“The Canadian Federation” New York Daily Tribune (20 October 1864)
By: New York Daily Tribune
Citation: “The Canadian Federation”, New York Tribune (20 October 1864).
The Canadian Federation
The leading statesmen of British North America have agreed upon a scheme of Confederation, which is to embrace the two Canadas, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward’s Island and Newfoundland. The Conference, which at the beginning of September assembled at Charlottetown, declared unanimously in favor of the principle of such a Confederation. A second Convention, which was opened on the 10th of October at Quebec, has just arranged the details of the plan, which now, in order to be carried through, await the ratification of the local Legislatures, and of the English Parliament.
It is not in accordance with our views of Democracy and popular sovereignty, that this important act, which is to form the corner-stone of a new and powerful nation, should receive no direct sanction from the people, but be ratified only by the present Legislatures, which were elected with nor reference to this question. The concordance, however, of the leading statesmen of both the great political parties, leaves no doubt that the mass of the people are favorable to the plan of union.
For the present, the Confederation is only to include the Eastern Provinces, but the Delegates appear to be generally of opinion that as soon as possible the great North-Western Territories and the Pacific Provinces ought to be taken in, and the Confederation embrace the whole of British America.
The proceedings of the Quebec Conference were to be kept secret, but we are nevertheless enabled this morning to give their resolutions on the most knotty questions of the scheme, the composition of the Upper House of the Central Legislature It is to consist of 76 members, selected by the Crown from among the present members of the Upper House of the several Provinces. Each of the two Canadas is to have 24; Nova Scotia, 11; New-Brunswick, 10; Prince Edward’s Island, 3; and Newfoundland, 4.
Throughout the progress of the negotiations, the delegates appear to have been very anxious to affirm their loyalty to the British Crown. They could hardly have given a stronger proof of their submissiveness than they did by leaving to the Crown the appointment of the whole Upper House. Nevertheless, few of the assembled delegates can have been so short-sighted as not to see that in proposition as the new Confederation shall frown in power and influence, it’s dependence upon England must relax. Now the Canadians feel like minors; as soon as they become a great nation, they will learn to feel like men. Now they regard themselves as subjects of Europe. As soon as they shall become conscious of the prominent positions which their increased commerce and industry will assign to them among the nations of this continent, they will be led, not only to self-esteem, but by their material interests to become Americans.
The establishment of a Confederation among these British American Provinces cannot fail to make our relations to it of great importance. Many opportunities will offer to unite the two countries by the amicable ties of treaties, and it can hardly be doubted that the more those opportunities shall be made use of, the more they will hasten the emancipation of the northern part of our continent from European rule.