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Canada and the States By Sir E. W. Watkin Characters: 62758

Updated: 2017-11-29 00:04

The Honorable Thomas d'Arcy McGee.

Amongst the men, able and earnest, who carried the union of the British, separated, Provinces, and made the "Dominion," no man gave more soul and substance to the cause, by his eloquence, than Mr. d'Arcy McGee. His had been a chequered career. Beginning, like Sir George Etienne Cartier, in revolt against what he believed to be British tyranny, he ended his life, one of the most loyal, as he was one of the most eloquent, of Her Majesty's subjects. In 1848 he was one of the "Young Ireland" party, and became an exile from his country; and, at length, a denizen of the United States. From thence he came to Canada. In Canada he found all the liberty, without very much of the license, of politicians in the United States. In Canada he could think for himself; in the United States he must think the thoughts of some secret organization-or perish. In Canada he was welcomed, and soon made a position. I first met him, in a casual way, in Ireland, in the time of O'Connell, I think in 1844; and in 1861 I made his acquaintance, and I knew him well until his untimely death, by Fenian assassination, at Ottawa. He had faults-what politician has not? But he was honorable and kindly; no man's enemy, unless it were his own. He was remarkable in appearance; of middle height, very dark complexion, and with hair so curious and curly that he always joked about his popularity with the negroes of Canada. He told a story of a meeting in Montreal at a little public-house called "Uncle Tom's Cabin." Here he was addressing an audience containing a considerable number of dark men. Mr. Holton, his colleague, had orated about differential duties, very dry and Yankee- like, as usual. McGee followed in one of his arousing speeches. When he sat down, the respected negro landlord of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" got up to move a vote of confidence. And, according to McGee's story, said: "Bredren, we all on us heah came to dis land on a venter. Mr. McGee he came heah on a venter. Dis child know nothing bout dem disgreable duties. All we wants, bredren, is to pick out de best man. How is we to do dat? Bredren, best way is to follow de hair. Mr. McGee has hair like good nigger. Bredren, let us follow our hair." The result was McGee was adopted unanimously.

In 1865 a volume of Mr. McGee's speeches was published by Chapman & Hall. He did me the favour to dedicate the book to me in these, too complimentary, terms: "To E. W. Watkin, Esq., M.P. for Stockport, whose intimate connection with many great enterprises in which the material future of British America is interwoven, and, still more, whose high- spirited advocacy of a sound Colonial policy, both in and out of Parliament, has conferred lasting obligations, upon these Provinces, this volume is very sincerely and cordially dedicated."

The last speech in this volume was delivered in the Legislative Assembly of Canada, at Quebec, on the 9th February, 1865. I venture to record some portion of it in this book:-

"With your approbation, Sir, and the forbearance of the House, I will endeavour to treat this subject in this way:-First, to give some slight sketch of the history of the question; then to examine the existing motives which ought to prompt us to secure a speedy union of these Provinces; then to speak of the difficulties which this question has encountered before reaching its present fortunate stage; then to say something of the mutual advantages, in a social rather than political point of view, which these Provinces will have in their union; and, lastly, to add a few words on the Federal principle in general: when I shall have done. In other words, I propose to consider the question of Union mainly from within, and, as far as possible, to avoid going over the ground already so fully and so much better occupied by hon. friends who have already spoken upon the subject.

"So far back as the year 1800, the Hon. Mr. Uniacke, a leading politician in Nova Scotia at that date, submitted a scheme of Colonial Union to the Imperial authorities. In 1815, Chief Justice Sewell, whose name will be well remembered as a leading lawyer of this city, and a far-sighted politician, submitted a similar scheme. In 1822, Sir John Beverley Robinson, at the request of the Colonial Office, submitted a project of the same kind; and I need not refer to the report of Lord Durham, on Colonial Union, in 1839. These are all memorable, and some of them are great, names. If we have dreamed a dream of Union (as some of you gentlemen say), it is at least worth while remarking that a dream which has been dreamed by such wise and good men, may, for aught we know, or you know, have been a sort of vision-a vision foreshadowing forthcoming natural events in a clear intelligence: a vision-I say it without irreverence, for the event concerns the lives of millions living, and yet to come-resembling those seen by the Daniels and Josephs of old, foreshadowing the trials of the future, the fate of tribes and peoples, the rise and fall of dynasties. But the immediate history of the measure is sufficiently wonderful, without dwelling on the remoter predictions of so many wise men. Whoever, in 1862, or even in 1863, would have told us that we should see even what we see in these seats by which I stand-such a representation of interests acting together, would be accounted, as our Scotch friends say, 'half daft'; and whoever, in the Lower Provinces, about the same time, would have ventured to foretell the composition of their delegations which sat with us under this roof last October, would probably have been considered equally demented. But the thing came about; and if those gentlemen who have had no immediate hand in bringing it about, and, therefore, naturally feel less interest in the project than we who had, will only give us the benefit of the doubt- will only assume that we are not all altogether wrong-headed-we hope to show them still farther, though we think we have already shown them satisfactorily, that we are by no means without reason in entering on this enterprise. I submit, however, we may very well dismiss the antecedent history of the question for the present: it grew from an unnoticed feeble plant, to be a stately and flourishing tree; and, for my part, any one that pleases may say he made the tree grow, if I can only have hereafter my fair share of the shelter and the shade. But in the present stage of the question, the first real stage of its success -the thing that gave importance to theory in men's minds, was the now celebrated despatch, signed by two members of this Government and an honourable gentleman formerly their colleague (Hon. Mr. Ross), a member of the other House. I refer to the despatch of 1858. The recommendations in that despatch lay dormant until revived by the Constitutional Committee of last Session, which led to the Coalition, which led to the Quebec Conference, which led to the draft of the Constitution now on our table, which will lead, I am fain to believe, to the union of all these Provinces. At the same time that we mention these distinguished politicians, I think we ought not to forget those zealous and laborious contributors to the public press, who, although not associated with governments, and not themselves at the time in politics, yet greatly contributed to give life and interest to this question, and, indirectly, to bring it to the happy position in which it now stands. Of those gentlemen I will mention two. I do not know whether honorable gentlemen of this House have seen some letters on Colonial Union, written in 1855-the last addressed to the late Duke of Newcastle-by Mr. P. S. Hamilton, an able public writer of Nova Scotia, and the present Gold Commissioner of that province; but I take this opportunity of bearing my testimony to his well-balanced judgment, political sagacity, and the skilful handling the subject received from him at a very early period. There is another little book, written in English, six or seven years ago, to which I must refer. It is a pamphlet, which met with an extraordinary degree of success, entitled Nova Britannia, by my honorable friend, the member for South Lanark (Mr. Morris); and as he has been one of the principal agents in bringing into existence the present Government, which is now carrying out the idea embodied in his book, I trust he will forgive me if I take the opportunity, although he is present, of reading a single sentence, to show how far he was in advance, and how true he was to the coming event which we are now considering. At page 57 of his pamphlet-which I hope will be reprinted among the political miscellanies of the Provinces when we are one country and one people-I find this paragraph:-

"'The dealing with the destinies of a future Britannic empire, the shaping its course, the laying its foundations broad and deep, and the erecting thereon a noble and enduring superstructure, are indeed duties that may well evoke the energies of our people, and nerve the arms and give power and enthusiasm to the aspirations of all true patriots. The very magnitude of the interests involved, will, I doubt not, elevate many amongst us above the demands of mere sectionalism, and enable them to evince sufficient comprehensiveness of mind to deal in the spirit of real statesmen with issues so momentous, and to originate and develop a national line of commercial and general policy, such as will prove adapted to the wants and exigencies of our position.'

"We, on this side, Mr. Speaker, propose for that better future our plan of Union; and, if you will allow me, I shall go over what appear to me the principal motives which exist at present for that Union. My hon. friend the Finance Minister mentioned the other evening several strong motives for Union-free access to the sea, an extended market, breaking down of hostile tariffs, a more diversified field for labour and capital, our enhanced credit with England, and our greater effectiveness when united for assistance in time of danger. The Hon. President of the Council, last night also enumerated several motives for Union in relation to the commercial advantages which will flow from it, and other powerful reasons which may be advanced in favour of it. But the motives to such a comprehensive change as we propose, must be mixed motives-partly commercial, partly military, and partly political; and I shall go over a few-not strained or simulated- motives which must move many people of all these Provinces, and which are rather of a social, or, strictly speaking, political than of a financial kind. In the first place, I echo what was stated in the speech last night of my hon. friend, the President of the Council-that we cannot stand still; we cannot stave off some great change; we cannot stand alone-Province apart from Province-if we would; and that we are in a state of political transition. All, even honorable gentlemen who are opposed to this description of Union, admit that we must do something, and that that something must not be a mere temporary expedient. We are compelled, by warning voices from within and without, to make a change, and a great change. We all, with one voice who are Unionists, declare our conviction that we cannot go on as we have gone; but you, who are all anti-Unionists, say-'Oh! that is begging the question; you have not yet proved that.' Well, Mr. Speaker, what proofs do the gentlemen want? I presume there are the influences which determine any great change in the course of any individual or State. First-His patron, owner, employer, protector, ally, or friend; or, in our politics, 'Imperial connection.' Secondly-His partner, comrade, or fellow-labourer, or near neighbour; in our case, the United States. And, thirdly,-The man himself, or the Province itself. Now, all three have concurred to warn and force us into a new course of conduct. What are these warnings? We have had at least three. The first is from England, and is a friendly warning. England has warned us by several matters of fact, according to her custom, rather than verbiage, that the Colonies had entered upon a new era of existence, a new phase in their career. She has given us this warning in several different shapes-when she gave us 'Responsible Government'-when she adopted Free Trade-when she repealed the Navigation Laws-and when, three or four years ago, she commenced that series of official despatches in relation to militia and defence which she has ever since poured in on us, in a steady stream, always bearing the same solemn burthen- 'Prepare! prepare! prepare!' These warnings gave us notice that the old order of things between the Colonies and the Mother Country had ceased, and that a new order must take its place. About four years ago, the first despatches began to be addressed to this country, from the Colonial Office, upon the subject. From that day to this there has been a steady stream of despatches in this direction, either upon particular or general points connected with our defence; and I venture to say, that if bound up together, the despatches of the lamented Duke of Newcastle alone would make a respectable volume-all notifying this Government, by the advices they conveyed, that the relations-the military apart from the political and commercial relations-of this Province to the Mother Country had changed; and we were told in the most explicit language that could be employed, that we were no longer to consider ourselves, in relation to defence, in the same position we formerly occupied towards the Mother Country. Then, Sir, in the second place, there came what I may call the other warning from without-the American warning. Republican America gave us her notices in times past, through her press, and her demagogues, and her statesmen, but of late days she has given us much more intelligible notices-such as the notice to abrogate the Reciprocity Treaty, and to arm the lakes, contrary to the provisions of the Convention of 1818. She has given us another notice in imposing a vexatious passport system; another in her avowed purpose to construct a ship canal round the falls of Niagara, so as 'to pass war vessels from Lake Ontario to Lake Erie;' and yet another, the most striking one of all, has been given to us, if we will only understand it, by the enormous expansion of the American army and navy. I will take leave to read to the House a few figures which show the amazing, the unprecedented, growth (which has not, perhaps, a parallel in the annals of the past) of the military power of our neighbours, within the past three or four years. I have the details here by me, but shall only read the results, to show the House the emphatic terms of this most serious warning. In January, 1861, the regular army of the United States, including of course the whole of the States, did not exceed 15,000 men. This number was reduced, from desertion and other causes, by 5,000 men, leaving 10,000 men as the regular army of the United States. In December, 1862, that is, from January, 1861, to January, 1863, this army of 10,000 was increased to 800,000 soldiers actually in the service. No doubt there are exaggerations in some of these figures-the rosters were, doubtless, in some cases filled with fictitious names, in order to procure the bounties that were offered; but if we allow two-thirds as correct, we find that a people who had an army of 10,000 men in 1861, had in two years increased it to an army of 600,000 men. As to their munitions and stock of war material at the opening of the war-that is to say, at the date of the attack upon Fort Sumter-we find that they had of siege and heavy guns 1,952; of field artillery, 231; of infantry firearms, 473,000; of cavalry firearms, 31,000; and of ball and shell, 363,000. At the end of 1863, the latest period to which I have statistics upon the subject, the 1,052 heavy guns had become 2,116; the 231 field pieces had become 2,965; the 473,000 infantry arms had become 2,423,000; the 31,000 cavalry arms had become 369,000; and the 363,000 ball and shell had become 2,925,000. Now as to the navy of the United States, I wish also to show that this wonderful development of war power in the United States is the second warning we have had, that we cannot go on as we have gone. In January, 1861, the ships of war belonging to the United States were 83; in December, 1864, they numbered 671, of which 54 were monitors and iron-clads, carrying 4,610 guns, with a tonnage of 510,000 tons, and manned by a force of 51,000 men. These are frightful figures; frightful for the capacity of destruction they represent, for the heaps of carnage they represent, for the quantity of human blood spilt they represent, for the lust of conquest they represent, for the evil passions they represent, and for the arrest of the onward progress of civilization they represent. But it is not the figures which give the worst view of the fact-for England still carries more guns afloat even than our well-armed neighbours. It is the change which has taken place in the spirit of the people of the Northern States themselves which is the worst view of the fact. How far have they travelled since the humane Channing preached the unlawfulness of war-since the living Sumner delivered his addresses to the Peace Society on the same theme! I remember an accomplished poet, one of the most accomplished the New England States have ever produced, taking very strong grounds against the prosecution of the Mexican war, and published the Bigelow Papers, so well known in American literature, to show the ferocity and criminality of war. That poet made Mr. Bird-o'-Freedom Sawin sing:

"'Ef you take a soaord an droar it,

An go stick a feller thru,

Guv'ment won't answer for it,

God'll send the bill to you!'

This was slightly audacious and irreverent in expression, but it was remarkably popular in New England at that time. The writer is now one of the editors of a popular Boston periodical, and would be one of the last, I have no doubt, to induce a Northern soldier to withdraw his sword from the body of any unhappy Southerner whom he had, contrary to the poet's former political ethics, 'stuck thru.' But it is not the revolution wrought in the minds of men of great intelligence that is most to be deplored-for the powerful will of such men may compel their thoughts back again to a philosophy of peace; no, it is the mercenary and military interests created under Mr. Lincoln which are represented, the former by an estimated governmental outlay of above $100,000,000 this year, and the other by the 800,000 men, whose blood is thus to be bought and paid for; by the armies out of uniform who prey upon the army in uniform; by the army of contractors who are to feed and clothe and arm the fighting million; by that other army, the army of tax- collectors, who cover the land, seeing that no industry escapes unburthened, no possession unentered, no affection even, untaxed. Tax! tax! tax! is the cry from the rear! Blood! blood! blood! is the cry from the front! Gold! gold! gold! is the chuckling undertone which comes up from the mushroom millionaires, well named a shoddy aristocracy. Nor do I think the army interest, the contracting interest, and the tax-gathering interest, the worst results that have grown out of this war. There is another and equally serious interest- the revolution in the spirit, mind, and principles of the people, that terrible change which has made war familiar and even attractive to them. When the first battle was fought-when, in the language of the Duke of Wellington, the first 'butcher's bill was sent in'-a shudder of horror ran through the length and breadth of the country; but by- and-by, as the carnage increased, no newspaper was considered worth laying on the breakfast table unless it contained the story of the butchery of thousands of men.

'Only a thousand killed! Pooh, pooh, that's nothing!' exclaimed Mr. Shoddy, as he sipped his coffee-in his luxurious apartment; and nothing short of the news of ten or fifteen thousand maimed or slain in a day could satisfy the jaded palate of men craving for excitement, and such horrible excitement as attends the wholesale murder of their fellow-creatures. Have these sights and sounds no warning addressed to us? Are we as those who have eyes and see not; ears and hear not; reason, neither do they understand? If we are true to Canada-if we do not desire to become part and parcel of this people-we cannot overlook this, the greatest revolution of our own times. Let us remember this, that when the three cries among our next neighbours are shoddy, taxation, blood, it is tune for us to provide for our own security. I said, in this House, during the session of the year 1861, that the first gun fired at Fort Sumter had a 'message for us;' I was unheeded then; I repeat now that every one of the 2,700 great guns in the field, and every one of the 4,600 guns afloat, whenever it opens its mouth, repeats the solemn warning of England--Prepare! prepare! prepare! I think, Sir, I am justified in regarding the American conflict, as one of the warnings we have received; and the third warning, that things cannot go on in this country as they are, is a warning voice from within-a warning voice from our own experience in the government of these Provinces. On these internal constitutional difficulties existing among ourselves, which were so fully exposed last evening by my hon. friend, the President of the Council, I need say little; they are admitted to have been real, not imaginary, on all hands. An illustration was used in another place in explaining this part of the subject by the venerable and gallant knight, our Premier, than which nothing could be more clear. He observed that when we had had five administrations within four years, it was full time to look out for some permanent remedy for such a state of things. True-most true- Constitutional Government among us had touched its lowest point when it existed only by the successful search of a messenger or a page after a member willingly or unwillingly absent from his seat. Any one might in those days have been the saviour of his country. All he had to do was, when one of the five successive Governments which arose in four years was in danger, to rise in his place, say 'Yea!' and presto the country was saved. This House was fast losing, under such a state of things, its hold on the country; the administrative departments were becoming disorganized under such frequent changes of chiefs and policies; we were nearly as bad as the army of the Potomac before its 'permanent remedy' was found in General Grant. Well, we have had our three warnings: one warning from within and two from without. Some honorable gentlemen, while admitting that we have entered, within the present decade, on a period of political transition, have contended that we might have bridged the abyss with that Prussian pontoon called a Zollverein. But if any one for a moment will remember that the trade of the whole front of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia gravitates at present along-shore to Portland and Boston, while the trade of Upper Canada, west of Kingston, has long gravitated across the lakes to New York, he will see, I think, that a mere Zollverein treaty without a strong political end to serve, and some political power at its back, would be, in our new circumstances, merely waste paper. The charge that we have not gone far enough-that we have not struck out boldly for a Consolidated Union, instead of a union with reserved local jurisdictions-is another charge which deserves some notice. To this I answer that if we had had, as was proposed, an Intercolonial Railway twenty years ago, we might by this time have been perhaps, and only perhaps, in a condition to unite into one consolidated government; but certain politicians and capitalists having defeated that project twenty years ago, special interests took the place great general interest might by this time have occupied; vested rights and local ambitions arose and were recognized; and all these had to be admitted as existing in a pretty advanced stage of development when the late conferences were called together. The lesson to be learned from this squandering of quarter centuries by British Americans is this, that if we lose the present propitious opportunity, we may find it as hard a few years hence to get an audience, even for any kind of union (except democratic union), as we should have found it to get a hearing last year for a legislative union, from the long period of estrangement and non- intercourse which had existed between these Provinces, and the special interests which had grown up in the meantime in each of them. Another motive to union, or rather a phase of the last motive spoken of, is this, that the policy of our neighbours to the south of us has always been aggressive. There has always been a desire amongst them for the acquisition of new territory, and the inexorable law of democratic existence seems to be its absorption. They coveted Florida, and seized it; they coveted Louisiana, and purchased it; they coveted Texas, and stole it; and then they picked a quarrel with Mexico, which ended by their getting California. They sometimes pretend to despise these our colonies as prizes beneath their ambition; but had we not had the strong arm of England over us we should not now have had a separate existence. The acquisition of Canada was the first ambition of the American Confederacy, and never ceased to be so, when her troops were a handful and her navy scarce a squadron. Is it likely to be stopped now, when she counts her guns afloat by thousands and her troops by hundreds of thousands? On this motive a very powerful expression of opinion has lately appeared in a published letter of the Archbishop of Halifax, Dr. Connolly. Who is the Archbishop of Halifax? In either of the coast colonies, where he has laboured in his high vocation for nearly a third of a century, it would be absurd to ask the question; but in Canada he may not be equally well known. Some of my honorable friends in this and the other House, who were his guests last year, must have felt the impress of his character as well as the warmth of his hospitality.

Well, he is known as one of the first men in sagacity, as he is in position, in any of these colonies; that he was for many years the intimate associate of his late distinguished confrere, Archbishop Hughes of New York; that he knows the United States as thoroughly as he does the Provinces,-and these are his views on this particular point; the extract is somewhat long, but so excellently put that I am sure the House will be obliged to me for the whole of it:-

"Instead of cursing, like the boy in the upturned boat, and holding on until we are fairly on the brink of the cataract, we must at once begin to pray and strike out for the shore by all means, before we get too far down on the current. We must at this most critical moment invoke the Arbiter of nations for wisdom, and abandoning in time our perilous position, we must strike out boldly, and at some risks, for some rock on the nearest shore-some resting-place of greater security. A cavalry raid, or a visit from our Fenian friends on horseback, through the plains of Canada and the fertile valleys of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, may cost more in a single week than Confederation for the next fifty years; and if we are to believe you, where is the security even at the present moment against such a disaster? Without the whole power of the Mother Country by land and sea, and the concentration in a single hand of all the strength of British America, our condition is seen at a glance. Whenever the present difficulties will terminate-and who can tell the moment?-we will be at the mercy of our neighbours; and, victorious or otherwise, they will be eminently a military people, and with all their apparent indifference about annexing this country, and all the friendly feelings that may be talked, they will have the power to strike when they please; and this is precisely the kernel and the only touch-point of the whole question. No nation ever had the power of conquest that did not use it, or abuse it, at the very first favourable opportunity. All that is said of the magnanimity and forbearance of mighty nations can be explained on the principle of sheer inexpediency, as the world knows. The whole face of Europe has been changed, and the dynasties of many hundred years have been swept away within our own time, on the principle of might alone-the oldest, the strongest, and, as some would have it, the most sacred of all titles. The thirteen original States of America, with all their professions of self-denial, have been all the time, by money, power, and by war, and by negociation, extending their frontier until they more than quadrupled their territory within sixty years; and believe it who may, are they now of their own accord to come to a full stop? No; as long as they have the power, they must go on onward: for it is the very nature of power to grip whatever is within its reach. It is not their hostile feelings, therefore, but it is their power, and only their power, I dread; and I now state it as my solemn conviction, that it becomes the duty of every British subject in these Provinces to control that power, not by the insane policy of attacking or weakening them, but by strengthening ourselves-rising, with the whole power of Britain at our back, to their level, and so be prepared for any emergency. There is no sensible or unprejudiced man in the community who does not see that vigorous and timely preparation is the only possible means of saving us from the horrors of a war such as the world has never seen. To be fully prepared is the only practical argument that can have weight with a powerful enemy, and make him pause beforehand and count the cost. And as the sort of preparation I speak of is utterly hopeless without the union of the Provinces, so at a moment when public opinion is being formed on this vital point, as one deeply concerned, I feel it a duty to declare myself unequivocally in favour of Confederation as cheaply and as honourably as possible-but Confederation at all hazards and at all reasonable sacrifices.

"'After the most mature consideration, and all the arguments I have heard on both sides for the last month, these are my inmost convictions on the necessity and merits of a measure which alone, under Providence, can secure to us social order and peace, and rational liberty, and all the blessings we now enjoy, under the mildest Government and the hallowed institutions of the freest and happiest country in the world.'

"These are the words of a statesman-of a mitred statesman-one of that order of mighty men, powerful in their generation, whose statesmanly gifts have been cast in the strong mould of theological discipline- such men as were Ximenes and Wolsey, Laud and Knox. The next motive for Union to which I shall refer is, that it will strengthen rather than weaken the connection with the Empire, so essential to these rising Provinces. Those who may be called, if there are any such, the anti- Unionists, allege, that this scheme now submitted will bring separation in its trai

n. How, pray? By making these countries more important, will you make them less desirable as connections to England? By making their trade more valuable, will you make her more anxious to get rid of it? By reducing their Federal tariff, will you lessen their interest for England? By making them stronger for each other's aid, will you make her less willing to discharge a lighter than a greater responsibility? But if the thing did not answer itself, England has answered that she 'cordially approves' of our plan of Union,-and she has always been accounted a pretty good judge of her own Imperial interests. She does not consider our union inimical to those interests. Instead of looking upon it with a dark and discouraging frown, she cheers us on by her most cordial approval, and bids us a hearty 'God speed' in the new path we have chosen to enter. But I put it on provincial grounds as well. When Canada proposed to move, in 1859, Newfoundland alone responded; when Nova Scotia moved, in 1860, New Brunswick alone agreed to go with her; at all events, Canada did not then concur. Of late years the language of the Colonial Office, of Mr. Labouchere, of Sir Bulwer Lytton, and of the lamented Duke of Newcastle, was substantially: 'Agree among yourselves, gentlemen, and we will not stand in the way.' Ah! there was the rub-'Agree among yourselves!' Easier said than done, with five Colonies so long estranged, and whose former negotiations had generally ended in bitter controversies. Up to the last year there was no conjunction of circumstances favourable to bringing about this union, and probably if we suffer this opportunity to be wasted we shall never see again such another conjunction as will enable us to agree, even so far, among ourselves. By a most fortunate concurrence of circumstances-by what I presume to call, speaking of events of this magnitude, a providential concurrence of circumstances-the Government of Canada was so modified last spring as to enable it to deal fearlessly with this subject, at the very moment when the coast Colonies, despairing of a Canadian union, were arranging a conference of their own for a union of their own. Our Government embraced among its members from the western section the leaders of the former Ministry and former Opposition from that section. At the time it was formed it announced to this House that it was its intention, as part of its policy, to seek a conference with the Lower Colonies, and endeavour to bring about a general union. This House formally gave the Government its confidence after the announcement of that policy, and although I have no desire to strain terms, it does appear to me that this House did thereby fully commit itself to the principle of a union of the Colonies, if practicable. Everything we did was done in form and with propriety, and the result of our proceedings is the document that has been submitted to the Imperial Government as well as to this House, and which we speak of here as a treaty. And that there may be no doubt about our position in regard to that document, we say, Question it you may, reject it you may, or accept it you may, but alter it you may not. It is beyond your power, or our power, to alter it. There is not a sentence-not even a word-you can alter without desiring to throw out the document. Alter it, and we know at once what you mean-you thereby declare yourselves against the only possible union. On this point, I repeat, after all my hon. friends who have already spoken, for one party to alter a treaty, is, of course, to destroy it. Let us be frank with each other; you do not like our work, nor do you like us who stand by it, clause by clause, line by line, and letter by letter. Well, we believe we have here given to our countrymen of all the Provinces the possible best-that we have given them an approximation to the right- their representatives and ours have laboured at it, letter and spirit, form and substance, until they found this basis of agreement, which we are all confident will not now, nor for many a day to come, be easily swept away. And first, I will make a remark to some of the French Canadian gentlemen who are said to be opposed to our project, on French Canadian grounds only. I will remind them, I hope not improperly, that every one of the Colonies we now propose to re-unite under one rule-in which they shall have a potential voice-were once before united as New France. Newfoundland, the uttermost, was theirs, and one large section of its coast is still known as the 'French shore;' Cape Breton was theirs till the final fall of Louisburgh; Prince Edward Island was their Island of St. Jean; Charlottetown was their Port Joli; and Frederickton, the present capital of New Brunswick, their St. Anne's; in the heart of Nova Scotia was that fair Acadian land, where the roll of Longfellow's noble hexameters may be heard in every wave that breaks upon the base of Cape Blomedon. In the northern counties of New Brunswick, from the Mirimichi to the Metapediac, they had their forts and farms, their churches and their festivals, before the English speech had ever once been heard between those rivers. Nor is that tenacious Norman and Breton race extinct in their old haunts and homes. I have heard one of the members for Cape Breton speak in high terms of that portion of his constituency; and I believe I am correct in saying that Mr. Le Visconte, the late Finance Minister of Nova Scotia, was, in the literal sense of the term, an Acadian. Mr. Cozzans, of New York, who wrote a very readable little book the other day about Nova Scotia, describes the French residents near the basin of Minas, and he says, especially of the women, 'they might have stepped out of Normandy a hundred years ago!' In New Brunswick there is more than one county, especially in the North, where business, and law, and politics, require a knowledge of both French and English.

"I think it is to their honour, that the Highlanders in all the Lower Provinces preserve faithfully the religion, as well as the language and traditions of their fathers. The Catholic Bishop of Charlottetown is a McIntyre; his Right Rev. Brother of Arichat (Cape Breton) is a McKinnon; and in the list of the clergy, I find a. constant succession of such names as McDonald, McGillis, McGillvary, McLeod, McKenzie, and Cameron-all 'Anglo-Saxons' of course, and mixed up with them Fourniers, Gauvreaus, Paquets, and Martells, whose origin is easy to discover. Another of the original elements of that population remains to be noticed-the U. E. Loyalists, who founded New Brunswick (as they founded Upper Canada), for whom New Brunswick was made a separate Province in 1784, as Upper Canada was for their relatives in 1791. Their descendants still flourish in the land, holding many positions of honour; and as a representative of the class, I shall only mention Judge Wilmot, who the other day declared, in charging one of his grand juries, that if it were necessary to carry Confederation in New Brunswick, so impressed was he with the necessity of the measure, to the very existence of British laws and British institutions on this continent, he was prepared to quit the Bench and return to politics. There are other elements also not to be overlooked. The thrifty Germans of Lunenberg, whose homes are the neatest upon the land, as their fleet is the tightest on the sea; and other small sub-divisions; but I shall not prolong this analysis. I may observe, however, that this population is almost universally a native population of three or four or more generations. In New Brunswick, at the most there is about twelve per cent. of an immigrant people; in Nova Scotia, about eight; in the two Islands, even less. In the eye of the law, we admit no disparity between natives and immigrants in this country; but it is to be considered that where men are born in the presence of the graves of their fathers, for even a few generations, the influence of the fact is great in enhancing their attachment to that soil. I admit, for my part, as an immigrant, of no divided allegiance to Canada and her interest; but it would be untrue and paltry to deny a divided affection between the old country and the new. Kept within just bounds, such an affection is reasonable, is right and creditable to those who cherish it. Why I refer to this broad fact, which distinguishes the populations of all the four seaward Provinces, as much as it does Lower Canada herself, is, to show the fixity and stability of that population; to show that they are by birth British-Americans; that they can nearly all, of every origin, use that proud phrase when they look daily from their doors, 'This is my own, my native land.' Let but that population and ours come together for a generation or two-such are the elements that compose, such the conditions that surround it-and their mutual descendants will hear with wonder, when the history of these present transactions is written, that this plan of union could ever have been seriously opposed by statesmen in Canada or elsewhere. I am told, however, by one or two members of this House, and by exclusive-minded Canadians out of it, that they cannot get up any patriotic feeling about this union with New Brunswick or Nova Scotia, and that they cannot look with any interest at those Colonies, with which we have had hitherto so little association. 'What's Hecuba to me, or I to Hecuba!' Well, I answer to that, Know them, and my word for it, you will like them. I have made several journeys there, and I have seen much of the people, and the more I have seen of them, the more I respected and esteemed them. I say, then, to these gentlemen, that if you desire any patriotism on the subject; if you want to stir up a common sentiment of affection between these people and ourselves, bring us all into closer relation together, and, having the elements of a vigorous nationality within us, each will find something to like and respect in the other; mutual confidence and respect will follow, and the feeling of being engaged in a common cause for the good of a common nationality will grow up of itself without being forced by any man's advocacy. The thing who shuts up his heart against his kindred, his neighbours, and his fellow-subjects, may be a very pretty fellow at a parish vestry, but do you call such a forked- radish as that, a man? Don't so abuse the noblest word in the language.

* * * * *

"But there is one special source of wealth to be found in the Maritime Provinces, which was not in any detail exhibited by my hon. friends-I allude to the important article of coal. I think there can be no doubt that, in some parts of Canada, we are fast passing out of the era of wood as fuel, and entering on that of coal. In my own city every year, there is great suffering among the poor from the enormous price of fuel, and large sums are paid away by national societies and benevolent individuals, to prevent whole families perishing for want of fuel. I believe we must all concur with Sir William Logan, that we have no coal in Canada, and I may venture to state, on my own authority, another fact, that we have-a five months' winter, generally very cold.

"Sir W. E. Logan demonstrated by a laborious survey the thickness or depth of the whole group in Northern Nova Scotia to be over 2 3/4 miles, an amount which far exceeds anything seen in the coal formation in other parts of North America; in this group there are seventy-six coal beds one above the other.

"These exhaustless coal fields will, under our plan-which is in fact our Reciprocity Treaty with the Lower Provinces-become, hereafter, the great resource of our towns for fuel. I see the cry is raised below by the anti-Unionists, that to proceed with Confederation would be to entail the loss of the New England market for their coals. I do not quite see how they make this out, but even an anti-Unionist might see that the population of Canada is within a fraction of that of all New England put together, that we consume in this country as much fuel per annum as they do in New England; and, therefore, that we offer them a market under the Union equal to that which these theorizers want to persuade their followers they would lose. Sir, another cry raised by the anti-Unionists below is, that they would have to fight for the defence of Canada-a very specious argument. What, Sir, three millions and one million unite, and the one million do the fighting for all! In proportion to their numbers no doubt these valiant gentlemen will have to fight, if fighting is to be done, but not one man or one shilling more than Canada, pro rata, will they have to risk or spend. On the contrary, the greater community, if she should not happen to be first attacked, would be obliged to fight for them, and in doing so, I do not hesitate to say, on far better authority than my own, that the man who fights for the valley and harbour of St. John, or even for Halifax, fights for Canada. I will suppose another not impossible case. I will suppose a hostile American army, on a fishery or any other war, finding it easier and cheaper to seize the Lower Colonies by land than by sea, by a march from a convenient rendezvous on Lake Champlain, through Lower Canada, into the upper part of New Brunswick, and so downward to the sea-a march like Sherman's march from Knoxville to Savannah. While we obstructed such a march by every means in our power, from the Richelieu to Riviere du Loup, whose battles would we be fighting then? Why, the seaports aimed at, for our common subjugation. But the truth is, all these selfish views and arguments are remarkably short-sighted, unworthy of the subject, and unworthy even of those who use them. In a commercial, in a military, in every point of view, we are all, rightly considered, dependent on each other. Newfoundland dominates the Gulf, and none of us can afford to be separated from her. Lord Chatham said he would as soon abandon Plymouth as Newfoundland to a foreign power, and he is thought to have understood how to govern men. Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are Siamese twins, held together by that ligature of land between Baie Verte and Cumberland Basin, and the fate of the one must follow the fate of the other. Prince Edward Island is only a little bit broken off by the Northumberland Strait from those two bigger brethren, and Upper and Lower Canada are essential to each other's prosperity.

"If the honest and misguided would but reflect for a moment the risks they run by defeating, or even delaying this measure, I am sure they would, even yet, retract. If we reject it now, is there any human probability that we shall ever see again so propitious a set of circumstances to bring about the same results? How they came about we all know. The strange and fortunate events that have occurred in Canada; the extraordinary concessions made by the leaders of the Governments below-Dr. Tupper, the Nova Scotian Premier, for instance, admitting to his confidence, and bringing with him here as his co- representatives, the Hon. Messrs. Archibald and McCully, two of his most determined political opponent-can we ever expect, if we reject this scheme, that the same or similar things will occur again to favour it? Can we expect to see the leader of the Upper Canadian Conservative party and the leader of the Upper Canadian Liberals sitting side by side again, if this project fails to work out, in a spirit of mutual compromise and concession, the problem of our constitutional difficulties? No, Sir, it is too much to expect. Miracles would cease to be miracles if they were events of every-day occurrence; the very nature of wonders requires that they should be rare; and this is a miraculous and wonderful circumstance, that men at the head of the Governments in five separate Provinces, and men at the head of the parties opposing them, all agreed at the same time to sink party differences for the good of all, and did not shrink, at the risk of having their motives misunderstood, from associating together for the purpose of bringing about this result. I have asked, Sir, what risks do we run if we reject this measure? We run the risk of being swallowed up by the spirit of universal democracy that prevails in the United States. Their usual and favourite motto is-

"'No pent-up Utica contracts our powers,

But the whole boundless continent is ours.

That is the popular paraphrase of the Monroe doctrine. And the popular voice has favoured-aye, and the greatest statesmen among them have looked upon it as inevitable-an extension of the principles of democracy over this continent. Now, I suppose a universal democracy is no more acceptable to us than a universal monarchy in Europe would have been to our ancestors; yet for three centuries-from Charles V. to Napoleon-our fathers combated to the death against the subjugation of all Europe to a single system or a single master, and heaped up a debt which has since burdened the producing classes of the Empire with an enormous load of taxation, which, perhaps, none other except the hardy and ever-growing industry of those little islands could have borne up under. The idea of a universal democracy in America is no more welcome to the minds of thoughtful men among us than was that of a universal monarchy to the minds of the thoughtful men who followed the standard of the third William, or who afterwards, under the great Marlborough, opposed the armies of the particular dynasty that sought to place Europe under a single dominion.

"But if we are to have a universal democracy on this continent, the Lower Provinces-the smaller fragments-will be 'gobbled up' first, and we will come in afterwards by way of dessert. The proposed Confederation will enable us to bear up shoulder to shoulder; to resist the spread of this universal democracy doctrine; it will make it more desirable to maintain on both sides the connection that binds us to the parent State; it will raise us from the position of mere dependent colonies to a new and more important position; it will give us a new lease of existence under other and more favourable conditions; and resistance to this project, which is pregnant with so many advantages to us and to our children, means simply this, ultimate union with the United States. But these are small matters, wholly unworthy of the attention of the Smiths, and Annands, and Palmers, who have come forward to forbid the banns of British-American Union. Mr. Speaker, before I draw to a close the little remainder of what I have to say- and I am sorry to have detained the House so long-

I beg to offer a few observations apropos of my own position as an English-speaking member for Lower Canada. I venture, in the first place, to observe that there seems to be a good deal of exaggeration on the subject of race, occasionally introduced, both on the one side and the other, in this section of the country. I congratulate my honorable friend, the Attorney-General for this section, on his freedom from such prejudices in general, though I still think in matters of patronage and the like he always looks first to his own compatriots for which neither do I blame him. But this theory of race is sometimes carried to an anti-christian and unphilosophical excess. Whose words are these-'God hath made of one blood all nations that dwell on the face of the earth'? Is not that the true theory of race? For my part, I am not afraid of the French Canadian majority in the future local government doing injustice, except accidentally; not because I am of the same religion as themselves; for origin and language are barriers stronger to divide men in this world than is religion to unite them. Neither do I believe that my Protestant compatriots need have any such fear. The French Canadians have never been an intolerant people; it is not in their temper, unless they had been persecuted, perhaps, and then it might have been as it has been with other races of all religions.

"All who have spoken on this subject have said a good deal, as was natural, of the interests at stake in the success or failure of this plan of Confederation. I trust the House will permit me to add a few words as to the principle of Confederation considered in itself. In the application of this principle to former constitutions there certainly always was one fatal defect, the weakness of the central authority. Of all the Federal constitutions I have ever heard or read of, this was the fatal malady: they were short-lived, they died of consumption. But I am not prepared to say that because the Tuscan League elected its chief magistrates but for two months and lasted a century, that therefore the Federal principle failed. On the contrary, there is something in the frequent, fond recurrence of mankind to this principle, among the freest people, in their best times and in their worst dangers, which leads me to believe, that it has a very deep hold in human nature itself-an excellent basis for a government to have. But, indeed, Sir, the main question is the due distribution of powers in a Federal Union-a question I dare not touch to-night, but which I may be prepared to say something on before the vote is taken. The principle itself seems to me to be capable of being so adapted as to promote internal peace and external security, and to call into action a genuine, enduring, and heroic patriotism. It is a fruit of this principle that makes the modern Italian look back with sorrow and pride over a dreary waste of seven centuries to the famous field of Legnano; it was this principle kindled the beacons which yet burn on the rocks of Uri; it was this principle that broke the dykes of Holland and overwhelmed the Spanish with the fate of the Egyptian oppressor. It is a principle capable of inspiring a noble ambition and a most salutary emulation. You have sent your young men to guard your frontier. You want a principle to guard your young men, and thus truly defend your frontier. For what do good men who make the best soldiers fight? For a line of scripture or chalk line-for a text or for a pretext? What is a better boundary between nations than a parallel of latitude, or even a natural obstacle?-what really keeps nations intact and apart?-a principle. When I can hear our young men say as proudly, 'our Federation,' or 'our Country,' or 'our Kingdom,' as the young men of other countries do, speaking of their own, then I shall have less apprehension for the result of whatever trials the future may have in store for us. It has been said that the Federal Constitution of the United States has failed. I, Sir, have never said it. The Attorney- General West told you the other night that he did not consider it a failure; and I remember that in 1861, when in this House I remarked the same thing, the only man who then applauded the statement was the Attorney-General West,-so that it is plain he did not simply adopt the argument for use the other night when advocating a Federal Union among ourselves. It may be a failure for us, paradoxical as this may seem, and yet not a failure for them. They have had eighty years' use of it, and having discovered its defects, may apply a remedy and go on with it eighty years longer. But we also were lookers on, who saw its defects as the machine worked, and who have prepared contrivances by which it can be improved and kept in more perfect order when applied to ourselves. And one of the foremost statesmen in England, distinguished alike in politics and literature, has declared, as the President of the Council informed us, that we have combined the best parts of the British and the American systems of government; an opinion deliberately formed at a distance, without prejudice, and expressed without interested motives of any description. We have, in relation to the head of the Government, in relation to the judiciary, in relation to the second chamber of the Legislature, in relation to the financial responsibility of the General Government, and in relation to the public officials whose tenure of office is during good behaviour instead of at the caprice of a party-in all these respects we have adopted the British system; in other respects we have learned something from the American system, and I trust and believe we have made a very tolerable combination of both.

"The principle of Federation is a generous principle. It is a principle that gives men local duties to discharge, and invests them at the same time with general supervision, and excites a healthy sense of responsibility and comprehension. It is a principle that has produced a wise and true spirit of statesmanship in all countries in which it has ever been applied. It is a principle eminently favourable to liberty, because local affairs are left to be dealt with by local bodies, and cannot be interfered with by those who have no local interest in them, while matters of a general character are left exclusively to a General Government. It is a principle inseparable from every government that ever gave extended and important services to a country, because all governments have been more or less confederations in their character. Spain was a Federation, for although it had a king reigning over the whole country, it had its local governments for the administration of local affairs. The British Isles are a quasi-Confederation, and the old French dukedoms were confederated in the States-General. It is a principle that runs through all the history of civilization in one form or another, and exists alike in monarchies and democracies; and having adopted it as the principle of our future government, there were only the details to arrange and agree upon. Those details are before you. It is not in our power to alter any of them even if the House desires it. If the House desires, it can reject the treaty, but we cannot, nor can the other Provinces, which took part in its negociation, consent that it shall be altered in the slightest particular.

"Mr. Speaker, I am sorry to have detained the House so long, and was not aware till I had been some time on my legs, that my physical strength was so inadequate to the exposition of those few points which, not specially noticed by my predecessors in this debate, I undertook to speak upon. We stand at present in this position: we are bound in honour, we are bound in good faith, to four Provinces occupied by our fellow colonists, to carry out the measure of Union agreed upon here in the last week of October. We are bound to carry it to the foot of the Throne, and ask there from Her Majesty, according to the first resolution of the Address, that she will be graciously pleased to direct legislation to be had on this subject. We go to the Imperial Government, the common arbiter of us all, in our true Federal metropolis-we go there to ask for our fundamental Charter. We hope, by having that Charter, which can only be amended by the authority that made it, that we will lay the basis of permanency for our future government. The two great things that all men aim at in free government, are liberty and permanency. We have had liberty enough-too much, perhaps, in some respects-but, at all events, liberty to our hearts' content. There is not on the face of the earth a freer people than the inhabitants of these Colonies. But it is necessary there should be respect for the law, a high central authority, the virtue of civil obedience, obeying the law for the law's sake; for even when a man's private conscience may convince him sufficiently that the law in some cases may be wrong, he is not to set up his individual will against the will of the country, expressed through its recognized constitutional organs. We need in these Provinces, and we can bear, a large infusion of authority. I am not at all afraid this Constitution errs on the side of too great conservatism. If it be found too conservative now, the downward tendency in political ideas which characterises this democratic age is a sufficient guarantee for amendment. Its conservatism is the principle on which this instrument is strong, and worthy of the support of every colonist, and through which it will secure the warm approbation of the Imperial authorities. We have here no traditions and ancient venerable institutions; here, there are no aristocratic elements hallowed by time or bright deeds; here, every man is the first settler of the land, or removed from the first settler one or two generations at the farthest; here, we have no architectural monuments calling up old associations; here, we have none of those old popular legends and stories which in other countries have exercised a powerful share in the government; here, every man is the son of his own works. We have none of those influences about us which, elsewhere, have their effect upon government just as much as the invisible atmosphere itself tends to influence life, and animal and vegetable existence. This is a new land-a land of young pretensions because it is new; because classes and systems have not had that time to grow here naturally. We have no aristocracy but of virtue and talent, which is the best aristocracy, and is the old and true meaning of the term. There is a class of men rising in these Colonies, superior in many respects to others with whom they might be compared. What I should like to see, is-that fair representatives of the Canadian and Acadian aristocracy should be sent to the foot of the Throne with that scheme, to obtain for it the royal sanction-a scheme not suggested by others, or imposed upon us, but one the work of ourselves, the creation of our own intellect and of our own free, unbiassed, and untrammelled will. I should like to see our best men go there, and endeavour to have this measure carried through the Imperial Parliament-going into Her Majesty's presence, and by their manner, if not actually by their speech, saying-'During Your Majesty's reign we have had responsible Government conceded to us: we have administered it for nearly a quarter of a century, during which we have under it doubled our population, and more than quadrupled our trade. The small Colonies which your ancestors could hardly see on the map, have grown into great communities. A great danger has arisen in our near neighbourhood. Over our homes a cloud hangs, dark and heavy. We do not know when it may burst. With our own strength we are not able to combat against the storm; but what we can do, we will do cheerfully and loyally. We want time to grow; we want more people to fill our country, more industrious families of men to develop our resources; we want to increase our prosperity; we want more extended trade and commerce; we want more land tilled-more men established through our wastes and wildernesses. We of the British North-American Provinces want to be joined together, that, if danger comes, we can support each other in the day of trial. We come to Your Majesty, who have given us liberty, to give us unity, that we may preserve and perpetuate our freedom; and whatsoever charter, in the wisdom of Your Majesty and of Your Parliament, you give us, we shall loyally obey and observe as long as it is the pleasure of Your Majesty and Your Successors to maintain the connection between Great Britain and these Colonies.'"

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