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A New Light

Manitoba Pageant, Winter 1965, Volume 10, Number 2

This article was published originally in Manitoba Pageant by the Manitoba Historical Society on the above date. We make it available here as a free, public service.

Please direct inquiries to webmaster@mhs.mb.ca.

An excerpt from The Nor' Wester newspaper, 17 November 1866:

A new light appears to be dawning upon us, and we believe that the time, when this country may assume the dignity of a Crown Colony, forming one, if not two, more in the list of the British Colonies, has at last arrived, and in view of the approaching change, it behooves us to arouse ourselves from the `torpid' state which circumstances of the past have kept us in. That there is a great future before us, must at once suggest itself to any intelligent mind, at all conversant with the boundless resources of the country, only requiring development by the industry and enterprise of emigration. What we have now seriously to consider would we be more prosperous as a separate Crown Colony? or as a part of the grand Confederation of British North America? To secure energy, enterprise and wealth, we should certainly arrive at that with greater ease, and in less time, as a part of the Confederation of British North America, than as a separate and struggling young Colony; besides, our interests are identical with those of Confederation, that which we would be unable to do ourselves in internal improvements, England and Confederation would assist us, further, being able to assume with greater dignity our importance in the Legislative Halls, and the eyes of the public. In an article on British America, in a late Blackwood's Magazine, the writer remarks, "The majority of the people take the view which is supported by the Imperial Government. The United States are England's next door neighbor in America. That neighbor is very powerful and very ambitious, and though now friendly, may at some future time become hostile. Should such hostilities arise the Colonies would be the first sufferers, and it is therefore a wise policy and a safe precaution on their part to make themselves strong and to unite for mutual protection, so as to enable Great Britain, in case of need, to defend them at a minimum cost of men and money." There is nothing can be said against the colonization of the great central district of the Red River, the Saskatchewan and the Assiniboine, but everything to be said in its favor and its consolidation with Canada and the maritime provinces, as it is desirable, if not imperative, to prevent this large country from being overrun and settled by the Americans.

The present Secretary of the Colonies Lord Carnarvon, and who served as under Secretary to Sir E. B. Lytton, had the advantage of his instructions, and is alive to the importance of this; hence the present active negotiations at present going on at home, to prepare for the establishment of our new Government probably in spring, which admit of no delay. The writer in Blackwood's further remarks, "While the native born Americans of the North and West, continually reinforced by an influx of the hardiest spirits of the Old World, are yearly laying the foundations of New States, as large as European Kingdoms and developing the marvelous wealth of the newcomers into the family of nations as Nevada, Colorado, Dakotah, Nebraska, Montana and other regions, whose very names are as yet unfamiliar in Europe, it is not to be expected that they will permit the Hudson's Bay Company to monopolize the long line of available territory that stretches from Lake Superior to the basis of the Rocky Mountains - a region well known to be rich in minerals, in fisheries, in furs, in forests, and better than all the productive arable lands, broad and fertile enough to feed forty millions of people." The proposition that the whole of British America from ocean to ocean, from Newfoundland to Vancouver, be consolidated, is the grandest idea the extent of the beneficial results which that would immediately bring about to this country, can scarcely now be realized, our products would find markets on either the Atlantic or Pacific side of the Globe, our troops would pass our very doors on their way from England to India, China, etc. God helps those who help themselves, therefore let us begin now in earnest - not forgetting that coming events cast their shadows beforehand.

Page revised: 18 July 2009

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