Newfoundland Executive Council Minutes, 1864

"Extract From Minutes of [Executive] Council, Tuesday, 13th September, 1864," Journal of the House of Assembly, 1865, Appendix pp. 846-47.

The Attorney General [Hugh Hoyles] informed the Council that late on the preceding evening he had received the following Telegram from the Attorney General of Upper Canada, which he submitted for the consideration of the Council before answering it:

Halifax, 9 September 12, 1864.

To Hon. Mr. Hoyles, Attorney General

The Government of Newfoundland will be invited to send Delegates to Quebec, to unite with the other British North American Provinces, in considering the question of a Federal Union. Official communication through the Governor General will be duly sent; but, as the meeting is to take place on the Tenth October, it is particularly requested your Government will, if favourable, make arrangements to send Delegates in anticipation of official despatch. Please answer to day if possible.


JOHN A. MACDONALD Attorney General for Upper Canada

After mature deliberation, the Council were of opinion that the invitation to the Convention should be accepted, but in such a manner as not to bind the Government or the Legislature to any ulterior proceedings, and the Attorney General was directed to send the following Telegram in reply to Mr. MacDonald:

September 13th, 1864.

Hon. John A. MacDonald, Attorney General, Upper Canada,

The subject of a Union of the Provinces, Federal or Legislative, has never been before our Legislature; we have, therefore, no authority to commit them by any opinion upon it. We shall be happy, however, from respect to your Government, to send Delegates, if possible, but having reference to former communications between the Imperial and the Local Governments, and in the absence of such information as the Governor General's Despatch may afford, without authorising them in any way to bind either the Government or Legislature.


H. W. HOYLES , Attorney General for Newfoundland

The Council being also of opinion that this subject should not be treated as a party question, it was agreed that the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly [Ambrose Shea] should be invited to form one of the Delegation, and that the Speaker [Frederic Carter] should be requested to act as the other Delegate upon this question.