The Davidsons belonged to the congregation of James Robertson (1803-1860) of Ellon, one of the ministers of Strathbogie Presbytery, which in the controversy which led to the disruption, resisted the "dangerous claims of the established church to self-government."
When the Cuban rising in 1895 assumed a serious aspect, he was sent out by the Conservative cabinet of Canovas to cope with the rebellion, but he failed in the field, as well as in his efforts to win over the Creoles, chiefly because he was not allowed to give them local self-government, as he wished.
Meanwhile, during the progress of the expedition, an act had been passed creating Manitoba a province, with full powers of self-government, and the arrival of the military was closely followed by that of the first governor, Mr (later Sir) Adams G.
State aid to religion, which was given to any denomination which would receive it, was abolished; local self-government was extended to the rural as well as to the urban districts; a policy of semiprotection was introduced; the island was connected by a submarine cable to the mainland of Australia, and thence to the rest of the civilized world; and the population, which was only 99, 328 in 1870, was nearly doubled.
Both the war of1899-1902and the grant of self-government to the new colonies were necessary preliminaries to the success of any unification scheme, but the causes which now led to the question of closer union being raised were not political but economic. Since the development of the diamond meat for and gold mining industries the coast colonies had Closer unduly neglected their own resources and had relied Union.