From 1867: Confederation is best for us

In this 150th anniversary of the creation of Canada, we are looking back at editorials published in our predecessor newspaper in 1867.
This week, the editors again argued that British Columbia should become part of the Canadian confederation.

 

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Without entertaining a doubt that a large majority of the people of this colony are in favour of and are anxiously looking for a speedy union with the Dominion of Canada, we know full well, notwithstanding, that there are many who are strongly opposed to Confederation with the North American provinces, and who are assiduously trying to impress their opposition views upon the public mind.

The main objectors, however, to Confederation are foreigners, who are principally citizens of the United States.

It is quite natural that feelings of jealousy and strong prejudices should rest in the minds of the American people, owing to the hostility of feeling which has so long existed between their country and England, but just the opposite should be expected from Englishmen.

England could never count among her sons a more loyal or devoted people than those who have founded and built up the North American provinces.

They were men who stood by the old flag until the country for which they spent their treasure and their blood abandoned them to their fate; who, sooner than bestow their allegiance to those who had raised the hand of rebellion against the Crown of England and despoiled them of their inheritance, left their houses and their lands and bought a home in the wilds of Acadia, that they might live again beneath that flag which had failed to protect their persons and their property in the land of their birth.

Such were the fathers of those who now, standing upon the dust of an honoured ancestry, claim to be ranked amongst the nations of the Earth — a distinction and a dignity honourably and loyally won, without the jar of civil war, or presenting to the world the revolting spectacle of a brother shedding a brother’s blood. Where on Earth can be found a more noble example than the history of the British North American provinces affords?

The spirit of liberty and of equal rights, indigenous to the American continent, which caused the rebellion of ’76, had not failed to make its impress upon the minds of those loyal sons of England; yet they saw an element in the British Constitution, which the peaceful potency of the people could develop, so as to insure in due time all the privileges and liberty which good government required.

And to this end have they patiently and perseveringly striven to obtain rights and liberties which they knew full well they were entitled to enjoy; nor did they at all times plead in “bondsman’s key with bated breath,” but as the exigencies of the case required, they demanded their rights, and England knew too well the character of the men with whom she had to deal to disregard their appeal.

The monuments of half a century, and the blood still red upon the land, mark too well how Canadians can deal with the invaders of their soil; and the laurels won by the Hero of Kars are too fresh upon the banner of England for her to forget the valour of her American sons or to deny them any just and equitable claim.

Thus have the people of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, preserving faithfully their loyalty to the British Crown, won for themselves an independence and a dominion, and today enjoy the best form of government known to the world.

Why, then should we hesitate to cast in our lot with such a people? Or why entertain fears that they might take advantage of our weakness, and exercise government over us to our hurt?

Is not our interest theirs, and will not their colonial experience teach them to understand our requirements better than any ruler that England can send us?

Is there an evil of which we complain, that they have not experienced and overcome? Have they not been burdened with expensive and inefficient official diplomats from Downing Street, to deprive the sons of the soil of their birthright and their rank? Why then, we would ask, should any person fear that men such as these should so soon ignore their own experience, and deal with us in any other manner than for our good?

The “Canadian tyranny” which some are ready to suggest is a mere creation of the mind, and whatever prejudice or feeling of distrust that may be entertained toward the present leader of the dominion government, there is little danger of fear from that source so long as such men as Samuel Leonard Tilley, Charles Tupper and Peter Mitchell, from the Lower Provinces, are in the government; their character for ability and integrity stands too high to even admit of any imputation of faithlessness or dishonour to be cast upon it, and as an evidence that they are not indifferent to the wants and welfare of the whole dominion, we would refer to the action of the Canadian government in regard to the renewal of the Reciprocity Treaty with the United Slates as announced in the dispatches published yesterday, which action, we have good reason to believe, is not taken so much with a view to the immediate benefit to the Atlantic provinces, as to the ultimate benefit which would accrue to British Columbia, under Confederation.

The Daily British Colonist and Victoria Chronicle

Dec. 3, 1867

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