Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:
September 2009

Documents de l’histoire du Québec / Quebec History Documents


Quebec and Confederation


The Intercolonial Conference



The banquet given on Saturday to the members of the Intercolonial Conference was an occasion to be remembered by all who participated in it. The curious suffered some disappointment, for they had expected to hear full revelations of the basis on which the statesmen of those British Colonies had decided that a Union could be built up. They had hoped that the form of the structure would have been described to them. No such revelation was made. We have already published much more in these columns than any delegate felt authorized to annouce. We learn that it is considered matter of etiquette that no official annoucement should be made to the public of any of the Colonies until the scheme has been laid before the Sovereign. The Ministers of the several colonies are formally and officially advisers of the Sovereign, and acting thus in their aggregate or congregate capacity, feel it a duty to address her first on the subject. But these barriers of official etiquette have not prevented almost all the more important details from becoming public, and we doubt not all the others must shortly become so, although we may regret that they will not receive authoritative utterance. All the portions of the scheme hinted at in the speeches of Saturday agree in all respects with the statements we have published.


We commend to the special attention of our readers the utterances of the several Colonial statesmen who addressed the three hundred of our principal merchants and citizens assembled in the banqueting hall on Saturday. More stirring eloquence than that which characterized the speeches of the Hon. Mr. Gray and Hon. Mr. McGee has, per chance, never been heard in Montreal, while the practical, statesmanlike views of the Hon. Mr. Shea and Hon. Mr. Cartier should command for their speeches attentive perusal and consideration. But what was most remarkable of all was that these men, all bred in small communities, and raised to positions of influence amid the contests of jarring petty factions, showed complete forgetfulness of all personal difference, all local distinctions, and spoke as they had acted (we have reason to believe) at Quebec, with a large hearted patriotism which it warmed one’s heart to witness. Will the people follow the example, and rise to the level of the occasion – to settle now the destiny of this northern country, and the people who dwell here – to establish here a government based on the happy experience of the mother country, and purged from the defects which the unhappy strife of our neighbours has revealed as lurking in a federate democracy? One other thing was, perhaps, noteworthy that all spoke of their eager desire to stick to the old flag, and were [charged?] for doing so to the echo. Union does not mean separation from Britain – for the people will not consent to that.


Source: Montreal Gazette. October 31, 1864, p. 3. Article transcribed by Joelle Krasny; revision by Claude Bélanger.



© 2009 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College