Red River


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 Columbia.

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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