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A Fizzle

The following article is from:
Morning Chronicle (Halifax) July 2, 1867, p. 2

The Confederates are, doubtless, well satisfied with the celebration of yesterday, and the Anti-Confederates have no reason to be displeased. The whole strength of the former was put forth to make a great demonstration, and we do not exaggerate when we say that they failed lamentably. For weeks they had been drumming up support around the city: they had buttonholed and bored citizens, and even conjured them if they set no value on the Union, to oblige their personal friends by taking part in the festivities of the day. All sorts of influence had been brought to bear upon various societies to induce them to march in a grand procession. They had been called upon in the holy name of religion; they had been urged by ledger arguments, yet these powerful appeals failed to produce any marked effect. The procession, which we may safely call the principal feature of the day's rejoicing, was a good one, that is about six hundred people, including a large number of boys and girls, took part in it, and flags were borne, and bands played, and hats of decided rustiness were waved in the air by those who thus chose to exhibit themselves gratis to the public. About six hundred people -- as many as have occasionally attended a decent funeral in the city -- were all that could be scraped up to join in this great display. Six hundred out of a population of more than thirty thousand in the city alone, all of whom, together with the men of Dartmouth, had been invited to attend. And who were the six hundred? Were they in general composed of the thinking portion of this community? Were they the voters upon whom depend the decision to be made here at the elections? They were not.

We have no wish to detract from the standing of many of the men in that procession or speak unkindly of them, for among them were reputable men, industrious and sober workers, whom we felt sorry to see engaged in rejoicing over the accomplishment of a disastrous measure forced upon their fellow-countrymen, and equally upon themselves. We had imagined that to deny the people's right to govern their own country, and dispose of their own revenues as they pleased, was an insult to the people: we find that there are a few who think differently; we find that there are a few content to pocket a gross affront, and thank those who offered it. But we are pleased to discover, from this procession, that if such exists in our midst, they are few. Of the valiant six hundred, fifty or sixty were children, who, as matter of course, knew nothing but that their holiday had been made a day of torture to them by being dragged through the dusty streets under a broiling sun. Women, too, there were among the trades, who, it is no libel to say, were not well posted in the details of the Union scheme, and who were far better fitted to judge the beauties of a gaudy print than those of the action of out legislators. Voteless persons too, were decidedly in the ascendant. Of the six hundred, we know that one-half, at least, were non-electors; and we believe we could not be accused of exaggerating if we stated that scarce one hundred and fifty of them were voters. And how were the trades represented? The carpenters did not muster one-fifth of their members, and we may say the same of nearly every other trade. The Catholic Total Abstinence and Benevolent Society turned out not more, we believe, than one-fourth, or at most one-third of its numbers; and the private citizens who formed the tail of the procession were chiefly made up of Government hangers-on and candidates for office, the whole numbering, we suppose, from one hundred to one hundred and fifty.

We do believe that even of the numbers who walked, there were many Anti-Unionists from conviction. But all were obliged to follow the lead given by their employers, or by others on whom they had been dependent for occasional assistance in business. Such was the great procession fizzle, the result of weeks of labor -- labor continued even through the Lord's Day. If any Anti-Unionist wish for comfort, this display would supply it.

There were other features about the day's celebration which must have astonished the Union men. There was not one flag displayed to every fifty houses; there were empty flagstaffs to be seen in all directions; and to show the general disgust of the day and the occasion of its observance, we may instance that in one of the most populous parts of the city -- Water street from West's wharf to Dowolf's -- a distance of nearly half a mile -- but two flags were displayed.

Many of the stores in the city were closed. Anti-Unionists, as well as their opponents took advantage of the holiday, as the day fell in a comparatively dull season, and promises of wonderful exhibitions had been made. Many, however, (we suppose nearly one-half) of the stores were doing business: showing unmistakably [sic] that it required something more than a proclamation to compel men to rejoice, or even to put on the semblance of doing so, over the destruction of the liberties of their country.

With this demonstration we have every reason to be well content. It has shown plainly upon how small a foundation have been built the Unionists' boastings. They have striven energetically to show their strength, -- they have succeeded in manifesting their weakness. They have endeavored to overawe the people, -- they have succeeded in being laughed at. They will, we have no doubt, continue to pretend that they have hopes of winning the county of Halifax; but henceforth they will find among their own ranks few believers, and fall to cause the slightest doubt of complete triumph in the minds of their opponents.