Despatch from Viscount Monck to Right Hon. Edward Cardwell (19 January 1865)
By: Viscount Monck
Citation: Despatch from Viscount Monck to Right Hon. Edward Cardwell (19 January 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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Copy of a DESPATCH from Viscount Monck to the Right Hon. Edward Cardwell, M.P.
Government House, Quebec, January 19, 1865.
SIR, (Received, February 3, 1865.)
I have the hour to enclose a copy of the speech with which I this day opened the session of the Provincial Parliament.
I have, &c.
The Right Hon. Edward Cardwell, M.P. (Signed) MONCK.
&c. &c. &c.
Enclosure in No. 3.
HONORABLE GENTLEMAN AND GENTLEMAN,
AT the close of the last session of Parliament I informed you that it was my intention, in conjunction with my ministers, to prepare to submit to you a measure for the solution of the constitutional problem, the discussion of which has for some years agitated this Province.
A careful consideration of the general position of British North America induced the conviction that the circumstances of the times afforded the opportunity, not merely for the settlement of a question of provincial politics, but also for the simultaneous creation of a new nationality.
Preliminary negotiations were opened by me with the Lieutenant-Governors of the other Provinces of British North America, and the result was that a meeting was held at Quebec in the month of October last, composed of delegates from those Colonies representing all shades of political party in their several communities, nominated by the Lieutenant-Governors of their respective Provinces, who assembled here with the sanction of the Crown and at my invitation to confer with the members of Canadian ministry on the possibility of effecting a Union of all the Provinces of British North America.
This Conference, after lengthened deliberations, arrived at the conclusion that a Federal union of these Provinces was feasible and desirable, and the result of its labours is a plan of the constitution for the proposed Union embodied in a series of resolutions which, with other papers relating to the subject, I have directed to be laid before you.
The general design of a Union, and the particular plan by which it is proposed to carry that intention into effect, have both received the cordial approbation of the Imperial Government.
An Imperial Air of Parliament will be necessary in order to give effect to the contemplated Union of the Colonies, and I have been officially informed by the Secretary of State that Her Majesty’s ministers will be prepared to introduce a Bill for that purpose into the Imperial Parliament so soon as they shall have been notified that the proposed has received the sanction of the Legislatures representing the several Provinces affected by it.
In commending your attention to this subject, the importance of which to yourselves and to your descendants it is impossible to exaggerate, I would claim for it your calm, earnest, and impartial consideration.
With the public men of British North America it now rests to decide whether the vast tract of country which they inhabit shall be consolidated into a state combining within its area all the elements of national greatness, providing for the security of its component parts, and contributing to the strength and stability of the Empire, or whether the several Provinces of which it is continued shall remain in their present fragmentary and isolated condition, comparatively powerless for manual aid, and incapable of undertaking their proper share of Imperial responsibility.
In the discussion of an issue of such a moment, I fervently pray that your minds may be guided to conclusions which shall redound to the honour of our Sovereign, to the welfare of Her subjects, and to your own reputation as patriots and statesmen.