“If the sky falls we shall catch larks”
If arrogant assumption were argument, and cool impudence common sense, the advocates of Confederation in Nova Scotia might perhaps hope to convince the people of this province, some day, that it would be a great advantage to them to have the control of all their political and commercial affairs handed over to Canada as in intended under that scheme. From the first, unfounded assumption, and a tone of supercilious insolence towards all who ventured to differ from them in opinion, has been the only argument used by those people in the controversy, and from present appearances their stock of such commodities is by no means exhausted.
At one time we were told that the scheme originated with the British government; this assertion was soon refuted by official and documentary evidence. Then the assumption was that we must accept Confederation as the only means of defense from our American neighbors who were certain to “gobble us up” the moment their armies were released from besieging Richmond. Harrowing pictures were drawn of the “war cloud” and “rough edge of battle,” and the desolation and whoa that must overtake Nova Scotia when the legions of Grant were turned towards our borders. The close of the American war, and the quiet disbanding of the federal armies, effectually killed off this bug bear.
Then it was said, England would no longer do anything for Colonial defense unless we accepted Confederation, and England very quietly cut the tail from this kite by voting a liberal supply for Canadian fortifications at the moment that the Canadian sympathizers among us were day after day, parrot like, repeating the stupid misstatement. All attempts to drive the public into accepting the scheme by trying to excite their patriotic fears having us signaled it was next resolved to appeal to their selfishness, and it was roundly asserted that Confederation was necessary to the continued commercial prosperity of the provinces. The reciprocity treaty was to be repealed and where then it was asked was Nova Scotia to look for a market and answering their own question they asserted with all the gravity and confidence of statesman uttering what was not on the face of it an absurdity that Confederation was to supply all and more that all the loss of the reciprocity treaty would take from us.
The opponents of the scheme showed clearly that while politically it would be most unfair to The Maritime Provinces, that at the same time it could give them nothing commercially that they could not secure equally well without it. And now these wise acres are at this moment establishing our position in effectually destroying their own, by going about to negotiate a treaty to enlarge our commercial intercourse with the West Indies, Mexico and Brazil, to give the provinces an increase of trade with those countries as an offset to the loss of the Reciprocity Treaty- and all this without waiting for Confederation. We do not, we confess, take the same sanguine view of the trade prospects in that direction that some of our contemporary seem to do; we do not see that any great or immediate extension of trade between those countries and British America is to result from these negotiations. We cordially wish them success, however, and all the more cordially because their success will effectually destroy their latest silly assumption about the necessity for confederation.
One other assumption has been reiterated every week for twelve months; and yesterday morning we have it repeated, by a newspaper which asserts that “the educated, the moderate, the religious and considerate classes, are all but unanimous in favor of Confederation.” This assertion, untruthful, insolent and offensive as it is to 9/10 of the people of this province, must be met pointedly, and once for all. If there was no education or religion in Nova Scotia except that of which Tupper and Macaulay are the types than alas for Nova Scotia.
We need hardly spend time criticizing the moderation or the religion of the men who for years previous to the last twelve months, and when they knew each other quite as well as they do now, where in one another’s estimation “Munchausen’s” and “poison bags” – “forgers” and “bribers general.” But as to the education we can assure them that there are in Nova Scotia thousands of high-minded, intelligent gentlemen, at least the equals an education of any of the five delegates who wish to annex us to Canada, – gentlemen who reject that annexation policy with a firmness nonetheless decided because it is the result of their education and of an intelligence to active to be imposed on by the assumptions in the fallacious reasonings of interested politicians.
If the education the moderation the intelligence of the province is in favor of the scheme, why is it that after twelve months of instruction at the hands of Dr Tupper and Mr Jonathan McCauley, these gentleman are afraid to allow that education and intelligence to be appealed to? Let the government but give the country a chance to decide this question of Confederation for them, and they will soon learn on which side the education, the intelligence, aye, and the weight of the religious men of the province are to be found.
It seems by the unionist that the chief errand of the Canadian in Maritime “ambassadors” to Brazil is to get more “India rubber” for Canadian manufacturers! We hope the politicians in the “embassy” will not invest in the article much themselves; some of their consciences are tough enough, and stretch more than enough already. “There’s no rubbing out” however the remembrance of their political misdeeds, with all the India rubber that Brazil can furnish them. We when some of them return with their fingers in their mouths and are asked what good their “embassy” accomplished they may perhaps say “Ay, there’s the rub!”
There is great virtue in an “if,” says Shakespeare, and perhaps on this ground Mr McCully, in spite of his bad language and his untrustworthy arguments, may pass for a “virtuous” writer, for he found a shortcut to political prosperity under Confederation yesterday morning by a hop, skip and jump over half a dozen “ifs”. We would like some better guarantee than conclusions based upon conjectures not more probable than the one “If the sky falls we shall catch larks.”
“Halifax Citizen – Thursday, Nov 30, 1865” https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=FHE7AAAAIBAJ&sjid=FisMAAAAIBAJ&pg=503%2C7006738