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Title: The Day of Sir John Macdonald - A Chronicle of the First Prime Minister of the Dominion
Author: Pope, Joseph, Sir, 1854-1926
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.

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[Frontispiece: Sir John Macdonald crossing the Rockies over the newly
constructed Canadian Pacific Railway, 1886.  From a colour drawing by
C. W. Jefferys]



A Chronicle of the First Prime Minister of the Dominion







  Copyright in all Countries subscribing to
  the Berne Convention



Within a short time will be celebrated the centenary of the birth of
the great statesman who, half a century ago, laid the foundations and,
for almost twenty years, guided the destinies of the Dominion of Canada.

Nearly a like period has elapsed since the author's _Memoirs of Sir
John Macdonald_ was published.  That work, appearing as it did little
more than three years after his death, was necessarily subject to many
limitations and restrictions.  As a connected story it did not profess
to come down later than the year 1873, nor has the time yet arrived for
its continuation and completion on the same lines.  That task is
probably reserved for other and freer hands than mine.  At the same
time, it seems desirable that, as Sir John Macdonald's centenary
approaches, there should be available, in convenient form, a short
résumé of the salient features of his {viii} career, which, without
going deeply and at length into all the public questions of his time,
should present a familiar account of the man and his work as a whole,
as well as, in a lesser degree, of those with whom he was intimately
associated.  It is with such object that this little book has been


OTTAWA, 1914.




      PREFATORY NOTE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  vii
   I. YOUTH  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    1
  II. MIDDLE LIFE  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   40
 III. OLD AGE  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  139
      BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  184
      INDEX  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  187



    CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY, 1886 . . . . . . . . .   _Frontispiece_
  From a colour drawing by C. W. Jefferys.

  From a print in the John Ross Robertson
    Collection, Toronto Public Library.

JOHN A. MACDONALD IN 1842  . . . . . . . . . . . . .         "     12
  From a photograph.

SIR ALLAN NAPIER MACNAB  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .         "     36
  From a portrait in the John Ross Robertson
    Collection, Toronto Public Library.

SIR EDMUND WALKER HEAD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .         "     42
  From the John Ross Robertson Collection,
    Toronto Public Library.

SIR ÉTIENNE PASCAL TACHÉ   . . . . . . . . . . . . .         "     70
  From a portrait in the John Ross Robertson
    Collection, Toronto Public Library.

SIR JOHN A. MACDONALD IN 1872  . . . . . . . . . . .         "     96
  From a photograph.

SIR JOHN A. MACDONALD IN 1883  . . . . . . . . . . .         "    138
  From a photograph.




John Alexander Macdonald, second son of Hugh Macdonald and Helen Shaw,
was born in Glasgow on January 11, 1815.  His father, originally from
Sutherlandshire, removed in early life to Glasgow, where he formed a
partnership with one M'Phail, and embarked in business as a cotton
manufacturer.  Subsequently he engaged in the manufacture of bandanas,
and the style of the firm became 'H. Macdonald and Co.'  The venture
did not prove successful, and Macdonald resolved to try his fortunes in
the New World.  Accordingly, in the year 1820, he embarked for Canada
in the good ship _Earl of Buckinghamshire_, and after a voyage long and
irksome even for those days, landed at Quebec and journeyed overland to
Kingston, then and for some years after the most considerable town in
Upper Canada, boasting a population (exclusive of the military) of
about 2500 souls.


At that time the whole population of what is now the province of
Ontario did not exceed 120,000, clustered, for the most part, in
settlements along the Bay of Quinté, Lake Ontario proper, and the
vicinity of the Niagara and Detroit rivers.  The interior of the
province was covered with the primeval forest, which disappeared
slowly, and only by dint of painful and unceasing toil.  The early
accounts of Kingston bear eloquent testimony to its primitive
character.  In 1815, according to a correspondent of the Kingston
_Gazette_, the town possessed no footways worthy of the name, in
consequence of which lack it was, during rainy weather, 'scarcely
possible to move about without being in mud to the ankles.'  No
provision existed for lighting the streets 'in the dark of the moon'; a
fire-engine was badly needed, and also the enforcement of a regulation
prohibiting the piling of wood in public thoroughfares.

Communication with the outside world, in those early days, was slow,
toilsome, and sometimes dangerous.  The roads were, for the most part,
Indian paths, somewhat improved in places, but utterly unsuited,
particularly in spring and autumn, for the passage of heavily laden
vehicles.  In 1817 a weekly {3} stage began running from Kingston to
York (Toronto), with a fare of eighteen dollars.  The opening of an
overland highway between Kingston and Montreal, which could be
travelled on by horses, was hailed as a great boon.  Prior to this the
journey to Montreal had been generally made by water, in an enlarged
and improved type of bateau known as a Durham boat, which had a speed
of two to three miles an hour.  The cost to the passenger was one cent
and a half a mile, including board.

In the early twenties of the nineteenth century the infant province of
Upper Canada found itself slowly recovering from the effects of the War
of 1812-14.  Major-General Sir Peregrine Maitland, the
lieutenant-governor, together with the Executive and Legislative
Councils, was largely under the influence of the 'Family Compact' of
those days.  The oligarchical and selfish rule of this coterie gave
rise to much dissatisfaction among the people, whose discontent,
assiduously fanned by agitators like Robert Gourlay, culminated in open
rebellion in the succeeding decade.

Such was the condition of things prevailing at the time when the future
prime minister arrived in the town with which he was destined {4} to be
in close association for nearly three-quarters of a century.

[Illustration: The Macdonald homestead at Adolphustown.  From a print
in the John Ross Robertson Collection, Toronto Public Library]

Hugh Macdonald, after a few years of unsatisfactory experience in
Kingston, determined upon seeking fortune farther west.  Accordingly he
moved up the Bay of Quinté to the township of Adolphustown, which had
been settled about forty years previously by a party of United Empire
Loyalists under the command of one Captain Van Alstine.  Here, at Hay
Bay, Macdonald opened a shop.  Subsequently he moved across the Bay of
Quinté to a place in the county of Prince Edward, known then as the
Stone Mills, and afterwards as Glenora, where he built a grist-mill.
This undertaking, however, did not prosper, and in 1836 he returned to
Kingston, where he obtained a post in the Commercial Bank.  Shortly
afterwards he fell into ill health, and in 1841 he died.

Few places in the wide Dominion of Canada possess greater charm than
the lovely arm of Lake Ontario beside whose pleasant waters Sir John
Macdonald spent the days of his early boyhood.  The settlements had
been founded by Loyalists who had left the United States rather than
join in revolution.  The lad lived in daily contact with men who had
{5} given the strongest possible testimony of their loyalty, in
relinquishing all that was dear to them rather than forswear allegiance
to their king, and it is not surprising that he imbibed, in the morning
of life, those principles of devotion to the crown and to British
institutions which regulated every stage of his subsequent career.  To
the last he never forgot the Bay of Quinté, and whenever I passed
through that charming locality in his company he would speak with
enthusiasm of the days when he lived there.  He would recall some event
connected with each neighbourhood, until, between Glasgow and Kingston,
Adolphustown, Hay Bay, and the Stone Mills, it was hard to tell what
was his native place.  I told him so one day, and he laughingly
replied: 'That's just what the Grits say.  The _Globe_ has it that I am
born in a new place every general election!'

When Hugh Macdonald moved from Hay Bay to the Stone Mills, his son
John, then about ten years of age, returned to Kingston to pursue his
studies.  He attended the grammar school in that town until he reached
the age of fifteen, when he began the world for himself.  Five years at
a grammar school was all the formal education Sir John {6} Macdonald
ever enjoyed.  To reflect upon the vast fund of knowledge of all kinds
which he acquired in after years by his reading, his observation, and
his experience, is to realize to the full the truth of the saying, that
a man's education often begins with his leaving school.  He always
regretted the disadvantages of his early life.  'If I had had a
university education,' I heard him say one day, 'I should probably have
entered upon the path of literature and acquired distinction therein.'
He did not add, as he might have done, that the successful government
of millions of men, the strengthening of an empire, the creation of a
great dominion, call for the possession and exercise of rarer qualities
than are necessary to the achievement of literary fame.

In 1830 Macdonald, then fifteen years of age, entered upon the study of
law in the office of George Mackenzie of Kingston, a close friend of
his father, with whom also he lodged.  In 1832 Mackenzie opened a
branch office in the neighbouring town of Napanee, to which place
Macdonald was occasionally sent to look after the business.  In 1833,
by an arrangement made between Mackenzie and L. P. Macpherson--a
relative of the Macdonalds--young {7} Macdonald was sent to Picton, to
take charge of Macpherson's law-office during his absence from Canada.

On being called to the bar in 1836, Macdonald opened an office in
Kingston and began the practice of law on his own account.  In the
first year of his profession, there entered his office as student a lad
destined to become, in Ontario, scarcely less eminent than himself.
This was Oliver Mowat, the son of Macdonald's intimate personal and
political friend, John Mowat of Kingston.  Oliver Mowat studied law
four years with Macdonald, leaving his office in 1840.  About the same
time another youth, likewise destined to achieve more than local
celebrity as Sir Alexander Campbell, applied for admission to the
office.  Few circumstances in the political history of Canada have been
more dwelt upon than this noteworthy association; few are more worthy
of remark.  A young man, barely twenty-one years of age, without any
special advantages of birth or education, opens a law-office in
Kingston, at that time a place of less than five thousand inhabitants.
Two lads come to him to study law.  The three work together for a few
years.  They afterwards go into politics.  One drifts away {8} from the
other two, who remain closely allied.  After the lapse of twenty-five
years the three meet again, at the Executive Council Board, members of
the same Administration.  Another twenty-five years roll by, and the
principal is prime minister of Canada, while one of the students is
lieutenant-governor of the great province of Ontario, the other his
chief adviser, and all three are decorated by Her Majesty for
distinguished services to the state.

The times were rough.  In Macdonald's first case, which was at Picton,
he and the opposing counsel became involved in an argument, which,
waxing hotter and hotter, culminated in blows.  They closed and fought
in open court, to the scandal of the judge, who immediately instructed
the crier to enforce order.  This crier was an old man, personally much
attached to Macdonald, in whom he took a lively interest.  In pursuance
of his duty, however, he was compelled to interfere.  Moving towards
the combatants, and circling round them, he shouted in stentorian
tones, 'Order in the court, order in the court!' adding in a low, but
intensely sympathetic voice as he passed near his protégé, 'Hit him,
John!'  I have heard Sir John Macdonald {9} say that, in many a
parliamentary encounter of after years, he has seemed to hear, above
the excitement of the occasion, the voice of the old crier whispering
in his ear the words of encouragement, 'Hit him, John!'

In 1837 the rebellion broke out, and Macdonald hastened to give his
services to the cause of law and order.  'I carried my musket in '37,'
he was wont to say in after years.  One day he gave me an account of a
long march his company made, I forget from what place, but with Toronto
as the objective point.  'The day was hot, my feet were blistered--I
was but a weary boy--and I thought I should have dropped under the
weight of the flint musket which galled my shoulder.  But I managed to
keep up with my companion, a grim old soldier, who seemed impervious to

In 1838 took place the notorious Von Shoultz affair, about which much
misunderstanding exists.  The facts are these.  During the rebellion of
1837-38 a party of Americans crossed the border and captured a windmill
near Prescott, which they held for eight days.  They were finally
dislodged, arrested, and tried by court-martial.  The quartermaster of
the insurgents was a man named Gold.  He {10} was taken, as was also
Von Shoultz, a Polish gentleman.  Gold had a brother-in-law in
Kingston, named Ford.  Ford was anxious that some effort should be made
to defend his relative.  Leading lawyers refused the service.  One
morning Ford came to Macdonald's house before he was up.  After much
entreaty he persuaded Macdonald to undertake the defence.  There could
be practically no defence, however, and Von Shoultz, Gold, and nine
others were condemned and hanged.  Von Shoultz's career had been
chequered.  He was born in Cracow.  His father, a major in a Cracow
regiment, was killed in action while fighting for the cause of an
independent Poland, and on the field of battle his son was selected by
the corps to fill his father's place.  He afterwards drifted about
Europe until he reached Florence, where he taught music for a while.
There he married an English girl, daughter of an Indian officer,
General Mackenzie.  Von Shoultz subsequently crossed to America,
settled in Virginia, took out a patent for crystallizing salt, and
acquired some property.  The course of business took him to Salina,
N.Y., not far from the Canadian boundary, where he heard of the
rebellion going on in Canada.  He not unnaturally {11} associated the
cause of the rebels with that of his Polish brethren warring against
oppression.  He had been told that the Canadians were serfs, fighting
for liberty.  Fired with zeal for such a cause, he crossed the frontier
with a company and was captured.  He was only second in command, the
nominal chief being a Yankee named Abbey, who tried to run away, and
who, Von Shoultz declared to Macdonald, was a coward.

Von Shoultz left to Macdonald a hundred dollars in his will.  'I wish
my executors to give Mr John A. Macdonald $100 for his kindness to me.'
This was in the original draft, but Macdonald left it out when reading
over the will for his signature.  Von Shoultz observed the omission,
and said, 'You have left that out.'  Macdonald replied yes, that he
would not take it.  'Well,' replied Von Shoultz, 'if it cannot be done
one way, it can another.'  So he wrote with his own hand a letter of
instructions to his executors to pay this money over, but Macdonald
refused to accept it.

It has been generally stated that it was the 'eloquent appeal' on
behalf of this unfortunate man which established Macdonald's reputation
at the bar, but this is quite a mistake.  {12} Macdonald never made any
speech in defence of Von Shoultz, for two very good reasons.  First,
the Pole pleaded guilty at the outset; and, secondly, the trial was by
court-martial, on which occasions, in those days, counsel were not
allowed to address the court on behalf of the prisoner.

This erroneous impression leads me to say that a good deal of
misapprehension exists respecting the early manhood of Canada's first
prime minister.  He left school, as we have seen, at an age when many
boys begin their studies.  He did this in order that he might assist in
supporting his parents and sisters, who, from causes which I have
indicated, were in need of his help.  The responsibility was no light
one for a lad of fifteen.  Life with him in those days was a struggle;
and all the glamour with which writers seek to invest it, who begin
their accounts by mysterious allusions to the mailed barons of his
line, is quite out of place.  His grandfather was a merchant in a
Highland village.  His father served his apprenticeship in his
grandfather's shop, and he himself was compelled to begin the battle of
life when a mere lad.  Sir John Macdonald owed nothing to birth or
fortune.  He did not think little of either of them, but it is the {13}
simple truth to say that he attained the eminent position which he
afterwards occupied solely by his own exertions.  He was proud of this
fact, and those who thought to flatter him by asserting the contrary
little knew the man.  Nor is it true that he leaped at one bound into
the first rank of the legal profession.  On the contrary, I believe
that his progress at the bar, although uniform and constant, was not
extraordinarily rapid.  He once told me that he was unfortunate, in the
beginning of his career, with his criminal cases, several of his
clients, of whom Von Shoultz was one, having been hanged.  This piece
of ill luck was so marked that somebody (I think it was William Henry
Draper, afterwards chief justice) said to him, jokingly, one day, 'John
A., we shall have to make you attorney-general, owing to your success
in _securing_ convictions!'

[Illustration: John A. Macdonald in 1842]

Macdonald's mother was in many ways a remarkable woman.  She had great
energy and strength of will, and it was she, to use his own words, who
'kept the family together' during their first years in Canada.  For her
he ever cherished a tender regard, and her death, which occurred in
1862, was a great grief to him.


The selection of Kingston by Lord Sydenham in 1840 as the seat of
government of the united provinces of Canada was a boon to the town.
Real property advanced in price, some handsome buildings were erected,
apart from those used as public offices, and a general improvement in
the matter of pavements, drains, and other public utilities became
manifest.  Meanwhile, however, Toronto had far outstripped its sometime
rival.  In 1824 the population of Toronto (then York) had been less
than 1700, while that of Kingston had been about 3000, yet in 1848
Toronto counted 23,500 inhabitants to Kingston's 8400.  Still, Kingston
jogged along very comfortably, and Macdonald added steadily to his
reputation and practice.  On September 1, 1843, he formed a partnership
with his quondam student Alexander Campbell, who had just been admitted
to the bar.  It was not long before Macdonald became prominent as a
citizen of Kingston.  In March 1843 he was elected to the city council
for what is now a portion of Frontenac and Cataraqui wards.  But a
higher destiny awaited him.

The rebellion which had broken out in Lower Canada and spread to the
upper {15} province, while the future prime minister was quietly
applying himself to business, had been suppressed.  In Upper Canada,
indeed, it had never assumed a serious character.  Its leaders, or some
of them at any rate, had received the reward of their transgressions.
Lord Durham had come to Canada, charged with the arduous duty of
ascertaining the cause of the grave disorders which afflicted the
colony.  He had executed his difficult task with rare skill, but had
gone home broken-hearted to die, leaving behind him a report which will
ever remain a monument no less to his powers of observation and
analysis than to the clearness and vigour of his literary style.[1]
The {16} union of Upper and Lower Canada, advocated by Lord Durham, had
taken place.  The seat of government had been fixed at Kingston, and
the experiment of a united Canada had begun.

We have seen that Macdonald, at the outbreak of the rebellion, hastened
to place his military services at the disposal of the crown.  On the
restoration of law and order we find his political sympathies ever on
the side of what used to be called the governor's party.  This does not
mean that at any time of his career he was a member of, or in full
sympathy with, the high Toryism of the 'Family Compact.'  In those days
he does not even seem to have classed himself as a Tory.[2]  Like many
moderate men in the province, Macdonald sided with this party because
he hated sedition.  The members of the 'Family {17} Compact' who stood
by the governor were devotedly loyal to the crown and to monarchical
institutions, while the violent language of some of the Radical party
alienated many persons who, while they were not Tories, were even less
disposed to become rebels.

The exacting demands of his Radical advisers upon the governor-general
at this period occasionally passed all bounds.  One of their grievances
against Sir Charles Metcalfe was that he had ventured to appoint on his
personal staff a Canadian gentleman bearing the distinguished name of
deSalaberry, who happened to be distasteful to LaFontaine.  In our day,
of course, no minister could dream of interfering, even by way of
suggestion, with a governor-general in the selection of his staff.  In
1844, when the crisis came, and Metcalfe appealed to the people of
Canada to sustain him, Macdonald sought election to the Assembly from
Kingston.  It was his 'firm belief,' he announced at the time, 'that
the prosperity of Canada depends upon its permanent connection with the
mother country'; and he was determined to 'resist to the utmost any
attempt (from whatever quarter it may come) which may tend to {18}
weaken that union.'  He was elected by a large majority.

In the same year, the year in which Macdonald was first elected to
parliament, another young Scotsman, likewise to attain great prominence
in the country, made his _début_ upon the Canadian stage.  On March 5,
1844, the Toronto _Globe_ began its long and successful career under
the guidance of George Brown, an active and vigorous youth of
twenty-five, who at once threw himself with great energy and
conspicuous ability into the political contest that raged round the
figure of the governor-general.  Brown's qualities were such as to
bring him to the front in any labour in which he might engage.  Ere
long he became one of the leaders of the Reform party, a position which
he maintained down to the date of his untimely death at the hands of an
assassin in 1880.  Brown did not, however, enter parliament for some
years after the period we are here considering.

The Conservative party issued from the general elections of 1844 with a
bare majority in the House, which seldom exceeded six and sometimes
sank to two or three.  Early in that year the seat of government had
been removed from Kingston to Montreal.  The first {19} session of the
new parliament--the parliament in which Macdonald had his first
seat--was held in the old Legislative Building which occupied what was
afterwards the site of St Anne's Market.  In those days the residential
quarter was in the neighbourhood of Dalhousie Square, the old Donegana
Hotel on Notre Dame Street being the principal hostelry in the city.
There it was that the party chiefs were wont to forgather.  That
Macdonald speedily attained a leading position in the councils of his
party is apparent from the fact that he had not been two years and a
half in parliament when the prime minister, the Hon. W. H. Draper,
wrote him (March 4, 1847) requesting his presence in Montreal.  Two
months later Macdonald was offered and accepted a seat in the Cabinet.

Almost immediately after Macdonald's admission to the Cabinet, Draper
retired to the bench.  He was succeeded by Henry Sherwood, a scion of
the 'Family Compact,' whose term of office was brief.  The elections
came on during the latter part of December, and, as was very generally
expected,[3] the {20} Sherwood Administration went down to defeat.  In
Lower Canada the Government did not carry a single French-Canadian
constituency, and in Upper Canada they failed of a majority, taking
only twenty seats out of forty-two.  In accordance with the more
decorous practice of those days, the Ministry, instead of accepting
their defeat at the hands of the press, met parliament like men, and
awaited the vote of want of confidence from the people's
representatives.  This was not long in coming; whereupon they resigned,
and the Reform leaders Baldwin and LaFontaine reigned in their stead.

The events of the next few years afford a striking example of the
mutability of political life.  Though this second Baldwin-LaFontaine
Administration was elected to power by a large majority--though it
commanded more than five votes in the Assembly to every two of the
Opposition--yet within three years both leaders had withdrawn from
public life, and Baldwin himself had sustained a personal defeat at the
polls.  The Liberal Government, reconstituted under Sir Francis Hincks,
managed to retain office for three years more; but it was crippled
throughout its whole term by the most bitter internecine feuds, and it
fell {21} at length before the assaults of those who had been elected
to support it.  The measure responsible more than any other for the
excited and bitter feeling which prevailed was the Rebellion Losses
Bill.  There is reason to believe that the members of the Government,
or at any rate the Upper-Canadian ministers, were not at any time
united in their support of the Bill.  But the French vehemently
insisted on it, and the Ministry, dependent as it was on the
Lower-Canadian vote for its existence, had no choice.  The Bill
provided, as the title indicates, for compensation out of the public
treasury to those persons in Lower Canada who had suffered loss of
property during the rebellion.  It was not proposed to make a
distinction between loyalists and rebels, further than by the insertion
of a provision that no person who had actually been convicted of
treason, or who had been transported to Bermuda, should share in the
indemnity.  Now, a large number of the people of Lower Canada had been
more or less concerned in the rebellion, but not one-tenth of them had
been arrested, and only a small minority of those arrested had been
brought to trial.  It is therefore easy to see that the proposal was
calculated {22} to produce a bitter feeling among those who looked upon
rebellion as the most grievous of crimes.  It was, they argued, simply
putting a premium on treason.  The measure was fiercely resisted by the
Opposition, and called forth a lively and acrimonious debate.  Among
its strongest opponents was Macdonald.  According to his custom, he
listened patiently to the arguments for and against the measure, and
did not make his speech until towards the close of the debate.

Despite the protests of the Opposition, the Bill passed its third
reading in the House of Assembly on March 9, 1849, by a vote of
forty-seven to eighteen.  Outside the walls of parliament the clamour
grew fiercer every hour.  Meetings were held all over Upper Canada and
in Montreal, and petitions to Lord Elgin, the governor-general, poured
in thick and fast, praying that the obnoxious measure might not become
law.  In Toronto some disturbances took place, during which the houses
of Baldwin, Blake, and other prominent Liberals were attacked, and the
Reform leaders were burned in effigy.

The Government, which all along seems to have underrated public
feeling, was so unfortunate as to incur the suspicion of {23}
deliberately going out of its way to inflame popular resentment.  It
was considered expedient, for commercial reasons, to bring into
operation immediately a customs law, and the Ministry took the unwise
course of advising the governor-general to assent to the Rebellion
Losses Bill at the same time.  Accordingly, on April 25, Lord Elgin
proceeded to the Parliament Buildings and gave the royal assent to
these and other bills.  Not a suspicion of the governor's intention had
got abroad until the morning of the eventful day.  His action was
looked upon as a defiance of public sentiment; the popular mind was
already violently excited, and consequences of the direst kind
followed.  His Excellency, when returning to his residence,
'Monklands,' was grossly insulted, his carriage was almost shattered by
stones, and he himself narrowly escaped bodily injury at the hands of
the infuriated populace.  A public meeting was held that evening on the
Champs de Mars, and resolutions were adopted praying Her Majesty to
recall Lord Elgin.  But no mere passing of resolutions would suffice
the fiercer spirits of that meeting.  The cry arose--'To the Parliament
Buildings!' and soon the lurid flames mounting on the night air told
{24} the horror-stricken people of Montreal that anarchy was in their
midst.  The whole building, including the legislative libraries, which
contained many rare and priceless records of the colony, was destroyed
in a few minutes.

This abominable outrage called for the severest censure, not merely on
the rioters, but also on the authorities, who took few steps to avert
the calamity.  An eyewitness stated that half a dozen men could have
extinguished the fire, which owed its origin to lighted balls of paper
thrown about the chamber by the rioters; but there does not seem to
have been even a policeman on the ground.  Four days afterwards the
Government, still disregarding public sentiment, brought the
governor-general to town to receive an address voted to him by the
Assembly.  The occasion was the signal for another disturbance.  Stones
were thrown at Lord Elgin's carriage; and missiles of a more offensive
character were directed with such correctness of aim that the
ubiquitous reporter of the day described the back of the governor's
carriage as 'presenting an awful sight.'  Various societies, notably St
Andrew's Society of Montreal, passed resolutions removing Lord Elgin
from the presidency or patronage of their {25} organizations; some of
them formally expelled him.  On the other hand, he received many
addresses from various parts of the country expressive of confidence
and esteem.  Sir Allan MacNab and William Cayley repaired to England to
protest, on behalf of the Opposition, against the governor's course.
They were closely followed by Francis Hincks, representing the
Government.  The matter duly came up in the Imperial parliament.  In
the House of Commons the Bill was vigorously attacked by Gladstone, who
shared the view of the Canadian Opposition that it was a measure for
the rewarding of rebels.  It was defended by Lord John Russell, and
Lord Elgin's course in following the advice of his ministers was
ultimately approved by the home government.

As in many another case, the expectation proved worse than the reality.
The commission appointed by the Government under the Rebellion Losses
Act was composed of moderate men, who had the wisdom to refuse
compensation to many claimants on the ground of their having been
implicated in the rebellion, although never convicted by any court.
Had it been understood that the restricted interpretation which the
commission gave the Bill would be applied, it is possible that this
{26} disgraceful episode in the history of Canada would not have to be

An inevitable consequence of this lamentable occurrence was the removal
of the seat of government from Montreal.  The Administration felt that,
in view of what had taken place, it would be folly to expose the
Government and parliament to a repetition of these outrages.  This
resolve gave rise to innumerable jealousies on the part of the several
cities which aspired to the honour of having the legislature in their
midst.  Macdonald was early on the look-out, and, at the conclusion of
his speech on the disturbances, in the course of which he severely
censured the Ministry for its neglect to take ordinary precautions to
avert what it should have known was by no means an unlikely
contingency, he moved that the seat of government be restored to
Kingston--a motion which was defeated by a large majority, as was a
similar proposal in favour of Bytown (Ottawa).  It was finally
determined to adopt the ambulatory system of having the capital
alternately at Quebec and Toronto, a system which prevailed until the
removal to Ottawa in 1865.[4]


The historic Annexation manifesto of 1849 was an outcome of the
excitement produced by the Rebellion Losses Act.  Several hundreds of
the leading citizens of Montreal, despairing of the future of a country
which could tolerate such legislation as they had recently witnessed,
affixed their names to a document advocating a friendly and peaceable
separation from British connection as a prelude to union with the
United States.  Men subsequently known as Sir John Rose, Sir John
Caldwell Abbott, Sir Francis Johnson, Sir David Macpherson, together
with such well-known citizens as the Redpaths, the Molsons, the
Torrances, and the Workmans, were among the number.

Macdonald, referring in later years to this Annexation manifesto,

Our fellows lost their heads.  I was pressed to sign it, but refused
and advocated the formation of the British America League as a more
sensible procedure.  From all parts of Upper Canada, and from the
British section of Lower Canada, and {28} from the British inhabitants
of Montreal, representatives were chosen.  They met at Kingston for the
purpose of considering the great danger to which the constitution of
Canada was exposed.  A safety-valve was found.  Our first resolution
was that we were resolved to maintain inviolate the connection with the
mother country.  The second proposition was that the true solution of
the difficulty lay in the confederation of all the provinces.  The
third resolution was that we should attempt to form in such
confederation, or in Canada before Confederation, a commercial national
policy.  The effects of the formation of the British America League
were marvellous.  Under its influence the annexation sentiment
disappeared, the feeling of irritation died away, and the principles
which were laid down by the British America League in 1850 are the
lines on which the Conservative-Liberal party has moved ever since.

The carrying of the Rebellion Losses Bill was the high-water mark of
the LaFontaine-Baldwin Administration.  In the following session
symptoms of disintegration began to {29} appear.  Grown bold by
success, the advanced section of the Upper-Canadian Radicals pressed
for the immediate secularization of the Clergy Reserves[5] by a process
scarcely distinguishable from confiscation.  To this demand the
Government was not prepared to agree, and in consequence there was much
disaffection in the Reform ranks.  This had its counterpart in Lower
Canada, where Louis Joseph Papineau and his _Parti Rouge_ clamoured for
various impracticable constitutional changes, including a general
application of the elective principle, a republican form of government,
and, ultimately, annexation to the United States.

To add to the difficulties of the situation, George Brown, in the
columns of the _Globe_, which up to this time was supposed to reflect
the views of the Government, began a furious onslaught against Roman
Catholicism in general and on the French Canadians in particular.  This
fatuous course could not fail to prove embarrassing to a Ministry which
drew its main support from Lower Canada.  {30} It was the time of the
'Papal Aggression' in England.  Anti-Catholicism was in the air, and
found a congenial exponent in George Brown, whose vehement and
intolerant nature espoused the new crusade with enthusiasm.  It is
difficult for any one living in our day to conceive of the leading
organ of a great political party writing thus of a people who at that
time numbered very nearly one-half the population of Canada, and from
whose ranks the parliamentary supporters of its own political party
were largely drawn:

It would give us great pleasure to think that the French Canadians were
really hearty coadjutors of the Upper-Canadian Reformers, but all the
indications point the other way, and it appears hoping against hope to
anticipate still; their race, their religion, their habits, their
ignorance, are all against it, and their recent conduct is in harmony
with these.[6]

The Ministry could not be expected to stand this sort of thing
indefinitely.  They were {31} compelled to disavow the _Globe_, and so
to widen the breach between them and Brown.

In 1851 Baldwin and LaFontaine retired from public life.  A new
Administration was formed from the same party under the leadership of
Hincks and Morin, and in the general elections that followed George
Brown was returned to parliament for Kent.  The new Ministry, however,
found no more favour at the hands of Brown than did its predecessor.
Nor was Brown content to confine his attacks to the floor of the House.
He wrote and published in the _Globe_ a series of open letters
addressed to Hincks, charging him with having paltered away his Liberal
principles for the sake of French-Canadian support.  To such lengths
did Brown carry his opposition, that in the general elections of 1854
we find him, together with the extreme Liberals, known as Rouges, in
Lower Canada, openly supporting the Conservative leaders against the

While Brown was thus helping on the disruption of his party, his future
great rival, by a very different line of conduct, was laying broad and
deep the foundations of a policy tending to ameliorate the racial and
religious differences unfortunately existing between {32} Upper and
Lower Canada.[7]  To a man of Macdonald's large and generous mind the
fierce intolerance of Brown must have been in itself most distasteful.
At the same time, there is no doubt that George Brown's anti-Catholic,
anti-French crusade, while but one factor among several in contributing
to the downfall of the Baldwin and Hincks Governments, became in after
years, when directed against successive Liberal-Conservative
Administrations, the most formidable obstacle against which Macdonald
had to contend.

The result of the _Globe's_ propaganda amounted to this, that for
twenty years the Conservative leader found himself in a large minority
in his own province of Upper Canada, and dependent upon Lower Canada
for support--truly an unsatisfactory state of affairs to himself
personally, and one most inimical to the welfare of the country.  It
was not pleasant for a public man to be condemned, election after
election, to fight a losing battle {33} in his home province, where he
was best known, and to be obliged to carry his measures by the vote of
his allies of another province.  It is therefore not to be wondered at
that Sir John Macdonald in his reminiscent moods sometimes alluded to
these days, thus:

Had I but consented to take the popular side in Upper Canada, I could
have ridden the Protestant horse much better than George Brown, and
could have had an overwhelming majority.  But I willingly sacrificed my
own popularity for the good of the country, and did equal justice to
all men.[8]

Scattered throughout his correspondence are several references of a
similar tenor.  I do not believe, however, that the temptation ever
seriously assailed him.  Indeed, we find that at every step in his
career, when the opportunity presented itself for showing sympathy with
the French Canadians in their struggle for the maintenance of their
just rights, he invariably espoused their cause, not then a popular
one.  At the union of Upper and Lower Canada in 1841 there seems to
have been a general disposition to hasten the {34} absorption of the
French-Canadian people, so confidently predicted by Lord Durham.  That
nobleman declared with the utmost frankness that, in his opinion, the
French Canadians were destined speedily to lose their distinctive
nationality by becoming merged in the Anglo-Saxon communities
surrounding them, and he conceived that nothing would conduce so
effectually to this result as the union of Upper and Lower Canada.  His
successor, Lord Sydenham, evidently shared these views upon the
subject, for his Cabinet did not contain a single French Canadian.  In
furtherance of this policy it was provided in the Union Act (1840) that
all the proceedings of parliament should be printed in the English
language only.  At that time the French Canadians numbered more than
one-half the people of Canada, and the great majority of them knew no
other language than French.  No wonder that this provision was felt by
them to be a hardship, or that it tended to embitter them and to
increase their hostility to the Union.  Macdonald had not sat in
parliament a month before the Government of which he was a supporter
proposed and carried in the House of Assembly a resolution providing
for the removal of this restriction.  {35} During the ensuing two years
the same Government opened negotiations (which came to nothing at the
time) with certain leaders among the French Canadians looking towards
political co-operation, and similar though equally fruitless overtures
were made to them during the weeks following Macdonald's admission into
the Draper Cabinet.  This policy Macdonald had deliberately adopted and
carried with him into Opposition.

In a letter outlining the political campaign of 1854, he says in so
many words:

My belief is that there must be a material alteration in the character
of the new House.  I believe also that there must be a change of
Ministry after the election, and, _from my friendly relations with the
French_, I am inclined to believe my assistance would be sought.[9]

Meanwhile the cleavage in the Reform ranks was daily becoming wider.
Indeed, as has been said, the Radical section of the Upper-Canadian
representation, known as the Clear Grit party, were frequently to be
found voting with the Conservative Opposition, with whom they had
nothing in common save dislike and {36} distrust of the Government.
The result of the elections of 1854 showed that no one of the three
parties--the Ministerialists, the Opposition, or the Clear Grits and
Lower-Canadian Rouges combined--had an independent majority.  Upon one
point, however, the two last-named groups were equally determined,
namely, the defeat of the Government.  This they promptly effected by a
junction of forces.  The leader of the regular Opposition, Sir Allan
MacNab, was 'sent for.'  But his following did not exceed forty, while
the defeated party numbered fifty-five, and the extreme Radicals about
thirty-five.  It was obvious that no Ministry could be formed
exclusively from one party; it was equally clear that the government of
the country must be carried on.  In these circumstances Sir Allan
resolved upon trying his hand at forming a new Government.  He first
offered Macdonald the attorney-generalship for Upper Canada, and,
availing himself of his young ally's 'friendly relations with the
French,' entered into negotiations with A. N. Morin, the leader of the
Lower-Canadian wing of the late Cabinet.  Morin consented to serve in
the new Ministry.  The followers of MacNab and Morin together formed a
majority of the {37} House.  The French leader, however, was most
anxious that his late allies in Upper Canada--Sir Francis Hincks and
his friends--should be parties to the coalition.  Hincks, while not
seeing his way to join the new Administration, expressed his approval
of the arrangements, and promised his support on the understanding that
two of his political friends from Upper Canada should have seats in the
new Government.  This proposal was accepted by MacNab, and John Ross
(son-in-law of Baldwin) and Thomas Spence were chosen.  The basis of
the coalition was an agreement to carry out the principal measures
foreshadowed in the speech from the throne--including the abolition of
the Seigneurial Tenure[10] and the secularization of the Clergy

[Illustration: Sir Allan Napier MacNab.  From a portrait in the John
Ross Robertson Collection, Toronto Public Library]

Such was the beginning of the great Liberal-Conservative party which
almost constantly from 1854 to 1896 controlled the destinies of Canada.
Its history has singularly borne out the contention of its founders,
that in uniting as they did at a time when their co-operation was
essential to the conduct of affairs, they {38} acted in the best
interests of the country.  For a long time there had not been any real
sympathy between the French Liberal leaders, LaFontaine and Morin, and
the Liberals of Upper Canada.  After the echoes of the rebellion had
died away these French Liberals became in reality the Conservatives of
Lower Canada.  The _Globe_ repeatedly declared this.  Their junction
with MacNab and Macdonald was therefore a fusion rather than a
coalition.  The latter word more correctly describes the union between
the Conservatives and the Moderate Reformers of Upper Canada.  It was,
however, a coalition abundantly justified by circumstances.  The
principal charge brought against the Conservative party at the time was
that in pledging themselves to secularize the Clergy Reserves they were
guilty of an abandonment of principle.  But in 1854 this had ceased to
be a party question.  The progress of events had rendered it inevitable
that these lands should be made available for settlement; and since
this had to come, it was better that the change should be brought about
by men who had already striven to preserve the rights of property
acquired under the Clergy Reserve grants, rather than by those whose
policy was little {39} short of spoliation.  The propriety and
reasonableness of all this was very generally recognized at the time,
not merely by the supporters of MacNab and Macdonald, but also by their
political opponents.  A. A. Dorion, the Rouge leader, considered the
alliance quite natural.  Robert Baldwin and Francis Hincks both
publicly defended it, and their course did much to cement the union
between the Conservatives and those who, forty years after the events
here set down, were known to the older members of the community as
'Baldwin Reformers.'

[1] The question of the authorship of Lord Durham's Report is one which
all Canadians have heard debated from their youth up.  No matter who
may have composed the document, it was Lord Durham's opinions and
principles that it expressed.  Lord Durham signed it and took
responsibility for it, and it very naturally and properly goes under
his name.  But in a review of my _Memoirs of Sir John Macdonald_ the
_Athenaeum_ (January 12, 1895) said: 'He,' the author, 'repeats at
second hand, and with the incorrectness of those who do not take the
trouble to verify their references, that Lord Durham's report on
Canada' was written by the nobleman whose name it bears.  'He could
easily have ascertained that the author of the report which he commends
was Charles Buller, two paragraphs excepted which were contributed by
Gibbon Wakefield and R. D. Hanson.' Some years later, however, in a
review of Mr Stuart Reid's book on Lord Durham, the same _Athenaeum_
(November 3, 1906) observed: 'Mr Reid conclusively disposes of
Brougham's malignant slander that the matter of Lord Durham's report on
Canada came from a felon (Wakefield) and the style from a coxcomb
(Buller).  The latter, in his account of the mission, frequently
alludes to the report, but not a single phrase hints that he was the

[2] 'It is well known, sir, that while I have always been a member of
what is called the Conservative party, I could never have been called a
Tory, although there is no man who more respects what is called
old-fogey Toryism than I do, so long as it is based upon principle'
(Speech of Hon. John A. Macdonald at St Thomas, 1860).

[3] 'In '47 I was a member of the Canadian Government, and we went to a
general election knowing well that we should be defeated' (Sir John A.
Macdonald to the Hon. P. C. Hill, dated Ottawa, October 7, 1867).

[4] The dates of the first meetings of the Executive Council, held at
the various seats of government, from the Union in 1841 till 1867, are
as follows: at Kingston, June 11, 1841; at Montreal, July 1, 1844; at
Toronto, November 13, 1849; at Quebec, October 22, 1851; at Toronto,
November 9, 1855; at Quebec, October 21, 1859; at Ottawa, November 28,

[5] That is, that the land set apart by the Constitutional Act of 1791
'for the support and maintenance of a Protestant Clergy,' amounting to
one-seventh of all the lands granted, should be taken over by the
Government and thrown open for settlement.

[6] _Globe_, 1851.  For further instances see _Globe_, February 9 and
December 14, 1853; February 9, 18, 22 and November 5, 1856; August 7
and December 23, 1857.

[7] To all Conservatives who cherish the memory of Sir John Macdonald
we bring the reminder that no leader ever opposed so sternly the
attempt to divide this community on racial or religious lines'
(_Globe_, November 10, 1900).

The _Globe's_ latter-day estimate of Sir John Macdonald recalls the
late Tom Reid's definition of a statesman--'a successful politician who
is dead.'

[8] To a friend, dated Ottawa, April 20, 1869.

[9] See Pope's _Memoirs of Sir John Macdonald_, vol. i, p. 103.

[10] The seigneurial system was a survival of the French régime.  The
reader is referred to _The Seigneurs of Old Canada_ by Professor Munro
in the present Series.




The Liberal-Conservative Government formed in 1854 was destined to a
long and successful career, though not without the usual inevitable
changes.  Very shortly after its accession to power, Lord Elgin, whose
term of office had expired, was succeeded by Sir Edmund Head.  The new
governor-general was a man of rare scholastic attainments.  During the
previous seven years he had occupied the position of
lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick, and he was to administer, for a
like period, the public affairs of Canada acceptably and well.  One
thing, however, greatly interfered with his popularity and lessened his
usefulness.  A story was spread abroad that Sir Edmund Head had called
the French Canadians 'an inferior race.'  This, though it was not true,
was often reiterated; and the French Canadians persisted in believing
that Sir Edmund had made the remark--even after an explanation of what
he really did say.


Early in 1855 Morin retired to the bench.  His place in the Cabinet was
filled by George Étienne Cartier, member for Verchères in the Assembly.
Cartier had begun his political career in 1848 as a supporter of
LaFontaine, but he was one of those who followed Morin in his alliance
with the Conservatives.  Now, on the withdrawal of his chief, he
succeeded, in effect, to the leadership of the French-Canadian wing of
the Government.  The corresponding position from the English province
was held by John A. Macdonald, for it was no secret at the time that
Sir Allan MacNab, the titular leader, had seen his best days, and
leaned heavily upon his friend the attorney-general for Upper Canada.

Under these circumstances were brought together the two men who for the
ensuing eighteen years governed the country almost without
intermission.  During the whole of this long period they were, with but
one trivial misunderstanding, intimate personal friends.  That Sir John
Macdonald entertained the warmest feelings of unbroken regard for his
colleague, I know, for he told me so many times; and Cartier's
correspondence plainly indicates that these sentiments were fully


Sir George Cartier was a man who devoted his whole life to the public
service of his country.  He was truthful, honest, and sincere, and
commanded the respect and confidence of all with whom he came in
contact.  Had it not been for Sir George Cartier, it is doubtful
whether the Dominion of Canada would exist to-day.  He it was who faced
at its inception the not unnatural French-Canadian distrust of the
measure.  It was his magnificent courage and resistless energy which
triumphed over all opposition.  Confederation was not the work of any
one person.  Macdonald, Brown, Tupper--each played his indispensable
part; but assuredly not the least important share in the accomplishment
of that great undertaking is to be ascribed to George Étienne Cartier.

[Illustration: Sir Edmund Walker Head.  From the John Ross Robertson
Collection, Toronto Public Library]

Other public men of the period claim our brief attention.  Sir Allan
MacNab, the leader of the Conservative party, had had a long and
diversified experience.  He was born at Niagara in 1798, and at an
early age took up the profession of arms.  When the Americans attacked
Toronto in 1813, Allan MacNab, then a boy at school, was one of a
number selected to carry a musket.  He afterwards entered the Navy and
was rated as a {43} midshipman on board Sir James Yeo's ship on the
Great Lakes.  MacNab subsequently joined the 100th Regiment under
Colonel Murray, and was engaged in the storming of Niagara.  He was a
member and speaker of the old House of Assembly of Upper Canada, and in
1841 was elected to the first parliament under the new Union.  For
sixteen years he continued to represent Hamilton, serving during a
portion of the time as speaker of the Assembly.  In 1860 he was elected
a member of the Legislative Council, and was chosen speaker of that
body a few months prior to his death in 1862.  In 1854, as we have
seen, he was called upon, as the recognized leader of the Opposition,
to form the new Ministry.  He thus became prime minister, an event that
caused some grumbling on the part of younger spirits who thought Sir
Allan rather a 'back number.'  It has been charged against Sir John
Macdonald that he at the time intrigued to accomplish his old chief's
overthrow, but there is not a particle of truth in the statement.  When
forming his plans for the general elections of 1854, Macdonald thus

You say truly that we are a good deal hampered with 'old blood.'  Sir
Allan {44} will not be in our way, however.  He is very reasonable, and
requires only that we should not in his 'sere and yellow leaf' offer
him the indignity of casting him aside.  This I would never assent to,
for I cannot forget his services in days gone by.[1]

Sir Allan was a Tory of the 'Family Compact' school, which with changed
conditions was fast becoming an anachronism.  He was at the same time a
loyal and faithful public servant.

MacNab retired from the premiership in 1856 and was succeeded by
Colonel (afterwards Sir) Étienne Taché, who had held Cabinet office
continuously since 1848.  Taché was a more moderate man than Sir Allan,
without his ambition or intractability; but he does not appear to have
been distinguished by any particular aptitude for public life, and the
prominence he attained was in large measure the result of circumstance.
He was, however, generally regarded as a safe man with no private
interests to serve, and he was quite content to allow Macdonald and
Cartier a free hand in the direction of public affairs.  {45} Under
their united guidance much was accomplished.  During the first session
after the formation of the Liberal-Conservative party the two great
questions which had long distracted the united province of Canada--the
Clergy Reserves and the Seigneurial Tenure--were settled on terms which
were accounted satisfactory by all moderate and reasonable men.  Both
the measures which the Government introduced to adjust these matters
were opposed at every stage by Brown, Dorion, and other professed
champions of the popular will.[2]  Brown, who had never forgotten the
failure of the Conservative leaders to open negotiations with him on
the defeat of the Hincks Government, vented his wrath alternately on
the new Ministry and on the Roman Catholic Church, assailing both with
amazing violence.  Despite this unrestrained vehemence, impulsiveness,
and lack of discretion, George Brown's great ability and intellectual
power made him a formidable opponent, as the ministers learned to their

{46} Meanwhile, as the different groups settled into their places,
political parties in the legislature became more clearly defined.  The
French-Canadian ministerialists soon ceased to be regarded as anything
but Conservatives; and while many of the Upper-Canadian supporters of
the Government long continued to be known as 'Baldwin Reformers,' the
line of separation between them and their Conservative allies grew
fainter every day.  It was inevitable that this should be so.  Baldwin
himself had disappeared.  Hincks had left the country.  John Ross, the
leading member of the Liberal wing of the coalition, had resigned from
the Cabinet.  So it came to pass, after the withdrawal of Sir Allan
MacNab, that many quondam Liberals grew to realize that there was no
longer any reason why they should not unite under the leadership of the
man who inspired equally the confidence and the regard of the whole

All this was gall and wormwood to Brown, who pursued Macdonald with a
malignity which has no parallel in our happier times.  Nor, it must be
confessed, did Macdonald fail to retort.  Though not a resentful
person, nor one who could not control his feelings, he never disguised
his personal antipathy {47} towards the man who had persistently and
for many years misrepresented and traduced him.  On one occasion
Macdonald was moved to bring certain accusations against Brown's
personal character.  These, however, he failed to establish to the
satisfaction of the special committee of parliament appointed to try
the charge.  This was the only time, as far as I know, when Brown got
the better of his rival.

While the Liberal-Conservative forces were being consolidated under
Macdonald and Cartier, a similar process was taking place in the Reform
ranks under Dorion and Brown.  Dorion was a distinguished member of the
Montreal bar and a courtly and polished gentleman of unblemished
reputation.  He had become the leading member of the _Parti Rouge_ on
Papineau's retirement in 1854, and was now the chief of the few French
Radicals in the Assembly.  In like manner Brown assumed the leadership
of the Clear Grits, the Radicals of Upper Canada.

While the politicians were thus busy, Canada continued to develop, if
not at the rate to which we are accustomed in these later days, still
at a fair pace.  In 1851 the population of Upper Canada had been
952,000 and {48} that of Lower Canada 890,000.  Of the cities Montreal
boasted 58,000, Quebec 42,000, Toronto 31,000, and Kingston 12,000.  By
1861 these figures had grown to 1,396,000 for Upper Canada, 1,111,000
for Lower Canada, and the cities had correspondingly increased.
Montreal had now 90,000 people, Quebec 51,000, Toronto 45,000, and
Kingston 14,000.  The total revenue of Canada in 1855 amounted to
$4,870,000, not half that of the single province of Ontario to-day, and
the expenditure to $4,780,000.

Much had already been spent on the improvement of inland navigation,
and the early fifties saw the beginning of a great advance in railway
construction.  The Intercolonial Railway to connect the Maritime
Provinces with Canada was projected as early as in 1846, though
inability to agree upon the route delayed construction many years.  In
1853 the Grand Trunk was opened from Montreal to Portland in Maine.
The Great Western (now a portion of the Grand Trunk system), running
between the Niagara and Detroit rivers, was opened during the following
year; and 1855 witnessed the completion of the Grand Trunk from
Montreal to Brockville, and the Great Western from Toronto to {49}
Hamilton.  The Detroit river at that time marked the western limit of
settlement in Canada.  North and west stretched a vast lone land about
which scarcely anything was known.  The spirit of enterprise, however,
was stirring.  The expiry of certain trading privileges granted to the
Hudson's Bay Company in 1838 offered the occasion for an inquiry by a
committee of the Imperial House of Commons into the claims of the
company to the immense region associated with its name.  The Canadian
Government accepted an invitation to be represented at this
investigation, and in the early part of the year 1857 dispatched to
England Chief Justice Draper as commissioner.  The committee, which
included such eminent persons as Lord John Russell, Lord Derby, and Mr
Gladstone, reported to the effect that terms should be agreed upon
between the company and the Imperial and Canadian governments, in order
that the territory might be made available for settlement; but no
further steps were then taken.  The question was not to be settled
until some years later.

About the same time certain adventurous spirits approached the Canadian
Government with a suggestion to build a railway across {50} the
prairies and through the Rocky mountains to the Pacific ocean.  From
Sir John Macdonald's papers it appears that a proposal of this nature
was made to him in the early part of 1858.  There is a letter addressed
to Macdonald, dated at Kingston in January of that year, and signed
'Walter R. Jones.'  In the light of subsequent events this letter is
interesting.  The writer suggests that the time has arrived to organize
a company to build a railway 'through British American territory to the
Pacific.'  It would be some years, of course, before such a company
could actually begin the work of construction; therefore action should
begin at once.  Nothing will be gained by delay, the writer points out;
and if Canada does not seize the golden opportunity, it is probable
that the United States will be first in the field with such a railway,
'as they are fully alive to the great benefit it would be to them, not
only locally, but as a highway from Europe to China, India, and
Australia.'  This would greatly lessen the value of a Canadian and
British railway, and would cause the enterprise to 'be delayed or
entirely abandoned.'  Thus Canada would lose, not only the through
traffic and business of the railway, but also the {51} opportunity to
open up the Great West to settlers, 'which of itself would be a great
boon to Canada.'

The letter proceeds to say that, as the claims of the Hudson's Bay
Company to the lands of the West are shortly to be extinguished, the
railway company could secure the grant of a harbour on Vancouver Island
and the privilege of 'working the coal mines there'; also, 'a grant of
land along the proposed line of railway.'  A subsidy should be obtained
from the Imperial Government for 'a line of steamers from Vancouver
Island to China, India, and Australia.'  If the Canadian people would
take up the matter with spirit and buy largely of the stock, and if the
subject were laid before the merchants of London, 'there would be no
difficulty in raising the required capital, say £15,000,000.'  There
can be no doubt that the line would pay.  Any one looking at a map of
the world can see that it would afford the shortest route between
Europe and the East.  The writer thinks that it would be well to start
the nucleus of a company immediately so as to apply for a charter at
the next session of the Canadian parliament.  'Of course,' he adds, 'in
my humble circumstances it would be the height of folly to think of
attempting {52} to organize or connect myself with such a vast
undertaking unless I could get the countenance and support of some one
in high standing.'  Macdonald, however, deemed the proposal premature
until the claims of the Hudson's Bay Company were disposed of.  He was
destined to carry it out many years later.

The question as to the seat of government proved in those days
extremely troublesome, promising to vie with the now happily removed
Clergy Reserves question, in frequently recurring to cause difficulty.
The inconvenience of the ambulatory system under which the legislature
sat alternately four years at Quebec and four years at Toronto was
acknowledged by everybody, but it seemed impossible to agree upon any
one place for the capital.  Quebec, Montreal, Toronto, and Kingston all
aspired to the honour, and the sectional jealousies among the
supporters of the Ministry afforded periodical opportunities to the
Opposition, of which they did not fail to take advantage.  One
ministerial crisis arising out of this dispute acquired exceptional
prominence by reason of the fact that it led to what is known in
Canadian history as the 'Double Shuffle.'


In the session of 1857 the Ministry proposed to submit the question to
the personal decision of the queen, and introduced resolutions in the
Assembly praying that Her Majesty would be graciously pleased to
exercise the royal prerogative by the selection of some one place as
the permanent capital of Canada.  This reference to Her Majesty was
fiercely opposed by the Clear Grits as being a tacit acknowledgment of
Canada's unfitness to exercise that responsible government for which
she had contended so long.  The _Globe_, in a series of articles,
denounced the 'very idea as degradation.'  The motion was nevertheless
carried by a substantial majority, and the address went home

The harvest of 1857 proved a failure, and in the autumn of that year
Canada passed through one of the most severe periods of financial
depression with which she has ever been afflicted.  The period between
1854 and 1856 saw great commercial activity.  Vast sums of money had
been spent in constructing railways.  This outlay, three bountiful
harvests, and the abnormally high prices of farm products caused by the
Crimean War, combined to make a period of almost unexampled
prosperity--a prosperity more {54} apparent than real.  The usual
reaction followed.  Peace in Europe, coinciding with a bad harvest in
Canada, produced the inevitable result.  Every class and interest felt
the strain.  Nor did the Ministry escape.  It was at this gloomy period
that Colonel Taché, weary of office, relinquished the cares of state,
and Macdonald became first minister.  Two days after the new Ministry
had taken office parliament was dissolved and writs were issued for a
general election.  The main issues in this contest, both forced by
George Brown, were 'Representation by Population' and 'Non-sectarian
Schools'--otherwise No Popery.  These cries told with much effect in
Upper Canada.  'Rep. by Pop.,' as it was familiarly called, had long
been a favourite policy with Brown and the _Globe_.  By the Union Act
of 1840 the representation of Upper and Lower Canada in the Assembly
was fixed at eighty-four, forty-two from each province.  At that time
Lower Canada had the advantage of population, and consequently a
smaller representation than that to which it would have been entitled
on the basis of numbers.  But the French Canadians were content to
abide by the compact, and on that score there was peace.  As soon,
however, as {55} the influx of settlers into Upper Canada turned the
scale, the _Globe_ began to agitate for a revision of the agreement.
In the session of 1853 Brown condemned the system of equal
representation, and moved that the representation of the people in
parliament should be based upon population, without regard to any line
of separation between Upper and Lower Canada.  On this he was defeated,
but with rare pertinacity he stuck to his guns, and urged his views
upon the Assembly at every opportune and inopportune moment.  The
Macdonald-Cartier Government opposed the principle of representation by
population because it was not in accord with the Union Act.  That Act
was a distinct bargain between Upper Canada and Lower Canada, and could
not be altered without the consent of both.  On the school question
Macdonald took the ground that the clause granting separate schools to
Roman Catholics was in the Common School Act long before he became a
member of the government--having been placed there by Robert
Baldwin--and that it would be unfair and unjust arbitrarily to take the
privilege away.  Moreover, he argued, on the authority of Egerton
Ryerson, a Protestant clergyman and superintendent of {56} schools for
Upper Canada, that the offending clause injured nobody, but, on the
contrary, 'widens the basis of the common school system.'

This might be good logic, and inherently fair and just.  All the same,
the _Globe_ conducted its campaign with such telling effect that three
ministers lost their seats in the general elections of 1857, and the
Clear Grits came out of the campaign in Upper Canada with a majority of
six or eight.

In Lower Canada there was a different result.  The appeals to sectional
and religious prejudice, which wrought havoc in the ranks of the
ministerial supporters in the upper province, had a contrary effect
among the Rouges.  Their alliance with the Clear Grit party wellnigh
brought their complete overthrow.  Dorion himself was elected, but his
namesake J. B. E. Dorion, commonly known as _l'enfant terrible_, was
unsuccessful, as also was Luther H. Holton, the leading
English-speaking Liberal of the province.  Other prominent Rouges such
as Papin, Doutre, Fournier, and Letellier were given abundant leisure
to deplore the fanaticism of George Brown.  Cartier had the
satisfaction of coming to the assistance of his colleague with {57}
almost the whole representation of Lower Canada at his back.

This brings us to the historic incident of the 'Double Shuffle.'
Shortly after the elections it became known that Her Majesty, in
response to the request of the legislature, had chosen Ottawa as the
seat of government.  The announcement was somewhat prematurely made and
gave rise to a good deal of dissatisfaction.  This manifested itself
when parliament met.  In the early days of the session of 1858 a motion
was carried in the Assembly to the effect that 'in the opinion of this
House, the city of Ottawa ought not to be the permanent seat of
government of this province.'  Thereupon the Ministry promptly
resigned, construing the vote as a slight upon Her Majesty, who had
been asked to make the selection.  The governor-general then sent for
Brown and invited him to form a new Administration.  What followed
affords an admirable illustration of the character of George Brown.
Though in an undoubted minority in a House fresh from the people, with
Lower Canada almost unitedly opposed to him, Brown accepted the
invitation of the governor-general.  His only hope could have lain in a
dissolution, and Sir Edmund Head {58} gave him to understand at the
outset, both verbally and in writing, that on this he must not count.
There are several examples in British political history, notably that
of Lord Derby in 1858 and Disraeli in 1873, where statesmen in
opposition, feeling that the occasion was not ripe for their purposes,
have refused to take advantage of the defeat of the Ministry to which
they were opposed.  George Brown was not so constituted.  Without
attempting to weigh the chances of being able to maintain himself in
power for a single week, he eagerly grasped the prize.  Two days after
his summons he and his colleagues were sworn into office and had
assumed the functions of advisers of the crown.  How accurately does
this headlong impetuosity bear out Sir John Macdonald's estimate of the

The inevitable happened, and that speedily.  Within a few hours the
Assembly passed a vote of want of confidence in the new Ministry, and
Brown and his colleagues, having been refused a dissolution, were
compelled to resign.  The governor-general sent for A. T. Galt, then
{59} the able and popular member of the House from Sherbrooke in Lower
Canada.  But Galt declined the honour.  The formation of a new
Administration was then entrusted to Cartier, who, with the assistance
of Macdonald, soon accomplished the task.  Thus came into power the
former Macdonald-Cartier Government, under the changed name of the
Cartier-Macdonald Government, with personnel very slightly altered.
Even this did not fill up the cup of Brown's humiliation.  By their
acceptance of office he and his colleagues had vacated their seats in
the Assembly, and so found themselves outside the legislature for the
remainder of the session.  Those members of the Cartier-Macdonald
Government, on the contrary, who had been members of the
Macdonald-Cartier Government, did not vacate their seats by reason of
their resumption of office.  The Independence of Parliament Act of 1857
provided that

whenever any person holding the office of Receiver General, Inspector
General, Secretary of the Province, Commissioner of Crown Lands,
Attorney General, Solicitor General, Commissioner of Public Works,
Speaker of the Legislative Council, {60} President of Committees of the
Executive Council, Minister of Agriculture, or Postmaster General, and
being at the same time a member of the Legislative Assembly or an
elected member of the Legislative Council, shall resign his office, and
within one month after his resignation accept any other of the said
offices, he shall not thereby vacate his seat in the said Assembly or

These words are clear.  Any member of a government could resign his
office and accept another within one month without vacating his seat in
parliament.  Thirty days had not elapsed since Macdonald had held the
portfolio of attorney-general.  There was, therefore, no legal
necessity for his taking the sense of his constituents on resuming it.
Elections no more in 1858 than now were run for the fun of the thing.
One technical objection alone stood in the way.  The Act says that if
any member resign office, and within one month after his resignation
accept _any other_ of the said offices, he shall not thereby vacate his
seat in the Assembly.  It says nothing about the effect of accepting
anew the office just demitted, though it seems only reasonable {61} to
infer that, if the acceptance of a new office by a minister did not
call for a fresh appeal to his constituents, _a fortiori_ neither would
the mere resumption of an office whose acceptance they had already
approved.  In the judgment of Macdonald and several of his colleagues
there was no legal impediment to the direct resumption of their former
offices, but a difference of opinion existed on the point, and, in
order to keep clearly within the law, the ministers first accepted
portfolios other than those formerly held by them.  Thus, Cartier was
first sworn in as inspector-general and Macdonald as
postmaster-general.  On the following day they resigned these
portfolios and were appointed respectively to their old offices of
attorney-general East and attorney-general West.  Their colleagues in
the Macdonald-Cartier Government underwent a similar experience.

The 'Double Shuffle' proved a source of acute dissatisfaction to Brown
and his friends.  The ministers were accused by them of having
perverted an Act of Parliament to a sense it was never intended to
bear.  Their action in swearing to discharge duties which they never
intended to perform was characterized as little short of perjury.  They
were, however, {62} sustained both by parliament and in the courts.
Thirteen years later, no less a personage than Gladstone gave to the
proceeding the sanction of his great authority.  In order to qualify
Sir Robert Collier, his attorney-general, for a seat on the Judicial
Committee of the Privy Council, appointments to which were restricted
to judges, he nominated him a justice of the Court of Common Pleas, in
which Sir Robert took his seat, sat for a few days, resigned, and went
on the Judicial Committee.[4]

The year 1858 saw the beginnings of a movement in the direction of
Confederation.  At an early period in the session Galt raised the
question in an interesting speech.  When he joined the Ministry, as
inspector-general (finance minister), he again brought it forward.
During recess a delegation consisting of Cartier, Galt, and John Ross
proceeded to England with the object of discussing the subject with Her
Majesty's government.


The ranks of the Reform Opposition at this time included D'Arcy M'Gee,
William M'Dougall, and many other strong debaters, among them John
Sandfield Macdonald, who had sat continuously in the Assembly since the
Union--for Glengarry until the general elections of 1857, and then for
Cornwall.  At first he had been a Conservative, but he drifted into the
Liberal ranks and remained there until after Confederation, despite
periodic differences with George Brown.  He opposed the Confederation
movement.  But we must not anticipate his career further than to say
that his political attitude was at all times extremely difficult to
define.  That he himself would not demur to this estimate may be
inferred from the fact that he was wont to describe himself, in his
younger days, as a 'political Ishmaelite.'  Though born and bred a
Roman Catholic, he was not commonly regarded as an eminently devout
member of that Church, of which he used laughingly to call himself 'an
outside pillar.'  The truth is that John Sandfield Macdonald was too
impatient of restraint and too tenacious of his own opinions to submit
to any authority.  In no sense could he be called a party man.

Another member of the Opposition was the {64} young man we have already
met as a student in Macdonald's law-office, afterwards Sir Oliver
Mowat, prime minister of Ontario.  Mowat was of a type very different
to Sandfield Macdonald.  He had been a consistent Reformer from his
youth up.  After a heated struggle, he had been elected to parliament
for the South Riding of Ontario, in the general elections of 1857, over
the receiver-general J. C. Morrison.  On this occasion the electors
were assured that the alternative presented to them was to vote for
'Mowat and the Queen' or 'Morrison and the Pope.'  Mowat at once took a
prominent position in the Liberal ranks, and formed one of George
Brown's 'Short Administration.'

Among those who first entered parliament at the general elections of
1857 were Hector Langevin and John Rose.  The former was selected to
move the vote of want of confidence in the short-lived Brown-Dorion
Administration.  Rose at that time was a young and comparatively
unknown lawyer of Montreal, in whom Macdonald had detected signs of
great promise.  Earlier in the same year he had accompanied Macdonald
on an official mission to England.  This was the beginning of a close
personal friendship between the two {65} men, which lasted for more
than thirty years and had no little bearing on Rose's future.  On
returning from England Macdonald appointed him solicitor-general for
Lower Canada.  In the ensuing election Rose stood for Montreal, against
no less a personage than Luther H. Holton, and was elected.  He was
destined to fill the office of Finance minister of Canada, to become a
baronet, an Imperial Privy Councillor, and a close friend of His
Majesty King Edward VII, then Prince of Wales.  It was believed that
still higher marks of distinction were to be conferred upon him, when
he died in 1888.  It was said that Sir John Rose owed much of his
success to the cleverness and charm of his wife.  I have often heard
Sir John Macdonald speak of her as a brilliant and delightful woman of
the world, devoted at all times to her husband and his interests.  This
lady was originally Miss Charlotte Temple of Vermont.  Before becoming
the wife of John Rose she had been married and widowed.  There had been
a tragic event in her life.  This was related to me by Sir John
Macdonald substantially as I set it down here.

About the year 1840 there resided in Montreal a Mr and Mrs Robert
Sweeny, {66} well-known and popular society people.  Among the military
officers stationed there was Major Henry J. Warde of the 1st Royals, a
friend of the Sweenys.  One day an anonymous intimation was received by
Mr Sweeny to the effect that Major Warde was too attentive to his wife.
Shortly afterwards the Sweenys gave a dinner, in the course of which a
note, addressed to Mrs Sweeny, and a bouquet were brought in.  Sweeny,
whose suspicions had become thoroughly aroused, demanded to see the
note.  Mrs Sweeny refused, whereupon he took it from her by force.  The
party broke up in confusion.  Sweeny rushed to the officers' mess,
where Warde was dining.  As he bounded up the stairs, the officers,
recognizing his step, called to him to join them in a glass of wine.
He entered the room, and going up to Warde then and there publicly
insulted him.  The inevitable duel took place next morning, and at the
first shot Major Warde fell dead.  Sweeny had to flee the country.  He
escaped to St Albans, Vermont, where he died, it was said, of remorse a
few months later.  What must have added poignancy to his sufferings was
the statement, afterwards made, that the whole affair was a malicious
plot, and that {67} the fatal missive which caused all the trouble was
a forgery.  Afterwards Mrs Sweeny returned to Montreal, where she went
into lodgings.  About the same time a raw Scottish lad, who had been
teaching school in the county of Huntingdon, came to Montreal to study
law.  There he met Mrs Sweeny, with whom he fell in love, and they were
married.  This was John Rose, and Mrs Sweeny as Lady Rose lived to
adorn the society of the chief Canadian cities and afterwards of London
until her death in 1883.

The parliamentary record of the years immediately succeeding 1858 is
not particularly interesting.  George Brown continued to fight for
representation by population with undiminished vigour, and although
both he and his Lower-Canadian colleague, Dorion, were defeated in the
general elections of 1861, he was gaining ground.  The antagonism
between Upper and Lower Canada yearly became more tense, and there were
signs of the approach of that deadlock which was still in the future.

An agreeable occurrence of the year 1860 was the visit of the Prince of
Wales to Canada.  The occasion served to bring a truce to the political
warfare which was being waged with {68} incredible bitterness for
twelve months in the year.  The Government provided for the
entertainment of its royal guest and made John Rose master of the
ceremonies.  It is probable that out of this circumstance grew the
royal friendship with which Sir John Rose was honoured in after years.

The year 1862 witnessed the defeat of the Cartier-Macdonald Government.
The immediate cause was a Militia Bill.  The American Civil War, and
more particularly the _Trent_ affair of November 1861, drew the
attention of those in authority to the inadequate means of defence in
Canada.  In December a general order was issued calling upon the
volunteer force to hold themselves in readiness for active service.
The civil administration of the militia was placed in charge of
Macdonald, and in January 1862 a commission was appointed with the
following instructions:

1st.  To report a plan for the better organization of the department of
Adjutant-General of Militia.

2nd.  To investigate and report upon the best means of organizing the
militia, and providing an efficient and economical system for the
defence of the province.

3rd.  To prepare a bill or bills on the above {69} subjects, to be
submitted to parliament at its next session.

The commission performed its duties with dispatch, and on April 25
Macdonald presented to parliament the fruit of its labours in the form
of a bill to promote the more efficient organization of the militia of
Canada.  On the motion for the second reading he spoke at length
concerning the reasons which made this legislation necessary.  The
measure had been carefully thought out, and was well adapted to the
requirements of the time.  It entailed, however, the expenditure of a
large sum of money, and on this ground was unpopular with a certain
number of Cartier's followers.  On May 20 the vote on the second
reading, which was taken without debate, resulted in the rejection of
the bill by a majority of seven.  This defeat was entirely due to
defection among the Lower Canadians.  Of the Upper-Canadian members the
Government had a majority of seven votes.

Cartier was succeeded as prime minister by John Sandfield Macdonald,
whose ally from Lower Canada was L. V. Sicotte.  Sandfield Macdonald, a
steadfast opponent of the proposal of representation by population,
was, of course, eminently distasteful to George {70} Brown.  To the
Rouges this presented no difficulty.  Dorion and his friends took
office in the new Government.  The double-majority principle was laid
down as a binding rule.  Its purport was that no Ministry should be
held to possess the confidence of parliament unless it could command a
majority from both the French and the English sections of Canada.  The
rule speedily proved unworkable in practice.  The Macdonald-Sicotte
Government was not of long duration.  It had many difficulties to
contend with.  A reconstruction of the Cabinet in May 1863 was followed
by a general election.  This, however, did not improve matters for the
Government.  The parties in the new House were almost equally divided.
The Ministry lingered on a few months, and, without waiting for a
formal vote of no confidence, at last resigned on March 21, 1864.

[Illustration: Sir Étienne Pascal Taché.  From a portrait in the John
Ross Robertson Collection, Toronto Public Library]

The Liberal-Conservatives came back to office, though not to power,
under Sir Étienne Taché, who had received the honour of knighthood
since last we heard of him.  In less than three months his Government
met defeat by a majority of two votes in the Assembly.  Thus within
three years four Ministries had been defeated, and two general
elections had {71} failed to break the deadlock which threatened to
make government impossible in Canada.

The man responsible above all others for this deplorable state of
things was he who for years past had not ceased in the columns of his
paper and from his place in parliament to set one section of Canada
against the other; who laboured to stir up racial and religious strife;
who habitually gave to the people of Upper Canada a distorted view of
the national characteristics and the religious belief of their
fellow-countrymen in Lower Canada.  The result was that the Union
formed only twenty-three years before, the Union about which such high
hopes had been entertained, was on the point of breaking up.  The
actual _impasse_ which had now been reached seems to have opened George
Brown's eyes to the effects of his course, and to have convinced him
that the time had arrived when a cessation of the old feuds was
absolutely necessary to the carrying on of the queen's government in
Canada.  Impelled by a sense of patriotism and, we may well believe, at
the expense of his personal feelings, he now joined hands with
Macdonald and Cartier for the purpose of carrying the great scheme of
Confederation.  This, and this alone, promised deliverance {72} from
the unhappy deadlock that impeded the progress of the country.

Since there is promised a separate account of the great work of
Confederation in another volume of the present Series, I do not propose
to do more here than allude to it briefly.  It is known that
immediately after the defeat of the Taché-Macdonald government in June
1864, Brown said to several supporters of the Administration, among
them Alexander Morris and John Henry Pope, that the present crisis
should be utilized to settle for ever the constitutional difficulties
between Upper and Lower Canada.  He assured them of his willingness to
co-operate for this end.  Macdonald quickly responded to the overture,
and the next day he and Galt met Brown in the St Louis Hotel, Quebec.
It is worthy of note that at this interview Macdonald and Galt
proposed, as a remedy for existing ills, a federal union of all the
British North-American provinces.  Brown, on the other hand, while
theoretically commending the idea, did not regard it as within the
region of practical politics, but viewed its adoption as 'uncertain and
remote.'  His remedy was 'Parliamentary Reform, based on population,
without regard to a separating line between Upper {73} and Lower
Canada.'  This was simply his old friend 'Representation by Population'
under another name.  When assured that it would be impossible to carry
such a measure, Brown agreed that the Government should negotiate for a
confederation of all the provinces.  If this failed, they should then
introduce the federal principle for Canada alone, while providing for
the future incorporation of the Maritime Provinces and the North-West.
On this understanding Brown, with two Reform colleagues, Oliver Mowat
and William M'Dougall, entered the Cabinet.  The members of the
reorganized Government lost no time in applying themselves to the great
object of the coalition.  It so happened that, while Canadian statesmen
were thus considering the question of a union of British North America,
the thoughts of public men in the provinces by the Atlantic--Nova
Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island--were turned in the
direction of a union of these provinces.  A convention was about to
meet at Charlottetown to discuss the subject.  The Canadian Government
determined to take advantage of this opportunity, and eight members of
the Ministry repaired to Charlottetown, where they were hospitably {74}
received and were invited by the conference to express their views.
They unfolded the benefits to be derived from the larger scheme with
such effect that the conference agreed to adjourn and to reassemble at
Quebec.  The Quebec Conference met on October 10, 1864, and continued
in session until the 28th of the same month.  The deliberations
resulted in seventy-two resolutions.  These were adopted by the
Canadian legislature at its next session, and formed the basis of the
deliberations of the conference which assembled in the Westminster
Palace Hotel, London, on December 4, 1866, under the presidency of
Macdonald, for the purpose of drafting the British North America Act.
These several steps, however, were not reached without the overcoming
of many obstacles.  The Rouge party led by Dorion was hostile to the
whole project, as were Sandfield Macdonald and a few Upper-Canadian
Reformers.  The people of New Brunswick pronounced against the scheme
at the polls before the question had been laid before their
legislature.  The legislature of Prince Edward Island emphatically
declined a union 'which it believed would prove politically,
commercially, and financially disastrous to the rights and interests of
its {75} people.'  George Brown quarrelled with his colleagues and left
the Cabinet, which thereafter experienced a renewal of his vehement
opposition.[5]  Negotiations regarding reciprocity with the United
States engaged the attention of the Ministry during the early part of
the year 1866.  Scarcely had they been disposed of when a series of
Fenian attacks along the Canadian frontier caused much concern, and
added largely to the cares of Macdonald, who as minister of Militia
Affairs was at that time responsible for the defence of the country.
His labours were incessant, his responsibility heavy, and his
discouragements not a few; but with inflexible determination and rare
patience he eventually surmounted all the difficulties, and on July 1,
1867, witnessed the birth of the new Dominion.  From that time forth
the responsibilities of his position, though greatly enlarged, were
more easily borne.  The sense of dependence on one province for support
was no longer felt.  {76} The enlargement of the arena and the
inclusion of many new men of marked ability into Canadian public life
tended to assuage somewhat the old-time bitterness of political strife.
Perhaps more than all, the unification of the office of prime minister
came as an unspeakable relief.  From 1841 to 1867 the office of first
minister was what might be called in commission, that is to say, there
was a prime minister for each section of Canada.  If an Upper Canadian
were called upon to form a Ministry, his chief colleague from Lower
Canada shared with him much of the authority, and also a good deal of
the prestige and honour, of the office.  Were a Lower Canadian
summoned, his principal Upper-Canadian colleague was associated with
him in the leadership of the Government.  Thus Canada had the
administrations of Baldwin-LaFontaine, Hincks-Morin, Taché-Macdonald,
Macdonald-Cartier, Cartier-Macdonald, and others.  This dual authority
was perhaps necessary at the time, but it had been attended by many
inconveniences, and the confederation of the provinces afforded a
fitting opportunity to bring it to an end.  The governor-general, Lord
Monck, when confiding the duty of forming the first Dominion Cabinet to
Macdonald, addressed him in these terms:


In authorizing you to undertake the duty of forming an administration
for the Dominion of Canada, I desire to express my strong opinion that,
in future, it shall be distinctly understood that the position of First
Minister shall be held by one person, who shall be responsible to the
Governor General for the appointment of the other Ministers, and that
the system of dual First Ministers, which has hitherto prevailed, shall
be put an end to.  I think this is of importance, not only with
reference to the maintenance of satisfactory relations between the
Governor General and his Cabinet, but also with a view to the complete
consolidation of the Union which we have brought about.[6]

On the first Dominion Day, Lord Monck announced that John A. Macdonald
had been created a Knight Commander of the Bath, and that Cartier,
Galt, Tilley, Tupper, Howland, and M'Dougall had been made Companions
of the same order.  Cartier and Galt considered this recognition of
their services inadequate and declined to receive the decoration.  A
good deal of feeling was aroused in Lower Canada among the French {78}
Canadians at what was looked upon as a slight to the representative man
of their race.  Cartier himself appears to have taken the matter
momentarily to heart, and is said to have shown a disposition to attach
some blame to Macdonald, who, of course, had nothing whatever to do
with it.  It was this circumstance that gave rise to the stories,
echoes of which are heard even to-day, of dissensions between Macdonald
and Cartier.  In the first flush of his natural disappointment Cartier
may have made use of some hasty expressions, and thus lent colour to a
report which had no serious foundation.  There never was any real
breach between the two men.  In order to allay the soreness, Lord Monck
obtained permission to offer Cartier a baronetcy if Sir John Macdonald
was agreeable.  Sir John Macdonald at once replied that he would be
only too glad to see his colleague thus honoured.  Galt was made a
K.C.M.G. at the same time, and thus the affair was brought to a happy
termination.  This is the whole story.  It may be mentioned, as
illustrating the simplicity of life during the period, that when Sir
George Cartier was created a baronet, he had to borrow on his personal
note the money to pay the necessary fees.


The general elections that came off shortly after the formation of the
Dominion went decisively in favour of the Government--except in Nova
Scotia.  There it was otherwise.  A violent and unreasoning opposition,
led by Joseph Howe, swept all before it.  Of the Conservative
candidates in Nova Scotia, Sir Charles Tupper, then Dr Tupper, was the
only one who carried his constituency.  The remaining eighteen,
including Adams Archibald, the secretary of state for the provinces,
suffered defeat.  It speaks not a little for Charles Tupper's influence
in his native province that at the next general elections (in 1872)
these figures were reversed, the Conservatives carrying twenty out of
twenty-one seats.  Macdonald and Tupper first met at the Confederation
negotiations in 1864.  They were attracted to each other at first
sight, and formed an offensive and defensive alliance which was
terminated only by Macdonald's death twenty-seven years later.

No single event in Sir John Macdonald's career affords a more admirable
illustration of his strategic ability, delicate finesse, and subtle
power over men than his negotiations with Joseph Howe.  Howe's
opposition to Confederation was of no ordinary kind.  He {80} had long
been a conspicuous figure in Nova Scotia, and was passionately devoted
to the interests of the province.  He was incomparably the greatest
natural orator that British North America has ever produced.  With the
enthusiastic support of the whole province he proceeded to England,
shortly after Confederation, and there, with all his great ability and
eloquence, he strove for repeal.  His efforts proved unavailing.
Tupper was in England at the same time, not to argue the case for the
Dominion, but to afford the Imperial authorities full information upon
the subject.  He and Howe returned on the same steamer.  A few weeks
later Macdonald, Cartier, and certain of their colleagues paid a visit
to Halifax, where, as Macdonald naïvely records, they were received by
the members of the local government with 'sufficient courtesy.'  A most
interesting correspondence afterwards took place between Macdonald and
Howe, with the result that early in the year 1869 Howe entered the
Dominion Cabinet as president of the Privy Council.  He remained there
four years, and then retired to become the lieutenant-governor of Nova
Scotia, in which office he died shortly afterwards.


The first session of the Dominion parliament was saddened by the
assassination of Thomas D'Arcy M'Gee, one of the most gifted and
charming of men, within a stone's throw of the House of Commons.  An
Irishman by birth, M'Gee in early life attached himself to the Young
Ireland party.  He took part in the insurrection of Smith O'Brien, and
in consequence was obliged to flee the country.  After some years spent
in the United States, he settled in Montreal, where he started a
newspaper.  He speedily became a favourite with the Irishmen of that
city, and by their influence he was returned to parliament in 1857.
True to the national instinct, M'Gee began his political career as an
opponent of the Government.  In 1862 he accepted a portfolio under John
Sandfield Macdonald, but he was dropped on the reconstruction of the
Cabinet in 1863, and then passed under the influence of John A.
Macdonald.  The two speedily became, not merely political, but personal
friends.  From 1864 to 1866 they were colleagues in the Taché-Macdonald
Administration.  In 1865 M'Gee visited Ireland, and while there made a
speech in which he unsparingly denounced Fenianism, and besought his
countrymen to shun all connection with {82} that odious conspiracy.
From that hour he was a marked man.  M'Gee was shot from behind his
back while he was entering his lodgings in Ottawa, in the early morning
of April 7, 1868.  Several persons were arrested for complicity in the
murder.  One of them, Thomas Whalen, was found guilty and was executed
on February 11, 1869.

Shortly before the meeting of the first session of the first parliament
of the Dominion, Sir Alexander Galt, the minister of Finance, suddenly
resigned his portfolio and left the Government.  His action is supposed
to have been in some way connected with the failure of the Commercial
Bank, which occurred about that time, but no one who knew Sir Alexander
Galt would waste time in seeking to account for his actions, which
often could only be accounted for by his constitutional inconstancy.
In saying this I do not for a moment wish to ascribe any sordid or
unworthy motive to Galt, who was a man of large and generous mind and
of high honour.  He was, however, never a party man.  He could not be
brought to understand the necessity for deferring sometimes to his
leader.  That spirit of subordination without which all party
government becomes impossible was foreign {83} to his nature.  By some
impracticable persons this may be regarded as a virtue.  At any rate,
in Galt's case it was a fact.  As Sir John Macdonald once said of him,
'Galt is as unstable as water, and never can be depended upon to be of
the same mind for forty-eight hours together.'

Galt was succeeded as minister of Finance by Sir John Rose.  Two years
later Rose gave up his portfolio to take up residence in London as a
member of the banking firm of Morton, Rose and Company.  Circumstances
rendered it necessary that, to maintain the arrangement entered into
with Brown in 1864, Rose's successor should be an old-time Ontario
Liberal, and no suitable man possessing that qualification happened to
be available.  But while Sir John Macdonald was casting about for a new
colleague, Sir Francis Hincks reappeared on the scene.  In the interval
of fifteen years which had elapsed since Hincks left Canada he had been
governor of various of the West India Islands, and had returned with a
record of honourable service and the decoration of Knight Commander of
St Michael and St George.  Scarcely had Sir Francis set foot in Canada
when Macdonald resolved that he should succeed Sir John Rose.  {84} The
offer was made and promptly accepted, and on October 9, 1869, Sir
Francis Hincks was sworn of the Privy Council and appointed minister of
Finance.  A great storm followed.  The _Globe_ outdid itself in
denunciation of Sir John Macdonald, of Sir Francis Hincks, and of
everybody in the most remote way connected with the appointment.
Richard (afterwards Sir Richard) Cartwright, hitherto a traditional
Tory, took umbrage at the appointment of Hincks, and notified Sir John
Macdonald no longer to count upon his support, though he did not then
finally leave the Conservative party.  Sir Alexander Galt also
announced his withdrawal from the party, and there was dissatisfaction
in other quarters.  Respecting Galt's defection Sir John Macdonald

Galt came out, I am glad to say, formally in opposition and relieved me
of the difficulty connected with him.  His warm alliance with the Lower
Canadian French rendered it necessary for me to put up with a good
deal, as you know.  But he is now finally dead as a Canadian
politician.  The correspondence between Cartier and himself, in which
he comes squarely out {85} for independence, has rung his death-knell,
and I shall take precious good care to keep him where he is.  He has
seduced Cartwright away, and I have found out how it was managed.
Cartwright and he formed at the Club last session a sort of mutual
admiration society, and they agreed that they were the two men fit to
govern Canada.  Galt rubbed it in pretty strong, as I have occasion to
know that he told him that I ought to have selected him (Cartwright) as
your successor.[7]

Despite Sir John's jaunty attitude at the time, the appointment of Sir
Francis Hincks could not be said to have fulfilled expectations.  While
it disappointed Tory ambitions, it failed to strengthen the Reform
section supporting the Administration.  Moreover, I infer from Sir
John's confidential letters of the time that Sir Francis was not quite
the square peg for the square hole.

Hincks [wrote Sir John to his friend Rose in January 1872] is as
suggestive as ever in financial matters, but his rashness (always, as
you know, the defect of his character) seems to increase with his
years, {86} and, strange to say, he is quite a stranger to the popular
opinion of Canada as it is.  His Canada is the Canada of 1850.  For all
that he is a worthy good fellow and has been successful in finance.

Upon the whole, I am inclined to view the taking up of Sir Francis
Hincks in 1869 as one of Sir John Macdonald's very few mistakes.  I do
not go as far as to say he would have done better to have chosen Sir
Richard Cartwright, who was only thirty-three years of age at the time,
and who, as the president of the Commercial Bank, which had failed only
two years before, was just then an impossibility.[8]  Moreover, to be
quite just to Sir Richard Cartwright, I must say that I have never seen
evidence to satisfy me that he expected to succeed Sir John Rose.
There is nothing in his letters preserved by Sir John Macdonald to
establish this.  They disclose his opposition to Hincks, but he nowhere
says that he wanted {87} the position for himself.  It is true that in
the heat of debate Sir John more than once implied something of the
kind, and I am not aware that Sir Richard ever denied the allegation,
though it is quite possible he may have done so.  There is little
doubt, however, that the selection of Sir Francis Hincks caused Sir
Richard Cartwright to abandon Sir John Macdonald.  He did not leave all
at once.  As late as the campaign which preceded the general elections
of 1872 he called himself an 'Independent,' and the _Globe_
contemptuously classed him, in respect of certain votes he had given in
parliament which happened to be distasteful to Brown, as 'a Tory and a
corruptionist.'  But from 1870 his name not infrequently appears in the
division list of the House of Commons among the Opposition.

The taking over of the North-West from the Hudson's Bay Company--a
troubled chapter in the early history of the Dominion--caused Sir John
Macdonald a great deal of concern.  Looking back after the event, it
would seem that the difficulties experienced had their origin in three
main causes: first, the neglect of the Hudson's Bay Company to prepare
the settlers for the great change {88} involved in the transfer of the
government of that vast region to Canada; secondly, the lack of
conciliation, tact, and prudence on the part of the Canadian surveyors
who were sent into the country in the summer of 1869; and, thirdly, the
injudicious course pursued by M'Dougall, who was sent to the North-West
as lieutenant-governor in anticipation of the actual transfer to
Canada.  The Ottawa authorities appear to have omitted no step which
their scanty knowledge of that distant region might have suggested.  In
September 1868 a delegation, consisting of Cartier and M'Dougall, had
visited England, and, after a series of untoward events and much
negotiation, had arrived at an arrangement under which the Hudson's Bay
Company agreed, in consideration of the sum of £300,000, to surrender
all their interest in the North-West to the crown, with the reservation
to the Company of one-twentieth of the fertile belt and of 45,000 acres
adjacent to its trading posts.  In the following September (1869)
William M'Dougall was appointed lieutenant-governor, but prior to that
date Joseph Howe, the secretary of state for the provinces, went to
Fort Garry in order to prepare the way for the new governor.  Howe
found the people {89} largely uninformed as to the true position of
affairs, but he added that by 'frank and courteous explanation' he had
cleared the air a good deal, and that the future would depend upon
M'Dougall's tact, temper, and discretion.  What happened is well
known--the bad handling of the situation by M'Dougall, the insurrection
of the half-breeds under Louis Riel, the murder of Thomas Scott--and I
shall not allude to these events further than to say that they gave Sir
John Macdonald the occasion of meeting, for the first time, the future
Lord Strathcona.  It happened in this way.  When news of the outbreak
on the Red River reached Ottawa, George Stephen--between whom and Sir
John Macdonald there existed a warm friendship even then--wrote to Sir
John to say that he thought he knew a man well qualified to act as a
peacemaker at Fort Garry if he would undertake the mission.  This was
Donald A. Smith, chief factor of the Hudson's Bay Company in Montreal.
Armed with a letter of introduction to Macdonald from Stephen, Smith
went to Ottawa.  I give three brief extracts from Sir John's
correspondence of the time.

I was very glad to see Mr Smith, who {90} seems a clever man; at the
same time I am exceedingly disappointed at the apparent helplessness of
the Hudson's Bay authorities.  Mr Smith has nothing to suggest, and
they seem to have been utterly neglectful at Red River of their duty in
preparing the people for the change.[9]

Your friend Donald A. Smith is rather lucky.  He will go up there on an
important mission, will succeed beyond a doubt, and get a good deal of
praise therefor.[10]

Smith left this morning with full powers and instructions.  He seemed
to think that he would be able to do good there.  It would never have
done for Colonel Wolseley to have gone with him.  Smith goes to carry
the olive branch, and were it known at Red River that he was
accompanied by an officer high in rank in the military service, he
would be looked upon as having the olive branch in one hand and a
revolver in the other.[11]


Smith's mission, however, did not prove effective, and it became
necessary later to send Colonel (afterwards Lord) Wolseley with a
military expedition to the Red River.  It may not be generally known
that after the troubles were over, Colonel Wolseley intimated his
willingness to accept the position of lieutenant-governor of the newly
created province of Manitoba.  The appointment of a military man to the
civil office of lieutenant-governor was not, however, considered
expedient just then, and, fortunately for the future viscount, he was
passed over in favour of Adams Archibald.

Shortly after these events Sir John Macdonald, overcome by the fatigues
and responsibilities of his office, fell ill, and for several months in
the summer of 1870 the duties of the first minister were discharged by
Sir George Cartier.  Scarcely had Sir John resumed his tasks when he
was appointed a member of the Joint High Commission--named to adjust
all differences between Great Britain and the United States--which
resulted in the Treaty of Washington, 1871.  In another volume I have
related,[12] mainly in his own words, the story of his strenuous fight
{92} for Canadian interests on that memorable occasion.  Few more
interesting diplomatic memoirs were ever penned than the pages in which
Macdonald recounts from day to day his efforts to discharge his duties
to the Empire as Her Majesty's plenipotentiary, and at the same time to
protect and defend the special interests of Canada.  That he upheld
Imperial interests was never questioned, but he was accused by some of
his political opponents at the time of having done so at the expense of
Canada.  It was alleged that he had sacrificed the fisheries to enable
Her Majesty's government to come to terms with the United States.  In
this, as in many other matters, time has amply vindicated his course.

The treaty--in regard to which he had apprehensions--received the
sanction of the Canadian House of Commons by a vote of more than two to
one.  At the ensuing general election the province of Nova Scotia--the
home of Canadian fishermen--ratified Macdonald's policy by returning
twenty members out of twenty-one in its support.  It is clear that he
had not sacrificed Canadian interests, for when the Fishery Articles
were terminated in 1885, it was not by desire of {93} Great Britain or
of Canada, but by the action of the United States.

The summer of 1871 was marked by the admission of British Columbia into
the Confederation.  By the terms of this union Canada was pledged to
construct a railway to the Pacific within ten years.  This was
strenuously objected to by the parliamentary Opposition.  It was an
obligation, the Liberals said, that would press with crushing severity
upon the people of Canada.  They argued that in contracting to build
the road in ten years the Government had committed Canada to an
undertaking greatly beyond its resources; indeed, to a physical

In December of the same year the Government in Ontario led by Sandfield
Macdonald was defeated in the legislature and compelled to resign.  An
Administration, determinedly hostile to the Ottawa Government, was
formed at Toronto under Edward Blake.  The Ontario Orangemen were
filled with anger at the brutal murder of Thomas Scott by Louis Riel at
Fort Garry and the failure of the Government at Ottawa to seize the
murderer.  The anti-confederate feeling was still strong in Nova
Scotia.  There was dissatisfaction over the appointment of Sir Francis
Hincks.  {94} In many quarters the Washington Treaty was unpopular.
All this hostility Macdonald had to face, as well as the strenuous
opposition of the Liberal party.  It was under these untoward
circumstances that Sir John Macdonald advised the dissolution of the
House of Commons and appealed to the people in the summer of 1872.  His
feelings on the eve of the battle are thus expressed in a letter to Sir
John Rose:

I am, as you may fancy, exceedingly desirous of carrying the election
again; not with any personal object, because I am weary of the whole
thing, but Confederation is only yet in the gristle, and it will
require five years more before it hardens into bone.

It is only by the exercise of constant prudence and moderation that we
have been able to prevent the discordant elements from ending in a
blow-up.  If good Constitutional men are returned, I think that at the
end of five years the Dominion may be considered safe from being
prejudiced by any internal dissension.[13]

{95} The fight in Ontario proved very severe, as may be gathered from
his subsequent account:

I had to fight a stern and up-hill battle in Ontario, and had I not
taken regularly to the stump, a thing that I have never done before, we
should have been completely routed.  The chief ground of attack on the
Government was the Washington Treaty, and our submitting to Gladstone's
resolve not to press the Fenian claims.  Added to this, of course, were
all the sins of omission and commission that gather round an
administration of so many years' duration as ours.

I never worked so hard before, and never shall do so again; but I felt
it to be necessary this time.  I did not want a verdict against the
treaty from the country, and besides, I sincerely believe that the
advent of the Opposition, as it is now constituted, to power would
greatly damage the future of Confederation.  That Opposition has much
deteriorated since you left Canada.  Poor Sandfield is gone; Brown is
out of public life, or rather out of Parliament; Blake, who is a
gentleman by birth and education, has broken down in health; {96}
Dorion has all but retired from public life, and was elected against
his will and in his absence; and the rest, with one or two exceptions,
are a very inferior lot.[14]

In spite of Sir John's efforts the Government lost ground heavily.  Sir
Francis Hincks suffered defeat in South Brant, and Sir George Cartier
in East Montreal.  What Sir Richard Cartwright used to call 'the shreds
and patches of the Dominion'--the Maritime Provinces and British
Columbia--did very well for the Conservatives, but, taking it
altogether, it was plain that the Government had sustained a severe

[Illustration: Sir John A. Macdonald in 1872]

The Opposition, alive to their improved chances, assembled in full
force at the session of 1873, under the leadership of Alexander
Mackenzie.  In order to render more effective service to his party at
Ottawa, Edward Blake resigned office as prime minister of Ontario in
favour of Oliver Mowat.  All along he had held a seat in the House of
Commons, for those were days of dual representation, when there was
nothing to prevent a man from sitting in both a provincial House and
the House of Commons.  This several leading men did.  {97} It will be
readily understood, however, that the office of prime minister of
Ontario would materially interfere with the duties of a leading member
of the Opposition at Ottawa.  With large reinforcements and a feeling
of confidence, the Opposition gathered for the fray, determined, if
possible, to compass the overthrow of the Macdonald Government.
Fortune favoured the design, for in the session of 1873 occurred what
has come to be commonly known as the 'Pacific Scandal.'

Briefly stated, the charge involved in the Pacific Scandal was this:
that the Government had corruptly granted to Sir Hugh Allan and his
associates the charter for the building of the Canadian Pacific
Railway, in consideration of a large sum of money supplied by him for
election purposes.  In a letter addressed to Lord Dufferin, which has
been before the public for twenty years, Sir John Macdonald completely
answered this accusation.[15]


In the light of all that has happened in the last forty years, it is
difficult to repress a smile when reading the impassioned invectives
poured out upon Sir John Macdonald by his political opponents of that
day in connection with the Pacific Scandal.  According to them he had
basely betrayed his country, selling her honour for filthy lucre; he
had shamefully prostituted his office; he was a great criminal for
whose punishment justice cried aloud, and much more to the same effect.
Yet every one who dispassionately considers the affair to-day in its
true perspective sees quite plainly that, however indiscreetly he acted
in his {99} relations with Sir Hugh Allan, Sir John's sole thought was
for the advantage of Canada.  In the face of great difficulties he had
carried Confederation, had pacified Nova Scotia, had brought Manitoba,
British Columbia, and Prince Edward Island into the Union; and in order
that this Union should abide, he was putting forth all his energies for
the construction of the great link that was to hold the distant
provinces together.

In all these matters he had to encounter at every step the rancorous
opposition of his political adversaries.  It is, therefore, not
surprising that he attached much importance to the general elections of
1872.  He had no personal ambitions unfulfilled--he was weary of it
all--but he entertained a profound {100} conviction that to confide the
destinies of Canada to men who, among other things, were opposing the
building of the Canadian Pacific Railway by every means in their power,
would be to undo the great work to which he had set his hand and to
disrupt the Confederation.  'With five years more,' he writes, 'I
thought we might safely consider that the gristle had hardened into
bone, and that the Union had been thoroughly cemented.'  And so we find
him, though far from strong, throwing himself with vigour into the
elections of 1872, and, his colleagues being everywhere hard pressed,
himself doing much that might better have been confided to others.
Every one knows, to use the expression of the late Israel Tarte, that
'elections are not made with prayers.'  Every one knows, and it is mere
hypocrisy to disclaim the knowledge, that there are election funds in
both parties, to which wealthy friends of the respective parties are
invited to contribute.  Sir John's mistake was in asking favours of a
man who at that time was seeking advantages from the Government.  No
matter how sure he might be of his own rectitude, it was setting a
dangerous precedent for a weaker man, who might be placed in his
position, to follow.  No doubt, too, he would have {101} done better
not to have mixed himself up with money matters at all, though in
acting as he did he only followed the usual practice.  In that day the
leaders of political parties in Canada personally solicited campaign
funds.[16] Macdonald took contributions from the rich men of his
party--among others from Sir Hugh Allan--to fight that party's battles.
But there was no barter.  Sir Hugh Allan was, of course, playing his
own game.  His motive is quite apparent.  He wanted to build the
Pacific Railway, and was naturally interested in preventing the
accession to power of men opposed to the whole scheme as premature and
beyond the resources of the country.

What seems plain now was not so apparent forty years ago.  The current
set in strongly {102} against the Ministry.  As Mr S. H. Blake would
say, 'There was the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry
trees.'  There was a general feeling that the days of the Government
were numbered.  The country was ripe for a change.  The Conservatives
had been in office for nearly ten years consecutively, and people were
beginning to get a little tired of them.  Men began to think that it
was time to give the other side a chance.  Long periods of exclusion
from office of the representatives of nearly one-half the community is
not good for the Opposition, for the state, nor for the dominant party
itself.  Sir John Macdonald, at a later period, seems to have
recognized this, for one of his letters, written to a friend on the eve
of the contest of 1887, contains the significant words, 'the Government
is too old.'  It was not as old as was his Government at its
resignation in 1873.  However that may be, amid shrieks of 'corruption'
the Administration of Sir John Macdonald bowed to public opinion, and
the Liberals at last got their chance.

In the general elections, which took place in the month of January
1874, the newly formed Mackenzie Government swept the country,
returning with a majority of {103} seventy-five or upwards.  Among the
new members was Mr (now Sir Wilfrid) Laurier.

Alexander Mackenzie, the prime minister, like his predecessor, was a
Scotsman by birth.  Like Sir John Macdonald, too, he had emigrated to
Canada at an early age and had settled first at Kingston, subsequently
removing to Sarnia.  In 1861 he entered parliament as member for
Lambton, and took rank from the first as a strong and effective debater
on the side of the Opposition.  In office he proved a capable
administrator of unimpeachable integrity, with a remarkable capacity
for labour.  It could not be said of him, however, that he possessed
the essential qualities of a leader.  Not only was he destitute of that
mysterious personal attribute known as 'magnetism,' but he was disposed
to be arbitrary and dictatorial.  His political supporters respected
and perhaps feared him, but it cannot be said that he was popular among

Goldwin Smith was once driving a newly arrived English friend through
the streets of Toronto at the time Mackenzie was in the zenith of his
power.  When passing Mackenzie's house he remarked the fact.  'And who
is Mr Mackenzie?' inquired the {104} friend.  'Mr Mackenzie,' replied
Goldwin Smith, 'was a stonemason; _he is a stonemason still_.'

This, of course, was not fair.  Mackenzie, despite his narrowness,
rigidity, faults of manner, and perhaps of temper, was an able man.  No
fairer was Goldwin Smith's cynical observation that the alliance
between Macdonald and Brown in 1864 was 'as brief and perfidious as a
harlot's love'; but nobody--at any rate, no Canadian public man--ever
looked for fairness from Goldwin Smith, whose idea of independence
seemed to consist of being alternately unjust to each side.  Both
sayings, however, are extremely clever, and both had sufficient truth
about them to give point at once to the author's malevolence and to his

A man of very different mould from that of the Liberal leader was his
nominal follower Edward Blake, one of the rarest minds that have
adorned the bar of Canada or of any other country.  Blake was not
merely a great equity lawyer; he was, as well, a distinguished
authority on the principles of government.  Viewed as intellectual
performances, his speeches in the Canadian House of Commons have never
been surpassed.  But to his great {105} gifts were joined great
weaknesses, among which may be set down an abnormal sensitiveness.  He
was peculiarly susceptible to the daily annoyances which beset a public
man.  So marked was this infirmity that men without a tithe of his
ability, but with a better adjusted nervous system, would sometimes
presume to torment him just for the fun of the thing.  While he was
minister of Justice, political exigencies compelled Mackenzie to take
into his Cabinet a man who, by reason of his unsavoury political
record, was eminently distasteful to Blake.  This man knew perfectly
well that the great lawyer was not proud of the association, but being
as thick-skinned as Blake was sensitive, he rather enjoyed his
colleague's discomfort.  He was known to go into Blake's office on a
short winter's afternoon, and, standing with his back to the fire in a
free and easy attitude as though perfectly at home, to say, 'Well, _mon
cher collègue_' (here Blake would visibly writhe, to the equally
apparent delight of the intruder), 'I have called for you to come for a
walk with me.'  'My good sir,' Blake would tartly reply, 'I have work
here that will keep me for the next two hours.'  'But it will be dark
then,' objected the caller.  'Well, my good {106} sir,' was the retort,
'we can walk in the dark, I suppose'--which Blake would naturally much
prefer.  Edward Blake's outward bearing was cold and unsympathetic.  He
was often repellent to those desiring to be his friends.  Intimates he
appeared to have none: he would not allow people to be intimate with
him.  He would hardly even, when leader of the Opposition, accept the
co-operation of his supporters or allow them a share in his labours.
So exacting was his standard that he felt no one would do the work as
well as himself, and any one who proffered assistance was likely to get
a snub for his pains.  Whenever he spoke in the House of Commons, he so
exhausted his subject that there was nothing left for his followers to
say--an impolitic course for a leader.  Yet it was impossible, such is
the compelling power of genius, to withhold admiration for that lonely
and impressive figure whose external bearing spoke so plainly of the
intellectual force within.  I had the honour of only a slight personal
acquaintance with Blake, yet I never recall his memory without a tinge
of sadness that so gifted a man should not have accomplished more in
the way of constructive statesmanship.  Before the age of forty he was
prime minister of {107} Ontario, but within a twelvemonth he gave it up
to devote his attention to federal politics.  When the Liberal party
succeeded to power in 1873, men thought that Blake's opportunity had at
last arrived, and it was learned with surprise that he had not taken a
portfolio in the new Administration.  He had, however, a seat in the
Cabinet, but this he resigned within three months.  In 1875 he
re-entered the Cabinet as minister of Justice.  But, beyond writing a
few masterly dispatches on the pardoning power and obtaining certain
modifications in the governor-general's instructions in that regard, he
does not appear to have accomplished much during his tenure of office.
The bill establishing the Supreme Court, passed about this time, was
the work primarily of Sir John Macdonald, and was piloted through the
House of Commons by Telesphore Fournier, Blake's immediate predecessor
in the department of Justice.  Early in 1878 Blake again left the
Cabinet, and he was not even in the country during the elections of
that year which overwhelmed his late colleagues.  He became leader of
the Opposition after the retirement of Mackenzie in 1880, but resigned
the post after his failure to carry the elections of 1887.  He
afterwards {108} went to Great Britain, and became a Nationalist member
from Ireland of the House of Commons.  For fifteen years his great
talents lay obscured at Westminster in the shadows of Parnell and
Redmond.  Broken in health, he finally returned to his native country;
but it was only to die.

But if Blake's mind was not of the constructive order, his critical and
analytical faculties were highly developed.  Always effective, often
trenchant, sometimes cruel, his powers of sarcasm and invective were
unrivalled.  Once, when a former minister of Inland Revenue, not
remarkable for his knowledge of the affairs of his department, had
proposed a resolution to the effect that a barrel should no longer be
considered a measure of capacity, Blake offered an amendment to the
effect that 'in future the office of Cabinet minister be no longer
considered a measure of capacity!'  Again, in one of his orations
against the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway, he prefaced a
minute and exhaustive narration of events connected with the enterprise
in these words: 'Mr Speaker, on the first of April--_a fitting day_--in
the year 1871, ...'  That was his estimate of the project as late as
the early eighties.


During Blake's period of office an old and faithful official of his
department, who rather prided himself upon his discrimination in the
use of words, wrote on a file of papers, 'Referred to the Minister for
his instructions.'  When this came before Blake, he wrote underneath
the memorandum: 'My officers do not _refer_ matters to me; they
_submit_ them.--E.B.'  It is due to Blake to say that, when leaving the
department, he called for this file and expunged these words with his
own hand.

Sometimes, however, he was in lighter vein, and, indeed, I have known
him to betray a transient gleam of humour.  One day a letter, the
envelope addressed to Blake, was left at 'Earnscliffe,' Macdonald's
Ottawa residence.  The letter inside, however, as appeared later, was
addressed to Sir John Macdonald.  Ignorant, of course, of this fact,
Macdonald sent it to Blake, who returned it with this note:

COBOURG, _June_ 28_th_, 1889.

MY DEAR SIR,--Thanks for the mysterious package, which, however, I
return, perceiving that in this, as in some other cases, if I have a
better title to the shell, you have the better title to the oyster.

It is a curious example of the workings {110} of the mind and of the
phraseology of a deaf mute.  It is a sad sort of letter, and I intend
to write to Jones to enquire if anything can be done for the poor

Yours faithfully,

Here we get a glimpse of the really kind and generous heart that beat
under the chilling exterior of Edward Blake.

In the year 1875 there occurred in Montreal an event which caused a
good deal of ill-feeling between the English and French sections of the
population throughout the province of Quebec.  This was the epilogue of
the famous Guibord case.  Joseph Guibord was a member of a society
known as _L'Institut Canadien_.  In 1858 the Roman Catholic bishop of
Montreal issued a pastoral letter exhorting the members of this
institute to purge their library of certain works regarded as immoral,
and decreeing several penalties, including deprivation of the
sacraments and refusal of ecclesiastical burial, in the event of
disobedience.  The library committee returned a reply to the effect
that they were the judges of the morality of their books, and, further,
that there were no immoral works in their library.  {111} The matter
appears to have lain dormant for some years.  In 1865 several members
of the Institute, including Guibord, appealed to Rome against the
action of the bishop, but in vain.  Shortly afterwards Guibord died,
and as he had adhered to his membership in the Institute despite the
bishop's _mandement_, ecclesiastical burial was refused.  His widow had
recourse to the law, and ultimately the Judicial Committee of the Privy
Council ordered the burial of Guibord's remains in the Roman Catholic
cemetery.  The reasons upon which this judgment is based are that the
Church of Rome in the province of Quebec, while lacking some of the
features of an established church, differs materially before the law
from voluntary religious bodies; that certain privileges, such as the
right to collect tithes, secured to it by law, beget corresponding
obligations towards the laity.  One obligation is to give
ecclesiastical sepulchre to its members.  The proceedings against
Guibord had been legally insufficient to deprive him of this right; he
had not been excommunicated personally and by name, but merely lay
under a general excommunication.

The first attempts of Guibord's friends to bury the body in accordance
with this {112} decision were frustrated by force; but on November 16,
1875, under a strong military escort, the remains of Joseph Guibord
were finally laid to rest in the Côte des Neiges cemetery, in the
presence of a sullen assemblage.  This forcible, albeit legal,
proceeding was deeply felt by many who needed not to take lessons in
loyalty to the Queen from the members of the Institut Canadien, but who
could not see why the Church of Rome should be debarred the right,
supposed to appertain to every society, of determining its own
conditions of membership, nor understand why the friends of a man
should seek on his behalf, after his death, the ministrations of that
Church whose teachings, during his lifetime, he had voluntarily

The Liberal Government came to power in 1873 at a time of commercial
depression extending over the whole continent.  Canada suffered
severely; and so did the Ministry.  Business was bad, the revenues fell
off, employment became scarce.  It was during this period that the
Conservative Opposition began the advocacy of what was called 'The
National Policy'--a system of modified protection which it was hoped
would both stimulate the industries of the country and {113} provide a
sufficient revenue.  Protection was no new policy with Sir John
Macdonald.  As long before as in 1846 he had advocated it from his
place in parliament.  In 1850 he belonged to an association which had
as one of its aims a 'commercial national policy.'  In 1858 he was
joint-leader of a Government whose finance minister (Galt) announced
protection to native industries as its policy.  In 1861 he at various
times and places expounded and developed this policy.  Lastly, on the
eve of the general elections of 1872, he wrote to the present Lord
Mount Stephen:

At the hustings in Western Canada [Ontario] and in all the
constituencies except Toronto, the battle will be between free trade
and a national policy....  It is really astonishing the feeling that
has grown up in the West [he is referring to Western Ontario] in favour
of encouragement of home manufactures.

In 1876 the time was opportune for promoting this policy.  Trade was
depressed, manufactures languished, and the Canadian people as
producers only of raw material were fast becoming hewers of wood and
drawers of water for their more opulent neighbours in {114} the United
States.  On March 10 of that year Sir John Macdonald propounded to the
House of Commons his scheme for improving the commerce of the country.
His proposals were contemptuously received by the Government.  The
prime minister, while admitting the serious character of the depression
then prevailing, attributed the cause wholly to circumstances beyond
their control, and denied the power of any government to remove it by
legislation.  They would have nothing to do with protection, which
Mackenzie ridiculed as an attempt to relieve distress by imposing
additional taxation.

Sir John thought differently.  If he had done nothing else, his
'National Policy' campaign would have stamped him as a leader of men.
In the words of a political opponent of the time, 'he constructed with
consummate skill the engine which destroyed the Mackenzie
Administration.  From the very first he saw what a tactician would do
with Protection, and in so masterly a manner did he cover his troops
with that rampart, that it was impossible for the Liberals to turn
their flank.'

His political picnics in 1876 and 1877, and the enthusiasm he
everywhere aroused, were long remembered, and are not forgotten to
{115} this day by older men.  Everywhere crowds gathered to his
support, and the country impatiently waited the opportunity to restore
him to his old position at the head of affairs.  At length the fateful
day arrived, and on September 17, 1878, the people of Canada declared
by an overwhelming majority for 'John A.' and protection.  In the
preceding July Sir John had ventured a prophecy of the
result--something, by the way, he was extremely chary of doing.  'If we
do well we shall have a majority of sixty, if badly, thirty.'  He had

It was observed that as far as possible the new ministers in the
Cabinet formed by Macdonald were taken from the ranks of his old
colleagues, from those who had suffered with him on account of the
'Pacific Scandal.'  Sir George Cartier was dead, but Tilley and Tupper,
Langevin, Pope, Campbell, Aikins, O'Connor, and others of the 'Old
Guard' not hitherto of Cabinet rank, became members of the new
Administration, which was destined to last for thirteen years.

Lord Dufferin's term of office as governor-general was about to expire.
One of his last acts before leaving Canada was to send for Macdonald to
form the new Ministry.  Sir {116} John's relations with Lord Dufferin
had always been pleasant, though I think he considered the
governor-general a bit of a humbug.  Speaking to me one day of men's
liking for flattery, Sir John said that 'almost anybody will take
almost any amount of it,' but he thought that Lord Dufferin
transgressed even those wide limits.  'He laid it on with a trowel.'
Sir John added that Lord Dufferin was proud of his classical
acquirements.  He once delivered an address in Greek at the University
of Toronto.  A newspaper subsequently spoke of 'His Excellency's
perfect command of the language.'  'I wonder who told the reporter
that,' said a colleague to the chief.  'I did,' replied Sir John.  'But
you do not know Greek.'  'No,' replied Sir John, 'but I know men.'

Lord Dufferin's successor in the office of governor-general was the
Duke of Argyll, at that time Marquess of Lorne, who spent five
interesting and, as the duke himself said more than once, pleasant
years in the Dominion.  The personal relations between him and the
prime minister were always of the most agreeable description.  The
story, published in Sir Richard Cartwright's _Reminiscences_, that Sir
John Macdonald was guilty on one occasion {117} of rudeness to his
royal consort the Princess Louise is without a particle of foundation.
It was categorically denied by Her Royal Highness, and characterized as
'rubbish' by the duke in a cable to the Montreal _Star_.  I have now
arrived at the stage in this narrative when I have personal knowledge
of everything upon which I write.  I was Sir John Macdonald's private
secretary during the latter half of Lord Lorne's term of office, and I
positively assert that the relations between Government House and
Earnscliffe were of the most friendly character during the whole
period.  Had there been the slightest truth in the story, it is
incredible that such relations should have existed.

The policy of protection which Sir John had offered to the people in
1878 was brought into effect during the session of 1879.  So completely
was his promise fulfilled that the Liberal leader, Mackenzie, declared
that Sir John had 'gone the whole hog.'  George Brown made a similar
admission.[17]  Sir John Macdonald, it may be said, always carried out
his promises.  I never knew him to fail.  He was guarded in making
them, but if he gave an unconditional promise he was sure to {118}
implement it, no matter at what inconvenience to himself.  I have seen
this illustrated again and again.  The late Sir Richard Cartwright--no
very friendly witness--observed in recent times, in his own
characteristic fashion: 'I will say this for that old scoundrel John A.
Macdonald, that if he once gave you his word, you could rely upon it.'

Sir John had not been long in power when death removed the most
implacable of his foes.  On May 9, 1880, died George Brown, struck down
in his office by the bullet of an assassin.  This shocking occurrence,
which was due to the act of a discharged printer, had no relation to
public affairs.

The fiscal policy having been settled, Sir John Macdonald again turned
his attention to the problem of a railway to the Pacific.  The Liberal
Government, on the ground that the agreement with British Columbia to
build the road within ten years was impossible of fulfilment, had not
considered Canada bound by it, but had decided to build the railway,
not by means of a private company, but as a government work, and to
construct it gradually in sections as the progress of settlement and
the state of the public treasury might warrant.  Sir John Macdonald
rejected this piecemeal {119} policy, and resolved to carry out the
original scheme of a great national highway across the continent, to be
built as rapidly as possible so as to open up quickly the resources of
the Great West.

In the summer of 1880, accompanied by three of his colleagues--Tupper,
Pope, and Macpherson--Macdonald visited England for the purpose of
inducing capitalists to take hold of the enterprise.  After much
negotiation they were successful, and on September 14, 1880, an
agreement for the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway was
signed in London.  The company was to receive $25,000,000 and
25,000,000 acres of land in alternate blocks on each side of the
railway running from Winnipeg to Jasper House at the Rockies.  The line
was to be completed by May 1, 1891, and the company was to deposit one
million dollars as evidencing its ability to carry out the bargain.
The contract was finally executed at Ottawa on October 21, 1880.
Parliament was then summoned in order to ratify what the Government had

The contract was fiercely opposed.  The Opposition denounced the terms
as extravagant, as beyond the resources of the country, {120} and as
certain to involve financial disaster.  Blake affirmed that the road
would never pay for the grease for the wheels of the engines that would
pass over it, and appealed to his fellow-members not to throw the
hard-earned money of the people of Canada 'down the gorges of British
Columbia.'  A rival company was hurriedly got up which offered to build
the railway on much more moderate terms.  The _bona fides_ of this
opposition company or 'syndicate' was much doubted, and, in any event,
the proposal came too late.  The Government was bound to stand by its
bargain, which was defended with great power by Sir John Macdonald, Sir
Charles Tupper, and others.  At length, by a vote of 128 to 49, the
House of Commons ratified the contract, which passed the Senate a few
days later, and became incorporated in an Act of Parliament assented to
on February 15, 1881.

Then began a period of railway construction hitherto unparalleled.  At
the date of the signing of the contract the only portions of the main
line built were 152 miles from Fort William westward (the track was
laid, but the line was not completed) and 112 miles from Keewatin to
Selkirk--that is 264 miles.  Mackenzie had declared the building of the
road {121} within ten years to be a physical impossibility for Canada.
He even went so far as to affirm that the whole resources of the
British Empire could not construct the railway in ten years.[18]  As a
matter of fact, it was built by Canada in less than five years.  On
November 7, 1885, Donald Smith drove the last spike at Craigellachie,
twenty-eight miles west of Revelstoke, British Columbia; and on the
24th of the following July, just fifteen years (including the five lost
years of the Mackenzie régime) after the engagement with British
Columbia was made, Sir John Macdonald {122} arrived at Port Moody in
the car in which he had left Ottawa a few days before.

This marvellous feat was not accomplished without great exertions, much
anxiety, and the exercise of the highest arts of statesmanship.  The
opposition to the granting of the charter had been so keen, the
arguments against the whole scheme had been so powerfully set forth,
that the company found they could not sell their lands, nor obtain, in
any other way, the money needed to carry forward the work.  The
Government was obliged to come to the rescue, and, in the session of
1884, to grant a loan of $22,500,000 to the company.  On December 1,
1883, Sir John Macdonald sent this telegram to Sir Charles Tupper, who
only a few months before had gone over to London to fill the position
of high commissioner: 'Pacific in trouble, you should be here.'  Next
morning the characteristic reply was received: 'Sailing on Thursday.'
Sir Charles was as good as his word.  With admirable courage, energy,
and resolution he fought the measure of relief through parliament, and
for a time at least all was well.  But only for a time.  Early in the
year 1885 we find Mr Stephen, the president of the company, writing Sir
John Macdonald:


[There is] imminent danger of sudden crisis unless we can find means to
meet pressing demands....  It is clear as noon-day, Sir John, that
unless you yourself say what is to be done, nothing but disaster will
result.  The question is too big for some of our friends, and nothing
but your own authority and influence can carry anything that will
accomplish the object....  I endeavoured to impress upon him again [the
finance minister] that the object of the present application to the
Government is to save the _life_ of the Company....

I do hope something will be done to-day that will have the effect of
saving the life of the Company.  I stayed over here [Ottawa] to-day in
case I might be wanted.  It is impossible for me to carry on this
struggle for life, in which I have now been for over four months
constantly engaged, any longer.  Although I have done my best to save
the life and the honour of the Company, I cannot help feeling that I
have failed to impress the Government with a full sense of the extreme
urgency of the necessities of the Company, and yet I do not know
anything further that I can say {124} or do to enable the Government to
realize the extreme gravity of the position in which the Company is now
placed.  If the Company is allowed once to go to the wall, the remedial
measures proposed will be useless because too late.  I shall be within
reach if wanted.  Mr Pope, your secretary, knows where to find me.

The following is part of a telegram from the general manager to the

Have no means paying wages, pay car can't be sent out, and unless we
get immediate relief we must stop.  Please inform Premier and Finance
Minister.  Do not be surprised, or blame me, if an immediate and most
serious catastrophe happens.

The application referred to was for a further loan of $5,000,000.  The
request was ill received by the Cabinet.  Ministers were decidedly
averse to any further assistance out of the public treasury.  The prime
minister was told that it could not be done.  On the other hand, if it
were not done, irretrievable disaster stared Canada in the face.  For
if the Canadian Pacific Railway went down, what of the future of the
North-West? what of the credit {125} of Canada itself?  This was
perhaps the supreme moment of Sir John Macdonald's career.  With a
divided Cabinet, an unwilling following, and a hostile Opposition, it
is no wonder that even his iron resolution shrank from going to
parliament with this fresh proposal, which seemed an absolute
confirmation of the prophecies of his opponents.  He had, I believe,
almost if not altogether, made up his mind that further assistance was
impossible.  But he looked once again, and appreciated the herculean
efforts that his friends George Stephen and Donald Smith were making to
avert the ruin of the great enterprise, apparently tottering to its
fall.  He realized what such a fall would mean to his country, to his
party, and to himself; and, summoning all his courage, he called a
final Cabinet council and placed the issue fully before his colleagues.
The master spirit prevailed.[19]  One minister withdrew his
resignation, and he with other {126} ministers abandoned their
opposition.  The ministerial supporters in parliament, cheered and
encouraged by the indomitable spirit of their chief, voted the
$5,000,000, and the road was carried forward to completion.  From that
day all went well.  Both loans were speedily repaid by the company; and
the Canadian Pacific Railway, to-day the greatest transportation system
in the world, was launched.

It is the infelicity of statesmen that one difficulty is no sooner
overcome than another arises to take its place.  And so it now
happened.  In 1885 Louis Riel led an armed rebellion of half-breeds on
the banks of the Saskatchewan, as fifteen years earlier he had led one
on the banks of the Red River.  The causes were similar.  The
half-breeds were alarmed at the incoming of new life, and could not get
from the Government a title to the lands they occupied that they
regarded as secure.  The rebellion was quickly crushed and Riel was
taken prisoner.  This opened up a fresh chapter of embarrassments for
the Ministry.  From the first there could be no doubt as to the course
which should be pursued with regard to the unfortunate man.  His
offences of fifteen years before had been suffered to pass into
oblivion.  Even his great {127} crime--the atrocious murder of Thomas
Scott--had gone unwhipped of justice.  His subsequent effrontery in
offering himself for election and attempting to take his seat in
parliament had been visited with no greater punishment than expulsion
from the House of Commons.  Now he had suddenly emerged from his
obscurity in the United States to lead the half-breeds along the
Saskatchewan river in an armed revolt against the Government.  At the
same time--and this was incomparably his worst offence--he had
deliberately incited the Indians to murder and pillage.  He had caused
much bloodshed, the expenditure of large sums of money, and the
disturbance of an extensive region of the North-West.

Riel had been caught red-handed.  Whatever excuses might be put
forward, on behalf of his unfortunate dupes, that the Government had
refused to heed their just demands, it is certain that Riel himself
could plead no such excuses, for he was not at the time even a resident
of the country.  But, unfortunately, his case gave the opportunity of
making political capital against the Government.  Since he was of
French origin the way was open for an appeal to racial passions.  The
French-Canadian habitant, {128} recalling the rebellion of 1837-38, saw
in Riel another Papineau.  A wretched malefactor, thus elevated to the
rank of a patriot, became a martyr in the eyes of many of his
compatriots.  Sir John Macdonald fully realized the danger of the
situation, but from the first he was resolved, whatever the political
outcome, that if proved a culprit Riel should not a second time escape.
There should be a fair trial and no more clemency, but rigorous
justice, for the man who had added new crimes to the murder of Scott
fifteen years earlier.  Four able lawyers, including Sir Charles
Fitzpatrick, the present chief justice of Canada, were assigned to
Riel's defence.  The trial opened at Regina on July 20, 1885, and on
August 1 Riel was found guilty of high treason and sentenced to be
hanged on September 18.  In deference to those who professed to doubt
Riel's sanity, a stay of execution was granted.  Sir John Macdonald
sent to Regina two medical men, who, with the surgeon of the North-West
Mounted Police, were instructed to examine into Riel's mental
condition.  They reported that, except in regard to certain religious
matters on which he appeared to hold eccentric and foolish views, he
was quite able to distinguish between right and wrong and that he {129}
was entirely responsible for his actions.  On November 16, 1885, Riel
paid upon the scaffold the last penalty for his crimes.

During Riel's imprisonment Sir John Macdonald received from him several
letters.  From various other quarters he was informed of the
blasphemies, outrages, and murders of which Riel had been guilty.
There were many petitions, some for justice, others for mercy, chiefly
from people living in the eastern provinces.  These, however, counted
for little, since for the most part they merely represented the
political or racial sympathies of the writers.  But there are among
Macdonald's papers some original statements in respect to Riel of the
highest importance, from those of his fellow-countrymen who best knew
him.  The Catholic missionaries living in the districts specially
affected by the rebellion--St Laurent, Batoche, and Duck Lake--in a
collective letter dated March 12, 1885, denounced in the strongest
language 'the miscreant Louis David Riel' who had led astray their
people.  The venerable bishop of St Albert, while pleading for Riel's
dupes, had no word of pity for the 'miserable individual' himself.
Under date July 11, 1885, the bishop writes thus to Sir John Macdonald:


These poor halfbreeds would never have taken up arms against the
Government had not a miscreant of their own nation [Riel], profiting by
their discontent, excited them thereto.  He gained their confidence by
a false and hypocritical piety, and having drawn them from the
beneficent influence of their clergy, he brought them to look upon
himself as a prophet, a man inspired by God and specially charged with
a mission in their favour, and forced them to take up arms.

Riel's own letters disclose no appreciation on his part of the enormity
of his offences, or of the grave peril in which he stood.  The whole
collection produces a most unfavourable impression of the man, and one
rises from its examination with a wish that those who were wont to
proclaim Riel a patriot and hero could see for themselves what manner
of man he really was.  The papers will ultimately find their
resting-place in the Dominion Archives and will become available to
future historians.

The political effect of the execution of Riel was quite in accordance
with Sir John Macdonald's expectations.  In the province of Quebec the
greatest excitement prevailed.  {131} At many meetings the prime
minister and his French-Canadian colleagues were burned in effigy.  Sir
John had postponed an intended visit to England until after the
execution.  So intense was the popular feeling, that when the time came
for sailing he thought it prudent to avoid Montreal and Quebec and to
board his ship at Rimouski.  This circumstance afforded material to the
editor of the _Mail_, Mr Edward Farrer, for an amusing article, bearing
the alliterative title, 'The Murderer's Midnight Mizzle, or the
Ruffian's Race for Rimouski.'

All this happened in November.  In the preceding January Sir John had
taken part at Montreal in a magnificent demonstration to celebrate the
fortieth anniversary of his entrance into public life.  If ever a
public man enjoyed the acclaim of the populace, the Conservative
chieftain did so on that occasion.  If my memory serves me rightly, the
crowd took the horses out of his carriage and drew him in triumph from
the place of meeting to his hotel.  Not quite ten months later, when
slipping almost secretly past Montreal, Macdonald alluded to this as an
apt illustration of the fickleness of public opinion.  The immediate
consequence of this popular frenzy in Quebec was the defeat of the
Conservative {132} Government of the province, the rise of Honoré
Mercier, the Liberal leader, to power, and the loss of many
Conservative seats in the subsequent Dominion elections.  Indeed, Sir
John Macdonald never recovered his ground in the province of Quebec.
Riel's execution wrought organic political changes which are visible to
this day.

The parliamentary opponents of the Government were naturally not slow
to take advantage of the situation, but their first move was frustrated
by Sir John Macdonald in a manner worthy to rank as a piece of
political strategy with the 'Double Shuffle' itself.  At the first
available moment after the meeting of parliament in February 1886, the
member for Montmagny[20] moved this resolution: 'That this House feels
it its duty to express its deep regret that the sentence of death
passed upon Louis Riel convicted of high treason was allowed to be
carried into execution.'  Scarcely were the words out of his mouth
before Sir Hector Langevin rose, anticipating Blake, the leader of the
Opposition, by a fraction of a second, and moved the 'previous
question,' {133} thus shutting off all amendments, and compelling a
vote to be taken on the resolution as it stood.  The Opposition had
naturally counted upon having an opportunity to present an amendment so
framed as to censure the Government for maladministration, without
categorically condemning the execution itself.  In this design,
however, they were frustrated.  Blake was completely outgeneralled, and
as Sir Hector had been fortunate enough to catch the speaker's eye
first, there was no help for it.  Blake himself, his French-Canadian
supporters, and some others, voted for the condemnation of the
Government, but for some of the most prominent members of the
Opposition this was an impossibility.  Many prominent
Liberals--including Mackenzie, Cartwright, Mulock, Paterson,
Sutherland, Fisher, and Davies--supported the Ministry against their
own leader.  By a vote of 146 to 52 the House rejected Landry's motion.

Another important question of the time was the adoption of an Act for
the Dominion making a uniform qualification of voters.  The British
North America Act laid down that, until the parliament of Canada
otherwise provided, the provincial laws relating to the qualification
to vote at elections should apply {134} to elections for members of the
House of Commons.  Since 1867 parliament had gone on using the
provincial lists of voters, but for some years Sir John Macdonald had
chafed under this anomaly.  It seemed to him obvious that the
parliament of Canada should determine its own electorate, and that the
franchise should, as far as possible, be uniform throughout the
Dominion.  The system in vogue, under which members of the House of
Commons were elected under half a dozen different systems, over which
parliament had no control, was in his opinion not merely abnormal, but
derogatory to the dignity of the superior body.  In defence of this
system the practice in the United States was sometimes pointed to, but
in this matter there was no real analogy between Canada and the United
States.  The American Union is in reality a federation of sovereign
states, of which Congress is the creation.  This being the case, it is
not incongruous that these states should retain control over
congressional elections.  But the Canadian provinces are not sovereign;
on the contrary, they are, in a real sense, subordinate to the central

Sir John Macdonald had also observed, with ever-growing concern, a
disposition on the {135} part of some of the provincial legislatures to
amend their electoral franchises in a democratic direction.  Now, the
necessity of a property qualification for the right to vote was ever a
first principle with him--the central dogma of his political faith.  He
said with much energy that no man who favoured manhood suffrage without
a property qualification had a right to call himself a Conservative.
Once, when Sir John was dwelling on his favourite doctrine in the House
of Commons, a member interrupted him to know if he might ask a
question.  'Certainly,' replied Sir John.  'Well,' said the member,
'many years ago, during the gold fever, I went out to California, and
while there working in the diggings I acquired an interest in a donkey.
Under it I voted.  Before the next election came round the donkey died,
and then I had no vote....  Who voted on the first election, I or the
donkey?'  It was on the tip of Sir John's tongue to retort that it
didn't much matter which, but he forbore, and merely joined in the
general laughter.

In conformity with these views Sir John Macdonald introduced his
Electoral Franchise Bill in 1883, not with the object of carrying it
through parliament that session, but merely {136} for the purpose of
placing it before the members.  The same thing happened in 1884.  But
in 1885 the Bill was introduced in earnest.  It provided, as far as
practicable, for a uniform qualification of voters throughout the
Dominion based on property, and also for the registration of voters by
revising officers to be appointed by the federal Government.  The
measure encountered a desperate resistance from the Opposition.  For
the first time in the parliament of the Dominion there was organized
obstruction.  On one occasion the House of Commons sat from Thursday
afternoon until Saturday midnight, and although this record has since
been beaten, it was felt at the time to be a most trying experience.
Obstruction was naked and unashamed.  Members read long passages from
_The Pilgrim's Progress_, or _Robinson Crusoe_, or any other work that
happened to appeal to them.  One day--the passage is hopelessly buried
in Hansard and I cannot find it, but I remember the occasion very
vividly--Sir John rose at the opening of the day's proceedings and
addressed a few grave and measured words to the Opposition.  Starting
with the remark that he could only suppose their extraordinary and
unparalleled conduct to be the outcome of a misapprehension as to 'my
{137} supposed infirmities and my advancing years,' he told them that
they were vastly mistaken if they supposed they could tire him out by
such methods.  He declared that as long as he, and those who acted with
him, enjoyed the confidence of the people, they did not intend to
resign their functions into the hands of the minority.  He begged them,
in conclusion, to reflect upon the unwisdom of their course, 'lest what
has begun as a farce may end in a tragedy.'

These serious words did not appear to produce any immediate effect, and
the debates dragged on through the hot summer months.  In the end,
however, patience and firmness prevailed, and the Franchise Act reached
the statute-book, where it remained until it was repealed twelve years
later by the Government of Sir Wilfrid Laurier.  The apprehensions of
the Opposition with regard to the revising officers were not realized.
In Ontario these positions were offered to the county court judges, or
to the junior judges, and were accepted by nearly all of them.  In the
province of Quebec, where there are no county court judges, such
appointments were not possible; but the law provided that where the
returning officer was not a judge, he must be a barrister or notary of
not less than five years' standing, and an appeal in all cases lay from
{138} him to a judge.  Sir John Macdonald carefully supervised these
appointments, which in the great majority of cases were quite
unexceptionable.  The administration of the Act was no doubt expensive.
This was the strongest criticism heard against it; but in the opinion
of the Government of that day it was essential to the idea of a united
Dominion that the parliament of Canada should determine and control the
conditions of acquiring the right to vote for members of its own House
of Commons.

[Illustration: Sir John A. Macdonald in 1883]

I should not omit to state that Sir John professed himself a believer
in the extension of the franchise to single women.  Apparently he
considered that his advocacy of a property qualification required this.
I have heard him say, too, that women, as a whole, were conservative,
and he considered that their admission to the vote would tend to
strengthen the defences against the irruption of an unbridled
democracy.  Whether these views would have stood the test afforded by
the present-day militant suffragettes, I am unable to say; for from Sir
John Macdonald the knowledge that there might be something even more
disastrous than an unrestrained male democracy was mercifully withheld.

[1] See Pope's _Memoirs of Sir John Macdonald_, vol. i, p. 103.

[2] Dorion voted for the third reading of the Seigneurial Tenure Bill
and against that relating to the Clergy Reserves.  Brown voted against
the third reading of both measures, and the Clear Grits and Rouges as a
body did all in their power to impede the passage of both bills.

[3] 'The great reason why I have always been able to beat Brown is that
I have been able to look a little ahead, while he could on no occasion
forgo the temptation of a temporary triumph' (Sir John A. Macdonald to
M. C. Cameron, dated Ottawa, January 3, 1872).

[4] Gladstone stoutly defended the propriety of his course, which had
the assent of his whole Cabinet, and also the approval of such great
legal authorities as Lords Selborne and Hatherley.  This case of Sir
Robert Collier is almost exactly on all fours with the 'Double
Shuffle.'  Gladstone did a similar thing a few months later in the
appointment of the Rev. Mr Harvey to the Rectory of Ewelme.  See
Morley's _Life of Gladstone_, vol. ii, pp. 382-7.  For further
explanation of the 'Double Shuffle,' see Pope's _Memoirs of Sir John
Macdonald_, vol. i, pp. 198-205.

[5] If any one should doubt the ferocity of Brown's attacks on the
Ministry, and especially upon Sir John A. Macdonald, let him turn up
the _Globe_ files for that period--more particularly the issue of
September 5, 1866, which contained an attack so violent as to call
forth a protest from so staunch an opponent of the Conservative leader
as Alexander Mackenzie.  I commend also to the curious the _Globe_ of
April 30, 1870.

[6] From the Viscount Monck to Mr John A. Macdonald, dated London, May
24, 1867.

[7] Sir John Rose, dated Ottawa, February 23, 1870.

[8] Not the smallest reflection upon Sir Richard Cartwright's personal
honour is sought to be conveyed here.  Sir John Macdonald himself had
been connected with the same institution for many years as shareholder,
director, and solicitor, and its failure did not compromise either of
them.  At the same time, it is obvious that to appoint as Finance
minister the president of a bank which had recently closed its doors
(no matter for what cause) would be to invite criticism of the most
caustic kind.

[9] From Sir John Macdonald to George Stephen, dated Ottawa, December
1, 1869.

[10] From the same to the same, dated Ottawa, December 9, 1869.

[11] From the same to the same, dated Ottawa, December 13, 1869.

[12] _Memoirs of Sir John Macdonald_, vol. ii, pp. 85-140.

[13] From Sir John Macdonald to Sir John Rose, dated Ottawa, March 5,

[14] To the Viscount Monck, dated Ottawa, October 11, 1872.

[15] For the full text of this letter see Pope's _Memoirs of Sir John
Macdonald_, vol. ii, pp. 174-89.  In it Macdonald points out:

1.  That Canada was under bonds to construct a railway from (say)
Montreal to the Pacific.

2.  That the House of Commons in the session of 1871, during his
absence in Washington, carried a resolution, at the instigation of the
Opposition, obliging the Government to build the road through the
agency of an incorporated company.

3.  That two rival companies--one under Sir Hugh Allan in Montreal, and
the other under Mr David Macpherson in Toronto--were formed with the
object of securing the charter.

4.  That the Government, with a view to removing the great sectional
jealousies which had developed between the provinces of Ontario and
Quebec, in relation to this matter, endeavoured to secure the
amalgamation of these two companies.

5.  That while these negotiations were going forward, the general
elections of 1872 came on, and, among others, Sir Hugh Allan, as he had
done previously for many years, subscribed largely to the Conservative
election fund.

6.  That Sir Hugh Allan was told before he subscribed a farthing that
his railway company would not get the privilege of building the
railway.  He was informed that the work would only be entrusted to an
amalgamated company, under the terms of the Act passed in parliament;
that such amalgamation would be effected on terms fair to the provinces
of Ontario and Quebec, as agreed upon between the representatives of
the two rival companies, and that such amalgamation would take place
only after the elections.

7.  That under the powers vested in them by the Act, the Government
issued a royal charter in which they gave the preponderance of interest
to the province of Ontario, according to population.  They gave a fair
representation to every one of the other provinces, and of the thirteen
shareholders and directors of which the company was composed, only one
was the nominee or the special choice of Sir Hugh Allan.  The others
were elected without the slightest reference to him; some of them
against his most strenuous opposition, and they included three of the
incorporators of the Ontario company, two of whom had been directors in
that company.  In that charter there were no advantages given, nor
could they be given, by the Government.  Parliament had decided what
the subsidy in money and land should be, and that was given and no more.

[16] At that very time George Brown was writing thus to a leading
banker in Toronto:

TORONTO, _August_ 15, 1872.

MY DEAR SIR,--The fight goes bravely on....  We have expended our
strength in aiding outlying counties and helping our city candidates.
But a big push has to be made on Saturday and Monday for the East and
West divisions....  We therefore make our grand stand on Saturday.
There are but half a dozen people that can come down handsomely, and we
have done all we possibly can do, and we have to ask a few outsiders to
aid us.  Will you be one?  I have been urged to write you, and comply
accordingly.  Things look well all over the Province....  Things look
bright in Quebec.--Faithfully yours,


[17] Senate Debates, 1879, p. 565.

[18] 'I now refer to the diplomatic blunder committed in undertaking
solemn engagements that the entire resources of the Empire could not
possibly implement....  You will see how unlikely it was that that
road, with all the power of man and all the money of Europe, could have
been completed in 1881' (Mackenzie at Sarnia, October 11, 1875).

Even after the completion of the C.P.R. the _Globe_ mocked at the
enterprise in this fashion: 'The iron band of Confederation has been
completed....  The salubrious Rocky and Selkirk ranges may now become a
summer resort for the fashionable and crowded populations situated
between Callander and Rat Portage.  In short, the Canadian Pacific
Railway has been opened....  For our own part, we have not the
slightest doubt that the C.P.R. will be no less effective than the N.P.
in creating wealth for Canada....  This will be amply proved by the
spectacle of a railway 2500 miles long operated on the strength of a
traffic with about 150,000 people.  Such a thing was never tried
before, and is unlikely ever to be tried again' (_Globe_, July 13,

[19] 'You don't, I think, give sufficient weight to the troubles and
difficulties which beset the Government, and you have exaggerated our
power--forgetting that we have a strong opposition and a watchful press
which charge us with being mere tools of the C.P.R., and not knowing
that more than once we were deserted by our own parliamentary friends
in caucus, and that it was only my individual power over them that
enabled us on more than one occasion to come to your relief (Sir John
Macdonald to Sir George Stephen, dated August 1, 1890).

[20] This was the Hon. P. Landry, the present speaker (1915) of the
Senate.  He was a fast friend and supporter of Macdonald, but he
disapproved of the execution of Riel.




'With the Canadian Pacific Railway finished, and my Franchise Bill
become law, I feel that I have done my work and can now sing my _Nunc

So wrote Sir John Macdonald to Lord Carnarvon shortly after the close
of the arduous parliamentary session of 1885.  There can be little
doubt that these words expressed his inmost sentiments at the time.  He
had passed the allotted span of threescore years and ten, had 'sounded
all the depths and shoals of honour,' and was beginning to look forward
to a brief period of freedom from the cares of state before he should
be too old to enjoy it.  His great work was done.  The scattered
colonies had been united into a vast Dominion.  The great North-West
and the Pacific province had been added and Canada now extended from
ocean to ocean, its several provinces joined together by iron {140}
bands.  The reader of these pages can form some idea of the
difficulties, of the labours, the anxieties, and the discouragements
encountered in the execution of this giant task; and also of the
marvellous courage, patience, and endurance which sustained the master
builder throughout, and eventually enabled him to triumph over all
opposition.  Small wonder that Sir John Macdonald, with the
consciousness of duty faithfully performed, sometimes in later life
yearned for that rest which he was fated never to enjoy.

Party considerations forbade it.  Macdonald's political friends could
not reconcile themselves to his retirement, and he, in turn, could not
make up his mind to abandon them.  They declared that his withdrawal
meant the certain disintegration and consequent defeat of the great
party which he had built up, the party whose destinies he had so long
guided.  There were, moreover, at this particular time special reasons
which rendered his controlling hand more than ever necessary.  It was
no secret that the French-Canadian ministers, Langevin, Caron, and
Chapleau, were far from showing that spirit of mutual trust and
confidence which is supposed to exist among members of the same
Ministry.  {141} Sir Hector Langevin, the senior of the triumvirate,
had been the lieutenant of Cartier, but, in this instance, the mantle
of Elijah had not fallen upon his successor.  In my experience I never
met a man who more neatly fulfilled Bismarck's cynical description of
Lord Salisbury--'a lath painted to look like iron.'  He was a good
departmental officer--but he was nothing more.  The moment Sir John
Macdonald's support was taken away, he fell.  Yet Sir John stood by him
against the attacks of his opponents, and generally sided with him in
his differences with his colleagues.

During a holiday of 1888 Sir John said to me one day at Dalhousie,
N.B., where he was spending the summer: 'George Stephen keeps pressing
me to retire, and I think I shall.  My only difficulty is about my
successor.'  'Whom do you think of as such?' I asked.  'Oh,' replied
he, 'Langevin; there is no one else.'[1]  'Well,' I remarked, 'I have a
candidate--one who lives on the border line between the two provinces,
speaks both languages with facility, and is equally at home {142} in
Quebec and Ontario.'  'Who is he?'  'Mr Abbott,' I replied.  'John
Abbott,' said Sir John incredulously.  'Why, he hasn't a single
qualification for the office.  Thompson,' he went on, 'is very able and
a fine fellow, but Ontario would never endure his turning Catholic.
No, I see no one but Langevin.'  Yet it was Abbott after all.  When
asked why he thought so much of Langevin, the reply was at once
forthcoming: 'He has always been true to me.'  The same thing might
have been said of Sir Adolphe Caron, ever a faithful supporter, and
from his youth up, equally in prosperity and adversity, a close
personal friend of the old chief; but Sir John thought that Caron
sometimes allowed his personal feelings to obscure his judgment, or, as
he expressed it, 'Caron is too much influenced by his hates--a fatal
mistake in a public man, who should have no resentments.'  Sir Adolphe
Chapleau, with all his attractiveness and charm, Sir John never quite
trusted.  The relations between these three French-Canadian ministers
were hard to define.  I frankly confess that, with all my
opportunities, I could never master the intricacies of Lower-Canadian
politics in those days.  In the beginning it seemed to be a case of
Langevin and {143} Caron against Chapleau; later it sometimes looked as
though Langevin and Chapleau were making common cause against Caron;
perhaps most often it resembled a triangular duel.  There was
absolutely no difference between those three men in respect of public
policy, but the personal jealousy and suspicion with which they
regarded one another was amusing.

'Langevin,' said Sir John, 'on his way down to Quebec, cannot stop off
for lunch at Montreal, but Chapleau writes me that he is interfering in
his district, and if he leaves his house in Quebec for a walk down John
Street, Caron wires in cypher that a breach in the party is imminent.'
Langevin, on his part, was equally vigilant to resent the
encroachments, real or supposed, of his colleagues upon his domain, and
altogether Sir John had no pleasant time keeping the peace among them.

In the English section of the Cabinet three vacancies had recently
taken place.  Immediately after the close of the session of 1885
considerations of health compelled Sir David Macpherson to give up the
portfolio of the Interior.  This in no sense interfered with the
personal and political friendship which had long existed between him
and his leader.  Sir David, albeit over cautious and deliberate in
{144} his methods, was a man of good judgment, and wholly animated by a
desire for the public good.  His administrative record suffered from
his delays in settling the grievances of the half-breeds of the
North-West.  This had afforded Riel the pretext for the second rising,
but how far responsibility in this matter properly attached to
Macpherson, I am not prepared to say.

Sir David Macpherson was succeeded in the office of minister of the
Interior by Thomas White, a well-known Conservative journalist of
Montreal, where he and his brother Richard conducted the Montreal
_Gazette_.  For many years White had been a faithful exponent of
Conservative principles in the press.  In his efforts to enter
parliament he had been singularly unfortunate.  In 1867 he had been
defeated in South Wentworth by three votes; in 1874 in Prescott by six
votes; in 1875 in Montreal West by seven votes; and in the following
year in the same constituency by fifty votes.  Finally, he was elected
in 1878 for the then existing electoral division of Cardwell, in the
province of Ontario.  Seven years later he became a colleague of the
chieftain whose cause he had so long and so effectively promoted.  To
the great grief of {145} Sir John Macdonald, White died within three
years of taking office.  Few statesmen of so great merit have
experienced such persistent ill fortune.  Had he lived, he might not
improbably have become prime minister of Canada.

In the autumn of 1885 the minister of Finance, Sir Leonard Tilley,
resigned to become lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick.  In another
volume I have alluded to his close friendship with Sir John Macdonald.
If White was an unlucky politician, assuredly the same cannot be said
of Sir Leonard Tilley.  In 1867 he gave up the office of prime minister
of New Brunswick to enter the Dominion Cabinet; he remained minister
until a few days before the downfall of 1873, when he was appointed
lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick.  This post he held throughout the
period when the Conservatives were in opposition (1873 to 1878).  Upon
the return of the party to power in 1878, Tilley, having just completed
his term as lieutenant-governor, became minister of Finance.  After
holding this office for seven years, he slipped back again into the
post of lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick.  Sir Leonard's place in
the Cabinet was taken by Mr (now Sir) George {146} E. Foster, whose
signal ability was thus recognized thirty years ago by Sir John

In May 1884 Sir Charles Tupper relinquished the portfolio of Railways
and Canals in order to devote himself exclusively to the office of high
commissioner for Canada in London, to which he had been appointed a
year before.  It is unnecessary to say that the withdrawal of Sir
Charles from the Cabinet, in which he had so long exercised a
commanding influence, proved a serious loss.  Indeed, as the sequel
shows, his presence became so necessary that he had to return.  Sir
John Macdonald's choice of a successor from Nova Scotia fell upon Mr
Justice (afterwards Sir John) Thompson, a brilliant man, who will never
be appreciated at his true worth because his term of office was too
short.  The selection was at variance with Sir John's expressed views
on the inexpediency of judges leaving the bench to return to political
life, but it proved singularly happy, and in time Thompson became prime
minister.  'Thompson,' observed Macdonald, 'has just two faults.  He is
a little too fond of satire, and a little too much of a Nova Scotian.'
It cannot be denied that, in spite of Thompson's great ability, his
point of view remained {147} provincial to the end.  In his heart of
hearts Nova Scotia rather than Canada ever held first place.  No more
upright man ever breathed.  He had a fierce intolerance of the
slightest departure from absolute rectitude.  The case of a chief clerk
in the Civil Service, who had committed serious irregularities in
connection with the public funds, once came up before the Cabinet.
Thompson, always severe in such matters, considered that the gravity of
the offence called for dismissal, but to this Macdonald would not
consent, holding that reduction in rank to a first-class clerkship,
with corresponding loss of salary, would be sufficient punishment.  It
was seldom that Macdonald, in the ordinary course of administration,
interposed his paramount authority as first minister, but, though the
Council as a whole rather inclined towards Thompson's view, Macdonald
insisted that the more merciful punishment should be imposed.  Thompson
was angry, but said nothing more at the time.  Not long afterwards a
third-class railway mail clerk, with a salary of $500 a year, got into
similar trouble.  'What shall be done with this man?' asked Macdonald
at the Council Board.  There was a moment's pause, which was broken by
the bland {148} suggestion from Thompson that, 'following precedent, he
be made a first-class clerk.'

Thompson had a caustic wit.  A certain inventor of Toronto, who had
devised an ingenious means for safeguarding level railway crossings,
had long bombarded Sir John Macdonald with applications for Government
patronage.  When Sir John became minister of Railways in 1889, the
inventor thought that his day had at last arrived.  He went post-haste
to Ottawa, obtained the requisite permission, and installed his models
in a room belonging to the Railway department.  One day Macdonald and
Thompson happened to come along the corridor going to Macdonald's
office.  The inventor, who had been lying in wait, pressed them to step
aside for a minute and inspect his models.  Sir John, seeing no escape,
said to his companion, 'Come along, Thompson, and let us see what this
fellow's got to show us.'  Thompson hated mechanical contrivances, but
there was no way out of it, so he followed the chief.  The delighted
inventor felt that he had at last realized his desire, and was in great
form.  He volubly descanted on the frequent loss of life at level
crossings and proceeded to show his devices for lessening such dangers.
The day was {149} piping hot and he had taken off his coat.  He rushed
round the table and touched bells here and there, which caused gates to
close and open, semaphores to drop, and all sorts of things to happen.
As the ministers took their leave, Macdonald said to his companion,
'Well, Thompson, what do you think of that chap?'  'I think,' replied
Thompson with great energy, 'that he deserves to be killed on a level

Once, while Lord Aberdeen was governor-general, Sir John Thompson was
dining at Government House on an evening in June when the mosquitoes
were unusually troublesome.  Lady Aberdeen suggested the shutting of
the windows.  'Oh! thank you,' replied Sir John, 'pray don't trouble; I
think they are all in now!'

Sir Alexander Campbell was from youth intimately connected with Sir
John Macdonald--as a fellow-citizen of Kingston, as law student and
subsequently as partner in a legal firm, as a colleague for many years
in the government of the old province of Canada and afterwards in that
of the Dominion.  Yet the two were never kindred spirits.  Sir
Alexander Campbell was a Tory aristocrat, a veritable grand seigneur,
of dignified bearing {150} and courtly mien.  He made an excellent
minister of Justice, but he lacked that _bonhomie_ which so endeared
Sir John Macdonald to the multitude.  I do not think that Sir John's
pre-eminence in that direction ever gave Sir Alexander much concern.
My impression is that he regarded the multitude as an assemblage of
more or less uninteresting persons, necessary only at election times;
and if Sir John could succeed in obtaining their votes, he was quite
welcome to any incidental advantages that he might extract from the
process.  It was alleged by Sir Richard Cartwright that in the year
1864 a movement was started in the Conservative party with the object
of supplanting Macdonald and putting Campbell in his place, and that
Sir John never forgave Campbell for his part in this affair.  Something
of the kind was talked about at the date mentioned, but the movement
proved a complete fiasco, and it is not at all clear that Campbell was
a consenting party to it.  I doubt too the correctness of Sir Richard's
inference, for, leaving the 1864 incident out of account, there never
was the slightest political division between the two men.  At the time
of the Pacific Scandal, Campbell behaved exceedingly {151} well to his
chief.  Yet, speaking of the period within my own knowledge--that is to
say, during the last ten years of Macdonald's life--while ever
externally friends, the two in their personal relations were
antipathetic.  This may in part be ascribed to Campbell's dignified
love of ease and disinclination to join in the rough-and-tumble of
party politics.  When elections were to be fought (I speak only of my
own time) Campbell, if he did not find that he had business elsewhere,
was disposed to look on in a patronizing sort of way.  He seldom took
off his coat or even his gloves in the fight, but he always turned up
when the victory was won.  Sir John resented this.  Yet assuredly
Campbell had some merits, or Macdonald would not have kept him in
successive Cabinets.  Sir Alexander was an ideal leader of the Senate,
and this qualification alone rendered him of much value.  He was,
moreover, _par excellence_ the aristocrat of the Cabinet, and such a
type of public man is rare in Canada.

The antithesis of Sir Alexander Campbell was John Henry Pope, sometime
minister of Agriculture and later of Railways and Canals.  Pope was a
man of small education and less culture, but of great natural ability,
and was {152} gifted with remarkable political sagacity.  Macdonald
used to say that Pope could have been anything he desired had he only
received a good education in his youth.  He added that he had never
known Pope's judgment to be at fault.  In times of stress and
difficulty Pope was the colleague of whom he first sought advice and
counsel, and upon whose rough good sense he implicitly relied.  Pope
died two years before his chief, who never ceased to mourn his loss.

Another self-made colleague of the same stamp was Mr Frank Smith of
Toronto.  Mr Smith was a member of the Cabinet from 1882 to 1891,
during which long period his keen business sagacity and sound common
sense were ever at his chief's disposal.

Sir Mackenzie Bowell, 'the best Minister of Customs I ever had,' was
another old-time friend and colleague for whom Sir John entertained a
high regard and respect.  Sir Mackenzie's chief claims to prominence
are of a date subsequent to the day of Sir John Macdonald and therefore
do not fall within the compass of this work; but he is one who in
serene old age remains a connecting link with those stirring times.

The pre-eminence of Sir Charles Tupper {153} must not lead me to forget
that his son had the honour of being one of Sir John's colleagues in
the old chieftain's latter years.  Sir Charles Hibbert Tupper became a
Cabinet minister at thirty-two, the same age as that at which the
youthful John A. Macdonald had entered the Cabinet of Draper, forty-one
years before.  During the years in which the younger Tupper held the
office of minister of Marine and Fisheries he made an enviable record
as an efficient and courageous administrator.  I fancy Sir John used
sometimes to think that he was perhaps more particular about the
administration of patronage in his own department than in those of his
colleagues.  One day, shortly after Mr Tupper (as he was then) had
become a minister, he sent a letter from some applicant for office over
to Sir John with the request that if possible he would do something for
the writer.  Sir John took the letter, folded it, endorsed it, 'Dear
Charlie, skin your own skunks.  Yours always, J. A. M.D.,' and sent it
back to the new minister; as much as to say, 'Now that you have a
department of your own, look after these people yourself.'

Mr John Costigan was a member of Sir John Macdonald's Cabinet from 1882
till 1891.  {154} Shortly after the appearance of my _Memoirs of Sir
John Macdonald_, Mr Costigan publicly stated that I had made a mistake
in saying that Macdonald had not been in favour of Home Rule for
Ireland.  Goldwin Smith declared, indeed, that Sir John Macdonald had
no settled convictions upon Home Rule, but was ever ready to propitiate
the Irish vote by any sacrifice of principle that might be required.
That Sir John reduced the original Home Rule resolutions before the
Dominion parliament in 1882 and 1886 to mere expressions of contingent
hope, such (to use Goldwin Smith's own words) 'as any Unionist might
have subscribed,'[2] and that Macdonald voted against Mr Curran's
substantive resolution in favour of Home Rule in 1887, when he could
not modify it, was as well known to Goldwin Smith as to Mr Costigan.
In addition, Goldwin Smith possessed indubitable evidence, at first
hand, of Sir John Macdonald's sentiments on the subject of Home Rule.
During the political campaign of 1886-87 Goldwin Smith said some hard
things of Sir John and the Conservative party.  He was at the same time
attacking Gladstone very bitterly on his Home Rule policy.  Some {155}
weeks after the Canadian elections were over, Sir John Macdonald
visited Toronto, and stayed at the Queen's Hotel.  Among the visitors
on the day of his arrival was Goldwin Smith, who, as he entered the
room, murmured something about the doubtful propriety of making a
social call upon one whom he felt it his duty to oppose in the recent
contest.  Sir John Macdonald held out both hands saying, 'My dear sir,
I forgive you everything for your splendid defence of the Empire,'
alluding to his attacks on Home Rule.  This remark and the conversation
which ensued made quite clear where Sir John Macdonald stood on the
question of Home Rule--a position which he never compromised by any
word or act.  To assert the contrary implies a charge of opportunism;
but Goldwin Smith himself, when calmly analysing Macdonald's character
sixteen years after his death, deliberately asserted that 'if he [Sir
John] was partisan, he was not opportunist.'[3]  Goldwin Smith knew
right well that Sir John Macdonald was just as resolutely opposed as he
was himself to the establishment of a separate parliament in Dublin
with an executive responsible thereto.  On the evening of the day just
mentioned {156} Macdonald dined with Goldwin Smith.  As we drove to
'The Grange' Sir John asked me if I had ever been there before.  I had

'Well,' said he, 'you are going to a very interesting house with a
charming host, but notice Mr Smith's habit of interlarding his
otherwise agreeable conversation with tiresome references to the
nobility.  Why, to hear him talk, you would imagine he never consorted
in England with anybody under the rank of an earl.'  Later that
evening, as we went to the station to take our train, Sir John said,
'Did you observe what I told you?  That's why Dizzy in _Lothair_ called
him a social parasite.  Strange that so brilliant a man, who needs no
adventitious aids, should manifest such a weakness.'

In the autumn of 1886 Sir John Macdonald, accompanied by four of his
colleagues--Chapleau, White, Thompson, and Foster--made a tour of the
province of Ontario, towards the close of which he wrote thus to Sir
Charles Tupper:

I am on my way back to Ottawa after a successful tour in Western
Ontario.  We have made a very good impression, and I think will hold
our own in the Province.  {157} We have, however, lost nearly the whole
of the Catholic vote by the course of the _Mail_, and this course has
had a prejudicial effect not only in Ontario but throughout the
Dominion, and has therefore introduced a great element of uncertainty
in a good many constituencies.

In Nova Scotia the outlook is bad, and the only hope of our holding our
own there is your immediate return and vigorous action.  It may be
necessary that you should, even if only for a time, return to the
Cabinet.  M'Lelan, I know, would readily make way for you.  Now, the
responsibility on you is very great, for should any disaster arise
because of your not coming out, the whole blame will be thrown upon you.

I see that Anglin is now starring it in Nova Scotia.  I send you an
extract from a condensed report of his remarks which appeared in the
Montreal _Gazette_.  This is a taking programme for the Maritime
Provinces and has to be met, and no one can do it but yourself.  But
enough of Dominion politics.

I cannot in conclusion too strongly press upon you the absolute
necessity of your {158} coming out at once, and do not like to
contemplate the evil consequences of your declining to do so.

I shall cable you the time for holding our election the moment it is

That the general elections of 1887 were fought with exceeding
bitterness may be inferred from a paragraph in a leading Canadian
newspaper of the day:

Now W. M. Tweed [the criminal 'boss' in New York] was an abler
scoundrel than is Sir John Macdonald.  He was more courageous, if
possible more unscrupulous, and more crafty, and he had himself, as he
thought, impregnably entrenched.  Yet in a few short months he was in a
prison cell deserted and despised by all who had lived upon his
wickedness--and there he died.

This of course is a mere exhibition of partisan rage and spite.  It
contains no single word or phrase in the smallest degree applicable to
Sir John Macdonald, who, far from being dishonest, was ever
scrupulously fair and just in all his dealings, both public and
private.  This, I am persuaded, is now well {159} understood.  What is
not so well known is that he disliked extravagance of any kind.  He
was, it is true, a man of bold conceptions, and when convinced that a
large policy was in the interest of the country, he never hesitated at
its cost.  Thus he purchased the North-West, built the Canadian Pacific
Railway, and spent millions on canals.  But in the ordinary course of
affairs he was prudent, even economical, and as careful of public money
as of his own.  At the close of a long life he spoke of the very modest
competence he had provided for his family as having been 'painfully and
laboriously saved.'

If Sir John's critic, quoted above, meant to convey the idea that in
1887 Sir John thought himself firmly entrenched in power, he was far
from the mark.  For Sir John went into the elections of 1887 believing
that he would be defeated.  The Riel movement in the province of Quebec
had assumed formidable proportions, and the fatuous course of former
Conservative allies, Dalton M'Carthy and the _Mail_ newspaper, in
raising an anti-French and anti-Catholic cry threatened disaster in
Ontario.  The friendly provincial Government in Quebec had been
overthrown in October 1886, and in the following {160} December Oliver
Mowat, in the hope of strengthening the hands of Blake, then leading
the Ottawa Opposition, suddenly dissolved the Ontario legislature.
Mowat was successful in his own appeal.  But, strange to say, the local
triumph probably injured rather than aided Blake.  At least such was
Sir John's opinion.  He held that his attitude on the Home Rule
question had alienated a goodly proportion of the Irish vote which
usually went with him, and that these people, having taken the edge off
their resentment by voting Liberal in the provincial elections, felt
free to return to their political allegiance when the Dominion
elections came on two months later.  This sounds far-fetched, but it
was the opinion of a man who had been studying political elections in
Ontario all his long life.  At any rate, Sir John Macdonald carried
fifty-four out of ninety-two seats in Ontario; and Edward Blake was so
discouraged by the result that on the meeting of the new parliament he
resigned the leadership of the Opposition in favour of Mr Laurier.

Of Sir Wilfrid Laurier and his subsequent career it does not devolve
upon me to speak.  I will only say that if his predecessors in the
{161} leadership of the Liberal party, for one cause or another, failed
to realize the hopes of their political followers, he amply made up for
their shortcomings by achieving signal success.  Fortune, no doubt, was
kinder to him than to them, but, apart from all other questions, Sir
Wilfrid's personal qualities had no small influence in bringing about
his party triumphs.  Alike in Opposition and in power, his unfailing
tact, old-fashioned courtesy, conciliatory methods, urbanity,
moderation, and unvarying good temper evoked the sympathy of thousands
whom Blake's coldly intellectual feats failed to attract and
Mackenzie's rigidity of demeanour served only to repel.  Simultaneously
with Mr Laurier's advent to the leadership of the Opposition in 1887, a
moderating influence began to be felt in the House of Commons, which
gradually affected the whole tone of political life in Canada, until
the old-time bitterness of party strife in a large measure passed away.

About a month before Sir John Macdonald died Mr Laurier came to his
office in the House of Commons to discuss some question of adjournment.
When he had gone, the chief said to me, 'Nice chap that.  If I were
twenty years younger, he'd be my colleague.' {162} 'Perhaps he may be
yet, sir,' I remarked.  Sir John shook his head.  'Too old,' said he,
'too old,' and passed into the inner room.

I must not omit an amusing incident which happened in the autumn of
1888.  During the summer of that year Honoré Mercier, the Liberal prime
minister of Quebec, had called upon Sir John at the Inch Arran hotel at
Dalhousie, New Brunswick.  It was the first time they had met, and
Mercier, who showed a disposition to be friendly, asked Sir John if he
would give him an interview with himself and his colleagues at Ottawa
in order to discuss some financial questions outstanding between the
Dominion and the province.  Sir John promised to do so, and when he
returned to town fixed a day for the meeting.  In the preceding July
the Quebec legislature had passed the once famous Jesuits' Estates Act.
This Act was then before Sir John's Cabinet and he was under strong
pressure to disallow it.  While Sir John had no love for Mercier or his
Government, and while he thought the preamble of the Jesuits' Estates
Act, with its ostentatious references to the Pope, highly
objectionable, he had no doubt that the Act was wholly within the
competence of the {163} Quebec legislature and was not a subject for
disallowance.  Obviously Quebec could do what it liked with its own
money.  Sir John was having much trouble at the time with several of
the provincial legislatures, which were showing a disposition to
encroach upon the federal domain.  It was necessary that he should walk
warily, lest he should put himself in the wrong by interfering with
legislation clearly within the power of provincial legislatures.  He
was persuaded that the obnoxious phrases in the preamble of the
Jesuits' Estates Act had been inserted with the express object of
tempting him to an arbitrary and unjust exercise of power which would
react disastrously upon him, not only in Quebec, but also in Ontario,
Manitoba, and elsewhere.  It was all too palpable, and, as he used to
say, 'in vain is the net spread in the sight of any bird.'

Mercier's visit, however, had no relation to this matter, but had been
arranged for the discussion of purely financial matters with Sir John
and his colleagues.  The appointed morning arrived, and Mercier,
frock-coated and very formal and precise, was shown into Sir John's
office.  A meeting of Council had been called for the occasion, and
while the members {164} were gathering the two leaders exchanged a few
remarks of a purely conventional character.  At length, when all was
ready, Sir John rose and, with a stiff bow and 'Will you follow me,
sir?' led the way along the hall towards the council chamber, with
Mercier close behind him.  As they turned into the corridor leading to
the chamber, Mercier, feeling some constraint and wishing to make a
little conversation, said, half jokingly, 'Sir John, I wish you would
tell us whether you are going to disallow our Jesuits' Estates Act or
not.'  Suddenly the old man unbent, his eyes brightened, his features
grew mobile, as he half looked back over his shoulder and said in a
stage whisper, 'Do you take me for a damn fool?'  In a second it was
all over, his figure again became erect, all trace of expression died
out of his face, and with measured pace and serious mien the two men
passed into the council chamber.

My recollections of the day of Sir John Macdonald are chiefly connected
with official, as distinct from parliamentary, life.  At the same time
I recall many amusing incidents which took place in the House of
Commons.  Of all the members of that assembly I thought Sir Richard
Cartwright the most accomplished {165} debater.  He was perhaps the
only member of the House who could afford to have his words taken down
and printed exactly as he spoke them.  Uniformly a kind and considerate
minister towards his subordinates, his attitude towards his opponents
in parliament was ferocious, though perhaps this ferocity was often
more simulated than real.  One illustration of his savage humour occurs
to me.  About the year 1883 a life of Sir John Macdonald appeared
written by a certain John Edmund Collins.  Sir John did not know the
author, nor had he any connection with the book.  It was merely a
well-ordered presentation of facts already known, and did not profess
to be anything more.  Some of the government departments bought copies
and the title appeared in the public accounts, which came before
parliament.  This gave Sir Richard one of those opportunities to attack
Sir John of which he never failed to take advantage.  After saying some
disagreeable things, he concluded thus: 'However, Mr Speaker, I am
bound to say that I think it quite fit that a gentleman who in his day
has done justice to so many John Collinses, should at last have a John
Collins to do justice to him.'  To the uninitiated it may be explained
{166} that 'John Collins' is the name of a rather potent beverage.

This pointed allusion to Sir John's convivial habits leads me to say,
in all candour, that his failings in this regard were greatly
exaggerated.  There is no doubt that at one time--in an age when almost
everybody drank wine freely--he was no exception to the general rule.
This was particularly true of the period of his widowerhood, between
1857 and 1867, when his lapses were such as occasionally to interfere
with his public duties.  But certainly during the last ten years of his
life (and probably for a longer period) his habits were most temperate.
His principal beverages were milk and at dinner a glass of claret.  I
rarely knew him to touch spirits, and if he did so now and then, it was
in great moderation.

Sir John Macdonald never seems to have felt towards Sir Richard
Cartwright the degree of bitterness that marked Cartwright's pursuit of
him.  I do not pretend to say that he liked him, but he was always
fair.  This letter to an over-zealous supporter may perhaps serve as an

OTTAWA, 28_th March_ 1891.

DEAR SIR,--I have yours of the 23rd instant informing me that Sir
Richard {167} Cartwright is going to Kingston to inquire into some
matters with regard to the Provincial penitentiary.  He has a right to
do so as a member of Parliament, nor do I think that any impediment
should be thrown in his way.  If there be any irregularities committed
in the penitentiary, there are no reasons why they should be hidden,
and the parties committing irregularities properly dealt with.--I am,
dear sir, yours very truly,


No sketch of the House of Commons of those days, however brief, should
omit mention of Alonzo Wright, the 'King of the Gatineau,' as he was
commonly known.  Wright was a genial, whole-souled plutocrat of the old
school.  He represented the county of Ottawa, and resided on the banks
of the Gatineau river, where his hospitable doors were ever open to his
many friends.  He was an old-fashioned Tory, but never took politics
very seriously.  Sometimes, indeed, he showed symptoms of independence,
but, as Sir John used laughingly to say, 'while Alonzo's speeches are
sometimes wrong, his vote is always right.'  Sir John, of course, was
quite {168} satisfied with this arrangement.  Once a year, to the great
entertainment of the House, Wright would make a characteristic speech,
felicitously phrased and brimful of humour.  One of these harangues in
particular remains in my recollection.  Like all good-natured members
residing near the capital, 'Alonzo' was much plagued by office-seekers
of all classes.  Among these was a certain Madame Laplante of Hull,
whose aspirations did not rise above a charwoman's place.  She was
unusually persistent.  One day, as the 'King' was driving over the
Sappers Bridge, he saw a woman in front of his horses waving her arms
wildly as a signal to stop.  He pulled up, and saw that it was Madame
Laplante.  Being rather hazy as to her present fortunes, he ventured to
express the hope that she liked the position which he had been so
fortunate as to obtain for her.  Madame Laplante, with sobs, said that
she was still without work.  At this the 'King' feigned unbounded
indignation.  The rest must be told in his own words.

'Impossible,' I made answer.  'It cannot be.'  Upon receiving renewed
assurances that so it was, my resolution was {169} taken in an instant.
Turning my carriage I bade the weeping woman enter, and drove at once
to the Public Departments.  Brushing aside the minions who sought to
arrest our progress, I strode unannounced into the Ministerial
presence.  'Sir,' said I, 'I have come to you as a suitor for the last
time.  You may remember that you promised me that this worthy woman
should be employed forthwith.  I learn to-day that that promise, like
many others you have made me, is still unfulfilled.  There is a time
when patience ceases to be a virtue.  Sir, my resolution is taken.  I
am as good a party man as lives, but there is something that I value
more than my party, and that is my self-respect.  This afternoon my
resignation shall be in the hands of the Speaker, and I shall then be
free to state publicly the sentiments I entertain towards all violators
of their word, and by the aid of this victim of duplicity, to expose
your perfidious treatment of one of your hitherto most faithful
supporters.'  My arguments, my entreaties, my threats prevailed, and
Madame Laplante that day entered the service of her country, which she
continues to adorn!


Many delightful stories are told of Macdonald's ally, Lord Strathcona.
I have room for only two.  A seedy-looking person named M'Donald once
called at the high commissioner's office in London.  When asked the
nature of his business, he replied that he was in straitened
circumstances, and that when Lord Strathcona, as young Donald Smith,
had left Forres in Scotland for America, he had been driven to the port
whence he sailed by his present visitor's father.  When the secretary
had duly informed Lord Strathcona of this, word was given to admit
M'Donald.  Presently the bell rang, and the secretary appeared.  'Make
out a cheque for £5 in favour of Mr M'Donald,' said Lord Strathcona.
This was done, and M'Donald went on his way rejoicing.  In a month or
so he turned up again; the same thing happened, and again he departed
with a five-pound cheque.  This went on for several months; but
M'Donald came once too often.  On the occasion of his last visit Lord
Strathcona did not happen to be in a complaisant mood.  When M'Donald
was announced he said to the secretary: 'Tell him I'll not see him.
And as for Mr M'Donald's father having driven me from Forres when I
went to America, {171} it is not true, sir!  _I walked, sir!_'--the
last three words with tremendous emphasis.

During one of Donald Smith's election contests in Manitoba he felt some
uneasiness as to the probable course of a knot of half-breeds in his
constituency, but was assured by his election agent that these people
were being 'looked after,' and that he need not have any apprehension
in regard to them.  This agent belonged to a class of westerners noted
for the vigour rather than for the correctness of their language.
Smith himself, as is well known, was always most proper in this
respect.  Now, it so happened that in the last hours of the campaign
the half-breeds who were the objects of his solicitude were beguiled by
the enemy, and that they voted against Smith, who lost the election.
He felt this defeat very keenly, and so did his agent, who had to bear
the additional mortification of having unintentionally misled his
principal.  When the results of the polling were announced, the agent
relieved his feelings by denouncing the delinquent half-breeds in true
Hudson's Bay style, and at every opprobrious and profane epithet Smith
was heard to murmur with sympathetic approval, 'Are they not, Mr ----?
are they not? are they not?'


During the period between 1887 and 1891 the Opposition developed the
policy of unrestricted reciprocity with the United States, which they
made the chief feature of their policy in the general elections of the
latter year.  Sir John Macdonald opposed this policy with all the
energy at his command.  He held that it would inevitably lead to the
absorption of Canada by the United States, though he did not believe
that this was the desire or the intention of its chief promoters.  Sir
John feared too that the cry would prove seductive.  In the hope of
arresting the movement before it had more fully advanced, he dissolved
parliament prematurely and appealed to the people in mid-winter.  In
this resolve he was perhaps influenced by a growing consciousness of
his failing physical strength.  He was less pessimistic as to the
result of the election than in 1887, yet he considered his chances of
success not more than even.  As on previous occasions, he had recourse
to Sir Charles Tupper, to whom he cabled on January 21, 1891: 'Your
presence during election contest in Maritime Provinces essential to
encourage our friends.  Please come.  Answer.'

The old war-horse, who doubtless had {173} scented the battle from
afar, was not slow in responding to his leader's appeal.  The contest
was severe, and on Sir John's part was fought almost single-handed.
His Ontario colleagues were too busy in defending their own seats to
render him much assistance in the province at large.  It was on this
occasion that he issued his famous manifesto to the people of Canada
containing the well-known phrase: 'A British subject I was born, a
British subject I will die.'  In this manifesto he earnestly exhorted
the electors to reject a policy which, he was persuaded, would imperil
their British allegiance.  The people who had so often sustained him in
the past responded to his fervent appeal, and again he was victorious.
Nor had he to wait long for a signal confirmation of his estimate of
the policy of his opponents.  On the day after the polling Edward Blake
published a letter to his constituents in West Durham, unsparingly
condemning unrestricted reciprocity as tending towards annexation to
the United States--'a precursor of political Union'--of which he was
unable to approve, and in consequence of which he retired from public

Macdonald had won, but it was his last triumph.  The wheel had gone
full circle, {174} and he, who in the flush of youth had begun his
political career with the announcement of his firm resolve to resist,
from whatever quarter it might come, any attempt which might tend to
weaken the union between Canada and the mother country, fittingly
closed it forty-seven years later by an appeal to the people of the
Dominion to aid him in his last effort 'for the unity of the Empire and
the preservation of our commercial and political freedom.'  He won, but
the effort proved too great for his waning vitality, and within three
months of his victory he passed away.

In _The Times_ of September 1, 1903, Dr L. S. (now Sir Starr) Jameson
published this letter from Cecil Rhodes to Sir John Macdonald:

CAPE TOWN, 8_th May_ 1891.

DEAR SIR,--I wished to write and congratulate you on winning the
elections in Canada.  I read your manifesto and I could understand the
issue.  If I might express a wish, it would be that we could meet
before our stern fate claims us.  I might write pages, but I feel I
know you and your politics as if we had been friends for years.  The
whole thing lies in the {175} question, Can we invent some tie with our
mother country that will prevent separation?  It must be a practical
one, for future generations will not be born in England.  The curse is
that English politicians cannot see the future.  They think they will
always be the manufacturing mart of the world, but do not understand
what protection coupled with reciprocal relations means.  I have taken
the liberty of writing to you; if you honour me with an answer I will
write again.--


PS.  You might not know who I am, so I will say I am the Prime Minister
of this Colony--that is the Cape Colony.

Sir John Macdonald never received this letter.  It was written in South
Africa in May, and Sir John died on June 6.

Sir John Macdonald's resemblance to Lord Beaconsfield has often been
remarked.  That it must have been striking is evident from Sir Charles
Dilke's comment:

The first time I saw Sir John Macdonald was shortly after Lord
Beaconsfield's death and as the clock struck midnight.  I was {176}
starting from Euston station, and there appeared at the step of the
railway carriage, in Privy Councillor's uniform (the right to wear
which is confined to so small a number of persons that one expects to
know by sight those who wear it), a figure precisely similar to that of
the late Conservative leader, and it required, indeed, a severe
exercise of presence of mind to remember that there had been a City
banquet from which the apparition must be coming, and rapidly to arrive
by a process of exhaustion at the knowledge that this twin brother of
that Lord Beaconsfield whom shortly before I had seen in the sick room,
which he was not to leave, must be the Prime Minister of Canada.[4]

At an evening reception in London, Sir John, who was standing a little
apart, saw a lady attract another's attention, saying in an earnest
whisper, 'You say you have never seen Lord Beaconsfield.  There he is,'
pointing to Sir John.

Sir John Macdonald's underlying and controlling thought was ever for
the British Empire.  That Canada should exist separate {177} and apart
from England was a contingency he never contemplated.  The bare mention
of such a possibility always evoked his strongest condemnation as being
fatal to the realization of a united Empire, which was the dominant
aspiration of his life.[5]  To see Canada, Australia, and South Africa
united by ties of loyalty, affection, and material interest; to see
them ranged round the mother country as a protection and a defence--to
see the dear land of England secure, to see her strong in every quarter
of the globe, mistress of the seas, 'with the waves rolling about her
feet, {178} happy in her children and her children blessed in
her'--such was Sir John Macdonald's dearest wish.  As his devoted wife
has most truly written of him:

Through all the fever, the struggles, the battles, hopes and fears,
disappointments and successes, joys and sorrows, anxieties and rewards
of those long busy years, this fixed idea of an united Empire was his
guiding star and inspiration.  I, who can speak with something like
authority on this point, declare that I do not think any man's mind
could be more fully possessed {179} of an overwhelming strong principle
than was this man's mind of this principle.  It was the 'Empire' and
'England's precedent' always, in things great and small--from the
pattern of a ceremony, or the spelling of a word, to the shaping of
laws and the modelling of a constitution.  With a courage at once
fierce and gentle, generally in the face of tremendous opposition,
often against dangerous odds, he carried measure after measure in the
Canadian Parliament, each measure a stone in the edifice of empire
which he so passionately believed in and was so proud to help build and

A parliamentary federation of the Empire he considered impracticable.
He did not believe that the people of Canada--or of any other
dependency of Great Britain--would ever consent to be taxed by a
central body sitting outside its borders, nor did he relish the idea
that the mother of parliaments at Westminster should be subordinated to
any federal legislature, no matter how dignified and important it might
be.  He believed in allowing Canada's relations with the mother {180}
country to remain as they are.  To use his own words, spoken within a
year or so of his death:

I am satisfied that the vast majority of the people of Canada are in
favour of the continuance and perpetuation of the connection between
the Dominion and the mother country.  There is nothing to gain and
everything to lose by separation.  I believe that if any party or
person were to announce or declare such a thing, whether by annexation
with the neighbouring country, the great republic to the south of us,
or by declaring for independence, I believe that the people of Canada
would say 'No.'  We are content, we are prosperous, we have prospered
under the flag of England; and I say that it would be unwise, that we
should be lunatics, to change the certain present happiness for the
uncertain chances of the future.  I always remember, when this occurs
to me, the Italian epitaph: 'I was well, I would be better, and here I
am.'  We are well, we know, all are well, and I am satisfied that the
majority of the people of Canada are of the same opinion which I now
venture to express here....  I say that it would {181} bring ruin and
misfortune, any separation from the United Kingdom.  I believe that is
the feeling of the present Parliament of Canada, and I am certain that
any party, or the supposed party, making an appeal to the people of
Canada, or any persons attempting to form a party on the principle of
separation from England, no matter whether they should propose to walk
alone, or join another country, I believe that the people of Canada
would rise almost to a man and say, 'No, we will do as our fathers have
done.  We are content, and our children are content, to live under the
flag of Great Britain.'[7]

Macdonald did not believe in forcing the pace.  He looked for a
preferential trade arrangement with the United Kingdom, and the
establishment of a common system of defence.  In all other respects he
desired the maintenance of the _status quo_, being content to leave the
rest to the future.  So much for the Imperial relations.  That in all
matters relating to its internal affairs Canada should continue to
possess the fullest rights of self-government, including exclusive
powers of {182} taxation, he considered as an indispensable condition
to its well-being.

Nearly twenty-three years have passed since Sir John Macdonald died,
and to-day his figure looms even larger in the public mind than on that
never-to-be-forgotten June evening when the tolling bells announced to
the people of Ottawa the passing of his great spirit.  When one takes
into account all that he had to contend against--poverty, indifferent
health, the specific weakness to which I have alluded, the virulence of
opponents, the faint-heartedness of friends--and reflects upon what he
accomplished, one asks what was the secret of his marvellous success?
The answer must be that it was 'in the large composition of the man';
in his boundless courage, patience, perseverance; and, above all, in
his wonderful knowledge of human nature--his power of entering into the
hearts and minds of those about him and of binding them to his service.
His life is a great example and incentive to young Canadians.  Sir John
Macdonald began the world at fifteen, with but a grammar-school
education; and, possessing neither means nor influence of any kind,
rose by his own exertions to a high place {183} on the roll of British
statesmen; laboured to build up, under the flag of England, a nation on
this continent; and died full of years and honours, amid the nation's

  Looking o'er the noblest of our time,
  Who climbed those heights it takes an age to climb,
  I marked not one revealing to mankind
  A sweeter nature or a stronger mind.

[1] It was commonly understood at this time that Sir Charles Tupper,
whose name would naturally first occur in this connection, preferred to
remain in England as high commissioner, and, consequently, was not in
the running.

[2] Letter to _The Times_, September 1, 1886.

[3] _Weekly Sun_, April 17, 1907.

[4] _Problems of Greater Britain_, p. 44.

[5] 'Some few fools at Montreal are talking about Independence, which
is another name for Annexation.  The latter cry, however, is unpopular
from its disloyalty, and the Annexationists have changed their note and
speak of the Dominion being changed into an independent but friendly
kingdom.  This is simply nonsense.  British America must belong either
to the American or British System of Government' (Sir John Macdonald to
the Hon. R. W. W. Carrall, dated Ottawa, September 29, 1860).

'A cardinal point in our policy is connection with England.  I have no
patience with those men who talk as if the time must come when we must
separate from England.  I see no necessity for it.  I see no necessity
for such a culmination, and the discussion or the mention of it and the
suggestion of it to the people can only be mischievous'
(_Liberal-Conservative Hand Book_, 1876, pp. 22-3).

'As to Independence--to talk of Independence is--to use Mr Disraeli's
happy phrase--"veiled treason."  It is Annexation in disguise, and I am
certain that if we were severed from England, and were now standing
alone with our four millions of people, the consequence would be that
before five years we should be absorbed into the United States'
(_ibid._, p. 24).

'The solid substantial advantage of being able to obtain money on
better terms than we could on our own credit alone is not the only
benefit this guarantee will confer upon us; for it will put a finish to
the hopes of all dreamers or speculators who desire or believe in the
alienation and separation of the colonies from the mother country.
That is a more incalculable benefit than the mere advantage of
England's guarantee of our financial stability, great and important as
that is' (Debates, House of Commons, 1872, p. 339).

'Gentlemen, we want no independence in this country, except the
independence we have at this moment' (_Report of the Demonstration in
Honour of the Fortieth Anniversary of Sir John A. Macdonald's Entrance
into Public Life_.  Toronto, 1885, p. 103).

'Those who disliked the colonial connection spoke of it as a chain, but
it was a golden chain, and he for one, was glad to wear the fetters'
(Debates, House of Commons, 1875, p. 981).

[6] Montreal _Gazette_, October 25, 1897.

[7] Pope's _Memoirs of Sir John Macdonald_, vol. ii, pp. 220-1.



The following works, dealing in whole or in part with the day of Sir
John Macdonald, may be consulted: Sir Joseph Pope's _Memoirs of the
Right Honourable Sir John Alexander Macdonald_ (two vols.: London,
Edward Arnold, 1894); Sir John Willison's _Sir Wilfrid Laurier and the
Liberal Party_ (two vols.: Toronto, Morang, 1903); George R. Parkin's
_John A. Macdonald_ (Toronto, Morang, 1908); Dent's _The Last Forty
Years, or Canada since the Union of 1841_ (Toronto, 1881); Castell
Hopkins's _Life and Work of Sir John Thompson_ (Toronto, 1895); Sir
Richard Cartwright's _Reminiscences_ (Toronto, Briggs, 1913); Sir
Joseph Pope's pamphlet, _Sir John Macdonald Vindicated_ (Toronto,
1913); Buckingham and Ross, _The Honourable Alexander Mackenzie: His
Life and Times_ (Toronto, 1892); Lewis's _George Brown_ (Toronto,
Morang, 1906); Sir Charles Tupper's _Recollections of Sixty Years in
Canada_ (London, Cassell, 1914).

Consult also the writings of W. L. Grant, J. L. Morison, Edward Kylie,
George M. Wrong, John Lewis, Sir Joseph Pope, and O. D. Skelton in
_Canada and its Provinces_, vols. v, vi, and ix.


For biographical sketches of Robert Baldwin, George Brown, Sir
Alexander Campbell, Sir George Cartier, Sir Antoine Dorion, Sir
Alexander Galt, Sir Francis Hincks, Sir Louis LaFontaine, John
Sandfield Macdonald, Sir Allan MacNab, Sir E. P. Taché, Sir John Rose,
and other prominent persons connected with this narrative, see Taylor,
_Portraits of British Americans_ (Montreal, 1865-67); Dent, _The
Canadian Portrait Gallery_ (Toronto, 1880); and _The Dictionary of
National Biography_ (London, 1903).



Abbott, John, a colleague of Sir John Macdonald: subscribes to
Annexation manifesto, 27; prime minister, 142.

Aberdeen, Lord, governor-general, 149.

Allan, Sir Hugh, and the Pacific Scandal, 97 and note, 99, 101.

Annexation manifesto of 1849, some subscribers to, 27.

Archibald, Adams, a colleague of Sir John Macdonald, 79;
lieutenant-governor of Manitoba, 91.

Argyll, Duke of, and Sir John Macdonald, 116-17.

Assembly.  See Parliament.

'Baldwin Reformers,' their union with the Conservatives, 38, 39, 46.

Baldwin, Robert, with LaFontaine in power, 20, 28; burned in effigy,
22; defends the  Liberal-Conservative alliance, 39, 46; the Common
School Act, 55; retires from public life, 20, 31.

Beaconsfield, Lord, and Sir John Macdonald, 175-6.  See Disraeli.

Blake, Edward, 22; prime minister of Ontario, 93; resigns in order to
assist his party in the House of Commons, 96; minister of Justice, 107,
109; his opposition to the building of the C.P.R., 120; is
out-generalled on the Riel resolution, 132-3; resigns Liberal
leadership, 160; retires from public life, 173; his career and
character, 95, 104-10.

Bowell, Mackenzie, a colleague of Sir John Macdonald, 152.

British Columbia, its admission into Confederation, 93, 96, 118-21.

British America League, the, resolutions of, 27-8.

British North America Act, the, 74; and the qualification of voters,

Brown, George, founds the 'Globe,' 18; stirs up racial and religious
strife between Upper and Lower Canada, 29-31, 32, 71; his antagonism
towards Macdonald, 32 and note, 33, 46-7, 95, 117; opposes Seigneurial
Tenure and Clergy Reserves Bills, 45 and note; leader of the Clear
Grits, 47; his policy of Rep. by Pop., 54-5, 67, 69, 72; his Short
Administration in 1858 and humiliation, 57-8, 59; his opinion of the
Double Shuffle, 61; joins hands with Macdonald and Cartier to carry
through the scheme of Confederation, 42, 71-3, 83; joins the
Taché-Macdonald Cabinet, 73, 104; quarrels with his colleagues and
resumes his ferocious attacks on the Government, 75 and note; out of
Parliament, 95; his letter soliciting campaign funds, 101 n.; his
assassination, 18, 118.

Campbell, Sir Alexander, a colleague of Sir John Macdonald: studies law
under Macdonald, 7-8; becomes a partner, 14; the aristocrat of
Macdonald's Cabinet, 115, 149-51.

Canada, and the Hudson's Bay Company, 49, 88; financial depression in
1857, 53; the visit of the Prince of Wales (Edward VII), 67-8; the
position of prime minister, 76-7; the transfer of the North-West, 88;
the Treaty of Washington, 91-3, 94; the terms of union with British
Columbia, 93; the building of the C.P.R., 49-52, 97-101, 118-21; the
Franchise Act of 1885, 135-8; reciprocity with United States, 172, 173;
content to live under the flag of Great Britain, 179-81.

Canadian Pacific Railway, the, first mooted, 49-52; the Pacific
Scandal, 97 and note, 100; the building of, 118-126.

Caron, Sir Adolphe, a colleague of Sir John Macdonald, 140, 142-3.

Cartier, Sir George Étienne, a colleague of Sir John Macdonald: leader
of French-Canadian wing of Liberal-Conservative government, 41, 44-5,
47, 57, 96, 115; his work on behalf of Confederation, 42, 62, 78, 80;
the Double Shuffle, 59-62; his relations with Macdonald, 78, 91;
negotiates for the transfer of the North-West, 88.

Cartwright, Sir Richard, 87, 96; takes umbrage at Macdonald's
appointment of Hincks as finance minister, 84, 85, 86 and note, 87; his
relations with Macdonald, 116, 118, 150, 165-7; a most accomplished
debater, 164-5.

Cayley, William, a colleague of Sir John Macdonald, 25.

Chapleau, Adolphe, a colleague of Sir John Macdonald, 140, 142-3, 156.

Clear Grits, the, press for the secularization of the Clergy Reserves,
29; combine with the Conservatives in the defeat of the Government, 35,
36; combine with the Rouges, 47; protest against the choice of a
capital being left to Her Majesty, 53; their success with 'Rep. by
Pop.' and 'No Popery' in Upper Canada, 54-6.

Clergy Reserves question, the, 29 and note, 37, 38, 45.

Collins, John Edmund, his book on Sir John Macdonald, 165-166.

Commercial Bank, failure of the, 82, 86 and note.

Common School Act, the, 55.

Confederation, the scheme of, 62, 71-4, 75, 76.

Conservatives, join with Lower Canadian Liberals in 1854, becoming the
Liberal-Conservative party, 36-9, 102; defection among, 69; their
National Policy, 112.  See Parliament.

Costigan, John, and Macdonald's Home Rule views, 153-4.

Derby, Lord, 49, 58.

Dilke, Sir Charles, on Sir John Macdonald's resemblance to Lord
Beaconsfield, 175-6.

Disraeli, Benjamin, 58; on Goldwin Smith, 156.  See Beaconsfield.

Dominion of Canada.  See Canada.

Dorion, A. A., the Rouge leader, 39-40, 47, 56, 67, 96; his alliance
with Brown, 45 and note; in the Macdonald-Sicotte Cabinet, 69-70;
hostile to Confederation, 74.

Dorion, J. B. E., 'l'enfant terrible,' 56.

Double Shuffle episode, the, 52, 57, 59-62.

Draper, W. H., and Macdonald, 13; from prime minister to chief justice,
19; Canadian commissioner in the Hudson's Bay Company investigation, 49.

Dufferin, Lord, and the Pacific Scandal, 97 and note; and Macdonald,

Durham, Lord, his Report on the state of Canada, 15, 34; the question
of its authorship, 15 n.

Elgin, Lord, his troubles in connection with the Rebellion Losses Bill,
22, 23, 24, 25.

Family Compact, the, 3, 16-17, 44.

Farrer, Edward, his amusing article on Sir John Macdonald, 131.

Fitzpatrick, Sir Charles, chief justice, 128.

Foster, George E., a colleague of Sir John Macdonald, 145-6, 156.

Fournier, Telesphore, 56; minister of Justice, 107.

Franchise Act of 1885, the, 133-138.

French Canadians, their hostility to the Union Act, 34-35; and Sir
Edmund Head, 40; and Rep. by Pop., 54; and the execution of Riel, 127,

Galt, Sir A. T., a colleague of Sir John Macdonald: sent for in 1858,
58-9; his work on behalf of Confederation, 62, 72-3, 78; resigns
portfolio of Finance, 82, 113; his character, 82-3, 84-5.

Gladstone, W. E., attacks the Rebellion Losses Bill, 25; his case of a
'Double Shuffle,' 62 and note; and the Fenian claims, 95; and Home
Rule, 154.

Gourlay, Robert, and the Family Compact, 3.

Grandin, Bishop of St Albert, denounces Louis Riel, 129-30.

Grand Trunk Railway, opening of, 48.

Great Western Railway, opening of, 48.

Guibord, Joseph, the famous case of, 110-12.

Head, Sir Edmund, governor-general, 40; the Double Shuffle episode,

Hincks, Sir Francis, a colleague of Sir John Macdonald, 25; with Morin
in power, 20, 31; defends the Liberal-Conservative alliance, 37, 39;
leaves the country, 46; becomes finance minister under Macdonald on his
return, 83-4, 93, 96; his character, 85-6.

Holton, Luther H., 56, 65.

House of Commons.  See Parliament.

Howe, Joseph, a colleague of Sir John Macdonald: his opposition to
Confederation, 79; enters the Dominion Cabinet, 79-80; his work in
connection with the transfer of the North-West, 88-9;
lieutenant-governor of Nova Scotia, 80.

Hudson's Bay Company, and the transfer of the North-West, 49, 51, 87-8.

Independence of Parliament Act of 1857, the, 59-60.

'Institut Canadien, L',' the members' attitude towards the pastoral
letter of 1858, 110-12.

Intercolonial Railway projected, 48.

Jameson, Sir Starr, and Cecil Rhodes, 174.

Jesuits' Estates Act, an amusing incident in connection with the, 162-4.

Jones, Walter R., his letter proposing a railway to the Pacific, 50-2.

Kingston, the principal town in Upper Canada in 1815, 1, 2, 4; as the
seat of government, 14, 16, 27 n., 52; its population compared, 14, 48.

LaFontaine, Sir Louis H., leader of French Canadians in Liberal
Government, 17, 20, 28; burned in effigy, 22; withdraws from public
life, 20, 31, 38.

Landry, P., speaker of the Senate, 132-3.

Langevin, Sir Hector, a colleague of Sir John Macdonald, 64, 115,
132-3, 140-3.

Laurier, Wilfrid, enters Parliament, 103; Liberal leader, 137; his
personality, 160-1.

Liberal party, the, its opposition to the building of the C.P.R., 93,
97 n., 98-9, 100, 118, 119-21 and note; its strength in 1872, 96-7,
102; and the Riel resolution, 132-133; its organized obstruction to
Macdonald's Franchise Bill, 136-7; its policy of unrestricted
reciprocity with United States, 172.  See Baldwin Reformers and Clear

Liberal-Conservative party, beginning of, 36-9, 40; its programme, 28.

Lower Canada, its development between 1851 and 1861, 47-8; and Rep. by
Pop. and Non-sectarian Schools, 54, 56.

M'Carthy, Dalton, his fatuous course in 1887, 158.

Macdonald, Sir John, his birth and parentage, 1, 12-13; boyhood and
schooldays, 3-6; called to the bar and opens a law-office in Kingston,
6-7, 14; 'Hit him, John,' 8-9; shoulders a musket in 1837, 9, 15, 16;
acts as counsel in the Von Shoultz affair, 9-12, 13; elected to the
city council of Kingston, 14; his politics, 16 and note, 22; elected to
Assembly, 17; enters Draper's Cabinet, 19 and note; favours Kingston as
the seat of government, 26; refuses to sign the Annexation manifesto
and advocates the formation of the British America League, 27-8; his
policy tending to ameliorate the racial and religious differences
existing between Upper and Lower Canada, 31-2 and note, 33-5;
attorney-general, 36, 38, 39, 107; his connection with Cartier, 41,
44-5, 47, 78; and Sir Allan MacNab, 41, 43-4; his relations with Brown,
33, 46-7, 58 n., 71, 72-3, 104; prime minister, 54; opposes
non-sectarian schools, 55-6; the 'Double Shuffle' episode, 59-62; and
Sir John Rose, 64-5; defeated on his Militia Bill, 68-9, 75; his work
on behalf of Confederation, 42, 71, 72-3, 74, 75, 99, 100; forms the
first Dominion Administration and is created K.C.B., 76-7; and Sir
Charles Tupper, 79, 156-8; and Joseph Howe, 79-80, and D'Arcy M'Gee,
81; on Galt, 83; on Galt and Cartwright's defection, 84-5, 86-7, 166;
on his appointment of Hincks as finance minister, 83-4, 85-6; his
troubles over the transfer of the North-West, 87-8; and Donald A.
Smith, 89-90, 170; member of the Joint High Commission which resulted
in the Treaty of Washington, 91-2; his troubles on the eve of the
elections of 1872, 93-4, 100; his account of the contests in Ontario,
95-6; the Pacific Scandal, 97-101; and Edward Blake, 109; his National
Policy, 112-14, 117; his opinion of Lord Dufferin, 115-116; his
relations with the Duke of Argyll, 116-17; his great work in connection
with the building of the C.P.R., 50-2, 118-26, 139; the trial and
execution of Louis Riel, and the political effect, 127-133; his
experience of the fickleness of public opinion, 130-1; his political
strategy, 132-3; his desire for a uniform franchise system, 133-4; and
the necessity of a property qualification for the right to vote, 134-5;
his Franchise Act, 135-8, 139; a believer in the extension of the
franchise to single women, 138; on his relations with Langevin, Caron,
and Chapleau, 140-3; and his difficulty about his successor, 141; and
Sir John Thompson, 146-9; and Sir Alexander Campbell, and Sir Oliver
Mowat, 7-8, 149-51; mourns J. H. Pope's loss, 151-2; his reply to Sir
C. H. Tupper, 153; against Irish Home Rule, 154-5; on Goldwin Smith,
154-6; on Sir Wilfrid Laurier, 161; an amusing interlude with Honoré
Mercier, 162-4; a pointed allusion to his supposed convivial habits,
165-6; on Alonzo Wright, the 'King,' 167; opposed to unrestricted
reciprocity with United States, 172; his famous manifesto of 1891,
173-4; and Cecil Rhodes, 174-5; his resemblance to Lord Beaconsfield,
175-6; his Imperialism, 17, 92, 154-5, 174, 176-82; his character,
12-13, 139-40, 158-159, 178-9, 182-3; his death, 182.

Macdonald, John Sandfield, a 'political Ishmaelite,' 63; in power with
L. V. Sicotte, 69-70, 81; opposed to Confederation, 74; prime minister
of Ontario, 93, 95.

M'Dougall, William, a colleague of Sir John Macdonald, 63; his work on
behalf of Confederation, 73, 77; lieutenant-governor of the North-West,
88, 89.

M'Gee, Thomas D'Arcy, a colleague of Sir John Macdonald, 63, 81; his
career and assassination, 81-2.

Mackenzie, Alexander, leader of Liberals, 96, 114, 117, 120-121; prime
minister, 103, 105; his career and character, 103-104, 133.

MacNab, Sir Allan, a colleague of Sir John Macdonald, 25; prime
minister, 36-7, 41; his career, 42-4.

Macpherson, Sir David, a colleague of Sir John Macdonald, 27, 98 n.,
119; minister of Interior, 143-4.

Maitland, Sir Peregrine, lieutenant-governor, 3.

Mercier, Honoré, prime minister of Quebec, 132; his interview with Sir
John Macdonald, 162-4.

Metcalfe, Sir Charles, governor-general, 17.

Militia, commission on, 68-9.

Moderate  Reformers.  See Baldwin Reformers.

Monck, Lord, and the first Dominion Cabinet, 76-7; and the first
Dominion Day honours, 77-8.

Montreal, the seat of government, 18-19, 26, 27 n., 52; its population,
48; the riots in connection with the Rebellion Losses Bill, 22, 23-6.

Morin, A. N., a colleague of Sir John Macdonald: leader of
French-Canadian wing of Liberal Government, 31; and of
Liberal-Conservatives, 36-39; retires to the bench, 41.

Morris, Alexander, a colleague of Sir John Macdonald, 72.

Mount Stephen, Lord, 113, 141; introduces Donald A. Smith to Macdonald,
89, 90; president of the C.P.R., 122, 125; his letter to Sir John
Macdonald, 123-4; and the reply, 125 n.

Mowat, Sir Oliver, studies law under Macdonald, 7-8; in Brown's Short
Administration, 64; his work on behalf of Confederation, 73; prime
minister of Ontario, 96, 160.

National Policy, the, 112-14, 117.

New Brunswick, and Confederation, 73, 74, 96.

North-West, its transfer, 87-91.

North-West Rebellion, the, 126-127, 129.

Nova Scotia, and Confederation, 73, 79, 93; ratifies Macdonald's policy
in connection with the Treaty of Washington, 92, 96.

Ontario, its population and condition in 1815, 2, 3.

Ottawa, chosen as the capital city of Canada, 26 and note, 53, 57.

Pacific Scandal episode, the, 97-101.

Papineau, L. J., leader of the Rouges, 29.

Parliament, and the Rebellion Losses Bill, 20-6, 28; the selection of
the capital, 53, 57; the Double Shuffle, 59-62; Conservatives defeated
on Militia Bill, 68-9; the double majority principle laid down, 70;
Liberals defeated on the National Policy, 113-15, 117; the building of
the C.P.R., 119-21, 122, 125 and note; the Electoral Franchise Act,
135-8; a moderating influence begins to be felt, 161.

Pope, J. H., a colleague of Sir John Macdonald, 72, 115, 118; his
political sagacity, 151-2.

Prince Edward Island, and Confederation, 73, 74, 96.

Quebec, as a seat of government, 26, 27 n., 52; its population in 1861,
48; Confederation conference in, 74; effect of Riel's execution on,
130-2, 159; and the Jesuits' Estates Act, 162-3.

Radicals of Upper Canada.  See Clear Grits.

Rebellion Losses Act,  the troubles and disturbances in connection
with, 21-6.

Red River insurrection, the, 89, 90.

Rhodes, Cecil, his letter to Sir John Macdonald, 174-5.

Riel, Louis, leader of the Red River insurrection, 89, 93; and the
North-West Rebellion, 126-7, 129-30; his trial and execution, 128-9;
and its political effect, 130-3, 159.

Rose, Sir John, a colleague of Sir John Macdonald: subscribes to
Annexation manifesto, 27; a close friend of Edward VII, 64-5, 67, 68;
finance minister, 83; takes up residence in London, 83.

Rose, Lady, the tragic event in her life, 65-7.

Ross, John, a colleague of Sir John Macdonald: joins the MacNab-Morin
Cabinet, 37; resigns, 46; and Confederation, 62.

Rouge party, its programme, 29; its alliance with the Clear Grits, 31,
35, 36, 47, 69-70; opposed to Confederation, 74.

Russell, Lord John, defends the Rebellion Losses Bill, 25; in the
Hudson's Bay Company investigation, 49.

Ryerson, Rev. Egerton, superintendent of Schools, 55-6.

St Andrews Society of Montreal, 24.

School question, the, 54, 55.

Scott, Thomas, his murder at Fort Garry, 89, 93, 127.

Seigneurial Tenure, abolition of, 37 and note, 45.

Sherwood, Henry, a colleague of Sir John Macdonald, 19-20.

Sicotte, L.  V., leader of French-Canadian wing of Liberal Government,

Smith, Donald A.  See Strathcona, Lord.

Smith, Frank, a colleague of Sir John Macdonald, 152.

Smith, Goldwin, two examples of his malevolence and wit, 103-4; and Sir
John Macdonald's Imperialism, 154-6.

Spence, Thomas, a colleague of Sir John Macdonald, 37.

Stephen, George.  See Mount Stephen, Lord.

Strathcona, Lord, his first meeting with Sir John Macdonald, 89-90; his
mission to Red River Colony, 91; and the C.P.R., 121, 125; two
anecdotes concerning, 170-1.

Sweeny, Robert, the tragedy of, 65-7.

Sydenham, Lord, governor-general, 14, 34.

Taché, Sir Étienne, a colleague of Sir John Macdonald, 44, 54, 70.

Thompson, Sir John, a colleague of Sir John Macdonald, 142, 146, 156;
his character, 146-9.

Tilley, Sir Leonard, a colleague of Sir John Macdonald, 77, 115; his
continuous spell of office, 145.

Toronto, a comparison in population, 14, 48; as a seat of government,
26, 27 n., 52.

Tupper, Sir Charles, a colleague of Sir John Macdonald: his work on
behalf of Confederation, 42, 77, 79; his influence in Nova Scotia and
his relations with Macdonald, 79-80, 115, 156-8, 172-3; his interest in
the C.P.R., 119, 120, 122; high commissioner in London, 141 n., 146.

Tupper, C. H., a colleague of Sir John Macdonald, 153.

Union Act of 1840, the, 34-5, 54, 55.

United Empire Loyalist settlements in Ontario, 4-5.

United States, and reciprocity with Canada, 75, 113-14, 172, 173; and
the Treaty of Washington, 91-3; the franchise system in, 134.

Upper Canada, development of between 1851 and 1861, 47-8.

Von Shoultz, his career and court-martial, 9-12.

Warde, Major H. J., killed in a duel, 66.

White, Thomas, a colleague of Sir John Macdonald, 144, 156; an unlucky
politician, 144-5.

Wolseley, Colonel, quells the Red River insurrection, 90, 91.

Wright, Alonzo, the 'King of the Gatineau,' a characteristic speech,

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