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THOMSON, EDWARD WILLIAM – Volume IX (1861-1870)

d. 20 April 1865 in York Township, Canada West


Responsible Government

Sir John A. Macdonald

From the Red River Settlement to Manitoba (1812–70)

Sir Wilfrid Laurier

Sir George-Étienne Cartier


The Fenians

Women in the DCB/DBC

The Charlottetown and Quebec Conferences of 1864

Introductory Essays of the DCB/DBC

The Acadians

For Educators

The War of 1812 

Canada’s Wartime Prime Ministers

The First World War

The Intercolonial Railway

In September 1862 representatives of the British North American colonies gathered in Quebec City to discuss the establishment of a rail link among the colonies and the wider project of union. After the Trent crisis of the previous year, the intercolonial project became inseparable from that of national defence. As commander of the British forces in Nova Scotia, Charles Hastings DOYLE agreed:

A strong supporter of the projected Intercolonial Railway, Doyle offered to aid Joseph Howe*’s advocacy of the line by writing to the home authorities showing the great utility the railroad will be in a military point of view.’


Delegates at Charlottetown and Quebec City were acutely aware of the proposed railway’s dual commercial and strategic function. Samuel Leonard TILLEY had strong views on the subject:

At a public dinner on 9 Aug. 1864 he described the intercolonial railway as a stepping-stone to British North American commercial and political union. Statesmen, he argued, should try ‘to bind together the Atlantic and Pacific by a continuous chain of settlements and line of communications for that [was] the destiny of this country, and the race which inhabited it.’ Tilley carried that outlook into the Charlottetown and Quebec conferences in September and October.


To find out more about the Intercolonial Railway, please consult the biographies listed below: 

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