Edward Whelan, [Quebec Conference] (15 October 1864)
By: Edward Whelan, The Examiner (Charlottetown), Quebec Conference
Citation: Edward Whelan, “Inter-Colonial Union,”The Examiner (24 October 1864).
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Note: Any endnotes come from our recent publication, Charles Dumais, The Quebec Resolutions: Including Several Never-Published Preliminary Drafts by George Brown and John A. Macdonald, and a Collection of all Previously-Published Primary Documents Relating to the Conference (CCF, 2021).
SATURDAY, Oct. 15, 1864
The Convention met at the appointed hour (11 o’clock), and discussed until 1 o’clock the question of representation of the Maritime Provinces in the Upper House of the Confederate Parliament. The French Canadians seem to apprehend that they will be swamped in the Upper House, and desire a larger representation than the Maritime Provinces ask for, so that they may not be overpowered by the British element. The admission of Newfoundland into the Conference perplexes the arrangement, as the agreement was, at Charlottetown, to give equality of representation to the Maritime Provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and P. E. Island, with Upper and Lower Canada. This balance is disturbed by the admission of Newfoundland. What solution will he arrived at, it is not at present possible for me to say. The debate, which is conducted with great ability, stands adjourned until Monday.
Invitations, both public and private, are being poured in upon the Delegates from all quarters. They are invited to visit the principal cities of Lower and Upper Canada, to be entertained by the several Corporations, and special trains on the two great lines of Railway in the Province are placed at their service. Tonight the Delegates were entertained at a superb dinner by the Board of Trade of Quebec. I have not time to give a description of it. The company who sat down numbered one hundred and twenty-five, embracing representatives of the commercial wealth of this great and ancient City, besides the representatives from the Maritime Provinces and the two Canadas. The national flag of England covered in graceful folds the spacious dining hall of Russell’s Hotel—one of the best in the City, and owned by the proprietors of the St. Louis, in which I take “mine ease”—and each Province was distinctly designated by name and by appropriate mottos. The table arrangements were on the grandest scale. In short it was a “great spread,” such as a wealthy Corporation like the Board of Trade might be expected to give. There were only five or six toasts given altogether—the one to the Delegates from the Maritime Provinces was that which called forth most eloquence. In responding to this toast, none but the Leaders of the several Provincial Governments spoke, on behalf of their several Provinces— there being no time for others to indulge in the flow of words. The best speech made, in my opinion, was that of Sir E. P. Taché—the Premier of the Canadian Government—for though a Frenchman, and apparently labouring under difficulty to express himself in English, he certainly seemed to give utterance to more genuine common sense views, and more good humour than any of the Maritime Delegates. Of course the speeches were non-committal, and of the same general character as those delivered at Charlottetown and elsewhere by the Delegates. But I must close the brief and hasty record for this day. The cosey bed before me invites me to repose; and the excitement which one experiences in this fast city, together with the gushing and overwhelming hospitalities of its generous-hearted people, render repose absolutely necessary.
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