Despatch from Lieutenant-Governor Fenwick Williams to Right Hon. Edward Cardwell (10 May 1866)

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Date: 1866-05-10
By: Fenwick Williams
Citation: Despatch from Lieutenant-Governor Fenwick Williams to Right Hon. Edward Cardwell (10 May 1866) in UK, Parliament, Correspondence respecting the Proposed Union of the British North American Provinces (London: George Edward Eyre and William Spottiswoode, 1867).
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No. 13.

COPY of a DESPATCH from Lieut.-Governor Sir W. F. WILLIAMS, Bart., K.C.B., to the Right Hon.Edward Cardwell, M.P.

(No. 35.)

Halifax, Nova Scotia, May 10, 1866.
(Received May 21, 1866.)
(Answered No. 30. May 25, 1866. p. 81.)

“IN doing myself the honour to forward the enclosed Address to Her Gracious Majesty, together with my reply to the deputation, I beg to remark that I believe this attempt to agitate the Province to be a complete failure.”

Enclosure 1 in No.13.

To his Excellency Sir William Fenwick Williams of [..], Bart., Lieut.-General in Her Majesty Army, Knight Commander of the most Honourable Order of the Bath. Grand Officer of the […] 1st class of the Turkish Order of the Medijee, &c., Lieut.-Governor and Commander in-Chief in and over Her Majesty’s Province of Nova Scotia and its dependencies, &c. &c. &c.

We the undersigned committee […] appointed at a public meeting, held at Windsor in the county of Hants, and Province of Nova Scotia, on Tuesday the 8th day of May A.D.1866, to present to your Excellency the accompanying address and paper thereto annexed, to be forwarded to the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty.

Humbly pray that your Excellency may be pleased to transmit the said address and the paper thereto annexed to Her most Gracious Majesty, at the earliest possible period.


Windsor, 8th May 1866.

Enclosure 2 in No 13.

At a general public meeting of the inhabitants of the county of Hants, in the Province of Nova Scotia, held at Windsor, in said county on Tuesday the 8th day of May A.D. 1866, the accompanying address to the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, having been moved by Elkanoh Young, Esp., and seconded by Edward Riley, Esq., was put to the said meeting and carried by an overwhelming majority, about fifteen only voting against it, and upwards of 1200 voting for said address.

As the said meeting a committee composed of Edward McLatchey, Esq., Daniel Mosher, Esq., William Chambers, Esq., and S. M. Weeks, Esq., M.D., was appointed for the purpose of preparing a [..] to the Lieutenant-Governor of this Province a petition, requesting his Excellency to transmit the said address and these minutes to the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, at as early a day as possible.

D.E. […], Secretary

Dated at Windsor, this 8th day of May 1865.

Enclosure 3 in No.13.


The Petition of the inhabitant of the county of Hants, humbly showeth —

THAT the county of Hants forms a central portion of the Province of Nova Scotia, and that its people are chiefly engaged in agricultural pursuits, mining, shipbuilding, and navigation.
That it contains seven regiments of enrolled militiamen and sends to sea 54,000 tons of shipping bearing the flag of England.

That the people of this county in common with their fellow countrymen have since its first foundation discharged all the duties of loyal British subjects : they have sent representatives to the Provincial Parliament since […], and for a quarter of […] have enjoyed self-government in as full and ample […] as other British subjects have in the most favoured parts of the Empire.

That the people of Hants, living in peace and prosperity, ready at all times to maintain their allegiance and defend their county have been justly alarmed by attempts at revolutionary change to which they have never given their consent and for which they […] […].

A scheme of Confederation was hastily prepared at Quebec in 1864, by delegates who had no authority from the Legislature or people of Nova Scotia to consent to a political union with Canada.

That scheme, unfair and […] to the Maritime Provinces after […] them all for […] months, has been respected by two, put aside by a third, and was so unfavourably received in this Province, that its promoters never ventured formally to submit it to the Legislature or to the people at the polls.

It is now proposed to entrust to a committee the preparation of a measure, to be embodied in a bill and submitted for the Imperial Parliament, without affording to the people, whose rights, revenues, and future prosperity it may materially affect, any opportunity to protect themselves in the ordinary modes known to the Constitution and practiced by the people of all free States.

The prayer of the people of Hants therefore is, that no change in the institutions of this country may be made until it has been submitted to the test of public opinion, and that Your Majesty will so readily guard the rights which we have loyally exercised and enjoyed so long, until by al the form-sanctioned by the usage of the mother country they have been deliberately resigned.


Enclosure 4 in No.13.

Halifax, Nova Scotia, May 10, 1866.


[…] that pressing […] prevented my receiving you yesterday.

I shall […] […] […] request […] in your minutes, forward the accompanying minutes and address to the Colonial Secretary to be land before the Queen.

Full details of the events on which these documents touch are in the possession of the Imperial Government, and it will be for the British Cabined to judge of the justness or otherwise of the allegations contained in the address to Her Majesty : yet i cannot doubt, in balancing the actions of the Government and Legislature of Nova Scotia in the momentous crisis, with the motives of the meeting from whom this address emanates, that the Queen’s Government will rightly judge where ties that revolutionary tendency which this address would fain attach to the proceeding of the faithful and loyal representatives of this Province.

I have, &c.

(Signed) W. F. WILLIAMS.

To Edward McLatchy. Esq.

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