Despatch from Lieutenant Governor Arthur Gordon to the Duke of Newcastle, No. 66 (26 May 1862)

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Date: 1862-05-26
By: Arthur Gordon
Citation: Despatch from Lieutenant Governor Arthur Gordon to the Duke of Newcastle (26 May 1862) in UK, HC, Return to an Address of the Honourable The House of Commons, dated 30 June 1864; for Copy of Correspondence between any of the North American Provinces and the Imperial Government, relating to their Application for Assistance in raising a Loan for an International Railway (1864).
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Fredericton, New Brunswick, 26 May 1862.

My Lord Duke.

IT was only on Thursday last, the 22d instant, that I was enabled to collect my Executive Council together at this place in order to communicate to them your Grace’s important Despatch of the 12th u’t.* on the subject of the aid to be afforded by the Imperial Government towards the construction of an Intercolonial Railway.

2. I accompanied the communication of your Grace’s Despatch by the Minute of which I have the honour to inclose a copy.

3. I was aware that much timidity existed in the minds of my Council that some unwillingness would be expressed with respect to a further prosecution of the scheme. It was, therefore, my object to confine the discussion within the narrowest possible limits, and to secure the appointment of delegates to meet those of the other Provinces at Quebec.

4. In this object I am glad to say I entirely succeeded; and, although one or two members of the Council appeared averse even to such an appointment, or at all events to that of delegates unfettered by precise instructions, a decision was finally adopted in accordance with the views which I had expressed.

5. It is my intention to repair to Quebec, at the time at which the delegation will be there. Lord Mulgrave will, I believe, take the same opportunity of meeting the Governor General and myself.

6. I cannot be insensible to the great difficulty which will be felt in the assumption of new liabilities by this Province, the estimated revenue of which for the current year amounts only to about 120,000 l., and which is*already burdened by a debt of above 1,000,000 l. sterling; but I look upon the question as one which largely affects the welfare of British North America as a whole, and which must, therefore, not be regarded from too exclusively a Provincial point of view by any one of the separate Colonies interested.

7. Should, therefore, Canada and Nova Scotia both desire the prosecution of the work on the terms now proposed, and should the people of those Provinces express their willingness cheerfully to bear the additional burdens which must be imposed, in order to attain the accomplishment of this great object, I certainly shall be indisposed to permit it to be defeated by the reluctance of my Responsible Advisers to incur the unpopularity attaching to an augmentation of the public burdens, and I should at least require ample evidence that they were expressing the deliberate sentiments of the Legislature, and people of this Province, before I acquiesced in the rejection of un offer of the Imperial Government, which had been accepted as a boon by the sister Colonies.

I have, &c.
(signed) Arthur H. Gordon.

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