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New Brunswick.—The Hon. S. L. Tilley, the Hon. Peter Mitchell, the Hon. R. D. Wilmot, the Hon. J. M. Johnson, the Hon. Charles Fisher.
I proposed that the Hon. J. A. Macdonald should be chairman of the conference, which was seconded by the Hon. S. L. Tilley, and carried unanimously. The conference then entered upon the consideration of the Quebec resolutions. On December 25th the chairman wrote informing Lord Carnarvon, Secretary of State, that the delegates, who had sat steadily for twenty days, had arrived at a satisfactory conclusion, and had adopted by a unanimous vote a series of resolutions, which would be sent to the Colonial Office next day.
Draft Bills were submitted, and finally, with minor amendments, the North British America Act, uniting the five provinces, was passed by the Imperial Parliament on March 9th, 1867. At my request, by cable, the Legislature of Nova Scotia was called to meet later in the same month. I crossed the Atlantic and submitted a copy of the Confederation Act. It was approved by a large majority of both Houses. The Act passed into effect on July 1st of the same year, Sir John A. Macdonald, who had in the meantime been created a K.C.B., being called upon by Lord Monck, the first Governor-General, to form the first Government, which was composed of leading men of both parties in the several provinces.
The calling of the London Conference was the signal for the anti-confederates in Nova Scotia to send a delegation, headed by the Hon. Joseph Howe, to England, to oppose the proposed union. They bore petitions from eight Nova Scotia counties
and one signed by five members of the Legislative Council and eighteen members of the House of Assembly. This transferred the battleground from Halifax to London.
Howe wrote a pamphlet, copies of which he distributed broadcast among the members of both Houses of Parliament and the British public generally. He demanded that the matter of the union be deferred until it had been submitted to his fellow countrymen at the polls. He took the ground that the proposition would be against the best interests of the Maritime Provinces and the British Empire; and as a substitute he suggested a federation of the Empire, with colonial representation in the Imperial Parliament. This pamphlet I replied to in a letter addressed to Lord Carnarvon, Secretary of State for the Colonies. The line of attack adopted is best indicated by one of the opening paragraphs of this communication :
“Mr. Howe has rested his arguments upon his own unsupported statements. In the observations I have to make on these statements I shall take the liberty of quoting, among other authorities, one which the gentleman ought to respect, for it is his own. I shall produce, from Mr. Howe's previous public speeches and writings, the most elaborate refutation of all the reasoning by which he now endeavours to obstruct the union of the North British colonies."
Following the issue of Howe's pamphlet, the Star, the organ of Mr. John Bright, which had hitherto been friendly to Confederation, wheeled round, and in a leader declared that a mistake had been made. Lord Carnarvon, in a state of
consternation, sent for me and informed me that he had been called on that very day by twelve leading public men, who announced their intention of opposing the union after reading the objections raised by Howe.
I replied that I would answer Howe, and I at once wrote to the editor of the Star, asking for an interview. I received a favourable reply from Mr. Justin McCarthy, who then occupied that position. I called, and was received by Mr. McCarthy and his editorial colleague, Mr. Chesson. I stated my mission and submitted my reply to Howe, with a request that it be published. I also expressed a hope that if Howe failed to reply the Star would acknowledge its mistake.
My reply, to the following effect, duly appeared in the Morning Star of Wednesday, September 26, 1866 :
CONFEDERATION OF BRITISH AMERICA To the Editor of the Star.
SIR,—Although I have not yet seen the pamphlet, published by Mr. Howe, in opposition to the proposed confederation of the British North American provinces, you will, I hope, permit me to correct several misstatements of facts, into which you have inadvertently been betrayed by the perusal of Mr. Howe's brochure, in your article in the Star of the 21st inst., upon a question involving the most important consequences both to British America and the parent State. A scheme of Confederation, providing for the union of the British North American provinces under
one Government and Legislature, was arranged at Quebec in 1864 by delegates representing all sections and parties in the colonies, appointed by the Governor-General and the Lieutenant-Governors of the provinces. Both Houses of Parliament of Canada carried by very large majorities an address to Her Majesty the Queen, praying that an Act of the Imperial Parliament might be passed by which the proposed union should be consummated. The Legislatures of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have also authorised the Lieutenant-Governors of those provinces to appoint delegates, clothed with plenary powers, to arrange with delegates from Canada and with Her Majesty's Government here a plan of union to be submitted to the Imperial Parliament. The co-operation of the islands of Newfoundland and Prince Edward, although desirable, is by no means so essential as to render the union of Upper and Lower Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick-possessing an area of 400,000 square miles, and a population of nearly four million—under a united government "a lame and impotent conclusion." You will, I think, scarcely regard the statement as accurate, that “by extreme pressure on the part of the Executive the Legislatures of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick agreed to send delegates to a conference to be held in London," when the fact is stated that in New Brunswick an appeal to the electors upon this question resulted in the return of thirty-three members pledged to support Confederation, while but eight members opposed to that policy could obtain seats in the Legislative Assembly; that in the Legislative Council in
that province the confederation policy was affirmed by a majority of thirteen to five, and that in Nova Scotia the motion to authorise the appointment of delegates with plenary powers to settle this question of union was carried in the Legislative Assembly by a majority of thirty to eighteen, and in the Legislative Council by a majority of thirteen to five. As the leader of the Government of Nova Scotia I can confidently assert that no executive pressure was attempted, and that both branches of the Legislature well represent the education, intelligence, property, and industry of the colony. The statement that the Hon. Joseph Howe is a distinguished member of the Legislature of Nova Scotia" is inaccurate. Mr. Howe, as leader of the Government, sustained an overwhelming defeat at the last general election in that province in 1863. But thirteen members out of a House of fifty-five were returned to support his Government. The constituency to whom he offered his services rejected him by a majority of over five hundred. And Mr. Howe has not since obtained a seat in the Legislature. The readers of the Star will be surprised to learn that Mr. Howe denies the right of the Legislature of the colony to change the Constitution of the country with the concurrence of the Imperial Parliament, when they are told that the last act of his Government
to introduce a measure to disfranchise more than one quarter of the electors who had elected the Parliament in which he was then sitting. You will probably be equally astonished when you are informed that "serious as are the geographical difficulties of a