Joseph Pope, Memoirs of The Right Honourable Sir John A Macdonald, Vol. I (1894)

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Date: 1894
By: John A. Macdonald, Joseph Pope
Citation: Joseph Pope, Memoirs of The Right Honourable Sir John A Macdonald, Vol. I, (Ottawa: J. Durie & Son, 1894).
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DURING one of those strange and bewildered days following
that supreme and solemn hour which closed the earthly life of
my husband days when I tried hard to move forward from
the horror of a great darkness into the sad twilight of resignation
on one of those days the necessity forced itself upon me
for naming a writer, who, having had a close personal intercourse
with Sir John, should, aided by the contents of such
papers and letters as he had left, be able to give a more
intimate and detailed history of his interesting personality
than would be possible for any other biographer, however
competent and faithful, not possessed of these special advan-
Happily my husband anticipated the possibility of this
necessity, and, as was his custom in the regulation of my
daily life, had given me in a few slight words the direction I
should need.
The subject had been brought under his notice, some three
or four months before the time of our parting, by two letters
addressed to me. Both these letters were from literary
persons unknown to us, each offering his services as Sir John’s
biographer, one of whom was good enough to ask my assistance
in the preparation of his work.
When the second of these letters arrived, though Sir John
was apparently as well as usual, deeply engrossed by important
business and in the full tide of public affairs, I had already with
a sinking heart been visited by strange and unusual misgivings
as to the state of his health.
It was more from his words and ways of late I had learned
to fear, for it seemed to me that in some mysterious manner
the veil of the great Hereafter was lifting for him, and that his
tired eyes saw beyond it.
In one of his rare intervals of leisure sadly do I remember
how difficult it was to find even a few unoccupied minutes for
the purpose I showed both these letters to Sir John, as I had
shown others on the same subject received at intervals during
the last ten years of our married life.
I see my husband now as he spoke in answer, wearied and
thoughtful on his return home at Ottawa from a long Cabinet

They must wait till I am dead,” he said, slowly,
“and then I think Joe shall write it.” He thus spoke of
Mr. Joseph Pope, his long-time private secretary and friend,
who for more than ten years had been a frequent inmate of our
house, for whom Sir John had a warm regard, in whose
honesty of purpose and ability he had always great confidence,
and to whom he spoke, I feel sure, as confidentially as so
naturally reticent a man was ever able to speak to any other.

Yes,” he repeated,
” Joe shall write it ; he knows more about
me than any one else; and you, Agnes, shall help him.” In
accordance with the first part of this desire, so soon as it was
possible for me to see him, I sent for Mr. Pope, and asked him
as a personal favour to undertake the work.
The second, alas, it was impossible to fulfil. Suffering,
weakened, and unfit, it was then, and it has been ever since, not
only impossible for me to add a line or word to them, but even
to read over Mr. Pope’s pages, for which I now in this blind
unusual manner venture to ask public attention.
Having consented, not without many misgivings, to the preparation
of these memoirs, Mr. Pope naturally asked for such
material as I could furnish.
A large collection of letters and papers had been carefully
preserved during many years by Sir John with a view, as he
more than once told me, to writing some account of his life and
times in Canada when, too old for longer devotion to the public
service, he should retire altogether from political life, and enjoy,
what he had always eagerly looked forward to, a few years of
rest and quiet before the end should come.
To these letters and papers, except in this way to me, I
cannot discover that my husband made any further reference
whatever. They remained at my disposal ; and, entirely unfit
as I was to read over and examine or select from their pages,
I had no choice but to give them unreservedly to Mr. Pope,
with a request that, in making use of their contents, he would
exercise his best judgment.
That Mr. Pope has done this in all things relating to these
memoirs, that he has used his great ability and spared no pains
to write honestly, faithfully, and usefully, I know full well; and if
in his writing and my introduction there is more that is faulty
and ill-judged than is usually the case in memoirs and their
prefaces, I hope and believe we shall be forgiven these results
of our inexperience, and at least get the credit of having done
our best.

THE Baroness Macdonald of Earnscliffe, in the foregoing pages,
has rendered unnecessary any further narration of the circumstances
under which the duty of preparing these memoirs has
devolved upon one so little qualified for the task. I may be
permitted, however, to offer a word of explanation in my own
I ask the public to remember, in the first place, that Sir
John Macdonald was naturally the most reserved of men, and
that his confidences were very few. I desire them also to bear
in mind that I knew him only during the last ten years of his
life, that he was sixty-seven years old before I ever spoke to
him, and, lastly, that the relation in which I stood towards
him was the subordinate one of secretary. It is true that I
have had the inestimable advantage of access to his private
papers, but the very richness of the materials at my disposal
has proved a fruitful source of embarrassment. The difficulty
of selection, great in any case, has been heightened by the
shortness of the interval that has elapsed since his death,
and by the fact that many of his contemporaries are still
Beyond a general hint conveyed at rare intervals in phrases
such as
” Eemember that it will be useful hereafter,” and ”
want you to be my literary executor,” Sir John never alluded
in my presence to the subject of his memoirs. I have a strong
impression that he wished his correspondence on the subject of
the Treaty of “Washington to be given to the world. In regard
to its publication, therefore, I feel I have had no option. There
can be little doubt also, from its very form, that he intended
his letter to Lord Dufferin on the subject of the granting of the
first Canadian Pacific railway charter to be read by posterity ;
but, with these exceptions, I alone am responsible for the
appearance of whatever this book contains. In its preparation
I have endeavoured to avoid, as far as possible, giving offence ;
at the same time, I have kept steadily before me the fact that
my first duty is towards the memory of my late chief.
In conclusion, I can only say that I have tried to discharge
this grave responsibility, which I did not seek, as honestly and
faithfully as I could I would fain hope in a manner not
altogether unworthy of the great statesman whom I loved and
OTTAWA, 1894.
Sir John Macdonald Parentage Arrival in Canada Kingston Hay
Bay The Stone Mills Incidents of childhood Enters upon the
study of law Admitted to practice Incidents of the rebellion
of 1837-38 Story of Von Shoultz Visit to England in 1842
Letter from Mr. Macdonald to his mother .,
State of Canada in 1844 Mr. Macdonald returns from England Forms
a partnership with Mr. Alexander Campbell Elected to the
Kingston City Council Review of political events Lord Durham
Lord Sydenham Union of Upper and Lower Canada Robert
Baldwin Death of Lord Sydenham Sir Charles Bagot Sir
Charles Metcalfe William Henry Draper Dissolution of first
Parliament of Canada Election of Mr. Macdouald for Kingston … 16
Mr. Macdonald’s first session Closeness of parties Illness and death
of Sir Charles Metcalfe Negotiations with the French Canadian
party Their failure Session of 1846 Changes hi the Ministry
Lord Elgin Mr. Macdonald enters the Cabinet Questions of
university endowment Rebellion losses Dissolution of Parliament
Defeat of the Ministry 35
In Opposition Literary pursuits Marriage Family letters Rebellion
Losses Bill Burning of the Parliament Buildings Removal of
capital from Montreal Annexation manifesto of 1849 Secularization
of King’s College Division in the Government ranks History
of the Clergy Reserves Rise of the Clear-Grit Party
George Brown Session of 1850 Clergy Reserves Retirement of
Messrs. La Fontaine and Baldwin Probable reasons therefor
Formation of the Hincks-Morin Administration General Election
of 1851 Session of 1852 Mr. Macdonald’s criticisms of the
ministerial policy Growth of the breach between the Government
and the Clear-Grits Mr. Macdouald’s policy 78
Railway development in Canada Reciprocity Treaty of 1854 Seigniorial
Tenure First Session of 1854 Defeat of the Hincks-Morin
Government Abrupt prorogation General Election of 1854
Second session Government again defeated They resign
Formation of the MacNab-Morin Administration Birth of the
Liberal-Conservative Party .. … … … … … 105
Sir Edmund Head The MacNab-Tache Administration George
Etienne Cartier Session of 1855 Mr. Macdonald’s views on the
question of separate schools Seat of Government Session of
1856 Mr. Macdonald’s charges against George Brown Unexpected
defeat of the Ministry Discontent of the Ministerial
Liberals Sir Allan MacNab Resignation of Messrs. Spence,
Macdonald, Morrison, and Cayley Formation of the first Tache’-
Macdonald Government
Mr. Macdonald’s home letters Session of 1856 Chief Justice Draper’s
mission Session of 1857 Seat of Government question Intercolonial
Railway Mr. Macdonald visits England Retirement of
Colonel Tache” Succession of Mr. Macdonald to the Premiership
General Election of 1857-58 Contest in Kingston Reconstruction
of Cabinet Difficult position of Mr. Macdonald 1 59
AUGUST 2-4, 1858.
Selection of Ottawa as the seat of Government Consequent defeat of
the Ministry Their resignation Mr. Brown sent for Formation
of the Brown-Dorion Administration Its defeat Mr. Brown
advises a dissolution Refused by the Governor General Resignation
of the Government Dissatisfaction of Mr. Brown … . 185
Alexander Gait Formation of the Cartier-Macdonald Administration
The ” Double Shuffle
” Government’s policy announced Federal
Union Mr. Macdonald’s wish to retire Session of 1859 Mr.
Macdonald’s views on protection and free trade Dissensions among
the Opposition Revolt of the Lower Canadians against George
Brown .. 198
Narrow escape from drowning Mr. Macdonald’s letter of resignation
Bereavement of the Governor General Reform Convention of 1859
Mr. Brown’s “joint authority
” scheme Rejected by Parliament
Session of 1860 Mr. Macdonald’s reply to charges of subserviency
to Lower Canadian influences Visit to Canada of the Prince of
Wales The Orange difficulty Session of 1861 Dissolution-
General Election Contest in Kingston General result of Election
Lord Monck Chancellor Blake Reconstruction of the Ministry
Defences of Canada Appointment of a Commission to inquire
into them Defeat of the Ministry on the Militia Bill 215
Death of Mrs. Macdonald Mr. Macdonald visits England Return to
Canada State of parties Policy of Mr. John Sandfield Macdonald
Opposition of Mr. Brown His disposition to coalesce with the
Conservatives His compact with Mr. J. S. Macdonald Reorganization
of Ministry General Election of 1863 Difficulties of the
Government Resignation of Mr. J. S. Macdonald Formation of
the second Tache”-Macdonald Administration Its defeat Deadlock
. 241
Formation of the Coalition Ministry Reception by the country Mr.
Macdonald’s efforts to insure its success Confederation Conference
at Charlottetown At Quebec Dr. Tupper Mr. Tilley
Retirement of Mr. Mowat Meeting of Parliament Adoption of
Quebec resolutions Mr. Macdonald’s theoretical preference for a
legislative to a federal union His views on constitution of the
Houses of Parliament Delegation to England Death of Sir E. P.
Tach6 Formation of new Administration under Sir Narcisse Belleau
Dissatisfaction of Mr. Brown His withdrawal from the Ministry 258
Removal of the seat of Government to Ottawa Negotiations with the
United States Retirement of Mr. Brown from the Ministry
Reasons therefor Progress of Confederation scheme In Canada
In Nova Scotia In New Brunswick Causes of delay Fenian
invasion Departure of Confederation delegation from Canada
Meeting of Conference at London Proceedings of Conference
Evolution of the British North America Act The ”
Kingdom of
Canada” Mr. Macdonald’s imperial views … … … … 291
Mr. Macdonald’s second marriage Occasion of his first meeting with
Miss Bernard Presentation at Court Special audience with the
Queen Return to Canada Cabinet-making Difficulties in the
way Attitude of Mr. Brown Of Messrs. Howland and McDougall
Continuance of the coalition Composition of the Ministry
Birth of the new Dominion Honours to Mr. Macdonald … . 314
E. P. TACHE 362
1865 370
DELAY, 1866 374
MONTREAL, 1862 Frontispiece
1858 Toface page 178
Two hundred miles northward from Edinburgh, on the east
coast of Scotland, lies the old town of Dornoch. Anciently the
seat of the bishops of Caithness, and a royal burgh since the
days of Charles I., Dornoch, like many another Scottish town,
has not maintained its importance, and to-day its only claim
to distinction is such as may attach to the fact of its being
the county town of Sutherlandshire.
About a century ago there lived in Dornoch a certain
Mr. John Macdonald, a native of the neighbouring parish of
Eogart, who had removed to Dornoch when a young man, and
established himself as a merchant. Gifted with excellent judgment,
prudent, thrifty, and economical, it was not long until his
business grew to be the most considerable in the place, while
, B
the uprightness of his character and his kindly disposition won
for him the respect and good will of his fellow-townsmen to
such a degree that they elected him again and again to the
provost’s chair without opposition.
Mr. Macdonald married, on the 18th of August, 1778, Miss
Jean Macdonald of Eogart parish, who, so far as I can gather,
was not otherwise related to him. Their union was blessed by
a large family of sons and daughters.* For many years did this
worthy man pursue his calling and exercise the functions of
provost, retaining all the while the esteem and regard of the
community in which he dwelt. He died in the year 1822, at
the advanced age of eighty-six, leaving to his children the best
heritage that a father can bequeath the record of a well-spent
life, of duty honestly and honourably performed.
Mr. John Macdonald had, as I have said, a large family ;
but it is only with one of his children that this narrative has
any concern his second son Hugh, born, like his father, in the
parish of Eogart, on the 12th of December, 1782. Hugh
Macdonald began life as an apprentice in his father’s shop,
but from an early age manifested a disinclination to remain in
the narrow sphere in which his lot had been cast. More
ambitious than his sire, he chafed under the monotony of a
village life, and would fain know something of the great world
that lay beyond the Grampian Hills. Accordingly, on reaching
his majority, he set out for Glasgow, where he formed a
partnership with one McPhail, and embarked in business as
a cotton manufacturer. Subsequently he engaged in the
manufacture of bandannas, and the style of the firm became
” H. Macdonald & Co.” About the year 1811 he married Helen
Shaw, daughter of James Shaw (of the Kinrara branch of that
family) and Margaret Grant, whose father, John Grant, was
nephew to the Laird of Eothiemurchus. Mrs. Macdonaid’s
mother was twice married, her first husband being William
Shaw of Dalnavert. There was no relationship between the
two husbands. James Shaw, her father, was ” out in ’45,” and
fought in the battle of Culloden. He afterwards entered the
Annie, born September 8, 1779 ; Donald, bora March 28, 1781 ; Hugh, born
December 12, 1782 ; Isabella, bom October 1, 1784 ; Alexander, born April 20,
1786 ; Jane, born July 17, 1789 ; “William, bom July 15, 1792.
1815-42.] EARLY DAYS. 3
British army through the influence of Lord Seaforth, who got
him his commission.*
To Mr. Hugh Macdonald and his wife were born five
children, all in Glasgow : William, who died in infancy ;
Margaret, afterwards the wife of Professor Williamson, of
Queen’s University, Kingston ; John Alexander, the future
Prime Minister of Canada ; James ; and Louisa, who never
married.t Business did not prosper with Mr. Macdonald, and
in the year 1820 he resolved to try his fortunes in the New
World. Accordingly, he embarked for Canada with his family,
and, after a voyage, long and irksome even for those days,
landed at Quebec, and journeyed overland to Kingston. Here
he began life anew ; but his ill-fortune followed him over the
sea, and, after trying Kingston for a few years, he determined
upon going farther west, and moved up the bay of Quinte, to
a place in the township of Adolphustown, in the county of
Lennox, called Hay Bay, where he opened a shop. Subsequently
he migrated across the bay of Quinte to a locality then known
as the Stone Mills, in the county of Prince Edward, where he
started a grist-mill; but he was unsuccessful at both places,
and he finally returned to Kingston in the year 1836, where he
fell into ill-health, and died on the 28th of September, 1841.
Notwithstanding his repeated failures, and despite an
apparent instability of purpose, Mr. Hugh Macdonald, I am
assured, did not lack ability of a certain order, and, in different
circumstances, might have achieved distinction. Fortune,
however, was unkind to him at the outset; nor was his
training such as to qualify him for the life of an immigrant.
Few people now living have a proper understanding of what
Ontario was like three-quarters of a century ago, nor of the
* My authority for these particulars respecting the family of Sir John Macdonald’s
mother is a letter from Miss Louisa Macdonald to Sir John, dated March 28, 1879.
Miss Macdonald goes fully into the subject, and says that she obtained her information
directly from their mother.
t Margaret, born July 7, 1813; John Alexander, born January 11, 1815;
James, born October 17, 1816; Louisa, born March 29, 1818. These dates are
taken from a memorandum-book of the late Mr. Hugh Macdonald’s, who, not satisfied
with recording the year and the day, has marked down in every case the minute of
his children’s births. Readers of the stars may be interested to know that Sir John
Macdonald was born at a quarter-past four o’clock whether a.m. or p.m. does not
hardships undergone by the settlers of that period, compared
with which the trials of the North-West pioneers in our own
times are as child’s play. Seventy years ago almost the whole
of Upper Canada was covered with the primeval forest, which
disappeared slowly, and only by dint of painful and unceasing
toD. The means of transporting the necessaries of life were
expensive, uncertain, and slow. Railways, of course, were
unknown, and macadamized roads, which were then looked upon
as as great luxuries as railways are to-day, were few and far
between. The climate, too, was more severe than, owing to the
cultivation of the soil, it has since become ; and the settler,
after having, with incredible toil, cleared his land, transported
his seed for miles through the forest, and sown it, ran the risk,
and sometimes experienced the misfortune, of having his grain
destroyed by summer frosts. A few years ago, when certain
pessimists were dismally predicting that the North-West would
never become a wheat-producing country, by reason of its
liability to summer frosts, Sir John Macdonald observed to me :
” Such people are always to be found. I remember, when a
lad, hearing my father express an idea of moving up to the
vicinity of Port Hope and trying farming. An old neighbour
shook his head. ‘ There is no use in your going up to Port
Hope/ said he ;

you cannot grow wheat there, for the summer
frosts kill everything.’

When Mr. Macdonald moved from Hay Bay to the Stone
Mills, his son John, who was 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 educational advantage Sir John
Macdonald enjoyed. When one reflects upon the vast fund
of knowledge of all kinds which he acquired in after years by
his reading, his observation, and his experience, one realizes
to the full the truth of the saying, that a man’s education often
begins with his leaving school. He always regretted the
disadvantages, in this respect, 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,
1815-42.] EARLY DAYS. 5
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.
Mr. Hugh Macdonald died, as I have said, in 1841 ; but
his death was not the first break in the family. Before they
moved to Hay Bay an accident occurred, if it can be called an
accident, by which his younger son lost his life in a most
distressing manner. Mr. Macdonald had in his employ an old
soldier by the name of Kennedy, who, unknown to his employer,
was addicted to drink. Going out one evening, Mr. and Mrs.
Macdonald left the two children, John and James, aged seven
and five years respectively, to the care of this man, who, as soon
as his master and mistress were out of sight, resolved upon
spending the evening in his own fashion. Taking the two
boys with him, he made his way to the nearest tavern, where,
not content with drinking himself, he endeavoured to make the
children follow his example. After a great deal of persuasion,
he prevailed upon them to swallow some liquor. Going to the
next drinking-place, he repeated his exploit. The children,
however, not liking the beverage it was gin stoutly resisted,
and John, taking his little brother by the hand, started for
home. Kennedy ran after them, and in the pursuit the younger
boy fell down. As he lay on the ground, the drunken soldier
struck him with his cane. The blow, the fright, and the liquor
combined were too much for a child of his tender years. He
fell into convulsions, and shortly afterwards died.
Of my late chiefs childhood I know but little. He
remembered Glasgow very well, though scarcely five years old
when he left it. His first recollection was finding himself in
the police court. Always a thoughtful child, he had a habit
when walking of holding his nurse’s dress, and running along
beside her with his eyes fixed on the ground. One day, in
a crowd, he awoke from his reverie to find that he had got hold
of somebody else’s dress in mistake, and that his nurse was
nowhere to be seen. He was taken to the police station, but
was too young to tell his story; so he remained there until
discovered by his father, who took him home and administered
a sound whipping. Of his boyhood he seldom spoke. From.
one or two remarks dropped by him, I infer that it was not
altogether free from that res angusta domi, of which Juvenal

I had no boyhood,” I once heard him say.
” From
the age of fifteen I began to earn my own living;” and, I
suspect, more than his own living. His father, though not
without parts, seems to have been unequal to the responsibilities
of the head of a family, and much of the burden in
consequence fell upon the young man. He once related an
occurrence which gives an insight into the domestic arrangements
of his early home how, on returning from school one
day, he found the door locked, and had to get in through the
kitchen window ; how he discovered the whole family ill in bed,
and but indifferently provided for ; how it devolved upon him
to bake the bread; how he had not the requisite knowledge
for the task ; and how he overcame the difficulty by carrying
his invalid sister downstairs on his back, and, laying her on
a sofa before the kitchen fire, kneaded the dough under her
I have seen it stated that Sir John Macdonald went to
school at the Stone Mills, but am inclined to think this
is a mistake. If he did, it must have been for a very short
time. It was there, however, he spent his holidays, roaming
about with rod and gun. To the last he never forgot the bay
of Quinte, and, whenever I passed through that charming
locality in his company, he would speak with enthusiasm of
the days when he lived there, pointing out one spot after
another, and recalling some event connected with each, until,
between Glasgow, and Kingston, and Adolphustown, and Hay
Bay, and the Stone Mills, I used to get puzzled as to which
was really 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
In 1830, Mr. Macdonald, then fifteen years of age, entered
upon the study of law in the office of Mr. George Mackenzie
of Kingston, a close friend of his father, with whom also he
lodged. In 1832 Mr. Mackenzie opened a branch office in
Napanee, to which place Mr. Macdonald was occasionally sent
to look after the business. In 1833, by an arrangement made
1815-42.] EAELY DAYS. 7
between Mr. Mackenzie and Mr. L. P. Macpherson a relative
of the Macdonalds he was sent to Picton, to take charge of
the latter’s law-office during his absence from Canada. This
seems to have been an important step in the young man’s
career. Among several letters in regard to it, I find one dated
the 3rd of December, 1833, from Thomas Kamsay of Napanee,
who was quite enthusiastic over his young friend’s promotion.
” You will believe me when I say that I was not more pleased than proud
to learn that my friend had made so positive a step to preferment. It
certainly is a very high compliment paid to your head, that one so young
should have so great a charge (and I hope not less a bonus) invested [?] on
him ; it is good and well merited, and I only pray that I may ever live, as
I do now, to pay the same tribute of praise to your heart which has been so
amply done to your pow. I know not whether to admire more, McKenzie or
L. Macpherson; the former assuredly claims the character of unwonted
disinterestedness, for truly he sacrifices much to your good, and the latter
is so well known to me through his good deeds, that, had he done otherwise,
it would have been more foreign to his general disposition than any trait
which marks his manly character. May his generosity be rewarded by a
vigorous employment of those talents in his service, which you so fully
I have also before me a bundle of letters written in 1832-33
by Mr. Mackenzie, then at Kingston, to his student at Napanee,
which indicates, equally with that of Mr. Ramsay, that, even
at the very outset of his career, Sir John Macdonald inspired
more than ordinary interest. Some sentences in these letters
fall strangely on the ear after the lapse of sixty years. Thus,
on the 17th of December, 1832, Mr. Mackenzie writes to
him :
” Meantime be assiduous, and, above all, industrious. I do not think that
you are so free and lively with the people as a young man eager for their good
will should be. A dead-and-alive way with them never does.”
Again, in 1833, he writes :
“I am sensible of your attention to the duties of the office, and
trust that I may have it in my power to mark my sense of your zeal and
With Mr. Mackenzie’s letters is a venerable document
emanating from Osgoode Hall, and attesting that
” John Alexander Macdonald was by the Benchers of the Law Society of
Upper Canada, in Convocation on Saturday, the 6th day of February, of the
term of Hilary, hi the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and
thirty-six, duly called to the degree of Barrister-at-Law, taking precedence as
such hi this Society next immediately after William Henry Boulton, Esquire.”
On being called to the Bar, Mr. 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. I refer to Mr. (now Sir) Oliver
Mowat, the son of Mr. Macdonald’s intimate, personal and
political friend, Mr. John Mowat, of Kingston. Oliver Mowat
studied law four years with Mr. Macdonald, leaving his office
in 1840. About the same time, another youth, likewise destined
to achieve more than a local celebrity, applied for admission
to the office Mr. (subsequently Sir) Alexander Campbell,
who began his studies with Mr. Cassidy, and after that
gentleman’s death completed them with Mr. Macdonald. Few
circumstances in our political history have been more dwelt
upon than this remarkable association, and few circumstances
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 from the other
two, who remain in close association. After the lapse of
twenty-five years they meet again, at the Executive Council
Board, members of the same Administration. Another twentyfive
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 decorated by Her Majesty for distinguished services to
the State. I venture to doubt whether the records of the
British Empire furnish a parallel to this extraordinary coincidence.
In his first case, which was at Picton, Mr. Macdonald and
the opposing counsel became involved in an argument, which,
waxing hotter and hotter, culminated in blows. They closed
1815-42.] EARLY DATS. 9
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 Mr. 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
” Order in the court, order in the court,” adding in a
low, but intensely sympathetic voice as he passed near his
” Hit him, John !

I have heard Sir John Macdonald
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 Mr. 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 Toronto was 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 old flint musket which galled my
shoulder. But I managed to keep up with my companion, a
grim old soldier who seemed impervious to fatigue.” The
next time he spoke of carrying his musket, I ventured to
remark that that was no mere figure of speech in his case, and I
recalled to his mind the sentence in which Kinglake brilliantly
portrays General Scarlett’s peril at the battle of Balaclava,
where ” the Brigadier’s tenure of life was by the sword, and not
by the sword which is a metaphor, but by that which is actual
and of steel.”
In 1838 took place the famous Von Shoultz affair, about
which much misunderstanding exists. The facts of the case
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, tried by court-martial, and eleven of them were
hanged. The quarter-master of the insurgents was a man
named Gold. He 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. He tried Mr. Thomas Kirkpatrick,
who refused, as also did Mr. (afterwards Sir) Henry Smith.
One morning Ford came to Mr. Macdonald’s house, before he
was up, and, after much entreaty, persuaded him to undertake
the defence of his kinsman. There was practically no defence,
however, and Von Shoultz, Gold, and nine others, were hanged.
Colonel Marks was the presiding officer at the court-martial,
and Mr. Draper, afterwards Chief Justice, Judge Advocate. Von
Shoultz’s career was a chequered one. He was born in Cracow,
as was his father before him. The latter, a major in a Cracow
regiment, was killed in action while fighting for the cause of
Poland, and his son was selected by the corps on the field of
battle 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 naturally associated the rebels with his Polish brethren,
and, having been told that the Canadians were serfs, and that
it was a case of Poland over again, 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
Mr. Macdonald, was a coward.
Von Shoultz left to Mr. 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 Mr. Macdonald left it out when reading over the
will for his signature. He observed the omission, and said,
“You have left that out.” Mr. Macdonald replied yes, that
he could 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 Mr. Macdonald refused to accept it.
* Mr. Charles Heath, of Toronto, was, I believe, present at the wedding.
1815-42.] EARLY DAYS. 11
It has been generally stated that it was Mr. Macdonald’s
“eloquent appeal” on behalf of this unfortunate man which
established his reputation at the Bar, but this is quite a
mistake. Mr. Macdonald never made any speech in defence
of Von Shoultz, for two very good reasons. In the first
place, the Pole pleaded guilty at the outset; and, in the
second place, the trial was by court-martial, on which occasions,
as is well known, counsel are 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 late Premier. As I have already stated, he left
school 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, and to my mind is abundantly sufficient to
account for the ” dead-and-alive
” manner which Mr. Mackenzie
deprecated. Life with him in those days was a struggle ; and
all the glamour with which it is sought to be invested
by writers who begin their accounts of him by mysterious
allusions to the mailed barons of his line, is quite out of
place. His grandfather, as we have seen, 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 not that he thought little of
either in themselves, but it is the 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 Mr. Draper)
said to him, jokingly, one day, “John A., we shall have to
make you Attorney General, owing to your success in securing
convictions !

Mr. Macdonald’s mother was in many ways a remarkable
woman. Of great energy and strength of will, she it was,
to use his own words,
” who kept the family together

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.
In the early part of 1840, Mr. Macdonald experienced a
severe illness, the effects of which did not wholly disappear
for some time. In 1842 he visited England, partly for the
benefit of his health, and partly to purchase his law library.
While in London, he wrote to his mother the following letter,
which, in view of the great interest attaching to it, I think it
right to give in full.

12, Craven Street, Strand, London,
“March 3, 1842.
” Some anxiety will exist, I suppose, in Canada in
consequence of the non-appearance of the Caledonia at Boston
in her usual time. As I mentioned in my last, we were
exposed to the same storm that drove her back, but, fortunately
for us, the wind, tho’ blowing a tempest, was in our favour.
The return of the Caledonia, however, is a great disappointment,
both to Wilson and myself, as it will probably prevent us
hearing from Canada until the end of this month, and leaves
me in uncertainty as to the period of my return. I have, you
see, not left London yet; the sights and wonders have kept
me busily employed since the 17th February. I have not
seen half of them, and indeed it would take months to do it
properly, so, having taken a cursory view of the principal ones,
I purpose leaving this on Saturday or Sunday evening for
Scotland. I shall stop a day or two at Chester on my way,
as Evan, who is stationed there, has written me to do so if
possible. I shall then proceed to Arbroath, and, having spent
a few days with Major and Mrs. Bruce I beg their pardon
Gardyne, I shall direct my wandering steps wherever my
1815-42.] EARLY DAYS. 13
fancy leads me thro’ Scotland. Unless Edinburgh detains
me longer than I anticipate, I shall not remain in Scotland
more than a fortnight, but shall return to the south, and meet
Wilson and Evan at Kendal in Westmoreland, where we
shall have a roam round the lakes, and then to Oxford and
Cambridge. Since my arrival in England, my health has
been remarkably good. You would be surprised at the breakfast
I eat. Wilson laughs as he sees roll after roll disappear
and eggs and bacon after roll. My dinners are equally satisfactory
to myself and expensive to the chopman. Harper
will tell you what a whole beefsteak is. Now, only fancy
my commencing dinner with a sole fried, with shrimp sauce,
demolishing a large steak, and polishing off with bread and
cheese and a quart of London stout. This I assure you is
not exaggeration, but I find it necessary to support myself
against the tremendous quantity of exercise I take every day.
I brought a good many letters to people in London, but have
hardly found it necessary to use them, as Wilson and his
friends here have put me in the way of seeing everything
and going everywhere. Mr. Edward Wanklyn, who resides
in London, is very attentive to us. He lives in a nice
style and is a very gentleman-like person and his wife is
one of the sweetest women I ever met with. From ill-health
she is obliged to live a secluded life, but we always find her
cheerful and hospitable. Wilson’s sister, and brother-in-law
Mr. John Wanklyn, were here, as I wrote you, for some
days after we arrived, and through their means I was lionized
everywhere. I think one of the most delightful days I ever
spent was with them at Windsor Castle. Mr. Wanklyn
obtained from Lord De la Warr an order to see the Queen’s
private apartments, so we saw all the domestic conveniences
of Her Majesty, and I can assure you that things are as
plain and snug as in the family of a private person. Comfort
is in no case sacrificed to magnificence or show. The
State apartments are usually open to the public, and the
private ones not shown. In our case, however, it was
reversed. The State apartments were closed, as the paraphernalia
of royalty which had been prepared for the reception
of the King of Prussia had not been removed. By
remarkable good fortune, however, we slipt in, and saw the
whole magnificence of the royalty of England. I shall not
attempt to describe the fairlies, as they will form the subject
of a great many conversations when I return. In one of
Scott’s novels he speaks of the unrivalled scenery of Windsor,
and certainly the prospect from the terrace opened to my
eyes a view which I could not before conceive. I saw it
under favourable auspices. The day was clear, the weather
warm, and I had a very pretty girl, Margaret Wanklyn, on
my arm, to whom the scene was also new, so we were very
agreeably engaged in comparing our impressions. Our ideas
sympathized wonderfully. The engraving of Windsor Castle
from the Albion is a very correct one, but gives an inadequate
idea of the extent and magnificence of the most splendid royal
residence in the world. Theatricals I have seen again and
again, together with a countless number of exhibitions of all
sorts and sizes. At every one of these places I have purchased
a catalogue raisonne, or descriptive account of the exhibition.
These I will bring with me even to the very play-bills so
that you will have every opportunity of tracking my progress
thro’ the capital.

I have formed acquaintances and dined with two or three
lawyers here, by whose assistance I have seen all the great
guns of the law. Indeed, I have been lucky in all my sightseeing.
The first time I went into the House of Lords they
were sitting as a Court of Appeal, and there I saw the four
great law lords, Lyndhurst, Brougham, Campbell, and Cottenham.
At Guildhall I saw Lord Denman and Sir Nicholas
Tindal presiding over jury trials; and when I went to the
House of Commons, I heard speeches from Peel, Goulburn,
Lord John Eussell, Lord Stanley, O’Connell, Buncombe, Wakley,
Sir James Graham, and most of the leaders in Parliament. I
go to-day to the Tower and the Tunnel, and dine this evening
with Harpie’s old friend, Mr. Stocks, who has invited two
members of Parliament to meet us. The Queen is at Brighton
and the Duke of Wellington at Strathfieldsaye, so I have not
seen either, nor do I now expect to do so until my return to
London. I have formed, thro’ a kind letter from Hitching ‘ O *
a very desirable acquaintance with a young lawyer named
1815-42.] EAELY DAYS. 15
Leach (a nephew of Sir John Leach, late Master of the Rolls),
who has been of great assistance to me. Notwithstanding all
this, however, I feel oftentimes a yearning for home and an
uneasy desire to be at work. To a person obliged during all
his life to be busy, idleness is no pleasure, and I feel assured
I shall return to my desk with greater zest and zeal than ever.
At Manchester I am going to purchase a quantity of damask,
an iron railing for the house, and a kitchen range. Paperhangings
and some chimney ornaments I shall buy here, and
send all out by Quebec. By the bye, I am going to a Bachelors’
Ball at Manchester on the 30th. Will. Wanklyn, Wilson’s
oldest nephew, is a manager, and has given me a ticket and
sent one to Evan. The cab is waiting to take us to the city,
for you must know we live in the west end, so I must close
my yarn. Love to Moll and Louisa, and to all friends, and
believe me ever to remain,
” Your affectionate son,
This letter was written in 1842. Forty-two years passed
away, and again John Alexander Macdonald stood within the
portals of Windsor Castle ; but under what different circumstances
! No longer an unknown visitor, peeping with youthful
curiosity through half-open doors ; but as the First Minister of
a mighty Dominion, he comes by the Queen’s command to dine
at her table, and, in the presence of the Prime Minister and of
one of the great nobles of England, who alone have been
summoned as witnesses of the ceremony, to receive from the
hand of his Sovereign that token and pledge of her regard
which, as such, he greatly prized the broad red riband of the
“!T is thirty years since I first went to Canada, but even before that time
my old friend one of the most eminent men who have been Governor General,
Sir Edmund Head told me he had a very remarkable man as his Prime
Minister. Well, that man is Prime Minister still. Just fancy ! At the time
when Louis Napoleon was Emperor of the French ; when Bismarck had not
been heard of; when Italy was not united; when Lord Palmerston was
Prime Minister of England Sir John A. Macdonald was Prime Minister of
Canada; and now, after an interval of more than thirty years, though not
Avithout intervals, generally short ones, he is still at the head of the
So spoke a retired Colonial Governor at a meeting of the
Royal Colonial Institute, held at London in the early part of
the year 1891. His words are suggestive, and serve to illustrate
the length and importance of that career, the consideration of
which we are about to approach. Yet, if we go back only a
few years prior to the period to which Sir Arthur Gordon*
had reference, and look round at the time when Sir John
Macdonald entered Parliament, the contrast in point of time
is still more marked. Then Louis Napoleon was a prisoner in
* Now Lord Stanmore.
the fortress of Ham, and the Second Empire was unborn ; the
long reign of Pius IX. had not begun ; Sir Kobert Peel, at that
time champion of the Corn Laws, was Prime Minister of England ;
Mr. Gladstone’s Toryism, if perhaps less
” stern and unbending

in its character than at the outset of his career, was Toryism
still; still John Henry Newman lingered in the Established
Many and great indeed are the changes, the world over,
which have taken place since that eventful day in 1844, when
the youthful member for Kingston took his seat for the first
time in that Assembly over which he was destined to wield
a paramount influence for well-nigh fifty years ; yet nowhere
is the contrast more strongly marked than in the country of
his adoption I had almost said of his creation, for in 1844
Canada, as we understand the term, did not exist. Eour
scattered provinces, having nothing in common, save their
common allegiance, together with an almost untrodden wilderness
over which the Indian and the buffalo roamed at will
there was nothing else from sea to sea. In 1844 the whole
population of what is now the Dominion of Canada did not
greatly exceed one and a half millions ; it is now considerably
more than three times that number. Then there were only
sixteen miles of railway in operation throughout the length
and breadth of the land ; now there are fifteen thousand. Then
the whole volume of trade amounted to thirty-three and a half
millions of dollars ; it is now (1893) two hundred and fortyeight
millions. Then the provinces could borrow in the markets
of the world with difficulty at six per cent., and sometimes
could not borrow at all; now our three-and-a-half per cent,
bonds are subscribed for many times over within a few hours
after being placed on the market.
Nor is the contrast between then and now to be measured
only by counting heads and dollars. Though it is true that,
in common with all young countries, Canada’s intellectual and
artistic development has not kept pace with its material growth,
it is nevertheless a fact that in every condition of life our
advancement has been marked ; and deep in the minds of the
Canadian people is fixed the invincible persuasion that no
small part of their national prosperity is due to the commanding
VOL. i. c
intelligence, prudence, forethought, and devotion to their
interests of him who, during by far the larger portion of this
interval, directed public affairs.
Mr. Macdonald returned from England in the spring of
1842, much improved in health, and applied himself with
renewed vigour to the practice of the law. He brought with
him the nucleus of his law library, which he purchased from
H. Sweet, of Chancery Lane, London, and for which he paid
161 9s. 6d. sterling. During the six years which had elapsed
since his admission to the Bar, Mr. Macdonald had been steadily
making his reputation and building up an extensive and profitable
business. In 1839 he became solicitor for the Commercial
Bank, and a little later for the Trust and Loan Company ; while
at Mr. Mackenzie’s death most of his old friend’s clients transferred
their business to him. On the 1st of September, 1843,
he formed a partnership with his quondam student, Mr. Alexander
Campbell, who had just been admitted to the Bar. This partnership
lasted until September, 1846, when it was renewed for a
further period of four years, but was dissolved in 1849.
The head of a prosperous legal firm, it was not long ere
Mr. 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, and took his seat at
the Council Board. But a higher destiny awaited him.
At this point it is, I think, convenient that I should
endeavour briefly to outline the state of public affairs in
Canada at the dissolution of the first Parliament of the United
Provinces, in September, 1844. In order rightly to understand
the reasons for that dissolution it is necessary to go back a few
years. This is not the place for a lengthened review of the
political events of these troublous times. I do not propose,
therefore, to dwell upon the rebellion of 1837-38, nor to detail
any of the incidents of that unhappy period. In his admirable
report, Lord Durham has outlined with a master hand the
position of affairs in Canada when he landed in the country in
1838. That remarkable State paper is, in fact, an epitome of the
history of Canada from the division of the province in 1791 to
the reunion of Upper and Lower Canada fifty years later.
Living under a form of government professedly based upon that
1791-1841.]- A DIP INTO HISTORY. 19
of England, the Canadians vehemently complained that they
had no potential voice in the administration of affairs. Killed
over by an Imperial officer, who was assisted by an advisory
Council, the members of which were irresponsible to the Legislature,
and answerable only to the Governor General for their
actions, the conviction forced itself upon the people of Canada
that what was called Representative Government was little else
than a sham. It is true that the privilege of electing representatives
to sit in the Assembly was theirs, but this branch of
the Legislature had little to say in the government of the
country. They might pass Bills, it is true ; but every measure
adopted by them had first to run the gauntlet of the Legislative
Council the members of which were appointed by the
Governor General for life and then to receive the Eoyal assent
before becoming operative. The Assembly saw, with great and
ever-increasing dissatisfaction, all power centred in the hands
of a few persons often eminently distasteful to them. They
witnessed every public office in the colony filled without reference
to them, often in defiance of their well-understood wishes ;
and the measures which in their judgment were best adapted to
promote the welfare of their province strangled in the Legislative
Council or at the foot of the throne.
Such was the position of affairs alike in Upper and Lower
Canada sixty years ago ; but in the latter province the situation
was greatly aggravated by questions of race, from which Upper
Canada happily was free. In Lower Canada an immense
majority of the inhabitants was of French origin, a sensitive
and proud people, smarting under the mortification of
a defeat for which they were not responsible and which they
could not have averted. To be governed by a despot was bad
enough, though to them and their fathers it was no new thing ;
but to be ruled over by an Anglo-Saxon despot was a humiliation
not to be borne. The Governor General was always an
Englishman. The members of his Council, with here and there
an exception, were of the dominant race. Such also was the
composition of the Legislative Council, while from the highest
posts in the law, the departments of civil government, and
the army, the French Canadians were rigorously excluded. The
popular branch of the Legislature was, as might be expected,
overwhelmingly French, and in its impotence presented a
strange contrast to the Imperial body of which it was supposed
to be a reflection. The old-fashioned Tories who surrounded
the Governor General witnessed the exclusion of the House
Assembly from all power and patronage with a fulness of enjoyment
not given to the ”
family compact

of Upper Canada.
The pleasure of keeping down the representatives of the people
was indeed common to both ; but the former had the additional
satisfaction of knowing that in their case the people were of
alien race, and that in vindicating their political principles
were gratifying their national prejudices. Thus was th(
struggle between the Executive and Legislative bodies in Lowe
Canada embittered by the ancient hostility between the two
races which for more than a century had been contending
for the mastery in North America. From bad to worse did
matters proceed, until at length the contest was one of race
rather than of principle, and the constitutional question
obscured in the bitterness of the national feud.
Nor was the struggle by any means one of Tory agaim
Radical. The French Canadians were then, even to a greater
extent than they are to-day, a conservative people. A few
demagogues they had in their ranks, to be sure, even as they
have now ; but in their habits, customs, laws, and religion they
adhered scrupulously to the traditions of their fathers. Yet,
for the reasons I have indicated, these people found themselves,
almost to a man, arrayed against the constitutional authorities
of the land. Nor is it to be supposed that the English population
of Lower Canada was imbued with a profound veneration
for the existing order of things. Among them were to be found
men of all shades of political thought. Many whose sympathies
were on the side of the Governor’s party would, had they lived
in the Upper Province, have been strenuous champions of
reform. But with them racial animosity was stronger than
political principle, and impelled them to aid in the maintenance
of a system repugnant to their notions of justice,
because it operated to the repression of the French Canadians.
In Upper Canada the issue was simple, and divided thepeople
into two camps. Those supporting the Assembly in
their pretensions were the Eadicals, who naturally attracted to1791-
their ranks all those who, from one cause or another, hated
British connection. On the side of the Crown was arrayed
the Tory party, which at a later period was strengthened by
the adhesion of many persons who, while they were not Tories,
were not disposed to become rebels.
While it is natural that those who have been brought up
under the full measure of Constitutional Government, which we
in Canada enjoy to-day, should sympathize with the struggles
of our fathers for Eesponsible Government, it cannot be said
that a study of the course pursued by the Legislative Assemblies
of Upper and Lower Canada, in their efforts to secure that
desirable result, is calculated to increase our sympathy for the
cause they espoused. If the executive denied the Assembly
any share in the administrative power of Government, the
violent language, and often grossly unconstitutional actions
of the leaders of those bodies were frequently such as abundantly
to demonstrate their unfitness to exercise that power. If the
members of the Assembly were compelled to undergo the
mortification of seeing their cherished measures vetoed by
the Legislative Council (I speak now more particularly of
Lower Canada), it was because, to quote the words of Lord
” the national animosities which pervaded the legislation of the Assembly,
and its thorough want of legislative skill or respect for constitutional
principles, rendered almost all its Bills obnoxious to the objections made by
the Legislative Council ; and the serious evil which their enactment would
have occasioned convinces me that the colony has reason to congratulate
itself on the existence of an institution which possessed and used the power
of stopping a course of legislation that, if successful, would have sacrificed
every British interest and overthrown every guarantee of order and national
It is an undoubted fact that by their extravagant claims, by
their systematic abuse of constitutional forms, more particularly
by their vicious practice of “tacking” together various
legislative measures for the avowed purpose of compelling the
Legislative Council to pass some objectionable Bill a rare and
extreme course in constitutional procedure which they converted
into the ordinary mode of legislation, by their systematic
jobbing with the public funds, and finally by their absolute
refusal to vote the supplies necessary to the carrying on
of the Government, the Assembly furnished the opponents of
the introduction of responsible government with a series of
arguments difficult of refutation.
Lord Durham came to Canada charged with the arduous
duty of ascertaining the causes of the grave disorders which
afflicted the colony. With rare skill he executed his difficult
task, and his report to the Imperial Government is a monument
no less to his powers of observation and analysis, than to the
clearness and vigour of his literary style.
In Lord Durham’s judgment the constitutional question,
though important and calling for adjustment, was not the
primary cause of the troubles which he was commissioned to
inquire into. Deeper than any dispute between the Executive
and the Assembly over the distribution of power and place, lay
the fatal feud of origin in Lower Canada, which must first be
allayed before abiding peace could be looked for.
Lord Durham’s proposed remedy for this paramount evil
was simple and drastic. As a preliminary step to the union of
all British North America, which he strongly advocated, he
recommended the fusion of the two Canadas in a legislative
union. This course, he was persuaded, would restore
tranquillity in respect of the main issue by submitting the
French Canadians to the vigorous rule of an English majority.
He was of opinion that the French Canadian people were
destined speedily to lose their distinctive nationality and to
become merged in the Anglo-Saxon communities which
surrounded them ; and he conceived that nothing would
conduce to that result so effectually as the union of Upper
and Lower Canada. To the united province he would
grant responsible government,

placing,” to quote his words,
” the internal government of the colony in the hands of the
colonists themselves.” Thus, all sources of dissatisfaction
being removed, Canada would advance in the path of peace
and prosperity, and form one of the brightest ornaments in the
British Crown.
The suggestions of Lord Durham commended themselves
to the Home Government, and Mr. Charles Edward Poulett
Thomson better known by his subsequent title of Lord
1839-44.] A DIP INTO HISTORY. 23
Sydenham was sent out in 1839 as Governor General, with
instructions to bring about the proposed union. This task was
accomplished without much difficulty. The necessary resolutions
were passed by the Special Council of Lower Canada and
the Legislature of Upper Canada, the requisite Imperial legislation
was obtained, and on the 10th of February, 1841, the union
was proclaimed. On the 13th the members of the Executive
Council were sworn into office.* Writs for the election of a
new Assembly were issued forthwith. On the 9th of June,
twenty-four gentlemen were summoned by the Governor General
to the Legislative Council, and on the 14th of the same month
the first Parliament of the province of Canada met at Kingston,
which place had been selected as the capital.
But peace was not yet. I have said that the Imperial
Government approved the suggestions of Lord Durham ; but
the statement requires qualification. While they readily
adopted the scheme of union, and were not unwilling to concede
a larger measure of representative government than had
hitherto been enjoyed by the Canadian people, they did not
deem it advisable at once to carry out that nobleman’s
recommendation, viz. that
” the responsibility to the United Legislature of all officers of the Government,
except the Governor and his secretary, should be secured by every means
known to the British Constitution. The Governor, as the representative of
the Crown, should be instructed that he must carry on his Government by
heads of departments, in whom the United Legislature shall repose confidence,
and that he must look for no support from home in any contest with the
Legislature, except on points involving strictly Imperial interests.”
Lord Sydenham’s course makes this plain. At the very
outset of his administration he gave it to be understood that he
would never submit to yield up the authority with which he
had been invested to any set of men in the colony. He was
willing to admit that his Council ought to be composed of men
* The following is the composition of the first Cabinet under the Union : The
Hon. E. B. Sullivan, President of the Council and Commissioner of Crown Lands ; the
Hon. J. II. Dunn, Eeceiver General ; the Hon. D. Daly, Provincial Secretary,
Lower Canada ; the Hon. S. B. Harrison, Provincial Secretary, Upper Canada ;
the Hon. C. E. Ogden, Attorney General, Lower Canada ; the Hon. W. H.
Draper, Attorney General, Upper Canada; the Hon. Eobert Baldwin, Solicitor
General, Upper Canada ; the Hon. C. D. Day, Solicitor General, Lower Canada.
possessed of the confidence of the representatives of the people ;
but he reserved to himself the right to accept or reject their
advice as he thought proper. It was impossible, he argued, for
him to divest himself, or allow himself to be divested of any
portion of the responsibility attached to his office. The local
knowledge and experience possessed by the members of his
Council would, no doubt, prove of the greatest advantage to him
in the carrying on of the Government ; but he let it be clearly
understood that he looked upon them merely as a consultative
body, useful, but by no means indispensable, to the proper
execution of his functions.
The Executive Council, as constituted by Lord Sydenham,
was a coalition, and contained men of various and varying
shades of politics, including one Radical, Mr. Eobert Baldwin,
who, finding himself unable to act with his colleagues, or to
agree in the policy of exclusion which the Governor General
thought proper to adopt towards the French Canadians, resigned
office on the day before the meeting of Parliament, in June,
1841. This, though an embarrassment to the Governor General,
could not have taken him by surprise, inasmuch as Mr. Baldwin,
on accepting office, gave Lord Sydenham clearly to understand
that he did so solely on the ground of his confidence in him
personally, and actually took the extraordinary step of notifying
certain leading members of the Council that they were not to
regard his accession to their body as indicative of any political
confidence in them. It appears that Mr. Baldwin considered
this notice as sufficient to relieve him of the ordinary obligations
which are supposed to govern the actions of Cabinet
Ministers in their relations towards the Crown and each other,
for that gentleman, while holding office in the Administration,
thought it not inconsistent with his own honour and his duty
towards his colleagues, to enter into negotiations with the
leaders of the Opposition, with a view to the retirement of three
members of the Government in favour of certain members of
the Radical party. And not only so, but he actually attended
meetings of the Opposition, and discussed with them the best
means of coercing the Administration of which he was at the
very time a member. Mr. Baldwin was the soul of honour,
and doubtless felt himself justified in his course throughout
1839-44.] A DIP INTO HI8TOET. 25
this transaction, which I relate because it serves to illustrate,
perhaps better than anything else, how imperfectly even the
leaders of the Eadicals understood that system of responsible
government for which they were so loudly clamouring.
It will be observed that the list of Lord Sydenham’s councillors
does not contain the name of a single French Canadian.
This omission, which was deliberate on the part of the Governor
General, seems to have been singularly ill-advised. The French
opposed the union, and at the general election had returned a
large majority hostile to its continuance. Ostracism was not
likely to reconcile them to the new order of things. On the
contrary, it had, as was to be expected, precisely the opposite
effect. Lord Durham’s prediction as to their national extinction
was destined to remain unfulfilled. Not unnaturally, the
French Canadians entertained objections to such a fate and
joined hands to avert it. By that tactical movement known to
politicians of a later period as
” the solid column,” they were
enabled to present a united front against the common foes
who, divided into two bitterly hostile factions, were powerless
to do them harm. Thus in the first Parliament under the Union
there were three distinct groups the Tories, the Eadicals, and
the French Canadians, the last devoted to the maintenance of
their nationality, and prepared to act with that party which
would concede most to them. Lord Sydenham was a man of
much force of character, of excellent tact, and distinguished for
his practical knowledge of affairs. He had, I have heard my
late chief say, a charming manner, was thoroughly a man of the
world, and devoted to the fair sex. Though by no means a
Tory, he was deeply impressed with the idea that it was his
duty to maintain unimpaired the Eoyal prerogative. He ruled
the Council, and made his influence felt in many ways. There
is little doubt that, had he lived, his resolute attitude towards
the Eadicals and the French Canadians would have precipitated
the crisis which came under Lord Metcalfe. Unhappily his
term of office was cut short by his death. On the afternoon of
the 4th of September, 1841, he called upon a lady in Kingston,
to whom, as rumour said, he was much attached. His visit
proved so entertaining that it was protracted beyond ordinary
length. Suddenly remembering that he had a dinner that
evening, he abruptly took his leave and rode off at a gallop for
Alwington House. In the hurry his horse stumbled and fell
with him, causing injuries which resulted in his death on the
19th of September.
Lord Sydenham was succeeded in the Governorship by
Sir Charles Bagot, whose term of office was likewise brief.
Appointed to office in the latter part of 1841, he entered upon
his functions in January, 1842, and resigned them in March,
1843. During the latter part of the period he was a confirmed
invalid. Short as was his administration, it was not uneventful,,
at any rate to his Executive Council, in which body there were
seven changes between June and October. Parliament met in
September. It was found that a combination had been formed
by the Eadicals, a section of the Conservatives, and the French
Canadians, to turn out what were then termed the ”
holders,” but whom we should designate the Ministry. The
Governor General, fearing a vote of want of confidence against
his Council, determined upon anticipating the action of the
Legislature. Accordingly he opened negotiations with the
combined forces of the Opposition, and the result was the withdrawal
from office of Messrs. Draper, Ogden, Henry Sherwood,,
and the introduction of Messrs. La Fontaine, Small, and Morin,
all of whom were either Eadicals or French Canadians.
It does not appear that at this time any one member of the
Council occupied what is now the recognized position of First
Minister. Lord Sydenham and Sir Charles Bagot certainly
filled that office in their own persons. Down to Confederation
the leadership was (at least nominally) a double-headed affair,
consisting of one Upper Canadian and one French Canadian.
In Sir Charles Bagot’s reconstructed Council Mr. Eobert
Baldwin was the leader of the Upper Canada wing, and Mr.
(afterwards Sir) Louis La Fontaine was the acknowledged chief
of the French Canadians.
The Eeform party naturally was highly elated over the
change in its fortunes. Now for the first time in Canada were
heard the words ”


Ministry,” and
so forth, which the members of the Executive Council applied
without qualification to themselves.
The briefness of Sir Charles Bagot’s term of office, and his1839-
continued ill-health during a large portion of the time, make it
difficult to predicate anything with respect to his views on
the great question of the day. His correspondence with the
Colonial Minister has never been made public ; but it has
always been understood that, while the Governor’s right to
change the personnel of his Council was undoubted, his course
in confiding the administration of affairs to men remarkable
chiefly for their undisguised hostility to British connection
did not merit the approbation of the Home Government. Unfortunately
he was not permitted to develop his policy. Towards
the close of the year failing health compelled him to ask to be
relieved of his duties. His request was granted after some
delay, and Sir Charles (afterwards Lord) Metcalfe was appointed
his successor. Sir Charles Metcalfe arrived in Kingston on the
29th of March, 1843, and assumed the Governorship on the
following day. His predecessor, too ill to travel, remained at
Government House until the opening of navigation, when he
returned home to die.
Sir Charles Metcalfe had already approved himself an able
colonial administrator, first in India, and subsequently in
Jamaica. In 1842 he resigned the government of the latter
colony, and returned to England in consequence of an ulcerous
affection of the face, which at last caused his death. The
progress of the disease having been stayed by a series of
painful operations, Sir Charles Metcalfe again began to turn
his attention to public affairs. His idea seems to have been
to enter parliamentary life. Of office he had no thought, being
of opinion that his pronounced Liberal views operated as an
insuperable bar to his advancement under the Conservative
Government of Sir Eobert Peel. He was, therefore, much
surprised to learn in the month of January, 1843, that he
had been selected for the arduous post of Governor General
of Canada. His personal inclinations and his delicate health
alike prompted him to decline an honour which was no new
thing to him ; but his strong sense of duty overbore all other
considerations, and in the belief that it was incumbent on him
to place his services at the disposal of Her Majesty’s Government,
he accepted the responsibility, and sailed for Canada in
March, 1843.
Upon his arrival he devoted himself to a study of the
political history of the colony and of the characters of those
with whom he was most closely to be associated. Though not
unprepared for anything, he found matters, he tells us, in a
worse condition than he thought possible. Eesponsible
Government the all-absorbing topic was being vigorously
illustrated by Messrs. La Fontaine and Baldwin and their
colleagues, who during the illness of the Governor General
ruled with a high hand. Sir Charles Metcalfe’s political
sympathies at home were, he says in one of his letters, entirely
with the Liberal party. He favoured the abolition of the Corn
Laws, the extension of the franchise, and other


of the
Liberal ”
platform ;

but he was also a loyal and devoted
servant of the British Crown, resolutely determined that the
authority which had been delegated to him by his Sovereign
should be exercised by himself alone. He found among his
advisers men animated by a feeling of scarcely concealed
disloyalty towards the motherland, and a desire to weaken if
not to sever the Imperial connection of which he was the visible
sign. Nor did he derive any assistance from the Tories. Thus
he writes to the Colonial Secretary in the summer of 1843 :
” My chief annoyance at present proceeds from the discontent of what may
be fairly called the British party in distinction from the others. It is the only
party in the colony with which I can sympathize. I have no sympathy with the
anti-British rancour of the French party, or the selfish indifference towards
our country of the Republican party. Yet these are the parties with which
I have to co-operate ; and because I do not cast them off, the other party will
not see that I cannot, and construe all my acts as if they were the result of
adhesion to anti-British policy.
1 ‘
Upon the question of Eesponsible Government Sir Charles
Metcalfe’s attitude was that of Lord Sydenham. Though
strongly opposed to party government, he recognized that it
was the system which obtained in Canada, and that he had
no option in the matter. In like manner he was quite
prepared to form his Council from among those who possessed
the confidence of the Assembly; but he strenuously resisted
the proposition that he should abandon the Eoyal prerogative
to his advisers. It was all very well, he argued, for Lord
Durham to theorize upon the question, and to elaborate a system
1839-44.] A DIP INTO HISTORY. 29
of government which he was never destined to put in action ;
but the responsibility of administering the affairs of the colony
was upon him, and he could not divest himself of it. During
the summer of 1843 the Governor General managed to avoid
an open rupture with his advisers, though he notes that, as
a whole, they entirely failed in their duty towards himself,
as evinced by their persistent determination to keep him in
ignorance of their proceedings. Parliament met in September,
and passed among other measures certain resolutions providing
for the removal of the seat of government from Kingston to
Montreal. In November the crisis came. Upon the question
of patronage Sir Charles Metcalfe took high ground, holding that
the right of appointment to office was peculiarly a prerogative
of the Crown, for the proper exercise of which the Governor
General was alone responsible. Messrs. La Fontaine and
Baldwin combated this view, and insisted that no appointment
should be made without their advice. This the Governor
General would not hear of, and continued on the lines he had
marked out for his guidance.
Among other appointments which he thus made was that of
a French Canadian officer, Mr. de Salaberry, to his personal
staff. Mr. de Salaberry happened to be objectionable to Mr. La
Fontaine, whose colleagues made his cause their own, and
vigorously protested against Sir Charles Metcalfe’s action,
though in our day no Ministry would think of interfering, even
by way of suggestion, with the Governor General in the selection
of his staff.
There were other grounds of friction between Sir Charles
Metcalfe and his advisers ; but the appointment of Mr. F. C.
Powell to the clerkship of the peace for the Dalhousie district,
against the advice of his Ministers, who had recommended a
partisan of their own, brought matters to a dead-lock. What
made this act of the Governor General the more aggravating
was the fact that Mr. Baldwin had actually promised the office
to the person whom they recommended. The Ministry felt
their position to be intolerable. They, or a majority of them
for in those days unanimity of action or joint responsibility on
the part of members of the Executive does not seem to have
been recognized, waited in a body on the Governor General, and
sought to obtain from him a pledge, that in future he would
make no appointment without their advice. This Sir Charles
Metcalfe positively declined to give ; whereupon all the
members of the Council, with the exception of Mr. Daly,
the Provincial Secretary, resigned their offices. The Governor
General at once prorogued Parliament, and was for some months
in the anomalous position of being without advisers, save
only Mr. Daly. Men might come and men might go, but the
“perpetual secretary,” it seems, went “on for ever.” The
Conservative party stood manfully by the Governor General
in this emergency ; nor were there wanting among the French
Canadians men who preferred country to faction.
Prominent in the ranks of the Conservatives was Mr.
William Henry Draper, who had filled the position of Attorney
General for Upper Canada in Lord Sydenham’s Administration.
Mr. Draper was a Toronto lawyer, in the enjoyment of a large
practice. He was a Tory, though not of the straightest sect, of
unblemished reputation, and a devoted upholder of British
connection. With him was associated Mr. D. B. Viger, a
French Canadian, who, in the days of his youth, had been a
rebel, but had grown wiser with advancing years. Both these
gentlemen offered their services to the Governor General.
Neither of them appears to have had any motive for so doing
beyond a sincere desire to serve the State. Mr. Draper had
just quitted official life. All his professional interests lay in
Upper Canada, and to sever his business connections and remove
to Montreal could be attended only with inconvenience and loss
to himself. Mr. Viger was seventy years of age. His course
was well-nigh run, and he must have known that his acceptance
of a seat at the Executive Council Board under existing circumstances
would assuredly alienate from him the regard and
respect of his fellow-countrymen.
On the 12th of December Messrs. Draper and Viger were
sworn as members of the Executive, the former without portfolio,
the latter becoming President of the Council. At a later
period Messrs. William Morris, D. B. Papineau, and James
Smith joined the Government. Mr. Morris, the father of the
late Hon. Alexander Morris, was a member of the Legislative
Council for Upper Canada, a moderate reformer and a most
estimable man. To him was entrusted the portfolio of Eeceiver
General. Mr. Papineau was a brother of the notorious rebel
leader, and his accession to the Ministry was a sore trial to the
Eadical party. He accepted the Commissionership of Crown
Lands, and Mr. Smith, a member of the Montreal Bar, and
representing the County of Missisquoi, became Attorney General
for Lower Canada.
That his new Council did not possess the confidence of the
Assembly Sir Charles Metcalfe knew full well. After some
hesitation he resolved upon an appeal to the country. Accordingly,
on the 23rd of September, 1844, a proclamation was
issued dissolving Parliament, and ordering an election to be
held forthwith. It was at this crisis that Mr. John A. Maedonald
first sought the suffrages of the people of Kingston.
It must not be supposed that the issue before the country
was simply whether the Governor General was bound to follow
on all occasions the advice of his Ministers. I have said that
there were three groups in the Legislature. Perhaps it would
be more correct to say that there were five the extreme
Tories, the moderate Conservatives, the ultra Eadicals and the
moderate Eeformers ; besides the French, who themselves were
divided by the action of Messrs. Viger and Papineau. It is
difficult, in view of these ever-shifting party divisions, to
determine the relative strength of the various groups, or the
exact relation in which they stood to one another ; but this
much is certain, that the unbridled violence and openly disloyal
utterances of the Eadical party, which formed the backbone
of the opposition to the Government, had the effect of
impelling many loyal citizens who knew nothing and cared less
about questions of prerogative, to vote for the Ministerial
candidates. Many Conservatives there were in Canada who,
while not prepared to swear by the personality of Sir Charles
Metcalfe, or to accept his views of Eesponsible Government, saw
in him the representative of the Sovereign to whom their
allegiance was due, and indignantly resented the manner in
which he had been treated by the Eadical party.
For some time it had been seen that a General Election was
imminent. The people of Kingston were early on the alert.
On the 14th of June, an address signed by upwards of two
hundred electors was presented to Mr. Macdonald asking him
to allow himself to be nominated as a candidate for the representation
of that town. He acceded to their request, and on
the 5th of October issued this election card :
“The approaching election calls upon me to redeem
the pledge made in March last, in answer to the nattering requisition
addressed to me by 225 electors, inviting me to become
a candidate for the representation of this town.
“A residence in Kingston since infancy has afforded every
opportunity to me of knowing the wants and claims of our
‘Loyal Old Town,’ and to you of ascertaining my political
opinions, and my qualifications for the office I now solicit at
your hands.
“I, therefore, need scarcely state my firm belief, that the
prosperity of Canada depends upon its permanent connection
with the Mother Country, and that I shall resist to the utmost
any attempt (from whatever quarter it may come) which may
tend to weaken that union.
” The proposed measures for reducing the enormous expense
of the public departments, for improving the system of common
schools, and for opening and extending the advantages of our
Collegiate Institutes, will receive my cordial support.

It is alike my duty and my interest to promote the prosperity
of this city and the adjacent country. No exertion will
be spared by me in forwarding the settlement of our rear townships,
by the formation of public roads, in assisting and concentrating
the trade of this port, and in such other local
measures as will in any way conduce to your advantage.
” I am deeply grateful for the confidence you have already
reposed in me; and trusting that I have done nothing to
forfeit it, I have the honour to be,
” Your obliged and faithful servant,
It will be observed that neither in Mr. Macdonald’s reply
to the signers of the requisition, nor in his formal address to
the electorate at large, is there any direct reference to Eesponsible
Government. Eather does he deprecate “fruitless discussions
on abstract and theoretical questions of government.”
But on the larger issue, as forced by the Eadicals, he gives forth
no uncertain sound. ”
I, therefore, need scarcely state my firm
belief, that the prosperity of Canada depends upon its permanent
connection with the Mother Country, and I shall resist to
the utmost any attempt (from whatever quarter it may come)
which may tend to weaken that union.”
Thus, on the very threshold of his career, did Sir John
Macdonald lay down the principle which was to guide him
through life. More than twenty years afterwards we shall see
him in the prime of manhood reaffirming it in the presence of
his Sovereign, and at the close of his long and eventful life,
when for the last time he stands before the electors of Kingston,
he can find nothing nearer his heart to tell them than that
” with his utmost efforts, with his latest breath, he will oppose
the ‘veiled treason’ which attempts by sordid means and
mercenary proffers to lure the Canadian people from their
allegiance !

From his youth politics had interested Mr. Macdonald.
I recollect his telling me of a political demonstration at
Kingston in which he took part, which was attended by farreaching
consequences. In October, 1842, Mr. Eobert Baldwin,
who had vacated his seat on being appointed Attorney General
for Upper Canada, was defeated in Hastings by Edmund Murney.
When the news reached Kingston, where Parliament was sitting,
it caused much excitement. The populace, among whom Mr.
Macdonald was prominent, had a great jubilation, their shouts
of triumph reaching the ears of the legislators. This so irritated
Mr. La Fontaine, who was leading the House at the time, that
he vehemently declared that he would have the Government
removed from among such a turbulent lot. He carried out his
threat, and this is how the seat of government came to be transferred
from Kingston to Montreal.
I once asked Sir John how he came to run in 1844. ” To
fill a gap,” he replied. “There seemed to be no one else
available, so I was pitched upon.”
His opponent, Mr. Anthony Manahan, had been a member
of the old Legislature of Upper Canada. He has been represented
as an uncouth and illiterate person ; but if he wrote the
letter to Lord Durham on the subject of the disabilities under
which the Irish Catholics of Upper Canada laboured, which
appears in the appendix to that nobleman’s report over his
signature, I scarcely think the description accurate. Mr.
Manahan was returned for Kingston at the general election of
1841 ; but was induced to resign his seat in favour of the
Hon. S. B. Harrison. His political opinions do not seem to
have been clearly defined, but there is little doubt that, had he
been elected, he would have supported Messrs. Baldwin and La
Fontaine against the Governor General. The contest resulted
in an easy victory for Mr. Macdonald, who polled an absolute
majority of the voters of Kingston.*
All over the country the fight was keen. When the smoke
of battle cleared away it was found that victory rested with the
Government. Of the forty-two members representing Upper
Canada, thirty-four were elected to support the Administration.
Lower Canada sent a large majority the other way ; but in the
aggregate the Government was sustained by a working majority
of about six in a house of eighty-four members.
The most notable incidents in the contest were the defeat of
Mr. Viger, President of the Council, in Richelieu, by Dr. Nelson,
a leading rebel of 1837, and of Mr. Francis Hincks, a member
of the old Council, in Oxford, by a supporter of the Government.
The result of the elections was highly gratifying to the
Governor General, who throughout the whole crisis had
acquitted himself to the entire satisfaction of Her Majesty’s
* The polling began on Monday the 14th of October. At the close of the first
day Mr. Manahan retired. The poll stood, Macdonald, 229 ; Manahan, 40.
THE new Parliament met in Montreal on the 28th of November.
Political feeling ran high. The fierceness with which the
battle had been fought, the closeness and uncertainty of the
result, and, above all, the impression that the Ministry, apart
from its Parliamentary support, was far from strong, rendered
the occasion one of peculiar interest. Of the members of the
Government, Messrs. Draper and Morris sat in the Upper
House : Mr. Viger had been defeated at the polls, and only
three, Messrs. Daly, Papineau, and Smith, had seats in the
Assembly. Mr. Daly, while a capable administrator, was not
a public speaker ; Mr. Smith had never sat in Parliament ; and
Mr. Papineau, though a good all-round man, was handicapped
to some extent by partial deafness. Opposed to them were
Messrs. La Fontaine, Baldwin, Morin, and Aylwin all men of
Parliamentary experience and strong in attack, the last named
reputed to be the best debater then in public life. It is not
surprising, therefore, that the Opposition congregated in Montreal
with high hopes of getting even with the Governor
The first test of strength was on the election of Speaker.
The Ministerial nominee for that office was Sir Allan MacNab,
who was proposed by Attorney General Smith, then leading
the Government in the Assembly. The Opposition, led by
Mr. Baldwin, proposed Mr. A. N. Morin. The House divided on
the motion of the Attorney General with the following result :
for the motion, 39 ; against, 36 ; majority, 3. Six members
were absent, and one seat vacant, making with the two candidates
the full number of 84. This division is memorable as
being the occasion on which Mr. Macdonald gave his first vote
in Parliament. His name appears among those who voted for
the motion.
A majority of three was close work, but a more satisfactory
result was obtained a few days later, when the Opposition
moved a series of amendments to the address, which involved
what a vote on the Speakership does not a direct question of
confidence in the Administration. The amendments were voted
down and the address adopted by a majority of six in a House
of seventy-eight members ; and this fairly represents the
relative numerical strength of parties during the session.
The position of the Government, however, in other respects
was far from satisfactory, and, with the object of improving it,
Mr. Draper who, though I cannot find that he was ever so
styled, seems to have come nearer being what in our day is
called the Prime Minister than any other member of the
Executive resigned his seat in the Legislative Council, and
contested the representation of London in the Assembly, where
a vacancy had occurred. He was successful, and his presence
in the Lower House had the desired effect of considerably
strengthening the Government.
But it was not only on the floor of the Assembly that the
Ministry needed strength. The Executive was not complete,
and, what was more serious, was not united. Shortly after the
meeting of Parliament, Mr. W. B. Robinson, the member for
Simcoe, was sworn of the Council, and appointed Inspector
General,* which place Sir Charles Metcalfe had not succeeded
in filling up. He did not long hold office. A measure dealing
with the university question had been introduced by Mr. Draper,
but the difference of opinion among his supporters was so great
that he was forced to abandon it. Amongst those who voted
Corresponding to the Finance Minister of to-day.
against the second reading of this Bill was the Inspector
General, Mr. Robinson, who shortly afterwards resigned his
place in the Administration.
Early in the session the Ministry executed a strategic move,
thereby averting what might have proved a serious embarrassment
to them. By the terms of the Union Act (1840), it was
provided that all the proceedings of Parliament should be
printed in the English language only. Considering that the
French Canadians formed a very large proportion of the people
of Canada, and that the great majority of them knew no other
language than French, this provision was felt to be a hardship,
and tended to embitter the Lower Canadians, already hostile to
the union. The Upper Canadian Radicals conceived the idea
that it would be a politic stroke on their part to move in
Parliament for the removal of this restriction. If the Government
supported the motion, it would carry, and the credit of it,
the Opposition argued, would belong to those who initiated it.
If the Government opposed the motion, their course would
provide a telling cry to be used against them in Lower Canada.
The scheme was an ingenious one, but, unfortunately for the
Opposition, the Ministry discovered it. The greatest secrecy
was maintained by the latter, and when, on the 20th of
December, the Commissioner of Crown Lands, Mr. Papineau,
rose in his place, and moved a resolution similar in effect to the
one lying in the desks of the Opposition, the chagrin of the
Radicals knew no bounds. It is said that, as Mr. Papineau was
reading his motion, Mr. Baldwin whispered in the ear of the
member who sat next to him, “Again has the subtle Indian
delved a yard below our mines.” The ” subtle Indian,” it may
be explained, was a term of reproach which the Radicals were
wont to apply to Lord Metcalfe. Though not exactly a fitting
appellation to bestow on the representative of the Queen, it was,
it must be admitted, a marked improvement on ” Charles the
” and ” Old Square-toes,” by which epithets the more
vulgar of the Radicals were in the habit of designating him.
Mr. Baldwin, no doubt, had reference to the Governor General
when he spoke. Without any precise warrant for saying so, I
am inclined to think that on this occasion the ”
subtle Indian

was none other than the youthful member for Kingston, who
from the first possessed the confidence and friendship of
Mr. Draper.
During the whole of this session the Governor General
watched the progress of events with keen anxiety. He was
full of apprehension lest the coalition of Radicals and French
Canadians, which pressed the Administration so closely, might
at any time prevail over them a result which he was persuaded
would be fraught with disaster to the country. The difficulty
in completing his Cabinet was a cause of great embarrassment
to him.
“During nine months of last year,” he writes the Colonial Secretary,
” I
was labouring in vain to complete my Council, and now I have again to fish
in troubled waters for an Inspector General, and for a Lower Canada Solicitor
Throughout this trying period his malady had been making
rapid progress, and, by the beginning of the year 1845, it had
destroyed the sight of one eye and threatened the loss of the
other. His sufferings were extreme ; yet with rare courage he
would not resign, because he felt that his strong personality was
essential to the existence of the only party in the country
which could be counted upon to preserve the interests he had
been commissioned to guard. Burdened with responsibilities
which would have drawn upon the resources of a young and
vigorous constitution, this old man, though in the grasp of a
remorseless disease which was dragging him to the grave, stood
bravely at his post, exposed all the while to the malignant
attacks of those of his enemies for whom the cancer ate too
But Sir Charles Metcalfe’s services were not destined to go
unrecognized or unrewarded. Towards the close of 1844 he
received an intimation that Sir Eobert Peel, in order to mark
* The following allusion to the malady from which Sir Charles Metcalfe was
suffering is only one degree more hrutal than many others of a similar character to he
found scattered through the speeches of the Governor General’s leading opponents.
The words I quote were uttered by Mr. Drummond, one of the Opposition candidates
for the city of Montreal, in a speech to his constituents delivered on the 10th of
October, 1844: ” And they accuse us, us ! gentlemen, of disloyalty. And to whom,
do you think? To Sir Charles Metcalfe ! Is Sir Charles Metcalfe the embodiment
of the British Constitution ? Is the British Constitution liable to be carried off by
a cancer ?

the high appreciation of his course by Her Majesty’s Government,
had advised the Queen to raise him to the Peerage. Accompanying
the official announcement were private letters from
the Prime Minister and Lord Stanley, the Colonial Secretary,
couched in the warmest terms, the latter stating his opinion
” that the opening of the session was the time at which the honour of a
peerage might be conferred upon you with most satisfaction to yourself, and
with most advantage to the public service, as marking in the strongest and
most decisive manner how entirely the Queen’s Government approved,
and are prepared to support, the line of policy which you have indicated and
the sentiments which you have expressed.”
The title chosen by Sir Charles was “Baron Metcalfe of
Fern Hill, in the county of Berks.” Both Houses of Parliament
voted addresses of congratulation to His Excellency on
his ennoblement : the Legislative Council unanimously ; the
Assembly by a vote of forty-five to twenty-five.
I may as well anticipate the little that remains to be said
of Lord Metcalfe. In the autumn of 1845 his malady had
reached a stage which rendered his further continuance in
office a physical impossibility. Most regretfully, therefore, did
the Home Government accept his resignation. He sailed for
England in November, where he lingered for almost a year,
until death relieved him of his sufferings on the 5th of September,
1846. His memory has been assailed by every demagogue in
Canada during the last fifty years no small commendation in
itself. Notwithstanding the assurances we daily receive from
those whose personal freedom from aristocratic taint at any rate
is beyond question, that this is
” a democratic country,” I am
persuaded that there yet remain in Canada some persons oldfashioned
enough to appreciate the qualities of devoted courage
and inflexible resolution manifested in the service of the Crown.
To such, few names on the roll of Canada’s Governors can be
more worthy of admiration and respect than that of Charles
Theophilus, first and last Lord Metcalfe.
The session closed on the 29th of March, leaving Mr. Draper
and his colleagues still in possession of the Treasury benches.
In April Mr. Eobinson resigned the office of Inspector General,
in which he was succeeded by Mr. W. Cayley, who obtained a
seat in the Assembly for Huron. In July Mr. Viger, who had
been without a seat since his defeat at the general election, was
returned for Three Eivers, and Mr. J. A. Taschereau, the
Solicitor General, for Dorchester. The success of these gentlemen
indicated a favourable change of feeling in Lower Canada,
induced, it may have been, by the Government’s action on the
French language question ; but vacancies seldom occurred, and,
in the meantime, nearly all the French representatives were
arrayed, with the Upper Canada Eadicals, against the Government.
The experience of the session had been such as to confirm
Mr. Draper in his opinion that it was extremely desirable to
break up this alliance, and with this object in view he opened
negotiations with the leaders of the French Canadian Liberals,
through the Hon. E. E. Caron, Speaker of the Legislative
Council. Mr. Draper’s proposition was, in effect, that Messrs.
Viger and Papineau should make way for two members of the
opposite party. He suggested Mr. Morin as one of those with
whom he should be glad to co-operate, but he was prepared
to accept the choice of the Liberals, merely stipulating that
Mr. La Fontaine, whose personal relations with the Governor
General made it impossible for Lord Metcalfe to have any
communication with him, should not be one.
This proposition was not favourably entertained by Mr. La
Fontaine and his friends, who contended that each portion of
the province should be represented in the Executive Council in
accordance with the wishes of the majority of its representatives
in the Assembly. Inasmuch as Mr. Draper’s friends were in
the majority in Upper Canada, Mr. La Fontaine acquiesced in
the propriety of forming the Upper Canada wing of the Council
from among the Conservative ranks, and intimated that, so far
as Messrs. Draper, Morris, and Cayley were concerned, all was
well. But the French leader, and those who acted with him,
insisted on the extension of the double majority principle to
Lower Canada, and, inasmuch as they were in the majority in
that part of the province, they declined to be satisfied with two
portfolios, and demanded that Messrs. Daly and Smith, as well
as Messrs. Viger and Papineau, should retire, and that the four
seats thus vacated should be placed at the disposal of Mr. La
Fontaine and his friends the former agreeing, in view of the
antagonism between the Governor General and himself, to waive
his personal claims. The effect of this arrangement would be
to place the Eadical party in the majority at the Council Board,
to which the Conservatives naturally objected. The negotiations
accordingly fell through.
On the resignation of Lord Metcalfe in November, Earl
Cathcart, the Commander-in-Chief of Her Majesty’s forces in
Canada, assumed the administration of the Government, and,
in the following April, was appointed Governor General.
In 1846 the Legislature met in March. On the 6th of April,
Mr. La Fontaine gave notice that, on the ensuing day, he
would communicate to the House the correspondence which had
passed between Messrs. Draper, Caron, and himself respecting
the negotiations of the preceding autumn, and this without
Mr. Draper’s consent having been asked or obtained. Indeed,
Mr. Draper has left on record that he was not aware that Mr. La
Fontaine had ever seen his confidential letters to Mr. Caron
until the former announced his intention of making them
public. Mr. La Fontaine carried out his intention, and an
acrimonious discussion on what certainly appears to have been
a breach of confidence took place. With the exception of this
incident, nothing of remarkable interest occurred during the
During all this time, Mr. Macdonald was quietly making
himself familiar with the business and forms of Parliament.
He spoke but seldom. In fact he has told me that he did not
think he made more than five speeches during his first five
sessions. The first occasion on which he addressed the House
was a debate on a petition, praying that the election of Messrs.
Moffatt and de Bleury, of the city of Montreal, be annulled on
the usual grounds of bribery and corruption. This was on
the 19th of December, 1844. The Government opposed the
reception of the petition on the ground of certain informalities
which they judged to be fatal to its validity. Mr. Macdonald
supported the contention of the Government, and moved a
resolution deferring further consideration of the matter, which
was carried by the narrow majority of one, the vote standing
thirty-two to thirty-one. A little later in the same session he
spoke on the law of succession. On the 27th of April, 1846,
he addressed the House in favour of the repeal of the usury
laws. This he himself regarded as his first speech in Parliament.
He also urged the support of a Government resolution calling
for the adoption of a differential scale of duties on manufactures
of leather, on the ground that the measure was a protective one,
and, as such, deserved unanimous support. For, said he, “if
hon. members did not make up their minds to carry it through,
then they must give up all they had fought for, all they had
gained, and resolve to put our manufactures in competition with
the convict labour of the American penitentiaries. . . . The
danger to our markets was not from British but American
manufactures ; and whilst British manufactures coming through
the United States must, of course, pay the high duty, coming by
the St. Lawrence they would pay an ad valorem duty of five
per cent., and if hon. gentlemen wished the country to enjoy
that protection they must vote with the Ministry.” These
words have a familiar sound. Like his election address of 1844,
they recall his last manifesto, and form the second illustration
we have so far met with of that “total absence of all fixed
principles and settled convictions,” which, we are told by his
opponents, characterized Sir John Macdonald.
But if Mr. Macdonald ” made little off his own bat

to use
his own expression during these two sessions, he was not the
less diligent in the performance of those duties which, though
often not so agreeable to the inclinations, and perhaps less
gratifying to the vanity of a young member, are calculated
equally to enlarge his usefulness both to his constituents and
to his party. The division lists show that he was rarely absent
from his seat; and his appointment, at the beginning of the
second session, as member of the important Committee on
Privileges and Elections, which then consisted of only seven
members, indicates that even at that early period he was
coming to the front.
So much and little more is to be gleaned from the public
records of the time. It is, however, when we peruse the confidential
papers of the late Prime Minister, which it is my
privilege to unfold to the public, that we realize the position
which Mr. Macdonald occupied so long ago as 1846, in the
estimation of his leader and in the councils of his party.
The session of 1846 closed on the 9th of June. On the
10th, Mr. Draper addressed this memorandum to His Excellency
the Governor General :
” Mr. Draper begs leave to submit the following confidential observations
to His Excellency the Governor General :
” On former occasions, Mr. D. ;had the honour of submitting to the late
Governor General the indispensable necessity of remodelling the Executive
Council. The subject has been partially brought under the notice of Your
” So great did Mr. Draper feel the difficulty, that he hesitated to meet the
session of Parliament without a change, and the many embarrassments
which arose during the session confirmed him in his views of the necessity
of strengthening the Government.

It cannot be denied that the proper functions of President of the Executive
Council are not discharged by the gentleman who fills that office. He does
not, in fact, do any part of the public business of that department but sign his
name to reports prepared by others. But for the labour of Mr. Morris
principally, the whole business of the Executive Council would be undone.
As it
is, there is a sad want of system and regularity. The office must be
filled by some person well acquainted with the land business of the country
and capable of drawing up the necessary reports. If Mr. Morris could be
prevailed upon to accept the appointment, the public service would be greatly
” This change, however, would be but a part of what is necessary. The
administration of Your Excellency can only be made strong in the support
of the province generally by a due infusion of gentlemen of the French
Canadian party. Mr. Draper had the honour of stating to Your Excellency
that Mr. Papineau was desirous of retiring. Mr. D. has also had an intimation
that probably there will be a vacancy in the office of Provincial
Secretary. Should this be the case, no moment can be more favourable than
the present to form a strong Government, and Mr. D. has reason to hope
that, should Your Excellency see fit to undertake it, success would attend the
” In reference to the situation of Commissioner of Crown Lands, Mr. Draper
humbly submits that a man of activity of mind and familiar with business
details is imperatively required in this department. Mr. Draper would
think a great advantage gained if Mr. J. A. Macdonald, the member for
Kingston, would undertake this office.

It is Mr. Draper’s painful duty to bring under Your Excellency’s notice
the conduct of the Solicitor General of Upper Canada during the past
* This correspondence between the Governor General and Mr. Draper was sent
by Mrs. Draper to Sir John Macdonald a few years ago. He had never seen it, and
was much interested in it. These papers are among the few documents he charged
me specially to preserve.
session. His repeated absence on important divisions, his lukewarm support
and occasional (almost) opposition, his habit of speaking of the members
of Your Excellency’s Government and of the policy pursued by them, his
more than suspected intrigues to effect the removal of some members of the
Council, have together destroyed all confidence in him and all hope of mutual
co-operation in the public service. Mr. Draper respectfully prays your
Lordship’s interference in this matter. Should your Lordship deem it
advisable to remove him, Mr. D. would be prepared to recommend a
gentleman of great legal eminence, considerable talent, and irreproachable
character, who could readily obtain a seat in Parliament.
” The numerous and important appointments Your Excellency will shortly
be called upon to make will tend to facilitate arrangements such as are above
“Mr. Draper has only to add that, as regards himself, he wishes to be
considered in all respects at Your Excellency’s disposal.

Montreal, June 10, 1846.”
To which Lord Cathcart replied :
“The Governor General fully appreciates the importance of the several
subjects which Mr. Draper has brought under his consideration, in the note
received from him of this date.
” In regard to that which relates to matters to which, in consequence of
recent enactments, attention is immediately required, Lord Cathcart is
anxious that no time should be lost in entering upon these subjects, and
is accordingly prepared to receive the advice of His Executive Council upon
the several points therein specified, in the order and at the time that may
be deemed the most expedient to give effect at once to such as may be of the
most immediate urgency, and with a view to carry into early operation the
whole of these enactments.
” Government House, June 10, 1846.”
” With reference to the confidential observations submitted by Mr. Draper,
the Governor General has long been aware of the indispensable necessity
to which Mr. Draper alludes, and of the views which he has entertained
in respect to the means of so remodelling the Executive Council as to give
increased strength and stability to the Administration ; in all which the
Governor General has fully concurred.
“Such changes, however, under the circumstances occasioned by the
sudden departure of Lord Metcalfe, could not conveniently be effected
previously to the meeting of the Provincial Parliament ; but the prorogation
having now taken place, there appears to be no longer any obstacle to the
attempt being made with a view to the successful accomplishment of this
highly important object.
” The Governor General has therefore very great satisfaction in confiding
the management of this difficult and delicate negotiation to Mr. Draper, with
the fullest powers to bring about such retirements from office as the good
of the service and the success of the undertaking may require ; as also to
till up the vacancies consequent thereupon, in the manner he may consider
to be the best calculated to promote the great end in view, by the persons
who may be the best qualified to discharge the duties of their respective
departments to the advantage of the public service, and with the efficiency
and influence so essential to acquire and to maintain the confidence of the
” The Governor General has a very high opinion of Mr. J. A. Macdonald,
and his appointment to office in the Administration would afford him much
” Mr. Daly has signified his wish to be appointed Civil Secretary in succession
to Mr. Higginson, but with the express understanding that this should
not take place without the entire consent of his colleagues, or, if it would leave
the slightest embarrassment in filling up his present situation as Provincial
“In regard to the Solicitor General for Canada West, the Governor
General has witnessed with much pain the line of conduct which that
gentleman thought proper to adopt and to pursue during the late session
of the Provincial Parliament, and is quite sensible that his removal from
office must be the indispensable consequence.
” The Governor General can only add that nothing has given him more
lively and heartfelt satisfaction than the gratifying assurance with which
Mr. Draper has concluded his observations.
” Government House, June 10, 1846.”
Armed with this authority, Mr. Draper was not long in
setting about his reconstruction. Within a week of the receipt
of the Governor’s answer, Mr. Viger disappeared from the
Executive Council, and before the end of the month Mr.
Henry Sherwood ceased to be Solicitor General for Upper
Canada. He was succeeded by Mr. John Hillyard Cameron,
who was ” the gentleman of great legal eminence, considerable
talent, and irreproachable character

suggested by Mr. Draper
in his memorandum to the Governor General. The other
changes contemplated by Mr. Draper, including the appointment
of Mr. Macdonald, were deferred for a time, owing in part
to the difficulty, and, as it turned out, the impossibility of
arranging matters to suit the French Canadian element, which
Mr. Draper was most anxious to conciliate.
On the 29th January, 1847, Earl Cathcart resigned the office
of Governor General, and was succeeded by Lord Elgin. The
advent of a new Governor, always an important and interesting
event in the days when the representative of the Crown
wielded a personal influence in the administration of affairs,
never exerted now, was to Mr. Draper and his colleagues
a matter of deep concern. Possessing, as they had in the past,
the active support and sympathy of the Governor General,
who made their cause his own, they naturally were most
desirous to know how far Lord Elgin was likely to maintain
the cordial relations which for the last three years had existed
between the Governor General and his advisers.
In this frame of mind, Mr. Draper had recourse to his
friend and supporter, the member for Kingston, to whom he
wrote :

“Montreal, March 4, 1847.

I think your paying a flying visit to Montreal just now, i.e. as soon
as possible, might be of great service. I have such confidence in your
judgment and discretion that I think it safe to tell you that I now am quite
satisfied it will be to the fault of the Conservatives if they have not Lord
Elgin’s personel (sic) as well as his position as Governor General, all with
them. That he will give to any administration the support to be derived from
the constitutional exercise of patronage and prerogative, I doubt not, because
I believe that he thinks that due to those advisers who are placed in their
position by the support of a majority. But my decided impression of Lord
Elgin is, that his feelings would make it a far more agreeable duty to take
such a part with the Conservatives rather than their opponents.

Circumstances, which I shall be better able to explain when we meet,
have led to a decided conviction that the French Canadians will not take office
without their Upper Canadian allies at least, such appears to be the determination
of La Fontaine and Morin, for such is the tenor of a reply of the
latter to some sort of overtures which he received. The Conservatives must,
therefore, recruit from their own ranks, and must present an united front.
” My object in urging you to come down directly is, that I wish Lord Elgin
to hear from others than Executive Councillors the state of parties, andjthe
feelings of distrust that mistaking ultra Toryism for Conservatism^^
selfishness for patriotism) might give rise to. The object should be to combine
both, and by convincing the French that they have made a political blunder
in their Upper Canada alliance, beat them into a knowledge of their true
interests and position, as they will not learn it otherwise. I am not without
a suspicion that Morin has assumed to express this conclusion without direct
communication with the Quebec section of his party. If so, it may have
ulterior consequences.
” I think it exceedingly desirable Gowan should accompany you, but,
tho’ I am writing to him, I cannot invite him as I do you. Knowing your
views, I am certain to lead to no false expectations. But if I invited him
down it might give rise to surmises not justified by the reality. I am quite
prepared to agree in his being employed in the public service, but the proposal
will not in the nature of things pass through my hands, and therefore anything
that looks like invitation must not come from me either.

Besides, there is an additional reason for your coming and giving independent
information and answers to such queries as I am sure Lord E. must
wish to put. The last news from Toronto renders it but too probable that
Hagermau’s place will soon be vacant, and then you will want an Attorney
General. Pray be prepared to suggest some mode of healing difficulties and
meeting this contingency.
” I appeal to your patriotism to come yourself, prepared, and to bring
Gowan, or procure his coming. I wish him to become known here before
I move decidedly in pursuance of our previous correspondence about him,
but I do not wish him to have the slightest idea that I, or any one of the
Government, have invited him.

Faithfully yours,
” W. H. DKAPEK.”
This letter shows, among other things : (1) that Mr. Macdonald’s
judgment was sought after by the party leaders before
he had entered upon his third session ; (2) that, while a Conservative
from the beginning, Mr. Macdonald was not an ultra
Tory, nor in entire sympathy with what Mr. Morris, in his letter
of the 6th of May,* calls
” the family,” whom he regarded as
a selfish coterie of Toronto exclusionists, they, on their part,
returned the compliment, and, years after the date of which I am
speaking, looked askance on the audacious young man from
Kingston, who, with scarcely sufficient consideration for them,
was rapidly gathering round him a strong and united Liberal-
Conservative party, having interests and aspirations beyond
Toronto; (3) that Mr. Draper’s early retirement from the Cabinet
was then contemplated, to be accompanied by a reconstruction
without the aid of the French, and that Mr. Macdonald was
aware in a general way of the views which Mr. Draper entertained
with respect to his own advancement.
These changes took place almost immediately. On the 22nd
of April, Mr. Smith, the Attorney General for Lower Canada,
accepted a judgeship and retired from the Ministry, his place
* See p. 48.
being taken by Mr. W. Badgley, who also succeeded to the
representation of Missisquoi.
On the 6th of May, Mr. W. Morris addressed the following
letter to Mr. Macdonald, who a short time before had declined
the Solicitor Generalship for Upper Canada.

[Private and confidential.]

Montreal, May 6, 1847.
” Would you have any objection to take the Keceiver Generalship
with a seat in the Council, if I were to give it up and retain the Chair of
Committees and the Speakership of the Upper House ?
“You would not have full employment as Keceiver General, but you
might do Council work enough to occupy your time and relieve me of much
that I have always done.
” I make this communication without advice, but if you say ‘Yea’ I am sure
it would be acceptable. Please answer me as soon as possible, and keep this
to yourself, always remembering that If you will not put your shoulder to the
wheel, you assist those who, it may be, desire to regain power which you and
I helped to deprive them of; I mean the ‘
“Yours truly,
Mr. Macdonald replied, accepting the offer, in these terms :


Kingston, May 9, 1847.
” I was quite taken by surprise by your note of the
6th, and have given it every consideration. Appealed to as I
have been by you, and with the assurance that you will remain
in the Council, I have, after some hesitation, made up my mind
to answer in the affirmative, and to accept the office of Eeceiver
General if offered to me.

I suppose Mr. Draper will, whatever happens, remain in the
Ministry till the end of the session ; and it appears to me that,
with him in the House of Assembly, and yourself in the L.C.,
some disposition of the university question might be made,
which would be satisfactory to the country, and at the same
time remove a great stumbling-block from our path.
” Many questions of more real importance may arise, but
none which operates so strongly on the principles or prejudices
of the public, and if the Conservatives hope to retain power,
they must settle it before the general election.
“There seems to be a general desire among the Conservatives
to forget all minor points of difference and present a
united front to the common enemy. Gowan thinks himself
aggrieved, and I think with justice; for he is convinced that the
opposition to him arises from his continued hostility to Family
Compactism, and particularly on account of his supporting the
Ministry in their quarrel with Sir Allan MacNab about the
Adjutant Generalship. Whatever may have been his original
demerits, he has long been gladly received and welcomed by all
sections of our party as an ally, and during the present Parliament
been courted by every Ministerialist.
“We cannot expect to obtain his services and refuse the
reward, and, highly as I appreciate his powers of benefiting us,
I confess that I fear his means of doing mischief more. Next
to yourself, I think I have most influence with him, and would
almost undertake to secure his support, by promise of office
he not to be appointed until after the Toronto party are reconciled
to it. That would easily be managed early in the session,
and all would then go well.

I suppose I shall have to prepare for an election before the
1st June. If so the sooner the better, giving me two days
start of the Gazette; and I shall be elected, I think, without

I am, my dear sir, very truly yours,
The arrangements contemplated by Mr. Morris were carried
out without loss of time. On the llth of May, Mr. Macdonald
was sworn of the Executive Council, and on the 21st
was appointed Eeceiver General, Mr. Morris taking the portfolio
of President of the Council, which had been vacant since
Mr. Viger’s retirement a year before. On presenting himself
to his constituents for re-election, Mr. Macdonald was returned
by acclamation.
Mr. John Hillyard Cameron, the Solicitor General for Upper
Canada, was admitted to the Executive Council on the 22nd of
VOL. i. E
May, and on the 28th Mr. Draper accepted a puisne judgeship
of the Queen’s Bench of Upper Canada, and bade adieu to
public life. I do not find that his resignation carried with it
those of his colleagues, or necessitated the formation of a new
administration, as happens in the case of the death or resignation
of a Prime Minister in our own day. He was succeeded
in the office of Attorney General by Mr. Henry Sherwood,
whom he had relieved of the Solicitor Generalship only a year
before. It is somewhat singular that Mr. Draper should not
have justified Mr. Macdonald’s surmise that he would remain
at the helm until the Government had weathered the session.
The probable explanation of his course is that it was essential,
in order to propitiate
” the family

(of whom Mr. Sherwood was
a scion), that the latter should enter the Government, and that
Mr. Draper would not consent to serve in the same Cabinet with
a man whose removal from office he had so recently advised.
Mr. Draper was an honourable, high-minded gentleman, who,
during the whole of his public career, laboured unceasingly for
the good of the country and of the Conservative party, with
which he believed the best interests of Canada to be bound up.
It must have been no small satisfaction to his fellow-members,
as for the last time in Parliament they heard his melodious
voice, to know that Canada was not to be deprived of his
services, that his sphere of usefulness merely was to be changed.
For thirty years he adorned the Bench, and it seems only
yesterday that the dignified form of the venerable Chief Justice
disappeared from our midst for ever.
A quarter of a century after Mr. Draper’s retirement from
political life, Sir John Macdonald wrote thus of him :
” I should be pleased to see C. J. Draper a K.C.B. His
services have been not merely, or principally, judicial. He
was Lord Sydenham’s adviser in 1841, and, as such, introduced
and carried the resolution establishing responsible government.
He was subsequently First Minister under Lord Metcalfe, Lord
Cathcart, and Lord Elgin. After he was elevated to the Bench
he went to England to press the claims of Canada to the North-
West Territory, and it was after that visit that Labouchere,
then Colonial Minister, told me he thought him one of the
ablest men he had ever met. Had he chosen to ask it, he
would, I have no doubt, been made a Baronet, as Sir John
Eobinson, Chief Justice of Upper, and Sir Louis La Fontaine,
Chief Justice of Lower Canada had previously been, in consequence
of their political services.”
On the 31st of May, Mr. Peter McGill, who had been
appointed Speaker of the Legislative Council, in succession
to Mr. E. E. Caron, was sworn of the Executive Council. As
reconstructed the Cabinet stood thus :
The Hon. D. Daly, Provincial Secretary.
The Hon. W. Morris, President of the Council.
The Hon. D. B. Papineau, Commissioner of Crown Lands.
The Hon. W. Cayley, Inspector General.
The Hon. W. Badgley, Attorney General, Lower Canada.
The Hon. J. A. Macdonald, Eeceiver General.
The Hon. J. H. Cameron, Solicitor General, Upper Canada.
The Hon. H. Sherwood, Attorney General, Upper Canada.
The Hon. P. McGill, without portfolio.
The following letter from Mr. W. Cayley to Mr. Macdonald
throws a curious side light upon this reconstruction, and goes
far to justify the view taken respecting Mr. Draper’s reasons
for resigning before the session.

Montreal, May 22, 1847.
” I was very glad to hear from Cameron that you approved the
course which we had actually taken (although he did not know it) in his case
with reference to the Attorney Generalship. The letter offering it to him
and which Lord Elgin considered was due to the office he held crossed him
on the road. He has since acknowledged the official communication, and
declined, requesting permission to retain his present office. Lord E. was
much pleased with the way in which it was done, and begged that he would
not decline, at all events, a seat at the Council Board.
” An official offer of the office has now been sent to H. Sherwood. What
his course may be we do not know. He took offence at our determining to
make one more effort to retain Draper (that was prior to poor Hagerman’s
death). I saw your letter to Morris speaking of Gowan. I do not see what
possible objection can be taken by any party to the course you recommend.
Gowan, I suspect, looks upon me as hostile to him, with how little justice my
colleagues could show ; but the penalties and pains of office are not light,
* From Sir John Macdonald to Lord Dufferin, then Governor General of Canada,
dated Ottawa, October 3, 1872.
and misconstruction is not amongst the lightest. Lord Elgin desires much
to see you here. We were all glad to hear of your good election prospects.
I suppose MacNab wrote you that all the papers we had previously prepared
for you were wrong, as we had not divined the peculiar mode in which you
determined to vacate your seat

Daly, our chief in the Lower Home, purposes on Thursday to send
circulars to all our usual supporters to he at their posts at the day of meeting
” Believe me, yours truly,
“Wur. CAYLEY.”
Shortly before Mr. Draper’s retirement another attempt
was made to secure an alliance with the French Canadian
party. The negotiations, as before, were conducted through
Mr. Caron, and failed of result.
Parliament met on the 2nd of June. The Opposition lost
no time in opening their attack on the Ministry, and maintained
it throughout with great spirit and constancy. In the early
part of the session, the Government’s majority, owing to the
vacancies resulting from the recent Cabinet changes, was
considerably reduced; and as in a full House it was never
more than six or seven, the Administration had to exercise the
greatest vigilance in order to avoid defeat. The address was
carried by a majority of two, and many other important
divisions were equally close.
In later years, when members came to him for permission
to absent themselves from their places for various reasons, Sir
John often observed that the position of a Government supporter
had grown much less onerous than in the days of his youth,
when, if a single member were to leave his seat for half an
hour, the Ministry ran the risk of being defeated. There was
nothing he liked better in a man than the capacity for sticking
to his post, and few things annoyed him more than the irregular
attendance of any one, whether colleague, parliamentary supporter,
or direct subordinate. He strongly objected to his
colleagues giving dinners during the sittings of the House, for
the reason that these hospitalities interfered with the presence
of his supporters, for whose absence during an important
division he used to say a fit of apoplexy was the only valid
The session of 1847 opened with an attack on the Speaker,
Sir Allan MacNab, who had come perilously near vacating his
seat by a qualified acceptance, during the recess, of the office
of Adjutant General. It was, however, shown that this acceptance
was conditional on the appointment of Colonel Cameron
to the Deputy Adjutant Generalship for Upper Canada, to
which office at the last moment another gentleman was
appointed; whereupon Sir Allan MacNab, on receipt of his
commission, returned the same, and refused to accept the
appointment of Adjutant General, because the condition on
which he had agreed to take it had not been fulfilled. Sir
Allan MacNab was a Tory of the “family compact” school,
between which and some members of the Government a coolness
existed. The object of the Opposition in bringing up this
matter was to aggravate the soreness which this episode had
occasioned between the two wings of the Conservative party.
The next ground of attack was furnished by the address,
which this year, in addition to its purely formal character,
embodied the congratulations of the House to Lord Elgin upon
his assuming the office of Governor General. The Countess of
Elgin was the daughter of the late Earl of Durham, and the
happy thought occurred to the Opposition that this circumstance
afforded an opportunity for embarrassing the Government.
They accordingly brought forward a high-flown declaration on
the principles of responsible Government, and sought to incorporate
it in the address. The Ministry resisted this amendment,
on which they narrowly escaped defeat. Twice on the
question of the postponement of the debate their majority was
only one. This amendment was finally lost by a vote of thirtyeight
to thirty-six. Thus throughout the session did this equal
combat rage.
But the Opposition was not the only cause of embarrassment
to the Government. In his letter to Mr. Morris of the
9th of May, Mr. Macdonald expressed his opinion of the
importance to the Conservative party, that a settlement of
the university question should be had without delay. On his
accession to the Cabinet he succeeded in bringing his colleagues
to agree with his views, and on the 9th of July introduced
measures providing for a final settlement of the question.
To go fully into the history of every public question with
which Sir John Macdonald was associated during the course
of his long and eventful life, would be manifestly beyond the
scope and purpose of this work. I shall not, therefore, attempt
it. Nor do I think that I should best fulfil the duty I have
undertaken by loading these pages with long extracts from
parliamentary debates which have lost much of their interest,
and which have been accessible to the public for many years.
I propose, therefore, to limit my remarks on this complicated
question of university endowment to a single paragraph, and
fortunately I am enabled to give Sir John’s views in his own
Driving up with him to the University of Toronto to receive
his degree of LL.D. at the commencement exercises in 1889, he
spoke to me as follows :
” When I entered the Government in 1847, the University
of Toronto was called King’s College, and was altogether a
Church of England institution, largely endowed by Government.
The Administration of which I was a member proposed
to Dr. Strachan, who was at the head of King’s College, that
the college property should be taken over by the Government,
who would allow them 3,000 per annum ($12,000) for the
Church of England College, and 1,500 each to Queen’s
College, Kingston, (Presbyterian), Eegiopolis College, Kingston,
(Eoman Catholic), and Victoria College, Cobourg, (Wesleyan).
Dr. Strachan agreed to this, and I introduced the bills. They
were going through the House, when Strachan drew back. He
wrote to William Boulton (M.P. for Toronto), that he withdrew
his consent to the arrangement. The bills accordingly fell
through. The general election came on, and the Government
was defeated. Baldwin and La Fontaine came into power,
passed an Act secularizing King’s College and its property,
which became the University of Toronto, as it is to-day. The
Church of England lost every sixpence in consequence. Dr.
Strachan had to go home to England, and, after infinite trouble,
succeeded in raising 10,000, with which he founded the
present Trinity College, which has been in a hard-up condition
ever since.”
Sir John added that, in his opinion, no man had ever been
more unduly lauded than Bishop Strachan, whose obstinacy
did more harm to the Church of England in Canada than
anything else. It cost her, in this particular instance, $12,000
a year for ever.
The Bill introduced by Mr. Macdonald found much favour
in the country, and many petitions were received in its support.
To the Roman Catholics, Presbyterians, and Methodists it commended
itself as a final settlement of this long-standing source
of dissatisfaction on terms fair and just to all denominations.
Many prominent Church of England men were prepared to
accept it as the best arrangement that could be made under the
circumstances ; but the sudden change of front on the part
of Dr. Strachan awakened an opposition in the ranks of the
Government’s supporters which proved fatal to the measure,
and the Bill was withdrawn without reaching a second reading.
Parliament was prorogued on the 28th of July. Short as
had been the session, it was characterized by the introduction
of many important measures calculated to develop private
enterprise, especially in railways. The Toronto and Goderich,
the Carillon and Grenville, and several other railway companies
were incorporated this year.
Among Sir John Macdonald’s papers of 1847, is a
memorandum in his own handwriting, which he had carefully
preserved. I give it as I find it. It is hardly necessary to say
that the ” Malcolm Cameron ”
alluded to in it is the gentleman
who in subsequent years was usually distinguished by the
sobriquet of ” the Coon.”
” On Wednesday evening (21st July) the Hon. Mr. de Bleury
informed the Solicitor General of Upper Canada and myself
that Malcolm Cameron, Esq., had told him that evening that
two members of the Administration had opened a negotiation
with Messrs. Baldwin and La Fontaine within twelve hours
from the time of the conversation, for a coalition.
” I thereupon (immediately) went to Mr. M. Cameron, and
asked him, in presence of Mr. Baldwin, if he had said so to
Mr. de Bleury. He denied it, but stated that he had told
Mr. de Bleury that Mr. Gowan had gone to Mr. Boutillier, as
if from the Ministry, for the purpose of effecting a coalition.
” A few minutes afterwards, Mr. de Bleury, Mr. M. Cameron,
and myself met in the reading-room, and the following
conversation, in effect, took place.
” Mr. de Bleury. You told me, Mr. Cameron, that within
twelve hours two of the Ministry had opened a negotiation with
Messrs. Baldwin and La Fontaine for a coalition.
” Mr. Cameron. I said that Mr. Gowan had gone to Mr.
Boutillier, as if he had authority, for such a purpose.
” Mr. de Bleury. You must remember that, in the first place,
you positively stated that two of the Ministers had made this
offer ; and it was afterwards, when I told you I would put the
question at once to the Ministry, that you replied,
‘ Of course
the Ministry would not be so foolish as to make the offer
personally, but they sent an agent, Mr. Gowan, who made the
overture to Dr. Boutillier. I don’t know whether Mr. Gowan
spoke truth or not, but he has not only on the present occasion,
but frequently, represented himself as acting for the Ministers
in attempting to form a coalition.’
” Mr. Cameron. Yes, I did say so ; and I believe that there
are jealousies among the Ministers, and that they are suspicious
of each other; but I do not know whether in this case he
[Mr. Gowan] spoke the truth or not.
” Mr. Macdonald (to Mr. Cameron}. As you state Mr. Gowan
represented himself as the agent of two of the Ministry, you can,
of course, tell me who those two were.
” Mr. Cameron. I don’t know who they were, but I believe
there is some truth in it.
“There was a great deal of desultory conversation afterwards,
but the above is the substance.
” On Thursday morning I told Mr. Gowan the substance of
the above conversation, and he positively denied that he had in
any manner made any offer on the part of the Ministry, or any
of them, and that he had not had any political conversation with
Dr. Boutillier for a month.
” House of Assembly, July 22, 1847.”
The autumn of 1847 was devoted by the Government to a
consideration of their present position and future policy. After
much deliberation, the Ministry resolved upon a dissolution of
Parliament, and an immediate appeal to the country, notwithstanding
that the Legislature which was elected in 1844 had
yet a year to run. Several reasons contributed to this resolve,
not the least of which was the slender and unsatisfactory
nature of the Government’s majority, which rendered it almost
impossible to carry on public business. Two subjects were
prominently before the country in this election: in Upper
Canada, the long disputed question of university endowment,
which, through no fault of the Government, was still unsettled,
and proved a source of great embarrassment to it ; in Lower
Canada, the leaders of the French Canadians, who had come
from their abortive negotiations between the parties more than
ever impressed with the weakness of the Administration, and
encouraged in their resolve to overthrow it, dangled before the
habitants a promise to indemnify all those who had suffered
loss during the rebellion of 1837-38, including the rebels.
This question of rebellion losses was not new. Prior to the
union of 1841, the Special Council of Lower Canada had passed
an ordinance, and the Legislature of Upper Canada an Act,
providing for compensation to those loyalists whose property
had been destroyed by rebels. In the first session of the
Parliament of the United Provinces an Act was passed in
amendment of the Upper Canada Act, including among those
who were entitled to receive compensation the persons whose
property had been wantonly or unnecessarily destroyed by the
servants of the Crown, On the 28th of February, 1845, an
address was carried in the House of Assembly

praying that His Excellency will be pleased to cause proper measures to be
adopted in order to insure to the inhabitants of that part of this province
formerly Lower Canada, indemnity for just losses by them sustained during
the rebellion of 1837 and 1838.”
In conformity with this request a Commission was appointed
by Mr. Draper’s Administration to inquire into the claims of
those who had suffered losses during the late rebellion, whose
cases had not been met by the ordinance of the Special Council.
The Commissioners were enjoined to discriminate between
those who had taken up arms against the Crown and loyal
subjects of Her Majesty. On applying to the Government
for instructions as to how this distinction was to be drawn,
they were informed that it was not His Excellency’s intention
that they
” should be guided by any other description of evidence
than that furnished by the sentences of the courts of law ;
” and
further, that it was intended only that they should form a

general estimate of the rebellion losses, the particulars of which
must form the subject of more minute inquiry, hereafter, under
legislative authority.”
The Commissioners reported, on the 18th of April, 1846, that
the claims for losses presented by 2,176 persons amounted in
the aggregate to 241,965 10s. 5d. They added that many of
these claims were in their nature inadmissible, and many others
evidently exorbitant, and gave as their opinion that 100,000
would be “nearly equivalent to the losses suffered, and
sufficient to meet the amount of such claims as shall have been
the object of a closer examination.” The Government took no
action on this report. It declined to do what the succeeding
Government did compensate rebels out of the public Treasury
for the consequences of their treason against the State ; and its
refusal to entertain this proposal doubtless contributed to its
Thus it will be seen that the Government appealed to the
people with no very good hope of success, f Months before,
Mr. Macdonald had declared himself of opinion that, unless the
university question were finally disposed of, the Government
would be certain of defeat in Upper Canada. Notwithstanding
this warning, the matter remained unsettled, and, what was even
more unsatisfactory, the Government was going to the country
with the reproach that it was unable to give effect to its own
policy on this important question. In Lower Canada the outlook
for the Administration was dark indeed. The French
Canadians, influenced by their leaders with all sorts of cries,
During the session of 1847, when the majority of the Conservative Government
was very small and every vote of the greatest importance, the Government stated
in Parliament that it was not its intention to make provision for the payment of
losses of those Avho had taken up arms against their Sovereign. The immediate
result of this declaration was the defection of a supporter (Mr. Scott, of Two
Mountains). (See speech of Hon. Mr. Cayley, Montreal Gazette, March 7,
f ” In ’47 I was a member of the Canadian Government, and we went to a
general election knowing well that we should be defeated.” (From Sir John
Macdonald to the Hon. P. C. Hill, dated Ottawa, October 7, 1867.)
were against the Government to a man, and so sure were they
of victory that they hailed the issue of the writs with public
Parliament was dissolved on the 6th of December. On the
7th, Mr. Papineau retired from office, and was succeeded in the
Commissionership of Crown Lands by Mr. Macdonald, whose
place as Eeceiver General was taken by Mr. F. P. Bruneau, a
member of the Legislative Council for Lower Canada.
The elections came on in the latter part of December, and
resulted in an overwhelming defeat of the Government.* In
Lower Canada Mr. La Fontaine was elected both for Montreal
and Terrebonne, and the Government did not carry a single
French constituency. In Upper Canada Mr. Macdonald’s prediction
was fulfilled, the Conservatives taking only twenty
seats out of forty-two. The new Parliament assembled on the
25th of February. The Ministry was at once met with a vote
of want of confidence, which was carried by fifty-four to
twenty, whereupon it resigned, and Mr. La Fontaine was
called upon to form a new Government. Thus fell the first
Adrainstration of which Mr. John A. Macdonald was a member
he having held office therein not quite ten months.
* Mr. Macdonald was returned for Kingston by a majority of 228 over Mr.
Kenneth Mackenzie, the vote standing Macdonald, 305 ; Mackenzie, 77.
IN the preceding pages, I have endeavoured to describe with
some minuteness the political events of the times immediately
associated %ith Sir John Macdonald’s entrance into public
life. His career is so intimately interwoven with the history
of Canada that it is impossible intelligently to follow it without
a proper understanding of those great public questions by which
it was determined. The nature of this work, however, requires
me to pass lightly over many events which, while interesting
in themselves and by no means foreign to my subject, do not
directly concern it. I propose, therefore, to dwell as briefly
as I can upon the periods during which Sir John Macdonald
was in Opposition, the longest of which began in March, 1848,
and terminated by the coalition of 1854.
Upon his retirement from the Government in the spring of
1848, Mr. Macdonald returned to Kingston and endeavoured
to apply himself to his professional duties, which had received
but scant attention from him in the interval since his election
to Parliament in 1844, during which period the business of the
firm had been chiefly conducted by his partner, Mr. Campbell.
He soon realized the fact that, even when in Opposition, politics
sadly interfere with one’s private affairs. Every year his public
duties took up more and more of his time, to the great detriment
1848.] IN OPPOSITION. 61
of the firm. In the vigorous prime of his early manhood he
loved the excitement of political life; and the consciousness
of his inherent power over men, even then giving promise of
its marvellous development, impelled him to devote his whole
energies to the work of regaining for the Conservative party the
prestige and influence which it had hitherto enjoyed.
There was one pursuit, however, which not even politics
could seriously interrupt. No matter how full his hands were,
or how many his solicitudes in later times, Sir John Macdonald
always found leisure for the gratification of his literary tastes,
even if he had to take his books to bed with him. And there
are many indications that this love of literature attended him
from youth. Less than a month after his return to Kingston,
he formed the idea of starting a literary association, and drew
up a paper, the original of which, in his own handwriting, lies
before me. It bears the signatures of John A. Macdonald, A.
Campbell, T. Kirkpatrick, Henry Smith, and several other
well-known Kingstonians, all of whom are now dead.
” The undersigned, convinced of the advantages to be gained
by the formation of an association for the cultivation of
literature for the discussion (under proper restrictions) of the
various subjects which ought to interest society and for the
formation of a library do agree to unite themselves in such an
association under the name of ‘ The Cataraqui Club.’ The preparation
of the rules for the association to be left to Messrs.
Forsyth, T. Kirkpatrick, S. F. Kirkpatrick, H. Smith, F. M. Hill,
and J. A. Macdonald. Such rules to be reported at a meeting
to be held in the library of Macdonald and Campbell on the
first Monday after the close of the present assizes. Court
House, llth April, 1848.”
On September 1, 1843, Mr. Macdonald married his cousin,
Miss Isabella Clark, whom he had met during his visit to
England in 1842. Mrs. Macdonald has been described as of
a sweet and attractive disposition, and a favourite with all
who knew her. Unfortunately, soon after her marriage she
became a confirmed invalid. Much of her time was spent in
the Southern States in search of health. Two children were
the fruit of this union John Alexander, born in New York
on August 2, 1847, and Hugh John, ex-M.P. for Winnipeg,
born in Kingston on March 13, 1850. Mrs. Macdonald died
on December 28, 1857. The eldest son, a remarkably fine
child, was accidentally killed by a fall when only two years
of age, to the unspeakable grief of his parents.* With an
invalid wife compelled to spend much of her time in a foreign
land, a mother whose delicate health gave him constant anxiety,
and tried by the dire affliction of his child’s death, it can
readily be understood that Mr. Macdonald’s early domestic
life was more than usually full of care and sorrow. This, I
think, is seen in letters of that period to his mother and
sisters, three of which I insert here.

Kingston, January 20, 1847.
“I received your kind letter, my dearest sister, and am
truly sony to find that Jane has been suffering since your
arrival at Savannah. She stood the voyage and such a
voyage so well that I hoped a few days’ rest would have
done wonders for her, and I trust that your sunny southern
weather will soon set her up again. I hear regularly twice
a week from New York, and on the llth, my birthday, poor
Isabella sent me a few lines of congratulation in her own
trembling handwriting. Altho’ very slowly, she is still
steadily strengthening, and I have yet hopes that skilful
treatment directed specifically to the first cause of her illness
may restore her to some degree of health. She, poor dear girl,
will not allow herself to hope, and perhaps it is only my
sanguine temperament that makes me do so. I am glad to
find that Dr. Washington has wormed himself into her good
graces, which, you know, with her is a great deal in favour of
the success of his treatment.
“I had a fatiguing and unpleasant journey home, which
* The following incident, related to me by the Baroness Macdonald of Earnscliffe,
affords a good illustration of the affectionate nature of my old chief. More than
thirty years after the time of which I am now writing, Lady Macdonald was looking
over some odds and ends at Earnscliffe, when she came upon a box of child’s toys
a broken rattle, a small cart, and some ;animals, etc. Not knowing to whom they
belonged, she took them to Sir John, who was lying on his bed. He looked at them
at first carelessly, then thoughtfully, raised himself on his elbow, and took one up
in his hand. ” Ah !
” said he,
” those were little John A.’s.” He had kept beside
him these mementos of his little boy all those years. Lady Macdonald replaced the
box almost reverently where she had found it, and it is there to-day.
nearly laid me up, but I soon recruited, arid am as well as
ever. Busy enough, as you may suppose, to make up my
arrearages. When I was away Her Majesty was graciously
pleased to appoint me one of her counsel learned in the law.
This gives me the mighty right of wearing a silk gown, instead
of a stuff one, and, as Queen’s Counsel, gives me rank and
precedence over my brethren. The appointment was made in
the most gratifying way in my absence, and without solicitation
or expectation on my part of any kind. I have since
been offered the Solicitor Generalship, which I declined, because,
altho’ it gives little or no trouble and is worth 600 a year,
I thought it made me too dependent on Government, and I
like to steer my own course. All our friends here are well,
and in good spirits. . . .

Believe me, as ever, my dearest Margaret,
” Your affectionate brother,
” House of Assembly, Montreal, June 10, 1847.
“I was truly and sincerely grieved by Margaret’s
letter telling me of your indisposition. I beg of you to keep
up your courage. Such attacks are not uncommon with aged
people, and are of course to be guarded against. These
illnesses should have the effect of inducing you to be more
particular in keeping your system in order, and conquering
your antipathy to medicine.
” I shall look with anxiety for another letter from Margaret
to-morrow informing me of your being convalescent.

I have not had a single word from New York since I
came here, except the scrap sent me by Margaret from
Kingston, and I am becoming very anxious. Pray let Margaret
write me whenever she hears from Maria, as I shall otherwise
get but few accounts about Isabella.
“Our House is at this moment making all kinds of
speeches. The great struggle for power and place is going
on, and it is impossible to say what may be the result.
” With love to the girls, I am, my dear mamma,
” Your affectionate son,
“Kingston, April 2, 1850.

I received your kind and considerate letter of congratulation.
We have got Johnnie back again almost his
image. I don’t think he is so pretty, but he is not so delicate.
Isa. was very anxious that he should get his own name again,
for she considers him almost the same being, but I think it
right that the feelings of those we esteem should not be
outraged by doing so. Mamma, Maria, Mrs. Greene, and many
others have a prejudice against the re-naming a child. What
his name may be, therefore, we will leave to be settled until
you come up. Mrs. Greene and you will arrive about the
same time, and I will leave it to the female conclave.
“I need not say that your presence is anxiously looked
for. Mamma had one of her attacks on Friday (Good Friday),
and it still hangs about her to an unsafe extent. She seems
lethargic and not so free of speech as before, but I trust
the active treatment she is under may set her up again.
Meanwhile it is well to be always prepared for the worst
news, and if anything went wrong I would not hesitate to
advise you of it at once by telegraph.
” My poor friend Charles Stuart *
is very low. How long
he may live I know not. His fate is decided. He may live
until autumn. He may die to-morrow. For my part I fear
the worst. When I go to bed at night I fear to hear of his
death in the morning. He refuses to take all advice and all
medicine except from myself, and I get thoroughly scolded
and abused for the peremptory manner in which I play the
doctor. I trust the Wilsons are in some degree calmed down
and able to bear the recollection of their loss. I can sympathize
with them fully. They lost their last child. I lost my only
one, and when I lost him I never expected another. This
is a sad enough letter, but such letters become common as
people get older. Tho’ yet a young man, many, very many,
of my companions have disappeared, and my firmest and best
friend is about to leave me.
* The Charles Stuart to whom Mr. Macdonald here alludes was at that time
a young barrister in Kingston. He was a nephew of the late Chief Justice Stuart
of Quebec and of Archdeacon Stuart of Kingston. He died of a lingering consumption,
not long after the date of Mr. Macdonald’s letter.
1848.] IN OPPOSITION. 65

Isa., who is not at all well, and who lingers very much in
her recovery, joins nie in love to you.

Always, my dear Margaret,
” Your affectionate brother,
“P.S. I have used mourning paper since poor Jane’s
death. Lest it might frighten you, I have written ‘ All well ‘
round the seal.”
The session of 1848 was brief, the incoming Government
not being prepared to submit its policy with respect to any of
the large questions upon which the sense of the people had
been expressed.* Parliament was prorogued on the 23rd of
March, and the Administration left free to prepare those liberal
measures of reform which it declared to be essential to the
welfare of the province.
In the second session of this Parliament, which opened on
the 18th of January, 1849, Mr. La Fontaine brought forward a
Bill to provide for the indemnification of persons in Lower
Canada whose property had been destroyed during the rebellion
of 1837 and 1838. This measure is the famous “Bebellion
Losses Bill” (12 Viet. c. 58), which gave rise to more excited
and bitter feeling than any piece of legislation introduced into
the Canadian Parliament. There is reason to believe that the
Government, or at any rate the Upper Canadian section of it,
was not enthusiastic over the measure, the very mention of which
aroused the English portion of the province to fury. But the
French vehemently insisted on it, and dependent as it was on
the Lower Canadian vote for its existence, the Ministry had no
* The Administration formed on the llth of March, 1848, known as the second
La Fontaine-Baldwin Ministry, to distinguish it from the Ministry of 1842-43 led
by the same gentleman, consisted of the following : the Hon. H. L. La Fontaine,
Attorney General, L.C. ; the Hon. Robert Baldwin, Attorney General, U.C. ;
the Hon. R. B. Sullivan, Provincial Secretary; the Hon. Francis Hincks,
Inspector General; the Hon. T. C. Aylwin, Solicitor General, L.C. ; the Hon.
James Leslie, President, Executive Council; the Hon. R. E. Caron, without
portfolio ; the Hon. J. H. Price, Commissioner of Crown Lands ; the Hon. L. M.
Viger, Receiver General: the Hon. E. P. Tache’, Chief Commissioner of Public
Works; the Hon. Malcolm Cameron, Assistant Commissioner of Public “Works.
Mr. Caron was Speaker of the Legislative Council from the llth of March, 1848, to
the 14th of August, 1853.
choice. I have already outlined the features of this Bill. It
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. When it Is
considered that a very large proportion of the people of Lower
Canada had been more or less concerned in the rebellion ; that
not one-tenth of those who were implicated had been arrested ;.
and that only a small minority of those arrested had been
brought to trial, one can easily see that the proposal was calculated
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.
Mr. Mackenzie, in his life of George Brown, defines the
Rebellion Losses Bill introduced by Mr. La Fontaine, as a
measure ”
to provide for the payment of losses sustained by
the loyal inhabitants of Lower Canada during the rebellion.”
The introduction of the word ”

I cannot but regard asaccidental.
So far from its operation being restricted to the
loyalists, the Hon. Malcolm Cameron, a member of the Administration,
declared from his place in Parliament that “the question
is not whether a man is loyal, but whether property has been
wantonly destroyed.” The Ministry would not even promise,
when asked the question, to exclude those who by their own
confession had borne arms against the Crown. The measure
was devised with the avowed object of conciliating those who
had been eminently disloyal, and the whole opposition to it was
on the ground that it proposed, not simply to condone the past,
but actually to reward for their treason those who had lately
been in open rebellion against their Sovereign. The proposal
was fiercely resisted by the Opposition, and called forth a lively
and acrimonious debate. Amongst the strongest opponents of
the measure was Mr. Macdonald, who declared his views with
no uncertain sound. According to his custom, he listened
patiently to the arguments for and against the measure.
Eising towards the close of the debate, he first protested against
the Government’s course in introducing a subject of such
importance without notice, and hurrying it through Parliament
without proper explanations.* He charged the Administration
with cowardice in seeking to evade the indignation of the
people of Upper Canada by forcing the measure through the
Legislature with indecent haste, and prophesied a day of
reckoning for them all. Continuing, he denounced the measure
as ” a most shameful one,” and concluded by announcing the
determination of himself and his friends to resist its passage
through the House to the utmost of their power.
The line of defence adopted by the Government, and subsequently
by the Governor General, was to the effect that in
introducing this measure the Ministry was merely completing
that which the Draper Administration had begun that, in
short, the task was a necessity imposed on it by its predecessors.
In view of the instructions issued in 1845 to the Commissioners,
limiting their inquiry into

losses sustained by Her
Majesty’s loyal subjects,” as well as the positive declarations of
the Conservative Ministers in Parliament, that it was not the
intention of the Government that any persons who had borne
arms against their Sovereign should participate in the proposed
indemnity, it is difficult to understand how such an argument
could have been seriously urged ; yet Lord Elgin, who himself
styled the Bill
” a questionable measure,” regarded it as
” one
which the previous Administration had rendered almost inevitable
by certain proceedings adopted by them.”
Despite the protests of the Opposition, the Bill passed its
third reading in the House of Assembly on the 9th of March,
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 poured in to the Governor General thick and fast,
praying that the obnoxious measure might not become law.
In Toronto some disturbances took place, during which the
* That this objection of Mr. Macdonald was well taken, is evident from the fact
that even Mr. George Brown, then supporting the Government with all his might,
felt himself constrained to declare that so important a measure should have heeu
foreshadowed in the Speech from the Throne, and that time should have been given
to its careful consideration. (Mackenzie’s
” Life of George Brown,” p. 19.)
houses of Messrs. Baldwin, Blake, and other prominent Liberals
were attacked, and the Eeform leaders burned in effigy.
The Government, which all along seems to have underrated
public feeling, was so unfortunate as to incur the suspicion of
deliberately going out of its way to inflame popular resentment.
It having been considered expedient to bring into operation
immediately a Customs Law, the Ministry took the unwise
course of advising the Governor General to assent to the
Eebellion Losses Bill at the same time. Accordingly, on the
25th of April, Lord Elgin proceeded in state to the Parliament
Buildings and gave the royal assent to both Bills out of the
usual time. 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, and, falling
on the popular mind already violently excited, produced consequences
of the direst kind. His Excellency, when returning
to Monklands, was grossly insulted by the mob, his carriage
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 adopted praying Her Majesty to recall Lord
Elgin. But no mere passing of resolutions would suffice the
fiercer spirits of that assembly. The cry arose,
” To the Parliament
Buildings !
” and soon the lurid flames mounting on
the night air told 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 Government which, while
it must have been aware of the state of the public mind, took no
steps to avert the calamity. An eye-witness states that half a
dozen men could have extinguished the fire, which owed its
origin to lighted balls of paper which the rioters threw about
the chamber, but there does not seem to have been even a policeman
on the ground. Four days afterwards, the Government
true to its policy of disregard of 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
1848.] IN OPPOSITION. 69
disturbance. Stones were thrown at his carriage as well as
missiles of a more offensive character, the latter with such
correctness of aim that the ubiquitous reporter of the day
described the back of his lordship’s carriage as

presenting an
awful sight.” Various societies, notably the St. Andrew’s
Society of Montreal, passed resolutions removing Lord Elgin
from the presidency or patronage of their organizations, some
of them formally expelling him therefrom. On the other hand,
the Governor General received many addresses from various
parts of the country expressive of confidence and esteem. Sir
Allan MacNab and Mr. Cayley repaired to England to protest,
on behalf of the Opposition, against the Governor’s course.
They were closely followed by Mr. 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 Mr. 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 Eussell, 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 Eebellion 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 the Government
given ample notice of its intention to introduce the measure, had
more time been allowed for the discussion, had it been understood
that the restricted interpretation which the Commissioners
gave it would be applied, had the Ministers striven to calm the
popular feeling, and, above all, had they taken due precaution
to hold the mob in check, it is not probable that this disgraceful
episode in the history of Canada would have to be told.
An inevitable consequence of the lamentable occurrence
which I have described 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. Mr. Macdonald was early on the alert,
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, 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 By-town (Ottawa). It was finally determined to
adopt the ambulatory system of having the capital alternately
at Quebec and Toronto which prevailed until the removal to
Ottawa in 1865.* This decision gave much umbrage to the
French Canadians supporting the Ministry, several of whom,
including Messrs. La Fontaine and Papineau, voted against it,
and one member of the Administration, Mr. L. M. Viger, resigned
his seat in the Cabinet.
The celebrated Annexation manifesto of 1849 was an
outcome of the excitement produced by the Rebellion Losses
Bill. 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 Eose, Sir John
Caldwell Abbott, Sir Francis Johnson, Sir David Macpherson,
together with such well-known names as the Eedpaths, Molsons,
Torrances and “Workmans were among the number.
This youthful indiscretion is thus dwelt upon by Sir John
Abbott in a speech delivered in the Senate on the 15th of
March, 1889.
” The annexation manifesto was the outgrowth of an outburst of petulance
in a small portion of the population of the province of Quebec, which is
amongst the most loyal of the provinces of Canada. Most of the people who
signed the annexation manifesto were more loyal than the English people
themselves. There were a few gentlemen of American origin who seized a
* 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, 1865.
1849.] IN OPPOSITION. 71
moment of passion into which these people fell, to get some hundreds of
people in Montreal to sign this paper. I venture to say that, with the exception
of those American gentlemen, there was not a man who signed that manifesto
who had any more serious idea of seeking annexation with the United States
than a petulant child who strikes his nurse has of deliberately murdering her.
They were exasperated by the fact that, when ten thousand men, who had
suffered distress and disaster in the unfortunate rising before those days,
petitioned the Governor for the time being to retain for the consideration of
Her Majesty a Bill which they believed to be passed for paying the men whom
they blamed for the trouble, the Governor General with an ostentatious
disregard, as they believed, for their feelings, and in contempt of their services
and of their loyalty, came down out of the usual time, in order to sanction
the Bill. The people were excited, and did many things that they ought not
to have done ; they behaved in a very rough manner to His Excellency, which
they ought not to have done, and within two or three days, while still under
the influence of this excitement, a number of them signed this paper. But
there was no evidence of any agitation by these people for annexation. Before
the year was over it was like the showers of last season ; and as for the people
not being censured for their signature of this document, I can speak for
myself, and for some of the men who have not been without distinction in their
career in this country, who signed that document more than forty years ago.”
To the political opponents of the above-named gentlemen
this manifesto has been, for the last forty-three years, a perfect
god-send, qualified only by the regret that the name of John
A. Macdonald is not in the list. Sir John, in speaking to me
of this incident, explained the circumstances under which it
was signed almost in the same words that Sir John Abbott has
used. He continued,
” 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 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
* Senate Debates, 1889, pp. 263, 264.
in Canada before confederation, a commercial national policy.
The effects of the formation of the British North 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 North
America League in 1850 are the lines on which the Conservative-
Liberal party has moved ever since.”
Sir John added that Lord Elgin throughout the whole
business treated the Conservative party with marked discourtesy,
and that his manner towards those whom he disliked
was ungracious, and often uncivil ; and concluded by saying that
he had served under nine Governors, with every one of whom,
except Lord Elgin, he had (whether as adviser or as a private
member of Parliament) maintained the most cordial relations.
During the session of 1849 there was passed an Act
secularizing King’s College, of which mention has already
been made. The Bill was introduced by Mr. Baldwin, and,
being supported by the whole power of the Government, passed
the Assembly by a large majority. It amended the Charter of
King’s College, abolished the faculty of divinity, and established
a college of purely secular learning under the name of
the ”
University of Toronto.”
The opposition to this measure was led by Mr. Macdonald,
who, from the beginning of his career, had attached much
importance to the question. On the motion for the third
reading he proposed an amendment, embodying the provisions
of the Bill he had essayed to carry in 1847, which was rejected
by the House.
In the year 1849 the outlook for the Conservative party
was indeed gloomy. A mere handful of the Legislature, they
faced what was practically a coalition outnumbering them
three to one, led by men who have had few superiors in
Canadian Parliamentary life. In the Legislative Council, also,
they were in a minority, and in the Governor General they
recognized an implacable foe. Yet, before the close of the
session of 1849, there were not wanting those who discerned
upon the political horizon indications that the serried ranks
of the Government party contained within themselves the
elements of disintegration.
Like many eminent men who have started out in life imbued
with the most extravagant Kadical notions, which, as they have
grown older, their experience and mature sense have shown
to be chimerical and absurd, Messrs. Baldwin and La Fontaine
about this time evinced, much to the disgust of a section of
their followers, an indisposition to advance any farther in the
direction of reform. With both of them the Eebellion Losses-
Bill was the high-water mark of their Eadicalism, and the
agitation which it produced seems to have had upon them a
wholesome effect. That measure, they must have convinced
themselves, was due to their past. Under it great evils might
have been wrought, but in their carrying out of its provisions
the Government proved themselves, as I have related, scarcely
less Conservative than their opponents would have been.
Against this moderation many of the fiercer spirits within the
party loudly rebelled. In October, 1849, Mr. W. H. Blake
accepted the Chancellorship of Upper Canada, and retired from
political life.* Early in 1850 Malcolm Cameron resigned his
place in the Cabinet, and allied himself with the group of
malcontents then known as the ” Clear-Grit

party. This
faction was composed of those Eadicals who were dissatisfied
with the want of energy displayed by the Administration in
promoting reforms to which, they urged, the Liberal party was
solemnly pledged. With that readiness to give advice which
ever distinguishes those whose freedom from responsibility iscomplete,
these men pressed upon the Ministry the adoption
of all sorts of what they called

reforms,” a list of which reads
like the celebrated chartist petition presented by Feargus
O’Connor to the Imperial House of Commons in 1848. Some
of the propositions were in themselves not unreasonable, and
might at some future time be carried into effect. Others, again,
were impossible of consideration by constitutional rulers.
Messrs. La Fontaine and Baldwin, with that due sense of
responsibility which distinguished them from their disaffected
followers, realized the fact that to them, as the advisers of
the Crown, exclusively appertained the right to originate and
* I do not find that Mr. Blake’s retirement was in consequence of any want of
agreement with the leaders of the Administration, who nevertheless lost in him one
of their most powerful supporters.
direct the legislation of the country. They resented the dictation
of the irresponsible individuals composing the Clear-
Grit party, and determined, so long as they occupied their
positions as members of the Government, to administer affairs
as they conceived best for the interest of the whole community.
Foremost among the subjects which the ”

pressed for immediate settlement was that of the clergy reserves.
A few words of explanation on this troublesome
question may not be out of place here. The clergy reserves
were an appropriation of one-eighth of the public lands of
both Upper and Lower Canada made by the Imperial Act
31 George III., c. 31, commonly called the Constitutional Act
of 1791, for the support of a “Protestant clergy.”* These
reserves were claimed, and at first exclusively possessed, by
the Church of England, whose ministers contended that they
only were meant by the phrase “a Protestant clergy.” The
word clergy, they argued, was technically employed to designate
the priesthood of the Roman and Anglican Churches,
and was never applied in any Act of Parliament to any other
ministers of religion. The Roman clergy obviously were
excluded by the word ”
Protestant,” whence it followed that
they were the sole beneficiaries. This view prevailed for many
years, to the great dissatisfaction of the Church of Scotland,
the Methodists, and other bodies dissenting from the Church
of England. The Presbyterians contended that, inasmuch as
the Church of Scotland was recognized in the Act of Union
between England and Scotland as a Protestant Church, it
followed that ministers of that Church must be a Protestant
clergy, and, as such, entitled to share in the reserves. The
Dissenters generally argued that the term ” Protestant
” was
merely used to exclude the clergy of the Church of Eome, and
that it embraced all Christian ministers save those acknowledging
the supremacy of the Pope.
In 1819, the law officers of the Crown, to whom the
question had been referred by the Imperial Government, gave
* The statute (sect. 36) directs the setting apart in each township for the clergy
reserves a quantity equal in value to one-seventh of all grants made by the Crown, i.e.
one-eighth of all public lands. Yet from the beginning there had been appropriated
to the clergy in Upper Canada one-seventh of all the land, which is a quantity equal
to one-sixth of the lands granted.
1849.] IN OPPOSITION. 75
it as their opinion that the term ” Protestant clergy

with the clergy of the Church of England, the ministry of the
Church of Scotland, but excluded all denominations of those
commonly known as Dissenting bodies. The Church of England,
whose inflexible champion was Dr. Strachan, of whom I have
already had occasion to speak, always resisted the claim which
on the strength of this legal opinion the Church of Scotland put
forward to share in this grant.
The old Eeform party of Upper Canada for many years had
advocated the secularization of these reserves, by which they
meant that the lands should be confiscated and sold by the
State, the proceeds to be applied to purely secular uses.
Measures to this effect were repeatedly carried in the Assembly,
only to be thrown out by the Legislative Council.
In 1836 the situation was still further complicated by the
-action of Sir John Colborne, Lieutenant Governor of Upper
Canada, who, on the eve of his departure from the province,
established fifty-seven *
rectories, which he endowed out of the
reserves, appropriating more than seventeen thousand acres of
land to that purpose. These endowments were ultimately
Fifty-seven rectories were endowed by the Order in Council of the 15th of
January, 1836, but when the patents came to be examined it was found that only
forty-four of them had been signed by the Lieutenant Governor ; the remaining thirteen
were never recognized.
Inasmuch as Sir John Colborne left the province a very few days after the
passing of this Order in Council, it has been naturally assumed that his omission to
complete the grants in question is to be ascribed to the hurry of departure. This
may be the case so far as regards the manual act of affixing his signature, but the
inference sought to be adduced therefrom, viz. that the measure was hastily
conceived, and, as it were, clandestinely executed, is, I think, disproved by the
following extract from Lord Goderich’s confidential despatch to Sir John Colborne,
dated April 5, 1832, which shows that the project had been resolved upon by the
Lieutenant Governor and approved by the Home Government four years before it was
carried into effect :
“And I am happy to find that your practical views, founded upon personal
knowledge and experience, are so coincident with those which, upon a more speculative
view, I had been led to entertain. I quite concur with you in thinking that the
greatest benefit to the Church of England would be derived from applying a portion,
at least, of the funds under the control of the Executive Govt. in the building
of Rectories and Churches ; and I would add, in preparing, as far as may be, for
profitable occupation, that moderate portion of land which you propose to assign
in each Township or Parish for ensuring the future comfort, if not the complete
maintenance, of the Rectors. With this new it appears to me that it would be
most desirable to make a beginning in this salutary work.”
declared to be legal by the law officers of the Crown. This Act
had the effect of raising the direct issue of an established Church.
In 1840 Lord Sydenham, realizing the importance of effecting
a settlement on this question before the union, prevailed
upon the Legislative Council and Assembly of Upper Canada
to pass at their last sitting an Act providing for a distribution
of the reserves among the various religious denominations
recognized by law. This measure was disallowed by the Home-
Government on the ground of its being unconstitutional. It
was generally recognized, however, that something must take
its place. Accordingly an Imperial Act, 3 & 4 Viet., c. 78, waspassed
empowering the Canadian Government to sell the
reserves and fund the proceeds. The proceeds of the sales thusfunded
were to be applied to the payment of all annual stipends
and allowances to which the faith of the Crown was pledged
during the natural lives or incumbencies of the persons receiving
the same. It was also provided that the interest accruing
under Acts 7 & 8 George IV., c. 62 (which authorized a sale of
part of the reserves), should be divided into three equal parts,
two of which were to go to the Church of England, and one tothe
Church of Scotland ; and, further, that the interest accruing
under this Act was to be divided into six equal parts, two of
which were to go to the Church of England, one to the Church
of Scotland, and the remainder to be applied, by the Governor
General with the advice of his Council,

to purposes of public
worship and religious instruction in Canada.”
This was the arrangement which obtained at the time of the-
Union, and for some years the matter was allowed to rest. In
1846 an attempt was made, on the motion of Mr. H. Sherwood,
Solicitor General for Upper Canada, to improve the position of
the Church of England with respect to the reserves. Mr.
Baldwin, then leader of the Opposition, in a temperate speech,
deprecated any interference with the existing arrangement, and
the Assembly, by a large majority, among whom was Mr. Macdonald,
declined to re-open the question. This ill-advised stepon
the part of Mr. Sherwood and his friends, had the inevitable
result of awakening in the Eadicals the old feeling of hostility
towards the Church of England. A large number of them were
clamorous for complete secularization, and the cry was used
1850.] IN OPPOSITION. 77
with some effect against the Conservatives in the general
election of 1847-48. They now, in 1850, insisted on the
immediate fulfilment of promises to which, they urged, the
present Administration owed its existence. Two sessions had
passed, and the Government still temporized and strove to put
off the evil day. Meanwhile the advanced Eadicals, or ” Clear-
Grits,” became daily more and more estranged from their
leaders, and were not infrequently to be found uniting with the
Conservatives in opposition to the Government.
Prominent in the ranks of the new party in Parliament were
Messrs. Peter Perry, Caleb Hopkins, and Malcolm Cameron ;
outside the Legislature the leading spirits were John Eolph,
David Christie, and William McDougall ; and, as time went on,
there could be seen looming large in the background the ominous
figure of George Brown.
GEORGE BKOWN, like Sir John Macdonald, was a Scotchman by
birth, and, like him, emigrated to America at an early age. In
1838, his father and he landed in New York, where they almost
immediately engaged in journalism, the elder Mr. Brown establishing
a paper, known as the British Chronicle, in the year 1842.
In 1843 father and son moved to Toronto, and commenced
the publication of a weekly paper called the Banner, a semireligious
journal largely devoted to the interests of the Free
Church party, then on the verge of separation from the Established
Kirk of Scotland. The first La Fontaine-Baldwin
Administration was then in power, and the Browns lent themselves
to a vigorous support of that Ministry in its conflict with
Sir Charles Metcalfe. The Eeform party, at that time in need
of an organ, welcomed the trenchant support of the war-like
young Scotchman, who, in the columns of his paper, assailed the
Tory party and the Governor General with a vehemence that
left nothing to be desired.
Mr. Brown soon found that the quasi-religious character of
the Banner interfered with the propagation of his political
views, and in March, 1844, he established the Toronto Globe.
Possessed of great force of character, immense energy and
activity, and a determined spirit which overbore all opposition,
Mr. Brown speedily became an important factor in the Liberal
ranks. From 1844 till 1847, he was unremitting in his
denunciations of the Draper Administration, and, through the
Globe, worked up a feeling against the Conservative Government
which largely contributed to its defeat at the general election of
For some time after the formation of the second La Fontaine-
Baldwin Administration the Globe gave it a vigorous support,
but towards the close of the year 1850 the relations between it
and Mr. Brown grew less cordial, and a few months later became
decidedly unfriendly. The disaffection within the Eeform ranks
kept growing apace, not only in the Upper, but also in the
Lower Province, where a movement among the irreconcilables
led by Mr. L. J. Papineau, corresponding to the Clear-Grit
schism in Upper Canada, had produced le parti Rouye, which,
equally with its counterpart, displayed hostility towards the
Government. The policy advocated by Mr. Papineau and his
friends involved changes of a sweeping character, embracing a
general application of the elective principle, a Eepublican form
of government, and, ultimately, annexation to the United States.
To add at this time to the embarrassments of the Ministry, Mr.
Brown, in the columns of the Globe, which was still supposed to
reflect the views of the Government, began a furious crusade
against Roman Catholics in general and the French Canadians
in particular. The re-establishment of the Eoman hierarchy in
England gave the signal for an assault which, I venture to think,
is without a parallel in the records of polemical strife.*
The session opened in Toronto on the 14th of May. Arrayed
against the Government were the regular Opposition, led
by Sir Allan MacNab, having under him, as Lieutenants,
Mr. Cayley, Mr. Sherwood, and Mr. Macdonald ; the Clear-
Grits ; and Mr. Papineau and his followers.
The question of the clergy reserves proved during this
session a source of great discomfort to the Ministry, the
members of which openly avowed their want of agreement on
the subject. By the Imperial Act of 1840 (3 & 4 Viet. c. 78)
the matter had been removed from the jurisdiction of the
e.g., Globe, February 9, 18, and 22, 1856 ; also August 7, 1857.
Canadian Parliament. On the 18th of June, Mr. Price, Commissioner
of Crown Lands, moved the first of a series of
resolutions advocating the restoration of the clergy reserves to
the jurisdiction of the Canadian Parliament, as a preliminary
step to secularization. It was well known that the members
of the Government were at variance on this question, and that
Mr. La Fontaine and his supporters were not only averse to
committing themselves on the larger subject of the relation
which should subsist between Church and State, but were
equally opposed to any procedure that would have the effect of
prejudicing the vested rights of those persons who had acquired
interests under the Act of 1840.
Mr. Price, in moving his resolutions, regretted that the
Oovernment were not unanimous on the question, and not
prepared to stand or fall by it. He would never concede the
principle that one Church had the right of being set up above
.another. The Churches of England and Scotland had got the
lion’s share, and he contended that the reserves were for
purposes of general education within the province, and should
no longer be allowed to remain a bone of contention. The
voice of the country, he said, was in favour of applying the
reserves to the general purposes of the province.
Mr. La Fontaine spoke at some length. He began by
expressing his opinion that the term “Protestant clergy”
included the clergy of all the Protestant denominations. He
did not consider an Act of Parliament a finality, but if private
rights were conferred by that Act, they must be held sacred or
there would be an end of everything. He was in favour of
getting back the control over the reserves ; but he did not
agree with his colleague, the Commissioner of Crown Lands, in
asking support for a resolution which would have the further
effect of pledging the House to alienate these reserves. He
disapproved of such a course, believing that the endowment
should be held sacred.
Mr. Baldwin said that, however much he differed from his
colleagues, he deemed it his duty to express his opinion. It
was true only in a qualified sense that the lands were the
property of the people of the province. It was after the
Constitutional Act had been passed that the people came to
1850.] IN OPPOSITION. 81
the province, and they should abide by the state of things that
they found. He did not believe that by the terms of the Act
the Church of England was exclusively meant. He desired
that the reserves should be applied to purposes contemplated
by the statute as nearly as possible. Until the passing of the
Imperial Act he had considered the application of the reserves
to purposes of education to be nearest to the intention of the
law. He had changed his mind in that respect since the passing
of the Imperial Act ; but while he did not consider that a
final settlement, he could not regard an Act of Parliament as
so much waste paper. He had never made this question one
of party warfare. It was true he had imputed weakness to
gentlemen opposite when they were in power for not being
united on the question of maintaining the Imperial Act, and he
knew he would be accused of inconsistency. There was a
difference of opinion in the present Cabinet on this question of
the reserves. For his own part he would have preferred the
matter to have been a Cabinet one.
This division of opinion within the Ministry on a subject so
important afforded a rare opportunity to the Opposition, of
which they were not slow to avail themselves. The Clear-Grits
were eager for immediate legislation without waiting for the
repeal of the Imperial Act, which, they argued, could follow.
They strove by every artifice to make the Government commit
itself to some definite line of policy with respect to this
question, but in vain.
Mr. Papineau took advantage of the occasion to make a
savage attack on the Administration, whose course on this
question he declared was an apt illustration of their skill
” in
shuffling and trickery.” The measure, he contended, should
have been a Ministerial one. Thus, divided within and
attacked in front, rear, and flank, the unhappy Ministry was
in danger of being defeated then and there.
Mr. Price’s resolutions were ultimately carried. One of them,
which affirmed that “No religious denomination can be held
to have such vested interest in the revenue derived from the
proceeds of the said clergy reserves as should prevent further
legislation with reference to the disposal of them ” was opposed
by Attorney General La Fontaine, Messrs. Cauchon, Chabot,
VOL. i. G
Chauveau, Duchesnay, La Terriere, and other Lower Canadians,
and passed only by a majority of two, notwithstanding the
qualifying clause,
” That this House is nevertheless of opinion
that the claims of existing incumbents should be treated in the
most liberal manner.”
The spectacle presented by Messrs. La Fontaine and Baldwin
voting against each other on this important question, and the
general demoralization of the Government ranks afforded to
the little band of Eouges led by Papineau, as well as to
the Clear-Grits, a satisfaction no less pronounced than that
experienced by Sir Allan MacNab and his followers, who
felt that they had really nothing to do but look on while the
opposing factions within the Liberal party performed their
The close of the session of 1850 found the Government in
a precarious situation. The Globe still supported it in a perfunctory
manner, but its anti-Catholic policy, which it had
developed, compelled the Ministry to disavow it, with the
effect of still further widening the breach which had for some
time existed between Mr. Brown and the Government. In the
session of 1851 the Ministry had no more bitter opponents
than the malcontent Liberals, who, though divided by personal
animosities, were a unit against the Government.
In April, 1851, a vacancy occurred in the representation of
Haldimand by reason of the death of the sitting member,
Mr. David Thompson. Several candidates presented themselves
for election, among whom were William Lyon Mackenzie
and George Brown ; the former was a political Ishmaelite,
opposed to all existing parties, the latter a qualified supporter
of the Government. Mr. Brown was unsuccessful. He
naturally attributed his defeat to the Catholic voters, whose
nearest and dearest interests he was at the time foully attacking
through the columns of his paper. This rebuff seems to have
finally determined his political course, for almost immediately
afterwards we find him attacking the Government in this
” The Eeforra party are in power now they have been so for four years.
. . . These four years have been palmy days of priestcraft. . . . The sectarian
grants which should have been swept away, have been increased. . . . When
1851.] IN OPPOSITION. 83
the present party came into power, the common school system was free
from sectarian elements but they introduced the wedge which threatens to
destroy the whole fabric.” *
Parliament met in May. On the 26th of June, William Lyon
Mackenzie moved, seconded by Mr. Hopkins, for the appointment
of a committee of seven members with instructions to
report by Bill for the abolition of the Court of Chancery in
Upper Canada. This proposition was aimed at Mr. Baldwin,
under whose auspices the Court of Chancery had been reconstituted.
Mackenzie’s motion was voted down by thirty-four
to thirty ; but of the minority no fewer than twenty-seven were
Upper Canadians. This result was a deep mortification to
Mr. Baldwin, who felt that it amounted to a declaration of
want of confidence in himself by the representatives of the
people of Upper Canada, whom the Court of Chancery alone
concerned. It was the culmination of a series of annoyances
which he had suffered during the past two years at the hands
of those who had been elected to support him, and whose
co-operation he had a right to expect. So experienced a
politician as he could not but see how matters were drifting.
The Liberal party formed and kept together by himself and his
friend Mr. La Fontaine, was gradually going to pieces, and he
was weary of the struggle. Accordingly he made this quasi
defeat the occasion for announcing his withdrawal from public
life. Mr. La Fontaine expressed his deep regret at Mr. Baldwin’s
decision, and added that he himself intended to follow the
example of his colleague at the close of the present session.
Both gentlemen resigned in the following October, and the
second La Fontaine-Baldwin Ministry ceased to exist.
In the general election which ensued, Mr. Baldwin offered
himself for the representation of his old constituency, the North
Biding of York, and was defeated by a Clear-Grit in consequence
of his refusing to pledge himself as to his future course in
Parliament on the clergy reserves question. The people, he
said, knew him, and his political record was before the world.
If they wished to have him as their representative they must
judge his future by his past. He would never consent to go to
Parliament otherwise than as a free agent, at liberty to use his
Globe, July 17, 1851.
own judgment as he thought best for the interests of the whole
country. His opponent, not troubled by such scruples, was
ready to promise anything asked of him, and thereby proved
more acceptable to the electors of York. After his defeat
Mr. Baldwin retired finally from public life. His history
affords a remarkable illustration of the ingratitude which too
frequently rewards public men, and of the selfishness and
meanness of a certain class of politicians. Eobert Baldwin had
his faults. Who has not ? But it did not lie with the Clear-
Grits to reproach him with them. His fall from power, the
breaking up of the party he had devoted his life to form and to
maintain, the bitter humiliation of his defeat at the polls by an
obscure demagogue, were all the work of the faction which finally
hounded him out of public life. Why ? Because he ceased
to hold liberal principles ? Far from it ! Upon all the great
questions of the day which divided parties, Eobert Baldwin was,
up to his retirement from office in 1851, substantially where he
had always been. I cannot find that he ever voted otherwise
than with his party. On Mr. Price’s clergy reserve resolutions
respecting vested interests, he voted ”

in accordance with
the bulk of the Eeform party and against his own colleague,
Mr. La Fontaine. His crime was that he adhered to the principles
of responsible Government which he fought so hard to
obtain, by declining to hand over to a knot of disappointed
politicians, with no seats in the Legislature and no responsibility
to any one, the functions of chief adviser of the Crown.
Mr. Baldwin, as I read his history, was a Eeformer to the end.
He was, at the same time, a just and honourable man, -wholly
desirous of serving his country according to his light. The
chief defect in his character seems to have been a certain lack
of robustness, which I think he sometimes displayed, notably
on the occasion of the formation of Lord Sydenham’s Ministry
in 1841, and at a later period by his attitude towards the
rebellious element within the Liberal party. His gentle
nature was ill-fitted to contend with those turbulent spirits who
sought to force him onward at a pace he could not go. Had
they been at all amenable to reason, I am inclined to think they
might have obtained from him a considerable measure of those
reforms for the carrying out of which they professed such deep
1851.] IN OPPOSITION. 85
concern. In regard to the clergy reserves, Mr. Baldwin was, I
think, prepared ultimately to take a long step in the direction
of their wishes. He asked only a little delay.

Wait,” said he,

until the Imperial Act is repealed, and we have power to deal
with the question.” But no : they would wait for nothing. He
must pledge himself unreservedly to secularization, unqualified,
immediate, absolute ; and the instant carrying into effect of a
series of reforms, some of which, as declared by the Globe, were
incompatible with the working of the British constitution, or
go out. He chose the latter course.*
Mr. Baldwin never allowed political differences to interfere
with his private friendships, and he had the good fortune, when
he quitted public life, to carry with him the respect and
esteem of the Conservative party. Shortly after the accession
to power of the Liberal-Conservative Ministry in 1854, Mr.
Macdonald pressed upon his acceptance the Chief Justiceship of
the Common Pleas in the following flattering terms :

Quebec, February 13, 1855.
” Chief Justice Macaulay only awaits, as you probably
know, the appointment of his successor to retire from the
Bench, which he has so long occupied with honour to himself
and advantage to the country. We are extremely anxious that
this eminent judge should be succeeded by one not less competent
than himself to perform the duties appertaining to the
high office he is about to vacate, and by one possessing like
him the confidence of the people of Upper Canada. We are
satisfied that these requisites are to be found in yourself,
and that no more worthy successor to Mr. Macaulay could
be selected.

I am therefore instructed, or rather authorized, to offer
the Chief Justiceship of the Common Pleas for your acceptance,
* Mr. Baldwin’s attitude in 1851 towards the Clear- Grits suggests a story told of
Horace Greeley. It is related that, in the course of conversation, Mr. Greeley made
some reflections on the antics of a spiritualistic society then flourishing in Boston.
“But,” said a friend, “are you not yourself a spiritualist?” “Yes,” replied
Mr. Greeley,
” I am a spiritualist, but I am not a d d fool.” One can imagine
Mr. Baldwin answering William Lyon Mackenzie, Malcolm Cameron, and the other
extremists of the Liberal party, if not so epigrammatically as Horace Greeley, yet much
to the same effect.

I need hardly assure you of the great gratification I should
feel, on personal as well as professional grounds, at your acceptance
of the office.

I hope soon to have your answer, which I trust will be one
of consent, and am, my dear Mr. Baldwin,

Very faithfully yours,
” The Honourable R. Baldwin, Toronto.”
This offer Mr. Baldwin declined. His career, he felt, was
drawing to a close, and he desired to spend his remaining years
free from responsible office of any kind. He died on the 9th
of December, 1858, at the comparatively early age of fifty-four
Mr. La Fontaine, who abandoned political life at the same
time, differed in some respects from his colleague. Both were
men of ability, both loved their country, and both were without
stain ; but Mr. La Fontaine was, I take it, more a man of the
world than Mr. Baldwin, more ambitious, and, as indicated by
his Napoleonic cast of features, possessed of greater firmness
and clearness of purpose. Both began life as Radicals, but
while Mr. Baldwin was a Liberal on principle, and could never
have been anything else, Mr. La Fontaine’s Radicalism, though
no doubt as honest as that of his colleague, was accidental
rather than constitutional, and visibly weakened with advancing
Mr. La Fontaine did not assign any specific reasons for his
retirement. There is little doubt, however, that the disaffection
among his Lower Canadian followers, together with the Clear-
Grit movement, indicated serious complications, and the withdrawal
of his Upper Canadian colleague rendered the outlook
particularly unpromising. The time, moreover, was opportune.
The year 1851 ushered in a period of great commercial activity
in Canada. Railway enterprises of all kinds were being
projected on a scale which bade fair to revolutionize the
existing state of things. Now, Mr. La Fontaine knew nothing
about railways. He was a great constitutional lawyer and
Parliamentarian, but totally unversed in those questions of
commerce and finance which were beginning to engage public
1851.] IN OPPOSITION. 87
attention. The battle of constitutional government, to which
he had devoted his energies, was over, and he may have felt
that it was time for some one better qualified than he to
promote the material development of Canada, to undertake all
the direction of affairs.* In August, 1853, Mr. La Fontaine
was appointed Chief Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench of
Lower Canada, and in 1854 he was created a baronet. His
death occurred on the 26th of February, 1864. No name
in the Province of Quebec is to-day more venerated, alike by
Conservatives and Liberals, than that of Louis Hippolyte La
On the retirement of Messrs. La Fontaine and Baldwin, all
the members of the Cabinet tendered their resignations, whereupon
the Governor General sent for Mr. Hincks, the senior
member from Upper Canada in the late Ministry, and entrusted
him with the formation of a new Administration. Mr. Hincks’
first act was to associate with himself Mr. A. K Morin, the
Speaker of the Assembly, and after five anxious weeks these
gentlemen succeeded in forming a Ministry,f
Of the new Cabinet, Messrs. Eolph and Cameron were
leading lights in the Clear-Grit party, which Mr. Hincks judged
it expedient to conciliate. Both were extreme Eadicals, and
Dr. Eolph especially, from his active participation in the events
of 1837, was particularly distasteful to moderate men of both
parties.^ He had not at the time a seat in Parliament, but he
* It is said that Mr. La Fontaine’s resolution to retire was strengthened by a
distrust of Mr. Hincks, who was known to be largely interested in several of the leading
railway enterprises of the day.
f On the 28th of October, 1851, the members of the Hincks-Morin Government
were sworn in as follows : the Hon. E. P. Tach4, Receiver General ; the Hon. Francis
Hincks, Inspector General ; the Hon. James Morris, Postmaster General ; the Hon.
A. X. Morin, Provincial Secretary; the Hon. R. E. Caron, without portfolio; the
Hon. Malcolm Cameron, President Executive Council ; the Hon. John Rolph, Commissioner
of Crown Lands ; the Hon. L. T. Drummond, Attorney General, L.C. ; the
Hon. W. B. Richards, Attorney General, U.C. ; the Hon. John Young, Chief Commissioner
of Public Works.
” It is not to be doubted that the appointment of John Rolph to a seat in the
Council is as near to an insult to the people of Canada as Lord Elgin could well dare.
A man who has never been a member of the Parliament of Canada, who is perfectly
unknown in public life, whose opinions on government or on the various questions
which have agitated the country in times bygone, or on those which are now before the
people (ic), is certainly not a man to be selected to govern people of any intelligence

(Montreal Gazette, November 1, 1851).
was a man of ability and influence. It was at his instance that
Malcolm Cameron was taken into the Cabinet.
The Hincks-Morin Government, though perhaps as good as
could then have been formed, found no favour with George
Brown, who attacked it in the columns of the Globe with
much asperity. Not satisfied with his editorial declamations,
Mr. Brown about this time wrote and published in his paper
a series of open letters addressed to Mr. Hincks, in which
he charged him with having paltered with Liberal principles
for the sake of French-Canadian support.
Mr. Brown’s position certainly was peculiar. Originally a
strong partisan of Messrs. La Fontaine and Baldwin, he
gradually grew lukewarm in his support, until, on the pretext
afforded by the re-organization of the Ministry to all intents
and purposes the same as that formed in March, 1848 he
passed into open opposition. The ground for his defection was
the apparent unwillingness of the leaders to carry out the
reforms to which he said they were pledged precisely the same
reasons as those given by Messrs. Eolph and Cameron and the
Clear-Grit party for their opposition to Mr. Baldwin. Yet in
the early days of the movement the Globe had no condemnation
strong enough for the Clear-Grits, who on their part hated
Mr. Brown most cordially.* One would have thought that the
disappearance of moderate men like Messrs. La Fontaine and
Baldwin from the Cabinet, and the introduction of extremists
like Messrs. Eolph and Cameron, would have been quite in
accord with Mr. Brown’s views ; yet the chief grounds of the
Globe’s wrath against Mr. Hincks was the presence of those two
gentlemen in the Cabinet. The Government stood pledged to
secularization, to increased Parliamentary representation, to an
elective Legislative Council, and other drastic reforms. Yet
* The following circular issued, [at the outset of this campaign, by Malcolm
Cameron, is an indication of the nature of the relations then subsisting between him
and Mr. Brown :
“George Brown is offering as a candidate for the counties of Kent and
Lambton on the Reform ticket. Give him ‘ a coon hunt on the Wabash.’ Stir up
the electors of against him, and drive him home.

Yours, etc.
1851.] IN OPPOSITION. 89
Mr. Brown, from the first moment of its. existence to its last
hour, never ceased to condemn it, and was, indeed, the chief
cause of its overthrow. It has been stated that the reason for
his course was that he resented having been passed over at the
formation of the Government. This may be so, although proof
of it is lacking, and it is difficult to see how any one holding
his views on the Eoman Catholic question could hope to sit at
that time in a Canadian Ministry. The Globe then, and for
years afterwards, actually teemed with abuse of the religion
of the vast majority of the people of the Lower Province, and,
in so doing, put it beyond the possibility of any French Canadian
to have dealings with its proprietor. It was equally clear that
no Government could exist in Canada without French-Canadian
representation. Mr. Brown may not have seen the inevitable
result of his fatuous conduct on his own political career.
Politicians who adopt this line seldom do. However that may
be, I think it is obvious that his political course from 1850 till
1854 is best explained by the theory of personal antipathies.
The new Government was sworn into office on the 28th of
October, and, on the 6th of November following, Parliament
was dissolved and a general election ordered. The contest,
though animated in many places, lacked as a whole much of
the excitement which marked the elections of 1844 and 1848.
,Mr. Hincks had played his cards well, and, despite the combined
attack of the Conservatives, Brownites, and Piouges, emerged
from the election with a considerable majority. All the
members of the Government were returned. Of the Upper
Canada Conservatives Sir Allan MacNab was re-elected for
Hamilton, and Mr. Macdouald for Kingston the latter
practically without a contest; but Messrs. Cayley, J. H.
Cameron, and Henry Sherwood were defeated, and altogether
things resulted rather unfavourably for the party. This
result cannot be ascribed to any lack of zeal on the part ol
Mr. Macdonald, whose walk-over in Kingston left him free to
help his friends in the adjacent counties. He had a vivid
recollection of some of the incidents in this campaign, one of
which he related to me as follows :
The elections took place in December. In the county of
Prince Edward the Conservative candidate, who was opposed
by R. Conger, was R. B. Stevenson. The fight was keen and
every vote was called out. The day before the election,
Mr. Macdonald, together with Messrs. Alexander Campbell
John Forsyth, and Henry Smith, went from Kingston in a sleigh
driven by a negro named Mink, and put up at a tavern in
Adolphustown. One James O’Reilly, a Radical, had gone up
from Kingston the day before, collected all the skiffs along the
shore near Adolphustown, and rowed them across to the Stone
Mills in Prince Edward county, where he secured them. During
the night it froze sharply, so much so that the bay was caught
over at the Stone Mills. The only way of crossing which
the party from Kingston could devise in the morning was
for each man to take two planks, lay them end to end on the
ice, which was very thin in some places, crawl out to the second
plank, pull the first one after him, and push it ahead of the
second one, and so on. When halfway over, Mink, who had
been selected to accompany the party, chiefly on account of his
physical qualities, encouraged them greatly by volunteering
the statement that he would give five hundred dollars to be on
either shore. The distance across was about a mile and a half,
and the water was very deep. On reaching the Stone Mills
they proceeded to Picton, and recorded their votes for Stevenson,
thereby deciding the election in his favour.*
In Lower Canada the Rouges lost ground, their leader,
Mr. Papineau, being defeated in Montreal by Mr. Badgley.
He was, however, returned for another constituency (Two
Mountains) before the meeting of Parliament. George Brown
was elected for Kent despite the opposition of Malcolm Cameron,
and came up to Parliament full of fight. The Conservatives
likewise were eager for the fray. During the past three years
there had been little for them to do save to stand by and watch
the growing dissensions within the Reform party. But now
that the progress of disintegration was well advanced, it behoved
them to play an aggressive part.
Since the close of the session of 1851 another stage had
* A few weeks before Sir Alexander Campbell’s death I wrote to him asking him
if he would kindly look over my version of this story, and amend it if necessary. He
very kindly took means to refresh his memory, and wrote me some additional
particulars, which I have inserted here, telling me that he recalled with great interest
these events of long ago.
1851-52.] IN OPPOSITION. 91
been reached in the matter of the clergy reserves. In July,
1850, the address embodying the resolutions of Mr. Price, to
which I have already alluded at some length, had been forwarded
to England, and in the following January a despatch was
received from the Colonial Secretary (Earl Grey) to the
effect that, while Her Majesty’s Government deprecated any
disturbance of “the existing arrangement by which a certain
portion of the public lands of Canada are available for
the purpose of creating a fund for the religious instruction of
the inhabitants of the province,” they were of opinion that the
question was one so exclusively affecting the people of Canada
that its decision ought not to be withdrawn from the Provincial
Legislature. They, therefore, stated their willingness to pass
the necessary legislation. Various considerations compelled
the postponement of any action on the part of the Imperial
authorities, and in February, 1852, Lord John Eussell’s Government
went out of office, leaving the clergy reserves practically
where they found them. The incoming Ministry, of which
Lord Derby was head, and Sir John Pakington, Colonial
Secretary, was indisposed to touch the question, and Sir John
Pakington intimated this decision

of Her Majesty’s present

to Lord Elgin, in a despatch dated the 22nd of April,
1852. Such was the unsatisfactory position of this neverending
question when the Government met the new Parliament.
The first session opened at Quebec on the 19th of August.*
The Government candidate for the Speakership was John
Sandfield Macdonald, Solicitor General in the late Administration,
who was elected by a vote of fifty-five to twenty-three.
At the formation of the Hincks-Morin Government he had been
offered the Commissionership of Crown Lands, but held out
for the Attorney Generalship, which Mr. Hincks bestowed
upon Mr. W. B. Eicliards; whereupon Mr. J. S. Macdonald
refused the Crown Lands portfolio with disdain. The Speakership
was intended as a salve to his wounded feelings, but, as
we shall see, the remedy failed in its effect.
* The position of parties was somewhat as follows : Out-and-out Ministerialists,
45 ; Conservatives, 20 ; Rouges (Mr. Papineau and four followers), 5 ; Clear-Grits
(Messrs. Smith of Durham and Hartman), 2 ; Independents of all shades (including
George Brown, William Lyon Mackenzie, John Sandfield Macdonald, and others,
Clear-Grits in all but the name), 12 : total 84.
The defeat of Messrs. Cayley and Sherwood, and the growing
infirmities of Sir Allan MacNab, gave Mr. John A. Macdonald
that prominence to which, by admission of both friends and
foes, his aptitude for public affairs entitled him. The session
of 1852 marked an important stage in his political career.
During the period which had elapsed since his retirement from
office in 1848, his position in the ranks of the Conservative
Opposition had not been one of greater prominence than
necessarily attached to the fact of his being an ex-minister.
He appears to have studiously kept in the background, to have
loyally followed his leader, and to have bided his time. That
time had now arrived.
The debate on the address continued for several days, and
disclosed the fact that the alliance made between Messrs.
Hincks, Cameron, and Eolph had not been successful in healing
the breach in the Eeform ranks. In the speech from the
throne the Governor General made no reference to the failure
of the Ministry to obtain Imperial legislation in the matter of
the clergy reserves, and no regret had been expressed at the
decision of Her Majesty’s Government to withhold from the
Provincial Legislature the powers for which it asked. This
action, or rather inaction, of the Provincial Government did
much to stimulate the opposition of those who, whether calling
themselves Clear-Grits or Independents, cried out for immediate
Mr. Hincks in offering the usual explanations consequent
upon a change of Ministry, stated that when Mr. Baldwin
tendered his resignation the Government did not think it their
duty to advise the appointment of his successor, because Mr.
La Fontaine had also expressed his intention of retiring almost
at once. Soon after this all the members of the Government
handed in their resignations. He and his friend from Lower
Canada (Mr. Morin) had been consulted by His Excellency,
and they had tendered their advice. As regards the Lower
Canadian representation, it was judged expedient to reinforce
the Administration in the Lower House, and this had been done.
With respect to Upper Canada, it was thought necessary to
strengthen the Government by the aid of gentlemen who
enjoyed the confidence of a section of the party between whom
1852.] IN OPPOSITION. 93
and certain members of the late Administration there had been
difference of opinion, though none of consequence with himself.
As to the principles of the new Ministry he could say nothing
in particular. He was for progressive reform, and had the
confidence of the Liberal party, though he knew that some of
that party represented by Messrs. [W. L.] Mackenzie and
Brown had tried to deprive him of it. With respect to the
clergy reserves, on which it had been represented that he
differed from his party, he had no hesitation in saying that
he believed the only way to obtain peace was through their
secularization. He admitted that he and his colleagues did
think it proper to express regret at the course of Her Majesty’s
Government in the matter of the non-repeal of the Act of 1840,
but stated that they did not think it advisable to put into
the mouth of the Queen’s representative words reflecting upon
the action of Her Majesty’s Government, of whom the Governor
General was the servant, and whose injunctions he was bound
to obey.
Mr. Brown replied, and in the course of a two-hours speech
made a terrific onslaught on the Administration, accusing them,
among other crimes, of collusion with the Imperial authorities
to prevent a settlement of the clergy reserves question. He
found fault with the Ministerial explanations, and affirmed his
conviction that the members of the Government were in entire
disagreement upon every leading question of the day.
” The
Inspector General

(Mr. Hincks), he said,
” had explained the
mere outwork of the Ministerial arrangements, but did not
throw any light on the philosophy of the thing. Mr. Hincks
had stated that he brought into the Ministry certain members
of the ultra section of his party in order to produce unanimity,
and yet he had said, shortly before, that there were no serious
differences in the party ranks. Serious differences! Why,
there was not one principle of government, not one practical
measure, on which they did not differ ; and there was just as
much estrangement of feeling as there was difference of
opinion.” Mr. Brown proceeded to review the politics of the
country since the rebellion, and the growth and progress of
the divisions in the Eeform party, which, he said, began at
the very formation of the La Fontaine-Baldwin Government
in 1848. The difference of opinion on the question of religious
endowment was the primary cause of the disagreement in the
La Fontaine-Baldwin Ministry. He accused that Government
of having been under the domination of their French-Canadian
allies, at whose bidding they had sacrificed the interests of
Upper Canada. In the matter of secularization, this very
important question was postponed for the Eebellion Losses Bill,
which had never been heard of in Upper Canada until it was
laid on the table of the House. Upper Canadians had been
led to expect that the first act of the La Fontaine-Baldwin
Administration would be to settle the clergy reserves question
for ever. Instead of which the Eebellion Losses Bill was
proceeded with, and the question which most concerned the
people of Upper Canada indefinitely postponed. Then it soon
began to appear that the clergy reserves was not to be a
Government question, and all because Messrs. La Fontaine
and his followers objected to the principle upon which a
satisfactory solution of the vexed question alone could be
reached. Mr. Brown predicted that the same influence would
still operate to prevent the realization of the hopes of the
people of Upper Canada on this question, so vital to their
interests, stating his belief that Mr. Morin held practically the
same views as Mr. La Fontaine on the clergy reserves question,
and that the split in the party would go on widening. Eeferring
to the coalition with Messrs. Eolph and Cameron, he taunted
Mr. Hincks for associating with those who had waged against
him for the past two years a bitter and relentless war ; with
men to whom on every great question of the day he was
diametrically opposed. Continuing, Mr. Brown criticized the
railway policy of the Government ; and, after warmly eulogizing
Lord Elgin, concluded by announcing his determination to vote
for the address, on the ground that, while he had but little
confidence in the Administration, he was not yet prepared to
put the Tories in their place.
This Mr. Brown’s maiden speech in Parliament was
regarded at the time as a powerful arraignment of the Ministry.
Possessing no graces of diction, lacking almost every quality
which constitutes true oratory, destitute of humour or sarcasm,
George Brown, by the very fact of his intense vehemence of
1852.] IN OPPOSITION. 95
expression, and by the air of deep conviction which clothed his
every utterance, obtained from the outset the ear of the chamber,
and before long came to be recognized as one of the most
effective speakers in Parliament.
Mr. Macdonald, who made by far the best speech from his
side of the House, followed Mr. Brown, and from a different
standpoint attacked the Government with equal vigour. He
believed that the country had a right to expect more satisfactory
explanations as to the origin and composition of the new
Ministry than those which had been vouchsafed by the leader,
which he criticized as meagre and unsatisfactory. No cause
had been shown for the breaking up of the late Administration
and the formation of the present one. No one knew better
than the Inspector General upon what questions of policy the
present Ministry differed from the last one, or whether there
was any difference at all. The Inspector General had not
explained why he threw overboard his old friends ; yet he was
exceptionally well qualified to give those explanations so
necessary to the exercise of the proper judgment of the members
of the House. He was the leading member- of the present
Cabinet no one knew better than he the reasons for the
changes which had taken place; wherein Mr. La Fontaine’s
Ministry had fallen short, and that of Mr. Hincks excelled.
The spectacle presented by a Ministry apparently possessing
the confidence of a majority of the people’s representatives,
ruling the province for five years, and then, when the time
comes for its members to render an account of their stewardship,
evading their collective responsibility by resigning office was
unparalleled. The truth was, the late Administration had lost
the confidence of the people, and the honourable gentleman
found it necessary, for the purpose of maintaining himself in
office to seek aid from outside. And how had he strengthened
himself? By casting out all that were good in the Cabinet,
and replacing them by men whom he had denounced again
and again in language which would scarcely bear repetition.
He could tell the honourable gentleman that, despite his
preference for his new-found friends, he would yet look back
upon his alliance with Messrs. La Fontaine and Baldwin as the
most honoured period in his political life. He concluded by
affirming his conviction that the only principle which held
the members of the Government together was a common desire
for office.
On the 14th of September Mr. Hincks introduced a series of
resolutions on which to found an address to Her Majesty
expressive of the deep regret of the Provincial Parliament at the
refusal of the Imperial Government to repeal the Act of 1840.
This entailed another debate upon this everlasting question of
the clergy reserves, in the course of which Mr. Macdonald gave
his views at some length. He expressed his great surprise at
hearing from the Inspector General the reasons which had
induced the Ministry to omit from the speech all reference to
the refusal of the Home Government to re-open the question.
To hear from the lips of a Eeform Minister who had been one
of Lord Metcalfe’s most violent opponents the acknowledgment
that, after all, the Governor General was primarily responsible
to the Imperial Authorities, and that he was not a mere puppet
in the hands of his Ministers, was indeed startling, and must
have fallen strangely on the ears of Lord Elgin, who had
defended his course with the Eebellion Losses Bill on the
ground of his being the mere servant of the Ministry, and
without responsibility. He condemned the renewal of the
agitation, which, he said, had been laid at rest by Lord Sydenham,
as evidenced by the fact that in the general elections
of 1844 and 1847 the subject had scarcely been broached ; and
asserted his belief that the opposition to the settlement of 1840
had been got up by the Liberals as a counter-irritant after the
windows of the Parliament House had been broken over the
Rebellion Losses Bill. He traversed the idea that the lands
belonged to the people of Canada. Was the whole of this vast
country from the St. Lawrence to the Hudson’s Bay the property
of the few people who first settled it ? Were the four or five
men who first settled in New Zealand the proprietors of the
entire islands, or were they not proprietors of just so much land
as had been granted them? He ridiculed the voluntary
principle, which, he said, if it meant anything, meant that every
man should support his own religious teacher by his own means.
He, for his part, was in favour of endowment and of all the
Churches having an equal share, and if there was not enough
1852.] IN OPPOSITION. 97
unappropriated land in these reserves to endow all alike, he
would take enough Crown lands to do so.
During the debate Messrs. Morin and Chauveau expressed
themselves unequivocally in favour of the policy of secularization
as advocated by Mr. Hincks ; so that the Government stood
squarely committed to the scheme. At the same time they
would not state their intention of taking any definite action,
though invited to do so by Mr. Brown, who vainly endeavoured
to obtain from them a declaration as to what they proposed
to do with the power over the reserves when they got it. He
reaffirmed his opinion that the Government was subservient to
the French Canadians, who, as a body, were averse to commit
themselves to a course which involved the presumption that
there should be no alliance between Church and State. Mr.
Brown undoubtedly was right in his surmise that some restraining
influence was at work, for the leading members of the
Government, though they openly declared themselves in favour
of secularization in the abstract, did not venture to commit the
Ministry as a whole to any particular line of action in relation
to this question.
The address was duly forwarded to England, but was not
favourably considered by the Government then in office. In
December, however, Lord Derby’s Ministry was defeated, and
a coalition Government under Lord Aberdeen succeeded to
power. Early in 1853 it was announced that the new Administration
was prepared to pass a measure authorizing the Canadian
Legislature to deal with the measure subject to the preservation
of existing rights.
In November, 1852, the Provincial Parliament adjourned
until February, the reason assigned being the prevalence of
cholera in Quebec. In February it reassembled, and the session
continued until June. Among other measures passed was one
for the increased representation of the people in Parliament.
Under this Bill the number of members of the Assembly was
increased from 84 to 130 65 from each section of the province.
The Government of Messrs. La Fontaine and Baldwin had more
than once endeavoured to effect this change, but were unable
to secure the requisite two-thirds majority prescribed in
the Union Act. Mr. Brown condemned the system of equal
VOL. i. H
representation, and moved an amendment to the effect 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 which he was defeated.
This measure involved a redistribution of the constituencies,
and the arrangement proposed by the Government was resisted
by the Opposition on the ground of the unfair advantage which
it gave to the Government supporters in Upper Canada. The
Clear-Grits, on this occasion, stood by the Government, and the
Eedistribution Bill passed the Assembly by sixty-one votes
to sixteen. An Act extending the elective franchise was also
passed, to take effect from the 1st of January, 1855.
Another important step taken by the House during this
session was the adoption of an address to Her Majesty praying
for a grant of power to the Canadian Legislature to alter the
constitution of the Upper House by rendering the same elective.
The resolutions were introduced and carried through by the
Provincial Secretary, Mr. Morin, whose hobby it was, and
opposed by Mr. Brown, who contended that two elective
Houses are incompatible with the true working of the British
The close of the session of 1852-53 saw the breach between
the Government and the Clear-Grit party sensibly widened,
and the Ministry correspondingly weakened. For many months,
as we have seen, George Brown had been urging upon the
Government the extreme desirability of proving their sincerity
by dealing with the clergy reserves question. Mr. Hincks had
again and again declared himself in favour of secularization,
and had persuaded two of his French-Canadian colleagues in
the Ministry to state their agreement with his views ; yet, when
urged to legislate, his invariable reply was that, until the
necessary Imperial legislation was passed, giving them power
to deal with the subject, it was futile to attempt anything.
The Imperial Act conferring on the Canadian Legislature the
long sought for powers passed in May, 1853. Upon this fact
being announced the Clear-Grits renewed their demands for
an immediate settlement ; but the Government pleaded the
lateness of the session, and showed in a variety of ways that
they intended to do nothing.
1853.] JN OPPOSITION. 99
This policy of laisser-faire brought matters to a crisis.
Mr. Brown and his friends denounced the Government in
Parliament, in the press, and from the hustings, declaring that
they had at length thrown off the mask and stood before the
country in their true colours. The Globe, which had completely
lost its wits on the question of Eoman Catholicism, and saw
the cloven foot of the Papacy in everything, jeered at the
Administration as being wholly the slave of clerical influence.
The Gavazzi riots, which occurred in Montreal a few days
before the prorogation of Parliament, and the deplorable events
in connection therewith, afforded Mr. Brown an admirable
occasion to develop his theory, of which he took full advantage.
He was aided in this endeavour by the fact that the Mayor
of Montreal, who was accused of having given the fatal order
to fire a statement which he afterwards denied upon oath
happened to be a personal friend of Mr. Hincks. The circumstance
was seized upon by the Globe, as giving proof that the
Government were in some way compromised by the occurrence,
and that they were in a conspiracy with the Eoman Catholic
clergy to screen the guilty parties from justice. This calumnious
statement had the effect of still further exasperating the
French Canadians against Mr. Brown and his paper. It is not
improbable that much of the feeling that they displayed against
secularization which had no direct effect upon the Eoman
Church was not so much to be ascribed to any dislike of the
policy on its merits as because it was known to be the peculiar
hobby of George Brown. There is little doubt that if Mr.
Hincks had had a free hand he would have secularized in 1853.
He did not, because he felt that while such action on his part
would alienate a certain number of his Lower Canadian followers,
it would not secure for him any accession from the
ranks of the Clear-Grits or Eouges, between whom and the
Government there existed a gulf which no man could cross.
Prorogation took place on the 14th of June, on the understanding,
as the Opposition afterwards averred, that Parliament
should be called together not later than the month of February
following. Several changes took place in the Cabinet almost
immediately, which need not be detailed here. During the
summer the Ministry made up their minds not to legislate on
any of the troublesome questions before the next general
election. Their plan was to convene Parliament during the
following spring, pass a short measure bringing the Franchise
Act into immediate operation, prorogue as soon as possible, and
go to the country at their leisure.
In the autumn of 1853 the Governor General proceeded to
England, partly for personal reasons and partly to consult with
the Home Government upon the best means of improving
Canada’s commercial relations with the United States. He
was followed by Mr. Hincks, accompanied by whom Lord Elgin
returned to Canada in the spring of 1854.
During the winter it came to be understood that the
general election was not far distant, and all parties began
to arm for the fray. Mr. Macdonald, who had gradually become
recognized as the virtual leader of the Conservative party at
any rate in time of action directed the policy of the Conservative
opposition. That policy may be briefly described as
one of

progressive Conservatism,” and of conciliation towards
the French Canadians. With his acute perception he saw what
was before long apparent to every one, that the Clear-Grit
movement in Upper Canada was fast hastening the complete
disruption of the Liberal party. Of that revolt the head and
front was George Brown, and between George Brown and the
French there existed a mutual repulsion born of that most
bitter of all hates the odium theologicum. Ever since his
acquaintance with public affairs Mr. Macdonald had been alive
to the impossibility of carrying on a Government against which
the French Canadians were unitedly opposed. He realized the
fact that the alliance which had subsisted for some years
between the Eeformers of Upper Canada and the French
Canadians, by virtue of which the present Administration had
attained power, was the result of a combination of circumstances
which no longer existed. It was an unnatural union,
for the reason that these people, by their moral and religious
training, were a conservative race, and had no sympathy with
the ethics of Eadicalism. In 1846 he urged upon Mr. Draper
the wisdom of meeting the French half way. He repeated his
advice immediately before his entrance into the Government
of 1847 ; and I venture to think that had those negotiations
1854.] IN OPPOSITION. 101
been entrusted to him, the result would have been different.
The general election of 1847-48 confirmed him in his view,
and thenceforward he was more than ever careful to cultivate
friendly relations with the French party.*
Thus it will be seen that in 1854 Mr. Macdonald’s policy
was two-fold (1) to draw into the Conservative ranks all
men of moderate political views, no matter under what name
they had previously been known; (2) to bring the French
Canadians to a realization of the fact that their natural alliance
was with the Conservative party. In both directions he was
perhaps unconsciously, but not the less really aided by George
Brown, who, on the one hand, strove to detach from the Liberal
party those elements which were hopelessly antagonistic to
Conservatism, making by his unseemly violence the very name
of Eadical stink in the nostrils of those who remained ; and
on the other, proving daily to the French Canadians, in terms
more forcible than polite, that true Liberalism wanted no
alliance with them. Yet so bitter was the animosity of
Mr. Brown to the Hincks Government, that he was completely
blind to the consequences of his action in opposing them.
” Mr. Hincks must secularize or go out,” he had said ; and he
was determined that out he should go, no matter who came in.
I have in my possession an interesting letter written
about this time by Mr. Macdonald, which, notwithstanding its
highly confidential character, I think (considering it is forty
* It has been stated vide Mr. Mercier’s organs between 1885 and 1891, passim,
that Sir John Macdonald in his heart never liked the French-Canadian people. The
truth is, that, if he had any prejudices on the subject, they were in the contrary
direction. I have heard him again and again speak of the French Canadians in
terms of warm commendation. He rarely missed an opportunity of dwelling on their
many excellences of character, their moral and law-abiding disposition, and their
conservative ways ; while the quiet pastoral life of Lower Canada had for him a
perennial charm. Sir John was never so happy as when he could get away for a visit
to his country house at Riviere du Loup, and, once there, his friends know how
difficult it was to get him to leave it until his holiday was spent. Often have I heard
him say that he had no patience with those persons who, absolutely ignorant of everything
pertaining to Lower Canada and its people, affected, when speaking of French
Canadians, a tone of contemptuous dislike. I remember very well, on one occasion in
Toronto it was during the time of the Riel agitation, hearing some uncomplimentary
things said of the French Canadians by a popular speaker. I said to Sir John, in a
” I do not suppose Mr. has any personal knowledge of Lower Canada.”
“Not the slightest,” replied he, in a tone that indicated, – unmistakably, what he
thought of the sentiments which were then being expressed. ,
years old) I am justified in making public. It confirms much
of what I have said as to the Conservative “plan of campaign”
in 1854; and it effectually disposes of the insinuation,
sometimes heard, that during that election Sir John
Macdonald intrigued against his leader with a view to supplanting
Sir Allan MacNab. This letter, written to Mr.
Macdonald’s personal friend, Captain Strachan, bears on its
face the impress of perfect sincerity. The writer was evidently
expressing his inmost sentiments, to unfold which is the
principal object I have in view.


Kingston, February 9, 1854.
” You will pardon my not answering your note from
Trenton before, when I tell you that I have been prevented
from attending to business matters for some time on account
of my mother’s illness. I am delighted to learn that
Vankoughnet is to get a requisition. He is, I think, the best
choice that can be made for Toronto. His abilities are undoubted.
They are not confined, as Hillyard Cameron’s are,
to a good memory and a vicious fluency of speech. His mind
is liberal and suggestive, and his constituents will be sure that
their interests will never suffer for the purpose of forwarding
any selfish interests of his own. I trust he will be placed at
the head of the poll. Cameron was useful in legal matters
when in the House, but he lacks general intelligence, and is
altogether devoid of political reading ; so that he was altogether
a failure as a statesman. Lord Elgin truly called him ‘ a
presumptuous young gentleman.’ He seeks Parliament again
from selfish interests, and I would be sorry to see him represent
so powerful a constituency as Toronto. If he came in for
Niagara, or fought some doubtful county, it would be all very
well, and he could be kept in his place. I should have no
objection to see William Boulton in ; he can always be made
useful. By allowing him occasionally an opportunity of showing
off his eccentricities, he can be kept in harness generally.
I never found any difficulty in getting him to act with our
party. His chief fault is impatience. He destroyed two or
1854.] IN OPPOSITION. 103
three marvellously good plots of ours by premature disclosure.
However, with all his faults, let us have him, unless, indeed,
you can get George Allan in. I have not the pleasure of
knowing Mr. Allan, but, from all that I hear, he would be a
valuable addition to our feeble ranks. You say truly that we
are a good deal hampered with ‘ old blood.’ Sir Allan 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.
There is no chance of a change of Ministry before a general
election. 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.
” There would be a new House and new people to choose
from, and our aim should be to enlarge the bounds of our party
so as to embrace every person desirous of being counted as a
‘progressive Conservative,’ and who will join in a series of
measures to put an end to the corruption which has ruined the
present Government and debauched all its followers.

Meyers, I hope, will get in ; whatever his demerits may
be, his vote is always right. In fact, he never fails you;
and this, as you know, is a most valuable quality. D’Arcy
Boulton is, I suppose, the best man to run against Weller.
Your opinion and mine coincide about him ; but we must take I
people as we find them, and not look the gift horse in the I

If the two Boultons come in, it would be of great importance
that Mr. Cayley should be in also. He would serve to
keep them in order ; and from old acquaintance I can assure
you of his (Cayley’s) trustworthiness and ability as a statesman.
There is an opinion very prevalent in the country that
he is insincere and scheming. This arises altogether from his
manner, which he is conscious of but cannot amend. I can
assure you, however, that his merits far outweigh his faults.
If he can’t get in for Huron, he would lead the party admirably
in the ‘ Lords.’ I have pressed Lewis Wallbridge to run against
Eoss, and think he will come in. What say you to the rumour
of Eoss running for Toronto ? Take care that, amid a multiplicity
of candidates on our side, a Ead. may not succeed
especially a Ead. armed with the Crown patronage, which we
know would be unscrupulously exerted or, rather, distributed.
The only way to cure this is an early choice of candidates at
a Conservative caucus or convention. I am opposed to the
Yankee system of caucus as a general rule, but sometimes, as
in your case, it is the only way to avoid disunion. Benjamin,
if elected, is sure. He will not, for he dare not, break from
us. I am sorry to see Murney thrown over ; he has not done
much, but he has suffered much for his party, and if they can,
hereafter, he must not be overlooked. I have great fears for
Lennox and Addington. Seymour won’t come out again. We
are trying to get a nomination for my old partner, Alex. Campbell.
He is a worthy fellow, and all right.
“You had better destroy this after you have read it. I
have written with perfect candour, but I may have to act hereafter
with some of the ‘ Gemmen ‘ I have spoken of.

Pray let me hear from you occasionally. Believe me,
” Yours very faithfully,
( 105 )
THE period between 1849 and 1854 was one of material progress
in Canada a progress which, perhaps, can best be illustrated by
a short consideration of the initiation and development of its
railway policy. And first a word with reference to the canals.
The improvement of our inland navigation had long been
recognized as a work of paramount importance. In 1846 the
canal system of Canada was to a great extent completed, at a
cost to the province of not less than twenty millions of dollars.
The anticipations formed with regard to the volume of western
trade which would thereby be attracted to the St. Lawrence
route were just beginning to be realized when the repeal of
the Corn Laws and the consequent abolition of the differential
duties on foreign and colonial grain deprived the province of
the advantage over the United States in the English market
which it had formerly enjoyed, and, as a necessary result,
a large portion of the St. Lawrence trade was diverted to
American ports. In addition to this blow Canadian commerce
was further hampered by the Imperial navigation laws, which
restricted the carrying trade of the lakes to British vessels,
and was also injured by the policy of the Home Government
in subsidizing the Cunard line of steamers to Boston and
New York, thereby giving to these ports a further advantage
over the St. Lawrence route. In 1849 the navigation laws
were repealed by the Imperial Parliament, but, in the mean
time, the extension of railway communication within the
province had provided new channels for trade.
The first passenger railway in the world that between
Stockton and Darlington was opened on the 27th of September,
1825. Within a very few years of that date the idea of building
a line of railway to connect Canada with the maritime provinces
began to be mooted. Amid the stormy events of 1837-38 the
project was for a time lost sight of. But, while the rebellion
had the effect of temporarily arresting consideration of this
scheme of an intercolonial railway, it was ultimately the means
of drawing the attention of the Imperial Government to the
military advantage of a line of railway connecting Halifax
with Quebec, thus rendering Canada accessible to Her Majesty’s
forces at all seasons of the year. As this scheme would cost
a large sum of money, and as the colonies would be primarily
benefited thereby, it was thought right that they should contribute
to the expense of construction. The colonies admitted
the propriety of this decision, and, in 1846, the House of
Assembly authorized the co-operation of the Canadian Government
with the sister colonies of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick
in procuring a survey and a general estimate of the feasibility
and cost of a line of railway between Quebec and Halifax.
A survey was accordingly made, in the year 1848, by
Major Robinson and other officers selected by the Imperial
Government, but at the expense of the colonies. Several
lines were explored by Major Eobinson, but he reported the
one eventually adopted as preferable, although the longest and
most costly, for several reasons (principally of a military
nature) given by him. This route was considered by the
colonies at that time as being comparatively of small value
except in a military point of view. It was objected to as
being long and circuitous; as passing through a country but
little settled, and, consequently, as one that could not be
expected for years to make any pecuniary return on the cost
of construction. It was urged, therefore, that the interest on
any money borrowed by the provinces to build the railway
would fall entirely on their general revenues, a burden which
they were little able to bear. These considerations being
1849-54.] THE COALITION OF 1854. 107
strongly pressed on Earl Grey, then Secretary of State for
the Colonies, he acknowledged their justice ; and, in a
despatch dated March 14, 1851, agreed that the British
Government would guarantee the payment of the interest on
moneys borrowed by the provinces for the purpose of making
the road, on the condition that it should pass exclusively
through British territory ; but he stated that it need not of
necessity be built on Major Eobinson’s line. Any deviation
from that line was, however, to be subject to the approval of
Her Majesty’s Government.
Misapprehension arose between Lord Grey and Mr. Howe,
of Nova Scotia, then conducting the negotiation, as to whether,
in case Major Eobinson’s line were adopted, the Imperial
guarantee would not also be extended to a lateral railway
running from the main line through New Brunswick westward
to the frontier of the United States, known as the European
and North American Kailway. Acting on the belief that the
guarantee was to be so extended, the three provinces of
Canada, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia made an agreement
to construct the railway from Halifax to Quebec in equal
proportions, and proceeded to legislate on the matter with a
view to the immediate carrying out of the work. On its
being ascertained that the British Government had not
intended to grant the guarantee to the local line above referred
to, all the objections to Major Eobinson’s route revived, and
the arrangements between the provinces fell to the ground.
Anxiously desiring the construction of the railway, the
provinces, although much disappointed at the frustration of
their expectations, entered into a new agreement, to the effect
that, if the railway were built along the valley of the river
St. John, Nova Scotia would advance three-twelfths, Canada
four-twelfths, and New Brunswick five-twelfths of the cost
of construction.
This line promised great commercial advantages and a fair
pecuniary return, and, at the same time, satisfied the condition
imposed by the Imperial Government that it should
pass exclusively through British territory.*
* So much of the foregoing as relates to the project of an intercolonial railway is
taken almost verbatim from the original draft of a memorandum on the subject
In the early part of the year 1852, Messrs. Francis Hincks,
E. B. Chandler, and Joseph Howe were appointed delegates
from the provinces of Canada, New Brunswick, and Nova
Scotia, respectively, to proceed to England for the purpose of
submitting this scheme to the Imperial Government for their
sanction. Mr. Hincks sailed on the 4th of March, but Messrs.
Chandler and Howe were unavoidably detained. Mr. Hincks
therefore spent some time in London alone. A fortnight
later he was joined by Mr. Chandler, but still Mr. Howe’s
sailing was unaccountably delayed. After waiting six weeks
for him, Messrs. Hincks and Chandler received news that he
would not be able to come at all. The Canadian and New
Brunswick delegates were therefore obliged to conduct the
negotiations with which they had been charged without the
assistance of their Nova Scotia colleague. They were not long
kept in suspense, for on the 20th of May a despatch from Sir J.
Pakington, then Colonial Secretary, conveyed the intelligence
that Her Majesty’s Government disapproved of the proposed
deviation from the eastern line, and therefore found themselves
unable to recommend the required guarantee to Parliament.
The negotiations thus fell a second time to the ground. No
further action appears to have been taken by the Government
of Canada on the subject of the proposed intercolonial railway
until 1857.
This mission of Mr. Hincks to England in 1852, while a
failure as regards its primary object, was nevertheless attended
with highly important results. While awaiting in London the
arrival of his Nova Scotia co-delegate, he received a proposal
from certain eminent financiers, among whom were Messrs.
Peto, Brassey, Betts, and Jackson, to construct a railway from
Montreal to Hamilton, at which point it would join the Great
Western. Mr. Hincks was not slow to see that such a line
would be of far greater importance to the province of Canada
than the one he had come over to promote, respecting which the
chances of success were highly problematical, for it was known
prepared by Messrs. John A. Macdonald and John Rose, which was laid before the
Imperial Government in 1857 ; printed in appendix to Journals, House of Assembly,
for 1858, No. 49. See also appendix to Journals, House of Assembly, 1852-53, vol.
iii., Nos. P and Z; .”Reminiscences of the Hon. F. Hincks,” PP- 438-450;

Speeches and Letters of the Hon. Joseph Howe,” vol. ii. pp. 444-448.
1852.] THE COALITION OF 1854. 109
at an early period of the negotiations that Her Majesty’s
Government did not favour the route by the valley of the
St. John. Accordingly he entered into negotiations with the
above-named financiers, the outcome of which was the Grand
Trunk Eailway. Mr. Hincks was subsequently accused by
Mr. Howe of having sacrificed the interests of the maritime
provinces by throwing over the intercolonial project in order
that his hands might be free to negotiate for the western line,
in which he afterwards became personally interested. The
coincidence of the purely Canadian scheme arising, as it were,
out of the failure of the interprovincial undertaking created a
prejudice against Canadian public men in the mind of Mr. Howe,
a feeling which, as we shall see, was destined to bear fruit in
after years.
In 1845, Acts were passed by the Canadian Parliament *
and the Legislature of the State of Maine f incorporating, under
the name of the ” Saint Lawrence and Atlantic Eailroad Company,”
an international line of railway connecting Montreal and
Portland with a branch to the city of Quebec. This road was
subsequently acquired by and now forms part of the Grand
Trunk Eailway, not then in existence. In this session, also,
the Act of the Legislature of Upper Canada incorporating the
” London and Gore Eailway Company
” was revived.! By
another Act power was given to extend that road to the Detroit
Eiver and to any point on the Magara Eiver, and the name of
the railway was changed to that of the ” Great Western Eailroad.”
In 1849 an Act was passed empowering the Government to
guarantee the interest on one-half the cost of all railways not
less than seventy-five miles in extent chartered by the Provincial
Legislature.! Under this Act the above-named railways were
commenced. In consequence of representations made by
Messrs. Baring Bros, and Co., and Glyn, Mills and Co.,
financial agents of the Government in London, who feared
the effect of the indefiniteness of the general guarantee upon
the credit of the province, the governmental aid was afterwards
* 8 Viet., c. 25. t Statutes of Maine, 1845, c. 195.
I 4 Will. IV., c. 29. 8 Viet., c. 86.
|| 12 Viet., c. 29.
limited to one main trunk line of railway.* In 1852 the Grand
Trunk Railway Company was incorporated or, rather, two
companies bearing that name, one for the construction of a
railway from Toronto to Montreal,! the other, under the name of
the ” Grand Trunk Railway of Canada East,” for a line from
Quebec to Trois Pistoles.^ This line was never carried beyond
Riviere du Loup, which accordingly became the eastern terminus
of the Grand Trunk Railway. To these roads an advance was
made of 3000 per mile. During the same session an Act was
passed providing for the amalgamation of all the companies
forming the main trunk line, including the St. Lawrence and
Atlantic Railway.
The Great Western Railway, though a corporation distinct
from the Grand Trunk, was considered, for purposes of Government
aid, to form part of the main trunk line, while the line
which was subsequently amalgamated with the Grand Trunk
from Toronto westward was not entitled to any guarantee. On
the 18th of July, 1853, the Grand Trunk was opened to
Portland. The Great Western, between the Niagara and
Detroit Rivers, was opened in January, 1854 ; and the following
year witnessed the completion of the Grand Trunk from
Montreal to Brockville, and the Great Western between
Toronto and Hamilton.
The Grand Trunk Railway, which had up to that time
received from the Government of Canada under the provincial
guarantee nearly one million eight hundred thousand pounds
sterling, applied, during the session of 1854-55, to Parliament for
further financial aid, which, as the Government could not afford
to see the enterprise collapse, they were obliged to grant. A
Bill authorizing a loan of 900,000 was introduced and carried,
not without opposition from Messrs. George Brown and
Sandfield Macdonald, who considered that the Government
was too closely connected with the railway. || This large sum
* 14-15 Viet., c. 73. t 16 Viet., c. 37.
J 16 Viet., c. 38. 16 Viet., c. 39.
|| The Hon. Mr. Ross, Speaker of the Legislative Council, and a member of the
Government, was president of the Grand Trunk Railway. Mr. Cartier, likewise
a member of the Government, had been solicitor for the railway and was a shareholder
in the road, as was also Mr. Hincks. Nor was the Grand Trunk without influence on
the left of the Speaker. Mr. Holton was largely interested, and so was Mr. Gait.
1854.] THE COALITION OF 1854. Ill
of money, though affording temporary relief, was not sufficient
to enable the company to overcome its difficulties, and we
shall find the Grand Trunk applying more than once again
to Parliament for further pecuniary aid. Mr. Macdonald, in
company with Mr. Brown, strongly and persistently opposed
the grant to the Grand Trunk as proposed by Mr. Hincks in
1852, but all their efforts to defeat it were unavailing, and the
road became a fact. In 1855 he supported the further aid of
900,000, on the ground that the country having become
interested in the railway to the enormous extent of nearly two
millions of pounds sterling, which would be thrown away in
the event of the collapse of the company, it was the duty of the
Government to finish the undertaking.
Immediately after his return from England, in May, 1854,
Lord Elgin proceeded to Washington in the capacity of Imperial
High Commissioner, charged with the negotiation of a reciprocity
treaty between Canada and the United States. He
was accompanied by Mr. Hincks, who had previously visited
Washington on a similar errand. Contrary to general expectation,
Lord Elgin was successful in his mission, and, on the
5th of June, the arrangement subsequently known as the

Eeciprocity Treaty of 1854 ” was formally concluded. It
endured until 1866, when it was terminated by the United
In Lower Canada the sparseness of the Protestant population
and the slow progress of settlement on Crown grants prevented
the question of the clergy reserves from reaching the importance
which it attained in the Upper Province.* When, in 1760,
Lower Canada passed under English rule, the whole French
population outside of Montreal, Three Eivers, and Quebec
dwelt on lands bordering on the St. Lawrence Eiver and
extending back a comparatively short distance. Protestant
Indeed, that gentleman was supposed by some members of the Opposition to be so
closely identified with the railway that, when, in 1858, Mr. Cartier announced the
personnel of his Ministry, W. L. Mackenzie, who never was remarkable for selfcontrol,
shouted, at the mention of Mr. Gait’s name,
” Grand Trunk Jobber,” and,
according to the account of the debate, became ”
very much excited, and stamped and
gesticulated in a most ferocious manner.”
* Lord Durham, in his report, states that, in 1838, nineteen-twentieths of these
grants were then unsettled and in a perfectly wild state.
settlers coming into the country naturally preferred moving on
to Upper Canada and making their homes among their kindred,
the united-empire loyalists, to taking up lands in remote
districts of the French province. This fact, an impression
among those French Canadians who had heard of the clergy
reserves that they were the equivalent of privileges enjoyed
by the Church of Koine, and above all, the existence of graver
causes of discontent, sufficed to keep the question, so far as
Lower Canada was concerned, well in the background.
But if the French Canadians felt comparatively little interest
in the subject which so stirred the people of Upper Canada,
they were not without a similar grievance of their own. I
refer to the seigniorial tenure, which, after having been for
many years a cause of agitation, was finally settled by the
MacNab-Morin Government in 1854.
From the earliest times of the French occupation the Crown
lands of the Colony were granted under a species of feudal
tenure analogous to the system which prevailed in Europe in
the Middle Ages. These grants were made in large blocks of
land held of the king by the tenure of “faith and homage,”
which involved, in addition to certain formal acts of fealty,
performed at stated intervals, conditions more or less rigorous,
of which the obligation to clear the land within a limited time
on pain of forfeiture was, perhaps, the most important.
These vassals of the Crown, or seigniors, carried out the
feudal principle by subdividing their lands into holdings, which
they in turn granted to the tillers of the soil, the habitants,
who held by the inferior tenure, en roture, which consisted
in the obligation to make certain small annual payments in
money or farm produce, known as cens et rentes, to their feudal
superiors. These charges which, under the paternal government
of the French kings had been exceedingly light, grew more
onerous in later years, and were attended with other obligations
of a vexatious nature, imposed partly by custom and partly by
agreement, though seldom strictly enforced.
The principal grievance under which the censitaire laboured
was the charge known as lods et ventes, by which, at each
transfer of land, one-twelfth of the purchase-money went to
the seignior, who also was liable to a similar charge if he
1854.] THE COALITION OF 1854. 113
sold his seigniory. In his case the amount was called a
being one-fifth of the purchase-money.
As time went on, this mediaeval system of land laws was
felt to be more and more unsuited to the nineteenth century,
and, as in the case of the clergy reserves in Upper Canada,
professional agitators were not wanting to inflame popular
discontent. The Eadical portion of the community was in
favour of settling the question by the simple process of confiscation,
but moderate men of all parties admitted that the
seigniors of their day were not responsible for a system which
had been in vogue two hundred years, and recognized the
justice, in the event of the abolition of the tenure, of their
right to compensation.
In Mr. Macdonald’s first session there was passed an Act
providing for an optional commutation of the tenure of lands
held en roture into that offranc-aleu roturier, which corresponds
to the English tenure of free and common socage. Inasmuch,
however, as no change could be effected under this Act without
the mutual consent of seignior and censitaire in every case,
this legislation gave but little relief to the habitants. As
originally introduced, it promised something in the direction
of reform, for on the journals of the Assembly of February 17,
1845, I find the following order of the House :
” That it be an instruction to the said committee to expunge from the
Bill so much as provides for any compulsory commutation, leaving the
commutation to be entirely free and optional with the parties, and in no
case by constraint.”
The amending Act of 1849 merely repeals certain parts
of the Act of 1845 relating to seigniories and fiefs held by
religious communities and corporate bodies. The question of
abolition frequently came up in Parliament during the Administrations
of Messrs. La Fontaine and Hincks, but these
Governments were unable to devise any scheme which would
satisfy all parties, and nothing was done. In 1853 a measure
reducing such rents as were held to be exorbitant passed the
Lower House,* but was rejected by the Legislative Council,
* Mr. Macdonald and his friends opposed the BUI of 1853. The reasons I give in
his own words :
” We opposed the Seigniorial Bill of that day because its proposition
was simply to lower the rentes, which were thought to be too high, and to compensate
and the seigniorial tenure, like the clergy reserves, was
destined to remain a while longer the sport of demagogues.
I have mentioned that, when Parliament separated in
June, 1853, it was on the understanding that it should meet
again in the month of February following; but, as a matter
of fact, the session did not open until the 13th of June, 1854.
During recess, the Parliament Buildings at Quebec had been
destroyed by fire, and the Legislature was forced to seek temporary
quarters. The Speech from the Throne recommended the
bringing into immediate operation the Franchise Act, but
made no allusion to the absorbing questions of the clergy
reserves and the seigniorial tenure. The Government’s resolve
to do nothing in this Parliament soon became generally known,
and gave much dissatisfaction, not merely to the Clear- Grits,
but to many who until that time had been staunch supporters
of the Administration. In August, 1853, Mr. Sicotte, M.P.P.
for St. Hyacinthe, accepted the Commissionership of Crown
Lands, on the assurance, he afterwards stated, of Mr. Hincks,
that there was to be no change in the policy of the Government,
and that the business left over from last session would be proceeded
with in the next. Mr. Sicotte took an early opportunity
of stating to the House that, as soon as he found that the
clergy reserves and seigniorial tenure measures were not to
be taken up, he resigned. To the Clear-Grits this announcement
was the confirmation of what they had been proclaiming
for the past two years, and was eagerly seized upon by
Mr. Brown as affording the opportunity for one of his sledgehammer
attacks upon the Administration. During the debate
upon the Address at the opening of the first session of that
Parliament, he had stated that, while his faith in the declarations
of the Ministry was very small, he was not quite prepared
to prefer the Tories to them. He would, therefore, give them
a little more time. Two years had passed, and still the clergy
reserves were in precisely the same position as in 1852, notwithstanding
the oft-repeated assurances of various members
the seigniors out of the general revenue. ‘
This,’ said I,
‘ does not relieve Lower
Canada from the seigniorial system. We are quite willing to remove that curse from
Lower Canada, if you will sweep it away entirely.’

(Speech at St. Catharines,
1854.] THE COALITION OF 1854. 115
of the Government that they were favourable to secularization.
Their excuse had been that the Imperial Government would
not move in the matter, and that, until, by the repeal of the
Act of 1840, power was given them to legislate, they could do
nothing. The necessary Imperial legislation had been passed
early in the year 1853; here was midsummer of 1854, and
still the Government made no sign rnay, they had stated their
full determination to do absolutely nothing. It was plain that
some evil influence dominated the Ministry, and that it was
folly to look for any remedial legislation from them. Better
were the Tories with all their faults. Thus reasoned George
Brown, under whose command the little group of dissentient
Liberals had grown into a formidable band. “Mr. Hincks
must either secularize or go out,” had been the burden of the
Globe’s articles for the past year. He would not secularize
the alternative was plain. Nothing, therefore, remained but
to join hands with the Tories for his expulsion from power.
The first shot was fired by Sir Allan MacNab, who accused
the Government of deliberately keeping the leading questions
of the day open for election purposes. He was followed by
Mr. Macdonald, who stated that the Leader of the Government
had given a positive promise that Parliament would be called
in February. That promise had amounted to a pledge, and
the honour of the Ministry had been violated.
Mr. Hincks, in effect, denied that the promise had been
without qualification, and gave as reasons for the delay (1) the
absence of the Governor General in England, (2) the burning
of the Parliament Buildings, and (3) the treaty negotiations.
These reasons, however plausible they may have been, were
generally looked upon as mere excuses, there being a pretty
general belief that the Government was debarred from dealing
with the questions of the clergy reserves and seigniorial tenure
by an irreconcilable difference of opinion among its members
as to the details of the settlements. Mr. Hincks, in the course
of his remarks, stated the determination of the Ministry to
oppose legislation on any vexed questions, and to bring the
session to a close with as little delay as possible.
Mr. Brown corroborated the statement of Mr. Macdonald
that a distinct promise had been given to call Parliament in
February. The Inspector General had urged, among other
reasons for the delay, the fire, but that could not in any way
have influenced the action of the Government, as it did not
take place until February, whereas, if the Ministry had intended
to keep their word, the necessary proclamation would have
been issued in December.
On the 19th of June, Mr. Cauchon moved, in amendment to
the Address, “that this House sees with regret that his
Excellency’s Government do not intend to submit to the
Legislature during the present session a Bill for the immediate
settlement of the seigniorial question.” Mr. Hartman (Clear-
Grit) followed this up by another amendment, expressing the
regret of the House that His Excellency had not been advised
to recommend during the present session a measure for the
secularization of the clergy reserves and also a measure for the
abolition of the seigniorial tenure.
A vigorous debate followed, Mr. Macdonald leading the
Opposition forces. In a speech, characterized by the press
of the day as being one of remarkable power, he censured the
Government for having ventured to treat Parliament with a
discourtesy, which, so far as his knowledge went, was without
parallel in the whole range of constitutional Government. The
truth was that the Government’s majority was rapidly growing
less, and the leader was afraid to take any decided step lest it
should vanish altogether. A short session, burdened with as
few unpleasant discussions as possible, was what they desired.
It might be said that he (Mr. Macdonald) did not want the
clergy reserves secularized this session. That might be quite
true, and yet not lighten in any degree the responsibility of the
Administration, who had pledged themselves to do certain
things and had not even attempted to perform them. Had
they not promised the people of Upper Canada in their speeches
last year that they would secularize during the present session ?
Yet here was dissolution approaching and not a step taken to
redeem their solemn pledge. What guarantee had the House
that the Government would advise dissolution after prorogation
? Why should men who have broken their word in one
matter be trusted to keep it in another ?
This speech gave the key-note to the combined forces of the
1854.] THE COALITION OF 1854. 117
Opposition. Mr. Hartman’s amendment was lost, the Conservatives
voting with the Government. Mr. Cauchon’s amendment
came next in order. It did not touch the question of the
clergy reserves, but, just before the question was called, a subamendment
was moved by Mr. Sicotte and accepted by
Mr. Cauchon, to the effect that the words “or one for the
immediate settlement of the clergy reserves

be added thereto.
The Clear-Grits were clamorous for secularization, which would
have been a settlement of the question. The Conservatives
wanted a return to the Act of 1840, which also would have been
a settlement. This ambiguous phrase was one upon which the
various sections of the Opposition Conservatives, Clear-Grits
and Eouges could unite. Mr. Sicotte’s amendment was carried
by forty-two votes to twenty-nine, and the Government thereby
defeated by a majority of thirteen.
Mr. Hincks immediately moved the adjournment of the
House until the 22nd inst. On the morning of that day it
began to be rumoured that a coup d’etat was meditated, being
nothing less than an immediate prorogation with a view to
enable the members of the Government to go to the country
while occupying the vantage ground of office. Lord Elgin, who
by reason of his skill in investing with absolute secrecy the
most violent and unlooked-for measures, merited far more than
did Sir Charles Metcalfe the character of “subtle,” lent his
assistance to this unusual proceeding, and it was only on the
morning of the 22nd that a rumour of the impending prorogation
got abroad. As soon as the Speaker had taken the chair,
Sir Allan MacNab asked the leader of the Government if it
were the intention of His Excellency to prorogue Parliament
Mr. Hincks laconically answered,
” Yes.”
“Without altering the Franchise Bill so as to bring it
into immediate operation ?

” Of course,” replied Mr. Hincks.

Then,” the leader of the Opposition rejoined (here Black
Bod was heard giving the usual knocks),
” I have to say for
myself and my friends that we are ready to give our assistance
to pass that Bill in order to make it available at the next
election. We are also ready to pass the supplies, or to do
anything else to enable the Government to be carried on in the
best manner. It is not necessary for me to remark on this
step, taken suddenly without affording the country the means
of understanding the reasons. We are ready to return a
respectful reply to the Speech, and, if the common sense of the
House insert in that reply sentiments not in accordance with
those of gentlemen opposite, they ought not to have shrunk
from the responsibility of presenting it. By advising His
Excellency to do what I take to be a breach of the constitution,
they have prevented the House from giving its views to the
Governor General.”
At the conclusion of Sir Allan MacNab’s remarks the
Sergeant-at-Arms, who had been standing for some minutes,
advanced and made the customary announcement. Ere the
Speaker could say a word, William Lyon Mackenzie arose and
expressed his entire agreement with the remarks of the learned
and gallant knight. The Governor General had recommended
to their consideration the passing of a law for bringing into
immediate operation the Act of last session extending the
electoral franchise, in order that a constitutional expression of
opinion might be obtained as speedily as possible. Would he
deprive the country of that constitutional right simply because
the House had ventured respectfully to express its regret that
upon two subjects he had made no suggestions ? Before
sitting down, Mr. Mackenzie asked permission to introduce a
Bill bringing into effect the Franchise Act immediately. No
sooner had he taken his seat than Mr. Macdonald sprang to
his feet, and began to speak amid great excitement. The
House, he said, was ready to return a respectful answer to His
Excellency. (Here Mr. Mackenzie advanced towards the
Speaker’s Chair with his motion.) In the mean time Black
Bod had been admitted to the chamber. Mr. Sherwood rose to
a point of order. The messenger, he said, had been admitted
without the consent of the House. Mr. Macdonald, still standing,
declared that he stood there for the liberties of the people
of Canada. Here the uproar became so deafening that nothing
was intelligible, the Speaker standing as if to speak, while
above the din could be heard the stentorian tones of George
Brown, who, in a whirlwind of passion, launched his bitterest
1854.] THE COALITION OF 1854. 119
invectives at the retreating forms of the members of the
Government as they wended their way to the Upper House.
There is little doubt that these gentlemen, as they traversed the
interval between the music hall (where the Assembly sat) and
the Court House, which temporarily served the purpose of the
Legislative Council Chamber, congratulated one another upon
having accomplished their design without resistance on the
part of the Assembly ; for, while the proceedings that I have
described indicated the strong feeling entertained by individual
members against the Governor’s high-handed act, still the
House as a body had expressed no disapproval of it, and
nothing would appear on its journals to show that it had not
been an assenting party to its own violent end. Some idea,
therefore, may be had of the surprise with which Lord Elgin
and his Ministers, who had summoned the Assembly to hear
the speech which they had prepared, listened to the following
communication, which the Speaker of the Assembly, immediately
on reaching the Chamber, addressed the Governor General :
” May it please Your Excellency ; It has been the immemorial custom of
the Speaker of the Commons’ House of Parliament to communicate to the
Throne the general result of the deliberations of the Assembly upon the
principal objects which have employed the attention of Parliament during
the period of their labours. It is not now part of my duty thus to address your
Excellency, inasmuch as there has been no Act passed or judgment of
Parliament obtained, since we were honoured by Your Excellency’s announcement
of the cause of summoning the Parliament by your gracious Speech
from the Throne. The passing of an Act through its several stages according
to the law and custom of Parliament (solemnly declared applicable to the
Parliamentary proceedings of this Province, by a decision of the Legislative
Assembly of 1841), is held to be necessary to constitute a session of Parliament.
This we have been unable to accomplish, owing to the command
which Your Excellency has laid upon us to meet you this day for the purpose
of prorogation. At the same time, I feel called upon to assure Your
Excellency, on the part of Her Majesty’s faithful Commons, that it is not
from any want of respect to yourself, or to the August Personage whom you
represent in these Provinces, that no answer has been returned by the
Legislative Assembly to your gracious Speech from the Throne.”
During the reading of this skilfully worded rebuke, at which
Lord Elgin showed visible annoyance, Mr. Hincks had leisure to
reflect upon the fact that its author was the man to whom he
had refused the office of Attorney General, and afterwards
sought to satisfy with the Speakership. Other thoughts, perhaps,
in connection with the same subject entered into his mind
and remained there.
Of this remonstrance on the part of the Commons, Lord
Elgin took no notice. Parliament was prorogued in the usual
form, and immediately afterwards dissolved. The elections
were held in July and August, and were conducted with a good
deal of spirit on all sides. The issue was simply one of confidence
in the Administration. At the opening of the campaign
it was known that the Clear-Grits were prepared to go all
lengths, even to the extent of uniting with the Conservatives,
to overthrow the Government. George Brown’s whole course
throughout this campaign shows that he was ready for coalition
with the Tories, and not only prepared, but eager for such an
alliance, by means of which, as he nattered himself, he saw his
way to power. The Globe openly supported the candidatures of
Sir Allan MacNab, Messrs. Cayley and Macdonald against their
Ministerial opponents.
Mr. Macdonald’s opponent in Kingston was Mr. John
Counter, a local man, whom he easily defeated. Sir Allan
MaoNab, Messrs. Cayley, Eobinson, and other leading Conservatives
were re-elected; as also were Mr. Brown (who
defeated Malcolm Cameron), William Lyon Mackenzie, and
other leading Clear-Grits. Mr. Hincks was returned for two
constituencies, but Mr. Morin was defeated in Terrebonne, and
compelled to find a seat elsewhere. Mr. Papineau did not
offer for re-election, and his place as leader of the Eouges
was filled by Mr. A. A. Dorion, one of the newly chosen
members for Montreal.
The general result of the elections indicated the approaching
defeat of the Government. The Ministerialists, while they had
made a good fight, and succeeded perhaps better than any one
expected, were not equal to the combined forces of Conservatives,
Clear-Grits, and Eouges, all of whom were quite determined
upon the expediency of defeating the Government on
the first opportunity.
Parliament met on the 5th of September. The Government
candidate for the Speakership was Mr. (afterwards Sir) George
1854.] THE COALITION OF 1854. 121
E. Cartier, member for Vercheres. The choice of the Clear-
Grits was John Sandfield Macdonald, who received the support
of the Upper Canadian Conservatives, while the Lower Canadian
Opposition brought forward Mr. Sicotte.
The motion that Mr. Cartier take the chair was defeated by
a vote of sixty-two to fifty-nine. Mr. Sicotte was next put
forward, though not with any hope of success. His supporters
were few, and the Upper Canadian Opposition confidently
expected the election of Mr. J. S. Macdonald by the aid of
Mr. Sicotte’s friends. But Mr. Hincks had not forgotten the
prorogation scene of a few weeks before, nor the man who,
speaking in the name of the Commons’ House of Parliament,
had publicly read him a lesson on constitutional procedure.
While he might not be able to avert defeat, he was yet strong
enough to punish John Sandfield Macdonald by preventing his
re-election to the position which, in Mr. Hincks’ judgment, he
had used to insult the Governor General and himself. Accordingly,
just as the clerk had finished reading the names of those
who voted for Mr. Sicotte, and was about to call for the ”
Mr. Hincks rose.
” Put me among the ‘

he said. He
was followed by Mr. Morin and the whole body of the Ministerialists,
thus electing Mr. Sicotte by a majority of thirtyfive,
greatly to the chagrin of Mr. J. S. Macdonald and his
friend George Brown, who, a few days before, in the fulness of
anticipation, had written him as follows :
” Of course I think that in any case we must put you in as Speaker, in
order to show our approval of your closing speech last session. Your being
in the chair would not, I suppose, interfere with your accepting the Attorney
Generalship and forming a Ministry, in the event of a hostile reply to the
Address being carried.”
The election of Mr. Sicotte, while affording Mr. Hincks the
gratification of his revenge, was in other respects without result.
The Lower Canadian Opposition were not conciliated thereby,
and the fact remained that the Government had, in their failure
to elect Mr. Cartier, experienced a defeat on the first day of the
session. In conformity with constitutional usage, however,
they declined to accept the vote on the Speakership as necessarily
implying want of confidence in the Administration, and
determined to hold on, pending further action on the part of the
Assembly. Two days later a question of privilege was raised in
relation to the case of Mr. Brodeur, who had been appointed
returning officer for Bagot, had returned himself as duly elected,
and had taken his seat accordingly. The Opposition pressed
for an immediate inquiry. The Attorney General moved the
adjournment of the debate, which was put and lost by a majority
of 15, the vote standing 61 to 46, whereupon the Ministry at
once resigned, and Sir Allan MacNab, as leader of the regular
Opposition, was called upon to form a new Administration.
The task was no light one. In a House of 130 members, Sir
Allan’s following numbered no more than 40, less than onethird
of the whole. The defeated party numbered 55, the Eouges
and Clear-Grits combined about 35. 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. Under these circumstances Sir Allan MacNab had just
two courses open to him he must give up the task altogether,
or invite the co-operation of some member of the Assembly outside
of the Conservative party. But there was no reason why
he should give up which would not apply with equal force to
any other public man who might attempt the task. There had
to be a junction of forces, and it was extremely desirable, from
a Tory point of view, that in such a coalition the Conservative
party should have the controlling voice.
Sir Allan MacNab, therefore, resolved upon trying his hand
at forming a new Government. His first step was to secure
the active co-operation of Mr. Macdonald, to whom he offered
the Attorney Generalship for Upper Canada. Mr. Macdonald’s
policy was, no doubt, well known to his chief. Months before,
he had declared it to Captain Strachan. ” Our aim should be,”
he wrote,

to enlarge the bounds of our party so as to embrace
every person desirous of being counted as a progressive
Conservative ;

and, in the event of a change of Ministry,
” from
my friendly relations with the French, I am inclined to believe
that my assistance would be sought.” The inference is plain as
to the direction in which, in Mr. Macdonald’s opinion, the
bounds of the party should be enlarged. Sir Allan promptly
availed himself of his colleague’s

friendly relations with the
French.” Through him he entered into negotiations with
1854.] THE COALITION OF 1854. 123
Mr. Morin, the leader of the Lower Canadian wing of the late
Cabinet. These gentlemen were not long in coming to an
understanding, and on the llth of September the new Ministry
was announced as follows :
The Hon. E. P. Tache, Keceiver General.
The Hon. John A. Macdonald, Attorney General, U.C.
The Hon. A. K Morin, Commissioner of Crown Lands.
The Hon. L. T. Drummond, Attorney General, L.C.
The Hon. J. Chabot, Chief Commissioner of Public Works.
The Hon. John Eoss, without portfolio.*
The Hon. P. J. 0. Chauveau, Provincial Secretary.
The Hon. Sir Allan MacNab, President of the Council and
Minister of Agriculture.
The Hon. William Cayley, Inspector General.
The Hon. Eobert Spence, Postmaster General.
Of these, Messrs. MacNab, Cayley, and Macdonald were
straight Conservatives. Messrs. Tache, Morin, Drummond,
Chabot, and Chauveau comprised the Lower Canadian wing of
the late Administration. The followers of Messrs. MacNab and
Morin together formed a majority of the House, but the latter
gentleman, who was most anxious that his late allies in Upper
Canada should be parties to the coalition, urged the expediency
of securing the co-operation of Mr. Hincks’ friends. The
ex-Premier, while not seeing his way to join the Administration,
expressed his approval of the arrangements, and promised his
own support and that of those who acted with him, on the
understanding that two of his political friends from Upper
Canada should have seats in the new Government. Sir Allan
accepted Mr. Hincks’ proposals, and Messrs. Eoss and Spence,
the former of whom had been in the late Cabinet, were invited
to join the Administration. The basis of the coalition was an
agreement to carry out the principal measures foreshadowed in
the Speech from the Throne the change in the constitution
of the Legislative Council, the abolition of the seigniorial tenure,
and the secularization of the clergy reserves.
Such was the beginning of the great Liberal-Conservative
party, which, almost constantly since 1854, has controlled the
* Mr. Ross was Speaker of the Legislative Council from the llth of September,
1854, to the 18th of April, 1856.
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 acted in the best interests of their common country.
The Eouges and Clear-Grits were, as a matter of course,
greatly crestfallen at the turn of events. There is reason to
believe that Mr. Brown fully expected to be invited by Sir
Allan MacNab to assist in the delicate task which the Governor
General had intrusted to the latter, and that he was prepared
to make the sacrifice. It is certain, however, that when he
found out how matters stood, his disappointment, or at any
rate disapprobation, knew no bounds. No language was strong
enough to depict the


of Messrs. MacNab, Macdonald,
and Cayley for their
” abandonment of principle

in coalescing
with men whom they had opposed, and agreeing to carry out
measures which they had unsparingly condemned. Yet, situated
as they were, they had to unite with somebody, and with whom
was it more reasonable that they should ally themselves ?
With extreme Liberals, or with those men whose very conservatism
was the cause of their defeat ? I have already stated
that the party created by Mr. La Fontaine, and afterwards led by
Mr. Morin, had really nothing in common with the Liberals of
Upper Canada that they were, when the echoes of the rebellion
died away, the Conservatives of the Lower Province. Early in
this year (1854) we find Mr. Cauchon, one of these so-called
“Liberals,” declaring “that there never had been any cordial
union between the Upper Canadian Liberals and the majority
of the French from Lower Canada.” And, indeed, the same
thing had been said by the Globe for the past three years.
So far, then, as the coalition itself was concerned, there was
really nothing to prevent Sir Allan MacNab joining hands
with Mr. Morin, and still less, if possible, in the case
of Mr. Macdonald, who never was other than a moderate
As for the charge against the Conservatives of abandonment
of principle in pledging themselves to carry out immediately
the policy of secularization, Sir John Macdonald has told us, in
a speech delivered by him during the campaign of 1861, that in
1853, when there was a prospect of dissolution by the Hincks
1854.] THE COALITION OF 1854. 125
Government, the Conservative Opposition, then numbering
nineteen, met together to talk over their future policy. The
gathering was not a secret one, for several editors of Conservative
newspapers were invited to be present, and did
attend. At that meeting it was shown that a large and
increasing number of those who had formerly served with the
Conservative party had declared in favour of secularization.
It was urged that the party should give up further opposition
to that policy that by their present course they were only
retaining a hobby horse for demagogues to ride into power.
Finally, it was resolved to leave it an open question, and if,
after the election, it should be found that the desire of the
people of Upper Canada was for secularization, the Conservative
party would no longer oppose it.
The result of the election left no doubt as to the wishes of
the people, and the Conservatives, following the precedents set
by the Duke of Wellington in 1829 and Sir Robert Peel in
1846, simply bowed to the inevitable. Mr. Macdonald’s views
on the question were as they had ever been. He was of
opinion that the settlement provided by the Imperial Act of
1840 should have remained undisturbed. Through no fault
of his nay, despite his strenuous opposition, the agitation
had been renewed by men whose only thought was to stir up
disaffection in the province, in the hope that they might profit
thereby. Their efforts had been successful to such an extent
that the question threatened to assume that form which it did
in 1836, when as William Lyon Mackenzie, a high authority
on the point, declared it was, in Upper Canada, the principal
cause of the rebellion. Meanwhile the Imperial Act
had been amended, and full power to legislate thrown back on
the Canadian Legislature. Such was the position in which the
Conservatives found themselves when their leader was called
upon to form an administration. It was all important that
the question should be settled at once and for ever, so that
Canada’s prospects might not be destroyed and the country
reduced to a state of anarchy by an agitation which was one
of sentimental origin rather than of importance to its material
well-being. And if secularization had to come, surely it was
better that the settlement ‘should be entrusted to those men
‘ who had always striven to preserve the individual rights of
property acquired under the clergy reserves grant, rather than
to those whose cry had ever been that there were no individual
rights in the premises, and whose policy was nothing short of
The action of the Conservative leaders in forming a coalition
with the moderate Liberals, while highly distasteful to the Clear-
Grits, whom it bade fair to exclude permanently from office,
commended itself to men whose judgment and honesty of purpose
were at least equal to Mr. George Brown’s. As regards the
alliance between the Conservatives of Upper Canada and the
moderate party among the French Canadians, Mr. A. A. Dorion,
the Eouge leader, himself bore witness in public to its propriety.*
On the other hand, the course of Sir Allan MacNab and his
friends was completely justified in the opinion of Mr. Hincks.
That gentleman, in a letter to his friend Mr. John Wilson, M.P.
for London, whom, at the beginning of the crisis, he had in view
as a possible successor to himself, says
“I shall, however, at all times maintain that the course taken by Sir
Allan MacNab was excusable under the circumstances. A considerable
number, probably a majority, of the party with which he acted had come
into Parliament pledged to secularization, and, moreover, the public opinion
of the country had just been unequivocally expressed on that as well as the
other questions at issue. It was, no doubt, a great sacrifice of feeling for
Sir Allan MacNab to make, but in the state of parties in the House, I do
maintain most unhesitatingly that no Government could be formed except by
means of coalition of some kind, and, in point of fact, there is no very material
difference between the present coalition and any which could have been
formed under your leadership.” f
Nor was Mr. Hincks alone in this view. Among the Liberals
of Upper Canada there was no man whose opinion carried more
weight than Eobert Baldwin, at that time living in retirement
near Toronto. For several years Mr. Baldwin had taken no
part in public affairs, but at this crisis he broke his silence to
express approval of what had been done. The following letter,
* Mr. Dorion considered that the union between Mr. Morin and the Conservatives
was quite natural. It was one which he had long expected, and that expectation was
one of the reasons which made him and his party separate from that of the honourable
member for Chicoutimi (Debate on the Address, September 13, 1854).
t From the Hon. Francis Hincks to Mr. John Wilson, dated Quebec, September
14, 1854.
1854.] THE COALITION OF 1854. 127
written by the great ex-leader of the Liberal party, did much to
cement the alliance between the Conservatives and those who,
among the elder men of the Liberal-Conservative party in
Ontario at this day, nearly forty years after the event which
I narrate here, are known as ” Baldwin Eeformers.”

Spadina, September 22, 1854.
“It is not easy for persons to satisfy themselves fully as to what
they would themselves have done under a given combination of circumstances
in which they have not been placed, and certainly in no department of human
affairs is this more true than in politics. The materials with which one has
to deal are so various, the prejudices to encounter often so violent (and not
infrequently unjust in proportion to their violence) that the public man who
boldly affirms in a spirit of condemnation, that, had he been in the position of
another, he would have done one thing and not have done another, must be
either deficient in experience, or in judgment, or reckless of assertion. If,
therefore, by its being
‘ on all sides said that I would never consent to a coalition,’
it is meant, in that way, to draw a contrast between us to your prejudice,
all that I can say is, that those who undertake thus to speak for me undertake
to do so far more positively than I could presume to do myself. For,
however disinclined myself to adventure on such combinations, they are
unquestionably, in my opinion, under certain circumstances, not only justifiable
but expedient, and even necessary. The government of the country must
be carried on. It ought to be carried on with vigour. If that can be done in
no other way than by mutual concessions and a coalition of parties, they
become necessary. And those who, under such circumstances, assume the
arduous duty of becoming parties to them, so far from deserving the opprobrium
that is too frequently and often too successfully heaped upon them, have, in
my opinion, the strongest claims upon public sympathy and support. You
have expressed yourself most anxious for my opinion. I feel therefore that
I should fail in doing by you what, under similar circumstances, I should
expect from you, were I to omit applying the foregoing remarks to the
particular transaction which has given occasion to them; with respect to
which, then, I add without reserve, that, in my opinion, you appear to have
acted in this matter with judgment and discretion in the interest at once of
your party and your country.
” Believe me to be, my dear sir,
” Yours truly,
” Hon. Francis Hincks, M.P.P.”
Despite the prophetic utterances of the Globe and the Clear-
Grits, as to the short-lived existence of this

unholy alliance

between the Conservative party and the moderate Beformers,
the coalition was for the time successful. The members who
accepted office in the Ministry were all re-elected, and a very
few divisions in the Assembly served to show that a breaking
up and re-formation of parties had been effected. The followers
of Messrs. Hincks and Morin, with scarcely an exception, united
heartily with the Conservatives in support of the Ministry, the
Opposition to which was practically confined to the Clear-Grits
and the Eouges, who, on their part, combined to form a new
Liberal party. At first they were a mere handful, and during
the session of 1854-55 the ” immoral combination

found itself
strong in the support of at least two-thirds of the Assembly.
The Government lost no time in bringing down the measures
upon the basis of which the coalition had been formed. On the
21st of September, a Bill for giving effect on the part of Canada
to the Eeciprocity Treaty between Her Majesty and the United
States was introduced by Mr. Attorney General Drummond, and
passed unanimously. The Speech from the Throne announced
that the Imperial Parliament, in response to the Assembly’s
request of the previous year, had passed an Act empowering the
Canadian Parliament to alter the constitution of the Legislative
Council. On the 27th of September a Bill was introduced by
Mr. Morin, providing for the application of the elective principle
to the Upper House. This measure was resisted by Mr. Brown
for the same reasons which led him to oppose the Address of the
previous year. It passed the Assembly, however, by a vote of
seventy-one to nine, but was rejected by the Legislative
The Bill for the secularization of the clergy reserves was
introduced in the Assembly by Mr. Macdonald on the 17th of
October, and gave rise to a prolonged debate, in the course
of which the well-trodden ground was again gone over. The
measure provided in effect that in future the moneys arising
from the clergy reserves in each part of the province should
form a separate fund, to be called respectively the Upper Canada
Municipalities Fund, and the Lower Canada Municipalities
Fund. The annual stipends or allowances which had been
given to the clergy of the Churches of England and Scotland,
and other denominations of Christians in either section of the
1854.] THE COALITION OF 1854. 129
province under the Imperial Act of 1840, to which the faith of
the Crown had been pledged, should continue to be paid during
the natural lives or the incumbencies of the persons receiving
the same, and should be a first charge on the municipalities
fund for that section of the province, in preference to all other
charges or expenses whatever. In the case of the Eoman
Catholic Church in Upper Canada, and of the British Wesleyan
Methodist Church for Indian Missions, the payment of the
annual allowance was to cease on the expiration of twenty
years from the date of the passing of the Act. Provision was
made for an optional commutation within a limited period of
such annual stipends, or allowances for the value thereof, to be
calculated at the rate of 6 per cent, per annum upon the
probable life of each annuitant. This clause met with much
opposition, and was carried only with difficulty. Subject to
these charges, the whole of the proceeds of the reserves was to
be divided equally among the several county and city municipalities
in proportion to population.
In a speech delivered in London in the year 1860,
Mr. Macdonald thus alluded to this memorable piece of
legislation :
” You know that in 1840 there was an Act of Parliament
passed by the Imperial Legislature, which alone had the power
of dealing with the question, making a certain settlement of
the clergy reserves. An agitation, however, arose in the
country against that measure, and there was a strong feeling
that the settlement should be altered, although it had been
adopted as final by the Eeform and Conservative parties, and
although Mr. Baldwin (whose patriotism, now that he is in his
grave, nobody doubts ; or his sincere desire, according to his
light and conscience, to act for the benefit of the country)
stated in my presence that the man who should attempt to
disturb the settlement of 1840 would be an enemy of his
country. However, it was again agitated, and to remove that
occasion of sectional strife we were obliged to apply to the
Imperial Parliament to allow us to legislate upon it. That
leave was granted, provided we preserved the faith of the
British Crown, which was considered pledged to the clergymen
whose stipends were paid out of the reserve funds. We knew
that we could not get the Eoyal assent to any measure which did
not preserve the rights of these clergymen, and we introduced
a clause for the purpose of settling that for ever, providing
that, instead of being paid their incomes from year to year,
until the last clergyman should have died, there should be a
commutation of these stipends upon commercial principles;
that each man should have his life valued, and the value of
his salary capitalized and invested for the good of the Church.
This clause we had great difficulty in carrying ; and one source
of attack was, we were giving a large sum of money to favoured
Churches, that we were showing undue favour to the dominant
Church of England and the Established Church of Scotland,
and were making a special grant to Eoman Catholicism, which
had the small sum of 500 a year charged upon the fund.
You must remember that every clergyman who had 150 or
200 a year charged upon the fund had by law a mortgage on
the whole of the clergy reserves, and we could not devote a
farthing of their proceeds to any purpose so long as one such
clergyman remained alive. Under our plan, however, we paid
them the fair value of their incomes, and were thus enabled
to apply the whole of the enormous balance to the local
purposes of Upper Canada. To the credit of the Churches
concerned, and of their clergy, be it said, that, great as was
their loss, and enormous their sacrifice for they had a claim
on the full half of the proceeds they acquiesced in the settlement
we proposed, because they felt that they ought not to
be the cause of strife, and would not be placed in a false
position, and have it said that they looked more after temporal
than spiritual things. Though the pittances paid were small ,
I am happy to have personally received assurances from the
clergy of these Churches from their bishops downwards that
they are glad our legislation succeeded.” *
The Bill for the abolition of the seigniorial tenure, which
* The extent of the sacrifice made by the clergy of the Church of England at this
critical period is not generally appreciated. As Mr. Macdonald, here and elsewhere,
has pointed out, they were entitled to receive a very large sum of money. Yet, for
the sake of peace, in a spirit worthy of their high calling, they voluntarily submitted
to this deprivation rather than prolong an agitation which was fraught with evil to
the country. The patriotic conduct of these gentlemen on this trying occasion
was in every way honourable to their order, and deserves to live in the history of
1854.] THE COALITION OF 185 i. 131
was presented to the House by Mr. Attorney General Drummond
on the 20th of October, and passed through all its stages
concurrently with the measure dealing with the clergy reserves,
abolished all feudal rights and duties in Lower Canada, whether
bearing upon the censitaire or seignior, securing to the latter
fair compensation for every pecuniary right of which, under
the old tenure, he might stand possessed. In order to determine
the amount of such compensation, a Commission was
appointed. The payments under this Act were to be a charge
against all local funds of Lower Canada available for the
purpose. These proving inadequate to meet the amounts
declared by the Commission to be due to the seigniors as compensation
for their rights, the sum of 30,000 a year was taken
from the general revenue to make up the deficiency. The
seigniors were forced to content themselves with a yearly payment
of the interest on their claims, or submit to a reduction
of 25 per cent, for cash. The Act provided that from and
after a certain date every censitaire should hold his land in
franc-aleu roturier, free and clear of all cens, lods et ventes,
droit de lanalite, droit de retrait, and other feudal and seigniorial
duties and charges, excepting only the rente constitute
which was to be substituted therefor.
Both these Bills, opposed at every stage by Messrs. Brown,
Dorion, and other professed champions of secularization and
abolition, passed the third reading
* in the Assembly on the
23rd of November the clergy reserves by a vote of 62 to 39,
the seigniorial tenure by 71 to 32. On the 18th of December
they received the Eoyal assent.f
Thus were finally laid to rest the two great causes of strife
which for many years had distracted the province of Canada.
To Mr. Macdonald more than to any other public man is the
credit of this settlement due. The old Eadical party had fully
demonstrated their inability to cope with the difficulties surrounding
these questions. The Liberals had been in power
for more than six years, and so far as a vigorous policy in
* Mr. Dorion voted for the third reading of the Seigniorial Tenure Bill, and against
that relating to the clergy reserves. Mr. 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 passing of both Bills.
t 18 Viet., c. 2 and 3.
relation to the reserves and the seigniorial tenure was concerned,
could command the support of a large majority in the
Assembly. That the Conservatives during these years were
opposed to the re-opening of the question of the clergy reserves
is not a material consideration for this reason, that the
Liberals outnumbered them in Parliament by three to one.
Notwithstanding this strong support, the Liberal Governments
did nothing, and actually went to pieces because of their
inability to give effect to a policy which they themselves had
repeatedly declared to be essential to the peace and prosperity
of Canada. Yet what Messrs. Hincks and Morin could not
perform in six years, Messrs. Morin and Macdonald accomplished
in six weeks. I say Mr. Macdonald ; for while I have
no wish to disparage Sir Allan MacNab, nor to undervalue his
loyal and patriotic services to his party in former years, it is
a fact that in 1854 he had seen his best days, and leaned
heavily upon his friend and colleague the Attorney General
for Upper Canada, who was generally recognized as the master
mind of the Administration.*
The year 1854 marks the close of the first of five periods
into which the life of Sir John Macdonald naturally falls.
The ten years which had elapsed since Sir Charles Metcalfe
appealed to the people of Canada to support him against the
Eadicals had been fruitful in change. Mr. Baldwin had disappeared;
Mr. Brown had arisen; Messrs. Draper and La
Fontaine had transferred their usefulness to another sphere ;
new men had come upon the stage, old men had gone off;
but no change was more remarkable than that which transformed
the young Kingston lawyer, who had come forward
in 1844 merely

to fill a gap,” into the leader of a great party,
largely recruited from the ranks of his opponents.
Had Sir John Macdonald’s career prematurely come to an
end in the autumn of 1854, it would still have been worthy
of interest and admiration. Fortunately for Canada it was
then only in the morning of its greatness.
* ” Then we have Mr. Attorney General Macdonald, the only man of any working
qualities in the Government, the only one who could make a set speech in the
House, the man who must be the leader in the Assembly

(Globe, September, 1854).
( 133 )
IN December, 1854, Lord Elgin, whose term of office had
expired, was succeeded in the Governorship of Canada by
Sir Edmund Head a man of rare scholastic attainments who,
during the previous seven years, had occupied the position of
Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick.
I have already observed that, in Sir John Macdonald’s
opinion, Lord Elgin’s administration of affairs in Canada was
not characterized by that absolute impartiality becoming a
Governor General. Of Sir Edmund Head I never heard him
say much ; but from the little he did say I infer that he found
the change from Lord Elgin very agreeable. Indeed, I think
I am not wrong in stating that Sir John was never so intimate
with any Governor General as with Sir Edmund Head. Various
circumstances contributed to this intimacy. In the first place
there was less difference in their ages than was the case with
many subsequent Governors. They had a common love of
literature, and during the greater part of Sir Edmund’s administration
Mr. Macdonald lived in bachelor’s quarters in Toronto,
a stone’s-throw from Government House. Thus the Governor
General saw a good deal of his Prime Minister, and, as happened
to all who came within range of Sir John Macdonald’s personality,
was attracted by it. In this way there grew up a close friendship
between these two eminent men.
In the early part of 1855, Mr. Morin, who was not in robust
health, retired from the Cabinet and accepted a seat on the
Bench. In consequence of the system of dual leadership which
at that time prevailed,* the Lower Canadian members of the
Cabinet considered that the resignation of their sectional leader
carried their own with it. Accordingly they placed their
portfolios at the disposal of Sir Allan MacNab, who requested
Messrs. Tache and Drummond to remain in office. Messrs.
Chauveau and Chabot retired, the place of the former being
filled by Mr. (afterwards Sir) George E. Cartier, and that of
the latter by Mr. Francois Lemieux. The Commissionership
of Crown Lands vacated by Mr. Morin was bestowed upon
Mr. Joseph Cauchon. As reconstructed, the Ministry (known
as the MacNab-Tache Administration) stood as follows :
The Hon. E. P. Tache, Keceiver General.
The Hon. J. A. Macdonald, Attorney General, U.C.
The Hon. L. T. Drummond, Attorney General, L.C.
The Hon. John Eoss, without portfolio.
The Hon. Sir A. N. MacNab, President of the Council, and
Minister of Agriculture. (First Minister.)
The Hon. W. Cayley, Inspector General.
The Hon. Thomas Spence, Postmaster General.
The Hon. Joseph Cauchon, Commissioner of Crown Lands.
The Hon. Francois Lemieux, Chief Commissioner of Public
The Hon. G. E. Cartier, Provincial Secretary.
Under these circumstances were brought together, for the
first time, the two men who for the ensuing eighteen years
governed the country almost without intermission.
George Etienne Cartier was born in St. Antoine, P.Q., on the
6th of September, 1814. He received his education at the
college of St., Sulpice, Montreal, and was called to the Bar in
1835. In early life he became a follower of Papineau, and
fought against the Crown in the rebellion of 1837. At the
* The newspapers of the period allude to Mr. Morin as ” The Lower Canadian
Prime Minister.”
1855.] IN OFFICE. 135
suppression of the outbreak he sought refuge in the United
States, and was one of those persons against whom Lord
Durham decreed sentence of death in the event of their return
to the colony. On the restoration of peace Mr. Cartier came
back to Canada, and resumed the practice of the law. He soon
attained a prominent position at the Montreal Bar, and became
the solicitor of the Grand Trunk Kailway. In 1848 he was
elected to Parliament for his native county of Vercheres, which
he continued to represent continuously for thirteen years.
Beginning his political career as a supporter of Mr. La Fontaine,
Mr. Cartier was one of those who followed Mr. Morin in the
latter’s alliance with the Conservatives, and on the retirement
of his chief succeeded, in effect, to the leadership of the French
The nature of the relations which existed between Sir John
Macdonald and Sir George Cartier during the whole of the
official life of the latter, and the affection which Sir John
cherished for his colleague during the eighteen years in which
they laboured together, can best be stated in his own words.
On the occasion of unveiling the statue of Sir George at Ottawa,
on the 29th of January, 1885, the right hon. gentleman spoke
thus of his deceased friend :
” We are assembled to-day to do honour to the memory of
a great and good man. The Parliament of Canada has voted a
sum of money for the purpose of defraying the cost of erecting
a fitting statue to Sir George Cartier. In doing so, I believe
Parliament truly represented the desires and wishes of the
whole people of the Dominion to do honour to the memory of
that statesman. That lamented gentleman, during the whole
of his official life, was my colleague. As we acted together
for years, from the time he took office in 1855 until 1873,
when he was cut off, it is almost impossible for me to allude
to his services to the country without at the same time
passing in some degree a laudation upon the Government of
which he and I were both members. But there is no necessity
for me to recall to your memory the deeds of Sir
George Cartier. He served his country faithfully and well ;
indeed, his life was cut short by his unremitting exertions in
the cause of this country. I believe no public man, since
Canada has been Canada, has retained, during the whole of his
life, as was the case with Sir George Cartier, in such an eminent
degree, the respect of both the parties into which this great
country is divided. He was a strong, constant Lower Canadian.
He never disguised his principles, he carried them faithfully
and honestly into practice. But while he did this he allowed
others the same liberty he claimed for himself, and approved
of the principle that each man should do according to his
conscience what he thought best for the good of the country.
The consequence was that even those gentlemen who were
strongly opposed to his political course and views gave due
credence to his honesty of purpose, and believed that, whether
right or wrong, he was acting according to the best of his
judgment and the impulses of his conscience. As for myself,
when the tie between us was broken, no man could have suffered
more keenly than I did at the loss of my colleague and my
friend. I shall leave it to others to expatiate upon his labours
more particularly. Sufficient for me to say that he did what
he regarded to be in the interest, not of a section, but of the
whole country. Nevertheless, he was a French Canadian.
From the time he entered Parliament he was true to his
province, his people, his race, and his religion. At the same
time, he had no trace of bigotry no trace of fanaticism. Why,
those who were opposed to him in his own province used to
call him a French-speaking Englishman. He was as popular
among the English-speaking people as he was among his own
countrymen, and justly so, because he dealt out even justice to
the whole people of Canada without regard to race, origin,
religion, or principles. Gentlemen, he was true to his province,
he was true to the institutions of his province, and if he had done
nothing else than see to the complete codification of the law of
his native province, if he had done nothing else but give to
Quebec the most perfect code of law that exists in the whole
world, that was enough to make him immortal among civilized
people who knew his merits, knew his exertions, and knew the
value of the great code of civil law he conferred on his country.
I shall say no more respecting what he did, but I will speak of
him as a man, truthful, honest, and sincere ; his word was as
good as his bond, and his bond was priceless. A true friend, he
1855.] IN OFFICE. 137
never deserted a friend. Brave as a lion, he was afraid of
nothing. He did not fear a face of clay. But while he was bold,
as I have said, in the assertion of his own principles and he
carried them irrespective of consequences he respected the
convictions of others. I can speak of him perfectly “because
I knew his great value his great value as a statesman, his great
value as a man, his great value as a friend. I loved him when
he was living ; I regretted and wept for him when he died. I
shall not keep you here longer by any remarks of mine. Others,
coming from his own province, will speak of his merits. Gentlemen,
I shall now unveil the statue. It is, I believe, a fine
work of art, and we have the satisfaction of knowing that in
the hands of the sculptor it has been a labour of love, that the
statue has been moulded, framed, and carried into successful
execution by one of his own countrymen, Mr. Hebert. It is a
credit to Canadian art, and it shows he was a true Canadian
when he felt his work a labour of love, and cut such a beautiful
statue as I shall now have the pleasure of showing you. I
think those who knew Sir George Cartier and were familiar with
his features will acknowledge it is a fine portrait of the man.
I can only conclude in the words of the song he used to sing to
us so often when he was with us in society :
” ‘ II y a longtemps que je t’aime,
Jamais je ne t’oublierai.’
” *
Parliament, which had adjourned on the 18th of December,
1854, re-assembled in Quebec on the 23rd of February, 1855.
The session continued until the 30th of May, and was marked
by the passing of much useful and important legislation,
including a measure to reorganize the militia, which was practically
the beginning of our present system of defence ; an Act
establishing the parish municipal system in Lower Canada ;
and a measure dealing with the school system of Upper Canada.
* In the course of our drive back from the ceremony of that afternoon, I remarked
to Sir John that the position of the statue with its back to the province of Quebec
did not seem a happy one. “There I do not agree with you,” he replied. “He
stands in the position of defender of his native province ; what could be more
appropriate ? Cartier was as bold as a lion. He was just the man I wanted. But
for him confederation could not have been carried.” Sir John continued,
” Cartier
failed greatly during the last few years of his life. Those who knew him only after
1870 could form no just conception of the George Cartier of the preceding decade.”
The latter was introduced into the Assembly by Mr. Macdonald,
who stated that the principle of the Bill was not new, for
already under the law separate schools existed in both sections
of the province, so that the people would keep, only in a
more acceptable form, that which they already had. Petitions,
numerously signed in Upper Canada, had urged upon the
Government and Legislature the necessity for a change. The
old law provided that, if twelve householders petitioned for
a separate school, the municipal council was compelled to
grant it. The Bill introduced by Mr. Macdonald enacted that
five heads of families could establish a separate school ; that
trustees would be elected precisely as before. The old law
was retained to this extent, that Catholics might set up a
school in a Protestant community, or Protestants in a Catholic
community, or Jews or coloured people in either ; but Protestants
could not dissent from Protestants, nor Catholics from
Catholics. Mr. Macdonald said that he was as desirous as
any one of seeing all children going together to the common
schools, and, if he could have his own way, there would
be no separate schools. But we should respect the opinions
of others who differed from us, and they had a right to
refuse to accept such schools as they could not conscientiously
approve of. It was better to allow children to be taught at
school such religious principles as their parents wished, so
long as they learned at the same time to read newspapers and
books, and to become intelligent and useful citizens.
A Bill altering the constitution of the Legislative Council
passed the Assembly, only to be again rejected by the Upper
The Seat of Government question, which was destined to
occupy, in the near future, a large share of public attention,
came up during this session. An attempt on the part of the
Lower Canadian members was made to retain the capital
permanently at Quebec. It was, however, unsuccessful, and
the House, by a large majority, resolved to continue the
perambulatory system which had been adopted in 1849.
The session of 1854-55 was, in many respects, one of the
most memorable in the history of Canada. In point of time
it was the longest, having lasted (including adjournments)
1855.] IN OFFICE. 139
from the 5th of September till the 30th of May, a period of
268 days. In respect also of the amount of work accomplished,
I think it is unequalled, no fewer than 250 Bills having
received the Eoyal assent. But its chief claim to distinction
rests upon the character of the work performed. The settlement
of the clergy reserves; the abolition of the seigniorial
tenure ; the reorganization of the municipal, school, and
militia systems ; the assistance granted to railway extension ;
and the encouragement to private enterprise, gave it an
importance all its own, and demonstrated the strength of the
new Government, which was able to carry all its measures
through the Assembly by large majorities.
Mr. Hincks loyally carried out his part of the compact
by giving the Administration his cordial support; and there
is every reason to believe that, had he remained in Canadian
public life, the Government would have continued to enjoy
the advantage of his aid and counsel. The session 1854-55
was, however, destined to be his last in Canada for many
years. During the summer of 1855 it was announced that
the Imperial Government had offered him the Governorship
of Barbados and the Windward Islands, which he accepted,
and bade farewell to Canada for a season. I have heard
Sir John Macdonald describe Mr. Hincks as a man in most
respects of ordinary abilities, but distinguished by an aptitude
for finance which amounted to genius. It is in his quality of
financier that we shall meet him again.
The important position in the Government of the country
which their representative had obtained was a source of great
satisfaction to the good people of Kingston, among all classes
of whom “John A.” was immensely popular. Of Mr. Macdonald’s
many correspondents, few understood the art of
letter writing better than his friend Mr. Campbell, who,
encouraged by the success of his late partner, began himself,
about this time, to indulge in political aspirations which were
destined to be abundantly fulfilled. Shortly after the formation
of the MacNab-Tache Government, he thus addressed
Mr. Macdonald :

Kingston, March 8, 1855.
“I have been intending every day since my return to write you,
but in one way or another have been prevented from doing so. Kirkpatrick
paid me a long visit the other day, on his return from Quebec, and gave me
the latest intelligence. I am delighted to hear that your Ministry is thought
likely to be a permanent one, and that you consider it as strong with the
French Canadians, with Cauchon and Lemieux, as you did with Morin and
Chauveau. I never thought Morin a man of ability or energy, but he was
respectable in position and character, amiable, and well thought of by his
fellow-countrymen, and I was afraid that his loss would weaken yon.
Chauveau seemed to me only suited to make himself agreeable at ladies’
parties. Cauchon is a man of energy, I fancy, and will more than replace
him. I hear from Kirkpatrick, and at all hands, that the Hon. John A.
Macdonald, Atty. General West, is the head, centre, and tail of the
Ministry, however, and is to it as Mr. Hincks was to the last one. I congratulate
you with all my heart. There can be only a few I will not admit
that there are any who sympathize with you in your political success more
than I do. You will remember that throughout your long and apparently
hopeless opposition I always deprecated your retiring from Parliament, as
you often threatened to do ; that a change of any sort, any new shuffling of
political cards would be sure to put you on the Treasury benches, I always
looked upon as so extremely probable that you were justified in calculating
upon it and governing yourself accordingly. In politics, political connection,
influence of a personal character, ability, the art of managing mankind, you
were far before any one in the House the most ‘ available man ‘ there save
Hincks, and it was not in the nature of things that you should not sooner or
later occupy a leading position there. You were never so desponding as to
prospects political as before and during the last canvass and election here.
The disgusting electioneering arts you felt compelled to resort to, the defeat
of many of your schemes as to candidates, the defection of some who
promised to stand the defeat at the polls of many others all these influenced
you do you recollect? ‘The party is nowhere, damned everlastingly. I
will go down and get the Bank Bill passed and retire. I am resolved upon
it.’ And now you rule Canada; what a change! Your Clergy Reserves
measure was a bad pill to swallow, but in the state of the country there
seemed nothing else for it. Mr. Herchmer wrote me a long note on your
‘ lamentable and surprising course ‘ when I was in England. I happened to
have placed in my writing-desk a note you had written me from Quebec,
explaining your step and your reasoning on its necessity. I sent this and a
letter of my own to the parson, and satisfied him that ‘better this than
a worse measure.’ Kirkpatrick tells me that John of Toronto and all the
priests and deacons of his staff are now satisfied with your arrangement of
the loaves and fishes.
” Is there anything up between you and Vankoughnet ? I had a letter
from him when I was in London, in which he wrote quite rabidly about the
1855-56.] JAT OFFICE. 141
country being degraded and betrayed. He does not reflect upon what was
possible. I presume if you could have arbitrarily settled the reserves as you
thought best, they would not have been secularized, but you could only
direct, not stem the torrent. It was better to have it directed by friendly
hands than run riot.
” I trust you will not vacate your post for the Chief Justiceship. Your
Ministry cannot want you and live, I fancy ; and you cannot, and, I should
think, will not leave them just yet ; because the becoming gravity of a judge
will not sit easily on you for some years to come. Let me into your projects
on this head.
“I hope you will be able to tip me a stave on things political, but dare say
you are very busy from night until morning, and then again from morning
until night. Try and write me if you can spare time. If not, I will take for
granted that your intentions are good.
” Yours very sincerely,
The session of 1856, which opened in Toronto on the 15th
of February, was marked by an unusual degree of acrimony,
from which the previous session had been comparatively free.
Within a few days after the meeting of Parliament, Mr. Brown,
who had come to be recognized as the leader of the Opposition,
delivered himself of a philippic against the Ministry in general,
and the Attorney General West in particular, which surpassed
all his previous efforts. Mr. Macdonald, aroused by the insolent
manner and abusive language of his opponent, replied with great
warmth, and gave Mr. Brown a veritable Roland for his Oliver.
Proceeding, he charged that gentleman, who in 1849 had acted
as secretary to a Commission appointed by the Government to
investigate certain abuses said to exist in connection with the
Kingston penitentiary, with having in that capacity falsified the
testimony of witnesses, suborned convicts to commit perjury,
and obtained the pardon of murderers confined in the penitentiary
to induce them to give false evidence.
Mr. Brown, having given a passionate denial of these accusations,
a committee at his own request was appointed to inquire
into the matter.
The committee set to work, and in due time made a report,
or rather two reports. That presented by the majority found
that grave irregularities had been committed by the penitentiary
committee, of which Mr. Brown was secretary, but abstained
from expressing an opinion as to his individual responsibility
therefor. The minority completely exonerated Mr. Brown from
any impropriety in the matter. These reports, after having
furnished material for many long and inconclusive debates,
were allowed to drop. Mr. Macdonald, in his subsequent
explanation, stated that he had no personal knowledge of the
accuracy of the charges, but he had believed them to be true.*
He pointed out, what seems to have escaped general attention
at the time, that these charges were not new,f as he had already
brought them before Parliament during the sessions of 1849,
1850, and 1851, and on each occasion had vainly endeavoured
to obtain a committee to inquire into them.
There happened about this time another sensational incident
in which Mr. Macdonald took part, which deserves a notice
here. I allude to his passage at arms with Colonel Eankin,
M.P.P. for Essex, in after years one of his personal and political
friends. The affair can best be explained by the subjoined
correspondence, which is interesting as showing the manner in
which political differences were sometimes settled in Canada so
late as the year 1856.

Toronto, July 1, 1856.
” As you have kindly consented to act as my friend,
I think it right to state to you the exact circumstances connected
with my difference with Mr. Kankin.
” In the course of debate that gentleman used language not
only insulting to the Ministry as a body, but personally offensive
to every member of it.
” I spoke, in answer, with some severity, but in a manner
not, in my opinion, too severe for the occasion, and in language
declared by the Speaker to be strictly within the limits of
parliamentary propriety. Mr. Eankin’s reply was equally
insulting to me and discreditable to himself.
* In view of the fact that the investigation from first to last was carried on with
closed doors, it is obvious that Mr. Macdonald must have been dependent upon others
for the information on which his charges were based.
f See the Globe of the 26th of June, 1851, which devotes four editorial columns
to a specific denial of specific allegations brought by Mr. Macdonald in 1851 against
the Penitentiary Commissioners (including the secretary), which, though not so
definite, are of the same nature as those preferred by him against Mr. Brown in 1856.
1856.] IN OFFICE. 143
” This occurred just as the House adjourned at six o’clock.
On resuming my seat at half-past seven, I found the Speaker
calling the attention of the House to the language that had been
used before the recess, and stating his apprehension of the consequences
what induced the Speaker to bring the subject before
the House I do not know, but I was called upon by him to give
my promise not to leave the House until Mr. Eankin had taken
his seat. This promise I readily gave, and on Mr. Eankin’s
entering the House, the Speaker then required and received from
both of us the assurance always given in such cases, that no
further notice should be taken of what had happened. I kept
my pledge to the letter, but Mr. Eankin, I regret to say, showed
an utter disregard of his on every possible occasion he repeated
his insults. I took no notice of them, as I felt that no breach
of Mr. Eankin’s promise would justify a breach of mine. I
have, in consequence, been obliged to submit in silence to every
description of aspersion and ungenerous taunt, but I submitted
with the fixed resolve to vindicate myself whenever occasion

Unfortunately, my pledge to the Speaker does not end with
the session, as I promised that I should take no further steps in
consequence of Mr. Eankin’s language in the House.
” I am therefore driven to ask you, as my friend, to wait on
Mr. Eankin to explain to him my position.

I must ask you further to state to him that if he will
venture to repeat to you, out of the House, any of the injurious
expressions used by him within its walls, you will take notice
of them on my behalf, and make the necessary arrangements
with any friend he may refer you to. I need scarcely say that,
circumstanced as I am, any meeting must take place out of
Canada, but I am sure you will pay every regard to Mr. Eankin’s
convenience in the choice of the place of meeting.

Always, my dear Smith,
” Yours faithfully,
” On the afternoon of the prorogation I waited upon Mr. Arthur Rankin
as the friend of the Hon. John A. Macdonald, and read to the former gentleman
a letter written by Mr. Macdonald to myself, on the subject of certain offensive
expressions used by Mr. Eankin in Parliament, which had been officially
noticed by Mr. Speaker, and in consequence thereof both gentlemen gave
their word of honour to take no notice of what had occurred.
” I read the letter very deliberately to Mr. Kankin, and informed him, as
the friend of Mr. Macdonald, that if he would repeat the offensive language in
my presence, I should be prepared to demand satisfaction therefor.
” Mr. Kankin informed me that he was not prepared to repeat the offensive
language, but he was prepared to give Mr. Macdonald a meeting for what had
previously occurred, although by the strict rules of the code of honour he was
not responsible after so great a length of time.
” Mr. Eankin further said to me that he was not aware that he had used
insulting language to Mr. Macdonald except on the first occasion, and that he
would consider it offensive to be charged with so doing, as nothing was farther
from his thoughts, after the promise he had made in the House and, in fact,
he said that only the day before he had, in conversation with a friend on this
subject, expressed his regret that anything had taken place to disturb friendly
relations with Mr. Macdonald. I subsequently learned this friend to be
J. H. Greer, Esq., formerly of Kingston.

I requested Mr. Kankin to name a friend with whom I could confer, as
I saw that a course was open which would lead to an honourable adjustment,
but which I did not feel at liberty to suggest to Mr. Rankin. W. Powell,
Esq., M.P., was named ; but unfortunately Mr. Kankin could not find him, as
he had gone out of the city to the races.
” Before the prorogation Mr. Rankin rose in his place in Parliament, and
made a statement which tended to an adjustment of matters, but there was
nothing like a withdrawal of the offensive language which had been used in
the first instance.
” On the following morning I saw Mr. Powell, who had left his card on my
table some time during the previous evening, but being out myself at a
concert, I did not see it till midnight, and I stated to him my regret that he
was unavoidably absent the previous day, and I released Mr. Rankin from his
promise to meet Mr. Macdonald, if I, as his friend, demanded it for the first
offensive language.

I, subsequently, and before leaving Toronto, saw Mr. Rankin, who said
to me that if I had only suggested to him anything further which he could
have said he would cheerfully have said it in the House. I replied that
I would have suggested to Mr. Powell that which I felt a delicacy in doing
to Mr. Rankin personally.
” I am bound to state that Mr. Rankin’s conduct towards myself in relation
to this matter was such as to meet my approbation.

Kingston, July 15, 1856.”
” Mr. Rankin, having stated to Mr. Vankoughnet that on a statement and
explanation given to him at Mr. V.’s instance by Mr. Spence as to the manner
1856.] IN OFFICE. 145
of the appointment of the Sheriff for Essex, he (Mr. Rankin) was satisfied
that he had done Mr. Macdonald great injustice, and was desirous to say
so to Mr. Macdonald, the latter, at Mr. V.’s request, met Mr. Rankin in
Mr. V.’s room ; and Mr. Rankin, stating that it would perhaps be well that
as many as possible were present, and the following gentlemen having
been called in : Hon. Messrs. Cayley, Terrill, Lemieux, Cauchon, Spence,
Cartier, Vankoughnet, Morrison ; Crysler, M.P.P. ; Yielding, M.P.P. ; Bellingham,
M.P.P. ; Dr. Clarke, M.P.P., Mr. Rankin, in their presence, stated
that, from what had passed between him and Mr. Spence, he was satisfied
that he had attributed to Mr. Macdonald a course of action in the matter of
the sheriffs appointment different from that which Mr. Macdonald had pursued
; that he had used towards Mr. Macdonald, in consequence, language
in the House which he had intended to be insulting ; that he now felt that
language was unjustifiable, and that he desired, in as public a way as possible,
to retract it
; that he did this, first, because it was due to himself to do so,
and that any other course would be that of a ruffian, and, secondly, because
it was due to Mr. Macdonald, whom he now felt he had treated with great
injustice, and whose pardon he now desired to ask.
” Mr. Macdonald said,

Sir, you have it
‘ and both gentlemen then shook
” This explanation was brought about in consequence of some blunder or
difficulty having arisen in an interview between Mr. Smith, as Mr. Macdonald’s
friend, and Mr. Rankin, which, being mentioned by Dr. Clarke to
Mr. V., and Mr. Smith being out of town, Mr. V. thought it a favourable
opportunity to enable others to show to Mr. Rankin how unjust and unfair
he was to Mr. Macdonald in the insults which he had offered to him in the
” 2nd July, 1856.
” Read over in the presence of the gentlemen assembled.”
On the 10th of March the Ministry met with an unexpected
reverse, being defeated by a majority of four votes. The
circumstances were in this wise : In the preceding autumn
a murder had been committed in the county of Lotbiniere, in
the province of Quebec. The victim was a man named Edward
Corrigan, who happened to be an Irish Protestant. Those
accused of the crime were said to be Irish Eoman Catholics.
They were duly brought to justice, and, after a regular trial
before the Court of Queen’s Bench at Quebec, were found ” not
guilty.” Instantly the cry was raised in Upper Canada that
these men had been acquitted by a Eoman Catholic judge and
jury, because they were Eoman Catholics. To George Brown
and the Globe it afforded another instance of Papal aggression,
such as had not been heard of since the Gavazzi riots three
years before. The Church and the people of the Lower Province
were bitterly assailed, and the Government accused of
a desire to shield the murderers of Corrigan. The matter duly
came up in Parliament on a motion of Mr. John Hillyard
Cameron for an address to the Governor General, praying for
the production of the judge’s charge. The Government opposed
the motion on the general ground that it was an infringement
on the independence of the judiciary. It was the old story
of politico-religious debates over again. The Upper Canadians,
as a body, voted for Mr. Cameron’s motion, and the Lower
Canadians against it. The address was finally carried by fortyeight
to forty-four. The division being announced, Mr. Cartier
immediately moved the adjournment of the House. On
meeting next day the Attorney General East, on behalf of the
Ministry, asked for a further adjournment of two days for
purposes of consultation with the leader of the Government
(who was confined to his bed through illness). Mr. Drummond
took advantage of the occasion to inform the House that the
Government had not thought proper to present the address to
his Excellency. He added that it was their intention to propose
a reversal of the resolution on which it was founded, and
gave formal notice to that effect.
The House adjourned until the 13th, on which day the
Attorney General East moved that the resolution ordering the
presentation of the address to His Excellency for a copy of
Mr. Justice Duval’s charge to the jury be rescinded. With
the object of preventing any friendly amendments from the
Government side, and of forcing the vote at once, Mr. J. S.
Macdonald, seconded by Mr. A. A. Dorion, moved the ”
question,” which was treated as a motion of want of
confidence, and defeated by a vote of seventy-five to forty-two.
Ee-assured by this vote, the Ministry presented the address, and
on the next day brought down a message from His Excellency
declining to comply with the prayer of the petition for the
following reasons : 1st. That the judge’s charge was not in the
possession of the Governor General, nor could it be presumed to
exist as a distinct document. 2nd. If it did exist, the Governor
General had no power to enforce its production. 3rd. That
1856.] IN OFFICE. 147
to call for words used by a judge on a specific trial is, in effect,
to call that judge to account for his conduct on the bench ; and
that for the Crown so to call a judge to account, especially on
the address of one branch of the Legislature, would be at least
an evasion of the spirit of the Act, and might serve the Crown
as a precedent to interfere with the independence of the
The Ministry declared that they had advised the Governor
General to decline to comply with the prayer of the address,
and that if the House, on reflection, disapproved of their action,
they were ready to resign. On the 7th of April Mr. A. A.
Dorion moved a vote of censure on them for having tendered
to His Excellency advice ” calculated to disturb the good understanding
between the representative of Her Majesty and this
House, which it is of the highest importance to support and
maintain.” This motion was defeated by sixty-one votes to
This incident was not without effect upon the Ministerial
party, which about this time began to show signs of disintegration.
The coalition formed in 1854, while it had been
successful so far as regards the union of the moderate Conservatives
with the Upper Canadian followers of Mr. Hincks,
seemed to the latter gentlemen to call for, within the Conservative
party, a process of selection similar to that which had
taken place in their own. They had separated themselves from
the Kadical element of the old Liberal party, and it was not
without dissatisfaction that they looked in vain for a corresponding
movement in the ranks of their allies. The extreme
Tories still shared with them the emoluments and, as they
complained, monopolized the patronage of office, and they were
obliged to acknowledge as their leader the highest Tory of them
all. The coalition had been formed for the special purpose of
carrying the clergy reserves and seigniorial tenure measures.
Now that these questions were happily settled, the primary
object of the alliance was accomplished, and the time for a new
understanding had arrived. Sir Allan MacNab’s pronounced
Toryism, his habit of bestowing an undue share of patronage
among his immediate friends, and his growing age and physical
infirmities contributed to develop a feeling among the “Baldwin,”
or, as they were generally called at that time, the ” Hincksite
Reformers,” unfavourable to the continuance of the coalition
under existing conditions. It must not be understood that
Messrs. Ross, Spence, and their friends were in any way desirous
of resuming political relations with the Clear-Grits. What
they wanted was a change that would have the effect of dropping
Sir Allan MacISTab, Messrs. J. H. Cameron, Gamble, Murney
and others, who bore the same relation towards Messrs. J. A.
Macdonald and Cayley as Messrs. Brown, Dorion, and William
Lyon Mackenzie did to themselves. Their discontent grew
apace, and from it sprang the movement to depose Sir Allan
MacNab and replace him by Mr. Macdonald.*
The following letters from the Speaker of the Legislative
Council to his colleague, the Attorney General West, indirectly
throw some light upon the condition of political affairs at the
time we are considering. The intimate friend of Mr. Hincks
and son-in-law of Robert Baldwin, Mr. Ross had long been an
influential member of the Reform party.
” Reform Club, London, August 23, 1855.
” You are correct in supposing that told you a thumper. The
Order in Council which we passed must govern the settlement, and I had no
authority to make bargains of any kind with him, and made none. I desired
that they should be liberally dealt with, and they were and ought to be satisfied.
Thanks for you for putting me on guard. has been writing to
London to know when he will find me here, and I have not replied, as I had
quite enough of him in Canada. Tactic” went to Paris immediately after his
arrival here, and Sir Allan returned last night from Paris to London. He tells
me the ordnance matter is pretty nearly arranged.
” I observe that the newspapers state that a Canadian battalion is to be
raised, 2800 strong. I suppose Sir Allan will provide all the Compact, root
and branch, with commissions, and the blame will all come upon us as a
Govt. blame that we cannot well shake off. Had we faced the matter
and taken the responsibility we should have controlled the appointment of the
officers, and had them taken from all ranks and parties in the country.
” I think Sir Allan’s judgment would dictate all that is reasonable and fair
* It is only fair to the memory of Sir Allan MacNab to say that, during his terra
of office as Prime Minister, he was singularly moderate in his views, and ever showed
a disposition to meet the wishes of the Liberal members of his Cabinet. I am merely
endeavouring to state the case of Messrs. Ross, Spence, and their supporters in
Parliament, who, I think, found it difficult to dissociate Sir Allan from his past.
1856.] IN OFFICE. 149
enough, but he has such an infernal lot of hangers on to provide for, that he
finds it difficult to do the needful for them all. I am trying to get out of the
presidency of the Grand Trunk, and to get Hincks to go in, but cannot yet
say how I shall succeed with him, as he hangs fire.
” The Times of Monday notices favourably, in its money article, Cayley’s
pamphlet, which I was glad to see.

Regards to all friends.
” Yours very sincerely,
” JNO. Ross.”

[Strictly private.]
“Keform Club, London, September 17, 1855.
” Thanks for yours of the 3rd instant, written after your trip to the
Saguenay with Sir Edmund and Lady Head. The contact with His
Excellency will do you good, and as you have a great game to play before
very long, this excursion may have facilitated in some measure that which
must come.
” In so far as the results of the late session go, ours cannot be said to
have been an idle Government. On the contrary, a better Govt. for practical
work has never been brought together. There was no need of MacNab
coming to England, and, had I been in his place, I should have avoided the
trip ; perhaps the same may be said of some of our other colleagues, but I
think the whole may be easily defended, and it is hard to make people believe
anything to our prejudice so long as the country is prosperous and, as you say,
luxuriating in abundant crops. I believe that by coming here and remaining
here as I have done, I have been the means of smoothing down difficulties
between the London directors and contractors of the Grand Trunk that would
have otherwise resulted in the stoppage of the works. I hope everything is
going on well, but I do not wish to return until the seat of Govt. is fairly
back in Toronto, as I have no department to manage, and during the removal
there cannot be much done beyond mere routine work. Besides, to be
frank with you, I thought it better to be absent for other reasons. Cauchon
has been rather ferocious ever since he came into the Govt., and Lemieux
suspicious and sullen, and, on the whole, I did not get on well with either.
Drummond and I were always at loggerheads about something or other in
which he happened to be interested, and a blow up might have been the
consequence some fine day had I remained at home this summer. As it is,
all those old matters that Hincks had bequeathed to me when he went out
will have been disposed of, and I hope I shall not have reason to differ so
much with some of them as heretofore when I return. Had I been in Canada,
for instance, I would have broken up the Govt., if I could have done so,
rather than let Drummond get municipal loan fund bonds to throw upon the
market and depreciate all the rest for the sake of an imaginary road running
through the Co. of Shefibrd which will never be made. Our policy heretofore
lias been not to let these bonds go out, unless they were taken by banks at par,
under an agreement to hold them until we could find special funds to invest
in them. The bonds in question were handed over to the British Bank, and
sold at twelve dis., and the worst of it is the railway is not being made and
never will be, while Drummond is in the hands of , that every man you
meet in will tell you is an infernal scoundrel and ruins every man he has
anything to do with. If they want any more bonds, therefore, for the Shefford
road, pray look after the matter.
” When I do go back we shall only have our measures for the session to
discuss, and I hope I shall be able to get on more pleasantly than formerly.
It is a grand thing to get the ” commutation fraud” cleared off, and George
Brown may vapour away about it as much as he pleases.
” You must look carefully after the seigniorial business, and see that the
money we have voted accomplishes all that we intended by our measure.
There is nothing that will so surely break down the Union as the leeching
process going on towards Upper Canada. If they will insist on throwing
away from year to year large sums of money which bring no return and are
productive of no real good to the country, the Union cannot be preserved, and
although W. L. McK. has failed for the present, some younger and stronger
man will arise and agitate with more success.
“The money we vote for education in L.C. produces no corresponding
results, and the priests for the most part pocket the cash. The special vote
for colleges, etc., in great part goes to the priests, and but for the way in
which the people are leeched by the priests they could easily raise and would
raise large sums for educational purposes.
” I hope we shall hear no more of appropriations for piers below Quebec,
and that the estimates for a custom-house at Quebec are reduced to something
like what the Kingston and Toronto custom-houses cost ; and I beg of
you again to keep the sharpest possible look out after the seigniorial business
and its management, from beginning to end, to prevent any further drain out
of the consolidated revenue on that score.
” I think with you, that the representation by population question may be
staved off for the present, as there is no such disproportion between the
respective sections of the province as to justify an agitation for the readjustment
of the proportions of the representation to each.
“I have thought a great deal of the Upper Canada judgeship when
Macaulay retires, and trust you have made up your mind to give it to
Hagarty. Harrison would never do, and Connor’s appointment would be almost
as bad. The Doctor is unpopular with the profession, and the recollections
of the ”
flourishing concern ” have not yet passed way. Joe Morrison is the
only one of that establishment left who has claims upon us, and as he and his
brother stick to us we must not disregard them. If you like to talk the
matter of the judgeship over privately with Baldwin I think he would give
you some advice that you would be glad to get.
” Hincks told me he would write to inform you of his appointment to
the Govt. of Barbadoes and the Windward Islands, and therefore I did not
do so. He and I have been like brothers for so many years, that I find it
1856.] IN OFFICE. 151
hard to part with him, but advised him to accept, which he hesitated at first
to do. We shall all miss him in Canada. The fall of Sebastopol has filled
England and France with great rejoicings, and we are daily hoping to hear
of a pitched battle and the surrender of the Russian army in the Crimea,
unless the allied generals give them a chance to run away. Regards to all
my colleagues, and believe me
” Yours very sincerely,
I have already shown what the views of Mr. Macdonald on
the subject of Sir Allan MaoNTab’s retirement were. They
remained unchanged throughout the crisis of 1856-57. Toryism
has been denned by a great Englishman
* as

loyalty to persons,”
and Sir John Macdonald, tried by that standard, was
eminently Conservative. From the day that Sir Allan MacNab
offered him the Attorney Generalship down to the latter’s
resignation of the Premiership, he did his utmost to serve his
chief with that fidelity with which in later years he himself
was served.
That Mr. Macdonald was not in entire sympathy with the
extreme views which Sir Allan was supposed to represent, I am
quite ready to admit,f From an early period of his career he
recognized the fact which guided him through his political life,
that, in order successfully to govern a people comprising men of
various races, professing different religions, and having distinct
(and often conflicting) interests, a leader must certain great
principles apart be prepared to submit to compromise. He
must deal with facts as they are. If he cannot order all things
exactly as he might wish, he must be content to have them
proceeding as far in the right direction as circumstances permit.
He must recognize the fact that there are others in the world,
as honest and well-meaning as he, whose views, equally with
his own, are entitled to respect.
Holding these opinions, it is not surprising that Mr. Macdonald
sometimes found himself unable to agree with the old
* Cardinal Newman.
” 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,

family compact

party (of which Sir Allan MacNab was the
embodiment) in the expediency of endeavouring to perpetuate
a system of administration which was passing away. Nor do
I think that certain of his chiefs idiosyncrasies were such as
to evoke his unqualified admiration,* but these were minor
considerations, and in no wise influenced his duty or his inclinations
as a member of the Government. Sir Allan MacNab had
served his Sovereign and his country well, and Mr. Macdonald,
recognizing his worth, was steadfastly opposed to treating him
otherwise than with the greatest possible consideration in his
declining years. That the interests of the new Liberal-Conservative
party would be best served by such a reconstruction
as his friends suggested, he must have seen ; that he was insensible
to the compliment paid to his abilities by those who
sought him for their chief, is extremely improbable ; but that he
sought, as has been alleged, to hasten his own promotion by
intriguing against his leader, I entirely deny. That Sir Allan
himself, in his calmer moments, did not think so is apparent
from the tone of his private correspondence with Mr. Macdonald
at a date subsequent to the change of leadership, t
But while Mr. Macdonald’s personal feelings, joined to a
sense of loyalty to his leader, led him to discourage all attempts
to hasten the retirement of the latter, he was unable to induce
his ci-devant Liberal colleagues to play the waiting game.
Whatever Mr. Macdonald’s obligations as a Conservative and a
party man might be, Messrs. Eoss and Spence did not consider
themselves pledged to follow Sir Allan MadSfab for all time. In
March, 1856, the disaffection within the Ministerial ranks came
to a head, and Sir Allan is said to have received intimations
* For example, it is said of Sir Allan that he was always in financial straits
(which probably he could not help), but that, so far from being sensitive on the
subject of his embarrassments, he rather liked telling of them. Now, there was
nothing Sir John Macdonald disliked more than debt, and to hear a man make light
of his pecuniary difficulties always annoyed him. Sir Allan, on the contrary, thought
them a capital joke. I have heard (though not from Sir John) that on one occasion,
when Sir Allan gave an order at his baker’s, to whom he owed a bill, he was
informed that his- credit was at an end. After vainly expostulating with the man,
he was on the point of trying his luck elsewhere, when the baker, who was a bit
of a wag, told him that if he would roll a barrel of flour home himself he could have
it for nothing. The gallant knight accepted the conditions, and fulfilled them.
Sir Allan used to tell this story with the greatest possible gusto.
f See Appendix I.
1856.] IN OFFICE. 153
from both the Conservative and Liberal sections of the party
that the time had come for him to make way for a younger
and stronger man. Bumours of these dissensions, of course,
.got abroad, and the Opposition, with that solicitude for the
peace of the Cabinet which ever distinguishes gentlemen on
the left of the Speaker, made anxious inquiries as to their
truth. On the 7th of April Mr. Macdonald thus replied to a
question put by Mr. A. A. Dorion :
“The member for Montreal had alluded to certain points
respecting the confidence existing among the members of the
Administration, and the leadership he was supposed to exercise
over a section of a party in the House. My answer to the first
question is, that the members of the Administration have confidence
in one another, or else they would cease to exist as a
Government ; and my answer to the next question is, that the
Attorney General West is not the leader of a party in the
House, and that such leadership has never been accepted. But
I will state more clearly for the information of the honourable
member what has occurred, in order that there may be no
misunderstanding on the subject, or with regard to my position
in the House. On one occasion three gentlemen came to me,
stating that they came from what is called the Liberal-Conservative
party ; and they said that they had heard certain
rumours of a reconstruction of the Cabinet, of a change of the
members of the Cabinet, but that they did not wish to inquire
into the probability of a change. They did not say that they
wanted a change, nor did they even hint at its propriety ; but
what they wanted to state to me was, that if there were any
change, if there were any reconstruction of the Cabinet, under
any exigencies whatever, they had confidence in me, and would
support any transaction I would advise. My answer was that
there was no authority for the rumour, and that there was no
prospect of a change ; that I was much obliged to them for the
expression of their confidence, but that I had a leader, and as
long as he would lead I would follow. Hence all the rumours
which have arisen. It is very wrong to allude to these rumours
in Parliament, but I wish to state that I have no desire
for a reconstruction, to cause it, or to hasten it. It must be
understood that, so far as I am concerned, the meeting of the
Conservative party was called without any knowledge of mine.
I did not know that that meeting was called until after it had
been called, and the deputation came to me and stated what
I have just related. There have since been rumours of other
meetings, but I will not fall into the bad habit of alluding to
them. Those gentlemen meet on their own responsibilities.
They are responsible for their course, and for the consequence
of that course. I am responsible for my own acts, and for my
own course, and for no more.”
The movement, however, was deeper than Mr. Macdonald
at that time was aware. No man likes to be told that his
usefulness is gone, and Sir Allan was no exception to the
general rule. The representations of his friends had no other
effect on him than to cause him to cling all the more closely to
office. This determination of the Premier was ill-received by
the “Hincksite” Reformers, and in April Mr. Eoss, their
senior representative in the Ministry, resigned the office of
Speaker of the Legislative Council and his seat in the Cabinet.
He was succeeded in the Speakership by Mr. E. P. Tachd, whose
place as Receiver General was shortly afterwards taken by
Mr. J. C. Morrison, M.P.P. for Niagara, and an old-time
Meanwhile the Opposition, under Messrs. Brown and Dorion,
were not idle. The former, despite his fierce intolerance of
anything approaching political inconsistency (in others) had,
after coquetting with the Conservatives and denouncing the
Clear-Grits, become the recognized leader of the latter, and
gradually became the apologist for and ultimately the defender
of many of the democratic notions of William Lyon Mackenzie
and his friends. Mr. Brown, who, in the Globe, continued with
undiminished vigour his crusade against the Roman Catholic
Church, lost no opportunity in Parliament of condemning the
Government for their alleged subserviency to ecclesiastical
influences. He stood forth as the champion of common schools
in Upper Canada, and was particularly severe upon Mr. Macdonald
for his separate school measure of 1855. He also
opposed the Militia Bill with great persistence, holding that
the country had no need of the elaborate system of defence
contemplated by that measure. He strongly urged the adoption
1856.] IN OFFICE. 155
of such changes in the constitution as would provide for
representation in Parliament based upon population, as opposed
to the system then in vogue, which gave to Upper and Lower
Canada an equal number of members in the Assembly. This
he claimed was unfair to Upper Canada, the population of
which in ] 855 exceeded that of the Lower Province by upwards
of one hundred and fifty thousand. Others of the Opposition,
chiefly Rouges, went still farther than Mr. Brown, and clamoured
for the repeal of the Union, the election of all public officers,
and other changes incompatible with British connection, of
which Mr. Brown was always the earnest advocate.
The seat of Government question, which bade fair to vie
with the clergy reserves as a continually recurring subject,
came before the House in April, 1856. On the 16th of that
month a motion, declaring the city of Quebec to be the most
eligible place for the future capital of Canada, and recommending
that, after 1859, Parliament be permanently convened in
that city, and that suitable buildings be forthwith commenced
for the accommodation of the Legislature and Government, was
carried by a vote of sixty-four to fifty-six. The Government,
in conformity with this expressed opinion of Parliament, placed
in the estimates the sum of 200,000 to provide for the construction
of Parliament buildings in Quebec. On a motion
to go into supply (on the 14th of May) for the discussion of
this resolution, Mr. Papin (Eouge) moved an amendment, and
Mr. Holton a sub-amendment, censuring the Government for
the action they had taken on the seat of Government question
(apparently in declining to consider it a Ministerial question),
which the latter’s amendment declared “does not inspire the
House with the confidence necessary to entrust that Administration
with the moneys required for the construction of the
necessary buildings at the seat of Government.” On the 20th
instant, after a continuous sitting of thirty-two hours, a vote
was taken, and the sub-amendment defeated by a vote of
seventy to forty-seven. Of the minority, however, thirty-three
were Upper Canadian, while only twenty-seven representatives
of that section voted in the majority. The Government, therefore,
while sustained by a majority of twenty-three, were in a
minority of six votes as regards Upper Canada. In consequence
of this vote Messrs. Spence, Morrison, Macdonald, and Cayley
at once resigned office.
It is worthy of note that, while almost every member of
a Government forty years ago regarded an adverse sectional
vote as a serious blow to the existing administration, few could
be found to affirm directly the soundness of the double majority
principle that is, that no ministry should be held to possess
the confidence of Parliament unless it could command a
majority in each section of the province. Thus, in 1851, when
Mr. Baldwin resigned in consequence of the vote on the Court
of Chancery question, he was careful to explain that his action
in so doing was not determined by the simple fact of a majority
of the Upper Canadian representatives being against him, but
by the hostility of the legal profession. Yet he resigned in
consequence of a vote which supported him by a majority of
four in a House of sixty-four members. In like manner,
Mr. Spence alleged as his reason for resigning his seat in
an administration which had just issued victorious from a
severe Parliamentary contest, not that there was an adverse
majority from Upper Canada against them, but the fact that
the “Hincksite Eeformers,” whom he especially represented
in the Ministry, had withdrawn their allegiance from the
Government. Mr. Morrison, as successor to Mr. Ross in the
Cabinet, felt bound to follow the example of his colleagues ;
while Messrs. Macdonald and Cayley, after expressly disclaiming
their adherence to the principle of double majorities in
the abstract,* declared that, in view of the defection of so
large a body as the Ministerial Liberals, any attempt to carry
* ” I did not and I do not think that the double-majority system should be adopted
as a rule. I feel, as the gallant member for Hamilton stated, that so long as we are
one province and one Parliament, the fact of a measure being carried by a working
majority is sufficient evidence that the Government of the day is in power to conduct
the affairs of the country. But I could not disguise from myself that it was not
a vote on a measure, but a distinct vote of confidence, or want of confidence ; and
there having been an adverse vote against us from Upper Canada expressing a want
of confidence in the Government, I felt that it was a sufficient indication that the
measures of the Government would be met with the opposition of those honourable
gentlemen who had by their solemn vote withdrawn their confidence from the
Government. I felt that without the aid of those gentlemen, representing the Reform
party in Upper Canada, no Government, as parties are now constituted in Canada,
could be carried on, and that the withdrawal of the Postmaster General and Mr.
Morrison would break up the Government. If these honourable gentlemen retired,
1856.] IN OFFICE. 157
on the Government would be futile which, like Mr. Baldwin’s
lawyers and Mr. Spence’s
” Hincksite

Eeformers, sounds very
like saying that they could not govern with a majority from
Upper Canada against them.
Sir Allan MadSTab dissented from his colleagues in their
view that the situation warranted the extreme course they had
seen fit to adopt, which he interpreted as a determination to
force him out. Under the circumstances, however, there was
no alternative left him but to follow their example. Accordingly
the Prime Minister and the other members of the Administration
placed their resignations in His Excellency’s hands,
Sir Allan advising the Governor General to send for Mr. Tache,
the leader of the Lower Canadian section in the late Cabinet.
Sir Edmund Head acted upon this advice, and charged Mr.
Tache with the formation of a new administration. Mr. Tache
sought the assistance of Mr. Macdonald, and, in a few days,
the new Ministry was announced as follows :
The Hon. E. P. Tache (without portfolio), First Minister.*
The Hon. John A. Macdonald, Attorney General, U.C.
The Hon. W. Cayley, Inspector General.
The Hon. E. Spence, Postmaster General.
The Hon. Joseph Cauchon, Commissioner of Crown Lands.
The Hon. F. Lemieux, Chief Commissioner of Public
The Hon. G. E. Cartier, Attorney General, L.C.
The Hon. J. C. Morrison, Eeceiver General.
The Hon. T. L. Ten-ill, Provincial Secretary.
The Hon. P. M. Vankoughnet, President of the Council and
Minister of Agriculture.
It will be seen that the personnel of the new Cabinet did
not differ greatly from the previous one. Sir Allan’s place as
President of the Council and Minister of Agriculture was
taken by Mr. P. M. Vankoughnet, a close personal and political
friend of Mr. Macdonald; and Mr. Drummond, who had held
out for the leadership of the Assembly (which, obviously, as a
they would take with them the whole Eeform party of the House. It would,
therefore, he useless to go on if these gentlemen retired” (Speech of the Hon.
J. A. Macdonald in the Assembly, May 26, 1856).
* Mr. Tache was Speaker of the Legislative Council from the 19th of April, 1856,
till the 25th of November, 1857.
Lower Canadian, he could not have, seeing that the Prime
Minister, also a Lower Canadian, was leader of the Upper
House), made way for Mr. T. L. Terrill, M.P.P. for Stanstead.
On the 26th of May the retiring Premier gave the House
a rather dramatic explanation of the causes which had led
to his retirement. Messrs. Spence and Macdonald justified
their own course, the latter reading to the House certain communications
from His Excellency the Governor General which
will be found elsewhere.*
To the Government thus reconstructed the term ”

was no longer applicable. Indeed, as regards the Lower
Canadian members of the Cabinet, it never accurately described
their course, for the union of Messrs. Morin and Tache with
the Conservatives of Upper Canada, though a coming together
of men who had previously sat on opposite sides of the House,
could not in strictness be styled a coalition, such, for example,
as the alliance between Messrs. Macdonald and Brown in 1864,
where statesmen differing widely in their general views joined
hands to accomplish a special purpose.
In Upper Canada the position of parties was somewhat
different, though even there the action of Messrs. Eoss and
Spence, representing as they did the party of Eobert Baldwin,
from which the Kadicals had separated themselves, was a
coalition only so long as Sir Allan MacNab remained at the
head of affairs. With his disappearance the Eeform members
of the Cabinet felt that there was no longer any reason why
the moderate elements of both the old parties, forgetting the
division which had separated their fathers, should not unite
under the leadership of the man who inspired equally their
confidence and their regard.
Upon Mr. Macdonald, as a matter of course, devolved the
leadership of the Assembly. There remained but one step
ere he became in name, what he already was in fact, Prime
Minister of Canada.
* See Appendix II.
( 159 )
THROUGHOUT the whole of this stirring period the state of his
wife’s health was to Mr. Macdonald a source of ceaseless anxiety.
In 1855, when, in consequence of the transfer of the seat of
Government to Toronto, he was obliged to remove to that city,
Mrs. Macdonaid’s health would not permit her to undertake
the cares of housekeeping. Mr. Macdonald was, therefore,
obliged to live in lodgings.* During the winter of 1855-56 he
was joined by his wife, who, while in Toronto, experienced one
of her many relapses, and for weeks together lay at death’s
door. I have heard Sir John say that many times during the
session of 1856 he used to dread going home at night lest he
should find her dead. During the spring she rallied somewhat,
but I do not think he was was ever free from apprehensions on
her account until the closing day of the following year, when
he laid her in the grave.
We have followed Mr. Macdonald in his political career,
now approaching its meridian height ; have seen him in the
heat of Parliamentary strife, and viewed him in his relations
with his political friends. Let us now turn a few moments to
another side of his character, not so generally known, and learn,
During the years when the seat of Government was at Toronto, Mr. Macdonald
lodged in the house of a Mr. Salt on Bay Street,
” a very worthy man.”
in the light of his letters to his mother, how the keen politician
and brilliant man of the world was no less a kind and loving
husband and father than a dutiful and affectionate son and

Toronto, January 26, 1856.
” Isabella has been very ill since I wrote last. She
was so low one day that the doctor sent for me to my office,
thinking she was dying. She has rallied wonderfully again,
and though still very weak and scarcely conscious, she is
evidently on the mend. I sent Hugh every day to Mrs.
Cameron’s to keep him out of the way, and not to interfere with
Janet, who was constantly employed in looking after Isabella.
Hugh is very well and in good spirits. He is quite a favourite
at the houses which he visits. They are Cameron’s, Vankoughnet’s,
David Macpherson’s, and Lewis Moffatt’s. At all
these houses there are young people, well brought up, so that
he has the advantage of a good companionship. He and I play
beggar-my-neighbour every evening, and you can’t fancy how
delighted he is when he beats me. He knows the value of the
cards as well as I do, and looks after his own interests sharply.

I get lots of invitations here. I was asked out for every
day last week, but I declined, of course, on account of Isa’s
illness. Next week, or rather this week, it is the same thing.
But I am obliged to refuse as I am getting ready for Parliament.
” I trust, my dear mother, you are keeping well, and that
Moll is all right again. Pray give my love to her and Loo, not
forgetting the Professor.
” Believe me, my dear mother,
” Your affectionate son,
* I am under obligation to Professor “Williamson for these letters, which he very
kindly sent the Baroness Macdonald of Earnscliffe, who placed them in my hands.
This remark applies to all letters here published from Sir John to his mother and
sisters, with the exception of the one written from England to his mother in 1842
(p. 12), which was among his own papers. I have thought it right to publish these
letters, with all their abbreviations and familiar expressions, exactly as they are,
though many of them bear evidence of having been written in great haste.
1856.] PRIME MINISTER. 161

Toronto, February 4, 1856.
” Isabella was desperately ill all last week, and was
under treatment by Dr. Telfer. She is now better, and I hope
will in a few days be as usual. Hugh flourishes greatly. He
is in very good health and spirits. Since Isa’s illness he has
spent his time principally at Eose Cameron’s, as Janet’s time
was taken up in attending to her. Sometimes he went to
David Macpherson’s and to Philip Vankoughnet’s. The weather
here has been intensely cold, but I have not suffered much
from it, as my house and office are close together. I am very
busy in getting ready for Parliament. It commences on the
15th, and I shall then have little rest night or day until the
end of the session. However, I thrive wonderfully under it.
” Love to Marg’t, Louisa and the Doctor.

Always, my dear mother,
” Your affectionate son,

Toronto, March 17, 1856.
” I have been so much bothered lately about political
matters that I have had but little time to write. We are all
as usual, however. Isabella has been tolerably well for some
time, and is in good spirits. Eose Cameron is a good deal with
her, and prevents her from being lonely. For the last three
days, however, she has suffered from the swelling of hands and
feet, which Dr. Telfer says is erysipelas.
” Hugh is, thank God, in prime health. He had a party of
about sixteen on his birthday, and he has not yet got over his
exertions, or his stories of their doings.
” His teeth are coming out now without pain. He continually
talks of Kingston, however. Whenever he is asked
whether he likes Kingston or Toronto best, he says always,
‘ I like Kingston best, because my grandmother lives there.’
I was a good deal out of sorts for a time, but I am now all
right and hard at work.
” I am carrying on a war against that scoundrel George
Brown, and I will teach him a lesson that he never learnt
before. I shall prove him a most dishonest, dishonourable
fellow, and, in doing so, I will only pay him a debt I owe him
for abusing me for months together in his newspaper.
“Tell Mr. Williamson that I have just seen Sir William
Logan, who says he has got a book and map for him. I don’t
think the House will sit longer than the first of May. I shall
then take a run down with Isabella and Hugh, and pay you all
a visit. Can you give us a bed ?
” We are now discussing the question of the seat of Government,
and an old Frenchman is making a speech, so that,
instead of listening to him, I am writing to you. I am afraid
that we have no chance for Kingston. We shall, however, make
a fight for it. The French will, I think, be too strong for us, and
we must submit to going to Lower Canada. I regret this, but
it cannot be helped.
” Give my sincere love to Margaret and Louisa, as also to
the Doctor, and believe me, as ever, my dear mother,
” Your affectionate son,
“J. A. M. D.”
The reconstruction of the Cabinet, which had been brought
about with the express object of acquiring strength in Upper
Canada, did not fulfil its purpose. Almost immediately after
the Ministerial explanations had been given, a want of confidence
motion, proposed by Mr. Dorion, obtained fifty-four votes
out of one hundred and twelve. The Government was saved by
the narrow majority of four in the whole House, but was in
a minority of no less than fifteen as regards Upper Canada.
While the position of the Ministry, in view of the late crisis,
was decidedly embarrassing, they nevertheless felt that the
large majority opposed to them was the result, partly of
momentary annoyance on the part of friends, and partly of a
combination of circumstances not likely to recur, and that the
vote did not therefore correctly indicate the relative strength of
parties in the chamber. For these reasons they determined to
hold on, and the result proved their foresight, for during the
remainder of the session they were sustained by a majority
which sometimes reached twenty.
Parliament was prorogued on the first of July, having passed
1856-57.] PRIME MINISTER. 163
a goodly number of bills ; among them the measure altering the
constitution of the Legislative Council, which had been twice
rejected by the Upper House.* That honourable body, finding
that the people were in earnest with regard to this change,
sullenly acquiesced therein, a determination to which its members
were the more readily brought by the knowledge that the
Lower House was led by a man accustomed to carry out what he
took in hand. They took their revenge, however, by refusing to
vote $200,000 for the Parliament Buildings at Quebec, on the
ground that they had not been consulted in the matter. In
order to accomplish this, they threw out the Supply Bill, and at
the last moment a new Bill had to be introduced and rushed
through the Assembly with the objectionable item eliminated.
The recess of 1856 was not marked by any eve’nts of special
interest. Towards the close of the year the Imperial Government,
taking advantage of the expiry of certain trading privileges
granted to the Hudson’s Bay Company in the year 1838,
resolved upon bringing the vast and undefined claims of that
company under the investigation of a Committee of the House
of Commons, and invited the Canadian Government to be
represented thereat. The Ministry accepted the offer, f and
selected Chief Justice Draper as their Commissioner. This
action of the Government was challenged by the Opposition
immediately after the opening of the session of 1857, which
took place on the 26th of February. Messrs. Dorion, Wilson,
John Hillyard Cameron, and other members of the Assembly
censured the Administration for having, in the first place, taken
this important step without consulting Parliament, and, in the
second place, for disturbing the administration of justice by
withdrawing a judge from his duties. Mr. Macdonald replied
on behalf of the Government, expressing his great surprise and
regret at hearing Chief Justice Draper’s friend and former
colleague speak of him in the way Mr. John Hillyard Cameron
had thought proper to do, in that, while professing friendship
for the Chief Justice, he had openly insinuated that he would
* This Bill was reserved by the Governor General for the signification of Her
Majesty’s pleasure. The Royal assent was given on the 24th of June, 1856, and
proclamation thereof made in the Canada Gazette of the 14th of July, 1856.
t See App. Journals, Leg. Ass., Canada, 1857, No. 17.
break the constitutional laws of the country. Mr. Macdonald
considered Mr. Draper to be quite as good a lawyer as
Mr. Cameron, and the Chief Justice, with his usual caution,
accepted the appointment after calm and mature deliberation.
Mr. Macdonald argued at some length that there were precedents
for such an appointment, and that, if there were not, the
Government would make a precedent. The Crimea, he said,
had exhibited the effect of red-tape government. This Government
had happily got beyond red-tapism. He added that Lord
Mansfield and Lord Ellenborough had both taken similar, or, if
anything, more objectionable commissions, and the Chief Justice
of another colony was sent to Canada upon an errand infinitely
more political in its character. The chief aim of the Government
had been to find the best, and, at the same time, the least
objectionable man on political grounds, and they could find
no man at once so unobjectionable and able as Chief Justice
Draper. He was emphatically the right man in the right place.
If they sent Mr. Drummond they would be accused of buying
off an opponent. If they sent a political friend they would be
charged with rewarding a partisan. If they selected one of the
Opposition, they would be accused of trying to bribe him. So
they determined to appoint Chief Justice Draper, who was at
once impartial, non-political, and eminently fitted for the
mission. It would be, he said, an act of cowardice to fear Parliament
in making such an appointment. These reasons were
felt to be unanswerable, and Mr. Dorion’s motion of censure was
defeated by fifty-two votes to thirty.
Among the important measures passed during this session
was one providing for the codification of the civil law of Lower
Canada, which was under the especial care of Mr. Cartier ; aswere
also Bills for the introduction of the French law of real
property into the eastern townships thus making the tenure
uniform throughout Lower Canada, and for the local administration
of justice. Several legal reforms affecting Upper Canada
were prepared and carried through by Mr. Macdonald. With
the object of establishing direct postal communication with
England, which should not only stop a large contribution to therevenue
of the United States, but attract to the colony a shareof
that trade and immigration which was being diverted to the
1857.] PRIME MINISTER. 165
former country, and also counteract, as far as possible, the
injurious effect of the policy of England in subsidizing, to the
extent of 180,000, the Cunard line of steamers plying to
American ports, Parliament, during the session of 1857, voted a
subsidy of .50,000 per annum towards the establishment of a
direct line of ocean steamers to run weekly between Canada and
the United Kingdom. An Act for improving the organization
and increasing the efficiency of the civil service of Canada
the first of a long series was passed under the auspices of
Mr. Spence, Postmaster General. It established deputy heads
of each department, provided a system of classification of clerks,
and organized a board for the examination of candidates for the
service. Bills relating to the militia, to agriculture, and to
asylums for the insane were also passed, as was a further
measure of relief to the Grand Trunk Eailway. In April,
Mr. Cauchon, being unable to induce his colleagues to agree to
the grant of a further subsidy to the North Shore Eailway,
resigned office in the Administration. His portfolio of Commissioner
of Crown Lands was taken by the Premier, Colonel
Tache, whose duties as Speaker of the Legislative Council were,
except during the session, largely nominal.
The seat of Government question came in for the usual
share of discussion, the action of the Legislative Council at
the close of the previous session in rejecting the vote for the
erection of buildings having left the matter unsettled. Early
in the session of 1857 the Ministry, in view of the difficulty
of arriving at a choice which would be acceptable to all parties
in the Assembly, proposed to submit the question to the Queen.
Accordingly they introduced and carried certain resolutions,
praying that Her Majesty would be graciously pleased to exercise
the Eoyal prerogative by the selection of some one place
as the permanent capital of Canada, and directing that the sum
of 225,000 should be set apart for the erection of suitable
buildings and accommodation for the Government and Legislature
at that place. The reference to Her Majesty was fiercely
opposed by the Clear-Grits as being a tacit acknowledgment
of our unfitness to exercise that responsible government for
which we had contended so long. The Globe, in a series of
articles, denounced the ”
very idea as degradation.” It was,
according to Mr. Brown, both ”
” and ”
the only palliative to the proposition being that ”
its absurdity
and ridiculousness exceeded even its humiliation.” Nevertheless
the motion was carried by sixty-one votes to fifty, and the
vote of money by sixty-four to forty-eight.
Early in the year 1857 the Clear-Grits had held a meeting
in Toronto, and formulated the policy on which the approaching
elections were to be run. Chief among their “planks”
were ”
representation by population,” and no sectarian grants
to churches or schools which, in plain English, meant the
raising of the Protestant cry. During the session Messrs.
Brown and William Lyon Mackenzie defined their policy on
these questions in many amendments, which were all defeated :
and when Parliament was prorogued, on the 10th of June, the
Clear-Grits and Eouges seemed as far as ever from the Treasury
Shortly after prorogation Mr. Macdonald, at the request of
his colleagues, proceeded to England with the object of urging
upon the Imperial authorities the reasons which, in the opinion
of the Canadian Ministry, should induce her Majesty’s Government
to aid in the construction of an intercolonial railway
from Eiviere du Loup to Halifax. The minute of Council
charging Mr. Macdonald with this duty left him free to call
to his aid the services of any gentleman whom he might deem
most qualified to promote the success of his mission. He
selected Mr. John Eose, at that time a young and comparatively
unknown lawyer in Montreal, in whom he had detected signs
of great promise. The occasion, which was the beginning of
a close friendship that continued for more than thirty years,
had no little bearing on Mr. Eose’s future. Unfortunately, they
had scarcely landed when the news of the Indian Mutiny
reached England. In the presence of that emergency Her
Majesty’s Government had but little leisure for the discussion
and consideration of Canadian railway schemes. Messrs.
Macdonald and Eose, however, acting in concert with delegates
from Nova Scotia, had several interviews with Lord Palmerston
and other Imperial Ministers, and explained their views at
length. Feeling that the circumstances of the time precluded
any immediate decision on their proposals being come to, they
1857.] PRIME MINISTER. 167
having stated their case, sailed for Canada, leaving the question
with the Imperial Government for further consideration.
Briefly stated, Mr. Macdonald’s proposition was as follows :
In the year 1841 Canada obtained from the Imperial Government
the loan of a million and a half for the construction of
public works, for the redemption of which a sinking fund had
been formed. Mr. Macdonald suggested that the amount of
this loan, including the sinking fund, be granted in aid of the
Intercolonial railway; and that Canada be relieved from its
repayment in consideration of expending the whole amount in
the construction of the line from Biviere du Loup towards Halifax.
Her Majesty’s Government, for reasons solely of a financial
nature, ultimately declined to grant the required aid.
The harvest of 1857 was 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 was an era of great commercial
activity. Vast sums of money had been spent in
constructing railways. This outlay, three bountiful harvests,
and the Crimean war, combined to produce a period of almost
unexampled prosperity a prosperity more apparent than real.
The usual reaction followed, and the advent of peace in Europe
coinciding with a bad harvest, produced the inevitable result in
Canada. For a time an almost complete prostration of business
ensued. Every class and interest felt the strain ; nor did the
Ministry escape. It was at this gloomy period that Colonel
Tache relinquished the cares of State, and Mr. Macdonald, full
of hope and courage, assumed the position of First Minister.
The retiring Premier, by profession a physician, and familiarly
known to his constituents as Dr. Tache, had held Cabinet
office continuously since 1848. He was a man of large and
liberal mind, and of wide experience in public affairs. I should
say that he owed his success, not so much to exceptional ability,
as to the reputation he enjoyed of being a moderate and safe
man. He does not appear to have been distinguished by any
particular aptitude for political life,* and the prominence he
* He did not like politics. I have heard that he once said to a lady, who had
sought his influence in some impossible matter,!” Madame, un homme politique estun
homme sans entrailles, je dirai presque, sans conscience.”
enjoyed was in great measure the result of circumstances. He
accepted the leadership of the party in 1856 with reluctance,
and only because he felt that in doing so he was rendering a
service to the State. Colonel Tache was a gentleman of the
old school, now fast disappearing before the advancing tide of
democracy. Intellectually by no means the peer of La Fontaine,
he possessed equally with that great man the dignity
of bearing and courtliness of manner from which, let us say,
le petit avocat of our own day is so conspicuously free. Sir
E. P. Tache was a firm supporter of British connection, and
was the author of that much-quoted saying, that the last shot
for the maintenance of British rule in North America would
be fired by a French Canadian. Between Mr. Tache . and
Mr. Macdonald there ever existed the most cordial good-will.
Far from entertaining any feeling of jealousy at the proofs that
Mr. Macdouald was daily giving of his skill as a leader of
men, Colonel Tache welcomed the success of his colleague as
evidence that he could safely commit the leadership of the
party to him and his brilliant Lower Canadian lieutenant,
Mr. Cartier. Born in 1795, Colonel Tache, in November, 1857,
was entering his sixty-third year. His health, too, was undermined,
and he felt that he had earned a period of repose.
Accordingly, to the great regret of his colleagues, he decided
to place his resignation in the hands of the Governor General,
and to withdraw from active political life, retaining his seat
in the Legislative Council. Freedom from the cares of office
had a beneficial effect upon his health, and we shall see him
again bravely responding to the call of duty, and dying like a
man at his post.
Colonel Tache resigned the office of Commissioner of Crown
Lands, his seat in the Cabinet, and the Speakership of the
Legislative Council on the 25th of November. Being Prime
Minister, his resignation dissolved the Administration. The
Governor General immediately sent for Mr. Macdonald, and
entrusted to him the task of forming a new Government. At
the new leader’s request all the Upper Canadian members of
the Ministry retained their portfolios. The reconstruction of the
Lower Canadian section of the Cabinet, which was a more
difficult task, Mr. Macdonald, in accordance with the practice
1857.] PRIME MINISTER. 169
prevailing at the time, confided to his colleague Mr. Cartier.
In the view that the Lower Canadian Liberals were chafing
under their alliance with George Brown and the Clear-Grits,
Mr. Cartier resolved upon giving them an opportunity of withdrawing
therefrom. He offered the Provincial Secretaryship,
which had become vacant by the resignation of Mr. Terrill, for
personal reasons/a short time before, to Mr. A. A. Dorion, which
that gentleman declined. Mr. Cartier, however, was more
successful elsewhere. Mr. Sicotte, Speaker of the House of
Assembly, an old-time Liberal, accepted the office of Commissioner
of Crown Lands, and Mr. (afterwards Sir) Narcisse Belleau
succeeded Colonel Tache as Speaker of the Legislative Council,
with a seat in the Cabinet. The Provincial Secretaryship was
filled by Mr. T. J. J. Loranger, M.P.P. for Laprairie, and
Mr. C. Alleyn, M.P.P. for Quebec City, succeeded Mr. Lemieux
as Chief Commissioner of Public Works.
These arrangements having been completed, the Macdonald-
Cartier Administration stood as follows :
The Hon. J. A. Macdonald, Attorney General, U.C. (First
The Hon. G. E. Cartier, Attorney General, L.C.
The Hon. W. Cayley, Inspector General.
The Hon. E. Spence, Postmaster General.
The Hon. J. C. Morrison, Eeceiver General.
The Hon. P. M. Vankoughnet, President of the Executive
Council and Minister of Agriculture.
The Hon. L. V. Sicotte, Commissioner of Crown Lands.
The Hon. K F. Belleau, without portfolio.*
The Hon. Charles Alleyn, Chief Commissioner of Public
The Hon. T. J. J. Loranger, Provincial Secretary.
Mr. Henry Smith continued to hold the office of Solicitor
General for Upper Canada. The corresponding office for Lower
Canada was filled by the appointment of Mr. John Eose.
Mr. Eose at this date had never sat in Parliament, but the
Prime Minister had seen enough of him during the Intercolonial
Mr. Belleau was Speaker of the Legislative Council from the 26th of
November, 1857, till the 1st of August, 1858, and from the 7th of August, 1858,
till the 19th of March, 1862.
Kailway mission to know his value. He was returned at the
ensuing election as one of the members for the City of Montreal,
and, as we shall see,, had a long and successful career before
It will be observed, that of the Lower Canadian members of
the former Cabinet only Mr. Cartier remained. The four new
members had been selected with judgment, and the new Ministry
was received with much satisfaction. The Macdonald-Cartier
Government took office on the 26th of November. On the 28th,
Parliament was dissolved, and writs issued for a general
The campaign was short and sharp, the issue as forced by
George Brown being chiefly confined to the two great questions
of representation by population and non-sectarian schools
otherwise no-popery, both of which cries were used by the
Clear-Grits on the hustings, and through the medium of the
Globe, with much effect in Upper Canada. Mr. Macdonald
opposed the principle of representation by population, because
he felt it was a violation of the agreement under which the
union was effected in 1841. That union was a distinct bargain,
entered into by the representatives of Upper Canada, and by
the governing power of Lower Canada, and could not be altered
without the consent of both sections of the Province having
been first obtained. It was well known the people of Lower
Canada were opposed to any such change in the parliamentary
representation, and Mr. Macdonald expressed the view that any
attempt to force Mr. Brown’s theory of equal representation
upon them would be regarded as a breach of the compact under
/which they entered the Union. He also opposed the principle
jl (of representation by population) because it led by logical
\ sequence to universal suffrage ; and he declared, that in any
V&vent such a measure was premature until the census was
completed and the necessary data for a fair distribution were in
their hands.
I have already shown what was Mr. Macdonald’s position
in regard to the question of separate schools. The following
quotation from one of his speeches delivered about this time
presents his views on the subject very clearly :

I have called the attention of the people to the fact that
1857.] PRIME MINISTER. 171
the 19th clause of the Common School Act became law long
long before I was in the Government at all ; so that the merit
of it, or the blame of it, is not with me, but rests entirely with
the Baldwin-La Fontaine Administration, as it was brought in
under the auspices of Mr. Baldwin particularly, that pure and
honest man of whom I always love to speak, though we were
opposed in politics. And if it be asked why we did not repeal
it, I answer, in the first place, that it is one thing to give a right
or a franchise, and another thing to deprive people of it ; and
in the second place, we have the indisputable evidence of a disinterested
witness a man who cannot be suspected of any
leaning towards Popery I mean Eev. Dr. Eyerson, a Protestant
clergyman himself, at the head of the common school system
a person whose whole energies have been expended in the cause
of education who states deliberately to the people of Canada,
that the separate school clause does not retard the progress or
the increase of common schools ; but that, on the contrary, it
‘ widens the basis of the common school system.’ If I thought
that it injured that system, I must say that I would vote for
its repeal to-morrow. You must remember, also, that Lower
Canada is decidedly a Eoman Catholic country that the
Protestant population of Lower Canada is a small minority, and
if Protestant schools were not allowed there, our Protestant
brethren in Lower Canada would be obliged to send their
children to be educated by Eoman Catholic teachers. Now,
I don’t know how many Protestants or how many Eoman
Catholics I may be at this moment addressing, but I say that
as a Protestant, I should not be willing to send my son to a
Eoman Catholic school, while I think a Eoman Catholic should
not be compelled to send his to a Protestant one. In Lower
Canada the teachers are generally the Eoman Catholic clergy,
and, of course, it is their duty to teach what they consider truth,
and to guard their pupils against error. But the system in
vogue there is more liberal than even ours, in that it not only
permits the establishment of Protestant schools for Protestant
children, but allows the whole municipal machinery to be
employed to collect the rates to maintain them. In discussing
this subject, I have always found that when it is fairly laid
before the people, they always, by their applause, signify their
approbation of the consistent course of the Government in regard
to it.”
The Prime Minister was returned for Kingston practically
by acclamation, the opposition to him being a farce. The
following letter from a leading Eeformer in Kingston, who
opposed him in the general election of 1863, shows in what
esteem Mr. Macdonald was held, even by his political
opponents :
[Private and confidential.]

Kingston, November 21, 1857.
” For the past several days the rumour has been rife, and is now
believed in Kingston, that a general election will take place some time next
month, consequently there is no small degree of stir and excitement amongst
the local politicians, and yesterday I was twice waited on by deputations from
those who are not friendly to you to become a candidate in opposition ; and
every encouragement pretended to be given. But I unhesitatingly refused to
lend myself, either as a candidate, or in any other capacity, to oppose your
return at this election, and stated my reasons. But having been informed
that it has been communicated to you that I and a committee on my behalf
are using every exertion and are pledged to spare no expense to secure my
return, I have thought it would be the most honourable and proper course
for me to pursue, at once to write you a private note saying that you may
rely on it that I will not be a party, directly or indirectly, to offer you a
factious opposition, or to cause you any expense at the election. With many
thanks for your kindness in speaking to Killaly in behalf of the Wolfe Island
Canal, I remain,

Sincerely yours,
” Hon. J. A. Macdonald, &c., &c., Toronto.”
To which Mr. Macdonald replied :


Toronto, November 24, 1857.
” I am much obliged for your kind note. I took it
for granted that you would be asked to come out by those who
are opposed to my return, but I did not hear of any committee
having been formed in your behalf. From the first I felt sure,
however, that you would under the circumstances now existing
1857.] PRIME MINISTER. 173
prefer the interests of Kingston to the indulgence of a natural
ambition to represent your native town.
” I need scarcely say that I fully appreciate your handsome
conduct, and hope to have an opportunity some day of evincing
my sense of it.

Faithfully yours,
” 0. S. Gildersleeve, Esq., Kingston.”
But if Mr. Gildersleeve felt the unwisdom of offering any
factious opposition, others of his party were not so considerate,
for, partly out of personal spite, and partly to keep Mr. Macdonald
from aiding his friends elsewhere, a section of the
Opposition did their utmost during this campaign to subject
him to every kind of annoyance. The Globe, which during the
contest was wholly beside itself with excitement, and kept


before a quarter of the elections had been
held, attacked Mr. Macdonald with the utmost fury, invading
his private life, and accusing him of every crime in the decalogue.
On nomination day Mr. Macdonald made a speech, in
which he referred to the seat of Government question, and
explained to his constituents how it was that he had been
unable to get the capital removed to Kingston. The Globe
reported him as having described the vote given in the session
of 1856 in favour of Quebec as a ”

to prevent the
Government going to Montreal. The charge that the Government
of the day had stooped to trick any portion of the community
was serious, and calculated to injure, not only Mr.
Macdonald, but also his colleague, Mr. Cartier. It was indignantly
denied by Mr. Macdonald, and immediately repeated by
the Globe, which published, under the heading of
” Mr. J. A.
Macdonald’s humbugging speech,” a letter from its reporter to
the effect that he had been present on the occasion and taken
down Mr. Macdonald’s exact words, which were as stated by
the Globe. Mr. Macdonald was destined to hear this charge
thrown at him for a long time. At length he took steps
publicly to expose its falsity, and for that purpose procured
several affidavits from gentlemen of known character and worth
who were present at the nomination and heard his words.
From a bundle of these affidavits I select one, that of the
present judge of the united counties of Lennox and Addington.*
The result of the elections in Upper Canada was on the
whole distinctly unfavourable to the Ministry, three of its
members, Messrs. Cayley, Spence, and Morrison, having been
defeated, the last by Mr. (now Sir) Oliver Mowat on the
occasion of the famous contest in South Ontario, when the
electors were assured that the alternative presented to them
was to
” vote for Mowat and the Queen, or Morrison and the
Pope.” Mr. Cayley subsequently found a seat in Eenfrew, but
Messrs. Spence and Morrison never sat in Parliament again.
George Brown was re-elected for two constituencies, Toronto
and North Oxford, and altogether the Government were in a
minority of six or eight.
In Lower Canada a different order of things prevailed. The
appeals to sectional and religious prejudice which injuriously
affected the Government in Upper Canada, had a precisely
opposite effect upon their fortunes in the Lower Province.
There the alliance with the Clear-Grit party caused the wellnigh
complete overthrow of the Eouges, who returned a mere
handful from the conflict. Mr. Dorion was elected for Montreal,
but his colleague in the representation of that city (Mr. Holton)
suffered defeat at the hands of the new Solicitor General,
Mr. Eose. His namesake, J. B. E. Dorion, commonly known as
I’enfant terrible, was unsuccessful in Drummond and Arthabaska;
* ”
County of Frontenae, one of the United Counties of Frontenac, Lennox and
Addington to wit ;

I, “William Henry “Wilkison, of the city of Kingston, in the said county of
Frontenac, gentleman, make oath and say,
” That I was present at the nomination for the city of Kingston at the last general
election, and stood at the top of the steps of the City Hall, in front of, and quite
close to, the Honourable John A. Macdonald during the whole of the speech made by
him to his constituents on that occasion. “That my recollection of that part of his
speech in which he referred to the seat of Government question is quite distinct, and I
am positive that he made use of no such words as ‘ humbug’ or ‘
trickery,’ or words of
a similar signification. That he endeavoured to explain, -without using those words,
that by voting on the seat of Government question as he did, it was most for the
interest of his constituents.
” Sworn at the city of Kingston, this seventh
day of February, 1859, before me,

J.P., and Alderman of City of Kingston.”
1858.] PRIME MINISTER. 175
and such prominent Rouges as Papin, Doutre, Fournier, and
Letellier were given abundant leisure to deplore the fanaticism
of George Brown. All the Lower Canadian members of the
Ministry were re-elected, and Mr. Cartier had the satisfaction
of coming up to Parliament with almost the whole representation
of Lower Canada at his back.
The election took place in the latter part of December,
1857. Early in the year 1858, Colonel Tache, who in his
retirement had been watching with anxiety the progress of the
fight, wrote to Mr. Macdonald the following interesting letter,
which shows how deeply he had the success of his friend at
heart :

[En confidence.]
“Montmagny, le 18 Janvier, 1858.

Quoique je ne vous aie pas e*crit avant ce jour, -je savais que vous
tiez si occupe, si tracass^, je n’en ai pas moms compati aux afflictions domestiques
que vous avez eprouvees, sachant bien que rien de ce que j’aurais pu
dire n’aurait eu 1’effet d’amoindrir ces sortes de douleurs dont le temps seul
peut emousser la vivacite. Je voulais attendre la fin de la lutte electorate,
avant de vous donner signe de vie ; et maintenant que tout est termine” je puis
sans indiscretion, je pense, vous dcrire un mot pour vous renouveler 1’assurance
de mon estime et de mon amitie’.

Eloigne* comme je suis du Haut Canada, je ne puis juger du re’sultat de vos
Elections, que par le conflit des opinions contraires, exprime’es par les journaux
des deux partis dominants, et aussi un peu par Texpdrience que j’ai acquise
des hommes et des choses dans votre section de la province. Je dirai done
que de la distance ou je suis, je crois voir le Haut Canada s^pare” en deux
camps a-peu-pres dgaux ; et si ce n’etait du naufrage de vos trois auxiliares
haut-canadiens, dans 1’assemblee legislative, vous seriez aujourd’hui plus fort
qu’aucun des gouvernements qui vous ont precede” depuis nombre d’ann^es.
Je dis que vous seriez plus fort parce que le Bas-Canada, avec la phalange
formidable et compacte qu’il pr^sentera en chambre, donnera une grande
majorite aux mesures du gouvernement. Les dernieres elections, dans le
Bas-Canada, ont ete une vraie deroute pour les rouges, qui ont ete battus,
comme vous le diriez en anglais,

horse, foot, and artillery.’ Maintenant Dieu
me garde de vous demander comment vous allez remplir la breche causee par
la triple defaite de MM.Cayley, Spence, et Morrison; c’est votre affaire ; vous
n’en devez compte a personne puisque vous etes I’homme, par excellence, que la
constitution rend responsable en pareil cas. Mais d’un cote si les difficultes
que vous avez a surmonter sont grandes, de 1’autre, celles du parti


seraient encore plus formidables si, par malheur, ce parti e”tait appeie au pouvoir.
; En effet il ne sumt pas de la moitie du Haut-Canada et c’est au plus ce que
le parti possede avec une fraction du Bas-Canada pour se montrer dans
1’assembiee legislative; et les moms clairvoyants doivent etre convaincus
qu’une pareille combinaison n’offrirait qu’une chetive minorite. Pour obtenir
la cooperation du Bas-Canada il faudrait que le parti modifiat son programme.
L’honne*te et consciencieux M. Brown y consentirait-il ? Ma foi, je le crois.
C’est un homme, ou je me trompe fort, dispose” a consentir a tout pour 1’appat du
pouvoir, tout en assurant ses dupes qu’il ne fera qu’ajourner sesprojetspour les
reprendre plus tard aussitot qu’il y aura lieu. D’un autre cote* une alliance
avec les ‘ Cleargrits] quelles qu’en dussent etre les conditions, de”populariserait
considerablement les ministres bas-canadiens et affaiblirait beaucoup un
gouvernement ainsi forme*. H faut done, dans l’inte”ret du parti modere”, dans
1’inte’re’t du parti en general, que vous n’abandonniez la barque de Tetat qu’a
la derniere extrdmit^. Les difficultds sont grandes, je 1’avoue, mais vos
ressources ne le sont pas moins. La representation haut-canadienne ne peut
pas e*tre assez aveugle pour ne pas s’apercevoir qu’en se divisant elle
amoindrit son influence dans le gouvernement, et je compte beaucoup sur
I’esprit pratique de ses amis politiques aussi bien que sur le common sense des
habitants du Haut-Canada en general, pour faciliter vos arrangements
” N’allez pas croire, mon cher Premier, que je veuille vous donner des avis,
car c’est bien la derniere de mes pense”es. Je sentais le besoin de communiquer
avec vous; vous faire part des impressions que j’e”prouve a la
distance qui nous se”pare, et voilatout ; ma lettre ne demande aucune re”ponse.
Veuillez me rappeler aux bons souvenirs de mes anciens collegues et amis, les
assurer de toutes mes sympathies et leur dire que rien ne me fera plus plaisir
que de les rencontrer de nouveau durant le cours de la prochaine session.
” Je suis, mon cher Premier, avec toute la consideration possible,
” Votre obeissant serviteur et ami,
” E. P. TACHE.
< A 1'Honorable J. A. Macdonald, Procureur General, &c., &c., Toronto." The affliction to which Dr. Tache alludes was the death of Mrs. Macdonald, who closed a lengthened period of suffering on the 28th of December, at the very height of the election contest. This blow, coming when it did, was especially severe on Mr. Macdonald, whose strenuous labours as party chief were not without effect upon his health. In March he wrote thus to his sister, Mrs. Williamson : " Toronto, March 20, 1858. "My DEAR MARGARET, " I was very unwell last week, so as to be confined to bed for three days, and was hardly able to crawl to the House, when it opened ; but I am fast rallying, and hope in a few days 1858.] PRIME MINISTER. 177 to be all right again. I went out on Saturday night to John Eoss's. He lives five miles from town, and I had two good nights' rest, and lounged on the sofa all Sunday, so that I came to town yesterday (Monday) morning much refreshed. " We are having a hard fight in the House and shall beat them in the votes, but it will, I think, end in my retiring as soon as I can with honour. I find the work and annoyance too much for me. This is a secret, however. " I can have no objection to Hugh becoming a dancer. Give Louisa the money for household expenses. "Give my love to mamma, Louisa, and Hughy. Kiss him for me, and tell him to send me a drawing, or rather painting. " Affectionately yours, "JOHN A. MACDONALD. " Love to the Parson." A little later in the session Mr. Macdonald wrote the following letters to his mother, whom, it will be seen, he never forgot. The spectacle of this busy man of middle age, in the midst of an unusually stormy session, with defeat ever imminent, finding time to inform his aged mother of his " cherished desire " to pay her a visit, must be a revelation to those persons who have been accustomed to form their estimate of his character upon data furnished by the Globe, : "Toronto, April 4, 1858. "MY DEAREST MOTHER, " I hope that this letter will find you as usual I had hoped to get down for a day, but have hitherto been prevented. I trust that ere long I may be able to gratify my cherished desire to pay you a visit. To show you that the whole world is not ungrateful, I send you two notes, one from the Hon. Mr. Chauveau, Chief Superintendent of Education in Lower Canada ; the other from an old soldier for whom I got a company in the 100th. With all sorts of love to Hugh and the household, " Believe me, my dear mother, " Your affectionate son, "JOHN A. MACDONALD." VOL. I. N 178 MEMOIRS OF SIR JOHN A. MACDONALD. [CHAP. VIII. " Toronto, June 17, 1858. "MY DEAREST MOTHER, " You must give Louisa a good scolding for me, for not writing me how you are and how you have been for the past week. Margaret used to correspond with me once a week, so tell Loo to be sure to send me a line. We are getting on very slowly in the House, and it is very tiresome. I hope we shall get through the session early in July, and then I shall be able to go down to see you all. I long to hear of Margaret and her party. Not one word have I had of any of you. Good-bye, my dear mother. I have just made one speech, and am about to make another. Love to Loo. " Always, my dearest mother, " Your affectionate son, " JOHN." The losses sustained by the Government at the recent election rendered imperative a reconstruction of the Upper Canadian section of the Cabinet before the meeting of Parliament. As matters stood, two members of the Government were without seats in Parliament, and the Administration was in a minority of from six to ten votes in the Assembly. Under these circumstances it behoved the leader to overcome, if possible, this adverse majority by Upper Canadian votes. The position of both parties, in view of the events of the last two years, was undoubtedly embarrassing. No matter how untenable the principle of the double majority might be, it was not pleasant to govern one section of the province by the almost unanimous vote of the other. The advocates for the application, or perhaps I should say the continuation, of the double-majority principle, argued that, while the Constitutional Act of 1840 provided for a Legislative Union, that measure was, in theory at all events, the outcome of a compact entered into between two provinces peopled by different races, speaking different languages, governed by different laws, and professing different religions, and, as such, partook of a federal character. It was contended that in giving to each section an equal representation in the Legislature, the Imperial Government had admitted the federal principle, which was further FACSIMILE LETTER FROM SIR JOHN MAC DONALD TO HIS MOTHER, 1858. [Fol. /.p. 178. 1858.] PBIME MINISTER. 179 sanctioned by the Canadian Parliament when, in increasing the representation after the census of 1851, it maintained a numerical equality between the two formerly separate Provinces. This view was held by John Sandfield Macdonald, and would no doubt have proved very awkward for the Administration were it not for the fact that it was fatal to George Brown's cherished dogma of representation by population, which John Sandfield Macdonald, and certain other more moderate reformers who advocated the double-majority principle, logically opposed. Mr. Macdonald did not fail to observe this difference between Messrs. Brown and J. S. Macdonald, or certain other indications of a want of entire agreement between these chiefs of the Opposition ; and he conceived the idea of coming to an understanding with the latter, with whom he was on terms of personal friendship. In the month of January, 1858, they had several conversations on the subject, which resulted in this offer being made to Mr. J. S. Macdonald : " [Private and confidential.] " Toronto, January 26, 1858. "MY DEAR SANDFIELD, " As our conversations were of a confidential character, I write you in the same strain as if my letter were a continuation of our verbal communications. " I have been waiting for Cartier's return in order to be able to submit a plan by which, I think, both our views may be fully carried out. I propose that you should join the Government, as President of the Council, Eeceiver, or Postmaster General, as you please. That a Eeformer supporting the Government, and not a Grit, should be your colleague ; that the Solicitor General should also be a Eeformer and have a seat in the Cabinet. If this meets your views telegraph me 'All right,' and come up by to-morrow night's train. If not, I shall be obliged by a telegraph containing a negative in the morning. The reason of the hurry is that the Parliament meets on the 25th of February, and the elections must come off at once. " I write in a great hurry in order to catch the mail. " Yours faithfully, "JOHN A. MACDONALD. " Hon. J. S. Macdonald, Cornwall." 180 MEMOIRS OF SIR JOHN A. MACDONALD. [CIIAP. VIII. Mr. J. S. Macdonald evidently did not find this proposition sufficiently liberal, for on the next day the following characteristic reply by telegraph was received from him : " Cornwall, January 27, 1858. " No go. " J. S. MACDOXALD." The future showed, however, that Mr. John A. Macdonald's instinct was not at fault in this case; he was merely a few years too soon. Notwithstanding his failure to come to an agreement with the member for Cornwall, Mr. Macdonald was not unsuccessful in his negotiations with the moderate element of the Liberal party. Shortly before the meeting of the new Parliament, which took place on the 25th of February, Messrs. Spence and Morrison, being without seats in the Legislature, resigned office in the Administration. Mr. Spence was succeeded in the Postmaster Generalship by Mr. Sidney Smith, the member for West Northumberland, who had hitherto acted with the Opposition, and whose recent election the Globe had welcomed as a great party triumph. Mr. Macdonald also invited his friend Mr. Alexander Campbell to share with him the responsibilities of government, which offer Mr. Campbell declined in these terms : " Thursday morning.* "Mr DEAR MACDOXALD, " As you will readily believe, I have carefully considered the offer with which you honoured me yesterday. I am very sensible that to your personal friendship I must be much indebted for it, and I shall always retain a grateful recollection of your kindness. "My conclusion is most respectfully and most gratefully to decline it; but I should make but a sorry return for your frankness, if I did not seek to give you the reasons which have led me to this decision. " During last session I was on several occasions amongst those who were voting with the Opposition ; not by any means that I was or could be of them, * It was one of Sir Alexander Campbell's peculiarities seldom to indicate the dates of his letters by anything more definite than the day of the week, and his practice in this respect adds greatly to the difficulty of classifying his correspondence. To the best of my judgment this letter was written on the 21st of January, 1858, and the following one on the 29th of the same month. 1858.] PRIME MINISTER. 181 but that in these instances my sense of duty was best discharged by voting with them. A condemnation of the temporary removal to Quebec pending the erection of the public buildings at Ottawa was one of these instances, and there were one or two others. I think, after those votes and whilst the policy they condemned is being carried out, it would be inconsistent in me to join the Government; and any use which, under other circumstances, I might possibly be to you would be much impaired. And I think that this reasoning applies with particular force at this moment. "Again, I am not quite certain that my lameness would permit me to discharge the duties of office even of that one which you were kind enough to propose for me, and which is the one I should desire of all others if I held any. " I intended to have called, but perhaps as you have so much sickness in the house, this plan may be more convenient. " I have not felt at liberty to advise with any one upon the subject of your offer, and you may rely upon my treating it as absolutely confidential. " I sincerely desire your continuance in power, and may perhaps, in lending you an independent support (as I hope to do), be of some little use. " Believe me, more than ever, your obliged and grateful friend, " A. CAMPBELL. " The Honble. John A. Macdonald." "Friday. "My DEAR MACDONALD, " I enclose memo, of money due to you and check for the amount. " Private. I will see you to-day or to-morrow about the other matter. I may say, however, that my conviction of the inexpediency, so far as I am concerned, of taking any step in it at present remains the same. " I have no right to discuss anything with you but the present offer, and would not for a moment desire the postponement of any other arrangement which the convenience of the Government may render desirable at this time, but the character of the conversation we have had on the subject will excuse my adding that I would be very glad to render assistance at some future time, if it was thought I could lend any, in trying to keep together the Conservative element in the party which you lead. " I do not feel that I can satisfactorily do anything at present, but I see in the union between the moderate Reformers and the Conservatives the only chance we have ; and without being able to suggest anything definite, I see that something should be done to beget more friendly feelings towards the Government amongst the old Conservative party, and to satisfy them that the union with the Hincksite Reformers is essential to their having any control in governing the country, and that they should freely concur in any arrangement necessary to secure that union. In this part of the country I think the tie has been generally somewhat adverse, especially in Lennox and Addington ; but with anything to go upon, it would be readily turned, I think. So far as my influence goes, I believe it would be much weakened by taking the step 182 MEMOIRS OF SIR JOHN A. MACDONALD. [CHAP. YIII. you propose now, and that without office I may possibly advance a little the views I mention on the whole. With very many thanks to you, I keep to my first determination. " Very faithfully yours, "A. CAMPBELL." " The Honble. John A. Macdonald." Mr. John Ross having returned to Canada was prevailed upon, now that the " family compact " influence had ceased to dominate at the Council board, to accept the office of Receiver General. The Government proposed for the Speakership Mr. Henry Smith, late Solicitor General, and elected him by a vote of seventy-nine to forty-two, which showed the Ministry still to be in a minority of six votes as regards Upper Canada, a minority which afterwards grew to ten or twelve. In view of the fact that the Opposition were not agreed about the double majority question, one would have thought that their true policy would have been to let it alone, and so undoubtedly it was ; but with singular lack of judgment Mr. J. E. Thibaudeau, member for Portneuf, brought forward a motion declaring " that in the opinion of this House any attempt at legislation which would affect one section of the province in opposition to the votes of the majority of the representatives of that section would produce consequences which would be detrimental to the welfare of the province and give rise to great injustice." This resolution, after a protracted debate, was defeated by a vote of two to one, Messrs. Brown, Dorion, Mowat, and other members of the Opposition voting with the Ministry against it.* * On pages 77 and 78 of Messrs. Buckingham and Ross's life of the Honourable Alex. Mackenzie I find the following : " Mr. Brown came back with a large following from Upper Canada, so that in the session of 1858 Mr. Macdonald had to abandon the principle of the ' double majority ' and keep himself in power by the preponderating votes of the Lower Canadian members." The words I have italicized evidently refer to the events which brought about the resignation of Upper Canadian members of the MacNab-Tachd Government in 1856. I have already shown (p. 156, note) thabMr. Macdonald did not on that occasion admit the principle ofj the double majority. On the contrary, he expressly disclaimed it. But even supposing that he had changed his views on this question since May, 1856, he must have done so long before 1858, for, as we have seen, a few days after his resignation in May, 1856, the Government of which he was a member, though sustained on a motion of want of confidence by a majority of four in the whole House were in a minority as far as Upper Canada was concerned of no less than fifteen. Yet 1858.] PRIME MINISTER. 183 The Opposition, notwithstanding the division in their ranks, upon the mutually contradictory questions of representation by population and the double majority, made a vigorous fight against the general policy of the Administration, and, reinforced by three ex-ministers, Messrs. Cauchon, Lemieux, and Drummond, were sufficiently strong to call forth all the resources of the Government in the Lower House. Upon the Prime Minister naturally fell the brunt of the conflict, and the participators in those stirring scenes bear unanimous witness to the tact and resource which Mr. Macdonald displayed in his conduct of the business of Parliament, and in the management of his party. During the years between 1855 and 1862 he was the animating spirit and moving power of the Administration. Without pretension to oratory in the strict sense of the word, the intimate knowledge of public affairs, joined to the keen powers of argument, humour and sarcasm, the ready wit, the wealth of illustration and brilliant repartee, gave to his speeches, set off as they were by a striking presence and singularly persuasive style, a potency which was well-nigh irresistible. Those of us who knew Sir John Macdonald only when his voice had grown weak, his figure become stooped, his the Government did not resign. "With Reference to the crisis of 1856, the truth is that the Liberal element in the Cabinet was determined to get rid of Sir Allan MacNab, and Mr. Macdonald realized that it was impossible to remain in power without their aid. At pages 131 and 133 of their work, Messrs. Buckingham and Ross allude to Mr. J. E. Collins, who wrote a book called " Life and Times of the Right Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald," as Sir John Macdonald's " biographer," in such a manner as to leave the impression that Sir John was, to some extent, at all events, responsible for the opinions therein expressed. This seems a fitting opportunity for saying, what I always thought should have been declared long ago, that Sir John knew nothing of Mr. Collins, never had any communication with him, never saw him, and never read a line of his book. I remarked to Sir John one day, speaking of an incorrect statement of Mr. Collins, that I thought it a pity such unauthorized biographies were allowed to go forth without contradiction, as it seemed to me they were calculated to produce erroneous impressions, particularly at a distance. " My dear fellow," replied he, rather testily, " anybody can write anybody else's life ; you cannot stop them, and so long as I give these chaps no information or encouragement, how can I be held responsible for what they choose to say ? " In stating this I have no wish to disparage Mr. Collins' book, which, taken as a whole, is an agreeable presentation of well-known historical facts, and, so far as I am aware, does not profess to be anything more. But the use which has been made of it compels me to say that Sir John Macdonald was no more responsible for the statements of Mr. Collins than he was for those of Mr. Dent or any other writer of Canadian history. 184 MEMOIRS OF SIR JOHN A. MACDONALD. [CHAP. VIII. hair thin and grey and his face seamed with lines of anxious care, and remember the power which under these disadvantages of age he exercised over the minds and hearts of men, can well understand how it came to pass that, in the days of his physical prime, he inspired, not merely his followers with a devotion which is almost without parallel in political annals, but drew to his side first one and then another of his opponents, until he could truly say at the end of his days that he had the proud satisfaction of knowing that almost every leading man who had begun political life as his opponent ended by being his colleague and friend. ( 185 ) CHAPTER IX. THE SHOKT ADMINISTRATION. AUGUST 2-4, 1858. SELECTION OF OTTAWA AS THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT CONSEQUENT DEFEAT OF THE MINISTRY THEIR RESIGNATION MR. BROWN SENT FOR FORMATION OF THE BROWN-DORION ADMINISTRATION ITS DEFEAT MR. BROWN ADVISES A DISSOLUTION REFUSED BY THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL RESIGNATION OF THE GOVERNMENT DISSATISFACTION OF MR. BROWN. EARLY in the year 1858 it became known that Her Majesty, in compliance with the request of the Legislature, had chosen Ottawa as the fixed seat of Government. This announcement, somewhat prematurely made, gave rise to a good deal of dissatisfaction in Quebec, Montreal, and other cities that aspired to the honour, and was far from acceptable to many members of the new Parliament. The Ministry, however, promptly caused it to be understood that they were prepared to abide loyally by the choice of Her Majesty, and that they purposed to erect the Parliament Buildings at Ottawa without further delay. On the 16th of July, Mr. Dorion moved an amendment to a motion to go into supply, expressive of the "deep regret" with which the House viewed the selection of Ottawa as the capital of the province. This motion being one of straight want of confidence, was rejected by a vote of sixty-three to fortyfive. The Opposition, thus foiled in their first attempt, resolved to proceed by way of address. On the 28th of July, Mr. Dunkin moved, seconded by Mr. Dorion, "that a humble address be presented to Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen, to represent that this House humbly prays Her Majesty to reconsider the selection she has been advised to make of a future 186 MEMOIRS OF SIR JOHN A. MACDONALD. [CHAP. IX. capital of Canada, and to name Montreal as such future capital." Mr. Brown moved, seconded by Mr. Chapais, an amendment, to the effect that no action should be taken towards the erection of buildings in the city of Ottawa for the permanent accommodation of the Executive Government and Legislature, or for the removal of the public departments to that city; to which Mr. Piche, seconded by Mr. Bureau, proposed a second amendment, setting forth that " in the opinion of this House the city of Ottawa ought not to be the permanent seat of Government of this province," which was carried by a vote of sixty-four to fifty. Directly on the announcement of this vote, Mr. Brown, with that incapacity for self-restraint which ever distinguished him, rose in an excited manner and said that no one could doubt that the motion which had just been carried was an express disapproval of the whole policy of the Government, and, in order to test the sense of the House, he would move the adjournment, which he did forthwith. Mr. Macdonald replied that he accepted the test proposed by the leader of the Opposition, and added that, if the majority of the House agreed to an adjournment, the Government would consider that the administration of affairs had been taken out of their hands. Mr. Cartier echoed the sentiments of his colleague, and said that he and his friends were prepared to accept the vote on the adjournment as indicating the position of the Government. After a few words from Mr. Dorion, a division was taken. Fifty members voted for the adjournment, and sixty-one against it. Mr. Brown thus having been made to feel supremely foolish, the question was again proposed that the House do adjourn, and the motion possessing this time no ulterior significance, was agreed to by the tired legislators, who separated at half-past two in the morning, each one wondering what the day would bring forth. A few hours later the Ministers met and decided, notwithstanding the fact of their having been sustained by a majority in Parliament, that it behoved them, as the Queen's servants, to resent the slight which had been offered Her Majesty by the action of the Assembly in calling in question Her Majesty's choice of the capital. The most marked manner in which they could testify their disapproval of what had been done was 1858.] TEE SHORT ADMINISTRATION. 187 to resign in a body. This they determined to do, though possessing the confidence of both Houses of Parliament. The announcement of their intention was not long delayed. On the re-assembling of the House, on the 29th instant, the Prime Minister stated that, in view of the vote upon Mr. Piche's amendment, the members of the Administration felt it their duty to tender their resignations to His Excellency, which, he was authorized to say, had been accepted, and the members of the Government held office only until their successors had been appointed. The rude and offensive motion of the member for Berthier, which did not even ask Her Majesty to reconsider her choice, or so much as give a reason why that choice was unacceptable, but merely told the Queen bluntly that she was wrong, that, in fact, she did not know what she was talking about, left no other course open to them. Immediately upon receiving the resignations of his advisers, the Governor General addressed Mr. Brown, as leader of the Opposition, in the following terms : " Toronto, Thursday, July 29, 1858. " The members of the Executive Council have tendered their resignation to His Excellency the Governor General, and they now retain their several offices only until their successors shall be appointed. " Under these circumstances His Excellency feels it right to have recourse to you as the most prominent member of the Opposition, and he hereby offers you a seat in the Council as the leader of a new Administration. " In the event of your accepting this offer His Excellency requests you to signify such acceptance to him in writing, in order that he may be at once in a position to confer with you as one of his responsible advisers. " His Excellency's first object will be to consult you as to the names of your future colleagues, and as to the assignment of the offices about to be vacated to the men most capable of filling them. "EDMUND HEAD. " George Brown, Esq., M.P.P." Then it was that the character of George Brown displayed itself in its true light. Though in a minority in the House (as he had occasion to know by the vote of the preceding night), with Lower Canada almost unitedly opposed to him, and in the absence of any reasonable hope of a dissolution, he unhesitatingly responded to the invitation of the Governor General. " Mr. Brown," he writes, " has the honour to inform 188 MEMOIRS OF SIR JOHN A. MACDONALD. [CHAP. IX. His Excellency the Governor General that he accepts the duty proposed to him in His Excellency's communication of the 29th instant, and undertakes the formation of a new Administration. ' ' The date of this communication is Saturday, the 31st of July. On that day Mr. Brown had an interview with the Governor General, in the course of which Sir Edmund Head took occasion to inform him in so many words that he must not count on a dissolution, and, "in order to avoid all misapprehension hereafter," he addressed to him the same day a memorandum,* which was delivered into Mr. Brown's hands on Sunday evening, the second paragraph of which reads as follows : " The Governor General gives no pledge or promise, express or implied, with reference to dissolving Parliament" That, surely, was plain enough. Yet, notwithstanding this warning, Mr. Brown persisted in his course ; come what might, he was resolved that men should speak of him hereafter as one who had been Prime Minister of Canada. On Monday morning he addressed the Governor General a curt note declining, on behalf of himself and his proposed colleagues, to discuss the questions referred to by His Excellency in his memorandum "until they had assumed the functions of constitutional advisers of the Crown." On the afternoon of Friday, the 30th of July, the House presented an animated scene. Great crowds of people thronged the galleries, and much interest was everywhere manifested in the events which were taking place in the political world. Upon the floor of the chamber members stood in little knots, talking over the situation, and indulging in good-humoured speculations upon the personnel of the new Administration. Mr. Cartier chaffed John Sandfield Macdonald on his prospects of office, and offered him the key of his desk ; while Mr. John A. Macdonald was busily engaged in clearing out his desk in order to make room for his successor. Mr. Piche, who, as the mover of the resolution which had caused the defeat of the Government, felt himself the hero of the hour, occupied for the nonce a prominent seat on the Treasury benches, and * See Appendix III. for the text of this memorandum and such other documents relating to this crisis as are of interest. 1858.] THE SHORT ADMINISTRATION. 189 looked as though he were leading a phantom Government. A little later he relaxed his dignity, and favoured the Assembly with a song, " Vive les gueux," the title of which was felt no one knew exactly why to be appropriate to the occasion. The entrance of the Speaker put a stop to the general hilarity. After the ordinary routine of preliminary business had been gone through, Mr. J. S. Macdonald rose and informed the House that, on the announcement which had been made by the leader of the late Government, Mr. Brown had the honour of being requested by the Governor General to undertake the formation of a new Administration. This task he had accepted in conjunction with Mr. Dorion, and negotiations were then pending. Under these circumstances he would ask the House to adjourn until Monday. Mr. John A. Macdonald thought that the House could not do less than accede to this request. He added, with a rather mischievous expression of countenance, that he hoped all due speed would be had in forming an administration and proceeding with the business of the country. The House then adjourned, and Mr. Piche' was given an opportunity to finish his song. On Monday the 2nd of August, Mr. Brown waited on the Governor General with a list of the gentlemen whom he proposed should form the new Government, and at noon of the same day he and his colleagues were sworn into office.* At three o'clock the names of the Ministers were announced in the Assembly by Mr. Patrick, M.P.P. for South Grenville, who added, amid ironical cheers, that the Government had not had time as yet to consider the public measures before the House which it might be necessary to pass. He was therefore not in a position to announce the policy of the Administration, * The following composed the Brown-Dorion Cabinet : the Hon. George Brown, Inspector General ; the Hon. A. A. Dorion, Commissioner of Crown Lands ; the Hon. James Morris, without portfolio; the Hon. L. T. Drummond, Attorney General, L.C. ; the Hon. Francois Lemieux, Receiver General ; the Hon. John S. Macdonald, Attorney General, U.C. ; the Hon. L. H. Holton, Chief Commissioner of Puhlic Works ; the Hon. Oliver Mowat, Provincial Secretary ; the Hon. J. E. Thibaudeau, President Executive Council, and Minister of Agriculture ; the Hon. M. H. Foley, Postmaster General. Messrs. Charles Laberge and S. Connor, Solicitor General for Lower and for Upper Canada respectively, were not members of the Cabinet. The Hon. James Morris was Speaker of the Legislative Council from the 2nd till the 6th of August, 1858. 190 MEMOIRS OF SIR JOHN A. MACDONALD. [CHAP. IX. though he hoped to be able to do so on the following day. A motion was then made in the ordinary course for the issue of a new writ for the election of a member for Montreal, in the room of Mr. A. A. Dorion, who had accepted the office of Commissioner of Crown Lands, to which Mr. Langevin moved, in amendment, seconded by Mr. Eobinson, that the following words be added to the end of the original motion : " And that this House, while ordering the issue of this writ, feel it their duty to declare that the Administration, the formation of which has created this vacancy, does not possess the confidence of this House and of the country." In the debate which followed, the late Government, as an act of courtesy towards the members of the Ministry whose acceptance of office had vacated their seats, abstained from taking part. The principal speakers on the side of the Opposition were Messrs. Langevin, Gait, and Malcolm Cameron, each of whom in turn inveighed against the Government with such effect that somebody, with a grim sense of humour, proposed that the new Ministers should be heard at the bar of the House in their own defence, which suggestion provoked roars of laughter. At midnight the vote was taken on Mr. Langevin's amendment, which was carried by a vote of seventy-one to thirty-one, each section of the province giving a majority against the Brown Government. In the Legislative Council a similar motion of want of confidence was carried by a vote of sixteen to eight, and communicated to the Governor General by an address presented to His Excellency in due form by the whole Council.* The reasons for this prompt and apparently premature condemnation of a Government which had barely come into existence, and had as yet but scant opportunity of defining its policy, are to be found in the reports of this debate. Briefly summarized, they are (1) an intense dissatisfaction with the personnel of the new Ministry, (2) the absence of any statement as to the policy of the Government, and (3) a feeling among * This address, which was presented on behalf of the Council by the Speaker, expressed the entire dissatisfaction of the Legislative Council with, and their want of confidence in, the Government of which Mr. Morris himself was a member. 1858.] THE SHORT ADMINISTRATION. 191 the Upper Canadians that George Brown had sold them to Lower Canada. It was believed that no announcement was made, for the simple reason that no policy had been agreed upon. Mr. Brown had for years taken the ground that representation by population was, next perhaps to the repression of Koman Catholicism, the most important question of the day. There was no mistaking his views on this subject. In Parliament, in the press, on the platform, he had enunciated them in language which, if it sometimes lacked polish, was always plain enough to be understood. For many years the people of Upper Canada had been told, through the columns of the Globe, that it was John A. Macdonald who stood between them and equal representation in Parliament that the same John A. Macdonald denied to them privileges which he accorded to French Canadians that, in short, he had delivered them bound to the priesthood of Lower Canada, and that he had done these things in order that he might rule. And the electors were solemnly assured that no amelioration of their condition was to be looked for until they had deposed Mr. Macdonald and put Mr. Brown in his place. The electors did not believe him ; nevertheless he received the coveted position from the hands of his opponent. " Here," said Mr. Macdonald, " you have long clamoured for power ; you have for years posed as the champion of Upper Canada, you have denounced me as the slave of French influence ; here is my office; let us see what you can do." With eager fingers he grasped the prize, and withdrew to take counsel with his friends. After a brief space he emerged from his seclusion. Men looked with incredulity, amazement, and indignation at the sight which was presented to their gaze. The spirit of religious intolerance, for the existence of which Mr. Brown, more than any living man, was responsible, cried out in horror at the sight of the Protestant champion calling to his Ministry no less than six Eoman Catholics, or one half of the whole Government. People recalled the fact that " John A.," slave to the priesthood though he might be, never had more than four Eoman Catholic colleagues at the same time in his Cabinet. The advocates of representation by population viewed with dismay the presence of such opponents of that principle as Messrs. Dorion, Drummond, 192 MEMOIRS OF SIR JOHN A. MACDONALD. [CHAP. IX. and Thibaudeau, and shortly afterwards learned without surprise from the lips of one of them * that in Mr. Brown's Administration were seven members (an absolute majority) pledged against it. So also with the question of the seat of Government and other issues which had divided parties. It was fresh in men's minds that Mr. Brown strongly advocated alternating Parliaments, while Messrs. Dorion and Drummond had declared themselves in favour of a permanent seat of Government, the latter considering Parliament pledged to carry out Her Majesty's decision. The very names of the new Ministry were sufficient to arouse the gravest suspicion with regard to the change which office had already produced upon the mind of Mr. Brown. Nor was direct evidence wanting. During the debate on Mr. Langevin's motion, Mr. Morin, M.P.P. for Terrebonne, one of those who had voted non-confidence in the Macdonald-Cartier Government a few evenings before, made the following statement to the House : " On Friday morning I met Mr. Drummond, and said to him, ' How do you do, Attorney General East ? ' 'Do you think, sir,' he replied, ' that I would, under any circumstances, consent to accept office under Mr. Brown ? * Last night," continued Mr. Morin, " when I was entering the Kossin House, I was stopped by Mr. Drummond, who said to me, ' I have been twice to your room to see you. You know the news.' ' That the Administration is formed ? ' I asked. ' You know the names,' he continued. I mentioned the names of the Lower Canada section, with the exception of that of the Attorney General East. On his remarking on the omission, I answered that I did not like to mention the remaining name. ' Why ? ' he asked. ' Because,' I said, ' it would be to offer an insult to yourself.' I repeated what I had heard. I did tell him, adding that I did not believe a word of it, as he had told me and many others that he would never join Brown. ' Things are different now,' he said. ' Mr. Brown is our man ; he has abandoned all his principles.' On this confession I said, ' It is a shameful alliance ; your conduct is disgraceful in the highest degree, and I will to-morrow make your statement known on the floor of the House.' I then left him, refusing to listen to anything more he might have to say." On Monday morning Mr. Drummond, nothing daunted, called upon Mr. Morin to ascertain if he could rely on his support of the new Administration. "How is this?" said Mr. Morin. " Yesterday you thought it a disgrace to be supposed * Mr. Thibaudeau, in seeking re-election, gave two reasons for supporting Mr. Brown : (1) that there were more Roman Catholics in his Cabinet than ill any Ministry since the Union ; and (2) that a majority of Mr. Brown's colleagues were pledged against representation by population. 1858.] THE SHOUT ADMINISTRATION. 193 capable of such an act, to-day you are Mr. Brown's Attorney General." " Oh ! " said he, " I never dreamt that Mr. Brown would swallow all his platform, and give everything up to Lower Canada." Mr. Morin replied, " If he has I would despise him the more, and think it a still greater disgrace to join him." * This, coming from an opponent of the late Administration, filled the minds of the Upper Canadian Eeformers with dismay. Notwithstanding the considerable majority which that section of the province had so lately given against the Macdonald- Cartier Ministry, of the fifty-two members present twentyseven voted non-confidence in the Brown Administration ; f while as regards Lower Canada only six members out of the fifty present supported it. The feelings of the people of Lower Canada, outraged by a long series of insults, were not to be so easily allayed. On the morning after this vote the members of the Government waited on the Governor General, and advised an immediate dissolution of Parliament. Sir Edmund Head requested that the grounds for this advice should be put in writing. A few hours afterwards His Excellency received a memorandum setting forth that, in the opinion of his advisers, the House of Assembly did not possess the confidence of the people ; that many seats at the last election were carried by corruption and fraud; that strong sectional feelings had disturbed the peace of the country, and engendered difficulties which the late Administration had made no attempt to allay. The memorandum further expressed the intention of the Ministry to * Mr. McDougall afterwards, on behalf of Mr. Brown, stated to the House that Mr. Drumniond's language on this occasion was to the effect that " Mr. Brown had decided to forego his extreme views in regard to Lower Canada." To "forego" is a more elegant, and possibly in this case a more correct word than " swallow," but in this connection both mean pretty much the same thing, for the meaning intended to be conveyed by each was that "representation by population" was not to be pressed, that the agitation against separate schools was to cease, that the ' ' casual rights" of the seigniors in Lower Canada were to be purchased with public money, and that objections against ecclesiastical corporations were no more to be heard. t In considering these mimbers it is only fair to bear in mind that the Eeformers were five men short, in consequence of the acceptance of office by Messrs. Brown, J. S. Macdonald, Mowat, Foley, and Connor. Counting them all in, the vote would have been thirty, still not half the representation of Upper Canada. Inasmuch as the Eeformers of Upper Canada in this Parliament were generally thirty-seven or thirty-eight strong, it will be seen that seven or eight of them lacked confidence in Mr. Brown. VOL. I. 194 MEMOIRS OF SIR JOHN A. MACDONALD. [CHAP. IX. propose measures for the establishment of that harmony between Upper and Lower Canada which, in the opinion of Mr. Brown and his colleagues, was essential to the prosperity of the province. At two o'clock on the afternoon of Wednesday, the 4th of August, the reply of the Governor General was received by Mr. Brown. In this memorandum His Excellency went fully into the question, and answered Mr. Brown on every point. He began by calling attention to the fact that, while the late Administration resigned office on a vote of one branch of the Legislature, which did not directly assert any want of confidence in them, both Houses had repudiated his present advisers by two-thirds majorities. As to whether the action of the Legislature was or was not in accordance with the courtesy of Parliament, His Excellency declined to express an opinion, observing that he had to do only with the conclusions at which they arrived. The Governor General then proceeded to take up the reasons for which his advisers asked .a dissolution. As to the allegation that the existing House did not represent the people, he pointed out that, if that were true, there was no sufficient reason for the resignation of the late Government. As to the corruption and bribery said to have been practised at the last election, what guarantee, Sir Edmund asked, could he have that a new election, held under precisely the same laws, six or eight months after the last, would differ in character from the preceding one ? " If the facts are as they are stated to be, they might be urged as a reason why a general election should be avoided as long as possible at any rate until the laws are more stringent, and the precautions against such evils have been increased by the wisdom of Parliament." In regard to the state of feeling existing between Upper and Lower Canada, and the ability of Mr. Brown and Ms friends to restore harmony between the two sections of the province, the Governor General admitted that if it could be conclusively shown that his present advisers were the only men capable of allaying the jealousies unhappily existing between Upper and Lower Canada, it would be his duty to at once grant them their request. In the absence of any proof of their exclusive possession of that specific, he submitted that " the mere existence of the mischief is not in itself decisive 1858.] THE SHORT ADMINISTRATION. 195 as to the propriety of resorting to a general election at the present moment." The Governor General, having drawn attention to the fact that a general election had been held only a few months before, and that much unfinished business was before Parliament, expressed himself as by no means satisfied as to the impossibility of forming out of the present House a Ministry possessing the confidence of Parliament, which would close up the session and carry on affairs during recess; and concluded as follows : "After full and mature deliberation, therefore, on the arguments submitted to him by word of mouth and in writing, and with every respect for the opinions of the Council, His Excellency declines to dissolve Parliament at the present time." Upon receipt of this communication the Ministry tendered their resignations, which were verbally accepted by the Governor General, and the door of the Executive Council chamber closed upon the Honourable George Brown. He had yet to learn that the only means of entrance for him into that much desired chamber was by the favour of Mr. John A. Macdonald. Thus, like certain of the humbler forms of animal life, came into being, existed for an hour, and died, what is commonly known as the "Short Administration." Brief as was its tenure of life, it was long enough to show the lengths which Mr. Brown was prepared to go in order to taste of that " gilded servitude which is mocked with the name of power." As for that gentleman's feelings during the days immediately succeeding his enforced resignation, are they not written in the Globe newspaper for the month of August, 1858 ? To one placed in his ridiculous position, much must be allowed. The humiliation of having surrendered his cherished convictions to Lower Canada for nothing, the declarations of the three branches of the Legislature that they had no confidence in him, and, last of all, the loss of his seat in the Assembly, must have been gall and wormwood to him, whom Colonel Tache described as " the honest and conscientious Mr. Brown." Yet with every allowance for these smarts, and taking into account his headstrong and passionate nature, one is scarcely prepared for the storm of invective with which the ex-Prime Minister visited everybody who he fancied in any way had contributed to his 196 MEMOIRS OF SIR JOHN A. MACDONALD. [CHAP. IX. defeat, or for the language of amazing violence which he applied to the Governor General.* Sir Edmund Head was a statesman, a scholar, and a man of the world. But, before all things, he was an English gentleman, and all that the word implies. That he acted throughout this affair otherwise than independently and with a single resolve to do his duty, no one who knew him doubted for a moment, and few could be found to say that even his judgment was at fault. The insinuation that Mr. Macdonald had any communication with the Governor General from the day on which he resigned office until the day when he resumed his position as one of his advisers, is utterly baseless, and one which he himself scorned in the very strongest manner. Looking back calmly at the whole matter, and bearing in mind what the offence of the Governor General really was a refusal to dissolve a newly elected House on the advice of a Ministry which did not possess and never had possessed the confidence of either branch of the legislature, nay, had been expressly declared unworthy of confidence by both there is nothing to suggest that Mr. Macdonald, or anybody else, interfered ; f there was no necessity * See Globe, August 5 and 6, 1858. It will be observed that I habitually allude to the utterances of the Globe as those of Mr. Brown himself. I do this, not merely because of the general similarity between his speeches and the Globe editorials, but also for the reason that both Mr. Brown and his paper were always associated, nay, completely identified, in the public mind. As Messrs. Buckingham and Ross well say in their life of the Hon. Alex. Mackenzie, p. 86, the marked individuality of Mr. Brown was seen in his paper, which was " his exact reflex." Mr. Mackenzie, in his " life of George Brown," himself writes that " George Brown and the Globebecame in fact convertible terms." t The Globe, in its blind fury, variously charged that the Governor General had been instigated by Mr. Macdonald, Chief Justice Draper, and the Right Hon. Edward Ellice, the seignior of Beauharnois, who was then on a visit to the province, in the course which he thought proper to pursue. These random attacks, however, had little effect, even among Mr. Brown's own colleagues, one of whom writes Mr. Macdonald during the very week in which these things were happening : ' ' And now that I may say it without rendering myself liable to imputations of selfish interestedness, permit me to add that, politics altogether aside, no one entertains a higher admiration of your confessedly great abilities, nor a stronger and a more sincere belief in your personal honour and integrity, nor will be readier at any time to acknowledge the one and defend the other than, in haste, ' ' Yours very truly, "M. H. FOLEY." (From the Hon. M. H. Foley to the Hon. John A. Macdonald, dated August 9. 1858.) 1858.] THE SHORT ADMINISTRATION. 197 of interference on so plain a point ; and when an act can be sufficiently accounted for without introducing a hypothetical cause, it is bad logic to introduce it. For the injury done to his party by the events which culminated on the 4th of August, 1858, and for his own personal mortification, Mr. Brown's overweening ambition and inordinate vanity were alone responsible. Had he taken even the precaution of stipulating for a dissolution before he undertook to form a Government, much would have been spared him; though it is true that, had he followed this course, he would not have been entitled to the prefix of " Honourable," nor to such gratification as could be afforded by the assumption, for a fleeting moment, of " the functions of constitutional adviser of the Crown." 198 MEMOIRS OF SIR JOHN A. MACDONALD. [CHAP. X. CHAPTEE X. THE "DOUBLE SHUFFLE." 1858. ALEXANDER GALT FORMATION OF THE CARTIER-MACDONALD ADMINISTRATION THE " DOUBLE SHUFFLE " GOVERNMENT'S POLICY ANNOUNCED FEDERAL UNION MR. MACDONALD'S WISH to RETIRE SESSION OF 1859 MR. MACDONALD'S VIEWS ON PROTECTION AND FREE TRADE DISSENSIONS AMONG THE OPPOSITION REVOLT OF THE LOWER CANADIANS AGAINST GEORGE BROWN. PKOMINENT among the members of the sixth Parliament of Canada was Mr. (afterwards Sir Alexander) Gait, M.P.P. for Sherbrooke. Mr. Gait entered the Legislature in 1849, and soon came to be looked upon as a rising man. His political sympathies do not seem to have been sharply defined. He appears, after the excitement following the Eebellion Losses Bill had died away, to have given the Liberal Administration of the day a qualified support, and, on the break-up of the Reform party in 1854, to have generally, though not uniformly, acted with the Liberal- Conservative Government. At the time we are considering, Mr. Gait was distinguished by his advocacy of a federal union of the British North American provinces, by his familiarity with questions of trade and finance, and by his championship of English and Protestant interests in Lower Canada. Belonging to neither party in the Legislature, he enjoyed the respect of both, and thus was specially qualified to advise the Governor General in the difficulty in which Sir Edmund Head found himself on the resignation of Mr. Brown. To Mr. Gait, therefore, His Excellency applied, and invited him to form a new administration a task which that gentleman, with more prudence than the late Premier, respectfully declined. Sir Edmund Head thereupon sent for Mr. Cartier, and charged 1858.] THE "DOUBLE SHUFFLE." 199 him with the formation of a new ministry a duty which he accepted and fulfilled, having persuaded Mr. Macdonald to undertake the leadership of the Upper Canadian section. I say " persuaded," because, for private reasons, Mr. Macdonald, ever since the general elections of the preceding year, had been desirous of retiring from public life.* It was felt, however, that he could not be spared just then, and, yielding to the entreaties of his friends, who represented to him that his retirement at that crisis would imperil the interests of the party, he consented to lend his assistance to Mr. Cartier in the task of forming a Government. Their joint efforts were successful, and on the 6th of August it was known that the new Ministry would consist of Messrs. Cartier, Macdonald, Vankoughnet, Sicotte, Belleau, Alleyn, Sidney Smith, Gait, Eose, George Sherwood, and John Eoss. It will be observed that the Cartier-Macdonald Administration differed but slightly from the one which had resigned office ten days previously, the only changes being the retirement of Messrs. Cayley and Loranger, and the entrance of Messrs. Gait, Eose, and Sherwood. Things were just where they had been, and the practical result of the vote the bare announcement of which had thrown George Brown into transports of joy was that Mr. Brown and eight of his friends found themselves outside of 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 Administration, did not vacate their seats by reason of their resumption of office. The seventh clause of * See his letter to Mrs. "Williamson (p. 177). There was another reason besides ill health why Mr. Macdonald desired to disengage himself from politics at this time. He was poor, and found great difficulty in adequately fulfilling the social duties attaching to his position on a salary of five thousand dollars a year. Notwithstanding Mr. Macdonald' s implied injunction of secrecy, some hint of his wish to retire must have got abroad, for, in the midst of the crisis caused by Mr. Brown's acceptance of office, we find the Globe, with that prescience which has ever distinguished it, announcing that " Mr. John A. Macdonald is about to retire into private life, a thoroughly used-up character" (Globe, August 5, 1858). One cannot withhold a certain admiration for the innate audacity which enabled Mr. Brown, in the midst of bis defeat and in the depth of his humiliation, to apply to his successful rival language such as this. Had Mr. Macdonald lived two months longer he would have survived the Globe's prediction just thirty-three years, during twenty-six of which he was a member of the Government of Canada. 200 MEMOIBS OF SIR JOHN A. MACDONALD. [CHAP. X. the Independence of Parliament Act, passed in the year 1857,* provides that " whenever any person holding the office of Receiver General, Inspector Genera], Secretary of the Province, Commissioner of Crown Lands, Attorney General, Solicitor General, Commissioner of Public Works, Speaker of the Legislative Council, 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 Council." 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 Mr. 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 in 1894, 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 to infer that, if the acceptance of a new office by a minister did not call for the approbation of his constituents, a fortiori the mere resumption of an office, whose acceptance had already been approved by them, would not necessitate a fresh appeal to the people. In the judgment of Mr. 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 were first sworn in as follows : The Hon. G. E. Cartier, Inspector General. The Hon. John A. Macdonald, Postmaster General. * 20 Viet., c. 22. This provision remained unchanged on the Statute Book for twenty years after the time we are considering. In 1878 (41 Viet., c. 5) the following words were added : " unless the Administration of which he was a member shall have resigned, and a new Administration shall have been formed and shall have occupied the said offices." 1858.] TEE "DOUBLE SHUFFLE." 201 The Hon. P. M. Vankoughnet, Commissioner of Crown Lands. The Hon. L. V. Sicotte, Chief Commissioner of Public Works. The Hon. Charles Alleyn, Provincial Secretary. The Hon. Sidney Smith, President of the Executive Council and Minister of Agriculture. The Hon. John Rose, Receiver General. Messrs. K F. Belleau, A. T. Gait, and George Sherwood were sworn of the Council without portfolio, and the firstmentioned was re-appointed Speaker of the Legislative Council. Under this arrangement no member of the old Government held the portfolio formerly occupied by him. On the following day Mr. Macdonald resigned the portfolio of Postmaster General and accepted that of Attorney General West. Mr. Cartier * became Attorney General East ; Mr. Sidney Smith Postmaster General ; and Mr. John Eose became Solicitor General East ; Mr. Gait was appointed Inspector General, and Mr. George Sherwood, M.P.P. for Brockville, Eeceiver General. Mr. John Ross was sworn of the Executive Council, and appointed its President and Minister of Agriculture, Messrs. Alleyn, Sicotte, and Vankoughnet remaining as they were.f Such was the celebrated " double shuffle," which proved, I need scarcely say, a source of acute dissatisfaction to Mr. 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, and their action in swearing to discharge duties attaching to offices which they did not intend to retain for any length of time was characterized as little short of perjury. The latter * Mr. Cartier appears to have resigned the office of Inspector General on the day of his appointment, and to have been succeeded by Mr. Gait on the same day {the 6th). t When all these arrangements had been completed the Cabinet stood as follows : the Hon. George E. Cartier, Attorney General, L.C. (First Minister) ; the Hon. John A. Macdonald, Attorney General, U.C. ; the Hon. P. M. Vankoughnet, Commissioner of Crown Lands; the Hon. L. V. Sicotte, Chief Commissioner of Public Works ; the Hon. N. F. Belleau, without portfolio (Speaker of the Legislative Council) ; the Hon. Charles Alleyn, Provincial Secretary ; the Hon. Sidney Smith, Postmaster General ;-the Hon. A. T. Gait, Inspector General; the Hon. John Eose, Solicitor General, L.C. ; the Hon. George Sherwood, Receiver General ; the Hon. John Ross, President of the Executive Council and Minister of Agriculture. 202 MEMOIRS OF SIR JOHN A. MACDONALD. [CHAP. X. charge was, in the opinion of the Opposition, their strongest point against the Ministry, and the impression of moderate men at the time was that, if there were anything wrong in the transaction, it was in the exchange of offices. Yet it appears that the Ministers, in taking the course that they did, followed a procedure at that time and still common in England. A member of the Imperial House of Commons, it is well known, cannot resign his seat. When he wishes to leave Parliament he accepts the office of Steward of the Chiltern Hundreds, gets his commission, the duties attaching to which he never intends to perform, vacates his seat by becoming an office-holder, and then resigns the office for the convenience of the next member who wishes to follow his example. In precisely the same spirit did Mr. Macdonald and his colleagues act on the occasion of the " double shuffle." The charge of perjury advanced by the Globe is absurdity itself. Perjury consists in stating as a fact that which is not a fact, and swearing to it ; but when Mr. Macdonald accepted the position of Postmaster General, intending to resign it the next day, all he promised was that so long as he held the office he would perform the duties appertaining to it. When he relinquished the portfolio, his oath of office surely ceased to bind. That seems obvious ; but in any event it ill became Mr. Brown to bring this accusation against anybody. He, with a full knowledge of the fact that both Houses of Parliament were awaiting the first opportunity to turn him out ; without a hope of dissolution (for the Governor General told him as much on the very first day he accepted office) ; with the moral certainty that he could not retain his place for more than two days, swore to discharge duties he knew he would not perform. This point, which I venture to think is of great importance, in the consideration of this charge against Mr. Macdonald, can be established out of Mr. Brown's own mouth. At a public meeting in the election campaign of 1861, he, with his usual indiscretion, spoke as follows : "When the Brown-Dorion Administration consented to be sworn in, it was with the full knowledge that they might not hold office for twenty-four hours, but there was this among other arguments in favour of our running the risk of Sir Edmund Head's machinations, that if we took office and were kicked out by the Governor General we could all be returned again, while UJ rec 1858.] THE "DOUBLE SHUFFLE." 203 the others would have to undergo the same ordeal but would not have the same success." So that, although he knew he could not obtain a dissolution, with the certainty that he was not going to perform any executive acts (because, not possessing the confidence of Parliament, he knew right well the Governor General would not permit him), Mr. Brown accepted the portfolio of Inspector General, and swore to execute the duties attaching to that office, with the sole object of putting a few of his opponents to some trouble and annoyance. And then, when he found that matters had turned out differently from his expectation, and that it was he himself who was out in the cold, he was not ashamed to charge Mr. Macdonald with something akin to perjury for doing simply what he himself had done the day before. "I left Baby Charles and Steenie laying his duty before him," says King James of Dalgarno ; " Geordie, jingling Geordie, it was grand to hear Baby Charles laying down the guilt of dissimulation, and Steenie lecturing on the turpitude of incontinence.'" The legality of the Government's action was, however, destined to go before a higher and more impartial tribunal than the Globe. The question had at once a constitutional and a legal aspect, and in both directions appeals were taken. On the 10th of August a motion was offered in the Assembly declaring that, in the opinion of the House, " the manner by which several of the members of the late Administration, of which the Honourable John A. Macdonald was Premier, have come back to their old offices by accepting other offices during the short period of a few hours only, to avoid vacating their seats in this House, is a fraudulent evasion of the Act for the Independence of Parliament, and a gross violation of the rights of the people by the members of the Administration ; and that they have thereby forfeited all title to the confidence of this House and the country." This was rejected by a vote of fifty-two to twenty-eight, and a similar amendment to the Supply Bill, on the 12th instant, by forty-seven to nineteen. Defeated in Parliament, Mr. Brown and his friends had ourse to the courts. Actions were taken in the Queen's Bench and Common Pleas against Messrs. Macdonald, Smith, and Vankoughnet, for sitting and voting in the Assembly when legally disqualified. These suits duly came to trial, and five 204 MEMOIRS OF SIR JOHN A. MACDONALD. [CHAP. X. judges unanimously decided that in exchanging and retaining their offices the Ministers had acted within the law ; whereupon the Globe turned fiercely upon the bench of justice, and openly insinuated that the judges were under the influence of Mr. Macdonald.* It is proper that, having recorded the misfortunes of the Clear-Grit party arising out of the affair of the " double shuffle," I should mention the solitary triumph which accrued to them. When the party leaders brought suit against Mr. Macdonald and his friends, they entered not one action, which would have served their purposes equally well, but a number at 5000 apiece. Despite their wild language about "trickery," and " illegality," and " evasions," and " subterfuges," and " perjury," they were much too wary to risk a farthing upon the issue ; so they brought these actions in the name of a man who was insolvent, and, when they were non-suited, Mr. Macdonald had a pauper to look to for his costs, f The entrance of Mr. Gait into the Ministry was regarded as having an important bearing on the policy of the Government. At an earlier period of the session he had spoken on the question of a federal union, and submitted a series of resolutions which called for the appointment of a committee to ascertain the views of the people of the Lower Provinces and of the Imperial Government on this momentous subject. These resolutions did not come to a vote at the time, but Mr. Cartier, in announcing the composition of his Ministry on the 7th of August, informed the House that the Government proposed to take steps in the direction suggested. Mr. Gait had also spoken on certain tariff resolutions which were generally understood to foreshadow the adoption of a protective policy. While agreeing with the Inspector General (Mr. Cayley) that the proposed changes were necessary to enable the country to meet its liabilities, Mr. Gait made a decidedly protectionist speech, in which he dissented from the opinion expressed by Mr. Brown that an increase of duty would be detrimental to agriculture. * See Globe, December 20 and 21, 1858. t In this account of the "double shuffle" I have closely followed Mr. Macdonald's own version of the transaction, given at various times and places during the election campaign of 1860-61, and particularly at St. Catherines. 1858.] TEE "DOUBLE SHUFFLE." 205 He instanced the States of Maine and New Hampshire, as showing that the industrial results of labour increased enormously under the protective system, and declared that he should be glad to see the Canadian tariff so altered as to keep in the country, and probably to employ, the great numbers annually leaving the province. He apparently succeeded in impressing his colleagues with his views on this subject, for Mr. Cartier, in the speech to which I have alluded, announced that the operation of the new tariff would be closely watched and readjusted from time to time, with a view to maintain the public revenue, to uphold the provincial credit, and incidentally to encourage native industry and domestic manufactures. Mr. Cartier also announced that, in view of the recent vote of the House on the seat of Government question, the Ministry did not feel warranted in taking any steps towards the erection of public buildings at Ottawa until Parliament had had an opportunity of further considering the subject in all its bearings. An address to the Queen was unanimously passed setting forth the advantages which would accrue to Canada from the speedy construction of an intercolonial railway, and praying for Her Majesty's early and favourable consideration of the project. The Cartier-Macdonald Government found themselves supported by a sufficient majority, and no further trouble was experienced during the session, which closed on the 16th of August. In fulfilment of the Government's promise, a delegation, consisting of Messrs. Cartier, John Ross, and Gait, proceeded to England early in the autumn, to ascertain the views of Her Majesty's Ministers on the subject of a federal union of the British North American provinces,* and to request the Imperial Government to authorize a meeting of delegates from each colony to discuss the expediency and conditions of such union. They were informed that only one colony besides Canada had expressed any opinion on the subject, and that, until the other provinces had made known their sentiments, Her Majesty's Ministers would be acting prematurely in authorizing, without any previous knowledge of their views, a meeting of delegates * This delegation also pressed the question of the intercolonial railway upon Her Majesty's Government, apparently with no better result than had attended the efforts of Messrs. Macdouald and Rose. 206 MEMOIRS OF SIR JOHN A. MACDONALD. [CHAP. X. which might commit them to a preliminary step towards the settlement of a momentous question, to the principle of which the colonies had not signified their assent. On the return of the Canadian delegates the Governments of the Maritime Provinces were put in possession of all the proceedings which had taken place; but a change of ministry in England occurring shortly afterwards, nothing more was heard on the subject for some years. Early in 1859, Mr. Macdonald renewed his wish to retire from the Government, and, I believe, had fully made up his mind to go out. His parliamentary supporters, much alarmed at the intelligence, waited on him, and represented to him that persistence in his design would certainly result in the disintegration of the Conservative party. Sorely against his wishes, he yielded to their solicitations, as expressed in the following letter : " Toronto, February 19, 18-59. " The Honble. John A. Macdonald. "DEAR SIR, "We have heard with regret a report, which is daily repeated, that you contemplate retiring from your position in the Ministry ; and our object is to express a hope that you will delay such a step, at least until the close of the present session. Should you retire we cannot fail to see that others, who with yourself represent the Conservative interest in the Ministry, will retire also, and we cannot suppose for one moment that you will allow the great body of your Upper Canada supporters to be handed over to those to whom they have been opposed ; they therefore ask you not to retire. But if you feel that you must retire, then we hope that you will not do so until the close of the session ; and we trust that whenever you do retire you will see that the Conservative interest is fully and justly represented. " We^ll feel mutual sacrifices must be made, we have to surrender opinions in" sustaining a Government, and, when that Government is prepared to make changes, we think some consideration may reasonably be expected, whereby its supporters may be left in a proper position. We are sure these opinions are yours as well as our own, and therefore you will receive them as coming from a body of gentlemen who have long been pleased, and are still pleased, to acknowledge you as their leader. " Yours very truly, " A. W. PLAYFAIR, MARCUS TALBOT, "T. M. DALY, JOHN SIMPSON, " BENJAMIN TETT, K. W. SCOTT, " G. BENJAMIN, JNO. MACLEOD, "H. W. MCCANN, F. H. BURTON, "JOHN CABLING, GEO. MACBETH." 1858-59.] THE "DOUBLE SHUFFLE." 207 Shortly before the meeting of Parliament in January, 1859, Mr. Sicotte resigned office in the Administration in consequence of a difference of opinion with his colleagues on the question of the seat of Government. The Ministry had decided to abide by the Queen's choice. Mr. Sicotte was unable to agree with his colleagues in this resolve. Accordingly he withdrew from the Cabinet, and allied himself with the moderate section of the Opposition. He was succeeded in the Commissionership of Public Works by Mr. John Eose. The speech of the Governor General at the opening of the session of 1859 recited the history of the proceedings which terminated in the selection of Ottawa as the seat of Government, and expressed the hope that Her Majesty's choice would be acquiesced in. To the paragraphs of the Address echoing this sentiment several amendments were moved, chief among which was one proposed by Mr. Sicotte, and seconded by Mr. Langevin, to the effect that in its vote of the 28th of July, declaring that the city of Ottawa ought not to be the permanent seat of Government, the House expressed its views and opinions on the subject in the ordinary and constitutional exercise of their privileges. This was defeated by the narrow majority of five, the vote standing fifty-nine to sixty-four. The session of 1859 was the last occasion on which the Parliament of Canada sat in Toronto. Shortly after prorogation the construction of the public buildings was begun at Ottawa, and when, in November, the seat of Government was transferred to Quebec, it was with the understanding that it should remain there until the removal to Ottawa. Thus was this vexed question finally disposed of. Among the chief events of this session was the submission of the tariff policy of the Government, by the Finance Minister, Mr. Gait.* The changes, which were on the same lines as those of the previous year, were made with the view of protecting the Canadian manufacturers. We have already seen that, so far back as 1846, this policy commended itself to Mr. Macdonald, and in 1859 his opinions as to the advantage of Canada having * During this session an Act was passed (22 Viet., c. 14) which, inter alia, provided that the Inspector General should thereafter be styled the "Minister of Finance." 208 MEMOIRS OF SIR JOHN A. MACDONALD. [CHAP. X. a home market, had undergone no change. In a speech delivered at Hamilton during the year 1860 he made the following remarks upon the tariff changes which had lately been adopted : " It is, as I have often said before, useless to discuss the abstract principles of free trade and protection, but it is a matter for congratulation that the tariff has been so adjusted as incidentally to encourage manufacturing industry here. I hope all will see the advantages of a home market. I cannot go the length of the chairman (Mr. Buchanan), who has so long applied his mind to finance and questions of political economy, in stating that it would be well almost to increase our debt for the purpose of securing protection to our manufacturers, but I feel that, whoever created this debt, the Governments of which I have been a member have the credit of commencing the system by which, through it, to raise up a home market, and give a double market to the farmer and labourer. If we were altogether an agricultural country, we should be dependent for the value of our produce on the quantity of the harvest on the Baltic and Black Seas. As it is, when we have attained our full development, we shall not be so. Manufactories are springing up, east and west, and I hope this great commercial city will see the advantage of encouraging them. If you go to Montreal and look at the enormous factories at work near the canal basin, you will realize what a source of wealth to a city and country they are. You have here no other source of wealth save your commercial intercourse, and business with the back country. When I look at that, I think how, by the encouragement of manufactures, you might quadruple your population, and relieve Hamilton from its present temporary state of depression ; and I hope, then, we should have as strong supporters here as we have in every other part of the country where manufactures are considered to be of value." At London he spoke as follows : "It is not necessary for the Government to discuss the question of protection or free trade. In order that the province might keep its faith with the public creditor, in order that Canada might be honest and I am sure that every man here would be willing to make a sacrifice of his wealth and his Mi Me - 1859.] THE "DOUBLE SHUFFLE." 209 means to keep her credit there has been an adjustment of the customs duties, from which our revenue for provincial purposes is chiefly derived. While we keep up the taxation on luxuries, and on those articles which we can manufacture ourselves, there has been a diminution in taxation on those articles of prime necessity which our manufacturers can work up. The consequence is, that in every part of the country, both in Upper and Lower Canada, there are manufactories springing up. We hear of hundreds of industrious mechanics and artisans combining together to establish woollen and cotton mills, etc. ; and it is quite certain I am satisfied, and you must be so too that the wants of the country, owing to its rapid material progress, will so press upon the Treasury, that they will always be in advance of the revenue. The manufacturer can, therefore, safely commence to apply his capital to his business, without fear that, by one stroke of the pen, all his enterprise will be destroyed, through the reduction of the duties. Though we have so adjusted the tariff as to encourage every manufacturing interest in the country, I wish it to be understood that we have not increased the taxation over the taxation of our predecessors. It is true we have put a higher duty on some articles, chiefly those we can manufacture ourselves, but the free list has been enormously increased. Goods that were heavily taxed in the days of our predecessors are free, and under the tariff as it now stands, after having been adjusted under the responsibility of the present Government, the amount of taxation levied in Canada on each man does not equal what was levied in the time when Mr. Hincks was the financier of the country." An incident of the session of 1859 was the exclusion of Mr. Brown from the Committee on Public Accounts. Mr. Macdonald has thus left on record his explanation of this usual course on the part of the House : The reason why Mr. Brown was left off was, that if he had been put on, you would not have got gentlemen to sit with him. Mr. Gait, the present Finance Minister, had just taken office when Mr. Brown was left off that committee. He had no sins to answer for he had had no opportunity of committing any his accounts could not be wrong. He might well have said, ' Let Mr. Brown be on the committee if he wishes it.' VOL. i. p 2LO MEMOIES OF SIR JOHN A. MACDONALD. [CHAP. X. But he remembered how Mr. Brown had acted to his predecessor, the Hon. William Cayley, a man of the highest worth, one of nature's noblemen, a man of large family, whose feelings were wounded by every attack made on him, and who himself felt a stain as acutely as a wound. When Mr. Brown was appointed by Mr. Cayley a member of the committee, year after year, instead of acting as a faithful committee-man, he used the whole of his power for the purpose of trumping up false allegations to write in his newspaper every morning. Although it was solemnly ordered by the committee that, until their investigations were complete, there should be no publication of them; and although the allegations made were as false as those I have been exposing, he used the evidence in his newspaper for the purpose of ruining his political opponents. When Mr. Cayley vindicated himself, as he did vindicate himself, refuting every calumny, overthrowing every charge against him, establishing fully how faithful had been his stewardship, and how carefully upright had been his management of the public finances, these statements were garbled by the Globe, and some of them altogether suppressed. More than this, however, forgetful of his duty as a committeeman, as a member of Parliament, as a man and a gentleman, Mr. Brown had the baseness to tell Mr. Cayley before the committee that he was a liar; and Mr. Cayley would have been well excusable though, as Attorney General, I could not have justified him in such a course if he had given Mr. Brown a severe castigation on the spot. This is why the Government, sustained by the House of Assembly, thought it necessary to mark its sense of Mr. Brown's misconduct by leaving him off the committee. We put on the same number of his party the same number of Reformers ; but for him we substituted an abler man, Mr. Howland, and even Mr. Brown cannot say that committee was inferior to any other ever appointed. That, sir, is our answer to this charge." A more agreeable incident was the adoption by both Houses of an address to the Queen, praying that Her Majesty would deign to be present at the opening of the Victoria Bridge, accompanied by the Prince Consort and such members of the Royal family as might be selected to attend Her Majesty. The 1859.] THE "DOUBLE SHUFFLE." 211 Speaker of the Legislative Assembly was deputed to proceed to England to present this address to her Majesty. During his absence, Mr. Smith wrote Mr. Macdonald a series of interesting letters, from one of which, giving an account of the formal presentation of the address, I have made a quotation : " On arriving at the palace the page asked me if I was the Speaker of the Canadian Commons, and on my replying ' Yes,' he said he had orders to conduct myself and friends to the room allotted to the grand circle. Here we found the ambassadors of the foreign powers, and remained some ten minutes, when the Duke joined us, and gave us news of the great battle. I introduced my friends to him, and he went through the general reception room to the Royal closet, and afterwards returned with the Lord Chamberlain, who said Her Majesty was prepared to receive us. The Duke presented me to the Queen, who was sitting near the door as we entered the closet. I bowed as I walked towards her, and, kneeling, handed her the address. She took it from me with her own hands, and said, ' I am pleased to receive this address ; ' and, turning to me, said again, ' Much pleased.' She then gave me her hand, which I kissed, as loyally and, I hope, as gallantly as I knew how. The others were then presented, and the same thing occurred except one, who laid hold of Her Majesty's hand and kissed it. I mention no names just now." * The question of the capital having been disposed of, the Government found themselves sustained throughout the session by a majority which, if not large, was sufficient. In the accomplishment of this result, Messrs. Cartier and Macdonald were aided to no small extent by the growing disaffection in the ranks of the Reform party. Ever since the fiasco of the Brown- Dorion Government, there had existed in the minds of many Eeformers in Upper Canada an impression that George Brown on that occasion had, in his eagerness to obtain power, played a double part. The very announcement of the names of his Cabinet carried with it to the remotest portions of the province an uneasy suspicion which would not down. Men waited in vain for explanations, which were never given. Early in the session of 1859 Mr. Brown made a speech which was far from satisfactory, even to his best friends. He stated that his colleagues had agreed to the adoption of representation by population, subject to certain "checks" or "guarantees" to protect the interests of Lower Canada ; yet he would not say * From 5Ir. Henry Smith to the Hon. John A. Macdonald, dated London, June 27, 1859. 212 MEMOIRS OF SIR JOHN A. MAODONALD. [CHAP. X. what those " checks " or " guarantees " were : while, on the other hand, it was notorious, and so declared (as we have seen) by one of his own colleagues, that a majority of his Government were pledged against it. In March several Eeform newspapers began to indulge in grave misgivings as to the wisdom of further continuing Mr. Brown in the position of leader of the party. As regards Lower Canada his position was even more insecure, and, towards the close of the session, an event occurred which still further estranged him from the Liberals of the Lower Province. A measure in amendment to the Seigniorial Tenure Act of 1854 was introduced by the leader of the Government. It provided for the assumption by the province of so much of the constituted rents representing the lods et ventes and other casual rights of the seigniors as the provision made by the Act of 1854 had not been sufficient to redeem, and for their payment out of the public treasury. This appropriation, which was supported by all the members from Lower Canada irrespective of party,* was met by a determined opposition from the Clear-Grits, headed by George Brown, who from his place denounced the proposal in language offensive in the highest degree to the French Canadians. " It was," he said, " wholesale bribery " of Lower Canada with the money of the Upper Canadian people an act of robbery of the most shameless kind ; while the Globe, true to its " reflex " character, declared that "a Lower Canadian majority, aided by a small band of western plunderers, are robbing Upper Canada for the benefit of the eastern province. Mr. John A. Macdonald," who on all occasions was the chief offender, " has reached the lowest point of degradation." f It had been Mr. Brown's fortune to experience more than one rebuff in Parliament, but I question if he was ever more mortified than when, at the conclusion of his speech on the subject of the proposed relief to the censitaires, Mr. Laberge, the Rouge member for Iberville, who was Mr. Brown's Solicitor General in the two days' Administration, rose and stated that when he took office it was with the distinct understanding that the seigniorial dues should be redeemed, and redeemed * Save one, Mr. Somerville, the member for Huntingdon, who voted against it. t Globe, April 15, 1859. 1859.] THE "DOUBLE SHUFFLE." 213 out of the provincial funds. Mr. Brown admitted that it had been agreed that these casual rights should be paid, but contended that the money was not to come out of the public treasury, but was to be paid for out of a " local fund." When challenged to explain his plan, he could not do so, merely replying that " it was perfectly absurd to ask the late Ministry, after they had left office, to come down and state chapter and verse." He added that, if any misunderstanding existed in the minds of the Lower Canadian members, he was not to blame. This explanation availed but little, for if by the term "local fund" it was understood that, out of certain sources of revenue, the necessary sum should be taken to pay the casual rights, and these sources were part of the public revenue, it amounted to an admission of Mr. Laberge's statements. The point was that these casual rights were to be paid out of the revenue of the province, and not from any purely local fund of Lower Canada, which must be chiefly the property of the very persons on whose account the redemption was to be made. Messrs. Drummond and Thibaudeau, members of the late Government, confirmed Mr. Laberge's assertion, and, at a later period, Mr. John Sandfield Macdonald bore public witness to its truth.* Mr. Cauchon, in a speech of inordinate length, charged Mr. Brown with having played a game of deception all round. Finally, from the unwilling lips of the Eouge leader, Mr. Dorion, was forced the reluctant admission that the money was to have been taken from the Lower Canada Municipal Loan Fund, which was merely another way of saying that the obligation would have fallen on the whole province.f * "It has been said that Upper Canada was made to pay for Lower Canadian improvements ; people spoke of the iniquity of the Government in redeeming the casual rights of the seigniors. They did not say, what I will now say, that the casual rights were agreed to be paid by the Brown- Dorion Administration. That ion was the basis on which the Brown- Dorion Administration was formed, wait to be contradicted by anybody. Since the constitution is attacked, I will make a clean breast of the matter " (Speech of Hon. John Sandfield Macdonald in the Assembly, May 3, 1860). t This is evident from the concluding words of the debate : " Mr. Drummond explained that he understood distinctly that the amount of the casual rights was to have been paid out of the public funds. He understood the hon. member for Montreal to say so. " Mr. Sicotte did not so understand the member for Montreal. 214 MEMOIRS OF SIR JOHN A. MACDONALD. [CHAP. X. These revelations produced a complete rupture between the Clear-Grits and the Lower Canadian Liberals. Within a few days of this debate the members of the latter party held a meeting, and deputed Mr. Drummond to inform Mr. Brown " that unless some understanding could be speedily arrived at, they would consider themselves bound to declare publicly that they could no longer act under his leadership." * Thus, to the manifest advantage of the Government party, were both wings of the Opposition at once in a state of mutiny against their common leader. " Mr. Dorion said that he had declared distinctly that this amount was to have been taken from the Municipal Loan Fund for Lower Canada. "Mr. Cauchon: 'If that was the scheme of your Government, let the hon. member for Toronto say so.' " Mr. Brown was silent. "Mr. Cauchon : ' The hon. member won't say so. He dare not.' ' ' Mr. Drummond explained that it was solemnly agreed that these rights should be paid out of the public funds and the only fund available was the Lower Canada Municipal Loan Fund. And it never was his intention that the censitaires should borrow money to pay it back again." * See correspondence between Messrs. Drunimond, Laberge, and Brown, published in Globe of May 5, 1859. ( 215 ) CHAPTER XI. IN OFFICE. 1859-1862. NARROW ESCAPE FROM DROWNING! MR. MACDONALD's LETTER OF RESIGNATION BEREAVEMENT OF THE GOVERNOR GENERAL REFORM CONVENTION OF 1859 MR. BROWN'S "JOINT AUTHORITY" SCHEME REJECTED BY PARLIAMENT SESSION OF 1860 MR. MACDONALD'S REPLY TO CHARGES OF SUBSERVIENCY TO LOWER CANADIAN INFLUENCES VISIT TO CANADA OF THE PRINCE OF WALES THE ORANGE DIFFICULTY SESSION OF 1861 DISSOLUTION GENERAL ELECTION CONTEST IN KINGSTON GENERAL RESULT OF ELECTION LORD MONCK CHANCELLOR BLAKE RECONSTRUCTION OF THE MINISTRY DEFENCES OF CANADA APPOINTMENT OF A COMMISSION TO INQUIRE INTO THEM DEFEAT OF THE MINISTRY ON THE MILITIA BILL. DUEING the summer of 1859 two accidents occurred affecting those high in position in Canada, by the first of which Mr. Macdonald and four of his colleagues very nearly lost their lives. On the 1st of July, a party, among whom were the Hon. John and Mrs. Eoss, Mrs. Baldwin, Messrs. Macdonald, Eose, Vankoughnet, and Sidney Smith, left Toronto on an excursion to Sault Ste. Marie. At Collingwood they took the steamer PlougJiboy, intending to call at places of interest along the route. Shortly before the arrival of the vessel at Lonely Island in the Georgian Bay, an accident happened to the machinery which made it necessary to shut off steam. A gale springing up, the Plougliboy being unprovided with sails, was left at the mercy of the winds and waves. Danger being imminent, some of the crew volunteered to proceed in an open boat to Owen Sound, a distance of seventy-five miles, to procure aid. In the mean time the vessel drifted helplessly towards 216 MEMOIRS OF SIR JOHN A. MACDONALD. [CHAP. XL the coast until, on Sunday morning, she was within fifty yards of a lee shore, with a heavy swell setting in towards it, and a gale driving her directly on the breakers. All on board gave themselves up for lost, and, taking leave of each other, prepared to meet death with such fortitude as they could command, when, at a distance of only forty-five yards from the land, and in 180 feet of water, the anchors, which had been dragging for twelve miles in the hope of postponing the fate of the ship till daylight, caught bottom and held the vessel fast. She remained in that position from half-past two o'clock on Sunday morning until midnight, when the steamer Canadian, from Owen Sound, which had been sent to the rescue, took her in tow, and landed all her passengers safely at Collingwood. The party gave up their excursion, and returned to Toronto, where Mr. Macdonald lost no time in apprising his mother and sisters of his safety. To Mrs. Williamson he wrote : " Toronto, July 7, 1859. " MY DEAR MARGARET, " You will see by the papers what a narrow escape we had. None of the party will again be nearer their graves until they are placed in them. The people behaved well, the women heroically. " I am none the worse of the trip. The Governor General will be here to-night, and I hope, therefore, in a few days to get away to Kingston. " Love to Mamma, Hughy, and Loo, not forgetting the Parson. " Yours always, " JOHN A. " I send you specimens of the letters of congratulation I got." Within a few days of his return from this excursion Mr. Macdonald placed his resignation as a member of the Government in the hands of the Prime Minister, for reasons which are best explained in his letter to Mr. Cartier. 1859.] IN OFFICE. 217 " Toronto, July 11, 1859. " MY DEAE CARTIER, " I was much surprised and chagrined at hearing from Sherwood, in your presence this morning, that the Finance Minister had assumed the responsibility of giving 100,000 of exchange to the Bank of Upper Canada without such advance being submitted to and approved by His Excellency in Council. " In my view of the matter, the expediency of making such an advance is not a justification for its being made without the authority of His Excellency. There was no urgency; the matter might have been discussed in Council on Saturday, and the amount is very large. If the principle is once admitted, the whole revenue for the year might be at any time disposed of without the knowledge or consent of the Governor General or his Council, and on the judgment of one minister alone. " I cannot subscribe to so dangerous a principle, and as I do not feel myself safe, and am unwilling to incur responsibility in matters in which I have no voice, I think it advisable to relieve myself therefrom by tendering to you my resignation, which you will be kind enough to submit to His Excellency. " At the same time I must beg leave to say that I am quite sure Mr. Gait has acted as he thought best for the interests of the province, and that from my confidence in his judgment and ability I have every reason to believe that those interests will not be prejudiced by the course adopted. " Believe me, my dear Cartier, " Yours faithfully, " JOHN A. MACDONALD." I am not aware of the circumstances under which this letter was withdrawn. On the 25th of September a great calamity befell the Governor General in the death of his only son, a young man of much promise, who was accidentally drowned while bathing at the foot of the falls known as La Grande Mere, in the river St. Maurice. Much sympathy was expressed by everybody for Sir Edmund and Lady Head in their affliction. No one shared their sorrow more than Mr. Macdonald, who was on intimate terms of friendship, not only with the Governor General, but 218 MEMOIRS OF SIR JOHN A. MACDONALD. [CHAP. XI. with every member of his family. Mr. Spence * thus alludes to the sad event, which made a great impression on the whole community : " I greatly sympathize with Sir Edmund Head in the sad blow with which Providence has seen fit to visit him in the loss of the hope of his house. It gave me pleasure to hear from you just what any one would expect who knew His Excellency as well as we do, namely, that he went through his work like a man. He, who has borne quietly and uncomplainingly persistent attacks more vile than I ever remember being directed against a public man in this country, would not be wanting to himself or to what belonged to his position even in the moment of his heaviest calamity. " I have often thought that what constitutes the highest ornament in an ordinary man, has exposed Sir Edmund, more than anything else, to the vile attacks of the crew who hate him because he refused to bend the constitution to their purposes I allude to his straightforwardness. A man like Sir Edmund Head, whose great object is to do what he believes to be right, and to do right by the most direct means, will not be so popular as he who is skilled in polished clap-trap. It is painful to witness that, at a time like this, when all men, whose natures political rancour has not blunted, tender their liveliest sympathy with their Excellencies in their great loss, the Q-lobe still pours out its slanders. In this course, I can assure you, Brown has few admirers. Men feel for Sir Edmund and Lady Head, as men who have domestic ties ought to feel ; and all classes in this city feel for Lady Head, whose unostentatious charities, whose unceasing efforts to carry consolation to the abodes of grief and suffering during a most trying period of prevailing distress, will long cause her name to be cherished alike by those whose hearts were gladdened by her bounty, as by those whose labours in benevolent objects Lady Head so generously aided." Mr. Spence goes on to give his views on the position of political parties, and his remarks are so interesting that I make a further quotation from the same letter : " And now, my dear Macdonald, you will expect me to give you some news. There is little here of a provincial nature. I am firmly of the opinion that Brown has been losing ground since his joining Drummond and McGee in July, '58. I have frequently told you that he was strongest at the moment he accepted the Governor's commission to form a Government; from the moment he took the oath of office as an Executive Councillor to the present time he has been getting weaker and weaker and I should say at this moment * From the Hon. B. Spence to the Hon. John A. Macdonald, dated Toronto, October 14, 1859. Mr. Spence, it will be remembered, was a close friend of Mr. Hincks, and had been nominated by that gentleman as one of the representatives of the Reform Party in the MacNab-Morin coalition of 1854. In 1858 he became collector of customs at Toronto. 1859.J IN OFFICE. 219 he is weaker than ever before, and that he will be weaker to-morrow, and so on until he finally sinks to the level of Mackenzie.* "It is not easy, as you are well aware, to reach the masses of Upper Canada in the direction of removing their prejudices, and the exposure of Brown has consequently been a work of time. It is, however, being thoroughly performed. ... I am inclined to think that Brown is floundering. He has no settled policy. . . . " Cartier's course is clear, and so is yours. He must keep the ship and all hands ; and you must forego your desire for retirement, and stand by him, and his Lower Canadian colleagues and by your own faithful personal friends and by the little band of moderate Keformers, who, true to you, will, under your leadership in the Lower House, defy the seductions of those who have deserted them and have gone to the enemy, but who without your leadership might be driven to a corner where I, for one, would be ashamed to see them. In the desperate condition of the Brownite party, you must expect desperate efforts, and a succession of crises wherewith to win popular support. All this should only the more cause you to stand firm, and, even at great personal sacrifice, stand by Cartier, who unquestionably is the strongest man in Lower Canada, and who, by his extraordinary pluck and industry, is highly respected in this province. You and I have known cry after cry give way; and, depend on it, when Brown declared that Rep. by Pop. was inadequate to the accomplishment of what he conceived Upper Canada desired, he gave up his best plank. He has now no policy, therefore his friends are wavering. With returning prosperity, men, who have no leisure from the pursuit of profitable business, will abjure theoretical politics, and rather place their reliance on the men who weather the storm, than in those who impede the current which carries wealth to their doors, and offer them revolution rather than a manly combat at the polls. " Stand together, and, if possible, just as you are. You have all taken the worst any change would only offer a point of new attack. One word more of advice. Meet Parliament in January if you have to call them in unfurnished rooms. Depend on it this move will place you well before the country. The old stale cries are exhausted they are, indeed, new hashed, but there is nothing in the Globe which you may not see an ordinary politician in his office or the railway car dispose of in five minutes. Be it your aim to afford the enemy no new points of attack. In the autumn of 1859, the Eeformers of Upper Canada, under the auspices of Mr. Brown, held a convention in Toronto to consider the position and define the policy of the party. At that meeting there was adopted a series of resolutions setting forth that the union of Upper and Lower Canada had failed to realize the anticipations of its promoters, advocating its repeal and the establishment in its place of two or more * William Lyon Mackenzie. 220 MEMOIRS OF SIB JOHN A. MACDONALD. [CHAP. XI. local governments for the administration of all matters of local concern, and the creation of a "joint authority," charged with the control of such affairs as were common to both sections of the province. This proposal, which has been incorrectly styled the germ of confederation, had reference solely to the province of Canada, Mr. Brown declaring that, " after mature deliberation, the conference had arrived at the conclusion that a federal union of the British North American colonies would be no remedy for our present difficulties." The larger scheme had already, as we have seen, been advocated in Parliament by Mr. Gait, and its prosecution announced as a part of the policy of the Cartier-Macdonald Government. In Mr. Gait's scheme, from which that of the Clear-Grits was evidently adopted, the joint authority was clearly indicated.* This cry for repeal of the Union and creation of a "joint authority " originated with Mr. Brown, who, in view of the disaffection then rife in the ranks of his party, felt that some new and startling move was imperatively called for. For some time past the Opposition had shown a tendency to regard the cry of "representation by population" as unworthy of being called a policy, and at the convention it was openly repudiated as such.f The convention, assembled with the object of promoting unity, signally failed in attaining this result, for the lack of agreement among the leaders of the Opposition was at no time more manifest than during the ensuing session, and that, too, in regard to these very resolutions, which were supposed to embody the united judgment of the Liberal party.f * " There ought to be a general government for the management of subjects of a common character, and that therefore would affect no one's religion or prejudices" (Speech of Mr. A. T. Gait, delivered in the House of Assembly, July 5, 1858). t " It is plain that if we desire the interests of this country if we wish to secure ourselves against bankruptcy, if we are not ready to submit to the grossest degradation, we must look out for some other measure than representation according to population to obtain relief" (Speech of Hon. 0. Mowat at Convention). Mr. Mowat subsequently disclaimed any intention of having meant by these words to imply that he no longer regarded representation by population as a thing to be desired, but only that in view of the acute stage which affairs had reached it could no longer be viewed as "a sufficient remedy." This qualified sense accurately defines the change in the position of the Reform party with respect to what previously had been its main "plank" (see Globe, May 18, and June 16, 1859). "It is abundantly evident that the resolutions of the Toronto Convention are I860.] IN OFFICE. 221 Mr. John Sandfield Macdonald, perhaps the most important personage after Mr. Brown, in opposition to the Government, was not present at the convention, and made no secret of his determined opposition to any policy which involved a tampering with the Union. Nor was he alone ; Messrs. Foley and Connor, who, with him, had been members of the Brown-Dorion Administration, together with Messrs. Buchanan, Patrick, and other Eeform members, objected to Mr. Brown's convention resolutions being introduced in Parliament to the great wrath of the latter, who, in the Globe of April 24, 1860, practically read them out of the party. Some other Liberal members signified their disapproval of Mr. Brown's course; but that gentleman, who, in the face of this hostility, had gone through the form of tendering his resignation as leader of the party, was not to be dissuaded from what he had undertaken. In a speech of remarkable vigour he introduced his resolutions embodying the constitutional changes resolved upon at the conference. He declared that the union of the two Canadas had proved a failure, and he described in detail the grievances under which, from his point of view, Upper Canada had laboured for twenty years. He concluded a long and able speech by stating his conviction that, if the people of Upper Canada did not soon obtain relief in a constitutional manner, they would have recourse to the Imperial Parliament. After a vigorous debate, in the course of which Mr. John A. Macdonald warmly defended the Lower Canadians against the charges made by the Clear-Grit party, Mr. Brown's resolutions were outvoted by a large majority, among whom were men distinguished by their opposition to the Government. The session of 1860, enlivened as it was by domestic quarrels in the ranks of the Opposition, proved an easy one for the Government. Mr. Macdonald, however, laboured under the serious disadvantage of having to carry all his measures by Lower Canadian votes. Unable to obtain the confidence of Parliament, or even of the Upper Canadian section of it, Mr. Brown, by his fixed policy of appealing to the national, provincial, and religious prejudices of the people, had contrived to meet their first difficulties from persons who have been members of that body" (Globe, April 24, 1860). 222 MEMOIRS OF SIR JOHN A. MACDONALD. [CHAP. XL to array the two sections of the province in open hostility to each other.* To bring about this state of things he had spared no pains, even going the length of declaring himself to be " a governmental impossibility because he would not cringe under the dictation of Eoman priestcraft." So palpable were his objects and so violent his methods that Mr. Drummond, then in full sympathy with Mr. Brown in his opposition to the Government, when speaking on Mr. Gait's motion, made in July 1858, for a federal union, felt constrained to apply this language to them : " If we called in the hon. member for Toronto he (Mr. Drummond) would ask whether he could organize a government which would be supported by a majority from both sections ? And yet what did we find in the way of it ? The accumulated falsehoods of ten years ; a power in this House and without this House endeavouring to misrepresent the people of Lower Canada to the people of Upper Canada, endeavouring to lead the people of Upper Canada to believe that the people of Lower Canada have no sympathy with them, but that they are a people composed of pagans, heathen-like Papists. If the member for Toronto would use his pen and his eloquence as he did when the first proposal was made to disturb this system of equal representation, a great deal would be gained towards this end. But he (Mr. Drummond) was loath to give up the Union on its present basis, merely because the member for Toronto stood in the way." Yet, however much this state of things was to be deplored, it existed and had to be faced. The Ministry, though supported by a majority in the Assembly of about twenty-five, were in a decided minority as regards Upper Canada, not because of any dissatisfaction with the Government's policy, but simply for the reason that the cries of " French domination " and " subservience to Eoman Catholic influence " had taken firm hold of the public mind. In a speech delivered at St. Catharines in 1860, Mr. Macdonald thus alludes to the prevailing prejudice : " Another charge sown broadcast over the country is, that the Upper Canadian section of the Cabinet is overridden by * The following, taken from Mr. Brown's speech in the Assembly on the 8th of March, 1858, is a common example of his usual manner of addressing himself to the Upper Canadian supporters of the Government : " Let these gentlemen vote against my motion for Representation by Population, and so prove that they are determined to keep Upper Canada, for several years more, beneath the heel of Lower Canada, and I tell them there will come a burst of indignation from the country that has not been witnessed in some time." I860.] IN OFFICE. 223 the French members of the Government, and overruled by the Catholics. It is said that John A. Macdonald and his five Upper Canadian colleagues are merely the tools of the Lower Canadians, and are obliged to do just as they please. Yet when I ask which of all our measures has been passed owing to French domination and influence I can get no answer. Has Mr. Brown pointed out a single step of ours he wishes now to have repealed ? No, sir ; though he and the factious Opposition have fought from the beginning to the end against all the measures we have introduced, the moment they have become the law of the land, that moment they are admitted to be all right, and no attempt has been made to repeal any one of them. Well, sir, it is very strange, if we are governed by French influences altogether, that our whole legislation with respect to Lower Canada has taken an Upper Canadian direction, while I pause in vain for a reply when I ask what we have done to make us like to Lower Canada. Lower Canadians laws are becoming every day more and more like those we have here. At the time Mr. Cartier, my able and respected colleague and friend at the head of the Government; assumed his important duties as Attorney General East, there were but three courts in Lower Canada Quebec, St. Francis, and Montreal. Jurors were obliged to go, not as you do, to their county town, but hundreds of miles away, to stay in the cities for months and months, at a great expense, and away from their homes and families. All the judicial business of the country was concentrated in two or three towns, to which the people from the farthest point of Eimouski, etc., were obliged to come. This was the old French system, which centralized everything, and under which the expenses of the administration of justice were enormous and ruinous to the people. Mr. Cartier did not allow this state of things to remain. He considered what our position in Upper Canada was, and found that we had courts in every county, while our two superior courts of Common Law were brought to every man's door by the assizes held in each county twice a year. So, when in Upper Canada we took our clergy reserve lands and divided their proceeds among the municipalities, he took those of Lower Canada to built courthouses and gaols, and to initiate a system by which law in 224 MEMOIRS OF SIR JOHN A. MACDONALD. [CHAP. XI. Lower Canada is now brought home to every man's neighbourhood. That's one instance of French domination." While this was the ground of attack in Upper Canada, in Lower Canada it was precisely the reverse. There the cry against Mr. Cartier was that he was completely under the influence of Mr. Macdonald, who, in turn, was the slave of Orangemen. Upon this subject Mr. Macdonald has said : " Amongst the accusations brought against the Government, it has been said that I and my Upper Canadian colleagues sacrificed the interests of Upper to Lower Canada ; and that we hold to our Lower Canadian connection simply for the sake of office. They say we are traitors to our race ; that we knuckle to Frenchmen ; that we are faithless to our religion ; and that we are under Eoman Catholic influences. These are the charges most frequently made ; because, were they true, they would involve such an amount of misconduct, both personal and political, as would cause us to deserve condemnation to deserve to lose the confidence of the people of Upper Canada. But, gentlemen, it is very strange that the Opposition, while in Upper Canada they make these charges against the Government while in Upper Canada they say that I and my colleagues have sacrificed the interests of Upper Canada to Lower Canada and French influence pursue precisely the same policy in Lower Canada, but from a different point of view ; for there the Rouge party, which is the Opposition in Lower Canada, as the Grit party is the Opposition here, make it a cry against us that Mr. Cartier, my colleague, is far too British in his principles ; that he is under my thumb as an Upper Canadian ; that he is governed altogether by me and by my friend, the Postmaster General, both of us being Orangemen. But, sir, I say here distinctly, that the charges against both of us are equally untrue, neither Mr. Cartier nor myself is actuated by any such feelings as are attributed to us we attempt, in our humble way, to advise the head of the Government for the good of the whole country and the equal interest of all." The summer of 1860 was marked by the visit to Canada of the Prince of Wales, the joy of which event was, unfortunately, marred by the refusal of the Duke of Newcastle to allow the Orange Societies of Upper Canada to participate in the welcome I860.] IN OFFICE. 225 to the Prince. This action of the Duke was a source of great annoyance to Mr. Macdonald, not only as the leader of the Liberal-Conservative party in Upper Canada, but also as member for Kingston, where the Orangemen were particularly enthusiastic in their demonstrations of loyalty to the Heir Apparent, and prepared to receive him with great eclat. The news of their intention coining to the ears of the Duke, he requested their leaders, through the Governor General, to lay aside their regalia and dispense with party emblems during the reception of the Prince, intimating that if they did not do so the Eoyal party would pass by the town. On receiving the letter of the Governor General, a deputation, headed by the Mayor,* proceeded to Brockville, and waited on the Duke, with the object of representing to him the strong feeling which his decision had called forth. The deputation was introduced by Mr. Macdonald, who explained to His Grace that an excited state of feeling among the Orangemen extended to many Protestants not belonging to that body, owing to the opinion, which widely prevailed, that His Eoyal Highness had favoured Eoman Catholic institutions in Lower Canada in his progress through that portion of the province. His Grace informed the deputation that, at the request of the Queen, he accompanied the Prince of Wales, and that he was responsible to Her Majesty for seeing that His Eoyal Highness did not in any way compromise himself by acknowledging any religious party, or sanctioning any act which would be illegal in Great Britain or Ireland. He said that his attention had been directed to the Orange question by a letter from a Protestant gentleman at Toronto, and by an advertisement in one of the papers of that city calling a meeting of the Orange body, and, on discussing the point with the Governor General when they were leaving Montreal for Ottawa, their views were strengthened by the resolutions of the Eoman Catholics of Kingston, passed at Eegiopolis College, a copy of which was forwarded to each of them, and had been only just opened. * The Honourable (afterwards Sir) Alexander Campbell. My account of this interview is taken from Mr. Thomas Kirkpatrick's notes of the meeting, which Mr. Campbell sent to Mr. Macdonald. Mr. Campbell subsequently wrote to Mr. Macdonald on the subject (see Appendix IV.). VOL. I. Q 226 MEMOIRS OF SIR JOHN A. MACDONALD. [CHAP. XL The letter of the Duke was then written and handed to the Governor General, and by him forwarded by special messenger to the mayors of Kingston and Toronto. Nevertheless, the Duke strongly impressed upon the deputation that, in acting in this matter, his decision had not been influenced by the Kegiopolis resolutions, but by Imperial policy, adopted and determined on before he had perused them. This was corroborated by the Governor General. A discussion then took place on a suggestion of Mr. Macdonald as to whether a compromise could not be effected by allowing the Orangemen to open their ranks and permit the procession to pass through. The Duke replied that he could not see any difference between passing through their ranks and allowing them to follow the procession. This decision of the Duke was received in Kingston and elsewhere with much dissatisfaction, which was shared by Mr. Macdonald, who felt that His Grace had made a great mistake in offering what, in the circumstances, amounted to a " wanton insult " to a large and respectable body of men. The extent of Mr. Macdonald's mortification may be judged by a letter written from Toronto to him by one of his colleagues in the Government: "Mr DEAR MACDONALD, "I think for your own sake you should come up. It is difficult for you and for us to explain your absence. The G. G. spoke to me about it to-day, and said he felt keenly that you were mortified. But it was no fault of his that the Duke gave notice that in these matters he would take no advice, as he was alone responsible, and to the Queen and his colleagues, which we were not. We cannot afford just now to imitate the conduct of the rowdies and kick up a row. Carling, Macbeth, McLeod, M'cMeekin, Angus Morrison, and all implore that you will go to London. The ball is to be there Wednesday night. I spoke to the Governor on Saturday night, and to General Bruce on Sunday morning, to get the Duke not to notice an arch on King Street which has a likeness of K. William, but to let the Prince pass down King Street in the ordinary way to church. They both said it was no use, the Duke was inexorable. The Duke himself walked down King Street on Sunday evening, and stood looking at the arch. The mob hooted him, and followed him up King Street, doing the same. When he got to Government House he stopped and faced them for about two minutes, when they broke out in three cheers for him. He was cheered at three places on the route up to-day, the last being at Collingwood. He will announce that he alone is responsible. I think that till the visit is over you should be here. Remember, I860.] IN OFFICE. 227 you are to blame a good deal yourself. I think, and so do all your friends here the most rabid Orangemen that you should come up. " Yours ever, " P. M. VANKOUGHXET." Notwithstanding this appeal, Mr. Macdonald did not go to Toronto or London during the Prince's visit. One does not require to be told that the occasion was taken advantage of by Mr. Macclonald's political opponents to stir up a feeling against him in Upper Canada. It was, the Globe pointed out, but another instance of the many that often occurred which served to prove that "John A." was the slave of the priesthood and the tool of Lower Canadian influence. The Orangemen were adjured to resent the slight which their unworthy brother had suffered to be put upon them. Among a people who for years had been told that Mr. Macdonald kept himself in power by sacrificing the interests of Protestantism to Eoman Catholic aggression, this affair of the Orangemen was not without effect, and, in order to repel the many slanders which the Globe was daily spreading against him, Mr. Macdonald undertook, in the autumn of 1860, a political tour through Upper Canada, in the course of which he delivered a series of speeches on the public questions of the day, including this Orange difficulty. In an address delivered at Brantford he replied at some length and with great effect to these attacks upon him. He showed, what of course every well-informed person already knew, that the Duke of Newcastle was charged by the Queen with the duty of advising the Prince during this tour, and that for the advice given he was accountable to Her Majesty alone. The attempt to hold the Provincial Government responsible for the programme of the Prince of "Wales was preposterous. Their function was to advise the Governor General respecting the interests of Canada; there their duty began and ended. All this appealed with much force to the common sense of the community, and, as in the case of other attacks of the Globe upon Mr. Macdonald, the latter had no difficulty in turning it upon Mr. Brown, whose course at different times upon this very Orange question had been contradictory in the extreme.* * In 1843 Mr. Brown was of opinion that " Orangeism is a baneful institution, a 228 MEMOIRS OF S1E JOHN A. MACDONALD. [CHAP. XI. The session of 1861 was remarkable chiefly for long and wearisome discussions on the well-worn questions of double majority and representation by population, both of which were once more pronounced against by the Assembly, although the latter had ceased to be regarded as a party question and the Cabinet was divided on it. Mr. Macdonald once more declared his personal opposition to the principle of representation by population, on the ground (1) of its being a violation of the Union compact, and (2) because it was a recognition of the principle of universal suffrage, which, until the last day of his life, he viewed as one of the greatest evils that could befall a State. " Unless," said he, " property were protected, and made one of the principles upon which representation was based, we might perhaps have a people altogether equal, but we should cease to be a people altogether free." In the course of this speech * Mr. Macdonald thus expressed himself on the great question of confederation, then looming in sight : "The only feasible scheme which presents itself to my mind as a remedy for the evils complained of, is a confederation of all the provinces. In speaking of a confederation, I must not be understood as alluding to it in the sense of the one on the other side of the line, for that has not been successful. When I say this, I do not say so from any feeling of satisfaction at such a result. Far from me be any such idea. I heartily agree with the junior member from Montreal (Mr. McGee) in every word of regret that he has expressed at the unhappy and lamentable state of things which we now witness in the States ; for I remember that they are of the same blood as ourselves. I still look hopefully to the future of the United States. I believe that there is a vigour, a vitality in the Anglo-Saxon character, and the Anglo-Saxon institutions of malignant society." In 1857 he thanked God for the hattle of the Boyne, and had no sympathy with the view that Orangeism was " intended to keep alive those old national hatreds which might naturally be associated with revolutionary struggles in Ireland " (Globe, July 13, 1858). In the beginning of the difficulty over the Prince's visit, he, wishing to stand well with the Duke of Newcastle, declared in effect that the Kingston Orangemen were a parcel of blackguards, but when he found that the Duke was not to be made use of, he turned round and accused Mr. Macdonald of having wantonly insulted them. * Delivered in the House of Assembly, April 19, 1861. 1861.] IN OFFICE. 229 the United States, that will carry them through this great convulsion, as they have carried them through in our mother country in days of old. I hope with that honourable gentleman (Mr. McGee) that, if they are to be severed in two, as severed in two I believe they will be, two great, two noble, two free nations will exist in the place of one. But while I thus sympathize with them, I must say let it be a warning to ourselves that we do not split on the same rock on which they have split. The fatal error which they have committed and it was, perhaps, unavoidable from the state of the colonies at the time of the revolution was in making each State a distinct sovereignty, in giving to each a distinct sovereign power except in those instances where they were specially reserved by the constitution and conferred upon the general Government. The true principle of_a-onfederation lies in giving to the general Government all the principles and powers of soyereignty, and in the provision that the subordinate or individual States should have no powers but those expressly bestowed upon them. We .h<,mld thus have a powerful Central Government, a powerful Central Legislature, and a powerful f^Q"^11 ' 1^ ayaten of Trilnnr Legislature for Ir^nl pttrpof^ " During most of this session Mr. Brown was prevented by a serious illness from attending Parliament ; but, whether present or absent, his day of leadership had passed away. Mr. Dorion likewise found himself supplanted in the Lower Canadian leadership by Mr. Sicotte, who, since his resignation from the Ministry in 1858, had gradually drifted from his old associations. Mr. Sicotte was a man of ability and moderation. He and John Sandfield Macdonald, who was, after Mr. Brown, by far the foremost man in the Upper Canadian Opposition, and who had a considerable following, now formed an alliance on the principle of "double majority," to which they both subscribed, and the Opposition thus reformed became, under their joint leadership, more formidable than it had hitherto been. Yet once again the tact and skill of Messrs. Cartier and Macdonald prevailed, and the last session of the sixth Parliament of Canada closed on the 18th of May, leaving the reins of government still in their hands. Almost immediately after prorogation Parliament was dissolved. At the general 230 MEMOIRS OF SIX JOHN A. MACDONALD. [CHAP. XI. election which ensued a determined effort was made to defeat Mr. Macdonald in his constituency of Kingston. The old cries of subserviency to French and Catholic influences received new life from the Orange difficulties of the previous year, which had affected Kingston. Nothing was left undone to arouse the Orangemen against their old member, and, when all was ready, Mr. Oliver Mowat was brought out against him.* Mr. Mowat was a native of Kingston, and, although at that time a nonresident, well known to the electors of the limestone city. He was a gentleman of high character, and, I should say, the strongest candidate the party could have brought against the Conservative leader. Yet Mr. Macdonald beat him by nearly two to one. Shortly before the dissolution of Parliament, Mr. Eose withdrew from the Cabinet on personal grounds. He was succeeded in the Commissionership of Public Works by Mr. Cauchon, who, since the Brown-Dorion fiasco of 1858, had been steadily growing in accord with the Conservative party. The general issues of the campaign were confined chiefly to charges of corruption against the Government, the members of which were accused, individually and collectively, of almost every crime under heaven among other things, of having advanced large sums of money to the Grand Trunk Bailway without the authority of Parliament. That the Government had at various times aided the Grand Trunk Railway was undoubtedly true; that they had done so without the sanction of Parliament was true only to a very limited extent. In referring to this charge, Mr. Macdonald took the line that neither he nor the Government of which he was a member was responsible for the Grand Trunk Railway, which had been created and subsidized by the Liberal Government of Messrs. Hincks and Morin ; but, the enterprise having been set on foot, the Government were bound to sustain it in order to prevent disaster to the country. Another ground of attack was furnished by the retention * The Globe, in obedience to a law of its being which impelled it whenever it most felt Mr. Macdonald' s power to imagine his early withdrawal from public life, frequently announced during this campaign its conviction that " Mr. John A. Macdonald is about to retire." The general election of 1861 did indeed cause a retirement, but not that of Mr. Macdonald. 1861.] IN OFFICE. 231 in the Cabinet of Mr. J. C. Morrison, who had been twice defeated at the polls and did not possess a seat in either branch of the Legislature. The result of the elections was on the whole rather favourable to the Government. They did not succeed in carrying a majority in Upper Canada, but George Brown was defeated in Toronto, and Mr. Dorion in Montreal. On the other hand, Mr. Sidney Smith, the Postmaster General, lost his election for the Lower House, but shortly afterwards was returned for the Legislative Council. Among the new members elected to this Parliament was Mr. Alexander Mackenzie, afterwards Prime Minister of Canada. In October, 1861, Sir Edmund Head was succeeded in the office of Governor General by Viscount Monck, an Irish peer, who had held office under Lord Palmerston, as a Lord of the Treasury, between 1855 and 1858, during which time he represented Portsmouth in the Imperial Parliament. Those persons who are wont to deplore the bitterness of party spirit in Canada, should take comfort from the fact that, forty years ago, matters in this regard were very much worse than they are to-day. At that time political animosities raged with a violence almost unknown to us, for the interchange of amenities which, at rare intervals, enlivens our parliamentary proceedings, affords but a faint illustration of the "scenes" often witnessed on the floor of the House of Assembly, where, in the heat of debate, language of an extremely personal nature not infrequently led to physical encounters, and sometimes resulted in challenges to mortal combat. Amid this incessant political warfare Sir John Macdonald's life was spent. Ever a conspicuous mark for the Opposition, it is not surprising that, with all his patience and self-command, his naturally quick and impulsive temperament occasionally got the better of him, and led him into excesses of language and, in rare instances, exhibitions of temper strangely contrasting with that courtly address and dignified manner which habitually distinguished him. To acknowledge this, is to say that he was human ; but where Sir John Macdonald differed 232 MEMOIRS OF SIR JOHN A. MACDONALD. [CHAP. XL from most men was that, with him, the feeling of irritation always passed away with the occasion that had called it forth. His generous nature was incapable of resentment. He cherished no animosity against his opponents, for whom (with, perhaps, the single exception of Mr. George Brown) he had always, in private, a kindly and pleasant word. Among the most prominent of these was Mr. William Hume Blake, between whom and Mr. Macdonald some very sharp words and, I believe, a challenge once passed. Mr. Blake subsequently became Chancellor of Upper Canada, Mr. Macdonald Attorney General, and, as such, was charged with all matters relating to the administration of justice. His correspondence of this period shows that, in making changes in the procedure of the courts, or in appointments to the Bench, he frequently took the Chancellor into his confidence, as though Mr. Blake had been one of his intimate political friends. When failing health compelled the latter to apply for a protracted leave of absence, Mr. Macdonald, in his own kind and considerate fashion, thus met the request : " [Confidential.] " Quebec, March 19, 1860. " MY DEAR CHANCELLOR, " I have just had your note, and can assure you that I am deeply distressed at the intelligence it conveyed. I regret your ill health, not only on your own account and on that of your family, but for the sake of the country, which can ill afford to lose the services of so able a judge. " Having said so much in all sincerity, I will say at once, in answer to your letter, that the Government will at once grant you six months' leave of absence. This will be done by Order in Council to be passed at once, and the same order will state that if, at the expiration of six months, your application is renewed, it will be granted, and the usual retiring allowance or pension granted. We pass this order now, so as to be binding on any Government that may then exist. We do not anticipate any change within six months, but still, in the uncertainty of things, the Order in Council may as well be binding. 1861.] IN OFFICE. 233 " I sincerely trust the rest for six months will restore you, if not to complete health, at all events to comparative ease. Should you retire, I presume you would like to be a member of the Court of Appeal, as Sir James Macaulay was ? " Believe me, my dear Chancellor, " Yours truly and faithfully, "JOHN A. MACDOXALD. " The Hon. W. Hume Blake, Toronto. " P.S. If at the end of six months there appears to you any reasonable probability of your restoration to health, of course the leave would be renewed. "J. A. M.D." Mr. Blake appreciated this courtesy. " Quebec, August 5, 1861. " Many thanks, my dear Attorney General, for your kind message, which duly delivered. Under other circumstances I would have gladly availed myself of your kind hospitality ; but I was so tired out with the bustle of the past few days that I felt it unsafe to venture on another move before setting out on our voyage. "I cannot say good-bye without thanking you once more, my dear Attorney General, for the kindness with which you have uniformly striven to lighten my troubles, which shall ever live in the grateful recollection of " Your faithful friend, " WM. HUME BLAKE." * Shortly before the session of 1862 Messrs. Ross, Vankoughnet, and Morrison resigned their seats in the Cabinet Mr. Eoss, in pursuance of his long settled determination to retire from politics ; Mr. Vankoughnet, to accept the Chancellorship of Ontario, vacant upon the retirement of Chancellor Blake ; and Mr. J. C. Morrison, who also accepted a seat on the Bench. The selection of men to fill the vacancies caused by these appointments was a work of extreme delicacy and * Mr. Macdonald's good opinion of the Chancellor was not confined to an appreciation of Mr. Blake's legal and judicial qualities, for, three years after the latter's retirement, I find Mr. Macdonald thus expressing himself concerning him : "He {Mr. Blake) is a man of large and liberal ideas in money matters, and always had an abhorrence of anything mean." (From the Hon. John A. Macdonald to C. J. Brydge?, Esq., dated Quebec, December 13, 1864.) 234 MEMOIRS OF SIR JOHN A. MACDONALD. [CHAP. XI. difficulty, and one which occupied much of Mr. Macdonald's time between the elections and the meeting of Parliament. The primary cause of his difficulties was the doctrine of representation by population, which had made such headway among the Liberal-Conservative party, and more especially among the Tories, that the liberty of opinion respecting it, which Mr. Macdonald was willing to allow,* would no longer satisfy some of them, who, while loyal to their chief, and entertaining an abhorrence of Mr. Brown and the Globe, secretly chafed under the preponderating influence of Lower Canada. The following, from the Ministerial whip, written the day after a vote on an amendment to the address, shows the embarrassing position in which a considerable number of Upper Canada Ministerialists were placed. " Legislative Assembly Koom, Quebec, "April 2, 1862. "Hon. Jno. A. Macdonald. "DEAR SIR, " A meeting of the general supporters of the Government was held to-day, at which were present Hon. J. Hillyard Cameron, Messrs. McCann, Morrison, Walsh, Crawford, McLauchlin, Pitman, Morton, Scott, Simpson, Jones, Jackson, Rykert, Anderson, Powell, Bell, Ross, M. C. Cameron, Monis, Street, Macbeth. I have been directed by the unanimous voice of the meeting, to state to you, that in the votes which were given on Mr. Cameron's motion on the question of representation, as well as on the motion of Mr. McDougall on the same question, it was not their intention to vote a want of confidence ; that they felt the Government was perfectly safe, and had upon this particular question given pledges which they felt in honour bound to redeem, and they feel sure that while they assure you, through me, that they acknowledge you as their leader, in whom they have every confidence, that you at the same (time) will sympathize with them in * " I am glad you have induced Hooper to be reasonable. He may vote Eep. by Pop. as much as he pleases. It is an open question, and you know two of my colleagues voted in its favour. All I want him to do is to give a general support to the Government, and not join in factious votes of want of confidence, or what will amount to that. It will never do to have a caucus of the Conservative M.P.P.'s, whether supporters or not, and it would be especially wrong to submit the reconstruction to the supporters of a Ministry. Cockburn I consider gone. Ilaultam is iu a fix, as his county gave a large vote to Sid. Smith. Hooper and Rykert I will consider as friends, and as such will ask them to attend a caucus at the opening of the House, and will then talk over our policy and measures, but not the question of reconstruction, for which we must be solely responsible" (Hon. John A. Macdonald to Hon. A. Campbell, October 19, 1861). 1862.] IN OFFICE. 235 the position they were placed in. I can only say that I never attended a more cordial meeting of friends, nor one where the feeling was more united, in favour of yourself as their leader, and in confidence in your ability to conduct the affairs of the country. " I have the honour to be, sir, " Your obedient servant, " GEO. BEXJAMIX, " Chairman of meeting." Mr. Macdonald finally chose as colleagues Mr. J. B. Kobinson, one of the members for Toronto ; Mr. John Carling, who sat (and still sits as Sir John Carling) for London ; and Mr. James Patton, who had been one of the elected members of the Legislative Council. All these gentlemen were in favour of representation by population, but were at the same time content to let it remain an open question. Mr. Eobinson became President of the Council ; Mr. Carling Receiver General, in place of Mr. Sherwood, who took the department of Crown Lands ; and Mr. Patton, Solicitor General West.* The Speakership of the Upper House under the new law having been made elective, Sir Allan MacNab, who had recently been returned to the Legislative Council, and Mr. Alexander Campbell were nominated for that office. Sir Allan was chosen by * During the debate on the Ministerial changes at the opening of the session of 1862, Mr. J. H. Cameron stated that he had declined office in the Administration, and his -words convey the impression that Mr. Macdonald pressed him to accept. Now, the correspondence in my possession does not hear this out. The circumstances of this reconstruction were as follows : In the autumn of 1861 the retirement of Mr. Yankoughnet and Mr. Morrison, though probable, had not been quite determined upon. Mr. John Ross's fixed intention to retire at an early date was, however, known to Mr. Macdonald, who offered the prospective vacancy to his friend Mr. Alexander Campbell, at that time an elected member of the Legislative Council. Mr. Campbell expressed his unwillingness to enter the Cabinet unless in company with Mr. Jolm Hillyard Cameron, whom, along with some others, Mr. Macdonald had in his mind for promotion. I never heard Mr. Macdonald speak of Mr. John Hillyard Cameron, but it is evident from his letters that, while he thought him a good lawyer, thirty years ago he did not consider that his accession to the Cabinet would strengthen the Ministry. On the llth of December, 1861, he writes Mr. Campbell, "I may not need Street and I do not want Cameron." In January, 1862, Mr. Campbell asks to be considered in connection with the Solicitor Generalship, and expresses his imwillingness to accept any office which would take him away from Kingston. A few days later he writes asking Mr. Macdouald's support for the Speakership of the Legislative Council, to which Sir Allan MacXab was subsequently elected. In view of Mr. Cameron's statement, it is obvious that Mr. Macdonald had found it expedient to offer him Cabinet office, but from other sources it is equally clear that he was not at all put out by his refusal. 236 MEMOIRS OF SIR JOHN A. MAGDONALD. [CHAP. XL a majority of three votes. In the Assembly the Ministerial candidate was elected Speaker by a majority of thirteen votes. Mr. Foley was chosen by the Upper Canadian Eeformers as their nominal leader, but the real chiefs of the Opposition were Messrs. John Sandfield Macdonald and Sicotte, whose comparative moderation secured them a support which Messrs- Brown and Dorion failed to command. So well did Messrs. J. S. Macdonald and Sicotte play their game that the Government leaders had to exercise the greatest vigilance to avoid defeat. Yet, as often happens, the blow came from a totally unexpected quarter. The American civil war, and more particularly the bad feeling caused by the Trent affair, which occurred in November, 1861, had drawn the attention of those responsible for the peace of the country to the inadequate means of defence which Canada possessed. 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 under the charge of Mr. Macdonald, and in January, 1862, a commission, consisting of the new " Minister of Militia Affairs," Messrs. Cartier, Gait, Sir Allan MacNab, Sir E. P. Tache, Col. Lysons, C.B., Col. Thomas E. Campbell, and Col. Angus Cameron, 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 subjects, to be submitted to Parliament at its next session. The Commission performed the duties assigned to it with despatch, and on the 25th of April Mr. 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 made one * This measure proposed the establishment of an organization whereby 50,000 men would be at all times available for active service, with 50,000 men in reserve. The annual cost of maintaining this force was estimated at $1,110,000. As an illustration of the care with which Mr. Macdonald preserved his papers, I may mention that the printed copy of this Bill, which was used by him in its progress 1862.J IN OFFICE. 237 of his loyal and patriotic speeches, explaining at length 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 Mr. Cartier's followers. On the 20th of May 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 the defection among the Lower Canadians. Of the Upper Canadian members the Government had a majority of seven votes. The result was received in silence, the Prime Minister immediately moving the adjournment of the House. On the 23rd the Ministry resigned, and on the same day Mr. Macdonald wrote to his sister the following note : " Quebec, May 23, 1862. "My DEAR MARGARET, " You complain of my not having written. It is true, but I had the excuse of overwork. I have that no longer. You will have seen that I am out of office. I am at last free, thank God ! and can now feel as a free man. I have longed for this hour, and only a sense of honour has kept me chained to my post. If I had to choose the mode of falling, I would have selected the way in which we were defeated. I have now fulfilled my duty to my party, and can begin to think of myself. I do not know when the House will adjourn, but I hope to be able to run up shortly and see you all. " I have been very ill, but am crawling round. I intend to go to Nahant for a month to recruit. You must have my room ready. I don't know when I may be up to take possession. " Give my love to the whole household, and believe me, my dear Margaret, "Yours affectionately, "J. A. M.D." To those who realize Mr. Macdonald's position, the satisfaction through the House, lies before me. Accompanying it are many letters, chiefly from Upper Canada, which, on the whole, indicate that the measure was popular in the country. 238 MEMOIRS OF SIR JOHN A. MACDONALD, [CHAP. XL which this letter shows he felt in being released from office is extremely natural. Though nominally second in command, he was, so far as Upper Canada was concerned, the head of the Government, and the difficulties inseparable from that position were much aggravated by the fact of the Administration not possessing the confidence of that part of the province to which he occupied the relation of Prime Minister. His Upper Canadian colleagues, though estimable men, and for the most part good administrators, did not bring him political strength ; nay, in their manifest weakness was to be found the chief cause of his many embarrassments. Messrs. Eoss and Vankoughnet were members of the Upper House, and as such seldom came in contact with the people. The others were so far from being of any assistance to Mr. Macdonald in his task of holding the province against the Clear-Grit party, that there was not one among them (with the exception of Mr. Sherwood) who could even carry his own election. Messrs. Cayley, Spence, Morrison, and Sidney Smith, each of them had been defeated at the polls, and the difficulty, and in some cases the impossibility, of providing them with seats, added not a little to the cares of his position. Sir John Macdonald was always a commanding figure in any Government to which he belonged ; but I question if he were ever, so to speak, the whole Government to such a degree as during the years from 1858 till 1862. The duties of his departmental office claimed a large share of his attention, and demanded his almost constant presence at Quebec, which lay, as it were, altogether outside his special domain. His constituents at Kingston were not less exacting than in later years, while from all quarters of Upper Canada the cry reached him continually, " Come over and help us." It appears from his papers that he was almost ubiquitous : one day at Quebec conferring with the Governor General upon matters of State ; another, explaining to his constituents how it was not in his power to do for them some impossible service ; the next at Toronto endeavouring to persuade some reluctant party man that it was his duty to enter the Government, or arranging for another's retirement ; or, it might be, receiving a deputation which had come from the West to warn him that, if the Board of Works adhered to its intention to erect a post-office in some 1862.] IN OFFICE. 239 village upon a particular site, they would not answer for the future of the party.* I do not mean to say that these things in themselves were more than the ordinary work of a Prime Minister ; but it must never be forgotten that during all these years Mr. Macdonald was playing a losing game at all times a hard thing to do. The appeals of the Globe, to sectional and religious prejudice had been heard and answered, and not even Mr. Macdonald's transcendent power over his followers could altogether prevent the development of a feeling of antipathy to Lower Canada, which it needed no foresight to see would sooner or later result in deadlock. There was that, too, in the circumstances attending the overthrow of the Government which robbed it, for Mr. Macdonald, of much of the bitterness ordinarily connected with such an occasion. Upper Canada, the scene of his labours, the portion of the field committed to his charge, had approved his course, and in going out he had the satisfaction of knowing that he carried with him into retirement the confidence of a majority of its representatives. Well did Mr. Cartier understand his colleague when, in announcing his resignation to the House, he thus alluded to the circumstances of their defeat : " At all events it was most gratifying to me to see my late colleague from Upper Canada, who had been so long taunted with not enjoying the confidence of his own section of the country, on the most important measure of the session falling with glory, supported by a majority of seven from Upper Canada, which majority, had all the members been in their places, would have been fourteen." Apart from political considerations, Mr. Macdonald's health was such as to call for a period of rest. It was thought at the time that he would have taken the Chancellorship, which had been vacant by the retirement of Mr. Blake, or the Chief Justiceship of Upper Canada, which the resignation of Sir J. B. Eobinson placed at his disposal As Attorney General, an * The following note, addressed to the Deputy Postmaster General, affords an illustration of what I refer to : " MY DEAII GRIFFIX, " Pray let me know all about the post office at Tilsonburg. I am bored to death about it, and my life was made uncomfortable when in London. " Yours faithfully, "JOHN A. MACDOXALD." 240 MEMOIRS OF SIR JOHN A. MAODONALD. [CHAP. XL unbroken tradition gave him a right to either office, a tradition which his predecessors had not been slow to follow. Several reasons combined to render the position attractive to him. He was weary of politics, his health was bad, and he was poor. The Chancellorship offered a position of ease, dignity, and freedom from cares of every kind. The office was not for the first time in his gift; in 1855 he could have had it, had he wished, though taking it then might have called for comment ; but everybody felt in 1862 that his acceptance would have been the proper thing. With an unselfishness which was ever his conspicuous mark, he declined the honour, and passed out of office a poor man. ( 241 ) CHAPTER XII. DEADLOCK. 1862-1864 DEATH OF MRS. MACDONALD ME. MACDONALD VISITS ENGLAND RETURN TO CANADA STATE OF PARTIES POLICY OF MR. JOHN SANDFIELD MACDONALD OPPOSITION OF MR. BROWN HIS DISPOSITION TO COALESCE WITH THE CONSERVATIVES HIS COMPACT WITH MR. J. S. MACDONALD REORGANIZATION OF MINISTRY GENERAL ELECTION OF 1863 DIFFICULTIES OF THE GOVERNMENT RESIGNATION OF MR. J. S. MACDONALD FORMATION OF THE SECOND TACHE-MACDONALD ADMINISTRATION ITS DEFEAT DEADLOCK. Ox the 24th of October, 1862, Mr. Macdonald experienced a great sorrow in the death of his mother. She had long been an invalid ; so long, indeed, that the fact had ceased to serve as a warning to the members of her family that the dread separation was near. Shortly after his mother's death, Mr. Macdonald went to England on professional business, and remained there until the following January. Twenty years had passed since his first visit, and if in the interval he had not gained that celebrity which afterwards was his, he at least had become widely known. Invitations from many distinguished persons flowed in upon him, and during his stay in London he enjoyed the privileges conferred by membership of the Athenaeum. While Mr. Macdonald had in England many personal friends, it is by no means unlikely that the circumstances which caused his retirement from office contributed to the cordial welcome he received in many quarters at home. The news of the rejection of the Militia Bill by the Canadian Parliament had been received with great disfavour by the English people, whose dissatisfaction was VOL. i. E 242 MEMOIRS OF SIR JOHN A. MACDONALD. [CHAP. XII. duly reflected in the press. The opinion was freely expressed that, in refusing to make adequate provision for its own defence, Canada had shown a selfish disregard of the interests of the Empire, which ill contrasted with the professions of loyalty evoked by the visit of the Prince of Wales. A member of the Canadian Parliament, then in England, thus describes the feeling which prevailed : " You have no idea of the feeling that exists here about the Militia Bill and the defences of Canada generally. No one will believe that there is not a want of loyalty among the Canadians, and whenever I try to defend Canada the answer is always the same, that 'the English look for actions not assertions ; ' many hard and unjust things are now said about the country, all of which add strength to the ' Goldwin Smith ' party, which, after all, is not a very small one ; and the Derbyites make no secret of what they would do if they were in power, viz. let Canada take her chance. India is such a bugbear to some people that they are for getting every available man home from foreign service, to be ready for an outbreak there. I hope that you are going to buckle on your armour to make a fight against the present Ministry and turn them out speedily after we meet, as by so doing we can put ourselves right in the eyes of this country. I am veiy sorry to hear of poor old Sir Allan's death, and all the unseemly conduct that attended his last hours." * Mr. Macdonald returned to Canada shortly before the meeting of Parliament in February, 1863. On his arrival he found things political in a perplexing condition. In order to understand the position of affairs, it is necessary briefly to review the events which took place on the retirement of the Conservative Ministry in May. The leader of the Opposition at that time was Mr. Foley, and to him it was taken for granted that the Governor General would have recourse. It was therefore learned with some surprise that Lord Monck had departed from custom on this occasion, and that Mr. John Sandfield Macdonald had been charged with the duty of forming an Administration. Now, Mr. John Sandfield Macdonald, equally with Messrs. Macdonald and Cartier, was averse to the principle of representation by population. Xay, he was even more resolutely opposed than the Conservative leaders to anyinterference with the constitution. * From the Hon. Maurice Portman, M.P.P. for East Middlesex, to the Hon. John A. Macdonald, September 1, 1862. 1863.] DEADLOCK. 243 For this reason his selection by the Governor General for the office of Prime Minister was especially distasteful to Mr. Brown and the Clear-Grits, by whom he was declared to have no influence or following whatever. The event, however, was confirmatory of the view entertained by some persons that the Globe's estimate of a public man's position and influence was not always correct, for Mr. John Sandfield Macdonald had little difficulty in persuading such advanced Reformers as Messrs. Foley, William McDougall, W. P. Howland, and Adam Wilson to act with him. Mr. Sicotte was the Lower Canadian leader of the Government, and under him were Messrs. A. A. Dorion, McGee, Tessier, Evanturel, and J. J. C. Abbott.* The governing rule of the Administration was declared to be a recognition of the double-majority system, it being understood that the principle of representation by population was to remain in abeyance. No opposition was offered by the members of the late Administration to these arrangements, and Parliament was prorogued a few days after the usual official announcements had been made. But while Messrs. Cartier and Macdonald were willing that the new Government should have a fair trial, Mr. Brown was in no such complacent mood. The Globe, which never did things by halves, at once opened its batteries upon the Upper Canadian members of the Ministry, whom, with a singular forgetfulness of Mr. Brown's course in 1858, it accused of having compromised principles for the sake of office.! This want of unanimity in the Reform ranks was ominous for the stability of the Administration, which, never very strong, was further weakened by the resignation, in January, 1863, of * Oil the 24th of May, the Macdonald- Sicotte Administration was sworn as follows: the Hon. J. S. Macdonald, Attorney General, U.C. (First Minister); the Hon. L. V. Sicotte, Attorney General, L.C. ; the Hon. James Morris, Eeceiver General ; the Hon. A. A. Dorion, Provincial Secretary ; the Hon. M. H. Foley, Postmaster General ; the Hon. W. McDougall, Commissioner of Crown Lands ; the Hon. AV. P. Howland, Minister of Finance; the Hon. J. U. Tessier, Commissioner of Public Works; the Hon. T. D. McGee, President Executive Council; the Hon. F. Evanturel, Minister of Agriculture ; the Hon. A. Wilson, Solicitor General, U.C. ; the Hon. J. J. C. Abbott, Solicitor General, L.C. t ' ' Better, a thousand times better, had it been that the Cartier-Macdonald Government with all its wickedness should have been recalled than that so many leading men of the Liberal Opposition should have sacrificed their principles and destroyed the moral influence which they justly possessed with the electors of Upper Canada" (Globe, May 26, 1862). 244 MEMOIRS OF SIR JOHN A. MACDONALD. [CHAP. XII. Mr. A. A. Dorion, who withdrew from the Cabinet on account of his inability to agree with his colleagues in their policy with respect to the construction of the intercolonial railway. Mr. Macdonald's brief respite from the cares of office had done wonders for him,* and he took his seat at the opening of the session, on the 12th of February, ready for the fray. On the 7th of April he was entertained at a banquet given by his political admirers in the city of Kingston. His speech on that occasion recounted the advantages which had accrued to the country during his administration of affairs, and expressed confidence in the future of the Liberal-Conservative party. His experience told him that the Macdonald-Sicotte Government, pledged to the impossible scheme of the double majority, could not hope to weather the session in the face of the opposition rising against them, not only among the Conservatives, but also in the ranks of the Reform party. A new ground of dissatisfaction against them was speedily afforded by the separate school measure of Mr. R. W. Scott, which the Ministry supported. This action of Messrs. Foley, McDougall, and Wilson was reprobated by the Globe, which unsparingly denounced them for their political recreancy in thus yielding up another principle of Liberalism. Representation by population and no sectarian schools had long been watchwords of the Reform party, yet here was a so-called Liberal Ministry basely sacrificing their principles to the exigencies of party. That Mr. John A. Macdonald should aid in riveting the fetters of Rome upon a free people was to be expected such a course was in conformity with his whole record; but that such men as Foley, Howland, Wilson, and, above all, William McDougall, who had sat at the feet of Mr. Brown himself, and drawn his first political inspiration from the lips of that great man, should, for the sake of office, league themselves with the foes of religious liberty, was enough to cause one to despair of humanity.! Mr. Macdonald warmly supported the Bill, which had been before the House during his term of office, when it was bitterly opposed by those members forming the Upper * In a private letter, he speaks of having returned "sound in wind and limb," which happy condition he ascribes largely to the ocean voyage. f See Globe of March, 1863, passim. 1863.] DEADLOCK. 245 Canadian section of Sandfield Macdonald's Cabinet. The spectacle presented by these men now speaking and voting in its favour was, in the judgment of Mr. Macdonald, " a splendid vindication" of the policy of the late Government, and of the principle which he had long advocated with respect to the school system of Upper Canada. The appeal of the Globe to religious prejudice, however, was not made in vain, for, while Mr. Scott's Bill passed, it was carried by the votes of Lower Canada, and of Mr. John A. Macdonald and his personal friends. A large number of the Upper Canadian supporters of the Government, greatly to the wrath of Mr. J. S. Macdonald, voted against it, thereby placing the Ministry in a minority of nine votes as regarded Upper Canada. Having formally announced their resolve to abide by the double-majority principle, the Ministry by this vote were placed in an embarrassing position. The question was put direct to the Premier whether he proposed, in the face of a declared opposition of the majority of its representatives, to force the Separate School Act upon Upper Canada. To this pertinent question Mr. Sandfield Macdonald made an evasive reply, but the double-majority principle was then heard of for the last time. On the 1st of May, Mr. Macdonald, who had been unanimously elected leader of the Opposition, brought forward a motion of want of confidence in the Administration. His speech on the occasion was one of his great efforts. It was subsequently printed in pamphlet form, and did good service as a campaign document. In offering the motion, Mr. Macdonald took occasion to say, that he made it only in a political sense, and as the usual mode of ascertaining whether the Ministry constitutionally ought to hold office. He added that among the members of the Administration were gentlemen for whom, socially and personally, he entertained the highest respect, and he expressed the hope that any vote he might feel it his duty to give would not interrupt the friendly relations which had always existed between them.* To a Parliament accustomed to the savage attacks of George Brown, who, on similar occasions, was * I gather from his correspondence that these remarks had special reference to Messrs. John Sandfield Macdonald (with whom he appears always to have been Mr. Brown’s acceptance of office was indispensable.
” A meeting was then appointed for the following day.
” On Wednesday, a little after one, the same parties met, when Mr. Brown
stated as his final decision that he would consent to the reconstruction of the
Cabinet as proposed, but inasmuch as he did not wish to assume the responsibility
of the Government business before the House, he preferred leaving till
/after the prorogation the consideration of the acceptance of office by himself
I and the two gentlemen who might be ultimately selected to enter the
VAdministration with him.
“Sir E. P. Tache* and Mr. Macdonald thereon stated that, after the
prorogation, they would be prepared to place three seats in the Cabinet at
|__the disposal of Mr. Brown.”
( 351 )
APPENDIX VI. (See p. 268.)
QUEBEC, OCTOBER 10-28, 1864.
Tliursday, 20th of October. Morniwj Sitting.
* * * * * * *
” Mr. Brown. As to local Governments. We desire in Upper Canada
that they should not be expensive, and should not take up political matters.
We ought not to have two electoral bodies. Only one body, members to be
elected once in every three years. Should have whole legislative power
subject to Lieutenant Governor. I would have Lieutenant Governor appointed
by General Government. It would thus bring these bodies into harmony
with the General Government. In Upper Canada executive officers would be
Attorney General, Treasurer, Secretary, Commissioner Crown Lands, and
Commissioner Public Works. These would form the Council of the Lieutenant
Governor. I would give Lieutenant Governor veto without advice, but
under certain vote he should be obliged to assent. During recess Lieutenant
Governor could have power to suspend executive officers. They might be
elected for three years or otherwise. You might safely allow County Councils
to appoint other officers than those they now do. One Legislative Chamber for
three years, no power of dissolution, elected on one day in each third year.
Lieutenant Governor appointed by Federal Government. Departmental officers
to be elected during pleasure, or for three years. To be allowed to speak but
not to vote.
” Mr. Cartier. I entirely differ with Mr. Brown. It introduces in our
local bodies republican institutions.
” Mr. Brown moves :
‘ That in the local Government there shall be but one
Legislative Chamber.’
” Sir E. Tache. This motion is made merely to elicit opinion of conference.
” Mr. Tilley. New Brunswick differs from Mr. Brown. They propose to
keep the existing things as they are, so far as consistent with expense. They
propose Lieutenant Governor, five departmental officers, with seat in House.
“Jlfr. Dickey. Before details, settle principles. Will conference take
present local Governments as models ?
” Mr. Fisher. I am opposed to Mr. Brown’s views. I approve of the
present system of local Legislatures. I agree with Mr. Brown that the
V Lieutenant Governor should be appointed by the Federal Government.
“Mr. Carter. In 1842, we had one Chamber in Newfoundland, partly
appointed by Crown and partly by people. It worked well. An object to
reduce expense.
” Mr. Henry. I think uniformity is very desirable. But you should first
consider what is to be left to the local Legislatures before you proceed to
discuss their constitutions.
” Mr. McGee. No. Institute your body, then assign its powers.
” Mr. Chandler. We are here to form a constitution for Federal Government.
Let the provinces otherwise remain as they are, so far as possible.
” Dr. Tupper. I agree with general principles laid down by Mr. Brown
that the Governments should be as simple and inexpensive as possible. We
should diminish the powers of the local Governments, but we must not shock
too largely the prejudices of the people in that respect.
” Mr. McCully. We must have miniature responsible Governments.

Adjourned at 2 o’clock.

Monday, October 24.
“Mr. Mowat moved [a resolution denning the powers of the local
” Mr. Chandler. I object to the proposed system. You are adopting a
legislative Union instead of a federal. The local Legislatures should not have
thejr powers specified, but should have all the powers not reserved to the
Federal Government, and only the powers to be given to the Federal Government
should be specified. You are now proceeding to destroy the constitutions
of the local Governments, and to give them less powers than they have had
allowed them from England, and it will make them merely large municipal
corporations. This is a vital question, which decides the question between a
federal and legislative Union, and it will be fatal to the success of Confederation
in the lower provinces.
“Dr. Tupper. I have heard Mr. Chandler’s argument with surprise. Powers
undefined must rest somewhere. Those who were at Charlottetown will
remember that it was fully specified there that all the powers not given to
) local should be reserved to the Federal Government. This was stated as being
a prominent feature of the Canadian scheme, and it was said then that it was
desirable to have a plan contrary to that adopted by the United States. It
was a fundamental principle laid down by Canada, and the basis of our
deliberations. Mr. Chandler says that it gives a legislative instead of a federal
Union. I think that a benefit. Is the Federal Government to be one of mere
delegates? We have provided for a legislative representation and for the
representation of every section of all the provinces. Such a costly Government
ought to be charged with the fullest powers. It will be easier for every
one of the remotest settlers in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to reach the
Federal Legislature than the present local Legislatures. If it were not for the
peculiar condition of Lower Canada, and that the Lower Provinces have not
municipal systems such as Upper Canada, I should go in for a legislative Union
instead of a federal. We propose to preserve the local Governments in the
Lower Provinces because we have not municipal institutions. If Conference
limit the powers of the General Legislature, I feel that the whole platform is
swept away from us.
” Mr. Coles. I did not understand this was laid down as a basis at
Charlottetown. I thought there the only thing specified was representation
by population in Lower House. I agree with Mr. Chandler’s view.
” Mr. Haviland. I disagree with Messrs. Chandler and Coles. I understood
the basis of our scheme, so as to avoid difficulties of United States, is to give
limited powers to local Legislatures.
” Colonel Gray, N.B. Mr. Coles’ memory is short. [Quotes from Mr. Macdonald’s
speech at Charlottetown and from Mr. Brown’s, that Federal
Government was to have general powers and limited as to local.] Whatever
conclusion we may now arrive at, such was the basis of the Canadian scheme. –
” Mr. Chandler. My argument is not met as to merits, but as to what was
laid down at Charlottetown. We all agree that local Government should
have local powers, we differ as to whether such powers should be defined.
” Dr. Tapper. Under Mr. Chandler’s view, the Governor General would
be less than the Lieutenant Governor and the Federal Government less than
the local.
” Mr. Dickey. I propose a Supreme Court of Appeal to decide any
conflict between general and state rights. I am rather inclined to agree with
Mr. Chandler. Immense interests omitted in Mr. Mowat’s motion.
” Mr. Brown. This matter received close attention of Canadian Government.
I should agree with Mr. Chandler were it not that we have done all
we can to settle the matter with sufficient powers to local Legislatures. I
would let the courts of each province decide what is local and what general
Government jurisdiction, with appeal to the Appeal or Superior Court.
” Mr. McCully. I refer to New Zealand Act, which is evidently framed to
meet difficulty. It strangely defines what the local Governments shah1 not do.
In 53rd clause General Assembly to make laws, etc., for government of New
Zealand, and shall control and supersede those of local Governments repugnant
thereto. Mr. Brown will land us in position of United States by
referring matter of conflict of jurisdiction to courts. You thus set them over
the General Legislature.
” Mr. Attorney General Macdonald. New Zealand constitution was a
legislative Union, ours federal. Emigrants went out under different guarantees.
Local charters jarred. In order to guard these, they gave the powers stated
to local Legislatures, but the General Government had power to sweep these
away. That is just what we do not want. Lower Canada and the Lower
Provinces would not have such a thing. There is no analogy between New
Zealand and ourselves in such respects. Our courts now can decide where
there is any conflict between the Imperial and Canadian statutes. I think
the whole affair would fail, and the system be a failure, if we adopted
Mr. Chandler’s views. It would be adopting the worst features of the United
VOL. I. 2 A
States. We should concentrate the power in the Federal Government, and
not adopt the decentralization of the United States. Mr. Chandler would
give sovereign power to the local Legislatures, just where the United States
failed. Canada would be infinitely stronger as she is than under such a
system as proposed by Mr, Chandler. It is said the tariff is one of the
causes of difficulty in United States. So it would be with us. Looking at,
agricultural interests of Upper Canada, manufacturing of Lower Canada, and
maritime interests of lower Provinces, in respect to a tariff, a federal
Government would be a mediator. No general feeling of patriotism exists in
the United States. In occasions of difficulty each man sticks to his individual
State. Mr. Stephens, the present Vice President, a strong Union man, yet,
when time came, he went with his State. Similarly we should each stick to
our province and not be British Americans. It would be introducing a source
of radical weakness. It would ruin us in the eyes of the civilized world. All
writers point out errors of United States. All the failings prognosticated
by De Tocqueville are shown to be fulfilled.
” Mr. Johnson. Enumerate for local Governments their powers, and give
all the rest to general Government, but do not enumerate both.
” Mr. Palmer. Easier to define what are general than what are local
subjects, but we cannot define both. We cannot meet every possible case or
” Mr. Henry. We should not define powers of general legislature. I
would ask Lower Canada not to fight for a shadow. Give a clause to give
general powers (except such as given to local Legislatures) to federal Legislature.
Anything beyond that is hampering the case with difficulties. If we
are to have Confederation let us have one on the principles suggested by
Attorney General Macdonald. In United States there is no power to settle
constitutionality of an Act. Hereafter we shall be bound by an Imperial Act,
and our judges will have to say what is constitutional under it as regards
general or local legislation.
” Mr. Dickey. Why did Imperial statutes give the powers they did to New
Zealand General Government?
“Mr. Chandler. My plan is not precisely the same as United States,
because Government does not in United States appoint the Lieutenant
Governors and the legislative councillors. If my plan is not adopted, I should
have elective legislative councillors.
” Colonel Gray, N.B. The power flows from Imperial Government. We
propose to substitute the Federal Government for the Imperial Government,
but the Federal Government is itself subordinate to the Imperial Government.
And as to the policy of the thing, I think it best to define the powers of the
local Governments, as the public will then see what matters they have reserved
for their consideration, with which matters they will be familiar, and so the
humbler classes and the less educated will comprehend that their interests
are protected.”
( 355
APPENDIX VII. (See p. 275 .)
BETWEEN the closing of the Quebec Conference in October, 1864, and the
meeting of the Canadian Legislature in January, 1865, certain alterations
were made by mutual consent of the delegates in the 24th, 29th, and 43rd
(1) The 24th resolution originally read as follows :
” The Local Legislature of each Province may, from time to time, alter
the Electoral Districts for the purposes of representation in the House of
Commons, and distribute the representatives, to which the Province is
entitled, in any manner such Legislature may think fit.”
(2) The 3rd division of the 29th section originally read :
” The imposition or regulation of duties of customs on Imports and
Exports, except on Exports of timber, logs, masts, spars, deals, and sawn
lumber, and of coal and other minerals.”
(3) The first division of section 43 originally read :
” Direct taxation and the imposition of duties on the Export of timber,
logs, masts, spars, deals, and sawn lumber, and of coals and other
It will be observed that the change in the 24th resolution is a material
one. The reasons for making it are to be found in a memorandum addressed
by the Provincial Secretary to the Governor General on the 4th of May, 1865,
from which I make the following quotation :
” The 24th resolution of the Quebec Conference, as it stands in the
original report by certain members of the Conference (and which report is
now in the possession of the undersigned), is in the words and figures
following :
” ‘ The Local Legislature of each Province may, from time to time, alter
the Electoral Districts for the purposes of representation in the House of
Commons, and distribute the representatives to which the Province is
entitled in any manner such Legislature may think fit.’
” In the paper submitted to the Canadian Parliament, the 24th resolution
was made to read as follows :
” ‘ The Local Legislature of each Province may, from time to time, alter the
Electoral Districts for the purposes of representation in such Local Legislature,
and distribute the representatives to which the Province is entitled in such
Local Legislature, in any manner such Legislature may see fit.’
” The above change was made because it was found that the resolution,
as expressed in the original report, did not convey the tine meaning of the
Conference. As Your Excellency is aware, the proceedings of the Conference
towards the close of its deliberations were very much hurried, and it was
subsequently discovered that several errors had occurred in revising and
rearranging its numerous resolutions, which were adopted in the first instance
without that exactness of expression and logical sequence so necessary in an
instrument intended to present a complete scheme. Some of these errors
were discovered and corrected at Montreal by the unanimous consent of the
delegates present at a meeting held in that city for the purpose. There was
no doubt in the minds of the Canadian delegates (when their attention was
called to the point), that the gentlemen who undertook the duty of reducing
into form the minutes and resolutions of the Conference had misapprehended
the meaning of the Conference in reference to the subject embraced in the
24th resolution. It could never have been intended to destroy the independence
of every member of the General Parliament, by giving power
to the Local Legislature of his Province to ‘
alter,’ and thus practically to
abolish his constituency, whenever, by speech or vote, he might happen to
displease a majority of that Legislature. The power to divide each Province
into the proper number of Electoral Districts in the first instance (as
provided by the 23rd resolution), was given to the Local Legislatures ex
necessitate, but the power to alter or readjust the constituencies after
Parliament is constituted, belongs naturally, logically, and according to every
constitutional precedent, to that Parliament, and not to an inferior body. The
undersigned is informed, that, on discovering the error in the 24th resolution,
and also important errors in the 29th and 43rd resolutions, in reference to
Export duties on timber and coals, communication was had with the leading
members of the Governments of the several Maritime Provinces.
” The undersigned is also informed that answers were received from those
gentlemen, expressing their concurrence in the suggestions of the Canadian
Delegates, as to the fact of error in both cases, and as to the mode by which
it was proposed to correct them.”
In the course of his speech submitting these resolutions to Parliament,
Mr. Macdonald thus adverted to these changes :
” A good deal of misapprehension has arisen from the accidental omission of
some words from the 24th resolution. It was thought that by it the Local Legislatures
were to have the power of arranging hereafter, and from time to time of
readjusting the different constituencies and settling the size and boundaries of
the various electoral districts. The meaning of the resolution is simply this,
that for the first General Parliament, the arrangement of constituencies shall
be made by the existing Local Legislatures ; that in Canada, for instance, the
present Canadian Parliament shall arrange what are to be the constituencies
of Upper Canada, and to make such changes as may be necessary in arranging
for the seventeen additional members given to it by the constitution ; and
that it may also, if it sees fit, alter the boundaries of the existing constituencies
of Lower Canada. In short, this Parliament shall settle what shall be the
different constituencies electing members to the first Federal Parliament. And
so the other provinces, the Legislatures of which shall fix the limits of their
several constituencies in the session in which they adopt the new constitution.
Afterwards, the Local Legislatures may alter their own electoral limits as they
please, for their own local elections, but it would evidently be improper to
leave to the Local Legislature the power to alter the constituencies sending
members to the General Legislature after the General Legislature shall have
been called into existence. Were this the case, a member of the General
Legislature might at any time find himself ousted from his seat by an alteration
of his constituency by the Local Legislature in his section. No, after the
General Parliament meets, in order that it may have full control of its own
legislation, and be assured of its position, it must have the full power of
arranging and rearranging the electoral limits of its constituencies as it
pleases, such being one of the powers essentially necessary to such a
APPENDIX VIII. (Seep. 282.)
” Provincial Secretary’s Office, Halifax, May 10, 1865.
” I beg to submit the following observations in reply to your letter
of May 2nd, in order to place on record the reasons which induce my
colleagues and myself to think a delegation to the Imperial Government
inadvisable at the present moment, which subject had already received the
careful consideration of the Cabinet.
“It is quite obvious, from the confidential despatch from the Right
Honourable the Secretary of State to yourself, that the action of this Government
upon the Confederation question has been entirely misunderstood by
Mr. Cardwell, but I hope that a frank explanation of the facts will suffice to
remove any misapprehension that may have still existed after the perusal of
your confidential despatch of , which explains our views and policy so
” When in Canada last autumn, I assured Lord Monck that there was
every reason to expect that the scheme of Union arranged at Quebec would
be accepted by the Legislature of this province. The grounds upon which
I gave that assurance were that for many years the Union of British America
had been regarded with great favour in this province, that it had received a
very general support from the press and had obtained the public advocacy of the
leading public men of both parties, but especially because the leaders of the
Opposition to the Government in both the Assembly and Legislative Council
who were on the Delegation cordially supported the plan of the Union agreed
” On our return, an opposition to the proposed Union was organized in this
city by a number of the mercantile men of both parties, associated with
active opponents of the Government.
” The Government, although supported on general questions by a large
majority in the Legislature, were in a most disadvantageous position to
meet this- unlocked for opposition. During the previous session, they had
imperilled their popularity by a patriotic effort to improve the common
school education of the country by introducing the obnoxious system of
compulsory assessment. Under the operation of that law, the whole country
had been recently excited, and an immense amount of hostility towards the
Government induced, destroying the confidence of many members supporting
the Government, in the security of their positions in case of an appeal to the

Notwithstanding the zealous efforts of Messrs. Archibald and McCully,
the opponents of Confederation rallied round their standard the great body
of the party opposed to the Government, largely reinforced by those whom
opposition to assessment for schools had rendered disaffected, and by numbers
whose fears had been excited by the statement that Union with Canada
would involve a large increase of taxation. On the other hand, the
Government, having obtained the aid of leading members of the Opposition
upon the delegation, could not rely upon the party support which would,
under other circumstances, have been available. I am sure that I need
not say to you who have witnessed our efforts, that all that the members of
your Government, ably aided by Messrs. Archibald and McCully, could do, to
stem the current setting thus strongly against Confederation, was done. In
the press and on the platform, in various sections of the country, the most
determined exertions were used to disabuse the public mind of the prejudices
raised against the proposed Union. Just at this crisis, when the demand was
loud that nothing should be done without a previous appeal to the people at
the polls, the Legislature of New Brunswick was dissolved in order to afford
the electors of that province an opportunity of expressing their opinion on
this question.
“When our Legislature met it was at once ascertained that it was
impossible to obtain a decision in favour of the scheme on account of the
feeling of alarm which had been excited throughout the country. It would
have been obviously fatal to the cause of Confederation in New Brunswick to
allow a hostile vote to be recorded here pending their elections, and all we
could do under those circumstances was to postpone the discussion of the
question. When the election in that province resulted in an overwhelming
defeat of the scheme, but fourteen out of forty-one members having been
returned in favour of it, the difficulty of obtaining any expression of approval
here was increased, as members who might have been disposed to sacrifice
their own position to achieve an important object would not be willing to
do so without any practical result to be attained. It was considered by
the Government and the delegates belonging to the Opposition to be of
the highest importance to prevent the Legislature being committed to an
expression of feeling against Confederation, and, after the most anxious
deliberation, it was decided that that object could be best effected by the
passage of a resolution authorizing negotiations to be re-opened for a
Legislative Union of the Maritime Provinces.
” There were many reasons which suggested this course of action as
desirable. While the opponents of Confederation professed great favour for
the lesser union, the Government and friends of the Quebec scheme here had
ever regarded the legislative union of the Maritime Provinces as not only
calculated to promote the larger union, but in the highest degree desirable in
case of federation. Two of the principal objections urged against the
proposed Confederation, the want of unity of action among the Maritime
Provinces, and the insignificant position of the local Governments and
Legislatures under Confederation, would both be effectually removed by the
legislative union of these three provinces. In the present condition of New
Brunswick, some such step appeared to be the best calculated to remove the
obstacle to Confederation which had arisen there.

If, on the other hand, as was not unlikely, the proposal to carry out the
scheme for a union of the three provinces was not entertained by New Brunswick,
it would remove the consideration of that question out of the way of
the discussion of the greater union, and thus favour the adoption of the
” I confess I was quite unprepared to find this project regarded in any
quarter as hostile to the Confederation of the whole, as the members of
the Canadian Government had individually and collectively assured the
delegates from the Maritime Provinces that the proposed Confederation of
British North America did not in the least degree conflict with the legislative
union of the Maritime Provinces, and many of the most prominent of
the Canadian Ministry did not hesitate to avow their opinion that such a
union of the Maritime Provinces was, in view of Confederation, highly
desirable. You are well aware that, in moving the resolution in favour of the
legislative union of the Maritime Provinces, I advocated the Confederation
of the whole so zealously, and treated the lesser union as so entirely subsidiary
and calculated to promote it, as to excite no small amount of opposition on
the part of the opponents of Confederation. Looking with a single eye to the
accomplishment at the earliest possible moment of the union of British North
America, I cannot now see how any more judicious course could have been
pursued than that which we adopted. It certainly would not have promoted
the object in view had we recorded a hostile vote to Confederation in our
Assembly either before or after the New Brunswick election ; and there can be
no doubt that an appeal to the people here on this question, under existing
circumstances, would have resulted, as it has in that province, in placing the
opponents of Confederation in power, and affording them the means of
obstructing that great measure, which they do not now possess.
” In our present condition, with the representatives of the people to a large
extent uncommitted on the question, and the people relieved from the apprehension
that their constitution was to be suddenly taken away without an
opportunity of expressing their opinions, I am sanguine that the proposed
Confederation will ere long be approved by the great body of the people, and
receive the sanction of a large majority of their representatives, and I can
assure you that I and my colleagues are prepared to make any personal or
party sacrifice that may at any time be found necessary to attain that object. At
this moment, however, I doubt whether volunteering a delegation to England
would not be calculated to influence the public mind unfavourably, incited, as
the people would undoubtedly be, to regard it as intended to promote some
coercive measures on the part of the Imperial authorities. There can be no
doubt that much advantage would result from free communication between
this Government and the Colonial Office on this and other subjects of deep
importance, but it would, I fear, be just now prejudicial to the cause of
Confederation here.
” With the most anxious desire to accomplish the object upon which your
Ministry and the Imperial authorities are so entirely agreed,

I remain, my dear Sir Richard,
“Yours faithfully,
APPENDIX IX. (Seep. 286.)
” MR. MACDONALD, yesterday, sought an interview with Mr. Brown, and
informed him that His Excellency the Governor General had sent for him
that morning, and had stated his desire that the Administration, as it was
formed in June, 1864, should continue in office, with as few changes as
possible, in order to carry out the policy announced by the Government on
its formation ; that, with that view, His Excellency had expressed the opinion
that the most obvious mode of supplying the place vacated by the death
of Sir Etienne Tache” would be for Mr. Macdonald to assume the position of
First Minister, as being the senior member of the Ministry ; and that
Mr. Cartier would, on the same principle, become the leader of the Lower
Canadian section of the Government; and that, for the purpose of carrying
those views into effect, His Excellency had commissioned Mr. Macdonald
to take the post of First Minister, at the same time requesting all the other
Ministers to retain their offices. Mr. Macdonald further informed Mr. Brown
that he had assented to this proposition of His Excellency, and had seen
Mr. Cartier, who at once agreed to it. He then invited Mr. Brown to accede
to the proposal of His Excellency.
“Mr. Brown replied that he was quite prepared to enter into arrangements
for the continuance of the Government in the same position it occupied
previoi s to the death of Sir Etienne Tache ; but that the proposal now
made involved a grave departure from that position. The Government
heretofore had been a coalition of three political parties, each represented
by an active party leader, but all acting under one chief, who had ceased to
be actuated by strong party feelings or personal ambitions, and who was
well fitted to give confidence to all the ‘three sections of the coalition that
the conditions which united them would be carried out in good faith to the
very letter. Mr. Macdonald, Mr. Cartier, and himself (Mr. Brown) were,
on the contrary, regarded as party leaders, with party feelings and aspirations ;
and to place any one of them in an attitude of superiority over the others,
with the vast advantage of the Premiership, would, in the public mind, lessen
the security for good faith, and seriously endanger the existence of the
Government. It would be an entire change of the situation. Whichever of
the three was so preferred, the act would amount to an abandonment of the
coalition basis and the reconstruction of the Government on ordinary party
principles, under a party leader unacceptable to a large portion of those on
whose support the existence of the Ministry depended. Mr. Brown reminded
Mr. Macdonald that, when the coalition was formed, the Liberal party in opposition
constituted a majority of the House of Assembly : that, solely for the
accomplishment of a great measure essential of reform to the peace and progress
of the country, they had laid aside, for the time, party considerations, and
consented to form a coalition with their opponents, on conditions which nothing
but the strongest sense of public duty could have induced them to accept.
He reminded Mr. Macdonald of the disadvantageous and embarrassing position
he (Mr. Brown) and his colleagues, Mr. McDougall and Mr. Howland, had
consented to occupy during the past year, united as they were with nine
political opponents who held all the important departments of State; and
he asked him to reflect in what light the Liberal party must regard this new
proposition to abandon their distinctive position, and place one of their chief
opponents in the Premiership, though his Conservative supporters in Parliament
were much inferior, numerically, to the Reform supporters of the
coalition. Mr. Brown stated his conviction that the right mode of settling
the question would be to invite some gentleman, of good position in the
Legislative Council, under whom all the three great parties to the coalition
could act with confidence, to become the successor of Colonel Tache. In
no other way, he thought, could the position heretofore existing be continued.
Mr. Brown concluded by saying that the proposal of Mr. Macdonald was
palpably one for the construction of a new Government, and that, if the aid
of the Reform party of Upper Canada in the Assembly were desired in its
formation, a distinct statement of the policy of the new Government must
be made, and a definite proposition submitted. Speaking, however, for himself
alone, he (Mr. Brown) occupied now precisely the ground that he had
held in the negotiations of 1864; he stood prepared to give an outside but
frank and earnest support to any Administration that might be formed,
pledged, like the coalition Government, to carry through Parliament, in the
spring session of next year, either a measure for the final completion of the
Confederation scheme of the Quebec Conference, or one for removing existing
difficulties in Canada, by the introduction of the federal principle into the
system of government, coupled with such provisions as will permit the
Maritime Provinces and the North-West Territory to be incorporated into
the system.
“Mr. Macdonald stated in answer that, at the time the coalition was
effected, in 1864, Sir Etienne TadiS* held the position of Premier, with him
(Mr. Macdonald) as leader of the Lower House, and the Upper Canadian
section of the Government. That, on reference to the memorandum settled
as the basis of the coalition, it will be seen that Mr. Brown at first preferred
to support the Government in its policy as then settled without entering the
Government, but that it was afterwards settled, in deference to the wishes
of his supporters and at the pressing instance of Mr. Macdonald, that he and
two of his political friends agreed to enter the Government. These terms
were acceded to, the offices that happened to be then vacant placed at
Mr. Brown’s disposal, and the coalition was completed. Mr. Macdonald
further stated that Sir Etienne Tache* was not then selected as First Minister
as a part of the agreement for the coalition ; but he had been previously, and
was then, the head of the Conservative Government, and was accepted with
all his Lower Canadian colleagues without change. That, on the lamented
decease of Sir Etienne, His Excellency had, without any previous communication
of his opinion to him or (as he understood) to any one else, come
to the conclusion that the best mode of carrying on the Government was
(as already stated) for Mr. Macdonald to take one step up ; that Mr. Cartier,
as next in seniority, should do so also, and that the other arrangements should
remain as before. That he, Mr. Macdonald, thought with His Excellency
that this was the best solution of the matter, and could not but accede to
it ; that, however, he had no personal feeling in the matter, and that if he
had, he thought it his duty to set aside such feeling for the sake of carrying
out the great scheme, so happily commenced, to a successful issue. He
therefore would readily stand aside and waive his pretensions, so that some
other person than himself might be appointed to the Premiership : that he
thought Mr. Cartier should be that person : that after the death of Colonel
Tachd, Mr. Cartier, beyond a doubt, was the most influential man in his
section of the country, and would be selected by the Lower Canadian supporters
of the Government as their leader; that neither Mr. Brown nor
Mr. Macdonald could dictate to Lower Canada as to their selection of
leader : that the Premier must be, according to usage, the leader or senior
member either from Upper or Lower Canada : and that as he (Mr. Macdonald)
had, in consequence of the position taken by Mr. Brown, waived his own
pretensions, it followed that Mr. Cartier should be appointed as Prime
Minister. Mr. Macdonald stated in conclusion that, although he had no
reason to suppose that His Excellency would object to the selection of
Mr. Cartier, yet he must, of course, submit the proposition to him, and obtain
his assent to it.
” Mr. Brown replied that, in some of the views suggested by Mr. Macdonald,
there was a difference between this proposition and his original one ;
but still that this, like the other, would be a proposal for the construction
of a new Government, in a manner seriously aifecting the security held by
the Liberal party. Before saying anything upon such a proposition, however,
were it formally made, he would desire to consult his friends, Mr. McDougall
and Mr. Rowland.
“The interview then terminated, and the following correspondence
lace :
” ‘Hon. John A. Macdonald to Hon. George Brown.
” ‘ Quebec, August 4, 1865.
” ‘
Immediately after our conversation, the heads of which we have
reduced to writing, I obtained His Excellency’s permission to propose to you
that Mr. Cartier, as being the leader of the Ministerial majority of Lower
Canada in Parliament, should assume the position of Prime Minister, vacated
by the death of Sir Etienne Tache”, the other members of the Administration
continuing to hold their positions and offices as before. All the Lower Canadian
members of the Council assent to this proposition, so do Mr. Campbell and
myself; and I am sure I can also speak for Mr. Solicitor General Cockburn,
who is now absent.
” ‘ May I request the favour of an early reply.
” ‘ Believe me, my dear sir,
” ‘ Yours faithfully,
” ‘ To Hon. George Bro\vn.’
” ‘ Hon. George Brown to Hon. John A. Macdonald.
” ‘ Quebec, August 4, 1865.
” ‘ I have received your letter of this afternoon, inviting me to
retain my present position in a Government to be formed under the Premiership
of Mr. Cartier. In reply I have now to state, after consultation with
Messrs. Howland and McDougall, that we can only regard this proposition as
one for the construction of a new Government, in a manner seriously affecting
the security heretofore held by the Liberal party. Anxiously desirous as we
are, however, that nothing should occur at this moment to jeopardize the
plans of the coalition Government on the constitutional question, we cannot
assume the responsibility of either accepting or rejecting it without consultation
with our political friends. This I am prepared to do without any delay,
and to that end it will be necessary that I have clearly stated in writing the
basis on which Mr. Cartier proposes to construct the new Government.
” ‘ I am, my dear sir, yours truly,
‘”To Hon. John A. Macdonald.’
” ‘ Hon. John A. Macdonald to Hon. George Brown.
” ‘ Quebec, Saturday, August 5, 1865.
” ‘ I regret to learn from your note of yesterday that you cannot
assume the responsibility, without first consulting your political friends, of
either accepting or rejecting the proposition that Mr. Cartier should be placed
at the head of the Government in the stead of the late Sir Etienne Tache,
with the understanding that the rest of the Council should retain their present
offices and positions under him. I have conferred with Mr. Cartier on the
subject, and we agree that, at this late hour, it would be highly inexpedient
to wait for the result of this consultation.
” ‘ Parliament is to assemble on Tuesday next, and, in our opinion, it
would greatly prejudice the position of the Government as well as the future
prospects of the great scheme in which we are all engaged, if we met Parliament
with the Administration in an incomplete state, and, therefore, with no
fixed policy.
” ‘ I have His Excellency’s permission to state his concurrence in this
view, and his opinion that the puhlic interests require the immediate reconstruction
of the Ministry.
” ‘ Under these circumstances, and to prevent the possibility of the scheme
for the Confederation of British North America receiving any injury from the
appearance of disunion among those who coalesced for the purpose of carrying
it into effect, Mr. Cartier and I, without admitting that there are any sufficient
grounds for setting either of us aside, have agreed to propose that Sir Narcisse
Belleau shall assume the position of First Minister and Eeceiver General, vice
Sir Etienne Tache : that the position and offices of other members of the
Executive Council shall remain as before : and that the policy of the Government
shall be the same as was laid before Parliament in July, 1864, as the
basis of the coalition which was then formed. His Excellency authorizes
me to to make this proposition, and expresses his desire for an early answer.
” ‘ Believe me, my dear sir, yours faithfully,
” ‘Hon. George Brown.’
‘ ‘ ‘ Hon. George Brown to Hon. John A. Macdonald.
” ‘ Quebec, August 5, 1865,

‘Saturday, 5 p.m.
” ‘ Your note of this afternoon was handed to me by Col. Bernard,
and, having communicated its contents to my colleagues, I now beg to state
the conclusions at which we have arrived.
” ‘ Without intending the slightest discourtesy to Sir Narcisse Belleau,
we deem it right to remind you that we would not have selected that gentleman
as successor to Sir Etienne Tache; but, as he is the selection of
Mr. Cartier and yourself, and as we are equally with you desirous of preventing
the scheme for the Confederation of British America receiving
injury from the appearance of disunion among us, we shall offer no objection
to his appointment.
“‘I think, however, it will be necessary that Sir Narcisse Belleau shall
have stated to him, and shall accept, in more distinct terms than you have
indicated, the policy on which our coalition now rests. It is quite right that
the basis of June, 1864, should be stated as the basis still; but he should
also clearly understand the modification of that agreement, rendered necessary
by succeeding events, and which was ratified by Sir Etienne Tachd, June,
1865. The agreement of June, 1864, was as follows: “The Government
are prepared to pledge themselves to bring in a measure next session for
the purpose of removing existing difficulties by introducing the federal
principle into Canada, coupled with such provisions as will permit the
Maritime Provinces and the North-West Territory to be incorporated into
the same system of government. And the Government will seek, by sending
representatives to the Lower Provinces and to England, to secure the assent
of those interests which are beyond the control of our own legislation, to
such a measure as may enable all British North America to be united under
a general Legislature based upon the federal principle.”
” ‘ Sir Narcisse Belleau should understand that occurrences in the
Maritime Provinces unfortunately prevented this agreement from being
carried out, so far as regards time : that it became necessary to consider
what course ought to be pursued in consequence of these occurrences : and
that we came to an agreement that we should earnestly strive for the adoption
of the scheme of the Quebec Conference ; but, should we be unable to
remove the objections of the Maritime Provinces in time to present a measure
at the opening of the session of 1866 for the completion of the Confederation
scheme, we would then present to Parliament, and press with all the
influence of Government, a measure for the reform of the constitutional
system of Canada, as set forth in the above agreement of June, 1864.
‘”I remain, my dear sir, yours truly,
” ‘ Hon. John A. Macdonald.’
” ‘ Hon. John A. Macdonald to Hon. George Bro\ra.
” ‘ Quebec, August 7, 1865.
” ‘ Sir Narcisse Belleau returned from the country yesterday, and
I am happy to inform you that he has, though with great reluctance, acceded
to the request of Mr. Cartier and myself, and accepted the position of First
Minister, with the office of Eeceiver General.
” ‘ He accepts the policy of the late Government, as stated in your
note of Saturday to me, and adopts it as that which will govern his
” ‘ This policy will, of course, be announced in both Houses of Parliament
as soon as possible.
” ‘ Believe me, faithfully yours,
” ‘Hon. George Brown.’ ”
The following may also prove of interest :
“Mr. Brown was informed by Lord Monck that he had come to the
conclusion that the best course he could adopt for the purpose of filling the
vacancy caused by the death of Sir E. Tache was to entrust Mr. Macdonald
with the reconstruction of the Government as the member of the Cabinet
next in seniority to Sir E. Tache, and with the view of making as little
change as possible in the personal character of the Administration; and,
having asked Mr. Brown to give him his views on the present state of
affairs, he (Mr. Brown) expressed his opinion that the course he anticipated
the Governor General would have taken would have been to have maintained
the Government in the same position that it held previous to Sir E. Tache”‘s
death, by placing at the head of the Ministry some member of the Legislative
Council under whom he himself, Mr. Macdonald, and Mr. Cartier
might serve as they had hitherto done under Sir E. Tache”. That he
greatly feared that, were the leading representative of either of these great
political parties, between whom the present coalition had been formed,
placed at the head of the Ministry, the result would be to imperil the
coalition of parties which has prevailed for the last thirteen months.
” That he (Mr. Brown) had entered office at the solicitation of his party
solely for the purpose of carrying constitutional changes which he considered
essential to the best interests of the province ; that he is desirous of retiring
from office at the earliest possible moment, but that the Governor General
might rely that, in any event, any administration formed on the basis ot
the agreement of July, 1864, will receive his most hearty support.”
( 369 )
APPENDIX X. (See p. 293.)
” 1. That the existing Treaty of Trade with the United States is acceptable,
and that its renewal, as it now stands, would be assented to by the
respective provinces.

2. That in the opinion of the Council, any reasonable proposals for the
modification or extension of the Treaty, that may be suggested by the United
States Government, ought to be entertained by the provinces.
” 3. That in the event of a new Reciprocity Treaty being negotiated, it
would be highly desirable that the coasting trade, and the registration of
vessels, should be included in its provisions. ..
” 4. That in the event of the abolition of the Treaty by the United States
Government, it is the opinion of this Council that all the British North
American provinces should combine cordially together in all commercial
matters, and adopt such a common commercial policy as will best advance the
interest of the whole.

5. That in the opinion of this Council it would be highly desirable that
application be made to Her Majesty’s Imperial Government, requesting that
steps be taken to enable the British North American provinces to open
communications with the West India Islands, with Spain and her colonies,
and with Brazil and Mexico, for the purpose of ascertaining in what manner
the traffic of the provinces with these countries could be extended, and placed
on a more advantageous footing.

6. That in the event of negotiations for a new Treaty of Reciprocity with
the United States being opened by Her Majesty’s Government, but not concluded
before the 17th March next, application be made to Her Majesty’s
Government suggesting that an arrangement be entered into with the United
States Government for such a continuation of the existing Treaty as may afford
time for concluding the pending negotiations.

7. That Her Majesty’s Government be requested to authorize the
members of this Council, or a committee to be appointed from amongst them,
to proceed to Washington, in the event of negotiations being opened for the
renewal of the Reciprocity Treaty, in order to confer with the British
Minister there, and afford him information with respect to the interests of the
British North American provinces.”
VOL. I. 2B
APPENDIX XI. (See p. 294)
” Executive Council Chamber, Ottawa,
” December 19, 1865. 2 p.m., Tuesday.
” I have just called at your hotel with Campbell with a view to
have with you a friendly interview. We were very sorry and much disappointed
to find that you were out. Both of us left our cards. We intend
calling again this afternoon to see you, in the hope of being more successful.
If perchance you happen to be in when this note reaches you, be kind enough
to send me word that you are at your hotel. I hope, and every one of your
colleagues hopes that after a friendly interview you will be induced to reconsider
your present intention. Believe me, my dear Brown,
” Your devoted colleague,
” G. E. C.
” The Hon. Geo. Brown, Russell Hotel.”

[Private and confidential.]
” Russell House,
” December 19th. J to 4 p.m.
” I have received your kind note, and think it right to state frankly
at once that the step I have taken cannot be revoked. The interests involved
are too great. I think a very great blunder has been committed in a
matter involving the most important interests of our country, and that the
Order in Council you have passed endorses that blunder and authorizes persistence
in it.
” I confess I was much annoyed at the direct personal affront offered me
yesterday, but that feeling has entirely passed away after a night’s reflection,
in view of the serious character of the matters at issue which casts all personal
feeling aside. I desire to leave you in perfect harmony. I shall of course
place in writing my grounds of resignation, but, seeing the prejudicial effect
their present publication might have on the negotiations, I propose that no
reason be given for my resignation until the reciprocity question is settled one
way or other. I propose to state in to-morrow’s Globe that my resignation
has occurred from a grave difference in the Cabinet (in which I stand alone)
on an important public question that the explanations will be given to
Parliament in due time, and that it would be inexpedient for the public
interest that they should be given sooner. I make this suggestion believing
it the best thing for the public interest, and on that ground alone, but any
other proper course of procedure I am ready to adopt at the wish of my late
” In conclusion, let me say that if you stick to the compact you made
with me when Sir Narcisse came into the Government my being out of the
Government will not change my course in the slightest, and that you will
have my best aid in carrying out the constitutional changes we were then
pledged to.
” Believe me, my dear Cartier,

Faithfully yours,
” Hon. G. E. Cartier.”

I pray you not to commit any mistake in that New Brunswick matter,
but we are pledged of course by Macdonald’s letter, and must do all that in
reason we can be asked to do. But what is proposed would be wrong and
most hurtful hereafter. However, I am ready to give a cheque for $500
towards the fund, and will not be behind if further aid is required. G.B.”
“Executive Council Office, Ottawa,
” December 19, 1865. 4J p.m., Tuesday.
” I feel very, very sorry at your telling me that the step you have
taken cannot be revoked. Whatever might be at this moment the strength of
your determination I flatter myself, that, after a friendly interview between
you and Campbell and myself this evening, you might be induced to change
your mind. As Campbell happens to be at the same hotel with you, arrange
with him the time and place at which we may meet after dinner. Campbell
will let me know where and when, and I will not fail to hasten to the
rendez-vous. Until we see you try to bring your mind to a listening mood.
I must frankly say that if unfortunately you cannot be induced to retrace the
step you have taken, the terms and mode you suggest to make known your
resignation are the most consistent with the public interests the same
announcement will have to be made by us. Allow me to say to you that,
whatever may be the result of our interview this evening, I will always feel
very thankful to you for the patriotic and generous sentiments you are so kind
to express in your note to me.
” Believe me, my dear Brown,
” Yours very truly,
” G. E. C.
“The Hon. Geo. Brown, Russell Hotel.”
APPENDIX XII. (See p. 300.)
” The Governor General desires to lay before the members of the Executive
Council the strong opinion he entertains as to the imperative necessity which
exists for concluding what remains to be done in the Canadian Parliament in
order to complete the plan for the union of the provinces during the present
” The reasons which have produced this conviction in the mind of the
Governor General are derived partly from the effect which the course that
may now be adopted will have on the fate of the measure, both in the other
provinces and in England, and partly from the peculiar constitution of the
present Government of Canada and the circumstances under which it was
originally formed.
” The advance in public opinion which has appeared both in New
Brunswick and Nova Scotia proves that an early accomplishment of the
subject is possible.
” This province has hitherto always taken the lead on the subject, and
the Governor General cannot help thinking that a bad moral effect will be
produced in New Brunswick if this session is allowed to pass without concluding
Canada’s portion of the scheme.
” The Governor General will not conceal from the Council that he also
entertains apprehensions of the effect on the public mind, both in Upper and
Lower Canada, of allowing the unfinished scheme to continue still a matter of
public discussion and criticism, after the adoption of the principle by Nova
Scotia and New Brunswick shall have rendered its final success so much
more nearly approaching to a matter of certainty than it has hitherto been.
” There are not wanting in the public press indications that this danger is
not imaginary.
” The Governor General also is strongly of opinion that advantage should
be taken of the probability of a very late session of the Imperial Parliament
this year to secure the passage of the Act of Union in England this year.
” Should the present session of the Canadian Parliament be allowed to
pass without dealing with the questions which still remain unsettled, this will
be impossible, even if there should be which seems far from improbable
an Autumn Session of the Imperial Parliament.
” The Governor General may add that it is within his own knowledge that
the Secretary of State expects that the work referred to shall be done in the
present session.
” These are some of the grounds connected with the fate of the measure
of Union upon which the Governor General has formed the opinion that this
session should not pass without witnessing the completion of the scheme.
” There were also circumstances connected with the formation of the
present Administration which make the Governor General feel himself
personally bound to press upon the Council his views on this point.
” The coalition of parties which was formed in 1864 was at least in some
measure brought about by the exercise on certain parties to that measure of
the personal influence of the Governor General. When that influence was
used the Governor General felt that he was in some measure overstepping the
strict line of his constitutional duties. He trusted, however, to the importance
of the object sought to be gained as a sufficient excuse for the steps which he
then took. The Administration which was then formed was constituted
avowedly for the purpose of passing, at the earliest possible moment, the
measure for the Union of the provinces.
” It was for this purpose alone that the Liberal section of the Cabinet
yielded to the Governor General’s persuasion to join the Administration, and
it is for this reason that the Governor General feels personally bound, not
only to that section of the Government, but to the people of the province, to
press for the speedy completion of the plan of Union.
” The Governor General, in addition, desires to remind the Council that the
session was postponed to this late period of the year avowedly in reference to
the course which it might be desirable to take on this question.

Ottawa, June 6, 1866.”
APPENDIX XIII. (See p. 305.)
” THE Committee have had before them a despatch, No. 39, dated 31st August,
1866, from the Right Honourable the Secretary of State for the Colonies,
stating that the Nova Scotia and New Brunswick delegates have been now
for some weeks in England with a view to the discussion of the various
questions relative to the Confederation of the B.N.A. provinces, and have
repeatedly inquired of him the period by which their Canadian colleagues
may be expected.
” That he shall be glad to be informed at the earliest possible date of the
course which it is proposed by them to adopt.
” His lordship states that any unnecessary delay in the settlement of this
question is very undesirable, and that also the prolonged detention of the
delegates now in England is attended with much inconvenience to them and
to the Governments of which they are members.
” That if any appearance of impending Fenian disturbance should render
it unfit for Your Excellency to quit your post, or if the same causes should
make the delegates feel that they cannot all of them leave the province, it
might deserve their consideration whether some of their number could repair
at once to England to enter into the proposed discussion.
“The Committee would respectfully state, for the information of Lord
Carnarvon, that the Canadian Parliament, at its first session in 1865, after the
meeting of the Quebec Conference, adopted resolutions approving the scheme
of Union proposed by that Conference, but that the Legislature of Nova
Scotia declined to approve of that scheme, or to adopt resolutions in favour
of a union of the provinces until the spring of the present year, and the
Legislature of New Brunswick did not adopt such resolutions until the latter
part of the month of July.
” That so soon as it appeared probable that Nova Scotia and New
Brunswick would assent to a scheme of Confederation, the Canadian Parliament
was summoned, and measures to provide for the local Governments
which, under the Quebec scheme, were required to be adopted by the existing
Legislatures of the respective provinces, were submitted for its consideration.
” That while the measures were before Parliament it was proposed by the
Governments of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick that delegates from the
three provinces should assemble in England about the first of August, with
the view of discussing and agreeing to a Bill for Confederation to be submitted
to the Imperial Parliament, which it was supposed would still be in
“That although the Canadian Government doubted that any measure
based on the resolutions of the Quebec Conference could be prepared and
carried through the Imperial Parliament at so late a period of the session,
they promised to advise Your Excellency to send a delegation of their number
to England by the steamer of the 21st July, if the progress of legislation and
the state of public business would permit.
“That before the date mentioned, and before the delegates for Nova
Scotia and New Brunswick had sailed for England, Your Excellency received
information which convinced Your Excellency that it would not be possible to
carry through Parliament at its then session any Bill for the Confederation of
the British North American provinces.
” That shortly afterwards, and before the delegates had left for England,
Your Excellency received notice of the resignation of Mr. Cardwell and his
colleagues, and the accession of a new Government.
” That in view of these circumstances, Your Excellency was advised to
inform the Governors of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and Your Excellency
did inform them, that, as it was evident that no measure for Confederation
could be prepared and carried through Parliament in the session then about
to close, the Canadian delegates would not leave Canada at the time
” That the prorogation of the Imperial Parliament on the twelfth of August
proved that the apprehensions of the Canadian Government were well founded.
If, therefore, the delegates from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick had postponed
their departure, as they were requested to do, they would not have
suffered the inconvenience to which Lord Carnarvon refers.
” The Committee respectfully submit that it would not be expedient for
any of the leading members of the Canadian Government to proceed to
England while the province is threatened with invasion by a formidable body
of Fenian marauders from the United States.
” The Committee believe that by the close of navigation this danger will
be passed, or, if not, that such preparations will have been made to meet it
that no apprehension need be felt for the result.
” The Committee are further of opinion that as the next session of the
Imperial Parliament will not probably be held before February, 1867, ample
time will be afforded for the discussion of any question that may arise between
the representatives of the provinces and the Imperial Government, if the
delegates assemble in England about the 20th of November.
“They would therefore respectfully recommend your Excellency to inform
Lord Carnarvon that the following gentlemen have been appointed by your
Excellency, viz. the Honourable John A. Macdonald, the Honourable Geo. E.
Cartier, the Honourable A. T. Gait, the Honourable Wm. McDougall, the
Honourable W. P. Howland, and Hon. H. L. Langevin, and such other
gentlemen as may be hereafter named, to be the delegation on behalf of
Canada, and that it is their intention to leave Canada for England on the
7th day of November next.

” WM. H. LEE, C.E.C.”
( 377 )
APPENDIX XIV. (Seep. 311.)
1. 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
2. In the Confederation of the British North American provinces, the
system of government best adapted under existing circumstances to protect
the diversified interests of the several provinces, and secure efficiency,
harmony, and permanency in the working of the Union, is a General Government
charged with matters of common interest to the whole country, and
Local Governments for each of the Canadas, and for the provinces of Nova
Scotia and New Brunswick, charged with the control of local matters hi their
respective sections, provision being made for the admission into the Confederation,
on equitable terms, of Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, the North
West Territory, and British Columbia.
3. In framing a Constitution for the general Government, the Conference,
with a view to the perpetuation of the connection with the mother country,
and the promotion of the best interests of the people of these provinces,
desire to follow the model of the British Constitution, so far as circumstances
will permit.
4. The executive authority or government shall be vested hi the Sovereign
of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and be administered
according to the well-understood principles of the British Constitution, by the
Sovereign personally, or by the representative of the Sovereign duly
5. The Sovereign shall be Commander-in-Chief of the land and naval
militia forces.
6. There shall be a General Legislature or Parliament for the Confederation,
composed of the Sovereign, a Legislative Council, and a House of
7. For the purpose of forming the Legislative Council, the Confederation
shall be considered as consisting of three divisions : (1) Upper Canada
(2) Lower Canada, and (3) Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Each division
with an equal representation in the Legislative Council.
8. Upper Canada shall be represented in the Legislative Council by
twenty-four members, Lower Canada by twenty-four members, and the
Maritime Provinces by twenty-four members, of which Nova Scotia shall
have twelve, and New Brunswick twelve members.
9. The Colony of Prince Edward Island, when admitted into the Confederation,
shall be entitled to a representation of four members in the
Legislative Council. But hi such case the members allotted to Nova Scotia
and New Brunswick shall be diminished to ten each, such diminution to take
place in each province as vacancies occur.
10. The Colony of Newfoundland, when admitted into the Confederation,
shall be entitled to a representation in the Legislative Council of four
11. The North-West Territory and British Columbia shall be admitted
into the Union on such terms and conditions as the Parliament of the
Confederation shall deem equitable, and as shall receive the assent of the
Sovereign, and in case of the province of British Columbia, as shall be agreed
to by the Legislature of such province.
12. The members of the Legislative Council shall be appointed by the
Crown under the Great Seal of the General Government from among residents
of the province for which they are severally appointed, and shall hold office
during life. If any Legislative Councillor shall for two consecutive sessions
of Parliament fail to give his attendance in the said Council, his seat shall
thereby become vacant
13. The members of the Legislative Council shall be British subjects by
birth or naturalization, of the full age of thirty years, shall each possess in
the province for which they are appointed a continuousjmLproperty qualification
of four thousand dollars over and above all incumbrances, andshall be
and continue worth that sum over and above their debts and liabilities, and
shall possess a continuous residence in the province for which they are
appointed, except in the case of persons holding official positions which
require their attendance at the seat of Government pending their tenure of
14. If any question shall arise as to the qualification of a Legislative
Councillor, the same shall be determined by the Legislative Council.
15. The members of the Legislative Council for the Confederation shall,
in the first instance, be appointed upon the nomination of the Executive
Governments of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick respectively, and
the number allotted to each province shall be nominated from the Legislative
Councils of the different provinces, due regard being had to the fair representation
of both political parties ; but in case any member of the Local
Council so nominated shall decline to accept, it shall be competent for the
Executive Government in any province to nominate in his place a person
who is not a member of the Local Council.
16. The Speaker of the Legislative Council (unless otherwise provided by
Parliament) shall be appointed by the Crown from among the members of the
Legislative Council, and shall hold office during pleasure, and shall only be
entitled to a casting vote on an equality of votes.
17. Each of the twenty-four Legislative Councillors representing Lower
Canada in the Legislative Council of the General Legislature, shall be
appointed to represent one of the twenty-four electoral divisions mentioned in
schedule A of chapter first of the Consolidated Statutes of Canada, and such
Councillor shall reside or possess his qualification in the division he isappointed
to represent.
18. The basis of representation in the House of Commons shall be
population, as determined by the official census every ten years, and the
number of members at first shall be one hundred and eighty-one, distributed
as follows: Upper Canada, eighty-two; Lower Canada, sixty-five ; Nova
Scotia, nineteen ; New Brunswick, fifteen.
19. Until the first general election after the official census of one
thousand eight hundred and seventy-one has been made up, there shall be no>
change in the number of representatives from the several sections.
20. Immediately after the completion of the census of one thousand eight
hundred and seventy-one, and immediately after every decennial census
thereafter, the representation from each province in the House of Commons
shall be readjusted on the basis of population, such readjustment to take
effect upon the termination of the then existing Parliament.
21. For the purpose of such readjustments, Lower Canada shall always be
assigned sixty-five members, and each of the other provinces shall, at each
readjustment, receive for the ten years then next succeeding, the number of
members to which it will be entitled on the same ratio of representation to
population as Lower Canada will enjoy, according to the census then last
taken by having sixty-five members.
22. No reduction shall be made in the number of members returned by
any province, unless its population shall have decreased relatively to the
population of the whole Union to the extent of five per centum.
23. In computing at each decennial period the number of members to
which each province is entitled, no fractional parts shall be considered, unless
when exceeding one-half the number entitling to a member, in which case a
member shall be given for each such fractional part.
24. The number of members may at any time be increased by the
General Parliament, regard being had to the proportionate rights then
25. Until provisions are made by the General Parliament, all the laws
which at the date of the proclamation constituting the Union are in force in
the provinces respectively relating to the qualification and disqualification of
any person to be elected, or to sit or vote as a member of the Assembly in the
said provinces respectively, and relating to the qualification or disqualification
of voters, and to the oaths to be taken by voters, and to returning officers,
and their powers and duties, and relating to the proceedings at elections, and
to the period during which such elections may be continued, and relating to380
the trial of controverted elections, and the proceedings incident thereto, and
relating to the vacating of seats of members, and to the issuing and execution
of new writs in case of any seat being vacated otherwise than by a dissolution,
shall respectively apply to elections of members to serve in the House of
Commons of places situate in those provinces respectively.
26. Every House of Commons shall continue for five years from the day
of the return of the writs choosing the same, and no longer ; subject, nevertheless,
to be sooner prorogued or dissolved by the Governor General.
27. There shall be a session of the General Parliament once at least in
every year, so that a period of twelve calendar months shall not intervene
between the last sitting of the General Parliament in one session and the first
sitting thereof in the next session.
28. The General Parliament shall have power to make laws for the peace,
welfare, and good government of the Confederation (saving the sovereignty
of England), and especially laws respecting the following subjects :
(1) The public debt and property.
(2) The regulation of trade and commerce.
(3) The raising of money by all or any mode or system of taxation.
(4) The borrowing of money on the public credit.
(5) Postal service.
(6) Lines of steam or other ships, railways, canals, and other works
connecting any two or more of the provinces together, or extending beyond
the limits of any province.
(7) Lines of steam ships between the confederated provinces and other
(8) Telegraphic communication and the incorporation of telegraph
(9) All such works as shall, although lying wholly within any province, be
specially declared by the Acts authorizing them to be for the general
(10) The census and statistics.
(11) Militia, military and naval service, and defence.
(12) Beacons, buoys, light-houses, and Sable Island.
(13) Navigation and shipping.
(14) Quarantine.
(15) Sea coast and inland fisheries.
(16) Ferries between any province and a foreign country, or between any
two provinces.
(17) Currency and coinage.
(18) Banking : incorporation of banks, and the issue of paper money.
(19) Savings banks.
(20) Weights and measures.
(21) Bills of exchange and promissory notes.
(22) Interest.
(23) Legal tender.
(24) Bankruptcy and insolvency.
(25) Patents of invention and discovery.
(26) Copyrights.
(27) Indians, and land reserved for the Indians.
(28) Naturalization and aliens.
(29) Marriage and divorce.
(30) The Criminal Law, except the constitution of Courts of Criminal
Jurisdiction, but including the procedure in criminal matters.
(31) The establishment, maintenance, and management of penitentiaries.
(32) Rendering uniform all or any of the laws relative to property and
civil rights in Upper Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, and rendering
uniform the procedure of all or any of the courts in these provinces ; but
any statute for this purpose shall have no force or authority in any province
until sanctioned by the Legislature thereof, and the power of repealing,
amending, or altering such laws, shall henceforward remain with the General
Parliament only.
(33) The establishment of a General Court of Appeal for the Confederation.
(34) Immigration.
(35) Agriculture.
(36) And generally respecting all matters of a general character, not
specially and exclusively reserved for the Local Legislatures.
29. The General Government and Parliament shall have all powers
necessary or proper for performing the obligations of the Confederation as
part of the British Empire to foreign countries, arising under treaties between
Great Britain and such countries.
30. The powers and privileges of the House of Commons of the United
Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland shall be held to appertain to the House
of Commons of the Confederation, and the powers and privileges appertaining
to the House of Lords hi its legislative capacity, shall be held to appertain to
the Legislative Council.
31. The General Parliament may from time to time establish additional
Courts, and the General Government may appoint judges and officers thereof,
when the same shall appear necessary, or for the public advantage, in order
to the due execution of the laws of such Parliament.
32. All Courts, judges, and officers of the several provinces shall aid,
assist, and obey the General Government in the exercise of its rights and
powers, and for such purposes shall be held to be Courts, judges, and officers
of the General Government.
33. The General Government shall appoint and pay the salaries of the
judges of the Superior and District and County Courts in each province,
and Parliament shall fix their salaries.
34. Until the consolidation of the laws of Upper Canada, Nova Scotia,
and New Brunswick, the judges of these provinces, appointed by the General
Government, shall be selected from their respective Bars.
35. The judges of the Courts of Lower Canada shall be selected from the
Bar of Lower Canada.
36. The judges of the Court of Admiralty shall be paid by the General
37. The judges of the Superior Courts shall hold their offices during
good behaviour, and shall be removable on the address of both Houses of
38. For each of the provinces there shall be an executive officer styled
the Governor, who shall be appointed by the Governor General in Council,
under the Great Seal of the Confederation during pleasure ; such pleasure
not to be exercised before the expiration of the first five years, except for
cause, such cause to be communicated in writing to the Governor immediately
after the exercise of the pleasure as aforesaid, and also by message
to both Houses of Parliament, within the first week of the first session afterwards
; but the appointment of the first Governors shall be provisional, and
they shall hold office strictly during pleasure.
39. The Governor of each province shall be paid by the General
40. The Local Government and Legislature of each province shall be
constructed in such manner as the Legislature of each such province shall
41. The Local Legislatures shall have power to make laws respecting the
following subjects :
(1) The altering or amending their Constitution from time to time.
(2) Direct taxation, and, in the case of New Brunswick, the right of
levying timber dues by the mode and to the extent now established by law,
provided such timber be not the produce of the other provinces.
(3) Borrowing money on the credit of the province.
(4) The establishment and tenure of local offices, and the appointment
and payment of local officers.
(5) Agriculture.
(6) Immigration.
(7) Education ; saving the rights and privileges which the Protestant or
Catholic minority in any province may have by law as to denominational
schools at the time when the Union goes into operation. And in any
province where a system of separate or dissentient schools by law obtains,
or where the Local Legislature may hereafter adopt a system of separate
or dissentient schools, an appeal shall lie to the Governor General in Council
of the General Government, from the acts and decisions of the local
authorities which may affect the rights or privileges of the Protestant or
Catholic minority in the matter of education ; and the General Parliament
shall have power in the last resort to legislate on the subject.
(8) The sale and management of public lands, excepting lands belonging
to the General Government.
(9) The establishment, maintenance, and management of public and
reformatory prisons.
(10) The establishment, maintenance, and management of hospitals,
asylums, charities, and eleemosynary institutions, except marine hospitals.
(11) Municipal institutions.
(12) Shop, saloon, tavern, auctioneer, and other licenses for local revenue.
(13) Local works.
(14) The incorporation of private or local companies, except such as
relate to matters assigned to the General Parliament.
(15) Property and civil rights (including the solemnization of marriage),
excepting portions thereof assigned to the General Parliament.
(16) Inflicting punishment by fine, penalties, imprisonment, or otherwise,
for the breach of laws passed in relation to any subject within their jurisdiction.
(17) The administration of justice, including the constitution, maintenance,
and organization of the Courts, both of civil and criminal jurisdiction,
including also the procedure in civil matters.
(18) And generally all matters of a private or local nature not assigned
to the General Parliament.
42. All the powers, privileges, and duties conferred and imposed upon /
Catholic separate schools and school trustees in Upper Canada, shall be j
extended to the Protestant and Catholic dissentient schools in Lower Canada.
43. The power of respiting, reprieving, and pardoning prisoners convicted
of crimes, and of commuting and remitting of sentences in whole or hi part,
which belongs of right to the Crown, shall, except in capital cases, be
administered by the Governor of each province in Council, subject to any
instructions he may from time to time receive from the General Government,
and subject to any provisions that may be made in this behalf by the General
44. In regard to all subjects over which jurisdiction belongs to both the
General and Local Legislatures, the laws of the General Parliament shall \f,
control and supersede those made by the Local Legislature, and the latter
shall be void so far as they are repugnant to, or inconsistent with, the i

45. Both the English and French languages may be employed in the
General Parliament, and in its proceedings, and in the Local Legislature of
Lower Canada, and also in the Federal Courts, and in the Courts of Lower
46. No lands or property belonging to the General or Local Governments
shall be liable to taxation.
47. All Bills for appropriating any part of the public revenue, or for
imposing any tax or impost, shall originate in the House of Commons, or
House of Assembly, as the case may be.
48. The House of Commons or House of Assembly shall not originate
or pass any vote, resolution, address, or Bill for the appropriation of any
part of the public revenue, or of any tax or impost to any purpose, not first
recommended by message of the Governor General, or the Governor as the
case may be, during the session in which such vote, resolution, address, or
Bill is passed.
49. Any Bill of the General Parliament may be reserved in the usual
manner for Her Majesty’s assent, and any Bill of the Local Legislatures may,
in like manner, be reserved for the consideration of the Governor General.
50. Any Bill passed by the General Parliament shall be subject to disallowance
by Her Majesty within two years, as in the case of Bills passed
by the Legislatures of the said provinces hitherto ; and in like manner any
Bill passed by a Local Legislature shall be subject to disallowance by the
Governor General within one year after the passing thereof.
51. The seat of Government of the Confederation shall be Ottawa, subject
to the Royal Prerogative.
52. Subject to any future action of the respective Local Governments, the
seat of the Local Governments in Upper Canada shall be Toronto ; of Lower
Canada, Quebec; and the seats of the Local Governments in the other
provinces shall be as at present.
53. All stocks, cash, bankers’ balances, and securities for money belonging
to each province at the time of the Union, except as hereinafter mentioned,
shall belong to the General Government.
54. The following public works and property of each province shall
belong to the General Government, to wit :
(1) Canals.
(2) Public harbours.
(3) Light-houses and piers, and Sable Island.
(4) Steamboats, dredges, and public vessels.
(5) Rivers and lake improvements.
(6) Railways and railway stocks, mortgages and other debts due by railway
(7) Military roads.
(8) Custom-houses, post-offices, and all other public buildings, except
such as may be set aside by the General Government for the use of the
Local Legislatures and Governments.
(9) Property transferred by the Imperial Government, and known as
Ordnance property.
(10) Armouries, drill sheds, military clothing, and munitions of war, and
lands set apart for general public purposes.
55. All lands, mines, minerals, and royalties vested in Her Majesty in the
provinces of Upper Canada, Lower Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick,
for the use of such provinces, shall belong to the Local Government of the
territory in which the same are so situate ; subject to any trusts that may
exist in respect to any of such lands or to any interest of other persons in
respect of the same.
56. All sums due from purchasers or lessees of such lands, mines, or
minerals at the time of the Union, shall also belong to the Local Government.
57. All assets connected with such portions of the public debt of any
province as are assumed by the Local Governments, shall also belong to those
Governments respectively.
58. The several provinces shall retain all other public property therein
subject to the right of the General Government to assume any lands or public
property required for fortifications or the defence of the country.
59. The General Government shall assume the debts, and liabilities of each
60. The debt of Canada not specially assumed by Upper and Lower
Canada respectively, shall not exceed at the time of the Union sixty-two
million five hundred thousand dollars; Nova Scotia shall enter the Union
with a debt not exceeding eight million dollars, and New Brunswick with a
debt not exceeding seven million dollars. But this stipulation is in no respect
intended to limit the powers given to the respective Governments of those
provinces by legislative authority, but only to determine the maximum
amount of charge to be assumed by the General Government.
61. In case Nova Scotia or New Brunswick should not have contracted
debts at the date of Union equal to the amount with which they are respectively
entitled to enter the Confederation, they shall receive by half-yearly
payments in advance from the General Government, the interest at five per
cent, on the difference between the actual amount of their respective debts
and such stipulated amounts.
62. In consideration of the transfer to the General Parliament of the
powers of taxation, the following sums shall be paid by the General Government
to each province for the support of their Local Governments and Legistures
Upper Canada, $80,000; Lower Canada, $70,000; Nova Scotia,
$60,000; New Brunswick, $50,000: total, $260,000, and an annual grant in
aid of each province shall be made, equal to eighty cents, per head of the
population, as established by the census of one thousand eight hundred and
sixty-one, and in the case of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, by each
subsequent decennial census until the population of each of those provinces
shall amount to four hundred thousand souls, at which rate it shall thereafter
remain. Such aid shall be in full settlement of all future demands upon the
General Government for local purposes, and shall be paid half-yearly in advance
to each province ; but the General Government shall deduct from such subsidy
all sums paid as interest on the public debt of any province in excess of the
amount provided under the sixtieth resolution.
63. The position of New Brunswick being such as to entail large immediate
charges upon her local revenues, it is agreed that for the period of ten years
from the time when the Union takes effect, an additional allowance of sixtythree
thousand dollars per annum shall be made to that province. But that
so long as the liability of that province remains under seven millions of dollars,
a deduction equal to the interest on such deficiency shall be made from the
sixty-three thousand dollars.
64. All engagements that may, before the Union, be entered into with the
Imperial Government for the defence of the country shall be assumed by the
General Government.
65. The construction of the Intercolonial Railway being essential to the
consolidation of the union of British North America, and to the assent of the
Maritime Provinces thereto, it is agreed that provision be made for its
VOL. I. 2 C
immediate construction by the General Government, and that the Imperial
guarantee for three millions of pounds sterling pledged for this work be
applied thereto, so soon as the necessary authority has been obtained from the
Imperial Parliament.
66. The communications with the North Western Territory, and the
improvements required for the development of the trade of the Great West
with the Sea-board, are regarded by this Conference as subjects of the highest
importance to the Confederation, and shall be prosecuted at the earliest
possible period that the state of the finances will permit.
67. The sanction of the Imperial Parliament shall be sought for the union
of the provinces on the principle adopted by this Conference.
68. That Her Majesty the Queen be solicited to determine the rank and
name of the Confederation.
69. That a copy of these resolutions, signed by the chairman and secretary
of the Conference, be transmitted to the Right Honourable the Secretary of
State for the Colonies.
387 )
APPENDIX XV. (See p. 311.)


Charleville, December 29, 1866.
” Thanks for your letter. I am glad to find that you have had no
difficulties with your colleagues.
” Lord C. has written to me to say that he purposes being in London
early next month, and will then enter upon the consideration of your proposals.
I shall be ready to come over whenever he calls for me, and I hope we may be
able to arrange everything in a satisfactory manner.
” I wrote all my individual opinions very fully to Lord C. so long ago as
the month of September last. I think you will agree with most of my views,
and the only reason I had for not communicating them to you was that
I thought you would be more free to act with your colleagues of the Lower
Provinces if you could say that you were not aware of my confidential communications
with Lord C.

Believe me to be, in haste,
” Yours most truly,
” The Hon. J. A. Macdonald.”

24, Hill Street, January 18, 1867.
” I had a long interview to-day with Lord Carnarvon. The draft bill
is prepared except the clauses respecting the constitution of the local Governments,
and in these and the financial arrangements they trust to you. Lord
C. proposes to send you a copy of the Bill as chairman of the delegates as
soon as it shall be printed, and I think he will propose next Wednesday for a
formal conference between you and your colleagues.

I tell you in order that you may sound the ‘ Assembly
‘ in time.
” If you could conveniently call on me to-morrow (Saturday) at about
11.30 I should like to have some conversation with you about the Hudson’s
Bay question. Gait seemed yesterday to think that something might now be
done about it.
” Believe me to be,
” Yours most truly,

66, Grosvenor Street, January 29, 1867.
” Can you let me have your mem. in writing of the schemes which you
proposed to-day with regard to the constitution of the ‘ Senate ‘ and the promulgation
of the lists? A mem., however brief, is all that I need, and it is
only, as lawyers say, ex dbundanti cautdd, that I may not fall into any mistake
in considering the proposals.
“Believe me,
” Yours very sincerely,
” The Hon. J. A. Macdonald.”
” “Westminster Palace Hotel, Victoria Street,

London, S.W., January 30, 1867.
” Our propositions were :
” 1. That the tenure of office for the Senate should be for life.
” 2. That to preserve sectional interests, each of the three sections should
v/ be equally represented.
” We left the case there, but Your Lordship called our attention to the
chance of a deadlock. To meet Your Lordship’s views, and, as we understand
it, the opinion of the Cabinet, we offered this suggestion, that whenever
a money Bill was rejected once, or whenever any other Bill passed by the
Commons was rejected by the Upper Chamber three times, it would be a
justification for the Governor, with the advice of his Council, to add to the
Upper House a sufficient number to carry the measure, provided that such
Bill was carried at its third reading n the Commons by a majority of two out
of the three sections of which the Confederation is composed. This majority is
to be an absolute majority, and not merely of those voting.
” In making the additions equality is to be preserved. As vacancies occur
they are not to be filled up until the normal number of twenty-four for each
section is reached. Of course provision must be made for the contingency
of another deadlock before we get down to our original numbers.
” With respect to the constitution of the Senate on its first formation, we
propose that the names shall be settled by the Governors of the respective
provinces with their Councils. Should any irreconcilable difference of opinion
arise which I cannot well anticipate the parties shall be appointed by the
Imperial Government on the Governors’ recommendation and on their personal
responsibility as Imperial officers.
” It is suggested that the names should be inserted in the proclamation
declaring the Union. I can say now to you, what I could not well say at the
meeting yesterday, that any immediate nomination would be prejudicial to
the existing Governments in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. The Legislatures
of both those provinces meet in March, and if the list were settled now.
every man in the Upper House of both those provinces who is omitted, rightly
or wrongly, would vote against the Government.
” Believe me to be, dear Lord Carnarvon,

Very sincerely yours,
” Colonial Office, February 21, 1867.
” I understand that the amendment which it is desired to introduce
in committee in the Bill with regard to the Protestant minority in Lower
Canada is a provision to the effect that such minority shall have the same
relative representation always secured to them in the federal and local Legislatures
as now. I conclude that this would be a grave infraction of the terms
agreed to and embodied in the Bill.
” Believe me,
” Yours very sincerely,


February 28, 1867.
” I should be veiy glad if you would bring before your colleagues
the strong opinion which I entertain on the subject of the unrestricted power
of borrowing money which is conferred on the local Governments by the
Union Bill as it stands at present. I don’t think this provision will have any
effect on the passage of the Union Bill.
“The injurious effect which I apprehend from it is with reference to the
Bill for guaranteeing the cost of the Intercolonial Railway.
” It is true that power is only given to each local Legislature to bind the
resources, by loan, of its own province ; but, as the only security for the debt
of the united province is the aggregate of the local resources, it is obvious
that anything which tends to diminish the solvency of the local Governments
will depreciate the value of the debentures of the General Government.

Everything which reduces the solvency of the principal debtor renders
it more likely that his guarantor may be called upon, and this is the point of
view in which the unlimited power of the local Governments to borrow will
probably be placed in the debate on the Guarantee Bill.
” I think, with the object of meeting this objection, some restriction ought
to be put on this power. One mode of doing it would be to compel the local
Governments to borrow through the Central Government. To this there are
obvious objections from the undue pressure which such a system would
enable members from particular provinces to bring upon the Central Executive.
” I think, however, the object might be attained by introducing a provision
analogous to that which I believe exists in the municipal law of Upper
Canada, and which compels the municipality when the loan exceeds a certain
amount, to appropriate specific taxes for the payment of the interest. I think
some provision of this kind might prevent the evil I have pointed out, and
I think it is of great importance that no argument from the circumstances of
the present case should if it can be avoided be allowed to strengthen the
abstract disinclination to guarantees which undoubtedly exists in the House of
” Believe me to be,
” Yours most truly,
” The Hon. J. A. Macdonald.”

London, April 5, 1867.
” As the Confederation Bill is now law, and must shortly be put in
force, I think it well to write you on some preliminary matters for your
” In the first place, I would suggest the expediency of the opinion of the
law officers of the Crown being obtained as to the necessity for a new
commission to your Lordship. By one of your present Commissions you are
Governor General of British North America, including Prince Edward
Island, and, by the other, Governor of the Province of Canada. Under the
Union Act you will be Governor General of the Dominion of Canada, not
including, however, Prince Edward Island. British North America is now
merely a geographical description, and, as such, includes not only the
provinces named, but all the British possessions to the Pacific. I believe
that since India has come under the direct government of the Queen, Her
Majesty’s representative there is styled Viceroy and Governor General, and
I am sure that it would be gratifying to the people of Canada if a similar
rank were accorded to the Governors of the Dominion.
” In a separate memorandum I propose to submit for consideration some
suggestions as to provincial ranks and precedencies.

2. This seems to be a proper period to revise the terms of the Commission
and the Royal instructions under them. These were framed at a
time when the provinces were more dependent upon a parent State and had
less liberty of action.

3. Her Majesty’s Proclamation of the Union should be issued with as
little delay as possible. As, however, the list of the first Senators must form
portion of the Proclamation, it would be well that the Governors of the three
provinces should be called upon by despatch from the Colonial Office for a
return of the recommendations. If no unnecessary delay takes place, the
Proclamation could be issued by the end of May. An earlier day could
scarcely be fixed, as by the 127th clause of the Act any of the existing
Legislative Councillors to whom seats in the Senate may be offered are allowed
thirty days for acceptance or rejection of the offer.
” 4. The day from which the union is to take effect must be inserted in
the Proclamation, and I would suggest Monday, the 15th of July, as a
convenient day for that purpose. I do not think the provinces can be united
sooner, as the preparations for consolidating and amalgamating the different
departments, administrative and legislative, must take a considerable time.
These must all be completed before the day of the union, so that the whole
machinery of Government may be set in motion without delay.

5. I understand from the delegates from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick
that they desire that their present Lieutenant Governors should be requested to

act as the first provincial Lieutenant Governors for the purpose of inaugurating
the new system. Should this suggestion be adopted by the Government of
Canada it may be necessary to obtain the consent of the Imperial authorities
to Sir F. Williams and General Doyle acting as such, as they would be no
longer officers directly appointed by the Crown.
” These are the only points that suggest themselves to me at present.
Should any others occur to me I shall communicate them to Your Lordship.
” Believe me, my dear Lord Monck,

Faithfully yours,
” Memorandum.

It is submitted

1. That the title of ‘His Excellency’ should be formally conferred on
the Governor General by Her Majesty, for the following reasons :

(1) The title has always been used in all addresses from the Legislatures
and all memorials and petitions from the people of the British North
American provinces presented to the local Governments, and

(2) Because the title is not only always addressed to the President of the
United States, but to the governor of each State in the American Union, and
the Governor General of Canada should certainly at least possess the same
rank and dignity.
“2. That the Lieutenant Governor of each province should be addressed
as ‘ His Honour the Lieutenant Governor,
etc. This title, like all others,
must of course be conferred by Her Majesty’s authority.
” 3. That the members of the Privy Council should be styled
” The Right
Honourable.’ Canada will soon have as large a population as Ireland, and the
duties and responsibilities of Privy Councillors in Canada are much greater
than those attaching to similar offices in Ireland.

4. That the Executive Councillors of the provincial Governments
should be addressed as ‘ The Honourable Mr.’

5. That the Senators should have a similar designation, but only so long
as they retain the office.

It has been suggested by several persons, and especially by Mr. Gordon,
late Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick, that the Senators should hold
the rank and title of Knight Bachelor. This seems objectionable, as the office
may be forfeited from any of the disqualifications mentioned in the Act, and
it would look like a degradation to deprive a person who may have enjoyed
the position for years of his accustomed rank and title. Besides, it must be
remembered that the conferring of knighthood on a Senator would entail a
title on his wife, which might not in all cases be considered desirable.

6. That it would be a gratifying compliment to all the Legislative
Councillors in the several provinces at the time of the Union if their present
designation of Honourable were formally conferred upon them for life.
” 7. That the Legislative Councillors appointed after the Union shall have
the rank and designation of ‘
Esquire.’ If the title of ‘ Honourable ‘ were
given to them, it would soon become so common as to lose all value.
“8. An irregular and unauthorized practice has obtained in the provinces
of styling the Speaker of the popular chamber as ‘ Honourable ‘ virtute officii.
This has probably arisen from the fact of the Speaker of the House of
Commons of England being addressed as ‘ The Right Honourable,’ and its
not being known that the Speaker does not possess such a rank or title as
such, but derives the same from his position as a Privy Councillor, to which
office, of late years, he is, as a matter of usage, appointed. As the principle
should be distinctly laid down that all titles should emanate from the Crown,
fans honoris, their improper assumption should be discountenanced.
” 9. That some general rules or table of precedence should be prescribed.”

F Pope, (Sir) Joseph
5081 Memoirs of the Right Honou-
M126P62 rable Sir John Alexander
v.l Macdonald
cop. 8

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  1. I have both volume of sir John a macdonald by Joseph pope and published by J Durie @sons are the of any historic value

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