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CONFEDERATION CAMPAIGN CORRESPONDENCE
THE more intimate story of the Confederation campaign is unfolded in the following series of letters written by me to Sir John A. Macdonald. Incidentally, too, the early negotiations with the Imperial Government on the difficult matter of the Fishery question between Canada and the United States are dealt with. The letters extend over the years 1865-69, and include my report to Canada on the tussle, with Howe and his friends in London :
January 4th, 1865. MY DEAR SIR,-I have not had the pleasure of hearing from you in answer to my last note. We have called our House to meet the gth February, so as to learn what you do in Canada. I am satisfied, since the receipt of Mr. Cardwell's despatch, that the more general the terms of a resolution approving the report of the conference the better. Such a resolution will pass much more easily than a Bill, and will be more acceptable to the Imperial Parliament. I think you ought to draft that resolution, and send copies to all the Governments at once, so that they may suggest any modification they may wish. We have had hard work here. A great body of the leading men, compris
ing the most wealthy merchants in the city, are exerting themselves to the utmost to defeat the scheme. Archibald and McCully have stood by me like trumps, and I hope we will carry the day.
The Governor proposed to publish the despatch from Mr. Cardwell to Lord Monck, and we concurred, as it was calculated to check the opposition rapidly gaining ground. Howe is at the bottom of the opposition, and does not disguise his hostility to the Confederation. I wish Lord Monck would write to Earl Russell to choke him off, as his action may endanger the passage of the measure here. I would not trouble Lord Monck if I could avoid it. I hope you will assist me in pressing Tilley to put it through without going first to the people.- Hoping soon to hear from you, I am as ever, yours faithfully,
C. TUPPER. Hon. J. A. MACDONALD.
April 9th, 1865. MY DEAR SIR, -I intend to-morrow night to move the following resolution, and I am anxious that you should fully understand our position :
"Whereas, under existing circumstances, an immediate union of the British North American provinces has become impracticable ;
“And whereas, a Legislative union of the Maritime Provinces is desirable, whether the larger union be accomplished or not;
Resolved, that in the opinion of this House the negotiations for the union of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island should
be renewed in accordance with the resolution passed at the last session of the Legislature."
You are well aware that I was very sanguine when in Canada that the Quebec scheme could be carried here. I knew that it would be excessively easy to excite our people on the question of taxation, but the organ of the Opposition, being conducted by Mr. McCully, secured the support of the two leading journals which influence public opinion, and with the Government and Messrs. Archibald and McCully in favour, and Mr. Howe neutralised as an Imperial officer if he did not assist, I knew no effectual opposition could be raised to our arrangements. A number of the leading merchants here, many of them supporters of the Government, were strongly opposed to confederation with Canada, and they were joined by several of the members in opposition to the Government; but it would not have given us the slightest trouble had not Howe assumed the leadership of the party, allowing his name to be freely used as opposed to the measure. Mr. McCully was then deposed from the editorial charge of the Morning Chronicle, and Mr. Howe, putting Annand forward as the ostensible editor, took his place. Both Archibald and McCully have remained as true as steel; but it is doubtful whether they could bring over two votes in the Assembly, and the hands of the Government would have been more than correspondingly weakened by the alliance on this question with their opponents; and although apparently numerically strong, we have been paralysed by the introduction of the assessment for the support of schools to such an extent
as to shake the confidence of their supporters in the prospect of success in case of an appeal to the people.
At this juncture, when an appeal to the people had been adopted as a war cry, Tilley announced his determination to yield to that demand, and followed it up by a dissolution. Had he succeeded, by great sacrifices and exertions we could, I think, have secured a bare majority ; but the moment he failed I found all my ingenuity would be required to avert the passage of a hostile resolution. Here, as in New Brunswick, the opponents of Confederation profess to favour a union of the Maritime Provinces, although I am satisfied it will be rejected in N.B. as well as in P.E. Island. As I knew the Opposition would bring this forward as a counter proposal, and that two-thirds of our House must go for it, I thought it better to bring it forward in a subsidiary form. If adopted, it will promote the larger union, and place it on a better footing, and if lost it will remove the question out of the way of Confederation.
Any negotiation under it must have a good effect upon N.B., and it will leave us in the best position to agitate the subject. Twelve months will, I believe, find a decided majority in the present Parliament being in favour of Confederation. While any resolution in favour would have been negatived after it was decided against, in N.B. a majority of the members are favourable, and unless I am deceived, a few months will bring the constituencies right, as they will be kept free from committing themselves.-Ever yours,
C. TUPPER, Hon. J. A. MACDONALD.
June 17th, 1866. MY DEAR SIR,-I have deferred writing to you until we might know the exact result of the elections in New Brunswick, which is, as you are well aware, all that could be desired. When our last session met we hoped that N.B., by taking decisive action on the Confederation question, at once would aid us in carrying it here ; but I soon found that they would be too late for us, and learning that our taking the lead would give them great assistance, we, as you are aware, passed our resolution in conformity with Lord Monck's wishes. This was also necessary in order that the delegates might proceed to England immediately after Tilley could convene the Legislature in N.B. and pass the requisite resolution. I hope, therefore, that you will not lose a moment in taking whatever action is necessary to bring Canada into line, and that the delegates from all these provinces will be enabled to proceed by the first of July to England. We must obtain action during the present session of the Imperial Parliament, or all may be lost. Our House expires by law in May next, when a general election must be held, and for reasons which it is not necessary to enter into here, the result would be most disastrous to Confederation, and probably defeat it altogether. I am sure I need not add a word more to convince you of the necessity of prompt and immediate action. What that action may be in your Legislature you are, of course, the best judge. Tilley writes me that he will carry substantially my resolution, and it is very desirable that Canada should do the same as