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great North American works, at the moment when Mr. Howe undertook their advocacy in England, may be understood :
Downing Street, 21st September, 1850. SIR, -I acknowledge your dispatch No. 190, of the 29th ult. On the subject of the projected line of railway from Halifax to Portland, in Maine, I have to express my entire approbation of the degree of support and encouragement given by yourself and the Provincial administration to this important undertaking.
I regard the work as one calculated to be of the highest service to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and instead of considering it as likely to endanger, by competition, the still more important scheme which has been proposed for connecting Halifax with Quebec, I believe that it is likely to prepare the way for the execution of the latter, and that it will contribute to the same end; namely, that of rendering Halifax the great port of communication petween the two continents of Europe and America.
But, while I am most anxious to promote the success of this enterprise, I regret that the same reasons which have hitherto prevented Her Majesty's government from recommending to Parliament any measure for affording pecuniary assistance towards the construction of the Quebec railway, will, probably, stand equally in the way of their advising the guarantee of a loan for the scheme now in contemplation.
I have the honor to be, &c., (Signed)
GREY. Lieut. Governor Sir John Harvey.
The Provincial government had now either to recede from the position to which Mr. Howo had pledged them, or to go boldly forward and endeavor to alter the determination of the Imperial government. At all events, it was of great consequence, however these roads were to be built, that the attention of the capitalists and population of the mother country should be turned towards the vast and undeveloped resources of British America. Mr. Howe was selected to perform these tasks, and was sent as a delegate to England, on the 1st of November. Previous to his departure, he addressed a letter to his constituents, which will be found in the collection. He bore with him this introduction, addressed to Earl Grey :
October 25th, 1850. MY LORD, - The members of my government, upon a full consideration of the contents of Your Lordship’s communication of the 21st ultimo, have deemed it to consist with what they owe to public feeling (which has been very unequivocally expressed throughout the Province), and to their views of the great interests involved, to seek to present these views to Her Majesty's government, in as plain and forcible a manner as may be consistent with the deep respect with which all decisions by Your Lordship have been and will at all times be received by them. They have accordingly resolved on delegating one of their body to proceed to England, in the hope that Your Lordship will admit their delegate to an audience, and will afford him every facility which to Your Lordship may seem fit in bringing the views which he is charged to advocate, under the consideration of Her Majesty's government.
Permit me, therefore, to present to Your Lordship the Hon. Joseph Howe, a member of my Council, and a gentleman well qualified, in my judgment, to afford to Your Lordship and to Her Majesty's government the fullest information and the most correct views of the state of public feeling in Nova Scotia.
The deep importance attached throughout the Province to the subject of Mr. Howe's mission, will, I doubt not, plead my excuse for any deviation from existing regulations which may attend this mode of communication with Your Lordship; and I do not doubt that on this, as on some other points, Mr. Howe's local information, experience, and sound judgment, will be found useful and acceptable.
It is Mr. Howe's present intention (should circumstances not induce him to alter it), to return to Nova Scotia before the meeting of the Legislature, in the hope of enabling me to convey to that body, at their meeting, some definite information as to the prospect of being able to obtain the necessary funds from London capitalists, either with or without the aid of Her Majesty's government. As the latter alternative, however, will involve a difference of from £16,000 to £20,000 a year, in the amount of interest to be paid by the Colony, I feel satisfied that Your Lordship will be disposed to promote any well-considered measure by which so large a saving may be effected, without risk to the Imperial government.
I have, &c., (Signed)
J. HARVEY. The Right Hon. EARL GREY.
The two letters addressed to Earl Grey, in London, show the spirit, earnestness, and ability, with which Mr. Howe discharged the high duties he had assumed.*
These letters, when read in our hearing, in the House of Assembly, won the spontaneous plaudits of the writer's most inveterate political opponents. When laid before Parliament and printed in England, they raised Mr. Howe to a position, in the estimation of the press and public men of the mother country, of which any Colonist might be justly proud.
Having, in these two very able letters, placed before Her Majesty's government his views of the true policy to be pursued towards British America, Mr. Howe determined to make a public appeal to the people of England. Having availed himself of a chance introduction to the Mayor and some of the leading members of the Corporation of Southampton, he had so far interested them in the objects of his mission that an invitation had been given to him to go down to that great seaport and address its assembled citizens. On the 14th of January, a public meeting was held in the Town Hall of Southampton, over which the Mayor, Richard Andrews, Esq., presided. The hall was crowded with a numerous and highly respectable audience, naturally curious to know what this native of a distant Colony had to say. The speech delivered by Mr. Howe on this occasion is perhaps one of his best. It was reported in: the Hampshire papers, printed in pamphlet form, and distributed over England, being sent to members of Parliament, to reading-rooms, clubs, and periodicals, in every part of the three kingdoms. Having been introduced to the meeting by the Mayor, Mr. Howe, oppressed no doubt by the novelty of his position, rose and said:
Mr. Mayor and Gentlemen, - You may imagine the various and conflicting feelings by which I am embarrassed, in rising to address this intelligent and prosperous community, and through them the twenty-eight millions of people who inhabit these British islands — the centre of modern civilization; the honored home of my fathers. Be assured that I deeply feel the responsibility which your kindness and my public position have tempted me to assume. The memory of those great ora
* Letters from Sloane Strect, 25th November, 1850; 16th January, 1851
tors with whose highest flights of eloquence you have been familiar from childhood; whose voices, like distant thunder, still linger in the ears of the present generation, weighs upon me no less than the immediate presence of those polished and skilful speakers that you are daily accustomed to hear. Would, for your sakes, that I could as easily invoke the spirit of the dead, as I do, in all sincerity and humility, crave the indulgence of the living. The magnitude of the interests which I desire to present to your notice, involving, as I believe they do, to some extent, the relief of these islands from the burthen of poverty and crime, the integrity of this empire, and the permanence of the connection between the North American Provinces and England, oppresses the mind even more than the intellectual character of my audience. I wish those interests were less imposing, that the danger of neglecting them was less imminent, or that my ability to deal with them was proportioned to the magnitude of the theme.
When I last visited Southampton I little thought that I should ever return to it again, and certainly never dreamed that I should have the honor and the privilege to address, within its ancient walls, and with the evidences of its modern enterprise all around me, such an audience as is assembled here. I was then a wandering Colonist, surveying, eleven years ago, Europe for a first time. Attracted to Southampton by the beauty of its scenery, and by its old associations, when I entered your spacious estuary, and saw, on the one side, the fine old ruin of Netley Abbey, and on the other the New Forest, famed in ancient story, I felt that I was approaching a place abounding in interest, and honored by its associations. And when I put my foot on the spot trodden, in days of yore, by the warriors who embarked for the glorious fields of Agincourt and Crescy, and on which Canute sat when he reproved his fawning courtiers, I felt my British blood warming in my veins, and knew that I was indeed standing on classic ground.
But, sir, on that occasion I did not see those evidences of commercial prosperity which I was anxious to observe. In visiting to-day your splendid docks, your warehouses, your ocean steamers, your railways, and rising manufacturies, which have been created by untiring energy and honorable enterprise within a few years, my pride in your historical associations was quickened and enlivened by the proofs of modern enterprise which distinguish this great seaport.
The object of my visit to England is to draw closer the ties between the North American Provinces and the mother country. To reproduce England on the other side of the Atlantic; to make the children, in institutions, feelings, and civilization, as much like the parent as possible, has been the labor of my past life; and now I wish to encourage the parent to promote her own interests by caring for the welfare, and strengthening the hands, of her children; to show to the people of England that across the Atlantic they possess Provinces of inestimable value. The interest which Southampton has in a clear appreciation of their importance no man can deny. Already her advantages are obvious and patent, but they may be largely extended by North American connections. You have the British Channel flowing by you like a mighty river, with the great continental markets on its opposite shore, the trade of the Baltic on your left, and of the Mediterranean on your right. You have your East and West India steam lines; the Isle of Wight is your natural breakwater; a lovely country surrounds you ; and the royal city of Winchester, and the imperial city of London, are at your very doors. Add to these advantages, permanent and profitable connections with the vast territory and rapidly expanding communities of British America, and the prosperity and importance of Southampton will be greatly enhanced.
I found existing in this country, when I was here before, and I still observe it on every hand, I will not say a criminal, but certainly a very lamentable ignorance of the state of the British Provinces on the continent of America. An erroneous opinion prevails that, at the American Revolution, all that was valuable on that continent was severed from British dominion; that but a few insignificant and almost worthless Provinces remain. This is a great mistake, and, if not corrected in time, may ultimately prove fatal. Glance at the map above you, sir, and you
will perceive that one-half of the whole American continent still owns allegiance to Great Britain, is still subject to the sceptre of Queen Victoria. That vast extent of country is, however, but little known in England. Intelligent men ask me every day where it is, of what it consists, what are its boundaries ? Gentlemen perfectly familiar with Canada, know comparatively nothing of the maritime Provinces, which here (though as distinct as Germany, France, Belgium, and Holland, are from Russia) are yet confounded with Canada. Merchants who trade with Newfoundland know as little of Canada; Nova Scotia is a sort of terra incognita, of which one rarely hears, and many
Canadians know nothing of the boundless and beautiful tract of country which lies between their Province and the Pacific.
Although the United States have extended their boundaries by the conquest of the Mexican Provinces, Great Britain still owns one-half the continent of North America. This territory, with its adjacent islands, is four million of square miles in extent. All Europe, including