Lieut.-Governor Sir John Harvey, K. C. B., to Earl Grey

Copy of a DESPATCH from Lieut.-Governor Sir John Harvey, K. C. B., to Earl Grey.

Government House, Halifax, 2 February 1847.
(Received 16 February 1847).

My Lord,

At the request of the Executive Council, I enclose the copy of a letter which they have addressed to me for the purpose of being forwarded to your Lordship, as well as a printed copy of a previous communication I had received from that body, being a reply to a paper signed by certain, leading members of the opposition, which, together with other communications connected with it, I not long since had the honour to transmit to your Lordship, with a private and confidential despatch concurring entirely in the representations made by the Council with respect to the present circumstances of the colony, its political condition, and the nature of its principal public offices. I feel it to be of the greatest moment to the welfare of this country that the very important subjects thus brought to your Lordship’s notice should receive the earliest and most careful consideration that may be consistent with your Lordship’s convenience.

I know not that I can afford to your Lordship a proof less equivocal of my earnest desire to continue to act with sincerity and cordiality with the gentlemen composing my present Council than by abstaining from any other observation. upon their comments upon my partial disclosures to them of the contents of my private, separate and confidential correspondence with your Lordship, than that that course has been prescribed to me by a sense of public duty.

I send herewith the copy of a letter from the Attorney-General to me, dated 5th of September 1846, and referred to in the letter from the Council, with a printed copy of the resolutions of the Assembly referred to by the Attorney-General.

I have, &c.
(signed) John Harvey.


Enclosure 1.

May it please your Excellency,

Halifax, 30 January 1847.

Your Excellency has communicated to us, since the termination of the efforts made for introducing into the Executive Council members from the party in opposition, some extracts from a despatch to your Excellency from the Right honourable the Principal Secretary of State for the Colonies, touching the mode of filling up the Council, and some general principles of provincial administration. Your Excellency not having seen it proper to communicate to us the whole of that despatch, nor any portion of that part of it which you mentioned to the Attorney-General and Mr. Dodd two days ago, relative to the Legislative Council, we can form but such imperfect idea of the views of his Lordship as can be derived from the two short extracts in writing furnished on the och instant to Sir Rupert D. George for our information, and from the recollection retained by the Attorney-General and Mr. Dodd, of some passages read to them by your Excellency on the occasion referred to.

From one of these latter passages, it appeared that your Excellency had conveyed to the Secretary of State a written paper furnished to you by some of the leading members of the opposition. Your Excellency is aware that we are entirely unacquainted, as well with the contents of that paper as with the nature and purport of your Excellency’s communication to Earl Grey, and that we are also ignorant of the information your Excellency nay yourself have possessed, or views you nay have entertained on the past history or present prospects of the province when corresponding with his Lordship; your Excellency not having seen it necessary to procure our representation of facts, or statements of opinions, on any of the subjects which may have been touched in that correspondence.

Your Excellency will very naturally understand that we are unwilling to be judged by the statements, whether of facts or principles, that our opponents may furnish. How wide the difference between us in this respect, the correspondence through your Excellency just closed evinces.

Our solicitude, however, does not so much concern the impressions affecting ourselves that may be received from the past, as it is directed to the influences by which the future prospects of this country may be determined.

As to the former, we solicit the attention of Earl Grey to the paper addressed by us to your Excellency, dated the 28th instant, in answer to a paper addressed to your Excellency by several members of the opposition, dated 17th of December last.

Understanding from your Excellency that a copy of the latter paper was some time ago transmitted to his Lordship, and totally differing as we do from the important statements of that document, it would be highly satisfactory to us that his Lordship should be furnished with a copy of our reply, and of the documents annexed to it.

Beyond this we think it would lie improper to say more, than that we are prepared to explain and to vindicate the policy and conduct of the provincial Government in all its particulars, from the dissolution of the House in 1843, until your Excellency’s assumption of the Government, should it have been impugned, or should his Lordship desire to be acquainted with our views.

As to the future prospects of the country, we think our duty to address the Secretary of State is more certain and pressing. From the general tenor of his Lordship’s observations, as far as communicated to us, we gather that his Lordship not improbably looks upon the condition of this province as different from what it really is in some essential particulars. Deeply interested in the welfare of the province, we earnestly desire that it may be saved from the mischiefs of partial change, calculated to promote individual objects, but unsuited to its existing circumstances, and fraught with evils to its social and political interests ; and, therefore, we seize the occasion presented to us, of engaging the attention of Her Majesty’s Government in the hope that his Lordship at the head of the colonial affairs, dealing with the matter as a whole, and giving to the province the benefit of his knowledge, experience and ability, nay determine wh1at changes are necessary in our provincial Government, and the modes of conducting the administrative and legislative business of the country before the British system of Government can be perfected here ; how far and in what manner the concurrence of the people in such changes should be obtained, supposing such concurrence should be given, and the general adaptation of an administration by heads of departments to so small a colony.

It is a necessary preliminary that his Lordship should be acquainted with some minuteness with the nature of our public offices and modes of business, and even with the meaning attached here to some terms in common use; and we regret that the pressure of our daily and unavoidable engagements precludes our offering the necessary information, in the manner which would be satisfactory, before the departure of the next mail.

The only public officers in the Executive Council are the Attorney-general and the Solicitor-general, and the Provincial Secretary being the Clerk of the Council; of these, the Attorney and Solicitor-general are in the Legislature.

The Council has consisted, since 1840, for considerable periods, of nine, ten, eight and six members; and it will be apparent, that as regards the conduct of the public business, its numbers are unimportant. Here is a controlling distinction. Were the Council formed of heads of departments, a vacancy in the Council would infer a vacancy in some public office, and a consequent detriment ta the service; at present it affects merely the number of advisers.

The provincial treasurer and the collector of Excise are officers excluded from the Legislature by law, or the despatch of the Secretary of State, and for reasons the most conclusive, as we- conceive. The first of these officers receives and pays the whole revenue, –standing at the counter in his own person ; he keep his own books, and in the same office conducts the provincial savings bank, of which lie is the director, and also acts as auditor of the public accounts; for the whole of these services (and this brief enumeration but imperfectly conveys an idea of them) he receives a salary of 600 l. currency, equal to 480 l. sterling, and has the assistance of one clerk, who receives 250 l. currency, equal to 200 l. sterling.

The collector of Excise at Halifax (an inappropriate term) secures and receives all provincial duties there, receives the entries of importations, superintends the body of provincial water-side officers, and is in fact the collector of provincial customs at Halifax, at a salary of 703 l. currency, equal to 560 l. sterling, out of which lie pays his own clerks.

To reason on the case of officers like these seems unnecessary; it is only to imagine them in the Government and Legislature, dependent on the returns of a general election every four years, to perceive the neglect of daily office duty, the almost unavoidable subserviency to political supporters and perilous temptations, which would ensue, unless important changes, requiring a largely increased expense, were made; and, indeed, it is difficult to imagine any practicable change that would not leave some of the worst mischiefs unremoved.

The Secretary of the province, the Surveyor-general, and Commissioner of Crown Lands at Halifax, for Nova Scotia Proper, and a similar officer at Sydney for Cape Breton, conduct the remaining public offices, under circunstances that would require in a greater or less degree increased assistance and modifications.

But all of these gentlemen have held their offices for many years, and in the exercise of their official duties, to which they have devoted themselves, have acquired habits unsuited for legislative pursuits. Their salaries, unlike the treasurer and collector of Excise, have been adjusted by arrangements with the Imperial Government, and are paid out of the Crown revenues.

The Attorney and Solicitor-general are the only officers who are in a situation to come under the operation of the system. The initiative in money grants may be said, in the most emphatic manner, to be not with the Government.

The qualification of members of the assembly is 40 s. per annum from freehold estate. The tenure of the Legislative Council for life depends on a despatch of the Secretary of State.

There is no pension fund, or any approach to it, and a very decided repugnance exists in this country to its establishment.

The extravagant comparisons and illustrations used in relation to this province, and the style in which a spirit and feeling is assumed to exist throughout the country, very different from tie pervading sentiments of the people, may well mislead a distant party.

Nova Scotia numbers about 250,000 inhabitants ; a large proportion of them occupying the shores, or contending with the hardships of rugged situations and new cultivations, are poor, and destitute of the means of education, except the most limited. In the oldest and more favoured parts of the country, the capital and labour, so essential to the improvement of agriculture, are wanting ; the commerce of the province is limited, and its manufactures still more so. The annual revenue averages about 80,000 l. It is a young country, having many elements of future promise, but not yet sufficiently matured to bear the full weight of a system of administration that hereafter would be calculated ta promote its welfare. We have no class born to fortune and leisure ; every man at 21 years of age has his livelihood to acquire, and, as a general rule, those who receive office are dependent on its salary for a subsistence.

In the present system, the public offices are under a strict supervision ; it is the interest of both Government and opposition to see that the duties are well performed, and the interest of none to screen malversation ; and the officer, fulfilling his duties with integrity and ability, is removed above the temptation either of unworthy subserviency or pecuniary delinquencies, that would assail him were the subsistence of his family dependent on party support, in a country where politics must turn on considerations referable to persons, not principles.

We desire in no degree to weaken the responsibility of the provincial Government to the Legislature.

Hence, one of the first acts of the Attorney-general, after your Excellency’s arrival, was to inform your Excellency, in his letter dated 5th of September 1846, of the resolution passed by the Assembly on the 5th of March 1844 (Journals, pp. 66-71), to which we invite bis Lordship’s attention, and of the acknowledged principles of action by which he held himself governed while one of your Excellency’s advisers.

What we do desire is, that it may not be left to accident or to individual interests to enforce those changes which suit personal views, on the erroneous idea that they are but the incidents of a system already introduced, or for which the country has been prepared.

His Lordship will perceive that one object, which amongst other things we have had prominently in view in this communication, has been to make bis Lordship acquainted with the peculiar circumstances distinguishing our colonial condition and polity in a very striking degree, not only from that of the Imperial State, but of Canada also.; and whilst referring to the past, we feel that much evil has arisen from protracted and exciting discussion in the Legislature respecting abstract theories of Government, concerning the application of which it is alone that a difference exists. We would respectfully suggest, in reference to the future, that an authoritative declaration should be made of the extent to which it is the design of Her Majesty’s Government that the mode and principles of English administration, with their incidents as respects the tenure of offices as dependent on the changes of political parties, shall henceforth be held to be in practical operation in Nova Scotia.

We beg your Excellency to forward this letter to the Secretary of State by the present mail, and we trust bis Lordship will excuse the hasty manner in which we have been compelled by the pressure of our legislative and other duties to prepare it, and that lie will accept it as an evidence of our desire that the government and institutions of this country should be subjected to comprehensive, enlightened and disinterested review.

We have the honour to be, your Excellency’s obedient and humble servants,

(signed)
S. B. Robe,
R. D. George,
J. W. Johnston,
E. M. Dodd,
M. B. Almon,
L. M. Wilkins.


Enclosure 2.

May it please your Excellency,

Halifax, January 28, 1847.

THE arrival of Mr. Dodd in Halifax has afforded us the first opportunity of answering the paper dated 17th December last, signed by Messrs. J. Howe, L. O’C. Doyle, J. McNab, and G. R. Young, accompanied by a memorandum of approval signed by Mr. W. Young, which was received by your Excellency after Mr. Dodd’s departure from Halifax, and the copy of which, furnished by your Excellency, the members of the Executive Council in Halifax had the honour to acknowledge in a note dated the 21st December.

On the general tone of discourtesy, and the derogatory observations of this document, we offer no comment.

Your Excellency ought not to be made the channel for ebullitions of party or personal resentments, and we owe it to our own character and position to bring individual feelings into subjection to the restraints of official decorum, in the conduct of the business in which we have been engaged by your Excellency.

The paper before us advances statements which we consider in the highest degree inaccurate, and pretensions altogether unwarranted by the past or present history of the country. We therefore feel it to be incumbent on us to request your Excellency’s attention to some statements of facts, which we shall make as briefly and with as little comment as possible.

In most, if not all, of the instances, it will be unnecessary to inquire whether parties, who may be referred to, were right or wrong in their conduct. ‘lie indisputable facts, irrespective of the motive,being, ml our view, inconsistent with the statements that have been made to your Excellency, and being their conclusive answer.

Not the least conspicuous passage is that in which your Excellency is seriously told, that from 1840 to 1843 we were protected by the Liberal party in the Assembly, as they have assumed to style themselves, who, it is said, magnanimously left us and our friends in possession of nearly all the offices of emolument, and most of the seats in Council.

Contrasted with the sordid politics that debase Nova Scotia, such an instance of generous forbearance would be indeed refreshing. But when and how it was. that ” the Liberal party” became possessed of the power and of the right to distribute the offices of emolument and the seats in Council, and still more, that being so possessed, they magnanimously forbore the tempting prize in favour of their political antagonists, we confess ourselves profoundly ignorant.

We trust we shall not be deemed ungrateful in declining to acknowledge the obligation until that ignorance is dispelled. On such au issue your Excellency may not be averse from receiving a brief sketch of the circumstances.

The mixed government we are said to have broken up in 1843 had its immediate origin in the Governor-General’s visit to Nova Scotia in 1840.

He proposed as a general principle, that the members of the Council should ordinarily be NOVA SCOTIA. members of the Legislative Council or Assembly, and offered a seat to Mr. Howe, provided he would modify his views on responsible government, as advanced in a pamphlet he had some time before published, and a copy of which had been sent to Lord John Russell, then the Colonial Secretary.

Mr. Howe having consented to the condition, and fulfilled it to the satisfaction of the Governor-General, the Executive Council was formed, in the autumn of that year, on instructions to Lord Falkland to carry out the Governor-General’s views, by the retirement of such of the members as belonged to neither branch of the Legislature, and the introduction of Mr. Archibald, the then Attorney-General, Mr. Uniacke, who had retired from Sir Colin Campbell’s council, Mr. McNab, previously recommended for a seat, and Mr. Howe. These new members being added to those who remained, viz. Mr. Robie, Sir Rupert D. George, Mr. Johnston, then Solicitor-General, Mr. Dodd and Mr. Stewart, formed the Executive Council.

On the united influence of this Council, and not on the influence of any one or more of its members, Lord Falkland went to the country on the general election in the end of 1840, and obtained and preserved the support of the new house. Should it be said that in the majority that supported the united Council, the Liberals, as they are called, preponderated, we doubt not that we should have occasion to modify the nomenclature and classification which party interest might now dictate; but the inquiry is unnecessary. It is enough to show that the party had not power to effect what it is vainly pretended they “magnanimously” abstained from doing.

When the Council was remodelled in 1840, we never heard it suggested that any of that party had the opportunity afforded then of displaying the disinterestedness thus assumed to have been exercised.

On the contrary, it was matter of public notoriety, that some of the party were highly dissatisfied with having been omitted from the Council; and it cannot occasion surprise, that the declaration of being “sacrificed and betrayed,” which were publicly made on that occasion, were not understood at the time, and cannot now be accepted as the manifestation of disregard of office and generous forbearance.

From that period to the dissolution in 1843, there was exhibited on several occasions a disposition among some individuals of their party to displace certain members of the Executive Council.

These desires were prevented from breaking into open act by Lord Falkland’s sense of justice and propriety. He firmly put down every such intrigue, by declaring his fixed purpose to appeal to the country if the Assembly were agitated by any questions aimed at individuals of his Council, an appeal from which they shrank with a prudence the event has justified.

In 1843 a dissolution at length became necessary, and the new Assembly, in 1844, being required to decide betveen two opposite parties, into which the Council had become divided, that section whose pretensions to magnanimous forbearance we are considering was found in the minority, although strengthened by the vote and influence of a gentleman who they tell your Excellency had been “previously identified with the opposite interest.”

The assumption that Mr. Almon’s appointment was the origin of the divisions that followed it, is far from conveying a faithful representation of the circumstances. That appointment was indeed the immediate occasion of the retirements, but it was itself but the consequence of previous dissensions, which there is sufficient evidence to know would have agitated the Assembly at its approaching session in a manner not the less mischievous from being more covert, although that appointment had never occurred; and when your Excellency is told that “the reason given” for that gentleman’s appointment was his affinity to the Attorney-General-the concomitant facts being suppressed-the parties who have signed and sanctioned the document under review have been drawn into an assertion that evinces a carelessness and inaccuracy in dealing with facts, for which the advantage they might expect from the sneer it introduces seems an inadequate recompense. The reasons that were given for Mr. Almon’s appointment are contained in Lord Falkland’s letter to the retired Councillors, dated 25th December 1843, and afterwards published. The extracts from it, which we subjoin, render argument on this point unnecessary.

We proceed to subject to a like comparison with facts the unqualified declaration, that in every proposal made to the opposition for an union of parties we have sought “a party triumph, and not the peace of the country.”

No sooner had the majority of the Assembly, in 1844, sustained the government, after the disruption of the Council, than the Lieutenant-Governor offered to reinstate the three retired Councillors in all the offices they had vacated; and, in addition, to appoint to the Executive Council a Roman Catholic gentleman of their own politics; thus removing as far as possible the appearance of party triumph, by restoring the relative position of the parties in the Council, as it had stood before the appointment of Mr. Almon. Some time after this offer was rejected, Mr. De Wolf was appointed to the Excise office, and immediately following that appointment there was commenced a system of ribaldrous abuse of the Lieutenant- Governor, which was pertinaciously followed to the close of his administration.

In the summer of the same year an offer was made to introduce five members of the opposition into a Council of twelve, the publisher of the abuse referred to being excluded from the proposal. In reference to this proposition, it being suggested by a member cf the opposition to one of ourselves, that if it were modified so as to contemplate a Council of nine in the whole, an arrangement would probably be effected, the Lieutenant-Governor lost no time in authorizing the Attorney-General to meet a gentleman understood to be empowered on the other side. Between these gentlemen a personal communication took place, which, from the authority given the Attorney-General, and the feelings of the executive, could scarcely have failed to result successfully, although it must have beer attended with sacrifices on the part of the Executive Council; but this negociation abruptly terminated from the failure of some of the opposition to confirm the authority of the gentleman acting for that party. With the circumstances of the proposal recently made your Excellency is fully acquainted. It is unnecessary that we should unveil the secret springs that have defeated all proposals for conciliation; enough appears in what is acknowledged and apparent to enable you to estimate the value of the construction put on our conduct, and to appreciate the correctness and good taste of the vaunting assertion founded on the proposition made in 1844 to increase the Council to twelve. To complete the sketch, we subjoin the copy of a resolution passed in the Assembly on the 26th February 1845, and to which we beg your Excellency s particular attention, and from which will be gathered, in no dubious terms, the sense entertained by a majority of the Assembly of the course pursued in this respect, during the late administration of the Government. Your Excellency’s opinion of our conduct in the recent proposals we are happy to know to be equally favourable.

Your Excellency has been furnished with a distinct catalogue of public benefactions which the paper under review would lead you to believe “the Liberals” would have conferred on Nova Scotia, had not the influence of the Conservatives frustrated their purposes. Most of that which is thus advanced has been reiterated again and again in every varied form that might serve to,awaken popular prejudice, and on every suitable occasion has been met, and, as we believe, successfully repelled.

Your Excellency will, therefore, not be surprised that we, at this time, deal with these points in general terms only.

Your Excellency is told that ” while the Liberals have sought to introduce into this province the system of government suggested by Lord Durham, and sanctioned by Lord Sydenham and bis successors, the Conservatives have as steadily opposed it, practically denying to the people the power which should result from the possession of representative institution.”

Sorry, beyond the expression of language, should we be, did we not believe that those who support us both in the Legislature and through Nova Scotia, as well as we ourselves, entertain at least as high a value for representative institutions, and reverence for constitutional liberty and British connexion, as do those who are accustomed to arrogate their own superiority. It is because we thus feel that we are unwilling to trust the wisdom and disinterestedness of those who see in the circumstances of this small colony an existing adaptation for the whole British system, acquiring neither previous modification nor preparation, and who, on a foundation in our eyes so irrational and unsound, seek for changes from which, as an immediate consequence, they do not affect to conceal that they hope to attain their own advancement to offices of emolument. Their next claim is one which, doubtless, gives value to all the others, and is expressed with a guardedness of language well suited to the delicacy of the subject. Your Excellency is told that “the Liberals hold that public offices are public trusts.” So we hold. The public trust we would regard is the promotion of the public interest by the faithful execution of the duties of office. Their public trust appears to us to be alone subservient to private interests, before which, iii the present state of the provincial government, the public welfare would inevitably bend. Before the consummation which seems so desirable in the eyes of these gentlemen can be effected. by making the public offices the prize of political aspirants, great changes are required to be made, entailing a large increase of the public burdens. Until these changes shall be judged advisable, and be carried into effect, we hesitate not to avow the opinion, that to turn a faithful officer out of his situation for the purpose of bribing into quietness an enforced agitation, would be altogether inconsistent with British practice and precedent, as it would be “utterly repugnant” to the principles and feelings we desire ever to cherish ; and we have little hesitation in believing that the noble statesman referred to in the passage in question would recognize in the condition of this country and its institutions the necessity of great and serious changes, before the system advanced by the opposition could be introduced without manifest injury to the province.

The next theme is the transfer of the casual and territorial revenues, and on a subject so much hackneyed to party purposes we nay be permitted to leave undisturbed by any reminiscences the complacent comparison drawn between the members of the opposition and of the Council.

Last in the catalogue is the composition of the Legislative Council. One of the first acts of Lord Falkland, after the retirement of the Executive Councillors in 1843, was to appoint a Roman Catholic gentleman of the Liberal party to that body, and to the attempts of that party to give it a partizan character may be traced the appointments they complain of.

The parties who have presented ta your Excellency the document we are considering profess themselves dissatisfied with the style in which our recent offer for conciliation was male, and are pleased to describe the mode that should have been pursued for the purpose of following English example.

Five pages are occupied in instructing your Excellency in the etiquette of the Royal closet, descanting on the duties that attach to the Prime Minister of England, and in exposing the derelictions of duty into which they assume our ignorance has led us.

We are not ambitious of the credit to be derived from the display of knowledge on matters of, no very deep erudition, and shall therefore leave those gentlemen in undisturbed possession of the high places they emulate, content to believe that the course we pursued was that best suited to the humbler circumstances in which we were place. While our desire is to adopt every British principle and practice of government as far and as fast as our own condition will allow, we revolt from the attempt, as alike inconsistent with common sense and the welfare of the province, that would apply to a small colony what may be suited only to a state of greater maturity.

If, however, in fulfilling the duty imposed on us by your Excellency, we did not indulge in exaggerated comparisons, we yet within our narrower sphere felt the importance of the trust, and followed the course best adapted, as we believe, for its honourable and successful accomplishment.

To estimate perfectly our position, it might be necessary to enter into statements more personal than we deem expedient for this paper. We may, however, be permitted to say, that the experience of the past was fraught with pertinent instruction. When, therefore, your Excellency was pleased ” to invite our assistance in the formation of such a government as might be in accordance with your well-known views, so far as the state of’ public feeling in the province night render practicable,” our unreserved declaration of readiness in general terms to unite with gentlemen of opposite party name, laid, as far as we were able, the foundation necessary for carrying your Excellency’s object into effect, should a corresponding disposition exist on the other side, and warranted the advice we offered, that, previously to any overtures, the sentiment entertained on this preliminary principle by those of the opposition your Excellency was in communication with should be ascertained.

In deferring our selection of names from the other side to fill the vacant seats in Council -(your Excellency is aware we were willing to assume the duty if subsequently it should be required to be fulfilled)-we avoided an appearance of dictation that might have been offensive to those opposed to us; and as we were aware that the union would call for some surrender of party and personal feeling on the other side, we felt that the tendered resignation of Messrs. Dodd and Almon would evince that we had been willing to set the example. Thus, if our opponents should possess a desire to promote the harmony of the province, an opportunity was afforded for the arrangement of such names to fill the vacant seats in the Executive Council from their side as we could acquiesce in, in a manner the least likely to excite jarring feelings among their own party; while, if there should exist no real purpose of union, the course we pursued withheld from them the plausible excuse of proscription and its fruitful harvest of excitement.

“The irrelevant matters very improperly introduced,” as the document before us authoritatively determines, were statements calculated to put your Excellency in possession of our views, and thereby enable you to correct misapprehension, and to secure a proper understanding in a case where explicitness was necessary.

In all these communications our intercourse was with your Excellency, not with our opponents. Your Excellency fulfilling the office of “mediation and moderation,” which the paper we are considering professes highly to value, exercised exclusively your own discretion in communications you made to the opposition, and we doubt not (for we are ignorant of their exact nature and extent), your Excellency was guided by a spirit of generous confidence which you had reason to suppose would not be misapprehended or perverted.

It is insinuated, in terms not the most delicate, that the proposal Nye thus made, involving Mr. Almon’s retirement, was dictated under a sense of weakness and dread of the future, for the purpose of seeking the aid of our opponents, whose co-operation you are told we had found ourselves compelled to invite on former occasions.

Your Excellency is aware, and we were not insensible to the fact, that an offer of conciliation from one of two contending parties, is liable to be misinterpreted into evidence of weakness by minds incapable or unwilling to exercise generous sentiments ; and we can have no interest in objecting to this practical exhibition which these gentlemen have seen fit to make of their sense of official propriety-rendered more conspicuous by its contrast with the lofty terms in which they profess to hold up for example the high observances of British statesmen.

But whatever may have been our motives, it is satisfactory to know that neither the success of their Parliamentary opposition, nor the conduct of public affairs, furnishes evidence of any necessity on our part to seek their aid.

The supporters of the administration in the Assembly have ever had strength sufficient to resist, with entire success, the most strenuous and pertinacious efforts of the opposition,– a strength, too, which has gone on steadily increasing as the contest has advanced ; and not only has the management of the provincial business, and the supervision of public offices, been as efficient as when individuals from the other side were in the Council (we think we may go thus far at least without dread of any contradiction), but during the last three years some of the principal public offices have undergone great and acknowledged improvements–while a large reduction of the provincial debt, and the revenue flourishing and increasing in no ordinary measure, have furnished no ground of dissatisfaction.

Vanity or self-interest may magnify beyond their due proportion the affairs of this small colony, and the ability necessary for advising the Lieutenant-Governor on their conduct; but the experience of many years, during which, at different times, most of us have been associated with many of the leading men on the other side, has given us moderate views on this subject : therefore, in seeking an union of parties, the evils to be averted joined our paramount consideration, and the suppression of a debasing agitation, calculated only to disturb the peace and retard the welfare of the country, was to us an object far more controlling than the advantage to be expected from the talents of any set of men.

A reason is assigned by the other side for the rejection of the recent offer made for conciliation, which is perfectly significant to all who apprehend the import of the terms in which it is expressed, and which, in connexion with other circumstances, on which it is unnecessary to enter here, renders transparent the real object for which the country is now agitated, but which is yet so expressed as to leave multitudes of this province in ignorance as to the tendency of the course pursued.

It is said that “a fair distribution of patronage should .be arranged at the formation” of the United Council, and that to induce the opposition “to share the responsibilities and labours of Government,” offices of adequate value had not been offered them. Here a ready key is furnished to the extravagant comparisons instituted between the government of Nova Scotia and that of Great Britain, and the overstrained and unsound analogies attempted to be deduced from English precedents, which overspread the documents we are considering, to a degree calculated to give to it an air of burlesque and caricature in the eyes of those acquainted with the real-nature of both governments and the circumstances of the two countries, but which, to a stranger unacquainted with our affairs, and to those among ourselves ignorant of incidents that distinguish the British Government, have a tendency to create plausible and deceptious opinions.

Let the English statesman be informed that ‘n Nova Scotia the system of administration by heads of departments has never been introduced, and that the greater number of the chief public officers have not seats at the Council Board, and that the larger number of the councilors, since the reconstruction iiit1840, have been unconnected with office, and he would understand that party government, and the transfer of offices of emolument and trust contemplated by the opposition, could not take place on English principles, until such mode of administration had been introduced. But further, when he should learn the structure of the provincial government, the mode of the legislative action in the grant of money, and its appropriation and expenditure for local improvements, when he should know that some of the chief officers fulfill in fact the duties which in England are performed by subordinate clerks, and are dependent for the necessary support of their families on salaries not more than adequate for that object, he would assuredly be satisfied that the administration by heads of departments could not be introduced without the erection of new offices, and a pension fund, the Government initiative in money votes, and many important changes in the present system, involving the sacrifice of much that the people of Nova Scotia, from long usage, have become attached to, and necessarily entailing a very largely increased expense in the administration of the provincial government.

Whether these changes would be beneficial, or if beneficial, whether their advantages would be equivalent to the enlarged expenditures they would create, are questions of very serious moment to every Nova-Scotian, but on these questions we do not enter; our object is to strip the matter of specious but delusive glosses; for of this we are assured, that were the people of this province to understand what is really meant by the opposition leaders by the phraseology of the paper we are considering, and,the necessary consequences of the system they are aiming at, and could they know the expenses it must induce, and the new offices it requires, with the operation and effects of its other requisite changes, there is not one constituency in Nova Scotia that would not reject the system with scorn, let it be offered from whose hands soever it might.

But the real end and tendency of the course pursued are concealed under terms and phrases not understood by the generality of the people, and gilded by high-sounding references to England, and self-complacent comparisons with British institutions.

We believe that English precedent sanctions not the turning out of office, on a change of administration, of men not engaged in the administration, unconnected with the ministry or the Legiature, and performing subordinate duties of office.

The public interest, we think, equally forbids that an officer, who, in his own person, receives and secures the public duties, or at the counter receives and pays the public revenues, and is compelled to fulfill a large share of the ordinary duty of a clerk, should be drawn away from bis office to attend the administrative and legislative duties devolving on a member of Government, should be exposed to the influences and temptations of elections, or be led every few years to spend, in securing the return of himself or some political leader, on which his continuance in office, and consequently his daily bread, would depend, much more than the amount of all his annual income.

Hence our reason for asserting that new offices must be created, increased expense incurred, and pensions established, to carry out the views of the opposition, unless they design to violate English precedent, of which they talk so loudly, oi to trample on the substantial interests of the province, for which they profess so high a regard.

If the object of the opposition be to introduce the perfect English system, then honesty to the people demands that their intention should be openly avowed, and the full effect, and all the consequences be distinctly explained. This they have never yet done. If their object be to introduce just so much as suits the interest of a few individuals, by giving them the power to turn out the holders of offices of emolument merely, without altering the nature of the offices, so as to bring them into analogy with the departments in England, then the object is alike destructive of the best interest of the people and repugnant to British principle and practice, and its authority and example must be sought for, not in the constitution of Great Britain, but in one of the worst features of the practice in the United States of America.

We offer to your Excellency no apology for the length of this paper. Bound to Nova Scotia by the strongest ties, her welfare (at stake upon the issue raised between our opponents and ourselves) cannot be indifferent to us, nor could we, without injustice, be insensible to the claims of our political friends in the legislature and country, who, iii common with ourselves, are attacked in the document we have been considering.

The appeal of your Excellency, a new Governor, opened under favourable auspices a renewed prospect of quieting an agitation which, as we conceive, without any considerations of the public good to warrant if, disturbs and injures the country.

That appeal demanded the surrender of our personal feelings to no ordinary extent, and we prepared to make the sacrifice as far as public duty and propriety would permit. In this we but.carried out the”principles we have maintained for the last three years; and if the mode in which our advances has been repelled has altered some of the relations in which we were willing to place ourselves, we are not answerable for that consequence. The opposition leaders deal confidently with the future. In the struggle of the last three years, may. it please your Excellency, anticipations equally bold and confident have again and again been thrown across our path, which it has been our fortune to find realized in nothing except disappointment to their authors. Content to leave the future in the disposal of a wise Providence, we trust that as far as we may be called to mingle in its scenes, we shall at least bring to the duties it may present a firm determination to promote the welfare of our country according to our best ability.

In contemplating, however, the prospect before us, it is our good fortune that the recollections of the past throw no discouragement over the anticipations of the future; as it is also our pride and happiness to know that the exertions we formerly made for promoting the harmony of the province met the approval of your Excellency’s noble predecessor, while administering this government, and secured them firm, unwavering confidence and support of a majority of the representatives of the people, and that our recent efforts obtained your Excellency’s approbation; nor should we fulfill our duty were we to close this paper without thanking your Excellency for the declaration you have so kindly expressed, that you recognized in the course we pursued in our recent proposals the evidence of a sincere desire on our part to co-operate in your Excellency’s endeavours to construct a Council fairly representing both parties, and that you beheld in the conduct of Messrs. Dodd and Almon a disinterestedness that entitled them to their Sovereign’s approval.

S. B. Robie,
R. D. George.
J. W. Johnston.
Ednund M. Dodd.
M. B. Almon.
Lewis M. Wilkins, jun.


EXTRACT from Lord Falkland’s Letter to Messrs. Uniacke, Howe and McNab, dated 25 December 1843.

TH E reasons which made the appointment of Mr. Almon expedient, in My opinion, at this time, are such as, far from indicating a change of policy, appear to me to afford convincing evidence of the sincerity of my desire to avoid a change. On the late dissolution of the Assembly, the Council became openly divided on the question whether a party Government is or is not adapted to the actual condition of Nova Scotia, I myself entertaining a strong opinion that such a Government would be injurious to the. best interests of the country, and that a Council formed on the principles on which the Board which had up to that time assisted me in the conduct of affairs was constituted, is better adapted to the exigencies of the colony than any which could be formed on any other principle. The members of the Government went to the hustings, each stating his own views; Mr. Howe declaring at Halifax that if lie and his party succeeded in obtaining a majority, he should expect those who differed with him to retire, and that he would retire if he found. himself in a minority.

Mr. Johnston, at Annapolis, unequivocally denounced the system of party government, and avowed his preference for a government in which all parties should be represented. On the elections taking place, a House was returned which I believed would be opposed to the views of Mr. Howe. I sent for that gentleman, and expressed my conviction to him that such was the ease, inviting him to remain in the government. Mr. Howe differed with me as to the probable feeling of the new House of Assembly, and said that nothing but the most imperative necessity would induce him to retain his seat in the existing Executive Council; but after consulting his political friends, he agreed to do so, and to give a cordial support to the administration.

After such a public manifestation of difference of opinion between members of the Council, it seemed to me absolutely necessary that the mode in which the government was in future to be conducted should be made apparent. A vacancy in the Executive Council gave me an opportunity of appointing a gentleman known to be hostile to a party government, and by So doing, of showing to the country that I was averse to that principle; in other words, that I was desirous of continuing to govern, as I always had done, with the advice of a Council consisting of the leading men of all parties. This was no change, nor do I conceive that Mr. Howe, or those who act in conjunction with him, had any right to complain of such a course, especially as they had so lately, though so reluctantly, given in their renewed adhesion to the Government.

I selected Mr. Almon for advancement, because although the recent declarations (at the Halifax election) of his sentiments with regard to a Council composed exclusively of persons belonging to one party, rendered my motives for his elevation unlikely to be misinterpreted in this respect, he had previously to that event been so little engaged in political life, that it was not probable that he distinction conferred on him would offend the prejudices of any portion of the community, he being known to entertain liberal views on questions of general policy ; and further, because from his affinity to Mr. Johnston, the leader of my Government, bis appointment would be looked upon by the public as a proof of my confidence in that gentleman. Had Mr. Howe been in a position to insist on Mr. Johnston’s dismissal, he would have done so. Mr. Johnston only requested that a vacancy in the Council might be filled up by a gentleman agreeing with him in principle on one subject of deep importance, and I cannot allow that a compliance with his request could, under the circumstances of the case, afford any ground for assuming that I intended to change my policy.


EXTRACT from the Journals of the House of Assembly for 1845.

Wednesday, February 26, 1845.

Resolved, That it be recommended to the House to adopt the following resolutions:-

Whereas this House, on the 12th day of April last, resolved, that placing implicit confidence in his Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor, the House felt satisfied that his Excellency would, as soon as circumstances permitted, carry out bis intention, as declared in his opening speech, of calling to his Executive Council men representing the different interests of this country.

And whereas it being just that the people of this province should have the fullest means of judging of the endeavours of his Excellency to carry out the principles of equal justice to all parties, as far as practicable, announced in that speech, this House is of opinion that the recent communication by his Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor of the correspondence and despatches relating to the offers of certain seats in the Executive Council and other offices, was consonant with sound policy and the just claims of the House and people ; and that the frank and unreserved communications made by bis Excellency on the subject tend to increase the confidence of this House in his Excellency, and are entitled to its grateful acknowledgements.

And whereas, while this House continues to entertain the opinion that the retirement of the gentleman who seceded from the Executive Council in December 1843, was not made necessary by the appointment of which they complained as the cause of their resignations, this House is further of opinion, that when, on the 24th February, these gentlemen were invited to resume their seats and offices together, with an additional member of the Roman Catholic persuasion, of the same political sentiments, the chief ground of complaint assigned for their resignations was removed, as they would have occupied the same relative positions in the Council as to number as when they retired; and the House is of opinion that there was nothing in the terms offered, and the stipulations demanded, to justify the rejection of the proposal.

And whereas the proposition made by his Excellency in July last to James B. Uniacke, Herbert Huntington, James McNab, George Brennan, esquires, and the Hon. Michael Tobin, two of whom were of the Roman Catholic persuasion, and all of then of the party styling itself the Opposition, to enter the Council witi , Benjamin Smith, esq., laving the office of Solicitor-General placed also at their disposal, was fair and liberal.

And whereas the ready acquiescence of his Excellency, on the rejection of the foregoing proposition, to consent, at the request of the party in opposition, to form a Council of nine members, in which that party should be fully represented, and which was intended to have involved the retirement of at least one of his Excellency’s present councillors, evinced the earnest and sincere desire of his Excellency Lord Falkland and bis advisers to advance the interests of the people, restore harmony to the country, and do justice to all parties ; and this House regrets that the party in opposition, by withdrawing from the negociation, should have frustrated his Excellency’s beneficent and disinterested intentions, and perpetuated party strife, to the great detriment of the public peace and welfare :, and this House is of opinion that the exclusion of one of the retired councillors from the last-mentioned offer and negociation afforded no just, proper or reasonable ground for the rejection by the said party of his Excellency’s offer, or for their terminating his Excellency’s negociation.

And whereas his Excellency having felt that lie could not, consistently with the resect due to the high office of Her Majesty’s representative in this province, confided to him by his Sovereign, include Mr. Howe in the offers and negociations made and entered upon in July (in consequence of his having publicly and grossly insulted the Queen’s representative in the newspaper of which he is editor), this House is deeply sensible of the disinterestedness of the Lieutenant-Governor in tendering to his Sovereign the resignation of his office, in case the interests of the province should be considered to require the re-admission of that gentleman to the Council Board ; and this House cannot fail to express its decided satisfaction in the feelings and conduct of the Right honourable the Secretary of State for the Colonies, as expressed in his despatch, in approving of his Excellency’s conduct and views in a case of unusual occurrence and difficulty, and in securing to the province the continuance of his Excellency as our Sovereign’s representative, and the head of the Government in Nova Scotia.

Resolved, therefore, That an address be presented to his Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor, with a copy hereof, informing his Excellency that this House has taken into consideration the correspondence and despatches submitted by his Excellency on this subject to the House, and has thereupon come to the conclusion as herein expressed, and praying that his Excellency will be pleased to communicate the same by transmitting a copy of the foregoing opinions, and this resolution of the House, to the Right honourable the Secretary of State for tie Colonies, to be submitted to Her Majesty.

Passed same day, after rejection of an amendment, 27 to 23.


Halifax, 5 September 1846.

In relation to the communication your Excellency did me the honour to make to me in conversation on Thursday, I think it is my duty to bring to your Excellency’s knowledge existing facts connected with the Provincial Government, and which I was prevented by absence from doing yesterday.

I shall probably adopt the most authentic and satisfactory mode in my power, if your Excellency wilI permit me, to request your perusal of the resolution which passed the Assembly on the 5th March 1844, as embodying certain acknowledged principles of colonial government.

This resolution was concurred in by the members of the Executive Council in the House (Mr. Dodd and myself, and, I may add, Mr. Wilkins), with the assent of the Lieutenant-governor, and has since been recognised and acted upon in the administration of the government of the colony. And your Excellency will not fail to perceive the relations in which the members comprising the Executive Council stand, and the contingencies which may arise demanding your Excellency’s action.

I have, &c.
(signed) J. W. Johnston.

His Excellency
Major-general Sir John Harvey, Lieut.-governor,
&c. &c. &c.


EXTRACT from the Journals of the House of Assembly of Nova Scotia,
Monday, 4 March 1844.

ON motion of Mr. Howe, the House resolved into a Committee on the consideration of the general state of the Province.

Mr. Speaker left the chair.
Mr. Clements took the chair of the Committee,
Mr. Speaker resumed the chair.

The Chairman reported from the Committee that they had come to a resolution, which they had directed him to report to the House ; and lie read the same in his place, and afterwards delivered it in at the Clerk’s table, where it was again read, and is as followeth:

Whereas, the Principles of administration, applicable to the government of the North American Colonies, have been formally sanctioned by the highest authority, on several occasions, and ought, to prevent misrepresentation or mistake, to be recorded on the Journals of this Assembly, with its deliberate sanction:

And whereas, the following resolutions, moved by Mr. Secretary Harrison, were adopted by the Parliament of Canada, on the 3d September 1841:

1. That the most important as well as the most undoubted of the political rights of the people of this Province is, that of having a Provincial Parliament for the protection of their liberties, for the exercise of a constitutional influence over the Executive Departments of their Government, and for legislation upon all matters of internal government.

2. That the head of the Executive Government of the Province, being within the limits of his Government, the representative of the Sovereign, is responsible to the Imperial authority alone; but that, nevertheless, the management of our local affairs can only be conducted by him, by and with the assistance, counsel and information of subordinate officers in the Province.

3. That in order to preserve between the different branches of the Provincial Parliament that harmony which is essential to the peace, welfare and good government of the Province, the chief advisers of the representative of the Sovereign, constituting a Provincial Administration under him, ought to be men possessed of the confidence of the representatives of the people, thus affording a guarantee that the well understood wishes and interests of the people, which our Gracious Sovereign has declared shall be the rule of the Provincial Government, will, on all occasions, be faithfully represented and advocated.

4. That the people of this province have, moreover, a right to expect from such provincial administration the exertion of their best endeavours, that the imperial authority shall be exercised in the manner most consistent with their well understood wishes and interests.

And whereas the following declaration was read to this House on the 14th day of March 1842, by the Hon. Mr. Dodd, with the concurrence of all the members of the then administration:

“in Canada, as in this country, the true principle of colonial government is, that the Governor is responsible for the acts of his government to his Sovereign, and the executive Councillors are responsible to the Governor. He asks their advice when he wishes it, he adopts it at his pleasure, and it is the duty of those that disapprove of his acts to retire from the board.”–Extract from a speech of Hon. A. Stewart.

We admit the whole of this, and have so stated it several tines; we also admit that any system of government which does not include the responsibility of the Governor to the Sovereign, and of the Councillors to him, is inconsistent with the relation of a colony to the mother country.

Lord Falkland has received Her Majesty’s commands to govern the province in conformity with the well understood wishes of the people as expressed through their representatives. His responsibility to his Sovereign, therefore, renders it imperative upon us to consult your wishes and possess your confidence.

If, in carrying out bis instructions, lie comes in collision with the House, his Sovereign must judge between him and them, the people between the House and his Council; the success of his administration depends upon his having a Council secure in the affections of the House. His Councillors are responsible to him, but lie takes them because they possess your confidence, and lie will dismiss them when they have lost it. This involves their responsibility to you. We admit our responsibility to the Governor, we admit the Governor’s right to act and appoint, but we confess our obligation to defend his acts and appointments, and your right to obstruct and embarrass us in carrying on the government when these are not wise and satisfactory; the exercise of the prerogative must be firm and independent’ in- every act of the government, general and local; but its exercise is to be defended here by us; and the necessity there is for your possessing the confidence of the people, the Council yours, the Governor theirs, includes al[ the strength, and yet, responsibility which are desirable under a representative monarchy.”

And whereas His Excellency Sir Charles Metcalf has thus explained, in an answer to an address from Gore, in Canada, his views of colonial government:

“If you mean that the government should be administered according to the well understood wishes and interests of the people; that the Resolutions of September 1841 should be faithfully adhered to; that it should be competent to the Council to offer advice on all occasions, whether as to patronage or otherwise; and that the Governor should receive it with the attention due to his constitutional advisers, and consult with them in all cases of adequate importance; that there should be a cordial co-operation and sympathy between him and them; that the Council should be responsible to the Provincial Parliament and the people; and that when the acts of the Governor are such as they do not choose to be responsible for, they should be at liberty to resign; then I entirely agree with you, and sec no impracticability in carrying on responsible government in a colony on that footing, provided that the respective parties engaged in the undertaking be guided by moderation, honest purpose, common sense and equitable minds, devoid of party spirit.”

Therefore,,Resolved, That this House recognize, in the above resolutions and documents the true principles of colonial government, as applicable to this province.

And thereupon, Mr. Howe moved, that the resolution, as reported from the committee, be received and agreed to by the House; which, being seconded and pro pounced,

The Hon. the Attorney-general moved, that the question be amended by adding after the word ” House,” the words “with the following amendment to the said resolution as reported, viz., to leave out all the words thereof, after the following sentence therein: ” And whereas his Excellency Sir Charles Metcalf has thus explained, in an answer to an address from Gore, in Canada, his views of colonial government,” and in place of the words so to be left out, to insert the following:-

“With reference to your views of responsible government, I cannot tell you how far I concur in them, without knowing your meaning, which is not distinctly stated.

“If you menu that the Governor is to have no exercise of his own judgment in the administration of the government, and is to be a mere tool in the hands of the Council, then I totally disagree with you. That is a condition to which I can never submit, and which Her Majesty’s government, in my opinion, never can sanction.

“If you mean that every word and deed of the Governor is to be previously submitted for the advice of the Council, then you propose wbat, besides being unnecessary and useless, is utterly impossible, consistently with the due despatch of business.

“If you menu that the patronage of the Crown is to be surrendered for exclusive party purposes to the Council, instead of being distributed to reward merit, to meet just claims, and to promote the efficiency of the public service, then we are again at issue. Such a surrender of the prerogative of the Crown is, in my opinion, incompatible with the existence of a British colony.

“If you mean that the Governor is an irresponsible officer, who can, without responsibility, adopt the advice of the Council, then you are, I conceive, entirely in error. The undisputed functions of the Governor are such, that he is not only one of the hardest worked servants of the colony, but also bas more responsibilities than any other officer in it. He is responsible to the Crown and Parliament, and the people of the mother country, for every act that he performs, or suffers to be done, whether it originates with himself, or is adopted on the advice of others. He could not divest himself of that responsibility by pleading the advice of the Council. He is also virtually responsible to the people of this colony, and practically more so than even to the mother country, every day proves it, and no resolutions can make it otherwise.

“But if, instead of meaning any of the above-stated impossibilities, you meant that the government should be administered according to the well understood wishes and interests of the people ; that the resolutions of September 1841, should be faithfully adhered to ; that it should be competent to the Council to offer advice on all occasions, whether as to patronage or otherwise; and that the Governor should receive it with the attention due to his constitutional advisers; and consult with them. on all cases of adequate importance; that there should be a cordial co-operation and sympathy between him and them; that the Council should be responsible to the Provincial Parliament and people ; and that when the acts of the Governor are such as they do not choose to be responsible for, they should be at liberty to resign; then I entirely agree with you, and see no impracticability in carrying on responsible government in a colony on that footing, -provided that the respective parties engaged in the undertaking be guided by moderation, honest purpose, common sense, and equitable minds, devoid of party spirit.”

Therefore Resolved, that this House recognize, in the above resolutions and documents, the true principles of colonial government, as applicable to this province:

But, nevertheless, that this House, by thus adopting the foregoing Canadian resolutions, shall not be construed to have sanctioned the introduction into this colony of the ‘transfer from this House to the Executive, of the initiative in money votes, or the enlargement of the qualification of members of this House, and of the electors, or the creation of any offices for heads of departments, or of a pension fund for retiring heads of departments, or of the introduction of any other principles of the Canadian institutions, and administration of government not at present adopted in this province, this House, being of opinion that before the same shall be introduced into this colony, the consent of the people of the province ought first to be formally expressed by their representatives in general assembly:

Which proposed amendment, being seconded and put, and the House dividing thereon, there appeared, for the amendment, 24; against it, 22.

For the amendment:Against the amendment:
Mr. Fairbanks. Mr. Heckman. Mr. Dewolf. Mr. A. M. Uniacke. Mr. Fraser. Mr. Hall. Hon. Atty. General. Mr. B.. Smith. Mr. Holmes. Mr. Wilkins. Hon. Mr. Dodd. Mr. Fulton. Mr. Owen. Mr. Freeman. Mr. Taylor. Mr. Whitman. Mr. Dickey. Mr. Budd. Mr. Beckwith. Mr. E. Young. Mr. Thorne. Mr. Crowe. Mr. Fleming. Mr. Ryder.Mr. Power. Mr. Martell. Mr. Spearwater. Mr. Bourneuf. Mr. Logan. Mr. McLelan. Mr. Crowell. Mr. Wilson. Mr. Turnbull. Mr. Howe. Mr. Des Barres. Mr. Marshall. Mr. Dimock. Mr. Huntington. Mr. G. R. Young. Mr. J. B. Uniacke. Mr. Comeau. Mr. McNab. Mr. Brenan. Mr. McKeagney. Mr. Clements. Mr. Doyle.

So it passed in the affirmative.

And thereupon resolved as followeth:

Whereas the principles of administration applicable to the Government of the North American Colonies have been formally sanctioned by the highest authority on several occasions, and ought, to prevent misrepresentation and mistake, to be recorded on the Journals of this Assembly, with its deliberate sanction.

And whereas the following resolutions, moved by Mr. Secretary Harrison, were adopted by the Parliament of Canada, on the 3d September 1841

“1. That the most important as well as the most undoubted of the political rights of the people of this Province is, that of having a Provincial Parliament for the protection of their liberties, for the exercise of a constitutional influence over the executive departments of their government, and for legislation upon all matters of internal government.

“2. That the head of the Executive Government of the Province, being within the limits of his government, the representative of the Sovereign,, is responsible to the Imperial authority alone; but that, nevertheless, the management of our local affairs can only be conducted by him, by and with the assistance, counsel and information, ‘of subordinate officers in the Province.

“3. That in order to preserve, between the different branches of the Provincial Parliament, that harmony which is essential to the peace, welfare and good government of the Province, the chief advisers of the representative of the Sovereign, constituting a Provincial Administration under him, ought to be men possessed of the confidence of the representatives of the people, thus affording a guarantee that the well understood wishes and interests of the people, which our’ gracious Sovereign has declared shall be the rule of the Provincial Government, will, on all occasions, be faithfully represented and advocated.

“4. That the people of this Province have, moreover, a right to expect from such Provincial Administration the exertion of their best endeavours, that the Imperial authority shall be exercised in the manner most consistent with their well-understood wishes and interests.”

And whereas the following declaration was read to this House on the 14th day of March 1842, by the Honourable Mr. Dodd, with the concurrence of all the members of the then administration :

“In Canada, as in this country, the true principle of Colonial Government is, that the Governor is responsible for the acts of his government to his Sovereign, and the Executive Councillors are responsible to the Governor. H1e asks their advice when lie wishes it, he adopts it at his pleasure, and it is the duty of those that disapprove of his acts to retire from the Board.”-Extract from a speech of honourable A. Stewart.

We admit the whole of this, and have so stated it several times, we also admit that any system of government which docs not include the responsibility of the Governor to the Sovereign, and of the councillors to him, is inconsistent with the relation of a colony to the mother country.

Lord Falkland has received Her Majesty’s commands to govern the Province in conformity with the well understood wishes of the people as expressed through their representatives. His responsibility to his Sovereign, therefore, renders it imperative upon us to consult your wishes and possess your confidence.

If, in carrying out his instructions, he comes in collision with the House, his Sovereign must judge between him and them, the people between the House and his Council; the u cass of his administration depends upon his having a Council secure in the affections of the House. His Councillors are responsible to him, but he takes them because they possess your confidence, and lie will dismiss them when they have lost it. This involves their responsibility to you. We admit our responsibility to the Governor, we admit the Governor’s right to act and appoint, but we confess our obligation to defend his acts and appointments, and your right to obstruct and embarrass us in carrying on the government when these are not wise and satisfactory; the exercise of the prerogative must be firm and independent, in every act of the government, general and local: but its exercise is to be defended here by us; and the necessity there is for your possessing the confidence of the people, the Council yours, the Governor theirs-includes ail the strength, and yet responsibility, which are desirable under a representative Monarchy.

And whereas his Excellency Sir Charles Metcalf, lias thus explained, in an answer to an address from Gore, in Canada, his views of Colonial Government:

“With reference to your views of responsible government, I cannot tell you how far I concur in them without knowing your meaning, which is not distinctly stated.

“If you mean that the Governor is to have no exercise of his own judgment in the adminis- tration of the Government, and is to be a mere tool in the hands of the Council, then I totally disagree vith you. That is a condition to which I can never submit, and which Hier Majesty’s Governient, in my opinion, never can s anction.

“If you mean that every word and deed of the Governor is to be previously submitted for the advice of the Council, then you propose what, besides being unnecessary and useless, is utterly impossible, consistently with the due despatch of business.

“If you mean that the patronage of the Crown is to be surrendered for exclusive party purposes, to the Council, instead of being distributed to reward merit, to meet just claims, and to ‘promote the efficiency of the public service, then we are again at issue. Such a. surrender of the prerogative of the Crown is, in my opinion, incompatible with the existence of a British colony.

“If you mean that the Governor is an irresponsible officer, who can, withoutresponsibility, adopt the advice of the Council, then you are, I conceive, entirely in error. The undisputed functions of the Governor are such, that lie is not only one of the hardest-worked servants of the colony, but also has more responsibilities than any other officer in it. He is responsible to the Crown and Parliament and the people of the mother country for every act that he performs, or suffers to be done, vhcther it originates with himself or is adopted on the advice of others ; he could not divest himself of that responsibility by pleading the advice of the Council. He is also virtually responsible to the people of this colony, practically and more so than even to the mother country; every day proves it, and no resolutions can make it otherwise.

“But if, instead of meaning any of the above-stated impossibilities, you mean that the Government should be administered according to the well-understood wishes and imterests of the people; that the resolutions of September 1841 should be faithfully adhered to; that it should be conpetent to the Council to offer advice on all occasions, whether as to patronage or utherwise, anid that the Governor should receive it with the attention due to his constitutional advisers, and consult with them on ail cases of adequate importance ; that there should be a cordial co-operation and sympathy between himt and them ; that the Council should be responsible to the Provincial Parliament and people; and that when the acts of the Governor are such as tley do not choose to be responsible for, they sbould be at liberty to resign ; then, I entirely agree with you, and see no impracticability in carrying on responsible government in a colony on that footing, provided that the respective parties engaged in the undertaking be guided by moderation, honest purpose, common sense and equitable minds, devoid of party spirit.”

Therefore, Resolved, That this House recognize, in the above resolutions and documents, the true principles of Colonial Government, as applicable to this Province.

But, nevertheless, that this House, by thus adopting the foregoing Canadian Resolutions, shall not be construed to have sanctioned the introduction into this colony of the transfer from this House to the Executive, of the initiative in Money Votes, or the enlargement of the qualification of Members of this House, and of the electors, or the creation of any offices for heads of departments, or of a pension fund for retiring heads of departnents, or of the introduction of any other principles of the Canadian institutions and adminitration of’ Governiment, not at present adopted in this Province; this flouse being of opinion that before the same shall b intiroduced into this colony, the consent of the people of thie Province ought first to be formally expressed by their representatives in General Assembly.

“Copy of correspondence between the governors of the British North American provinces and the Secretary of State: relative to the introduction of responsible government into those colonies”, [London : HMSO, 1848]. https://www.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.55139