Despatch from the Earl of Carnarvon to Lieutenant-Governor George Dundas (19 January 1867)
By: Earl of Carnarvon
Citation: Despatch from the Earl of Carnarvon to Lieutenant-Governor George Dundas (19 January 1867) 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 DESPATCH from the Right Hon. the EARL OF CARNARVON, M.P., to Lieutenant-Governor DUNDAS.
Downing Street, January 19, 1867.
The negotiations respecting the proposed Confederation of the British North American Provinces have reached a point at which I think it right that you should be generally appraised of the mode in which that proposal is viewed by Her Majesty’s Government. They are not unaware of the difficulties which must attend any attempt to consolidate in one body politic a variety of Provinces whose habits, laws, and interests must be in many respects different, and in some perhaps not wholly compatible. By far the most important part of those difficulties have been removed in the present instance by the wise and loyal foresight of the public men of Lower Canada, who in their treatment of this subject have shown themselves able to reconcile a manly support of their hereditary customs and institutions with a generous condense in the justice and friendly feeling of their more numerous fellow subjects of British origin. The questions which remain in controversy will be approached by Her Majesty’s Government with anxious and careful attention, but, I must add, in no spirit of indifference.
That in time of war or tumult the armed force of British North America should be one under one supreme command, — that in time of peace their commerce, their post, their great lines of communication, and, with due regard to local usage, their civil and criminal jurisprudence should be brought to bear on the settlement of narrow local controversies, and that the most important affairs of British North America should be administered by a combination of the ablest men whom it can furnish,—these benefits appear to me so indisputable, so prevailing, and so permanent in their character that I should be wanting to my duty if I did not express to you, and through you to the community over which you preside, my earnest hope that no trifling obstacles will be allowed to interfere with their full attainment.
As my object is not to express any opinion on the details of this measure, but to give to the principle in which it is founded that frank support which Her Majesty’s Government consider to be due from them, I shall only add that you are at full liberty to communicate this Despatch to your Executive Council.
I have, &c.
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