Despatch from Viscount Monck to Right Hon. Edward Cardwell (10 March 1865)

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Date: 1865-03-10
By: Viscount Monck
Citation: Despatch from Viscount Monck to Right Hon. Edward Cardwell (10 March 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. 9.

Copy of a DESPATCH from Viscount MONCK to the Right Hon. Edward CARDWELL., M.P.

(NO. 68.)                                                                                                                                        Government House, Quebec, March 10, 1865.

                                                                                                                                                (Received, March 24, 1865.)

    SIR,                                                                                                                                          (Answered, No. 18. March 29, 1865, p. 48.)

I HAVE the honour to enclose a copy of a circular Despatch which I have this day addressed to the Lieutenant-Governors and to the Governor of Newfoundland.

I have, &c.

The Right Hon. Edward Cardwell, M.P.,                                                                                               (Signed)              MONCK.

&c.            &c.            &c.

Enclosure in No. 9.

Governor MESGRAVE to Viscount MONCK.

MY LORD,                                                                                                                 Government House, Newfoundland, February 23, 1865.

I HAVE had the honour the receive by the mail, which arrived on the evening of the 21st, your Lordship’s Despatches noted in the margin, with their enclosures, having reference to the proposed Confederation of the British North American Provinces.

2. I have already, in my Despatch of the 27th January, acquainted you with the [course] it was proposed to take in this Colony for the purpose of giving effect to the instructions of the Secretary of State. In the debates which have taken place both the Council and the Assembly on the address in reply to the opening speech, and subsequently on the special subject of Confederation, it has become obvious, however, that although no attempt is made to obtain a decision adverse to a Union of the Provinces, a very strong disinclination exists, even on the part of those favourable to the Union, to pronounce any judgement upon the question during the present session.

The House will expire in May, and a general election for a new Assembly must take place in the autumn. It is urged that under any circumstances the matter id one which should be referred to the constituencies, and that in these it would be specially improper to attempt to force a hasty decision from the present Legislature just on the eve of its expiration.

3. I believe I am justified in stating that the project is gradually gaining ground in the estimation of the better informed members, both of the Legislature and the community, but a good deal of misapprehension on the subject prevails among a large number, which a little time for consideration and explanation would go far to remove. I entertain scarcely any doubt of the final adoption of the proposals of the Quebec Conference ; but I am advised, and it appears to myself, that in the present state of public feeling it would be unwise to press for a decision against the almost unanimous desire to defer it until the next session.

Such a course would probably only have the effect of exciting factious hostility, and retard the eventual settlement of the plan.

And it is, therefore, now proposed by the Government to agree to the postponement of a decision until the first session of the new Legislature, when the question shall have been submitted to the constituencies of the Colony.

I have, &c.

His Excellency the Right Hon. Viscount Mock,                                                                                     (Signed)           A. MESGRAVE.

&c.            &c.            &c.

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