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306   HISTORY OF CANADA.

delegation to England to discuss the question of a union of the Maritime Provinces. In Canada, A. T. Galt in 1856 advocated a confederation of all the provinces, and in 1858 he was one of a delegation sent by the Cartier-Macdonald government to urge the matter upon the Imperial authorities. In 1861, on motion of Joseph Howe, a resolution was carried in the Nova Scotia assembly requesting the colonial secretary to open communication with the different provincial governments upon the subject of union. The response made to this request was, in effect, "Settle it among yourselves." But until 1864 no action was taken toward carrying out the suggestion of the colonial secretary.

Impelling Causes. —Meanwhile various causes had conspired to impress upon the minds of public men the necessity for union. Imperial statesmen had for some time been urging upon the provinces that with enlarged powers they should acknowledge enlarged responsibilities, particularly in the matter of their own defence. At one time the outlook toward the United States was decidedly threatening. Civil war was in progress there, and in November, 1861, Captain Wilkes, of the United States sloop-of-war San Jacinto, hoarded the British mail-steamer Trent in mid-ocean, and took off two confederate envoys, Mason and Slidell, then on their way to England. The proceeding was entirely unwarranted by the usages of war, and Great Britain promptly demanded their surrender. Much feeling was aroused, and for a time war between Great Britain and the United States appeared inevitable. In the end the envoys were surrendered, but the episode had created in England a strong current of popular sympathy for the South. Southern refugees amongst us felt encouraged to plan raids against Northern commerce. In September, 1864, two vessels were seized and plundered on Lake Erie. Shortly afterwards a party of twenty-three men under Bennett H. Young crossed the Canadian frontier and plundered three banks in St. Alban's, Vermont, escaping again to Canada with their booty. Young and some others were arrested in Montreal, but were ultimately discharged. As a result the feeling in the North was naturally somewhat bitter. The possibility of war suggested to the scattered provinces the desirability of union. Steps had already been taken toward a union of the Maritime Provinces when the dead-lock in Canadian public affairs gave a sudden and


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