Despatch from Lieutenant-Governor Richard Graves Macdonnell to Right. Hon. Edward Cardwell (2 February 1865)

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Date: 1865-02-02
By: Richard Graves Macdonnell
Citation: Despatch from Lieutenant-Governor Richard Graves Macdonnell to Right. Hon. Edward Cardwell (2 February 1865) 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 R. G. MACDONNELL, C.B., to the Right Hon.Edward Carwell, M.P.


Government House, Halifax, Nova Scotia, February 2, 1865.
(Received February 16,1865.)
(Answered No.10, March 1, 1865, page 79.)


In my Despatch, No.13, of the 31st August I had the honour to announce the final appointment of delegates to represent Nova Scotia at Charlottetown, for the purpose of discussing the expediency and practicability of some union of the British North American Maritime Provinces.

It is only within the last few days that I have received from the Provincial Secretary, himself one of the delegates and joint secretaries of the Conference, the enclosed brief resume of proceedings, which, as you are aware, became soon afterwards practically merged in the more comprehensive Conference at Quebec.

You will observe that almost from the very commencement of the Charlottetown Conference at the beginning of September, delegates from Canada, including some of the eminent statesmen from that country, were admitted to take part in the proceedings, and its deliberations practically embraced a far more extensive question that that which had been originally submitted to the consideration of the delegates by resolution of the respective Legislatures.

The enclosed document is nevertheless interesting as forming a portion of the history of proceedings to which subsequent events have given a far wider influence than was at first anticipated.

I have, &c.


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

Enclosure 1 in No. 5.


Halifax, N.S., January 28, 1865.

ON behalf of the delegates appointed by your Excellency to attend the Conference held at Charlottetown in September last, I beg to enclose for your information the following report of the proceedings of that Conference, duly authenticated by the signatures of the chairman and joint secretaries.

I have, &c.

To his Excellency, Sir R. G. MacDonnell, C.B.
Lieut.-Governor, &c. &c. &c.

REPORT of Proceedings of a Conference held to consider the Question of a Legislative Union of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island.

The conference was composed of the following delegates :–

Hon. CHARLES TUPPER, Provincial Secretary
Hon. W.A. HENRY, Attorney-General.
Hon. R.B. DICKEY, M.L.C.
Hon. S.L. TILLEY, Provincial Secretary.
Hon. W.H.STEEVES, M.L.C. and M.E.C.
Hon. J.M. JOHNSON, Attorney-General.
Hon. J.N. GRAY, M.P.P.
Hon. Col. J.H. GRAY, M.E.C.
Hon. W.H. POPE, Colonial Secretary.
Hon. EDWARD PALMER, Attorney General.

The delegates met at the Colonial Building Charlottetown, P.E.Island, on the 1st day of September 1864, when on motion of the Hon. Charles Tupper, seconded by the Hon. S. L. Tilley, the Hon. Col. Gray was appointed Chairman of the Conference : the Hon. Charles Tupper and the Hon. S. L. Tilley were appointed Joint Secretaries.

After some time spent in general discussion it was decided to receive a deputation from the Government of Canada, who had arrived for the purpose of explaining to the Conference the views of that Government upon the union of the British North America.

In conformity with that decision the following members of the Canadian Government were received by the Conference on the 2nd day of September. —

Hon. J.A. MCDONALD, Attorney-General, C.W.
Hon. G.E. CARTIER, Attorney – General, C. E.
Hon. GEORGE BROWN, M.P.P., President of Executive Council
Hon. A.T. GALT, Minister of Finance.
Hon. T.D. MCGEE, Minister of Agriculture.
Hon. WM. MCDOUGALL, Provincial Secretary.
Hon. ALEXANDER CAMPBELL, M.L.C., Commissioner of Crown Lands.
Hon. L.H. LANGEVIN, M.P.P., Solicitor-General, C.E.

The Conference met separately and with these gentlemen daily until Wednesday, the 7th September and full and free discussion took place between them and the members of the Conference. Upon the 7th September, at the invitation of the delegates from Nova Scotia, the Conference was adjourned to meet at Halifax, where on the 10th September it was re-assembled at the Legislative Council Chamber and the discussions continued with the members of the Canadian Government. On the 12th September, upon the invitation of the delegates from New Brunswick, the Conference was adjourned to meet at St. John, New Brunswick.

Previous to adjournment, the Hon J. A. McDonald announced to the Conference that the Executive Council of Canada would advise his Excellency the Governor-General to invite the Lieut.-Governors of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, and Prince Edward Island to appoint delegates to attend a Conference at Quebec, to take formally into consideration the subject of a union of all the British North American Provinces.

Pursuant to adjournment the Conference met at Stubb’s hotel, St. John, N.B., on the 16th September when it was decided to adjourn until after the Conference to be called at Quebec had formally discussed the larger question in all its bearings.

An adjournment accordings took place until again called by the chairman to meet at such time and place as he should think fit, of which due notices should be given by the secretaries to the members.

Such adjourned meeting was duly called and held at the Queen’s hotel, Toronto, C.W. on the 3rd of November, when it was resolved. —

“That in view of the resolutions passed at the Quebec Conference in favour of a Confederation of the British North American Province, this Conference decide to postpone the consideration of the Question of a legislative Union of the Maritime Provinces, and that the joint secretaries be requested to draw up a report of the proceedings of the Conference for the information of the Lieutenant-Governors and of the Legislatures of the Maritime Provinces.”

A vote of thanks having been passed unanimously to the chairman, for the able manner in which he had discharged the duties of his office, the Conference was on motion adjourned “sine die”.

(Signed) J. HAMILTON GRAY. Chairman.

Joint Secretaries.

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