Imagini ale paginilor

Legislature, for regulating the financial importance, which he would not go into. affairs of the colony. With respect to the He was enabled, however, to state, that complaints of the petitioners, his hon. means had been taken to render the apfriend had admitted, that the judicial pointments to it more popular, and to system had been improved. The first gratify the people. He trusted these meaobject of every Government onght to be, sures would be sufficient, combined with the impartial administration of justice; other alterations which were in progress, and to obtain which, it was necessary to remedy the defects which he allowed that those who were to dispense it should existed in the present constitution of the be wholly independent of the executive Assemblies. If experience should prove power. Such an independence had been that these alterations were not sufficient, completely effected by the present Govern- there would be no serious indisposition on ment. An Act had passed the Colonial the part of Government to consider whether Legislature, at the recommendation of the the council ought not only to be increased noble Lord at the head of the Colonial in number, but that some modification of Department, by which a permanent salary the principle of its appointment should was established for the judicial officers, prevail. He trusted, this short explanaand their situations were made to depend tion would be satisfactory to the House wholly upon good behaviour, similar to and to his hon. friend, for he would declare, the Judges in this country, who were in conclusion, that the noble Lord at the wholly independent of the Crown. They head of the Colonial Department had were not to exercise any political authority distinctly recognized the principle, that whatever except the Chief Judge, who the local Legislatures of the Canadas were was to be a member of the Council, be- the best judges of the principles to be cause it was desirable to have a member adopted in the government of that country, competent to give legal opinions if that and of all matters connected with its inwas found necessary. With respect to ternal economy. the appropriation of the estate attached Mr. George Robinson said, the noble to the Jesuits' College, that estate bad Lord had dealt largely in profession, but never been diverted from its original pur- that was one of the serious complaints of poses of education, and, in future, it was the colonists, that the endeavours to reto be exclusively devoted to these pur- medy these grievances never went any poses, under the superintendence of the further. On nearly the last day of the local assembly. Passing by other matters Session, they began to discuss affairs of of detail which were in course of being vast importance to the colonies, when it remedied, he would beg to add a few was evident no useful amelioration of their words on the subject of waste lands, and condition could be expected. Since the the method by which they had hitherto report of the Committee of 1828, which been managed. He had no scruple in de contained a vast body of useful informclaring his opinion, that an improved sys- taion, little or nothing had been practem could be devised, but he must add, tically done for the improvement of the that the fault of this arrangement did Canadas. It was wholly impossible not wholly rest with the Government, for the local Legislature to touch many but was to be ascribed to the incorrect of the grievances. The clergy reserves, notions entertained as to the best manner for instance, were appropriated under an of disposing of this species of property. Act of Parliament, and therefore one of These incorrect notions were also shared the most crying evils could not be lessened by the local assemblies. So long as free by the local authorities, in the smallest grants of land were made, he believed it degree. With respect to the legislative to be impossible but that some abuses council, he very much doubted whether must exist, and the only effectual remedy the degree of popular feeling infused into was an improvement in the system of it in the manner prescribed by the noble making grants. The only other question Lord, would be sufficient to make it work with which he would trouble the House well. lle fully agreed with the hon. Genregarded the composition of the legislative tleman (Mr. Labonchere), that it was an bodies. He was free to admit, that the absurdiiy to attempt to adhere to the legislative council was not formed in the forms of the British Constitution in the most unexceptionable manner, but how it government of the Canadas. He did not was to be improved was a question of great 'mean to doubt the good intentions of the noble Lord at the head of the Colonial, which he undertook to censure the obDepartment, and of those connected with servations of his hon. friend. The hon. that department, but he should really be | Gentleman did not seem to be at all aware better satisfied if they professed less and that the colonial institutions in connexion did more.

with the Established Church in Lower Mr. James E. Gordon said, he felt Canada, weakened instead of supporting called upon to make a few observations that Church. The Roman Catholic was upon one subject, which the hon. Member the established religion of Lower Canada, who presented the petition introduced at and had always been so; and, therefore, the close of his speech. He understood, the only question was, whether the people that the hon. Gentleman recommended the should have the religion they liked best, establishment of a religious equality in the or be forced to adopt one that other perCanadas. If, by that sentiment, he meant sons considered betier for them. Headan equal freedom and protection in the mitted this case did not apply to Upper worship of the Almighty to all sects and Canada. But the hon. member for Dunparties, he fully agreed with him; but if dalk had equally misinterpreted or misunhe meant the equal support of all sects, he derstood the sentiments of his hon. friend protested against such a doctrine. He with regard to the Established Church in could by no means understand on what this country. His hon. friend had never principle a Protestant State should equal- meant, and certainly did not say, that, ize religion on such terms in its colonies. because the Established Church was the If any hon. Gentleman considered that the religion of the majority of the people, that Church of England should be discon- was the cause of his attachment to it. All nected from the State, let him bring for- he meant to say was, that such a case ward a proposition to accomplish his pur- formed a strong ground for the Legislature pose, and he for one would be ready to to support it,

--a reason which was wholly meet him ; but while the Church establish- inapplicable to the state of things in ment was part and parcel of the law of Canada, where the great majority of the the land, he could not comprehend upon people professed a different religion. what principle hon. Gentlemen indulged Petition read. themselves in talking of the equalization Mr. Labouchere moved, that it should of religion. The hon. Member said, he be printed ; and, in doing so, begged supported the Church of England in this leave to observe, that he regretted he country simply because it was the religion should have been misunderstood. He was of the great majority of the people, with as firmly attached to the doctrine and out, as it appeared, caring for the truth or discipline of the Church of England as principle of it. From such latitudinarian the hon, member for Dundalk. He beopinions he entirely dissented. He sup- lieved that Church was a blessing, and ported the Church because he approved of not a burthen, to the country; but its doctrines, and thought it an important he also believed, that the Church was part of the Constitution. He must also made for man, and not man for the protest against being supposed to acquiesce Church. He knew also, that he was in the opinion, that our religious establish- supported by the unanimous opinions of ments in Canada were more extensive than the people of Lower Canada, of all pernecessary. To apply a commercial phrase suasions, with respect to the religious into things of more importance, he believed stitutions of that colony. the supply was not more than equal to the Petition to be printed. demand.

Mr. Hume presented a Petition, signed Sir James Mackintosh had listened, with by 10,000 Freeholders of Upper Canada, great satisfaction, to the sentiments of the praying that the House would take the hon. Member who had introduced the pe- state of that colony into their most serious tition, and with no less satisfaction had he consideration-would direct their attenheard the reply of his noble friend. In tion to promote education and religion most of the opinions advanced in the there-would leave all religious sects to be course of the discussion he agreed, with provided for by their various followers, the exception of those advanced by the and would abolish all political distinctions hon. Gentleman who had last addressed on account of religion. In supporting the House, who evidently was not ac- the prayer of this petition, to which he quainted with the facts of the case upon requested the serious attention of the House, he must, in the first place, express | most justly, in his opinion, prayed that his great satisfaction at the sentiments the clergymen of the Church of England which the noble Lord had laid down as should be debarred from accepting offices the acting principle of the Government the duties of which were inconsistent with of which he formed a part, with regard to those which properly belonged to the our colonial policy. The noble Lord ad- teachers of religion. The petitioners also mitted, that the House of Commons was particularly prayed, that each sect might not the most fit body to legislate for the have the power, throughout both Upper colonies, but that the parties themselves and Lower Canada, of solemnizing marought to be intrusted with their own legis- riages according to their own peculiar lation, as they must best understand their rites, of which many of them had long own interests. It only required time to been deprived, contrary to the repeated carry that fair and liberal opinion into full and unanimous votes of the House of effect among the colonies. The colony Assembly. He was, on this part of the of Canada was particularly deserving of subject, very happy to acknowledge, that the best treatment from England; for in this grievance would be removed by a the hour of difficulty and danger, the in- Bill which had lately received his Majesty's habitants had most nobly come forward assent. They also prayed, that the charter to defend their country from the attacks of of King's College might be modified, so as the United States, and had defended it to put an end to all sectarian tests, which successfully, when the troops sent out had the effect of excluding all but memfrom this country would not have been bers of the Church of England from the alone sufficient to cope with the enemy. College Council. At present, men were He could assure the hon. member for Dun- compelled to sign the Thirty-nine Articles dalk, that the sentiments entertained by before they could enter the Council; and that hon. Member were not those entertain- it was the necessity of doing that, which ed by the inhabitants of Canada, who, in the petitioners wished to have abolished. this petition, had distinctly expressed their He considered this part of the prayer most hope that all religious sects might be reasonable and proper, and that the inhaplaced on a footing of equality. When he bitants of Upper Canada had a just ground recalled to the remembrance of the House of complaint against such a provision. the feuds and broils, the wars and civil Now that all religious disabilities had been discord, the bloodshed and cruelties, which done away with at home, he hoped the had arisen in every State of Europe from same measure of justice and liberality religious dissension, he thought the pro- would be dealt out to the colonies. With priety of this part of the petition could respect to the appropriation of land to the not be doubted. The petitioners also ex- clergy, the petitioners prayed, that the pressed their hopes, that all ministers of land hitherto exclusively applied to the religion should be removed from places of purposes of the Church Establishment political power in the colony. It had might be placed at the disposal of Governbeen said, that the greatest number of ment, for the purpose of being applied to the Ministers of religion was composed the education of all classes of the colonists. of members of the Church of England. He fully concurred with the petitioners in It was proved that that was not the thinking that this was absolutely necesfact ; for, in 1828, out of 236 minis- sary, and he had no doubt the House ters of religion there were only thirty- would be of the same opinion when they one members of the Church of England; considered that, in every province in the and the complaint of the petitioners was, United States surrounding Upper Canada that these thirty-one engrossed all the on all sides, provision was made by the places of profit and power in the colony legislatures for the education of every child so far as the Church was concerned. without any distinction of sex or religious That these few pastors should be elevated sect. By the legislatures of these provinces above all other sects, and be formed into a it was provided generally, that wherever dominant Church, must naturally give there were fifty adjacent houses, or even great offence; for the other parties, who huts, a school must be kept open for six were the most numerous, justly considered months in the year, and wherever the their clergy neglected and degraded by number increased to double that number their exclusion from offices. To put an of dwellings a school must be kept open end to all rivalry of this sort, the petitioners during the whole year. Some plan resembling this ought to be extended to all religions ought not to have political our North American provinces. Having power; that matrimony should be solemnthus gone through the principal points of ized according to the faith of the parties; the petitions, as he saw a right hon. Gen. that the charter of King's College should tleman (Sir George Murray) present, who be revised, and the College opened to all lately presided over the Colonial Depart- denominations of people; and that the ment, he ventured to press the remarks he clergy reserved lands ought to be approprihad made upon his attention, as he (Mr. ated for the purpose of general education, Hume) considered the late Government were the wants and the prayers of the had not acted with sufficient liberality to petitioners, and the temper and discretion the Canadas, and thereby had caused them with which they were urged gave them to be more dependent on the parent State, additional force. As to the latter part which had entailed a heavy expense and of their prayer, the clergy reserves, he burthen upon this country. He had always thought, when it was recollected that maintained, that if colonies could not be they amounted to 3,500,000 acres of land, maintained with advantage to themselves which would yield an annual income of or the mother country, the sooner they 350,0001. for a century to come, the bare parted from each other the better ; but he statement was so monstrous that the very never said the Canadas could not be made fact of declaring it, was sufficient to prove most useful to this country, and, at the that a different appropriation of this same time be most prosperous in themselves. enormous quantity of land was required; He believed, under proper management, and to what better purpose could it be both would be found quite practicable, applied than for the promotion of general and therefore he hailed, with great satis-education ? When to this it was added, faction, the appearance of a more liberal that, since 1828, nothing had been done to system. He would conclude by request- ameliorate and improve the institutions of ing permission to bring up the petition, the colony, although Canada had been, and he would add, that one more replete during the intervening years, largely inwith argument and sound sense he had creasing in population and wealth, when never had the honour of presenting to the approximation to another State with habits attention of the House.

opinions, and interests similar to their Mr. Wilks supported the prayer of the own, made it necessary


every measure petition. He agreed in every point with should be taken to satisfy the people; when the petitioners, and he had no doubt the all this was the case, he must say, if same sentiments prevailed in the minds nothing were done, if the same measure of those illustrious statesmen who had re- of procrastination was continued, Canada, cently been the great advocates for the like the present United States might be extension of civil liberty in this country, wearied by neglect, which would be much and who must desire to see religious in- to be regretted, for she saw around her tolerance uprooted from the soil of our enough of evidence to assure her, that if colonies. He, therefore, wished to attract she willed a separation it could not be their special notice to a petition which with held. But although the petitioners sprung from one of the most important might be conscious of this, they rather of our colonies--which had stood by us appealed to the generous sentiments of the through good and evil report, and was Representatives of the British people than ready to relieve this country from all to their fears. He could not believe their financial charges on its account. The hopes would be blighted.

The same petition was signed by upwards of 10,000 liberality which was loosening the bonds persons of all sects and creeds of Chris- of bigotry and bad government at home, tians, and in furtherance of its prayer the would extend its boon to the happiness resolutions of the meeting from which it had and prosperity of the colonies on the other emanated pronounced it expedient to sup- side of the Atlantic. ply funds for the promotion of religion Sir George Murray said, he should not and education in the provinces generally; have addressed the House upon this subthat the pastors of all sects might be left to ject unless he had been directly alluded to be supported by the offerings of their re- by the hon. member for Middlesex, in conspective congregations; that all political nexion with his remarks relating to the distinctions account of religious policy of the late Government with regard faith ought to cease; and the ministers of | to Canada. He trusted the sentiments


he had always entertained with regard to they ought to be the property of the State. the subjects to which this petition referred, He had taken no measures, however, towere sufficiently well known to the House. wards carrying that opinion into effect, He conceived that nothing could be more because Acts had already been passed unfortunate for a State, than a difference which permitted some portions of these of political condition among its citizens lands to be sold, and as that portion had on account of a difference in their religi- not been wholly disposed of, there was no ous opinions, for nothing could be more occasion for him, of course, to come to foreign to the character of true religion than Parliament to authorize the sale of other to be dragged forward and forced to be- portions. It was at all times his intention to come a party in political strife and conten- get rid of that part of the Constitution estion. He could assure the House, that tablished for Canada in 1791, by which a during the time he held the seals of the seventh part of the land was set apart for Colonial Office, there had been no desire the Church, because that Church was unon the part of the late Government to able to bring it into cultivation itself, or of adopt the policy of making one sect do- letting it to tenants in a country where the minant over the rest. On the contrary, object of every man was to be a landed there was a desire gradually to change the proprietor. The land, therefore, was wholly old constitution of the colonies in that inefficient for the purposes for which it respect. He, however, differed from the was granted ; further, it became a great and hon. Member in one respect, for he thought most inconvenient impediment to the prothat all sects ought not to be left to provide gressive improvement of the country, and for theirown preachers, but that the Govern- because the system of giving a large ment ought to make some provision for and exclusive endowment to a particular each of the important sects in the country, Church was impracticable in those proand endeavour to form some link of connex-vinces where there were so many and such ion with it. Some provision, made in that various sects, and where, in consequence, manner by the Government, would confer a spirit of envy and jealousy existed, which a degree of respectability on the sect thus went on continually increasing, and which provided for ; would connect it in some de- would, no doubt, be ultimately very injurigree with the State; would prevent the ous to the interests of the Church of Engteachers of religion from being wholly de- land. He hoped this explanation would pendent on their followers, and thus would satisfy the House that there was no want prevent them from degenerating into that of liberal views in the late Government fervour of religious zeal and enthusiasm with respect to any of the topics to which which bordered on fanaticism, and which the hon. member for Middlesex had called was frequently seen in those who relied for his attention, or that were comprehended support solely on their power of exciting in the petition which he had presented. the feelings of their congregations, teach- Mr. George Robinson said, there could ing, not truth but what they found most be no question but that it was highly imto their own interests. It was in con- politic to have a dominant Church in any formity with these principles that pro- colony, and the more so when the members vision was made in Upper Canada, both of that Church formed the minority. The for the Catholic and Presbyterian clergy, disproportion between the Established and with the intention of extending the Church and the Roman Catholics and principle, as it might become proper and Dissenters in Canada was very great, necessary, to the clergy of other Chris- and was every day increasing against the tian sects, He was ready to admit, also, former by the stream of emigration which that he agreed with the hon. Member, that annually poured into Upper Canada from there ought to be some alteration made in Ireland and Scotland. The impolicy of the College charter, so as to destroy the any political distinctions on account of redifferences now existing on religious ac ligion was the greater when it was known, counts. While he had held the seals of that Canada adjoined the United States, office he had suspended the operation of where no such distinctions were made. that charter, having it in contemplation to Considering the stream of emigration entirely abolish that distinction, and which which was constantly flowing from these he certainly should have done had he con- countries to the colony, it was a matter tinued in place. With respect to the of very grave and serious importance to Clergy Reserves, it was his opinion that prevent these colonies from becoming a

« ÎnapoiContinuați »