Despatch from Viscount Monck to the Earl of Carnarvon (25 September 1866)
By: Viscount Monck
Citation: Despatch from Viscount Monck to the Earl of Carnarvon (25 September 1866) 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. The Earl of CARNARVON.
(NO. 147.) Quebec, September 25, 1866.
My LORD, (Received, October 10, 1866.)
REFERRING to your Lordship’s Despatch, No. 39, * of the 31st […], i have the honour to transmit for your Lordship’s information an approved Minute of the Executive Council of this Province, stating the course which is proposed to be adopted by the Canadian Delegates on the subject of Union about proceeding to England, and the reasons on which that course is founded.
I beg leave to add the expression of my own opinion that the leading members of my Administration ought not to leave the Province before the time mentioned in this minute.
The Right Hon. the Earl of Carnarvon, I have, &c.
&c. &c. &c. (Signed) MONCK.
Enclosure in No.10.
COPY of a REPORT of a Committee of the Honourable the Executive Council, approved by His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the 2[…] September 1866.
THE Committee have had before them a Despatch, No.30, dated 31st August 1866, from the Right Hon. the Secretary of State for the Colonies. Stating that the Nova Scotia and New Brunswick delegates have been now for some weeks in England with a view to the discussion of the various questions relative to the Confederation of the British North American Provinces, and have repeatedly inquired of him the period by which the Canadian Colleagues may be expected.
That he shall be glad to be informed at the earliest possible date of the course which it is proposed by them to adopt.
His Lordship states that any unnecessary delay in the settlement of this question is very undesirable, and that also the prolonged detention of the delegates now in England is attended with much inconvenience to them and to the Governments of which they are members.
That if any appearance of impending Fenian disturbance should render it unfit for your Excellency to quit your post, or if the same causes should make the delegates feel that they cannot all of them leave the Province, it might deserve their consideration whether some of their number could repair at once to England to enter into the proposed discussion.
The Committee would respectfully state for the information of the Lord Carnarvon that the Canadian Parliament as its first Session in 1865, after the meeting of the Quebec Conference, adopted Resolutions approving the Scheme of Union proposed by that Conference, but that the Legislature of Nova Scotia declined to approved of that scheme, or to adopt resolutions in favour of an union of the Provinces until the spring of the present year, and the Legislature of New Brunswick did not adopt such resolutions until the latter part of the month of July.
That so soon as it appeared probable that the Nova Scotia and New Brunswick would assent to a Scheme of Confederation, the Canadian Parliament was summoned, and measures to provide for the local Governments, which under the Quebec Scheme were required to be adopted by the existing Legislatures of the respective Provinces, were submitted for its consideration.
That while these measures were before Parliament, it was proposed by the Governments of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, that Delegates from the three Provinces should assemble in ENgland about the 1st of August, with the view of discussing and agreeing to a BIll for Confederation, to be submitted to the Imperial Parliament, which it was supposed would still be in Session.
That although the Canadian Government doubted that any measures based on the Resolutions of the Quebec Conference, could be prepared and carriers through the Imperial Parliament at so late a period of the Session, they promised to advise your Excellency to send a delegation of their number to England, by the seamer of the 21st July, if the progress of legislation and the state of public business would permit.
That before the date mentioned, and before the Delegates for Nova Scotia and New Brunswick had sailed for England, your Excellency received information which convinced your Excellency that is would not be possible to carry through Parliament at its then Session, any Bill for the Confederation of the British North American Provinces.
That shortly afterwards and before the Delegates had left for England, your Excellency received notice of the resignation of Mr. Cardwell and his colleagues, and the accession of a new Government. That in view of these circumstance your Excellency was advised to inform the Governors of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and your Excellency was advised did inform them that as it was evident that no measure for Confederation could be prepared and carried through Parliament in the Session then about to close, the Canadian Delegates would not leave Canada at the time stated.
That the prorogation of the Imperial Parliament on the 12th of August proved that the apprehensions of the Canadian Government were well founded. If, therefore, the Delegates from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick had postponed their departure as they were requested to do, they would not have suffered the inconvenience to thich Lord Carnarvon refers.
The Committee respectfully submit that it would not be expedient for any of the leading members of the Canadian Government to proceed to England while the Province is threatened with invasion by a formidable body of Fenian marauders from the United States.
The Committee believes that by the close of navigation this danger will be passed; or, if not, that such preparations will have been made to meet it that no apprehension need be felt for the result.
The Committee are further of opinion that as the next Session of the Imperial Parliament will not probably be held before February 1867, ample time will be afforded for the discussion of any question that may arise between the representatives of the Provinces and the Imperial Government if the Delegates assemble in England about the 20th of November.
They would, therefore, respectfully recommend your Excellency to inform lord Carnarvon that the following gentlemen have been appointed by your Excellency, viz.: Hon. John A. Macdonald, Hon. Geo. E. Cartier, Hon. A. T. Galt, Hon. Wm. McDougall. Hon. W. P. Howland, and Hon. H. L. Langevin, and such other gentlemen as may be hereafter named to the delegation on behalf of Canada, and that it is their intention to leave Canada for England on the 7th day of November next.
W. A. HEMSWORTH,
Asst. C. E. C.