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Americans, occupying a country of vast extent, with a soil of unusual fertility, and rich in all the natural resources and mineral productions which have made Britain the emporium of commerce and manufactures for the world.
“Instead of being divided by petty jealousies, as at present, and legislating against each other, with five hostile tariffs, five different currencies, and our postal communications under the control of five different departments, we should, drawn together by a common interest and with a common system of jurisprudence, obtain that unity of action which is essential to progress. No part of the known world is better adapted for such union, so little antagonistic in point of local interests, as the different parts of British America. Nor could these interests be materially compromised by any legislation. Take Halifax and St. John, for instance, in both of which places it has been the endeavour of little minds to excite a mutual jealousy. Nature has placed Halifax in the most advantageous position for communication with the European world; but she has not located her harbour at the mouth of a magnificent artery of communication such as St. John can boast, with a fertile country immediately contiguous. Nova Scotia possesses coal fields of unrivalled extent and value; yet she has but a tithe of the fertile ungranted lands with which New Brunswick invites the immigrant to make her country his home.
“No legislation can materially disturb these immense natural yet diverse advantages which Providence has bountifully bestowed on each ; but, divided by mutual distrust and jealousy, we
may each seriously retard the common interests and advancement of two provinces which, together with Prince Edward Island, ought now to be united in one legislative union.
“ The same principle applies to the whole. While Canada was exporting bread stuffs to the amount of nine millions of dollars in 1857, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were importing over two millions of the same article. In the same year, while these two provinces imported from the West Indies nearly two millions in exchange for our exports to those islands, Canada imported from the same quarter to the amount of four and a half millions of dollars without having anything to send in return. While Nova Scotia exports an enormous amount of coal to the United States, probably not much if at all under three hundred thousand tons this year, Canada depends on importation for the same article.
“Union will give us broader questions of a character infinitely more elevated than those which at present divide our public men.
“The want of such a field has exercised a most baneful and pernicious influence in these colonies, where we too often see public men of undoubted ability, instead of being engaged in the discussion of great principles and patriotically emulating each other in the promotion of enlarged views, by which the prosperity of their country might be increased, and rivalling each other in the onward path of progress, stooping to the despicable and demoralising expedient of advocating their own personal ends and immediate interests by exciting a war of creeds or nationalities, where it should
be the pride of every man to sustain unsullied the glorious principles of civil and religious equality -principles upon the maintenance of which depends to a large extent the future greatness of British America.
“There is another question which has recently been pressed upon our attention which deserves a passing notice—the local defence of these colonies. Canada, it is true, has annually expended about one hundred thousand dollars for that purpose, and recently a general movement has been made to wipe out the provincial disgrace that in these lower colonies no means of local defence existed.
“Stimulated by the great Volunteer movement in Britain, and the possibility that the day was not distant when our services would be needed, a considerable body of riflemen has been organised. All our experience, however, tells us that, except in connection with some movement of a national character, it will be almost impossible to sustain the interest in a question even so important as this is in every respect. That British North America has the ability to bring into the field at no distant day an able body of trained and effective men, to defend her interests in time of peril and, what is equally necessary, sustain in time of peace that feeling of self-reliance essential to the formation of national character, cannot be doubted.
The enthusiasm with which thousands have rushed forward at the first faint call, and the proficiency of the Volunteer corps which in so brief a period has attracted the admiration of distinguished soldiers who have visited us, is conclusive on that point. The martial courage and military talent of our
sons will not be questioned while we can point with pride to the heights of Alma, the plains of Inkerman, the terrible Redan, where, foremost among the first, their blood was shed; even though in the beleaguered fortresses of Kars and Lucknow we had not given England generals who sustained her military glory in the hour of need.
“Those not immediately engaged in it can hardly appreciate the sacrifice of time and money demanded of those who have enlisted themselves in this arduous undertaking; and it requires neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet to foretell its rapid decline, unless sustained with enthusiasm and liberality by the wealth and intelligence of the country, comprising all parties.
“No patronage or aid from any or all of these sources will for a moment compare with imparting to such a body of men a national character, and devolving upon them national duties and responsibilities.
“If anyone doubts the ability of a country possessing the population and resources of British America to raise an effective arm of defence, let them but examine the history of Sardinia, Switzerland, or the United States during their struggle for independence, and their misgivings must be speedily dispelled.
“ Then, instead of being, as at present, a source of weakness to the parent State, we should, like vigorous offshoots, nourish and sustain her in any hour of need.
“ The Union of the Colonies, as a question of political economy, is not unworthy of consideration. A similarity in our tariffs with colonial
free trade, would at the same time afford us mutual advantages and protection, and relieve us from a large portion of the expense now attendant upon the collection of the revenue. In Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island-three provinces that might, with much greater advantage to each other in every respect, be comprised under one government-thirty-six thousand dollars per annum are expended in the salaries of governors alone, and over one hundred thousand dollars in legislative expenses every session. Including Canada and Newfoundland, the former cost over eighty thousand dollars, and the latter between seven hundred and eight hundred thousand dollars.
"It must be apparent to everybody at all acquainted with our condition, that the expenditure of this large amount of money is counterbalanced by no adequate return, and that, by a unity of interests, results much more beneficial might be obtained, together with a largely diminished expenditure.
" Take, again, the vitally important question of intercommunication, and the necessity of union and concerted action becomes still more apparent. Destitute of such concert, in an evil hour for the interests of these provinces the Government of Nova Scotia refused to co-operate in the arrangements made by Canada and New Brunswick, which, if not thus frustrated, would ere this have given
an unbroken line of railway from Halifax through New Brunswick to the western limits of Canada, affording us at the same time communication with the twenty thousand miles of railway in the United States. Thus foiled in carrying out