Dear John A. Macdonald,


First of all, I would like to congratulate you on your investment towards uniting the colonies.

I have written this letter to ensure my support for the upcoming Confederation conferences and to convince you where I stand in this issue.

I must admit that when I first entered political matters, I was quite opposed to the idea you had with the other members of the Great Coalition. I vaguely recall our confrontation in 1861, and being described as “a Tory of the old school” by you, which I presume implies negative connotations to the fact that I belong to “the old fossil party”, otherwise known as the Family Compact. However, I can reassure you that I do not have the so called wealth to be part of the group of people that controls most of the judicial, legislative, business, and religious powers of Upper Canada. My failure of a business and my non-existant success as a lawyer is enough proof of this fact. Furthermore, members of the Family Compact are heavily against democratic reform and responsible government which I clearly stand for, and which is the purpose of me writing this letter to you now.

As you may already know, in 1861, I defeated the postmaster general of your party, and was elected as an independent candidate to represent the Northumberland West in the Legislative Assembly. However, after much thought, I have decided to switch my allegiance to stand under your party, mainly due to one reason. I, Cockburn, pride myself on being a strong nationalist and hope to see all political parties stand under one central government which will carry out acts that benefit all the nations as a whole. This is the very reason why I empathize with your need to unite Upper, Lower and the Maritimes of Canada for economical reasons and for fear of annexation from the South. Time and time again I have reconfirmed my support for you, and the case in 1862 with my support of the proposed militia act is evidence of such. Needless to say, I am strongly for confederation as I have great faith in you, your convincing arguments, and your determination to see confederation through.

What particularly intrigued me was the rep. by pop. system. Although I am no means a recognized politician, and others may not see me as an individual with great conviction, I write to convince you of the validity of the rep. by pop. system and its accurate representation of the people’s wants and needs. Furthermore, as I immigrated to Canada at a very young age and my childhood and education has thrived in the heart of Ontario, undoubtedly, I have the citizens of Ontario in mind when pondering about the future of this new confederation. Canada West outweighs the population of that of Canada East and the Maritimes, and this could be used towards our favour when discussing new policies and laws that could benefit Canada West.

Finally, I write to you to shed some light on our recent threats from the south. As you are well aware, there is great tension that is arising between the border that separates us from the power of America. It is in my greatest interest to see the colonies unite and to stop America’s advances on the “Manifest Destiny”. America’s civil war may be dying down, but in turn, they have turned their ugly heads towards the land that we hold as our own. They may seem divided, but we must not cast this aside as weakness; their military and their soldiers could roll into our land in a matter of weeks and destroy years of culture and heritage that we have built upon our land. While other politicians have been blissfully feigning ignorance of such threats, I trust that you see the great dangers that might be soon present if we don’t take action immediately. In this, I give my full support to unite all colonies and nations as one, and to protect our people.

Although I am from a small town of Ontario, and my opinion matters least among powerful politicians, I do hope that my leap of faith towards the confederation would give you some support and confidence to follow it through.


An union of all people of all lands is long overdue.  The time is now.



James Cockburn