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   Chapter 8 THE EVOLUTION OF CONFEDERATION (1789—1864).

Canada under British Rule 1760-1900 By John George Bourinot Characters: 44372

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:02


SECTION 1-The beginnings of confederation.

The idea of a union of the provinces of British North America had been under discussion for half a century before it reached the domain of practical statesmanship. The eminent Loyalist, Chief Justice Smith of Quebec, so early as 1789, in a letter to Lord Dorchester, gave an outline of a scheme for uniting all the provinces of British North America "under one general direction." A quarter of a century later Chief Justice Sewell of Quebec, also a Loyalist, addressed a letter to the father of the present Queen, the Duke of Kent, in which he urged a federal union of the isolated provinces. Lord Durham was also of opinion in 1839 that a legislative union of all the provinces "would at once decisively settle the question of races," but he did not find it possible to carry it out at that critical time in the history of the Canadas.

Some ten years later, at a meeting of prominent public men in Toronto, known as the British American League, the project of a federal union was submitted to the favourable consideration of the provinces. In 1854 the subject was formally brought before the legislature of Nova Scotia by the Honourable James William Johnston, the able leader of the Conservative party, and found its most eloquent exposition in the speech of the Honourable Joseph Howe, one of the fathers of responsible government. The result of the discussion was the unanimous adoption of a resolution-the first formally adopted by any provincial legislature-setting forth that "the union or confederation of the British provinces, while calculated to perpetuate their connection with the parent state, will promote their advancement and prosperity, increase their strength, and influence and elevate their position." Mr. Howe, on that occasion, expressed himself in favour of a federation of the empire, of which he was always an earnest advocate until his death.

In the legislature of Canada Mr., afterwards Sir, Alexander Tilloch Galt was an able exponent of union, and when he became a member of the Cartier-Macdonald government in 1858 the question was made a part of the ministerial policy, and received special mention in the speech of Sir Edmund Head, the governor-general, at the end of the session. The matter was brought to the attention of the imperial government on more than one occasion during these years by delegates from Canada and Nova Scotia, but no definite conclusion could be reached in view of the fact that the question had not been taken up generally in the provinces.

The political condition of the Canadas brought about a union much sooner than was anticipated by its most sanguine promoters. In a despatch written to the colonial minister by the Canadian delegates,-members of the Cartier-Macdonald ministry-who visited England in 1858 and laid the question of union before the government, they represented that "very grave difficulties now present themselves in conducting the government of Canada"; that "the progress of population has been more rapid in the western province, and claims are now made on behalf of its inhabitants for giving them representation in the legislature in proportion to their numbers"; that "the result is shown by agitation fraught with great danger to the peaceful and harmonious working of our constitutional system, and, consequently, detrimental to the progress of the province" that "this state of things is yearly becoming worse"; and that "the Canadian government are impressed with the necessity for seeking such a mode of dealing with these difficulties as may for ever remove them." In addition to this expression of opinion on the part of the representatives of the Conservative government of 1858, the Reformers of Upper Canada held a large and influential convention at Toronto in 1859, and adopted a resolution in which it was emphatically set forth, "that the best practicable remedy for the evils now encountered in the government of Canada is to be found in the formation of two or more local governments to which shall be committed the control of all matters of a local and sectional character, and some general authority charged with such matters as are necessarily common to both sections of the provinces"-language almost identical with that used by the Quebec convention six years later in one of its resolutions with respect to the larger scheme of federation. Mr. George Brown brought this scheme before the assembly in 1860, but it was rejected by a large majority. At this time constitutional and political difficulties of a serious nature had arisen between the French and English speaking sections of the united Canadian provinces. A large and influential party in Upper Canada had become deeply dissatisfied with the conditions of the union of 1840, which maintained equality of representation to the two provinces when statistics clearly showed that the western section exceeded French Canada both in population and wealth.

A demand was persistently and even fiercely made at times for such a readjustment of the representation in the assembly as would do full justice to the more populous and richer province. The French Canadian leaders resented this demand as an attempt to violate the terms on which they were brought into the union, and as calculated, and indeed intended, to place them in a position of inferiority to the people of a province where such fierce and unjust attacks were systematically made on their language, religion, and institutions generally. With much justice they pressed the fact that at the commencement of, and for some years subsequent to, the union, the French Canadians were numerically in the majority, and yet had no larger representation in the assembly than the inhabitants of the upper province, then inferior in population. Mr. George Brown, who had under his control a powerful newspaper, the Globe, of Toronto, was remarkable for his power of invective and his tenacity of purpose, and he made persistent and violent attacks upon the conditions of the union, and upon the French and English Conservatives, who were not willing to violate a solemn contract.

The difficulties between the Canadian provinces at last became so intensified by the public opinion created by Mr. Brown in Upper Canada in favour of representation by population, that good and stable government was no longer possible on account of the close division of parties in the legislature. Appeals were made frequently to the people, and new ministries formed,-in fact, five within two years-but the sectional difficulties had obviously reached a point where it was not possible to carry on successfully the administration of public affairs. On the 14th June, 1864, a committee of the legislative assembly of Canada, of whom Mr. Brown was chairman, reported that "a strong feeling was found to exist among the members of the committee in favour of changes in the direction of a federal system, applied either to Canada alone or to the whole of the British North American provinces." On the day when this report was presented, the Conservative government, known as the Taché-Macdonald ministry, suffered the fate of many previous governments for years, and it became necessary either to appeal at once to the people, or find some other practical solution of the political difficulties which prevented the formation of a stable government. Then it was that Mr. Brown rose above the level of mere party selfishness, and assumed the attitude of a statesman, animated by patriotic and noble impulses which must help us to forget the spirit of sectionalism and illiberality which so often animated him in his career of heated partisanship. Negotiations took place between Mr. John A. Macdonald, Mr. Brown, Mr. Cartier, Mr. Galt, Mr. Morris, Mr. McDougall, Mr. Mowat, and other prominent members of the Conservative and Reform parties, with the result that a coalition government was formed on the distinct understanding that it would "bring in a measure next session for the purpose of removing existing difficulties by introducing the federal principle into Canada, coupled with such provisions as will permit the maritime provinces and the north-west territories to be incorporated into the same system of government." The Reformers who entered the government with Macdonald and Cartier on this fundamental condition were Mr. Brown, Mr. Oliver Mowat, and Mr. William McDougall, who stood deservedly high in public estimation.

While these events were happening in the Canadas, the maritime provinces were taking steps in the direction of their own union. In 1861 Mr. Howe, the leader of a Liberal government in Nova Scotia, carried a resolution in favour of such a scheme. Three years later the Conservative ministry of which Dr., now Sir, Charles Tupper, was premier, took measures in the legislature of Nova Scotia to carry out the proposition of his predecessor; and a conference was arranged at Charlottetown between delegates from the three provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island By a happy forethought the government of Canada, immediately on hearing of this important conference, decided to send a delegation, composed of Messrs J.A. Macdonald, Brown, Cartier, Galt, McGee, Langevin, McDougall, and Campbell. The result of the conference was favourable to the consideration of the larger question of the union of all the provinces; and it was decided to hold a further conference at Quebec in October for the purpose of discussing the question as fully as its great importance demanded.

SECTION 2.-The Quebec convention of 1864.

Thirty-three delegates met in the parliament house of this historic city. They were all men of large experience in the work of administration or legislation in their respective provinces. Not a few of them were noted lawyers who had thoroughly studied the systems of government in other countries. Some were gifted with rare eloquence and power of argument. At no time, before or since, has the city of Quebec been visited by an assemblage of notables with so many high qualifications for the foundation of a nation. Descendants of the pioneers of French Canada, English Canadians sprung from the Loyalists of the eighteenth century, eloquent Irishmen and astute Scotchmen, all, thoroughly conversant with Canadian interests, met in a convention summoned to discharge the greatest responsibilities ever entrusted to any body of men in Canada.

The chairman was Sir Etienne Paschal Taché, who had proved in his youth his fidelity to England on the famous battlefield of Chateauguay, and had won the respect of all classes and parties by the display of many admirable qualities. Like the majority of his compatriots he had learned to believe thoroughly in the government and institutions of Great Britain, and never lost an opportunity of recognising the benefits which his race derived from British connection. He it was who gave utterance to the oft-quoted words: "That the last gun that would be fired for British supremacy in America would be fired by a French Canadian." He lived to move the resolutions of the Quebec convention in the legislative council of Canada, but he died a few months before the union was formally established in 1867, and never had an opportunity of experiencing the positive advantages which his race, of whose interests he was always an earnest exponent, derived from a condition of things which gave additional guarantees for the preservation of their special institutions. But there were in the convention other men of much greater political force, more deeply versed in constitutional knowledge, more capable of framing a plan of union than the esteemed and discreet president. Most prominent among these was Mr., afterwards Sir, John A. Macdonald, who had been for years one of the most conspicuous figures in Canadian politics, and had been able to win to a remarkable degree the confidence not only or the great majority of the French Canadians but also of a powerful minority in the western province where his able antagonist, Mr. Brown, until 1864 held the vantage ground by his persistency in urging its claims to greater weight in the administration of public affairs. Mr. Macdonald had a great knowledge of men and did not hesitate to avail himself of their weaknesses in order to strengthen his political power. His greatest faults were those of a politician anxious for the success of his party. His strength lay largely in his ability to understand the working of British institutions, and in his recognition of the necessity of carrying on the government in a country of diverse nationalities, on principles of justice and compromise. He had a happy faculty of adapting himself to the decided current of public opinion even at the risk of leaving himself open to a charge of inconsistency, and he was just as ready to adopt the measures of his opponents as he was willing to enter their ranks and steal away some prominent men whose support he thought necessary to his political success.

So early as 1861 he had emphatically expressed himself on the floor of the assembly in favour of the main principles of just such a federal union as was initiated at Quebec. The moment he found that the question of union was likely to be something more than a mere subject for academic discussion or eloquent expression in legislative halls, he recognised immediately the great advantages it offered, not only for the solution of the difficulties of his own party, but also for the consolidation of British American as well as imperial interests on the continent of North America From the hour when he became convinced of this fact he devoted his consummate ability not merely as a party leader, but as a statesman of broad national views, to the perfection of a measure which promised so much for the welfare and security of the British provinces. It was his good fortune, after the establishment of the federation, to be the first premier of the new Dominion and to mould its destinies with a firm and capable hand. He saw it extended to the Pacific shores long before he died, amid the regrets of all classes and creeds and races of a country he loved and in whose future he had the most perfect confidence.

The name of the Right Honourable Sir John Macdonald, to give him the titles he afterwards received from the crown, naturally brings up that of Mr., afterwards Sir, George Etienne Cartier, who was his faithful colleague and ally for many years in the legislature of old Canada, and for a short time after the completion of the federal union, until his death. This able French Canadian had taken an insignificant part in the unfortunate rising of 1837, but like many other men of his nationality he recognised the mistakes of his impetuous youth, and, unlike Papineau after the union of 1840, endeavoured to work out earnestly and honestly the principles of responsible government. While a true friend of his race, he was generous and fair in his relations with other nationalities, and understood the necessity of compromise and conciliation in a country of diverse races, needs, and interests. Sir John Macdonald appreciated at their full value his statesmanlike qualities, and succeeded in winning his sympathetic and faithful co-operation during the many years they acted together in opposition to the war of nationalities which would have been the eventual consequence of Mr. Brown's determined agitation if it had been carried to its logical and natural conclusion-conclusion happily averted by the wise stand taken by Mr. Brown himself with respect to the settlement of provincial troubles. In the settlement of the terms of union, we can see not only the master hand of Sir John Macdonald in the British framework of the system, but also the successful effort of Sir George Cartier to preserve intact the peculiar institutions of his native province.

All those who have studied Mr. Brown's career know something of his independent and uncompromising character; but for some time after he entered the coalition government his speeches in favour of federation assumed a dignified style and a breadth of view which stand out in great contrast with his bitter arguments as leader of the Clear Grits. In the framing of the Quebec resolutions his part was chiefly in arranging the financial terms with a regard to the interests of his own province.

Another influential member of the Canadian delegation was Mr., afterwards Sir, Alexander Galt, the son of the creator of that original character in fiction, Laurie Todd, who had been a resident for many years in Western Canada, where a pretty city perpetuates his name. His able son had been for a long time a prominent figure in Canadian politics, and was distinguished for his intelligent advocacy of railway construction and political union as measures essential to the material and political development of the provinces. His earnest and eloquent exposition of the necessity of union had no doubt much to do with creating a wide-spread public sentiment in its favour, and with preparing the way for the formation of the coalition government of 1864, on the basis of such a political measure. His knowledge of financial and commercial questions was found to be invaluable in the settlement of the financial basis of the union, while his recognised position as a representative of the Protestant English-speaking people in French Canada gave him much weight when it was a question of securing their rights and interests in the Quebec resolutions.

The other members of the Canadian delegation were men of varied accomplishments, some of whom played an important part in the working out of the federal system, the foundations of which they laid. There was a brilliant Irishman, Thomas D'Arcy McGee, poet, historian and orator, who had been in his rash youth obliged to fly from Ireland to the United States on account of his connection with the rebellious party known as Young Ireland during the troubles of 1848. When he removed from the United States in 1857 he advocated with much force a union of the provinces in the New Era, of which he was editor during its short existence. He was elected to parliament in 1858, and became a notable figure in Canadian politics on account of his eloquence and bonhomie. His most elaborate addresses had never the easy flow of Joseph Howe's speeches, but were laboured essays, showing too obviously the results of careful compilation in libraries, while brightened by touches of natural humour. He had been president of the council in the Sandfield Macdonald government of 1862-a moderate Reform ministry-but later he joined the Liberal-Conservative party as less sectional in its aspirations and more generous in its general policy than the one led by Mr. Brown. Mr. McGee was during his residence in Canada a firm friend of the British connection, having observed the beneficent character of British rule in his new Canadian home, with whose interests he so thoroughly identified himself.

Mr. William McDougall, the descendant of a Loyalist, had been long connected with the advocacy of Reform principles in the press and on the floor of parliament, and was distinguished for his clear, incisive style of debating. He had been for years a firm believer in the advantages of union, which he had been the first to urge at the Reform convention of 1859. Mr., afterwards Sir, Alexander Campbell, who had been for some years a legal partner of Sir John Macdonald, was gifted with a remarkably clear intellect, great common sense, and business capacity, which he displayed later as leader of the senate and as minister of the crown. Mr., afterwards Sir, Oliver Mowat, who had been a student of law in Sir John Macdonald's office at Kingston, brought to the discharge of the important positions he held in later times as minister, vice-chancellor, and premier of the province of Ontario, great legal learning, and admirable judgment. Mr., now Sir, Hector Langevin was considered a man of promise, likely to exercise in the future much influence among his countrymen. For some years after the establishment of the new Dominion he occupied important positions in the government of the country, and led the French Conservative party after the death of Sir George Cartier. Mr. James Cockburn was an excellent lawyer, who three years later was chosen speaker of the first house of commons of the federal parliament-a position which his sound judgment, knowledge of parliamentary law, and dignity of manner enabled him to discharge with signal ability. Mr. J.C. Chapais was a man of sound judgment, which made him equal to the administrative duties entrusted to him from time to time.

Of the five men sent by Nova Scotia, the two ablest were Dr., now Sir, Charles Tupper, who was first minister of the Conservative government, and Mr., later Sir, Adams G. Archibald, who was leader of the Liberal opposition in the assembly. The former was then as now distinguished for his great power as a debater and for the forcible expression of his opinions on the public questions on which he had made up his mind. When he had a great end in view he followed it with a tenacity of purpose that generally gave him success. Ever since he entered public life as an opponent of Mr. Howe, he has been a dominant force in the politics of Nova Scotia. While Conservative in name he entertained broad Liberal views which found expression in the improvement of the school system, at a very low ebb when he came into office, and in the readiness and energy with which he identified himself with the cause of the union of the provinces. Mr. Archibald was noted for his dignified demeanour, sound legal attainments, and clear plausible style of oratory, well calculated to instruct a learned audience. Mr. William A. Henry was a lawyer of considerable ability, who was at a later time elevated to the bench of the supreme court of Canada. Mr. Jonathan J. McCully, afterwards a judge in Nova Scotia, had never sat in the assembly, but he exercised influence in the legislative council on the Liberal side and was an editorial writer of

no mean ability. Mr. Dickey was a leader of the Conservatives in the upper house and distinguished for his general culture and legal knowledge.

New Brunswick sent seven delegates, drawn from the government and opposition. The Loyalists who founded this province were represented by four of the most prominent members of the delegation, Tilley, Chandler, Gray, and Fisher. Mr., afterwards Sir, Samuel Leonard Tilley had been long engaged in public life and possessed admirable ability as an administrator. He had for years taken a deep interest in questions of intercolonial trade, railway intercourse and political union. He was a Reformer of pronounced opinions, most earnest in the advocacy of temperance, possessed of great tact and respected for his high character in all the relations of life. In later times he became finance minister of the Dominion and lieutenant-governor of his native province.

Mr. John Hamilton Gray, later a judge in British Columbia, was one of the most eloquent and accomplished men in the convention, and brought to the consideration of legal and constitutional questions much knowledge and experience. Mr. Fisher, afterwards a judge in his province, was also a well equipped lawyer and speaker who displayed a cultured mind. Like all the delegates from New Brunswick he was animated by a great love for British connection and institutions. Mr. Peter Mitchell was a Liberal, conspicuous for the energy he brought to the administration of public affairs, both in his own province and at a later time in the new Dominion as a minister of the crown. Mr. Edward Barron Chandler had long been a notable figure in the politics of New Brunswick, and was universally respected for his probity and worth. He had the honour of being at a later time the lieutenant-governor of the province with which he had been so long and honourably associated. Mr. John Johnson and Mr. William H. Steeves were also fully qualified to deal intelligently with the questions submitted to the convention.

Of the seven members of the Prince Edward Island delegation, four were members of the government and the rest were prominent men in one or other branch of the legislature. Colonel Gray-a descendant of a Virginia Loyalist-was prime minister of the island. Mr. George Coles was one of the fathers of responsible government in the island, and long associated with the advocacy and passage of many progressive measures, including the improvement of the educational system. Mr. Edward Whelan was a journalist, an Irishman by birth, and endowed, like so many of his countrymen, with a natural gift of eloquence. Mr. Thomas Heath Haviland, afterwards lieutenant-governor of the island, was a man of culture, and Mr. Edward Palmer was a lawyer of good reputation. Mr. William H. Pope and Mr. Andrew Archibald Macdonald were also thoroughly capable of watching over the special interests of the island.

Newfoundland had the advantage of being represented by Mr. Frederick B.T. Carter, then speaker of the house of assembly, and by Mr. Ambrose Shea, also a distinguished politician of the great island. Both were knighted at later times; the former became chief justice of his own province, and the latter governor of the Bahamas.

SECTION 3.-Confederation accomplished.

The Quebec convention sat with closed doors for eighteen days, and agreed to seventy-two resolutions, which form the basis of the Act of Union, subsequently passed by the imperial parliament. These resolutions set forth at the outset that in a federation of the British American provinces "the system of government best adapted under existing circumstances to protect the diversified interests of the several provinces, and secure harmony and permanency in the working of the union, would be a general government charged with matters of common interest to the whole country, and local governments for each of the Canadas, and for the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island, charged with the control of local matters in their respective sections" In another paragraph the resolutions declared that "in forming a constitution for a general government, the conference, with a view to the perpetuation of our connection with the mother-country, and the promotion of the best interests of the people of these provinces, desire to follow the model of the British constitution so far as our circumstances permit" In a subsequent paragraph it was set forth: "the executive authority or government shall be vested in the sovereign of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and be administered according to the well-understood principles of the British constitution, by a sovereign personally, or by the representative of the sovereign duly authorised."

In these three paragraphs of the Quebec resolutions we see clearly expressed the leading principles on which the Canadian federation rests-a federation, with a central government having jurisdiction over matters of common interest to the whole country comprised in the union, and a number of provincial governments having the control and management of certain local matters naturally and conveniently belonging to them, each government being administered in accordance with the well-understood principles of the British system of parliamentary institutions.

The resolutions also defined in express terms the respective powers of the central and provincial governments. Any subject that did not fall within the enumerated powers of the provincial legislatures was placed under the control of the general parliament. The convention recognised the necessity of preventing, as far as possible, the difficulties that had arisen in the working of the constitution of the United States, where the residuary power of legislation is given to the people of the respective states and not to the federal government. In a subsequent chapter I give a brief summary of these and other details of the system of government, generally laid down in the Quebec resolutions and practically embodied in an imperial statute three years later.

Although we have no official report of the discussions of the Quebec convention, we know on good authority that the question of providing revenues for the provinces was one that gave the delegates the greatest difficulty. In all the provinces the sources of revenue were chiefly customs and excise-duties which had to be set apart for the general government of the federation. Some of the delegates from Ontario, where there had existed for many years an admirable system of municipal government, which provided funds for education and local improvements, recognised the advantages of direct taxation; but the representatives of the other provinces would not consent to such a system, especially in the case of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island, where there were no municipal institutions, and the people depended almost exclusively on the annual votes of the legislature for the means to meet their local necessities. All of the delegates, in fact, felt that to force the maritime provinces to resort to direct taxes as the only method of carrying on their government, would be probably fatal to the success of the scheme, and it was finally decided that the central government should grant annual subsidies, based on population, relative debts, financial position, and such other facts as should be fairly brought into the consideration of the case.

It is unfortunate that we have no full report of the deliberations and debates of this great conference. We have only a fragmentary record from which it is difficult to form any adequate conclusions as to the part taken by the several delegates in the numerous questions which necessarily came under their purview.[4] Under these circumstances, a careful writer hesitates to form any positive opinion based upon these reports of the discussions, but no one can doubt that the directing spirit of the conference was Sir John Macdonald. Meagre as is the record of what he said, we can yet see that his words were those of a man who rose above the level of the mere politician, and grasped the magnitude of the questions involved. What he aimed at especially was to follow as closely as possible the fundamental principles of English parliamentary government, and to engraft them upon the general system of federal union. Mr. George Brown took a prominent part in the deliberations. His opinions read curiously now. He was in favour of having the lieutenant-governors appointed by the general government, and he was willing to give them an effective veto over provincial legislation. He advocated the election of a legislative chamber on a fixed day every third year, not subject to a dissolution during its term-also an adaptation of the American system. He went so far as to urge the advisability of having the executive council elected for three years-by the assembly, we may assume, though the imperfect report before us does not state so-and also of giving the lieutenant-governor the right of dismissing any of its members when the house was not sitting. Mr. Brown consequently appears to have been the advocate, so far as the provinces were concerned, of principles that prevail in the federal republic across the border. He opposed the introduction of responsible government, as it now obtains, in all the provinces of the Dominion, while conceding its necessity for the central government.

[4: Mr. Joseph Pope, for years the able confidential secretary of Sir John Macdonald, has edited and published all the official documents bearing on the origin and evolution of the British North America Act of 1867; but despite all the ability and fidelity he has devoted to the task the result is most imperfect and unsatisfactory on account of the absence of any full or exact original report of proceedings.]

We gather from the report of discussions that the Prince Edward Island delegates hesitated from the beginning to enter a union where their province would necessarily have so small a numerical representation-one of the main objections which subsequently operated against the island coming into the confederation. With respect to education we see that it was Mr., afterwards Sir, Alexander Galt, who was responsible for the provision in the constitution which gives the general government and parliament a certain control over provincial legislation in case the rights of a Protestant or a Roman Catholic minority are prejudicially affected. The minutes on this point are defective, but we have the original motion on the subject, and a note of Sir John Macdonald himself that it was passed, with the assent of all the provinces, at the subsequent London conference in 1867. The majority of the delegates appear from the outset to have supported strenuously the principle which lies at the basis of the confederation, that all powers not expressly reserved to the provinces should appertain to the general government, as against the opposite principle, which, as Sir John Macdonald pointed out, had led to great difficulties in the working of the federal system in the United States. Sir John Macdonald also, with his usual sagacity, showed that, in all cases of conflict of jurisdiction, recourse would be necessarily made to the courts, as was the practice even then whenever there was a conflict between imperial and Canadian statutes.

Addresses to the Queen embodying the Quebec resolutions were submitted to the legislature of Canada during the winter of 1865, and passed in both houses by large majorities after a very full discussion of the merits of the scheme. The opposition in the assembly came chiefly from Mr. Antoine A. Dorion, Mr. Luther H. Holton, Mr. Dunkin, Mr. Lucius Seth Huntington, Mr. John Sandfield Macdonald, and other able Liberals who were not disposed to follow Mr. Brown and his two colleagues in their patriotic abandonment of "partyism."

The vote on the address was, in the council-Contents 45, Non-contents 15. In the assembly it stood-Yeas 91, Nays 33. The minority in the assembly comprised 25 out of 65 representatives of French Canada, and only 8 out of the 65 from Upper Canada. With the speaker in the chair there were only 5 members absent on the taking of the final vote.

Efforts were made both in the council and assembly to obtain an unequivocal expression of public opinion at the polls before the address was submitted to the imperial government for final action. It was argued with much force that the legislature had had no special mandate from the people to carry out so vital a change in the political condition of the provinces, but this argument had relatively little weight in either house in view of the dominant public sentiment which, as it was obvious to the most superficial observer, existed in the valley of the St. Lawrence in favour of a scheme which seemed certain to settle the difficulties so long in the way of stable government, and offered so many auspicious auguries for the development of the provinces embraced in federation.

Soon after the close of the session Messrs Macdonald, Galt, Cartier, and Brown went to England to confer with the imperial authorities on various matters of grave public import. The British government agreed to guarantee a loan for the construction of the Intercolonial Railway and gave additional assurances of their deep interest in the proposed confederation. An understanding was reached with respect to the mutual obligations of the parent state and the dependency to provide for the defences of the country. Preliminary steps were taken in the direction of acquiring the north-west from the Hudson's Bay Company on equitable terms whenever their exact legal rights were ascertained. The report of the delegates was laid before the Canadian parliament during a very short session held in August and September of 1865. It was then that parliament formally ratified the Civil Code of Lower Canada, with which must be always honourably associated the name of Mr. Cartier.

In the maritime provinces, however, the prospect for some months was far from encouraging. Much dissatisfaction was expressed with the financial terms, and the haste with which the maritime delegates had yielded to the propositions of the Canadian government and given their adhesion to the larger scheme, when they were only authorised in the first instance by their respective legislatures to consider the feasibility of a union of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. In New Brunswick Mr. Tilley found himself in a minority as a result of an appeal to the people on the question in 1865, but his successor Mr., afterwards Sir, Albert Smith, minister of marine in the Mackenzie government of 1873-78, was forced to resign a year later on some question purposely raised by Lieutenant-Governor Hamilton Gordon, then very anxious to carry the union before he left the province. A new government was immediately formed by Mr. Peter Mitchell, a very energetic Liberal politician-the first minister of marine in the first Dominion ministry-who had notoriously influenced the lieutenant-governor in his arbitrary action of practically dismissing the Smith cabinet. On an appeal to the people Mr. Mitchell was sustained, and the new legislature gave its approval to the union by a large majority. The opinion then generally prevailed in New Brunswick that a federation was essential to the security of the provinces, then threatened by the Fenians, and would strengthen the hands of the parent state on the American continent. In Nova Scotia the situation was aggravated by the fact that the opposition was led by Mr. Howe, who had always been the idol of a large party in the country, and an earnest and consistent supporter of the right of the people to be first consulted on every measure immediately affecting their interests. He succeeded in creating a powerful sentiment against the terms of the measure-especially the financial conditions-and it was not possible during 1865 to carry it in the legislature. It was not attempted to submit the question to the polls, as was done in New Brunswick, indeed such a course would have been fatal to its progress; but it was eventually sanctioned by a large vote of the two houses. A strong influence was exerted by the fact that confederation was approved by the imperial government, which sent out Sir Fenwick Williams of Kars as lieutenant-governor with special instructions that, both Canada and New Brunswick having given their consent, it was proposed to make such changes in the financial terms as would be more favourable to the maritime provinces. In Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland it was not possible for the advocates of federation to move successfully in the matter. The opposition to the scheme of union, as proposed at Quebec, was so bitter in these two provinces that the delegates found it useless to press the matter in their legislatures.

In the meantime, while confederation was on the eve of accomplishment, the people of Canada were subjected to an attack which supplied the strongest possible evidence of the necessity for a union enabling them to combine for purposes of general defence as well as other matters of national importance. In the month of April, 1866, the Fenians, an Irish organisation in the United States, made an insignificant demonstration on the New Brunswick frontier, which had no other effect than to excite the loyal action of the people of the province and strengthen the hands of the advocates of confederation. In the beginning of June a considerable body of the same order, under the command of one O'Neil, crossed from Buffalo into the Niagara district of Upper Canada and won a temporary success near Ridgeway, where the Queen's Own, a body of Toronto Volunteers, chiefly students and other young men, were badly handled by Colonel Booker. Subsequently Colonel Dennis and a small detachment of militia were surprised at Fort Erie by O'Neil. The knowledge that a large force of regulars and volunteers were marching against him under Colonel Peacock forced O'Neil and his men to disperse and find their way back to the United States, where a number were arrested by the orders of the Washington government. The Eastern Townships of Lower Canada were also invaded but the raiders retreated before a Canadian force with greater rapidity than they had shown in entering the province, and found themselves prisoners as soon as they crossed the frontier. Canada was kept in a state of anxiety for some months after these reckless invasions of a country where the Irish like all other nationalities have always had the greatest possible freedom; but the vigilance of the authorities and the readiness of the people of Canada to defend their soil prevented any more hostile demonstrations from the United States. The prisoners taken in the Niagara district were treated with a degree of clemency which their shameless conduct did not merit from an outraged people. No persons were ever executed, though a number were confined for a while in Kingston penitentiary. The invasion had the effect of stimulating the patriotism of the Canadian people to an extraordinary degree, and of showing them the necessity that existed for improving their home forces, whose organisation and equipment proved sadly defective during the invasion.

In the summer of 1866 the Canadian legislature met for the last time under the provisions of the Union Act of 1840, and passed addresses to the Queen, setting forth constitutions for the new provinces of Upper and Lower Canada, afterwards incorporated in the imperial act of union. A conference of delegates from the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Canada was held in the December of 1866 at the Westminster Palace Hotel in the City of London. The members on behalf of Canada were Messrs Macdonald, Cartier, Galt, McDougall, Langevin, and W.P. Howland (in the place of Mr. Brown); on behalf of Nova Scotia, Messrs Tupper, Henry, McCully, Archibald, and J.W. Ritchie (who took Mr. Dickey's place); of New Brunswick, Messrs Tilley, Johnson, Mitchell, Fisher, and R.D. Wilmot. The last named, who took the place of Mr. Steeves, was a Loyalist by descent, and afterwards became speaker of the senate and a lieutenant-governor of his native province. Their deliberations led to some changes in the financial provisions of the Quebec plan, made with the view of satisfying the opposition as far as possible in the maritime provinces but without disturbing the fundamental basis to which Canada had already pledged itself in the legislative session of 1865. All the difficulties being now removed the Earl of Carnarvon, then secretary of state for the colonies, submitted to the house of lords on the 17th of February, 1867, a bill intituled, "An act for the union of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, and the government thereof; and for purposes connected therewith." It passed the two houses with very little discussion, and the royal assent was given to it on the 29th of March of the same year as "The British North America Act, 1867." It is interesting to know that in the original draft of the bill the united provinces were called the "Kingdom of Canada," but when it came eventually before parliament they were designated as the "Dominion of Canada"; and the writer had it from Sir John Macdonald himself that this amendment did not emanate from the colonial delegates but from the imperial ministry, one of whose members was afraid of wounding the susceptibilities of United States statesmen.

During the same session the imperial parliament passed a bill to guarantee a loan of three million pounds sterling for the construction of an intercolonial railway between Quebec and the coast of the maritime provinces-a work recognised as indispensable to the success of the new federation. Her Majesty's proclamation, giving effect to the Union Act, was issued on the 22nd May, 1867, declaring that "on and after the first of July, 1867, the provinces of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, shall form and be one Dominion, under the name of Canada."

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