of Canada and of New Brunswick were dissatisfied with their
own form of government, and were anxious to come under the protection of
the stars and stripes. This absurd idea was responsible, largely, for
the War of 1812, and it has been responsible, since then, for many other
movements, with respect to the British provinces of North America, in
which residents of the United States have taken part. There never was a
greater delusion than this, and, in the instance referred to, the
Fenians were doomed to be speedily undeceived. The presence of a Fenian
force on the border sounded like a bugle blast to every able-bodied man
in New Brunswick, and the call for troops to defend the country was
instantly responded to. About one thousand men were called out and
marched to the frontier. The troops called out consisted of the three
batteries of the New Brunswick regiment of artillery, seven companies of
the St. John volunteer battalion, one company of the first battalion of
the York County militia, one company each of the first and third
battalions of the Charlotte County militia, and two companies each of
the second and fourth battalions of the Charlotte County militia. These
troops remained in arms on the frontier for nearly three months, and
were disbanded by a general order dated June 20th. The Fenian raid on
New Brunswick proved to be a complete fiasco. The frontier was so well
guarded by the New Brunswick militia and by British soldiers, and the
St. Croix so thoroughly patrolled by British warships, that the Fenians
had no opportunity to make any impression upon the province. It ought to
be added that the United States government was prompt to take steps to
prevent any armed invasion, and General Meade was sent down to Eastport
with a force of infantry and a ship of war to prevent the Fenians from
making that place a base of operations against these provinces.


The general elections to decide whether or not New Brunswick was willing
to become confederated with Canada, were held in May and June. The first
election was that for the county of Northumberland on May 25th, and the
result was that the four candidates who favoured confederation, Messrs.
Johnson, Sutton, Kerr and Williston, were elected by large majorities.
The same result followed in the county of Carleton, where the election
was held on May 26th, Messrs. Connell and Lindsay being elected by a
vote of more than two to one over their anti-confederate opponents. The
third election was in Albert County on the 29th, and there Messrs.
McClelan and Lewis, the two candidates in favour of confederation, were
triumphantly returned. On May 31st, elections were held in Restigouche
and Sunbury, and, in these counties, the candidates in favour of
confederation were returned by large majorities. The York election came
next. In that county, the anti-confederates had placed a full ticket in
the field, the candidates being Messrs. Hatheway, Fraser, Needham and
Brown. Mr. Fisher had with him on the ticket, Dr. Dow and Messrs.
Thompson and John A. Beckwith. Every person expected a vigorous contest
in York, notwithstanding the victory of Mr. Fisher over Mr. Pickard a
few months before. But, to the amazement of the anti-confederates in
other parts of the province, the Hon. George L. Hatheway and Dr. Brown
retired after nomination day and left Messrs. Fraser and Needham to do
battle alone. Mr. Hatheway's retirement at this time was a deathblow to
the hopes of the anti-confederates all over New Brunswick, affecting not
only the result in the county of York, but in every other county in
which an election was to be held. A few nights before his resignation,
Mr. Hatheway had been in St. John addressing a packed meeting of
anti-confederates in the hall of the Mechanics' Institute, and he had
spoken on that occasion with apparent confidence. When his friends in
St. John, who had been so much moved by his vigorous eloquence, learned
that he had deserted them, their indignation was extreme, and they felt
that matters must indeed be in a bad way when he did not dare to face
the York electors.

The election in the county of St. John was held on June 6th, and that in
the city, on the seventh. For the county, the confederate candidates
were Messrs. C. N. Skinner, John H. Gray, James Quinton and R. D.
Wilmot, and the anti-confederate candidates were Messrs. Coram, Cudlip,
Robertson and Anglin. The former were elected by very large majorities,
Mr. Wilmot, who stood lowest on the poll among the confederates, having
a majority of six hundred over Mr. Coram, who stood highest among the
defeated candidates. The election for the city was an equally emphatic
declaration in favour of confederation. The candidates were the Hon. S.
L. Tilley and A. R. Wetmore on the confederate side, and J. V. Troop and
S. R. Thompson opposed to confederation. Mr. Tilley's majority over Mr.
Troop, who stood highest on the poll of the two defeated candidates, was
seven hundred and twenty-six. The only counties which the
anti-confederate party succeeded in carrying were Westmorland,
Gloucester and Kent,--three counties in which the French vote was very
large,--so that of the forty-one members returned, only eight were
opponents of confederation. The victory was as complete as that which
had been recorded against confederation in the beginning of 1865.


The battle of confederation had been won, and the triumph was mainly due
to the efforts of the Hon. Mr. Tilley. That gentleman, as soon as the
defeat of confederation took place in March, 1865, had commenced a
campaign for the purpose of educating the people on the subject. Being
free from his official duties and having plenty of time on his hands,
he was able to devote himself to the work of explaining the advantages
of the proposed union to the people of the province; and during the
years 1865 and 1866, he spoke in almost every county on the subject
which was so near to his heart. He had embraced confederation with a
sincere desire for the benefit of his native province, and with the
belief that it would be of the greatest advantage to New Brunswick. If
the fruits of confederation have not yet all been realized, that has
been due rather to circumstances over which neither Mr. Tilley nor any
one else had any control, than to any inherent vice of confederation
itself. If union is strength, then it must be admitted that the union of
the British North American provinces, which consolidated them into a
powerful whole, was a good thing; and there cannot be a doubt that if
the provinces had remained separate from each other, their present
position would have been much less favourable than it is now.



One of the great objects of confederation was the construction of the
Intercolonial Railway from St. John and Halifax to Quebec. It was
thought that there could be no real union between the several colonies
of British North America unless a good means of communication existed,
and such a means was to be obtained only through the construction of
this line of railway. The Intercolonial Railway, as we have seen, had
been a part of the policy of successive governments in the province for
many years, and it became an essential part of the scheme of
confederation. When confederation was accepted by the people of New
Brunswick in 1866, the Intercolonial Railway had yet to be built.
Western Extension, as the line to the Maine border was called, had only
been commenced; Eastern Extension, from the Shediac line towards
Halifax, was in the same condition; in fact, the total mileage of the
railways in New Brunswick did not exceed two hundred miles, and these
lines were isolated and formed no part of any complete system. New
Brunswick now has three separate lines of railway leading to Quebec and
Montreal; it is connected with the great railway systems of the
continent; there is no county in the province which has not a line of
railway traversing it; and the mileage has risen from less than two
hundred to more than fourteen hundred.

Mr. Tilley realized that the time had come when the communities which
form the British provinces of North America must either become
politically connected or else fall, one by one, beneath the influence of
the United States. After confederation had been brought about between
Canada, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, enough was seen in the conduct of
American statesmen towards Prince Edward Island to show that their
design was to try to create a separate interest in this colony apart
from the general interest of Canada. The acceptance of the scheme of
confederation by Prince Edward Island, at a comparatively early period,
put an end to the plots in that quarter; but in the case of Newfoundland
the same thing has been repeated, and an attempt was made by American
statesmen to cause the people of that island to believe that their
interests and those of Canada are not identical, and that they would be
specially favoured by the United States if they held aloof from the
great Dominion. The attitude of the people and congress of the United
States towards Canada has not been marked, for the most part, by any
great friendliness. They saw in confederation an arrangement that was
likely to prevent this country from ever becoming absorbed by their
own, and they believed that by creating difficulties for us with respect
to the tariff and other matters, and limiting the area of our commercial
relations, they could put such pressure upon Canada as would compel our
people to unite with them. This scheme has failed because it was based
on a misconception of the spirit of our people; but who will say that it
would not have succeeded if the several provinces which now form the
confederation had been disunited and inharmonious in their relations and
had pursued different lines of policy?


It is unfortunate that, owing to the absence of verbatim reports, it is
impossible to reproduce any of Tilley's speeches during the
confederation campaign. No speaker that New Brunswick has ever produced
has been more generally acceptable than was Tilley. His speeches were
pointed, and so clear that they could not be misunderstood. He
possessed, to a very large extent, that magnetism which enabled him to
retain the attention and to awaken the sympathy of his audience. At all
the meetings which he addressed, there were many who regarded themselves
always as his friends and supporters and who formed a phalanx around
him, giving him a confidence and political strength which few statesmen
have ever enjoyed to a like extent. Although his addresses frequently
provoked the bitter animosity of his enemies, he had always enough
friends to counteract their influence; and during the many contests
which he had to fight for his seat in the city of St. John, he was
always able to rely on the loyalty of those who were his early
associates and who remained his supporters until the end of his career.
It is quite safe to assert that confederation could not have been
carried had it not been for the personal efforts of Mr. Tilley. As the
leader of the government which had consented to the Quebec scheme, he
was properly looked upon as the chief promoter of confederation in New
Brunswick, and his name will go down to future generations identified
with that large and necessary measure of colonial statesmanship.


Although the vote of the electors had been taken on the question, much
remained to be done before confederation could become an accomplished
fact. The last elections, which were those of Kings and Charlotte, were
held on June 12th, but more than a year was to elapse before the union
was effected, and the result which the election was intended to bring
about realized. The first thing to be done was to call the legislature
together and complete the business of the province, which had been
interrupted by the dissolution. The legislature met on June 21st, and
the Hon. John H. Gray, who had been an active advocate of confederation,
and who was one of the members for the county of St. John, was made
Speaker. In the speech from the throne the following reference was made
to the question of confederation:--

"Her Majesty's government have already expressed their strong and
deliberate opinion that the union of the British North American
provinces under one government is an object much to be desired. The
legislatures of Canada and Nova Scotia have formed the same judgment,
and you will now shortly be invited to express your concurrence with or
dissent from the view taken of this great question by those provinces."

The address in reply was moved by Mr. Kerr, of Northumberland, and
seconded by Mr. Beveridge of Victoria, and its consideration was made
the order of the day for the following Saturday. When it came up for
discussion the Hon. Albert J. Smith was not in his place, and Mr.
Botsford, one of his colleagues from Westmorland, endeavoured to have
the consideration of the matter postponed; but the House was in no
humour to await the convenience of any single member, and the address
was passed the same day by a vote of thirty to seven. Attorney-General
Fisher, immediately on the passage of the address, gave notice of the
following resolution, which was to be made the order of the day for
Monday, June 26th:--

"_Resolved_, That an humble address be presented to His Excellency, the
lieutenant-governor, praying that His Excellency be pleased to appoint
delegates to unite with delegates from the other provinces in arranging
with the imperial government for the union of British North America,
upon such terms as will secure the just rights and interests of New
Brunswick, accompanied with provision for the immediate construction of
the Intercolonial Railway; each province to have an equal voice in such
delegation, Upper and Lower Canada to be considered as separate

Mr. Fisher moved the resolution in question in a very brief speech, and
was replied to by the Hon. Mr. Smith, who spoke at great length and
continued his speech on the following day. Mr. Smith took exception to
giving the delegates power to fix the destinies of the provinces
forever, without again submitting the scheme of union to the people. He
proceeded to discuss the Quebec scheme, and took exception to the
construction of the Upper House of the proposed legislature of the
confederation, declaring that each province should have an equal number
of representatives in it, as was the case in the United States. After
going over the ground pretty thoroughly and criticizing most of the
terms of the scheme of confederation, he moved an amendment, to the
effect that no Act or measure for a union with Canada take effect until
approved by the legislature or the people of the province.


The Hon. Mr. Tilley replied to the leader of the Opposition in one of
the most effective speeches that he ever delivered in the legislature.
He first took up Mr. Smith's allusion to the constitutional question,
and, with immense power and solemnity, he charged that any want of
constitutional action which existed was due to Mr. Smith and his
colleagues. He stated that the governor's sympathies were with the late
government, and that he had endeavoured to aid and not to injure them.
Mr. Smith had alluded to the Hon. Joseph Howe, who was then an opponent
of confederation, in terms of praise, and Mr. Tilley, in reply, read
from Mr. Howe's speech, made in 1861, a magnificent paragraph on the
union of British America. Mr. Tilley stated that the government would
take the Quebec scheme for a basis, and would seek concessions to meet
the views of those who found objection to parts of it. He mentioned the
various counties of the province to show that they were either expressly
or potentially favourable to the Quebec scheme. He was convinced that
even his friend, the ex-attorney-general and member for Westmorland, was
hardly against union. He asked, "Was there one anti-unionist on the
floor of the House? Where was Mr. Anglin? Mr. Needham? Mr. Hill and all
the rest of the anti-unionists? They were all swept away and unionists
had taken their places, and when the arrangements for union were carried
out, the feeling in its favour would be deeper and deeper." Mr. Tilley
showed the great advantages which would accrue to New Brunswick
eventually in consequence of confederation. He combated the statement
made by Mr. Smith that after confederation the provincial legislature
would become a mere farce, showing that of all the Acts passed during
the previous two years there were only seven which would have come under
the control of the general legislature. Mr. Tilley closed by dwelling on
the impression of power which union would have on the minds of those
abroad who were plotting our ruin. The speech was listened to with the
utmost attention by the members of the legislature and by a very large
audience which completely filled the galleries, and it was generally
considered to have been one of his greatest efforts.


The resolution was finally carried by a vote of thirty to eight, only
two members, both of whom would have voted for the resolution, being
absent. As soon as the confederation resolution was passed the Hon. A.
J. Smith moved a resolution which, after reciting the steps which had
already been taken in favour of union with Canada, continued as

"THEREFORE, _Resolved_, as the deliberate opinion of this House, that no
measure for such union should be adopted which does not contain the
following provisions, viz.: first, an equal number of legislative
councillors for each province; second, such legislative councillors to
be required to reside in the province which they represent and for which
they are appointed; third, the number of representatives in the federal
parliament to be limited; fourth, the establishment of a court for the
determination of questions and disputes that may arise between the
federal and local governments as to the meaning of the Act of Union;
fifth, exemption of this province from taxation for the construction and
enlargement of canals in Upper Canada, and for the payment of money for
the mines and minerals and lands of Newfoundland; sixth, eighty cents
per head to be on the population as it increases and not to be confined
to the census of 1861; seventh, securing to each of the Maritime
Provinces the right to have at least one executive councillor in the
federal government; eighth, the commencing of the Intercolonial Railway
before the right shall exist to increase taxation upon the people of the

Mr. Smith supported his resolution in a lengthy speech in which he
predicted increased taxation as the result of confederation. He said
that the House, instead of being a deliberative assembly, had to
surrender its judgment to the government. Confederation was a great
experiment at best, and called for the exercise of other men's judgment.
The government were going on in the most highhanded manner and were not
justified in withholding information asked for. He elaborated the idea
that Canada was pledged to issue treasury notes to pay present
liabilities, and asserted that the government was altogether under the
control of Canadian politicians. He insisted particularly on a provision
in the Act of Union that each of the Maritime Provinces have an
executive councillor in the federal government. Finally the vote was
taken and the following amendment, which had been moved by the Hon. Mr.
Fisher, was carried, only eight members voting against it:--

"_Resolved_, That the people of this province having, after due
deliberation, determined that the union of British North America was
desirable, and the House having agreed to request His Excellency the
lieutenant-governor to appoint delegates for the purpose of considering
the plan of union upon such terms as will secure the just rights of New
Brunswick, and having confidence that the action of His Excellency under
the advice of his constitutional advisers will be directed to the
attainment of that end, sound policy and a due regard to the interests
of this province require that the responsibility of such action should
be left unfettered by an expression of opinion other than what has
already been given by the people and their representatives."

This ended the battle for confederation in New Brunswick, for what
remained to be done was merely the arrangement of the details of the
union by the delegates who had received full powers for that purpose.
The session of the legislature, which must be considered one of the most
important ever held in New Brunswick, came to a close on Monday, July
7th. At a meeting of the government held immediately after the
prorogation, the Hon. Messrs. Tilley, Wilmot, Fisher, Mitchell, Johnson
and Chandler were appointed to go to England as delegates for the
purpose of meeting delegates from Canada and Nova Scotia, and framing
the bill which was to be passed by the imperial parliament for the
consummation of confederation. It was understood that there would be no
delay on the part of the delegates from Canada, but Sir John A.
Macdonald and the other Canadian delegates were unable to leave at the
time appointed, and did not meet the Maritime Provinces delegation in
England until many months after the latter had arrived there. This
unfortunate circumstance produced much comment at the time, because it
looked as if the government of Canada was treating the delegates of New
Brunswick and Nova Scotia with discourtesy. Instead of the business
being completed promptly, as was expected, and the bill passed by the
parliament during the autumn season, the whole matter was thrown over
until the following year, and the New Brunswick delegates, most of whom
were prominent members of the government, had to remain in England for
about ten months at great expense and inconvenience.


The delegates from the three provinces, Canada, Nova Scotia and New
Brunswick, met at the Westminster Palace Hotel, London, in December,
1866, the Hon. John A. Macdonald in the chair and Lieut.-Col. Hewitt
Bernard acting as secretary. The resolution passed at the Quebec
conference held in 1864 was read, and amendments were moved in
accordance with the suggestions made in the several legislatures during
the discussions at the previous sessions. It was conceded by all that
the Intercolonial Railway, by which facilities for interprovincial
commercial intercourse should be secured, must be built by the united
provinces and without delay. It was also conceded that in the provinces
where separate schools were established by law, that principle should
not be disturbed. In the discussion it was claimed that the sole right
of imposing an export duty should be vested in the federal authority.
This was objected to by the New Brunswick delegates, on the ground that
as the people of that province had expended a large sum of money in the
improving of the navigation of the upper St. John, they had to recoup
themselves by imposing an export duty on lumber shipped from the
province. A considerable portion of the income thus received was paid by
the lumbermen of the state of Maine, the advantage derived by them from
such improvements being very great. The claim thus presented by the New
Brunswick delegates was conceded, and the province was permitted to
retain the right. This right was abandoned after confederation, the
Dominion paying therefor a hundred and fifty thousand dollars per annum
to the New Brunswick government.


During the sitting of the delegates, which lasted for two months, many
conferences were held with Lord Carnarvon, then secretary of state for
the colonies, and the law officers of the Crown, in regard to objections
which were taken to some of the resolutions adopted by the delegates.
The governor-general of Canada, Viscount Monck, was in London at the
time, and was able to render valuable assistance during the conference,
owing to his intimate knowledge of the previous negotiations at Quebec.
The arrangements there made, in regard to the strengthening of the
central government, founded on the experience of the United States
during the War of Secession, were adhered to in the London resolutions
and accepted by the imperial authorities. When the bill reached
parliament some amendments were suggested, but when it was pointed out
that the bill as presented was the result of the most careful
consideration of both the imperial authorities and the colonial
representatives, the suggested amendments were not pressed and the
measure passed through both Houses with very little discussion. But one
spirit seemed to animate both the imperial government and the members of
parliament, and that was to give the provinces interested the fullest
powers consistent with their relation to the Empire. The parliamentary
opposition to the measure was much less than might have been expected,
when it is remembered that the opponents of confederation had
representatives in London, well able to present objections from their
standpoint, who had the ear of Mr. Bright and other members of the House
of Commons. Her Majesty took a deep interest in the measure and
expressed that interest to members of the delegation, adding that she
felt a great affection for her loyal Canadian subjects. While the bill
was before the House of Lords, Messrs. Macdonald, Cartier, Galt, Tupper
and Tilley were honoured by a private presentation to Her Majesty, at
Buckingham Palace, and shortly afterwards all the members of the
conference were presented at a drawing-room at the same place.


The New Brunswick delegates returned to Canada in the spring of 1867,
having completed their labours, and the legislature was called together
on May 8th. The business before it was of great importance, for the
province was entering upon a new era as a member of the Canadian
confederation, and the legislature was about to lose that portion of its
powers which was delegated to the federal parliament. It is not,
however, necessary to enter into any details of the work of the session,
which was carried through without any particular difficulty, the
Opposition being too weak to oppose seriously the measures of the
government. It was felt on all sides that, as twelve members of the
legislative council were about to become members of the senate of
Canada, and as fifteen representatives were to be elected to the House
of Commons, most of whom would come from the House of Assembly, a
striking change would take place in the composition of the legislature,
which would be deprived of the services of a large number of its ablest
men. One of the important bills of the session was the passage of the
Act establishing county courts in the province, and in respect to this
measure a difference of opinion took place between Mr. John M. Johnson,
one of the delegates and member for Northumberland, and his fellow
delegates to England. He thought that the legislature had no authority
under the terms of confederation, or from any understanding between the
delegates while in England, to create county courts, while the other
delegates held a different view. The Act was passed, however, and has
proved to be one of the most useful ever placed upon the statute-book,
relieving the supreme court of many cases, both civil and criminal,
which would otherwise block its business, and enabling them to be
disposed of more rapidly than before. The county court judges appointed
under this Act were, with one exception, taken from the legislature, and
this made another serious drain upon its experienced members.



The British North America Act, by which the provinces of Upper and Lower
Canada, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia were bound into a confederation,
came into force by royal proclamation on the first day of July, 1867.
When it is considered how vast and vital a change this measure brought
about, it is surprising that it produced so little excitement anywhere.
With the exception of one or two demonstrations which were made with
flags by persons hostile to confederation, it was received in the
province of New Brunswick, which had been so much excited during two
elections, with perfect calmness, and although for some years afterwards
there were always a number of persons opposed to union who predicted
direful things from confederation, and thought it must finally be
dissolved, the voices of such persons were eventually silenced either by
death or by their acquiescence in the situation. To-day it may be safely
declared that the Canadian confederation stands upon as secure a
foundation as any other government in the civilized world.

In June, 1867, the Hon. John A. Macdonald, the leading spirit in the
government of Canada, was entrusted by Lord Monck, then
governor-general, with the formation of a ministry for the Dominion. Mr.
Macdonald naturally experienced a good deal of difficulty in making his
arrangements. In the formation of the first ministry much care was
necessary; provincial and national interests were to be thought of and
denominational claims had to receive some attention. But the greatest
difficulty arose with respect to old party lines. Mr. Macdonald thought
that these ought, as far as possible, to be ignored, and accordingly
selected his men from the leading advocates of confederation belonging
to both parties, placing in his cabinet seven Conservatives and six
Liberals. The Liberals included the names of Mr. W. P. Rowland and Mr.
William MacDougall for Ontario. A large number of the Liberals of
Ontario, including George Brown and Alexander Mackenzie, opposed this
arrangement, called a public meeting in Toronto, and passed resolutions
in favour of a strictly party government on the old lines. It declared
hostility to the proposal for a coalition, and resolved to oppose
Messrs. Rowland and MacDougall, should they accept office under Mr.
Macdonald. This decision was carried out, but these gentlemen were both
elected by good majorities. In this first ministry there were five
members from Ontario, four from Quebec, two from Nova Scotia, and two
from New Brunswick: S. L. Tilley and Peter Mitchell.

The wisdom of the course adopted will be apparent when it is remembered
that the question of confederation was not settled or carried on party
lines, some of the Conservatives opposing and some Liberals supporting
it. This was clearly the case in New Brunswick, as shown by the last two
elections held there. About one-third of the Liberal party, and a like
proportion of the Conservative party, opposed confederation at the
second election. To have formed the first government on a party basis
would have necessitated the selection of some men who were opposed to
the union, and whose efforts might not have been devoted to making it a


The first confederation ministry was a very strong one. The Hon. John A.
Macdonald became premier and minister of justice; the Hon. George E.
Cartier was minister of militia and defence; Alexander T. Galt was
minister of finance; the Hon. William MacDougall was minister of public
works; the Hon. W. P. Rowland was minister of inland revenue; the Hon.
A. J. F. Blair, president of the privy council; the Hon. Alexander
Campbell, postmaster-general; the Hon. J. C. Chapais, minister of
agriculture; the Hon. Hector L. Langevin, secretary of state. The Hon.
Mr. Tilley became minister of customs and the Hon. Mr. Mitchell minister
of marine and fisheries, while the two Nova Scotia representatives,
Messrs. Archibald and Kenny, became respectively secretary of state for
the provinces and receiver-general.

It will thus be seen that the Maritime Provinces had four
representatives out of thirteen members of the cabinet, and this
proportion has generally been maintained since that time; so that the
fears of those who anticipated that the provinces by the sea would not
receive fair treatment in the distribution of high offices have proved
to be groundless. On the contrary, it can be said that the Maritime
Province members of the government appear always to have occupied a very
influential position.

The office of minister of customs, which Mr. Tilley received, was
thought by some of his friends to be less important than he deserved,
they being of the opinion that he should have been made minister of
finance. This office, however, went to Mr. Galt, who, owing to a
difference with the rest of the government, resigned four months later,
his place in the cabinet being taken by Sir John Rose, who held the
office of finance minister until October, 1869, Sir Francis Hincks then
receiving the appointment. It was not until the resignation of the
latter in February, 1873, that Mr. Tilley became minister of finance.
The office at first assigned to him, however, was one of great
importance, involving as it did the reorganization of the entire
establishment of the customs of Canada, and it gave ample scope for his
great ability as a business man.

The elections for the House of Commons in the new parliament of Canada
took place in August, when Tilley was chosen to represent the city of
St. John, and John H. Gray, the county. It had been expected, in view of
the fact that these men had been so largely instrumental in bringing
about confederation, that they would be allowed to walk over the course
unopposed. This was the case with Mr. Gray, whose candidature met with
no opposition; but Mr. Tilley was opposed by Mr. John Wilson, who
received a very small vote. This needless and futile opposition to the
candidature of a man who deserved so well from the province, was merely
one of the proofs of the existence of political rancour in the breasts
of those who had been defeated on the confederation question.


The first parliament of united Canada met on November 6th, 1867, and the
address was moved by the Hon. Charles Fisher, who had been elected to
represent the county of York. The session was a very long one, lasting
until May 22nd of the following year; but there was an adjournment,
extending from December 21st to March 20th. This meeting of parliament
was especially memorable, inasmuch as it brought together, for the first
time, the representatives of all the provinces, and the ablest men of
all political parties. The people of Ontario and Quebec were little
known to the people of the Maritime Provinces, and those who resided in
the larger provinces in like manner knew comparatively little of their
fellow-subjects who dwelt by the sea. It was expected by some that the
Maritime Province representatives would be completely overshadowed by
men of greater political reputation belonging to the larger provinces,
but this did not prove to be the case. The Maritime representatives at
once took a leading position in parliament, and this position they have
steadily maintained down to the present time. No man stood better in the
House of Commons than the representative from St. John, the Hon. S. L.
Tilley. At that time Her Majesty, the Queen, in acknowledgment of his
services in the cause of confederation, had created him a Companion of
the Bath, a distinction which was also given to the Hon. Charles Tupper,
of Nova Scotia.

A vast amount of business had to be disposed of at the first session of
the parliament of Canada. Although the Union Act embodied the plan upon
which confederation was founded, it was necessary to supplement it by a
great deal of special legislation, for the purpose of interpreting it
and making preparations for the practical working of the constitution.
In all the discussions relative to the measures which had to be passed
at that time, Tilley took a prominent part, and, when the session was
over, he had established in the House of Commons, as fully as he had in
the legislature of New Brunswick, a reputation for ability as a speaker
and as a man of affairs. He was looked upon as one whose wide knowledge
of the needs of the province and whose experience in departmental work
were likely to be of the greatest use to the confederation. His high
character gave weight at all times to his words, and caused him to be
listened to with the most respectful attention. During the whole period
that Tilley sat in the House of Commons, he had the pleasure of knowing
that even his political enemies respected his character and abilities,
and, with the exception of the premier, perhaps no man wielded a more
potent influence in the councils of the Dominion than he.

It is not necessary here to trace to any large extent the career of Sir
S. L. Tilley in the parliament of Canada; that belongs rather to the
history of the Dominion than to a work which deals particularly with his
connection with his native province. Only so much of his public life in
the House of Commons will be dealt with as seems necessary to complete
his personal history. Tilley continued to hold the position of minister
of customs during the whole of the term of the first parliament of
Canada. This parliament held five sessions and dissolved in the summer
of 1872, the general election being in the month of July, upon which
occasion he was reëlected for the city of St. John without opposition.


The second parliament met on March 5th, 1873. Eleven days before that
time Mr. Tilley had become minister of finance, succeeding Sir Francis
Hincks, who had resigned that office after holding it for more than
three years. The advancement of Mr. Tilley to this responsible and
influential position was very pleasing to his friends, and was received
with satisfaction by the country generally.

The first confederation ministry of Canada resigned office on November
5th, 1873, under circumstances which are a part of the political history
of the Dominion and need not be gone into in this volume, further than
to say that, whatever basis there may have been for charges of
corruption in connection with the Pacific Railway contract against other
persons in the government, none were ever preferred against Mr. Tilley;
nor did any one suspect or believe that he had anything whatever to do
with the transactions which led to the resignation of the government.
Prior to that event Mr. Tilley had been appointed lieutenant-governor of
the province of New Brunswick in succession to the Hon. Lemuel A.
Wilmot, whose term had expired. Every one felt that the honour thus
bestowed upon Tilley was a most fitting one, for he was New Brunswick's
foremost son in political life, and had reached his high position purely
through his own ability and his own good character. That position he
filled a greater number of years than any of his successors are likely
to do, and it is admitted on all sides that no man could have performed
the duties of the office more satisfactorily than he did.



Mr. Tilley took up his residence in the old Government House,
Fredericton, and he must have been struck with the changed aspect
of affairs from that presented under the old régime, when
lieutenant-governors were appointed by the British government and sent
out from England to preside over the councils of a people of whom they
knew little or nothing. Most of these former governors had been military
men, more accustomed to habits of command than to deal with perplexing
questions of state. They looked with a very natural degree of impatience
on the attempts which the people of the province were making to get the
full control of their own affairs. Under the old régime the governor was
surrounded with military guards, and sentries paced the walks and
guarded the entrances to the Government House. The withdrawal of the
British troops from Canada before the lieutenant-governorship of Mr.
Tilley commenced relieved him of any embarrassment in regard to
dispensing with military guards and sentries; but all pretentious
accompaniments of authority were foreign to his nature, and he always
showed, by the severe simplicity of his life, that he felt he was one
of the people, and that it was his duty as well as his pleasure to
permit all who had any occasion to see him to have free access to him,
without the necessity of going through any formal process.


When Mr. Tilley became lieutenant-governor of the province, he was
fifty-five years of age, and he seems to have thought that his political
career was ended, because, by the time his term of office expired in its
natural course, he would have reached the age of sixty, a period when a
man is not likely to make a new entrance into public life. But
circumstances, quite apart from any desire on his part, made it almost
necessary for him to change his determination, and during the summer of
1878, when the general election was imminent, he found himself pressed
by his old political friends to become once more the candidate of his
party for his old constituency, the city of St. John. There was great
enthusiasm amongst them when it was announced that he would comply with
their wishes, and that he had resigned the lieutenant-governorship. The
result of that general election is well known. The Liberal party, which
had succeeded to the government less than five years before with a large
majority in the House of Commons, experienced a severe defeat, and the
Hon. Alexander Mackenzie, seeing this, very properly did not await the
assembling of parliament, but sent in the resignation of the ministry,
and Sir John A. Macdonald was called upon to form a new government. In
the cabinet thus constructed Mr. Tilley resumed his old office of
minister of finance, and one of his first duties was to assist in the
framing of a new customs tariff which was to give effect to the
principle, upon which the election had been run, of protection to home
industries. This idea of protection had not been heard of in the
Canadian confederation as the policy of any political party until Sir
John A. Macdonald took it up about a year before the general election,
but it proved a winning card and was the means of giving the new
government a long lease of power.

Sir Leonard Tilley's speech in introducing the new tariff was well
received and made a strong impression upon all who heard it. It was
admitted, even by those who were opposed to the views he held, that he
showed a great mastery of the details, and that he illustrated in a very
clear manner the view that the country was suffering because the duties
imposed upon foreign goods were not sufficiently high to protect
Canadian manufactures.

It is not the intention of this volume to deal to any full extent with
the career of Sir Leonard Tilley during his second term of office as
minister of finance of Canada. To enter into that phase of his career
would be to relate the history of Canada, for he was but one member of
the government, and not its leader. It is admitted that, in respect to
financial questions, Sir Leonard showed the same ability that had
characterized his career during his previous term of office, and he was
looked upon by his colleagues as a man in whose judgment the utmost
confidence could be placed. At this time, however, his health began to
fail, and the disease which finally carried him off developed to such an
extent that he was told he must cease all active work or his days would
be shortened. Under these circumstances, it became necessary for him to
retire from the severe duties of his very responsible and laborious
office, and on October 31st, 1885, he was again appointed
lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick, an office which he had filled with
so much acceptance between 1873 and 1878. Sir Leonard Tilley continued
lieutenant-governor during a second term, for almost eight years, or
until the appointment of the Hon. John Boyd to that position. He was
lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick for considerably more than twelve
years, a record which is not likely to be equalled by any future
lieutenant-governor for many years to come, if ever.


There was no event of particular importance to distinguish Sir Leonard
Tilley's second term as lieutenant-governor. The Hon. Mr. Blair was
premier of New Brunswick during the whole period, and there was no
political crisis of any importance to alter the complexion of affairs.
The only event in connection with the governorship which is worthy of
being mentioned is the change that was made by the abandonment of the
old Government House, at Fredericton, as the residence of the
lieutenant-governor. This building had become antiquated, and in other
ways unsuitable for the occupancy of a lieutenant-governor, and its
maintenance involved a very large expenditure annually, which the
province was unable to afford. It was therefore determined that in
future the lieutenant-governor should provide his own residence, and
that the amount spent on the Government House annually should be saved.
Sir Leonard Tilley built a residence in St. John, in which he lived for
the remainder of his life, and the seat of government, so far as his
presence was concerned, was transferred to that city. Sir Leonard Tilley
was always on the most cordial terms with the various premiers who led
the government of New Brunswick during their terms of office. He knew
well the strict constitutional limits of his office, and was always
careful to confine his activities within their proper scope. The lessons
of responsible government which he had learned in his early youth, and
which had been the study of his manhood, enabled him to avoid those
pitfalls which beset the steps of earlier lieutenant-governors.

During Sir Leonard Tilley's last term of office, and after its close, he
abstained wholly from any interference with public affairs in the
Dominion, and although he still remained steadfastly attached to the
Liberal-Conservative party, he gave no outward sign of his desire for
their success. This neutral position which he assumed in political
matters had the effect of drawing towards him thousands of his
fellow-countrymen who, in former years, had been accustomed to regard
him with unfriendly feelings. They forgot the active political leader
and saw before them only the aged governor, whose venerable figure and
kindly face were so familiar at social or other gatherings, or whenever
work was to be done for any good cause. In this way Sir Leonard Tilley
grew to assume a new character in the public estimation, and at the time
of his death the regret was as great on the part of those who had been
his political opponents as among those who had been his associates in
political warfare. This was one of the most pleasing features of his
declining years, and one that gave him the greatest satisfaction,
because it enabled him to feel that he enjoyed the affectionate regard
of the whole body of the people.

Sir Leonard Tilley throughout his life gave great attention to his
religious duties. He was a devoted member of the Church of England, and
his attendance at its services was constant and regular. For several
years before his death he was connected with St. Mark's congregation,
and no cause, except severe bodily illness, was ever allowed to prevent
him from going to church on Sunday morning. On many occasions, when his
steps had grown feeble and his strength was failing, it was suggested to
him that he should drive to church, but he always replied that he would
walk to church as long as he had strength left to do so, and that he
would not have people harnessing up horses on the Sabbath Day on his
account. This resolution he maintained to the end of his life.
Sometimes, when he met an old acquaintance, as he toiled up the street
which led to his favourite church, he would cheerfully greet him by
saying, "John, this hill has grown steeper than it used to be," but he
climbed the hill to the end, and the last Sunday he was able to be out
of his bed he walked to church as usual. He also took a deep interest in
all humane and philanthropic objects as well as in the great work
connected with the spread of the Gospel. He was a constant attendant at
the annual meetings of the British and Foreign Bible Society, and was a
life member of that admirable association.


The honours that Sir Leonard Tilley received from Her Majesty, in
recognition of his great public services, were very gratifying to his
friends as well as to himself, and when he was made a Knight Commander
of St. Michael and St. George, in 1879, his temperance friends embraced
the first opportunity on his return to St. John to have a banquet in his
honour, at which he wore, for the first time in public, the insignia of
the knightly order of which he had become a member. There was probably
no public event in the whole course of his life which gave him greater
pleasure than this proof of the attachment of his old friends.

Sir Leonard's last visit to England was marked by an extremely gracious
invitation to visit the queen at Osborne, in the Isle of Wight. While he
and Lady Tilley were sojourning at Cowes a message was sent summoning
them to Osborne House, where they were received by Her Majesty in the
beautiful grounds that surround that palace. The Princess Louise and
Princess Beatrice, with an equerry in waiting, were the only other
persons present. After an interesting conversation they were permitted
to visit the private apartments of Her Majesty, and the Prince Consort's

Sir Leonard Tilley was first married in 1843 to Julia Ann, daughter of
the late James T. Hanford, who died in 1862. By her he had seven
children, two sons and five daughters. In 1867, he married Alice Starr,
daughter of the late Z. Chipman, of St. Stephen. By this marriage he had
two sons, Mr. Herbert C. Tilley, of the Imperial Trust Company, who
resides in St. John, and Mr. L. P. DeWolfe Tilley, barrister, who is
also a resident of St. John. These two sons, Herbert and Leonard, were
the prop and comfort of his declining years and were devoted wholly to
him to the end.


Sir Leonard Tilley's second marriage was contracted at the time when he
was exchanging the limited field of provincial politics for the wider
sphere which confederation opened up to him in the parliament of Canada.
It was a fortunate union, for it gave him a helpmeet and companion who
was in full sympathy with him in all his hopes and feelings, and who was
singularly well qualified to preside over his household, which, in his
capacity of a minister of the Crown, had become, to a considerable
extent, a factor in the public life of Canada. Lady Tilley had a high
ideal of her duty as the wife of a cabinet minister and of the governor
of New Brunswick, and was not content to lead a merely ornamental life
or confine her energies within a narrow range. She saw many deficiencies
in our appliances for relieving human misery, and with a zeal which
could not be dampened, she sought to remedy them. The Victoria Hospital
at Fredericton is her work; hers also is the Nurses' Home in connection
with the Public Hospital in St. John, and the Reformatory for the care
of bad or neglected boys, who are in danger of becoming criminals if
they are not educated and disciplined when they are young. In every work
of philanthropy Lady Tilley has always taken not only an active, but a
leading part, and her position has enabled her to enlist in the cause of
humanity the energies of many who, under other circumstances, might not
have given their attention to philanthropic work.

Sir Leonard Tilley for many years had suffered from an incurable
disease, which had been mitigated by rest and medical treatment, but not
removed. It was the knowledge of the fact that his days would be
shortened if he continued in active political life that compelled him
to leave the government in 1885. For many years before his death the
malady had been so far subdued that it gave him comparatively little
trouble, but any unusual exertion on his part was almost certain to
arouse it again to activity, so that he was prevented on many occasions
from taking part in public functions which, under other circumstances,
he would have been glad to attend. Still, he always contrived to take
his daily walk, and few who saw him ever suspected that he was
constantly menaced by death. For three or four years before his decease
his strength had been failing, he stooped more as he walked, and it was
evident that he was not destined to enjoy many more years of life. Yet
during the spring of 1896 there was nothing whatever to indicate that
the end was so near, for he went about as usual, and was able to preside
at the annual meeting of the Loyalist Society which was held during the
last week in May. On that evening he appeared very bright and cheerful,
and he entered with much interest into the discussion of the details of
an outing which it was proposed the society should hold during the
summer. "Man proposes, God disposes." Sir Leonard had gone to Rothesay
early in June to spend a few weeks in that pleasant spot, and he
appeared to be in his usual health until the night of June 10th, when he
began to suffer great pain from a slight cut which he had received in
the foot. The symptoms became alarming and gave indications of blood
poisoning, a condition due to the disease from which he had suffered so
many years. On June 11th, he was taken to Carleton House, his town
residence, and from that time the doctors gave no hope of his recovery.
It was one of the sad features of his illness that his life-long friend
and physician for many years, Dr. William Bayard, was unable to attend
him, being himself confined to his bed by illness.


After Sir Leonard Tilley reached his home in St. John he never rallied,
and he was well aware that his end was near. He was attended by Dr.
Inches and Dr. Murray McLaren, but he was beyond medical aid, and
therefore the people of St. John, for several days before the event took
place, were aware that their foremost citizen was dying. The time was
one of great excitement, for the general election was near, yet the eyes
of thousands were turned from the moving panorama of active life which
passed before them to the silent chamber where the dying statesman was
breathing his last. The regret and sympathy that was expressed was
universal, and in their kindly words those who had been his life-long
political opponents were not behind those who had been his friends. Sir
Leonard Tilley died at three o'clock on the morning of June 25th, the
second day after the general election which brought about the defeat of
the party with which he had been so long identified.


His death evoked expressions of sympathy and regret from all parts of
the empire and from many states of the union. The letters and telegrams
of condolence which Lady Tilley received during the first days of her
widowhood would of themselves fill a volume, showing how widely he was
known and respected. The funeral, which took place on the Saturday
following his death, was one of the largest ever seen in St. John, and
was attended by the Board of Trade, the Loyalist Society, the various
temperance organizations, the members of the provincial government, and
a vast concourse of prominent citizens. The services took place at St.
John's Episcopal Church, and were conducted by the rector, the Rev. John
deSoyres, assisted by the Rev. R. P. McKim, rector of St. Luke's Church,
with which Sir Leonard had been identified in his earlier years. The
interment took place in the Rural Cemetery. Many references to the
decease of this eminent man were made from the pulpits of St. John and
other parts of the province on the Sunday following his death, and all
the newspapers had long notices of the event and editorials on his life
and character. We may fittingly close this work by quoting a portion of
what was said of him by the St. John _Telegraph_, a paper that was
politically opposed to him for many years:--

"It is greatly to the honour of Sir Leonard Tilley that no scandal,
public or private, was ever attached to his name. A consistent
temperance man to the end of his life, he was faithful to the cause
which he had espoused when he was young, and he enjoyed the confidence
and received the steady support of a vast majority of the temperance men
of the province, who looked upon him as their natural leader. His
capacity for friendship was great, and his friends might be numbered by
thousands, for he had a peculiar faculty of strongly attracting men to
himself. This may be ascribed, in part, to the magnetism of a buoyant
and strong nature, but it was more largely due to the extreme simplicity
of his character, which remained wholly unspoiled by the favours which
fortune had showered upon him. No man, however humble, had any
difficulty in obtaining an interview with Sir Leonard Tilley; he was
every inch a gentleman, and was, therefore, as polite to the poorest
labourer as to the richest in the land. Such a man could not fail to be
loved even by those who had been his most bitter opponents in former
years, when he was in active political life.

"It is one of the drawbacks of this human life that the wise, the
learned, the good, and those whom we most love and honour, grow old and
feeble, fall by the wayside and pass away. So while we lament the death
of Sir Leonard Tilley, we must recognize it as an event that was
inevitable, and which could not long have been postponed. His lifework
was done; his labours were ended; his active and brilliant career was
closed; he was but waiting for the dread summons which sooner or later
must come to all. The summons has come, and he has gone from among us
forever. His venerable, noble face will no longer be seen on our
streets, his kindly greeting will no longer be heard. But his memory
will live, not only in the hearts of all his countrymen, but enshrined
in the history of this his native province, and of the great Dominion
which he did so much to create, and which he so fondly loved."




 Allen, Hon. John C., solicitor-general, 183;
   opposes confederation, 228;
   becomes attorney-general, 233;
   appointed a judge, 235

 Anglin, Hon. Timothy W., opposes confederation, 227, 233;
   differences with his colleagues, 236;
   resigns from the government, 237

 Aroostook War, 135

 Ashburton Treaty, 195

 Assembly, House of, its composition and powers, 6;
   Wilmot's college bill introduced in, 51;
   its passage through the House, 52-6


 Babbitt, Samuel, teacher of the Madras School, 147

 Baillie, Thomas, retires with a pension, 116

 Ballot Law passed, 189

 Beckwith, John A., member for York, 250

 Bernard, Lieutenant-Colonel Hewitt, secretary of the confederation
           delegations, 263

 Blair, Hon. Andrew G., premier of New Brunswick, 280

 Bliss, Hannah, mother of L. A. Wilmot, 3, 4

 Botsford, Hon. Bliss, surveyor-general, 233

 Bounties, disallowed by British government, 118

 Boyd, Hon. John, lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick, 280

 British North America Act, the, comes into force, 269

 Brown, George, agrees to support confederation, 211

 Brown, James, surveyor-general, 174


 Campbell, Sir Archibald, lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick, 23, 27;
   refuses information to the House, 28;
   censured by the assembly, 29;
   dissolves the assembly, 29;
   opposes the civil list arrangement, 44

 Carleton, Thomas, governor of New Brunswick, 5

 Carnarvon, Lord, his interest in confederation, 264

 Carter, Sir James, appointed a judge, 74;
   appointed chief-justice, 130;
   resigns the chief-justiceship, 235

 Cartier, Hon. George E., minister of militia, 271

 Casual and territorial revenue, _see_ Crown lands

 Chandler, Edward B., a delegate to England in reference to the Crown
           lands, 24;
   enters the government, 72;
   resigns, 76;
   goes to England on behalf of the Intercolonial Railway, 168, 196;
   confederation delegate to England, 262

 Chipman, Ward, chief-justice, 74;
   resigns, 129

 Church of England, its predominant influence, 7

 Civil list, the, paid in part by the Crown land revenue, 21, 25;
   the Civil List Bill, 43;
   the bill passed, 47

 Clark, Rev. Samuel, rector of Gagetown, 147

 Colebrooke, Sir William, lieutenant-governor, 76;
   appoints Alfred Reade secretary, 76;
   censured by the assembly, 101

 Confederation, 201, 202;
   proposed in Lord Durham's Report, 203;
   discussed in 1858, 205;
   not favoured by Lord Derby's government, 205;
   D'Arcy McGee's party visits the Maritime Provinces, 209;
   crisis in the government of Canada, 209, 210;
   Canadian statesmen at the Charlottetown conference, 217-19;
   the Quebec scheme, 222;
   unfavourably received in New Brunswick, 223-5;
   the general election of 1865, 226-9;
   defeat of, 231;
   recommended in the speech from the throne, 242;
   carried at the general election of 1866, 249-51;
   resolutions in its favour carried in the legislature, 260, 262;
   delegation sent to England to arrange details of, 262;
   delay in arrival of Canadian delegates, 263;
   meeting in London, 263;
   discussion of the terms of union, 264;
   Confederation Act passed by parliament, 265;
   the union of the provinces proclaimed, 269

 Connell, Hon. Charles, postmaster-general, circumstances which led to
           his resignation, 191-2;
   member for Carleton, 231;
   becomes a member of the Mitchell-Wilmot government, 247;
   reëlected for Carleton, 249

 Cook, Dr. Henry, 149

 Council, executive, its composition, 48, 72;
   reorganized, 116

 Council, legislative, 5;
   rejects the college bill, 52, 53;
   its obstructive character, 67;
   its conduct condemned by the assembly, 68;
   changes in its composition, 69;
   favours confederation, 244

 Crane, William, a delegate to England with an address to His Majesty, 41

 Crown lands, revenues from, 6;
   dissatisfaction with the management of, 18-21;
   used to pay the civil list, 21, 22;
   control of, made the subject of an address to the king, 23;
   a deputation sent to England, 24;
   the surrender of the revenues by His Majesty proposed, 25-7, 35-7;
   another address to the king, 37, 38;
   control of, surrendered to the province, 47

 Custom-house system, imperial, discarded, 175, 176

 Customs duties, 6, 16, 17, 18, 38, 39


 DesBrisay, L. P. W., seconds Fisher's amendment to the address in reply
           to the speech from the throne, 244

 Douglas, Sir Howard, lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick, 50, 51, 148

 Dow, Dr., member for York, 250


 Education, unsatisfactory condition of, in New Brunswick, 83-5;
   the Madras system, 86-8;
   Wilmot's speech on, 88-91


 Family Compact, the, 13, 110

 Fees, on land grants, 14

 Fenians, threaten to invade Canada, 240, 241;
   invade New Brunswick, 247;
   Doran Killian, leader of, 247;
   troops called out to oppose them, 248;
   their invasion a fiasco, 249

 Fisher, Hon. Charles, member for York, 47;
   reëlected for York, 102;
   moves a want of confidence resolution, 103;
   his resolution defeated, 111;
   enters the government, 116;
   defeated in York, 128;
   his services to the Liberal party, 154;
   moves a want of confidence resolution, 172, 173;
   joins the new government as attorney-general, 174;
   retires from the government, 193;
   reëlected for York, 194;
   elected on the confederation ticket for York, 237;
   moves an amendment to the address in reply to the speech from the
             throne, 244;
   becomes attorney-general, 247;
   moves a confederation resolution, 257, 258;
   a confederation delegate to England, 262;
   elected for York in the first parliament of united Canada, 273

 Fraser, John J., opposes confederation, 228


 Gagetown, birthplace of Sir Leonard Tilley, 146

 Galt, Hon. A. T., in favour of confederation, 205;
   minister of finance, 271

 Gilbert, Thomas, advocates agricultural schools, 162

 Gillmor, Hon. A. H., provincial secretary, 233

 Gladstone, Right Hon. W. E., 199

 Glenelg, Lord, colonial secretary, 42, 61

 Glenie, James, an early Reformer, 13

 Gordon, Arthur Hamilton, lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick, opposed
           to confederation, 239;
   his change of views, 240;
   the confederation paragraph in his speech from the throne, 242;
   differences with his government, 242

 Government, responsible, the demand for, 99-111;
   granted, 113-16

 Gray, Hon. John H., 152;
   supports the government, 160;
   becomes a member of the government, 165;
   appointed attorney-general, 183;
   favours confederation, 227;
   elected for St. John County, 251;
   speaker of the assembly, 256;
   again elected for St. John in the parliament of 1867, 273

 Gray-Wilmot government, formed, 183;
   defeated, 184

 Grey, Earl, colonial secretary, on tenure of office, 113;
   disallows hemp bounty bill, 118

 Grievances, committee on, appointed, 24


 Hamilton, Peter S., his articles advocating confederation, 207

 Hanington, Hon. D. L., speaker, 172

 Hannay, James, his articles in favour of confederation, 207

 Harding, James A., elected for the city of St. John, 167

 Harvey, Sir John, lieutenant-governor, 47, 113

 Hatheway, Hon. George L., opposes confederation, 228;
   joins the anti-confederation government, 233;
   retires from the contest in York, 250

 Hazen, Hon. Robert L., on responsible government, 63;
   enters the government, 72;
   resigns, 76

 Head, Sir Edmund, lieutenant-governor, 129

 Hill, George S., member for Charlotte, 66

 Howe, Hon. Joseph, a delegate to England in connection with the
           Intercolonial Railway, 107;
   advocates confederation, 204

 Humbert, Mr., opposes responsible government, 64

 Hutchinson, Richard, 234


 Jenkins, William, teacher of the Gagetown grammar school, 147

 Johnson, Hon. John M., solicitor-general, 174;
   confederation delegate to England, 262;
   opposes county courts bill, 267

 Johnston, Hon. Hugh, enters the government, 72;
   resigns, 76


 Kerr, George, member for Northumberland, 249

 King's College, 49;
   its illiberal charter, 50;
   bill to amend it defeated, 52;
   passed, 56, 163;
   reorganized and becomes University of New Brunswick, 190

 Kinnear, Hon. William B., solicitor-general, 116


 Legislature of New Brunswick, called together in 1866, 256;
   its session of 1867, 266

 Leonard, Samuel, 147

 _Loyalist_, newspaper, its proprietors arrested, 75 (note)


 Macdonald, Sir John A., chairman of the confederation delegation, 263;
   forms the first Dominion cabinet, 270

 McClelan, Hon. A. R., chief commissioner of public works, 247;
   reëlected for Albert County, 249

 McGee, Thomas D'Arcy, favours confederation, 207;
   lectures in St. John, 207;
   brings a party to visit the Maritime Provinces, 209

 McMillan, Hon. John, surveyor-general, elected for Restigouche, 231;
   becomes postmaster-general, 247

 McPhelim, Francis, postmaster-general, 183

 Manners-Sutton, Hon. H. T., lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick,
           dissolves the House of Assembly, 180

 Maritime union movement, 211-13;
   the Charlottetown conference, 215

 Marriage laws, 14, 15

 Meade, General, 249

 Metcalfe, Sir Charles, governor-general of Canada, 74;
   his unconstitutional stand, 74;
   his views approved by the New Brunswick assembly, 74

 Mitchell, Hon. Peter, member of the legislative council, 246;
   supports confederation, 246;
   called on to form a government, 246;
   forms the Mitchell-Wilmot government, 247;
   confederation delegate to England, 262;
   becomes minister of marine, 271

 Monck, Viscount, governor-general of Canada, 265

 Money grants, initiation of, 48

 Montgomery, John, enters the government, 72;
   surveyor-general, 183

 Morgan, Elizabeth, great grandmother of Sir Leonard Tilley, 145


 Needham, W. H., member for York, 152;
   his ability and character, 154;
   opposes confederation, 228

 Newcastle, Duke of, colonial secretary, 197


 Odell, Hon. William Franklin, death of, 75

 Odell, Hon. William H., postmaster-general, 233, 234

 Office, tenure of, 57;
   Lord John Russell's despatch, 57;
   resolution of assembly thereon, 60


 Palmerston, Lord, his government in office during confederation
           negotiations, 206

 Parker, Hon. Robert, becomes chief-justice, 235

 Parliament of Canada, its first meeting, 273

 Partelow, Hon. John R., member for St. John County, 65;
   on money appropriations, 93;
   becomes provincial secretary, 116;
   his ability as a business man, 157

 Peters, Colonel Harry, speaker of the assembly, 148

 Peters, Susan Ann, mother of Sir Leonard Tilley, 146

 Peters, William, grandfather of Sir Leonard, 146

 Peto, Brassy and Betts, propose to construct New Brunswick railways, 167-9

 Pickard, John, defeated in York, 237

 Portland Railway Convention, 119;
   L. A. Wilmot's speech at, 120

 Prohibitory liquor law, 176-8;
   its failure, 180

 Putnam, Charles S., barrister, 11


 Railways, European and North American, proposed, 168;
   its progress, 186;
   completed to Shediac, 187, 188;
   Intercolonial, building of, proposed, 168, 195;
   delegations sent to England to obtain assistance, 169, 196-8;
   discussed in parliament, 187;
   a meeting held in Quebec to consider the offer of the British
             government, 198;
   a committee is sent to England to arrange the terms of the guarantee
             but fail to come to an agreement, 199, 200;
   its construction secured by confederation, 264

 Reade, Alfred, appointed provincial secretary, 76;
   his appointment condemned by the assembly, 79;
   the appointment cancelled, 80

 Reciprocity treaty, discussed, 170, 171;
   bill passed, 175

 Ritchie, Hon. William J., member for the county of St. John, 152;
   his great ability, 155;
   moves a want of confidence resolution, 160;
   complains of the conduct of the governor and the colonial office, 164;
   resigns his seat, 166;
   reëlected for St. John, 172;
   joins the Fisher government, 175;
   becomes chief-justice, 236

 Robinson, F. P., auditor of the king's casual revenue, 34

 Russell, Lord John, colonial secretary, 53;
   on the King's College charter, 54;
   on tenure of office, 114


 Salaries, official, 61;
   reduction proposed by Wilmot, 62

 Saunders, Hon. John Simcoe, advocate-general, 34

 Simonds, Hon. Charles, a delegate to England with the grievances of New
           Brunswick, 24;
   elected speaker, 160;
   resigns his seat, 166;
   again elected speaker, 183

 Skinner, Hon. C. N., favours confederation, 227;
   member for St. John city, 251

 Smith, Hon. Albert J., joins the Fisher government, 175;
   forms an anti-confederation government, 232;
   differences with the lieutenant-governor, 242;
   his government resigns, 245;
   moves an amendment to confederation resolutions, 260

 Smith, William O., mayor of St. John, 149

 Stanley, Lord, colonial secretary, 53;
   on King's College charter, 53, 54;
   on the Reade appointment, 80;
   on money grants, 92

 Steadman, Hon. James, postmaster-general, 193

 Steeves, Hon. William H., joins the Fisher government, 175

 Street, Hon. George F., solicitor-general, 34;
   a delegate to England in connection with the Civil List Bill, 45

 Street, Hon. John Ambrose, attorney-general, 161

 Street-Partelow government, defeated, 173

 Sutton, Richard, 249


 Tilley, James, grandfather of Sir Leonard, 145

 Tilley, Lady, 284;
   her charitable work, 285

 Tilley, Samuel, great-grandfather of Sir Leonard, 143

 Tilley, Samuel Leonard, birth and ancestry, 143;
   at the Madras School, 147;
   at the grammar school, 147;
   removes to St. John, 149;
   enters a drug store as clerk, 149;
   becomes a total abstainer, 150;
   begins business on his own account, 150;
   elected to the House of Assembly as member for St. John, 152;
   resigns his seat, 166;
   reëlected for St. John, 172;
   becomes provincial secretary, 174;
   defeated on the prohibition question, 183;
   again elected for St. John, 185;
   a delegate to England in regard to the Intercolonial Railway, 196;
   a delegate to Quebec to consider the offer of the British
           government, 198;
   second delegation to England, 199;
   at the Quebec conference, 219-22;
   defeated in St. John city, 231;
   resigns with his colleagues, 232;
   declines to form a new government, 247;
   becomes provincial secretary, 247;
   reëlected for St. John city, 251;
   his efforts for confederation, 252;
   his ability as a speaker, 255;
   supports the confederation resolutions, 258, 259;
   confederation delegate to England, 262;
   presented to Her Majesty, 266;
   becomes minister of customs, 272;
   elected to parliament for St. John city, 273;
   made a Companion of the Bath, 274;
   his standing in the House of Commons, 274;
   becomes minister of finance, 275;
   elected to the second parliament, 275;
   appointed lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick, 275;
   resigns the governorship, 278;
   again becomes finance minister, 279;
   introduces a protectionist tariff, 279;
   again appointed lieutenant-governor, 280;
   resides in St. John, 281;
   his simple habits, 281;
   his popularity, 282;
   a member of the Church of England, 282;
   made a K.C.M.G., 283;
   his marriages, 284;
   visits Her Majesty at Osborne, 284;
   his children, 284;
   suffers from an incurable disease, 285;
   his last illness, 286;
   death, 287;
   funeral, 288;
   tributes of respect, 288

 Tilley, Thomas Morgan, father of Sir Leonard, 145

 _Trent_ affair, 197


 United States, their attitude towards Canada, 254


 Vankoughnet, Hon. P. M., a delegate to England in regard to the
           Intercolonial Railway, 197


 Wark, David, his bounty resolutions, 118

 Watters, Hon. Charles, an advocate of confederation, 226

 Weldon, Hon. John W., speaker of the assembly, 65;
   on money grants, 94;
   appointed a judge, 236

 Wetmore, Hon. A. R., opposes confederation, 226;
   opposes anti-confederation government, 243;
   reëlected for St. John city, 251

 William IV., objects to alienation of Crown lands, 22;
   dismisses the Liberal government, 37

 Williston, Hon. Edward, solicitor-general, 247;
   reëlected for Northumberland, 249

 Wilmot, Benjamin, first of the name in America, 3

 Wilmot, Hon. Robert Duncan, 152;
   his change of principle, 156;
   supports the government, 160;
   becomes surveyor-general, 165;
   reëlected in St. John, 166;
   becomes provincial secretary, 183;
   opposes confederation, 227;
   dissatisfied with the government, 235;
   resigns in January, 1866, 236;
   forms a new government with Mitchell, 247;
   reëlected for St. John County, 251;
   confederation delegate to England, 262

 Wilmot, Lemuel, grandfather of L. A. Wilmot, 3

 Wilmot, Lemuel Allan, birth, 2;
   ancestry, 3;
   education, 10;
   studies law, 11;
   his interest in politics, 11;
   his knowledge of French, 12;
   an officer of militia, 12;
   elected to the assembly for York, 31;
   takes his seat, 32;
   his eloquence, 33;
   zeal for reform, 34;
   on custom house salaries, 38;
   a delegate to the colonial office in connection with provincial
             affairs, 41;
   arranges terms with the British government, 43;
   second delegation to England, 46;
   reëlected for York, 47;
   engaged in the reform of King's College charter, 49-52;
   bill rejected by council, 52;
   resolutions thereon, 54;
   the college bill passed, 56;
   proposes a reduced scale of salaries, 62, 63;
   nominated for the speakership, 66;
   reëlected for York, 66;
   becomes a member of the government, 72, 73;
   resigns in consequence of the Reade appointment, 76;
   his reasons, 77;
   advocates improved schools, 88;
   in favour of free schools, 90;
   an advocate of the initiation of money grants, 91, 94-7;
   bids farewell to the House, 102;
   reëlected for York, 103;
   his speech on the want of confidence resolution, 103-11;
   becomes attorney-general, 116;
   his oratory, 119;
   at the Portland Railway Convention, 120;
   his views on railway legislation, 126;
   opposes the Shediac Railway, 127;
   his bill for the reduction of salaries defeated in the legislative
             council, 127;
   decline of popularity, 128;
   appointed a judge, 130;
   Fenety's estimate of, 131;
   appointed lieutenant-governor, 133;
   his religious views, 133;
   as a lecturer, 134;
   takes part in the Aroostook War, 135;
   his love of flowers, 136;
   illness and death, 137;
   character and achievements, 137-9

 Wilmot, William, father of L. A. Wilmot, 3;
   a Baptist local preacher, 10;
   member of the House of Assembly in 1816, 10

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