RED RIVER AND ANNEXATION
The enthusiastic advocates of Confederation have from the commencement of
the work of union up to a recent period flattered themselves that the work
of union was destined to be accomplished without bloodshed, and we hope
that they have not been mistaken. Present appearances, however, point to
a very different aspect to that which it has been customary to picture.
History tells us that there have been few peaceable unions of states or
communities and the contemplated union of British North America promises
to prove no exception to the general fate of such measures. There are three
cloudy specks in the fair horizon - the Red River trouble, the Nova Scotia
annexation league and the responsible government monomaniacs of British
It may be an exaggeration of the situation of affair to classify the latter
gentry with the Red Riverites and Nova Scotians for they probably mean nothing
but a war of words, but they have placed themselves in the same troublesome
category by threats and hints toward the governments of this colony and
the Dominion if the opportunity for gratifying their lust for office be
not simultaneously given with Confederation. As to the Red Riverites there
is not in the British Empire a more loyal community, but they have a legitimate
cause of complaint. They had never been consulted about Confederation and
were to be transferred to the Dominion like the wild animals of their country,
or as so much live stock on the purchased estate.
They are a strong and courageous people - we have passed through their country
and know something about them - and it is folly to regard them with contempt
and indifference. We have seen the magnitude of the operations necessary
to quell the Sioux' rebellion in the United States. The Red River people
are capable of doing as much as their neighbors. Confederation has been
checked on account of the Northwest Territory, and its final spread to the
Pacific may again be delayed. Then there is the Nova Scotia annexation league.
It has been thought that Nova Scotia had accepted the situation but the
latest news shows otherwise.
Now, the Red River trouble, the annexation league and the probable modification
of our Terms by the Dominion are quite sufficient to overcome without adding
to the list of difficulties the question of responsible government in this
colony. If Confederation is to be hastened, it will be better to make that
the only question at the next election, for it is not true that the people
are unanimous in demanding responsible government. There is a very general
feeling of contentment with the policy of the Governor, and no small amount
of indignation exists in relation to the virulent conduct of the Victoria
politicians, who profess to represent the general opinion of the colony.
MAY 28, 1870
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