Despatch from Lieutenant Governor George Dundas to Right Hon. Edward Cardwell (30 December 1864)
By: George Dundas
Citation: Despatch from Lieutenant Governor George Dundas to Right Hon. Edward Cardwell (30 December 1864) 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. EDWARD CARDWELL, M.P.
Government House, December 30, 1861.
(Received January 17, 1865.)
I HAVE the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your Despatch No. 29 of 8th December 1861, closing copy of a Despatch* addressed to the Governor General of Canada, upon the Resolutions of the Conference which recently assembled at Quebec to consider the subject of Federation.
In accordance with the wishes of Her Majesty’s Government, I shall, in concern with the Governor General, take steps for submitting the Provincial Legislature the project of the Conference.
I enclose a short article from the “Islander” of this day’s date, a local newspaper which has up to this time strongly advocated the proposed Union: this article declares the feeling of the Colony to decidedly opposed to the project of the Quebec Conference. I may add, that from personal observation, I am convinced that such is the present state of public opinion on this subject.
I have, &c.
(Signed) GEORGE DUNDAS.
The Right Hon. Edward Cardwell, M.P.,
&c. &c. &c.
Enclosure in No. 1.
EXTRACT from “Islander” NEWSPAPER, 30th December 1864.
The year 1864 will live in history as the speech of Confederation, the year in which, in our little town, assembled the leading minds of the British North American Colonies, and entered upon the discussion of the great question of a Confederation of the several Provinces, which resulted in the Quebec Conference, and the adoption of the Resolutions which are to form the basis of a Confederation destined at no very distant day to constitute one of the greatest nations of the earth.
The expense of the Conference will be complained of by some in the Lower Provinces, especially in this Island, where the great majority of the people appear to be wholly averse to Confederation. Let our people here in mind that if no other benefits should result from the Conference than those which will flow from the interchange of sentiments between the leading statesman of the several Provinces, and the wide dissemination of information relating to the Colonies, consequent upon the publication in all parts of Europe of the speeches delivered by delegates, they, in common with the people of the several Colonies, will be amply repaid.
For years past the statesman of the several Provinces have been impressed with the desirability of a general meeting for the purpose of discussing matter relating to the Provinces generally. No occasion other than the Conference of 1864 could have brought together the men who met in Charlottetown and at Quebec. They were men of very different politics members of Governments and members of Oppositions, not a few of whom had for years been mutually opposed the one to the other, often in contests savouring too much of personal feeling: they not, and displaying a common spirits of conciliation, compromise, and concession, and actuated by one common desire, that of advancing the general interests of their common country. Well may the Press of England express satisfaction at the unanimity and good feeling which characterized the proceedings of the Conference. The unseemly differences, which are too often witnessed in the Colonies, were unknown in the Conferences, the proceedings of which evidence ability and enlightened statesmanship, such as our translation friends did not expect to find among Colonists. Prince Edward Island may not accept the offer of Confederation with her great and flourishing neighbours; the refusal to do so will injure Prince Edward Island alone, and will not at all affect the grand question. We have done our duty, We have urged Confederation, the people have declared against it. And by and by. When the Prince Edward Island the desire for Confederation shall be as loudly expressed is expressed the desire to avoid it. And that our we predict will come. We shall have our reward.