Anti-Confederation Petition
from Nova Scotia

House of Lords, London, England

18 June 1868

“Postpone the Motion”

(305 words)

Anti-Confederation Petition
from Nova Scotia

          LORD CAMPBELL, who had given Notice – "To present a Petition from Nova Scotia alleging the Existence of much Discontent in the Province in regard to an Act passed last Session under the Title of The British North America Act: and to move that an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying Her Majesty to appoint a Commission to proceed to Nova Scotia for the Purpose of examining the Causes of the alleged Dissatisfaction with a View to their Removal." said he rose to postpone his Motion.  His reason for doing so was chiefly on account of the lateness of the hour, and the existence of certain rules or understandings with respect to the conduct of Public Business on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  A good many Members had left the House on the understanding that the subject would not come on after six.

          THE EARL OF CARNARVON  said, that this Motion had been twice on the Paper and had been twice postponed.  He protested against the continual postponement of important Notices – a course which was highly inconvenient to noble Lords who felt interested in the discussions which were likely to arise, and one which was also highly detrimental to the public interests.  It was now only half-past six o'clock, and he could not see why the Motion should not be proceeded with.

          LORD LYVEDEN  remarked that the inconvenience arising from the course adopted by the noble Lord (Lord Campbell) was felt not only by many Members of their Lordships' House, but also by the Delegates from Nova Scotia, who were naturally anxious to be present at the discussion.  He trusted that the noble Lord would place his Notice on the Paper for a day when it could have precedence, and that the date would be sufficiently early to admit of the Delegates from Nova Scotia being present at the discussion before leaving this country.

Note to the reader: At the time,
Hansard often recorded proceedings
in the third person.

Related Hansard Items

1865 March 23
Pre-Confederation Defence of Canada
House of Commons, London   (36,699 words)

1867 February 19
British North America Bill, Lords 2nd Reading
House of Lords, London   (12,425 words)

1867 February 26
British North America Bill, Lords 3rd Reading
House of Lords, London   (3,926 words)

1867 February 28
British North America Bill, Commons 2nd Reading
House of Commons, London   (13,324 words)

1868 June 16
Anti-Confederation Petition from Nova Scotia
House of Commons, London   (16,637 words)

1868 July 06
Anti-Confederation Petition from Nova Scotia
House of Lords, London   (12,882 words)

Parliamentary material is reproduced with the permission of
the Controller of HMSO (Her Majesty's Stationery Office)
on behalf of the Westminster Parliament, London.


Links to Relevant Websites

The Debate: Confederation Rejected, 1864 - 1869 by Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Lévis Forts National Historic Site of Canada by Parks Canada
This line of forts completed the City of Quebec's defence system and was meant to oppose a possible American invasion by land.  In 1861, at the beginning of the American Civil War, the City of Quebec was vulnerable to invasion from the south.  By 1862, all reports were unanimous: Lévis must be fortified.  In 1864, defending Quebec's port was clearly more of an Imperial than a colonial issue.  British authorities wanted to protect the movements of their ships through this port in case of an American invasion.  London therefore sent William Drummond Jervois to the colony to design a new defence strategy.  Convinced that the Yankees were planning to invade Canada, Jervois believed time was running out.  The original plan for the fortifications included four forts, all of which faced towards the United States...

Note about

This Hansard report (above) has been formatted to be much more "user-friendly" than most websites now allow.

The formatting of the above report includes two features that enable you the viewer to exercise complete control over the presentation, so that you can adjust the on-screen appearance of the text to suit your own individual preference.

One of these features is now widely available, but the other is rare.

(1) If you find that a larger size of type makes the text easier to read, you can use your browser controls to adjust the size of the type as you like.  Of course, this feature is now available in most browsers; there is nothing special about it here.

The Special Feature

(2) When you are viewing this Hansard report, you can adjust the length of each line of text to be longer or shorter, as you like — without encountering the regrettably-common difficulty of some of the text disappearing off-screen.

You know this experience all too well – you open a website that interests you only to find that the lines of text are so long that some of the words disappear off the screen.  To read the text, you have to scroll to the right to read the end of the first line of text.  Then you have to scroll to the left to read the beginning of the second line of text.  Then you have to scroll to the right to read the end of the second line of text.  Then you have to scroll to the left to read the beginning of the third line of text.  And so on all the way to the end.

This effect is so common that many people – viewers and website administrators alike – think it is the normal way that things work in websites.  This is the way it is, and this is the way it has to be.

However, that common impression is wrong, as this Hansard report demonstrates.

If you like, you can see this for yourself right now.  No doubt you are viewing this Hansard report in an on-screen "window."  Try using your cursor to move one side of the window inward, so that the window becomes narrower.  Either side will work.  You can move the left side toward the right, or you can move the right side toward the left. 

As you resize the window, watch the on-screen text.  As you reduce the window width, your browser automatically adjusts the number of words in each line of text so that no line of text becomes too long to be visible without horizontal scrolling.  Every word in every line of text can be read without horizontal scrolling.

This works in the same way when you increase the type size.  Every word in every line of text can be read without horizontal scrolling.

You can use these two user-friendly adjustments – type size combined with window width – to make the text on your screen comfortable and convenient for you to read.


This version (above) has been separated into paragraphs, to make the text easier to read.  This paragraphing does not appear in the original printed Hansard version.

“Dividing the House”

In parliamentary procedure, there is a lot of significance in a member asking the House "to divide".

In parliamentary procedure, the usual way for a decision to be made by a group of dozens or hundreds of people – for a vote to be taken – is by a simple voice vote, a voting method used by deliberative assemblies (such as parliaments or legislatures) in which a vote is taken on a topic or motion by responding verbally (orally).  Typically the speaker or chair or presiding officer of the assembly will put the question to the assembly, making it clear that the members understand the effect of an "aye" vote and a "no" vote, and will then ask first for all those in favor of the motion to indicate so verbally, and then ask second all those opposed to the motion to indicate so verbally.  A similar procedure is to indicate agreement or disagreement by a show of raised hands; this works well in smaller assemblies such as town councils or school boards, but in larger assemblies such as the House of Commons a show of hands is used rarely or never.

A voice vote can be taken quickly (often it is completed in less than half a minute) compared to the much longer time required for a division – in the House of Commons half an hour for a single division vote is not unusual, and there are historical examples that extended to six hours or more.  Because they can be completed quickly, voice votes are preferred as a way to keep the business of the House moving, but they leave no record of who voted for what.  When a vote is about to be taken, any member who wants a record to be made of the vote numbers on both sides can request that the House be divided, and thus an accurate count can be obtained.

Political strategy can be involved in the method of voting chosen, with unrecorded voice votes preferred when the matter in question is either uncontroversial – or paradoxically when the matter at hand is quite controversial and participants prefer that there be no clear record of who voted which way.

When a vote is taken by division, the numbers of votes for and against are carefully counted and then are entered in the permanent record (Hansard) of the proceedings.  While the numbers for and against are always recorded for division votes, the names of the individual members who voted each way may or may not be recorded.  (In the Hansard record above, no vote was taken.)

Reference:— Division vote by Wikipedia

Valid HTML 4.01 webpage

W3C HTML Validation Service

Valid CSS webpage

W3C CSS Validation Service

This site can be viewed with any browser.

First uploaded to the WWW:   21 October 2009
Latest update:   26 February 2011