Article extracted from the New Brunswick Reporter
NBR – 1845.03.21 – Reminiscences of New Brunswick – #3


[For the Reporter.]
One great objection which is made to the present location of the Seat of Government is, that there are a number of hangers on at Fredericton, who are like harpies, preying on the public by engrossing the different offices about the Legislature, and fattening on the spoils of the Province. That such charges are founded in truth, no person acquainted with the subject will attempt to gainsay, but this would be the case if the Provincial Parliament was removed to any other place, and the remedy remains with the Legislators, not with the location of the Seat of Government. The people of Fredericton are as much dissatisfied with those abuses as the inhabitants of any other part of the country.
Among the most permanent of these abuses is the enormous amount of the Contingent Bill and the charges for Printing. To give an idea of the opinion that prevails in regard to some of the extravagant charges in that Bill, it will only be requisite to state that the charge of stationary alone, on the average for each Member during one Session, has been carried by some calculators, as high as thirteen pounds, or even higher. Now, as no doubt that this is a mere wild attempt at exaggeration, still it shews the opinion that is abroad in regard to many of the charges in that Bill, and shews how necessary it is that the public should be satisfied on that point.

It is indeed strange that while a trifling account relating to Roads or any other expenditure is scrutinized with the greatest care, a Bill amounting to thousands has been allowed to come in at the end of the Session, and pass almost unquestioned.

The dissatisfaction in regard to the large amount for Printing could be easily removed. A part of the Government Printing, of course, falls to the Queen’s Printer in virtue of his office; but the Printing for the Legislature during its Session should be open to public competition. There should be no monopoly. It is certainly an injustice to the Printers in the different parts of the Province, some of whom have grown grey in the harness. That they should be forever debarred the privilege of sharing in such public [emoluements]as belong to their profession. By throwing open the Printing to public competition as is done in the neighbouring countries, all parties would be satisfied, and the Province would be served at the cheapest rate. I have no wish to follow up these remarks by enlarging on other abuses. It is sufficient to remark that the inhabitants of Fredericton, equally with those of Saint John and other places, wish to see these abuses abated, and that it is not to the locality of the Seat of Government that they are to be ascribed, but to other causes, and which can only be removed by the [vigilence] of the Legislature.

To return to [Ssint] John, it is obvious to every reflecting person that from its position it possesses natural advantages that cannot fail if properly improved to raise it to a high station among the most favoured Cities of the western hemisphere. Situated at the outlet of a great river, abounding in resources for a great and lasting trade, with a fine Harbour [accessable] at all seasons. While the mighty St. Lawrence is fast bound in its icy fetters, and the immense regions of Canada are shut out from the Atlantic, and while the seaboard to the north eastward is a wintry waste, and the Harbours along the whole line of coast are sealed up, the Port of St. John is open, and her shipping business unmolested. Even in the severe winter of 1844, when all the Harbours from the Bay of Fundy to New York, with the exception of Portsmouth, where locked up by the rigor of the season, the Harbour of Saint John remained unobstructed, and her Merchants were gladdened with arrivals, and fitting out their ships as if winter to them was unknown.

While St. John is thus highly favoured in regard to her commanding station, so favourable to a lasting and extensive commerce, Fredericton posses advantages that are [pecularly] her own; into which it is needless at present to enquire.

Should any person doubt her capabilities as regards trade, let those but take a few trips on the river Saint John in the latter part of May, and during the month of June, and they will see the water covered with immense rafts of Timber, Logs, Deals, Boards, &c., with Wood Boats and other craft loaded with Lumber of all kinds. Indeed the major part of those valuable cargoes of Lumber of all kinds that are shipped at St. John come from Fredericton and the country above it. The noble river St. John, with its numerous tributaries will long supply material for a great and lasting trade.

Those petty jealousies about the Seat of Government should therefore be scouted by every well-wisher of the Province. The general good of our common country should be out main object, and so far from envying the prosperity of any particular place, we should rejoice in the welfare of our neighbours. We are all component part of a rising Province. As one part flourishes so will the other parts be [benefitted]. We are so connected by trade and common interest, that no part of our country can long outstrip the other. The more the inland farms advance in trade and wealth, the greater will be our commerce, and the more rapid the growth of the Towns and Cities on the seaboard, and if we are true to ourselves, we shall continue to rise as a people, despite of monopolies, petty jealousies, and cabals at Banks, or other drawbacks. Our Province possesses the materials and sources of a great and lasting trade that will ensure it a high rank among the adjoining States and Colonies – and only requires energy and union to call them forth.

Having made this long digression on the Seat of Government, I shall now resume the more pleasing task of describing some of our Provincial scenery, and also make some remarks on the way people got along more than fifty years since.

“I will bring back the times of old.”
(To be continued.)