Sir Joseph Pope (ed), Correspondence of Sir John Macdonald (1921)

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Date: 1921-08
By: John A. Macdonald, Joseph Pope
Citation: Sir Joseph Pope, Correspondence of Sir John Macdonald (Toronto: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1921).
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Selections from the (Correspondence of the
Right Honourable Sir John Alex-
ander <3ttacdonald, g. Q. 2. First Prime tJxCinister of the Dominion of (Canada MADE BY HIS LITERARY EXECUTOR SIR JOSEPH POPE GARDEN CITY, N. Y., AND TORONTO DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY 1921 F 5081 lot COPYRIGHT, 1921, BY DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, INCLUDING THAT OF TRANSLATION INTO FOREIGN LANGUAGES, INCLUDING THE SCANDINAVIAN PRINTED AT GARDEN CITY, N. Y., U. S. A. CONTENTS PART I 1840-1867 FROM TO DATE PAGE John A. Macdonald S. B. Harrison 28 Nov. 1840. . I do. A Committee of his con- stituents 10 Dec. 1847.. . . 2-4 do. W. H. Draper 23 Jan. 1856.. 5 do. J. H. Hagarty 28 Feb. 1856.. ,. 5-6 A. T. Gait John A. Macdonald 14 Dec. 1859... .. 7-8 G. E. Carder do. ii Sept. 1860... . 8-9 A. T. Gait do. 3 Oct. 1862.., . 9-10 D. L. Macpherson do. 23 June, 1864... 12 do do. 4 July, 1864... .12-13 John A. Macdonald Charles Tupper i 4 Nov, 1864,.. .13-15 do. George Jackson 3oNqv..i864... .IC-I6 George Brown John A. Macdonald undated 16 Charles Tupper do. 13 Decj^j&fo. , . . 17-8 John A. Macdonald Thomas Swinyard i9De"c. 1864... .18-20 do. Edward Blake 23 Dec. 1864... 20 Edward Blake John A. Macdonald 28 Dec. 1864... 20 John A. Macdonald John Beattie 3 Feb. 1865... 21 E. W. Watkin John A. Macdonald iSFeb. 1865... . 22-3 John A. Macdonald J. H. Gray 24 Mar. 1865... Charles Tupper John A. Macdonald 9 Apr. 1865... .' 24-6 A. Campbell do. iSMay. 1865... . 26-7 J. P. Lightfoot, D.D. do. 9 June, 1865. . . . 27 A. T. Gait do. 17 June, 1865. . . . 28 Lt. Gov. R. G. Mac- Donnell do. 20 Sept. 1865... 28 The Viscount Monck do. 26 Oct. 1865... .29-30 do. do. 20 Dec. 1865... 30-1 John A. Macdonald S. I. Lynn 10 Apr. 1866... do. Peter Mitchell 10 Apr. 1866... 3 2 ~3 do. Adam Crooks 14 July, 1866... 33 do. Lt. General Sir John Michel 28 Aug. 1866... 34-5 y V VI CONTENTS FROM John A. Macdonald TO R. J. Cartwright DATE 1 7 Sept. 1866., PAGE ... 35-6 do. Colonel Macdougall 1 7 Sept. 1866. .-.. 36 do. E. McCollum 6 Oct. 1866.. , . . 37-8 do. George Stevensdn ii Oct. 1866. ... 38 do. The Viscount Monck 13 Oct. 1866. ... 38-9 do. M. Le Comte de la Fouchere 27 Oct. 1866. . .. 40 Sir Charles Adderley John A. Macdonald i8jan. 1867. 41 Sir Frederic Rogers do. 6 Feb. 1867. ... 41-2 Professor Thorold Rogers do. 7 Mar. 1867. 42 T. D'Arcy McGee do. 9 Apr. 1867., 42-3 Judge Gowan do. ii May, 1867. . 43-4 A. Shea do. 14 May, 1867.. 44-5 The Viscount Monck do. 24 May, 1867. . . . 45-6 John A. Macdonald Alex Morris i July, 1867.. ". 46-7 The Viscount Monck Sir John Macdonald 6 July, 1867.. 47 A. Campbell do. 10 July, 1867. . .. 48 The Viscount Monck do. 13 July, 1867.. ... 48 Narcisse Belleau do. 24 Sept. 1867.. 49 \ Sir John Macdonald A. Shea 7 Oct. 1867.. 50 do. John Rose 8 Oct. 1867.. .. 50-2 do. A. G. Archibald 14 Oct. 1867.. 5 2 ~5 L. H. Holton Sir John Macdonald 15 Oct. 1867.. 55 Sir John Macdonald P. J. O. Chauveau 22 Oct. 1867.. .. 56-7 R. J. Cartwright Sir John Macdonald 25 Oct. 1867.. .. 55-6 The Archbishop of Hal- ifax do. 26 Oct. 1867.. 57-9 E. H. King do. 6 Nov. 1867.. 59 Sir John Macdonald P. Carteret Hill ii Nov. 1867. . .. 60 do. The Governor of New- foundland 27 Dec. 1867. . .. 61-3 Rev. Professor Wil- liamson Sir John Macdonald 31 Dec. 1867.. 63-4 PART II 1868-1873 FROM TO DATE PAGE Sir John Macdonald The Archbishop of Hal- ifax i June, 1868.. .. 67-8 do. John Rose 3 June, 1868.. .. 69 The Viscount Monck Sir John Macdonald 29 July, 1868.. ..69-70 do. do. 20 Aug. 1868.. .. 71 do. do. i Sept. 1868.. .. 72 do. do. 2 Sept. 1868.. 72-3 do. do. 1 8 Sept. 1868.. 73-4 CONTENTS vn FROM TO DATE PACE R. J. Cartwright Sir John Macdonald 24 Sept. 1868. ... 74 Sir John Macdonald Brown Chamberlin, M.P. 26 Oct. 1868. ... 74-5 The Viscount Monck Sir John Macdonald 29 Oct. 1868. ... 76 Edward Blake do. 30 Nov. 1868. ... 77 Sir John Macdonald Edward Blake ii Dec. 1868. ... 78-9 do. Major General Sir Hast- ings Doyle 28 Dec. 1868. ...79-80 do. D. Morrison 30 Dec. 1868. ... 81 S. H. Strong Sir John Macdonald 30 Dec. 1868. ... 81-2 Sir John Macdonald E. A. Meredith 31 Dec. 1868. ... 82-3 do. Joseph Howe 12 Jan. 1869. ... 83-5 L. S. Huntington Sir John Macdonald 26 Jan. 1869. ... 85-6 Charles Tupper do. I Feb. 1869. ... 86 Sir John Macdonald The Lieutenant Gover- nor of Nova Scotia i Feb. 1869. ... 87-8 do. James O'Reilly i 2 Feb. 1869. ... 88-9 do. D. L. Macpherson i 6 Feb. 1869. ...89-90 Sir George Cartier Sir John Macdonald Feb. 1869. ...90-1 do. do. 6 Mar. 1869. . . . 91-2 Edward Blake do. 7 June, 1869. ... 92 John Rose do. 8 June, 1869. ... 93-4 A. T. Gait do. 24 June, 1869. ... 94 Sir John Macdonald W. H. Needham 9 July, 1869. ... 95-6 do. D. Morrison 14 Aug. 1869. ... 97 Sir George Cartier Sir John Macdonald 23 Aug. 1869. ... 98 John Lowe do. 1 6 Sept. 1869. ... 99 R. J. Cartwright do. 23 Sept. 1869. ... 99 John Rose do. 27 Sept. 1869. . 99-100 R. J. Cartwright do. 1 2 Oct. 1869. . . . IOO William McDougall. do. 31 Oct. 1869. . . .101-2 Sir John Macdonald John Rose 1 6 Nov. 1869. . . . 102-5 C. J. Brydges Sir John Macdonald 19 Nov. 1869. . . . 105 Sir John Macdonald John Rose 23 Nov. 1869. . . . 106-7 R. J. Cartwright Sir John Macdonald 23 Nov. 1869. . . . 107-8 Hugh Allan do. 23 Nov. 1869. . . . 108 Sir John Macdonald Sir George Cartier 24 Nov. 1869. . . . 108-9 George Stephen Sir John Macdonald 27 Nov. 1869. ... i 10 Sir John Macdonald Donald A. Smith George Stephen Sir John Macdonald i Dec. 69. 6 Dec. 1869. . . .110-1 .. .111-2 George Stephen do. 10 Dec. 1869. 112 Sir John Macdonald George Stephen 13 Dec. 1869. ...112-3 D. A. Smith Sir John Macdonald 19 Dec. 1869. ... 113 do. do. 28 Dec. 1869. ..."4-5 Charles Tupper do. 30 Dec. 1869. ...II5-6 Sir John Macdonald D. A. Smith 2 Jan. 1870. . . .116-9 do. John Rose 3 Jan. 1870. ... 119 D. A. Smith Sir John Macdonald 1 8 Jan. 1870. . . . I2O Vlll CONTENTS Sir John Macdonald do. C. J. Brydges Sir John Macdonald The Earl of Carnarvon Sir John Macdonald do. D. A. Smith Lady Rose D. A. Smith The Earl Granville Sir John Macdonald do. Sir Stafford Northcote Martin I. Wilkins L. H. Holton Edward Blake Lady Lisgar George Stephen Sir John Macdonald Colonel C. S. Gzowski Sir John Macdonald do. do. do. Sir Stafford Northcote Dugald Mactavish Sir John Macdonald do. do. The Lord Lisgar R. W. Scott Sir John Macdonald John Carling Sir John Macdonald do. do. do. Sir Francis Hincks Sir John Macdonald do. Sir Francis Hincks Sir John Macdonald John Rose D. A. Smith Sir John Macdonald C. J. Brydges Sir John Macdonald The Lieutenant Gover- nor of Nova Scotia Sir John Rose Sir John Macdonald do. do. do. Sir John Rose The Earl of Carnarvon Sir John Macdonald do. Hewitt Bernard do. Sir John Macdonald do. Rt. Reverend Ashton Oxenden, D.D., Lord Bishop of Montreal Sir John Macdonald The Lt. Gov. of Mani- toba Hugh Allan The Lord Lisgar Alex. Morris Sir John Macdonald Sir Stafford Northcote J. S. Macdonald Sir John Rose John Carling Sir John Macdonald do. R. W. Scott Sir John Macdonald The Lord Lisgar M. C. Cameron The Consul General of Spain at Quebec. The Lord Lisgar Sir John Macdonald Sir John Rose The Lord Lisgar Sir John Macdonald The Lord Lisgar DATE PAGE 21 Jan. 1870. . . .I2O-2 21 Jan. 1870. ...122-3 25 Jan. 1870. ...113-4 28 Jan. 1870. ...124-5 10 Feb. 1870. ...125-6 1 5 Feb. 1870. . . .126-7 23 Feb. 1870. ...127-9 26 Feb. 1870. . 120-30 1 2 Mar. 1870. ...I30-I 15 Mar. 1870. ... 131 23 Mar. 1870. ... 131 25 Mar. 1870. ... 13* 14 Apr. 1870. . I3 2 -4 1 8 Apr. 1870. 134-5 1 8 Apr. 1870. .-. 135 15 May, 1870. ... 136 2 June, 1870. ... 136 Sept. 1870. ...136-7 23 Sept. 1870. 137 10 Oct. 1870. ...138-9 6 Nov. 1870. . 139-40 1 8 Nov. 1870. . . . I40-I 3 Feb. 1871. ... 142 7 Apr. 1871. . 143-4 21 Apr. 1871. 6 May, 1871. I45- 6 . . . 146-7 2 May, 1871. ... 147 22 June, 1871. ...147-8 30 Nov. 1871. . 148-50 2 Dec. 1871. . . .151-2 13 Dec. 1871. ...152-3 20 Dec. 1871. 1 53-4 21 Dec. 1871. ... 154 21 Dec. 1871. ...154-5 28 Dec. 1871. ...155-6 3 Jan. 1872. . 156-61 13 Jan. 1872. ...161-2 27 Feb. 1872. ... 162 i Mar. 1872. ...162-3 5 Mar. 1872. ...164-6 14 Mar. 1872. ...166-7 ii Apr. 1872. ... 168 20 Apr. 1872. ...168-9 v^v^rN i JLIX i o IX FROM TO DATE PAGE S. L. Tilley Sir John Macdonald 25 May.. 1872, .... l6 9 Sir John Macdonald W. H. Pope 17 June, 1872 170 Sir Stafford Northcote Sir John Macdonald 19 June, 1872, I70-I The Lord Lisgar do. 1 6 July, 1872, I7I-2 The Earl of DufFerin do. 24 July, 1872, 172-4 Sir John Macdonald The Lord Lisgar 2 Sept. 1872, ...174-8 do. Sir George Carrier 3 Sept. 1872. ...178-9 do. Sir John Rose 5 Sept. 1872, . 179-80 do. The Earl of Dufferin 1 9 Sept. 1872. 180-1 Sir Francis Hincks Sir John Macdonald 23 Sept. 1872. ..181-2 The Earl of Carvarvon do. 29 Sept. 1872 182-3 J. W. Trutch do. 14 Oct. 1872. ...183-5 Sir John Macdonald Oliver Mowat 25 Oct. 1872. ...186-7 Oliver Mowat Sir John Macdonald 29 Oct. 1872. ... 187 The Earl of Dufferin do. i Nov. 1872. ... 188 do. do. 5 Nov. 1872. ... 188 Sir John Rose do 1 6 Nov. 1872. ...188-9 The Earl of Dufferin do. 20 Nov. 1872. ... 189 Sir John Macdonald Alexander Morris 29 Nov. 1872. . 189-90 Joseph Howe Sir John Macdonald 6 Dec. 1872. ... 190 The Earl of Dufferin Sir John Macdonald Dec. 1872. ...190-2 Joseph W. Trutch do. ii Dec. 1872. ...192-3 Sir John Macdonald Oliver Mowat 23 Dec. 1872. ..-193-4 S. L. Tilley Sir John Macdonald 24 Dec. 1872. ... 195 The Earl of Dufferin do. 1 5 Jan. 1873. ...195-6 Sir John Macdonald Sir Edward Thornton 1 8 Jan. 1873. ...196-7 do. Sir George Carrier 22 Jan. 1873. ...197-9 Sir George Carrier Sir John Macdonald 23 Jan. 1873. .199-200 Sir John Macdonald The Earl of Dufferin 27 Jan 1873. . . . 200-1 Sir Francis Hincks Sir John Macdonald 10 Feb. 1873. . . . 2OI The Earl of Dufferin do. ii Feb. 1873. ...202-4 Sir John Macdonald Sir John Rose 13 Feb. 1873. ...204-5 Sir George Carrier Sir John Macdonald i 5 Feb. 1873. ...205-6 Sir John Macdonald The Earl of Dufferin i 7 Feb. 1873. . . . 206-7 do. Joseph Howe 17 Feb. 1873. ... 207 do. The Earl of Dufferin 21 Feb. 1873. ... 208 Mr. Justice J. T. Tas- chereau Sir John Macdonald 22 Feb. 1873. ... 208 Sir John Macdonald Mr. Justice J. T. Tas- chereau 27 Feb. 1873. ... 209 do. The Earl of Dufferin 1 9 Mar. 1873. . 2O9-IO do. do. 4 Apr. 1873. . . . 210 Sir George Carrier The Earl of Dufferin Sir John Macdonald do. 5 Apr. 1873. 21 May, 1873. ... 211 . .. 212 Joseph Howe Sir John Macdonald do. Rev. James Quin 23 May. 1873. 29 May, 1873. . . .212-3 ...H3-4 do. The Earl of Dufferin 2 June, 1873. ...214-5 CONTENTS FROM Sir John Macdonald TO The Earl of Dufferin DATE 3 July, 1873. PAGE ...216-8 do. do. 3 July, 1873. ... 2I 9 do. do. 4 July, 1873. . 219-22 The Earl of Dufferin Sir John Macdonald 21 July, 1873. . . . 222-4 Sir A. Campbell do. 27 July, 1873. ...224-5 Sir John Macdonald W. P. Rowland 28 Aug. 1873. . . . 225 Francis Lawley Sir John Macdonald 1 7 Sept. 1873. ... 226 The Earl of Dufferin do. 20 Sept. 1 873 . . . . 226 Sir John Macdonald The Earl of Dufferin 29 Sept. 1873. ...226-7 The Earl of Dufferin Sir John Macdonald 30 Sept. 1873. ... 228 do. do. 1 9 Oct. 1873. . . . 228-9 do. do. 23 Oct. 1873. ... 230 do. do. 4 Nov. 1873. ... 230 The Countess of Duff- erin Lady Macdonald 4 Nov. 1873. ...230-1 Colonel H. C. Fletcher Sir John Macdonald 5 Nov. 1873. ... 231 PART III 1874-1885 FROM TO DATE PAGE T. C. Patteson Sir John Macdonald I 7 Feb. 1874. ...235-6 Hewitt Bernard The Earl of Dufferin 22 Dec. 1874. ...236-9 Sir John Macdonald Sir Stafford Northcote i May, 1878. . 23 9 -42 Sir Stafford Northcote Sir John Macdonald 25 May, 1878. ...242-3 Prof. Goldwin Smith do. 12 Sept. 1878. ... 2 44 Sir John Macdonald Prof. Goldwin Smith I Oct. 1878. ...244-5 Prof. Goldwin Smith Sir John Macdonald 4 Oct. 1878. ...246-7 The Rev. Gavin Lang do. 1 5 Oct. 1878. ...247-8 The Earl of Dufferin do. 1 8 Oct. 1878. ... 2 4 8 Sir John Macdonald Sir Edward Thornton 22 Oct. 1878. ...248-9 J. A. Chapleau Sir John Macdonald 2 Dec. 1878. . . .251-2 Sir John Macdonald Major de Winton 7 Jan. 1879. ...252-3 Mr. Chief Justice Ritchie Sir John Macdonald 1 1 Jan. 1879. ...253-4 Sir John Macdonald The Marquess of Lome 10 Feb. 1879. ...254-5 do. do. 6 Mar. 1879. ...255-8 Sir Edward Thornton Sir John Macdonald 14 Mar. 1879. ... 25 9 The Marquess of Lome do. 4 Apr. 1879. ... 2 59 do. do. 8 Apr. 1879. ... 260 J. J. C. Abbott do. 24 Apr. 1879. . . . 260-1 Sir John Rose do. 1 6 May, 1879. . . .26l-2 Prof. Goldwin Smith do. 7 June, 1879. ...262-3 do. do. 5 July, 1879. ... 263 J. J. C. Abbott Sir John Macdonald 22 July, 1879. . . . 263-4 Sir John Macdonald J. J. C. Abbott 23 July, 1879. . . . 264-6 Sir John Rose Sir John Macdonald 7 Aug. 1879. ...266-7 CONTENTS xi FROM TO DATE PAGE Sir Michael Hicks Beach Sir John Macdonald Undated ... 267 do. do. qAue. 1870. ... 268 Sir John Macdonald Sir Michael Hicks Beach 2< Aoff . 1870 . . . . 268 Sir Michael Hicks Beach Sir John Macdonald 31 Aug. 1879, ... 269 Prof. Goldwin Smith do. 3 Oct. 1879. . 269-70 do. do. 2 Nov. 1879. . . . 270 Sir John Macdonald John M. Robinson 5 Nov. 1879. 27 394

W. H. Smith


26 Feb.



Sir John Macdonald

The Marquess of Lans-


15 Mar.



The Marquess of


Sir John Macdonald

i Apr.


… 396



2 Apr.


. . . 396

Sir John Macdonald

Sir Hector Langevin

3 Apr-



J. S. D. Thompson

Sir John Macdonald

4 Apr.


… 398

Honore Mercier


4 Apr.



Sir John Macdonald

Honore Mercier

6 Apr.



Honore Mercier

Sir John Macdonald

14 Apr.


. .. 400

Sir John Macdonald

Honore Mercier

28 Apr.


, . . 401

George E. Foster

Sir John Macdonald

14 June,


, . .401-2

Sir John Macdonald

George E. Foster

14 June,


. . . 402


Sir John Rose

25 June,


. . .403-4

Sir Charles Tupper

Sir John Macdonald

15 Sept.


… 406

Sir John Macdonald

Sir Charles Tupper

7 Dec.



Sir David Macpherson

Sir John Macdonald

14 Dec.


. . 407

Sir John Macdonald

Sir Charles Tupper

3i Jan.


… 408



6 Feb.



The Auditor General

Sir John Macdonald

7 May,


.. 410

President Daniel Wil-



2 June,



J. A. Chapleau


4 June,



Sir John Macdonald

J. A. Chapleau

6 June,




C. N. Skinner

13 J ulv >




The Lord Stanley of


I? J ul 7>


.. 416


Sir Charles Tupper

20 July,




Sir George Stephen, Bart. 4 Aug



J. H. Pope

Sir John Macdonald

6 Aug.


.. 419

J. S. D. Thompson


7 Aug.


.. 420

Lt. Governor Angers


13 Sept.


. .420-1

Sir Charles Tupper


1 8 Sept.


.. 422

Sir John Macdonald

The Editor of the United

Service Gazette

1 8 Sept.




Lt. Governor Angers

1 8 Sept.


.. 423

Lt. Governor Angers

Sir John Macdonald

19 Sept.



Sir John Macdonald

Lt. Governor Angers

22 Sept.




Sir Charles Tupper

2 Oct.


.. 426

Lt. Governor Angers

Sir John Macdonald

2 Oct.


.. 427

Sir George Stephen,



7 Oct.


. .427-8

Sir John Macdonald

Lt. Governor Schultz

8 Oct.









Sir Alexander Gait

Sir John Macdonald

12 Oct. 1888


Sir John Macdonald

Sir George Stephen,


22 Oct. 1888.


Oliver Mowat

Sir John Macdonald

1 7 Nov. 1888.

… 431

Sir Charles Tupper, Bart


i Dec. 1888.


Sir John Macdonald

Oliver Mowat

3 Dec. 1888.



The Lord Stanley of


6 Dec. 1888.

. . .433-4



24 Dec. 1888.


Sir Alexander Gait

Sir John Macdonald

ii Jan. 1889.


Sir John Macdonald

Sir George Stephen,


12 Jan. 1889.

… 436


John F. Stairs

21 Jan. 1889.


Oliver Mowat

Sir John Macdonald

6 Mar. 1889.


Sir John Macdonald

Oliver Mowat

6 Mar. 1889.

… 438

The Marquess of Lans-


Sir John Macdonald

9 Mar. 1889.


Sir John Macdonald

Lt. Governor Angers

19 Mar. 1889.


D’Alton McCarthy

Sir John Macdonald

17 April 1889.


Sir John Macdonald

The Lord Stanley of


14 May, 1889.



Sir Charles Tupper, Bart.

31 May, 1889.


The Marquess of Lans-


Sir John Macdonald

23 June, 1889.


Sir John Macdonald

James Edgecome

4 July, 1889.



The Lord Knutsford

1 8 July, 1889.

449-5 J


Sir John Thompson

24 July, 1889.


Sir Charles Tupper, Bart.

14 Aug. 1889.


Sir George Stephen,


Sir John Macdonald

ii Sept. 1889.


Sir John Macdonald

Sir George Stephen,


13 Sept. 1889.


Sir George Stephen,


Sir John Macdonald

14 Sept. 1889.


J. A. Chapleau


1 8 Sept. 1889.

… 458

Sir John Macdonald

Sir Charles Tupper, Bart. 28 Sept. 1889.
John Macdonald 16 Nov. 1889.

. 459-60


Sir Charles Tupper, Bart.

7 Dec. 1889.

. . .460-1


Mr. Justice Johnson

10 Dec. 1889.

. . .461-2


Mr. Justice Casault

10 Dec. 1889.



The Lord Stanley of


14 Dec. 1889.

… 463

The Lord Stanley of


Sir John Macdonald

23 Dec. 1889.

… 464

Sir John Macdonald

Lt. Governor Schultz

8 Jan. 1890.



N. Chevrier

25 Mar. 1890.

… 466


The Rev. C. H. Machin

4 Apr. 1890.


do. Lt. Governor Schultz

7 May, 1890.








Sir John Macdonald

Alfred H. Seymour

13 June,


. 469-70


Sir Henry Parkes

3 July,


… 470


The Lord Stanley of


7 J^y,


… 4 7I



15 Aug.




The Marquess of Lome

1 8 Aug.




The Lord Knutsford

1 8 Aug.




H. R. H. The Duke of


20 Aug.


-475~ 6

W. C. Van Home

Sir John Macdonald

3 Oct.



Sir John Macdonald

Sir George Stephen,


10 Nov.



The Marquess of


Sir John Macdonald

12 Nov.



Sir John Macdonald
W. C. Van Home

Sir Charles Tupper, Bart.
Sir John Macdonald

22 NOV.

1 1 Dec.


… 481

Sir John Macdonald

Lt. Governor Angers

26 Dec.


… 482

The Lord and Lady

Stanley of Preston

Sir John Macdonald

ii Jan.


… 482

Sir Charles Tupper


12 Jan.


… 483

Sir John Macdonald

John Boyd

16 Jan.


… 483

The Lord Stanley of


Sir John Macdonald

7 Mar.


… 484

The Marquess and H.

R. H. the March-

ioness of Lome


9 Mar.


… 484

The Rev. Gavin Lang


17 Mar.



Sir John Macdonald

Sir George Stephen,


31 Mar.




John A. Macdonald, age 27. 1842 Frontispiece


The Hon. John A. Macdonald, age 47. 1862 …. 13
The Rt. Hon. Sir John Macdonald, K.C.B., age 57. 1872 162
The Rt. Hon. Sir John Macdonald, K.C.B., age 68. 1883 297


SO MANY accounts of Sir John Macdonald have ap-
peared during the past twenty-five years that it
seems almost a work of supererogation to recite once
again, even in the most general way, the familiar story of his
life. Yet it may perhaps be convenient to the readers of these
pages that they should have under their hand, for purposes
of ready reference, a brief summary, in chronological form,
showing the salient features of his public career.

John Alexander Macdonald, second son of Hugh Mac-
donald and Helen Shaw, was born in Glasgow on the nth
January, 1815. In 1820 his parents emigrated to Canada
and settled at Kingston, where he studied law, being ad-
mitted to the bar of Upper Canada in February, 1836. In
March, 1843, ne was elected to the Kingston town council,
and in October, 1 844, to Parliament where, save for the period
between 1878 and 1887, he continued to represent Kingston
until his death, forty-seven years later.

On the 1 1 th May, 1 847, Mr. Macdonald entered the cabinet
of Mr. W. H. Draper as Receiver General, becoming Com-
missioner of Crown Lands later in the same year. Early
in 1 848 the ministry of which he was a member, having been
defeated at the polls, resigned office. Mr. Macdonald re-
mained in opposition until 1854 when, on accession to power
of the coalition government formed by a junction of the
followers of Robert Baldwin with the Conservative party in
Upper Canada and the moderate section of the French
Canadians, he became Attorney General for Upper Canada,
which position, with the exception of eight days in August,
1858, and twenty-two months in 1862-1864, he continued
to hold until Confederation in 1867, and thereafter, under
the title of Minister of Justice, until November, 1873.

In 1855 a reconstruction of the cabinet brought in Mr.
(afterwards Sir George) Cartier, who speedily became, in



effect, the leader of the French Canadian ministerialists.
Between Macdonald and Cartier there grew up a political
and personal friendship which endured until the latter’s
death, in 1873.

On the retirement of Sir Etienne Tache from office in
November, 1857, Mr. Macdonald succeeded to the premier-
ship, which he resigned on the occasion of the 4 ‘Double Shuffle”
in August, 1858, to resume office a few days later as Attorney
General for Upper Canada in the cabinet of Mr. Cartier, which
he held until May, 1862, when the Cartier-Macdonald Gov-
ernment went out of power on their militia policy. Their
successors’ tenure of office under John Sandfield Macdonald
was brief. In less than two years, the Liberal-Conservative
party was again in the saddle, under the premiership of Sir
Etienne Tache, Mr. John A. Macdonald being the Upper
Canadian leader, with Mr. Cartier occupying a similar posi-
tion as regards the French section of the Province. Within
three months of its formation, this administration in turn
suffered defeat in Parliament.

Thus, within three years, three ministries had been de-
feated and two general elections had failed to give either
side a governing majority. From this impasse resulted
Confederation. By agreeing to sink all personal and political
differences for their country’s good, John A. Macdonald and
George Brown formed a coalition government under the
nominal leadership (i) of Sir Etienne Tache and (2) of Sir
Narcisse Belleau, which effected the union of the Provinces
of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick under the name
of the Dominion of Canada.

On the ist of July, 1867, Mr. Macdonald, who had been
entrusted by the Governor-General with the formation of the
first Dominion cabinet, was sworn into office by Lord Monck,
as Minister of Justice and Attorney General. In the general
elections immediately ensuing, his government was triumph-
antly sustained in all the provinces except Nova Scotia,
which returned eighteen members out of nineteen, pledged t >
do their utmost to detach Nova Scotia from the newly
formed confederation. The account of how this attempt
failed, owing to the winning over of Joseph Howe, the leader
of the Liberal party in Nova Scotia, is set forth in Sir John
Macdonald’s correspondence of the period.


The general elections of 1872 a hard-fought battle
resulted favourably to the administration of Sir John Mac-
donald, which, despite considerable losses in Ontario, ob-
tained a working majority throughout the Dominion a
noticeable change taking place in Nova Scotia, where a
representation of eighteen Liberals and one Conservative,
gave place to twenty Conservatives and one Independent.

In 1873 came wnat us ed to be called the “Pacific Scandal,”
resulting in the downfall of Sir John Macdonald’s Govern-
ment and the accession to power of Mr. Alexander Macken-
zie, whose ministry lasted from 1873 to l8 7 8 > wnen Macdon-
ald was restored to his old position at the head of affairs
by the overwhelming majority of eighty-six in a House of
Commons consisting of two hundred and eleven members.
Mr. Mackenzie’s majority in the old Parliament ranged from
eighty odd at its beginning, to between fifty and sixty at
its close. This remarkable change in public opinion was
due to several causes, chief among which may be set down,
the cry of hard times, a demand for protection to native indus-
tries, and the personal popularity of Sir John Macdonald.

On the formation of his second Dominion administration,
Sir John Macdonald took the portfolio of the Interior, which
he held from 1878 until 1883, when he became President of
the Privy Council, remaining such until 1889. In November
of that year he exchanged the Presidency of the Council for
the onerous Department of Railways and Canals, which he
continued to administer until his death on the 6th of June,
1891. His second term of office as First Minister thus lasted
nearly thirteen years, in the course of which many questions
of importance arose, some calling for the exercise of the
highest statesmanship. Among these may be enumerated:

1. The inauguration of the National Policy.

2. The construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway,
including the extension to that Company of financial assist-
ance in their day of need, and of unflinching support by the
exercise of the power of disallowance against the attempts
of those, principally in the Province of Manitoba, who sought
to expose the newly launched enterprise to the danger of
foreign competition.

I 3. The colonization and development of the great


4. The second Riel uprising, its suppression and its con-

5. The passage of a Dominion Franchise Act.
Throughout his long career, Sir John Macdonald enjoyed

in a remarkable degree, not merely the confidence and
esteem, but, in the vast majority of instances, the personal
affection of his followers. To their steadfast loyalty is to be
ascribed, in no small measure, the success which attended his
efforts in the building up of this great Dominion stretch-
ing from sea to sea. He lived to see the fruition of al-
most all his great designs, and when the inevitable hour
of departure drew near, it found him happy in the reflection
that he had carried to successful completion a great and
abiding work; ready, as he expressed it, to sing his Nunc

Elsewhere I have dwelt upon Sir John Macdonald’s
deep-seated affection for the United Kingdom, and his desire
that the tie which binds us to the mother country might
remain unimpaired. Holding these views, the policy of
unrestricted reciprocity with the United States, which
developed during his later years, and which he believed to be
incompatible with the maintenance of Canada’s connection
with Great Britain, was to him in the highest degree
repellant. The imperative necessity for defeating a policy
fraught with such disastrous possibilities to the State,
stimulated his weary frame for his last fight in support of
British connection. This was the issue in the general elec-
tions of 1 891 in which Macdonald won, though at great cost,
for there can be little doubt that the exertions he underwent
in that arduous campaign, held during the most inclement
season of the year, materially hastened his end.

Sir John was twice married in 1 843 to his cousin Isabella
Clark (she died in 1857) by whom he had two sons: John
Alexander who died in childhood, and Hugh John, born in
1850, now the Hon. Sir Hugh John Macdonald, Kt. Hugh
also married twice, first in 1876 to Jean King, by whom he
had one daughter, Daisy, now the wife of George Gainsford,
Esquire, of Winnipeg, and second, to Agnes Gertrude Van-
koughnet by whom he had one son, who died unmarried in his
2 ist year.

Sir John married, en seconde noces y Agnes Bernard, daugh-


ter of the late Hon. T. J. Bernard, a member of the Privy
Council of Jamaica, who survived her husband upwards of
twenty-nine years, passing away recently at a ripe old age.
To their union was born one daughter, the Hon. Mary Mac-
donald, who is unmarried. In recognition of the services of
her distinguished husband, Lady Macdonald, shortly after
Sir John’s death, was created, by her late Majesty Queen
Victoria, a peeress in her own right, under the style and title
of the Baroness Macdonald of Earnscliffe.

“Harry my boy,” once observed Sir John Macdonald to his
friend Colonel H. R. Smith, the late Sergeant-at-Arms of
the House of Commons, ”never write a letter if you can help
it, and never destroy one.” The latter injunction he himself
scrupulously fulfilled, for during many years he carefully
preserved every written communication, letter or memor-
andum that he received. Very seldom indeed was this rule
departed from. As a consequence I found myself at his
death confronted with an appalling mass of papers, the
letters alone numbering many thousands. Many of these
were, or had been, arranged in some sort of fashion, but all
had to be gone over, read, and re-classified, a labour that will
never be understood or appreciated by any one who has not
undergone a similar experience. In the preparation of my
“Memoirs of Sir John Macdonald” I used about 250 of the
more important of these letters, and in my “Day of Sir John
Macdonald,” perhaps 25 more. The reflection that a collec-
tion of papers, so intimately related to the history of Canada
in the making, demanded a wider publicity, has led to the
publication of this volume, which contains, in round numbers,
five hundred letters written by or to Sir John Macdonald,
not one per cent, of the total number preserved by him.
While the relative importance of the published letters, bears
a much higher ratio to the mass than is indicated by their
numerical proportion, it is needless to say that much of
interest remains. Sir John Macdonald’s correspondence
with each of the first six Governors-General of the Dominion:
Lords Monck, Lisgar, Dufferin, Lome, Lansdowne, and
Stanley of Preston; with Sir George Cartier, Sir John Rose,


Sir Charles Tupper, Sir George Stephen, Sir Donald Smith,
Sir John Thompson and many other public men, would, in
most cases, fill a volume in some cases several volumes
not to speak of papers bearing on such large public questions
as Confederation; the acquisition of the Northwest; the
history of the Intercolonial and Canadian Pacific Railways;
the Riel uprisings; the Washington Treaty of 1871; the
various fisheries negotiations with the United States; in
respect of all of which subjects the papers are very volumin-
ous. The bulk of these must await another hand and a
later day. Within the limitations assigned to the present
work, every care has been taken to make this collection a
representative one, and by a process of judicious selection,
to throw as much light as possible upon the more important
issues of the periods in which they were written. Sir John
Macdonald’s correspondence with the various Governors-
General of his time, are particularly rich in historic interest,
as also are many letters which passed between him and his
leading colleagues, and others whose names will readily
suggest themselves. Due prominence has been given to the
story of what is perhaps the greatest monument to his
courage and resolution the Canadian Pacific Railway as
disclosed in his correspondence with Sir George Stephen,
John Henry Pope, and W. C. Van Home.

While occasionally, and for special reasons, I have in-
cluded in this collection a letter which has appeared in
my “Memoirs of Sir John Macdonald” or elsewhere, the rule
which I originally proposed to myself, not to republish in
this volume any correspondence which had already seen the
light, has been very generally adhered to.

In the preparation of this work, there has been very
little ”editing”. While occasionally, by reason of irrelevancy,
lack of interest, or their essentially private and personal
character, portions of letters have been omitted in certain
designated places, it is rare indeed that a passage has been
withheld on other grounds. In truth, there is very little in
anything Sir John Macdonald left behind him which might
not eventually be proclaimed upon the housetops. In sur-
veying the record of his long and active career, nothing is
more striking than the serene consciousness of his own
integrity, that led him to preserve for the judgment of poster-


ity, his correspondence, not merely with the outside world,
but also with political colleagues and intimate personal

Ottawa, August, 1921.


Born in Glasgow

Parents emigrated to Canada

Entered upon the study of the law

Called to the Bar of Upper Canada

Appointed a Commissioner to enquire into the

losses arising out of the Rebellion of 1837-8
Elected to Kingston Town Council
Elected to the Provincial Legislature
Appointed Queen’s Counsel
Member of the Executive Council
Receiver General
Commissioner of Crown Lands
Resigned with his colleagues
Attorney General of Upper Canada
Prime Minister of the Province of Canada
Resigned with his colleagues
Postmaster General

Attorney General of Upper Canada
Resigned with his colleagues
Attorney General of Upper Canada
Knight Commander of the Bath
A member of the Queen’s Privy Council for


Prime Minister of the Dominion of Canada
Minister of Justice
Prime Minister
Minister of the Interior
Sworn of Her Majesty Queen Victoria’s Most

Honourable Privy Council

President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada
Received the Grand Cross of the Bath
Minister of Railways and Canals


nth January, 1815



6th February, 1836

28th November, 1840

28th March,
1 4th October,
nth December,
nth May,
21 st May,
8th December,
loth March,


nth September, 1854
26th November, 1857

29th July,


6th August,


7th August,


7th August,


23rd May,


3oth March,


29th June,


ist July,


ist July,


ist July,


5th November,


1 7th October,


1 7th October,


I4th August,


1 7th October,


25th November,


28th November,


6th June,



1840 1867




THE earliest letter written by Sir John Macdonald that I
have been able to discover is dated the 28th November,
1840, accepting appointment as a commissioner to investi-
gate certain claims arising out of the Rebellion of 1837-8.

From Mr. John A. Macdonald to the Civil Secretary to the Lt.-
Governor of Upper Canada.

Kingston, 28 November, 1840.

I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of a com-
munication from you of the I9th instant, acquainting me of
the intention of His Excellency the Lieut. Governor to ap-
point commissioners for the investigation of claims arising
out of the late rebellion, and enquiring whether I would act
as one of the Commissioners.

In reply I beg to state that I will have much pleasure in
undertaking the duties of the office if appointed by His

I have the honour to be,

Your most obedient humble servant,

S. B. Harrison, Esq.,
Civil Secretary,

Mr. Macdonald at that time was only twenty-five years of


This Commission, appointed under the Act of the last ses-
sion of the Legislature of Upper Canada (3 Vic., Cap. 76),
does not appear to have made any report. In the first
session of the Legislature of the United Provinces of Upper
and Lower Canada, an amending Act was passed (4 & 5 Vic.,
Cap. 39) enlarging the scope of the Commission. Even after
this, nothing appears to have been done, and it was not until
1845 that legislation (8 Vic., Cap. 72) designed to meet the
case was enacted. By this time Mr. Macdonald had ceased
to be connected with the Commission, presumably because in
the interval he had been elected to the Legislature.

Sir John Macdonald’s public career may be said to have
begun on the i4th October, 1844, on which day he was
elected a member of the House of Assembly of the Province
of Canada for Kingston to support the Draper-Viger Ad-
ministration in their conflict with Messrs. Baldwin and
Lafontaine. His opponent, Mr. Anthony Manahan, had
been a member of the old Legislature of Upper Canada. 1

When the next General Elections came round, Mr. Mac-
donald appealed to his constituents as a cabinet minister.
Among the issues of that contest was the question of univer-
sity endowment, to which he attached a good deal of im-
portance, 2 as did his electors, to judge from the following
letter, evidently written in response to enquiries as to his
attitude with respect thereto.

From the Hon. John A. Macdonald to a committee of his

Kingston, loth December, 184.7.

If I were an independent candidate, and not connected
with the Government, I should feel no difficulty in answering

1 Touching upon this gentleman, an old acquaintance of my late chief wrote to
me on the appearance of my Memoirs of Sir John Macdonald hereinafter alluded
to in this volume as Memoirs:

“You speak of Mr. Anthony Manahan being represented as an ‘uncouth and
illiterate person.’ Such is not the case. He was a gentleman, highly educated,
and a leading Roman Catholic in Kingston. In politics he was a Tory, but opposed
to the ‘Family Compact.’ I remember him very well, and when a boy was fre-
quently at his house.”

2 Memoirs, Volume I, p. 54.


the questions contained in your favour of yesterday. But,
situated as I am, it must be obvious to you that I can have
no right or authority to pledge the administration of which
I am a member, to any cause or on any subject, without their

In my answers therefore to your enquiries, you must con-
sider me as expressing only my individual opinions, and not
in any way as binding on the Government, or the present
Administration. At the same time I may be permitted to
say that the previous course of the Government has been
such as to prove to the Roman Catholics of Canada its
anxious desire to secure, to that large and influential body,
equal rights and privileges with any other denomination.
With these remarks I proceed to answer your enquiries.

First. As to my views on the University question, I have
only to say that they remain the same as when I introduced
the University Bill last session. That measure proposed
to vest the endowment in a Board of Trustees selected from
each of the Universities of Upper Canada. That there
should be paid annually out of the endowment, to

King’s College 3000

Queen’s College 1500

Regiopolis College 1500

Victoria College 1500

and that out of the surplus that would accrue, any other
colleges hereafter established should be endowed.

Second. It is my intention to claim for the college of
Regiopolis the proportion above specified of the endowment
that is to say, the same amount as to any other college in
Upper Canada, except King’s College, which it is thought has
a fair claim to a preference, inasmuch as it is to surrender
the whole of the endowment, and to receive only a small
portion of its present income. It has been also ascertained
that the measure could not be carried through the Legisla-
ture, were the income of King’s College reduced below 3000;
and it was thought better to yield this point, than to risk the
loss of the measure.

Third. It is the fixed intention of the present Administra-
tion, and of myself as a member of it, to bring before the
Legislature at its next session, bills similar to those intro-


duced by myself at the last session, and to exercise all our
influence to get them passed into laws. And I have no
hesitation in declaring that I will oppose any measure not
containing the same principle of an equitable division among
the different colleges in Upper Canada.

Your question respecting the Common School Bill is too
vague in its terms to admit of a precise answer. You do
not point out in what manner the present law prevents
Roman Catholics from having separate schools in corporate
towns and villages, nor do you suggest any mode by which
the School Bill can be altered so as to remove the disabilities
you complain of. It was the evident intention of the Legisla-
ture, in passing the School Act, to enable both Catholics and
Protestants to have separate schools, if they desired it, and
to give such separate schools a share of the public appropria-
tion, accdr)ding to the number of children of each persuasion.
Should the present School Bill, from some defect, Hot carry
out this fair and equitable intention of the Legislature, I
shall be ready to support any act amending it in this respect.
I am strongly in favour of affording children of the earliest
age the means of religious as well as secular education; and
such was the design of the Legislature in establishing separate

I have the honour to be,

Your obedt. and humble servant,


Sir John Macdonald’s well known solicitude for the high
character of the Bench manifested itself in the early stages of
his career. Almost his first act as attorney general was to
offer the chief justiceship of the Court of Common Pleas of
Upper Canada to his old-time opponent, Robert Baldwin. 1
Upon Mr. Baldwin’s declinature of the office, Mr. Macdonald
addressed himself to his former leader, Mr. Draper. 2

1 Memoirs, Vol. I, pp. 85-6.

2 The Hon. William Henry Draper, C. B., Prime Minister of the Province of
Canada (1843-1847): Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas, Upper Canada
(1856-1863): Chief Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench (1863-1868): Chief Jus-
tice of Ontario (1868-1877). Died, and November, 1877.


From the Hon. John A. Macdonald to the Hon. W. H. Draper.

Toronto, January 2jrd, 1856.

Chief Justice Macaulay has applied for leave to retire
from the court over which he has so ably presided ever since
its organization. His Excellency the Governor-General
has been pleased to accede to his request, and it will afford
much satisfaction to my colleagues and myself if you will
permit us to submit your name to His Excellency to fill the
vacant chief justiceship.

Trusting for the sake of the court and country that your
answer will be in the affirmative.

I am, yours very faithfully,

The Hon. W. H. Draper, C.B.

From the Hon. John A. Macdonald to J. H. Hagarty, Esq. 1

Toronto, February 28th, 1856.

His Excellency the Governor-General has been pleased
to accede to Chief Justice Macaulay’s request to be allowed
to retire from the Bench, and has nominated Mr. Justice
Draper as his successor. A vacancy has thus been created
on the Bench, and my colleagues and myself are prepared to
submit your name to H. E. for the appointment, should it
meet your views to accept it. I may mention that it has not
yet been determined whether in case of acceptance, you shall
be placed in the Q. B. or C. P.

Being well assured that your appointment will be highly
acceptable, both to the Bar and the country, I have great
pleasure in making this communication.

I shall be still more pleased at receiving your answer in the
affirmative. As the proposed arrangements must be carried

1 Subsequently Chief Justice of Ontario, to which office he was appointed on the
recommendation of Sir John Macdonald, 6th May, 1884. Died, ayth April, 1900.


out early in next term, may I ask the favour of a speedy

Believe me to be
My dear Hagarty
faithfully yours,

J. H. Hagarty, Esq., Q.C.

In 1858 Canada adopted a policy of incidental protection
which was further developed in 1859, thereby more or less
prejudicially affecting certain manufacturers in the United
Kingdom. These persons appealed to the Duke of New-
castle, at that time Secretary of State for the Colonies, who,
in transmitting their memorial to the Governor-General, took
occasion to lecture the Canadian Government on the evils of
protection a course which the ministry very naturally re-
sented. Their reply was in the form of a Minute of the
Executive Council, based upon a memorandum of the Hon.
A. T. Gait, 1 then Minister of Finance. The ministry took the
ground that the responsibility for the administration of the
affairs of Canada was upon them, and that they could not
allow any feeling of deference which they owed to the Imper-
ial Authorities, in any manner to impair the right of the
people of Canada to decide for themselves as to the mode
and the extent to which taxation should be imposed. 2

It is perhaps worth while pointing out that the Duke’s
despatch does not profess to embody anything more than his
own ill-considered judgment. When a Secretary of State
for the Colonies conveys the views of the Imperial Cabinet
to a Colonial Governor, it is customary to make the fact
quite clear. In the present instance the Duke does not
allude to Her Majesty’s Government at all, save to indicate
that they did not propose to interfere with the legislation
under review. It would not be the first occasion on which an
Imperial Secretary of State has sent off despatches without
the knowledge or approval of his colleagues.

1 Afterwards The Hon. Sir Alexander Gait, G.C.M.G. A colleague of Sir John
Macdonald. One of the Fathers of Confederation. Finance Minister in the first
Dominion Cabinet. First High Commissioner for Canada in London (1880-1883).
Died, 1 9th September, 1893.

* For this State Paper see Canada Sessional Papers, 1860, No. 38, pp. 4-12.


Sir John Macdonald thus alluded to the affair in a speech
delivered by him at the time:

A representation was made by the Sheffield cutlers against our scale of
duties, and they protested, in language which we very properly resented,
against our right to encourage manufactures in Canada. I have in my
hand a memorial, sent by the Chamber of Commerce, of Sheffield, in 1859,
to the Duke of Newcastle, from which I shall read one or two pages, giving
their so-called reasons for such a protest:

Here is a direct statement that we have not the right to raise our rev-
enue, except as they in Sheffield conceive it for their interests! While
we admire the policy of Great Britain, and are quite willing to act with it
as far as the interests of the country will allow, yet as Ministers of Canada,
dependent on her people, we should have been altogether wanting in our
duty if we had not protested. We said we had the full right to raise our
revenue in our own fashion, according to our own ideas. Yet what do we
find? That this Chamber of Sheffield makes a long quotation from the
Globe, just as the Washington Constitution did, to show that on Colonial
principles, as well as Imperial, we ought to alter our policy. These are
complaints that I think we have a right to make.

While the Duke of Newcastle does not appear to have been
very tactful in his relations with Canada, it is but fair to his
memory to say that on this occasion he admitted his mistake.

From the Hon. A. T. Gait to the Hon. John A. Macdonald.

London, iflh December, 1859.

I have written Carder an account of my interview with the Duke of
Newcastle. After discussing the other matters with which I was charged,
I told him I feared there existed some misapprehension as to our com-
mercial policy which I should be glad to remove. He at once ” owned up ”
and said he had been in the wrong, with a good deal more to the same effect.
I trust he may send out a despatch to the same effect.

Sidney* has gone to the Continent to make postal arrangements. I trust
he will confine himself to the males, but this I doubt. I would not consent
to being left here all alone, so you need not expect him before you see me,
unless you either come yourself or send Vankoughnet, 2 who must be very
lonesome in Quebec.

iThe Hon. Sidney Smith, Postmaster General in the Macdonald-Cartier and
Cartier-Macdonald administrations (1858-1862). Died, 2yth September, 1889.

2 The Hon. Philip Vankoughnet, a colleague of Sir John Macdonald, 1856-1862.
Chancellor of Ontario from i9th March, 1862, until his death, yth November, 1869.


Everything looks favourable here and I think I shall make the Consols
go, as both Baring and Glyn appear very hearty about it now. I only
postpone it till I see Gladstone, who unfortunately is out of town.

Remember me most kindly to Vankoughnet and Sherwood.

Ever faithfully,
Hon. J. A. Macdonald. A. T. GALT.

P. S.

By the way, you have blighted Smith’s hopes and mine by not having
sent an answer to the despatch about our uniform. Smith was to have
worn his on the Continent, but we cannot get it as the Colonial Office have
no reply.

Not long afterwards, a further occasion of difference with
His Grace of Newcastle arose. In the summer of 1860 the
Prince of Wales (afterwards King Edward VII), then a lad
of 1 8, visited Canada under the guidance of the Duke of
Newcastle, who gave much offence by his refusal to allow
the Orange societies of Upper Canada to participate in the
welcome to the Prince. This action on the Duke’s part was
a source of great annoyance to Mr. Macdonald, not only as
the leader of the Liberal-Conservative Party in Upper Can-
ada 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. This time the Duke stuck to his guns,
and in consequence of the refusal of the Orangemen to lay
aside their regalia and dispense with party emblems during the
Prince’s visit, the steamer bearing the Royal party on their
way west, passed by the town. Nor could the combined
influence of the Governor-General and Mr. Cartier induce
His Grace to repair what was designated at the time by the
sympathizers with the Orange societies as a “wanton insult.”

From the Hon. G. E. Cartier 1 to the Hon. John A. Macdonald


Toronto^ nth September, 1860.

I have just telegraphed you the result of my interview with the Duke
and Sir Edmund. Both expressed how much it would be desirable to visit

1 Afterwards The Hon. Sir George Etienne Cartier, Bart., a colleague of Sir John
Macdonald. One of the Fathers of Confederation; Prime Minister of the Province
of Canada (1858-1862); Minister of Militia and Defence in the first Dominion
Cabinet. Died, aoth May, 1873.


Kingston again. The Duke finds, however, that the programme of
arrangements connected with the Prince’s visit in other localities in U. C.
cannot be interfered with without causing disappointments to localities
which have made preparations in the expectation of the Prince’s visit.
The Duke has expressed that physical impossibility would be the only
thing in the way of revisiting Kingston. He authorized me to convey
his mind and feelings to you. Poor Sir Edmund feels deeply for you and
your people. In conversing with me I saw tears coming from his eyes.
If you will allow me to repeat the suggestion which I make in my telegram
respecting the sending of a deputation from Kingston, requesting that
the Prince should visit it, I will add to you that I think it would be con-
ducive to a great deal of good if such deputation could be sent. Supposing
that the deputation should not succeed in securing a revisit to Kingston
by the Prince, the courteous answer, which, I am sure, would be given,
would tend to smooth the troubled waters. The Prince leaves to-morrow
morning for London at II o’clock. I enclose you a programme of the
arrangements as now settled, and you will see at what place any deputation
from Kingston would be able to meet the Prince and suite. I have seen
your Mayor, Mr. Strange, to whom I have communicated the substance of
my telegram to you. He is to remain here in case a deputation comes
from your city.

I write you in haste,

Your devoted colleague


The Honourable John A. Macdonald,
Attorney General,

When it is considered that a protectionist policy was
adopted by the Parliament of Canada in 1858, and extended
in 1859 at the instance of the Government in which Mr. A. T.
Gait was Finance Minister, his advocacy in England three
years later, of free trade, as indicated in this letter from him,
affords a striking illustration of his erratic character.

From the Hon. A. T. Gait to” the Hon. John A. Macdonald.

London, 3rd October, 1862.

I duly received yours from Quebec, and would have written but Sup-
posed you would not have returned from Cacouna.

In regard to what you say about my talking free trade here, I have no
doubt it may do me some damage in Canada, but I think if you were here
yourself and saw the growing feeling respecting separation, you would feel
it as I do, a matter of duty, to urge all you could on behalf of Canada.
You have no doubt seen the proceedings at Manchester and, I hope, will
approve of my speech, which is fairly enough reported in the Times. I did


not know a living soul in Manchester and was fairly in the lion’s den. It
really required some nerve to speak, especially as I knew I was to be fol-
lowed and attacked by Ashworth and others. However, the effect was
very good, and by far the larger part of the meeting were on my side. I
have no doubt my presence there will go far to stop the constant irritating
reference to Canada in the Manchester meetings. The press both there
and in London has generally dealt fairly with me, but the Times is resolved
to break me down if it can, and has published two leaders since slashing
me in its usual style. I had yesterday sent a reply to its article of the ist
instant (which really is too bad), in which, without showing temper, I
have calmly disproved its attacks. Having given me a direct challenge,
it cannot fail to publish my letter, but will no doubt concoct some new
dose for my benefit. It is not very pleasant but in some respect flattering.

I shall return by the steamer of the 25th and hope to see you soon after.

Remember me to all friends, and

Believe me,
Ever yours,

Hon. J. A. Macdonald.

The Government of which Mr. John A. Macdonald was
the Upper Canadian leader, suffered a parliamentary defeat
on the i4th June, 1 864. A few days later it was reconstructed
by the addition of Messrs. George Brown, 1 Oliver Mowat 2
and William McDougall, 3 three leading members of the

1 The Hon. George Brown, editor and proprietor of the Toronto Globe newspaper.
Represented Kent in the Legislative Assembly of Canada from 1851-54; Lambton
from 1854-57; Toronto from 1858-61, and South Oxford from 1863 until the Union.
Prime Minister of Canada 2-4 August, 1858. President of the Executive Council
30 June, 1864, to 21 December, 1865. Called to the Senate i6th December, 1873.
Died 9th May, 1880.

2 Afterwards the Hon. Sir Oliver Mowat, G.C.M.G. Mr. Mowat represented
South Ontario in the Legislature of the Province of Canada from 1857-64. He was
successively a member of the Brown-Dorion shortlived Cabinet in 1858; of the J. S.
Macdonald-Sicotte Government (1862-63;) and of the J. S. Macdonald-Dorion Gov-
ernment (1863-64). In June, 1864, he joined the coalition cabinet formed by Mac-
donald and Brown, and in November of the same year was elevated to the Bench
as Vice-Chancellor of Upper Canada, from which he resigned in 1872 to become the
Premier of Ontario; this post he continued to fill until 1896, when he entered the
Dominion arena, becoming Minister of Justice in Sir Wilfrid Laurier’s cabinet;
there he continued until 1897, when he was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of
Ontario, in which office he died, igth April, 1903.

3 The Hon. William McDougall, C.B. A leader of the Clear Grit party. Com-
missioner of Crown Lands in the Macdonald-Sicotte administration (1862-1864).
Provincial Secretary in the Macdonald-Brown coalition Government (1864). One
of the Fathers of Confederation. Minister of Public Works in the first Dominion
Cabinet (1867-1869). First Lieutenant-Governor of the North West Territories.
Sat for various constituencies in the Legislative Assembly and afterwards in the
Parliament of Canada. Died, 29th May, 1905.


Opposition, on the basis of effecting a settlement of the
sectional difficulties between Upper and Lower Canada, the
solution of which, the leaders of both parties agreed, was to
be found in a confederation of all the British North American
Provinces. This policy had long been advocated by Mr. Mac-
donald, as presenting the only feasible scheme for curing
the evils under which Canada laboured. Five years before
the date we are here considering, he was a leading member of
a ministry which despatched a mission to England to ascer-
tain the views of Her Majesty’s Government on the subject
of a union of the British North American Provinces. Two
years later (i9th April, 1861) from his place in the Legislature
he thus expressed himself:

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. 1 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. . . . 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 confederation lies in giving to the
general Governmgnt-alLtJig^principjes jind ^powers of sovereignty, and in
the provision that the subordinate or individual States should have no
powers but those expressly bestowed upon them.

1 In the light of this explicit statement, it is amusing to find Mr. O. D. Skelton
in his Life and Times of Sir Alexander Gait, p. 401, representing Sir John Macdonald
as an eleventh-hour convert to the policy of Confederation, which ‘he opposed to the
last.’ In giving utterance to this statement Mr. Skelton appears to have drawn his
inspiration from Sir Richard Cartwright, an unsafe guide where Sir John is con-
cerned. Sir John’s opposition, as set forth above and elsewhere (see especially
Pope’s Confederation Documents, pp. 54-55,), was not to confederation, but to the
federal system. As is well known, his preference was for a legislative union.
When he realized that this, in view of Lower Canada, was impracticable, he
laboured for the creation of a strong central government, giving to the provinces
only such powers as were specifically delegated, the residuum remaining with the
central authority. In this his policy prevailed, for despite the loose use of the word
‘federal’ Tn the negotiations which resulted in Confederation, our Confederation
compact is not really a federal union, but is based on the opposite principle from
that underlying the Constitution of the United States, where the powers not
expressly delegated to the central government, nor prohibited by the Constitution
to the States, are reserved to the States respectively.

Lord Chancellor Haldane in an Australian appeal before the Privy Council (Law
Reports, Appeal cases 1914, Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Australia
v. Colonial Sugar Refining Company, Limited, page A. C. 253) lays this down.


and on every suitable occasion he gave expression to similar

From the Hon. D. L. Macpherson 1 to the Hon. John A.

Private 6? Confidential.

Toronto, 2$rd June, 1864.

Allow me to congratulate you upon the successful issue of your negotia-
tions with Brown. It is a great and patriotic achievement putting an
end to the bitter party animosities and intense personal antipathies that
have characterized public life in Canada for so many years; effecting this
too, by the only honourable and enduring means, the removal of the cause,
the settlement of the disturbing sectional questions. Yourself, Gait, and
Brown and (as Brown justly says in his speech) especially Tache and
Cartier, deserve the thanks and gratitude of the country for making in the
interest of the country what must have been to all of you a great sacrifice
of personal feeling.

I am quite sure that in what you have done you will have the approval
of every man whose interests are not antagonistic to those of the country.
It must also be no small satisfaction to you, and especially to Gait, that
the movers of the unhandsome and unfair attack upon him have been so
utterly discomfited. I notice you said in the House that the Intercolonial
had not been named in the discussions with Brown. Naming it would
have been very superfluous. Without it there can be no federation. It is
the keystone, the very foundation stone. The early carrying out of this
enterprise seems at last probable. It must now be placed on a broad and
safe basis. I beg of you to take care that the control is kept in the proper
hands and that no opening or opportunity is left for 2 scheming.

I wrote you about a fortnight ago but you have had something else to do
than answer private letters.

I remain my dear Macdonald

Yours very faithfully,


From the Hon. D. L. Macpherson to the Hon. John A.

Private fc? Confidential.

Toronto, 4th July, 1864.

I called on Brown on Saturday, congratulated him on recent events, got
a very full and interesting account of the negotiations from him, in which

1 Afterwards Sir David Lewis Macpherson, K.C.M.G. A colleague of Sir John
Macdonald. Member of the Legislative Council of the Province of Canada, and,
from 1 867 until his death, a Senator of the Dominion. Speaker of the Senate (1880-
1883). Minister of the Interior (1883-1885). Died, loth August, 1896.

‘Name indecipherable

The Hon. John A. Macdonald
Age 47 Circ. 1862


he gave you all great credit, expressed our mutual hope that Mat. Cam-
eron i would not oppose McDougall. . . . Believe me,
Yours very faithfully,


In October, 1864, took place what is known to students of
Canadian history as the Quebec Conference, composed of
representatives from the British North American Colonies,
meeting together on the invitation of the Canadian Govern-
ment to discuss plans for the union, in one Confederation, of
all the Provinces, which was successfully brought about on the
ist July, 1867. The delegates from the Maritime Provinces
were, on this occasion, the guests of the Canadian Govern-
ment, which despatched a special steamer to convey them to
Quebec, and otherwise made provision for their comfort.
The Macdonald correspondence during the years 1864-66
largely relates to the development of this great scheme.

From the Hon. John A. Macdonald to the Hon. Charles


Quebec, November 14, 1864.

I am sorry I was too unwell to join in the Toronto festivities
or escort you to Niagara.

We have settled that our Legislature shall meet on January
1 9th, and intend to press the Federation resolutions through

1 The Hon. Matthew Crooks Cameron: represented the North Riding of On-
tario in the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada from 1861 until the
Union. A member, under die Hon. John Sandfield Macdonald of the first Provin-
cial Government of Ontario. Appointed Chief Justice of the Common Pleas
Division of the High Court of Justice for Ontario, i3th May, 1884. Died, 24th
June, 1887.

2 Afterwards the Right Hon. Sir Charles Tupper, Bart., G.C.M.G., C.B., a
colleague of Sir John Macdonald. One of the Fathers of Confederation. The holder
consecutively of various portfolios in Sir John Macdonald’s Cabinets. High Com-
missioner for Canada in London (1884-1896). Prime Minister of Canada (May
to July, 1896). Sworn of His Majesty’s Privy Council, igth October, 1908. Died,
3oth October, 1915.


without delay. Canada, on the whole, seems to take up
the scheme warmly, but yet we shall meet with considerable
opposition. Dorion, 1 you see, has come out with a manifesto
against it. Sandfield Macdonald 2 will join him, and I hear
they are beating up for recruits everywhere. It is of the
utmost importance that between now and the time of the
meeting of Parliament nothing should be done to strengthen
the hands of the Opposition, or to give them the opportunity
of getting up a new cry. With this view, I cannot too
strongly impress on you the necessity of carrying out the
policy of not in any way giving any party the slightest con-
trol over the construction of any portion of the Intercolonial
Railway. Brown’s confession of faith in favour of the road
at Toronto has astounded his supporters, and dismayed a
good many of them who have hitherto been educated by
him to oppose it by every means and at every stage. They
are powerless in consequence of his desertion, but there is a
muttered growl about it that I don’t like. Were it suspected
that any considerable portion of the road for which Canada
is going to pledge itself was given away to contractors with-
out the consent or sanction of the Government, a storm
would at once arise which could not be allayed, and would
peril the whole scheme.

I intend to commence next week to draft the Bill to be
submitted for the consideration of the Imperial Government,
and shall be glad to get from you such hints or suggestions
as may occur to you.

Have you formed any plan as to the mode in which you
will submit the subject to your Parliament?

In looking over our resolutions, I see a mistake has crept
in. We have given power from time to time to the Local

1 A. A. Dorion, afterwards the Hon. Sir A. A. Dorion, Kt. At that time leader
of the Rouge party in Lower Canada. Minister of Justice in the cabinet of the Hon.
Alexander Mackenzie, 7th November, 1873, to 3ist May, 1874. Chief Justice of
the Queen’s Bench for the Province of Quebec, June, 1874, until his death, jist May,

2 The Hon. John Sandfield Macdonald. Solicitor General for Upper Canada
(1849-1851). Speaker of the Legislative Assembly (1852-1854). Attorney
General in George Brown’s two-days’ administration (i 858). Prime Minister of the
Province of Canada (1862-1864). First Prime Minister of the Province of On-
tario (1867-1871). Died, ist June, 1872.


Legislatures to alter the constituencies sending members
to the General Parliament. Now, this is an obvious blunder,
and must be corrected.

I shall be obliged by your giving me your ideas as to the
general administration the number of the Executive and
the distribution of Departments. This must all be wrought
out, and, if possible, form a portion of the Imperial Act.
I have not thought this branch of the subject over, but mean
to do so at once. So soon as I can form a projet I will
transmit it to you. So please reciprocate.

I have not forgotten the compact we made here, and will
act strictly and cordially up to it.

Always, my dear Tupper,

Faithfully yours,

The Hon. Charles Tupper,

From the Hon. John A. Macdonald to George Jackson Esq.,


Quebec, November joth, 1864.

I have yours of the 24th.

Gait’s exhaustive speech on the subject of Confederation
will give you full information on the general subject. As
to the two questions you ask me, I do not think there will
be anything to prevent the same person sitting in the General
and in the Local Legislature, except the inconvenience to the
member himself. I presume that the number of General
and Local representatives, in each section, will be the same.
The Government will, of course, assume the responsibility of
mapping out Upper Canada into electoral divisions, and I
should think it quite clear that Grey will have another
member. I quite agree with you that the present Parlia-
ment is fully competent to deal with the questions without
previous appeal to the public. It is very evident, as you say,
that, at a general election, issues would arise in almost every


constituency other than the main one of Confederation or no

The House will probably meet early in January.
I am,

My dear Sir,

Yours faithfully,

George Jackson Esquire, M.P.P.,
Bentinck, C. W.

From the Hon. George Brown to the Hon. John A. Macdonald.

Private fc? Confidential.

St. Louis Hotel,
Saturday evening.’ 1


I have been thinking over the defence matter in connection with my
being in England, and it does appear as if it would be strange that the fact
of my being in England was referred to in the Hudson’s Bay Minute and
not in that on the defences, as to which verbal communication would be of
infinitely more consequence than in the other. I cannot but think that if
we wish to know our exact position in England on this question before the
meeting of Parliament, and without being committed to anything, my be-
ing in England affords the best opportunity for it. I am entirely in ac-
cord with the rest of, the Government as to the ground that ought to be
taken and maintained, and as to the end sought to be attained. I differ
only from the tone in which the Minute is written.

Of course it is painful to both of us to find ourselves in a Government
with gentlemen who have not perfect sympathy with each other, but had
you or Gait or Cartier been in my present case, I think I would have in-
sisted on your names being referred to in the handsomest possible manner.
Had I been in a Cabinet with my own political friends, I could only have
regarded any hesitation in the matter very gravely. In the present case it
is different. We could not expect to form such a combination without
feeling it jar occasionally, and indeed there has been much less of it than I
had fully expected to encounter. I am not, therefore, complaining
whatever is done in the matter, I will not complain but I thought it only
right to say to you thus I feel about it.

Faithfully yours,

Hon. J. A. Macdonald.

1 Undated. Probably written frotn Quebec immediately prior to his departure
for England, November, 1864. See Memoirs t Vol. i, p. 273, footnote.


From the Hon. Charles Tupper to the Hon. John A. Macdonald.


Halifax, December ijth, 1864.

I was glad to learn by your note of the I4th ultimo, that you had quite
recovered your health and that Richard was himself again. I was not
surprised, that the incessant fatigue and mental labour to which you
were so long subjected, should have told seriously upon you. We all
regretted deeply that we were deprived of the pleasure of your society
at Toronto.

I quite concur in the alteration respecting the power of the Local Legis-
lature to alter the constituencies of the House of Commons. I have
consulted Henry and McCully on the point, and they all agree to
the proposed alteration. I have already informed Mr. Gait that we concur
in restricting the power of the local Government to tax lumber, to New

I shall be very glad to receive your proposed draft of the Act as soon as
you can send it, and will offer you any suggestions I think desirable. Under
existing circumstances Canada had better pass the Act as near the report
of the Conference as possible, and then the other Provinces should endeav-
our to pass transcripts of it.

I fear that the Government of New Brunswick has decided not to submit
the question to the people [sic, Legislature?] until after an appeal to the
people. They might do the necessary work of the session very soon and
dissolve at once, and thus not much time would be lost, but the precedent
is a bad one.

We have met a strong opposition here but we have the press pretty much
with us, and I hope we will be able to carry it through if properly sustained
by the British Government. I wish very much Lord Monck would induce
the Colonial Secretary to authorize our Lieutenant Governor to appoint
two or three additional Legislative Councillors if found necessary to carry
the Bill through the Upper House. I will send you a Colonist with our
speeches at the Confederation meeting last Friday night. It was a great
success. Many influential men previously opposed were convinced, and
have since come out in favour of the scheme.

Will you let me know what you hear from the British Government? The
executive department may, I think, be safely left to your judgment.
Twelve executive councillors, much as you have them at present would, I
think, meet the case, but I quite agree with you that it is desirable to have
them in the Act. I would not distribute them locally at all. It will be
an element of weakness in my opinion. Would it be practicable to provide
for surrendering local Governments? I suppose not, although I think it
very desirable.

I hope Mr. Brydges will be able to give me an early assurance that he
will construct the Truro and Moncton line under the terms of our resolu-
tion, to be amalgamated with the Intercolonial after confederation. It
need not be published until after your legislation is perfected. Mr.


Fleming i will locate the line, and an arrangement for the rest of the line to
Canada, contingent upon the Confederation taking place. It will damage
me seriously if this matter be imperilled by the want of Canada’s consent.
You can at all times rely upon me to any extent.

Ever yours faithfully,
Hon. J. A. Macdonald.

From the Hon. John A. Macdonald to Thomas Swinyard, Esq?

Quebec, iqth December, 1864..

I am much obliged for your letter of the 13 th and I hope
you will not fail, whenever you think the subject of any
importance or interest, to write me.

I quite agree with you as to the importance of satisfying
our American neighbours that Canada is in earnest in vin-
dicating the majesty of the law, and in suppressing with all
promptness and vigour, any attempts to infringe it. You
will see that Gilbert McMicken has been appointed stipen-
diary magistrate, with full powers to organize a detective and
preventive police force, for the purpose of watching and
patrolling the whole frontier from Toronto to Sarnia, and I
have specially instructed him to put himself in communica-
tion with the American authorities at Buffalo and Detroit.
He is a shrewd, cool and determined man, who won’t easily
lose his head, and who will fearlessly perform his duty.

The Governor-General has also called out, for service,
between 1,500 and 2,000 Volunteer Militia, who will be
stationed at the proper points, for the purpose of preventing
and putting down the first attempt that may be made to con-
tinue these aggressions on the United States.

1 Afterwards Sir Sandford Fleming, K.C.M.G., at that time Engineer in charge
of the surveys on behalf of Her Majesty’s Government and the Governments of
Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, preliminary to the construction of the
Intercolonial Railway, upon which the Maritime Provinces set great store as the
material link connecting them with the Upper Provinces. Provision for its early
construction forms Article 145 of the British North America Act, 1867. Owing to
various delays, the Intercolonial was not opened for traffic until 1876. Mr. Flem-
ing was subsequently Engineer-in-Chief of the survey and preliminary operations
which resulteti in the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Died, 22nd
July, 1915.

2 General Manager Great Western Railway. Died, 25th February, 1915.


The unhappy and mistaken decision of Coursol at Mon-
treal 1 has had a most unfortunate tendency. From the fact
of his being called ‘Judge’ Coursol, his decision is considered
a judicial one in the United States. He was however merely
acting in his capacity as police magistrate, and altogether
mistook his duty, when he presumed to judge as to his right
to discharge those prisoners. It was his duty to assume
that he had the authority under the statute, and the question
of jurisdiction should only have been brought up to be
solemnly decided by the Superior Courts. A new process
has been issued, however, and it is hoped that these men,
or the majority of them, will be rearrested, and the discredit
thrown upon the administration of justice in Canada,

The general order 2 of Gen. Dix was most unfortunate
and uncalled for. It did not affect us in any measure as
Canadians, but it was a direct insult to the sovereignty of
England. I am quite sure that it was issued in the irrita-
tion of the moment on hearing of the release of the St. Al-
bans raiders, and will meet no countenance or support from
the United States Government.

We must perform our duty, however, irrespective of the
smiles or frowns of any foreign body, and will never be hur-
ied into extra exertions by proclamations like those of Gen.

1 This refers to a raid made on St. Albans, Vermont, by a band of Confederate
soldiers, twenty-five, or so, in number, headed by one Bennet H. Young, a lieutenant
in the Southern army. The plot was organized in Chicago, from which point the
main body of the marauders proceeded direct to their destination through the
United States, Young and three others going by way of Canada. On the igth
October, 1864, they met in St. Albans, where they plundered three banks, attempted
to fire the town, and escaped to Montreal. They were arrested with a view to their
extradition under the Ashburton Treaty, but discharged by ‘Judge’ Coursol on tech-
nical grounds. They were immediately re-arrested and tried before the Superior
Court at Montreal, but again set at liberty, the Court holding that they were belli-
gerents and, as such, not subject to extradition. Subsequently fresh arrests were
made, and the venue changed from Montreal to Toronto, but with no substantial
results, and the latest prosecutions came to nothing.

2 United States Major General of Volunteers, John A. Dix, Commanding the
Eastern Department, which included Vermont, on the I4th December, 1864, issued
a Proclamation instructing all military commanders on the frontier, in certain
specified cases, to cross the boundary line between the United States and Canada
in pursuit of offenders. This order, having been disavowed by the President of the
United States, was withdrawn three days after its appearance.


Dix, or prevented by any feeling of indignation from carrying
our laws into full force.

I am,

My dear Sir,
Yours very truly,

Thos. Swinyard, Esquire,
Great Western Railway,

P. S. I am glad to see (since writing the above) that Dix’s
order has been disowned at Washington.

From the Hon. John A. Macdonald to Edward Blake, Esq. 1

Quebec, 23 December, 1864.

I have had the pleasure of recommending you as Queen’s
Counsel, and His Excellency’s approval will shortly be
conveyed to you.

Yours faithfully,

Edward Blake, Esq.

From Edward Blake, Esq. to the Hon. John A. Macdonald.

Toronto, December 28th, 1864.

Absence from town prevented my receiving till this morning your note
of ijrd inst. Allow me to thank you for the welcome news conveyed by
it, and believe me to be,

Your faithful and obliged,

The Hon. John A. Macdonald,
Attorney General West

1 Afterwards the Hon. Edward Blake, successively Premier of Ontario; Minister
of Justice and President of the Privy Council (in the Cabinet of Mr. Mackenzie);
Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons of Canada, (1880-1887.) Died,
ist March, 1912.


From the Hon. John A. Macdonald to John Beattie, Esq.


Quebec , 3rd February ‘, fS6j.

I have your letter of the 3oth ulto. and hasten to reply.
The Confederation (scheme) has now been before the
country for some time, and it seems to meet with general, if
not universal, favour. I hear of no meetings against it, and
as yet there have been no petitions transmitted adverse to
the policy. Under these circumstances the Government
have a right to assume, as well as the Legislature, that the
scheme, in principle, meets with the approbation of the
country, and as it would be obviously absurd to submit the
complicated details of such a measure to the people, it is not
proposed to seek their sanction before asking the Imperial
Government to introduce a Bill in the British Parliament.
The Conservative Association should, however, prepare for
the elections, as they cannot be very far off, should the
Confederation scheme be carried into effect.

I am not sorry to learn that Dr. Parker’s 1 popularity is on
the wane. With a good deal of cleverness he is very super-
ficial, and is soon found out. This opinion is of course entre

I am,

My dear Sir,

Yours faithfully,

John Beattie, Esq.,
Barnett Post Office,
C. W.

i T. S. Parker, Esq., M. D., at that time M. P.P. for the North Riding of Welling-
ton, Upper Canada.


From E. W. Watkin, Esq. 1 to the Hon. John A. Macdonald.


Grand Trunk Office,

21 Old Broad Street, E. C.

18 February, 1865.

I was taken to the Colonial Office yesterday by the British North
American Association in whose proceeding I have taken no part since
your friend Mr. Holton and others denounced it as a Grand Trunk institu-

Lord Shaftesbury, Lord Wharncliffe, and the rest, wanted me to assist
them to push Cardwell on in some settlement of the North West Territory,
as to which reports are constantly coming perhaps exaggerated of
possible massacres, and certain Yankee occupation.

When I was in Canada last, I consulted you and Mr. Cartier, and many
others, as to what was best to be done politically with the North West

1. Should it remain as it is a wilderness, as Mr. Robert Lowe recom-
mends ?

2. Should it be an independent Colony? or

3. Should it be annexed to Canada?

Your views and Mr. Carder’s were in favour of a separate Crown
Colony. Mr. George Brown’s view was in favour of a Colony having a
common Customs house with Canada, but a separate Government.

How far Confederation has modified either views I should be glad to

Cardwell asked me to remain after the deputation had gone, and I
gathered the impression generally that he was very anxious to get you
(Canada) to take all the responsibility, so that he would have no vote to
ask for, for the erection of a Crown Colony.

It seems to me as an outsider, that it would be a great mistake for
Canada to take the responsibility of governing the North West, as part of
herself, and especially on the question of defence ist. against the Indians,
and 2nd against the Yankees but of course if you see your way to doing
it those of us who simply want to see the country settled, could make no
objection but if you really want the British Government to found and be
responsible for a new Colony, you had better let me know, and I will put
the idea into the minds of our friends who wish it.

Of course I write confidentially, but there is no reason why you should
not mention the fact that I have written, to Mr. Cartier or Mr. Gait
or Mr. Brown should you desire it.

I never like to intrude myself in Canadian affairs, as I have had so many
snubbings for doing it therefore if any offer of service, and request for

X A leading English railway magnate; President of the Grand Trunk Railway
(1861-1863); a member of the Imperial House of Commons. In later life an ardent
advocate of a channel tunnel between Dover and Calais. “Cardwell,” to whom Mr.
Watkin refers in his letter, was the Hon. Edward (subsequently Viscount) Card-
well, Secretary of State for the Colonies, 1864-1866.


information, is looked upon as an intrusion by anybody, just burn this
letter, and do not trouble yourself to answer it.

I have had some very serious talks recently with Bright about Canada
and the States, and we have gradually worked up an idea as to the. possi-
bility of neutralizing Canadian territory in the event of a war between the
United States and England. The idea is at present very crude and may
be utterly Utopian, but influential as Bright is at present with the Govern-
ment of the United States, I can see, tho’ somewhat mistily, that we might
make him of great service in suggesting, and then negotiating some mea-
sure, based on the theory which neutralized your Lakes, but would save
Canada the cost of an excessive military preparation, and prevent her soil
becoming like portions of Holland, Prussia, and of Northern Hindustan,
for example, the battle field for human passions, to be laid waste whenever
England choses to quarrel with the States, or the States with England
apart from Canadian questions.

Faithfully yours

The Hon. John A. Macdonald.


From the Hon. John A. Macdonald to the Hon. J. H. Gray 1 fj


Quebec, March 241^ 1865.

Many thanks for your letter of the 8th instant.

The course of the New Brunswick Government in dis-
solving their Parliament, and appealing to the people, was
unstatesmanlike and unsuccessful, as it deserved to be. Mr.
Tilley should have called his Parliament together, and, in
accordance with the agreement of the Conference at Quebec,
submitted the scheme. Whatever might have been the
result in the legislature, the subject would have been fairly
discussed and its merits understood, and if he had been
defeated, he then had an appeal to the people. As it was,
the scheme was submitted without its being understood or
appreciated, and the inevitable consequences followed.

I regret to find that the course of events in New Bruns-
wick has frightened the legislature in Nova Scotia. In
Canada you see that we carried the Address, in both Houses,
by majorities of nearly three to one, and we now send four
of our Ministers to England to take stock, to use a mercantile

i Colonel the Hon. John Hamilton Gray, C.M.G., at that time Premier of
Prince Edward Island.


phrase, with the British Government, and to see what can
best be done.

We intend also to arrange, if possible, the subject of
defence. I do not at all despair of carrying out our great
project sooner or later. I quite agree with you that the
British Government will carry their point, if they only
adopt vigorous measures to that end, and we shall spare no
pains to impress the necessity of such a course upon them,
with what success remains to be seen.

Your course in the crisis in Prince Edward Island was
only what we anticipated from a soldier and a gentleman,
and long after present events have lost their interest, it will
dwell in the memories of your family and your friends.

Pray present my best regards to those of the Prince Ed-
ward delegation whom you may meet, always excepting
Messrs. Palmer and Coles.

Believe me,
My dear Sir,

Sincerely yours.


The Hon. John Hamilton Gray,
Inkerman House,
Prince Edward Island.

In the month of April, 1865, a delegation consisting of
Messrs. Macdonald, Cartier, Brown and Gait, proceeded to
England for the purpose of talking over with Her Majesty’s
Government certain questions relating to Confederation,
Defence and the future relations of the Colonies to the
mother country. They returned early in July.

From the Hon. C. Tupper to the Hon. John A. Macdonald.

April 9th, 1865.

I intend to-morrow night to move the following resolution, and I am
anxious that you should fully understand our position.

“WHEREAS, under existing circumstances, an immediate Union of the
British North American Provinces has become impracticable;

“AND WHERAS, a Legislative Union of the Maritime Provinces is de-
sirable, whether the larger Union be accomplished or not;


“RESOLVED, that in the opinion of this House the negotiations for the
Union of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, should
be renewed in accordance with the Resolution passed at the last session
of the Legislature.”

You are well aware that I was very sanguine when in Canada that the
Quebec scheme could be carried here. I knew that it would be exces-
sively easy to excite our people on the question of taxation, but the organ
of the Opposition being conducted by Mr. McCully,i secured the support
of the two leading journals which influence public opinion, and with the
Government and Messrs. Archibald 2 and McCully in favour, and Mr.
Howe 3 neutralized as an Imperial Officer, if he did not assist, I knew no
effectual opposition could be raised to our arrangements. A number of
the leading merchants here, many of them supporters of the Government,
were strongly opposed to Confederation with Canada, and they were
joined by several of the members in Opposition to the Government, but
it would not have given us the slightest trouble, had not Howe assumed
the leadership of the party, allowing his name to be freely used as opposed
to the measure. Mr. McCully was then deposed from the editorial charge
of the Morning Chronicle, and Mr. Howe putting Annand 4 forward as the
ostensible editor, took his place. Both Archibald and McCully have re-
mained as true as steel, but it is doubtful if they could bring over two
votes in the Assembly, and the hands of the Government have been more
than correspondingly weakened by the alliance on this question with their
opponents, and although apparently numerically strong, we have been
paralyzed by the introduction of the assessment for the support of schools
to such an extent as to shake the confidence of their supporters in the
prospect of success in case of an appeal to the people. At this conjunc-
ture, when an appeal to the people had been adopted as a war cry, Tilley
announced his determination to yield to that demand, and followed it up
by a dissolution. Had he succeeded by great sacrifices and exertions, we
could, I think, have secured a bare majority, but the moment he failed I
found that all my ingenuity would be required to avert the passage of a
hostile Resolution. Here, as in New Brunswick, the opponents of Con-
federation profess to favour a union of the Maritime Provinces, although

1 The Hon. Jonathan McCully, a member of the Legislative Council of Nova
Scotia; one of the Fathers of Confederation.

2 Afterwards the Hon. Sir Adams Archibald, K.C.M.G. One of the Fathers of
Confederation. Secretary of State for the Provinces in the first Dominion Cabinet.
Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba (1870-1872); of Nova Scotia (1873-1883).
Died, I4th December, 1892.

3 The Hon. Joseph Howe, the celebrated anti-Confederate leader in Nova Scotia,
who afterwards abandoned his opposition and entered Sir John Macdonald’s
Government. President of the Privy Council (1869-1873), when he resigned to
become Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia in which office he died, ist June, 1873.

In 1863, Mr. Howe had been appointed Imperial Fisheries Commissioner, which
withdrew him from active participation in the Confederation controversy.

4 William Annand, a determined opponent of Confederation in Nova Scotia;
afterwards Premier of the Province.


I am satisfied it will be rejected in N. B. as well as in P. E. Island. As I
knew the Opposition would bring this forward as a counter proposal,
and that two thirds of our House must go for it, I thought it better to
bring it forward in a subsidiary form. If adopted it will promote the
larger union, and place it on a better footing, and if lost it will remove the
question out of the way of Confederation. Any negotiation under it must
have a good effect upon N. B., and it will leave us in the best position
to agitate the subject. Twelve months will, I believe, find a decided
majority in the present Parliament being in favour of Confederation.
While any resolution in favour would have been negatived after it was
decided against in New Brunswick, a majority of the members are favour-
able, and unless I am deceived, a few months will bring the constituencies
right, as they will be kept free from committing themselves.

Ever yours,

The Hon. John A. Macdonald.

From the Hon. A. Campbell 1 to the Hon. John A. Mac-

Kingston, 18 May, 1865.

I am up here for a few days on private affairs, having managed to get
friend Cockburn 2 to take his turn at the wheel. Nothing had been heard
from you when I left, but I am on the lookout for a letter from you now.
We had the memo, of the first conversation between Cartier and Gait and
Mr. Cardwell. Our friends seemed to be pushing their arguments home.
I trust that you may succeed the country is depressed beyond example
and men talk of annexation, who a few months ago would have resented as
an insult any imputation of the sentiments they now openly profess. Our
Quebec conference has ‘certainly had a marked influence in directing men’s
thoughts to the alternatives before the country. If you succeed Con-
federation goes on, and the reciprocity treaty be renewed we shall settle
down to work out our destiny as a portion of the Empire, with a future
as a monarchy in the dim distance. But if you fail, and our farmers are
again placed in a position of inferiority as compared with those in the
United States we shall be republicans in our own day, I think.

1 Afterwards Sir Alexander Campbell, K.C.M.G. One of the Fathers of
Confederation. A colleague of Sir John Macdonald in successive Conservative
administrations from 1864 to 1873, and from 1878 to 1887, when he resigned to
become Lieuten ant-Governor of Ontario, in which post he died, 24th May, 1892.

2 The Hon. James Cockburn. One of the Fathers of Confederation. Solicitor
General from 1864 until the Union. First Speaker of the House of Commons
(1867-1872). Re-elected at the opening of the second Parliament. Died, I4th
August, 1883.


We have had no excitement at Quebec since you left. Langevini has
generally had some little axe to grind, but everyone else has been resting.
We got Chapais 2 to advertise for tenders for the Governor’s residence by
dint of pushing. The day has not yet arrived for opening them I think.

. . . . Kingston is dreadfully dull more so than usual, or I am
more struck with it half a dozen people in the street and every fellow with
a look of despondency.

I look for you about aoth of June. My regards to Gait and Cartier.
Ever faithfully yours,

From J. P. Lightjoot) D.D., Pro-Vice-chancellor, to the Hon.
John A. Macdonald.

Oxford, June 9, 1865.

Although I can only make my proposal to the Council on Monday next,
I am so sure that your name and position will command a favourable
reception of my proposition that in any arrangements which you may have
to make, you may entirely calculate on the result viz: that the University
will rejoice in having the opportunity of conferring the honorary Degree
of D.C.L. on you at the time of the Commemoration, viz. Wednesday,
June 2ist.

I have the honour to be,


Your faithful servant,

The following note tends to confirm the statement of Sir
John Macdonald as to the pleasant relations which sub-
sisted between Mr. George Brown and himself during their
association as members of the Coalition Government formed
to carry Confederation, more particularly on the occasion

1 Afterwards the Hon. Sir Hector Louis Langevin, K.C.M.G., C.B. One of the
Fathers of Confederation. Solicitor General for Lower Canada (1864-1865) and
Postmaster General 1865, until the Union. Was Secretary of State of Canada
(1867-1869). Minister of Public Works (1869-1873 and 1879-1891). Post-
master General (1878-1879). Died, nth June 1906.

2 The Hon. Jean Charles Chapais. One of the Fathers of Confederation. A
colleague of Sir John Macdonald. Commissioner of Public Works in the second
Tache-Macdonald administration, March, 1864, which office he continued to fill
until Confederation. Sworn of the Privy Council, ist July, 1867, and appointed
Minister of Agriculture. Was afterwards (1869-1873) Receiver General in the
first Cabinet of the Dominion. A Senator of Canada (1868-1885). Died, I7th
July, 1885.


of their mission to England in 1865. (Memoirs, Vol. I.
p. 265).

From the Hon. A. T. Gait to the Hon. John A. Macdonald.

Liverpool, ijth June, 1865.

Brown is quite pleased with the letter and with his own signature, though
he says you have omitted the “flourish” at the tail.
He is satisfied about McDougall as the best thing that could be done.
Your and McGee’s rooms are all right for the 24th.
Regards to Cartier, McGee and Bernard.

Yours ever,

Hon. J. A. Macdonald.

From Lt. Governor Sir R. G. MacDonnell J to the Hon. John
A. Macdonald.

Government House,

Halifax, 20th September, 1865.

Amidst the hurry and worry of parting, I must thank you for your good
wishes towards myself as Mandarin of Hong Kong.

I wish before I left, the Delphic Oracle had spoken out a little more
plainly in reference to the Intercolonial Railway.

I have done my best to forward the Confederate cause by squeezing
as much as possible of civility and frankness out of Lord Monck’s last
narrow and somewhat reluctant avowal of Canada’s willingness to abide
by any course England may suggest.

In matters of that kind it has always seemed to me the best states-
manship to speak out boldly and frankly if one means to make a con-
cession and so get full credit for it. I almost begin now to think that
there may be something in the suspicions of the Anti Federals as to the
possible postponement of the Intercolonial by an Ottawa Parliament!!

I wish I could have run up to Canada for a week or ten days. It would
have afforded me and Lady MacDonnell [sic] to have renewed our ac-
quaintance with some of our friends at Quebec and Montreal. Lady
MacDonnell sends her love to Monsr. Cartier at which I am furious.

As yet I have no idea who will administer here. I hope he will be able
to complete some of my projected reforms and he will find an ample field
for improvement. I hope we shall meet again and you will always find
me ready to break a lance with you whether for an Intercolonial Railway,
or a fairer and more chivalrous motive.

Ever most sincerely yours,

Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia (1864-1865): Governor of Hong Kong
(1865-1872). Died, 5th February, 1881.


From Governor-General the Viscount Monck, to the Hon.
John A. Macdonald.


London, October 26, 1865.

I should have written to you before, but I had nothing to communicate,
as on my arrival here from Canada, I found that Mr. Cardwell 1 was absent
from town in attendance on the Queen. I only saw him last Friday on
my return from Ireland and his from Scotland.

You will already know that the arrangement of the Lower Provinces is
that Mr. Gordon 2 returns to New Brunswick and Sir F. Williams 3 goes to
Nova Scotia. This had been settled before I arrived in England. Mr.
Gordon has gone out under instructions from Mr. Cardwell to further the
cause of Union by every means within his power, and Sir F. Williams will,
of course, give the movement every assistance in his province, and I trust
both will be successful.

The proposal for a Provincial mission to the South American States
and the West Indies has been sanctioned 4 and I am writing on the subject
by this mail to Gait.

I am much surprised to find how extensively but noiselessly the opinion
that the colonies should be allowed to shape their own destinies, without
interference on the part of the mother country, in working its way in the
public mind. It is in our colonial policy the counterpart of “non-inter-
ference” in our foreign administration, and derives its vitality from
precisely the same set of feelings and motives.

I think we have checked the operation of this principle very much by
the proposal for erecting B. N. A. into a state which might be trusted
with the complete management of all its own concerns, either in a condi-
tion of absolute or qualified independence, but you may depend upon
it that it will come again to the surface with renewed vigour if our scheme

I am glad to find the visit of the maritime trade delegations passed off

1 Then Secretary of State for the Colonies.

2 Sir Arthur Hamilton-Gordon, afterwards (1893) 1st Baron Stanmore. Lieuten-
ant-Go vernor of New Brunswick (1861-1866). Opposed to Confederation of the
British North American provinces, and was, in consequence, transferred to Trini-
dad. Familiarly known in New Brunswick as “Thy Servant Arthur”, from his
having given directions, when Lieutenant-Governor, that he should be publicly
prayed for in the Anglican liturgy under that appellation. Died, 3oth January,

8 Lieutenant General Sir William Fenwick Williams, Bart., K.C.B. The hero
of Kars. Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia, July to October, 1867.

4 See Memoirs, Vol. I, pp. 292 and 369.

5 See preceding note.


so well, and I trust they have taken some sound notions home with them
on their return.

Poor Lord Palmerston is to be buried to-morrow in Westminster Abbey
and we shall then know what is to be the new arrangement of the Govern-
ment. At present little is known beyond the fact that Lord Russell is
Premier and Lord Clarendon Foreign Minister, with Gladstone to lead in
the Commons.

Believe me to be,
Yours most truly,
The Hon. John A. Macdonald.

From Governor-General the Viscount Monck to the Hon. John
A. Macdonald.

Private. Charkville, Enniskitlen,

December 20, 1865.

I have not written to you lately for I really had nothing of the smallest
interest to tell you. I returned last night from London whither I had gone
for a couple of days to arrange some matters connected with the West
India Mission which I trust is now satisfactorily arranged. I am writing
about it to Gait by this post.

Mr. Cardwell showed me his private communications from Mr. Gordon
and from them I have come to the conclusion that the success of the
Union next spring in New Brunswick may be looked upon as certain. I
would not say this to New Brunswickers, because it might induce them
to relax their efforts, but for the regulation of our own movements, I think
we may assume that the fact is so.

Under these circumstances I think we ought now to make our arrange-
ments so that we shall be sure not to interpose any delay in obtaining the
necessary Imperial legislation next session.

For this purpose it will be necessary that all Colonial legislative action
shall be concluded by the middle or, at the very latest, the end of April, and
that the delegates should be in London by the beginning of May. This is
later than Mr. Cardwell expects, but I think this will do. Now I presume
our Parliament must discuss the form of the local governments before the
Imperial measure shall have been passed. If so we should be prepared
to meet not later than the middle of March. If considered desirable,
the session might be confined in its operations to finishing what remains
to be done of the work of Union.

I mean to return to Canada (D.V.) early in February as I think I ought
to be there when the Union is being discussed in the Lower Provinces, and
in the event of its success I mean to accompany the Colonial delegation to

1 Charles Stanley, 4th Viscount Monck. Governor-General of the Province of
Canada (1861-1867) and of the Dominion of Canada (1867-1868). Died, agth
November, 1894.


England in the month of May. I wish you would kindly write me your
opinion on all this as soon as you can. I hope the state of the buildings at
Ottawa will not offer any physical obstacle to holding an early session, but
coute que coitte, if matters progress as I hope and expect in New Bruns-
wick, an early session is essential to the passing of the Union Bill here next
year, unless you think the discussion of the local Government question
might be postponed to the passing of the Imperial Act, but to this I see
many great objections.

I am writing on this subject to Brown pretty much in the same sense
I write you. I know you will communicate with Carder, therefore I do
not write to him by this mail.

Believe me to be,

Most truly yours,

The Hon. John A. Macdonald.

From the Hon. John A. Macdonald to S. I. Lynn, Esq.
Private. Ottawa, April loth, 1866.


I have your letter of the 4th instant on the subject of the
appointment for the county of Renfrew, in which you express
your expectation that the county appointments will be made
from the Conservative ranks. You write as if you thought
that the present government was a strictly Conservative one.
Now you must remember that in March, 1 864, on the resigna-
tion of Mr. Sandfield Macdonald and his Government, a
homogeneous Conservative administration was formed by
Sir Etienne Tache and myself, and that in consequence of
the Conservative party being weak, numerically, in the
House of Assembly, that government was defeated. As
the leader of the Conservatives in Upper Canada, I then had
the option either of forming a coalition government or of
handing over the administration of affairs to the Grit party
for the next ten years. I chose the first alternative and a
coalition government was formed, consisting so far as
Upper Canada is concerned, of three Conservatives and
three Liberals. It is now my bounden duty to sustain that
government to the utmost of my power, and in order to do
so, I must act with perfect impartiality towards its supporters
in the Legislature, whether their politics are Conservative
or clear Grit. If the Conservatives of Renfrew, instead of
quarrelling about their county town, had elected a Con-


servative member, there would have been no difficulty in
the matter. As it is, the appointments will be considered
by the six members of Council from Upper Canada, who
will decide what is just and fair under the circumstances.
I have had several similar remonstrances from the City of
Toronto against Reform appointments there, but my answer
has been that as soon as Toronto returns Conservative mem-
bers, it will get Conservative appointments, but not before.

Yours faithfully,

Eganville, C. W.

From the Eon John A. Macdonaldto the Hon. Peter Mitchell
Private. Ottawa, April loth, 1866.


I duly received your letter of the 23rd ultimo which took
a tremendous long time to reach here. The Telegraph of
yesterday informed me that you have not yet got through
your vote of want of confidence in the Lower House, but that
you are in the midst of a ministerial crisis, in consequence of
Mr. Gordon’s reply to the address from your branch of the
Legislature. I hope this is correct, and that you will be
able to form an administration that will at once carry Con-
federation. I regretted a good deal Fisher’s motion. It
ought to have succeeded and not preceded the answer to the
address, and looking at it from this distance it seems to us as
if it were playing Mr. Smith’s game. However, there is no
use in looking backwards and I wish you Unionists all suc-
cess in forming a good and strong Confederation ministry.

Canada is not in a position to discuss the expediency of
making any alterations in the Quebec scheme. Both
branches of the Legislature have adopted that scheme as a
whole, and they laid it by address at the foot of the Throne.
Her Majesty has replied through Her Colonial Minister,
approving, on the whole, of the scheme. It is now therefore
altogether out of our hands and beyond our control. We
cannot withdraw our address or submit it for reconsideration
to our Legislature. The Imperial Government is now the
arbiter, and after weighing the representations from the


different Provinces, it will adopt such course as in its opinion
will be for the benefit of all. Meanwhile, you must under-
stand that, so far as Canada is concerned, we must adhere
to the Resolutions of the Quebec Conference.

At the moment I am writing this letter, you are, I fancy,
in great excitement about the Fenians. I really would not
be surprised if these rascals gave you some trouble. The
leaders have been duping the masses so long, and have
robbed them of such sums of money, that they must do
something to avert popular indignation. They have found
that we are too strong for them, and therefore they will
make a dash at you. But it will end in a fiasco I have no
doubt, and they will be thoroughly drubbed for their pains,
if they make the attack. Meanwhile, however, it is an
anxious time for you. Give my best respects to S. L. T[illey]
and all other friends and,

Believe me,
Yours faithfully,

Hon. Peter Mitchell, 1

Fredericton, N. B.

From the Hon. John A. Macdonald to Adam Crooks, Esq.

Ottawa, July ijth, 1866.


I did what I could to secure a member for the University,
but failed. More’s the pity.

Yours faithfully,

Adam Crooks, Esq., 2

iThe Hon. Peter Mitchell, Premier of New Brunswick (1866-1867). One of
the Fathers of Confederation. Minister of Marine and Fisheries in the First
Dominion Cabinet (1867-1873). A Senator of Canada (1867-1872). Member of
the House of Commons, (1872-78; 1882-1890). Died, 26th October, 1899.

2 A former Vice Chancellor of the University of Toronto. Minister of Education
in the Provincial Government of Ontario under the Hon. Oliver Mowat.


From the Hon. John A. Macdonald to Lt.-General Sir John
Michel, K.C.B.

Ottawa, 28th August, 1866.

I yesterday received a confidential note from Lord Monck
informing me that you and he had applied to England for
reinforcements, which I was very glad to learn. As he has
telegraphed that Canada would provide barracks, we must
lose no time in making the necessary enquiries. Colonel
Wily leaves to-day at one P.M. to visit London and Paris 2
as suggested by you to Lord Monck. He can do no more
than enquire, until it is known that the Home Govern-
ment have acceded to your request. Supposing the re-
quest granted, it is for you to point out the places you desire
in a military point of view. We can inform you where the
most comfortable and suitable barrack accommodation can
be found. As we are in a state of semi-war, I suppose you
will allow the soldiers to be packed closer than they would
be in a time of complete peace, and in regularly constructed
barracks. We have a very good barrack here fitted for a
wing of a regiment, and with a little squeezing it would hold
400 men. We could easily provide quarters for a battalion,
and I presume you would think this an eligible place. The
men cannot readily desert, and the railway can carry them to
the front in i\ hours, in case of Prescott or Fort Wellington
being threatened. Barracks I think could be obtained
readily at Hamilton, St. Catharines, Woodstock and Chat-
ham, besides London and Paris. There would be no diffi-
culty in providing for another battalion in Kingston. The
Royal Canadian Rifles with their families, occupied bar-
racks there which formerly provided room for two battalions
and a demi-battery of artillery. Comfortable residences
could easily be provided for the women and children there.
I do not know whether additional buildings can be got at

1 Lieutenant General Sir John Michel, K.C.B. , commanding Her Majesty’s
Forces in Canada at the time. This letter relates to military preparations to meet
the Fenian Raid of 1866.

2 Ontario.


Stratford but will enquire. Belleville and Cobourg are on
the line of the G. T. R., the former about 56 miles from
Kingston, the later 70 miles from Toronto. I shall be glad
to learn your views as to localities, and remain,

My dear Sir John Michel,
Faithfully yours,


Lt. Genl. Sir John Michel, K.C.B.

From the Hon. John A. Macdonald to R. J. Cartwright y Esq. 1

Ottawa, September i?th y 1866.

The Adjutant General has been absent at the camp at
Thorold, at Montreal and Quebec, on urgent military duty,
and until he arrives here, I shall not be able to enter into the
subject of Drill Sheds. I have your note about Napanee,
which, of course, will be considered when the whole subject
is taken up.

You will see that Her Majesty’s Government has at last
sent us out troops. They ought to have come out some
time ago, and it was only after pressing remonstrances that
they have been so sent. You may depend upon it that
everything in the way of precautions has been taken: but
the public generally are not disposed to believe it. Because
they do not see what we are doing, in the newspapers, they
think we are doing nothing.

There is not a more active or zealous officer than Sir John
Michel, and we may rest satisfied when he is more than

1 Afterwards the Right Hon. Sir Richard John Cartwright, G.C.M.G. Minister
of Finance in the Cabinet of Mr. Mackenzie (1873-1878), and Minister of Trade and
Commerce in that of Sir Wilfrid Laurier (1896-1911). Appointed a member of
His Majesty’s Privy Council, ipth November, 1902 (never sworh). Died, 24th
September, 1912.


satisfied with the preparations that have been made to resist
any attack.

Faithfully yours,


R. J. Cartwright, Esq., M.P.P.,

From the Hon. John A. Macdonald to the Adjutant General
of Militia,

Ottawa, September ifth, 1866.

I enclose you a letter from W. C. Allen, the Mayor of
Cornwall. He is an exceedingly active and energetic man,
and is devotedly loyal to the Crown. If you can forward his
views I shall be very happy.

Also a note from Mr. Cartwright, M.P.P., asking me that
Major Sweatman, Adolphustown, should be made Lieut-
Colonel. I cannot get people to understand that these
communications should be made to the Adjutant-General’s
Department, and you must come out with a new Militia
General order and notice on the subject. Meanwhile, as
Cartwright takes great interest in Militia matters, and al-
ways supports us, l if it is right that Sweatman should get
the promotion, he may as well get it.

Also a letter from Dr. Morris which I found on my return.
He is a relative of Captain King who was wounded at Ridge-
way. He wrote to Lord Monck a letter about Captain King
which his lordship referred to me, and a civil answer you see
has brought out a great deal of gratitude.

And also a letter from Dr. Fee of Kingston, asking for
permission to enter the Military School. There seems to
be a cross fire of authority somewhere.

Yours faithfully,

Colonel Macdougall,

Adjutant General of Militia,

1 The letters of this period indicate quite clearly, what one would scarcely gather
from Sir Richard Cartwright’s Reminiscences, that from his entry into Parliament
up to the year 1869, he was a thorough-going supporter of Mr. John A. Macdonald
and the Conservative party.


From the Hon. John A. Macdonald to E. McCollum, Esq.
Private. Ottawa, October 6th, 1866.


I duly received your favour of the i6th ultimo, for which I
thank you. I agree with you that Mr. Brown’s course to-
wards his country was in the highest degree unpatriotic, and
he will find that the good sense of the people of his province
will award him just punishment for it. From a mere desire
to prejudice the ministry which he had abandoned, he threw
aside all regards to the interests of the country, and he
studiously continuously exaggerated the force, the power and
the preparations of the Fenian organization, while at the
same time he attempted to intimidate the people of Canada
by representing most falsely and wickedly that they were in
a state of utter defencelessness. His course was quite suffi-
cient to cause a panic, had it not been for the stout hearts
of the people. Had the advice of the Globe been taken, the
province would have had at least 20,000 men under arms
since August, and this too in harvest time, amidst a great
want of labour for that season. It would have lost the
province at least half a million of money, the volunteers
withdrawn from their business would have been ruined or
nearly so, and in fact such dissatisfaction would have existed
among them that would have gone far to destroy the force.
On the other hand, the Government allowed the Volunteers
to attend to their work, knowing that their services could
be procured, as they were before, on twenty-four hours
notice. The Government have always been fully informed
as to the movements of the Fenians, and the result shows
that their preparations have been quite sufficient to prevent
a Fenian invasion. I trust that all serious danger from
these people is over, and that much of the expense to which
the Province has been put may hereafter be saved. It is
still requisite however, so long as the combination of these
misguided people exists, to take proper precautions, which
we shall do.

You recommend the arming of the general body of Militia.
Some system of that kind must be adopted when the Pro-
vinces are confederated and when Parliament has under


consideration one uniform system of Militia for British
America. Meanwhile, of course we were obliged to depend
upon the Volunteers, who are on the whole well drilled, and
are much more than a match for all the Fenians that will
ever cross our border.

Again thanking you for your interesting letter,
Believe me to be,
My dear Sir,

Yours faithfully,

E. McCollum, Esq., J ohn A ” Mac <*nald. Duart, C.W. From the Hon. 'John A. Macdonald to George Stevenson, Esq., Ottawa, October nth, 1866. SIR, I have to acknowledge your letter of the 8th instant in which you allude to your previous application on behalf of your son for the registrarship of Lambton. In that letter you have offered me the great insult of proffering a bribe of $ 1,000 a year for four years in consideration of your son being appointed to the office. If I did my duty I should not only publish your letter, but take legal proceedings against you. I shall, however, abstain from doing so as at present advised. I must, however, inform you that the fact of your having written me such a letter must prevent me from submitting your son's name at all to His Excellency for the office. I am, Sir, Your obedient servant. ^, c T7 JOHN A. MACDONALD. George btevenson, Esq., Sarnia. From the Hon. John A. Macdonald to Governor-General the Viscount Monck. Ottawa, October fjth, 1866. MY DEAR LORD MONCK, To your first question "Is high treason felony" I would say, that treason is felony and something more. It is SIR JOHN MACDONALD 39 the highest crime known to the law, involving the severest penalties, as attainder for treason forfeits both life and property without reservation. Sir Edward Coke says: "Treason itself was anciently comprised under name of felony" and Blackstone also says: "all treasons therefore, strictly speaking, are felonies, though all felonies are not treasons." I think however, that before the statutes of last session, a British subject could not have been tried for felony only, but that he must have been indicted for treason. In order to protect the subject from the great power of the Crown, a person accused of treason can only be con- victed on the oath of two lawful witnesses, unless a voluntary confession, and there are certain provisions as to serving him with a list of the witnesses, and panel of jury &c., &c., which are not required in mere felonies. Your second question is "Can you make a particular deed felony with respect to one class of offenders in a country, without making it so with regard to every person who com- mits it?" I think you can, indeed the Upper Canada statute of 1838 drew the distinction, and provides that British subjects or foreigners might be tried by Court Martial, and that for- eigners might be tried for felony also. After the passing of that Act, and before the Act of last session, the sub- ject could only be tried by a Court Martial or for high treason. There will be great difficulty in identifying the prisoners generally, and it will be almost impossible to get the evidence of two witnesses against the British subjects if tried for treason. As it would never do to let these go scot free and only convict citizens of the United States, the British subjects must either be tried for the felony or by Court Martial. I should like to hear from Your Excellency on this point as soon as possible. Believe me My dear Lord Monck, Faithfully yours, JOHN A. MACDONALD. His Excellency The Governor-General. 4 o CORRESPONDENCE OF From the Hon. John A. Macdonald to M. le Comte de la Fouchere. Ottawa, October 2Jth> 1866.

I have had the honour to receive your letter in which you
desire information relative to the late Sir Allan MacNab
and I hope that the following may meet the points you

The father and mother of Sir Allan MacNab died in this
country many years since. Sir Allan had one brother (David)
who died in consequence of illness the result of being on
service at Navy Island during the Rebellion. He had also
four sisters, Ann, still unmarried Maria, who married Cap-
tain Stuart who was Registrar of Wentworth Hannah, still
unmarried, and Lucy who married the late John O’Hatt.
They are all residing in Hamilton, Canada West.

The father of Sir Allan was a retired officer of the Army.
Sir Allan had one son (Robert) who was accidentally killed
at about the age of eleven years, and one daughter (Anna
Jane) who married Mr. Davenport of Her Majesty’s Com-
missariat these were by his first marriage. He had two
daughters by his second wife Sophia, who married Viscount
Bury, eldest son of the Earl of Albemarle, and Mary
Stuart, who married John A. Daly, son of Sir Dominick
Daly, Governor of Western Australia. The daughters are
all alive but I am not sure of their ages.

I am not aware whether the children speak French, but I
should think in all probability they do. I fear that you
must be misinformed that Sir Allan MacNab left a large
fortune. I am not aware what the facts of the case may be,
but am under the impression that his estate would have
been small.

I have the honour to be

Your obedient servant

Monsieur le Comte de la Fouchere.

Toward the close of the year 1866, and during the open-
ing months of 1867, the delegates from the Provinces of


Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick were assembled in
conference in London settling the terms of Confederation.

From Sir Charles Adderley 1 to the Hon. John A. Macdonald.

Colonial Office, January /oo

” ” weight 32,500

Total $88,100

He said these tables must be wrong; but we will have all that up to-morrow.

1 Mr. (afterwards Sir) Edward Thornton, G.C.B., was at that time the British
Minister in Washington.

2 The Hon. Hamilton Fish was Secretary of State of the United States.

8 General Schenck was afterwards one of the American members of the Interna-
tional Joint High Commission which met in Washington in 1871.


I told him we could not continue the considerate policy we had pursued ever
since the Treaty was repealed, much longer; that public opinion would
not sustain any Government in continuing to overlook the immediate in-
terest of their own people; that we had been more than friendly in our
efforts to prevent illicit trade springing up on the frontier; that we had
almost winked at the fishermen exercising their vocations without payment
of license dues; that we rarely enquired into the nationality of vessels going
through the Canals; that we had resisted the imposition of duties on their
products such as coal, salt, hops, flour, etc., and that unless there was
very practical evidence now of a desire to liberalise our trade relations,
they must be prepared for a very different policy at the hands of any
Government of Canada.

I told him besides that they must not suppose we were dependent on it;
that our people had found and were pushing their staples into new markets,
and that the trade in many things which was formerly done through the
U. S. is now being done partly by Americans in Canada direct with foreign
countries (witness the lumber shipments to South America from Three
Rivers), and that in regard to many of the most important staples the
export to the U. S. had increased and the prices had not fallen since the
Treaty was repealed, etc.

Mr. Thornton thinks an impression was made, but I am not so sanguine.
Time will tell. I will report more after our interview to-morrow. The
heat here is worse than I have ever felt it in this world, or hope to find in
the next. I will apprise you of my moves and if I can make any headway,
I shall remain here as long as necessary.

Believe me to be,

Sincerely yours,


From the Hon. A. T. Gait to Sir John Macdonald.
Confidential. Montreal, 2 18/2.


Thanks for your kind letter of the 3 1 st. I think I cannot do
better than tell you the whole Scott story from the beginning.

The week before your session commenced, I got a letter
from Carling urging me to see Scott and induce him to accept
the Speakership. As I thought his appointment would be a
good coup, I readily acted, and talked Scott into taking the
chair. He was exceedingly irate at Sandfield for his treat-
ment about the Canada Central, and to put matters right,
sundry telegrams passed between Carling and myself which
resulted in Scott’s agreeing to be nominated. The session
commenced, your troubles came on, and you resigned.

I received a telegram from Scott informing me that he had
been offered office, that he had written me in full, and asking

1 The reference here is to the treaty with the Zollverein dated, joth May, 1865,
article 7.


me to show the letter to Hincks. Having ascertained that
the mail would be late in consequence of the snow, I tele-
graphed him accordingly.

In the morning I was waited upon by a number of the
lumbermen who said they had received telegrams from
Scott, asking them to come and see me as to his taking
office. My reply was that Scott had telegraphed me that
he had written in full, and that I could not discuss the matter
with them until I heard from him further. I said that I
would see them again in the afternoon after Scott’s letter
had arrived. The letter arrived but was marked private
and confidential. In it Scott asked me to see Hincks and
answer him back in cypher. The lumbermen saw me again,
and I told them that his letter was marked private and con-
fidential, and, therefore, that I was not in a position to discuss
the matter with them at all. I said that Scott would be
down, and would no doubt make his own explanations to

I may say that Scott wrote that under no circumstances
would he take office until he had conferred with me and his
other friends personally. I therefore expected that the
lumbermen would not finally decide upon any course, until
Scott arrived. They were unanimous in favour of his taking
office, for obvious reasons. In this, I think, they were mis-
taken, because Scott cannot even do them justice now
without being suspected, but that was their affair.

Much to my surprise, before I could answer Scott’s letter,
I received a telegram informing me that he had been sworn
in that day; in fact he must have been sworn in before my
second conversation with the lumbermen. On receipt of his
letter, and before receiving intelligence of his having taken
office, I saw Hincks, and we talked the position fully over.
We agreed that it was quite evident that he was going to take
office whatever advice we might give him, and we prepared
a reply in cypher somewhat to this effect, that we would
not offer advice against his taking office, but that he should
take care that his relations with his colleagues, and between
the two Governments, should be ascertained in writing. This
was, you must understand, in the expectation that according
to his promise, he would take no step without first talking
the whole matter over with us here. Before our telegram


left Ottawa, the news that he was sworn in arrived. My
telegram in fact had gone to the telegraph office a few minutes
before I received the information of his being sworn in, and
my first impulse was to stop it, but after talking the matter
over with Hincks, I let it go.

I may say to you that Scott’s letter stated in the strongest
terms that he remained a Conservative; that his Conserva-
tive alliances were to be unbroken, and that Blake and
Mackenzie assented to this. In fact the letter completely
commits him and them. Being a private letter, I cannot
yet use it, but I will be able to do so in a day or two, if neces-
sary, as I have ascertained that he showed my telegram in
answer, to two M.P.P.’s. So soon as I get their statement
to that effect in writing, I can use his letter at the right time.
Meanwhile I have got a telegram not marked private, ad-
dressed to the Hon. James Skead, and to Mr. Perley, a lead-
ing lumberman here, stating in the strongest terms that he
remains a member of the Conservative party to all intents and
purposes. This I have Skead’s permission to use at any time.

So matters stood when Scott arrived. He came to see
me and we had a long conversation together. I received him
in a friendly way; at the same time I did not hesitate to tell
him that I thought he had made a mistake that he ought
not to have gone into the arrangement, and would have very
great difficulty in keeping his name free from the stain of
treachery; and that he would have hard work to sever him-
self in public opinion from Wood, whose reputation, if he
ever had any, was damned to all eternity.

He denied in the strongest language that he had in any way
intrigued against Sandfield’s Government. He said that
he had not hesitated to state to Sandfield himself, as to
others, that he ought to have resigned on the vote of want of
confidence, but that he had no conversation with the other
side until after your Government had fallen. That then
he had to consider that he was charged with great interests
that the interests of this section of the country, especially
the lumber interest, would fare badly if Blake were forced
to take western men exclusively that besides, he had by
his personal assurances got English capitalists to put their
money into the Canada Central, and that he felt himself
bound to protect them. He further said that when Blake


spoke to him he replied that it was impossible for him to go
into the Government in consequence of his Conservative
alliances that Blake answered that he need not be deterred
by that, as he would be at liberty to steer his own course,
and to act with his own friends in Dominion matters and the
general politics of the country as a whole that the Local
Government had a specified and restricted range of action,
and that as their sentiments agreed upon the subjects of
legislation committed to the Local Government, he might
safely come in.

I asked him why he had been sworn in before the personal
conference which he had promised to have with Hincks and
myself. His reply was that Blake had agreed to the delay,
but found that the objection taken by the Opposition against
granting a vote of credit with an incomplete administration,
had great weight with his followers and might prevail, and
that therefore it was necessary to fill the Government at
once. Blake said that as he was obliged to fill in the office
without delay, unless Scott agreed to take it, he must ask
O’Donoghue or some other western Catholic. Scott had in
the meantime received a series of telegrams from his friends
here advising him to accept, and under the combined pres-
sure of Blake and his friends, he consented. A great deal
more passed between us, the general result being that my
opinion as to his mistake was unchanged. I also told him
that as he was an old personal and political friend and sup-
porter, I did not desire to see him politically and socially
ruined that I thought he might, although it would be very
difficult, retain, or rather regain, his position in public
estimation if he steered a straight course, distinctly defining
his position as a Conservative, and acting steadily with the
Conservative party on general questions. I said to him that
he was bound to act with every fairness towards his new
colleagues, and not embarrass them in their local sphere;
but, that he should take great care not to drift into Grittism
which he would find it very hard to avoid.

I asked him what he was going to do about the local
elections that were about going on. His reply was that
when a Conservative and a Grit were running, if the Conser-
vative promised to give the Government a fair trial, he
would not interfere, but that of course he must work against


any person who was determined to oppose Blake’s Govern-
ment. I said that this was reasonable enough, and so we

In taking the course with Scott that I have just described
to you, I was actuated by my usual desire to make the best
of a bad state of things. He might possibly have been
defeated here, but it would have been a desperate contest,
as the whole of the lumbering interest, who look forward to
all kinds of arrangements about limits, would have spent
any amount of money to secure his election. And he had
managed by an unsparing use of the wires to secure answers
from most of the leading people in Ottawa, promising sup-
port. Besides, the assumption of a hostile position with
regard to him, would have driven him bodily over to the
Grits, and this would have gone a great way in sending the
whole Catholic body with him.

As it is now, the Government is a coalition one to all
intents and purposes, and the name which you use in your
letter of the “Blake-Scott Administration” should be
fastened upon the new Government. My opinion is that
you should, in the Legislature, direct all your fire against
Blake and the Reform section of the Government for having
belied all their professions and principles in taking in Scott.
You should avoid driving Scott into Grittism, that is to
say, you should avoid imputing personal dishonour to him.
By not making him too much of a black sheep, you will keep
him there, a disintegrating element in the Government. I
believe that his being there, has sown the seeds of dissolution
in Blake’s ministry, and the seed will fructify ere long. Of
course you will be obliged to express regret at the course he
has taken, but it should be done in a kindly manner. If he
is irritated into rising in his place and stating that he is a
Grit, and as good a Grit as either Blake or Mackenzie, you
will lose the great advantage you have of treating the Gov-
ernment as a coalition one.

From a Dominion point of view I think it is not desirable
that you should force Blake to dissolve, unless you are sure
of defeating him on a popular question. Sandfield went to
the country prematurely last spring, and you are not ready
yet for another fight at the polls; give them a little rope, and
they will hang themselves.


My idea is this that in the summer or autumn the
Dominion elections should be brought on, and if, as I believe
it will, the result of the elections shows that we hold our own
at all well in Ontario, and are thereby in possession of the
reins for the next five years, we can bring a tremendous
leverage to help you in the Local Legislature in the session
of 1 872-73. If a new local election takes place before Blake
has had a fair trial, the verdict of the country will go against
you, and that will greatly damage, if not destroy, our chances
at the Dominion elections. Depend upon it, the long game
is the true one.

The great reason why I have always been able to beat
Brown is that I have been able to look a little ahead, while
he could on no occasion forego the temptation of a temporary

I shall be obliged to go up to Toronto in a few days on my
own matters, as my office will be transferred there from
Kingston ere long. I hope then to have the pleasure of
talking this matter over more at length. I will take up all
the letters, etc., to which I have referred, and show them to
you. This is a long yarn, but I have not time to make it

Believe me,
My dear Cameron,
Yours sincerely,

The Hon. M. C. Cameron,


From Sir John Macdonald to the Consul General of Spain at

Ottawa, January fjth, 1872.

I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your
letter of the 6th instant, enclosing me a communication
from His Excellency the Minister of Foreign Affairs at

I have received this communication, notifying me that
His Catholic Majesty has been graciously pleased to confer
upon me the Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Isabel la
Catolica, with feelings of pride and satisfaction. I only did


my duty to my own Sovereign * in taking the necessary steps
to prevent any hostile expedition being fitted out, or sailing
from Canada for the purpose of attacking a portion of the
domains of an ally of Her Majesty; and I am gratified to
know that this service has been thought worthy, by His
Catholic Majesty, of the high honour of which you have been
so good as to notify me.

I have the honour to remain,
With the highest consideration,

Your most obedient, humble servant,

Senor Don J. M. De Satriestequi,
Consul General of Spain,

From Sir John Macdonaldto Governor-General the Lord Li s gar.
Private. Ottawa, February 2?th, 18/2.


We would suggest the following telegram “My Council
desire to act in unison with England in the present exigency. 2
Have you any advice or suggestion to make?”

This may serve to show that we are not indifferent as to
the trouble England has got into.

Faithfully yours,

The Lord Lisgar.

From Sir Francis Hincks to Sir John Macdonald.

Ottawa, Friday morning, 1st March, 1872.

I am bound by my duty to you as well as to myself not to lose any time
in conveying to you my sentiments regarding Mr. Howe’s lecture. 3 When
I read that lecture on Wednesday, I felt it wholly impossible that I could

1 This refers to the action taken by Sir John Macdonald as Minister of Justice to
frustrate an attempt made in the summer of 1871 by a few hotheads in Montreal to
procure the enrolment of volunteers for a filibustering expedition against Cuba.

2 This refers to the strained relations between England and the United States
existing at this time over a phase of the Alabama question known as the Indirect
Claims. See, Memoirs, Vol. 2, pp. 148-9.

3 The reference here is to a lecture delivered by the Hon. Joseph Howe before the
Young Mens’ Christian Association of Ottawa on the 2yth February, 1872, in which
he forcibly criticized England’s attitude towards her colonies. See Memoirs, Vol.
II, pp. 1 51 and 324.

The Rt. Hon. Sir John Macdonald, K. C. B.

Age 57 1872


remain in a Government which permitted one of its members to avow
publicly the opinions expressed in the political portion of the paper. I
own that I did not doubt that the unanimous opinion of the members of
your Government would be that the lecture must be completely sup-
pressed. I can discover no difficulty in the adoption of this course, as
Mr. Howe might with great propriety either announce himself, or have an
announcement made for him, that, in compliance with the desire of his
colleagues unanimously expressed, he had felt it his duty to suppress cer-
tain remarks on the Imperial and foreign relations of the Dominion. I
own that I was much disappointed at the tone of the discussion yesterday,
and had more than once determined to write you my resignation. I
thought, however, that as no decision was arrived at, it was only due to
you that before arriving at any, you should be made aware of my views.
The Government is in a dilemma in my opinion. There are four courses
open: ist publication of pamphlet accompanied by Mr. Howe’s retire-
ment; 2nd publication of the lecture as printed; 3rd publication with
certain eliminations; 4th suppression. Now I trust that I need hardly
declare that the first course would be one that would be most repugnant
to my feelings, and especially as I have felt it my duty to condemn the lec-
ture so strongly. The 2nd course I think would be indefensible, and one
that I could not vindicate. The 3rd I think even less defensible than the
2nd, and as it was actually suggested yesterday for Mr. Howe’s approval
and as, if accepted by him, would probably have been adopted, I must
give you my reasons for not concurring in it. If the lecture were pub-
lished as delivered, no one would imagine that any member of the Govern-
ment was responsible to any greater extent than permitting Mr. Howe
to use what I am bound to affirm is very objectionable language. But if
you assume the task of correcting, then you become responsible for all that
is not expunged. The Government would, in my opinion, incur a greater
responsibility by adopting the 3rd than the 2nd course. If the pamphlet
be promptly suppressed by Mr. Howe at the request of his colleagues, the
Opposition can make very little use of it against the Government, which
will have sufficiently protected itself. I may add that there is a great deal
in the lecture of which I wholly disapprove, and nothing would satisfy me
but the elimination of the political matter from page 17 to 21. I seem to
differ so much on this question from yourself and all my colleagues, that
it will be much better for me to absent myself from the meeting of Council
to-day. I do not wish to join in a discussion, the object of which is to
persuade Mr. Howe to take a course which, in my judgment, would be dis-
creditable to the Government, viz., to amend the political portion of the
pamphlet. I regret that so much delay has taken place in dealing with
this very important matter, for the decision of the Government should be
uninfluenced by outside opinion from the press or the public. As far as I
am concerned personally, I feel that if such language as that used by Mr.
Howe should be tolerated by the people of Canada, I have no desire to
remain a single day longer in public life.



The Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald, K.C.B.


From Sir John Macdonald to Sir John Rose.
Private. Ottawa, March fth, 1872.


I am afraid that I am greatly in arrears with you, but I
have been away in the West and have been very busy since
my return home.

As to the position of matters in Canada, I cannot say
much until our session is over. We have postponed its
meeting until the nth April being almost the last day
possible. This was done on a hint from England in order
to give an opportunity of some solution of the Alabama

It is stated in the American newspapers that the House
Committee on Foreign relations, to which Committee were
referred the several bills for carrying the treaty into effect, is
not going to report upon them at present, but will hold them
over until some further progress is made in the correspon-
dence about the Geneva reference. Should such prove to
be the case, we may be spared the trouble of dealing with the
subject for another year. However, there is no use in
speculating upon that at present.

You ask me in one of your letters whether the St. Alban’s
Raid claims were really presented. I cannot answer that
question, as I have little or no communication with Wash-
ington, there being, as you may probably be aware, a cool-
ness between the Ambassador and the Governor-General.
I think however, beyond a doubt, that those claims will be
presented, as indeed, why should they not?

Next session we shall have a new Representation Bill,
adding nine members to our House of Commons, and will
take the opportunity of readjusting the boundaries of some
of the Western constituencies. We have a surplus of six
millions and hope to carry a Pacific railway scheme. We
shall afterwards go to the country (some time in the summer
or autumn) with, I think very good prospects. Every-
thing is couleur de rose except in Ontario, which, as usual,
will be the battle ground. I am satisfied however that if
my health is spared, we will hold our own there. Sand-
field’s upset was unfortunate in one respect, but his sue-


cessor has been making a series of blunders which, I think,
must do us some good in the West.

I am, as you may fancy, exceedingly desirous of carrying
the elections again; not from any personal object, because
I am weary of the whole thing, but Confederation is only
yet in the gristle, and it will require five years more before it
hardens into bone. It is only by the exercise of constant
prudence and moderation that we have been able to prevent
the discordant elements from ending in a blow-up. If good
constitutional men are returned, I think that at the end of
five years, the Dominion may be considered safe from being
prejudiced by any internal dissension.

We owe you our best thanks for your attention to the
Northern Pacific prospectus. I should like to know how the
railway stands in the English market, as to its bonds and
general credit. There is a general impression, I find, at
New York, that the whole thing must end in a fiasco, which
may perhaps be disastrous, even to Jay Cooke & Co. I
would be very sorry if this should be the case at all events
until they have finished the railroad connecting Duluth with
Pembina. After that, we Canadians can afford to view any
further western extension with considerable philosophy.

You are quite right in your mode of dealing with the matter
with Mr. McCulloch. While we wish it to be known that we
are going to build a railway of our own, we do not in any way
desire to prejudice the fortunes of the Northern Pacific.
The more modes of communication there are across the
continent, the better for the whole continent, and you can
assure anyone who speaks to you on the matter that we
would rather aid the progress of the Northern Pacific than
impede it. They, on the other hand, however must not by
assuming to be the Canadian road, prejudice our enterprise.

Poor old Howe has been making a fool of himself in a
lecture before the Young Mens’ Christian Association here.
He took a fling generally at the withdrawal of the troops,
the desire of England to throw off the Colonies; the buying
of her own peace at the sacrifice of our interests; the “comedy
of errors” into which she has blundered, and all that sort
of thing. It very nearly ended in his sending in his resigna-
tion; but although he has outlived his usefulness, he has not
lost his powers of mischief. From fear of his doing damage


in Nova Scotia, which is yet but a slumbering volcano, I
felt it right to accept his disclaimers and excuses, although
much against my will. If you ever look at our papers you
will see that the Globe is at him on the subject, and not
without reason. It will be made a considerable handle
against us, but we must put up with it as best we may.

As his statements are quite opposed in spirit to all our
communications with Her Majesty’s Government, should
you hear his speech alluded to in any quarter, you must
take the trouble to explain that his remarks are evidence of
his senility and nothing more, and that you have reason to
believe that he was severely snubbed for his pains, and
obliged to suppress his speech which was printed in pamphlet
form. Some copies of it have got out unfortunately, but we
cannot help that. Many thanks for the two volumes of
Hertslet’s Index. I shall be very glad to get the maps.
Yours sincerely,

Sir John Rose.

From Sir John Macdonaldto Governor-General the Lord Lisgar.
Private and confidential. Ottawa, March ifthy 1872.


I do not suppose that Mr. Howe’s unfortunate speech
will reach the Colonial Office, but as it has attracted some
attention in the press here, perhaps it may do so. I there-
fore think it well to state to you that his address to the
Young Mens’ Christian Association has been read by my
colleagues and myself with the greatest regret.

We have not hesitated to express to Mr. Howe our united
disapprobations. We found that his address had been
printed in pamphlet form, and called upon him to suppress
it. He did so, but some copies had been previously obtained
from the printer, hence the discussion in our newspapers.
That portion of his speech which speaks of the growing
feeling in England to throw off the colonies, would have been
harmless from the lips of anyone but a cabinet minister.
Coming from him, the tone of despondency as to the future
of Canada, was, to say the least of it, unfortunate.

We considered as still more objectionable, his reference


to “England’s recent diplomatic efforts to buy her own
peace at the sacrifice of our interests,” and to “that comedy
of errors into which she had blundered,” and we told Mr.
Howe that considering the present uncomfortable relations
between England and the United States, his language was
inexcusable, and that the tone was anti-British and disloyal,
and quite at variance with the communication that we
had, through Your Excellency, conveyed to Lord Kimberley
of our desire to act in unison with Her Majesty’s Govern-
ment in the present exigency. My colleagues felt too that
the language was personally disrespectful to myself, con-
sidering the position that I had held as a member of the
Joint High Commission. The personal matter I readily
overlooked, but the political offence was not so easily dealt
with. After full consideration however, and believing that
Mr. Howe, although too late, has been convinced of his
indiscretion, I have thought it better, in the public interest,
to take no further notice of the affair.

A publicly expressed censure would have involved the
necessity of Mr. Howe’s retirement from the ministry. His
doing so would have given additional strength and encourage-
ment to the opposition that we expect in Parliament to the
ratification of the fishery articles of the Washington treaty.
Moreover, Nova Scotia is still in an unsettled state. While
I am glad to know that by degrees the people of that province
ate becoming more reconciled to the Union, it is certain
that the anti-Confederation feeling still exists there to a
considerable extent.

Mr. Howe, though now an old man, and not so vigorous
as formerly, has still great influence there and might rekindle
the expiring flame of discontent. I have therefore thought
it right to pass over this unfortunate affair. Would you
kindly convey to Lord Kimberley the feeling of regret and
disapprobation with which we all regard this escapade of
Howe, so that if his attention has been called in any way to
it, he may know what our feelings are with respect thereto.

Believe me,
My dear Lord Lisgar,

Yours very faithfully,

The Lord Lisgar.


From Sir Francis Hincks to Sir John Macdonald.

Thursday morning, nth April, 1872.

In a note which I addressed to you on Friday last, I expressed my
anxiety about the position of the Government with reference to Mr.
Howe’s lecture, and my apprehension that Mr. Howe would make a speech
for which I would be unable to take the responsibility. My anxiety has
not been lessened by what passed yesterday in Council. If a rupture be
inevitable, I am of opinion that it will be far more creditable that it should
take place in the Council Chamber than in the House of Commons. The
Government will be, and ought to be, held responsible for what Mr. Howe
may say, and it is my unalterable determination to leave the Government,
if it permits him to use or to defend the language of his lecture. I myself
see no difficulty in arranging the matter, but it would be unfair to Mr.
Howe, as well as to you, if he should make his speech in ignorance of the
consequences. My position is this: If my claim, which I again urge,
of having the policy of the Government settled in Council, be ignored, I
may possibly be forced to cross the House suddenly, and this I need
scarcely assure you would be most repugnant to my feelings. The passage
which causes me the greatest apprehension is that referring to England’s
efforts “to buy her own peace at the sacrifice of our own interests.”
Faithfully yours,

The Hon. Sir John Macdonald.

From Sir John Macdonald to Governor-General the Lord Lisgar.
Private. Ottawa, April 2Oth, 1872.


I have reported in favour of the transmission to the
Colonial Secretary of the Joint Address of the two Houses
of the Legislature of Manitoba to the Queen. 1 I shall be very
much obliged by your intimating to Lord Kimberley that there
need be no hurry in sending the answer, as it is only required to
be ready for the meeting of the Legislature of Manitoba next
winter. The general elections will be over long before that
time, and it will be of little consequence what the answer may
be. In the present excitable state of the population at Fort
Garry, it is important that no answer should be sent. A re-
fusal of an amnesty would excite the French half breeds to mad-
ness, and granting an amnesty would excite the British settlers
to the same extent. After the elections are over, my own

1 Relative to the recent disturbances at Red River. See Journals, Legislative
Assembly of Manitoba, 1872, pp. 37-38.


opinion is that an amnesty for all offences, except murder,
would be advisable. This, however, is only my own opinion,
and there is no necessity for discussing it in Council just now.

I have re-read the impudent memorial of Ritchot and
Scott. Most of their statements will require a specific
denial, and I shall see Cartier on the subject at once. They
attempt to drag him and myself into the matter in a way that
we must both resent. Their statement of what occurred
between themselves and Your Excellency is also altogether
false, and must be repudiated. I shall send you a draft of
the reply in a day or two.

Believe me,
My dear Lord Lisgar,
Faithfully yours,

His Excellency the Governor-General,
Rideau Hall.

From the Hon. S. L. Tilley to Sir John Macdonald.
Confidential Ottawa, May Zjth, 1872.


When we discussed Costigan’s 1 resolution on Wednesday last, I hoped
that matters might have assumed a shape that would have warranted my
remaining in the Government, though I confess it was hoping against hope,
and my worst fears have been realized.

I am now satisfied that my voting for Chauveau’s resolution, or re-
maining silent and declining to vote at all, will completely destroy me
politically, (to say nothing of the consequences to the Province I represent,
and the course of the Union generally, should either Chauveau’s or Costi-
gan’s resolutions be carried) and place me in a position to bring no strength
to your Government, bat possibly weakness. I therefore feel it my duty
to take the earliest opportunity of letting you know that I see no course
open for me but to ask you to relieve me from embarrassment by ac-
cepting my resignation. It is painful for me to sever the connection
that has so pleasantly existed since 1867, and nothing but a sense of
public duty and self-preservation could have induced me to take this

I am

My dear Sir John,

Ever yours,

The Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald, K.C.B.

1 Relating to the Separate School Question in the Province of New Brunswick.
See Journals of the House of Commons, 1 872, p. 134.


From Sir John Macdonaldto the Hon. W. H. Pope. 1
Private. Ottawa, June ifthy 1872.


I have yours of the nth. I shall be very glad to do all I
can for your son, 2 and will speak to Tilley about him.

We are quite ready to receive Prince Edward Island into
the Confederation, but must leave you to manage it your
own way.

Yours sincerely,

The Hon. W. H. Pope,

Charlottetown, P. E. I.

From Sir Stafford Northcote to Sir John Macdonald.

86 Harley Street W>, June 19, 1872.

I have been intending for some days to write to you, and to thank you
for the copy of your great speech, 3 which I have read with much admira-
tion. It has struck every one here, as no doubt it has in Canada, as a
masterly production, and I am sure you deserve all manner of congratu-
lations. Mr. Disraeli, who is not lavish in such matters, says, “very good
and statesmanlike”; and that is the general verdict.

You will, of course, know long before this reaches you, what I, at the
moment of writing, do not know, the result of the proceedings at Geneva.*
I am inclined to think they will lead to the ruling-out of the indirect claims,

1 The Hon. William Henry Pope: one of the Fathers of Confederation: after-
wards a County Court judge in Prince Edward Island. Died, 7th October, 1879.

2 Afterwards Sir Joseph Pope.

8 In support of the Treaty of Washington, 1871. Delivered in the House of
Commons, 3rd May, 1 872. See Hansard of that date, pp. 293-354.

4 This relates to the proceedings of the Arbitral Tribunal constituted under
Article I of the Treaty of Washington, 1 871, providing for the reference of all claims,
generically known as the “Alabama claims,” to arbitration. These were claims
against Great Britain for losses sustained by the depredations of the Alabama
and other vessels against United States commerce during the American Civil War.
An attempt made by the United States Government to include in these claims, not
only the losses sustained by individual American citizens, but indirect, constructive,
consequential and national claims of every description, amounting, according to
Mr. Gladstone’s estimate, to sixteen hundred million pounds, very nearly broke up
the Tribunal. These indirect claims were, however, ruled out, and the Arbitra-
tion proceeded. The decision given on the i4th September, 1872, awarded
$15,50×3,000 in gold as the indemnity to be paid by Great Britain to the United


and that the arbitration will proceed. The Americans have behaved
shamefully, but I believe they are aware of it, and that they will be very
glad to get out of their present position by almost any means. I could
not have believed that Mr. Fish would lend himself to such a transaction.
However, all will be well if it ends well; and it will be a comfort to see the
treaty saved, if it can be saved, for one grudges the time spent on a failure.
I hope you have got well through your session, and that Lady Macdon-
ald is quite well, though, by the way, I have a quarrel to pick with her in
regard of a certain photograph which I “understood” her to have pro-
mised me. I hope I was not wrong in being satisfied with a “less accurate”
engagement on the part of a countrywoman, than it seems we ought to
exact from an American.

I remain,
Faithfully yours,

The Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald,

From the Lord Lisgar to Sir John Macdonald.
Private. London, i6th July, 1872.


Lord Kimberley has taken a note of your wishes about the P. C. ship.
They will be attended to, and the conferring the honour postponed until
after the general election in Canada. I made the following recommenda-
tions as to the Order of St. Michael and St. George: Sir F. Hincks, to be
promoted to a G.C.M.G. For K.C.M.G.’s Cartier, Campbell, Tupper,
Tilley, Draper Ch. Justice; For C.M.G.’s: Archibald and Bernard.
Hincks, Cartier, Archibald and Bernard will be accepted, I think, at once,
or after the general election Campbell, Tupper, and Tilley in a short time
hereafter. Lord K. will write to Lord Dufferin about these matters by
this post. Draper, Lord K. would not hear of at any price, but I fancy
he would make him Sir Wm. or whatever his Christian name is, and if he
accepts, as an English judge would, I think you ought to pay the fees out
of some special fund, if you have any fund in hand applicable to the pur-
pose. For myself, I look on it as supremely ridiculous and unfair the
charging meritorious persons who may not have large fortunes, with high
fees, because the Crown thinks them deserving of and confers honours
upon them.

At the War Office I heard the Horse Guards authorities had with-
drawn their objection to Carrier’s promotions. They say they see no
military reasons against them. I think they might have seen this months
ago, and think myself aggrieved by the position of resistance in which they
placed me. The fact, I fancy, is that as the treaty of Washington appears
to be safe, and there is every prospect of a long continuance of amicable
relations with the United States, the Horse Guards think there is little
likelihood of British and Canadian troops being called upon to act to-
gether, and are, therefore, disposed to overlook the inconveniences which
in such event of united action, they considered at first likely to ensue.

I have taken my seat in Parliament at Gladstone’s earnest, pressing


instance, and voted like a man to adopt the Commons amendments on
the Ballot Bill. Several Tories voted with us, and some seceded. The
Duke of Manchester said to Charles Villiers: “We seceders saved the
Constitution.” C. V. replied, “Ah yes, the Capitol you mean.”

Gladstone, I am told, stands better and steadier than he did at the
commencement of the session. The W. treaty settlement; Cardwell’s
army bills, and the ballot have set him back on his legs. Personally, he
is a great force. I had a long conversation with him early on Tuesday
after my arrival. He talked away incessantly. There are, however,
great difficulties in store for next session, and it may be doubted whether
he will weather the work of disintegration in his own party. This is the
real danger.

I hope to get away from London and back to peace and quiet in Ireland
early in August. While there, we eat our own lamb, and my hay has been
prosperously saved. You will perhaps hear of my distinguishing myself
at an agricultural exhibition.

Lady Lisgar joins me in kind remembrance and good wishes to you and
Lady Macdonald and, I am, Believe me,

Very truly yours,

The Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald, K.C.B.

Lord Lisgar ceased to be Governor-General on the 2ist
June and, after a short interregnum, was succeeded by the
Earl of Dufferin, who lost no time in acquainting the Prime
Minister with his requirements.

From Governor-General the Earl of Dufferin to Sir ‘John

Riviere du Loup,
Private and confidential. July 24th, 1872.


I have written you a semi-official letter, to which, I trust, you will be
able to give favourable consideration. I confess I feel very strongly on
the two points alluded to, and I am disposed to press them upon your
attention, on grounds totally distinct from any which concern my personal

With regard to a summer residence at Quebec, I apprehend that there
will be ultimately no difficulty. The local authorities have shown every
desire to accommodate us, and if we have hitherto failed in finding a
lodging, it is solely owing to the fact that there is literally no house to be
had. I received a telegram from Colonel Fletcher last night to say that,
as a last resource, Mr. Langevin, to whose extreme kindness we are very
much indebted, talks of fitting up the old artillery barracks into which
we can put for the present some hired furniture, but next year I trust that
Spencer Wood itself may be placed at our disposal. I have reason to be


lieve that had it not been for Lady Belleau’s illness, we might have been
accommodated this season in that charming villa.

The question of the steamer concerns, of course, your ministry and
the Dominion Parliament, but considering how rapidly civilization is
extending westward, and how desirable it is that the social unity of the
various provinces should be stimulated and confirmed by the occasional
presence, at the principal centres of population, of the chief of the Execu-
tive, the one authority common to them all and to the mother country, I
should hope that the slight expenditure I have suggested, would not be
regarded with harshness or disfavour by the House of Commons.

When I first accepted my present post, I was certainly surprised to learn
what a slender household was in future to be assigned to the administrator
of so great a dependency. In fact, fifteen years ago, as an under-secretary
of state, I became entitled to the same staff as is, I find, accorded to the
Governor of a country as large as Europe; but understanding from Lord
Lisgar, that these present arrangements were the result of due deliberation,
I have no desire to question their wisdom. They certainly do not accord
with our European notions of what is necessary to the maintenance of
viceregal state, but I am quite prepared to supplement them to the
necessary extent, out of my private income.

With respect to the steamer, however, the case is different. The initial
expenditure of 3,000 would be a larger payment than it would be desirable
for me to make, for the same reasons I have glanced at in my other letter.
At the same time I conceive it to be an appendage absolutely necessary to
my station.

I have already been assailed in the presence of a great number of people,
in a way which must have been rather displeasing to the Canadians pres-
ent, by the innocent but impertinent importunities of a Yankee journal,
ist, while Lady Dufferin has been forced to overhear some very ungraciou s
remarks from a knot of American ladies, in reference to a cabin which ha j
been reserved for her.

I am quite convinced that if you desire me to maintain that dignity
and reserve upon which the prestige of representation so much depends,
you must allow me to choose my company when on my travels. Of
course I make this observation on the assumption that it is the desire of
the Canadian Government to enhance the repute of monarchical institu-
tions, and to accept the consequences they entail. The cynicism of a
republican philosophy might affect to ignore such considerations, but with
deductions from principles of that nature neither you nor I have any con-
cern. At the same time, I am bound to confess from what I have learnt,
both from Lord Lisgar and from Lord Monck, that if there is any respect
in which the authorities in this country are out of sympathy with our habits
of thought at home, it may be in their failure to appreciate the importance
of trifles of this description a due attention to which has so much to do
with the maintenance of that intangible, but not less operative essence
called prestige, to whose assistance most human institutions are indebted
for their stability.

I am quite sorry to interrupt what appears from the papers to be your
triumphant progress through the constituencies, with so lengthy a com-


munication. I trust it will be the last I shall have to address to you on
matters of a personal nature, and I turn with infinitely greater pleasure
to the privilege of congratulating you on the wonderful skill, eloquence and
ability, displayed in the great speech of which you sent me a copy.i It
was an effort which would have commanded admiration in any assembly,
and now that I have become better acquainted with the difficulties with
which you had to contend, I am the more able to appreciate the tact,
judgment and success, with which you dealt with them.

It is, indeed, a fortunate circumstance that at the crisis of her fate,
Canada possesses a statesman of such commanding talent, and it is most
lucky for me that my initiation into my new duties should take place under
the guidance of a person in whom the country seems so unanimously to
confide, and in whose society both Lady Dufferin and myself already feel
we shall take such pleasure.

You may rely upon my doing my very best to give you the most loyal
assistance and support in your patriotic endeavours to serve this magnifi-
cent country, and I only wish I could think that my abilities rendered me
more worthy of being associated with you in your honourable endeavours.
I was so glad to have a line from Sir George Cartier announcing an im-
provement in his health.

You will be sorry to hear that Lady DufFerin was confined nearly the
whole of last week to her bed and room by a very sharp feverish attack
from which however she is now recovering.

I have spent three days on the Marguerite river whipping the pools
under the superintendence of Dr. Campbell. I had a salmon on my hook
for ten minutes, and have been duly inoculated with the fishing furor, but
the sport was unusually bad.

You will be at a little rest at the seaside when your electioneering labours
are concluded. Pray let us know when you pass through Quebec.
Believe me, dear Sir John,
Yours ever,


From Sir John Macdonald to the Lord Lisgar.
Private. Ottawa, 2nd September, 1872.


I do not know whether any Canadian papers follow you
to Baillieborough. If they do, you will have read my excuse
for not writing you before.

Lord Dufferin on his arrival proceeded directly to Ottawa
and I accompanied him.

Council having come to the conclusion to go to the country
at once, without a moment’s delay, I proceeded westward,

1 On the Treaty of Washington, 1871. Delivered in the House of Commons, 3rd
May, 1872.


and have been for the last two months “on the stump.”
I have been travelling and speaking and organizing elections
during all that time. Never in the whole of my 27 years of
public service have I had such hard and unpleasant work
to do. Had I not taken this course, I do not think that a
corporal’s guard of ministerialists would have been returned
in Ontario. As it is, we have fought a drawn battle. Of
the 88 constituencies in Ontario, we have carried 42. The
other 46 are not however all in the Opposition. There are
several independent members, or loose fish, who will support
the Government as they learn from the returns that it has a
working majority.

I anticipate that when Parliament meets in February
next, 50 of the 88 Ontario members will support the Govern-
ment. I had a hard fight in my own town. I left it in
charge of Campbell and went off to the west. Some of the
electors were displeased at my neglect, and so I had a stern
contest, but had a majority of 130.

Hincks foolishly gave up his old constituency, preferring
a western one, and was ingloriously defeated.

In the other provinces we have had marvellous success.
Of the 21 Nova Scotia members, 20 are pledged to support
the Government, and the other man has since his election
announced that he will give us an independent support. Of
the New Brunswick sixteen, we have carried fourteen, and
the two others also promise that they will not vote want of

In British Columbia and Manitoba no Oppositionists will
be elected, and they number ten members.

In Quebec the elections are not yet finished, but of the 65
constituencies we believe that we shall carry from 42 to 45.
You will thus see that we have got as large, nay a larger
majority on the whole, than in the last Parliament.

It would have been a great satisfaction to me if I had been
able to carry a majority of avowed supporters in Ontario,
and as you see, I narrowly missed it.

As is usual in such cases, every possible charge was brought
against the Government, but in the western part of Ontario,
dissatisfaction with the treaty was my main obstacle.

You may remember that I always told you that the treaty
was unpopular there. I know that Sir Hugh Allan and others


who profess to know the western country, gave you a differ-
ent impression, and that you thought that I had overrated
the hostile feeling against it; but I knew Ontario too well to
be mistaken.

In addition to this, the local Government used all its
power, patronage and influence to defeat us. They forced
the great lumber merchants, who depend upon them for
licenses of occupation of timber lands, to subscribe large
sums, and I have reason to believe that the U. S. Northern
Pacific Railway also subscribed largely in order to place Mr.
Mackenzie at the head of the Government, as he would have
handed over our Pacific Railway to them. This nefarious
design has, however, been defeated. We are, I think, fixed
in the saddle for the next five years, and shall take good
care that the Yankees have nothing to say to our Pacific

I think H. M. Government owe me something for fight-
ing this battle. Had we been defeated at the polls, and a
new Government formed on the ground that the people
disapproved of the treaty of Washington, the relations
between England and the Colony would have been the
reverse of pleasant, and Heaven knows what the political
consequences might have been! Happily, the decision of
the people of the Dominion, as a whole, is in favour of the
treaty, and the annexationists and independents have been
completely routed. We may, therefore, look forward to five
years of quiet. During that period it may be hoped that
Confederation, now in the gristle, will have hardened into
bone, and whatever may be our political conflicts, the
constitution will have taken such root as to be able to stand
the storm.

Cartier was defeated in East Montreal by an overwhelm-
ing majority. This was anticipated by us all. We knew
that he had lost his hold there, but he would listen to no
advice. He had everything against him. The Catholic
Bishop of Montreal and Cartier had a personal quarrel, and
all the power of the former was exercised against him. From
Cartier’s professional connection with the Grand Trunk
Railway, he was supposed to be adverse to the rival railway
running on the north bank of the St. Lawrence, from Mon-
treal to Quebec, and as this railway will have its terminus


in East Montreal, you may fancy the feeling that was roused
against him. The British element, which in former years
went as one man for him, was dissatisfied, and the volunteers
were all against him for some cause or another. In fact he
had no chance. The constituency is not Rouge, and any
good man of Cartier’s own party would have carried it, but
he himself was doomed. I would not regret his defeat at
all, as he brought it on himself by sheer obstinacy, were it
not that I fear it will greatly affect his health. I am sorry
to say that he is in a very bad way. His legs are swollen to
an enormous extent. It has all the appearance of confirmed
dropsy. But still worse, Dr. Grant tells me confidentially
that his ailment is what is commonly known as “Bright’s
disease” which is generally considered as incurable. I do not
anticipate that he will live a year, and with all his faults, or
rather with all his little eccentricities, he will not leave so
good a Frenchman behind him; certainly not one who can
fill his place in public life. I cannot tell you how I sorrow
at this. We have acted together since 1854, and have never
had a serious difference.

I venture to trouble you with all these details, as I am glad
to believe that you take an interest in our affairs, and that
you will especially like to know that our policy, inaugurated
under your auspices and with your sanction, has been

I have been able to see little of the Dufferins since their
arrival. He is pleasant in manner, and has been both in
speech and by letter very complimentary to myself. He
is, however, rather too gushing for my taste. I can stand
a good deal of flattery, but he lays it on rather too thick.
Lady Dufferin is very charming, with nice, unaffected
manners, and much more natural than the caro sposo. I
think I shall like her much, but in military phrase, I would
gladly exchange her for Lady Lisgar, and pay the difference.

Lord Dufferin is laying himself out to be popular, and I
have no doubt will succeed, unless he overdoes it. He pro-
poses having residences at Halifax, Quebec and Toronto.
It was amusing to see the dismay with which they saw
Ottawa and Rideau Hall. It seems that no preparation had
been made for their reception, and they had to put up with
some considerable amount ojf discomfort. Added to this,


the weather was hot, and the mosquitoes overpowering in
numbers and viciousness. They stayed only three days,
and then off they went to Riviere du Loup, where Bernard
had secured Reynold’s cottage for them. They could not
succeed in getting a house in Quebec, so they have taken
possession of the Citadel and made it, I am told, tolerably
comfortable. It is a pleasant summer residence, as in the
hottest day at that elevation, there is always a breeze blowing.
I only returned from the West here yesterday, and after
putting things to rights and doing up the arrears, I intend to
run down to Quebec and await His Excellency’s commands.
He writes me that he has received a communication from
Lord Kimberley on the subject of the proposed honours, on
which he desires to consult me.

With respect to myself, I think that the P. C. ship should
come to me through Lord Granville. I assume that it is
conferred upon me for my services on the Joint High Com-
mission, and if so I can only receive it as a reward for Im-
perial services, just as in the case of Mountague Bernard.
However, more of this anon.

Pray present my kindest regards to Lady Lisgar and tell
her that she must not forget us here. My wife accompanied
me to the West, and while I was peregrinating, she stayed
with the Howlands, where she now is. Mrs. Howland made
her wait to assist at a ball she is giving in honour of the
English amateur cricketers who have come out to show
the Canadians that noble game. If Turville 1 is with you,
please remember me to him.

Believe me, My dear Lord Lisgar,

Very faithfully yours,


From Sir John Macdonald to Sir George Carrier, Bart.
Private. Ottawa, 3rd September, 1872.


I am very glad to learn from your telegram of yesterday
that you are better. You must not think of looking after
your office until you are perfectly restored. With your

1 Francis Turville (afterwards Sir Francis Turville, K.C.M.G.), secretary to
Lord Lisgar when Governor-General of Canada (1868-72).


permission, I will talk over Militia matters with Futvoye in
your absence.

As soon as I clear off arrears, I shall run down to Quebec to
see the Governor-General and shall call upon you on my way

You see that Hincks has been elected for British Colum-
bia. Would you like to have a seat for Manitoba, until
you find one in Lower Canada? If so, telegraph me “Yes,”
and I will send a cypher on to Archibald without delay.

In great haste.

Yours most sincerely,

Sir George Cartier, Bart.,


From Sir John Macdonald to Sir John Rose, Bart.
Private. Ottawa, $th September, 1872.


As you may perhaps remember, we got two votes from
Parliament of Secret Service money in consequence of the
Fenian Raids. Last session the Opposition, Holton, Young,
Mackenzie & Co., made a desperate attempt to have the
accounts submitted to them. Hincks, who knew nothing
about it, first said there was no objection, but I took strong
ground and said that it was utterly impossible that the
fact of its being known that the accounts were shown, would
not only raise the greatest apprehension in the minds of
those parties who had given us information, and betray
their accomplices, but would shut the door against the
possibility of our getting any information in the future.

In the late election contest the Grits, with their usual
want of truth, circulated the story that we had been using
the fund for election purposes. I had some conversation
on the subject with Lord Lisgar who had been, as you know,
Secretary of the Treasury and knew all about it. He said that
no account was ever given of this fund to anyone, and he told
me, what I must say rather surprised me, that when Sir
Robert Peel’s Government went out, they took the balance
with them, which was used for the benefit of the Opposition.

In Todd’s book on Parliamentary Government it is


alleged that Secret Service money is disbursed by the Sec-
retary of State and a book kept for the information of Par-
liament if asked for, but that, in fact, it never is asked for.
Now, from what Lord Lisgar told me, I fancy there must
be two funds, one the fund mentioned by Todd, and the sum
at the disposal of the Secretary of the Treasury.

Will you find out all about this and let me know? I want
the information to use by the time our Parliament meets.
I shall also write Lord Lisgar on the subject, to get his recol-
lection of it more specifically than I have just now.
Yours always,

Sir John Rose, Bart.,

Bartholomew Lane,

From Sir John Macdonald to Governor-General the Earl of

Private. Ottawa, igth September, 1872.


On my arrival at Montreal last week I found Cartier so
exhausted by the number of injudicious friends who were
visiting him, that I had not the heart to talk to him at any
length on business. I therefore postponed, until his arrival
here, any discussion as to the question of honours. As was
arranged at Quebec, I mentioned to him the proposition as
to Tupper, Tilley and Campbell. I did not speak of him-
self. I mentioned to him, however, the proposition as to
Archibald and Bernard.

After considering the matter in all its aspects, he agreed
with me that it would be wise, perhaps, to postpone the ap-
pointments quoad the three gentlemen first above mentioned
for the present. One great reason which occurred to both
of us for doing so was that it would grievously wound Mr.
Howe, the Secretary of State for the Provinces. He is
an old man, in very bad health, and ought to retire into
private life. However “still the veteran lags superfluous
on the stage,” and it would be highly inexpedient to put any
pressure on him for the purpose. His life hangs on a single
thread, and I would be very unwilling that any act of mine


should snap it. He is the oldest member of the Council and
has for more than a quarter of a century filled the chief place
in the public eye as a leading man in the Maritime Provinces.

Cartier and I agree that if no other reason existed, it
would be well to postpone the honour in question until
Howe is disposed of. We also think that any honour to
Archibald had better be deferred until the end of his ad-
ministration, which, I presume, will occur shortly. I found
Cartier in good spirits and full of courage, but his medical
men almost despair of his recovery. I hope that he will sail
next Saturday beyond a doubt, ere the cold weather sets in.
Cold and damp are deadly to his disease.

Council will assemble in full strength next Thursday, and
the matters interesting personally to yourself, which we
discussed when I had the honour of waiting upon you at
Quebec, will be disposed of in a manner which I hope will be
agreeable to you.

I am strongly tempted to go to Hamilton during Ex-
hibition week, but my long absence has left me so wofully
in arrears that I fear I cannot manage it.

By the way, when we talked about the political events
at Melbourne, I was not quite sure whether I was correct
in stating that the Legislature which Lord Canterbury
refused to dissolve, had been summoned under Duffy’s
administration, or the previous one. I see by an article on
the subject in the London Spectator of the loth that I was
correct in my impression that the Parliament was not
Duffy’s. The article in question is worth your perusal.

Believe me,
My dear Lord Dufferin,

Yours very faithfully,
His Excellency JOHN A. MACDONALD.

The Governor-General,

From Sir Francis Hincks to Sir John Macdonald.

Monday, 2jrd September, 1872.

As I understand that you contemplate bringing before the Privy Council
this week at least one subject of very grave importance, I feel that in
justice to my colleagues they ought to be made aware that it is my fixed


determination not to meet Parliament as a Minister of the Crown.
Although I made you aware of this determination some months ago, I am
not without apprehension that you have still some doubt on the subject,
and if so it cannot be too soon removed. I am most anxious to do any-
thing that I possibly can do to support your Government, consistently
with carrying out my intention, and I, therefore, felt it my duty to go
through the election campaign. I own that I regret my election for
Vancouver. Had I had an opportunity of giving an opinion, it would
have been against such a proceeding, not on personal grounds, but be-
cause it has prevented my resignation following as a matter of course my
failure to obtain a seat. It was and continues to be my wish to retire
altogether from public life, but I am not sorry on the whole that I shall be
enabled by having a seat in the House of Commons to make such explana-
tions and to take such a course as will completely remove any impression
that my retirement from the Government is owing to dissatisfaction,
either with you as my leader, or with any of my colleagues. I am happy
in believing that my successor will have no financial embarrassment, and I
need scarcely assure you that if ever any advice of mine were deemed likely
to be useful, it would ever be at his command, and I feel convinced that I
can render your Government quite as much service as an outside supporter
as if I were a member of the Government. All that I need add at present
is that while I wish that there should be no misunderstanding as to my
intentions, I am anxious in every way to make my arrangements conforma-
ble to your wishes. I am ready to resign at a moment’s notice, or at such
other time as may be deemed most beneficial on consultation, and you
may rely that you will have no more zealous supporter in or out of the
House than

Yours faithfully,


The Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald.

From the Earl of Carnarvon to Sir John Macdonald.

The Coppice, Henley on Thames, 2Oth September, 1872.


I was very glad to see your handwriting again, and to perceive that in
point of health you are not the worse for all your recent hard work a
general election included. I fear that Sir G. Carder is less strong than
his friends could desire, but I hope that the rest which he is now allowing
himself, may bear good fruit.

I shall watch with great interest the course of your new Parliament, and
I need scarcely say the fortunes of my many Canadian friends. Political
life, whether in Canada or England, has so many changes and chances,
that all who live in it must be prepared for rapid variations of the popular
favour, but your long and unbroken success and your command of fortune,
have almost put you outside the circle of ordinary statesmen. Here in


England all things are going on steadily enough. The most pressing dif-
ficulties lie, I think, in the relations of employers and workmen, and the
question of wages, but the country is very rich and prosperous so prosper-
ous that the 3,000,000 damages which we are to pay, have hardly raised a
single grumble of dissatisfaction. It cannot, indeed, be expected that this
will last, and when it comes to an end, there will, no doubt, be some trouble,
but for the moment, all parties are inclined to let well be, and though our
experience of the ballot at Pontefract and Preston is not encouraging to the
author of that bad measure, neither party feels very confident of its
strength in the event of a general election.

I am, I am glad to say, very much stronger and better for my recent sea
life, and in spite of a good deal of private business which through some
recent family troubles have been thrown upon me, I endeavour to
lead as idle a life as I can.

I am glad you like your new Governor General. Though of contrary
politics, he is a very old friend of mine.

Believe me, dear Sir John Macdonald,

Yours very faithfully,

The Hon. Sir John Macdonald.

From L Governor J. W. Trutch 1 to Sir John Macdonald.
Govt. House, Victoria, B. C., Oct. ifth, 1872.


I received your letter of the 25th ult. the day before yesterday on my
return home from a visit of inspection to the interior of B. C. where at
Ashcroft Senator Cornwall’s place I met Mr. Fleming 2 on his arrival
from the other side of the Rocky Mountains. As you will of course hear
from himself a full account of his trip and of his impressions as to the
country, the line of proposed railway and the competing advantages
of the rival Eraser River and Bute Inlet routes, I will only say on this
subject that he and his party have made the quickest journey of which
we have record between Fort Garry and Victoria and yet appear as
fresh and hearty as if they had not travelled one hundred miles.

I am very glad to find that you are pleased at the result of the steps I
took to secure Sir Francis’s 3 selection for Vancouver Dist. and I trust the
latter has written to Mr. Bunster through whose withdrawal his return by
acclamation was effected, and that you may think fit to take some notice
of Bunster should an opportunity occur. Had I received the news of Sir

1 Afterwards Sir Joseph Trutch, K.C.M.G., Lieutenant Governor of British
Columbia (1871-1876).

2 Sandford Fleming, C. E. (afterwards Sir Sandford Fleming, K.C.M.G.).

3 Sir Francis Hincks, on his defeat in Brant in the General Elections of 1872, was
elected for Vancouver, Mr. Arthur Bunster withdrawing in his favour and thus
permitting his return by acclamation. Mr. Bunster subsequently sat for Vancouver
in the House of Commons from 1874 to 1882.


George’s defeat for Montreal two days sooner he would have been returned
for Yale District, as well as for Provencher, but the nomination for the
last remaining election in B. C. had already taken place ere the result of the
Montreal election was reported here. I cannot tell you kow deeply all
here regret the serious indisposition which withdraws him for a time from
public life, and to me specially who have had the privilege of his friendship,
his illness, so unexpectedly announced, occasions heartfelt sorrow. I
trust he may soon be so restored in health as to be able to resume his
duties, for I am sure that to you particularly and to the country at large
his loss would be a great calamity.

At the same time with your letter under reply in which you ask me to
write you my private opinion as to Dr. Powell’s fitness for the situation of
Indian Agent in this Province I received your telegram of 2nd inst. ac-
quainting me of his having been appointed to that office, which would
have seemed to render superfluous any further allusion to the subject
but that it appears to me a matter of such paramount importance to all
interests in this country that I think it my duty to convey to you my ideas
thereon, and have also taken the opportunity to express the same views
more fully to Mr. Fleming who on his arrival at Ottawa will place you in
possession thereof, and will also give you the benefit of his own impressions
as to the Indians of B. C. and their management

Dr. Powell 1 has a very good standing here. He has been in good practice
in his profession and is reputed to possess business ability, but he is en-
tirely without any special knowledge of Indian matters, has had no ex-
perience in managing Indian affairs, has hardly ever been out of Victoria
during his residence in the Province, and cannot therefore know much of
or concerning our Indians and is certainly unknown by them. Now
whether he is at all fit for the post of Indian Agent in B. C. depends on the
scope of duties and the extent of authority to be attached to the office;
in fact on the manner in which the Indian Department is to be organized
here and the system to be adopted towards the Indians. Dr. Powell
might perform the duties of the office well enough if acting under the
immediate direction and advice of some one of more experience here, but
I should not certainly consider it otherwise than most likely to result in all
sorts of complications and dissatisfactions if the management of our
Indians were left in his hands altogether.

We have in B. C. a population of Indians numbering from 40,0×30 to
50,000, by far the larger portion of whom are utter savages living along the
coast, frequently committing murder and robbery among themselves, one
tribe upon another, and on white people who go amongst them for purposes
of trade, and only restrained from more outrageous crime by being always
treated with firmness, and by the consistent enforcement of the law
amongst them to which end we have often to call in aid the services of
H. M. ships on the station. I cannot see how the charge of these Indians
can be entrusted to one having no experience among them, nor do I think it

1 1. W. Powell, M.D., Indian Superintendent B. C.: proved a good officer,
ceptably filling the position for many years.


likely that the assistance of the Navy would be willingly and effectively
given to any subordinate officer of the Government. Without further
descanting on the matter however, I may tell you that I am of opinion,
and that very strongly, that for some time to come at least the general
charge and direction of all Indian affairs in B. C. should be vested in the
Lt. Governor, if there is no constitutional objection to such arrangement,
and that instead of one there should be three Indian Agents, one for Van-
couver Island, one for the Northwest Coast and the third for the interior
of the mainland of the Province, which latter gentleman might very
properly be a Roman Catholic, as the Indians in this section are for the
most part under the influence of missionaries of that persuasion. Then
as to Indian policy I am fully satisfied that for the present the wisest
course would be to continue the system which has prevailed hitherto, only
providing increased means for educating the Indians, and generally im-
proving their condition moral and physical. The Canadian system, as I
understand it will hardly work here. We have never bought out any
Indian claims to lands, nor do they expect we should, but we reserve for
their use and benefit from time to time tracts of sufficient extent to fulfil
all their reasonable requirements for cultivation or grazing. If you now
commence to buy out Indian title to the lands of B. C. you would go back
of all that has been done here for 30 years past and would be equitably
bound to compensate the tribes who inhabited the districts now settled
farmed by white people, equally with those in the more remote and un-
cultivated portions. Our Indians are sufficiently satisfied and had better
be left alone as far as a new system towards them is concerned, only give
us the means of educating them by teachers employed directly by Govt.
as well as by aiding the efforts of the missionaries now working among

To be rid of all concern with our Indian affairs would of course free me of
a very considerable part of the trouble and anxiety I have had for the
past year, but, however glad I might be at such a release, I have thought it
my duty to express to you my conviction that you had better for some
time to come continue the general charge of all Indian matters in B. C. in
the Lt. Governor, divide the Province into three districts and appoint an
Agent in each subject to direction from the Lt. Governor. By such a course
you would secure through the Lt. Governor the benefit of the experience
of those who during the past 13 or 14 years have managed the Indian af-
fairs of the country, I mean the County Court Judges, who would be
likely to feel diminished inclination to become the assistants of any official
of a grade below their own.

I believe I have written all I need to on this matter and I fear at such
length as to be tedious, but it is one of much importance to this Province,
the care of the Indians here being, as I regard it, and have intimated to you
in former letters the most delicate and presently momentous responsibility
of the Dominion Government within the Province.
Faithfully yours,

The Rt. Honorable

Sir John A. Macdonald, K.C.B.


From Sir John Macdonaldto the Hon. Oliver Mowat. 1
Private. Ottawa, October 2jth y 1872.


I received by yesterday’s mail your letter of resignation
which I delivered to the Secretary of State, to whom, more
properly, it ought to have been addressed. He has, I sup-
pose, acknowledged its receipt and stated that he would
submit it to His Excellency the Governor-General. This is
a necessary form, though as a matter of course His Excel-
lency will accept the resignation.

My feelings on learning of your return to political life
are of a composite character. I am glad for the sake of On-
tario that you have assumed your present position. With
all your political sins, you will impart a respectability to the
local Government which it much wanted, and the country
will have confidence that you will set your face against the
coarser forms of jobbery which were infecting our country
from our proximity to the United States.

At the same time, I may venture to say that I regret to
see you initiating the American system of judges returning
to political life, after having accepted the legal monkhood
of the Bench. It is not likely to be extensively followed;
the precedent is a bad one, but practically it will not do much
mischief. However, you have made the plunge, and there
is an end of it.

I hope that the relations between the Dominion Govern-
ment and that of Ontario will be pleasant. There is no
reason why they should not be so. Blake announced,
on taking office, that he was going to pursue that course;
but I fear that he allowed his double position under the dual
system, to affect his mind prejudicially. I have never had
any difficulty of any kind with the Government of Nova
Scotia, although every member of it is politically opposed
to the Government here. We all profess to have, and I
have no doubt sincerely have, the same object in view, the
good of the country. We must, therefore, try to work

1 On the 24th October, 1872, Mr. Mowat resigned the office of Vice Chancellor
of Ontario and re-entered political life, becoming Premier and Attorney General
of Ontario, in succession to the Hon. Edward Blake.


the new machine with the construction of which we had so
much to do, with as little friction as possible.

I shall have a good deal of bother about the selection of
your successor on the Bench, but I must do the best I can.
Believe me,

Yours sincerely,

The Hon. Oliver Mowat,

From the Hon. Oliver Mowat to Sir John Macdonald.
Private. Toronto, 2$th October, 1872.


I received your letter of the 25th. Thanks for the friendly words you
use in it in regard to myself.

I had not a great deal of time to deliberate on the proposal that if
called on by His Excellency to leave the Bench and assume the Govern-
ment, I should not decline the call, but, in considering it, I confess I was
not able to attach much weight to any objection arising from my being a
judge, as I could find nothing in law or in British constitutional practice,
against the judge of any court leaving it to accept the position of an ad-
viser of the Crown. The idea of thereby initiating in Canada the state
of matters which exists in the United States, seems to me fanciful. The
evil there arises from the greatly inferior salaries and the short tenure of
office of the judges; and these particulars in regard to the Canadian Bench
must become much worse than they are, before any danger arises of the
kind suggested.

I heartily concur in the hope which you express, that the relations be-
tween the Dominion and Ontario Governments may be pleasant. I have
ever felt greatly interested in the success of Confederation, and I agree
with you that its success will be aided by proper relations being main-
tained between the Dominion and Local Governments as such, even
when these are not in the hands of the same political party. I shall do
my best to carry out in this respect the principle which, you remind me,
was announced by Mr. Blake on the formation of his Government last
year, and I will also be very glad indeed to find it practicable to maintain
agreeable relations with all my old friends, whatever from time to time our
respective political connections may happen to be.
Believe me,

Yours sincerely,

The Right Hon.

Sir John A. Macdonald,


From Governor-General the Earl of Dufferin to Sir John

Private. Rideau Hall, Ottawa, November I, 1872.


I think you may perhaps like to have the enclosed extract from Lord
Kimberley’s letter which I copy for you.

“Lord Granville desires me to request you to inform Sir John Mac-
donald, that the Queen has at his instance consented that Sir John Mac-
donald shall be sworn in as a Privy Councillor, but it is found that this can
only be done at a Council held by Her Majesty herself. Will you, there-
fore, ascertain what Sir John Macdonald’s views are as to coming over here
to take the oath and his seat at the Council.”

Yours sincerely,
The Right Hon. DUFFERIN.

Sir John A. Macdonald.

From Governor-Genera! the Earl of Dufferin to Sir John Mac-

Rideau Hall, Ottawa, November 5, 1872.

As I am to have the pleasure of seeing you to-morrow, I would ask you to
consider a little what habit it would be advisable for me to adopt as re-
gards attending Council.

I shall be in to-morrow about twelve and at your service at any time
between that hour and two.

Yours sincerely,

The Right Hon. Sir John Macdonald.

From Sir John Rose, Bart. y to Sir John Macdonald.

Bartholomew Lane, E. C.,

1 6th November, 1872.

I send you a very meagre report of a dinner given last night, where you
will see everybody spoke out on the subject of the Colonial connection. I
have never seen such enthusiasm as the toast ‘the integrity of the Empire’
produced. The cheering lasted ten minutes, and there were between
400 and 500 of as influential city men as you could find in London. I am


satisfied that the whisper of disintegration would be a deathblow to any
party or man inclined to it.
I saw Cartier yesterday looking, I think, better.

Always yours,

The Rt. Hon. Sir John Macdonald.

From Governor-General the Earl of Dufferin to Sir John

Confidential. 2Oth November, 1872.


Thornton has forwarded* to me a most insolent despatch from Mr. Fish.
In my short experience of European diplomacy, I have been quite unac-
customed to such language. Is that the usual kind of despatch to which
Canada is treated by those fellows?

Yours ever,

The Rt. Hon. Sir John Macdonald.

From Sir John Macdonald to the Hon. Alexander Morris.
Confidential. Ottawa, November 2Qth y 1872.


I am always glad to hear from you, though I do not
always find time to reply. Do not cease to write.

Your Commission as Lieutenant-Governor 1 will be sent
up without any delay. If other Government salaries are
assured, yours can be so too, as a matter of course.

As to employment at the end of your term, there is no
use talking. Five years hence, God knows where we may
all be. We will not fill up the chief justiceship just now.
The two puisnes can do all the work, and there is no necessity
for filling the vacancy just now. The account of the row in
your Cabinet is very amusing.

Aikins has just passed Council the allotment matter, and I
fancy your work with the halfbreeds will be easy enough.
Kiel seems resolved to give trouble. He will get himself
shot some day. You are quite right to do everything
legitimate to keep him out of the legislature for the credit

1 Of Manitoba.


of your Province. If he is elected, it will now the elections
are over do no great harm.

Yours sincerely,

The Hon. A. Morris.

From the Hon. Joseph Howe to Sir John Macdonald.

Ottawa, December 6th y 1872.

After a night of anxious consideration of the scheme of railway policy,
developed by Sir Hugh Allan and his friends yesterday, and apparently
acquiesced in by my colleagues, I have come to the conclusion that I can-
not defend that scheme, or be a party to arrangements which, I believe,
will be a surprise to Parliament and the country, and fraught with conse-
quences deeply injurious to the best interests of the Dominion.

I shall, as rapidly as possible, put upon paper the views I entertain of
the measure, as presented, and of the policy that ought to be pursued, and
hope to be able to place them in your hands in the course of the afternoon.
I regret sincerely the separation from old friends which this divergence
of opinions must necessarily involve, but I apprehend that it cannot be
avoided, and am quite prepared to make the sacrifice rather than throw
over for the sake of office, my conscientious convictions.

Believe me,
My dear Sir John,
Yours sincerely,

The Rt. Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald, K.C.B.

From Governor-General the Earl of Dufferin to Sir John

Private and confidential. Ottawa, December, 1872.


I return you the volumes containing the debates on the Governor’s
salary which you were kind enough to send me, and which are sufficiently
explicit. On the other hand, I feel that it will be necessary for me at once
to face the question of my future expenditure. Since arriving in Canada,
I have spent over 11,000, in other words 5,000 more than my official
salary. It is true this includes several very heavy and exceptional items
such as freight, purchase of horses, transport of carriages and servants from
England, which would not recur in the current expenses of future years.
But now that we are settled down at Ottawa, I have been able to ascertain
pretty accurately what my regular outgoings are likely to amount to, and


the estimate proves very far from satisfactory, as you will see by the sub-
joined table:

Per Month

Ordinary household expenses 200

Wages and livery 130

Stables 60

Firing and light 130

Wine 10

Washing 30

Private Secretary 30

Sundry 10

600 7,200 p. a.

Charities and subscriptions 1,000

Travelling 1,000

Sinking fund to recoup a portion of the excess of

expenditure which has already taken place 800

Balls, parties, state dinners and occasional enter-
tainments 3>ooo

Personal expenses 0,000


It is to be observed the foregoing calculation is, in respect of what in
England would be considered a modest establishment for a peer or ordinary
country gentleman, and that neither in the number of my servants, nor in
my kitchen, am I at all extravagantly provided. In the household ex-
penses there are not included any entertainments beyond the ordinary
dinners at which I have had the pleasure of receiving my Ottawa friends.
To these, of course, there must be added a certain number of balls, parties,
and other occasional hospitalities, which I should both desire and be ex-
pected to dispense. I find that the expense of a ball, including wine, can
scarcely be kept under a pound a head. At Toronto our ball cost only
500, but on that occasion the Provincial Government contributed both
the decorations and the lighting, so that only three balls a year would
require the best part of 2,000.

The item for travelling expenses is calculated on the exact average to
which they have come during the last five months, and if I am to visit New
Brunswick and Nova Scotia next year, I can hardly expect it to be less,
unless our steamer may make a difference. I hardly know as yet what
my charities and subscriptions will amount to, but Lord Lisgar expended
1,000 per annum under that head, and mine would probably not be less.

On comparing these estimates with my official salary, there results a
discrepancy of a very startling and disagreeable character; indeed it is only
too plain that if I am to keep out of gaol, I must at once change my pro-
gramme and make my role as Governor General very different from what
I had desired and intended it should have been, assimilating it more closely
to the economical and sedentary tenor of existence adopted by my pre-
decessors. This will be very distasteful to me, and quite contrary to my


convictions as to the procedure which it is desirable the Governor General
should adopt, but unless your ingenuity can discover a remedy, I do not
see what else can be done. I am quite certain that the estimate I have
drawn up is an economical one. At first, my secretary being in England,
and we ourselves being new to the country, and too busy and hurried in our
movements to attend to our weekly bills, a good deal of cheating and over-
charging may have taken place, but since Mr. Pattisson’s return, there
has been applied to my domestic concerns the same care and vigilance
which I have been accustomed to use at home, and what we have done
lately could not have been done cheaper.

I had been told that everything was much less dear in Canada, but
this is certainly not the case, or at all events the enhanced price of some
things more than counterbalances the cheapness of others. Be that as it
may, I do not think that I can manage to get on, according to my present
way of life, under 13,000. If the excess of my expenditure over my
official income was merely a matter of 500 or 1,000 I should not regard
it, or trouble you with my difficulties, but the prospective deficit is too
serious to overlook. If I could throw upon the Government the expenses
of lighting and heating my official residences, and so much of my travelling
expenses as were incurred in my official visits to the distant Provinces,
the relief would be very sensible; but Parliament, if we are to judge from
the debates you have referred to, may not smile on such contingent dis-
bursements. On the other hand, as the Dominion Government acquires
the consciousness of its growing dignity and importance, public opinion
may develop a greater liberality of sentiment in all these matters.

I see the United States are about to increase the income and appoint-
ments of their President, and the shrieks of our own Civil Service are
calling attention to the rapid rise in prices. All this may perhaps help, but
at all events, I have thought it better to acquaint you with the present
state of the case in order that on an early occasion we may take counsel
together and determine on what footing it will be best to put my estab-
lishment in future.

Believe me, My dear Sir John,
Yours sincerely,


The Rt. Hon. Sir John Macdonald.

From the Hon. Joseph W. Trutch to Sir John Macdonald.

Victoria, B. C., December nth, 1872.

I have felt so chagrined and humiliated at the result of the San Juan
arbitration that I would fain never mention the subject again, but munch
my share of humble pie silently. Yet as the award, 1 though specific

1 The award complained of is that of the Emperor of Germany on the 2ist
October, 1872, giving the Island of San Juan to the United States. Mr. Trutch’s
apprehensions as regards the course to be taken by the line from the middle of the
Straits of Georgia, southerly to the canal de Haro, were not destined to be realized.


enough as between Haro Canal and Rosario Straits, does not define the
line of water boundary in other respects from the 4gth parallel to the
Straits of Fuca, I think it advisable to ask your attention to the matter at

British Columbia has lost so much in losing San Juan and the adjacent
islands, that it is perhaps of minor consequence whether a few more
islands are taken from us or not, but at all events we had better know the
worst of the position as soon as practicable.

Looking at the map herewith, you see I have drawn two full lines from
the point on the 49th parallel in the middle of the Channel which separates
the Continent from Vancouver Island, that is in the middle of the Strait
of Georgia, southerly to the Canal de Haro, or Haro Straits, as named
on the map. One of these lines follows the channel used by sailing
ships to the east of Saturna Island and to the north of Stewart
Island, and this I have always supposed was the boundary claimed by the
United States Government. The other line follows the course usually
taken by steamers through Active Pass to the westward of Mayne and
Fender Islands, and this, I am told, is now to be claimed by that Govern-
ment as the line of the treaty of 1846.

Until within the last few days I had never heard that the United States
Government made any pretensions to this latter line as the boundary in-
tended by the treaty, and certainly from the arguments in their case
presented before the Emperor, one could not suppose they would make
such a claim, especially as we have been exercising jurisdiction and sover-
eignty over the Islands included between the two lines, without question
from them; in fact the joint occupation has never extended to these Islands,
so far as I can ascertain.

I hardly comprehend therefore on what pretence the claim can now
be made that the water boundary should run through Active Pass, but as
a rumour exists of such a claim being about to be advanced by the United
States when a Commission is appointed to define the boundary upon the
Emperor’s Award, and has been reported to me confidentially by Captain
Delacombe lately, the Commandant of the British Post on San Juan,
I think it right to communicate it to you. In any case, whether such further
claim is to be made or not, it is evidently most desirable that the boundary
between us and our neighbours should as soon as possible be exactly de-

Faithfully yours,

The Rt. Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald.

From Sir John Macdonald to the Hon. Oliver Mowat.
Private. Ottawa,, December 2jrd, 1872.


I duly received yours of the lyth which pressure of business
has prevented me from replying to before.


You are under a misapprehension in supposing that an
opinion was obtained from the Privy Council in England
with respect to Queen’s Counsel. No such opinion was
asked for. The circumstances were simply these: The
question of appointment of Queen’s Counsel was raised in
Nova Scotia more than a year ago, in fact it was made a
matter of complaint against the Dominion Government that
silk gowns had not been conferred there. As I was aware
that the point had been raised, as to the power of appoint-
ment, by Sandfield Macdonald, I thought it well not to act,
even in a matter of prerogative, without reference to Her
Majesty’s Government. I accordingly made a report as
Attorney General to the Governor-General.

You know that by practice, all reports and opinions of
the Law officers of the Crown are confidential, and seldom,
if ever, laid before Parliament. I therefore send you a
copy of my report confidentially. It cannot be used at this
moment, but I have no objection that it should be moved
for in the Dominion Parliament, and I shall ask His Excel-
lency’s permission to bring it down there, pro bono publico.

The answering despatch from Lord Kimberley can only
be brought down in the same way. It does not set out the
opinion of the Law officers of the Crown in England ipsissima
verba; it states generally that he has taken the opinion and
that he is advised that the Governor-General has the power,
and that a Lieutenant-Governor appointed since the passing
of “The British North America Act 1867” has not the power
of appointing Queen’s Counsel; but that a legislature of a
Province can confer by statute such power on its Lieutenant-
Governor, including such precedence or preaudience in the
courts of the Province, as the legislature may think fit.

I see no difficulty in a Provincial Legislature passing an Act
of the kind referred to. It would be well, I think, that due
respect should be paid to the Governor-General’s Commis-
sion in the Provincial courts, and I have no doubt that similar
respect will be accorded to any Q. C.’s appointed under
Statute of a Local Legislature, in the courts of the Dominion.
Believe me,

Yours faithfully,

The Hon. Oliver Mowat.


From the Hon. S. L. Tilley to Sir John Macdonald.

Confidential. Ottawa, December 24, 1872.


Judging from Haythorne’s 1 letter to Lieutenant-Governor Robinson, I
doubt if the Island people are yet ripe for Confederation. They require
to feel the presence of – * taxation before they are convinced. It
may be that Haythorne, who is a shrewd fellow, is asking more than they
are prepared to accept, but if they suppose that the Dominion will pay
their railway debt in addition to the $800,000 for land, and the annual
subsidy offered them in 1869, they will find themselves mistaken. I had
a letter from Palmer a few days since. He does not take quite such high
ground, and thinks Sir John Rose might be appointed arbitrator between
the two Governments. This is Palmer, the President of the Bank, and
brother to Attorney General Palmer. I suspect we shall have a delegation
here before long from the Island upon this subject.
Yours sincerely,

The Rt. Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald.

From Governor-General the Earl of Dufferin to Sir John

Private and confidential. Montreal, January i^th, 1873.


Lord Kimberley has so much personal regard for you, and confides so
thoroughly both in your judgment and good faith, that I have no scruple
in communicating to you in its entirety, the enclosed letter which I have
just received. After you have read it please hand it to Colonel Fletcher. 3

Lord Kimberley has a good opinion of Mr. Mitchell’s abilities, but I
remember when he handed me the Fishery Blue Book to read, he alluded to
Mitchell’s despatches as containing over much bounce and bluster. I am
not sure, however, but that in diplomatizing with the Yanks, these quali-
ties may prove useful, if only they are duly moderated by your superin-
tending hand.

Fletcher will have handed to you the confidential letter written to me
by the Lieutenant-Governor of Prince Edward Island. You will see
what Lord Kimberley says in reference to this subject and to Newfound-
land. It would be very pleasant if the incorporation of the remaining two

1 At the time, Premier of Prince Edward Island. Afterwards a Senator of
Canada. Died, yth May, 1891.

* Word indecipherable.

2 Colonel H. C. Fletcher, C.M.G., Governor General’s Secretary (1872-1875). The
Mitchell referred to by Lord Kimberley was the Hon. Peter Mitchell, then Minister
of Marine and Fisheries.


Provinces of British North America with the Dominion could be con-
cluded while both you and I were in office. To have successfully organized
the Pacific Railway and rounded off the Dominion, will, with what you al-
ready have done towards its creation and establishment, complete a record
of successful statesmanship more remarkable and glorious than any
future Prime Minister of Canada will be likely to leave behind him.

I have to thank you for the Minute which I have signed to-day for the
reorganization of my office. It is now very complete and well con-

I am sorry to give you so much trouble and cause so much expense,
but a great country inevitably outgrows its breeches.
Yours sincerely,

The Rt. Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald.

From Sir John Macdonald to Sir Edward Thornton.

Ottawa, January i8th> 1873.

I have your note respecting the treaty. The matter
relating to the tolls on our canals stands thus:

In 1 860, by Order-in-Council, vessels and cargoes, without
distinction as to nationality, were allowed to pass the St.
Lawrence canals, the Rideau and Ottawa canals, and the
Burlington Bay canal, free of tolls.

With reference to the Welland canal, the full rate of tolls
was collected, but of the tolls so paid, 90 per cent was re-
funded whenever such vessels or goods entered the St.
Lawrence canals, or entered their cargoes inwards at any
Canadian’ port on Lake Ontario, or on the St. Lawrence.
This Order-in-Council was rescinded in 1863.

The tolls are now regulated as follows:

No discriminating tolls between Canadian and foreign
vessels are charged on our canals; but for statistical pur-
poses, the nationalities of ships are stated in the manifests
presented at the canal office. The tonnage of all ships is
charged with tolls, in proportion to the number of sections
of canal they pass through. Special rates have been author-
ized for the following articles of freight: wheat, flour, corn,
barley, oats and petroleum, having paid Welland canal
tolls, may pass through the other canals free of further
charge. Iron and salt, having paid St. Lawrence tolls, may
pass upwards through the Welland canal free of charge. Coal


passes upwards, free of tolls through all the canals, except
the Welland canal. Iron ore, and chemical ores, are charged
with a uniform rate of five cents per ton, whether they pass
through one section or all the sections of one or all the

I shall be obliged to you for keeping me informed at your
leisure, of the progress of the Fishery Bill in Congress.

Believe me,
My dear Sir Edward
Yours very truly,

The Rt. Hon.

Sir Edward Thornton, K.C.B.,

From Sir John Macdonald to Sir George Carrier , Bart.
Private. Ottawa, January 22nd, iS/j.


I am glad to learn from your letters that you are steadily
improving. Do not hurry too much about coming out.
We have not yet settled the exact day on which Parliament
will meet, but we surmise it will be about the 1st March.

Morris has been in rather a quandary in Manitoba. A
party of French halfbreeds waited upon him without notice,
evidently sent by the Archbishop. 1 They asked an am-
nesty for all, and claimed that there had been a promise to
that effect from the Government. Morris replied (and he
could make no other answer) that he was not aware of any
promise. This, I understand, annoyed the Archbishop, and
he has been talking foolishly about publishing correspond-
ence and so on. He wrote to Masson of Terrebonne on the
subject, and Masson wrote Langevin who showed me the
letter; and I wrote in reply to Langevin who has sent my
letter to Masson. I stated that if there were any promises
in writing we should be glad to have copies of them, but
that I understood the promises alluded to were those made
by the Governor-General and Sir Clinton Murdoch. I
stated that no minister of the Crown was present at the

1 Bishop Tache who had recently been created Archbishop.


interview spoken of, but that Lord Lisgar and Sir Clinton
Murdoch, who were both alive, and were men of honour,
would state frankly what they promised; and that I had no
doubt that whatever they had undertaken would be carried
out faithfully by the Imperial Government.

The only letter that I wrote was one to Bishop Tache
himself on the loth January, 1870, when he arrived here on
his return from Rome. In that letter I informed him that
the amnesty promised by the proclamation sent up by
Father Thibault would be carried out; and further, that the
Government would stand between the insurgents and the
Hudson’s Bay Company, if they laid down their arms, for
any provisions that they might have consumed at Fort
Garry. This was before the death of Scott, who was killed
on the 4th March.

Since I wrote to Langevin, Archibald has called my
attention to a copy of a correspondence between yourself
and Father Ritchot of the i8th and ipth May, 1870, after
my attack of illness, which took place on the 6th. I send you
extracts of the letter from Ritchot to you, and your reply.
These copies have been given by Ritchot to Archibald, and
I suppose are correct.

I see that you were very guarded and referred entirely
in your answer to the conversation which Lord Lisgar had
with Ritchot on the ipth May, when you were present.

Now I think it would be well, lest the Archbishop should
publish these extracts, that you should write me in full
what the conversation was between Lord Lisgar and the
delegates; and I think that you should write to Lord Lisgar
and get his assent to the correctness of your statement, so
that I may be in a position to state in my place in Parliament
what Lord Lisgar absolutely did promise.

I know perfectly well that he made no promise, direct,
or indirect, by which the pardon of Riel, or those concerned
in the murder of Scott, can be claimed. I have meanwhile
taken a step which will, I think, close the Archbishop’s
mouth. The fact that he interests himself at this moment
in Riel’s success, after his (Riel’s) conduct towards him
and towards us such as in his election to the Local
Legislature and so on shows that his return to Mani-
toba is with the Archbishop’s consent and connivance.


Langevin thinks this will have the desired effect with
His Grace.

I hope that we shall have the Pacific Railway charter
signed by the 26th of this month, and then we will have plain
sailing for Parliament.

Believe me,
My dear Cartier,
Yours very sincerely

Sir George Cartier, Bart.,
47 Welbeck Street.
Cavendish Square,

From Sir George Carrier, Bart., to Sir John Macdonald.
Private. London, 2jrd January, 1873.


Many thanks for your kind letter of the 4th instant, which reached me
three days ago. I feel well pleased about the progress you have made
with the Pacific Railway matter. I entirely concur in your scheme. It
would not have done to have given the contract to Allan’s company, since
it could not have been united with McPherson’s one. In forming a new
company and in excluding members of Parliament, you have done the right
thing. Neither McPherson nor any Ontario man, can find a ground of
real complaint with regard to the company to be organized under an Order
of the Privy Council.

I am again happy to tell you that I continue to improve in my state of
health. I have not as yet concluded giving my evidence against the St.

Alban’s raiders, and the other * of the Northern refugees. I hope to

finish it at the end of next week. I called two days ago at the Colonial
Office to arrange my interview with Lord Kimberley on the subject you
mention in your note, of delaying the convening of our Parliament. I am
to get that interview at 4 P. M. to-day. I won’t have time to give you the
result of it by this mail, but I will write it to you day after to-morrow
(Saturday). If I can induce Lord Kimberley to write the private note
you wish to be written to Lord Dufferin, I will ask him at once to tele-
graph to Lord Dufferin. Bear in mind that we must not embarrass Lord
Kimberley with regard to the transference of the guarantee by any re-
duction of the Militia estimates, or the sale of any property used or to be

*Word indecipherable.


used for fortifications according to Jervois’ plan. Tell Langevin to in-
timate to Robertson to avoid making any suggestion on these subjects
in his general report. The Militia reports are much read here, and if it
were to appear by this year’s report that our Government intends to reduce
the Militia estimates and to sell the fortification property, it would em-
barrass Kimberley in passing his bill, for he must assure Parliament here
that the Canadian Government, by seeking the fortification guarantee
transference and the postponing of the making of the fortifications, does
not intend to give up the contemplated scheme of fortifications, and that
when the time comes to make these fortifications, Canada will be ready
to realize its promise of making them. In support of his argument he will
quote, no doubt, our readiness to spend the necessary money for the proper
organization of our Militia, even beyond the amount we have promised
to spend, and also our policy up to this time in not having dispensed by
sale of any of the properties to be used as fortifications under Jervois’ plan.
Lady Cartier and the girls are all in Paris. My kindest remembrances
to Lady Macdonald and our colleagues, and, my dear Macdonald, believe
me as always.

Your devoted colleague,

The Rt. Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald.

From Sir John Macdonald to Governor-General the Earl of
Duffer in.

Private. Ottawa, January 2?th, 1873.


I enclose you a letter from the Hon. J. C. Chapais, the
Receiver General, tendering his resignation. Mr. Chapais
is a most estimable man, but of rather too retiring a nature
to take the position in public life which his abilities would
otherwise entitle him to.

As the Speakership of the Senate was vacant by Mr.
Cauchon resigning his senatorship, I thought it due to Mr.
Chapais to ask him if he would allow me to submit his name
to Your Excellency as his successor. He has however pre-
ferred to retire from official life altogether, retaining his seat
in the Senate. His conduct in this whole matter has been
in the highest degree disinterested, and I hope that the
time may come when we may be able to show our apprecia-
“‘on of his course. I shall probably submit the name of Dr.


Robitaille, 1 the member for the County of Bonaventure to
Your Excellency as his successor.
Believe me,

My dear Lord Dufferin,
Faithfully yours,

The Earl of Dufferin.

From Sir Francis Hincks to Sir John Macdonald.

Montreal, loth February, 1873.

The Pacific Railway scheme having now been fairly launched, there is
no longer any reason for my deferring my long contemplated retirement
from active political life, and I have therefore to request that you will
place my resignation in the hands of His Excellency the Governor General,
with an expression of my profound respect, and of my ardent wish that
His Excellency’s administration so auspiciously commenced, may con-
tinue as successful to its close. It is almost superfluous for me to assure
you that I part with you with feelings of deep regret. If I had the least
hesitation in becoming a member of your Government, a very short ex-
perience convinced me that I had not been mistaken in taking that course,
which in my judgment public duty imperatively required me to take. But,
as you have long been aware, my re-entrance into active political life
was always viewed with alarm by those whose opinions I am bound to
consult, and who believe that I could not continue in it except at the
sacrifice of my health. You and I can afford to treat with contempt the
gossip of newspaper correspondents, but this is a suitable occasion for me
to state that during the term of our political connection, you have in-
variably treated me with the greatest consideration and confidence, and
that I continue to believe that the integrity of our great Dominion depends
much on the success of your administration. For each and all of my
colleagues, including those who have retired since my own acceptance of
office, I have entertained feelings both of friendship and esteem. It is
truly painful to have to sever such ties as have existed between us, but I
trust that I may be able during the few years that I can hope to live, to
preserve friendships which I so highly value.

Believe me,
Very truly yours,

Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald, K.C.B.

1 The Hon. Theodore Robitaille, Receiver General of Canada, January to
November, 1873; Lieutenant Governor of the Province of Quebec (1879-1884); a
Senator of Canada (1885-1897). Died, i8th August, 1897.


From Governor-General the Earl of Duffer in to Sir John

Private and confidential. Ottawa, nth February, 1873.


Sometime ago I said that I would send you a review I wrote on a plan
propounded by Mr. Mill for the pacification of Ireland. You will find it
on page i of the accompanying volume. It may amuse you to run through
it. I have also marked for you my speech on the Irish Land Bill. You
can return me the volume at your leisure.

I have signed the Minute accepting Judge Caron’s 1 resignation, but I
hope you will forgive me for suggesting that before any move is made in the
direction of so important an appointment as that of a Lieutenant-Gover-
nor, the minister’s proposals should be first communicated to the Governor-

Every paper in the Dominion has authoritatively announced Judge
Caron’s impending appointment, and I conclude their information is
correct, yet at this moment, I have no knowledge of how the matter may

In administering a constitutional Government, it is my duty to maintain
the prerogatives of the Crown as well as the privileges of Parliament, and
it would not be proper for me to allow any of the conventional usages in
which the former are embodied, to fall into desuetude. Although in
England a person is often sounded as to whether he would accept an
appointment, it is always under the seal of secrecy until his name has
been submitted to the Queen. Did the Governor-General see occasion to
deprecate a particular appointment, the premature publication of
the Minister’s intentions would put everyone concerned into a false

There is another point connected with this subject I would wish to sub-
mit to you. Now that new Lieutenant-Governors are about to be ap-
pointed in every Province, would it not be well to get rid of the irregular
practice of giving them the title of “Excellency?” It seems to me that the
true policy of the Dominion will be to subordinate the prestige and juris-
diction, both of the local legislature and their chief executive officer to the
supreme authority of the Canadian Parliament and the Governor General.
Their proper legal title is that of “Their Honours” which might very well
content them. The Lieutenant Governors of Bengal, Madras, and Bom-
bay have no higher.

It is also worthy of consideration whether ex-members of the Provincial
Councils, and ex-provincial ministers, should retain the designation of

1 The Hon. Rene Edouard Caron, a puisne judge of the Court of Queen’s Bench
for the Province of Quebec, who on the nth February, 1873, was appointed Lieuten-
ant-Governor of the Province of Quebec. He was the father of the late Sir Adolphe
Caron, of the late Madame Jean Thomas Taschereau of Quebec, and of Lady
Fitzpatrick, wife of the present Lieutenant-Governor of the Province of Quebec.


“Honourable” after their retirement from office. In a country situated
like Canada there are especial reasons for regulating the distribution of
these honorary distinctions with care and precision. If they are restricted
to persons of merit, whose career in the public service and the official posi-
tion they have attained, are proofs of eminence, they may become con-
venient instruments of^Government, but if they fall a prey to insignificant
local politicans, they are worse than useless.

There is yet another point upon which I have to trouble you. I am not
quite satisfied with my position in regard to the Privy Council. You
have now seen enough of me to feel convinced that I have not the slightest
desire to fidget with the administration of the country, or to interfere in
any way with the free action and official responsibility of my ministers; in
fact all my instincts are intensely constitutional, and my great desire is to
enhance the prestige and authority of Canadian statesmen, and to teach
the Canadian people to believe in and to be proud of their public men;
consequently, I am rather inclined to favour than otherwise the tendency
which is taking place, of the Governor-General’s Council to transmute it-
self into the Prime Minister’s Cabinet, at whose deliberations it would be
often inconvenient for the head of the Executive to be present. But,
on the other hand, I do not think it would be desirable that the Governor-
General should allow his right of presiding over his Council to lapse
altogether into desuetude. At all events the subject is sufficiently im-
portant for me to desire to have the matter thoroughly faced and con-
sidered, and if at your leisure you could favour me with a memoran-
dum as to the practice you would recommend, I should esteem it a favour.

I have read with great pleasure the very dignified and explicit draft
Minute of Council on Mr. Fish’s despatch in relation to the Bratton 1 case.
I have not signed it, as it appears in draft form only, but I do not think it
could be improved. I imagine the best course would be to send it home
officially to Lord Kimberley for transmission to the Foreign Office, in order
that it may reach Thornton’s hands through them, with Lord Granville’s
instructions. At the same time, I might send privately a copy to Thorn-
ton for his information.

What a sensible and liberal speech Governor Bross 2 seems to have made
at Desmoines, except so far as it relates to his project for a canal connecting
the Georgian Bay with Lake Ontario, which of course involves an engineer-
ing question about which I know nothing. I saw Mr. Capreol and his
maps when I was in Toronto, but Mr. Gzowski did not favour his notions,

1 Touching the claim of the Canadian Government against the Government of
the United States on behalf of one Rufus Bratton, arising out of his abduction from
Canadian territory.

2 William Bross, Lieutenant-Governor of the State of Illinois (1865-1869)-
The occasion of the speech referred to was an Industrial Convention held at Des
Moines for the discussion of matters relating generally to transportation and the
improvement of the St. Lawrence route. Mr. F. C. Capreol was a Canadian en-
gineer associated with a scheme known as the Huron and Ontario Ship Canal, for
connecting the Georgian Bay with Lake Ontario. For Mr. Gzowski, see note p. 139.


though he suggested an alternative cut between Lake Huron and the

Yours sincerely,


P. S. Now that we “have a telegraph at Rideau Hall I would ask you to
announce to your colleagues that if any of them ever desire to see me on
business between the hours of ten and three, they have only to intimate
their wish by telegraph, and they will find me at their service in my office
within a quarter of an hour after they have sent their summons, and you
will please to add that I trust they will not have any hesitation in asking
to see me, as it will be always a pleasure to me to come. By this means,
I shall be saved the trouble of going into Ottawa when there is nothing on
hand to require my presence.

From Sir John Macdonald to Sir John Rose.
Private. Ottawa, February ijth, 1873.

My dear Rose,

Thanks for yours of the 22nd. We have cut off all con-
nection with the Canadian News and granted no subsidy of
any kind. Could not some action be taken by your Colonial
Association to mark its disapprobation of the course of this

This mail will take you a copy of the Canadian Pacific
Railway Charter granted to Sir Hugh Allan and his associ-
ates. He proceeds to England on the 1st March, and I
sincerely hope that he may be able to put the scheme success-
fully in the market. I am satisfied that it deserves success.

Allan is accompanied by Abbott and John Walker of
London. The latter is the Vice President of the scheme and
a shrewd man of business. Entre nous, Allan seems to have
lost his head altogether. He has made a series of most
stupendous blunders with respect to the whole matter, and
the Company is not yet out of the troubles caused by his
imprudence. He is the worst negotiator I ever saw in my
life. He is however accompanied by John Abbott who will
endeavour to keep him right.

You can talk to Walker and Archibald confidentially. I
fear that Allan’s intense selfishness may blind him as to the
true interests of the scheme; that is to say, I fear he will be
inclined to think more about how much he can make out of


the thing, than the success of the enterprise itself. I fear
too that he will be attempting to fasten his North Shore
Railway and the Northern Colonization scheme upon the
Pacific, and if he does he will of necessity arouse the opposi-
tion of all those interested in the Grand Trunk Railway.

Hincks is now at Montreal. He is about to withdraw
from the Government, which I greatly regret. No induce-
ment could make him remain until the end of the Session.
Though he does not admit it, I fancy the real cause of his
reluctance is that he dislikes the idea of being taunted by the
Opposition with being unable to get a seat in Ontario and
sitting as a Minister for such an out of the way place as
Vancouver Island. Tilley will be sworn in to take his place,
and a re-arrangement of the Departments will be thereby
occasioned. All the Departments will be rilled up, leaving
Ontario one Minister short, and the presidency of the Coun-
cil vacant. I do not intend to fill the vacancy until the end
of the session when most likely our friend T. N. Gibbs will
come in. The personnel of the Pacific Railway Board has
been considered satisfactory by the country; and the Globe
does not criticize its composition. In fact it has been so well
selected that it meets with general acceptance.
Believe me,
Yours faithfully,

Sir John Rose, Bart.,

Bartholomew Lane,
Bank, London.

From Sir George Carrier, Bart., to Sir John Macdonald.

Private. London, 47 Welbeck Street,

Cavendish Square, W. y

i 5th February, 1873.

Thanks for your last of the 2yth January. Congratulate for me our
new colleague Robitaille on his valuable accession to us. I presume and
hope that the parting with Chapais was friendly and amiable. I have just
had a long visit from Lord Lisgar. He is to write me a letter about
what happened at the interview given to Father Ritchot, which I will send
you by next mail accompanied with a statement of mine. No promise
was made of an amnesty. Always bear in mind that throughout, we stated


that the amnesty was not a question for us, but for the Queen at * I

went to see Lord Carnarvon yesterday to thank him for what he had done
privately for us, but he was out. I saw Lady Carnarvon who is to write
me when I shall be able to see Lord C. I am happy to tell you I continue
progressing. Lord Lisgar asked me to tell you to have the kindness to
excuse him for not having as yet replied to your last letter. He has been
so unwell for the last 8 weeks. Lady Lisgar is in Ireland. I saw Gait
two days ago. He found me much improved. So I see by the last Cana-
dian papers I was reported dead! Who can be guilty of such brutal false
report? Remember me kindly to our colleagues. Lady C. and our girls
join with me in kind regards to you and Lady Macdonald, and my dear
Macdonald, believe me, as always,

Your devoted colleague,


From Sir John Macdonald to Governor-General the Earl of

Ottawa, February ifth, 1873. ‘

I have informed Mr. Howe who, as Secretary of State
for the Provinces, has charge of the correspondence with the
Lieutenant-Governors, that it is your pleasure that such
Lieutenant-Governors should, in all official documents, be
addressed by the designation given them by Her Majesty.
I have mentioned it in Council also, so that Minutes in
Council and State papers generally may give Lieutenant-
Governors their proper titles.

With regard to Provincial Legislative Councillors, I
would suggest that no notice be taken of the title of “Hon-
ourable” being assumed by them for the present, unless
the subject is forced on your attention. The Legislative
Councillors in Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland all
enjoy that title and would not like to lose it. The fear
of taking a step downwards might disincline them to vote
for Confederation. After Union, Her Majesty might be
moved to do as was done in 1867, when she ordered that all
Legislative Councillors before the date of Confederation
should retain their titles for life those appointed afterwards
not to enjoy the title at all. I think the order of the Queen
in this matter is quite right, as it would prevent the vulgar-
izing of the title of “Honourable” by preventing it from be-

*Word indecipherable.


ing made too common. At the same time, I think it may
excite some unpleasant feeling in the Provinces. Still, as
long as the order of Her Majesty exists, it is Your Excel-
lency’s duty, as you said to me, to see it enforced.

I think the time has arrived when the form of the Orders-in-
Council should be modified, and a new practice introduced.
I shall bring the matter up in Council and then take Your
Excellency’s pleasure on it before reducing it to writing.
My idea is to have two descriptions of papers:

i. Orders-in-Council and 2nd, Minutes of Council. In
adopting the first (or O. C.’s) the Governor-General should
be present, or supposed to be present. The 2nd, or Minutes
of Council, will be merely conclusions of the Cabinet, and are
submitted for your sanction, as advice tendered by your
responsible advisers.

The carrying out of capital sentences by Order-in-Council
is an exceptional course, depending on the Royal instructions.

Formerly Governors-General always decided [?] in full
Council. This should, I think, still be done, where there is a
difference of opinion in Council.
Believe me,

My dear Lord Dufferin,

Faithfully yours,
The Earl of Dufferin.

From Sir John Macdonald to the Hon. Joseph Howe.

February ifthy 1873.

The attention of the Governor-General has been called to
the fact that all Governors of the Provinces of the Dominion
are still addressed by the title of “Your Excellency.” As this
is contrary to Her Majesty’s regulations, which orders that a
Lieutenant-Governor, since ist July, 1867, shall be addressed
as “His Honour,” it is His Excellency’s desire that this
regulation be adhered to in all official correspondence.
Believe me, My dear Mr. Howe,
Faithfully yours,

The Hon. J. Howe.


From Sir John Macdonald to Governor-General the Earl of
Duffer in.

Ottawa^ February 2ist, 1873.

I enclose you Sir Francis Hincks’ letter of resignation,
which I regret being obliged to submit for your acceptance.
His family dread so much the labour of the session for him,
that he has been obliged to yield to their entreaties. I am
inclined to think that his family are right, as he was much
exhausted at the end of last session, and he is now a year
older. I desire to submit Mr. Tilley’s name as his suc-
cessor. This will involve the necessity of making some
other changes, which I will have ready for your consideration
on Monday.

If your Excellency could conveniently come to Council
Monday afternoon, Mr. Tilley could be then sworn in to his
new office.

Believe me,
Faithfully yours,

From M. Jean Thomas Taschereau 1 to Sir John Macdonald.

Quebec, 22 Fevrier, 1873.

Je viens de recevoir une commission me nommant Juge puine de la
Cour du Bane de la Reine pour la Province de Quebec. J’apprecie au plus
haut degre 1’honneur que cet appointement me confere, et je dois vous
offrir mes plus sinceres remerciements pour la bonte extreme que vous
avez cue de soumettre mon nom a Son Excellence le Gouverneur General
comme celui d’un bon et loyal sujet de Sa Majeste, et digne d’occuper la
charge en question.

J’ai 1’honneur d’etre,
Votre tout devoue et

obeissant serviteur,

L’Honorable Sir John A. Macdonald, K.C.B.,

!The Hon. Jean Thomas Taschereau, father of the late Sir Henry Thomas
Taschereau, Knight, Chief Justice of Quebec, and of the Hon. L. A. Taschereau,
Prime Minister of that Province. Appointed a puisne judge of the Supreme
Court of Canada, 1875; retifed therefrom, 1878. Died, gth November, 1893.


From Sir John Macdonald to the Hon. Mr. Justice J. T.

Ottawa, February 2?th y 1873.

I have your note of the 22nd instant.
I had great pleasure in submitting your name to His
Excellency for the honourable position of judge of the
Queen’s Bench, believing that your learning and ability
would enable you to fill it with honour to yourself and
advantage to your country.

Believe me,

My dear Mr. Taschereau,
Yours very sincerely,

The Hon. J. T. Taschereau,
Judge Queen’s Bench,

From Sir John Macdonald to Governor-General the Earl of

Ottawa, igth March, 1873.

The Colonial Regulations have not, as yet, been applied
to the Lieutenant-Governors of the Dominion, since Con-
federation. They therefore will not be in the way.

I see no objection to Sir Hastings Doyle accepting a well
deserved testimonial on his retiring forever from Nova
Scotia. A testimonial given to a Governor during his term
of office would be objectionable; so would a testimonial
to a Lieutenant-Governor from any parties in a Province,
were it given for any act of the Governor or course pursued
by him which did not meet with the approbation of Her
Majesty or the Governor-General.

I see no reason why, in the present case, Sir Hastings
should not accept the piece of plate.

We had the second division of the Session last night.
It was on the same question as the first, and we improved
our majority from 16 to 25. Among those who voted
against us were several gentlemen who are supporters of


the Administration, but who took the same view of the legal
question as the Opposition.

Believe me,

My dear Lord Dufferin,
Faithfully yours,
His Excellency

The Governor-General,
Rideau Hall.

From Sir John Macdonald to Governor-General the Earl of

Ottawa, /ph April, 1873. \

Thanks for Mr. Robinson’s telegram. Our information
from the Island quite accords with this message. Pope’s
party 1 which has triumphed, was always in close alliance
with us of the Dominion on the subject of Confederation. It
was defeated by Mr. Haythorne and his friends who are anti-
confederates. At the last moment Haythorne & Co., took up
Confederation as une planche de salut, fearing defeat in their
general policy at the approaching meeting of the Legislature.
They have met the just reward of their tortuous policy.
The original friends of Confederation have succeeded, and will
have the credit of carrying the measure. I understand that
Laird, 2 who was here with Haythorne will join Pope’s adminis-
tration. I hope this is so, for the sake of the cause, although
it does not raise Mr. Laird in my estimation. His presence
there will shield us from any attempts at still better terms, i /
Believe me, y

My dear Lord Dufferin,
Faithfully yours,

His Excellency

The Governor-General,
Rideau Hall.

1 The Hon. James Colledge Pope, Premier of Prince Edward Island, Minister
of Marine and Fisheries in the Government of Canada (1878-1882). Died, i8th May,

2 The Hon. David Laird, who did not join Pope’s administration, but became
Minister of the Interior in the Cabinet of Mr. Mackenzie upon that gentleman’s


From Sir George Cartier y Bart., to Sir John Macdonald.

47 Welbeck Street, London, W. y
Private. 5th April, 1873.


Thanks for your cablegram of day before yesterday which at once I
sent to Rose. I felt so much relieved in my mind to know that you have
had such triumph. The man of the Toronto Globe telegraphed the result
of the vote 1 here also, but in a way to diminish the importance of it. The
Times this morning has another cablegram from Toronto in order to
weaken the effect of the majority you got the other day. It says “not-
withstanding the vote of 31 which the Government obtained, the Govern-
ment was forced to grant the special committee to enquire into charges
brought against them.” I have not, as yet, seen Sir Hugh Allan in order
to concoct some means to have Reuter here to dismiss the Globe’s man as
his cable correspondent. Your victory has had a good effect here. I saw
Dr. Johnson yesterday; he says I am still improving, and says if I con-
tinue to thus improve, there will be no impediment in my sailing for
Canada in the beginning of May. I was pleased to hear him thus speak-
ing. As I had been requested, I called to see the Prince of Wales Sunday
afternoon last. He received me so kindly and graciously. He enquired
minutely about my health and Canadian matters. He takes great inter-
est in our doings. He said he might again visit Canada. His five
children were round him at the time of my visit. It was a pleasing sight
to see him surrounded by the Royal children. He is to go to Vienna to
attend the opening of the Exhibition, and he asked me to go and see him
again after his return, and before I leave. I am watching the bill about
the copyright matter. I hope it will pass as first drafted.

With kind remembrances to our colleagues and to Lady Macdonald, my
dear Macdonald, believe me, as always,

Yours devoted colleague,

The Rt. Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald.

accession to the Premiership of Canada in November, 1873. In 1876 Mr. Laird was
appointed Lieutenant-Governor of the North West Territories, and held office until
1 88 1. Died, 1 2th January, 1914.

1 This refers to the vote taken in the Canadian House of Commons on the 2nd
April, 1873, rejecting a motion of the Hon. L. S. Huntington in relation to his
charges of corruption against the Government in the matter of what was com-
monly called the Pacific Scandal. See Memoirs, Vol. II, pp. 164-5: 329.


From Governor-General the Earl of Dufferin to Sir John Mac-

Private. Rideau Hall, 2ist May, 1873.


I can quite understand how very deeply you must be affected by the
news of poor Carder’s death. Having fought so many tough battles
side by side, and having had so many opportunities of appreciating his
courage, energy, and loyal friendship, the sudden disappearance of such a
colleague cannot fail to create a great and almost irremediable gap in your
political surroundings.

The more that I have learnt of the character of political life in this
country, the closer I have gauged the capacity of our public men, and the
temper and procedure of the Canadian Parliament, the better I am able to
comprehend how great a weight of mental labour and personal responsi-
bility rests upon your individual shoulders.

Under these circumstances I cannot but sympathize with you in the
isolation of your position, the sense of which this sudden news cannot fail
to intensify.

Yours sincerely,

The Rt. Hon. Sir John Macdonald, K.C.B.,

From the Hon. Joseph Howe to Sir John Macdonald.

Government House,

Halifax, Nova Scotia,

May 23rd, 1873.

I see by the papers that your session is to close to-day, and I congratulate
you with all my heart upon the termination of your legislative labours. I
have never known you in greater force from the beginning to the end; more
full of resource, or more successful, and you have been seconded with great
industry and ability by your colleagues. You will all now want rest, and
the sooner you scatter and take it the better.

Strange to say poor Sir George’s death neither surprised nor shocked me.
The passage which I read to you from the Quarterly Review convinced me
that he had no chance of restoration to health, and the barbarous manner
in which he had been stricken down by his old friends and constituents,
reconciled me to his loss. Let those who are responsible for his wreck
have all the power and glory of it. His reputation will live in the hearts
of his countrymen, and his genial qualities will long be remembered by
his old associates. M

Since I left you I have been trembling between life and death myself,
and am even now trusting to the approach of spring to strike the balance
in my favour. I was reluctant to leave Ottawa while there was a single


Nova Scotian adrift, and lingered as I did last year, too long. There was
ice and snow all along the track in Vermont and New Hampshire, and cold,
east winds in Boston. I was pretty well used up by the time I got to
Halifax, and have only been out of the house twice since I arrived. Spring
will burst upon us in about another week, and then, if there is anything
left to build on, I hope to get all right again.

My reception here was all I could wish quiet, but cordial. All classes,
I think, are pleased. Annand went off on some errand to the States, but
all the other members of the local Governments have behaved very well.
Of course I shall make no trouble and apprehend no difficulties.

With Mrs. Howe’s and my best respects to Lady Macdonald, and kind
regards to your colleagues,

Believe me,
My dear Sir John,
Yours sincerely,

The Rt. Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald, K.C.B.

From Sir John Macdonald to the Rev. James ^uin.
Private. Ottawa, 2$th May, 1873.


I fear that the pressure of sessional business prevented me
from answering your note.

You will have observed how the School Question * ended.
It is the bounden duty of the Government of the Dominion,
in the first place, to support the Constitution. The Consti-
tution would not be worth the paper it is written on, unless
the rights of the Provincial Legislatures were supported.
It is not a matter for the consideration of the Governor
General whether the Legislature of any Province acts wisely
or unwisely. The simple question is: had it jurisdiction?
Was it competent to pass the law? Now the Governor Gene-
ral had been instructed by Her Majesty’s Government,
from whom he must take his orders, that the School Law
was within the jurisdiction of the New Brunswick Legislature.

It follows as a matter of course that if the jurisdiction
existed at Fredericton, it did not exist here, and that neither

1 This letter refers to an agitation which arose in 1872 over certain legislation
of the Provincial Government of New Brunswick in relation to Catholic schools in
that Province, which legislation the Canadian Government was unsuccessfully
pressed to disallow.


the Parliament nor the Government of the Dominion had
any constitutional right to interfere.

In the discussion that took place last session, I expressed
as strongly as I could my opinion as to the want of wisdom
displayed by the Legislature of New Brunswick in the school
legislation. I spoke in the hearing of the leading members of
the New Brunswick Government.

It appears to me, however, that the Catholics, if they
pursue a wise course at the next elections, will be masters of
the position. They should not agitate the School Question
too much, or they will raise a Protestant sentiment against
it; they should simply use their influence in favour of those
Candidates who will promise to do them justice. In the
balance of parties in your Province, it seems to me that the
Catholics are strong enough to carry their point. Such a
policy, to be successful, must, however, be carried out

Believe me,
Reverend and dear Sir,

Yours very faithfully,

The Rev. James Quin,
St. Stephen,
New Brunswick.

From Sir John Macdonald to Governor-General the Earl of

Private. Ottawa, 2nd June, 1873.


An Order-in-Council passed to-day calling attention of
Her Majesty’s Government to the question of amnesty for
the troubles in Manitoba.

It appears to me that the private suggestion I made to
Lord Lisgar is the correct solution of the matter. I think
that an amnesty for all occurrences during the disturbances
of 1869 and 1870 should be granted, except with respect
to those who were concerned in the murder of Thomas

This will not completely satisfy the halfbreeds who rose


in arms at that time, as they look upon Kiel as their leader.
It will however have the effect, I think, of making them feel
safe as a body; and it will have a tendency to isolate Kiel
from them. This will, I hope, drive him out of the country,
which is a consummation devoutly to be wished. If he is
tried at Manitoba, he will either be acquitted, or the jury
will not agree, and while he is there, he will be a continual
fire brand.

I am now ready to wait on your lordship at any time to
discuss the various matters of public interest which have
stood over for more pressing matters. You will have seen
by the avalanche of Minutes of Council we have sent you,
that we have not been idle since Parliament rose.

Believe me,

My dear Lord Dufferin,
Very faithfully yours,

His Excellency
The Governor-General,
Rideau Hall.

The three letters immediately following relate to the pro-
ceedings of the Select Committee l appointed by the House
of Commons in the first Session of 1873 to enquire into cer-
tain charges brought against the Ministry by Mr. L. S.
Huntington of having, in consideration of large sums of
money supplied for Election purposes, corruptly granted to
Sir Hugh Allan and his associates the Charter for building
the Canadian Pacific Railway. Parliament had sought to
invest this Committee with power to examine on oath wit-
nesses brought before them, but the Act passed with that
object in view was disallowed by the Imperial Authorities
on the ground that it was ultra vires of the Parliament of
Canada. The Committee, not conceiving themselves at

1 The Committee was composed of the following members: Messrs. John Hill-
yard Cameron (Chairman), J. G. Blanchet, Edward Blake, A. A. Dorion and James
McDonald. The three judges subsequently appointed by Royal Commission were:
the Hon. Charles Dewey Day, the Hon. Antoine Polette, and James Robert Gowan,
Esq. For a detailed account of this whole affair see Memoirs, Vol. II, pp. 164-195,
also Journal of the House of Commons, 1873, Vol. VII, pp. 5-119.


liberty to depart from the instructions given them by the
House of Commons to take the evidence under oath, ad-
journed until the ijth August, the day fixed for the reception
of their report. On the following day a Royal Commission
issued under the Great Seal, appointed three judges to in-
vestigate into and report upon the charges made by Mr.
Huntington. The report of this Commission was laid before
Parliament by the Governor-General on the 2jrd October
and the Ministry resigned on the 5th November.

From Sir John Macdonald to Governor-General the Earl oj
Duffer in.

Montreal, jrd July, 1873.

I duly received from Mr. Kidd, Lord Kimberley’s tele-
gram stating that the Oaths Bill had been disallowed by Her
Majesty in Council. I thereupon made a draft of the neces-
sary proclamation, and obtained from the Colonial Office
the date of the receipt of the Bill by the Secretary of State,
which by law must be inserted in the proclamation. On re-
ceipt of the answer the proclamation was issued on Monday.

On Saturday I saw Hillyard Cameron who told me that
Blake and Dorion last week held that oaths might be ad-
ministered to the witnesses up to the time of the actual
disallowance of the Act by proclamation, as by the Con-
stitution all acts performed under an Act of Parliament
until disallowed were legal. I pointed out to Cameron
that that doctrine was quite correct where a Bill was dis-
allowed by Her Majesty on the ground that she disapproved
of it; but that it was otherwise where an Act was disallowed
as being ultra vires. There, the Act was waste paper, and
there was no necessity, in fact, for disallowance.

He replied that the Committee could not officially know
the grounds of the disallowance. To this my rejoinder was,
in order to point out the weakness of his doctrine, that it
would be the duty of Your Excellency as the Act was an
illegal one, to take the earliest opportunity of carrying out
your instructions and proclaiming the disallowance. That
if the witnesses were sworn before the issue of the Proclama-


tion, no matter how falsely they might swear, they could
not afterwards be convicted of perjury, because the oath
administered to them would be illegal. That there was
nothing to prevent Mr. Huntington saying to his wit-
nesses, if he was disposed to do so, that they might fear no
legal consequences from any perjury committed. That
while these witnesses would therefore be quite safe from
punishment, it would go to the country that they had been
sworn, and their testimony would have weight as being
given under stress of an oath. That the moment the Proc-
lamation was issued, no further evidence could be taken,
and the Government would be deprived of all opportunity
of putting in any testimony whatever. And that even if
the House of Commons should, when it met, repeal its
instruction to take evidence only under oath, the effect
would be still unfair to the Government; as the evidence
adduced against them would be under oath, while that
adduced in their favour would not have that advantage or

The Committee met yesterday at 2 o’clock. I did not
attend nor did any of the Administration, leaving the Com-
mittee to settle the form of proceeding.

On its being announced by the Chairman that the Act was
disallowed, as I understand it, Mr. Dorion moved that the
Committee should proceed with the examining of witnesses
without oath.

Mr. McDonald of Pictou moved that the Committee were
bound by the instructions of the Commons, and there was I
understand, a lengthy discussion before the public on the

Blake held that the instruction was no longer binding as
the Act was disallowed; but McDonald and Cameron con-
tended, and I think rightly, that it was evidently the inten-
tion of the House that the evidence should be taken only
under oath, and that the House passed the Bill for that pur-
pose and for no other. That the fact of the Bill being dis-
allowed did not do away with the instruction; but would
compel the Committee to report the facts and ask further
instructions from the source of their authority.

Cameron suggested that the Government might apply,
without delay, to Her Majesty’s Government to pass a Bill


in the Imperial Parliament giving the necessary powers.
This was also objected to by Dorion and Blake, on the
ground that the Government had no right to ask for an
alteration in our Constitutional Act, without the direct
assent of the Canadian Parliament. Cameron argued that
the passage of the Oaths Bill by the Canadian Parliament
must be held to be equivalent to an address. In this I fear
that Cameron had the worst of the argument. It is one
thing for the Canadian Parliament to legislate within what
it believes to be its power, and quite another for the Canadian
Government, without the sanction of Parliament, to assume
the power of asking the Imperial Parliament to alter our
Constitution. The British North America Act 1867 is a
Charter granted to the people of the Dominion, and cannot
properly be altered or diminished unless by fault or forfeiture
or on the request of the Canadian Parliament.

The Committee meet again at 2 o’clock to-day, and I
intend to write a formal letter offering them a Commission.
I shall probably, in my letter, state that the proposition to
ask for an Imperial Act will be submitted by me to Your
Excellency in Council for consideration. I, of course, can-
not in any way state what advice your Advisers would tender
you on the point, as our oaths of office as Privy Councillors
bind us to secrecy as to the advice we may offer you until it
has been offered, and then only by your consent.

If, which is not probable, the Committee should decide
to accept the Commission, I propose to send a special mes-
senger to Your Excellency with it, in order to get your
signature. The draft Commission is all ready, the Great
Seal attached, and everything complete except your signature
as Governor-General.

Commissions in ordinary cases are sometimes issued
when the Governor-General is absent, without his name,
which can be attached at any time afterwards; but as parties
may be indicted for perjury under this one, I think it should
be completed by your signature before it is delivered to the

Believe me,

My dear Lord DufTerin,
Faithfully yours,



From Sir John Macdonald to Governor-General the Earl of

Montreal, jra* July, 1873.

I shall send you a blank Commission appointing a Deputy
Governor for the simple purpose of proroguing the House
on the I3th August. I leave it blank in order that it may be
filled up at the last moment, lest the Deputy should, from
sudden death or any other cause, be absent. In such case
Parliament would be obliged to sit until you came up or sent
another Commission.

It is my purpose, with your sanction, to insert the name
of the Hon. John Hamilton, the father of the Senate. Should
he be unable to be present, the blank will be filled up with
the name of some Senator who may happen to be at Ottawa
on the day.

We have two instances in the history of Canada where this
occurred: Lord Sydenham, on his death bed, appointed
Major General John Clitherow, who happened to be at the
seat of Government at the time, his Deputy to prorogue the
House and give his assent to the Bills. And Lord Elgin, in
1849, appointed Major General W. Rowan Deputy Governor
for the same purpose at Montreal.
Believe me,

My dear Lord Dufferin,
Faithfully yours,
His Excellency
The Governor-General

From Sir John Macdonald to Governor-General the Earl of

Montreal, 4th July, 1873.

I continue my narrative of the events occurring here.

Yesterday at 2 o’clock the Committee reassembled, but in
a private room instead of, as before, in public. There were
only present the members of the Committee and Mr. Holton,


M.P. Cameron read my letter on the subject of a reference
to England. This unwise proposition of Cameron’s has done
a good deal of mischief, as it is industriously disseminated
that I was the suggester.

He then read my letter repeating the offer of a Commission,
and related that he would agree to go on the Commission if
all his colleagues on the Committee did, but not otherwise.
He asked Dorion if he would act Dorion said he would not.
He then asked Blake who replied that he (Cameron) had no
right to ask,him that question, but that he would write me an

Cameron then said that I had given a letter to him to be
communicated to his colleagues on the Committee. This is
your letter. He said that it was for the information of
himself and the other members of the Committee, but that
I had not given him permission to make it public. Dorion
declined to take communication of it, unless it were read out
in public, and although Holton went to him to induce him to
withdraw this statement, he refused to do so. Cameron
thereupon returned me your letter.

I told Cameron that as he would see by the terms of your
note, I had your permission to make any use of it I pleased
in communicating with the members of the Committee
but that I did not conceive I had any right to extend such
communication. Its publication would, of course, have been
of great service to me; but it would not do, in my opinion,
to allow the Governor-General’s name to be brought into
the matter without his consent.

The report published in the newspapers will show what
occurred when the Committee opened the public proceedings.

It was rumoured in the afternoon that Mr. Huntington
was going to abandon the prosecution and publish Sir Hugh’s
letters, of which he had bought the copies, it is said here, from
McMullen for $25,000. Late in the evening I received let-
ters from Blake and Dorion refusing to act on the Commis-

This morning Allan’s correspondence appeared in the
Montreal Herald, most uncandidly however omitting two let-
ters from Allan written in October last, which broke off all fur-
ther association between himself and the American capitalists.

Sir Hugh, as you may fancy, was in considerable distress


about the publication of his letters. On the other hand I
was exceedingly glad to see them in extenso.
Last night, before the letters came out, I told him that if
they were published, as I supposed they would be, I must
insist upon his making an affidavit of all the facts as to his
relations with the Government, the railway and the elec-
tions, which he promised to do. I have held him to his
promise, and Mr. Abbott, M.P., his counsel, has prepared
an affidavit, the draft of which I have seen. This truly
states his relations with the Government so far as I am aware
of them, and I hope you will see that it fully maintains all
that I have stated to you on the subject. The affidavit is
very skilfully drawn by Abbott. He has made the old
gentleman acknowledge on oath that his letters were untrue.
This was a bitter pill for him to swallow, but Abbott has
gilded it over for him very nicely. So the matter now stands.

I shall send you a copy of the Montreal Gazette which will
contain all Allan’s letters, his affidavit and Cameron’s
letter as Chairman, to me about the Commission, as well as
those of Blake and Dorion.

The Herald of this morning in its editorial states that the
majority of the Committee were under my dictation, and
yielded to all my suggestions. Now as I never made any
suggestion of any kind to them since they were appointed on
the Committee, except the proposition to give them a Royal
Commission, I called upon them to say so in a letter to the
newspaper that had made the statement. You will see that
they have done so.

You can have no idea of the false statements that Mr.
Huntington and his friends have endeavoured to disseminate
here. Mr. Dymond, the Editor of the Toronto Globe, said
in the presence of a number of persons, that as a reward
for my subserviency in the matter of the Washington treaty,
I had made it a matter of personal obligation with Mr.
Gladstone to enable me to defeat the enquiry by procuring
the disallowance of the Oaths Bill. Mr. Holton stated,
in the presence of the Editor of the Montreal Gazette, Mr.
White, that he knew I had urged the disallowance of the Act;
and it has been said on the street and I think in the Press
as well, that I had sent Bernard to England for the express
purpose of getting the disallowance.



I have not answered Blake’s letter yet, but intend to do so
on my return to Ottawa. I want to look at the precedent
of the Ceylon case where, at the instance of the Special
Committee to enquire into the conduct of Lord Torrington,
the Governor, a Royal Commission was issued to take the
evidence at the Island on oath. In my letter I shall show
that my want of confidence in the spirit of justice of Dorion
and Blake has been fully justified by the light of events that
have occurred since I made the statement on the floor of the

There is a good deal of amusement about the expression
in one of Allan’s letters that he “had made it all right with
the Globe.”

The publication of these letters, although very fortunate
for the Government, is a serious breach of privilege. The
House positively refused to allow Huntington to read them
in the House, upon the ground that as they were to form a
portion of the enquiry before the Committee and to be put in
evidence, they could not possibly be published previously.

So ends for the present the history of the Committee.

Believe me,
My dear Lord Dufferin,

Yours very faithfully,

His Excellency

The Governor-General,

From Governor-General the Earl of Dufferin to Sir John


Charlottetown, 2ist July,


I need not say with what extreme pleasure and interest I read your
letters of the jrd, 4th and 5th of July which I found awaiting my arrival in
this place.

The unfolding of the drama is quite sensational, and in spite of all the
annoyance to which you have been put by this business, must have afforded
you a good deal of amusement.

I certainly do not understand Blake and Dorion objecting to the Com-
mission, provided they had a bona fide desire to prosecute the enquiry,
but now that the rocket has exploded at the wrong end, I suppose we shall


not hear much more of the business. Nothing can be more satisfactory
than the way in which your own position and that of your colleagues re-
mains unassailed in the midst of all these disreputable proceedings, but I
can scarcely understand Allan surviving the exposure.

I am afraid that Cameron, from first to last, has shown less legal acumen
than might have been expected from his professional reputation. I return
you his letter and I am very sensible of your consideration in not consent-
ing to its being made public.

I have signed Archibald’s commission, and all the documents you have
forwarded to me. I should think Archibald will make a good Lieutenant
Governor for NoVa Scotia, and it will be pleasant to find him in Halifax
when we arrive there, as I liked what I saw of him at Ottawa.

I had already forwarded to England the memorandum of which you
now send me a duplicate, in relation to the New Brunswick School Act,
and had requested Lord Kimberley to take the matter into his early
consideration, but I will refresh his memory on the subject by the next

I will also not forget to sign Robinson’s commission. I found the
Island in a high state of jubilation, and quite under the impression that it
is the Dominion that has been annexed to Prince Edward, and in alluding
to the subject, I have adopted the same tone. It certainly is a very pretty
place, with wonderful harbours and water communications, and it is quite
refreshing to let one’s eye wander over its breadths of cultivated land with-
out being brought up by a wall of bush at the end of the third field, as is
so often the case in Canada.

Robinson strikes me as a strong man, with lots of backbone and con-
siderable ability. I am half of a mind, if it met with your approval, to
get Kimberley to send him on to Newfoundland, if Hill retires, as I suppose
he will soon, as he would make it a point of honour to confederate.

We missed Mitchell at Miramichi, and unfortunately had a bad ac-
cident at Chatham. Two men were destroyed by the premature ex-
plosion of a gun. I happened to be looking through my glass at the time
and saw the two poor fellows stretched on the ground. It seems to have
been the result of pure carelessness. There was nobody but a young
volunteer sergeant with the firing party, who probably had had as little
experience as his men, and perhaps they had all been a little elevated with
liquor. I am inclined to think that it would be well if the Minister of
Militia issued an order forbidding the discharge of guns except under the
immediate supervision of a competent officer. As far as I am concerned
I should be quite willing that all salutes should be abandoned, rather than
that the men should run such risks, but as these Batteries are served by
bonafide militiamen, it perhaps would not do to admit that they are in-
competent to execute the very duty for which they are paid and trained.

I think Pope’s Minute on the Hespeler question is very clear and able,
and cannot fail to satisfy Lord Kimberley.

We leave here on Wednesday night the 2jrd after a Ball given to us at
the public expense. The 24th I spend at Pictou, and I hope by Monday or
Tuesday following, the 28th or 29th, to reach Halifax, where we shall
probably stay for three weeks.


I am delighted to think that you have got away from Ottawa, and are
enjoying as near an approach to a holiday as is ever allowed to any one
in your position. I should have been so glad to have carried you off to
Tadousac, and entertained you in my new house. It has turned out a
great success in every way, and is very pretty and convenient, and the
children are delighted with their seashore life. We have the most ex-
cellent accounts of your little godchild who is pronounced to be what the
nurses call “thriving.”

Ever yours sincerely,


P. S. I enclose you the copy of a letter which I have received from Lady
Cartier to which I am sure you will give all due consideration.


At the beginning of Confederation, the Department of the
Secretary of State for the Provinces was established as the
channel of communication between the General and Provin-
cial Governments. It also managed the Dominion Lands
recently acquired from the Hudson’s Bay Company, and in
that respect was the germ of the Department of the Interior
created in 1873, tne Department of the Secretary of State
for the Provinces being abolished at the same time, and its
ceremonial functions taken over by the Secretary of State
of Canada. Mr. Campbell, the newly appointed Minister
of the Interior, took the ground that his Department, and not
that of the Secretary of State of Canada, should be the
medium of communication with the Lieutenant-Governors
of the Western Provinces, but his view did not find favour
with Sir John Macdonald, and the Secretary of State of
Canada remains to this day the appointed channel of com-
munication between the Governor-General and all the
Provincial Lieutenant-Governors.

From the Hon. A. Campbell to Sir John Macdonald.

Ottawa, 2jth July, 1873,

The despatches from Morris are, as you say, “from a Lieutenant-
Governor to the Governor-General” (or rather for his information), but
that affords no reason, I think, why they should not come through me as
Minister of the Interior. He can as well, and with equal propriety, ad-
dress himself to me for the information of the Governor-General, as to the
Secretary of State for the same object. The “inferiority of rank” argu-
ment I do not exactly understand. How can you infer from the fact that
the Lt. Governor ranks higher than the Minister of the Interior, that his


despatches should be addressed to another minister who shares the same

If your idea is (as I understand it originally) that the Minister of the
Interior should be a “Secretary for the Colonies” for Manitoba and the
Northwest and British Columbia and it is in this way that I can be
useful then the despatches, for convenience and promptitude, and that
I have real control, should, in my judgment, come to me for the informa-
tion of the Governor-General. The immediate control would in that case
be most useful. If you merely wish me to manage the lands of the Crown
out there, and the Council will do “the affairs of State,” then the des-
patches need not certainly come to me. I speak only in (what to my
mind is) the interests of the public service; but in the first alternative I
mention, I am persuaded that I am right.

Ever yours sincerely,

The Rt. Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald, K.C.B.

These dreadful steel pens make it difficult for me to write.

From Sir John Macdonald to the Hon. W. P. Rowland.
Private. Ottawa, 28th August, 1873.


I have at last had time to draw my report to the Governor-
General on the Orange Bill of your last session. I have been
obliged to hit your ministry over your shoulders, and report
that you ought not to have reserved those bills for the Gover-
nor-General’s assent. Bills are only reserved when, in the
opinion of the Executive, they are beyond the competence
or jurisdiction of the Legislature, or contrary to instructions.

The Governor-General is not called upon to take the ad-
vice of his Canadian ministers on the reservation of a bill.
All that he has to do is to look at his Royal instructions. In
the same way, every bill passed by a Provincial Legislature
should be assented to, unless the Lieutenant-Governor is
satisfied that it is beyond the jurisdiction of the Local Legis-
lature, or if it be contrary to the instructions received from
the Governor-General. But you, as a matter of course, will
understand all this.

Believe me, in great haste,

Yours faithfully,
His Excellency JOHN A. MACDONALD.

The Hon. W. P. Howland,


From Mr. Francis Lawley to Sir John Macdonald.

Daily Telegraph Office, Fleet Street,

ijth Sept., 1873.

My pleasant recollection of our interviews during the sojourn of the
Joint High Commission at Washington emboldens me herewith to com-
mend to you the Earl of Rosebery who is about to pay his first visit to
Canada, and who is one of the most promising speakers and politicians
that the House of Lords contains. Lord Rosebery will, I am confident,
play a very prominent part upon the stage of English politics, and I hope
you will make him as enthusiastic a Canadian as

Yours very sincerely,

The Rt. Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald, K.C.B.

From the Governor-General the Earl of Dufferin to Sir John

The Citadel, Quebec,
Private. 2Oth September, 1873.


You half promised to arrange for some little closet for me in the House
of Commons from whence I could hear what was going on. I hope you
will be able to see your way to gratifying my wishes in this respect. Con-
sidering how untrustworthy are the newspaper reports, it is a matter of
some importance that I should be able to hear with my own ears what

Yours sincerely,

The Rt. Hon. Sir John Macdonald, K.C.B.

From Sir John Macdonald to Governor-General the Earl of

Private. Ottawa, 2$th September, 1873.


Fletcher spoke to me about the “cage” in the House of
Commons about the time your note arrived, and I men-
tioned to him what I thought of it. He said he would write
you there anent, and I am sure you will be satisfied that I will
only be too glad to meet your wishes. But I doubt the pru-
dence of your being known to be present at any of the exciting
debates that we may expect at the beginning of the session.


If, as I believe, we defeat the Opposition on the address,
they will be sulky and savage, and ready to wreak their
vengeance on everybody and everything. The burthen of
their speeches on the Commission will be that the Crown can-
not know, or ought not to know, what passed in the Com-
mons; that such knowledge is a breach of their privileges.
Now if this is said in the presence of the representative of
the Crown actually at the moment taking cognizance of
the proceedings, the temptation to allude to such presence
as a continuation of the breach, will be irresistible. One can
not foresee what form the allusion may take. It may be a
mere notice that there are strangers in the gallery; it may be
a direct objection to your presence as unconstitutional, or it
may take the form of an insulting remark. The first sup-
position will clear the galleries and exclude the reporters.
If the public are deprived of the debates thereby, the blame
will be laid upon you. A direct attack on your presence
would be very unfortunate, especially if accompanied by an
insult. The Crown would be brought into contempt. This
would be discussed in the newspapers here and in England,
and I fear that it might be said that you had brought it on
yourself. The Grand Remonstrance against the Crown’s
taking cognizance of the proceedings of the House, would be
quoted ad nauseam, and Mr. Holton would wax constitu-
tionally indignant.

I do not suppose the Opposition leaders would use any un-
unsavoury phrases, but there areseveral truculent blackguards
in the House annexationists and the like who would like
nothing better than the chance of snubbing the Sovereign.
I shall send for Scott this week and see if a plan can be con-
trived where you can be present without being known. I
doubt his being able to manage this, and if not, I would ad-
vise you to forego the advantage which a hearing of the de-
bate would certainly be to you.

Believe me,

My dear Lord Dufferin,
Very faithfully yours,

His Excellency

The Earl of Dufferin.


From Governor-General the Earl of Dufferin to Sir John

Private. The Citadel, Quebec, joth September, 1873.


I fully appreciate the force of the objections you urge to my appearance
in any place where I could be seen, or where it would be within the power
of anyone to notice me. The utmost that I asked for was exactly what
you describe a ‘Dionysius Ear’ a closet, no matter how dark or in-
convenient, not within the House, but I leave the matter entirely to your
better judgment.

I think Morris deserves great credit, and I will communicate your
opinion to that effect to Lord Kimberley. I want you now to send me an
official opinion, as my legal adviser, upon the proposition contained in
Blake’s speech at London for constituting what he calls a Parliamentary
Commission. Some time since, I had written to Lord Kimberley, noting
the suggestion, and asking him to arm me beforehand with the opinion
of the Law Officers upon such an Act, in the event of my having to deal
with it. Lord Kimberley has replied by telegram, asking first to be fur-
nished with your official opinion.

We intend to come up to Ottawa about the i5th.
Yours sincerely,

The Rt. Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald,K.C.B.

From Governor-Genera! the Earl of Dufferin to Sir John

Government House, Ottawa, October igth, 1873.

It is with greater pain than ever I did anything in my life that I now sit
down to write to you, but I feel it is but justice you should know the con-
clusions to which, I fear, I am being forced by a most anxious study of the
evidence adduced before the Commission. Of course, until an authentic
copy of that evidence is placed in my hands, I am not required to arrive at
a decision; it is not, therefore, as the Governor-General of Canada that I
address you, but as a warm and sincere friend, desirous of putting you on
your guard against eventualities which it is well you should provide
against in time. I am the more anxious to do this, as the friendly spirit
I have evinced towards you during the course of this unfortunate business
may have led you to count upon my support, beyond the point to which I
might find myself able to extend it.

But, however deeply I may sympathise with you in your difficulties
difficulties into which you have been drawn in a great measure by cir-
cumstances beyond your control I shall be bound to sacrifice my personal


inclinations to what may become my duty to my Sovereign and this

What I feel is simply this that although it has been distinctly proved
that in numerous respects you have been the victim of the most atrocious
calumnies that your personal honour is as stainless as it has ever been
that in spite of many inducements to the contrary, in spite of Cartier’s
weakness, you have religiously protected the interests of Canada both
against the American speculators who addressed you, and against the
approaches of Sir Hugh Allan that although it has evidently never
entered into your thoughts to make a single illegitimate concession in .con-
sideration of the support and assistance you expected on other grounds to
receive from Allan it is still an indisputable and patent fact that you and
some of your colleagues have been the channels through which extrava-
gant sums of money derived from a person with whom you were negotiat-
ing on the part of the Dominion were distributed throughout the con-
stituencies of Ontario and Quebec, and have been applied to purposes
forbidden by the statutes.

This circumstance carries with it the further ill effect of rendering the
arbitrament of Parliament itself untrustworthy.

In acting as you have, I am well convinced that you have only followed
a traditional practice, and that probably your political opponents have
resorted with equal freedom to the same expedients, but as Minister of
Justice, and the official guardian and protector of the laws, your responsi-
bilities are exceptional, and your immediate and personal connection with
what has occurred, cannot but fatally affect your position as a minister.

I need not say what distress I experience in making this communica-
tion to you. Independent of the personal attachment I feel towards you,
I have always had and still have the greatest faith and confidence in your
ability, patriotism, integrity and statesmanship. I believe there is no
one in the country capable of administering its affairs to greater advantage
than yourself. It is to you in fact that Canada owes its existence, and
your name will be preserved in history as the father and founder of the
Dominion. But no considerations of this kind are sufficient, I fear, to
affect the present situation, controlled, as it is, by a special and immediate

Not even Colonel Fletcher is aware of this letter. As I said before, it is
not an announcement, but a friendly confidence in respect of a future
contingency that I now make to you. I do not even say that the con-
clusions I have thus shadowed forth, are actually formed within my mind,
but I feel it is but fair to let you know the tendency of my thoughts at the
present moment.

I shall be in my office at half past 12 o’clock to-morrow. Until then
pray keep this communication strictly secret.

It is right for me to add that I have not as yet received a word on the
subject of any part of this affair from England.

Yours sincerely,


The Rt. Hon. Sir John Macdonald.


From Governor-General the Earl of Dujferin to Sir John

Private. Government House, Ottawa, 2jrd October, 1873.


There is one sentence in the Speech which I am afraid I must ask you
to omit, namely, that in which I am made to say “The evidence obtained
under the Commission has had my careful consideration.”

This refers to personal operation of my own mind, and transfers to me
consequently a personal responsibility. It invests me, in fact, with the
character of arbiter, which thank God, under the intimation [sic] I have
received, I am not called upon to be. Moreover, the Crown acts, but it
does not consider, under the advice of its ministers.

You might easily turn the sentence into “The evidence obtained under
the Commission will require, or deserves, careful consideration.” 1
Yours sincerely

The Rt. Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald.

From Governor-Genera! the Earl of Dufferin to Sir John

Private. Government House, Ottawa, 4th November, 1873.


Lady Dufferin came home at 3 o’clock in the morning brimful of your
speech 2 . Her Excellency was pleased to keep me awake from 3 to 5,
repeating it with appropriate action, and told me that nothing could have
been more wonderful than your effort.

Round the breakfast table at Rideau this morning there was a continu-
ous chorus of admiration from all my English friends.

I hope you are not the worse for the strain of these last few days must
have tried you terribly.

Yours in haste,

The Rt. Hon. Sir John Macdonald, K.C.B.

From the Countess of Dufferin to Lady Macdonald.

Tuesday, 4th November, 1873.

I hope Sir John is well this morning after his great exertions. We have
all been talking with the greatest admiration of his splendid speech. It

1 A reference to the Journals of the House of Commons, 1 873 (second session),
p. 4, will show that this suggestion was adopted.

*On the Pacific Railway charges. Delivered in the House of Commons by
Sir John Macdonald on the 3rd November, 1873, immediately prior to his resigna-
tion of the office of Prime Minister.


grows upon one as one thinks over its various points, and we all feel that it
was great good fortune for us to have been present at it.
I remain,

Yours sincerely,


From Colonel H. C. Fletcher to Sir John Macdonald.


Government House, Ottawa, 5th November, 1873.

Will you allow me to express to you how deeply I feel all your kindness
to me since I have been brought, officially and unofficially, in connection
with you, and how sincerely sorry I am at the reverse of fortune that
has overtaken you. I know well that it has been a great privilege to me
to have worked, in however humble a position, with so great a minister
as you have been, and on my own part I cannot but hope that at some
future time I may again have the pleasure of being a means of communica-
tion between His Excellency and yourself. Pray do not think of sending
a reply to this note. I would not have troubled you with it, but I was
anxious that you should know that I was not unmindful or ungrateful for
the kindness you have invariably shown me.
Believe me,

Yours very truly,

H. C. Fletcher.
The Rt. Hon. Sir John Macdonald, K.C.B.





Sir John Macdonald resigned office as Prime Minister of
Canada on the 5th November, 1873, an d resumed his old
position at the head of affairs on the i7th October, 1878.
Beyond letters of a strictly political nature, most of which
have lost their interest with the lapse of time, the record
of his correspondence during this interval of five years is
meagre. This, no doubt, is partly to be ascribed to lack of
secretarial assistance and other facilities incidental to public
office, which his limited means did not permit him to enjoy
in private life.

From T. C. Patteson? Esq., to Sir John Macdonald.

Toronto, Feb. 77, 1874.

I tore up your letters and will tear up the copy of the MS. referred to.
It will be serviceable: but to be so should be frequent and sustained: which
at the length of the sample number can, I suppose, be managed. Two or
three times a week none too many.

I have written long letters to-day to Carling, Gibbs, et al.

Sir Hugh promised to further my views re trip to England: and I shall
trust to you to thwart any movements made in my absence having for
their object a change of the status quo at the Mail office: not that I antici”
pate any: or at least their serious inception.

We are circulating now 15,000 weeklies at $1.50 each, in place of $1.00
as last year, when the highest number reached was 18,000: and no profit.
If we can hold even 12,000 in spite of the rise in price, it will be a net cash
gain of $6,000. Advertisements ought to increase say $2,000 and I will
swear expenditure has decreased $2,000. In other words we have a fair
prospect of doing a better business this year than last by $10,000. With
about $6,000 from “casual” sources we can pull through. Can you find
3 men to go $1,000 each, not already in our books? I will undertake to
find $ 1,000 for every $1,000 you will. There! (as a child says).

1 T. C. Patteson, M.A., at this time editor in chief and business manager of the
Mail newspaper; afterwards Postmaster of Toronto. Died, 2oth September,



Our friend Plumb 1 has a feed to-night at Niagara. If he doesn’t burst
himself he will in the end be a useful man. At present he is simply insane.
That between ourselves: for you know, he is one of my most intimate
friends. 2 The Jenkins 3 appointment is a bad one. He is regarded as an
adventurer and a charlatan by the leading Londoners, who stick up for
Canada, and they will leave him alone in his glory.

V. C. Strong says he knows thro’ Sam Blake that Brown and Edward
couldn’t get on. Moss too, has said as much, and takes credit for in-
censing Blake against Brown. No doubt Blake is not with us: but it does
no harm for people to begin to think he is. It all goes to undermine their

I dined alone with Ld. and Lady Dufferin at Montreal, and the
whole bent of their minds is to stay in Canada long enough to see a
change. To be of any service to us, this must be a secret bent: and the
fear is that the direction of it may receive some outward and visible colour-
ing from the gossip of A. D. C.’s. I was Jrighte ned at some things they
said. . . .


at the end of my paper
T. C. P.

From Hewitt Bernard, Esq., to Governor-General the Earl of

Ottawa, 22nd December, 1874.

You ask me to give you some memoranda in reference to proceedings in
which the confederation of the Provinces of B.N.A. was passed.

I acted as Secretary to the delegates from the various Provinces which
met in Quebec in October, 1864, who then passed the resolutions which,
with some subsequent alterations, formed the germ of Confederation.

And I acted in the same capacity at London in 1866-67, wnen resolutions
were made on which was passed the B.N.A. Act, 1867, by which Con-
federation was accomplished.

1 Josiah Burr Plumb, a close friend of Sir John Macdonald, elected to the House
of Commons for Niagara, 1874: was an effective member of the Opposition (1874-
1878). In the General Elections of 1878, his opponent was declared elected by
a majority of two votes, but was subsequently unseated and disqualified for
bribery, and the seat awarded to Mr. Plumb. Called to the Senate 8th February,
1883; appointed Speaker of the Senate, 4th April, 1887. Died, iath March, 1888.

2 This allusion to “intimate friends” has a delicious Pattesonian flavour all its

3 Edward Jenkins, son of the Reverend John Jenkins, D.D., a much respected
Church of Scotland clergyman in Montreal: Author of “Ginx’s Baby”; M.P. for Dun-
dee in the Imperial House of Commons (1874-1880); appointed by the Canadian
Government General Resident Agent for the Dominion, and Superintendent of
Emigration in London, i6th February, 1874; resigned in 1877. Died, 4th June, 1910.


But on these occasions it was determined that no minutes of the various
discussions should be taken, and no record, therefore, exists of them.

The resolutions passed at the meeting at Quebec in Oct., 1864, were sub-
mitted to the Legislature of the late Provinte of Canada, then constituting
Upper and Lower Canada, and were fully debated in both Legislative
Council and Assembly at its Session of 1 865 and an address to the Queen
was passed embodying them.

The then Colonial Secretary took exception to some matters of no great
moment, but more especially as to Sec. 44, and it was determined that the
Crown could not part with its prerogative of mercy to any Lieut. Govr.
but that the same must be administered by and vested in Her Majesty’s
Representative, the Governor-General, alone.

I forward to Your Excellency a copy of the debates to which I have
alluded, which in themselves contain much information.

The original Quebec resolutions will be found at the end of the volume;
and a comparison with the B.N.A. Act, 1867, will shew in what respects
they differed from the results effected by that Act.

The Act itself by which Confederation was thus brought into existence
has, I think, notwithstanding many difficulties, worked wonderfully well.

The first difficulty arose in respect to Nova Scotia. That Province
alleged that the scheme had not been submitted to the people, as had been
the case with the old Province of Canada,! and with New Brunswick, but
that it had been forced upon them. The result of negotiations between
the Government of the Dominion and that of Nova Scotia, was the grant-
ing to the latter of what are spoken of as “better terms,” that is, an
improvement of the financial position of Nova Scotia under Confederation.
This was attacked in Parliament here by the, then, opposition, as un-
settling the basis of Confederation as regards other provinces, and would
require a pro rata amendment in respect to them. But the matter being
referred to the Imperial Law Officers, they gave their opinion that such a
proceeding was legitimate; and a similar course was subsequently adopted
in respect to New Brunswick.

Some doubts also existed as to the powers of the Parliament of Canada in
respect to the creation of the new Province of Manitoba out of the North-
West Territories; and this induced the passage of the Imperial Act of 1871,
viz, 35 Viet. Chap 28.

The most noticeable feature in the constitution of Confederation is that
which distinguishes it from that of the United States of America, in that
the General Government and Legislative authority is reserved to the
Dominion, and that there is assigned merely to the Provinces certain
specified powers and certain specified subjects, which, being thus defined,
they cannot exceed.

Yet I think there is, and I presume will always be on the part of the
Provinces, an increasing tendency to urge what is known in America as
“State Rights,” and might here be called “Provincial Rights,” rather in
excess of that which is given to them by our Constitution.

1 This is an obvious slip. Confederation was not submitted to the people of the
Province of Canada at the polls. Both Macdonald and Brown held such a step to
be unnecessary and inexpedient.


In America the conflict between Federal and State rights is sometimes
rather severe, but the Supreme Court of the United States, a court of very
high standing and reputation, has adjudicated with great ability on such

As regards Canada, in the absence as yet of any Court of Appeal of the
Dominion, which would finally settle any questions of such conflict as
might arise between the Dominion and any Province, any Court may, nay,
even any Justice of the Peace assumes, if he chooses, the right to deter-
mine the constitutionality of any Act which may be questioned before him.

It is for this reason that I suggest to Your Excellency the subjects which
in any confederation of any other parts of Her Majesty’s dominions, it may
be advisable to consider, and I am personally aware that more explicit
language would prevent difficulty.

Taking, therefore, the items within the powers granted by Section 92 of
the B.N.A. Act, 1867, the following suggestions arise:

1. The Amendment of the Constitution. Has this power any limits,
except as regards the office of Lieutenant-Governor. Can a Provincial
Legislature alter the Electoral Divisions and increase the number of its
representatives beyond that fixed by the Imperial Act.

2. Direct Taxation. To what extent may this interfere with the power
of taxation by Canada.

3. Municipal Institutions. It would appear advisable to define what
powers the Legislature may confer on them, especially in regard to taxa-

9. Licenses. The non-interference with the Parliament of Canada in
respect to excise duties should be more clearly expressed.

10. As a matter of policy, it has been much doubted whether all railways,
even of a local nature, i.e., entirely within the boundaries of a Province,
should not be solely within the jurisdiction of Parliament and beyond the
competence of a Legislature. Personally I entertain a strong opinion
that Railways of any kind should be dealt with solely by the Federal

11. The Incorporation of Companies with Provincial objects. It is
difficult to define what is a Provincial object. The Provinces of Canada
assume to legislate on Fire Insurance, by incorporating companies for such
purpose, confining their operations to the Province. But the policy of
allowing them to deal with such a subject is doubtful.

12. The Solemnization of Marriage. It is difficult to discriminate be-
tween this subject as mentioned here, and the subject of Marriage and
Divorce reserved to the Parliament of Canada.

13. Property and Civil Rights. It would be well if the powers of Parlia-
ment in respect to Property and Civil Rights on subjects within their sole
competence had been more clearly defined, e.g., in the case of Railroads,
the Parliament of Canada has enacted in respect to Property and Civil
Rights incident thereto, such as the taking of lands, giving compensation
therefor, the registering of their titles, the priority of securities and en-
cumbrances, the making of contracts, the liabilities of the Company as
carriers, etc. These all pertain to Property and Civil Rights as such;
but the Parliament of Canada has assumed, and I think, rightly, that it is


competent to legislate in respect to Property and Civil Rights where
incidental to any subject within its exclusive jurisdiction.

Legislatures have sought also, and unduly as I think, to deal with mat-
ters within the Prerogative of the Crown. For instance, Escheats and
Forfeitures. There is no power conferred on a Legislature to treat of
Escheat, for the lands escheated do not come within the terms of other
portions of the B.N.A. Act, 1867, referring to public lands as being the
property of the Provinces. Forfeitures again are in truth part of
Criminal Procedure. I cite these cases to shew the necessity of having the
legislative powers of a Province as carefully defined as may be done.

Had the Constitution of Canada embraced a Legislative Union, which
would have been obviously very desirable, these conditions would have
been avoided. But Your Excellency knows the difficulties which pre-
vented such an arrangement.

I beg Your Excellency’s correspondents will consider these imperfect
suggestions as confidential, as, being a public servant, I should hardly
consider myself at liberty in this manner to discuss any difficult points
in our Constitution.

I am,
Dear Lord DufFerin,

Yours faithfully,


From Sir John Macdonaldto Sir Stafford Northcote.
Private. Ottawa, May 1st, 1878.


I feel that I have scarcely a right to intrude upon your
time, taxed as it must be to the utmost at present.

Had Lord Carnarvon still been Colonial Minister, this
note would have been addressed to him, but I do not know
Sir M. Hicks-Beach, and we Canadians are glad to believe
that in you we have a friend who knows much of our country,
and takes an interest in its prosperity.

Without further apology, I shall at once state the object
of my letter. It is to suggest the expediency (not to use a
stronger word) of H. M. Government asking Lord DufFerin
to remain here as Governor-General for two years longer.
This is entirely my own suggestion, without communication
with anyone. Lord Dufferin has now visited every portion

1 Sir Stafford Northcote, with whom Sir John Macdonald had been closely as-
sociated at Washington in 1871, was, in 1878, Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Sir
Michael Hicks Beach, Secretary of State for the Colonies, in the Cabinet of Lord


of the Dominion, and has gained a knowledge of the country
and its wants which his successor cannot hope to acquire,
even if a man of as active habits as Lord D. himself, until
near the end of his term.

Lord D.’s hardly earned experience can only be put to
practical use by an extension of his period of Government,
and it is a pity it should be lost to us. But in the present
European complications, it seems to be almost necessary that
he should remain. While little or no weight should be
attached to the offers by Militia Officers here to raise corps
for active service in case of war, I have no doubt that under
a properly organized system, sanctioned by the Imperial
and Canadian Governments, and pressed on the public
attention in Lord Dufferin’s singularly successful manner,
a large auxiliary force could be raised and maintained during
the war. Besides this, advantage should be taken of the
present exigency and of the enthusiastic feeling of our people
to lay the foundation of a standing army. In a time of
profound peace such a proposition would be unpopular
would be objected to by the opposition of the day, and could
not be carried by any ministry. And yet I am satisfied that
the time has come for the formation of a regular force
closely connected with the Imperial army, and worked up to
the same standard of training and discipline. Without this,
Canada will never add to the strength of the Empire, but
must remain a source of anxiety and weakness.

We must commence modestly, in order to carry the country
with us, but a nucleus once formed, it could easily be ex-
panded by degrees as necessity required. Now a new
Governor would be powerless in advocating the adoption of
such a scheme. Lord D., who is not only popular in the
ordinary sense of the word, but has acquired the confidence
of Parliament and people, would carry the country in its
present war-like mood with him, if he took up the subject
warmly and pressed it, in his own winning way. The op-
portunity should not be lost it may not occur again in our

Again, Lord D. has made the subject of the construction,
route and requirements of the Canadian Pacific Railway his
especial study. Until this great work is completed, our
Dominion is little more than a “geographical expression.”


We have as much interest in B. Columbia as in Australia,
and no more. The railway once finished, we become one
great united country with a large inter-provincial trade, and
a common interest. Were the railway in existence now, the
Imperial Government need have no anxiety about the
military protection of Vancouver Island and its harbours
from Russian attacks, and the coal supply so necessary for
the North Pacific Squadron would also easily be secured from

At present Canada has no means of sending a military
force or munitions of war to B. C., and that burden must
therefore be thrown on England.

Lord D., if he remains, should be specially instructed to
press the early completion of this work, which he could do
with an authority to which no newcomer could pretend.

Lastly, it is of importance to Imperial interests that New-
foundland should be added to the Dominion. It would
complete the great scheme of British North American Con-
federation begun in 1867 it would relieve the Colonial office
from the trouble and responsibility of the direct government
of the island, and it would throw upon Canada the burthen
of its defence. And that defence would necessitate the
creation of something like a naval force by our Government.

But more than all, in any future negotiations with the
United States on the troublesome question of the Fisheries,
the subject could be dealt with as a whole.

At present the interests of Canada and Newfoundland
are not identical their Governments might differ as to the
policy to be adopted, and thus any final and satisfactory
settlement might be thwarted. The two Governments
might even quarrel as to the division of any compensation
that might be agreed on or awarded.

Public opinion in the Island is now, I understand, pretty
evenly balanced. There is the natural objection which
exists in every political community to losing its autonomy,
to be overcome, as well as the reluctance of its public men
to be pushed off their pedestals.

A visit from Lord Dufferin, if charged with the mission,
would, in my opinion, succeed. His reputation as a success-
ful Governor of Canada would precede him, and ensure from
the men who govern public opinion in the Island a warm


reception and a favourable hearing. He would go on this
mission with exceptional advantages, and I should be greatly
disappointed if his diplomatic skill did not enable him to
effect his purpose.

Pray pardon me for thus travelling out of my sphere. I
am sure you will attribute my doing so to the proper motive.

I can quite understand that a Conservative Government
might want this important position for a political friend, and,
as a Conservative, I should, in ordinary times, be glad to see
one of the same political principles as myself governing us,
but the expediency of setting aside this feeling just now is so
obvious that I venture to urge it strongly on your attention.

I do not know how Lord D. would regard the proposal.
I have heard him say that domestic matters required his
early return to England, but I am much mistaken in him, if,
when appealed to, on public grounds, he did not respond to
the appeal.

Believe me, My dear Sir Stafford,
Very faithfully yours,


From Sir Stafford Northcote to Sir John Macdonald.


II Downing Street, Whitehall,

May 25th, 1878.

I have read your letter of the ist with great interest, and have shown it
to Sir Michael Hicks-Beach, who was a good deal struck by it. I cannot
say anything as to its main suggestion, which of course is outside my own
province. But what you say of Lord Dufferin is entirely in accordance
with all that we hear of him. He has been an exceptionally successful

The present time is in many respects a critical time for the British
Empire, and we should direct our attention to all measures tending to
bind it together, and to turn all its forces to account. I hope and believe,
that we shall maintain peace; and if we do, it will be not a little on account
of our having done something to show that we can use, and mean to use,
our Imperial strength in defence of Imperial interests. But there is more
to be done in this direction. We ought to be able to show that our colonies
are supports to the Mother Country, not, as some would have it, causes of
embarrassment and weakness to her. I sometimes think, when I hear the
stories of Russian cruisers preparing to harass our commerce in case of
war, that it would be a great thing if some of our colonies were to declare
that they should be ready to take part in protecting it. If any enemy


landed on the soil of Canada or Australia, the Canadians or Australians
would come out in their defence. But the ocean is the common highway
for all British vessels, and those of us who are interested in any portion of
our commercial marine have as true an interest in assisting to defend that
highway as to defend their own soil. An announcement that they
meant to do so would have a wonderful effect.

Will you remember me very kindly to Lady Macdonald. Is she ever
going to fulfil her promise and pay us a visit in England?
Believe me,

Yours faithfully,

Sir John Macdonald, K.C.B.

Upon the resignation of Sir John Macdonald in November,
1873, Mr- Alexander Mackenzie, the leader of the Opposition,
was called upon to form a new administration, in which he
succeeded. Shortly afterwards, Parliament was dissolved,
and in the General Elections which followed, the newly
formed Government carried everything before it. The
Conservative forces, reduced to a pitiful remnant, were con-
tent for some sessions to remain in obscurity. I once asked
Sir John why the Opposition, during the sessions of 1 874 and
1875, divided the House of Commons so seldom. “Be-
cause,” replied he, “I saw no advantage in publishing to the
world every morning that we numbered only a handful.”

The Government, however, had troubles of its own. Mr.
Mackenzie, though a man of capacity and integrity, was not,
any more than Mr. Blake, his first lieutenant, gifted with
a magnetic personality. The accession of the Liberal Gov-
ernment to office synchronized with the advent of a period
of severe general depression extending over the whole con-
tinent, from which Canada suffered severely, and so did the
Ministry. It was at this time that the Conservative Op-
position began its advocacy of what was styled “The National
Policy” a system of modified protection, which it was
hoped would at once stimulate the industries of the country
and provide a sufficient revenue. This policy no new one
with Sir John Macdonald was preached by him in and
out of Parliament, and especially at a series of political
picnics throughout Ontario during the summers of 1876 and
1877 w ^h marvellous effect. On the I7th September, 1878,
were held the General Elections which swept the Mackenzie
Administration out of existence and restored Sir John Mac-


donald to power with a majority almost as large as that by
which his had been overwhelmed five years previously.

From Professor Goldwin Smith to Sir John Macdonald.


The Grange,
Toronto, I2th September, 1878.


Our charitable friend George Brown to-day accuses me of supporting
you with the Machiavellian intention of bringing about a fiscal conflict
between Canada and the Mother Country and thus hastening Inde-
pendence. If the thought should cross your mind that there can be any
shadow of ground for the imputation, you may recall to your memory our
last conversation in which I ventured to dissuade you from committing
yourself too much in the protectionist direction.

Whatever my ideas may be as to the political destiny of Canada in the
future and you are liberal enough to believe that a man may hold honestly
opinions which you think wrong be sure that I wish to see the country
well governed at present, and that I sincerely believe good government to
be impossible with a narrow clique like the present in power.

The government majority will be reduced. I hardly look for more.
Yours very truly,


From Sir John Macdonald to Professor Goldwin Smith.

St. George Street, Toronto,

October /, 1878.

You will, I know, have pardoned me for not acknowledging
your notes before, considering the hurly-burly of the elections.
Well, we have overthrown the Brown dynasty, and the
country seems to breathe more freely already.

In the first place you must permit me to thank you with
all my heart for your very kindly and very opportune men-
tion of myself at Brockton. It did good service, and would
have had a prodigious effect if the opportunity of making it
at an earlier day had been afforded you. You must know
that you are a power in the State among the educated classes,
and in the long run they must win.


And now as to the subject of your note of the ist Septem-

The local elections will not come off until next spring or
summer a Session will intervene, and, from the manner in
which Mowat allowed himself to be mixed up in Canadian
politics, i.e., Dominion politics, I fancy his Ministry must
follow Mackenzie’s. The rats will desert him next Session
then exit Mowat and enter M. C. Cameron. Luckily
Cameron is a man above reproach, and will assemble his like
about him.

Now I hope you have not said your last word as to your
entering the Legislature, but that you will keep it an open
question. There is, you see, no hurry about it. I quite
understand that your literary work should be your first con-
sideration, and if I thought that such work would be re-
tarded by your attendance in the Legislature, I would be the
last man to press it but it seems to me that it would be an
agreeable change from the monotony of the desk to the
House of Assembly. True, these local Legislatures are but
“one-horse concerns,” yet you would do much good, and
would help to elevate the tone of debate, now so sadly
lowered. We shall, I hope, have many opportunities of
discussing this subject together.

Thanks for your generous offer to aid a young aspirant to
Parliamentary position, and I shall accept it in the spirit in
which the offer is made. And I shall take great care that
your assistance shall not be unworthily bestowed.

I had not seen the Globe article mentioned in yours of the
1 2th until I received your note.

The insinuation of the Globe that your support was given
the purpose of bringing about a fiscal conflict with the

other Country is too contemptible to notice. But it is not

ore absurd or base than the staple of its articles during the

:ent contest.

I am waiting to be summoned, Lord Dufferin (entre nous)
having told me, when here, to keep my carpet-bag ready.
Yours very faithfully,


Goldwin Smith, Esq.,
The Grange.


From Professor Goldwin Smith to Sir John Macdonald.

Cornell University ‘,
Ithaca> N. Y. y October 1881.

I must return you my warmest thanks for your kind
wishes, and for your most acceptable birthday gift. I have
received such unvarying kindness from Your Excellency and
Her Royal Highness since you came “to reign over us” that
I did not need the portraits to keep you in my memory after
you leave us. I shall however preserve them with care and
pride. I sincerely trust that when Her Royal Highness
returns to Canada, her health may be so completely restored
that the original will present to us all the brightness and
vitality so well shown in the portrait.
Believe me,

My dear Lord Lome,
Faithfully yours,

From Sir John Macdonald to the Hon. J. A. Chapleau.
Confidential. Ottawa, April 2Oth, 1881.


I suppose you would have a good deal of trouble in effect-
ing the abolition of the Legislative Council if you tried to
carry it through that august body. Has it ever occurred to


you to adopt the same plan as we adopted in old Canada
when we made the Legislative Council elective? We pro-
vided that all the then life members of the Council should
belong to the body for life, but on death or resignation, the
vacancy would not be filled. By making that arrangement
we overcame the difficulty.

It is worth while considering whether you could not abolish
the Upper Chamber by giving the life members seats in the
one Chamber that will remain, with a provision that no
vacancy in life-membership shall be filled up.

I do not know whether this is possible or not, but it will
do no harm that you should think over it.

It would of course be said that the votes of the elected
members would be swamped by the importations from the
Upper House, but that state of things exists now when the
Legislative Council can over-ride the measures passed in the
popular Branch. This plan is not without precedent. In
British Columbia, before the Union with Canada, there were
a certain number of members nominated by the Crown, and
a certain number elected by the people, sitting in the same
Chamber, and in several other Crown Colonies the same
thing exists. Now the plan may not be a desirable one, but
if you find that it is the only way of overcoming reluctance of
the Upper House to its abolition, it might be worth trying.

Yours faithfully,

The Hon. J. A. Chapleau.

From the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Toronto to Sir John

Archbishopric of Toronto,

Toronto, May nth y 1881.

The emigration from Ireland at the present moment is an affair of risk.
The clergy is opposed to weeding out the people of Ireland, Catholics
especially, and to putting into their places the Scotch and English farmers,
Protestants of course. It is the policy of England to have all Ireland
Protestant, as the planting of Ulster proves, on a large scale, and thousands
of individual cases all over Ireland for many years, on a small one.

2nd. The driving away of the people to let the old landlord system
thrive, and to let good land lie waste all over Ireland is a second evil which


the clergy, the true patriots, dislike. There is a third evil which must be
shared in by the country to which this starving population will come to.
They must be supported, and helped to commence farming. They will
be exacting, inasmuch as a premium was held out to them to come here.

If the Government was prepared to support and help them according
to their needs and necessities, then you can bid for the prize.

Those poor people who go to the States have cousins or friends before
them to procure work for them. There is a scarcely a family in Ireland
that has not many relations in the U. States.

Let Ireland be governed as Scotland or the Dominion of Canada, then
Ireland will be loyal and happy. They would not be men, were they
contented with their condition, or their government.

My dear Sir John, now for yourself. I am, as ever, a very great friend
and admirer of yours personally. You are a great politician and I am a great
churchman, and you know we cannot always agree on every question. I
hope most sincerely and pray that the trip across the ocean will com-
pletely restore you. We cannot afford to lose you for a while longer.

Yours very sincerely,
Archbishop of Toronto.

From Sir John Macdonald to George Stephen, Esq.
Confidential. Ottawa, igth October, 1881.


I am very uneasy about the movements of the Northern
Pacific and the Quebec Government. The latter is, of
course, anxious to sell to the highest bidder, and the N.P. are
beyond a doubt anxious to get a foothold in Canada.

The President of the S.W.R. (Schultz’s road) has taken
a house here and says that the N.P.R. is to be a factor of
no small importance at the next general elections. He is a
fool or he would not have said so but he did say so, and
to J. H. Pope. Yesterday I got a letter from a good friend of
ours in Montreal who is deeply interested in Canadian
politics. He writes as follows : ” There are strange rumours
about railways. It is said the N. Pacific are about to pur-
chase the Quebec railways for ten millions and to connect
them with their system at Sault Ste. Marie. If this is true it
means danger ahead. The N. Pacific are very anxious to
get into Manitoba and N.W. and they think that by
coming to the rescue of the Province at a moment when the
syndicate people are supposed to be unwilling, they can


secure a solid Quebec vote in the House of Commons against
any veto of Provincial legislation in Manitoba in the interest
of the Northern Pacific connection. I don’t like the look of
things, and Chapleau is not improving them, while that

d d ass , in his interview with the Globe reporter

has made them worse.”

So much for the rumours. Langevin has seen Chapleau
who has lately been in New York, no doubt for the purpose of
seeing the N.P. people but offers have been made Chap-
leau says and he must act one way or the other at once. As
the elections for Quebec are soon to come off, and the Govern-
ment policy must be declared, of course Chapleau will
magnify the offers in order to get a good thing out of you
but there is danger ahead, and if you act at all, you must act
at once. I send this to Drinkwater to forward to you, as
the sooner you get it the better.

In haste,

Yours sincerely,

George Stephen, Esq.

From Sir John Macdonald to the Governor-General the
Marquess of Lome.

Private. November ifth, 1881.


The Council have had before them your confidential
memo of 26th ultimo on the subject of the appointment of an
Administrator in the event of the death, incapacity, removal
or absence of the Governor-General. They are unanimously
of opinion that some change should be made in the system as
regards Canada. The Dominion is in fact a Vice-Royalty,
and the administration of affairs in the temporary withdrawal
of the Governor-General from the conduct of matters should
not be transferred to the Senior Military officer who may
happen to be in command at Halifax no matter how low
his rank might be. Had Your Excellency not remained
after the day originally appointed for your departure, Canada
would have been governed by a Lt. Colonel, who was not


really in command of the Queen’s Forces in Canada, but
happened to be the Senior officer at Halifax in consequence
of the unavoidable absence of Sir Patrick Macdougall for a
few weeks. I have no hesitation in saying that the assump-
tion of the Administratorship by Col. Drayson would have
caused great indignation here. 1 The Council are of opinion
that when the Governor-General is to be absent on leave, and
when no Lieutenant-Governor has been appointed by the
Queen he (the Governor-General) should be empowered to
select from certain officials to be named in his Commission,
a person to administer affairs in his absence, and to appoint
him under his sign manual. The Council would suggest
that the persons from whom the Governor-General should
have the power of selection, might properly be the Chief
Justice or one of the judges of the Supreme Court of Canada,
or the senior officer in command of the Regular Forces if
of the rank of Lieu tenant-General or the Admiral in command
of the North American naval forces. In case of the death,
incapacity or removal of the Governor-General, it is sug-
gested that the administration should fall to the Chief
Justice, or in his absence, to the senior judge of the Supreme
Court. In case when a judge, other than the Chief Justice
was sworn in provision should be made, that the return of
the Chief Justice would not depose the puisne judge from
his temporary governorship.

As your memo, was confidential, it was thought better
that I should inform Your Excellency of the views of Council
informally, rather than by a Minute of Council to be sub-
mitted to the Administrator.

Believe me,

Dear Lord Lome
Faithfully yours,


1 The system herein objected to of providing for the Administration of the
Government of Canada in the absence of a Governor-General, continued in force
for some years subsequent to Sir John Macdonald’s death, and, in fact, was not
changed until 1905, when the last of the Imperial troops were withdrawn from the


From Governor-General the Marquess of Lome to Sir John


December ?th, 1881,

This is Lord Kimberley’s 1 suggestion about the administratorship.
I am sorry to see Fenian outrages are reported from Montreal.

Believe me,

Yours very truly,

The Rt; Honble.

Sir John A. Macdonald.

From the (first) Earl of Kimberley to the Marquess of Lome.

Kimberley House,

Dec. 6 y 1881.

I hardly think it would do to leave it to the Governor-General to select
his locum tenens. The best plan it seems to me would be to give the Chief
Justice or person for the time being discharging his office, a dormant
commission. This would meet the difficulty.
I return Sir J. Macdonald’s letter.

Sincerely yours,

From Sir John Macdonald to Martin Griffin, Esq.
Private. Ottawa, nth January, 1882.


The Globe of yesterday makes me ill altho in a very civil
way, no doubt with a desire to damage the Government.

Now, I am in good health I am to-day 67 having been
born on nth January, 1815.

I took a holiday during the Christmas fortnight to keep off
visitors, so as to prepare the work of the session.

I never had any intention of going to Montreal this week.
The report arose, I fancy, from its being known that Lady
Macdonald was going to Montreal to do a little shopping.
She went down yesterday morning and returned the same

1 In 1882 Lord Kimberley was Secretary of State for the Colonies.


I have enjoyed my usual health since I returned from
England. I have occasionally a little stomachic disturbance,
and had it to a slight extent last week, but not to such an
extent as to prevent my attending to business.
Thanks for your very pretty verses !

Happy New Year,
Yours always,

From Sir John Macdonald to Governor-General the Marquess
of Lome.

Pnvate ‘ Ottawa, February 4th, 1882.


Council will not meet until Monday. I shall then submit
Your Excellency’s suggestions. The allusion to the late
President 1 is well thought of. My only fear is that its effect
may be impaired, if not destroyed, by some of the speeches
that are likely to be made. Great indignation prevails in
Canada about the U. S. action in the matter of the Panama
Canal, 2 and some independent members may take the
opportunity of giving it expression. However, I think the
paragraph ought to stand.

With respect to the N. West nomenclature, I am inclined to
think that it should be made the subject of a special message.
The Opposition will certainly say Parliament should be
considered as to the territorial divisions, and may say it
ought to have something to do with the christening of them.
It seems to me it would be well to have a report prepared by
myself, as Minister of the Interior, suggesting the divisions
and giving the various reasons for making them. This
should be submitted to Your Excellency by Minute of
Council for your consideration, and you should be requested
to suggest the names. The message would be referred to a

1 Garfield, of the United States, who died, the victim of an assassin, igth Septem-
ber, 1881.

2 In November, 1881, the United States Government proposed to Great Britain
that, inasmuch as the Clay ton-Bulwer Treaty was no longer suitable to existing con-
ditions, it should be modified so as not to prevent the United States fortifying the
Panama Canal and holding political control of it.


Committee of the whole House, and resolutions adopted
concurring in the divisions and accepting the names. May
I ask Your Excellency’s opinion as to this course. 1

By the way, I think I mentioned in my last conversation
with you on the subject, that the name of the old Hudson’s
Bay district Assiniboia, would sound better than the name of
the river, and its termination would be in accord with
Athabasca and Alberta. You seemed then to coincide with

Believe me

Dear Lord Lome,
Faithfully yours,

From Sir John Macdonald to Sir Alexander Gait.
Confidential. Ottawa, February 26th y 1882.


We were all much taken aback by the arrival of your
letter of resignation, 2 and more especially for the cause.
The resignation is more to be regretted, as the usefulness of
the High Commissionership is only now beginning to be
developed, and I should like on your account as well as on
ours, that you should return to Canada with a flourish of
trumpets, and be able to point to accomplished results. I
know quite well that the Gladstone Government don’t look
on you or your office with favour. That we always expected,
and it would be a grand thing for you to survive them.

With Lord Carnarvon at the Colonial Office, your status
as one of the Corps diplomatique would soon be recognized.
He would take pleasure in magnifying your office. But just
consider for a moment what important questions you are
abandoning to a successor. And think what effect your
apparent want of success will have on your future as a public

1 On the 8th May, 1882, a Minute of the Privy Council was passed establishing,
for certain purposes, four provisional districts in the North West Territories, to be
named respectively Assiniboia, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Athabasca.

2 Of the office of High Commissioner for Canada in London, to which Sir Alex-
ander Gait had been appointed in 1880.


Let us see

1. A French treaty There will, I presume, be a temporary
treaty with England. In such case the High Commissioner
should go to Paris, with the consent of the Foreign Office, to
act with Lord Lyons and make a special convention as to
trade between Canada and France.

2. A Spanish treaty should the treaty with France break
down as is most likely, negotiations will be opened with
England, and the High Commissioner must be on hand to
deal with Canadian trade.

3. After years of ill-concealed hostility of the Rothschilds
against Canada, you have made a great strike by taking up
the old clo’ cry, and going in for a Jew immigration into
the Northwest. By following up this subject, and establish-
ing a Jew colony here, whether ultimately successful or not,
a link a missing link will be established between Canada
and Sidonia. I should prefer you to write another epistle to
the Hebrews, rather than a newcomer.

4. All the trouble we have had, and you especially, about
an assisted emigration is now about to fructify. Bishop
Lynch is about to sail on this mission. With skilful manipu-
lation, bringing together Lynch, the Irish Hierarchy and
Cardinal Manning, into a pressure on Gladstone, an ad-
ditional vote say of a million (especially diverted to the
Colonies if possible) may be obtained. Obtain it, and you
are King of the Northwest.

5. Probably the fishery exhibition of 1883 will be the
greatest on record, and on it Canada must be fully repre-
sented, and our wealth of fish must be proved beyond a
doubt. The High Commissioner must be the “biggest toad
in the puddle” there for we will show Atlantic, Pacific,
stream and lake fish, sending specimens from all our interior
lakes, as well as from the salt water.

These are some of the special and important objects to be
handled by the H. Comr. and were I in your place, I would
think twice before I left these subjects to a new man. The
fact that you sowed the seed will be of no value to you
personally; the man who carries the measures gets the
kudos. Remember in Quentin Durward

The page slew the boar
The king got the gloire.


From all this you will learn that I am opposed to your
resignation, and will not advise its acceptance.

In the interests of Canada and, as I think, in the true inter-
ests of yourself, before doing so, I shall ask for your re-
consideration. Take time to think, and if you do, you will
remain in England for a year or two more our High Com-

Yours always,


From Sir John Macdonald to Governor-General the Marquess of

Stadacona Ha!/,
Private. Ottawa, May 2nd, 1882.


I see that the proceedings on Mr. Costigan ‘s resolutions
for an address to The Queen on Irish matters 1 have excited
some attention in England and Ireland.

As finally adopted, they are perfectly harmless and are the
result of a compromise.

I enclose the resolutions as first proposed, and as passed
by the House.

Mr. Costigan is a ministerial supporter and a man of good
judgment and moderation, except when “the wrongs of
Ireland” are discussed. The resolutions were however not
introduced on his sole responsibility, but were settled at a
meeting of the Irish Catholic members of both Houses.
On seeing the address I endeavoured in vain to induce him

1 Certain resolutions in favour of Home Rule for Ireland, moved in the House
of Commons by Mr. John Costigan, M.P. for Victoria, New Brunswick. The text
of these resolutions as originally proposed will be found in the Notes and Proceedings
of the House of Commons, 22nd March, 1882, page 256, and as finally adopted, in the
Journals of the House of Commons, 2oth April, 1882, pages 307-8. These resolu-
tions were duly embodied in an address to the Queen. Their passage was evidently
resented by Mr. Gladstone who, in acknowledging their receipt, caused the Cana-
dian Government to be informed that-

“Her Majesty will always gladly receive the advice of the Parliament of Canada
on all matters relating to the Dominion, and the administration of its affairs; but
with respect to the questions referred to in the address, Her Majesty will, in accord-
ance with the constitution of this country, have regard to the advice of the Im-
perial Parliament and Ministers, to whom all matters relating to the affairs of the
United Kingdom exclusively appertain.”


not to give notice, but he said that if he did not do so,
Anglin 1 would Anglin, as perhaps Your Excellency is
aware, is Costigan’s rival for the leadership of the Irish
Catholics in Canada.

The address, even in its original form gives no countenance
to any disloyal or separatist feeling. It is profuse in its
expressions of loyalty to the Queen, and of the contentment
of the Irish in Canada with their position here. It states a
desire to strengthen the Empire and to serve under its flag.

The fifth paragraph was objectionable as asking for
Home rule for Ireland without reserve or condition; and
the sixth as implying a censure on the Irish policy of H. M.
Government, and for depriving the people of Ireland of the
blessings of civil liberty.

It was doubtful whether the passing of the address could
have been successfully resisted. There is a general feeling
in Canada in favour of the federal system, in consequence of
its favourable operation here, and it is especially valued by
the French Canadians who consider it as the safeguard of
their religion, language and laws. But in my opinion it
would have had an equally injurious effect to have carried or
rejected the address. If carried as originally drafted, it
would have had the appearance of an uncalled for inter-
ference with the Imperial policy, and it would have required
the whole power of the Government to whip in their sup-
porters to defeat it if defeated it could be. The rejection
of the address would have greatly irritated the majority of
our Irish Catholic population, and we should probably have
seen a renewal of the conspiracies between the Fenian ele-
ment here and the Irish Americans of the United States
from which we have already suffered so much. Twice
within the last twenty years Canada, merely because she
was a part of the British Empire, has been invaded by a
fenian filibustering force, formed in a great measure of men
trained in the Civil War and commanded by officers of
military experience. On those occasions Canada expended
much money and had its trade and credit paralyzed for the
time, not to speak of the loss of some valuable lives. Under

1 The Hon. Timothy Warren Anglin, M.P. for the County of Gloucester, New
Brunswick, which he represented in the House of Commons (1867-1882); was
Speaker of that body from 1874 until 1878. Died, 3rd May, 1896.


the circumstances I thought it well to see Costigan, who did
not desire to embarrass the Government, but was actuated by
a sincere desire to obtain an expression of sympathy with
Ireland. I induced him to modify the 5th and 6th para-
graphs by a promise to support the address if he accepted my
amendments, and this he did.

Your Excellency will see that the 5th paragraph instead of
praying for Home rule unconditionally, now “ventures to
express a hope, that, // consistent with the integrity and well
being of the Empire,” and “if the rights and status of the
minority are fully protected and secured, some means may be
found of meeting the expressed desire” of so many of H.
Majesty’s subjects in that regard.”

The 6th paragraph, as amended, does not pray for the re-
lease of the suspects, and the restoration of civil liberty, &c.,
but merely expresses “a hope that the time has come when
H. Majesty’s clemency may, without injury to the interests of
the United Kingdom, be extended to persons charged with
political offences only” and the blessing of personal liberty
restored to them.

Mr. Costigan, at my suggestion, moved his resolution on
going into Supply, instead of as a substantive motion so as
to prevent an amendment. Had he not done so, Mr. Anglin
would have moved the original resolution in amendment.
As it was, our parliamentary opposition, who had promised
to support the first draft, were forced to vote with Costigan,
although Anglin in doing so complained loudly of the
emasculation of the original address. Our flank movement
in this troublesome matter has been completely successful,
and the subject, instead of remaining a cause of agitation and
annoyance, is now fairly dead and buried, much to the
comfort of the peaceable people of Canada and much to
the disappointment of the Fenian element in our midst.

Pray pardon this long note, but I think it right that Your
Excellency should be fully informed of the reasons which
governed your advisers in supporting the resolutions and

Believe me,
Dear Lord Lome,
Faithfully yours,



On the 20th June, 1882, took place the fifth general elec-
tions for the House of Commons of Canada, at which Sir
John Macdonald and his Government were handsomely

From Professor Goldwin Smith to Sir John Macdonald.

York, June 22, 1882.

Who reigns at Ottawa is a question which affects me as little as any man
in the Dominion, yet I welcome the tidings which we have just received of
your victory in the election.

The financial achievements of the Government entitled it to a renewal of
public confidence, and its success has saved us from a return to financial
incompetence, and at the same time from the renewed tyranny of a narrow

Do not forget that you have received a good deal of non-party support,
given in the broad interest of the country.

I hope the fresh stock of health which you laid in here has lasted well.

We sail for Canada at the beginning of next month. My wife is taking
a final course of Buxton waters. If she were here, she would unite with
me in very kind regards and congratulations on your triumph, to Lady

Believe me,

Very truly yours,

The Right Hon.

Sir J. A. Macdonald, M.P.

From Sir John Macdonald to Professor Goldwin Smith.

Riviere du Loup (en has)
August 5, 1882.

Let me welcome Mrs. Smith and you back to the Do-

Thanks for your congratulations on the result of the
General Elections. The country has approved of our
national policy. It was a bold and, as it proved, a wise thing
to appeal to the country on that issue. I, of course, had to
meet with opposition from the weak-kneed among our
friends and especially from those whose re-elections were
doubtful. I am vain enough to believe that our general
policy deserved, and has received, the approval of the


Our trade and financial policy has of course been “en-
dorsed” (how I hate that phrase!) by the people, but so has,
I think, our railway, land, and immigration policy. Blake
made our treatment of Ontario a question of want of confi-
dence, and Mowat and his Government rushed into the
contest on the specific ground that we had done injustice to
Ontario and provincial rights.

Blake and Mowat are, therefore, in the ludicrous plight of
having a verdict given against them by the Province whose
wrongs they were going to avenge.

I am trying to get some good men out for the local elec-
tions, which I think will come off next month. I should like
to see you in the Legislature, were it only to rescue educa-
tional matters from the hands of Crooks.

By the way, you did the Canadian Parliament and
Canadian statesmen generally but scant justice in your re-
marks about the Costigan resolutions and the address to
the Queen on Irish matters.

However, I shall reserve my criticisms until I have the
pleasure of meeting you, which I hope will be some time next

Believe me,
Sincerely yours,

From Professor Goldwin Smith to Sir John Macdonald.

Toronto^ August 23 y 1882,

It is announced that you are to be here for a Convention on Sept. 13.
My wife unites with me in hoping that Lady Macdonald will be with you,
and that you will both do us the favour to be our guests during your stay.
You know that we can afford you, besides a warm welcome, quiet and a
respite in the evening, from the cares of state and of patronage, which beset
you during the day.

I shall meet you, on the subject of Mr. Costigan and his resolution,
armed with a party editorial in each hand a Tory one confessing the guilt
of the Grits, and a Grit one confessing the guilt of the Tories.

Believe me, what you want, to make your party victorious, is a stronger
set of men. I have seen enough, as an English Liberal, of the Catholic
vote. Besides the descent and the scandal, the name of priest is perfidy.

Yours very truly,



From George Stephen, Esq., to Sir John Macdonald.
Private, Montreal, 2?th August, 1882.


* * * I wired you on Friday that we had succeeded in finding a
practicable pass through the Selkirk Mountains. I felt sure from what
Major Rogers had told me last year, that we should succeed, but was very
glad to have my impressions confirmed. This secures us a direct short
through line, and adds greatly to the commercial value of the line as a
transcontinental line. We shall have the rails laid by the ist August
next, right up to the entrance to the mountains beyond Bow Fort, but how
long it will take us to cover the 250 miles beyond, to Kamloops, I cannot
tell till we know more about the work.

Always yours,

Sir John A. Macdonald, K.C.B.

From Sir John Macdonald to Martin J. Griffin, Esq.

Ottawa, loth October, 1882.

I am bored to death by people applying for judgeships and
senatorships. I wish you would take occasion at an early
day to write a leader for the Mail somewhat in this wise:

“Rumours occasionally reach us from Ottawa that the
ministry are continually importuned for judgeships and
senatorships. Now this ought not to be so. The Govern-
ment should be left free, as the responsibility is theirs. It
has long been known that, with regard to judicial appoint-
ments, Sir John Macdonald has been governed by the one
consideration of efficiency. We have heard it stated on
more than one occasion he has told applicants for seats
on the Bench, that the fact of their being applicants was a
serious bar to their success. This rule still holds. Nothing
can be more unseemly than for a member of the bar to apply
for a judgeship. Such appointments are not made for the
sake of the individual, nor for the sake of the party, and the
Government should look with disfavour on any pressure,
personal or political, in favour of an individual. We venture
to think that the same principle should be applied to senator-
ships. A seat in the Senate is an office of high dignity, and


the responsibility of the Government in selecting men who
will be called upon to deal as legislators with the most
important matters affecting the well being of the common-
wealth, is very great. From our point of view the Govern-
ment should resist all outside pressure both as to judges and

“We speak of this because we observe in the local press
individual claims urged from local considerations.”

Something of this kind I wish you would write after your
best style. I am determined to resist in the future, as I have
in the past, all attempts at local dictation.

Yours always,

M. J. Griffin, Esq.,
The Mail,

From Sir John Macdonald to George Stephen^ Esq.
Private. Ottawa, October 2Oth, 1882.


I don’t think it would do at all to propose to Parliament to
give the C.P.R. the even numbered lots along the line of the
railway. It would intensify the cry of monopoly and do
Government and Company much harm. There will be
quite sufficient row about the conveyance to you of the best
lands south of the line. Let us go by degrees in what we do.
The Orders-in-Council for lands will be passed by next
Monday. We are endeavouring to discover some plan for
the issue of the patents speedily, but I fear that will need
legislation. I have written to Washington to ascertain
the precise mode in which deeds are issued for public

Regina seems growing in favour. By the way, I hope
there is no mistake as to what the C.P.R. was to do there.
The arrangement was that the C.P.R. should indicate some
place from which a branch line would be built, not located
only y the Company to contribute the branch line, and the


Government the public buildings, and the division to be

Hickson has, I believe, written to Rose about the failure of

When do you return ?

Yours always,

George Stephen, Esq.

From Sir John Macdonald to J. E. Collins , Esq. 1

Ottawa, I2th December, 1882.

I am not sure whether I answered your note of the 23rd
ultimo on the subject of a biography of myself, which you say
you are preparing for the Rose Publishing Company. It so
happens that within the last three or four months I have had
half a dozen communications from different parties in
Canada to the same effect. It seems to me, therefore, that I
had better leave all to carry out their intentions in this
matter, without reference to myself.

Yours very truly,

J. E. Collins, Esq.,
37 Elm Street,

From Sir John Rose, Bart., to Sir John Macdonald.

Bartholomew Lane, E.G.,

Private. jth January, 1883,


First, let me wish every health and happiness to you and all yours during
the new year, and the fullest measure of success in all you undertake!
And next, let me thank you for your several letters of the nth and i6th,
of portions of which I have made discreet use.

We both agree, I think, in our estimate of Brydges; and I hope that
your and my advice may not be without effect on making him follow the

1 Author of “The Life and Times of the Right Honourable Sir John A. Mac-
donald” which appeared in 1883.


eleventh commandment, and guard in future against nepotism in land
matters. While I fear he has not been quite blameless in the past, yet the
bitterness of Stephen and Smith goes too far. The former has become
very imperious and intolerant of opposition, and I am afraid he will make
enemies where conciliation would be more politic. His earnestness and
force of character are invaluable qualities, considering the gigantic work he
has on hand, but it is no easy matter to hold an even balance between his
views and those of more cautious men. He speaks very gratefully of the
liberal and friendly way in which you and the Govt. have dealt with him.

I am sorry to say there is no lull in the attacks on the N.W. and the
interests connected with it. Enclosed is a specimen of a dozen things
which appear weekly.

I have been trying to get some concerted action between the H.B. the
C.P.R. and the C.N.W. Land Co., but Stephen’s antipathy to Brydges
makes it very difficult. The issue of the Land Co., was sadly bungled;
and the allotment of so many shares to speculative applicants in Canada, a
great mistake. I think they will issue a circular to their shareholders of a
reassuring kind, and I hope it may succeed, for any failure in that quarter
means a serious curtailment of C.P.R. resources.

I think Stephen is wrong in attributing to Gait intentional or male-
volent misrepresentation about N.W. He may have been indiscreet in
expressing his opinion; and he is, no doubt, in a cross and unpleasant frame
of mind, but I do not believe that the purpose of making mischief is one
that he can be justly charged with. It is very unfortunate that Stephen
will keep so completely aloof from him. He might be useful in many ways,
and a moderate extension of confidence towards him, would counteract any
inclination he may have to be unfriendly. Besides holding the official
position he does the very appearance of antagonism is injurious. I have
spoken more than once to S. about this, and am again trying to bring
them together, but how it may result I know not. Personally, Gait and I
get on perfectly well, and though I have my own opinion and feeling
about many things, I have kept them to myself, and never allowed them
to interfere with our old relations, or to lessen my hearty cooperation in
anything he wants help for.

I have inflicted a very long letter on you; but I don’t often sin to such an

My wife joins me in kindest wishes to you and Lady Macdonald. We
have heard nothing of Bernard of late.

Believe me ever

most sincerely yours,

In 1882-3 there occurred a recrudescence of the sensational
stories circulated in the press in 1879 a b ut imaginary
slights offered to the Princess Louise by Sir John and Lady
Macdonald. These coming to the notice of the Princess,
who was spending the winter in Bermuda, Her Royal High-
ness wrote thus to Sir John :


From H. R. H. The Princess Louise to Sir John Macdonald.

H. M. S. Dido, January 25, 1883.

I have been wanting to write to you ever since I saw those ill-natured
articles in the papers against Lady Macdonald and myself, but his Excel-
lency thought as they were such preposterous inventions that I should
leave it alone. Now that you have written to Col. de Winton, I cannot
help sending you a few lines, having received so much kindness from you
and Lady Macdonald ever since I first came to Canada, and I have learned
to look upon you both as friends that I made out there. It is, therefore,
most annoying to me that such stories should have been circulated. To
invent that I have had a misunderstanding with your wife vexes me beyond

You must know in how many ways I admire Lady Macdonald and
think her a worthy example to every wife. I hope your health is quite
restored. Believe me, with kind remembrances to Lady Macdonald,
yours very sincerely.


to which kind and gracious letter he replied:

From Sir John Macdonald to H.R.H. the Princess Louise.

Stadacona Hall, Ottawa, February 2O y 1883.

I am honoured by the receipt of your gracious note and
can assure your Royal Highness that I gratefully appreciate
its kind condescension.

Your high position, while it does not altogether shield you
from the base attacks of a degraded press, renders them
powerless for harm and your Royal Highness can afford to
treat them with the contempt they deserve.

It is otherwise with Lady Macdonald, who has already
proofs that these calumnies have been widely disseminated
and that some people have been willing to believe them
simply because she happens to be my wife.

Lady Macdonald feels especially aggrieved at the imputa-
tion cast upon her of having failed in respect and duty to-
wards your Royal Highness, from whom she has received
such unvarying kindness. Both she and I are, however,
more than compensated for the annoyance by the gracious


letter sent us by Col. de Winton, and we hope in good time to
have the opportunity of personally tendering you our best
thanks. I have the honour to be, madam, your Royal High-
ness’ grateful and obedient servant


From Professor Goldwin Smith to Sir John Macdonald.

Toronto, Feb. //, 1883.

I see the Canadian Commissioner 1 in England is preaching not only
Imperial Federation, but Home Rule. Imperial Federation he may safely
preach as much as he pleases; nobody ever has taken or ever will take a
practical step in that direction. But Home Rule, at this juncture, cannot
be advocated with impunity by anyone who is supposed to speak for
Canada. The situation in England is one of serious, I fear extreme, peril.
Mr. Gibson tells me that nothing but the rigorous administration of the
Crimes Act prevents things from being as bad as ever in Ireland. Fortu-
nately, Lord Spencer is a man against whom Mr. Chamberlain and his
section do not venture to act as they did against Forster. It is not power
that is wanting to put down the rebellion for rebellion it is but, alas,
patriotism. Faction prevails over country. The Prime Minister is under
a strong delusion about Ireland, of which he personally knows nothing,
and his ear is open to the intrusions of an unscrupulous ambition which
hopes to grasp power by the help of the Irish vote. The Mallow election
shows that a decisive struggle between union and disunion is at hand.
Lord Hartington and his section, who will soon be in power, are bracing
themselves for that struggle, and they will not thank you for casting the
moral weight of Canada into the scale against them.

If the Fisheries question comes up again, you will feel the effects of any
encouragement given to Fenians in the U. S..

I have always known that the political connection with the colonies was
a source of weakness, not of strength, to the mother country; but I hardly
expected to see the colonies becoming, at a critical moment, a force on the
side of those who were trying to dismember the United Kingdom.

Do not put yourself to the trouble of answering this.

Very truly yours,


1 Sir Alexander Gait, who resigned the High Commissionership about this time,
and vacated the office on the 3ist May, 1883. The Mallow (County Cork) Election,
referred to in this letter, was held in January, 1883, and resulted in the return
of William O’Brien over a Liberal.


From Sir John Macdonald to Sir Alexander Gait.
Private. Ottawa, February 2ist, 1883.


Your notes anent the Edinburgh and Greenock speeches
and the extracts from the press on those speeches, duly re-
ceived, for which thanks !

I don’t know that the allusions to the Irish question and
Home Rule were necessary, and think that on the whole
they had better as the Yankees say, “have been hired out.”
You cannot dissociate, or rather the public will not dissociate,
your personal from your political position. They will insist
that you would not have so spoken without the tacit consent
of the Government you represent. From the extracts sent,
it is clear that the English press are not offended by your
language, and it remains to be seen whether the Government
will be.

Goldwin Smith, your old friend, writes me very strongly
on this subject. He says that your language will be resented
by the Government, as we will find whenever the Fisheries
question comes up. How this may be, we yet cannot say,
but Goldwin is in constant correspondence with the people
in power, and from his known antipathy to the colonies, may
point strongly in his letters to this case as an instance of the
inconvenience to England of her having colonies. The
Canadian High Commissioner is now acknowledged to be an
Ambassador, and as such it is his duty to be persona grata
to the Government to which he is accredited. Now the
Government may resent or feel irritated at your stirring the
question. An Ambassador can’t speak his private senti-
ments on the political questions arising in the country to
which he is sent. He must be silent or be held to speak with
implied authority from his Government. All I can say is
that as yet no harm seems to have arisen. But some Grit or
Ashmead-Bartlett may call attention to your speech in Parlia-
ment, and if so, one can’t foresee what direction the debate
may take. The rest of your speech was good in every respect.

We are going on quietly here. Next Tuesday, 2yth, the
Ontario elections come on, and great interest is taken in
them. The benches of our Parliament here are half empty


as the Ontario M.P.’s are off to their counties to join in the
fight. If Mowat is not beaten, he will be run very close.
Geo. Stephen writes me in great spirits as to the C.P.R.

Faithfully yours.


Sir A. T. Gait.

From Sir Alexander Gait to Sir John Macdonald.

9 Victoria Chambers, London, S. W.,

i6th May, 1883.

As I hope to see you in a week after receipt, I shall not bother you by

The only thing is about Prince Leopold. The P. of W. captured me
at the Fishmonger’s dinner, and expressed the strongest desire his brother
should go out as G. G. Prince Leopold was also there and said he wished
very much to go. The P. of W. desired me to lay the matter on Lord
Derby hence my telegram.

I showed your reply to the Prince to-day. He said he feared it was too
late, but I shall probably know more before I close, as I am just going
to see Lord Derby on the subject.

I enclose you an article from the London Globe which I think will please

I have my hands full before starting. To-morrow a lunch at the Exhibi-
tion and the Prince at 2 . At 4.45 I present the Nova Scotia sword of
honour to Laurie at the Saddler’s Hall. At 8 P.M. I start for Paris-
meet the Frenchmen at 1,30 Friday and return here on the same night.

I shall be glad to get through and be off.

Yours sincerely,


P. S. I am to have a private audience of the Queen to announce my
resignation and take leave probably on Tuesday.

From Sir Alexander Gait to Sir John Macdonald.

Private. 9 Victoria Chambers,

London, S. W.,

16 May, 1883.

Since writing I have seen Lord Derby and although the appointment is
not yet settled I fear there is not much chance of our getting the Prince. 1

1 H. R. H. Prince Leopold as next Governor-General of Canada.


I urged it as strongly as I could, but doubt if I seriously shook his predilec-
tions. He seems to think the Queen would not consent, and as I have good
reason to believe the contrary, I suggested the Prince’s name should be
submitted to Her Majesty and her pleasure taken. It is possible this
course may be taken.

The Marquis of Lansdowne is the favorite at present, at least so the
Prince of Wales told me this morning. He will make a very good Gover-
nor in every respect.

Yours sincerely,


From Governor-General the Marquess of Lome to Sir John

Government House,

Ottawa, May 16, 1883.

I have all along been strongly in favour of my brother-in-law’s coming,
and hope that his health will allow of it. I am also all in favour of the
Dominion Government of the day being consulted on the nomination of the
G. G.

The term should I think be five years as in the case of India and as
arranged in the case of my appointment by Disraeli.

Believe me,

Yours very truly,


The Rt. Hon. Sir J. Macdonald, M.P.,

The selection of the Marquess of Lansdowne as successor
to Lord Lome in the Governor-Generalship of Canada, was
announced about this time.

From Sir John Macdonald to Sir John Rose., Bart.

Stadacona Hall,
Confidential. Ottawa, 2$th June, 1883.


I have your cipher telegram regarding Lord Lansdowne.
Of course I know that all the charges made against him here
in the Irish Catholic Press are untrue, and I have no doubt


he will make a very good Governor. The only thing I fear is
that these Fenian fellows may make his residence here un-
comfortable. The Evening Post, of Montreal, which is an
Irish Catholic of extreme, I may say Fenian opinions, has a
considerable circulation and has got a good deal of influence.
It has started a crusade against the new Governor; the fact
that he is an Irish Landlord will be sufficient to make him
unpopular with the Irish, and induce them to disregard all
explanations in regard to his conduct towards his tenantry.
You may remember that lying story of the Globe’s years ago
to the effect that Sir Edmund Head had called the French
Canadians “an inferior race”, destroyed Sir Edmund’s
popularity and lessened his comfort and usefulness. The
French would persist in believing the charge simply because
it was reiterated, and this notwithstanding its falsity, and
the fact of its being explained by Sir Edmund Head as well
as by Cartier and myself who were present and heard what
he did really say. 1

Every effort will be made to make things pleasant for
Lord Lansdowne, and I do not think now, after the salutary
examples that have been made in England and the ex-
pressions of horror in the respectable American press against
the recent assassinations, that there is any reasonable danger
of personal violence to him.

Still, we saw poor McGee shot down, and it is not im-
possible that some emissary of O’Donovan Rossa may come
over here, and as that respectable gentleman has found out
that shooting landlords is not very safe in England, he may
try it on here. I have, therefore, thought it my duty to call
Lord Lome’s attention privately to the enclosed from the
Evening Post\ he has, I believe, transmitted them to Lord

Believe me,

Yours sincerely,

The Honourable
Sir John Rose.

1 What Sir Edmund Head did say on the occasion referred to was that the
French Canadians, as a race, were not inferior to the people of Upper Canada.


From Governor-General the Marquess of Lome to Sir John


Quebec, Sept. 5, 1883.

I find that Captain Durrant of the Canada desires that something be
said to prevent addresses from being presented to Prince George.i As
the Colonial Office circular put this matter in the hands of the “Governor”
of the Colony visited by the ship, I beg that you will communicate with the
Lt. Governor of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, my wish that no
address be presented to the Prince, who only visits the Provinces as one
of the officers of H.M.S. Canada. All invitations for any public recep-
tion, ball etc., should be addressed to the “Captain and Officers of H.M.S.
Canada” and not to Prince George.

Believe me,

Yours very truly,



From Sir John Macdonald to the Hon. Edgar Dewdney.

Private. Ottawa,

77 Sept., 1883.

. . . . Now for a point of etiquette. I have received
a letter from Hayter Reed 2 saying he was directed by you
to send me a copy of your letter to Col. Irvine about Maple
Creek. Now he (Reed) should not write to me. His letter
should have been addressed to my Secretary, “to be laid
before me. ” Forms are things.

Yours sincerely,


1 His present Majesty King George V.

2 Mr. Hayter Reed was at that time Assistant Indian Commissioner for the
Northwest Territories, Mr. Dewdney uniting in his own person the offices of
Lieutenant-Governor and Indian Commissioner. In the latter capacity he was
an official of Sir John Macdonald as Superintendent General of Indian Affairs.
But as Lieutenant-Governor, by virtue of an absurd provision in our more or less
absurd Table of Precedence, he took precedence, as such, over his own Minister.
The spectacle of an official of his department going into dinner before him always
amused J>ir John.


From Sir Andrew Clark, Bart., M.A. 1 to Sir John Macdonald.

1 6 Cavendish Square, W.,

6th October, 1883.

I am touched by the thought that in the midst of all the great affairs
which demand your attention and engross your thoughts, you should have
sought and found time to send to me in such felicitous words and with
such friendly warmth, your congratulations upon my promotion to a
baronetcy. The dignity was neither solicited nor desired, but having been
accepted, it is both a satisfaction and a relief to learn from one in your
justly great position that the bestowal is approved and that acceptance is
not condemned. Acceptance is not without its consolation, for in me,
however unworthy, the custom of restricting medical baronetcies to
persons officially connected with the Court has been broken, and the
honour, such as it is, made free to the whole profession.

Accept the expression of my best thanks for your welcome words and the
assurance that they shall be long held in grateful remembrance. I beg to
be kindly remembered to Lady Macdonald and to express the hope that
you may be long spared in health and vigour to carry on the great work
which has fallen to your hands to do for a people which loves you (and I can
now well understand how) with all its heart.

Yours sincerely,

From the Marquess of Lome* to Sir John Macdonald.

S. S. Sardinian

27 Oct., 1883.

I was glad for your sake tho’ sorry for our own, not to see you this
morning, for it was wet and raw, and your health is far too precious
to the country to allow of any risks.

G. Stephen tells me privately of the guarantee. I am heartily glad to
hear of it. That railway must be backed. Any failure would be dis-
astrous to all Canada and be far worse than the failure of the G.T.R.
in old days to pay. All Canadian projects would smell of railway failures,
and a serious setback be experienced. Therefore I think you are quite
right, and if the Saskatchewan Valley country from Prince Albert to
Edmonton and on to the Peace can be soon opened by a railway, the future
is assured. But the air line must have feeders quickly, for the best country
is away from it.

If I can at any time be of the slightest use in London, you know you
have only to command me.

Believe me, dear Sir John,

Yours very truly,

1 Sir Andrew Clark, Bart., Sir John Macdonald’s English physician.

2 Lord Lome’s good-bye letter on relinquishing the position of Governor-General.


From Sir Charles Tupper to Sir John Macdonald.

9 Victoria Chambers,

London, S. W.>

Oct. 31 st, 1883.

I duly received your letters of the i st and 1 8th October. I am very glad
to learn that you have been relieved of the Dept. of the Interior. Noth-
ing could be better than Mr. Macpherson’s appointment, 1 if only he can
be made to realize that the Northwest is not a portion of Chestnut Park.
I am sure that the most liberal policy in disposing of the lands there is
best, financially, as well as in every other way for Canada. I hope you
will now get a little more rest. The cable as to your disqualification only
resulted in the statement being made everywhere, i.e., all the papers
that you had been elected for two constituencies that only one had been
contested and that you have been entirely absolved from any personal
bribery and had suffered from the indiscretion of an agent only. I do hope
you will retain Carleton. We ought to be able to put in anybody for
Lennox after the course taken by the opposition re the Napanee Railway
subsidy, and I fear if you open Carleton, you will lose it from the rivalry
of your friends. I am arranging with Reuter to publish my telegrams
as his own. I shall be glad to receive your news and to get proper cur-
rency for it. I will give you an account of the Cable Conference at Paris
in another letter. In the meantime I remain

Yours faithfully,


From the (4th) Earl of Dunraven to Sir John Macdonald.

Private. White s Club,

St. James’s Street,

London, 1st December, 1883.

A feeling of dissatisfaction with our system of one sided free trade is, I
think, beginning to make itself felt among our people, that is, those
engaged in manufactures; and I should not be surprised if a demand for an
enquiry by Royal Commission into the condition of trade as a preliminary
to an alteration in our fiscal system were made a test question in some of
the large towns, more especially in Lancashire, at the next general election.
Protection we shall never return to; but Fair Trade has a good chance.

The new plank in the Fair Trade platform is a 10 per cent, ad valorem
import duty on everything produced without the Empire, raw material
such as cotton, etc., etc., alone excepted, the produce of colonies and
dependencies being admitted duty free. I should be glad to know from
you whether in your opinion a duty on United States wheat, flour, etc. as

1 Of the Hon. D. L. Macpherson, as Minister of the Interior.


low as say 45. 6d. or 53. per quarter would have any marked beneficial
effect upon Canada. We would not submit here to a duty on wheat suf-
ficiently high to seriously increase the price of bread. But I maintain that
a duty on United States wheat as low as to have a very slight effect in
raising the price of bread, would still be high enough to give an advantage
to the Canadian grower sufficient to turn a considerable stream of capital
and men into the south west of Canada which otherwise would go to the
Northwestern States and Territories of the United States. Is that your
opinion? Also, I would like to know whether a 10 per cent, differential
duty in favour of Canada and against the States, would materially increase,
in Canada, the trade in preserved provisions, meats, vegetables, etc., etc.,
and in fruits, cheese, etc., etc.,

There is another matter I should like to have your opinion on. I have
often thought of the possibility and desirability of some representation in
Parliament being given to the colonies. The most obvious way in which
it could be done would be by creation of colonial peerages. A certain
number of Peers for each colony to sit in the House of Lords. Without
troubling you with any details, I should like to know whether you think
such a scheme would be practicable. Could men be found in the colonies
ready to undertake such a position, and would the creation of colonial
Peers, sitting in the House of Lords be popular in the colonies. Someday
or other an attempt, at any rate, will be made to reform the House of
Lords, and the attempt will probably be made from within that body.
Probably it will be on the lines of advocating that a certain number of
Peers should be elected by the whole body to represent them in Parlia-
ment, in the same way that Scotch and Irish Peers elect representative
Peers. The absurdity and danger of allowing great questions to be settled
by the votes of men who avowedly have no interest in politics and never
come near the House, is acknowledged by most men on all sides. If any
such reform is mooted, then would be the time to suggest colonial repres-
sentadon. I hope you are well and Canada flourishing.

Yours very truly,


Of all Sir John Macdonald’s political associates in his later
years I am disposed to consider that, personally, he was
most attached to Sir John Rose, and this regard extended to
Lady Rose, whose sudden death is thus touchingly described
by her sorrowing husband.

From Sir John Rose to Sir John Macdonald.

18 Queen’s Gate.
Thursday, ijth Dec., 1883.

I must write you a few lines to tell you of my great sorrow. She had
always so great an .admiration and affection for you that I know the grief
will in some measure be your own.


Though she had been ailing occasionally during the last year, she was
bright and active in her mind as ever. All her family and her friends
seemed to centre round her even more than usual. We came up from the
country from visiting a friend two or three days before her death. There
she had been the life and soul of the party. On the Saturday we dined at
Bassano’s a Canadian party including Gait &c. On the Sunday she
went to see the children and received a number of friends in the after-
noon Gait among the rest. I left her on Monday forenoon engaged in
her usual household work, and making arrangements about Xmas for the
children and grandchildren. She took her usual morning drive and called
at their houses, returning about halfpast one. She walked upstairs to the
dining room giving some order to the servant in passing through the
hall; sat down on a chair saying to her maid who met her that she felt
faint. Her arm fell by her side her eyes closed and she died peacefully
and painlessly! Amy came in a few moments after; but I did not get home
for nearly half an hour. You may imagine my home-coming! to find the
support and sunshine of 40 years gone for ever! Forgive me my dear
Macdonald for obtruding all these details on you, but I seem drawn to the
few, who like yourself have been so closely associated with us all our lives,
and I know you will share our sorrow. We were speaking of you only on
the Sunday evening in connection with your last letters to me, and she said
it would be left for posterity to appreciate fully the great work you had
done; and the marvellous ability that had been so silently and steadily
producing these results. Our time can’t be far off, but I hope I may live
to see you again, and to talk over the friendly associations of past life.

I am trying to get back my self-control enough to go about what remains
of life’s work, but it isn’t easy. I will write you very soon again on other
subjects, but at the moment this only is uppermost. Remember me with
affection to Lady Macdonald. Where is Bernard this winter? I know
he will be sorry, for they always were fast friends. This is a selfish letter.
Believe me ever my dear Macdonald,
Your affectionate friend,

From the Marquess of Lome to Sir John Macdonald.

Kensington Palace.

20 Dec., 1883.

You may like to hear that we have had very satisfactory meetings
at Glasgow, Birmingham and London, with a view of increasing the
emigration of a desirable class to Canada in the early summer of next year.
The ultra Liberal newspapers never attempted in connection with what I
had said, to raise the cry of ‘No emigration,’ but have uniformly spoken
of Canada in a very kindly spirit.

People seem much to connect the recent progress of the country with


the opening up by rail of the West, and I do hope the Government will
stand firmly at the back of the C.P.R. as it is manifest that that Co. has
enough on its hands. Could not the Government subsidise short branch
lines in Manitoba? I believe you will have a good rush of people in the
early summer, and the announcement of support to new short branch lines
would be a great incentive. I hope it is true that Stephen will be able
to arrange for through tickets from Quebec to Winnipeg for 2.5.0. Sir A.
Gait has been displaying a magnificent column of coal. I have found it to
be a great refreshment, in the middle of London gloom, to talk of
Canada. * * *

Donald Smith promises to try to keep ‘the Globe’ in order, as to the
railway and the N. W., but I fear the task will be rather beyond him.

Pray remember the Princess and me very kindly to Lady Macdonald.
All health, strength and prosperity to you and your duty the coming year!

Believe me, dear Sir John,
Yours very truly,


The Rt. Hon.

Sir J. Macdonald, K.C.B.

The latter part of the year 1883 saw the Canadian Pacific
Railway Company involved in serious financial difficulties.
This great undertaking, while in strong, resolute and capable
hands, found arrayed against it a combination of interests
bent upon its ruin. To begin with, the Grand Trunk Rail-
way, at the time influential in Lombard Street, devoted all its
powers to injure the credit of its rival in the leading money
markets, both of Europe and America. The Hudson’s Bay
Company were equally hostile to the project, and the charge
was freely made at the time that influences inspired by lead-
ing members of the Opposition in the Canadian Parliament
were not lacking to what looked like a concerted and de-
termined effort to crush the C.P.R. in its inception. As
the correspondence here published indicates, the combi-
nation came within an ace of accomplishing their purpose.
Within two years after the signing of the contract for the
building of the railway, the Company, owing to the machi-
nations of its foes, found itself unable to sell its stock or land
grant bonds, or to obtain in any other way the money needed
for the road. In order to avert such a calamity as the
failure of the Company to meet its obligations would entail,
the Government, in the Session of 1884, found itself obliged
to intervene, and by a loan of $22,500,000 to set the railway
on its feet again.



From Sir John Macdonald to Sir Charles Tupper, London.

Ottawa, 1st December, 1883.

Pacific in trouble. You should be here.



From Sir Charles Tupper to Sir John Macdonald.

London, 2nd December, i88j.
Sailing on Thursday.


From Governor-Genera! the Marquess of Lansdowne to Sir
John Macdonald.

Government House,

Ottawa, 26th Dec., f88j.

Thanks for Major O’Reilly’s note which I return. All strange parcels
shall be treated respectfully. A very suspicious one arrived this morning,
but proved to contain a cheese.

Sovereigns used to keep a highly paid official to taste the Royal viands
Will Parliament vote an adequate salary for a Viceregal functionary to
whom will be committed the duty of opening explosive packages?
With all good wishes, I am, dear Sir John Macdonald,

Yours sincerely,


From George Stephen, Esq. to Sir John Macdonald.
Confidential. Montreal, 5th January, 1884.


I have just received the enclosed and send it to you, trusting that you
won’t mind telling me how I should answer it. The Hudson’s Bay Rail-
way, in my judgment, is a humbug an impossibility but so far as the
C.P.R. is concerned I have no objection to a line to the H. Bay, or for that
matter, to the North Pole, if the promoters will put their own money into
the enterprise. It would be a fatal blunder for the Province of Manitoba
to become mixed up with the finance of that, or of any other railway. At
least, that is how the matter looks to me. Apart from this, I see no ob-
jection to a line being built to H. Bay. I have, since I wrote to you last,
found out that we had a narrow squeak with the B. of M. on Wednesday;


Drummond, Alfred Brown and Hamilton (Inkerman) were determined to
refuse our application and smash up the whole thing, so far as they were
concerned. The three named above are promoters of the H. Bay Railway,
but their real opposition to us arises from Hickson’s control over them
partly, and partly envy, hatred and malice. All this of course is for you
only, as the information comes to me in a way I cannot make known.

I am off to N. Y. this afternoon but will be back here on Wednesday
morning when I shall hope to have your advice as to my reply to Lariviere.

Always yours,

From George Stephen, Esq., to Sir John Macdonald.

Ottawa, Tuesday evening.

(22nd January , 1884.)

I am going down in the morning and you may be sure I will do all I can
to keep things moving, and in life, till relief arrives, but you must not
blame me if I fail. I do not, at the moment, see how we are to get the
money to keep the work going, but I will know better what I can do when I
get to Montreal, and consult with my colleagues.

If I find we cannot go on, I suppose the only thing to do will be to put
in a Receiver. If that has to be done, the quicker it is done the better. Of
course I will do nothing without first seeing you.

I am getting so wearied and worn out with this business that almost any
change will be a relief to me. Whatever happens, I shall always feel
grateful for the readiness which you have throughout shown to help us in
every possible way.

Always yours,


From George Stephen, Esq., to Sir John Macdonald.
Private. Montreal, February loth, 1884.


I must send you a line to say how grateful I am for your kind and
cordial reception of Smith yesterday. 1 He said nothing, but I know he
felt a good deal, and I know without his saying it that he is to-day a
much happier man. The pluck with which he has stood by me in my

1 Mr. Donald A. Smith, afterwards Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal. Sir
John Macdonald and Mr. Smith had not spoken since the celebrated scene between
them on the floor of the House of Commons nearly six years before, for particulars
of which consult Hansard 1878, pp. 2560-2563. At the negotiations which resulted
in the agreement to build the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1880, Mr. Smith had to
be kept in the background. As might be inferred, circumstances compelled a rec-
onciliation between these two men within a few years, which, as is here disclosed,
was largely brought about through the unwearied good offices of their “mutual
friend” Mr. Stephen.


efforts to sustain the credit of the C.P.R. made it almost duty on my
part to try and restore friendly relations between one who has stood so
courageously by the company in its time of trouble, and you, to whom
alone the C.P.R. owes its existence as a real Canadian railway. I hope
some day this fact will become more generally known than it is now. But
for you, the C.P.R. would undoubtedly have terminated at Port Arthur in
summer, and the line for six months of the year would have been simply an
extension of the American line running up from St. Paul to the interna-
tional boundary line, in short not a Canadian Pacific Railway at all and
the destiny of Canada politically and commercially something very differ-
ent to that which is now a matter of certainty unless our people from
sheer want of faith throw away their grand inheritance. * * *
Always yours,


From George Stephen, Esq., to Sir John Macdonald.
Confidential. Montreal, jfst March, 1884.


When I saw you the other day, I told you I thought Mclntyre could be
induced, while resigning his position of Vice President, to continue on the
Board as a director. It is now clear that he won’t do either. He says
he will hold his stock as a shareholder, but won’t have any thing to do
with the management of the Company. This is a nuisance, but only a
nuisance. I can get along without him on the road. But I must get a
working Board here, which is not a very easy matter. I have talked over
the question with Abbott, and he thinks it would be very easy for you,
by adding two or three words to Tupper’s Bill, to remove the disability
from M.Ps. and Senators. Abbott will tell you his plan. If it can be
worked out I shall be glad, as it will facilitate my arrangements. If it
cannot, I must do the best I can otherwise.

Always yours,


From Governor-General the Marquess of Lansdowne to Sir
John Macdonald.

Government House,

Ottawa, May lyth, 1884.

I am very sorry that you should have been called away from Ottawa
on what is, I fear, a sorrowful errand. 1

We start for Kingston on Wednesday, and I shall therefore not have the
pleasure of seeing you for some little time. I hope you may be in Quebec
during the summer, and that you will look in upon us in the Citadel.

I should have liked to tell you before I left how much I had appreciated
your kindness to me during my first official season. The arrival of a new

1 Probably the illness of his sister, Miss Macdonald, who died in 1888.


Governor must involve a good deal of extra trouble to the Prime Minister,
particularly if the Governor happens to take an interest in Canadian af-
fairs as great as that which I am learning to feel. From this addition to
your anxieties, you will for awhile be relieved by my absence from the

I sent the cablegram to the Duke of Cambridge this morning.
Lord Derby sent me a message answering in the affirmative my enquiry
whether I might announce that the Queen’s commands as to her birthday
had reference to official celebrations only. This will relieve the minds of
the holiday folk. It would have been better if we had not sent the mes-
sage in its entirety to the papers at first.

Believe me, dear Sir John Macdonald,

Yours sincerely,


From Governor-General the Marquess of Lansdowne to Sir
John Macdonald.

Government House,

Ottawa, May 2Oth, 1884.

I have looked at the designs for a Canadian Coat of Arms. I am afraid
that I cannot even offer a plausible suggestion for the solution of the
difficulty. If we wish to get the matter settled secundum artem, I fear
there is nothing for it but a reference to the Heralds’ College at home. I
am not a great believer in that august body, but they represent, I suppose,
the highest authority in such questions.

The only observation which it occurs to me to make is that a shield with
the quarterings of all the Provinces (Assiniboia &c., will want to come
in hereafter) will look like a tesselated pavement. If such a shield is
indispensable, could there not be over and above it a national shield
representing the arms of the Dominion alone, and devised with a view to
dignified simplicity?

Will you, when you have time, tell me or let some one send me a memo,
of the end of the Manitoban delegation.

I am, dear Sir John Macdonald,
Yours sincerely,

From Sir John Macdonald to Sir Charles Tapper.

Ottawa, June jth, 1884.

I cabled you that the Hon. M. Solomon 1 of Jamaica

1 The Hon. Michael Solomon, an elected member of the Legislative Council of
Jamaica, who visited Canada in 1885, with the object of sounding the statesmen of
the Dominion on the question of political union between that Colony and Canada.


would call upon you on the subject of confederation with
Canada. It cannot come to anything, but still we should
hear what they have to say, as it is a high compliment to
Canada to have such a desire to join her political system
coming from other Colonies.

Singularly enough, through Sir Francis Hincks, enquiries
were made last week from Barbados as to whether we would
take them in. Hincks agrees with me that it would not do.
You should contrive to let Lord Derby and the Cabinet
know all this. It will serve to show them our growing im-

I suppose you will introduce Mr. Solomon to Tilley and
Macpherson. * * *

The crops are looking well, although a severe frost last
week has done some damage.

Campbell is looking ill and depressed. Langevin and
Chapleau getting on together pretty well.

With kind regards to Lady Tupper,

Yours sincerely,

Sir C. Tupper.

Sir John Macdonald’s political prescience is well illustrated
in the following letter, written many months before the out-
break of Riel’s second uprising in the Northwest, in the
spring of 1885.

From Sir John Macdonald to the Hon. J. C. Aikins. 1

Private & Riviere du Loup,

Confidential. ?th July, 1884.


I don’t think that Lt. Governors should leave their
Provinces without permission of the Governor-General. I
am expecting a question from Lord Lansdowne on the
matter, if he should happen to hear of your absence. Re-
member that he himself can’t cross the line without leave
from Lord Derby. In ordinary cases there will be no

1 The Hon. James Cox Aikins, at that time Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba.
See also Sir John’s letter to Mr. Donald A. Smith, dated 5th September, 1884, p. 320.


difficulty on application by letter or telegraph to get leave
of absence but the form should be gone through. At this
moment Kiel l has gone into the North West on the invitation
of the halfbreeds, and requires to be watched. One cannot
foresee what he may do, or what they, under his advice, may
do. But should there be any agitation, it will of necessity
extend to the halfbreeds of Manitoba and will be en-
couraged by the demagogues of the Farmers’ Union . Norquay
has sent me a copy of an intercepted letter from one Howes to
Purvis, the President of the Union, urging an immediate
rising and seizure of the stores and arms, and saying the
Militia are mere boys, and that there are, in fact, no means
of resisting them. I have taken steps to secure the arms,
and will have a force ready, if necessary, and all this time
you are absent from your post, and no Administrator has
been appointed in your stead.

Always my dear Aikins,

Yours faithfully,

Lt. Governor Aikins, JOHN A. MACDONALD.

66 Gerard Street,

Sir Charles Tupper had recently relinquished the portfolio
of Railways and Canals and returned to England with the
object of devoting himself exclusively to the position of
High Commissioner for Canada in London, to which he had
been temporarily appointed on the ist June, 1883, without
salary, thus permitting him to retain his cabinet office and
his seat in Parliament. The date of the confirmatory
appointment is 24th May, 1884. This letter is written
shortly after his arrival in London.

From Sir Charles Tupper to Sir John Macdonald.

0, Victoria Chambers,
London, S. W.,

8th July, 1884.

I duly received your letter of the 4th ultimo, and have since had a visit
from Mr. Solomon and Mr. Ashley, the Chairman of the Jamaica Board

1 Louis Kiel, instigator and leader of two halfbreed risings in the Northwest
Territories. Executed for high treason at Regina, i6th November, 1885.


here. I told them that Canada would warmly favour anything to promote
the interests of Jamaica, consistent with its own that I saw many and
serious obstacles in the way all of which would receive careful considera-
tion in case a formal proposal for union was made by Jamaica. I discussed
the subject with Lord Derby, who seemed much impressed by the fact
that both Jamaica and Barbados were thinking of federation with
Canada. * * *

I remain,

Yours faithfully,


From Sir John Macdonald to the Hon. J. C. Aikins.

Riviere du Loup,
Private. 28th July, 1884.


Thanks for your favour of the I3th instant.

The prospect of a good harvest in Manitoba must, as
you say, have the effect of allaying the discontent in a con-
siderable degree. You, however, will not have much peace
until there is a public opinion a real opinion formed by a
body of well-to-do settlers.

For a time the land jobbers and speculators hanging about
Winnipeg and the paper towns scattered over your Province,
joined to such agitators as Greenway, will pretend to repre-
sent the public feeling.

Norquay sent me confidentially an intercepted letter show-
ing a plot of these Farmer’s Union Agitators to rise in arms.
I presume he mentioned it to you. Certainly, if he did not,
it was a breach of duty as your adviser. I don’t attach much
importance to these plots, but my experience of the Fenian
business has taught me that one should never disbelieve
the evidence of plots or intended raids, merely because they
are foolish and certain to fail.

In the North West we have certain uneasy elements, to

1. The Farmer’s Union Agitators.

2. The French half breeds, advised by Riel.

3. The Indian element headed by such Indian loafers as
Big Bear, Piapot, etc.

The last the Indian element is not to be dreaded unless


there is a white or half breed rising. If this should ever
happen, the Indians would be apt to join any insurgent body.

I write this as I think you should urge your Ministers to
be alive to the situation and take all necessary precautions.

By the way, I hope you press, not only on your Ministers
but upon the M. P.’s supporting the Government, the
necessity of agreeing to the liberal terms offered by the
Government here. Never was there such folly as the refusal
of those terms. In a former letter I cited the cases of Nova
Scotia and British Columbia, neither of which Provinces
made any objection to giving the required receipt. In the
case of Nova Scotia, Blake insisted on its being put in the
Act granting Better Terms.

Remember, you hold the same position as a Dominion
officer as the Governor-General does under the Imperial
Government the Governor-General for the time being
always does what he can, without infringing on the principle
of self-government, to urge the carrying out of the Imperial
policy. Go and do thou likewise!

Yours sincerely,

The Hon. J. C. Aikins.

From Sir John Macdonald to George Stephen, Esq.

Riviere du Loup.

28th July, 1884.

In 1879 I na d some correspondence with the manager of a
Japan Steam Line Company which is largely subsidized by
the Government there. I have not got this correspondence
here, and shan’t be able to get at it until my return to Ottawa.

I understand that this Company is in effect a government
line. According to the best of my recollection, I wrote in
answer that I thought until your railway was nearly com-
pleted to the Pacific Ocean, it would be premature to take up
this subject. I think however now that it would be well for
you to consider the matter. Any subsidy granted by the
Dominion Government would be principally for the sake
of managing an Asiatic trade for the C.P.R. and it would be
[well] that your railway should have some control over the


line. I think therefore that the proper plan would be for the
establishment of a line to be under the joint control of the
Mitsu Bishi Company of Japan and your railway. The
Dominion Government would encourage such joint line by a
reasonable subsidy for carrying the mails to Hong- Kong and

Yours faithfully,

George Stephen, Esq.,

From Sir John Macdonald to the Lieutenant-Governor of Nova

Private. Riviere du Loup,

2$th July, 1884.

I don’t exactly understand the snarl your Ministry have
got into. It appears that Mr. Pipes resigned his office and
position as Premier that, he had a constitutional right to do,
whatever may be thought of the fairness of his conduct
towards his colleagues.

On his resignation, the Government, or rather the Minis-
try was, ipso facto, dissolved, and you were free, as Lt.
Governor, to send for whom you pleased.

The absolute, uncontrolled right to choose a Premier is,
according to Bagehot and other late constitutional writers,
the only personal prerogative remaining to the Sovereign.

On such occasions the Crown may or may not ask the
retiring Premier whom he should send for, and when the
advice is given he may or may not follow it.

The person charged with the formation of a new Ministry,
is not bound to accept or continue any of the members com-
posing the old administration. He is and ought to be
perfectly unshackled. I know nothing of what has occurred
with you except from the newspapers which do not give a
very intelligible account of the proceedings.

It would appear however from the statements made, as if
Mr. Pipes has assumed the right to name his successor, and
that you had assented to it. I am sure this is a mistake, and
that you have not given away your prerogative. If you have


time I shall be obliged by your letting me know how things

are moving.

Yours sincerely,

His Honour
Lt. Governor Richey.

From Sir John Macdonald to Governor-General the Marquess of

Les Rochers,
St. Patrick,

Riviere du Loup.

August 12/84.

I have your note of the 9th. Dewdney has sent his
Assistant Commissioner, Mr. Hayter Reed, and Mr. Rouleau,
Stipendiary Magistrate, to Duck Lake to see the Indians and
half breeds. Reed knows the Indian character well, speaks
Cree and is popular among them. Rouleau is a French
Canadian lawyer of a good deal of ability; he will see Riel and
the half breeds. M. Forget, Clerk of the N. W. Council,
also a Frenchman, is a man on whom Dewdney relies. He
has been sent on general business to Prince Albert, but is to
keep his eyes and ears open. He knows the Northwest

The surveys of the River lots are I think completed.
The most liberal instructions have been given as to dealing
with them. As to the half breed claims for land, the case
stands thus. When the Province of Manitoba was formed,
it was arranged that all the holdings of the people, white or
mixed, given or permitted by the Hudson’s Bay Co. along
the Red River and Assiniboine should be recognized. This
was carried out and land scrip issued to the complete
satisfaction of the half breeds there. But the French half
breed won’t farm (the English and Scotch half breed will).
They sold their scrip at a great sacrifice, and spent the
money in debauchery.

The Indians and half breeds on the Northwest plains
west of Manitoba had never any holdings and were mere


nomads roaming over the prairie with the Indians and living
by hunting and as carriers of goods in little carts. Both
hunting and carting have ceased and they are starving.
Among them are the Red River half breeds, who, impatient
of civilization, left Manitoba after having squandered their
land scrip, and are now on the plains. They have told the
others of the scrip and the enjoyment they had on the
proceeds of sale, and have incited them to make claim for
scrip. Now these plains half breeds have been told that they
have the choice of going with father or mother as whitemen
or Indians. If they claim as whitemen, they can get their
homestead of 160 acres free on cultivation. If as Indians,
they can join their mother’s band and get their share of its
reserve and of the annuities and presents secured to them by
Treaty. The land sharks that abound in the N. W. urge
on the half breed to demand, in addition, scrip to the same
amount as granted to those in Manitoba. The scrip is sold
for a song to the sharks and spent in whiskey, and this we
desire above all things to avoid. I think the true policy is
rather to encourage them to specify their grievances in
memorials and send them with or without delegations to
Ottawa. This will allow time for the present effervescence
to subside, and on the approach of winter the climate will
keep things quiet until next spring. Meanwhile all the
complaints that have a semblance of foundation will be
treated liberally.

It would not do to nominate Riel as a Councillor.
He committed a cold-blooded murder in 1870 which will
never be forgotten by the whites, either in Manitoba or
Ontario. But if he can induce the people of his district to
elect him as their representative no one will object. Rouleau
will see Riel, and with Pere Andre endeavour to convince
him that his interests lie on the side of peace. We may
expect full accounts from Andre of the proceedings at Prince
Albert and Duck Lake.

Your Excellency speaks about employing some picked
men among the half breeds. We do so already. There are a
certain number of men attached to the Mounted Police force
as scouts, and others as interpreters.

I think I shall anticipate the vote of Parliament and add
somewhat to the Police, perhaps 100 men, and take power


next Session to raise it in all by 250 men, making the force of
non-commissioned officers and men 750, besides scouts and

I intend to remain here if possible until the first week of
September, if nothing particular calls me away sooner, but
I can run up to Quebec at any time should Your Excellency
desire to see me.

Believe me,

dear Lord Lansdowne,
faithfully yours,


From Governor-General the Marquess of Lansdowne to Sir
John Macdonald.

The Citadel,

Quebec, August ijth, 1884.

Thanks for your letter of yesterday’s date. I reproach myself with
giving you the trouble of writing out the history of these questions (rela-
tive to affairs in the Northwest Territories), but as long as you are kind
enough to respond so readily, you must expect me to be inquisitive. The
more I learn of these matters, the more I am struck by the intricacy of the
problem we have to deal with. It is, I think, immensely to the credit
of the Dominion that, so far, these questions should have been disposed
of without scandal or discredit.

Messrs. Reed, Rouleau and Forget 1 ought to be able to gauge the situa-
tion pretty accurately. Mr. Rouleau will, I daresay, be able to make Riel
understand that he has more to gain personally and as a public man by
confining himself to the legitimate ventilation of the grievances of his
clients, than by leading a disorderly movement. In the course of the
next few weeks he will be almost forced to show which role he means to

I certainly did not intend to suggest that the Government should give
him a place in the Council, but in reference to Bishop Grandin’s obser-
vation (or was it Pere Andre’s ?) that the half breeds wished him to have a
place in the Council or to be given a senatorship, I said that I should prefer
to see him a Councillor. The murder of Scott is, as you point out, too
recent to admit of complete amnesty on the part of the authorities.

I am very glad that you propose to strengthen the police without waiting
for another session. No one under the circumstances can call in question
the expediency of what you will do.

1 Amedee Emmanuel Forget, afterwards Lieutenant-Governor of the North-
west Territories; later/the first Lieutenant-Governor of Saskatchewan, and at pres-
ent (1920) a Senator of Canada. Was in 1884 Clerk of the Northwest Council.
Charles Borromee Rouleau was in 1884 a member of the Northwest Council.


I return Mr. Porter’s telegram It is a little vague, but looks as if the
movement was taking the right direction.

If you were likely to be in or near Quebec on the joth September, I
should ask you to dine here on that day when some of the “great guns” of
the British Association are to come here. I am sure they will be much
pleased to meet you. If you are not going to Montreal, you might find
this an easy way of shaking hands with some of the itinerant philosophers.
I am, dear Sir John Macdonald,
Yours sincerely


From George Stephen, Esq. to Sir John Macdonald.

Montreal, loth August^ 1884.

McKenzie 1 wired me yesterday as follows: “Mount Stephen, B. C,
I heartily congratulate you on the wonderful work accomplished. Our
trip exceedingly pleasant.”

I am getting our paper to publish this. It is to some extent an answer
to the vile attacks of the Globe. Here is a note from Goldwin on the sub-
ject; you see what he says of * * *

Always yours,


From Sir John Macdonald to Donald A. Smithy Esq.

Riviere du Loup.

September yh, 1884.

There have been, as you know, rumours more or less well
founded, of discontent among the half breeds about Battle-
ford and Duck Lake and some talk of concert between
them and the Indians.

I don’t attach much importance to these rumours, but
there is no harm in taking precautions.

The accommodations for the Mounted Police at Battleford
are limited, and I have some idea of strengthening the force
there. There is scarcely time to run up an additional

The Hon. Alexander Mackenzie, ex Prime Minister of Canada.


building this season and it may not be necessary to go to
the expense of a permanent barrack there. Mr. White, 1 the
Comptroller of the Police Force, suggests in the enclosed
memo, that perhaps the Hudson’s Bay Company might
allow -us che use of their buildings at Carlton for the winter.
I write you privately, as it is not well that any intelligence
should go to the Northwest of our intention to increase
the Force in advance. If the Company could lend or rent
us the buildings, which I am informed are not much used
just now, possession could be taken without previous notice
to any one.

I should be glad to hear from you on this subject and

Yours faithfully,

The Hon. Donald A. Smith,

In addition to stories of discontent among the halfbreeds
of the Northwest, rumours reached the Government about
this time of a plot to bring about the independence of the
Province of Manitoba and its annexation to the United
States. Sir John Macdonald, while not attaching too much
importance to these reports, considered it his duty to make
some general enquiries into them. With that object in
view, he instructed the Hon. William McDougall to visit
Manitoba, and Mr. McDougall’s relative, Mr. Wiman, to
perform a like office in the United States. How much value
he attached to the latter’s sensational report may be inferred
from his acknowledgment of Mr. Wiman’s letter of the 6th
September, 1884, both of which are printed below. Time
proved the soundness of his estimate, and showed Pew’s
stories to be a mass of exaggeration and misrepresentation,
without serious foundation.

l Lt. Colonel Frederick White, C.M.G., Private Secretary to Sir John Mac-
donald (i 880- 1 882) ; Comptroller of the Royal North West Mounted Police from 1 878
to 1913, when he retired; appointed Commissioner of the Northwest Territories
1905. Died, 27th September, 1918. A man upon whom Sir John implicitly relied.


From Erastus Wiman^ Esq. y to Sir John Macdonald.

New York, September 6th, 1884.

Riviere du Loup, Canada.

Your telegram received, in which you instruct me to proceed with the
investigation regarding Mr. Pew’s * attempts to capture for the United
States the Northwestern Territories.

I have kept Mr. Pew on a string until I have heard from you. His
object in coming to me is to take advantage of my local knowledge of
Canadian matters on the one hand, and my acquaintance and influence
with New York parties possessed of means and political influence, on the
other. He has been led to believe that I could introduce him to good
parties who have plenty of money, and who would not be unwilling to take
a considerable risk in the expectation of a great profit and in the hope of
some political advantage. His first desire was to get $200,000 of which
$50,000 was to go to the Canadian Government to pay for certain lands in
the Porcupine Hills timber limits, and which he was to pledge as personal
security towards the loan. But this he has abandoned, and now only
wants $150,000 $100,000 to go for the purchase of the three papers in
Manitoba, the Times, the Sun and the Free Press. He says positively he
has arranged with Norquay 2 to accept one million of dollars in the bonds
of the new state, an earnest of which is to be $20,000 paid in cash. He
assures me that this is a positive arrangement with Norquay, who is quite
ready to take action and bring with him four of his ministers into the
independent movement. I have pumped Pew as well as I could without
revealing my motive, and my stenographer took from his lips yesterday
a statement which I asked him to make so that I could submit it to good
parties here. I enclose you a copy of it. It is very long and desultory,
but contains much that perhaps will interest you. It certainly would
interest many parties here. I had difficulty to keep him down to detail
as he kept preaching all the time, rather than revealing who were his con-
federates, and what help he expected to get.

He positively avers that he had an interview with Mr. Blake and Sir
Richard Cartwright and laid the whole scheme before them, and that Sir
Richard’s utterances in Manitoba will be in favour of independence, and
will confirm the attitude he is taking.

It appears that Pew was first led to take action in regard to the United
States by Mr. S. J. Ritchie, 3 of Akron, Ohio, who is President of the
Central Ontario Railroad Company, a slip regarding which I enclose. You

1 A promoter of that day, an American who affected to possess influence with the
Washington politicians.

2 The Hon. John Norquay, at that time Premier of Manitoba.

3 A United States promoter, interested specially in iron and nickel mining.


will see that G. W. McMullen, 1 whom you well know, is Vice-President.
Mr. Ritchie, it appears, was accompanied by Mr. Payne, of Cleveland, a
Senator of the United States, and a man of great influence and wealth.
He is connected with the Standard Oil Company and can control very
large sums of money. Mr. Payne and Ritchie introduced Pew to some of
the most prominent politicians in Washington, and he has shown me
copies of letters of introduction which were extremely warm. Senator
Sherman took the matter up with considerable interest, as did also Speaker
Carlisle of the House of Representatives, and numerous other parties.
These gentlemen introduced Mr. Pew to Judge J. J. Lawrence, the First
Comptroller of the Treasury, a well known and prominent public man
here, a good lawyer, and in many respects a very able man. It was
Judge Lawrence who sketched out the plan as proposed in the enclosed

I have told Mr. Pew that, in order to interest any friends of mine, I must
be thoroughly informed regarding the whole matter. As I had business
in Washington in relation to a patent, I proposed that he should accom-
pany me there, introducing me to Judge Lawrence and enabling me to get
all the particulars possible. I leave to-night for that purpose, and will
report to you further the day after to-morrow. Pew can be held on a
string here for ten days. He says he must leave here the latter end of
this week for Manitoba, and if he fails in getting the money, the whole
thing will drop out, as he most assuredly will. He seems, however, to
have access to some good people here, and, as he has telegraphed to Mr.
Payne for letters of introduction to the Standard Oil people, it is just
possible that he may get the money he needs. He offers one million dollars
of these bonds for $150,000 cash, and I enclose you in his own writing a
memorandum of a plan which he proposes by which I shall advance him
$1,000,000 and hold for him another million, receiving a million myself.
It makes one’s head swim to think of dealing so glibly with such vast
sums, with the possibility of the guarantee of the United States behind
them. Pew seems to conceal nothing, and the only suspicion attaching
to the whole thing is that having met nobody who opposes him, and every-
body having agreed to follow the movement, he is probably being imposed
upon in the same way that I am imposing upon him.

I shall see some members of the Committee of Foreign Affairs in both
House and Senate, and ascertain whether anything has ever come up in
that body regarding this matter.

A strong point that Pew makes is that if by the 1st of November of this
year the money can be secured, the project can be worked out and no in-
terference from the Dominion or England be possible until the opening of
navigation. This is the golden time and it must be seized upon, and if it
is allowed to pass, the country will be lost to the United States for ever. I
have introduced Pew to a number of my friends, and they have talked over
the matter with him. Stranp to say, quite a number of them feel greatly
interested, and one or two or them would not be disinclined to help him.

1 G. W. McMullen was one of the principal instruments employed in 1873 by
the originators of the Pacific Railway scandal.


Of course I do not reveal my hand, and he is quite encouraged in the belief
that an agent will be sent to Manitoba before ten days are out, with the
money necessary to buy the press and fix Norquay and his ministers, and
generally prepare the way for a definite and successful independent move-

Forgive my prolixity, but I presume you want to know all the facts,
and with that in view I send you everything I can recall, in order that you
may be possessed of the whole situation. You do not know how much
pleasure it gives me to do you any service. I have had great kindness
and confidence shown me by the members of your Government and by
yourself, and I esteem it a great pleasure to be of the slightest use to you
here. Pray command me and all my resources at all times.

I am,
Faithfully yours,


From Sir John Macdonald to Erastus Wiman, Esq.,

Les Rockers,

Riviere du Loup,
Private. nth September, 1884.


Thanks for yours of the 6th instant. I can quite under-
stand Pew’s mode of action. He goes to Washington and
exaggerates the state of feeling in Manitoba. Most prob-
ably the gentlemen he sees receive him politely and say they
will be very glad if Canada can be induced to join the Union.
With this statement he proceeds to Winnipeg and pursues
the same course of exaggeration. I don’t believe a word of
his statement about Mr. Blake and Sir Richard Cartwright.
The latter has expressed his belief in the future independence
of Canada, but that is all. Neither of them would counte-
nance for a moment anything like a rising in arms. I shall
look forward with interest to your promised communi-
cations after visiting Washington.

I shall be at Ottawa after this week.

1 Erastus Wiman, originally a Canadian whose business took him to the United
States, of which country he, in later life, became a citizen. At the date of this
letter Mr. Wiman filled the office of President of the Great North West Telegraph
Company, besides being connected with various business enterprises in New York.
He enjoyed the distinction of being the originator (in 1887-8) of the movement
for Commercial Union between the United States and Canada, which under the
name of Unrestricted Reciprocity, was taken up by the Liberal party in Canada,
and formed their battle-cry in the General Elections of 1891.


I need not say how much I am obliged to you for the
interest you take in this matter.

Believe me,

Yours faithfully,

Erastus Wiman, Esq., JOHN A. MACDONALD.

314 Broadway,

New York City.

From Sir John Macdonald to Fred White, Esq., Comptroller
North West Mounted Police

Riviere du Loup,

Enclosure. i^th September, 1884..


I send you copies of two cypher telegrams from Mr.
Dewdney from which it would appear that the situation is
getting serious. Mr. Dewdney, as Lt. Governor, is respon-
sible for the peace of his Territory, and therefore you must
take, in great measure, instructions from him. Will you at
once make preparations with respect to the guns of which he
speaks. I think that Irvine 1 must be ordered to take in-
structions from Mr. Dewdney during the present exigency.
All instructions given by the latter to Irvine should be re-
peated in cypher to Ottawa with his remarks.

I shall (D.V.) arrive at Ottawa at mid-day on Wednesday.
You had better see me in the afternoon and make all ready
to go up yourself.

I wish you would think over the expediency of our adver-
tising for fifty men from Ontario. We will, I suppose,
after harvest be able to get fifty at Winnipeg without diffi-
culty. It seems to me that it would be well to advertise that
one of the requirements is that the recruits should know how
to ride. Remember until they sit easily in their saddles, they
are comparatively useless. I don’t apprehend myself any
rising, but with these warnings it would be criminal negli-
gence not to take every precaution.

Yours always,

F. White, Esq., JOHN A. MACDONALD.


1 Lt. Colonel A. G. Irvine, from 1880 to 1886 Commissioner of the North West
Mounted Police.


From Sir John Macdonald to Sir Francis Hincks.

Private. i8th September, 1884.


We had yesterday a visit from the Hon. Michael Solomon,
one of the Legislative Council of Jamaica. He came, as you
may suppose, about a political union of the Island with
Canada. His visit was informal as he had no authority from
his Government to see us, but he was authorized by the
Standing Committee of West India proprietors in London to
take Canada on his way home and see how the land lies with
us. We told him that we had not given the subject much
consideration, but were ready to hear what he had to say.
All he wants from us now is to say that we would be ready
to discuss the subject with a delegation from the Island. I
told him that the permission of Her Majesty’s Government
must first be obtained. That, he said, could be easily pro-
cured, as Lord Derby had signified his assent in advance, and
that he would take steps to get his Government to ask for
the permission on his arrival at Kingston.

We shall probably inform Mr. Solomon that we shall have
no objection to discussing the subject of a political union
or of a tariff arrangement, either by correspondence or the
receipt of a delegation, without in any way expressing our

opinion on either. I have seen the articles in the ,* which

I presume are from your pen. At all events, I know that you
must have considered the subject, and I should like much
to get the benefit of your advice.

The commercial union would be valuable, but I dread
the political future which a union opens to us the negro
question, defence, etc., etc.

I should like to have it so arranged that you could run up
here at some time convenient to us both, and discuss the
question in all its bearings, with my colleagues and myself.

Let me know what you can do to help us with your
valuable counsel.

Yours very sincerely,

Sir Francis Hincks, K.C.M.G.,

* Word indecipherable.


From Sir John Macdonald to the Hon. Michael Solomon.

Ottawa, 2$th September, 1884..

Since we had the pleasure of seeing you here, the subject
of your unofficial mission has been discussed in Council.
We are of opinion that the question of a political union is
one surrounded with difficulties which may however prove
not to be insuperable. Our information is exceedingly
limited and we are therefore not in a position to express any
decided opinion on the subject. If Her Majesty’s Govern-
ment give their consent, the Government of Canada will be
quite ready to enter upon the consideration of the two
important questions, first of a political union and, failing
that, of a commercial arrangement.

The discussion of the subject can be had, either by letter
or with a delegation from your Government. Meanwhile,
we shall be very much obliged to you if you will send us such
publications relating to Jamaica in the way of Blue Books as
are available.

We should also like to get copies of your tariff and of your
customs and excise laws.

I remain,

Dear Mr. Solomon,
Yours faithfully,

The Hon. Michael Solomon,

From Maj. -General Sir John M’Neill to George Stephen.

Private. Balmoral Castle,

17 Nov., 1884.

I do not wish the matter mentioned, but you will be glad to hear that
Sir John Macdonald is to be made a G.C.B. and I have good grounds for
believing that H.M. will have him down to Windsor and decorate him
Herself, so it is as well that he did not think of starting on the 22nd. We
leave for Windsor on Wednesday so I shall see you before you sail.
Yours very sincerely,

Keep it dark.


From Sir John Macdonald to Sir Charles Tupper.

Private and

Confidential. Ottawa, 2^th December, 1884.


I telegraphed you yesterday to watch closely the negoti-
ations between England and the United States in British
West India matters, and I got Lord Lansdowne to telegraph
confidentially to Lord Edmund Fitzmaurice suggesting that
you should be consulted with reference to that matter. The
reason I did so is that the Governor-General has confi-
dentially told me that the negotiations had made consider-
able progress under Mr. West. I had his permission to
mention it to Tilley and only to him. If the arrangements
proposed by the United States are carried out, it cuts
Canada off from the West India trade.

I, however, told Lord Lansdowne that you had received
distinct assurances, both from the Colonial and Foreign
Offices, that no preference would be given to the British
West Indies as against Canada.

You will see by the papers that I had an overwhelming
demonstration in Toronto on the occasion of my fortieth
anniversary of public life. There has never been anything
of the kind in Canada approaching it in magnificence or
significance. Forty thousand men from all the Provinces
assembled there. At the banquet there were some
I j3 guests and about 1,000 went away unable to get

There will be another demonstration in Montreal next
month, not political, but social, to myself on my seventieth

Parliament meets on the 29th January. I fear I shall miss
you very much during the course of the session; however it
can’t be helped.

Yours sincerely,


Hon. Sir Charles Tupper, K.C.M.G.,
9 Victoria Street,

London, S. W., England.


From Governor-General the Marquess of Lansdowne to Sir
John Macdonald.

Government House,
Ottawa, Christmas Day, 1884.

I found that the mail left so early, and that my clerk was so anxious to
get home to his turkey, that I gave up the idea of sending off the despatch

Besides, the matter is really a serious one, and I wish to be very careful
what I write.

I appreciate entirely the force of your argument against allowing
Arthur 1 a voice in the matter of the ‘bays.’

I should like you to see the draft of the despatch, and I will send it down
to you to-morrow.

A great many thanks for your kindly words. I return your good wishes
very heartily, and look back with pleasant feelings to the ‘reciprocity*
which has been in force between Earnscliffe and Government House during
the past year.

Please present my hommages to Lady Macdonald, and believe me,
Yours sincerely,


From Sir Charles Tupper to Sir John Macdonald.

9, Victoria Chambers,
London, S. W., January 8th, 1885.

I have read with great interest the proceedings at Toronto. 2 They were
worthy of the occasion, but you were richly entitled to the magnificent
demonstration that was made. I am sure you cannot fail to be deeply
impressed with your importance, not only to the party, but to the country.
I trust your life may long be spared, and your health enable you to con-
tinue to give to Canada the invaluable benefit of your guiding hand.

I have always been looking forward to our attaining a position so ad-
vanced and strong, that you might be spared further toil and exertion,
but the necessity for your continuance at the head of public affairs seems
every day to increase.

I have written you fully on treaty matters, and have only time to wish
you and yours many happy returns of the New Year.

Yours faithfully,


1 Chester A. Arthur, at that date President of the United States. This is a ref-
erence to the vexed question as to whether, in the case of bays upwards of 6 miles
in width at the entrance, our territorial waters, in which U. S. fishermen were for-
bidden to fish, should be measured from the shores of the bays, following the sinu-
osities of the coast, or from a line joining the headlands at the entrance to such bays.

2 On the occasion of a demonstration held in December, 1884, to celebrate the
40th anniversary of Sir John Macdonald’s entrance into public life.


From Governor-General the Marquess of Lansdowne to Sir John

Government House y
Ottawa, nth January, 1885.

Let me add my congratulations to the many which you will receive this
morning. 1

We shall drink your health and wish you good luck and as much hap-
piness as the life of a Prime Minister permits.

Yours sincerely,


The relief furnished by the Government to the Canadian
Pacific Railway in the session of 1884 proved but temporary.
The Company’s enemies redoubled their efforts, and within
a twelvemonth the C. P. R. was again appealing to the
Government for aid. The proposal to make further ad-
vances to the road was ill-received, not merely by the
Parliamentary opposition, but also by many Government
supporters, and even in the Cabinet itself. Mr. McLelan, the
Minister of Marine and Fisheries, actually resigned office.
Sir Alexander Campbell, the Minister of Justice, and Mr.
Mackenzie Bowell, Minister of Customs, were against
further aid being given. Nor was this surprising. The
situation appeared to fulfil to the letter the prophecies of the
Opposition when the first loan was under consideration by
Parliament. “Loan to the C. P. R.”, observed Mr. Edward
Blake, “Don’t call it a loan. You know we shall never see a
penny of this money again”, and much more to the same

The question hung in the balance. As the Duke of
Wellington said of Waterloo, f ‘it was a d d near thing!”
There was a time when, I believe, Sir John Macdonald,
though personally most friendly to the proposal, had almost,
if not quite, made up his mind that it could not be carried
out, at all events during that session. Fortunately both
for the Company and the country, wiser counsels ul-
timately prevailed. Largely due, it is said, to the indefa-
tigable and persistent efforts of the late John Henry Pope

1 Sir John Macdonald’s seventieth birthday.


and Sir Frank Smith, the latter at that time a mem-
ber of the Cabinet without portfolio, the question was
re-considered at the last hour, with the result that the
Government in the Session of 1885 came down to Parliament
with a bill to advance the Canadian Pacific Railway Com-
pany a further sum of five million dollars. With no very
good grace the Ministerial supporters swallowed the pill.
The measure, after an acrimonious and unpleasant debate,
became law. To use Mr. Stephen’s expression, it “saved the
life of the Company”, and the efforts of the great railway’s
enemies were again brought to nought. The supplementary
aid proved sufficient. Both loans were promptly paid off at
maturity, and the Canadian Pacific fairly launched upon its
career of prosperity that has made it one of the greatest rail-
way corporations in the world.

Gratitude is not commonly supposed to be a striking
characteristic of corporations in general, or of railway
corporations in particular, but the Canadian Pacific Railway
must indeed be singularly lacking in that quality if it does
not hold in grateful and abiding remembrance the names of
George Stephen, John Alexander Macdonald, and Charles

From Sir John Macdonald to Sir Charles Tupper.


Ottawa, January 24th, 1885.
Private and Confidential.


Thanks for your congratulations. The meeting at
Toronto was magnificent, 4,000 representative men from
every constituency in Ontario were there the very first
men of the Province. The enthusiasm was wild. At the
following banquet 1,100 dined, 200 were in the gallery, and
at least 1,000 could not get seats.

This was followed in a few days by Lennox being carried
and our redeeming the only county we lost since the general
election. The affair at Montreal was of a different charac-
ter but equally satisfactory. French and English vied with


each other. Two miles of torches on a dark soft night, with
the air filled with coloured fireworks wherever we went.
The whole people of the city in the streets, and some 15,000
in the new Drill Hall. The banquet a marvel of skill and

So far so well. The other side of the picture is dark.
Geo. Stephen says the C. P. R. must go down unless sus-
tained. In Council, Campbell, McLelan and Bowell opposed
to relief. McLelan has given notice of resignation. Tom
White writes it cannot be carried, and the press, already
alarmed, beginning to sound the tocsin. I myself fear that
the Week is right when it says that however docile our
majority, we dare not ask for another loan. The thing is
hung up until next week. How it will end, I don’t know.

I received your cable yesterday and answered it about
a Spanish Treaty.

I don’t think that where a reciprocity Treaty is made
between two countries, a third nation, having a treaty
containing the favoured nation clause with one of the two
others, can claim the same privileges as if it were party to the
Reciprocity Treaty. The contrary doctrine is now much
discussed in the American papers and is used as an argument
against the ratifying of the several treaties before Congress.
It would never do to allow any nation having a favoured
nation arrangement with England, to enjoy the privileges we
might give (for a reciprocal consideration) to France, Spain
or the Spanish Antilles. This point should be finally settled
if possible.

Parliament opens here on Thursday next, 29th. I am sorry
to say Tilley is not well and Campbell not over well. He
says he (Campbell) is to retire next summer.

Always yours,


From George Stephen, Esq., to Sir John Macdonald.

Private. 140 Drummond Street,

qth February, 1885.

You will, ere this, have heard otherwise that in addition to finding the
$650,000 to pay the dividend, we (Smith and I) have had to endorse a 5
months’ note for one million dollars to provide the Company with current


funds to keep it going for the next few weeks. It is necessary you should
know this, as in some quarters there is a feeling that we do not do as much
for the Company as we might, the real truth being that what Smith
and I have done and are doing individually, is simply absurd on any kind
of business grounds. I venture to say that there is not a business man in
all Canada, knowing the facts, but would say we were a couple of fools for
our pains. But as long as we are able to save and protect the Company
against its enemies who seem bent on its destruction, we shall not grudge
any risk or loss that may occur. Personal interests have become quite
a secondary affair with either of us. I hope you know and have seen
enough to convince you of that, and being convinced yourself, you may be
able to lead others to take the same view.

After what we have done and are doing, it is killing to have any of our
friends think we are simply doing our bare duty by the Company and are
making money out of it.

I am going up this evening, and shall hope to see you sometime to-
morrow for a minute about North Shore matters about which I had a chat
with Chapleau yesterday. Abbott is gone this morning to stay.

It is most important that no time be lost in arriving at a decision as to
the rearrangement scheme, the three months’ notes given a month ago to
satisfy clamorous creditors will soon become due, and we must be pre-
pared to meet them or . Another reason for avoiding delay is that I

am not sure of myself being able to stand the strain for an indefinite time.
I have had warnings of which nobody knows but myself which I will fight
against and conceal to the last.

Always yours,


From Governor-General the Marquess of Lansdowne to Sir
John Macdonald.

Government House,

Ottawa, ifth, Feb., 1885.

There is evidently a misapprehension, probably occasioned by private
telegrams and newspaper rumours, as to the extent to which we are pre-
pared to take part in the Soudan Expedition. A letter which I wrote by
last Monday’s mail will, I think, put Lord Derby fully in possession of the
facts. Your answer to Sir C. Tupper is exactly in accordance with what
I have said. 1

The “terms” which volunteers might accept, can only be conjectured
until the experiment has been tried.

1 For Sir John Macdonald’s views on the expediency of Canada’s taking part in
the Soudan Expedition, see his letter to Sir Charles Tupper within, dated I2th
March, 1885, p. 337.


Sir Charles knows the amount of training which a Canadian militia man
undergoes. Any special equipment needed would, I assume, be supplied
by the Imperial authorities.

Yours sincerely,


From Sir Charles Tupper, to Sir John Macdonald.

9, Victoria Chambers,
London, February i8th y 1885.

I have kept you advised by cable of the Australasian offers made to the
Government of aid in the Soudan. I would have been glad if Canada
had taken the matter up a little more warmly, as I think it was a good
opportunity of making a good impression upon the public mind here. As
it is, we stand very well. I wish you had kept me a little better informed
as to the views of the Government, as I ought not to be dependent upon
the Colonial Office for such information. I am to respond at the banquet
of the Chamber of Commerce to-morrow night, and will try to make a
point. Sir R. Herbert told me last night that all the force that could be
utilized at present was provided, but that the Canadian contingent might
be required later. I expect an official statement from the Colonial Office
to-day. I think it would be well if you could make the offer to pay the
men while on service, and you might send the permanent force who would
be thus rendered more efficient. Forster has just been in to see me about
it. He says it would be easy to turn out the Government, if the Con-
servatives had a man who had the confidence of the country. As it is, I
am satisfied that the Government will have to make a very explicit state-
ment as to the control of the Soudan.

Yours faithfully,


From Sir John Macdonald to Governor-General the Marquess
of Lansdowne.

Ottawa, 2jrd February, 1885.

I mentioned to Your Excellency some time ago that I
thought the chief judges of the Superior Courts in Canada
had been overlooked by Her Majesty’s Government since
the confederation of the Provinces in 1867 in the dis-
tribution of honours. Before that time, knighthoods^had
frequently been conferred upon them. Within my own


recollection, two chief justices in Upper Canada, now On-
tario, namely, Sir William Campbell and Sir James McAulay,
were knighted, and a baronetcy given to Sir John Beverley
Robinson, Chief Justice of the Queen’s Bench. In Lower
Canada, now Quebec, Chief Justices Stuart and Lafontaine
were made baronets. In Nova Scotia Chief Justice Young,
and in Prince Edward Island Chief Justice Hodgson were

The courts in the several Provinces have not lost their
importance or the extent of their jurisdiction by the Union,
and the population and wealth of these Provinces have
largely increased since that time, yet, with one exception,
no rank has been conferred upon any chief justice since 1867.
That exception is Sir Antoine Aime Dorion 1 who was
knighted on leaving political life in 1874 on his appointment
to the chief justiceship of the Queen’s Bench in the Province
of Quebec, while the other chief judges in the Dominion, who
were fully the equals of Sir Aime Dorion, were unnoticed
after years of judicial service.

The opinion seems to prevail in England that all the pro-
vincial judges are of inferior status to that of the judges of
the Supreme Court of Canada a court only established
a few years ago. Two judges of the Supreme Court, Sir
William Richards and Sir William Ritchie were very prop-
erly knighted on appointment as chief justice. The court
over which the latter presides is one of appelate jurisdiction
from the different Provincial tribunals, and has therefore a
nominal superiority in rank, but the Provincial superior
Courts are really more important, and their decisions are
held in as great respect as are those of the Dominion Court
of Appeal. Now it is a subject of common remark in Canada
that while in most Crown Colonies, the chief justices have
been honoured, the Bench of the great Province of Ontario,
with a population approaching that of Scotland, and
soon to exceed it, has been altogether unnoticed. Since
Confederation, two chief justices have been knighted in
Newfoundland, and one of them made a K.C.M.G. Had

1 Afterwards the Hon. Sir Antoine Aime Dorion, Mr. Mackenzie’s first Minister
of Justice (1873-1874); Chief Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench of the Province
of Quebec (1874-1891). Died, 3ist May, 1891.


that Island joined the Canadian Union as was proposed in
1867, they would probably, like their brother judges, have
been ignored. The only two judges of the Provincial Courts
now bearing titles are Sir Aime Dorion, whom I have men-
tioned, and Sir Matthew Begbie, Chief Justice of British
Columbia, who though knighted since Confederation, holds
his title apparently for services rendered while British Co-
lumbia was a Crown Colony.

I hope that Your Excellency will concur in the opinion
that this apparent and noticeable neglect should not be
allowed to continue, and I venture to suggest the adoption
of some rules for the distribution of titles among Canadian
judges. I would not propose the adoption of the practice
which obtains in England of knighting all the judges of the
Superior Courts, but I think that the rule might be estab-
lished of knighting the chief justices of the Superior Courts
of the four larger Provinces Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia
and New Brunswick, on appointment to office. If this
practice were adopted, four judges in Ontario would be
knighted, namely the chief justice in Appeal, the Queen’s
Bench, and the Common Pleas, and the Chancellor in
Quebec two, namely the chief justice of the Queen’s Bench
and of the Superior Court. I may mention that the Queen’s
Bench is a Court of Appeal and of criminal jurisdiction. The
Superior Court deals with civil matters exclusively. There
is one chief justice in each of the Provinces of Nova Scotia
and New Brunswick.

I enclose to Your Excellency a memorandum based upon
a recent Colonial Office list showing the honours conferred
upon the judges of the various Colonies with their popula-
tions, which illustrates the apparent injustice done to the
Bench in Canada.

While this matter is under consideration, I beg leave to
call Your Excellency’s attention to the case of the Honour-
able William C. Meredith, lately retired from the Chief
Justiceship of the Superior Court of the Province of Quebec,
who has faithfully and efficiently served for thirty-four
years, during which period he gained the respect and esteem
of the bench, bar, and people of that Province.

I would also mention the names of the Honourable John
Hawkins Hagarty, Chief Justice of the Court of Appeal of


Ontario, who has been on the Bench for many years, and who
is distinguished for his judicial qualities.
Believe me,
dear Lord Lansdowne,
Yours faithfully,

His Excellency
The Governor-General.

From Sir Charles Tupper to Sir John Macdonald.

p, Victoria Chambers,
London, S. W., February 24th, 1885.

I have been greatly concerned by your letter of the 24th ultimo as to the
position of the C.P.R. and the attitude of some of your colleagues, and
for the first time regret that I left Parliament. I like the position here
very much it suits me my health is much better, and I am vain enough
to believe that I am fairly well qualified for the position and able to do
important work for Canada, but I look upon the success of the C.P.R. as
so vital to the progress and greatness of Canada, that I have no hesitation
in placing myself unreservedly in your hands. I cannot believe that
McLelan will resign, but I would not hesitate to take his place and carry
Nova Scotia for the policy of placing the C.P.R. in a position to success-
fully operate the road, and under the existing subsidies extend it to St.
John, Halifax and Louisburg. Or, if McLelan will stand by the interests
of the whole Dominion, (as I consider the C.P.R. inseparably bound up
with them) I will, if needed, go back to Parliament as a private member,
and sustain you all to the best of my ability. If you let the C.P.R. go
down, you will sacrifice both the country and the party, and throw all
back again for ten years. I do not believe that either Parliament or the
country will consent to this.

Yours faithfully,


From Sir John Macdonald to Sir Charles Tupper.


Ottawa, March 12, 1885.

I have your notes of the i8th and 27th on the subject of
sending Canadian troops to the Soudan. I wrote you a
hurried note the other day on this question, and have both
before and since talked it over with my colleagues, and we
think the time has not arrived, nor the occasion, for our
volunteering military aid to the Mother County.


We do not stand at all in the same position as Australasia.
The Suez Canal is nothing to us, and we do not ask England
to quarrel with France or Germany for our sakes. The offer
of those Colonies is a good move on their part, and somewhat
like Cavour’s sending Sardinian troops to the Crimea. Why
should we waste money and men in this wretched business?
England is not at war, but merely helping the Khedive to
put down an insurrection, and now that Gordon is gone,
the motive of aiding in the rescue of our countrymen is gone
with him. Our men and money would therefore be sacri-
ficed to get Gladstone and Co. out of the hole they have
plunged themselves into by their own imbecility.

Again, the reciprocal aid to be given by the Colonies and
England should be a matter of treaty, deliberately entered
into and settled on a permanent basis. The spasmodic
offers of our Militia Colonels, anxious for excitement or
notoriety, have roused unreasonable expectations in Eng-
land, and are so far unfortunate. I dare say that a battalion
or two of venturous spirits might be enlisted, but yd. a day
will cool most men’s warlike ardour.

Our Artillery batteries are not enlisted for foreign service,
and could not be ordered to the Soudan. The Fenians are
beginning to show signs of life again in the U.S. and there are
so many unemployed there that they may become dangerous
again. They threaten to invade Canada if she sends troops
against the Mahdi. Most of this is nonsense, but we can
never calculate on what these people may do. If there
should be a row with Russia, we shall have to send our men via
the C.P.R. to Vancouver, but I fancy that threatened storm
will blow over.

We are dragging on slowly this session. The Govt. is too

Yours sincerely,


From George Stephen, Esq., to Sir John Macdonald.

Private. House of Commons,

26th March, 1885.

The result of our conversation this morning has satisfied me thatjhe
Government will not be able to see its way to extend to the C.P.R.


pany the aid it requires. I have therefore wired Mr. Boissevaine not to
leave Toronto until he hears from me after 3 o’c. and I would ask you as a
favour to me to let me have a line from yoi after Council rises stating the
determination of the Government. I think ; .1 agree with me that I
ought to have the decision of the Government … .Citing, so as to relieve me
personally from the possible charge of having acted with undue haste. If
the decision be unfavourable I shall wire Mr. Boissevaine to come back to
Montreal to-night instead of going on to the North West, and we shall at
once consider our position and determine what course to follow.

I need not repeat how sorry I am that this should be the result of all our
efforts to give Canada a railway to the Pacific Ocean. But I am supported
by the conviction that I have done all that could be done to obtain it.

Yours always,


P.S. Will you send me a line to room 95. Abbott goes down witlTme


During the autumn of 1884 an d the ensuing winter, the
machinations of Louis Kiel, about which Sir John Macdonald
had been apprehensive in the preceding July, gradually drew
to a head. The first official report bearing on the subject,
date4 I3th July 1884, was made by Superintendent Crozier,
then in command of the North West Mounted Police Force
at Battleford, to the effect that the halfbreeds in that region
alleged grievances of various kinds, without, however,
specifying any, and that the Indians were becoming excited
by reason of the activities of the halfbreeds. During August
and September, Kiel held meetings at Prince Albert, Ba-
toche, and Duck Lake, at which he, with an affectation of
moderation, insidiously fanned the sparks of discontent
among the halfbreeds, and at the same time, craftily en-
couraged the Indians to make common cause with them.
This sort of thing went on all winter.

On the iyth March, 1885, a meeting of halfbreeds was
held at St. Laurent at which a Provisional Government was
formed with Louis Kiel as President, Gabriel Dumont as
Adjutant General, W. H. Jackson, President’s Secretary,
and so on. On the ipth, the halfbreeds seized the Govern-
ment stores at the South Branch (of the Saskatchewan River),
imprisoned the Indian Agent and two telegraph operators,
besides committing other depredations, whereupon the whole
Prince Albert district was in a blaze. On the i8th March,


Col. Irvine, Commissioner of the North West Mounted
Police Force, left Regina for Prince Albert with ninety men.
The rebel forces under arms were at that time about 400.
On the 24th March, Major General Middleton, commanding
the Militia, left Ottawa for the seat of the disturbance, to
take command of the forces of the Crown, and on the 29th,
Sir John Macdonald addressed him this letter:

From Sir John Macdonald to Major-Genera! Frederick

Ottawa, 2Qth March, 1885.

Although quite inexperienced in military matters, it can
do no harm for me to send you some of my crude ideas in the
present trouble. The first thing to be done is to localize
the insurrection. The C.P.R. must of course be guarded, but
besides that, parties should be sent to watch the people and
stores coming in at Emerson by rail. The different trails
across the border should also be watched as closely as
possible. A force should be placed at Battleford and, if
possible, a line of communication from that place to the
railway, should be watched so as to prevent the flame from
spreading westwards. I presume that you have authorized
Colonel Osborne Smith to raise a battalion at Winnipeg.
From that place and the vicinity, I should think that from
one to two thousand men could be got if necessary. At the
different points where there are Mounted Police stationed,
as at Regina, Maple Creek and Edmonton, but where there
is no military organization, the officers of that force (who are
magistrates) have been authorized to swear in the in-
habitants willing to serve as Police Constables. This will
give them a right to act with the Police force and bring
them into some sort of training

It occurs to me that with the breaking up of the winter, the
roads will be almost impassable for infantry, and that the
services of a mounted force will’ be nearly, if not quite, in-
dispensable. You will have Lord Melgund 1 on hand for that

1 At that time Secretary and Military Secretary to the Governor-General (Lord
Lansdowne); subsequently (1898-1904) as Lord Minto, himself Governor-General.
When the Kiel Rebellion broke out in March 1885, Lord Melgund was one of the
first to offer his services in the cause of law and order. Died, 1st March, 1914.


purpose at Winnipeg. Captain John Stewart, formerly
commanding the Militia Cavalry at Ottawa, and a dashing
young fellow, is now a ranchman south of Calgary. He is
here just now and is to proceed west where he will raise a
corps of Western prairie men cow boys and others who can
all ride and shoot. They will bring their horses and equip-
ments, all but rifles. I presume also that General Strange
will be able to send you along the line of railway wherever
wanted, at least a couple of troops of mounted men. All
this, I believe, you already know from Caron. I asked him
to telegraph you to know if you would want cavalry from
Ontario or Quebec, but have not seen him to know what
your opinion is. If you can get men enough from the
prairies, they would, of course, be much more serviceable
than town bred men who compose our cavalry.

I am told that there is a good cavalry corps in the Eastern
Townships of farmers’ sons. Mr. Ives, the member for one
of these counties, thinks they would be only too glad to
volunteer. Don’t trouble yourself to answer me, but
communicate with Caron on these subjects.

Would Colonel Irwin 1 be of service to you just now? I
hear that artillery batteries are volunteering all over Canada.
Some you might want, but I fear their nine pounders would
be too heavy for prairie work.

Yours faithfully,

General Middleton, 2

Commanding the Forces
in the North West.

From Sir John Macdonald to Lieutenant-Governor Dewdney.

Ottawa, 2gth March, 1885.

This insurrection is a bad business, but we must face
it as best we may. Last week I telegraphed Father La-
combe stating that I was sure that his people would be all

1 Colonel de la Cherois Thomas Irwin, C.M.G., in 1884-5, Commandant Royal
Canadian Artillery.

2 Major-General (afterwards Sir Frederick) Middleton, commanding the Militia
of Canada.


right, but he had better see them. He answered, vouching
for their loyalty, and saying that he would at once communi-
cate with the Chiefs.

It would not do to encourage an Indian war, but I under-
stand that the Crees dread the Blackfeet like the devil.
Now a corps of Indian scouts under Crowfoot might be
formed and kept west, but the information should be widely
spread among the Crees and halfbreeds that a Blackfeet
force has been prepared. This might have the effect of
producing a panic among the rebels. What do you think
of this? Pray let me know by telegraph.

If there is no military organization formed at Regina and
along the line, they should be sworn in as Police Constables
by the officers of the Mounted Police. They might act with
the police and get some crude ideas of drill until there is
regular organization.

I enclose you a letter from Sir Alexander Gait. Will
you telegraph me if you think his plan a good one ?

I have some impression that the navigation of the South
Saskatchewan is very slow at all periods of the year
especially in the early spring it would be much impeded by
ice. Do you think time would be saved by sending men to
Prince Albert in steamboats and barges.

Yours faithfully,

His Honour

Edgar Dewdney,

Lieut. Governor,

The narrative of events connected with this short-lived
insurrection will be found in the military archives of the
country, and in the Reports of the Commissioner of the
North West Mounted Police for 1885. A good summary is
contained in Morgan’s Dominion Annual Register for 1885,
pp. 128-189. On the 1 5th May, four days after the battle
of Batoche, Riel gave himself up. His Indian ally, Pound-
maker, speedily followed suit. A little later, Big Bear and
a number of his followers were captured, and the rising was
at an end. Big Bear, Poundmaker, and several of their
accomplices, as also a number of halfbreeds, were put on


trial at Battleford, and sentenced to various terms of im-
prisonment for their part in the insurrection. Eight of the
Indians convicted of murder at Frog Lake, and elsewhere,
were hanged. Kiel’s trial opened at Regina on the 2oth
July. On the ist August, he was found guilty of high
treason, and after various delays, executed on the i6th
November, 1885. As the within correspondence indicates,
the Riel affair was productive of much excitement at the
time, the English element calling for justice on the arch
criminal, while the French Canadians were equally clamorous
for a fresh exercise of clemency.

From Chief Crowfoot^ to Sir John Macdonald.

Blackfoot Crossing, nth April, 1885.

On behalf of myself and people I wish to send through you to the Great
Mother the words I have given to the Governor at a Council held, at which
my minor Chiefs and young men were present. We are agreed and de-
termined to remain loyal to the Queen. Our young men will go to work on
their reserve, and will raise all the crops we can, and we hope the Govern-
ment will help us to sell what we cannot use.

Continued reports are brought to us, and we do not know what to be-
lieve, but now that we have seen the Governor and heard him speak, we
will shut our ears and only listen to and believe what is told us through the

Should any Indians come to our reserves and ask us to join them in war
we will send them away. I have sent messengers to the Bloods and Piegans
who belong to our treaty to tell them what we are doing, and what we
intend to do about the trouble. I want Mr. Dewdney to be with us, and
all my men are of the same mind. The words I sent by Father La Combe
I again send. We will be loyal to the Queen whatever happens. I have
a copy of this, and when the trouble is over, will have it with pride to show
to the Queen’s Officers, and we leave our future in your hands.

We have asked for nothing, but the Governor has given us a little present
of tea and tobacco. He will tell you what other talk we had at our Council
it was all good, not one bad word.

1 Crowfoot, the Chief of the Blackfeet tribe, a remarkably sagacious old Indian,
who remained loyal, with his people, to the Government throughout this trying
period. In the early autumn of 1886, Crowfoot with some of his principal warriors,
under the guidance of the Reverend Father Lacombe, Visited Sir John Macdonald
at Ottawa and were photographed in a group at Earnscliffe. Poundmaker was
Chief of the Cree Indians, whose reserve is situated at Battle River, Saskatchewan.
Big Bear was chief of the Cree Indians, who, previous to the rebellion of 1885, resided
near Fort Pitt, Saskatchewan.


From Sir John Macdonald to Chief Crowfoot, Elackfoot

Ottawa, ifth April, 1885.

I have received your good and loyal message by telegraph
and I have shown it to the Governor-General, who is our
Great Chief under the Queen.

He desires me to thank you for your promise to be a
faithful friend of our Great Mother, and is sure your words
are true. I have also read your message to our great Council
at Ottawa, which pleased them very much. What Governor
Dewdney has promised shall be performed.

We will help you to sell what you cannot use of your crop,
and shall never forget the good conduct of yourself, your
minor chiefs and warriors.


Superintendent-General of
Indian Affairs.

From George Stephen, Esq., to Sir John Macdonald.

Ottawa, nth April, 1885.

I do hope something will be done to-day that will have the effect of sav-
ing the life of the Company. I stayed over here to-day in case I might be
wanted. It is impossible for me to carry on this struggle for life, in which
I have now been for over 4 months constantly engaged, any longer. Al-
though I have done my best to save the life and the honour of the Com-
pany, I cannot help feeling that I have failed to impress the Government
with a full sense of the extreme urgency of the necessities of the Company,
and yet I do not know anything further that I can say or do to enable the
Government to realize the extreme gravity of the position in which the
Company is now placed. If the Company is allowed once to go to the
wall, the remedial measures proposed will be useless because too late.

I shall be within reach if wanted. Mr. Pope, your secretary, knows
where to find me.

Yours always,


The Right Honourable
Sir John A. Macdonald.


From George Stephen, Esq., to Sir John Macdonald.
Private. Ottawa, ijth April, 1885


It is impossible for me to continue this struggle for existence any longer.
The delayin dealing with the C.P.R. matter, whatever may be the necessity
for it, has finished me, and rendered me utterly unfit for further work,
and if it is continued, must eventuate in the destruction of the Company.

I must go home this evening and if any one should be required here on
behalf of the C.P.R. Company, Mr. Van Home 1 will probably come up.

I expect Mr. Boissevaine will be in Montreal to-day, and to-morrow
morning I will have the humiliation of being forced to tell him that our
matters with the Government are apparently as far from a settlement as
they were the day he left Toronto for the Northwest over three weeks
ago and that I have exhausted all my energies in trying to expedite an
arrangement of some kind without result.

I cannot refrain from saying here that I feel most keenly the position
I am placed in. Every day obligations are maturing that three
months ago were postponed till now on the faith that by this time we
should be in position to meet them, and our ability to pay these obligations
or to postpone them again is gone. I do not wish to say anything now
about the sacrifices that I have made for the C.P.R. to make it a success,
or to take up your time with complaints of any kind, further than to say I
have not met with the confidence and support from the Government
which I felt I had a fair right to expect, and I will only add one more re-
mark about the North Shore line. . . .
Always yours,


From George Stephen, Esq., to the Hon. J. H. Pope.
Cypher Telegram. Montreal, i6th April, 1883.


Get Abbott to translate this. Van Home writes: “Have no means pay-
ing wages, pay car can’t be sent out, and unless we get immediate relief
we must stop. Please inform Premier and Finance Minister. Do not be
surprised, or blame me, if an immediate and most serious catastrophe hap-


i Afterwards Sir William Van Home, K.C.M.G. In 1884 General Manager
and Vice-President, and on the retirement of Sir George Stephen in 1888, President
of the Canadian Pacific Railway; a remarkably able and many-sided man. Died,
nth September, 1915.


Prince Albert,
June I2th, 1883.

We the undersigned, priests of the districts more especially concerned in
this Rebellion, viz. St. Laurent, Batoche, and Duck Lake, as it was among
our own people here, that the miscreant Louis “David” Riel made his
headquarters, and we as residents, and knowing the facts, would draw the
attention of our fellow speaking people in Canada and elsewhere to the

That Louis Riel does not deserve the sympathy of the Roman Catholic
Church or its people, as he usurped our places as priests with our flocks,
and otherwise deprived our people of the advantages and consolation of
having us among them. All this he did to gain his own selfish ends, and
we therefore feel that the Church and people in Canada should sympathize
with us and our people, and pity them, rather than blame them for being
led astray. A great many of our people are utterly destitute having had
their stuff taken by Louis Riel and Council in the first place, and then suf-
fering the usual losses that must follow on an army marching through said
districts. General Middleton did all he could to make the losses and suffer-
ing of our flocks as light as he could, and deserves our heartfelt thanks.
But unless we receive help in some way, our people will starve, and we there-
fore ask the French speaking people of Canada and others to give their
sympathy to us and our flocks,

And to pray with us that the Government may temper justice with
mercy in dealing with our people who were led astray.

FATHER ANDRE, Superior of the District.

FATHER FOURMOND, Director of O.M.I. St.Laurent.



V. VEGREVILLE, P.M.A., O.M.I., priest at Batoche.

MOULIN, PTRE., O.M.I., Parish priest of Batoche.

From George Stephen, Esq., to Sir John Macdonald.
Private. Montreal, i8th June, 1885.


I have read Blake’s speech, and without exception it is the meanest
thing of the kind that has ever come under my notice. It is an ill-condi-
tioned, vindictive effort to discredit the Company, without the remotest
possibility of benefiting anybody, politically or otherwise. It ought not to
hurt the Company either here or on the other side, but it may have some
effect on the market for our bonds. His “facts” and “figures” are all
wrong or misleading, as Van Home’s statement going to Abbott to-night
will demonstrate, and Van Home himself goes up to-morrow morning so as
to be there to answer any questions that may turn up. I am taking Mrs.
Stephen down to Causapscal to-night, but will be here again on Wednesday.


Russel Stephenson and his wife are going down with us. She is in a very
precarious condition.

I am so furious at Blake that I cannot at the moment write coherently
about him or his speech. What a miserable creature he must be! Pope
did his part very well I fancy the longest speech he ever made. I see Cart-
wright promised the debate would close to-morrow night. I hope it will
wind up with a few words from yourself. No one can do so much by a few
sentences to destroy the evil effects of Blake’s malicious speech as you can,
and I hope you will express the scorn and contempt which I am sure you
must feel for both him and his speech.

Always yours,


From the Roman Catholic Bishop of St. Albert to Sir John

Private. Prince Albert, July nt



Prime Minister of Canada, Ottawa.

After the sad events from which we have all suffered, both physically
and mentally, I undertook to visit that part of my diocese which had been
principally the theatre of the disturbance. I cannot think without emotion
of the devastation and ruin which I there perceived, nor foresee, without
fear and disquiet, the sad consequences of so much misery. What I most
dread is the antipathy, the hatred and the desire of revenge which will
infallibly arise among the different nationalities and religious denomina-
tions of the country. It is also to be feared that a number of excellent and
industrious halfbreed families will abandon the country to settle either
in the United States or to advance further north into the most destitute
parts of the territory, where, living miserably, they will cherish in them-
selves and transmit to their descendants, a spirit of hatred and vengeance
which poverty and its attendant miseries will foster. This fire hidden
under the ashes will, sooner or later, burst out and will not be extinguished
until it has caused considerable ravages. The more the conditions of the
halfbreeds and Indians resemble each other, the more readily will they
unite for evil. To prevent these miseries, I have just had a petition signed
which I address to the Most Honourable Minister of Justice with a view
to obtain all possible indulgence in favour of the halfbreeds who have com-
promised themselves in the Rebellion, excepting, however, two or three who
are in reality the cause of all the evil. These poor halfbreeds would never
have taken up arms against the Government had not a miscreant of their
own nation, profiting by their discontent, excited them thereto. He gained
their confidence by a false and hypocritical piety, and having drawn them
from the beneficial influence of their clergy, brought them to look upon
himself as a prophet, a man inspired by God and specially charged with a


mission in their favour, he forced them to take up arms. So much was he
master of them, that no one dared to resist him. If they did not take up
arms from enthusiasm, they did so from fear, terrified by his menaces.
Captain Moore, who lost his leg in consequence of this deplorable revolt,
said to me on signing the petition, that apart from Kiel and Gabriel Du-
mont, he did not know any halfbreed really culpable. He appears, how-
ever, to have forgotten a certain Maukuman. When the petition was
presented to Mr. Thomas MacKay who had made every possible effort to
quell the Rebellion, he expressed his desire that the petition should be made
specially in favour of the councillors of Kiel; he desired this because he knew
that the title of councillor would naturally lead one to suppose that those
officers were more culpable, while in reality the men who bore these titles
were often only poor blockheads such as in French we would call de bonnes
teles, chosen precisely because they were incapable of saying a word in the
assemblies, and very often they did not even know what question was
being discussed. I have been assured that only two amongst them are
able to write their own names.

I, therefore, beg Your Honour to support this petition with your author-
ity. The principal inhabitants of the English Colony of Prince Albert,
those who have had most to complain of during the Rebellion, are also of my
opinion on this point. I do not even except the Government officials nor
the military authorities, their official position does not allow them to sign
the petition, but they approve of it and express their wishes for its success.

Believe me,
Honourable Sir,
Your humble and devoted servant,


From Louis Kiel to Sir John Macdonald.

Jesus! Marie! Joseph!

Sauvez-nous. Intercedez pour nous. Priez pour nous.

Prison de Regina, 16 Juillet, 1885.


Premier Ministre de la Puissance du Canada.

J ‘implore un proces complet et a la Cour Supreme. Je desire me dis-
culper des accusations qui pesent sur moi, depuis quinze ans. Si vous
cedez a mes instances, si vous m’accordez toute la latitude dont j’ai besoin
pour me defendre, Dieu me secourant, non seulement je me clairerai, mais
la grande responsabilite des troubles du Nord-ouest en 69-70 et en 85 tom-
bera lourdement sur les Honorables Messieurs Blake et McKenzie et sur
les journaux leurs principaux organes. Votre Politique au sujet du Nord-
ouest se trouvera comme debarrassee des obstacles que ces deux hommes
puissants se sont efforces de vous susciter depuis 69.

Mon interet n’est pas seulement de me disculper. Je desire me rehabili-


ter. Si par le soutien de Dieu et la faveur des bonnes gens, il m’est permis
de viser aux avantages d’une vraie rehabilitation et d’une indemnite
equitable, ce serait pour rentrer dans la politique Manitobaine.

II m’en coute d’abandonner ma patrie, ma mere, mes freres, mes soeurs,
mes parents, mes amis.

De plus j’ai a coeur de continuer mon oeuvre, j’apprecie le grand talent
des hommes qui ont gouverne et qui gouvernent encore a 1’heure qu’il est,
le Manitoba. Mais il me semble qu’ils ne comprennent pas sa fondation.
C’est pour cela que cette province n’est pas a 1’aise et que la Confederation
s’en sent. Le Manitoba profite; mais il me fait penser a ces personnes qui
engraissent sans avoir de sante. II ne lui serait peut-etre pas inutile que
j’arrivasse un jour a son ministere. Et il me serait particulierement avan-
tageux, a moi, d’y arriver, pour continuer avec votre Gouvernement, ce
qui a etc commece, il y a quinze ans, par 1’acte du Manitoba.

J’avais 1’honneur de vous dire dans ma communication du 6 courant, que
1’Irlande, c’est ce que je pense, pouvait devenir heureuse, et en meme temps
les seigneurs anglais continuer a avoir leur revenu comme d’ordinaire.

Le principe que j’aurais a proposer pour arriver a ce resultat me parait
clair et simple. Si mon pays natal m’honorait un jour au point de me
faire asseoir au premier siege de son Ministere, je vous soumettrais mes
vues. Dans le cas ou il vous serait possible de les approuver, je vous les
soumettrais pour mettre fin aux “Better Terms” qui fatiguent la confede-
ration sans apporter d’amelioration definitive au Manitoba. Vous me pro-
cureriez sans doute 1’avantage de modifier en mieux ce que je n’aurais pas
encore assez muri dans mes manieres de voir. Apres les avoir inaugurees
dans la jeune province; vous seriez a meme d’examiner comment mes idees
fonctionneraient. Si elles reussissaient, vous pourriez les generaliser a
toute la Puissance. De la la Mere-Patrie en jugerait elle-meme. Et avant
trop longtemps, peut-etre auriez vous, vous, la gloire, et moi le plaisir de
les voir appliquer a la situation de 1’Irlande par la Haute Autorite du
Parlement Anglais meme.

Le principe et les vues dont j’ai 1’honneur de vous dire un mot sont en
germe dans la constitution, 1’acte du Manitoba.

Monsieur le Premier Ministre, les meilleures idees ont besoin d’etre
comprises pour etre mises en vogue. Et lors meme que la main de Dieu et
celle de mes amis me ferait sortir de ma prison pour me porter a la tete du
Ministere Provincial du Manitoba, il me serait encore bien difficile de faire
mon chemin, s’il n’y avait pas la un gouverneur qui me comprit.

Depuis que je suis a Regina, tous mes ecrits ont passe par les mains de
Monsieur le Capitaine Dean. Ce noble officier connait mes facons de
penser. Et pour ne pas le gener, en lui faisant aupres de vous, des louanges
qui ont a passer par son office, je vous dirai tout court que ce serait, a mon
avis, un honneur pour le Manitoba, d’avoir un Lieutenant Gouverneur
tel que lui; pour 1’HonorabJe Monsieur Aikins un successeur d’aussi grand
merite et pour moi un guide dont les conseils me seraient si utiles.

Mes bienveillants avocats sont arrives d’avant hier. J’ai eu la joie
d’une entrevue avec eux. Us vont insister pour que mon proces ait lieu
en Bas Canada, et par devant la Cour Supreme. Veuillez m’accorder cela
a moi. Veuillez ceder aux bonnes representations de mes savants avocats,


Lorsqu’on me conduira dans 1’Est, si vous consentez bien que j’y sois
conduit, arrangement pourrait etre pris pour qu’a mon arrivee trois avo-
cats conservateurs, un Canadien-francais, un Irlandais et un Anglais pro-
testant m’offrissent leurs bons services. Grande serait ma reconnaissance
pour un tel honneur. Ma cause serait plaidee au point de vue des in-
terets de votre parti, comme au point de vue des interets du parti oppose.

Monsieur le Capitaine 1 pourrait me conduire. II suivrait tout le pro-
ces. II vous verrait souvent. Ce serait comme naturellement que vous
pourriez le nommer Lieutenant Gouverneur du Manitoba. Moi j’aurais
le bonheur de m’en retourner a St. Vital, gouter la paix qui m’y attend
depuis quinze ans.

Et vous (que mes voeux ne vous soient pas suspects) vous auriez aug-
mente de beaucoup le theme de vos recompenses. Si mes bons souhaits
peuvent sortir au travers des barreaux de ma petite et sombre cellule, si
ma stricte captivite n’empeche pas ma voix de se faire entendre, puissiez-
vous un jour occuper le trone Vice Royal de la Puissance, pour le plus
grand bien de cette confederation canadienne dont vous etes 1’un des
glorieux fondateurs.

J’ai 1’honneur, etc.,
Louis KIEL.

In the summer of 1885 Sir John Macdonald undertook a
somewhat extensive reconstruction of his cabinet. Sir
Charles Tupper, Sir Leonard Tilley and Sir David Mac-
pherson had withdrawn or were about to withdraw, the first
to become High Commissioner in London : the second to take
office as Lieu tenant-Governor of New Brunswick: and the
third for reasons of health. In looking round for a strong
man to replace Sir Charles Tupper, the name of Mr. Justice
Thompson 2 of the Nova Scotia Bench was suggested to Sir
John Macdonald as a desirable acquisition, if he could be
secured. The negotiations were conducted through Mr.
Charles H. Tupper, 3 M.P. for Pictou, with the result that

1 Superintendent R. B. Deane of the North West Mounted Police, who was in
charge, under Commissioner Irvine, of the barracks and gaol at Regina, and for
whom Riel professed much regard.

2 John S. D. Thompson, at that time a judge of the Supreme Court of Nova
Scotia; sworn of the Privy Council and appointed Minister of Justice in the
Cabinet of Sir John Macdonald, 26th September, 1885; K.C.M.G., 1888; Prime
Minister of Canada, 5th December, 1892, until his tragic death at Windsor Castle on
the occasion of his being sworn a member of Her Majesty Queen Victoria’s Privy
Council, 1 2th December, 1894.

3 Charles Hibbert Tupper (afterwards the Hon. Sir Charles Hibbert Tupper,
K.C.M.G.), second son of Sir Charles Tupper, Bart; first elected to the House
of Commons for Pictou in 1882; sworn of the Privy Council and appointed Minis-
ter of Marine and Fisheries, ist June, 1888.


on the 26th September Mr. Thompson entered the Cabinet
of Sir John Macdonald, which he was destined signally to
adorn. Mr. Thomas White 1 had been sworn in as Minister
of the Interior a few weeks previously, and on the loth
December following, Mr. (afterwards Sir) George Foster 2
became Minister of Marine and Fisheries.

From C. H. Tupper, Esq., M.P., to Sir John Macdonald.
Private. Halifax, N.S. t July 2Oth, 1885.


One word anent a matter of great import to us in Nova Scotia just now.
Thompson, I find, will go into your Cabinet if asked to do so as Minister
of Justice not otherwise.

It is a delicate matter to discuss with him of course, but I have ascer-
tained this.

Stairs had some communication with him through Stewart of the
Herald. This was injudicious. Stewart is not a man noted for diplomacy,
and is not in good odour just now.

The Herald on Franchise and Short Line has done Daly and Stairs 3
incalculable harm here.

I am rejoiced to know your illness was only slight, and I heartily con-
gratulate you on standing your arduous sessional duties so well.
With kind regards,

I am

dear Sir John

Faithfully yours,


From Sir John Macdonald to Mr. Justice Thompson.

Private & Confidential. Riviere du Loup.

21 July 1 1885.

I am aware of course that you have been asked to join
our ministry.

for Cardwell, 1878-1888; sworn of the Privy Council and appointed
Minister of the Interior, 5th August, 1885. Died, 2ist April, 1888.

2 The Hon. George Eulas Foster (afterwards the Right Hon. Sir George Foster,
G.C.M.G.) was first elected to represent King’s County, New Brunswick, in the
House of Commons in 1882; sworn of the Privy Council and appointed Minister
of Marine and Fisheries, loth December, 1885; Minister of Finance (1888-1896);
Minister of Trade and Commerce in the Cabinet of Sir Robert Borden, from its
formation in 1911; sworn of His Majesty’s Privy Council, 27th June, 1916.

‘Messrs. M. B. (afterward Sir Malachy) Daly and John F. Stairs, in 1885
represented Halifax in the House of Commons.


This I have much wished and still wish, and I now write
to urge it upon you. If the Department of Justice were
open, I would ask you to take it, but Sir A. Campbell is still
Minister, though about to leave it. The term is not fixed
and I therefore would press upon you the acceptance of a
Cabinet office with the certainty of being Minister of Justice
within a very short period. I look upon that office as the
highest in Canada, as the Minister performs the political
functions of the Lord Chancellor in England. Nova Scotia
wants a good representative in the ministry, and you are the

f Antigonish is open to you, so I shall hope you will accept.
As time is precious I would ask you to wire me your final de-
termination, which I trust will be in the affirmative. I will
understand the meaning of a telegram “All right,” as ac-
ceptance; “Cannot go up just now” as a negative.

Hoping to greet you as a colleague,
Believe me,

Yours faithfully,

The Hon. Mr. Justice Thompson,

From Mr. Justice Thompson to Sir John Macdonald.
Telegram. Halifax, 2jth July, 1885.

I regret I cannot go up just now.


From Mr. Justice Thompson to Sir John Macdonald.

Private. Halifax Club,

Halifax, 1st August, 1885.

To your very kind letter I replied only by telegraph, thinking that you
preferred that I should not write. Mr. Tupper saw me soon afterwards
and thought that I was mistaken in that view.

My view of the work, of a political character, which will be required of
the next minister from Nova Scotia makes me feel that I am inadequate
for the duty, and that my undertaking it would disappoint you.

My tastes and pursuits for some years past have been altogether within
the lines of legal study, and my fitness for active political work especially


Campaigning is probably less on that account than it was when I was in
harness in local politics.

In addition to that, there are some difficulties in the constituency which
would be the result of Mr. Mclsaac’s appointment as County Judge, and
which would need to be attended to.

I promised Mr. Tupper, however, that in writing to you I should say this:
that if there is time to spare over the matter, I would consider the subject
a little more, and would then ascertain whether the difficulties in the
County could be got out of way. If, however, other arrangements have
been entered on in view of the reply I gave by telegraph, there will be no
need for you either to recall or regret them.

With much respect and the very best of wishes,
I remain,

Yours sincerely,


The Rt. Honble.
Sir John A. Macdonald, K.C.B.,
K.C.M.G., G.C.B., &c.

From Sir John Macdonald to Mr. Justice Thompson.

Riviere du Loup.

August ?th, 1885.

I have your note of the ist, from which I am glad to gather
that you have not yet spoken the last word as to your be-
coming a Cabinet Minister.

I am very anxious to secure for the country your valuable
services, and shall keep the position open for you. From all
I can learn, you will not have much, if any, trouble in Anti-

We have now only a mere quorum of Council who attend
only to matters of routine or of necessity.

We shall reassemble in full force early in September. I
shall hope, therefore, that I may be able to announce to my
colleagues then that you have joined the “sacred band.”

Believe me,

Yours sincerely,


The Hon. Mr. Justice Thompson,


From Sir John Macdonald to Governor-General the Marques*
of Lansdowne.

Riviere du Loup.

August 28/85.

Riel’s case comes before the Queen’s Bench on 2nd Septem-

That Court cannot try him again, but on appeal can de-
cide as to the jurisdiction of the local Court and the legality
of its proceedings.

If the application is for a new trial on the usual grounds
of misdirection of the judge or that the verdict was against
evidence or the weight of evidence or for the rejection of
admissible or the reception of inadmissible evidence, or the
like then the Court will, if the application is in its opinion
well founded, send Riel back to Regina for a second trial.
But it is not at all likely that the Court will intervene. It
has already in Connor’s case decided as to the competence
of the Stipendiary Magistrate’s Court, and there does not
appear from the newspaper report of the trial (I have not yet
seen the judge’s report) to be any ground for a new trial.
The judgment will probably nay certainly be promptly
given. Then if the judge Richardson reports as he will
do that he is satisfied with the verdict, it seems to me that
the sentence must be carried into effect.

I don’t think that we should by a respite anticipate and
as it were court the interference of the Judicial Committee.
If an appeal lay as a matter of course, or as in civil cases, it
might be different but it is not so in criminal matters.

An appeal against a criminal conviction like the present,
is merely an exercise of the prerogative which should only be
exercised (as interfering with the administration of justice)
in a case of supreme necessity. Your Excellency draws a
distinction between treason as having a political aspect, and
other crimes. Now there are treasons and treasons any
armed resistance to the Queen’s authority is technically
treason, but may have no political significance. If there
were any international complications likely to arise with the
United States, the distinction would be obvious. In 1 838 the
burning of the Caroline and the arrest of McLeod, nearly


caused a war with the United States. Here Imperial con-
siderations gave the right I may say imposed the necessity
on the Home Government of Imperial interference. So in
the case of the Fenian invasions by citizens of the United

But this Northwest outbreak was a mere domestic trou-
ble, and ought not to be elevated to the rank of a rebellion.

The offences of Kiel were riot and murder of such an 6×4*}
tensive nature as to make them technically amount to
treason. The whole insurrection should properly be classed
with the Rebecca riots of some years ago in England, where. J
there was armed resistance and a conflict with Her Majesty’s
troops, and loss of life. These riots and the rising under
Thorn (I think that was the name) were held technically to
be treason, but really amounted only to riot and murder.

There is a feeling of such intensity among the English-
speaking people of Canada on this subject, that any appear-
ance of a desire on the part of the Government to facilitate
appeal to England would have, in my opinion, serious and far-
reaching consequences of a disastrous character, greatly
affecting the friendly relations between English and French.

There is, it is true, some sympathy in the Province of
Quebec, with Riel. This is principally worked up by the
Rouge party for political purposes. Among the habitants
of Quebec, the recollection of their own rising in 1837 and of
their “martyrs” still lingers, and Riel’s rebellion in 1869 was
believed by them then to be under the same circumstances
as caused their own Holy War.

The attempt now made to revive that feeling in his favour
will not extend far, and will be evanescent.

The murder of the priests the incitement of the Indians
to murder and pillage, and Riel’s abandonment of the faith
of his fathers, added to his cowardice, will prevent any antici-
pated sentiment in his favour. I send you a copy of a memo
signed by the Catholic priests of the Prince Albert district
which was sent to Mr. D’Alton McCarthy in June last. In
consequence of his absence in England it did not reach him
until his return the other day. This shows the estimate of
the Catholic clergy residing in the disturbed district, of Riel’s
character and conduct.

The execution of Riel stands for i8th September and, if


necessary, the Stipendiary Magistrate will postpone it of
his own motion without any direct intervention on the part
of the Government. See 43 Victoria, C. 25, sec. 76.
Believe me,

dear Lord Lansdowne,
Faithfully yours,


From Governor-General the Marquess of Lansdowne to Sir
John Macdonald.

Government House,

Ottawa, August 3 ist, 1885.

Thanks for your letter of the 28th which I have read with attention.

We are, I think, entirely at one upon the general principle, but I am not
sure that I should apply it as you do in Kiel’s case. I still think that
there are features in that case which give it an aspect distinct from that of
ordinary criminal cases.

You regard the recent outbreak in the N.W. as a merely “domestic
trouble” which should not be “elevated to the rank of a rebellion.”

The outbreak was, no doubt, confined to our own territory and may
therefore properly be described as a domestic trouble, but I am afraid we
have all of us been doing what we could to elevate it to the rank of a re-
bellion, and with so much success that we cannot now reduce it to the rank
of a common riot.

If the movement had been at once stamped out by the N.W.M. police,
the case would have been different, but we were within an ace of an Indian
war; the progress of the outbreak and its suppression has been described
in glowing language by the press all over the world: we brought up troops
from all parts of the Dominion: those troops have been thanked by Par-
liament: they are to receive an Imperial medal. Will not all this be re-
garded as placing the insurrection in a category quite different from that
of the Rebecca riots with which you compare it? No one would have
proposed to confer a medal upon the troops or a decoration upon the
Commanding Officer engaged in the suppression of these.

I should not like to go a step further than could be helped in facilitating
an appeal to England, and there would no doubt be an objection to the
postponement of the execution by directions sent from Ottawa at this stage.
On the other hand, assuming that the Court of Queen’s Bench refuses to
order a new trial, and that thereupon Kiel at once appeals to the Privy
Council, could we hang him before that tribunal had disposed of his ap-

It seems to me that if there is any feeling at all on the subject in the
Dominion (and I observe what you say as to the extent of this) that feeling
would be greatly embittered and prolonged by such a course.

I should much prefer that whatever is done should take place as much as


possible in the ordinary modes of procedure and as little as possible by
direct intervention on the part of the Government. Under the section
of the N.W. Territories Act to which you refer me (S. 76. s. s. 8) the Stipen-
diary is required to postpone the execution from time to time until his
report has been received and the pleasure of the Governor thereon communi-
cated to the Lieutenant-Governor.

If in the interval between the termination of the proceedings at Win-
nipeg and the date fixed for the execution, we become aware that Kiel has
appeared by counsel before the Judicial Committee, my “communica-
tion” to the Lieutenant-Governor might be deferred. Whereupon the
Stipendiary, without special instructions, would, I apprehend, postpone
the execution.
What do you say to this?

I am,

Dear Sir John,

Yours sincerely,


From Sir John Macdonald to Governor-General the Marquess
of Lansdowne.

Riviere du Loup.

September 3 > 188$.

I fear that you have me with respect to the character given
to the outbreak. We have certainly made it assume large
proportions in the public eye. This has been done however
for our own purposes, and, I think, wisely done. Still it was a
rising within a limited area, and was confined to a small
number of persons. It never endangered the safety of the
State, nor did it involve international complications. True
it involved the danger of an Indian war, and in that would
be similar to the arson of a small house, in the vicinity of a
powder magazine.

What I ventured to suggest in my letter was that the
persons convicted at Regina, should be dealt with as guilty
of municipal and not political offences.

I quite agree with Your Excellency that if notice is given
of an intention to appeal to the Judicial Committee, it would
not do to hurry the execution as it were in order to prevent
such appeal.

The mode suggested by Your Excellency of deferring the
signification of your pleasure, without any positive action


on the part of the Government, seems the best solution of the

I shall be obliged by Your Excellency not mentioning
your views to anyone. These things do get out in an ex-
traordinary way, and if it were suspected that there was a
prearranged intention of postponing the execution of the
sentence, there would,! fear, be a popular burst of indignation
in Ontario and the Northwest, that may as well be avoided.
Believe me,
dear Lord Lansdowne,
faithfully yours,


Sir Alexander Campbell was at this time Minister of
Justice. On being requested by Sir John Macdonald to give
up this office in favour of Mr. Thompson, he at first de-
murred, but eventually yielded to the wishes of his chief,
and on the 25th September placed his portfolio at the dis-
posal of the Prime Minister, becoming for the fourth time
Postmaster General, where he remained until 1887, when he
attained the object of his ambition the Lieutenant-Gover-
norship of Ontario.

From Sir John Macdonald to Sir A. Campbell.

Private. Earnsclife,

Ottawa, Sept. I2th, 1885.

I am very glad indeed that you have made up your mind
to remain in the Government. Your usefulness to the
country and the Conservative party as leader of the Senate
is appreciated by all our friends who would have been sorry
to see that place filled (inadequately I fear) by another.

Our whole aim now must be so to reconstruct the ministry
as to have a moral certainty of carrying the country in 1887.
We stand better in the country than in the House, where
we were awfully weak last session. I would not willingly go
through another session like it. Just think! Tilley, sick
and away Macpherson ditto Chapleau ditto Pope sick
for good part of the time Costigan, as you know &c., &c.,
&c. The work all fell upon me, and much of it of necessity


was ill done, and our friends grumbled. They were only
prevented from giving audible expression of their dis-
satisfaction by a sort of compassionate sympathy for myself.
But every one said I must reconstruct before Parliament met
again. I have, I think, made a good commencement with T.
White; as a debater he will be of great use his powers of
administration have yet to be tried. The place of Tupper in
the Government must now be supplied. There is no one
among the Nova Scotia contingent in the Commons who
would give any strength or relieve me personally. The
Nova Scotia M.P.’s are almost unanimous in their desire to
secure the services of Judge Thompson a good lawyer,
a popular man, and as they say, an excellent speaker. I
want you to help me in this by going back to your old office
which you were rather reluctant to leave of Postmaster
General. I know through Tupper that Thompson would
leave the Bench for the Department of Justice, but naturally
says that he would not undertake an untried man as he is
to manage a department which he could know nothing
about, and where he would run great risk of failure. If we
don’t get Thompson, I don’t know what to do. There are
great jealousies among the Nova Scotians, as they stand
on an equality of unfitness, but they would all yield to the
superior abilities of Thompson, and I am assured that his
advent would secure the Province at the General Election
which stands a great chance of being lost from the con-
tending claims of the aspirants.

Your old office will give you more time than the present
one, and you know your own occasions compelled you to
be more often absent than was expedient for the working of

The leadership of the Lords and the P.O. will give you
enough to do and leave you more untrammelled should
business or health call you away so I trust you will aid me
in this matter. * I propose, should all go right, to

allow Beverley Robinson to remain, without a renewal of
office by Commission (as Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario,)
for another year, say till July 1886. * * * You seem to
have gathered from my note that I wanted that office for
myself. I didn’t mean you to understand it so. I merely
stated, or wished to state, that while from a pecuniary point


of view it would suit me, I felt that it was not in the interests
of the party that I should take it, and therefore did not
entertain the proposition, and that for the same reason you
should follow my example.

Yours sincerely,


From Sir Alexander Campbell to Sir John Macdonald.

Ottawa, ijth September, 1885.

I have just received your note and am taken by surprise.

I like my present Department better than the Post Office, or any other
which I have filled I was distrustful of being able to discharge the duties
satisfactorily, when you proposed it to me, and hence the reluctance to
which you refer but I find them congenial, and they have brought back
much of my earlier habits, and literary pursuits, and I am unwilling to
leave them. I believe that I have succeeded fairly well in their discharge.
I wish that you had mentioned your desire that I should return to the
Post Office when you asked me to remain in the Government in assenting
to this desire, I, of course, assumed that I was to continue to serve in my
present office; no other idea crossed my mind.

I regret to say that I am unable to comply with your request. It is an
unusual thing for a newcomer to stipulate what office shall be vacated for
him, I think, and Mr. Thompson could have no difficulty at the Post
Office Department, or any other, which has not been encountered by all
who have entered this or former Governments.

Faithfully yours,


From Sir A. Campbell to Sir John Macdonald.
Private. 14 September, 1885.


I enclose your note of Saturday, as requested please send me it back. I
will send a reply to your note of to-day later on.

If you carry out your intention of bringing the matter to Council, I wish
you would let me know in advance when you will do so, as I think I had
better be absent.

Faithfully yours,


P.S. Thompson is probably an able man from what they all say he has
the air of a man educated for the priesthood, with a nervous look and sub-
dued manner. I should think it extremely doubtful how far he will be of
real value to the Commons.


From Sir John Macdonaldto Mr. Justice Thompson.


Ottawa, i?th September, 1885.

I am exceedingly glad that you have accepted office. Sir
Alexander Campbell has returned and has kindly promised
to take another portfolio in order that the Government may
have the advantage of your services. I have enclosed my
letter offering the County Court Judgeship to Mclsaac to
Charles H. Tupper, and have asked him to see him personally
and get his written acceptance.

Yours sincerely,

The Honourable JOHN A. MACDONALD.

Mr. Justice Thompson,
Halifax, N.S.

From Governor-General the Marquess of Lansdowne to Sir
John Macdonald

Government House,
Victoria, October fth, 1885.

If the Privy Council should deal summarily with Kiel’s application, the
decision may be announced before the i6th, in which case there would be
time for the issue of instructions to the Lieutenant-Governor to carry out
the sentence of the court.

A further postponement of the date of the execution would not be de-
sirable, unless for some very obvious reason, and from our conversations
at Ottawa, I have no doubt that your mind is fully made up, and that you
will advise that the law should take its course. What I have heard during
my journey through the Northwest has satisfied me that there is a
stronger case in favour of this view than I supposed when we last dis-
cussed the matter.

I should however much have preferred that the decision to be taken
should rest upon advice tendered by you and your colleagues to and ac-
cepted by me. The importance of the case is so great that it should be
dealt with upon the full responsibility of the Governor-General in Council
rather than by his Deputy. It is for this reason that I have sent you my
telegram of this day’s date.

I have given up all idea of remaining for the laying of the last rail, and
I shall be at Ottawa on the 2yth. I have some engagements en route,
from which I cannot extricate myself.

I am, dear Sir John,
Yours sincerely,



From Sir John Macdonald to George Stephen, Esq.

28th October, 1885.

I see that the Postmaster General of Great Britain has
invited tenders to be made in March next for a fortnightly
mail service to be carried on between Cole Harbour and
Hong- Kong, via Yokohama.

I have had a note from Van Home on the subject and
quite agree with him that n knots per hour is too slow to
control the trade. The Postmaster General, it is evident,’
thinks only of making as good time for the mails as by the
Suez Canal. This is all very well in its way, but these mail
vessels should be made useful in securing to us a larger
portion of the carrying trade. Now, it appears to me that
you should at once see the Postmaster General, or rather in
this time of political crisis, the Deputy Postmaster General,
or whoever is the permanent head of the department, and
endeavour to procure joint action between that Department
and the Admiralty. The new vessels should be of a superior
class, and of much greater speed. Van Home says that not
less than 14 knots will do. They might be built on specifi-
cations approved by the Admiralty so as to fit them in time
of war for transport and general naval service. Such vessels
should command a subsidy from both departments.

The C.P.R. should, if possible, secure the contract and so
get control of the line.

You should tender low so that there might be no mistake
about it, and I dare say that we can persuade Parliament to
give you a subsidy.

Believe me,

Yours faithfully,

George Stephen, Esq.,
25, St. James’s Place,


From Governor-General the Marquess of Lansdowne to Sir
John Macdonald.

Ottawa, November 6th, 1885.

I have received by cable, through the Secretary of State, Her Majesty’s
commands to convey to the people of Canada Her congratulations upon
the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway.*

Her Majesty is pleased to add that she has watched its progress with
much interest, and that she hopes for the future success of a work of such
value and importance to the Empire.

You will, I have no doubt, take steps in order to give publicity to Her
Majesty’s gracious congratulations.

Let me conclude this note by expressing the hearty satisfaction with
which I have learned that this great national work has been successfully

I am, dear Sir John,

Yours sincerely,


From the Hon. Thomas White”* 1 to Sir John Macdonald.
Private, Winnipeg, oth November,


I have never been thoroughly disgusted with public life until now. You
have been in it for over forty years, have safely and successfully led your
party for a quarter of a century, and yet, on the strength of a telegram in
the Manitoban, stating that a medical Commission was examining Kiel at
Regina, there was literally a stampede of the whole party, led by our
mutual friend Scarth,3 and a proposition gravely made by the very men
(of course Scarth was not in that) who were preparing for me a demon-
stration which they had assured me was to be a perfect ovation, to make
me the vicarious sufferer by an ovation of a different kind, in which rotten
eggs would be the chief article on the menu. It turned out afterwards
that the telegram in the Manitoban, dated from Regina, was written by
Acton Burrows in the office here, on the merest street gossip, a fact which
shows how unfortunate it is that such a man should have control of what

1 The last spike in the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway was driven
by Donald A. Smith at Craigellachie, 28 miles west of Revelstoke, British Columbia,
on the yth November, 1885.

2 The new Minister of the Interior. The Medical Commission of which Mr.
White speaks, was appointed, and after due examination of the prisoner, found him
responsible for his actions.

8 At that date M.P. for Winnipeg.


is supposed to be the leading Conservative organ here. I telegraphed you
the facts of the excitement, and your reply on Saturday has had a soothing
effect, although what the effect of a further reprieve may be, I dont know,
as I suppose that will be necessary. However, the one thing which
is very apparent is that these Western Conservatives are a mercurial lot;
and a skilful man in opposition could easily devise a cry, just on the eve of
a polling day, that would demoralize them badly. It is a thousand pities
that our first understanding in Council, which was that Kiel should be
_ reprieved until the middle of November and leave time for all contingen-
cies, had not been carried out by Richardson, to whom, as you remember,
Campbell was to have communicated it privately.

I am very busy with Smith and Pearce, wiping out a lot of things that
have arisen during my trip. This will take me all I can do this week, and
I will have to work hard to accomplish it. I leave however on Sunday
night for home.

Yours truly,

The Right Honble.

Sir John A. Macdonald, G.C.B.

From the Hon J. A. Chapkau to Sir John Macdonald.
Confidential. Ottawa., 12 Nov., 83.


I spent the greatest part of the night in preparing my memorandum in
support of my disagreement in the Riel case. Just as I was sending it this
morning,! hesitated,in face of the terrible responsibility of an agitation on
such a question where national animosities would surely meet to fight
their battle, and after a long meditation I have decided not to incur that
great responsibility.

I believe in the guilt of the prisoner. His mental delusions would be
the only extenuating point against the full application of the law in his

In the state of doubt in which I am with regard to that point, I prefer
giving the benefit of the doubt to the law than to the deluded criminal.

We may be called to suffer, my Quebec colleagues and myself, I more
than others, at the hands of our people, owing to the intense feeling which
exists in our Province. (It is a further reason with me not to abandon my
colleagues, as it would look like desertion at the hour of danger.)

However, I prefer the risk of personal loss to the national danger immi-
nent, with the perspective of a struggle in the field of race and religious
prejudices. We will have to fight, perhaps to fall. Well, I prefer, after
all, to fight and to fall in the old ship and for the old flag.

I would prefer in this case, that the minute of last evening’s Council
would record my assent to the decision of the Council.

Yours faithfully,



From Sir Hector Langevin to Sir John Macdonald.

Telegram. St. Martin’s Junction,

Quebec, I2th November, 1885.

Coursol, Desjardins, Girouard and Vanasse met me here and say they and
all others object to execution and will act accordingly.


From Sir John Macdonald to Sir Hector Langevin, Quebec.

13 November, 1885.

Keep calm resolute attitude all will come right.


From Lt.-Governor Dewdney to Sir John Macdonald.

Private and Confidential. Regtna,

Nov. i6th, 1883.

Kiel was executed this morning, as I advised you by telegraph. There
was no hitch, and they say he died in two minutes. He promised to visit
Chapleaui in three days. * * *

There is a good deal of dissatisfaction with the sheriff business he
knows it, and will leave, so he says.

I wired you as soon as possible after the hanging had taken place, and as
I had seen Chapleau the night before, and told him that I was instructed
that the prisoner must be buried in the precincts of the gaol, and as I knew
the grave was dug, I thought I was safe in saying “buried”, but about
noon I received a letter enclosing one from Pere Andre 2 to the Sheriff, in
which an application was made for Kiel’s body by the Sheriff on behalf of
Pere Andre, who stated that Kiel had made a Will and left him Executor,
and in the Will had asked that his body be taken to St. Boniface and
buried beside his father’s remains. I answered as wired you. Since then
Col. MacLeod has brought me a copy of the Will translated. Irvine has it
in charge with all Kiel’s other papers.

The Will not only asks that his body might be taken to St. Boniface, but
that it be first exhibited at St. Vital where his family live. I will send you
a copy of the Will as soon as I can get it. // is not the Will of an insane man

* Major S. E. St. Onge Chapleau, in 1885 Sheriff of the Northwest Territories.
2 The Reverend Alexis Andre, Parish priest of Regina, and RiePs spiritual adviser
in his last hours,


by any means. I am glad MacLeod was here stopping with Irvine, the

former has some back bone, the latter .

Riel speaks of his papers in his will and leaves them for Pere Andre to
publish, but no one will have them until your pleasure is known, if I can
help it.

I am glad it is over and I hope, as I believe, that the action of your
Government will do an immense amount of good.

With kind regards
Believe me

Yours very sincerely,
The Right Honourable

Sir John A. Macdonald.

From the Hon. J. A. Chapleau to Sir John Macdonald.

Ottawa, 8.30 p.m.,

(i6th November, 1885.)

I am just in receipt of the enclosed telegram, and I think an answer should
be sent at once. If I can offer an opinion, I think the demand should
be allowed, otherwise the mystery of a burial in the gaol yard would add
to Kiel’s legend, and he is not worth that additional interest.

Yours very truly,


From the Hon. J. A. Chapleau to Sir John Macdonald.

Ottawa, i6th November, 1885.

I have sent the telegram, copy of which I enclose.
I am informed the demand to bury the body under the church 1 (con-
trary to Kiel’s demand to be buried at St. Boniface) is specially made to
prevent the avengers of Scott’s death from doing with Kiel’s body what
was done with Scott’s remains, stealing it and concealing it in some secret
spot. I believe this version to be true.

Yours very truly,


1 Riel was twice buried. The body was first handed over to Father Andre, and
after the usual appropriate religious services, technically buried beneath the sanc-
tuary of St. Mary’s Church, Regina, from which place it was, a few hours later,
removed and taken to St. Boniface, where, in the Cathedral churchyard, it was
finally deposited.


From Governor-General the Marquess of Lansdowne to Sir John

Secret. Government House,

Ottawa y zgth November ; 1885,

Re baronetcy to Mr. George Stephen.

I enclose, but only for your private eye, a note which I have just received
from Lord Elphinstone. I have told him that we had not lost sight of the
matter, and that I had asked you to ascertain informally whether it would
be agreeable to Mr. G. Stephen that I should recommend him for some
mark of Her Majesty’s favour.

Could we recommend Mr. Donald Smith for K.C.M.G. without leading
to the preferment of other claims by his colleagues on the Board of Direc-
tors? I imagine that he has made personal sacrifices, or rather perhaps
run personal risks, which have not been encountered to the same extent by
any one else. His position, too, as a venerable and munificent citizen is
almost unique.

What do you say as to the baronetcy? I suppose there are precedents
for granting this distinction in consideration of services, such as Mr. G.
Stephen’s, rendered in the Colonies. Even, however, if this were not so,
there is a disposition and a natural one, to regard the C.P.R. as an Imperial
work, and, if the matter be looked at in this light, the distinction given
might without impropriety be different from that usually given for purely
Colonial services.

Please write, or if you like, cable to me as to this.

Yours sincerely,





From Sir John Macdonald to Donald A. Smithy Esq.

Private and Confidential. Ottawa, January 2$th, 1886.


I have seen Lord Lansdowne and he is very desirous of
recommending you for a ribbon and star as a K.C.M.G. I
hope you won’t refuse, and I assure you that it gives me
great pleasure to be the medium thro’ whom this communi-
cation is made. In the uncertain state of political matters
in England, it is impossible to say what colonial minister
may lay the Governor-General’s recommendation before the
Queen, but whether Lord Salisbury or Mr. Gladstone is
First Minister, Lord Lansdowne’s nomination will be equally

You persuaded Stephen to accept the honour. Let me
persuade you.

With kind regards to Mrs. Smith,

Believe me,

Sincerely yours,


The Hon. Donald A. Smith.

From Donald A. Smithy Esq. to Sir John Macdonald.

Montreal, 28th January ‘, 1886.
Private and Confidential.


I feel greatly honoured by the desire of Lord Lansdowne to recommend
me for a decoration as a K.C.M.G., a distinction I should doubly prize
in that the suggestion comes from yourself, and from the very kind terms
in which, in your letter marked private and confidential of the 25th instant,
you inform me of His Excellency’s wish.

When I had the pleasure of seeing you yesterday, you were good enough,
while referring to a letter from the Governor-in-Council addressed to me



by the Secretary of State in 1 872, to say that you considered my services
as special commissioner during the Red River insurrection of 1869-70 in
themselves deserved being recognized in the manner proposed, and should
His Excellency, on becoming aware of the circumstances, entirely concur
in this view of the case, I shall, as a recognition of these services, willingly
accept and highly appreciate the honour.

My wife, who is greatly obliged for your good wishes, sends you her
kind regards.

Believe me,

Sincerely yours,

The Right Hon’ble
Sir John A. Macdonald, G.C.B.,

From Sir John Macdonald to Governor-General the Marquess
of Lansdowne

Earnsc!tffe y Ottawa,

3rd February, 1886.

With Your Excellency’s sanction, I asked the Hon. D. A.
Smith whether it would be agreeable to him that you should
submit his name to Her Majesty’s Government, as deserving
of the honour of being created a K.C.M.G. and I am glad to
say that he accepts and highly appreciates the honour.

Before the transfer of the North West Territories by the
Hudson’s Bay Company to Canada, Mr. Smith held high
office in the Company, and on the transfer, when an armed
insurrection under L. Riel resisted in 1869-70 the occupation
of the country by Canada or Canadians, he was appointed
special commissioner by the Dominion Government to deal
with the insurgents.

He then went with his life in his hand to Fort Garry (now
Winnipeg), and for his success received the thanks, first of
Lt. Governor Archibald, and then of the Governor-General
in Council, and for these services might well have received
special recognition from Her Majesty’s Government.

Since that time, Mr. Smith has never ceased to interest
himself, by personal exertion and pecuniary expenditure, in
the development of the great North West, and there and
elsewhere in Canada, has been a benefactor to various useful
and benevolent institutions.


Your Excellency is aware of the devoted and self sacrificing
manner in which he pledged his large fortune and great
credit to prevent the possibility of the Canadian Pacific
Railway Company failing in carrying to successful comple-
tion their great undertaking, so important to Canada and so
valuable to the mother country.

Under all these circumstances I have no doubt that Her
Majesty’s Government will cordially respond to Your
Excellency’s recommendation.

Believe me,
dear Lord Lansdowne,
faithfully yours,


From Sir John Macdonald to Donald A. Smithy Esq.

February 2?th y 1886.
Private y Confidential.


I have received your favour of the 23rd on the subject of
the proposed decoration for yourself.

I quite appreciate your feeling that the great service done
by you in the North West in 69 & jo.[sic] I think I sent you a
copy of my letter to Lord Lansdowne, in which I made special
reference to those services when you took your life in your
hand, and I ventured to state that for them you might well
have received “special recognition from Her Majesty’s

I then went on to say that your services had not ceased
with the incidents of the first rising, &c., &c.

Lord Lansdowne has, I doubt not, sent, either my letter
itself, or its substance to the Colonial Office, with his recom-
mendation so that when the decoration arrives, it will be
based on your special services I have no doubt, beginning
with 69-70 and continuing to the present time. I am glad
to gather from your letter that you have recovered from your
recent illness.

Believe me,

Sincerely yours,

The Hon. Donald A. Smith.


From Erastus Wiman> Esg. y to Sir John Macdonald.
Rapid Transit Railroad Company

New York, February loth, 1886.

Ottawa, Canada.

Would you like to get rid of Poundmaker,! the Indian, who, I under-
stand, is a prisoner? It is rather a strange idea, but Sitting Bull, when he
was a prisoner of the United States Government, was rendered innoxious
by being taken out by ” Buffalo Bill” as a curiosity, and exhibited through
the country in his great show “The Wild West”. This show intends to
exhibit on Staten Island during the summer months. I have a very large
interest, as you perhaps know, in the traffic between Staten Island and
New York, and this is one of the attractions we are going to use. The
“Wild West” show is an exhibition that draws immensely, even better
than Barnum’s “Greatest Show on Earth”, the chief attractions being
Indian games, Indian celebrities, robbing mail coaches, races, &c., The
best people in the United States go to see it, and I think at Ottawa last
year it was largely patronized. Buffalo Bill (who is a member of the
Nebraska Legislature) and Mr. Saulsbury, are the owners of this show,
and are anxious to get hold of Poundmaker. They have asked me whether
I would not intercede with you for the loan of him, on condition that he
was treated well and returned in good order; perhaps he could be rendered
innoxious by a permanent engagement for 4 or 5 years. He could make
more money in that way than in any other, and it might be a relief to you.
All expenses would be paid, of course, and an arrangement made with him
that would be advantageous to the Government.

I do not know to whom I should write except to you, though I presume
our good friend, Mr. Thomas White, has him practically in his charge. If
you think there is any chance of getting possession of Poundmaker, I
should like to hear from you in a few lines, suggesting what should be done.
I will see that good bonds are given for his safe return or his good conduct,
if our friends get hold of him, and he will be ” trained up in the way he
should go”.

Among your mail to-day you will get no request more singular than this.
At the same time, it may have some interest for you.

I hope you are well, and trust soon to have the pleasure of seeing you,
and am,

Faithfully yours,

1 Poundmaker, Chief of the Cree Indians, was a participator in the Kiel uprising
of 1885, and was taken prisoner about the time of Kiel’s capture. After being con-
fined for some time in the Regina gaol, he was subsequently pardoned and released.
Sir John’s reply to this extraordinary proposal of Mr. Wiman, if he made one, does
not appear to have been preserved.


From Sir John Macdonald to Archbishop Taschereau. 1

p . Earnsclife,

Ottawa, loth March, 1886.

The news that His Holiness is about to elevate you to the
Cardinalate at the next Consistory, although not official, is
sufficiently authentic to warrant me in offering your Grace
my most sincere congratulations. The honour thus con-
ferred is of a twofold nature. First, it is a great compli-
ment to the French Canadian people who are a nation of good
Catholics, and, second, because in selecting your Grace, the
Pope has chosen one who will be an honour to the high rank
of Prince of the Church. It affords me infinite gratification
to feel that in my humble way I have had something to do
with calling the attention of the Vatican to the subject.
When I spoke to the Marquess of Salisbury, then Prime
Minister, he entered warmly into the proposal, and advised
me to see Cardinal Manning with whom I had the honour of
a previous acquaintance. He, at the same time, told me
that, through the Duke of Norfolk, the leader of the English
Catholics, he would move Cardinal Howard, who was then
at Rome, to press the claims of the diocese of Quebec and of
your Grace as the incumbent of that historic diocese, to the
position of Cardinal. After seeing Lord Salisbury, I went
directly to Cardinal Manning, who at once saw the justice
and the importance of the suggestion, and promised to write
that very day to Rome.

I hope that all the good Catholics of the Dominion of
Canada will appreciate the honour conferred upon them by
your elevation.

Trusting that I may soon be able to address your Grace as
your Eminence, Be]ieve me>

My dear Lord Archbishop,

Yours very sincerely,

The Most Reverend JOHN A. MACDONALD.

The Archbishop of Quebec,

1 The Most Reverend Elzear Alexandre Taschereau, Archbishop of Quebec;
created a Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church by Pope Leo XIII on the 7th June,
1886. Died, 1 2th April, 1898.


From the Archbishop of Quebec to Sir John Macdonald.

Archevech’e de Quebec,
Quebec, ij mars, 1886.

&C., &C., &C.,


Je vois par votre lettre d’hier que vous avez eu une grande part a 1’evene-
ment que la rumeur annonce comme devant avoir lieu bientot. Si je ne
considerais que ma personne je serais tente de me plaindre centre tous
ceux qui ont contribue a me faire placer sur les epaules un nouveau fardeau
qui pourrait les ecraser. Mais puisque vous avez voulu temoigner votre
estime pour tout le peuple canadien francais et faire participer tous les
Catholiques du Canada et, en un certain sens, le Canada entier, a la
gloire de cette promotion, je dois me soumettre a ce qu’il a plu a la divine
Providence d’ordonner.

Veuillez agreer 1’assurance de mon entier devouement.


From His Eminence Cardinal Manning to Sir John

Archbishop’s House,
Westminster, S. W.,

Aprils, 1886.

I have reason to hope that my letter to the Holy Father has not been
without result, and that in the next Consistory, you will find your wishes
fulfilled. Let me thank you for giving me the opportunity of doing the
least act in showing my veneration for the Church in Canada.

And now I hope you will let me commend to your kind care a young man
in whom I take much interest, Mr. Edmund Cowen,* son of a very excel-
lent family.

He has just passed the Civil Service examination of your Government;
and is a very trustworthy and intelligent young man.

I have made him known to the Bishop of Ottawa; and he is well known
to Mr. Barry Hayes, who has shown him much kindness. Believe me

My dear Sir John,

Yours very truly,
Archbishop of Westminster.

1 Mr. Cowen received a clerkship in the Department of Public Works at Ottawa.
In the month of August, 1 889, he was run over by a railway train at Chatham,
Ontario, and received injuries necessitating the amputation of both legs, from the
shock of which he died.


From Sir John Macdonald to the (3rd) Marquess of Salisbury.


Ottawa, yth April, 1886.

The application that was made to Rome last winter for a
Cardinal’s Hat for one of the Canadian hierarchy has, I am
glad to say, been successful. Cardinal Manning, immedi-
ately after I saw you, wrote to Rome, of which I think I
informed your Lordship before I left England for Canada.
At that time you were good enough to promise to interest
Cardinal Howard, through the Duke of Norfolk, in this

The Catholics of Canada, and especially the French
Canadians, are delighted at this honour conferred upon their
church here, and it is of some political importance that it
should be known that the Conservative Government, of
which you are the honoured head, interested themselves
in securing the honour to Canada. My object in troubling
your Lordship just now is to know how far I may venture
to state your action in the matter. I don’t want the present
ministry in England to gain any kudos here in Canada from
the fact that the appointment was made after they took

Pray pardon me for writing you at a time when your hands
are so full, and

Believe me,

dear Lord Salisbury,
Yours very truly,

The Most Honourable

The Marquess of Salisbury, K.G.,
20 Arlington Street,
London, W., England.

From Sir Charles Tupper to Sir John Macdonald.

97, Cromwell Road, S. W.,

April I2th y 1886.

We were greatly distressed here to learn that you had been so ill, but
delighted to find that you were getting all right again. You cannot


imagine how widespread the anxiety was until I gave Pope’s cable to me
to the press.

I congratulate you most heartily on the triumph you have again scored
in the Kiel 1 matter, and read your racy description of the whole affair with
great interest. I was not surprised to hear that Thompson had won
golden opinions from all our friends, and had fully justified all I had said
to you of him. If you can inspire him with a little more fire, he will prove
invaluable to you and our cause. Even Campbell will come to appreciate
the importance of having a minister of justice in the Commons. I am
afraid, from what you tell me, that my step in the Order did not give my
old colleagues the pleasure that I think it ought to have done. I cannot
help it. It was the outcome of as unselfish work as was ever done for
Canada. I thank you very much for your kind congratulations, which
I know were as sincere as they were hearty. The Duke of Abercorn
pressed me to-day to move a resolution on Wednesday evening at the
theatre where Lord Salisbury and the Marquess of Hartington are to join
hands. He said they were both anxious that I would consent in aiding
them to support the unity of the Empire against Mr. Gladstone’s pro-
posals. I told him that I regarded an attitude of open hostility to the
Government of the day as incompatible with my position, but I confess
I was strongly tempted.

Ever yours faithfully,

From the Marquess of Salisbury to Sir John Macdonald.

Hatfield House,

Hatfield, Herts.,
Private. April ijth, 86.


I am very much obliged to you for your very friendly letter. I am very
glad to hear that the application has been successful, and should not object
but the contrary to the French Canadians knowing that in such a
matter they had our active sympathy, but we have some very odd people
at home, who might, I fear, be scandalized if you went into any de-
tails. * * *

I earnestly hope that another matter in which you were keenly inter-
ested has prospered I mean the postal contract for the Pacific. We did
what we could to forward it.

Believe me,

Yours very sincerely,

The Right Honble.

Sir John Macdonald, G.C.B.

* See “The Day of Sir John Macdonald” by Sir J. Pope, pp. 132-133.


From Sir John Macdonald to the Lt.-Governor of
Nova Scotia. 1

Private and Confidential. Ottawa, iflh May, 1886.


I see your ministers are going to dissolve.

The permission to grant or refuse a dissolution rests with
you, as well as to fix the time for holding the elections. As
important issues are, it is said, to go before the people, you
should, I think, insist that they should not be taken by sur-
prise and that ample time should be given them for con-

Your Legislature’s legal term of existence expires, I take
it, on the return day of the writs of election, and no election
need be held until after that day.

Should your ministers found their advice for an early
dissolution, on the ground that they desire an immediate
expression of the will of the people as to their remaining in
the Confederation you will, I have no doubt, feel it your
duty as a Dominion officer, to decline to allow that subject
to entei; into consideration at all. The representatives of
Nova Scotia as to all questions respecting the relations
between the Dominion and the Province sit in the Do-
minion Parlt. and are the constitutional exponents of the
wishes of the people with regard to such relations. The
Provincial members have their powers restricted to the
subjects mentioned in the B.N.A. Act and can go no further.
I write you confidentially, but if necessary you will be sup-
ported by the whole weight of the Dominion Govt.

Yours sincerely,

Lt. Gov. Richey.

1 Mr. M. H. Richey, at that time Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia. Mr.
Richey’s advisers brought on a Provincial General Election at that time, with the
object of ascertaining the popular feeling as to Nova Scotia remaining in the Confed-
eration. The position of the Lieutenant-Governor, a federal .officer, in these cir-
cumstances, was one of no little embarrassment.


From Sir John Macdonald to C. W. Bunting, Esq. 1

Earnscttffe, Ottawa.
Private & Confidential. 2$th May, 1886.


The Conservative Catholics all over the Dominion com-
plain greatly, and I think with some justice, of the course of
the Mail.

You must remember that your paper is considered in all
parts of the Dominion as the organ of the Government.
Now you believe, rightly or wrongly, that the Conservative
party has no chance of getting any support from the Irish
Catholics in Ontario. I do not agree in that opinion, but
you may be right. It is certain, however, that we get a
strong support from the Catholics as a whole in the Do-
minion. P. E. Island is nearly half Catholic, and we have
a strong support there. So it is in Nova Scotia and New
Brunswick. The Island of Cape Breton is strongly Catholic,
and returns Conservatives to a man.

I enclose to you for your perusal a private paper signed
by Conservative Catholics from Quebec, Nova Scotia, P. E.
Island and New Brunswick, remonstrating against the course
of your paper. Please read and return. Our Conservative
Catholic friends in Ontario are greatly distressed, depend
upon it, and I am receiving letters from many of them asking
what they have done to be abandoned in this fashion.

Pray consider this well. I really think it would be highly
expedient in you to come down and see our friends here,
Catholic and Protestant, at once, before the House rises.
You should come down at once.

I greatly grieve to see your continued ill luck in the way of
fire. I hope there is no suspicion of incendiarism. In haste.

Yours faithfully,

C. W. Bunting, Esq.

1 Managing director of the Toronto Mail newspaper, which journal, under the
editorial management of Mr. Edward Farrer, began, about this time, a violent anti-
French and anti-Catholic crusade, which injuriously affected the interests of the
Liberal Conservative party throughout the Dominion.


From the Archbishop of Quebec to Sir John Macdonald.



Membre du Conseil Prive de Sa Majeste,
Premier Ministre du Canada.


Je me fais un devoir de vous informer qu’il a plu a Sa Saintete le Sou-
verain Pontife Leon XIII, d’elever en ma personne, 1’un des fideles sujets
de Sa Majeste au Canada, a la haute dignite de Cardinal de la Sainte
Eglise Romaine.

Je prie Dieu, Monsieur, pour le retablissement de votre sante, et pour
la continuelle prosperite du Canada, aux destinees duquel vous presidez
depuis longtemps.

J’ai 1’honneur d’etre

Monsieur le Premier Ministre
Votre tres humble serviteur

Archeveche de Quebec
7 juin, 1886.

From Sir John Macdonaldto His Eminence Cardinal Manning.


Ottawa, June 12, 1886.

I was delighted to get the note of Your Eminence informing
me that His Holiness was about to confer the high dignity of
the Cardinalate on Archbishop Taschereau.

He has since been officially informed of his elevation, and
I can assure Your Eminence that you have gratified beyond
expression, some two millions of Catholics by your exertions
in this cause. Nothing can exceed the enthusiasm of the
French Canadians. They consider it an especial honour
conferred on their race as well as their religion, and I have
not failed to inform Archbishop Taschereau and my French
Canadian colleagues in the Government, of your kind inter-

Sir Hector Langevin, our Minister of Public Works, has at
my request promised to take care of your protege young
Cowen. It is the best Department in the Civil Service here
for chance of promotion, and I have no doubt he will get on.


He is a gentlemanlike young man of taking manners, and
likely, I think, to succeed socially as well as in the pursuit he
has entered upon.

Believe me,

My dear Lord Cardinal,
Faithfully yours,

His Eminence

Cardinal Manning.

From Sir John Macdonald to Sir Charles Tupper.

Ottawa, June 2i y 1886.

You will have seen long ere this reaches you, that Fielding 1
has defeated the Conservatives on the Secession cry horse,
foot and artillery. Never was there such a rout. McLelan
has come back from his inglorious campaign and gives no
intelligent account of the disaster. Thompson is to be here
on Wednesday, and we shall know more about it. …
So soon as you can be spared from the Exhibition, you must
come out and take stock of the position.

We are not in a flourishing state in the present state of
public opinion what with Riel, Home Rule, the Knights of
Labour and the Scott Act. We have rocks ahead, and great
skill must be exercised in steering the ship. I shall write you
when I see Thompson.

Yours sincerely,

From the V ice-Chancellor of Cambridge University to Sir John

Christ’s College Lodge,
Cambridge, June 22nd, 1886.

I am directed by the Council of the Senate of this University to intimate
to you their anxiety to offer to you the highest honour at their disposal 1
the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws.

J The Hon. William Stevens Fielding; from 1884 to 1896, Premier of Nova
Scotia. From 1896 to 1911, Finance Minister of Canada in the Cabinet of Sir
Wilfrid Laurier; M.P. for Shelburne and Queen’s from 1896 to 1911, in which year
he was defeated; Reelected in 1917 for the same constituency.


Should you be pleased to accept it, they are anxious that you should
receive it on July 9, a day on which a large party organized by the Recep-
tion Committee of the Exhibition, are expected to visit Cambridge.

We consider that such action on your part would much enhance the
interest of their visit, and would be gratifying to them, as it would be to us.

An answer addressed to me at the Athenaeum, Pall Mall, will find me
there until Saturday.

I have the honour to be,

. Sir > .
Your obedient, faithful servant,


Vice Chancellor.
The Rt. Hon. Sir John Macdonald,

&c., &c.,
Premier of Canada.

From the Hon. J. S. Thompson to Sir John Macdonald.

Ottawa, 25th June, 1886.

It occurs to me that I can do one thing to lessen some of the anxieties
that you will be feeling in considering the problem which Nova Scotia
politics now present.

Doubtless you will have many letters from Nova Scotia advising the
recall of Sir Charles Tupper, and the question of consequent changes in
the Cabinet will present itself in that connection. I beg you will at
all times consider my place in Council at your command, if you desire
to use it for any such purpose. While it will always be a pleasure to me to
serve under your leadership, I am willing to serve in the ranks whenever
you need another to take my post.

I thought I could say this with more’freedom thus, by letter than when
these matters come up for discussion.

I remain,

My dear sir John,
Yours sincerely,


In the summer of 1886 Sir John Macdonald undertook a
journey to the Pacific coast over the newly constructed
Canadian Pacific Railway. Leaving Ottawa on the loth
July, the Prime Minister and Lady Macdonald travelled to
Vancouver (or rather to Port Moody, which at that date
marked the terminus of the railway), very comfortably,
thanks to special arrangements made by the Company, which
rendered the party independent of regular trains. Going
west we travelled only by day, stopping off at Winnipeg,
Regina, and Gleichen where the Premier held a pow-wow


with the Blackfeet Indians assembled to do him honour
under the presidency of their Chief, Crowfoot. In this
leisurely manner it was not until the 24th July that we
arrived at our journey’s end. Sir John’s reception at Vic-
toria was most cordial, and his visit proved so entertaining
that it was prolonged for several weeks, during which period
he was the recipient in a marked degree of that delightful
hospitality for which the queen city of the West is noted.

On the i jth August, Sir John formally opened the Esqui-
malt and Nanaimo Railway, driving the last spike at Cowi-
chan, and afterwards visited the coal mines at Nanaimo and
Wellington. Crossing over to New Westminster, the guest
of Mr. Robert Dunsmuir, he remained there overnight,
proceeding next day to Vancouver, where he took steamer for
Port Moody, and thence to Port Hammond, rejoining his
train there on the i6th. The return journey was broken by
a stay of some days at Winnipeg, Ottawa being reached on
the 3Oth August. Though he said but little at the time, I
could see that he was much gratified and invigorated by this
tour in which many hopes and aspirations were realized.

From Sir John Macdonald to Governor-General the Marquess of

Driard House,

Victoria, B.C., July 2<}th, 1886. DEAR LORD LANSDOWNE, In the uncertainty of mails between B. C. and Quebec I have thought it better to direct my letters to you direct to England. In re the headland question 1 : I am strongly of opinion that the policy of the past should be continued, and the settlement of the question postponed; at all events, until all hope of a renewed treaty is abandoned. The subject has been exhaustively discussed by the diplomacy of both nations, and nothing now remains to be said. England and Canada think they are in the right, 1 i. e., as to whether the territorial waters of Canada, from which United States fishermen are excluded by the Treaty of 1818, should be measured, in the case of bays, from the shores, or from a line, drawn between headland and headland, across the mouths of all bays, gulfs, or indentations of the coast. SIR JOHN MACDONALD 385 and the American Government, right or wrong, dare not yield in the face of their fierce democracy. The only solution therefore of the difficulty, is a reference to a friendly power or a selected jurisconsult. In case of such a reference, should the decision be against the pretensions of the United States, the irritation there fomented as it would be by demagogues of the Elaine stamp would be so great as to preclude the possibility of a friendly negotiation for a reciprocity treaty, either general, or affecting the fisheries only. This con- sideration induced Canada heretofore to refrain from in- sisting on the exclusion of American fishermen from our bays, and H. M. Government approved of this view. We might, after the Washington Treaty was ratified, have suggested a reference of the headland question, but both the British and American negotiators of the Treaty were impressed with the idea that it would be permanent, and that it would be well "to let sleeping dogs lie." The result of the exclusion of the U. S. fishing vessels from our waters during the present season, will probably induce the Gloucester fishermen to look more favourably than before on a renewal of the fishery clauses, and we should endeavour to secure a long term say of 20 years in any new arrangement. That once effected, the headlands matter might be referred; and whatever the decision might be, there would be ample time afforded to allow any feeling of irritation which might arise, either in the United States or Canada, to pass off. The fishing season will be practically over in October, and we can between that time and the meet- ing of Congress be pretty well able to judge what are the prospects of an arrangement. I began this note six days ago, but have been so inter- rupted that I now only close it on the 3rd August. Believe me, dear Lord Lansdowne, Faithfully yours, JOHN A. MACDONALD. P.S. A gentleman of standing from Philadelphia has just told me that Elaine is coming out with a manifesto in September, hostile to England on the fishery and other questions. 386 CORRESPONDENCE OF The three years succeeding the General Elections of 1882, in which the voters emphatically renewed the confidence they had given to Sir John Macdonald in 1878, marked the zenith of the great leader's second administration. The execution of Louis Riel in November, 1885, caused a breach in the ranks of the Lower Canadian supporters of the minis- try, and from that time the fortunes of the Conservative party began to wane. In October, 1886, occurred the pro- vincial general elections in Quebec, resulting in the defeat of the local Conservative Government (which suffered vicariously for the alleged offences of its political friends at Ottawa), and the accession to power of Mr. Honore Mercier, whose sudden rise by the scaffold of Regina threatened serious consequences to the government of Sir John Macdonald, and although these did not develop at the time, nor indeed in his lifetime, yet a serious blow was dealt to the unity of his party throughout the Dominion. It was with a view of checking the progress of the schism caused by that event, that Sir John Macdonald undertook an elec- toral campaign in Ontario in the autumn following his return from British Columbia. From Sir John Macdonald to Sir Charles Tupper. Earnsc/iffe, Private. Ottawa, October ijth, 1886. MY DEAR TUPPER, The triumph of the Rouges over the corpse of Riel changes the aspect of affairs, quoad the Dominion Government, completely. It will encourage the Grits and opposition generally; will dispirit our friends, and will, I fear, carry the country against us at the general election. My Quebec colleagues have not returned to town, and until their arrival we cannot take stock of the position. I shall write you when we do. But at present it seems to me that you must take hold of Nova Scotia. * * * Yours sincerely, JOHN A. MACDONALD. SIR JOHN MACDONALD 387 From Sir Charles Tupper to Sir John Macdonald. p/, Cromwell Road y November 75, 1886. MY DEAR SIR JOHN, I duly received your letter of October I5th and have been awaiting your promised letter when you had seen your Quebec colleagues. I do not share your fears that you will be beaten at the general election, as the success of the Kiel party will alarm the other provinces. I enclose an extract from Charlie's letter which shows that I was not mistaken as to the prospect in Nova Scotia, and confirms me in the opinion that I am not needed there! No one but a Minister can effectually organize the party, and Thompson going to several of the counties with Charlie, will do it better than I could. Both White and Foster created a splendid impression, and when a meeting is held in Digby, one of your French colleagues could do good service and make that county safe. I hope Mr. Schreiber 1 will go to the C.P.R. and be replaced by Pottinger. It would relieve the Government of the great unpopularity of the former, and strengthen you in Cumberland, Colchester, Pictou, Hants and Halifax, very much. I have taken care to inform the Prince of Wales, as you desired, that Canada will give the 20,0x00 to the Jubilee fund, whatever form it may take. I will write you fully upon the Institute matter so soon as anything is decided. Two serious obstructions have sprung up in opposition to the Prince's plan. The Chamber of Commerce object to its being * and the theatres object to the attractions of the gardens and music, and both these points will have to be yielded to get the money. Yours sincerely, CHARLES TUPPER. From Sir John Rose, Bart., to Sir John Macdonald. 18, Queen's Gate, 4th December, 1886. DEAR MACDONALD, As one of my dearest and best friends, I must write and tell you, that I am the victim of an epidemic that seems to spare no age! and am again iMr. (afterward Sir) Collingwood Schreiber, K.C.M.G., for many years Chief Engineer, and from 1892 until 1905 Deputy Minister of the Department of Railways and Canals. Sir Collingwood enjoyed in a high degree the confidence of Sir John Macdonald, who was Minister of Railways and Canals at the time of his death. It is related that at a Cabinet meeting, Sir John met a suggestion that Mr. Schreiber should be retired, by smiting the table violently with his fist, accompany- ing his action with the angry exclamation: "When Schreiber goes, I go." Mr. Schreiber was made a C.M.G. in 1893, and received his K in 1916. Died, irjrd March, 1918. *Three words indecipherable. 388 CORRESPONDENCE OF going to be married. The solitary life seems to be more unendurable than ever, and a lady, who has also had her great sorrow, thinks as I do we may find some happiness in each other's companionship for what is left of our lives. She is a widow over 40, no children originally a Miss Stewart-Mackenzie from Inverness, and now the widow of the late Lord Tweeddale. I hope some day you may meet her, and I know you will like her. I meant to have written to you long ago to thank you for your most wel- come and interesting letter written on your return from British Columbia. I have been anxiously looking for what was to come to pass about the elections, but I have an abiding belief in your star! You shall have a letter soon, but other people's affairs have kept me very full of work. My kindest remembrances to Lady Macdonald and remain as ever, Yours most sincerely, JOHN ROSE. From Sir John Macdonald to Lieutenant-Governor the Hon. L. R. Masson Earnscliffe, Private and Confidential. Ottawa, December 8th, 1886. MY DEAR MASSON, I have been thinking now and again of writing you on the subject of the present position of affairs in Quebec, and I am quite sure you will understand the spirit in which I now write. The position, I take, to be this Mr. Ross 1 had a majority when he went to the country. The result has been that his party is apparently in a majority, and the normal opposition led by M. Mercier 2 is also apparently in a mi- nority. I say apparently, because the only constitutional way of ascertaining how parties stand, is by a vote of the As- sembly. There is a third party, apparently opposed to both. Under the circumstances, Ross has clearly the right to meet the Legislature and submit to its decision. Disraeli introduced the innovation of resigning without waiting for defeat by a vote. This he did, as there was in 1 The Hon. John J. Ross, Prime Minister of the Province of Quebec from 1884 to 1887; Member of the Legislative Council of Quebec (1867-1901) of which body he was also Speaker (1879-1884); a Senator of Canada (1887-1901); Speaker of the Senate (1891-1896); sworn of the Privy Council ist May, 1896; a Minister without portfolio in the Cabinet of Sir Charles Tupper. Died, 4th May, 1901. 1 Honore Mercier, then leader of the opposition in the Provincial Legislature, Premier of the Province of Quebec (1887-1892). SIR JOHN MACDONALD 389 his opinion an undoubted majority against him, and great difficulty, or rather inconvenience would arise as to matters of supply if he waited. He need not have done so however it rested with him entirely whether to advise the Queen to accept his resignation or to abide his fate when the House met. Gladstone followed his example, against the known wishes of his colleagues, and out of mere vexation at his defeat. The best constitutional authorities in England say that these two precedents were unfortunate, and should be avoided in the future. Lord Dufferin told Mackenzie in 1878 that, as he was beaten by a large majority, he ought not to cling to office, but if Mackenzie had stated that he would abide the decision of Parliament, Lord Dufferin would have submitted. In the Quebec case no party has apparently a majority, and therefore Ross is still armed with all the powers of your constitutional adviser. I need not tell you that in my opinion the best interests of the Dominion would be prejudiced by M. Mercier forming a Government. I feel sure that you, as an individual, agree with me, and that as a Governor you would do what you properly and constitutionally could, to prevent such a calamity falling on Quebec. Now I understand, but not from Ross, that he would like, from the bad state of his health, to leave office, if some reputable man of his party were sent for to form a new administration. The matter rests with you, and I should trust that you would save the country from untold disasters by accepting Ross's advice as to his successor. I can assure you that I feel greatly the responsibility of writing you, but we are both lovers of our country, and should not hesitate to act and to speak, when we think its best interests are involved. Always my dear Masson, Most sincerely yours His Honour JOHN A. MACDONALD. Lt. Governor Masson. 390 CORRESPONDENCE OF From Sir John Macdonald to Sir Charles Tuppcr. Private and Confidential. On the train, 20th December, 1886. MY DEAR TUPPER, I am on my way back to Ottawa after a successful tour in Western Ontario. We have made a very good impression, and I think will hold our own in the Province. We have however lost nearly the whole Catholic vote by the course of the Mail, and this course has had a prejudicial effect, not only in Ontario, but throughout the Dominion, and has therefore introduced a great element of uncertainty in a good many constituencies. In Nova Scotia the outlook is bad, and the only hope of our holding our own there is your immediate return and vigorous action. It may be necessary that you should, even if only for a time, return to the Cabinet. McLelan, I know would readily make way for you. Now the responsibility on you is very great, for should any disaster arise because of your not coming out, the whole blame will be thrown on you. I see that Anglin is now starring it in Nova Scotia. I send you an extract from a condensed report of his remarks which appeared in the Montreal Gazette. This is a taking pro- gramme for the Maritime Provinces, and has to be met, and no one can do it but yourself. But enough of Dominion politics. I cannot in conclusion too strongly press upon you the absolute necessity of your coming out at once, and do not like to contemplate the evil consequence of your declining to do so. I shall cable you the time for holding our election the moment it is settled. Believe me Yours faithfully. JOHN A. MACDONALD. The Honourable Sir Charles Tupper, G.C.M.G., &c., &c., &c. SIR JOHN MACDONALD 391 From Sir George Stephen, Bart., to Sir John Macdonald. *5> St. James’s Place, S. W.

New Year’s Day, 1887.

In sending you my New Year’s good wishes by cable to-day, I could
not help a feeling that it savoured somewhat of mockery. It is surely
‘hard lines’ that it should be necessary for you, after a service of over
40 years, to undergo the physical and mental labour and turmoil which
I see by the papers have been your daily task ever since I left Canada in
October last. It does seem to me to be a cruel fate, though I do not over-
look the fact that the work may have compensations for you which I am
not qualified to appreciate. Still, for all that, I would like much to see
you taking some steps to secure, at least, some freedom from the active
drudgery of public life.

Smith tells me that you were looking and feeling wonderfully well when
he left. I most sincerely hope you will continue to do so until your worry
is over. I am taking it for granted that the general elections will take
place at once. It is impossible for me to believe they will not go in your
favour. The Leader of the Opposition I regard as an enemy to Canada.

What do you think of Randy? His escapade did not surprise me he
is too uncertain a bird to be trusted he cannot trust himself. Anybody
else in the Exchequer will be better for us. His desire to startle by a
sensational budget, was against our Pacific subsidy, which I hope will soon
be settled the delay is most trying. We shall make good use of your
cable to Tupper when the Government is once more completed. At
present the idea is that Smith will take the Exchequer.

Of course you have heard of Rose’s marriage to Lady Tweeddale. She
is a very nice woman, and her being a Marchioness does not lessen her
attractions in Rose’s eyes. I think upon the whole that the step is a wise
one for him to take. His children have all ‘flown the nest’, leaving
him without a home. We are dining with him to-morrow alone to meet
‘Julia.’ I fear it will rather go against the grain with me to see anyone
at 1 8 Queensgate in poor dear Lady Rose’s place, but I daresay I shall
soon get over that, as I really feel that the marriage is a very good thing
for both the parties concerned.

My kindest regards and best wishes for the New Year to Lady Mac-
donald and to Mary.

Believe me,

Always yours,


From Sir John Macdonald to C. W. Bunting, Esq.


Ottawa, January jrd,

There is no use in crying over spilt milk the mischief is
done, 1 but I think you will admit now that the course taken
by the Mail has not only resulted in Meredith’s defeat, but
prejudiced the Conservative party throughout the Dominion.
I don’t wish to reproach you, but think you are bound, in
justice to myself and the leaders of the Conservative party,
to state that the course taken by you, was taken from
conscientious motives and notwithstanding our strong and
continued remonstrances. This should be done at once and
in a leading article in the Mail.

The announcement is all the more necessary from the fact
that the Mail is going to pursue the same course be the
consequences what they may!

The Mail having taken that stand, gives me, I think, a
right to ask this avowal at your hands.

Believe me,
Yours faithfully,

C. W. Bunting, Esq.

From Governor-General The Marquess of Lansdowne to Sir
John Macdonald.

Government House,

Ottawa, January jth, 1886. [sic] 1887*

I have told Lord Salisbury that I do not see my way to joining his
Government as things now stand, and that if he wants ‘yea’ or ‘nay’ by

1 With a view to assisting his party in the approaching Dominion elections,
Mr. (afterward Sir) Oliver Mowat suddenly dissolved the Ontario Legislature, and
brought on the Provincial General Elections, in which he was successful, though how
far the coup helped his Ottawa friends is problematical. Mr. (afterward Sir)
W. R. Meredith here alluded to, was the leader of the Opposition in the Ontario

J The date of this letter should be 1887. The offer was made by Lord Salisbury
at the time of the reorganization of his cabinet consequent upon the resignation of
Lord Randolph Churchill in December, 1886. See Winston Churchill’s “Life of
Lord Randolph Churchill,” Vol. II, p. 273.


cable, it must be ‘nay’. This will, I imagine, terminate the incident, as
they say in France.

I tell you this at once, as I know that you take a friendly interest in
what is happening.

Yours sincerely,


From Sir Charles Tupper to Sir John Macdonald.

Privy Council Office, Canada.


January 2^th, 1887.

As I have not been able to convince you that it was best for me to remain
in England I beg to say in the outset that as a good party man I am en-
tirely at your disposal. I will go to Nova Scotia and make the best fight
I can in support of our party and then return to England, or I will resign
my office and contest my old constituency as a private member, or as a
member of the Government, as you may decide. Or, if you prefer it I will
contest Mr. Blake’s constituency with him. I think I could probably be
of most service to the Government if I took the portfolio of Railways and
Canals. But in whatever way you think I can best serve the interests of
our party, will be equally agreeable to

Yours faithfully,


From Governor-General the Marquess of Lansdowne to Sir
John Macdonald

Montreal, February 2$rd, 1887.

I must send you a word of congratulation upon the result of the elec-
tions ! which appear to justify the most sanguine of the expectations in
which your friends permitted themselves to indulge.

There are many reasons which would have led me to regret a change of
Government at the present moment, but, without reference to these, it
would have been very painful to me to sever, towards the close of my term
of office, a connection which has been so pleasant to me during the years
which I have spent in this country.

We shall, I think, return to Ottawa on Monday or Tuesday. There
are several matters which, now that the elections are over, require con-
sideration. You may like to read the enclosed private note from Sir
Henry Holland. You are, I think, disposed to concur in the opinion which
he expresses, that our fishery officers might be specially instructed to avoid
a strict insistence upon the literal compliance with the requirements of

x The General Elections held on the 22nd February, 1887, at which Sir John
Macdonald’s Government was sustained by a considerable majority.


the Customs laws, where there are reasonable grounds for believing that
the vessel has resorted to our waters for a lawful purpose. The issue of
such instructions would, I think, have a good effect. You will perhaps
discuss this point with Mr. Thompson and Mr. Foster.

By the way, it is remarkable that the whole of your colleagues are re-

When would you like Parliament to be summoned?

We should, I think, lose no time in naming our representative at the
Colonial Conference. Would it be possible to make any arrangement by
which Sir A. Campbell might go over before actually assuming office at
Toronto? l

Yours sincerely,

From Sir Donald Smith to Sir John Macdonald.

Private. Montreal, 2^th February, 1887.


I heartily congratulate you on your personal double victory, and also on
the result of the elections, which shows that the great body of electors were
alive to their own interests. Friends in Montreal acted admirably, but the
tactics of our opponents were anything but creditable to them.

I was not aware that Blake and Wiman had joined hands in the effort
to carry constituencies by the weight of American dollars a most un-
righteous compact, which ought to make their defeat all the more wel-
come to every one having a spark of patriotism or manly feeling in him.

The idea of sending a special messenger to look after the North West
territory is a good one. McDowall 2 is, I believe, a worthy fellow, but
wanting in stamina and requires backing. Hardisty, with Davis out of
the way, will do well enough, but as you say, there is time enough for this.

Believe me,
Sincerely yours,

From the R. Hon. W. H. Smith 3 to Sir John Macdonald.

Private. 10, Downing Street,

Whitehall, 26th February, 1887.

Let me offer you my hearty congratulations. I watched the contest
with anxiety and I regard the issue as of great importance to the unity
and stability of the Empire.

Yours very sincerely,

1 As Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, to which office he had recently been
appointed. Sir Alexander Campbell went to the Colonial Conference as the repre-
sentative of Canada, and did not assume office at Toronto until the ist June, 1887.

1 D. H. McDowall, in 1887 M.P. for Saskatchewan.

3 Secretary of State for War in Lord Salisbury’s second administration.


From Sir John Macdonald to Governor General the Marquess of


Ottawa, March ifth, 1887.

I brought up the Pacific steamer subsidy in Council yester-
day afternoon. Canada made no offer to contribute to the
proposed line, and is not prepared to do so at present. The
action of the Imperial Government is extraordinary.

In 1885, the Imperial Postmaster General called for
tenders for a mail line from British Columbia to China and
Japan, with a minimum speed of eleven knots. The C.P.R.
pointed out that such a service would be of no use to com-
merce of Canada or of England via our railway that San
Francisco had the command of that trade, and would retain
it, unless the new line equalled in speed the fast steamers
plying between New York and Liverpool. The Railway
offered H. M. Government, for a subsidy of 100,000, to put
on such a line, and to build the vessels on specifications
approved by the Admiralty So that they might be con-
verted into ships of war or transports in case of necessity
thus adding to the strength of the British navy. This offer
seemed to be favourably viewed by the Home Government,
and I was informed that when Lord Salisbury resigned, he left
behind him a memo, expressing the approval of the retiring
Government, and commending the scheme to his successor.

Since then, I understand Sir Geo. Stephen has been in
communication with the Government, but with no satis-
factory result. He has not however been informed of the
final refusal, as I received a cable from him on Saturday
asking me to press the subject from this side. I don’t know
where “the reduced subsidy of 60,000” comes from.
Probably Stephen has offered to accept that sum instead of
100,000 as originally asked for.

Canada considers she has done more than her share by
building the C.P.R. from Halifax and Quebec to Vancouver
and subsidizing the Atlantic Mail Line, and the C.P.R.’s
undertaking to build the Pacific line involves an enormous
expenditure if accepted.


Apparently from the cable sent Your Excellency, the
Postmaster General withdraws even from the first advertise-
ment for a mail line.

Stephen sails on 24th instant, and I think matters must
remain as they are until we learn from him the intentions of
his Company.

Believe me,

dear Lord Lansdowne,
Faithfully yours,

From Governor-General the Marquess of Lansdowne to Sir
John Macdonald.

Government House,

Ottawa, April 1, 1887.

I have just received the enclosed telegram.

Art. XXIX ! was not one of those abrogated at the time when the
Fisheries clauses were denounced, and is therefore, I assume, still in oper-
ation, in spite of any legislation by Congress.
Will you tell me whether I am right?

Yours sincerely,


From Governor-General the Marquess of Lansdowne to Sir
John Macdonald.

Ottawa, April 2, 1887.

I shall not send an answer to the telegram about article XXIX until
you have received Mr. Thompson’s report. I presume, however, that we
shall reply in some such terms as the following:

“We regard Article XXIX as still in force, and as not to be abrogated
except by two years notice. We contend that the statute of Congress
does not affect validity of article.”

Yours sincerely,


1 Of the Treaty of Washington, 1871, relating to the bonding privilege. For
further correspondence on this question, see letters between Sir John Macdonald and
Sir John Thompson, in the Macdonald Archives, bundle 503; also letter book No.


From Sir John Macdonald to Sir Hector Langevin,


Ottawa, jrd April, 1887.

Private fc? Confidential.


My sincere friendship for you and my desire to strengthen
your hands, induce me to write you on a subject of great
personal and political importance to yqurself. To go directly
to the subject, I think you are making a mistake in not going
to Chapleau’s banquet at Montreal.

As to your private and social relations I haven’t a word to
say, but these political festivities are public matters. You
are senior minister from the Province of Quebec not from
the Quebec district or that of Three Rivers. By holding
back from Montreal, you do two things; you emphasize and
confirm the general belief that the political relations be-
tween Chapleau and yourself are the reverse of cordial and
you actually hand over the power and influence of the Govt.
in the district of Montreal, and, in a great degree of the
Townships, to him.

Remember that he went to the banquet given you at
Montreal, and look back at the relations between George
Brown and myself. We hadn’t spoken for ten long years;
yet when we coalesced, we acted together, dined at all public
places together, played euchre in crossing the Atlantic, and
went into society in England together And yet on the
day after he resigned, we resumed our old positions and
ceased to speak.

In my opinion you are playing Chapleau’s game and
strengthening his hands, and I will venture to say, our
colleagues generally will incline to the same conclusion. Let
me again say that my advice is given with the one object
of serving you.

Caron and White dined with me last night. The former
thinks you have gone too far with J. J. Ross to ask him to
postpone the senatorship and that besides, we must first
agree, in Council, who the Senate leader is to be, and if
Abbott is selected must find out whether he will qualify


and assume the duties. This we must settle in Council
to-morrow before wiring Ross to come up.

Sincerely yours,


From the Hon. J. S. D. Thompson to Sir John Macdonald.

Ottawa, 4th April, 1887.

Art. 29 of the Washington Treaty has not been abrogated. The 1st
paragraph agrees (inter alia) that goods &c., arriving at New York, Boston,
Portland and other ports which the President may designate, and destined
for H. M. possessions in North America, may be entered and conveyed in
transit without payment of duties, under such rules &c., for the protection
of the revenue as the U. S. Government may prescribe.

The Edmunds Bill says that in certain events the President may pro-
hibit the entrance into U. S. waters of vessels of the British dominions
in North America.

The two provisions do not seem to come into actual conflict, although
the Edmunds Bill would lessen the freedom with which the Treaty has
been used by us. It would not however put an end to the bonding system.
Yours faithfully,


P. S. The telegram suggested by the G. G. seems very proper.

J. S. D. T.

Almost immediately after the General Elections of 1887,
the Provincial leaders of the Liberal party, which at that
time was in power in all the provinces, except Manitoba,
British Columbia and Prince Edward Island, organized what
was styled an Inter-Provincial conference that is, a con-
ference composed of the local Premiers and one or more of
their leading colleagues, who met together in Quebec at the
call of Mr. Mercier, to consider the question of the readjust-
ment of the financial and other relations between the Do-
minion and the provinces, with an eye to embarrass the Do-
minion Government, which they had signally failed to defeat
at the polls, and now sought to entangle in controversy, thus
presenting the spectacle of the larger provinces arrayed in
hostility to the Central Government as the common enemy
of all. Sir John Macdonald was not to be caught in any
such trap. Apart from the question of the bona fides of the
managers of this conference, which he gravely doubted, Sir


John uniformly held to the view (since widely departed from)
that the functions of the Provincial Governments are strictly
limited to matters of local concern, and that the only con-
stitutional representatives of a province in its relations with
the Dominion, are the members of the Parliament of Canada
from that province. He therefore declined to take part
in this conference or to recognize it, on behalf of the Do-
minion Government, in any form.

From the Hon. Honore Mercier to Sir John Macdonald.

Strictly confidential. Quebec,

April 4th, 1887.

I beg respectfully to draw your attention on the statement made in the
speech from the throne, at the opening of the Quebec Legislature, on the
1 6th ultimo, in relation to a proposed conference between the federal and
provincial governments.

Before proceeding any further in carrying out this idea, I beg to solicit
from you a confidential interview.

Could you favour me with such an interview Saturday or Friday after-
noon (8th or gth inst.) at Ottawa?

An answer as soon as possible at Montreal, &8 Berri Street, will oblige,
Yours truly,

The Right Honourable
Sir J. A. Macdonald,

From Sir John Macdonald to the Hon. H. Mercier.


Ottawa, April 6th y 1887.

I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your
favour of the 4th instant, suggesting our having a confidential
interview on the subject of a proposed conference between
the Federal and Provincial Governments.

As the intention of the Quebec Government to invite the
Governments of the other Provinces and that of the Do-
minion to a conference has been formally announced in the
speech from the Throne on the opening of the Quebec
Legislature, it would appear to be expedient to await the


promised communication before taking any other step in the


I have the honour to be,

dear Sir,

Yours truly,


Honore Mercier,

88, Berri St., Montreal.

From the Hon. Honore Mercier to Sir John Macdonald.

Cabinet du Premier Ministrc
Province de Quebec.

Quebec, April ifth, 1887.

I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the sixth
instant, in answer to mine of the fourth instant asking you for the favour of
a confidential interview in connection with the proposed conference
between the provincial and the federal governments, announced in the
Speech from the Throne at the opening of the present session of the Que-
bec Legislature, on the i6th March last.

You state in your letter that:

“It would appear to be expedient to await the promised communication
before taking any other step in the matter.”

I fear you have not seized the exact and precise meaning of my request,
nor understood the real nature of the interview which I asked. This re-
quest was entirely confidential, as the interview would have been. There
was no question of entering into official negotiations with you or with the
government of which you are the head, with reference to the proposed
conference. This will be done later on. My object was merely to assure
you, in a friendly and confidential conversation, that the proposed con-
ference should not be considered as a hostile act against the federal govern-
ment, but really as a suitable and proper way of ascertaining’in a friendly
manner the means of avoiding all occasions of conflict between the pro-
vincial governments and the federal government and of improving their
financial and other relations.

In order to convince you that these are really the sentiments which lead
me to seek a meeting with you, I may add that I expressed them publicly
in the House last night.

If, after these explanations you, come to the conclusion that a friendly
and confidential interview may be had, I place myself again at your dis-

Pray accept the assurance of my highest regard and believe me to be,
Yours very truly,

To the Right Honourable

Sir J. A. Macdonald,


From Sir John Macdonald to the Hon. Honore Merrier.


Ottawa, 28th April, 1887.

Pardon me for not answering your favour of the i4th
before, but my many engagements just now are my excuse.

I shall be quite ready to meet you whenever it may suit
your convenience to visit Ottawa, but deem it inexpedient
that our interview should be of a confidential nature.
I remain, dear Sir,
Yours very truly,

The Hon . Honore Mercier,

In the session of 1887 a resolution calling for the pro-
hibition of the manufacture, importation, and sale of intoxi-
cating liquors, introduced by a private member of the House
of Commons supporting the Government, caused some em-
barra^ssYnent to several members, among others to the Hon.
(now Sir) George Foster, then Minister of Marine and
Fisheries in Sir John Macdonald’s cabinet, who was known
to be a pronounced advocate of prohibition. The resolution
was defeated by a vote of 112 to 70, Mr. Foster voting with
the minority.

From the Hon. George E. Foster to Sir John Macdonald.
Confidential. Ottawa, June 14, 1887.


Just before the final vote* this morning, Sir Hector came to me and
asked me how I was going to vote. I said to him that I could not do else
than vote for the resolution. He said it was a serious vote, and I understood
him to add that if I voted for the resolution, it was the same as voting my-

*On the question of Prohibition, which he supported against his colleagues
in the ministry. The question, however, was not a party one. See Journals
of the House of Commons, ijth June, 1887, page 274.


self out of the Government. I have thought over the matter since and
concluded to drop you this note. You know the whole position so far as
I am concerned, and I leave the matter in your hands. If you think my
vote in any way compromised the Government, or that my remaining in
the Government would embarrass it, or be against the interests of the
party, you know you have but to intimate your wishes to me. I am quite
enough of a party man to know and cheerfully acquiesce in the fact that
the one must give way to the general good. I write thus in consequence
of Sir Hector’s remark. Please be quite frank with me, as I know you will.

Believe me,

dear Sir John,
Yours faithfully,


From Sir John Macdonald to the Hon. G. E. Foster.

Confidential. Ottawa, June 14, 1887.


The danger was tided over by the vote on Jamieson’s

Had the Grits voted en masse for it, it might have been

You may think no more of what Langevin said, and after
the session we can consider the future.

A vote for prohibition forced on a Government involves
either resignation or a new fiscal policy, and a new system
of taxation, and so is a revolution.

We can easily arrange a course to avoid, in future sessions,
any cross purposes.

Meanwhile consider Sir Hector’s language unsaid.

Yours sincerely,

The Hon. G. E. Foster.

About this time there arose a movement in favour of what
was first spoken of as Commercial Union with the United
States, and which under the guise of Unrestricted Reci-
procity, was afterward espoused by the Liberal party, and
played such a large part in the General Elections of 1891.

In the campaign of 1887 it had scarcely been mentioned,
but during the spring and summer of that year, it began to


be advocated with much persistency and skill by Professor
Goldwin Smith, by Mr. Erastus Wiman a Canadian by
birth, long resident in New York and by Congressman
Butterworth, whose name was associated with a Bill pre-
pared for the purpose of bringing about Commercial Union,
by which was meant the abolition of the Customs line be-
tween Canada and the United States, and the establishment
of complete reciprocity between the two countries in all
products, whether natural or manufactured, together with the
adoption of a common tariff against all other nations, in-
cluding Great Britain. In October of the same year Sir
Richard Cartwright then regarded as the leader of the
Liberals of Ontario and of the English-speaking Opposition
delivered an important speech in which he declared himself
in favour of Commercial Union. This declaration stimu-
lated the growing interest that was beginning to be taken in
the subject.

For the history of this movement, see various documents
in the Macdonald archives (bundle No. 462), and particu-
larly a despatch dated the jist October, 1887, addressed by
the Marquess of Lansdowne, then Governor-General of
Canada, to Sir Henry Hol