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The Constitutional Crisis in Canada

The Illustrated London News, vol. 45, no. 1271, p. 127.

July 30, 1864


...The Conservative party of Canada West, led by the Hon. John A. Macdonald, and the Radical party, led by the Hon. George Brown, the editor of the Toronto Globe, dropped their weapons and agreed to a compromise. Dividing the Upper Canadian share of offices between them, they have formed what may almost be called a Provisional Government on the aforesaid basis of a new Constitution, the details of which are not yet elaborated, but which will, it is said, provide for the division of Canada into three provinces, of which Quebec, Kingston, and Toronto will be the respective capitals, with Ottawa for the federal capital.

The Canadians are anxious to know how this intelligence will be received in the "old country." We can only say, for ourselves, that what pleases them pleases us. While we regard the resolution they have just taken as an escape from an intolerable situation, we do not blind ourselves to the fact that it is another step taken towards their independence of the mother country, at the same time that it is one tending to make more remote than ever the era of their annexation to the United States. Anything that develops a robust feeling of Canadian nationality is well received here, where we are much more desirous to save Canada from being "swamped" by the United States than to make sacrifices to perpetuate her political connection with ourselves. The views of colonial policy first put forth by Adam Smith, and recently revived with great energy by Professor Goldwin Smith, have certainly made considerable headway since 1840, when, in the debate already alluded to, they were championed by such high authorities as Lords Ashburton and Brougham. The confession lately wrung from Earl Russell in the Dano-German debate that the menacing aspect of our future relations with the United States continually hampered the freedom of our action and weakened our position in the European arena has not fallen upon unheeding ears; nor do we fail to perceive that our most vulnerable point of contact with the United States is precisely the extended and exposed frontier of Canada....

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