Despatch from Lieutenant Governor Richard Graves Macdonnell to Viscount Monck (9 January 1865)

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Date: 1865-01-09
By: Lieutenant Governor Richard Graves Macdonell
Citation: Despatch from Lieutenant Governor Richard Graves Macdonnell to Viscount Monck (9 January 1865) in Journal and Proceedings of the House of Assembly of the Province of Nova Scotia, Appendix No. 3—Union of the Colonies (1865).
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Government House, Halifax, N.S.,
9th January, 1865.


I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your Lordship’s Despatch, of the 23rd December, transmitting copy of the reply of Her Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State to your Lordship, expressing the. views of the Queen’s Government on the resolutions adopted by the Quebec Conference.

2. In reference to the course which your Lordship suggests for the purpose of giving effect to the instructions of Her Majesty’s Government, viz., to submit to the respective Legislatures the project of the Conference, I am in a position to state that this Government will take similar steps to those proposed to be taken in Canada. That is to say, when the papers and correspondence connected with the subject shall have been laid before Parliament, which I have summoned to meet on the 9th February, an Address to Her Majesty will be moved by the Leader of the Government, praying Her Majesty to direct steps to be taken for passing an Act of the Imperial Parliament to unite the Provinces of British North America. The Resolutions of the Quebec Conference, will be suggested as the basis of such Union, to be carried out in such manner as may be judged by Her Majesty’s Government most compatible with the joint interests of the Crown and of these portions of the British Empire.

3. It is evident from the communication of the Right Honorable the Secretary of State, that Her Majesty’s Government expects to be aided in the preparation of a Bill embodying the suggestions of the Quebec Conference by deputations from the respective Provinces. It also appears to myself and the members of my Government that, to avoid the probable multiplied divergence of opinion in each Legislature, inseparable from discussing a great variety of details in several independent Parliaments, despite of a general agreement in the main objects and principles of the general scheme, it is better for these Provinces to avail themselves of the friendly arbitrament of the Queen’s Government and send Delegates to consult with the latter during preparation of the proposed Imperial Bill. The peculiar views of each Legislature might, if necessary, find expression in instructions to the Delegates from each.

4. This seems the wisest and most complete mode of disposing of all questions of Prerogative, as well as of all suggested Amendments of the Quebec Resolutions. On all such points I and my Council feel that the simplest and most effectual mode of serving these Provinces is to confide in the wisdom, discretion, and friendly disposition of the Imperial Government.

5. Any other course appears to this Government calculated to open a door to the renewal, not of one, but of as many Conferences as there are distinct Legislatures. Such a course might possibly end in the indefinite adjournment of all Union, and this Government would view with serious apprehension the grave consequences and general embarrassment to public business which might be caused by thus holding in suspense such important questions, and protracting their discussion so late as to prevent their settlement by Imperial Legislation within the current year.

6. I trust the above views of myself and of this Government coincide with those of your Lordship, and that all these Provinces may attain the early realization of their hopes of Union, by reposing a general confidence in the ability and wisdom of Her Majesty’s Government to arrange satisfactorily whatever details the Quebec Conference may have left incomplete.

Lieutenant Governor.

Governor General Viscount MoNcK.

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