Despatch from Lieutenant Governor George Dundas to the Earl of Carnarvon (7 November 1866)
By: George Dundas
Citation: Despatch from Lieutenant Governor George Dundas to the Earl of Carnarvon (7 November 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 Lieut.-Governor DUNDAS to the Right Hon. The Earl of CARNARVON.
Government House, Prince Edward Island,
November 7, 1866.
(Received. November 17, 1866.)
WITH reference to your Lordship’s Despatch, No. 14,* of 27th September, I have the honour to enclose an approved Minute of the Executive Council of Canada, respecting the proposal of the Delegates of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, which Minute I received on the 5th instant from the Governor-General.
I have laid these papers before the Executive Council of this Province. My advisers conifer that the answer of Canada renders any action on their part unnecessary.
I have, &c.
(Signed.) GEORGE DUNDAS,
The Right Hon. The Earl of Carnarvon,
&c &c. &c.
Enclosure in No. 7.
Copy of a REPORT of a Committee of the Honourable the Executive Council, approved by his Excellency the Governor-General in council on the 22nd October 1866.
The Committee of Council have had under consideration the Despatch of the Colonial Secretary to your Excellency of the 26th September last, and the accompanying resolution of the Delegates from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and they now beg leave to report.
That the resolution referred to is as follows:—
“At a meeting of the Delegates from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, held at the Alexandra Hotel, London, on the 22nd day of September 1866, all being present except the Hon. Mr. Wilmot, it was unanimously resolved, that inasmuch as the co-operation of Prince Edward Island, though not indispensable to a union of the other British North American Provinces, is on many accounts very desirable, and as the settlement of the land question, which has so long and so injuriously agitated that Colony, would be attended with great benefit, and at the same time place the local government of the Island, by the possession of the proprietary lands, more on a footing with the other Provinces which have Crown lands and minerals as a source of local revenue.
“That in case the Legislature of the Island should authorize the appointment of Delegates to act in conjunction with those from the other Provinces in arranging a plan of co-operation prior to the meeting of the Imperial Parliament, the Delegates from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are hereby pledged to support the policy of providing such an amount as may be necessary for the purchase of the proprietary rights, but not to exceed eight hundred thousand dollars ($800,00).”
It would seem from this resolution that the gentleman from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick pledge themselves as Delegates, and not as representing the Governments of their respective Provinces, to support the policy of providing the amount mentioned.
As their powers will expire with the settlement of the scheme of union, it is to be inferred that their pledge can only carried out by their advocating the insertion of a clause in the Imperial Act, binding the future Government and Legislature of United British North America to pay the sum of $800,00.
The Canadian Government do not consider that they have any power or right to consent to the payment of that or any sum without the previous consent of the Canadian Parliament, and they therefore cannot confer their Delegates powers which they do not themselves possess.
The Committee fully appreciate the motives which induced the Delegates from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to adopt the resolution, and they agree with the Delegation as to the desirableness of bringing Prince Edward Island onto the contemplated union.
The Committee are of opinion that every proper exertion should be made for that purpose, and recommend that the subject of the adjustment of the land question should be fully discussed by the Delegates from the three Provinces in London in a liberal spirit. Should the result of the discussion be that in the opinion of Delegates pecuniary compensation should be given to the proprietors for the surrender of the proprietary rights, the Committee would further recommend that the Canadian Delegates be authorized to join with those from the Maritime Provinces in a strong representation to the first Government and Parliament of the united Provinces in favour of their granting the compensation agreed upon by them.
(Signed) W. H. LEE, C.E.C.