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first time interfered. He ascended the platform and delivered a speech, of which, we believe, no report remains, but the effect of which was electrical, and carried the public mind of the community with him as if by magic.

He reminded the meeting how many years had been wasted in the vain hope that the road to the St. Lawrence would be built by a company; of the season which had just been wasted in the fruitless endeavor to raise only £167,000 to construct the road to Windsor ; of the millions which had been wasted by companies in the United States endeavoring to accomplish great undertakings with insufficient means. He showed that the general revenues of Maine belonged to the general government; that her State revenues were surcharged by the annual expenditure; that ninety miles of the European line must be made within her territory, while the funds of her capitalists were barely sufficient to complete the roads for which they had been already pledged. He argued that if Nova Scotia found it difficult to raise the tenth part of a million of money by subscriptions of stock, she could not raise a million; and that New Brunswick, which would require a larger sum, and had a less population by one hundred thousand, could not be more successful. To expect capitalists in England to embark $12,000,000 in an enterprise of which they knew little, and in aid of which those who knew the most were unable or unwilling to make large contributions, would be scarcely rational; and to tempt them by false representations to do so, would be dishonest and unfair. The naked facts of the case had not been presented, or had been studiously veiled amidst the fascinations and excitements of Portland. If the road was indispensable, there was only one way in which it could be built with integrity, and in a reasonable time. It was the duty of the government to provide roads for the people. If a railroad was the best road they should provide that. The only way in which Nova Scotia and New Brunswick could construct this or any other railroad for a long time to come, was by their gove ernments assuming the responsibility, pledging their public revenues, issuing debentures either with or without the guarantee of the Imperial government, borrowing the money honestly and expending it faithfully, under the restraints which their Constitutions would stringently impose. He concluded by moving this resolution:

Resolved, That as it is the first duty of a government to construct and to control the great highways of a country, a respectful address be prepared and presented to the Lieutenant Governor, praying that His Excellency would recommend the Provincial Parliament to undertake the construction of that portion of this important work which is to pass through Nova Scotia on a line between Halifax and the frontier of New Brunswick.

We never saw any thing like the unanimity and enthusiasm with which the new policy thus propounded was received by this great meeting. Men who had not spoken to Mr. Howe for years were loudest in the expression of their approbation, and his friends of course were gratified at this new triumph — this new proof of his boldness and sagacity.

The day after the meeting broke up the following address was presented to the Lieutenant Governor :



Knight Commander of the Most Honorable Military Order of the Bath,

Knight Commander of the Royal Hanoverian Guelphic Order, Lieutenant-Governor and Commander-in-Chief, in and over Her Majesty's Province of Nova Scotia, and its Dependencies, &c. &c. &c.

The Mayor and Aldermen of the city of Halifax respectfully desire to bring to the notice of Your Excellency the accompanying resolution, which was passed unanimously at a very large and influential meeting of the citizens of Halifax, held on Saturday last in this city, to consider the subject of the proposed European and North American Railway. They would respectfully urge upon Your Excellency the importance of the subject, as one more worthy than any other, in the present aspect of affairs in Nova Scotia, to engage the attention and enlist the sympathies and exertions of the government. The completion of the great work contemplated by the resolution, will not only elevate this Province to the most conspicuous and important position on the Western Continent, by rendering it the direct channel of communication between our parent country and the United States on the most enlarged and magnificent scale; but the rich, though now unproductive resources of our Province, both mineral and agricultural, will become developed and made available to the public good, its commercial interests rapidly advanced, and its revenue materially aided and increased. They therefore cordially concur with the sentiments contained in the enclosed resolution, and doubting not that Your Excellency takes a deep interest in every project which has a tendency to advance the interests of the Province, they respectfully pray that Your Excellency would recommend to the Provincial Parliament to undertake the construction of that portion of this important work which is to pass through Nova Scotia, on a line between Halifax and the frontier of New Brunswick.

And the Mayor and City Council would earnestly press upon Your Excellency the propriety of calling together the Legislature at as early a period as practicable, in order that their sentiments may be ascertained on this important subject.

To which His Excellency made the following reply:

MR. MAYOR AND GENTLEMEN, – You and the highly respectable meeting by which you have been deputed to address me, do not do me more than justice in believing that I feel most deeply interested in whatever relates to the ancient and loyal Colony which our gracious sovereign has committed to my charge, and that I regard it as my first duty to do all that depends upon me to promote it.

The resolution which you have just presented, embodies what appear to me to be enlightened and sound views, suited to the age in which we live. The cost of constructing railroads is light compared with the cost of doing without them. Nova Scotia owes it to her own character to adopt, as speedily as she may, improved facilities for the transportation of her people, with the products of their industry. She owes it to the civilized world to make her portion of “The European and North American Railroad,” which must become the shortest highway between the great families of the Anglo Saxon race.

Be assured that my Government will approach this great question without delay, and with an earnestness commensurate with its deep importance; and that it will afford me very sincere gratification to identify myself with this work, and to become, in any way, personally instrumental in realizing the hopes entertained by the citizens of Halifax.

J. HARVEY. Government House, Halifax, August 28, 1850.

Sir John Harvey did not slumber over this request. From the animation and earnestness of his reply it will be seen how deep an interest he felt in the success of the great enterprise. Two days afterwards this dispatch was on its way to Downing Street:


August 29th, 1850. MY LORD, – Your Lordship is aware, from the correspondence which has passed between the North American governments and the Colonial office, that for some time past a deep interest has been felt by the people of these Provinces in the promotion of railways.

So long as hopes were entertained that Her Majesty's government would aid in the construction of the line between Halifax and Quebec, public attention was concentrated upon that. As the prospects of its accomplishment became less definite and assured, other objects, either local or intercolonial, were discussed; and resolutions or laws, having relation to these, were passed during the recent sessions of most of the Colonial Legislatures.

The construction of the electric telegraph, which not only connects Halifax with the chief towns of New Brunswick and the State of Maine, but forms the most important link in the chain of communication between the old world and the new, and the success which has attended that appropriation of the public funds, has attracted public attention to the practicability and importance of placing a railroad beside the telegraph. This would give to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick a noble highway through their territory, connect them by railway with all the principal cities on this continent, and secure to the port selected for the eastern terminus, commercial advantages with which no seaport within the republic could ever successfully compete.

While these views were pressing upon the minds of the leading men in the Provinces the subject was taken up in the State of Maine, and a convention to which the Colonists were invited, was called to meet at Portland on the 31st of July. The proceedings of the convention I have now the honor to inclose, together with the reports made by the delegates who attended from Nova Scotia to the communities or committees by which they were severally appointed.

On the return of those delegates the public mind in Nova Scotia became very highly excited, particularly in Halifax, and in those counties through which the road would pass. Under those circumstances my Government were required to deal with the question thus raised, and to decide whether they would stand aloof from this movement, and allow a great highway, which in peace would be a thoroughfare of nations, and in war might be of vast importance, to be constructed and controlled by foreign capitalists; or should at once grasp the enterprise, and, by the aid of the public funds and credit, discharge towards the country the highest and most legitimate functions of a vigorous Executive. The latter determination was arrived at, and the opportunity was afforded to declare their policy at a public meeting held in the metropolis on the 24th instant, the proceedings of which will be found reported in the papers transmitted by this mail.

This movement, which meets my entire approbation, has been received with great satisfaction by all parties. The address of the City Council, with my answer, I have the honor to enclose. The details of this measure have yet to be adjusted, and it may be necessary to send to England some members of my government to communicate more at large with Your Lordship in reference to them. In the meantime I should be glad to be informed whether, upon such pledges as have been regarded as satisfactory in other colonies being given, Her Majesty's government would be disposed to aid Nova Scotia with its guarantee of such funds as she may find it necessary to borrow in England, in order to construct this road. These would not exceed £800,000 sterling, and would probably be secured, not only on the general revenues of the Province, but upon the road itself. Such a guarantee would enable the Province to enter the market upon the best terms, and effect a large saving in the accomplishment of the work. The revenue of Nova Scotia is about £80,000 sterling, her debt but £87,892 sterling, of which £47,892 is represented by Province paper, on which no interest is paid. The permanent and indispensable charges are about £40,000, leaving about £40,000 of surplus revenue available for public improvements. The revenue has increased £4,400 within the present year. The increase on the whole will probably be £10,000. If, therefore, as I anticipate, the Legislature sustains the policy of the government, they will have the means at their disposal to pay the interest promptly on any loan they may require to effect.

I shall be very much gratified by an early communication of the decision of Her Majesty's government on this point, and of the terms, and nature of the securities required.

I have, &c., (Signed)


The reply did not reach Halifax till late in October. It was unfavorable. We print it that the true position of these

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