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

This argument, cost, which has manifested itself over time as a perpetual amorphous “efficiency” to be imposed on all levels of government, represents an unending centralization — it’s been used in addition to another argument, that asserts the Federal government took all powers “of significance” at the BNA and so there was no need for an upper house to provide a check on the lower, in relation to provincial affairs, and otherwise as regards the “intergovernmental interface”.

Since that time, with (what used to be municipal and are now) provincial responsibilities like education and health being the main drivers of provincial budgets, as well as being on the receiving end of an unending volley of constitutional impositions from Ottawa for what are now clearly ideological reasons, totalitarian in nature — having a house of sober second thought could’ve helped prevent the implementation of so many of these successive impositions on behalf of the legislature, not to mention the need to help prevent the absurd scenarios recently brought forward by the courts, which in many cases act as little more than a political arm of “Ottawa” to legitimize their political aims.

“All Articles of the Growth, Produce, or Manufacture of any one of the Provinces shall, from and after the Union, be admitted free into each of the other Provinces”, Section 121 of the BNA is very clear, yet the decision in R v Comeau is proof that nothing is sacred or insulated from perpetual de-evolution at the highest levels of Canadian courts.

Provincially there’s Gee and Grabher, but there are others: the former ruled that a person doesn’t have the right to inspect a product they can otherwise legally procure, previous to its purchase — the latter being that an anonymous complainant, who perhaps purposefully misunderstood the sprit of a personalized license plate because of political orientation, should have the right to force the forfeiture of the license plate from its holder, primacy given to the complainants subjective aggrievement, without any consideration of the fact the term in question is the last name of the individual who holds the personalized license plate.

At the municipal level was the somewhat recent introduction of a smoking by-law which seems to have brought about or reinforced the constitutional predicate required for spatial, geographical restrictions on freedom of movement, enabling illegal parks as well as restrictions on inter and intra-county travel within the province that came about during the pandemic. The criminalization of riding a bicycle without a helmet has been another imposition, in conflict with what I would assert is a natural right to determine one’s risk if they’re to be considered a sentient human being. Many of these may be the manifestation of a significant disease process, a parasite on our local self government, that of a monopoly health insurance concern, itself part of an omnipotent eugenics monopoly at the Provincial level.

All this without getting into the clear de-evolutions in other areas — in regards to the centralization of healthcare administration and provision in general, the courts in terms of dominion government interference through political appointments, their reorganization without the Sessions (which became the municipal courts at Dartmouth’s incorporation), the Grand Jury (another power bestowed on Dartmouth at incorporation, an institution at the very center of Howe’s acquittal), School districts and boards (another municipal concern), let alone what passes for a municipal container itself in terms of what one finds in “HRM” — all of this has occurred thanks to the constitutional impositions brought forth by the Charter in 1982.

I’m of the opinion we need bicameral house, both provincially and federally, with the Senate being appointed by the elected legislature as it was in the United States previous to the 17th amendment, as it was in Nova Scotia previous to its own Senate’s dissolution in 1929. The founders were right to use the Senate as a kind of amelioration of the directly democratic, to help insulate the second chamber from popular feeling in order to steady the course of governance overall, including through its use of staggered six year terms.

This serves as a middle ground between the entirely democratic and the present intolerable Canadian circumstance of a federal only Senate, full of appointees whose grace we suffer until they reach age of 75, appointed by an irresponsible executive — now full of his supposed “independents” — a purposefully weak upper house which is at the same time completely insulated from the people, seemingly designed to enable its dissolution altogether in a not too distant future in a kind of repeat of the Nova Scotia template set down almost a century earlier.

What happened to Nova Scotia with the dissolution of its Legislative Council has led us down a road to nowhere, we’re hopelessly lost in the woods always further from where we started, supposed evolutions that are in fact digging us a deeper grave on a daily basis. If we are to advance a great awakening — the spirit shown in Alberta, as monarchical as it may be could be the impetus for a reawakening of spirit all across Canada, and allow the opportunity for a rethink — we should study the Northwest Ordinance as a bridge, a guide to format our institutions, a roadmap to a Republic where “the people” are represented in a way that allows a proper check within the Constitution.

If we are for some reason forced to stay within the confines of the current constitutional environment we must endeavor to cut down the Federal government to as thin of a wedge as possible, both in terms of the financial as well as cultural. Defense, international trade, minting coin, the census, the post office, otherwise starve the beast, nullify Ottawa as much as possible. Bring back some semblance of the province as body politic, the people as its actuators, ancient concepts foundational to our constitution essentially erased by the BNA and the way it was imposed, further polluted by the Charter in a similar manner.

The Maritimes should “amalgamate” our landmass and provincial governments. Using the Congressional Apportionment Amendment of the US Constitution as a guide we could create a legislature based on a formula of one representative for every 40,000 residents, this would net us a lower house of 49 representatives, I suggest an upper house of one third that number, 16. This would create a check that reflects “land” and localities in terms of counties, in the way the US Constitution does for its States, some portion of which could be representatives chosen by Indigenous nations themselves.

For those whose priority is “efficiency” this would cut the number of districts in total between the three provinces by more than half, from 131 to 65. I argue reinstating a second chamber and reorganizing representation in regards to the urban rural fringe similar to Florida‘s recent efforts would improve representation, especially if protections for local government are enshrined along with what would otherwise be contained within in a written constitution like a Bill of Rights.

New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island both have strong protections for local government, something Nova Scotia has decided to unilaterally and purposefully erase, which we could adopt back in some way in union. A capital at Moncton makes sense, both geographically and culturally between the three provinces. The provinces together could accelerate the acquisition of the link to Prince Edward Island from the dominion government as local infrastructure.

We could implement official languages in the same way Alaska does, recognizing English, French, Mi’kmaq, Wolastoqiyik and Peskotomuhkati as official — if Gaelic is to be considered so too should be German — to implement that process interrupted by “Confederation” and its subsequent de-evolution, a Maritime Union, Nova Scotia’s ancient form under a number of names over time.

It’s my hope we could consider the US Constitution as our crown, not “Ottawa” or any of its many supranational tentacles — or perhaps more accurately, the tentacles of its various supranational masters, perhaps the source of what is seen as “arbitrary” by those stuck underneath. The status of US Territory gets us there, it would afford powers of self-government far beyond the status quo of forever childhood imposed on “the people” by Canada, though perhaps it wouldn’t be as much of a boon for “the province” in terms of resource development, hence I assume, the posture of Alberta.

How can we ensure the development of natural resources aren’t used as a political football and ideological cudgel, as they are now, but instead recognized as the blessing they are in terms of security and prosperity, while respecting conservation and the environment along with Indigenous rights? I contend “public lands” point the way forward in contrast to those of a crown.

Wrong turn at Albuquerque

After more than 150 years of wrong turns the road map currently points to a Canadian unitary state at Ottawa, a de-facto government of various foreign actors. This is in most cases our present and most certainly, in an ever increasing fashion, our future — unending impositions on behalf of the members of a crown adjacent uni-party with supranational ties, who will never bring about a balanced Constitution that recognizes the popular sovereignty of “the people” as a unit in combination with that of the provinces and the Federal government.

“I think I’m lost… Wow. First I passed the BNA, then I passed the Charter, then I passed amalgamation…”

The past provides the road signs and the framework to create a better future for all, not only for the aristocratic and “the crown”, the latter of which I assert is to be found in the US Constitution, but most certainly that of the people. A new deal is required.

What we need is not free money, but a free country — one which has “equality” and “we the people” at its root, not “equity”, not “we the vassals” and most certainly not “we the various intersectionalities, where some are more equal than others, in whatever way power can use us as a tool of forever divide and conquer”, which is the ultimate de-evolution and a recipe for disaster.


“At Confederation the Conservative Government then in power in Nova Scotia had filled all the vacancies in the [Legislative] 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 [Legislative] 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 money-the total yearly budget for the Council being at least $20,000 to $25,000.

On the other hand, there are all the arguments usually advanced in favour of a Second Chamber, i.e. that it is a necessary guarantee of good, safe government.”

MacKenzie, Norman. Constitutional Questions in Nova Scotia. The Attorney-General of Nova Scotia v. The Legislative Council of Nova Scotia. Journal of Comparative Legislation and International Law Vol. 11, No. 1 (1929)

https://www.jstor.org/stable/754119

Ottawa’s a Hard Road to Travel

Oh listen to the East! oh listen to the West!
Oh listen to the fifing and the drumming!
The heart of Nova Scotia beats happy in her breast,
For HOWE and the people are coming!
Take off the coat boys, roll up the sleeve,
Howe and the people are a-coming!
Take off the coat boys, roll up the sleeve,
Howe and the people are a-coming I believe

The people cannot rest, they see the land opprest
With Tupper’s cruel nightmare “Botheration,”
And Johnathan’s warhorse tramples down our rights by force,
Till the people cry “confound Confederation.”
Take off the coat boys, roll up the sleeve,
Ottawa’s a hard road to travel,
Take off the coat boys, roll up the sleeve,
Howe and the people are a-coming I believe.

Tupper and McCully try to bluster and bully,
And never let the people put a word in;
But we’ll teach the tricky knaves that we were not born their slaves,
When we drive them to the other side of Jordan!
Woe to the turncoats who laugh in their sleeve,
We’ll give them a hard road to travel,
Woe to the turncoats who laugh in their sleeve,
For Howe and them people are a-coming I believe

Halifax Citizen, May 22, 1866. Page 1, Column 6. https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=D90uR9ClOh8C&dat=18660522&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

Anti-Confederate Petition

We publish today another installment of over 500 names of respectable citizens of Halifax, against the Quebec project of Confederation. This swells the list, of from the capital alone, to over 1500 names already published, and we have no doubt that there are still numbers in Halifax who would have signed the petition, but have not yet had the opportunity of doing so. The lists, however, will remain open for some days yet.

 

Halifax Citizen, Aug 2, 1866. Page 2, Column 3. https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=D90uR9ClOh8C&dat=18660802&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

Halifax Sun and Advertiser, Wed, Apr 12, 1865

 

House of Assembly – Monday, April 10.

In the evening, when the house resumed, Dr. Tupper’s resolution on “a Union of the Maritime Provinces” was taken up. The hon. gentleman went into an explanation of former attempts at Union, and its necessities, -the action last year in reference to a union of the maritime provinces, and the subsequent delegation to Quebec, after, as he said, the union first contemplated was found impactable. He then branched out on the beauties and particulars of the Quebec scheme, and for about two hours and a half travelled over pretty much the same ground as those in favor of the measure have taken, in the press and on the platform, over and over again. One thing the Dr. was honest enough to state, viz: that if the bargain was not a better one than it is for the lower provinces, “it was the fault of their own delegates.” He said “he did not come to the discussion of the present question supposing it would have any particular effect.” In this we agree with him, -it was moved to give him and others an opportunity, in a safe way, to get the Quebec scheme opened up to discussion. He expressed his belief “that that scheme had taken such a root in the country that it would soon be secured in all its entirety; and that, holding such view, was his excuse for trespassing so long on the House.” We cannot but think that in this the Dr. is most egregiously mistaken. He stated that out of the large amount of patriots presented against the scheme, the signatures to which had been obtained by all manner of means, there were not 3000 who had expressed against union, but rather for delays, &c.

The Dr. endeavored to impress on his hearers the great danger there was of being overrun by the Americans, -and the security we would have though Confederation.

The grounds of his arguments for apprehending hostilities by the Americans, were: the Repeal of the Reciprocity Treaty, -the termination of the Lake Treaty, -the Passport System, and the temper of the press of the States; all these went to show that the disposition of our neighbors was to close up all avenues of communication. -The speaker did not, in the slightest degree, refer to any of the causes which have produced unkind feelings, although he was perfectly well aware of them.

We believe, if as much time and attention had been given to the cultivation of friendly feelings and the extension of our commercial relations with the United States, as has been devoted to their annoyance, by acts and language, our position today would be much more agreeable.

At the close of his speech there was a slight expression of applause in one of the galleries, -on which, Mr. Miller remarked – if such conduct as repeated he should use his privilege of clearing the galleries. The noise made scarcely warranted the threat.

Mr. LeVesconte said he merely rose to correct one part of the Prov. Sec’s speech. In his county he did not believe there could be found 25 persons in favor of Confederation.

Mr. Locke spoke somewhat similar in reference to Shelburne.

Mr. Bourinot said he could readily understand applause from the people of Halifax, as they only were to be benefitted by the Union. But he would tell the hon. Prov. Sec. that so great a change in the constitution of the country would never be permitted without an appeal to the people.

The Prov. Sec. admitted that Richmond was an exception, that County had declared against Union; yet he was correct that there was not 3000 of petitioners who had stated their views.

Mr. Killam asked the Pro. Sec. if he was so confident of the feelings of the people, why it was that he was so afraid to go to the country?

After one or two other observations the debate was adjourned.

Halifax Morning Sun, April 12, 1865. Page 3 Column 4. https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=dw5aoL0HVgwC&dat=18650412&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

Halifax Citizen, Feb 3, 1866

 

The proceedings of the political meeting in Yarmouth, called by requisition to the Sheriff on the 29th ult, are fully reported in the Tribune of Wednesday. They were of such a character as to show that the Government have few friends in that township. Thomas Killam, Esq., M.P.P., and the Hon. Stayley Brown both spoke very decidedly against the general policy of the Government, not on Confederation alone, but with reference to the School bill, Retrenchment, and every other feature of Tupper’s policy. The former gentleman said, “Our alienation from our friends was accomplished step by step, as we saw one measure after another to which we were conscientiously opposed brought forward by them – sad principles to which we stood pledged deliberately abandoned.” Only two persons in the meeting, which was both numerous and respectable, opposed the resolution, which we published on Tuesday, and these explained their position by saying that they “did not wish to tie up the hands of the future member, and make him a mere tool.” Although no candidate was brought out at the meeting, John K. Ryerson, Esq., was named on the following day, and his card appears in the Tribune. He pledges himself to oppose Confederation, to endeavor to remove the political School Bill from the Statute Book, to effect a modification in the Militia Law, and to press for liberal aid to steam communication between Halifax and Yarmouth, and Yarmouth and Boston. The card closes with the final paragraph :-

“Finally, I pledge myself, if elected, to use my best endeavors to hurl the Tupper Government from the position they have disgraced by the infamous enactments of the [past two Sessions, under the operation of which the country is now suffering.”


 

The Confederation journals of New Brunswick, despairing of advancing the Quebec scheme on its own merits, seem to be trying to promote it by raising an Anti-Catholic cry. They are willing to get the assistance of the Catholics of Nova Scotia and of Lower Canada to carry the measure; but if they can divide the Protestant and Catholic anti-Confederate majority of New Brunswick by a cry of creeds, they appear to think that the Canadian end will justify the extraordinary means.

Halifax Citizen, February 3, 1866. Page 1 Column 1 https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=D90uR9ClOh8C&dat=18660203&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

Halifax Sun and Advertiser, Wed, April 12, 1865

 

While perusing the abominable misrepresentations and absurd charges which the chief Confederationists indulge in, in striving to support a scheme which has been virtually knocked on the head, for a time at least, one hardly knows whether to smile at their folly or frown at their mendacity. Every one who has raised his voice in opposition to the proposed annexation to (falsely called union with) Canada, has had to take a share of personal abuse, while those who have given it their sanction are all wisdom patriotism and moral worth!

The good things which Canada had in store for us, and the unselfish liberality with which she offered to take charge of our revenues, were portrayed in the most attractive hues; and the happiness of our existence under such an arrangement was to equal the halcyon years of the Millennium. All this was very fine, and with but one drawback, videlicet: There was not a word of truth in the whole of it! The people suspected the scheme, detected its imposition, and overthrew it. Cajolery, humbug, intimidation, were successively tried in vain, and now in their battled pique most of the delegates heap obloquy and insult upon all who contributed to trip them up and expose their trickery. They say that the opponents to this Federation are hatching treason in the shape of annexation to the United States – that it was they who gave a death blow to the Reciprocity Treaty – imperiled us with America and several other equally absurd accusations. The annexation twaddle may be at aside when we call to mind that some of the most prominent and influential opposers of the Confederation scheme were also strong opposers to a reconstruction of the American Union: therefore not at all likely to advocate giving their native province to the control of the Federal Government.

We Anti-Unionists have brought about the repeal of Reciprocity Treaty, have we? The editor of the Unionist knows that for three years an American Committee has been appointed to report on its working with an eye to its abrogation, as Canada was accused of acting unfairly, in placing almost prohibitory taxes on goods not specified in the Treaty. Then came the culminating point when the sworn foes of the United States, making dens for themselves upon the Canadian shore, issued from thence upon their murderous and thievish errands, and returning found shelter and comfort upon British soil – a soil supposed to be a friendly and a brotherly one to the American people. Had the Canadian government not at once repudiated the last villainous act, wild and frightened would have been the wail upon her invaded borders; what what it cost Canada by way of cure had been better expended in prevention. Even yet, they are not guarded, their folly may find them out.

Nova Scotia, especially Halifax, has contributed her full share of insult and provocation, which we fear will be long remembered by those who are only too able, when they have the will, to retaliate. And a greater part of the press, instead of teaching a liberal and friendly spirit, was either filled with gross abuse and the most bare-faced libels, or else threw covert sneers or detracting paragraphs against a people with whom the prosperity of our country is so inseparably united.

Of the first, the Journal made itself superlatively vile and obnoxious. Its late puny editor, a Yankee retrograde, threw in his poison and his gall, and made himself conspicuous above all others in the intensity of his hate. Fortunately he could do no great harm at the worst. Since then it has changed its name and editor. The Unionist has more talent guiding it now, but no more truth. Me. McCully says the Chronicle has suddenly fallen in love with American institutions, and speaks differently from what it did formerly. The editor at the time alluded to was not the same who now speaks through its columns, and shows a spirit of manliness and fair play towards old friends. All that has been said by the press or politicians of the Provinces cannot hard the United States one jot; but it may bring trouble upon themselves. There are many of the American editors who inveigh bitterly against Britain and her “neutrality;” but if they have no more weight than Bennett of the Herald, their opinions will go exactly for what they are worth. We are bound to respect the law of England and stand by her in need; and if every one in British North America had obeyed the laws of their sovereign the Reciprocity Treaty might not have been repealed, the Americans would have respected us as they did before the war, and the timid to-day have had no fear of an invasion.

If fate have in store for us such a great calamity, would we be safer by Confederation? Far from it. Our 30,000 hardy seamen, which in the programme were to go man Canadian gunboats, and our brave militia, too, might have to leave our coasts bare to the ravages of the invader, without those able hands to shelter or protect the helpless ones at home!

But what do our patriotic delegates care if they but carry their point, and rise another step in the ladder of their ambition? Nothing. They are ready to toady to the future masters they would give to us – hold the candle to their steps that their way may be bright and glorious. Faugh! the gorge of every honest man should rise at the servility and treason which would thus sell our birthright.

And independent people spurn the thought
And claim the liberty for which their brave forefathers fought.

Halifax Sun and Advertiser, April 12, 1865. Page 3 Column 1. https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=dw5aoL0HVgwC&dat=18650412&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

Halifax Citizen, Tuesday May 16, 1865

Another fine illustration of the integrity of Canadian politicians, has been recently given to the public in the correspondence on Confederation submitted to the Legislature at Fredericton. In a despatch dated the 4th inst, Governor Gordon of New Brunswick calls Lord Monck’s attention to the fact that the Canadian government had altered an important clause in the Quebec convention report, so as to give it a meaning entirely different from that it was intended to bear. Clause 24 of the report reads as follows :-

24. The local Legislatures of each Province may from time to time alter the Electoral Districts for the purpose of Representation in the House of Commons, and distribute the Representatives to which the Province is entitled in any manner such Legislature may think fit.

That is the version certified by Sir E.P. Tache, as “a true copy,” and in that shape it was not only sent to the legislatures of the Maritime Provinces, but was also laid before both Houses of the Imperial Parliament. In the copy of the report and resolutions submitted to the Canadian Parliament, however, the text is altered by changing three words and interpolating four others:

24. The local Legislature of each Province may from time to time alter the Electoral Districts for the purpose of Representation in such Legislature, and distribute the Representatives to which the Province is entitled in such local Legislature in any manner such Legislature may see fit.

This alteration is of vital importance. The resolution as it originally stood, gave the several Provinces the right to arrange or alter the constituencies for the election of representatives to the federal House of Commons; as surreptitiously altered by the Canadians, it restricts this power to the making of alterations in the constituencies electing members of the local legislature only. Governor Gordon asked Lord Monck for an explanation of the discrepancy, but no reply to the request has been vouchsafed. The alteration in the text of this resolution, is one of those curious things that could not possibly be the result of accident. The words must have been interpolated by design, but what the design was, we must leave to some one more skilled in the mysteries of Canadian intrigue and dishonesty than ourselves to decide.

Halifax Sun and Advertiser, April 12, 1865. Page 1 Column 1. https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=D90uR9ClOh8C&dat=18650415&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

Halifax Citizen, Tuesday April 3, 1866

Many persons have wondered why it was that the Confederationists — the Advocates of the Quebec scheme — were so persistent in their endeavour to get an expression in favor of Union on any grounds, from the legislators of Newfoundland and New Brunswick. While still holding to the Quebec scheme, they were found advocating resolutions that condemned to that scheme, and merely recognized the principle of Union in the abstract; and they hailed the passing of such a resolution in Newfoundland as a signal triumph. The reason of this apparent change of policy is fully explained in an article in a recent number of the Quebec daily news from which we clip the following extract:—

It has been currently rumoured during the past few weeks, that in the event of the Maritime Provinces affirming the principle of colonial Union, an attempt will be made to alter the terms of the Quebec scheme in order to meet the views of each province and its opposition to the details of the plan of Confederation adopted by the Delegates in the fall of 1864. The modus operandi is stated to be another conference composed of Delegates from each Province, who will repair to England during this year, and place themselves in direct communication with Her Majesty’s ministers. It is further stated that the members of the new Conference will seek powers from the Legislatures of the respective Provinces, in virtue of which they may finally conclude upon a scheme of Confederation without being expected to reconsult those Legislatures, and that a bill based upon the result of their deliberations will be proposed and passed through the Imperial Parliament during its present session, which is expected to last till August.

There is good reason to believe that the plan of operations here outlined is official and authentic; because it squares and every particular with the plan of a new Convention as talked of in this city for the last month, and that is generally understood to have been explained to the Anti-Confederates in a very high quarter, and pressed upon their acceptance with all the art that diplomacy and flattery could command. It is cunningly invented trap; but like all such dangerous contrivances, it is only necessary that it be exposed and understood, to render it harmless. Part of the plan is said to be, that in this new convention, the anti-Confederates are to be fairly represented. This is an idea easier to propose then to accomplish; for it is not easy to understand how Anti-Confederates could be a party to the arrangement in any shape. There are some persons, however, in New Brunswick and Newfoundland who while firmly opposed to the Quebec scheme, would not object to an intercolonial Union if a plan that would be Equitable and fair to all Provinces could be devised; and it is this section of the anti-Confederate party that the schemers hope to entrap with the new convention dodge. If there are any of this class in Nova Scotia, we ask them to consider well the the proposal as above detailed, before assenting to it. A more Insidious and dangerous piece diplomatic art has not been produced by Canadian politicians for half a century. Suppose this class of the anti-Confederates were admitted to the new convention, they would certainly be in a minority, and therefore powerless. Even with the fullest understanding amongst themselves as to the line of policy they were to adopt — the concessions from the old scheme they were to demand —they would still be outvoted by the Canadians and the Tupper, Pope and the Tilly brigade of the Maritime Provinces. To object to Brown’s pet project of “Rep. by pop.,” or to Cartier’s plan of Federal instead of Legislative Union, or to Galt’s financial platform of eighty cents per head, would be wholly vain in the face of such odds. Under these circumstances the only thing left for them to do, would be to withdraw from the convention or to protest against his decisions, only to have their protest laughed at by the men who had duped them into a position so false to themselves and so fatal to their policy. The act of the majority would be the act of the Convention; and let it not be forgotten that the decision of this Convention, if ever it assembles, is to be final. There is to be no reference of the subject to the Provincial Legislatures. The schemers will take care that their ambitious project will not again be thwarted  by the interference of the people’s representatives. The consent of the several Legislatures to the Convention being assembled, will be assumed to be a consent to the decision of the Convention, whatever it may be; and the British Parliament will speedily give effect to that decision, without regard to the wishes or welfare of the people whose industrial interests would be perilled and political institutions destroyed by its consummation. To consent, therefore, to a new Convention on the terms proposed, while the Canadian Coalition lasts, and Mr. Cardwell sits in Downing Street, will be to accept the Quebec scheme in all its iniquity, without one jot or tittle of change, except such as the Canadians in their condescension may choose to permit; or may find it to their own advantage to adopt. It need, therefore, be no longer a matter of surprise that the Confederates were so anxious to have “the principle of Union” affirmed, even though the Quebec scheme might be condemned by the Legislatures while affirming the general principle.

The statement of the news an attempt will be made to alter the terms at the Quebec scheme to meet the views of each province, is evidently intended to imply that the proposal comes from the province’s dissenting from that scheme. There is, however, no foundation for such a belief. The plan is wholly Canadian, as the first convention was; and the delusive prospect of a possible change in the Quebec scheme is held out to deceive the Anti-Confederates if any among them are weak enough to be deceived by a ruse so ridiculously transparent.

Fortunately there seems to be small prospect at present of “the Maritime Provinces affirming the principle of Union”, which is a necessary Prelude to the new Convention. Newfoundland has already withdrawn from the position of half recognition that she assumed at the opening of the present session. In New Brunswick the opposition have not dared even to mention it in the want of confidence motion they have moved in the House; and the stability of the anti-Confederate Government in that Province is now beyond doubt. In Nova Scotia the ranks of the Anti-Confederate party remain as firm and unbroken today as they were twelve months ago; and with the developments we now have before us of the new Convention policy, the attitude of the party is not likely to be changed. It may well, however, to remind the members of the legislature, and the people of the country at large, that if under any sort of specious pretense a resolution can be smuggled through the House of Assembly this winter, “affirming the principle of colonial union,” even though it may condemn the Quebec scheme, it will give the Canadians the advantage they desire — the scheme of Confederation will be accomplished before August, and the session now in progress will be the last session of a free Parliament that Nova Scotia will ever be privileged to witness.


“The wild geese have passed over — a sure harbinger of the breaking up of winter. A great goose weighing ten pounds was shot at Mill Cove, Lunenburg, last week —yesterday’s Unionist.

It’s a bad place for “a great goose” to go to is Lunenburg. The people there do not appreciate such visitors. Last December a “great goose” from the Unionist office and a “quack-quack” from the Government side flew down to Lunenburg on nomination day — but the first volley sent the old grey gander back with feathers rumpled and badly scared, while his “quack” companion came tumbling heavily home with wounded wings shortly afterwards — a dejected witness of Lunenburg’s dislike of “great geese” and Confederation canards.

 

Halifax Citizen, April 3, 1866. Page 1 Column 1-2. https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=D90uR9ClOh8C&dat=18660403&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

A new Confederation argument

 

Our citizens in Halifax, and fellow colonists in Nova Scotia, who will not be frightened into Confederation, are now, it appears, to be beaten into it by any bludgeon carrier whom Dr. Tupper may declare “The most respectable and intelligent in the city” because he belongs to the Union League. The Union procession on Thursday night was believed to be intended as an intimidation to the opponents of Confederation, and we now learn that a most respectable, inoffensive officer of the corporation was beaten in a most cowardly brutal manner by one of the most active agents of the League, that night. Mr. Craigen, a gentleman widely respected in this community was beaten so badly by Mr. William Townshend, that he cannot move from his house. Had any of the young men in the street that night, struck a blow, Mr. Townsend would have been loud against the act. But it is such as he who actively promote these political processions in displays, and then disgrace their cause by rowdyism that deserve reprobation. We tell the Union League that they will go down before the force of public opinion if their agents are thus to break the law and draw blood in the interests of Confederation. We do not envy the feelings of his Worship the Mayor who lent himself and his Civic dignity to a political demonstration, and who took a place he should have left to the chairman of the League, when learning that the demonstration led to a breach of the peace, and the injury of a valued officer of the Corporation. Had the city of Halifax no more taxpayers than those whose political misrepresentations he read out in the Hall, neither the honor nor the salary would have been worth His Worship’s notice.

Halifax Citizen, April 15, 1865. Page 1 Column 7. https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=D90uR9ClOh8C&dat=18650415&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

Nova Scotia’s cry for home rule

“Having spent much time in Nova Scotia, I am often asked—Why does that province wish to sever connection with the Dominion, and what means her cry of “Repeal and Reciprocity”? And some of my friends are not a little shocked that, at a time when the question of Imperial Federation is so much discussed, our nearest kinsfolk on the American continent should be agitating for what at the first glance looks like separation, though it is far from being so intended. Imperial Federation is indeed a grand scheme, or will be when it attains the dignity of a scheme. At present it seems little better than a vague, but decidedly alluring, dream. And it is likely so to remain unless, among other safeguards, each unit which makes up the mass is allowed such a measure of self-government as shall secure it against possible harsh treatment on the part of any other unit which happens to be stronger.

Why the inhabitants of the Acadian peninsula want repeal of the union with Canada, and reciprocity with the United States and other countries, I propose in the following article to show.

When Nova Scotia, in 1867, entered the Confederation her debt amounted to some 8,000,000 or 9,000,000 dollars. Today her share of the rapidly increasing Dominion Debt, which during the last eighteen years has advanced from 96,000,000 to 281,000,000 dollars, is fully 28,000,000 dollars (Ottawa says 40,000,000 dollars), a burden far too heavy for her altered circumstances. And to-day the Dominion’s annual expenditure, which at the time of Confederation was 13,000,000 dollars, and in the last year of Liberal Government (1878) 23,000,000 dollars, has, to the dismay of Canada’s wisest statesmen, already reached 35,000,000 dollars, and ere the close of the present year is expected to touch 38,000,000 dollars. Of this charge Nova Scotia pays a tenth, if not a seventh, and of her contribution a large portion is spent outside her borders and in ways which benefit her not at all. “Previous to the Union,” her Premier, Mr. Fielding, tells us, “Nova Scotia had the lowest tariff, and was in the best financial condition of any of the provinces.” Today she has the highest tariff, since she pays some three dollars more on every hundred dollars’ worth of imported dutiable goods than her fellow provinces, and is, the same high authority assures us, in the worst financial condition. The reason is not far to seek. Not only does she, with the most liberal hand, subscribe to fill the common Treasury, but for her own needs she gets back the smallest proportional share, the allowance meted out to the seven principal provinces being somewhat as follows

Per head
Ontario$1.49 3/4
New Brunswick1.50 to 1.95
Prince Edward Island1.65
Quebec2.10 3/4
Manitoba7.50
British Columbia20.00
Nova Scotia0.98 to 1.18 3/4

While on the subject of monetary payments, it would scarcely be out of place to instance another grievance. When the Inter- national Fisheries Commission, which sat at Halifax in 1877, paid the Ottowan Tory Government, in November 1878, the five-and-a-half million dollars indemnity for the injury sustained by the fishermen of the Dominion, Nova Scotia, which had suffered most, received no share. Newfoundland was more fortunate. She was outside the Confederation; thus there was no excuse for withholding her portion. As the “grand old island” (to quote Captain Kennedy) keeps an attentive eye on the doings of her near neighbors, she is likely to remain outside.

The improvements, such as they are, made in Nova Scotia by the Ottawan Government, Mr. Fraser, a member of the local Parliament, assures us, are not paid for out of the taxes levied in the province, but are charged to the National Debt. It is to be hoped the improvements are of a lasting and beneficial character, so that the prospect of getting out of debt again may be less desperate than in the case of sundry other undertakings. For instance, the Halifax Chronicle of June 11, tells us that 500,000 dollars have been spent in establishing a sugar refinery at Richmond, a suburb of Halifax, every cent of which is lost; ‘ also that 350,000 dollars have been sunk in a cotton-mill hard by which is probably worth ten cents in the dollar, and has never yet paid a dividend. To keep life in these and other bantling industries, the Ottowan Government imposes pretty stiff duties on imported sugar and cotton, whether to commemorate the throwing away of the 850,000 dollars and other enormous sums on similar undertakings elsewhere, or to give cause for a new reading (by substitution of the word Protectionists) of a sneering old proverb anent the wisdom of our ancestors, I know not.

Among other efforts, some colonists, foolishly relying on that spirit of private enterprise which it seems to be the paternal mission of Protection to thwart, once sought to rival Crosse and Blackwell by setting up a pickle factory. The vegetables were cheap and plentiful enough, but the duty on imported glass bottles was sufficient to cause the infant industry to die that premature death to which most of the infant industries seem doomed whose misfortune it is to be Protection’s foster children.

Let us examine awhile this matter of Protection, which has so much to do with Nova Scotia’s discontent, and see whether it be true, as some of our friends so confidently and at times so flippantly assure us, that the doctrines taught by Cobden, Bright, and others are all wrong, and that we had much better return to that halcyon period when commerce lived in shackles and cheap bread was not. Abler pens than mine have exhausted the subject as regards Europe and the United States; therefore I will chiefly confine myself, because I can speak as an eye-witness, to the question as it affects the Acadian peninsula. And it may not a little astonish “fair traders” to learn that the condition to which Nova Scotia is reduced is that which all sound political economists would expect, that she is indeed an existing ‘awful example,’ some 2,500 miles away, of the hideous folly of reverting to Protectionist principles. Her taxation is swollen some 150 per cent, and the tariff, being purposely framed to bar out foreign trade as much as possible, does her serious injury; albeit Protectionists on her side of the Atlantic labour with a zeal worthy a better cause (though fruitlessly, I am glad to say, for Acadians are not mostly fools to make her people believe that an imported article which formerly came in free, or with only a 10 per cent, duty charged, is no dearer now when a 25 to 35 per cent, duty is paid. And, as the last report of the Halifax Chamber of Commerce declares, Protection presses especially hard upon a people who are chiefly fishermen, agriculturists, miners, and farmers. “Repeal,” says the Chronicle of May 12, “would mean closer trade relations with all our natural markets,” to wit, New England, the West Indies, and other places, with which, says another writer, “the province is bound together socially, commercially, and geographically.” These trade relations, so far from being cultivated, are, as I will still further show, distinctly discouraged. And one effect of this unduly heavy, taxation, unequal distribution of its proceeds, and enforced isolation is to cause more favoured provinces to flourish at Nova Scotia’s expense.

I spoke just now of altered circumstances. Let us glance at these. To do so is not to wander from the subject of Protection, as will at once appear. Halifax’s two miles or so of fine wharves are doing far less business than of yore, and have so decreased in value that, as the Attorney-General, Mr. Longley, says, those which once could not be purchased for 50,000 dollars now will not sell for 20,000 dollars. One wharf, the Chronicle tells us, which fifteen years ago for 40,000 dollars, was bought in last year by one of the banks for 22,000 dollars. Another was sold some years since at 25,000 dollars, and a few weeks ago was bought in for less than half that sum. Meanwhile the polo ground, which occupies an excellent situation on that high tableland which in better times will form part of the city’s centre, was sold some years ago for 16,000 dollars, and recently bought for $7,000 dollars. Shops, too, may be had at far less price than their cost of erection could they but meet with purchasers, are altogether between 300 and 400 houses in the once prosperous capital are for sale. Many families are without their grown-up sons, who are driven to seek a livelihood in other lands; and, owing to the constant exodus, the population, which between 1861 and 187 1 increased over 17 per cent., is acknowledged, even by those who would fain shut their eyes to tell-tale statistics, to have grown during the succeeding decade at a much slower rate. If Nova Scotia be as prosperous as some would have us believe, how is it that every year thousands of her youth of both sexes and all conditions leave her shores? The exodus is sometimes, apparently for political reasons, denied, though the inhabitants of the province are well aware not only of its existence but of its magnitude. There are, the Attorney-General tells us, more Nova Scotians in Boston than in Halifax. New England contains a vast number. And, on the other hand, in summer the New Englanders gladly crowd into verdant Nova Scotia, driven by the tremendous heat of their own country to the more salubrious and enjoyable climate of this ail-but island. An Ontarian in Nova Scotia, adds Mr. Longley, might be exhibited as a curiosity. Yet between the natural allies is raised the protective barrier. A Nova Scotian Q.C., Mr. Thomson, shows that the Assessment Rolls of many districts have steadily decreased, those of four leading counties, representing the four leading industries of coal- mining, farming, ship-building, and lumbering, which in 1868 amounted to a little below 1 1 1/3 million dollars, having fallen in 1884 to less than 8^ millions.’ Every way the province suffers.

Were return made to the 10 per cent, ante- Confederation tariff, and were the taxes raised in Nova Scotia spent in Nova Scotia, there would, says a veteran member of the Provincial Liberal Government, Mr. Morrison, be money enough to build every projected railway, make our road and bridge service efficient, and still have a large surplus for other purposes.’ As it is, railway enterprise halts, and roads and bridges are falling out of repair. Meanwhile, Nova Scotia is forced to consume Canadian flour, and to pay 60 cents in conveyance on the same amount thereof, as, before Confederation, she paid 10 cents to the nearer United States. In exchange for this dearer flour, distant Canada is supposed to buy Nova Scotian coal. Needless to say, distant Canada finds it as a rule more convenient to draw her “black diamonds ” from neighboring Pennsylvania. That Ontario at least should do so is inevitable. Her natural markets are not the maritime provinces, but the states of New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. Those of Manitoba and the North-West are Dakota, Minnesota, and Michigan; while those of British Columbia are Idaho, Washington Territory, Oregon, and coalless California. When the trade relations between these states and provinces are hindered, the injury is mutual. But the provinces suffer most, for, when protecting themselves against the outside world, the United Sates were too wise to allow any individual state to protect itself against any other individual state. Thus they have an enormous country, compact of shape, and posessed of almost every variety of climate and of products, enjoying absolute Free Trade within its wide borders. It is as if international Free Trade prevailed throughout Europe, to the exclusion only of other continents. This most telling fact, however, the advocates of Protection over here, when exhorting us to let our small group of islands follow America’s example and bar out the rest of the world, seem entirely to overlook. The Dominion, although it, too, has Free Trade within its borders, differs from the United States in being a long straggling string of provinces, designed by nature rather to be gathered into three or four groups, and possessing too little variety of climate and products to justify imitation of her great neighbour’s somewhat unsuccessful attempt at independence of other nations. The United States by Free Trade with other countries would enjoy greatly increased prosperity. So also would Canada prosper were she but to throw open her ports and gates. In the case of Nova Scotia, Protetction is nothing less than a curse. Visitors to Canada —the tourists, I mean, who take a month’s or six weeks’ run across to the Dominion, are introduced to one set of people, make a mental note (for later use) of their opinions, give a hurried look round, and then return home to add yet another to the list of valuable books upon foreign countries and the colonies—are often invited to admire the progress the upper provinces have made, and are gravely assured that ‘Protection has done much for Canada.’ Much to make or much to mar? It is not the marring, however, which is implied. Of the making, how much has been done by individual energy, and in spite of Protection, and how much by the forced contributions of other provinces?

Protection, being as mischievous as it is foolish, has, wherever introduced, given rise to smuggling, thereby creating and fostering a dishonest calling. Was there ever delusion that was not harmful? Now, as there is no great Chinese wall built up between the two sections of friendly English-speaking races which people the United States and the Canadian Dominion, the boundary-line must exist in official imagination, except indeed where some custom house or other barrier has risen, some lake or stream traces the border, or where (if it still exists) the long lane cut through the primeval forest marks the forty-ninth latitudinal parallel. It almost follows that as this boundary-line is some three or four thousand miles in length, it can scarcely serve its intended purpose as a hindrance to free trading between two kindred nations. In other words, smuggling flourishes apace. Needless to add, every smuggler, whether American or Canadian, is a staunch Protectionist. It is manifestly to the interest of his pocket so to be. As for his scruples of conscience, they are too microscopic a quantity, even if they have any existence, to be worth consideration. But Nova Scotia, like Prince Edward Island, nowhere touches the United States frontier. Therefore she has not one quarter of the splendid chance for smuggling, and consequent cheaper sale of, and larger profit on, dutiable articles of Cousin Jonathan’s manufacture, which the more favorably situated provinces take, it is rumored, such frequent opportunities to enjoy. Which fact doubtless adds to her embarrassment. And the longer she is bound against her will and against her interests in this unnatural bondage the more desperate becomes her condition. “Wait till the West is more settled !” cry the Protectionists. “Wait till the Canadian Pacific Railway gets into full running order ! See how Nova Scotia’s trade will flourish then, and how the West will deal with her!” Vain dream! Have Federationists ever realized the fact that by rail Montreal (Que.) is 859 miles from Halifax? If Ontario, which is yet further, is too remote to trade much with Nova Scotia, are the very much more distant North-West and British Columbia likely to do so? If there were no other impediment, there would still be the one item, in this huge straggling country, of cost of transport. No ! it is impossible to create artificial trade or artificial markets. the oft-derided plan of ‘making people virtuous by Act of Parliament” (is) absurd.

After what I have said of the tariff”, I trust that Nova Scotia’s cry for Reciprocity may not sound amiss in British Free Trade ears. To us, it is a word retrogressive of meaning, synonymous with Retaliation. To a country severely suffering from Protection’s blighting influence, Reciprocity, on the contrary, appears distinctly progressive, tends towards trade freedom, and has a sense identical with our term Commercial Treaty. Reciprocity with the United States to Nova Scotia would mean trade-resuscitation. The experiment has already been tried; and reference to statistics of the past will show with what success. The Reciprocity Treaty, which lasted fourteen years, came into operation in 1854. The previous year—English currency was then in use—the exports of Nova Scotia were a trifle below £280,000. The succeeding year, 1855, they were over £481,000. The imports were in 1853 nearly £416,000; in 1855, over £780,000.

At the time of Confederation (1867) the province was importing 14,000,000 dollars’ worth of goods. She now imports 8,000,000 dollars’ worth. During these fourteen prosperous years the Halifax Assessment Roll advanced from about 10 1/2 million dollars to 17 1/4 millions, since which time it has steadily declined. No wonder the Attorney-General, when speaking of those years, should say, “The period then was one of the golden days in the history of Nova Scotia, when fortunes were accumulated, farms increased in value, and prosperity abounded.” Is it, then, surprising that the provincials, with that crowning sorrow born of remembrance of happier things, should be resolutely striving to bring them back?

To those among us who are bitten with Fair Trade notions, I would earnestly recommend a prolonged residence in the Dominion, the maritime provinces perhaps especially. Those, too, who waste time and sentiment in deploring the (imaginary) harm done to a country by free imports, might derive much comfort from studying there the very real injury inflicted by trying the experiment of heavily taxed imports. It would be safe to wager that the hostility to Free Trade would soon be relegated to the society of last year’s snows.

Those who think the repeal cry in Nova Scotia is indicative of disloyalty make a great mistake. The question is being agitated in reasonable and dignified language. Indeed, the Repeal speeches in the Provincial Parliament have been at once so moderate in tone and sound in argument, that they might well command admiration in our own House. They are ably supplemented by a flood of correspondence in the Halifax Chronicle and elsewhere. Thus it is clear there is no deterioration in the race which two years before the mother country passed a measure of Catholic Emancipation.

Nor is humour wanting to give pleasing variety to the discussion, as is made manifest when Mr. Mack, M.P.P., reminds the House that, as that man is considered a patriot who makes two blades of grass to grow where but one grew before, those who were instrumental in achieving Confederation must have been especially patriotic, since grass is now abundant—in the city streets. The Halifax Chamber of Commerce maintains that those are ‘ cruel and unjust laws ‘ which restrict trade between ‘natural customers,’ and truly says that commercial ‘relations between British Colonies should be free. “There are,” says Mr. Roche, M.P.P., “no more loyal people within the wide compass of the British Empire than the Repeal party of Nova Scotia.” Elsewhere he reminds his fellow-provincials that Nova Scotia was true when Canada was in rebellion.

For things cannot last as they are. The instinct of self-preservation teaches revolt against them. The better to realize the situation, let us imagine ourselves in Nova Scotia’s place. Suppose this straggling Europe to be united like the Dominion with little local governments elsewhere, but with an all-controlling and very despotic central power situated hundreds of miles away—say to Vienna. Suppose that by-and-by the Viennese decided, in the imaginary interests of Austro-Hungary to adopt a rigorous system of Protection, and to impose it upon the rest of Europe. Suppose the inhabitants of the British Isles, on account of their superior wealth and energy, to be specially selected for taxation for the benefit of Austro-Hungary and adjacent countries. Suppose them to become aware of their consequent impoverishment, to feel its injustice, and to strive, year after year, constantly and vainly, to convince Vienna of the un-soundness of her economic views, and, still more, of the sacred right of each individual member of the European community to control its own affairs, political and commercial. And, finally, suppose them, conscious at last that the choice lay between gradual ruin and timely secession, to prefer the latter alternative, and to try to reach it by peaceable and legitimate means. They would only be taking the course followed by Nova Scotia now. Should we not, looking on, say, from the neighbouring continents of Asia or Africa, think they were justified in so doing ? Should we not indeed despise them were they indifferent to their country’s decay, and did they not make every reasonable effort to free her and themselves from what had grown to be an intolerable bondage ?

The grievance of the Nova Scotians, then, being so genuine, and their spirit so constitutional, the case surely merits a patient hearing.”

Fellows, E. C., “Nova Scotia’s cry for home rule”. [S.l. : s.n., 1886?]. https://www.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.18052

Confederation examined in the light of reason and common sense

“It is my purpose, in the following pages, to expose the fallacies of a Pamphlet on Confederation, “by a Nova Scotian,” which has been widely circulated, and, though shallow in the extreme, is calculated to mislead the unwary. It bears strong evidence, of being the work of one of the unauthorized individuals, who pretend to have visited London, clothed with authority, to overturn all our political institutions.

Although the author complains, in reference to imputations cast on their spotless reputations, that “no one ventures under his signature in open day to prefer a charge, &c,” he has not mustered courage to put his own name to this tissue of mere sophistries. When the delegates returned to the Province they did not meet with a very flattering reception. They had no ovation; and no illuminations, bonfires, and other demonstrations of felicitous welcome hailed their return. They were not escorted to their homes with torches and banners, and through triumphal arches; no cannon thundered forth a noisy welcome. They were received in solemn, sullen, and ominous silence. No happy smiles greeted them; but they entered the Province as into the house of mourning.

Conscious that they had forfeited the confidence of their fellow subjects, they found it necessary to solicit approbation, and have put forth this pamphlet; but not one of them dared to put his name to the tricky and deceitful electioneering manifesto.

It is well known that they had no part in the preparation of the scheme of Confederation which was manufactured in Canada; for D’Arcy McGee, at a public dinner at Kingston, with imprudent candor, probably under the inspiration of champagne and claret, boasted that it was the work of John A. McDonald, the Canadian Attorney General. ‘The whole plot was contrived in Canada, the Nova Scotia Delegates are rot entitled to the unenviable merit of the least participation in its composition, and it is but charity to suppose that they bad not even sense enough to understand it

It would therefore scarcely do for one of the political adventurers to present himself to the people, in person, and ask them “one and all to hail it as they would a deliverer, and to close with it as a boon of priceless value, and to feel that a debt of gratitude is due to the men whose untiring efforts at length secured it, and handed  over to their country an enduring proof of their ability, and pledge Of their patriotism.”

As the author of this attempt to procure approval under false pretenses comes begging for favor anonymously, I will, for the sake of convenience, call him Lazarus, the most characteristic name I can think of. He opens with a rodomontading homily on union. The old hackneyed truism “union is strength” is the text. Every social and political beatitude is made to flow from union. There would be no civilization without union, and we have any amount of philosophical twaddle on this indispensable principle in human affairs. Well, we are ready to admit that men could not get along very well without union; for, indeed, and it is a wonder his sagacity had not detected the curious fact, we should have had no human family at all if it had not been for the union of Adam and Eve. But I can scarcely admit that all social and political unions are conducive to peace and happiness. When a tender, confiding girl gives her affections to a man, and they marry; is this social union necessarily productive of happiness? What if he should turn out a very brute in his conduct, and treat her with every species of cruelty and inhumanity? Has this social union produced the peace and happiness she anticipated?

In like manner, if a small Colony of a few hundred thousand people enters into a political marriage with one or two larger Colonies, having millions of people, does it necessarily follow that this union must produce peace and happiness? What if the larger Colonies should combine to rob the small one of her independence, should tyrannize over her, and trample on her rights and liberties: how much has the suffering Colony gained by this union?

Union may be good, or it may be evil, profitable or unprofitable. The elements of union may be beneficent or malevolent. There may be a union of angels, and there may be a union of devils. To which of these classes shall we refer that ill-fated or auspicious union, as it may hereafter prove, between the leaders of our Government and the leaders of the Opposition, which has excited the admiration of the Province ? Was this union angelical or diabolical ? Was it like the noble friendship of Brutus and Cassius, inspired by an undying love of country, or was it like the selfish, crafty and ambitious conspiracy of Anthony, Lepidus, and Augustus, against the life of Rome?

There is nothing like union! Men, he says, unite to make railroads, telegraphs, and steam navigation. So we would remind him, they sometimes unite to rob, to defraud, and to betray. Nations also, like individuals, may unite for good, or they may unite for evil. They may unite to defend, or they may unite to destroy, the liberty of their neighbors. England, Russia, Prussia, and Austria united, to preserve the liberty of the European nations from the ambitious grasp of Napoleon. Russia, Austria, and Prussia united to rob the Poles, and divide their country among themselves; and if we allow them, Ontario and Quebec will unite to rob and oppress Nova Scotia.

……..

I will not follow the example of Lazarus, and deal in mere declamation, but will establish the following propositions, by arguments logical, conclusive, and irrefragable.

That the Colonies were sufficiently united, and that, if a closer political connection was desirable, Confederation is the worst system by which they can be combined.

That the Constitution provided for the Colonies by the British North American Act, would, if adopted, rob Nova Scotia of every particle of independence, and reduce her to the degraded position of a dependency of Canada.

That the British North American Act is unconstitutional and void, and until it is ratified by a Provincial Statute, in no manner binds Nova Scotia.

That the Province, under Confederation, would, in a financial point of view, be reduced to ruin. That the Canadas would dispose of our fisheries to obtain commercial advantages to themselves from the United States.

That the Canadas, if Confederation be accepted by Nova Scotia, will sell our Railroads to pay off our public debt, and will keep our money into the bargain.

That Confederation is a Canadian Scheme, carefully prepared for the subjugation of Nova Scotia, and adopted by our Delegates from motives of personal interest.

That the delegates had not a shadow of authority from the Legislature, to procure an English Statute, for the Confederation of Canada, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, and that what little authority they had, they most grossly abused.

That the people have it in their power to reject Confederation in a constitutional manner, and that whether it is accepted or rejected, depends on their own conduct, at the next general election.”

Wilkins, Martin I., “Confederation examined in the light of reason and common sense, and the British N.A. Act shewn to be unconstitutional”. Halifax, N.S. : Z.S. Hall, 1867. https://www.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.23420

Coit correspondence of 1871

“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 the town, running up from two points in the harbor, with block houses at frequent intervals. The town of Dartmouth, on the opposite side of the harbor, began its career a year later, in 1750, and in the year following some German settlers added themselves to the colony occupying the North End, now called Dutch Town, through which we came from the depot. So late as 1780 the streets were impassable for carriages by reason of rocks and stumps. They have not yet attained the dignity and cleanliness which paving stones impart.

We linger long in the cool, breezy atmosphere of our lofty station. North is Bedford Basin, covering ten square miles and able to hold the whole British Navy. Indeed, I doubt not that in the North East arm which is nine miles long and includes the Basin, the navies of the world might assemble in grand convention and be secure as sheep in a fold. West, across the harbor, one mile, the town of Dartmouth is tilted up so as to display all her charms, most conspicuous and central among which is the Lunatic Asylum, an imposing structure of freestone.”


“The question coming oftenest to the surface of every-day speech in the Provinces, which the stranger hears discussed everywhere, is annexation. It is not easy however, to discover what the people themselves want. One will tell you the majority are for, another that it is overwhelmingly against the project. The truth seems to be that political thought in the Dominion is in a transition state, waiting for “something to turn up.” If England would disclose her intentions respecting the Provinces, the proposition would be simplified. At present, I am told opposition to annexation is not based on any conviction regarding material thrift, but is a matter of pure sentiment.

Mr, Wetmore (himself an annexationist, I believe) finely expressed the feeling which, no doubt, pervades many provincial breasts, when he said in the saloon of the steamer New Brunswick: “It is not necessary for the sake of paltry rhetoric to throw away one bit of our patriotism. We love our country, and we greet you no less cordially because we extend to you British hands.” This is all natural and right. Our forefathers were aglow with the same sort of sentiment before it was spanked out and stamped out with the maternal slipper. It does not seem likely that we shall importune the Provinces to become states of the Republic; but if in the progress of events they shall desire to link their destinies with ours, I trust we shall give them a hearty welcome.

The Dominion of Canada is about four years old. Already the Confederation is without harmony and unpopular. It is particularly distasteful to Nova Scotia. Indeed, nowhere in the Provinces we visited does there appear to be any loyalty to the Dominion as such, corresponding to that devotion to the Union among us, which is its safeguard and strength. The parts are indifferent to the whole. They are held together by clumsy carpentry, not by living processes of organic growth. Consequently there is no enthusiasm — nothing akin to a national spirit, among the people. The notion that they belong to the Dominion of Canada seems vague and unfamiliar, and the name has no magic in it.

In the Provinces farther north and west, there is a furor for independence, finding some sympathy throughout the Dominion. Men are dazzled with visions of a grand empire bounded by three oceans, and wait impatiently the snapping of the leading strings which have become “attenuated to cobwebs.” It is likely that the child will soon go alone; and not unlikely, I think, that in some crisis of croup or teething it may be turned over to the United States as to a sort of Children’s Home.”

Davis, A. H; Sawyer, Caroline M. (Caroline Mehetabel), 1812-1894. “Coit correspondence of 1871, or, The second trip to New Brunswick by the Coit family”. 1872. Worcester [Mass.] : Printed by Chas. Hamilton, Palladium Office https://archive.org/details/coitcorresponden00davi

Nova Scotia—British North American Confederation

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 to all Englishmen must or ought to be considered a very serious complaint. It complains that the Parliament of this country, by an Act passed in the last Session, overthrew the constitution of the colony of Nova Scotia, and destroyed a description—nay, in fact, a reality—of independence which had existed in that colony for nearly 100 years; that it handed over the Government and the destiny of the colony mainly to another colony—namely, that of Canada; and, taking from the people of Nova Scotia the management of their own affairs, the appointment of their own officials, the collection and expenditure of their own revenues, transferred the whole of these to a Parliament created by the Bill, which was to sit at Ottawa, distant not less than 800 miles from Nova Scotia.

Now the petition declares—and I think it is capable of proof—that the House of Commons and the Parliament of the United Kingdom did all they could, not only without the consent of the colonists of Nova Scotia, but directly in the face of their pronounced disapproval; and I think it would be easy to show that what has been done was in reality done as a great surprise to the people of Nova Scotia, and that it was in some degree—though I am afraid to use a word that may seem harsh—a fraud upon the Imperial Parliament. At least, if it were not a fraud—and perhaps I had better withdraw that word—the Act was passed upon representations which were extravagantly coloured, if they were not absolutely untrue.

The Bill that passed last year did not include the colonies of Prince Edward’s Island and Newfoundland and for a very good reason, but for only one reason—namely, that the people of those two colonies did not take part in the discussion on this matter, and refused to be united to the other British North American Provinces. A clause was inserted in the Bill which would enable them at any future time to enter on its consideration—a clause which was perfectly wise, and would have been still better if it had included Nova Scotia. It is quite clear that, for the very same reasons, if they have a real existence, Nova Scotia ought to have been excluded; and I shall ask the attention of the House while I show them that Nova Scotia had as much right to be excluded as the other two colonies, and as much right to complain of being included as they would have had if they had been included in the Bill.

The petition which I presented to the House describes itself as a petition from the representatives of the people of Nova Scotia, and was signed as I shall state. Out of nineteen Members who were elected last September to represent the Province of Nova Scotia in the Parliament at Ottawa, seventeen Members had given their assent to the petition, and had declared themselves opposed to the Confederation. But of the thirty-eight Members elected last September to the Nova Scotian Parliament or House of Assembly, not fewer than thirty-six have signed the petition.

I think that if 640 or 650 out of the Members of this House signed a declaration on some great public question, it would be difficult to say, especially if it were a question of subverting our Constitution, and handing us over to somebody else, that that was not a very fair, satisfactory, and complete expression of the will of the people of the United Kingdom in regard to that matter. The case appears to me to have been on the part of Parliament simply one of great error—an error of haste and precipitation; but to the colony, if their opinions are as I believe them to be, it is one of very serious wrong. I know exactly beforehand what the right hon. Gentleman will say upon this matter. He will say, “We have had the assent of the colony, and it is impossible for anybody to argue now that after what was done by the Legislature of Nova Scotia that the Province was wrongfully included in the Act of last year.” I should be very glad to have the matter placed on that footing; because, if it were once concluded by the House that the Bill, so far as Nova Scotia was concerned, was wrong, and ought to be repealed, and that the people of Nova Scotia were not consenting parties to it, then I think I should be able to prevail on the House to exclude Nova Scotia from the operation of the Bill. I say that not only did they not consent, but the Government of this country knew perfectly well that they did not consent.

In the debate that took place last year in the other House, where the Bill was first introduced, there was a very able and comprehensive speech delivered by the Earl of Carnarvon, then Secretary of State for the Colonies, in which he referred to the question, and admitted its difficulty. Referring to the case of Nova Scotia, he said there was no petition against the Bill on the table of the House of Lords. He said he believed there were petitions, and he insinuated something rather against them, for he added that though they were drawn with considerable ability, yet they had about them the mark of some single hand. He said it was admitted that there were petitions, apparently from public meetings, signed chiefly by the chairman, no numbers of those who attended the meetings being given.

He referred to what was done in 1861, when a Resolution, generally favourable to some kind of Confederation was passed in the House of Assembly of Nova Scotia; but, as he said, it was in very general terms, and therefore no one could say fairly that it had anything to do with this particular Bill or this particular form of Confederation. He referred also to what took place in 1863, when the Parliament of Nova Scotia was dissolved—that the Parliament existing at the moment had agreed to vote in favour of Confederation, and that the British Government and Parliament could not go back beyond that vote, assuming that the Colonial Parliament was perfectly competent to do what it did, and that what it did must be admitted, even if the people did not agree with it.

He instanced the example of the Assembly of Jamaica two or three years ago, when that frightful catastrophe took place, and the Assembly was admitted by the Parliament of this country to be competent to destroy itself as a constitutional instrument of government. We know well that the Jamaica Assembly was a doomed body the moment those transactions took place, and that, in point of fact, it only “committed suicide to save itself from slaughter,” since if it had not done that, the very first act of the Imperial Parliament would have been to make some substantial change in the government of Jamaica.

This is the sentence in which the Earl of Carnarvon expresses his feelings on the matter— The plea for delay is in reality a plea for indefinite postponement, and to this I do not believe that Parliament will lend its ear. This measure has been purchased at the cost of great personal and local interests, and if we now remit it—I care not on what pretence—to the further consideration of the Province, we deliberately invite opposition, and we may be sure that many years will pass over before another such proposal for Confederation is submitted to Parliament”—[3 Hansard, clxxxv. 572.] It is quite clear from that expression that he knew perfectly well what was going on in the colony; how entirely dissatisfied the people were with the proceedings of this Parliament; and he feared that if there were any delay—for the Bill would not pass if Nova Scotia was not included—and the question was remitted to the decision of the people of Nova Scotia, the idea of the Federation of all the colonies would not be carried out for many years to come. I think that supports the proposition I am submitting to the House.

If the House determines—whether the people of Nova Scotia wish it or not—that that Province should be included in the Confederation, then I have no more to say on the matter. I should argue it no longer, and should leave Parliament and the Government to take the consequences of a policy which in my opinion would be so foolish and so monstrous. What is the course which the House of Assembly and the people of the colony took on this matter? I ask hon. Gentlemen who may fancy there is really nothing in the question to consider it carefully, because in all probability this will not be the last occasion of its being brought before us. In 1861 there had been very naturally a good deal of talk in the British North American Provinces as to the propriety of a Confederation of the colonies, and in that year the House of Assembly of Nova Scotia passed a Resolution of a general character, which referred to a general or partial Confederation or union of the maritime Provinces, and which appointed delegates to consider the question, and to correspond with others who might be concerned in it. In 1862 certain delegates were appointed to meet the Executive Council of Canada, and another deputation from New Brunswick at Quebec. The whole matter was discussed and the determination come to by the conference was that the consideration of the question was premature, and that, until the intercolonial railway was made, and until the colonies were brought into that kind of amalgamation which would arise from the general establishment of free trade among them, nothing could be done, and therefore no further steps were taken by that conference.

The next year a General Election occurred, but it is not asserted by anyone that the question of Confederation was referred to the decision of the constituencies. Two important questions were referred to them—one was that of retrenchment, some thinking that the Government had been very expensive; the other was a proposed limitation of the franchise. The result of the election was a change of Government—a result that sometimes follows a General Election in this country—and a Minister of great authority being deposed, a Minister who has since had great authority—namely, Dr. Tupper—ascended the Nova Scotian ministerial throne. In 1864, soon after Dr. Tupper came to the Premiership, the new Parliament met, and went into the question of Confederation, appointing delegates to consider the propriety of a union between Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward’s Island; but I believe that on no occasion has Nova Scotia shown any disposition to unite in any Confederation from which New Brunswick and Prince Edward’s Island were excluded. In the same year there was what is called a “deadlock” in the administration of affairs in Canada.

The House will bear in mind that for many years past it is not Nova Scotia that has troubled the English Parliament and Government, but any difficulty in connection with the British North American provinces has arisen from embarrassments in Canada. The dead-lock in Canada was such that men looked across the table at each other in the House of Assembly, and asked how things were to go on. It was ultimately agreed that there should be a coalition; that men who had fought violently in Parliament for years before should form a coalition Government, and that its policy should he to combine all the Provinces in a Federal union; or, if that was impracticable, to apply Federal principles to Canada alone, by forming a central Parliament, in which representation should be based upon population, which would give dominance to Upper Canada, and so in all probability get rid of a dead-lock. This was the means by which they proposed to extricate themselves from the embarrassment in which they were placed, and to set their governmental carriage running on its four wheels again.

The delegates who had been appointed to consider the desirableness of a union of the maritime Provinces—Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward’s Island—met, in August 1864, at Charlottetown, the capital of Prince Edward’s Island, and they discussed the question for some time; but whilst so doing they were interrupted by the advent of a powerful delegation from Canada, the Canadian politicians being afraid that the maritime Provinces would get up a more limited Federation of their own. The result was, that these gentlemen having no increased authority from the House of Assembly of Nova Scotia, whatever they had from New Brunswick or Prince Edward’s Island, some delay took place, and the delegates met again in Quebec, in October 1864, the result of their deliberations being the formation of what was known as the Quebec scheme, and which really formed the basis of the Bill which the Parliament passed here last year.

The delegates from Nova Scotia and from the other Provinces did not agree to the Confederation. There is no proof that Nova Scotia has ever in any way countenanced a Confederation in which all the maritime Provinces should not be included. Bear in mind that up to this moment the policy of complete Confederation was entirely Canadian. It was not Nova Scotian—it was not even Imperial. Judging from the despatches of the right hon. Member for Oxford (Mr. Cardwell), the Colonial Office looked at it with great shyness, and probably did not think it was in a position to give immediate and distinct sanction to it. When this scheme became known in Nova Scotia, there arose a spontaneous excitement on the part of the whole people; meetings were held almost everywhere; petitions in great numbers numerously signed were presented to the House, objecting to the scheme; and objecting—as they have done all along—that anything should be done which was not referred to the constituencies at the elections.

The Nova Scotian House met in February 1865, and in his opening speech the Governor referred to the Quebec scheme, promising to bring the question before the House; but he did not do so because it was felt that the opinion in Nova Scotia was so entirely against it that it would be in vain to ask the support of the House of Assembly for the scheme that had been contrived and developed at Quebec, The House did, however, in fact revive, not this scheme, but the smaller scheme of a Confederation of the maritime Provinces, to which the Nova Scotians had all along been greatly attached, though they do not appear to have in the least favoured a scheme to submerge them, as it were, in the Canadian power. They revived the Resolution of 1864, which referred only to the Confederation of the maritime Provinces; and to show how determined the House was to do nothing more than that, it actually rejected the Preamble to the Resolutions, which seemed to give some kind of semblance to the idea that under some circumstances they would consent to union with Canada. They thus showed in a very remarkable manner how watchful they were that they should not be committed to a general Confederation in which Canada was included with them.

In the Session of 1865 there were 183 petitions, signed by more than 15,000 persons, presented to the House of Assembly of Nova Scotia, complaining of any attempt whatsoever to deal with the question of Confederation until it had been referred for the opinion of the people to be constitutionally expressed at a General Election. There were 183 petitions against any such proceeding, and only one solitary petition—the number of names I have not found stated in the petition—in favour of Confederation. Well, now we come to the Session of 1866. The House met in February. There was not a single word in the Governor’s speech on the question of Confederation. If it had been referred to the constituencies—if the people of Nova Scotia were wishing for it—if it was for its consideration Parliament had been assembled, I think we should have had something about it in the Governor’s speech. The question had been considered as one virtually settled—the minds of the people of Nova Scotia had been so far drawn from it that the whole matter was supposed to be at an end.

What happened two months after? This extraordinary thing—the First Minister of Nova Scotia, Dr. Tupper, brought in a Resolution that a scheme of Confederation should be proceeded with, and delegates were appointed to arrange the scheme. No time was given for public meetings, petitions, or demonstrations of public opinion, and, in fact, the whole proceeding was carried on with an indecent haste, such as I should think there is no example of in a Legislative Assembly that was about, contrary to the will of its constituents, to subvert and overthrow its own power. The Session before there was no majority for doing anything; but in the Session of 1866 there was a majority for this proceeding. How it was obtained I know not; but there are modes of dealing with Oppositions, as we have had any number of times in this House, by which a minority sometimes becomes a majority.

Dr. Tupper is a man of whom I will say nothing that is disrespectful. He is a man, I should say, of rather a subtle intellect, and he has what is an admirable thing in a Prime Minister—a persuasive tongue; and, what is more, he appears to me to have an ambition which is not willing to be confined within the comparatively narrow limits of the Province of Nova Scotia; and, somehow or other, Dr. Tupper managed to convert the minority of the year before into the majority of the year 1866, and succeeded in having this Resolution passed and these delegates appointed. Then these delegates came to England, where they were joined by those of Canada and New Brunswick, Prince Edward’s Island and Newfoundland taking no part in the matter, and sending no delegates; so that, happily or unhappily as the case may turn out—for I am not arguing for or against Confederation as a principle—their legislation did not subvert their Constitution, and they are free as they were before. But there came to England whilst this question was under discussion a counter delegation sent by the people—not the Assembly—of Nova Scotia. The delegates from the people brought a petition signed, not in favour of Confederation, by 31,000 male inhabitants of Nova Scotia, protesting against the Imperial Parliament giving its assistance to the subversion of the Constitution of Nova Scotia and to uniting that colony to Canada, and till the people should have had an opportunity of declaring their opinion upon that proposal at the General Elections in the Colony.

In the month of March last year I protested against the right hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for the Colonies proceeding with the Bill, telling him that in three months, according to the ordinary custom of the colony, there would be a General Election, and this question would then be referred to the whole of the constituencies affected by it. But the right hon. Gentleman was very sharp on me, and thought I was stepping in and interfering with a great transaction of his. I pointed out that in reference to English corporations this House does not put men within the circuit of a municipality until you have ascertained what is the opinion of those who are to be included within it; but here is a whole colony of 400,000 persons—a colony that I venture to say is, for its numbers, the noblest colony probably that England has; a colony that has given us less trouble; a colony having a people of most remarkable qualities; and yet they are handed over to this new Confederation not only without their consent, but absolutely in the teeth of their protestations against it.

To show the House that I am not now taking up the question merely for the purpose of stimulating any difficulty that may have arisen, or of making this question embarrassing to the Government, I will state some few of the things I said when I spoke on the subject last year. I said that I had never before known any measure affecting any considerable part of the population hurried through Parliament with the unseemly haste which we witnessed last year; and I referred to the fact that two colonies were left out, and I said I presumed they were left out because it was quite clear that they did not want to come in, The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Adderley) interrupted me, and said: “I am glad I can inform the hon. Gentleman that they are—one of them at least—on the point of coming in,” I have not heard of their coming in, but they were left out because they did not wish to come in, and that is all I propose with regard to the colony of Nova Scotia.

Further, I described what had been done with that petition of 31,000 signatures; and I asked the House not to bind Nova Scotia until the opinion of the constituency of that colony had been ascertained, which would have been within a few months of the time at which I was speaking. I said further— If, at a time like this, when you are proposing a union which we all hope is to last for ever, you create a little sore it will in all probability become a great sore in a short time, and it may be that the intentions of Parliament will be almost entirely frustrated by the haste with which this measure is being pushed forward.”—[3 Hansard, clxxxv. 1182] The right hon. Gentleman had spoken of the case as one of great exigency, and I pointed out that if we had the feeling of the people of Nova Scotia with us we might go forward in the hope that the transaction would be advantageous to the colony and honourable to the mother-country.

The petition to which I have referred was disregarded; the opinions of 31,000 persons were considered not nearly so important as the representations of Dr. Tupper and his friends; my warning with regard to the little sore was considered of no use and not in the slightest degree judicious; and the Bill, being pushed forward, was passed. Now there came on in September, later than usual, a General Election for the Province of Nova Scotia, and it was no longer possible to keep the subject from discussion and decision by the constituencies. The result was, that of the thirty-eight Members returned to the local Nova Scotian Parliament meeting at Halifax, only two were returned in favour of Confederation, and of the nineteen sent to represent the Province in the Parliament meeting at Ottawa, only two were returned in favour of Confederation, and one of these has, I believe, given his assent to the petition I have presented to the House.

Thus it will be seen that of fifty-seven Members, only three are in favour of the Bill which was passed with so much haste and so much unstatesmanlike obstinacy last year. The House is landed in this difficulty, that you have been professing to confer a great benefit on your colony—you did it without their consent, and that colony turns upon you, and asks you to take back the gift. The House should bear in mind, when this election took place there were not wanting those means by which Government and officials interfere with the freedom of elections. It was said more than once by persons in authority, that if the people of Nova Scotia voted against the Confederation it would be displeasing to the Queen. The Colonial Office also exercised its authority. The Governor of the colony at the time exercised all the influence he could bring to bear on the matter and the case. The military gentlemen who lived outside barracks, and who never before voted at elections, came forward and Toted, and brought all the force of their opinion, example, and suffrage in support of what they supposed was the intention of the Government at home and of the colony. And the Canadian officials, they were also to exercise whatever influence they possessed. Well, all this was done, and we know how it is done here, and we can guess how it is done in Nova Scotia. But, notwithstanding all this battery and machining against the popular cause, it failed, and failed completely, as I have shown.

The House elected last September met in February of this year, and immediately turned their attention to the question of the destruction of their Constitution and their forced union with Canada; and they sent delegates to England to ask for the restoration of the Constitution as it existed previously to the passing of the British North American Confederation Act, and they instructed their delegates they were not to accept any alteration or amendment of that Act. I do not say this for the purpose of saying I agree with or approve of it, or that I think it absolutely necessary for them to stand by those words. I state it for the sake of showing what at the present moment is the unanimous judgment of the whole local Legislature of Nova Scotia.

In the eighteen counties of the colony great public meetings were held, and one was held in Halifax, the capital city, and under the eye of the Government. They say the Act of Union has no claim upon the loyalty of the people of Nova Scotia, and that any obedience to it is a matter of coercion, and not given by a free people. There are 48,000 electors in Nova Scotia, and I think only 13,000 voted for the Confederation candidates, with all the influence that could be brought to bear upon them. But in some counties there was no control; in others, the majorities were so great and the minorities so small that the poll was over at a very early hour of the day, and a great number of the electors did not vote. I state this in order to show that the number of electors who voted on the occasion ought not to be regarded in a consideration of this question.

I must refer once more to the speech of the Earl of Carnarvon. I say it expresses a fear of public opinion in Nova Scotia, and a consciousness that he was taking a course, in moving the second reading of the Bill, which had not the sanction of the people of the colony. If that be so I put it to the House whether it is not a question of more than ordinary seriousness, and whether the proposition I make for an inquiry—that a Commission should be sent out—is not a rational and statesmanlike proposition? If the House or the Government be disposed to disregard the question, then I assure them it is understood to be a serious question in Canada; and that, although Dr. Tupper is anxious the Confederation should work well, and that all the colonies should adopt it, the present aspect of affairs in Nova Scotia is perilous.

In Canada, I am told, the Canadian oath has been altered, because it will not be taken by the people of Nova Scotia. They were required to take an oath that they would defend their dominions. The people of Nova Scotia were not prepared to take the oath, and it was therefore altered. More than that, I believe the Nova Scotia Militia will not be called out for drill this year, because it is felt that the people of Nova Scotia are unwilling to do anything that will put them into action with, or independence upon, or in submission to the Government of Canada. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Adderley) will tell the House—I wish I could say what he will doubtless say—that the whole thing will blow over.

Well, some things do blow over; some do not: and if they do, it is only with a very rough blast. It is not a very statesmanlike conclusion, after last year committing a great error or wrong, to sit down and refuse to inquire into it, or remedy it, and say it is a momentary passion, and will blow over, and that the opposition will soon be at an end. You have bound them together, and you say there is no remedy in this Parliament which did them the injustice. You tell them, if a wrong has been done, they must go to Canada and get it remedied. If they go to the Parliament of Ottawa they would tell them by a majority of 6 to 1 they could nothing for them. They would say, “You are part of the Confederation, and if any wrong has been done you must go to the Parliament in London.” I beg to tell the House that if that is the principle on which we are to net—to allow them to go to Canada for a remedy, and if we undertake to interfere in no way in the matter, and withdraw the troops from Nova Scotia, and leave Nova Scotia and Canada to settle the matter, it will he settled very easily, or perhaps I should say without much difficulty.

Canada cannot coerce Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia would know that she cannot be coerced; and therefore either she would secede and revert to her ancient Constitution, which she has by no means forgotten, or Canada would immediately appoint a Commission to inquire into the whole matter, and to offer to Nova Scotia such amendments of the Act, and such changes or concessions in the mode of Confederation, as Nova Scotia might—I do not say it is likely she would—but such as she might ultimately be willing to accept. There is another point which the House should bear in mind—that Nova Scotia is next to New Brunswick, and although New Brunswick has, by her General Election, confirmed the proposition of Confederation, yet there is a growing feeling in New Brunswick, since the Canadian Parliament met, that the Confederation is not a good thing for them. Every day, I believe, a stronger sympathy with Nova Scotia is being created.

The other day, in the city of St. John, the principal mercantile city of New Brunswick, a candidate strong against Confederation was returned, and so strong was the party supporting him that no candidate in favour of Confederation could be brought forward to oppose him. I venture to say, if the Government refuse any inquiry into this matter, they will only add to the folly of their haste of last year the greater folly of a more perilous obstinacy this year. It is not a safe course that the Government is going to pursue, if I have rightly heard what is in their mind. It is said that the right hon. Gentleman and the Duke of Buckingham, his Chief at the Colonial Office, propose that by and-by a new Governor General shall be sent to Canada; that the matter shall then be inquired into; that he shall try to ascertain the grounds of discord, stopping a day or so at Halifax; and that, when he arrives at Ottawa, he shall propose something to reconcile Nova Scotia to the Government of Canada. I believe that any such inquiry will be utterly futile. The Governor General going out there will not be the most impartial man to consider the question; and when he gets to Ottawa, and is there surrounded by his Ministers in the Canadian Parliament, who will all be on the other side, it is quite clear he will be in a position of the greatest difficulty. And I think a man must be sanguine beyond what is wise to suppose that any good could arise from a proceeding like that.

I think that we have committed a certain wrong. We have done it through error, or in haste; and it is very unstates-manlike to shut the door of Parliament against the prayer of the petitioners, which may be said to represent nearly, if not quite, half the population of Nova Scotia. I think the sending out of a Commission, or Commissioners, would be more considerate to the colony Such Commission might take into view all the circumstances of the case; and it would be more soothing to the 300,000 or 400,000 inhabitants who are dissatisfied with the course taken last year. Our colonial experience has not been very satisfactory to us in some things. We fancy that people 3,000 or 4,000 miles off are as tractable or as easily governed as people in a neighbouring colony. It is quite a mistake. They have ideas which Englishmen have not. The tie which binds them to this House, though strong, is very much less strong than the ties which bind our English counties to the sovereignty of this House.

It is only about 100 years ago that the wise men in this House proposed in a single Session to pass three coercive Acts against the North American colonies. I have no doubt that there were many men in those days who stood up to object to those Acts, and were deemed fools or something worse for their pains. And yet their folly turned out the greatest wisdom, and the almost unanimous wisdom of Parliament turned out to be the greatest folly; and this is now pointed at by every historian as one of the most remarkable transactions of unwisdom that ever occurred in the English Parliament.

It is not now a question of mere stamps, or of 3d. or 6d. a pound on tea. It is a question of the absolute subversion and abolition of an ancient, honoured, and valued Constitution.

I consider it quite likely that the people of Nova Scotia, who have been free, happy, independent, and prosperous for so long a time, may have just as strong a love for the Constitution of their comparatively small population, as any of us may have for the Constitution under which we live.

The noble Lord who moved the second reading of the Bill in the other House said we were now laying the foundation of a great State. Last year we all hoped so. I hoped so myself although I confess I had not much faith in it. But to build up a great State by making a victim of this colony, and to make a victim of this colony in order to meet certain difficulties in Canada or in the Colonial Office, does not appear to me to be wise; and to endeavour to build up a great State from those discordant materials, partly from fear, and partly from jealousy of the United States, is a far more objectionable feature in the matter.

I know very well there is an idea that this union with Canada is one mode of preventing the North American colonies from annexation to the United States. The motive is hardly wise, and in the mode of accomplishing it there is no wisdom whatever; for you are attempting now to build a great State on a foundation which shakes under you the very moment you are beginning to build; and when you passed your Bill of Federation last year for the foundation of a great State, you were putting together materials which were not in accord, and out of which the moment they were brought together would arise something like we have now seen. We know what the official view of things is. It, we generally find, is to do nothing; and it goes on doing nothing until the case gets so bad that nothing can be done. And that is precisely what the Colonial Office tonight will ask the House of Commons to do in this matter.

It would not do anything last year but contradict me when I said the Nova Scotians were against that Bill, and the right hon. Gentleman was positive and rather insolent, and thought I was meddling where I did not understand it. And now, when I ask him to inquire, he will tell the House that inquiry would only make the difficulties greater, and would hear the appearance of a concession which the House does not intend to make. Now, I hope the House and the Colonial Office will beware of saying anything like that. You do not know yet that you will not have to make concession. And therefore I say to the right hon. Gentleman and to his Colleagues not to agree to any statement like that, because next year we may look upon a state of things far less palatable than those of today. What is the difficulty of inquiry? There have been Commissions of Inquiry before of an important character, and there may be one now. The result would be this—that all the Canadian people would say—”Well, the English Parliament have behaved to us, after all, in a certain degree of moderation and reasonableness. What they did was through misapprehension, and when we represented it to them they were ready to inquire. They have sent out a Commission, and we will go fairly into the question with them, and we will see if the difficult question can be adjusted.” Now, there are several things which could be done. There could be a Confederation of all the Provinces, as at present proposed, but with certain modifications, and this might possibly meet the views of the Nova Scotians; there might be a Confederation of the maritime Provinces only, which would be probable most likely to meet the views of the Nova Scotians; or you might take the alternative scheme proposed by the Canadian Executive Government—apply the Federal principle to the two Canadas with a central Parliament. So that, after all, there are two ways out of this difficulty, and the proper way would be discovered by a Commission sent to Nova Scotia to inquire into it.

But whatever you do, I say to have no inquiry, but to stand on the Bill passed last Session—to shut the door of the House in the face of that new colony—would be one of those acts, not of statesmanship, but of madness, which statesmen and Ministers ought on all occasions to avoid. If you shut the door of hope, what will be the effect upon the minds of this population who are so agitated? They will feel that they are made the victims of Canadian ambition and of Imperial policy in which they do not in the least sympathize. I am afraid, Sir, to treat this question in one part of it, because it will lead me to say, though it will be false in detail, what will be likely to increase the difficulty I point out. If you propose a union at all hazards, the danger to my mind is apparent.

From the moment that resolution reaches Nova Scotia there will be created a deeper hostility to Canada. I do not know why it is that the smaller Provinces have no love of Canada, They do not believe in her political system. They have no faith in the wisdom and morality of her statesmen. They go there with nineteen Members to a House of 180 Members, and they think they will be lost when they get there, and that their own complete government will be gone. They are not placed under the Imperial Parliament, but under what is only a Colonial Government, in which they have no faith and for which they have no love.

I say therefore if you turn them from this House, not only without remedy, but without inquiry, you will create a deeper hostility to Canada. You will create also a growing estrangement from England, and what is perhaps dreaded by some more than anything else, you will create and increase the sympathy with the neighbouring New England States of North America.

When men are irritated, as the Nova Scotians are now irritated, and when nothing is done to soothe the irritation—when you will not inquire—when you will not remedy-when you will not listen—it takes a very little thing indeed where a colony is 3,000 or 4,000 miles away from the mother country, to turn its eyes in the direction of the government of a great country—of its own race and with institutions as free—and probably willing, when the colonies are willing, to receive them within its ample borders. This is what I am afraid may happen.

Your scheme must break down if the Nova Scotians resolve they will not have it, It is impossible for you to coerce them. I do not think there is the temper in the English House of Commons, nor amongst Englishmen in the United Kingdom, that would allow the Government by force to coerce the population of Nova Scotia into the subversion of her very government, and into annexation with Canada. But if you are not prepared to coerce, then I say the proper course for the Government to take—and I never gave any Government an opinion with more conscientious belief in its reasonableness and its propriety—the course which the Government should take is to select one or two men of high position and character in this country, who would go and give two or three months to this question this autumn, to examine into the whole matter in Nova Scotia. They would also see something of the state of public opinion in Canada; because they would necessarily see the Governors and the authorities there, and possibly—probably—I will not say certainly—they may propose some plan which would relieve the colonies from this difficulty, and would show the House of Commons and the Government here a path out of a difficulty which I think every day we tread in it becomes more difficult, and which may land us in disasters which are fearful to contemplate.

The other day the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government met the deputation upon Ireland. It was not upon this question—it was upon a question which has been much discussed in the House during the present Session—and he made an observation to them which would have been very wise under certain circumstances, but, as it was not true, it was not very wise under the circumstances in which it was spoken, He made this observation. He said—”we have secured this for the people of this country, that the Constitution shall not be subverted without an appeal to them.” But you have subverted the Constitution of Nova Scotia without any appeal to the people of Nova Scotia. You did it from what I think an exaggerated statement of persons connected with the then Government of Nova Scotia, and the House did on the representation of the right hon. Gentleman opposite, who certainly was very much more sanguine than he had any right to be.

You have done to the people of Nova Scotia what I maintain is one of the greatest wrongs that despotism in any form can do to any people. You have power to maintain it so long as Nova Scotia has no assistance from outside its own borders, But there is no statesman in England who will venture to bring about the shedding of one drop of blood upon that Continent. No man in this House more entirely hopes that such a thing is absolutely impossible than I do. Yet these questions may be driven to a point where difficulties will arise which the English Parliament will be utterly unable to settle. And whilst we have been endeavouring to bring about important arrangements for the Federation of our fellow-subjects in the British North American Colonies, we may possibly have been taking the step that will thrust them into the United States.

Only the other day I met an Englishman who has lived in the United States, and who is familiar with everything there, and he asked me whether I thought the Government intended to refuse my claim. I said, “I think they do. They generally refuse everything, and I understand they are going to refuse this.” “Well,” he said, “I am very glad to hear that;” which rather struck me with surprise, and, indeed, with pain; and I said, “Why are you glad?” He said, “I believe nothing can prevent the absorption of these colonies within the Republic of the United States;” and he added “There is no step the Government could take so certain to hasten it as to object to your Motion and refuse the Commission of Inquiry which you propose.”

Now, Sir, I cannot say what he says, because I am not glad of it—I regret it, and regret it sincerely, because I think nothing could be more unfortunate for these colonies and this country than that we should do anything to hasten the accession of these colonies to the United States. Our duty is, so far as we can in legislating for them and in governing for them, to do it all freely, honourably, and generously to them, with their consent in every step; and to the last moment that these colonies shall be dependent on the British Crown, that every person within them shall feel that that Crown has not been a Crown of tyranny, but the Crown of just government to them.

Now, Sir, I have submitted this ease. I do not know that it is necessary to say anything more about it. I submit it as I see it, and as it commends itself to my view. It is a case not for opposition nor for obstinacy. It is a case which calls for statesmanship and for justice. Last year the House legislated in error and in the dark. Tonight I hope, after the simple narrative I have given of these transactions, it can never be said that the House can act otherwise than in the broad light of day with respect to this question. I advised the right hon. Gentleman last year, as he knows, not to be precipitate with that Bill. If he had taken my advice this difficulty would not have occurred.

The right hon. Gentleman made a mistake. He placed too much reliance on evidence which was not trustworthy. Now, in this matter I have no party or personal interest to serve. We ought all to be alike anxious that what is just and what is generous should be done to the colony of Nova Scotia, and that fair inquiry should be made into the grievances of which complaint is made. And if the right hon. Gentleman refuses this course, and if difficulties should come of it, the responsibility must rest with the right hon. Gentleman and with his Colleagues; not with me. The hon. Gentleman concluded by moving his Resolution.”

Mr. Baxter in seconding the Motion, expressed a hope that it would be acceded to by the Government. He believed that if a petition so influentially signed and so effectually worded as that presented by his hon. Friend were entirely disregarded by the Imperial Parliament, consequences must ensue most humiliating and disastrous to this great Empire. If his hon. Friend had proposed that the House should adopt any Resolution or affirm any measure to carry out the views of the delegates of Nova Scotia, then he could understand why the House and Her Majesty’s Government should feel great hesitation in doing anything of the sort. He believed that any Gentleman who had carefully looked at the Papers that had been circulated with regard to this question must admit that the delegates from Nova Scotia bad made out a very strong case.

But his hon. Friend did not ask the House to repeal the Union Act nor to pronounce any opinion on any branch of the subject; all that he asked for was, that having regard to the universal dissatisfaction which prevailed in Nova Scotia, there should be an inquiry into the cause of that dissatisfaction, with a view to its removal. He could scarcely conceive that this House would refuse so reasonable a request, whatever view they might take of the Confederation of Canada.

His hon. Friend had, perhaps, seen the delegates from Nova Scotia; but he (Mr. Baxter) stood in a totally different position. He had not had any communication with those delegates, either direct or indirect. But he had taken the trouble of making inquiry into this matter. He received the other day from a friend long resident in the colony, a gentleman in business at Halifax, and having no connection with the party politics of the colony, a letter which fully confirmed the statements made by the delegates sent over by Nova Scotia, In that letter it was stated that the whole population of the Province was opposed to the union; that the Imperial Government had been entirely deceived as to the feeling of the Nova Scotians themselves; and that the people would resist the change.

It should not be said that, in consequence of our legislation, we had driven a loyal and influential State to take a step of that sort. The letter went on to say that Nova Scotia had already experienced the disastrous effects of the union in the increase of the duties imposed upon most commodities. The Nova Scotians ridiculed, too, the idea, of our giving an Imperial guarantee in connection with the construction of an intercolonial railway, on the ground that they were perfectly able and willing to raise the money themselves.

The colony was one which had been loyal and true, and the people complained that the Act had been passed without seeking their opinion upon it. The people of the colony deserved the utmost consideration at the hands of the Imperial Parliament, and he quite agreed with the hon. Member for Birmingham, that if the House took the strong stop of refusing any inquiry into the case, the people of Nova Scotia might come to the conclusion that the present generation of Englishmen had forgotten the lesson of the American War of Independence. He had much pleasure in seconding the Motion”

§ “Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House is informed, by a Petition presented on the 15th day of May last, signed by 36 out of 38 Members of the House of Assembly of Nova Scotia, and by 16 out of 19 Members elected by that Colony to the House of Commons at Ottawa, that great dissatisfaction prevails in Nova Scotia with the Act passed in the last Session of Parliament, intituled ‘An Act for the Union of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick:’ And that an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that She will be graciously pleased to appoint a Commission or Commissioners to proceed to Nova Scotia for the purpose of examining into the causes of the alleged discontent, with a view to their consideration and removal.”—(Mr. Bright.)

Mr. Aytoun said, he hoped the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Bright) would divide the House on his very moderate proposal. He believed the subject to be one of the greatest importance. The union of Nova Scotia with Canada had occasioned very widespread dissatisfaction; and he believed there were good grounds for this discontent. The evil consequences that had arisen were certainly greater than any prospective good that could be anticipated from it.

The duties on the commerce of Nova Scotia had been increased and the control over their own revenue had been taken from them. These evils might be counterbalanced by some prospect of future good; but what could Nova Scotia expect from its union with Canada? All it could hope to derive was an increase of security from aggression on the land side. 1688 It was notorious that in the event of Canada being attacked by the United States, no efficient defence could be made, so that even this benefit was rather imaginary than real.

The main question was this—whether the union had been effected in a way to give the people of Nova Scotia reasonable ground for dissatisfaction? He thought it had. The hon. Member for Birmingham had shown how entirely the Earl of Carnarvon had failed to establish the position that Nova Scotia had been properly consulted on the question; they had not expressed their concurrence in it; and when, on the third reading, Lord Campbell proposed that the Bill should be delayed for a month, to enable the people of Nova Scotia to express their opinion in regard to it at the elections about to be held, the proposal was rejected, and the suggestion that a petition signed by 30,000 upon the subject was ignored because it happened to be presented in “another place.”

Even the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Lancashire had admitted, speaking on the question of the guarantee for the intercolonial railways, that the Bill had been passed in a manner which, had it related to a matter of legislation affecting ourselves would have been termed precipitancy. The House was, he believed, to a great extent ignorant of the facts of the case; and he thought it would be wise, by granting a Commission, to enable them to judge whether it would not be expedient to reverse the decision taken last year.

The Under Secretary for the Colonies had talked of the expense to which these small colonies had put us; but the expense seemed to be as much since Confederation as before. Whether these Provinces remained united with us or joined the United States, it was of the utmost importance to retain their good-will, and we could only do this by consulting their feelings and by doing them justice. With that view he hoped the Motion of the hon. Member for Birmingham would be assented to by the Government, and if pressed to a division he should support it.”

Admiral Erskine having presented on a former occasion a petition from 31,000 inhabitants of Nova Scotia, wished to say, he believed their disinclination for Confederation was founded, not upon any apprehension of increased burdens or damage to material interests; but rather on a fear lest their connection with this country should he imperilled, for they were distinguished by a rational loyalty based upon identity of feeling and sympathy with ourselves. After the conflicting statements that had been made, it would be unreasonable to refuse the request for inquiry.

Mr. Karslake said, he thought the last letter of the Duke of Buckingham to the colony, dated the present month, showed that the Government intended to consult the interests of Nova Scotia in the future.

Mr. Bright: “I shall make only one or two observations on the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for the Colonies. His principal objection to my proposition was that the issue of the proposed Commission would, in point of fact, be a direct insult to the whole of the Canadian Dominion. My right hon. Friend the Member for Oxford (Mr. Card well) at the same time said that the Colonial Office, through its new Governor General, and that the Crown through him, would exercise certain influences as far as they might upon the Government at Ottawa for the purpose of adjusting the differences of Nova Scotia.

It appears to me that if my proposition would be held to be an insult, the continual and repeated interferences of the Colonial Office, and of the Crown, through the Governor General, would be liable to the same description. Now, the difference between the Treasury Bench and the right hon. Member for Oxford and myself is this—that they do not regard the present state of things in Nova Scotia as at all as serious as I regard it. Of course, if the thing will blow over, and you can, through the Governor General coming into the harbour at Halifax, and seeing leading men there, rub away everything that is unpleasant, then my Motion is in no degree necessary; but I believe that the state of things is far more serious than either the Under Secretary for the Colonies or my right hon. Friend the Member for Oxford seems to suppose.

My own impression is that the right hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary has made a speech about the most injudicious that could possibly have been made on the question for any Member of this House holding his office; and I believe that when his speech reaches America he will find that it will have a very injurious effect in Nova Scotia, and will not tend in the slightest degree to allay the gathering discontent which is felt in New Brunswick. The right hon. Gentleman, as he does upon other occasions, did me an injustice with regard to what I said last year. He said that when the North American Confederation Bill was under discussion, I approved everything in it which would make the Confederation like America, and condemned everything in it which would] make the Confederation resemble England.

Now, what I condemned in the Bill was the putting a Province into it whose population had not consented; and next I called in question the wisdom of nominating a Legislative Council, or Upper House, for the whole dominion of Canada. The first part of my objection to the Bill, I think, is justified by what has taken place. Although there is no complaint now with regard to the other part of my objection, I have every reason to believe that before we are many years older we shall find that that Council will not be satisfactory to the people of the dominion.

Now, with regard to dividing on this question, I have this to say—If I were to divide with a very small minority, the impression on the other side of the Atlantic would be this—that the House of Commons has emphatically shut the door in the face of the petitioners whose petition I have presented, and whose case I have endeavoured to represent to the House. At the same time, the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for the Colonies holds out no hope whatsoever that the Government will even fairly consider the question. His speech is a speech of indignation positively at the Canadian people coining here to lay their case before this House.

As this House passed the Bill last Session, and the Nova Scotian people came here to lay their complaints before the House, surely they have a right to be treated with great consideration. The course which the right hon. Gentleman has taken forces me to ask the House to divide upon the Motion. I do not at all conceal from myself that the House may not agree to my Motion; but possibly, if they do not, they may, in the course of another year, make an inquiry into this question, and they will then probably discover that it is as serious as I have endeavoured to describe it. The speech which my right hon. Friend the Member for Oxford made was temperate and conciliatory; and but for the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary I should not have asked the House to divide.”

Question put. The House divided:—Ayes 87; Noes 183: Majority 96.

MOTION FOR AN ADDRESS, House of Commons Debate 16 June 1868 vol 192 cc1658-96 https://api.parliament.uk/historic-hansard/commons/1868/jun/16/motion-for-an-address

Speech on the union of the colonies, Debates, 1865

“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 our statesmen look down upon with contempt, is larger than any two of the States I have named; and where we find the Americans perfectly satisfied with the proportions these States occupy in the American nation, we should also be content, that whilst we are Nova Scotia’s, we are at the same time citizens of the British Empire, with all the room and scope which it affords for development.”

“We are told by the Provincial Secretary of the government they proposed to constitute a Federation of British North America. -It appears to me that in the very outset, in the second resolution of this report, they have given the evidence which shows that this Federal Union cannot be stable under the circumstances. They allude there to the “diversity of the interests of the several Provinces.” The fact that the interests of the Provinces are so diversified that each has its own interests, and its center of interest within itself- precludes the possibility of a Federal Union being formed to work harmoniously.”

“Upper and Lower Canada may have disputes at times too, but whenever the Lower provinces come in, they will unite as one province against us.”

Nova Scotia. House of Assembly, and A. W. (Archibald Woodbury) McLelan. Speech On the Union of the Colonies. Halifax, N.S.: Printed at the “Morning Chronicle” Office, 1865. https://hdl.handle.net/2027/hvd.hni43j

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

“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 the efflux and influx of an ever growing trade and commerce.

“If then there are such prospects before us, why, it may be asked, is it that so many men of large means, and of high intelligence, look upon the approach of Confederation with undisguised apprehension?”

Marshall, John G. (John George), 1789-1880. Confederation Considered On Its Merits: Being an Examination Into the Principle, Capabilities, And Terms of Union, As Applicable to Nova Scotia. Halifax: R.T. Muir, 1867. https://hdl.handle.net/2027/hvd.hni3x1

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