“This letter will give you some gleanings from Halifax — the most English of the provincial cities. It was founded in 1749, by the Lords of the Board of Trade, and named after the President, Gen. Montague, Earl of Halifax. It has ever since been the capital of Nova Scotia, — robbing that honor from Annapolis. Thirteen transports brought from England 2576 emigrants, the nucleus of the present population, which counts about 40,000 souls. The sloop of war Sphinx led the way, bearing Colonel the Honorable Edward Cornwallis as Captain General and Governor of Nova Scotia. He afterwards presented a sword to Gen. Washington at Yorktown, a circumstance which will never be forgotten. His name is more pleasantly linked with Cornwallis County, the garden of the province. Immediately upon landing, the town was laid out in squares, with streets sixty feet wide. A fence of upright pickets or palisades enclosed …

Coit correspondence of 1871 Read More…

Mr. Bright: “Sir, about a month ago—on the 15th of May last—I presented a petition to the House from the representatives of the colony of Nova Scotia, and I now rise for the purpose of calling attention to that petition, and to statements made in it, and of proposing what appears to me to be a judicious course in regard to it. The Resolution which I have given Notice of consists of two parts—first, the statement of a fact which is easily proved; and, secondly, a statement of the mode in which the Government would do wisely to meet the difficult questions which have arisen. I am sorry to see that the right hon. Gentleman who has charge in this House of colonial affairs is not here; but in the course of my argument he may come upon that Bench. The petition which I presented to the House makes what …

Nova Scotia—British North American Confederation Read More…

“It has been argued that we are so small a territory, that we should endeavor to unite with some larger country, in order to enlarge our scope for action… Turn to the American States, and contrast the size of Nova Scotia with some States there, and from which we have heard no talk of forming any union with any other State, in order to increase their importance in the Union. There are the States of New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, &c- all very much smaller in area than Nova Scotia, and yet from these we hear of no Union being formed among them, in order that the citizens may have more area or room for development. Nova Scotia contains 20,436 square miles; New Hampshire 9,280; Vermont 9,056; Connecticut 4,730; Massachusetts, that occupies so conspicuous a position in the American nation, 7,800. Yet Nova Scotia, that …

Speech on the union of the colonies, Debates, 1865 Read More…

“We have witnessed the tremendous struggle and sacrifice made by our Republican neighbors, rather than suffer the disintegration of their common country.” “Nova Scotia, then, is a British Province, enjoying the priceless privilege of British laws, British connection, and a free Constitution.” “The consequence has been that our progress has been one incessant struggle, and the youth of our population, unable to find employment at home, have been obliged to seek it in a foreign country.” “It may be asked, in what respect will confederation affect this for the better? …It will strike down forever all inter-Provincial tariffs; every port in all the Provinces will admit productions of each, free of duty. An esprit, or pride of country, will be created.” “The port of Halifax will be the great point of entry for the Confederacy. It will be connected with every part of the continent by railway; it will be …

Confederation Considered On Its Merits: Being an Examination Into the Principle, Capabilities, And Terms of Union, As Applicable to Nova Scotia Read More…

“Every man who is invited or proposes to enter into any partnership or agreement, naturally thinks of the advantages and disadvantages it will involve or produce to himself.” Marshall, (Judge) John George. “Facts And Reasons Against New Brunswick And Nova Scotia Confederating With Canada: Addressed to the Electors of New Brunswick”. [S.l.: s.n., 1866. https://hdl.handle.net/2027/aeu.ark:/13960/t41r80t31

“Much misrepresentation has been indulged in concerning the increased debt of the Dominion, and comparisons made between it and the federal debt of the United States most unfair to Canada… the different purposes for which the two debts were incurred are also kept out of sight ,- that of Canada having been for valuable public works, from which the country will forever derive increasing advantages, while that of the United States is wholly for an unfortunate war.” “On the question of repeal we dissent entirely from the position taken by our opponents… If elected we shall advocate all measures calculated to make Halifax the winter port of Canada – to hasten the extension of the C.P.R. by means of the short line to Halifax Harbor… to secure the best solution of the Nova Scotia railway problem that can be found in the interest of Halifax and the Province.” Stairs, J. …

To the electors of the county of Halifax Read More…

“That the people of Nova Scotia are prepared to entertain any propositions by which (preserving to them the Institutions they now have, and the privileges they enjoy,) greater facilities for commercial and social intercourse with other States and Provinces may be secured, and they are willing, whenever their own costs and habors are safe, to aid Her Majesty’s forces to preserve the from aggression the Provinces in the rear. But they view with profound distrust and apprehension schemes, recently propounded by which it is proposed to transfer to the people of Canada the control of the government, Legislation and Revenues, of this loyal and happy Province” The Petition of the Inhabitants of Nova Scotia Humbly Sheweth: That the Province of Nova Scotia Is One of the Oldest Colonies of Great Britain .. [S.l.: s.n., 1865.] https://hdl.handle.net/2027/aeu.ark:/13960/t6tx4hq48

An article of note for the information it provides in regards to the Dartmouth Ferry Commission’s first external ferry purchase, the Annex. It’s full of interesting observations. “In this generation it is safe to give one advice to go to Halifax. Such was not the case in the days of our great grandfathers. To send a man to Halifax in those times was the same as banishing him to perdition in good orthodox fashion today.” “There is a line of steamers from Brooklyn direct to Halifax… Persons can also go to Halifax all the way by rail if they so prefer. This is, of course, a somewhat long and tedious ride. The most popular way, however, is via Boston… The express train, called the Flying Blue Nose, connects with the boat (in Yarmouth) and goes direct to Halifax in about ten hours time… Another very popular route to Halifax is …

“Go to Halifax” Read More…

In opposing the British North America Act… (Joseph Howe) always urged that it was not acceptable to the people of Nova Scotia. As an election was soon to be held, to make good his statement Mr. Howe felt that he must organize his forces, and demonstrate beyond dispute that the Province of Nova Scotia was overwhelmingly opposed to the union. He returned early in May, and on May 22nd delivered at Dartmouth the following speech, in which he betrays no loss of his old-time warmth and vigour: MEN OF DARTMOUTH -Never, since the [Indigenous people] came down the Shubenacadie Lakes in 1750, burnt the houses of the early settlers, and scalped or carried them captives to the woods, have the people upon this harbour been called upon to face circumstances so serious as those which confront them now. We may truly say, in the language of Burke, that “the high …

Speech at Dartmouth, May 22 1867 Read More…

“Hon. Mr. Wilkins, Attorney General, moved the following resolutions on the subject of confederation, in the house of assembly, on the 5th of February: That the members of the Legislative assembly of this Province, elected in 1862 simply to legislate under the colonial constitution, had no authority to make or consent to any material change of such constitution, without first submitting the same to the people at the polls That the resolution of the 10th of April, which preceded the enactment of the British North America Act is as follows Whereas it is the opinion of this house it is desirable that a Confederation of the British North America Provinces should take place Resolved therefore that his excellency the Lieutenant Governor be authorized to appoint delegates to arrange with the imperial government a scheme of union which will effectually ensure just provision for the rights and interest of this province, …

Debate on resolutions relative to repeal of the “British North America Act” in the House of Assembly of Nova Scotia; session 1868 Read More…

“At Confederation the Conservative Government then in power in Nova Scotia had filled all the vacancies in the Council (of which there were a number), occasioned not only by natural causes but by the appointment of a number of Councillors to the newly formed Senate of Canada; so that the Liberals who were returned in September of 1867 were in a minority in the Council.” “As to the practical reasons behind this determined attempt to get rid of the Council-three main arguments are usually advanced. First: That it is obsolete and unnecessary and that all the other Provinces in Canada, except Quebec, carry on their affairs without an Upper House. Second: That it tends to become an obstructionist body when made up of an opposition majority, and that this obstruction is political and is not in the best interests of the Province. Third: That it is an unnecessary expenditure of …

Constitutional Questions in Nova Scotia. The Attorney-General of Nova Scotia v. The Legislative Council of Nova Scotia Read More…

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 …

“If the sky falls we shall catch larks” Read More…

Speaking of the Colonies reminds us that the Montreal Sun of the 28th ultimo editorially refers to the political condition of Canada in rather a striking manner. It states, we observe, that even the Toronto Globe has been forced to admit that Ontario is within the category of Provinces where the “canker of corruption” is eating out the life of the Government, where there exists a premeditated system of thieving from the public purse, an organized system of ballot-stuffing and ballot-switching. “Added to this,” says the Sun, “we have just witnessed the horrifying perjury in connection with the Gamey charges, the partisanship of the judges and the chaos of the Legislature in both parties when the report came up for discussion. This marks the lowest stage ever reached by any province in the history of Canada. God help Ontario! Happy are we who live in the province of Quebec. Our …

Strong Argument Against Confederation Read More…

CONFEDERATION(To the Editor of the Star).SIR,-Although I have not yet seen the pamphlet published by Mr. Howe, in opposition to the proposed confederation of the British North American Provinces, you will, I hope, permit me to correct several misstatements of facts into which you have inadvertently been betrayed, by the perusal of Mr. Howe’s brochure, in your article in the “Star” of the 21st inst., upon a question involving the most important consequences, both to British North America and the Parent State. A scheme of confederation, providing for the Union of the British North American provinces under one Government and Legislature, was arranged at Quebec in 1864, by delegates representing all sections and parties in the Colonies, appointed by the Governor-General and the Lieutenant-Governors of the Provinces. Both Houses of the Parliament of Canada carried by very large majorities an address to Her Majesty the Queen, praying that an Act …

Dr. Tupper’s Letter Read More…

“The agricultural produce of the fertile Island found a ready market in industrial New England between 1854 and 1865. Exports to the United States fell from £120,928 in 1865 to £21,633 in 1866, while imports only slipped slightly.16 The cheap food that fed immigrant workers in New England mill towns during the Civil War now came from other sources. Stagnation gripped the Island economy, in spite of minor illicit trading with American fishermen. While Canada had been able to open some alternate markets after the collapse of reciprocity,1 7 Prince Edward Island had virtually no place to turn. Canadian farmers produced many of the same staples as did the Island. Prohibitive transportation costs and uncertain communication with Canada’s population centres made the Dominion an unimportant market.” “The only hope seemed to be a renewal of reciprocity with the United States. The Island slowly strangled; there was no outlet for its …

Annexation in the Maritimes? The Butler Mission to Charlottetown Read More…

“However, our chief interest in this matter lies not in the practical actions of statesmen but rather in the editorial opinion on this subject as expressed by the Halifax newspapers. Of these the Acadian Recorder was one of the first and most persistent champions of inter-provincial consolidation.” “By 1864 the question of B. N. A. Union had not yet become a strong political issue between parties. Both Liberal and Conservative party organs favored the scheme in principle, realizing that it was “pregnant with weal and woe to the people of British America.” As to the difficulties involved in the achievement of such a project, the Recorder tended to minimize them while the Morning Chronicle, the Novascotian and the Weekly Citizen were inclined to become increasingly pessimistic.” Heisler, John “The Halifax Press and B.N.A. Union 1856-1864” Dalhousie Review, Volume 30, Number 2, 1950 https://dalspace.library.dal.ca/bitstream/handle/10222/63842/dalrev_vol30_iss2_pp188_195.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

“It now rested with Nova Scotia to give her decision. When Mr. Tilley’s government were first defeated at the polls, it seemed to Dr. Tupper, the Nova Scotian premier, impolitic and unnecessary to press the question in the sister province. Now, however, that New Brunswick had accepted the principle of union, it became incumbent on Nova Scotia to deal with the matter. For reasons which, no doubt, were in his opinion sufficient, Dr. Tupper decided and Sir Fenwick Williams, the lieut.-governor, acquiesced in the decision-that no dissolution should take place, but that the existing House of Assembly should be asked to pass the requisite Resolution in favour of the plan. Against this course many protests were lodged, and many addresses were sent in from towns and constituencies in the province, but without avail. The Imperial Government accepted the Resolution as that of the legislature of Nova Scotia, and as such …

Political Experiences in Nova Scotia, 1867-1869 Read More…

“…in the Maritimes Confederation was the remedy for no particular evils, and it was an issue to be decided on its merits. It promised practical benefits of course, but it offered few practical solutions for Maritime problems. Confederation raised new problems: it did not solve old ones. In Nova Scotia these new problems erupted quite suddenly in public debate in August, 1864, with the first appearance of the Canadian visitors. The debate thus begun filled the pages of the newspapers. In Halifax four of the major newspapers carried an editorial on Confederation in virtually every issue from that time on for over three years. It is the purpose of this paper to discuss this debate with reference to the ideas about federal government that developed out of it. Although economic issues were important, they were not the first to be considered. Nor perhaps is there much profit in exploring the …

Halifax Newspapers and the Federal Principle, 1864-1865 Read More…

THE HON. JUDGE PATTERSON “UNDER the above title Mr. Laurence J. Burpee has edited and published a series of letters written by Howe while in England in 1866-7, opposing the passage of the British North America Act, to William J. Stairs, one of the Vice Presidents of the League. Howe was himself the President, and its Constitution which Mr. Burpee gives in an Appendix is unmistakably his work. In expressing his thought in crisp sentences, where every word tells, there was in Nova Scotia no one aut similis aut secundus to the great Tribune.” “True to its claim to represent the Maritime Provinces, the League did not limit its interests to Nova Scotia. There was an election, well do the Anti-Confederates know it, in New Brunswick in 1866. Elections then were not, any more than now, won by prayers alone. A Macedonian cry came from that province.” Patterson, G. “Joseph …

Joseph Howe and the Anti-Confederation League Read More…

“In Nova Scotia only the clever political footwork of Charles Tupper kept his province from vetoing the plan. But as soon as the new Dominion was formed Nova Scotians expressed themselves in no uncertain terms. Of 18 men elected to the House of Commons in Ottawa all but one, Tupper himself, were pledged to break away from what Joseph Howe called the “Botheration” Scheme. In a provincial election 35 of 37 elected members were anti-Confederationist.” “And while secession never found such an organized voice as in Nova Scotia where elections were won on it, it is still a word which one hears in political circles in P.E.I. Speaking on the Throne Speech Debate during the 1956 session, the Leader of the Opposition, R. R. Bell, raised the old cry. He denounced The Hon. Mr. Pickersgill for having said in Newfoundland that that province could not secede. Said Mr. Bell, “Let …

The Cradle of Confederation: Some Reflections Read More…

“It will be remembered that while the Canadian parliament adopted, by large majorities in both Houses, the scheme of Confederation agreed upon by the delegates from the several provinces at the Quebec Conference, the parliament of Prince Edward Island rejected it; and the people in New Brunswick, to whom it was submitted by the Government of that province, by an enormous majority voted against it. Without New Brunswick the proposed union was for Nova Scotia impossible.” “What would the Legislature of Nova Scotia do during the session of 1866, now that New Brunswick’s position had changed? It was notorious that a majority of the House of Assembly were strongly, perhaps I might say irreconcilably, opposed to the Quebec scheme. Adroit and able as Dr. Tupper was, he was unable to discover any method by which he could secure a favorable vote. From February 22nd, when parliament opened, until April 3rd, …

An Unexpected Incident of Confederation in Nova Scotia Read More…

In eighteen sixty-six on the floor of the HouseBilly Needham said “Mr. Speaker . . . “and the Union men knew what was coming.Wary of words, drumming fingers on desks,their faces went bleaker.White-haired David Wark called them to actionfor the Province’s and the Empire’s good;admonished the visionless and the factional,sounding the changes on obstructionism and rejection;stultification and penury written in ledgerswith statistical precision; the timber shipmentsthat might last the century out-with prayers:prayers and a question of hard cash,a typical New Brunswick contingency. Or anyone’s contingency, for that matter.They could not repeat forever identical processesin a world that would not stand still.Some said the timber rafts would soon be athing of the past:and the great fleets of sail, the ships,dolphin-strikers plunging, making way downthe Bay,in a span of numbered yearswould no longer be seen clearing the ports.Grass and silence, the derelict warehouses,empty and derelict.They could listen to the voice of the …

Confederation Debate Read More…

“CONFEDERATION WAS IMPOSED upon Nova Scotia in 1867 over the opposition of significant groups of people within the province. There were many reasons for their opposition to union, and a great deal has been written concerning the nature of the struggle and the ultimate success of the Confederates. That Nova Scotia’s response to Confederation was highly emotional has not gone unnoticed.” Tho’ felon hands have forged a chain,In slavery to bind us;We yet shall snap the bonds in twain,And cast the links behind us. With lying lips and guileful tongueThey laboured to enslave us;Until those rights from us were wrung,Which our forefathers gave us. Our noble country they would grasp,With tyranny enthralling;While we in bondage sore must graspBeneath a rule so galling. To traitors we must bow the kneeIn humble supplication –Shall we who lately were so freeBrook this humiliation? Forbid it heaven, and all true menEndowed with powers of …

Anti Lyrics No. 1 – from “Some Nova Scotian Poets of Confederation” Read More…

“CONFEDERATION WAS IMPOSED upon Nova Scotia in 1867 over the opposition of significant groups of people within the province. There were many reasons for their opposition to union, and a great deal has been written concerning the nature of the struggle and the ultimate success of the Confederates. That Nova Scotia’s response to Confederation was highly emotional has not gone unnoticed.” But one short year, and oh the changeWhich darkly shades our country’s brow!Once free as mountain eagles rangeHow low the droop in sadness now! When dawned the morn of ’67,Fair and most prosperous was her state,No happier country under heaven,Look at her now in ’68! The bright-eyed goddess weeps to seeHer children humbled in the dustMarveling that such things could beSuch evils wrought by hands accurs’d. That such a country, such a raceCould fall so far and sink so low?And yet live under the disgraceWithout one liberating blow. Deep …

Anti Lyrics No. II – from “Some Nova Scotian Poets of Confederation” Read More…