Upward to Nationhood
The story of Confederation is the story of the knitting together of a collection of scattered colonies into a nation
A. RAYMOND MULLENS
THERE is one thing peculiar about our position. There is no other instance on record of a colony peacefully remodelling its own constitution; such changes have always been the work of the parent state and not of the colonists themselves. Canada is rightly setting the example of a new and better state of things.’ I commence this tabloid sketch of Canadian Federation with the words of one of its fathers, George Brown, because in them explicitly is stated the reason why the work of the Fathers of Confederation is unique in history. The story of Canada’s struggle toward nationhood is not one marked by accounts of bloody battles—although it abounds in the recital of fearful dangers narrowly averted; it is not the story of an idea flung from the very forehead of Jove and passionately given body and substance; it is the story of a people’s fight against appalling odds, a story already amply told and, in this instance, only to be indicated by the bluntest and boldest of brush strokes.
It would have taken the vision of one of the major prophets to have seen in the British North America of the years following the American Revolution the beginnings of one of the great English-speaking nations of the world. Even so patriotic and far-seeing a man as Sir Guy Carleton, afterwards Lord Dorchester, the first governor-general of Lower Canada, could not conceive of it ever being an acceptable abiding place for British folk and. very probably, in his heart concurred in the description of Nova Scotia given by an American revolutionist that:
‘Of all the vile countries that ever were known In the frigid or torrid or temperate zone,
From accounts I have heard there is not such another It neither belongs to this world or the other.’
In the year 1791, in which the Constitutional Act dividing Quebec into Upper and Lower Canada was passed, there was practically no communication between the Maritime Provinces and Canada. In winter, Canada possessed no port owing to the freezing of the St. Lawrence River. As late as 1850 it took ten days at least for a letter to go from Halifax to Toronto. As late as the year 1863 few Canadians knew anything much about the Northwest; to reach the Red River settlement, the nucleus of Manitoba, it was necessary for the Canadian to travel through the United States.
And yet we find the chief justice of Lower Canada, a loyalist refugee from New York, suggesting union in a letter to Dorchester which the latter forwarded to Grenville, the then secretary of state for the colonies. This .letter made a plea for a comprehensive plan bringing all the provinces together, rather than a scheme to perpetuate local divisions. The chief justice’s plan— his name was William Smith—embraced a central legislative body, in addition to the provincial legislatures, this legislative body to consist of a council nominated by the crown and of a general assembly.
Grenville’s comment upon the proposal is pithy if nothing more. He wrote to Dorchester: ‘The formation of a general legislative government for all the King’s provinces in America is a point which has been under consideration, but I think liable to considerable objection.’
Which would seem to indicate that the noble lord was not tremendously interested in any proposals concerning British North America,
Nor did all the early proposals for some sort of union of the provinces come from the representatives of Law and Order. Two such ardent reformers as Robert Gourlay and William Lyon Mackenzie each contributed his quota. Poor Gourlay, who greatly loved Canada and greatly was persecuted for this love, issued a plan from the House of Correction, Cold Bath Fields, London, in which he proposed a confederation of all the provinces, ‘each to be as free within itself as any of the United States, and the whole to hold congress at Quebec. Each also to send two members to the British parliament to speak but not to vote.’
Listen also to W illiam Lyon Mackenzie, the man who was later to be dubbed rebel and traitor; who could act ■with arrant weakness when in command of arms, yet, in a few words could draw a picture of a constitution which has all the genius of prophecy. Listen to him, writing, in 1824, to Mr. Canning, then leader of the government in the British House of Commons:
‘A union of all the colonies, with a government suitably
poised and modelled, so as to have under its eye the resources of our whole territory and having the means in its power to administer impartial justice in all its bounds, to no one part at the expense of another, would require few boons from Britain, and would advance her interests much more in a few years than the bare right of possession of a barren, uncultivated wilderness of lake and forest, with some three or four inhabitants to the square mile, can do in centuries.’
Two years later, the old attorney-general of Nova Scotia, Richard John Uniacke, in a letter to the secretary of state for the colonies, submitted a lengthy paper in which he urged the necessity of a union of the provinces as an assurance against their absorption by the United States. Its author courteously was told by His Lordship that ‘as things were then tranquil ... he would not agitate the question, or bring it before the Cabinet.’
All these schemes for federation were, of course, largely academic. I have mentioned them to show that the seed of what afterwards became Confederation early was sown. Men of vision, undeterred by discouragement of geographical boundaries, of differences of tongue and race, saw in confederation the ultimate hope of their country. In this sense it seems something of an anomaly to describe those who later made confederation a reality as Fathers: surely they can be more accurately described as Midwives.
An Aftermath of Rebellion
O W we must skip much that is interesting, much that is significant. Upper and Lower Canada had been prosecuting their several attempts at responsible government. To the English-speaking people of Upper Canada this was not a wholly new experiment; to the French in the other province it was the beginning of a new life in the state. Neither in Old France nor in New France had any Frenchman ever had a vote which carried with it political authority. Now, in Lower Canada, they had it and lusted for more, and yet more, power. The causes which led to the rebellion in Lower Canada of 1837, are, therefore, not hard to understand. William Lyon Mackenzie’s attack on the Family Compact, with its aftermath of executions and lengthy trials, is not as easily comprehensible if as easily excused.
However, there is not space here to discuss these highly dramatic uprisings; we must content ourselves with the statement that in 1841 the two provinces were united in a single parliament with an equal number of representatives from each of them. There was no fixed capital. Parliament met now at Kingston, now at Montreal, or Quebec or Toronto. Twenty years later it was decided to make Ottawa the Capital.
At the very outset the first governor of Canada, Baron Sydenham and Toronto, to give him his full title, made a serious mistake in ignoring the French and formed a government without any French representatives. His successor, Bagot, called to office a composite ministry headed by Baldwin and Lafontaine, thus giving both French and English a chance to sit together and quarrel in the same chamber.
Soon enough came an occasion for quarrel.
The rebellions in Upper and Lower Canada had borne fruit in the shape of substantial losses. Property, both of rebels and non-combatants, had been destroyed and demands were made that these losses should be made good. In Upper Canada these losses were indemnified without any protest but when Lord Elgin signed the Rebellion Losses Bill of 1849, making similar restitution to the French, a storm of protest broke loose.
In Montreal, a mob burned the parliament building and stoned Lord Elgin. In Toronto, a pacific professor of the university—afterwards chancellor—William Hume Blake, received no less than three challenges to fight. When the House learned that Messrs. Blake and John A. Macdonald were to fight, it ordered the arrest of both members. They appeared in custody at the bar of the House and gave, perhaps not too reluctantly, solemn pledges to keep the peace and, in the end, were liberated.
With two dignified and intellectual leaders ready to engage one another in mortal combat, the state of the
mind of the mob may be imagined. A quotation from the Montreal Gazette expresses it pretty clearly. ‘Rouse yourselves,’ it said, ‘meet, resolve, and hurl your defiance against the French “Masters” of your country.’ A Mr. Mack (whoever he was) in a speech at a public banquet in Montreal, said: ‘Look to the distant shore of Lake Huron—the backwoodsmen are awake and grasp the ready rifle, the men of Erie are on the move—Toronto hurls defiance at the rebel-paying traitors, Kingston speaks in words of no doubtful omen, Cornwall is ready for the march. The wild pibroch thrills through the forests of Glengarry and the Scottish steel starts from the scabbard—
Their swords are a thousand
Their hearts are but one
. . . We are English yet. English in body and soul.’
The Annexationist Bogey
WJHILE all this wild talk of racial hatred was abroad,
another and perhaps more critical factor in the prevalent unrest was the economic depression under which the country was suffering as a result of Britain's changed fiscal policy. A costly canal system had been built up and the Canadian milling industry had been largely increased on the basis of the St. Lawrence trade in American grain, a trade fostered by a British preference. When Britain abandoned her preferential policy towards the colonies this recent artificial expansion collapsed. The resulting depression of trade, when to it was added resentment at Elgin’s failure to stand by the Tory party, proved to be too much, temporarily, for some persons’ loyalty.
Naturally, there sprang up a strong annexationist sentiment. To combat this the British American League came into being. A convention of this league met at Kingston, July 26, 1849, and was chiefly remarkable for a resolution which unanimously advocated a union of the British North American colonies. The convention appointed a committee to negotiate with representative persons in the Maritime Provinces on the matter of a federal union. A second convention of the league, held in Toronto in November of the same year, could not report that negotiations had progressed altogether smoothly. It was announced that ‘no associations known to your committee had been organized in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward's Island or Newfoundland. . . .’
Just before this second convention of the league met, the annexation propaganda had given birth at Montreal to the famous Annexation Manifesto, the list of signers containing among other names prominent in Canadian history that of a future prime minister of the Dominion, Sir John Abbott. A much more famous premier of the Dominion, John A. Macdonald, though urged to sign the document, refused. He always was a firm supporter of the British connection, and at this time was prominent in the British American League. Another bitter opponent of annexation was George Brown who later was to figure as Macdonald’s chief enemy and whose paper, the Toronto Globe, is generally given chief credit for preventing at this critical time the spread of annexation sentiment in Upper Canada. Georges E. Cartier always was against the movement.
Two things happened to make the British American League and its activities unnecessary: the repeal of the navigation laws lowered freights by making American shipping available for the carriage of colonial produce and the increase in England's prosperity, after the repeal of the corn laws, made British capital available in large amount for Canadian development.
Howe And His Fight Against the Tories'
' I 'HE year 1854 sees the Nova Scotia assembly diseuss^ ing the question of Confederation. A motion was made by J. W. Johnstone, leader of the Conservative opposition, to the effect that, ‘the union or confederation of the British Provinces on just principles, while calculated to perpetuate their connection with the parent State, will promote their advancement and prosperity, increase their strength and influence, and elevate their position.’
This motion was discussed by Joseph Howe, the real though not the nominal leader of the government, in a brilliant speech. Howe, who, although opposed to
Confederation as it was afterwards embodied in the British North America Act, must nevertheless, be reckoned as one of the giants of Canadian history; a man of extraordinary vision, of intense patriotism, and of immense force of character.
As was the case with another mighty figure of his time, he was a newspaperman. He started his newspaper career early. In 1827, when he was twenty-three years of age, he purchased, in conjunction with a certain James Spike, the Weekly Chronicle. He promptly changed the name of this paper to the Acadian. Before the end of the year he sold his share in the paper to his partner and bought the Novi Scotian. Associated with him was Thomas C. Haliburton (Sam Slick) who in 1829, published a history of Nova Scotia.
In 1829, Howe began to write upon political topics and it is due to the fact that he was compelled to report carefully the proceedings of the provincial legislature that he obtained his unique grip and mastery of the political situation in Nova Scotia.
And the political situation obtaining in Nova Scotia of that day was something to write about! As a matter of fact, it was no better and no worse than that existing in the other provinces. It would take considerably more space than I can devote to this sketch of Confederation to outline it at all comprehensively. Briefly stated, this was the condition of affairs:
The imperial government was utterly perplexed as to what policy was best suited to those colonies that remained loyal, due, quite naturally, to the loss of the colonies which had successfully revolted. If too much were conceded, they feared that revolt and independence would ensue; if, on the other hand, too firm a grip was
maintained it might well he that these small communities would be driven to cast in their fortunes with the republic beside them. To all of them a legislature had been conceded, but they were strictly under the thumb of a legislative council, or second chamber composed of the direct nominees of the Crown. They did not possess the great lever which, from the earliest times, the British House of Commons has exercised—the control of supplies.
It was a pleasant arrangement—for the official class. As soon as one favorite departed from the scene another favorite would be chosen to occupy his place, and the real government was, inevitably, in the hands of a privileged few. In Upper Canada the governing class was dubbed ‘The Family Compact’; in Lower Canada it was ‘The Oligarchy’, in Nova Scotia it moderately was referred to as the ‘Tories.’
We all know that both in Upper and Lower Canada rebellion was the result of ‘kissing going by favor’; Nova Scotia won the right of popular government without the spilling of a drop of blood.
For this freedom Joseph Howe fought tooth and nail in the columns of his paper, the Nova Scotian, and, in 1835, Fate presented him with a golden opportunity to make a determined stand.
The city of Halifax then was governed by a bench of magistrates appointed by the governor, and in no sense responsible to the people. It was generally believed that this body had become corrupt and Howe said so, freely, from time to time. At last he published a letter signed ‘The People’ in which he accused the magistracy of filching amounts that could exceed $150,000. Then things began to happen to him in earnest. The magistrates resigned in a body and the attorney-general of the
province submitted an indictment for criminal libel
Now Howe was merely a working newspaperman—a fellow of small account in those days—and there is no record that, hitherto, he had ever made a public speech in his life. In addition he was to be tried in a court politically hostile, under the rules of which he would be precluded from offering evidence in support of the statements in the libel. In the face of the maxim that 'he who pleads his own case has a fool for a client' Howe elected to defend himself. He was acquitted.
This then was the manner of man, who. in discussing Johnstone’s motion regarding federation declared that ‘a union of the Provinces ... if unaccompanied with other provisions, would lead to separation!' He submitted a wider and more dazzling prospect of imperial union. It is only just to affirm that while Howe recognized the value and importance of Canadian confederation, he always cherished a lurking fear that the Maritime Provinces would be completely overshadowed and absorbed by the Upper Provinces in such a union.
I have devoted so much space to Howe for two reasons. First, because he was the giant whom, as we shall see, the Fathers of Confederation sought vainly to convert and, second, because it has enabled me to give a very brief, a very inadequate hint of the political shackles from which the growing Cañada had to free herself.
The next personage to make his appearance in the drama of Confederation was a singular onea man who wielded vast influence, whose counsels did much to ensure the success of Canadian Federation and yet a man who wielded, at no time what might be termed general political authority. Alexander Galt was the youngest
Continued on page 58
Continued from page 15
son of John Galt, the popular Scottish novelist, and he crossed the ocean in the service of the British American Land Company, settling at Sherbrooke in the Eastern Townships of Lower Canada. In the agitation of 1849 he boldly had declared for the annexation of Canada to the United States, but this policy, with characteristic candor and even naivete, he abandoned for federation.
In 1858, in a powerful speech in parliament, he had advocated a federal union of all the provinces, and during the ministerial crisis of the same year, Sir Edmund Head asked him to form a government. He declined, and indicated George Cartier as a fit and proper person to do so. The former Conservative cabinet, with some changes, then resumed office, and Galt, himself, exacting a pledge that Confederation should form part of the government's policy, assumed the portfolio of finance.
In October of the same year, Galt, in company with Cartier and Ross—Conservative speaker of the Legislative Council of the two Canadas—visited London to secure approval for a meeting of provincial delegates. When they were asked if the colonies were ready to appoint delegates to such a meeting, only Newfoundland expressed its readiness to do so. The other provinces hesitated to join in as the question had not been brought before their people. Downing Street, true to form, was quite indifferent and Lytton, the Colonial Secretary, was dissuaded from expressing formal disapproval only by Galt’s frank statement that such a course might cause dangerous complication ‘if the cause of federation, which was bound to take place anyway in the colonies, should do so ‘in the face of an adverse decision from the Home Government’.
But one thing Galt had achieved: he had enlisted the support of Cartier, whose
influence in Lower Canada was henceforth exerted to win over the French to a policy which they had long resisted. And, as Sir Wilfrid Laurier once said: ‘It was Sir George Cartier who first put the idea of Confederation into shape and set upon it the seal of his essentially practical mind and brought to it the support of the province which was material to the idea, if the idea was ever to become a fact.’
In 1860, the youthful and immensely popular and attractive Prince of Wales, afterwards Edward VII, made his celebrated visit to North America. On the day the prince landed at Halifax, an elaborate editorial favoring federal union appeared in the Halifax Reporter. It is said to have elicited from His Royal Highness ‘an expression of approval’. This, was, of course, very gratifying, but the man whose interest it was most necessary to enlist was the prince's counsellor on the trip, the Duke of Newcastle, who was soon to be colonial secretary. In an attempt to do this, P. S. Hamilton, of Halifax, addressed to him an open letter on colonial union. In this letter Hamilton did not enter into any details as to what such a union should be; he contented himself by pointing out to His Grace that some action was necessary if the provinces were to develop as rapidly as they should. He concluded by suggesting that Newcastle might well improve the opportunities afforded him by his travels to inquire into the state of feeling among their inhabitants in regard to this subject. As it subsequently transpired, the duke accepted this advice.
The first link of the chain which was soon to bind the provincesof British North America into a nation was forged by the Nova Scotia Assembly in 1861. Curiously enough, to Joseph Howe, then leader of the government and later the stout opponent of a larger federation, must
be given the credit of moving the resolution. His Excellency, the LieutenantGovernor, the Earl of Mulgrave, was ‘respectfully requested to put himself in communication with his Grace the Colonial Secretary and His Excellency the Governor-General, and the LieutenantGovernors of the other North American provinces, in order to ascertain the policy of Her Majesty’s Government, and the opinions of the other colonies, with a view to an enlightened consideration of a question involving the highest interests, and upon which the public mind in all the provinces ought to be set at rest.’
The Duke of Newcastle evidently had heeded the respectful advice of the P. S. Hamilton previously mentioned, for his reply to the Earl of Mulgrave became an important document, constituting as it did the authority upon which the colonies later acted in drawing up the Quebec Resolutions.
Macdonald, Brown and Tupper
'T'HE curtain rises on the penultimate
act of this drama of a country’s labored and toilsome progress to a status which made nationhood possible. On the stage stand revealed the outstanding figures of those performers whom we are wont to call ‘The Fathers of Confederation’—John A. Macdonald, George Brown and Dr. Charles Tupper. A notable caste.
Between the two first named there is a curious physical resemblance, a resembblance which they share in common with one of the greatest statesmen of any country at any time—Disraeli. Look at their portraits and you will notice the same curiously identical cast of countenance—the high forehead, the hawk-like nose. The same characteristics are noticeable in a great statesman of another generation: Sir Wilfrid Laurier. It is possible that physiognomists might tell us that these resemblances are not merely accidental; that they are the physical signs which proclaim the born leader.
The characters of all three, too, were somewhat similar. In a certain quality of genius which discerns the right moment for making the right gesture Macdonald and Brown were alike. In their ability to reconcile conflicting temperaments and to control warring interests Macdonald and Disraeli greatly resembled one another. All three possessed the faculty of commanding unswerving devotion from their followers.
Of Sir John A. Macdonald one of his contemporaries offers us this illuminating and succinct summing-up: ‘Sir John had a wonderful influence over many men. They would go through fire and water to serve him, and got, some of them, little or no reward. But they served him because they loved him, and because with all his great powers they saw in him their own frailties, and because he abounded in the right kind of charity. Sir John’s old guard were not the men who stood with him at Ottawa, but the greater old guard who stood and fought for him in every township year after year, and to whom a call by name or a nod of the head was all the recompense they got and yet the recompense they most prized.’ If of any man in public life these words truly may be said, then ‘truly he has his reward’.
George Brown was the natural journalist. Had he not been so able and successful a journalist it is possible he might have been a greater statesman, for, as Sir John Willison reminded us: ‘The journalist may be a powerful and effective reformer; he is seldom a sober and prudent statesman. A wise journalist will not go into parliament. A wise statesman will keep out of journalism.’ And yet when I read what Willison, himself a journalist, said about George Brown I cannot but feel that he involuntarily lauded him as a statesman.
Like Brown, Tupper was possessed of a tempestuous temper and a courage which forbade his abandoning any cause he once had made his own. Like Brown, also, he made a supreme sacrifice for the sake of
confederation. No man had a clearer title to place in the first government after Confederation than had Sir Charles, yet he stood aside in order that Sir John Macdonald could conciliate uneasy elements in the Maritime Provinces.
LT O W, then, was the Canadian scene set -*■ when these giants responded to their cue and strode on to the stage to play their parts?
There had been a long and bitter sectional strife in the Province of Canada which, early in 1864, culminated in a deadlock that convinced most of the leaders of both the government and opposition that some radical way must be sought out of the cul de sac of petty politics in which she was groping. One reason for the endless strife was described by George Brown as ‘the applying of public money to local purposes—the allotment of public lands to local purposes the building of local roads, bridges, and landing-piers with public funds—the chartering of public institutions—the granting of public money for sectarian purposes—the interference with ourschool system—and similar matters’.
But there was a still more virulent cause for dissension and it lay in Upper Canada’s jealousy of Lower Canada’s retention of equal strength in the provincial legislature, in spite of the fact that Upper Canada’s contribution to revenues was much larger than Lower Canada’s, and that the population of the former section was becoming increasingly the greater.
George Brown, in the Toronto Globe, advocated in season and out of season his remedy, popularly known as Rep. by Pop., or representation by population, and this doctrine was opposed hotly by both the press and politicians of Lower Canada. Brown tasted the fruits of prime-ministership for exactly three days, to be succeeded by the Cartier-Macdonald Government, but so strong was the Upper Canadian element in favor of Rep. by Pop. that the question had to be left an open one. It must not be forgotten that George Brown, ‘was loved by many people who never saw his face nor heard his voice. Back in the townships where the Globe carried its weekly message he had the authority of a prophet.’
Brown felt, with some reason, that Upper Canada looked to him for relief. Also, as early as 1862, he had intimated to his Conservative opponents that if they would ensure Upper Canada’s just preponderance in parliamentary representation, they ‘would receive his countenance and approval.’
Early in June 1864, government by party utterly collapsed. This was Brown's opportunity. He moved for a select committee of nineteen members to consider the prospects of federal union. Having obtained his committee, comprising the leading members of both parties, Brown was determined that the question of sectional disturbance, at least, should be squarely faced. An incident of the first meeting of the committee, told years after by Brown to a friend, clearly indicates the essential quality of the man. After a little bantering talk it was decided that the committee’s deliberation should be private. This decided. Brown locked the door, put the key in his pocket and told the astounded committee members: “Now, you must talk about this matter as you cannot leave this room without coming to me.” The committee wound up its business on June 13 and submitted a report which ran as follows:
‘That the committee have held eight sittings and have endeavored to find solution for existing difficulties likely to receive the assent of both sections of the house. A strong feeling was found to exist among the members of the committee in favor of changes in the direction of a federative system, applied either to Canada alone, or to the whole of British North America, and such progress has
been made as to warrant the committee in recommending that the subject be again referred to a committee at the next session of parliament.’
It may seem that this business of confederation was made a needlessly slow and protracted one when we learn that the only opposition in the committee to this report came from John A. Macdonald, John Sandfield Macdonald, and John Scoble.
Events, however, moved with such startling rapidity that we shall find the first-named gentleman changing his mind and within a few months devoting his energies to framing and pushing through a scheme for the federation of British North America.
On June 14, the day after the return of the committee’s report, the Taché-Macdonald Government was defeated by a majority of two, thus making the fourth government to fall in three years. Another ministry had failed to break the deadlock. It was unthinkable that this sort of thing could go on. Not only was the country’s progress hopelessly blocked, but the very existence of Canada as a self-governing member of the British Empire was imperilled.
The Enemies Join Hands
A WEEK of negotiations followed, perhaps the most critical in Canada’s history and of the most vital interest in that the outcome made possible a federal union of British North America.
The morning after his defeat, Sir Etienne Taché called on the GovernorGeneral, Viscount Monck, and informed him that the government were desirous of dissolution. And here for the first time, in the person of its representative in Canada, the British Government did something to further the cause of Confederation. For Monck thought that there was no very formidable issue dividing the parties and that a coalition was the only way out of the impossible situation. He communicated this opinion to the government in the form of a memorandum. Taché, on behalf of his colleagues, expressed concurrence in it and assured His Excellency that the government ‘would not cease in their efforts to effect the formation of an Administration’ which would ‘obtain the confidence of Parliament and of the Country without having recourse to a dissolution.’
Now, thought the redoubtable and energetic George Brown, wTas the golden time to press for a settlement of the constitutional difficulties between the two sections of Canada. He lost no time in speaking to several of his supporters urging that now was the appointed time for decisive action. He promised his cooperation with any government thatwould set themselves to a final settlement of the problem.
Chief of the Conservatives with whom Brown conferred was Alexander Morris. A Montreal barrister, the latter had, in Montreal, March 1858, delivered a lecture on ‘Noa Britannia’ tvhich in pamphlet form was circulated widely. In this lecture, Morris had given a glowing account of the growth and possibilities of British North America from the Atlantic to Vancouver Island, and foretold the day when this wide domain would be united politically. A notable prophet, this Morris, and he entered the house in 1862, carrying with him his reputation for devotion to the cause of what was to become Canadian nationhood.
He and Henry Pope, member for Compton, asked if they might report the conversation to John A. Macdonald and Alexander Galt. To this Brown enthusiastically agreed and it was done.
This beneficent tale-bearing bore fruit in an episode which, in these days of prosaic parliamentarism seems halfdramatic and half-ludicrous. The two great leaders met ‘standing in the centre of the Assembly Room’ as the memorandum recording the incident meticulously observes. That
Continued on page 62
Continued from page 60
is, neither member crossed to that side of the House led by the other. Macdonald spoke first, mentioning the overtures made and asking if Brown had any ‘objection’ to meet Galt and himself. Brown replied: ‘Certainly not.’ Morris accordingly arranged an interview and the following day Macdonald and Galt called upon Brown at the St. Louis Hotel, Quebec. At this interview were arranged details which made possible the famous coalition.
It is a little amusing to recall that the memorandum, to which I have referred, and which was read to the House, related in detail every step taken to bring about the coalition, from the opening conversation which Brown had with Morris and Pope. It must be remembered that this coming together of two giants giganticallv hostile one to the other was a political event that called for a very full and complete explanation. It is quite obvious from the tone of the memorandum that all the parties concerned were fearful that any one of them would seek to repudiate the explanation on one point or the other, and that the general public most likely would disbelieve them all. To such a pass had extreme party politics brought even the greatest statesmen of the day. The idea that the paramount interests of the nation were involved hardly seems to have suggested itself.
The proposal on behalf of the cabinet that he accept a seat in that body as a guarantee ‘to the Opposition and to the countrv for the earnestness of the Government’, Brown opposed with the greatest force, on the ground that parties ‘who had been so long and so strongly opposed to each other, as he and some members of the Administration had been, should never enter the same cabinet.’
This objection of Brown’s is only natural when it is remembered that only a few months before, in his paper, the Globe, he had denounced as a traitor anyone who was ‘prepared to betray his friends, and shake hands with . . . the leader of the enemy (Cartier).’
If some opposition member had to enter the government, Brown went on, he thought it had far better be another than himself. But John A. Macdonald insisted that, in any case, Brown should be identified with the government in carrying out the measure agreed Upon, and that if he did not enter the cabinet, ‘he might undertake a mission to the Lower Provinces, or to England, or to both.’
As might have been expected it was then agreed to waive the discussion of this and similar topics until it were seen ‘if a satisfactory solution of the sectional difficulty could be agreed upon.’
This solution was not so easily come by, for the two leaders now took up opposite sides of the stage, Macdonald contending for a federal union of all the British North American Provinces, while Brown, despite his committee’s report three days earlier, held that such a remedy would not be acceptable to the people of Upper Canada. ‘He believed that federation of all the provinces ought to come, and would come about ere long, but it had not yet been thoroughly considered by the people: and even if this were otherwise, there were so many parties to be consulted, that its adoption was uncertain and remote.’ In other words he refused to abandon his beloved child Rep. bÿ Pop.
However, it was agreed to tell the house that there was hope of reaching an understanding, and to ask for an adjournment. Macdonald did so that afternoon stating that ‘as a result of conferencewithagentleman on the other side, the honorable member for South Oxford (Brown), he saw a way out of the existing difficulties without a dissolution.’
At this announcement, hats were thrown into the air, elderly graybeards embraced one another with the fervor of schoolgirls and Brown lost no time in sending a despatch to the Globe in which he said: ‘The country will be glad to know
that a most hearty approval and cordial co-operation were tendered by everyone of the leading men of our party.’
Nor was the noble Lord, the GovernorGeneral, less satisfied. A little later, in a despatch to the colonial secretary, he credits the coming about of coalition^to the fact that he ‘had constant interviews with gentlemen representing the different parties in Canadian politics.’
There were other conferences between the widely differing negotiators and on Wednesday, June 22, Brown consented to enter the cabinet. That this was extremely repugnant to him there can be but little doubt. Addressing the House, he said that he was prepared ‘to join any man, no matter to what party he belonged, with the object of effecting a settlement of those great questions’ which so long had divided the country. ‘Can any hon. gentleman,’ he asked, ‘think it is any pleasure or joy to me to sit in the Government with hon. gentlemen opposite, and oppose my old friends. Nothing but the strongest sense of duty would ever place me in such a position. I have struggled to avoid entering the Government . . . but they would not consent.’
He pleaded with his Lower Canadian friends (Dorion and Holton among them) ‘to try to rise superior to the pettiness of mere party politics, and take up the question as it should be considered’. He asked them not to condemn the new regime without giving it a chance at least to prove the honesty of its intentions. ‘If,’ he concluded, T have no other success to boast of during my political career than that which has attended me in bringing about the formation of a Government, with the strength which no other Government has possessed for many years—a Government formed for the purpose of settling the sectional difficulties between LTpper and Lower Canada, I feel that I have something to be proud of, and that I have accomplished some good for the country. I wish no greater honor for my children, nor more noble heirloom to transmit to my descendants, than the record of the part I have taken in this great work.’
The position of Macdonald was considerably easier. Already in alliance with Cartier in Lower Canada he had nothing to fear from the Lower Canada majority party, while his own followers in Upper Canada were, by this time, practically as convinced as Brown’s of the need for constitutional reform. They required, however, a good deal of argument to bring them to the point where they could view with complacency the addition of Brown to the cabinet. On June 30, parliament was prorogued, and the same day the names of the new’ ministers were announced in the Gazette; George Brown as President of the Council, Oliver Mow’at as Postmaster-General, and William McDougall as Provincial Secretary. The first two w’ere elected by acclamation, but McDougall had to face a contest in his constituency of North Ontario county, w’here a Conservative, M.C. Cameron, succeeded in defeating him in spite of the fact that Macdonald gave him his full support. Macdonald, however, set upon making the coalition a success, found another seat for the defeated minister in North Lanark, wdience he was returned by acclamation.
In addition, he kept the energetic Brown happily occupied with a number of missions. Then, as soon as the new’ ministers w’ere all re-elected, the government ‘diligently applied themselves to the great object of the coalition.'
‘No’, says Mr. Howe to Dr. Tu pper
COALITION in Canada did not come an instant too soon for. Nova Scotia, discouraged by the vacillation of Canada in relation to federation and also in the construction of the Intercolonial Railway, was bent upon joining forces with New Brunswick and Prince Edw’ard Island.
In 1864, a few weeks before George Brown in the Canadian House had moved for his committee on federal union, Dr. Charles Tupper proposed, in the legislature of Nova Scotia, a legislative union of the Maritime Provinces. The seal of imperial authority had been set upon this movement by the despatch, to which reference already has been made, from the Duke of Newcastle to Lord Mulgrave in 1862.
And here a word about Tupper’s contribution to the cause of confederation. None of the Fathers of1 Confederation ever was called upon to wage the battle that he was. The junction of Brown, Cartier, and Macdonald in Canada ensured for them comparatively plain sailing. But Tupper had for adversary the ‘Lion of Nova Scotia’, Joseph Howe, and for five years he faced an angry and rebellious province.
When the motion to appoint delegates to a conference in the Maritimes was presented—Charlottetown, P.E.I. was the place chosen—the idea met with a general if rather languid approval. Even the puissant Howe seemed to regard the project with a benignant eye. He was the first man invited to attend on behalf of Nova Scotia because, as Tupper frankly confessed, T valued the strength of his influence.’ In view of the tribune’s later furious opposition to confederation the two letters which were exchanged between Tupper and Howe are of great interest. Be it explained that Howe had obtained an appointment in the imperial service and was engaged in cruising along the North Atlantic coast as fishery commissioner under the Reciprocity Treaty of 1854, ‘designating and delimiting,’ in co-operation with an American commissioner, the place reserved by the treaty from the common use of the two countries.
My Dear Sir, I have the pleasure of informing you that your name has been this morning submitted by the Executive Council to His Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor as one of the Delegates to the Conference upon the Union of the Maritime Provinces and I am instructed by His Excellency to enquire if you will accept that office and attend the meeting of Delegates at Charlottetown on the 1st of September. I remain, Yours faithfully,
(Sgd.) C. Tupper
From H.M.S. Lily, Howe sent the following reply:
My Dear Sir, I am sorry for many reasons to be compelled to decline participation in the Conference at Charlottetown. The season is so far/ advanced that I find my summer’s work, would be so seriously deranged by the visit to Prince Edward Island, that without permission from the Foreign Office I would scarcely be justified in consulting my own feelings at the expense of the public service.
T shall be home in October and will be very happy to co-operate in carrying out any measure upon which the Conference shall agree. Very truly yours,
(Sgd.) Joseph Howe
This sounds suspiciously like what we should now term ‘camouflage’, but it must be said that the decision subsequently given by Earl Russell, to whom as foreign secretary Howe was responsible, was against the latter’s abandonment, for such a purpose, of his duties under the treaty.
The Crucial Conference
'T'HE conference opened at Charlottetown on September 1, the following delegates from the Maritimes being present: from Nova Scotia, Charles Tupper, William A. Henry, Robert B. Dickey,
Jonathan McCully, Adams G. Archibald; from New Brunswick, S. L. Tilley, John M. Johnston, John Hamilton Gray, Edward B. Chandler, W. H. Steeves; from Prince Edward Island, J. H. Gray, Edward Palmer, W. H. Pope, George Coles, A. A. Macdonald. Newfoundland, having no part in the movement, sent no representatives.
Upon receiving word that the Canadian government was actually adventuring into the coastal provinces—Lord Monck, at the request of his ministers, had communicated with the lieutenant-governors asking that a delegation of the Canadian cabinet attend the meeting—the delegates adjourned their meeting until it should arrive. In due course, George Brown, John A. Macdonald, Alexander T. Galt, George E. Cartier, Hector L. Langevin, William McDougall, D’Arcy McGee, and Alexander Campbell arrived by steamer from Quebec. The Canadians soon convinced their Maritime brethren that a union of all the provinces was well worth considering, and they were given the privilege of the floor for two days in which to outline the advantages such a union as they proposed would offer, not only to the small provinces by the sea but to their statesmen who would find opened before them a much larger sphere for their abilities.
No official report of the proceedings ever appeared and it is extremely improbable that any such exists, but we can gather from quasi-official rumor that, upon various matters such as—that population should form the basis of the representation in the Lower House of the federal parliament, and that the Upper House should consist of an equal number of members from each of the three regions: Upper Canada, Lower Canada, and the Maritime Provinces as a whole—a tentative agreement was reached.
It seems unfortunate for two reasons, that the press was excluded from the proceedings of this conference. In the first place, we know almost nothing, specifically of the course of the discussion, and secondly, the newspapermen did not take kindly their exclusion from the meetings. The St. John Globe a few days after the conference closed, announced that it would not be surprised if ‘the federation meeting at Charlottetown should result in a great fizzle.’
However, everything must have gone along pretty smoothly, for at a banquet following the conference, John A. Macdonald prophesied that union would make British North America ‘at least the fourth nation on the face of the globe,’ a statement less grandiloquent then than it appears now, for as yet Italy and Germany were geographical expressions merely, and the only nations whose mercantile marines would not be outclassed by the combined fleets of the provinces were Great Britain, the United States,and France.
At Halifax, the same John A., so lately, but, apparently so well converted to the cause of Confederation said: ‘The question of colonial union is one of such magnitude that it dwarfs every other question on this portion of the continent.
It absorbs every idea as far as I am concerned. For twenty long years I have j been dragging myself through the dreary waste of colonial politics. I thought there was no end, nothing worthy of ambition, but now I see something which is well worthy of all I have suffered in the cause of my little country . . .’
The Charlottetown Conference was an essential part of the proceedings which later culminated at Quebec. The leaders in the various provinces had met and formed an understanding, and in some cases, an attachment for one another. Such a one was that between Macdona’d and Tilley, the Liberal leader in New Brunswick, which made it possible to construct the first federal ministry on a non-party basis and which enlisted in the national service a devoted and trustworthy man.
The ominous feature of the Charlottetown Conference, was the absence of Joseph Howe. From him, as well as from the governors of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, the cause of federation received its next serious check.
After Charlottetown, Quebec
WHEN the time came, a steamer was sent to the Maritime Provinces to convey their delegates to Quebec as guests of Canada.
The Canadian ministershad proposed at Charlottetown that they should submit a federation scheme in all its details at this Quebec conference. Judging from Galt’s prominent position in the coalition it is probable that his scheme, outlined for the British government six years before, formed a basis for the deliberations of his colleagues. There is not much evidence on which to apportion, with certainty, the responsibility for the actual phrasing of the resolutions presented to the conference. Oliver Mowat’s secretary is reported to have said that his employer dictated many of them at odd moments, as for example after a walk during which he had been pondering over the constitutional formulas required to meet the situation. Also, it was reported publicly that John A. Macdonald wrote fifty of the seventy-two resolutions subsequently adopted.
As in the case of the Charlottetown Conference, the press were rigidly excluded, again to their unbounded indignation. A memorial protesting against this secrecy was signed by such ‘big’ names in newspaperdom as S. Phillips Day of the London Morning Herald, Charles Lindsey of the Toronto Leader, Brown Chamberlain of the Montreal Gazette, George Augustus Sala of the London Daily Telegraph, Charles Mackay of The Times (London), Livesey of Punch and George Brega of the New York Herald. They i made the point that ‘in cases where an ! European congress holds the peace of nations in its hands’ while the remarks of individual members are kept secret, the propositions made and the treatment they meet with, ‘might advantageously be made public.’
But the conference held firmly to its stand and so to-day we have only such data as are comprised in the longhand I notes of Sir John A. Macdonald.
The first motion, offered by Macdonald and seconded by Tilley, read: ‘That the best interests and present and future prosperity of British North America will be promoted by a federal union under the crown of Great Britain, provided such union can be effected on principles just to the several provinces.’
It was passed unanimously and the shouts of enthusiasm which it evoked were, perhaps, the only authentic news which the baffled newspaper correspondents had to record. After this the conference had little difficulty in agreeing that the proposed union should be federal rather than—to use the term employed in those days—‘legislative.’ Some,
particularly, Sir John A. Macdonald,
: would much have preferred the latter form, with its complete elimination of separate provincial legislatures. Not so the French-Canadians who desired, above , all else, to maintain their cultural identity, and whose fear that they would he dominated by the growing population of LTpper Canada had been a prime factor in producing the deadlock out of which I emerged the coalition. The inclusion of I the Maritime Provinces in the federation was desired by the Quebec legislators for the same reason.
With federation decided upon, the most important question which remained was that of the allocation of powers to the central and local units. The question of a centralization of government was rendered infinitely easier by the fact that the provinces were not sovereign states, each jealous of maintaining its sovereign position. Macdonald and other believers
in a legislative union were thus able to exert a considerable centralizing influence upon the character of the federation. Indeed, a strong central government was regarded by all elements in the conference as a prime necessity. The American Civil War had taught them the danger of granting too great a local autonomy to the individual members of a federated body.
The members of the conference waxed uncomfortably warm over one consideration; the mode of choosing members of the Upper House. Canada’s Legislative Council had been, for some years, elective. Should the senate be an elected body? Ultimately, the conference decided that it should not so be.
The question of the financial terms was surrounded with difficulties. The Maritime Provinces, unlike Upper Canada, were without the municipal organization which provides for local needs by direct taxation. To them the provincial government was a nursing mother and paid for everything. The devotion to indirect taxation was to them an all-absorbing passion. The Canadian delegates regarded this Maritime devotion with a cold and fishy eye. One of the delegates, John Hamilton Gray, describes the scene of the discussion with decorous humor:
‘Agreement seemed hopeless, and on or about the tenth morning, after the convention met, the conviction was general that it must break up without coming to any conclusion. The terms of mutual concession and demand had been drawn to their extremest tension and silence was all around. At last a proposition was made that the conference should adjourn for the day, and that in the meantime the finance ministers of the several provinces should meet, discuss the matter amongst themselves, and see if they could not agree upon something.’
From this discussion came forth the proposal that the Maritime Provinces should be allowed a grant of eighty cents a head. Of this proposal, Joseph Howe later made great sport telling his Nova Scotians that they were to be sold for eighty cents a head—the price of a sheepskin.
The conference committed itself to one other undertaking which was of great importance to the Maritime Provinces, if it was not, indeed, the price of their entrance into confederation. That was that the central government should assume responsibility for the prompt construction of an intercolonial railway.
To sum up, the conference, after adopting seventy-two resolutions in which were embodied the basis of union, agreed that the several governments should submit them to the respective legislatures at the ensuing session. They ‘were to be carried en bloc, lest any change should entail a fresh conference’.
The momentous Quebec Conference had lasted only three weeks and at its conclusion the delegates made a tour of Canada, visiting Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto.
The work of the conference had been done quickly; it had now to run the gauntlet of parliamentary discussion.
Trouble in the Maritimes
IN CANADA, the Quebec scheme was adopted in jig-time. After a debate of a few weeks the legislature agreed to the seventy-two resolutions in toto and adopted an address requesting that the imperial parliament pass legislation in accordance with their provisions. Needless to say. Upper Canadians were almost unanimous in support of a scheme that would gain for their section 'Rep by Pop.’ The Lower Canadians were not so enthusiastic, although opposition came chiefly from a few members of all parties there. There were some young FrenchCanadians who were afraid of placing Lower Canadian interest, even in general matters, in the hands of an English majority. In spite of this opposition, be
it noted, Cartier, in his next election— 1867—carried his party through to an overwhelming victory.
The delegates of the Atlantic Provinces were so satisfied with the results of the conference, and so confident of the success of the scheme there formulated, that at an adjourned meeting of the Maritime Conference on Legislative Union, held at Toronto, on November 3, they resolved, in view of the Quebec Conference’s adoption of the seventy-two resolutions, to postpone considering the question of a legislative union for the Maritime Provinces.
When they reached home, though, they met with a sad surprise. They found opposition in the three little provinces at fever heat and the LieutenantGovernors of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick anything but cordial to the project. In the absence of any official statement, it can only be surmised that MacDonnell, of Nova Scotia, was hostile because he did not want the importance of his office lessened, and that Gordon, of New Brunswick, opposed Confederation because he had hoped to be governor of a union of the three Maritime Provinces.
Then again, a campaign of unusual bitterness was going on in New Brunswick. The Tilley government had decided to dissolve and present the Quebec resolutions to a newly elected legislature, a blunder in tactics due, probably, to over confidence. The secrecy which had been maintained by the Maritime delegates to the Quebec Conference made excellent capital for their opponents. The actual terms became known too late to counteract this hostile agitation, which had been systematically carried on throughout the province.
The bogey employed was direct taxation. Farmers were told that every cow or horse they possessed, even the chickens in the farmyard, would be taxed for the benefit of Canada. Even the trusted Tilley was discredited, his opponent in the city of St. John illustrating the dire effects of Confederation in an imaginary dialogue, between himself and his young son, which ran:
“Father, what country do we live in?”
“My dear son, you have no country, for Mr. Tilley has sold us to the Canadians for eighty cents a head.”
One of Tilley’s colleagues in the ministry, George Hathaway, went over to the enemy at a critical hour. All the cabinet ministers, including Tilley, were beaten.
So it happened that while in Canada the ministers were riding the full flood of success, New Brunswick rejected federation and in a House of forty-one members only six were returned.
Nor was the situation in Nova Scotia very much more encouraging. When Dr. Tupper got back from Quebec he and his fellow delegates found a situation which required careful handling. He himself said: ‘When the delegates returned to the Province they did not meet with a very flattering reception. They had no ovation no illuminations, bonfires, and other demonstrations of felicitous welcome hailed their return . . . They were received in solemn, sullen and ominous silence.’
An Opportune Threat
DUT the stars in their courses seemed set for the accomplishment of Canadian federation and two events helped to swing matters in the Maritime Provinces. One was abrogation by the United States of the Reciprocity Treaty of 1854 which brought in its wake a certain amount of annexation talk, none of which, it may be conjectured, was particularly obnoxious to the country to the south, albeit the southern states were not overjoyed at the prospect of the provinces’ power being thrown to the support of the North.
There was a great convention at Detroit in July, 1865, at which Howe made one of the greatest orations of his lifetime, at which a new treaty was dis-
cussed. Its deliberations, however, were in vain and reciprocity was ‘sacrificed on the annexation altar.’
All this annexation talk, official and unofficial, had aroused the fears of a considerable majority of the Maritime colonists, inasmuch as there was no great percentage of Maritimers who wished to transfer their allegiance.
But what really brought Confederation to a head, so far as the Maritimes was concerned, was the Fenian threat. The Fenians in the United States had conceived the curious notion that the way to free Ireland was to attack Britain in America. Their threats of invas on were voiced openly and they gathered in menacing numbers, armed and well officered, on the Canadian and New Brunswick borders. The volunteers were called out in spring to resist this invasion.
And this brought a new advocate of confederation into the field—Great Britain. In June, of 1865, Colonial Secretary Cardwell instructed the governors of the Maritime Provinces that it was ‘an object much to be desired that all the North American Colonies should agree to unite in one Government.’ The mother country had decided quickly that it was high time that British North America should look after its own defences and once her attitude was made plain it brought about extraordinary changes of heart in many official bosoms. The coalition government in Canada had sent Macdonald, Cartier, Brown, and Galt to confer with the British government upon means for the speedy effecting of federation, upon arrangements for defence in case of war with the United States, upon the course to be pursued in regard to reciprocity, upon the arrangements necessary for the settlement of the Northwest Territory and Hudson’s Bay Company’s claims, and generally upon the critical state of affairs affecting Canada.
As a consequence of Imperial influence, we find the anti-confederation governor, of New Brunswick, Gordon, now working hard for federation—even to the extent of unseating the Smith government in New Brunswick. He had made a trip to England! The governor of Nova Scotia, McDonnell, was not so amenable and, as a consequence, was shipped off to the governorship of Hong Kong, China, his place at Halifax being given to Sir Fenwick Williams, who was both popular and a firm believer in federation.
The Maritime Provinces decided to send delegates to England to discuss with the British government and with delegates from Canada the question of BritishAmerican federation. The departure of the delegates was hampered by the delegates from Canada whose attention was fully and disagreeably occupied by Fenian activities. However at last, at the Westminster Palace Hotel, in London, the conference was convened on December 4, 1866.
A Chilly Welcome
AFTER Colonial Secretary Cardwell’s instructions to the Maritime governors; after the conference which the most fatherly of the Fathers of Confederation had had with the British government, the delegates from the British North American colonies might well have expected to have been received with open arms. If they did so expect, they were quickly disillusioned.
Lord Palmerston, the British Prime Minister and prime mover in the cause of an adventurous foreign policy had died the year before, and with him had disappeared the militant view of empire. All British thought now was strictly utilitarian. Canada spelled trouble with the United States in the minds of the great majority of British statesmen. John Bright, the great Liberal of all British Liberals, approved of ceding Canada to the United States as the price of peace, and Gladstone had written to Goldwin
Smith in the same vein. The colonies were made to feel that, while they were not to be forcibly cast off, separation was the inevitable end. In other words, they were rather given to understand that they were a good deal of a nuisance. Let us listen for a moment to Sir Frederic Rogers, under-secretary at the Colonial Office. He said:
‘I had always believed—and the belief had so confirmed and consolidated itself that I can hardly realize the possibility of anyone seriously thinking the contrary—that the destiny of our colonies is independence; and that in this view, the function of the Colonial Office is to secure that our connexion, while it lasts, shall be as profitable to both parties, and our separation, when it comes, as amicable as possible. This opinion is founded on the general principle that a spirited nation (and a colony becomes a nation) will not submit to be governed in its internal affairs by a distant government, and that nations geographically remote have no such common interests as will bind them permanently together in foreign policy with all its details and mutations.’
I shall quote the worthy under-secretary at the Colonial Office once more because he gives us an interesting impression of the wTork that one of our statesmen made upon him. He is speaking of John A. Macdonald:
‘He was the ruling genius and spokesman, and I was very greatly struck by his power of management and adroitness. The French delegates w7ere keenly on the watch for anything which weakened their securities; on the contrary, the Nova Scotia and New Brunswick delegates were very jealous of concessions to the arrieree province; while one main stipulation in favor of the French was open to constitutional objection on the part of the Home I government. Macdonald had to argue the question with the Home Government j on a point on which the slightest divergence from the narrow line already agreed upon in Canada was watched for —here by the French and there by the j English—as eager dogs watch a rat hole; a snap on one side might have provoked a snap on the other and put an end to the 1 concord. He stated and argued the case with cool, ready fluency, while at the j same time you saw that every word was measured, and that while he was. making for a point ahead, he was never for a ; moment unconscious of any of the rocks among which he had to steer.’
That picture I think will suffice to give I a sharp impression of the tone and conduct of the conference and does not need elaboration.
It had been intended that the name of the new state should be left to the selec! tion of Queen Victoria, but it was remembered that in 1858, when Her Majesty had, by request, selected Ottawa as the Canadian capital, her decision had been I condemned by a vote of the legislature.
Long before the delegates arrived in London this question of a name for the j confederated provinces had been discussed, and such fantastic suggestions as Cabotia, Columbia. Canadia, and I Ursalia put forward. It was at first j desired to call the Confederation the Kingdom of Canada but the foreign secreI tary, Lord Stanley, thought that this J christening might offend the delicate susI cept.ibilities of the LTnited States. Finally I the word ‘Dominion’ was decided upon. Why it is not exactly clear. There is a legend—one of those legends which ought to be true if it isn't—that a member of the j conference, well versed in the Scriptures. I found a verse which, as a piece of descriptive prophecy, at once clinched the matter: ‘And his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth.’
Finally, the measure making Confederation a fact was put into proper form for submission to parliament. It was introduced by Lord Carnavon, the colonial j secretary, in the Lords, passed there with ! little discussion, and then piloted through
the Commons by Mr. Adderley, the undersecretary for the colonies, who found a cordial supporter in Mr. Cardwell, the former colonial secretary to whom allusion already has been made.
To the pique of some colonials in the gallery the House woke up noticeably when it passed from consideration of the British North America Act to the consideration of a dog-tax bill.
Tupper Checkmates Howe
TEAVING the British House of Com' mons to its august consideration of canine measures, the delegates found that their work was far from ended. A delegation of Nova Scotians, headed by Joseph Howe, went to England to demand repeal from the Imperial authorities. To counteract this move the Dominion—as it now was—sent Charles Tupper to present the other side of the case. He was the ideal man for the mission for, as we have said before, he had declined a seat in the first Dominion cabinet and had further strengthened his reputation for disinterestedness by refusing the lucrative office of chairman of the commission to build the Intercolonial Railway. Tupper’s first step on reaching London was to call on Howe. ‘I said to him,’ he wrote, ‘I will not insult you by suggesting that you should fail to undertake the mission that brought you here. When you find out, however, that the government and the Imperial parliament are overwhelmingly against you, it is important for you to consider the next step.’
There can be but little doubt but that Howe saw the force of Tupper’s reasoning for, in 1868, we find him writing to Sir John A. Macdonald: ‘They have got the idea into their heads that you are a sort of wizard that, having beguiled Brown, McDougall, Tupper, etc., to destruction,
is about to do the same kind of office to me.’ The old tribune of Nova Scotia, it is safe to say, was not to be beguiled by anyone, but a master of tactics showed him the means by which Nova Scotia could be kept in the union; the way was paved for a final settlement and a few months later Howe joined the Dominion government.
British Columbia came into the union on July 20, 1871. Prince Edward Island fought the union stoutly for six years. Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, however, desired greatly to augment the maritime importance and influence in the Dominion by the inclusion of the little island and on July 1, 1873, it, also, linked its fortunes up with a Dominion which in very truth stretched from sea to sea.
The Curtain Falls
AND so ends the story of Confederation.
No one can make a survey of such a huge canvas as that presented by the history of Confederation without finding himself pestered by a moral, and I freely confess that I find myself so in this case. To me, the moral is implicit in every page of the story. It is this: Canada, in a
surprisingly short period lifted herself literally by her own boot-straps from a collection of tiny colonies divided by every circumstance—of geography, of race and of political interest—to a Dominion which is now one of the great nations of the world. How? By looking to no one but herself for assistance, by working out her great and baffling problems herself ; by refusing to be discouraged by the rebuffs of the land from which she sprang; by standing on her two good, solid, Canadian feet and working out her own destiny.