CCHA, Report, 11 (1943-44), 55-108
The Most Reverend Thomas L. Connolly,
Archbishop o f Halifax
F. J. WILSON, M.A.
No picture of the Fathers of Confederation includes Dr. Thomas Connolly, Archbishop of the Catholic Diocese of Halifax, perhaps because his clerical profession fitted him better for the role of godfather. He does not appear at the conference meetings nor on the floor of any parliament, yet no statesman had the welfare of the movement more at heart, and of non-political leaders none did more to promote its advancement than he. Throughout the Maritimes, in then distant Canada, and even in the Colonial Office in London his voice was heard publicly appealing to the people or privately counselling etatesunen. Would that men had followed more often the latter part of Sir John A. Macdonald’s advice never to write an unnecessary letter and never to destroy one, for then we would have much more adequate material from which to judge the great work of the Archbishop in this and other vital matters of his day.
Unfortunately, Archbishop Connolly’s correspondence has disappeared and only scattered fragments remain, preserved in the Macdonald Papers, in the Tupper Papers, in an occasional pamphlet, and in the press. Unsatisfactory as this material is, it yet provides much solid matter from which to make sound deductions as to the personality of the man, his interests in the affairs of the day, and his relations with men who played leading parts in those affairs. Moreover, much of his correspondence is in the nature of an analysis and running comment on events and thus it provides intimate side glimpses that an historian of the period cannot afford to neglect. A governor may submerge his personality in the necessary formality of his report, a statesman sacrifice frankness to political interests, an archbishop find it expedient to advance his clerical projects under cover of a more general movement, but the personal letters, at least, of Dr. Connolly are stamped with most convincing enthusiasm and spontaneity.
The ohief events of his life may be summarized briefly: Born in 1814 in Cork, he was educated in Rome as a member of the Capuchin Order, but returned to Ireland to serve as a priest in Dublin until 1842, when he came to Canada as secretary to Archbishop Walsh of Halifax. In 1845 he was made Vicar-general of the Diocese, and in 1852, at the early age of thirty-eight, he became bishop of the Diocese of St. John in New Brunswick. Seven years later, he succeeded to the Archbishopric on the death of Dr. Walsh, having under his supervision the five dioceses of Halifax, Arichat, Charlottetown, St. John, and Chatham, N. B. (founded in 1860) until his death in 1876. His work as priest and prelate is a matter of church history, similar in its problems and achievements to those of other churchmen in a new and growing country. That it was extraordinarily successful is attested by his promotions to high administrative positions at unusually early ages and by details given by Bishop Rogers of Chatham in his funeral sermon over his departed superior.
But in other fields besides those of the Church, the thirty-four years of Dr. Connolly’s life in British America were a critical period in our history. It was in that period that the provinces gained responsible government, resisted the forces drawing them toward annexation to the United States, and united to form a Dominion with potentialities for later greatness. Great leadership was needed to achieve these things and still greater leadership to achieve them without leaving festering sores to mar the harmony of the union in the new Dominion. Mistakes were made and some sores remained, but in matters directly related to Irish-Canadian interests, wiser counsel prevailed and the mistakes were kept at a minimum.
Irish Catholics and Orangemen lived side by side in many communities in the various provinces and generally their relations were fairly harmonious except when a St. Patrick’s Day or a twelfth of July parade or some other incident fanned old fires into flame. But then came the Fenian activities in the United States to undermine whatever harmony was developing and to give fresh causes for suspicion and resentment. The Fenians sought support among the Irish in the British provinces and the Orangemen, failing to make clear distinctions and accepting rumours as facts, suspected all Irish-Catholics of being Fenians. The Orangemen felt that the governments were slow to act to suppress the budding Fenianism and began to undertake that duty themselves. Thus the Irish-Catholics seemed likely to be either led into the Fenian alliance by the propaganda of that organisation or driven into it by Orange suspicion and persecution. If the governments were slow to respond to Orange demands, they were equally slow to defend Catholics against Orange attacks, and the Catholics were at a disadvantage, for any act of retaliation or even of self-defence would be interpreted as disloyalty or revolt.
It is difficult for a people to be patient under such conditions and wise leadership was needed to prevent disastrous outbreaks. Fortunately, there were Irish-Catholic leaders with the wisdom and courage to guide their people and to defend them against false charges. Most notable among the Irish leaders were Archbishop Connolly in the Maritimes and Thomas D’Arcy McGee in Canada, and their names are linked both by their mutual friendship and by their similar attitudes on the major questions of the day – Fenianism, Annexation, and Confederation.
There was a close interrelationship between all three of these movements, and it was Dr. Connolly’s staunch adherence to British connection that made him so determined an opponent of the Fenians and so enthusiastic a supporter of Confederation. His attitude towards the Fenians is displayed most clearly in three papers that remain, a letter to the editor of the Halifax Morning Chronicle in January, 1865, one to Lieutenant Governor Gordon of New Brunswick of December 18 of the same year, and one dated July 22, 1867, and published in a thirteen-paged pamphlet as part of the campaign literature of the first federal election under the title, A letter from His Grace the Archbishop of Halifax to Henry J. Clarke, Esq., Q.C., on the Claims of T. D’Arcy McGee, Esq., to the Confidence and Support of the Irish and their Descendants in the Dominion of Canada. The first will be examined later in studying his attitude towards Confederation. In the second he thanked his Excellency for doing justice to the Irish in his recent speech and took the opportunity to assure him that the Roman Catholics “will yield to none in loyalty.” He declared that they had everything to lose and nothing to gain by a change of allegiance and that they now enjoy influence in full proportion to their population. The strength of his feeling and a glimpse of the ardent nature of the man, appear in his indignant and scornful reference to the Fenians as “knaves and fools.” Such terms are not usually used in a formal letter to a governor unless the writer feels very deeply on the subject under discussion.
The letter to Clarke is of especial interest for it and the Archbishop’s funeral oration, so soon to be called forth by McGee’s tragic end, are among the few relics that remain of the close frienship and harmony in opinion of these two great Catholic Irish-Canadians. Dr. Connolly expressed regret and mystification that McGee was not included in the ministry (evidently he was not yet informed of the noble act of self-sacrifice that caused his exclusion) but was satisfied that the inclusion of another of the same origin and creed showed the improved position of the Irish Roman Catholics. At times one might easily imagine that he is reading one of McGee’s own speeches, especially when the Archbishop declared that internal discord was the cause of Ireland’s woes and made a strong plea that that discord should not be continued in Canada. He declared that McGee could have stirred up the Irish to revolt in Canada, or could have remained silent and let the agitators have their way, but instead he spoke and held the Canadian Irish loyal through the Fenian troubles. Very similar to this is the eulogy of the Archbishop by Nicholas Flood Davin in 1877, when he writes in his book, The Irishman in Canada; “When we think of the Roman Catholic prelates outside of Ontario, the first man whose name rises to the lips is Archbishop Connolly who placed Fenianism in its true light of sinister folly and mad criminality and who had no small share in the political work which led to Confederation.”
Dr. Connolly did not rush hastily into print on the Confederation issue but finally gave expression to his well matured opinions in the letter to the Editor of the Morning Chronicle mentioned above. In this letter he sets forth clearly his own and the Catholic Church’s attitude towards Fenianism and then proceeds to advocate Confederation in a most unequivocal manner. While he emphasises particularly its necessity as a means of defence against the Fenians and against an ambitious, expansive neighbour, emerging from the Civil War, whether victorious or defeated, a strong military power, he does not overlook its necessity for other reasons such as the building of an intercolonial railway and the widening of the Maritimes’ markets, and he even hints at the possibility of a later inclusion of the far West. Other Maritime papers, such as the Nova Scotian and the St. John Morning Freeman reprinted the letter in full and in 1867 extracts from it were used in The Union, a leaflet issued in Hamilton, Ontario, for distribution among Catholics to win their support for the Confederation Party in the first federal election.
The views of the Archbishop did not meet with whole-hearted approval everywhere. As the letter itself shows, the Morning Chronicle was opposed to Confederation and its views were shared by many Irish Catholics of Halifax, who feared that their mercantile interests would be subordinated under union to those of Canada. The strongest opposition came, however, from T. W. Anglin, the Catholic editor of the St. John Morning Freeman, who published Dr. Connolly’s letter only to criticise it. In this district also, Dr. Connolly’s own former diocese, his successor, Bishop Sweeny, was generally supposed to be opposed to Confederation through interest in local colonization and fears of the wider influence of Canada. Thorough search has, however, failed to discover a copy of his circular letter against Confederation which according to a letter from Tilley to Macdonald, was reported to have been distributed during the New Brunswick election of 1865. At any rate, he did nothing to counteract Anglin’s work, nor did the Archbishop himself reply to the Freeman's scathing criticism of his letter. It was Bishop Rogers of Chatham who was finally drawn into a newspaper war with Anglin when the editor took the platform in election contests in constituencies in the Chatham diocese. In eastern Nova Scotia, Bishop MacKinnon of Arichat, while not opposed to Confederation in principle, was not willing to accept the plan as unconditionally as the Archbishop and publicly expressed his approval only when the Quebec resolutions were being modified to give the Maritimes more favourable terms. It is thus apparent that, though Dr. Connolly’s authority was great in church matters, his high repute and personal popularity could not command unanimous support from his clergy and laity on a matter of political and economic import. Like McGee, the Archbishop was made to suffer for his bold denunciation of the Fenians and for his enthusiastic support of Confederation, for many interpreted the attitudes of both these men as indifference, even treachery, to the Irish cause.
Little need be said about Dr. Connolly’s attitude on annexation to the United States. Speaking as a Catholic in his letter to Governor Gordon he declares that they had everything to lose and nothing to gain by a change of allegiance; speaking more as a citizen of Nova Scotia in his letter to the Chronicle, he presents annexation as a danger and Confederation as the best means of guarding against that danger; and in all his writings loyalty to the British connection is the guiding principle stated or implied.
There is no direct evidence as to Dr. Connolly’s personal relations with any political leaders prior to 1865, but from his letters to Governor Gordon and to the Chronicle, it is apparent that he had watched with approval Howe’s struggle for responsible government. A letter from Fisher of New Brunswick to Howe in 1856 also implies a friendly relationship between Dr. Connolly and Howe. In the election campaign of that year, Fisher asked Howe to write to Dr. Connolly, then Bishop of St. John, to request him to exert his authority to have his clergy influence their people to support Fisher. The responses to this appeal, either by Howe or by the Bishop, do not appear but it indicates that political leaders relied on the Bishop’s support of any progressive policy, for the main issue of that election was the railroad policy of Fisher and Tilley.
In his personal relations with political leaders, Dr. Connolly showed himself unaffected by religious prejudice and intolerance. He had been absent from Halifax during Howe’s quarrel with the Catholics over the Crompton and Gourlay Shanty affairs and the activity of the Protestant Alliance but, returning in 1859 when the storm was beginning to abate, he had helped to pour oil on the troubled waters. Thus, although he supported Tupper on the Confederation issue, he was able to talk with Howe on a friendly footing and perhaps had some influence in modifying his views. In letters to Macdonald of October 26, 1867, January 15, 1868 and February 18, 1868, he gives him information on the “Anti” situation in Nova Scotia in general and on Howe’s attitude in particular. He points out how their position may be weakened by issuing a clear financial statement, by consideration for worthy Catholics such as Senator W. Miller, and by the inclusion of Howe in the government if he can thus he won over. Incidentally, in those letters he appeals for a position for a Presbyterian minister, and vigorously defends the Protestant Chief Justice against an attack by Mr. Wallace, a Halifax lawyer and “nominally a Catholic.” He also ranks Archibald A1 and fit for any position, though he is a Presbyterian and opposed to Dr. Connolly in politics. The Archbishop was too big to be swayed in his judgment of men by religious prejudice.
Perhaps, however, his relations were closer to Tupper than to any other leader, since he was the Confederation leader in Nova Scotia. Letters from Dr. Connolly kept Tupper informed on conditions in Nova Scotia and in Canada while the Maritime delegates were in London awaiting their Canadian confreres and announced his own intention of going to London to lend any assistance that might be possible to the negotiations there. These letters show an unrestrained enthusiasm for the cause and an almost boyish exuberance at its approaching consummation. He did go to London, but we have no record of his influence there, nor can a paper of his be located which Macdonald refers to in a letter of June 1, 1868, saying: “I saw your paper addressed to the Duke of Buckingham. It was a powerful appeal and will have had, I doubt not, a very beneficial effect on his mind.' . .” As the Duke of Buckingham was Colonial Secretary for a short time, this paper was evidently a move on the part of the Archbishop to counteract Howe’s secession efforts. It was evidently not through personal contact and among colonial statesmen only that Dr. Connolly exerted an influence for Confederation.
One great stumbling block to Confederation in Canada was the separate schools question and it almost caused a breach between Tupper and the Catholics of Nova Scotia. Writing to Macdonald on May 4, 1867, Charles Fisher of Fredericton said, “Dr. Tupper and the Archbishop of Halifax have had a difference on the school question and Tupper will turn it to account in the election, I suppose.” It would not appear from the result of the election that Tupper was able to turn it to any great advantage nor does it appear that there was any serious split between him and the Archbishop. Certainly in his letters to Tupper in September and October, 1866, Dr. Connolly had strongly urged the political advisability of adopting the separate schools’ principle, not for Catholics alone, but for all minority groups, and had promised that if this were d one, he would himself write a pastoral letter that would overcome all Catholic oppositions to Confederation. He had also called a meeting in April, 1867, the conclusions of which were presented in a letter to Dr. Tupper.
The resolutions were also accompanied by a letter from the Bishop of Arichat that was somewhat more formal and that conveyed a threat of withdrawal of the Catholics from the support of Confederation. It would appear that it was the example of the Canadas and the demands of the Bishop and other Catholics, rather than a personal desire for separate education that were forcing the Archbishop to make his demands. It must be remembered, however, that as Nova Scotia had not yet a complete system of state education, Catholics, as well as Protestants, had their own schools and received occasional government support. Thus the Archbishop felt no great alarm over the Catholic position, but what he wanted was the settlement of the question once for all so that there might be no more occasion for religious controversy in the Maritime or Dominion politics. In one of his letters to Tupper (September 27, 1866,) he said, “In the name of God, let us have no more of Catholic and Protestant in our political fights and then indeed we will have a country that will last in spite of all opposition within and without.” Not even McGee himself ever formulated a more fervent appeal for religious tolerance and harmony.
Dr. Connolly, in a letter to Tupper, dated March 22, 1871, again expresses dissatisfaction that the school question has not been settled, but the real interest in that letter lies in its expression of his views regarding his participation in political matters. Apparently Tupper had asked for his public support in the approaching election. In reply, the Archbishop said, in part, “. . . my feelings and principles have not undergone one iota of change . . . Confederation itself was a big question beyond the range of ordinary politics and from the beginning, as you are aware, I committed myself to it body and soul and I have yet to regret anything said or done in connection with it.” Later in the letter, he said that his opposition to the “Antis” had led to disagreement with his own people and that he did not wish to repeat the experiment except on a question of major importance such as Confederation, Fenians, or Annexation. He is discussing his own conduct, but it does not seem to be straining the point too far to give it the general interpretation that, though a cleric is not a politician, he has not ceased to be a citizen and on matters of national importance he should exert his influence fearlessly for a righteous cause.
A more personal glimpse of the Archbishop’s character may be gained from minor features in his letters. We have noted his relations with political leaders in the colonies such as McGee, Macdonald, Howe and Tupper, and his correspondence with a Lieutenant Governor and a Colonial Secretary, and in another letter he offered his fine country home as a holiday residence for the Governor-General. Such were his connections with great men and great events but those of lesser importance also claimed his attention. He was pleased to hear that F. M. Mahon (apparently a priest from. the United States arrested for some Fenian activity) was to he released, and was willing to leave uncontradicted the rumour that it was the result of his intercession. Such an impression could do no harm and would help restore his clerical influence with Fenian sympathisers among his diocesans. On the other hand, he was very bitter against Whelan, the assassin of McGee, inquiring from Macdonald, “Why in the world was Whelan's trial deferred? I hope there is no sad blunder at the bottom. I feel anything but assured on the subject and thousands here are of the same opinion.” His many kindly interests are shown in his frequent requests for various individuals, Protestants as well as Catholics, and the confidence of the people in his influence is shown by his own humorous comment that so many apply to him from New Brunswick and Ontario, as well as from Nova Scotia, that “one would think I had the patronage of the whole Dominion at my disposal.” He could not help all to the desired positions, but the number of appeals to him argues that he gave to all a courteous and sympathetic hearing.
In his daily contacts with people in all walks and conditions of life, Dr. Connolly won the respect of all, as is attested both by Bishop Roger’s sermon and by obituary notices in various newspapers of Halifax and St. John. They tell of his simple sincerity, transparent because he had nothing to hide; of his exuberant energy, boyish enthusiasm, and jovial humour; of his hospitality to the rich and great that smoothed out many political, social, and religious problems and antagonisms; of his open door and open heart for the poor and distressed, even twice or thrice contracting the plague from his personal assistance, physically and spiritually, to immigrants newly landed at Halifax and St. John; and of his tolerance to those of other creeds than his own. He was respected; better still, he was loved.
His tolerance was not born of indifference, for his convictions were strong. He could denounce sternly those whose violent, but superficial patriotism did Ireland more harm than good, but he was a man of peace who worked for unity and harmony despite differences. At the Council in Rome in 1870, he showed the true democratic spirit, for while he argued strongly that the assertion of infallibility was inopportune at that time, he accepted the adverse decision of the majority without further opposition. His sincerity could not be doubted even by those who disagreed with him.
Such a character and such a life is worthy of detailed analysis in a full biography if sufficient material were available. Catholic prelate and Protestant ministers and laymen paid tribute to him in death and this brief sketch of his life can have no more fitting ending than their words as he lay dying. The Daily Acadian Recorder of July 27, 1876, said in part, “In promoting harmony and avoiding dissension and strife; in guiding affairs with wisdom, and aiming to advance the general interests of the country without sacrificing the sacred doctrines of his Church; in these high duties the Archbishop is known to every man in this Province who has been familiar with its public affairs. Far seeing at all times, and the friend of peace, he has felt that more could be done by patient, zealous advocacy of principles, than by violent assertion or fierce denunciation.” In similar vein, Bishop Rogers, closed his long funeral sermon with these words, “No son of the Church was ever more sincerely loyal to its interests, more affectionately devoted to its Chief Pastor; no subject of a temporal sovereign could be more faithful to the interests of the nation and government as well as to the person and office of its Royal Head to whom he owes allegiance, than the deceased Archbishop. He was a faithful Prelate, a loyal citizen, a good man!”
(All documents here printed are found in the Manuscripts Division of the Public Archives of Canada, Ottawa.)
1866. Connolly to Tupper.
Jan. 20, 1866. Connolly to Tupper.
Sept. 27, 1866. Connolly to Tupper.
Oct. 25, 1866. Connolly to Tupper.
1867. Connolly to Tupper.
June 17, 1867. Connolly to Macdonald.
July 1st, 1867. Macdonald to Connolly.
July 18, 1867. Connolly to Macdonald.
Oct. 26, 1867. Connolly to Macdonald.
Nov. 22, 1867. Connolly to Macdonald.
Dec. 31, 1867. Macdonald to Connolly.
Jan. 15, 1868. Connolly to Macdonald.
Jan. 24, 1868. Connolly to Macdonald.
Feb. 4, 1868. Macdonald to Connolly.
Feb. 19, 1868. Connolly to Macdonald.
May 2, 1868. Connolly to Macdonald.
May 28, 1868. Connolly to Macdonald.
June 1, 1868. Macdonald to Connolly.
June 7, 1868. Telegram. Connolly to Macdonald
June 15, 1868. Macdonald to Connolly.
Sept. 16, 1868. Connolly to Macdonald.
Sept. 21, 1868. Macdonald to Connolly.
Sept. 25, 1868. Connolly to Macdonald.
Nov. 27, 1868. Connolly to Doyle.
May 5, 1869. Connolly to Macdonald.
June 2, 1869. Connolly to Macdonald.
July 17, 1869. Macdonald to Connolly.
Oct. 6, 1869. Connolly to Macdonald.
Jan. 20, 1870. Macdonald to Connolly.
March 7, 1870. Connolly to Macdonald.
March 22, 1871. Connolly to Tupper.
July, 1871, Connolly to Lisgar.
July 5, 1871. Ligar to The Earl of Kimberley.
Aug. 11, 1871. J. C. McNeill to Connolly.
July 27, 1871. Kimberley to Connolly.
Dec. 7, 1870. Kimberley to Sir Patrick Grant, G.C.B.
Sept. 21, 1871. Macdonald to Connolly.
Nov. 10, 1871. Connolly to Macdonald.
May 30, 1872. Connolly to Macdonald.
Aug. 7, 1872. Telegram. Connolly to Tupper.
Sept. 2, 1872. Connolly to Tupper.
Oct. 9, 1872. Macdonald to Connolly.
Jan. 6, 1873. Connolly to Macdonald.
June 22, 1873. Connolly to Tupper.
Sept. 18, 1873. Macdonald to Connolly.
Sept. 31, 1873. Connolly to Macdonald.
St Marys Monday Morning [18661
My Dear Doctor.
I have attentively read over the correspondence you have been kind enough to send me on Saturday and as the true friend is best known in the hour of need I will not shrink from telling you honestly my convictions on its merits.
The Chief Justice both on principle and policy has in my mind the best of the argument. On principle he tells you that Judges Dodd and Desbarres and himself dissented from the opinions of Judges Johnson and Wilkins on the “Insufficiency of the Evidence” and that “after the usual cautions to the Jury on the character of the Witnesses &c he temperately but firmly vindicated the action of the Jury &c” This is not quite all it might be and all you would desire but it is superabundantly sufficient as far the truth the justice and the legality of the verdict is concerned. If there was any doubt in their mind in favour-of Douglas it would have been undoubtedly their bounden duty as Judges and men to honestly state it not only to the Executive but even in their public addresses in the Court House. Their silence alone is perfectly conclusive. But they went further they dissented from two of their brother Judges which in my mind settles that portion of the subject both conscientiously and legally as far they were concerned. On the policy and expediency side of the question their defence is still more triumphant. After having discharged their whole duty as public functionaries why expect them to needlessly rush in with their own private feelings and impressions to make their public acts not more explicit but more emphatic. A further & more ample explanation would of course relieve you from your embarrassment but why exact it from them if they had already fulfilled the whole of their duty and especially where the life of a fellow creature was at stake. The deference due to two of their dissenting brother Judges was a very proper motive for their being temperate and reticent and modest in the vindication of their own views. If they had any thing to say in favor of Douglas they would have undoubtedly coincided with the dissenting Judges. Their silence without expressing their dissent at all would be conclusive far as conscience is concerned but the official and public expression of that dissent is all that could be expected from them and all they ought to do and that once expressed both legally and conscientiously the matter is set at rest for ever. If you or I were similarly circumstanced we would have done the same. One or two of the Judges may be very glad to embarrass you as a government but even in that case judging from their antecedents I cannot blame them. With this conviction & with these views I wrote my letter in the Chronicle this morning and hoping that you & your compeers in the Executive in whom as a Government I feel the deepest interest will take advantage of the numerously signed petition to be presented today & which will fortunately most effectually transfer the burden in this odious case from yr shoulders to those of the public I have the honor to be
Yours very Sincerely
† THOMAS L. CONNOLLY
Sir Charles Tupper Papers, Vol. 1, no. 28.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE CHRONICLE
In attaching my name to the petition for the commutation of sentence on H. Dowcey a sense of duty constrains me to publish these few lines in explanation of my motives. I signed the petition not that I disapproved of the death-penalty in cases o£ wilful murder nor that I thought or now think, Dowcey not guilty but simply because the Royal clemency has been extended (I presume for sufficient reasons) to John C. Douglas the greater criminal of the two. If at all guilty Douglas was unquestionably the Principal the concocter of the whole plot, the man without whom the murder would never have been committed or even thought of by the crew of the unfortunate brig Zero.
So the Chief Justice thought so twelve impartial men on oath after a full and fair trial decided, so the whole public with few exceptions and the press of the country proclaimed so it is was officially admitted by the Executive Government who for very valid reasons of course have now extended to him the Royal Clemency.
So far I as one of the Public take no exception to the proceeding. But why stop here? Why not extend the same clemency to Dowcey? They have been both tried for the same crime on the same evidence by the same jury and legally sentenced to death by the same Judge, and the result commended by the sense of the whole community with this difference that Douglas was looked upon by the public not simply as “The not less guilty accomplice as stated in the official organ of the Government but as the Principal The Head and Front and Contriver of the whole plot, the man who prompted and directed its execution and in whose hands Dowcey a poor ignorant man was a tool bloodstained indeed and guilty but still a mere tool.
If there be the smallest honest or legal doubt on Douglas share in the transaction why not at once give him the benefit of the doubt and release him from prison. That would be the honest the straightforward the consistent and only legal mode of proceeding which many would not like but certainly all would easily understand. In that case there would have been a legal doubt (however small it may be) and the Government would have no alternative but to dismiss him. Their course would have been clear and their defence obvious as it would be triumphant.
As such has not been their course however I am bound to conclude that the difference between the case of Douglas and Dowcey did not consist in the greater or lesser degree of certitude as to their guilt for this would imply a doubt of some kind in favor of Douglas which according to all known principles of law should restore him at once to liberty. If even the disagreement of the Judges be assumed as the basis of a doubt in the mind of the Executive the conclusion is inevitable. Douglas as doubtfully or not legally convicted should be released on the spot. This as I conceive it is not a boon of mercy but the undoubted inalienable right of any British subject.
The commutation of the sentence therefore must be accounted for not by any doubt legal or otherwise on the guilt of Douglas but by some extenuating circumstances in his case not announced by Government and certainly unseen by the public whom it would be well I think to inform on the subject. If there be no rational or legal doubt (which for the reasons adduced cannot be admitted for a moment) what are the grounds for the commutation of the sentence in the case of Douglas? As the Executive must have seen some extenuating circumstances to warrant their action in this particular I did not hesitate a moment to do what I should not have dared to do a week since. I appended my signature to a petition for Dowcey with a solemn conviction shared I believe by the overwhelming mass of the whole community that in his case the extenuating circumstances are by far more numerous and more apparent to the eye of an unprejudiced public than in that of J. C. Douglas who has been already pardoned.
In Douglas (if guilty) We saw intelligence perverted and eduction [sic] misused we saw the violated responsabilities of an office that should be held sacred and a position that should imply confidence and mutual support under the most trying circumstances In him and in him alone we saw the object the sole motive the cue of the whole murder as proved in evidence. We saw the garb and parade of pretentious piety and a band of powerful Religious friends inside and outside the Courthouse to assist him most effectually as the event proved.
In Dowcey on the contrary we have a poor uneducated and friendless negro of quiet unoffending disposition and fair character up to the moment of the Crime we have him as thousands of his class with hand to strike but without mind or motive to conceive the crime. We have him without tact or adroitness to put his case in the most favourable light without sympathy of position or colour or creed from the witnesses against him who required one “emissary goat” at least on whom to lay the burden of their own crimes, we have him without any exhibition of the pious and the Jehovah loving and with the profession of a faith which (I am proud to say) did not procure for him one single sympathising friend outside.
In the cause of humanity therefore and for the honor of the Bench where the ermine should be ever unspotted for the impartial administration of public justice and to remove the almost universal impression on the public mind that there is now in Nova Scotia one law for one class and another for another I have appended my signature to the petition in question and with unbounded confidence in the high honor and sagacity and the varied and life long experience of the man whom the whole Empire “loves to honor” and who now so happily presides over this country I sincerely trust that the voice of even handed justice and of fair play between man and man will be heard in the proper quarter I am Dear Sir
Your Obedient Servant
† THOMAS L. CONNOLLY
Archbishop of Halifax
Halifax Jan 20
Sir Charles Tupper Papers, Vol. 1, No. 30.
Halifax, Sept. 27– 1866
My Dear Doctor
I have but a few moments to write before the Mail leaves I have seen Mrs Tupper according to promise and was surprised to learn she had no letter from you by last Mail. She looked a little gloomy and despaired of being able to go to England this winter but I flatter myself she was somewhat cheered by the special pleading and legerdemain of your humble servant. I urged by all means the necessity of her going to England and promised of course that I would chaperon her across the Atlantic if we could only decide on leaving by the same boat. My mind is made upon returning as soon as the Canadian delegates are fairly en route but not a minute before. I have seen Sir Fenwick and lunched with him a few hours after my arrival. He knows little more than ourselves about the objects and motives of the Canadian delegates but he showed me a letter from Lord Monk dated Sept 19 assuring him that all was right and that within a month or five weeks he hoped that both he & delegates would be ready for their departure. Latest authentic accounts from private sources are to the effect that the Fenians will not venture across the border this year. Canada is perfectly united from one end to the other and is not only prepared but anxious for the fray. Darcy made a tremendous speech at the Annual Fair of Toronto last night. John A. MacDonald had a banquet in his honor at Kingston which was a great success. McGee was present to boltster him up. I dined last night at A Uniackes where a large company was in attendance to do honor to the General who takes his final leave tomorrow for New Brunswick Confederation was on the tapis the whole evening and be assured :the ArchBishop came out triumphant. Not even agleam of hope for the antis. All were terribly down in the mouth at hearing you were not to come till March and not even then unless Confederation were carried. I had a long conversation with Miller. He says what we all said in London that all Nova Scotia would be against you and yours if Confederation were not carried before the meeting of the house. With Confederation once carried he had no fears whatever of the result of the Summer election. He says moreover that if the great education question is definitely settled between Catholic and Protestant on the broad principles of common justice that there will not be a Catholic in the land Scotch Irish or French who will not hail Confederation as a blessing. In the name of God let us hear no more of Catholic and Protestant in our political fights and then indeed we will have a country that will last in spite of all opposition within and without. Tomorrow I will write to Lord Monck myself on the subject and for all our sakes I trust not without effect. Salute each and every one of the New Brunswick and Nova Scotia delegates for me. You are now called the “Twelve Apostles” and it is meet I should wish you all God speed, good luck and all honor in that character. I have seen Mrs Henry & Mrs Ritchie and their respective families. All seemed troubled and disquieted at hearing that Pa was not to return till March but in truth they seemed to revive at my explanation of the policy. Joe is out in this mornings Chronicle. The whole pamphlet is a fiasco and a rabid appeal to the Electors of Nova Scotia. The Confederate papers are doing their work well. It is announced in all the papers that I am soon to return to England. Please to read this for all the delegates as it is intended as common property. I will write from time to time all worth communicating & so makeup for Canadian reticence.
Yours very Sincerely
† THOMAS L. CONNOLLY
Sir Charles Tupper Papers, Vol. 1, no. 41.
Halifax Oct 25 1866
My Dear Doctor
I send you these few hurried lines to announce to you the important news that at the request of all our Bishops & Priests in the Lower Provinces I go back to England by the next boat to help you with Confederation if you want help and if the efforts of a gnat can contribute in any way to so glorious a consummation. Howe’s Pamphlet here made matters no worse. The initiated thoroughly understood and interpreted it as an appeal for the next Election in N. Scotia. But he may be disappointed. The carrying of the Confederation Bill in England will produce a wonderful revulsion here. If a general clause could be added to the Quebec Scheme guaranteeing freedom of Education to Turk Jew & Heathen in the sense already explained the whole Catholic population French Scotch & Irish would hail Confederation as a boon & a blessing from the Atlantic to the Pacific. I stake my character upon it that neither Howe nor any one of his Kindney [sic] will succeed under those circumstances in any Catholic constitutency in either of the Maritime Provinces. I will write a Pastoral letter myself dated London which will utterly demolish him and his pretensions as far as Catholics are concerned.
Little or no news. The Fenians have disappeared whether they are even in existence is now a matter of Speculation. Allow me to congratulate you from my heart on the honors that have been falling upon you thick and heavy. Your speeches were what every friend knew they would be. Howes Pamphlet has given you the glorious chance and you have made the most of it. Go on & prosper. I am sorry I have not the honor of escorting Mrs & Miss Tupper who I hope are enjoying themselves in London. All accounts agree in saying that the Canadian delegates leave on the 7th of November. Kindest remembrance to all at the Alexandra and with the hope of soon seeing you I am My dr Doctor
Yours very Faithfully
† THOMAS. L. CONNOLLY.
Sir Charles Tupper Papers, Vol. 1, no. 42.
St Marys Wednesday 4 P.M.
My Dear Doctor
Yielding to mutual requests and for reasons you may well imagine The Bishop of Arichat and yr humble servant met yesterday in Truro where assisted by a Scotch Clergyman and the Honble Mr McKinnon your Colleague in the Government we took a full & final view of the long vexed question of Catholic education in Nova Scotia. After five hours deliberation ending at One O Clock this morning the two Bishops in the presence and with the concurrence of the other two decided as follows.
1 To apply to you personally and to all our friends in the present House of Assembly to have a resolution passed during the present sitting of the House assimulating the condition of Religious minorities Protestant & Catholic in Nova Scotia to that of the Religious minorities Protestant & Catholic in Upper & Lower Canada in every respect but in those districts only where said minorities require it.
2 That this step instead of injuring you or yours politically will make you the strongest man in the whole Province. It can give Protestants neither offence nor alarm while it will blend the whole Catholic body from Cape North to Yarmouth into one solid and serried phalanx in your defence and earn for you their eternal gratitude.
3 As Catholics are now they are a half lifeless heartless divided corps in many instances beyond the control or influence of Bishop or Priest who have no rallying cry to enlist their sympathies or bring them together but go in for the rights of the Minorities Protestant as well as Catholic and we will have double treble the power to serve and both Bishops and Clergy will solemnly pledge themselves to take up your cause as their own and to procure for you and for Confederation nearly every Catholic vote in the Province. We will then have both the will and the power to serve you and it is impossible you can fail. The enclosed is a copy of the joint resolutions of both Bishops. Hoping that Almighty God will incline you to do what I know will be the surest guaranty for the peace and safety and welfare of our New Dominion I am My Dear Doctor
Yours Ever The Same
† THOMAS L. CONNOLLY
Sir Charles Tupper Papers, Vol. 1, no. 45.
Halifax Nova Scotia
June 17 – 1867
My Dear Sir
Presuming on the unvarying Kindness exhibited during our short acquaintance in London I take the liberty of penning these few lines in behalf of a friend of mine a barrister in this City in whom both Doctor Tupper and myself feel most deeply interested. His name is James Tobin he has held the responsible office of second Clerk in our House of Assembly for eight years and I am sure I am not stating too much in the assertion that a more effective public servant could not be found.
He is besides the son of the Honorable Michael Tobin President of our Legislative Council for many years and has therefore besides personal merit strong family claims on the government and Legislature of the Country shall I not now say of the New Dominion. Besides my dear Mr McDonald he is my especial friend and is therefore a friend to the cause which at this moment of trial requires a strong helping hand in Nova Scotia.
Notwithstanding all Howes efforts to pull down the work of Confederation goes on bravely. Unfortunately I am in the midst of the fray myself but from the mad course taken by some of our Catholics my interference becomes unavoidable. From present appearances I am strongly of opinion that Howe will not be able to secure a seat in Ottawa.
Please to present my best respects and kind remembrance to Mr McDonald who I hope is well.
In the earnest expectation that you will succeed in procuring some respectable and permanent situation for my friend Mr Tobin.
I am My Dear Sir
Ever Yours Most Sincerely
†THOMAS L CONNOLLY
Sir John A. Macdonald Papers – Nova Scotia Affairs 3, pp. 7-10.
July 1st 1867
My dear Archbishop
I have been so very busy as you may well imagine for some time that I have been obliged to postpone all my correspondence except on public business. You must therefore forgive me for not sooner answering your note in favour of Mr Tobin. I need scarcely say that it will give me great pleasure [ ] of any friend of yours. I shall make it my business when an opportunity offers to see that his services are employed in some public Dept.
There are only three members of the Government now at Ottawa, the rest being all scattered looking after the election of themselves and their friends. It will be some time before we reassemble, but when we do I shall not forget Mr Tobin, meanwhile you may as well speak to Messrs Kenny & Archibald on his behalf. The former gentleman and his amiable lady have been here [ ] I am sorry that their stay is to be so short but we shall all meet again at the opening of the Session. I hope that Your Grace will be able to take a run up and see us. I am truly glad to learn that the prospects of the Unionists in Nova Scotia are improving. I hope to have satisfactory returns both from Upper & Lower Canada.
Mr Brown the Upper Canadian Joe Howe is making frantic efforts but we believe that he will he defeated.
Mrs Macdonald, beg her pardon, Lady Macdonald joins me in sending her warmest regards to you
My dear Archbishop
Yours most sincerely
The Archbishop of Halifax
Sir John A. Macdonald Papers – Letter Book no. 10, p. 691.
St. Marys Halifax
July 18. 1867
My Dear Sir
As bearer Mr William Compton Editor of the Halifax Express proceeds to Canada on business I feel it a duty to give him these few lines of introduction as no newspaper Proprietor in the Lower Provinces has done more than he has in advocating the cause of Confederation from the first hour. The vigour and talent displayed for that purpose and the services rendered to the cause by the most widely circulated Paper in Nova Scotia and the serious work yet to be done should not be lost sight of when the day of retribution comes which should give W C a preference. By his own energy and good conduct from youth he has accumulated considerable means and made a position for himself not inferior to any in, his profession. It is his and my belief that Government should make no appointment if possible before Election day in Nova Scotia and if made it is of the first importance it should not be made public before the day of struggle. But before or after if any thing in the printing line is to be done on Government account not I alone but every one on the right side in Nova Scotia must admit in candour that Mr C should be No 1. I ask this not as a personal favour but as a mead of justice to Mr C as the proprietor of a Biweekly wielding immense influence for weal or for woe. On public grounds alone I say that his good wishes and service should be secured soon as the first opportunity is presented.
Hoping that you will not take this and my former application as a type of my obtrusiveness as I seldom or never troubled a Government in all my life I am Dear Sir J. A Macdonald
Yours Very Sincerely
† THOMAS L. CONNOLLY
Sir John A. Macdonald Papers – Nova Scotia Affairs 3, pp. 13-16.
Halifax Oct 26
My Dear Sir John
Need I say I am most thankful for your thinking of me at all among all your unnumbered cares. I do not wish to be troublesome but I am anxious under present circumstances to offer my humble services to the cause of the Dominion in N. Scotia if they can be of any use.
If Howe and his eighteen attachés can be mollified take them in by all means and never mind the union minority in this Province. They will take care of themselves and appreciate your motives as they happen to be thank God the most intelligent and I will say the only patriotic portion of our people. If Howe persists in his Repeal Chimera there is nothing left for it but to cling to your friends here as they will be sure to cling to you and to increase and strengthen as they go along. If petty spite (with which this miserable spot abounds) should make a union martyr that is a real one I will duly chronicle the case be he Protestant or Catholic and you should help him at once as that will tell more powerfully on our belligerents than any other course that can be pursued. Arguing on this principle Archibald should be beyond all comparison No. 1. He is our ablest best and representative man. He is a staunch Presbyterian blue down the back opposed to me on the school question & on Politics generally yet I do say he is No 1 He has made the largest sacrifices for the cause indeed I fear he beggared himself by the late election. He is the most detested by the Antis and on trial you will find him equal to any position in the Dominion if tact of a rare kind and ability of the f}rst :order can effect it. To throw him back on his own resources just now would be disastrous to us all.
Howe called on me a few days since and he was no longer the hyena of London. His victory has softened him down completely. He is heartily sick of the glorious uncertainties of Politics and he assured me in consequence “he would not make a bear garden of N. Scotia.” I hope he will keep his word. His plan seems to me to go as delegate to London to vindicate himself and shew that all he said about the antifeeling in Nova Scotia was true. If Lord Carnarvon fulfilled his promise to me that he would be provided for all here would be union and peace. For mercy sake let him have something if he can be induced to accept of it. He has no means of living as he is and agitate he will untill his mouth is stopped. I see of course the difficulties in your way but if you set to it in right earnest I really think of all the men in the Dominion you alone will succeed. He fancies himself grossly insulted by the press and the leading men of Canada who in his words represented him as a dotard a fallen star &c. He feels sore on that delicate point and better I think soothe him if possible as long as there a hope of his return to better counsel. I may be well to give a hint of that kind to all the leading men on the Government :side. Any unprovoked onslaught in that quarter would be sure to have a bad effect here. I am ashamed to ask you to write amid the fearful occupations by Which I know your whole time is engrossed. But a line on the bearing of the antis in the House of Commons will be not only interesting to me but it will give me another opportunity of stating to you my views on the situation. We are going through a crisis for weal or for woe and by joint and dexterous management we are sure to succeed. Mr Keagney one of the 18 antis called yesterday and gave me most unmistakable indications of his good feelings towards the cause. It would not he difficult to convert him I Know. The same may be stated of Stewart Campbell who is secretly to my certain knowledge an out and out Unionist. Jones of Halifax is the greatest anti northerner anti annexionist in the country. He is a respectable wealthy man but is angry with Tupper for not having put the matter to the people before he went to London. He is sharp and keen as a razor, tricky as a down Easter and wants nothing but a little deference on the part of the Canadian authorities to bring him around. He declared himself not opposed to Union on the Hustings and he is therefore free to act as he pleases. Of the five Catholic Members for the Commons I will say no more than they are of the Ultra class all of them however may be softened down by prospects ahead with the sole exception of Power who is a merchant and who has strong and ungovernable feelings on all public subjects. He is death itself on Confederation. M Donald ,of Lunenburg Editor of the Citizen may be also brought to reason though in language so far he seems the most ultra of them all. The member for Liverpool whose name I do not remember is moderate to a degree and I think may be easily reasoned with. The same may be said of Coffin of Shelburne and Savary of Clane. The remaining six are of the rabid class and may be set down among the incurables. Unless indeed we are waranted in the hope that extremes will meet. But in this instance I do not believe it.
Please to present my Kindest remembrances to Lady McDonald who I hope is well and believe me my Dear Sir John
Yours Very Faithfully
†THOMAS L CONNOLLY Abp
Sir John A. Macdonald Papers – Nova Scotia Affairs 3, pp. 55-60.
Halifax N S
Nov 22 – 1867
My Dear Sir John
True to promise I continue to teaze you with my correspondence notwithstanding the many cares and distractions by which you are surrounded I was not a little surprized a few days since in hearing of a petition presented by a Mr J Wallace a lawyer of this city against the Chief Justice of Nova Scotia. Though said lawyer is at least nominally a Catholic and the Chief Justice an out and out Presbyterian yet in common justice and decency I am constrained to throw any little influence I have against so unjust and so disgraceful a proceeding. When the petition of this unfortunate man was read in our local legislature last year it received its final and definitive reply (as every one thought) from the death silence of every member in the whole house. If no new opening for vengeance presented itself in the Dominion Parliament no doubt it was hopelessly consigned to “the tomb of all the Capulets and would have never been heard of again. The respective characters of the complaint and the offender and the whole merits of the question at issue were too thoroughly understood here to be entertained for a moment. To make as much noise and give as much annoyance as possible before a new tribunal where all concerned were utterly unknown was too tempting an opportunity to be neglected and with the Chief Justice a well understood prominent unionist (though a Judge) and Mr Wallace and eighteen N. Scotia members on the opposite side an active sympathy is I presume hoped for which could not be thought of in Nova Scotia where public opinion is all on one side and where the whole affair is dead ,and buried long ago.
On the truth of the allegations in the petition I will say nothing more than to refer you to Mr Archibald or Doctor Tupper or any other unprejudiced and respectable man who is acquainted with the merits of the case. The case on which the misunderstanding took place was a priest’s will in which Wallace was named Executor. The tale is soon told. Though the clergyman is dead for the last five years most of the real heirs have not had a settlement or a penny. After pocketing on dit some three thousand pounds himself he has made the law costs swell to several thousand pounds besides. It was to resist such bare faced frauds as this that the Chief Justice backed by nearly all of his brother Judges had to resort to extremes & strip him of his gown and though through some legal informality the decision in this instance was reversed by the Privy Council in England yet the real merits or rather the rascality of the case still stands forth in all its hideousness. I do not think that a man so utterly gone down in public opinion exists in Nova Scotia at the present day. Though I should not wish to have my name published as am bearing witness against member of my own congregation yet I am anxious that you as the head of the Government should know from an undoubted source the merits of the whole case. If my confidential testimony can be of no direct use it will serve at least to put you on your guard and to make you seek reliable information from the proper sources. It is not with the smallest imaginable hope of succeeding against the Chief Justice but simply for the purpose of having revenge and giving annoyance that W. has fallen back on this forlorn hope as a last resource.
I am more than consoled with the proceedings in Parliament and especially so with the singular tact and good temper of the Canadian party and the hypocritical jeremiads and the two faced vacillation of our N. Scotian anti members. Not a man of them I believe in my heart would wish to see a repeal of the Union. Anglin hits them off very cleverly in his Newspaper where be compares them to a dissolute! widow glad to get rid of her husband who must have her full cry and ease her aching heart before she can thoroughly forget her bereavement! How good! I never read Anglin’s paper I merely heard an idea of that kind thrown out under his paternity by one of our priests and the above is my own paraphrase.
Let the Union party allow them to Monopolize (as they fairly do) all the talk to themselves in other words give them line and bait too and poor things will take the hook, beyond all doubt. With the earnest hope that you will not consider me a Bore in writing all this nonsense I am My Dr Sir John A.
Yours Very Faithfully
† THOMAS L. CONNOLLY.
Sir John A. Macdonald Papers –Nova Scotia Affairs 3, pp. 74-79.
Dec 31st 1867
My dear Archbishop
You see we have got through the first part of our session very successfully, the Government having been sustained by large majorities.
I think that the representatives from Nova Scotia were pleased with the few attentions shown them, at least Howe and several others were loud in their praises of the hospitalities extended to them. At the same time I must say that they tried our patience extremely. Howe talked a great deal of nonsense and some treason, but we bore with it all.
There must be an end to this kind of thing, however, and language of the same kind will not be permitted when we assemble again.
I can only hope that the nature of the answer from the Imperial Government to the demand for repeal of the Union, will be so firm and decided as to leave them no excuse for standing aloof as they hitherto have done.
The necessary imposition of the Tariff, as was anticipated by us, gives new food to the Anti-Confederate Newspapers. I am satisfied, however, that we took the right course.. We have put all the tax payers in .the Dominion on the same footing, and Nova Scotia now knows the worst.
She will ere long begin to enjoy the benefit of the expenditure for the Intercolonial Railway, which, in itself, is a sufficient return for all the extra burdens imposed.
No action was taken on the Petition against C. J. Young. It might perhaps have been summarily rejected, but that would have brought on a debate, and I thought it better that no notice should be taken of it. I have not read the petition, nor shall I do so unless some proceedings are attempted to be founded upon it. You may depend upon my protecting the independence of the Bench of the Dominion.
Lady Macdonald joins with me in wishing you all the Good wishes of the Season.
My dear Archbishop
Very faithfully yours
JOHN A MACDONALD
The Archbishop of Halifax,
Sir John A. Macdonald Papers – Letter Book no. 11, p. 318.
Halifax Jan 15.68
My Dear Sir John
I am truly thankful for your kind remembrance of me amid your many cares. I am only surprised at how you can find time to write to your many non political friends at all and at the same time meet all the public exigencies of the hour.
Thanks for what you kindly say on the case between Wallace and my friend the Chief Justice of Nova Scotia. Like people engaged in a lively scrimmage I am afraid that N. Scotia politics are now in so chaotic state that an outsider can form no more accurate idea of the situation than the combatants on either side. The personel of the Halifax Repeal Meeting yesterday did not say much in its favor. No one figured there but the Ultra Rabid of the party. No argument even attempted from recent experience in Ottawa but the same old thing “They felt they were not at home in a foreign Country!! & We were sold enslaved bound bands & feet &e. The Mayor refused to preside unless all parties were admitted to a free fight but this the Antis would not consent to. They wished it one sided and exclusive and yet strange one third of the audience was quite in opposition to every thing said and done and some of the speakers were treated to repeated hisses as they went along. All this means nothing in itself but Howe’s declaration about holding a council of War on his proximate return from England will certainly do no good among the uninitiated through the country. Several prominent antis are becoming scared and are being awakened to the consequences that may ensue.
Queer as it may appear the whole country is roused at a phantom and all through the reckless declamation and legerdemain of Howe. Falsehood and misrepresentation of the grossest kind is broadcast so that the good sense of many of our best people seems to have fairly deserted ,them. Without Howe we should most certainly have peace and quasi unanimosity on what is now distracting the land from end to end. Could we not get rid of him on principle or no principle I do not believe unreservedly in Sir F Williams’ pithy remark in his regard that it is hard to find feeding ground for sharks!! Much better I say find good pork and the richest viands for him than have him eat ourselves up as he is threatening to do. I private he speaks in most dulcet and peace loving tones you could not believe him to be the same man. If he were in the pay of the Americans I could understand him all. If not he is unquestionably the most eccentric and unintelligent body I ever met. I doubt if I give you one new idea in all I write but I have to write something and this I confess is at the moment giving me much painful anxiety. You may easily imagine what a tender & delicate chord I have to strike when such a man as Howe is endeavouring to excite the Irish & their descendants on the horrors of the Union selling the country &c. If you could find feeding ground for him in any part of the globe outside of N. Scotia tongue could not tell the magnitude of the blessing to myself and to the whole Dominion. Please to present my respectful regards to Lady McDonald who I hope is well and wishing however tardily all the Compliments of the New Year I am my Dr Sir John
Yours Very Sincerely
† THOMAS L. CONNOLLY
Sir John A. Macdonald Papers – Nova Scotia Affairs 3, pp. 111.114.
St Marys Halifax
My Dear Sir John
You will say I am a teaze and a pest but alas at the present juncture I can scarcely help it. If I were to forward to you all the applications that are made one would think I had the whole patronage of the Dominion at my disposal. It is perfectly laughable to think of the people from all quarters from Ontario as well as from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia that apply to me and no alternative is left but to decline and beg off as decently as I can.
Among the group one came last week from the Honble W. Miller Senator of the Dominion. I take it for granted that his public character and services are already known to you that I have nothing whatever to add. Like most successful men in America he is what is called a self made man and the builder up of his own fortunes whatever they may. In an incredibly short time he pushed his way into public life and made his mark where hundreds of more favoured ones had failed.
Whatever may be the honors of the Senatorial dignity it is evident it can be no counterpoise to him for the quasi total abandonment of his ever increasing legal business in Halifax. In my opinion he entered public life too young for his own benefit. A few years more in business would have infallibly made him what a Senator ought to be and that is thoroughly independent in purse. As it is I fear the “res angusta domi” must pinch more or less if he has nothing more nor less to lean on than his senatorial staff. In other it will never pay. On the other hand it is too late now to look behind and to lose him would he losing one of the mast effective if not the most effective speaker and business man that this country has produced. There is a great deal in him to come out yet and a little time will prove him to he a pretty fair match for any antagonist he will have to encounter. Without apology I will leave the remainder in your hands. At your own time and place and opportunity do exactly what you think and what you will find right on purely public grounds and that and nothing else is what will exactly please
Yours Very Sincerely
†THOMAS L. CONNOLLY
Sir John A. Macdonald Papers – Nova Scotia Affairs 3, pp. 123-126.
Feb 4th. 1868
My dear Archbishop
I am exceedingly obliged to you for your kindness in keeping me posted to use an Americanism, in Nova Scotian affairs.
The repeal fever seems to be now at its height, but I hope like other fevers, after the crisis we will have a wholesome reaction and that the patient will recover.
We hope that [ ] the final settlement of the Tariff, when we meet in March, such modifications will be made as will, in a great degree, remove the objections to it in the Maritime provinces.
I hope too that the answer from England will be so decided as to force all the Antis, who are loyal men and not really in favor of annexation, to accept things as they are.
I have received your note about Mr Miller. I like him very much, and it will afford me much pleasure to forward [your?] views whenever I have the opportunity.
Howess speech at Halifax was so seditious that it almost seems impossible, without the loss of self respect, to reward him for his sedition. However, we must wait until we see what answer is sent from England.
My dear Archbishop
Yours very sincerely
JOHN A MACDONALD
The Archbishop of Halifax
Sir John A. Macdonald Papers – Letter Book no. 11, p. 455.
Feb 19 – 1868
My Dear Sir John
I have duly received your kind and welcomed letter of the 4th Inst and must begin by thanking you for all you say of my friend Mr Miller. You will find him equal to any thing he undertakes in the oratorical department in the Senate or elsewhere and I have no doubt with some little further posting up in Canadian matters he will prove to be an eminently useful public servant. His legal business in Halifax must by this time be seriously compromised. It was his misfortune to have entered into Political life too soon for his own welfare and he may as well accept the position now with all its uncertainties.
On the situation I can add but little to what alas is publicly known through the press. Howe would have gladly been at the helm of the whole movement & controlled it if he could but as we all foresaw he outrun the mark. He tried a drag on the chariot wheels but he found his team was not to be reined in and so he had to change his tactics completely and run helter skelter with his crowd of maniacs. In his speech at Dartmouth “he was in serious doubt about repeal,” the Ottawa members should attend headquarters!! In Halifax a few days after all was reversed War to the Knife was the Key note.
The difficulty now is that the wildest and most absurd fictions are honestly believed by the masses. We have no prominent politician to stem such a tide of absurdity. It is asserted in the Local organ this morning that we begin by paying Canada 642,000 Dollars a year for the mere honor of belonging to her. The annual stipend to be increased as we go along. Incredible as it may seem the whole Province believes this and will continue to believe it until it will be disproved in some wonderfully effectual way that I cannot see at the present moment. Either Doctor Tupper or Archibald or both ought to be here and meet these reckless men who now seem to have the whole field to themselves. For more than one. third of the population were unionists a month since. Between the blundering about the tariff and the lies and misrepresentations it gave rise to I fear the number at this moment is reduced to [Units?] and most undoubtedly the consequences will be serious until the honest and intelligent men among us will be set to right especially on the financial question. Mr Johnson’s table is ably got up and is almost unexceptional as far as it goes but there is no mention in it of the inland revenues. Now what should be done is to draw up at once a thorough and comprehensive statement not of Tariff alone but of all revenues accruing to the Dominion from N. Scotia and all the expenditure to be provided for by N. Scotia in case of Repeal including half of three fifths of the Intercolonial Railroad say about ninety thousand sterling a year which our Government offered to pay as our portion some years since. All this should be done officially and without delay.
Mr [Jones?] called since I began this letter and I am glad to find on the most reliable information (that our revenue this current year has been overrated by the Antis to the trifling extent of 600,000 dollars!!! and our expenditure from the Dominion Treasury will be about 400,000 dollars in advance of our receipts. This would include of course our share of the whole interest for the Intercolonial Railroad as soon as it will be built. Thus there may be a small surplus to our credit until the Railroad be undertaken but that moment the account will be quite the other way. Assuming that the Railroad will cost 5,000,000 Sterling our portion of the interest to be paid at 4 and a half or perhaps five per cent will be very nearly given altogether by Canada. At least it must he so until our revenue will increase which please God it is sure to do when the Railroad is completed.
On dit and with some show of verisimilitude that Mr H is not to return to Nova Scotia. His residence is to let and I am told his furniture is immediately to be disposed of. Too good to be true but I am now beginning to believe it. The distress among our fishermen was considerable but of course exaggerated. I am glad however that Canada had a chance to come to our rescue. One of your first measures if not the very first should be the rectification of the Tariff. It would be most politic if you in your place in the House of Commons came out strong in your sympathy for N. Scotia If you could go even to the extent of regretting that the people were not consulted it would be desirable. But my friend Doctor Tupper who is alone responsable might not like it but there may be other urgent reasons too for reticence on that point. So that I leave it all in your hands. Kindness and Conciliation should be undoubtedly the policy. You can well afford to be magnanimous & forbearing even to a fault as you have been hitherto. We are still petulant and pouting & have not had time to get quite over our splenetic fit but we will cool down please God and get civil and good humoured as we go along. I have had nearly all the Anti fireeaters including Howe himself to dine with me lately and I confess they are considerably mollified. When I meet them at other people’s tables even impartial hearers admit I do the giant on the Union side but always in badinage & good humour. In point of fact I stop at nothing to unravel the entangled skein of sophistry and claptrap and lay the whole truth and nothing but the truth bare and naked. I may not have always the first word but I am sure to have the last and they are glad to get rid of me at any cost.
The General is doing his business well but I need not say he like a man of sound mind alone in a lunatic asylum. He is beleagured on all sides. A word of comfort from Lord Monck or your honoured self from time to time would he needed and would do much in fastening his convictions and sustaining him amid such a crowd of maniacs. I do my part but also I too am but a Unit and a Word of comfort from abroad would crown all. In all this I mean what I say and I hope yon will direct Lord Monck’s attention to it.
The worst of our present Legislature and local Executive is that they are with rare exceptions far inferior to the men we Have been accustomed to and this (if it is to continue) is I confess one of the darkest features of Confederation Briefless lawyers and brawlers and pennyless & noisy demagogues besottedly ignorant-or half educated & rabid men who have little or nothing to lose form three fourths of the whole. I say all this of course in perfect confidence.
I must now apologize for the length of this letter and the consequent trespass on your valuable time. I was near forgetting to mention that I write an elaborate document by this mail to the Duke of Buckingham which I have the vanity of thinking will do good. Thanking you for all your kindness
I am my Dr Sir John
Yours Very Sincerely
†THOMAS. L. CONNOLLY
PS. Please to ;present my respectful Compliments to Lady McDonald who I hope is well.
Sir John A. Macdonald Papers – Nova Scotia Affairs 3, pp. 143-152.
May 2nd 1868
My Dear Sir John
Notwithstanding all said about my refusal to sign any more petitions to Government there was a first exception to the rule in the person of my friend John Tobin about whom I have already written and to day a second exception is presented in the person of Joseph Murphy a resident of Kingston, Ontario whose son a Christian Brother is the most distinguished Mathematical Teacher in this city and who on that account is almost one of ourselves here. Anything I could do for him or his I look on as duty of common gratitude and after having already represented the whole case to Mr Tilley I make the liberty now of bespeaking your influence in his favor. From all I hear his demand does not amount to much and is rational to boot. Apologizing as I am afraid I will he doing for a long time for all my trespasses on you. I am My Dear Sir John as always
Very Sincerely Yours
†THOMAS L CONNOLLY Abp
Sir John A. Macdonald Papers – Nova Scotia Affairs 3, pp. 205206.
May 28 1868
My Dear Sir John
Encourage a pest once and it is not an easy matter to shake him off. Loud and bitter complaints have been made by the military here for the way in which the new Tariff bears upon them. The head of the Commissariat Department lately arrived from New Zealand assured me confidentially the other day that it was a cause not a whit more serious than this which gave rise to all the trouble between the Imperial and Colonial authorities in N. Zealand and which has well nigh terminated in the total separation of the two countries and he most unhesitatingly predicts the same inevitable results for the Dominion if such an unfortunate state of things should be persisted in. Though he went into all the minutia of the grievances referred to yet I would not now from memory attempt to enter in the intricacies of such a subject but if you deem it of sufficient importance to have the whole merits of the case before you in writing I will attend to it at once. I take it for granted you have difficulties enough on hands without a needless broil with the Military and the Horse Guards and the House of Commons in London where it is to be ventilated and made political Capital of one of these days. So speaking from authority and certain knowledge as I do I think it would be well to attend to this in time and if convinced of any undue pressure in that quarter please remedy the grievance at the first possible moment and throw in a soft word about your good intentions &c. The upper Military leaders here are certainly chagrined about it and on enquiry I take it for granted you will find the same feeling among them in Montreal.
I was glad to have it in my power to state to you in one of my late letters that I entered a public protest in all our Churches against appending my signature to any petition for office under Government and thank God I have not since been importuned by any of our own people. As long however, as the present anomalous state of N. Scotia vis à vis the Dominion continue and that there is really no political representative from here that has a claim on you I scarcely believe it any presumption on my part to send you my opinion from time to time on the more important public appointments for Nova Scotia. If no anti is to be appointed to the senate I am if possible more convinced than ever about John Tobin. If an Anti I would beseech of you not to carry it into execution untill the opinion of the soundest and best friends of the Dominion here be ascertained, and among them at this critical juncture I number myself. My opinion on such a subject just now can do no harm and may possibly prevent mischief. If John Tobin be not the man I would not wish any Catholic on either side of politics should be appointed. The Rev George Grant the most talented & influential Presbyterian Clergyman in Nova Scotia and a most sterling friend to the cause of Union wishes I should mention to you the name of the Rev James Christie of Cumberland for a Government office. His application is already in the hands of the Dominion Government I believe or will be there in a few days. About his fitness for the sought for situation there can be no doubt as he has been County School Inspector for some years and has the name of being one of the best educated men in the Province. But the grounds on which I rest his claims are the claims of the man who stands his sponsor and recommends him. Not one human being in this Province can do more or is more anxious to do more to consolidate this young country than he in his peculiar position and with such a character and such talents I have no doubt he is worth a round dozen of such a miserable specimen of Politicians as were most of those we sent up to you. For his sake alone I think you really ought to make the appointment. The Gentleman applicant is a Scotchman by birth and Presbyterian in Religion so you see I am perfectly disinterested. Please present my kindest remembrances to Lady McDonald and believe me Dr Sir John Yours
With Sincerest Esteem and Regards
†THOMAS L CONNOLLY Abp
P.S. Why in the world was Whelan’s trial deferred? I hope there is no sad blunder at the bottom. I feel any thing but assured on the subject sand thousands here are of the same opinion. I have showed this to the Rev. Mr Grant and I enclose his reply.
Sir John A. Macdonald Papers – Nova Scotia Affairs 3, pp. 227-232.
June 1st 1868
Private & Confidential
My dear Archbishop
I fear I have been wofully remiss in my -correspondence, but I know your kindness will excuse me when you consider how much I have been overwhelmed with work during the Session. We have, I am glad to say, just closed a very successful one and everything augurs well for the future.
The tone of the Nova Scotian members had a good deal altered and if the Colonial Office is only firm and Bright does not carry the House of Commons away with him, I think it probable that the reaction will set in.
Mr McLelan is still very hostile and he seems sincere – the others only think of themselves. By the Way Mr Jones of Halifax has not shown to advantage here – he has proved himself to be utterly unreliable. He disgusted our Finance Minister much on several occasions by his private conversations being utterly at variance with his public utterances. This is entre nous.
From what Dr Tupper writes, I have strong hopes that Howe will take the patriotic course on this return. I shall certainly take every means in my power to aid him in doing so, and to strengthen his hands if he will only accept the inevitable and lend his powerful aid in calming the storm that he was instrumental in raising. You will see that we have conceded a, good many things. We have taken off the duty on flour, corn & corn meal, and adjusted the sugar duties with the view of encouraging direct trade with the West Indies. True our friend Jones spoke against it, but we know the Refiners, who are the best Judges, consider the present rates of Tariff as greatly prejudicial to their interests and previous monopoly and I am satisfied that we have hit the right medium in this respect.
I saw your paper addressed to the Duke of Buckingham. It was a powerful appeal, and will have had, I doubt not, a very beneficial effect on his mind.
I have not yet been able to forward the views of our friend Mr Miller, but I shall be glad to do so when I have an opportunity, but it is so very difficult to find the “square hole for the square peg.”
I can quite understand the shock that poor McGee’s death must have caused you. Many thanks for your admirable oration on the occasion. Poor fellow! He was just in the beginning of his usefulness. He had thoroughly reformed in every way and was giving a genius full play. It was arranged between him and myself that he should retire from political life this summer. He was to have been appointed Commissioner of Patents, with a salary of £[ ] a year. This office would have been in a great measure a sinecure, and he intended to live here at Head Quarters in the immediate vicinity of our magnificent Library and devote himself to literary pursuits. I have no doubt that had he been spared he would have made his mark. As it happened all that is left for us is [ ].
The Government was desirous of giving McGee an annuity of $2000, but it was of the first importance that the vote should be unanimous, so we were obliged to consult the opposition and we found that to secure their concurrence we must fix the annuity at $1200. This however, with the £1000 settled upon each of the young ladies is quite sufficient for their moderate wants. His debts and the incumbrance on his house will amount to some $6000. A spirited subscription is now being raised among his friends which will clear all that off, so that his family may be considered as being comfortably provided for.
I note all that you say about Mr Tobin. Your recommendation would be quite sufficient, but in addition to it I have received several letters from various sources in his behalf. I keep that open however, entre nous, as well as several other matters, until Howe’s and Tupper’s return – they may be useful should we come to terms, as is not improbable. All this is sub sigillo.
I know Joseph Murphy, about whom you interest yourself, very well. He is a very decent fellow, and I got his first appointment for him. He now desires a transfer to a different point, which I shall endeavour to effect for him. His great trouble is want of education especially in the way of handwriting. This will prevent his promotion which, otherwise, his steadiness would give him a fair claim to.
My wife sends her best regards, and hopes that at no very distant day she may have the pleasure of meeting you again.
My dear Archbishop,
Always most sincerely Yours
P.S. Will you quietly find out for me what Mr Miller’s views are. I could not exactly arrive at that point although he evidently looks for something. This is entre nous.
The Archbishop of Halifax
Sir John A. Macdonald Papers – Letter Book no. 11, p. 814.
Ottawa, June 7th 1868
By Telegraph from Halifax 6th
To Sir John A Macdonald
Clerkship Custom house warehouse department vacated death of Peter Donaldson or anything else you like
THOMAS L CONNELLY
Sir John A. Macdonald Papers – Nova Scotia Affairs 3, p. 234.
June 15th 1868
My dear Archbishop
Many thanks for yours of the 28th May.
There must he some mistake about the complaints of the Military with respect to the way the Tariff bears upon them. Mr Rose acted in the matter after consulting the Military authorities at Head Quarters and with their sanction. I have no doubt that the instructions issued to the Customs Dept., will be satisfactory to the soldiers and at the same time [prevent?] numerous frauds against the Revenue, which have heretofore been continually recurring.
I have no doubt that Rose, who has now gone to England, will get the sanction of the Horse Guards to our course, as it really has been in the interests of the Military.
With respect to the Seat in the Senate, I have already stated to you that we will keep that open for a time. The Office shall be filled up with great caution. It will not do to make mistakes just now in Nova Scotia as to appointments.
I telegraphed you to know what the Revd Mr Christie wanted, as subordinate offices in Canada are treated Departmentally, and I do not hear of them unless they happen to be in my own Department, or unless my attention is specially called to them. I shall see what can be done for the Calvanist.
My dear Archbishop
The Archbishop of Halifax
Sir John A. Macdonald Papers – Letter Book no 11, p. 885.
St. Marys Halifax
Sept 16. 1868
My Dear Sir John
I reached home on the day of your departure from Pictou and travelled for that purpose one hundred and eighty miles!! with my own horses in three days. I hoped against hope to meet you and Lady McDonald but I was doomed to be disappointed. In a political point of view my absence at that particular moment may eventually prove to be of advantage but it was a misfortune not to have fallen in with you yet it must be said in my own defence it was physically impossible to be back sooner. I had twenty five congregations to visit and eight hundred miles on the common roads to travel and to break appointments made three months previously or to pass by even one of these churches at such a distance from Halifax was completely out of the question as you may well imagine.
I fortunately was in time for the Honble Mr McDougal wife and daughter and had the General and all the notables to meet them at dinner in my country house. Lady McDonald and you were wanted to make up what proved to be a downright jolly party. We had great fun that is all. The Kennys were with us. You are already aware that the brother of the Receiver General poor old Tom Kenny died a few days since, leaving considerably (on dit) over a hundred thousand pounds to his brother the Receiver General sole Executor and Heir. That makes our friend the third or perhaps the second richest man in Nova Scotia but he must hold on to the present Dominion Government long as I have any influence over him & that he is not dismissed by you. He is no talker but he is what is boundlessly better a doer. He is in American phraseology a whole team. He has managed his own affairs so as no other Irish Catholic on this Continent can boast of.
Now for a hurried record on the situation I was in Yarmouth the day after the great war meeting & if there was any thing to astonish me it was the utter heartlessness & hypocrisy of all concerted. The man who proposed annexation a friend of mine Townsend is and always was at heart as great a Union man as I am. He did (he said) to try the unwashed how far they would go and see if there were any token of returning good sense. Townsend is local member for Yarmouth and true internally and externally as he dare to be. Vast numbers of respectable people there are Union. The Sheriff Townsends son is a declared Unionist. He assured me the first man that would dare pull down the B flag in Yarmouth would he mercilessly shot down and that a single red coat would not he required to exterminate every annexationist in the county. The French Catholics who are in majority would fight to death against annexationists, and I can vouch on oath if need be that a half a dozen could not be found among seven or eight thousand of them who would contribute a British six pence for Repeal. That is the real feeling of the masses every where I go and no mistake. Your Intercolonial Railroad without which union is a practical nullity will soon turn the scale the other way. The ease with which men in all parts of N S have ranged themselves as the milita of the Dominion notwithstanding all efforts to the contrary is proof positive of the apathy to say the very least of it about repeal. It is only the wire pullers in the Local parliament and the fanatical few that are making all the noise they can. But be assured it is blank cartridge thunder without lightening. So motley and unintellectual a gathering was never before seen in our House of Assembly.
The greatest calamity that could befall the Union Cause just now is the ousting by Petition of Mr Blanchard one of the two Champions of Confederation in the House. The complaint against him was sheer nonsense but in such a house of rampant Ignoramuses no better could be expected. Blanchard did his duty nobly & has certainly served the Dominion cause here a hundred times more than any other man including the redoubted Dr Tupper himself. He is not quite as clever but in the last two sittings of the Anti House he has outdone himself and by far exceeded the anticipation of his most ardent admirers. I pity him from my soul even though he is a very strong Huegenot Calvinist and I will do all I can for him against his Papist competitor who is a nobody and what is worse just now on the wrong side.
Mr B goes back again to his County (Inverness) Cape Breton to run his Election with what in these times of disastrous experience I would call a fair if not a certain chance of success. He succeeded there before when every one on his side in the Province failed. There are two priests out of four in the county in favor of him & Confederation. The Presbyterians who gather there in considerable numbers will vote for him nearly unanimously as they did before The Antis whose pockets are always sorely tried will no doubt make desperate efforts to defeat him. What Sir John A McDonald and Compeers ought to do in his behalf deponent saith not, but his thoughts are very strong on the subject. Nothing should be omitted to secure his victory in Inverness. His return again will be the final death blow to the Anti Cause.
You know my very dear friend Livesay who is just now in Ottawa looking after his own affairs in connection with the I. Railroad. I have heard his case over and over both from himself and Mr Fleming and I must say I am from conviction heart and soul on Livesay’s side. It may be no harm for me simply to state to you my impressions on this subject. He is besides the very best of fellows and the very soul of honor though he is Saxon but this Sir John will very properly say has nothing to do with his exactions about the Intercolonial. What he avers may be a little colored but you are sure to find it substantially true. Hoping to write my official missive soon again please to present my kindest regards to Lady McDonald and believe
Yours Ever Sincerely
†THOMAS. L. CONNOLLY
Sir John A. Macdonald Papers – Nova Scotia Affairs 3, pp. 303-308.
Septr 21st 1868
My dear Archbishop
Many thanks for your kind letter of the 16th instant.
It was a great disappointment to Lady Macdonald & myself that we had not the pleasure of meeting you when we were in your part of the World. The loss was ours altogether however, as you were much better employed in every sense. I have a shrewd suspicion that you mingled with your religious [?] admonitions some wholesome advice on the political aspect of affairs!
I quite agree with you in what you say in Mr Kenny'’ favor. He is a truly worthy man, and I rejoice at the good fortune which has recently fallen to him. It is in every sense a good fortune, as the death of his brother was one that under circumstances could only be considered as a happy release to the poor sufferer himself as well as to his relatives, who were obliged to give up so much of their time to him.
You speak of the [ ] & hypocrisy of those concerned in the war meeting at Yarmouth. The opinion that I formed when in Nova Scotia, after considerable discussion with people of all classes was that the main body of the people who had been deluded by the leaders were sincere in their desire for repeal, and if allowed would, go to great lengths to obtain it, but that the Leaders themselves were as a body not sincere, but used the cry of secession solely for the purpose of forwarding their political ends.
You see that we are commencing the Intercolonial Railway with all speed, and I hope soon to see a large body of labourers at work in Nova Scotia upon it.
I was very sorry that Blandhard was unseated, as the contest at his election will greatly tend to revive the excitement. I really do not know that we can assist him from Ottawa in any way. We have no money at our disposal for election purposes, and any strong avowal of sympathy with him from here, would do him more harm than Good.
I observe what you say of Livesay. He is a very good fellow and I shall he glad if the Government are able to meet his views on Railway matters. That however, must be Governed by considerations for the public interest altogether. We have heard him before the Privy Council at considerable length, on Ins own behalf and he is now preparing additional papers for our consideration.
Lady Macdonald joins me in kind regards.
My dear Archbishop
Very sincerely Yours
The Archbishop of Halifax
Sir John A. Macdonald Papers – Letter Book no. 11, p. 1121.
Sept 25. 1868
My Dear Sir John
I need not say all is lost but our honor. I was prepared for even a Serious defeat but the result far and away exceeded my worst anticipation. The cuckoo cry of having sold the country, the dread of increased taxation and conscription for wars to be fought towards the end of the next century, bribery on an unexampled scale mammoth lying and misrepresentation the unaccountable inertia and bungling of the ins and the “Up guards and at them” of the hungry outsiders with Howe at their head and last and perhaps most disastrous of all not allowing the people a voice on Confederation are the causes of our overwhelming defeat. Amid nineteen constituencies Cumberland and the city of Halifax have been true to the cause.
Owing to a split among Catholics not unlike that of Montreal over eight hundred between County and City did not vote at all. They were already pledged to and in many instances bribed by the antis and would have certainly voted the anti Ticket but (probably) for your humble servant. The wholesale one sided vote of a few bigoted Presbyterian settlements in Musquedabait was more than a counterpoise for our City majority of 400 and as thanks to yr humble servants request in London both city and county were blended in one for the return of two members for the Dominion in our effort to grasp all we lost all.
Thank God we have Canada and you to fall back on or we should he in a sorry plight indeed. Such a heterogenious mass of nobodies of all stripes in Politics education and religion were never gathered before in Nova Scotia. The drama will soon commence with some tragedy to be quickly succeeded beyond all doubt by comedy and a farce. They are bound to awake some whew of resistance to the Union Cause to cajole and satisfy dupes And then in the inspired language of their organ yesterday they will bear their yoke with resignation!!! I E take any patronage at the disposal of Sir John A Macdonald and with tears in their eyes make a virtueof necessity!!!
For the present the programme is to force back New Brunswick into single blessedness and then make the grand stroke for Seperation!!!
If Joe were provided for in England or if he could be tickled by something worth acceptance under the Dominion our Anti Union party would collapse in a day. Under present circumstances I take it for granted that Canada cannot in honor or consistency make a single step in advance and yet far as this Province is concerned it is a great misfortune he is not out of the way. With his mouth stopped we should be in three months as thoroughly union men as those of Toronto or Quebec.
If Doctor Tupper accepts office and runs another election five or even ten thousand pounds will be spent by the antis in opposing him. But I think no power on the Earth will oust him this time if he have only a little support from you. If any of the Local antis try Halifax again they are sure to be defeated as the City is now thoroughly roused and vast numbers who voted against union merely to punish “the traitors will now most assuredly vote for it.
If the antis shew any disposition to support your Government it is for Lord Monck and you to decide ,on the terms and your friends here will most willingly give up their claims if you can only win over the opposition by timely concessions. But if they persist in their suicidal policy you Know your real friends in this country and I am happy to say they are all or nearly all that is intelligent and respectable in the least. Deduct the votes given on side issues bought at unheard of sums and the heart of the whole county is still for Union.
As Mr Compton is the bearer of this note I will leave the remainder to be told by him. If any crumbs of Government patronage are to be given away and that the Nova Scotia antis are not in the foreground I think my friend as No 1 of the Union group in this county should not be forgotten. If the antis are to be propitiated neither he nor I would wish to embarrass you for a moment. Kindest regards to Lady McDonald who I hope is well and promising my humble influence and cooperation in the cause of Union in this county I am My D Sir John
Yours Very Sincerely
† THOMAS L. CONNOLLY
Sir John A. Macdonald Papers – Nova Scotia Affairs 3, pp. 34.41
Novr 27. 1868
My Dear General
You must be aware through the press of my intention to build the facade and Steeple of Our Cathedral and so complete the whole structure. I have decided on building with the granite of our own country and as the best quality is only to be found in the inexaustable quarry at the North West Arm belonging to Government, I am emboldened to ask Your Excellency for what will be of boundless benefit to me and no loss whatever to the public service or to Her Majesty’s Govt there is as you can ascertain on inquiry enough of stone in that single quarry to build all the fortifictions in the British Empire and After that to build many cities as large as. London. Government does not seem to me to be working there at present and if You allow me on payment of a small royalty and under the inspection of HM Royal Engineers to quarry there some Seven or eight hundred Tons you will Confer a marked favor on Me and on Sixteen Thousand Roman Catholics in this City who are and always have been unexceptionally loyal. The Cathedral will be a [ ] a great public benefit in as much as it will help to beautify the City and be a great ornament as you are aware to the Government House Square on Which it fronts, with the earnest hope of a favorable reply, I am my dear General
Your Obedt Servant
†THOMAS L CONNOLLY
R. C. ArchBishop of Halifax
[Copy. Original sent to War Office.]
Canada Miscellaneous Documents, vol. II, p. 94.
Ottawa May 5/69
My Dear Sir John
I need scarcely announce to you that I am in Ottawa and most anxious to have the honor of a tete a tete. I am aware of the tens of thousands of calls on your precious time but I have business of importance to transact and I am determined not to trespass at this hurried hour beyond the strict limits of the unavoidable
Simply say by bearer when and where I am to see you. Hoping Lady McDonald is well
I am my Dear Sir John A.
Most Sincerely yours,
†THOMAS L CONNOLLY Abp.
Sir John A. Macdonald Papers – General Letters 1869.1870, p. 150.
Halifax N S
June 2 – 1869
My Dear Sir John
After all the kindness experienced at your hands before, during and after my visit to Ottawa it would be a total dereliction of duty not to write a line to you of grateful acknowledged. But in truth I feel the trespass my nonsensical and non business lines would be on your precious time and I know besides that you do not even suspect I am heartless. Nothing could exceed the pleasurable impression made on me, by my first and last visit to Ottawa. It was well I fled in time as I should soon become a martyr to all the extravagantly kind attentions of my friends.
I must now begin by thinking you in especial manner for Compton’s appointment. I wrote to Mr Howe as you directed and he assented with a good grace as he knows how to do when he likes. I must also say thanks for your kind appointment of a Roman Catholic Chaplain to the Penitentiary in the person of my Secretary the Rev Mr Daly. Still more must I thank for the joyous news flashed down here by Telegraph about the prospectively certain release of F. McMahon through the intercession of the ArchBishop of Halifax. That will go a long way in whitewashing my damaged character with Fenians both here and in the States. Already I am the “white headed boy” in quarters where my ultra loyalty gave mortal offence before and so much the better I say both for the cause and myself. I would let that unfortunate man rot in goal ten times over than yield an inch to the blustering of such men as Anglin and his compeers. Remember time on that subject is of value. “What is done quickly and offhand is done doubly. Do my Dr Sir John cut this Gorgian knot, and let the world soon hear that F. McMahon is abroad and with all humility I beg yon should add “mainly through the intercession of His Grace &c &c.
I am going to have two or three big dinners now in rapid succession and only regret you are not here to enjoy a funny vis a vis with General Doyle who is good and true and genial as ever and who has now thank mercy all his sties fait his feet. I shall say nothing more about Politics than this. Even I myself was never prepared for all the marvellous somersauts of our public men. It is positively ludicrous. For mercy sake in the dense crowd I mean of new friends & admirers dont forget please the dwarfed dimensions of the few who stood alone in days happily gone bye. I know you wont. Kindest & warmest regards to Lady McDonald who I fondly hope guides & aids you in all things & believe me
Ever Faithfully yours –
†THOMAS L CONNOLLY
Sir John A. Macdonald Papers – Nova Scotia Affairs 3, pp. 594.597.
July 17th 1869
My dear Archbishop
I have been delaying from time to time answering your note in the expectation that I would have some news to give you.
I am glad to tell you that I have just received a telegram from Sir John Young, who is now at Quebec, informing me that he has approved of the Revd Mr McMahon’s pardon. I have drawn my report in favour of his release with some care, and I hope you will like it. The feeling of irritation among the people 'of Upper Canada from the wanton destruction of life and property caused by the raid of 1866, is so great, that I had that feeling before my eyes all the time I was preparing the Report. You will see that I have taken care to give you credit for your individual exertions in this case.
I think, what with McMahon’s pardon, and the appointment of Compton & the Revd Mr Daly, your people will begin to think that you are a power in the State. I need scarcely say chat anything I can do to strengthen your hands will be most cheerfully done.
My wife and child are enjoying the Sea breezes in the vicinity of Portland. So soon as I can get away I intend to join them, and I am under more than half a promise to Sir Hastings Doyle if I get as far as Portland, to pay another visit to Halifax and enjoy again his hospitality & charming society
My dear Lord
Very sincerely yours
The Archbishop of Halifax
Sir John A. Macdonald Papers – Letter Book no. 12, p. 1030.
Oct 6. 1869
My Dear Sir John
After the eleventh hour I write to apologize for my long silence. Immediately after the arrival of your last kind letter it was bruited about that you had already left Ottawa en route for Halifax where you were sure to meet the Governor General Prince Arthur &c. If Lady McDonald were not with you I went so far as to ambitioned the honor of your staying with me during your sojourn in Halifax.
The expectation of your arrival from day to day Was Kept up till the last moment and the fuss and excitement for the time being so absorbed me that I gave up all thought of writing.
Now that I am on the eve of my departure for Rome and what is worse not knowing when I am to return, I feel it a duty to give you my brief adieu before parting.
My past public life proves I humbly think that among my many faults I am not an ingrate. My future I am very certain will continue to be of the same character. I am thankful sincerely thankful for all your kindness and goodness and attention in my regard. As in duty bound I would be always most happy to serve a fellow religionist but in probably nine tenths of my applications to you and the other members of the Dominion Government my appeals were in behalf of non Catholics. I say this to show that in all the patronage I sought I was guided by no narrow merely religious or Sectarian feeling. The fostering of the spirit of Union between the Upper & Lower Provinces the good of our common country which I am happy to say I love was is and ever will be my only guiding Star. Soon after the passing of the Confederation act I put my name to two or three petitions for office which I did not exactly approve of on public grounds and I felt it my duty to say so in a private letter to your honoured self. Apart from these I never lifted a finger or uttered a word that was mot intended above all & before all to serve the Cause of Confederation. In the critical position of N. Scotia I felt it was absolutely necessary for me and mine to appear but as little as possible.
Mr Kenny’s appointment originated on public grounds in Ottawa itself without my interference. I am responsable for having forced him to have accepted it and I have reason thank God to be proud of that act. All other appeals in behalf of Protestants as well as Catholics were purely and solely for the good of the public service and to popularize far as I could the Dominion Government in Nova ,Scotia.
Now thank mercy public events have so culminated in favor of Union that happily for all concerned my humble services are no longer required. I have again betaken myself to my beads and my sanctuary where I purpose to remain until some extraordinary and unforeseen emergency will call me forth again. I have no personal interest not even a distant relative to serve in the whole Dominion therefore all that I have asked and will ask from Government must be necessarily on public grounds.
In the Political world here all promises well. The cause is manifestly and irresistibly in the ascendent. The operations on the Intercolonial are not at all as active as may be desired and cause some discontent but I presume there will soon be some more signs of life and vigour.
If your humble servant can be of any service to Lady McDonald or yourself in Europe a letter will find me Propaganda Rome. Would it not be merry to meet yourself there one of these fine days. If Ministers of Justice could get a furlough now is the time.
Please to present my kindest regards to Lady McDonald and believe me now and ever
Most Sincerely yours
†THOMAS L. CONNOLLY Abp
Sir John A. Macdonald Papers –Nova Scotia Affairs 3, pp. 669-676.
Jany 20th 1870
My dear Archbishop
You will be surprised at receiving a letter from me when you are so far away from home and the Dominion. I feel assured, however, that the great subjects which engage your attention at present will not so completely absorb you as not to leave you a little time to think of matters connected with that Confederation in the promotion of which you took so active a part. I therefore make no apology in writing to you.
You will have seen that contrary to all expectations the election in Newfoundland went against Confederation. There has been nearly as clear a sweep as in the elections of 67 in Nova Scotia. Carter, the head of the Government was elected by a majority of only three; and our friend Shea, a representative Irish Catholic, was utterly defeated in his own Constituency, and this by the influence, as he writes of some of the Priests. It is especially vexatious that Mr Shea should have been defeated, as if his advice had been taken and the Elections held last Spring, Confederation would have been carried without a Contest.
It appears, however, that everything went against us. The fishing population which had been in great misery for some years & were anxiously looking to Confederation for relief, have had an exceptionally prosperous year, both in Cod and Seal fishing and so like the bulls that we read of in Holy Writ, they “waxed fat and kicked”. Added to that Mr Bennett, and Walter Grieve spent, it is said, upwards of £10,000 in carrying the Elections.
There was the usual amount of lying. The fishermen were told that they were to be drafted away to fight the battles of Canada in the far West, and such like foolish stories which you know had such influence in your own Province. Shea also intimates that there was a substratum of Fenianism underlying the whole.
Now, you will say, I am sorry for all this, but what can I do to cure it. You can do a great deal. I assume that you will be consulted as to the appointment of the Catholic Bishop of Newfound. land. Had the late revered Prelate been alive, his influence would have borne down all opposition.
It is now of great importance that we should get a Bishop appointed of popular manners, and sound on the Union question.
The sooner this is done the better, so that the new Bishop may take advantage of the reaction which, it is said, has already set in. So much for Newfoundland.
You will see that we have our troubles in the West as well as in the East, and that the French half-breeds are bothering us. Their resistance has assumed considerable importance, but our latest advices are, on the whole, satisfactory. I have little doubt that by patience & conciliation all will be well. Bishop Taché will, I hope long ere this reaches you, have left Rome. His great and acknowledged influence will, I believe, bring back these misguided people to reasonable courses.
The progress of Confederation has been, on the whole, so successful that we must not be surprised or disappointed at some checks.
From Prince Edward Island the news is encouraging. The Canadian Government has made certain proposals which are admitted, even by the Antis, to he liberal. Still there is a good deal of opposition from some who dislike all change, and others who ,do not like (their political importance to be snuffed out. We will await the result with patience.
Annand is now at Washington trying to get the duties off Coal and Fish, but has been defeated so far, the Committee of Ways and Means having thrown out the propositions for a reduction on both articles. Before going to Washington he endeavoured to get an Order in Council passed authorizing his going on behalf of the Government, but our friend Sir Hastings, always as true as steel, refused to pass any such Order in Council, as the power of sending such a delegation rested with the Government of the Dominion.
Howe is well after his trip to Red River, and is preparing for our Parliamentary Campaign, which opens on the 15th February; and all the rest of your acquaintances in Ottawa are flourishing as usual.
My wife joins me in warmest regards.
My dear Archbishop,
Yours most sincerely
The Archbishop of Halifax
Sir John A. Macdonald Papers – Letter Book no. 13, p. 925.
85 Via della Croce
March 7 1870
My Dear Sir John
This time I am nearly a month after date in answering your very Kind and welcomed letter of the 20th of January. When I simply tell you that every available moment of my time is swallowed up in studying Theology [?] and preparing to meet the whole Polemical power of Rome with a world at its back you can easily conceive how backward I must be in all my correspondence. I have now at least thirty unanswered letters On my table and must by hook or by crook get through them with the utmost rapidity.
I was shocked at the first news of our disappointment in Nova Scotia but not much more so than on hearing the unexpected tidings of disasters in N. Foundland. People imagine that God has never any thing to do with Politics and Politicians for the simple reason that they are outside of the pale of Christianity on account their utter dishonesty and unconscienciousness. But I think the very reverse. In every move on the political chessboard in the Dominion as elsewhere I see the finger of an overruling Providence that in the end is sure to bring order out of Chaos. For example if the Red River difficulty did not occur there is not a man at either side of the line that would not believe as every one believed that the whole Fenian forces and Yankees to boot would be in through the smallest loophole and on the slightest provocation.
Where are they now? Happily that fear is for ever dispelled unless indeed war should occur between England and America.
On receipt of Mr Kenny’s letter about Red River I applied at once to the authorities here and obtained the necessary order for his immediate departure.
I am thankful for your Kind hint about Newfoundland but I can most honestly assure you it was not needed. I have never forgotten my paramount duty on that great subject since the death of the two deceased Bishops. Some three weeks since I was officially called on to name the two Bishops for the two vacant sees, and if my nominees be the favoured ones you may be sure our joint object will be achieved beyond all manner of doubt. It must not he forgotten however that I am now on the opposition side here and that my influence must necessarily suffer in consequence. It is not at all certain that nomination may not be made also by Cardinal Cullen of Dublin and if so save us from a red hot Irish Politician. I have placed the whole position and its dangers and difficulties before the Authorities here and can do no more. Three months ago I was omnipotent with the Pope. Now alas I fear I have gained his esteem & forced myself upon his respect and fears in one way but I fear the cordiality of the grand old man is pretty well forfeited for ever far as I am concerned. The very instant I hear of the NF. Land appointments I will write. Please present my Kindest regards to Lady McDonald also to Sir John and Lady Young who I hope are well and popular as when I was in Ottawa and believe me My dr Sir John in a hurry as usual
Yours Ever Most Sincerely
†THOMAS L CONNOLLY.
Sir John A. Macdonald Papers – General Letters, 1869-1870, pp. 388-91.
March 22 1871
My Dear Doctor
I am glad any thing has turned up to give me a reasonable chance of doing what I wished to do long ago and that is to write to you saying that there is still such a man alive as the Arch Bishop of Halifax. In Rome all complimentary and unneeded correspondence was out of the question but I should have written to you since my return to Halifax but I procrastinated until it became too late.
In reference to Nova Scotia politics and the Confederate party and Mr Rand I can say in all sincerity that my feelings and principles have not undergone one iota of alteration since I last had the honor of a tete a tete with you. Confederation itself was a big question boundlessly beyond the range of ordinary Politics and from the beginning as you are aware I committed myself to it body and soul and I have yet to regret anything said or do in connection with it. John Tobins unpopularity and poor Howe’s anticonfederate, violence made the part I took in it very painful inasmuch as it brought me into a violent & unseemly conflict with my own people. That state of things has now happily passed away for ever and I am sure that you as one of my personal friends would not advise me to trie [ ? ] the experiment unless in some tremendous Crisis such as that of confederation Fenian invasion Annexation &cc If any of these questions should ever turn up again for discussion you may be quite sure that coûte que coûte I will be again where I always was. In all union matters I have now and think I always will have the same set of political opinions, and must for ever coincide with the Union Conservative party in this country but if the separate school Bill came up you know well at what side both the priests and myself would be forced to be at for the time being. The Local Government have done their best to make friends of Mammon on this score among many of our people and owing to Rand’s madness succeeded to some extent but they never made an impression on me nor never can as long as they are opposed directly or indirectly to Confederation. If they changed their policy in that particular I am not prepared to say what I would do but my ‘heart and my self love would make me feel that “consistency was a jewel and that I ought to still cling to old friends. That is what I think I would and will do under all circumstances but in honour I ant bound to confess what I repeatedly said to you in years gone bye that if Rand did not become more mollified and tractable he would infallibly pull down your or any other Government in Nova Scotia. Even the right and the good thing he said in the wrongest and harshest manner possible and he was needlessly making enemies for himself and the Government all around.
I am delighted therefore to find that he is provided for other-wise. Mr Hill was the first to tell me and then came your kind letter to set the seal on it. I will have duly ventilated as far as I can among our own people and I will write to the two Bishops about it in a few days. I do not expect much from Dr Cameron. It is said he will go to Newfoundland soon. What his object is I cannot divine.
There are grave private and family difficulties about Tom Kennys running. I am to dine with him to night and I will have a quiet talk with and in a week or so I hope to let you Know the result.
Please to remember me most affectionately to Mrs Tupper and Mrs Cameron who I hope are well.
Every yours most Sincerely
†THOMAS L CONNOLLY
Sir Charles Tupper Papers, Vol. 1, p. 91.
(Annotated: 2024 Ackd July 8th 1871)
I take the liberty of requesting Your Lordship to forward the enclosed Petition from the Roman Catholic Clergy and Laity of the Arch Diocese of Halifax to the Right Honorable the first Lord of the Treasury, at your earliest convenience.
In common with the overwhelming majority of Roman Catholics in all other parts of the British Empire, we have felt it our duty as loyal subjects of H. M. the Queen and devoted children of the Catholic Church to speak out emphatically in behalf of the temporal power of the Pope and to invoke the powerful assistance of the British Government of restoring him back again to the position of which he has been so unjustly. deprived to the serious injury of so many millions of loyal Roman Catholic subjects within H. M. Dominions.
I have the honor to be Your Lordship’s
†THOMAS L CONNOLLY
ArchBishop of Halifax
G Series -Letters Received 1901-2100, 1871. No. 2024.
July 5th 1871
The Earl of
I have the honor to transmit herewith a Petition to The Right Honb1e W. E. Gladstone from the Roman Catholic inhabitants of the Province of Nova Scotia praying that the Prime Minister will Throw all the weight of his official position to obtain the restoration of the Temporal power of His Holiness the Pope.
I have &c.
(Letter Book). Governor General’s Correspondence to the Secretary of State, 1870, p. 172.
Govr Genl Office
Aug.t 11th 1871
My Lord Archbishop.
I have the honor by desire of the Govr Genl to transmit herewith to your Grace a copy of a Despatch and enclosure received from the Secretary of State for the Colonies in reply to a Petition to Mr Gladstone from Your Grace and other Roman Catholics in Nova Scotia.
I have &c
Signed J. C. McNEILL Lt Col.
For the Govrs Secy
Governor General's Secretary’s Letter Book, 1869, p. 195.
27 July 1871.
I have to acknowledge Your Lordshi’'s Despatch NO 122 of 5th July, forwarding a petition to Mr Gladstone from the Roman Catholic inhabitants of the Province of Nova Scotia, in which they pray that he will use his influence to obtain the restoration of the temporal Sovereignty of the Pope.
Memorials of a similar character have been received by Her Majesty from the inhabitants of Malta and Gozo; and as the most convenient mode of answering the petition from Nova Scotia, I enclose a copy of the Despatch which was addressed in reply to the Governor of Malta.
Mr Gladstone, to whom I have communicated the petition addressed to him, requests me to inform the petitioners, through Your Lordship, that his sentiments are in accordance with those which are contained in that Despatch.
I have the honor to be
Your Lordship’s most obedient
Secretary of State, Vol. II, 1871.
The Earl of Kimberley to Sir Patrick Grant
7th December 1870.
N º 64
I have received your Despatches Nos' 146 and 153 of the 26th of October and 8th of November, in which you enclose Memorials addressed to Her Majesty by the inhabitants of Malta and Gozo, praying that Her Majesty will cause the Government to take steps for supporting the rights of the Holy See in the Roman States, and to secure to the Sovereign Pontiff that independence and liberty which are necessary for the Government of the Church of which he is the head. These Memorials have been laid before The Queen, who was pleased to receive them very Graciously: and Her Majesty observes with pleasure the loyal and affectionate tone of the Memorialists towards Her person and Government.
Her Majesty desires me to state that this subject will continue Affairs of the Roman States on the occasion of former events which have occurred during the reign of the present Pope, nor can they now interfere but the deep interest which is felt by many millions of Her Majesty’s subjects, in common with the Maltese, in the position of the Pope, renders all that concerns ,his personal dignity and independence, and freedom to exercise his spiritual functions, fit subjects for the notice of Her Government, and they have not failed to take such steps as are in their power to afford to the Pope the means of security in case of need.
Her Majesty desires me to state that this subject will continue to receive the careful attention of Her Government, and that She has seen with much satisfaction the declarations of the Italian Government that the Pope’s freedom and independence will be fully maintained and due provision made for the support of his dignity
I have &c
Sir Patrick Grant G.C.B.
&c &c &c
Secretary of State, Vol. II, 1871.
Enclosure in “Canada, No. 416.”
Septt 21st 1871
My dear Archbishop
I had a visit from a Mr Casey of Newfoundland the other day. He is a strong confederate & we had a long talk on the subject. Among other things he suggested early communication with the new Bishop of Newfoundland, Dr Power. Permit me to ask your friendly intervention in this instance. You have done so much for confederation already that I have no hesitation in asking you to continue your exertions in the good work.
We have Messs Garvie & Flynn here just now, who are as amiable as possible. Garvie told me last night that he was much pleased with the frank & courteous manner in which he had been dealt with.
I hope that ere long you will have a moderate Government in Nova Scotia, and all will be well. But moderation in politics seems to be almost impossible in Nova Scotia. As Howe used to say “the smaller the pit the more bitterly the rats fight.” I had great hopes of having the pleasure of seeing you this Summer, but have been unable to manage it.
My dear Lord
Yours very faithfully
The Archbishop of Halifax
Sir John A. Macdonald Papers – Letter Book no. 16. pp. 223.4.
Halifax N S
Nov 10. 1871
My Dear Sir John
I received your Kind note of last month and did not hesitate a single moment in adopting your suggestion. I wrote by the Mail then ready to start for Newfoundland and enclosed you will find that portion of Bishop Powers reply which refers to Confederation. I am afraid it will not quite come up to your views and mine but one must accept the position as it is. The Bishop is a most estimable man in every respect and a man of good sound commonsense almost in all matters of business, but being a recent importation from Ireland it is almost impossible to expect he could be right in Colonial Politics. If he had lived through all the ups and downs of Newfoundland for the last twenty years like his predecessor he would in my opinion be of our way of thinking. In this he and I agree that as long as Newfoundland is prosperous as it has been for the last two years there is little nor no hope of Confederation. When a failure in the fisheries take place as it is sure to do once or twice within every lustrum then will be your grand opportunity for a coup de main. A half dozen merchants are all supreme during good times for they have something to give and these six men are unqualified opponents of confederation. When the fisheries fail they lose their grip of the masses and then will be the time for Canada to open negotiations and to push things vigorously if you really think it worth while. Rioting as they now are in the lap of plenty no sirenic song will charm them if you even charmed ever so sweetly. Please give my Kindest regards to Lady McDonald who I hope is well. I was much disappointed in not having seen both of you in Halifax this past summer.
Most sincerely yours,
†THOMAS. L. CONNOLLY
Sir John A. Macdonald Papers – General Letters, 1871, p. 389.
My Dear Sir John
I have been so long without writing to you that I am almost ashamed to break silence now favor hunting as usual. Before I begin any story allow me to congratulate you on your noble speech on the Treaty question and your signal triumph over all your enemies. On the eve of a new Election your large majority will have great weight with all the Undecided the expectants and the ever speculating crowds on the Fence who in point of fact constitute a majority in every country. Tupper and Howe are secure I think beyond all possibility of doubt unless the latter indeed should give another kick or two in harness which in truth I am always dreading.
But for your honoured self I fear he would have kicked out of ,the traces long ago. This of course is strictly confidential. The only two I intend to give an active support to is the Doctor and himself. Hapilly the Doctor does not require my support. Neither would my friend Howe if he went on quietly. It is the Political enemies of his whole life that he mainly depends on and it would be nothing short of madness to say any thing now that would give them umbrage.
Now to my immediate business. I am told there will be soon three appointments to Judgeships in Manitoba and that some one from (the Maritime Provinces is likely to be named for the position. There is one gentleman J. McKeagney member of the House of Commons brother in law of Sir Edward Kenny and a particular friend of mine for 30 years who I think in all fair play ought to be No 1 at least on the Nova Scotia list of applicants. He has been over thirty years representing one or the other of the Cape Breton constituencies. He has been at various times Judge of Probate Queen’s Counsel Member of the Executive of Nova Scotia and in the position he now holds he has the best proof that can be given of the confidence reposed in him by the people of N. Scotia. His character as a gentleman is simply without speck far as I ever heard. He has always made a respectable provision for himself and family by his profession in which I think he stands higher than any Competitor that I know of in N. Scotia. If you coincide with me in opinion on his personal qualifications and that there is no State difficulty in the way which I do not see, give him a favorable consideration I say for my sake and his own. He is a sound Papist and an Irishman to boot but an Irishman who knows law, speaks French and English thoroughly and has his head and temper thoroughly cooled down by the frosts of fifty Nova Scotia Winters. Please to present my grateful & affectionate remembrance to Lady McDonald who I hope is well. May I hope the honor of entertaining you both in Halifax this summer. The Kennys will be home in June.
Most Sincerely yours
†THOMAS L CONNOLLY
Sir Charles Tupper Papers, Vol. 1, no. 96.
Dated Annapolis 7 August 1872
Received at Amherst “ 5.10 P.M.
To The Hon Charles Tupper CB & C
Please forward the enclosed to the press of Halifax for publication if you think it may be of any service
T L CONNOLLY
To The Honorable Charles Tupper CB & C
My dear Sir.
In reply to yours of the third instant I feel bound in honor to say that the present administration in Ottawa of which -you are go distinguished a member ever had and still retains my undiminished confidence and respect. In making this statement I assume no responsibility in approving or disapproving of any particular act of your policy. With few and rare exceptions I endorse it a whole, by your joint talent energy and indomitable perseverance as public men you have succeeded in building up a dominion yea even a mighty nation as it may yet be yielding to no other in its prospective of a glorious avanir for alone the present government in Ottawa must ever retain my gratitude & esteem I may add to his the many other claims which nearly every member of that government has upon myself for the unvarying kindness and courtesy experienced at their hands I have the honor to remain
Yours very truly
THOMAS L CONNOLLY
Sir Charles Tupper Papers, Vol. 1, no. 101.
Sept 2. 1872
My Dear Doctor,
I hope it is not too soon to congratulate you from the bottom of my heart for the glorious triumph of yourself and the Government. As in every battle we have to mourn over the many casualties unavoidable on so extensive a battle field yet on the whole I think the dead and wounded are not so numerous as you and I had reason to apprehend. I count myself among the dangerously wounded but I am glad to say that very sanguine hopes are now entertained not only for my recovery but my friends assure me that I will be in a far better condition than I was before. Before this reaches you the Halifax Press will have told all my story. The defeat of my dear friend Cartier went sorely to my heart. I hope you will find another seat for him before the meeting of the House. Please present my sincerest felicitations to Sir John also.
May I now request you to remind him of my dear friend McKeagney who alas as also among the dead. I will take it as a marked favor if you do something big for him. He has a tremendous and a helpless family six or seven unmarried daughters I believe and he deserves well of our Side. I will call it ours for will it or will it not I am for weal or for woe indissollubly bound up with you. No man deserves more than our friend. I told our friends Alman & Tobin I gave them up the Key of the patronage of the city and county of Halifax. My applications therefore will be much on a smaller scale than they have been for the last five years.
Good luck to you. Try if possible to get a seat for Cartier and put McKeagney either in Manitoba as Sir John has half promised or in some other nich where himself and his immense family can settle down in the lap of plenty for the remainder of their days.
Ever yours The Same
† THOMAS L CONNOLLY
Sir Charles Tupper Papers Vol. 1, no. 103.
Octr 9th 1872
My dear Archbishop
I suppose that ere this reaches you Tupper will have informed you that I have recommended Mr McKeagney to the Governor General for the position of Judge of the Court of Queen’s Bench at Manitoba.
Mr McKeagney is a very worthy man, and I have no doubt will perform his duties assiduously. My only fear is, as Gratton said of Flood, on his entering the English House of Commons, that he is “too old an oak to be transplanted at fifty".
However as yon gave the order, there was nothing for us but to obey. Seriously, I am extremely glad, as are all my colleagues, that in meeting your wishes in this instance we not only serve a worthy man, who has .given us strong support in Parliament, but are able to show our appreciation of your more than friendship to the cause of Union, and to us as the Union Government.
I had a hard fight in Ontario, where the factionists have most sway. We have tied them in that Province. In the others, I am happy to believe, we have large majorities ; so that we may expect D. V. to rule the destinies of the Dominion for some time longer. I am, personally, rather weary of it; but as I believe, in all sincerity, that the advent of the Grits to power just now would shake confederation to its very centre, and perhaps break it up, I shall not sing my nuns dimittis just at present.
My dear Archbishop
Your Grace’s sincere and obliged servant,
Sir John A. Macdonald Papers – Letter Book no. 18, p. 663.
Jan 6. 1873
My dear Sir John
I dare not presume to write a line to you without first apologizing most sincerely as I really do for the ingratitude to say nothing worse of my long silence. The year 72 was almost exclusively devoted .to the visitation of the remote missions of the Diocese I was nearly six months from home 'since last May. I did not receive your last honoured communication for three weeks after it was written and then heaps of all manner of work and procrastination my besetting sin must explain the remainder. You will forgive me I know you will.
Two months after date I beg to thank you most sincerely for the appointment of McKeagney. In the “sear and yellow leaf of life” he had a large and helpless family and as is often the case with Politicians & public men there was little or nothing laid bye for eventualities. Besides he did good and faithful service for his party during a long life. He was among the staunchest of Doctor Tuppers supporters since his first entry into public life. Though nominally an anticonfederate on his first arrival in Ottawa yet his heart and vote were I believe always with us. He was the very first far as I can learn who gave in his adhesion to your Government and to be candid with you that was and is his greatest claim on me. He was an old though not a very intimate personal friend but if he were ten times as intimate and yet opposed your Government, you may be certain I should not have dared to ask a Judgeship for him nor would I approve even of such an appointment.
The battle is now fairly over and you first of all and all with you can ever look back at it with pride. The fight was not only bloodless but it is boundlessly more important in its results than all the victories of France and of Prussia together. Withered laurels & worthless fame and much ado about nothing are the only fruit of all their butcheries. In 1866 your honored self did more real good to humanity and built up a grander country than all your Napoleons sand Bismarks together. These are as nothing in comparison. At the beginning of this new and auspicious year with such a record and such a retrospect to cheer us you must excuse this little harmless effusion. In truth I could not tell you how big and how proud I feel myself for the very little wee share I had in so grand a consummation. The man that would now avow himself an Anti in this land of N. Scotia would be but a subject for derision. In fact such an animal is not to be found even in our forests. Jones himself condescendingly accepts the situation. In my humble way I did all in my power in all the outside counties at the last Election. Halifax was the grand puzzle. First I had good reason to fear the humiliation of another defeat and then with the altered feelings and policy of Power who had immense influence I almost made up my mind to let Jones and himself walk over the course without a contest. Unfortunately however Power was dragooned into signing adocument against confederation and that was his death knell. I had no alternative for sweet consistency sake but to oppose and to my amazement we succeeded beyond the most sanguine expectation of our friends. You had but one from N. Scotia with you in 1867 you now have them all and I congratulate you from my inmost soul. Unless Tupper keep them well in hand there are some of them not to be depended on. If you have a small majority without them they will cling like birdlime. You may count for certain on them all. In Halifax Our numbers were obliged to pledge themselves to support you. The same occurred in several other places but the Independent Ticket succeeded in most of the counties. Antiism was defeated every where but some few of the successful candidates are sure to feel their way and see what chances there may be of Grit success before they finally commit themselves to you. That is my opinion. Doctor Tupper always a little sanguine thinks otherwise. It is no harm to watch them closely when the house opens and keep them in hand as much as possible untill their first vote against the Grits will be on record. You will find our Tobin from Halifax reliable clever and splendidly educated. He is not a Maggee as an Orator but he is sure to make his mark in the House of Commons as a first -class speaker. I believe he knows French as well as English and will take many of the Canadians by surprise. In temper he is a little hot & quick I could not even guess as to the amount of self control he will display in debate. If he can only keep cool he will be sure to he the wittiest man in the house. Volens Nolens himself and colleague are bound hands & feet to support you. They claimed on the hustings the right of giving an Independent vote on all questions unless where the stability of the present Government was in peril.
All here is peaceful and sunshiny. Real Estate outside of Halifax has increased marvellously since Confederation. The finishing of the Intercolonial is now the only link of the chain wanted. For mercy sake do hurry them up. If the Commissioners got a round sum five years ago the road would be finished long ago. Save us from yearly paid Commissioners. If you have such people to build your Pacific R.R. the third generation will not see it completed.
Try and get back the British army to garrison Montreal & Quebec and you & you alone can do it. That in my mind is the best if not the only guaranty for our security untill we are big enough to take care of ourselves. A single British Regiment in Quebec would tell more powerfully on our neighbours than 200 thousand of our Dominionists in battle array. To obtain this no sacrifice should be spared. It would put an end for ever to all revolutionary talk and intrigue and keep grits & Fenians & everybody else in their places for all time to come.
Wishing Lady McDonald & yourself a happy happy New year & success to yr Government I am my Dr Sir John
Most Sincerely Yours
†THOMAS L. CONNOLLY Abp
Sir John A. Macdonald Papers –Nova Scotia Affairs 3, pp. 757-764.
June 22. 1873
My Dear Doctor
In the midst of my multitudinous cares I seize the first leisure moment on this Holy Sabath Evening to express to you my thanks and my extreme satisfaction at the appointment of Judge Johnson to the governorship of Nova Scotia. If I had the gift in my own hand Catholic and ArchBishop as I am he would be unquestionably my own choice in preference to every other not excepting my dear friend Sir Edward. He had claims public and private which could not be overlooked and you would be the last man in the Dominion to forget them. You were true to him no doubt and a pillar of strength to him through all his battles but on the other hand “as at the feet of Gamaliel it was from him you caught up your first inspirations. How long he is to enjoy his honors God alone can say but if it were only for a day it was clearly your duty to appoint him. Whatever little may be in the power of your humble servant to do him all honor in his new position you may be sure it will be done. I approved of Mr Howe’s appointment but it is bare truth to say my heart was not in it and I did not send congratulations either to him or to your honoured self on the occasion. But now I feel bound in honor to be outspoken on the subject.
Now that the little of Antiism that is left in Nova Scotia is litterally turned into Grit I hope -there is an end for ever to all further attempts at conciliation. Hold on to your friends and your friends only as you so faithfully did until the terror of Antiism forced upon you a change of policy which was perhaps unavoidable, for a year or two after confederation but which would now be (you will excuse me for saying) disastrous as it is completely out of date. All yr enemies now are Grits without disguise and from them there is nothing to hope for. Any further appointments in that quarter would be giving up fifty friends and not gaining one enemy.
You will say it is presumption in me to give this curtain lecture to one in your high position. But where my motives cannot be misunderstood I would dare anything. I am as anxious as yourself for the success of your Government. I have not nor never will have I think any possible sympathy with those opposed to you. By a grand stroke of policy they may corner me on the School question as they would every Bishop & priest in the Dominion but I do not believe even that to be among possible contingencies. Kindest regards to Mrs Tupper and with the hope of soon seeing you in Halifax I am my dr Doctor
Ever Sincerely Yours
† THOMAS L. CONNOLLY
Sir Charles Tupper Papers, Vol. 1, no. 111.
Septr 18th 1873
My dear Archbishop,
I think very likely that Mr Masson, M.P. for Terrebonne will pay you a visit. I have asked him to do so. He desires to become a Member of the Government, but is in some trouble about the New Brunswick School Act. He is now going down to see Bishop Sweeny, to endeavour to persuade him to take a course which will result beneficially for the Catholics of New Brunswick, and at the same time thwart Mr Anglin. Anglin does not desire the question settled, but to keep it open as a running sore. We on the other hand wish to heal it.
You of course have watched the events in our Parliament. There was a vote in the Commons that certain Assessment Laws of New Brunswick, which included the School Rates, should be disallowed. His Excellency replied that he had been instructed by the British Government that the School Law was within the competence of the Provincial Legislature; that these Assessment Laws were equally within its exclusive jurisdiction and that under these circumstances he must ask for further instructions from Her Majesty’s Government. These instructions have arrived, and His Excellency has been informed that all the Acts in question being constitutional and within the jurisdiction of the Provincial Legislature, he must not disallow them even if advised to do so by his advisers here.
Now we endeavoured to impress upon Bishop Sweeny when he was here, and desire to do so still, that his proper mode of procedure is not to appeal to the Central Government or Legislature, or to ask any action from the Dominion Parliament. We cannot interfere constitutionally, and any action here, instead of serving the Catholics of New Brunswick will be considered by the people of that Province as being an unwarrantable & unconstitutional interference with their rights as a Province. It would rouse all the protestant bigotry there to the utmost extent, and even carry away men who are friendly to the Catholics having separate Schools but will not allow the independence of their Province to be trampled upon by the central authority.
The true policy as it seems to us all here, is for the Catholics, who have a powerful vote in the Province, to support, at the next General Elections the candidates who will give the mast satisfactory pledges in favor of carrying a liberal Separate School Bill for the Catholics.
If they pursue this course, without making it a religious question at the Polls, they will be masters of the position, and can force any Government to come to their relief.
Mr Masson will be able to assure Bishop Sweeny that any moral support that the General Government can give him in his endeavours to get a liberal Bill for his co-religionists will be given by the Dominion Government.
I have not hesitated in my place in Parliament to state my opinion that the legislation of New Brunswick has been illiberal and oppressive, although we were powerless to help them by any action of the Parliament & Government here so long as the Acts were within local jurisdiction. Still we can quietly exercise a considerable amount of pressure upon the Local Government, and we are ready to do so.
I shall be much obliged to you if, in talking to Masson, should he wait upon you, you will advise him to join the Government. He is considered as being a strong supporter of the Hierarchy and the Church element in Lower Canada, and his presence in the Cabinet will be an additional assurance to the Roman Catholics all through the Dominion, that they will receive all the countenance, justice and support that the law will enable us to give.
Masson is a gentleman and a very nice person. He quite agrees with the policy that I have above indicated, and hopes to be able to persuade Bishop Sweeny to view it in the same light.
I am sure that Your Grace as an old statesman who has given much attention to public affairs, will agree with me in the wisdom of the policy I have mentioned. I hope to have the pleasure of seeing you next Summer, meanwhile believe me,
My dear Archbishop
Your Graces sincere friend & servant,
JOHN A MACDONALD
Sir John A. Macdonald Papers – Letter Book no. 20, pp. 684-87.
Sept 31, 1873
My Dear Sir John
I am delighted to find in the arrival of your Kind letter the happy occasion of doing what should have been done over and ever again far the last six months. But it is truth to confess except where business of importance leaves no alternative I have been a bad correspondent all my life. On several occasions during the past summer I decided on writing on the morrow but the morrow did not come till now.
Before alluding to the contents of your letter allow me to congratulate you with all my heart on the magnificent triumph that has resulted from the Royal Commission in behalf of yourself and Government. All here are agreed that the Huntingdon indictment has broken down completely and has done you more good than harm. The Pious Ones turn up their eyes at the terrible disclosures about Government Bribery at Elections but the charges which but two short months since so startled both friends and foes here are now felt to be a mockery.
My views on the unfortunate school bill so thoroughly tally with yours in all its essential features that I have little to superadd to what I so strongly expressed six years ago in London. If my advice were heeded it is most likely Catholics would have fared in New Brunswick as they did here. But all that is beside the question. The only complaint I have against the Ottawa Government is that you appointed such a brainless and raving bigot as Wilmot to be Governor. That in point of fact lies at the bottom of all the other difficulties and the Causa efficax of the whole mischief. Doctor Tupper promised to have him removed this past summer and he is yet in his stronghold though the promise was made to two Bishops and the most painful part is that his term of office as Governor was up seven months since. As long as is in the Status Quo I utterly despair of any compromise or pacification. He has with him a Mr Rand a superintendent of education who had to leave this country on account of his No Popery Phobia some two years since. With this “par nobile fratorem” you may be sure my Dear Sir John that Mr Massons peace Mission to New Brunswick will be an abortion. I had a letter from N. Brunswick yesterday which further more confirms my fears in this particular. The Local Government lent a deaf ear to all that Mr M proposed. The Bishop assures me that individually or collectively they were unwilling to entertain the subject or make any promise. The Bishop has very materially altered his tone since last year. If he adopted my views I would have agitated the question in New Brunswick myself. But in the name of peace let us have some other Governor besides Wilmot at Fredericton. His term is up and the first element of the Moral Force which can be brought into action by the Ottawa Government in our behalf is the appointment of a new Governor in N. Brunswick. Without that I look on the case as hopeless. Mr Masson has not yet presented himself in Halifax. When he comes all your Kind hints and suggestions will be accurately attended to.
At the darkest hour of the question vexata about S. Hugh Allan’s bribery I had the impudence of developing all my views on the course to be pursued by the Governor General in his own august presence. He did me the honor of asking me to speak out which was the very thing I wanted and for a whole mortal hour I did speak out as emphatically as I ever did in my life in the presence ,of his whole suite. I began by making the candid admission that I was looked on as an out and out partisan of the present Government and he was of course at liberty to accept what I would say cum grano. My crude notions on Constitutional law. The Characters of the leading Champions on both sides. What our side could and would do in opposition and the consequences under such circumstances formed the remainder of my story. As became one in his position he graciously listened and said Nothing. Apart from his tone and manner as a finished English gentleman he is unquestionably the cleverest man I had ever the honor of coming in contact with. Of Lady Dufferin I will say little to you who have so many opportunities of Knowing her thoroughly. Her sweetness and condescension amid all the varied groups she met in Halifax won all hearts and proved her to be eminently suited to her lofty position. I tried in an humble way to do them all honor and from their singular Kindness and attention to myself I think I succeeded in winning their Kindly feeling.
May I presume to request that you present them both with my most respectful regards.
You talk about coming to Halifax. Pray do and bring Lady McDonald with you and you will see that nothing will be spared on my part to do you both honor and to give you a hearty welcome to Nova Scotia.
Most sincerely Yours
† THOMAS L. CONNOLLY
Sir John A. Macdonald Papers – General Letters, 1873, pp. 306-313.