Reform Demonstration

Daily Leader – Saturday 11th March 1854

Reform Demonstration in Halton

On Thursday the 9th instant, Mr. White, the representative of Halton, was honored with a public dinner at the Village of Georgetown, Esquesing. Two hundred reformers of this county of Halton honored their representative with their presence to hear his views, and to express their sentiments on the course he has pursued in Parliament. Mr. White entered into a full explanation of his parliamentary career, and made a most successful defence against the vile attack which but one journal could be found shameless enough to make upon his personal honor. He succeeded in completely discomfiting his assailants; and in securing the approbation of the veteran reformers who were present. During the course of his address, he made reference to a gross charge of corruption preferred against him by one of the notorious Brown family, and reiterated with more distinctness in the Globe. The charge was that Mr. White had sold his parliamentary influence to put a sum of money into his pocket. The Globe referred to Mr. Street, M.P.P. for Welland, and Mr. Farmer, a son-in-law of the Hon. Mr. DeBlaquiere as being able to throw some light on the transaction out of which this atrocious accusation arose. Mr. White, upon seeing this statement, at once wrote to these gentlemen asking them to state such facts as were within their knowledge concerning the affair. Both gentlemen stated, in reply, that the conduct of Mr. White in the transaction – the sale of the Port Dover Harbor to the Woodstock and Lake Erie Railroad Company – was of the most correct and honorable character. This exposure of a vile attempt to injure a public man by assailing his personal honor and charging him with corruption created an intense feeling of indignation at the base authors of such as sutra. Mr. White further informed the meeting that he intended to give the Browns an opportunity to prove their charges in a court of justice; that he had commenced proceedings with this view and would carry the matter through.

Mr. White’s explanation of his conduct received the unanimous approval of the meeting. A very great degree of unanimity existed; and there cannot be a doubt that Halton is safe.

Among the various sentiments proposed, and to which the meeting responded, was one regarding the Clergy Reserves and the Rectories. The ground taken was in favour of absolute secularization; and that a bill be passed embodying a plan for this purpose at the next session of Parliament; with a suspending clause signifying that it take effect after being ratified by a popular vote; the meaning being, we presume, that it abide the result of the next general election. A declaration in favor of the abolition of the rectories was made; and the speaker, who was selected to speak on these two kindred topics explained that the proper mode to be pursued to attain the desired end was to proceed against the rectories by regular course of law. He expressed a censure upon the government for not having shown sufficient activity in prosecuting the suit; but in this respect we believe he labored under a misapprehension of the real facts; for we hear, and we hope the statement may prove true, that steps are now being taken for an appeal to the Privy Council. The sense of the meeting was called for on these views regarding the reserves and the rectories; and the feeling seemed all but unanimous in favor of the sentiment proposed.

The feeling in Halton is such as will rejoice all true reformers. A strong sense of the necessity of union prevails. The speaking was, in point of clearness and ability, on the whole, considerably above the average of what is heard at public meetings. On Monday we shall give a pretty full report of the proceedings.

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