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interest in it, although it was a work fraught with Imperial interests quite as great as any of a colonial character. These provinces cheerfully defrayed the heavy expense attending the survey organised by Mr. Gladstone; successive Secretaries of State have entertained that great scheme, and committed the faith of the British Government to it, but only to end in disappointment—alleging difficulties as to the route and the want of agreement among the different provinces. Under the impression that the value of this great national as well as colonial undertaking was really appreciated in England, and encouraged by a dispatch which said that the subject would shortly receive the serious consideration of the British Cabinet, the three Governments of Canada, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia sent a joint delegation to London in 1858. While I feel bound to admit that we were treated at the Colonial Office with all due courtesy, and had every personal attention bestowed upon us which we could desire, it was but too evident that the Cabinet were too much engaged with their own immediate interests to take any very deep concern in a subject so remote, and urged by parties who were unable to bring to their support votes in the Commons. Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton did seem a little aroused to the importance of the question, and concurred in the feasibility of our proposal; and Mr. Disraeli, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to whom we were referred, admitted that the question had assumed a really practicable shape; yet, although the three provinces who, unaided, had done so much towards accomplishing this national work unitedly pressed upon the
attention of the British Government a scheme which would have completed it without any increased drain upon the British Exchequer, or have involved the outlay of an additional shilling -as we merely required subsidies for the performance of the services for which the Imperial Government now pays a much larger sum—without taking the trouble even to verify the accuracy of our calculations by reference to the public departments, this country was coolly informed that 'Her Majesty's Government have not found themselves at liberty to accede to the proposal.'
As a striking commentary upon the impotent position we occupy with the parent State, it may be added that while these vital interests, so deeply affecting the welfare of the colonies and the Empire, were thus ignored, Her Majesty's Government could give a subsidy to the Galway Steam Packet Company of £65,000 sterling per annum to perform a service already much better provided for, which was
was not only entirely indefensible, but directly inimical to the interests of Canada, whose Legislature had already subsidised a line of ocean steamers at a cost to their own revenue of £45,000 sterling per annum, and with which this Galway Packet Company would compete.
“ The reason of this disregard of colonial interests is sufficiently obvious. The relative merits of the two services could not have obtained a moment's consideration. Our claim
not backed by votes in the Commons, where three millions of British North Americans have no voice or influence.
“The repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846, of the
Differential Duties in 1848, and of the Navigation Laws in 1849, swept away all protection from every colonial product except timber, which has more recently shared the same fate.
“It was only in 1859 that Imperial statesmen gravely proposed to deny to Canada the right to regulate her own taxation for the purpose of raising the necessary revenue demanded by the public service. The spirited and independent manner in which Mr. Galt vindicated on that occasion the rights of the colonies will probably settle that question for the future.
“Our position is ever one of uncertainty. We have no Constitution but the dicta of the everchanging occupants of Downing Street, who can only see us through the glasses furnished them by those whom accident has sent into what is regarded as the temporary exile of a colonial governorship, and whose feelings,
whose feelings, sympathies, and interests are entirely foreign to our own. Let us cite one from among many a memorable instance of those fluctuations of opinion on matters of the most serious importance. The Government of Nova Scotia in 1857 charged two delegates, the late and the present Attorneys-General, to discuss with the British Government the grave question of a union of the colonies. The Secretary of State informed them that it was entirely a question for the consideration of the colonies themselves. In conformity with that intimation the GovernorGeneral of Canada proposed to open a correspondence upon the subject, by which the sentiments of the different colonies might be obtained, when he was promptly informed by another Colonial Secre
tary that it was an Imperial question, and with a pretty significant hint that it was one which did not obtain much Imperial favour.
“We do not even enjoy responsible government in the sense in which it exists in England, viz. : that of government being administered according to the well understood wishes of the people, and ever amenable to the public sentiment of the country-the great feature that exalts British institutions over those of the United States.
“ The systematic exclusion of colonists from gubernatorial positions must for ever prevent us from having great men. The human mind naturally adapts itself to the position it occupies. The most gigantic intellect may be dwarfed by being 'cribbed, cabined, and confined.' It requires a great country and great circumstances to develop great men.
“ British North Americans must seek in other lands than their own an opportunity of achieving greatness of any description, while as at present they are excluded from the only position in their own country worthy the ambition of any man who possesses the capacity to serve the State. Regarded as occupying a position altogether insignificant by the Imperial authorities as well as surrounding nations; cut up into small and isolated communities, without common interests or facilities for mutual intercourse; destitute of broad questions of general interest to mankind, there can necessarily exist nothing but petty and personal interests to occupy their public men. Especially is this the case in these Maritime Provinces; and the effect must soon result in our institutions pre
senting an aspect of the most detrimental character. One of the greatest evils that can ever befall any country is that men of character, ability, and position should withdraw from her public concerns. What have we to tempt a man possessing such advantages to engage in political life and expose himself to toil, anxiety, and all the turmoil which here attends the most ardent devotion to the interests of the State ? Nothing The highest offices we have to offer, and the largest salaries we give, afford no adequate temptation, no sufficient remuneration; while the greatest ability he can display, and the highest reputation he can achieve, will fail to open up a pathway to any distinction beyond. Nor are these provinces without significant illustrations of the unhappy effect of the misfortune to which I have adverted.
“In the absence of larger questions of statesmanship which occupy more extended communities, we see men of ability, instead of aiming at lofty reputations, desecrating the talent which God has given them by fomenting sectional or sectarian discord, and placing one section religious class in deadly antagonism with another, because the official positions to which we aspire may thus be more readily attained.
“What is it renders Britain the great and glorious Empire that she is—that gives such solidity to her institutions and such power to her name? It is to be found in the fact that she has great rewards for her sons, and thus makes the service of the State the highest ambition of her children, from the proudest duke down to the humblest commoner.