Despatch from Right Hon. Edward Cardwell to Lieutenant-Governor George Dundas (24 June 1865)

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Date: 1865-04-24
By: Edward Cardwell
Citation: Despatch from Right Hon. Edward Cardwell to Lieutenant-Governor George Dundas (24 June 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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No. 3.

Copy of DESPATCH from the Right Hon. EDWARD CARDWELL, M.P., to Lieutenant-Governor DUNDAS.

(No. 35.)

Downing Street, June 24, 1865.


I HAVE the honour to transmit to you the copy of a correspondence between Viscount Monck and myself on the affairs of British North America which have lately formed the subject of conferences between Her Majesty’s Government and a deputation from the Canadian Government.

This correspondence having presented to both Houses of the Imperial Parliament by command of Her Majesty, I have to direct you to communicate it also to the Legislature of Prince Edward Island at its next meeting.

You will at the same time express the strong and deliberate opinion of Her Majesty’s Government that it is an object much to be desired that all the British North American Colonies should agree to unite in one government. In the territorial extent of Canada, and in maritime and commercial enterprize of the Lower Provinces, Her Majesty’s Government see the elements of power which only rewire to be combined in order to secure for the Province which shall possess them all a place among the most considerable communities of the world. In the spirit of loyalty to the British Crown, of attachment to British connexion, and of love for British institutions, by which all the Provinces are animated alike, Her Majesty’s Government recognize the bond by which all may be combined under one government. Such an union seems to Her Majesty’s Government to recommend itself to the Provinces on many grounds of moral and material advantage, as giving a well-founded prospect of improved administration and increased prosperity. But there is one consideration which Her Majesty’s Government feel it more especially their duty to press upon the Legislature of Prince Edward Island. Looking to the determination which this country has ever exhibited to regard the defence of the Colonies as a matter of Imperial concern, the Colonies must recognize a right, and even acknowledge an obligation incumbent on the Home Government, to urge with earnestness and just authority the measures which they considered to be most expedient on the part of the Colonies with a view to their own defence. Nor can it be doubtful that the Provinces of British North America are incapable, when separate and divided from each other, of making those just and sufficient preparations for national defence, which would be easily undertaken by a Province uniting in itself all the population and all the resources of the whole.

I am aware that this project, so novel as well as so important, has not been at once accepted in Prince Edward Island with that cordiality which has marked its acceptance by the Legislature of Canada, but Her Majesty’s Government trust that after a full and careful examination of the subject in all its bearings, the Maritime Provinces will perceive the great advantages which, in opinion of Her Majesty’s Government, the proposed Union is calculated to confer upon them all.

I have, &c.


Lieutenant-Governor Dundas,
&c. &c.

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