Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Happy Canada (Dominion) Day

Celebrate all that this great country was, is, and could be. Thomas D'Arcy McGee, the former Irish Nationalist who became 'the Great Orator' of Confederation, delivered a speech in parliament in 1860, when the confederation project was still only a political ideal. In his speech, McGee said:

I see in the not remote distance one great nationality, bound, like the shield of Achilles, by the blue of the ocean. I see it quartered into many communities, each disposing of its own internal affairs, but all bound together by free institutions, free intercourse, free commerce. [...] I see a generation of industrious, contented moral men, free in name and in fact- men capable of maintaining, in peace and in war, a constitution worthy of such a country.

Through the 1860s, D'Arcy McGee's impassioned appeals for Confederation -- for a self-governing Dominion of the North -- put him at odds with Home Rule Irish Nationalists and Parnellites. Members of the Fenian Brotherhood regarded him as a traitor to the Irish cause. In the wee hours of the morning of April 7, 1868, Thomas D'Arcy McGee was slain by an assassin's bullet in Ottawa. Some hail McGee as the first martyr of Confederation.

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