Page:The World's Famous Orations Volume 5.djvu/23

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MACDONALD


ON CANADIAN CONFEDERATION[1]

(1865)

Born in 1815, died in 1891: Receiver-General in Canada in 1847; Attorney-General in 1854; Prime Minister in 1857, and again in 1868 and 1878; one of the British Commissioners who signed the Treaty of Washington; leader in work of effecting Canadian confederation.

I have had the honor of being charged, on behalf cf the government, to submit a scheme for the confederation of all the British North American Provinces—a scheme which has been received, I am glad to say, with general if not universal approbation in Canada. This subject is not a new one. For years it has more or less attracted the attention of every statesman and politician in these provinces, and has been looked upon by many far-seeing politicians as being eventually the means of deciding and settling very many of the vexed questions which have retarded the prosperity of the Colonies as a whole, and particularly the prosperity of Canada.

The subject, however, tho looked upon with

  1. Delivered in the Parliament of Canada in February, 1865, Macdonald (not yet Sir John) being then attorney-general. Two years later, when the Union was effected, he became prime minister. Abridged.