CARTIER AND LAURIER IN THE FEDERATION
THE different administrations of the period known as the Union of the Canadas represented valuable experiences for French Canadians, but they revealed to all that the annexation and proposed assimilation of Lord Durham would not work. In the false, formal unity, by the force of things, the two provinces lived their independent life and were really a virtual federation. There was a working understanding between them but no absorption. As a matter of fact, notwithstanding certain similarities of ways born of common conditions of life and habits, French Canadians had made to their likeness, subjected to their speech and faith, many persons of Anglo-Saxon birth, and given proofs of the existence of a growing national life, of a growing national literature, and of a growing national culture, impossible to reconcile with the purpose of the Union. However, the federation of the provinces was a wise solution and for all an unquestionable gain.
The French Canadian people, with their unpleasant memories, were morbidly apprehensive. Anglo-Canadians, on the whole, were friendlier to the idea of the new régime, and yet many of them made an amazing opposition to it.1 Like the French, they predicted all kinds of evils none of which happened. Sir Richard Cartwright states, later on, that "probably both parties were right in a measure, but, looking back, I must admit that it was a leap in the dark,____________________