“The Constitutional Movement,” The Globe (11 July 1864)

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Date: 1864-07-11
By: The Globe
Citation: “The Constitutional Movement”, The Globe [Toronto] (11 July 1864).
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We publish to-day a large number of extracts from the press, commenting upon the policy of constitutional reform recently adopted at Quebec. Those which we give are but an instalment of the great number of extracts which have accumulated upon our hands, and which continue to pour in upon us. It is our intention to continue the publication of these “opinions of the press,” in order to show how general is the attention which is being paid by the journals of all parties to the constitutional policy of the Government, as also how favourable a reception has been awarded to that policy by the organs of public opinion.

Usually, a political movement evokes along with any commendation which it may get, a great deal of ungenerous and hostile criticism. It is gratifying to notice, however, that the constitutional movement inaugurated last month is singularly exempt from this. True, there are objections—true, there are disappointed ambitions and hopes, which give rise to unfriendly criticism—true, it is impossible in this world of differences, to secure unanimity in any matter—but, upon the whole, the reception of the Ministerial policy has been most cordial. Seldom, if ever, in any country, has any movement of such a kind met such success at its very outset. If any evidence were wanting to convince us that the policy adopted by the Government is one which may be expected to settle our difficulties amicably, its very general ratification by the press would afford that evidence. A party movement might win the applause of a party press without being very popular in the country or very well suited to its wants; but the success of the present movement is something far different. It made no appeal to party—it was not framed for a party purpose. On the contrary, it was originated on the understanding that it was for the time to set aside party questions and party issues. It was to go to the country purely upon its merits. It has done so, and has met with such an endorsement as no party Government could ever have secured for any of its projects.

Not only are these expressions of public opinion valuable, because given independently of party considerations, but also because of the care the honest reserve as to the details with which most of them are written. They do not deal in any unreasoning applause, nor do they give any blind support. They say that the general basis is such as, if properly worked out, will serve to do justice to all sections, and to bring peace to the country; at the same time, however, reserving expressions of opinion as to matters of detail, until they are known. We trust that out contemporaries will continue to discuss the whole question in this spirit, and that the fullest ventilations will be given to the whole question, not only in its general aspect, but in regard to details as well. In this way, the press will do much to aid the movement, and to secure a satisfactory and popular adjustment of all the features of the proposed reform.

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