The Head Quarters
Wednesday, July 3, 1867 – pg. 2
FIRST OF JULY
In whatever quarter of the new Dominion (now an established fact) a disposition to jollification or congratulation was evinced on Monday, it certainly was not in Fredericton. In St. John they might attempt something: In Quebec, Montreal, Hamilton and Toronto, they may have done something; but the people here were in anything but a holiday humor. There was a considerable display of bunting that fluttered in the high wind that blew all day, especially on the tall pole that stands opposite Phoenix Square, but beyond the fluttering of the flags, there was no sign to mark the day as a holiday. A report flew about – and the superstitious drew fearful auguries from it – that the Union Jack at Government House had been carried away by the wind, a sign to be read of all men, requiring no interpretation by the dullest even. A stroll along the front street put the curious on an easy method of ascertaining the sentiments of the merchants of the town with regard to the new order of things that day inaugurated, and their opinion of the Government in imposing on them a holiday, against their inclination. Some few of the stores were closely shut, several were half open, and a great number invited custom as usual and opposed not a single shutter between them and the public. It was reported in the forenoon that there would be a military parade, and salute firing in the afternoon on the race track field, but, about noon, intelligence was received that His Excellency, having been apprised that any display or demonstration would be distasteful to the majority of the inhabitants, had countermanded the order given that morning. We cannot vouch for the truth of all the rumors that were abroad, but such things were said and believed, and no military parade took place as far as we know. Some time in the forenoon a couple of Calathumpians, dressed in eccentric costume, with blackened faces, mounted on gray backs very much hacked, rode along the front street and passed below the string of flags that, suspended on ropes, hung across Regent street, and, in woeful mirth, made for the back part of the town, where they disappeared. In the evening there was considerable stir on the streets, perhaps a little more than on ordinary nights at the same hour, and a solitary attempt at illumination, made ludicrous by its singularity, by few colored lamps swung on the rope drawn across Regent street, where all day three flags had been suspended.
To impose a holiday at this time has been proved to be a most ill-advised step. Even the Confederates were in rather a sombre and reflective vein; they felt, to use a vulgar phrase, that they “had gone and done it,” and now that the thing was absolutely done, and their ardor had got a little time to cool, they experienced sinking qualms. Some of the organs of the party have improved the occasion and lectured their readers on the new responsibilities that are thrown upon them by the new order of things. Now that the Dominion is law, they can afford to tell them what it means (though there are few who did not know before) – independence, a gradual severance of the tie that cements them with the Mother Country, and the necessity of taking upon themselves greater burdens. But we trust that Confederates and Anti Confederates will rise to the occasion, and now that Confederation is the law of the land, they will endeavour to make the best of it. We are afraid that the Confederates will find themselves in a bad plight; their hopes have been excited so highly, so many dazzling pictures of prosperity have been set up before their imagination, that, in the natural course, disappointment and disgust will follow; as for the others, they are equal to either fortune, and are prepared for the worst, and only demand, as their right, fair play and fair consideration from the party now dominant.
The future may be full of hope, and it may give birth to great opportunities, but it is useless to shut one’s eyes to the fact that in New Brunswick there is discontent and indignation smouldering in many places, while in Nova Scotia these feelings are a-fire and in action. Party spirit is rife in Ontario, while in Quebec there are questions to be settled that may call forth bitterest strife. A calm review of the situation in calculated to produce serious thought and a temper the reverse of a holiday one.