New Brunswick: Our Stories, Our People. Welcome to our Time Machine! Point and click on a year in the bar below… and travel through New Brunswick’s fascinating history to 1867 : -9,000; -4,000; -1,000; Maliseet Heritage; Mi’kmaq Heritage; Passamaquoddy Heritage; 1524; 1534; 1604; 1606; 1621; 1672; 1691; 1721; 1750; 1755; 1760; 1763; 1783; 1784; 1800; 1812; 1830’s; 1840’s; 1850’s; 1860’s
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New window opens with - Maksonik/Mocassins, 1884-1888
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April 10, 1866 - The Irish Fenians gather at Eastport, Maine, threatening to invade British North America - beginning at Campobello - and annex the region to the United States. British defenses dispatch warships and troops to the area - interest in Confederation reaches a high point.

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New window opens with - Me and My Project - Leprosy
1860's

New window opens with - The Town of Bathurst, 1860/ Ville de Bathurst, 1860
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New window opens with - The New Brunswick 1c Stamp (Locomotive), 1863-64/ Timbre d’un cent du Nouveau-Brunswick (Locomotive), 1863-1864
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During the prosperous years of the 1860’s, the Maritime Provinces called a conference at Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, to talk about a union of their three colonies. A group of delegates from the Canadas, led by John A. Macdonald, asked to attend the conference and to speak. As the meetings went on, one point became clear. The British North American colonies found that each of them had much the same problems as the others, and each wanted the same benefits for their people.

New window opens with - The Shamrock - Locomotive #4 of the New Brunswick & Canada Railway, c. 1865/ The Shamrock - Locomotive 4 de la New Brunswick & Canada Railway, vers 1865
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“Confederation”, that is, joining together under a central government, was not a new idea. Ever since the 1820’s a few politicians in the colonies had been proposing such a thing. It had been mentioned at railway conferences, when officials gathered to talk about plans for connecting their provinces by rail. New Brunswick had turned down one offer of union already.

New window opens with - Departing Fredericton for the Charlottetown Conference, 1864/ Départ de Fredericton pour la Conférence de Charlottetown, 1864
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New window opens with - "How Confederation Would Affect the Working Classes", 1866/ « Comment la Confédération aura un impact sur la classe ouvrière – Conférence de M. Thomas Potts aux ouvriers », 1866
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The provinces had every reason to talk cautiously on this subject. No province would want to lose anything by uniting with the others; and none of the smaller or less prosperous provinces would want to be overshadowed by bigger, more prosperous ones. Each would want to gain something better without giving up any of its rights. Many changes would have to be made, and who knew what problems they would cause? To bring about anything as complicated as a union of quite different colonies would take people who were good leaders.

New window opens with - Pierre-Amand Landry Top Hat/ Haut-de-forme de Pierre-Amand Landry
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New window opens with - Pierre-Amand Landry (1846-1916)
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New window opens with - Pascal Poirier (1852 - 1933)
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In 1864, the College of Saint Joseph opened in Memramcook, and two of the first students to attend were Pierre-Amand Landry and Pascal Poirier . As students, they followed the Confederation debates closely, and both would be important future leaders in establishing New Brunswick’s position within Confederation.

New window opens with - Samuel Leonard Tilley (1818-1896)
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Samuel Leonard Tilley , of New Brunswick, soon showed that his knowledge of business would be very useful in working out certain problems of union. To make Confederation really work, the planners knew it would take more than the cheering and enthusiasm of that first meeting in Charlottetown.

New window opens with - Fenians !/ Féniens !
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After Charlottetown, conferences were held in Quebec and London (England). In New Brunswick, the idea of Confederation may well have been lost, had it not been for a group of Irish-American soldiers. The “Fenians”, as they called themselves, were threatening to attack British colonies all along the border with the United States. In New Brunswick, the militia was called up and armed to defend the border. Business largely ceased all along the St. Croix, and residents anxiously watched the Fenian campfires on the opposite shores.

New window opens with - Arthur Hamilton Gordon (1829-1912)
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New window opens with - Sir Arthur Hamilton Gordon Traveling Chest/ Coffret de voyage de Sir Arthur Hamilton Gordon
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New window opens with - Albert James Smith (1822 - 1883)
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Lieutenant Governor, Sir Arthur Hamilton Gordon wanted Confederation to happen, and worked to discourage any resistance within New Brunswick. On April 7, 1866, a critical moment in Canada’s history occurred at the Lieutenant-Governor’s residence (Old Government House) in Fredericton, when the then Premier Albert J. Smith, leader of the anti-Confederate government in New Brunswick, confronted Lieutenant-Governor Sir Arthur Hamilton Gordon with his difference of opinion as to whether New Brunswick should unite with Canada. Gordon responded by dissolving the government, forcing a new election and the subsequent selection of Samuel Leonard Tilley as Premier. New Brunswick’s decision in electing a pro-Confederation government changed the future for all of Canada. Confederation, as it had been planned at the Quebec Conference in 1864, was now possible.

New window opens with - The Shamrock - Locomotive #4 of the New Brunswick & Canada Railway, c. 1865/ The Shamrock - Locomotive 4 de la New Brunswick & Canada Railway, vers 1865
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When the third conference was called, in London England, the provinces were no longer in doubt about signing an agreement. A united British North America, it was believed, would be able to better defend its borders. For New Brunswick, confederation also provided a 10-year allowance, to compensate for lost revenues, and a promise from Great Britain to help with the costs of building the Inter-Colonial Railway.

New window opens with - Map/ Carte, 1867
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On December 4, 1866, at the Westminster Palace Hotel in London England, representatives from the provinces of Canada, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia drafted an agreement that later became the British North America Act. Samuel Leonard Tilley described the new confederation as “a Dominion stretching from sea to sea”, and Queen Victoria liked his suggestion. By Royal Proclamation, the Dominion of Canada was established in 1867, and Canada would celebrate its birth as a nation on July 1, 1867.

New window opens with - "Moniteur Acadien" Prospectus, 1867/ Prospectus du « Moniteur Acadien », 1867
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One week later there would be another equally important celebration in New Brunswick. The first issue of the "Moniteur Acadien" would be published in Shediac by Israël Landry. This was the first French-language newspaper in Atlantic Canada. With the motto “Our Religion, Our Language, Our Culture”, the "Moniteur Acadien" would be devoted to the interests of Acadians world-wide.



 
 
 
Old Government House, Fredericton, New Brunswick
[ 169K ] Click image to view Panoramic Vista !

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