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

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

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

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

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

To the electors of the county of Halifax Read More…

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

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

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

Dr. Tupper’s Letter Read More…

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

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

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

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

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

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

An Unexpected Incident of Confederation in Nova Scotia Read More…

“It will be a salutary experience for the post-World-War II generation to be reminded that “the Maritimes” is not a homogeneous unit with a common tradition. There were considerable differences in the views held by each of the maritime colonies and there were, especially within the oldest of these, deep divisions of opinion. This division of opinion was usually well expressed in their press. The four colonies together supported more than eighty journals-Halifax itself, with a population of only 30,000, had eleven-and Dr. Waite, speaking through them, describes brilliantly the interplay of local and national forces and reveals the negative as well as the positive influence of the papers and their editors. But his treatment of the eastern colonies (Chapters XIXIV) is perhaps less interesting as an example of the opposition of Howe and other English-speaking British Americans to confederation than it is in pointing up the role of external …

Review Article: Confederation Read More…

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

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

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

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

“CONFEDERATION WAS IMPOSED upon Nova Scotia in 1867 over the opposition of significant groups of people within the province. There were many reasons for their opposition to union, and a great deal has been written concerning the nature of the struggle and the ultimate success of the Confederates. That Nova Scotia’s response to Confederation was highly emotional has not gone unnoticed.” Among the strange things that we seeAre quondam traitors like McGee,Prating to us of liberty.With him were England’s crosses, barsMade red with impious wars –The gods she worships – Mamon -Mars! A champion of the rights of manHe raged and hurled his awful banAt Britain’s head and off he ran! We see him next in Yankee land;And there he offered heart and handTo any who, at his command, Would simply cross the wide, wide oceanAnd whip proud England; what a notion!While he would stay and watch the motion. None …

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

“CONFEDERATION WAS IMPOSED upon Nova Scotia in 1867 over the opposition of significant groups of people within the province. There were many reasons for their opposition to union, and a great deal has been written concerning the nature of the struggle and the ultimate success of the Confederates. That Nova Scotia’s response to Confederation was highly emotional has not gone unnoticed.” The day she dieda redbreast hoppedthrough the open doorin stilled December,inquiring nearwith little confident bounce,starting my first tear. Alastair Macdonald Muise, D.A. “Some Nova Scotian Poets of Confederation” Dalhousie Review, Volume 50, Number 1, 1970 https://dalspace.library.dal.ca/bitstream/handle/10222/59368/dalrev_vol50_iss1_pp71_82.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

“CONFEDERATION WAS IMPOSED upon Nova Scotia in 1867 over the opposition of significant groups of people within the province. There were many reasons for their opposition to union, and a great deal has been written concerning the nature of the struggle and the ultimate success of the Confederates. That Nova Scotia’s response to Confederation was highly emotional has not gone unnoticed.” Repeal or no Repeal? that is the question;Whether ’tis best for us to live in quiet,As we arc now, a tail end of the great confederation,Or to take arms against this unjust union,And by our voting end it? To go -secede –That’s all I And with one voice, united at the poll,End all this doubt of what is our intention. Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished,To be- but free once more; perchance a union maritime,Aye, there’s the rub; for, were we free what good might come,When we have …

The Repealer’s Soliloquy Read More…

“CONFEDERATION WAS IMPOSED upon Nova Scotia in 1867 over the opposition of significant groups of people within the province. There were many reasons for their opposition to union, and a great deal has been written concerning the nature of the struggle and the ultimate success of the Confederates. That Nova Scotia’s response to Confederation was highly emotional has not gone unnoticed.” Pity the sorrows of some Union men,Whose unwise steps have borne them to your door;Whose days politically are but a span,0 give relief! And tax our bread no more. Those scattered ranks, extremety bespeaks,Those Customs locks do justify the Antis fears;And many a furrow in our grief worn cheeksHas been the channel to a flood of tears. You have erected on the rising groundWith ‘miles of cornice’, drew me from the road;These sinecures a residence have found,And grandeur a magnificent abode. Hard is the fate of fishermen and poor,Here …

The Petition to Ottawa Read More…

“CONFEDERATION WAS IMPOSED upon Nova Scotia in 1867 over the opposition of significant groups of people within the province. There were many reasons for their opposition to union, and a great deal has been written concerning the nature of the struggle and the ultimate success of the Confederates. That Nova Scotia’s response to Confederation was highly emotional has not gone unnoticed.” Hush my babes, be still and trustingSooth your fears and soundly sleep.My biggest bubble’s almost bursting,But soothing Syrup’s blessed cheap. Sleep soft dupes and trust in Tupper;Retrenchment’s but a naughty dream,The sad effect of too much supper,He never thought of such a scheme. Hush, that’s not the cars you’re hearing:‘Tis but the mind – you silly pup,Longley’s only ‘electioneering’;He’s tore the cursed Railroad up. Soft my babes, let music charm you;‘Quebec Scheme’s’ a blessed thing;Not a Fenian will dare to harm you,When under Canada’s wing. Happy days, devoutly withed …

Lullaby – from “Some Nova Scotian Poets of Confederation” Read More…

“After the Act of Union 2 in 1840, British opinion mounted for Canada to become responsible for her own defence. At the same time, American pressure on the western territories became severe. The Northern Pacific Railway, chartered by Americans in 1864, had the object of providing transcontinental service. American settlement was pushing ever northward. Without the protection of British troops, American expansionist claims to the west seemed impossible to resist. The scheme of Confederation was principally designed to overcome these problems. It was thought that a larger, strongly centralized political unit would be capable of (a) re-establishing the public credit, (b) undertaking the considerable public expenditure on transport which was the condition precedent to development, and (c) offering a sufficient defence posture to resist American pressure.” Cultural and sectional rivalries proved insuperable obstacles to the legislative union foreseen by Sir John A. Macdonald. A federal state, characterized by strong cultural …

The Constitutional Distribution of Taxation Powers in Canada Read More…

From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin: As the people of Nova Scotia had voted so overwhelmingly against Confederation at the polls, one of the first acts of the new House of Assembly in 1868 was to send a delegation to London praying for a repeal of the B.N.A. Act as far as it regarded this Province. Although Joseph Howe was a member of the House of Commons at Ottawa, he was nevertheless among the number selected. Dr. Charles Tupper, also a member of the Federal Parliament, likewise went to England to use his influence in favor of Confederation. In his reminiscences written in later life, Sir Charles records that when the delegation of that time had failed in its mission, he discussed the situation with Joseph Howe in London, pointing out the great advantages the latter could obtain for his native Province by accepting the inevitable and …

1868 Read More…