The Newfoundlander, May 7th

 

It is in times like these when I think to lines of a poem, a stanza that ought to be set to music.

 

“Men, hurrah for our own native Isle, Newfoundland,

Not a stranger shall hold one inch of her strand;

Her face turns to Britain, her Back to the Gulf,

Come near at your peril, Canadian Wolf!”

 

And indeed, come near at your peril! This noise of joining Confederation with the Continental Provinces is ridiculous. Their union is all well and good, but we are different, fundamentally so. We gain nothing but trouble if we join them. Our wealth is derived from trade and fishing, and lacks nothing of what their union offers. Why would we sacrifice independent legislation and the control of our own rich colonial resources for the benefit of that nationality which, so far as I can at present conceive, can confer but few and trifling benefits? We are Newfoundland, strong, proud, and fiercely independent. The myriad of reasons to reject the notion entirely is as follows:

 

  • The annihilation of our independent Legislature, and of self-legislation

 

  • The power of the Canadian Parliament to tax us without limit.

 

  • The severance of this Colony from a direct alliance and communication with the Government of Great Britain, to an indirect alliance and communication.

 

  • To make our appellant cases from the Supreme Court to the Superior Courts of Canada, before we can go … [to] the Imperial Privy Council.

 

  • To vest the power in the Canadian Government to make thereafter all appointments to office in this Colony.

 

  • To give them the entire control over our Fisheries, Lands and Minerals. And not least among other calamities, the power to extract the youth, both married and unmarried, of the able-bodied men of the Colony to shed their blood and to leave their bones to bleach in a foreign 1and, in defence of the Canadian line of boundary… And for what benefit to us in Newfoundland? …. They speak of protection, of connection from sea to sea, of bolstered trade between the colonies.

 

Yet only between the colonies, as they would doubtlessly apply prohibitively high tariffs on our trade! Exports to the Motherland, Great Britain, would become impossible, and with it, the imports from Spain and the Mediterraneans. What good is there, in that? Gentlemen, I trust that you will agree with me when I say that the idea of becoming a willing subjugate to Canadian interests and Canadian desires is absurd.

 

Respectfully yours,

C. F. Bennett

 

 

http://www.heritage.nf.ca/articles/politics/charles-bennett-objections.php

http://www.heritage.nf.ca/articles/politics/anti-confederate-song.php

http://www.heritage.nf.ca/articles/politics/confederation-rejected-1864-1869.php