A. Shea's Pro-Confederate Speech, 1865
Extracts from Speech by A. Shea (Liberal, District of Placentia-St. Mary's), Assembly Debate 9, February 21, 1865. The Newfoundlander, March 2, 1865.

... This measure of Confederation does not belong to the class of untried or novel experiments. All the principal countries of the world are the result of combinations of small states for the purposes of defence, security, and common advancement.... The Union of England and Ireland have been referred to as an example of the injurious effects of combination, and efforts had been made to work on the traditional prejudice which that event had justly inspired, to create a hostile feeling to the present measure. They have read the-history of that transaction to little purpose who assert that it has any features in common with the just terms on which the Confederation of these Colonies is proposed to be formed.... It were idle to enumerate the inequalities and injustice which-marked this connexion [between Ireland and England] which scarcely established any bond but that which exists between the taskmaster and the slave.... What analagy [sic] then ... can be drawn between a Union such as I have correctly described, and the proposed combination of these British North American Provinces where the just rights of all are alike respected, and the conditions of honourable partnership upheld.... Now, if ever a country was so placed as to require the aid of others, it is this colony. With a population of but 13,000 scattered over many hundred miles of sea coast our condition manifestly points to the necessity of co-operation with others whose alliance will give which in our isolated state we cannot attain. We have proved our want of power to effect any object above the ordinary routine. We have seen pauperism setting us at defiance, and all our necessarily feeble efforts have been futile for its correction. We have resources fully adequate to the support of the population, and they remain idle from our inability to place them within the reach of the people, whose condition loudly calls for increased employment. In this position of affairs we present a strong case for the necessity of combination with those-who have the power to aid us, and whose interest it would be to promote our prosperity.... The [Imperial] Government feel that the combination of these Provinces is the condition alone on which they can be upheld in connexion with the mother country, and ln view of all the considerations that surround this grave question, shall we be told it must be dealt with by regard to its effects in adding a half-penny a yard to the price of calico. Can we doubt that the proposed Confederation is the expression of the settled views of British policy, and we may be thankful that when its advent is inevitable, the arrangement itself is one that has the approving testimony of experience ... But he had heard the strange argument advanced, that if we in this colony refuse to unite we shall become a pet Province and the seat of a Naval Station.... [I]t was somewhat novel to find reward waiting on those who pursued a course of senseless contumacy and resistance. Will our refusal to confederate make Halifax less eligible than before in point of geographical position? .... We deceive ourselves in supposing that we have any value in the eyes of Great Britain that would induce a favourable exceptional policy in our case. It is not with us now as in times of old, when this colony was a nursery for seamen.... England has now no need of us in that respect.... But it is asserted that the British Government never intended that this island should form part of however; is clear on this point against those who offer this objection...


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