[Ed. After Tilley was thrown out of office in the ill-fated election of 1865, public opinion on Confederation in New Brunswick turned a corner, and in 1866 Tilley was returned to power. Two Speeches from the Throne delivered that year are reproduced below – one by the Anti-Confederation government of Albert Smith, the second by the newly-vindicated Tilley. As the support of New Brunswick was essential to complete the chain of territory from Canada to Nova Scotia and make Union possible, the speeches represent this turning point for Confederation, and are a symbolic reminder of the Parliamentary forms of government still observed in Canada that link our time with theirs.]

His Excellency, the Honourable Arthur Hamilton Gordon, C.M.G., Lieutenant Governor and Commander in Chief of the Province of New Brunswick:

Mr. President and Honourable gentlemen of the Legislative Council,

Mr. Speaker, and Gentlemen of the House of Assembly,

It affords me satisfaction to meet you again assembled in Parliament.

In Accordance with instructions received by me since the close of the last Session, a Member of my Government was despatched to Quebec to attend a Council summoned by the Governor General of Canada from the various British North American Colonies, for the purpose of affording assistance to Her Majesty’s Government in the negotiation of Commercial treaties. I have directed the Report of that Gentleman to be laid before you.

The Government of the United States having announced a resolution to terminate the Treaty existing between that Power and Great Britain, for the reciprocal regulation of Trade, I deemed it right on the invitation of the Government of Canada, and with the concurrence of that of Nova Scotia, to despatch a Delegate to Washington for the purpose of endeavouring, in concert with Her Majesty’s Minister in that Capital, and Delegates from the Sister Provinces, to procure a temporary prolongation of an arrangement which has proved mutually beneficial to both countries, in the hope that time might be thus afforded for negotiations, with a view to a permanent renewal of the Treaty.

I regret to inform you, that the efforts of the Delegates have not been attended with success, and that the Treaty will consequently very shortly expire. I do not, however, suppose the discussions on this subject to be finally closed, and I trust that, when revived, they may lead to a satisfactory issue. Meanwhile it is for you to consider whether any revision of the Revenue Laws of this Province may be rendered necessary by the abrogation of this agreement. With a view of ascertaining whether, in this event, new channels may not be opened to our communication with the other British North American Provinces, [we have] despatched a Delegation to the West Indies and certain States of South America. Papers on this subject will be laid before you.

You will have learned with indignation the existence of a conspiracy, having for its avowed object the dismemberment of the British Empire. Various circumstances would appear to indicate that an attack on some portion of Her Majesty’s North American Dominions is contemplated by those engaged in this mad and wicked enterprise.

It is difficult to believe that an attempt, so certain to be attended with failure, can be seriously intended. I rejoice, however, in the conviction that but one sentiment of loyalty animates the people of this Province, and that its inhabitants of every race, creed, and station, are alike ready to repel lawless aggression, and to punish unprovoked hostility. I know that I may rely on your hearty concurrence and support in the adoption of the precautionary measures which may be needed to avert so grave a calamity as the occurrence of an armed conflict within our borders.

You will be gratified to learn that the Act passed by you during the last Session, for the better regulation of the Militia, has worked in a highly satisfactory manner. My attention has been steadily directed to carrying its provisions into effect, and my warmest thanks are due to those who have afforded me zealous and efficient assistance in this respect. The attention of the Imperial Government, and those of the various Colonial dependencies of the British Crown, have of late been more seriously directed to the organization of this important branch of national defence, and, with your aid, I trust the Militia Force of New Brunswick may ere long be placed in a condition of efficiency.

[…]

In compliance with the request contained in an Address from the House of Assembly, two members of my Executive Council were directed by me to proceed to England to confer with Her Majesty’s Government on various questions of importance, and to conduct other negotiations on behalf of this Province. The Report of these Delegates will immediately be laid before you, and you will learn with satisfaction that a Contract has been entered into by them which, in conjunction with measures adopted by the Government of Nova Scotia, will ensure the completion of Railway Communication between St. John and Halifax.

A Contract has also been completed for the construction of a Railway from St. John to the Frontier of the United States, the works on which have already commenced and are now in progress.

[…]

I have received Her Majesty’s commands to communicate to you a Correspondence on the affairs of British North America, which has taken place between Her Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for the Colonies and the Governor General of Canada; and I am further directed to express to you the strong and deliberate opinion of Her Majesty’s Government, that it is an object much to be desired, that all the British North American Colonies should agree to unite in one Government. These papers will immediately be laid before you.

I trust that your deliberations may tend to advance the welfare of the Province and of its people, and a pledge that this will be the case may be found in their being undertaken, as I am sure they will be, under a full sense of your grave responsibilities, and in a spirit at once of confident self-reliance and of loyal attachment to that great Empire of which New Brunswick forms a part, and her connection with which is at once her security and her pride.

The Members of the Assembly having returned to the Lower House…

Mr. BOYD then moved the following Address in answer to His Excellency’s Speech:

To His Excellency, the Honourable Arthur Hamilton Gordon, C.M.G., Lieutenant-Governor and Commander in Chief of the Province of New Brunswick, &c., &c., &c.

THE HUMBLE ADDRESSS OF THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY

MAY IT PLEASE YOUR EXCELLENCY –

  1. We, Her Majesty’s faithful Subjects, the Commons of New Brunswick, thank Your Excellency for the Speech delivered at the opening of the present Session.
  2. We thank Your Excellency for the assurance that the Report of the Delegate despatched by Your Excellency to Quebec, to attend a Council summoned by the Governor General of Canada, for the purpose of affording assistance to Her Majesty’s Government in the negotiation of Commercial Treaties, will be laid before us.
  3. We thank Your Excellency for responding to the invitation of the Government of Canada in sending a Delegate to Washington for the purpose of endeavouring, in concert with Delegates from the Sister Provinces, and Her Majesty’s Minister at Washington, to procure a temporary extension of the Reciprocity Treaty, with a view to afford time for full negotiations, having for their object the establishment of a permanent commercial arrangement with the United States upon a basis mutually beneficial; and we unite with Your Excellency in the expression of regret, that the efforts of the Delegates were not successful, and we trust that discussion on this subject, if revived, may lead to a satisfactory issue. We are pleased to learn that Your Excellency has, in concert with the Governors of the other British North American Provinces, despatched a Delegate to the West Indies and certain States of South America, with a view of opening up new channels to our Commerce. We will carefully consider any measure having for its object any revision of the Revenue Laws rendered necessary by the abrogation of the Treaty.
  4. We learn with feelings of deep indignation the existence of a conspiracy, having for its avowed object the dismemberment of the British Empire. We would hope that no attack will be made on any portion of Her Majesty’s North American Dominions; but in that event, we rejoice in being able to assure Your Excellency that but one sentiment of loyalty animates the whole people of this Province; and its inhabitants, of every race, creed, and station, are alike ready to repel lawless aggression and to punish unprovoked hostility; and Your Excellency can confidently rely upon our cordial cooperation and support in the adoption of any measures of a precautionary character, that may be necessary to avert a calamity so serious as that of the occurrence of an armed conflict within our borders.
  5. We are gratified to learn that the Act passed at the last Session of the Legislature for the better regulation of the Militia has worked satisfactorily; and we are pleased to learn that the attention of the Imperial Government and the Colonies has been devoted to completion of this important branch of national defence, and we will be ready to afford such aid to this Institution as the financial resources of the country will justify.

[…]

  1. We thank Your Excellency for having complied with our request that a Delegation should be sent to England to confer with Her Majesty’s Government on important subjects, and to conduct other negotiations on behalf of this Province, and we are pleased to know that the Report of the Delegates will be laid before us.
  2. We learn with satisfaction that contracts have been entered into which, when executed, will secure uninterrupted Railway Communication from Halifax to the United States.

[…]

  1. The Correspondence which has taken place between Her Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for the Colonies and the Governor General of Canada, on the affairs of British North America, when laid before us will receive due attention, and the opinion expressed by Her Majesty’s Government will command that respect and attention which is due to suggestions emanating from so high a source; but in any scheme for a Union of the British North American Colonies which may be proposed, it is, in the opinion of this House, absolutely essential that full protection should be afforded to the rights and interests of the people of this Province; and no measure which fails to obtain these objects should be adopted.
  2. We sincerely trust that our deliberations may tend to advance the welfare of the Province and of its people, and we assure Your Excellency that they will be undertaken under a full sense of our responsibilities, and in a spirit of loyalty and attachment to our sovereign, and we feel security and pride in our connection with that great Empire of which New Brunswick forms a part.

 

Second Session, 21st June, 1866

His Excellency The Honourable Arthur Hamilton Gordon, C.M.G., Lieutenant-Governor and Commander in Chief of the Province of New Brunswick

Honourable Gentlemen of the Legislative Council,

Mr. Speaker, and Gentlemen of the House of Assembly,

The Address of the Legislative Council to Her Majesty the Queen, on the subject of the Union of the British North American Provinces, agreed to during the late Session, was duly transmitted by me to England to be laid at the Foot of the Throne, and I am commanded to inform you that her Majesty has been pleased to receive the same very graciously.

The adoption and the reception by me for transmission to Her Majesty of this Address, led to events which rendered it in my opinion expedient to dissolve the then existing General Assembly. I have now much satisfaction in resorting to your assistance and cooperation at the earliest possible moment; although I regret that it should be necessary to call you together at a period of the year which must, I fear, render your assembling a matter of much personal inconvenience to some of you.

Her Majesty’s Government have already expressed their strong and deliberate pinion, that the union of the British North American Provinces under one Government is an object much to be desired. The Legislatures of Canada and of Nova Scotia have formed the same judgment; and you will now shortly be invited to express your concurrence with or dissent from the view taken of this great question by those Provinces.

You will have learnt with satisfaction that the mad attempt of a band of Fenian conspirators to invade the neighbouring Province of Canada has met with signal and merited failure. You will have rejoiced to perceive that the people of the British American Provinces are in every quarter alike firmly resolved to resist and to repel any attack on Her Majesty’s authority and dominion; and you will, I am confident, deeply lament the loss of those brave men who have fallen in the discharge of that sacred duty.

Information having reached me, which left no room for doubt, that an invasion of this Province by a considerable band of armed and well-organized marauders was seriously contemplated, I lost no time in taking such measures, in conjunction with Vice-Admiral Sir James Hope and Major General Doyle, as appeared to me necessary to meet the emergency. These measures, I rejoice to say, were perfectly successful, and the contemplated attack, which was at one time imminent, was abandoned as an hopeless enterprise.

You will, I doubt not, concur with me in the expression of gratitude for the promptitude with which the aid of Her Majesty’s Naval and Military Force was rendered on that occasion, and the magnitude of the scale on which it was afforded. Whilst, however, all immediate danger of an attack on the Frontier of New Brunswick appears to have terminated, it is requisite that a strict vigilance should still be exercised with regard to those who may endeavour to revive such projects, or seek to excite dissatisfaction within the Province. It will be for you to consider whether, under such circumstances, precautions similar to those which have been adopted by the Imperial Parliament and by that of Canada should for a limited period receive your sanction.

It appeared to me expedient, while the Frontier was menaced with invasion, to call into active service a considerable force of the Provincial Militia. I have to express my entire satisfaction with their conduct whilst under arms, and I rejoice to be enabled to believe that the efforts which, for the last five years, I have unremittingly made to effect improvements in the condition and efficiency of that Force have not proved wholly useless.

It will be for you to consider whether the termination of the provisions of the Reciprocity Treaty with the United States of America, will render necessary any considerable alteration or modification of the Revenue Laws of this Province.

I trust that an arrangement may ere long be again concluded which will secure, both to the United States and the British Provinces, the mutual benefits which are likely to ensue from free commercial intercourse between the two counties on a just and satisfactory basis.

Mr Speaker, and Gentlemen of the House of Assembly,

The employment for a considerable period of an armed force upon the frontier has rendered necessary an unusual expenditure for military service; but I am happy to be able to inform you, that there is every prospect that the expenditure of the year will, notwithstanding this unlooked for outlay, be covered by the Revenue received.

The Accounts of the past and Estimates of the Expenditure for the current year will immediately be laid before you.

Honourable Gentlemen of the Legislative Council,

Mr. Speaker, and Gentlemen of the House of Assembly,

The question which you are now called together specially to consider is one of the most momentous ever submitted to a Colonial Legislature. Your deliberations will, I doubt not, be undertaken with a due sense of the importance of the interests they involve, and the solemn responsibilities which by your decision you incur, and will, I trust, be conducted with a sole view to the interests of the community at large. That the determination at which you arrive may be one calculated to promote the welfare and happiness, not of this Province only, but of all Her Majesty’s subjects throughout the whole extent of the wide spread dominions of the Queen on this Continent, is my earnest hope and prayer.

The members of the House of Assembly having returned to the Lower House…Mr KERR then moved the following Address in Reply to His Excellency’s Speech, which was seconded by Mr. Beveridge.

To His Excellency The Honourable Arthur Hamilton Gordon, C.M.G., Lieutenant-Governor and Commander in Chief of the Province of New Brunswick, &c., &c.

THE HUMBLE ADDRESS OF THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY

  1. We, Her Majesty’s faithful subjects, the Commons of New Brunswick, thank Your Excellency for your Speech at the opening of the present Session.
  2. We learn with pleasure that Her Majesty the Queen graciously received the Address of the Legislative Council, on the subject of the Union of the British North American Provinces, transmitted to England by Your Excellency.
  3. We agree with Your Excellency that the adoption and reception by Your Excellency, for transmission to Her Majesty of this Address on the subject of the Union, led to events which rendered it expedient to dissolve the late General Assembly, and we believe that the Constituencies of the Province have justified the course adopted by Your Excellency. Although it is an inconvenient season of the year for the discharge of Legislative duties, we will cheerfully cooperate with Your Excellency in the transaction of such business and the perfecting of such measures as the public interest demands.
  4. We know that Her Majesty’s government have expressed a strong and deliberate opinion that the union of the British North American Provinces is an object much to be desired, and that the Legislature of Canada and of Nova Scotia concur in this view, and Your Excellency may rely with confidence on our cordial cooperation in any measure which may be proposed to secure that object.
  5. We learn with much satisfaction that the Fenian conspirators have met with signal and merited failure in their wicked and mad attempt to invade the neighbouring Province of Canada. We feel assured that the people of British North America are everywhere resolved to resist every attempt upon Her Majesty’s authority and dominion, and they equally lament with you the loss of those brave men of Canada who have fallen in the discharge of their sacred duty.
  6. We thank Your Excellency for taking, in conjunction with Vice-Admiral Sir James Hope, and Major General Doyle, the necessary measures to the people of the Province from the effect of the invasion of an armed body of marauders; and we are gratified to learn that the measures adopted were perfectly successful, and that the contemplated attack, which was at one time imminent, was abandoned.
  7. We united with Your Excellency in the expression of gratitude for the promptness with which the aid of Her Majesty’s Naval and Military Forces was then rendered, and the magnitude of the scale on which it was afforded.
  8. We agree with Your Excellency in the conviction that, although all immediate danger of an attack has passed away, necessary precautionary measures should be adopted and strict vigilance observed with regard to those who may endeavour to revive projects of invasion or excite disaffection in the Province, and we will consider whether the precautionary measures adopted by the Imperial and Canadian Parliaments, are not required in New Brunswick in the present emergency.
  9. We were fully prepared to learn that the conduct of the Militia Force called out by Your Excellency whilst the Province was menaced with invasion, met with You Excellency’s approbation, and we rejoice that the efforts which have been made to improve that branch of the public service were attended with advantage.
  10. We will consider whether the termination of the Reciprocity Treaty with the United States of American will render necessary any considerable alteration or modification of the Revenue Laws of the Province; and we unite with Your Excellency in expressing the hope that ere long some arrangement may be again concluded which will secure to both the United States and the British Provinces, the mutual benefits which would result from the establishment of a reciprocal trade on equitable terms.
  11. We rejoice to be informed that the expenditure of this year will be covered by the Receipts, notwithstanding he unlooked for outlay, occasioned by the employment for a considerable period, of an armed force upon the Frontier.
  12. We thank Your Excellency for having directed the Accounts of the Receipts and Expenditure of the current year, to be laid before us.
  13. We agree with Your Excellency in the opinion that the question of the Union of the British North American Provinces, upon which the people of New Brunswick have recently expressed so strong an opinion, and which Your Excellency has called us together to consider, is the most momentous ever submitted to a Colonial Legislature. We shall approach the consideration of the question with a due sense of the importance of the issues involved and the solemn responsibility devolving upon us as Representatives of a free people. Our deliberations shall be conducted with a single view to the promotion of their interests; and we fervently pray that our determination may be calculated to promote the welfare and happiness of all her Majesty’s subjects in the wide-spread dominions of the Queen on this Continent.

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