Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

British Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

House of Commons, London, England

23 March 1865

“Defence of Canada”

(36,699 words)
 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

SUPPLY considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)


          THE MARQUESS OF HARTINGTON  in rising to move the Vote of £811,400, for superintending establishment of, and expenditure for, works, buildings, and repairs at home and abroad, said:

          Sir, I will not interpose long between the Committee and the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for West Norfolk (Mr. Bentinck) who proposes to reduce this Vote by the sum of £50,000, the amount asked for towards the improvement of the defences of Quebec; but as I have not yet said anything in explanation of the policy of the Government for the defence of Canada, and as the recent debate turned rather more on the general question of our relations with the United States than on the details of this plan, it may be convenient to the Committee if I state as shortly as I can what is the plan and what are the views of

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

Her Majesty's Government with respect to the defences of Canada.

          I trust I may be permitted, in the first place, to express a hope that the House will to-night discuss this question upon its merits solely, and not again enter into the consideration of the possibility or the probability of hostilities with the United States.  I do not feel called upon to express any opinion as to the wisdom and prudence of entering on discussions of that sort.

          It might, perhaps, be better that we should, on both sides of the Atlantic, frankly state what our fears and apprehensions of each other are, and it is possible the very discussion of the differences between us and our suspicions of each other might tend rather to improve our relations; but, on the other hand, I should be inclined to fear that words inadvertently uttered in the heat of debate might tend to excite suspicions and anxieties which do not now exist, and be productive of those very dangers which we are anxious to avert.

          Whatever may be the opinion of the House upon this point, there is one thing which I feel sure is not necessarily mixed up with this question of the defences of Canada – that is our relations with the United States.  The real facts of the case are these.

          Four years ago our North American provinces had upon their borders a very great nation – not then a great military nation, because the United States had the smallest standing army, perhaps, of any nation in the world; the people were the least turned to military matters, and their greatest public men devoted themselves to the pursuits of peace and eschewed those of war.

          Unfortunately, however, the United States have become a great military nation, and have command of armies as large, if not larger, as any which can be wielded by the great Powers of Europe; and at the head of these armies are Generals as able as any we know of.

          Although our North American Colonies cannot compete with the United States either in size or commercial prosperity, yet they are, it must be admitted, a great nation, and are on the high road to be a still greater nation.  These colonies profess a wish to remain independent and distinct from their great neighbours, the United States; and they also profess, in the most unmistakable language, their desire to maintain their connection with this country.

          If such are their wishes, it seems to me that it is not strange that they should desire to place themselves in

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

such a position as not to be dependent upon the forbearance of their great neighbours, however long they might imagine that forbearance might be extended.

          It seems to be only worthy the position of our North American Colonies, and only worthy our position, so long as they belong to us, that we should do what we can to place their borders in a state of defence.

          Without the slightest expectation of the Government of the United States meditating any attack upon our Canadian Provinces, I do not see why we should not do what all continental nations do – namely, erect such works as are necessary for the protection of their frontier.

          Now, a good deal has been said about the great length of the Canadian frontier; but upon that point I need hardly say more than that it was never intended or contemplated by Her Majesty's Government to maintain that frontier intact.  Not only would an attempt of that kind prove impracticable in the case of Canada but it must always be impracticable in the case of all continental nations having a large frontier, and exposed to the attack of a formidable neighbour.

          What great nation is there in Europe, for instance, which is able to prevent an enemy from invading its frontiers, and that not at one but at many places?  All that they can and do do is to fortify the most vital points, and to trust for the expulsion of the enemy to such further operations as may from time to time be judged expedient.

          That is just what we propose to do for Canada – to erect fortifications at four or five points that are essential for the protection of the country.  If Canada be invaded by the United States or any other enemy, the invasion must either be made with one of two objects – either with the object of permanently annexing the country or of inflicting upon our arms humiliation and defeat.

          If the object be the permanent annexation of the country, that can only be accomplished by the conquest of the whole country, and more especially by the reduction of the most important points.  It can certainly never be attained by overrunning the country, though operations of that character may be very largely extended.

          Above all, to insure the annexation of Canada, it is necessary that the enemy should possess himself of the line of the River St. Lawrence, the great artery of the country, and the great means of communication, not only between province and province, but between the provinces and the rest of the

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

world.  He must also possess himself of the points which command the navigation of that river – namely, Montreal and Quebec.

          If we, therefore, can place the line of the St. Lawrence and these two points which command its navigation in such a state of defence as to enable the Canadians to resist the attack of an enemy, it is reasonable to suppose that, if the object of the enemy be annexation, he will first of all endeavour to ascertain his chances of success at those points.  Unless he can see a prospect of succeeding in those directions he will hardly think it worth while to incur the expense and the loss of so large a number of men as must necessarily follow a hopeless attempt.

          It seems to us, therefore, that by insuring the efficient protection of these places, we are really providing for the protection of the whole of Canada; and so, it may be, that no enemy would think it worth while even to attempt to invade it.

          If, on the other hand, the object of his attack be the defeat of our arms, it is obvious that the construction of proper works of defence will enable our troops, assisted by the Canadian militia, to make a successful resistance against very superior forces, and even if overcome by superior forces, the fortifications, accompanied by the command of the St. Lawrence, will always enable our troops to embark in safety.

          The plan recommended by the Government for the defence of Canada entirely depends upon our maintaining our naval superiority on the St. Lawrence.

          I will not now enter into the conditions which are necessary for the preservation of that superiority.  That is a question which comes more particularly within the province assigned to my noble Friend the Secretary for the Admiralty than that of the War Office; but I think it not an unreasonable condition in this country to hope that we shall, in case of a war even with a country possessed of so powerful a navy as the United States, be able to maintain our naval superiority on the St. Lawrence.

          The first point at which we propose to erect fortifications, and the only place for which the House of Commons is now asked to vote any money, is Quebec.  As the House is aware, Quebec is already strongly fortified, and is, I believe, really a place of strength, except that, like a great many other places formerly regarded as being beyond the reach of cannon, it is now exposed to the bombardment of cannon of long range.

          As was pointed out by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

Calne (Mr. Lowe) the other evening, the fortifications of Quebec can be bombarded and the town shelled from Point Levi, on the south side of the River St. Lawrence.

          It is on that very point that the Government propose to spend nearly all the money which the House of Commons is asked to vote.  It is proposed to form detached works which will be connected by a military road, and will form a sort of intrenched camp, partially protected by our gunboats on the river, and so long as we maintain the command of the river it will be impossible for an enemy to invade Canada at that point.

          A small portion of the sum asked for will be expended upon the improvement of the existing works at Quebec, replacing those that are in a dilapidated state and making the whole adequate to the requirements of the present day.

          The attack, however, from Point Levi is the only attack which it is considered the United States could make, and therefore the only point upon which it is thought necessary to spend any large sum of money.  The works will in a great degree resemble the land defences which have recently been constructed in this country.

          At Montreal, too, the defences will be of a somewhat similar character.  It is proposed to form a series of works, forming an intrenched camp, on the south side of the River St. Lawrence – works which will prevent the enemy from making an attack upon Montreal by means of the Victoria Bridge, and also prevent his approach to any point from which he could command the town with his artillery.

          It is expected that the Canadian Government will undertake the defence of this place themselves; and that, as far as the protection of the River St. Lawrence is concerned, the expense incurred by the Imperial Government will be confined to the defence of Quebec and to maintaining the necessary naval force upon the river.  There are other smaller works proposed in the neighbourhood of Montreal, but it will be unnecessary for me to take up the time of the Committee by describing them.  The principal feature of the defences are the fortifications of Quebec and Montreal.

          An expression frequently made use of in discussions on the subject of fortifications in this House is, that our troops would be cooped up behind earthworks.  The object of those fortifications is undoubtedly, to a certain extent, to enable a comparatively small number of our forces to resist the attack of a much larger body; but the

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

main object of their construction is not so much the protection of our troops as the protection of those points, the preservation of which is considered essential to our interests; and I have already said that in my opinion it would not be worth an enemy's while to attack Canada unless there were a probability of his succeeding at these points.

          In addition to the purposes which I have enumerated, behind these works can be collected not only our own troops, and the volunteers and militia may have been already enrolled, but the whole people of the country can, if so disposed, rally within them to arrest the invader, and the whole body of the people can collect behind them, and there be drilled and organized as far as the time at command will permit.

          I have described the nature of the works which we propose to erect.  It is said that no works that we can construct can hold out against a large force, and that our troops, aided by every assistance they can receive from the Canadian militia, will not be able to hold these works against the forces which the United States would be able to bring against them.

          Now, I believe that works of the nature such as I have described could be made capable of holding out, if not for ever, at least for an almost indefinite period, because it must be recollected that the capability of defending such fortifications depends upon the question whether they be completely invested or not.

          If we have a naval superiority upon the river it is impossible that these works should be completely invested.  Therefore, I maintain that such works as we purpose could be held for a long time against a superior force.

          Further, I believe that it will be impossible for any army to carry on military operations in Canada on a large scale for more than six months of the year.  It is quite true that various opinions have been expressed upon that point; and reference has been made to the campaign of General Montgomery, in which during a rigorous winter he made an attack upon Quebec.

          Now, the history of that campaign seems to me to be rather an argument in favour of our views than otherwise.  It is true that General Montgomery did with a small force march across the country in the winter, and did make a sudden attack upon Quebec; but will the House allow me to quote a passage from Sir James Carmichael's Précis of the Wars in Canada? They will find that any attack upon Quebec was not in those days a very

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

formidable operation, and they will also learn what was the result of attempting such an operation in the middle of winter.  In the book I have referred to I find this passage –

The garrison of Quebec consisted of only one company, to these were added the seamen and marines of a sloop of war and the inhabitants of the town.  The latter, both French and English, were armed, formed into companies, and showed great zeal and alacrity at this important crisis.  Governor Carleton, in all, had about 1,600 bayonets.  The season and the want of heavy artillery prevented the Americans from making any impression upon the defences of Quebec.  It was evident that the former would not permit them to remain much longer in their situation.  Governor Carleton had refused to receive a flag of truce or to enter into any sort of negotiation with them.  It was, therefore, necessary either to retire or to get possession of Quebec by an escalade.

          The House knows the result of the attempt.  General Montgomery was killed, and his troops retired in confusion.  That very event, which is used by some persons to prove that siege operations in Canada can be carried on in winter, seems to me to prove the very reverse, Quebec was defended only by a small force, with only one company of regular troops; but General Montgomery, with a superior force, was prevented by the severity of the weather from undertaking any siege operations, and was therefore compelled to make a rash and almost hopeless attempt to take the place by assault, in which he failed.

          The opinion of the Canadians themselves upon this point is worthy of our consideration.

          I have lately received a speech delivered in the Legislative Assembly of Canada by a gentleman who is well known to many Members of this House who have been in Canada.  I refer to Mr. Rose, who, although not now a member of the Government, has held office in that country.  That gentleman is Member for the City of Montreal, he knows that country well, and he also has visited the American armies and knows what operations they are capable of.  Mr. Rose says –

Hon. Members must remember that it is impossible to have more than a six months' campaign in this country.  And supposing you were to erect works before which an enemy was compelled to sit down in the month of May, it would take him fully three months before he could bring up his supplies and siege train and protect his communications, and by the time he was ready to make a determined attack he would be overtaken by winter, be compelled to raise the siege and to go into winter quarters.  In truth, our winters are our safeguard and defence.

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

          He goes on to say – 

If, therefore, we can only by manning certain salient points in the country prevent the progress of invasion we are safe.

          While I am quoting from Mr. Rose's speech I should wish to add one more extract to show what is the opinion of the representative of a most important constituency, and what is the feeling in Canada as to those defences.  Mr. Rose says –

I am sure that no Member of this House, no man in this country, would hesitate, if need were, to put his hand into his pocket and give a tenth of his substance for the construction of the works required to protect the country from the ravages of the aggressor, and to secure to ourselves the inestimable blessings derived from living under the British flag.

          That is the opinion of a man whose judgment is well entitled to have weight with this House.  Then as to the fact I have mentioned, that military operations on a large scale cannot be carried on in Canada during the winter, that is admitted by the Americans themselves.  I do not deny that small bodies of troops may be marched from one point to another.  I do not even deny that an enemy might remain in huts in front of works; but I do deny that during a severe Canadian winter an enemy could make any progress against such works as we propose to construct.

          Another point which has been alluded to is the possibility of our providing a sufficient number of troops to man these works.  The calculation which I am about to read is, of course, a rough one, but I believe it to he sufficiently accurate for the purposes of the discussion.

         It is considered that the number of men that would he required for the defence of works at Quebec and Montreal would be about 12,000.  That is the number that would be sufficient for garrisons; but in case the attack was fully developed it would be desirable to have at least 35,000 men.  There should, further, be a movable force of 20,000 or 25,000 men to harass the enemy whenever opportunities should arise.

         The total force that would be required for the defence of the lower St. Lawrence to Montreal would be 60,000 men.  That is not a force which we need despair of getting for the defence of these works.  We could easily send out from this country 20,000 troops.  There are already 20,000 Volunteers enrolled and organized in Canada, and preparations are made to raise 80,000 militia.  Those men are already designated, and under the law of the country are required to turn out when called upon.

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

          As the Committee knows, a sum of money has been voted for the organization of the militia; the officers have, to a considerable extent, been drilled, and the Canadian Government has now applied to us to send them officers to assist in organizing the militia force of 80,000.

          I have now stated what are the works we propose for the defence of the lower St. Lawrence.  I admit that it is quite possible that the inhabitants of the Western Province of Canada may consider that this scheme does not provide sufficiently for their defence.  They may wish very naturally that some measure should be taken to prevent an enemy from occupying and overrunning those Western Provinces, even though they could not maintain the occupation.

          I admit that it is possible they may hold that view, and I think very fairly; and Colonel Jervois has prepared a scheme for the defence of the Western Province of Canada, as well as for the defence of the Lower Province.  I believe the scheme to be perfectly practicable, but, of course, it involves a greater expenditure, and requires a larger force of men.  I have stated that we consider that, if once we can put in a proper state of defence the line of the lower St. Lawrence, it will not be worth while for an enemy to invade Canada.

          That is the view of Her Majesty's Government; but, of course, it is a question for the Canadian Government to consider whether they will take the additional measures of defence which are indicated to them for the other provinces.  I believe they have only postponed the consideration of their further plans until the project for a Confederation has been accomplished, as it has not been thought right to pledge the future Confederation to a larger outlay than might ultimately be found to be necessary.

          Until the Canadian Government have announced their intentions upon the subject of the defence of Western Canada, it is not necessary that I should enter into any detailed explanation of the plans proposed to that end.  I believe, however, that it is a rational and practicable plan – one that would neither involve any very large amount of money for the construction of the works, nor require any very large force for their defence in time of war.

          I will only further detain the Committee by briefly alluding to other plans that have been suggested for the defence of Canada.  I need say nothing of the views of those hon. Gentlemen who think that it is impossible to defend Canada, and that therefore it is

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

impolitic to take any steps with that object in view.

          Those Gentlemen adopt a very intelligible line of argument.  They say the only source of danger to Canada arises from her connection with this country.  They add that this country is powerless to defend Canada in time of war, and therefore it is better we should say to the Canadians in time of peace, "We cannot undertake your defence, but we will relieve you of the danger which arises from your connection with us, and we advise you to keep on good terms with the United States, and not to provoke hostilities with that country."

          That is an intelligible line of argument; and if the Committee think that the allegations upon which it is based are true, then I hope it will at once say so, and will not wait to declare its opinions until we have induced the Canadians to spend a large amount of money, and to raise a large body of men.

          But there are other hon. Members who do not wish to abandon Canada, and who say that the measures we propose for the defence of the country are not such as they approve.  They say that the best mode of defending Canada is not to defend her frontiers or any particular points, but rather to withdraw all our troops from the country and trust to our own powers of aggression upon the enemy's frontiers to make him loosen his hold upon Canada, to relinquish any attempt at invasion, and to restore any territory which he may already have captured.

          Well, that would be a very plausible argument if those who use it could show what points in the United States are so vulnerable as to admit of our attacking them with a fair prospect of success.  It is well known to the House that for several years past the Americans have been busily employed in fortifying their most vulnerable points; they have erected fortifications at all their great harbours and at the mouths of all their great rivers; and even supposing that our navy could make an attack on those harbours and land 40,000 or 50,000 men, would it not be in the power of the United States, possessing such an army as they do now, to send 100,000 or 150,000 men into Canada, against whom no resistance could be made, if its frontier is left unfortified?

          And we know that at the conclusion of a war to call upon one of the belligerents to give up a territory which he has completely occupied is a different thing from calling upon him to give up a territory which he has only partly overrun.  On the whole,

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

I submit that the advocates of the other system have got to show much more clearly than they have shown yet where those weak points are to be found by an attack upon which, with a smaller expenditure of money and with fewer men, we should be able to defend Canada in case of emergency.

          I believe that the majority of this House and the majority of the country do not agree with those who wish to give up our connection with Canada, or with those who wish to defend Canada by refusing to fortify the Canadian territory.

          I hope that the proposition of the Government will be fully and calmly considered to-night.  If it be so considered, I think the opinion of the House will be that the proposal is a reasonable one, affording every prospect of success, and calculated to meet with the approval both of the Canadians and the people of this country.


Motion made, and Question proposed,

That a sum, not exceeding £811,400 be granted to Her Majesty, to defray the Charge of the Superintending Establishment of, and Expenditure for Works, Buildings, and repairs at Home, and Abroad, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1866, inclusive.


          MR. BENTINCK  in moving the Amendment of which he had given notice, that the Item of £50,000 for the Improvement of the Defences at Quebec be omitted from the proposed Vote, said, he should discuss the question in the spirit in which his noble Friend the Under Secretary for War had asked him to discuss it, and would abstain from referring to the probabilities of a war between this country and the United States.

          He fully admitted, and he appreciated what he believed to be the feeling of the country, that Great Britain was bound to maintain at any cost the integrity of the Canadian territory; and it was in no opposition to that view that he was about to make his remarks.

          He wished to observe, also, that except in one particular, to which he should presently allude, he thought that the Report of Colonel Jervois, who bore the highest reputation as a military man, was worthy of the credence of Parliament and the country; but the view he took of the subject placed it far beyond any question of military detail.

          He was desirous of saying, likewise, that he had no wish to embarrass Her Majesty's Government in the conduct of what must be a most difficult and delicate affair.

          Nor could he be held guilty of raising the question of the probability

(Continued on next page)



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


 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

or the possibility of hostilities between the United States and this country, because the Vote before the Committee raised it, and he could not discuss the Vote without considering the question so raised; but he would take care that nothing should fall from him calculated to excite a feeling of hostility in that quarter.

          His first ground and objection to the item for the improvement of the defences of Canada was that, in the unfortunate event of a war between this country and the United States, this was not the right mode of defending the Canadian provinces.

          As he had stated on a former occasion, if we were to defend Canada at all, it could only be done by sea.  Any attempt to defend Canada by land would be only a waste of men and money.

          He stated his views on this subject when the Navy Estimates were before the House, but he had not said that if a war should arise between England and the United States we should put a stop to it by starving those States.

          What he stated then and what he now repeated was, that a war between two great countries, more especially countries like the United States and Great Britain, never could be brought to a termination by one or two great battles, but must be brought to an end by the financial or commercial exhaustion of one or other of the belligerents.  He maintained that history bore him out in his view.

          As to the particular argument in the Report of Colonel Jervois, which was adopted by his noble Friend (the Marquess of Hartington), but from which he dissented, he thought he again had history in his favour, and that it was against the view of Colonel Jervois and his noble Friend.  The gallant Colonel said that in the place of which he was writing, military operations could only be conducted during six months of the year, and that if we could erect and maintain such defences as would protect that portion of Canada against invasion for six months, for the other six months our labours were at an end.

          Now, he begged to deny that the passage which had been quoted, describing General Montgomery's attack upon Quebec, afforded any proof whatever that a winter campaign could not be carried on in that country.  He went further, and asserted that it afforded indubitable proof that it could be carried on.

          If his noble Friend had read a little further, he would have seen that the failure of the attempt was to be attributed to a chance shot being fired down the street, which killed the

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

general of the invading army.

          They should recollect that whatever facilities might have existed for carrying on a winter campaign in 1775 were vastly increased now by the opening of railways, which were available all the year through.  In fact, the difficulties of a winter campaign were to a great extent done away with.

          They ought also to recollect that an invasion from the United States now, instead of being carried on by armies of 20,000 men, would be carried on by armies of 100,000 or 200,000 men.  That which was possible in 1775 could be done now with the greatest facility, and his noble Friend was greatly mistaken, therefore, in assuming that there would be six months' respite in the war.

          But not only was Quebec not exempt from attack during six months in the year, but there were six months in the year, on the contrary, when, fighting as we should be under the enormous difficulty of having to carry our reinforcements and supplies across the Atlantic, it would be impossible for us to throw reinforcements and supplies into Quebec.

          That appeared to him the strongest argument against an attempt to erect defensive works on the Canadian frontier.  Such an attempt would only end in a complete waste of money, without having any effect on the ultimate result of the war.

          But his second ground of objection was stronger than the first.  Assuming, for the sake of argument, that the proposed mode of proceeding was the correct one, were we going to work in the right way to carry out that suggestion?  He believed not.

          His noble Friend (the Marquess of Hartington) asked for £50,000 for commencing the defensive works in Canada, and no doubt he would tell them in the course of the discussion that he had asked for all which could be spent in one year.  If that were the case nothing would tend to show the utter hopelessness and absurdity of the proposal more than the fact that, owing to circumstances, they could only lay out £50,000 in the first year, and that it would take two or three years before the plan could be carried out.

          Certainly if ever the contingency of a war with the Northern States of America did arise they would hardly be kind enough to wait until our system of fortifications was complete.  If ever that unfortunate contingency should arise it would as likely arise in three or four months as in three or four years.

          Was it not, then, absurd to come down to

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

the House and ask for money to commence works which might take three or four years to complete, and which were intended to meet a contingency as likely to occur within four months as four years?

          The whole scheme was utterly unworthy of the consent of Parliament.

          He objected, too, to the works, not only because they were inadequate to the defence of the Canadian frontier, but because they were likely to be a source of irritation in the Northern States.  They were a great deal more likely to precipitate hostilities than to avert them.

          If the Government really thought that it was necessary to take steps for the defence of the Canadian frontier, and if the House agreed in that opinion, he should be the last man to throw obstacles in the way; but he contended that it was most unbusinesslike to come down and ask for money which was to be spent in driblets, and was more likely than anything to create the emergency which was deprecated.

          Assuming, however, that his noble Friend was perfectly correct in his suggestions, and that the plan he proposed was founded on the best information and ought to be adopted, then after all it was only a portion of the scheme for the defence of the frontier.  It must, therefore, be understood that the Government contemplated adding to these fortifications in future years.

          Fortifications without men were of little use, and it was to be presumed that the Government had considered this question of manning these fortifications.  His noble Friend had told them that 60,000 men would be required for the defence of the frontier, and that we were to give from 10,000 to 20,000.  He should wish, first of all, to be informed by his noble Friend where these 10,000 or 20,000 men were to come from.

          It had been stated in the House, and the Government had not contradicted it, that we had not sufficient troops to furnish the requisite reliefs for the colonies, and that the difficulty would be increased greatly in a couple of years, when the regiments sent to India for the mutiny would have to be brought home.

          If these men were kept in India beyond their proper time, the Government would be guilty of the murder of every soldier who should die in that country.  Moreover, the Government had given no denial to the assertion that we were several battalions short of the number of men voted.  Where, then, were these 10,000 or 20,000 men to come from?

          Then we were told that this was to be a joint scheme of defence between

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

the mother country and the colony.  He wanted to know whether, if this scheme were adopted, there was any agreement which would bind the colonists to carry out their portion of it – because, according to the Report of Colonel Jervois, a very large sum would be required to do that.

          Was the colony willing to construct the forts required, and to go to the expense of raising and keeping in an efficient condition the number of men that would be necessary to garrison them, and also a sufficient standing army?  These were points which the Government ought to clear up.

          He came now to what, in his opinion, was the most important part of the case.  His noble Friend had said that this country hoped to maintain her naval superiority.  They all hoped that.  But in the Report with which Colonel Jervois had furnished the Government, and which he believed was the foundation of the present scheme, that officer in summing up his plans of defence had stated that the most important part was the keeping the command of the rivers and lakes by means of iron-clad gunboats.

          That statement of Colonel Jervois had been accepted by the noble Lord, and it was admitted on all hands that those iron-clad gunboats, and a number of them sufficient to cover the whole River St. Lawrence upwards to the further part of the Lakes, were indispensable.

          When the House was asked to vote a sum of money for the commencement of a scheme of this character, assuredly they ought to have some information as to how they were to provide for the most essential part of the design.

          We did not possess at this moment such a thing as an ironclad gunboat.  There were old wooden gunboats rotting in the yards since the time of the Crimean war; but the Government, acting on the plan of doing everything at the last moment, had neglected to provide iron-clad gunboats.

          Colonel Jervois, however, had distinctly stated that they must have such gunboats, and of a superior description.  Now, the Committee had a right to demand an answer from Her Majesty's Government as to where these gunboats were to come from, and whether any preparations were being made for their construction.

          Was his noble Friend the Secretary to the Admiralty, after the Chancellor of the Exchequer had slipped his Budget through the House with the greatest rapidity, to come down and ask a sum of money for the construction of those gunboats, or was there any other

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

arrangement?  Such gunboats as Colonel Jervois referred to were not to be constructed in a week or a month.  He should be glad to hear what length of time would be required to construct a sufficient number for the defence of Canada upon the plan proposed.

          The Committee had a right to call upon Her Majesty's Government to give a positive assurance that these gunboats were, or were about to be, put in hand, and that by the time the fortifications were completed they should have enough both of gunboats and of men ready to play their part in the defence of Canada.

          There was only one point more.  He would ask the Government to bear in mind that they were about to take no trifling step when they asked for this Vote of £50,000, but one the consequences of which no man could venture to calculate, either as regarded ourselves or the influence it might have upon the defence of Canada.

          He thought, with all deference to the Committee, that they ought to pause before assenting to this Vote; that they ought to have better information, in the first place, as to where the men were to be found, and in the next place as to the gunboats.

          He feared they were about to embark without sufficient advice and consideration upon a measure which if it failed might ultimately lead to a great disaster both to the honour and interests of this country.  He begged to move the omission of the sum of £50,000, for the defences of Quebec from the Vote.


Motion made, and Question proposed,

That the Item of £50,000, for the Improvement of Defences at Quebec, be omitted from the proposed Vote.  – (Mr. Bentinck.)


          GENERAL PEEL  Sir, although a great deal of the interest and importance attached to this Vote has been already forestalled and anticipated by the debates which have taken place upon the subject of Canada, I shall, with the permission of the Committee, offer a few remarks on the subject now before us.

          In the course of previous debates the House has, I think, expressed its opinion, with a degree of temper and moderation which does it the greatest credit, to the effect that, without casting the slightest doubt upon the good intentions or honour of the American Government, this country has come to the determination that, if Canada be attacked by anybody, that attack should form a casus belli, and that she would be defended with the whole strength of our armaments,

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

to be employed in such a manner as should be most effectual to her interests.

          This I take to be the opinion of, at all events, the majority of this House, and I am sure it is of the majority of this country.

          Entertaining this opinion myself, I shall now come shortly to the consideration of the merits of the scheme proposed by Her Majesty's Government.  If I were to look at the proposed fortifications of Quebec merely with reference to the Report of Colonel Jervois, I should be inclined to say that they were intended to secure the safe retreat of Her Majesty's forces in Canada in case it should be invaded; and I should look upon the position of our troops in Canada in much the same way as the Minister looked upon that regiment of Volunteers whose colonel wrote to say, upon the breaking out of war, that they would not under any circumstances leave the country, and the reply of the Minister was that he thought they had better make one exception, and that was in case the country was invaded.

          If that be the position of our troops in Canada, why you had better at once secure their safety and save your own money by withdrawing them, and adopting the principle of leaving the inhabitants to their fate, and seeking some other battle-field upon which to defend their cause.

          That is no new scheme nor has anybody in the course of these debates had the merit of making this suggestion for the first time.  More than two years ago, in 1862, Sir Francis Head, who is some authority upon this subject, after describing, in the first instance, the great extent of the frontier you will have to defend, goes on to say –

Now, over such an enormous expanse of land and water, instead of our despatching troops, vessels, and ammunition to engage, not in regular warfare, but in an endless, costly, and ignominious game of 'hide and seek,' in which we might possibly lose more than we should be permitted to capture, let England proclaim that so long as Canada shall unequivocally evince the loyalty and attachment to Great Britain which have hitherto distinguished her, any unjustifiable invasion of her territory by the army of the adjoining Republic shall, in the first instance, be instantly resented, not on her own soil, but by an infinitely cheaper and more efficacious punishment elsewhere.  Thus, if the army of the Government of the Northern States fire Toronto and Hamilton, let England, instead of troubling herself to extinguish those distant flames, bombard and burn Boston and New York.  If Canadian vessels are attacked on fresh water let the injury be promptly avenged by the British navy throughout the 'wide, rude,' salt, aqueous surface of the globe.

          That might be very good advice in merely

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

a military point of view; but there are other points of view.

          It would be very poor consolation for the inhabitants of Toronto and Hamilton if they had been bombarded and burnt on your account to tell them that you intended to burn and bombard Boston and New York – which you would find it very difficult to do.

          I think our position with regard to the Canadians, if we abandon them, would be very like that of the absentee landlord to his steward when the latter wrote to say that in consequence of his arbitrary and oppressive treatment his tenants had threatened to murder him, and the reply of the landlord was, "Tell the scoundrels if they think to intimidate me by shooting you they are very much mistaken."  I suppose we are to instruct the Canadians to tell any aggressor that if they think to punish England by massacring them they are very much mistaken.

          Now I am totally opposed to this policy of abandoning the Canadians.  So long as they continue faithful subjects of Her Majesty, and are prepared to defend themselves from aggression, I think that by every tie of blood and by every consideration which can actuate a great nation we are bound to protect them.

          I attach value to this Vote, because I look upon it as a declaration on the part of England that if Canada is attacked she "will not be left to defend herself alone," and as that declaration will come from the House of Commons in the name of the English nation, I trust it will be more faithfully kept than other declarations which have been made of late to other countries.

          Still, Sir, the question remains as to the merits or demerits of the plan proposed.  Now, nobody can have a higher opinion of the ability of Colonel Jervois than I have.  So high is my opinion of him, that I feel perfectly certain that if he had had the least idea that a confidential Report to the Secretary of State for War would have been laid on the table of this House, he would have accompanied it by those explanations which the Secretary of State would, no doubt, obtain from him in private.  He would not have thought of publishing to the world the bare fact that the British tooops are placed in Canada, very much like our unfortunate cavalry horses on the heights of Inkerman, as so many scare-crows at the mercy of any assailant who may choose to attack them.

          As to the merits of the scheme, looking to the great extent of frontier, which it is impossible to defend, it is evidently of the

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

last importance to prevent the enemy from taking possession of vital points in the country.

          You can only do this by means of fortifications, and I think it would be most unwise not to have recourse to them.  In my opinion, Colonel Jervois's Report is much strengthened and supported by the fact that the Canadians are ready to undertake their proportion of the proposed works.  I look upon them as a very sensible and intelligent people, and they have among them military men quite capable of judging of the sufficiency of these fortifications for the purpose for which they are designed.

          If, therefore, they undertake their share, we may rest assured that these are very good and necessary works of defence.  There remains, however, a question which has been alluded to, but has not yet been answered – Are the Canadians to carry on the works at Montreal themselves, or are we to do it?  Are the Montreal works to be carried on simultaneously with those at Quebec?  And if the Canadians should find any difficulty in providing the money, will they be assisted by loan or by guarantee?

          In point of fact, is our undertaking to provide for the defences of Quebec dependent upon the performance by the Canadians of their part of the agreement?

          The Government have been, with much justice, complained of for having been two or three years in possession of Colonel Jervois's views upon this subject, and yet having taken no steps whatever to secure the safety of Quebec; for allowing valuable time to be wasted, and then, when the necessity is pressing, proposing to spend so small a sum as £50,000 in the course of the present year.

          The answer on the part of the Government is, that so long as the Canadians did not show any disposition to defend themselves it was useless for us to undertake the duty for them.

          But I cannot help thinking that the Government are themselves to blame for any backwardness which has heretofore existed on the part of the Canadians in this matter.  It is all owing to the great mistake you made in sending out in such a hurry some 10,000 or 12,000 men at the time of the Trent affair.

          In my opinion this was a mistake, both as regards the Americans and the Canadians.  It was a mistake as far as the Americans are concerned, because it was treating the American Government with suspicion, as though they would not of their own accord pursue a course which was dictated by justice and the Law of Nations.  You ought

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

to have waited till they had refused compliance with the proper and peremptory demand you made for the return of the prisoners taken from under the protection of your flag.

          This is one of the cases in which I think a Minister should carry out in his public policy the same principles which he would act upon in private life.  If a neighbour's servant committed against me an improper and wholly unjustifiable act, I should not go to his master for redress with a pistol in one hand and a horsewhip in the other; on the contrary, I should explain to him calmly the circumstances of the offence, express my belief that he would be very happy to have the opportunity of repudiating the act of his servant, and of doing me justice.

          But you never gave the Americans the opportunity of doing justice to you with credit to themselves.  You almost rendered it impossible for them to subdue that feeling of irritation and excitement which prevailed in their country, owing to the manner in which you made the demand upon them.

          I know it was said by a great many people that it was owing to the spirited conduct of the noble Lord opposite that a war was prevented upon that occasion.  But, depend upon it that if the American Government had not been actuated by a sense of justice on that occasion – if they gave way merely because it was not convenient for them to go to war with you at that particular moment – you have not prevented war; you have only postponed it till it is convenient for the Americans to make a similarly spirited demonstration.

          It would have been better to have thrown upon them the responsibility of entering into an unjust war, which it would have been on their part, if they had refused to act in accordance with the Law of Nations, and to give up the prisoners improperly taken by them from the Trent. You would then have had with you the whole of this country to a man, and you would have had, at all events, the acknowledgment of every other nation that you were in the right.

          It is perfectly evident, therefore that if the American Government, in which you now place such confidence – I trust and believe that you have good reason for doing so – were then ready to have acted justly, it would have been far better not to have sent troops to Canada.  On the other hand, if the American Government were not prepared to have done this, there was still greater reason why you should not have sent troops to Canada; for, according to Colonel Jervois –

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

"It is a delusion to suppose that that force," – meaning the regular force now maintained in Canada – "can be of any use for the defence of the country without fortifications to compensate for the comparative smallness of its numbers.  Even when aided by the whole of the local militia that could at present be made available, it would, in the event of war, be obliged to retreat before the superior numbers by which it would be attacked; and it would be fortunate if it succeeded in embarking at Quebec, and putting to sea without serious defeat."

          I need not remind the Committee that at the time these troops were sent out to Canada no fortifications or defences were available there, and therefore a great mistake was committed as regards the Americans.

          But the mistake was no less serious as regards the Canadians, because you led them to believe that you were prepared to undertake the entire defence of the country against any attack made upon them on your account.

          And it would have been no wonder if this feeling existed.  The quarrel was yours, not theirs; and we cannot be surprised if they desired to throw the whole burden of their defence upon your shoulders, thinking it a sufficient hardship if their country were made the battle-field throughout the war.

          I say it was natural, then, that they should show no great anxiety to be ruined on your behalf.  But now the case is different.  It is certain that the Canadians are prepared to make every effort in their power for their own defence, and I think you are bound to assist them.

          I do hope and trust that if they ever should be assailed they will be able, with your assistance, to maintain their independence.  I, for one, will never believe that Her Majesty holds any portion of her dominions by the forbearance of a neighbouring Power.

          I trust that so great a calamity as war with America may never occur, and I am certain that, whatever causes of dispute may arise between the two nations there will be no necessity for war if those differences are treated in the spirit which ought to prevail between two great nations.

          At the same time, while we have no right to complain of any act done by the Americans in order to secure themselves from attack upon their Canadian frontier, neither ought the American Government to be in the least annoyed or jealous on account of the fortifications now proposed.  By their very nature they are for defence and not for aggression; and as for this Vote, it is rendered absolutely necessary for the reconstruction of the defences of Quebec.

          The only ground of surprise is that such a work should not

(Continued on next page)



How to defend Canada in case of an attack
from the south by the largest fighting force
ever gathered in the western hemisphere?

              On this day, 23rd March 1865, the American Civil War, a.k.a. the War Between the States, was still being fought in the United States.  General Lee's Army of Northern Virginia was still a dangerous fighting force.  Abraham Lincoln, newly elected to his second term as President of the United States, was busy planning his policies for the conduct of the government after the war was over.  Two days after this debate in the House of Commons in London, England, the Battle of Fort Stedman was fought in Virginia – Union casualties were 1,044 (72 killed, 450 wounded, 522 missing or captured); Confederate casualties a considerably larger 4,000 (600 killed, 2,400 wounded, 1,000 missing or captured) – and after that there were more than twenty other battles fought between the Union and Confederate armies before the war finally ended.

              At this time, there was no electric telegraph across the ocean.  The latest news from North America then available in London was at least ten days old – the time required for a steamship to cross the North Atlantic Ocean.  As they listened to this debate in the House of Commons, these Members of Parliament knew nothing of events in the Civil War, or anything else in North America, after March 12th.  In their world, there were still four weeks to go until April 9th, when Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox.  The last battle of the Civil War (a Confederate victory) ended on 13th May 1865, two months (in their world) after this debate about defending Canada from possible attacks in force from south of the border.

              These MPs in London had no knowledge of anything that had happened in Canada in the last ten to twelve days.  It was possible – unlikely but certainly possible – that the "army of the Government of the Northern States" had already set fire to "Toronto and Hamilton."  There was no guarantee that an attack like this had not happened a week ago.  This was in fact a credible threat, made unlikely only by the season – this was March in Upper Canada (southern Ontario) with snow still deep in many places and travel conditions were much more difficult than they would be a few weeks later, in May or June.

              This debate, about how to defend Canada in case of an attack from the south by the largest fighting force ever gathered in the western hemisphere, a tough, resilient, determined, professional, well-equipped and well-financed battle-hardened army – that now was otherwise occupied but in a few weeks would have nothing else to do – was not a casual academic exercise but a careful examination of a dangerous contingency that competent military authorities – on both sides of the border – considered to be a serious possibility as soon as the snow melted.


This note, inserted here for context, does not appear
in the original Hansard record for this day.



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

have been completed before, without any reference to apprehended attack on Canada.  I shall, therefore, give my vote to the sum proposed by the noble Marquess, and I take it for granted that if this sum is voted the House of Commons will stand pledged for the completion of the whole work – that is to say, the Government will at once be able to enter into contracts for its completion; at all events, to the extent of the sum mentioned in the margin; for no contractors will supply the necessary plant if the sum now voted may be the limit of expenditure, and if there is a possibility that next year the House will refuse to proceed with the works.


          MR. BUTLER-JOHNSTONE  said, that if it should go forth that we would do nothing for the defence of our Canadian fellow-subjects the patriotic movement going on among them would be arrested, and the Canadians would not take the proper steps to make the country defensible against aggression.

          He confessed, on his part, a feeling of the deepest disappointment at the smallness of the sum the Government proposed to take for the defences of Canada.  Still he thought that by an expenditure of £50,000, Quebec could be made by means of earthworks more defensible than it was at present.

          The smallness of the Vote, however, was not a ground for opposing it.  He thought more money should have been proposed by Government, and he considered that money should have been expended in other ways than those now projected.

          He conceived that the best way of defending Canada was to give her the Imperial guarantee to enable her to carry out her great works of railroad communication; in order that she might in emergencies gather together her spare and scattered population, and in fact double her material resources.

          He concurred in thinking that if we went to war with America we should have to trust in a great measure to the daring and enterprize of our seamen, and therefore he thought it a great mistake on the part of the Government that they had not put Bermuda in a proper state of defence, and neglected the fortifications of Halifax.  It was from the latter place that, by means of a railway running to Quebec, provisions and materials of war would have to be conveyed to the British troops.

          The weak point in the American armour was not on the Canadian frontier, nor on the Atlantic, but in the Pacific; and he looked in vain in the Estimates for any Votes for defences on

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

the Pacific side.  If there was war with America there would be constant engagements in the Pacific.  Our cruisers now refitted at San Francisco.

          If San Francisco were shut up they would have to go to Valparaiso.  In case of a war in the Pacific our cruisers would require a place to repair and refit, and he thought the Government should ask for a sum of money for the fortifications of Esquimault, Vancouver's Island.

          He went further, for he said that Hong Kong and some point in Australia ought to be put into a position of defence.

          He quite agreed that these proposals involved very great expense; but if we were to have the glory of empire and the prestige of a protectorate we must be ready to incur the liabilities of that position.  We had done nothing of late years to put our possessions over the face of the earth in a proper state of defence.  He believed that a great Vote was necessary to effect that object.

          We did not grudge £9,000,000 to put England in a state of defence, and he contended that Canada was as much our country as England, and that the honour of England was as much involved in an engagement on the St. Lawrence, in the Atlantic, or the Pacific, as if it took place in the Channel or in the Thames.

          He did not propose that there should be a huge Vote at once to put all our possessions over the world in a state of defence; but he thought something should be done to protect our most vulnerable points, so that if ever we were at war with America we should be prepared to strike her hip and thigh where she was weakest, in the Pacific, and thereby detach California from the union – a State immensely rich in minerals and other resources.

          Though quite willing to vote for the sum of £50,000 for the defence of Quebec, he thought the proposal was very inadequate, but he hoped it would have a good effect as showing that this country was willing to put forth all her resources to defend her Canadian colonies.


          MAJOR ANSON  said, that there seemed to be a general uncertainty in men's minds with regard to the defence of Canada, and the reason no doubt was that we had no precedent to guide us.

          Though we had had colonies to defend before now, yet England had never been placed in the same position as she was at present with respect to Canada.  In case of war with the United States, England would be the base of operations, and she would have to carry on the war at a distance of 3,000 miles

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

with the communications closed for six months of the year.

          She would have to defend a frontier of 600 miles, from Quebec to Georgian Bay, in Lake Huron.

          It was proposed to defend three points – Quebec, Montreal, and the peninsula of Toronto, and at each British troops were to be placed.

          To provide those troops with the necessary supplies the communications with them must be kept open, and the geographical position of Canada was such that the whole frontier must be defended to keep up the communications.  A force of 100,000 men would be required between Quebec and Montreal, and another force of 100,000 men between Montreal and Upper Canada.

          But the question was not one of 100,000 or 200,000 men.  If a war should break out the Americans had hundreds of thousands of veterans ready to fall upon Canada at any moment, while we should only have a handful of regular troops supported by a raw militia, without any artillery except what was sent from this country.

          Even England itself could hardly compete with the Americans in that branch of the service, as he believed that the American army had a larger proportion of artillery to the number of men than any other army in the world; and they had, besides, efficient siege, transport, and commissariat trains, and unlimited means of communication upon any part of the frontier for the accumulation of troops.

          He maintained, therefore, that it was perfectly and utterly impossible for this country to dream of defending Canada for one moment.  But he would assume for the moment that we could make as good a fight for Canada as the Southerners had made against the Federal States.

          Still the cost of the war in men and money must be calculated.  During the last four years of war in America the recklessness of blood and money had been greater than any nation ever exhibited before in the prosecution of a war.

          He did not see exactly how this country could keep up the supplies of men necessary to carry on the exhausting struggle which it would have to maintain in Canada against the Americans.  Where were the men to come from?

          There was nobody in that House who had a higher opinion of the capabilities of the British army than himself; but an army ought to be proportionate in point of numbers to the duties it would have to undertake in time of war.  He did not think the British army had been kept up at that proper proportion; and, at the

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

time of the war in the Crimea the real reason of the failures there was the attempt that was made to get the work of 20,000 men out of 10,000 men.

          In like manner, the real cause of the mutiny in India was the attempt to keep in subjection the Native army of 280,000 men by means of 18,000 European troops.

          A great deal more work was always expected to be got out of the British army than it could possibly do.  After the Indian mutiny was over they had a war with China.  They sent off a force of some 6,000 troops and told them to march to Pekin, the capital of an empire with 400,000,000 inhabitants, and they did it.

          But all that was perfect child's play compared with what they would have to undertake in the event of a war with America.  There they would not have ten Sepoys or ten Tartars with their bows and arrows or their matchlocks against one Englishman, but they would have to face Anglo-Saxons, men of their own race, with all their own indomitable energy, courage, and perseverance.

          For every gun that England brought, no matter of what power, the Americans could bring ten; for every gunboat we put upon the Lakes and the St, Lawrence, they could put ten, and more, too, if they chose to try it.

          With the small army which England possessed, and with the very great demands made upon it all over her extended Empire, we ought not to allow ourselves to drift into a great military war with America, of which it would be difficult to assign the termination.

          Canada herself ought to look upon such a contingency from the same point of view – she ought to perceive that it was no part of the duty of England to shed the blood of her soldiers in that colony.  If the Canadians wanted a standing army, let them raise it for themselves, and let them rest content with the maritime and other efficient aid which England could render them.  England certainly was not called upon by her honour to send troops to fight in Canada, especially when all knew that it was hopeless.

          With regard to the £50,000 for the defences of Quebec, which they were now called upon to vote, he wished to ask the Under Secretary for War if Colonel Jervois had been told to place Quebec in a sufficient state of defence before next winter set in – whether he would have said he could or could not?  That, he thought, was what the Government ought to have done.  Instead of asking for that £50,000, they should have sent out an Engineer and told him to put Quebec in an adequate

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

state of defence before the winter, no matter at what cost, nor no matter what our opinions may be as to the defence of Canada.

          Having a portion of our army there it is our duty to place in a state of defence the only port through which we could withdraw our soldiers or send reinforcements in case of war.


          MR. ADDERLEY  said, that the hon. and gallant Member who had just spoken (Major Anson) seemed to make out that Canada was the only country in the world which it was impossible to defend; but, for himself, he could not conceive that she was in a different position from other States in Europe and other parts of the world which had powerful neighbours on their frontier, but which, he maintained, were somehow or other defensible if the inhabitants were in earnest.

          The question, as he took it, was, how was the frontier of Canada to be defended.  If the proposal on the part of the Government was that England was to undertake the defence of Canada, then he could understand the hon. and gallant Member's argument that they were undertaking what was impossible.

          But he did not apprehend that the Government were undertaking anything of the kind.  The proposition they were discussing was the first Vote towards fortifying Quebec and what did they undertake by that proposition?  Certainly not to defend the Canadian frontier, but to provide for the security of the troops they now had there, and also for the security of stores which they now had there of great value.

          Last Session he (Mr. Adderley) called the attention of the House – and then not for the first time – to that very point, and he did so with these two objects – first, the security of British troops in North America, whom he felt to be in a most precarious and exposed position; and secondly, in order that this country might as soon as possible come to a clear understanding with Canada as to how much Canada would undertake for herself, and how much England was prepared to undertake for her.

          It was because he conceived that the Vote now before the Committee tended to accomplish both those objects that he should give it his cordial assent.  It was all very well to say it was quite impossible for this country to defend 2,000 miles of frontier in Canada.  It was perfectly true that such an undertaking would be absurd and impossible.  But, because that is so, would anybody – would the hon. and gallant Member who had just spoken,

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

or the right hon. Member for Calne (Mr. Lowe), or the hon. Member for West Norfolk (Mr. Bentinck) – ask the Committee to come to the conclusion from those premisses that they should either leave the troops they now had in Canada exposed as they were, or should withdraw them thence altogether?  Was there anybody who would withdraw those troops at this moment?  [Mr. LOWE: Hear, hear!] There was one right hon. Member who would do so; but he stood alone, nobody else shared his views on that point.

          And if nobody but the right hon. Gentleman would withdraw the troops from Canada at that moment, would anybody venture to say that if they were to remain they should remain without fortifications?  When Colonel Jervois made his Report it was proposed that this country should undertake to fortify not only Quebec, but Montreal also, and that the Canadians should undertake to raise fortifications at three other points on their frontier – namely, Kingston, Toronto, and Hamilton.

          When that proposal was made he himself (Mr. Adderley) ventured to suggest that it would be wiser if this country only undertook to fortify Quebec, and to make it perfectly clear to the Canadians that if works at other points were essential for the defence of their frontier, they themselves must undertake to fortify all those other places.

          And what was his meaning in that?  Why, that Canada should distinctly understand that if we were to fortify Quebec it was not with a view to defend their whole frontier, but to defend our own troops and to secure our own stores, which we had there to the value of about a million sterling, and that the defence of their frontier was to be undertaken by the Canadians themselves, the only people who could undertake it.

          Nothing could be worse than the vague understanding between this country and Canada with respect to the assistance she was to receive from us.  Canada had been trusting to a broken reed in relying for her defence upon England; while we, on the other hand, talked a vague sort of rhodomontade, saying that as long as Canada was loyal and attached to us we would protect her, when we knew that under the circumstances the thing would be impossible.

          Moreover, it would be absurd, even if we could, to relieve any part of the Empire from the duty of self-defence – a duty which patriotism and self-respect imposed upon all men worthy or capable of freedom.  By our fortifying Quebec alone

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

we should show the Canadians that we meant only to protect our own troops and stores; that all other fortifications which might be needed on their frontier must be provided by themselves; and that the rest of our share in defending them in the event of war would be performed by sea, in attempting to cut off the enemy's commerce, or in attacking his most vulnerable points.

          That we must have fortifications at Quebec no one can have a doubt who would have any troops in Canada at all.  He would ask the right hon. Member for Calne, who alone proposed that we should now withdraw our troops, whether he knew what the state of Canada was at this moment – whether he knew that she was only now, for the first time, seriously considering the question of her own defence, and that she could not put forth her own strength without the assistance of a certain number of regular troops?

          If the right hon. Gentleman did not wish Canada to go entirely undefended, why did he wish this country to take a step which would absolutely disable the Canadians from defending themselves?  No moment could be more inopportune for withdrawing the regular force from Canada which was in the act of drilling and forming their first local forces.

          It was certainly matter for anxiety to us that our troops there, now about 9,000 in number, were scattered in half battalions along 2,000 miles of frontier.  That was certainly a precarious position for any troops to be in; but it was at present unavoidable, unless we meant to leave the whole of Canada at the mercy of the United States, or any enemy that might attack it.

          His proposition last year was that those troops should be concentrated, and the Government, I believe, favoured that proposal; but the necessity of providing military schools, as it were, at different places in the colony for the training of officers and discipline of the provincial levies now prevented the carrying out of that concentration.

          That being so, how could we leave 9,000 British troops in the present aspect of affairs in North America without any place of strength on which in case of extremity they could fall back?

          He fully concurred with the right hon. Member for Calne as to the mischief which was done by the presence of those troops; and nothing but an over-riding necessity justified our having them there.  They were like the red flag held out at a bullfight.  They were like an incentive to

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

the very attacks which they were put there to ward off.  That was a great mischief.

          Another mischief was that these troops were looked upon as a pledge on the part of England to undertake the defence of Canada, far more than was meant by England in sending them there.  The third mischief was in diverting the attention of this country from its chief means of defending Canada – namely, by sea, and in leading us to look mainly to its defence by land.

          He would allow the truth of what had been said by Sir Francis Bond Head, long before the speech of the right hon. Member for Calne, that – putting out of the question the conveyance of a sufficient number of troops 3,000 miles across the Atlantic, and the impossibility of bringing the recent inventions of war to the aid of the English forces should war come – the English army would be firing guineas in such a war, while the United States army would be only firing shillings in return.

          He entertained great hopes that when the English troops in that country had done their work, and had developed the strength of Canada, it might be possible to withdraw them and to make the Canadians a present of the fortress of Quebec, in order that they might defend it for themselves.

          These considerations did not, however, lead him to consent to the withdrawal of the English troops at the present moment.  On the contrary, he would leave them there, in order that they might aid the Canadians in developing their own resources and powers of self-defence.

          It was said that war with the United States was only a remote possibility, and that the Americans were too sagacious a people to draw upon themselves a powerful enemy at a moment of exhaustion.  The sagacity of the Americans was, however, leading them to fortify their sea-boards.

          Not only so, but for some reason or other, known, of course, to themselves, they were not waiting for the completion of their permanent fortifications, but were actually throwing up temporary fortifications in readiness for any emergency.  If there was any lesson to be learnt from their sagacity, it was that steps should be taken on our part corresponding to those taken by them in contemplation of the possibility of a rupture with this country.

          His only regret was that this Vote was not passed a year ago.  He regretted the delay that had taken place in commencing the proposed fortification of Quebec, but he felt

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

bound to add that he fully acquitted the Secretary of State of any blame.

          It was obviously necessary that this country should not take the initiative in fortifying any part of the American continent.  If this country had taken the initiative, we should only have repressed the spirit of the Canadians, and rendered it almost impossible for the Canadian Government to obtain any Vote for fortifying the frontier.  It was necessary for the Secretary of State to wait until the Canadians had shown some proof on their part that they were an much in earnest as ourselves in defending their country against aggression.  There was now ample proof of the spirit of the Canadian people, and it could only be repressed by uncertain relations being maintained towards them by the mother country.

          Nothing could show the spirit of the Canadians more than the way in which the Volunteers marched to the frontier the other day, the men, women, and children joined in cheering them upon taking the first step in the defence of the country.  He trusted that this feeling would be kept up by such measures as were indicated by the present Vote.

          The hon. Member for West Norfolk (Mr. Bentinck) said that Colonel Jervois's Report showed the necessity of supplying the Canadians with gunboats.  He could not agree in this version of Colonel Jervois's opinion; but we ought to encourage them in the formation of dockyards upon their lakes, to furnish them with artificers, and possibly with materials, and thus enable them to build for themselves a sufficient number of gunboats for the defence of their frontier.

          He must confess his disappointment in regard to the part taken by New Brunswick in the matter of the Canadian Federation.  New Brunswick appeared to be holding back, as if lingering in the expectation which our treatment had fostered that her defence would be supplied by the mother country.  He did not suppose it was the intention of the Government to put any pressure upon New Brunswick – the attitude of this country should be rather to accept offers from the other side of the Atlantic.

          The first proposal for Confederation came from Canada, and we accepted it.  It was not our business to press any one of the maritime provinces into the Confederation, but if any one of these provinces was holding back from the Confederation merely to maintain the advantage of British supplies and protection beyond what

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

it had a right to expect, this country should give it reason to believe that she will not continue that protection if there were not signs of self-help on the part of such province.

          He would assure the Government that he most cordially supported the Vote, and he did so because he trusted it would be taken as an indication that further measures would be taken on their part to assure the Canadians that England would support them if they would take the proper steps to defend themselves.


          VISCOUNT BURY  said, that having some acquaintance with Canada, he wished to make one or two observations on this Vote.

          The first question in every mind was whether England would defend Canada.  He believed that there were not three men within the walls of that House who did not believe that the matter was already settled for us.  Every one had concluded that it was inconsistent with the dignity of Great Britain to yield up to the ravages of a foreign army any possessions that formed part of the territory of the Crown.  That question might be regarded, then, as already settled.

          During the whole time that Canada had been under the protection of the British Crown it had been known that any attack on its frontier would be an attack made upon England.  If England ever came to a different conclusion, it would be her duty to give the Canadians notice of the termination of that understanding; but until we had done so, and until the period of that notice had expired, no one would think it consistent with the duty of the English Government to recommend the discontinuance of that protection.

          He would not say that at some future time Canada would not be obliged to defend itself, or that the time might not soon come when the Canadians would be in a condition to declare their independence.  Many things had, however, to come to pass before that event occurred, and, when it did arrive, it would be necessary to give notice of the intention of this country to withdraw from its protection of Canada and to give the Canadians time to organize a system of defence for themselves.

          If that were the conclusion, we must see what could be done under the present circumstances, entirely divesting ourselves of the idea that it was impossible to defend Canada.  There was only one possible enemy by whom the Canadas could be attacked, and on all bauds we were frightened by the immense forces at the disposal of the United States.

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

          He quite admitted that within the last few years the United States had made extraordinary progressive strides and had risen to be one of the first military nations in the world.  They had at their command vast resources; and, as his hon. and gallant Friend behind him (Major Anson) had said, they had two or three guns, and could put in the field five or six men for every gun and man that we could put forward.

          But could we help that?  Was it by exaggerating the forces of an enemy that we could get out of the difficulty in which we were now placed?  All we could do was frankly to recognize the power of an enemy and to take the best means in our power to render his attacks of no avail.

          He confessed that to him it did not seem probable that we should be subjected to any attack at at all.  Looking at the United States we found that they had been waging a great war for a great cause, and at great cost to themselves – they had made immense exertions and expended an enormous amount of blood and treasure; and they had accumulated a debt beside which our own sank into insignificance.  ["No, no!"] He had heard the most extraordinary estimates of that debt; but though the debt might not be as large as ours at the present moment, it had been created in four years, while ours was the growth of centuries, and before the war was ended, no doubt, they would have accumulated burdens far in excess of any which this country could show.

          After such a struggle the exhaustion consequent on such tremendous exertions must necessarily be felt; and even supposing the war were to terminate in the entire subjection of the South, enormous garrisons would have to be maintained in order to hold the country which they had conquered.

          Was it likely that to the South, disaffected and ready to rise in fresh rebellion at any moment when the strong hand keeping them down was removed or weakened, the United States would desire to add a North equally disaffected to their rule and equally consisting of an Anglo-Saxon race – who, moreover, not having yet suffered any sacrifices, would come fresh to the encounter?

          It did not seem within the bounds of probability that the United States, whatever their aggressive spirit – upon which he offered no opinion – would rush blindly and for no possible reason from one great war hardly terminated into the jaws of another.  It was, therefore, likely that we should have a

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

breathing space in which to perfect our defences against the enemy – if enemy he proved to be.

          Still, though we might never be attacked it was plainly our duty to stand prepared, and in his firm opinion the proposals made by Her Majesty's Government were the wisest means of preparation.

          The hon. Member for West Norfolk said in the course of his speech that we should not have time to complete our forts before the enemy attacked us; but he (Viscount Bury) believed that if the completion of the works were delayed for three or four years we should even then not be too late for the purpose for which the forts would be required, we should then have more than enough time to complete our defences, not only of Quebec, but of Montreal and of Upper Canada also.

          The right hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite (General Peel) had been very satirical in his comments upon the Government for making a point d'appui at Quebec behind which the English soldiers could retire in case of disaster befalling them.  But he did not think the great master of the art of war (the Duke of Wellington) was of that opinion when he found the lines of Torres Vedras, and advanced with the knowledge that he should probably have to fall back upon those lines; and did any Englishman think that the Duke of Wellington by providing for the safety of his army in case of disaster had degraded the honour of England?

          It seemed to him (Viscount Bury) that the wisest thing that the Government could possibly do would be to put Quebec in such a state of defence that in case of disaster not only the English troops, but the Canadians fighting with them, should have a place to which they could retreat.

          They had been told over and over again that, in such a war as he was considering, we must be in possession of naval superiority in order to defend Canada.  But if we had no place to retreat upon where our navy could concentrate – if we were to give up Quebec – we should be unable to maintain our naval superiority.

          He had lived in Quebec for years, and knew every inch of it, and he must say that Quebec, under present circumstances, was upon the wrong side of the river for military and strategic purposes, though it was different in former days, when the range of artillery was much shorter and military operations were conducted on a system now exploded.

          Any gentleman who had visited Quebec would remember that it was built on the

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

slope of a hill, and that from the height opposite almost every part of the citadel would be commanded by a long range cannon; and they would therefore see at once that it was not upon the present fortifications that they must depend in case of any attack upon the city.

          The outworks, therefore, must be transferred to the Point Levi shore.  It was on out-works upon the opposite side of the river connected with one another – earthworks formed in the first instance, and afterwards connected together – that we must rely.

          He believed that in the modern science of fortification they were directed to trust much more to earthworks than to masonry, and that it was by making successive earthworks and retiring from one to the other as necessity required that we must defend Quebec, instead of trusting to those stone defences which, with rifled guns, would be of no avail.

          Not second in importance to the defence of Quebec was the defence of Montreal.  At that point the river took a circular sweep round the Island of Montreal.  Above were the Rapids, and on the right towards New York the road by which the enemy advancing from the United States must come into Canada.

          Strategic reasons existed now as they had done throughout all history, proving that this was the only road by which an enemy could enter Canada.  In the war which began in 1755 there were two campaigns, and in both of them the policy was to concentrate forces upon Montreal and Quebec; and the only successful force which ever advanced out of the United States territory came by way of Montreal, and it was by that way we must defend it.

          The peculiar conformation of the current round Montreal gave great facilities for making a line of defence round the head of the Grand Trunk Railway-bridge, and would enable our gunboats stationed a little below the town to command by a flanking fire almost the whole of the line of works, and thereby materially to assist in the defence of the place.

          This being so, the plan of fortification proposed by Colonel Jervois had this great advantage, that our naval forces below the town could assist us very materially in defending the earthworks behind which the troops could be concentrated.

          There was no doubt that fortifications such as he had described could be held with ease by a very small English and Canadian force during the six months that operations were possible in Canada.  In winter everybody acquainted with that

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

country must know that it was impossible to do more than keep the great roads; and consequently a small defensive force would have great facilities in resisting a large aggressive force which, finding it impossible to deploy, would be unable to make use of its numbers.

          In case any attempt of this kind were made, a few men on snow shoes would easily cut the line of communications; and, therefore, during the winter the enemy would be obliged to retire to his base of operations.

          The defences of Upper Canada remained to be considered.  A frontier upwards of 1,400 miles in length it would be impossible to defend without an enormous outlay of money, and without sending into Canada more troops than we possessed.

          It was, therefore, only possible to retain possession of these two strategic points – Montreal by which the enemy would come, and Quebec, behind which our troops would rally if unfortunately there should be occasion to do so.

          These were the principal points on which, in an Imperial point of view, we ought to concentrate their attention.  No doubt, as the numbers and discipline of the Canadian militia increased, and as means became available, it would be necessary and easy to fortify Toronto, Hamilton, and Kingston; but these works must be left over for future discussion, after they had dealt with what they were now assured on all hands was matter of great and immediate danger.  ["No!"]  He did not believe in the existence of the danger, but he did believe in the necessity of being prepared; and the proposal of the Government to fortify Quebec and Montreal on the principle he had mentioned was, he thought, the best mode in which that very desirable object could be carried into effect.

          Having some personal knowledge of the country, he only wished to make a few practical remarks.  He felt it would be an injustice in any one who had lived among the Canadian population not to say when such a matter as this was under discussion, that he believed that the Canadians were in temper, in bone and sinew, in manners, like ourselves, and able and willing to defend themselves.

          Like ourselves, they had representative Government in Canada.  Having conceded that to them – having made them free – we could not be surprised to find that they were in fact free.  Therefore, when under circumstances of great internal difficulty a Militia Bill was presented to them, they took advantage of the occasion to turn out

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

an unpopular Government.  We did not like that proceeding, because we wished them to make provision for their own defence; but having given them responsible Government, we could not quarrel with them for exercising it.

          Now that difficulty was swept away; the very men who rejected the Militia Bill were, he believed, ready to do far more than had ever yet been proposed to put Canada in a state of defence.  Even those who had been turned out were ready to join with them, seeing the necessity of being prepared.

          It was not, he believed, the wish of the Canadian people to throw the burden of their defence on this country; they wore prepared to take their fair share of it.  He believed they would in a very short time see a highly efficient force organized in Canada by the same means which had been adopted in England – by the raising of a Volunteer force.  There were a large number of Serjeants of the regular army all through Canada, and if a large body of men had been raised here and rendered not unworthy to stand by the side of any soldiers, he could not doubt, out of the same materials among the Canadian population, a force equally efficient would in a short time be produced.

          But they had the disadvantage of living among a sparsely settled population.  They had also the additional disadvantage of having to sacrifice enormously high wages to attend drill; but now they knew it was necessary to provide against a danger which could only be averted by being prepared for it, they would no doubt be immediately at their post.


          MR. WATKIN  said, that he felt concerned to hear the United States so often spoken of in the debate as "the enemy;" and if he thought that the Vote before the Committee would in any manner increase international irritation, he should regret his vote in favour of the proposition of the Government.

          As it was, he felt that he could not quite agree with the policy the Vote indicated.  That policy was one of armament against an enemy.  The proposition, in his opinion, went either too far or not far enough.  It did not go far enough to inspire undoubted confidence and to deter attack by providing for absolute defence; and still, it went far enough to raise suspicion, and to excite or to aggravate a frontier feeling.

          But he thought that our actual relations with the United States were guiding considerations in reference to the policy of this Vote.  Government ought, therefore, to tell the

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

House how far they could repeat the peaceful assurances of a former debate.  Did the despatches by the mail just arrived tend towards peace or misunderstanding?  Was it true, on one side, that formal notice had a few days ago been given to our Government by the United States to terminate the Reciprocity Treaty?  And was it true that that notice had been entirely unaccompanied by any overture or suggestion for a re-discussion of the question?

          On the other and more friendly side, was it true that the vexatious passport system had been abrogated?  and, above all, was it also true that the Government of Washington had expressed to Her Majesty's Government their intention to revoke the notice to terminate the arrangement of 1817 and to place gunboats on the great American Lakes?

          If this was true, and if it should also appear that the notice to put an end to the Reciprocity Treaty had either not yet been given or had been accompanied by some friendly declaration of a desire to negotiate anew, the House must receive the intelligence with satisfaction; but should it, unfortunately, be the fact that non-intercourse regulations were maintained, that the Lakes were to be covered by armaments, and that international trade was to be interfered with, then he thought the House would consider the question as one affecting an hostile neighbour, whose unfriendly designs had to be met by preparation.

          He hoped, therefore, that the right hon. Gentleman would give the House all the information at his command.  Had he been in possession of all the facts, he should have been disposed to move as an Amendment that it was inexpedient to consider a Vote of money for the construction of fortifications adjoining the United States frontier until negotiations had been undertaken and had failed with a view to the suspension of such works under treaty obligation.

          He was strongly in favour of negotiation.  There was an example and precedent in the arrangement of 1817 for the neutralization of the Lakes.  That peaceful compact had endured for fifty years, and had alike saved the expense and obviated the dangers attending rival navies on the great internal waters of America.

          It was self-evident that we must either fortify efficiently or let it alone.  The United States could not fail to see that if they laid out large sums on permanent works of defence, we must do the same; while if we voted money, they must follow us.  And thus,

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

while both countries made themselves poorer in the process, neither became much stronger, because a sort of equilibrium of forces would after all be maintained.

          The Government at Washington surely had no present desire to enter upon a race of expenditure for military works on both sides of the frontier.

          If they had, the sooner we knew it the better, for then the House would only have one course, however they might deplore it, to pursue.  But here was a case where the common sense of the American people could, he thought, be appealed to not in vain.

          Instead of fortifying, let us neutralize the frontier – let us agree to do away with the expenditure on both sides.  If the American people were appealed to as the hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Cobden) appealed to the Emperor of the French in favour of the French Treaty, he believed that similar earnestness and tact could bring about an arrangement.  The Government at Washington would thereby set an example to all countries having long frontier lines, and a precedent would be established of inestimable value to the world.

          What could be more deplorable than to substitute for neutrality and the operation of the Reciprocity Treaty an armed frontier and practical non-intercourse?  He had before stated, from much personal observation on the spot, that border feeling and jealousy had hardly an existence as between the people of our possessions and of the United States; but so soon as rival fortresses frowned at each other on both sides of the line, and an armed truce were, so to speak, established, all the feelings and prejudices of separate nationality would grow up in abundance.

          The free exchanges of industry would, perhaps, be at the same time arrested, and war itself might not be impossible.  The Reciprocity Treaty practically made the people of the United States and of the British North American possessions, each living under a totally different form of government, one for all purposes of trade and intercourse.  Why should they be separated?

          But, unfortunately, our Government did not appreciate the value of, or they did not appear disposed to undertake negotiations.  Instead of endeavouring to come to some friendly understanding first, they came down to the House and asked for a Vote of money, enough to change the aspect of discussion with the United States but not enough to effectually protect from danger.  They would spend money first,

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

he supposed, and then negotiate; they would allow some great evil to happen and remonstrate afterwards.

          The difficulties in Canada might have been avoided by previous precaution.  The threatened notice to put an end to the treaty, which grew out of those difficulties, might have been avoided by a renewal of the engagement two years ago.  But the Government had done nothing.  They had been – how many months?  – without a Minister at Washington at the most critical period of our relations with the United States.

          Now it was proposed to send out a gentleman of many attainments, but who certainly was not of the first order of diplomatists.  Hitherto all the interests of this country had been left in the hands of Mr. Burnley, who, if only from his position, was not able to meet on equal terms the able men of whom Mr. Lincoln's Cabinet was composed.  Ever since the 17th December, a vexatious system of passports and consular regulations as to merchandize had been in force and were probably in force now.

          They had seriously impeded trade, produced uncertainty and alarm, and great losses to individuals; they had also created great exasperation; yet, during all this time we had no Ambassador at Washington.

          Since he entered the House, a letter, by the mail just in, had been placed in his hands, and he would, with the permission of the House, read an extract from it.  The writer, under date Portland, March 11, says – 

Some eighteen passengers, per Belgian, arrived here without passports for Canada.  The United States Government, by order of General Dix, has detained them, and sent a squad of soldiers to guard them on board the Belgian. At this time of writing they are still in custody, one of them being a clergyman.  Only fancy, United States soldiers taking charge of an English ship and English subjects!  This is carrying the matter with a high hand.

          Now, he did not believe that the Government of the United States had purposely and of malice aforethought committed this outrage, nor did he speak of it to increase irritation; but did it not show how wrong the Government had been in leaving the interests of this country so long without representation?

          What, in fact, was the use of an Embassy at all if our Ambassador was not at his post?  The Embassy at Washington was now the most important of our diplomatic establishments abroad.  We ought to place there the ablest man we could find, regardless of all party or personal considerations.

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

          The people of the United States knew our own estimate of our own officials well, and they took it as a slight if we did not send to Washington a man of the first rank as a diplomatist.

          He would appeal to the noble Lord at the head of the Government to consider the suggestion he had ventured to make, and not to allow the country to embark, without any attempt at negotiation, in an expenditure of which this was but the first beginning if the policy of it should be forced upon the House.

          Our fellow-subjects in Canada ought to be assured that, if an unjust war broke out, this country would stand by them at all hazards; but that assurance was quite consistent with the attempt which, he hoped, would be made after all to neutralize the frontier and the Lakes and to re-establish the Reciprocity Treaty.

          The House would, he felt assured, do nothing to raise up bitter feelings between the British provinces and the United States, nor to alienate still further two peoples of common origin, who, for the sake of civilization itself, ought, as far as possible, to be one and united in the interests of commerce and of peace.


 

          MR. HALIBURTON  said, the present might have turned out a very inconvenient debate if it had taken the inconvenient form which many had anticipated – that the Vote proposed by the noble Lord could not be acceded to without exciting a feeling of hostility on the part of that country against whose aggressions they were bound to erect fortifications.

          He wished to disabuse the minds of hon. Members with reference to the probability of a war with America.  He knew something of Canada.  Sixty winters had passed over his head before he removed from America to this country, and he would venture to say that he knew something of that country, and of its climate and its people.

          He had not the least notion that the Americans wished or intended to make war upon this country.  They were too sagacious a people for that, and knew their own interests too well; they knew their own inability to attain the object they desired – namely, the annexation of the British provinces.

          There were two good and sufficient reasons to prevent the Americans from entertaining the foolish project of going to war with England.  The noble Lord (Viscount Bury) had alluded to the debt of the United States, and he had not underrated its amount.  It was a larger debt, taken with its interests and its et ceteras, than the

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

debt of this country; and if they made peace with the Secessionists one of two things must ensue with respect to their finances – they must either repudiate their debt altogether or submit to be as heavily taxed as the English were to pay the interest on it.

          If there was a country impatient of taxation, and which had been always impatient of it from the earliest times, that country was America – indeed, so much so that every expedient of borrowing, confiscating, or raising money by loans at a high rate of interest, had been adopted in preference to that taxation which they loathed.

          Therefore there was a great security in that – that they were not able to go to war.  They could not go to war if they repudiated, for then the people would not trust their Government again with the sinews of war; and if they paid the interest on their debt they must increase their taxation, and utter exhaustion must ensue, after the terrible struggle in which they were now engaged.

          He, therefore, put out of sight any probability of a war between England and America, There had been some irritation; no doubt there were causes for it.  The Alabama had unfortunately escaped from this country, and that naturally led the people to look with suspicion on every act which this country did as favouring the escape of that vessel and aiding it in assailing their commerce.  This had produced a good deal of irritation, and some very rough language had been used by their newspapers, which never were famous for truth or mildness of expression, especially towards this country – but it was all "bunkum" – vox et præterea nihil.

          If it meant anything it was but to alarm the people of England who were truthful themselves, and naturally believed others when they asserted anything solemnly, and to prevent them from recognizing the Confederate States.

          With respect to the Reciprocity Treaty which they had given notice to terminate, the whole loss resulting from its ceasing would fall upon the Americans; because that, like every other treaty which they had made with us, was altogether in their own favour.

          When Lord Elgin wished to make this treaty he sent to Nova Scotia for delegates; but when they arrived at Quebec they found their fishery rights had been swept away without any notice to them.  Under this treaty the Americans acquired not only access to their shore fisheries, but also the right to land on uninhabited parts of

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

the province and to dry their fish, and they had also the privilege to import duty free "lumber," of which there was little or none in back States, and which therefore was an article of prime necessity.  The treaty was of great service to them, and if it were put an end to the abrogation would be to their cost.

          It had been said that Canada was unable to defend herself; but they were not to believe a word of it.  Canada had at present a population equal to that of the United States at the time of their rebellion, rebels as the United States were calling the Southern people; but Canada had 3,000,000 of a hardy and brave people, and if they were determined to resist, as the 3,000,000 in the United States formerly resisted the whole power of this Empire, they must succeed.

          Surely the Canadians had a right to get credit for pluck and courage as much as the people of the States formerly.  There was a time in the history of Canada – when there existed a good deal of sympathy for America – when there were many deluded into a love for democracy, and were in favour of the States.

          That time had passed away; those men had grown wiser as they had grown older, and they had seen that poor foolish country with a cheap Government, with no army, with no navy, grow up into a giant State, but with a giant's load to carry.

          The people of Canada now felt that if they were amalgamated with the United States they would be swallowed up in the immensity of their debt, and they did not wish to have anything to do with them.

          It had been said by one hon. Gentleman that a winter campaign could be carried on.  When the hon. Gentleman had lived sixty years in that country he would know more about the winters than to assert anything of the kind.  With the exception of the few horses that drew the sleighs in Quebec for the necessary traffic, all the rest were sent for the winter into the country; because horses were of little or no use at that season in Quebec.

          The cold was so great in the open country that they could not explain it by the thermometer or their own feelings.  It was difficult to express it in language – a man must feel it in his nose, at the ends of his fingers, and in his amputated toes, to obtain a correct notion of it.

          It was true, as they were told, that General Montgomery attacked Quebec in the dead of winter, but it did not follow that General Grant could do the same if he had time and opportunity.  There was a great difference

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

between a small body of men travelling through the woods, where they are protected from the cold winds, and an army moving through an open and desolate country.

          Then, also, there was the difficulty in moving ammunition and provisions for the supply of a large force.  It was utterly impossible for an army to carry on war in Lower Canada during the winter.

          A noble Lord had spoken of the facility of approaching Quebec by railways, using the plural number.  There was only one railway, which was on the other side of the river, and which for five or six days at a time during winter was lost out of sight, so that they had to dig it out of the snow.  And such were the means of transportation for the army that was to capture Quebec.

          When the debate first opened he felt anxious lest something should be said which might give offence to the colonists.  The Canadians had done all that they could do, and more than they could have been expected to do.  They had always the assurance of protection from this great country, and that they would be defended by our soldiers and fleet whatever attack was made upon their country.

          If they had relied on that army and navy more than they ought to have done, it was a reasonable error; but they had seen their error now, and had shown that it was their wish to do their part; and when they were ready to do so it would be disgraceful now, if there should be in the public mind an idea that the Canadians must defend themselves against the Americans.  That could not be done with honour – it had been always held out that an attack on Canada was war with England.

          But if it was inconvenient to have this alliance with Canada, it would be better to tell the people of Canada at once that we must separate.  The Canadians were a very noble people, and as long as the Americans behaved honestly and acted properly towards them, they would be likely to display a reciprocal good feeling.

          The people of Canada were, moreover, perfectly loyal and very much attached to this country; indeed, he did not think that in Canada a disloyal man of any sect, or creed, or colour was to be found.

          New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, he was sorry to say, did not deserve the same praise to the part they had acted in the matter of the Confederation, and he hoped the Secretary for the Colonies would show that he was aware that such was the case.  It was not easy to coerce them, but he trusted the right

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

hon. Gentleman would let them understand how matters stood.

          Those two colonies were equally anxious for British connection, but when some years ago responsible government was granted to them it was unaccompanied by any definition to preclude the possibility of everybody putting upon it his own meaning.  By some, therefore, it was construed in the most extensive and enlarged sense as operating to cut off all British influence, and to make the colonies completely independent, and thus it was that they came to be cursed with demagogues who made use of all sorts of arguments in support of their views, and who, being possessed of a good deal of talent and very little property, appealed to the prejudices and passions of the people and led them astray.

          They would only see in Confederation, a diminution of their own little personal influence – they duped the people by playing upon their loyal feelings – they told them to beware of Canada, if it was once in rebellion and would entangle them if they could, and that they would be swamped in the immensity of that country.

          But to advert more particularly to the fortresses which were about to be erected, it was contended that when constructed there would not be a sufficient number of soldiers to man them.  Colonial history, however, appeared to furnish a very different lesson.

          General Braddock, for instance, had led a very fine army into the interior of the country, and it was routed by a few French and Indians.

          General Burgoyne surrendered his whole army to a common farmer who had raised the population, and deprived him of supplies; while Lord Cornwallis met with a similar reverse.

          That being so, it was clear that troops disciplined after the model of European forces were not absolutely necessary for the defence of the colonies.  Soldiers extemporized for the occasion, provided they were properly officered, would serve the purpose very well.

          There were in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, as well as in Canada, half-pay officers and sergeants who would assist the militia officers in giving full instruction to the militia.

          They could not select a battle field like Waterloo.  The country was broken up, partly wood and partly lake, and this would enable the militia to be equal to the occasion.

          In the former war which the Americans declared at a time when Napoleon was marching upon Moscow, and they supposed that he was about to conquer the world, there were only two

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

English regiments in Canada, and yet the militia and these two regiments repulsed every attack on their country and conquered the state of Maine as far as Kenebec, and a portion of the country bordering on the Lake.

          It was, however, desirable that there should be a small force of British troops to give the colonists confidence and steadiness; and he had no doubt they would then be found equal to the occasion.

          He would only add that he should have great pleasure in voting in favour of the proposed scheme, and that he was glad the debate had not taken such a turn as to render it necessary that he should say a single unpleasant word with regard to the Americans, for whom he confessed he had no great predilection.  He did not like their democratic institutions, nor the ungodly and unchristian way in which they carried on the war in which they were at present engaged, nor their utter disregard of all International Law.


          MR. SHAW LEFEVRE  said, he objected to this Vote, also to the Votes for the fortifications of Halifax and Bermuda, because they inaugurated a new policy of rival armaments, fleets, and armies, in reference to America, such as that which had so long been the curse of Europe; and to avoid this it would be wiser, in his opinion, to wait till the end of the war, in the expectation that when it is over the American Government will be anxious to disband their troops and to revert to that happy state of freedom from armaments which was its condition before the war; and his belief was, that there was no difference between us and the United States which might not be settled by means of amicable arrangement, or, if necessary, by resort to arbitration.

          He would not deal with the strategic difficulties in defending Canada, which had been so well urged by the hon. Member for Calne.  There were, in his opinion, political reasons which rendered it far better for Canada as well as ourselves that we should not commence the proposed fortifications with the intention of maintaining in that colony a large force of British troops.

          There were two ways in which war might break out with the United States, it might originate in consequence of difficulties with Canada, or, on the other hand, with England; and it appeared to him that the one country ought to be in a position to repudiate, if it should deem right, the policy pursued by the other.  Because, though England and Canada were one country in the sense that

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

they were under the same Crown, having separate Legislatures independent of one another, they might pursue different policies.

          Let him suppose that the cause of war had its origin with us – ought not Canada to be able to say, "We have nothing to do with the matter; it arises out of no policy of ours?"  as, for instance, in the case of the Trent, to which the right hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite (General Peel) had referred.

          So, also, in the case of the steam rams, which, if they had left our shores, it is well known would have caused war between this country and the United States.  The Canadians were never consulted upon the policy which should be pursued in that case; and, therefore, they ought to have been in a position to have repudiated all responsibility for it, and, if necessary, to have declined to participate in any war with America to which it must have led.

          Let them take the converse case – suppose a war had arisen out of the St. Alban's raid, a matter over which our Legislature and Government had practically no control, but in which we might have been involved.  Now the general opinion was, he believed, that up to a certain time the Canadian Government were somewhat remiss in taking measures to secure the performance of their obligations as neutrals; but that after they had seen the danger of their position, they had most honourably done all that could be expected of them.  Supposing, however, that the Canadian Legislature had not in time taken steps to prevent the recurrence of such an event, and that war had resulted, our Government would justly have been entitled to refuse to engage in any war with America which might thus have been produced.  But our troops being there, if the Americans had attacked Canada, we might have been involved in war before either our Government or Parliament had had any opportunity of discussing the question.

          In both aspects, therefore, it was a matter of extreme importance that Canada should be in such a position that either her Government or our own Government could assume a neutral position in the event of a war occurring with America.  What had happened during the last three years might happen again; he did not, however, anticipate the occurrence of difficulties which could not be settled by arbitration, and if difficulties should arise it would, in his opinion, be a great crime on the part of this country if it did not take every means to prevent their leading

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

to hostilities.  No doubt, many things had been done in both countries during the last four years which he might wish undone; but he did not think that anything had occurred on either side which was likely to lead to war.

          On the contrary, he believed that, looking at her conduct as a whole, this country had, in maintaining her neutrality, assumed a noble attitude, for which, at the conclusion of the war, he hoped that she would obtain full credit; and he regretted the commencement of this new system of armaments and forts in Canada, because he was convinced that it would not conduce to the permanence of friendly feelings between ourselves and the Americans.


          LORD ROBERT MONTAGU  said, that the hon. Member who had spoken from his side of the House (Mr. Haliburton) had laughed to scorn the notion that the United States would go to war with this country.

          That statement, however, he could not but class with a good many of the American prophecies which had from time to time fallen from hon. Members in that House.  They had for instance heard it confidently stated before now that the Americans were so enamoured of liberty, that nothing would compel them to resign their privileges and freedom; yet their President at this moment was invested with the authority of a quasi-despot.  He suspended the habeas corpus when he pleased, he seized and imprisoned men without hope of trial or manumission.

          Similarly it had frequently been urged that their taxes were few, that their expenditure was small, and would never increase; and yet they were at the present moment overburdened with taxation, and groaning under loans which far exceeded ours.

          It had been urged, too, that they were a people loving peace, who would always support but a small standing army; yet now their army exceeded our own in number, and it was the very strength and magnitude of their army which occasioned our present perplexity and anxiety.

          These predictions had all been falsified.  The noble Lord the Member for Wick (Viscount Bury) said that the United States would not go to war with us as long as they had another war on their hands.  That their strength was now exhausted, their energies overtaxed, so that there was little fear of their undertaking new hostilities.  If we waited until the present war between the North and South was terminated, we should have to tarry long enough.

          A fight will never cease where nations are

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

the bottle-holders.  It is our interest, and the interest of other peoples, that the war should continue till both combatants are exhausted.

          Yet grant the noble Lord's proposition; in that case what would become of the arguments employed by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Calne (Mr. Lowe)?  The right hon. Gentleman said that the United States was so strong in the neighbourhood of Canada that we could not expect to resist them in that country, and that we must therefore conquer them by creating a diversion elsewhere.  The right hon. Gentleman contended that the defence of Canada could only be carried on by the bombardment of some town upon the American coast.  Yet what bombardment of single towns could make a diversion as strong as the diversion which the Southern States are now making?

          The hon. Member for Lichfield (Major Anson) had said that our colonies ought to be left to defend themselves.  That system of policy was the one pursued by us until the great French war; during that war it was found necessary to take the defence of the colonies upon our own shoulders, and to guarantee them against the attacks of our enemies.

          It appeared to him that that was the very thing which the Government now proposed to do, they were preparing to make our North American colonies defend themselves.  We could not leave Canada to ward off attacks of the United States until it had an army, and was ready to receive the enemy, by having their soldiers strongly entrenched on important points.  It had been said that the army of the United States consisted more or less of raw levies, and that they only required good officers to command them.  But was it right for us to leave the drafting of officers and Serjeants until the time when the Canadians ought to be fully drilled and in the field?

          The plan of the Government was to construct fortifications at certain vital points in order that our troops might be sheltered in case of a defeat in the field.  But still more with an eye to the succeeding peace.  If the whole country were overrun and annexed by the United States it would never be ceded to us again.  If we still held Quebec and Montreal we could claim the whole country at the cessation of hostilities.  He could see nothing in the arguments which had been advanced that evening which should induce us to refuse the paltry £50,000 which was asked for.

          The hon. Member for West Norfolk

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

(Mr. Bentinck) had urged as an alternative that we should defend Canada by means of a maritime war.  He had said truly that our strength was at sea; that we were not a military but a naval Power.  But in what does a naval war consist?

          There were three modes of carrying on a maritime war – by bombardment, by blockade, and by right of search.  The noble Lord the Under Secretary of State for War (the Marquess of Harrington) (sic) had said, that it was quite ridiculous to attempt to bombard the American towns, because they had been so strongly fortified.  They were each like a Sebastopol, against which it had proved so useless to knock our heads.

          But it was said, "We now have big guns, which we had not then."  True, but the Americans have big guns too; the balance is the same.

          A bombardment would certainly require the services of iron-clads, and of this description of vessel we only possessed thirteen.  The American navy during the bombardment would remain safe in harbour, and would come out when all was over, and would then easily make a prey of our crippled ships.  If, on the other hand, their ships did not remain in harbour, what was to prevent them, in the absence of our iron-clads, from ravaging the Clyde or the Severn, or from bombarding Dublin, which was without any defence whatever?  and it must be remembered that our wooden ships would not be able to contend with iron-clads.

          The second mode of carrying on a naval war was by means of blockade.  This consisted in interdicting the trade with neutrals.  It was directed against neutrals and not against enemies.  The ships of enemies were captured anywhere without a blockade.  The object of a blockade was to prevent neutrals from entering the ports of our enemies, and conveying to them supplies of any kind.  Such a course, however, would bring a Lancashire distress upon every country of Europe which had commercial relations with America, and would not be resorted to unless found to be absolutely necessary, for Ministers would fear to lose friends in crushing an enemy.

          Then as to the right of search.  He did not know what the hon. Member for Birmingham would say to the adoption of that mode of carrying on warfare; the hon. Member for Rochdale and his friends had lifted up their voices against such a course.  The object sought to be attained by the right of search, was to make an enemy submit by crippling his commerce, by seizing his

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

merchandize, goods, and men wherever they could be found.

          But by adopting this course they must abjure the Declaration of Paris of 1856. They must deny that a neutral flag covers enemies' goods, otherwise a small nation, such as Schles-wig-Holstein, might lend its flag to the enemy.  Unless they seized the goods of the enemy wherever they could be found, they could never hope to crush his commerce, and thus reduce him to submission.  But if they seized upon all within reach they would have plenty of prize-money to attract men into the service, and privateers without end would soon be afloat.

          The United States would obtain our things by invading Canada, we must seize their things on the high seas.  They had, therefore, only the option of defending the points in the manner proposed by the Government, or of resorting to a maritime warfare which had been denounced by the hon. Member for Birmingham and his Friends.  He should therefore feel himself bound to support the Vote.


          MR. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE  said, that he rose for the purpose of calling attention to the political theory as to the relations of the mother country to the colonies propounded by the hon. and learned Member for Reading (Mr. Shaw Lefevre).

          On one point he thoroughly agreed with the hon. and learned Member.  The point to which he referred was often passed over by Gentlemen in the course of these discussions, and was naturally, perhaps, much better appreciated in the colonies than it was in the mother country – it was that Canada was likely to be involved in a war over which she had no control, and in which, if there were any blame, she was blameless.  She would, in fact, be involved in a war simply on account of her connection with this Empire.

          The hon. and learned Gentleman said that in the case of a war he would like to see Canada in the position of a neutral, and that he should be glad if she could escape the horrors of a war.  His (Mr. Chichester Fortescue's) answer was that such a state of things implied independence, and that Canada herself did not desire to separate from us.

          But it was not enough for us to wish Canada to be neutral in case of a war with the United States – the question was, whether the United States would permit her neutrality?  It was not likely that they would give us such an advantage; and he thought, therefore, that the hon. Member's theory was likely to

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

remain a theory.

          He would now call the attention of the Committee to the real question at issue.  It appeared to him that, under all the differences of opinion expressed, there was a large amount of agreement in essential points.  Nearly all the hon. Members who had taken part in the debate agreed that it was the duty of this country to contribute more or less aid to Canada with a view of enabling that country to maintain that independent position towards all the world which, as a member of the British Empire, she so much appreciated, and which she desired to perpetuate.

          They were nearly all agreed that the main security of Canada consisted in the good sense and friendly feeling of the two great countries – Great Britain and the United States – upon whose relations the fate of Canada must depend.

          If, unfortunately, the present peaceful relations should ever cease, they were nearly all agreed that the main defence of Canada would lie in the fact that the power of the British Empire would be exerted not only in America but all over the world.

          The only question which remained was whether, over and above that great security, they should call upon Canada to make preparations to defend herself.  He took it for granted that the Committee would not say to the Canadians, after urging upon them for years to make exertions to provide for their own defence, that now they had taken steps in that direction this country could not help them either with money or with men, simply because Canada was utterly defenceless.

          Of his own personal knowledge he could state that for years past the Colonial Secretary had been continually urging the Canadians to provide means for their own defence.  As an instance, he might refer to a despatch written by the Duke of Newcastle in December, 1862, to the Governor General of Canada, in which that Minister, after admitting the force of an observation made by the Executive Council of Canada to the effect that the Imperial policy was most likely to be the cause of any war in which Canada would be concerned, reminded them that their interests were concerned in the maintenance of the power of Great Britain, and that while they relied upon the power of Great Britain to defend them, they must also in return exert themselves to assist the mother country in the struggle.

          After having addressed such exhortations to the Canadian people and Government, and which exhortations at last appeared to be producing

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

practical results, it would not be generous to turn round and say to them, "We cannot give you any aid for the construction of your fortifications, or for the disciplining of your troops, because you really are defenceless."

          What was the meaning of "defenceless?"  No one would dream of defending so large a frontier; but a country was not defenceless when it was possible to hold certain important and vital points which would enable the inhabitants to make the task of invasion a difficult and dangerous enterprise to any enemy.  If we succeeded in infusing a warlike spirit among the people and induced them with our assistance to put themselves into a respectable state of defence, we should have contributed greatly towards placing them beyond the risk of invasion.

          When it was said that the existence of these proposed fortifications and the continued presence in Canada of Imperial troops would prove a temptation and a defiance to an aggressive Power, he confessed that he could not understand that argument.  He could not comprehend why any fortifications at Montreal should be considered as a defiance to a, neighbouring Power of superior strength, nor why the presence of the Imperial troops should invite aggression.  It appeared to him that the temptation would be exactly in an opposite direction.  It might almost be taken as an axiom that if there was a country in which military spirit was low, threatened by another country in which there was a spirit of aggression, to proclaim the defencelessness of the first was to offer a temptation to the latter which it was not in human nature to resist.

          For those reasons it appeared to him that, upon the ground of common sense, if we recognized our duty to defend Canada against foreign invasion, we should take care to aid her defence so effectually as to make the task of an invader disagreeable, costly, and dangerous.

          But the immediate question before the Committee was not one of British troops in Canada, but of giving aid to the Canadians themselves to make fortifications.  Works of this kind were intended to form points at which the defending forces could be centralized, and to place the smaller force on something like an equality with a larger force invading the country.

          Quebec was the natural and proper place to select, as it was the gate of Canada – its entrance and its exit – and it seemed to point out the degree and manner in which Imperial aid could be best expended under the circumstances.

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

          But apart from this consideration, the Government recommended that assistance should be afforded to the Canadians to defend themselves, and this assistance the Government as well as the people of Canada themselves thought would be best rendered by fortifications.

          He hoped, therefore, that the Committee would not listen to arguments, however ingenious, which only meant that we should leave Canada helpless in the presence of any foe that might assail her; so that her very helplessness would invite the invasion which we all wished to avert.


          SIR FREDERIC SMITH  said, that he listened to no one in the House with greater pleasure on many subjects than the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Lowe) [who had risen at the same time], but as the question now before the Committee was of a military nature he must he pardoned for pressing his own right to address the House when called upon by the Speaker.

          He was glad the hon. Member for West Norfolk (Mr. Bentinck) had raised this debate, as the right issue had thereby been brought fairly before the public.  The noble Member for Wick (Viscount Bury) had given them in his exhaustive and most able address, an admirable description of the country, proposed to be fortified, and of the objects which those fortifications were to accomplish, from which it was impossible to draw any other conclusion than that the course proposed by the Government was the proper one to adopt.

          It had been contended that we ought not to defend Canada at all, but to leave her to the chances of war; but he did not think that the majority of that House or of this country would be of that opinion, and that night's Vote would show their confidence in the course which it was proposed to take.

          They had been told that they ought not to defend, and that they could not defend, Canada.  It was upon the latter point that he wished to address the Committee.  The Report of Colonel Jervois was clear and convincing on that point – more so, indeed, than the covering letter by which it was accompanied, and which had alone been presented to the House.

          What was proposed as to Quebec?  It was to be defended by exterior works, to be constructed on the principles of modern science, which would put it out of the power of an enemy to approach sufficiently near to bombard it without first capturing these works.  That was exactly what was wanted; and if the same thing was done at Montreal by the Canadians,

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

there would be two great points secured.

          He hoped these would be done simultaneously, and the other points westward might subsequently be done.

          If, then, they had Quebec and Montreal fortified on modern principles as proposed, and had a superior force of gunboats with other maritime defences on the St. Lawrence, he held that it would be impossible for an enemy to attack either of those places, and that an incursion to the eastward from Montreal supposing it eventually to be captured would be impracticable.

          But whatever was done should be done quickly, and if more than £50,000 could be expended this year, it would be well for the Government to introduce a supplemental Estimate.  Indeed, he should prefer their taking the whole sum this year, and completing the defences of Quebec as rapidly as possible under one contract.

          These fortifications would form depots, and within a short time the Canadians would make excellent soldiers, and with a small number of regulars there would probably be enough to defend the territory.  Within a very short time Volunteers made good soldiers; he said that advisedly.  If this country were invaded he would almost as soon be attached to an army of Volunteers as the regulars, as he had the highest opinion of their gallantry, discipline, and intelligence.

          When he remembered what had been done here in a short time with no immediate prospect of invasion he felt that it would be possible to do much more in Canada, which was certainly in greater danger.  They were already training officers, and in a short time they might have 70,000 or 80,000 men prepared to take the field in defence of their country.

          Suppose they required 12,000 men for the two fortresses, they would then have 60,000 or 70,000 in the field, fighting on their own territory and knowing every inch of the ground.  In the event of a war being declared the first thing the general in command would do would be to establish defensible posts, as it were, on all the great roads, by taking possession of houses, loopholing them, and so occupying them that an advancing force would find it difficult indeed to make progress.

          As to carrying on war on a large scale in the depth of winter it was simply impossible.  When the 43rd were sent up in the winter, the men could hardly hold their muskets, and were obliged to wrap them up in flannel and cloth.  A very small number of men and a few

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

guns would be quite enough to make roads over the ice impassable.  He hoped the Government would lose no time in pushing forward these works, but above all he recommended that they should prepare at once for the naval defence of the St. Lawrence.


          MR. LOWE  I have been so frequently alluded to in the course of this debate – although I have taken no part in it hitherto – that I trust the House will allow me to offer a few remarks in my own justification.

          I should be very sorry to be obliged to go over, however hastily, the ground I tried to cover the other night, but it is absolutely necessary that I should just restate the points I then took up.

          I have listened very attentively to the debate to-night, and, with the exception of the gallant officer who has just spoken, who boldly affirmed the proposition, not one of the hon. Members who have addressed you have expressed their belief that Canada can be defended.

          We have heard a good deal as to the honour, duty, and expediency, but nothing as to the possibility, of defending Canada.

          Now it is not a question of honour, duty, or interests, but of possibility, and it was upon the latter point I rested my argument on a former occasion, and it is upon the same point I feel bound to rest it still.

          The right hon. and gallant Member for Huntingdon (General Peel) told us that England was bound to defend Canada, the noble Lord the Member for Wick (Viscount Bury) said it would not be dignified, and another hon. Member that it would not be honourable to desert her, and the Under Secretary for the Colonies said it was our duty to defend her, but not one said it was possible to defend her.

          The real question which lies at the bottom of all this talk, which we must look manfully in the face, and which we must answer to our own minds and consciences – to God and to man – is, can we defend her?

          I have heard nothing to-night among the various arguments used by those hon. Gentlemen who have addressed you, and who are so competent to speak on the subject, to alter the impression I hold as to the impossibility of defending that country – except the statement of the hon. and gallant Gentleman who has just sat down, who has given us a most unqualified opinion that it can be defended.

          I will not put my own opinion against that of the hon. and gallant Gentleman on a military question; but I will refer him to a sentence of Lord Bacon, wherein he says –

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

"Authority is a bow, the arrow from which derives strength from the hand that draws it while argument is like a cross-bow, as powerful in the hands of a child as in those of a giant."

          I will not recapitulate the arguments I made use of the other night.  Indeed, a great many Members have shown that they recollect them very well, for upon the strength of those arguments the hon. Member for North Staffordshire has founded his surmise that I must be mad.

          I think, according to the present state of the law of lunacy, I am bound, from a due regard to my personal safety, to show him that I have at least lucid intervals.

          The hon. and learned Member for Launceston (Mr. Haliburton), than whom no greater authority can be quoted, has cited many historical incidents to prove that regular troops are of little value in that part of the world.  He has told us that General Braddock was defeated by a few untrained men, and that General Burgoyne was compelled to surrender at Saratoga to a farmer and his men.  I always thought a General Gates had something to do with it.

          But, with great submission, I do not think we can argue from those times to ours.  If the basis of the operations of the American Government were situated somewhere at Cape Horn, or if she had no regular trained veteran army, or even if she were in the condition she occupied four years ago, I, for one, would not despair of defending Canada against her.

          But we must look the matter fairly in the face.  We should have to defend her against what is probably the best, and is certainly the largest army in the world, the appointments and training of which are unexceptionable.  In fact, we should have to meet with 10,000, him that cometh against us with 20,000.

          It is no use talking about honour and dignity and that sort of thing – it is a question of possibility, and we must satisfy ourselves in the first place whether or not we can carry out our plans.  The hon. and learned Member for Launceston says there is only one railway to Quebec, that I believe is true – but there are four or five different railways touching on the St. Lawrence.

          There is a railway to Detroit only separated by a narrow strait; there is a railway to Clove-land and I believe one to Ogdensburgh, two to Niagara; so that the Americans, by means of the railways at their command, have the power of throwing any number of men on the southern bank of the St. Lawrence at any moment they please.

          That disposes of the difficulty of making marches

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

in winter, and of throwing a force on one point or another, with nothing but the St. Lawrence between them and Canada.

          Then, it is said, there is no precedent for making a campaign in winter, though how General Montgomery's precedent is got over I do not see, except that instead of sending his troops by railway he marched them through the woods and so kept them warm and comfortable.

          But there is another precedent.  In 1837 Canada rose in rebellion, and our troops and the Canadian militia turned out in the dead of that bitter and severe winter and put down the rebellion.

          Is not that a proof that such a thing as a winter campaign is possible – more especially if you can bring up your troops to the point you wish by railway?

          However, I will not weary the House by any recapitulation.  Suffice it to say that nothing I have heard convinces me that there cannot be a winter campaign, or that our troops have any chance of holding out any length of time behind these fortifications.

          Then it is said the Americans could not occupy Quebec without first taking Point Levi.  But what is to prevent them taking Point Levi, looking at the exploits they have performed and the works they have carried in the course of this war?  Is it to be supposed that we are capable of throwing up fortifications which will resist them more effectually?

          Without going over the matter again, I shall take the liberty of assuming that we cannot defend Canada effectually.

          Nothing can be more feeble than the arguments which have been used both by the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Hartington) and the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies.

          The noble Marquess says that if the people would only rise and assist us something might be done; and my right hon. Friend the Under Secretary says that Canada is defensible, only she could not be defended for any great period of time.

          If that be so, the whole basis of my argument rests on that admission; and what becomes of the rest of the argument?

          The hon. Gentleman says it is our duty to do what it may not be possible to do.  But it is a sound legal maxim, Nemo tenetur ad impossibile – if a man cannot do a thing it is not his duty to do it.  Duties are limited by possibilities.

          Once satisfy your mind that you cannot defend Canada in Canada, and the duty of defending Canada in Canada ceases.

          You cannot alter it by using fine words, you must go straight to the fact – we have no duty, no honour,

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

no dignity in pretending to do that which we cannot do.

          Then it is said we ought to encourage Canada?  Why should we encourage Canada?  If the people think it their duty and their interest to defend Canada, then it may be right in us to encourage them; but if not, why should we encourage them to rush on what would be their own ruin?

          It is said also that the Canadians are loyal, and that we are bound, therefore, to defend Canada. But that does not prove that because it is our duty to defend Canada that therefore we are bound to defend it in Canada.

          It is our duty to defend her wherever she can best be defended; if in Canada, then there; if not, then wherever elsewhere she can best be defended.

          Then an hon. Gentleman says that America has an impregnable front, that there is no point at which we could assault her.  That is as much as to say that because we cannot defend Canada at all, therefore we must defend her in Canada.

          I will state to the House frankly what I believe to be our duty.  We ought to deal frankly and honourably and truly with Canada, and lay before her the actual state of things.

          We ought to tell her plainly and straightforwardly that we do not apprehend that we have the means of resisting the present force which the Amecans could place on Canadian soil, but that we are willing to do anything we can do.

          As to giving her officers to train her men, and troops to serve as an example and model, it would be farthest from my wish that anything of that sort should be withheld, if she desires to defend herself, but though we have got 10,000 certificated schoolmasters to pay, I cannot understand why we should require 10,000 masters in Canada in red coats.  I should have thought a much smaller staff would have answered all the purpose.

          But mark how by arguing this question as it is put before us we lose sight of the better half of the considerations we ought to keep in view.  Nobody pretends to say that we are going to defend the valuable part of Canada – the Upper Province.  Upper Canada is a country with a rich and fertile soil, well cultivated, and crowned with all the gifts of nature.

          The Lower Province is a rugged and barren region with a Siberian climate, shut out, inaccessible, poor, and inhabited by a population by no means progressive, and it is upon the Lower Province that every shilling we are going to spend is to be spent.  But is the Upper Province, which we then abandon, less exposed? 

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

          Do not suppose that it is through Lower Canada that the Americans will march to Upper Canada – and what use, then, will your fortifications be for the defence of the Upper Province?

          Upper Canada is accessible to the Americans by Lake Ontario, by the Straits of Detroit, Lake Huron, and Georgian Bay; and, after all you do, you restrict your efforts to Lower Canada, but you do not pretend to defend the Upper Province in any way whatever.

          All you risk you risk for the sake of defending the Lower Province, and – if we strip the thing of its varnish and tell the truth – for the sake of securing a better retreat for your soldiers when they are driven from the field and cooped out in these fortifications.

          Now, what is our duty?  – for, although I have objected to what hon. Gentlemen have defined to be our duty, I freely admit that we have a duty in the matter.  Our duty to our troops is not without some far better and nobler end than to expose them to almost certain destruction.

          It is not our duty in this manner, and upon such shadowy grounds, to sport with the lives of 10,000 brave men.  If their country required the sacrifice, they might be willing to do for her all that Marcus Curtius or Decius ever did for Rome; but let us not call lightly on them for such a sacrifice.

          It is easy for us who sit at home at our ease to read of their struggles and to offer them up, in a spirit of magnanimity, to some phantom of national honour or to imaginary duty and dignity; but I say, that we owe it as a duty to those brave men, who may be willing to give us their best blood, not lightly to put them in peril, and not to sacrifice them in an enterprise which we know beforehand to be desperate.

          We have also a duty to perform to the people of this country.  The policy which I understand to be inaugurated to-night is what I call a fair-weather policy.  Hon. Gentlemen have expressed their opinions that, after all, America will not invade Canada.

          I have no ill-feeling to the Americans.  I received great kindness and hospitality from them when I was there, and I do not at all wish to put a bad construction on anything they may do or say.

          I do not believe that we shall see them invade Canada; but in a matter of this kind – a question of defence, we must act as if it were quite certain that they would.

          Now, this fair-weather policy of ours is one which will answer if America does not invade Canada.  If she does not invade Canada, nothing can be more glorious to

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

us, or more magnanimous.  We shall appear to our colonists as having taken them under our wing, and kept them in safety under the shadow of our protecting aegis – their loyalty to the Crown will not be impaired, and our prestige will not be impaired in any way.

          On the other hand, we shall have observed a dignified and slightly defiant tone to the Americans, and we shall have held out to all men the spectacle of a small country daring to beard the American giant with his nerves strung and hands all bloody from the fierce contest in which he has been engaged.

          But, on the other hand, suppose the weather does not turn out fair, suppose that the invasion does actually take place, suppose the Americans enter Canada – what course is left to us?  We may leave our men in America to perish or to be captured; or we may withdraw our troops.

          I know not which alternative this country would choose, in one there is safety without honour, in the other neither honour nor safety; but it is our duty beforehand to look at every contingency which may occur, and to be prepared for it.

          The way in which men run wrong in this world is by refusing to look at both sides of a question, and, therefore, being unprepared to meet reverses when they came upon them.  It is not our duty to adopt a policy which may answer in fair weather times, but will not bear the test of the slightest reverse.

          Our duty is perfectly clear.  We ought to represent these things to the Canadians with perfect fairness.  We ought, in my opinion, to tell Canada that we will defend her with all our strength; that we consider her interests bound up in ours, and that we will fight for her to the last, so long as she belongs to us; but that we see no chance of successfully defending her on her own ground.

          If she chooses British connection she must take it subject to this condition, that she will have to defend her own soil in case of invasion; that we will make diversions elsewhere, and defend her in what we think the most efficient way, and that if our arms are crowned with success, she shall be the first object of our consideration in making peace.

          We should also represent to her that it is perfectly open to her to establish herself as an independent Republic, and that if she thinks that will make her position safer and more tenable, we do not desire to drag her into any danger.

          It is our duty, too, to represent to her that, if after well-weighed consideration, she thinks

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

it more to her interest to join the great American Republic itself ["No, no!"] – it is the duty of Canada to deliberate for her own interests and her own happiness, and it is our duty to put before her the real relation of things, not as seen through the illusion of dignity and glory, and things of that sort, but as they really are; and to assure her that, whatever course she may take, she shall have in us a friend, a protector, and an ally up to the time of her departure.

          But I cannot think it is the best attitude for those who, with me, think that we cannot defend Canada in Canada to encourage her to believe that we will resist an invasion which we cannot resist – to stir her up, relying on our support, to incur dangers from which we cannot deliver her.

          It appears to me that there is mutual deception.  We expect Canada to defend herself, and Canada expects us to defend her.  That, I think, is likely to come to very little.

          In conclusion, I have only to say, that as for my vote on this question, I, for one, cannot take the responsibility of resisting the proposal of the Government.  I said so the other night, and I repeat it now.

          If it is thought that it will be an advantage for Canada to have those fortifications, the money is but a trifling sum, and I am willing to vote for it.  But I beg that my vote may not be misconstrued.  Though I am quite willing to vote this money and to vote any supplement that may be required to complete those fortifications, I do not consider myself pledged to the policy of maintaining any troops in Canada except such as may be wished for by the Canadians themselves to instruct them in the defence of Canada.


          MR. DISRAELI  Sir, I cannot say that I entirely and heartily approve of the form in which the Vote is presented to us and I particularly disapprove of the manner in which it is introduced to us by placing a despatch upon the table of a confidential character, from an individual employed by the Government, the general result of which has been alarm, perplexity, and confusion, not only in England, and which has attracted also a degree of attention that was not desirable or necessary to what was, I hold, the common duty of the Government.

          I know that there have been cases in which Reports of a confidential character from officers of the Government, have been laid upon the table of the House to prepare the public mind, and also that of Parliament, to consent to some large measure, or perhaps some considerable Vote of public

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

money, but generally, I think it is a course which the House ought not to sanction.

          In all legal questions in which the principles of International Law are concerned, Her Majesty's Government very wisely and very properly, when asked for the opinion of the Law Advisers of the Crown, always urge the prerogative they justly possess, and decline to produce them.

          Now, that rule is highly salutary, though it is sometimes disappointing and annoying to the House of Commons; but certainly I think that rule is one that ought to be peculiarly followed in the case of other advisers of the Crown, when their Reports refer to military questions relative to the defence of the Empire, and which naturally lead to the discussion of questions with reference to other Powers and Governments necessarily of a very delicate character.

          Yet, on the present occasion, Colonel Jervois's document has been thrown upon the table; and if it had not been, none of these discussions need to have taken place.  Parliament votes money on the responsibility of the Government, and not on Colonel Jervois's Report.

          And it is the duty of Her Majesty's Ministers, when they are supplied with information, to completely investigate the question, and ascertain the course that ought to be adopted, and then expound their policy, and not make an official paper of a confidential character the intimation of their conduct.

          But whatever objection I might have to the particular proposition of Her Majesty's Government as to its form or its amount, or the manner in which it has been introduced to the House, I have no hesitation as to the course which I ought to follow, which is to support Her Majesty's Government in this instance, because I feel persuaded that if there be any hesitation in the House now, it will discourage the conduct of the Canadians at a most critical moment of their history.

          I am perfectly willing to admit that no mere sentimental feeling would justify us in entering into a policy of which we disapprove and which may ultimately be disastrous to the country.  In that I entirely agree with the right hon. Gentleman who has just addressed us, but I cannot agree with the rest of his arguments.

          He says that no one has proved that Canada can be defended.  Well, but on the other hand no one has proved that Canada can be invaded.

          These are opinions which we must form as best we can, from our powers of thought and the series of facts before us,

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

and I am bound to say that having listened to the right hon. Gentleman with considerable attention, I am not inclined at all to admit that the balance of argument is on his side, that Canada cannot he defended.

          It is a matter of opinion, but this I observed in his argument – that it involves this fallacy, founded on this alternative – that if we unfortunately have war with America, it must be carried on either in Canada or in some other specific place.

          But I maintain that if we have war with America it will be carried on everywhere, in every place where we can carry it on, not in one but in both oceans, and wherever we can annoy and weaken our enemy.

          Then are we to admit as a sort of strategical corollary, the proposition of the right hon. Gentleman that we are to permit America to invade our provinces with the utmost facility, and therefore with the least cost of money, men, and material.

          I should have thought that common experience would teach us that the more difficult we make the invasion of Canada by the Americans, the greater the demand upon their resources, upon their soldiers, upon their treasure, upon their military material, so proportionately we should diminish the amount of their military power and their military material in every other point in which they could contend with us.

          It seems to me preposterous that the right hon. Gentleman should lay down this principle – that if we go to war with America we shall permit the Americans without any resistance to attain a considerable end when, if resistance were offered, although it might not be completely successful, that resistance must diminish the power of the enemy in those quarters where they are assailable.

          The right hon. Gentleman has argued this case in the same spirit as the case of the Peninsular war was argued by the Whig party fifty years ago, "It is useless to resist the power of Napoleon, because no one can stand against it."

          This assumption enterely pervaded the whole argument of the right hon. Gentleman, "The military power of America is the power of a great nation; you cannot resist it." Well, he counts the immense legions with whose exploits we are familiar.  He tells us that America has hundreds and hundreds of thousands of men in arms who are all veteran troops; that they are commanded – which no one denies – by some generals of signal ability and success; and how, he asks, are we to resist such a force in Canada?

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

          Well, if war were to take place with America to-morrow, there might be some foundation for the views of the right hon. Gentleman, but they are utterly inconsistent with his repeated declarations that he believes such a war will not take place to-morrow, that he does not think it imminent, that he does not even think it probable.

          Are we to understand from the right hon. Gentleman – a man of acuteness, of historical knowledge, and public experience – that he believes it will be the normal condition of the United States to maintain these armies like the host of Xerxes?  Are we to suppose that if peace is to be maintained for four or five years, America will still have at its command an army of 600,000 or 700,000 men?

          If that is his opinion, it is one in which I cannot share; and it appears to me to be utterly impossible for him to substantiate it.  I need only refer for a moment to the financial position of America, as it has been put very tersely by one hon. Member.  No doubt America has incurred an immense debt by her present struggle.  I will not attempt to investigate its real amount.  I will take it according to the official acknowledgment of the American Government, and according to that I should suppose that that debt, which is not to be calculated by its mere amount of money but by the rate of interest it carries, is not probably less weighty than our own.

          But, then, as has been said, is it the intention of America to keep faith with her public creditor?  I believe it is the intention of America to pay the public creditor.  I am of that opinion because sagacious people must feel that if they do not keep faith with the public creditor their future will be ruinous.

          If the United States do keep faith with the public creditor they will not keep up an army of 700,000 men, which they maintain this year by a loan of £120,000,000 sterling.

          And therefore, unless we go to war with America to-morrow, I am not aware that this innumerable host, which is always at the command of the right hon. Gentleman in his speeches on the part of the United States, would be at hand.

          Let us look a little at the position of Canada as to its means of defence.  I speak with diffidence on this subject.  An hon. Member said the other night that England had not a general – a statement which alarmed me immensely.  But the result of these debates on military affairs has shown such knowledge of military matters, that I trust if anything happens a general

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

will not be wanting for this country.

          I think it is pretty well admitted that the population of Canada could under ordinary circumstances bring when necessary 100,000 fighting men into the field.  Well, but the population of Canada is a very high-spirited population, and under extraordinary circumstances, it could do something more than bring 100,000 men into the field.  Some of the hon. Gentlemen who have spoken on this subject seem to have no idea of the creative inspiration of patriotism.  If their blood was up, it is more likely they would bring 200,000 men into the field.

          Now, supposing you had 200,000 fighting men, qualified from their habits and constitution to attain military excellence – supported by a series of strong places – I do not mean to give this as my opinion, for it would be absurd for me to do so; but we have it on the highest authority on these matters that a series of strong places supporting an army is equal to one-third of the whole force; so that you will in effect have 300,000 fighting men; and I say that 300,000 fighting men are a force, acting purely defensively, equal even to those hosts which the right hon. Gentleman has brought into the field.

          The right hon. Gentleman has settled the campaign, I admit, with the utmost facility.  If campaigns could be settled by chopping logic the right hon. Gentleman would be the greatest general that ever existed.

          I remember the Duke of Wellington once saying that there were very few men who could see the end of a campaign, and we know from our own knowledge of what has happened, how doubtful has been the issues of campaigns.  What in a great degree has made them so?  The resistance of fortresses, and the extraordinary character and conduct of individuals who, as we saw in the case of Sebastopol, have suddenly risen up and baffled the advance of conquering armies and thrown back the fate of war for a year or two.

          Such circumstances occur in a state of war, always admitted to be proverbially doubtful, and I cannot but believe that from the number of the population, their spirit, from what we know they can do, and what I think under the circumstances they would do – under circumstances of excitement – I cannot but believe that so long as their connection with England is maintained and that they are encouraged by the presence of the trained warriors of our country, the resistance of the Canadians would be very considerable, and that

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

the result would not be that which is foreseen by the right hon. Gentleman.

          The right hon. Gentleman maintains that it is impossible to defend the frontier of Canada.  Does he mean to say that for the future it is to be laid down as a principle that no extensive frontier is to be defended?

          If so he contradicts all the principles of modern military affairs, and confounds all the principles of policy which have regulated the boundaries of nations.  I am sure that he does not mean that.  But why should he oppose the present Resolution, because our disaster and disgrace, if we interfere in Canada, are inevitable?

          Why, after all, what is the present proposition of the Government?  We may find fault with its amount, with the manner in which it is introduced, with the mode in which it is proposed to dispose of it, but after all the proposition of the Government is to take some precaution that our troops should not be placed in a position from which they must retire with precipitation.  It is to secure them from that danger that the present proposition is made, and, therefore, if there be any serious conclusion to be drawn from the general views of the right hon. Gentleman it is this – that we ought to refrain from attempting to maintain the independence of Canada, and altogether renounce the public duties which devolve upon us.

          Now, I cannot agree with him that the assertion that England has a duty to fulfil in maintaining the independence of Canada ought to be treated as an idle or sentimental boast.

          The right hon. Gentleman looks forward to Canada becoming a republic.  I do not grudge Canada its independence.  I can anticipate that those who follow us may view that country independent and powerful, but I do not necessarily see that the form of its Government should be that of a republic.  The traditions of Canada are much opposed to such a form of Government, and the recent experience of Canada would not make it particularly enamoured of such a form of Government.

          What is the moment at which the right hon. Gentleman calls upon us practically to desert Canada?  It is at a moment when North America is in a state of revolution; when no one can foresee what may be the result of the vast changes and vicissitudes which have occurred during the last four years, and are still rapidly occurring – not confined to the United States – not confined to the Confederate States – but in English America itself, and most remarkably also in Mexico.

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

          We know that the British American Provinces contain the elements of a great nation.  They have now no inconsiderable population.  They have immense resources.  The right hon. Gentleman has described in happy language, picturesque and true, the condition of the Upper Provinces of Canada.

          These provinces and the lands contiguous to them contain the means of sustaining not only millions but tens of millions of population, and why are we to doom Canada to the fate of being absorbed in the United States or becoming a mere dependency on some American republic?

          Canada, I believe, has its future.  We have a right to assume this, for it has all the elements which make a nation.  It has at this moment a strong development of nationality; it is influenced by feelings which we ought to sanction, and it is for us now cordially to consider the mere proposition of the Government.

          Not to consider now whether it is ample enough, or whether it has been introduced to us in the happiest manner; but whether it is not on the part of the Government an appeal to the Parliament of England; whether they will shrink from the connection with Canada and the North American Provinces which at present exists; whether they do not believe it a point of honour to maintain it, and that even in our interest we should do so.

          Unaided by us, those provinces probably have the means of establishing their independence of any foreign foe, and if ultimately they can become an independent country we shall not find in such a circumstance a source of mortification, but rather a cause of pride.


          MR. CARDWELL  Sir, this debate has happily been characterized by the same spirit which characterized the former debate on this subject.

          It may be referred to without the smallest apprehension of exciting any feeling of hostility between us and that great country on the other side of the Atlantic, with whom we are united by so many and by such close ties of intimacy; and I should not have referred at all to this part of the question at the close of the debate if it had not been for the remarks that were made and the inquiries addressed to me by the hon. Member for Stockport (Mr. Watkin).

          My hon. Friend asked me whether I could repeat the assurances that our relations with the United States were perfectly friendly, and whether I could give him any information with respect to the Reciprocity Treaty, with respect to the maintenance of steamers on

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

the Lakes of Upper Canada, and with reference also to the question of passports in America.

          I am happy to say that it is my good fortune to be able to give my hon. Friend and the House information that will be agreeable to them on these subjects.  Since I came into the House I have received a despatch from my noble Friend the Governor General of Canada – a despatch which confirms the agreeable reports that had already reached us through the ordinary channels of information.  He informs me that he has received a telegraphic message from Mr. Burnley, at Washington, to this effect, "The Secretary of State informs me that his Government intends to withdraw the notice for the abrogation of the Treaty of 1817, and that the passport system will cease immediately."

          Sir, I refer to that announcement with feelings of the greatest pleasure; and I now trust we may proceed to discuss the important practical question before us in no spirit of panic, but in the just spirit which becomes the consideration of what is due to the honour and interest of this country which has dictated the proposal, and which has characterized the manner in which the proposal has been received by the House.

          Because we are on friendly terms with other Governments – because we hope and believe that the friendly spirit which animates us is reciprocated by them, and because we are confident that these two mighty peoples, of one blood, and one origin, and one language, are united together by every tie which should for ever forbid the possibility of bloodshed between them – these considerations do not render it the less necessary that we should, in a just and temperate spirit, consider the nature of our own defences, and the protection of our own territory, and the defence of our own troops; and that you should lay down the principle that for your safety and defence you are dependent on no other consideration than the great power and assertion of that power on the part of our own country.

          My right hon. Friend the Member for Calne (Mr. Lowe) has said that in this debate no one had ventured to assert the contrary of the proposition which he laid down, and maintain that Canada could be defended.

          I should have rather said, after listening attentively to every word of the debate, that until my right hon. Friend rose to address the House all the discussion was on one side, and there was nothing for those who support the Vote to reply to, that the whole argument was in favour of

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

the proposal, and that no one had impugned or contested it except my right hon. Friend.

          What is the proposal that we make?  The right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down (Mr. Disraeli) objects to the mode in which the proposal has been made.  He says that a document written by a distinguished officer for the information of the Government, ought not to have been produced to the House.

          It would be a very convenient doctrine for a Government, no doubt, if they could propose Resolutions, as the right hon. Gentleman wished, merely upon the sanction of their own authority, without producing the reasons on which their proposal was founded.

          But the right hon. Gentleman should remember the peculiar circumstances of this case – that these proposals are addressed not only to this country, but conjointly to this country and to Canada.  That distinguished officer, whose paper had been laid on the table, was sent out last autumn by Her Majesty's Government to Canada to confer with the Canadian Government, and the result of his mission is that these proposals are made to this country and to Canada.

          I think it due to the House of Commons, to the people at large, and to the people of Canada, that there should be some record of the result of that mission, and that the grounds of the proposal emanating from that mission should be presented to the House.

          The right hon. Member for Calne has drawn, with his usual ability and power, a distinction between those arguments that rest upon authority and those that rest solely upon argument and logic.  I think my right hon. Friend will find that argument and logic are sometimes deceptive weapons, which run into the hands of those who use them, and lead masters of argument and logic to conclusions that are not sound, and are not warranted by the results; and I think the House feels that whilst my right hon. Friend has advanced his propositions with great power, and sustained them with great power of argument and logic, he has not carried with him the confidence and support of his audience, and will not even be admired by the community at large.

          The defence of Canada is a matter which has always been considered must rest partly on the mother country, but mainly and principally on Canada herself.  We accordingly addressed to Canada the advice which we thought it was wise and expedient for her to adopt, and we are prepared, now that she has entered upon the adoption of that advice in a cordial

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

and energetic spirit, to do our just part in sustaining her defence.

          The right hon. Gentleman says it is impossible to defend Upper Canada, and that therefore we need not attempt to defend that part of Canada by fortifying and holding Montreal and Quebec and the river between them; and he has given us an opinion – but he has given us no authority and no ground for that opinion.  He has, indeed, based it on his own view of the campaign of 1776.

          If he looks to the historians who describe that campaign he will find that it was a campaign of unexampled suffering.  In the march Arnold's troops were driven by famine to feed on dogs; and when they came before Quebec they were compelled to attempt an escalade because the season would not permit them to resort to the ordinary measures of a siege.

          The result was the destruction of a large portion of the force under General Montgomery, who was killed, and General Arnold, who succeeded to the command, after sustaining the siege for a considerable time with exemplary fortitude, was obliged to retire, leaving his artillery, arms, and baggage behind him.

          My right hon. Friend quotes that as a proof that you can successfully carry on a winter campaign, and he says so in defiance of all our military authorities, our military critics here and in America, of the present day.

          In papers recently laid on the table of the American Congress their officers say the successful defence of Canada in former campaigns, when the French possessed Canada and we were the assailants, was due not to the superior courage of the French troops, but to the superiority of their fortifications.

          And when we are told we cannot defend Upper Canada, I find that one of the most distinguished officers of the American army, quoted in those papers, speaks rather contemptuously of the opinion of civilians which had been given in America; and he says that it may be possible to come down from Upper Canada to the attack of Montreal and Quebec; but that attempt will never be made if there be firmness in their councils to resist impressions from without, and to pursue the proper military course.

          He speaks of Montreal and Quebec as the centre and heart of the country, and it is on the means of their defence that the fate of the country will be decided.

          My right hon. Friend will find that these authorities do not speak of Montreal and Quebec as posts that cannot be defended; but say that an attack on them would be a

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

most difficult and dangerous undertaking, more especially with respect to Quebec; when, they say, they would have to meet the army and the navy of the mother country, and all the resources which can be thrown in for the assistance of the Canadians.

          I think I may appeal from the reading of history by civilians to the great military authorities of our own country, supported by the great military authorities of America.

          As to the plan now before the House – three years ago it was not possible to come before this House and ask for a large sum of money to be contributed from the Imperial Exchequer for the defence of Canada, for Canada was then making no exertions for her own defence.

          But now, what is the position?  She has already trained a large number of officers to take the first and most important step, the command of her militia.

          She is largely increasing the number of military schools, with a view to train a much larger number of officers; she has got her Volunteers engaged, as my right hon. Friend so well said, in actual service at the present time, respected and receiving the tribute of high praise from their inspecting officers, acquiring popularity, and inspiring a military spirit amongst the people around them; she has prepared a militia 80,000 strong, and she has applied for an officer from this country as Adjutant General to train that force on the best and most approved system.

          You have, therefore, the beginning of a large local force to fill the fortifications and to defend the country.  It appears to me that the proposal is in itself a reasonable one, and that it is brought forward at the proper time, because Canada is, upon the opinion of all military authorities, capable of defence; the spirit and energy of her population will induce them to come forward for the purpose, and she is fairly and justly entitled in that spirit to the assistance of the mother country in the effort she is about to make.

          Under these circumstances, Sir, I am quite sure I only speak the unanimous feeling of the House when I say that at this time, and under these circumstances, every sentiment both of honour and interest, as well as the welfare of the whole British Empire, calls upon us to support the measure that is now before the Committee.


          MR. BRIGHT  Sir, I shall ask the attention of the House for a very few minutes.  If the hon. Member for Norfolk (Mr. Bentinck) should divide the House I shall go into the same lobby with him.

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

          I am afraid that in making that announcement I shall excite some little alarm in the mind of the hon. Gentleman.  I wish, therefore, to say, that I shall not go into the lobby with him agreeing in all the statements he made in his speech on this question a few nights ago.

          The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli) approached the military question, he said, with great diffidence – and I am very glad to see any signs of diffidence in that quarter.  But after that expression he asked the House, with a triumphant air, as if no one could contradict him, if there was any difficulty in defending a frontier of 1,000 or 1,500 miles, and if that were to be a new doctrine in warfare?  To have 1,000 or 1,500 miles of frontier to defend in the centre of your power is one thing; but to defend a frontier of 1,000 or 1,500 miles at a distance of 3,000 or 4,000 miles from the centre of your power is another thing.

          I venture to say there is not a man in this House, apart from the consideration of this Vote, or a sensible man out of it, who believes that this country could undertake the successful defence of Canada against the whole power of the United States, if we were to go to war with that country.

          I said the other night, that I hoped we should not talk folly and hereafter have – to be consistent – to act folly.  We know perfectly well that we are talking folly when we say that the Government of this country would be able to send either ships or men to make an effectual defence of Canada against the power of the United States, supposing war to break out.

          Understand I am not in the least a believer in the probability of war; but I would discuss the question for a moment, just as if I thought war was possible.  I suppose there are some men in this House who think it is probable; but if it be possible or if it be probable you have to look this difficulty in the face – there is no extrication from it but in the neutrality or in the independence of Canada.

          I agree with the Members of this House who say it is the duty of the Government of a great Empire to defend every portion of that Empire.  I agree to that general proposition, though hon. Gentlemen opposite, and some hon. Gentlemen on this side of the House, do not apply that rule to the United States.

          But I admit that rule; and admitting it, supposing that the catastrophe should happen, and we are on all points unprepared for it, may we not, as reasonable men, look ahead and try if it

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

be not possible to escape that catastrophe?  [An hon. MEMBER: To run away?]  No, not to run away.  But there are many circumstances in which a brave man may run away; and you may get into difficulties on the Canadian question that may make you look back and wish you had run away long ago.

          I object to the Vote on a ground which I believe I have not heard stated by any speaker in the present discussion.  I am not going to say that the expenditure of £50,000 is a matter of great consequence to this country, or that its expenditure is to be taken by the United States as a menace.  I do not think it can fairly be said that the building of fortifications, that may be useless or not, at Quebec, will enable this country to overrun the State of New York.  The United States, I think, will have no right to complain of this expenditure.  The most it can do will be to show them that some persons here, and perhaps the Government, have some little distrust of them, and so far it may be of some injury.

          I complain of the expenditure and of the policy announced by the right hon. Gentleman the Colonial Secretary, on grounds which I think should have been stated by the noble Lord the Member for Wick (Viscount Bury), who is a sort of half-Canadian.  He made a speech to-night which I listened to with great pleasure.  He told the House many things which some of us did not know.

          But if I were connected with Canada as he is, I would have addressed the House from a Canadian point of view – and that view has not been taken.  The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the city of Oxford (Mr. Cardwell) says, in reference to the expenditure on the proposed fortifications, that a portion of that expenditure is to be borne by this country, but the main portion is to be borne by Canada.

          I venture to tell him that if there be any occasion to defend Canada at all, it will not come from anything that Canada does, but from what England does; and therefore I protest altogether against the doctrine that the Cabinet in London may get into a difficulty, and ultimately into war, with the Cabinet at Washington, and because Canada lies adjacent to the United States, and may become the great battle-field, this United Kingdom has a right to call upon Canada for the main portion of that expenditure.

          Suppose you spend this £50,000 and the £150,000 that are supposed to follow, but which perhaps Parliament may be indisposed hereafter to grant – what is

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

the proportion that Canada is to bear?  If we are to spend £200,000 at Quebec, is Canada to spend £400,000 at Montreal?

          If Canada is to spend double what we spend, is it not obvious that every Canadian will begin to ask himself, what is the advantage to him of the connection between Canada and England?  Every Canadian knows very well – and no one better than the noble Lord who spoke from the Ministerial Bench – that there is no more prospect of a war between Canada and the United States alone than there is of a war between the Emperor of the French and the Isle of Man.

          If that be so, why should the Canadians be taxed beyond all reason, as the right hon. Gentleman the Colonial Secretary proposes to tax them, for a policy that is not Canadian, and for a calamity which, if it occurs, must arise from some transaction between England and the United States?

          There are Gentlemen here who have been a good deal in Canada.  I hear the voice of one behind me, who knows perfectly well what is the condition of the Canadian finances.

          We complain that Canada levies higher duties on English manufactures than the United States levied before the commencement of the present war, and much higher than France does now levy on our manufactures; but when we complain to the Canadians of this, and say it is very unpleasant usage from a part of our own Empire, the Canadians say – and for all you know quite justly – our expenditure is so much, our debt is so much, the interest upon it is so much, and we are obliged to levy those high duties.

          If Canadian finance is in this unfortunate position – and her credit is not very first-rate in this market – if she has these difficulties during a period of peace, what will be the difficulties of the Canadians if the doctrine of the Colonial Secretary be carried out – namely, that whatever expenditure is necessary for the defence of Canada, we must bear a portion, but that the main part must be borne by the people of Canada?

          It seems that the conclusion is inevitable that every Canadian will say, "We are here close alongside a great nation – our parent State is 3,000 miles away; there are litigious, even warlike people in both nations; they may get up between them the calamity of a great war; we here, a peaceable people having no foreign politics, may be involved not only in the war, but whilst the great cities of Great Britain are not touched by a single shell, or one

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

of her fields ravaged, there is not a city or village in Canada in which we live that may not be open to the ravages of war from our powerful neighbour."

          Englishmen generally have more common sense the further they go from their own country, and unless the Canadian is differently constituted, and has even less common sense than the Englishman at home, he will be driven to confess that if he is to live under the doctrine announced by the Secretary for the Colonies, he had better disentangle himself from the foreign politics of England and become the citizen of an independent State.

          I suspect from what has been stated by official Gentlemen in this Government and in previous Governments that there is no objection to the independence of Canada whenever the Canadians shall wish it.  I have been glad to hear this statement, because I think it marked an extraordinary progress in sound opinions in this country.

          I recollect the noble Lord at the head of the Foreign Office having been very angry in this House at the idea of making a great Empire less; but a great Empire may be lessened territorially, and yet the Empire itself may not be diminished in its power and authority in the world.

          And I believe that if Canada now, by a friendly separation from this country, became an independent State, choosing its own Government – if it liked a monarch, having a monarchy; if it liked republicanism, having a republic – it would be not less friendly to England than at this moment – that the tariff would be no more adverse to our manufactures than it is now; that, in case of a war between England and America, Canada would be a neutral country unscathed by the calamity of that war; and that the population of the country would enjoy greater security – one very great security being that there would be no risk of war – than they will find in the theory advocated by many Members of this House, and which the Government have adopted by recommencing a system of fortifications in that country.

          I object, therefore, to this Vote, not because it is throwing away £50,000 – though that would be a sufficient reason – and not because it causes some distrust, or might cause it, in the United States – though that, too, might be a very good reason – but I object mainly because I think we are commencing a policy which we shall either have to abandon because Canada will not submit to it, or which will bring upon Canada a burden in this

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

fortification expenditure which will make her more and more dissatisfied with this country, and which will lead rapidly to her separation from us.

          To that separation I do not in the least object; I believe that it would be better for us and better for them.  But I think of all the misfortunes that could happen between us and Canada this would be the greatest – that their separation should take place in a period of irritation and estrangement, and that we should have added on that Continent another element in some degree hostile to this country.

          I am sorry that the noble Lord at the head of the Government and his Colleagues have taken this course, but it appears to me wonderfully like almost everything the Government does.  It is a Government apparently of two parts – one is pulling one way, and the other is pulling the other way, and the result generally is something which does not please anybody, and which does not produce any good effect in any direction.

          They propose now a scheme which has just enough in it to create distrust and irritation – enough to make it in some degree injurious – and they do not propose enough to accomplish any of the objects for which, according to their own statement, the proposition is made.

          Somebody asked the other night whether the Administration was to rule, or the House of Commons.  I suspect from the course of the debate that on this occasion the Administration will be allowed to rule.

          We are accustomed to say that the Government does this upon its responsibility, therefore we will allow them to do it; but the fact is, the Government knows no more of the right of this question than any other dozen Gentlemen in this House.  They are not a bit more competent to form an opinion.  They throw it down on the table, and they ask us to discuss it and to vote it; and I should be happy to find that this House, disregarding all those intimations that war is likely, and anxious not to provoke Canada to an expenditure and burden which she will not bear – and which, if she will not bear, will throw the entire burden on us, by breaking off suddenly the connection between us and Canada, which would make the future relations between the two countries most unsatisfactory – would reject this Vote.

          I do not place any reliance on the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire.  Not because he cannot judge of the question just as well

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

as I can, or any of us can; but because I notice in matters of this kind that the Gentlemen on that Bench, whatever have been their animosities with the Gentlemen on the Bench on this side of the House on other questions, shake hands, and though they may tell us they have no connection with the House over the way – yet the fact is, their connection is most intimate; and if the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire were now sitting on the Bench on this side of the House, and the noble Viscount were sitting on the Bench on the other side, he would give the same support that he is now receiving from the right hon. Gentleman.

          It seems to me that the question is so plain, that there is so much on the surface appealing to our common sense, and that there are in it such great issues for the future, that I am persuaded that it is the duty of the House of Commons on this occasion to take the matter out of the hands of the executive Government, and determine with regard to the future policy of Canada, that we will not ourselves spend the money of the English taxpayers, and that we will not force upon Canada a burden which I am satisfied she will not long consent to bear.


          VISCOUNT PALMERSTON  Sir, I am sorry that we shall not have the vote of the hon. Member for Birmingham; but I thank him for the compliment which he has paid to the Government.  He says that the present proposal is a specimen of the usual conduct pursued by us – that is to say, we have made a proposal which I think the result will show is supported by the great majority of the House, and therefore I accept the compliment which he pays us – namely, that our usual and general course is so shaped as to receive their usual and general support.

          Sir, I should hope that the hon. Member for Norfolk (Mr. Bentinck) who has moved this Amendment might think, from the course which the debate has taken, that it would be well for him not to ask the House to come to a division upon it.  He himself, if I did not misunderstand him, did not maintain that we ought not to defend Canada, or deny that we are bound in honour and in interest to do so; all he wished us to do was to postpone the present Vote for further information or for some other inquiry which he desired should be made.

          But I think he will have noticed that, with only three exceptions or so, the Vote has met with the general approval of all who have participated in the discussion.

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

          My right hon. Friend behind me the Member for Calne (Mr. Lowe) has, indeed, taken that which, if I were not afraid of being accused of a play upon words, I should say was a very low ground.  He, I think, the hon. and gallant Gentleman beside him (Major Anson), and the hon. Member for Birmingham were the only speakers who seemed inclined to oppose the Vote; but I must correct myself even as to that, because my right hon. Friend said that, notwithstanding all his objections, he would vote for the Motion.

          But the general tone and line of argument were so much in favour of the Motion, that I think it would be very undesirable on this occasion that there should appear to be a difference of opinion in the House.  Sir, this is not a Canadian question – it is not a local question – it is an Imperial question.  It is a question which affects the position and character, the honour, the interests, and the duties of this great country; and I hold it to be of the utmost importance to the character of the nation in a case like this, and when the great majority of the House seem to be of the same opinion, that it should not go forth to the world that there has been a difference of opinion on this Motion; but that it should be seen to have been accepted by an unanimous House of Commons.

          Sir, there are one or two points raised in the course of this debate with regard to which I think it right to express my dissent from some doctrines which have been laid down.  Many Gentlemen have argued this question as if there was a general impression and belief that war with the United States was imminent, and that this proposal of ours was for the purpose of meeting a sudden danger which we apprehended to be hanging over us.

          Now, I think there is no danger of war with America.  Nothing that has recently passed indicates any hostile disposition on the part of the United States towards us; and, therefore, I do not base this Motion on the ground that we expect war to take place between this country and America.

          But is it necessary that when you propose to put a country in a state of defence you should show that war with some powerful neighbour is imminent and likely soon to take place?  Why, the whole practice of mankind is founded on an entirely different assumption.  Every country which is able to do so fortifies its frontier if its neighbour is a powerful State which might if it thought fit attack it.

          But it is said that you cannot defend Canada.

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

Now, I utterly deny that proposition.  I think that is assuming a conclusion which no man is entitled to assume.

          Does the example even of the war now going on tend to justify that conclusion?  The territory of the Confederates is vast and extensive.  Have they attempted to defend every portion of that territory?  No.  They have fortified certain important points, and those important points, although the rest of the country may have been overrun, have resisted attack – some of them even to this day, and others for three or four years of the contest.  Look at Richmond; is Richmond taken?  Has not Richmond been attacked for a great length of time?  And what are its defences?  Why, chiefly earthworks, with a force behind them; and, though that force is inferior in numbers to the force which threatens it, it has hitherto remained in Confederate hands.

          The mere occupation of territory by an army that traverses through it without reducing its fortresses is no conquest.  The conquest is limited to the ground that the invading army occupies; and when that army passes to another part of the country its conquest passes away with it.

          But all countries fortify particular points, and when those points are secure they trust that the general bulk of the territory is safe from any permanent occupation or conquest by any enemy who may attack it.

          It is urged that Canada has an extended frontier; but are no other States similarly placed in that respect?  What country has the largest frontier?  What is the extent of our own frontier?  Why, the whole coast of the United Kingdom; and we might as well say that it would be necessary for the security of this country that we should line our whole coast with defensive works, because we may he attacked at any point of that great and extensive frontier as that we should defend the whole frontier of Canada.

          I maintain, therefore, that there is nothing that has passed, nothing that is now passing between the Government of the United States and our Government, which justifies any man in saying that the relations between the two countries are likely, as far as present circumstances go, to assume a character of hostility leading to war.

          But, then, the hon. Member for Birmingham says that any danger which might threaten Canada and our North American provinces must arise from political disputes between England and the

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

United States.  And, therefore, the hon. Gentleman says, the Canadians will find that their best security is, not in fortifications or in British support, but in separating themselves from Great Britain, and becoming either a separate republic or some other kind of independent State.

          Now, in the first place, that happens not to be the wish or inclination of the Canadians.  The Canadians are most anxious to maintain the connection with this country.  They are proud of that connection; they think it for their interest; they are willing to make every exertion that their population and resources enable them to achieve, and, in conjunction with the efforts of this country, to preserve that connection and prevent themselves from being absorbed by a neighbouring Power.

          Is it not, therefore, alike the duty and interest of this country, for the sake of that reputation which is the power and strength of a nation, when we find the Canadas and our other provinces desirous of maintaining the connection, to do that which we may have the means of doing in assisting them to maintain that connection and remain united with Great Britain?

          But, Sir, is it true that the only danger which a smaller Colonial State runs from a more powerful and larger neighbour arises from quarrels that may exist between the mother country and the foreign State?  I say that is a total fallacy.  Suppose these provinces separated from this country – suppose them erected into a monarchy, a republic, or any other form of Government.  Are there no motives that might lead a stronger neighbour to pick a quarrel with that smaller State with a view to its annexation?  Is there nothing like territorial ambition pervading the policy of great military States?

          The example of the world should teach us that as far as the danger of invasion and annexation is concerned, that danger would be increased to Canada by a separation from Great Britain, and when she is deprived of the protection that the military power and resources of this country may afford.  If these American Provinces should desire to separate, we should not adopt the maxim that fell unconsciously from the hon. Member for Birmingham, who maintained that the North was right in supressing the rebellion of the South.  We will not adopt his maxim, and think that we have a right to suppress the rebellion of the North American Provinces.  We should take a different line, no doubt; and if these provinces felt themselves strong enough to stand upon their own ground,

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

and if they should desire no longer to maintain their connection with us, we should say "God speed you and give you the means to maintain yourselves as a nation!"

          That has not happened; but, on the contrary, they much dislike the notion of annexation to their neighbours, and cling to their connection with this country.  And I say that it will be disgraceful to this country – it would lower us in the eyes of the world; it would weaken our power and leave consequences injurious to our position among the nations of the world, if, while they desire to maintain their connection with us, we did not do what we could to assist them in maintaining their position.

          I think that the Government are perfectly right in proposing this Vote to the House.  We are of opinion that all those examples which my right hon. Friend behind me (Mr. Lowe) has adduced are not applicable.

          We all know that in winter the snow is so deep in Canada that if an army should march it could only be in one beaten track, and that it would be impossible to carry on siege operations in winter.

          We know that warlike operations must be limited to the summer months, and we think that we can, by the fortifications now proposed – some to be made by the Canadians and some by this country – put Canada into such a state of defence that, with the exertions of her own population, and assisted by the military force of this country, she will be able to defend herself from attack.

          My right hon. Friend the Member for Calne argued in a manner somewhat inconsistent with himself – for what did he say?  He says that you cannot defend Canada because the United States can bring a military force into the field much superior to that which you can oppose to them.  Yet the right hon. Gentleman says we ought to defend Canada.  You ought not to relinquish the connection, he says, but you should defend Canada elsewhere.  Where?  Why, as you are not able to cope with the United States in Canada, where you have a large army and where you can join your forces to those of the Canadians, you should send an expedition and attack the people of the United States in their own homes and in the centre of their own resources, where they can bring a larger force to repel our invasion.

          If we are unable to defend Canada we shall not have much better prospects of success if we land an army to attack New York or any other important city.  I really hope that the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Bentinck) will be sufficiently satisfied by proposing this Amendment, and that he will not think

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

it necessary to disturb, what I think I may call the unanimity of the House by insisting upon our going to a division.


          MR. BENTINCK  said, the noble Lord had correctly construed the statement with which he opened his remarks.  There was no man in that House more fully impressed than he was with the conviction that both the honour and interest of this country were bound up with the defence of Canada.

          The question between him and the Government was not as to the end but as to the means.  He still retained the opinion he originally expressed; but he had discovered during the debate that a large majority of the House were of a contrary opinion.

          He had also to thank the hon. Member for Birmingham for the perfect frankness with which he had let the cat out of the bag, and let him understand the position in which he was placed.

          He found, after the hon. Gentleman's speech, that if he proceeded to a division he would be placed in two positions, both of which he strongly deprecated.

          In the first place, he would be giving a vote which would be open to great misconstruction, because he would find himself in the lobby with a number of distinguished Members of the House giving the same vote, but having entirely different views on the subject.

          Another position was, that he would be obtaining the support of those Gentlemen under false pretences.  He deprecated both positions.  He must decline on that occasion to ask the Committee to go to a division, and if hon. Members on the other side of the House forced a division, in order to save himself from misconstruction he would take no part in that division.

          The hon. Member in conclusion, said, he would, with the leave of the House, withdraw his Amendment.


THE CHAIRMAN
Is it the pleasure of the House that the Motion of the hon. Member for West Norfolk be withdrawn?  (Cries of "No.no!"]


THE CHAIRMAN
then put the Question,

That the Item of £50,000, for the Improvement of Defences at Quebec, be omitted from the proposed Vote.

The Committee divided:
Ayes 40; Noes 275; Majority 235.

(List of Division on next page.)


Original Question again proposed.

House resumed.

Committee report Progress; to sit again To-morrow.

(Continued on next page)



There is a glitch in the
source website that disables
the link to access the original
source for page 176.  For that
reason, the link (below) to
access the source page
has been inactivated.


Page 176 does exist in the historical record
and the complete text is available in the
source website, but the link to get to it
does not work.  To view the original
source for page 176, you can go to
the original page 175 and scroll down.


 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

AYES.
Agar-Ellis, hn. L. G. F. Gurney, S.
Antrobus, E. Hadfleld, G.
Ayrton, A. S. Hibbert, J. T.
Aytoun, R. S. Lawson, W.
Baines, E. Leatham, E. A.
Barnes, T. Lysley, W. J.
Bazley, T. MacEvoy, E.
Black, A. Miller, W.
Blackburn, P. O'Conor Don, The
Bowyer, Sir G. Peto, Sir S. M.
Bright, J. Pilkington, J.
Clifton, Sir R. J. Potter, E.
Cogan, W. H. F. Seely, C.
Cox, W. Sheridan, R. B.
Crossley, Sir F. Smith, J. B.
Dalglish, R. Sturt, Lt.-Colonel N.
Ewing, H. E. Crum- Sykes, Colonel W. H.
Gilpin, C. Taylor, P. A.
Greene, J.  
Gregory, W. H. TELLERS.
Grenfell, H. R. White, J.
Greville, Colonel F. Lefevre, S.


NOES.
Adam, W. P. Childers, H. C. E.
Adderley, rt. hon. C. B. Clay, J.
Angerstein, W. Cobbold, J. C.
Anson, hon. Major Cochrane, A. D. R.W.B.
Anstruther, Sir R, Colebrooke, Sir T. E.
Astell, J. H. Collier, Sir R. P.
Bagwell, J. Corry, rt. hon. H. L.
Bailey, C. Courtenay, Lord
Baring, hon. A. H. Cowper, rt. hon. W. F.
Baring, rt. hn. Sir F. T. Craufurd, E. H. J.
Baring, T. Crawford, R. W.
Baring, T. G. Dawson, R. P.
Bateson, Sir T. Dering, Sir E. C.
Bathurst, A. A. Dickson, Colonel
Bathurst, Colonel H. Disraeli, rt. hon. B,
Beach, W. W. B. Duke, Sir J.
Beaumont, S. A. Dunbar, Sir W.
Beecroft, G. S. Dundas, F.
Bellew, R. M. Dunne, Colonel
Bentinck, G. C. Du Pre, C. G.
Beresford, D. W. P. Edwards, Colonel
Blencowe, J. G. Egerton, hon. A. F.
Bonham-Carter, J. Egerton, E. C.
Bovill, W. Egerton, hon. W.
Brady, J. Eleho, Lord
Bramley-Moore, J. Enfield, Viscount
Bramston, T. W. Ewart, W.
Bremridge, R. Ewart, J. C.
Bridges, Sir B. W. Fane, Colonel J.W.
Bromley, W. D. Farquhar, Sir M.
Browne, Lord J. T. Fellowes, E.
Bruce, Lord C. Fenwick, E. M.
Bruce, Lord E. Fenwick, H.
Bruce, Major C. Fergusson, Sir J.
Bruce, rt. hon. H. A. Ferrand, W.
Bruen, H. Finlay, A. S.
Buckley, General Fitzgerald, W. R. S.
Buller, Sir A. W. Fitzroy, Lord F. J.
Burghley, Lord Fleming, T. W.
Bury, Viscount Floyer, J.
Butler-Johnstone, H. A. Forde, Colonel
Calthorpe, hn.F. H. W. G. Forster, C.
Cardwell, rt. hon. E. Fortescue, hon. F. D.
Cargill, W. W. Fortescue, rt. hon. C.
Cartwright, Colonel Gallwey, Sir W. P.
Cecil, Lord R. Gard, R. S.
Chapman, J. Gavin, Major

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

George, J. Mills, J. R
Gibson, rt. hon. T. M. Mitchell, T. A.
Gilpin, Colonel Moffatt, G.
Gladstone, rt. hon. W. Moncrieff, rt. hon. J.
Glyn, G. G. Monsell, rt. hon. W.
Goldsmid, Sir F. H. Montagu, Lord R.
Gore, J. R. O. Montgomery, Sir G.
Goschen, G. J. Moor, H.
Greaves, E. Moore, C.
Greenall, G. Morris, W.
Grenfell, C. P. Mowbray, rt. hon. J. R.
Grey, rt. hon. Sir G. Naas, Lord
Gray, Lt.-Colonel Neate, C.
Griffith, C. D. Newdegate, C. N.
Grogan, Sir E. Noel, hon. G. J.
Gurdon, B. North, F.
Hamilton, Lord C. Northcote, Sir S. H.
Hamilton, Major Ogilvy, Sir J.
Hamilton, I. T. O'Loghlen, Sir C. M.
Hanbury, R. O'Neill, E.
Hankey, T. Packe, Colonel
Hardcastle, J. A. Paget, Lord C.
Hartington, Marquess of Pakington, rt. hn. Sir J.
Hartopp, E. B. Palk, Sir L.
Hervey, Lord A. H. C. Palmer, Sir R.
Headlam, rt. hon. T. E. Palmerston, Viscount
Henley, rt. hon. J. W. Parker, Major W.
Henley, Lord Patten, Colonel W.
Hennessy, J. P. Paull, H.
Hesketh, Sir T. G. Peacocke, G. M. W.
Holland, E. Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.
Holmesdale, Viscount Peel, rt. hon. Gen.
Horsfall, T. B. Peel, rt. hon. F.
Horsman, rt. hon. E. Pevensey, Viscount
Howard, hon. C. W. G. Ponsonby, hon. A.
Howes, E. Powell, F. S.
Humphery, W, H. Powys-Lybbe, P. L.
Hunt, G. W. Pritchard, J.
Ingham, R. Proby, Lord
Jackson, W. Pugh, D.
Jervis, Captain Quinn, P.
Johnstone, Sir J. Ramsden, Sir J. W.
Jolliffe, rt. hon. Sir W. G. H. Repton, G. W. J.
  Ridley, Sir M. W.
Jolliffe, H. H. Robartes, T. J. A.
Kekewich, S. T. Robertson, H.
Kendall, N. Rose, W. A.
Kinglake, A. W. Rothschild, Baron M. de
Kingscote, Colonel  
Knight, F. W. Russell, F. W.
Lacon, Sir E. Russell, Sir W.
Laird, J. Salomons, Mr. Ald.
Layard, A. H. Schneider, H. W.
Lefroy, A. Sclater-Booth, G.
Lennox, Lord G. G. Scott, Sir W.
Leslie, C. P. Scourfield, J. H.
Lewis, H. Selwyn, C. J.
Locke, J. Seymour, H. D.
Long, R. P. Shafto, R. D.
Lopes, Sir M. Shelley, Sir J. V.
Lowe, rt. hon. R. Sheridan, H. B.
Lyall, G. Smith, A. (Herts)
Mackie, J, Smith, A. (Truro)
Mackinnon, W. A. Smith, Sir F.
Maguire, J. F. Smith, M. T.
Malins, R. Smith, S. G.
Manners, rt. hn. Lord J. Stacpoole, W.
Marjoribanks, D. C. Staniland, M.
Marsh, M. H. Stanley, Lord
Martin, J. Steel, J.
Merry, J. Stracey, Sir H.
Miles, Sir W. Stewart, Sir M. R. S.
Miller, T. J. Stuart, Lt.-Colonel W.
S

(Continued on next page)



 

Pre-Confederation
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick,
Lower Canada, Upper Canada

Army Estimates
Defence of Canada

(Continued from previous page)

Surtees, H. E. Walsh, Sir J.
Taylor, Colonel Warner, E.
Thompson, H. S. Watkin, E. W.
Thynne, Lord H. Watkins, Colonel L.
Tollemache, hon. F. J. Watlington, J. W. P.
Torrens, R. Weguelin, T. M.
Tottenham, Lt.-Colonel C. G. Western, S.
  White, hon. L.
Tracy, hon. C. R. D. H. Wickham, H. W.
Turner, J. A. Williams, F. M.
Turner, C. Williamson, Sir H.
Vance, J. Winnington, Sir T. E.
Vandeleur, Colonel Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Vansittart, W. Wyld, J.
Verney, Sir H. Wyndham, hon. P.
Villiers, rt. hon. C. P. Wyvill, M.
Vyse, Colonel H. Yorke, J. R.
Walcott, Admiral  
Waldegrave- Leslie, hon. G. TELLERS.
  Brand, hon. H. B. W.
Walker, J. R. Knatchbull-Hugessen, E. H.
Walpole, rt. hon. S. H.  






Related Hansard Items

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 June 18
Anti-Confederation Petition from Nova Scotia
House of Lords, London   (305 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.

Source:—
http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1865/mar/23/supply-army-estimates



Links to Relevant Websites

The Debate: Confederation Rejected, 1864 - 1869 by Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage, Memorial University of Newfoundland. 
    http://www.heritage.nf.ca/law/debate.html

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...
    http://web.archive.org/web/20121003053756/http://www.pc.gc.ca/apprendre-learn/prof/itm2-crp-trc/htm/nlevis_e.asp



 

Note about
“User-Friendly”

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.

Paragraphing


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, both the numbers and the names were recorded.)

Reference:— Division vote by Wikipedia


Valid HTML 4.01 webpage

W3C HTML Validation Service
http://validator.w3.org/

Valid CSS webpage

W3C CSS Validation Service
http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/


This site can be viewed with any browser.


First uploaded to the WWW:   31 October 2009
Latest update:   23 June 2014