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Facts and Reasons Against Confederating with Canada

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This article is from Facts and Reasons Against New Brunswick and Nova Scotia Confederating with Canada: Addressed to the Electors of New Brunswick, by Judge Marshall, 1866.

SL Tilley

Sir Samuel Leonard Tilley

Prominent New Brunswick legislator, and representative to the Quebec and Charlottetown conferences leading to Confederation. From the N.B. Museum, and the web site of the McCord Museum

John George Marshall was a Nova Scotian. He was a legislator, a justice of the peace, and a judge, but is mostly remembered as a prominent supporter of the temperance movement and a writer on numerous subjects. In this article, he expressed one of his main political beliefs which was opposition to Confederation. His article was addressed to the residents of New Brunswick.

Facts and Reasons Against Confederating with Canada

Every man who is invited or proposes to enter into any partnership or agreement, naturally thinks of the advantages and disadvantages it will involve or produce to himself. This is but the suggestion of common prudence. The same is equally true and wise, as to political Unions of States and Provinces. On these all important points, therefore, an examination will here be briefly made, with reference to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia entering into the proposed Union or Confederation with Canada. It is universally known that a scheme or plan for the purpose was framed at Quebec, about eighteen months ago, by certain gentlemen, some of whom were not even duly authorized, to assist in making it. Without referring to particulars which are so well known, as to its being frequently disapproved of, and rejected by these two Maritime Provinces it is proper to mention here that the same scheme, with possibly some few immaterial alterations is the one which it is contemplated to carry into effect, by other provincial delegations, 3000 miles away, and by immediate Imperial legislation, without any reference to the Provinces as to approval or disapproval. That the same scheme is proposed to be thus perfected, is manifest, from the late resolution of the Legislative Council of New. Brunswick, and from the statements of the leading advocates for the measure, during the debates upon it, in the recent Session of the Nova Scotia parliament. The remarks and strictures, therefore, which will here be offered, will be applied to that union scheme framed at Quebec. All the material particulars of it, will be referred to and commented on, in an orderly and intelligible manner, and as briefly and pointedly as possible. First, may be noticed, that there is to be a General Parliament, and a General Government for all the confederated Provinces; and that these are to be at Ottawa, as the Capital, about 800 miles or more, from. Nova Scotia, and about the same from many parts of New Brunswick. In that Parliament, there are to be in the House of Representatives 147 members for Canada, and .only 19 for Nova Scotia, and 13 for New Brunswick; and in the Council, 48 for Canada, and only 10 for Nova Scotia, an 8 for New Brunswick. These vast disproportions as to numbers, will at once show the great superiority and advantage which Canada will have over these two Provinces, in the making of all laws, regulations, and political and other affairs of every kind.

The whole of the revenues of the Provinces, from every source and quarter, must he surrendered to the General Parliament. and Government at Ottawa; and that General Parliament is to have the right and power to make laws and regulations regarding all the following subjects and interests:—The public debts and property of every kind;—Regulation of trade and commerce;—imposition and regulation of Customs duties on all imports and exports, except on exports of timber and lumber of certain descriptions, and coal and other minerals;—Imposition of excise duties;—raising money to any amount by any and all other methods of taxation;—Borrowing money to any amount on the public credit;—The Post Office service;—Lines of steam and other ships;—Railways, canals, and other works connecting the Provinces, or beyond the limits of any Province;—Steamers between federated Provinces and other countries;—Telegraph companies, and communication;—all such works in any Province as shall be thought for the public advantage;—The Militia; Light houses, buoys, and beacons:—Shipping and navigation; Quarantine;—Sea coast and inland fisheries;—Coinage and currency;—Savings Banks;—Weights and measures;—Bills of Exchange and promissory notes;—Interest;—Legal tender;—Bankruptcy and insolvency;—Marriage and Divorce;—Criminal law, and procedure in criminal cases;—Rendering uniform any or all of the laws relative to property and civil rights, in all the Provinces, except Lower Canada;—Establishment of a Central Court of Appeal, for all the Provinces;—(this will of course be at Ottawa);—Immigration;—Agriculture;—And generally as to all matters of a general character, not specially and exclusively reserved for the local legislatures and governments.

Now, here is, truly, a most formidable and startling list, or catalogue, of relinquishments and sacrifices to be made by New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, to the great Ottawa, or Canadian Parliament and Government. It amounts, in fact, to a full surrender of nearly all the rights, liberties, and interests, of the whole of the populations of the two Provinces. It is even further provided in the plan, that on all other subjects, over which jurisdiction belongs to both the general and the local Parliaments, the laws of the general Parliament may control, supersede, and make void the laws and regulations of the others if there be any opposition.

Some comments may now be properly and usefully made, on several of the most important of the foregoing relinquishments of rights and interests, required to be made by New Brunswick and Nova Scotia; and first, as to

Taxation

It has been authentically stated, and is admitted, that the average rate of duties on imported articles in these two Provinces is 10 per cent; but in Canada it is 20. Under Confederation it will be equalized, and owing to the admitted great and pressing “necessities of Canada,” the rate for all, will be, at least, 20 and most probably 25, to provide for Canadian railways, canals, fortifications,—on borders of 1000 miles,—land militia, and ships of war on the lakes, and naval militia, or other force, to man them; with various other Canadian public services and objects. Suppose, then, the Confederate duties to be only the 20 per cent, here is, at once, double the amount now paid in these two Provinces. This double amount the merchants and traders will immediately put on their goods. They must do it. The farmer, tradesman, labourer, and all other purchasers, will therefore be obliged to pay that double duty in the increased prices of the dry goods, groceries, and other articles he purchases; without, in most cases, being able to reimburse himself, by increasing the prices of the articles in his own business, or the wages of his labour. Suppose, then, an average family of 5 persons, and that the taxation, now of 10 per cent, is 2 dollars and 60 cents, on each head, yearly, as stated by the Confederationists, this will amount to 13 dollars; and at 20 per cent, it will be 26 dollars, just double to the man, the head of the family. If there are 8 in the family, the amount of duty, instead of 20 dollars 60 cents, will be 41 dollars and 20 cents. These are plain estimates which none can deny. The General Parliament can make this or any other increase of taxation, as it is to have the power of making laws, regarding revenue, and duties, and taxes of every kind. It may, therefore, tax the head, the farm, the house, the shop, the mill, the stock, the trade, and in every other mode.

Borrowing Money

This may also be done by that Parliament and Government to any extent, and they will doubtless do it (as Canada has always been extravagantly doing), for canals, railways, fortifications, war ships, and the other great purposes already mentioned; and these Provinces will, of course, be taxed and bound to pay, the same as Canada, the principal and interest of such borrowed moneys although not receiving any benefit from those Canadian works and improvements.

Regulation of Trade and Commerce

This will give the General Parliament the right to prescribe with what countries the several Provinces may have commercial intercourse; and on what terms, and under what regulations they may trade with each other, and with other countries, as to goods and merchandise, duties, and on other points! It is impossible to foresee what numerous difficulties and dangers, to these Maritime Provinces, are involved in this extensive and complicated subject. The most skilful merchants will be unable to comprehend or foresee its results, as to advantage or otherwise. This uncertainty should alone be sufficient to restrain, not only merchants, but all others, except the merely speculative and reckless, from favouring this Confederation scheme, which would produce such a risk to these Maritime Provinces, as to their prosperity, now so surely, and rapidly advancing. It would seem almost certain, that the measure would produce injurious consequences to commence, by the great increase of duties on merchandise.

Steamers, &c., and Railways

According to the Confederation scheme, all lines of steamers and other ships as a mode of conveyance between any of the ports of either of the Provinces, or between any one Province and another, and also to and from other countries, would be subject to the regulations and control of the General Parliament and Government at Ottawa. As to railways, one clause of the scheme provides, that “the General Government shall secure without delay, the completion of the inter-Colonial Railway.” Another clause declares, that “the communications with the North Western Territory; and the improvements required for the development of the trade of the great West, with the seaboard, are regarded by this Conference, as subjects of the highest importance to the Federated Provinces; and shall be prosecuted at the earliest possible period, that the state of the finances will permit the Parliament to do so.” As the Canadian government seems to be desirous of having the inter-colonial line completed, and New Brunswick and Nova Scotia are also willing for it, there need be no difficulty; and by such Province contributing its fair share of the expense, the work may at once go on, and be accomplished, as well without Confederation, as with it. An arrangement for that purpose was, a few years ago, made between the Provinces; and the Canadian rulers for some cause or other, declined to abide by it. If Canada is now in such embarrassed circumstances, as not to be able to provide the funds to pay her share of the work, surely that, of itself, is a sufficient reason that these Maritime Provinces should not enter into this proposed Union. There is no just claim upon them, to risk or destroy their own advancing prosperity and all their best interests with the delusive purpose or expectation of rescuing Canada from its financially embarrassed condition, by these Provinces being more than doubly taxed assist towards doing it. These Provinces have railway and other debts enough of their own, which, with other needful objects will require all their revenues, and at the same time to keep their credit good. But there is also the matter of communications with the “North –Western territory”; and “for the trade to the great west.” These comprehend nearly two thousand miles to the Hudson’s Bay; and the still greater distance to the Pacific Ocean. We see, “they are to be prosecuted at the earliest possible period, that the state of the finances will permit the parliament to do so.” These Lower Provinces have no interest whatever in these railways, or other communications, to be made as early as possible. They do not require any articles from Hudson’s Bay, or the regions on the Pacific. The few furs they want, they now can, and do get readily enough; and any supplies, quantities of them brought into Canada, would always be exported from some of its own ports to Europe or other quarters The proofs already given of the extravagance of Canadian rulers in public works, and in other ways, should warn these Lower Provinces against this proposed union, which if effected, would inevitably bring upon their present and future generations enormous burdens of taxation, for those intended gigantic undertakings, from which none of them would derive any advantage whatever. Whatever benefit would accrue would all be Canadian. Consider this, you men of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, among the rest of the particulars of your humiliation and subjection, and the present and impending public claims on your pockets; and then you will know how to value the fine talk and writings directed to you, about a heritage for your children and an excellent standing as belonging to a great confederated nation.

Postal Service

Postages, at present, are considerably higher in Canada than in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick; and there can be no doubt, that in Confederation, the rates of postage would be increased still more, to assist in raising the much greater revenue which would be required. Moreover, no post office could be established, or postal appointment, or regulation made, between any counties, towns or villages, but according to the acts and regulations of the General Parliament and Government at Ottawa.

Marriage and Divorce

On these most important subjects, the Parliament at Ottawa would have the right and power to make laws and regulations; and they might be contrary to those which are now in force in these lower provinces, and such as would encroach on the present rights and privileges of the several religious denominations. The Canadian laws on these subjects probably, are different from those in these Provinces, and may be unsuitable to their populations; and yet they could be imposed upon them; for like duties, taxation, and other matters, there is to be uniformity.

Property and Civil Rights

Regarding these two most vital and important subjects, as it is provided in the Union scheme that there is to he uniformity, the General Parliament would have the power to make laws and regulations concerning them, conformably to those of Canada, and in disagreement with those now in force in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick; altering the nature of titles the modes and forms of conveying property, and of deeds and agreements, transferring, or otherwise concerning it. Most probably, as a source of revenue, stamps and stamp duties would be required on all such documents, and the enrolment or registration of them. The term “Civil Rights,” has a very wide meaning; and under it, the Parliament might make laws, altering and limiting those rights now possessed by the people of these lower Provinces; and regarding qualifications for holding offices, or seats in the Legislature, voting at elections, and on various other points of civil right or privilege.

Agriculture and Immigration

As to the great leading interest of agriculture, it may merely be remarked, that the General Parliament might make such regulations as to bounties, stock, and on certain other points as would be suitable to Canada, and give it an advantage over these lower provinces. Regarding immigration, also, under union, if measures were at any time planned and adopted by the General Parliament, or Government, to encourage or favour it, there can be little doubt, that the Canadian territory of the union, would obtain the first and best advantages; through the great superiority of the Canadian power and influence.

Court of Appeal

By the proposed Union plan, such a court is to be established; and, of course, it will be at Ottawa, and into it causes depending, or determined, in the courts of the several Provinces may be removed for final decision. The Supreme Courts in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, are now, and it is probable, will continue to be, as competent to deal with, and legally and justly decide all suits and questions, as any court established m Canada. There can be no necessity therefore, for any such Appeal Court. It would increase litigation and law expenses, and often would delay or entirely prevent justice being done. Suppose for instance, a suit to take place, in either of these lower Provinces, between a rich man and one in poor or moderate circumstances; and this last, having the right on his side, obtains a verdict and judgment in his favour. The rich man appeals to that Court in Canada, and employs lawyers there and can afford to carry there any number of witnesses, and do every thing else needful to support his case; but the poor man cannot afford such expenses and sacrifices, and therefore he would be obliged to abandon his just claims, and suffer distressing losses and expenses or perhaps be entirely ruined. Now, such cases would certainly occur, if confederation is effected, and such a Court of Appeal was established.

Public Defences

Prominent in the long list of subjects, on which the General Parliament may legislate and decide, are the “Militia, and Military and Naval Service and Defence.” From this, it may at once be concluded, that very larger military and naval forces would be formed, immediately on the establishment of the union. By the terms employed, it is evident that such forces are to be permanently established; and also that fortifications are to be built, for that word is employed in one of the clauses, in case of a war, none of these lower provinces would need any navy or naval militia. They would be perfectly defended by the Imperial navy; and rightly or justly, because the war would not be one declared against these Provinces, but against the United Kingdom; and therefore its navy would be as much bound to defend and protect us, as to do it for any part of the British or Irish coasts; and it would be as readily and honorably done. It is Canada that chiefly needs the military and naval forces, and fortifications, on her borders of nearly or quite a thousand miles. The expense of all these means of defence for Canada, will be very great; and why should New Brunswick and Nova Scotia,—though not deriving any benefit from them.—be bound to pay any part of the expenses; as would be the case, under Confederation. A parliament at Ottawa, with such overwhelming Canadian majorities, would certainly take care of their own country first and do nothing in that way for these Provinces, concluding that they were sufficiently defended. In case of a war with the United States, and on Canada being invaded, the Government at Ottawa might draw away there, such large portions of the militia of these Provinces, as would leave them nearly defenceless, though equally exposed to such invasion. In such war, neither Canada nor these Provinces could spare any force to assist one another, and therefore confederation would not better the condition of either. It would not add a man, or any other means of defence, beyond what each possessed, out of Union, as now. By recent intelligence from England, it appears, that it has been arranged, between the Imperial, and the United States Governments, to allow each to increase its naval armaments on the lakes. It is certain, therefore that such increase, and probably a large one, will soon be made; and as Canada, compared with these Maritime Provinces has a very limited number of seamen, in the event of such a war under confederation, such large numbers of the merchant seamen, and fishermen, of these Provinces, would most certainly be called and conveyed to Canada, to man and fight in that navy on the river and lakes there, as would leave their own homes and families greatly exposed, and without sufficient means of defence.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

It has been seen, on a previous page, that there are many subjects for relinquishment, by these lower Provinces, and the disposal and regulation of which, would rest altogether with that Parliament at Ottawa. Among these, are interest on money which now, it seems, bears 8 per cent in Canada, but only 6 here! Under Confederation, it would probably be established at the 8 to the injury of the farmer, or other person of limited means who was obliged to borrow money, for some needful purpose! Mercantile and Savings banks are to be under the regulations Of that Parliament; also sea coast and inland fisheries; weights and measures; coinage and currency; bills and notes ; telegraph lines and other important subjects. No bank, in any place could be established, or its notes framed, or issued; or any fishery regulated; or vessel built, or navigated; or marriage take place or be dissolved; or property be conveyed, or titles to it be valid; or civil rights be obtained and enjoyed; or any of the other subjects be established or regulated, but according to the will and enactments of that parliament in Canada, having in one House 147 Canadian members, to 19 from Nova Scotia; and 15 from New Brunswick; and in the other House, 48 Canadians and Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, only 10 members each in such a state of things, these lower Provinces would experience ten times the dissatisfaction and trouble they ever had with the magnanimous parent government, besides, inevitably, suffering some, or many, serious and lasting injuries.

And, now, it may be asked, for what reasons, and by whom are such surrenders required to be made, and such an entire change of political circumstances, sought to be effected. It is well known, that these two Maritime Provinces are rapidly advancing in prosperity; their commerce is free, and generally profitable; the farmers are doing well; the markets are amply supplied, not only with the necessaries of life, but with nearly all the luxuries of the oldest countries; tradesmen, and labourers have a fair measure of employment; the taxation is moderate, or, at least, such as the people can well bear. There has been no call, or desire, by petition or otherwise, from any class of the population, for any such Confederation, or other political change; or any proposal of it, in the first instance, in these Provinces, except by some ten or a dozen, speculative and aspiring politicians, who assisted in manufacturing this proposed Confederation Scheme, which has thrown all the Provinces into a state of agitation, turmoil, and strife; and which, if accomplished, would bereave these lower Provinces, of their dearest rights, and privileges, and hand them over, with all their important interests and affairs, to a distant and powerful country and Government, to be ruled, taxed, and dealt with, according to their will, and to suit their interests.

Inquiry, and examination, may now be made, as to any advantages which New Brunswick and Nova Scotia would obtain, by the proposed Confederation. This portion of the subject must, of necessity, be of very brief notice and discussion, for scarcely any such advantages can be found, deserving of mention. The old hackneyed maxim that “Union is strength,” has by the advocates for the measure, been insisted on, as one of them. Although certainly, true in many other cases, it has been often misapplied, and has failed, as to political unions. Indeed, regarding these, it may safely be said, from the records and authority of history, that for one instance, where it has afforded “Strength,” three or more may be named, where it has produced weakness and injury. It was not strength, to Holland and Belgium, when they were in Union, but they were constantly contending, and at length had their armies arrayed for open war, when by the intervention of powerful nations they were separated into distinct kingdoms; and have remained since in friendliness and peace; and both strong and prosperous. Union has produced weakness, distress, most sanguinary and desolating war and misery, to the American States, and many other evils which it is probable will long remain. The unions of Austria and Hungary, and portions of Italy, and of Prussia and portions of Poland, have ever been attended with distressing consequences. Even the union of England and Ireland has never been a happy one, to either country; but there have been almost constant dissatisfaction, agitations and conspiracies on the part of one, and distrust, perplexity and trouble on that of the other. Such instances prove anything but the truth, and application of the saying, as to the Union in question. As to advantage regarding revenue, there would be none but a loss to these two Provinces; for it has been shown that the sums to be allowed to them, for their public services under Confederation, are less than their present revenues. Neither would they deserve any advantage as to trade, for they now have as free commercial, and other business intercourse, with Canada as they would have under Union, and at less cost, by reason of a lesser taxation at present, and with much better security, as to the preservation of all their commercial, and other rights and interests. Scarcely any other articles does Canada now require from these Lower Provinces, or would require, or take from them, if in Union, except coal, fish, and oil, and these they can send there now as freely and advantageously as if they were united. Neither would there be any increase of advantages to these Provinces in Union, as to agricultural interests or affairs. The only product of farming operations, of any importance, required here from Canada is flour, and that can be, and is now, obtained as freely and cheaply as it would be in Confederation. These Provinces do not now want from Canada, nor would they, if in Union, require any live cattle, or sheep, or beef, or pork, or butter, or cheese, or any other articles from farming; for they have abundance of them for their own consumption, and a surplus of each and all of them for exportation.

Surely no person can suppose that, if Confederated, these Lower Provinces could send any products of farming to Canada better than now. Either out of Union or in it, to send any of them to such a great agricultural country as Canada, would indeed as the saying is, be like sending coals to Newcastle. But if in Union it would be quite possible for the Parliament at Ottawa to make some such enactments or regulations as that some, if not all, Canadian farm products could be sent to these Provinces to the injury of their farmers and agricultural interests.

As to manufactures of every kind, Western Canada, especially, is far in advance of these Lower Provinces; and if in Union, would from a variety of circumstances, continue to maintain the same superiority, with advantages over these Provinces, which that country does not now possess, in regard to taxation. That country would not want from these Provinces, if in Union, woolen, or cotton, or linen goods, or any of leather, wood, iron, copper, horn, or any other such manufactured articles, even if these Provinces had a surplus of any of them to send for that country can, and does, manufacture them, in part, for its own consumption and can import what more is required cheaper than they could be made here and exported there. Moreover that Canadian Parliament could always, by its regulations, secure a preference and superiority for Canadian manufacture over those produced in these Provinces. If it be said that in Confederation monied men, or capitalists as they are called, will be induced to employ their wealth in manufacturing establishments in these Lower Provinces, it may be answered, why have they not done it heretofore, and why are they not doing it now? They might all along have done it and may now do it, to more personal profit than they could under Union; and most certainly such persons can now do it, with greater pecuniary advantage for several reasons most especially for this one, that the rates of taxation, of every description, are much lower at present than they would be if in Union. Again, it may be, said, how is it that foreigners—American citizens—have been, and still are. coming into these Provinces and making and owning telegraph lines, opening and working mines, building wharves and piers making railways even through the streets of Halifax; and neither Canadian or British capitalists have done, or attempted such works, as far as the writer knows, except in one instance of a. Coal Mines association operating in Nova Scotia? Such capitalists had the same, or even greater facilities and advantages for such enterprises, than the Americans, who are actually engaged in them, to their own advantage and the public benefit. None of those capitalists would do it any more readily under union, but would then be under less favorable circumstances for such investments and works, among other reasons for that of increased taxation. As to such persons in these Provinces, they would then prefer sending their money to Canada, and investing it in one way or another there, where they can get 8 per cent for it instead of 6, as some of them in Nova Scotia are covetously and most unpatriotically doing now.

The public credit of these Lower Provinces is now as good or even better, than that of Canada, and therefore the securities and advantages for manufacturing establishments are full as good now as they would be under Union, and even better, as to taxation and legal regulations. Moreover, they could very far more readily and effectually, as well as cheaply, obtain Legislative aid or other advantages from a Provincial Parliament or Government on the spot than they could in Union from such powers at Ottawa, 800 miles off, with all their preferences for Canadian establishments and manufactories. The “political necessities” of Canada, and that she is “about to make a constitutional change,” have been urged as reasons for the Confederation; but these are of no value whatever, as to these Lower Provinces; no more than regarding such necessities and changes in any other part of the British dominions or in any other quarter. There is no obligation whatsoever for these Provinces to endanger or surrender privileges and their rights, privileges and interests, and injure their peace and prosperity because of Canadian necessities and intended changes. The advocates for Confederation themselves have truly said that the two sections of that country have been and “are in such a state of antagonism as to render government impossible by any public men. The bickerings, contentions, and changeableness there are good reasons why these Provinces should avoid political union with a people whose politicians are of such strifes would continue, and probably become greater; and these Provinces being weaker members would inevitably, in some form, become sufferers. There is a sacred Proverb which says that “He who meddlith in strife that not belonging to him, is like a man that takes a dog by the ears;” and another says “Meddle not with them hat are given to change,” or more literally rendered, “Meddle not thyself with them. The innovators, as the commentator has said, “Who are making experiments on modes of government, forms of religion, &c. is the most dangerous spirit that can infect the human mind.”

It is further urged that the Home Government is desirous that Confederation should be accomplished. But at the same time, that government by its public dispatches, has constitutionally, and as its duty required, left the proposal to the adoption or rejection of each of the Provinces through the Parliamentary decision. And this has been done without any condition, as to lessening or withholding from the Provinces Imperial means of defence, in either event, in case of war or invasion. As to what has been said by some of the planners and plotters for the measure about laying the foundation for a great nationality at some future period; and regarding an enlarged area, or theater, for “aspiring young men” and the prestige of a name, they are such measures and effusions of pride, vanity and folly that they do not deserve any serious answer, but may contemptuously be set aside. It is asserted that the leading minds of the Province are in favour of it. So much nonsense has been put forth in the employment of these cant phrases of leading mindsable statesmenfirst minds, and other high sounding terms, that it is rather a trial of patience to hear their frequent repetition. Now who are these great minds who are boasted of as such conclusive authorities on this subject? Much the larger proportion of them belong to one learned profession, some of whom are ardent candidates for personal promotion and distinction, of one kind or other, and having, naturally enough, these advantages in present or prospective view; and but few of them, as may well be concluded, are even ordinarily read or acquainted regarding political science, generally, but especially that very broad portion of it relating to the Union of States or countries, and dissimilar populations. True, there are a few in another learned profession, who have lately come into the political field, and are trying in their own way, to learn to be statesmen, but whatever they may be hereafter, they are, are yet, but apprentices, or rough journeymen in the science.

But lastly, it is urged that the religious press favours it. Now, first, there is here something of a misnomer as to such a press, for it is, in general, much more merely secular than religious. It gives the current political and other news, at home and abroad, notices of what parliaments and governments are doing, arrivals and departures of vessels and passengers, information as to trade and fisheries, movements of troops and navies city affairs, tariffs of duties, state of markets, and various other miscellaneous matters; with advertisements of the sale of fancy and fashionable goods, hoop skirts, boots and shoes, drugs and chemicals, houses and estates, and other particulars too numerous to mention. A few days ago, the writer took up one of these papers, in a large denomination, and ascertained that only a little over two of eight pages had religious intelligence; the others were filled with such secular matters as have been described. It is perfectly known that there are great differences of opinion on this subject of Union among the members of all the denominations. The opinion, therefore, given in each of those papers, is merely that of the individual editor. But here is one thing regarding this religious press, in Nova Scotia, at least, which seems rather strange and inconsistent, that in all its sayings concerning this Union measure, there is not a word, as to any advantage it will produce to religion, either as to its extension, or increased influence, or in any other way. This does seem rather extraordinary. All its favourable notices of the measure seem to point merely to prosperity, and grandeur of material or worldly and political descriptions. The conductors of this press are professedly men of peace, and advisers of good will and harmony among mankind; and yet they are found favoring the measure and schemes of those who have thrown into agitation and turmoil countries peaceably advancing in prosperity, and involved these populations throughout in divisions and contentions, and produced alienations, political and social, and probably in some family circles also.

In concluding these remarks, the writer challenges the conductors of this so-called religious press, or any one of them to meet him in any convenient public hall, in open discussion, and he will show that it is not the will of Heaven, in general, that different nations or people should be combined or included under one political dominion; but that on the contrary, it is the Divine Will, that each nation and people should possess its own civil constitution, laws, and regulations, free of the dominion, or coercive influence of any other political power. In drawing to a conclusion, the writer must on behalf of his native land, express his regret that it has been denied the right and advantage which New Brunswick has enjoyed on this Union subject. This latter Province is now having a second election of representatives with reference to it. As to Nova Scotia, majorities in each of the parliamentary houses, for reasons and under influences of which the writer is not aware, have authorized the appointment of delegates, for framing a final scheme, in a land 3000 miles away, Without any reference, first or last, to the people, the vast majority of whom, seven eighths or even nine tenths, as credibly said, are averse to the proposed scheme, as shewn by numerous petitions against it from every part of the Province, during the two last Sessions of the Parliament, and but one as said in favour of it. Under these circumstances of unconstitutional and unjust treatment, the people of Nova Scotia appeal to the free and generous people of New Brunswick, that while regarding their own rights and interests, to consider those of Nova Scotia, in this matter so closely identified with their own, and so greatly endangered; and as a common cause, at their elections now proceeding, return such faithful and steadfast men, as will by their parliamentary action, resist the proposed mode of completing this Union by an irresponsible convention at the other side of the Atlantic, and thus preserve the present free constitutions of the two Provinces, with all their rights, privileges, and advantages.

 

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Written by johnwood1946

January 14, 2015 at 9:23 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

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