Editorial notes cool response to Confederation
Audience below within hearing consisted of three persons, and even they did not appear to be very attentive
Following is an editorial which appeared in the July 3, 1873 Patriot newspaper, almost the only mention in the entire paper that P.E.I. had joined Confederation two days previous. During the late 1860s and early 1870s, the Patriot opposed Confederation and the building of the railroad.
On Tuesday, whether for weal or woe, Prince Edward Island became a province of the Dominion of Canada. At 12 o’clock, noon, the Dominion flag was run up on the flag staff at Government House and the Colonial Building, and a salute of 21 guns was fired from St. George’s battery and from H.M.S. Spartan, now in port.
The Church and City bells also rang out a lively peal, and the Volunteers under review at the City Park, fired a jeu du joie. So far as powder and metal could do it, there was for a short time a terrible din. But among the people who thronged the streets there was no enthusiasm.
A few moments before 12, Mr. Sheriff Watson stepped forward on the balcony of the Colonial Building and read the Union Proclamation. He was accompanied by two ladies and about half a dozen gentlemen. The audience below within hearing consisted of three persons, and even they did not appear to be very attentive. After the reading of the Proclamation was concluded, the gentlemen on the balcony gave a cheer, but the three persons below – who, like the Topley Street tailors who claimed to be “the people of England,” at that moment represented the people of Prince Edward Island, - responded never a word.
Most of the shops in the city were shut, and a good deal of bunting was displayed. H.M.S. Spartan, and some of the merchant shipping in the harbor, were gaily decked with flags. At night the Colonial and new Post Office Buildings were illuminated, and presented a fine appearance. A few sky rockets were also fired off from the top of the latter building, about 10 o’clock, with good effect.
But the most beautiful sight of the day was the illumination of the Spartan, between 9 1/2 and 10 o’clock. With her ports all lit up, and various kinds of lights in the rigging, she was really an object worth looking at.
Not having the faculty of being at two places at the same time, we did not see the grand Volunteer Review at noon, but we understand it was one of the best which has been held for some time. The Volunteers, after they became Dominion forces, and the review over, were treated to refreshments at the Drill Shed.
About 12 1/2 p.m., His Honor Lieut. Governor Robinson and staff drove up to the Colonial Building and proceeded to the Legislative Council Chamber. There the Colonial Secretary read the Commission from the Governor General of Canada, appointing William C. F. Robinson, Esq., Governor of this Island under the Dominion and also another instrument authorizing Chief Justice Hodgson, and Judges Peters and Hensley to administer to him the oaths of office.
This being done with due solemnity, in the presence of the members of the Executive Council, and a very respectable assemblage of citizens, strangers then withdrew, and the members of the Executive were sworn in as a Local Government under the Dominion of Canada.
Cover of the Island Patriot