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Fathers of Confederation | Maritime Union | George Brown | Pan Federalism | US Civil War | Canada's Proposals | St Lawrence Cruise | Charlottetown | The Quebec Conference | The London Conference | July 1st 1867

With the political deadlock in the Union of the Canadas bringing progress to a halt, it would be expected that a similar experiment with other colonies would be frowned upon by Great Britain but to the contrary, political union was viewed as a solution to many problems and ultimately a larger politic union was with the Canadas and other colonies as a way out of their deadlock. The Governor of New Brunswick, Francis Bond,  lead the charge when he campaigned for a Maritime Union between New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and possibly Newfoundland. in 1863/64. The idea was pursued and the colonial legislatures agreed to gather in Charlottetown on Prince Edward Island on September 1st, 1864 to discuss Maritime union.

When news of this meeting became known in the Canadas, John A Macdonald decided to lead a contingent of coalition government and opposition members to Charlottetown to propose a larger union of the colonies. They campaigned for an invitation to the conference and many spent much of August visiting the Maritimes in order to establish and build ties with the leaders of those colonies that would be attending the conference.   

The Canadian members arrived at Charlottetown after the Conference had begun but quite quickly managed to take centre stage and proposed a union with the following advantages.

  • Expanded markets with each other would fuel economic growth

  • Interregional investment would also contribute t economic growth

  • An Inter-colonial railway would open up markets and provide better communication and commerce between the regions

  • The railway would also provide a better infrastructure for resisting American encroachment upon any of the members of the Union

  • Maritime politicians would have a larger landscaped to participate in as their careers advanced.

  • The power and influence of a larger North American Union as opposed to smaller regional governments who might work at cross purposes

  • The entrenchment of particular rights for various regions in the Union to protect their indigenous cultures (Prince Edward Island wanted the buyout of absentee landowners as a condition of their joining the union)

From a political point of view, many of the reasons and arguments mad in the Federalist Papers written by Jay, Madison and Hamilton in the U.S. were generally applied to the Canadian situation. The result was that the project of Maritime Union was set aside and the members of the conference all agreed to pursue the objectives of a larger union and meet again in Quebec City in October. The agenda had been set and it was just a matter of grinding through the details in order to bring about a British North American Union.