Despatch from Major-General Hastings Doyle to the Duke of Newcastle, No. 92 (16 October 1862)

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Date: 1862-10-16
By: Hastings Doyle
Citation: Despatch from Major-General Hastings Doyle to the Duke of Newcastle (16 October 1862) in UK, HC, Return to an Address of the Honourable The House of Commons, dated 30 June 1864; for Copy of Correspondence between any of the North American Provinces and the Imperial Government, relating to their Application for Assistance in raising a Loan for an International Railway (1864).
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Government House, Halifax, Nova Scotia,

16 October 1862.

My Lord Duke,

YOUR GRACE has already, I am informed, been made aware, by bis Excellency the Governor General of Canada, of the result of the deliberations which took place at Quebec last month, when the Lieutenant Governors of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, with certain delegates selected from the leading men of these Provinces, assembled there for the purpose of discussing the subject of the proposed Intercolonial Railroad.

I conceive it, nevertheless, to be my duty to transmit to your Grace a copy of the Resolutions adopted on that occasion, and to inform you, that as it has been determined by the sister Provinces to send certain members of their Government to England, for the purpose of arranging with Her Majesty’s Ministers the nature of the securities to be given to the Imperial Government, with a view to uniformity of legislation in all the Provinces, I have commissioned the Honourable Joseph Rowe to proceed to England, and to put himself in communication with your Grace for that purpose.

So much has already been written and said upon the subject of the very great importance of this line of railroad, and being fully aware of the favourable opinion entertained by your Grace with reference to it, I feel I should only intrude upon your time if I were to enter generally upon the whole question; but I trust I may be excused in bringing to your notice the very essential benefit in a military point of view which would be derived from its construction.

I would take leave to bring to your Grace’s recollection the very great difficulty and enormous expense which was incurred in December last, when I was called upon to pass a force, consisting of upwards of 10,000 men, through the Province of New Brunswick, along the frontier of the State of Maine, into Canada; which owing to a combination of favourable circumstances was success- fully performed, but which in a time of war could scarcely be accomplished at all, and certainly not without great loss of life.

Although, in the event of any rupture between Great Britain and the United States, the Metis Road is being prepared for the purpose of enabling troops to proceed to Canada during the winter, out of the reach of any hostile force, it must be borne in mind that the risk of passing large bodies of men over it during an inclement season would, as in the former case, be considerable, the delay unavoidably great, and the expense enormous; whereas if railway communication were once established, both troops and munitions of war could at all times be rapidly and safely transported to Canada, and mutual military operations would thereby be vastly facilitated.

Under all these circumstances, the great advantage which would be derived from the establishment of a railway such as is in contemplation (provided the site be judiciously selected) cannot, in my opinion, be over-estimated.

I have, &c.
(signed) Hastings Doyle, Major-General,
Administering the Government.

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