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The Canadian Visit

The following article is from:
Saint John Morning Telegraph August 10, 1864, p. 2


The Trip to Fredericton
(By our own Reporter.)

Fredericton, Tuesday Morning.

The Canadians left St. John on Monday, at 8:30 A.M., by special train for Rothsay, many gentlemen from the City going out that distance for the purpose of seeing them off. A number of ladies, also from the neighboring villas, lent an air of refinement to the scene, where the Anna Augusta lay along side of the wharf with steam up to convey us down the Kennebeccasis and up the St. John to Fredericton. About 10 the boat started, while the crowd on the wharf gave three times three for our guests, which was returned by the party on board by a hearty answering cheer. As we steamed along the shore and past the mouth of the Milkish, the beautiful scenery appeared to much advantage and was of course much admired. The Canadians, in fact, seem to be willing and anxious to admire all they see, and even the small portion of our Railway which they traversed came in for a share of praise. I heard the opinion expressed by many that they had no where in America passed over so smooth a road. Doubtless their lively recollections of the Grand Trunk helped them more to appreciate the superiority of our line. If we had been favored with the choosing of the weather we could not have made it more favorable for all the purposes of our trip than what we had on Monday. The sun was bright, but not too glaring - the heat gently softened by the summer breeze, and the fleecy clouds which hung in the sky above us seemed but the shadows of the glorious earth. We soon left the Kennebeccasis behind us and turned into the St. John -- the beautiful St. John -- the river of promise -- New Brunswick's richest artery. As we ran along the rugged banks which line the river for several miles, it is possible that some of the Canadians began to doubt the truth of what they had heard of the beauty and fertility of the land on the St. John, but when after a time the lands along the river began to expand into intervale, and broad tracts of level meadow lined either side, their exclamations of surprise and admiration were frequent. They had no idea of the fertility of the Country, and had never believed that such land existed in British America anywhere out of Canada. Indeed the river seemed to have put on its best dress for the occasion, and never looked better. The Band of the 15th Regt. being on board we were treated to sweet music in abundance during our voyage, and those who desired something wherewith to tickle the palate and cast a glow of pleasure o'er the soul, were treated to something stronger. A number of French Canadians enlivened the trip by singing French songs; and those who took an interest in the study of European history were delighted to hear the Marsellaise Hymn sing in the original French. I believe I am safe in saying that no National song, with the exception of our own Anthem, has ever possessed a power equal to this, and as we heard its strains we could not but think of the days in which the same words and music roused the people of Paris into phrenzy and begot in their minds that hatred of their rulers which deluged the finest city of Europe in blood for so many years.

Never merrier party went up the St. John than those on board the "Anna Augusta." The hours slipped so pleasantly away amid the ever varying change of scenes we scarce were aware that they had passed. Beautiful fields, verdant meadows and luxuriantly wooded hills beyond, were ever and anon coming in view, and the Canadians never seemed to tire of the prospects so pleasantly placed before them. Wood boats and smaller craft passed us coming down the river with the wind well aft, and much surprise was expressed at the huge loads they carried. As we got to the foot of the Long Reach we saw a steamer far ahead of us; we passed her before she was quite up to Oak Point, but instead of proving, as we supposed, the Indian Town boat, we found she was only the "Magnet," an old tug. She puffed and tried pretty hard to keep up to us, but it was no use -- we left her hopelessly behind.

At Gagetown the Hon. S. L. Tilley, Pro. Sec., the Mayor, the Sheriff, the Speaker of the House, Post Master General, Surveyor General, Board of Works, Queen's Printer, D. McPherson, Esq., Dr. Dow [...] John Ferris [...] W. Carman, James Hogg, Jas. S. Beek and John Richards, Esquires, came on board. They had come from Fredericton that morning for the purpose of meeting and welcoming the Canadians.

At the Oromocto, we passed the "Heather Bell" with the Lieutenant Governor on board -- and had a long race with her. -- We did not make much out of her, however, and she was not more than half a mile behind us when we reached the Celestial City; but out of respect to the Governor, however, we letter [i.e. let] her pass us when near the wharves. We also passed one of the Board of Works' steamers. Not a very fast one, however, for she happened to be a dredging machine. She was at anchor and did not attempt a race with us, probably out of regard for the Board of Works who was on board of the "Anna Augusta."

We reached Fredericton at 5.30. There was a great crowd to see us and a great rush to the Hotel. The Volunteer Artillery fired a salute.

Reception in Fredericton

The Fredericton people deserve much credit for the manner in which they got up their part of the entertainment for the Canadian visitors. When it is remembered that they had but a short time to prepare for their reception, and have not the same facilities at their command as St. John, the reception they gave them will not suffer in comparison with that of our own city.

Dinner was to have been ready at the Legislative Hall by 7.30 p.m. on Monday but as the visitors spent some time in looking through the library and other rooms in the building, proceedings were not fairly commenced at the table until 8.15. And here I may state in passing, that I heard several Canadian gentlemen praise the good taste the people of New Brunswick show in not going to the expense of erecting new Parliament buildings at present, and although I cannot see the matter exactly in that way, I give the expression here.

At dinner the Mayor of the City acted as Chairman, supported on the right by the Hon. Mr. Ferrier, and on the left by the Hon. T. D'Arcy McGee. The Provincial Secretary presided at the foot of the table, having on his right L. Donaldson, Esq., and on his left the Hon. B. Wier, from Halifax.

After the clatter of the knives and forks had somewhat subsided, the Chairman rose and proposed the first toast --
The Queen -- Which was drunk with all the honors, with the Regimental band playing; after which Mr. McAuley, from Quebec, sang "God Save the Queen" with great taste, the whole company joining in the chorus.
2. The Prince of Wales and the Royal Family.
3. The Governor General.
4. The Lieutenant Governor -- Responded to by Mr. Tilley, who regretted that circumstances prevented the Governor from attending, as he had been desirous of doing.
5. The Army and Navy -- Responded to by Mr. Brooks of the 15th Regt.
6. Our distinguished Guests -- Band playing "For he's a right good fellow." Responded to by Hon. Mr. Armand in a speech in French, but which we do not give, as it might not be intelligible to the majority of our readers.

MR. MCGEE'S SPEECH

Mr. McGee then rose and delivered a most powerful and telling speech, which was rapturously applauded. Of course I do not pretend to report it fully - enriched as it was by that racy humor and felicity in anecdote and illustration for which the Hon. Gentleman is so distinguished. He always, he said, felt at home in New Brunswick, and always spoke of its people to the Canadians as our fellow countrymen in New Brunswick. He had several times before visited it, and always found a warm welcome. He was very little entitled to the credit of getting up this auspicious meeting between Canada and New Brunswick, (which belonged much more to St. John and Mr. Ferrier), but he believed it was one which would go further towards the consummation of the much desired Union between the Provinces than anything which had yet taken place. Canada had not forgotten the noble conduct of New Brunswick during the Trent affair in the hour of danger -- how she had feasted and feted the soldiers sent to defend her sister Colony -- and sent them through with such despatch that but a few days elapsed between their landing in New Brunswick and their arrival at Quebec and Montreal. These provinces were destined yet to form a mighty nation. Their present exports and imports mounted to not less than $100,000,000, as much as those of Great Britain in the beginning of the last century. The time was soon coming when all the artificial barriers which now separated us would be broken down. The policy of Champlain, the first and greatest of Canadian statesmen, the founder of the City of Quebec, would yet have [to be] pursued. Champlain said at that remote day that it was necessary to have a basis of coast line to the Colony, and not a mere interior line which admitted of imperfect communication during certain seasons. Canada was beginning to feel this now, and the policy of Champlain would have to be carried out. The Canadians were a people proud of their name and nationality, for they came from that grand stock in which the blood of the Norman, the Saxon and the Celt had been fused together, and which had produced a race that for 800 years had resisted and repelled every foe. -- He believed and hoped that these Provinces were not destined to fall into the rapacious maw of a military democracy, -- that indeed would be an undesirable end. They could boast of a freedom which was real and not fictitious; which knew no distinction between man and man, but accorded equal rights to all. Our youth should be educated to believe that they were not merely New Brunswickers or Nova Scotians, but British Americans; and if this were more the case the small partizan feelings which divide us would perish, as the glorious light of the sun will sometimes put out the dying embers of a half extinguished fire. British America would then become a great nationality, possessing a Constitution which would reconcile law with liberty and security with freedom. -- What we first wanted and most wanted, was to know more of each other. He was told to-day of the case of the son of a leading Canadian who having gone up for his examination before the Military Board, and being asked where was the river Styx, answered "somewhere down in New Brunswick." He could not say that the present delegation were open to the reflection implied in the anecdote, but there was no doubt great absence of knowledge in each Province as to the extent, resources, and prospects of the other. -- What we next want is unity of interests with unity of institutions -- a society which could appeal to the imagination and the heart of youth, which would make the native of the valley of the St. John feel that under the flag of his birth he was still at home in the valley of the Saskatchewan. -- We were already free -- all we wanted was security -- we had liberty, we must acquire stability. -- The conference at Charlottetown would be called upon to show if this were possible -- if here in the true free North, we could build our new Society on the old foundations, so as to reconcile law and liberty, and create an example of a government at once powerful and free, for the benefit of our own posterity, and the instruction of the New World.

The Chairman said that in bringing forward Mr. McGee they had evidently "struck ile." He then proposed: -- "Our Sister Colonies" -- Responded to by Hon. Mr. Wier, of Halifax, and Hon. Mr. Moore of Canada.

Mr. Welsh then sung [i.e. sang] the "Maple Leaf."

The Bench and Bar of British North America: -- Responded to by Mr. Duggan, Q.C., of Canada, in a witty speech. He rather rapped Mr. McGee over the knuckles about his being the youngest member of the bar present -- and having had only one case which he had gained, however. This brought Mr. McGee to his feet. He said he had a great respect for silk gowns when they were on the proper sex. He explained the case Mr. Duggan referred to, which was a small matter -- only in reference to a man shooting his wife! He proved that he had the small pox at the time and appealed to them as married men to acquit him, which they did. Mr. McGee said he had been so busy saving the country he had no time for any other case -- and the company could judge what a task he had to save a country which contained such members of the bar as Mr. Duggan. This was rather hard on Mr. Duggan but was thought an excellent joke and taken in good part.

The Colonial Press: -- Responded to by Mr. Fenety, Queen's Printer, and Mr. McAuley of the Journal de Quebec.

Mr. Ferrier then proposed "The Mayor and Corporation of Fredericton," to which the Mayor responded giving his first speech in English and afterwards in French.

The administration of New Brunswick -- Proposed by Mr. Walsh; was responded to by the Hon. Mr. Tilley, who on rising was received with loud and continued applause.

MR. TILLEY'S SPEECH

He said if he consulted the comfort of the guests he should say few words, and content himself with thanking them sincerely and heartily, as he did, for the honor done to himself and colleagues. He and they felt it not as a compliment specially paid to themselves personally, but to the people of New Brunswick through those who occupied the foremost political offices in their gift. In that spirit he accepted it, and as a member of the Executive and the Legislature returned them thanks. If ever a man desired to make a favorable impression on his hearers by speech-making, it was when a candidate went before his electors to solicit their suffrages, but he felt now a still stronger desire to possess the necessary eloquence to persuade and convince his hearers. For this was an occurrence and a meeting destined for good or evil to influence largely the future of these Colonies. He had heard many expressions of gratitude to himself from Canadians at the kindness shown them since they came into the Province. The gratitude was due, as Mr. McGee had truly said, to the Chamber of Commerce of St. John, and specially to the venerable chairman of that body, for thus bringing them so happily together. He felt a great interest in seeing a better understanding grow up between the Colonies. He felt it not only now, but had felt it -- had been strongly convinced of the necessity for it -- ever since he visited Toronto in 1851. In that year he visited Canada, and when in the city of Toronto visited the News Room and searched there in vain for a copy of any New Brunswick newspaper. Mr. Wier had found one Nova Scotia newspaper at Montreal, but he could fine none in Toronto from New Brunswick, until he sought it at the residence of a former New Brunswicker -- so little was the intercourse then between the Provinces, so little did western Canadians care to be informed of current events in the Colonies. It was not then as a favor conferred by New Brunswickers on the Canadians that he regarded these entertainments, but it was a favor to them that prominent men in both branches of the Legislature of Canada should come here to learn for themselves, and he hoped hereafter to take an interest in the people of New Brunswick -- their affairs, their progress. And he felt it of especial importance -- perhaps of greater than any -- that the representatives of the press should be there in such large numbers: for it was they who must disseminate the information now gathered among the people of Canada. They must mould the public opinion and enable legislators to carry the people with them, or induce the people to compel their legislators to adopt a correct and enlightened policy. All who had labored in New Brunswick to make the reception accorded worthy of their guests felt amply repaid by the gratification derived from their society; but there was not only pleasure to be reaped -- there was a patriotic purpose to serve, and that purpose could not be more effectually promoted than by the method adopted by the Chamber of Commerce, by bringing the representatives of the people in Parliament from Canada to see for themselves the kind of country this is, the progress it is making and the resources it possesses; to bring here representatives of the business community to find out how more extended trade relations could be formed and commerce increased; to bring here the men of the press to furnish them with information, and ask them not to paint New Brunswick or New Brunswickers better than they are, but to tell the honest, sober truth about us. As a member of the Government it would perhaps be improper for him to enter upon the discussion of a question there which it would be his duty to deliberate upon and discuss elsewhere -- the proposed political union of the Provinces, but he might properly speak of the need for the diffusion of further information about the trade of the country, and the need for increased and improved means of communication. While the apathy in Canada was such as he had described it, the most intense interest on this subject was felt throughout Maine and in Boston and in New York. They desired to extend business connection and increase the trade with New Brunswick, and thus men living under the same flag and owing a common allegiance to one sovereign, were less united in many respects than men living under different governments. He had endeavored, whether the proposed political relations should be established or not, to promote intercolonial trade. When Canada proposed to create an exceptional free trade with the Sister Colonies, the Imperial Government had overruled the proposition. Then the New Brunswick Government had set to work, and procured the co-operation of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, and upon their representations the Imperial Government was induced to grant leave to the colonies to make such trade arrangements among themselves as they deemed best. The Colonial manufacturer was thus granted a privilege denied to those of the Mother Country itself -- i.e. free entry for their wares into each colony. But in considering the subject among themselves they found difficulties in the way of these agreements, in the way of obtaining tariffs to facilitate the interchange of goods. There were differences of burdens which influenced the nature of the tariffs of each colony. To get a common tariff a common legislature was needed. In the approaching Conference, if no other union was worked out with Canada, at least they might establish a commercial union -- and he had long ago suggested that if no common legislature should be established, the members of the several governments should meet informally once a year to compare notes, to see what could best be done in common, and to submit the necessary measures to their respective legislatures to carry their decisions into effect. But he had also failed in that. They had only held one such meeting at Quebec, when they deliberated upon the subject of the Intercolonial railway. During the twenty years past these colonies had doubled their population, and more than doubled their wealth and commerce. In twenty years more at the same rate, they would have a population of 7,000,000. Would it be desirable -- would it be tolerable, that they should be cut up then as now, into petty fragments, and not form one great country which united might be powerful, of which all might feel proud? That was a question which the statesmen of to-day were called upon to consider -- for which they must find an answer. He could not of course say what the answer now would be; but he was certain that if Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island were now united in one Province no man would propose to separate them again. When New Brunswick was divided from Nova Scotia there were no railways and no steam navigation and the difficulty of reaching the capital from the more distant ports of the Province led to a demand for division. With a railway which would allow a person to leave Halifax on one day and reach Quebec the next, these reasons for division would disappear. There was another reason for a closer union. Great Britain would doubtless ask and might reasonably ask us as we increased in population and wealth, and he believed we should be willing to concede that we should make fuller provision for our own defence; and that defence could be much more effectively provided for if made out of the common united resources of all British North America. As statesmen they should look forward to bind together the Atlantic and Pacific by a continuous chain of settlements and line of communication, for that he believed to be the destiny of this country, and the race which inhabited it. And therefore it was that he had been among the warmest advocates of the Intercolonial railway. And united the internal trade of that vast country must be very great in a few years. With the United States our trade was embarrassed and to some extent cut off by a hostile tariff, and must continue to be so. But as the free interchange of the produce of the several States had contributed so much to build up the riches of that country, so doubtless a similar freedom of interchange would give a fresh impetus to every branch of trade and Industry among ourselves. With such resources as we would then possess, backed by the power of the greater, and most enlightened of countries the world has ever seen, who would venture to set bounds to the future of this Northern portion of the North American continent? For his part, he would acknowledge, despite the check of official reserve, he desired and hoped to see this union. But whether it came or not, New Brunswick had desired to show to her elder and greater sister that she was worthy to be a member of the same family -- to win her affections if she could, but at all events to compel her respect. -- [Loud and prolonged cheers.]

He stood as the representative of New Brunswick between the representatives of the two Sister Colonies, and he would now join hands with them, (which he did, suiting the action to the word and graspeing the hand of Mr. Ferguson, of Canada, on the one side, and Mr. Wiers, of Halifax, on the other,) and he trusted that they would remain one and forever inseparable. - Renewed applause.

Mr. Daly then sang a French Canadian song which was well received by the company.

Mr. Rawlings proposed a volunteer toast -- "The Ladies of the sister Province."

Mr. Wallbridge was called upon to respond. He said he did not know why he had been selected unless it was because he had always been an advocate of representation by population. He praised the ladies of New Brunswick, although he said he had not seen as much of them as he should have wished.

Dr. […] also spoke on the same subject, and from the able manner in which he handled it I should judge it to be one with which he was quite familiar.

Mr. Hathaway also made a speech, in which he informed by company that he was a modest young man and various other matters too numerous to mention. He concluded by proposing "The St. John Chamber of Commerce."

Mr. John Boyd responded. His speech was a combination of good stories, told in his usual happy manner, ready wit, and natural eloquence. He spoke of the future which was in store for New Brunswick and all the North American Colonies, if they were only true to themselves, and concluded with an eloquent peroration on liberty.

Mr. McKellar, of Canada, also spoke, and gave numerous statistics in reference to the greatness and wealth of Canada.

At one o'clock the party separated, after singing "Auld lang syne," and "God save the Queen." This ended one of the most pleasant and orderly dinner parties that ever was assembled in New Brunswick. Every person was delighted, and although during the evening, the opening of champagne bottles seemed like the rapid discharge of musketry, every one retired in good order.

Next morning the guests were driven to the University, Cathedral, Exhibition Building, and several other places of interest, and at 10 A.M. all repaired to Government House, where the Governor held a levee. After the guests had been presented His Excellency spoke as follows:

LIEUT. GOVERNOR'S SPEECH

Gentlemen, -- I rejoice that my return to New Brunswick should have taken place at a moment which enables me to take part in the welcome which you have here received, whilst I regret that the late period of my arrival should necessarily preclude me from evincing, as I should have desired to do, that no other inhabitants of the Province can be more anxious than myself to render the period of your visit one of which the retrospect may dwell long and pleasantly in your minds.

I trust that this visit may not only be productive of pleasure to yourselves and of increased good will between the inhabitants of the sister Provinces of this continent, but that it will also tend to accelerate the arrival of that day when no longer kept apart by separate interests, no longer divided by conflicting tariffs and discordant laws, the people of British North America shall be united citizens of one mighty state -- strong, great and prosperous and contented -- free, whilst staunchly loyal -- loyal, though truly free.

To you, gentlemen of this Province, who have come to welcome my on my return, I desire to say that although my visit to my native country and my family has been one of unmixed pleasure, it gives me the utmost satisfaction to find myself once more in this my western home.

CORPORATION ADDRESS

At 10.50, the Corporation of Fredericton presented an address to the Canadians, of which the following is a copy.

To the Honorable […] the Members of the Legislative Council and Members of the Legislative Assembly of Canada.

The Address of the Mayor and Corporation of the City of Fredericton.

We have, gentlemen, much pleasure in extending to you the right hand of fellowship, and giving you a sincere and hearty welcome to this our small but loyal city. As fellow subjects of the same mighty Empire, and enjoying alike the blessings of self government and constitutional freedom, we trust that this, your visit to our Province, is but the precursor to a better acquaintance, and to a more intimate connection; and that the time is now at hand when, through the medium of the "Iron Horse," our mutual visits will become matters of every day occurrence, and be conducive to the mutual interests of these British North American Colonies. -- On behalf of the Corporation of the City of Fredericton.

(Signed)

John A. Beckwith, Mayor,
John L. Marsh, City Clerk.


Canadians' Reply.

The Hon. Mr. McGee replied as follows:

Mr. Mayor and Gentlemen, I am requested by the Hon. Mr. Ferrier, on behalf of the Upper House of the Canadian Parliament, and by my colleagues of the House to which I have the honor to belong, to express to you and the citizens of Fredericton their grateful sense of the extraordinary, and universal kindness which has been shown us since our arrival in this City. We cordially reciprocate on our part, Mr. Mayor, the wishes you have expressed for a more intimate intercourse between these provinces, and we hope that the present visit may be considered as an auspicious commencement to such an intimacy. I believe it is intended by the Canadian party to take some fitting moment before passing on their way into Nova Scotia, to give some more full and formal expression of the sense of obligation to our brethren of New Brunswick than any impromptu words of mine can convey.

But before I close I think I can say for us all unitedly, that we hope arrangements to enable both the representatives of your municipal and legislative bodies, the representatives of your hospitality as well as of your franchise, to return us this visit in Canada. Should you do so I think we who are here may venture to assure you that one and all Canadians, of all origins, and all parts of our Province, would endeavour to show you by better evidence than words how deeply your present reception has sunk into our hearts and memories.

By 11.30 most of the company were on board the "Anna Augusta," and a few minutes before twelve we were steaming away from the Celestial City. Everyone was more than satisfied with the reception, and among the reminiscences which our Canadian friends will cherish of New Brunswick, that of their visit to Fredericton will not be the least pleasing.

The Provincial Secretary and other members of the Government accompanied us down as far as Sheffield. The Mayor of Fredericton was also of the party, and will accompany the Canadians to Halifax.

On the way down the Canadians gave us some specimens of French songs, and the time passed very pleasantly. Mr. Boyd also, who was on board, kept the company in a roar with his admirable Irish stories and his excellent rendition of Lord Dundreary.