John A. Macdonald: “This won’t take long, they said…”

Canada, 1864.

God is surely clutching his head in frustration right now, as he gazed upon the quarrelling figures of politicians-turned-children.

Today was the first conference of confederation, held in Charlottetown, and how little we accomplished! It seems as though at every turn I was met with only resistance – these negotiations remind me of attempting to bring together a broken zipper. As soon as I think things line up, a participant derails me. As soon as I think I have addressed every complaint, another voice is raised in defence of their annoyingly impotent claims on rights, on land, on powers.

The French want equality. The Indians want liberty. The Atlantic Provinces want compensation. Minority groups of all kinds want representation, British nationalists advocate for colonialism and the shadow of America looms over us all. It is a situation with no easy way out, and I am being forced to forge ties with members of this community I despise.

But it will be worth it. I promised myself, over my father’s grave, I would see Canada independent, strong and free! This is not the time for hesitance, or for reservations. I alone have the will to act, in such a way that will unite these varied and hostile moving parts into a single entity.

Father, wish me luck.

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