Questions raised over union of the colonies

Jim
Jim Hornby
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The Islander, June 3

COLONIAL LEGISLATURE. Monday, April 18. Debate on the Union of the Colonies.

Hon. Col. Gray: “In the resolution which I have submitted, it is proposed to appoint Delegates, simply for the purpose of discussing the expediency of a union of the three Provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, under one Government and Legislature. Owing to our insular position, and the difficulty of crossing the Strait at certain seasons of the year, a legislative union might in some respects operate to our disadvantage. If there is to be a Legislative Union of these Maritime Provinces, are new government and parliament buildings to be erected, and where are they to be built? Is Charlottetown or Summerside to be the capital of Cabotia, or Acadia, or whatever the country may be called? Then again, when are the Sessions of Parliament to be held--in December, January, February, or in June, July or September? Are we to be required to keep our Representatives at some capital in one of the sister Provinces from autumn to spring, or are they to be expected to be pole in hand and leap from ice-berg to ice-berg across the Strait in the dead of winter? All these are questions which would require to be answered before I would be prepared to say whether it be expedient or not for this Colony to enter into the proposed union.”

 

The Monitor, June 9

FIRE. On Sunday morning last the 5th inst., a fire took place in the shipyard of Mr. John McDougald, at the Head of Grand River, which destroyed a considerable amount of property. The fire commenced from a brand or spark from a fire in the woods, near the yard, falling on one of the sheds, which instantly set it on fire, the men in the loft saving themselves by jumping out of the windows. The remainder of the buildings, comprising a Dwelling House, Warehouse, Stables and Sheds, with all their contents, beside a quantity of timber in the yard, were consumed. It was with great difficulty they saved two new vessels, nearly finished, on the stocks.

 

The Monitor, June 9

STEAMERS. For Hillsborough and Elliot Rivers. Colonial Secretary’s Office. Proposals will be received at this office until Monday the twentieth day of June next, from persons willing to place and run a Steamer or Steamers on the said Rivers, under contract with the Government of this Colony. The contractor to have the exclusive right of running one or more good and sufficient Steamboats for the use and accommodation of the public between CHARLOTTETOWN and MOUNT STEWART BRIDGE on the Hillsborough River, touching at the respective Wharfs on the north and south side of the said River, and between CHARLOTTETOWN and ROCKY POINT WHARF, on the south side of the Elliot River, the said Steamer to be bound to run at least twice, that is to say, on Tuesday and Friday in each week.

 

Ross’s Weekly, June 9

HOTEL WANTED. We believe that P.E. Island will yet become a “watering place” and be yearly visited by hundreds, if not thousands, of the better class inhabitants of the cities of the Atlantic states of the American Union. Our climate, water, beaches, roads & c. are not surpassed anywhere; and we are confident that with our excellent travelling accommodations, and the establishment of an hotel, we should have a large influx of pleasure-seekers every summer.

 

Ross’s Weekly, June 9

TENANT UNION OF PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND. George F. Adams: I would say to every tenant in Prince Edward Island, do not delay joining this union; it is daily gaining strength; and although we must occasionally hear of some seizures for rent, yet we are fully satisfied that if the tenants themselves will stand faithfully to the cause, we shall gain our object. Let every tenant enrol his name as a member with the local committee of his own district.

We also request every local committee to carefully take the names of every person who bids on, or purchases, any article that is sold for rent, or who acts in any way against the interest of any member of the same; to be enrolled in a book kept for that purpose, which book will be an index and a guide to ourselves and our children hereafter, as to who is and who is not the tenants’ friend; it will tell us our friends from our foes; for whosoever is not with us we take to be against us; and this union is pledged to withhold its support from any person whose name shall be thus publicly recorded against us, now and forever, let the union be successful or not.

Jim Hornby: Adams, an early leader and powerful speaker at Tenant League organizing meetings, here goes beyond his other statements of this time – going so far as to pledge an undying social bitterness against those who resist the resistance movement – contrary to his movement’s aim of uniting all citizens against the proprietorial land-holding system. He was also riding a tidal wave of us vs. them polarization that had inflamed freeholders as well as leaseholders, Tory supporters as well as reform-minded opposition Liberals.

 

Jim Hornby’s column, “1864: The Way We Were: gleanings from Charlottetown’s newspapers,” is in The Guardian every Monday in 2014 (on holiday Mondays when there is no paper, it will appear on Tuesdays). It contains excerpts from newspapers of that era, as well as Hornby’s comments on what he has found. It is presented in celebration of the sesquicentennial of the Charlottetown Conference. Contact the author at hornby@pei.sympatico.ca.

Organizations: Union of the Colonies.Hon, Legislative Union, American Union Tenant League

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia New Brunswick Maritime Provinces Summerside Elliot River Grand River Hillsborough Hillsborough River

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