Despatch from Lieutenant Governor George Dundas to Right Hon. Edward Cardwell (9 May 1866)
By: George Dundas
Citation: Despatch from Lieutenant Governor George Dundas to Right Hon. Edward Cardwell (9 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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Copy of a DESPATCH from Lieut.-Governor DUNDAS to the Right Hon, EDWARD CARDWELL, M.P.
Government House, May 9, 1866.
(Received May 21, 1866)
(Answered, No 19, May 25, 1866, page 136.)
I HAVE the hour to transmit copy of a Resolution against Confederation, which passed the House of Assembly late last night.
An amendment favourable to Confederation (copy of which is also enclosed) was lost on a division.
For the amendment – – – – 7
Against it – – – – – 21
I have, &c.
(Signed.) GEORGE DUNDAS,
The Right Hon. Edward Cardwell, M.P.,
&c &c. &c.
Enclosure in No. 5.
RESOLUTIONS in HOUSE of ASSEMBLY on the subject of CONFEDERATION.
HON. Leader of the Government then remarked that as many unfounded rumours were circulated, and groundless fears entertained by many, touching the course intended to be pursued in regard to the all absorbing topic Confederation, he considered it would be as well to submit the Resolutions on that subject, which had been prepared in answer to the Despatches from the Secretary of State to his Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor relative to that subject.
Said Resolutions were then laid on the table, and are as follow :
This House having had under consideration the message of his Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor communicating a Despatch form the Right Hon. Edward Cardwell. Her Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for the Colonial Department, upon the subject of a Federation of the British North American Provinces, and having most carefully and earnestly considered the project in all its hearings —
Resolved. As the deliberate opinion of this House, that any Union of the British North American Colonies which would embrace Prince Edward Island, upon the terms and principles set forth in the Resolutions of the Conference of Quebec, held on the 10th October 1864, would not only be unjust to the inhabitants of this Colony, but prove disastrous to their dearest and most cherished rights and interests as a free people enjoying the blessings of a priceless constitution guaranteed to them by the Imperial Government of Great Britain.
That considering the isolated, peculiar, and exceptional position of Prince Edward Island, as contrasted with the other British North American Provinces and Colonies, this House deems it to be its duty, as the constitutional representative of the people of Prince Edward Island, to re-affirm the decision so clearly and unequivocally declared by this house in the resolutions passed by it in its last session, upon the subject of a Union of the British North American Colonies, and afterwards communicated by the join Address of the Legislative Council and House of Assembly of this Colony to Her Majesty’s Imperial Government.
Resolved further, that even if a Union of the continental Provinces of British North America should have the effect of strengthening and binding more closely together these Provinces, or advancing their material and commercial interests, this House cannot admit that a federal Union of the North American Provinces and Colonies, which would include Prince Edward Island, could ever be accomplished upon terms that would prove advantageous to the interests and well-being of the people of this Island, cut off and separated as it is, and must remain, from the neighbouring Provinces, by an immovable barrier of ice for many months of the year ; and this House deems it to be its sacred and imperative duty to declare and record its conviction, as it now does, that any Federal Union of the North American Colonies that would include Prince Edward Island, would be as hostile to the feelings and wishes as it would be opposed to the best and most vital interests of its people.
Resolved further, that while this House cannot assent to a federal Union of this Island with the other Colonies, they recognize it to be the duty of this Colony to contribute, from its local revenues, towards its defence, in fair and just proportion to its means.
Amendment proposed by Hon. E. WHELAN.
Resolved, as the opinion of this House, that the Confederation of Her Majesty’s American Colonial Possessions would be—while in conformity with Her Majesty’s frequently expressed desire—conducive to their welfare, individually and generally. And this House believes that a plan of Confederation might be so framed as not to involve the sacrifice of any material interests on the part of any Province : bu inasmuch as the people of Prince Edward Island do not appear to be prepared to regard with any favour the project of Confederation it is unwise to press it upon public attention, as its discussion is only calculated to produce excitement and comprehension, without reasonable cause.
And further resolved, as the opinion of this House, that there should be no vote passed by the Legislature of this country in favour of a Confederation of the Provinces until the people shall first be afforded an opportunity of pronouncing their judgement on the question at a general election.
For the amendment – – – – – 7
Against it – – – – – – 21
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