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" unfair distribution of the parliamentary representation-by which
one-third of the population, living in boroughs and small counties, "enjoyed a larger share of representation than the remaining two“thirds ; and the country had suffered as deeply from the corruption "and infidelity entailed, when parties were nearly balanced, by the “ small number of representatives. The reformers pledged themselves "to increase the number of representatives, and to distribute them
more fairly. On these principles, and the measures which neces" sarily flowed from them, the liberal party sought the suffrages of the "electors at last general election, and they met a hearty response "from the intelligence of the country. And not less popular than the
measures were the leading men of the party. Mr. Sullivan and you “had not passed unscathed through your previous political careers, “but the good services you had both rendered had regained for you “the confidence of your party ; and Mr. Baldwin, Mr. Price, Mr. “Cameron and Mr. Merritt, enjoyed the unbounded confidence and
respect of the liberals of Upper Canada. Never did a party go to “the polls with a better cause or more united ; and, as a natural re“sult, the most triumphant success rewarded them.
“The reform party, by their success at the polls, obtained office“four years have they now held office-three sessions of Parliament, “with overwhelming majorities, have placed them in a position to ful“fil the just expectations of the country. Have they done so? Is " the legislation of the last session such that the reform press can
point to it with confidence as consistent with the promises of 1847, or as the pledge of a wholesome administration for the future? You “ dare not, on your conscience, say it is either. You and your colleagues “ have trampled under foot your constitutional responsibility as minis* ters of the Crown.'
CLERGY RESERVES, RECTORY ENDOWMENT, AND SEPARATE SCHOOL
QUESTIONS.—THE “GLOBE's” ATTITUDE. From this time Mr. Brown and the Globe were ranged in opposition to the ministry, which, on Mr. Baldwin's resignation, was led by Mr. · Hincks. Mr. Lafontaine retired at the same time. The latter gentle
man was probably the greatest obstacle to progress. Mr. Baldwin was timid ; Mr. Lafontaine was hostile ; and it is not improbable that if the ministry had proceeded with the necessary measures for secularizing the clergy reserves, that he would have seceded.
It is impossible to avoid charging him with something like deception or treachery. He knew the principles avowed at the general election : he knew this carried the country ; he accepted office with the cry for justice ringing in his ears, yet he retained office from April 1848 to October 1851, ostensibly as a liberal minister practically pledged to carry out the electoral programme, though he must have known that the course he pursued was not altogether what would be expected from an honourable high-minded man, and must result in the disruption of the party whose policy and principles he was bound to sustain and promote. That Mr. Lafontaine's friends may have something to say for him is very probable. That many, indeed all, of the people loved Mr. Baldwin for his high personal qualities, is very true ; but nothing can excuse the course pursued by them when they were placed in power for a specific purpose and then failed to attempt the accomplishment of that purpose. Sir Francis Hincks long afterwards wrote concerning Mr. Lafontaine as follows:
“ The French Canadians as a party were extremely unwilling to " commit themselves on the clergy reserves or rectory questions . “Mr. Lafontaine himself had a strong conservative bias, and two of “his colleagues, Colonel Taché and L. M. Viger, fully shared his “sentiments
Mr. Lafontaine went cordially with his colleagues for the repeal of the Imperial Act, but there is great reason
to doubt whether the Lafontaine-Baldwin ministry could have agreed “to a bill for settling the clergy reserve question.” Messrs. Lafontaine and Viger voted against the resolution moved by Mr. Price (then a member of the government), which declares “that the appropriation “ of the revenues derived from the investment of the proceeds of the "public lands of Canada, by the Imperial Parliament, will never cease “to be a source of discontent to your Majesty's loyal subjects in this “province, and that when all the circumstances are taken into consid
eration, no religious denomination can be held to have such vested “ interest in the revenue derived from the said clergy reserves, as “should prevent further legislation with reference to the disposal of “ them.” Their votes on this occasion were the more remarkable, as the resolution provided for the payments of the stipends then derived by certain clergymen from said lands.
In 1851 one element of discord was found in the prevailing feeling respecting the endowment of the rectories founded by Sir John Colborne from public lands. The popular opinion was undoubtedly not only hostile to that step, but that the act of establishing the rectories was not legal.
The law officers of the Crown in London gave an opinion in 1837 that the endowments of the 57 rectories were not valid and lawful acts. The same officers reconsidered this decision, having obtained certain other documents, and gave another opinion that they were legal and valid acts. This last opinion, dated January 24th, 1838, contains the following words in addition to the opinion that the act was lawful ;
We are of opinion that the rectors of the parishes so erected and "endowed, have the same ecclesiastical authority within their respec
tive limits as is vested in the rector of a parish in England." The difference in the two opinions was altogether based on the interpretation given to the royal instructions, and the terms of the royal commission issued to Sir Patrick Maitland in 1825, so that the rectories were established simply by virtue of a royal permission, and not on any legislative authority. The Act of 1851 practically settled the question in favour of the incumbents on the condition that the patents had been validly issued. The English opinion obtained was hostile, but the Court of Chancery decided that they were valid.
The following extracts from Globe editorials of January 15th, 1852, and March 9th, will show the view taken immediately after the general elections :
Had the reformers of Upper Canada been rallied to the polls upon clearly-defined principles and measures-on issues framed to meet the difficulties encountered in the previous parliament: had the ground of "union” been in full accordance with those principles and not the support of Dr. Rolph and Mr. Hincks, the dissensions and apathy in the ranks would have been removed, and the victory at the polls the most triumphant ever witnessed.
The reformers have been greatly injured as a party by these proceedings ; they have no acknowledged leaders, no avowed policy, no great defined aims as a party. The premier of our government was returned by a Tory constituency, which, if true to his party, he must stand ready to disfranchise ; and in his own county, one of the most decidedly reform constituencies in Upper Canada, he owed his election to men who but a day before were denouncing him, and only gave him their votes under
the pressure of circumstances which they deplored. But if the injury to the reform party has been great, how much more serious has been the evil of breaking down those constitutional bulwarks which our system of government requires, and permitting the public men of our country to shirk the avowal of their opinions and policy, and to obtain the reins of government, not by virtue of their principles, but by the cleverness of their finesse! There is nothing more vital to the safe working of British constitutional government than the open declaration by each political party, previous to a general election, of the measures and principles it will carry out if successful at the polls. It makes the people the final arbiter in all political strife; and the knowledge that these pledges must be carried out under the penalty of losing office makes politicians guarded in the avowal of their views. Public men think seriously ere committing themselves to new principles, but once committed, their political success is linked with the fate of those principles, and a protection is established at once against mere electioneering professions and infidelity to the public
Break down the barrier ; let men go into power uncommitted to any special course, and once seated they will care not for the success of their principles, but cut and carve their measures to suit the humour of the day and the retention of office. All men are honest men when they are well watched, and human nature in all ages and climes has needed watching. The tendency of office is to corrupt the incumbent. We do not believe there was ever a more upright body of men combined in an administration than the late government; but they were found wanting under every constitutional check. And were the present men so politically irreproachable that the bonds could be safely relaxed towards them which were found too weak for their predecessors ? With all the experience we had obtained, the fences should have been built higher and stronger than ever ; but they were not, and we have four years' further experience before us.
He recollects that when the want of principle manifested in the combinations, and its injurious tendency on the anti-state church cause, was insisted on, the answer was : “What else can be done? we “ will go divided to the polls ; ministerial reformers will be opposed “ by anti-ministerial reformers, and the Tories will gain power.” We think that at this point Mr. Brown stated something like this :
• Well, let them; better that they should prevail than that we should “sacrifice our principles by helping an alliance founded on deceit “and formed between men utterly opposed on principle. If we are “out of power four years our principles will gather strength, and we “ will return with unity of aim and increased force.” But that he ever expressed an unqualified wish for the success of the Tories is not only without foundation, but so palpably absurd as to require no contradiction.
The alienation of the Roman Catholic vote in Haldimand was the immediate result of a sharp controversy in the Globe on the subject of separate schools and the legislation creating ecclesiastical corporations. The feeling was doubtless much intensified by the introduction of many matters which form a standing subject of controversy between the Roman Catholic and reformed churches. The memoir in the Globe gives the following account of the origin of the articles in the news
paper : “In 1850 the Pope had put forth a bull, creating, or profess"ing to create, a papal hierarchy in Great Britain, and had sent over "a cardinal to England with the title of Archbishop of Westminster.
The English protestants resented the Pope's action, and the sentiment was re-echoed with increased fervour in Canada. Mr. Brown " for some time gave no special prominence to the subject in the Globe, " although he entertained strong feelings about it. Cardinal Wiseman “had put forth a pronunciamento, in which the argument on the “Roman Catholic side of the question was presented with much clear
ness and force. A copy of this document was handed to Mr. Brown " by the Hon. Sir E. P. Taché, who half jocularly challenged him to "publish it in the Globe. Mr. Brown expressed his willingness to "publish the pronunciamento, but not unreasonably stipulated that, “in case of his doing so, he should publish a reply, to be written by “ himself.
To this Sir E. P. Taché assented, and accordingly both " the pronunciamento and the reply appeared at full length in the
Globe. In replying to the Cardinal's arguments, the writer was compelled to present the matter from the protestant point of view, “and in a light which was far from being acceptable to Roman
Catholics. The question was taken up by the entire press of the country, and was argued with great bitterness on both sides. Mr. Brown thus came to be regarded as the Canadian champion of protestantism. This circumstance, it will readily be understood, “ answered admirably for an election cry, and was made the most of “ by his opponents in Haldimand.” Like all religious or semireligious controversies, this one developed hard words and harder feelings, which eventuated in some injury to the political party led by Mr. Brown. Apart altogether from the special controversy on the subject of what was called the papal aggression in England, there was much agitation in Canada West over the demands for separate schools for Roman Catholics. It was generally felt that if one church obtained special rights it would be difficult to refuse them to any church. The fact that the non-catholic churches were generally agreed on the subject of a secular system of education was not much dwelt upon ; though it might be used to show that the Roman Catholic element was not precisely on the same footing. Mr. Brown undoubtedly had the whole reform party, with few exceptions, sustaining him in resisting the disruption of our school system, and the multiplication of corporations managed by ecclesiastics, and holding real estate for other than the purposes of the society. It must not be supposed that all Roman Catholics were entirely agreed on the attitude of the clergy in relation to these subjects ; on the contrary, many of them adhered to the views of the liberal party, and supported