Britain and the Origins of Canadian Confederation, 1837-67 by Ged Martin

By Ged Martin

Martin (director, the heart of Canadian stories, U. of Edinburgh) bargains a skeptical overview of claims that the Canadian Confederation replied all of the difficulties dealing with the provinces, studying British perceptions of Canada and concepts approximately its destiny. He appears to be like on the origins of British aid for Ca

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26 It is unlikely that Tilley, a champion of temperance, had been carried away by conviviality when at the same banquet he offered a preposterously simplified analysis of the difficulties of intercolonial co-operation as separate provinces. 'Now suppose we were all drawn together into one confederation, you would not meet with any of these difficulties. ' 27 Of course historians must beware of picking among the evidence, choosing only those items which suit their theories, but equally we should not abandon all our critical faculties.

16 Sometimes British North American politicians were consciously casual with the truth. At a banquet in Halifax in August 1864, shortly before the Charlottetown conference but with Confederation in the air, Joseph Howe proclaimed to a group of visiting Canadians that he had 'always been in favour of uniting any two, three, four, or the whole five of the Provinces'. Howe denied any inconsistency with his subsequent opposition to the Confederation and Historical Explanation 33 Quebec scheme, indignantly pointing out that he had risen to speak at ten minutes to midnight.

Thus, according to Morton, 'Lower Canada could scarcely agree to the annexation of the north-west unless this were offset by guarantees of its historic rights in the new union, and by the adherence of the Atlantic provinces to the union to balance the indefinitely growing population of Upper Canada'. Furthermore, French Canadians and Maritimers would not accept 'the cost of building a Pacific railway unless that were matched by the building of the Intercolonial'. 78 Perhaps the most elegant aspect of the interlocking package is the way in which it integrates nationbuilding with empire.

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