Despatch from Lieutenant-Governor Fenwick Williams to Right Hon. Edward Cardwell, No. 44 (6 June 1866)

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Date: 1866-06-06
By: Fenwick Williams
Citation: Despatch from Lieutenant-Governor Fenwick Williams to Right Hon. Edward Cardwell, No. 44 (6 June 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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COPY of a DESPATCH from Lient.-Governor Sir W. F. WILLIAMS, Bart., K.C.B., to the Right Hon.Edward Carwell, M.P.


Halifax, Nova Scotia, June 6, 1866.
(Received June 18, 1866.)
(Answered No. 41. June 21, 1866. p. 82.)


I HAVE the honour to forward the accompanying address to Her Gracious Majesty the Queen, in accordance with a with conveyed to me by certain of the inhabitants of the county of Digby.

I have, &c.

(Signed) W.F. WILLIAMS.

The Right Hon. Edward Cardwell. M.P.
&c. &c. &c.

Enclosure in No. 16.

To the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty.

The petition of the inhabitants of the county of Digby humbly showeth —

[…] the county of Digby contains 16,000 inhabitants, five regiments of enrolled militia, and about 19,000 tons of shipping, bearing the flag of England.

That this county, formerly part of the county of Annapolis, has long sent representatives to the general Assembly, and its people have discharged all the duties of loyal British subjects, and under Your Majesty’s benign rule are prosperous and content.

That they view with great distrust attempts recently made to annex them to the Province of Canada, with which they have no natural connexion, and very little trade. That a scheme of confederation arranged at Quebec in […], without the consent of the constituencies, who have never been consulted, would be a violation of their rights, and would if sanctioned by Your Majesty’s Government create wide-spread dissatisfaction in this loyal and happy Province.

That while that portion of this county which borders on the sea is thickly inhabited and rapidly increasing in population and wealth, there are still considerable districts but lately reclaimed from the […] forest, sparsely settled by immigrants from Great Britain and Ireland, encountering all the difficulties and privations incident to the early settlement of a rugged though promising country : and large grants from the revenues of the Province have […] to be made to open up roads, construct bridges, and otherwise aid in the development and facilitate the settlement of such sections of the Province : and your petitioners regard with dismay the prospect of the transfer of the control of those revenues to a Government by which they would necessarily all be expended for widely different purposes : a deprivation which such portions of this county may afford hereafter, but certainly not for many years to come.

That while your petitioners are ready cheerfully to […] to any burden that it may be deemed necessary to impose on them for the […] of their country and their flag, and […] that flag and the honour of the Empire whenever their aid can be available by sea or land, they are not disposed to adopt, as means of ensuring their more efficient defence, a union with a Province which in 1862 refused to sanction a measure involving an increased outlay for the better and more elaborate organization of their militia, although that measure was strongly urged upon that Province by the “just authority” of Your Majesty’s Government.

The prayer of the people of Digby, 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 sacredly guard the rights which we have loyally exercised and enjoyed so long.
The forgoing petition, on motion of Lieut.-Colonel Wm. B. Vail, seconded by Mr. Richard Jones, was unanimously adopted by the people of this county of Digby, assembled at a general meeting held at Weymouth this 19th day of May, A.D. 1866.


Secretary to the Meeting.

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