Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

The Confederation Debates in the United Province in Canada, 1865, Second Edition

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

The Confederation Debates in the United Province in Canada, 1865, Second Edition

Article excerpt

P.B. Waite (ed.), The Confederation Debates in the United Province in Canada, 1865, second edition (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2006), xxxviii + 129pp. Cloth. $75 (£56). ISBN-10 0-7735-3092-4; Paper. $27.95 (£17.95). ISBN- 10: 0-7735-3093-2.

In 1865, the United Province of Canada published a thousand-page edition of the parliamentary debates that had taken place in the legislature in February and March of that year on the subject of confederation. In 1963, Peter B. Waite edited a selection of the debates for the Carleton Library Series. This second and unrevised edition (except for a new introduction by Ged Martin) of the shorter version of the debates will be welcomed by anyone interested in Canadian confederation. It will be particularly welcome to teachers who wish students to get some sense of what the Fathers of Confederation thought they were creating and of the arguments advanced by both those who supported and those who opposed confederation in the United Province of Canada. In his original introduction, Peter Waite indicated that there was inevitably a 'loss of range and coherence' (p. xxxix) in cutting the debates to about one-twelfth of the original, but so good was the editing that the loss - if any - was slight.

Peter Waite's succinct introduction still bears re-reading, but - perhaps because it was assumed (probably correctly) that today's students will know less about the background to the confederation movement than their predecessors in the 1960s - Ged Martin has contributed a new and lengthier introduction to the second edition. …

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