MF – 1866.05.03 – Fenian as a Scare Tactic – #145 – F12251

The sole hope, the only reliance of the foes of Responsible Government, and of the people’s rights, is the Fenians. Without the aid of the Fenians they know they can do nothing. We have already drawn attention to the remarkable coincidence that although the telegrams had been silent about the Fenians for some weeks, the bands under Killian began to make their appearance on the border just about the time that the Governor and his backstairs counsellors concluded to trample the rights of the people under foot. The declaration of Killian to the Mr. M –––– of the Telegraph that he knew long before what pranks the Governor was about to play, and the assertions of Major Sinnott to others of our newspaper correspondents that he knew what was coming, &c., were not more significant than Killian’s declaring at his public meetings that he would not allow Confederation to be carried, a declaration which he knew well was calculated to help the Confederates, a declaration which, we doubt not, he was paid by the Canadian party for making.

It was too expensive to keep even a few hundred men on the border for months. An expenditure of some hundreds of thousands of dollars can not very well be concealed even in the Canadian public accounts. When the back stairs Imperialists first determined on the grand stroke they believed that a general election would not be necessary. Some members of the majority was to be induced to accept the vacant seat in the Legislative Council, and make room for Mr. Tilley. This would give the backstairs party 18 votes. The single elections of the new office holders they calculated would not be opposed, as the friends of Responsible Government, expecting a general election, would husband their strength and resources for that; so the members of the new Government would get back without difficulty, and when back they could buy three or four members of the majority although they had already endeavoured in vain to corrupt them, and so while the people were looking for another general election they would find their independence destroyed, and their right sold as in Nova Scotia. The firm attitude of the 22 who signed Mr. Otty’s resolutions, and the quarrels which followed the scramble for office amongst themselves, dispelled all these anticipations, and they found a general election inevitable. They found also that if they dissolved at once they must be beaten, notwithstanding the Fenian sham, and that they must take time to blunt the people’s keen sense of right, and to bury the love of liberty under the prejudices which they labour to inflame. For this work some weeks at least will be required.

And so the Fenians disappear from the frontier as strangely as they came. Will they turn up again in the nick of time just when the elections are about to come off? Let our readers ask themselves this question and wait a little while for the answer. Meantime an old well known mode of keeping up the excitement at much less cost is again resorted to, and papers purporting to emanate from a Republican Committee of St. John, which, we believe, has no existence, save in the imagination of the enemies of the people, are scattered about profusely. No sensible man can imagine that any anti-Confederate, any friend of Responsible Government, would take any part in a proceeding which is so manifestly calculated to do service to the enemy. It is their own work; plainly and [unmistakeably] theirs, as was the scattering of bogus ballots on the morning of the last County election. It is a shabby trick and very threadbare now and it will deceive no one.