“Prince Edward Island”, The Globe (8 December 1864)
By: The Globe
Citation: “Prince Edward Island”, The Globe [Toronto] (8 December 1864).
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND.
The anti-Confederation paper at Halifax is making much of the fact that two of the Prince Edward Island delegates who were at the Quebec Conference have, since their return home, declared against the Confederation scheme. These gentlemen are the Hon. E. Palmer, Attorney-General in the present Government, and the Hon. George Coles, a leading member of the Opposition. The attitude assumed by these gentlemen is but what was to have been anticipated from expressions made by them while in Canada, so that their hostility to Confederation is not any indication of the way in which the scheme has been received by the people of the Provinces. These gentlemen had their minds made up before their constituents had heard the details of the Quebec scheme at all.
Messrs. Coles and Palmer, however, both find themselves parting company with their political friends. The leading journals of the two parties—the Examiner, Liberal, and the Islander, Conservative—join in advocating Confederation, though, of course, they publish the letters of the dissenting delegates against the scheme. The disapproval of Messrs. Coles and Palmer does not therefore, render it at all certain that the majority of the people will think the same way. On the contrary, the probability is that the majority of the delegates and the two leading party organs represent the views of the popular majority. It is to be recollected at the same time that, however much a defeat of Confederation in Prince Edward Island would [text ineligible] cause for regret, such a defeat would not a fatal to the scheme. The geographical position of Prince Edward Island is such that rest of the Provinces can very easily be united without it. A refusal on the part of that little island to join us would be no such misfortune as the refusal of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, or even Newfoundland. But, nevertheless, it is very desirable that the union should include all the Maritime Provinces, and we earnestly hope that the Prince Edward Island people will act the wise part and consent to join the Confederation. We have offered them very favourable terms, and if they will not come we cannot help it, and must only repeat, however, that we are hopeful that the opposition to Confederation which is developing in that Province will not prove sufficiently formidable to cause the Islanders to reject the proffered union.
The cause of the opposition in Prince Edward Island is perhaps not very difficult to divine. Prince Edward Island is a very small Province, containing but 80, 000 people. It will be only a fortieth part of the Confederation, and cannot hope to wield any very great influence in the councils of the union. But the federal character of the compact must very much lessen the hardships arising from any considerations of that nature. The local government of the island will in many respects be practically as important and powerful under Confederation as it is now. For the rights really surrendered in entering the union, a very ample compensation will be obtained in the advantages of being a portion of a large and important country like United British North America. For the sake of such a destiny the Prince Edward Islanders will, if they are patriotic, at once waive all minor local conceits and jealousies.