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Title: George Brown
Author: Lewis, John, 1858-1935
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "George Brown" ***

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The Makers of Canada

Edited by

Duncan Campbell Scott, F.R.S.C.,
Pelham Edgar, Ph.D. and
William Dawson Le Sueur, B.A., Ll.D., F.R.S.C.


_Edition De Luxe_

_This edition is limited to Four Hundred Signed
and Numbered Sets, of which this is_

_Number_ 88

[Signature: George N. Morang]

[Illustration: George Brown]

_The Makers of Canada_




_Edition De Luxe_

Morang & Co., Limited

Entered according to Act of the Parliament of Canada in the year 1906
by Morang & Co., Limited, in the Department of Agriculture


The title of this series, "Makers of Canada," seemed to impose on the
writer the obligation to devote special attention to the part played
by George Brown in fashioning the institutions of this country. From
this point of view the most fruitful years of his life were spent
between the time when the _Globe_ was established to advocate
responsible government, and the time when the provinces were
confederated and the bounds of Canada extended from the Atlantic to
the Pacific. The ordinary political contests in which Mr. Brown and
his newspaper engaged have received only casual notice, and the effort
of the writer has been to trace Mr. Brown's connection with the stream
of events by which the old legislative union of Canada gave place to
the confederated Dominion.

After the establishment of responsible government, the course of this
stream is not obscure. Brown is found complaining that Upper Canada is
inadequately represented and is dominated by its partner. Various
remedies, such as dissolution of the union, representation by
population and the "double majority," are proposed; but ultimately the
solution is found in federation, and to this solution, and the events
leading up to it, a large part of the book is devoted. Mr. Brown was
also an ardent advocate of the union with Canada of the country lying
west to the Rocky Mountains, and to this work reference is made.

Mr. Brown was one of those men who arouse strong friendships and
strong animosities. These have been dealt with only where they seemed
to have a bearing upon history, as in the case of Sir John A.
Macdonald and of the Roman Catholic Church. It seems to be a
profitless task for a biographer to take up and fight over again
quarrels which had no public importance and did not affect the course
of history.

The period covering Mr. Brown's career was one in which the political
game was played roughly, and in which strong feelings were aroused. To
this day it is difficult to discuss the career of the Hon. George
Brown, or of Sir John A. Macdonald, without reviving these feelings in
the breasts of political veterans and their sons; and even one who
tries to study the time and the men and to write their story, finds
himself taking sides with men who are in their graves, and fighting
for causes long since lost and won. The writer has tried to resist the
temptation of building up the fame of Brown by detracting from that of
other men, but he has also thought it right in many cases to present
Brown's point of view, not necessarily as the whole truth, but as one
of the aspects of truth.

In dealing with the question of confederation, my endeavour has been
simply to tell the story of Brown's work and let it speak for itself,
not to measure the exact proportion of credit due to Brown and to
others. It is hard to believe, however, that the verdict of history
will assign to him a place other than first among the public men of
Canada who contributed to the work of confederation. Events, as D'Arcy
McGee said, were probably more powerful than any of them.

If any apology is needed for the space devoted to the subject of
slavery in the United States, it may be found not only in Brown's
life-long opposition to slavery, but in the fact that the Civil War
influenced the relations between the United States and Canada, and
indirectly promoted the confederation of the Canadian provinces, and
also in the fact, so frequently emphasized by Mr. Brown, that the
growth of the institution of slavery on this continent was a danger to
which Canada could not be indifferent.

Among the works that have been found useful for reference are John
Charles Dent's _Last Forty Years_ (Canada since the union of 1841);
_Gray on Confederation_; Coté's _Political Appointments and Elections
in the Province of Canada_; Dr. Hodgins' _Legislation and History of
Separate Schools in Upper Canada_; the lives of _Lord Elgin_, _Dr.
Ryerson_ and _Joseph Howe_ in "The Makers of Canada" series; the Hon.
Alexander Mackenzie's _Life and Speeches of the Hon. George Brown_;
the Hon. James Young's _Public Men and Public Life in Canada_. Mr.
Mackenzie's book contains a valuable collection of letters, to which
frequent reference is made in the chapters of this book dealing with
confederation. The account of the relations of the Peel government
with Governor Sir Charles Bagot is taken from the _Life of Sir Robert
Peel_, from his correspondence, edited by C. S. Parker. The files of
the _Banner_ and the _Globe_ have been read with some care; they were
found to contain an embarrassing wealth of most interesting historical

To Dr. James Bain, Librarian of the Toronto Free Library, and to Mr.
Avern Pardoe, of the Library of the Legislative Assembly, I am deeply
indebted for courtesy and assistance.



_CHAPTER I_                                    Page

  FROM SCOTLAND TO CANADA                         1


  METCALFE AND HIS REFORMERS                     11


  RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT                         31


  DISSENSION AMONG REFORMERS                     39


  THE CLERGY RESERVES                            51


  BROWN'S FIRST PARLIAMENT                       61


  RISE OF BROWN'S INFLUENCE                      69


  RECONSTRUCTION OF PARTIES                      77


  SOME PERSONAL POLITICS                         87


  THE "DOUBLE SHUFFLE"                           99


  AGAINST AMERICAN SLAVERY                      111


  BROWN AND THE ROMAN CATHOLICS                 121




  LAST YEARS OF THE UNION                       141


  CONFEDERATION                                 147


  THE QUEBEC CONFERENCE                         163


  THE CONFEDERATION DEBATE                      169


  THE MISSION TO ENGLAND                        181


  BROWN LEAVES THE COALITION                    189




  CANADA AND THE GREAT WEST                     211


  THE RECIPROCITY TREATY OF 1874                223


  CANADIAN NATIONALISM                          235


  LATER YEARS                                   243


  CONCLUSION                                    255

  INDEX                                         269



George Brown was born at Alloa, a seaport on the tidal Forth,
thirty-five miles inward from Edinburgh, on November 29th, 1818. His
mother was a daughter of George Mackenzie, of Stornoway, in the Island
of Lewis. His father, Peter Brown, was a merchant and builder. George
was educated at the High School and Southern Academy in Edinburgh.
"This young man," said Dr. Gunn, of the Southern Academy, "is not only
endowed with high enthusiasm, but possesses the faculty of creating
enthusiasm in others." At the risk of attaching too much significance
to praise bestowed on a school-boy, it may be said that these words
struck the keynote of Brown's character and revealed the source of his
power. The atmosphere of the household was Liberal; father and son
alike hated the institution of slavery, with which they were destined
to become more closely acquainted. "When I was a very young man," said
George Brown, denouncing the Fugitive Slave Law before a Toronto
audience, "I used to think that if I ever had to speak before such an
audience as this, I would choose African Slavery as my theme in
preference to any other topic. The subject seemed to afford the
widest scope for rhetoric and for fervid appeals to the best of human
sympathies. These thoughts arose far from here, while slavery was a
thing at a distance, while the horrors of the system were unrealized,
while the mind received it as a tale and discussed it as a principle.
But, when you have mingled with the thing itself, when you have
encountered the atrocities of the system, when you have seen three
millions of human beings held as chattels by their Christian
countrymen, when you have seen the free institutions, the free press
and the free pulpit of America linked in the unrighteous task of
upholding the traffic, when you have realized the manacle, and the
lash, and the sleuth-hound, you think no more of rhetoric, the mind
stands appalled at the monstrous iniquity, mere words lose their
meaning, and facts, cold facts, are felt to be the only fit

Again, as George grew to manhood, the struggle which ended in the
disruption of the Church of Scotland was approaching its climax, and
the sympathies of the Brown household were with those who declared
that it "is the fundamental law of this Church that no pastor shall be
intruded on any congregation contrary to the will of the people."

In 1838 reverses in business led the father and son to seek their
fortunes in America. Arriving in New York, Peter Brown turned to
journalism, finding employment as a contributor to the _Albion_, a
weekly newspaper published for British residents of the United
States. The Browns formed an unfavourable opinion of American
institutions as represented by New York in that day. To them the
republic presented itself as a slave-holding power, seeking to extend
its territory in order to enlarge the area of slavery, and hostile to
Great Britain as a citadel of freedom. They always regarded the
slave-holding element in the United States as that which kept up the
tradition of enmity to England. An American book entitled, _The Glory
and Shame of England_, aroused Peter Brown's indignation, and he
published a reply in a little volume bearing the name of _The Fame and
Glory of England Vindicated_. Here he paid tribute to British freedom,
contrasted it with the domination of the slave holders, and instanced
the fact that in Connecticut a woman had been mobbed and imprisoned
for teaching coloured girls to read. Further light is thrown upon the
American experience of the Browns by an article in the _Banner_, their
first Canadian venture in journalism. The writer is answering an
accusation of disloyalty and Yankee sympathies, a stock charge against
Reformers in that day. He said: "We have stood in the very heart of a
republic, and fearlessly issued our weekly sheet, expressing our
fervent admiration of the limited monarchy of Great Britain, though
surrounded by Democratic Whigs, Democratic Republicans, Irish
Repealers, slave-holders, and every class which breathes the most
inveterate hostility to British institutions. And we are not to be
turned from maintaining the genuine principles of the constitution
because some of our contemporaries are taken with a fit of sycophancy,
and would sacrifice all at the shrine of power."

In December, 1842, the Browns established in New York the _British
Chronicle_, a paper similar to the _Albion_, but apparently designed
more especially for Scottish and Presbyterian readers in the United
States and Canada. In an effort to promote Canadian circulation,
George Brown came to Canada early in 1843. The _Chronicle_ had taken
strong ground on the popular side of the movement then agitating the
Church of Scotland; and this struggle was watched with peculiar
interest in Canada, where the relations between Church and State were
burning questions. Young Brown also met the members of a Reform
administration then holding power under Governor Metcalfe, and the
ministers became impressed with the idea that he would be a powerful
ally in the struggle then impending.

There is on record an interesting pen picture of George Brown as he
appeared at this time. The writer is Samuel Thompson, editor of the
_Colonist_. "It was, I think, somewhere about the month of May, 1843,
that there walked into my office on Nelson Street a young man of
twenty-five years, tall, broad-shouldered, somewhat lantern-jawed and
emphatically Scottish, who introduced himself to me as the travelling
agent of the New York _British Chronicle_, published by his father.
This was George Brown, afterwards editor and publisher of the _Globe_
newspaper. He was a very pleasant-mannered, courteous, gentlemanly
young fellow, and impressed me favourably. His father, he said, found
the political atmosphere of New York hostile to everything British,
and that it was as much as a man's life was worth to give expression
to any British predilections whatsoever (which I knew to be true).
They had, therefore, thought of transferring their publication to
Toronto, and intended to continue it as a thoroughly Conservative
journal. I, of course, welcomed him as a co-worker in the same cause
with ourselves, little expecting how his ideas of Conservatism were to
develop themselves in subsequent years." His Conservatism--assuming
that the young man was not misunderstood--was perhaps the result of a
reaction from the experience of New York, in which democracy had
presented itself in an unlovely aspect. Contact with Toronto Toryism
of that day would naturally stiffen the Liberalism of a combative man.

As a result of George Brown's survey of the Canadian field, the
publication of the _British Chronicle_ in New York ceased, and the
Browns removed to Toronto, where they established the _Banner_, a
weekly paper partly Presbyterian and partly political, and in both
fields championing the cause of government by the people. The first
number was issued on August 18th, 1843. Referring to the disruption
of the "Scottish Church" that had occurred three months before, the
_Banner_ said: "If we look to Scotland we shall find an event
unparalleled in the history of the world. Nearly five hundred
ministers, backed by several thousand elders and perhaps a million of
people, have left the Church of their fathers because the civil courts
have trampled on what they deem the rights of the Christian people in
Scotland, exhibiting a lesson to the world which must produce results
that cannot yet be measured. The sacrifice made by these devoted
ministers of the Gospel is great; their reward is sure."

The columns of the _Banner_ illustrate in a striking way the
intermingling, common in that day, of religion and politics. The
_Banner's_ chief antagonist was the _Church_, a paper equally devoted
to episcopacy and monarchy. Here is a specimen bit of controversy. The
_Church_, arguing against responsible government, declares that as God
is the only ruler of princes, princes cannot be accountable to the
people; and perdition is the lot of all rebels, agitators of sedition,
demagogues, who work under the pretence of reforming the State. All
the troubles of the country are due to parliaments constantly
demanding more power and thereby endangering the supremacy of the
mother country. The _Banner_ is astonished by the unblushing avowal of
these doctrines, which had not been so openly proclaimed since the
days of "High Church and Sacheverell," and which if acted upon would
reduce the people to the level of abject slaves. Whence, it asks,
comes this doctrine of the irresponsibility of kings? "It has been dug
up from the tombs of Roman Catholic and High Church priests and of
Jacobite bigots. Wherever it gets a footing it carries bloodshed and
persecution in its train. It cramps the freedom of thought. It
represses commercial enterprise and industry. It dries up the springs
of the human understanding. To what does Britain owe all her greatness
but to that free range of intellectual exertion which prompted Watt
and Arkwright in their wonderful discoveries, which carried Anson and
Cook round the globe, and which enabled Newton to scale the heavens?
Is the dial to be put back? Must the world once more adopt the
doctrine that the people are made for kings and not kings for the
people? Where will this treason to the British Constitution find the
slightest warrant in the Word of God? We know that power alone
proceeds from God, the very air we breathe is the gift of His bounty,
and whatever public right is exercised from the most obscure elective
franchise to the king upon his throne is derived from Him to
whom we must account for the exercise of it. But does that
accountability take away or lessen the political obligations of
the social compact?--assuredly not."

This style of controversy was typical of the time. Tories drew from
the French Revolution warnings against the heedless march of
democracy. Reformers based arguments on the "glorious revolution of
1688." A bill for the secularization of King's College was denounced
by Bishop Strachan, the stalwart leader of the Anglicans, in language
of extraordinary vehemence. The bill would hold up the Christian
religion to the contempt of wicked men, and overturn the social order
by unsettling property. Placing all forms of error on an equality with
truth, the bill represented a principle "atheistical and monstrous,
destructive of all that was pure and holy in morals and religion." To
find parallels for this madness, the bishop referred to the French
Revolution, when the Christian faith was abjured, and the Goddess of
Reason set up for worship; to pagan Rome, which, to please the natives
she had conquered, "condescended to associate their impure idolatries
with her own."

These writings are quoted not merely as illustrations of extravagance
of language. The language was the natural outcome of an extraordinary
situation. The bishop was not a voice crying in the wilderness; he was
a power in politics as well as in the Church, and had, as executive
councillor, taken an important part in the government of the country.
He was not making extravagant pretensions, but defending a position
actually held by his Church, a position which fell little short of
absolute domination. Religious equality was to be established, a great
endowment of land converted from sectarian to public purposes, and a
non-sectarian system of education created. In this work Brown played a
leading part, but before it could be undertaken it was necessary to
vindicate the right of the people to self-government.

In November, 1843, the resignation of Metcalfe's ministers created a
crisis which soon absorbed the energy of the Browns and eventually led
to the establishment of the _Globe_. In the issue of December 8th,
1843, the principles of responsible government are explained, and the
_Banner_ gives its support to the ministers. It cannot see why less
confidence should be bestowed by a governor-general in Canada than by
a sovereign in the British empire. It deplores the rupture and
declares that it still belongs to no political party. It has no liking
for "Democracy," a word which even Liberals at that time seemed to
regard with horror. It asks Presbyterians to stand fast for the
enjoyment of civil and religious liberty. It exhorts the people of
Canada to be firm and patient and to let no feeling of disappointment
lead their minds to republicanism. Those who would restrict the
liberties of Canada also dwell on the evils of republicanism, but they
are the very people who would bring it to pass. The _Banner's_ ideal
is a system of just and equal government. If this is pursued, a vast
nation will grow up speaking the same language, having the same laws
and customs, and bound to the mother country by the strongest bonds of
affection. The _Banner_, which had at first described itself as
independent in party politics, soon found itself drawn into a struggle
which was too fierce and too momentous to allow men of strong
convictions to remain neutral. We find politics occupying more and
more attention in its columns, and finally on March 5th, 1844, the
_Globe_ is established as the avowed ally of Baldwin and Lafontaine,
and the advocate of responsible government. It will be necessary to
explain now the nature of the difference between Metcalfe and his



The Browns arrived in Canada in the period of reconstruction following
the rebellion of 1837-8. In Lord Durham's Report the rising in Lower
Canada was attributed mainly to racial animosity--"two nations warring
in the bosom of a single state"--"a struggle not of principles but of
races." The rising in Upper Canada was attributed mainly to the
ascendency of the "family compact"--a family only in the official
sense. "The bench, the magistracy, the high offices of the episcopal
church, and a great part of the legal profession, are filled by their
adherents; by grant or purchase they have acquired nearly the whole of
the waste lands of the province; they are all-powerful in the
chartered banks, and till lately shared among themselves almost
exclusively all offices of trust and profit. The bulk of this party
consists, for the most part, of native born inhabitants of the colony,
or of emigrants who settled in it before the last war with the United
States; the principal members of it belong to the Church of England,
and the maintenance of the claims of that Church has always been one
of its distinguishing characteristics." Reformers discovered that even
when they triumphed at the polls, they could not break up this
combination, the executive government remaining constantly in the
hands of their opponents. They therefore agitated for the
responsibility of the executive council to the legislative assembly.

Lord Durham's remedy was to unite Upper and Lower Canada, and to grant
the demand for responsible government. He hoped that the union would
in time dispose of the racial difficulty. Estimating the population of
Upper Canada at four hundred thousand, the English inhabitants of
Lower Canada at one hundred and fifty thousand, and the French at four
hundred and fifty thousand, "the union of the two provinces would not
only give a clear English majority, but one which would be increased
every year by the influence of English immigration; and I have little
doubt that the French, when once placed by the legitimate course of
events and the working of natural causes, in a minority, would abandon
their vain hopes of nationality."

The future mapped out by Lord Durham for the French-Canadians was one
of benevolent assimilation. He under-estimated their tenacity and
their power of adapting themselves to new political conditions. They
not only retained their distinctive language and customs, but gained
so large a measure of political power that in time Upper Canada
complained that it was dominated by its partner. The union was
effected soon after the report, but the granting of responsible
government was long delayed. From the submission of Lord Durham's
Report to the time of Lord Elgin, the question of responsible
government was the chief issue in Canadian politics. Lord Durham's
recommendations were clear and specific. He maintained that harmony
would be restored "not by weakening but strengthening the influence of
the people on its government; by confining within much narrower bounds
than those hitherto allotted to it, and not by extending, the
interference of the imperial authorities on the details of colonial
affairs." The government must be administered on the principles that
had been found efficacious in Great Britain. He would not impair a
single prerogative of the Crown, but the Crown must submit to the
necessary consequences of representative institutions, and must govern
through those in whom the representative body had confidence.

These principles are now so well established that it is hard to
realize how bold and radical they appeared in 1839. Between that time
and 1847, the British government sent out to Canada three governors,
with various instructions. Whatever the wording of these instructions
was, they always fell short of Durham's recommendations, and always
expressed a certain reluctance to entrusting the government of Canada
unreservedly to representatives of the people.

From 1842 to 1846 the government in Great Britain was that of Sir
Robert Peel, and it was that government which set itself most
strongly against the granting of autonomy to Canada. It was
Conservative, and it probably received from correspondents in Canada a
good deal of misinformation and prejudiced opinion in regard to the
aims of the Reformers. But it was a group of men of the highest
character and capacity, concerning whom Gladstone has left on record a
remarkable testimony. "It is his conviction that in many of the most
important rules of public policy, that government surpassed generally
the governments which have succeeded it, whether Liberal or
Conservative. Among them he would mention purity in patronage,
financial strictness, loyal adherence to the principle of public
economy, jealous regard to the rights of parliament, a single eye to
the public interest, strong aversion to extension of territorial
responsibilities, and a frank admission of the rights of foreign
countries as equal to those of their own."

With this high estimate of the general character of the Peel
government must be coupled the undoubted fact that it entirely
misunderstood the situation in Canada, gave its support to the party
of reaction, and needlessly delayed the establishment of
self-government. We may attribute this in part to the distrust
occasioned by the rebellion; in part to the use of partisan channels
of information; but under all this was a deeper cause--inability to
conceive of such a relation as exists between Great Britain and Canada
to-day. In that respect Peel and his colleagues resembled most of the
public men of their time. They could understand separation; they could
understand a relation in which the British government and its agents
ruled the colonies in a kindly and paternal fashion; but a union under
which the colonies were nations in all but foreign relations passed
their comprehension. When the colonies asked for complete
self-government it was supposed that separation was really desired.
Some were for letting them go in peace. Others were for holding them
by political and commercial bonds. Of the latter class, Stanley,
colonial secretary under Peel, was a good type. He believed in
"strong" governors; he believed in a system of preferential trade
between Great Britain and the colonies, and his language might have
been used, with scarcely any modification, by the Chamberlain party in
the recent elections in Great Britain. When, in 1843, he introduced
the measure giving a preference to Canadian wheat, he expressed the
hope that it would restore content and prosperity to Canada; and when
that preference disappeared with the Corn Laws, he declared that the
basis of colonial union was destroyed.

From the union to September, 1842, no French-Canadian name appears in
a Canadian government. French-Canadians were deeply dissatisfied with
the terms of the union; there was a strong reluctance to admitting
them to any share of power, and they complained bitterly that they
were politically ostracized by Sydenham, the first governor. His
successor, Bagot, adopted the opposite policy, and earned the severe
censure of the government at home.

On August 23rd, 1842, Sir Robert Peel wrote to Lord Stanley in terms
which indicated a belief that Governor Bagot was experiencing great
difficulty in carrying on the government. He spoke of a danger of
French-Canadians and Radicals, or French-Canadians and Conservatives,
combining to place the government in a minority. He suggested various
means of meeting the danger, and said, "I would not voluntarily throw
myself into the hands of the French party through fear of being in a

Before instructions founded on this letter could reach the colony, the
governor had acted, "throwing himself," in the words of Peel's
biographer, "into the hands of the party tainted by disaffection."
What had really happened was that on September 16th, 1842, the
Canadian government had been reconstructed, the principal change being
the introduction of Lafontaine and Baldwin as its leading members.
This action aroused a storm in Canada, where Bagot was fiercely
assailed by the Tories for his so-called surrender to rebels. And that
view was taken also in England.

On October 18th, 1842, Mr. Arbuthnot wrote to Sir Robert Peel: "The
Duke [Wellington] has been thunderstruck by the news from Canada.
Between ourselves, he considers what has happened as likely to be
fatal to the connection with England; and I must also, in the very
strictest confidence, tell you that he dreads lest it should break up
the cabinet here at home."

On October 21st, Sir Robert Peel wrote to Lord Stanley, pointing out
the danger of the duke's strong and decisive condemnation: "In various
quarters the Duke of Wellington denouncing the arrangement as a tame
surrender to a party tainted with treason, would produce an impression
most dangerous to the government, if it could get over the effects
produced by the first announcement of his retirement, on the ground of
avowed difference of opinion." After reading Sir Charles Bagot's
explanations, he admitted that the governor's position was
embarrassing. "Suppose," he said in a subsequent letter, "that Sir C.
Bagot was reduced to such difficulties that he had no alternative but
to take the best men of the French-Canadian party into his councils,
and that it was better for him to do this before there was a hostile
vote; still, the manner in which he conducted his negotiations was a
most unwise one. He makes it appear to the world that he courted and
rejoiced in the necessity for a change in his councils." On October
24th the Duke of Wellington wrote expressing his agreement with Peel,
and adding: "However, it appears to me that we must consider the
arrangement as settled and adopted by the legislature of Canada. It
will remain to be considered afterwards what is to be done with Sir
Charles Bagot and with his measures."

The question was solved by the death of the governor who had been
unfortunate enough to arouse the storm, and to create a ministerial
crisis in Great Britain. It is believed that his end was hastened by
the news from England. He fell ill in November, grew steadily worse,
and at last asked to be recalled, a request which was granted. At his
last cabinet council he bade an affectionate farewell to his
ministers, and begged them to defend his memory. His best vindication
is found in the failure of Metcalfe's policy, and in the happy results
of the policy of Elgin.

The events connected with the retirement of Bagot, which were not
fully understood until the publication of Sir Robert Peel's papers a
few years ago, throw light upon the reasons which determined the
selection of Sir Charles Metcalfe. Metcalfe was asked by Lord Stanley
whether he would be able and disposed to assume "most honourable and
at the same time very arduous duties in the public service." Metcalfe
wrote to Captain Higginson, afterwards his private secretary: "I am
not sure that the government of Canada is a manageable affair, and
unless I think I can go to good purpose I will not go at all." Sir
Francis Hincks says: "All Sir Charles Metcalfe's correspondence prior
to his departure from England is indicative of a feeling that he was
going on a forlorn hope expedition," and Hincks adds that such
language can be explained only on the assumption that he was sent out
for the purpose of overthrowing responsible government. It is
certainly established by the Peel correspondence that the British
government strongly disapproved of Sir Charles Bagot's policy, and
selected Sir Charles Metcalfe as a man who would govern on radically
different lines. It is perhaps putting it rather strongly to say that
he was intended to overthrow responsible government. But he must have
come to Canada filled with distrust of the Canadian ministry, filled
with the idea that the demand for responsible government was a cloak
for seditious designs, and ready to take strong measures to preserve
British connection. In this misunderstanding lay the source of his
errors and misfortunes in Canada.

It is not therefore necessary to enter minutely into the dispute which
occasioned the rupture between Metcalfe and his advisers. On the
surface it was a dispute over patronage. In reality Baldwin and
Lafontaine were fighting for autonomy and responsible government;
Metcalfe, as he thought, was defending the unity of the empire. He was
a kindly and conscientious man, and he held his position with some
skill, always contending that he was willing to agree to responsible
government on condition that the colonial position was recognized, the
prerogative of the Crown upheld, and the governor not dominated by
one political party.

The governor finally broke with his advisers in November, 1843. For
some months he was to govern, not only without a responsible ministry,
but without a parliament, for the legislature was immediately
prorogued, and did not meet again before dissolution. His chief
adviser was William Henry Draper, a distinguished lawyer, whose
political career was sacrificed in the attempt to hold an impossible
position. Reformers and Tories prepared for a struggle which was to
continue for several years, and which, in spite of the smallness of
the field, was of the highest importance in settling a leading
principle of government.

On March 5th, 1844, as a direct consequence of the struggle, appeared
the first issue of the Toronto _Globe_, its motto taken from one of
the boldest letters of Junius to George III: "The subject who is truly
loyal to the chief magistrate will neither advise nor submit to
arbitrary measures." The leading article was a long and careful review
of the history of the country, followed by a eulogy on the
constitution enjoyed by Great Britain since "the glorious revolution
of 1688," but denied to Canada. Responsible government was withheld;
the governor named his councillors in defiance of the will of the
legislature. Advocates of responsible government were stigmatized by
the governor's friends as rebels, traitors, radicals and republicans.
The _Globe_ proclaimed its adherence to Lord Durham's recommendation,
and said: "The battle which the Reformers of Canada will right is not
the battle of a party, but the battle of constitutional right against
the undue interference of executive power." The prospectus of the
paper contained these words: "Firmly attached to the principles of the
British Constitution, believing the limited monarchy of Great Britain
the best system of government yet devised by the wisdom of man, and
sincerely convinced that the prosperity of Canada will best be
advanced by a close connection between it and the mother country, the
editor of the _Globe_ will support all measures which will tend to
draw closer the bonds of a mutually advantageous union."

On March 25th, 1844, the campaign was opened with a meeting called by
the Toronto Reform Association. Robert Baldwin, "father of responsible
government," was in the chair, and William Hume Blake was the orator
of the night. The young editor of the _Globe_, a recruit among
veterans, seems to have made a hit with a picture of a ministry framed
on the "no party" plan advocated by Governor Metcalfe. In this
imaginary ministry he grouped at the same council table Robert Baldwin
and his colleague Francis Hincks; Sir Allan MacNab, the Tory leader;
William Henry Draper, Metcalfe's chief adviser; John Strachan, Bishop
of Toronto; and Dr. Ryerson, leader of the Methodists and champion of
the governor. His Excellency is on a chair raised above the warring
elements below. Baldwin moves that King's College be opened to all
classes of Her Majesty's subjects. At once the combination is
dissolved, as any one who remembers Bishop Strachan's views on that
question will understand.

Dr. Ryerson, whose name was used by Brown in this illustration, was a
leader among the Methodists, and had fought stoutly for religious
equality against Anglican privilege. But he had espoused the side of
the governor-general, apparently taking seriously the position that it
was the only course open to a loyal subject. In a series of letters
published in the summer of 1844, he warned the people that the Toronto
Reform Association was leading them to the edge of a precipice. "In
the same manner," he said, "I warned you against the Constitutional
Reform Association, formed in 1834. In 1837 my warning predictions
were realized, to the ruin of many and the misery of thousands. What
took place in 1837 was but a preface of what may be witnessed in
1847." The warning he meant to convey was that the people were being
drawn into a conflict with the imperial authorities. "Mr. Baldwin," he
said, "practically renounces the imperial authority by refusing to
appeal to it, and by appealing through the Toronto Association to the
people of Canada. If the people of Canada are the tribunal of judgment
on one question of constitutional prerogative, they are so on every
question of constitutional prerogative. Then the governor is no
longer responsible to the imperial authority, and Canada is an
independent country. Mr. Baldwin's proceeding, therefore, not only
leads to independence but involves (unconsciously, I admit, from
extreme and theoretical views), a practical declaration of
independence before the arrival of the 4th of July!"

In this language Dr. Ryerson described with accuracy the attitude of
the British government. That government had, as we have seen,
disapproved of Governor Bagot's action in parting with so large a
measure of power, and it was fully prepared to support Metcalfe in
pursuing the opposite course. Dr. Ryerson was also right in saying
that the government of Great Britain would be supported by parliament.
In May, 1844, the affairs of Canada were discussed in the British
House of Commons, and the governor's action was justified by Peel, by
Lord Stanley, and by Lord John Russell. The only dissentient voices
were those of the Radicals, Hume and Roebuck.

Metcalfe and his chiefs at home can hardly be blamed for holding the
prevailing views of the time, which were that the changes contemplated
by Durham, by Bagot, and by Baldwin were dangerous and revolutionary.
The idea that a colony could remain connected with Great Britain under
such a system of autonomy as we enjoy to-day was then conceived by
only a few men of exceptional breadth and foresight, among whom Elgin
was one of the most eminent.

The wise leadership of Baldwin and Lafontaine and the patience and
firmness of the Reformers are attested by their conduct in very trying
circumstances. Finding their demand for constitutional reform opposed
not only by the Canadian Tories, but by the governor-general and the
imperial government and parliament, they might have become
discouraged, or have been tempted into some act of violence. Their
patience must have been sorely tried by the persistent malice or
obstinate prejudice which stigmatized a strictly constitutional
movement as treason. They had also to endure the trial of a temporary
defeat at the polls, and an apparent rejection of their policy by the
very people for whose liberties they were contending.

In the autumn of 1844 the legislature was dissolved and a fierce
contest ensued. Governor Metcalfe's attitude is indicated by his
biographer.[1] "The contest," he says, "was between loyalty on the one
side and disaffection to Her Majesty's government on the other. That
there was a strong anti-British feeling abroad, in both divisions of
the province [Upper and Lower Canada] Metcalfe clearly and painfully
perceived. The conviction served to brace and stimulate him to new
exertions. He felt that he was fighting for his sovereign against a
rebellious people." The appeal was successful; Upper Canada was swept
by the loyalty cry, and in various polling places votes were actually
cast or offered for the governor-general. The _Globe_ described a
conversation that occurred in a polling place in York: "Whom do you
vote for?" "I vote for the governor-general." "There is no such
candidate. Say George Duggan, you blockhead." "Oh, yes, George Duggan;
it's all the same thing." There were candidates who described
themselves as "governor-general's men"; there were candidates whose
royalist enthusiasm was expressed in the name "Cavaliers." In the
Montreal election petition it was charged that during two days of
polling the electors were exposed to danger from the attacks of bands
of fighting men hired by the government candidates or their agents,
and paid, fed, and armed with "bludgeons, bowie-knives, and pistols
and other murderous weapons" for the purpose of intimidating the
Liberal electors and preventing them from gaining access to the polls;
that Liberals were driven from the polls by these fighting men, and by
cavalry and infantry acting under the orders of partisan magistrates.
The polls, it was stated, were surrounded by soldiers, field-pieces
were placed in several public squares, and the city was virtually in a
state of siege. The charges were not investigated, the petition being
rejected for irregularity; but violence and intimidation were then
common accompaniments of elections.

In November the governor was able to record his victory thus: Upper
Canada, avowed supporters of his government, thirty; avowed
adversaries, seven; undeclared and uncertain, five. Lower Canada,
avowed supporters, sixteen; avowed adversaries, twenty-one; undeclared
and uncertain, four. Remarking on this difference between Upper
and Lower Canada, he said that loyalty and British feeling
prevailed in Upper Canada and in the Eastern Townships of Lower
Canada, and that disaffection was predominant among the French-Canadian
constituencies.[2] Metcalfe honestly believed he had saved Canada for
the empire; but more mischief could hardly have been done by
deliberate design. In achieving a barren and precarious victory at the
polls, he and his friends had run the risk of creating that
disaffection which they feared. The stigma of disloyalty had been
unjustly affixed to honest and public-spirited men, whose steadiness
alone prevented them, in their resentment, from joining the ranks of
the disaffected. Worse still, the line of political cleavage had been
identified with the line of racial division, and "French-Canadian" and
"rebel" had been used as synonymous terms.

The ministry and the legislative assembly were now such as the
governor had desired, yet the harmony was soon broken. There appeared
divisions in the cabinet, hostile votes in the legislature, and
finally a revolt in the Conservative press. An attempt to form a
coalition with the French-Canadian members drew a sarcastic comment
from the _Globe_: "Mr. Draper has invited the men whom he and his
party have for years stigmatized before the country as rebels and
traitors and destructives to join his administration." Reformers
regarded these troubles as evidence that the experiment in reaction
was failing, and waited patiently for the end. Shortly after the
election the governor was raised to the peerage, an honour which, if
not earned by success in Canada, was fairly due to his honest
intentions. He left Canada at the close of the year 1845, suffering
from a painful disease, of which he died a year afterwards.

Soon after the governor's departure the young editor of the _Globe_
had a curious experience. At a dinner of the St. Andrew's Society,
Toronto, the president, Judge MacLean, proposed the health of Lord
Metcalfe, eulogized his Canadian policy, and insisted that he had not
been recalled, "as certain persons have most impertinently and untruly
assumed and set forth." Brown refused to drink the toast, and asked to
be heard, asserting that he had been publicly insulted from the chair.
After a scene of uproar, he managed to obtain a hearing, and said,
addressing the chairman: "I understand your allusions, sir, and your
epithet of impertinence as applied to myself. I throw it back on you
with contempt, and will content myself with saying that your using
such language and dragging such matters before the society was highly
improper. Lord Metcalfe, sir, has been recalled, and it may yet be
seen that it was done by an enlightened British government for cause.
The toast which you have given, too, and the manner in which it was
introduced, are highly improper. This is not the place to discuss Lord
Metcalfe's administration. There is a wide difference of opinion as to
it. But I refrain from saying one word as to his conduct in this
province. This is not a political but a benevolent society, composed
of persons of very varied political sentiments, and such a toast ought
never to have been brought here. Lord Metcalfe is not now
governor-general of Canada, and I had a right to refuse to do honour
to him or not as I saw fit, and that without any disparagement to his
conduct as a gentleman, even though the person who is president of
this society thinks otherwise." This incident, trivial as it may
appear, illustrates the passion aroused by the contest, and the bold
and resolute character of the young politician.

Lord Metcalfe's successor was Earl Cathcart, a soldier who concerned
himself little in the political disputes of the country, and who had
been chosen because of the danger of war with the United States,
arising out of the dispute over the Oregon boundary. The settlement of
that dispute does not come within the scope of this work; but it may
be noted that the _Globe_ was fully possessed by the belligerent
spirit of the time, and frankly expressed the hope that Great Britain
would fight, not merely for the Oregon boundary, but "to proclaim
liberty to the black population." The writer hoped that the Christian
nations of the world would combine and "break the chains of the slaves
in the United States, in Brazil and in Cuba."


[1] Kaye's _Life of Metcalfe_, Vol. II., p. 389.

[2] Kaye's _Life of Metcalfe_, Vol. II., p. 390.



In England, as well as in Canada, events were moving towards
self-government. With the repeal of the Corn Laws in 1840 disappeared
the preference to Canadian wheat. "Destroy this principle of
protection," said Lord Stanley in the House of Lords, "and you destroy
the whole basis upon which your colonial system rests." Loud
complaints came from Canada, and in a despatch from Earl Cathcart to
the colonial secretary, it was represented that the Canadian waterways
had been improved on the strength of the report made to Great Britain,
and that the disappointment and loss resulting from the abolition of
the preference would lead to alienation from the mother country and
"annexation to our rival and enemy, the United States." Gladstone, in
his reply, denied that the basis of imperial unity was protection,
"the exchange, not of benefits, but of burdens;" the true basis lay in
common feelings, traditions and hopes. The _Globe_ held that Canada
had no right to complain if the people of the United Kingdom did what
was best for themselves. England, as an exporter of manufactures, had
to meet competition at the world's prices, and must have cheap food
supplies. Canada had surely a higher destiny than to export a few
hundred bushels of wheat and flour to England. Canadian home
manufactures must be encouraged, and efforts made to obtain free trade
with the United States. "The Tory press," said the _Globe_, "are out
in full cry against free trade. Their conduct affords an illustration
of the unmitigated selfishness of Toryism. Give them everything they
can desire and they are brimful of loyalty. They will shout pæans till
they are sick, and drink goblets till they are blind in favour of
'wise and benevolent governors' who will give them all the offices and
all the emoluments. But let their interests, real or imaginary, be
affected, and how soon does their loyalty evaporate! Nothing is now
talked of but separation from the mother country, unless the mother
continues feeding them in the mode prescribed by the child."

Some time afterwards, Lord Elgin, in his communications to the home
government, said that the Canadian millers and shippers had a
substantial grievance, not in the introduction of free trade, but in
the constant tinkering incident to the abandoned system of imperial
protection. The preference given in 1843 to Canadian wheat and to
flour, even when made of American wheat, had stimulated milling in
Canada; but almost before the newly-built mills were fairly at work,
the free trade measure of 1846 swept the advantage away. What was
wrong was not free trade, but Canadian dependence on imperial tariff

Elgin was one of the few statesmen of his day who perceived that the
colonies might enjoy commercial independence and political equality,
without separation. He declared that imperial unity did not depend on
the exercise of dominion, the dispensing of patronage, or the
maintenance of an imperial hot-bed for forcing commerce and
manufactures. Yet he conceived of an empire not confined to the
British Islands, but growing, expanding, "strengthening itself from
age to age, and drawing new supplies of vitality from virgin soils."

With Elgin's administration began the new era of self-government. The
legislature was dissolved towards the close of the year 1847, and the
election resulted in a complete victory for the Reformers. In Upper
Canada the contest was fairly close, but in Lower Canada the
Conservative forces were almost annihilated, and on the first vote in
parliament the government was defeated by a large majority. The second
Baldwin-Lafontaine government received the full confidence and loyal
support of the governor, and by its conduct and achievements justified
the reform that had been so long delayed, and adopted with so many
misgivings. But the fight for responsible government was not yet
finished. The cry of French and rebel domination was raised, as it had
been raised in the days of Governor Bagot. A Toronto journal
reproachfully referred to Lord Elgin's descent from "the Bruce," and
asked how a man of royal ancestry could so degrade himself as to
consort with rebels and political jobbers. "Surely the curse of
Minerva, uttered by a great poet against the father, clings to the
son." The removal of the old office-holders seemed to this writer to
be an act of desecration not unlike the removal of the famous marbles
from the Parthenon. In a despatch explaining his course on the
Rebellion Losses Bill, Lord Elgin said that long before that
legislation there were evidences of the temper which finally produced
the explosion. He quoted the following passage from a newspaper: "When
French tyranny becomes insupportable, we shall find our Cromwell.
Sheffield in olden times used to be famous for its keen and
well-tempered whittles. Well, they make bayonets there now, just as
sharp and just as well-tempered. When we can stand tyranny no longer,
it will be seen whether good bayonets in Saxon hands will not be more
than a match for a mace and a majority." All the fuel for a
conflagration was ready. There was race hatred, there was party
hostility, there was commercial depression and there was a sincere,
though exaggerated, loyalty, which regarded rebellion as the
unforgivable sin, and which was in constant dread of the spread of
radical, republican and democratic ideas.

The Rebellion Losses Bill was all that was needed to fan the embers
into flame. This was a measure intended to compensate persons who had
suffered losses during the rebellion in Lower Canada. It was attacked
as a measure for "rewarding rebels." Lord Elgin afterwards said that
he did not believe a rebel would receive a farthing. But even if we
suppose that some rebels or rebel sympathizers were included in the
list, the outcry against the bill was unreasonable. A general amnesty
had been proclaimed; French-Canadians had been admitted to a full
share of political power. The greater things having been granted, it
was mere pedantry to haggle about the less, and to hold an elaborate
inquiry into the principles of every man whose barns had been burned
during the rebellion. When responsible government was conceded, it was
admitted that even the rebels had not been wholly wrong. It would have
been straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel to say "we will give
you these free institutions for the sake of which you rebelled, but we
will not pay you the small sum of money necessary to recompense you
for losses arising out of the rebellion."

However, it is easier to discuss these matters coolly in 1906 than it
was in 1849, and in 1849 the notion of "rewarding the rebels" produced
another rebellion on a small scale. A large quantity of important
legislation was brought down by the new government when it met the
legislature early in 1849, but everything else was forgotten when Mr.
Lafontaine introduced the resolution on which the Rebellion Losses
Bill was founded. In various parts of Upper Canada meetings were held
and protests made against the measure. In Toronto the protests took
the form of mob violence, foreshadowing what was to come in Montreal.
Effigies of Baldwin and Blake were carried through the streets and
burned. William Lyon Mackenzie had lately returned to Canada, and was
living at the house of a citizen named Mackintosh. The mob went to the
house, threatened to pull it down, and burned an effigy of Mackenzie.
The windows of the house were broken and stones and bricks thrown in.
The _Globe_ office was apparently not molested, but about midnight the
mob went to the dwelling-house of the Browns, battered at the door and
broke some windows. The _Globe_ in this trying time stood staunchly by
the government and Lord Elgin, and powerfully influenced the public
opinion of Upper Canada in their favour. Addresses calling for the
withdrawal of Lord Elgin were met by addresses supporting his action,
and the signatures to the friendly addresses outnumbered the other by
one hundred and twenty thousand. George Brown, Col. C. T. Baldwin, and
W. P. Howland were deputed to present an address from the Reformers of
Upper Canada. Sir William Howland has said that Lord Elgin was so much
affected that he shed tears.

This is not the place, however great the temptation may be, to
describe the stirring scenes that were enacted in Montreal; the stormy
debate, the fiery speech in which William Hume Blake hurled back at
the Tories the charge of disloyalty; the tumult in the galleries, the
burning of the parliament buildings, and the mobbing and stoning of
the governor-general.

Lord Elgin's bearing under this severe trial was admirable. He was
most desirous that blood should not be shed, and for this reason
avoided the use of troops or the proclamation of martial law; and he
had the satisfaction of seeing the storm gradually subside. A less
dangerous evidence of discontent was a manifesto signed by leading
citizens of Montreal advocating annexation to the United States, not
only to relieve commercial depression, but "to settle the race
question forever, by bringing to bear on the French-Canadians the
powerful assimilating forces of the republic." The signers of this
document were leniently dealt with; but those among them who
afterwards took a prominent part in politics, were not permitted to
forget their error. Elgin was of opinion that there was ground for
discontent on commercial grounds, and he advocated the removal of
imperial restriction on navigation, and the establishment of
reciprocity between the United States and the British North American
provinces. The annexation movement was confined chiefly to Montreal.
In Upper Canada an association called the British American League was
formed, and a convention held at Kingston in 1849. The familiar topics
of commercial depression and French domination were discussed; some
violent language was used, but the remedies proposed were sane
enough; they were protection, retrenchment, and the union of the
British provinces. Union, it was said, would put an end to French
domination, and would give Canada better access to the sea and
increased commerce. The British American League figures in the old,
and not very profitable, controversy as to the share of credit to be
allotted to each political party for the work of confederation. It is
part of the Conservative case. But the platform was abandoned for the
time, and confederation remained in the realm of speculation rather
than of action.



Within the limits of one parliament, less than four years, the
Baldwin-Lafontaine government achieved a large amount of useful work,
including the establishment of cheap and uniform postage, the
reforming of the courts of law, the remodelling of the municipal
system, the establishment of the University of Toronto on a
non-sectarian basis, and the inauguration of a policy by which the
province was covered with a network of railways. With such a record,
the government hardly seemed to be open to a charge of lack of energy
and progressiveness, but it was a time when radicalism was in the air.
It may be more than a coincidence that Chartism in England and a
revolution in France were followed by radical movements in both

The counterpart to the Rouge party in Lower Canada, elsewhere referred
to, was the Clear Grit party in Upper Canada. Among its leaders were
Peter Perry, one of the founders of the Reform party in Upper Canada,
Caleb Hopkins, David Christie, James Lesslie, Dr. John Rolph and
William Macdougall. Rolph had played a leading part in the movement
for reform before the rebellion, and is the leading figure in Dent's
history of that period. Macdougall was a young lawyer and journalist
fighting his way into prominence.

"Grit" afterwards became a nickname for a member of the Reform or
Liberal party, and especially for the enthusiastic followers of George
Brown. Yet in all the history of a quarrelsome period in politics
there is no more violent quarrel than that between Brown and the Clear
Grits. It is said that Brown and Christie were one day discussing the
movement, and that Brown had mentioned the name of a leading Reformer
as one of the opponents of the new party. Christie replied that the
party did not want such men, they wanted only those who were "Clear
Grit." This is one of several theories as to the derivation of the
name. The _Globe_ denounced the party as "a miserable clique of
office-seeking, bunkum-talking cormorants, who met in a certain
lawyer's office on King Street [Macdougall's] and announced their
intention to form a new party on Clear Grit principles." The _North
American_, edited by Macdougall, denounced Brown with equal fury as a
servile adherent of the Baldwin government. Brown for several years
was in this position of hostility to the Radical wing of the party. He
was defeated in Haldimand by William Lyon Mackenzie, who stood on an
advanced Radical platform; and in 1851 his opponent in Kent and
Lambton was Malcolm Cameron, a Clear Grit, who had joined the
Hincks-Morin government. The nature of their relations is shown by a
letter in which Cameron called on one of his friends to come out and
oppose Brown: "I will be out and we will show him up, and let him know
what stuff Liberal Reformers are made of, and how they would treat
fanatical beasts who would allow no one liberty but themselves."

The Clear Grits advocated, (1) the application of the elective
principle to all the officials and institutions of the country, from
the head of the government downwards; (2) universal suffrage; (3) vote
by ballot; (4) biennial parliaments; (5) the abolition of property
qualification for parliamentary representations; (6) a fixed term for
the holding of general elections and for the assembling of the
legislature; (7) retrenchment; (8) the abolition of pensions to
judges; (9) the abolition of the Courts of Common Pleas and Chancery
and the giving of an enlarged jurisdiction to the Court of Queen's
Bench; (10) reduction of lawyers' fees; (11) free trade and direct
taxation; (12) an amended jury law; (13) the abolition or modification
of the usury laws; (14) the abolition of primogeniture; (15) the
secularization of the clergy reserves, and the abolition of the
rectories. The movement was opposed by the _Globe_. No new party, it
said, was required for the advocacy of reform of the suffrage,
retrenchment, law reform, free trade or the liberation of the clergy
reserves. These were practical questions, on which the Reform party
was united. But these were placed on the programme merely to cloak
its revolutionary features, features that simply meant the adoption of
republican institutions, and the taking of the first step towards
annexation. The British system of responsible government was upheld by
the _Globe_ as far superior to the American system in the security it
afforded to life and property.

But while Brown defended the government from the attacks of the Clear
Grits, he was himself growing impatient at their delay in dealing with
certain questions that he had at heart, especially the secularization
of the clergy reserves. He tried, as we should say to-day, "to reform
the party from within." He was attacked for his continued support of a
ministry accused of abandoning principles while "he was endeavouring
to influence the members to a right course without an open rupture."
There was an undercurrent of discontent drawing him away from the
government. In October, 1850, the _Globe_ contained a series of
articles on the subject. It was pointed out that there were four
parties in the country: the old-time Tories, the opponents of
responsible government, whose members were fast diminishing; the new
party led by John A. Macdonald; the Ministerialists; and the Clear
Grits, who were described as composed of English Radicals, Republicans
and annexationists. The Ministerialists had an overwhelming majority
over all, but were disunited. What was the trouble? The ministers
might be a little slow, a little wanting in tact, a little less
democratic than some of their followers. They were not traitors to the
Reform cause, and intemperate attacks on them might be disastrous to
that cause. A union of French-Canadians with Upper Canadian
Conservatives would, it was prophesied, make the Reform party
powerless. Though in later years George Brown became known as the
chief opponent of French-Canadian influence, he was well aware of the
value of the alliance, and he gave the French-Canadians full credit
for their support to measures of reform. "Let the truth be known,"
said the _Globe_ at this time, "to the French-Canadians of Lower
Canada are the Reformers of Upper Canada indebted for the sweeping
majorities which carried their best measures." He gave the government
credit for an immense mass of useful legislation enacted in a very
short period. But more remained to be done. The clergy reserves must
be abolished, and all connection between Church and State swept away.
"The party in power has no policy before the country. No one knows
what measures are to be brought forward by the leaders. Each man
fancies a policy for himself. The conductors of the public press must
take ground on all the questions of the day, and each accordingly
strikes out such a line as suits his own leanings, the palates of his
readers, or what he deems for the good of the country. All sorts of
vague schemes are thus thrown on the sea of public opinion to agitate
the waters, with the triple result of poisoning the public mind,
producing unnecessary divisions, and committing sections of the party
to views and principles which they might never have contemplated under
a better system."

For some time the articles in the _Globe_ did not pass the bounds of
friendly, though outspoken, criticism. The events that drew Brown into
opposition were his breach with the Roman Catholic Church, the
campaign in Haldimand in which he was defeated by William Lyon
Mackenzie, the retirement of Baldwin and the accession to power of the
Hincks-Morin administration.

Towards the end of 1850 there arrived in Canada copies of a pastoral
letter by Cardinal Wiseman, defending the famous papal bull which
divided England into sees of the Roman Catholic Church, and gave
territorial titles to the bishops. Sir E. P. Taché, a member of the
government, showed one of these to Mr. Brown, and jocularly challenged
him to publish it in the _Globe_. Brown accepted the challenge,
declaring that he would also publish a reply, to be written by
himself. The reply, which will be found in the _Globe_ of December
10th, 1850, is argumentative in tone, and probably would not of itself
have involved Brown in a violent quarrel with the Church. The
following passage was afterwards cited by the _Globe_ as defining its
position: "In offering a few remarks upon Dr. Wiseman's production, we
have no intention to discuss the tenets of the Roman Catholic Church,
but merely to look at the question in its secular aspect. As advocates
of the voluntary principle we give to every man full liberty to
worship as his conscience dictates, and without penalty, civil or
ecclesiastical, attaching to his exercise thereof. We would allow each
sect to give to its pastors what titles it sees fit, and to prescribe
the extent of spiritual duties; but we would have the State recognize
no ecclesiastical titles or boundaries whatever. The public may, from
courtesy, award what titles they please; but the statute-book should
recognize none. The voluntary principle is the great cure for such
dissensions as now agitate Great Britain."

The cause of conflict lay outside the bounds of that article. Cardinal
Wiseman's letter and Lord John Russell's reply had thrown England into
a ferment of religious excitement. "Lord John Russell," says Justin
McCarthy, "who had more than any man living been identified with the
principles of religious liberty, who had sat at the feet of Fox and
had for his closest friend the poet, Thomas Moore, came to be regarded
by the Roman Catholics as the bitterest enemy of their creed and their
rights of worship."

It is evident that this hatred of Russell was carried across the
Atlantic, and that Brown was regarded as his ally. In the Haldimand
election a hand-bill signed, "An Irish Roman Catholic" was circulated.
It assailed Brown fiercely for the support he had given to Russell,
and for the general course of the _Globe_ in regard to Catholic
questions. Russell was described as attempting "to twine again around
the writhing limbs of ten millions of Catholics the chains that our
own O'Connell rescued us from in 1829." A vote for George Brown would
help to rivet these spiritual chains round the souls of Irishmen, and
to crush the religion for which Ireland had wept oceans of blood;
those who voted for Brown would be prostrating themselves like
cowardly slaves or beasts of burden before the avowed enemies of their
country, their religion and their God. "You will think of the gibbets,
the triangles, the lime-pits, the tortures, the hangings of the past.
You will reflect on the struggles of the present against the new penal
bill. You will look forward to the dangers, the triumphs, the hopes of
the future, and then you will go to the polls and vote against George

This was not the only handicap with which Brown entered on his first
election contest. There was no cordial sympathy between him and the
government, yet he was hampered by his connection with the government.
The dissatisfied Radicals rallied to the support of William Lyon
Mackenzie, whose sufferings in exile also made a strong appeal to the
hearts of Reformers, and Mackenzie was elected.

In his election address Brown declared himself for perfect religious
equality, the separation of Church and State, and the diversion of
the clergy reserves from denominational to educational purposes. "I am
in favour of national school education free from sectarian teaching,
and available without charge to every child in the province. I desire
to see efficient grammar schools established in each county, and that
the fees of these institutions and of the national university should
be placed on such a scale as will bring a high literary and scientific
education within the reach of men of talent in any rank of life." He
advocated free trade in the fullest sense, expressing the hope that
the revenue from public lands and canals, with strict economy, would
enable Canada "to dispense with the whole customs department."

Brown's estrangement from the government did not become an open
rupture so long as Baldwin and Lafontaine were at the head of affairs.
In the summer following Brown's defeat in Haldimand, Baldwin resigned
owing to a resolution introduced by William Lyon Mackenzie, for the
abolition of the Court of Chancery. The resolution was defeated, but
obtained the votes of a majority of the Upper Canadian members, and
Mr. Baldwin regarded their action as an indication of want of
confidence in himself. He dropped some expressions, too, which
indicated that he was moved by larger considerations. He was
conservative in his views, and he regarded the Mackenzie vote as a
sign of a flood of radicalism which he felt powerless to stay.
Shortly afterwards Lafontaine retired. He, also, was conservative in
his temperament, and weary of public life. The passing of Baldwin and
Lafontaine from the scene helped to clear the way for Mr. Brown to
take his own course, and it was not long before the open breach
occurred. When Mr. Hincks became premier, Mr. Brown judged that the
time had come for him to speak out. He felt that he must make a fair
start with the new government, and have a clear understanding at the
outset. A new general election was approaching, and he thought that
the issue of separation of Church and State must be clearly placed
before the country. In an article in the _Globe_ entitled "The
Crisis," it was declared that the time for action had come. One
parliament had been lost to the friends of religious equality; they
could not afford to lose another. It was contended that the Upper
Canadian Reformers suffered by their connection with the Lower
Canadian party. Complaint was made that the Hon. E. P. Taché had
advised Roman Catholics to make common cause with Anglicans in
resisting the secularization of the clergy reserves, had described the
advocates of secularization as "pharisaical brawlers," and had said
that the Church of England need not fear their hostility, because the
"contra-balancing power" of the Lower Canadians would be used to
protect the Anglican Church. This, said the _Globe_, was a challenge
which the friends of religious equality could not refuse. Later on,
Mr. Brown wrote a series of letters to Mr. Hincks, setting forth
fully his grounds of complaint against the government: failure to
reform the representation of Upper Canada, slackness in dealing with
the secularization of the clergy reserves, weakness in yielding to the
demand for separate schools. All this he attributed to Roman Catholic
or French-Canadian influence.



The clergy reserves were for many years a fruitful source of
discontent and agitation in Canada. They had their origin in a
provision of the Constitutional Act of 1791, that there should be
reserved for the maintenance and support of a "Protestant clergy" in
Upper and Lower Canada "a quantity of land equal in value to a seventh
part of grants that had been made in the past or might be made in the
future." It was provided also that rectories might be erected and
endowed according to the establishment of the Church of England. The
legislatures were to be allowed to vary or repeal these enactments,
but such legislation was not to receive the royal assent before it had
been laid before both Houses of the imperial parliament.

Did the words "Protestant clergy" apply to any other body than the
Church of England? A vast amount of legal learning was expended on
this question; but there can be little doubt that the intention to
establish and endow the Church of England was thoroughly in accord
with the ideas of colonial government prevailing from the conquest to
the end of the eighteenth century. In the instructions to Murray and
other early governors there are constant injunctions for the support
of a Protestant clergy and Protestant schools, "to the end that the
Church of England may be established both in principles and
practice."[3] Governor Simcoe, we are told, attached much importance
to "every establishment of Church and State that upholds a distinction
of ranks and lessens the undue weight of the democratic influence."
"The episcopal system was interwoven and connected with the
monarchical foundations of our government."[4] In pursuance of this
idea, which was also that of the ruling class in Canada, the country
was to be made as much unlike the United States as possible by the
intrenchment of class and ecclesiastical privileges, and this was the
policy pursued up to the time that responsible government was
obtained. Those outside the dominant caste, in religion as in
politics, were branded as rebels, annexationists, Yankees,
republicans. And as this dominant caste, until the arrival of Lord
Elgin, had the ear of the authorities at home, it is altogether likely
that the Act of 1791 was framed in accordance with their views.

The law was unjust, improvident, and altogether unsuited to the
circumstances of the colony. Lord Durham estimated that the members
and adherents of the Church of England, allowing its largest claim,
were not more than one-third, probably not more than one-fourth, of
the population of Upper Canada. Methodists, Presbyterians, and Roman
Catholics, each claimed a larger membership. He declared that the
sanction given to the exclusive claims of the Church of England by Sir
John Colborne's establishment of fifty-seven rectories, was, in the
opinion of many persons, the chief pre-disposing cause of the
rebellion, and it was an abiding and unabated cause of discontent.[5]

Not only was the spirit of the colony opposed to the establishment and
domination of any Church, but settlement was retarded and the
hardships of the settler increased by the locking up of enormous
tracts of land. In addition to the clergy reserves, grants were made
to officials, to militia men, to the children of United Empire
Loyalists and others, in the hope that these persons would settle on
the land. Many of these fell into the hands of speculators and
jobbers, who bought farms of two hundred acres for prices ranging from
a gallon of rum to £5. "The greater part of these grants," said Mr.
Hawke, a government official whose evidence is given in the appendix
to Durham's Report, "remain in an unimproved state. These blocks of
wild land place the actual settler in an almost hopeless condition; he
can hardly expect during his lifetime to see his neighbourhood contain
a population sufficiently dense to support mills, schools,
post-offices, places of worship, markets or shops, without which
civilization retrogrades. Roads, under such circumstances, can neither
be opened by the settlers nor kept in proper repair. In 1834 I met a
settler from the township of Warwick, on the Caradoc Plains, returning
from the grist mill at Westminster, with the flour and bran of
thirteen bushels of wheat. He had a yoke of oxen and a horse attached
to his wagon, and had been absent nine days and did not expect to
reach home until the following evening. Light as his load was, he
assured me that he had to unload, wholly or in part, several times,
and after driving his wagon through the swamps, to pick out a road
through the woods where the swamps or gullies were fordable, and to
carry the bags on his back and replace them in the wagon."

It is unnecessary here to discuss differences of opinion as to the
interpretation of the law, attempts to divide the endowment among
various denominations, or other efforts at compromise. The radical
wing of the Reform party demanded that the special provision for the
support of the Church of England should be abolished, and a system of
free popular education established. With this part of their platform
Brown was heartily in accord; on this point he agreed with the Clear
Grits that the Baldwin-Lafontaine government was moving too slowly,
and when Baldwin was succeeded by Hincks in 1851, the restraining
influence of his respect for Baldwin being removed, his discontent
was converted into open and determined opposition.

Largely by the influence of Brown and the _Globe_, public opinion in
1851 was aroused to a high degree, and meetings were held to advocate
the secularization of the clergy reserves. The friends of the old
order were singularly unfortunate in their mode of expressing their
opinions. Opposition to responsible government was signalized by the
burning of the parliament buildings, and the mobbing of Lord Elgin in
Montreal. Opposition to religious equality was signalized by the
mobbing of an orderly assembly in Toronto. One meeting of the
opponents of the clergy reserves was broken up by these means, and a
second meeting was attacked by a mob with such violence as to
necessitate the calling out of a company of British soldiers. This
meeting was held in St. Lawrence Hall, over the city market bearing
that name. Mr. Brown was chosen to move a resolution denouncing State
endowments of religion, and did so in a speech of earnestness and
argumentative power. He compared the results of Church establishments
with those of voluntary effort in England, in Scotland, in France, and
in Canada, and denounced "State-churchism" as the author of pride,
intolerance and spiritual coldness. "When," he said, "I read the
history of the human race, and trace the dark record of wars and
carnage, of tyranny, robbery and injustice in every shape, which have
been the fruits of State-churchism in every age; when I observe the
degenerating effect which it has ever had on the purity and simplicity
of the Gospel of Christ, turning men's minds from its great truths, as
a religion of the heart, to the mere outward tinsel, to the forms and
ceremonies on which priestcraft flourishes; when I see that at all
times it has been made the instrument of the rich and powerful in
oppressing the poor and weak, I cannot but reject it utterly as in
direct hostility to the whole spirit of the Gospel, to that glorious
system which teaches men to set not their hearts on this world, and to
walk humbly before God." He held that it was utterly impossible for
the State to teach religious truth. "There is no standard for truth.
We cannot even agree on the meaning of words." Setting aside the
injustice of forcing men to pay money for the support of what they
deemed religious error, it was "most dangerous to admit that the
magistrate is to decide for God--for that is the plain meaning of the
establishment principle. Once admit that principle, and no curb can be
set upon its operation. Who shall restrict what God has appointed? And
thus the extent to which the conscience of men may be constrained, or
persecution for truth's sake may be carried, depends entirely on the
ignorance or enlightenment of the civil magistrate. There is no safety
out of the principle that religion is a matter entirely between man
and his God, and that the whole duty of the magistrate is to secure
every one in the peaceful observance of it. Anything else leads to
oppression and injustice, but this can never lead to either."

A notable part of the speech was a defence of free, non-sectarian
education. "I can conceive," he said, "nothing more unprincipled than
a scheme to array the youth of the province in sectarian bands--to
teach them, from the cradle up, to know each other as Methodist boys,
and Presbyterian boys, and Episcopal boys. Surely, surely, we have
enough of this most wretched sectarianism in our churches without
carrying it further."

To protect themselves from interruption, the advocates of
secularization had taken advantage of a law which allowed them to
declare their meeting as private, and exclude disturbers. Their
opponents held another meeting in the adjoining market-place where by
resolution they expressed indignation at the repeated attempts of "a
Godless association" to stir up religious strife, and declared that
the purposes of the association, if carried out, would bring about not
only the severance of British connection, but socialism,
republicanism, and infidelity. The horrified listeners were told how
Rousseau and Voltaire had corrupted France, how religion was
overthrown and the naked Goddess of Reason set up as an object of
worship. They were told that the clergy reserves were a gift to the
nation from "our good King George the Third." Abolish them and the
British flag would refuse to float over anarchy and confusion.
Finally, they were assured that they could thrash the St. Lawrence
Hall audience in a stand-up fight, but were nevertheless advised to go
quietly home. This advice was apparently accepted in the spirit of the
admonition: "Don't nail his ears to the pump," for the crowd
immediately marched to St. Lawrence Hall, cheering, groaning, and
shouting. They were met by the mayor, two aldermen, and the chief
constable, and told that they could not be admitted. Stones and bricks
were thrown through the windows of the hall. The Riot Act was read by
an alderman, and the British regiment then quartered in the town, the
71st, was sent for. There was considerable delay in bringing the
troops, and in the meantime there was great disorder; persons leaving
the hall were assaulted, and the mayor was struck in the face with a
stone and severely cut. A company of the 71st arrived at midnight,
after which the violence of the mob abated.[6]

The steps leading up to the settlement of the question may be briefly
referred to. In 1850 the Canadian parliament had asked for power to
dispose of the reserves, with the understanding that emoluments
derived by existing incumbents should be guaranteed during their
lives. The address having been forwarded to England, Lord John Russell
informed the governor-general that a bill would be introduced in
compliance with the wish of the Canadian parliament. But in 1852 the
Russell government resigned, and was succeeded by that of the Earl of
Derby. Derby (Lord Stanley) had been colonial secretary in the Peel
government, which had shown a strong bias against Canadian
self-government. Sir John Pakington declared that the advisers of Her
Majesty were not inclined to aid in the diversion to other purposes of
the only public fund for the support of divine worship and religious
instruction in Canada, though they would entertain proposals for new
dispositions of the fund. Hincks, who was then in England, protested
vigorously against the disregard of the wishes of the Canadian people.
When the legislature assembled in 1852, it carried, at his instance,
an address to the Crown strongly upholding the Canadian demand. Brown
contended that the language was too strong and the action too weak. He
made a counter proposal, which found little support, that the Canadian
parliament itself enact a measure providing for the sale of the clergy
lands to actual settlers, and the appropriation of the funds for the
maintenance of common schools.

With the fall of the Derby administration in England, ended the
opposition from that source to the Canadian demands. But Hincks, who
had firmly vindicated the right of the Canadian parliament to
legislate on the matter, now hesitated to use the power placed in his
hands, and declared that legislation should be deferred until a new
parliament had been chosen. The result was that the work of framing
the measure of settlement fell into the hands of John A. Macdonald,
the rising star of the Conservative party. The fund, after provision
had been made for the vested rights of incumbents, was turned over to
the municipalities.


[3] Instructions to Governor Murray, _Canadian Archives of 1904_, p.

[4] Professor Shortt in the _Canadian Magazine_, September, 1901.

[5] Durham's _Report on the Affairs of British North America_.
Methuen's reprint, pp. 125, 126.

[6] The _Globe_, July, 1851.



In the autumn of 1851 parliament was dissolved, and in September Mr.
Brown received a requisition from the Reformers of Kent to stand as
their candidate, one of the signatures being that of Alexander
Mackenzie, afterwards premier of Canada. In accepting the nomination
he said that he anticipated that he would be attacked as an enemy of
the Roman Catholic Church; that he cordially adhered to the principles
of the Protestant reformation; that he objected to the Roman Catholic
Church trenching on the civil rights of the community, but that he
would be ashamed to advocate any principle or measure which would
restrict the liberty of any man, or deprive him on account of his
faith of any right or advantage enjoyed by his fellow-subjects. In his
election address he advocated religious equality, the entire
separation of Church and State, the secularization of the clergy
reserves, the proceeds to go to national schools, which were thus to
be made free. He advocated, also, the building of a railway from
Quebec to Windsor and Sarnia, the improvement of the canals and
waterways, reciprocity with the Maritime Provinces and the United
States, a commission for the reform of law procedure, the extension
of the franchise and the reform of representation. Representation by
population afterwards came to be the watchword of those who demanded
that Upper Canada should have a larger representation than Lower
Canada; but as yet this question had not arisen definitely. The
population of Upper Canada was nearly doubled between 1842 and 1851,
but it did not appear until 1852 that it had passed the lower province
in population.

The advocacy of free schools was an important part of the platform.
During the month of January, 1852, the _Globe_ contained frequent
articles, reports of public meetings, and letters on the subject. It
was contended by some of the opponents of free schools that the poor
could obtain free education by pleading their poverty; but the _Globe_
replied that education should not be a matter of charity, but should
be regarded as a right, like the use of pavements. The matter was made
an issue in the election of school trustees in several places, and in
the Toronto election the advocates of free schools were successful.

It will be convenient to note here that Brown's views on higher
education corresponded with his views on public schools. In each case
he opposed sectarian control, on the ground that it would dissipate
the energies of the people, and divide among half a dozen sects the
money which might maintain one efficient system. These views were
fully set forth in a speech made on February 25th, 1853, upon a bill
introduced by Mr. Hincks to amend the law relating to the University
of Toronto. Brown denounced the measure as a surrender to the
sectaries. There were two distinct ideas, he said, in regard to higher
education in Upper Canada. One was that a university must be connected
with a Church and under the management of the clergy, without whose
control infidelity would prevail. The Reform party, led by Mr. Baldwin
and Mr. Hincks, had denounced these views as the mere clap-trap of
priestcraft. They held that there should be one great literary and
scientific institution, to which all Canadians might resort on equal
terms. This position was founded, not on contempt for religion, but on
respect for religion, liberty, and conscience. "To no one principle
does the Liberal party owe so many triumphs as to that of
non-sectarian university education." Until 1843 Anglican control
prevailed; then various unsuccessful efforts at compromise were made,
and finally, in 1849, after twenty years of agitation, the desire of
the Liberal party was fulfilled, and a noble institute of learning
established. This act alone would have entitled Robert Baldwin to the
lasting gratitude of his countrymen.

Continuing, Brown said that the Hincks bill was reactionary--that the
original draft even contained a reference to the godless character of
the institution--that the plan would fritter away the endowment by
dividing it among sects and among localities. He opposed the abolition
of the faculties of law and medicine. Rightly directed, the study of
law was ennobling, and jurists should receive an education which would
give them broad and generous views of the principles of justice. The
endowment of the university ought to be sufficient to attract eminent
teachers, and to encourage students by scholarships. "We are laying
the foundations of a great political and social system. Our vote
to-day may deeply affect, for good or evil, the future of the country.
I adjure the House to pause ere destroying an institution which may
one day be among the chief glories of a great and wise people."

Brown was elected by a good majority. The general result of the
election was favourable to the Hincks-Morin administration. A large
part of the interval between the election and the first session of the
new parliament was spent by Mr. Hincks in England, where he made some
progress in the settlement of the clergy reserve question, and where
he also made arrangements for the building of the Grand Trunk Railway
from Montreal westward through Upper Canada. Negotiations for the
building of the Intercolonial Railway, connecting Lower Canada with
the Maritime Provinces, fell through, and the enterprise was delayed
for some years.

It was a matter of some importance that the first parliament in which
Mr. Brown took part was held in the city of Quebec. He had entered on
a course which made Catholics and French-Canadians regard him as their
enemy, and in Quebec French and Catholic influence was dominant. Brown
felt keenly the hostility of his surroundings, and there are frequent
references in his speeches and in the correspondence of the _Globe_ to
the unfriendly faces in the gallery of the chamber, and to the social
power exercised by the Church. "Nothing," says the Hon. James Young,
"could exceed the courage and eloquence with which Brown stood up
night after night, demanding justice for Upper Canada in the face of a
hostile majority on the floor of the chamber and still more hostile
auditors in the galleries above. So high, indeed, did public feeling
run on some occasions that fears were entertained for his personal
safety, and his friends occasionally insisted after late and exciting
debates, lasting often till long after midnight, on accompanying
him."[7] Mr. Young adds that these fears were not shared by Mr. Brown,
and that they proved to be groundless. Mr. Brown, in fact, did not
regard the Quebec influence as a personal grievance, but he argued
that on public grounds the legislature ought not to meet in a city
where freedom of speech might be impaired by local sentiment. That he
harboured no malice was very finely shown when parliament met four
years afterwards in Toronto. He had just concluded a powerful speech.
The galleries were crowded, this time with a friendly audience, which
at length broke into applause. Brown checked the demonstration. "I
have addressed none," he said, "but members of this House, and trust
that members from Lower Canada will not be overawed by any
manifestation of feeling in this chamber. I shall be ready on all
occasions to discourage it. In Lower Canada I stood almost alone in
supporting my views, and I well know how painful these manifestations
are to a stranger in a strange place. I do sincerely trust that
gentlemen of French origin will feel as free to speak here as if they
were in Quebec."

Brown made his maiden speech during the debate on the address. It is
described in a contemporary account as "a terrible onslaught on the
government." An idea of violence conveyed in this and other comments
would appear to have been derived from the extreme energy of Brown's
gestures. The printed report of the speech does not give that
impression. Though severe, it was in the main historical and
argumentative. It contained a review of the political history of
Canada from the time of the rupture between Metcalfe and his
ministers, up to the time when the principle of responsible government
was conceded. Brown argued that Reformers were bound to stand by that
principle, and to accept all its obligations. In his judgment it was
essential to the right working of responsible government that parties
should declare their principles clearly and stand or fall by them. If
they held one set of principles out of office and another set in
office they would reduce responsible government to a farce. He
acknowledged the services which Hincks and Morin had rendered in
fighting for responsible government; but he charged them with
betraying that principle by their own conduct in office. Two systems
of government, he said, were being tested on this continent. The
American system contained checks and balances. The British system
could be carried on only by the observance of certain unwritten laws,
and especially a strict good faith and adherence to principle. Brown,
as a party man, adhered firmly to Burke's definition of party: "A body
of men united for promoting by their joint endeavours the national
interest, upon some particular principle on which they are all
agreed." Office-holding, with him, was a minor consideration. "There
is no theory in the principle of responsible government more vital to
its right working than that parties shall take their stand on the
prominent questions of the day, and mount to office or resign it
through the success or failure of principles to which they are
attached. This is the great safeguard for the public against clap-trap


[7] Young's _Public Men and Public Life in Canada_, p. 83.



The condition of parties in the legislature was peculiar. The most
formidable antagonist of the Reform government was the man who was
rapidly rising to the leadership of the Reform party. The old Tory
party was dead, and its leader, Sir Allan MacNab, was almost inactive.
Macdonald, who was to re-organize and lead the new Conservative party,
was playing a waiting game, taking advantage of Brown's tremendous
blows at the ministry, and for the time being satisfied with a less
prominent part in the conflict. Brown rapidly rose to a commanding
position in the assembly. He did this without any _finesse_ or skill
in the management of men, with scarcely any assistance, and almost
entirely by his own energy and force of conviction. His industry and
capacity for work were prodigious. He spoke frequently, and on a wide
range of subjects requiring careful study and mastery of facts. In the
divisions he obtained little support. He had antagonized the
French-Canadians, the Clear Grits of Upper Canada were for the time
determined to stand by the government, and his views were usually not
such as the Conservatives could endorse, although they occasionally
followed him in order to embarrass the government.

Brown's course in parliament, however, was pointing to a far more
important result than changes in the personnel of office-holders.
Hincks once told him that the logical conclusion of that course was
the dissolution of the union. There was a measure of truth in this. If
he had said dissolution or modification, he would have been absolutely
right. Between the ideas of Upper Canada and Lower Canada there was a
difference so great that a legislative union was foredoomed to
failure, and separation could be avoided only by a federation which
allowed each community to take its own way. Brown did not create these
difficulties, but he emphasized them, and so forced and hastened the
application of the remedy. Up to the time of his entering parliament,
his policy had related mainly to Upper Canada. In parliament, however,
a mass of legislation emanating from Lower Canada aroused his strong
opposition. In the main it was ecclesiastical legislation
incorporating Roman Catholic institutions, giving them power to hold
lands, to control education, and otherwise to strengthen the authority
of the Church over the people. It is not necessary to discuss these
measures in detail. The object is to arrive at Brown's point of view,
and it was this: That the seat of government was a Catholic city, and
that legislation and administration were largely controlled by the
French-Canadian priesthood. He complained that Upper Canada was
unfairly treated in regard to legislation and expenditure; that its
public opinion was disregarded, and that it was not fairly
represented. The question of representation steadily assumed more
importance in his mind, and he finally came to the conclusion that
representation by population was the true remedy for all the
grievances of which he complained. Lower Canada, being now numerically
the weaker, naturally clung to the system which gave it equality of

In all these matters the breach between George Brown and the Lower
Canadian representatives was widening, while he was becoming more and
more the voice of Upper Canadian opinion. When, in the intervals
between parliamentary sessions, he visited various places in Upper
Canada, he found himself the most popular man in the community. He
addressed great public meetings. Banquets were given in his honour.
The prominent part taken by ministers of the Gospel at these
gatherings illustrates at once the weakness and the strength of his
position. He satisfied the "Nonconformist conscience" of Upper Canada
by his advocacy not only of religious equality but of the prohibition
of the liquor traffic and of the cessation of Sunday labour by public
servants. But this very attitude made it difficult for him to work
with any political party in Lower Canada.

In 1853 there was a remarkable article in the Cobourg _Star_, a
Conservative journal, illustrating the hold which Brown had obtained
upon Upper Canadian sentiment. This attitude was called forth by a
banquet given to Brown by the Reformers of the neighbourhood. It
expressed regret that the honour was given on party grounds. "Had it
been given on the ground of his services to Protestantism, it would
have brought out every Orangeman in the country. Conservatives
disagreed with Brown about the clergy reserves, but if the reserves
must be secularized, every Conservative in Canada would join Brown in
his crusade against Roman Catholic endowments." Then follows this
estimate of Brown's character: "In George Brown we see no agitator or
demagogue, but the strivings of common sense, a sober will to attain
the useful, the practical and the needful. He has patient courage,
stubborn endurance, and obstinate resistance, and desperate daring in
attacking what he believes to be wrong and in defending what he
believes to be right. There is no cant or parade or tinsel or
clap-trap about him. He takes his stand against open, palpable,
tangible wrongs, against the tyranny which violates men's roofs, and
the intolerance which vexes their consciences. True, he is wrong on
the reserves question, but then he is honest, we know where to find
him. He does not, like some of our Reformers, give us to understand
that he will support us and then turn his back. He does not slip the
word of promise to the ear and then break it to the lips. Leaving the
reserves out of the question, George Brown is eminently conservative
in his spirit. His leading principle, as all his writings will show,
is to reconcile progress with preservation, change with stability, the
alteration of incidents with the maintenance of essentials. Change,
for the sake of change, agitation for vanity, for applause or
mischief, he has contemptuously repudiated. He is not like the Clear
Grit, a republican of the first water, but on the contrary looks to
the connection with the mother country, not as fable or unreality or
fleeting vision, but as alike our interest and our duty, as that which
should ever be our beacon, our guide and our goal."

In 1853 the relative strength of Brown and the ministers was tested in
a series of demonstrations held throughout Canada. The Hon. James
Young gives a vivid description of Brown as he appeared at a banquet
given in his honour at Galt: "He was a striking figure. Standing fully
six feet two inches high, with a well-proportioned body, well balanced
head and handsome face, his appearance not only indicated much mental
and physical strength, but conveyed in a marked manner an impression
of youthfulness and candour. These impressions deepened as his address
proceeded, and his features grew animated and were lighted up by his
fine expressive eyes." His voice was strong and soft, with a
well-marked Edinburgh accent. His appearance surprised the people who
had expected to see an older and sterner-looking man. His first
remarks were disappointing; as was usual with him he stammered and
hesitated until he warmed to his subject, when he spoke with such an
array of facts and figures, such earnestness and enthusiasm, that he
easily held the audience for three hours.[8]

On October 1st, 1853, the _Globe_ was first issued as a daily. It was
then stated that the paper was first published as a weekly paper with
a circulation of three hundred. On November 1st, 1846, it was
published twice a week with a circulation of two thousand, which rose
to a figure between three thousand and four thousand. In July, 1849,
it was issued three times a week. When the daily paper was first
published the circulation was six thousand. To anticipate a little, it
may be said that in 1855 the _Globe_ absorbed the _North American_ and
the _Examiner_, and the combined circulation was said to be sixteen
thousand four hundred and thirty-six. The first daily paper contained
a declaration of principles, including the entire separation of Church
and State, the abolition of the clergy reserves and the restoration of
the lands to the public, cessation of grants of public money for
sectarian purposes, the abolition of tithes and other compulsory
taxation for ecclesiastical purposes, and restraint on land-holding by
ecclesiastical corporations.

An extract from this statement of policy may be given:

"Representation by population. Justice for Upper Canada! While Upper
Canada has a larger population by one hundred and fifty thousand than
Lower Canada, and contributes more than double the amount of taxation
to the general revenue, Lower Canada has an equal number of
representatives in parliament.

"National education.--Common school, grammar school, and collegiate
free from sectarianism and open to all on equal terms. Earnest war
will be waged with the separate school system, which has unfortunately
obtained a footing.

"A prohibitory liquor law.--Any measure which will alleviate the
frightful evils of intemperance."

The inclusion of prohibition on this platform was the natural result
of the drinking habits of that day. In a pamphlet issued by the Canada
Company for the information of intending immigrants, whiskey was
described as "a cheap and wholesome beverage." Its cheapness and
abundance caused it to be used in somewhat the same way as the "small
beer" of England, and it was a common practice to order a jug from the
grocer along with the food supply of the family. When a motion
favouring prohibition was introduced in the Canadian parliament there
were frequent references to the convivial habits of the members. The
seconder of the motion was greeted with loud laughter. He
good-naturedly said that he was well aware of the cause of hilarity,
but that he was ready to sacrifice his pleasure to the general good.
Sir Allan MacNab, the leader of the Opposition, moved a farcical
amendment, under which every member was to sign a pledge of
abstinence, and to be disqualified if he broke it. Brown made an
earnest speech in favour of the motion, in which he remarked that
Canada then contained nine hundred and thirty-one whiskey shops,
fifty-eight steamboat bars, three thousand four hundred and thirty
taverns, one hundred and thirty breweries, and one hundred and
thirty-five distilleries.

The marked diminution of intemperance in the last fifty years may be
attributed in part to restrictive laws, and in part to the work of the
temperance societies, which rivalled the taverns in social
attractions, and were effective agents of moral suasion.


[8] Young, _op. cit._, pp. 58, 59.



In June, 1854, the Hincks-Morin government was defeated in the
legislature on a vote of censure for delay in dealing with the
question of the clergy reserves. A combination of Tories and Radicals
deprived Hincks of all but five of his Upper Canadian supporters.
Parliament was immediately dissolved, and the ensuing election was a
_mêlée_ in which Hincks Reformers, Brown Reformers, Tories and Clear
Grits were mingled in confusion. Brown was returned for Lambton, where
he defeated the Hon. Malcolm Cameron, postmaster-general under Hincks.
The Reform party was in a large majority in the new legislature, and
if united could have controlled it with ease. But the internal quarrel
was irreconcilable. Hincks was defeated by a combination of Tories and
dissatisfied Reformers, and a general reconstruction of parties
followed. Sir Allan MacNab, as leader of the Conservative opposition,
formed an alliance with the French-Canadian members of the Hincks
government and with some of its Upper Canadian supporters. Hincks
retired, but gave his support to the new combination, "being of
opinion that the combination of parties by which the new government
was supported presented the only solution of the difficulties caused
by a coalition of parties holding no sentiments in common, a coalition
which rarely takes place in England. I deemed it my duty to give my
support to that government during the short period that I continued in
public life."[9]

Whether the MacNab-Morin government was a true coalition or a Tory
combination under that name was a question fiercely debated at that
time. It certainly did not stand for the Toryism that had resisted
responsible government, the secularization of the clergy reserves, and
the participation of French-Canadians in the government of the
country. It had at first some of the elements of a coalition, but it
gradually came to represent Conservatism and the personal ascendency
of John A. Macdonald. Robert Baldwin, from his retirement, gave his
approval to the combination, and hence arose the "Baldwin Reformer,"
blessed as a convert by one party, and cursed as a renegade by the

Reconstruction on one side was followed by reconstruction on the
other. Upper Canadian Reformers rallied round Brown, and an alliance
was formed with the Quebec Rouges. This was a natural alliance of
radical Reformers in both provinces. Some light is thrown on it by an
article published in the _Globe_ in 1855. The writer said that in
1849, some young men of Montreal, fresh from the schools and filled
to the brim with the Republican opinions which had spread from France
throughout all Europe, formed associations and established newspapers
advocating extreme political views. They declaimed in favour of
liberty and against priestcraft and tyranny with all the ardour and
freshness of youth. Their talents and the evident purity and sincerity
of their motives made a strong impression on their countrymen,
contrasting as they did with the selfishness and mediocrity of other
French-Canadian leaders, and the result was that the Rouge party was
growing in strength both in the House and in the country. With the
growth of strength there had come a growing sense of responsibility,
greater moderation and prudence. In the legislature, at least, the
Rouges had not expressed a single sentiment on general policy to which
a British constitutional Reformer might not assent. They were the true
allies of the Upper Canadian Reformers, and in fact the only Liberals
among the French-Canadians. They had Reform principles, they
maintained a high standard of political morality. They stood for the
advance of education and for liberty of speech. They were the hope of
Canada, and their attitude gave promise that a brighter day was about
to dawn on the political horizon.

It was unreasonable to expect that the Liberals could continue to
receive that solid support from Lower Canada which they had received
in the days of the Baldwin-Lafontaine alliance. In those days the
issue was whether French-Canadians should be allowed to take part in
the government of the country, or should be excluded as rebels. The
Reformers championed their cause and received the solid support of the
French-Canadian people. But when once the principle for which they
contested was conceded, it was perceived that Lower Canada, like Upper
Canada, had its Conservative element, and party lines were formed. Mr.
Brown held that there could be no lasting alliance between Upper
Canadian Reformers and Lower Canadian Conservatives, and especially
with those Lower Canadians who defended the power and privileges of
the Church. He was perfectly willing that electors holding these views
should go to the Conservative party, which was their proper place. The
Rouges could not bring to the Liberal party the numerical strength of
the supporters of Lafontaine, but as they really held Liberal
principles, the alliance was solidly based and was more likely to

The leader of the Rouges was A. A. Dorion, a distinguished advocate,
and a man of culture, refinement and eloquence. He was Brown's
desk-mate, and while in physique and manner the two were strongly
contrasted, they were drawn together by the chivalry and devotion to
principle which characterized both, and they formed a strong
friendship. "For four years," said Mr. Brown, in a public address, "I
acted with him in the ranks of the Opposition, learned to value most
highly the uprightness of his character, the liberality of his
opinions, and the firmness of his convictions. On most questions of
public general policy we heartily agreed, and regularly voted
together; on the questions that divided all Upper Canadians and all
Lower Canadians alone we differed, and on these we had held many
earnest consultations from year to year with a view to their removal,
without arriving at the conviction that when we had the opportunity we
could find the mode." Their habit was not to attempt to conceal these
sectional differences, but to recognize them frankly with a view to
finding the remedy. It was rarely that either presented a resolution
to the House without asking the advice of the other. They knew each
other's views perfectly, and on many questions, especially of commerce
and finance, they were in perfect accord.

By this process of evolution Liberals and Conservatives were restored
to their proper and historic places, and the way was cleared for new
issues. These issues arose out of the ill-advised attempt to join
Upper and Lower Canada in a legislative union. A large part of the
history of this period is the history of an attempt to escape the
consequences of that blunder. This was the reason why every ministry
had its double name--the Lafontaine-Baldwin, the Hincks-Morin, the
Taché-Macdonald, the Brown-Dorion, the Macdonald-Sicotte. This was the
reason why every ministry had its attorney-general east for Lower
Canada and its attorney-general west for Upper Canada. In his speech
on confederation Sir John Macdonald said that although the union was
legislative in name, it was federal in fact--that in matters affecting
Upper Canada alone, Upper Canadian members claimed and usually
exercised, exclusive power, and so with Lower Canada. The consolidated
statutes of Canada and the consolidated statutes of Upper Canada must
be sought in separate volumes. The practice of legislating for one
province alone was not confined to local or private matters. For
instance, as the two communities had widely different ideas as to
Sabbath observance, the stricter law was enacted for Upper Canada
alone. Hence also arose the theory of the double majority--that a
ministry must, for the support of its general policy, have a majority
from each province.

But all these shifts and devices could not stay the agitation for a
radical remedy. Some Reformers proposed to dissolve the union. Brown
believed that the difficulty would be solved by representation by
population, concerning which a word of explanation is necessary. When
the provinces were united in 1841, the population of Lower Canada
exceeded that of Upper Canada in the proportion of three to two. "If,"
said Lord Durham, "the population of Upper Canada is rightly estimated
at four hundred thousand, the English inhabitants of Lower Canada at
one hundred and fifty thousand, and the French at four hundred and
fifty thousand, the union of the two provinces would not only give a
clear English majority, but one which would be increased every year by
the influence of English emigration, and I have little doubt that the
French, when once placed by the legitimate course of events in a
minority, would abandon their vain hopes of nationality." But he added
that he was averse to every plan that had been proposed for giving an
equal number of members to the two provinces. The object could be
attained without any violation of the principles of representation,
such as would antagonize public opinion, and "when emigration shall
have increased the English population of the Upper Province, the
adoption of such a principle would operate to defeat the very purpose
it is intended to serve. It appears to me that any such electoral
arrangement, founded on the present provincial divisions, would tend
to defeat the purpose of union and perpetuate the idea of disunion."

Counsels less wise and just prevailed, and the united province was
"gerrymandered" against Lord Durham's protest. Lower Canada complained
of the injustice, and with good reason. In the course of time Lord
Durham's prediction was fulfilled; by immigration the population of
Upper Canada overtook and passed that of Lower Canada. The census of
1852 gave Upper Canada a population of nine hundred and fifty-two
thousand, and Lower Canada a population of eight hundred and ninety
thousand two hundred and sixty-one. Brown began to press for
representation by population. He was met by two objections. It was
argued on behalf of the French-Canadians that they had submitted to
the injustice while they had the larger population, and that the Upper
Canadians ought to follow their example. Mr. Brown admitted the force
of this argument, but he met it by showing that the Lower Canadians
had been under-represented for eight years, and that by the time the
new representation went into force, the Upper Canadians would have
suffered injustice for about an equal term, so that a balance might be
struck. A more formidable objection was raised by Mr. Hincks, who said
that the union was in the nature of a compact between two nations
having widely different institutions; that the basis of the compact
was equal representation, and that Brown's proposition would destroy
that basis. Cartier said that representation by population could not
be had without repeal of the union. The French-Canadians were afraid
that they would be swamped, and would be obliged to accept the laws
and institutions of the majority.

It is impossible to deny the force of these objections. In 1841 Lower
Canada had been compelled to join a union in which the voting power of
Upper Canada was arbitrarily increased. If this was due to distrust,
to fear of "French domination," French-Canadians could not be blamed
for showing an equal distrust of English domination, and for refusing
to give up the barrier which, as they believed, protected their
peculiar institutions. Ultimately the solution was found in the
application of the federal system, giving unity in matters requiring
common action, and freedom to differ in matters of local concern.
Towards this solution events were tending, and the importance of
Brown's agitation for representation by population, which gained
immense force in Upper Canada, lies in its relation to the larger plan
of confederation.


[9] Hincks's _Political History of Canada_, p. 80.



After the burning of the parliament buildings in Montreal the seat of
government oscillated between Quebec and Toronto. Toronto's turn came
in the session of 1856. Macdonald was now the virtual, and was on the
point of becoming the titular, leader of the party. Brown was equally
conspicuous on the other side. During the debate on the address he was
the central figure in a fierce struggle, and some one with a turn for
statistics said that his name was mentioned three hundred and
seventy-two times. The air was stimulating, and Brown's contribution
to the debate was not of a character to turn away wrath.

Smarting under Brown's attack, Macdonald suddenly gave a new turn to
the debate. He charged that Brown, while acting as a member and
secretary of a commission appointed by the Lafontaine-Baldwin
government to inquire into the condition of the provincial
penitentiary, had falsified testimony, suborned convicts to commit
perjury, and obtained the pardon of murderers to induce them to give
false evidence. Though the assembly had by this time become accustomed
to hard hitting, this outbreak created a sensation. Brown gave an
indignant denial to the charges, and announced that he would move for
a committee of inquiry. He was angrily interrupted by the
solicitor-general, who flung the lie across the House. The
solicitor-general was a son of the warden of the penitentiary who had
been dismissed in consequence of the report of the commission.
Macdonald was a strong personal friend of the warden, and had
attempted some years before to bring his case before the assembly.
Brown promptly moved for the committee, and it was not long before he
presented that tribunal with a dramatic surprise. It was supposed that
the report of the penitentiary committee had been burned, and the
attack on Brown was made upon that supposition. When Mr. Brown was
called as a witness, however, he produced the original report with all
the evidence, and declared that it had never been out of his
possession "for one hour." The effect of this disclosure on his
assailants is shown in a letter addressed to the committee by
VanKoughnet, Macdonald's counsel: "Mr. Macdonald," he said, "had been
getting up his case on the assumption and belief that these minutes
had been destroyed and could not be procured, and much of the labour
he had been allowed to go to by Mr. Brown for that purpose would now
be thrown away; the whole manner of giving evidence, etc., would now
be altered."

The graver charges of subornation of perjury etc., were abandoned, and
Macdonald's friends confined themselves to an attempt to prove that
the inquiry had been unfairly conducted, that the warden had been
harshly treated, and the testimony not fairly reported. It was a
political committee with a Conservative majority, and the majority,
giving up all hope of injuring Brown, bent its energies to saving
Macdonald from the consequences of his reckless violence. The Liberal
members asked for a complete exoneration of Mr. Brown. A supporter of
the government was willing to exonerate Brown if Macdonald were
allowed to escape without censure. A majority of the committee,
however, took refuge in a rambling deliverance, which was sharply
attacked in the legislature. Sir Allan MacNab bluntly declared that
the charge had been completely disproved, and that the committee ought
to have had the manliness to say so. Drummond, a member of the
government, also said that the attack had failed. The accusers were
willing to allow the matter to drop, and as a matter of fact the
report was never put to a vote. But Mr. Brown would not allow them to
escape so easily. Near the close of the session he made a speech which
gave a new character to the discussion. Up to this time it had been a
personal question between Brown and his assailants. Brown dealt with
this aspect of the matter briefly but forcibly. He declared that not
only his conduct but the character of the other commissioners was
fully vindicated, and that a conspiracy to drive him from public life
had signally failed. Conservative members had met him and admitted
that there was no truth in the charges, but had pleaded that they must
go with the party. Members had actually been asked to "pair" off on
the question of upholding or destroying his character, before they had
heard his defence.

From these personal matters he returned to the abuses that had been
discovered by the commission. A terrible story of neglect and cruelty
was told. These charges did not rest on the testimony of prisoners.
They were sustained by the evidence of officers and by the records of
the institution. "If," said the speaker, "every word of the witnesses
called by the commissioners were struck out, and the case left to rest
on the testimony of the warden's own witnesses and the official
records of the prison, there would be sufficient to establish the
blackest record of wickedness that ever disgraced a civilized
country." Amid applause, expressions of amazement and cries of
"Shame!" from the galleries, Brown told of the abuses laid bare by the
prison commission. He told of prisoners fed with rotten meal and bread
infested with maggots; of children beaten with cat and rawhide for
childish faults; of a coffin-shaped box in which men and even women
were made to stand or rather crouch, their limbs cramped, and their
lungs scantily supplied with air from a few holes. Brown's speech
virtually closed the case, although Macdonald strove to prove that
the accounts of outrages were exaggerated, that the warden, Smith, was
himself a kind-hearted man, and that he had been harshly treated by
the commissioners.

In a letter written about this time, Macdonald said that he was
carrying on a war against Brown, that he would prove him a most
dishonest, dishonourable fellow, "and in doing so I will only pay him
a debt that I owe him for abusing me for months together in his
newspaper."[10] Whatever the provocation may have been, the personal
relations of the two men were further embittered by this incident.

Eight years afterwards they were members of the coalition ministry by
which confederation was brought about, and Brown's intimate friend,
Alexander Mackenzie, says that the association was most distasteful to
Brown, on account of the charges made in connection with the prison
commission. That the leaders of the two parties were not merely
political opponents but personal enemies must have embittered the
party struggle; and it was certainly waged on both sides with fury,
and with little regard either for the amenities of life or for fair

His work on the commission gave Brown a strong interest in prison
reform. While the work of the commission was fresh in his mind he
delivered an address in the Toronto Mechanics' Institute, in which he
sketched the history of prison reform in England and the United
States, and pointed out how backward Canada was in this phase of
civilization. He pleaded for a more charitable treatment of those on
whom the prison doors had closed. There were inmates of prisons who
would stand guiltless in the presence of Him who searches the heart.
There were guilty ones outside. We cannot, he said, expect human
justice to be infallible; but we must not draw a hard and fast line
between the world inside the prison and the world outside, as if the
courts of justice had the divine power of judging between good and
evil. In Canada, he said, we have no system of reforming the prisoner;
even the chaplain or the teacher never enters the prison walls.
"Children of eight and ten years of age are placed in our gaols,
surrounded by hundreds of the worst criminals in the province." He
went on to describe some of the evils of herding together hardened
criminals, children, and persons charged with trifling offences. He
advocated government inspection of prisons, a uniform system of
discipline, strict classification and separation, secular and
religious instruction, and the teaching of trades. The prisoner should
be punished, but not made to feel that he was being degraded by
society for the sake of revenge. Hope should be held out to those who
showed repentance. The use of the lash for trifling offences against
discipline was condemned. On the whole, his views were such as are
now generally accepted, and he may be regarded as one of the pioneers
of prison reform in Canada.

The habit of personal attack was further illustrated in the charge,
frequently made by Mr. Brown's enemies, that he had been a defaulter
in Scotland. The _North American_ had printed this accusation during
its fierce altercation with the _Globe_, but the editor, Mr.
Macdougall, had afterwards apologized, and explained that it had crept
into the paper during his absence and without his knowledge. In the
session of 1858, a Mr. Powell, member for Carleton, renewed the attack
in the House, and Mr. Brown made a reply of such compelling human
interest that not a word can be added or taken away. He said: "This is
not the first time that the insinuation has been made that I was a
defaulter in my native city. It has been echoed before now from the
organs of the ministry, and at many an election contest have I been
compelled to sit patiently and hear the tale recounted in the ears of
assembled hundreds. For fifteen years I have been compelled to bear in
silence these imputations. I would that I could yet refrain from the
painful theme, but the pointed and public manner in which the charge
has now been made, and the fear that the public cause with which I am
identified might suffer by my silence, alike tell me that the moment
has come when I ought to explain the transaction, as I have always
been able to explain it, and to cast back the vile charge of
dishonesty on those who dared to make it. That my father was a
merchant in the city of Edinburgh, and that he engaged in disastrous
business speculations commencing in the inflated times of 1825 and
1826, terminating ten years afterwards in his failure, is undoubtedly
true. And it is, unhappily, also true, that he did hold a public
office, and that funds connected with that office were, at the moment
of his sequestration, mixed up with his private funds, to the extent,
I believe, of two thousand eight hundred pounds. For this sum four
relatives and friends were sureties, and they paid the money. Part of
that money has been repaid; every sixpence of it will be paid, and
paid shortly. Property has been long set aside for the payment of that
debt to its utmost farthing. My father felt that while that money
remained unpaid there was a brand on himself and his family, and he
has wrought, wrought as few men have wrought, to pay off, not only
that, but other obligations of a sacred character. Many a bill of
exchange, the proceeds of his labour, has he sent to old creditors who
were in need of what he owed. For myself, sir, I have felt equally
bound with my father; as his eldest son I felt that the fruits of my
industry should stand pledged until every penny of those debts was
paid and the honour of my family vindicated. An honourable member
opposite, whom I regret to hear cheering on the person who made the
attack, might have known that, under the legal advice of his
relative, I long ago secured that in the event of my death before the
accomplishment of our long-cherished purpose, after the payment of my
own obligations, the full discharge of those sacred debts of my father
should stand as a first charge on my ample estate. Debts, sir, which I
was no more bound in law to pay than any gentleman who hears me. For
the painful transaction to which I have been forced to allude, I am no
more responsible than any gentleman in this assembly. It happened in
1836; I was at that time but seventeen years of age, I was totally
unconnected with it, but, young as I was, I felt then, as I feel now,
the obligation it laid upon me, and I vowed that I should never rest
until every penny had been paid. There are those present who have
known my every action since I set foot in this country; they know I
have not eaten the bread of idleness, but they did not know the great
object of my labour. The one end of my desire for wealth was that I
might discharge those debts and redeem my father's honour. Thank God,
sir, my exertions have not been in vain. Thank God, sir, I have long
possessed property far more than sufficient for all my desires. But,
as those gentlemen know, it is one thing in this country to have
property, and another to be able to withdraw a large sum of money from
a business in active operation; and many a night have I laid my head
on my pillow after a day of toil, estimating and calculating if the
time had yet arrived, when, with justice to those to whom I stood
indebted, and without fear of embarrassment resulting, I might venture
to carry out the purpose of my life. I have been accused of being
ambitious; I have been charged with aspiring to the office of prime
minister of this great country and of lending all my energies to the
attainment of that end; but I only wish I could make my opponents
understand how infinitely surpassing all this, how utterly petty and
contemptible in my thoughts have been all such considerations, in
comparison with the one longing desire to discharge those debts of
honour and vindicate those Scottish principles that have been
instilled into me since my youth. The honourable member for Cornwall
[John Sandfield Macdonald] is well aware that every word I have spoken
to-night has been long ago told him in private confidence, and he
knows, too, that last summer I was rejoicing in the thought that I was
at last in a position to visit my native land with the large sum
necessary for all the objects I contemplated, and that I was only
prevented from doing so by the financial storm which swept over the
continent. Such, sir, are the circumstances upon which this attack is
founded. Such the facts on which I have been denounced as a public
defaulter and refugee from my native land. But why, asked the person
who made the charge, has he sat silent under it? Why if the thing is
false has he endured it so many years? What, sir, free myself from
blame by inculpating one so dear! Say 'It was not I who was in fault,
it was my father'? Rather would I have lost my right arm than utter
such a word! No, sir, I waited the time when the charge could be met
as it only might be fittingly met; and my only regret even now is that
I have been compelled to speak before those debts have been entirely
liquidated. But it is due, sir, to my aged father that I explain that
it has not been with his will that these imputations have been so long
pointed at me, and that it has only been by earnest remonstrance that
I have prevented his vindicating me in public long ere now. No man in
Toronto, perhaps, is more generally known in the community, and I
think I could appeal even to his political opponents to say if there
is a citizen of Toronto at this day more thoroughly respected and
esteemed. With a full knowledge of all that has passed, and all the
consequences that have flowed from a day of weakness, I will say that
an honester man does not breathe the air of heaven; that no son feels
prouder of his father than I do to-day; and that I would have
submitted to the obloquy and reproach of his every act, not fifteen
years, but fifty--ay, have gone down to the grave with the cold shade
of the world upon me, rather than that one of his gray hairs should
have been injured."

Public opinion was strongly influenced in Mr. Brown's favour by this
incident. "The entire address," said a leading Conservative paper next
day, "forms the most refreshing episode which the records of the
Canadian House of Commons possess. Every true-hearted man must feel
proud of one who has thus chivalrously done battle for his gray-haired
sire. We speak deliberately when asserting that George Brown's
position in the country is at this moment immeasurably higher than it
ever previously has been. And though our political creed be
diametrically antipodal to his own, we shall ever hail him as a credit
to the land we love so well."


[10] Pope's _Memoirs of Sir John Macdonald_, p. 161.



By his advocacy of representation by population, by his opposition to
separate schools, and his championship of Upper Canadian rights, Mr.
Brown gained a remarkable hold upon the people. In the general
elections of 1857 he was elected for the city of Toronto, in company
with Mr. Robinson, a Conservative. The election of a Liberal in
Toronto is a rare event, and there is no doubt that Mr. Brown's
violent conflict with the Roman Catholic Church contributed to his
victory, if it was not the main cause thereof. His party also made
large gains through Upper Canada, and had a large majority in that
part of the province, so that the majority for the Macdonald
government was drawn entirely from Lower Canada. Gross election frauds
occurred in Russell county, where names were copied into the
poll-books from old directories of towns in the state of New York, and
of Quebec city, where such names as Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte,
Judas Iscariot and George Washington appeared on the lists. The
Reformers attacked these elections in parliament without success, but
in 1859 the sitting member for Russell and several others were tried
for conspiracy, convicted and sentenced to imprisonment. That the
government felt itself to be much weakened throughout the country is
evident from Mr. John A. Macdonald's unsuccessful effort to add
another to his list of political combinations by detaching Mr. John
Sandfield Macdonald from the Reform party, offering seats in the
cabinet to him and another Reformer. The personal attack on Mr. Brown
in the session of 1858 has already been mentioned. The chief political
event of the session was the "Double Shuffle."

On July 28th, 1858, Mr. Brown succeeded in placing the ministry in a
minority on the question of the seat of government. Unable to decide
between the conflicting claims of Toronto, Quebec, Montreal and
Kingston, the government referred the question to the queen, who
decided in favour of Ottawa. Brown had opposed the reference to the
queen, holding that the question should be settled in Canada. He also
believed that the seat of government should not be fixed until
representation by population was granted, and all matters in dispute
between Upper and Lower Canada arranged. He now moved against Ottawa
and carried his motion. During the same sitting the government was
sustained on a motion to adjourn, which by understanding was regarded
as a test of confidence. A few hours later the ministers met and
decided that, although they had been sustained by a majority of the
House, "it behoved them as the queen's servants to resent the slight
which had been offered Her Majesty by the action of the assembly in
calling in question Her Majesty's choice of the capital." The
governor-general, Sir Edmund Bond Head, sent for Mr. Brown as the
leader of the Opposition to form a government. It was contended by
Liberals that he ought not to have taken this step unless he intended
to give Mr. Brown and his colleagues his full confidence and support.
If he believed that the defeat of the government was a mere accident,
and that on general grounds it commanded a working majority in the
legislature, he ought not to have accepted the resignation, unless he
intended to sanction a fresh appeal to the country.

The invitation to form an administration was received by Mr. Brown on
Thursday, July 28th. He at once waited on the governor-general and
obtained permission to consult his friends. He called a meeting of the
Upper Canadian members of his party in both Houses, and obtained from
them promises of cordial support. With Dorion he had an important
interview. Dorion agreed that the principle of representation by
population was sound, but said that the French-Canadian people feared
the consequences of Upper Canadian preponderance, feared that the
peculiar institutions of French Canada would be swept away. To assure
them, representation by population must be accompanied by
constitutional checks and safeguards. Brown and Dorion parted in the
belief that this could be arranged. They believed also that they
could agree upon an educational policy in which religious instruction
could be given without the evils of separation.

Though Mr. Brown's power did not lie in the manipulation of
combinations of men, he succeeded on this occasion in enlisting the
services of colleagues of high character and capacity, including
besides Dorion, Oliver Mowat, John Sandfield Macdonald, Luther Holton
and L. T. Drummond. On Saturday morning Mr. Brown waited upon the
governor-general, and informed him that having consulted his friends
and obtained the aid of Mr. Dorion, he was prepared to undertake the
task of forming an administration. During the day the formation of the
ministry was completed. "At nine o'clock on Sunday night," to give the
story in Mr. Brown's words, "learning that Mr. Dorion was ill, I went
to see him at his apartments at the Rossin House, and while with him
the governor-general's secretary entered and handed me a despatch. No
sooner did I see the outside of the document than I understood it all.
I felt at once that the whole corruptionist camp had been in commotion
at the prospect of the whole of the public departments being subjected
to the investigations of a second public accounts' committee, and
comprehended at once that the transmission of such a despatch could
have but the one intention of raising an obstacle in the way of the
new cabinet taking office, and I was not mistaken."[11]

The despatch declared that the governor-general gave no pledge,
express or implied, with reference to dissolution. When advice was
tendered on the subject he would act as he deemed best. It then laid
down, with much detail, the terms on which he would consent to
prorogation. Bills for the registration of voters and for the
prohibition of fraudulent assignments and gifts by leaders should be
enacted, and certain supplies obtained.

Mr. Brown criticized both these declarations. It was not necessary for
the governor-general to say that he gave no pledge in regard to
dissolution. To demand such a pledge would have been utterly
unconstitutional. The governor was quite right in saying that he would
deal with the proposal when it was made by his advisers. But while he
needlessly and gratuitously declared that he would not pledge himself
beforehand as to dissolution, he took exactly the opposite course as
to prorogation, specifying almost minutely the terms on which he would
consent to that step. Brown contended that the governor had no right
to lay down conditions, or to settle beforehand the measures that must
be enacted during the session. This was an attempt to dictate, not
only to the ministry, but to the legislature. Mr. Brown and his
colleagues believed that the governor was acting in collusion with the
ministers who had resigned, that the intriguers were taken by
surprise when Brown showed himself able to form a ministry, and that
the Sunday communication was a second thought, a hurriedly devised
plan to bar the way of the new ministers to office.

On Monday morning before conferring with his colleagues, Brown wrote
to the governor-general, stating that his ministry had been formed,
and submitting that "until they have assumed the functions of
constitutional advisers of the Crown, he and his proposed colleagues
will not be in a position to discuss the important measures and
questions of public policy referred to in his memorandum." Brown then
met his colleagues, who unanimously approved of his answer to the
governor's memorandum, and agreed also that it was intended as a bar
to their acceptance of office. They decided not to ask for a pledge as
to dissolution, nor to make or accept conditions of any kind. "We were
willing to risk our being turned out of office within twenty-four
hours, but we were not willing to place ourselves constitutionally in
a false position. We distinctly contemplated all that Sir Edmund Head
could do and that he has done, and we concluded that it was our duty
to accept office, and throw on the governor-general the responsibility
of denying us the support we were entitled to, and which he had
extended so abundantly to our predecessor."

When parliament assembled on Monday, a vote of want of confidence was
carried against the new government in both Houses. The newly
appointed ministers had, of course, resigned their seats in parliament
in order that they might offer themselves for re-election. It is true
the majority was too great to be accounted for by the absence of the
ministers. But the result was affected by the lack, not only of the
votes of the ministers, but of their voices. In the absence of
ministerial explanation, confusion and misunderstanding prevailed. The
fact that Brown had been able to find common ground with Catholic and
French-Canadian members had occasioned surprise and anxiety. On the
one side it was feared that Brown had surrendered to the
French-Canadians, and on the other that the French-Canadians had
surrendered to Brown.

The conference between Brown and Dorion shows that the government was
formed for the same purpose as the Brown-Macdonald coalition of
1864--the settlement of difficulties that prevented the right working
of the union. The official declaration of its policy contains these
words: "His Excellency's present advisers have entered the government
with the fixed determination to propose constitutional measures for
the establishment of that harmony between Upper and Lower Canada which
is essential to the prosperity of the province."

Dissolution was asked on the ground that the new government intended
to propose important constitutional changes, and that the parliament
did not represent the country, many of its members owing their seals
to gross fraud and corruption. Thirty-two seats were claimed from
sitting members on these grounds. The cases of the Quebec and Russell
election have already been mentioned. The member elected for
Lotbinière was expelled for violent interference with the freedom of
election. Brown and his colleagues contended that these practices had
prevailed to such an extent that the legislature could not be said to
represent the country. Head's reply was that the frauds were likely to
be repeated if a new election were held; that they really afforded a
reason for postponing the election, at least until more stringent laws
were enacted. The dissolution was refused; the Brown-Dorion government
resigned, and the old ministers were restored to office.

On the resignation of the Brown-Dorion ministry the governor called
upon A. T. Galt, who had given an independent support to the
Macdonald-Cartier government. During the session of 1858 he had placed
before the House resolutions favouring the federal union of Canada,
the Maritime Provinces and the North-West Territory, and it is
possible that his advocacy of this policy had something to do with the
offer of the premiership. As yet, however, he was not prominent
enough, nor could he command a support large enough, to warrant his
acceptance of the office, and he declined. Then followed the "Double

The Macdonald-Cartier government resumed office under the name of the
Cartier-Macdonald government, with Galt taking the place of Cayley,
and some minor changes. Constitutional usage required that all the
ministers should have returned to their constituents for re-election.
A means of evading this requirement was found. The statute governing
the case provided that when any minister should resign his office and
within one month afterwards accept another office in the ministry, he
should not thereby vacate his seat. With the object of obviating the
necessity for a new election, Cartier, Macdonald, and their
colleagues, in order to bring themselves within the letter of the law,
although not within its spirit, exchanged offices, each taking a
different one from that which he had resigned eight days before.
Shortly before midnight of the sixth of August, they solemnly swore to
discharge the duties of offices which several of them had no intention
of holding; and a few minutes afterwards the second shuffle took
place, and Cartier and Macdonald having been inspector-general and
postmaster-general for this brief space, became again attorney-general
east and attorney-general west.

The belief of the Reformers that the governor-general was guilty of
partiality and of intrigue with the Conservative ministers is set
forth as part of the history of the time. There is evidence of
partiality, but no evidence of intrigue. The biographer of Sir John
Macdonald denies the charge of intrigue, but says that Macdonald
and the governor were intimate personal friends.[12] Dent, who
also scouts the charge of intrigue, says that the governor was
prejudiced against Brown, regarding him as a mere obstructionist.[13]
The governor-general seems to have been influenced by these personal
feelings, making everything as difficult as possible for Brown, and as
easy as possible for Macdonald, even to the point of acquiescing in
the evasion of the law known as the "Double Shuffle."

In the debate on confederation. Senator Ferrier said that a political
warfare had been waged in Canada for many years, of a nature
calculated to destroy all moral and political principles, both in the
legislature and out of it. The "Double Shuffle" is so typical of this
dreary and ignoble warfare and it played so large a part in the
political history of the time, that it has been necessary to describe
it at some length. But for these considerations, the episode would
have deserved scant notice. The headship of one of the ephemeral
ministries that preceded confederation could add little to the
reputation of Mr. Brown. His powers were not shown at their best in
office, and the surroundings of office were not congenial to him. His
strength lay in addressing the people directly, through his paper or
on the platform, and in the hour of defeat or disappointment he turned
to the people for consolation. "During these contests," he said some
years afterwards, "it was this which sustained the gallant band of
Reformers who so long struggled for popular rights: that, abused as we
might be, we had this consolation, that we could not go anywhere among
our fellow-countrymen from one end of the country to the other--in
Tory constituencies as well as in Reform constituencies--without the
certainty of receiving from the honest, intelligent yeomanry of the
country--from the true, right-hearted, right-thinking people of Upper
Canada, who came out to meet us--the hearty grasp of the hand and the
hearty greeting that amply rewarded the labour we had expended in
their behalf. That is the highest reward I have hoped for in public
life, and I am sure that no man who earns that reward will ever in
Upper Canada have better occasion to speak of the gratitude of the


[11] Speech to Toronto electors, August, 1858.

[12] Pope's _Memoirs of Sir John Macdonald_, Vol. I., pp. 133, 134.

[13] Dent's _Last Forty Years_, Vol. II., pp. 379, 380.



In his home in Scotland Brown had been imbued with a hatred of
slavery. He spent several years of his early manhood in New York, and
felt in all its force the domination of the slave-holding element.
Thence he moved to Canada, for many years the refuge of the hunted
slave. It is estimated that even before the passage of the Fugitive
Slave Law, there were twenty thousand coloured refugees in Canada. It
was customary for these poor creatures to hide by day and to travel by
night. When all other signs failed they kept their eyes fixed on the
North Star, whose light "seemed the enduring witness of the divine
interest in their deliverance." By the system known as the
"underground railway," the fugitive was passed from one friendly house
to another. A code of signals was used by those engaged in the work of
mercy--pass words, peculiar knocks and raps, a call like that of the
owl. Negroes in transit were described as "fleeces of wool," and
"volumes of the irrepressible conflict bound in black."

The passage of the Fugitive Slave Law deprived the negro of his
security in the free states, and dragged back into slavery men and
women who had for years been living in freedom, and had found means
to earn their bread and to build up little homes. Hence an impetus was
given to the movement towards Canada, which the slave-holders tried to
check by talking freely of the rigours of the Canadian climate. Lewis
Clark, the original of George Harris in _Uncle Tom's Cabin_ was told
that if he went to Canada the British would put his eyes out, and keep
him in a mine for life. Another was told that the Detroit River was
three thousand miles wide.

But the exodus to Canada went on, and the hearts of the people were
moved to compassion by the arrival of ragged and foot-sore wanderers.
They found a warm friend in Brown, who paid the hotel bill of one for
a week, gave fifty dollars to maintain a negro family, and besides
numerous acts of personal kindness, filled the columns of the _Globe_
with appeals on behalf of the fugitives. Early in 1851 the
Anti-Slavery Society of Canada was organized. The president was the
Rev. Dr. Willis, afterwards principal of Knox Presbyterian College,
and the names of Peter Brown, George Brown, and Oliver Mowat are found
on the committee. The object of the society was "the extinction of
slavery all over the world by means exclusively lawful and peaceable,
moral and religious, such as the diffusion of useful information and
argument by tracts, newspapers, lectures, and correspondence, and by
manifesting sympathy with the houseless and homeless victims of
slavery flying to our soil." Concerts were given, and the proceeds
applied in aid of the refugees.

Brown was also strongly interested in the settlements of refugees
established throughout Western Canada. Under an act of the Canadian
parliament "for the settlement and moral improvement of the coloured
population of Canada," large tracts of land were acquired, divided
into fifty acre lots, and sold to refugees at low prices, payable in
instalments. Sunday schools and day schools were established. The
moving spirit in one of these settlements was the Rev. William King, a
Presbyterian, formerly of Louisiana, who had freed his own slaves and
brought them to Canada. Traces of these settlements still exist.
Either in this way or otherwise, there were large numbers of coloured
people living in the valley of the Thames (from Chatham to London), in
St. Catharines, Hamilton, and Toronto.

At the annual meeting of the Anti-Slavery Society in 1852, Mr. Brown
moved a resolution expressing gratitude to those American clergymen
who had exposed the atrocities of the Fugitive Slave Law. He showed
how, before its enactment, slaves were continually escaping to the
Northern States, where they were virtually out of reach of their
masters. There was a law enabling the latter to recover their
property, but its edge was dulled by public opinion in the North,
which was rapidly growing antagonistic to allowing the free states to
become a hunting-ground for slave-catchers. The South took alarm at
the growth of this feeling, and procured the passage of a more
stringent law. This law enabled the slave-holder to seize the slave
wherever he found him, without warrant, and it forbade the freeman to
shelter the refugee under penalty of six months' imprisonment, a fine
of one thousand dollars, and liability to a civil suit for damages to
the same amount. The enforcement of the law was given to federal
instead of to State officials. After giving several illustrations of
the working of the law, Mr. Brown proceeded to discuss the duty of
Canada in regard to slavery. It was a question of humanity, of
Christianity, and of liberty, in which all men were interested. Canada
could not escape the contamination of a system existing so near her
borders. "We, too, are Americans; on us, as well as on them, lies the
duty of preserving the honour of the continent. On us, as on them,
rests the noble trust of shielding free institutions."

Having long borne the blame of permitting slavery, the people of the
North naturally expected that when the great struggle came they would
receive the moral support of the civilized world in its effort to
check and finally to crush out the evil. They were shocked and
disappointed when this support was not freely and generously given,
and when sympathy with the South showed itself strongly in Great
Britain. Brown dealt with this question in a speech delivered in
Toronto shortly after Lincoln's proclamation of emancipation. He had
just returned from Great Britain, and he said that in his six months'
journey through England and Scotland, he had conversed with persons in
all conditions of life, and he was sorry to say that general sympathy
was with the South. This did not proceed from any change in the
feeling towards slavery. Hatred of slavery was as strong as ever,
but it was not believed that African slavery was the real cause
of the war, or that Mr. Lincoln sincerely desired to bring the
traffic to an end. This misunderstanding he attributed to persistent
misrepresentation. There were men who rightly understood the merits of
the contest, and among these he placed the members of the British
ministry. The course of the ministry he described as one of scrupulous
neutrality, and firm resistance to the invitations of other powers to
interfere in the contest.

Brown himself never for a moment failed to understand the nature of
the struggle, and he showed an insight, remarkable at that time, into
the policy of Lincoln. The anti-slavery men of Canada, he said, had an
important duty to discharge. "We, who have stood here on the borders
of the republic for a quarter of a century, protesting against slavery
as the sum of all human villainies--we, who have closely watched every
turn of the question--we, who have for years acted and sympathized
with the good men of the republic in their efforts for the freedom of
their country--we, who have a practical knowledge of the atrocities
of the 'peculiar institution,' learned from the lips of the panting
refugee upon our shores--we, who have in our ranks men all known on
the other side of the Atlantic as life-long abolitionists--we, I say,
are in a position to speak with confidence to the anti-slavery men of
Great Britain--to tell them that they have not rightly understood this
matter--to tell them that slavery is the one great cause of the
American rebellion, and that the success of the North is the
death-knell of slavery. Strange, after all that has passed, that a
doubt of this should remain."

It was true, he said, that Lincoln was not elected as an abolitionist.
Lincoln declared, and the Republican party declared, that they stood
by the constitution; that they would, so far as the constitution
allowed, restrict slavery and prevent its extension to new territory.
Yet they knew that the constitution gave them all they desired. "Well
did they know, and well did the Southerners know, that any
anti-slavery president and congress, by their direct power of
legislation, by their control of the public patronage, and by the
application of the public moneys, could not only restrict slavery
within its present boundaries, but could secure its ultimate
abolition. The South perfectly comprehended that Mr. Lincoln, if
elected, might keep within the letter of the constitution and yet sap
the foundation of the whole slave system, and they acted

In answering the question, "Why did not the North let the slave states
go in peace?" Brown freely admitted the right of revolution. "The
world no longer believes in the divine right of either kings or
presidents to govern wrong; but those who seek to change an
established government by force of arms assume a fearful
responsibility--a responsibility which nothing but the clearest and
most intolerable injustice will acquit them for assuming." Here was a
rebellion, not to resist injustice but to perpetuate injustice; not to
deliver the oppressed from bondage, but to fasten more hopelessly than
ever the chains of slavery on four millions of human beings. Why not
let the slave states go? Because it would have been wrong, because it
would have built up a great slave power that no moral influence could
reach, a power that would have overawed the free Northern States,
added to its territory, and re-established the slave trade. Had
Lincoln permitted the slave states to go, and to form such a power, he
would have brought enduring contempt upon his name, and the people of
England would have been the first to reproach him.

Brown argued, as he had done in 1852, that Canada could not be
indifferent to the question, whether the dominant power of the North
American continent should be slave or free. Holding that liberty had
better securities under the British than under the American system, he
yet believed that the failure of the American experiment would be a
calamity and a blow to free institutions all over the world. For years
the United States had been the refuge of the oppressed in every land;
millions had fled from poverty in Europe to find happiness and
prosperity there. From these had been wafted back to Europe new ideas
of the rights of the people. With the fall of the United States this
impetus to freedom, world-wide in its influence, would cease. Demands
for popular rights and free constitutions would be met by the despotic
rulers of Europe with the taunt that in the United States free
constitutions and popular rights had ended in disruption and anarchy.
"Let us not forget that there have been, and still are, very different
monarchies in the world from that of our own beloved queen; and
assuredly there are not so many free governments on earth that we
should hesitate to devise earnestly the success of that one nearest to
our own, modelled from our own, and founded by men of our own race. I
do most heartily rejoice, for the cause of liberty, that Mr. Lincoln
did not patiently acquiesce in the dismemberment of the republic."

The Civil War in the United States raised the most important question
of foreign policy with which the public men of Canada were called upon
to deal in Brown's career. The dismemberment of the British empire
would hardly have exercised a more profound influence on the human
race and on world-wide aspirations for freedom, than the dismemberment
of the United States and the establishment on this continent of a
mighty slave empire. Canada could not be indifferent to the issue. How
long would the slave-holding power, which coerced the North into
consenting to the Fugitive Slave Law, have tolerated the existence of
a free refuge for slaves across the lakes? Either Canada would have
been forced to submit to the humiliation of joining in the hunt for
men, or the British empire would have been obliged to fight the battle
that the North fought under the leadership of Lincoln. In the face of
this danger confronting Canada and the empire and freedom, it was a
time to forget smaller international animosities. Brown was one of the
few Canadian statesmen who saw the situation clearly and rose to the
occasion. For twenty years by his public speeches, and still more
through the generous devotion of the _Globe_ to the cause, he aided
the cause of freedom and of the union of the lovers of freedom.



That the _Globe_ and Mr. Brown, as related in a previous chapter,
became associated with Lord John Russell's bill and the "no popery"
agitation in England, may be regarded as a mere accident. The
excitement would have died out here as it died out in England, if
there had not been in Canada such a mass of inflammable material--so
many questions in which the relations of Church and State were
involved. One of these was State endowment of denominational schools.
During Brown's early years in Canada the school system was being
placed on a broad and popular basis. Salaries of teachers were
wretchedly low. Fees were charged to children, and remitted only as an
act of charity. Mr. Brown advocated a free and unsectarian system.
Claims for denominational schools were put forward not only by the
Roman Catholics but by the Anglicans. He argued that if this were
allowed the public school system would be destroyed by division. The
country could barely afford to maintain one good school system. To
maintain a system for each denomination would require an immense
addition to the number of school-houses and teachers, and would absorb
the whole revenue of the province. At the same time, the educational
forces would be weakened by the division and thousands of children
would grow up without education. "Under the non-sectarian system,"
said Brown, "the day is at hand when we may hope to abolish the
school-tax and offer free education to every child in the province."

Eventually it was found possible to carry out Mr. Brown's idea of free
education for every child in the province, and yet to allow Roman
Catholic separate schools to be maintained. To this compromise Mr.
Brown became reconciled, because it did not involve, as he had feared,
the destruction of the free school system by division. The Roman
Catholics of Upper Canada were allowed to maintain separate
denominational schools, to have them supported by the taxes of Roman
Catholic ratepayers and by provincial grants. So far as the education
of Protestant children was concerned Mr. Brown's advocacy was
successful. He opposed denominational schools because he feared they
would weaken or destroy the general system of free education for all.
Under the agreement which was finally arrived at, this fear was not
realized. In his speech on confederation he admitted that the
sectarian system, carried to a limited extent and confined chiefly to
cities and towns, had not been a very great practical injury. The real
cause of alarm was that the admission of the sectarian principle was
there, and that at any moment it might be extended to such a degree as
to split up our school system altogether: "that the separate system
might gradually extend itself until the whole country was studded
with nurseries of sectarianism, most hurtful to the best interests of
the province and entailing an enormous expense to sustain the hosts of
teachers that so prodigal a system of public instruction must
inevitably entail."

This, however, was not the only question at issue between Mr. Brown
and the Roman Catholic Church. It happened, as has been said above,
that on his first entry into parliament, the place of meeting was the
city of Quebec. The Edinburgh-bred man found himself in a Roman
Catholic city, surrounded by every evidence of the power of the
Church. As he looked up from the floor of the House to the galleries
he saw a Catholic audience, its character emphasized by the appearance
of priests clad in the distinctive garments of their orders. It was
his duty to oppose a great mass of legislation intended to strengthen
that Church and to add to its privileges. His spirit rose and he grew
more dour and resolute as he realized the strength of the forces
opposed to him.

It would be doing an injustice to the memory of Mr. Brown to gloss
over or minimize a most important feature of his career, or to offer
apologies which he himself would have despised. The battle was not
fought with swords of lath, and whoever wants to read of an
old-fashioned "no popery" fight, carried on with abounding fire and
vigour, will find plenty of matter in the files of the _Globe_ of the
fifties. His success in the election of 1857, so far as Upper Canada
was concerned, and especially his accomplishment of the rare feat of
carrying a Toronto seat for the Reform party, was largely due to an
agitation that aroused all the forces and many of the prejudices of
Protestantism. Yet Brown kept and won many warm friends among Roman
Catholics, both in Upper and in Lower Canada. His manliness attracted
them. They saw in him, not a narrow-minded and cold-hearted bigot,
seeking to force his opinions on others, but a brave and generous man,
fighting for principles. And in Lower Canada there were many Roman
Catholic laymen whose hearts were with him, and who were themselves
entering upon a momentous struggle to free the electorate from
clerical control. In his fight for the separation of Church and State,
he came into conflict, not with Roman Catholics alone. In his own
Presbyterian Church, at the time of the disruption, he strongly upheld
the side which was identified with liberty. For several years after
his arrival in Canada he was fighting against the special privileges
of the Anglican Church. He often said that he was actuated, not by
prejudice against one Church, but by hatred of clerical privilege, and
love of religious liberty and equality.

In 1871 Mr. Brown, in a letter addressed to prominent Roman Catholics,
gave a straight-forward account of his relations with the Roman
Catholic Church. It is repeated here in a somewhat abbreviated form,
but as nearly as possible in his own words. In the early days of the
political history of Upper Canada, the great mass of Catholics were
staunch Reformers. They suffered from Downing Street rule, from the
domination of the "family compact," from the clergy reserves and from
other attempts to arm the Anglican Church with special privileges and
powers; they gave an intelligent and cordial support to liberal and
progressive measures. They contributed to the victory of Baldwin and
Lafontaine. But when that victory was achieved, the Upper Canadian
Reformers found that a cause was operating to deprive them of its
fruits,--"the French-Canadian members of the cabinet and their
supporters in parliament, blocked the way." They not only prevented or
delayed the measures which the Reformers desired, but they forced
through parliament measures which antagonized Reform sentiment.
"Although much less numerous than the people of Upper Canada, and
contributing to the common purse hardly a fourth of the annual revenue
of the United Provinces, the Lower Canadians sent an equal number of
representatives with the Upper Canadians to parliament, and, by their
unity of action, obtained complete dominancy in the management of
public affairs." Unjust and injurious taxation, waste and
extravagance, and great increases in the public debt followed. Seeking
a remedy, the Upper Canadian Reformers demanded, first, representation
by population, giving Upper Canada its just influence in the
legislature, and second, the entire separation of Church and State,
placing all denominations on a like footing and leaving each to
support its own religious establishments from the funds of its own
people. They believed that these measures would remove from the public
arena causes of strife and heartburning, and would bring about solid
prosperity and internal peace. The battle was fought vigorously. "The
most determined efforts were put forth for the final but just
settlement of all those vexed questions by which religious sects were
arrayed against each other. Clergymen were dragged as combatants into
the political arena, religion was brought into contempt, and
opportunity presented to our French-Canadian friends to rule us
through our own dissensions." Clergy reserves, sectarian schools, the
use of the public funds for sectarian purposes, were assailed. "On
these and many similar questions, we were met by the French-Canadian
phalanx in hostile array; our whole policy was denounced in language
of the strongest character, and the men who upheld it were assailed as
the basest of mankind. We, on our part, were not slow in returning
blow for blow, and feelings were excited among the Catholics from
Upper Canada that estranged the great bulk of them from our ranks."
The agitation was carried on, however, until the grievances of which
the Reformers complained were removed by the Act of Confederation.
Under that Act the people of Ontario enjoy representation according
to population; they have entire control over their own local affairs;
and the last remnant of the sectarian warfare--the separate school
question--was settled forever by a compromise that was accepted as
final by all parties concerned.

In this letter Mr. Brown said that he was not seeking to cloak over
past feuds or apologize for past occurrences. He gloried in the
justice and soundness of the principles and measures for which he and
his party had contended, and he was proud of the results of the
conflict. He asked Catholics to read calmly the page of history he had
unfolded. "Let them blaze away at George Brown afterwards as
vigorously as they please, but let not their old feuds with him close
their eyes to the interests of their country, and their own interests
as a powerful section of the body politic."

The censure applied to those who wantonly draw sectarian questions
into politics, and set Catholic against Protestant, is just. But it
does not attach to those who attack the privileges of any Church, and
who, when the Church steps into the political arena, strike at it with
political weapons. This was Brown's position. He was the sworn foe of
clericalism. He had no affinity with the demagogues and professional
agitators who make a business of attacking the Roman Catholic Church,
nor with those whose souls are filled with vague alarms of papal
supremacy, and who believe stories of Catholics drilling in churches
to fight their Protestant neighbours. He fought against real tyranny,
for the removal of real grievances. When he believed that he had found
in confederation the real remedy, he was satisfied, and he did not
keep up an agitation merely for agitation's sake. It is not necessary
to attempt to justify every word that may have been struck off in the
heat of a great conflict. There was a battle to be fought; he fought
with all the energy of his nature, and with the weapons that lay at
hand. He would have shared Hotspur's contempt for the fop who vowed
that "but for these vile guns he would himself have been a soldier."



To whom is due the confederation of the British North American
provinces is a long vexed question. The Hon. D'Arcy McGee, in his
speech on confederation, gave credit to Mr. Uniacke, a leading
politician of Nova Scotia, who in 1800 submitted a scheme of colonial
union to the imperial authorities; to Chief-Justice Sewell, to Sir
John Beverley Robinson, to Lord Durham, to Mr. P. S. Hamilton, a Nova
Scotia writer, and to Mr. Alexander Morris, then member for South
Lanark, who had advocated the project in a pamphlet entitled _Nova
Britannia_. "But," he added, "whatever the private writer in his
closet may have conceived, whatever even the individual statesman may
have designed, so long as the public mind was uninterested in the
adoption, even in the discussion of a change in our position so
momentous as this, the union of these separate provinces, the
individual laboured in vain--perhaps, not wholly in vain, for although
his work may not have borne fruit then, it was kindling a fire that
would ultimately light up the whole political horizon and herald the
dawn of a better day for our country and our people. Events stronger
than advocacy, events stronger than men, have come in at last like
the fire behind the invisible writing, to bring out the truth of these
writings and to impress them upon the mind of every thoughtful man who
has considered the position and probable future of these scattered
provinces." Following Mr. McGee's suggestion, let us try to deal with
the question from the time that it ceased to be speculative and became
practical, and especially to trace its development in the mind of one

In the later fifties Mr. Brown was pursuing a course which led almost
with certainty to the goal of confederation. The people of Upper
Canada were steadily coming over to his belief that they were
suffering injustice under the union; that they paid more than their
share of the taxes, and yet that Lower Canadian influence was dominant
in legislation and in the formation of ministries. Brown's tremendous
agitation convinced them that the situation was intolerable. But it
was long before the true remedy was perceived. The French-Canadians
would not agree to Brown's remedy of representation by population.
Brown opposed as reactionary the proposal that the union should be
dissolved. He desired not to go back to the day of small things--on
the contrary, even at this early day, he was advocating the union of
the western territories with Canada. Nor was he at first in favour of
the federal principle. In 1853, in a formal statement of its
programme, the _Globe_ advocated uniform legislation for the two
provinces, and a Reform convention held at Toronto in 1857 recommended
the same measure, together with representation by population and the
addition of the North-West Territories to Canada.

In January, 1858, Brown wrote to his friend, Luther Holton, in a
manner which showed an open mind: "No honest man can desire that we
should remain as we are, and what other way out of our difficulties
can be suggested but a general legislative union, with representation
by population, a federal union, or a dissolution of the present union.
I am sure that a dissolution cry would be as ruinous to any party as
(in my opinion) it would be wrong. A federal union, it appears to me,
cannot be entertained for Canada alone, but when agitated must include
all British America. We will be past caring for politics when that
measure is finally achieved. What powers should be given to the
provincial legislatures, and what to the federal? Would you abolish
county councils? And yet, if you did not, what would the local
parliaments have to control? Would Montreal like to be put under the
generous rule of the Quebec politicians? Our friends here are prepared
to consider dispassionately any scheme that may issue from your party
in Lower Canada. They all feel keenly that something must be done.
Their plan is representation by population, and a fair trial for the
present union in its integrity; failing this, they are prepared to go
for dissolution, I believe, but if you can suggest a federal or any
other scheme that could be worked, it will have our most anxious
examination. Can you sketch a plan of federation such as our friends
below would agree to and could carry?"

Probably Dorion and other Lower Canadians had a part in converting
Brown to federation. In 1856 Dorion had moved a resolution favouring
the confederation of the two Canadas. In August, 1858, Brown and
Dorion undertook to form a government pledged to the settlement of the
question that had arisen between Upper and Lower Canada. Dorion says
it was agreed by the Brown-Dorion government "that the constitutional
question should be taken up and settled, either by a confederation of
the two provinces, or by representation according to population, with
such checks and guarantees as would secure the religious faith, the
laws, the language, and the peculiar institutions of each section of
the country from encroachments on the part of the other."

At the same time an effort in the same direction was made by the
Conservative party. A. T. Galt, in the session of 1858, advocated the
federal union of all the British North American provinces. He declared
that unless a union were effected, the provinces would inevitably
drift into the United States. He proposed that questions relating to
education and likely to arouse religious dissension, ought to be left
to the provinces. The resolutions moved by Mr. Galt in 1858 give him
a high place among the promoters of confederation. Galt was asked by
Sir Edmund Head to form an administration on the resignation of the
Brown government. Galt refused, but when he subsequently entered the
Cartier government it was on condition that the promotion of federal
union should be embodied in the policy of the government. Cartier,
Ross and Galt visited England in fulfilment of this promise, and
described the serious difficulties that had arisen in Canada. The
movement failed because the co-operation of the Maritime Provinces
could not be obtained.

In the autumn of 1859 two important steps leading towards federation
were taken. In October the Lower Canadian members of the Opposition
met in Montreal and declared for a federal union of the Canadas. They
went so far as to specify the subjects of federal and local
jurisdiction, allowing to the central authority the customs tariff,
the post-office, patents and copyrights, and the currency; and to the
local legislatures education, the laws of property, the administration
of justice, and the control of the militia. In September a meeting of
the Liberal members of both Houses was held at Toronto, and a circular
calling a convention of Upper Canadian Reformers was issued. It
declared that "the financial and political evils of the provinces have
reached such a point as to demand a thorough reconsideration of the
relations between Upper and Lower Canada, and the adoption of
constitutional changes framed to remedy the great abuses that have
arisen under the present system"; that the nature of the changes had
been discussed, but that it was felt that before coming to a
conclusion "the whole Liberal party throughout Upper Canada should be
consulted." The discussion would be free and unfettered. "Supporters
of the Opposition advocating a written constitution or a dissolution
of the union--or a federal union of all the British North American
provinces--or a federal system for Canada alone--or any other plan
calculated, in their opinion, to meet the existing evils--are all
equally welcome to the convention. The one sole object is to discuss
the whole subject with candour and without prejudice, that the best
remedy may be found." Then came an account of the grievances for which
a remedy was sought: "The position of Upper Canada at this moment is
truly anomalous and alarming. With a population much more numerous
than that of Lower Canada, and contributing to the general revenue a
much larger share of taxation than the sister province, Upper Canada
finds herself without power in the administration of the affairs of
the union. With a constitution professedly based on the principle that
the will of the majority should prevail, a minority of the people of
Upper Canada, by combination with the Lower Canada majority, are
enabled to rule the upper province in direct hostility to the popular
will. Extravagant expenditures and hurtful legislative measures are
forced on us in defiance of the protests of large majorities of the
representatives of the people; the most needful reforms are denied,
and offices of honour and emolument are conferred on persons destitute
of popular sympathy, and without qualification beyond that of
unhesitating subserviency to the men who misgovern the country."

The convention of nearly six hundred delegates gave evidence of a
genuine, popular movement for constitutional changes. Though it was
composed of members of only one party, its discussions were of general
interest, and were upon a high level of intelligence and public
spirit. The convention was divided between dissolution and federal
union. Federation first got the ear of the meeting. Free access to the
sea by the St. Lawrence, free trade between Upper and Lower Canada,
were urged as reasons for continuing the union. Oliver Mowat made a
closely reasoned speech on the same side. Representation by population
alone would not be accepted by Lower Canada. Dissolution was
impracticable and could not, at best, be obtained without long
agitation. Federation would give all the advantages of dissolution
without its difficulties.

Mowat's speech was received with much favour, and the current had set
strongly for federation when George Sheppard arose as the chief
advocate of dissolution. Sheppard had been an editorial writer on the
_Colonist_, had been attracted by Brown and his policy and had joined
the staff of the _Globe_. His main argument was that the central
government under federation would be a costly and elaborate affair,
and would ultimately overshadow the governments of the provinces.
There would be a central parliament, a viceroy with all the expense of
a court. "A federal government without federal dignity would be all
moonshine." There was an inherent tendency in central bodies to
acquire increased power. In the United States a federal party had
advocated a strong central government, and excuses were always being
sought to add to its glory and influence. On the other side was a
democratic party, championing State rights. "In Canada, too, we may
expect to see federation followed by the rise of two parties, one
fighting for a strong central government, the other, like Mr. Brown,
contending for State rights, local control, and the limited authority
of the central power." One of the arguments for federation was that it
provided for bringing in the North-West Territory. That implied an
expensive federal government for the purpose of organizing the new
territory, building its roads, etc. "Is this federation," he asked,
"proposed as a step towards nationality? If so, I am with you.
Federation implies nationality. For colonial purposes only it would be
a needless incumbrance."

This speech, with its accurate forecast of the growth of the central
power, produced such an impression that the federalists amended their
resolution, and proposed, instead of a general government, "some
joint authority" for federal purposes. This concession was made by
William Macdougall, one of the secretaries and chief figures of the
convention, who said that he had been much impressed by Sheppard's
eloquence and logic. The creation of a powerful, elaborate and
expensive central government such as now exists did not form part of
the plans of the Liberals either in Upper or Lower Canada at that

Brown, who spoke towards the close of the convention, declared that he
had no morbid fear of dissolution of the union, but preferred the plan
of federation, as giving Upper Canada the advantage of free trade with
Lower Canada and the free navigation of the St. Lawrence. One of his
most forcible passages was an answer to Sheppard's question whether
the federation was a step towards nationality. "I do place the
question on grounds of nationality. I do hope there is not one
Canadian in this assembly who does not look forward with high hope to
the day when these northern countries shall stand out among the
nations of the world as one great confederation. What true Canadian
can witness the tide of emigration now commencing to flow into the
vast territories of the North-West without longing to have a share in
the first settlement of that great, fertile country? Who does not feel
that to us rightfully belong the right and the duty of carrying the
blessings of civilization throughout those boundless regions, and
making our own country the highway of traffic to the Pacific? But is
it necessary that all this should be accomplished at once? Is it not
true wisdom to commence federation with our own country, and leave it
open to extension hereafter if time and experience shall prove it
desirable? And shall we not then have better control over the terms of
federation than if all were made parties to the original compact, and
how can there be the slightest question with one who longs for such a
nationality between dissolution and the scheme of the day? Is it not
clear that the former would be the death blow to the hope of future
union, while the latter will readily furnish the machinery for a great

The resolutions adopted by the convention declared that the
legislative union, because of antagonisms developed through
differences of origin, local interests, and other causes, could no
longer be maintained; that the plan known as the "double majority" did
not afford a permanent remedy; that a federal union of all the British
North American colonies was out of the range of remedies for present
evils; that the principle of representation by population must be
recognized in any new union, and that "the best practical remedy for
the evils now encountered in the government of Canada is to be found
in the formation of two or more local governments, to which shall be
committed the control of all matters of a local or sectional
character, and some joint authority charged with such matters as are
necessarily common to both sections of the province."

The hopes that had been aroused by this convention were disappointed,
or rather deferred. When Brown, in the following session of the
legislature, brought forward resolutions in the sense of those adopted
by the convention, he found coldness and dissension in his own party,
and the resolutions were defeated by a large majority. Subsequently
Mr. Brown had a long illness, retired from the leadership, and spent
some time in England and Scotland. In his absence the movement for
constitutional change was stayed. But "events stronger than advocacy,"
in Mr. McGee's words, were operating. Power oscillated between the
Conservative and Reform parties, and two general elections, held
within as many years, failed to solve the difficulty. When federation
was next proposed, it had become a political necessity.



In 1860, Mr. Brown contemplated retiring from the leadership of the
party. In a letter to Mr. Mowat, he said that the enemies of reform
were playing the game of exciting personal hostility against himself,
and reviving feelings inspired by the fierce contests of the past. It
might be well to appoint a leader who would arouse less personal
hostility. A few months later he had a long and severe illness, which
prevented him from taking his place in the legislature during the
session of 1861 and from displaying his usual activity in the general
election of the summer of that year. He did, however, accept the hard
task of contesting East Toronto, where he was defeated by Mr. John
Crawford by a majority of one hundred and ninety-one. Mr. Brown then
announced that the defeat had opened up the way for his retirement
without dishonour, and that he would not seek re-election. Some public
advantages, he said, might flow from that decision. Those whose
interest it was that misgovernment should continue, would no longer be
able to make a scapegoat of George Brown. Admitting that he had used
strong language in denouncing French domination, he justified his
course as the only remedy for the evil. In 1852 he could hardly find
a seconder for his motion in favour of representation by population;
in the election just closed, he claimed fifty-three members from Upper
Canada, elected to stand or fall by that measure. He had fought a ten
years' battle without faltering. He advocated opposition to any
ministry of either party that would refuse to settle the question.

The Conservative government was defeated, in the session following the
election, on a militia bill providing for the maintenance of a force
of fifty thousand men at a cost of about one million dollars. The
American Civil War was in progress; the _Trent_ affair had assumed a
threatening appearance and it was deemed necessary to place the
province in a state of defence. The bill was defeated by the defection
of some French-Canadian supporters of the government. The event caused
much disappointment in England; and from this time forth, continual
pressure from that quarter in regard to defence was one of the forces
tending towards confederation.

John Sandfield Macdonald, who was somewhat unexpectedly called upon to
form a ministry, was an enthusiastic advocate of the "double
majority," by which he believed the union could be virtually
federalized without formal constitutional change. Upper Canadian
ministers were to transact Upper Canadian business, and so with Lower
Canada, the administration, as a whole, managing affairs of common
interest. Local legislation was not to be forced on either province
against the wish of the representatives. The administration for each
section should possess the confidence of a majority of representatives
from that section.

Brown strongly opposed the "double majority" plan, which he regarded
as a mere makeshift for reform in the representation, and he was in
some doubt whether he should support or oppose the Liberal ministers
who offered for re-election. He finally decided, after consultation
with his brother Gordon, "to permit them to go in unopposed, and hold
them up to the mark under the stimulus of bit and spur."

In July 1862, Mr. Brown sailed for Great Britain, and in September he
wrote Mr. Holton that he had had a most satisfactory interview with
the Duke of Newcastle at the latter's request. They seem to have
talked freely about Canadian politics. "His scruples about
representation are entirely gone. It would have done even Sandfield
[Macdonald] good to hear his ideas on the absurdity of the 'double
majority.' Whatever small politicians and the London _Times_ may say,
you may depend upon this, that the government and the leaders of the
Opposition perfectly understand our position, and have no thought of
changing the relations between Canada and the mother country. On the
contrary, the members of the government, with the exception of
Gladstone, are set upon the Intercolonial Railway and a grand transit
route across the continent." He remarked upon the bitterness of the
British feeling against the United States, and said that he was
perplexed by the course of the London _Times_ in pandering to the
passions of the people.

The most important event of his visit to Scotland was yet to come. On
November 27th he married Miss Anne Nelson, daughter of the well-known
publisher, Thomas Nelson--a marriage which was the beginning of a most
happy domestic life of eighteen years. This lady survived him until
May, 1906. On his return to Canada with his bride, Mr. Brown was met
at Toronto station by several thousand friends. In reply to a
complimentary address, he said, "I have come back with strength
invigorated, with new, and I trust, enlarged views, and with the most
earnest desire to aid in advancing the prosperity and happiness of

It has been seen that the Macdonald-Sicotte government had shelved the
question of representation by population and had committed itself to
the device of the "double majority." During Mr. Brown's absence
another movement, which he had strongly resisted, had been gaining
ground. In 1860, 1861, and 1862, Mr. R. W. Scott, of Ottawa, had
introduced legislation intended to strengthen the Roman Catholic
separate school system of Upper Canada. In 1863, he succeeded, by
accepting certain modifications, in obtaining the support of Dr.
Ryerson, superintendent of education. Another important advantage was
that his bill was adopted as a government measure by the Sandfield
Macdonald ministry. The bill became law in spite of the fact that it
was opposed by a majority of the representatives from Upper Canada.
This was in direct contravention of the "double majority" resolutions
adopted by the legislature at the instance of the government. The
premier had declared that there should be a truce to the agitation for
representation by population or for other constitutional changes. That
agitation had been based upon the complaint that legislation was being
forced upon Upper Canada by Lower Canadian votes. The "double
majority" resolutions had been proposed as a substitute for
constitutional change. In the case of the Separate School Bill they
were disregarded, and the premier was severely criticized for allowing
his favourite principle to be contravened.

Mr. Brown had been absent in the sessions of 1861 and 1862, and he did
not enter the House in 1863 until the Separate School Bill had passed
its second reading. In the _Globe_, however, it was assailed
vigorously, one ground being that the bill was not a finality, but
that the Roman Catholic Church would continually make new demands and
encroachments, until the public school system was destroyed. On this
question of finality there was much controversy. Dr. Ryerson always
insisted that there was an express agreement that it was to be final;
on the Roman Catholic side this is denied. At confederation Brown
accepted the Act of 1863 as a final settlement. He said that if he had
been present in 1863, he would have voted against the bill, because
it extended the facility for establishing separate schools. "It had,
however, this good feature, that it was accepted by the Roman Catholic
authorities, and carried through parliament as a final compromise of
the question in Upper Canada." He added: "I have not the slightest
hesitation in accepting it as a necessary condition of the union."
With confederation, therefore, we may regard Brown's opposition to
separate schools in Upper Canada as ended. In accepting the terms of
confederation, he accepted the Separate School Act of 1863, though
with the condition that it should be final, a condition repudiated on
the Roman Catholic side.

The Sandfield Macdonald government was weakened by this incident, and
it soon afterwards fell upon a general vote of want of confidence
moved by Mr. John A. Macdonald. Parliament was dissolved and an
election was held in the summer of 1863. The Macdonald-Dorion
government obtained a majority in Upper but not in Lower Canada, and
on the whole, its tenure of power was precarious in the extreme.
Finally, in March, 1864, it resigned without waiting for a vote of
want of confidence. Its successor, the Taché-Macdonald government, had
a life of only three months, and its death marks the birth of a new



"Events stronger than advocacy, events stronger than men," to repeat
D'Arcy McGee's phrase, combined in 1864 to remove confederation from
the field of speculation to the field of action. For several years the
British government had been urging upon Canada the necessity for
undertaking a greater share of her own defence. This view was
expressed with disagreeable candour in the London _Times_ and
elsewhere on the occasion of the defeat of the Militia Bill of 1862.
The American Civil War emphasized the necessity for measures of
defence. At the time of the _Trent_ seizure, Great Britain and the
United States were on the verge of war, of which Canada would have
been the battleground. As the war progressed, the world was astonished
by the development of the military power of the republic. It seemed
not improbable, at that time, that when the success of the North was
assured, its great armies would be used for the subjugation of Canada.
The North had come to regard Canada as a home of Southern sympathizers
and a place in which conspiracies against the republic were hatched by
Southerners. Though Canada was not to blame for the use that was made
of its soil, yet some ill-feeling was aroused, and public men were
warranted in regarding the peril as real.

Canada was also about to lose a large part of its trade. For ten years
that trade had been built up largely on the basis of reciprocity with
the United States, and the war had largely increased the American
demand for Canadian products. It was generally expected, and that
expectation was fulfilled, that the treaty would be abrogated by the
United States. It was feared that the policy of commercial
non-intercourse would be carried even farther, the bonding system
abolished, and Canada cut off from access to the seaboard during the

If we add to these difficulties the domestic dissensions of Canada, we
must recognize that the outlook was dark. Canada was then a fringe of
settlement, extending from the Detroit River to the Gulf of St.
Lawrence, having no independent access to the Atlantic except during
the summer. She had been depending largely upon Great Britain for
defence, and upon the United States for trade. She had received
warning that both these supports were to be weakened, and that she
must rely more on her own resources, find new channels of trade and
new means of defence. The country lay in the midst of the continent,
isolated from the west, isolated in part from the east, with a
powerful and not too friendly neighbour to the south. Upper and Lower
Canada, with their racial differences as sharply defined as in the
days of Lord Durham, regarded each other with distrust; one political
combination after another had failed to obtain a working majority of
the legislature, and domestic government was paralyzed. Such a
combination of danger and difficulty, within and without, might well
arouse alarm, rebuke faction and stimulate patriotism.

The election of 1863 was virtually a drawn battle. The Reformers had a
large majority in Upper Canada, their opponents a like majority in
Lower Canada, and thus not only the two parties, but the two
provinces, were arrayed against each other. The Reform government,
headed by Sandfield Macdonald and Dorion, found its position of
weakness and humiliation intolerable, and resigned in March, 1864. The
troubled governor-general called upon A. T. Fergusson Blair, a
colleague of Sandfield Macdonald, to form a new administration. He
failed. He called upon Cartier with a like result. He finally had a
little better success with Sir E. P. Taché, a veteran who had been a
colleague of Baldwin, of Hincks, and of Macdonald. Taché virtually
restored the Cartier-Macdonald government, taking in Foley and McGee
from the other side. In less than three months, on June 14th, this
government was defeated, and on the very day of its defeat relief
came. Letters written by Brown to his family during the month
preceding the crisis throw some light on the situation.

On May 13th he writes: "Things here are very unsatisfactory; no one
sees his way out of the mess--and there is no way but my
way--representation by population. There is great talk to-day of
coalition--and what do you think? Why, that in order to make the
coalition successful, the imperial government are to offer me the
government of one of the British colonies. I have been gravely asked
to-day by several if it is true, and whether I would accept. My reply
was, I would rather be proprietor of the _Globe_ newspaper for a few
years than be governor-general of Canada, much less a trumpery little
province. But I need hardly tell you, the thing has no foundation,
beyond sounding what could be done to put me out of the way and let
mischief go on. But we won't be bought at any price, shall we?" On May
18th he writes that he has brought on his motion for constitutional
changes, and on May 20th that it has carried and taken Cartier and
Macdonald by surprise. "Much that is directly practical may not flow
from the committee, but it is an enormous gain to have the
acknowledgment on our journals that a great evil exists, and that some
remedy must be found."

On June 14th Mr. Brown, as chairman of a committee appointed to
consider the difficulties connected with the government of Canada,
brought in a report recommending "a federative system, applied either
to Canada alone, or to the whole British North American provinces."
This was the day on which the Taché government was defeated. On the
subject of the negotiations which followed between Mr. Brown and the
government, there is a difference between the account given by Sir
John Macdonald in the House, and accepted by all parties as official,
and a letter written by Mr. Brown to a member of his family. The
official account represents the first movement as coming from Mr.
Brown, the letter says that the suggestion came from the
governor-general. It would seem likely that the idea moved gradually
from informal conversations to formal propositions. The governor had
proposed a coalition on the defeat of the Macdonald-Dorion government,
and he repeated the suggestion on the defeat of the Taché-Macdonald
government; but his official memorandum contains no reference to
constitutional changes. It would seem that there was a great deal of
talk of coalition in the air before Brown made his proposals, and
perhaps some talk of offering him an appointment that would remove him
from public life. But the Conservative ministers were apparently
thinking merely of a coalition that would break the dead-lock, and
enable the ordinary business of the country to proceed. Brown's idea
was to find a permanent remedy in the form of a change in the
constitution. When he made his proposal to co-operate with his
opponents for the purpose of settling the difficulties between Upper
and Lower Canada, his proposal fell upon minds familiarized with the
idea of coalition, and hence its ready acceptance. On his part, Mr.
Brown was ready to abate certain party advantages in order to bring
about constitutional reform. Mr. Ferrier, in the debate on
confederation, says that it was he who suggested that the proposal
made by Mr. Brown to Mr. Pope and Mr. Morris should be communicated to
the government. Ferrier gives a lively account of the current gossip
as to the meeting between Brown and the ministers. "I think I can
remember this being said, that when Mr. Galt met Mr. Brown he received
him with that manly, open frankness which characterizes him; that when
Mr. Cartier met Mr. Brown, he looked carefully to see that his two
Rouge friends were not behind him, and that when he was satisfied they
were not, he embraced him with open arms and swore eternal friendship;
and that Mr. Macdonald, at a very quick glance, saw there was an
opportunity of forming a great and powerful dependency of the British
empire.... We all thought, in fact, that a political millennium had

In a family letter written at this time Mr. Brown said: "June 18th,
past one in the morning. We have had great times since I wrote you. On
Tuesday we defeated the government by a majority of two. They asked
the governor-general to dissolve parliament, and he consented; but
before acting on it, at the governor's suggestion, they applied to me
to aid them in reconstructing the government, on the basis of settling
the constitutional difficulties between Upper and Lower Canada. I
refused to accept office, but agreed to help them earnestly and
sincerely in the matter they proposed. Negotiations were thereupon
commenced, and are still going on, with considerable hope of finding a
satisfactory solution to our trouble. The facts were announced in the
House to-day by John A. Macdonald, amid tremendous cheering from both
sides of the House. You never saw such a scene; but you will have it
all in the papers, so I need not repeat. Both sides are extremely
urgent that I should accept a place in the government, if it were only
for a week; but I will not do this unless it is absolutely needed to
the success of the negotiations. A more agreeable proposal is that I
should go to England to arrange the new constitution with the imperial
government. But as the whole thing may fail, we will not count our
chickens just yet."

Sir Richard Cartwright, then a young member of parliament, relates an
incident illustrating the tension on men's minds at that time. He
says: "On that memorable afternoon when Mr. Brown, not without
emotion, made his statement to a hushed and expectant House, and
declared that he was about to ally himself with Sir Georges Cartier
and his friends for the purpose of carrying out confederation, I saw
an excitable, elderly little French member rush across the floor,
climb up on Mr. Brown, who, as you remember, was of a stature
approaching the gigantic, fling his arms about his neck and hang
several seconds there suspended, to the visible consternation of Mr.
Brown and to the infinite joy of all beholders, pit, box and gallery

The official account given by Mr. Macdonald in the House, is that
immediately after the defeat of the government on Tuesday night (the
14th), and on the following morning, Mr. Brown spoke to several
supporters of the administration, strongly urging that the present
crisis should be utilized in settling forever the constitutional
difficulties between Upper and Lower Canada, and assuring them that he
was ready to co-operate with the existing or any other administration
that would deal with the question promptly and firmly, with a view to
its final settlement. Mr. Morris and Mr. Pope, to whom the suggestion
was made, obtained leave to communicate it to Mr. John A. Macdonald
and Mr. Galt. On June 17th Mr. Macdonald and Mr. Galt called upon Mr.
Brown. In the conversation that ensued Mr. Brown expressed his extreme
reluctance to entering the ministry, declaring that the public mind
would be shocked by such an arrangement. The personal question being
dropped for the time, Mr. Brown asked what remedy was proposed. Mr.
Macdonald and Mr. Galt replied that their remedy was a federal union
of all the British North American provinces. Mr. Brown said that this
would not be acceptable to Upper Canada. The federation of all the
provinces ought to come and would come in time, but it had not yet
been thoroughly considered by the people; and even were this
otherwise, there were so many parties to be consulted that its
adoption was uncertain and remote. He expressed his preference for
parliamentary reform, based on population. On further discussion it
appeared that a compromise might be found in an alternative plan, a
federal union of all the British North American provinces or a federal
union of Upper and Lower Canada, with provision for the admission of
the Maritime Provinces and the North-West Territory when they desired.
There was apparently a difference of opinion as to which alternative
should be presented first. One memorandum reduced to writing gave the
preference to the larger federation; the second and final memorandum
contained this agreement: "The government are prepared to pledge
themselves to bring in a measure next session for the purpose of
removing existing difficulties by introducing the federal principle
into Canada, coupled with such provisions as will permit the Maritime
Provinces and the North-West Territory to be incorporated into the
same system of government. And the government will, by sending
representatives to the Lower Provinces and to England, use its best
endeavours to secure the assent of those interests which are beyond
the control of our own legislation to such a measure as may enable all
British North America to be united under a general legislature based
upon the federal principle."

It was Mr. Brown who insisted on this mode of presentation. At the
convention of 1859 he had expressed in the strongest language his hope
for the creation of a great Canadian nationality; and he had for years
advocated the inclusion of the North-West Territories in a greater
Canada. But he regarded the settlement of the difficulties of Upper
and Lower Canada as the most pressing question of the hour, and he did
not desire that the solution of this question should be delayed or
imperilled. Galt's plan of federation, comprehensive and admirable as
it was, had failed because the assent of the Maritime Provinces could
not be secured; and for five years afterwards no progress had been
made. It was natural that Brown should be anxiously desirous that the
plan for the reform of the union of the Canadas should not fail,
whatever else might happen.

On June 21st, Mr. Brown called a meeting of the members of the
Opposition for Upper Canada. It was resolved, on motion of Mr. Hope
Mackenzie, "that we approve of the course which has been pursued by
Mr. Brown in the negotiations with the government, and that we approve
of the project of a federal union of the Canadas, with provision for
the inclusion of the Maritime Provinces and the North-West Territory,
as one basis on which the constitutional difficulties now existing
could be settled." Thirty-four members voted for this motion, five
declining to vote. A motion that three members of the Opposition
should enter the government was not so generally supported, eleven
members, including Alexander Mackenzie and Oliver Mowat, voting in the
negative. The Lower Canadian Reformers held aloof, and in the
subsequent debate in the legislature, strongly opposed confederation.

There were many evidences of the keen interest taken by the
governor-general (Monk) in the negotiations. On June 21st he wrote to
Mr. Brown: "I think the success or failure of the negotiations which
have been going on for some days, with a view to the formation of a
strong government on a broad basis, depends very much on your
consenting to come into the cabinet.

"Under these circumstances I must again take the liberty of pressing
upon you, by this note, my opinion of the grave responsibility which
you will take upon yourself if you refuse to do so.

"Those who have hitherto opposed your views have consented to join
with you in good faith for the purpose of extricating the province
from what appears to me a very dangerous position.

"They have frankly offered to take up and endeavour to settle on
principles satisfactory to all, the great constitutional question
which you, by your energy and ability, have made your own.

"The details of that settlement must necessarily be the subject of
grave debate in the cabinet, and I confess I cannot see how you are to
take part in that discussion, or how your opinions can be brought to
bear on the arrangement of the question, unless you occupy a place at
the council table.

"I hope I may, without impropriety, ask you to take these opinions
into consideration before you arrive at a final decision as to your
own course."

Mr. Brown wrote home that he, in consenting to enter the cabinet, was
influenced by the vote of the Reform members, by private letters from
many quarters, and still more by the extreme urgency of the
governor-general. "The thing that finally determined me was the fact,
ascertained by Mowat and myself, that unless we went in the whole
effort for constitutional changes would break down, and the enormous
advantages gained by our negotiations probably be lost. Finally, at
three o'clock yester-day, I consented to enter the cabinet as
'president of the council,' with other two seats in the cabinet at my
disposal--one of which Mowat will take, and probably Macdougall the
other. We consented with great reluctance, but there was no help for
it; and it was such a temptation to have possibly the power of
settling the sectional troubles of Canada forever. The announcement
was made in the House yester-day, and the excitement all over the
province is intense. I send you an official copy of the proceedings
during the negotiations, from which you will see the whole story. By
next mail I intend to send you some extracts from the newspapers. The
unanimity of sentiment is without example in this country, and were it
not that I know at their exact value the worth of newspaper
laudations, I might be puffed up a little in my own conceit. After the
explanations by ministers I had to make a speech, but was so excited
and nervous at the events of the last few days that I nearly broke
down. However, after a little I got over it, and made (as Mowat
alleges) the most telling speech I ever made. There was great cheering
when I sat down, and many members from both sides crowded round me to
congratulate me. In short, the whole movement is a grand success, and
I really believe will have an immense influence on the future
destinies of Canada."

The formation of the coalition cabinet was announced on June 30th.
Foley, Buchanan and Simpson, members of the Upper Canadian section of
the Taché-Macdonald ministry, retired, and their places were taken by
the Hon. George Brown, Oliver Mowat, and William Macdougall. Otherwise
the ministry remained unchanged. Sir E. P. Taché, though a
Conservative, was acceptable to both parties, and was well fitted to
head a genuine coalition. But it must have been evident from the first
that the character of a coalition would not be long maintained. The
Reform party, which had just defeated the government in the
legislature, was represented by only three ministers out of twelve;
and this, with Macdonald's skill in managing combinations of men, made
it morally certain that the ministry must eventually become
Conservative, just as happened in the case of the coalition of 1854.
Brown had asked that the Reformers be represented by four ministers
from Upper Canada and two from Lower Canada, which would, as nearly as
possible, have corresponded with the strength of his party in the
legislature. Galt and Macdonald represented that a change in the
personnel of the Lower Canadian section of the cabinet would disturb
the people and shake their confidence. The Lower Canadian Liberal
leaders, Dorion and Holton, were adverse to the coalition scheme,
regarding it as a mere device for enabling Macdonald and his friends
to hold office.

Mowat and Brown were re-elected without difficulty, but Macdougall met
with strong opposition in North Ontario. Brown, who was working hard
in his interests, found this opposition so strong among Conservatives
that he telegraphed to Macdonald, who sent a strong letter on behalf
of Macdougall. Brown said that the opposition came chiefly from
Orangemen. The result was that Macdougall, in spite of the assistance
of the two leaders, was defeated by one hundred. He was subsequently
elected for North Lanark. In other bye-elections the advocates of
confederation were generally successful. In the confederation debate,
Brown said there had been twenty-five contests, fourteen for the
Upper House and eleven for the Lower House, and that only one or two
opponents of confederation had been elected.

There had been for some years an intermittent movement for the union
of the Maritime Provinces, and in 1864 their legislatures had
authorized the holding of a convention at Charlottetown. Accordingly
eight members of the Canadian ministry visited Charlottetown, where
they were cordially welcomed. They dwelt on the advantage of
substituting the larger for the smaller plan of union, and the result
of their representations was that arrangements were made for the
holding of a general conference at Quebec later in the year. The
Canadian ministers made a tour through the Maritime Provinces,
speaking in public and familiarizing the people with the plan. At a
banquet in Halifax, Mr. Brown gave a full exposition of the project
and its advantages in regard to defence, commerce, national strength
and dignity, adding that it would end the petty strifes of a small
community, and elevate politics and politicians.

The scheme was destined to undergo a more severe ordeal in the
Maritime Provinces than these festive gatherings. For the present,
progress was rapid, and the maritime tour was followed by the
conference at Quebec, which opened on October 10th, 1864.


[14] Sir Richard Cartwright says also that the credit of Canada was
very low, largely because of the troubles of the Grand Trunk Railway
Company. _Memories of Confederation_, p. 3.

[15] _Memories of Confederation._ An address delivered before the
Canadian Club of Ottawa, January 20th, 1906.



The conference was held with closed doors, so as to encourage free
discussion. Some fragmentary notes have been preserved. One impression
derived from this and other records is that the public men of that day
had been much impressed by the Civil War in the United States, by the
apparent weakness of the central authority there, and by the dangers
of State sovereignty. Emphasis was laid upon the monarchical element
of the proposed constitution for Canada, and upon the fact that powers
not expressly defined were to rest in the general, instead of the
local, legislatures. In fact, Mr. Chandler, a representative of New
Brunswick, complained that the proposed union was legislative, not
federal, and reduced the local governments to the status of municipal
corporations. In practice these residuary powers were not so
formidable as they appeared; the defined powers of the local
legislatures were highly important, and were fully maintained, if not
enlarged, as a result of the resolute attitude of Ontario under the
Mowat government. But the notion that Canada must avoid the dangers of
State sovereignty is continually cropping up in the literature of
confederation. Friends and opponents of the new constitution made
much of these mysterious residuary powers, and the Lower Canadian
Liberals feared that they were being drawn into a union that would
destroy the liberties and imperil the cherished institutions of the
French-Canadian people.

Another point is the extraordinary amount of time and labour given to
the constitution of the senate. "The conference proceedings," wrote
Mr. Brown, "get along very well, considering we were very near broken
up on the question of the distribution of members in the Upper Chamber
of the federal legislature, but fortunately, we have this morning got
the matter amicably compromised, after a loss of three days in
discussing it." During the latter years of the union, the elective
system had prevailed in Canada, and Mowat, Macdougall and others
favoured continuing this practice, but were overruled. Brown joined
Macdonald in supporting the nominative system. His reasons were given
in his speech in the legislature in 1865. He believed that two
elective chambers were incompatible with the British parliamentary
system. The Upper Chamber, if elected, might claim equal power with
the Lower, including power over money bills. It might amend money
bills, might reject all legislation, and stop the machinery of
government. With a Conservative majority in one House, and a Reform
majority in the other, a dead-lock might occur. To the objection that
the change from the elective to the nominative system involved a
diminution of the power of the people, Mr. Brown answered that the
government of the day would be responsible for each appointment. It
must be admitted that this responsibility is of little practical
value, and that Mr. Brown fully shared in the delusions of his time as
to the manner in which the senate would be constituted, and the part
it would play in the government of the country.

A rupture was threatened also on the question of finance. A large
number of local works which in Upper Canada were paid for by local
municipal taxation, were in the Maritime Provinces provided out of the
provincial revenues. The adjustment was a difficult matter, and
finally it was found necessary for the financial representatives of
the different provinces to withdraw, for the purpose of constructing a

On October 28th the conference was concluded, and its resolutions
substantially form the constitution of Canada. On October 31st Brown
wrote: "We got through our work at Quebec very well. The constitution
is not exactly to my mind in all its details--but as a whole it is
wonderful, really wonderful. When one thinks of all the fighting we
have had for fifteen years, and finds the very men who fought us every
inch, now going far beyond what we asked, I am amazed and sometimes
alarmed lest it all go to pieces yet. We have yet to pass the ordeal
of public opinion in the several provinces, and sad, indeed, will it
be if the measure is not adopted by acclamation in them all. For Upper
Canada we may well rejoice on the day it becomes law. Nearly all our
past difficulties are ended by it, whatever new ones may arise."

A journey made by the delegates through Canada after the draft was
completed enabled Canadians to make the acquaintance of some men of
mark in the Maritime Provinces, including Tilley, of New Brunswick,
and Tupper, of Nova Scotia, and it evoked in Upper Canada warm
expressions of public feeling in favour of the new union. It is
estimated that eight thousand people met the delegates at the railway
station in Toronto. At a dinner given in the Music Hall in that city,
Mr. Brown explained the new constitution fully. He frankly confessed
that he was a convert to the scheme of the Intercolonial Railway, for
the reason that it was essential to the union between Canada and the
Maritime Provinces. The canal system was to be extended, and as soon
as the finances would permit communication was to be opened with the
North-West Territory. "This was the first time," wrote Mr. Brown,
"that the confederation scheme was really laid open to the public. No
doubt--was right in saying that the French-Canadians were restive
about the scheme, but the feeling in favour of it is all but unanimous
here, and I think there is a good chance of carrying it. At any rate,
come what may, I can now get out of the affair and out of public life
with honour, for I have had placed on record a scheme that would bring
to an end all the grievances of which Upper Canada has so long

The British government gave its hearty blessing to the confederation,
and the outlook was hopeful. In December, 1864, Mr. Brown sailed for
England, for the purpose of obtaining the views of the British
government. He wrote from London to Mr. Macdonald that the scheme had
given prodigious satisfaction. "The ministry, the Conservatives and
the Manchester men are all delighted with it, and everything Canadian
has gone up in public estimation immensely.... Indeed, from all
classes of people you hear nothing but high praise of 'Canadian
statesmanship,' and loud anticipations of the great future before us.
I am much concerned to observe, however, and I write it to you as a
thing that must seriously be considered by all men taking a lead
hereafter in Canadian public matters--that there is a manifest desire
in almost every quarter, that ere long the British American colonies
should shift for themselves, and in some quarters evident regret that
we did not declare at once for independence. I am very sorry to
observe this, but it arises, I hope, from the fear of invasion of
Canada by the United States, and will soon pass away with the cause
that excites it."



The parliament of Canada assembled on January 19th, 1865, to consider
the resolutions of the Quebec conference. The first presentation of
the reasons for confederation was made in the Upper Chamber by the
premier, Sir E. P. Taché. He described the measure as essential to
British connection, to the preservation of "our institutions, our
laws, and even our remembrances of the past." If the opportunity were
allowed to pass by unimproved, Canada would be forced into the
American union by violence; or would be placed upon an inclined plane
which would carry it there insensibly. Canada, during the winter, had
no independent means of access to the sea, but was dependent on the
favour of a neighbour which, in several ways, had shown a hostile
spirit. The people of the Northern States had an exaggerated idea of
Canadian sympathy with the South, and the consequences of this
misapprehension were--first, the threatened abolition of the transit
system; second, the discontinuance of reciprocity; third, a passport
system, which was almost equivalent to a prohibition of intercourse.
Union with the Maritime Provinces would give Canada continuous and
independent access to the Atlantic; and the Maritime Provinces would
bring into the common stock their magnificent harbours, their coal
mines, their great fishing and shipping industries. Then he recounted
the difficulties that had occurred in the government of Canada, ending
in dead-lock, and a condition "bordering on civil strife." He declared
that Lower Canada had resisted representation by population under a
legislative union, but that if a federal union were obtained, it would
be tantamount to a separation of the provinces, and Lower Canada would
thereby preserve its autonomy, together with all the institutions it
held so dear. These were the main arguments for confederation, and in
the speeches which followed on that side they were repeated, enforced,
and illustrated in various ways.

In the assembly, Mr. John A. Macdonald, as attorney-general, gave a
clear and concise description of the new constitution. He admitted
that he had preferred a legislative union, but had recognized that
such a union would not have been accepted either by Lower Canada or
the Maritime Provinces. The union between Upper and Lower Canada,
legislative in name, had been federal in fact, there being, by tacit
consent and practice, a separate body of legislation for each part of
the province. He described the new scheme of government as a happy
combination of the strength of a legislative union with the freedom of
a federal union, and with protection to local interests. The
constitution of the United States was "one of the most skilful works
which human intelligence ever created; one of the most perfect
organizations that ever governed a free people." Experience had shown
that its main defect was the doctrine of State sovereignty. This
blemish was avoided in the Canadian constitution by vesting all
residuary powers in the central government and legislature. The
Canadian system would also be distinguished from the American by the
recognition of monarchy and of the principle of responsible
government. The connection of Canada with Great Britain he regarded as
tending towards a permanent alliance. "The colonies are now in a
transition state. Gradually a different colonial system is being
developed; and it will become year by year less a case of dependence
on our part, and of overruling protection on the part of the mother
country, and more a case of a hearty and cordial alliance. Instead of
looking upon us as a merely dependent colony, England will have in us
a friendly nation--a subordinate, but still a powerful people--to
stand by her in North America, in peace or in war."

Brown spoke on the night of February 8th, his speech, occupying four
hours and a half in delivery, showing the marks of careful
preparation. He drew an illustration from the mighty struggle that had
well-nigh rent the republic asunder, and was then within a few weeks
of its close. "We are striving," he said, "to settle forever issues
hardly less momentous than those that have rent the neighbouring
republic and are now exposing it to all the horrors of civil war. Have
we not then great cause for thankfulness that we have found a better
way for the solution of our troubles? And should not every one of us
endeavour to rise to the magnitude of the occasion, and earnestly seek
to deal with this question to the end, in the same candid and
conciliatory spirit in which, so far, it has been discussed?"

He warned the assembly that whatever else happened, the constitution
of Canada would not remain unchanged. "Something must be done. We
cannot stand still. We cannot go back to chronic, sectional hostility
and discord--to a state of perpetual ministerial crisis. The events of
the last eight months cannot be obliterated--the solemn admissions of
men of all parties can never be erased. The claims of Upper Canada for
justice must be met, and met now. Every one who raises his voice in
hostility to this measure is bound to keep before him, when he speaks,
all the perilous consequences of its rejection. No man who has a true
regard for the well-being of Canada can give a vote against this
scheme unless he is prepared to offer, in amendment, some better
remedy for the evils and injustice that have so long threatened the
peace of our country."

In the first place, he said confederation would provide a complete
remedy for the injustice of the system of parliamentary
representation, by giving Upper Canada, in the House of Commons, the
number of members to which it was entitled by population. In the
senate, the principle of representation by population would not be
maintained, an equal number of senators being allotted to Ontario, to
Quebec, and to the group of Maritime Provinces, without regard to
population. Secondly, the plan would remedy the injustice of which
Upper Canada had complained in regard to public expenditures. "No
longer shall we have to complain that one section pays the cash while
the other spends it; hereafter they who pay will spend, and they who
spend more than they ought, will bear the brunt. If we look back on
our doings of the last fifteen years, I think it will be acknowledged
that the greatest jobs perpetrated were of a sectional character, that
our fiercest contests were about local matters that stirred up
sectional jealousies and indignation to their deepest depth."
Confederation would end sectional discord between Upper and Lower
Canada. Questions that used to excite sectional hostility and jealousy
were now removed from the common legislature to the legislatures of
the provinces. No man need be debarred from a public career because
his opinions, popular in his own province, were unpopular in another.
Among the local questions that had disturbed the peace of the common
legislature, he mentioned the construction of local works, the
endowment of ecclesiastical institutions, the granting of money for
sectarian purposes, and interference with school systems.

He advocated confederation because it would convert a group of
inconsiderable colonies into a powerful union of four million people,
with a revenue of thirteen million dollars, a trade of one hundred and
thirty-seven million five hundred thousand dollars, rich natural
resources and important industries. Among these he dwelt at length on
the shipping of the Maritime Provinces. These were the days of the
wooden ship, and Mr. Brown claimed that federated Canada would be the
third maritime power in the world. Confederation would give a new
impetus to immigration and settlement. Communication with the west
would be opened up, as soon as the state of the finances permitted.
Negotiations had been carried on with the imperial government for the
addition of the North-West Territories to Canada; and when those
fertile plains were opened for settlement, there would be an immense
addition to the products of Canada. The establishment of free trade
between Canada and the Maritime Provinces would be some compensation
for the loss of trade with the United States, should the reciprocity
treaty be abrogated. It would enable the country to assume a larger
share of the burden of defence. The time had come when the people of
the United Kingdom would insist on a reconsideration of the military
relations of Canada to the empire, and that demand was just. Union
would facilitate common defence. "The Civil War in the neighbouring
republic--the possibility of war between Great Britain and the United
States; the threatened repeal of the reciprocity treaty; the
threatened abolition of the American bonding system for goods in
transit to and from these provinces; the unsettled position of the
Hudson's Bay Company; the changed feeling of England as to the
relations of Canada to the parent state; all combine at this moment to
arrest the earnest attention to the gravity of the situation and unite
us all in one vigorous effort to meet the emergency like men."

A strong speech against confederation was made by Dorion, an old
friend of Brown, a staunch Liberal, and a representative
French-Canadian. He declared that he had seen no ground for changing
his opinion on two points--the substitution of an Upper Chamber,
nominated by the Crown, for an elective body; and the construction of
the Intercolonial Railway, which he, with other Liberals, had always
opposed. He had always admitted that representation by population was
a just principle; and in 1856 he had suggested, in the legislature,
the substitution of a federal for a legislative union of the Canadas;
or failing this, representation by population, with such checks and
guarantees as would secure local rights and interests, and preserve to
Lower Canada its cherished institutions. When the Brown-Dorion
government was formed, he had proposed a federation of the Canadas,
but with the distinct understanding that he would not attempt to carry
such a measure without the consent of a majority of the people of
Lower Canada. From the document issued by the Lower Canadian Liberals
in 1859, he quoted a passage in which it was laid down that the powers
given to the central government should be only those that were
essential, and that the local powers should be as ample as possible.
"All that belongs to matters of a purely local character, such as
education, the administration of justice, the militia, the laws
relating to property, police, etc., ought to be referred to the local
governments, whose powers ought generally to extend to all subjects
which would not be given to the general government." The vesting of
residuary powers in the provinces was an important difference between
this and the scheme of confederation; but the point most dwelt upon by
Dorion was the inclusion of the Maritime Provinces, which he strongly

Dorion denied that the difficulty about representation was the source
of the movement for confederation. He contended that the agitation for
representation by population had died out, and that the real authors
of confederation were the owners of the Grand Trunk Railway Company,
who stood to gain by the construction of the Intercolonial. "The
Taché-Macdonald government were defeated because the House condemned
them for taking without authority one hundred thousand dollars out of
the public chest for the Grand Trunk Railway, at a time when there had
not been a party vote on representation by population for one or two
sessions." He declared that Macdonald had, in Brown's committee of
1864, voted against confederation, and that he and his colleagues
adopted the scheme simply to enable them to remain in office. Dorion
also criticized adversely the change in the constitution of the Upper
Chamber, from the elective to the nominative system. The Conservative
instincts of Macdonald and Cartier, he said, led them to strengthen
the power of the Crown at the expense of the people, and this
constitution was a specimen of their handiwork. "With a
governor-general appointed by the Crown; with local governors also
appointed by the Crown; with legislative councils in the general
legislature, and in all the provinces, nominated by the Crown, we
shall have the most illiberal constitution ever heard of in any
government where constitutional government prevails."

He objected to the power vested in the governor-general-in-council to
veto the acts of local legislatures. His expectation was that a
minority in the local legislature might appeal to their party friends
at Ottawa to veto laws which they disliked, and that thus there would
be constant interference, agitation and strife between the central and
the local authorities. He suspected that the intention was ultimately
to change the federal union to a legislative union. The scheme of
confederation was being carried without submission to the people. What
would prevent the change from a federal to a legislative union from
being accomplished in a similar way? To this the people of Lower
Canada would not submit. "A million of inhabitants may seem a small
affair to the mind of a philosopher who sits down to write out a
constitution. He may think it would be better that there should be but
one religion, one language and one system of laws; and he goes to work
to frame institutions that will bring all to that desirable state; but
I can tell the honourable gentleman that the history of every country
goes to show that not even by the power of the sword can such changes
be accomplished."

With some exaggeration Mr. Dorion struck at real faults in the scheme
of confederation. The contention that the plan ought to have been
submitted to the people is difficult to meet except upon the plea of
necessity, or the plea that the end justifies the means. There was
assuredly no warrant for depriving the people of the power of electing
the second chamber; and the new method, appointment by the government
of the day, has been as unsatisfactory in practice as it was unsound
in principle. The federal veto on provincial laws has not been used to
the extent that Dorion feared. But when we consider how partisan
considerations have governed appointments to the senate, we can
scarcely say that there was no ground for the fear that the power of
disallowance would be similarly abused. Nor can we say that Mr. Dorion
was needlessly anxious about provincial rights, when we remember how
persistently these have been attacked, and what strength, skill and
resolution have been required to defend them.



A new turn was given to the debate early in March by the defeat of the
New Brunswick government in a general election, which meant a defeat
for confederation, and by the arrival of news of an important debate
in the House of Lords on the defences of Canada. The situation
suddenly became critical. That part of the confederation scheme which
related to the Maritime Provinces was in grave danger of failure. At
the same time the long-standing controversy between the imperial and
colonial authorities as to the defence of Canada had come to a head.
The two subjects were intimately connected. The British government had
been led to believe that if confederation were accomplished, the
defensive power of Canada would be much increased, and the new union
would be ready to assume larger obligations. From this time the tone
of the debate is entirely changed. It ceases to be a philosophic
deliberation of the merits of the new scheme. A note of urgency and
anxiety is found in the ministerial speeches; the previous question is
moved, and the proceedings hurried to a close, amid angry protests
from the Opposition.

Mr. Brown wrote on March 5th: "We are going to have a great scene in
the House to-day.... The government of New Brunswick appealed to the
people on confederation by a general election, and have got beaten.
This puts a serious obstacle in the way of our scheme, and we mean to
act promptly and decidedly upon it. At three o'clock we are to
announce the necessity of carrying the resolutions at once, sending
home a deputation to England, and proroguing parliament without any
unnecessary delay--say in a week."

The announcement was made to the House by Attorney-General Macdonald,
who laid much stress on the disappointment that would be occasioned in
England by the abandonment of a scheme by which Canadian colonies
should cease to be a source of embarrassment, and become a source of
strength. The question of confederation was intimately connected with
the question of defence, and that was a question of the most imminent
necessity. The provincial government had been in continued
correspondence with the home government as to defence "against every
hostile pressure, from whatever source it may come."

A lively debate ensued. John Sandfield Macdonald said that the defeat
of the New Brunswick government meant the defeat of the larger scheme
of confederation, unless it was intended that the people should be
bribed into acquiescence or bullied into submission. "The Hon. Mr.
Tilley and his followers are routed, horse and foot, by the honest
people of the province, scouted by those whose interests he had
betrayed, and whose behests he had neglected; and I think his fate
ought to be a warning to those who adopted this scheme without
authority, and who ask the House to ratify it _en bloc_, without
seeking to obtain the sanction of the people." Later on he charged the
ministers with the intention of manufacturing an entirely new bill,
obtaining the sanction of the British government, and forcing it on
the Canadian people, as was done in 1840.

This charge was hotly resented by Brown, and it drew from John A.
Macdonald a more explicit statement of the intentions of the
government. They would, if the legislature adopted the confederation
resolutions, proceed to England, inform the imperial government of
what had passed in Canada and New Brunswick, and take counsel with
that government as to the affairs of Canada, especially in regard to
defence and the reciprocity treaty. The legislature would then be
called together again forthwith, the report of the conferences in
England submitted, and the business relating to confederation

On the following day Macdonald made another announcement, referring to
a debate in the House of Lords on February 20th, which he regarded as
of the utmost importance. A report made by a Colonel Jervois on the
defences of Canada had been published, and the publication, exposing
the extreme weakness of Canada, was regarded as an official
indiscretion. It asserted that under the arrangements then existing
British and Canadian forces together could not defend the colony. Lord
Lyveden brought the question up in the House of Lords, and dwelt upon
the gravity of the situation created by the defencelessness of Canada
and by the hostility of the United States. He held that Great Britain
must do one of two things: withdraw her troops and abandon the country
altogether, or defend it with the full power of the empire. It was
folly to send troops out in driblets, and spend money in the same way.
The Earl de Grey and Ripon, replying for the government, said that
Jervois' report contained nothing that was not previously known about
the weakness of Canada. He explained the proposed arrangement by which
the imperial government was to fortify Quebec at a cost of two hundred
thousand pounds, and Canada would undertake the defence of Montreal
and the West.[16]

Commenting on a report of this discussion, Mr. Macdonald said there
had been negotiations between the two governments, and that he hoped
these would result in full provision for the defence of Canada, both
east and west. It was of the utmost importance that Canada should be
represented in England at this juncture. In order to expedite the
debate by shutting out amendments, he moved the previous question.

Macdonald's motion provoked charges of burking free discussion, and
counter-charges of obstruction, want of patriotism and inclinations
towards annexation. The debate lost its academic calm and became
acrimonious. Holton's motion for an adjournment, for the purpose of
obtaining further information as to the scheme, was ruled out of
order. The same fate befell Dorion's motion for an adjournment of the
debate and an appeal to the people, on the ground that it involved
fundamental changes in the political institutions and political
relations of the province; changes not contemplated at the last
general election.

On March 12th the main motion adopting the resolutions of the Quebec
conference was carried by ninety-one to thirty-three. On the following
day an amendment similar to Dorion's, for an appeal to the people, was
moved by the Hon. John Hillyard Cameron, of Peel, seconded by Matthew
Crooks Cameron, of North Ontario. Undoubtedly the argument for
submission to the people was strong, and was hardly met by Brown's
vigorous speech in reply. But the overwhelming opinion of the House
was against delay, and on March 13th the discussion came to an end.

The prospects for the inclusion of the Maritime Provinces were now
poor. Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island withdrew. A strong
feeling against confederation was arising in Nova Scotia, and it was
proposed there to return to the original idea of a separate maritime
union. It was decided to ask the aid of the British government in
overcoming the hesitation of the Maritime Provinces. The British
authorities were pressing Canada to assume increased obligations as to
defence. Defence depended on confederation, and England, by exercising
some friendly pressure on New Brunswick, might promote both objects.

The committee appointed to confer with the British government was
composed of Macdonald, Brown, Cartier and Galt. They met in England a
committee of the imperial cabinet, Gladstone, Cardwell, the Duke of
Somerset and Earl de Grey and Ripon. An agreement was arrived at as to
defence. Canada would undertake works of defence at and west of
Montreal, and maintain a certain militia force; Great Britain would
complete fortifications at Quebec, provide the whole armament and
guarantee a loan for the sum necessary to construct the works
undertaken by Canada, and in case of war would defend every portion of
Canada with all the resources of the empire. An agreement was made as
to the acquisition of the Hudson Bay Territory by Canada, and as to
the influence to be brought to bear on the Maritime Provinces. "The
idea of coercing the Maritime Provinces into the measure was never for
a moment entertained." The end sought was to impress upon them the
grave responsibility of thwarting a measure so pregnant with future
prosperity to British America.

In spite of the mild language used in regard to New Brunswick, the
fact that its consent was a vital part of the whole scheme must have
been an incentive to heroic measures, and these were taken.

One of the causes of the defeat of the confederation government of New
Brunswick had been the active hostility of the lieutenant-governor,
Mr. Arthur Hamilton Gordon, son of the Earl of Aberdeen. He was
strongly opposed to the change, and is believed to have gone to the
limit of his authority in aiding and encouraging its opponents in the
election of 1865. Soon afterwards he visited England, and it is
believed that he was sent for by the home authorities and was taken to
task for his conduct, and instructed to assist in carrying out
confederation. A despatch from Cardwell, secretary of state for the
colonies, to Governor Gordon, expressed the strong and deliberate
opinion of Her Majesty's government in favour of a union of all the
North American colonies.[17]

The governor carried out his instructions with the zeal of a convert,
showed the despatch to the head of his government, set about
converting him also, and believed he had been partly successful. The
substance of the despatch was inserted in the speech from the throne,
when the legislature met on March 8th, 1866. The legislative council
adopted an address asking for imperial legislation to unite the
British North American colonies. The governor, without waiting for the
action of the assembly, made a reply to the council, expressing
pleasure at their address, and declaring that he would transmit it to
the secretary of state for the colonies. Thereupon the Smith ministry
resigned, contending that they ought to have been consulted about the
reply, that the council, not having been elected by the people, had no
authority to ask the imperial parliament to pass a measure which the
people of New Brunswick had expressly rejected at the polls. A protest
in similar terms might have been made in the legislative assembly, but
the opportunity was not given. A government favourable to
confederation was formed under Peter Mitchell, with Tilley as his
chief lieutenant, and the legislature was dissolved.

A threatened Fenian invasion helped to turn the tide of public
opinion, and the confederate ministry was returned with a large
majority. That result, however desirable, did not sanctify the means
taken to bring about a verdict for confederation, which could hardly
have been more arbitrary.


[16] Hansard, House of Lords, February 20th, 1865. See also a long and
important debate in the British House of Commons, March 13th, 1865.

[17] Journals Canada, 1865, 2nd Session, pp. 8-15.



The series of events which gradually drew Mr. Brown out of the
coalition began with the death of Sir Etienne P. Taché on July 30th,
1865. By his age, his long experience, and a certain mild benignity of
disposition, Taché was admirably fitted to be the dean of the
coalition and the arbiter between its elements. He had served in
Reform and Conservative governments, but without incurring the
reproach of overweening love of office. With his departure that of
Brown became only a matter of time. To work with Macdonald as an equal
was a sufficiently disagreeable duty; to work under him, considering
the personal relations of the two men, would have been humiliating.
Putting aside the question of where the blame for the long-standing
feud lay, it was inevitable that the association should be temporary
and brief. On August 3rd the governer-general asked Mr. Macdonald to
form an administration. Mr. Macdonald consented, obtained the assent
of Mr. Cartier and consulted Mr. Brown. I quote from an authorized
memorandum of the conversation. "Mr. Brown replied that he was quite
prepared to enter into arrangements for the continuance of the
government in the same position as it occupied previous to the death
of Sir Etienne P. Taché; but that the proposal now made involved a
grave departure from that position. The government, heretofore, had
been a coalition of three political parties, each represented by an
active party leader, but all acting under one chief, who had ceased to
be actuated by strong party feelings or personal ambitions, and who
was well fitted to give confidence to all the three sections of the
coalition that the conditions which united them would be carried out
in good faith to the very letter. Mr. Macdonald, Mr. Cartier and
himself [Mr. Brown] were, on the contrary, regarded as party leaders,
with party feelings and aspirations, and to place any one of them in
an attitude of superiority to the others, with the vast advantage of
the premiership, would, in the public mind, lessen the security of
good faith, and seriously endanger the existence of the coalition. It
would be an entire change of the situation. Whichever of the three was
so preferred, the act would amount to an abandonment of the coalition
basis, and a reconstruction of the government on party lines under a
party leader." When the coalition was formed, the Liberals were in a
majority in the legislature; for reasons of State they had
relinquished their party advantage, and a government was formed in
which the Conservatives had nine members and the Liberals three. In
what light would the Liberal party regard this new proposition? Mr.
Brown suggested that an invitation be extended to some gentleman of
good position in the legislative council, under whom all parties could
act with confidence, as successor to Colonel Taché. So far as to the
party. Speaking, however, for himself alone, Mr. Brown said he
occupied the same position as in 1864. He stood prepared to give
outside the ministry a frank and earnest support to any ministry that
might be formed for the purpose of carrying out confederation.

Mr. Macdonald replied that he had no personal feeling as to the
premiership, and would readily stand aside; and he suggested the name
of Mr. Cartier, as leader of the French-Canadians. Mr. Brown said that
it would be necessary for him to consult with his political friends.
Sir Narcisse F. Belleau, a member of the executive council, was then
proposed by Mr. Macdonald, and accepted by Mr. Brown, on condition
that the policy of confederation should be stated in precise terms.
Sir Narcisse Belleau became nominal prime minister of Canada, and the
difficulty was tided over for a few months.

The arrangement, however, was a mere makeshift. The objections set
forth by Brown to Macdonald's assuming the title of leader applied
with equal force to his assuming the leadership in fact, as he
necessarily did under Sir Narcisse Belleau; the discussion over this
point, though couched in language of diplomatic courtesy, must have
irritated both parties, and their relations grew steadily worse. The
immediate and assigned cause of the rupture was a disagreement in
regard to negotiations for the renewal of the reciprocity treaty. It
is admitted that it was only in part the real cause, and would not
have severed the relations between men who were personally and
politically in sympathy.

Mr. Brown had taken a deep interest in the subject of reciprocity. In
1863 he was in communication with John Sandfield Macdonald, then
premier of Canada, and Luther Holton, minister of finance. He dwelt on
the importance of opening communication with the American government
during the administration of Lincoln, whom he regarded as favourable
to the renewal of the treaty. Seward, Lincoln's secretary of state,
suggested that Canada should have an agent at Washington, with whom he
and Lord Lyons, the British ambassador, could confer on Canadian
matters. The premier asked Brown to go, saying that all his colleagues
were agreed upon his eminent fitness for the mission. Brown declined
the mission, contending that Mr. Holton, besides being fully
qualified, was, by virtue of his official position as minister of
finance, the proper person to represent Canada. He kept urging the
importance of taking action early, before the American movement
against the renewal of the treaty could gather headway. But neither
the Macdonald-Sicotte government nor its successor lived long enough
to take action, and the opportunity was lost. The coalition government
was fully employed with other matters during 1864, and it was not
until the spring of 1863 that the matter of reciprocity was taken up.
In the summer of that year the imperial government authorized the
formation of a confederate council on reciprocity, consisting of
representation from Canada and the other North American colonies, and
presided over by the governor-general. Brown and Galt were the
representatives of Canada on the council.

Mr. Brown was in the Maritime Provinces in November, 1865, on
government business. On his return to Toronto he was surprised to read
in American papers a statement that Mr. Galt and Mr. Howland were
negotiating with the Committee of Ways and Means at Washington.
Explanations were given by Galt at a meeting of the cabinet at Ottawa
on December 17th. Seward had told him that the treaty could not be
renewed, but that something might be done by reciprocal legislation.
After some demur, Mr. Galt went on to discuss the matter on that
basis. He suggested the free exchange of natural products, and a
designated list of manufactures. The customs duties on foreign goods
were to be assimilated as far as possible. Inland waters and canals
might be used in common, and maintained at the joint expense of the
two countries. Mr. Galt followed up his narrative by proposing that a
minute of council be adopted, ratifying what he had done, and
authorizing him to proceed to Washington and continue the

The discussion that followed lasted several days. Mr. Brown objected
strongly to the proceeding. He declared that "Mr. Galt had flung at
the heads of the Americans every concession that we had in our power
to make, and some that we certainly could not make, so that our case
was foreclosed before the commission was opened." He objected still
more strongly to the plan of reciprocal legislation, which would keep
the people of Canada "dangling from year to year on the legislation of
the American congress, looking to Washington instead of to Ottawa as
the controller of their commerce and prosperity." The scheme was
admirably designed by the Americans to promote annexation. Before each
congress the United States press would contain articles threatening
ruin to Canadian trade. The Maritime Provinces would take offence at
being ignored, and confederation as well as reciprocity might be lost.
His own proposal was to treat Mr. Galt's proceedings at Washington as
unofficial, call the confederate council, and begin anew to "make a
dead set to have this reciprocal legislation idea upset before
proceeding with the discussion."

Galt at length suggested a compromise. His proceedings at Washington
were to be treated as unofficial, and no order-in-council passed. Galt
and Howland were to be sent to Washington to obtain a treaty if
possible, and if not to learn what terms could be arranged, and report
to the government.

Brown regarded this motion as intended to remove him from the
confederate council, and substitute Mr. Howland, and said so; but he
declared that he would accept the compromise nevertheless. It
appeared, however, that there had been a misunderstanding as to the
recording of a minute of the proceedings. The first minute was
withdrawn; but as Mr. Brown considered that the second minute still
sanctioned the idea of reciprocal legislation, he refused to sign it,
and decided to place his resignation in the hands of the premier, and
to wait upon the governor-general. After hearing the explanation, His
Excellency said: "Then, Mr. Brown, I am called upon to decide between
your policy and that of the other members of the government?" Mr.
Brown replied, "Yes, sir, and if I am allowed to give advice in the
matter, I should say that the government ought to be sustained, though
the decision is against myself. I consider the great question of
confederation as of far greater consequence to the country than
reciprocity negotiations. My resignation may aid in preventing their
policy on the reciprocity question from being carried out, or at least
call forth a full expression of opinion on the subject, and the
government should be sustained, if wrong in this, for the sake of

The debate in council had occupied several days, and had evidently
aroused strong feelings. Undoubtedly Mr. Brown's decision was affected
by the affront that he considered had been put upon him by virtually
removing him from the confederate council and sending Mr. Howland
instead of himself to Washington as the colleague of Mr. Galt. He
disapproved on public grounds of the policy of the government, and he
resented the manner in which he had been ignored throughout the
transaction. On the day after the rupture Mr. Cartier wrote Mr. Brown
asking him whether he could reconsider his resignation. Mr. Brown
replied, "I have received your kind note, and think it right to state
frankly at once that the step I have taken cannot be revoked. The
interests involved are too great. I think a very great blunder has
been committed in a matter involving the most important interests of
the country, and that the order-in-council you have passed endorses
that blunder and authorizes persistence in it.... I confess I was much
annoyed at the personal affront offered me, but that feeling has
passed away in view of the serious character of the matter at issue,
which casts all personal feeling aside."

If it were necessary to seek for justification of Mr. Brown's action
in leaving the ministry at this time, it might be found either in his
disagreement with the government on the question of policy, or in the
treatment accorded to him by his colleagues. Sandfield Macdonald and
his colleagues had on a former occasion recognized Mr. Brown's eminent
fitness to represent Canada in the negotiations at Washington, not
only because of his thorough acquaintance with the subject, but
because of his steadily maintained attitude of friendship for the
North. He was a member of the confederate council on reciprocity. His
position in the ministry was not that of a subordinate, but of the
representative of a powerful party. In resenting the manner in which
his position was ignored, he does not seem to have exceeded the bounds
of proper self-assertion. However, this controversy assumes less
importance if it is recognized that the rupture was inevitable. The
precise time or occasion is of less importance than the force which
was always and under all circumstances operating to draw Mr. Brown
away from an association injurious to himself and to Liberalism, in
its broad sense as well as in its party sense, and to his influence as
a public man. This had better be considered in another place.



We are to consider now the long-vexed question of the connection of
Mr. Brown with the coalition of 1864. Ought he to have entered the
coalition government? Having entered it, was he justified in leaving
it in 1865? Holton and Dorion told him that by his action in 1864, he
had sacrificed his own party interests to those of John A. Macdonald;
that Macdonald was in serious political difficulty, and had been
defeated in the legislature; that he seized upon Brown's suggestion
merely as a means of keeping himself in office; that for the sake of
office he accepted the idea of confederation, after having voted
against it in Brown's committee. A most wise and faithful friend,
Alexander Mackenzie, thought that Reformers should accept no
representation in the cabinet, but that they should give confederation
an outside support. That Macdonald and his party were immensely
benefitted by Brown's action, there can be no doubt. For several years
they had either been in Opposition, or in office under a most
precarious tenure, depending entirely upon a majority from Lower
Canada. By Brown's action they were suddenly invested with an
overwhelming majority, and they had an interrupted lease of power for
the nine years between the coalition and the Pacific Scandal.
Admitting that the interest of the country warranted this sacrifice of
the interests of the Liberal party, we have still to consider whether
it was wise for Mr. Brown to enter the ministry, and especially to
enter it on the conditions that existed. The Lower Canadian Liberals
were not represented, partly because Dorion and Holton held back, and
partly because of the prejudice of Taché and Cartier against the
Rouges; and this exclusion was a serious defect in a ministry supposed
to be formed on a broad and patriotic basis. The result was, that
while the Liberals were in a majority in the legislature, they had
only three representatives in a ministry of twelve. Such a government,
with its dominant Conservative section led by a master in the handling
of political combinations, was bound to lose its character of a
coalition, and become Conservative out and out.

A broader question is involved than that of the mere party advantage
obtained by Macdonald and his party in the retention of power and
patronage. There was grave danger to the essential principles of
Liberalism, of which Brown was the appointed guardian. Holton put this
in a remarkable way during the debate on confederation. It was at the
time when Macdonald had moved the previous question, when the
coalition government was hurrying the debate to a conclusion, in the
face of indignant protests and demands that the scheme should be
submitted to the people. Holton told Brown that he had destroyed the
Liberal party. Henceforth its members would be known as those who once
ranged themselves together, in Upper and Lower Canada, under the
Liberal banner. Then followed this remarkable appeal to his old
friend: "Most of us remember--those of us who have been for a few
years in public life in this country must remember--a very striking
speech delivered by the honourable member for South Oxford in Toronto
in the session of 1856 or 1857, in which he described the path of the
attorney-general [Macdonald] as studded all along by the gravestones
of his slaughtered colleagues. Well, there are not wanting those who
think they can descry, in the not very remote distance, a yawning
grave waiting for the noblest victim of them all. And I very much fear
that unless the honourable gentleman has the courage to assert his own
original strength--and he has great strength--and to discard the
blandishments and the sweets of office, and to plant himself where he
stood formerly, in the affections and confidence of the people of this
country, as the foremost defender of the rights of the people, as the
foremost champion of the privileges of a free parliament--unless he
hastens to do that, I very much fear that he too may fall a victim,
the noblest victim of them all, to the arts, if not the arms of the
fell destroyer."

There was a little humorous exaggeration in the personal references to
Macdonald, for Holton and he were on friendly terms. But there was
also matter for serious thought in his words. Though Macdonald had
outgrown the fossil Toryism that opposed responsible government, he
was essentially Conservative; and there was something not democratic
in his habit of dealing with individuals rather than with people in
the mass, and of accomplishing his ends by private letters and
interviews, and by other forms of personal influence, rather than by
the public advocacy of causes. Association with him was injurious to
men of essentially Liberal and democratic tendencies, and
subordination was fatal, if not to their usefulness, at least to their
Liberal ideals. Macdougall and Howland remained in the ministry until
confederation was achieved, and found reasons for remaining there
afterwards. At the Reform convention of 1867, when the relation of the
Liberal party to the so-called coalition was considered, they defended
their position with skill and force, but the association of one with
Macdonald was very brief, and of the other very unhappy. Mr. Howland
was not a very keen politician, and a year after confederation was
accomplished he accepted the position of lieutenant-governor of
Ontario. Mr. Macdougall had an unsatisfactory career as a minister,
with an unhappy termination. He was clearly out of his element. Mr.
Tilley was described as a Liberal, but there was nothing to
distinguish him from his Conservative colleagues in his methods or his
utterances, and he became the champion of the essentially Conservative
policy of protection.

But the most notable example of the truth of Holton's words and the
soundness of his advice was Joseph Howe. Howe was in Nova Scotia "the
foremost defender of the rights of people, the foremost champion of
the privileges of free parliaments." He had opposed the inclusion of
Nova Scotia on the solid ground that it was accomplished by arbitrary
means. At length he bowed to the inevitable. In ceasing to encourage a
useless and dangerous agitation he stood on patriotic ground. But in
an evil hour he was persuaded to seal his submission by joining the
Macdonald government, and thenceforth his influence was at an end. His
biographer says that Howe's four years in Sir John Macdonald's cabinet
are the least glorious of his whole career. "Howe had been accustomed
all his life to lead and control events. He found himself a member of
a government of which Sir John Macdonald was the supreme head, and of
a cast of mind totally different from his own. Sir John Macdonald was
a shrewd political manager, an opportunist whose unfailing judgment
led him unerringly to pursue the course most likely to succeed each
hour, each day, each year. Howe had the genius of a bold Reformer, a
courageous and creative type of mind, who thought in continents,
dreamed dreams and conceived great ideas. Sir John Macdonald busied
himself with what concerned the immediate interests of the hour in
which he was then living, and yet Sir John Macdonald was a leader who
permitted no insubordination. Sir Georges Cartier, a man not to be
named in the same breath with Howe as a statesman, was, nevertheless,
a thousand times of more moment and concern with his band of Bleu
followers in the House of Commons, than a dozen Howes, and the
consequence is that we find for four years the great old man playing
second fiddle to his inferiors, and cutting a far from heroic figure
in the arena."[18] What Holton said by way of warning to Brown was
realized in the case of Howe. He was "the noblest victim of them all."

From the point of view of Liberalism and of his influence as a public
man, Brown did not leave the ministry a moment too soon; and there is
much to be said in favour of Mackenzie's view that he ought to have
refused to enter the coalition at all, and confined himself to giving
his general support to confederation. By this means he would not have
been responsible for the methods by which the new constitution was
brought into effect, methods that were in many respects repugnant to
those essential principles of Liberalism of which Brown had been one
of the foremost champions. At almost every stage in the proceedings
there was a violation of those rights of self-government which had
been so hardly won by Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. The
Quebec conference was a meeting of persons who had been chosen to
administer the affairs of the various British provinces under their
established constitutions, not to make a new constitution. Its
deliberations were secret. It proceeded, without a mandate from the
people, to create a new governing body, whose powers were obtained at
the expense of those of the provinces. With the same lack of popular
authority, it declared that the provinces should have only those
powers which were expressly designated, and that the reserve of power
should be in the central governing body. Had this body been created
for the Canadas alone, this proceeding might have been justified, for
they were already joined in a legislative union, though by practice
and consent some features of federalism prevailed. But Nova Scotia and
New Brunswick were separate, self-governing communities, and it was
for them, not for the Quebec conference, to say what powers they would
grant and what powers they would retain. Again the people of Canada
had declared that the second chamber should be elected, not appointed
by the Crown. The Quebec conference, without consulting the people of
Canada, reverted to the discarded system of nomination, and added the
senate to the vast body of patronage at the disposal of the federal
government. The constitution adopted by this body was not, except in
the case of New Brunswick, submitted to the people, and it can hardly
be said that it was freely debated in the parliament of Canada, for it
was declared that it was in the nature of a treaty, and must be
accepted or rejected as a whole. In the midst of this debate the
people of New Brunswick passed upon the scheme in a general election,
and condemned it in the most decisive and explicit way. The British
government was then induced to bring pressure to bear upon the
province; and while it was contended that this pressure was only in
the form of friendly advice it was otherwise interpreted by the
governor, who strained his powers to compel the ministry to act in
direct contravention of its mandate from the people, and when it
resisted, forced it out of office. It is true that in a subsequent
election this decision was reversed; but that is not a justification
for the means adopted to bring about this result. It is no
exaggeration to say that Nova Scotia was forced into the union against
the express desire of a large majority of its people. There are
arguments by which these proceedings may be defended, but they are not
arguments that lie in the mouth of a Liberal. And if we say that the
confederation, in spite of these taints in its origin, has worked well
and has solved the difficulties of Canada, we use an argument which
might justify the forcible annexation of a country by a powerful

Again, there was much force in Dorion's contention that the new
constitution was an illiberal constitution, increasing those powers of
the executive which were already too large. To the inordinate strength
of the executive, under the delusive name of the Crown, may be traced
many of the worst evils of Canadian politics: the abuse of the
prerogative of dissolution, the delay in holding bye-elections, the
gerrymandering of the constituencies by a parliament registering the
decree of a government. To these powers of the government the
Confederation Act added that of filling one branch of the legislature
with its own nominees. By the power of disallowance, by the equivocal
language used in regard to education, and in regard to the creation of
new provinces, pretexts were furnished for federal interference in
local affairs. But for the resolute opposition of Mowat and his
colleagues, the subordination of the provinces to the central
authority would have gone very far towards realizing Macdonald's ideal
of a legislative union; and recent events have shown that the danger
of centralization is by no means at an end.

It was a true, liberal and patriotic impulse that induced Brown to
offer his aid in breaking the dead-lock of 1864. He desired that Upper
Canada should be fairly represented in parliament, and should have
freedom to manage its local affairs. He desired that the Maritime
Provinces and the North-West should, in the course of time, be
brought in on similar terms of freedom. But by joining the coalition
he became a participant in a different course of procedure; and if we
give him a large, perhaps the largest share, of the credit for the
ultimate benefits of confederation, we cannot divest him of
responsibility for the methods by which it was brought about, so long,
at least, as he remained a member of the government.

In the year and a half that elapsed between his withdrawal from the
government and the first general election under the new constitution,
he had a somewhat difficult part to play. He had to aid in the work of
carrying confederation, and at the same time to aid in the work of
re-organizing the Liberal party, which had been temporarily divided
and weakened by the new issue introduced into politics. In the Reform
convention of 1867 the attitude of the party towards confederation was
considered. It was resolved that "while the new constitution contained
obvious defects, it was, on the whole, based upon equitable principles
and should be accepted with the determination to work it loyally and
patiently, and to provide such amendments as experience from year to
year may prove to be expedient." It was declared that coalitions of
opposing political parties for ordinary administrative purposes
resulted in corruption, extravagance and the abandonment of principle;
that the coalition of 1864 could be justified only on the ground of
imperious necessity, as the only available means of obtaining just
representation for Upper Canada, and should come to an end when that
object was attained; and that the temporary alliance of the Reform and
Conservative parties should cease. Howland and Macdougall, who had
decided to remain in the ministry, strove to maintain that it was a
true coalition, and that the old issues that divided the parties were
at an end; and their bearing before a hostile audience was tactful and
courageous. But Brown and his friends carried all before them.

Brown argued strongly against the proposal to turn the coalition
formed for confederation into a coalition for ordinary administrative
purposes; and in a passage of unusual fervour he asked whether his
Reform friends were to be subjected to the humiliation of following in
the train of John A. Macdonald.

It is difficult to understand how so chimerical a notion as a
non-party government led by Macdonald could have been entertained by
practical politicians. A permanent position in a Macdonald ministry
would have been out of the question for Brown, not only because of his
standing as a public man, but because of his control of the _Globe_,
which under such an arrangement would have been reduced to the
position of an organ of the Conservative government. There were also
all the elements of a powerful Liberal party, which soon after
confederation rallied its forces and overthrew Sir John Macdonald's
government at Ottawa, and the coalition government he had established
at Toronto. Giving Macdougall every credit for good intentions, it
must be admitted that he committed an error in casting in his
political fortunes with Sir John Macdonald, and that both he and
Joseph Howe would have found more freedom, more scope for their
energies and a wider field of usefulness, in fighting by the side of
Mackenzie and Blake.


[18] Longley's _Joseph Howe_, "Makers of Canada" series, pp. 228, 229.



Very soon after his arrival in Canada, Mr. Brown became deeply
interested in the North-West Territories. He was thrown into contact
with men who knew the value of the country and desired to see it
opened for settlement. One of these was Robert Baldwin Sullivan, who,
during the struggle for responsible government, wrote a series of
brilliant letters over the signature of "Legion" advocating that
principle, and who was for a time provincial secretary in the
Baldwin-Lafontaine government. In 1847, Mr. Sullivan delivered, in the
Mechanics' Institute, Toronto, an address on the North-West
Territories, which was published in full in the _Globe_. The Oregon
settlement had recently been made, and the great westward trek of the
Americans was in progress. Sullivan uttered the warning that the
Americans would occupy and become masters of the British western
territory, and outflank Canada, unless steps were taken to settle and
develop it by British subjects. There was at this time much
misconception of the character of the country, and one is surprised by
the very accurate knowledge shown by Mr. Sullivan in regard to the
resources of the country, its coal measures as well as its wheat

Mr. Brown also obtained much information and assistance from Mr.
Isbester, a "native of the country, who by his energy, ability and
intelligence had raised himself from the position of a successful
scholar at one of the schools of the settlement to that of a graduate
of one of the British universities, and to a teacher of considerable
rank. This gentleman had succeeded in inducing prominent members of
the House of Commons to interest themselves in the subject of appeals
which, through him, were constantly being made against the injustice
and persecution which the colonists of the Red River Settlement were

Mr. Brown said that his attention was first drawn to the subject by a
deputation sent to England by the people of the Red River Settlement
to complain that the country was ill-governed by the Hudson's Bay
Company, and to pray that the territory might be thrown open for
settlement. "The movement," said Mr. Brown, "was well received by the
most prominent statesmen of Britain. The absurdity of so vast a
country remaining in the hands of a trading company was readily
admitted; and I well remember that Mr. Gladstone then made an
excellent speech in the Commons, as he has recently done, admitting
that the charter of the company was not valid, and that the matter
should be dealt with by legislation. But the difficulty that
constantly presented itself was what should be done with the
territory were the charter broken up; what government should replace
that of the company. The idea struck Mr. Isbester, a most able and
enlightened member of the Red River deputation to London, that this
difficulty would be met at once were Canada to step in and claim the
right to the territory. Through a mutual friend, I was communicated
with on the subject, and agreed to have the question thoroughly
agitated before the expiry of the company's charter in 1859. I have
since given the subject some study, and have on various occasions
brought it before the public." Mr. Brown referred to the matter in his
maiden speech in parliament in 1851, and in 1854 and again in 1856 he
gave notice of motion for a committee of inquiry, but was interrupted
by other business. In 1852, the _Globe_ contained an article so
remarkable in its knowledge of the country that it may be reproduced
here in part.

"It is a remarkable circumstance that so little attention has been
paid in Canada to the immense tract of country lying to the north of
our boundary line, and known as the Hudson's Bay Company's Territory.
There can be no question that the injurious and demoralizing sway of
that company over a region of four millions of square miles, will, ere
long, be brought to an end, and that the destinies of this immense
country will be united with our own. It is unpardonable that
civilization should be excluded from half a continent, on at best but
a doubtful right of ownership, for the benefit of two hundred and
thirty-two shareholders.

"Our present purpose is not, however, with the validity of the
Hudson's Bay Company's claim to the country north of the Canadian
line--but to call attention to the value of that region, and the vast
commercial importance to the country and especially to this section,
which must, ere long, attach to it. The too general impression
entertained is, that the territory in question is a frozen wilderness,
incapable of cultivation and utterly unfit for colonization. This
impression was undoubtedly set afloat, and has been maintained, for
its own very evident purposes. So long as that opinion could be kept
up, their charter was not likely to be disturbed. But light has been
breaking in on the subject in spite of their efforts to keep it out.
In a recent work by Mr. Edward Fitzgerald, it is stated that 'there is
not a more favourable situation on the face of the earth for the
employment of agricultural industry than the locality of the Red
River.' Mr. Fitzgerald asserts that there are five hundred thousand
square miles of soil, a great part of which is favourable for
settlement and agriculture, and all so well supplied with game as to
give great facility for colonization. Here is a field for Canadian

"The distance between Fort William and the Red River Settlement is
about five hundred miles, and there is said to be water communication
by river and lake all the way. But westward, beyond the Red River
Settlement, there is said to be a magnificent country, through which
the Saskatchewan River extends, and is navigable for boats and canoes
through a course of one thousand four hundred miles.

"Much has been said of the extreme cold of the country, as indicated
by the thermometer. It is well known, however, that it is not the
degree but the character of the cold which renders it obnoxious to
men, and the climate of this country is quite as agreeable, if not
more so, than the best part of Canada. The height of the latitude
gives no clue whatever to the degree of cold or to the nature of the

"Let any one look at the map, and if he can fancy the tenth part that
is affirmed of the wide region of country stretching westward to the
Rocky Mountains, he may form some idea of the profitable commerce
which will soon pass through Lake Superior. Independent of the hope
that the high road to the Pacific may yet take this direction, there
is a field for enterprise presented, sufficient to satiate the warmest

It was not, however, until the year 1856 that public attention was
aroused to the importance of the subject. In the autumn of that year
there was a series of letters in the _Globe_ signed "Huron," drawing
attention to the importance of the western country, attacking the
administration of the Hudson's Bay Company, and suggesting that the
inhabitants, unless relieved, might seek to place the country under
American government. In December 1856, there was a meeting of the
Toronto Board of Trade at which addresses were delivered by Alan
McDonnell and Captain Kennedy. Captain Kennedy said that he had lived
for a quarter of a century in the territory in question, had eight or
nine years before the meeting endeavoured to call attention to the
country through the newspapers and had written a letter to Lord Elgin.
He declared that the most important work before Canada was the
settlement of two hundred and seventy-nine million acres of land lying
west of the Lakes. The Board of Trade passed a resolution declaring
that the claim of the Hudson's Bay Company to the exclusive right to
trade in the country was injurious to the rights of the people of the
territory and of British North America. The Board also petitioned the
legislature to ascertain the rights of the Hudson's Bay Company, and
to protect the interests of Canada. A few days afterwards the _Globe_
said that the time had come to act, and thenceforward it carried on a
vigorous campaign for the opening up of the territory to settlement
and the establishment of communication with Canada.

During the year 1856, Mr. Brown addressed many meetings on the subject
of the working of the union. He opposed the separation of the Canadas,
proposed by some as a measure of relief for the grievances of Upper
Canada. This would bring Canada back to the day of small things; he
advocated expansion to the westward. William Macdougall, then a member
of the _Globe_ staff, was also an enthusiastic advocate of the union
of the North-West Territories with Canada. In an article reviewing the
events of the year 1856, the _Globe_ said: "This year will be
remembered as that in which the public mind was first aroused to the
necessity of uniting to Canada the great tract of British American
territory lying to the north-west, then in the occupation of a great
trading monopoly. The year 1856 has only seen the birth of this
movement. Let us hope that 1857 will see it crowned with success."

In January 1857, a convention of Reformers in Toronto adopted a
platform including free trade, uniform legislation for both provinces,
representation by population, national and non-sectarian education,
and the incorporation of the Hudson Bay Territory. It was resolved
"that the country known as the Hudson Bay Territory ought no longer to
be cut off from civilization, that it is the duty of the legislature
and executive of Canada to open negotiations with the imperial
government for the incorporation of the said territory as Canadian

The _Globe's_ proposals at this early date provoked the merriment of
some of its contemporaries. The Niagara _Mail_, January 1857, said:
"The Toronto _Globe_ comes out with a new and remarkable platform, one
of the planks of which is the annexation of the frozen regions of the
Hudson Bay Territory to Canada. Lord have mercy on us! Canada has
already a stiff reputation for cold in the world, but it is unfeeling
in the _Globe_ to want to make it deserve the reproach." The _Globe_
advised its contemporary not to commit itself hastily against the
annexation of the North-West, "for it will assuredly be one of the
strongest planks in our platform."

Another sceptic was the Montreal _Transcript_, which declared that the
fertile spots in the territory were small and separated by immense
distances, and described the Red River region as an oasis in the midst
of a desert, "a vast treeless prairie on which scarcely a shrub is to
be seen." The climate was unfavourable to the growth of grain. The
summer, though warm enough, was too short in duration, so that even
the few fertile spots could "with difficulty mature a small potato or
cabbage." The subject seemed to be constantly in Brown's mind, and he
referred to it frequently in public addresses. After the general
election of 1857-8 a banquet was given at Belleville to celebrate the
return of Mr. Wallbridge for Hastings. Mr. Brown there referred to a
proposal to dissolve the union. He was for giving the union a fair
trial. "Who can look at the map of this continent and mark the vast
portion of it acknowledging British sovereignty, without feeling that
union and not separation ought to be the foremost principle with
British American statesmen? Who that examines the condition of the
several provinces which constitute British America, can fail to feel
that with the people of Canada must mainly rest the noble task, at no
distant date, of consolidating these provinces, aye, and of redeeming
to civilization and peopling with new life the vast territories to our
north, now so unworthily held by the Hudson's Bay Company. Who cannot
see that Providence has entrusted to us the building up of a great
northern people, fit to cope with our neighbours of the United States,
and to advance step by step with them in the march of civilization?
Sir, it is my fervent aspiration and belief that some here to-night
may live to see the day when the British American flag shall proudly
wave from Labrador to Vancouver Island and from our own Niagara to the
shores of Hudson Bay. Look abroad over the world and tell me what
country possesses the advantages, if she but uses them aright, for
achieving such a future, as Canada enjoys--a fertile soil, a healthful
climate, a hardy and frugal people, with great mineral resources,
noble rivers, boundless forests. We have within our grasp all the
elements of prosperity. We are free from the thousand time-honoured
evils and abuses that afflict and retard the nations of the Old World.
Not even our neighbours of the United States occupy an equal position
of advantage, for we have not the canker-worm of domestic slavery to
blight our tree of liberty. And greater than these, we are but
commencing our career as a people, our institutions have yet to be
established. We are free to look abroad over the earth and study the
lessons of wisdom taught by the history of older countries, and choose
those systems and those laws and customs that experience has shown
best for advancing the moral and material interests of the human

As a member of the coalition of 1864, Brown had an opportunity to
promote his long-cherished object of adding the North-West Territories
to Canada. There had been some communication between the British and
Canadian governments, and in November 1864, the latter government said
that Canada was anxious to secure the settlement of the West and the
establishment of local governments. As the Hudson's Bay Company worked
under an English charter, it was for that government to extinguish its
rights and give Canada a clear title. Canada would then annex, govern
and open up communication with the territory. When Brown accompanied
Macdonald, Cartier and Galt to England in 1865, this matter was taken
up, and an agreement was arrived at which was reported to the Canadian
legislature in the second session of 1865. The committee said that
calling to mind the vital importance to Canada of having that great
and fertile country open to Canadian enterprise and the tide of
emigration into it directed through Canadian channels, remembering the
danger of large grants of land passing into the hands of mere money
corporations, and the risk that the recent discoveries of gold on the
eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains might throw into the country
large masses of settlers unaccustomed to British institutions, they
arrived at the conclusion that the quickest solution of the question
would be the best for Canada. They therefore proposed that the whole
territory east of the Rockies and north of the American or Canadian
line should be made over to Canada, subject to the rights of the
Hudson's Bay Company; and that the compensation to be made by Canada
to the company should be met by a loan guaranteed by the British
government. To this, the imperial government consented.

The subsequent history of the acquisition of the West need not be told
here. In this case, as in others, Brown was a pioneer in a work which
others finished. But his services were generously acknowledged by Sir
John Macdonald, who said in the House of Commons in 1875: "From the
first time that he had entered parliament, the people of Canada looked
forward to a western extension of territory, and from the time he was
first a minister, in 1854, the question was brought up time and again,
and pressed with great ability and force by the Hon. George Brown, who
was then a prominent man in opposition to the government."


[19] Gunn and Tuttle's _History of Manitoba_, p. 303.

[20] Toronto _Globe_, January 25th, 1858.



Mr. Brown's position in regard to reciprocity has already been
described. He set a high value upon the American market for Canadian
products, and as early as 1863 he had urged the government of that day
to prepare for the renewal of the treaty. He resigned from the
coalition ministry, because, to use his own words, "I felt very
strongly that though we in Canada derived great advantage from the
treaty of 1854, the American people derived still greater advantage
from it. I had no objection to that, and was quite ready to renew the
old treaty, or even to extend it largely on fair terms of reciprocity.
But I was not willing to ask for a renewal as a favour to Canada; I
was not willing to offer special inducements for renewal without fair
concessions in return; I was not willing that the canals and inland
waters of Canada should be made the joint property of the United
States and Canada and be maintained at their joint expense; I was not
willing that the custom and excise duty of Canada should be
assimilated to the prohibitory rates of the United States; and very
especially was I unwilling that any such arrangement should be entered
into with the United States, dependent on the frail tenure of
reciprocal legislation, repealable at any moment at the caprice of
either party." Unless a fair treaty for a definite term of years could
be obtained, he thought it better that each country should take its
own course and that Canada should seek new channels of trade.

The negotiations of 1866 failed, mainly because under the American
offer, "the most important provisions of the expiring treaty, relating
to the free interchange of the products of the two countries, were
entirely set aside, and the duties proposed to be levied were almost
prohibitory in their character." The free-list offered by the United
States reads like a diplomatic joke: "burr-millstones, rags,
fire-wood, grindstones, plaster and gypsum." The real bar in this and
subsequent negotiations, was the unwillingness of the Americans to
enter into any kind of arrangement for extended trade. They did not
want to break in upon their system of protection, and they did not set
a high value on access to the Canadian market. In most of the
negotiations, the Americans are found trying to drive the best
possible bargain in regard to the Canadian fisheries and canals, and
fighting shy of reciprocity in trade. They considered that a free
exchange of natural products would be far more beneficial to Canada
than to the United States. As time went on, they began to perceive the
advantages of the Canadian market for American manufactures. But when
this was apparent, Canadian feeling, which had hitherto been
unanimous for reciprocity, began to show a cleavage, which was sharply
defined in the discussion preceding the election of 1891. Reciprocity
in manufactures was opposed, because of the competition to which it
would expose Canadian industries, and because it was difficult to
arrange it without assimilating the duties of the two countries and
discriminating against British imports into Canada.

In earlier years, however, even the inclusion of manufactures in the
treaty of reciprocity was an inducement by which the Americans set
little store. The rejected offer made by Canada in 1869, about the
exact terms of which doubt exists, included a list of manufactures. In
1871 the American government declined to consider an offer to renew
the treaty of 1854 in return for access to the deep sea fisheries of
Canada. The Brown Treaty of 1874, which contained a list of
manufactures, was rejected at Washington, while in Canada it was
criticized as striking a blow at the infant manufactures of the

The Brown mission of 1874 was a direct result of the Treaty of
Washington. Under that treaty there was to be an arbitration to
determine the value of the American use of the Canadian inshore
fisheries for twelve years, in excess of the value of the concessions
made by the United States. Before the fall of the Macdonald
government, Mr. Rothery, registrar of the High Court of Admiralty in
England, arrived in Canada as the agent of the British government to
prepare the Canadian case for arbitration. In passing through Toronto
Mr. Rothery spoke to several public men with a view to acquiring
information as to the value of the fisheries. Mr. Brown availed
himself of that opportunity to suggest to him that a treaty of
reciprocity in trade would be a far better compensation to Canada than
a cash payment. Mr. Rothery carried this proposal to Washington, where
it was received with some favour.

Meantime the Mackenzie government had been moving in the matter, and
in February 1874, Mr. Brown was informed that there was a movement at
Washington for the renewal of the old reciprocity treaty, and was
asked to make an unofficial visit to that city and estimate the
chances of success. On February 12th, he wrote: "We know as yet of but
few men who are bitterly against us. I saw General Butler, at his
request, on the subject, and I understand he will support us. Charles
Sumner is heart and hand with us, and is most kind to me personally."
On February 14th, he expressed his belief that if a bill for the
renewal of the reciprocity treaty could be submitted to congress at
once, it would be carried.

A British commission was issued on March 17th, 1874, appointing Sir
Edward Thornton, British minister at Washington, and Mr. Brown, as
joint plenipotentiaries to negotiate a treaty of fisheries, commerce
and navigation with the government of the United States. This mode of
representation was insisted upon by the Mackenzie government, in view
of the unsatisfactory result of the negotiations of 1871, when Sir
John A. Macdonald, as one commissioner out of six, made a gallant but
unsuccessful fight for the rights of Canada. Mr. Brown was selected,
not only because of his knowledge of and interest in reciprocity, but
because of his attitude during the war, which had made him many warm
friends among those who opposed slavery and stood for the union.

Negotiations were formally opened on March 28th. The Canadians
proposed the renewal of the old reciprocity treaty, and the
abandonment of the fishery arbitration. The American secretary of
state, Mr. Fish, suggested the enlargement of the Canadian canals, and
the addition of manufactures to the free list. The Canadian
commissioners having agreed to consider these proposals, a project of
a treaty was prepared to form a basis of discussion. It provided for
the renewal of the old reciprocity treaty for twenty-one years, with
the addition of certain manufactures; the abandonment of the fishery
arbitration; complete reciprocity in coasting; the enlargement of the
Welland and St. Lawrence canals; the opening of the Canadian, New
York, and Michigan canals to vessels of both countries; the free
navigation of Lake Michigan; the appointment of a joint commission for
improving waterways, protecting fisheries and erecting lighthouses on
the Great Lakes. Had the treaty been ratified, there would have been
reciprocity in farm and other natural products, and in a very
important list of manufactures, including agricultural implements,
axles, iron, in the forms of bar, hoop, pig, puddled, rod, sheet or
scrap; iron nails, spikes, bolts, tacks, brads and springs; iron
castings; locomotives and railroad cars and trucks; engines and
machinery for mills, factories and steamboats; fire-engines; wrought
and cast steel; steel plates and rails; carriages, carts, wagons and
sleighs; leather and its manufactures, boots, shoes, harness and
saddlery; cotton grain bags, denims, jeans, drillings, plaids and
ticking; woollen tweeds; cabinet ware and furniture, and machines made
of wood; printing paper for newspapers, paper-making machines, type,
presses, folders, paper cutters, ruling machines, stereotyping and
electrotyping apparatus. In general terms, it was as near to
unrestricted reciprocity as was possible without raising the question
of discriminating against the products of Great Britain.

Mr. Brown found that American misapprehensions as to Canada, its
revenue, commerce, shipping, railways and industries were "truly
marvellous." It was generally believed that the trade of Canada was of
little value to the United States; that the reciprocity treaty had
enriched Canada at their expense; and that the abolition of the treaty
had brought Canada nearly to its wits' end. There was some excuse for
these misapprehensions. Until confederation, the trade returns from
the different provinces were published separately, if at all. No clear
statement of the combined traffic of the provinces with the United
States was published until 1874, and even Canadians were ignorant of
its extent. American protectionists founded a "balance of trade"
argument on insufficient data. They saw that old Canada sold large
quantities of wheat and flour to the United States, but not that the
United States sent larger quantities to the Maritime Provinces; that
Nova Scotia and Cape Breton sold coal to Boston and New York, but not
that five times as much was sent from Pennsylvania to Canada. Brown
prepared a memorandum showing that the British North American
provinces, from 1820 to 1854, had bought one hundred and sixty-seven
million dollars worth of goods from the United States, and the United
States only sixty-seven million dollars worth from the provinces; that
in the thirteen years of the treaty, the trade between the two
countries was six hundred and thirty million dollars according to the
Canadian returns, and six hundred and seventy million dollars
according to the American returns; and that the so-called "balance of
trade" in this period was considerably against Canada. It was shown
that the repeal of the treaty did not ruin Canadian commerce; that the
external trade of Canada which averaged one hundred and fifteen
million dollars a year from 1854 to 1862, rose to one hundred and
forty-two million dollars in the year following the abrogation, and
to two hundred and forty million dollars in 1873. In regard to wheat,
flour, provisions, and other commodities of which both countries had a
surplus, the effect of the prohibitory American duties had been to
send the products of Canada to compete with those of the United States
in neutral markets.

This memorandum was completed on April 27th and was immediately handed
to Mr. Fish. It was referred to the treasury department, where it was
closely examined and admitted to be correct. From that time there was
a marked improvement in American feeling.

Brown also carried on a vigorous propaganda in the newspapers. In
New York the _Tribune_, _Herald_, _Times_, _World_, _Evening
Post_, _Express_, _Journal of Commerce_, _Graphic_, _Mail_,
and other journals, declared in favour of a new treaty; and in Boston,
Chicago, St. Louis, Cincinnati and other large cities, the press was
equally favourable. A charge originated in Philadelphia and was
circulated in the United States and Canada, that this unanimity of
the press was obtained by the corrupt use of public money. Mr. Brown,
in his speech in the senate of Canada denied this; said that not a
shilling had been spent illegitimately, and that the whole cost of the
negotiation to the people of Canada would be little more than four
thousand dollars.

In his correspondence Brown speaks of meeting Senator Conkling,
General Garfield and Carl Schurz, all of whom were favourable.
Secretary Fish is described as courteous and painstaking, but timid
and lacking in grasp of the subject, and Brown speaks impatiently of
the delays that are throwing the consideration of the draft treaty
over to the end of the session of congress.

It did not reach the senate until two days before adjournment. "The
president" wrote Mr. Brown on June 20th, "sent a message to the senate
with the treaty, urging a decision before the adjournment of congress.
I thought the message very good; but it has the defect of not speaking
definitely of this message as his own and his government's and calling
on the senate to sustain him. Had he done this, the treaty would have
been through now. But now, with a majority in its favour, there seems
some considerable danger of its being thrown over until December." The
treaty was sent to the Foreign Relations Committee of the senate.
"There were six present; three said to be for us, one against, and two
for the measure personally, but wanted to hear from the country before
acting. How it will end, no one can tell." As a matter of fact it
ended there and then, as far as the United States were concerned.

Of the objections urged against the treaty in Canada, the most
significant was that directed against the free list of manufactures.
This was, perhaps, the first evidence of the wave of protectionist
sentiment that overwhelmed the Mackenzie government. In his speech in
the senate, in 1875, justifying the treaty, Mr. Brown said: "Time was
in Canada when the imposition of duty on any article was regarded as a
misfortune, and the slightest addition to an existing duty was
resented by the people. But increasing debt brought new burdens; the
deceptive cry of 'incidental protection' got a footing in the land;
and from that the step has been easy to the bold demand now set up by
a few favoured industries, that all the rest of the community ought to
be, and should rejoice to be, taxed seventeen and a half per cent, to
keep them in existence."

Brown joined issue squarely with the protectionists. "I contend that
there is not one article contained in the schedules that ought not to
be wholly free of duty, either in Canada or the United States, in the
interest of the public. I contend that the finance minister of Canada
who--treaty or no treaty with the United States--was able to announce
the repeal of all customs duties on the entire list of articles in
Schedules A, B, and C,--even though the lost revenue was but shifted
to articles of luxury, would carry with him the hearty gratitude of
the country. Nearly every article in the whole list of manufactures is
either of daily consumption and necessity among all classes of our
population, or an implement of trade, or enters largely into the
economical prosecution of the main industries of the Dominion." The
criticism of the sliding scale, of which so much was heard at the
time, was only another phase of the protectionist objection. The
charge that the treaty would discriminate in favour of American
against British imports was easily disposed of. Brown showed that
every article admitted free from the United States would be admitted
free from Great Britain. But as this meant British as well as American
competition, it made the case worse from the protectionist point of
view. The rejection of the treaty by the United States left a clear
field for the protectionists in Canada.

Four years after Mr. Brown's speech defending the treaty, he made his
last important speech in the senate, and almost the last public
utterance of his life, attacking Tilley's protectionist budget, and
nailing his free-trade colours to the mast.



It will be remembered that after the victory won by the Reformers in
1848, there was an outbreak of radical sentiment, represented by the
Clear Grits in Upper Canada and by the Rouges in Lower Canada. It may
be more than a coincidence that there was a similar stirring of the
blood in Ontario and in Quebec after the Liberal victory of 1874. The
founding of the _Liberal_ and of the _Nation_, of the National Club
and of the Canada First Association, Mr. Blake's speech at Aurora, and
Mr. Goldwin Smith's utterances combined to mark this period as one of
extraordinary intellectual activity. Orthodox Liberalism was
disquieted by these movements. It had won a great, and as was then
believed, a permanent victory over Macdonald and all that he
represented, and it had no sympathy with a disturbing force likely to
break up party lines, and to lead young men into new and unknown

The platform of Canada First was not in itself revolutionary. It
embraced, (1) British connection; (2) closer trade relations with the
British West India Islands, with a view to ultimate political
connection; (3) an income franchise; (4) the ballot, with the
addition of compulsory voting; (5) a scheme for the representation of
minorities; (6) encouragement of immigration and free homesteads in
the public domain; (7) the imposition of duties for revenue so
adjusted as to afford every possible encouragement to native industry;
(8) an improved militia system under command of trained Dominion
officers; (9) no property qualifications in members of the House of
Commons; (10) reorganization of the senate; (11) pure and economic
administration of public affairs. This programme was severely
criticized by the _Globe_. Some of the articles, such as purity and
economy, were scornfully treated as commonplaces of politics. "Yea,
and who knoweth not such things as these." The framers of the platform
were rebuked for their presumption in setting themselves above the old
parties, and were advised to "tarry in Jericho until their beards be

But the letter of the programme did not evince the spirit of Canada
First, which was more clearly set forth in the prospectus of the
_Nation_. There it was said that the one thing needful was the
cultivation of a national spirit. The country required the stimulus of
patriotism. Old prejudices of English, Scottish, Irish and German
people were crystallized. Canadians must assert their nationality,
their position as members of a nation. These and other declarations
were analyzed by the _Globe_, and the heralds of the new gospel were
pressed for a plainer avowal of their intentions. Throughout the
editorial utterances of the _Globe_ there was shown a growing
suspicion that the ulterior aim of the Canada First movement was to
bring about the independence of Canada. The quarrel came to a head
when Mr. Goldwin Smith was elected president of the National Club. The
_Globe_, in its issue of October 27th, 1874, brought its heaviest
artillery to bear on the members of the Canada First party. It accused
them of lack of courage and frankness. When brought to book as to
their principles, it said, they repudiated everything. They repudiated
nativism; they repudiated independence; they abhorred the very idea of
annexation. The movement was without meaning when judged by these
repudiations, but was very significant and involved grave practical
issues when judged by the practices of its members. They had talked
loudly and foolishly of emancipation from political thraldom, as if
the present connection of Canada with Great Britain were a yoke and a
burden too heavy and too galling to be borne. They had adopted the
plank of British connection by a majority of only four. They had
chosen as their standard-bearer, their prophet and their president,
one whose chief claim to prominence lay in the persistency with which
he had advocated the breaking up of the British empire. Mr. Goldwin
Smith had come into a peaceful community to do his best for the
furtherance of a cause which meant simply revolution. The advocacy of
independence, said the _Globe_, could not be treated as an academic
question. It touched every Canadian in his dearest and most important
relations. It jeopardized his material, social and religious
interests. Canada was not a mere dead limb of the British tree, ready
to fall of its own weight. The union was real, and the branch was a
living one. Great Britain, it was true, would not fight to hold Canada
against her will, but if the great mass of Canadians believed in
British connection, those who wished to break the bond must be ready
to take their lives in their hands. The very proposal to cut loose
from Britain would be only the beginning of trouble. In any case what
was sought was revolution, and those who preached it ought to
contemplate all the possibilities of such a course. They might be the
fathers and founders of a new nationality, but they might also be
simply mischief-makers, whose insignificance and powerlessness were
their sole protection, who were not important enough for "either a
traitor's trial or a traitor's doom."

Mr. Goldwin Smith's reply to this attack was that he was an advocate,
not of revolution but of evolution. "Gradual emancipation," he said,
"means nothing more than the gradual concession by the mother country
to the colonies of powers of self-government; this process has already
been carried far. Should it be carried further and ultimately
consummated, as I frankly avow my belief it must, the mode of
proceeding will be the same that it has always been. Each step will
be an Act of parliament passed with the assent of the Crown. As to the
filial tie between England and Canada, I hope it will endure forever."

Mr. Goldwin Smith's views were held by some other members of the
Canada First party. Another and a larger section were Imperialists,
who believed that Canada should assert herself by demanding a larger
share of self-government within the empire, and by demanding the
privileges and responsibilities of citizens of the empire. The bond
that united the Imperialists and the advocates of independence was
national spirit. This was what the _Globe_ failed to perceive, or at
least to recognize fully. Its article of October 27th is powerful and
logical, strong in sarcasm and invective. It displays every purely
intellectual quality necessary for the treatment of the subject, but
lacks the insight that comes from imagination and sympathy. The
declarations of those whose motto was "Canada first," could fairly be
criticized as vague, but this vagueness was the result, not of
cowardice or insincerity, but of the inherent difficulty of putting
the spirit of the movement into words. A youth whose heart is stirred
by all the aspirations of coming manhood, "yearning for the large
excitement that the coming years would yield," might have the same
hesitation in writing down his yearnings and aspirations on a sheet of
paper, and might be as unwisely snubbed by his elders.

The greatest intellect of the Liberal party felt the impulse. At
Aurora Edward Blake startled the more cautious members of the party by
advocating the federation of the empire, the reorganization of the
senate, compulsory voting, extension of the franchise and
representation of minorities. His real theme was national spirit.
National spirit would be lacking until we undertook national
responsibilities. He described the Canadian people as "four millions
of Britons who are not free." By the policy of England, in which we
had no voice or control, Canada might be plunged into the horrors of
war. Recently, without our consent, the navigation of the St. Lawrence
had been ceded forever to the United States. We could not complain of
these things unless we were prepared to assume the full
responsibilities of citizenship within the empire. The young men of
Canada heard these words with a thrill of enthusiasm, but the note was
not struck again. The movement apparently ceased, and politics
apparently flowed back into their old channels. But while the name,
the organization and the organs of Canada First in the press
disappeared, the force and spirit remained, and exercised a powerful
influence upon Canadian politics for many years.

There can be little doubt that the Liberal party was injured by the
uncompromising hostility which was shown to the movement of 1874.
Young men, enthusiasts, bold and original thinkers, began to look
upon Liberalism as a creed harsh, dry, tyrannical, unprogressive and
hostile to new ideas. When the independent lodgment afforded by Canada
First disappeared, many of them drifted over to the Conservative
party, whose leader was shrewd enough to perceive the strength of the
spirit of nationalism, and to give it what countenance he could.
Protection triumphed at the polls in 1878, not merely by the use of
economic arguments, but because it was heralded as the "National
Policy" and hailed as a declaration of the commercial independence of
Canada. A few years later the legislation for the building of the
Canadian Pacific Railway, bold to the point of rashness, as it seemed,
and unwise and improvident in some of its provisions, was heartily
approved by the country, because it was regarded as a measure of
national growth and expansion. The strength of the Conservative party
from 1878 to 1891 was largely due to its adoption of the vital
principle and spirit of Canada First.

The _Globe's_ attacks upon the Canada First party also had the effect
of fixing in the public mind a picture of George Brown as a dictator
and a relentless wielder of the party whip, a picture contrasting
strangely with those suggested by his early career. He had fought for
responsible government, for freedom from clerical dictation; he had
been one of the boldest of rebels against party discipline; he had
carelessly thrown away a great party advantage in order to promote
confederation; he had been the steady opponent of slavery. In 1874
the Liberals were in power both at Ottawa and at Toronto, and Mr.
Brown may not have been free from the party man's delusion that when
his party is in power all is well, and agitation for change is
mischievous. Canada First threatened to change the formation of
political parties, and seemed to him to threaten a change in the
relations of Canada to the empire. But these explanations do not alter
the fact that his attitude caused the Liberal party to lose touch with
a movement characterized by intellectual keenness and generosity of
sentiment, representing a real though ill-defined national impulse,
and destined to leave its mark upon the history of the country.



In the preceding chapters it has been necessary to follow closely the
numerous public movements with which Brown was connected. Here we may
pause and consider some incidents of his life and some aspects of his
character which lie outside of these main streams of action. First, a
few words about the Brown household. Of the relations between father
and son something has already been said. Of his mother, Mr. Alexander
Mackenzie says: "We may assume that Mr. Brown derived much of his
energy, power and religious zeal from his half Celtic origin: these
qualities he possessed in an eminent degree, united with the
proverbial caution and prudence of the Lowlander." The children, in
the order of age, were Jane, married to Mr. George Mackenzie of New
York; George; Isabella, married to Mr. Thomas Henning; Katherine, who
died unmarried; Marianne, married to the Rev. W. S. Ball; and John
Gordon. There were no idlers in that family. The publication of the
_Globe_ in the early days involved a tremendous struggle. Peter Brown
lent a hand in the business as well as in the editorial department of
the paper. A good deal of the writing in the _Banner_ and the early
_Globe_ seems to bear the marks of his broad Liberalism and his
passionate love of freedom. Gordon entered the office as a boy, and
rose to be managing editor. Three of the daughters conducted a ladies'
school, which enjoyed an excellent reputation for thoroughness.
Katherine, the third daughter, was killed in a railway accident at
Syracuse; and the shock seriously affected the health of the father,
who died in 1863. The mother had died in the previous year.

By these events and by marriages the busy household was broken up.
George Brown, as we have seen, married in 1862, and from that time
until his death his letters to his wife and children show an intense
affection and love of home. After her husband's death Mrs. Brown
resided in Edinburgh, where she died on May 6th 1906. The only son,
George M. Brown, was, in the last parliament, member of the British
House of Commons for Centre Edinburgh, and is one of the firm of
Thomas Nelson & Sons, publishers. In the same city reside two
daughters, Margaret, married to Dr. A. F. H. Barbour, a well-known
physician, and writer on medicine; and Edith, wife of George Sandeman.
Among other survivors are, E. B. Brown, barrister, Toronto; Alfred S.
Ball, K.C., police magistrate, Woodstock; and Peter B. Ball,
commercial agent for Canada at Birmingham, nephews of George Brown.

From 1852 George Brown was busily engaged in public life, and a large
part of the work of the newspaper must have fallen on other shoulders.
There are articles in which one may fancy he detects the French
neatness of William Macdougall. George Sheppard spoke at the
convention of 1859 like a statesman; and he and Macdougall had higher
qualities than mere facility with the pen. Gordon Brown gradually grew
into the editorship. "He had" says Mr. E. W. Thomson, writing of a
later period, "a singular power of utilizing suggestions, combining
several that were evidently not associated, and indicating how they
could be merged in a striking manner. He seems to me now to have been
the greatest all-round editor I have yet had the pleasure of
witnessing at work, and in the political department superior to any of
the old or of the new time in North America, except only Horace
Greeley." But Mr. Thomson thinks that like most of the old-timers he
took his politics a little too hard. Mr. Gordon Brown died in June,

Mr. Brown regarded his defeat in South Ontario in 1867, as an
opportunity to retire from parliamentary life. He had expressed that
intention several months before. He wrote to Holton, on May 13th,
1867, "My fixed determination is to see the Liberal party re-united
and in the ascendant, and then make my bow as a politician. As a
journalist and a citizen, I hope always to be found on the right side
and heartily supporting my old friends. But I want to be free to write
of men and things without control, beyond that which my conscientious
convictions and the interests of my country demand. To be debarred by
fear of injuring the party from saying that--is unfit to sit in
parliament and that--is very stupid, makes journalism a very small
business. Party leadership and the conducting of a great journal do
not harmonize."

In his speech at the convention of 1867 he said that he had looked
forward to the triumph of representation by population as the day of
his emancipation from parliamentary life, but that the case was
altered by the proposal to continue the coalition, involving a
secession from the ranks of the Liberal party. In this juncture it was
necessary for Liberals to unite and consult, and if it were found that
his continuance in parliamentary life for a short time would be a
service to the party, he would not refuse. It would be impossible,
however, for him to accept any official position, and he did not wish,
by remaining in parliament, to stand in the way of those who would
otherwise become leaders of the party. He again emphasized the
difficulty of combining the functions of leadership of a party and
management of a newspaper. "The sentiments of the leader of a party
are only known from his public utterances on public occasions. If a
wrong act is committed by an opponent or by a friend, he may simply
shrug his shoulders." But it was otherwise with the journalist. He had
been accused of fierce assaults on public men. "But I tell you if the
daily thoughts and the words daily uttered by other public men were
written in a book as mine have been, and circulated all over the
country, there would have been a very different comparison between
them and myself. I have had a double duty to perform. If I had been
simply the leader of a party and had not controlled a public journal,
such things would not have been left on record. I might have passed my
observations in private conversation, and no more would have been
heard of them. But as a journalist it was necessary I should speak the
truth before the people, no matter whether it helped my party or not;
and this, of course, reflected on the position of the party.
Consequently, I have long felt very strongly that I had to choose one
position or the other--that of a leader in parliamentary life, or that
of a monitor in the public press--and the latter has been my choice
being probably more in consonance with my ardent temperament, and at
the same time, in my opinion, more influential; for I am free to say
that in view of all the grand offices that are now talked
of--governorships, premierships and the like--I would rather be editor
of the _Globe_, with the hearty confidence of the great mass of the
people of Upper Canada, than have the choice of them all."

Of Mr. Brown's relations with the parliamentary leaders after his
retirement, Mr. Mackenzie says: "Nor did he ever in after years
attempt to control or influence parliamentary proceedings as conducted
by the Liberals in opposition, or in the government; while always
willing to give his opinion when asked on any particular question, he
never volunteered his advice. His opinions, of course, received free
utterance in the _Globe_, which was more unfettered by reason of his
absence from parliamentary duties; though even there it was rarely
indeed that any articles were published which were calculated to
inconvenience or discomfort those who occupied his former

Left comparatively free to follow his own inclinations, Brown plunged
into farming, spending money and energy freely in the raising of fine
cattle on his Bow Park estate near Brantford, an extensive business
which ultimately led to the formation of a joint stock company. The
province of Ontario, especially western Ontario, was for him the
object of an intense local patriotism. He loved to travel over it and
to meet the people. It was noticed in the _Globe_ office that he paid
special attention to the weekly edition of the paper, as that which
reached the farming community. His Bow Park enterprise gave him an
increased feeling of kinship and sympathy with that community, and he
delighted in showing farmers over the estate. It would be hard to draw
a more characteristic picture than that of the tall senator striding
over the fields, talking of cattle and crops with all the energy with
which he was wont to denounce the Tories.

Brown was appointed to the senate in December, 1873. Except for the
speech on reciprocity, which is dealt with elsewhere, his career there
was not noteworthy. He seems to have taken no part in the discussion
on Senator Vidal's resolution in favour of prohibition, or on the
Scott Act, a measure for introducing prohibition by local option. A
popular conception of Brown as an ardent advocate of legislative
prohibition may have been derived from some speeches made in his early
career, and from an early prospectus of the _Globe_. On the bill
providing for government of the North-West Territories he made a
speech against the provision for separate schools, warning the House
that the effect would be to fasten these institutions on the West in

In 1876 Senator Brown figured in a remarkable case of contempt of
court. A Bowmanville newspaper had charged Senator Simpson, a
political ally of Brown, with resorting to bribery in the general
election of 1872. It published also a letter from Senator Brown to
Senator Simpson, asking him for a subscription towards the Liberal
campaign fund. On Senator Simpson's application, Wilkinson, the editor
of the paper, was called upon to show cause why a criminal information
should not issue against him for libel. The case was argued before the
Queen's Bench, composed of Chief-Justice Harrison, Justice Morrison,
and Justice Wilson. The judgment of the court delivered by the
chief-justice was against the editor in regard to two of the articles
complained of and in his favour in regard to the third. In following
the chief-justice, Mr. Justice Wilson took occasion to refer to
Senator Brown's letter and to say that it was written with corrupt
intent to interfere with the freedom of elections.

Brown was not the man to allow a charge of this kind to go unanswered,
and in this case there were special circumstances calculated to arouse
his anger. The publication of his letter in the Bowmanville paper had
been the signal for a fierce attack upon him by the Conservative press
of the province. It appeared to him that Justice Wilson had wantonly
made himself a participant in this attack, lending the weight of his
judicial influence to his enemies. Interest was added to the case by
the fact that the judge had been in previous years supported by the
_Globe_ in municipal and parliamentary elections. He had been
solicitor-general in the Macdonald-Sicotte government from May 1862 to
May 1863. Judge Morrison had been solicitor-general under Hincks, and
afterwards a colleague of John A. Macdonald. Each of them, in this
case, took a course opposite to that which might have been expected
from old political associations.

A few days afterwards the _Globe_ contained a long, carefully prepared
and powerful attack upon Mr. Justice Wilson. Beginning with a tribute
to the Bench of Ontario, it declared that no fault was to be found
with the judgment of the court, and that the offence lay in the
gratuitous comments of Mr. Justice Wilson.

"No sooner had the chief-justice finished than Mr. Justice Wilson
availed himself of the occasion to express his views of the matter
with a freedom of speech and an indifference to the evidence before
the court and an indulgence in assumptions, surmises and insinuations,
that we believe to be totally unparalleled in the judicial proceedings
of any Canadian court."

The article denied that the letter was written with any corrupt
intent, and it stated that the entire fund raised by the Liberal party
in the general election of 1872 was only three thousand seven hundred
dollars, or forty-five dollars for each of the eighty-two
constituencies. "This Mr. Justice Wilson may rest assured of: that
such slanders and insults shall not go unanswered, and if the dignity
of the Bench is ruffled in the tussle, on his folly shall rest the
blame. We cast back on Mr. Wilson his insolent and slanderous
interpretation. The letter was not written for corrupt purposes. It
was not written to interfere with the freedom of elections. It was not
an invitation to anybody to concur in committing bribery and
corruption at the polls; and be he judge or not who says so, this
statement is false."

The writer went on to contend that there were perfectly legitimate
expenditures in keenly contested elections. "Was there no such fund
when Mr. Justice Wilson was in public life? When the hat went round in
his contest for the mayoralty, was that or was it not a concurrence in
bribery or corruption at the polls?" Mr. Justice Wilson had justified
his comment by declaring that he might take notice of matters with
which every person of ordinary intelligence was acquainted. Fastening
upon these words the _Globe_ asked, "How could Mr. Justice Wilson in
his hunt for things which every person of ordinary intelligence is
acquainted with, omit to state that while the entire general election
fund of the Liberal party for that year (1872) was but three thousand
seven hundred dollars, raised by subscription from a few private
individuals, the Conservative fund on the same occasion amounted to
the enormous sum of two hundred thousand dollars, raised by the
flagitious sale of the Pacific Railway contract to a band of
speculators on terms disastrous to the interests of the country."

In another vigorous paragraph the writer said: "We deeply regret being
compelled to write of the conduct of any member of the Ontario Bench
in the tone of this article, but the offence was so rank, so reckless,
so utterly unjustifiable that soft words would have but poorly
discharged our duty to the public."

No proceedings were taken in regard to this article until about five
months afterwards, when Mr. Wilkinson, the editor of the Bowmanville
paper, applied to have Mr. Brown committed for contempt of court. The
judge assailed took no action and the case was tried before his
colleagues, Chief-Justice Harrison and Judge Morrison. Mr. Brown
appeared in person and made an argument occupying portions of two
days. He pointed out that the application had been delayed five
months after the publication of the article. He contended that
Wilkinson was not prejudiced by the _Globe_ article and had no
standing in the case. In a lengthy affidavit he entered into the whole
question of the expenditure of the two parties in the election of
1872, including the circumstances of the Pacific Scandal. He repeated
on oath the statement made in the article that his letter was not
written with corrupt intent; that the subscription asked for was for
legitimate purposes and that it was part of a fund amounting to only
three thousand seven hundred dollars for the whole province of
Ontario. He boldly justified the article as provoked by Mr. Justice
Wilson's dictum and by the use that would be made of it by hostile
politicians. The judge had chosen to intervene in a keen political
controversy whose range extended to the Pacific Scandal; and in
defending himself from his enemies and the enemies of his party, Brown
was forced to answer the judge. He argued that to compel an editor to
keep silence in such a case, would not only be unjust to him, but
contrary to public policy. For instance, the discussion of a great
public question such as that involved in the Pacific Scandal, might be
stopped upon the application of a party to a suit in which that
question was incidentally raised.

The case was presented with his accustomed energy and thoroughness,
from the point of view of journalistic duty, of politics and of
law--for Mr. Brown was not afraid to tread that sacred ground and
give extensive citations from the law reports. His address may be
commended to any editor who may be pursued by that mysterious legal
phantom, a charge of contempt of court. The energy of his gestures,
the shaking of the white head and the swinging of the long arms, must
have somewhat startled Osgoode Hall. The court was divided, the
chief-justice ruling that there had been contempt, Mr. Justice
Morrison, contra, and Mr. Justice Wilson taking no part in the
proceedings. So the matter dropped, though not out of the memory of
editors and politicians.


[21] Mackenzie's _Life and Speeches of the Hon. George Brown_, p. 119.



The building in which the life of the Hon. George Brown was so
tragically ended, was one that had been presented to him by the
Reformers of Upper Canada before confederation "as a mark of the high
sense entertained by his political friends of the long, faithful and
important services which he has rendered to the people of Canada." It
stood upon the north side of King Street, on ground which is now the
lower end of Victoria Street, for the purpose of extending which, the
building was demolished. The ground floor was occupied by the business
office; on the next, looking out upon King Street, was Mr. Brown's
private office; and above that the rooms occupied by the editorial
staff, with the composing room in the rear. At about half past four
o'clock on the afternoon of March 25th, 1880, several of the occupants
of the editorial rooms heard a shot, followed by a sound of breaking
glass, and cries of "Help!" and "Murder!" Among these were Mr. Avern
Pardoe, now librarian of the legislative assembly of Ontario; Mr.
Archibald Blue, now head of the census bureau at Ottawa; Mr. John A.
Ewan, now leader writer on the _Globe_; and Mr. Allan S. Thompson,
father of the present foreman of the _Globe_ composing room. Mr. Ewan
and Mr. Thompson were first to arrive on the scene. Following the
direction from which the sounds proceeded, they found Mr. Brown on the
landing, struggling with an undersized man, whose head was thrust into
Brown's breast. Mr. Ewan and Mr. Thompson seized the man, while Mr.
Brown himself wrested a smoking pistol from his hand. Mr. Blue, Mr.
Pardoe and others quickly joined the group, and Mr. Brown, though not
apparently severely injured, was induced to lie on the sofa in his
room, where his wound was examined. The bullet had passed through the
outer side of the left thigh, about four inches downward and backward;
it was found on the floor of the office.

The assailant was George Bennett, who had been employed in the engine
room of the _Globe_ for some years, and had been discharged for
intemperance. Mr. Brown said that when Bennett entered the office he
proceeded to shut the door behind him. Thinking the man's movements
singular, Mr. Brown stopped him and asked him what he wanted. Bennett,
after some hesitation, presented a paper for Mr. Brown's signature,
saying that it was a statement that he had been employed in the
_Globe_ for five years. Mr. Brown said he should apply to the head of
the department in which he was employed. Bennett said that the head of
the department had refused to give the certificate. Mr. Brown then
told him to apply to Mr. Henning, the treasurer of the company, who
could furnish the information by examining his books.

Bennett kept insisting that Mr. Brown should sign the paper, and
finally began to fumble in his pistol pocket, whereupon it passed
through Mr. Brown's mind "that the little wretch might be meaning to
shoot me." As he got the pistol out, Mr. Brown seized his wrist and
turned his hand downward. After one shot had been fired, the struggle
continued until the two got outside the landing, where they were found
as already described.

The bullet had struck no vital part, and the wound was not considered
to be mortal. But as week after week passed without substantial
improvement, the anxiety of his friends and of the country deepened.
At the trial the question was raised whether recovery had been
prevented by the fact that Mr. Brown, against the advice of his
physician, transacted business in his room. After the first eight or
ten days there were intervals of delirium. Towards the end of April
when the case looked very serious, Mr. Brown had a long conversation
with the Rev. Dr. Greig, his old pastor, and with members of his
family. "In that conversation," says Mr. Mackenzie, "he spoke freely
to them of his faith and hope, and we are told poured out his soul in
full and fervent prayer," and he joined heartily in the singing of the
hymn "Rock of Ages." A few days afterwards he became unconscious; the
physicians ceased to press stimulants or nourishment upon him, and
early on Sunday, May 10th, he passed away.

Bennett was tried and found guilty of murder on June 22nd following,
and was executed a month afterwards. Though he caused the death of a
man so conspicuous in the public life of Canada, his act is not to be
classed with assassinations committed from political motives, or even
from love of notoriety. On the scaffold he said that he had not
intended to kill Mr. Brown. However this may be, it is certain that it
was not any act of Mr. Brown's that set up that process of brooding
over grievances that had so tragic an ending. By misfortune and by
drinking, a mind, naturally ill-regulated had been reduced to that
condition in which enemies are seen on every hand. A paper was found
upon him in which he set forth a maniacal plan of murdering a supposed
enemy and concealing the remains in the furnace of the _Globe_
building. That the original object of his enmity was not Mr. Brown is
certain; there was not the slightest ground for the suspicion that the
victim was made to suffer for some enmity aroused in his strenuous
career as a public man. Strange that after such a career he should
meet a violent death at the hands of a man who was thinking solely of
private grievances!

Tracing Mr. Brown's career through a long period of history, by his
public actions, his speeches, and the volumes of his newspaper, one
arrives at a somewhat different estimate from that preserved in
familiar gossip and tradition. That tradition pictures a man
impulsive, stormy, imperious, bearing down by sheer force all
opposition to his will. In the main it is probably true; but the
printed record is also true, and out of the two we must strive to
reproduce the man. We are told of a speech delivered with flashing
eye, with gestures that seemed almost to threaten physical violence.
We read the report of the speech and we find something more than the
ordinary transition from warm humanity, to cold print. There is not
only freedom from violence, but there is coherence, close reasoning, a
systematic marshalling of facts and figures and arguments. One might
say of many of his speeches, as was said of Alexander Mackenzie's
sentences, that he built them as he built a stone wall. His tremendous
energy was not spasmodic, but was backed by solid industry, method and

As Mr. Bengough said in a little poem published soon after Mr. Brown's

    "His nature was a rushing mountain stream;
    His faults but eddies which its swiftness bred."

In his business as a journalist, he had not much of that philosophy
which says that the daily difficulties of a newspaper are sure to
solve themselves by the effluxion of time. There are traditions of his
impatience and his outbreaks of wrath when something went wrong, but
there are traditions also of a kindness large enough to include the
lad who carried the proofs to his house. Those who were thoroughly
acquainted with the affairs of the office say that he was extremely
lenient with employees who were intemperate or otherwise incurred
blame, and that his leniency had been extended to Bennett. Intimate
friends and political associates deny that he played the dictator, and
say that he was genial and humorous in familiar intercourse. But it
is, after all, a somewhat unprofitable task to endeavour to sit in
judgment on the personal character of a public man, placing this
virtue against that fault, and solemnly assuming to decide which side
of the ledger exceeds the other. We have to deal with the character of
Brown as a force in its relation to other forces, and to the events of
the period of history covered by his career.

A quarter of a century has now elapsed since the death of George Brown
and a still longer time since the most stirring scenes in his career
were enacted. We ought therefore to be able to see him in something
like his true relation to the history of his times. He came to Canada
at a time when the notion of colonial self-government was regarded as
a startling innovation. He found among the dominant class a curious
revival of the famous Stuart doctrine, "No Bishop, no King;" hence the
rise of such leaders, partly political and partly religious, as Bishop
Strachan, among the Anglicans, and Dr. Ryerson, among the Methodists,
the former vindicating and the latter challenging the exclusive
privileges of the Anglican Church. There was room for a similar
leader among Presbyterians, and in a certain sense this was the
opportunity of George Brown. In founding first a Presbyterian paper
and afterwards a political paper, he was following a line familiar to
the people of his time. But while he had a special influence among
Presbyterians, he appeared, not as claiming special privileges for
them, but as the opponent of all privilege, fighting first the
Anglican Church and afterwards the Roman Catholic Church, and
asserting in each case the principle of the separation of Church and

For some years after Brown's arrival in Canada, those questions in
which politics and religion were blended were subordinated to a
question purely political--colonial self-government. The atmosphere
was not favourable to cool discussion. The colony had been in
rebellion, and the passions aroused by the rebellion were always ready
to burst into flame. French Canada having been more deeply stirred by
the rebellion than Upper Canada, racial animosity was added there to
party bitterness. The task of the Reformers was to work steadily for
the establishment of a new order involving a highly important
principle of government, and, at the same time, to keep the movement
free from all suspicion of incitement to rebellion.

The leading figure of this movement is that of Robert Baldwin, and he
was well supported by Hincks, by Sullivan, by William Hume Blake and
others. The forces were wisely led, and it is not pretended that this
direction was due to Brown. He was in 1844 only twenty-six years of
age, and his position at first was that of a recruit. But he was a
recruit of uncommon vigour and steadiness, and though he did not
originate, he emphasized the idea of carrying on the fight on strictly
constitutional and peaceful lines. His experience in New York and his
deep hatred of slavery had strengthened by contrast his conviction
that Great Britain was the citadel of liberty, and hence his
utterances in favour of British connection were not conventional, but
glowed with enthusiasm.

With 1849 came the triumph of Reform, and the last despairing effort
of the old régime, dying out with the flames of the parliament
buildings at Montreal. Now ensued a change in both parties. The one,
exhausted and discredited by its fight against the inevitable coming
of the new order, remained for a time weak and inactive, under a
leader whose day was done. The other, in the very hour of victory,
began to suffer disintegration. It had its Conservative element
desiring to rest and be thankful, and its Radical element with aims
not unlike those of Chartism in England. Brown stood for a time
between the government and the Conservative element on the one side
and the Clear Grits on the other. Disintegration was hastened by the
retirement of Baldwin and Lafontaine. Then came the brief and troubled
reign of Hincks; then a reconstruction of parties, with Conservatives
under the leadership of Macdonald and Reformers under that of Brown.

The stream of politics between 1854 and 1864 is turbid; there is
pettiness, there is bitterness, there is confusion. But away from this
turmoil the province is growing in population, in wealth, in all the
elements of civilization. Upper Canada especially is growing by
immigration; it overtakes and passes Lower Canada in population, and
thus arises the question of representation by population. Brown takes
up this reform in representation as a means of freeing Upper Canada
from the domination of the Lower Province. He becomes the "favourite
son" of Upper Canada. His rival, through his French-Canadian alliance,
meets him with a majority from Lower Canada; and so, for several
years, there is a period of equally balanced parties and weak
governments, ending in dead-lock.

If Brown's action had only broken this dead-lock, extricated some
struggling politicians from difficulty, and allowed the ordinary
business of government to proceed, it might have deserved only passing
notice. But more than that was involved. The difficulty was inherent
in the system. The legislative union was Lord Durham's plan of
assimilating the races that he had found "warring in the bosom of a
single state." The plan had failed. The line of cleavage was as
sharply defined as ever. The ill-assorted union had produced only
strife and misunderstanding. Yet to break the tie when new duties and
new dangers had emphasized the necessity for union seemed to be an act
of folly. To federalize the union was to combine the advantage of
common action with liberty to each community to work out its own
ideals in education, municipal government and all other matters of
local concern. More than that, to federalize the union was to
substitute for a rigid bond a bond elastic enough to allow of
expansion, eastward to the Atlantic and westward to the Pacific. That
principle which has been called provincial rights, or provincial
autonomy, might be described more accurately and comprehensively as
federalism; and it is the basic principle of Canadian political
institutions, as essential to unity as to peace and local freedom.

The feeble, isolated and distracted colonies of 1864 have given place
to a commonwealth which, if not in strictness a nation, possesses all
the elements and possibilities of nationality, with a territory open
on three sides to the ocean, lying in the highway of the world's
commerce, and capable of supporting a population as large as that of
the British Islands. Confederation was the first and greatest step in
that process of expansion, and it is speaking only words of truth and
soberness to say that confederation will rank among the landmarks of
the world's history, and that its importance will not decline but will
increase as history throws events into their true perspective. It is
in his association with confederation, with the events that led up to
confederation, and with the addition to Canada of the vast and fertile
plains of the West, that the life of George Brown is of interest to
the student of history.

Brown was not only a member of parliament and an actor in the
political drama, but was the founder of a newspaper, and for
thirty-six years the source of its inspiration and influence. As a
journalist he touched life at many points. He was a man of varied
interests--railways, municipal affairs, prison reform, education,
agriculture, all came within the range of his duty as a journalist and
his interest and sympathy as a man. Those stout-hearted men who amid
all the wrangling and intrigue of the politicians were turning the
wilderness of Canada into a garden, gave to Brown in large measure
their confidence and affection. He, on his part, valued their
friendship more than any victory that could be won in the political
game. That was the standard by which he always asked to be judged.
This story of his life may help to show that he was true to the trust
they reposed in him, and to the principles that were the standards of
his political conduct, to government by the people, to free
institutions, to religious liberty and equality, to the unity and
progress of the confederation of which he was one of the builders.



_Albion_, the, Peter Brown contributes thereto, 2

Anglican Church, exclusive claims of, 11, 51, 52

Annexation manifesto, result of discontent aroused by Rebellion Losses
  Bill, and repeal of preferential trade, 37


Bagot, Sir Charles, Governor of Canada,
  friendly attitude towards French-Canadians, 16;
  accepts Lafontaine and Baldwin as his advisers, 16;
  accused of surrender to rebels, 16;
  his action threatens to cause ministerial crisis in England, 16;
  denounced by Duke of Wellington, 16, 17;
  recalled at his own request, 18;
  illness and death, 18;
  begs his ministers to defend his memory, 18

Baldwin, Robert,
  father of responsible government, 21;
  criticized by Dr. Ryerson, 22, 23;
  his wise leadership, 24;
  victory at polls, 33;
  achievements of his ministry, 33;
  the Rebellion Losses Bill, 34-7;
  discontent of Clear Grits, 39;
  the Baldwin-Lafontaine government defended by Brown, 42;
  resigns because of vote of abolition of Court of Chancery, 47

_Banner_, the,
  established by the Browns, 5;
  descriptive extracts, 3, 6-8

Belleau, Sir Narcisse F.,
  succeeds Sir É. P. Taché as head of the coalition government, 191;
  his headship only nominal, 191

Bennett, George,
  employed in engine room of the _Globe_, 256;
  discharged, 256;
  his conversation with Brown, 256;
  shoots and wounds Brown, 257;
  on death of Brown is tried and found guilty of murder, 258;
  his mind disordered by misfortune and by intemperance, 258

Blake, the Hon. Edward, speech at Aurora advocating imperial
  federation, 240

British-American League, the, advocates federation, 37

_British Chronicle_, the, established by the Browns in New York, 4

Brown, George,
  birth, 1;
  education, 1;
  leaves Scotland for the United States, 2;
  visits Canada, 4;
  founds the _Banner_, 5;
  founds the _Globe_, 20;
  addresses Toronto Reform Association, 21;
  refuses to drink health of Lord Metcalfe, 27, 28;
  his dwelling attacked by opponents of Lord Elgin, 36;
  opposes Clear Grit movement, 40;
  attitude towards Baldwin-Lafontaine government, 42;
  dissatisfied with delay in dealing with clergy reserves, 42;
  causes of rupture with Reform government, 44;
  comments on Cardinal Wiseman's pastoral, 44, 45;
  attacked as an enemy of Irish Catholics, 44-6;
  defeated in Haldimand election by William Lyon Mackenzie, 46;
  his election platform, 47;
  rupture with Hincks's government, 48;
  complains of French and Catholic influence, 48, 49;
  series of letters to Hincks, 48;
  addresses meeting in favour of secularization of clergy reserves, 55, 56;
  candidate for parliament for Kent, 61;
  his platform, 61;
  advocates free and non-sectarian schools, 62;
  advocates similar policy for university education, 62;
  elected member for Kent, 64;
  his first appearance in parliament, 65;
  consequence of parliament being held in city of Quebec, 65;
  hostility of French-Canadians to Brown, 65;
  Brown's maiden speech, 66;
  vindicates responsible government, and insists upon fulfilment of
    ministerial pledges, 66, 67;
  condition of parties in legislature, 69;
  Brown's temporary isolation, 69;
  his industry, 69;
  opposes legislation granting privileges to Roman Catholic
    institutions, 70;
  his course leads towards reconstruction of legislative union, 70;
  growth of his popularity in Upper Canada, 71;
  remarkable testimony of a Conservative journal, 71, 72;
  his appearance on the platform in 1853 described by the Hon. James
    Young, 73;
  favours prohibition, 76;
  elected for Lambton, 77;
  forms friendship with the Rouge leader, A. A. Dorion, 80, 81;
  advocates representation by population, 82-4;
  charged by J. A. Macdonald with misconduct as secretary of prison
    commission, 87;
  moves for committee of inquiry, 88;
  forcibly repels attack, 89;
  exposes cruelties and abuses in prison, 90;
  his relations with Macdonald embittered by this incident, 91;
  delivers address on prison reform, 91, 92;
  repels charge that he had been a defaulter in Edinburgh, and defends
    his father, 93-7;
  elected for city of Toronto in 1857, 99;
  defeats government on question of seat of government, 100;
  called upon to form a government, 101;
  confers with Dorion, 101;
  forms Brown-Dorion administration, 102;
  waits upon the governor-general, 102;
  receives communication from the governor-general, 102;
  forms belief that obstacles are being placed in his way by intrigue, 102;
  criticizes the governor-general's communication, 103;
  meets his colleagues, 104;
  his government defeated in parliament, 104;
  asks for dissolution and is refused, 105, 106;
  his government resigns, 106;
  his part in work of the Anti-Slavery Society of Canada, 112;
  denounces Fugitive Slave Law, 113, 114;
  discusses Lincoln's proclamation of emancipation, 114-19;
  his relations with Roman Catholics, 121;
  opposes separate schools, 121;
  accepts compromise, 122;
  his "no popery" campaign, 123;
  his letter to Roman Catholics, 124-6;
  his position considered, 127, 128;
  his course leads up to confederation, 130;
  letter to Holton, 131;
  his speech at Reform convention of 1859, 137;
  fails to obtain support of legislature for proposals to federalize
    the union, 139;
  contemplates retirement from leadership of Reform party, 141;
  defeated in East Toronto, 141;
  opposes John Sandfield's "double majority" plan, 143;
  visits England, 143;
  marriage in Edinburgh, 144;
  his attitude towards separate schools, 145;
  accepts compromise of 1863, 145;
  describes dead-lock situation, 149;
  lays before legislature report of special committee advocating
    federation of Canada as a remedy, 150;
  negotiations with government, 151-6;
  consults Reformers of Upper Canada, 156, 157;
  urged by governor-general (Monk) to enter government, 157;
  consents, 158;
  enters ministry, 159;
  visits Maritime Provinces, 161;
  addresses meeting at Halifax in furtherance of confederation, 161;
  advocates nominative as against elective senate, 164;
  describes result of Quebec conference, 165;
  addresses meeting at Music Hall, Toronto, 166;
  visits England, 167;
  describes English feeling in favour of confederation, 167;
  his speech in parliament advocating confederation, 171-5;
  describes crisis created by defeat of New Brunswick government, 181, 182;
  visits England with Macdonald, Cartier and Galt, 186;
  on the death of Taché objects to Macdonald assuming premiership, 189;
  consents to succession of Sir N. F. Belleau, 191;
  his work in connection with reciprocity, 192;
  appointed member of confederate council on reciprocity, 193;
  protests against Galt's proceedings in Washington, 194;
  objects strongly to proposal for reciprocity by legislation, 194;
  resigns from coalition, 195;
  letter to Cartier, 196;
  his reasons for resigning, 196;
  the rupture inevitable, 199;
  reasons why coalition could not endure, 199;
  Holton's warning, 200, 201;
  experience of Howland, Macdougall and Tilley, 202;
  experience of Joseph Howe, 203, 204;
  coalition endangers Liberal principles, 204-7;
  Brown's course after leaving coalition, 208;
  addresses Reform convention of 1867 against continuance of
    coalition, 209;
  interest in North-West Territories, 211, 213;
  advocates union of North-West Territories with Canada, 218-20;
  takes part in negotiations with British government, 220;
  his services as to North-West Territories acknowledged by Macdonald, 221;
  sent to Washington by Mackenzie government to inquire as to
    reciprocity (1874), 226;
  appointed with Sir Edward Thornton to negotiate treaty, 226;
  finds much ignorance of value of Canadian trade, 228;
  prepares memorandum as to trade, 229;
  carries on propaganda in American journals, 230;
  falsely accused of bribing them, 230;
  describes progress of negotiations, 231;
  joins issue with Canadian protectionists, 232, 233;
  effect of his hostility to Canada First movement, 241, 242;
  his family, 243, 244;
  determines to retire from public life, 245;
  describes difficulty of combining journalism with politics, 246-8;
  his relations with party leaders after retirement, 247;
  acquires Bow Park estate, and engages in raising of fine cattle, 248;
  engaged in a famous case of contempt of court, 249;
  accused by Mr. Justice Wilson of bribery, 249;
  Mr. Justice Wilson attacked by the _Globe_, 250-2;
  Brown charged with contempt of court, appears in person, and defends
    himself, 252-4;
  attacked and shot by George Bennett, 255;
  the wound not regarded as mortal, 257;
  unfavourable progress of case, 257;
  death, 258;
  motives of Bennett, 258;
  character of Brown, 259;
  his career in relation to history, 260-3;
  his share in achievement of confederation, 264, 265

Brown, J. Gordon, succeeds George as managing editor of the _Globe_, 244

Brown, Peter, father of the Hon. George Brown,
  leaves Scotland for New York, 2;
  contributes to the _Albion_, 2;
  author of _Fame and Glory of England Vindicated_, 3;
  establishes the _British Chronicle_, 4;
  establishes the _Banner_, 5;
  his business troubles in Edinburgh lead to an attack on George Brown, 93;
  George Brown's speech in the legislature, 93-8;
  his work on the _Globe_, 243, 244


Canada First,
  its platform, 235;
  severely criticized by the _Globe_, 236;
  the _Globe_ suspects that it means Canadian independence, 237;
  the _Globe's_ attack on Canada First and Goldwin Smith, 237, 238;
  Mr. Goldwin Smith's reply, 238;
  national spirit evinced by movement, 239;
  effect of Canada First movement, 240, 241;
  Edward Blake at Aurora advocates imperial federation, 240;
  Liberal party injured by hostility to Canada First, 240-2

Cartier, Georges E., asks Brown to reconsider his resignation from
  coalition ministry, 196

Cartwright, Sir Richard, on confederation, 148, 153

Cathcart, Earl, governor of Canada, 28

_Church_, the, opposes responsible government as impious, 6

Clear Grit party,
  its leaders, 39;
  opposed by George Brown and the _Globe_, 40;
  its platform, 41

Clergy reserves,
  intended to endow Protestant clergy, 51;
  claim of Church of England to exclusive enjoyment, 51;
  evidence of intention to establish Church of England, 52;
  effect of policy on Canada, 52;
  described as one of the causes of rebellion, 53;
  settlement retarded by locking up of lands, 53, 54;
  Brown advocates secularization, 54;
  Brown addresses meeting in Toronto, 55, 56;
  the meeting mobbed, 58;
  Riot Act read, and military aid used to protect meeting, 58;
  secularization accomplished, 59, 60

Confederation of British American provinces advocated by British
    American League, 37, 38;
  the proposal attributed to various persons, 129;
  D'Arcy McGee says it was due to events more powerful than men, 129, 130;
  Brown's course leads up to confederation, 130;
  his letter to Luther Holton treating it as an open question, 131;
  advocated by Dorion, 132;
  by A. T. Galt, 132;
  failure of attempt made in 1858, 133;
  Liberals of Lower Canada declare for federal union, 133;
  convention of Upper Canada Reformers, 133, 134;
  the evils of the legislative union set forth, 134;
  account of the convention, 134;
  divided between dissolving and federalizing the union, 135;
  Sheppard's acute criticism of plan of federation, 135;
  convention declares for local legislatures, with joint authority for
    matters of common interest, 136, 138;
  George Brown opposes dissolution of union, 137;
  the legislature rejects Brown's resolutions founded on those of the
    convention, 139;
  becomes an urgent question, 147;
  causes of that change, 147;
  Canada urged by Great Britain to take measures for defence, 147;
  effect of the American Civil War, 147;
  abrogation of reciprocity treaty and loss of American trade, 148;
  fears of abolition of bonding system, 148;
  isolated position of Canada, 148;
  the credit of the country low, 148 (note);
  the dead-lock in the government of Canada, 149;
  attempts to form a stable government fail, 149;
  Brown describes the situation, 150;
  Brown brings into the House report of a special committee favouring
    federation as a remedy for difficulties in the government of
    Canada, 150;
  the Taché' government defeated, 151;
  negotiations with Brown, 151;
  Ferrier's account of the meeting, 152;
  Brown's account of negotiations, 152, 153;
  Sir Richard Cartwright describes a scene in the House, 153;
  official account of negotiations, 154;
  Brown reluctant to join coalition ministry, 154;
  question whether federation should include Maritime Provinces and
    North-West Territories, 155, 156;
  Brown consults Reform members for Upper Canada, 156;
  they approve of confederation and of coalition, 157;
  the governor-general (Monk) urges Brown to enter coalition, 157;
  Brown consents, 158;
  letter from Brown, 158;
  formation of the coalition, 159;
  predominance of Conservatives in government, 160;
  the bye-elections generally favour confederation, 160, 161;
  movement for Maritime union, 161;
  meeting of Canadian and Maritime representatives at Charlottetown, 161;
  conference at Quebec, 163;
  anxiety to avoid danger of "State sovereignty," 163;
  powers not defined to reside in central parliament, 163;
  constitution of the senate, 164;
  Brown advocates nominated senate, 164;
  Brown describes result of conference, 165;
  the Maritime delegates visit Canada, 166;
  cordial reception at Toronto, 166;
  Brown there describes scheme of confederation, 166;
  Brown visits England, 167;
  Brown finds English opinion favourable, 167;
  debate in the legislature of Canada, 169;
  speech of Sir E. P. Taché, 169;
  of John A. Macdonald, 170;
  of Brown, 171-4;
  of Dorion, 175;
  Dorion's objections to centralization considered, 178;
  the plan endangered by defeat of New Brunswick government, 181;
  debate in the Canadian legislature, 182;
  John Sandfield Macdonald charges coalition with attempting to mislead
    people, 183;
  John A. Macdonald announces that a deputation will be sent to England
    to consult as to defence, and as to attitude of New Brunswick, 183;
  Macdonald refers to debate in House of Lords on Canadian
    defences, 183, 184;
  Macdonald moves previous question, 185;
  ministers charged with burking discussion, 185;
  the Maritime Provinces inclined to withdraw, 186;
  Macdonald, Brown, Carrier and Galt visit England and confer with
    British ministers, 186;
  an agreement made as to defence, etc., 186;
  pressure brought to bear on New Brunswick, 186-8;
  death of Sir E. P. Taché, 189;
  discussion as to succession, 189;
  Brown's objection to Macdonald becoming premier, 189, 190;
  Sir N. F. Belleau chosen, 191;
  causes which led to Brown's leaving the ministry, 191;
  the reciprocity negotiations, 192;
  a confederate council on reciprocity formed, 193;
  Galt and Howland visit Washington, 193;
  Seward, American secretary of state, proposes reciprocal legislation
    instead of treaty, 193;
  Brown protests against that, and generally against Galt's
    proceedings, 194;
  Brown resigns his place in coalition, 195;
  his reasons considered, 195-201;
  violation of self-government involved in steps taken to bring about
    confederation, 204, 205;
  absence of popular approval, 205, 206;
  undue centralization, 207


Dorion, A. A.,
  leader of Rouges, 80;
  his friendship with George Brown, 80;
  joins Brown-Dorion government, 102;
  proposes federal union, 132;
  his speech in Canadian legislature against confederation, 175;
  declares that real authors of confederation were owners of Grand Trunk
    Railway Company, 176;
  contends that too much power is vested in central authority, 177;
  some of his objections well-founded, 178;
  declares that Macdonald accepted confederation merely to retain
    office, 199

"Double majority," the, advocated by John Sandfield Macdonald, 142

"Double Shuffle," the, 100;
  the Cartier-Macdonald government defeated on question of seat of
    government, 100;
  resigns, 101;
  George Brown asked to form ministry, 101;
  conference between Brown and Dorion, 101;
  the government formed, 102;
  the governor-general notifies Brown that he will not pledge himself to
    grant dissolution, 102, 103;
  his action criticized by Brown, 103, 104;
  the government defeated in the legislature, 104;
  policy of the government, 104;
  a dissolution asked for, 105;
  dissolution refused and government resigns, 106;
  former government resumes office, 106;
  artifice by which ministers avoid fresh elections, 107

Drummond, L. T., a member of the Brown-Dorion government, 102

Durham, Lord, extracts from his report, 11, 12, 52, 53, 54, 82, 83


Elgin, Lord, (see also _Rebellion Losses Bill_)
  condemns system of preferential trade, 32;
  reconciles colonial self-government with imperial unity, 33;
  concedes responsible government, 33;
  attacked by Canadian Tories as a sympathizer with rebels
    and Frenchmen, 33;
  assents to Rebellion Losses Bill, 36;
  mobbed at Montreal, 30;
  firm attitude during disturbance, 37


Ferrier, Mr., describes negotiations for confederation, 152

  Lord Durham's plan of benevolent assimilation, 12;
  its failure, 12;
  friendly attitude of Bagot towards, 16;
  their attitude towards representation by population, 83, 84


Galt, A. T.,
  asked to form a ministry, 106;
  enters reconstructed Cartier-Macdonald government, 107;
  advocates confederation of Canada, 132, 133;
  appointed with Brown to represent Canada in confederate council on
    reciprocity, 193;
  visits Washington and confers with Mr. Seward, secretary of state, 193;
  discusses with him question of reciprocity by legislation, 193;
  his course condemned by Brown, 194

Gladstone, W. E.,
  his eulogy of Peel government, 14;
  replies to despatch of Canadian government complaining of repeal of
    preferential tariff, 31

_Globe_, the,
  founded, 20;
  its motto, 20;
  its prospectus, 20;
  champions responsible government, 20;
  advocates war with United States to free slaves, 28, 29;
  defends abolition of Corn Laws in England, 31;
  defends Lord Elgin, 36;
  opposes Clear Grit movement, 40;
  discusses dissensions among Reformers, 42, 43;
  comments on Cardinal Wiseman's pastoral, 44;
  attacks Hincks-Morin government, 48;
  first issued as a daily in 1853, 74;
  absorbs _North American_ and _Examiner_, 74;
  declaration of principles, 74, 75;
  advocates alliance with Quebec Rouges, 78;
  befriends fugitive slaves, 112;
  opposes slavery, 119;
  "no popery" campaign, 123, 124;
  attacks Separate School Bill, 145;
  the early article showing value of North-West Territories, 213-17;
  severely criticizes Canada First party, 236-8;
  its attitude considered, 239;
  Brown declares his preference for editorship of _Globe_ to any
    official position, 247;
  its attack on Mr. Justice Wilson, 250-2;
  the article gives rise to proceedings for contempt of court, 252;
  Brown's defence, 252-4;
  the court disagrees, 254;
  description of building where Mr. Brown was shot, 255

Gordon, Arthur Hamilton, governor of New Brunswick,
  opposes confederation, 187;
  is censured by British government and instructed to reverse his
    policy, 187;
  brings pressure to bear on his ministers to abandon opposition to
    confederation, 188;
  the ministry resigns and is succeeded by a ministry favourable to
    confederation, 188


Head, Sir Edmund Bond,
  sends for George Brown to form government, 101;
  notifies Brown that he gives no pledge to dissolve, 102;
  refuses dissolution, 106;
  charge of partiality considered, 107, 108

Hincks, Sir Francis,
  succeeds Robert Baldwin, 48;
  attacked by Brown and the _Globe_, 48;
  policy as to secularization of clergy reserves, 59;
  his government defeated, 77;
  he retires and gives his support to the MacNab-Morin government, 77, 78

Holton, Luther,
  a member of the Brown-Dorion government, 102;
  opposes coalition of 1864, 199;
  his remarkable appeal to Brown to leave coalition, 200, 201

Howe, Joseph, his relations with Sir John Macdonald, 203

Howland, Sir W. P.,
  visits Washington in connection with reciprocity, 193;
  his relations with Sir John A. Macdonald's ministry, 202;
  defends his course in adhering to coalition, 209


Isbester, Mr., services in calling attention to North-West Territories, 212


_Liberal_, the, founded during Canada First movement, 235


Macdonald, John A.,
  rises to leadership of reconstructed Conservative party, 42;
  charges Brown with misconduct as secretary of prison commission, 87-90;
  enmity with Brown, 91;
  recounts negotiations with Brown as to confederation, 154;
  speech in legislature supporting confederation, 170;
  informs House of crisis caused by defeat of New Brunswick
    government, 182;
  announces mission to England, 182;
  deals with question of defence, 183;
  moves previous question, 185;
  goes to England to confer with British government, 186;
  asked to form an administration on death of Sir É. P. Taché, 189;
  Brown objects, 190;
  proposes Sir N. F. Belleau, who is accepted, 191;
  relations with Brown, 201;
  relations with Joseph Howe, 203

Macdonald, John Sandfield,
  a member of Brown-Dorion government, 102;
  advocates the "double majority," 142;
  his government adopts Separate School Bill, 144

Macdougall, William,
  one of the Clear Grits, 39;
  editor of the _North American_, 40;
  enters coalition ministry for purpose of carrying out confederation, 159;
  argues for continuance of coalition, 210

Mackenzie, Alexander,
  opposed to Reformers entering coalition ministry in 1864, 199;
  his government sends Brown to Washington in connection with
    reciprocity, 1874, 226

Metcalfe, Sir Charles (afterwards Lord),
  asked to undertake government of Canada, 18;
  difficulty of position emphasized by Lord Stanley, 18;
  misinformed as to intentions of Canadian Reformers, 19;
  his dispute with Baldwin and Lafontaine, 19;
  regards himself as defending unity of empire, 19;
  willing to grant responsible government in a qualified sense, 19;
  personal character, 19;
  dissolves legislature, 24;
  his view of the contest, 24;
  votes offered for him personally, 25;
  his victory, 26;
  subsequent difficulties, 26;
  illness and death, 27;
  raised to peerage, 27

Mowat, Oliver,
  a member of the Brown-Dorion government, 102;
  a member of committee of Anti-Slavery Society, 112;
  advocates federal union, 135;
  enters coalition to carry out confederation, 159


_Nation_, the,
  founded to advocate Canada First movement, 235;
  sets forth programme of Canada First party, 236

National Club, the, founded during the Canada First movement, 235

New Brunswick,
  defeat of local government, 181;
  the confederation scheme endangered by this defeat, 181;
  the situation discussed in the legislature of Canada, 182, 183;
  the Canadian mission to England, 186;
  the British government agrees to bring influence to bear on Maritime
    Provinces to enter confederation, 186;
  position of Mr. Gordon, lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick, 187;
  he at first opposes confederation, 187;
  receives instructions from England to promote confederation, 187;
  brings pressure to bear on his government to abandon opposition
    to confederation, 187, 188;
  the government resigns, 188;
  a general election follows, and a government favourable to
    confederation is returned, 188

New York, experience of the Browns in, 2, 3

_North American_, the organ of the Clear Grits, 40

Nova Scotia, the province of, forced into confederation, 206

North-West Territories,
  Brown's interest in, 211;
  address by Robert Baldwin Sullivan, 211;
  article in the _Globe_ describing resources of country, 213-15;
  letters of "Huron" in Toronto _Globe_, 215;
  meeting of Toronto Board of Trade, 216;
  Reform convention of 1857 advocates addition of territories
    to Canada, 217;
  scepticism as to value of country, 217, 218;
  Brown speaks in favour of extension of Canada to Pacific Ocean, 219;
  negotiations with British government, 220;
  Macdonald's testimony to Brown's services, 221


Parties, political,
  in state of transition on Brown's entry into parliament, 69;
  reconstruction on defeat of Hincks-Morin government, and formation
    of MacNab-Morin government, 77;
  the new government described as a coalition by its friends and as
    Tory by its opponents, 77;
  gradually comes to represent personal influence of John A. Macdonald, 78;
  the Baldwin Reformers, 78;
  opposition gathers under Brown, 78;
  alliance between Upper Canadian Reformers and Rouges, 78

Peel government, its attitude towards responsible government in Canada, 13;
  Gladstone's eulogium on, 14;
  misunderstands Canadian situation, 14;
  controversy with Governor Bagot, 16;
  regards Bagot's action as a surrender to rebels, 16, 17;
  appoints Metcalfe, 17-19

Preferential trade,
  abolished by repeal of Corn Laws, 31;
  complaints from Canada, 31;
  the _Globe_ defends British position, 31;
  Lord Elgin condemns imperial protection, 32

Prison commission,
  Macdonald charges Brown with falsifying testimony and suborning
    prisoners to commit perjury, 87;
  scene in the House, 88;
  Brown moves for a committee of inquiry, 88;
  unexpectedly produces report of commission, 88;
  proceedings of committee, 89;
  Brown describes abuses revealed by commission, 90;
  the incident embitters relations between Brown and Macdonald, 91;
  Brown delivers public address on prison reform, 91, 92

  advocated by the _Globe_ in 1853, 75;
  discussed in legislature, 75;
  drinking habits of Canada in early days, 75, 76

  beginning of agitation in Canada, 231;
  opposed by Brown, 232, 233


Rebellion in Canada (1837),
  causes of, 11;
  remedies proposed, 12

Rebellion Losses Bill, 34;
  disturbance occasioned by, 35;
  burning of parliament buildings at Montreal, 37;
  mobbing of Lord Elgin, 37

  abrogation of treaty of 1854 one of the causes of confederation, 148;
  negotiations for renewal of treaty, 192;
  confederate council on reciprocity formed, 193;
  Galt and Howland visit Washington, 193;
  Seward, American secretary of state, proposes reciprocal legislation
    instead of treaty, 193;
  Brown's objections, 194, 223;
  reasons for failure of negotiations of 1866, 224;
  Americans set little value on Canadian trade, 224;
  attempts at renewal in 1869 and 1871, 225;
  the Brown mission of 1874, 225;
  meeting with Mr. Rothery, agent of British government, 226;
  Brown visits Washington, 226;
  Sir Edward Thornton and Brown appointed to negotiate a treaty, 226;
  reasons for selection of Brown, 227;
  opening of negotiations, 227;
  sketch of proposed treaty, 227;
  list of articles on free list, 228;
  Brown finds value of Canadian trade greatly under-estimated in
    Washington, 228;
  Brown prepares a memorandum showing extent of trade, 229;
  carries on propaganda in American newspapers, 230;
  falsely charged with corrupting the press, 230;
  the treaty goes to the American senate, 231;
  failure of negotiations, 231;
  objections made in Canada, 231;
  Canadian movement for protection, 231;
  Brown opposes protection, 232, 233

Reformers, Canadian,
  open campaign for responsible government against Governor Metcalfe, 21;
  wise leadership of Baldwin and Lafontaine, 24;
  convention of 1857 advocates addition of North-West Territories to
    Canada, 217;
  convention of 1859 to consider relations of Upper and Lower
    Canada, 133, 134;
  arguments for confederation, 135;
  George Sheppard's powerful speech against federation, 135, 136;
  the advocates of federation agree to amendment minimizing powers of
    central government, 130, 137;
  Brown advocates confederation, 137, 138;
  Reformers consulted by George Brown as to confederation, 156;
  they agree to Brown and others entering coalition cabinet, 157;
  Reform party inadequately represented in coalition, 159;
  question of Reform representation again raised on death of
    Sir É. P. Taché, 190;
  Reform convention of 1867, 208;
  approves of confederation, 208;
  but declares that coalition should come to an end, its objects
    having been achieved, 208, 209

Representation by population,
  proposed by George Brown, 82-4;
  objections raised on behalf of Lower Canada, 84;
  strength of Lower Canadian case, 84;
  federalism the real remedy, 85

Responsible Government (see also _Peel Government_, _Bagot_, and
    _Metcalfe_), recommended by Lord Durham, 12, 13;
  attitude of British government, 13;
  Governor Bagot's concessions, 16-18;
  Governor Metcalfe's attitude, 19;
  Dr. Ryerson champions Governor Metcalfe, 22;
  the legislature dissolved, 1844, 24;
  fierce election contest follows, 24;
  personal victory for Governor Metcalfe, 25, 26

Roman Catholics,
  relations of George Brown with, 44 _et seq._, 121 _et seq_;
  Brown's letter to prominent Roman Catholics, 124 _et seq._

Rouges, described by the _Globe_, 78

Ryerson, Dr. leader among Methodists, 22;
  espouses cause of Governor Metcalfe against Reformers, 22;
  correctly describes attitude of British government, 23;
  supports Mr. R. W. Scott's Separate School Bill, 144


Scottish Church,
  disruption of, 2;
  opinions of the Browns thereon, 2;
  comment of the _Banner_, 6

Sheppard, George,
  his speech at Reform convention of 1859, 135;
  predicts growth of central authority under federal system, 136

Separate Schools,
  opposed by George Brown, 121;
  a compromise arranged, 122, 123;
  bill introduced by Mr. R. W. Scott, 144;
  supported by Dr. Ryerson, 144;
  adopted by Macdonald-Sicotte government, 144;
  becomes law, 145;
  assailed by the _Globe_, 145;
  accepted by Brown, 145

  Brown's opposition to, 1, 2, 3;
  Canada a refuge for slaves, 111;
  passage of Fugitive Slave Law, 111;
  Anti-Slavery Society formed in Canada, 112;
  settlements of refugee slaves, 113;
  Brown at Toronto denounces Fugitive Slave Law, 113, 114;
  Brown discusses Lincoln's proclamation of emancipation, 114;
  describes feeling in Great Britain, 115;
  Brown's insight into Lincoln's policy, 115;
  insists that slavery was cause of Civil War, 116;
  shows Canada's interest in the struggle, 117;
  consequences of growth of a slave power in North America, 118, 119

Smith, Goldwin,
  his connection with Canada First movement, 235;
  elected president of the National Club, 237;
  attacked by the _Globe_, 237, 238;
  his reply, 238, 239

Stanley, Lord, colonial secretary under Peel, advocates preferential
  trade and imperial protection, 15, 31

Sullivan, Robert Baldwin, delivers an address on resources of
  North-West Territories, 211

_Star_, the Cobourg, its estimate of George Brown, 71, 72

Scott, R. W., introduces Separate School Bill, 144

Strachan, Bishop, opposes secularization of King's College, 8


Taché, Sir E. P.,
  forms government in effort to break dead-lock, 149;
  his government defeated, 149;
  heads coalition to carry out confederation, 159;
  his speech in the legislature, 169;
  his death, 189

Thompson, Samuel, describes meeting with George Brown in 1843, 4, 5

Toronto Board of Trade, advocates incorporation of North-West
  Territories with Canada, 216


Wiseman, Cardinal,
  his pastoral published and criticized in the _Globe_, 44

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