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the other for the purpose of explaining the political views of Mr. Hagar, the member for the county-attempted to throw ridicule upon the term “Liberal-Conservative." Not having much confidence in your education and intelligence, he told you that an eminent professor, Mr. Goldwin Smith, had declared that the term Liberal had been attached to Conservative as a deodorizer. And supposing you might not understand the meaning of that word, he kindly vouchsafed the information to you that it meant taking the offensive smell from the latter name.
Now I think it is worth while to-day to point out that we are entitled to the name upon the highest grounds of the historical record of the past, and that judged by that record that name is entitled to the respect of all who rejoice to call themselves by it.
The party which to-day calls itself the Liberal party of Canada is not the old Liberal party of the Province of Canada. As far back as 1848-49, when Robert Baldwin and Louis Lafontaine were the great leaders of that party, the restless spirits who constitute the Clear Grit and Rouge parties of to-day began to show themselves. Then it was that Mr. Malcolm Cameron and others, who were at that time in Parliament, started what is known and designated as the Clear Grit party of Canada-composed of men in the Liberal ranks, but dissatisfied with the staunch conservatism of their leaders—men not satisfied with such leaders as Baldwin and Lafontaine, who thought by going a little faster they would manage to achieve greater things and establish greater popularity for themselves. And as in Upper Canada so in Lower.
The Liberals, as they call themselves, of to-day are not the Liberals of those days. Then the Rouge party, the party of Jean Baptiste Eric Dorion and L'Avenir, raised the war cry against the old Liberals, and erected platforms, the planks of which were regarded as extravagant then, and are happily, as to a large number of them, considered equally extravagant to-day.
The year 1854, which saw the Liberal-Conservative party spring into existence, was memorable for the attempts of these restless spirits who to-day claim a monopoly of the liberalism of the Dominion, to break down a Liberal administration, composed of the men who had been the colleagues and were the successors, as leaders of the party, of Messrs. Baldwin and Lafontaine. In Upper Canada the malcontents were led by Mr. Brown, the present leader–or, perhaps, more properly dictator-of the so-called Liberal party, and they included such men as Messrs. Hartman and Wright, members for two of the divisions of York. In order to break down a Liberal government Mr. Brown supported in all the constituencies Conservatives in preference to old Liberals; and as a result the Conservative party was strengthened and the old Liberal party weakened.
In Lower Canada, for the first time, the Rouges appeared in numbers in Parliament. Nineteen young men, led by Mr. Dorion, some of them men of earnestness and ability, but extravagant and almost revolutionary in their opinions, were elected to the Legislative Assembly. But they were elected, not as Liberals, but as Rouges opposed to the Liberal party of the day. Thus although the Liberal government, and the party represented by it, had a large majority over any of the other parties in Parliament considered singly, they found themselves in a minority when confronted with the three parties--Conservatives, Clear Grits, and Rouges-combined, and were compelled on the meeting of Parliament to tender their resignations.
When the time thus came for the change of government, owing to the defeat of the ministry, the question that arose in the minds of the old Liberals was this:-Shall we hand over the government of this country to the men who, calling themselves Liberals, have broken down the Liberal party by the declaration of extravagant views, by the enunciation of principles far more radical and reckless than any we are prepared to accept, and by a restless ambition which we cannot approve; or shall we not rather unite with the Conservatives, who have gone to the country declaring, in reference to the great questions which then agitated it, that if the decision at the polls was against them they would no longer offer resistance to their settlement, but would, on the contrary, assist in such a solution of them as would forever remove them from the sphere of public or political agitation.
Then came the coalition of 1854; then came the union between the true Liberals of the old days and the Conservatives; then came the party which for twenty years since that time has governed us under the title of the Liberal-Conservative party of Canada. And who shall say, looking at the great benefits of their rule, that they were not entitled to the name then and since of Liberal-Conservatives?
Do you want proof of the entire acquiescence of the foremost Liberals of that day in this arrangement? I ask you to refer to a letter dated September 22, 1854, addressed by Robert Baldwin to Sir Francis Hincks, then Mr. Hincks, in which that great old Liberal leader gives in his adhesion to the celebrated coalition of parties. In that letter he indorsed the action taken, and told his old friend and colleague that the best thing that could be done for the party and for the success of its principles was what he had done.
And the bitterness with which even Robert Baldwin, whose claim to be considered a Liberal few will now dispute, was persecuted because of his acquiescence in the measure by which the Clear Grits and Rouges have been so long kept in opposition, was exemplified shortly afterward when a number of his friends, old political opponents as well as allies, requested him to enter the legislative council as the member of the York division. Instead of acquiescing in a selection, the absolute fitness of which could not be questioned, these Clear Grits, headed by Mr. Brown, these men who claim to-day to be the Liberals of Canada, brought out a nobody, politically, in the person of Mr. Charles Romaine, to oppose him, and thus forced the old statesman, whom, however men may have differed from him politically, all were compelled to honor and respect, back into private life and soon after to a sorrowing grave.
One wonders to-day that the spirit of Robert Baldwin does not rise to rebuke the hypocrites and traitors who, having thus cast reproaches upon him in his maturer years, now venture to deck their banqueting halls with his honored
The party having thus been formed, let us for a moment look at questions that divided the country at that time. The two leading questions were the Clergy Reserves and the Seigniorial Tenure questions. The first was a subject which many years before was one of the elements in the rebellion of Upper Canada, and the other under which the people of Lower Canada were made to pay dues at different times contrary to and destructive of all chances of material prosperity. These questions constituted the leading issues of that time. They were large, important questions, requiring solution at the hands of the public men of the country.
What was done? The Clergy Reserves were secularized; and you well
remember the agitation made by the so-called Liberals, the Clear Grits, against the commutation clause of the Act of Secularization simply for this reason: that by means of that commutation clause all chances of future agitation upon the subject were swept away.
The Conservative party at that time—for the very principle of Conservatism is to destroy as far as it can the cries of agitators and the trade of demagogues endeavored to take from the arena of public discussion mere questions of popular agitation. The commutation clauses were introduced as the Conservative element into that bill.
And by one stroke the whole question was removed from political discussion; and although the Grits got up petitions, signed by some eighty or ninety thousand people, against the clause, it was carried successfully through and became law. I venture to say that to-day there is not a man in the entire Province but rejoices that that which set neighbor against neighbor, one class against another, which placed the badge of religious inferiority upon some and the badge of superiority upon others, has been removed from the political arena. from that time to this we have heard nothing of the discussion of the Clergy Reserves.
The Seigniorial Tenure in Lower Canada was in like manner forever swept away. In this the party has been attacked by the Liberals of Lower Canada, chiefly because in the settlement of the question it had adopted principles which entirely removed it from the political arena.
From that day to this men can do what they could not before. Now they can sell their lands without paying the lods et ventes, carry their grain to the mill without paying the rights of banalité, till their soil without the oppression of the cens et rentes, and are freed from a number of other dues which pressed