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Hon. Alexander Mackenzie. 
(From a J'/ivloyrajih by TopUy, OtUiua, l^Hi/.J 


,v,jj /j\>^;t ! |'^''a^ ■ 

• • ^,.^..,. (.!.«, 

Mrs. Mackenzie. 

( Ft'om a Photuijraph by Toii/ii/, Ottawa, ISSS,) 







Private Secretary 



Minister of Education, Ontario 

"The better I have become acquainted with you, the more I have learned 
to respect and honor the straightforward integrity of your character, and tiie 
unmistakable desire to do your dutj' faithfully by the Queen, the Empire and 

the Dominion In my opinion, neither in England nor in Canada has 

any public servant of the Crown administered the affairs c f the nation witii a 
purer patriotism, with a more indefatigable industry, or nobler aspirations 
than yourself.'' — Lord Dufferin. 

" It will be a bright page in the iiistory of Canada that tells that the first 
Reform Minister of this great Dominion was the noblest workingnmn in the 
land."— Hon. Georgk Brown. 



C. R. Parish & Company 

ntiNTKn .AND norsD nv 




Entered acconlu.g to tl.e Act of Parliament o7 Canada in fho ^~ 

t ^a„d ei,Ht ...ndred and ninety- two, ., t,^ w' I^ . LJTVr 
^ PANV (Limited), at the Department of 





Zbc Xate "^oon, IMcx- /lOacheuiic, 




3o IJeapcctfulU) Diuacflbcb. 




HE history of an individual is often the history of a 
nation. The domination of a sinf^le mind may 
determine for centuries the course of a nation's 
life. The mere statement of this proposition calls 
^^ up such names as Cromwell, Chatham, Peel. 

The writer of biography is not, however, an historian. 
He has to do with the forces which make history rather than 
with history itself. He has to look from the effect to the 
cause — from the cleft sea to the wondrous rod in the leader's 
hand. The effect of social environment on the subject of 
his narrative, the influence upon him of education, of business, 
of wealth or of poverty, he is bound to consider ; but while 
doing so he is ever conscious of the fact that many millions of 
the race whose biographies, happily, have not been written, 
were similarly conditioned. He finds that thousands )f Ame- 
rican citizens toiled upon the farm and split rails as did Abra- 
ham Lincoln ; yet only one of these thousands became Presi- 
dent of the United States. Scotland had generations of pea- 
sant ploughmen ; yet only one was a Robert Burns. England 
produced many novelists and brilliant adventurers; yet only 
one ever became Premier. Why this discrimination is what 
constantly occurs to the biograplier. Is it owing to native 




talent ? If so, how did that talent first express itself ? How 
was it first discovered ? Or, was success owint^ to some adven- 
titious circumstance, which would be equally effective in secur- 
ing distinction for the many thousands whose names have 
passed into oblivion? 

The subject of this memoir was not presented to the world 
as an object of admiration, because of ancestral lineage or rank. 
No doubt his presence gladdened his Highland home, as such 
" sweet pledges of immortality " gladden other homes. At his 
father's fireside, or at the parish school, he was like other boys. 
It seems no one in early life smoothed down his flaxen curls, 
and whispered in his ear, prophetically, the story of his future 
greatness. Not even when toiling in the " bothy " with his 
fellow masons did any prescient comrade see in him the germs of 
statesmanship ; and yet there must have been at work even in 
thase early days that hidden growth of mind and character, 
which afterwards developed into a great leader of ]niblic 
opinion. How strange is destiny ! See in the humble stone- 
mason, shaping, with mallet and chisel, the rough granite of 
his native country into the stately column or the well-propor- 
tioned capital, a future Premier of Canada, shaping the policy 
of a great country, and giving it an enduring name among 
the nations of the world, and explain in advance, if you can, 
how it is to be brought aljout. 

Mr. Mackenzie's early days in Canada were as uneventful as 
his Scottish life. Like thousands of others, who clambered over 
the bulwarks of an emigrant ship to seek subsistence in the 
colonies, he came unheralded. His was no well-filled purse. 
He had no letters of introduction to men of wealth or 
influence. He bowed at no man's door for preferment. 
But thoufifh his wealth did not consist in current coin of the 
realm, yet he was net poor. He had a trade ; he had health ; 










he had self-reliance ; he had energy ; he had character ; and 
with such possessions who would call him poor ? Without 
waiting for anybody to take him by the hand, he applied him- 
self to his tiude. What he thought of his new home at that 
time, no one can now tell. It may be he often longed for his 
native hills — for the dreamy twilight of the sunnner months — 
for a sight of his Scottish home — for his friends. Or it may 
be, that he saw the great possibilities of the land of his adoption, 
although still held by nature in its rugged grasp. Whatever 
may have been his thouglits, certain it is, he was no laggard. 
" Whatsoever his hand found to do, he did it Avitli his might," 
unobtrusively and unostentatiously. For nearly twenty years 
after liis arrival in this country, he was, in the strictest sense of 
the term, a working-man — all honour to him. But, while toiling 
with his hands, his mind was active. He combined with the 
dignity of labour, the thoughtfulness of the student. He felt 
he was a citizen, not an alien, and that as such his country had 
claims upon him. 

The questions engaging public attention were peculiarly 
congenial to a man of his temperament. Upper Canada, which 
contained the great bulk of the English-speaking population, 
had just been united to Lower Canada as a counterpoise to the 
influence of the French race. Responsible government, the great 
balance-wheel of the British constitution, was on its trial, and, 
in spite of partisan governors and cabinets, promised well. The 
commercial growth of the country sought freer channels with 
the United States in the Reciprocity Treaty of 1854. Reli- 
gious liberty and e(|uality were clamouring ior the seculariza- 
tion of the clergy reserves and the abolition of rectories. 
The advocates of a broader education were appealing for the 
estalilishment of free school.'. Great issues were before the 
country — issues which, to Mr. Mackenzie, were fraught with 





momentous results, and which, no doubt, gave the direction to 
his political career. As a Nonconformist in Scotland, knowing 
and feeling the disabilities ander which Nonconformists 
laboured, not only in the United Kingdom, but in every colony 
of the Empire, he could, without reserve, take up the policy of 
the Liberal party on that question. 

His great leader, Mr. Brown, had said in 1851 : " By means 
" of Church Endowments, church has been set against church, 
"family against family, sectarian hatred has been fostered, 
" religion has been brought into contempt by the scramble for 
" public plunder, and infidelity has been in no small degree 
" promoted by the sight of men preaching one day the worth- 
" lessness of lucre, and battling on the next to clutch a little of 
" that same commodity, though gained by the grossest partiality 
" and injustice — and all this to serve the cause of religion." 

With these sentiments he heartily coincided. To light the 
battles of the Liberal party, then, was simply to express his 
own convictions. And every one who heard him speak in 
those days felt that he was not the mere champion of liberal- 
ism, but an embodiment of liberalism itself. 

Long before Mr. Mackenzie entered Parliament, his ability 
as a debater was recognized by all who knew him. His stun- 
ning blows and corrosive humour were felt and feared by every 
antagonist With a courage that never quailed, with a logic 
J18 inexorable as one of Euclid's demonstrations, and in lan- 
guage, simple, exact and forcible, none the less effective be- 
cause of its Scottish accent, he would tear into tatters the 
arguments of the enemy. The interruptions of his opponents 
but assisted in their discomfiture, for he was a master at 
repartee, and no one ever crossed swords with him without 
realizing that he had a foeman worthy of his steel. 

But these were only the training days of the young athlete; 





•> • 

he had not reached the maturity of his pcwer, although he 
entered Parliament in his thirty-ninth year. The great de- 
mand upon his time and pliysical strength by his vocation 
made it impossible for him to give much time to public 
matters. Hi", whole attention was now, however, at least for 
a considerable portion of the year, to be given to politics. He 
was brought face to face with men who directed the public 
opinion of the day. He had a parliamentary library at his elbow, 
and it remained to be seen whether tue platform champion of 
tlie rural school-house and the dimly-lighted town-hall would 
hold his own with the Ruperts ")f parliamentary debate. His 
friends had not long to wait. Modestly, but with an unaf- 
fected consciousness of power, he took part in the debates ; 
and parliament, with its traditional consideration for young 
members, heard him with respect. 

His advancement was unusually rapid. In 18G4, he was 
an active member of the party caucus. In 18G5, lie was 
asked by Sir John Macdonald to join his Government. In 
LSG7, he was the acknowledged leader of the Liberal party. 
And, in IS?.*], just eleven years after first subscribing to the 
roll as a member of parliament, he was Premier of Canada. 
Few men, even with the assistance of wealth and social posi- 
tion, can furnish such a record. Of him it may be truly said : 

" We build the ladder by wliich we rise 
From the lowlj' eartli to tlio vaulted skies, 
And we mount to the summit round by round." 

The writers of Mr. Mackenzie's l)iography have sought to 
show the public what manner of man he was, by simply stating 
how ho conducted himself in the various positions in which he 
was place<l. His career from the time he enten^d parliament 
until he ceased to be the leader of his party in 1881 supplies a 



sufficient test of every quality of head and heart which our 
readers can have any desire to know. 

As a private member of parhament he was attentive to his 
constituents, considerate towards his friends, and manly and 
frank with his opponents. He sought political support be- 
cause of the principles which he represented. He paid no man 
for his franchise. He was under personal obligations to no 
man for his vote. , 

As a representative on the floor of parliament, iiO one could 
have served his constituents better. While he regarded 
himself as the representative of the whole country, and not as 
a delegate from any section, the records of parliament show 
how attentive he was to ail matters of local interest. Few 
members of parliament were more constant in their attend- 
ance in the House, and few did more connnittee work. 

Mr. Mackenzie's relations with his fellow members were 
generally cordial : although pugnacious, he was not quarrel- 
some, and seldom, if ever, struck the first blow. He acted on 
the advice given by Polonius to Laertes, liis son : 

" Beware 
Of entrance to a quarrel ; but, being in, 
Bear't that the opposed may beware of thee." 

In some of these encounters it happened that blows were 
struck, the stinging effect of which was felt for a few days. 
He never allowed, however, the combats of the platform to 
degenerate into u personal feud with an opponent. Even in 
his bitterest attacks tiiere was no malice. It was apparent 
that his object was a public, not a personal one. " To strike 
below the waistcoat," to use Lord Dulleriu's expression, was 
a thing ho despised. 

Mr. Mackenzie was apt in lib'rary (juotation, and exceed- 
ingly well read. Tlie religious discussions of his early days 


'^ 1 


% ' 











in Scotland led to much theoloffical reading on his part, and 
few men were better informed as to the difi'erences which 
divided tne various Protestant denominations of Great Britain 
and Canada. 

In the political history of the British Empire he was also 
well-informed, and could refer with great readiness to the 
different administrations of the present century, and to the 
views and sentiments of the great leaders of political thought. 

His cast of mind was eminently logical. He would have 
made his mark, had he been trained for that purpose, as a 
professor of logic, even in a Scotch university. His readiness 
to detect a flaw in an opponent's argument was almost pheno- 
menal, and his skill in pointing out the inconsistencies and in- 
compatibilities of the positions taken during a debate was one 
of the sources of his great .strength. No member of parlia- 
ment since the Hon. Geo. Browa's time was more effective in 
tlie use of the tu quoque form of argument than Mr. Macken- 
zie. An opponent might consider himself fortunate if he 
escaped being confronted with his previous record, on any 
question in which he had been in the slightest degree incon- 

In the arrangement of a speech, the same logical power 
which shattered an enemy's argument was exercised. His 
conunon expression, " and more than that," would show almost 
as on profile the steps by which he proposed to lead his hear- 
ers to a climax. "With him, the less important invariably pre- 
ceded the more important, and his conclusion, like the key o£ 
the arch, fastened the whole structure. 

As a speaker, Mr. Mackenzie, if not fluent, as that qiiality 
in speaking is ordinarily understood, had no diliiculty in 
flnding the right word by which to express his thoughts, 
and he always spoke with apparent deliberation. Indeed 



SO accurate and deliberate were his speeches, tliat ho was 
one of the few parliamentarians of the day who could with 
credit be reported verbatim. In the destructive rattle of his 
artillery he had no superior in the House of Commons. 

Mr. Mackenzie's ]-)Ower over an audience was very prreat. 
His intensity and earnestness at once ri vetted attention, and 
his distinct enunciation made it easy to follow him. He was 
never vociferous, even under excitement, and never impatient 
under criticism. If asked a question or interrupted, his 
answer came instantaneously, and one answer was generally 
sufficient for most questioners. 

His Scottish humor gave him grea , power. It was often 
sarcastic — for his own sake, perhaps too often so. When 
turned against an opponent with all the force with which he 
could command it, it was destructive as a live electric wire. 
When playful, it was as amusing as a chapter from Dean 

In conducting election campaigns, although Mr. Mackenzie 
had a great deal of confidence in the press and the platform, 
he had still greater confidence in organization. His experi- 
ence in this respect, as secretary of the Hon. Geo. Brown's 
committee, before he entered public life, and his subsequent 
experience in his own elections, impressed him with the im- 
portance of this kind of work. In writing to a friend in 1873 
he says : " I am sure that a close organization and canvass are 
of infinitely more impoi-tance than meetings. Meetings do 
not accomplish much com])ared with canvassing and organiz- 
ing, and a resolute eflbrt to have every man out on poUitig 
day." . •■ 

When meetings were held, however, likeTlufus Clioate with 
tb.e jury, he was bound that they should bo carried in his 
favor. The moral efiect upon his opponents of a complete 




rout upon the piriform he valued very highly. It is safe to 
say tliat his large; majority in 18(j7 was owing as much to the 
Hon. Wm. iMacDougall's weakness in his hands as to party 

As leader oi" his party in Opposition, Mr. Mackenzie was 
courageous and aggressi\e. Whenever he took a position on 
any question, he was prepared to defend it with all liis force. 
He took no pleasure in expediency. What he advocated was 
right, because it was right, and not simply expedient ; aiRl 
when a certain course was determined upon, he turned neither 
to the right hand nor to the left, no matter what obstacles lay 
in the way. He never studied. a[)parently, the modern 
nietliods of "wire pulling"' and '"pipe-laying," which are so 
much depended upon in ]iarty warfare. How to evade an 
issue or how to appear to be suppoiting a movement, \\ liiK- he 
was in reality t>])])osing it or how to lead two opposing fac- 
tions to believe that he .sj-mpathizeil with each and oppo.sed 
the other, was a political aeeomplishnu'nt which he nexer 
studied. It' he moved a resolution, it was so worded as to 
mean what it said ; and if In; made a speech, it was so ex- 
pressed as to be incapable of two intei'pretations. Had he 
brcn less straightforward, he might liave cocpietted with the 
Nova Scotians in LS70, or with Alanitoba in 1871, or with 
(^^uebec during the Riel agitation. 

'I'o lKi\e maintained tlui contidence of the Liberal party as 
acting leader from 1807 to 1873. in the presence t)f many other 
distinguished men, was, in itself, a givat achievement. It may 
be fairly assumed that men like Holton and Dorion would not 
have followed any leader of inferior ability. 

Turning to him next, as Premier, there is nmch in his char- 
acter to admire. His transfer from one side of the to 
the other made no change in his manner. The First JNIiin'ster 




of Canada directing the leo-islation of one of Eno-land's greatest 
colonies was quite as unpretentious as the man who yester- 
day was the leader of Her Majesty's loyal Opposition. 

In his new position hi.s I'esponsibilities were increased. 
Leadership now involved nuich more than managing and di- 
recting party warfare. He had not only to keep his party in 
hand, but he had to maintain tlie dignity iuid honor of par- 
liament. His voice was the most potent voice in British 
North America. How to use the power with which he was 
invested, to win the confidence and respect of the people of 
Canada, was the problem before him. 

The leader of a Government recjuires to be a man of great 
decision of cliaracter, firmness, resource, good temper, and 
above all, of patience. The latter ([uality was said by the 
younger Pitt to supersede, in importance, all other (jualities of 
a leader. To occupy the time of the House in protracted 
discussions, which could serve no useful purpose, was doubt- 
less annoying to a man, every moment of whose time was 
more than fully occupied. And yet, experience shows that to 
resist the disposition of members of parliament to continue a 
debate, prolongs ratlier than shortens it. An Opposition is 
apt to do the very thing that is distasteful to the Govern- 

Though not open to the charge of impatience, Mr. Mac- 
kenzie sometimes failed in answering questions put to him by 
opponents in a conciliatory s]>irit. "J^lie soft answer which 
turns away wrath was not always at hand, and instead of 
it was used, sometimes to his own disadvantage, the sar- 
CJism which sears and scorches and provokes to enmity and 

To badger atid banter a Government is the peculiar privilege 
of an Opposition. The Opposition who confronted Mr. Mac- 



kenzio were possessed )l" lar^e powers in this direction. Their 
leader, Sir John Mucdonald, was an adept at parliamentary 
fence, and knowing, as he did, the position of every public 
question wiien the Government came into power, he was able 
from year to year, to catechize the Government fully as to 
the different phases which such questions assumed. There 
were other members of the Opposition who had made a study 
of the details of each department of the public service, and 
who were most irritating, and \QYy often unreasonable, in their 
criticisms. That human nature would occasionally resent such 
attacks, was not to l^e wondered at, and if Mr. Mackenzie threw 
liin)self with all his force upon some troublesome Opposition- 
ists, he might very well be excused. 

Notwithstanding these circumstances, Mr. Mackenzie's lead- 
ership was dignified and judicial. The views of the Govern- 
ment he always presented with frankness; and where the 
honor of parliament, or any great national interest, was at 
stake, his manner plainly indicated the noble instincts of his 
nature, fie never lowered the tone of the debate l)y act or 
speech; nor, so far as he could prevent it, did he allow j)urlia- 
ment to degenerate into a niob. 

Mr. Mackenzie strongly believed that it was greatly to the 
ailvantage of Canada to continue her present connection witli 
the Empire. iSo long as the colonial office did not wantonly 
interfere in our domestic atlairs, we had, in his opinion, all 
the advantages practically of self-government, and, in addi- 
tion, the prestige of sharing in the honor and dignity of the 
British Empire. Tlie independence of Canada, even in the 
remote future, was a possibility which he seems never to 
have entertained ; while annexation to the United States in- 
volved such considerations of national weakness and faint- 
heartedness OS to be unwortliy of a moment's consideration. 



" The fierce li^ht that beats upon the throne " allows no dis- 
tinction to be drawn between the private life of a First Minister 
and his public presence under the arous eye of the Press. 
The duty of dispensinor hospitality, as became the First Minis- 
ter, was discharged with a liberality which left nothing to be 
desired. As a host, lie was entertaining and agreeable, and 
no one left his table without pleasant recollections of his cour- 
tesy and his attention. 

Mr. Mackenzie's biography, which is in perspective a his- 
tory of the Liberal party during the last thirty years, con- 
tains much to inspire and encourage the Young Liberals of 
Canada. Though not a Gladstone or a Pitt, or perliaj^s not in 
all respects equal to Mr. Brown, he was nevertheless a Can- 
adian services to his country should not be forgotten. 
" To break his birth's invidious bar, and breast the blows of 
circumstance," and to advance step by step until by the favor 
of his countrymen he became First Minister of the State, 
represent qualities, in his case particularly, worthy of imita- 
tion. He who wears the white flower of a blameless life 
through all the vicissitudes of time and place, he who listens 
to the voice of conscience in the midst of temptations, and 
pursues the path of honor with heroic self-denial in the dis- 
charge of every public duty, is too valuable a representative 
of the better elements of Canadian politics to be allowed to 
pass from memory with the procession which bears him to 

his grave. 




August 3lKt, 1S!>2. 



PAGE 33 


Record of Mr. Mackenzie's Birth — His Paternal Ancestry — His Futlicr s Loss 
of Fortune — " Peregrinities " — Tlie Memorial Tablet — The Mother's Familj' 
— Tiie Parents' Emlowmeats — ^Ir. Mackenzie's Birtiiplace — His "Scliool- 
ing " — Tlie OKI Clockmaker Schoolmaster — His Hard Necessity — He Learns 
a 'i'rade. 



Aspirations not Realised — Hugh Miller's Case Exemplified — Journeyman 
Stonecutter Before the Age of Twenty — Works and Muses in the Land of 
Burns — Beginning of His Religious Life -Becomes Attaclied to Helen Neil 
— Emigration to Canada — His Deportment on the Voyage — Love for the 
Old Songs — Arrival in Kingston — A Scottish Scene of '43. 




Political and Historical Sketch — From las arrival in 1842 to entering Parlia- 
ment in 18G1 — Tiie U. E. Loyalists— The Clergy Reserves— Louis J. Papin- 
eau and Wni. Lyon Mackenzie — Robert (Jourlay — Baiiiabas Bidvvell — The 
Rebellion — Baldwin, Draper, Morin, Lafontaine — Sir Ciiarles Metcalfe — 
Hazy Notions of Responsible Clovernment — Lord Elgin — The Rel)elliou 
Losses — Tlie Covcrnor-fJeneral Mobbed — Sacking and Burning of the Par- 
liament Buildings— tJeorge Brown^Dr. Rolph and Malcolm Cameron — 
Francis Hincks — John A. Maodonald— Tiio Seigniorial Tenure — Representa- 
tion by Popiihition — 'fhe Double Majority — Rapid (irowth of Upper Canada 
— " French Donunatioii." 







PAGE 84 

Mr. Mackenzie's Contemporaries — Sketch of Mr. Ceo. Brown — His Relations 
to Mr. Mackenzie — Characteristics of Sir John A. Macdonald — Mr. Holton's 
Estimate of Sir Oliver Mowat — The Young Stonecutter meets his Match, 
but is not Overcome by it — His Letter from Kingston to Scotland — Plod- 
ding in tlie Forests of the Far West — " Home, Sweet Home" — Cheated out 
of his Wages — Goes on the Land — A Friend in Need— His Associates and 
Surroundings — His Brother Joins Him. 



PAGE 99 

Rises in his Position— Suffers for his Opinions— Goes to the Beauharnois 
Canal — An I''meute there— A Painful Accident — Removes to the Welland 
Canal — Returns to Kingston — Is Married there — Builds the Defences of 
Canada — Foreman on the Canal Basin, Montreal — Settles in 1847 in Sarnia 
— Joined in Sarnia by the other Brothers and their Mother — Death of his 
First Wife. 



Politics and Men in the Western District in the Early Days — Clear Grits — 
(jeorge Brown to the Rescue — His Letters to Alexander Mackenzie — The 
" Brownies " — Ancient Sectarian Issues— The "Old Ladies" — Mr. Mackenzie 
as Editor — A Rival Paper — A Great Liljcl Suit— Valedictory — Fine Letter 
from Wm. Lyon Mackenzie — Growing Political Influence — Friends Once 
More — Meets "Leonidas." 



p.\f;K \-l:\ 

The General Election of 1857— More Brown Letters — Hope Mackenzie — "Lamb- 
ton Bricks " — Alexander Mackenzie's Second Marriage— Where He Wor- 
shipped — The "Double Shulile" — George P)rown's Colleagues — Their Policy — 
Precedents for a Dissolution — Alex, ^lackenzie as an Essayist — Advocacy by 
the Liberals of a Federal Union. 



PAGE 138 

Dissolution of Parliament and General Election — Return of Mr. Mackenzie 
for Lambton— Ministry Sustained — Defeat of tlie Hon. Geo. Brown— Mr. 




Mackenzie's First Appearance in Parliament — Defeat of the Government 
on the Militia Bill. 


PAGE 147 


The Macdonald-Sicotte Administration — Debate on Representation by Popu- 
lation—The Separate School Law — Return of Mr. Brown for Oxford — 
Tlie Double Majority Principle — Reconstruction of the Cabinet — Hon. 
Oliver Mowat, Postmaster-General. 


PAGE 157 


(icneral Election— Mr. VVallbridge, Speaker^Xarrow Majority of tlie Govern- 
ment — Losses in By-Elections — The Government Unable to Proceed — Re- 
signed Otllce 21st March, 1804 — Formation of the Tach^-Macdonald Adminis- 
tration — Promises of the New Government — Committee on Representation. 




Political Dead-Lock — Hon. Mr. Brown's otler of Assistance — Report of the 
Committee on the Federation of the Provinces— Formation of a Coalition — 
Mr. Mackenzie's Attitude on this Question — The Policy of the New Cabinet. 


PAGE 173 


Confederation of the Maritime Provinces to be Considered —Delegates Called to 
Meet at Ciuirlottetown, Prince Edward Island, in September — Representa- 
tives of the (iovcrnment in Attendtmco — Quebec Conference — Developniont 
of the .Scheme — Draft Agreed upon — Cabinet Ciianges — Mr. Mackenzie in 
Favor of Confederation. 






Ses.siou of ISOi) — Discussion of the .Scheme of t'onfeileration — Opposition from 
Quebec — Mr. Mackenzie's .Share in the Discussion — Delegation to England — 
Sliort Session of Parliament — Final Adoption of the Quebec Resolution.s. 




PAGE 190 


Death of Sir E. P. Tnch6 — Mr. Browirs Objections to Mr. Alacdonakl as Pre- 
mier — Last Parliament in Quebec — Report of the Delegates to England — 
reeling in the Maritime Pio%inoes — Mr. Brown's Retirement from the Gov- 
ernment — Abolition of the Reciprocity Treaty of '57 — The last Session of 
the old Parliament of Canada. 


PAGE "212 


Troubles in the Maritime Provinces — Delegation to England — Amendment to 
the Quebec Resolutions — The Education Clause — Additional Subsidies to 
Nova Scotia — The Royal Proclamation — The Father of Confederation — 
Claims of Mr. Brown to this Honor. 


PAGE 218 



Formation of tlie First Government— Another Coalition — Great Reform Con- 
vention in Toronto — MacDougalls and Hollands Defence — Speech i)y Mr. 
Mackenzie — Position of tlie Liberal Parly — Mr. Mackenzie's Campaign in 
Lambton — Contests with Mr. MacDougall — Results of the Election. 


PAGE 232 


Mr. Josepii Howe and Confederation — The North-West 'i'erritories — Intercol- 
onial Railway — Retirement of Mr. Gait — 'J'he Country to be Fortified — 
Assassinatic.n of Mr. McCice — Conservative Tendencies of the Government. 


PAGE 201 


Mr. MacDc.ugaH's Trip to the Indies — Mr. Gait's Financial Policy — Constitu- 
tion of tlie Provinces — Retirement of Mr. Gait — Confidence Weakened in 
the Coalition. 





PAGE 244. 


Independence of rarliament — (ioveruorGenerals S.ilary — Reciprocity with 
ihe United States — " Better Terms" witli Nova Scotia — Mr. Howe enters 
the Government — Changes in the Cabinet — Mr. Mackenzie as Leader. 


PAGE 255 


Customs Union^ — Commercial Treaties — Speech Ijy Mr. ^lacken/io— Reljellion 
in Manitoba — Ahmn of the Settlers— MacDoiigall Refused Admission — Kiel, 
President — Murder of Scott — Debates in Parliament — Expedition under 
Wolseley — Air. Archibald Appointed Lieutendut-Governor — Reward Ofleied 
by Ontario Government — Trial of Le[iinc — Discussion in the House of Com- 
mons — Amnesty Granted — Lord Dutl'erin's Action. 


PAGE 278 


I'isliery Claims — Sir John Macdonald at Washington — Tl\e Washington 
Treaty — Concessions to the United States — The Fenian and .\labama Claims 
— The Manitoba Bill — British Columbia Ei.ters Confederation. 




Mr. Mackenzie Elected for West Middlesex ^ — Defeat of the Sandfield 
Macdonald Administration^ — Mackenzie a Member of the New (iovernmcnt 
— His Position in Local Politics-Speech as Provincial Treasurer — Dual 
Representation Abolished— His Ciioice of tiie Comnuuis. 





Conditions for Constructing the Canadian IV.cific Railway — Debate in Parlia- 
ment— lUirdcns Involved — New Rruuswick .Sciiool IJill — Rights of tiie Min- 
ority — Mr. Mackenzie's Attitude — First (icrrynuuidcr. 




PAGE 319 


General Election of 187'2 — Issues Before the Country — Sir John Meets Mac- 
kenzie at Sarnia — Appointment of a Leader — Selection of Mr. Mackenzie — 
Interesting Letter to his Brother — Irregular Elections — The Pacific Scandal 
— Huntington's Cliarges — Appointment of a Committee — Sir John Mac- 
donald's Evasions — The Oaths Bill — Prorogation Amidst Great Excitement 
— Meeting of Liberals in Railway Committee Room — Memorial to the Gover- 
nor-General — Appointment of a Commission — Meeting of Parliament — 
Speeches by the Opposition Leaders — Resignation of the Government. 


PAGE 353 


Tlie Xew Cabinet — Dissolution of the House — Address to the Electors of 
Lambton — Meeting of Parliament — Mr. Mackenzie's Dillicullies— Discontent 
of British Columbia — The Carnarvon Terms — Visit of Lord Dullerin — 
Brilliant Speech at Victoria — Irritation Allayed — Xew Reciprocity Treaty 
Considered — Honorable George Brown at \Vashington — Treaty Agreed upon 
Rejected by the Senate — Mr. Macken/ip's TiOvalty to Canada — Mi'. 
Cartwright'a First Budget Speech — New Taritl" IJill — Pacific Railway Bill — 
Mr. Mackenzie's Military Career — Military College — New Election Bill. 


PAGE 38(3 


Mr. Mackenzie's Plan for Preserving the Debates of the House— Tlie Supreme 
Co\iit Act — The Constitution of the Senate — Prohibition Discussed — Tiio 
Canada Temperance Act — Mr. Mackenzie visits the Eastern Provinces — 
Mr. iin)\\n declines tlie Liouteiiaiit-(iovornorship of Ontario — 'J'iie Office 
Accepted by Mr. D. A. Mat-donald. 


PAGE 403 


On a Holiday — A Guest at Windsor — Invitation to Perth — Impressions of 
England—" Hodge "' — The British Commons— Spurgeon — Farrar — Freedom 
of Duiulce — Address to tiie \\^)rkingmen — Freedom of Perth— Address at 
Dunkeld— Tiie "Home-Coming" — Freedom of Irvine — Aldrcsa 
at Greenock — Tlie Clyde— The Theology — Lord DuU'erin's Tribute to hia 
First Minister — George Brown's Letter on Taste. 




PAGE 418 


Questions of Trade Occupy the House — Industrial Depression — Committee 
Appointed for Investigation — jNlr. Cartwright" s Budget Sp^^ech — Dr. Tap- 
per's Reply — Tlie National Policy — Tiie Steel Rail Transaction — Election in 
Suulli Ontario. 



Changes in the Cabinet Since 187;J — Their Effect Upon tlie Government — New 
Appointments Male — Mr. Brown on Laurier — Extradition — Mr. Blake's 
Bill — Opening of the House with Prayer — Budget Speech Again— Protection 
vtrms Free Trade — The Agricultural Interests of the Country — Tlie Pacific 
Raihvav — Fort Francis Locks — Mr. Mi c icnzie's Defence— (iodcrich Harbor' 
— The Independence of Parliament and Mr. Anglin — Mr. MilL-s at Washing- 
ton — Mr. Mackenzie's Sympathy — Two Interesting Letters, 


PAGE 4o!J 










.s — 




Bitlenicss of Parties — Sir John's Attack on Mr. Anglii; — T'jie Premier's Do- 
fence —Long and Acrimonious Debate on the Address — The Turning Point 
of Depression Reached — Mr. Mowat olTered a seat in the Government — The 
Figiiting (u-ound for tlic Elections Laid Out — The Protective Policy — The 
Auditor-General — Temperance Legislation — Another Stride Towards Self- 

CHAPTER XXXI. ww.v. 474 


Tlie Case Before Parliament — Motion to Declare His Action "Unwise" — 
How the Premier Met it — The Dominion Government nut Privy to the Pro- 
i.eediiig — Lord Lome Assailed — Gov. Letellier Dismissed— Address to Lord 
DuUerin -His Excellency's of the I'remicr's Kindness— liids Parlia- 
ment Kiuewell— Government Policy on the Railway Legislation With- 
diawu— Release from a Turbulent Session. 







PAGE 495 

Royalty in Canada— Apprehensions Unfounded— Preparations for the Con- 
test— Misttake in the Time Selected — Shouhl have been June— The Phvsical 


Strain — What tlie Government had to Fight Against— A Carnival of FraiuT 
and Misrepresentation — Defeat of the Government — The Protection Hum- 
bug Illustrated. 


PAGE 514 


Letter to Lord DulTerin — Tlie Governor-General's Reply — His Excellency's 
Noble Letter to Mrs. Mackenzie — Letter from the late Chief Justice Rich- 
ards — Mr. Mackenzie Addresses Mr. Holton — Hatred of Intrigue and 
Crookedness — Would Rather go Down than Yield Principle — A Clean Re- 
cord — The Loss of (Jood and True Men— The Public Interest First and 
Always — "Living in Anotiier Man's House'' — Nothing Left save Honor — 
8elf-Sacritice — Its Reward — Disciples of Cobden <lo not Temporise — Answers 
to Letters of Reproach — Letter of Resignation and Defence of His Policy — 
How He felt the Dismissal of His Former Secretary — Fun Aiiead with the 
Lcsom and the Stane. 

CHAPTER XXXIV. page 537 



Rcoides in Toronto — Welcomes the Change — "Bracing" Him Up —Sympa- 
thetic Letter — Parliament Meets — The N. P. " Elephant" — Everybody Pro- 
tected— A Tariff of " Corners " — Canada in Cast-i)tl' Clothing — Tlie Conse- 
quences of the Policy — Mr. Hlake on its Tendency — Sir Oliver Mowat oiv 
Patriotism — Still a Rainbow of Hope— Mr. Mackenzie Resigns the Leader- 
ship — Commcnta Thereupon. 


PAGE 551 


Death of Mr. Holton and Mr. iJiowii — Mr. Browns Biograpliy — The Session 
of lSSO-1 — A Spice of Humor — The Canadian Kxodus — More About Pro- 
tection — Mr. Mackenzie on Canadian Honors- Bestowal of Titles on Cliief 
Justices Richanls and Dorion — Mr. Mackenzie and Mr. Blake Decline — 
Mr. Brown's Declinature in 1.S74 — Wiiat Mr. Holton Tliought — Mr. Mac- 
kenzie Declines a Second and Tliird Time — Letter from Lord Lome Ofl'er 
ing a Title — Lord DutTcrin on (Canadian Distinctions. 


PAGE 503 

FlioM <t(i:.\N TO (M'K.W. 

The Winter of ISSfl-l - Beginning of His lUness — His Appearance in Hia 
Prime — Wliat He Says Aliont Himself — Tlie Canadian Pacific Railway— 




'J"he Government Policy— Policy of the Maclvenzie Government— Offers of 
tiie Two Companies — Mr. Mackenzie's Figiit Against Monopoly — The Cou- 
tiact Carried — How tlic Company Have Fulfilled their Obligations. 


PAGE 573 


His Opinion of Thomas Carlyle— Starched Faces — Hus!)and and Wife -Car. 
Ivies Pliilosophy : Wiiat Is It? — Goes to Europe — Paris- -How to Make 
Oneself Understood — In Switzerland — Mountain Scenery — Return to 
l!ni:laii(l — The House of Commons — Joiin Brigiit — In Scotland — The Frce- 
(limi of Inverness — Tlie Familiar Scenes — Describes Kdinbnrgii— Climbing 
Mountains — Schichallion " By Telescope " — (!lasgow — Glencoe — .lolni 
O'Groat's — CuUoden— Professor Blackie-liack ni Canada — Tlie Tories Again 
in Luck — Offer of Trusteeship Declined— The JUduutio ad Abniirdum of 


lat oi> 



PiU'liamont Dissolved — Mr. Mackenzie Retires fiom Lanibton to Accept h'ast 
York — I'lie (Jan vass— During it He is Stricken Down — Redeems tiu' Riding 
— Anotlier Tarid' Change — Tiie (Jreat (ierrynumdei- — How the Measure was 
Designated in Parliament — Hiving of the Grits —The Process of Manufac- 
ture of Toi'v (/onstilucncies — Othcials Superseded as Rciuining Oilicers - 
Sir Joini A. Macdoiuild's Own Arguments Again-st the Measure —Is tiio 
Principle of Gerrymander Constitutional? — Power to Canada to Negotiate 
Her Own Treaties— "A Hritisli Subject I was Horn," etc. — Ringing S[>eech 
from Mr. Mackenzie m Reply— '{"he Flourish of liic Flag, and " The Flag 
of Common Sejiso ' — " Wasted Opportunities." 


PAGE (iOl 

It Pro- 
line — 
( )ffei' 


in His 


A Proposed Shelf in the Senate— Testimonial from the Lamhton Friends - 
Crosses tile Atlantic Once More in Search of Healtii— Fine Letter from Eiliu- 
burgh — (irapliic Historical Incidents- Knox and Calvin Poor t^ueen Mary 
—Glimpses of Venice and Milan — Speech at tlie Empire Club in London 
— Lord Dufferins Kslimate of it — Lord Lome — Lord Lansdowne— Lord 



Goes to the North-West— Again in Search of Health Splendid Descriptive 
Letter to his Daughter— The Rockies Mount Slephou— Wheat Fields of 



over OiU! 'I'lioiisiiiid A'Tch 'I'lic Fii^lil u itii liia l)i,s(>ii8o -A i,aHt \\m\ In 
Scotliuitl IiittMcsting Sfiios of Lultcis 'I'lie Man Kcvculcd — His I'eii Tio- 
turua of lliiiisflf. 

CIlAI'TKi: \1J. pact: (J21 

Ki\i:ii\«; Till; kkitkus. 

'I'lio Sccoiwl RiHiiif,' in Mi« Noilli West,- Ill-'I'roatniciit, Causes Rclicllinii — 
"Old To-Moirow" — Sacrifioo of Lifi; and 'I'reaHure. — 'I'Ik; Kiaiu'liiHci lMi<]iiiLy 
— 'I'lio llcvising liarriHter Tlio Country Delivorod into Hin Hands— Mr. 
Maekeii/.ie on tlio Outrage — Tho Indian Vote— Tlio Tory Cricks from IS(i7 
to ISDI. 



Again Iti'tiinied for l-last Yoi'k --f!liai-IeH Maci<(!n/.ie in tlie Legislature -Death 
of Sir Jolin A. Maedonald — Mr. lilaU<!".s Retirement — Member for South 
Longford, h(daiid-Mi'. f lacken/iii'.s Lust Manifeslo- " 1 lltipeiit It" — Vote 
on Uie .Icmiit Hill ills SevcMilieili Uirllidiiv .\ I'^iilal Kail Ills Illness— 
His DcMtli on Maslcr Day 'I'lie Nation's Sorrow — Touching Tiihule^i Tlie 
I'liniial I'iigeants in Toionto and Siirnia The Orations, 


l'A(iK Go 5 

TuntuTi'.s TO ins memory. 

Mis. MioKenzie's Help to lliin in Ills I'uhlic Career — Ilia Reeognil ion of It — 
Her Devotion in His Long Ilhu'ss l'ernonal and I'uhlie Triliutrs Letter 
from Hon. A. (i. .lonea Hon. S. II. Hlake'.s Oration -The I'ulpit and the 
I'rciih— All Unite to do Him Honor. 

^oc»h« ©c»uo^tUc^♦ 

"Caiiiul.i, Since 111.. Union of IHM." Dknt. 

" 'I'lii' llisloiyof III!' IJpjHT (Janail.i liflKtllioii " — DknT. 

" I'ailiiiiiHUil.iii'y ( iov(M'Min<'nt, in ('unada." Tol)!). 

" I'ailiaiMi'ntary ( iov(!rnMicnL in Mie IJiili.sli ('olonics." 'I'onn. 

" I'arliaincntry" I'rocwUir*! and I'liKilJcc." — IJoi'Iii.ndi'. 

" S|)('((lir,s of llic Hon. A1(!X. Ma(;ii(^M/.i« in Scolland and (Janala." 

"( onslilulional I )ii(iinii'nts of <!anada." — lloiisrov. 

"The Kail of l)iiir< Tin's AdniiMi.sLratioa in (Janada." Lkcco. 

" 'I'lie ( Canadian I'orl rait ( lallerv." 

"A ShoiL Hi.storyof the <!ana«'lian IVople." (Jko. iiiaci;, M.A., f.I.l) 

" Nova liritannia." Mokkis. 

" History of (.'anailii "—.J. I'\ J KK Kin is, H.A. 

" l.if(!and S|)('<'(iies of tlui Ifon (ieo IJrown." -Al.KX. Macki;n/.ii . 

" Life of Siidoim A. .\Iaedoriahl."-(i. M KKOKii Al).»M. 

" The Canadian Xoil h-WeMl." (J. MKliiiKli AdaM. 

" ( 'onfeileial ion of (Canada." — (ilCAV. 

"lUnada l-', ; A Memorial of the lale \V\l. A. KosTKll, Q.C." 

"History ..f (Janada." \V, H. Wirmu.w, D.I)., K IJ.S.C. 

" ( '.inadii and tli<! ( ) madian (j»n('.si ion."— (iolJiWiN SMirii, D.C fi. 

" Iteininiscenees." -Sill l''it.\N(;is HiNt.'KS. 

"(-'aiia(hi Under the Administration of F>ord Loriu!." — CoM.Ins. 

" Life and TniK!-! of the Kij^lii Hon. Sirdolin .\. Maedonald." Col. i, ins. 

"Canada Under tlu; Adiiiini.str.'U ion of the I'larl of Diill'ijrin. ' tJKidiiiii 

SrKWARI', .1 I'N. 

" Thi^ Dominion .Animal Ivej^fistor." .Morhv.n. 
D(d)ate.son ( lonfederation of the I'rovinecH. 

I'ai'liamentary (.'oinpanion. 
.loiirnalHof tlie, Houho '»f (Ji; 

(JoiuiuoiiH, 1S(!7 t<i date. 
Sessional I'apeiH. 

.louiniils of t h<! fj(>L;islativ(! Assenddy ol Canada. 
.Statutes of ( 'anada. 
Dehatt's of iho lloiiso of Cinninon.s. 


The aidhor.s acknowledge their iii(Ud)t<Mln<;HH to many |ierHoiis for the n«e of 
tlie oii;^'inal Idier.s and |ta|ter.H which appt^ar in this vtdiime. They are undui* 
spe. lal ohligations 111 this respect to Mr.s. Macki.'ii/.iu, Mr. Itohert Maiken/.ie, 
.^ir. CharlcH Mackoiizie, M.IM*., and llev. Dr. TlioiupHoii — llio two laxt named 
li'.'iiig tlio I'lxeciitor.s. Tln^ literary memorials of I he deceaHed HditeHinaii ha\(! 
licen imre.servedly |)laced at their disposal ; iiiid tliey hav<' proved a mine of 
Mcidl ii, whicli lias liecii eNLensively draw ii upon for the ('nriidiiiicnt of tlus 
Work. Mr. .Ma<;ken/.i<!'s hai)it wa.s to preserve all Iciiiis and papers which 
c.iiiii' into hiri possession, and thoy wcsri; methodically eiidor.sed. They were 
not, however, <daHsilied or arranged ; ho that it lici'iiini! at oiicts olivioiiM that 
there was no preparation of material looking to a reeord of IiIh life. He wa.s 
consulted ahoiit li hio^raphy somo years liefoie he died, lint he Hpokc of it iiH 
u matter to wliicli Ik! had devoted very little thought, and tht! suliject was 
oiiu Lo which liu dill not roverl. 



tiet of 3Hu5tration0. 

1 XT Ai ,.- PAGE 

J • Hon. Alex. M.ickonzio _ -j 

2. Mivs. Mackenzie 3 

3. Parish Church and Manso, Logierait 37 

4. House at Logierait (Birthplace) 43 

5. Old Parliament Buildings, Toronto 69 

G. Alexander Mackenzie (1870) 79 

7. Old Parliament Buildings, Quebec 113 

8. Hon. George Brown jgg 

9. Sir John A. Macdonald 59I 

10. Hon. Edward Blake.. " 00- 


11. Hon. Oliver Mowat 2Qr 

12. Mr. Mackenzie's Old Home, Sarnia 324 

13. The Mackenzie Tower, Ottawa 595 

14. Mr. Mackenzie's Residence, Toronto 539 

15. Funeral Train, G. T. U. Station, Sarnia * ' G45 

16. Interior St. Andrew's Church, Sarnia 649 

1 7. Exterior St. Andrew's Church, Sarnia 649 

18. Family Burial Plot q~.^ 

19. Mrs. Mackenzie. n-- 

bo I 

F.\c-siMiLK OP HAxn -wniTivns. 

Holton, Hon. L. H., fac-simile of his hand-writing 90 

McGee, Hon. T. DA., " « u ° 

Head, Sir E. W., " •« „ '" ^^^ 

Brown, Hon. Georyc, " «i u ' ^„- 

Wood, Hon. E. B., " « « "' 

_ ( 4- 

J>ufferin, Lord, <« <« n 

.... 000 

•Mackenzie, Hon. A]<'\., " « t, ,,. _„. 

,,,,,, ' 414. 531 

Make, Hon. Kdward. " k tt 

43 < 

-Macdonahl, Right Hon. Sir J. A " ,-- 

'* *i»)/ 

Letellier, Hon. L., «'('«« 

' 430 

Tapper, Hon. Sir Charles, u u ' ^.J 



. 37 
, 43 

, 69 

. 79 


, 166 

, 591 

, 287 

. 305 














Record of Mr. Mackenzie's Birth — His Paternal Ancestry — His Father's Loss 
of Fortune — " I'eregrinities " — The Memorial Tablet — The Mother's Family 
— The Parents' Fmlownients — ^Mr. Mackenzie's ]5irth{)lace — His "School- 
ing "— 'I'he Old Clockniaker Sohoolmaater — His Hard Necessity — He Learns 
a Trade. 



^^ LITTLE over seventy years ago there was born 
in a Scottish viUage, to parents in unpretentious 
#rkf Jk circumstances, a lad who, like Clive, was destined 
N^f Qy in after hfe to play an important part in a wide 
e5 :r ^^^^'^ ^^^ another hemisphere — whoso destiny it was 
to realise in his own person, and in our oa'u day, the 
t'airy-book romance of " Turn again Whittiugton, Lord Mayor 
of London." This lad was Alexander Mackenzie, Prime ^lin- 
ister of Canada. Hi- came to Canada, in 1S42, a working 
stonecutter; he returned from Canada, in 1875, at the head of 
its Government. In a letter descriptive of the voyage home 




in the latter yoviV, he himself marks the strannre contrast in 
his position and fortune. " LeaviDg Quebec," he says, " we 
had a delightful sail down the St. Lawrence, that queen of 
rivers. My mind went back to the time when, as a nameless 
mason lad, I had saili^d up that same river, 33 years before, 
the country and future all urdcnown to me. Little did I 
think that I should ever return, as I did to-day, full of resjion- 
sibility, if not of honor." "His," says the Loudon Times, 
" was a remarkable career. He rose from toilino- in a stone- 
yard to rule the greatest territorj^- in the British Empire." 
"To-day," remarked he great French journalist, Paul de 
Cazes, when referring to Mr. Mackenzie's visit to the Queen, 
" the poor mechanic of the past is welcomed and feasted at the 
most aristocratic court in Europe, while, for the proud nobles 
who surround him in the sfilded salons of St. James, his lowlv 
origin is disguised under the imprint of ability stamped upon 
the Canadian statesman." 

He was the third son of Alexander Mackenzie and Mar}'" 
Stewart Fleming. As annalist of Ihe family, his father has 
methodically recorded in a small book the domestic events as 
they occurred. The book is now in posses.sion of the eldest 
son, and from it the following extract is taken : " 1822, at 
Logierait, Monday, 2.Sth da}' of January. Born to me at a 
quarter past twelve, Sunday ulght, n^y third son. Baptized on 
Friday, 8th of February. Named Alexander." There were 
ten children born to these parents — all sons. They were 
named Robert, Hope Fleming, Alexander, Thomas, Donald, 
John, Adam Stewart, James, Charles and Daniel. Thomas, 
Donald and Daniel died In infancy. 

The father died at Dunkeld in 183G, aged 52. Six years 
after his death, the son, Alexander, came to Canada ; he was 
followed one year subsequently by Hope, and four years after 


A L EX A XDER M. 1 CK EXZI E 'S ¥0 U Til. 


l.y tlio otlier lirothers an*! their inotlior. On Foliniary 10th, 
ISOl, at tht? aot; of G6, the iiiothei', wliose nuu<leu iwuue was 
Miiry Stewart Fleming, died in Saniiii, KurroumUd hy her 
seven children. She lies buried in the cemetery there, in the 
midst of five of those sons; the only ones now living being the 
oldest and the youngest, Robert an<l Charles. 

It is our main jiurpose in these pages to follow the career of 
Alexander, both in Scotland and Canada, and as the starting 
place is a little earlier in point of time, let us see what may be 
f(jund borne on a couple of the stems of the genealogical tree. 
And first, as relates to the ancestrj- of the father. 

Tht^ name of the paternal great-grandfather of the Cana- 
dian Mae.kenzies was Donald, a Ross-shire Highlander, who 
came south to Perthshire, where he married Margaret Fer- 
guson, and where, in 1742, their grandfather, ^Falcolm, was 
born, on the banks of the Tunnnel, near its confluence with 
the Garry, at the foot of the famous Pass of Killiecrankio. The 
families of Donald and of ^lalcolm, who married Catherine 
McDonald, of Strathtay, all remained in Perthshire ; here they 
were born, and hei-e they died, and were buried — Donald and 
his generation in the churchyard of the ]iai'ish of ^loulin: 
Malcolm an'i his in Logierait, where tiie elder Alexander a;i<I 
his three litth' chiMren also lie — all of two generatitjus and 
part of the third sleeping their ]U'aceful sleep in this most 
beatitiful part of the Perthshin^ Highlands. 

^laleohn ^lackenzie was amillwi-ight and miller, and, as we 
learn from the original document now before us, signed by 
the Duke, leased from His Grace, John, Duke of Athol, " the 
miln, milu-croft, houses, yards, and appurtenances thereto 
belonging of Kincraigie, together with the thirlage," the"thir^ 
lage" being defined by Webster as "the right which tlie owner 
of a mill possesses, by contract or law, to compel the tenants 



of a certain district to briiif^- all their grain to bis mill for 



In this oM mill of Kincraiofio, haunted with all manner of 
"spooks," and which we have lu'ai'il Mr. Mackenzie say he 
never went past when a boy except on the run, and then with 
a feeling of dread, as one pursurd by the sheeted dead, Alex- 
ander, the miller's son, was born in the year 17x4', and he, 
like his father, became skilled in the use of tools. He served 
an apprenticeship as a carpenter, ami during the period of 
feverish activity in the fitting and refitting of battleships in 
the early part of the century, he found proPitaljle employment 
as ship-joiner at Portsmouth. But he was much more than a 
mere mechanic; he was an excellent architectural draughts- 
man. After Waterloo he returned to the former scenes in 
Perthshire, where he superintended the erection of manorial 
houses, and took contracts of his own. He was of an adven- 
turous and enterprising turn of mind, and branched out into 
other undertakings. The right to cut, chiefly for the tan 
bark, oak timber in the coppices of Scotland, is let by the 
landed lairds every twenty-one years. A good deal of employ- 
ment is given to the people in this way, and before the close of 
the Fjvnch wars large profits were derived from these enter- 
prises. Alexander, as appears by his diary, engaged in them. 
But the war expenditures having now Iteen stopped, great 
financial distress came upon the people, and this once prosper- 
ous man met with such considerable reverses that he never 
regained his former ffood fortune. Henceforth, with his 
increasing family, life was to him a stern ri'ality, which 
impelled him to make frequent mo\ements from place to place 
in search for the means of bettering his circumstances. 

He married in 1817, when he was living in Logierait. In 
the year 1825, the family were in Eilinljurgh, where, he says, 










" my sons Robert, Hope F. and Alexander, had the measles. 
Robert and Alexander got them easily over, but Hope for sev- 
eral days was considered dangerous, having been bled, leeched, 
and blistered " — from which pleasant and heroic treatment, as 
well as the measles, he at length, after a severe struggle, mi- 
raculously recovered ! On the 10th of March, 182G, it is writ- 
ten that the two "sons Robert and Hope Fleming went from 
liere to Cluny, Strathtay, for some time to attend school and 
learn the Gaelic." They had missed acquiring the Gaelic as an 
ordinary vehicle of talk, although their father and mother 
habitually conversed together in that ancient tongue. 

" Perth, Nov. 2G, 1827. Arrived here with my wife, and 
Alexander, my son." " 1829, May 15. Removed from Rerth 
to Pitlochry." 

In tlie summer of 1834 they removed to Dunl<old, where, to 
borrow an expressive word, Alexander Mackenzie's "peregrini- 
ties " ended, for here, in 1880, he died. He was buried at Lo- 
gierait, where Malcolm, his father, who lived to the advanced 
age of 94, had already been interred. Like all his race, Alex- 
ander was a sober-minded. God-fearing man, and the certifi- 
cate is preserved which gave him warrant for admission to the 
Lord's table in Glasgow at the age of 21. We copy from the 
original paper now before us the certificate of church mem- 
bership given to this couple, the father and mother of the 
Canadian Mackenzies, by the session clerk of Logierait : 
" These do certify that the bearers hereof, Alexander Macken- 
zie and Mary Fleming, his wife, have been residenters in this 
pai'ish for pearly twenty years, always behaving themselves 
regularly, under a fair character, and free from any grounds 
oi church censure, in full communion with the church, an 1 may 
be freely admitted into any christian congregation, or society, 
wherever they may happen to reside. Given by appointment 



of tho kirk session of Logierait, the twenty-seventh Jay of 
March, eig-hteeu hundred and twenty-five j'ears. 

•' Thosias Mexzies, Min. 
•'Donald Fleming, Session Clerk." 

From Kincraigic, where Alexander was Lorn, to Dunkeld, 
where he died, the distance is about six miles ; and from Dun- 
keld to Logerait, wliere he was buried, and where the younger 
Alexander was born, is from eight to nine miles. 

Fifteen years after coming to this country, the future Can- 
adian premier returned for the first time to the scenes of his 
earlier days. Wishing to pLace an inscription while there at 
the head of his father's grave, two difficulties presented them- 
selves. The first was that the family burial plot abutted on 
the east wall, near b}' the main door of the church, leaving no 
room for a monument, and thus necessitating the insertion of 
a tablet into the wall, and next that the sanction was required 
of the heritors or landowners, on whom lay the responsibility 
of building and upholding the parisii church. To the credit of 
the heritors, be it said, the requisite permission, notwithstanding 
some objections, was granted as a special favor to the claims 
of an exiled parishioner to thus perform a filial duty ; and 
the tablet remains there as the only attachment of the kind 
possessed by the old church walls. The widow and the family 
continued to reside at Dunkeld from the death of the husband 
and father until their removal to Canada in 1847. 

We now turn to the mother's side of tlie house. The 
mother of the Mackenzies was the daughter of Donald Flem- 
ing and Jean Stewart, both persons of good social position. 
Mr. Fleming was society schoolmaster and session clerk of 
Logierait. Society schools were supplementary to parish 
schools, and were what mission schools arc here ; they were 



iiaintaincd by the society for the propar^r.tion of christian 
knowledge in the Higlikmds and Islands of Scotland. Mr. 
Fleming acted also for the people in secular matters. Law- 
yers were unknown in those days in this secluded part of 
Scotland, and he was therefore the chief adviser and adminis- 
trator of the affairs of the people of a very extensive district 
— a position which gave him a high standing and great in- 
fluence. These peaceful occupations he preferred to the more 
stirring life of the army, in which in his earlier days his 
wife's relatives proposed to purchase for him a commission. 
He was not of Celtic origin, and he had of necessity to master 
the Gaelic language, which he spoke without the Higidand 
intonation. He died in 1826, aged 70 years. 

Jean, his wife, was the eldest of the four daughters of Adam 
Stewart, a regimental captain and a landed proprietor of 
Strathtay, owning, as he did, the estates of Blackhill and 
Cluny, with their two manorial houses. These estates, which 
are about six miles up the Strath or valley of the Tay from 
Logierait, are still in the possession of the family, the present 
proprietor being Captain Robertson. The manor house of 
Cluny and the shooting privileges on the estate are now, or 
have been, under lease to Sir Donald Currie, the great ship- 
owner, and member of the House of Commons for West 
Perthshire. It was to this house, then in the possession of 
Miss Anne Stewart, their grand aunt, that the two elder boys, 
Robert and Hope, went to live in 1820, in order to "attend 
school and learn the Gaelic." 

Mary Fleming, the mother of the Mackenzies, was tl.o 
fourth of seven children, four sons and three daughters. The 
eldest son, Thomas, went to Jamaica, and died there of yellow 
fever. Another son, Hope Stewart, was bred to the profession 
of medicine, and took the degree of M.D, He, however, never 



practised. His family iiifluonce procured for him a commis- 
sion in the service of the India Company. He attained 
high rank in the Madras Presidency, and acquired considerable 
wealth. He died in 1874<, in London, England, leaving hand- 
some legacies to his numerous nephews and nieces, and the re- 
mainder of his fortune to his cousin, the Captain Robertson 
ah'eady mentioned, who was his executor and residuary legatee. 
The Lord Provost of Perth, who presided at the public ban- 
('uet jjivcn in Mr. Mackenzie's honor in 1875, and Rev. Dr. 
Macdonald, of Leith, a distinguished minister, and an author 
of some note, are, like Captain Robertson, cousins of the Mac- 

On both sides of the house, therefore, tlie ^rackenzies came 
of good families, as the phrase goes, and their ancestors were 
of the best stock, but this they never referred to in any way 
whatever. They relied solely on their own merits. Their 
creed on the social structure ijuestion was ba.sed upon the two 
celebrated sentences of the Prime Minister in his speech in 
1875 before the working men of Dundee: "For my own 
part, sir, I never allude to the fact that I have been a working 
man as a reason why I should be rejected or why I should be 
accepted. I base my entire claim for public confidence upon 
the expressions of opinion which I believe command that con- 
fidence, and ui)on the strength of those principles of which I 
have been a humble advocate for ninnv \ears." 

Having written at some little length of Alexander Macken- 
zie, the father, it is proper to sny of the mother, not only 
whose features, but whose large intellectual endowments the 
children inlnn'ited in a \( ly marked degree, tliat she wus a wo- 
man of great insight and wisdom, gentle of nnmner, though 
firm and independent in cluuacter, and eminently fitted to 
instil tliose solid jirinciiiks into the minds und hearts of lier 













sons, which made them the strong-willed, self-reliant, unself- 
ish, honorable, public-spirited men that they were. They had 
a warm attachment for each other, and the greatest affection 
for their parents, of whom they invariably spoke, not in the 
ordinary way of " father," or " mother," but in the more ex- 
clusive and tender, almost sacred, sense of "our father," and 
"our mother." 

A well-informed Scottish wiiter some years ago, in a sketch 
of Mr. Mackenzie and his ancestors, said that though his par- 
ents were in humble life, his father being a country joiner, 
the joiner " was so well endowed with brains and information, 
and the gift of the tongue, that he was the oracle of the village, 
the life and soul of any social organisations which it had. 
His mother was daughter of Mr. Fleming, long schoolmaster 
at Inver of TulHpourie, whose famil}^ talent, intelligence, and 
refinement raised them decidedly above the average of their 

As we shall in this nari-ative employ the language of Mr. 
Alexander Mackenzie himself, wherever it can be introduced, 
so now we give his own bi'ief description of the place where, 
" in a blast of Januar' win'," he first saw the light of day, and 
where his home was for the earlier four vears of his childhood 
life. He speaks of his lather's house at Logierait as " a stone 
cottage prettily situated near the conlluence of the rivers Tay 
and Tummel — one of the most beautiful spots in the Southern 
Highlands, where, within a few miles of the ancient cathedral 
city of Dunkeld on the south, antl the famous pass of Killie- 
crankie on the north, a rich cultivation in the broad valleys 
contrasts strongly with near mountain scenery, rendering the 
spot no less celebrated for natural beauty than it is for its 
historic recollections." The house was built by his father 
about eighty years ago. 




Logierait is a villao-c of ancient fame, even in the crowiled 
liistoiy of Scotland. It has a Gaelic name, signifying "the 
hollow of the foi-tress." In early da3's it was associated with 
royalty, and was the seat of the Duke of Athol's regality court, 
a tribunal which had extensive jurisdiction in cases criminal 
and civil, and, to a lesser extent, in matters ecclesiastical. So 
great, indeed, W(*iv the criminal powers of the court, that a 
"gallows-hill" was a necessary appendage to it. The village 
lias been the birth[)lace and home of other distinguished men 
than the Prime Minister of Canada, notably Di-. Adam Fer- 
guson, the historian and philosopher, and Dr. Roliert Bisset; 
while JMajor-General Sir Roliert H. Dick, Bart, who fell at 
Sobraon, in LS4(!, in the hour of victory, also shared the 
honors of the pai-ish. 

Pitlochry, where the family li\ed for a time, after leaving 
Logierait, in a comfortable stone house still standing there, is 
almost six miles further north, and nearer the entrance to the 
famous Pass. It is a delightful spot on the banks of the 
Tunimel, which a poet might envy. 'J'hc river at this point 
carries both its own waters and the wat(?rs of the Garry; the 
Garry joining it a few miles higher up. Both streams are 
celebrated in song, and al)ound with national reminiscences. 

" Cttin' ye by Athol, lad wi" the pliilalitg, 
Down liy llu; 'I'lininu'l, of liaiiUs of tlio (Jai'ry? 
Saw yo our lads wi' tlirii' l)()iini'ts and wliito cofkadcs, 
Leaving liieir niounlaius to follow I'lincu Charlie 'i " 

The old village, with its many and varie(l attractions, has of 
late years grown into quite a summer resijrt. Probably there 
is nothing more beautiful than this fa\-ored spot in all Scot- 
land. Such was the opinion (tf a warm lo\-er of nature, the 
late Charles Kingsl(>y. When dining with ^Ir. Mackenzie 
iiome years \xgo in Ottawa, he said: "I have travelled all over 



the world, and I know no place more lovely, or a drive more 
glorious, than that from Blair-Atliol to Pitloclny, through the 
Pass of Killiccrankie." In his tour of Scotland in LS83, T^.Ir. 
Mackenzie paintod out tlie old cherry tree at Logierait, from 
which when a boj'' he had fallen when striving to get its fruit, 
and for which he narrowly escaped a thrashing, not for the 
injury done to himself, but to his jacket. 

While residing at Pitlochry the three elder boys went to 
the parish school of ^loulin, distant a little over a mile. The 
schoolhouse was then, and is still, a small, quaint, uncomfort- 
able building. Writing from Ottawa, over fifty years after he 
had received his scuntv " schooling" here, to ;i friend in Dun- 
kcld, Ml'. Mackt'iizic paints a ])ic'tin'e ot* the surroundings, 
M'hich recalls ^Irs. ((uskell's description of the graveyard an<l 
parsonage at Haworth, where Charlotte Bronte and her weir<l 
sisters nursed their straiiffe ffenius in the bosom of the wild 
Yorkshire moorlands : " What a mistake our grandfathers and 
our immediate predecessors made in having dnu'ch, inanso, 
graveyard, and schoolmaster's all crowded togetlu'i". 
T remember our old schoolhouse in Moulin, like that at 
Logierait, had one pai't in the enclosure of the graveyard. The 
\ast accunuilfition of bodies for centuries had raised the 
gnjund in the graveyard some tive or six feet, and the back 
windows of our school were half covered by the growing 
soil. Let nil' ndil that 1 met an old woukmi here latelv whoso 
Imshand worked for years with my father at Logierait bef(ire 
1 was liorn." 

^\'hen he was at Moulin in 1SS.'>, Mr. Mack(Mi/ie, pointing 
nut the old school-house on whose benches he hail sat as 
a little boy, said: "It still looks as old-fashiont'd and anti- 
i|uated as if it had stood there since the times of the Hood — a 
lit place for the education of Noah and his family." He also 



related some interesting anecdotes of the old teacher wliose 
power in wielding the tawse and authority over his suhjects 
made him more terrible to them than the Czar of all the 
Russias. Robertson w^is the name of the Moulin dominie, and 
lie eked out his scanty pay in pedagogy by tinkering old 
clocks and watches, upon whose bodies he was accustomed to 
work, while driving the arts of reading, 'riting and 'rithmetic 
into the minds of the unwilling urchins, . It is to be appre- 
hended that Alexander got little under the ferule of the me- 
chanical old Robertson, or at either of the two or three other 
similar educational establishments which he attendetl within 
the brief compass of his so-called scholastic life. But what 
says a great master on this subject, his countryman, who, as 
the scholar of the family, had the advantages of a university 
education — though Ids father, too, was but a working mechan- 
ic — Scholar Tom ? "To him," speaking of John Sterling, "and 
to all of us, the expi-essly-appointed schoolmasters and school- 
ings we get are as nothing, compared with the unappointed, 
incidental, and continual ones, whose school hours are all the 
days and nights of our existence, and whose lessons, noticed or 
unnoticed, stream in ujion us with every breath we draw." 

Robert, the eldest brother, has told us that Alexander left 
school altogether when he was thirteen, and that from ten to 
thirteen he worked in sununer with the farmers, and went to 
school in the winter. Three winters' schooling at such insti- 
tutions as ancient Robertson's, the clock-mender, nuist have 
been a poor equipment for a lifetime, and if Thomas Carlyle 
himself had been compelled to put up with it, instead of hav- 
ing entered at the college at Edinburgh, we certainly wt)uld 
not have had " Sartor Resartus " or " Frederick the Great." 
How Mr. Mackenzie throughout his career felt the liam];ering 
influences of his early surroundings, a^jpears in a letter of 




lament, written to his friend, Mr. George Brown, in 1872, 
A\ hen he had became a great parliamentary leader — a letter so 
full of pathos as to evoke sympathy from the strongest, for the 
inadequately furnished, if still powerful man: "I know too 
well my own deficiencies as a political leader to wonder at 
other people seeing them as well. The want of early advan- 
tages was but ill compensated for by an anxious-enough etibrt 
to acquire such in the midst of a laboi-ious life, deeply furrowed 
by domestic trials, and it has left me but ill-fitted to grapple 
with questions and circumstances constantly coming up in 
Parliament. I am quite aware of the advantages possessed 
by a leader of men, of high mental culture and having ample 
means, especially when these are joined to intellectual power 
and personal excellence. Therefore, I do not W'onder at, or 
complain of, those who see in others possessing such, greater 
fitness for the work required of them than myself." 

He had at that time, by his own unaided eftbrts, won a posi- 
tion which it is the good fortune of but one in millions to 
achieve, however gifted or well-trained he ma}'- happen to be. 
By these eftbrts Mr. Mackenzie's mind became one of continu- 
ous development, ever acquiring knowledge, and constantly 
expanding and growing upon what it fed. It will be curious 
and interesting to mark as we go along, from the outer 
rather than from the inner evidences, the progress he made, 
often by leaps and bounds, from the period of 1841, when he 
iitruck out for himself as journeyman stonecutter, until he 
reached, in 1873, the highest attainable altitude as chief 
ad\ iser of the Crown. 

But if it was hard for the boys to get a livelihood, much 

less an education, while the impoverished father was alive to 

struggle for them, it was harder still after his death. There 

Were seven of them, ranging from the age of two to seven- 



teen, Aloxaiicler Loing fourteen. The three elder boys had 
already left school, for stern necessity had driven tlioiu to do 
something in the way of support for themselves. When he 
was but ten years of age, Alexander had been compelled to 
start forth in the battle of life by hiring himself out as a herd 
lad to various farmers in the neigliborhood, with the attend- 
ant duties of caring for their cows and sheep. Wlien he was 
sixteen he held the plough, and did at tiuit honorable em- 
ployment a man's full work, for he was very strong for his 
age, and full of pluck and resource. One who knew him 
as a lad has said of him : " He was remarkable for strength 
and energy ; always on the alert, and ever ready for fun or 
frolic." From his youth he was a born leader, and headed his 
companions in their every harndess mischief-making expedi- 
tion. But he was, from first to last, self-respecting, and there 
was never anything in him approaching in the slightest degree 
to badness. There was a boldness and aggressiveness, an in- 
dependence of character and thought about him, a habit of 
forming his own opinions and of sticking to them when 
formed, which all feared, and many liked him for. But 
whether they did the one or the other, he chalked out his 
own way and kept it. " Hew straight to the line, and the 
man's work is not only the better for it in itself, but is more 
commendable in the eyes of his fellow men." 

As the boys in turn grew to a proper age, each was appren- 
ticed to a trade. The eldest two, Robert and Hope, became 
carpenters and cabinetmakers, Alexander a stonecutter, John 
a tin and coppersmith, and Adam a druggist. The other two 
children were too young to learn trades in Scotland, but after 
their arrival in Canada James became associated with tiie two 
elder brothers in building and cabinetmaking, and Charles 
joined John in the hardware and tin and coppersmithing busi- 




Aspirations not Ecalised— Hugh Miller's Case Exemplified— Journeyman 
Stonecutter Before the Age of Twenty — Works and Muses in the Land of 
Burns— Beginning of His Religious Life —Becomes Attached to Helen 
Neil— Emigration to Canada — His Deportment on the Voyage — Love for 
the Old Songs — Arrival in Kingston — A Scottish Scene of '43. 

'^^J^'^ ROUDE has told us that tliere is in most Scottish 
il^ families a desire that one of the sons shall receive 


^?' ,r^' a liberal education. It seems to have been so in 
W'S^J^^^^ the family of the Mackenzies. Alexander had 
((f'K always felt a tliirst for knowledge. He was a 
greedy reader, and never tired of poring over his 
books. In this way, with his prodigious memory, he was con- 
stantly storing up funds of most valuable information. It 
was his own wish and that of his mother and the rest that he 
sliould obtain what is known as " advantages." But this wish 
was not to be realised. There were seven children and the 
mother to be provided for, and the brave, manly boy resolved 
to take his turn at wage-earning with the rest. So at about 
tlie age of IG, from his hard preparatory school of existence, he 
entered life's university by binding himself with a builder of 
the name of John Ireland, of Dunkeld, to learn the trade of a 
stonecutter. Who does not recall in these circumstances, with 
this chosen occupation, but with these desires and aspirations 
uni'ulfilled, the author of " My Schools and Schoolmasters," his 




countiynian, Hurjli Miller ? Wore not tlu'ir cliar.'iciers and 
their tastes and followinffs almost identical ? One of the most 
vivid and Avidoly-read of Hugh Miller's cliaptcrs is that in 
which he tolls the stoiy of his choice of a calling-, its impelling 
motives, and his unsatisfied early ambition to gratify his tastes 
in otiier ways than that of shaping stone. Though the pas- 
sage is a little long, and pressed as we are for space in these 
croY chapters of events, it fits the case of Alexander 

Mackenzie so well, with the one exception of the reference to 
the misspent period of boyhood, as to tempt us to quote it, 
with but small abridgment. 

Says Hugh Miller: "Finlay was away, my friend of the 
Doocot Cave was away ; my other companions were all scat- 
tered abroad ; my mother, after a long widowhood of more 
than eleven years, had entered into a second marriage ; and I 
found myself standing face to face with a life of labor and 
restraint. The prospect appeared dreary in the extreme. The 
nee y of ever toiling from morning till night, and from one 
wev... nd to another, and for a little coarse food and homely 
raiment, seemed to be a dire one, and fain would I have 
avoided it, but there was no escape ; and so I determined on 
being a mason. ... I, however, did look, even at this 
time, notwithstanding the antecedents of a sadly misspent 
boyhood, to something higher, and daring to believe that 
literature and, mayhap, natural science, were, after all, my 
proper vocations, I resolved that nmcli of my leisure \inio 
should be given to careful observation, and the study of our 
best English authors. Fain would I have avoided going to 
school — that best and noblest of all schools, save the Christian 
one, in which Labor is the teacher — in which the ability of 
being useful is imparted, and the si)irit of independence comnui- 
nicated, and the habit of persevering ettbrt acquired, and whicii 



is more moral than the schools in which philosophy is taught, 
and greatly more happy than the schools which prefer to teach 
only the art of enjoyment. Noble, upright, self-relying Toil, 
who that knows thy solid worth and value would be ashamed 
of thy hard hands and thy soiled vestments, and thy obscure 
tasks — thy humble cottage, and hard couch, and homely fare. 
Save for thee and thy lessons, man in society would every- 
where sink into a sad compound of the fiend and the wild 
beast, and this fallen world would be as certainly a moral as 
a natural wilderness. But I little thought of the excellency 
of thy character and of thy teachings when, with a heavy 
heart, I set out about this time, on a morning early in spring, 
to take my first lesson from thee in a sandstone quarry." 

The studious herdboy had certainly read Hugh Miller ; and 
the elder stonecutter's noble apostrophe to labor must have 
influenced him in following his precepts and his example. 

Young Mackenzie was a faithful and zealous apprentice ; 
he served his master well, acquired a complete knowledge of 
his trade, and turned himself out a most competent workman 
when he was even yet in the period of his teens. In the few 
years that he had passed from the days of mere childhood 
until now, the sagacious Scotch lad had learned by heart in a 
stern school the true lessons of life, the first of which is to win 
" the glorious privilege," that was now his own, " of being 
independent," and to acquire those talents of prudence, self- 
discipline, industry and sobriety without which it is given to 
no one to achieve the best results. 

He could not have been more than three j-ears or a little 
more under indentures, for he went to Mr. Ireland as appren- 
tice when he was about 16, and in 1841, before he had 
reached 20, he was working at Irvine as a journeyman stone- 



On being loosed from his indentures the younf^ man he<:fan 
to look around him i'or employment ; for through all his days 
ne hated to be idle. In Dunkeld there was no scope, as 
there was little building there of any kind. But in the wes*-; 
of Scotland the Ayr and Glasgow railroad was being con- 
structed, and this involved the erection of bridges and culverts. 
And so the young lad, when barely nineteen, in the spring of 
1841, left home and friends, and went to Irvine, where he at 
once got emploj'ment as a stonecutter on a bridge over the 
river. Before this time he had been an enthusiastic reader 
of Burns, and now it was his privilege to be in Burns' country, 
and to work in the very place associated with the name of 
Burns, who was a craftsman in the Masonic Lodge of Irvine. 
Shortly after entering upon work here, Mr. Mackenzie took 
an opportunity of visiting the home and haunts of the poet, 
examining with a curious eye the auld and new "Brigs of 
Ayr," AUoway Kirk, and "Ye banks and braes o' bonnie 
Doon;" filling his mind afresh with many a noble picture, and 
warming his heart with some of the richest effusions that ever 
welled forth from poet's soul, while working among the stouo 
and mortar during the day. 

Even at this early ti'as he had begun to take a deep interest 
in the political history of his country, and to discuss economic 
questions. He was a keen observer of the Chartist movement ; 
he attended some of the Chartist meetings, and even took part 
in the debates. He was well accjuainted with the celebrated "six 
points," some of which he approved, while he detected the 
fallacy of others. For though there was a good deal of the 
radical in his composition, he could perceive both the strong 
and the weak planks of the Chartist platform. He had no 
sympathj'' whatever with the extreme measures the followers 
of Ernest Jones were ready to adopt, and so he never asso- 
ciated himself with them. 



Up to this time we know nothing of his ivlif^ious life. He 
was always a moral, upright lad, reverential toward Divine 
things, and had great respect for all good men. But at this 
period of the history of the Church of Scotland there was 
not a little of cold formality in the place where he lived, and 
it is probable that during his apprenticeship he had met much 
of that open disregard to religion which characterised the 
operative mechanics in many parts of the country. All his 
life his moral nature craved for reality, and hated pretence ; 
he saw through hoUowness on any subject very readily. And 
now in Irvine he met some zealous Baptists of the Haldane 
school, and, attending their meetings, he came under the 
iniluence of their teaching. He attached himself to tlie Bap- 
tist communion, and continued in it ever after. In all things, 
however, save baptism, he remained warmly sympathetic with 
the Presbyterians, and of late years it was the subject of bap- 
tism only, and not the mode, that was the dividing line between 
him and his former church relations. Hence, as he often said, 
he had, in a measure, to make his religious home in both 
churches, his old associations and most of his pi.'rsonal friends 
being in the I'resbyterian Chui'ch. When in his former home 
in Sarnia he attended, both morning and evening, the Presby- 
terian church, and in other places often one of its two Sunday 
services. He was never charged with being a bigot. So far 
from that, ho was in religion, as in politics, a large-minded 
man, readily acknowledging good wheiever he saw it, and 
deeply interested in all social, moral, and religious movements. 
Ho was fond of (juoting, especially to those who thought 
much of forms and creeds, the remark of Robert Hall, the 
celebrated Er^^lisii Bajjtist divine, that he would do a good 
<l(ud to m.. wC a man a Christian, but would hardU' cross the 
street merely to make him a Baptist. 




While in Irvine he became acquainted with a family of the 
name of Neil. Tlie father and eldest son were stonecutters, 
like liimself. Into tliis family he afterwards married. lu 
addition to the other members of the Neil household, there 
were two daughters. The eldest, Agnes, was married to a JSlr* 
Steed ; the other, Helen, but seventeen years of age — an at- 
tractive girl of good mental endowments — laid hold of his 
heart, and ruled supreme in it. 

He spent only a year at Irvine, but the circumstances of 
that year determined his life's destiny, the destinies of his 
whole family, and was pregnant with influence on the des- 
tinies of millions of his race in a distant country. 

In 1842, when the young stonecutter was twenty years of 
age, the Neil family conceived the idea of attempting to bettor 
their fortunes by emigrating to Canada. Alexander Macken- 
zie, who looked upon himself, and was looked upon by them, 
as virtually a member of the family, resolved on accompany- 
ing them. They sailed in the good ship, Momirch, a passenger 
sailing vessel, from Greenock, on 5th of April, and after an 
adventurous passage of thirty-two days, encountering icebergs 
on the way, by one of which they were nearly wrecked, they 
arrived in Montreal on the Gth of May. Mr. and Mrs. Steed 
were also of the party. The Monarch carried seventy pas- 
sengers. The Neil party preferred taking a passenger to an 
ordinary emigrant ship, so as to secure greater seclusion and 
comfort. On the voyage, worship was daily celebrated by 
this family, and Alexander Mackenzie took his part in the 
liymna and prayers. A fellow-passenger, who is still living in 
Kingston, says that while the other passengers were enjoying 
themselves at various games on board the vessel, Alexander 
was generally to bo found aloof in some corner, reading a 
book. " He was retired in manner, but always willing to give 
advice if asked." 



Before embarking for Canada, Alexander was unable for 
want of means to visit his family at Dunkeld. They gave 
him, however, the best send-ott' they could afford in the shape 
of a substantial chest of clothes and other necessaries, got 
ready by his mother, and packed l)y his elder brothers, Robert 
and Hope. 

He had much pleasure on the voyage in listening to the sing- 
ing of Scotch songs, in wiiich some of the younger members 
of the party were proficient; for in music, and especially in the 
beautiful lyrics of his country, he took pleasure to the end of 
his days. During the weeks preceding his last illness nothing 
could gratify him more tlian for his grand-daughter to play 
and "sing the auld Scots' songs — the songs he loved so well." 

Just three weeks before his deaHi, letters wci'e received from 
two fellow-passenger!;'; who liad learned of his illness, and 
after a silence of 50 years had written from dift'erent and dis- 
tant parts of Canada, expressing their sympathy, and recalling 
the incidents of their voyage together across the sea. Hv- 
remembered both men perfectly, though he had never seen av 
heard of them before or after, and gave instructions to reply 
to their kind notes, and to be warmly remembered to them. 

Thus, with song and story, book and musing, the time of 
the voyage was agreeably spent. When the vessel entered the 
f;ulf, and came in sight of the long, low, dreary-looking i.*^ md 
of Anticosti, densely clothed with spruce that was dwarfed by 
the distance, Mr. Mackenzie remarked that he had seen better 
heather growing on the Scotch hillsides. 

When the Monarch got to Quebec ho despatched a long 
letter to his mother and fanniy, telling of his safe arrival, and 
of the incidents by the way. In that letter, too, he poured 
out to the dear ones at home all the love of a tender heart. 

He took occasion while in the ancient city to visit the 



Plains of, wliore ho marked the precipice up which 
the troops had scrainl)led under cover of that event- 
ful night, and viewed tlie scene where the jjreat engagement 
was fouglit in whicli"fell Wolfe, victorious." By the obser- 
vations he made to a companion, he showed that he was min- 
utely acquainted with the incidents of the battle, and of the 
history of the country at the time it was fought. On his 
return from the plains he introduced himself to a Scotch 
soldier who took him through the defences. He was like a 
schoolboy let loose on a holiday, and utilised to the utmost 
every minute of time he had to spend in this historic and 
interesting cit}'. 

Next day the vessel saikd up the river to Montreal, 
where he made arrangements with a Frencinnan, captain of 
a battue, to take the family and himself to Kingston. In 
after life he reverted with pleasure to the time he spent 
in Kingston, and some of the acquaintances he formed there 
were his life-long friends; among them, ]3r. Machar, and Rev. 
Wm. Gregg, now Professor (Jrcgg, Knox College, Toronto, 
whose ministry Mr. Mackenzie often attended. The ties then 
formed becanu> stronger as time passed on, and thereafter each 
entertained for the other a high measure of respect. Mr. 
Mackenzie's family tiiought it hiting that Dr. Oregg should be 
asked to conduct the services at the funeral in Saruia, and 
were much gratitied at his consenting to do so. 

In IS^;}, the year after the departure of Mr. Mackenzie for 
Canada, a scene of dramatic interest which is illustrative of 
the religious life of Scotland, took place in the old town 
of Dunkeld. Prior to that date the only church in Scotland 
was its National Church. But in 1843 the great Free Church 
movement, which was known as the disrui)tion, culminated. 
The much-hated matter of patronai^e was the cause, The 

m- * i^^ 



laiided proprietors had the church patronage, and appointed 
the pai'ish ministers. They were thus designated "intrusion- 
ists " — intruders within the sacred domain of religion and oi: 
conscience. The contest was a very bitter one, and was 
sliared in, not alone by the sires and matrons, but the young 
men and maidens, and the very children, whether they under- 
stood anything about the question or not. 

One of the old Kirk ministers to follow the lead of Dr. 
Chalmers in this struggle was the Rev. John Mackenzie, who 
had up to that time conducted his services in the parish 
church — in ancient days the Ro)uan Catholic cathedral church 
— of Dunkeld. He left church and manse and everything 
behind him for the sake of his cherished principles of religious 
freedom. Who of his former hearers in the old town were to 
take example from him and continue as his flock was now the 
question for these people to determine. As they were divided* 
a canvass was necessary. The younger children of the widow 
Mackenzie, who remained at home, well remembered the cir- 
cumstances of the interest excited by the good pastor coming 
down their street in Dunkeld, visiting in turn each of tho 
houses of the parishioners, the earnest reading of the Scrip- 
tures, the solemn prayer, and then the all-important question: 
" intrusion or non-intrusion ?" ami how, without having pre- 
viously given any intimation of her intentions, when their 
mother said " non-intrusion," they rushed into tho streets, 
tossed up their hats and gave the non-intrusionists there 
assembled, occasion for another hurrah! Such scenes can 
never be forgotten. 


•• From HCfiic's like tlicsc oM Scotia's j^raiulcnr apringa, 
'liuiL Miiikoa her loved ut home, levined ubroad ; 
riincea uiul lords are hut the l)reath of kings, 
' An honest man's tiie nol)k'st work of (Jou,' " 

' ■ iu-'-ijimmmmmmm' 



We stop in our narrative at this point to give a very brief 
sketch of the state of parties and issues when Mr, Mackenzie 
came to this country, and what they were from the time 
of his coming to Canada in 1812 until he entered Parliament 
in 1861. 



Political and Histcrical Sketch — From his arrival in 184'2 lo entering Parlia- 
ment in 1801 — Tlie U. E. Loyalists — Ihe Clergy Reserves —Louia J. Papin- 
eau and Wm. Lyon Mackenzie — Robert Gourlay — Barnabas liidwell — The 
Rebellion — Baldwin, Draper, Morin, Lafontaine — Sir Charles Metcalfe — 
Hazy Notions of Responsible Government — Lord Elgin — The Rebellion 
Losses — The Governor-General Mobbed — Sacking and Burning of the Par- 
liament Buildings — George Brown — Dr. Rolph and Malcolm Cameron — 
Francis Hincks — John A. Macdonald — The Seigniorial Tcnui'o — Representa- 
tion by Population — The Double Majority — Rapid Growth of Upper Canada 
— " French Domination." 

ROM the signing of the Treaty of Paris, in 17G3, to 
the passing of the Quebec Act, in 1774, military 
rule prevailed in Canada. In the lal'-er j'car, 
under the Quebec Act, a Council was appointed 
by the Crown with the power to make all colonial 
laws or ordinances. By the Constitutional Act of 
1791, the colony was divided into the Provinces of Upper and 
Lcnver Canada, each having its own Legislature of two Houses 
and its own Governor. In each the Legislative Assembly was 
made elective. The members of the Legislative Councils, 
however, were practically king-appointed, and held their seats 
lor life; and the Governors, wdio were also king-appointed, 
ruled with the help of king-ap])ointed Executive Councillors, 
who owed no responsibility to the elective chamber. The 
Governor, Legislative Councils, and Cabinet had therefore all 
the power — the people's house of parliament, on!}'" its shadow. 




It is surprising that cnliglitened statesmen like Pitt and 
Burke did not see in their measure creatincf tliese Provinces, 
on this model, the many evils it was destined to inflict upon 
the infant colonies, and the struggle for popular rights which 
would be certain to grow out of it. The dangers ahead were 
visible enough to the far-piercing eye of Fox. Says Watson, 
in his " Constitutional History of Canada : " " Almost evcry- 
tliing to which he took exception proved, in the after years of 
Canadian history, a source of heart-burnin<T to the people, and 
of imminent peril to the State. He opposed a Legislative 
Council appointed by the Crown ; the appropriation of public 
lands for ecclesiastical purposes ; the division of the Province, 
and the consequent isolation of the inhabitants of both races. 
The first two of these questions was destined, for over half a 
century, to be the political plagues of Canada, and the chronic 
perplexity of Great Britain. The third question is left to 

Fitting soil had thus been formed for the reception therein 
of so monarchical a body as those who were too loyal to 
remain in the thirteen States of the neighboring Union after 
they had throvm off their allegiance to Great Britain, and who 
then sought refuge in Upper Canada. These persons were 
designated " United Empire Loyalists," and through the large 
grants that were made to tliem of the Crown territory, they 
became the landed gentry of the Province. 

An aristocratic band of rulers would have been wantinff in 
dignity and exclusiveness liad not a state church been pro- 
vided. This, too, was supplied by the endowme: t of Anglican 
rectories, and the setting apart of the seventh portion of the 
ungranted land, or two million five hundred thousand acres, 
as reserves for the maintenance of a Protestant clergy in 
Upper Canada. 



We sliall see that the establishment of the " Family Com- 
pact," as the oligarchists were called, the founding of the rec- 
tories, and the formation of the Clergy Reserves, were the 
causes of gi-eat trouble to the growing people. 

The leaders in the demand for equal rights were, in Upper 
Canada, William Lyon Mackenzie, and in Lower Canada, 
Louis Joseph Papineau, and in neither Province was any por- 
tion of these rights wrested from the hands of the colonial 
tyrants until the people had risen in rebellion. There were 
many painful struggles which led up to this most humiliating 
of all the events in Canadian liistory. 

Use and wont had accustomed the first settlers of Upper 
Canada to the doles and charities of a paternal government. 
The Province in 1791 comprised but 20,000 of a population, 
and the people had, of necessity, in order to make a start 
in these wilds, to accept aid from the Government in tlie 
shape, not only of implements for subduing and cultivating 
the land, but also of food and clothing. 

Twenty years later, the census exhibited a considerable 
growth, the number of souls in Upper Canada being in 1811, 
77,000, and among them were people who were of an enquiring 
turn of mind — who asked questions, and who were not wholly 
satisfied with the answers given them. That these people, 
however, were as loyal as the United Empire Loyalists who 
governed them, and as resolute as they to defend their homes 
uud country, was seen in the measures they cheerfully took 
on the outbreak of the war with the United States in 1812. 
Li both Provinces they trained themselves to the use of arms, 
spent their money on munitions of war, and risked their lives 
in the service of the King, for whom they were foremost in 
achieving the victories of Queenston Heiglits and Ciuiteau- 
guay. Yet the Loyalists par excellence, who fought by their 



side, made issue with tiicse brave men on the question of their 
political creed, dcnyiug them the most elementary ri^lits per- 
taininpj to freemen. 

In 1817 the Assembly presumed to enter upon, among other 
causes of complaint, the consideration of the grievance so 
long borne, which had arisen from the setting apart of the 
clergy lands, whereby continuous settlement was prevented ; 
but the members were, in Cromwellian fashion, summarily 
sent about their business by the appearance of the Gover- 
nor with the mandate of prorogation. Next year, for pre- 
suming on enforcing the right to petition, Robert Gourlay 
was cast into Niagara gaol. In 1821, for the crime charged of 
being a United States citizen, and of having committed misde- 
meanors before coming to the province, Barnabas Bidwell was 
expelled from Parliament, and a law was passed requiring a 
residence in Canada for seven years, on the part of a foreigner, 
before he could qualify for the Legislature. Tlie Upper 
Chamber, the same session, denied the right to the Wesleyan 
Metliodists to perform the ceremony of marriage. In 1825, 
the Tories gutted and destroyed the printing office of William 
Lyon Mackenzie. I;i 1831, Mackenzie suffered by expulsion, 
the fate, ten yeoTS before, of Bidwell. Next year, he was ex- 
pelled again. In 1834, after he had been elected Mayor of To- 
ronto, and while in England with a petition for the redress of 
grievances, he was a third time expelled. On two occasions 
subsequently he was the victim of the same kind of tyranny. 

It was by acts like these that the way was paved for tlie 
rebellion of 1837, in which Papincau, as leader of the 
" patriots" of Lower Canada, promised his co-operation. 

The followers of Papineau were regarded in the West as 
anti-British, and consequently the majority of the people of 
Upper Canada, who at that time numbered nearly four hun- 
<lred thousand, sided with the Governor, the hare-brained Sir 




Francis Bond Head, looking upon the coml»ined movement in 
Upper and Lower Canada as an attempt to sever the Imperial 
connection. Some cause was given for this contention by 
appeals from tlie exasperated Mackenzie to the people to take 
up arms, in order to the throwing off of the British yoke, 
and the achievement of the independence of the country. Tlie 
circumstances attending the actual resort to armed force, both 
in Upper and Lower Canada, and the lamentable consequen- 
ces, ending in the failure of these rash movcmeuts, need not 
be here repeated. 

Of the merits of tlie insurrection itself mucli has been said 
and written in the iifty odd years which have since elapsed. 
One of the latest public writers on the subject, who is least 
friendly to Mackenzie, has pronounced the following deliberate 
judgment on the movement : " In the face," he says, " of such 
facts as are now admitted by persons of every shade of political 
opinion, it is impossible to say that the movoin^nit was unjusti- 
fiable. Nor can it truly be said that tliu price paid for the 
benefits it conferred was out of proportion to those benefits. 
. . . Public opinion has long since done justice to the men 
wlio struggled to obtain for Canada the advantages of the 
EngHish constitution. Everybody now admits that in the 
long contest which culminated in the reunion of the provinces 
the Reformers were in the right and their opponents in the 
wrong. . . . The essential advantages of free government 
liiive long been ours. They would probably liave been ours 
ere tliis if there had been no Rebellion, but our i'atliers would 
have liad to wait for them, and they had already waited long. 
Feeble and rash as the movement undoubtedly was, it hastened 
tho inexituble end, and the benefits remain to us and to our 
chililien. Doubtless there are those among us who believe 
that even such numifold abuses as existed half a century ago 



in Upper Canada wore preferable to Rebellion. But even 
such persons will hardly deny that great allowance should be 
made for those who took up arms. Others, who have less 
reverence for authority, will echo the aspiration of Sir John 
Falstaff: 'God be thanked for these rebels!"* 

Judged by the light of suljsequent occurrences, we can well 
believe that this spurt of civil war — for such it really was — 
hastened the redress of grievances which the agitation of the 
people on constitutional lines had utterly failed to secure. 
The Home Government became aroused to the dangers of the 
situation in the two Canadas, and at once prepared to move 
in the direction of the measures which, on the recommenda- 
tion of Lord Durham, gave the provinces the Act of Union 
of 1840. 

This fjreat charter of Canadian liberty brought with it re- 
sponsible government, and the independence of the judiciary. 
The clergy reserve and rectories question still, however, re- 
mained a bone of contention, and continued so until 185-i, when 
the clergy reserves were secularised, and the rectorial claims 
were commuted. 

We are now nearing the period of 1842, when Mr. Alexander 
j^lackenzie appeared upon the scene. 

Kingston, the city chosen by Mr. Mackenzie and his little 
party for their place of abode, had become in the previous year 
the seat of the Government. Parties were ^^ery evenly divided 
in the Legislative Assembly of the united Provinces, as the re- 
sult of the election of 1841, and the Cabinet was a compound 
of such diverse elements as Baldwin, Sullivan, Daly and 
Draper. If anj-thing, the Reformers had the majority. In 
1841, the municipal system was established in s})ite of tht- 
sneers of the Family Compact faction, that the municipal coun- 
cils of the country were simply so many " sucking Republics.' 



The waning influence of that faction, as a consequence of the 
uuitju and tlie (growth of population and public sentiment, now 
led them, under the guise of Conservatives, to try milder 
measures, and things might liave gone on with tolerable smooth- 
ness under the beneficent influence of Lord Sydenham, but for 
his unfortunate death on the 19th September, 1841, and the 
death also of Sir Charles Bagot, his successor, in May, 1843, 
when the country became atilieted by the evil genius of Sir 
Charles Metcalfe. 

Sir Charles found in power, and in possession of the confi- 
dence of the Legislative Assendily, Mr. Baldwin and Mr. 
Hincks, with Messrs. Lafontaine, Morin, and Aylwin as their 
colleagues. The Governor-General was not long in mani- 
festing his tendencies, which it was feared from the first would 
be to stem the current of popular liberty. He insisted on his pre- 
rogative to make appointments, without the necessity of seek- 
ing the advice of his Cabinet, and thereupon the Government 
of Mr. BaMwin resigned. Mr. Baldwin was further advanced 
ill the principles of constitutionalism than either Sir Charles 
Metcalfe or the bulk of the Canadian people. The Governor- 
General held it to be a degradation of his office to allow party 
leaders to make appointments, and maintained that, by taking 
these appointments into his own hands, the appwintees would 
bo higher in character and truer servants of the State. He 
also considered that the surrender of the principle he contended 
fur would be the abnegation of one of the prerogatives of the 
Crown. In view of his narrowness of vision, and his inex- 
perience in the government of a free people, it must be remem- 
bered that Sir Charles Metcalfe's previous training as an ad- 
ministrator had been in the civil service of India, and in dis- 
ci large of the functions of Governor of Jamaica. 

The generally prevailing ideas of responsible government 




were so lia;^}' that tlic proposition tliat public ofTiccrs shoulJ 
be servants of the Crown, and not of the Minister, was calcu- 
lated to make an undue impression upon the jjopular mind. 

In the perplexing circumstances which arose out of a con- 
flict of a Governor with a Ministry supported by a majority in 
the popular House, on a ([uostiori of patronage, party leaders 
did not know how to proceed, l)ut aftur a long interregnum, dur- 
ing wdiich nobody but a figun'-huad could be got to take any 
of the various offices, Mr. Draper stepped into the breach; the 
Cabinet was filled; an ap[)(al was made to the people; and, 
aided by the inlluence of the Crcjwn, Mr. Draper succeeded at 
the polls by a narrow majority. 

The new Parliament met in Montreal in November of 1S44, 
with Mr. Baldwin in opposition, and the Governimnt main- 
tained a precarious existence until another appral was made in 
January of 1848, when the l^aldwin-Lafontaine Govennuent 
took the reins, ^Ir. Draper, " Sweet William," retiring to tiie 
bench. Meanwhile, Sir Charles Metcalfe, wlio liad been made a 
Baron, had been compelled to ask for his recall on account of 
ill-health, and the Government was administered ly the Earl of 
Cathcart, the commander of the forces, vuitil the arrival of 
Lord Elgin, as successor to Lord Metcalfe, in January, 1847. 

The elections of 1S48 brought in an Assem})ly and aCiovt'rn- 
nient in accordance with Lord Elgin's own views of what con- 
stitutionalism really meant. 

During Mr. Draper's administi'ation, he was placed in a di- 
lemma by the claims which were made \\\)0\\ the public treas- 
ury by persons wdio had suffered losses in both Provinces at the 
time of the rebellion. The difficulty was in determining who 
were trnly loyal. Li this category were naturally })laced by 
Mr. Drainer's Ministry most of the sufferers fi-om the rebellion 
in Upper Canada ; and most of those who had sull'ei'ed in Lower 








(«) i 





Caiimla — a Province full of "i-oIk'Is" — \\(ro as natui'ally ex- 
cluded. The conse(|uence was tiiat the iiideiiiuity jNivcii totiie 
people of the Eastern Province was re^^arded hy thcia as so 
small and inadequate as not to be worthy their acceptance, 
while the Loyalists in the Western Province were dissatisfied 
that such a nest of "rebels" should receive any public ai<l 

In the second session of Mr. P>aldwin's Parliament, in 1S4'), 
Mr. Lafontaine, his colleaffue, introduced and carried, a^'.iinst 
much opposition, a measure to |)ay the balance of the cdiii- 
pensation claimed to be justly due foi- the loss of jiroperty by 
the rebellion in Lower Canada. This ^^'ive ris(; to intense ex- 
citement in Upper Cana<la, and also in Montreal, wht-re the 
Loyalists raised the cry of " French domination," rather than 
submit to which, they de('lar<'<l in tln-ii- wi-utli, they wouM 
seek annexation. 'I'hcy trusted io I^ord VA\(\n withholdin<^ 
his assent, and when this hoi)e was f^^one, and he left tin; bill 
to its operation, molts as.sembled, cov<;red him with evc-ry 
kin<l of insult and pelted him with missiles, ending their 
orgies V)y wrecking the furniture of tlu; [larliament buildinj^s, 
and burnin<r the building's to the ground. 'J'liesc jicts of \ io- 
lence caused the removal of the (Jov(.'rnment to Toronto, 
which, from that time, shared its advanta^fes alternately with 
Quebec, until its permanent location in Ottawa. Parliament 
sat lor many a lon^, weary day and ni^dit in the I'fil-brick 
pile of dreary and unhealthy buildin<,rs in Front-street, To- 
ronto, to be iKJW at last abandone(l for the ma<^niiHceiit struc- 
ture nearinj^ c(jmpletion in the (.Queen's I'ark. 

The most serious of the agitations for some years to como 
was that having for its object the abolition of the I'eetories 
an<l the secularisation of the (Jler^y lleserves. 'I'he l!;i|il\vin- 
Lal'ontaine Government declined to accede to the de'iiaml of 



their more advanced outside supporters to deal with this ques- 
tion, and in 1850, Mr. Brown, with his friends, withdrew from 
the Government their support. 

The difficulty with the Upper Canadian Liberal leaders in 
those days, in legislating on the Clergy Reserves, was in con- 
verting to their views their Lower Canadian allies. As with 
the question of representation by population, which was to 
become a burning question a few years later, the two Pro- 
vinces were unable to reach an agreement ; for the Liberals 
as well as the Conservatives in that Province were bound to 
maintain the endowment, which, in Lower Canada, amounted 
to nearly a million of acres. The more fiery spirits in the 
Liberal ranks in Upper Canada were impatient, and would 
not wait. The question, however, was merely one of time; 
for the handwriting was so clearly seen upon the wall that 
Dr. Strachan, Bishop of Toronto, warned his clergy, in his 
charge delivered to them in May of 1851, that they had to 
gird up their loins to meet the impending change. " The 
necessity," he said, "is upon us ; there is now no alternative." 
" There is nothing of moment left us but the voluntary prin- 

The attitude of Mr. Brown on the question is seen in the 
position he took before a public audience in Toronto in the 
same year. " I contend that the voluntary principle brings a 
purer gospel to mankind than national establishments. It 
matters not whether you regard the connection of Church and 
State under the pomp of prelacy, or the less pernicious form 
of clerical stipendiarism, the system raises a barrier between 
the pastor and his people. . . . Establishments make 
religion a matter of party politics — the Church becomes the 
source of endless discord — and, perhaps, more infidels are pro- 
duced by the exhibition of Christian pastors scrambling for 



the loaves and fishes, while they are preaching their worth- 
lessness, than from any other cause. The very preaching of 
an established church is cold and lifeless." He concluded by 
declaring that there was no middle ground ; that theirs must 
be the resolute determination to uproot the whole fabric — to 
leave not a vestige of it in existence ; and that they had to 
keep ever before them the goal they must reach : " No re- 
serves! — no rectories! — no sectarian education! — no ecclesias- 
tical corporations ! — no sectarian money grants ! — no sectarian 
preferences whatever ! " 

In 1851, Mr. Baldwin met with an adverse vote from Upper 
Canadian members on a resolution looking to the abolition of 
the Court of Chancery, and rather tiian rule with a merely 
sectional majority — not having a " double majority," which 
was held to be essential to the life of a Ministry from the 
union of 1841 until the elections of 1857 — he resigned. Mr. 
Hincks then took the lend, with, as liis colleagues, two ad- 
vanced Liberals in the persons of Dr. Ilolph and Mr. Malcolm 
Cameron. In the general election which followed Mr. Bald- 

win lost his scat. There was at the same election a contest 
in Haldimand between two notable men, Mr. George Brown 
and Mr. William Lyon Mackenzie, in which Mr. Mackenzie 
was the victor. These changt'S in parties and in the Govern- 
inent, as may reasonably be sujiposed, gave rise to much per- 
sonal rancour. 



Tlic Hincks administration remained in power until 1854. 
In the summer of that year it appealed to the country, but 
Mr. Hincks was deserted hy some of his friends, and the Gov- 
ernment was defeated on the assembling of the new parlia- 
liament in tiio following September. !lr. Hincks had his 
revenge on the desi;rters by promoting a coalition cabinet, 
though he did not himself enter it, with Sir Allan McNab at 
its head, and Mr. John A. Macdonald as one of its members. 
The Liberals, who had j(jined with the Conservatives in de- 
feating Mr. Hincks, were still more strongly in opposition 
to the new combination. 

Much of importance transpired during the administi'ation 
of Mr. Hincks. The (Ji-and Trunk Railway and otlu-r railway 
companies were incor[)orated ; the IVlunicipal Loan Fund was 
established, giving the credit of the Go\ ernment, to a limited 
extent, to municipalities for borrowings for local works, which, 
it is needless to say, led to extravngance and losses ; the par- 
liamentary representation of each of the provinces was 
increased to sixty-five mendjers ; the Reciprocity Treaty with 
the United States was negotiated by Lord Elgin; the power 
hitherto held by the Lnperial Government to deal with the 
Clergy Reserves was conceded to the Province, but with pro- 
tection to vestt'd rights; and an unfruitful attempt was niade 
to modify the harsh action of the seigniors towards the censi- 
taires, or conniionalt}', in I^<n\er Canada. Persistent attacks 
were also made u])on Air. Hincks, as had previously Ijeen the 
case with Mr. IJaldwin, for his refusal to deal with the Clergy 

Both the Seigniorial Tenure question and the Clergy Re- 
serves question were settled by the Government of Sir Allan 
McNab. The cleivv lands were secularized for educational 
purposes, and the claims of the rectors were conanuted. Of 



tlic scmi-ar^rarian discontont in Lower Canuda, caused by a 
legacy of the ancient feudal system, something- further may 
here be said. Of the old order of things, it was the one tiiat 
died hardest ; it even reappeared, like some media)val spectre, 
to vex the spirit of Mr. George Brown during the lleeting 
hours of his premiership. 

The feudal system of land tenure, known as tlie Seigniorial 
Tenure, which liad been established by the French Crown in 
Lower Canada, when the country was first colonized, had long 
since lost any virtue it ever possessed. Its pristine goodness 
was gone, and the dregs alone remained. Under the French 
regime, a functionary called the Litendant, and the local gov- 
ernor, had compelled the seigniors to deal Justly with their 
tenants, the censitaires. The Conquest abolished this species 
of paternal authority, and in course of time the exactions of 
the seigniors became oppressive. The principal complaint was 
that the rents charged by the seigniors were excessive, and 
should be reduced, and that legislation of some kind was im- 
perative in the public interest. The grievances of the censi- 
taires had been fomented by popular agitation in the press and 
otherwise ; so much so that the Difontaine Goverimient was 
oliliged to consider them. This was done by a connnittee which 
sat in tlic session of 1S51, and of which tlie Solicitor-General, 
Mr. L. T. Drummond, was chairman. Ih-ielly stated, the report 
of this committee defined the rights of the seigniors. It pro- 
posed legislation to fix the maxinnun of rents which the 
seignior should receive, and to compel him to acei'pt it. At- 
torney-General Lafontaine thought this was objectionable. Ho 
regarded the proposal of the connnittee as equivalent to con- 
liscation, and, in any event, as not striking at the root of tho 
system. After tho general election and the fall of tho Lafon- 
taine Government, Mr. Drummond, who became Attorney- 


Generalin the Ilincks-Morin Ministry, introduced a bill which 
was designed to meet the oltjections of his old colleague, Mr. 
Lafontaine. This new measure provided that the courts should 
determine the legality or illegality of the rents then charged 
the censitaires, that there should be a certain maximum limit 
for all future rents, and that in the event of the courts decid- 
ing in favor of the old rents, which were on a decidedly lower 
scale, the seigniors should receive public compensation. These 
were the prominent features of a bill which earned for its 
Liberal author " the distinguished honor of having been the 
leader in overthrowing the feudal tenure, and endeavoring to 
replace it by land tenure more suited to the age." It was 
passed by the popular assembly in the session of 1852-3, but 
came to grief in the Upper Chamber. The Cabinet, it would 
appear, was not thoroughly united on the measure; it was 
more or less a measure of compromise. ]\Ir. Hincks, the Upper 
Canadian leader, favored total abolition of the real burthens 
of the system, such as the lods et rentes, which were admitted- 
ly legal, and the giving of ade(|uate compensation therefor. 
He also favored a continuance of the rents, if the claim to 
them was legally established ; if not, that they should be re- 
duced as the courts might direct. Lord Elgin is said to have 
shared these views. 

The rejection of the bill by the Legislative Council only 
added fuel to the flame of popular agitation. In some of 
the more populous districts of Quebec there was a cry for the 
abolition of the tenure in toto. In the midst of this ferment 
of public feeling, the Hincks-Morin Administration vanished 
from the scene. The new Government, the McNab-Morin 
coalition, was perplexed with tlie difficulties of the situation, 
but was forced to face and solve them in some fasliion. It 
did so with a happy-go-lucky piece of legislation. The bill 



was introduced in the Lower House with a multitudinous lot 
of clauses, of which it was ah^^ost completely shorn by t'.ic 
time it had run the gauntlet of the Upper Chamber. Col. 
Tachd had charge of the measure in the Lords. The crucial 
difficulty was solved in this way : A reduction was made of 
the maximum rent from two-pence to one penny per arpcnt, 
iuid a commutation at that rate was forced upon the long- 
privileged seigniors. This, WMth the indemnity which followed, 
and which was extinrjuished in the vcar 18G0, was in effect 
the practical abolition of the Seigniorial Tenure, the most 
vexatious of all Lower Canadian social evils. 

Lord Elgin retired in 1S54, and Sir Edmund Head took his 
pLice. During his regime Mr. Cartier came into the Cabinet. 

By an amendment to the Militia Act, the first bodies of 
volunteers were now formed, superseding the sedentarj^ forcea 
Col. Tachd succeeded Sir Allan McNab as Premier, Mr. John 
A. Macdonald, however, being the sense-carrier of the Admin- 
istration. The Legislative Council was made elective. Thii 
Queen was asked to select a place as the permanent seat of 
Government. Mr. John A. Macdonald in turn succeeded Cul. 
Tache as leader, and at the close of 18j7 Parliament was dis- 
solved, and there was a sharp appeal to the country. 

The chief issue in this memorable struggle had regard to 
tlie inequalities of the representation. The number of mi-m- 
bers given to each Province had been fixed, as already stated, 
at sixty-five. lUit the r;i[)id growth of Upper Canada had 
made the demand for representation by iiopulation, or Hep. by 
I 'op., as it was shortly called, irresistible. Mr. Erown came 
back with a largo following from L^pper Canada, so that in 
the siNSsion of IS.jS Mr. Macdonald had to abandon the prin- 
Ll[)le of the "double majority," and keep himself in power \>y 



the prcponfloratinfj votes of the Lower Canadian memliers. 
He rcsi^mod the seals of oftice, however, on tlie adverse vote of 
the Assembly diHa{)proving of the choice of Ottawa as the seat 
of government, only to resume his place a few days after by 
the grace of the "double shuffle" — a phrase which is more 
fully explained hereafter. In 1859 the great Reform Conven- 
tion was held in Toronto. As the result of its deliberations 
Mr. Brown proposed in the session of 18G0 resolutions pointing 
to the failure of the existing union of the two Provinces, and 
declaring that the true remedy for the existing evils would be 
the formation of two or more local governments, to which 
should be committed all matters of a sectional character, and 
the erection of " some joint authority " to dispose of the affairs 
common to all. In these resolutions the germ appears of the 
existing Confederation. But the concession of the principle 
of representation according to population was for the time 
being withheld. 

As early indeed as 1858, Mr, Brown, with true prescience, 
saw that the existing constitution could not continue. Writing 
to Mr. Hoi ton on the 29th of January of that year he sug- 
gested three changes: "A genuine legislative union, with 
representation by population, a federation, or a dissolution of 
the present union." He discusses each of the three plans, and 
rejects dissolution as ruinous and wrong. "A federal union, 
it appears to me, cannot be entertained for Canada alone, but 
when agitated must include all British America." He de- 
spaired at the time of the feasibility of so large a scheme, and 
predicted that " we will be past caring for politics when that 
matter is finally achieved." His powerful advocacy, however, 
of representation by population hastened the consummation 
of the project at a much earlier day than at that time to any 
one seemed at all possible. 

Alexander Mackenzie. 
(From a Photoijraph hij Xotmnn .t- /'Vrt-scr, 1S70.J 












be ha 



iive ; 

Mr. C 

that, ;; 

tish ot 

that ^ 



lie esti 

time c'l 




u» t 

In 1801, the year in wliicli Alexand<.'r Mucken/io came into 
Parliament, his naniesake, Wilham Lyon Muckeny.ic, died. Sir 
E«hnund Head was succeeded as Governor-General bj' Lord 
JVIunck. The decennial census was taken, and showed an 




enormous advance in population in Upper Canada over the 
number of the people of the Province in 1851. The popula- 
tion of Upper Canada in 1841 ivas 405,000 — of Lower Canada, 
091,000; in 1851 Upper Canada had 952,000— I ower Canada, 
890,000; in 1801 Upper Canada numbered 1,390,000— Lower 
Canada, 1,111,000. 

When Mr. Brown moved in 1857 that representation should 
be based upon population, without refifard to a separating li*ne 
between Upper and Lower Canada, he was able to show that 
while Lower Canada doubled her popidation once in twenty- 
iive years, Upper Canada doubled hers once in ten years. 
^Ir. Cartier met this statement by the celebrated argument 
that, against the disparity of numbers of the peo[)le, the cod- 
tish of Gaspe Basin should be counted. li" he meant by this 
that wealth should be an element in the calculation, Mr. 
Brown was able to answer him by pointing to the greater 
wealth of Upper Canada, whose contriljutions to the revenue 
he estimated to be as three to one. There were at the same 
time great inequalities in the population of the respective cou- 
-stituencies of L'pper Canada — greater even than exist under 



the geriymniiilcr acts of recent times — and as interference 
witli any part of the structure would cndano-er the whole 
edifice, these glaring anomalies remained to give additional 
force to the contention. In Bruce there were 80,000 people 
without representation. 

Lower Canadians were all hut a unit in opposition to the 
principle, and they were joined by some of the members 
representing eastern constituencies in Upi^er Canada, where 
the growth of population was not nearly so great as it was 
in the western counties. The representative man among the 
members from the eastern constituencies of T"^pper Canada 
was Mr. John Sandfield Maedonald, whose constitutional rem- 

ody was the "double majority," which ^Ir. John A. Maedon- 
ald had been compelle<l to abandon as no longer feasible, 
and which was becoming more ami more impracticable as 
the disparity between the ))t)pulatiniis of the two Provinces 
grew wider and wider. In Lower Canada the cry was raised 
of (langei to " '^ur language, our law.;, and our institutions," 
and M. Loranger in impassioned words called ui)on liis com- 
patriots to profit bv' their advantage : " Nous avons Vavantaw ; 
])rofi tons-en." They wore answered by tlie old shout of 
" French domination." The cure-all came at 1: st in the shape 
of Confederation. 

With this rapid and imperfect outlino of ovonti'-, in which 
Mr. Mackenzie took his part, we shall return to a consideration 



of his own Rnrrouudin^s; after prefacing it with short sketches 
of three men who, like himself, took their start on their 
Canadian career in Kingston, and at about the same period, 
and whose political lives were destined to produce a profound 
impression upon his own — Mr. Bruwu, Mr. John A. Macdonald 
and Mr. Mowat. 



Mr. .Mackenzie's Conteniporarics— Sketch of Mr. Geo. Brown— His Relations 
to Mr. Mackenzie— Characteristics of Sir John A. Macdonahl—Mr. Holton'a 
Estimate of Sir Oliver Mowaf,— The Young Stonecutter meets his Match, 
but is not Overcome by it— His Letter from Kingston to Scotland— Plod- 
ding in the Forests of the Far \Vest— " Home, Sweet Home "—Cheated out 
of his Wages— Cues on the Land — A Friend in Need— His Associates and 
Surroundings— His Brother Joins Him. 

JR. MACKENZIE and Mr. F.ivnvn came to Canada 
ill the same year — Mr. Mackenzie in the sinunier 
ol' 1842, to make this his home; Mr. Brown, late 

(Uj^^Cttf in |,S42, to extend the circulation of the paper 
which, with his father, he had recently started in the 
city of Xt-w York. Mr. Brown was, in age, the sen- 
ior of Mr. Mackeii/ie l)y about a year. Kingston was at that 
time the seat of government, and Mr. Brown went to Kings- 
ton in furtherance of his Journalistic mission, but it does not 
seem that the two men who, in subsequent years, were to 
become such ardent friends, at that time met. The Baldwin- 
Jlincks Ministry was then in pow(T, with Sir Charles Bagot, 
Governor-Cjent lal. Mr. Brown conferred with various mem- 
bers of that Govenniiciit, aiid the impression produced upon 
hiMi by all he had seen and heard caused him to return to 
New York an<l induce his father to remove their newspaper 
entei'prise to Toronto. They connnenced the Banner in Tor- 
onto in August of 1!S4I3, and in the struggle which ensued for 





the maintenance of constitutional government and the estab- 
lisliment of religious equality in Canada, found full scope for 
all tlu'ir energies. The Banner, wiiich was semi-religious, 
semi-politieal in tone, was superseded in 184-i by the Globe, 
and til is powerful paper from the start became the leading 
political journal of the Liberal party. During the many 
years that it was conducted b}- Mr. Brown, the charge was 
frequently brought that it was dictatorial in tone and intoler- 
ant of the views of others. The opinion formed by Mr. Mac- 
kenzie on this head, and his estimate of the functions of a 
great newspaper, were expressed some thirty years afterwards 
in reply to a letter of remonstrance addressed to Jiim by a 
journalistic friend in another part of the country : " In your 
remarks concerning the so-called domineerintf of Mr. Brown 
and the Glohe, I have no doubt you represent a large number 
of journals. I am bound to Nay, however, I nev(.'r knew Mr. 
Brown in any way to be so. No one living lias hail so much to 
do with Mr. Brown as myself, and I always found him reason- 
able, so that I liad my say as often as he had his. Since the 
formation of this Government, I liave not received a single 
letter from him asking for or pushing any favor or opinion 
upon me. He has been of all i)oliticians, uf all men, the most 
considerate. When out of public life, he never wrote me, on 
]iublic matters, a single letter, if I except congratulatory 
letters, on our course in the House. I am aware that he is a 
man of strong will and decisive character (and Cnuada has 
reaped the benelit of that trait), and such a man nnis,, in the 
possession of a paper ha\iiig an iininense ciirulation, hold a 
decided view on public alliiirs, and of his own iin<l his paper's 
intluence, so that it is natural that its utterances may seem, in 
its consciousness of power, to bo sometimes domineering. But 
We must admit tliat it is generally right, ami always actuated 



by liifvh principle. Injudicious often, perhaps, and occasionally 
injurious to the Government, as other papers are, still the 
Liberals owe much to its inteti-riuy. power, and induence, and 
when they take up the cry of domineering, they should re- 
member that this is the Tory complaint, and should be used 
sparingly by us, for they will quote it in their own support. 
Our papers liave to guard against rushing off in pursuit of 
hobbies on mere speculation, seeing how calculated the hobbies 
are to weaken the central party authority. The English and 
Canadian Tories held office for many years in conse(juence of 
such follies, and what has happened already may happen 
again. Principles we cannot abandon for any Government ; 
speculative political movements we can always let stand to a 
convenient season." 

The marked individuality of Mr. Brown's character is seen 
in this little picture of him and his paper; the paper being 
his exact reflex. In person, Mr. IJrown was broad and mus- 
cular, and of towering height, so that his very powerful pres- 
ence gave an immense impetus to his platform thunderbolts. 
These were forged in a glowing, tiery furnace, and launched, 
as they were, with the accompaniments of a voice as from the 
clouds, and with great vehemence of action, they were, in spite 
of some defects of oratory, always telling in their etlects. 
After delivery, the reporters' transcripts of Mr. Brown's 
speeches were suliject to tiie most careful polishing and 
revision at thu hands of the master workman in the jour- 
nalistic craft, and in their strongest and most perfect foi-m 
were printed in the Globe, to electrify and inspire the admir- 
ora of Mr. Brown throughout the country. 

Mr. Macdonald practised law in Kingston, and Mr. Mowab 
studied for his profession in Mr. Macdonald's office; Mr. Mac- 
kenzio was working in Kingston at the same time. It docs 



not seem prolKiblo, however, that, wliile there, he associated 
with Mr. ^hicdonald or Mr. Mowat. Their circuinstances and 
walk in life were of course different. Jolin A. ^lacdonald 
was called to the bar in 183G, and Oliver Mowat in 1841. At 
the same age as Mr. Mackenzie, we have no evidence that either 
was infected with the fever of politics to the extent of the 
young stonemason. \\'itli easier social environments, the prob- 
lems of life were not likely to press so severely upon them as 
they did upon him. We have seen that, when a mere boy, 
Mr. Mackenzie was what ' flailed an advanced thinker, which 
means that at that time he was an advocate of reforms which 
it took 3'ears of agitation to bring about. 

But if Mr. ^lacdonald was not so much of a politician as a 
youth, when he came fairly on the stage, he was found to be a 
very acti\'e one indee<l. His forte as a leader was in manage- 
ment. He was a cle\'er political chess player, whose pawns 
were men. These he moved about the board in a series of ex- 
traordinary and unlooked-for combinations. Nor was he back- 
wai'd in stealing a piece from the adversary; using it, when he 
wanted to do so, as his own, and when it had served his pur- 
pose, casting it away; so that it was sai<l of him that his path 
through life was strewn with ])olitical tombstones. He had 
fascinating manners, an epigrannuatic, though jerky, style, 
both in [)ulilie speaking and cons'ersation, and an ingenious 
faculty of making the worse a[ipear the better cause. He was 
also an inventor of hon mol.'< and a recontear of pi(iuant stories. 
These (pialities were very attractive, especially to young men, 
and, associated as they were ^vi»h the prestige of almost un- 
varying success, they constituteil Sir John, in spite of his 
devious ways, the idol of his party. His letter to Mv. 
McGreevy, not long since published, shows the relation in 






which he held both cnlloa^mos and followers. He kept them 
or detatched them, exactly as it suited his occasion. 

"He cast off liis friends, as a lumtsinan his pack, 
For ho knew, when he pleaseil, he could whistle them back." 

We know of but one exception to his success in the exercise 
of his mafijnetic power — the rebellion at the perpetration of the 
Pacific scandal. Then, for the first and last time, the hunts- 
man's whistle blew in vain. It piped, however, to the old 
purpose when he coaxed his forces to follow him a^ain five 
years afterwards, on his newly-invented issue, the N. P. The 
claim of Sir John's supporters that he had statesmanship of a 
more than usually high order will not be denied, though their 
faith in his profundity as a great constitutional lawyer must 
have received a severe shock in the unbroken series of defeats 
it was his lot to encounter in the courts, after confederation, at 
the hands of his old student, Sir Oliver Mowat. 

Rarely were two men more the antipodes of each other than 
these. Sir Oliver Mowat's beaiing and manner, and his habits 
and modes of thought and expression, are altogether different. 
He is most conscientious in the dischai-ge of public duty, and 
high moral principle is part of his nature. Twenty years of 
continuous service have given the Province many noble monu- 
ments of his statesmanshi}), and have left his character with- 
out a stain. Honors never soujifht one nioic worthv of them 
than Sir Oliver Mowat. They were eai-nt'(l by a long and 
laborious life of unsclHsh devotion to his country's cause, by 
many a brave and successful defence of tht' rights connnitted 
to his charge, by the highest attributes of a ('liri.stian gentle- 
man, who was Kuns ihiw and sau^ trpi'oche. The splendid 
estimate of him, which wr iind embodied in a letter addressetl 
to Mr. Mackenzie b}' his colleag\ie in tiie l)ro\vn-])orion 



Governmont, Mr. Holton, of <liitc 2oth Oct., 1872, and liitlieito 
unpublished, we reproduce. The letter was written on the as- 
sum|)tion by Mr. Mowat of the office he took at that time, and 
which he has since uninterruptedly held : " Mr. Mowat's Pre- 
miership is a master stroke, and I conoi'ratulate you all upon it. 
I only wish I could welcome my old friend and collea<;uc 
among us at Ottawa. Of none of the many puVilic men with 
whom I have been intimately associated do I cherish pleasantcr 
memories than of Mowat. His hi<^di moral qualities — his .sen- 
sitive conscientiousness — his transparent honesty — his perfect 
sincerity, united with <(reat lof^'ical acumen, with extensive in- 
formation, and with rare power of continuous and concentratc^d 
labour, led me to regard him as the beau Ideal of a public njau- 
I sincerely rejoice that he has returned to politicid life. Ui» 
assiunption of the Ontario leadership, at this juncture, cannot 
fail to be of incalculal)le benefit to the country." Never were 
truer words s])oken, as no one can but admit when he reflects 
upon what Mr. Mowat has since done for his Province, and 
what it might have been without him, in the assaults that wei-e 
made upon its rights and liberties. Sir Oliver Mowat luis 
wonderful power of analysis, an extraordinary faculty of get- 
ting at the salient points in coniplicatcil masses of facts, of 
digesting evidence, of quickly reaching the marrow of a case, 
and he has a persuasive and argumentative style of speaking 
and writing which makes him a hard )nan to resist. Joined 
to tilt .:>e qualities is a tridy democratic readiness of api)roach 
to any one having a grievance or request, and a patience and 
earnestness of attention to rejjresentations and appeals that 
lead insensibly to the conviction that he has made the cause 
of the suppliant his own. In the enjoyment of a close i)ersonal 
and political friendship with Sir ( Hi\er Mowat, for the thirty- 
one years, from the time he entered Parliament until his death. 







i^pL....-^ ^^^-z,,.;^^- .^.-/ci-^^^ ^?1..*__ ^'^^--._ 

(Facsimile of Hon. Lnt/icr IF. Ilolton's ha ix I -writing.) 



Mv. IMackonzio, to whoso early fortunes \vc now agaiu 
revert, had o-ivat comfort and great profit. 

Before lea\ing Moutivjil, a builder had ofTei'ed the youthful 
stonecutter fair wages to engage with him, but judging that if 
wages w'ere so good near the sea, they would be still better 
inland, he resolved to push on up the country. But in this he 
was mistaken, for the times were dull in the Uniteil States, 
and many artizaus, thrown out of employment there, had 
come over to Kingston, so that tiie place was tilled with alien 

In this case, however, he found work. On the morning 
after his arrival in Kingston, he went out to seek em[)loyment, 
and was at once successful. But in the meantime he discovered 
that the tools he had brought from Scotland were too soft to 
cut the limestone, and not being in a position to incur the ad- 
ditional expense of getting a new kit of cast steel, he oU'ered 
himself as a builder on a house then being erected on Princess- 
street ; a change of em[)loyment from stonecutter to builder, 
which showed, as nuieh as anything else, the resources and 
adaptability of the young artl/.an. He had only worked six 
months in all at the building daring his apprenticeship, but, 
watchiuf the men on the wall, he thought he could do as well 
as they wore doing, and he <liil not overestimate his abilities. 
His employer scrutinised him narrowly for a few hours, and 
then, without saying anything, went away. But as his wages 
at the end of the week were e(pial to tliose of the best work- 
man, he knew that the nuister regarded him as at least equal 
to any of thein. In a sh')rt time he was as expert at building 
as he had been previously at stonecutting. 

His experience and expectations as to remuneration, with 
the vision, ever before him, of eherished inde[)endence, lind 
expression in a well-written lettir, which we have before us, 



in a l)oyisli haml, cviflontly more accustomerl to the use of tliu 
steel hammer and chisel than to the .steel pen, addressed, on 
the front of two folded quarto pages of the epistles of those 
days, to his brother; 

".Mr. Robert M.ArKEVzii'., C.irpenter, 


"Kingston, June 7, 1842. 

"Dear Brother, — Yon v.nll, no doubt, be surprised that I 
have not written you before now. I arrived here yesterday 
fortnight, but the Ennlish mail went off before I could write 
yon, and I had to wait patiently till the next, which is to be 
made up on Friday, so you will see that I could not address 
you any sooner. 1 began work on Thursday after I arrived, 
at a house in the princi})al street in Kingston. I found the 
stone to be much harder than I imagined — all limestone, and 
so hard that no tools would work them but the best of cast 
steel. Of course I had none of that kind, and had no monev 
to buy them, and far less had I any inclination to work at 
such material. This staggered me a little, but as I had a 
hannner and trowel with me I resolved not to be outdone ; so 
I commenced builder, and I have built constantly ever since, 
and got on pretty well, so that I pass for a regular hand. I 
am not exactly certain what wages I am to get yet. He told 
me he w ould give me the current wages, which are 7s. Gd. a day, 
or Gs. British money. Some inferior hands are paid tvith less, 
but whether or not I am to be considered amono; them, 1 know 
not 3'et." 

He then speaks of the labour market in the United States 
and Canada, and says lie was disappointed in the belief that 
there would be more demand for hands further up the country 
than at the lower ports. Ho also gives the cost of living, 
deducintx the conclusion that the married existence was as 



economical as a single man's lile in a board iiio-house — an 
evidence of the direction in whicli his thouMits were turned. 
He speaks, too, of meeting with one Roljert Urquhart, a car- 
penter, whom lie had known in Scotland, and who had come 
to Kingston a while before him ; and he })rt)ceeds: 

"I may say that Kingston and Montreal are two as hand- 
some towns as the best in Scotland, with mechanics' institutes, 
strong total abstinence societies, and meetings and lectures of 
every kind. They are surrounded by the most picturesque 
scenery, and front on a majestic river. I only wish mother 
and all the rest were out here with me. We could live here 
very happily together, and if we had some land (as I expect 
soon to have) we might shortly become independent. This, how- 
ever, is no country for idlers. Hard work for sometime at 
least would be reciuircd of those beginning to clear and culti- 
vate the .soil. But then we would have the satisfaction of 
knowing that we were working for ourselves, and there would 
be no tax gatiierer standing over us thrusting his hands into 
our pockets. The Sabbath ap]»ears to be pretty well ke[)t 
here, but there is very little true religion amono- the <ji'eat 
mass of the population. Altogether I feel very happy until I 
begin to think of home and its inmates. Give motherandmy 
\'uiuiu'er brothel's the warmest o'ood wishes of an allectionate 
son and of a loving; brother, and when vou are all gathered 
together under the maternal roof and see (as the poet says) 
' the vacant seat, the empty chair,' forget not that there is 
one of your numbei-, who woidd a})preeiate the hap[iiness of 
the family circle, plodding in the forests of the far west. Often 
am I in imagination, delusis'c though it be, transported among 
you, enjoying the presence of a fond mother and no less fond 
1 irotheix I hope we may all meet in reality once more on 
earth; but if not, (»od grant we may meet at last in that 









^& m 
s ^ Ilia 

^ i;S 1120 

1-25 il.4 








.% ^^/ 

















happy laml which is the promised inhorilance of all believers, 
and the anticipation of which is the greatest happiness given 
us on earth, 

" I will write Peter Ellis as soon as I can. When you get 
this, give him all the information it contains, and my com- 
pliments. I hope you will wnte and tell me what is going on 
at Lome, and send me a newspaper if you can get one [the 
Government stamp duty making newspapers at that time 
very expensive], and you will nuich oblige, 

"Your allt'ctionate brother, 

*' Alexander Mackenzie. 

"P.S. — You will find a newspaper along with this that Robert 

Urcjuhart sends you, and a curious epistle of his. Address to 

the care of Mr. Coombs, Baptist minister, Reur-street, Kingston, 

Upper Canada. 

"A. M." 

The contractor, under Avhom he worked the greater part of 
this summer — by the name of Schermerhorn — paid his men 
with goods out of a store owned by the proprietor of the house 
in which the contractor was himself financially interested, and 
as Mackenzie needed no store pay, and as money was not 
forthcoming, he was put off with fair promises. When the 
building was nearing completion, only three masons were re- 
tained on the job, of whom Mackenzie was one. The others 
received their store-pay and left. At this juncture, hearing 
that his employer was in difficulties, though he had previously 
been reputed to be well enough off, he waited upon him for a 
settlement, and got for himself and a companion a promissory 
note. This piece of worthless paper was all they ever received 
for their faithful summer's work. We saw that note only a 
short time ago. It had been preserved as a memorial of the 
earnings of former days, and was folded and kept with many 



others of the same nature, representing moneys long past clue, 
but never paid. The loss of nearly all his tirst summer's 
wages, at a time when every dollar was of eonse(juence, was a 
severe blow to the young lad, which he deeply foit, and it 
made him cliary of irresponsible contractors for the rest of his 
days. This was the first tiuie Mr. ]\Iackenzie was deceived by 
relying on a false promise ; we often wished wu were able to 
say it was the last. 

He speaks in his first Kingston letter home of his intention 
to buy kind. Like most young Scotchmen coming to America, 
he had a desire to secure a place for hiniself, and so we next 
find him negotiating for the purchase of a farm. 

The transaction by which he was cheated out of his sum- 
mer's pay coming to the ears of Mr, Mowat, of Kingston, the 
father of the present Premier of Ontario, he kindly offered, 
on very easy terms, a farm in the township of Loughbor- 
ough, distant from Kingston about 22 miles, where, with the 
Neil family, he might tide o\er the winter. They were to pay 
for the land when their prospects brightened. Such was the 
occasion of the first introduction of Mr. Mackenzie and the 
elder Mr. Mowat, two names which, as stated, were destined 
to be closely associated in the history of our country for many 
years thereafter. The esteem young Mackenzie always cher- 
ished for the father w>ls iu after years given to the son with 
tenfold interest. 

The farm lay among dense woods, and was the only occu- 
pied piece of land in the concession. It was located behind the 
more settled parts of the township, and had on it a clearing of 
two acres and a log house, 18xlG, covered with boards, through 
which, Mr. Mackenzie has since said, he had a line op]")ortunity 
for studying astronomy on clear niglits. There was also a 
little back shanty, 12.\10, which leaned against the larger 




buiklinf:^. Such was the future Premier's palatial residence 
<iuring his first winter in Canada. 

When he had loco ted the famil3%he succeeded in c^ettinf^ em- 
ployment for a few months for himself in a small place called 
Sydenham, about three miles distant from the farm. Here he 
worked at various jobs for an Englishman, the owner of the 
flouring and oatmeal mills, in building foundations and chim- 
nies for some dwelling houses for his employes. But on the 
setting in of winter, he went back to the farm, and helped to 
■cut from six to eight acres of timber, which had been under- 
brushed during the previous summer, in order to prepare it 
for the spring crops. While thus employed, he narrowly es- 
caped being killed by a falling tree. In the spring of 18-43 he 
left the farm for Kingston, and never returned to it again. 

The family were ill-fitted for such an entenirise as roughing 
it in the bush. Except Mr. Mackenzie, who had held the 
plough, and worked on a farm for some time in his schoolboy 
days, not one of the company knew any more about farming 
tlian Horace Greeley. 

Mr. Steed was a ship carpenter 1)y trade. He was a widelj'- 
rcad man. He was, however, a dreamy iilealist who never 
■came within a tliousand miles of a practical question — a phil- 
osopher, in fact. As for Hugh Neil, the eldest son of the 
family, lie had had thoughts of entering the ministry. He 
was a sort of prophet; great on the beasts and red dragon ol' 
Revelation, and on the restoration of the Jews. Mr. Mac- 
kenzie was the politician of the party, and was ever ready to 
discuss all phases of economy — domestic and political. We 
have heard an old man say, "1 knew Mackenzie in Kingston; 
he had an a /fu' tongue even then, and was a great speaker 
on politics." The women possessed their full share of the 
brains and of the intelligence of the family. The mother and 




two daughters were endowed witli fine intellectual and social 
(][ualities, and were well-read. But of farming they knew 
nothing, and neither had ever seen a cow milked. 

The kind of farming done on this estate by these people can 
therefore easily be conceived. But, notwithstanding, they all 
spent a happy winter together, in the long evenings sitting 
round the wide, old-fashioned fire-place, cheerful and ruddy 
with the blaze of the big logs, reading and discussing literary 
subjects and authors, especially Shakespeare and Byron, two 
prime favourites of theirs. It was a very interesting group, 
and its intellectual life was a fitting preparation for the future 
.statesman. All who have heard Mr. Mackenzie speak, know 
that he could readily quote from the poets, and from current 
literature, and that his addresses were invariably pitched on 
the high plane of presupposing intelligent hearers. Never 
once was he guilty of belittling an audience or trying to mis- 
lead them by plausible and sophistical arguments. His 
hearers knew just where he stood, and readily perceived that 
he had faith in their intelligence. He was, again, like Hugh 
Miller, who said : " If the writer of these chapters has been 
in any degree successful in addressing himself as a journalist 
to the Presbyterian people of Scotland, it has always been, not 
by writing down to them, but by doing his best on all occas- 
fiions to write up to them ; and, by addressing to them on 
every occasion as good sense and as solid information as he 
could possibly nuister, he has at times succeeded in cateliing 
their ear, and, perhaps in some degree, in influencing their 

The monotony of farm life in the l)ackwoods was relieved 
bj^ occasional pranks of a harndess kind which young Mac- 
kenzie was continually playing; the philoso[)her of the party, 

Mr. Steed, being usually the object of these pleasantries, lie 



and his wii'u oocupiud, (luriii*^^ tlio winter, the sliant}' or 
lean-to. One ni^ht Mv. Mackenzie stutie(l np the chimney, 
and the little place was soon filled with smoke. The ])hilo- 
sopher therenpon wciit into an elaborate explanation of air 
currents, and showed how draughts are interfered with b}' a 
change of wind, and that, thonoii disagreeable for the time 
being, it could not be helped, the shanty being fdled with 
smoke on philosophical principles, aflbrding a grand illustra- 
tion of the correlation of forces. All listened with befitting 
attention to an exposition so learned ; none more so than ')e 
who had stuffed up the chimney. But next morning the wind 
liaving got back to the old (piarter, the trick was discovered, 
and the stufiinjj taken out. 

This season, 1843, in Kingston, ^Ir. Mackenzie tendered for 
and obtained the job of cutting stones and building a boml)- 
proof arch at Fort Heiny, and he wrought at this with his 
men, and at other public works during the summer. He was 
joined, during the sunnner, by his brother Hope, who had 
arrived from Scotland. The brothers had not seen each other 
since Alexander left Dunkeld. By cn(|uiry, Hope found his 
brother out; l»ut the two years of separaticju at that particu- 
lar time of life had wrought a great change in the half-grown 
lad. In his first letter back to the family, Hope tells them 
that Alexander was so cliange«l in appearance that he scarcely 
knew him : the youth he had last seen at the end of his 
apprenticeship, luul develope(l into a full-gi-own man, strong 
and active, and was now in Kingston, a contractor, though just 
turned twenty-one, standing at the head of a munber of his 
own workmen. Hope obtained woi-k Mt Kingston at his trade 
of carpenter and cabinetmaker, and wrought at it there 
for about three years. 






Rises in his Position — Suffers for his 0[)inions — ("iocs to the Bpauharnois 
Canal — An Enicute there — A Painful Accident — Removes to the Welland 
Canal — Returns to Kingston- -Is Married there — Builds the Defences of 
Canada — Foreman on the Canal Basin, Montreal— Settles in 1S47 in Sarnia 
— Joined in Sarnia by the othe." Brothers and their Mother— Death of his 
First Wife. 

XE of the stonemasons who worked under Alexander 
Mackenzie in Kingston, and who resides still at a 
'ijm ripe old age at Portsmouth, near that city, says : 
" He thorouijhlv understood his work. As a me- 
chanic and man of lines, ho always had my sincere 
gratitude, for I learned much from him. He knew what 
he wanted, and expressed his ideas so clearly that I had no diffi- 
culty in procuring for him what he required. He was always 
the same. When I met him in Kingston, in his early days, and 
in Ottawa, in the height of his power, he was the same plain, 
unaffected, common-sense man. He frequently chatted with 
ine over his early days in Kingston and elsewhere. Mr. Mac- 
kenzie was my friend — my true frienil ever. Frccpiently people 
would ask me if Mr. Mackenzie was wealthy. I invariably 
said, ' No ; his character is against his heing wealthy.' I can 
truthfully say he was a most benevolent man. He was not a 
iriend of ' beats,* but when ho met needy persons who were 

worthy of confidence and in misfortune, he would give his last 




dollar to aid them. I know this to be a fact. Mr. Mackenzie 
was a clear Scotchman, plain and true. He was reserved 
among strangers, but jovial and entertaining with intimates. 
He was a real temperance man. He attended the Baptist 
church in Kingston, locai:ed then as now." 

In the same " interview," the narrator stated : — " My first 
recollection of Mr. Mackenzie was while he was dressing stone 
for the front doors of St. Mary's Cathedral, Kingston. The 
clergy reserve question was hotly discussed at that time, and 
Mr. Mackenzie, as a Baptist, was in vigorous opposition. 
Because of his outspokenness, one morning he went to work 
to find his stone damaged and defaced." 

So the liberty-of-conscience Tories had degenerated into 
cowards since 1837. Then in open day they wrecked the 
types and press of William Lyon Mackenzie ; now in meaner 
fashion, under cover of the night, they visited their vengeance 
on his namesake, Alexander Mackenzie, by destroying the 
work with which the youthful stonecutter earned his daily 

The chief comments we have heard Mr. Alexander Macken- 
zie make in connection with his undertakings at this time 
were on the evil consequences to the mechanic and working 
man of the drinking customs. Tiic canteen stood always 
open, as a trap to ensnare them, and many a one fell a victim. 
" Well was it for me," we have heard Mr. Mackenzie say, 
" that during my apprenticeship, and at this period, I was a 
total abstainer, and never on principle let a glass pass my 
lips." Hugh jMiller tells us of the narrow escape he had from 
the evil that ruined so many of his fellow-workmen. 

In the spring of 1844', finding that work was likely to be 
dull in the city and neighbourhood, Mr. Mackenzie left for 
Beauharnois, where the canal was being constructed. Hero 



he became acquainted with the kite John Redpath, of "Mont- 
real, who was also connected with the public works then being 
pushed forward. The general foreman — a Mr. Robert Neil, 
but in no way connected with the Kingston Neils — a splen- 
did specimen of a man, physically and otherwise, being six 
feet, four inches in height, and stout in proportion, a frank, 
honest, intelligent, fearless Scotchman, who saw corresponding 
traits to his own in young Mackenzie, gave him charge of a 
gang of men who were laying the large cut stone that formed 
the sides of the lock. These stones were swung into their 
position by a powerful crane. Almost an army were engaged 
at the various locks along tlie canal, and they were composed 
of inflannnable national and religious material, which caused 
Mr, Mackenzie to divide them into two bands. This, how- 
ever, did not prevent the outbreak of a fierce faction-tight 
that for a time endangered both life and property, and neces- 
sitated the calling out of the militar3^ A company was sent 
up from Montreal, before whose approach the rioters quieted 

About two months "'^er this a severe accident befell Mr. 
Mackenzie, by the desr Mi of a stone more than a ton in weight 
on the lower part of ^.lo leg and foot. Though his face looked 
like death from the pain, not a cry escaped his lii)s. On the 
removal of the stone, it was found that a deep bed of mortar 
had partially saved the leg, wiiich, thougli feai'fully crushed, 
was not hopelessly hurt. He was carried to his boarding 
house, where he lay for weeks and sutt'ered much, but without 
complaint. Thanks to his good constitution and temperate 
habits, the wound healed, but the limb never regained its for- 
mer strength. 

For a time he was unable to endure much fnticfue, or to 
labor at Imilding, so Mr. Crawford, the contractor, pro- 



cured for him the position of foreman on work being done 
on tlie enlaro-ement of the Welland Canal. In June, 1844, 
he went from Kingston to Slabtown, between St. Catharines 
and Thorold, as foreman for Messrs. Thomson & Haggart, on 
Lock number 12. In tlie fall of that year, when frost had 
stopped further work, he returned to Long Island, opposite 
Kingston, where a good quarry had been found, and here he 
superintended the men that winter in getting out stone to 
be built into the Welland Canal during the coming summer. 
On Saturday evenings, when the frozen channel was deemed 
safe, he was in the habit of crossing over to spend Sunday 
with friends in the city, and especially to visit her who in a 
few weeks was to become his wife. On two of these trips 
he had a narrow escape from drowning by falling through the 
ice. The last time he was warned of his danger, but per- 
sisted in the perilous enterprise, and, with the aid of a long 
pole which he carried, he saved himself by a miracle. 

His marriage took place in the spring of 1845. It was 
solemnized in St. George's Church, Kingston, by the Rector, 
the Rev. George Okill Stuart, LL.D. The groom wtus twenty- 
three years and two months old, and his bride was barely 
twenty-one. We have lying before us the marriage certificate : 

" KixGSTOX, Canada, March 28tli, 1845. 
•' I do hereby certify that the relii^ious ceremony of marriage waa 
duly solemnized between Alexander Maekenzio and Helen Noil, both 
of the town of Kingston, who were married on Friday, the twenty- 
eighth day of March, one thousand and eight hundred and forty-tive, 
by license from J. M. Uigginson, Deputy-Governor, by nie. 

"Geokuk Okill Stuaut, LL.D., 

'' liecior vf ii&. Geonje'a Church." 

The ritual of the English church sets down the words for 
the groom to say, " With this body I thee worshi]>," but this 



groom said nothing of tlio kind. Whether ho objected to the 
expression or the sentiment, we cannot tell ; hut he was 
obdurate, and neither the clci-oyman nor his brother Hope, 
who acted as liis " best num," could move liim ; and as a 
special dispensation in his case, the othciating minister mar- 
ried him with that vow omitted. 

Three children were born to them. On the reverse side of 
the marriage certiLoate are the followino- entries in Mr. Mac- 
kenzie's well-known handwriting : 

*' Mary, our eldest dfuiglitcr, was born June 25th, 18-10. 

" Mary, our second daughter, was born August 25th, 1848. 

"Our only son was born April 3rd, 1850. 

" Our eldest Mary died on the 29th of May, 1847. 

" Our boy died on the 29tli of August, 1850." 

Thus, of their three children only one grow up to woman- 
hood — Marj', their second daughter, the wife of Rev. Dr. 
Thompson, who has been the minister of the Presbyterian 
Church in Sarnia for over twentj'-six years. 

During a part of the sunmier of lM-i.5 the newly-married 
couple lived at Matilda, but on the close of the works there, 
they removed back to Kingston. Early in the year 184(5, when 
the erection of the martello towers commenced, he again secur- 
ed a foreman's place under ^Ir. ^latthews, the contractor, and 
here he worked once more at Fort Henry in building the ma- 
terial defences of his countr3^ In the early part of this sea- 
son, his wife, who had a severe ;utnek of fever and ague the 
previous sunnner, was again taken ill, and under the wrong 
treatment of a practitioner, who, liecause of drink, had not al- 
wavs the command of his faculties, her constitution was 
umlermined and ruined by excessive doses of calomel. 

Leaving his wife in her delicate state of health with her 


i.iri'] or THE now a/j:\ ...''Jii Mackenzie. 


rnotlior, lin wont down to Montn>al in tliosprinpf of 1.S47. His 
well-known nldlity wuh mow liilly rrconnisfd as un expert 
l>uil(lt'r, and ca])al)lo manaj^or of iiini, and so ho roadilyolitain- 
od a <^n)od position as rdrcniaii on the; canal-basin works that 
were hoin^'' construotod in that city. 

The provi(jus year, Mr. llopo Mackonzio and Mr. Steod went 
west in search ot" a now location. Stee<l took a notion to W'al- 
lace])nrn-, hut Hope's (ihoice was SMrnia, and tliis villarro they 
niad(i their permanent home. Steed and llo|)(} onteriMl into 
contra(;ts Toi' linildin^ ships I'or lion. Malcolm (■aiiieron, the 
shipping intei'est hein^- at tlu; time in a pros[)er()ns condition^ 
owin^ to the iMpid develo[)ment ol' the conntry, and to the ex- 
istence, as yet, ol" otdy tin; oxecrrahlo connnon roads which pre- 
ceded the railway era. The}' provid<;d at Sarn in, honsehold ac- 
commodations I'or the rest, and in the sinnmer ul' 1847 were 
joined Ity Ahvxandei- and his wife. 

Towards the I'mII of the sanies yeai', TTop(> was scnit home to 
Scotland to endeavor tohriny; toSarnia tin; rest of the I'amilv 
the desire of the youn^ men being that they should all settle 
down in (*anada tof^iither. 

Kobert at that timi; was workinu^ at Ivlinbnrgh. llop(> went 
to him to that place, and readily ^oi his consent to the under- 
takin<^. From tlusre Hope proceeded north to Diinkeld, and 
prevailed in the sanu; maimer Avith tht; rest of the family. A 
dithcnlty arose in regard to John, who Vv^as nearing 20, and was 
still sei-\in<^ his a,j)]»i'enticoship, nnder indentui'es, to the, tin 
and coppersmithini^ tra<lt!. llisjjjood master, hovvcNcr, helped 
forward the arrangements by giving John his release, and the 
mother and her children shortly afterwards set out from Dnn- 
keld on their jonrney. Its lirst stage was Juliid)urgh, where 
lU)bert joined them. From Jvlinbuigh tlu^y went liy the 
recently-opened railway to Glasgow, whence; they took pas- 



Sf.ffo in a siiiliii<,' ship for New ^'ol•k, .-iinl arrived in Sarnia 
in the iiioiitli ol* Novc'iiiltcr. Oiu^ can iniai-iMt' tht^ uiy which 
was felt hy th(3 reunion of the mother and the seven sons, who 
Were never again to bo ]>arte(l except hy »leath. 

The Macken/ies lived in Sarnia prosperous lives, and lives of 
the best example to their fellow-nien. The brothers stood un- 
seltishly one by the other, sympathised with and came to each 
other's help, held mutual counsel and oave advice, and kept all 
family matters strictly to themsi'hes. 'J'heir loyalty one to 
anotlurgavo the family gi-eat iidluenee in the place where they 
resided, and this was soon felt and aeknow le»|o»'d in all the 
civic and political affairs of l)oth tin; town and county. A et)r- 
respondcnt says: "When 1 came to Sainia in 1804,1 found 
the influence of the Mackenzie family supicme. They wtre 
the leadinf^, fruiding S})irits of the place, and fiieir name was 
associated with the town in all her affairs." In some cases this 
iiii^ht prove a dangerous combination, but with theui it was 
most beneticial, for they were public-spirited and disinterested, 
and their influence was always wisely and conscientiously ex- 

Alexander Mackenzie eng'aged in considerable buildin^^ en- 
tei'prises in Sarnia and the Western district, including' the 
(Sandwich court-house and <;aol, and these records will remain, 
with the records of the ISlate, to hold his nami^ in honorable 

In the words of Carlyle, in speaking of the worknumshii) of 
A (s mason father: "No one that comes after him will say 
' here was the finger of a hollow eye servant.' Let nie learn of 
him. Let nie writ<i my works as he built his houses." Young 
Mackenzie^ built fortifications, canals, court-houses, reputation, 
the foundation of the State itself, on an enduring basis. 



In 1852, ho was saddened by the death of his wife, as wit- 
ness this further endorsement on the back of the nuirriao-e cer- 
tificate : " Our earthly separation took place on the fourth 
day of January, 1S52, at | to 8 o'clock p.m., when my dear 
Helen was taken home by her Heavenly Father. She was 
born on the 21st October, 1826, She will meet in heaven her 
husband, ALEXANDER Mackenzie." 

ARLY in the liftics tlio wostcni counti(>s were 
jihlfizo with political rcrvor uiid I'aneor. Hon. 
[(^ jJu^^sJf ^lak'olm (.'anieron wa.s in the zenith ol' his power 
^HW *^ '^'^^^ inlhionco. In that i'ar-oti' region, access to which 
^_^ was easiest by water, he was a sort ol" llohinson Crusoe 
— monarch of all lie surveyed, whoso right there was 
none to dispute. He was a man ol' great respectabilitj' ol' lil'e 
and character, enterprising und t'nergetic in business, an unself- 
ish helper of other less fortunate men, n strong advocate of 
temperance principles, an omniverous reader, and a ready man 
at quotation, though he was not accurate or literate with the 
]ien. He may bo said to have lieeu the father of the infant 
Sarnia, which owed much of its growth to his public spirit 
and energy. Ho sat in the Legislative AssembI}' for the 
\uiited counties o( Kent and Jjambton. He had opposed, as an 
intense Liberal, the laini^ez venir poliey of the lialdwin-Lafon- 
taine Cioverument, particularly on the clergj' reserves question ; 
und, on the fall of tiiat Adnnnistration, took ollice with Dr. 

Koljih, under Mr. Hindis, in which, at the instigation of his 


\ \ 







Politics and Men in the Western District in the Early Daj-a — Clear Hrits — 
(ieorgo lirown to the Rescue — His Letters to Alexander Mackenzie— The 
" Browni'^a — Ancient Sectarian Issues— The "Old Ladies'" — Mr. Mackenzie 
as Editor — A Rival Paper — A Great Libel Suit — Valedietorj' — Fine Letter 
from Wm. Lyon Mackenzie — CJrowing Political Intlueuce — Friends Oui^e 
More — Meets " Leonidus." 



Lower Canada colleagues, he had to adopt a similar course. 
At the elections of 1851 he had signified his intention of going 
from Kent and Lambton to Huron. But in the autumn of that 
year, a split having previously taken place in the Reform 
ranks, Mr. Brown resolved to beard the lion in his den by ac- 
cepting the nomination of the Dresden convention to contest 
the Kent and Lambton constituency. Mr. Brown, through the 
Globe, had been a supporter of the Bahlwiu Ministry at the 
time that Mr. Cameron withdrew his confidence from it, and 
"the Globe thereupon gave the Cameron men the appellation of 
" clear grits," a name which was afterwards extended to the 
entire Reform party, and which has stuck to that party to this 
day. Mr. Cameron brought out Mr. Arthur Rankin on the 
Liberal ticket to oppose Mr. Brown, but finding he did not 
take well, another Liberal candidate was induced to present 
himself, in order to divide the vote ; and four men, Brown, 
Rankin, Wilkes and Larwill, the latter a pronounced Tory, 
went in December to the polls. The Brown men, however, of 
the two counties, were too many for all the rest, and their 
forces carried the day. We have before us a handbill issued 
by Mr. Cameron, over date Nov. 21st, 18.51, in which he calls 
Mr. Brown some very unpleasant names. 

In this election, as secretary of the Reform Committee, Mr. 
Alexander Mackenzie took an active part. A warm intimacy 
was, through this relation, established l»etween him and Mr. 
Brown, which lasted for a period of over thirty years. The 
beginning of the intimacy and its nature we find disclosed in 
some hitherto unpublished letters from Mr. Brown to A[r. Mac- 
kenzie, which are too good to be kept longer buried. Tiu-y 
are exceedingly characteristic of Mr. Brown, who was thus 
early what he continueil to be through life, imniensely ener- 
getic, uncompromising in character, confident in the righteous- 



ncss of his cause, exuberant of spirit, full of self-reliance, and 
sometimes wrong. He had, as we have seen, plumed his wino- 
for Pariiament in Haldimand, and had been defeated by Wil- 
liam Lyon Mackenzie. But his great speeches had drawn all 
eyes towards him, and the Liberals of Kent and Lambton 
wanted him as their member. Mr. Mackenzie wrote to Mr. 
Brown, and received the following answer, dated : 

•'Globe Office, Tokonto, 
" My Dear Sir, 23rd October, 1851. 

" I have just received your two letters. I hope you are not too confi- 
dent of success. There will be great opposition, and unless Lambton goes 
almost unanimously for me, it will be all up. Depend upon it, when I 
do come out, I will not let the grass grow under my feet. It is war to the 
knife. Can you stand all this ? You are " regular bricks " if you can put 
your faces to it. Look at it fairly, and if you say so, I am with you. 

" i'ours faithfully, 

"George Bro\v>." 

Mr. ^lackonzie seems to have satisfied the warring young- 
candidate with tlie knife that they were equal to the work, as a 
couple of weeks later Mr. Brown mad 3 answer: "I will run 
for Kent and Lambton. iScatcherd will run for Oxford, and 
we Jkvill, without a doubt, put out the Hyena." (Old politicians 
will readily understand that ho refers to Sir Francis Hincks.) 
" Put plenty of work on me. I can speak six or eight hours a 
day easily." 

He was elected, and was able to address the next letter we 
find in his writing from Quebec (where, under the perambulat- 
ing system. Parliament was then sitting) on August 23rd, 1852. 
Ho had previously written, in mistake, to Mr. Mackenzie's 
brother, Hope Mackenzie, on some matter of patronage ; " but," 
said he, " I have been turning over my election papers, and I 
see ijva are still the man of the peoi)le. However, 1 suppose 


LIFl'J OF Till-: //OX. A/J:\A.\/)HII MA(:/<EX/JE. 

•I i 


it is Jill tlic siuiK' tliiiifj. Do yon Trccljindcrs keep your lilood 
WHi'in on the bunks of the St. Ghiii\ 1 .iiu lialf ;i MackeJi/,ic 
niHti niysclt" " (liis mother was a Mackenzie), " and I I'eel my full 
ri^lit to he as pi'iiud as Luciier." 

(.)n the Uli Septeiiilier, LSo'i, lie writes to Alexandei* Mac- 
kenzie from Quelii'c, adfhcssino- the latter in his (juality as 
" Secretary to the Ivcd'orm Conmiittoe, Poi-t Sarnia," on the ail- 
ini|iort!int niatter of th(; spoils. 'J'he stnrdy youn^ secn-tai'y 
;i|)|M;irs to have claimed the right for his connnittee, at least 
to ad\ise, if not to diivct. Mr. l'>ro\vn replies that nominations 
to oHie(! belong to the county nitiidicr, hut he is sure that the 
connnittee and himself will never disfigr<,'e, "both ha\ .ng con- 
sci(!nces, and always trying to find the right man." " I go dead 
for getting cNciy oWwc for l^'foi'iiici-s — especially Brownies. 
Hut W(i must not foigct the pul)lic inttn'est. Where another 
iii.'in is dcei<it'dly better for oflice, even the Bi'ownies should go 
to the wall." " Do shoal down petitions about the Reserves, 
Rectories, Sectarian Schools, Maine Law, and Sabbath desecra- 
ti(jn. The more iha merrier. You will see me abu.sed in the 
pa[)crs, of course, like a pickpocket, but don't pronounce against 
UK! until you hear me out. 1 know you won't. Yam shan't 
hiive occasion to Ik; ashamed of me unless Ncry nnioh left to 
myself. I am sure 1 try to do i-ight. *R<'member me to all 
our friends. Write; often, and s])eak ]»lain." 

It will bo seen that i\\^\ ])ublic interest had to be served 
before even " the JJrownies." 

This, to his correspondent in ^^al•ch, l.S.'i.'i, sounds like the 
sigh of Mr. Mackenzie himsilf, in the iui<lst of his cares and 
liurdt'iis, thii'ty years latei", and des<;rib(js the order of his work 
very nnuih in the sami; maimer. Mr. linjwii apologises for 
neglecting friemls, owing to the mountiin of laboui" which 
weighs U[)on him ; " but,' he says, " when 1 get rich on politics. 

Till-: WESTI-mX DlSTllWT. 


[i<)'liji])s I will 1>(' ;ililc to vfiy Romo one to aasisfc mo. Mcuii- 
tiiiu; 1 do tli(j bt.'st f can. I attend to puhlic iiiattens tli'st ; my 
privjito attUirs second; and .s(j niufli C(nTespondcnceat"tei-\vai'Js 
iis T can overtake." 

On the Ifith Decemlier, IS,').'], Mr. Brown linds liiinself witli 
a "pile ol" letters unanswered h\\f enough to stuH' a reason- 
ably si/eil Kol'a," l)ut still Ik; steals the time to ^dve a cha- 
racteristic pai-a<^ra))h ahont his piirpetual torm-nt, William 
Lyon Mackenzie : "That little va^alxaid, Mackenzie, is goiiifr 
\i]) to op])ose me, at the insti^^^ation of the .Ministerialists, ami 
as tliei-(! is a f^ood deal ol" dou^h-faceism n|) tlier<!, it is possible 
he mav make soiriethiiiff ol" it. No one can tell th<i result of 
any pultli(! meetin<^f l>ut this T can promisi; him, he will not 
f^et oH' with hoth eas(! ;in<l honor. "^I'lie worst ol" it is, that 
one makes noLliine' l,y dclViitin;^' him; the encounter is a dis- 
ae-recahle Imsiiiess a re^ndar nnid-])eltin;^f ad'aii' — ami i\n\ cihI 
nothing'. iJut in I'or a [lenny, in i"(jr a [)oiuid it has e-^t to 
lie done." 

I'rown were in IS.'),'], so they 

As 1 



lekeii/ie aili| 


to tl 

le en( 

1. in I.S.'J th 


i; va';'al»on(l 




sanu; porcupine sort o I" ally, who mieht not bo safely aske(l to 
their meetinj^^s, Toi- I'ejir of a i-ebull". TIk! itnliifs jire Mr- 
llrown's: "1 think it ol' no use tryin^^ to con(Mliat«' Macken- 
zie — l)ut yon must Jud^^fe as to the j)r(»priety of in\iiiii^- him. 

// (//'/,// r.i'ixisc i/nii Id (III (I'wklCK I'd 'I'('J)/ >/." 

This e^liiiipHe ol" the inner thou;^dits of the then youn/^'ci' 
eliampiou ol" reform, in reeMfd to the old Liberal leader ol" 
Tamily compact <lays, will surprise no one who knew either of 
th(,' niei' and their political relations to tjach other. IJi'own, 
;dthoiieh careful about criticisiiijL;' Mackenzie! ojienly, ne\er 
i|uite recovered fmm his defeat by the iiewly r<'liniied exile, in 
Ilaldimand, while Maek(!nzi<5, with his strouL' imlix idualit\' 



and uncompromising inflopenJence, lirooked nothing tliat 
savored of political dictation. Ho had little regard for party 
discipline, whenever he conceived a princi'de was at stake. 
That they were hard hitters in the press, on the platform, 
and in parliament, goes without saying, and the arcana of the 
campaign corresponik'nce of forty years ago only accentuates 
the fact. Aithouglj here discovered at cross purposes, the goal 
of their aims and hopes was the same. Each was a true Lib- 
eral because he placed the happiness of the many above the 
privileges of the few, and because he believed that disastrous 
revolutions are best averted by timely reforms. The liberal- 
ism of each was dominated by intense earnestness ; it was in- 
tolerant of eveiy obstacle in its path, and unsparing of every 
form of opposition ; in the general conflict along the hostile 
lines it gave no quarter, and asked none. But in its least 
agreeable aspects it was redeemed by qualities that will ever 
be gratefully remembered. Its character was not unlike that 
ascribed by a noble biographer to a great tribune of the people 
wiio played his part on a wider arena less than a century be- 
fore. Writing, in the memoir of Pitt, of Fox's liberalisu), as 
displayed in his oratory and the vicissitudes of his public 
career, Lord Rosebery says : 

" His nature, apt to extremes, was driven with an excessive 
reaction to the most violent negative of what lie disap[)roved. 
It is this force of extremes that makes orators, and for them 
it is indispensable. Few supreme parliamentary speeches 
have, perhaps, ever been delivered by orators who have been 
unable to convince themselves, not merely that they are abso- 
lutely in the right, but that their opponents are absolutely 
in the wrong, and the most absuuloned of scoundrels, to 
boot, for holding a contrary opinion. N<j less a force, no 
feebler a llame than this, will sway or incense the mixed 






! ! -M 




tcmporaments of mankinrl. Tlie mastering passion of Fox's 
mature life was the love of liberty : it is this which made him 
take a vigorous, occasionally au intemperate, part against 
every man or measure in which he could trace the taint or 
ten lency to oppression: it is this which sometimes made him 
write and speak with unworthy bitterness: but it is this 
which gave him moral power, which has neutralised the errors 
of his political career, which makes his faults forgotten, and 
his memory sweet." 

There is much in this passage, penned by a lover of Liberal 
traditions and an impartial critic of those who cherished them, 
that is not inapplicable to George Brown and WilHam Lyon 
Mackenzie. If sometimes at variance with each other, they 
were always at war with public wrongs and injustice ; each 
in his day was the petrel of the storms that swept the political 

The correspondence discloses the further interesting fact 
that in 1853 the Upper House was held a good deal in the same 
sort of estimation that has been formed of it ever since. There 
is a change, of course, in name, and a difference in political 
complexion, but in the contemptuous treatment of public opin- 
ion, it is in all essential respects to-da}' what it was forty years 
ago. Mr. Brown boasts somewhat exultingly of his successful 
efforts in the Legislative Assembly, sitting under the shadow 
of tlie Archevechd, in the ancient city, in fighting the religious 
Corporation Bill, the Three Rivers Cathedral Bill, and the St. 
Hyacinthe Bill, designations which bring back recollections of 
those too familiar sectarian times. " The St. Hyacinthe Bill," 
he remarks, with his peculiar individual characterisation, "was 
pitched out in the Lords. I lobbied the Old Ladies for a week 
before, and they came up to the scratch like trumps." When 
ill, in 1(S82, it was hinted to Mr. Mackenzie that if he failed in 










his election in consc({iiencc of the geiTymander, 'vvhich was 
freely api)lied to him as well as to other Lilieruls, he might 
possibly be elevated to the Canadian Lords, he asked in his 
dry, caustic way, " Don't you think they have too many inva- 
lids in the Senate already ?" 

In support of " the Brownies," in the beginning of 1S52, a 
printer from Toronto, named Robertson, establislied in Sarnia a 
journal named the Lambton Shield. Mr. Mackenzie assumed 
the editorship of the paper, and wrote for it with great vigor 
and ability until May 5th, ISo-i, when Hon. Malcolm Cameron 
ended its existence by an action for libel. The publisher was 
said to liave been a former employee of Mr. Brown on the 
Globe. Mr. Mackenzie never seems to have had any pecun- 
iary interest in the concern, but for all that he set to work 
con amore to sustain his leader and down the enemy. The 
Shield was a seven-column, four-page sheet, and had for 
its motto a couplet purporting to be Byronic: 

" With or without offence to friends or foes, 
I sketch your world exaotlj- as it goes." 

As may be supposed, there was a good deal of individuality 
of character about it, and being in those days without compe- 
tition either in the local field or from outside journals, it nmst 
have wielded a wide inlkicnce. In a little while Mr. Cameron 
found the iire too hot, and induced the publisher of the 
Lanark Obf^crrcr to move his paper to Sarnia, and to continue 
it there as the Lambton Observer, so as to pour in some broad- 
sides in return. Then it became exceedingly bad for the 
people of that neighbourhood. We have liad before us files of 
one of these papers for the purpose of studying the politics of 
the place and time, and regard for truth compels us to join 
in the opinion expressed by Martin Chuzzlewit to Colonel 




Diver in regard to the writinrrs of Jeflferson Brick, that they 
were " liorribly personal ; " tiiough probably only a little less 
so than the platform sentiments of politicians in general in 
those degenerate days — so different from our own time ! 
Both from the platform and the press came very freely and 
with the gi-eatest naturalness charges of apostacy on the ques- 
tions of the secularisation of the clergy reserves ami the 
abolition of the rectories, and charges also of land and Grand 
Trunk jobberies and jobs. 

The Lambton Observer was started on Nov. IG, 1853, and in its 
salutatory it declares its mission to be "to promote the great 
principles of Reform and Progress, and Civil and Religious 
Liberty." Favouring religious ecjuality, it would advocate the 
secularisation of the clergy resei'ves ; cautiously adding : " And 
that forthwith ! — unless otiier reasons for delay exist that wc 
are not now aware of. The principal political question at 
present engaging the attention of the politicians of our ProV'- 
ince is, ' Are you a supporter of the Government ? ' " It 
attempts an answer by the assertion that the struggle was no 
longer between Radicalism and Toryism, the Tories being vir- 
tually defunct, but between two opposing sections of the 
Reform party. The smaller of these sections, it said, appeared 
to think the Administration the most villanous that ever 
cursed the Province, though, strange to say, those who com- 
posed this section were not long before the warm defenders 
of the very policy they now condemned. The present Govern- 
ment, though following out the same views of their predeces- 
sors " as close as the nature of the circumstances will permit," 
were set down as "a set of non-progressives, because they 
cannot keep pace with the new-born zeal of those political 
Jim Crows!" "Forward, forward! blow the whistle — up 
with the steam ! The car of progress lingers. The engineer 




is not to bo dcpcudcMl upon. "Wo want another who will 1)0 
suhjoct to our dictation, and who will drive aiiead just as wc 
order." " We have private ends to be served," it fjoes on 
sarcastically to observe, " and private animosities to gratify, 
and care not by what means we accomplish our purpose." The 
Globe had said that the Observer had gone to Lambton as a 
"ministerial transplantation," to support the Postmaster-Gen- 
eral, Hon. Mr. Cameron, its master, and to engage in the " rare 
sports of Wabash coon hunts." The Observer parries the 
thrust by the retort that Lambton was no longer a hotbed of 
Brownism, and that people up there had "become tired of 
being dosed all the time with BiioWN pepper." 

The libel suit, from whose consequences the Shield was 
powerless to tind protection, was contained in a paragraph of 
half a dozen lines. A certain newspaper had charged, on 
the authority, as alleged, of an ex-minister, that an applica- 
tion made to Mr. Baldwin's Government in 184-8 or 1841) for 
the purchase of some seventeen thousand acres of land at a 
merely nominal price, had been intercepted by a member of 
that Government, who had procured friends of his own to 
put in a memorial for the same territory, and that when the 
memorial came before the Council the Commissioner of Crown 
Lands, Mr. Price, having learned the particulars of the trans- 
action, threatened his colleague with exposure ; whereupon a 
rumpus ensued which resulted in the disruption of Mr. 
Baldwin's Cabinet by Mr. Price's enforced retirement. 
Another paper asked for the names, which the Shield vol- 
unteered to indicate so far as to say that the lands were 
in Kent, that the minister who applied for them was con- 
nected with that county, and that it was in all likelihood 
Mr. Price himself who told the story. 

Mr. Cameron, on this, connnenced an action against the 




at a 







Shield, or, a.s he termed it, made his appeal "to God and his 
country." The trial of " Cameron vs. Mackenzie, etal.," canio 
on at Sarnia, on April 27th, 1854, and was quite an atiair of 
State, tlie Honorables Messrs. Baldwin, Price and Merritt be- 
ing present on their subpoenas as witnesses, with Mr. Stei^hcn 
Richards as principal counsel for the plaintiff, and Messrs. 
Vankoughnet, the ex-chance! lor, of Toronto ; Bochor, of Lon- 
don; Albert Prince, of Sandwich, and Vidal, of Sarnia, for the 
defence. The plaintiff' rested his case on the admission of ])ub- 
lication, and on proof that Mr. Cameron was member for Kent, 
and a member of Mr. Baldwin's Cabinet in 1848 and 1849. 
The defendants' plea was justification, on the ground that their 
ytatement was true, and that it would by Mr. Price be proven 
to be so. Mr. Price was then called, but claimed his privilege, 
as an executive councillor, to decline to divulge the secrets of 
the council chamber. Mr. Justice Draper susUiined the objec- 
tion, and the jury found a verdict for the plaintiff* for £20 and 
costs. The party papers spoke severely of Mr, Price for hav- 
ing first allowed the statement to find circulation with his sup- 
posed authority for it, and then left the publishers to bear the 

In its next issue of May 5, the Skidd published its valedic- 
tory. It spoke of the libel prosecution as now " a part of the 
political liistory of Canada ; " asserted that " malice was no 
part of our motive, and infamy is no portion of our punish- 
ment, but we suffer pecuniarily for our outspokenness ; " and 
stated the costs to be from £120 to £150, " That sum we 
can iMy, but not without embarrassing seriously the business 
upon which we depend for a livelihood. The editorial labor 
connected with a weekly journal we have long found a serious 
encroachment on our time, robbing us of the enjoyment of 
many of the evening hours of rest, after spending the day in 



the exercise of a laborious m:vnual occupation "SVc 

leave the profession as we entered it, with clean hands ; and it 
was not because we had not the opportunity to follow an evil 
practice that we kept our hands clean in the management of 
a public journal. We deemed it a sacred duty to seek no 
man's favor, and to be regardless of any man's frown." 

Said his namesake, William Lyon Mackenzie : " One word 
about the man who penned the above noble sentiments. His 
name is AlcTiander Mackenzie, by birth a Scotcliman, and by 
trade a labouring mason. He is every wiiit a self-made, self- 
educated man. Has large mental capacity and indomitable 
energy." In addition to that, William Lyon wrote Alexander a 
gratifying letter, wliich Alexander Mackenzie carefully pre- 
served with his papers, and which we cannot refrain from pub- 
lishing. It will be seen that it was written the day following 

the dissolution of 1854 : 

" QcEDEC, June 23, 1854. 

" Mr. Alexander Mackenzie, 

"Dear Sir, — I see that you are a Scotsman, and I fear that you ha\o 
been sacriticod. For many yoara the knaves in authority in tliis infant 
colony harassed me ahnost to death with libel suits. The first grey hair 
that I ever saw in my own head was when preparing to defend, without 
legal aid, a heavy civil action for libel. 

" I merely write, because I cannot call upon you, to convoy good-will and 
sympathy, and to express a hope that when the elections come you will 
stir yourself up to return capable and honest mon--so that, tho' working 
apart, we may bo working for one and tho same good object. 

" The llincks-Elgin-Cameron Government sent us summarily to tho 
rightabout yesterday. Now is tho time to work. 
" Your faithful admirer, and I wisli 

"I might bo permitted to add, Tricnd, 

" W. L. Mackenzie." 

One can imagine how the younger Mncki'nzio would be sus- 
tained in his trouble ixmX inspired by a sympathising and 






II s- 


stirring letter like this from the veteran and persecuted Re- 

It is pleasant to know that subsequently Mr. Cameron was 
again working in harmony with his former political allies. 
Alexander Mackenzie did him signal service at the Convention 
of Reformers, called at Strathroy in the summer of ISGO, to 
select a candidate for the St. Clair division of the Legislative 
Council, which body had recently been madb elective. There 
were many aspirants for the p()siti(^n, including Messrs. Glass, 
Leonard, Cameron, Campbell, Wilkes, and a gentleman from 
Toronto. Mr. John A. Sym, of Sti'athroy, was chairman, and 
Mr. IVIackenzie was chosen secretary. It was speedily made 
manifest tliat there were serious sectional differences, and that 
a satisfactory choice would be one of difficulty. There was a 
wrangle which threatened to end the proceedings, the chair- 
man being feeble and ineffective, and the duties devolving, 
witliout tlio power, on the secretary. Mr. Mackenzie is said to 
have acquitted himself on the trying occasion with much firm- 
ness, tact and discretion. The Lambtcm and Kent men were 
mostly Cameronians, but the other members of the convention 
were much divided between Mr. Leonard and IMr. Glass. In 
the midst of the uproar, Mr. Mackenzie o)>tained an adjourn- 
ment for an hour. A caucus was then held, with the result 
that Mr. Leonard withdrew, and his supporters turning in for 
Mr. Cameron, that gentleman, thanks to Mr. Mackenzie, became 
the choice of tao convention, and won the seat. Mr. Cameron 
published a reply to Mr. Sym and Mr. Mackenzie expressive of 
his very warm thanks for the honor that had been done him ; 
and he continued friendly with Mr. Mackenzie to tiie end of 
his life. 

It is related by old residents in Sarnia tliat about the first 
time Alexander Mackenzie gave evidence there as a public 




speaker o? the stuff that was in him, was in a contest with 
the re(loiibta1)lc controversialist " Leonidas," Rev. Dr. Kyerson, 
Chief Superintendent of Education for Upper Canada. It was 
at a school convention for the County of Lambton, held in 
Sarnia, on Wednesday, 2nd Fel)ruary, 1853. Dr. Ryerson ad- 
dressed tlic convention at len<,^tli, in explanation and justifica- 
tion of his public scliool policy. While ho was spcakinf>', Mr. 
Mackenzie sat listening in the body of the hall. All at once 
he asked our informant, who sat beside him, for a piece of 
paper to enable him to take notes, which he jotted down with 
a pencil, the paper rcstiiif,^ on the back of a bench. When tlie 
doctor had concluded, Mr. Mackenzie entered upon so severe 
a criticism of his statements that he carried the mectin<^ with 
him. By request of the doctor, the chairman invited his 
doughty opponent to the platform, where the tuo foemen 
shook hands. From the time of this disputation onwards, Di\ 
Ryerson was very wary of his antagonist. 

Mr. Mackenzie also displayed a good deal of pluck and 
abilitj'' in his address from a Sarnia balcony to a crowded 
street audience, prior to Mr. Brown's electic^n for Lamltton and 
K<int, in LSol. 

■Mk] y 



The General Election of 1S57— More Brown Letters— TFopc Mackenzie— "Lamb- 
ton ]>iicUH " — Alexander Maciicnzio's Second Marriage — Where Ho Wor- 
shipped — The "Double Shuflle"— fieorgc Brown's Colleiigues — Their Policy — 
rrccedonts for a Dissolution — Alex. Mackenzie as an Essayist — Advocacy by 
the Lilturals of a Eederal Union. 

R J^)I10WN sat for Kent anrl LainLton until tlic 
elections of 1854, when the constituency haviiif^ 
been divided, lie was elected for Lanibton by a 
considerable majority over Mr. Malcolm Cameron, 
P^pif ^^''^o ^^^^ ^'^o^v the temerity to oppose liim in person. 
The Parliament to which he was elected was dissolved 
in 1857, and never did man displa}' greater power, encroryand 
capability for work, and more endurance, than did Mi. Browu 
in the campaign that ensued. He was is fact uljiquitous. 

On November 25th, he writes from the Globe otlice, Toronto, 
to Mr. Mackenzie, saying he is unable to give the time ho 
would like, exclusively, to Lambton, and is willing to retire. 
" Keep in mind," lie remarks, "that my services here for the 
next three weeks may save half a dozen counties — th^'re is 
literally no one else looking after the success of the whole — 
and that it is hard for a man to occupy a part he cannot feel 
conscientiously ho is filling satisfactorily. The prospect," lie 
adds, "is excell(Mit. I cannot see how wo can fail to beat them 
in Upper Canada. What they expect to gain by going to the 



country I cannot conceive. Only think ! In a Cabinet of 
twelve, there are eleven lawyers and one auctioneer. Going! 
Going ! Gone ! " 

Notwithstanding, he confesses he has no heart for politics, 
" but, like a dog in the traces of his cart, must drag on." He 
had intended, he said, to retire from political life, but were he 

to leave at the time of the sudden dissolution, it would be 
destructive of the cause, and he was determined to go in. 
Four counties offered, but he preferred Lambton, if they de- 
sired it. In that event his address would be out at once ; 
" and then for a thorough fight," which nobody loved better 
than George Brown. 

The desire to win Toronto was so tempting to Mr. Bi-own 
that he decided on retiring from Lambton. He succeeded in 
the object of his ambition, beating Hon. J. H. Cameron, but, 
for fear of failure there, he was also returned for North Oxford. 
He elected to sit for 'J'oronto, and induced North Oxford, with 
some hesitation, to return for that riding Mr. William Mc- 

Mr. Brown had advised that a constituency should be 
obtained for Mr. Hope Mackenzie, who was a gentle-hearted 
man of considerable capacity and great future promise, which 
an early death prevented from being realised. When, there- 
fore, Mr. Brown suddenly left Lambton, a liiberal gathering 
was hastily called at the house of Mr. Charles Taylor, in Sarnia, 
and Mr. Hope Mackenzie was their choice. He did not con- 
sent at first, the risk being thouglit by the brothers to be too 
great. However, he was persuaded against his own better 
judgment, and at once entered upon a vigorous canvass, in 
which he was materially aided by his brother Alexander, who 
went specially to Toronto for material for a broadsheet that 
ho got out, giving a vast amount of well-arranged information 




for the electorate. A consi Jural )lo cfFeet was produced in the 
country, every polling place dechiring for him ; notwithstand- 
ing-, he Avas dci'eatcd by a small majority — his opponent, 
Hon. ^lalcohn Cameron, having secured a strong vote from 
the town of Sarnia, through the influence, it is alleged, of 
the bogus votes of men who were at that time building the 

This was the general election in which, if the Tories were 
not actually beaten, they were so terribly shaken up that the 
stability of parties was gone, and the constitutional changes 
of a later day were the consequence. The Cabinet of the 
" eleven lawyers and one auctioneer " suffered by the defeat of 
Morrison, Ileceiver-General, in South Ontario; Spence, Tost- 
master-General, in Wentworth ; and Cayley, Inspector-General, 
in Huron and Bruce. Mr. Cayley seems to have adopted a 
dillerent system of bribery from its grosser forms of the pre- 
sent day. He cii'culated the Scriptures. Tiiis led D'Arcy 
McGee to say that, while the people up there accepted the 
Bible, they rejected the missionary. 

On the retirement of Hon. Malcolm Cameron from Lambton, 
in 18G0, to become a candidate for the St. Clair division in the 
Legislative Council, Mr. Hope ^Mackenzie was again nominated 
by the Liberals for the Laudjton seat. He was opposed by 
^Ir. John Dobbyn, but was elected. Mr. lirown wrote to 
Alexander, expressing his pleasure at the result. " 1 camiot 
tell you how rejoiced I was at Hope's return. He will be in- 
valuable in the Lower House. I really ex[)eet from his prac' 
tical way that he will make a mark that few new men have 
ever done. Tell him he nuist take hold from the stai-t, or ho 
will lind it tenfold more ditlieidt afterwards. It is just like 
'(looking.'" — (A Scotticism for ducking or innuersion under 
water — literally, a cold plunge.) 


I ' 




The Lambton men of Mr. Brown's first love he loved yet. 
He still describes them by his old i'anii liar word — "bricks." 
" I have never seen any men like the Lambton bricks." 

Hope Mackenzie sat for Lambton until the general election 
of 18G1, when he declined renomination, and his brother 
Alexander was elected for that riding by a substantial majority 
over Mr. Alexander Vidal. Hope, however, was not permitted 
to remain long in retirement. In 18G3, a vacancy having oc- 
curred in North Oxford, he was unanimously nominated, on 
the strong recommendation of Mr. Brown. The resolution was 
communicated to him at Sarnia by telegraph. For personal 
reasons he declined, until the pressure brought upon him became 
so great that he had to give way, and, after a short contest, in 
a riding in which he had never before set foot, and where the 
people were unknown to him, he was elected by a majority of 
291. He was re-elected at the ensuing general election. Had 
he lived, there is no doubt he might have continued to repre- 
sent North Oxford to the present time. He died at Sarnia, 
in June of 1866, aged 46, much beloved by all for his un- 
affected goodness of heart, and honored for his nobility of 
mind. He always spoke with affection of Hon. T. D. Mc- 
Gee, wdio nursed him tenderly in a sickness in Quebec, caused 
by exposure in crossing in the winter time, in an open boat, 
from Point Levis — a dreadful passage, which old Parliamen- 
tarians remember so well. 

Mr. ^Mackenzie married a second time, on I7th June, 1853, 
the second wife being Jane, eldest daugliter of Mr. Kobt. »Sym, 
one of the solid farmers of tiie county of Lambton, and a 
prominent man in nuuiicipal and political allairs. Mr. ^ym 
was a member of the Dresden convention in 1851, which 
secured Hon. Geoi-ge Brown for the representation of Kent 
and Lambton. 



At the time Mr. Mackenzie went to Sarnia, and for many 
/ears thereafter, there was no Baptist place of worship in that 
village, and on Sundays it was his habit, accompanied by a 
friend belonging to the same church, to walk out a distance 
of eight miles to attend a small place of worship, which liad 
been established by the members of the Baptist denomination 

^U^t^^^ «/^l-M^ /S'-T^i^^^ 

^ ■ « ■» 

in the township of Sarnia, near IVfr. Sym's residence. This ho<ise 
was the abiding place for the time being of those— chief among 
them being ]\Ir. Ebenezer Watson, a farmer, married to a 
daughter of Mr. Sym— who went there to conduct the services ; 
otlier friends of the cause were also made welcome by Mr. 
Sym, esp(>cially such as came from a distance. Mr. Mac- 
kenzie was one of the number who took part in the devotional 



l!n9B|1 ! 



exercises, a custom Avliioli he continued after his removal to 
Toronto, and had entered into connnunion with the Jarvis- 
street Baptist church. 

Another bond of union lietweon ^Ir. "Mackenzie and Mr. Sym 

was that they both came from L'orthshire, Scothuid, where Mr. 

Sym had been enfrafred in farming. Mr. Sym came to Canada 

in 1821, and settled in the first instance in Bathurst township, 

county of Lanark, near tlie town of Perth. In 1837, the 

year of the rebellion, Mr. Sym left Perth for the western part 

of the province, with his friend, Mr. Malcolm Cameron, and 

they both settled in Lambton. ^^' ' lie in Perth, Mr. Sym's wife, 

Agnes Wylie, died, by which event, Jane, the eldest daughter, 

became the head of the household. Some years after Mr. Sym 

died, Mr. Mackenzie went with Mrs. Mackenzie to Lanark, and 

erected there a monument to ^Irs. Sym's memory. Mr. Sym's 

mother, Margaret Dick, was a cousin of Sir Robert Dick, the 

Baronet of that name, from Logierait, who fought under Lord 

Gough, in the war with the Sikhs. Sir Robert Dick was one 

of the widely-famed Black Watch, or 42nd Roj-al Highlanders. 

This regiment was at the battle of Quatre Bras, on the IGth 

of June, 1815, and v»'as under four commanding officers in the 

course of a few minutes. Col. Sir Robert Macara was killed 

early in the engagement, and with him also fell ]\Iajor Mcn- 

zics. The command then devolved upon Col. Robert H. Dick, 

but he soon was severely wounded. Major Davidson succeeded, 

who likewise had almost innncdiatcly to retire disabled. 

As often as he could make it convenient to do so, Mr. ^h\c- 
kenzie continued to worship in the little Sarnia township 
church, but after awhih; there was a church erected by the 
Baptist people in Sarnia town. This edifice was in course of 
construction when Lord Elgin made his well-remembered pro- 
gress of the Province, and in this building His Excellency was 

I ! 

■;o of 




entertained during his short stay in Sarnia. The services in 
tlie Sarnia Baptist church were conducted every fortnight by 
Mr. Watson, and on alternate Sundays by Mr. I\Iackenzie and 
other lay friends. Mr. Watson, however, was not strong 
enough in bodily health to continue the duties, and as the 
interest could not be kept up, Mr. and Mrs. Mackenzie thence- 
forth regularly attended, so long as tlviy remained in Sarnia, 
the Presbyterian church of their son-in-law. Rev, Dr. Thomp- 

With his own voluminous papers, Mr. Mackenzie has pre- 
served many of these which came into his hands as Mr. 
Brown's biographer. Among them are some of the original 
communications on the historical subject of the "double shuf- 
fle," which was perpetrated on the defeat of the Government 
in the summer of 1858, including the messages sent to Mr. 
Brown by Sir Edmund Head, written and " signed b}'^ his own 
hand," as the parliamentary phrase goes. On a subsequent 
page of this book we print in facsimile, as a curiosit}^, the 
first portion of the celebrated letter which betra^-ed the plot, 
and presented a Governor-General of Canada in the position 
of " keeping the word of promise to the ear, but breaking it 
to the hope " of making his invitation to Mr. Brown to form 
a Government a mockery- and a snare. 

A brief description of the circumstances attending the 
"double-shuffle" is here given for the information of the gene- 
ration who liave come upon the political stage since that 
period ; to those wdio were contemporaries of Sir Edmund 
Head and Mr. John A. Macdonald it is uunecessaryi the events 
are indelibly fixed upon their minds. 

The Macdonald-Cartier ministr^^ suffered defeat on the selec- 
tion of Ottawa — since called, b}- Mr. Goldwin Smith, "an 
Arctic lumber village "—as the permanent seat of Govern- 


i: , ! 


n>u ^ 





CAVU K^^' 


(Facsimile of Sir Edmund W(dk(!r Head's hand-writing.) 





erntncnt. They resi*o-nocl, and Mr. Brown was entrusted witli 
the task of forming a new Administration. Mr. Brown had 
full reason to know that he would not be sustained in the 
existing House, but he relied upon his undoubted right to 
dissolution. Mr. Macdonald was evidently aware that there 
would be a denial of this right. Although his Government 
had received an adverse vote on the question of the choice of 
the capital, on the test motion which immediately followed 
for the adjournment of the House they were sustained by 
their old-time majority. Mr. Collins, Sir John A. Macdonald's 
apologist and biographer, says that notwithstanding the vote 
in their favor on the question of adjournment, or of con- 
fidence, Mr. Macdonald resolved on resigning, in order to 
" strike a decisive blow at the Opposition," being " absolutely 
certain that he (Mr. Brown) would not be sustained in the 
House," and knowing, we may add, that as tJiere was no 
chance of a dissolution, he would be effectually " dished." 
" The resignation," says Mr. Collins, " was voluntary ; but we 
must be frank enough to admit that it was not done out of 
any deference to any principle or to the sense of the majority 
of the Upper Canada section of the Cabinet. It was simply 
done to lure Mr. Brown into a pitfall." " Frank enough," in- 
deed ! Of course Mr. Brown was defeated by the Macdonald- 
Cartier majority in the Assembly, and equally, of course, he 
was refused an appeal to the people. The programme for 
" luring him into the pitfall" was tlierefore only too faithfully' 
carried out. But there was yet another part of it to come. 
The path to real power which had been made so difficult for 
Mr. Brown was to be made easy for the return of Mr. Mac- 
donald and Mr. Carticr. 

A clause had been inserted in the Independence of Parlia- 
nicnt Act the previous year providing that where a member 



of an existiiif^ Governmont rcsinrncd ono office and accciited an- 
other, within a month alter «ueh resignation he should not be 
rc(juired to return to his constituents I'or re-election. This 
Act was now strained to enable Mr. Maciionald and his former 
colleagues to resume, and avoid going back to their constitu- 
ents, by being sworn into a double set of oflices — by swearing 
in one hour that they would administer one set of ministerial 
duties, which they had no intention of undertaking, and the 
next hour that they would perform others wholly ditlrrunt. 

The courts, on being appealed to, interpreted the clause very 
strictly, so as to bring the wholesale action of the double 
shufflers within its purview, but pultlic opinion Avas so strong- 
ly pronounced upon the trick that it was afterwards repealed. 

With this digression, we complete the narrative. Mr. 
Brown received His Excellency's commands to form a Gov- 
ernment on July 29th, 1858 On July 31st, which was Sat- 
urday, he acquainted the Governor-General with his accept- 
ance of the duty. At ten o'clock on Sunday night — having 
no doubt spent the sacred hours of the summer Sabbath day 
in its concoction — Sir Edmund Head disclosed to Mr. Brown 
the treachery which had previously been hatched, in a memo- 
randum denying to his new adviser his constitutional right 
of dissolving the notoriously adverse and partizan House of 
Assembly, knowing that without an appeal to the people, the 
"Commission conuinuiieated in the name of Royalty to the 
A^irst Minister was a farce, and that through its medium he 
had drawn Mi'. Brown into a snare. In view of the baseness 
of the Governor-Generurs conduct, well might Mr. l^rown 
have addressed Sir Edmund Head in the language of his 
prototype in enmity with all but those of his own faith, in 
the '■ Merchant of N'enicc " ; 






Ise of 
I', the 

lu he 

'11 OSS 



|h, iu 


Nay, take my life, pcanloii not that: 
You take my house when you do take the prop 
Tliat doth sustain my liouse ; you take my life 
When you do take the means whereby I live." 

The prop taken from ^Ir. Brown's house ; the liouse 
became a liouse of cards; his ministerial life was but a breath; 
he died the death ordained for him from the first; and the 
"double shuffle" which ensued, with Sir Edmund Head as the 
puppet in the hands of the chief conspirator, Bible in hand, 
administering the oaths, will be remembered for generations, 
to the disgrace of all persons concerned therein. 

Put into clear type, the facsimile which we give of the 
first sheet of Sir Edmund's covering note is as follows : — 

" His Excellency the Governor-General forwards the en- 
closed memorandum to Mr. Brown to-night, because it may be 
convenient for him to have it iu his hand in good time to- 
morrow morning. 

" The part which i-elates to a dissolution is in substance a 
repetition of what His Excellency said yesterday." 

The man who, according to his biographer, conceived this 
outrage on the constitutional rights of the people, with a 
Governor-General as his tool, was he who fourteen years 
aftcrwai'ds inaugurated with the " tens of thousands " of Sir 
Hugh Allan's money the frightful system of debauchery 
which has sapped tlie institutions of the country. 

The Government formed by Mr. Brown possessed elements 
of great strength. From Upper Canada he had for his col- 
leagues such men as John Sandfield Macdonald, Oliver Mowafc 
and M. H. Foley, and from Lower Canada, A. A. Dorion, L. T. 
Drummond and L. H. Holton. Mr. Brown had always been 
nu't with the taunt that he was unable to form a Ministry, and 



, , 1 



it was said there was literal truth in his playful dosio-nation of 
himself iii his earlier career of being " a governmental impos- 
sibility." The formation of this Administration was his 
answer. And it was not merely a combination of men without 
a purpose. In their discussions of the old dividing differences, 
tliey had succeeded in laying the ground work for a settlement. 
Representation by population was to be conceded, but witli 
adequate protection, cither in the shape of a " Canadian bill of 
rights, guaranteed by Imperial statute, or by the adoption of 
a federal union." The " seigniorial tenure " was to be ar- 
ranged by the purchase of the rights of the seigniors out of 
funds that were to be provided, without inflicting injustice to 
Upper Canada, Either by the introduction of some of the 
features of the Irish national scliool nystcm, or by the giving 
of religious instruction during certain hours of the day, the 
necessity for separate schools was to be obviated. Whether 
this programme would have worked out or not, the Liberal 
party were not to have the opportunity of trying. As Mr, 
Brown stated, at a great public meeting in Toronto, lie was 
exposed to the mockery of a hollow invitation to form a 
Government, and not in a hundred and fil'ty years of English 
history can a single case be found in which men in their position 
were refused a dissolution. Going back but half a dozen years 
in our own history, he gave all these cases in point: "Mr. 
Hincks went to the country in 1851 ; at the opening of his 
second session he was defeated, but the Governor-General came 
down suddenly and prorogued the House, and gave him one 
more chance for life. Tlie McNab Government followed in 
September, 18o-t ; in 1855 three members retired, and His 
Excellency consented to a reconstruction ; in 185G the Govern- 
ment was Ijcatcn twice, and twice resigned ; but His Excel- 
lency would not accept, and Ross, Drummond niid Cauchon, 



nay, tlie Premier himself, were all driven out, but still a re- 
cunstruction was allowed, with Colonel Tach(^ at the head. In 
1857, Lemieux, Terrill, Ross and the Premier were all driven 
away ; but another reconstruction was at once granted, with 
Mr. Macdonald as Prime Minister. Unable to fill up the 
vacant offices, suddenly and inconveniently, in the middle of 
the financial crisis, Mr. Macdonald demanded a general election, 
and at once he obtained it. And though three ministers were 
beaten in Upper Canada, still His Excellency permitted the 
thing to go on by the aid of irresponsible members of the Up- 
per House, and an oflSce left \'acant from pure inability to fill 
it up. He permitted a session of five months to be wasted by 
the utter incapacity of his advisers ; he submitted to all their 
departmental blundering and mismanngement ; but he refused 
to the Opposition the only favor they asked, a fair appeal to the 
people against the misdeeds of his late ministers. It' a designed 
intention had existed to get the leaders of the Opposition out 
ot the House, and then pass the numerous obnoxious bills before 
Parliament, no more direct way could have been taken than that 
followed by His Excellency." 

In the early days, Mr. I\Iaekenzie kept a scrap book, but, to 
his credit be it said, it was not with the design of exercising 
political terrorism on a much-suffering community. He pasted 
into the book such good things as struck his fancy in his course 
of reading, and such things as more particularly concerned 
himself. As ho grew into position, he no longer cared for these 
performances, and left the pasting in and posting up of liis 
sayings and doings to the scrap books of smaller men. 

The immediate cause of his starting this considerable volume 
of blank sheets of brown paper — this tabula rasa — was the do- 
livery of a lecture by him, under the auspices of tho Sarnia 
Mechanics' Institute, on tho " Anglo-Saxon race," in Ai)ril of 





1858. The lecture achieved the dignity of print, and it was 
awarded the additional distinction oi" presentation in the first 
pages of the scrap book. Both honors it well deserved. The 
lecture is broad, comprelunisive, and catholic in ti'catment and 
tone, and it gives evidence of a very acute and observing mind, as 
well as more than onlinary literary skill in presenting and m^ir- 
shalling the facts of history ; it is followed by Mr. Mackenzie's 
own clear and acute deductions from tiiese facts, He considers 
our race under three main heads: — " T. Its Origin and Iiistor3\ 
II. Its Present Position. HI. Its Destiny." There is a good 
deal of research, and no small amount of learning manifes'Lod 
in the treatment of the lirst branch of the subject, which, how- 
ever, centres too narrowly within the anciem: I'ealm of Scot- 
land — in the strifes between the warlike Gael and the hated 
Saxon, In this department, also, Mr. Mackenzie shows his ac- 
quaintance, afterwards so well-known, with the Biblical re- 
cords. One of the most striking illustrations of the " present 
position" of the race, apart from its natural ;iad moral great- 
ness, is what it has achieved for the cause of human liberty. 
The war waged by Russia for empire was then just over, and 
in connection with tliat the lecturer starts oat to consider our 
world-wide "destiny." This gives scope I'oi u burst of patri- 
otic sentiment, and the predictioti of a reunion in heart and 
feeling of the English and American peo[)lL's, when "all lands 
willcontribute, consciously or unconsciously, to their power and 
glory." Speaking of the estrangement caused by the war of 
I'iUgland with the thirtt^en colonies, he says it is but natural 
that the harshness of tlie bigoted British statesmen and the 
king of those days sliould rankle for some time in the minds 
of American citizens, but he protests against their [lerpetuation 
by ignorant and sellish people. He justifies these feelings by 
what were his own as a boyisji studeii. of the history of Scot- 



land : " I well recollect the feolin<Ts I entertained in my boy- 
hood towards the English, while reading of the exploits of 
Wallace and Bruce when opposing the English armies — of the 
capture and execution of Scotland's greatest chieftain by Eng- 
land's king — ^ow I wished for manhood and opportunity to 
wreak my vengeance on my country's oppressors ; and how I 
gloried in the thought that our land liad never been conquered, 
and that our kings had finally ascended the English throne." 
"Manhood," in due course, came to tiie glowing youth, but 
happily for England's peace, if not her very existence, it did 
not bring with it the eager patriot's wished-for " opportunity." 
Under the auspices of wiser monarchs than those of Scotland, 
she still lives to fulfd, let us hope, in time, the destiny fore- 
shadowed for her and her race by Mr. Mackenzie in his riper 




f , 




MR. Mackenzie's first elec;tion. 

Dissolution of Parliament and General Election — Return of Mr. Mackenzie 
for Lambton— Ministry Sustained — Defeat of the Hon. Geo. Brown — Mr. 
Mackenzie's First Appearance in I'arlianieut — Defeat of the Government 
on the Militia Bill. 

HE se.s.sionof 18G1 opened on the IGtli daj' of March. 
The discussion on the address, in reply to the 
Governor's speech, shewed phiinly that tlie Liberal 
party intended to keep before the country the 
Sj^ platform of lfs59. The Hon. John Sand held i\hicdonald 
divided the House on a motion, declaring that the Car- 
tier-Macdonald Government was unworthy of support, because 
a majority of the representatives of Upper Canada were op- 
posed to its policy. The motion was lost o\\ a vote of 49 to 62. 
Later in the session, Mr. Ferguson, moiubcr for South Simcoe, 
introduced a bill for the purpose of equalizing the representa- 
tion of the people in the Legislative Aosembl}'', whicli, aftei- 
being discussed on several occasions, was finally rejected on 
a vote of G7 to 41), Mr. Sandtield Macdonuld voting with the 

The debates of the session disclosed several irregularities on 
the part of the Government, wdiich they feared would tell 
against them in the country. Large advances liad been made 
to the Grand Trunk Railway through the Bank of Upper 

Canada. Mr. George K. Cartier had ofFensively referred to 

1 lis 




the preponderance of the population of Upper Canada over 
that of Lower Canada as of no greater consequence than 
twenty thousand codfish in the bay of Gaspt^. Large sums of 
money had been expended without the authority of Parlia- 
ment. The Hon. Joseph Morrison was retained in the Cabi- 
net, after he had been three times rt^ected by the people. The 
Hon. Colonel Prince was allowed to sit in the Upper House, 
although holding a commission as judge of the District of Al- 
goraa. Several members of Parliament held contracts from 
the Crown. And so tiie Government fearing the agitation 
that by delay would result from these disclosures resolved 
upon the immediate dissolution of the House. 

To the great regret of his constituents, Mr. Mackenzie's 
brother, Hope, the sitting member for Lambton, declined to be 
again a candidate. It did not take the Ileformers long, how- 
' ever, to decide upon his successor. A requisition was imme- 
diately circulated, for there was no time to cull a convention, 
and Alex. Mackenzie was pressed to be the standard-bearer of 
the party. Though not desiring the honor, he felt it to be his 
duty to accept the nomination. On the 13th of June, 1861, lie 
i.ssued his address to the electors of Lambton, and immediately 
entered upon the campaign with Mr. T. B. Pardee as secretary 
of his connuittee. 

Hid address to the electors of Lambton is an excellent sum- 
mary of the issues before the country ; and naturally gives 
the tirst place to the great question of representation. " Until 
the representation is reformed," he said, " sound legislation is 
impossible, as Western Canada will not consent to have her 
laws made and administered by a sectional majority. This, 
tlierefore, is the great question of the day. If I am returned 
as a nu'mber for this county, it must bo as a determined oppo- 
nent of a Ministry which has declared its hostility to any 





alteration in the representation, and wliich has not scrupled 
for four years to rule Canada West, in detiance of her own peo- 
ple, by a sectional majority." 

To those who remember the vicfor with which Mr. Mackenzie 
was capable of denouncing the tyranny of the majority and 
the encroachments of power on the rights of the people, the 
character of his nppeal iov redress for Upper Canada will be 
readily recalled. Whether by heredity or from his high sense 
of justice or his inborn hatred of oppression, it matters not ; 
few men are to be found to whom wrong was more repugnant 
and the insolence of power more offensive, and from the brief 
reports of his speeches in his first campaign, it was quite evi- 
dent that wrong-doing was not likely to find an apologist in 

His views on the position in which Lower Canada would be 
placed, provided representation by population were conceded, 
are worthy of notice. 

When the union of 1841 wa^' accomplished, the two provinces 
were represented in the legislature by 42 members each. At 
that time, there was the disparity in population already stated. 
The people of Lower Canada felt that they had yielded a good 
deal in accepting a union on equal terms with Upper Canada, 
80 far as representation was concerned. The increase in the 
population of Upper Canada, in the interval, they alleged, 
should not now be made the basis of a change in representation, 
as it was a mere transfer of preponderance from one side to 
the other ; and as Lower Canada entered the union with the 
same number of members as Upper Canada, notwithstanding 
the greater number of her population, Upper Canada should 
not press at this time for a change because this condition 
was since reversed. 

Moreover, Lower Canada contended, as the people of Ulster 













now do, and with probably no better cause, that if she were 
placed at the mercy of Upper Canada, her educational and 
religious institutions would be imperilled. This feature of the 
question Mr. Mackenzie at once recognized. In his address, 
he savs : '* The enlirditened, sober statesmen of Lower Canada, 
uniler the leadership of such men as Dorion, Sicotte, McGee 
and Drummond, concede the justice of the demand (for repre- 
sentation by population), and express their willingness to yield 
to the claim, only asking as a condition that guarantees should 
be given tiiat Canada West should not use its increased power 
to interfere with the peculiar ecclesiastical privileges and laws 
of Canada East. This every intelligent reformer will, of course, 
agree to." Mr. Mackenzie thus showed, at the very outset of his 
public career, that statesmanship, in its true essence, is frankness 
and justice ; that in the advocacy of the rights of his own party, 
lie was unwilling to take the advantage of his opponents, and 
that behind the power whicli tlie Government possesses, there 
are inalienable rights with which no Act of Parliament should 

In those early days, Mr. Mackenzie proclaimed himself the 
advocate of economy and low taxation. He denounced the 
Government, because in six years they had increased the debt 
from twenty-nine millions to seventy millions, the expenditure 
from four millions to nine millions, and the tariff' from twelve- 
and-a-half per cent, to twenty per cent. He reminded the 
electors of the grants paid to Lower Canada for the erection 
of ])iers and public buildings, — as bribes for political support ; 
of contracts given to members of parliament for a similar 
object; and of sundry violations of the constitution for the 
purpose of retaining power Little did lie dream, in l!S()l, 
that the increased expenditure and debt, and high taritt and 
constitutional breaches and political bribes, which he then 



denounced would, ?Ti?t^a^ is mutandis^ occupy so much of his 
attention for the next thirty years. 

Mr. Mackenzie was opposed at the election by Mr. Alexander 
Vidal, now a member of the Senate. Mr. Vidal entered the 
field as an independent candidate; although a supporter of the 
Cartier-Macdonald administration, in its opposition to the 
demand of Upper Canada. The nomination took place on 
the 27th of June, Mr. Slieritt' Flintoft being returning officer. 
Mr. Mackenzie was nominated by Mr. Simpson Shephard, of 
Plympton, seconded by Mr. Robert Rae, of Bosanquet, both 
of whom survive him. In order to meet the electors Mr. 
Mackenzie held three meetings a-day, speaking at ten o'clock 
in the forenoon, and at two o'clock and at seven o'clock in the 
afternoon. His extraordinary powers of endurance and 
capacity for political labor were thus early tested. After 
two days' polling, during which the ministerialists exerted 
themselves to the utmost, he was returned by a majority of 

The^ general results of the election were favorable to the 
Government, although some of their strongest supporters were 
defeated ; among these were the Hon. Sidney Smith, Post- 
master-General, and Mr. Ogle R. Gowan, in Upper Canada, 
and Solicitor-General Morin and Messrs. Dunkin and Camp- 
bell, in Lower Canada. The Opposition met with the follow- 
ing serious defeats : Mr. George Brown in East Toronto, and 
Messrs. Dorion, Lemieux, and Thibaudeau in Lower Canada. 
The Opposition victories are worthy of note ; in Upper Canada 
the important being the election of Mr. Alex. Mackenzie 
for Lambton, and, in Lower Canada, the election of Messrs. 
Joly, Taschereau, and Blanchet. 

The seventh Provincial Parliament of Canada assembled in 
Quebec on the 26th of March, 1SG2. and continued in session 




id in 


till the 9th day of June, Lord Monck bein;;' Governor-General. 
The first division of the session took place over the election of 
the Speaker, the Ministerial candidate beinjjj Mr. Turcotte, and 
the candidate of the Opposition Mr. Sicotte, both from Lower 
Canada. The Ministerial candidate was elected by a majority 

of thirteen, which was practically the Ministerial majority. 
As a result of the o-eneral election Mr. ^lackenzio's nam;, 
which so frequently appears on the division lists of parliament 
during the last thirty years, was entered on the votes and px*o- 
ceedings of the House on this division for the first time. The 
Cabinet changes were unimportant, exceptforone tiling, namely, 
that by the appointment of Mr. John Beverley Robinson as 
President of the Council, Mr. John Carling as Receiver-General, 
and the Hon. Jas. Patton as Solicitor-General West, the great 
question ^ f representation Iw population — ministers being 
free to vote as they liked — was left an open one with the 
Cabinet, instead of being closed — as it previously was, because 
of the opposition of Lower Canada. ^ 

The Opposition lost no time in testing the new legislature on 
the question of representation, for on the 27th of March, Hon. 
William MacDougall moved, seconded by the Hon. M. H. Foley, 
that a paragi-aph be added to the address, expressing regret 
that " His Excellency had not been advised to recoinmend for 
the adoption of the House some measure for securing to Upper 
Canada its rightful share of parliamentary representation and 



its just influence in the Government." On the 1st of April, the 
House divided, forty-two members voting for and seventy-six 
against Mr. MacDougall's resolution. Among the prominent 
Conservatives who suppoi-ted Mr. MacDougall, were the Hon. 
John Uill3'ard Cameron, the Hon. M. C. Cameron, Mr. Craw- 
ford, afterward Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, and Mr. Street, 
member for Wei land. Not a single member for Lower Canada 
voted with the Liberals, and only sixteen from Upper Canada 
against them. The debate on this question was the most inter- 
esting of the session, although many of those who took part 
in the discussion were, subsequently, found in the Ministerial 
ranks ; among these were MacDougall, Foley and McGee. The 
representatives from Ontario who voted against Mr. Mac- 
Dougall's motion were T. A. Bell, of Russell, Benjamin, Jones, 
Macbeth, Morton, Portman, Powell, Macdonald, John. A. Mac- 
donald, J. S. McCann, McLaughlin, Scott, Sherwood, Simpson. 
On this question, Mr. Mackenzie made his first speech in 
Parliament. It is reported at considerable length in the Globe 
of the 1st of April, The Parliamentary correspondent, in re- 
ferring to it, said : " Mr. Mackenzie made a capital maiden effort, 
causing his hits to tell with great force. Mr. Mackenzie is one 
of the ablest of the new members of the House." He began by 
denouncing coalitions, and said " he firmly believed that much 
of the maladministration we had to complain of was the inev- 
itable result of an attempt to s^'stematize the coalition princi- 
ple in our Government, and that no sound, health}' Govern- 
ment, or Opposition cither, could possibly exist where they were 
not held together by principles in common. Much as he dif- 
fered from and disliked old school Tories, he would a thousand 
times rather see a Government composed of fossil-Tories in 
power than the present one, or any one, formed on the coalition 
principle. The present administration had representation 

X'^- \ 



from every party, or section of a party, in the state. Constant 
changes were inevitable and constant corruption a necessary 
consequence." He pointed out that every candidate from 
Upper Canada, with the exception of the Attorney-General 
West (John A. Macdonald), and the member for Cornwall (J. 
Sandfield Macdonald), had pledged himself to his constituents to 
.support a change in the representation -of Upper Canada. He 
denounced the Government for their want of statesmanship in 
(kaling with this question, and pointed out that the conunis- 
siouers that settled the representation between Scotland and 
England, at the time of the union, regarded the element of 
population in adjusting the representation of the two countries 
in the House of Connnons. He clo.scd his speech by saying 
"now he was not rigidly bound down to representation by 
population as the only possible measure ; if the opponents of 
that measure could suggest another remedy, he was willing to 
give it his candid consideration, and he was quite certain that 
the large constituency he repi-esentcd would support him in 
considering any measure which would place it out of the power 
of the Government of the day to perpetrate sectional injus- 

As the se.ssion advanced, it became quite evident that the 
Government were weakening. The formidable attacks upon 
their policy and their maladministration of public atl'airs 
disturbed many of their most ardent supporters, and if a 
suitable opportunity arose for the withdi-awal of that conti- 
donce, it was quite evident they would be ejected from power. 
On the 25th of April, Attorney-General Macdonald introduce*! 
a bill respecting the militia, the object of the bill being to 
reorganize the militia for defensive purposes. If accepted 
by the House, according to the statement of the mover, the 
bill would involve an expenditure of over a million of dollars, 



and the annual training of from thirty thousand to fifty 
thousand men. Strong objection was taken to the measure, 
partly on the ground of expense, and partly because of the 
absurdity of a scheme which, for defensive purposes, though 
somewhat ambitious, would be totally inadequate. On the 
20th of May the bill was rejected by a vote of 61 to 54, the 
main defection in the Ministerial ranks, by which its defeat 
was a plished, being among the supporters of the Govern- 
ment from Lower Canada. On the following day the Govern- 
ment resigned, and the Cartier-Macdonald coalition was no 



The Macdonald Sicotte Administration — Debate on Representation by Popu- 
lation — The Separate School Law — Return of Mr. Brown for Oxford — 
The Double Majority Principle — Recoustructiou of tlie Cabinet — Hon, 
Oliver Mowat, Postmaster- General. 

^/'^|l:% he country was greatly surprised \Ylien Mr. Sand- 
K/^*^r« ^^^'^ Macdonald was called upon to form aa ad- 
(>/3^^a ministration. Although the defeat of the prev- 
r^-^-*ri ious administration took place on the Militia Bill, 

Mf* the assaults upon their financial policy and particularly 
the discontent in Upper Canada with the action of the 
Government on the question of representation were the real 
cause of its weakness and ultimate defeat. On the great issue 
between the two parties — representation by population — Mr. 
Sandfield Macdonald had always supported the defunct Car- 
tier- Macdonald coalition. He was in no sense the leader of 
any party in the House, and had, therefore, no claims upon the 
notice of His Excellency. However, he accepted the responsi- 
bility of forming a new Government, and adroitly managed to 
secure the co-operation of leading Liberals both from Upper 
and Lower Canada. Mr. Foley, who had been formally ap- 
pointed leader of the Opposition, he made Postmaster-General ; 
Mr. Wm. MacDouoall, one of the most advanced Liberals of 
this, he made Commissioner of Crown Lands ; Mr. Sic- 
otte, the candidate of the Liberals for the Speakership at the 




opening of the session, and the recognized leader of the party 
in Lower Canada, was appointed Attorney-General East. 
And Mr. D'Arcy McGee, whose attacks upon tiie coalition 
cost them many a vote, he made President of the Council. 

The Liberal party througliout the country was greatly disap- 
pointed at the turn matters had taken. Tiie coalition that had 
so long resisted their demand for representation by population 
had been ignominiously defeated, and a new Government estab- 
lished, composed of Liberals, it is true, but formed on the dis- 
tinct understanding that the great issue of the last election was 
to be t "t aside, and the old, worn-out pi'inciple, known as the 
" double majority," substituted. Although Mr. Sandfield Mac- 
donald had not supported the policy of the Liberal party in 
the Assembly, he was evidently deeply impressed with the in- 
justice done to Upper Canada by the coalition, which kept 
itself in power by the Lower Canadian contingent. To refuse, 
absolutely, any redress to the wrongs of the Up{)er Canadians, 
v,'as a position which he dare not take and, therefore, instead 
of advocating the bold and clear-cut policy, of which the Uon. 
Gro. Brown was the exponent, he adopted the double majority 
roniprouiisc, which simply wns, as previously explaineil, that 
no measure specially allecting one province should be forced 
upon it without the concurrence cf the majority of its repre- 

The GloJte was unsparing in its criticism of the Liberals who 
joined Mr. Saiidtield Macdonald's Government, as only a year 
had cla])sed since they had pledged themselves to their constit- 
uents to insist upon the rights of Upi)er Canada; to join an 
administration that was pleilged not to disturb the equality ot" 
the existing representation during that parliament, was 
declared to bo a breach of ti-ust, ami unworthy of the profes 
sious they had made; and, although the minor nieasuriv^" 





i party 

T disa[:- 
mt had 
t estab- 
tUe dis- 
,ion was 
n as the 
ild Mac- 
party in 
h the in- 
ich kept 
'o refuse, 
, instead 
he Uou. 
led, that 
c forced 
s repre- 

i-als who 
a year 
joiii au 
jiaUty ot* 
fit, was 
I' proi'cs 

promised by the Government, such as retrenchment, an amend- 
ment to the mihtia law, a new insolvent law and a re-adjust- 
ment of the tariff, were all good enough in themselves, still, 
nothing would condone their breach of faith in the great issue 
of the previous election. Had these Liberals promised Mr. 
Sandtield Macdonald an outside support, instead of joining his 
Government, Mr. Brown would not have complained. He 
thought the opportunity had thus arisen for redressing the 
wrongs of Upper Canada, and the defaulting Liberals were to 
blame for the postponement of the desired relief. The weight 
of opinion among Liberals, and in this the GJohe shared, not- 
withstanding its denunciations of the individual members of 
the Government, was, that Sandlield Macdonald's administra- 
tion should receive a fair trial. 

An attack by Mr. John Hillyard Cameron upon the now 
Ministers while they were seeking re-election after accepting 
office, brought out an admirable reply from Mr. Mackenzie, 
which may be said to represent the views of the party. " Ho 
did not believe that the double majority principle was a remedy 
for the grievances of Upper Canada, though it might answer 
as a temporary expedient. And he felt deeply grieved when 
the new administration announced their formation on that 
principle. He thought the proper course was to adhere iirndy 
to the Liberal policy and try to force it on every Government 
formed. For his own part he could not, on any account, 
abamlon his advocacy of that policy, although he felt himself 
bound to defend those gentlemen who thought themselves 
justified in postponing active cllbrt for a time, for the accom- 
plishment of a present purpose. A change of Government 
having bt in. made, ho had to choose between the new men who 
asserted nd believed they had a remedy, and the old men who 
did not admit the existence of the evil." 




Other leading Liberals, such as Mowat, Connor, McTvellar, 
Stirton, Eymal and Scatcherd, gave expression to similar 
sentiments, and generously awaited the re-election of Ministers 
and a fuller exposition of Mr. Sandfield Macdonald's policy, 
reserving to themselves the right to deal with the Government 
on the question of representation by population, as they might 
deem expedient. 

Mr. Sandfield Macdonald's position as Premier was beset 
with many embarrassments. He had no claim upon the Con- 
servative party for support, and could not look for help from 
that quarter. The Liberals in Upper and Lower Canada were 
lacking in enthusiasm, on account of his abandonment of the 
principal plank in the Liberal platform ; and in January, 
18G3, Mr. A. A. Dorion, because of a disagreement with his 
chief regarding the Intercolonial Railway, resigned. 

Wlien Mr. Macdonald met the House, on the 12th of Febru- 
ary, it was with misgivings as to how his Government should 
fare. He had not long to wait for the first shock. On the 
19th of February Mr. M. 0. Cameron moved an amendment 
to the address in reply, in precisely the same \vords as the 
amendment moved by Mr. MacDougall the year before, when 
the Curticr-Macdonald administration was in power. This 
amendment was defeated on a vote of 42 to 04. Mr. Macilou- 





111 the 
id men t 

as tlic 
. when 


ald's majority consisted principally of his Lower Canadian 
su[)porters. The members of the Cabinet from Upper Canada 
were, no doubt, greatly embarrassed at having to vote against 
a resolution which they had supported the previous session ; 
especially as the other Liberals in the House were united iu 
their vindication of the policy of the party. 

The debate, which was continued for several days, was a 
very spirited cno. The Ministerialists sheltered thems-jlvcs 
behind the policy of a double majoi'ity ; while the Opposi- 
tion endeavoured to show that the Upper Canada section 
of the Government was inconsistent in nbandoninu" the 
principle of representation by population. Mr. Mackenzie 
pointed out that iu addition to this great question there were 
other issues. He saiil ; "The (piestion of the tlay was 
the ejoction from power of the late corrupt, unprincipled 
(loverninent ; that accomplished, the question of representa- 
tion should be considered on broad grounds, free from all sec- 
tional spirit. It was to be dcseply regretted that mere national 
feeling should be allowed so to influence separate sections of 
the countiy as to create a desire to nuiintaiti a number ot 
semi-independent nations, while the nation was nominally 
ono. Ho desired and trusted to see Scotchmen, Englishmen, 
Irishmen and Frenchmen fus(>d into one harmoniou.s whole; 
that Canada might be in reality, as it was nominally, ono 
great nation, owning and inhabiting, without any distinction 
of race or creed, the whole countiy, from the slopes of tho 
K(x;ky Mountains to tho Atlantic. Although tho pririciplo of 
a doubiO majority was inadmissible, as it recognized ditlerent 
interests in localities divideil from each other by imaginary 
linos, he felt, liowever, that in order to secure tho blessing of 
good government and justice to the west, as far as practicable, 
it was their duty to support the present administration, 




reserving to themselves entire liberty to act with reference 
to constitutional changes as they thought proper." 

This patriotic speech from the new member for Lambton, 
during his second session, greatly pleased the Liberals from 
Upper Canada. His splendid powers as a debater were becom- 
ing apparent every day, while his broad views on every ques- 
tion which he discussed drew out the sympathies even of his 
political opponents. 

Mr. Brown, who, on account of ill health and the pressure of 
private engagements, had refused various constituencies, 
consented to run for Oxford ; and, to the delight of his old 
colleagues, was returned to parliament by a majority of 275. 

The great measure of 1863 was Mr. R. W. Scott's bill respect- 
ing Separate Schools. Mr. Scott liad introduced the bill 
several times, and had advanced it so far in the previous ses- 
sion as to reach a division on its second reading. The principle 
of Separate Schools was first introduced into Canada under 
an Act of 184<1, and was further enlarged by the Act of 1855. 
Mr. Scott proposed still further to extend the privileges of 
Roman Catholics with regard to Separate Schools. The main 
features of Mr. Scott's bill were, extending the facilities for 
establishing Separate Schools in rural districts ; permitting 
Roman Catholics to give notice of their intention to become 
Separate School supporters once for all, instead of annually as 
under the former Act ; relieving trustees from certifying the 
average attendance of pupils under oath ; providing for 
inspection of Separate Schools and their general administration 
through the Council of Public Instruction. In the session of 
1862 the bill passed its second reading ; but owing to 
the defeat of the Government, it stood over. The bill pa.ssed 
very quickly through all its stages, and was approved by the 



jrc of 

is old 
e bill 
s ses- 

GS of 

s for 
ly as 
)n of 

House on the 13th March, the yeas bein<^ 74 and the nays 30. 
Wlien the second reading of the bill was under consideration, 
Mr. Burwell moved, seconded by Mr. Mackenzie, what is com- 
monly known as tlie six months' hoist. On that motion Mr. 
Mackenzie gave his views on tho question of religious instruc- 
tion. He opposed the bill on three grounds : First, he feared 
it would be injurious to the common school system of the 
Province ; secondly, he feared it would lead to a demand for 
Separate Schools from other denominations ; thirdly, the 
establishment of Separate Schools in certain localities would 
divide the resources of the people, already Aery limited, and 
thus lower the standard of education.. "He had no desire," he 
said, " to make tiiis a religious question, as he was not disposed 
to vote against anv bill, which even Catholic:! themselves 
deemed necessary to secure perfect freedom in tho exercise of 
their religious faith ; but as our school system was undenomina- 
tional, the bill under consideration was therefore unnecessary." 
The vote on this bill was the first substantial decision of the 
House to which the principle ol: double majority would apply, 
as 31 members from Upper Canada voted against it, while its 
supporters numbered only 22. Mr. John A. Macdonald rallied 
tlie Upper Canadian niimbcrs of the Government — MacDou- 
j;nll, Foley, Wilson and Sandtleld Macdonald — on their change 
of front on the question of Separate Schools, quoting from the 
journals how, in previous years, they had voted either against 
tlie principle of Separate Schools or for the repeal of tlie exist- 
ing Separate School Act; while now tiiey were practically 
responsible for a bill extentling the scope of Separate Schools. 
1 lie Premier was also asked if the measure was to bo forced 
on Upper Canada in the face of tho opposition of a majority 
of its representatives. To this Mr. Sandtield Macdonald made 
uu rc'ply. 




'! i 


The agitation wliicli arose in Upper Canada on account 
of the Separate Sciiuol policy of the Government greatly 
weakened them in public estimation. Although in their 
general policy they were generously supported by the 
Liberal party under the leadership of Mr. Brown, the feeling 
cxcrywhere prevailed that they were not a i-epresentative 
Libei-ul Government This feeling, together with the unfortu- 
nate condition of the finances of the country, so encouraged 
the Ojiposition that on the first of May Mr. John A. Mac- 
donald, seconded by Mr. Cartier, moved a direct vote of want 
of confidence on going into supply. On the Friday following 
the vote was reached, and the Government was defeated by a 
majority of five. On the 11th of May, Mr. Sandfield Mac- 
donald announced his intention of proroguing the House the 
following dav, and intimated that dissolution would imme- 
diately follow. 

In order to strengthen himself witli the Liberal party, 
several changes of an important character were made in 
the Government During the session ^L•. James Morris re- 
tired on account of ill-health, and was succeeded by Mr. 
Ferffusson-Blair as Receiver-General. Mr. Adam Wilson ceased 
to be Solicitor-General and accepted a seat on the Bench. His 
place was not filled for several months. Mr. Dorion displaced 
Mr. Sicotte as leader of the Lower Canada contingent, and 
associated with himself L. H. Holton as Minister of Finance, 
\. Thibaudcau as President of the Council, Lctellier De 
Saint-Just as Minister of Agriculture, L. S. Huntington as 
Solicitor-General East, and M. Laframboise as Conmiissioner 
of Public Works. The only change in Upper Canada was the 
displacement of M. H. Foley by Oliver Mowat as Postmas- 



The effect upon the Liberal party of the temporisincj pol- 
icy adopted by Mr. Sandtield Macdonald forms one of the 
most interesting chapters in Canadian politics. What the 
result was likely to be, was clearly foreseen by Mr. Macken- 
zie. Opposed, as he was, to a coalition of political parties. 


he was unable to give his fullest confidence even to a 
so-called Liberal Government that accepted power with at 
least two Conservative planks in its platform. Its depend- 
ence upon its opponents, on the two great issues of Repre- 
sentation by Population and Separate Schools, had a demoral- 
ising effect on many of its supporters, and the animadversion 
which the leaders of the Liberal party were obliged to pro- 
nounce on its conduct with respect to those two great meas- 
ures, naturally created some irritation. To bo held up to 
contempt by one party for treachery, and to be claimed 
as political allies by the other party, was the recludio ad 
ahsiirdtiiii of political consistency. To a Liberal like Mr. 
Mackenzie, whose political convictions were part of his moral 
nature, the effect of such entangling associations could only 
result, in his opinion, to the injury of the party ; and so it 
was. Foley, McGee, and the Lowur Canadian members of the 
Government who were displaced on the reconstruction of the 
Cabinet, became its most pronounced and dangerous oppo- 
nents, and before many years had elapsed, Mr. Sandfield Mac- 
donald himself, and all his colleagues from Upper Canada, 




with fhe exception of Mr. Mowat, were found in the ranks of 
the Conservative party. Had the Liberals acted as Mr. 
Mackenzie's high sense of duty suggested, there would 
have been no abnegation of party policy for the sake of power, 
and a Liberal Government, when formed, would have a right 
to claim the undivided loyalty of the whole party. 




General Election —Mr. Wallbridge, Speaker — Narrow Majority of the Govern 
inent — Losses in By-Elections — Tlic Government Unable to Proceed — Re 
si nc(10frice2l8t Marcli, 1SG4- Formation of the Tach6-Macdonalil Adminis- 
tration— Pro.uibcs of the New Government — Committee ou Representation. 

?^ HE dissolution of tlio House immediately followed 
r;;^ prorogation, and the whole country gave itself over 
to an election contest of unusual interest. Mr. 
Sandfield Macdonald had a strong Cabinet, all 
capable of defending their chief as well as themselves. 
During their brief term of office, they reduced the ex- 
penditure of the country and administered public affairs with 
a due regard to constitutional usages and the will of Parliament. 
Still many Liberals stood aloof from them because of their 
attitude on the question of Representation by Population and 
Si^parate Schools. 

Mr. Mackenzie, with his usual vigor, lost no time in placing 
his views before his constituents. In his address to the elect- 
ors of Lambton, he says : " The attempt to substitute the Double 
Mnjority principle for Representation by Population, as a 
remedy for our natural difficulties, (to which the Liberal party 
never assented), has been an entire failure. A policy raoro 
consistent with the demands of Upper Canada has been 
adopted, and members of the Cabinet arc now at libort}- to ad- 
vocate constitutional (juestions with perfect free<lom. It is 




true this is not enough; but making the representation question 
an open one, is a step in the right direction, and although I 
cannot rest satisfied with that, I am convinced that nothing 
more can be gained in the meantime ; I tl'.crefor>3 accept the 
full responsibility of giving them a generous support." 

Mr. Mackenzie's career during his brief parliamentary term 
was not lost sight of by his constituents. Mr. Robert Rae, 
warden of the county, who had seconded his nomination two 
years previously, in proposing him as a candidate for a second 
term, spoke of him " as having exceeded the most sanguine ex- 
pectation of his friends, and as entitled to the confidence of 
all parties who were in favor of good government." So strong- 
ly had he impressed himself upon his constituents and the 
country, that all opposition was withdrawn, and the return- 
ing officer declared him elected by acclamation. This mark of 
public approval was very much appreciated. 

Throughout the whole of Canada, the contest was conducted 
with great energy on both sides, twenty-one members only 
being elected without opposition. Two of Mr. Sandfield Mac- 
donald's colleagues, Doriou and Hoi ton, were defeated, but 


c^ ^^/^^^^t:^ti!:i^ 

found seats in other constituencies. Mr. Druramond, his Com- 
missioner of Public Works, who was defeated in two constitu- 
encies, resigned. In summing up the result of the election, 
it was claimed that 43 supporters of the Government were 
elected for Upper Canada, and 29 for Lower Canada. Eight 
of the elected members from Upper Canada were considered 
independent. It was claimed by the Liberals, however, that 










one-half of these, at least, would sup>port the Government; this 
would give Mr. Sandfield Macdonald a fair working majority. 

Parliament was summoned for the despatch of business on 
the 13th of August, and the Hon. Lewis Wallbridge was elect- 
ed Speaker on a vote of sixty-six to fifty-eight, several of 
the independent members supporting the Ministerial nominee. 
The first substantial test, however, of party strength took 
place on the address in reply on an amendment of Mi*. Sicottc, 
seconded by Mr. Foley, both members of the previous adminis- 
tration. After a debate, which continued until the 29th of 
August, the House divided, sixty members voting for the 
amendment, and sixty-three for the Government. This was 
not a very comfortable outlook for th'^ new administration. 
From the beginning of the session, it was quite evident that 
the Government would have no quarter. Mr. Sicotte, Mr. Mc- 
Gee and Mr. Foley were most bitter in their hostility, and lost 
no opportunity to attack them in every conceivable manner. 
The majority of the Government was so small as practically to 
tie their hands, and it was only by the greatest care and fore- 
thought, that any measure of a comprehensive character could 
be carried through the House. 

Although supported by a majority from Upper Canada, they 
were in the minority in Lower Canada, and of this the Oppo- 
sition was not slow to take advantage. A vote of want of 
confidence, moved by Mr. Gait, drew out a very caustic speech 
from Mr. Mackenzie, in which he charged certain opponents 
of the Government with the violation of their pledges to their 
constituents, and the Opposition, generally, with obstructing 
the business of the House. The Government was again sus- 
tained by the narrow majority of three. The only public 
measure of any moment which passed the House was the act 
respecting the militia. On the 15th of October the House was 




prorogued. During the recess, Mr. N. A. Richards was ap- 
pointed to the vacant Solicitor-Generalship, but in appealing 
to his constituents, was defeated, and accordingly resigned. 

•On the IGth of February, 18G4, — a year long to be remem- 
bered in the political history of Canada, — Mr. Sandtield Mac- 
donald again met Parliament. During his brief term of office 
he had practised the most rigid retrenchment ; had conducted 
the Government with great energy and prudence, and had cer- 
tainly strong claims upon the confidence of the country. It 
was impossible, however, for any Government to exist on so 
narrow a majority, and as he could not again ask for an ap- 
peal to the country, the only alternative was to strengthen his 
position or resign, as the absence through illness or any other 
cause of two of his supporters meant defeat. Accordingly, on 
the 21st of March, he placed his resignation in the hands of the 
Governor-General, and Mr. Fergusson-Blair was called upon to 
form a new administration. Being unable to obtain the re- 
quired support, Mr. Cartier was next called upon. Mr. Cartier 
having failed, Sir E. P. Tachd was then sent for by His Ex- 
cellency. Sir E. P. Tachd made overtures to the Liberals, with 
a view to the formation of another coalition, but these were 
unanimously rejectdl, the experience of the Liberal party with 
the Cartier-Macdonald coalition havincr satisfied them as to the 
dangerous character of political alliances involving the tem- 
porary suspension, at least, of the policy of each party. After 
negotiations, which were not closed until the '31st of March, 
Sir E. P. Tachd succeeded at last in forming a Government, 
in which ^IcGee and Foley, members of Mr. Sandfield Macdon- 
ald's first administration, held seats. The Upper Canadian 
section of the Government consisted of J, A. Macdonald, Attor- 
ney-General West, Alex. Campbell, Commissioner of Crown 
Lands, M. H. Foley, Postmaster-General, Isaac Buchanan, Pre- 



sideiit of the Council, John Simpson, Provincial Secretary, 
and Jas. Cockburn, Solicitor-General West. 

Mr. Foley's action in entering what was a purely Conserva- 
tive Government was a groat (lisappointniout to the Liberals 
of Upper Canada. Having been formerly leader of the Liber- 
al party, and an active supporter of the Sand Held Macdonald 
administration, his acceptance of an office in the Government 
of which Tachd and J. A. Macdonald were members, was looked 
upon with considerable disfavor. Two years before, he had 
cliarL^ed the Cartier-Macdonald administration with the most 
reckless, wanton extravagance, and with every other poli- 
tical otience unworthy of a Government ; now he was one 
of their warmest supporters. Mr. McGee had taken similar 
ground, and Mr. Cockburn had promised the electors to stand 
up for the principle of representation. The imlignation of 
the people in Mr. Foley's case resulted in his defeat at the 
polls by Mr. Isaac Bowman. To this defeat Mr. Mackenzie 
contributed no inconsiderable assistance, and met repeatedly 
not only Mr. Foley but Mr. McGee durini^- the contest, to the 
great discomfort of both gentlemen. 

On the 3rd of May the House re- assembled, and on the 4th 
J. A. Macdonald announced the policy of the new administra- 
tion. He declared that they were favorable to the renewal of 
the reciprocity treaty with the United States, departmental 
leform, retrenchment, the settlement of public lands, and 
early communication by railway with the Maritime Provinces. 
The question of Representation by Population was to remain 
in abeyance. 

On the 14)th of March, seventeen days before the resigna- 
tion of Mr. Sandfield Macdonald's Government, Mr. George 

Brown moved a resolution, based upon a despatcli to the Col- 





onial Minister, signed by Cartier, Gait and Ross, members of 
the Government of the day, in whicli they declared " that 
great difficulties presented themselves in conducting the gov- 
ernment of Canada in such a manner as to show due regard 
to the wishes of its numerous population ; that the harmonious 
working of the constitutional system of Canada was in dan- 
ger, and that some mode of dealing with the difficulties, 
with a view to their removal, was desirable." The 
resolution closed with a request for the appointment of 
a select committee of twenty members, to report upon 
the best means of remedying the evils set forth in the 
said despatch, the committee to be composed of Messrs. 
Cameron, Cartier, Cockburn, Chapais, Dickson, Dorion, A. A., 
Dunkin, Mowat, Gait, Holton, Joly, Macdonald, John A., Mac- 
donald, John S., MacDougall, McGee, McKcllar, Scoble, Street 
and the mover. On the 19th of May, a decision on this motion 
was reached, and the appointment of a committee agreed to 
on a vote of .59 to 48, although opposed by the leader of the 
Government, John A. Macdonald, and his colleague from 
Lower Canada, Mr. Cartier. 

On the 14th of June, Mr. Brown reported " that the com- 
mittee had held eight sittings and had endeavored to find some 
solution for existing difficulties, likely to receive the assent 
of both sections of the Province. A strong feeling was found 
to exist among the nuMnbers of the committee iii favor ol 
changes in the direction of a federative system, applied eithoi' 
to Canada alone, or to the whole British North American 
Provinces ; and such progress had been made as to warrant tliL- 
connnittee iu rcconunending that the subject be again i-eferre«l 
to a committee at the next session of Parliament." The onl\' 
members of the committee who opposed the adoption of thj 











report were John A. Macdonakl, John S. Macdonald and 
Scoble. On the same day the Government was defeated on a 
vote of censure proposed by Mr. Dorion, because of an advance 
of 100,000 dollars for the redemption of Montreal City bonds, 
without the authority of Parliament. Messrs. Dunkin and 
Rankin, who had usually voted with the Conservative party, 
voted with Mr. Dorion on this resolution, giving the Opposi- 
tion a majority of two against the Government. 

During the session, which closed on the 30bh day of June, 
Mr. Mackenzie applied himself to his Parliamentary duties 
with much diligence. As chairman of the joint committee of 
both Houses on printing, he exhibited decided capacity in the 
despatch of business, and fairness in dealing with all matters 
referred to him. In the House he displayed great aptitude in 
debate, and although his speeches did not attract as much 
attention as in the previous session, his observations on many 
of the questions that came before him impressed the members 
with the extent of his general information, his knowledge of 
the rules of the House and his ability, when called upon, to 
express himself intelligently on all public questions. Had he 
been less diffident he might have attracted more notice, but he 
regarded himself still as a young member, and in the presence 
uf the great leaders of the party he deemed it unnecessary to 
reiterate opinions that, as a rule, were fully expressed by those 
entitled to precedence in debate. 

In speaking of the career of the administration, the Glohe of 
Miucii 22nd contains the following: " The Macdonald-Dorion 
administration has not enjoyed a long existence, and a very 
lirilliant career was not, under the circumstances, within the 
scope of possibility. But, in the practical routine of adminis- 
tering public iillairs, it has earned the hearty gratitude of the 

mil- 1 III -^^^..ja^ 



public, and there has been a total absence of the jobbery and 
corruption that lias disgraced our country for many years. 
We had not infrequently to dissent from the policy of the 
Government that has just expired, but under all the circum- 
stances we cannot but feel that the country has deep cause to 
regret that it was not permitted to complete the measures of 
reform upon which it had euteied." 




Political Di'ad-Lock— TTou. Mr. Ri'owii's ofTer of Assistance— Report of the 
Coiiiiiiittce oil tiie Federation of tlie Provinces — h^onntition of ji Coiilitiou — 
Mr. Mackenzie's attitude ou this Question —Tlic Policy of the New Cabinet. 

Rm'- //mvw^ '^■^ ^^^ "^^^' ontcrinnf one of the most interesting 
h'M'imfa/'-''' periods of Canadian history. The union of 1S41, 
^.. -,^y>- , J whicli was intended to abolish the war of races 
^fl^;j'lih>^ ill Canada, and introduce a political millennium, 
f'^ji' was on its linal ti-ial. That community of action be- 
tween the two Provinces, which it was expected to pro- 
iuiC(\ seemed to be as remote as e\t'r. Lower Canada, as already 
stated, elun^' to ils rights under the Union Act ; and Upper 
Canada was clamorous for the political inHuenco to which it 
was entitled on accoimt of its pojiulation and wealth. Ivich 
ijartv had held itself in power at times by alliances with 
Lower Canada, and where alliances on strictly political pi'in- 
ciplcs failed, both parties resortt>d to the vicious principle of 
iU'ouJition. Appeals to the I'uH'tors were made, at 1)rief inter- 
vals, bv a Liberal Uo\einment and by a Conser\a(i\(' fjov- 
iTument, but with no very satisfnetory I'esult, and thouofhtful 
men boofun to ask the (luestion what the end wiodd lie. To 
dissolve the union and to restore a puny provincialism was dis- 
tasteful to all. To continue a union, which fostereil faction 
rather than patriotism, and whose political lionor was at the 

mercy of any cabal that chose to plot aoauist it, was not a very 






pleasant outlook. The double majority principle had been 
tried and proved a failure. What was to be done? There 
seemed to be but one way out of the difficulty, and that was 
on the lines of the report submitted by Mr. Brown. But Mr. 
John A. Maedonald had voted against the adoption of that 
report. He was the head of the Upper Canadian section of the 
Government, and the leading spirit in his party ; as opposed to 
him was Mr. Brown, the leader of the Opposition, with a strong 
majority from Upper Canada. Unless some compromise could 
be effected between the two parties, the question must be 
referred to the people ; and another general election within the 
year was not to be desired. 

The report of Mr. Brown's committee on constitutional diffi- 
culties, suggesting a federation either of the Canadas alone, or 
of the Bi'itish American Provinces, had just been laid on the 
table. Would this solve the question, is what occurred to 
many members of the House. Faction had long been at the 
helm of state, why not change the pilot ? The grave character 
of the situation was so deeply felt by both sides of the House, 
that the smallest hint suggesting relief was eagerly seized 
upon. Such a hint came from Mr. Brown himself. He had 
by a large majority secured the appointment of his committee. 
The committee after duly considering the situation had, by a 
vote of twelve to tliree, expressed a strong feeling in favor of 
federation. The Covcrnment had the authority of His Excel- 
lency to dissolve and appeal to the country. In case of such 
an appeal, the Liberal party had reason to believe they would 
be successful. Should they abandon the prospects of a party 
triumph at the polls, or should they settle now, if possible, their 
constitutional difficulties by generously offering the Govern- 
iiu'ut their assistance on the lines of the report of Mr. Brown's 
conuaitteo \ After consulting his political supporters, Mr. 










Hon, George Brown. 

' n^v 






Brown fiscertaincrl tliat the Lihernl party was prepared to 
ailupt the hitter course, and in order that the Government 
ini^lit be infmnned of his attitude, he couiinunicated this view 
to Messrs. Morris and Pope, who were supporters of the Gov- 
ernment, and an interview with Mr. Juhn. A. Macdonald and 
Mr. Gait was arranged. 

Mr. Brown felt great dilTiculty in npproacliing his political 
opponents, and at his first meeting with Messrs. Macdonald 
and Gait frankly confessed " that nothing but the extreme 
urgency of the present crisis, and the hope of settling the 
sectional troubles of the Province forever, could justify 
>iich a meeting, with a view to common political action." 
h\ this opinion Messrs. Macdonald ami Gait concurred and 
informed Mr. Brown that they were not meeting him simply as 
leading members of the Ministerial party, but as members of 
the Government, authorized by their colleagues to invite liis 
aid in settling the difficulties between Upper and Lower Canada. 
He expressed his inability, on personal grounds, to join the ad- 
ministration, and he even feared that, if he would enter a Cab- 
inet composed of men to whom lie was so long and .so strongly 
opposed, he would greatly shock the public mind. He added.' 
"If the administration would pledge themselves clearly and 
publicly to bring in a measure, next session, that would be ac- 
ceptable to U[)per Canada, the basis to be now settled and .111- 
nt)unced in Parliament, he would heartily co-operate with them 
and try to induce his friends (in ^^hich he Imped to be success- 
ful) to sustain them until they had an opportunity of present- 
ing their measure to the House." Mr. Macdonald ui'gcd that 
it was necessary that Mr. Brown should enter the Government 
as a guarantee of the bona-tjiles of the Opposition and the Gov- 
ernment. To this Mr. Brown objected for reason.s already 
.stated. After further ncg(jtiations, the following memorandum 




was approved by His Excellency in council with logard to the 
situation : " The Government are prepared to state that im- 
mediately after the prorogation they will address themselves, 
in the most earnest manner, to the negotiation for a confeder- 
ation of all the British North American Provinces. That 
failing a successful issue to such negotiations, they are pre- 
pared to pledge themselves to legislation during the next ses- 
sion of Parliament, for the purpose of remedying existing dif- 
ficulties, Ly i atroducing the federal principle for Canada alone, 
coupled with such provisions as will permit the Maritime Prov- 
inces and the Noi'th-West Territory to be hereafter incorpor- 
ated into the Canadian system. 

" That for the purpose of carrying on the negotiations and 
settling the details of the promised legislation, a Royal Com- 
mission shall be issued, composed of three members of the 
Government, and three members of the Opposit'^n, of whom 
Mr. Brown shall be one ; and the Government pledge them- 
selves to give all the influence of the administration to secure 
to the said Commission the means of advancing the great 
object in view. 

"That subject to the House permitting the Government to 
carry through the pnV)lic business, no dissolution of parliament 
shall take place, but the administration will again meet the 
present House." 

Having settled a basis for the suspension of party hostility 
with the leaders of the Government, Mr. Brown called a meet- 
ing of his friends to ascertain how far they were prepared to 
support him in the negotiations which he was then carrying 
on. At this meeting the feeling of the Liberal party was 
expressed in a motion made by Mr. Hope F. Mackenzie, an<l 
seconded by Mr. McGivern : " That we approve of the course 
that has been i)ursued by Mr. Brown in his negotiations with 





the Government, and that we approve of the project of a 
federal union of the Canadas, with provision for its extension 
to the Maritime Provinces ami the Nortn-West Territory, a^ 
one basis on which the constitutional difficulties now existing 
could be settled." Four members of the Liberal party declined 
to vote either yea or nay on this motion, namely, Messrs. 
Biggar, Macdonald, D. A., Macdonald, J. S., Macdonald (Toronto) 
anil Scatcherd. But with these exceptions the motion met with 
the cordial approval of the party. Mr. Sandfield Macdonald 
then moved that the proposition for at least three members 
of the Opposition entering the Government be accepted. This 
was opposed by Mr. A. Mackenzie, who moved in amendment : 
" That the proposition for three members entering the Cabinet 
be rejected, and that the proposition for the settlement of 
sectional difficulties receive an outside support." Mr. Mac- 
kenzie's amendment was lost on a vote of 2G to 11. Its 
supporters were Messrs. Bowman, Brown, Burnett, Cowan, 
Dickson, A. Mackenzie, H. F. ALackenzie, McKellar, Mowat, 
Scatcherd and Scoble. 

Being authorized by the meeting of his friends to continue 
the negotiations, it was finally agreed that he should enter the 
Government with two colleagues from Upper Canada, and on 
the 30th of June, Mr. Brown accepted a seat in the Cabinet 
as President of the Council, Mr. Buchanan having resiuucd to 
make way for him. His colleagues were: Mr. Mowat, Post- 
luiistrr General, instead of Mr. Foley, and Mr. MacDougall, 
Provincial Secretary, in place of Mr. Simpson, afterwards 
appointed Assistant Auditor of Pulilic Accounts. 

Mr. Mackenzie had taken strong ground against his friends 
and his leader, Mr. Brown, on the formation of this coalition. 
Apart from his opposition to coalitions generally, which he 
believed could not be formed without the sacrifice of some 







principle, he feared the Liberal party would he used by Mr. 
John A. Macdonald to advance his own political interests, and 
that object once served, occasion would be found for disagree- 
ment, which would phice the Liberal party at a disadvantage. 
He had seen the serious inroads made upon the Liberal party, 
through the demoralizing effects of previous coalitions, and he 
feared the repetition of such evil results. True, the country 
was passing through a great crisis, a crisis so great as to war- 
rant the application of extraordinary remedies, and although 
Mr. Mackenzie no doubt realized this, with that courage which 
always characteri/jed him, and that forethought which subse- 
quent events verified, he warned his political friends of the 
danger to which they were exposing themselves, assuring 
them at the same time of his cordial support in settling the 
constitutional troubles to which the party had committed 




Confederation of tho Ar.aritime Provinces to he considered — Delegates called to 
meet at Charlottetown. I'rince Julward Island, in September — Reproseata- 
tives of tiie (Jovernnient in attendance — Qticbec Conference — Development 
of the Scheme— Draft agreed upon — Cabinet Changes— Mr. Maclicnzie in 
favor of Confederation. 

LTHOUGH the federation of the Provincos had now 
assumed, for the first time, a practical form, in the 
two Canadas, the importance of such a confedera- 
tion had been considered many years before. Both 
Houses of the Imperial Parliament as far back as 
LS37 adopted a resolution advising the expediency of such a 
union of the British North American Provinces as would make 
provision for the joint regulation and adjustment of their 
common interests. In 1838 Lord. Durham, in his admirable 
report, suggested the appointment of "some joint legislative 
authority " which should preside over all questions of common 
interest to the two Provinces, preserving, however, to each 
Province its distinct legislature, with authority in all matters 
(if an exclusively domestic concern. In 1849, the British 
American League, composed of many of the leading men of 
Tpper Canada, advised a union of the British North American 
Provinces, on mutually advantageous terms. In 1856, Mr. 
Gait called the attention of the House to the necessity of a 

confederation of Upper and Lower Canada. In 18.59, the 






Liberals of Lower Canada issued a manifesto recommending 
the substitution of a federation for the then so-called legislative 
union, and in the same year the great reform convention of 
Upper Canada declared " that the best practical remedy for 
the evils now encountered in the Government of Canada is to 
be found in the formation of two or more local Goverments, to 
which shall be committed tiie control of all matters of a local 
or sectional character, and some joint authority charged with 
such matters as are necessarily common to both sections of the 

The question of a union of the Provinces was brought be- 
fore the Nova Scotia Assembly in 1854, by the great leaders 
of the Conservative and Liberal parties, Messrs. Johnston and 
Howe, and in 1857, a deputation consisting of Mr. Johnston 
and Mr. Adam G. Archibald went to England to confer with 
the Imperial Government on this and other questions. So 
strongly were the Maritime Provinces impressed with the 
necessity of action on this line, that the legislatures of New 
Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island severally 
passed resolutions at their sessions in 18G4, authorizing their 
respective Governments to enter into negotiations and hold a 
convention, for the purpose of effecting a union of the Maritime 
Provinces, " political, legislative, and fiscal." That convention 
was appointed to meet at Charlottetowu, Prince Edward 
Island, in the month of September. 

It is a somewhat strange coincidence that in the different 
colonial legislatures of British North America, impelled by the 
same purpose, though from different motives and causes, a 
simultaneous movement .should be taking place in favor of 
confederation. In the Maritime Provinces the question 
assumed a commercial chaiacter, and the union was urged 
mainly for commercial reasons. In Canada, as we have seen, 



the difBculty was pulitical. In both cases, however, there 
appeared to be aspirations towards a broader nationality, and 
for tlie consolidation of the diHcrent colonial Governments into 
a union wliich, while maintaining its colonial relationship, 
would fittingly represent British sentiment ou the American 

The Government of Canada having now embarked upon a 
federation of the two Provinces, quickly perceived the import- 
ance of ascertaining whether the scheme, which they had pro- 
jected for themselves might not very fittingly include the 
ibiritime Provinces as well. Accordingly a deputation consist- 
ing of John A. INIacdonald, Geo. Brown, Geo. E, Cartier, A. T. 
Gait, T. DArcy McGee, H. L. Langevin, W. MacDougall and A. 
Campbell, was appointed to meet the delegates from the Mari- 
time Provinces, at (Jharlottetown, at their meeting on the Sth 
of September, to submit the case of a union of all the Biitish 
North American Provinces, instead of th.e smaller question of a 
union of the Maritime Provinces, then under consideration. 
The delegates from Canada were received very cordially, and 
listened to with great attention. The constitutional aspects of 
such a union were presented by Messrs. John A. Macdonald, 
Brown and Cartier ; the commercial aspects of the question 
were presented by Mr. Gait in an able speecli extending over 
three hours. Before withdrawing from the convention, the 
Canadian deputation suggested that the convention should 
suspend its deliberations upon the subject for which it was 
(-•ailed, and adjourn to meet at Quebec on a day to be named 
hy the Governor-General, there to consider the confederation 
of all the colonies of British North America. 

On their way to the seat of Government, the Canadian 
representatives accepted the hospitality of their t'riemls from 
the east, and delivered sevm-al speeches on tiie new issue in 




Canadiiin politics. From the manner in which those speeches 
were received, and from the connnents by the press, it was 
(juite evident the country was anxious that the political 
arena within which party warfare had so long been carried 
on should be enlarged, and a petty coloinalism displaced by a 
comprehensive nationality. The incongruity of a number of 
petty provinces, contiguous to each other, ail owning allegiance 
to the same sovereign, all equally interested in the develop- 
ment of lialf a contirent, and yet acting independently of 
each other in matters of tarilf and the enforcement of law 
and order, was so apparent that any rea.sonable schetne for tiio 
consolidation of their connnon interests could not fail to be 
acceptable. Eager eyes were, therefore, turned towards the 
city of Quebec, wlun-e delegates from all the colonies were to 
nieet at the call of the Governor-General. On Monday, the 
10th of Octobei', lcSG+, at Jl a.m., in the Parliament House of 
Canada, the gi'cat conference out t)f which confederation was 
evolved was opened. The respective Provinces were repre- 
sented as follows : Canada, Sir E. P. Tache, J. A. Macdonald, 
Geo. E. Cartier. Geo. Urown, A. 'J\ Gait, A Camplell, W. Mac- 
Dougall, T. D'Arcy McGee, H. L. Langevin, J. Cockburn, ()• 
Mowat, J. C. Chapais ; Nova Scotia, Chas. Tupper, W. A. 
Henry, K. B. Dickey, A. G. Archibald, J. McCarthy ; New 
Brunswick, S. L. Tilley, J. M. Johnson, E, B. Chandler, J. A. 
Gray, P. Mitchell. C.Fisher, W. If. Steves; Prince Edward 
Island, J. H. Gray, E. Palmer, \V. II. Pope, Geo. G. Cole.s, A 
i\. Macdonald,.! H. Ilaviland, E. Whelan ; Newfoundland, l" 
II. .J. ( *arter, Shea. 

Sir E. P. Tache, Prenuer of Canada, was nnaiumously 
cho.scn president, and Mr. Piernard, secretary. ' \ iting of this 
conference the J Ion, John Hamilton Gray — himself ari acti\e 
meuiber— thus refers to its orguriizatio-. : " Tliere was organ- 



izcil a convention vvlioso deliberations wore to have a mark- 
ed bearing upon the future of British Nortii America. The 
time, the men, ilie circumstances were peculiar. The place 
of meeting was one of historic interest. Beneath the 
shadow of Cape Diamond, on the ruins of the old castle of 
St. Louis, with the broad St. Lawrence stretching away in 
front, the Plains of Abraham in sight, and the St. Charles 
winding its silvery course through scenes replete with the 
n\eiiiories of Old France, where scarce a century gone by the 
Fleur-de-lis and the of St. George had waved in deadly 
strife, the descendants of those gallant races — the Saxon and 
ilie (!aul — hand in hand with a common country and a con • 
uion cause, met with the full sanction of their sovereign and 
the Tiiiperial Government, attended by the representatives and 
members of the crown, sent from the parliaments chosen by 
the people. They were called upon to lay in peace the founda- 
tion of a state that was to take its place in iriendly position 
beside the Republic whicii, wivnched from its parent 1 ud in 
strife, had laid the foundation of its gn atness with the sword- 
and biiptized its power in blood." 

The convention met with closed doors. All voting was 
to be by Provinces; that is (»n any (|U('stion touching 
the character of the constitution, which was under con- 
sideration on which there was a dillrrenco of opinion, 
the r(pi('sentativ«>s ol' each Province deliberated a]»;irt 
and )-eport((l lluir decision, through their chairman, to 
till' runvciitiou. Till! ]»rinci[)h' of a frderal union, as 
o]ip(i^cil to a legislative niiitm, was aeecptetl after a very 
slmrt, discussion, it b(;ing (|uite apparent that Pi'ovinces 
so widely apart geographically, and aceustojned so long to 
goveiii themse'ves, woidd lind, in local assemblies to which 
local matters W(>idd be entrusted, simpler machinery for the 


Line OF Till'] HON. ALh'XAXJJh'U MArK/J\/JM. 

adininistrdtion of local alTairs iluui couM lie suppliml undci- a 
lugisiativc! uninti. 

OwiiH' to llic war in ilid TTiiItfid States (ln'ii ''(»lM<r on — n 
war eiitenxl upon in (Icl'iMico of .state Hovcivi^'nty — the conrci-- 
eiico felt cjilli'd upon to niinrd aL,fain-it n similar con(in,^'ency 
l)y so fnuiiinL^Mlie ('uiiaijiiin constitution as to place beyond 
all donlit the ((Ucstion of siAci-ciLinty. With this ol)i<'ct in 
view, Nviiihi rollowin;^ in many othiT resjX'Ots th(i Ifdci'al 
cliaract(;r of tin; American con.stil,uiion, n\i alli'mpt was made 
to apportion tin? jiowcrs ncci'ssary to tin- working' of the C'ln- 
stitntioii l)('!\vi'cn tlu; CJcntral and I'ro\incial ((o\crnni('nts, 
]-)r('S('rvinif to tin! ("mira,! (lovi rnnn'nt all powi-r not sjiecili- 
cally delci;'at(:d to tlu; I'rovincijs. In its, lio\Vi;ver, to 
avoiil th(! (pK'stion of stalc-sovfrci'^nly, tin- conllicts which 
8ubse( arose, notahly in Onlai-io and Maniloha, with 
roiiai'd to ])r<i\ineial li'jhts, \ver(! e\idenll\- not foreseen. A 
f('(leralion i)ur[)ortin;^ to <rive to the fe lei-ated provinces c»!r- 
tain jirivileL;((s, which tln'y could <>uly exercise with the con- 
sent of the central authority, wiaiM not havt; been .a fiiilcra- 
ti<in at all, Imt a leL;islati\t» union; and as t,lie conference 
already rejeele.l this principle, the |*io\inees that asserted 
provincial rights in tleir own assemblies, oi- b foi-e the i'ris'V 
Council, wen; only insisliuL^ upon a jirivile^a; which Ihe frani 
crs of the ori^dial scheme for (iotd'c^leratioii nuist have in 
tended tla^y should enjoy. It is impossible for us to conceive 
of a small ]ii'o\ince like' I'l'inci^ I'Mwanl Island acc(ij)tiiig a 
form of ^niveinment, which would plai!*; tln! cxistenco of il.-. 
lo"al institutions at the mercy of a parliament composed ol 
over two hundi'c<l members, where its rcpresentiou was only 
fiv(i or six membei's. 

After discussions extendiiiLj until IheL'Slh day of October, 
the conference adjourned to the city of Montreal, and on the 




Iting a 

I' il> 

iscd III 


l^lst <lay of Oci>»l)(»r a^ifroofl upon tlio report to bo inude to 
their respective} (.loverniucnts. 

Tlio (lelej^oites then iniule a tour of Upper Canada, outlinii\{T 
as far as tlujy werj at liberty to do ro, the constitution a<,M-eod 
ujjoii au the conference, and receiviiifr wherever they wont the 
most cordial approval of the vvoik to \vhicb they bad coiu- 
iailL<!d themselves. 







Session of 1865— "Discussion of the Scheme of Confederation— Opposition from 
Quebec — Mr. Mackenzie's Share in the Discussion— Delegation to England- 
Short Session of Tailianient — Final Adoption of tlie Quebec Resolutions. 

MILE tlic country was absorbed in the consider- 
ation of the scbenie for uniting all tlie British 
North American Provinces, the (Jovcrnnient was 
preparin<^ itself for the opening? of parliament 
and for discussing the details of the proposed confed- 
eration. In tlie meantime, liowever, Mr. Mowat, who 
had rendered the Liberal party substantial service during the 
past seven years, both in Opposition and as a Minister of the 
Crown, accepted a seat as one of the vice-chancellors of Upper 
Canada. His place in the Government was idled by Mr. \V. 
P. Rowland, Minister of Finance in the Macdonald-Sicotto 
Government and Receiver-General in the Iklacdonald-Dorion 
Government. ^Ir. Howland was known as a man of hi_uh 
character and linaneial ability, and his up]K)inlment was so 
wrll receiveil by his constituency as to secure for him an elec- 
tion by acclamation. AVith the Government thus constituted 
and pulilic e.x])ectati()u unusually excited, parliament met i>n 
the I'Jth of .January. 

In ()i)ening the House tlie Governor-General alluded to tho 
resolutions approved by (he coid'eicnco at Quebec, to the ini- 
portajit bearing the adoption of such a scheme as was there 




outlined wouM have upon the future oE the British colonies, 
and observed "in commending to your attention this subject, 
the importance of which to yourselves and to your descen- 
dants it is impossible to exaggerate, I would claim for it your 
calm, earnest and impartial consideration. With the ])ublic 
mvn of British North America it now rests to decide whether 
the vast tract of country which they inhabit shall be consol- 
idated into a state, combining within its area all the elements 
of national greatness, providing for the security of its com- 
ponent parts and contributing to ae strength and stability of 
the empire; or whether the several provinces of which it is 
constituted shall remain in their present fragmentary and 
isolated condition, comparatively powerless for nnitual aid, 
and incapable of undertaking their proper share of imperial 

The debate was opened on the 6th of February on a motion 
by Attorney-General Macdonald:" I'hat an humble address be 
presented to Her Majesty praying that she may be graciously 
pleased to cause a measure to be submitted to the Imperial 
Parliament for the purpose of uniting the colonies of Canada, 
Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundlan(l, and Prince 
Edward Island in one Government, with provisions based on 
certain resolutions which were adopted at a conference of 
delegates from the said colonies held at the city of Quebec, on 
the 10th of October, ISG-i." Mr. Macdonald supported the 
resolution by a clear and comprehensive exposition of the 
constitutional bearings of the resolutions agreed upon at 
Quebec ; and while expressing his own preference for a legis- 
lative union, he was nevertheless conlident that the scheme 
hAovQ the House would rouiove the political complications 
which rendered the government of the country so dilli- 
cult, and, at the same time, give the colonies that importance 







as an intof^ral part of tlic Britisli Empire, of which they were 
deprived by their present isoUited condition. 

The financial and commercial aspects of the question were 
presented with j^reat ability by Mr. Geo. Brown and Mr. A. T. 
Gait, Mr. Brown's speech being specially characterized by its 
magnanimity towards his opponents and liis hopefulness as to 
the future of the country. The debate was, in the strictest 
sense of the term, historical. Members of Parliament felt 
themselves confronted with the greatest issue ever submitted 
to their consideration. It was not the time for squabbling over 
personal grievances or about the appropriation of money for 
local improvements. Those who took part in the debjite felt 
called upon to substantiate every position, not by the denun- 
ciation of their opponerts or the rounded periods of the 
rhetorician, but by arguments founded on reason, experience 
and fact. 

It was not until the 28rd of February tliat Mr. Mackenzie 
rose to take his place in the debate. Already many of the 
great leaders had spoken at considerable length, and where so 
much had been said to the purpose, it was no easy task to 
keep the attention of the House. Nevertheless Mr. Mac- 
kenzie's speech, on that occasion, was one of great merit, both 
for its conciseness, its breadth of view and its thouuhtfulness. 
In Ids opening remarks he defended his own course and the 
course of the Liberal party in Upper Canada against the at- 
tacks of their former Lower Canadian allies because of alleg- 
ed political inconsistency. What Upper Canaila wanted, in 
so many words, was Representation by Population ; what she 
wanted in fact was a remedy for her political grievances, lb- 
believed the scheme before the House provided this remedy ; 
why, then, quarrel over the form in which it came ? He sup- 
ported Mr. Saudfield Macdonuld's scheme of a double majority ; 







(hat IkuI failed. Should we stand still and allow the union 
between Upper and Lower Canada to bo dissolved ? "That," 
ho said, " would be one of the greatest calamities which could 
befall these provinces. 

Mr. Alackenzie's industry is quite as apparent in his speech 
on Confederation as in his later speeches, when Premier ol 
Canada. Objection was taken to the Quebec resolutions be- 
cause the Upp^r House or Senate to be constituted was to be 
nominative and not elective. In dealing with this objection 
^Ir. Mackenzie expressed his own opposition to an elective 
Senate and instanced the example of the other colonies of the 
Empire a»id nearly all the political divisions of Eui-ope, giving 
such details as show how fully he had mastered this part of 
the subject. In answer to the charge that the federal system 
was a weak one, ho pointed out that in the United States, not- 
withstanding the large influx of foreign population, the North 
was conducting, apparently to a successful issue,one of the great- 
est wars of modern times without a dollar of foreign capital. 
The federal system in Switzerland had worked most satisfac- 
torily. The union between England and Scotland had added 
to the prosperity and comfort of both kingdoms. 

In the course of the debate he greatly amused the House by 
quoting from a speech delivered by Lord Belhaven in the 
Scottish Parliament, when the proposed union with England 
was under discussion. His Lordship in depicting the dire 
calamity w meli he inuigined would befall Scotland by join- 
ing her fortunes to England, said : " My fiurd Chancellor — 
I think I see our leariied judges laying aside ihaiv 'pvacl' 
and decisions, studying tho common luw of England, gravel- 
led with ccr^iojvtJ'tes, iitsi ^^riitscs, writs of error, verdicts in 
dovar, cjectione JiDnae, injunctions, denun\s, etc., and Ireighted 
with a|)peals and avocations, because of the new regulations 




and rcctificatioiia tlicy may meet with. I iliink I see tlio 
valiant and gallant soldiery cither sent to learn the plantation 
trade abroad, or at home petitioning for a small subsistence as 
a reward ofc' their honorable exploits, while their old corps 
are broken, the common soldieiy left to beg and the youngest 
English corps left standing. I think I see the honest, indus- 
trious tradesman loaded with new taxes and impositions, dis- 
appointed of the e((uivalents, drinking water instead of ale, 
eating his snitless pottnge, petitioning for encouragement to 
liis manufact>irer ami answered by c<ninter ])etitions. In 
short, I think I see the laborious ploughman with his corn 
spoiling u])on his liands for want of sale, cursing the day of 
his birth, dreading the expense of his burial and uncertain 
whether to many or d(j worse. I think 1 see the incur- 
able dillirultit.'S of l;,nd(Ml men fettered under the goidcn 
cluiiii of cquivali'iils, their pretty daughters p((titioning for 
want of husbaiKis and their sons for want of employment. 1 
tliink I see our niMrinei.s deliveiing up their siiips to their 
Dutch partners, and what, through presses and necessity earn- 
ing their bread ns untlcriings in the lloyal J'^nglish JNavy." 
"And here," said Mr. Mackenzie, "comes the climax, and if I 
were asked to point to on(! (jf the draiuatis 2)(;.i-son(.ii in our 
Canadian House (jf Assc^mbly littcd to take part in a similar 
scene OS is hero d(!picted, I should unhesitatingly turn to the 
honorable member for Chateauguay (Hon. Mr. llolton), who 
could more suitably than anyone else 1 know personate Lord 
Jielhaven when he exclaims: ' Jhit above all, my Lord, I 
think I seo our ancient mother Caledonia, like Caesar, sitting 
in the niidst of our Senate riiefully looking about her, cover- 
ing hers(!lf with her royal garment, attending to the fntal 
blow and l)reathing out her lust with ct In (/iKKiae mi Jlli.'" 
lu additiou to political advantages, Mr. Mackenzie 



claimed tliiit tlio union wouM t^roatly tcn«l to tlio dovolopnient 
ami growth ui the c(nintry. Jt would load to tlio enlargement 
ami extension of our canal system. It would lead to the early 
construction of a railway conmicting Canada with the Mari- 
time Provinces, and it would Htio;igthon the position of tlu; 
country for defensive purp(xses. " Altogether," he saiil, " I re- 
gard the scheme as a magnificent one, and I look forward to 
tlu; future expi'cting to s(,mj a country ami a Government 
possessing great power and respectability, established under 
tliis scheme and of being before I die a citizen of an iin- 
incnsc empire built upon our part of the North American 
contini'iit, where the folds of the Jh'itish ling will lloat in 
trium|)h over a people possessing frei'dom, happiness and 
prosperity e(|Uul to the people of any other nation on the 
ei rLli. If there is anything that 1 liav(! always felt anxious 
abiiut in this country it is to lia\(; tii<! Ihitish possessions 
put in such a position that W(! could safely repnso without 
fear of danger from any rpiarter nnd(;r the baiuier which wo 
believe, after all, covers the greatest amount of personal free- 
dom and the greatest amount of personal happiness that is 
to be found in the world. And when we look to the vast 
territory w(j have in the North-West ; wdien we know that 
the great rivtsrs which How through tluit tei'ritory How 
through immens(! bed.n of coal and that the wIkjIo Ci)untry is 
rich in mineral deposits of all kinds — peti'oleum, copper, gold 
luid iron— that the land i.'* tcjeming with resources of wealth 
calculateil to build up an extensive and valuable conmierco 
and support a powerful nation; that all we can touch 
and seize upon the mtjinent we are prepared to open up a 
way to reach thom and allow the .settler to enter; wdien wo 
ri nil iid)er this, ! say, I think we can look f(;rward with 
hope to a prodigious increase in our population and an im- 




monso (l(;v('lrijnnfjit of s(rcii.;l,1i niid jvjwcr. So Tar our poo- 
[)lij liuvi; liiul to coiili'ii'l Willi tli(-'. iisiml (lillicultics coiuiiiou 
to tin; people of ill I ii(!\v couiitric^s ; hut now (yiinada is be- 
giniiiuif to a.ssuiiH! a position oi" coiiiiiiercial importance, and 
in jiroportion as tiiat iniportanco increases vv(! will be able to 
devote ourselves to the opcninfj U[) and st;ttleiuent (jf the 
interior, and to the (h)velo[)inent ol' a new nationality — to 
use the term that has been so sliarply criticised — in that, 
vast western country where tliere is h»r<ily a white man 
livinf( to-day." 

As tin; resolutions w^'ic not IjeFoi'*! the Ifouse for considerM- 
tion iri detiiil, ;ind thei-ftl' ire were not capable ol' amenduient, 
the opponents of Confederation coull oidy move amendments 
of a f^eneral charaebtr. Stroni;^ objection was tak<Mi to tl;e 
adoption ot any scheme practically chan;^in;j the constitution 
of the country, without relerenco to the electors. Tlie parlia- 
ment, then asscmldcd, had no mandate to draft a new consti- 
tution for Cana(hi ; and althou^di it was ur^'cid in answer that 
parliamtMit was authorized to seek some remedy for tlic con- 
stitutional diflicultiea that existed, the answer was not satis- 
factory or con)pU'to. In order to test the Ibmse on this ques- 
tion Mr. John iJillyard Cameron moved, seconded by Mr. M 
C. Cameron: " That in view of the ma^-iiitude of the interests 


involved m the resobitions for tiio union of tlie colonics of 
Briti.sli x^Iurth Auk rica and tiio entire cliange of the consti- 


Tin: coxFi':in:i!.\Tios hiciiATHs. 




tiitioii of tills Piovinw, a constitutional apftoal shcjuM l>o 
made to the people lj(;i'<n-o rusulutions are Hubniitt(;iJ 
lor dual action tlicroon to the considtiration of tlic Ini[)(!iial 
railiuiiK-iit." Tins resolution was lost on a vot(i of ;'5 to 81-. 

Mr. Ilolton then moved "that any Act founded on the ri'.scjlu- 
tioiis should not ^'o into operation until approved hy the 
I'ailiainont of Caniuhi." This was also lost on a vote of .'{I to 
71). Mr. 8andli(;I<l Macdonald, npparently to the 
hiix'i'als fi'oiii whom he was now alienated, notvvithstan<lin^ 
that the >Si'purate School Act of ISO.'} was passtMl durin;^' his 
liifuiiership, movcid fin amondmcnl, (sxpn-ssin;^ rc;^r(;t that the 
(.ulire control and dircctio.i of education in lljtjjer (panada 
was not entrusted to its own Local Fitj^islature. The vote on 
this atiieiKliueiit was yeas, 8 ; nays, f).'). AnotlK^r amendment 
hy .Mr. Ilourassji, "that the Itomaii < 'atholie minority of Upper 
Canada Ik; placed on the same footiii*^, as re^^'irds edu(;ation, 
as the l'i'(jte.stant minority of Lower- Canai la " was also lost 
on ii vote of 20 to S.";. TIk! i-esohit-ions were then Ji|(ree<l to 
<in a vote of f) I to .'}.'>, ii,n<l the i^reat pa,i'IIamentary debate on 
(-'onfederation was hrouii'ht to a close. 

After transacting .some other liusiness of a, minor character, 
the liou.Sf! ])roro;^-ueil on tin; iSth of March, tla; coalition 
hetween Messrs. Jh'own ;iMd .Macdoiiald havin'f shown itself 
strong enou^di and honest enough, fiontraiy to the usual [irc- 
cedents of coalitions, to conccntrat(i all th(i power (jf the 
Legislature on the Holulion of the constitutional dillicultics 
which it was ori<finalIy or^oinized to .solve. It is deeply to 
he rcf^retted that, with its hold n])on th(i puhlic opinion of 
the countiy Mild with a .scheme so cordially supported hy 
I'arlianKiit, it lacked the couni|je to njipeal to the country 
for a constitutional expression of o])iriion. 

While I'arliainent i.s entrusted with a yreat d(.'al of power, 







5r /^/^ 




■- ilM 


M. 11 1.6 























o ^- 



" ■ J-W 





and while it is hard sometimes to say whether the electorate 
has expressed an opinion on many of the questions which 
their representatives are culled upon to determine, there can 
be no doubt whatsoever that a complete change of the Cons*:i- 
tution, such as was contemplated by the Quebec resolutions, 
should have been submitted to the people at the polls. Had 
the Conference at Quebec made this part of their plan of 
campaign, many heart-burnings, all of which are not yet 
allayed, would have been obviated, and the people would have 
been made to feel that the Constitution of which they had ap- 
proved was a Constitution which iliey were in duty bound to 
preserve in its integrity. Strange to say, Mr. Mackenzie, who 
all his life had shown such deference to the popular will, 
declared the action of Parliament a sufficient exjjressiou of 
public opinion. 

Immediately after prorogation, a deputation consisting of 
Messrs. J. A. Macdonald, Cartier, Brown and Gait went to 
England to confer with the Imperial Government respecting 
Confederation and other matters of public interest. 

On second thought,'the Maritime Provinces, wliich had so 
cordially supported Confederation at the outset, became 
alarnied as to the consequences of their own acts, and oflered 
on every hand the most stubborn opposition to the proposed 
constitutional chanfjes. Fears were expressed lest the smaller 
Provinces should be overwhelmed by the numerical strength 
of the larger, and appeals were made to the loyalty of the 
people on the ground that our Constitution was an imitation 
of the Constitution of the United States, and that its adop- 
tion would undoubtedly lead to annexation. 

A great outcry was also raised on account of the financial 
basis of the scheme. The Maritime Provinces had a low rate 
of duty, and for ordinary purposes of government, abundant 

'(A: :!■* 








revenues. By the new scheme, duties would be increased, 
while the income of the Provinces was fixed for all time. The 
diversion of the trade of the we t to Canadian ports bj'- the 
proposed Intercolonial Railway was problematical. Their 
trade \vas with the United States, and there was no guaran- 
tee that it would be increased by Confederation. 

In those and similar ways, an appeal was made to the peo- 
])le of New Brunswick in the general election which followed 
the return of the dele!;:i'-es from Quebec, the result being 
that an Assembly hostile to Confederation was returned 
with A. J. Smith, afterwards Sir Albert Smith, as premier. 
There was no general election in Nova Scotia through which 
the popular will could express itself, but at the meeting of 
the Assembly, following the return of the delegates, resolu- 
tions were adopted in favor of a union of the Maritime Pro- 
vinces ii^one. Prince Edward Island not only passed resolu- 
tions opposed to Confederation, but went so far as to repudi- 
ate the action of the delegates. Newfoundland left the whole 
question in abeyance, and so it remains there at the present 

To launcli the new ship on such a stormy sea appeared 
to be a perilous task, but there was no help for it. The Con- 
stitution of the United States was ratified by the original 
thirteen colonies only after great dissension, and, in some 
cases, after the lapse of several years. To shrink from the 
decision of tho misinformed public miiul, or to take counsel 
from tho timid, was not the duty of the hour. And so with- 
out any hesitation whatsoever because of the action of tho 
Maritime Provinces, tho delegates from tho Parliament of Can- 
ada proceeded, according to instructions, to I'^iglund. 

iteP " ^'Tr - '' " '' Jiu "' ■ r ai tti 





Der'.tli f)f Sir V.. V. Tachd— Mr. Brown's Objections to Mr. MacdonaM as Pre- 
mier—Last Parliament in (Quebec— KeiJort of the Delegates to England- 
Feeling in tha Maritime Provinees— Mr. Brown's Retirement from the Gov- 
ernment— Abolition of the Reeiprocity Treaty of '57— The last Session of 
the old Parliament of Canada. 

N the 30th of Jn]y, 1805, ciglifc days before the re- 
assembling of Parliament, Sir E. P. Tachd, Premier 
y*^i^1 "*^ ^^^^ Coalition Government, died, and the ques- 
^^/ tion of selecting a successor gave rise to some 

^J^ di+iicultics. Col. Tachc', though not a man of profound 
ability or statesmanship, was a devoted Canadian, and 
for many years actively identified himself with every measure 
submitted to Parliament for the advancement of Canadian 
interests. Ho believed our welfare lay in our continued con- 
nection with the Empire. His loyalty found expression in 
the words long to bo remembered ; " The last shot that would 
be fired on the American continent, in defence of the British 
flag, would be tired by a French Canadian." 

Aside altogether from his high character, the part he took 
in drafting our present Constitution, and directing, as Premier, 
the Government of Canada, while great constitutional prob- 
lems were being settled, would give him a prominent place in 
the annals of liis country. 

Mr. John A. Macdouald, who was the senior member of the 







Government, was informed of His Excellency's desire that the 
Government should be continued as a coalition, at least until 
present constitutional difficulties were settled, suggesting at 
the same time that Mr. Macdonald should accept the Preniier- 
sliip vacated by Mr. Tachd's death. To this proposition Mr. 
Drown stiongly objected. Mr. Macdonald had always been his 
antagonist. He coalesced with him for a special purpose 
wlien the Lil)OJ-al party controlled the House, and would con- 
tinue in the Government only while lie could do so on equal 
terms. To continue to serve under him as Premier would be 
a violation of the conditions of the original compact, and to 
this he would not agree. Already, the Liberals held only tlu'ee 
seats in the Cabinet, while their political opponents held nine, 
^le advised the selection of some gentleman of good position 
in the Legislative Council, under whom all the parties to the 
coalition could act with confidence. Failing this, he would 
agree to do what he i)referred from the very first — give the 
Government an outside support, provided they would apply 
themselves to the removal of the existing difiiculties between 
Upper and Lower Canada, on the basis of a Federative Union. 
Mr Macdonald then sui^gested the name of ^Ir. Cartier, who 
was the leader of the majority from Lower Canada. This 
proposition, Mr. Brown, after consultation with his colleagues 
from Upper Canada — Messrs. Howland and MacDougall — de- 
clined, and by mutual consent Sir Narcisse Lelleau was chosen, 
who agreed to the terms on which the coalition was organized. 
There can be no doubt whatever as to the propriety of the 
course pursued by Mr. Brown inider the circumstances. He 
was a member of a cabinet formed for a special purpose. 
He represented beyond question the feeling ol" the majority 
of the Liberal party. Ko cabinet could exist, at that time, 
without Ids support. It was essential in the interests of the 





party, and for the proper solution of the constitutional ques- 
tions with ■which it was identified, that he should continue 
in the cabinet, not as a subordinate of Mr. J jhn A, Macdonald, 
who had always opposed the Liberal policy, but as his equal. 
Under ordinary circumstances, Mr. Macdonald's claims to the 
premiership would been conclusive. That they were 
urged at all, was, perhaps, not unnatural ; that they were not 
unduly pressed, shows that Mr. Macdonald had accepted, as a 
finality, the verdict of the House in favor of constitutional 
changes, and that in keeping good faith with V^v. Brown, he 
was simpl}' keeping good faith with Parliament, and witn the 
well-known public opinion of the country. 

On the eighth of August, parliament re-assemblcd to receive 
the report of the delegates to England, and to pass the esti- 
mates in detail, for which they had previously been given a 
vote of credit. The report of the delegates was very satisfac- 
tory. They had a conference on behalf of the Government 
with the Duke of Somerset, Earl de Gray, Mr. Gladstone, and 
Mr. Cardwell, Colonial Secretary, and received the strongest 
assurances that the federation, which they proposed with the 
Maritime Provinces, was very acceptable to the Imperial 
authorities. Some progress was also made towards the settle- 
ment of the claims of the Hudson's Bay Company, and a pro- 
mise received of an Im})erial guarantee for the cost of con- 
structing the Intercolonial Railway. The assurance from the 
Colonial Secretary that all legitimate ellbrts would be made 
to reconcile New Brunswick to Confederation, was very ac- 

The session was uneventful, so far as general legislation was 
concerned, although many measures of a minor character 
were passed. Mr. ]\Iackenzie took an active part in the >\ork 
of the House, and was daily strengthening himself by liih 

r I 





i pro- 
L' con- 
Din the 
■ly ac- 

ajititude in debate, and his familiarity with every question 
submitted for the consideration of Parliament. When the 
House prorogued on the 18th of September, it was on the 
understanding that Parliament should next assemble in the 
new buildings at Ottawa. 

The Government, being now relieved of Parliament, at once 

gave its attention to the trade relations of Canada with the 

United States. It will be remembered that in 1854, under the 

administration of Lord Elgin, a Reciprocity Treaty of a very 

comprehensive character was made between Canada and the 

United States, valid for ten years, but revokable on notice by 

either party. The Americans had become dissatisfied with 

the treaty on the alleged ground that Canada benefited more 

by its continuance than the United States. They had passed 

through a great conflict ; their taxes had become burdensome 

particularly their inland revenue imposts, and the admission 

of certain Canadian products free into -the market of the 

United States, it was said, placed the American producer at a 

disadvantage. These were the commercial reasons which 

national courtesy considered the only ones expedient to put 

forth. There were behind these, however, the conviction tiiat 

a treaty was an advantage to Canada, and that its repeal 

would be a serious injury to Canadian trade. In the long 

and worthy struggle which they had made for the Union, 

they had come to the conclusion, rightly or wrongly, that 

Great Britain and her Colonies would rejoice to see the Union 

dismembered. The attem})ts made by blockade runners, such 

us the steamship Alabama, to furnish the South with supplies, 

the determined attitude of Great Britain in the Trent afi'air, 

and the raid of St. Albans in Canada intensified tlis feelino-. 

That it was unfounded, there can be no doubt. The British 

St atiinent that abolished tli<' sImnc trade sixty years before 







could have no sympathy with the establisliincnt of a con- 
federacy, the corner-stone of which, as declared by its Vice- 
President, was to be slavery. If, here and there, British trade 
suffered as notably, in Lancashire, because its supply of cotton 
from the South was cut off, and in this way a word of sym- 
pathy was dropped for the rebel States, such intermittent 
expressions of sympathy should not have been mistaken for 
the real public opinion of Britain. Indeed, it is well known 
that had it not been for the action of the British Govern- 
ment, France would have recognized the Southern Confeder- 
acy as a new nation, and what would have been the conse- 
quences of such a recognition, no one can tell. 

The sympathies of Canadians were strongly with the North. 
The Globe supplied its readers daily with the leading events 
of the war, and commented, editorially, from time to time 
on the various phases which it assumed, but always fav- 
orably to the North. Occasionally, in a Conservative news- 
paper, there would be found the suggestion that a Republican 
form of government was essentially weak, and that the strug- 
gle in which the North was engaged must necessarily be a 

Whatever may have been the motive, and this will always 
be a matter of speculation, the Americans notified the Imper- 
ial Government that the Reciprocity Treaty of 1854 would 
terminate on the l7th day of March, 18G6. To Canadians, this 
notice was a source of considerable anxiety. The trade rela- 
tions which our merchants had established with the United 
States were to be practically brought to an end, and other 
markets had to be found for the surplus products of the 
country. The feeling then, was universal, that everything 
consistent with the dignity of Canada should be done for the 
renewal of the Treaty- iu some form or other. On the 15th 


II • 

\0-^- Ul 



day of July, 1865, the Government decided to send two mem- 
bers of the cabinet to Washington to confer with Sir Fred- 
erick Bruce, the British Ambassador. By a despatch, dated 
the 22nd of July, the British Government suggested the for- 
mation of a Confederate Council, chosen by the different pro- 
vinces, and presided over by the Governor-General, for the 
purpose of expressing an opinion to Her Majesty's Govern- 
ment on the negotiation of Commercial Treaties. Acting on 
this suggestion, such a Council was formed at Quebec, early in 
September, and called the " Confederate Council on Commer- 
cial Treaties." The members of the Council from Canada 
were Messrs. Brown and Gait ; from Nova Scotia, Mr. Ritchie ; 
from New Brunswick, Mr. Wilmot ; from Prince Edward Is- 
land, Mr. Pope ; and from Newfoundland, Mr. Shea. Messrs. 
Macdonald and Cartier were by courtesy admitted on behalf 
of Canada to be present at the Council, and take part in the 

At a meeting of the Council on the 18th of September, 
18G5, resolutions were passed approving of the renewal of the 
Reciprc *^^'' Treaty of 1854 ; reconnnending the British North 
Americai' Provinces to combine cordially on a common com- 
mercial • I in the event of the abolition of the old Treaty ; 
recommending communication to be opened with the West 
India Islands, Spain and her colonies, Brazil and Mexico, for 
new channels of trade ; and requesting Her Majesty's Govern- 
ment to autiiorize the members of the Council, or a committee 
appointed from amongst them, to proceed to Washington in 
the event of negotiations being opened up for the renewal of 
the Reciprocity Treaty, in order to confer with the British 
-Ministers there, with respect to the British North American 
Provinces. Shortly after the adjournment of the Council, 
^Ir. MacDou<>-all went to the West Indies at the head of a com- 






mission in order to enquire into the facilities which they 
atibrded for trade with Canada, and Messrs, Gait and How- 
land went to Washington to discuss with the United States 
Government the difficulties in the Avay of the renewal of the 
old Reciprocity Treaty. On the 18th of December, Mr. Gait 
submitted to Council his report, in which he expressed his 
opinion that there was no reasonable probability that the Con- 
gress of the United States would adopt any proposal for the 
renewal of the Reciprocity Treaty of 1854, but believed from 
his conversations with the Secretary of the Treasu] y that the 
commercial relations with the United States an<l the British 
Provinces could be made the subject of concerted legislation. 
He also found the United States authorities unwilling to give 
what he regarded as a fair equivalent for the privilege of 
fishing in Canadian waters. 

Mr. Brown, who had been absent in the Lower Province in 
connection with public matters, was greatly surprised on his 
i-eturn that Messrs. Gait and Rowland had gone to Washing- 
ton, and had presumed to entertain propositions for the settle- 
ment of this question without the full authority of their 
colleagues. As a member of the Confederate Council on Com- 
mercial Treaties, he regarded it as an affront to be supplanted 
by Mr. Rowland, and the proposal, on the p^ti't of the two 
countries, to accept concerted legislation in lieu of a definite 
treaty, was to him very objectionable. Ho argued that a 
treaty depending upon the whim of Congress would be of no 
value whatever, that under it the capitalist would have no 
assurance that his investments would not be disturbed by 
legislation at any moment, and that the effect of holding the 
Canadians " dangling from year to year on the legislation 
oF the American Congress, looking to Washington, instead ol" 
to Ottawa, as the controller of their comn*erce and pro.s- 



: the 
d his 
)r the 
at the 
DO give 




incc ui 
on his 

f their 

n Com- 
he two 
that a 
be ol: uo 
lave no 
irbed hy 
ding the 
lytcad ol' 

Ind pi" 


pcrity, woulu lead to the absorption of the provinces into 
the union ; " that the action of Mr. Gait was contrary to the 
conclusions of the Confederate Council, which rppresented all 
the provinces, and therefore, would give them great offence, 
and perhaps imperil the wliole scheme of Confederation. His 
colleagues having declined to accept his views, he felt it his 
duty to withdraw from the Government, and on the 19th of 
December placed his reyiii'nation in the hands of the Governor- 

The wisdom of Mr. Brown's course in leaving the Govern- 
ment when he did has been the subject of much controversy. 
It is quite certain, from the reluctance with which he entered 
a Ministry in whicli Mr. J. A. Macdonald was one of the 
ruling spirits, that he anticipated dissension, and perhaps 
intrigue. To weaken Mr. Brown's influence in the country 
would be the surest passport to political power. To obtain 
his retirement from the Government, should the reasons be 
insufficient in public estimation, would be a great victory. 
Mr. Brown was known to be of an impulsive temperament; 
if, in a moment of irritation, he resigned, all the worse f Ji 

The suspicious attitude of his Conservative colleagues, and 
paiticularly of Mr. John A. Macdonald, was somewhat inten- 
sitieu by Mr. Brown's refusal to serve under him as Premier, 
on the death of Sir E. P. Tach^, and when Mr. Brown object- 
ed to Mr. Gait's negotiations with the authorities at Washing- 
ton, and hinted that those objections, unless removed, would 
lead to his resignation, he effectually closed the door against 
their removal, although Mr. Cartier and Mr. Campbell, who 
were also members of the Government, were anxious he should 
not retire. 
No doubt the situation was a serious one to the country. 










Mr. Gait was proposing to enter into negotiations with the 
United States I'or a Coniuiereial Treaty, wliich, if adopted, 
would be worse than futile. What was Mr. Brown's duty 
under these circumstances? In the light of subsequent events, 
it is quite clear that the United States Government would not 
have i^assed a Treaty of any kind, and it seems equally clear 
that the people of Canada would not have accepted a Treaty 
on the conditions offered. At the time Mr. Brown resigned, 
however, the Government was not absolutely committed to 
any line of action. The report submitted to Council was not 
approved until the 22nd day of December, three days after he 
resigned. Why did he not remain and fight it out with his 
colleagues ? Possibly Mr. Gait's recommendation could have 
been modified in Council, or a compromise obtained, or the 
question postponed. Evidently Mr. Brown had reached that 
frame of mind in wliich he preferred to take the consequences 
of retiring rather than the worry of continuing in office. 

Unfortunately for Mr. Brown arid the Liberal party, his 
colleagues, Messrs. Rowland and MacDougall, did not retire 
with him. Probably, Mr. Howland felt that he was unwit- 
tingly the cause of ^Ir. Brown's annoyance. He was Mr. 
Gait's companion at Washington, and had taken part with him 
in the negotiations reported to the Council. To retire from 
the Government under these circumstances, would be to plead 
guilty to the charges made by Mr. Brown, and this could 
hardly be expected. Their remaining in the Government 
after Mr. Brown's retirement gieatly weakened Mr. Browns 
position. By a solemn compact entered into with the Liberal 
party, they were called to the Government to settle constitu- 
tional difficulties. Until their work was completed, they were 
bound to remain at their posts. Having entered as a unit, at 
the request of the party, the party should have been consulte<l 
before any of them retired. 



Mr. Brown's gi-cat mistcake was in not consulting the party 
befo?'e retiring from the cabinet, as he did on catering the 
cabinet, and the moment Ins Liberal colleagues from UpiDer 
Canada showed the least aversion to follow his leadership, he 
should have asked the authority of those who made him their 
representative in the Government jointly with Messrs. How- 
land and MacDougall before witlulrawinii from the Govern- 
ment, or openly separating himself from his colleagues. 
True, he left the Government with an assurance that he 
would stand by Confederation. In his letter to Mr. Cartier, 
dated December 19th, he said : " If you stick to the compact 
you made with me when Sir Narcisse came into the Govern- 
ment, my being out of the Government will not change my 
course in the slightest, and you will have my best aid in car- 
rying out the constitutional chrnges we were pledged to." 

On the other hand, it mav be said that the Conservative sec- 
tion of the coalition, in pressing a question on which there 
was any probability of a division in the cabinet, did not keep 
faith with the Liberals, and that on the announcement by Mr. 
Brown that he could not accept Legislative Reciprocity the 
question should have ended there. In this view, there is much 
force. A coalition for a specific purpose has no meaning un- 
less it involves the abandonment of all otlier questions on 
which there is a difference of opinion. Mr. Brown's views on 
Reciprocity were well-known; he had made the subject a 
study for many years. That his colleagues should lay the 
foundation for a new treaty, on terms of which it was evident 
he could not approve, and do this practically without his 
knowledge or consent, was, to say the legist, a breach of faith 
of the grossest character. Believing as he did, he had no 
option but to retire from the Government if such a policy 
were insisted upon. Had he called the representatives of the 


I i I i 





Liberal party, and in conjunction with his colleagues sub- 
mitted the dirticulty of the situation to their judgment, it is 
quite probable the political effect of his action would have 
been quite difierent. 

And here it may very properly be asked, should Mr. Brown's 
colleagues have left the Government with him ? To thai en- 
quiry there can be but one answer. If it appeared they were 
not acting in harmony with the party they represented, tliey 
should have placed their resignation in the hands of His Ex- 
cellency at once. Under ordinary circumstances, so long as a 
Cabinet Minister satisfies the head of the Government, he, is 
under no obligation to anybody else to resign, on the theory 
that the Premier is responsible for the conduct of liLs col- 
leagues. A Coalition Government is, however, the creature of 
t>VfO parties, and may be said, in a certain sense, to have two 
heads, each responsible to its own party for its associates. If 
the head of one party retires, the leadership naturally falls to 
the next in command. It is the duty, therefore, of the next 
in command to see whether he has the confidence of the paity 
in discharging the duties from which his predecessor has re- 
tired. Should it appear that the withdrawal of his leadership 
destroys that confidence, then the coalition is destroyed, and 
he becomes identified with the party representing the majority 
of the Government. 

This was precisely the position occupied by Messrs. How- 
land and MacDougall. The leader under whom they entered 
the Government, and who was practically, though not theo- 
retically, their Premier, retired. They were authorized to act 
in a certain capacity by the mandate of their party, and 
although the mandate was not formally withdrawn until the 
great Reform convention of 18G7, it was quite evident that 
they remained in the Government without the approval of thfi 
Liberal party. 



Mr. MacDougall's Trip to the Indies— Mr. Halt's Financial Policj- — Constitu- 
tion (f the Proviiicus — Ketii'oaient of Mr. (jalt — Contideuce Weakened in 
tlie Coalition. 

HE most conclusive evidence that can be I'urnisliod 
of the position Mr. Mackenzie had taken in the 
House, and of his standing in his own party, was 
his beinjr ofiered the seat in the Government va-^ 
c;:^ cated by Mr. Brown's retirement. This offer was made 
through Mr. Howland on behalf of his colleagues, and 
was fully considered at a confidential meeting of Liberals held 
in the town of Guelph, on the 25tli of December, 18G5. It 
does not appear that Mr. Mackenzie was at all anxious for 
office, although he might well feel flattered to bj chosen as the 
successor in the Cabinet of the great Liberal leader. Notwith- 
standing Mr. Howland's explanations of the reasons for IVFr. 
Brown's retirement, Mr, Mackenzie felt the step which he 
was asked to take was so important as to justify further en- 
quiry. He therefore reserved his decision until ho had con- 
sulted his leader. On the 27th of December, 18G5, having 
seen Mr. Brown in the meantime, he addressed the following 

letter to Mr. Howland : 

*• Saunia, December 27tli, 18G5. 
" Hon. W. p. Howland. 

" My Dear Sir, — Since our mooting at Ouclph, on the 2rjtli inat., when 
you wore good onougli to tender mo a soat in the Cabinet, us President of 


' P wjg ' n - .Hj ' .JWT ' g ^ r r ' . 'yT— m— — -g . ' g c- 

' i 





1 . 



tlio Ccnmcil, T have seen Mr. Brown, and have received from liira a full 
statement of the causes wliioh led to his resignation. You will recoLect 
that I informed you of my desire to ascertain from himself how he regard- 
ed his present position. Mr. Brown at first declined giving me any infor- 
mation, on the ground that he was not authorized by His Excellency, the 
Administrator, to do so, and that such information should first be com- 
municated to Parliament. 

" On my informing him that I had already received from you a state- 
ment of the causes which led to his resignation, he consented to state 
minutely the causes which led to his withdrawal from the Government. 
Your statement of the reasons which you understood to actuate Mr. Brown 
in resigning his position in the Administration — as far as it went — is sub- 
stantially the same as that given by Mr. Brown himself. I find, however, 
that very nuich of what, in my opinion, was essential to a proper under- 
standing of Mr.- Brown's position was connnunicated at the meeting above 
referred to. I understood you to say that the issue between Mr. Brown 
and the other members of the Government was confined entirely to the 
sanction of the minutes of Council relating to the adoption of the Reci- 
procity Treaty, a copy of whicli you road to me, although personal feelings 
might have increased the dissatisfaction ho felt, and which caused him to 
resign. I also understood you to say that the Government of the United 
States had formally intimated to the Canadian Government their final de- 
cision, that commercial treaties (affecting the revenue) between the United 
States and foreign countries are unconstitutional, and consequently that 
any commercial arrangement between the British North American Pro- 
vinces and the United States must necessarily be provided by concurrent 
legislation in the two countries. Assuming these statements to be per- 
fectly correct and full, I could see no sufficieut reason for Mr. Brown 
leaving the Government, or that my entering the Government as his suc- 
cessor, would be distasteful to the party to whom I would look for sup- 
port as a member of the Government, or be in any way wrong in itself. 
I am now led to believe that the adoption of the minute of Council refer- 
red to was but the culminating act of a series of circumstances connected 
with the jicnding negotiations against which Mr. Brown j)rotested as im- 
proper and seriously prejudicial to our interests as a Province. 

*' Subsequent reflection also convinced me that there could hardly have 
been any formal declaration from the Government of the United St^vten 



announcing that conrtnierclal treaties wore uncon<?titationivl, inasmuch as 
tliiit Government have very recently entered into treaties of a similar l<ind 
with other nations. I do not, of coui'sc, doubt that this idea of Lei^islati\e 
Reciprocity has been suggested from official quarters in the United States as 
tlie proper course for the purjiose of accomplishing an object, but I have 
not heard anything which would lead me to believe that a treaty could 
not be obtained, similar to the Treaty of 1854, had that suggestion been 
firmly combated by the Canadian Government. 

"As I stated at our interview, I regard this proposal of regulating our 
commercial intercourse by reciprocal legislation as of little value ccMupared 
with a treaty extending over a term of years, ami as calculated to keep 
the minds of our peoi)le ot'.,"aged in tralhc with the United ytutes in a 
constant state of doubt and alarm. 

" Under these circumstances, I feel that I could not defend the policy 
set forth and adopted in the Minute of Council, or justify myself for ac- 
cepting office with the convictions I entertain. I nmst therefore decline 
the otter of a seat in the Cabinet you offered for my acceptance, with the 
concurrence of His Excellency the Administrator and your colleagues. 

" 1 am, my dear sir, 

" Yours faithfully, 

"A Mackenzie." 

Early in the followiufj year the vacant scat was offered to 
ami accepted by Mr. Fergussou-Blaii-, and the three places in 
the coaUtion Government held by Liberals were ar^ain filled. 

In January, LSOO, Messrs. Gait and Rowland proceeded to 
Washington to secure an extension of the Reciprocity Treaty 
about to exnire; or, if an extension were not obtainable, to 
secure such moditications as would prevent tlie anticipated in- 
jury to the trade of Canada. After six weeks spent at the 
capital in close intercourse with the United States Govern- 
ment, they returned to Canada without having accomplished 
the object of their mission. 

Mr. MacDougall returned in May from his trip to the West 
Indies antl Brazil, and report(Ml that these tropical countries 

t r-is^^rre^irt/ r^-j^-ro -"r t»i -otg^ yv.'fl 








afforded many openings for the enlai'gemcnt of Canadian com- 

On tlio 8th of June, Parliament assembled for the first time 
in the new buildings at Ottawa, and passed the Address in 
reply to His Excellency's Speech, after a brief debate on 
a motion by Mr. Dorion, seconded by Mr. Holton, protesting 
against Confederation being agreed to by Parliament without 
reference to the popular vote. The Ministerial explanations 
with regard to Mr. Brown's retirement, which were anticipatetl 
in the preceding chapter, were th "'ii given, and the House at 
once settled down to the business of the session. 

The Liberal party occupied a very embarrassing position. 
Although Mr. Brown had retired from the Cabinet, he still 
held his scat in Parliament, and his followers in the House 
were sometimes obliged to choose between the policy which he 
enunciated, and the policy of the Government in which three 
Liberals still held office. But while he took strong ground 
against the Government on the question of reciprocity, and 
on its fiscal and banking policy, he never wavered in his 
allegiance to the great scheme of Confederation. The oppo- 
sition, however, which he felt obliged to oiler on much of 
their policy, tended greatly to the disturbance of that entente 
cordiale which should exist between tiie members of a party. 
Messrs. Howland, MacDougall and Fergusson-Blair could not 
help but feel that an attack upon the Government, of which 
they were members, was an attack upon them, and naturally 
enough those who approved of continuing the coalition, sym- 
pathised with the Liberal Ministers. The effect upon the 
country was equally demoralizing. The Reform party ap- 
peared to be divided into two canq)s, and although their dif- 
ferences were overshadowed by their unanimity on the ques- 
tion of Confederation, these differences had, nevcrthelesa, a 



disintdgrtiting eifect, the result of wliieh became afterwards 
apparent in the general election of 18G7. For instance, Mr. 
Brown opposed with great force and vigor Mr. Gait's resolu- 
tions for revising the tariff and in the division which followed 
carried many of the most active Liberals with him. 

It was impossible for him, in denouncing the policy of the 
Government, to refrain from striking blows which would not 
be quickly forgotten. His attack on the tariff was peculiarly 
disturbing, and called for a remonstrance on the part of Mr. 
MacDougall, which clearly indicated that the breach betAveen 
the Liberal members inside the Government, and the part}' 
outside the Government, was widening every day. Speaking 
for himself and Mr. Howland, Mr. MacDougall said : " They had 
made up their mind to stand their ground and defend their 
position, no matter by wdiom attacked. Tliey would fire gun 
for gun, even although Mr. Brown had a powerful organ at 
his disposal, v»'hich he could hold over the heads of men in 
the Government and out of it, and coerce them to his views. 
He believed it was the dut}'' of the Liberals to relieve the 
party and the country of the incubus, the terrorism and the 
domination exercised by Mr. Brown, who was insertin«>- a 
wedge to split the Liberal party." 

In the debate in which Mr. Gait's financial policy was so 
fully criticised, Mr. Mackenzie took a leading part, protesting 
then, as he did in 1878, against a tariff' based upon protection 
ideas, and pointing out the utter futility of such a tariff' to aid 
permanently the industries of the country. His reply to Mr. 
MacDougall was pointed and vigorous, and elicited the hearty 
applause of the Liberal members of the House. Hitherto, 
tliough not a cordial ally of Mr. ALu'Dougall, he had supported 
him, as a representative of the Lib(M-al party, in the Adminis- 
tration. It was evident, from this debate, that their attitude 

I - 


'^s tftKJLttia ^ suj^iJimMa i^j-wi • ■* ' < i» — »» 





towards each eather was fast undergoing a change ; and their 
many encounters in parliament and on the pubHc platform, 
during the next fourteen years, showed how strongly Mr. 
Mackenzie felt that Mr. MacDouo-all could not be trusted as an 
exponent of Liberal principles. 

Mr. Mackenzie insisted very strongly that Mr. MacDougall 
and his I^iberal allies in the Government had not kept faith 
with the Liberal party. The Liberals were not consulted 
with regard to the proposed change in the taritt". In re- 
arranging the representation of Upper Canada in the Legis- 
lative Assembly, new constituencies were formed without 
the knowledge or consent of the Liberal part3^ " It would 
have been an easy matter," Mr. Mackenzie said, " for Mr. 
MacDougall and his colleagues to consult the Liberals on all 
these points. He (MacDougall) was made a member of the 
Government in the first instance at the request of the Liberal 
party, and he should not presume to represent the Liberals 
until lie had ascertained their views. Many of the diflSculties 
and dissensions of the present session were owing to the appa- 
rent determination of the Liberal members of the Government 
to act independently of the party." 

The great measure of the session was the adoption by the 
House of the provincial constitutions, which were afterwards 
incorporated in the British North America Act. Resolu- 
tions providing for the local government and legislation of 
Lower and Upper Canada were introduced by Mr. John A. 
Macdonald on the 13th of July, and occupied the attention of 
the House for a considerable portion of the remainder of 
the session. Mi-. Dorion, on behalf of Lower Canada, asked 
for a Legislative Assembly with one Chamber, similar to that 
proposed for Upper Canada, on the ground of economy autl 
simplicity. This proposition was negatived on a vote of 31 




to 61). Mr. John Hillyard Cameron, seconded by Mr. Morris, 
asked that the Legislature ot" Upper Canada should consist of 
two Chambers, a Legislative Assembly and a Legislati\'e 
Council. This was negatived on a vote of 13 to 86. Mr. 
Dorion then asked that the members of the Legislative Coun- 
cil from Lower Canada be elected by the people; this also 
was refused by the House. The resolutions were Hnally 
passed, and an humble address to Her Majesty with respect to 
them agreed to on the 11th of August. Thus the second step, 
so far as Canada was concerned, was taken towards tlie great 
scheme of Confederation. 

By the Quebec resolutions, in favor of Confederation, what- 
ever legislation existed in each Province with regard to 
education at the time of Confederation was declared to be 
irrevocable, so far as the Local Legisla^-ures were concerned. 
There were two bills before the House with respect to separ- 
ate schools ; one in the hands of Mr. Langevin, Solicitor-Gen- 
eral East, and one in the hands of Mr. Bell, by which it was 
proposed to extend to the Roman Catholic minority in Upper 
Canada similar and equal privileges with those granted by the 
Legislature to the Protestant minority in Lower Canada. Mr. 
Gait supported Mr. Langevin's bill, although it was quite evi- 
dent that it was not acceptable to the majority of the Roman 
Catholics in Lower Canada. In the same way, Mr. Bell's bill 
respecting separate schools in Upper Canada was opposed by 
every member of the Government from Upper Canada except 
Mr. John A. Macdonald. Had these bills gone to a vote, both 
would probably have passed, and, as stated by the Attorney- 
General, " there would have been the unusual spectacle of a 
bill atlecting education in Upper Canada carried by a Lower 
Canadian majority, and a similar Bill for Lower Canada car- 
ried against the will of the majority of that section." The 

r?.'7rrr-"r".!^T" r^'w; '> ■3P'-*-t=-:-; 

1 1 I iiiiiii III mm J 





GoveiTiment having decided to abandon both bills, Mr. Gait 
felt it to be his duty to re8i<^n. His plac(i was tilled by ^Ir. 
How'land, as Minister of Finance. 

Mr. Gait's retirement from the Government gave great 
satisfaction to the Liberal party. Under him the debt of the 
Province had largely increased. Deficits occurred with w'on- 
derful regularity, although the tariff had been several times 
advanced. His attempt to foist Legislative Keciprocity on 
the country, and to change our banking system, showed the 
tiangerous tendency of his legislation. With his retirement 
from oflice it was expected many of those evils would be 

On the 15th of August the House prorogued, and the last 
session of Parliament, under the Act for the union of the two 
Canadas, was brought to an end. During the tw^enty-five 
years that passed since Upper and Lower Canada were united 
under one Legislature, the country had been singularly pros- 
perous. Immigrants from the old world, some with consider- 
able means, others with little capital except a pair of strong 
arms, had cleared the forests of Upper Canada, and had made 
for themselves comfortable homes in spite of all the difficulties 
incident to new settlements. Although these immiorants 
were of mixed nationalities and creeds, they were, in the 
main, men and women of great physical vigor and force of 
character. The ownership of the soil w^as to them an extra- 
ordinary privilege, and added greatly to their attachment 
to their country. The disabilities under which they labored 
at home intensified their love of freedom, and with the right 
which they possessed, for the first time, of making their own 
laws, it was natural that they would resist the transfer to 
or the continuation of such disabilities in the land of their 
adoption. Under such circumstances, the enjoyment of thft 



fullest social and political liberty should have been the her- 
itage of every citizen of Canada. That it was not so may be 
taken as an evidence of the strange perversity and maladroit 
character of human nature. For instance, who would have 
thought that the people of Canada, who had escaped from 
a sj'stem of tithing and church rents in the old land, would 
have loaded themselves down with exactions of a similar 
character in their new home ? Or, who would have thou^-ht 
that to relieve the country of a statfj church, with its lav^e 
endowments and constantly increasing revenues, would have 
necessitated years of agitation, and would have aroused reli- 
oious animosities which the lapse of thirty years have not 
entirely abated ? What had Canada to do with a state church 
and rectories and sectarian privileges such as the medioevalisra 
ol" England had sanctioned and approved ? And yet there 
were many patriotic men who believed that only in this way 
could religion be fostered and infidelity restrained even in 

The claims for religious supremacy were, however, but the 
counterpart of that political pretentiousness which Toryism 
invariably asserts wherever it has the power. Within its 
favored circle only is to be found, so it believes, the capacity 
to o-overn and the rieht to rule. The more limited the area of 
this right, the more dignified the men who exercise it, and the 
more limited the privileges of the ruled, the more perfect the 
administration of the rulers. Why should Roman Catholics 
sit in Parliament ? said the Tories of Daniel O'Connell's time. 
Why should the rotten boroughs be abolished ? said the Tories 
of Lord John Eussoll's time. Wliy should the masses have free 
bread ? said the Tories of Robert Peel's time. Why should 
the franchise be extended to counties and to agricultural 

laborers ? said the Tories of more recent date. Why should 

I Si; 




the Irish Church be disestablished, or Ireland be permitted to 
manage its own local affairs ? say the Tories of to-day. Mu- 
tatis mutandis, Canadian Liberals had to answer all these 
questions ; and, although their answer was not recognized by 
Parliament till after many a long straggle, it came at last, 
marred in some instances by restrictions which weakened its 
effect, but substantial enough to relieve, even where it did not 
remove, the grievance complained of. The Family Compact 
was a Tory institution so firmly intrenched in office as to be 
removable only by rebellion. The control of Parliament by 
placemen and officers of the Government was a Tory manoeu- 
vre as indefensible as it was mischievous. The opposition to 
Upper Canada, in her demands for constitutional changes to 
which she was entitled, was in keeping with the traditions of 
Toryism from the beginning of the century. 

The Liberalism, of which Mr. Mackenzie was such an able 
exponent, was diametrically opposed to the Toryism of the day. 
He wanted no placeman in Parliament, as he believed it im- 
possible for Parliament to be a correct exponent of the public 
will so long as any of its members were dependent upon tlie 
Executive. The great council of the nation was, to his mind, 
a body invested witlithe gravest responsibilities, and that sen- 
sitiveness to the cj'.ll of duty wliich should pertain to its 
decisions, was utterly inconsistent with its organization on 
any other than the most independent lines. He had seen too 
much of the evils of the Family Compact in Canada, and of tlie 
rotten borough system in the old country, to acquiesce quietly 
in a Parliament where officials had the same standing as the 
accredited representatives of the people. 

Ecclesiastical influence in politics was equally repugnant to 
his mind. The sacerdotalism which too often preferred the 
fleece to the flock, inevitably followed the connection of church 




and state, and the only way to preserve the one from domina- 
tion and the other from deterioration, was to insist upon their 
uhsohite divorce. In this way only, he contended, would the 
sovereignty of Parliament be impartially maintained, and un- 
less maintained in its integrity, representative institutions 
would degenerate into an oligarcliy ; and a self-interested 
majority would develop into a tyranny no less real than the 
autocracy of the Stuart period. 

It v/a3 this uncompromising character of his political con- 
victions that led him to oppose a coalition in every shape and 
f( rm, and, in later years, to resist connnercial combinations, 

which experience has shown to lo as dangerous to cur in- 
stitutions PS the ccc'esiasticiil oi- social privileges of thirty 
years ago. 

41 w 



; i 




Troubles in the Maritime Provinces — Delegation to England — Amendment to 
the Quebec Resolutions— The Education Clause— Additional Subsidies to 
Nova Scotia— The Royal Proclamation— The Father of Confederation - 
Claims of Mr. Brown to this Honor. 

T was already pointed out that New Brunswick, by 
an overwhelming vote, defeated the party that es- 
p^-^jj^ poused Confederation, and that a change of Gov- 
f^lJn\ " ernment had taken place. A second appeal to the 
^^ " people, a year later, resulted in the reversal of the 
previous vote, and the acceptance of Confederation by 
the people at the polls. In Nova Scotia, there had been no 
appeal to the people. The Government stood manfully by the 
Quebec resolutions and, with New Brunswick, sent a deputa- 
tion to London to confer with the Imperial authorities respect- 
ing the completion of the scheme. Prince Edward Island had 
refused to take further part in the nogotiations, largely owing 
to the irresolute manner in which the delegates to Quebec 
dealt with the question in their own Legislature. After some 
delay, owing to the Fenian invasion in Canada, delegates from 
the four Provinces finally met in London, at the Westminster 
Palace hotel, on the 4th of December, to prepare draft bills for 
submission to the Imperial Parliament, which was then about 
to assemble. The delegates were : From Canada, Messrs. Mac- 
donald (John A.), Cartier, Gait, Rowland, MacDougall, and 

Langevin ; from Nova Scotia, Messrs. Tuoper, Henry, Archi- 




hakl, McCully, and Ritchie ; from New Bininswick, Me- srs, 
Tilley, Fisher, Mitchell, Johnson and Wihnot. 

It is not our purpose to discuss the necessarily limited au- 
thority which tliese delegates possessed in finally dealing with 
tlie Quebec resolutions. Thoy were sent to London not to 
legislate, but to advise the Imperial Government with regard 
to the provisions of an Act based upon the Quebec reso- 
lutions. Although devoid of kigislative power, they were not 
free, however, from responsibilitv neither were they beyond 
the pale of censure by their respective Provinces, provided the 
conclusions they reached were ill-advised. Of course, no one 
would object to any alteration in the Quebec resolutions that 
was immaterial in its effects, or that did not disturb the politi- 
cal or financial equipoise of the Constitution as accepted by 
the Provinces through their respective Legislatures, and though 
the final responsibility for legislation rested with the House of 
Commons, they, equally with the Imperial Parliament, may 
justly be held responsible for every clause in the British North 
America Act. 

Only two amendments of the Quebec resolutions gave rise 
afterwards to discussion : Fi :st, the provision.- of the forty- 
third resolution respecting education, affecting the rights and 
privileges of the Protestant and Catholic minorities in the two 
Canadas, were extended to the minorities in any Province 
having rights or privileges by law as to denominational 
schools, at the time when the Union wxnt into operation. 
An additional provision was made, allowing an appeal to the 
Governor-General in Council against any acts or decisions of 
the local authorities which may affect the rights or privileges 
of the Protestant or Catholic minority in the matter of educa- 

The second amendment, wliich gave rise to much discus- 







sion, was the " better terms ** granted to Nova Scotia and 
New Brunswick. By the original resolutions, each Province 
was to be allowed an annual grant of eighty cents per head 
of the population, according to the census of 1 SGI. By the 
terms agreed upon at London, a subsidy, in addition to the per 
capita allowance, was to be paid to the different Provinces as 
follows : Upper Canada, $80,000 ; Lower Canada, 870,000 ; 
Nova Scotia, SGO,000 ; New Brunswick, 650,000 ; and the capi- 
tation subsidy was extended, in t'le last two mentioned Pro- 
vinces, until the population reached 400,000. A bill based 
upon the Quebec resolutions, thus amended, was finally sub- 
mitted to the Imperial Parliament, and passed on the 29tli of 
March, 1867. The Royal Proclamation, declaring that the Act 
should come into force on the first of July, 1867, was issued at 
Win Isor on the 22nd of JMay. 

Now that Confederation had become a substantial fact, it is 
worth while to enquire through whose instrumentality was it 
specially brought about. Who was the real father of Con- 
federation ? There seems to be no doubt that George Wash- 
ington was the founder of Lhe United States ; that Prince 
Bismai'ck secured the unification of Germany ; that Count 
Cavour re-organized the kingdom of Italy ; thut William tlio 
Third gave a new meaning to Responsible Government in 
England. But who is the father of Confederation ? is a ques- 
tion still in dispute. With one accord, the Conservative party 
claim this honor for Sir John A. Macdonald. This claim is 
disputed by the LiberaL-. and for good reasons. 

At no period in the history of Canada, prior to the coalition 
of 1864, does it appear that Sir John A. Macdonald favored 
the Federal principle. lie intrigued agn'nst the Brown- 
Doriou Administration of 1858, which had pledged itself to 
the settlement of the constitutional difliculties between Upper 




and Lower Canada on the basis of Representation by Popula- 
tion. He ridiculed the conclusions arrived at by tiie Reform 
Convention of 1859, where a federation of the two Canadas 
on the principle of a joint authority over matters common to 
the two Provinces was suggested. Speaking of the joint au- 
thority at London, Mr. Macdonald said : " If we ask ourselves 
what this joint authority is, we shall see how crude the idea 
is. Is it a legislature, or is it a bench of bishops ? If it means 
anvthincf, it means that Canada is to be divided into two, that 
there are to be two separate legislatures with a central power. 
. . . . To such a consummation I am altogether opposed." 
On the question of Representation by Population, he said in 
the Legislative Assembly'', on the 19th of April, 1861, " to 
adopt the measure would be to take a retrograde stop." And 
he argued at very great length against the bill introduced by 
Mr. Ferguson, of South Simcoe, in favor of Representation 
by Population. On the 1st of April, 18G2, he voted against a 
resolution moved by Mr. MacDougall, in winch a protest was 
made against the inequality in the representation between 
Upper and Lower Canada. On the 29th of August, 18G3, he 
repeated tlie vote of the previous year. But more important 
than any of these was the motion introduced by Mr. Brown, 
on the 14th of March, 1804, for the appointment of a select 
con)mittee of twenty members to enquire into and report upon 
the constitutional difficulties between Upper and Lower Can- 
ada. Even this motion, Mr. Macdonald resisted, and when on 
the 14tli of Juno the committee reported that a strong feeling 
was found to exist among the members of the committee in 
favor of cbanges in the direction of a federative system, ap- 
plied either to Canada alone or to the who'.-; British North 
American Provinces, and recommended that the subject bo 
again referred to a connnittee at the next session of Parlia- 






>■ IIIIMlJl 



ment, Mr. Macdonald voted with two others against the find- 
ing of the committee. 

Here we have the first expression of opinion in favor of 
Confederation, which met with the approval of a majority of 
the Assembly, and which became, a week later, the basis of 
the Coalition Government of which Mr. Brown was a mem- 
ber. To this we are indebted for Confederation. We have 
no desire to underrate Sir John A. Macdonald's usefulness in 
framing the constitution and in enlisting the sympathies of 
the Conservative party in its favor. But Sir John A. Macdon- 
ald never was a Federationist. It was the sharp shock of a 
defeat in the House, revealing to him the fact that his poU4cal 
existence depended upon the acceptance of auch a scheme, 
thflt changed his views on Federation. Besides, the conditions 
on which tlie coalition was formed were determined by Mr. 
Brown, not by Mr. Macdonald, and Sir John was an assenting 
party, we need not say from love of office or from any sordid 
motive. It is sufficient for the argument that the terms of 
the coalition were acquiesced in by him, not originated by hiui. 

It has been contended that because Mr. Brown left the 
coalition before Federation was actually completed, that he 
has forfeited all his claims to the distinction of beinrj its 
originator. Such an objection is absurd. The resolutions 
subsequently embodied in the British North America Act were 
approved by the Quebec Conference, of which Mr. Brown was 
the leading member. They were carried through the Legisla- 
tive Assembly of Canada while he was still President of the 
Council. From his resignation on the 18th of December, 
1865, till the Royal Proclamaticn was issued in May, 1807 , 
which announced the birth of the Dominion, Mr. Brown never 
wavered in his loyalty to Confederation. His retirement 
from the Government, though ill-udviKcd as a i^olitical move 



could not imperil a scheme which had been advanced as fa-** as 
the Canadian Parliament had power to advance it. To the 
man then who first sounded the bugle-call by which the best 
men of Canada and afterwards of the Maritime Provinces 
were summoned to lay aside their political animosities and 
unite together for the present and future prosperity of British 
North America, must be awarded the first place in the hearts 
of his countrymen as the founder of a new nation, and the 
records of Parliament show that that man was the Hon. Geo. 
Brown, the leader of the Liberal party. 

1 f< 



^ 1 


CllMTHR XVll. 


Formation of tl>c First GoveiniiioiiL—Aiiotlier (Joiilition — Great Reform Con- 
vontion in Toronto— MacDougiiU's and lIowlaiul'H Defence— Speech by Mr. 
Mackenzie — I'osition of tlie Iiil)eral Party— Mr. Mackenzie's (.'aiiij)aign in 
T^anil)ton — Contests witli Mr. MacDougall — Results of tlie Election. 

WONG some of the clian^cs brou^^ht about by Con- 
ledcratioii may bo mentioned the new nomenclature, 


(Quebec. The Dominion of Canada takes tiie place of British 
North America, and the Act of Confederation takes the place 
of the Union Act. The national horizon was certainly widened ; 
the political horizon, unfortunately, was still very larg.dy 

With the inau<^uration of the new Dominion came the foj*- 
niation of a new Government. Lord Monck, who was sworn 
in as Governor -General of the J)ominion of Canada, called upon 
Sir .John A. Macdonald, now kni^dited in reco^niition of Ids 
services in connection with (Jonfederation, to form a new 
Government. He was accordin;.,dy sworn in as i'remier, his 
colleagues from Ontario being Messrs. Jilair, ] lowland, Mac- 
Dougall and Cami)b(;ll; from Quelxic, Messrs. Cartier, Gait. 

Chapais and Lan^eviu ; from New Brunswick, Messrs. Tillcy 


77/ A' X/'JIV /)().][ IXJO.V. 


and Mitchell; IVoiii Nova Scotia, Messrs. Archibald and 

In orffim/.'mrr his Govorninonfc, Sir John Mac<loiiald evi- 
dently desired that each ol' the four Provinces of the Dom- 
inion should be represented ; and no doubt, in the interests ol' 
Confederation, this was necessary. That ho was under the 
necessity of refjarding provincial boundaries is unfortunate; 
and that his successors, for a (piarter of a century now, have 
been unable to form a Clovernment on the merits irrespective 
of provincial boundaries, is still more uid'oi-tunate. That per- 
fect unity of sentiment, which (confederation oiM;j;inally con- 
templated, and which, it is fondly hoped, it will yet accom- 
])lish, can never be attained initil it is practicable to form a 
Cabinet irrespective of {)rovincial boundaries. 

It is also evident that Sir John Macdonald had determined 
to i<^nore the party lines which formerly prcsvailed in Up[)er 
and Lower Canada, and to constitute a Government that could 
ajjpeal to the people irrespective of the party issues of the past- 
To use his own words : " I do not want it to be felt by any 
section of the country that they have no representative in 
tlie Cabinet, and no inlluenco in the Goveriunent. And as 
there are now no issues to divide parties, and as all that is 
recpiircd is to have in the Government the men who are best 
adapted to put the new machinery in motion, I desire to ask 
those to join me wlio hav(; the confidence and represent the 
majorities in the various sections, who were in favor of the 
adoption of this system of government, and who wish to see 
it satisfactorily carried out." 

Accordingly, both political ])arties, as hcin^tofore known, 
wero crpially represented in the Government ; ho that, if its 
composition be regarded from tlu; standpoint of antc-Cotd'ed- 
oration times it was, strictly s[)eaking, a coalition. Sir John 

■ 'l» it, ' )«.lul»4r. jatg-narr.^ -.— ?SE!=S?3<S37T^7r, ■ 







Mactlonald insisted, however, that, as the old order of things 
had passed away and with it old party lines, his Government 
had no political significance whatsoever. It was a " No Party " 
Government, whose primary object was to put into operation 
the British North America Act, and was therefore entitled to a 
" fair trial." 

To this view the Liberal party objected, claiming that the 
Government was a coalition ; that coalitions were essentially 
dangerous, except when formed for a specific purpose, and to 
solve difficult political problems ; that there was no political 
problem now requiring solution, and to announce the dissolu- 
tion of partyism was merely a pretext for claiming support to 
which he was not entitled. It was also urged that the Liberals 
who went into the coalition of 1864, having accomplished the 
pui'posc for which they had entered the Government, should 
now retire, and that to hold office any longer was au act of 
treason to the Liberal party. 

To these views, Mr. Brown, Mr. Mackenzie and the Liberal 
party generally, committed themselves very strongly, not only 
during the last session of the old Parliament of Canada, 
but more particularly during the months preceding the general 
election of 18G7 ; and when it was known that Messrs. How- 
land and MacDougall had decided to accept positions in the new 
Government, with Sir John Macdonald as Premier, the indig- 
nation of the Liberals of Ontario was most intense. 

With the view to organize the party in the Province, and to 
obtain an expression of opinion, which it was thought would 
furnish the key-note to the pending elections, a Convention 
was held in Toronto, on the 27th of June, at which over six 
hundred delegates from all parts of Ontario were present. 
This convention was described by the Glohe as " magnificent 
in number, in influence and in enthusiasm." 




The Convention was organized by the appointment of Mr. 
Wni. Patrick, of Prescott, chairman, and after the appoint- 
ment of committees of different kinds, the delegates present 
proceeded to the consideration of various resolutions bearing 
upon the issues before the country. The first four resolutions 
referred to the efl^brts of the Liberal party to reform political 
abuses, and particularly to secure to Upper Canada its full 
share in the government of the country. The fifth resolution 
embodied the views of the Liberal party on coalitions, in these 
words : " Resolved — That coalitions of opposing political parties, 
for ordinary administrative purposes, inevitably rcisult in 
the abandonment of principle by one or both parties to the 
compact, the lowering of public morality, lavish public ex- 
penditure and wide-spread corruption. That the coalition of 
lS{}4i could only be justified on Uie ground of imperious 
necessity, as the only available mode of obtaining just re- 
presentation for the people of Upper Canada, and on the 
grounds that the compact then made was for a specific 
measure and for a stipulated period, and was to come to an 
end 60 soon as the measure was attained. And while this 
Convention is thoroughly satisfied that the Reform party has 
acted in the best interests of the country by sustaining tho 
Government until the Confederation measure was secured, 
it deems it an imperative duty to declare that tho temporary 
alliance between tho Reform and Conservative parties should 
now cease, and that no Government will be satisfactory to 
the people of Upper Canada which is formed and maintained 
by a coalition of public men holding opposite political prin- 

While this resolution was before the Convention, the chair- 
man announced that Messrs. Mow land and MacDougall, who 
were presont by invitation, were prepared to address the delo- 

! i 



lifl: of the iion. Alexander mackexzie. 



gates. Mr. Howlanrl was first called upon, and in the course 
of a carefully prepared address admitted " that the object for 
which the coalition of ISG-l had been formed was effected, 
that the conditions on wliich it was entered into had been 
fulfilled, and that the compact came to an end on the first day 
of July, 18G7." But he contended " that in the interests of 
Confederation it would be impossible for him to decline a seat 
in the new Government ; particularly as Sir John Macdonald 
had declared that the Government which he proposed to form 
was one in which arty lines would be entirely ignored." Mr. 
MacDougall took siiong grounds against the resolution, declar- 
ing himself willing to be bound by the judgment of the 
majority at the polls and in no other way. He l)lamed Mr. 
Brown for leaving the coalition of 1804 before Confederation 
was completed, and claimed that he had the support of the 
Liberal party, in refusing to leave the Government as Mr. 
Brown did. In taking a portiolio in the new Government, he 
believed he was acting in the interests of the Liberal party, 
and that he would be sustained in his action by the Govern- 
ment The work which the coalition of 18G-1 had undertaken 
was not yet completed, as other Provinces would be added to 
the Dominion, if public affairs were properly managed. He 
claimed for the Government the support of all parties, irre- 
spective of politics; as it would bo unfaif to condenm them 
until it was seen whether they were true to the new constitu- 
tion or not. 

Mr. MacDougall's address, although an able defence of his 
actions, evidently did not meet the views of the Convention, 
as the scathing criticism to which it was subjected by Mr. 
Brown and Mr. Mackenzie clearly indicated. Mr. Mackenzie 
was particularly severe on Mr. MacDougall and ridiculed him 
for his fondness for a seat du the '^J'roasury benches. He 















dissented entirely from Mr, MacDouf^all's views witli rer^ard to 
the coahtion of whicli he was now a member, claiming that 
old party issues could not be entirely ignored, and that any 
Government of which Sir John Mactlonald was Premier was a 
Tory Government and could not be trusted, and in ringing 
terms he asked : " Wiuxt luid been the policy of the Tory party 
in this Province? Had it not been the constart struggle of 
the Reform party with the Tories, to figlit against their en- 
croachments on the rights and privileges of the people ? The 
policy of the Tories or the Conservatives had been what their 
nauic indicated, — to conserve and preserve all old abuses, — a 
policy of restriction and ecclesiastical despotism, which they 
would have fastened on us, if they had had the power. Tlie 
policy of Reformers, on the other hand, had been to secure 
that every man should stand upon peri'ectly equal terms in 
the eye of the law ; that no church or other institution should 
receive special privileges from the State. The Conservative 
policy was here what it was in EngUmd, a restrictive one — 
one that cramped the energies of the people. It was the same 
policy as that which resisted the repeal of the penal laws 
against Roman Catholicism in Great Britain ; which enacted 
corn laws to tax the bread of the people ; the policy which 
would build up and perpetuate a State Establishment. This 
policy had been imported here and we had had the most 
deliberate, persistent, and systematic attempts made to en- 
graft on our system the abuses against which the Liberals of 
Great Britain had fought for centuries." 

In the course of a speech extending over an hour, he re- 
viewed the history of the coaUtion of 18G4f and the object for 
which it was formed, dissenting in toto from Mr. MacDougall's 
viewa as to the necessity or propriety of its continued existence. 
When he declared that Mr. ^lacDouirall was no Ioniser a Liberal 



1 1., 

but a subordinate member of Sir John Macdonald's Govern- 
ment, he was applauded to the echo. It was quite evident 
that next to that of George Brown himself, Mr. Mac- 
kenzie's speech expressed most aptly the sentiments of the 
Convention, as shortly after, when the vote was taken, only 
three persons declared themselves opposed to the resolution. 

And here it may be profitable to pause in order rightly to 
understand the position of the Liberal party at the first gen- 
eral election under Confederation. It has already been shown 
that tiie greatest political power in the Province of Ontario 
was the Hon. George Brown. It was at his instance that the 
Reform Convention of 1859 was called and Representation by 
Population made the political watchword of the Liberal 
party. It was by him also that the Liberals of Ontario were 
induced to support Mr. Sandfield Macdonald's Administration 
from 18G2 till 1863 in order to the removal of political abuses, 
by which it was thought the way would be prepared for 
larger measures of reform. The personal sacrifices he made 
in 1864 and 1865 to bring c'bcui: Confederation had greatly 
strengthened him in public estimation, and at the time he left 
the coalition, in December, 1865, he liad, beyond doubt, the 
undivided confidence of the Liberal party. 

His retirement, however, from the Government, or, as Mr. 
MacDougall put it, " his desertion of the ship in mid-ocean and 
baking to the jolly-boat," greatly weakened his position. 
Partly as a result of hi", own tcachirig, and partly as a relief 
from existing grievances. Confederation was regarded by the 
people of Ontario as the consummation of their most sanguine 
expectations respecting the future of Canada ; and even so 
great a leader as Mr. Brown was unable to satisfy his party 
fully that his retirement was necessary. Even if Sir John 
Macdonald was the embodiment of duplicity and political 



villainy, which he was represented to be, he was neverthe- 
less loyal to Confederation ; and although unable to retain his 
alliance with Mr. Brown, lie was still able to retain his alli- 
ance with Mr. Brown's colleagues in the coalition of 1864. 
The ai)peal, therefore, which the Liberal party made to the 
country, was, to a certain extent, a personal one. It was 
Brown against MacDougall, Howland and Blair, or, to put it in 
other words, it was Mr. Brown and party government against 
Sir John Macdonald and a coalition in which it was said 
there were at least six Liberals. 

There was still another difficulty. The enlargement of the 
political arena by the union of the four provinces, naturally 
obscured old party lines. To say that Sir John Macdonald, 
the Premier of Canada, at the head of a government, in 
which his own party had barely a majority, was as much to 
be dreaded as Sir John Macdonald at the head of a Tory 
Government, with Tory colleagues, did not appear reasonable. 
Then, there was the further conviction that as both political 
parties had coalesced for the purpose of accomplishing Con- 
federation, it was not, to say the least of it, unreasonable that 
the coalition should be continued until Confederation was 
fairly launched. " What right," it was asked, " had one party 
more than the other to assume the reins of office, and to 
say that under it a new nation was to be organized ? Had 
George Brown remained in the Government, and had Sir 
John Macdonald been preferred to him as the first Prem- 
ier, he might have good ground for complaint. As it was, he 
should have acquiesced in the action of his friends who had 
remained in the Government." 

No doubt, Sir John Macdonald's appeal for the confidence 
of both parties was one of those adroit moves for the reten- 
tion of office so characteristic of the honorable gentleman. A 







purely Toiy Government would cei'tainly have been defeated 
in the general election of 18G7. The appeal for a " fair trial " 
on the ground that party issues had been obliterated, that we 
were beginning Confederation, as Mr. MacDougall said, with a 
tabula rasa — a clean slate — waa very insidioua It enlisted 
the support of the Tory party through Sir John Macdonald's 
personality as a leader, and it enlisted the support of many 
Reformers, not so much because of the Liberals in his Govern- 
ment, but because of their anxiety not in the slightest degree 
to endanger Confederation. 

The position in which the Liberals as a party found them- 
selves in 1867 was most unfortunate, and the more it is ex- 
amined, the more clearly does the soundness of Mr. Macken- 
zie's advice in 1864 appear. Had they refused to coalesce 
with Sir John Macdonald, and had they given his Govern- 
ment, as Mr. Mackenzie advised, an outside support, simply, 
they would have avoided those entangling alliances, which 
resulted in Mr. Brown's retirement from the Government in 
1865, and also that division of opinion in their ranka caused 
by the action of Messrs. Rowland and MacDougall. 

Had Sir John Macdonald only acted with the independence 
and frankness of a British statesman, he would have said to 
the Governor-General in 1864, when defeated in the House : 
I am opposed to the union of the Provinces. I have lost 
control of the House. Here is my resignation. Send for Mr. 
Brown to form a new Government. 

This vantage ground was, however, lost, in spite of Mr. 
Mackenzie's advice to the contrary. And when the elections 
of 1867 came on, there was only one of two courses open to 
the Liberal party — either to oppose the Government out and 
out, or to go to the elections without any distinctive political 





jn to 



cry, leavinfv to the future the reorganization of the party, on 
such issues avS mio-lit arise in the natural course of events. 

To a man of Mr. Mackenzie's temperament, the conduct oi" 
Messrs. MacDouo'all and Howhind was most objectionable, and 
sooner than appear to approve of their course, he took issue 
with them boldly on party grounds. 

Ill his address to the electors of Lambton, in the general 
election of 18G7, he said : " I reluctantly agreed that the two 
great political parties should form a Government to carry the 
Confederation measure, with the express understanding that 
the passage of the bill should witness the termination of the 
coalition and that no party measures likely to divide us should 
in the meantime be introduced. The members of that Gov- 
ernment not only violated the latter part of the agreement 
by the introduction of their financial scheme and their tariff 
arrangements during last session, but they seek to perpetuate 
a coalition for no other purpose than the retention of office. 
"Under such a coalition we shall be compelled to witness ex- 
travagance in all our departments, the most unblushing cor- 
ruption in Parliament, and a low state of public morality in 
high places, which must be communicated more or less to all 
classes. I shall therefore endeavor, if elected, to prevent the 
continued existence of a Government so constituted. Muc- 
donald and Cartier were the leading spirits of the former 
corrupt coalition Government ; they are masters of the present 
one, and we must expect a repetition of former evil practices. 
The accession to the Tory ranks of MacDougall and Howland 
does not change the prospects ; as men who would com- 
mit such an act of treachery to their own friends are not 
likely to stand in the way of their leaders in other mat- 

This was practically the key-note of the campaign. The 




Lilierals were called upon to oppose the Government because 
it was a coalition, on the ground that coalitions wei'O dauoer- 
ous; that this coalition was founded on treachery to the 
Liberal party; that its ruling spirits were Tories, in whom 
they could have no conlidcnce, and that their continua- 
tion in office could only result in injury to the country. On 
this platform Mr. Mackenzie made a successful appeal to 
his old constituents in Lambton for sui)port. His stand- 
ing in Parliament, his extraordinary al)ility as a debater, the 
great confidence with which his judgment was regarded in all 
political matters, gave him a tremendous advantage over his 
opponents. Mr. j\lacDougall, who had received such a cas- 
tigation at his hands, at the great Convention, endeavored to 
turn the tide of public opinion against him by holding meet- 
ings in his constituency ; but to no pin'i)ose. Mr. Mackenzie's 
position was impregnable, and the splendid courage with which 
he defended it added greatly to his reputation. He w^as then, 
physically and mentally, at his zenith, and the enthusiasm 
which he evoked made the campaign of 18G7 one long to be 
remembered by the electors of Lambton. 

The forensic qualities of the two great rivals for public favor 
are worthy of a moment's notice. Mr. MacDougall was a man 
of good presence, large physique, with a pleasant voice and 
easy manner. His stylo was calm and ordinarily judicial; 
his language well chosen, pointed and clear. He was, how- 
ever, wanting in personal magnetism, in humor, and in that 
enthusiasm so essential in popular debate. He was well in- 
formed — few men better — in the political history of the times ; 
liad a long experience as a journalist, and had shown consider- 
able aptitude for public atl'airs. For many years he was in 
the first ranks of ]Mn-liamentary debi<ter8, and his position in 
the Government naturally added weight to his utterances. As 



to his abilit}^ tlieiv can be no doubt. Ho was a man far above 
the average in natural endowment, who, by his long experi- 
ence on the platform, had acquired a literary finish quite per- 
ceptible in all his speeches; and when he appeared in Lamb- 
ton to oppose Mr. Mackenzie, there was exultation in the Tory 
camp from one end of Canada to the other. 

All these qualities, however, availed nothing ; for what Mr. 
Mackenzie may have wanted in the easy rhxthm of his sen- 
tences, he more than made up by the use of incisive Saxon, 
which went directly to the convictions of the people. He ar- 
raigned Mr. MacDougall for the desertion of his party, for his 
fondness for office, for his alliance with Sir John Macdonald, 
['or his disloyalty to his leader, Mr. Brown, for his support of 
Mr. Gait's financial blundering, for his insincerity in the 
advocacy of Liberal principles, and, by quotations from his 
t'oriner speeches, and from his editorials, completely destroyed 
the force of his attack. Mr. MacDougall's appeal for the loyal 
support of the Liberals, inasmuch as he was still a Liberal, 
was met by the statement "that loyalty to a })arty should not 
ri iiuire us to bow down to its man-servant, its maid-servant, 
its ox, or its yss." His ap})eal for a fair trial for the new Gov- 
eriinient was met by the statement that a Government founded 
on treachery was not entitled to a moments trial. It was 
Sfll'-condennu'd in its organization. To all of Mr. MacDougall's 
urguuu'nts, Mr. Mackenzie made answer in terms .so conclusive, 
in language so clear, and in a manni'r so transpai-ently honest, 
us to completely overwhelm his opponents. No Benjamite 
ever used the sling and stone with better ellect than ^fr. Mac- 
kenzie. There was no circundocution in his argument. Every 
Word had its place. His voice was clear and penetrating, aiid 
I lis (pniint humor, sometimes strengthened by an apt anecdote, 
uiade him a dreaded antagonist. 





i ! 



Mr. MacDougjill's defeat on the platform simply meant Mr. 
Mackenzie's election, for Lambton. The principal athlete of 
the coalition party had grappled with him in the presence of 
friends and foes and had been worsted. It was only six years 
since he laid aside the mallet and the chisel for political life, 
and already his enemies flee before him. His majority of 
688 over his opponent, Mr. Vidal, shows how completely he 
liad won the confidence of his constituents. 

The dual character of the general election of 18G7 added 
very much to the obliteration of party lines. Mr. Sandfield 
Macdonald, who was chosen Premier for Ontario, and who had 
organized his Government on the coalition principle, united 
his influence with the Liberal supporters of the Dominion 
Government for the purpose of carrying the country. As a 
Liberal, he had less claim upon the parf^y than either Mr. 
Rowland or Mr. MacDougall ; for he had steadily opposed the 
wishes of Ontario both in power and out of it. His support 
of Mr. Scott's Separate School Bill, however, which was passed 
in 1863, during his Premiership, won for him the confidence 
of many Roman Catholics ; while the simple fact that he was 
chosen by Sir John Macdonald as first Premier of Ontario, and 
had called to his Government such well known Tories as Mr. 
M. C. Cameron and Mr. John Carling, secured for him the con- 
fidence of the Conservative party. 

There was no circumstance in corniection with the whole 
campaign that so greatly annoy eil the Liberals as the ap- 
pointment of Mr. Sandfield Macdonald Premier, and the for- 
mation of a coalition Government, under him. Ontario had 
for many years supported the Liberal party. To foist upon 
the Dominion the coalition Government, was bad enough, but 
to ask the Liberal party to support a coalition in Ontario, was 




After a campaign extending almost into autumn, the feeling 
of the countiy with regard to the new Government was ascer- 
tained. Nova Scotia, led by the Hon. Joseph Howe, returned 
only one supporter of the administration — Dr. Tupper. In 
New Brunswick, twelve seats out of the lifteen were won by 
the administration. In Quebec, only twelve anti-coalition- 
ists were returned ; and in Ontario the Government's majority 
was unexpectedly large. The defeat of Mr. Archibald, Secre- 
tary of State, and Mr. Chapais, Minister of Agriculture, was 
but a trifling compensation for the losses suffered by the 
Liberal party. Mr. Brown, who could have had an easy seat, 
was pitted against Mr. Gibbs, of South Ontario, and as a 
result of his defeat practically retired from active political 

In the local elections, the results were somewhat similar. 
Nova Scotia returned thirty-six anti-unionists to a House 
composed of thirty-eight members. New Brunswick sup- 
ported the Government in the local election as well as in the 
Dominion election, and so did Ontario and Quebec. The rep- 
resentation of the people in their different Parliaments wtxs 
now completed, and the new constitution adopted by the 
country was soon to have a trial. 


1, was 



Mr. Joseph Howe and Confederation — The Noith-West Territories — Intercol- 
onial Railway— Retirement of Mr. Gait — The Country to be Fortified — 
Assassination of Mr. McGee — Conservative Tendencies of the Government. 

Y the sovereign voice of the people of Canada ex- 
pressed at the polls, Confederation was at length 
^\^^^^ ratified, and the advent of a new nation, with a 
V!^A population of about four millions, was inaugurated. 
^pk^' In one instance only was the voice of the agitator 
stronger than the demand for a larger national life. 
What was expected from the representatives of the people, 
and what v/as to be the spirit with which Parliament should 
address itself to the new problems necessarily arising under 
the British North America Act, were well expressed by the 
late W. A. Foster in an address on " Our New Nationality," 
published in 1871: "Let but our statesmen do their duty, 
with the consciousness that all the elements which constitute 
greatness are now awaiting a closei* combination ; that all 
the requirements of a higher national life are here available 
for use ; that nations do not spring, Minerva-like, into exist- 
ence ; that strength and weakness are relative terms, a few 
not b«ing necessarily weak because they are few, nor a mul- 
titude necessarily strong because they are many; that hes- 
itating, doubting, fearing, whining over supposed or even 

actual weakness, and conjuring up possible dangers, is not 






the true way to strengthen the foundations of our Domin- 
ion, or to give confidence to its continuance. Let each of 
us have faith in the rest, and cultivate a broad feeling of 
regard for mutual welfare, as being those who are build- 
ing up a fabric that is destined to endure. Thus stimu- 
lated and thus strengthened by a common belief in a glori- 
ous future, and with a common watchword to give unity to 
thought and power to endeavor, wo shall attain the fruition 
of our cherished hopes, and give our beloved country a 
proud position among the nations of the earth." 

It would be strange, indeed, if the men 'composing the 
first Parliament of Canada were not deeply impressed with 
the responsibilities resting upon them. Many of them had 
served their country in other Assemblies, and had consider- 
able experience of the bitterness and hate of sectional strife. 
To them, the higher plane of Dominion politics and the wider 
arena on which they had entered nuist have been a great 
relief. To others, who saw in Confederation the fruition of 
many years of labor and anxiety, the first Parliament must 
have been like his arrival in port to the storm-tossed mariner 
after mouths of weary struggle with wind and wave. 

Parliament was opened on the Gth of November — Mr. Jas. 
Cockburn, Speaker. His Excellency, after congratulating the 
members present on the position they occcupied as represent- 
ing a new Dominion, pointed out some of the duties devolving 
upon them under the British North America Act, such as the 
assimilation of the laws relating to currency, customs, excise, 
the ])0stal service, militia service, Indian att'airs, the criminal 
law, etc. 

While the address was under discussion, I^Ir. Joseph Howe 
made a fierce onslaught upon Confederation, declaring his 
belief that it would be a failure, that Nova Scotia would 


liii U 



never consent to it, and that the Imperial Parliament took 
very little interest in Canadian affairs, one way or the otlier. 

Several members of the House undertook to reply to Mr. 
Howe, among others, Dr. Tupper. But of all the speeches 
delivered, there was none couched in such friendly terms, or 
none wliich shewed as broad a statesmanship, as the speech 
delivered by Mr. Mackenzie. Among other things, he said : 
" He felt that it devolved particularly on the people of Ontario 
to act the part of hosts towards her Lower Province brethren, 
and to extend to them that just consideration which was 
most likely to cement their future relations, and to produce 
that spirit of harmony which ought to prevail among them, 
if they were to live together and prosper as a nation." 

Evidently Mr. Mackenzie felt from the outset that Mr, 
Howe, who had fought for Responsible Government, had some 
ground for complaint because the Quebec Resolutions, on 
which Confederation was founded, were not submitted to the 
people, and as an ardent supporter of the Confederation Act, 
he was most anxious to see it accepted by the people of Nova 

Two questions of unusual magnitude and importance en- 
gaged the attention of the first Canadian Parliament. One 
was the acquisition of the North- West Territories, and the 
other the construction of the Intercolonial Railroad. With 
regard to the former, almost every obstacle in the way had 
been removed before Mr. Brown retired from the Government, 
in 18G5. There remained now but the settlement of details, 
requiring ordinary business attention. A Confederation that 
did not embrace the Territories lying to the west of us would 
be a poor representative of the British empire on this contin- 
ent, and would afford a very limited area for the development 
of tlie latent powers of the people. Any person aspiring to 





m^m _ 



j^^^X^ L4 /WM /'^ 





('Fac-m)iile of Hon. (rco. Ih'owas lumd-wriiinq.) 






statesmanship certainly misunrlerstood his mission if lie liesi- 
tated for one moment in endeavoring to extend our Canadian 
empire westward. 

Mr. MacDungall, wlio was concerned in the original negotia- 
tions for the acquisition by Canada of the North- West 
Territories, introduced the resolutions on which it was pro- 
posed to form a hill for the consideration of Parliament. 
V/^iuh the exception of the objections taken by Mr. Howe and 
some others not in full sympathy with Confederation, the 
resolutions met with universal favor. Speaking of these reso- 
lutions, Mr. Mackenzie said that " in his opinion, it was neces- 
sary for the consolidation of British power on this continent, 
that we should take a firm hold of the vast country that lay 
t J the west of Canada. He had an aversion to the Republi- 
ean ii^stitutions of the people living alongside of us, and he 
had no wish to see this country absorbed by the United 
States. He was aware of the grasping, avaricious spirit 
that prevailed in the United States, in regard to the acquisi- 
tion of territory, and he had no doubt many people there 
were anxious to lay their hands on the rich and fertile 
regions of the North-West. He looked upon the acquisition 
of this territory as a necessary outlet for the energies of our 
3'oung men, who were now compelled, in consequence of the 
limited field for settlement offered in Canada, to seek homes 
for themselves in the United States. He believed that a 
large portion of the territory would open a wide field for 
settlement to emigrants, and become a valuable addition to 
the territorial possessions of the Province. He demanded, 
however, that before the House was committed to the details 
of the scheme, Parliament should be consulted." This was 
agreed to by Mr. MacDougall. The bill was finally passed, and 
the Government authorized to continue negotiations by which 

■V m 





iill tlio territory between Ontario and British Columbia — 
an empire in'lf — was placed under the control of the 

The other great measure, relating to the Intercolonial Rail- 
way, was part of the oi'iginal compact entered into between 
the Provinces, when the Quebec resolutions were agreed upon. 
The only tlillerence between the Opposition and the Govern- 
ment was with respect to the authority ot' Parliament in 
determining the route of the railway, the Opposition holding 
by the sovereignty of Parliament in all such matters, as 
against the claim made by the Government to determine the 
route without reference to Parliament. Unfortunately, the 
Government policy prevailed, and a circuitous route, of com- 
paratively little value for commercial purposes, was adopteil. 

It was evidently the policy of the Government to conciliate 
Quebec at the expense of the whole Dominion ; otherwise, a 
route much shorter would have lieen adopted. The declara- 
tions that Imperial interests had to be considered and a rail- 
way built as far removed as possible from the American 
frontier, for military reasons, was a mere pretence. In later 
years, no such policy prevailed with regard to the Canada 
Pacific Railway, although Imperial interests were as great in 
one case as in the other. The fatal consequences of tlie action 
of the Government ha\'e become very apparent in recent years. 
Not only have the people of Canada paid an excessive sum for 
the construction of the road, owiuff to its ennfineerino- ditlicul- 
ties as well as its lenuth, but its location is such as to iiave 
rendered the construction of i)urely connnercial lines between 
Montreal and the sea coast absolutely nece.s.sary. .Some of lines have been liberally subsidized l)y the Go\ernment, 
as their construction was deemed to be in the public interest; 
and as a conse(iuence the Intercolonial lailet-i, not only to pay 








! I 


iiii! liill 

interest on tlie orioinal investment, but even to pay running 
expenses. Had Mr. Mackenzie's advice been taken, millions 
would have been saved on a profitless route and millions more 
in subsidies to other routes that were considered necessary L'or 
commercial purposes. 

On the retirement of Mr. Gait, Minister of Finance, the 
Hon. John Kose was appointed to the vacancy. And on the 
21st of December the House adjourned until the 6th of March, 
in the following year. 

Speaking of the first Parliament of Canada, Mr. Dent, in his 
history of the last forty 3'^ears, says : " The tone of Parliament 
perceptibly improved. Even the discontented members from 
Nova Scotia treated questions as they arose, on their merits, 
and shewed no disposition to monopolize the debates by long 
discourses on the injustice to which their Province had, as 
they believed, been subjected. The old obstructive policy 
was for the time numbered among the things of the past, 
and Parliament seemed to be actuated by an honest desire to 
test the working qualities of our new constitution." 

On the re-assembly of Parliament, the Militia Bill and the 
other measures foreshadowed in the address were taken up 
and disposed of, Mr. Mackenzie strongly objecting to the 
enormous expenditure which the Militia Bill involved, and the 
utter futility of attempting to provide for the defence of 
Canada by fortifications at Montreal and elsewhere, which 
would probably cost them millions of money. He took the 
ground that there was nothing in our relations with the 
United States to justify the expenditure of so much money, 
and that in the case of war, should it unfortunately occur, our 
main security would be the protection of the Empire. 

In the session of 1868 the necessity of maintaining the in- 
dependence of Parliament was ur^ed upon the House 


I'gea upon 





Liberal party. Several protests were made against the occu- 
pation of seats in tlie House of Commons by members liold- 
ing seats in the Provincial Legislature. A formal motion by 
Mr. Bkike declaring sheriffs, registrars and other persons hold- 
ing any emplo^'ment or protit under the Crown, in Canada or 
any of the Provinces, ineligible to sit in the House of Com- 
mons, was rejected by a large majority, notwithstanding the 
remonstrance of the Liberals. And thus, unfortunately, the 
House of Commons showed a disposition to follow thcjse 
vicious tendencies, with regard to the appointment to public 
offices, which had created so much irritation in olden times in 
Upper Canada. 

During the session of 18G8 a circumstance occurred which 
strongly showed Mr. Mackenzie's tenderness of heart, not- 
withstanding the \'igorous blows which he was disposed to 
deal to an opponent. Mr. Thos. D'Arcy McGee, who, in spite 
of his political vacillation, had acquired great prominence 
in the country on account of his geniality and his won- 
derful eloquence, was basely assassinated on the 7th of April 
while returning to his lodgings after a long session of the 
House. On the evening before his death, the House had 
been discussing a resolution moved by Dr. Parker, demand- 
ing that Dr. Tupper, who had gone to England to neutral- 
ize Mr. Howe's opposition to Confederation, should be re- 
called. Both Mr. McGee and Mr. Mackenzie had taken part 
in this discussion. Mr. McGee vindicated the Government 
for its action in sending Dr. Tupper to England, and ex- 
pressed the hope that time would heal the existing irritation 
between Nova Scotia and the Dominion, and that by and 
bye the constitution of this Dominion would be as clier- 
ished in the hearts of the people of all its Provinces as the 
British constitution itself. Mr. Mackenzie, replying to Mr. 



McGoc, said that " Dr. Tapper's niis.sion to Enf;-lan(l was ex- 
ceedingly distasteful to Nova Scotia, and that if his with- 
drawal would have a conciliatory vJ'oct, it should be acted 
on at once. He urged that a policy of conciliation should 
pervade the whole proceedings of Parliament and the lan- 
guage of all its members, lie was quite sure that in the 
course of a very few years we would be able so to harmonize 
all interests in our commercial policy and every other por- 
tion of our national policy, as to promote the prosperity of 
Nova Scotia." 

Little did the members expect that Mr. McGee's appeal for 
the maintenance of the Union, supported by Mr. Mackenzie's 
demand for a conciliatory policy towards Nova Scotia, was 
the last appeal they would hear from his eloquent lips. When 
the House assembled next daj?^, Sir John Macdonald moved 
an adjournment for one week out of respect to the memory 
of the fallen statesman. In speaking of his deceased col- 
league, Sir John described him as " a man of the kindest and 
most generous impulses — a man whose hand was open to 
every one, whose heart was made for friendship and whose 
enmities were written in water — a man with the simplicity 
of a child. He might have lived a long and respected life 
had he chosen the easy path of popularity rather than the 
stern one of duty. He luxd lived a short life respected and 
beloved, and died a heroic death, a martyr to the cause of 
his country. He has gone from us, and it will be long ere 
we see his like again, long ere we find such a happy mixture 
of eloquence, wisdom and impulse." As representing the 
Opposition, Mr. Mackenzie said, in rising to second the mo- 
tion : " I tind it almost impossible to proceed. But last nii-ht 
we weio all charmed with the eloquence of our departed 
friend who is now numbered with our honored dead, and 

W. ' 





ncme of us dreamed when we separated last that we should 
so very soon be called in this way to record our affection for 
him. It was my own lot for many years to work in poli- 
tical harmony with him, and it was my lot sometimes to 
oppose him. But throuf^h all the vicissitudes of political 
warfare we ever found him possess that generous disposition 
characteristic of the man and his country, and it will be 
long, as the leader of the Government has said, before we 
can see his like amongst us. I think there can be no doubt 
he has fallen a victim to the noble and patriotic course 
which he has pursued in this country with regard to the re- 
lations between his native land and the Empire, and I can 
only hope that the efforts to be made by the Government 
will lead to the discovery that to an alien hand is due the 
sorrow that now clouds not only this House, but the whole 

In the course of the session, an interesting debate sprang up 
on a motion by Mr. Abbott for closing the Carillon and Gren- 
ville canals on Sunday. Objection was taken to this motion 
by many members of the House, notably by Wm. MacDougall 
and J. S. Macdonald. Mr. Mackenzie's early Scotch training 
and his well-known inflexibility of purpose on all moral and 
religious questions here asserted themselves. In reply to the 
arguments in favor of Sunday traffic on the canals, he urged 
with great earnestness that " the observance of the Sabbath 
day was a duty incumbent on tliem as a Christian pcojile, and 
that they as legislators ought to do their duty in promoting 
che observance of the Sabbath. No good ever came of Sab- 
bath breaking, whether by individuals or communities. He 
believed that the observance of the Sabbath was in the in- 
terests of all legitimate labor, and that public servants were 
entitled to rest on that day. And as many of them desired 

1 1 ' 




to observe the SaLLath day properly, tlicy should not be pre- 
vented from so doing." 

The session closed on 22nd of May, and from the tendency 
of legislation and the policy of the Government, it was quite 
evident that it ceased to be a coalition, and that Sir John Mac- 
donald had won over to his way of thinking his Liberal col- 
leagues for Ontario and the Maritime Provinces. The expen- 
sive quixotic scheme for reorganizing the militia and fortifying 
the country could never have originated except with a Tory 
Government; for the scheme, as pointed out by Mr. Mackenzie, 
placed a premium upon officialism rather than on loyal service 
in the ranks ; and although it was, with very slight modilica- 
tion, adopted by the House, the vigorous manner in which it 
was opposed by the Liberals led to its ultimate abandonment. 

The action of the Government with respect to the selection 
of a route for the Intercolonial Railway, equally savored of 
Tory tactics. As we have already pointed out, political ex- 
igencies were allowed to prevail as against the public interest 
and the commercial advantages of the country. 

In the management of public works, in the independence of 
Parliament, and in regard to many of the changes made in the 
i;arift', the impress of Conservative policy was quite unmistak- 
able, and whether the coalition of 18G-1 may be regarded as 
having terminated on the 30th of June, 18G7, by agreement, as 
Mr. Ilowland said it had, it is quite certain that, as u matter 
of fact, the Heform element in the Govermnent in 18G8 liad 
ceased to exert any inlluencc on the policy of the country. To 
Mr. Mackenzie, the session was one of unusual distinction. 
Although not formally appointed leader of the Opposition, ho 
was by universal consent awarded the leader's place and ex 
pected to discharge the leader's duties. The Liberal membcis 
from Quebec, such as Messrs. Ilolton, Dorioii and Huntington, 



■ncG of 
lu tho 
1 stak- 
ed as 
lont, as 
111 litter 
IS liail 

y. To 

,ioii, lie 
lul ex 


altliough mon of great parliamentary experience and ability, 
were evidently not disposed, even were it desirable, to under- 
take the burdens of leadersliip, Mr. Blake's professional 
duties, and his great interest in the Legislative Assembly of 
Ontario, prevented that regular attendance in the House of 
Commons which w^ould be necessary in the case of a leader. 
It was indispensable that some one should speak for the party 
in Opposition, and so by an acquiescence as substantial as could 
be expressed in any formal vote, all concurred n giving Mr. 
Mackenzie this place. His power as a debater was universally 
admitted. His fearlessness in defending his own views, his 
frankness and fairness in critici/.iiig his opponents, his 
wonderful grasp of details, combined with a memory that 
never failed him, entitled him to the honor; and right well 
did he acquit himself, as the debates of Parliament show. 
Indeed it is doubtful if there was a sinorle member in the 
House or in the Government so well informed in every matter 
submitted to the House as Mr. Mackenzie was. Certain it is 
that no member of the House could devote himself with 
greater diligence to his parliamentary duties then he did, and 
it was quite apparent that no member was more anxious to 
give Confederation a fair and honest trial. 








Independence of Parliament — Crovernor General's Salary — Reciprocity with 
the United States — " Better Terms " with Nova Scotia— Mr. Howe enters 
the Governmenl — Changes in the Cabinet — Mr. Maolienzie as Leader. 

HE line of cleavage between the Government and 
the Opposition was pretty distinctly drawn during 
the session of 1867-8. The session of 1869 left no 
room for doubt as to the existence of two political 
parties in the Dominion of Canada. That there is 
in the political as in the natural world a duality of 
force is strikingly apparent. By some occult law of nature, 
the citizens of every state divide themselves at least into two 
camps. liord Elgin -(aid " that where there was little, if any- 
thing, of public principle to divide men, political parties would 
sliape themselves under the influence of circumstances, and 
have a great variety of ail'ections or antipathies, national, 
sectarian and personal." In a country like Canada, where 
there were so many interests to be considered, there was ample 
room for the lonnation of two parties on broad hues. If they 
are organised on any other, it must bo due either to the de- 
pravity of the innk and file, or to tlie want of statesmanship 
in the leaders. .No doubt great firmness and integrity are re- 
vvith provincial and sectarian demands. The 
I'ter the public interests for political suiijiort 

1 of the politician, and he who esteems ollico 

quin^d in rlenli 
t*'inptation to 
it* the besettiii 




of greater importance than the good of the country, is sure to 
listen to the voice of the tempter. 

From the very outset of his career, Mr. Mackenzie took high 
ground on all questions of political morality. To be inconsis- 
tent with himself, which often means nothing in fact, was 
something he very much dreaded ; but to subordinate the 
national interests to the demands of a section, or to wrong the 
nation in order to pacify a class, was most repugnant to his 
mind. Party government, as he understood it, was govern- 
ment by the people, for the people, and through the people; and 
his speeches and votes during the session of 18G9 illustrated 
very fully the sincerity of his motives. 

The great principle of maintaining the independence of the 
House of Commons was a question of policy of the highest 
national moment. If dual representation, which was possible 
under the Constitution, were allowed to prevail, members of 
the Dominion Parliament would find themselves unable to de- 
cide equitably between Provincial and Dominion interests. In 
the natural order of things, questions arise in which the 
interests of the Dominion might conflict with the interests of 
a local legislature. The holder of a seat in both Houses, in 
such cases, was not an independent man in the parliamentary 
sense of the term, as he was practically serving two masters. 
Early in the session of 18G9 a bil' introduced by Mr. Mills for 
the abolition of Dual Representation came to a vote, and with 
singular unanimity the Government of the day and their 
followers voted it down. To allow such a bill to pass would 
compel several of their supporters to choose between the Li'gis- 
lative Assembly of the Province they represented and the 
House of Commons — a choice which in all reason they should 
have been obliged to make. A few years later, when to impose 
such a choice upon members of the House of Commons was 




likely to embarrass the Liberal Party, a similar bill was intro- 
duced by a supjjorter of the Government and carried through 
the House. Mr. Mackenzie's defence of the Constitution in 
this case, even where the principle urged affected his own seat 
in Parliament, was a proof of his unselfishness and his loyalty 
to principle. 

The next question in which it was sought to vindicate the 
supremacy of Parliament was on a motion made by Mr. Oliver 
of Oxford for a reduction of the Governor-General's salary 
from £10,000 sterling to .*?32,000 per annum. When the ques- 
tion came before the House, Sir John Macdonald proposed an 
amendment to the effect " that it was undesirable to make any 
alteration in the British North America Act which already 
fixed the salary the Governor-General should receive." As 
the British North America Act was an Imperial Act and not 
subject to the approval of Parliament, it was contended that 
to accept Sir John Macdon aid's amendment, would be to 
acquiesce to a certain extent in the control of the revenues of 
the Dominion by the British Government. Mr. Mackenzie 
opposed this view, claiming that it was the undoubted 
privilege of Parliament to fix and determine the amount of 
all salaries and expenditure chargeable upon the public funds 
of the Dominion, and that the salary of the Governor-General 
should therefore be fixed by an Act of the Canadian Parlia- 
ment. To this the House agreed with one exception, and 
the last vestige of an lin})c'rial tax on the people of Can- 
ada by the Parliament of Great Britain was removed. What- 
ever salary is now jtaid the Governor-General as the represen- 
tative of Her Majesty is therefore the voluntary gift of the 
people of Canada, as it ought to be. Subsequently, by a 
resolution of the House, the matter was definitely settled and 
the sum of £10,000 agreed upon as a reasonable amount on 




M'hicli to maintain the dignity and usefulness of the Governor- 
General's position. 

A motion introduced by Mr. A. A. Dorion, callini; for some 
measure of reciprocal trade with the United States, was the 
occasion of a vigorous debate on the attitude which Canada 
should assume towards that country, and our trade rela- 
tions generally. The mover of the resolution pointed out the 
great advantages to Canada from the treaty of '5-i, and 
claimed that if the Government would only open negotiations 
with the authorities at Washington in all probability a new 
treaty could be obtained. The question, it was alleged, was 
one deeply affecting our agricultural and industrial interests 
and should engage the immediate attention of the Government. 

Mr. Mackenzie's attitude on this question was a vindication 
of the right of Canada to negotiate her own conmiercial 
treaties with the United States. It was also among the first 
public expressions of opinion in Parliament that we had at- 
tained to our majority, and should conduct ourselves towards 
our neighbors with that self-respect and independence which 
our national position warranted. " He had for his own part," 
he said, " an instinctive repugnance to do anything like soli- 
citing what he considered only a fair trade relationship, 
^Ve occupied, in that respect, a position as independent as 
the people of the United States did, inasmuch as whatever 
arrangements we might arrive at would undoubtedly be 
ratilied by treaty by the Mother Country. We were, there- 
fore, in a position to deal with the United States as a mere 
neighbor, whose trade would always be valuable to us, while 
our trade would, perhaps, be equal, if not more valuable, to 
her. He had no doubt that in the course of a few years the 
j>rotectionist theories which now prevailed in the United 
States, would, with the mass of the people, lose their force, 



and that they would see that they were in reality; losing a 
good deal by that system by which they fancied they could 
enrich themselves ; and as that feeling gained ground, there 
would spring up a desire to renew trade relations that exist- 
ed for many years with mutual benefit between Canada and 
the United States. Under these circumstances he was not 
willing to place himself in the position of a supplicant. He 
declared himself against a retaliatory policy as one that 
would not commend itself to the mind of any statesman." 

The views expressed by Mr. Mackenzie commended tliem- 
selves to both sides of the House, for, in the division that took 
place, Mr. Dorion's motion was supported by only nineteen 
members in a tolerably full House. 

It must not be supposed that, though Mr. Mackenzie took 
Bucli an independent stand with respect to reciprocity, he 
undervalued the trade relations of Canada with the United 
States. He believed that in maintaining the dignity of the 
country, its position would be strengthened in dealing with 
the question whenever the opportunity arose ; that to under- 
rate our own standing as a people, or to appeal to Washington 
as supplicants, would not only be humiliating from a national 
standpoint, but would increase the demand which the United 
States would make for more than a quid pro quo. To be 
self-reliant, without bravado, in the presence of our neighbors, 
would win their respect, and the respect of the Mother 
Country, and if Canada was ever to be worthy of recognition 
as a political factor in the settlement of difficulties on this 
continent, it could only attain such a position by a manly con- 
fidence in its own resources. Statesmanship and subserviency 
were not, to his mind, convertible terms. 

The attitude of Nova Scotia towards Confederation has al- 
ready been referred to. At the general election in 18G7, Dr. 



Tupper was the only Unionist elected to the House of Com- 
jaons from that Province. The opposition to Confederation 
was directed, mainly, by Mr. Howe, whose influence with the 
people of his native Province was phenomenal. One is at a 
loss to understand how a man of Mr. Howe's breadth of view 
on all public questions failed to see the advantages to the 
British North American colonies in the union proposed by the 
Quebec resolutions. Mr. Howe's chief objections to Confeder- 
ation were that it was premature, and that in the present 
attitude of Great Britain towards the colonies, we were ex- 
tending our frontier under a new constitution, without any 
increase in our facilities for self-defence, but particularly that 
the measure had been passed by the Imperial Parliament with- 
out being submitted to the approval of the people whom it 
iifi'ected. It was quite evident that Mr. Howe's strength in 
Nova Scotia, as a leader, was a great obstacle to the consolida- 
tion of the union, and that to conciliate liim and his followers, 
if such were possible, in a constitutional way, was the duty of 
both sides of the House. As a matter of fact, the amendments 
made to the Quebec resolutions in London, after they had been 
approved by the Provinces, were largely in the interest of 
Nova Scotia, and their acquiescence in these changes that were 
made without their authority, shewed how anxious the other 
Provinces were not to imperil Confederation by any sectional 
cry. But Mr. Howe was not to be conciliated by sentimental 


During the Session of 18G7-8, on the floor of Parliament, 
and on the platform, he expressed the strongest hostility to 
Confederation, and even appealed to the Imperial Parliament 
to allow Nova Scotia to withdraw entirely from the union. It 
M-as suspected in some quarters that his personal hostility to 
Dr. Tupper was largely the basis of his opposition. This, 



however, coukl scarcely be considered a sufficicut motive for a 
man of Mr. Howe's political experience. 

In the autumn of 1868, Sir John Macdonald visited Halifax 
for the purpose of endeavoring to reconcile Mr. Howe to Con- 
federation ; and as a result of this visit, Mr. Howe took a seat 
in the Government as President of the Council, and also came 
to an understanding with Sir John that Nova Scotia should 
obtain " better terms " than were allowed her under the British 
North American Act. There could be no objection to the ac- 
ceptance by Mr. Howe of a seat in the Government, although 
his sudden change of front on a question which he deemed of 
such vital importance to his Piovince, was strangely abrupt. 
Even the " better terms," which he obtained, did not remove 
the main objection which he urged, namely, that Confederation 
was thrust upon the people of Nova Scotia without their con- 
sent. He was, therefore, open to the triple charge of accepting 
a seat in a Government which he declared had inflicted the 
great wrong upon Nova Scotia of having abandoned a vital 
principle in constitutional Government, and of having bartered 
away provincial rights, for a trilling financial consideration. 
No doubt the withdrawal of his active opposition weakened 
the anti-Unionist cause very greatly, while his acceptance of 
a seat in the Government destroyed forever his influence as a 
leader. No deserter in the hour of battle ever drew down 
upon himself the malediction and contempt of his conipanions 
more completely tlian did Mr. Howe, by his acceptance of the 
conditions offered him by the Dominion Government as the 
price of his support. 

On the 11th of June, on a motion by Mr. Blake, seconded 
by Mr. Mackenzie, the terms made by the Government with 
Nova Scotia were challenged in the House on the grounds, 
first, that the British North America Act settled the mutual 



liabilities of Canada and of each Province in respect to the 
public debt ; second, that the British North America Act di<;l 
not empower the Parliament of Canada to change the basis of 
union; and third, that any change in such basis of union 
would imperil the interests of the several Provinces and im- 
pair the stability of the Constitution. In the discussion of 
these resolutions it was shown that injustice was done to the 
other Provinces by increasing the financial advantages of 
Xo\a Scotia under Confederation, while no change was made 
ill the terms of Confederation so far as they were concerned ; 
that the British North America Act was of the nature of a 
treaty between all the Provinces, and that if the Parli;iment 
of Canada could increase the subsidies, as was propofsed in 
the case of Nova Scotia, it could also reduce them, and that 
if it could deal with the subsidies it might deal with any 
other feature of the Act and practically destroy Confederation. 
Perhaps there was no debate of the session that excited 
more interest or illustrated better the speaking force of both 
^ides of the House. The mover of the resolution, Mr. Blake, 
in an argument exceedingly clear and forcible, gave the con- 
stitutional view of the question, and was ably supported by 
Mr. Mackenzie. During a later stage of the discussion, Sir 
John Macdonald attacked the Liberal party, and particularly 
Mr. Mackenzie, for their opposition to the arrangement made 
with Mr. Howe. He charged them with disloyalty to Con- 
federation. " If this motion carried," he said, " there would 
be a jubilee among the avowed anti-Confederate rebels and 
annexationists of Nova Scotia, and a corresponding depression 
among those in that Province who desire the union to be suc- 
cessful. If honourable gentlemen repudiated this arrange- 
ment Avhich had been entered into with Nova Scotia they 
would give a death-blow to Confederation, and on them, not 




on him, would rest the responsibility of so suicidal an act." 
Mr. Mackenzie was greatly incensed by Sir John's imputation, 
and replied with great vigor. He contended, "li Sir John 
Macdonald was able to set aside the Act of Union by the 
subserviency of a Parliament which he had at his command, 
the Act of Confederation was not worth the paper it was 
written on. . . . By tampering with the Imperial Act he 
did away with the only security we had for our rights. What 
was it that originated the difficulties they had in the old 
Province of Canada ? What but that honourable gentleman's 
recklessness and extravagance ? What raised those sectarian 
difficulties which compelled them to seek a new state of poli- 
tical existence ? Was it not the honourable gentleman's mis- 
conduct andl maladministration of public affiiirs ? The hon- 
ourable gentleman had no right to say that those who voted 
for the amendment before the House voted to break down 
the Dominion. The real enemies of the Dominion were those 
who disregarded the obligations of its Constitution, and thus 
outraged every sound principle of statesmanship and party 

Notwithstanding Mr, Mackenzie's earnest warning to the 
House, that to purchase the conciliation of Nova Scotia at the 
expense of the Constitution was a most dangerous precedent, 
the " better terms " were finally agreed upon, every member 
from Nova Scotia voting in favour of them. 

The political effect of Mr. Mackenzie's attitude upon the 
Liberal party in Nova Scotia was certainly unfavorable. He 
was no doubt aware at the time that every word said in Par- 
liament against " better terms " would be represented by his 
opponents as expressions of hostility to Nova Scotia, and that 
in future election contests the Liberal party would suffei* 
accordingly. It would have been easy for him, had he been 





so inclined, to suggest even better terms than those proposed, 
or to promise, should he come into power, to deal with other 
grievances then unsettled, but, " to do so," to use his own 
language, " would be treason to Confederation." Besides, he 
was laying down the policy of a great party under a new 
order of things, and it was well that the Liberals should, 
through their leaders in Parliament, recognise the British 
North America Act as a compact too solenm to be set aside, 
varied or altered, except by the authority that gave it exist- 
ence, and then only with the concurrence of all parties 
originally concerned. 

The pending negotiations with the Imperial Government and 
the Hudson Bay Company were closed in 18G9, the Dominion 
Government agreeing to pay the sum of £300,000 sterling to 
the Hudson Bay Company, and also agreeing to certain reser- 
vations in the interests of the Company. The rights of the In- 
dians and half-breeds in the territories were to be respected. 
Provision was ma-.'c; lor the administration of this vast terri- 
tory by a Lieutenant-Governor, to be appointed by the Gover- 
nor-General, All laws in force in the territories, not inconsis- 
tent with the British North America Act, or terms of admis- 
sion, were to remain in force until amended or repealed. 
Lieutenant-Colonel Dennis was appointed to organise a system 
of public surveys of the new territory, and the Hon. William 
MacDougall, who was concerned in negotiating the ac(|uisition 
of the territory, was appointed Lieiitcnant-Governor. 

The changes made in the Government are worthy of note. 
Sir Francis Hiucks succeeded Sir John Rose, as Minister of 
Finance, Mr. Dunkin was appointed Minister of Agriculture, 
Mr. Alexander Morris, Minister of Inland llevenue, and Mr. 
J. C. Aikins, Secretary of State for Canada ; Mr. Howe was 
appointed Secretary of State for the Provinces. 





The session of 1SG9 emphasized, even more than the preced- 
ing session did, Mr. Mackenzie's usefulness as a member of 
Parliament. Even his opponents were obliged to recognise 
liis ability and fairness. The correspondent of the Montreal 
Gazette closed certain observations on the work of the session 
by referring to Mr. Mackenzie as follows : " We must regard 
the leader of the Opposition as a remarkable man — remark- 
able for his self-acquirements, his extensive reading, his large 
stock of information on all public matters, his power of reason, 
and his readiness of speech and strength in debate. As a 
leader of the Opposition, he has shewn himself, especially dur- 
ing the recent session, eminently fitted for the position." 




Customs Uiifon— Commercial Treaties— Speech by Mr. Maclicnzic Pvcbcllior. 
iu Manitoba — Alarm of the Settlers— MaoDougall Refused Admission — Riel, 
President — Murder of Scott — Debates in I'arlianient — lOxpedition \uitler 
Wolselej' — Mr. Archibald Appointed Lieutenant-Governor — Rewa.-d Otlercd 
by Ontario Government — Trial of Lepine — Discussion iu the House of Com- 
mons — Amnesty Granted — Lord DutTerin's Action. 

n|p4^ HE first great debate of the session of 1870 took 
' YVJI^i^ place on a motion by Mr. Huntington in favor of 
v^Jjj^l lleciproeity and a Customs Union with all coun- 
*^ tries trading with the Dominion, and demanding 
the right of making commercial treaties, subject to the 
approval of the Imperial Government, with all foreign 
States that might be disposed to negotiate such commercial 
treaties upon terms advantageous to Canada. Mr. Hunting- 
ton, in a speech of much eloquence, called upon Parliament to 
recognize the commercial standing of Canada, its great natural 
resources, and the necessity of providing an easy outlet for 
its manufactures. To be allowed to negotiate her own treaties 
would be a due recognition of her national standing, and so 
long as such treaties were subject to the approval of the 
Imperial Government there could be no danger of conflict 
with Imperial interests. With larger markets for our pro- 
duce, the enterprise of the people would have more scope. 
Foreign capital would be attracted, and employment ^^'ould 
be given to our people at home. 





The Government olyected to Mr. Huntington's resolution 
on the ground, set forth in the amendment moved by Sir 
John Macdonald: " that in any attempt to enter into a treaty 
with any foreign power without the strong and direct sup- 
port of the Mother Country, the principal party must fail, 
and that a Customs Union with the United States, now so 
heavily taxed, would be unfair to the Empire and injurious 
to the Dominion, and would shatter the ties now so happily 
existing between them." 

In the debate which followed, Mr. Mackenzie took a loading 
part, expressing at the very outset his opposition to a Customs 
Union as proposed by Mr. Huntington. He then, as always, 
avowed himself in favor of the freest possible intercourse 
with all nations whose markets we seek, and claimed for Can- 
ada the right of making her own commercial treaties, as she 
understood her own wants better than any foreign diploma- 
tist. He pointed to the blunders of Lord Ashburton in 184G, 
by which we lost almost the whole of Minnesota, Michigan 
and the States lying to the west, and asserted that we owe 
many of our present disorders to the fact that we were not 
entrusted with any share in conducting the negotiations so 
essential to our own welfare. " I have heard it said that the 
United States and Great Britain would guarantee our inde- 
pendence, and then we would be quite safe. Sir, I do not 
want any guarantee of our independence. I want no guar- 
antee of any kind. We are now a part of the British Enipin;, 
and if we are to cut loose from it, I would scorn the po'.'- 
tion of a principality having its independence guaranteed by 
any country. Remember, however, 1 am not advocating 
the separation of Canada from the Mother Country. Canada 
was a British possession wlien I chose it for my future homo, 
and I shall regret the occurrence of anything that would ten<l 



(i' ' •Uf'I-liiii'.s »a ■til 



ill tlie sliglitcst degree to wealcon tlie ties tliat I trust will be 
] lerpetuated between the Mother Cold -try aud her British 
Anierican Colonies." 

The ministerialists, with their natural leanings towards pre- 
roL'ative, declined to entertain the idea that Canada should be 
a party even to treaties, no matter how greatly she may be 
affected by the conclusions arrived at. The great injuries 
suffered by British diplomacy in the past, as pointed out by 
Mr. Mackenzie, were apparently of no consequence in their 
eves. Although the future of half a continent miijht be 
atlected by the blunders of a plenipotentiary ignorant of the 
geographical or commercial trend of the country why com- 
])lain ? We were not a nation, but a colony. To attect the 
natural instinct of a nation, that is, to look out for ourselves, 
would be derogatory of Her Majesty's Government, and col- 
onists must bo careful never to give olience on this score. 

Even Mr. Howe, who was ready to defy the Imperial Act 
liv wiiich Nova Scotia was united to the other Provinces, 
could not entertain the idea that Canada should, on her own 
motion, make a treaty with any foreign country for the recip- 
rocal interchanne of commodities. It remained for Mr. Mac- 
ken/ie and his Liberal allies, in the earliest days of the his- 
toiy of the ]3ominion, to express the aspirations of Canadians 
for national autonomy, and to proclaim on the floor of the 
House of Conmions their unbounded confidence in thu future 
ot" the country, commercially and politicall}'. 

In the previous chapter, reference was made to the Bill for 
the establishment of tci-ritorial government in the North-West 
'J\rritories. The Hon. \Vm. MacDougall was appointed the 
lirst Lieutenant-Governor. AVlim it became known to the 
H ttlers at Fort Garry and other points in the Territories 
that the Dominion Government was to assume the control of 



tlicir affairs, they became greatly alarmed — perliaps without 
sufficient reason ; althouo-h, had the Government exercised pro- 
per forethought, it is quite clear the alarm of the inhabitants 
would not have assumed the aggressive form which it did. 
They felt that to send up a ready-made Government to take 
charge of their atl'airs was a poor compliment to their in- 
telligence. Many of them, half-breeds as they were, were 
well educated and had accumulated considerable property dur- 
ing their residence in the country. They had been contented 
and prosperous under Hudson's Bay rule, and they felt that 
their transfer to another power, without consultation, was 
treating them somewhat cavalierly. Besides, rumors, no doubt 
false, with regard to IMr. MaeDougall's treatment of the Indians, 
while Commissioner of Public Lands, were promulgated for 
the purpose of arousing the hostility of the half-breeds. And 
so, personal opposition to their future ruler was added to their 
aversion to the methods by which it was proposed to govern 

Colonel Di'unis, who had been sent up in ad^ ance oP Mr. 
MacDougall to survey the country, was also regarded with 
suspicion. The settlers could not understand wluit the survey- 
ing of their lands by a band of officers meant, if they had no 
sinister object in view, as they believed that their farmy were 
already sufficiently well defined for their own purposes. To 
add to their alarms, Mr. Howe's visit, as Secretary of State, 
was inopportune. Instead of pouring oil upon 'Jie troubled 
waters, and reassuring the discontented that due consideration 
would be given to all their com|)laints, ho connived at their 
threatened op[iositioii U^ .Mi'. MacDougall, should ho presume 
to enter the country, as Licutcuiant-Governoi', and in this way 
perhajts iuadvi-itfiil l\ . siivngthened their determination tu 
otf'er resistance to his .lutlioritv. 




Uri'ler these circumstances a provisional council of the set- 
tlers was or<,^anized, of whicli Air. John Bruce was president, 
and Louis liiel secretary. 

In the meantime, Mr. MncDougall and several gentlemen, 
some of whom were to constitute his new council, reached 
Pembina on their way to l''ort Garry to assume the gov- 
ernment of the countr^^ They were unexpectedly met 1)}' 
some French half-breeds, who, in the name of a national 
conmiittee, Avarned them not to enter the country. Mr. Mac- 
Dougall did not consider it prudent to adsaiice in the face of 
such warning. After trying, in vain, for about a month to 
communicate with the Governor of the Hudson's Ba^^ Company, 
and finding the opposition to his entering the countiy increas- 
ing, lie retired across the boundary line into the United States. 

The Government, so soon as it became aware of the distur- 
bance, declined to pay over to the Hudson's Bay Company the 
sum of £:)()0,()00 agreed upon, on the ground that they stipu- 
lated for the peaceable possession of the teriitory. The trans- 
fer was fixed for the first of Decendier, and on that date, 
acoordinsf to ]\li'. .MacDouy-aU's connnission. he was to Xf. Lieu- 
tenant-Governor of the territory. He issued a proclamation 
commanding the insurgents to disperse and return to their 
homes, and threatened the usual penalties in case of disobedi- 
ence. He also made an attempt, by the assistance of Colonel 
Dennis, t(j raise a force and put down the rebel li( .1. His pro- 
clamation was treated with contempt, and Colonel Dennis was 
unable to raise the force re(]uired. Mr. MacDougall had no 
clioice, therefore, but to return to Ontario, which he did. 

The oituntrv was now in the hands of the insuri>vnts, with 
Louis iiicl as dictator. Tlic authority of the Dominion Gov- 
ermneit was defied, and tlie Hudson's Bay Company wseemod 
liel[)less to maintain order. Peaceful citizens were imprisoned 


i! ill 
l|i -H 



at the caprice oF tho leader of the reljel party, and the country 
was gi'eatly aoitatcd as to what tlie end would be. 

In order to repair, if possible, the evil effects of their blun- 
dering, the Government sent a commission to the !North-^\'est, 
consisting of Vicar-General Thibault, Col, de Sallaberry and 
Mr. Donald A. Smith, chief agent of the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany at Montreal, " to en<}uire into the causes of the rebellion 
and to explain to the people the intentions of the Canadian 
Government." Bishop Tach(?, formerly a resident of the coun- 
try, but then at Rome, was telegraphed for. It was thought 
that his ecclesiastical position and his influence with the 
French half-breeds would be helpful in restoring tranquillity. 
Riel, who seemed to have cast off all restraint, discharged the 
duties of the presidency with the tyranny of an eastern Pasiia, 
Major Bolton, a Canadian officer of militia, whom he had cap- 
tured at the head of a little force of loyalists, was put under 
sentence of death, and were it not for the into'position (jf Mr. 
Smith, the sentence would have been carried out. Mr. Thos- 
Scott was not so fortunate. He had, in some way or other, 
incurred Kiel's displeasure, and in spite of remonstrances 
from several influential quartei'S, Scott was cruelly executed 
on the 4th of March, the circumstances attending his execu- 
tion being most distressing. 

At a meeting of a council of the settlers, Judge Black, 
Father Richot, and Mr. A. Scott, were appointed delegates to 
go to Ottawa to lay their grievances before the Govej'nment. 
The commissioners had made in the meantime a re[)ort as 
instructed, and the Government was ofllcially informed as to 
all the difliculties ol' the situation. 

Enquiries were made of the (Government at different times 
with regard to theii- intentions in dealing with the North-West 
troubles. The prevailing feeling of the House appeared to be 




that the rebellion must be suppressed at once, and communica- 
tions ^vere opened with the Imperial Government to find out 
how far they were willing to assist in estal)lishiii<^' the su- 
premacy of British law in the Territurir's. Mr. MacDougall, 
who still held his seat in Parliament, was greatly embittered 
by the unjust treatment, as he supposed, to which he was sub- 
jecteil by the Government, and he lost no opportunity to attack 
Mr. Plowe for the sinister influence which he believed he ex- 
ert(.'d in fomenting opposition to his entrance into the Terri- 
tories. When the Manitoba Bill was under discussion, he 
went so far as to charo-e Mr. Howe with being a traitor to tho 
British Crown, and of doing all he could to destroy the cha- 
ractt.'r and authority of the Canadian Government in the 
lii.'d River settlement. 

On the 2nd May, 1870, Sir John Macdonald introduced a 
bill for the establishment of a Provincial Government in part 
of the territory, the new Province to be callc<l Manitoba, and 
ill the discussion of this bill an opportunity was afibrded for 
ventilating fully the complaints ol' the Opposition with the 
Government policy in the North-West Territories. It was 
jiointed out, in the lirst phice, that had the Government been 
liheral enough to trust the settlers the year previous and 
given them Responsible Government, as they were now doing, 
there would have bi'en no rebellion ami no saerilice of life, 
tluit all the exi)enses ()\ e(>mmissi(jiu!i's and delegates would 
have been avoided, and that the distracting efl'ects which tin* 
North-West troubles produced upon the rmtlier settlement of 
the territory would not have occurred. Attention was .dso 
called to the limitetl character of the Province about to lie 
establislRnl. In area it ditl not exceed 11.000 S(iuare miles, 
and it was st» outlined as at first to exclude (he large English 
settlements at Portaire la Prairie, onl\- 00 miles from Winni- 


li 'H 



peg. This was, however, amended at a subsequent stage of 
the bill. 

The bill, tlioui^h a £^reat improvement on the oligarchy for 
which it was intended as a substitute, was not as liberal in 
its provisions as the circumstaxices of the case required. Mr. 
Mackenzie expressed his preference for temporary legislation 
respecting tlie territories, giving the people representation and 
the riglit to manage all local afl'airs until after the lapse of 
a few years the House became better informed with regard 
to their wants. But his amendment was rejected. He also 
proposed an amendment for the enlargement of the Province. 
This also was rejected, as was his amendment in favor of 
giving the settler the right to prempt a certain quantity of 
land free of charge. It was also proposed to eliminate from 
the bill the clause res}iecting education, which has given rise 
within the last few years to so much trouble. 

Before the bill passed its final stage, a motion by Mr. 
Masson, affirming the inexpedienc}'' of sending Canadian and 
Imperial troops to the North- West for suppressing the re- 
bellion, came up for discussion. Doubts were expressed by 
several members of the House as to the wisdom of sendinof 
an armed force into the country', as it might lead to the 
loss of many valuable lives, and the people, so overawed, 
would look with less favor hereafter upon the relations with 
the Dominion. Mr. Mackenzie strongly protested against any 
further dilly-dallying with rebels, and insisted that the Gov- 
ernment should at once take decisive action. " He would like 
to see if there was a majority in the House who would refuse 
to give protection to the loyal inhabitants of that country in 
face of the public opinion of the Dominion. He would like 
to see if therr^ were a dozen members in the House with such 
a want of manliness and lionesty as to allow rebels to drive 



loyal men from the Territory, seize their property, endanger 
their sai'uty, and even take life where there was no excuse for 
it. The first thing to be done by any nation or country pre- 
tending to have any power or love of law and order was to 
enforce its authority and then, if any injustice or grievance 
should be found to exist, have the one removed and the other 
redressed. But there liad been not only a vioUition of law 
and order, but murders had been committed, and the mur- 
derers must be brouglit to justice if the arm of Britisli law 
could reach them. If we could not punish these men and 
restore authority, tlien it would be better to seek otlier 
political relations where there would be sufficient power to 
protect life and property and preserve order. He had but one 
view of the matter, either restore order there peremptorily, or 
cease to be a nation. If the force proposed to be sent wtts not 
sufficient, send more. They should send iive, ten, twenty 
thousand men if necessary, but order should be restoi'ed. He 
would, in that case, support tiie Government with all his 
power and force, though he felt humiliated at the position 
they had taken in passing the bill." 

On the day on wliich this speech was delivered, payment 
was made to the Hudson's Bay Company of the sum stipu- 
lated for the transfer of their interests, and the territories 
then formally passed to tiie possession of Canada. Whatever 
halting there may have been in the minds of the Government 
with regard to the propriety of putting down the rebellion 
with a strong hand, there can be no doubt that the public 
opinion of Ontario was in favor of decisive measures. The 
motion made in the House by Mr. Masson, already referred to, 
and the attitude of the French-Canadian press, created the 
impression that Kiel, even in those early days, had more 
sympathisers than his cause deserved, admitting that the 

sni II 




discontent wliich his actions represented was not without 
foundation. It is due, however, to the French members ol" 
the House of Commons to state that the proposition to strike 
out of the Bill of Supply the sum of i?l ,400,000 for the Red 
River expedition, and for openiufj up the North- West Terri- 
tories, receivetl only thirteen votes. 

The House was prorogued on the 12th of May. On the fol- 
lowing day, the expedition, which was under prepamtion for 
some time, started by way of Collingwood and Thunder Bay 
for the Red River, under the command of Colonel Wolselcy, 
afterwards Lord Wolselcy. The coiuvse lay along the well- 
known Dawson route, and it was not until the 24th of Aug- 
ust, after a very fatiguing journey, that they reached Fort 
Garry. Riel and his companions took refuge in flight, and 
a rebellion which might have been avoided, as Mr. Macken- 
zie pointed out over and ( 'ver again, had the Government 
paid reasonable deference to the wislu's of the people, was at 
an end. 

On the 2nd of September, 1870, Mr. Adams G. Archi1)ald, 
the new Lieutenant-Governor, arrived in the TroNince and on 
the Gth entered upon his official duties, and by so doing Mani- 
toba was entitled to be recognized as a member of the Sister- 
hood of Canadian Provinces. 

The year following Mr. Archibald's a})pointment to the 
Lieutenant-Governovship of Manitoba, it was rumored that a 
considerable body of Fenians were gathering along the south- 
ern frontier and preparing to invade the country. The leader 
of this movement was one ODonoghue, who had been asso- 
ciated with Riel in the rebellion of 1809. It was feared 
that O'Donoghue was acting in concert with Riel and Lepine 
and in that case the loyalty of the French lialf-breeds could 
hardly be depended upon. Mr. Archibald had uo adetjuate 








moans of defence, and was consequently thrown entirely upon 
jiis own resources. The people of the Province were of dif- 
ferent nationaliti'^s and different relio-ious faith, and as only a 
few months before they had arrayed themselves against the 
(^iiirens Government, it was very uncertain what they would 
do, should the standard of relidlion Ije hoisted a second time. 
Under those circumstances, it was but naturtd to suppose that 
the Lieut.-Governor should consider the defence of the Pro- 
vince and the safety of the population to be his first duty. 
If the French Metis and their leaders could be depended upon, 
all would be well ; if not, the events of IcSliO niiolit be repeat- 
eil, and probably with greater enormity. Governor Archibald 
therefore determined to place himself at once in communica- 
tion with Riel and Lepine, and, if possible, secure their good 
ortices for the defence of the country. Kiel and Le|)in(' im- 
mediately organized the inhabitants for defensive pur[)oses. 
The Liout.-Governor showed his confidence in their bona Jules, 
|iroiiiising them at least a temporary inununity from molesta- 
tion on account of the crime of which they were accused, 
shook hands with them and complimented them on the loy- 
alty tliey had shown, and the services they had rendered. In 
his (.'vidence before a committee ol" the House of Commons 
liL- stated, to use his own language, that " if the Dominion has 
at this moniiiit a Province to defend and not one to conquer, 
tiny owe it to the policy of forbearance. If I had driven 
the French half-breeds into the hands of the enemy, O'Don- 
ogJuK.' would have been joined i>y all the population between 
tlir Assiniljoine and the frontier. Fort Garry would have 
passed into the hands of an armed mob, and the English set- 
tlors to the north of the Assiniboine would iia\e suffered 
ImiTors it makes me shmlder to contenqjlate." 

We next hear of Riel and J.cpiiir on the flth o!' April, 


's^F-- ->.*-;i«a 




1871, on a motion in the House of Commons by Mr. Rymal, 
expressing rc<;i"ut " that the Government had done notliin^ 
towards procuring punishment for the murderers of Thomas 
Scott, and that an humble address be presented to His Excel- 
lency tliat he Avould take such sti^ps as would be calculated to 
bring these men to justice." The indifierence which the 
Government manifested in this matter Avas made the occasion 
for a very indignant speech from one of its supporters, Mr. 
Bowell, who pointed out that many of those engaged in the 
rebellion, who were directly or indirectly concerned in the 
murder of Scott, had received recognition at the hands of 
tlie Government or their friends. Mr. Lepine, Kiel's Adjutant- 
Genci'al, was appointed scrutineer on behalf of a Minister- 
ial candidate. Mr. Bannatyne, who sj-mpathizod with the 
rebels and tampered with the letters of tlie loyalists, was also 
marked out for favor. Mr, O'Donnell, one of Riels council, 
was appointed to the Legislative Council of tlie Province, and 
Mr. Spencc was made clerk of the same. To allow Riel, and 
particularly Lepino, to run at large without any etr<.)rt to 
arrest them, or, if they took refuge in the United States, to 
make no eflbrt to secure their extradition, was declared to be 
a reproach to the administration of justice for which there 
was no excuse. Mr. Bymal's motion was, howev^er, voted 
down, and for a short time the rebellion in the North-west 
passed from the purview of the Dominion Parliament. 

The establishment of a Provincial Government in Manitoba, 
wdiich under tiic constitution had the right to administer jus- 
tice, was used as a means of creating greater uncertainty than 
ever with regard to the prosecution of the murderers of Sct)tt. 
^Vhen the otlenec was conunitted on tiie 4th of March, liS70, 
the Red River settlement was under the control of the 
Hudson's Bay Cnmpany. From that time till Lord Wolseley 

lii! - 



arrived, on tlio 24fch of August, the provisional rfovernmont, 
of which Riel was president, had possession of the country. 
When Governor Archibald arrived ou the 2nd of Soptenibcr, 
the provincial constitution took effect and witii it rested the 
enforcement of law and order. When complaint was made 
arjainst the Dominion Government for its inaction, the plea 
was advanced that the Dominion Government had no jurisdic- 
tion, at least after the establishment of the Provincial G<)\ - 
ernment, and therefore could not be held responsible for the 
prosecution of Riel and his associates. 

This defence did not, however, satisfy the people of Ontario. 
The inaction of the Dominion Government was attributed to 
Quebec influence in the Cabinet. For, as it was put b}'' Loi"d 
Duticrin in one of his official dei3patclies : " Tiie French sec- 
tion of Her Majesty's suljects (althou^'h in Canada, most of 
them regret the death of Scott) are united to a man in tlie 
opinion that the part played by Riel in the North-West was 
that of a brave and spirited patriot; that it is principally to 
him and to those who acted with him that Manitoba owes her 
present privileges of self-government and lH,r parity of rank 
and standing with our sister Provinces." It was well known, 
iis we have already pointed out, that the Mentis of Manitoba 
were considered to have rights which were not dul}'' respected, 
and that Riel, in stirring up rebellion, was merely as.-jerting 
his political standing as a citi/^en of the Territories. 

On the other hand, in Ontario, Riel was looked upon us a 
rebel against constituted authority, who, in the assertion of 
his power, had cruelly and wantonly shed innocent blood, and 
that any Government that condoned or })alliated such an 
otfence was unworthy of public confidence. So strong was 
tlie feeling in Ontario, that the propo.sal to ofler a reward of 





LH'E OF rill': iioy. alexaxver Mackenzie. 

s">,()00 for the arrest of the murderers of Scott, received the 
uiuiniiiiou.s support of Loth sides of the House. 

In the iiitantiine, the general election of LS72 took place, 
and during the session of 1873 the North- West troubles were 
allowed to slumber. Owing to the death of ISir Geo. Cartier, 
who was elected in 1872 for Provencher, on liis defeat in 
Montreal, that constituency became vacant and Kiel was 
elected by acclamation. Although a warrant was out for ins 
arrest, he \\('nt to Ottawa and signed the roll as a member of 
Parliament. His election took place on the 11th of February, 

On the :30th of March, 1874, H. J. Clark, Attorney-Gen- 
eral of Manitoba, was examined at the bar of the House 
with regard to the action taken by jNljinitoba for the prose- 
cution of Riel and Lepine. Pie explained that the reason, 
so far as he knew, for tlie delay in arresting Kiel was that 
no information had been laid before a magistrate for his arrest 
at an earlier date, that it was not until September, 1873, that 
such information was laid, that in >soveniber of the same year 
a bench-warrant was issued from the Court of Queen's Bench 
to the Sheriff of Manitoba, connnanding him to bring Kiel 
before the saitl court to answer upon an indictment fouml 
against him for the murder of Thos. Scott, and that so far the 
Sherifi" had made no return to the bench-warrant. A warrant 
was also issued by the police magistrate of Ottawa for the 
apprehension of Kiel, when it became known that he had 
signed the members' roll, but to no avail. On the o 1st of 
March, Mr. Powell moved that' Mr. Kiel be ordered to attend 
in his place in the House on the following day, and as he did 
not appear he was, on the IGth of April, by a vote of 12-1 to 
C8, expelled from the liouse, and a new writ issued for the 
constituency wliich he represented. A special connnittee was, 
ut the same session, apj ointed to enquire into the causes of 



the (lifUcuIties in the North- Woiit in 18G9-70. and to report 
1 11 'HI tunc to time. The report of the committee was not 
suljniitted till the 22nd of May, and as the House was pro- 
roj^Micd on the 25th, it was impossible to take any action with 
re;,au-d to it that session. 

The battle royal, in which the whole of the North- West 
troubles were reviewed from bryinnin*;- to end, opened in the 
House of Connuons on the 1 1th of February, 1875, on a 
motion by Mr. Mackenzie to grant a full amnesty to all per- 
•sons concerned in the North- West troubles, excepting Riel, 
Lcpinr and (JDonoghue. In the case of Riel and Lepine, it 
was proposed to grant an amnesty, conditional upon five 
years' banishment from the Queen's dominions. /Vs O'Don- 
oghue had placed himself at the head of a Fenian invasion, 
it was not considered that he should come under the same 
conditions as Riel and Lepine. 

The question with which Mr. Macken/cie had to deal now 
was beset with many difficulties, and was one of the many 
legacies of maladministration which had come down to him 
from tlie previous Government. It was furtiier complicated 
b}' the fact that Lepine, who was eipially involved with Riel, 
had been arrested and convicted as a principal in the murder 
of Scott, and was lying in the Winnipeg gaol under sen- 
tence of death. Public opinion, too, had been greatly excited, 
and both creed and nationality were appealed to with con- 
siderable success. On behalf of Riel, it was claimed that he 
had been promised an amnesty without reservation, if he 
would withdraw his o[)position to Her Majesty's Government, 
and recognize the authority of the Dominion in the North- 
West. Per contra, it was urged that he was a murderer and 
a fugitive from justice, and that he should pay with his life 
the penalty of his crimes. 


,.. -aT 



From the evidence submitted to the special committoe, 
already referred to, the promise of an absolute amnesty was 
not, however, conchisivo, although the evidence bore strongly 
in that direction. It was shewn that Riel had rendered sub- 
stantial service in resisting the Fenian invasion under O'Don- 
ogliue, and that this circumstance should be taken into con- 
sideration in dealing with his case. It was on these grounds 
that Mr. Mackenzie took the middle course of recommen«Jing 
to the House the resolution already referred to. In the course 
of the debate, several interesting circumstances were alluded 
to. First, it was shewn that Sir John Macdonald acknowledged 
the insurrectionary party in Manitoba by the recognition of 
their delegates, Father Riehot, Mr. Black and Mr. Scott — a 
letter from Joseph Howe, Provincial Secretary, fixing the time 
and place at which they could meet Sir John Macdonald ami 
Sir George Cartier in confidence, being proof of this. It was 
also shewn, on the evidence of Archbishop Tache, that the 
authority of Riel, as Provisional President of the settlement, 
was recognized by Sir George Cartier, during the interval be- 
.tween the formation of the Provisional Government and the 
arrival of the Lieutenant-Governor. Both of these circum- 
stancx'S occurred after the murder of Scott. 

The main question, however, before the House was, did th<' 
evidence submitted warrant the conclusion that an amnesty 
had been promised by the previous Government, antl if so, 
was it binding on the pri;seiit House. In a very aljle state 
paper addressed to the Earl of Carnarvon, Lord Dufleriu 
discusses, very full}', this ijuestion. First, he states, tiiat in 
his opinion, no claim To- !, luiesty wouM lie on the [ilea that 
Archbishop Tache was empowervd by tiie Imperial and the 
Dominion Govt.aments to secure tiie tran(|iuillity of tlit- 
country by the issues of such ussurances of immunity to 




those concerned in the recent disturbances as he should deem 
lit. Neither the written instructions he received from Lord 
Lisgar nor Sir John Macdouald gave him such authority. 

St'cond, in the interviews between Sir George Cartier and 
the delegates from the North- West, particularly Abbe Richot, 
the weight of testimony appears to be that when Sir George 
Cartier spoke of an amnesty, he intended that term to apply 
to political offenders, not to those concerned in the murder of 
Scott. To quote Lord Duttcrin's words : " The tenor of hit. 
language implied that if only matters were peaceably settled 
in Rei] River and tlie population quietly submitted to the new 
order oi things, a settlement would ultimately be arrived at, 
satisfactory to all parties." Third, to grant an amnesty on 
the ground that the Provisional Govo'nnient establisiied by 
Kiel was a lawfully constituted government, was out of the 
question. The execution of Scott could only be a judicial 
execution, when ordered by a legitimately constituted author- 

The fourth plea for an iunnesty, namely, that Governor 
Archibald availed himself of th' services of Riel and Lcpine 
in repelling the Fenian in\;ision of 1871, his Lordsliip con- 
sidered wurthy of earcful consideration. His Lordshij) re- 
marks: 'The acceptance of such service might be held, 1 ini- 
ugino, to bar the prosecution of the offender, for, undesirable 
us it may be that a great criminal should go unpunished, it 
would l)e still more [)ernicious that the Goverinuent of the 
eouiitry siiould show a want of lidelity to its engagements, or 
exhiiiit a narrow spirit in its interpretati(jn of theni." 

In replying to Lord Dufferin's despatch, from which we 
have already quoted, Karl Carn.nNon recognises the claim on 
the clemency of tiie Crown wiiieh Kiel and JiCpine established 
for themselves iiecause o\ their serviees in |87l. Ht.* said: 


IIFKOF Tin: HON. M.K\A}^DKn M ACK i:\/.l 11 

" AlLliouoli ;i, iiiui'<li'i\ sudi as (liiil, of S(:(jtt, caiiiioL l)i' !iII'i\v(m1 
t(j ^(j uiipuiiislH-d oil tin; ^Touiiil tliJit ifc was cinuioclcil with 
political (listurliaiiccH, yet in so far us it ili<l rr.siilt iVoiii politi- 
cal circimistaiiccs, those who WiVf ;4'iiili_\' ol" it may In- i|(;i"iiii(l 
to liav(! (■ariicij a iiKti-cil'iil cojisidrrntioii tliioij^^li tln-ii' stiKsu- 
(picnt /^ood s(')'\i(;»; to tlx' State, and that lor these .scrviei.'S 
thfii- lives should !»<■ spunMJ. W'hili' this is tio <loul)t the judicial 
coristl'iictioii ol" c\ idi'iicc i-cporicd hy the special coininitt'i', it 
is (piite (ivid'iit I hat it was not the S(!iise in which the ( iovei'n- 
ineiit was understood either hy Ai-c,hl)iHho[> Tachd or hy ihf di-le- 
^'ates i'roMi the Provisional (j(j\'ernnicnl , Tliut the imia'cssion 
was left upon theii- mind;, that a, full and unconditional ain- 
iH!sty wouhl he <rraiit<!d 11" tln^y reconnjzed tin; autlioriiy of 
the Dominioti (lovcrnnienl, tJiei-c caiuiot \n'. the sli'-hte'St 
douht <»n readiiii^ th(! e\ idcncc." 

The Ihird jioint of not<! is the duj)li(;ity )»ractise(j hy the 
Oovei-nmcntorj th(! pe(«p|c of (Jaiiada with re<^a,rd to the arr<'.st 
oF lliel. We have already poinUid (jut that until a local <iov- 
ei'nnnnt was or^atn/ed in Mariitoha, tin-re may have hecm some 
(litli(;ulties in tin; way ol" an-estin;^ \{'u\ and L<!pine. Att'i" 
that, hoW(!V(*i', there shoidd have h(!(!n no tlilliculty whatovei'. 
Iust<;ad of exercising his inlluence with th(! Manitoha (jovcrn- 
ment Tor enrorcin^^, through the Attorney-^icneral, the ( Criminal 
Law of the Trovince, Sir John Macdonald entctnd into ne- 
^^'otiutions with Anthhishop Tachd for the r(!tii'emeMt of Rid 
from the l'i'ovin(!e of Manitoha, for the space of one year and 
l"(jr his maintcna,nce din'in;^; expal-rial ion out of the puMic 
funds of Canada, : and later on, Sii" (ieorife (Jartier arran;(cd, 
in the same way, lor the rctir(!ment of FiCpiric and the pay- 
nient to him and his family of then maintenance abroad. To 
meet this expcinditui'e, the sum of SI. 000 v/as ti l<en (jut of th^ 
secret service fund, and the inn of JCdOO was advanced hy the 



lliiilsiiirs l»)iy ^U)U\\);i\\y. X(jt\viUi.staii<lin;^ lliat tlicsi; Jin-:ui<^n;- 
iiiciii-i wen; iiiii'h; ])y Sir .loliii M.'iodonuM liiiiisnH", mid, jxirliaps 
ill sdiiH' n'SjMjct, Iticl'.s uIj.S(!1ic<j i'njin IIk; (•oiiiiLry \v;ih uii ud- 
v;iiit;ii;<'. Sir .^0)111 fontcndcd, iit a incctin;^- in I'ctcrhoro', in 
llic oriicriil clfcl-ioii of '72, l,li!i(, Kill i-cLir(M| liccauso of tin: 
reward ofl'cn'd l»y tli<5 Oniai-io ( iovci'iiinciit, iiiidrr lilaUu'.s 
|i!ciiiirr.slii|», lor lii.s arrest. "Anxious," Sir .Joliii said, "to 
\ indicate tli(; sacred cauHo of justice, Mr. iJlake issued a pro- 
diuiiatioii ofli-riii;^ a ri'Wiird for tJK! captui'c ()f Kid, and now 
this iiiindcrcr is no loii^ci- in fJic country. JIc no longer 
]in||iil(s the soil of (Janada liy his prestiuco. 1I<! is now liv- 
iiii: ill ])cac(;, prosperity anil comrort aci-oss tlu! JKjrdir, and, 
HIm' iiirii of liis stamp, ready to stir u|t ariotliei* I'ow sliould 
n|i|ioit unity oiler, lie knows lie is sa,re, thanks to Mr. lJlak(!." 
Ill li'dit of tli(; fact that liiel Was livinjx in the United States 
(111 iiKiiiey paid out of thi; seciret s<;i"vi(!(; fund on Sir .John 
Macdonald's own authority and f:*j his I', this wan cer- 
tainly an extraordinary sjieeeh to iiiak(\ 

'I'lion! I'eniains Imt one other jioini, to Ih; ronsitlered and 
thai a somewhat teehiiieal one in this perpl(;\in^f case; 
that is, fourth : How shoidd the cleineiicy of the CVown i)0 
I'Xerciscil ? 'I'he ( Jovernnient was takin;( its full share of re- 
Hpoiisiliilify hy the ciniise which, thi'ou;^di iMi-. Ma,eken/.ie's 
rfHoliition, l'M,i"lia,nienl, was ad\ised to lake;. Usually, the 
( Imernor (ieneral can act only accordinir to l,he directions of 
hi.s const itiilional aiKisers. in iJie insi ructions from lhe(Jol- 
miial ( mice up to this time, hovv(iVer, the rin;lit, to (ixerc.ise the 
cli iiiriicy <il" the (Vown in the case of capital oll'ence.s was one 
Kiilcly Nested in the ( Jo\enior ( leiieial. I'^ur the maiuiei- in 
whiih that Y\\f}\\j waH <jx«jr(:ised, his niinisl;ers were not respon- 
:iil»le, (US the (ioviirnor ( Jeiieial, under his commission from the 

(Vdwn, was vcHt«'d with indc-pendent utitliority. In the stai-e 





despatcli, already refeiTcd to, Lord Dufferin iuforniol the 
Colonial Offico he intended to act on his own authority. 

In communicating this view to the Minister of Justice, Lord 
Duti'erin said that " the case had passed beyond the province 
of departmental administration, and in his opinion could bo 
best dealt with under the Royal instructions which author- 
ized the Governor-General, in certain capital cases, to dispense 
with the advice of his ministers, and to exercise the prerog- 
ative of the Crown according to his independent judgment 
an 1 on his own personal responsibility." He accordingly 
commuted the sentence of death pronounced upon Lepine t > 
two years' imprisonment and the permanent forfeiture of his 
political rights. An amendment by Mr. Mousseau, proposing 
an unconditional amnesty to all concerned in tlio North- West 
troubles, received only 23 votes. Mr. Mackenzie's motion was 
linally carried on a vote of 12G to 50. 

It has ah'eady been mentioned that on the IGth of April, J 874, 
Riel was formally expelled from the House. On a new election 
being called, ho was re-elected in .Septend)er of the same year. 
On the 24th of February, 1875, Mr. Mackenzie cause<l to 1m> 
read before the House theexempliiication of the Judgment roll 
of outlawi'Y pronounced in opcni court at Winni[i' g, by M 15. 
Wood, and tlieu moved that lliel be declared an outhiw, the 

jr--^ "^<^'<^ 

i^^j^ ^ 

effect of which wuuh.l l)e,(jf course, to vacate his scat. 0\ 
adoption of this motion, the Speaker was directed to issue hi 




\v;irrant for a now election in Provenchcr. In the session of 
1S7G, Ml*- Costigan moved that O'Donoghue be included in the 
amnesty granted to Riel and Lepine, Mr. Costigan renewed 
his motion in the session of 1877, but to no purpose. 

The later events in Kiel's career are dealt with in their 
proper place. Suffice it here to say tliat after fomenting a 
rebellion in 1885, and putting the country to an expense of 
nearly $10,000,000, and causing the loss of several valuable 
lives, he was arrested, tried anrl executed at Rogina on the 
Kith of ^ , ember, 1885. His execution was the occasion of 
a long debate in the House, and of many vapid appeals to 
i-aco and religious prejudices, JMr. Mackenzie voting that, in 
his opinion, the execution of this restless and adventurous 
spirit was justifiable. 

Now that he lias passed from the scene, and tliat liis con- 
duct and career have furnished so nnich political capital for 
party purposes in the Parliaments of two Provinces, as well 
as in the House of Coinmons, we might reasonably enquire 
what were the impelling motives in the agitation of which he 
was the central figure. So far as he was concerned himself, 
he was in the first instance but the embodiment of the feelinix 
of till' settlers of Red River which he represented, and al- 
though armed opposition to constitutional Authority is not 
recognized in modern times as the proper w;iy to remedy poli- 
tical grievances, yet the history of the world shews that it is 
by no means exceptional. More than once, even on this con- 
tinent, leaders of public opinion have become restless with the 
" law's delay," and liave adopted decisive remedies. More 
out' gordian knot has been cut with a sword. 

When Riel organized against Mr. MacDougall's entrance into 
the I'rovincG, he had probably no intention of shedding blood ; 
but like the other setth; 's he felt that if a new LTOvernment 



took possession of the country and Ijccame installed in power, 
their grievances might be treated with contempt. He and his 
followers were in possession, and before that possession was 
surrendered was the time to press their claims. Unfortunately 
for himself and for the peace of Canada, as in the case of many 
others, h*^ abused the power which the settlers gave him, and 
forfeited the Byni[)athy of all well-thinking men. 

The outrages which he committed took place under a Con- 
servative Government. To proceed boldly and fearlessly to 
punish him would Ije to condemn themselves. The sympathy 
existing between the French in Lower Canada and the French 
in Manitoba — for both were of the same stock — restrained 
Sir John Macdonald no doubt from acting with the prompti- 
tude which the case required, and particularly in dealing with 
the chief offenders as their crimes warranted. This hesi- 
tancy was at once seized upon by many in Ontario, and by 
none more sternly at first than by the Orange party, as a 
ground for attack upon the Government. To some, Kiel's 
offence was simply the murder of a Protestant Orangeman 
by a Roman Catholic. To others, the tardiness of justice was 
attributed to Sir John Macdonald's desire to conciliate the 
French, and the gauge of battle once formed on this line, a 
quasi war of race and creed was the inevitable result. Even 
in a very recent campaign in the Province of Quebec, the gal- 
lows on which Kiel was hung was as much a party cry as 
the "bloody shirt" in American politics fifteen years ago. 

But while this circumscribed view of the question was the 
prevailing one for a time, when the committee appointed by 
the House of Commons in 1874 presented their report to the; 
House a larger view of the question was presented. By 
redressing many of the grievances complained of, the Govern- 
ment admitted they were in the wrong. By using Kiel's 


services in repelling a Fenian invasion, they admittod, murderer 
tliough he was, his power in the State. B}^ directing, in terms 
too diplomatic perhaps to be conclusive in a court of law, 
the men they employed to pacify the settlers, to promise an 
amnesty to all offenders, they admitted the necessity for con- 
ciliation. By securing Kiel's retirement in '72 from his can- 
didacy in Provencher in favor of Sir George Carticr, they 
admitted his political services to the Conservative party, and 
by providing and paying for his retirement from the country, 
they admitted the right of the authorities to arrest him so 
long as he remained in Manitoba. 

All these circumstances gave a factitious prominence toPiiel, 
whicli, ordinarily, he could not have obtained. It was not his 
fault, so much as the fault of the Government, that Canada 
was .so long politically vexed by his conduct and his presence. 
With the report of the connnittee before him, Mr. Mackenzie 
had but one course open to him, and that was to take the line 
Ijcst calculated to heal the national and political sores caused 
by his predecessors, and with strange ingratitude, it appears 
this course was not supported by the Conservative party. 

To pacify the whole Dominion, was the task to which Mr. 
Mackenzie addressed himself, and that he did it courageously 
and successfully, no one will deny. Following the precedent 
of the rebellion of 1837, in Upper and Lower Canada, and act- 
ing with that regard for the intentions, however vaguely ex- 
pressed, of the previous Government towards the rebels in the 
North-Wcst, he asked Parliament to interpose between those 
who were so ill-advised as to precipitate a rebellion, and who, 
in their recklessness, sacrificed human life. 

* » 


Fishery Claims— Sir Jolin MacdoTiiild at Washiiif^ton— The Washington 
'i'rcaty — Coiiccfisioiis to the United .States — Tlie l'\'iiian and Alabama Claima 
—The Manitoba Bill— British C'oliunbia Enters Coufederatiuu. 

HE first question of any importance that cnnaj:;'od 
the attention of the House in the session of 1871 
was the settlement of tlic iisherics disputes be- 
tween Canada and the United States, i3y the 
termination of tiie Reciprocity Treaty in 1800, the 
privileges of the Americans to fish in Canadian waters 
ceased, and the treaty of 1818 was revived. In order to avoid 
irritation with the fishermen of the United States, and pcnd- 
inpf some settlement of other questions in dispute, it was 
a^ijreed between Canada and the Imperial authorities that 
Americans, on payment of a license fee of one dollar, should 
bo allowed to fish in Canadian waters. For a few years the 
license fee was paid, but was gradually discontinued, and the 
Canadian fisheries came to be used as freely by Amcricaus as 
by the people of Canada. 

While the fishery question was under the consideration of 
the Imperial authorities, attempts were also being made to 
settle with the Government at Washington for the depre- 
dations committed by the Alabama during the war which 
had closed a few years before ; and actinir on the snij^^fcs- 

tiou of the British Ambassador at Washington, the Imperial 






(unerniiicnt appointed a comuiission consisting of Earl de 
Givy, Sir Edward Thornton, Sir Staliord IS'oi-theotc, Pro- 
fessor Bernard and Sir John JMacdonald, to whom were re- 
I'erred the Ahibama chiiins and tlio lisherius disputes. The 
wliole question was brought before the House on tlie 24th of 
February, 1S71, on a motion of Mr. Gait allirming tlie import- 
ance of the Canadi'iu fislu-ries ^;cr st', and particularly their 
importance as a leverage in obtaining a moditication of tlie 
Ignited States commercial system in anv ne<fotiations that 
might be entered into for better trade relations between the 
two countries. In th j discussion which followed, Mi-. ^lac- 
kcnzie urged upon the Government very strongly the pi-opriety 
of securing compensation for the losses caused by the F(!nian 
raids, inasmuch as such losses were on a par willi the alleged 
injuiy done to the United States by the Alabama. lie also 
endeavored to protect the country' against any compromise 
that would prejudice the rights of Canada. British diploma- 
ti.sts, as he pointed out in a former debate, were too apt to 
sacrifice, either from ignorance or indillbrence, Canadian 
interests to Imperial i)olicy. No doubt it was an advantage 
to the whole empire to avoid war with the United States, and 
reasonable concessions were legitimate to avert such a calamity. 
At the same time, the value of her fisheries to Canada could 
not be over-estimated. They were tiie nur.series of her 
Seamen ; they formed a large part of her natunil wealth ; and 
gave employment to thousands of her people. To surrender 
the advantages they ali'orded without a full equivalent must 
not be thought of. 

Sir John Masdonald left for Washington on the 27th of 
February as a member of the joint high commission, and on 
tlie Sth of May the agreement known us the Washington 
Treaty was signed by the cepro.scntatives of Gi'eat Britain and 







the United States. Although Sir John Macdonald was no 
doubt appointed because of his position as Premier of Canada, 
and of his distinction as a leading statesman, he was in reality 
an Imperial Commissioner ; and although he may have been 
intended as the interpreter of Canadian opinion, he was liable 
to be overborne by his colleagues representing Great Britain. 
At all events, the Washington Treaty as finally agreed upon 
was a surrender of many Canadian interests for which Sir 
John Macdonald was responsible — as the debate in the House 
clearly showed. 

The first point on which the Government was challenged in 
comiection with the treaty was the abandonment of the Cana- 
dian claims in regard to the Fenian raids, and an Imperial 
guarantee of an uncertain loan to Canada accepted in lieu 
thereof. In the discussion which took place on this phase ot" 
the question, the words used by Mr. Blake as being exceed- 
ingly apt may be quoted. He said : " Shall we allow American 
citizens to drill, organise, parade, and call for subscriptions 
and to arrange for the invasion of a friendly power ? These 
were questions which in their magnitude entirely overbore 
the simple question of money-loss in the past ; and to say 
that it was not to be settled at the same time and under the 
same circumstances in which the United States were present- 
ing their claims with reference to the Alabama was certainly 
most extraordinary." 

The defence of tiie Government to ]\Ir. Blake's arcfumenb 
was exceedingly weak. Even at the time the treaty was 
under discussion the Fenian organisation had not been dis- 
banded. To admit practically that the United States 
Government was not responsible for their depredations 
was, in effect, to encourage their continuation, and was 
very dift'orent from the provisions of the treaty with 



reference to the Alabama claims. Who was responsible for 
the surrender of Canadian rights? was the question asked. If 
Sir John Macdonald was in any sense the guardian of Canadian 
interests, then why did he not carry out the wishes of the 
CanaJian people ? If it was Imperial policy that Canada 
should be sacrificed, where was the evidence that he had 
protested against such a sacrifice ? To these ([uestions the 
answers were very unsatisfactory. 

Objection was also taken to the inequality of advantage in 
conceding to the Americans the free navigation of the St. 
Lawrence in perpetuity for the navigation of Lake Michigan 
for a period of ten years. It was also pointed out that the mode 
of providing compensation to Canada for the use of her fish- 
eries by the Americans was uncertain ; and that, judging from 
the past, it might result in very little advantage to Canada. 
Then, questions that would naturally arise in the future were 
left unsettled. No definition was given of what was intended 
by the Treaty of 1818, with regard to headlands, and no etlbrt 
appeared to have been made to obtain any equivalent in mat- 
ters of trade for the concessions contained in the Treaty. The 
settlement of the San Juan boundary, so long in dispute, was 
left to the arbitrament of the Emperor of Germany, who, 
unfortunately, as was expected, decided against Canada. 

The debate was carried on from the 8th till the IGth of May, 
and was closed by an able speech from Mr. Mackenzie, in which 
he reviewed the arguments of the preceding speakers, and in 
summing up the whole question, appealed to the House to 
vindicate the honor of the country and to insist upon a due 
recognition of Canadian rights. But, in spite of all the efibrts 
of the Opposition, the Tieaty was agreed to on a vote of 
121 to 55. 

An importani discussion took place with regard to the 























> > 













^ V'^O^ 


^ ^ ^^' 


r «?. 

i' H ■ i' '. 

II I! I 

i ll! 





power which the British North Ainei'ica Act conferred upon 
the House of Coiinnons in the establishment of new provinces 
in tlio North-West Territories. When the Manitoba bill was 
before the House, the previous session, Mr. Mills expressed the 
view that a new provincial government could only be organised 
by Imperial Act.and therefore the bill establishing the Province 
of Manitoba Wixi^ultra vires of the Parliament of Canada. The 
question was considered by the Government during recess, and 
the conclusion reached that Mr. Mills was sound in his conten- 
tion. Accordingly, in the session of 1871, the House was 
asked to approve of a draft bill for Manitoba, preliminary 
to its submission to the Imperial Parliament, and further to 
amend the British North America Act so as to empower the 
Canadian Parliament to make such provisions for the organi- 
sation of other provinces thereafter, as they might deem 

Confederation is growing npacc. In 1870, Manitoba was 
carved out of the great Norlh-West Territories ; and now in 
1871, Parliament is asked to consider a bill for the admission 
of Biitish Columbia into the union. To the Liberal party, the 
extonsion of Confederation was always a source of pleasure. 
They were, however, bound to sec that the enlargement of the 
Dominion was not accompanied by such conditions as would be 
unjust to the other provinces or involve linancial obligations 
burdensome to the treasury. The terms made with British 
Columbia were even more objectionable in many respects than 
the concessions of the Washington Treaty. Although the 
white population of the colony was estimated at only 10,000, 
they were to be allowed six representatives in the House of 
Connuons and three in the Senate. The Coveriunent of the 
Dominion was to commence within two years of the date of the 
union, and to complete within ten years of the same period, a 



raiiroatl from the Pacific coast to connect with the Canadinn 
system of raih'oads. Tlioy were to maintain an eflicicnt mail 
service fortnightly between Victoria and San Francisco. They 
Wire to pay $100,000 a year for hinds to be ceded to the in aid of the construction of the Canadian Pacific 
Railway. And they were to guarantee the interest on £100,000 
sterling, for ten years after its completion, for an efficient 
graving-dock at Escjuimalt, and also to provide pensions for 
such officers in the service of the British Columbia Govern- 
ment as might lose their positions on account of the Union. 

When the resolutions were submitted to the House it was 
pointed out with great force by Mr. Mackenzie that they 
imposed burden:- far beyond the resources of the Dominion, 
particularly the obligations assumed with respect to the con- 
struction of the Canadian Pacific Railway, lie proposed an 
aniLudment to the Government's scheme that so far as the 
lailway was concerned, " Canada should not bo pledged to do 
more than proceed at once with the necessary survey, and 
after the route is determined, to prosecute the work as rapidly 
as the state of the finances would justify." Various other 
amendments to the same effect were proposed, but to no avail. 
The scheme had to be accepted in its entirety or rejected ; and 
accepted it was, with all the tremundous obligations which it 

In dealing with the admission of British Columbia to Con- 
federation, the Liberal party was placed in the same dilemma 
as when dealinu" with the " better terms" for Nova Scotia. 
On the one hand, they M^ero confronted with an agreement 
made by the Government, of a startling character — an agree- 
ment which has ailded nearly 8100,000,000 to the national 
debt ; or an animal outlay of interest alone of $4,000,000. 
Ou the other haml, it was all but certain that the sui^porteis 







of the Government would assume the responsibilities of the 
terms proposed with British Cohimbia if the opposite course 
would involve the defeat of the Government. To oppose 
the terms of admission would be construed by the British 
Columbians as opposition to themselves ; and they would 
therefore, as a matter of course, ally themselves with the 
party in power. It was in vain that Mr. Mackenzie avowed 
himself, both in the resolutions he moved and in the speeches 
he delivered, a supporter of the admission of British Col- 
umbia on reasonable terms. The sentimental appeal which 
the Ministerialists made to the House for the extension of the 
XJn'.on from the Atlantic to the Pacific was stroncjer than the 
voice of reason. To say that the Union would be imperilled 
by the weighty burdens which it was about to assume was 
construed into want of confidence in the Dominion ; although 
wheTi the Committee rose and reported the resolutions to the 
Speaker of the House, every one felt that a serious step had 
been taken, the consequences of which were not fully realised. 

The Liberal party made very strenuous efforts during the 
session of 1871 to reform thn election laws. The old practice 
of holding the elections first, in constituencies favorable 
to the party in power, with a view to infiuenco doubtful con- 
stituencies, was very objectionable. It was proposed that 
there should be one polling day for the whole Dominion, except 
in a few outlying districts ; but this was rejected. Then it was 
proposed that the elections should bo held on the same day 
in each of the provinces. This also was rejected. An effort 
to introduce vote by ballot was successfully resisted by the 
Government, as was also a proposition to try contested elections 
before the judges. 

Mr. Mackenzie's efforts on behalf of the Liberal party during 
the session of 1871 greatly increased the confidence of the 

" i 



country in his ability as a leader. His intimate knowledge of 
the extent of our trade with the United States and of the 
manner in which our trade relations would be affected by the 
Washington Treaty showed how thoroughly he had studied the 
whole question, while his determination not to sacrifice the 
rights of Canada for a mere temporary adjustment of our 
difficulties was a proof of those qualities of statesmanship 
which have made England strong in the Councils of Europe. 
The surest way, he contended, by which to establish permanent 
friendly relations with the United States, or with any people, 
was to insist firmly, but reasonably, on the rights of Canada. 
Any other course was an invitation to encroachment in the 
future, should any difficulties arise. The true spirit of nation- 
ality, he said, could never be developed by a craven sub- 
u3ission to injustice. 



Mr. IMackenzie Elected for West Middlesex.— Dcfrat of the Sandfield- 
Mauilonald Administration. — Mackenzie a Member of the New Government. 
— His Position in Local Politics. — Speech as Provin.lal Treasurer, — Dual 
Representation Abolished.— His Choice of the Commons, 

^-^^N order to fjivc color to tlic " no-party " cry on which 
W(j Sir John MacJonald was appealinn- to the country' 
'^^l in 18G7, he secured i'or the Hon, John Sandfield 
ra^*^ Macdonald, a well-known Liberal, the appointment 
^ of Premier of Ontario, it being well understood be- 

tween them that a coalition Government would be 
formed for the Province of Ontario, and that both should 
appeal for support on the same " no-party " cry. The object 
of this arrangement was to divide the Liberal party, Mr. 
Sandfield Macdonald expecting that with the aid of his Liberal 
colleagues. Wood and Richards, he would carry the Liberals of 
the Province ; while his Conservative colleagues, Carling and 
Cameron, would swing the Conservatives into line. This 
move which was to benefit himself, was also to be of service to 
Sir John Macdonald. 

For a time, the leadership of the Opposition was entrusted 
to Mr. Archibald McKellar, the sturdy member for Kent. 
But before the first session expired, it became quite evi- 
dent that Mr. Edward Blake, who represented West Durham in 
the House of Commons, and South Bruce in the Lesfislativo 

Assembly, was the foi-cmost member of the House on either 






in in 

L '^"'1^1 

Hon. Edward Blake. 



side, and entitled to the first place in the Liberal ranks. He 
was accordingly elected leader, and entered with great energy 
on the discharge of his duties. It is but fair to the Govern- 
ment to say that it was economical and progressive. Mr. 
Sandfield Macilonald was not a statesman, althou;Th a good 
administrator. He was a man of quick business habits, tenaci- 
ous and aggressive, and always repelled, with great vigor, the 
attacks of his opponents. By his economy, he accumulated a 
large surplus. How to invest this surplus in such a way as to 
meet the necessities of the people, and develop the resources of 
the Province, was, apparently, the worthy purpose to which he 
applied himself. With the character of these investments no 
fault can be found ; for instance, the establishment of the Agri- 
cultural College, the Institute for the Blind, the Institute for 
the Deaf and Dumb, the Central Prison, the erection of new 
asylums, aiid the granting of aid to railroads were all com- 
mendable, and in harmony with Liberal ideas. But, when it 
appeared that these institutions were distributed as rewards 
for political support, that his scheme for aiding railroads was 
likely to be used for a similar purpose, and when, above all, 
. Appeared that his influence as a Liberal was used to keep 
i ohn Macdonald in power, the revolt of the Liberal party 
dgainst his Government was complete. 

Although Mr. Sandfield Macdonald claimed to bo a Reform- 
er, except in one or two instances he conducted the Govern- 
ment of Ontario after the most approved Tory methods. "When 
it was pointed out that several members of Parliament held 
offices which necessarily attected their independence, he 
declined to make a change, and called upon his supporters 
to vote do"/n any resolution having that object in view. 
When Mr. Blake's resolutions respecting the " better terms " 
to Nova Scotia were before the Uouse, his tactics remind 






one forcibly of Sir John MacdonaM's course with ref-aiv! 
to tlio report of Mr. Brown's committee recommendino- a 
fdtloration of the Provinces. The rcsohitions were thirteen 
in number. What is called in Parliamentary practice the 
six months' hoist was moved by the Government to 
c&cii of them. On coming to the thirteenth, the House re- 
fused to follow the leader of the Government, and the six 
months' hoist was voted down. The House then divided as to 
whether the resolutions should be adopted ; and Mr. Sandficld 
Macdonald and his Government, who a few moments before 
hail voted for the six months' hoist, supported this resolution, 
which was to the effect that, " in the opinion of this House, 
the interests of the country require such legislation as may 
remove all color for the assumption by the Parliament of 
Canada of the power to disturb the financial relations estab- 
lished by the Union Act as between Canada and the several 

The murder of Scott which had occurred the year before was 
also made to do duty in the Local election. Mr. Thos. Scott 
was a citizen of Ontario. A year had passed since the sad 
event of his death, and little or nothing had been done to 
bring the offenders to justice. To ask a Legislature to express 
an opinion upon a question beyond its own constitutional lim- 
itation is, as a rule, inadvisable. The House of Conunons has 
(m several occasions volunteered its advice to the Imperial 
Parliament, notably on Home Ruh;, and on the Disestablish- 
ment of the Irish church ; but the tendering of such advice 
neither added to its intiuence with the Imperial Government 
nor to its usefulness as a delilierative body. Both parties in 
the House of Commons and Local Legislature have occasion- 
"ally indulged in similar kite-flying with very indifferent results, 

Mr. Blake's resolution with regard to the murder of Scott 



s Ifii'gely sentimental. lie asked the Iluuse .slinpi y to say 
that " the cold-blooded murder for his out-spoken loyalty to 
the Queen of Thos. Scott, lately a resident of tliis Province, 
and an emigrant thence to the North- West, has impressed this 
House with a deep feeling of sorro\y and indignation ; and in 
the opinion of this House, every etfort should be made to 
bring to trial the perpetrators of this great crime, who o,s yet 
yo unwhipped of justice ; and that an humble address be pre- 
sented to His Honor, the Lieutenant-Governor, embodying 
this resolution, and praying him to take such steps as may be 
best calculated to forward its viuws." The Government, in 
resisting Mr. Blake's resolution, took the ground, while ex- 
pressing their sympathy with the untimely fate of their 
countryman, " that it would be unwise and inexpedient to in- 
terfere with the prerogative v.'hich properly belongs to another 
Government, and to discuss a question over which this House 
has no control." This was the only ground which the 
Government could take. To accept Mr. Blake's motion would 
be to act contrary to the course of the Dominion Government ; 
and this Mr. Sandfield Macdonaldand his Tory allies could not 
conveniently do, as they were looking to Ottawa for support in 
the general election, then pending. How far Mr. Blake's reso- 
lution was helpful to the Liberal part}', it is hard to say. It is 
])os^ible in some counties it secured for the Liberal candidate 
a few votes. But its effect over the v. hole held of Ontario 
politics is believed to have been tritiing. 

Objection was taken to Mr. Sandtield Macdonald's Govern- 
ment because it frequently asked Parliameat to place in its 
hands, unconditionally, the expenditure of public moneys. 
More than once the estimates contained a largo item for the 
erection of public buildings and asylums ; and when the House 
enquired where such buildings were to be located, the Govern- 






menfc invariably refused an ansv.'er. The Liberals saw in this 
attitude of the Government two very objectionable features — 
First, Parliament and not the ExecuMve should determine, 
finally, the location of public buildings. Secondly, trading in 
the location of public buildings for political purposes tended to 
the debasement of constituencies. This was clearly seen from 
Gome of Mr. Sandfield Macdonald's speeches, as well as from 
the speeches of some of his colleagues. Speaking in South 
Ontario, he said : " We promised them that the next session 
there would be the biggest fight they ever saw in this country 
when they came to expend $2,000,000 at the credit of the 
Government, and no doubt South Ontario would like to get 
some of that money." At Hamilton he suggested that if the 
people had any " axes to grind," they had better support the 
Government. Mr. M. C. Cameron, his Provincial Secretary, 
assured the people of Belleville that they obtained the Deaf 
and Dumb Institute as a reward for their political support. In 
the same way, counties were divided for registration purposes 
and new registry offices opened with a view to aid the Govern- 
ment candidates. The imitation of Ottawa methods was per- 
fect, as far as it went. Happily for the people of Ontario, as 
Mr. Mackenzie said in one of his speeches, " such miserable, 
pettifogging, peddling practices " were checked by the defeat 
of the Sandfield Macdonaid Government. 

The main issue of the election, however, turned on a resolu- 
tion, moved by Mr. Blake, with regard to the distribution of 
tne surplus and the mode of aiding railways. Under an Act 
of the old Legislative Assembly of Canada, municipalities were 
allowed to borrow money from a fund called the Municipal 
Loan Fund, set apart by the Government for public improve- 
ments, such as roads, bridges, harbors, and public buildings. 
The facility which this fund aliorded for obtaining money at 



a lo-w rate of interest, and the influence used with the Govern- 
ment of the day to postpone the payment of principal or 
interest, in some cases involved many municipalities in debt 
far beyond their ability to repay the amount borrowed. The 
Liberal party contended that any scheme for the distribution 
of the surplus which did not consider the condition of the 
indebted municipalities, would not meet with the approval of 
the country. As will be seen, the resolution also struck a 
death-blow at the distribution of railway aid on the authority 
of the Executive, as to the railways proposed to be aided. 
The Liberal party called upon the country to vindicate the 
right of Parliament to be consulted with regard to the great 
public interests involved, and particularly to restrain the 
Government from using the tremendous influence which the 
granting of railway subsidies on its own authority would 
place In its hands for political purposes. 

When the Liberal policy was placed before the electors, 
and when it was shown that Mr. Sandfield Macdonald's 
Government was in practice, at all events, no longer a coalition, 
but a feeble imitation of its Ottawa prototype, the Liberals 
had no difficulty in deciding what course to take. And 
with Mr. Blake as leader, they entered upon the campaign 
with unbounded enthusiasm. 

The west I'iding of Middlesex is geographically, contiguous 
to Lambton, the county represented by Mr. Mackenzie 
in the House of Commons, and the electors of that riding were 
intimately acquainted with Mr. Mackenzie's parliamentary 
career. Many of them had heard him on the platform in his 
own county as he defended the policy of his party, or as he 
exposed the weaknesses of his opponents, and were deeply 
impressed with his courage, honesty and ability. When his 
name was mentioned, therefore, as a possible candidate, the 


1^^ V 








fjeneral enrjuiry was, would he accept the nomination^ To 
insure his doing so, a convention was called and a requisi- 
tion immediately circulated inviting him to take the field. In 
tlie course of a few days, 1,300 signatures were obtained 
to the requisition, and if he would only allow himself to be 
placed in the fieid, the Liberal party were assured of an 
easy victory. Although much gratified, as he said in his ad- 
dress, by their appreciation of his public services so amply 
sustained by such a large requisition, he was by no means 
anxious to Ito a candidate. The House of Commons was in 
session, and his duties as leader of the Opposition demanded 
all his time and strength. To the great delight, however, of 
the Liberal party in the west riding of M'-ldlesex, and under 
a deep sense of his duty to his country, he waived all personal 
considerations, and entered upon the contest with an energy 
which evoked the heartiest co-operation of his friends. In 
his address to the electors he said : " Having no personal 
object to gratify, I engage in this contest solely for public 
and political reasons, and to assist as far as my humble 
efforts can do a return to sound constitutional principles of 
government. The present Government of Ontario has been 
from the first the mei'e creature of the Dominion Govern- 
ment, existing by its sufferance and subject to its control. 
Formed on the same pretended " no-party " principle as thr 
Ottawa Government, it has established its right to be classed 
with it in its status of political morality. The Government 
openly avows its intention to locate public buildings and 
public works where it received the greatest amount of 
parliamentary support. Such pnietices and such avowals 
(ire, however, the natural result of a coalition of men in a 
Government holding tliHerent political opinions and iiaving 
no common object in view but their retention of ofiice. In 



my opinion, no more shameless admission could be made 
by any Government, and this alone should secure its con- 
demnation by the electors of the country. It shall be my 
earnest endeavor and desij-e to secure a return to a correct 
a huinistrative system and the supremacy of parliamentary 
purity and conlroL" 

Mr. Sandfieid Macdonald was determined that the country 
slioulil not be allowed much time in which to criticise the policy 
of his Administration ; and so without warning-, and contrary 
to expectation, tm House was dissolved and the general elec- 
tion fxed for the 21st day of March, 1871. Mr. Mackenzie 
accepted the nomination on the 5th of March, and the task of 
making himself known to his new constituents was limited 
to fifteen days. Under ordinary circumstances, to canvass >\ 
large constituency in two weeks is no easy matter. Owing to 
the early breaking up of winter and the unimproved comlition 
of many of the roads at that time, the task ^vas doubly diffi- 
cult. Nevertheless, mounted on horseback, with a trusty 
Liberal as his guide, he canvassed the riding from one end to 
the other, holding two meetings a day, organising the party 
and making havoc of his opponents v.herever he met them. 
Never was lie more vigorous, more buoyant or perhaps more 
successful. Ue was received evei'ywhere with the greatest 
enthusiasm. His straightforwardness, his wonderful grasp of 
evciy (pivstion discussed, his incisiveness and lucidity as a 
speakei', iiupressed the electors as they were never impressed 
liel'ore. In vain did his opponent, Mr. Currie, struggle to stem 
ll'.e tide "f excitcmi'nt. He called meetings iri onler to vin- 
dicate his course in Parliament; but his own meetings were 
tianod against him by Mr. Mackeii/ie, and many Tories 

" Who came to sooll remained to pray." 


: i! I 



His victory was decisive, and was both a personal and a party 
triumph. To the party, it was a constituency wrested from 
the enemy. To Mr. Mackenzie, himself, it was an expression 
of confidence in the integrity of his career and his usefulness 
in the public service. 

The result of the general election was very satisfactory to 
the Liberal party. The estimate made by the Globe on the 
day following the election was as follo\ s : 
Ministerial members returned, 32. 
Opposition members, 41, 

Independents, 7, with Addiiigton and Alo^oma to hear from. 
Many of the leading Liberals were returned by large ma- 
jorities, and it was quite evident that the sentiment of the 
country was against the Administration. 

Parliament was called for the despatch of business on 
the 7th of December, 1871, Mr. R. W. Scott being elected 
Speaker. It was quite evident from the excitement in the 
lobbies and the anxiety depicted on the faces of the members 
of the ( lovernment, that a great political struggle was pending. 
On the 11th, the battle began on a motion by Mr. Blake, 
expressing regret at the action taken by the Legislative 
Assembly, during the previous session, under the guidance of 
the Government, with reference to the large powers given the 
Executive as to the disposition of the railway aid fund. This 
motion was resisted on the ground, as stated in the Govern- 
ment's amendment to Mr. Blake's motion, that one-tenth of 
the constituencies of tlie Province were unrepresented in the 
House, and that it was inexpedient to consider the question 
involved in Mr. Blake's motion until all the constituencies 
were duly represented in Parliament. To this plea of the Gov- 
ernment, the Opposition made answer that the House was 
called for the despatch of business, that the Government pro- 


i t 



posed to go on with business, as thoy a^ked the House to 
consider the Lieutenant-Governor's address, that if the House 
was competent to do business, at all, it was equally competent 
to sit in judgment on the Government ; and that the appeal for 
a postponement of its action was an acknowledgment of 
weakness whicli the House was not bound to respect. 

On a vote being taken, the Government was defeated by a 
majority of eight. Mr. Blake's resolution was then carried on 
a vote of 30 to 40. This was on the 14th of December. On 
the same day Mr. Mackenzie moved : " That we have no con- 
fidence in a Ministry which is attempting to carry out in 
reference to the railway fund of $1,500,000, an usurpation 
fraught with danger to public liberty and constitutional 
government." On this motion, Mr. Mackenzie delivered his 
first address " which both for the material it contained," said 
the Globe of the I'ol lowing day, " and the manner of its delivery, 
was a model of aggressive parliamentary warfare." He 
reviewed Mr. Sandfield Macdonald's policy in the old Parlia- 
ment of Canada, and contrasted his conduct as a Liberal then 
with his well-known Conservative tendencies now. He 
exposed his treachery to the Liberal party in combining with 
Sir John Macdonald for the defeat of the Liberals in 18G7, and 
rallied liim severely for his want of intlependence in not 
resigning when he saw clearly that the feeling of the House 
was against him. After a brief reply from Mr. Sandfield 
Macdonald, a vote was taken, and Mr. Mackenzie's resolution 
was carried by a majority of one. 

When the House re-assembled on the 18th, Mr. Blako 
determined to show the Government that he was master of the 
situation by moving a direct vote of want of confidence. 
AnionjT other thinos, he said " that the contiiuianco in office of 
the Government of the day is, under existing circumstances, 








at variance with the spirit of tho constitution." The Gjvcn-n- 
meut met this rosohition by a motion to adjourn the House 
until the 9th of January, This was lost on a vote of 26 to 43 ; 
and Mr. Blake's resolution was carried on a vote of 44 to 25. 
With this vote, the Sandfield Mac lonald A<bninistratiou was at 
an end ; and on the following day Mr. Blake was called by His 
Honor the Lieutenant-Governor to form a new Administration. 

Mr. Blake was not lono- in formino; his new Government. 
His arrangement of Cabinet seats was as follows : 

/Mr. Edward Blake, Premier of the Council ; Adam Crooks, 
Attoi'ney-General ; Peter (^ow, Provincial Secretary ; Alex. 
Mackenzie, Provincial Treasurer ; R W. Scott, Commissioner 
of Crown Lands ; A. McKellar, Commissioner of Agriculture 
and Public Works. 

According; to constitutional usajxe, the new Ministers had to 
appeal to their constituents for re-election. 

The r)th of January was the day mentioned in the writ for 
the nomination of candidates in West Middlesex, and Mr. Mac- 
kenzie had of course to appear before his constituents. In 
asking for a renewal of their contidence, he pointed out 
that the policy of the new Government embraced measures to 
better secure the independence of Parliament and to make it 
impossible for a Government to purchase the support of mem- 
bers by gifts of office and emolument. The railway act of last 
session was to be amendt'd so tliat no Dal way could obtain one 
cent of aid without the jH'cvious assent of the House of 
Assembly. The location of public buildings would be nuide 
known to the House before the estimate for their construction 
\vas voted. J)ual representation would bo abolished, and the 
G ivernnient of Ontario would no longer be subordinated to 
the party in power at Ottawa. He ivpelled the charge that 
they had formed a coalition with Mr. Scott, by stating that Mr. 



Scott had nccoptcd every plank in their phitform and was 
l))"cpared to join them in giving their principles etVoct in 
legislation, llovv, then, could it be a coalition ? "The Admin- 
istration," he said, " was formed of men that would work 
in harmony together, of men who would give efi'ect to those 
principles of public policy which hiy at the foundation of 
good government, and would put an end to the scandal of a 
Minister of the Crown perambulating the country, offering 
his principles and the patronage of the Government for 
public competition. They intended to carry their principles 
fully into operation and to administer the Government not 
only without reference to the political opinion of any par- 
ticular quarter, but in the interests of the whole country. It 
liad been his proud privilege since he entered public life to 
adhere closely to those principles which he had imbibed in 
his early years. It had been his privilege to obtain some 
measure of moral support and inthionce throughout the 
country, and that support and influence he prized infinitely 
higher than he did any official position in the land, and he 
would not j<acrifice it for the best gift in the power of the 
British or the Canadian Government. He hoped at the close 
of his career to be able to look back without a single pang of 
regret at the course he had taken in the public allkirs of the 

In the face of the large miijoi'ity obtained the provituis year, 
all opposition was withdrawn, and for the second time the 
electors of West Middlesex exjuessud their eonlidence in thu 
future leader of the Lilteral party. 

The Hnuse met pursuant to adjournment, on the iSth of 
January. Mr. Saniltield Macdonalil declined to accept the 
leailership of the O[)p()sition. ami at a caucus of the party, 
Mr. M. C. Cameron was ap[)ointed to tliat position. Tiie early 





days of the session were taken up in the discussion of a num- 
ber of paltry charges against the new Government. Mr. Scott, 
who resigned the Speakership to which he was appointed 
under Mr. Sandfield Macdonald, to accept the portfolio of 
Commissioner of Crown Lands, was singled out for special 
attack. He was charged with being in the pay of the lumber- 
men and consequently unfit for the duties of his office.* Being 
elected, it was claimed, as a supporter of Mr. Sandfield Mac- 
donald, he could not take office under Mr. Blake except either 
by a sacrifice of his political principles or on the understanding 
that the Government which he entered was a coalition. All 
these charges were, however, repelled both by Mr. Scott and 
Mr. Blake in the most vigorous terms. As Mr. Mackenzie 
said, " Ml-. Scott accepted every plank in the Liberal platform ; " 
and Mr. Blake, in his defence of his Government, stated that 
there were no " open questions " left over for future consid- 

The Opposition next attacked Mr. Blake on the ground that 
he had ofiered a corrupt inducement to Hon. E. B. Wood, a 
member of Mr. Sandfield Macdonald's Administration, to resign 
his seat in the Government and support the Liberal party. 
The charge, briefly .summarised, is as follows : While Mr. 
Sandfield Macdonald's Government was being arraigned by 
the Opposition for its misdeeds, a page conveyed a message 
from Mr. Blake to Mr. Wood ; that subsequent to the receipt of 
that message Mr. Wood arose and moved from his usual 
place in the House to a seat on the back benches ; that in doing 
so he received an approving nod from Mr. Blake, which he 
returned ; and that these circumstances indicated a corrupt 
collusion between Mr. Blake and Mr. Wood. On the strength 
of this suspicion, Mr. Cameron asked for a special committee 
of investigation. His aiotion was amended in the usual 





d, a 

parliaint itary way in the case of cliar^es by one member 
against another so as to make him responsible as a member of 
the House for the complaint which he had previously formu- 
lated in general terms. Mr. Cameron refused to apjiear before 
the committee. Both Mr. Wood and Mr. Blake denied the 
charc^e, and so the matter ended. 

Mr. McKellar. who was Commissioner of Public Works, had 
also transgressed the proprieties of Parliament — so the 
Opposition said — and a special committee was called for to 
inquire into his conduct. It was alleged, in his case, that he 
had commissioned one Lewis, a Government inspector of 
lands, while an election was pending in the south riding of 
Grey, to say that if the electors voted against Mr. Lauder, the 
Opposition candidate, " they should have the full benefit of the 
low estimate which had been made of the value of their lands, 
but not otherwise." The investigation into this scandal was a 
complete vindication of Mr. McKellar and a sore disappoint- 
ment to the Opposition. 

Mr. Mackenzie, who had taken an active part in the discus- 
sions of the House, was now called upon to show his knowledge 
of the financial aflfairs of the province and to unfold the policy 
of the Government in all matters affecting his department. It 
is needless to say that, although sworn in as Treasurer but two 
months before, he showed a marvellous grasp of the details of 
his office ; and his budget speech is in no sense inferior to the 
budget speeches of many worthy successors, who had the 
advantage of experience in their favor. He opened his remarks 
by a running commentary on the privileges enjoyed by 
Ontario, under the Union Act. " It was the constant complaint 
prior to 1867, that we were subjected, as a people, to unfair 
induences. We were placed in the position of contributing 
from two-thirds to three-fourths of the revenue of the 


i i 








couuti*)-, while we were always unable to obtain for any 
local purposes, such as we tax ourselves for under the present 
system, the half of the actual revenue of the united provinces. 
In this respect, he believed the change effected by the confed- 
eration of the provinces was extremely beneficial tQ us as a 
province; and he hoped to the Province of Quebec also, by 
stitnulating people to greater exertions in regard to local 
atikirs. instead of depending upon the general resources," 

He then pointed out the benefits accruing to Ontario from 
her admirable municipal system and the consequent relief 
which it afforded to the Treasury. " Our surplus," he said, 
" was not owing so much to the accumulation of balances in 
the Treasurer's hands as to the relief to the Treasury of 
Ontario from charges for a variety of public works which in 
the other provinces were paid by the Provincial Government." 
He advocated the free education of indigent pupils at the 
Belleville Institute for the Deaf and Dumb and the Brantford 
Institute for the Blind, using the expressive words: "It was 
the bounden duty of the country to see that such children 
were properly educated." 

In proposing an increased grant for education, he sai^l : 
" The education of the people was one of the very first con- 
siderations that should actuate a Government in preparing 
estimates of public expenditure." Speaking of the teachers, 
he said : '* It was extremely desirable to raise the profession of 
teachers as much as possible. They were a most important 
class of persons, and uuich of the future prosperity of the 
country depended on the class of teachers that were employed 
ill our public schools. When, under the late school act, 
higher qualifications were demanded of teachers, it would 
be quite unfair to demand these qualifications without 
demanditiir a remuneration somewhat largar than before." 

^\'r-'': '-'W 

mh. .uackexzie axj> provixcial politics. 


He also advocated a vifjorous immigration policy, and tho 
Settlement of the dispute between Ontario and Quebec as to 
our Western boundaries. 

The promised legislation with regard to Dual Representation 
was brought down by Mr. Bluko, by which members of the 
Legislative Assembly of Ontario were thereafter disqualified 
from sitting and vesting in the House of Conniions. The 
Railway Aid resolutions were also submitted to the House for 
approval, as promised by the Liberals when in Opposition, and 
amendments were made to the Registry Act providing for the 
distribution, among the municipalities, of certain portions of 
the income of registrars in excess of the sums mentioned in 
the Act. 

A sum of 85,000 was placed in the estimates as a reward 
for the apprehension of the murderers of Scott ; and on the 
2nd of March, the House prorogued. 

The great services rendered the Province of Ontario by Mr. 
Mackenzie, as a member of the Local Legislature, should not 
be overlooked. Had he declined the nomination in the west 
riding of Middlesex, it is more than probable its former Tory 
lepresentativc would have been re-elected, and this, on a 
division, would have counted two votes for Mr. Sandtield 
Macdonald. Besides winning a seat for his party, his courage 
and devotion in entering tlie field against the Sandfield Mac- 
tlr.nald Administration stimulated the party to greater exertions 
all over the province. Success at the elections meant the 
fi)riTiation of a new Government, of which Mr. Mackenzie 
would necessarily be a member, and the hope oi this consoli- 
dated the party in many counties. In the struggle in the 
House, also, with the Administration, Mr. Mackenzie's counsel 
was of great value, as well as his pertinacity and destructive- 
acss as a tlebater. Had he reposed on his laurels as leader of 








the Opposition, at Ottawa, or had he been less devoted to liis 
party, he would never have assumed the additional burdens of 
a seat in tlie Legislative Assembly. What Ontario owes to him 
for the sacrifices he made, and to those who acted with him, is 
it not written in the Books of the Chronicles of the Liberal 
party during the last twenty years? 

When the members of the Local Legislature who held seats 

in the House of Commons were relieved from the discharcfe 

of their duties as provincial legislators, they were almost 

immediately called to meet at Ottawa ; and during the session 

of that year (1872) were told that they must resign their seats 

as members of the Local Legislature befoie they could be 

■elected members of the Dominion Parliament. Both Mr. 

Mackenzie and Mr. Blake, the only two members concerned, 

■chose the House of Connnons ; but before doing so, had agreed 

wisely and fortunately for the people of Ontario 'upon Mr. 

Oliver Mowat, as leader of the Government. Objection was 

taken to this appointment on account of Mr. Mowat's position 

AS vice-chancellor for the province ; and it was many years 

before the country was relieved from the pitiful reiteration of 

the Tory press, that in accepting the Premiership he descended 

from the bench regardless of his judicial ermine. That no 

mistake was made in his appointment is abundantly proven 

by his record as the Liberal leader for twenty years. Those 

^vho were associated witli him in the old Parliament of Canada 

i-ecognised the great ability which he possessed ; and among 

the many letters of congratulation received by Mr. Mackenzie 

on account of this appointment, the one already quoted from 

the Hon. L. H. Holton may be taken as expressing the views 

of all his old associates in the Parliament of Canada. 

The following letter also from the same writer is worthy of 
note : 




Sir Oliver Mowat. 

hv 01 



"Montreal, .-'nn. 7th, 1872. 
" My Dear Mackexzie, 

"I need not say that I have followed your movements in Ontario with 
intense interest. Tlie vigor of the onset that brought the crisis, and the 
sound judgment with which the crisis itself was dealt with, were equally 
admirable. I confess, however, to some concern at finding both you and 
Blake yoked to the local car. Am I right in the inference that this is 
merely a temporary arrangement rendered necessary, or at least expedi- 
ent, by the newness of public life of some of your colleagues, and that 
after getting the machine in good running order, you and Blake will 
withdraw, and beyond i'roserving your seats in the Assembly confine 
yourselves to the Dominion service. This has been my theory from the 
start. The only debatable point in your proceedings is the ai)pointment 
of Scott, but that I am prepared not only to defend but to commend. 
Our great need as a party is a conviction in the public mind that we can 
govern, and to have formed a Provin^^ial Cabinet without an eastern man 
and without a Roman Catholic in it would have been nearly tantamount 
to a confession that you could not form what used to be 'a broad-bot- 
tomed administration," and any otiier must be ephemeral. Now Scott 
fulfils both these essential conditions, and is in all other respects, saving 
of course his Tory antecedents, which he necessarily abandons in joining 
you, not merely an unobjectionable, but a most desirable colleague with 
reference to the efficiency of your Provincial Administration. 

" Trul; yours, 


" Hon. Alex Mackenzie, 


^1 : 








Conditiona for constructing the Canadian Pacific Railway — Dnbate in Parlia- 
ment — Burdens involved — New Brunswick School Bill — Rights of the Min- 
ority — Mr. Mackenzie's Attitude— First Gerrymander. 

HE great event of the session of 1872 was the formal 
proposition of the Government for the construction 
of a trans-continental railway. As we have seen, 
by the terms of union with British Columbia, 
Parliament wad pledged to commence such a road 
within two years of the date of union, and complete it 
within ten years of the same date. The Eastern terminus of 
the road was to be some point on or near Lake Nipissing; the 
Western terminus, the shore of the Pacitic Ocean. The course 
and line of the road w as to be subject to the approval of the 
Governor in Council. The railway was to be constructed by 
a Company, to be approved by the Governor-in-Councii. 
The Company was to receive a grant of 50,000,000 acres of 
land in blocks of twenty miles in depth, on each side of the 
line, alternating with similar blocks reserved for the Govern- 
ment. In case the ')0;000,000 acres of land were not avail- 
able contiguous to the railway, the deficiency was to be 
made up out of other lands held by the Government. A 
subsidy, not exceeding $30,000,000 was to be paid the 
Company as the work progressed, and the Governor in 
Council was to be authorised to raise by loan this amount, 




if necessary. Provision was also made to construct a branch 
line from Manitoba to some point on the American frontier, 
and another branch line to some point on Lake Superior. 

The Opposition had, in a preneral way, expressed their opinion 
with regard to the construction of such a railway, when the 
terms for the admission of British Columbia were before the 
House; and ther 3 remained little to do except to formulate their 
objections. They first protested against investing the Governor- 
in-Council with the power of approving of the route along which 
the railway should be built, claiming that to place 50,000,000 
acres of land and $30,000,000 of money at the disposition of 
the Government for a railway, wherever they might choose to 
locate it, was an abnegation of the functions of Parliament. 
The country had suffered severely from the unwise choice the 
Government had made with regard to the route of the Inter- 
colonial Railway, not more than one-fourth the length of the 
proposed Canadian Pacific Railway. If they were faithless in 
the shorter road, how could they be trusted in the larger one ? 
iSandtield Macdonald's Government, in Ontario, had suffered 
defeat largely because it had taken to itself the power of 
paying over $l,oOO,000 to railways without first submitting to 
Parliament the allocation of the roads to be so aided. The 
public opinion of Ontario was, therefore, against granting the 
Government the extraordinary powers asked for. Their 
second protest was against the power claimed by the resolution 
to charter a company without first submitting to Parliament 
for its approval the conditions on which such charter was to 
be granted. Their third protest was against the assumption 
by the Government of handing over 50,000,000 acres of land 
— equal in extent to six provinces of the size of Manitoba — 
without reference to Parliament Their fourth protest was 



t iiii'ii: ii' 



against chartering a railway company of which any member 
of Parliament might be a shareholder. 

Never did a Government, in the history of any colony, under 
the British Crown, ask for such extraordinary power. No won- 
der, with the prospect of getting the authority which was asked 
for in the resolutions respecting this railway, that Sir George 
Cartier exclaimed, " The Governor-in-Council is a great insti- 
tution." When Mr. Mackenzie protested against the usurpa- 
tion of the authority of Parliament by the Executive, an 
appeal to the majfjrity of the House was almost the only 
answer made. No evidence was produced even that the case 
was urgent, that any public interest would suft'er by reasonable 
delay, or that public opinion was in favor of immediate action. 
Even so strong a supporter of the Government as Senator 
Macphcrson objected to the immediate construction of the 
whole line of railway. On April 3, 1871, when the British 
Columbia resolutions were before the Senate, he said : "I do 
not yield to any honorable gentleman in the desire to see an 
interoceanic railway through British territory ; but we 
should advance prudently, using the American lines to our 
South-Westein frontier ; then, build our railway westward 
through the prairie lands which are so attractive to settlers, 
and carefully explore the country between Fort Garry and 
Lake Nipissing before undertaking to build a railway through 
it. It is absurd to say that the exchequer of the Dominion 
is to be burdened with an expenditure of $100,000,000 for the 
proposed railway. No one can seriously believe that there 
is any such design in contemplation. Would any Govern- 
ment be insane enough to propose such a thing ? Would the 
country sanction such a policy ; or would it be possible to 
borrow such a sum of mcmey?" It is feared, however, that 
prospective contractors and others, whoso intluence with the 



K, '!^' 




I the 

ilo to 


I tho 

Clovernment was so potent, had given assurances of substantial 
support of such a character as would enable the Governor in 
Council to act in defiance of public opinion ; and before the 
close of the year it was pretty well known that this was really 
the case. The futility of an appeal to a purchased jury is well 

For the first time since Confederation, the House was called 
upon to consider a question likely to arouse relifrious prejudices, 
and to lead to a misunderstandinnr between Catholics and 
Protestants as to the attitude of the two political parties with 
regard to the rights of minorities. In 1S71, the Legislative 
Assembly of New Brunswick passed a new school act, with- 
drawing from Roman Catholics the privilege of establishing 
separate schools, and providing for the support of public schools 
by general taxation without distinction of persons or creeds. 
The Roman Catholics of New Brunswick strongly protested 
against the passage of the bill, demanding the same privileges 
as were conceded to the minority in Ontario and Quebec. Their 
views being rejected by the Legislative Assembly, the Roman 
Catholics petitioned the Governor-General to disallow the Act, 
urging that if the Act went into operation, they would be 
compelled to contribute to the support of a school system of 
which they conscientiously disapproved. They contended that 
under the 93rd clause of the British North America Act, they 
had a right to the educational privileges which they claimed 
and of which, in their opinion, they were unlawfully deprived 
It}' the Legislative Assembly. 

Their petition was referred to the Minister of Justice, Sir 
John Macdonald, who held that tho Legislative Assembly had 
not exceeded its power, and that therefore ho could not advise 
His E.^cellcncy to disallow tho Act to which objection was 
taken. On May 20th, Mr. Costigaii moved a resolution setting 






forth the viows of the Roniiin Catliolics on this (jucstion ami 
asking His Excellency in conse([uence, "to disallow the New 
Brunswick school law " at the earliest possible period. The 
debate extended over several days. It was plainly seen thut 
both sides of the House were anxious not to interfere with the 
control of Local Legislatures over matters within their constitu- 
tional limitations, so Mr. Costigan's motion was lost, as were 
also several amendments. First, the amendment by Colonel 
Cray, aflirming that the law passed by the Local Legislature in 
New Brunswick respecting connnon schools was strictly within 
the limits of its constitutional powers. Second, the nmend- 
ment by Mr. Chauveau, proposing that the Imperial (Jovern- 
meut should amend the British North America Act of 18()7j 
so as to secure to every religious denomination in New 
Brunswick and Nova Scotia all such rights, advantages, and 
privileges with regard to their schools as they enjoyed at the 
time of the passage of the Jiritish North America Act Third, 
an amendment expressing regret that His Excellency had not 
been advised to disallow the New Brunswick School Act. A 
motion by Mr. Colby, expressing regret that the New Bruns- 
wick School Act was unsatisfactory to a portion of the inhabi- 
tants of that Province, and expressing the hope that the 
Legislature of New J^runswick, at its next session, w,)uld 
remove all just grounds of discontent, was carried, together with 
a motion moved by Mr. Mackenzie • "That the opinion of the 
law officers of the Crown and, if possible, the opinion of the 
Judicial Committee of the Privy Council should be obtained as 
to the right of the New lirunswick Legislature to make such 
changes in the school law as deprived the Roman Catholics ot 
the privihiges they enjoyed at the time of the union, in respect 
of religious etlucation in the connnon schools, with the view o[ 
ascertaining' whether the case conies within tlie terms of the 



93nl clause of the British Nortli America Act, 1SG7." On 
NovemLer 29, 1872, the law oHicers of the Crown concuucd 
in the opinion previously expressed by Sir John Macdonald ; 
nnniely, "that the New Brunswick School Bill was within the 
juristliction of the Legislative Assembly." The Judicial Com- 
mittee of the Privy Council declined to express any opinion 
on the question, on the j^'round tliat the power of allowing or 
disallowing provincial acts is vested by statute in the Governor- 
General of the Douunion of Canada, acting under the advice 
of his constitutional advisers. 

An attempt was made to bring the (juestion before the 
Privy Council on appeal from the Supreme Court of New 
!>runswick, in wliich it was decided that the Provincial Act 
wis valid ; but the law officers of the Crown determined 
that such an appeal should not be submitted, us they still 
adhered to the previous opinion. 

On the Gth of May, 1874, Mr. Costigan moved a resolution 
calling upon the Imperial Parliament to amend the Biitish 
North America Act in the direction desired by the Roman Catho- 
lics of New Brunswick, which, with the permission of the 
House, he afterwards withdi-evv. Again, in 1875, on the 8th 
of March, he renewed his demand for an amendment to the 
British North America Act by which the Roman Catholic 
inhabitants of New Hrunswick would Ik; set on the same 
footing as the Roman Catholic minority in Ontario or the 
Protestant minority in Quebec. 

Tiie proposal to amend the Constitution of the Dominion in 
order to allow the establishment of Separate schools in New 
Brunswick, contrary to the expressed wi.^hes of the people, 
was strongly deprecated by leading members of the House. 
ICven those who sympathised with the contention of the 
Ivomau Catholics believed that to vote for the resolution 





before the House would be subversive of the principles upon 
which the Constitution was founded. To destroy the local 
independence of one province would practically be to destroj' 
tlie independence of all. If the Dominion Government began 
the practice of coercing one province, where v/as it to stop ? 
Might it not lead to the transfer of the subject of education 
from the Local Legislatures to the Parliament of Canada, or 
to the abolition of any or all the privileges enjoyed by the 
provinces under the British North America Act ? 

In speaking of Mr. Costigan's resolution, Mi-. Mackenzie said : 
" I believe in free schools and in the non-denominational system, 
and if I could persuade my fellow-countrymen in Ontario or 
Quebec or any other province to adopt that principle, it is the 
one I would give preference to above all others ; but I cannot 
shut my eyes to the fact that in all the provinces, there is a 
very considerable number of people — in the Province of Que- 
bec, indeed a large majority — who believe that the dogmas 
of religion should be taught in the public schools ; that it has 
an intimate relationship with the morality of the people, that 
it is essential to their welfare as a people, that the doctrines 
of their church should be taught and religious principle, 
according to their theoiy of i-eligious principle, bo instilled 
into the minds of their children at School. For many years 
after I held a seat in the Parliament of Canada 1 waged war 
against the principle of Separate schools. I hoped to be able 
— young and inexperienced as I was — to establish a system to 
which all would ultimately yield their assent. Sir, it was 
found to be impracticable in operation and impossible in 
political contingencies; and consequently wlien the Confed- 
eration Act was passed in 18G7, or rather when the Quebec 
resolutions were adopted in 1804-65, which embodied the 
principle that should be the law of the land, Confederation 



took place under the compact then entered upon. I heartily 
assented to that proposition, and supported it by speech and 
vote in the Confederation debate. And, Sir, the same ground 
which led me on that occasion to give loyal assistance to the 
Confederation project, embracing as it did a scheme of having 
Separate Schools for Catholics in Ontario and Piotestants in 
Quebec, caused me to feel bound to extend, at all events, my 
sympathy, if I ccjuld not give my active assistance to those 
in other provinces who believed they were Itvboring under 
the same disability and suffering from the same grievances 
that the Catholics of Ontario complaiiicd of for many years. 
But, Sir, there is a higher principle still which we have to 
adhere to, and that is to preserve in their integrity the 
principles of the Constitution under which we live. If any 
personal act of mine, if anything I could do would assist to 
relieve those who believe they are living under a grievance 
in the Province of New Brunswick, that act would be gladly 
undertaken and zealously performed ; but I have no right, 
this House has no right, to interfere with the legislation of a 
Province when that legislation is secured by Imperial com- 
pact, to M'hich all the parties submitted in the Act of Con- 
federation. ^ f^ ^ ^ 1 may point this out to honorable 
gentlemen in this House and to the country that, if it were 
competent for this House directly or indirectly to set asido 
the Constitution as regards one of the smaller Provinces, it 
would be equally competent for this House to set it aside as 
regards the privileges which the Catholics enjoy at this 
moment in Ontario. It is not desirable that we should make 
the way open for such ])urpose, and it is not desirable that 
anvthing should be done which would excite religious discus- 
sions and pi-omoto religious animosities." Mr. Mackenzie 
closed his speech by proposing an amendment declaring that 






legislation by the Imperial Parliament encroaehinr>- on any of 
the powers reserved to any of the provinces by the British 
North America Act would bo an infraction of the British 
Constitution and that it would be inexpedient and fraught 
with danger to each of the provinces for the House to invite 
such legislation." 

After considerable discussion, it was proposed to add to Mr. 
Mackenzie's motion an expression of regret that the New 
Brunswick Legislature had not modified the School Act of 1871 
in such a way as to remove all just ground of dissatisfaction, 
and lat an humble address be presented to Her Majesty, 
praying her to use such influence with the Legislature of New 
Brunswick as would secure such modifications. The divisions 
in the House showed a very curiout dmnge of front on the 
part of the Conservatives. In 1872 they unanimously voted 
for a resolution expressing regret at the action of the Legis- 
lative Assembly of New Brunswick ; and Sir John Macdonald, 
who was then Premier, expressed, on behalf of the Government, 
his willingness to bear the expenses of appeal to the Privy 
Council. They also voted down, assisted by Mr. Mackenzie, 
Mr. Blake, and other leading Liberals, an amendment by Mr. 
Dorion, embodying the view that the bill should be disallowed. 
They then voted down another amendment proposed hy Mr. 
Chauveau, calling upon the Imperial Government for such a 
modification of the British North America Act as would meet 
the complaints of the Roman Catholics in New Brunswick ; 
while in 1875, they were unwilling to express regret at the 
action of the Legislature of New Brunswick in not repealing 
the obnoxious School Act, but were quite ready to ask the 
Imperial Parliament to amend the British North America Act, 
18G7, as desired. Even such a doughty champion of Protest- 
antism as Mr. Bowell was prepared to amend the constitution 




of New Brunswick nolens volena on the lines advocated by 
Mr. Costigan. 

The action of the Liberal party on the New Brunswick 
School Bill is worthy of the highest praise. The real question 
at issue was not whether the Roman Catholics of New Bruns- 
wick should be granted Separate Schools or not ; the question 
was, should the Dominion Parliament override the Constitu- 
tion in order to redress a grievance which came within the 
province of the Local Legislature. No doubt many Roman 
Catholics in their conscientious zeal for Separate Schools, felt 
that in resisting the demand made by Mr. Costigan for the 
relief they desired, the Liberals were actuated by hostility 
to Separate Schools. They failed to see that the exercise 
of the power which would give them Separate Schools 
in New Brunswick might, in the hands of an unscrupulous 
leader, deprive them of Separate Schools in the Province of 
Ontario, or even in Quebec. The sections of the British North 
America Act which deal with education were specially intended 
for the protection of minorities. If the Parliament of Canada 
could so far forget itself as to ignore its own Constitution, then 
every safeguard provided for the protection of the minority 
in the Province of Ontario, would be swept away. 

The session of 1872 will also be remembered as the session 
in which the first Redistribution bill of a Conservative Gov- 
ernment was introduced containing the very objectionable 
features of the later measures of 1882 and 1892, for instance, 
the old borough of Niagara, witii a population of 3,9Go, and 
Cornwall town and township, with a p(»pulation of 7,1 1^, were 
each allowed a representative in Parliament or a member for 
.5,500 inhabitants, although the mean average was 18,315 
persons per member. North Simcoe, South Bruce, Essex and 
Lanibton were only allowed one member each, or at tlie rate of 

^ ^n y 

11 ! 








32,485 persons per member. The electoral district of Monek 
was carved out as a Tory preserve, and the county of Huron 
was adjusted for the purpose of sacrificing its Liberal repre- 
sentative, Mr. M. C. Cameron. It was also provided that the 
cities of Ottawa and Hamilton should not be divided into elec- 
toral districts the same as Montreal and Toronto. The bill, as 
submitted by the Government, passed the House — the first of 
a series of wrongs of ^ similar kind adopted for the purpose of 
stifling the free expre'^ision of the public opinion of Canada at 
the polls. 



General Election of 1872— Issues Before the Country— Sir John Meets Mac- 
kenzie at Sarnia — Appointment of a Leader — Selection of Mr. Maekin/ie — 
Interesting Letter to his IJiotlicr — Irreguhir Elections — The Pacific Scandal 
— Huntington's Charges — Appointment of a Committee — Sir John Mac- 
donald's Evasions — The Oaths IJitl — Prorogation Amidst Great Excitement 
—Meeting of Liberals in Railway Connnittee Room— Memorial to the Gover- 
nor-General — Appointment of a Commission — Meeting of Parliament- 
Speeches by the Opposition Leaders — Resignation of the Government. 

HE country had now fivo years' experience of " no- 
party " Governmcut under Sir John Macdonald, 
and tlic electors were called upon to consider how 
far he had fulfilled the promises made at the in- 
GJ^ ception of Confederation. Certainly it was impossible 
for him, from the complexion of his Cabinet, and from 
the character of the legislation of the past live years, to raise 
the " no-party " cry a second time. Mr. Howland and Mr. 
MacDougall, his Liberal allies from Ontario in 18G7, were no 
longer members of his Uovernment ; Mr. Fergusson-Blair had 
passed over to the majority ; and the men called to till their 
places from Ontario, whatever may have been their previous 
[tarty antecedents, were everywhere regarded by Liberals as 
his most devoted followers. Sir Francis Hincks, his Minister 
of Finance, had forfeited all claims upon the Liberal party 
many years ago, and neither Mr. Aikins nor Mr. Morris could 
boast of a Lil)eral fcjllowing. As, therefore, the " no-party " 







cry could no longer be relied upon, a gigantic scheme for pur- 
chasing the election was inaugurated. 

Tlie questions to be considered by the electors were large 
enough for an empire, let alone a colony. Since 18G7, Canada 
had acquired the North- West Territories, had given a pro- 
vincial constitution to part of these Territories, and had placed 
the remainder under a Territorial Government. For the peo- 
ple of Canada to consider whether the project of " nation- 
building" on which they had now embarked was a wise one, 
and whether the constitution under which their borders were 
being extended was consistent with the interests of the other 
Provinces, were issues oi no ordinary magnitude. If the 
foundations were well ami truly laid, the prosperity of the 
country, as a whole, would be advanced. If, on the other 
hand, popular rights were disregarded, dangerous concessions 
made, or bad precedents estal)lished, then, like the union of 
Ireland with Great Britain under Pitt, the extension of her 
boundaries would have been elfected at the expense of the 
future comfort and well-being of the Dominion. 

Mr. Mackenzie and his Liberal allies found ainple material 
in the blundering of the Government in connection with tlie 
North- West Territories, and in the organisation of the Pro- 
vince of Manitoba, by which to censure the Government and 
to array public feeling against them, and so the whole train 
of circumstances — the expulsion of MacDougall in' 18G9, the 
murder or Scott in 1870, the uprising of the people, rendering 
Colonel Wolseley's expedition necessary, and the suspected 
truculence of the Administration to Sir George Cartier — were 
the subjects of discussion on every platform. It is to be 
feared that in the prominence given to details the larger ques- 
tions affecting the constitutional issues involved were lost 
sight of. 




The terms mnde with Britisli Cohnnhia were also before 
tlie electors. Were these terms just to the other Provinces ? 
Did they give British Cohiiiibia more influence in Parliament 
than she was fairly entitled to ? The covenant ^ > complete a 
line of railway, connecting her with the older Provinces, in 
twelve years, without an estimate of the cost of such an un- 
dertaking, was a lit subject for discussion. And here, too, it 
is possible that the rhapsodies of the Conservative stump- 
orator over the extension of our Dominion, from the Atlantic 
to the Pacitic, impressed the electors more than the risks they 
were taking in endorsing the policy of the Government. 

Then, there was the power taken by the Government to 
charter a company for the construction of the Canada Pacific 
Railway, and, of its own will and pleasure, to grant such a 
charter to whomsoever it pleased — capitalists, members of the 
Senate, members of the House of Counuons, contractors or 
speculators, all of whom might have a tinancial interest in see- 
ing the Government sustained. There was also the power of 
handing over to such a company 50,000,000 acres of land and 
S30,000,000 of hard cash. Would the country approve of such 
prodigality ? Could the country stand such a burden ? Were 
we not going too fast ? Was there any necessity for such an 
expenditure ? And here again every attempt to obtain a sober 
answer to these questions, or to get the deliberate judgment of 
the people on an undertaking so rast, was interrupted by ap- 
peals to the imagination. It was said : " If the union is to be 
complete, permanent, and strong, West and East must bo 
bound together by an iron band. The teeming millions of 
Europe must be invited to settle upon our fertile prairies, and 
the manufacturers of Ontario must be allowed an easy en- 
trance to the markets of the West. England will leml us all 






the money we want. Let us not be faint-hearted. T,et us 
borrow freely." 

The selection of the long route for the Intercolonial Railway 
regardless of the commercial interests of the whole Dominion ; 
the granting of " better terms " to Nova Scotia, without con- 
sidering the rights of the other Provinces to a readjustment 
at the same time of the financial basis on which they entered 
the union ; the abandonment of the Fenian claims under the 
Washington Treaty ; the surrender of Canadian rights on the 
St. Lawrence, had all to be pronounced upon by the electors 
of Canada. Seldom, indeed, have the people of any country 
been called upon to express an opinion upon greater questions 
constitutional, commercial, or financial. That such questions 
could arise in the government of a country, suggests the 
responsibility which representative institutions impose upon 
those who, in the last analysis, hold its destiny in their hands. 

The Liberal party entered upon the campaign of 1872 with 
great energy. They felt they had a strong case against the 
Government, and were determined to make the most of it, 
through the press and on the platform. Sir John Macdonald 
and his colleagues were equally active ; and Ontario, as usual, 
was the scene of many conflicts between leaders on each side. 
Mr. Mackenzie, who had charge of the campaign for the Liberal 
party, placed himself at the disposal ol his friends throughout 
the Province, and in addition to the burdens of his own 
election, did valiant service for the Liberal cause in many 
other constituencies. 

One of the most interesting episodes in the campaign was 
the visit paid by Sir Jolm Macdonald to the county of Lamb- 
ton, and his complete discomfiture by Mr. Mackenzie at a pub- 
lic meeting in the town of Sarnia. The Conservative party 
was veiy anxious that Sir John Macdonald should address 




Is own 

Ign was 

, a pub- 

the electors. Ir he could only be prevailed upon to give 
them but one meeting, Mr. Mackenzie's defeat was assured. 
As in the case of Rhoderick Dim, they believed " one blast 
upon his bugle horn were worth a thousand men." 

The Liberals were equally anxious for his appearance, as 
they believed their untitled champion was more than a match 
for the knighted chieftain of the Conservatives. Public ex- 
citement with regard to this great meeting, which was to take 
place at Sarnia on the 21st of August — the day fixed for the 
nomination of candidates — became more intense as the time 
approached. By special trains and vehicles of all descrip- 
tions, the people of the country gathered in thousands. Sir 
John arrived early in the day in a gun boat which had been 
chartered to bring him from Goderich, and at twelve o'clock 
the proceedings were opened by the returning officer calling 
for nominations. Mr. Mackenzie was in tlic best of form, 
and appeared to be determined not to be misunderstood from 
want of plainness in speech — Sir John's presence arousing his 
best energies. Ho first expressed his great pleasure at being 
confronted by the leader of the Conservative party, in his 
own riding, as it gave him the opportunity of saying in his 
presence, as fearlessly as ever he did in his absence, what he 
tliought of his policy and his party. During the course of 
Mr. Mackenzie's speech he was frequently interrupted by 
remarks from Sir John Macdonald. " I was going to call him 
my honorable friend," Mr. Mackenzie said, in alluding to Sir 
John, " but till he retracts a statement he made on the King- 
ston hustings I cannot call him that." 

Sill John — I certainly won't retract ib. 

Mil. Mackenzie— He says he won't retract it. I defy him 
to prove it. Until he does prove it, I shall trout him as a 



Later on, Mr. Mackenzie, referring to the desire expressed 
by 8ir John Macdonald that he (Mr. Mackenzie) should join 
his Government, said it was the okl story, " walk into my par- 
lour said the spider to the fly." The " honorable gentleman's 
parlour was a very dangerous place for an^'^one with a political 
character to enter, and no one ever came out of it clean." 

Sill John — How about Brown ? How about Brown ? 

Mr. Mackenzie — Mr. Bi-own never entered your parlour. 
Mr. Brown and you sat in the Cabinet on equal terms. 

Mr. Mackenzie then charged Sir John Macdonald's Govern- 
ment with deceit in dealing with the troubles in the North- 
West Territory, quoting froni a letter addressed by Mr. 
MacDouirall to Mr. Howe in LS70, as follows : " Enoucfh has 
transpired to satisfy every attenti\e observer that it nevei- 
was your policy or the policy of a majority of your colleagues 
to send any expedition whatever to the North- West. The in- 
dignant expression of public opinion, cliiefly from Ontario, and 
the bold and detenniiu'd attitude of the leaders of the Oppo- 
sition in Parliament compelled you to organize the force and 
put it in motion, and tiie same pul)lic opinion prevented you 
from recalling it after it had reached Thunder Bay. But you 
did the next best thing for the rebel president — Riel ; you de- 
prived the commander of the expedition of the power to 
arrest him or to in\oku the aid of any magistrate fur that 

Speaking of the "better terms" granted to Nova Scotia, lie 
pointed out the dangerous eti'ect of the Government's course, 
and called upon Sir John Macdonald to say what he would do 
with reference to the " better terms" to New Brunswick. 

Sm John — What would you do ? » 

Mil. Mackenzie — Wait till my (Government is formed ; then 
I will tell you. 












Sir John — God help New Brunswick then. 

Mr. Mackenzie — I say, God help Sir John Macdonald then. 

Mr. Mackenzie closed his speech by a review of the finan- 
cial condition of the country, and expressed the hope, judging 
from the result of the elections thus far, that the Liberal 
party would not be much longer in opposition. 

Sir John Macdonald's reply to Mr. Mackenzie was a great 
disappointment to his friends, and, instead of helping, materially 
injured the prospects of the Conservative candidate, Mr.Vidal. 

A few of the contests of this election deserve special notice. 
Sir George Cartier, so long dictator in his own Province, was 
defeated in Montreal by an immense majority, and had to look 
elsewhere for a seat. As the elections in ivlanitoba had not 
then taken place, it was arranged that Attorney-General Clark 
and Riel, who were the candidates for Provencher, should re- 
tire in his favor. Sir Francis Hincks, Minister of Finance, 
who expected such an easy victory over Mr. Paterson in South 
Brant, was also defeated. A seat was found for him in Bri- 
tish Columbia. The Hon. William MacDougall again offered 
himself as a candidate in the North Riding of Lanark in the 
Conservative interest; but his criticism of the Government 
after his return from the North- West, and his letters to Joseph 
Howe, had so alienated the affections of his old constituents as 
to render his defeat a comparatively easy matter. Mr. Aquila 
Walsh, Commissioner on the Intercolonial Railway, was de- 
feated in North Norfolk, and Mr. A. P. Macdonald, a noted 
railway contractor, in W^est Middlesex. 

The elections of 1872 were a great triumph for the Liberal 
party, and for the policy advocated by Mr. Mackenzie, as 
leader. Had he been permitted to grapple with his opponents 
on equal terms, the Government would have certainly been 




The Conservatives from the beginning to the end of the 
campaign were put upon the defensive, and their defence of 
the mal-administration of the past five years was completely 
broken down by the crushing attacks of the Liberal leader. 
There were several circumstances, however, which operated 
to their advantage. First, as the elections were not held on 
one and the same day, they were able to manufacture a cer- 
tain amount of public opinion in their favor by first open- 
ing those constituencies in which they were most likely to be 
successful. Second, they used the power which it was always 
felt open voting gave to the Government of the day, and that 
not only in the ordinary sense understood by undue influence, 
but in a far more questionable sense. Third, as will be after- 
wards shewn through the influence of Sir Hugh Allan and 
others, they had at their disposal an election fund suffi- 
ciently largo to demoralize thousands of the electors; and 
there is no doubt that many constituencies were aflfected by 
the corrupt use made of this fund. Fourth, the position 
taken by the Liberal party with regard to the admission of 
British Columbia, and the " better terms " to Nova Scotia, 
was represented as one of hostility to these Provinces, gen- 
erally, and not as a defence of the Constitution, which it really 

In spite of all tliese circumstances, Sir John Maclonald's 
strength was considerably reduced, and in the Province of 
Ontario, particularly, the feeling was so decided as to leave 
him again largely in the minoi'ity. 

The Liberal party assembled at the opening of Parliament 
in 1873 in good spirits. Although not successful in the elec- 
tion, their ranks were greatly strengthened, and they were con- 
fident that even if the Government could not be overthrown 
at once, its tenure of office would be of short dvu-ation. 







The House was duly constituted by the election of Mr. Jas. 
Cockburn Speaker, after which His Excellency the Earl of 
Dufferin was pleased to make his first speech to both Houses 
of Parliament. 

For five years Mr. Mackenzie had acted as leader of the 
Liberal party, although not formally appointed to that posi- 
tion. The time had now come, in his opinion, for the formal 
election of a leader. The record of the steps taken to this 
end is fully contained in a letter to his brother Charles, 
written from Ottawa on Thursday, March Gth, the day after 
the House met. 

" We had a meeting of the Ontario members on Tuesday 
afternoon. I gave them my reasons for calling them together, 
and told them that Dorion had also called a meeting of the 
Quebec members, both meetings being with a view of forming 
a complete organization under one leader ; that I had hitlierto 
acted as leader, although not elected to that office ; that I was 
now resolved to retire from the position ; that we should 
have a friendly, open discussion on the subject, advising them 
to come to no decision until we could all meet together. I 
urged them to consider whether it would most advance the 
general interests of the party to make the choice from Quebec 
rather than from Ontario. I then said that my own impres- 
sion was that the preponderating power Ontario held, would 
probably induce members from all sections to select one of 
the members from that Province, and in that case I thought 
Mr. Blake should be chosen, as his splendid al)ilities and his 
standing in the country gave him many advantages, while his 
legal knowledge gave him additional power, placing liim 
ahead of all others in the House. Blake then spoke, agreeing 
in the general plans I suggested, but protesting against my 
conclusions. He spoke of my success during the last five 









years, and said the local Government was defeated through 
my efforts, and the late elections were carried by my influ- 
ence and exertions, and consequently if an Ontario man were 
chosen, it must be me ; and at any rate he could not listen to 
any proposal. One or two expressed themselves in favor of 
Blake in preference to me, all the others avoided any com- 
parison, but discussed the matter fully. Finally it was dele- 
gated to a committee to consider. This committee was previ- 
ously appointed to confer with a committee from Quebec, 
respecting the speakership and other matters. Our commi :tee 
were Rymal, Young, Blake, Richards and myself, the others, 
Dorion, Holton, Letellier, Huntington and John Young. We 
had three long meetings, during which we arrived first at the 
conclusion that it was advisable to have the leader from 
Ontario, Blake and I agreeing that all Ontario would take 
Dorion freely if they considered that step advisable. They 
were unanimous against it. I then proposed to agree on 
Blake, each of us promising our utmost efforts to support 
him. He would not listen to it. I also declined. The gen- 
eral meeting was adjourned till 4 o'clock this afternoon. 
The committee met again at 10, and I was pressed to yield 
which I reluctantly did. Dorion reported the result of the 
general meeting. Holton moved and GeofFrion seconded th , 
motion to adopt the committee's report and declare me leader 
of the whole party. This was at once put by the chairman 
(John Young) and carried unanimously, seventy members 
being present. I was extremely unwilling to accept the post 
again, as I told you, but at last I saw no escape. Of course 
the honor is a great one, especially when accompanied by 
such speeches as Holton's, Dorion's and Blake's, and conferred 
with entire unanimity. I, however, feel oppressed with the 
work ahead and my inability to do such work as one in my 



position should do. Political leadership should also exist 
where circumstances are easy. The absence ot" that condition 
caused mo to determine on refusing it, and even now I fear I 
liave made a mistake on that as well as on otlicr grounds." 

Nothing could show to better advantagtj the entire absence 
of selfishness in Mr. Mackenzie than the simple narrative 
above given. He could not be unconscious of his own 
strength, as he had already crossed swords with every Con- 
servative of any standing in the House. Neither could he 
be oblivious to the influence which he exerted as a public 
man upon the country, and the a]ipreciation with which his 
services were regarded by his party, and yet in the face of all 
those circumstances, he is more than willing to forego the 
honor of the leadership in favor of any person on whom the 
party may agree, and when there was no escape, he says, " I 
reluctantly accepted, perhaps I made a mistake." There is no 
elbowing of his way to the front, no supercilious disregard of 
others' claims, i:0 arrogant assertion of his own fitness for 
the position, but, on the contrar}', a humility and reticence 
worthy of the highest admiration. 

The first few days of the session of 1878 were occupied in 
dealing with fraudulent election returns. The Liberal candi- 
date for West Peterborough, Mr. John Bertram, received 745 
votes at the general election. His opponent received 705 
votes. Notwithstanding this, the returning officer declared the 
Conservative candidate duly elected. This irregularity was 
brought before the House on a motion by Mr. Blake, in which 
the gross invasion of the rights of Parliament and the flag- 
rant violation of duty by the returning officer were exposed in 
a scathing speech. 

Sir John Macd-jnald asked the House to refer the whole 
matter to the Committee on Privileges and Elections, instead of 

% I 


j Tj 


1 1 




following the precedents of previous Parliaments, allowing the 
candidate having the majority of votes to take the seat. This 
was agreed to iu a vote of 79 to 95, or a Government majority 
of 16. 

In the election in Mnskoka, it appears that Mr. Cockburn, 
the Liberal candidate, had a majority of the votes cast, but 
that the Returning Officer declined to return Mr. Cockbuni on 
account of certain irregularities in the election, thus leaving 
Muskoka unrepresented. From their narrow majority in the 
previous vote, the Government declined a division on this 
case, although the grounds for reference to a committee were 
much stronger. Tlie Clerk of the Crown in Chancery was 
directed to amend the return, and Mr. Cockburn took the seat, 
of which he would have been deprived during the whole ses- 
sion, were it not for the bold step taken by the Opposition. 

There were disputes, also, with regard to other seats in On- 
tario and in the Maritime Provinces, and in each case the 
Government used its majority to strengthen itself in the 

After the disputes with regard to contested seats were dis- 
posed of, the House was called upon by Mr, Huntington to 
consider a motion, out of which grew the disclosures known as 
the Pacific Scandal, which, to the regret of every Canadian, 
has been a reproach to the country from that day till now. 

By the Act passed the preceding year respecting the Can- 
adian Pacific llaihvay, the Government, as before stated, was 
authorized to charter a company having a subscribed capital 
of at least 810,000,000, for the construction of this road. If 
more than one company should be formed, power was given 
for their amalgamation. Two other Acts were passed during 
the same session with regard to the same railway. One was 
an Act to incorporate the Inter-Oceanie Railway Company of 





Canada, at the head of wliicli was tlie Hon. David MacPlier- 
son. Tlie other was an Act to incorporate the C. P. K Com- 
pany, at the head of which was Sir Hu<^h Alhin. Tliese three 
Acts completed the scheme for the buildinj^ of the road. The 
Government found cojisiderable difficulty in proceeding on 

account of the strength of the rival companies. Mr. IVFac- 
Pherson's company was composed largely of capitalists from 
Ontario ; Sir Hugh Allan's, of capitalists from Quebec. To 
amalgamate Uie two companies seemed to be impossible, as 
Mr. ilacpherson insisted upon the chairmanship of the com- 
panies, if amalgamated, and to this Sir Hugh objected. 

Sir John Macdonald, finding it impossible to effect a union 
of the two companies, announced the intention of the Gov- 
ernment to promote the formation of a new one out of the 
strongest men in tlie different Provinces, and a short tiuie be- 
fore the meeting of the House, in March, 1873, such an organi- 
zation was completed, of which Sir Hugh Allan was elected 

The large subsidy of land and money to be granted to the 
railway excited the cupidity of Sir Hugh Allan and his 
friends, and as during 1872 it rested with the Government to 
say wliich of the companies chartered should be allowed to 
construct the railway. Sir Hugh Allan proceeded at once to 
ingratiate himself with the Government by providing Sir 
John Macdonald liberally with funds for the elections. This 
becoming known, Mr. Huntington, on the 2ud of April, moved 
the following resolution : 




! I 

"That Mr. Huntinprton, a member of the House, having 
stated in his place that he is credibly informed and believes 
that he can establish by satisfactory evidence ; 

" That, in anticipation of the legislation of last session, as 
to the Pacific Railway, an agreement was made between Sir 
Hugh Allan, acting for liiniself, and certain other Canadian 
promoters, and G. W. McMullen, acting for certain United 
States capitalists, whereby the latter agreed to furnish all the 
funds necessary for the construction of the contemplated rail- 
way, and to give the former a certain per cent, of interest, in 
consiilcration of their interest and position, the scheme agreed 
on being ostensibly that of a Canadian company with Sir 
Hugh Allan at its head ; 

" That the Government were aware that negotiations were 
pending between these parties; 

" That subsequently an understanding was come to between 
the Government and Sir Hugh Allan and Mr. Abbott, M.P., — 
that Sir Hugh Allan and his friends should advance a large 
sum of money for the purpose of aiding the elections of the 
Ministers and their supporters at the ensuing general election, 
and that he and his friends should receive the contract for the 
construction of the railway, 

" That accordingly Sir Hugh Allan did advance a large sum 
of money for the purpose mentioned, and at the solicitation, 
and under the pressing instances, of Ministers ; 

" That part of the moneys expended by Sir Hugh Allan in 
connection with the obtaining of the Act of incorporation and 
charter was paid to him by the said United States capitalists 
under the agreement with him. It is 

" Ordered, that a committee of seven members be appointed 
to enquire into all the circumstances connected with the nego- 
tiations for the construction of the Pacific Railway, with the 



legislation of last session on the subject, and with the grant- 
ing of the charter to Sir Hugh Allan and others ; with power 
to send for persons, papers and records and with instructions 
to report in full the evidence taken before, and all proceedings 
of, said Committee." 

In moving, Mr. Huntington contented himself with saying 
that " He felt compelled by a deep sense of duty to place the 
motion he was about to make before the House at the earliest 
possible moment, in view of the very grave question raised. 
He had already stated in his place that he was credibly in- 
formed that arrangements had been made by Sir Hugh Allan 
and an American gentleman representing certain American 
capitalists for the construction of the Pacific Railway, in anti- 
cipation of the legislation of last session ; that the Government 
were aware of this, and that subsequently arrangements were 
made between the Government and Sir Hugh Allan, by which 
a large sum of money was to be paid to the Government for 
the purpose of influencing the recent elections, in return for 
which Sir Hugh Allan and his friends were free to receive the 
contract for the construction of the railway, and that this 
was done." 

This motion was regarded by the Government as a vote of 
want of confidence, which no doubt it was, and without reply 
or explanation, or even denial, a vote was taken and the Gov- 
ernment sustained by a majority of 31. 

On the next day. Sir John Macdonald gave notice that he 
would ask the House to appoint a special committee to incuire 
into, and report upon, the several matters contained and stated 
in Mr. Huntington's resolutions just voted down, the com- 
tnittec to consist of Messrs. Blanchet, Blake, A. A. Dorion, 
John Hillyard Cameron, and James Macdonald, of Pictou. 

Mr. Mackenzie suggested that a short Act should be passed, 



— ' [~tir i "itri fa rfy rrT; i irrr'-.n~ 








giving power to the coiumitteo to sit cluring recess and to t.-iko 
evidence under oath. To tliis, Sir Jolin Macdonald agreed, in- 
timating at the .same time that he had doubts as to the power 
of the House to i)ass such an Act. 

The committee met on the 17th ot April, appointed Joini 
Hillyard Cameron, chairman, and recommended, as their first 
report, that an Act be passed to enable them to examine wit- 
nesses on oath. A Bill for this purpose passed speedily 
through both Houses, but on account of the doubt raised by 
Sir John Macdonald, His Excellency referred it to the home 
authorities. On the 3rd of May, it was transmitted to Eng- 
land, and on the 27th of June the Earl of Kind)erley tele- 
graphed the Governor-General that the Act was disallowed. 

Immediately on the passing of the Oaths Bill, a meeting of 
the connnittee was called, apparently for the purpose of ex- 
amining Sir Francis Hincks, who had been summoned as a 
witness. At the same tune Sir John Macdonald appeared 
before the committee and stated that as Sir Hugh Allan and 
Ml'. Abbott were absent from the country the conuuittee had 
lietter ask the House for the privilege of adjourning to some 
day to be named on which these two gentlemen could be pre- 
sent. The committee concurred in Sir John's suggestion, and 
reported to the House accordingly-. Mr. Huntington and the 
other members of the Liberal party objected to the proposed 
adjournment. Mr. Huntington .said : " He had been prepared 
for days to proceed u[)on his own responsibility with the in- 
vestigation. He had given the connnittei; a list of his wit- 
nesses; that if the committee adjourned for two or threo 
months he might not be in the same position as he was now. 
as in the interval tliere might be a manipulation of the A'it- 
ncsses by whom the charges could bo proven. If the p djlio 
men of this c!»uiitry who were charged with this crim were 



innocent, then, by all means, it was in the interests of the 
House and the country that their innocence shoulr. be estab- 
lished as early as possible. If, on the other hand, the charges 
were true, they had all a deep interest that the proof should 
be forthcoming and that they should wash their hands of this 
terrible corruption which had fastened itself upon a great 
enterprise likely to exercise immense influence in the coun- 

Sir John Macdonald replied to Mr. Huntington in a very vio- 
lent speech, charging him with taking undue advantage of 
the Government. He said : " The charge was a foul calumny. 
The Government denied in toto the charge. On behalf of the 
members of the Government, he told the honorable gentleman, 
Mr. Huntington, that he had been most woefully deceived, for 
neitlier by word, thought, deed nor action had the Govern- 
ment done anytliing of which they could or ought to be 
ashamed in the carrying out or the entering into, from the 
beginning to the ending of the charter." 

Mr. Mackenzie replied at considerable length to Sir John 
Macdonald, pointing out that in various ways the investigation 
which the committee was appointed to conduct had been de- 
layed, that the Government appeared to fear the proposed in- 
vtistigation, and that now the postponement of furtiier enquiry 
until the 2nd of July was trilling with the 

The postponement asked for, however, was granted in a 
vote of 107 yeas to 70 nays. 

In order that the conmiittce miglit take evidence during 
the recess, the House was not prorogued at the end of the 
session as is usual but simply adjourned till the ISth of 
August, at which time it was expected that the committee 
would be ready to make a report. On the 2nd of July, the 
coiumittee met in Montreal ; but as it was found tliey could 



not examine witnesses under oath, they adjourned until the 
day fixc<l for the proroo-ation of ParhanK'nt. 

Sir John Macdonald proposed to issue a royal commission to 
the members of the committee, which woukl give them the 
power to examine witnesses as was desired. Messrs. Dorion 
and Blake both declined to accept a commission. Mr. Blake's 
answer to Sir John Macdonald was most spirited : 

" I believe that it wouUl be of evil consequences to create 
the precedent of a Government issuing a Counnission of en- 
quiry into matters of a charge against itself, the Commission- 
ers being, as they are,sul>ject to the direction and control of the 
accusetl. I believe that the acceptance of such a Counnission 
would be opposed to the sense of the House of Connnons, as 
manifested by its action last session, and v, ould, under present 
circumstances, be calcuhited to prejudice the enquiry orderoil 
by the House, and to inq)air the full and (>llicient exercise ul' 
its most ancient and important powers. The House of Com- 
mons does not, I think, expect that the Crown, or any one 
else, least of all the members of its own conunittee, will inter- 
pose between itself and the great enquiry which it has under- 
taken. Apart from these and other ditliculties, you have your- 
self interposed a barrier to my acceptance of your oiler. Dur- 
ing my absence from the House of Conunons last session, yon 
stated in your phu'o that I had done wrong in not declining to 
fullll the duty of Connnitteeman, which had been imposed on 
me by tlie House, that English statesmen in my position — 
which, however, you misstated — would have scorned to do as 
I had done, and that my speeches during tlu' session shewed 
that your Government could not expect fair play from me on 
the enquiry. I shall not condescend to re|)ly to these state- 
ments, but I have to say tliat altiiough I reluctantly came to 
the conclusion that 1 was not free to decline to serve the 




House, of wliich I am a member, I do not think It consistent 
with my self-respect to accept the commission here offered by 
a Minister who has chosen to characterize my conduct. I have 
sent a copy of this letter to Mr. Cameron for his information, 
as chairman of the committee," 

The country was <^reatly excited on account of the appar- 
ently studied efforts of the Government to burke an in- 
vestioation, and the evident desire of some members of the 
committee to encourage such delays. 

Whatever powers the connnittee had, they certainly ceased 
on the 13th of August. But public opinion had become so 
excited, that although the Government had got rid of tlie 
committee, they could not get rid of tlie investigation. 

His Excellency the Governor-General, who was sunnnering 
in the 3laritimc Provinces, considered the situation sutliciently 
grave to warrant his return to the capital and to insist that 
Parliament should be called in six »)r fight weeks, so that 
t'(>gnizance might be taken of the ciiarg'-s made by Mr. 

The Liberal party, having been deceived so often 1)\' one 
excuse after another for delay, determined to make a strong 
effort, when the Speaker took the chair to receive the usual 
suunnons to the Senate chaml»er to hear His ICxeellency's ])ro- 
logation speech, to place a resolution in the Sjieaker's hamls, 
and force the discussion of the jUestion at issue. Tlu-y feare^l 
that if the House was prorogued even the promised Connnis- 
sion would not be appointed ; but what they wei-e most anxious 
for was that the investigation should not be tak(!n out of the 
hands of Parliament. The government was, however, prepaivd 
for any action of this kind. The usher of the bhu'k i-od, 
whose duty it is, wif,h many bows and genullexions, to sum- 
mon the faithful Gonunons to the Senate chamber on such 

i tl 


- i- . ' - ' .•!. ■■■ ^ """"^^ IT ni ! m»rt i <it.wi i iiiiij;.ij'.'^,.jiirj 



occasions, was directed to stand at the main entrance of the 
Commons, so that the moment the Speaker took the chair he 
could deliver his message before a motion from any member 
of the House could be put in the Speaker's hands. Mr. 
Mackenzie, who had prepared a motion which embodied the 
views of the Opposition, was on his feet before the Speaker 
had scarcely ascended to his place, and began to address the 
House amid shouts and jeers from the Government benches. 
The usher of the black rod, apparently greatly alarmed at the 
stormy scene on which he had intruded himself, stammered 
out his usual orders : " I am commanded by His Excellency 
the Governor-General to acquaint this Honorable House that 
it is the pleasure of His Excellency that the members thereof 
do forthwith attend him in the Senate chamber." This sum- 
mons the Speaker obeyed with the utmost alacrity, and left 
the chair while Mr. Mackenzie was vainly endeavoring to 
vindicate the honor of Parliament. 

This coM.p d'etat, by which Parliament was got rid of, greatly 
delighted the Conservative party. The committee which had 
been appointed by a scries of evasions was not permitted to 
do anything ; Parliament was not permitted to do anything, 
and it seemed to the Liberal party as if every means for bring- 
ing the offenders to justice had failed. 

Having failed with Parliament, they next appealed to His 
Excellency the Governor-General, submitting a memorial as 
follows, signed by ninety members : 

" The undersigned, members of the House of Commons of 
Canada, desire to respectfully approach Your Excellency and 
humbly to represent that more than four months have already 
elapsed since the Honorable Mr. Huntington made, from his 
place in the House, grave charges of corruption against Your 
Excellency's constitutional advisers in reference to the Pacific 




Railway contract ; that although the House has appointed a 
committee to enquire into the said charges, the proceedings of 
this committee have, on various grounds, been postponed, and 
the enquiry has not yet taken place ; that the honor of the 
country imperatively requires that no further delay should take 
place in the investigation of charges of so grave a character, 
and which it is the duty and undoubted right and privilege of 
the Commons to prosecute. 

" The undersigned are deeply impressed with the conviction 
that any attempt to postpone this enquiry, or to remove it 
from the jurisdiction of the Commons, would create the most 
intense dissatisfy ction ; and they thorefore pray Your Excel- 
lency not to prorogue Parliament until the House of Connuons 
shall have an opportunity of taking such steps as it may deem 
necessary and expedient with reference to this important 

" The names signed to this document were as follow : 
"Opposition. — Anglin, Archibald, Bain, Bechard, Bergin, 
Blain, Blake, Bodwell, Bourassa, Bowman, Boyer, Brouse, Buell. 
Burpee (Suubury), Cameron (Huron), Cart w right, Casey, Cas- 
grain, Canchon, Charlton, Church, Cockburn (Muskoka), Cook, 
Cutler, Delorme, St. George, Dorion, A. A., Dorion, H. P., Edgar, 
Ferris, Findlay, Fiset, Fleming, Fournier, Galbraith, Geoffrion, 
Gibson, Gillies, Goudge, Hagar, Harvey, Higginbotham, Holton, 
Horton, Huntington, Jettd, Laflamme, Landerkin, Macdonald 
(Glengarry), Mackenzie, Mercier, Metcalfe, Mills, Oliver, Paquet, 
Paterson, Pearson, Pelletier, Pickard, Poser, Prevost, Riciiard, 
Richards, Ross (Prince Edward), Ross (Durham), Ross (Wel- 
lington), Ross (Middlesex), Rymal, Smith (Peel), Snyder 
Stirton, Taschoreau, Thompson, Thomson, Tremblay, Tnnv, 
White (Halton), Wilkes, Wood, Young (Waterloo), Young 





" Ministerialists. — Burpee (St. John), Coffin, Cunningham, 
Forbes, Glass, Macdonell (Inverness), Ray, Schultz, Scriver, 
Shibley, D. A. Smith (Selkirk), A. J. Smith (Westmoreland)." 

In his reply to this memorial, the Governor-General said 
that " To accept the advice tendered him would be simply tc 
dismiss from his councils his responsible Ministers. It is 
true, grave charges have been preferred against these gentle- 
men — charges which I admit require the most searching in- 
vestigation, but, as you yourselves rema)'kcd in your memo- 
randum, the truth of! these accusations still remains untested. 

" Under these circumstances, what right has the Governor- 
General, on his personal responsibility, to proclaim to Canada, 
nay, not only to Canada, but to America and Europe, as such 
a proceeding on his part must necessarily do, that he believes 
his Ministers guilty of the cimcs alleged against them ? 
Were it possible at the present time to make a call of the 
House, and place myself in a direct communication with the 
Parliament of the Dominion, my present embarrassment 
would disappear, but this is a pliysical impossibility. I am 
as.sured by my Prime Minister, and the report of the proceed- 
ings at the time bears out his statements, that wlien Parlia- 
ment adjourned it was announced by him, as the leader of the 
House, that the meeting on the 13th of August would be 
immediately followed by prorogation ; that no substantive 
objection was taken to this announcement, and that, as a con- 
sequence, a considerable portion of your fellow members are 
dispersed in various directions. I should, therefore, only 
deceive myself were I to regard the present Assembly as a 
full Parliament." 

He then stated that a Royal Commission would be issued 
at once to three gentlemen of high legal standing, and that 
Parliament would be assembled within two months or ten 



weeks of the date of prorogation, "to take supreme and final 
ct)gnizancc of the case now pendnig between his ministers and 
their accusers." 

The members of Parliament who had simicd the rcmon- 
strance to His Excellency and their friends then assembled 
in the railway committee room of the House, to protest 
against the prorogation of Parliament while grave charges 
were hanging over the ministers. Vigorous speeches were 
delivered by various members. Mr. Ahickenzie said that " in 
this couvitry which was governed by Parliament, a cry would 
go out from end to end of the land against the indignity 
which had been put upon it, and if the Government sought to 
escape from the consequences of their crime, they would find 
that their action would only tend to intensify the feeling. It 
now became the members, as rulers of the country, to do 
nothing unseemly, but to take every step to maintain their 
dignity, and at the same time to use every legitimate and 
lawful means to obtain the opinion of the country." 

Mr. Blake was specially vigorous in his demand for inves- 
tigation. " Parliament," he said, " was the proper court of 
enquiry for charges against ministers. To prorogue Parlia- 
ment when such charges were pending, and to substitute a 
Commission appointed by the accused for a connnittee of the 
House, was trilling with the prerogatives of Parliament. He 
hoped there would bo an investigation, not by gentlemen in 
the dock, but by those who should be chosen by Parliament in- 
ditferently to try the question of innocence or guilt, and make 
an exhaustive examination of the evidence." 

Speeches were delivered by Mr. Huntington and other mem- 
bers of Parliament, in defence of the right of the House to 
determine 1k)\v its honor should be protected against a cor- 
rupt Guvennnent. 






On the 14th of August, a Royal Commission was issued to 
Judge Day, of the city of Montreal; Judge Polette, of the city 
of Three Rivers, and Judge Gowan, of the town of Barrie, with 
instructions to make enquiry into Mr. Huntington's charges 
against the Government. 

The Commission was summoned to meet on the 4th day of 
September, and Mr. Huntington was invited to submit a list 
of witnesses and to proceed with the prosecution. Mr. Hunt- 
ington declined to appear before the Commissioners. He said : 

" I deem it inconsistent with my duty as a member of Par- 
liament, and a breach of the undoubted privileges of the 
House, to recognize any inferior or exceptional tribunal cre- 
ated to enquire into the charges still pending before the Com- 
mons, and so essential to the privileges, dignity and independ- 
ence of Parliament. I believe that it is a breach of those 
privileges that a Royal Commission, issued without the 
special sanction of the House, should take any cognizance of, 
or should assume to call on me to justify words which I have 
spoken on the floor of the Connnons, and for which I am 
responsible to them, and to them only. I feel that I should 
do no act which may be construed into an acquiescence in the 
attempt to remove from the Commons the conduct and con- 
trol of the enquiry. I believe that the creation of a Com- 
mission involves a breach of that fundamental principle of 
the Constitution which preserves to the Commons the riglit 
and duty of initiating and controlling enquiries into high 
political offences ; that it involves also a breach of that funda- 
mental principle of justice wliich prevents the accused from 
creating the tribunal and controlling the procedure for their 
trial, and that it is i\ Commission without precedent, unknown 
to the common law, unsanctioned by the statute law, provid- 
ing by an exercise of the prerogative for an enquiry, out of 



the ordinary course of justice, into misdemeanors cognizable 
to the courts, and consequently illegal and void." 

The Commission reported to His Excellency the Governor- 
General on the 17th of October, and on the 23rd Parliament 
re-assembled. On the 27tli, His Excellency's speech came up 
for consideration. On the second paragraph having been 
submitted to the House, Mr. Mackenzie moved an amendment 
as follows : " We have to acquaint His Excellency that by 
their course in reference to the investigation of the charges 
preferred by Mr. Huntington in his place in this House, and 
under the facts disclosed in the evidence laid before us, His 
Excellency's advisers have merited the severest censure of the 
House." On this motion, the Opposition challenged the Govern- 
ment to a discussion of the charges made by Mr. Huntington, 
and to a trial of strength on a division, if the Government 
would allow the matter to go so far. 

The ministers were now at bay. There was no escaping 
from the judgment of the House. Mr. Mackenzie's motion 
had to be discussed and voted upon, and it was for the House 
to say whether the evidence submitted by the Commissioners 
would justify the condemnation of tlie Government. 

The opening speech of the debate was made by Mr. Macken- 
zie. He reviewed the evidence submitted by the Commission- 
ers, making copious extracts from Sir Hugh Allan's letters 
and from the correspondence between Sir John Macdonald 
and Sir Geo. E. Cartier. 

It is impossible to do more than to quote some of the aptest 
passages from a few of these letters. For instance, " I think 
we will have to go it blind in the matter of money — cash 
payments. I have already paid $8,500 and have not a voucher, 
and cannot get one." — (Signed, Sir Hugh Allan.) 

" We yesterday signed an agreement by wliicli on certain 


i TT^ 



monetary conditions the Government a^^rees to form a com- 
pany of which I am to bo President to suit my views, to give 
me and my friends a majority of the stock, and to give the 
company so formed the contract to build the Canadian Pacific 

" The friends of the Government will expect to be assisted 
with funds on the pending elections, and any amount which 
you or your company shall advance for that purpose shall be 
recouped to you. A memorandum of the immediate reipiire- 

ment is below : — 


"Sir John A. Macdonald, $25,000; Hon. Mr. Langevin, 
$15,000; Sir George E. Cartier, $20,000; Sir J. A. Macdonald, 
additional, 810,000 ; Hon. Mr. Langevin, additional, $10,000 ; 
Sir George E. Cartier, $30,000."— CCeorr/e E. Cartier to Sir H. 

"Immediate; private. I must have another $10,000; will 
be the last time of calling. Do not fail me. Answer to-day." 
— (John A. Macdonald to Abbott.) 

"Draw on me for $10,000." — (Abbott to John A. Macdcnald.j 

" In the absence of Sir Hugh Allan, I shall be obliged by 
your supplying the central committee with a further sum of 
$20,000 upon the same conditions as the amount written by 
me at the foot of my letter to Sir Hugh Allan of the 30th 

" P. S. — Please also send Sir John Macdonald $1 0,000 more 
on the same terms." — (Mr. Cartier to Mr. Abbott.) 

Mr. Mackenzie was followed by Dr. Tupper, who claimed 
that the Government had done nothing wrong, and that a vote 
of ;vant of confidence, proposed by Mr. Mackenzie, was entire- 
ly uncalled for. Dr. Tupper's speech called Mr. Huntington 
to his feet, who, in the most scathing terms denounced the 

ftsWW R 



Government for trafTicking in pul»Hc contracts, with the view 
oi keepinfj themselves in power. He appej Jed to the members 
to the House not to allow the honor of Parliament to be tram- 
pled in the dust by men so rci^ardless of the j]freat trust com- 
mitted to them. He shewed how jealous the EnfrUsh House 
of Commons has alwaj's been of its honor, and appealed to in- 
dependent members of the House to make themselves heard 
in this great crisis. 

Mr. Macdonald, of Pictou, a member of the committee ap- 
pointed by the House to investigate the charges, replied to 
Mr. Huntington. 

On tlie fourth day of the debate, Sir John Macdonald rose 
to make his defence, and occupied for that purpose a period 
oi about five hours. He was evidently impressed with the 
gravity of the situation, and determined that the opinion 
of the House, which was daily becoming stronger against him, 
should be turned in his favor, if it lay in his power so to do. 
In the course of his speech he reviewed the whole history of 
the Canadian Pacific Railway, the charters to different com- 
panies, and the progress of legislation for the purpose of 
connecting the East with the West. He enlarged upon the 
desirability of obtaining a Canadian company for a Canadian 
enterprise, and pointed out the necessity for supporting a 
Government that was favorable to the development of the 
country in this way. He concluded his speech by a fervent 
appeal for the support of the House : 

" But, sir, I commit myself, the Government commits itself 
to the hands of this House, and far beyond the House, it 
commits itself to the country at large. We have faithfully 
done our duty. We have fought the battle of Confederation. 
We have fought the battle of union. We have had party 
strife, setting Province against Province; and, more than all, 





we have had in the greatest Province, the prcponderatinfj 
Province of the Dominion, every prejudice and sectional feel- 
ing that could be arrayed against us. I have been the victim 
of that conduct to a great extent, but I have fought the 
battle of Confederation, the battle of union, the battle of the 
Dominion of Canada. I throw myself upon this House ; I 
throw myself upon this country ; I throw myself upon pos- 
terity, and I believe that I know that, notwithstanding the 
many failings in my life, I shall have the voice of this country 
and this House rallying round me. And, sir, if I am mis- 
taken in that, I can confidently appeal to a higher court — to 
the court of my own conscience, and to the court of posterity. 
I leave it with this House with every confidence. I am equal 
to either fortune. I can see past the decision of this House, 
either for or against me, but whether it be for or against me, 
I know, and it is no vain boast for me to say so, for even my 
enemies will admit that I am no boaster — that there does not 
exist in Canada a man who has given more of his time, more 
of his heart, more of his wealth, or more of his intellect and 
power, such as they may be, for the good of this Dominion of 

Mr. Blake rose at a quarter past two in the morning to 
reply to Sir John Macdonald. The opening sentences of his 
address were particularly apt. Referring to Sir John Mac- 
donald's appeal to the intelligent judgment of the House, the 
country and posterity in vindication of his conduct, he said : 
" When he (Sir John Macdonald), was called upon by reason 
and argument to sustain his course at the last general election, 
and to prove his title to the confidence of his country, it was 
not to these high and elevating sentiments he appealed, it 
was not upon the intelligent judgment of the people he relied. 
but it was upon Sir Hugh Allan's money which he obtained 

Il PI 



by the sale of the rights of tlie Canadian people which he 
held in trust." 

Mr. Blake's speech v;as, throughout, a masterly argument 
in favor of Mr. Mackenzie's vote of want of confidence. " Let 
us not be carried away by the absurd notion," he said, " that 
there is a distinction between the standards of public and 
private virtue ; let us not be carried away by the notion that 
that may be done in secret, which it is a shame to be known 
in public. Let our transactions be open, and, as the shame 
exists as it has been discovered, as it has been conclusively 
established, as it has been confessed, let us by our vote, re- 
gretfully it may be, give the perpetrators of it their just 
reward. Influence, I am aware, may be used to prevent this 
result, but, I am loath to suppose that it should ever be said 
of a Canadian Parliament, what a poet in the neighboring 
republic has said of the representative body of that country, 
when he described it thus : 

" Underneath yon dome, whose coping 

Springs above them, vast and tall, 
Grave men in the dust are groping 

For tlic hirgess, mean and small, 
Which the hand of power is scattering ; 

Crumbs that from the table fall. 

"Base of heart, they vilely barter 

Honors, wealth, for party, place ; 
Step by step, in freedom's charter, 

Leaving foot-prints of disgrace, 
For the day's poor pittance, 

Turning from the great hope of their race." 

Notwithstanding the vigorous onslaught made by the Op- 
position on the Government, it was not until some of the 
independent members of the House declared themselves that 
it became evident their days were numbered. Many of their 





supporters had carried the elections by the aid of Sir Hugli 
Allan's money. That they should stand by the Government, 
was quite natural. There were others, however, who were 
not bound to the Conservative party by any particular obliga- 
tion. On the support of these they could not count with so 
nmeh confidence. 

Mr. Laird, of Prince Edward Island, was tbe first independ- 
ent member to speak. He was followed by Mr. Donald A. 
Smith, of Manitoba, whose speech created great excitement iu 
the House. Neither party knew what course Mr. Smith was 
going to take, although both sides looked for his support, and 
as a vote, one way or the other, might decide the fate of the 
Government, every word he uttered was listened to with the 
greatest anxiety. His exordium appeared favorable to the 
Goveriunent, and was loudly applauded iVom the ministerial 
benches. " With respect to the transaction between the Gov- 
ernment and Sir Iluii-h Allan, he did not consider that the 
First Minister, took the money with any corrupt motive. He 
felt tliat the leader of the Government was incapablt; of tak- 
ing money from {?ir Hugh Allan for corrupt purposes. Ho 
would be moi>t willing; to vote confidence in the Government — 
(Loud cheers from the Government side) — could he do so con- 
scientiously. (Opposition cheers and laughter.) It was witii 
very great regret that he felt ho could not do so. For the 
honor of the country, no Government should exist that has ;i 
shadow of suspicion of this kind resting on them, and for that 
reason lie could not support them." (Renewed opposition 

Mr. Smitli's speech was delivered shortly before the ad- 
journment of the House, about one o'clock in the morning ol 
the 5tli of Nov., and with it the confidence of the ministerial 
party vanisluMl. Tliat al'ternoon, at tliree o'clock, on the reas- 



scmbling of the members, Sir John Macdonald announced that 
he had placed his resignation in His Excellency's hands and 
that Mr. Mackenzie was called upon to form a new adminis- 




'J'lie political corruption disclosed by the r.icific scandal 
was a great shock to the country. It was long suspected that 
Sir John Macdonald, either by himself or by his authorized 
agents, had frequently drawn upon Government contractors 
for election purposes. Never before, however, had it been 
known the extent to which such drafts wore made, and never 
before was it thouo-ht that ministers would become so cm- 
boldened in corruption as to ask over their own signatures for 
such largo amounts of money. The press of the country 
was loud in its denunciations of what liad taken |tlace, and 
tlie almost universal feelinix was that the honor of Canada 
was irreparably compromised. 

To those who looked upon the public morality of Canada 
as a matter of pride, the humiliation was great indeed. Com- 
parisons formerly made with politicians in the T"^nited States 
had now to be dropped. The Tannnany ring and boss Tweed 
Were duplicated on Canadian soil. 

With the defeat of the (lovernment, the jiowcr of Parlia- 
nicnt was to a certain extent vindiratcd. That Sir John 



Macdonald ever regained the confidence which he had for- 
feited by the sale of the Pacific Railway charter to Sir Hugh 
Allan, is one of the most extraordinary circumstances in his 
career. To retain ofiice by a double shufile, in connivance 
with the Governor-General, was comparatively a small matter. 
To form a coalition with the Liberals, and then, by a series of 
cunning manipulations, to use it for his own party purposes, 
was but an illustration of the art of a clever, though unprinci- 
pled, tactician. But '^^o sell to a common stock-jobber, almost 
on the open market, a railway charter, in order to supply him- 
self with election funds, is an otlence which one would have 
thought the country would not soon forgive or forget, and yet 
a few days after his defeat in the House his friends elected 
him leader of the Conservative party, and five years later 
the country returned him at the head of an overwhelming 

When the Government was on its trial, and when its defeat 
was all but certain, Mr. E. B. Wood expressed the universal 
opinion of the House when he said : " Before many days the 
Government will have fallen like Lucifer, never to rise again." 
Dr. Tupper interjected, "but we sliall rise." Mr. Wood re- 
plied : " Yes, but not till the resurrection morn, when the 
last trump shall sound." Mr. Wood's prophecies, unfortun- 
ately, were not fulfilled. The Government did arise long be- 
fore the time specified, to re])cat, we fear, on several occasions, 
the corrupt practices for which they were condemned in 1873, 
and to discredit in many ways the honor and dignity of 



Tlie hew Cabinet — Dissolution of tlie House — Address to tlic Electors of 
Lanibton — Meeting of Parliament — Mr. Mackenzie's Ditficulties— Discontent 
of British Columbia — The Carnarvon Terms — Visit of Lord Dufferin — 
Brilliant Speecli at Victoria— Irritation Allayed — Now Reciprocity Treaty 
Considered — Honoral)le George Brown at Washington — Treaty agreed upon 
— Rejected by the Senate — Mr. Mackenzie's Loyalty to Canada — Mr. 
Cartwright's First Budget Speecli— New Tariff Bill — Pacific Railway Bill- 
Mr. Mackenzie's Military Career — Military College — New Election Bill. 

N the resignation of Sir John Macdonald and his 
Government, His Excellency the Governor-Gen- 
eral called upon Mr. Mackenzie to form a new 
administration. The task assigned him was not 
an easy one, particularly as it was necehsary that the 
Government should not only represent the strongest men 
in the Liberal ranks, from a Dominion standpoint, but that 
it should also be composed of men most acceptable to the 
party. To make such a choice as would enable him to place 
at the head of the various departments of t^ate, men qualified 
for the special work assigned them and who would at the 
same time bring him the political strength in each pro- 
vince which he re(]uired, was the basis on which his choice 
had to be made. His own experience warranted him in 
taking the department of Public Works. To Mr. Cartwright 
was assigned the department of Finance. Mr David Christie, 
a member of the Senate, was made Secretary of State ; Mr. 
w 3.53 



D. A. Mactlonald, Postmaster-General; and Mr, Blake and 
tlie Hon. R W. Scott were appointed members of the 
Executive without portfolio. Tiie Province of Quebec was 
represented by Mr. A. A. Dorion, Minister of Justice ; Letellier 
St. Just, as Minister of Agriculture ; and Telesphore Fournier, 
Minister of Inland Revenue. New Brunswick was repre- 
sented by Mr. A. J. Smith, as Minister of Marine and Fisheries, 
and Mr. Isaac Burpee, as Minister of Customs. Nova Scotia 
was represented by Mr. Thomas Coffin, as Eeceiver-General, 
and Mr. Wm. Ross, as Minister of Militia and Defence. Mr. 
David Laird represented the Province of Prince Edward 
Island, now a member of Confederation, as Minister of the 

The personnel of the new administration was, on the whole, 
satisfactoiy to tlie party. As between the House of Commons 
and the Senate the number of Ministers was eleven to three, 
and although Ontario held six seats in the Cabinet, two of 
thtm were without portfolio. Quebec held three, Nova Scotia 
and New Brunswick two each, and Prince Edward Iskmd one. 
In speaking of his Government to his constituents, Mr. 
Mackenzie said : " I may with feelings of pride refer to the 
standing of the members of the Cabinet. No one will deny 
it has a large amount of ability. No debater in public life in 
our day can take rank with Mr. Blake, formerly Premier oi 
Ontario. Mr. Smith and Mr. Laird were also respectively 
Premiers of New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, and 
no man stood higher in his own province than Mr. Dorion, 
Minister of Justice. In the matter of religious faith, there arc 
five Catholics, three members of the Church of England, three 
Presbyterians, two Methodists, one Congregationalist and one 

The electors of Lambton, were, as might be expected, greatly » 

1 one. 
o the 
I'e in 
u;r of 
c arc 
d one 





delighted with the elevation of the man whom for so many 
years they had elected to Parliament, and on his return to 
his county for the constitutional approval which his accept- 
ance of a seat in the Government required, he was tendered a 
banquet by his old friends and admirers. The kind references 
to his public career, and to the great energy he had shown in 
overcoming obstacles which would 1/ave overwhelmed a weaker 
man, showed the esteem in which he was held bv his constit- 
uents, while the response on his part, " You made me what I 
am, I owe my position to the confidence of the people of 
Lambton," indicated his appreciation of the support they had 
given him since he entered public life. 

The Hon. ]\[r. Brown was unable to attend the banquet, but 
sent a ringing letter to the secretary. " In the midst of 
venality and corruption, Mr. Mackenzie's hands have never 
been defiled. It is such counties as Lambton that make such 
representatives as Alexander Mackenzie. It will be a bright 
l)age in the histoiy of Canada that tells that the first Reform 
Minister of this great Dominion was the noblest working-man 
in the land, and the representative of one of the truest con- 
stituencies that ever upheld a great cause." 

The Ministers having appealed to their constituencies and 
being constitutionally confirmed in their places, were now 
prepared to grapple with the political problems peculiar to the 
situation. Parliament was to be called for the transaction of 
business before many months, and the question very naturally 
suirixcsted itself to their minds : " Shall we trust ourselves to a 
Parliament elected under our predecessors largely by Sir Hugh 
Allan's gold and 810,000 drafts from Mr. Abbott ? Sir John 
Macdonald had resigned without dividing the House. How 
many members were prepared to condemn him was unknown. 
Even if his condenmation had been secured bv the registration 


1 ^^^^^■^ 

I- . .1. f. 

i IM; 



of their names in the Votes and Proceedinffs, could men whose 
seats were purchased for thoui be depended upon ? Besides, 
was it not the duty of the new administration to give the 
people of Canalla an opportunity of expressing their disap- 
proval of Loth Minis*^ors and members connected with or 
implicated in the Pacific Scandal, and how could this be done 
except by dissolution ? So without any hesitation the Par- 
liament of 1873 was dissolved on the 2nd of January, 1874, 
and a new election ordered. The elections were held as nearly 
as possible on the same daj' ; although Mr. Mackenzie was not 
obliged by statute to deprive himself of the advantage of 
holding elections at such times as would best contribute to 
his political strength. 

The issues before the country were very clearly and ably 
put in the address by Mr. Mackenzie to the electois of Lamb- 
ton. " Tt was due," he said, " to the electors of Canada to give 
them the opportunity of pronouncing between ourselves and 
our opponents, and it was essential to a fair representation of 
the people and to the enactment of good laws that the House 
should be purged of members elected by the corrupt use of Sir 
Hugh Allen's money. Canada is asked to send to Ottawa a 
House of Commons free to do its duty to the State, chosen by 
the unbiased voice of the people, instead of men bound hand 
and foot to those to whom they owe their seats." 

" We shall strive," he said, " to elevate the standard of 
public morality which our opponents have done so much to 
debase, and to conduct public attUirs upon principles of which 
honest men can approve, and hy practices which will bear the 
light of dav." 

" We shall endeavor to remove those scctiDual jealousies and 
local prejudices which were aggravated by our predecessors 
and to etl'ect a genuine consolidation of the Union." 




ios iin<l 


He then goes on to promise legislation for taking the votes 
of the people by ballot, an Insolvency Act, a Siiprenie Court 
Act, the revision of the Militia System, etc. With regard to 
the Pacitic Railway, his address was very sigiiiticant. Mr. 
Mackenzie frequently pointed out, in Opposition, the tremen- 
dous burdens which the terms with British Columbia imposed 
upon Canadians. And now, as leader of the Government, the 
necessity for a readjustment of these terms pressed itself upon 
his attention. In his address, he said : " We must endeavor 
to arrange with British Columbia for such a relaxation of the 
terms of Union as may give time for the completion of the 
surveys of the Pacific Railway, and the acquisition of the infor- 
mation necessary to an intelligent apprehension of the work 
and for its subsequent prosecution with such speed and under 
such arrangements as the resources of the country will permit 
without too largely increasing the taxation of the people." 

As a temporary means for entLring the North- West Terri- 
tories, he proposed utilizing the water stretches between the 
Rocky Mountains and Fort Garry, and from Fort Garry to 
Lake Superior ; and also to connect, by way of Pembina, the 
Province of Manitoba with the American .system of Railways. 
" Our endeavor will be in all these and other matters requiring 
the attention of the administration to promote such an honest, 
vigorous, just and economical policy as may redound to the 
true welfare of the people of Cana/la." 

The elections which followed were a great victory for the 
new administration. Many Conservative candidates, who were 
considered all but invincil>le, fell in the fray ; and Mr. Mac- 
kenzie could confidently say that the country had approved of 
his policy. 

Parliament was called for the despatch of business on March 
2Gth, and was opened with great pomp and ceremony by Ilia 


IT"'" '^ 

: ( 



Excellency, Lord Dufferin, with Mr. T. W. Anglin as Speaker. 
Mr. Moss, afterwards Chief Justice "who was entrusted with 
moving the adilress in reply to Ilis E.Kcellency's speech, in 
adverting to the great ciianges made in the represent;! tion of the 
House by the recent elections, said : "A great national crisis had 
occurred. Popular feeling and sentiment wore keenly alive to 
the importance of the jiresent and the coming time, and he 
believed the people of Canada had made their choice wi.sely 
and well, and he ventured to assure the Ministry that if they 
did, as they would do, their very best to administer the affairs 
of the country with a single eye to the public welfare, and if 
they exhibited that sagacity and statesmanship which Canada 
had the right to expect from her foremost men, they would 
receive the earnest support, sympathy and co-operation of the 
House of Commons." Sir John Macdonald, in his place as 
leader of the Opposition, questioned the propriety of tho 
dissolution which had just taken place, and doubted very much 
if Mr. Mackenzie was supported in his course by English 
practice. He also expressed doubt with regard to the feasibility 
of readjusting the terms of union with British Columbia, and, 
after reiterating his objections to the ballot whicii the Govern- 
ment proposed, he informed the House that so far as he was 
concerned the address would be allowed to pass without 

The first difficulty which confronted Mr. Mackenzie was the 
troubles in the North-West and the appearance of Riel before 
the Clerk of the House to sign the roll as member for Pro- 
vencher. In order to ascertain the real causes of the griev- 
ances in the Nortii-West and tiie extent to which the previous 
Government had committed themselves either to redress those 
grievances or to grant an amnesty to the offenders, a special 
counnittee was appuiiited, composed of Mi'. Donald A. Smith, 



Jolin Hillynrd C.imcron, Mr. Bowell, Mr. J. J. C. Abbott, Mr. 
Blake, Mr. Moss, Mr. Geoffrion, Mr. Massun and Mr. Jones, of 
Halifax ; the result of their investigation has been fully con- 
sidered elsewhere. Riel was expelled from the House and a 
new election ordered in Provencher. 

Mr. Mackenzie's second difficulty grew out of the terms 
made with British Columbia at the time of her admission to the 
Union. Four years had already elapsed since the terms were 
settled and little substantial progress was made towards their 
fulfilment. It was agreed that the construction of the Pacific 
Railway, by which that Province was to be connected with 
the East, should be commenced in two vears from the date of 
Union and completed in ten. The Province was disappointed 
and indignant at the delay, and her representatives frequently 
called the attention of Parliament and the Government to 
their neglect of duty. On July 2G, 1873, an official complaint 
by the Lieutenant-Governor of the Province, Mr. Trutch, was 
addressed to the Hon. Mr. Aikins, then Secretary of State for 
Canadii, enclosing a minute of the Executive Council of the 
Province strongly prc^testing against the violation of the terms 
of Union. Owing, probably, to the difficulties in which the 
Government was involved by the Pacific scandal, no notice 
was taken of this remonstrance. The Lieutenant-Governor 
renewed his complaints, and on December 23, 1S73, he was 
assured by Mr. Mackenzie's Government " that their grievance 
was receiving their most earnest consideration, and that a 
scheme would be devised as soon as possible v/hicli it was 
hoped would be acceptable to British Columl»ia and to the 
whole Dominion." These assurances, however, did not allay 
the discontent, and early in 1874, Mr. Jas. D. Edgar was sent 
as the agent of the Dominion Government to Victoria " for the 
purpose of ascertaining the state of feeling in the Province 







with regard to certain clinnges which were deemed necessary 
in the mode and in the limit of time for the construction of 
the Canadian Pacific Railway, and to bring about some such 
feasible arrangement as might meet the general approval of 
the Local Government and the people of British Columbia, 
in place of the original conditions respecting the connnence- 
ment and completion of the railway contained in the origi- 
nal terms of the Union." On June IGth, Mr. Edgar submitted 
an elaborate report showing the intense feeling existing in the 
Province on account of the delay which had already occurred 
and the want of energy apparently shewn in making the 
necessary surveys. So high did public feeling run that the 
Local Legislature of the Province adopted a resolution to the 
efi'ect " that no alteration in the terms of Union with Canada 
shall be permitted by the Government of this Province until 
the same has been submitted to the people for endorsation." 
In order to prepare the way for a settlement, Mr. Edgar, acting 
under instructions from the Government at Ottawa, sugijested 
the postponement of the construction of the road vuitil proper 
surveys were made, but that in the meantime a waggon-road 
should be constructed along the route of the railway in 
the Province and a telegraph line across the continent. In 
this way the interior of the country would be opened up and 
communication established with the Eastern Provinces. It 
was also proj)osed, as soon as the surveys were completed, to 
expend annually in construction proper the sum of $1,500,000. 
These alternative proposals were spurned by the British 
Columbians, and Mr. Edgar, finding himself unable to make 
further progress, returned to Ottawa. 

Having failed in coming to an understandinrj with the 
Dominion Government, the British Columbians authorized the 
Attorney-General of the Province, the Hon. Geo. A. Walkem, 


nil I 




to proceed to England to lay the complaints of the Province 
before the Colonial Secretary. The Colonial Office apparently 
became alarmed at the ugLjressive action of the British Colum- 
bians, and immediately cijnunnnicated with the Donn'niou 
Government with regard to the matters in dispute. 

In his anxiety to bring about a reconciliation, Earl Carnar- 
\on ai (dressed a despatch to the Governor-General of Canada, 
in which he intimated his regret that any difficulty should 
exist between the Dominion and the Province, and proposed 
" that if both Governments should unite in desiriii'^ to refer to 
nu' any arbitration of the matters in con trovers}', l)inding them- 
selves to accept such decision as I may think fair and just, I 
would not decline to undertake the service.'' Mr. Mackenzie's 
Gm-ernment did nut ajiparently relish this interference of 
Downing »Street in a matter of colonial concern. Acconl- 
ingly, on the Stli of July, 1>S74, they replied to Earl 
Carnarvon's despatch in a long paper setting foi'th the wiujle 
case from the Dominion standpoint. It was pointeil out that 
the terms with P)ritish Cobimbia were agreed to by the House 
by the small mnjority of tt.'u, and that this majority was 
obtained on the condition " that the public aid to be given to 
secure the construction of theCaiKulian Pacitic Railway should 
consist of such liberal grants of land and such subsidy in money 
or other aid, unt incveasivg titc present rate of taxation, as the 
Parliament of Canada shall hereafter determine." It was also 
pointed out that the terms made witii Hritish Columbia were 
most extravagant and in excess of the terms originally 
demanded by the Province. A coach road across the llocky 
Mountains was all that was asked for in the lirst instance, with 
an expenditure of i?l ,000,000 after three years from the date 
of Union, on the railway ]n'oper. It was also pointed out 
that the company chartered under Sir Hugh Allan to proceed 










with the construction of the road had relinquished their charter, 
as tiiey were unable to obtain the necessary funds from Eng- 
lish capitalists. The Government had not been indifferent, it 
was alleged, to their obligations, as tliey had sent Mr. Edgar 
to British Columbia in order to ascertain if some relaxation of 
the terms of Union could not be arrived at which would be 
niutuully acceptable. They had shown their desire to help 
the people of British Columbia by advancing a ([uarter of a 
nnllion for the construction of the graving-dock at Es(juimalt, 
although not required by the terms of treaty to do more than 
pay five per cent, interest on the cost of construction for ten 
years after the work was completed, and also by their offer to 
build a railway from Esquimalt to Nanaimo, a distance of 
about sixty-ffve miles. 

To the Canadian case, Mr. Walkem, who for the time being 
remained in London, sent a very strong reply protesting 
against the proposed modifications of the treaty with British 
Columbia, and insisting on the interference of the Imperial 
authorities in behalf of the Province. On the receipt of Mr. 
Walkem's paper, Earl Carnarvon proceeded to give his final 
decision, which was afterwards known as tlic Carnarvon 
terms. These were as follows: (1), that the railway from 
Esquimalt to Nanaimo shall be commenced and completed as 
soon as possible ; (2), that the surveys on the main land shall 
be pushed with the utmost vigor ; (3), that the waggon road 
and telegniph lines eastward should be immediately con- 
structed ; (4), that two millions a year should be the minimum 
expenditure on railways within the Province from the date at 
which the surveys are sufficiently completed to enable that 
amount to be expended on construction ; (5), that the railway 
shall be completed on or before the 31st of December, 1890, at 
least so far as to connect with the American railways at the 



west end of Lnko Superior. By a minute of Council dated 
the 18tli of December, the Cui-narvon terms were formally 
accepted by the Dominion Government, and on the loth 
of March, 1875, Mr. Mackenzie introduced a bill into the 
House of Commons to provide for the construction of a line of 
railway from Esquimalt to Nanaimc; in British Columbia. 

The feeling in the House of Conunons was none too favor- 
able to this proposal. The Liberal pai'ty had from the 
very first regarded the terms with British Columbia as 
onerous in the extreme, and to be obliged now to implement 
an agreement made by their predecessors, and which they had 
opposed at the time with all their power, was certainly asking 
a great deal. They were, however, between two fires. On 
the one haul, was a treaty of a most solemn character entered 
into with a sister Province. The honour of the country was 
pledged to carry out the terms of this treaty, subject to this 
one reservation, that in carrying out these terms, the general 
taxation of Canada should not be increased On the other 
hand, was the Colonial Office, to which British Columbia 
had appealed, as it had a right, no doubt, against the 
laches of the Canadian Goverinnent. To repeal the terms of 
the Union, or so deal with British Columbia as to lead to its 
withdrawal from the Union, would, it was felt, discredit the 
Government in the eyes of all the people of Canada. To carry 
out the terms literally, or nearly so, as British Cohunbia 
insisted, would be to increase enormously the burdens of 

That the Liberal jiarty was disinclined to go further 
in its concessions to British Columbia was evident from the 
fact that Mr. Blake and several leailing Liberals voted against 
the proposal to construct the Esquimalt and Nanaimo railway 
for of conciliation, and when the Senate rejected the 





bill cntiroly, it was also evident tliat parliamentary sanction 
to any concession to Uritish Coliunbia wa.s not easily obtain- 

1'lie irritation in Cana<la was further increased by the aeticjn 
ol" the Jiiitisli C(jlunibian i'(![)rest;ntatives in the House of 
CtJiiiiiions. On till! i^Slh of March, ISTU. Mr. l)e Cosmos pio- 
posed a vote of ensure upon the Oovernment for their 
delay \x\ proce(;din^' with the railway ; and in tin; debate wliich 
followfd, till! mover of the resolution, as well as all the other 
memljcrs for British Coiiimltia, were most censorious in their 
obsin'vations. In iln' meiintime, the ( 'olnuial < )liiee was Uept 
busy with desj)at(;lies from tht.- Ivxecutive ( 'ouneil of l>ritish 
Cojumljia, and with re[)li(s from ( 'iuiad;i,. Hut no soluticju of 
the dilllculty seemed to be su^^'ested to wliich both parties 
Could aifiv(!. A pi'oposition that the (Jolumbiaus should be 
paid 1?7")0,0()() for the dehiy in be^innim; the I'oad was uneej-e- 
mmdously reji'cted by the Ivxeeutive. 

J)ij)lomacy havin;^' all hut exhausted itself, it occurred to 
FiOi-d Duflerin, (!ov(,'rnor( leiiei'al, that if he ]);ud a visit to the 
i'roviuee ;ind hail an o])portunity of conversini;' with its lead- 
ing citi/eii^, he would be in a better position, as mii Iui|)erial 
ollicer, to advise the Colonial Olliet! as to tlie true condition of 
allairs, niid he minht |)ossibly lie iiMe to say something-, without 
assumiuL,^ to acl in any .•imbassadwrial position, that wmild 
mollify the discontent so unha])[)ily existiui^. Mr .\backeii/ie, 
who was oreatly imi)ressed with I oi-d Dulierin's aHability and 
tact, concurieil in tli ■ pi'o]»osed visit. Ah)reover, he was 
anxious that His Kko ''ency, duiiue; his stay in (.\inada, shoidd 
ae([iiaint himseli' , Lh all jiarts of th<! Dominion. A visit, 
therefore, to liritish C'»lm«ii)ia would not only b(! a source; of 
pleasure to 'lis Exeiillency, Imt wouM also e*ivo him an oppor- 
tunity of ac(piirino- information which mij^ht be cjf value to 




t< t 

/"T-Z r r;7 ./><^ <2-*^ ^"^ V 

(F(ic-niiiiile of Ijoi'iI Jjiijfrriji's Ini iiil-u'i'ili luj.) 




Line OF Tin: iiox. alexandmu mackkxzii:. 

the vv1i<j1»! I)i)rni(iion li()-(;artf;r ; ;ui'l if lif.* sIkjijM sij(;(;(m;i1 (;v<;n 
id c;v<;r H(j small a iiicusiiic. in alhiyid^ tin; <iiscontont, lio lni;^ht 
lli(;l'(il»y ))(j.Shili]y {<av(j tli'; way I'or .souk; h(;itl(;iniiit oi' cxisiiii;^' 

Ii'»)<l I)ijfr<Tin Hcf out for Urit-isli d)]iiiii1(i!i, cm tlio .']Isl, 
of Jiily, iST'i, uiii] ;ir)iv<;(J at Victoi'ia on tli(; IHth ol" Aii;^ 
Hi; wus rec*MV'«;i] with the utmost oMthusiasrii hy tin; peopji' 
was present'-'ii with numhrjiless aildi-esses iui'l a,irunlii'I oveiy 
o[jj>ortiiriity ol' viiitin;^ h <tli th<.' isian*] ami tin; maliilaml. 
jjot'oi'o Icavid;^' the I'lovirKM.', however, he \'ivy wisily (J('t<ir- 
iniM(,''l in a'lilress a puhlie meetiri;^ on the ;^o'eat railwayquestion, 
which he I'oumI t<j he tin; all-absorhin;^' one. I'erhfips nev(;r 
'li'l the i\i)\\'.y\\>tv t)S any oh^ny un-h-rtake a m<»re dillieult 
task Ol' one i'(;(juirin^ ;j;reater tact, ju<];jjment an<l pni'h'.nee tlmii 
the task tliat his JiOi'dshiji assi;^aie<l to himself un that (jcca'-ion. 
As tli<! hca<l '/I' l.h<; f i'>V(!rnnient, }i(; wus <leharr<'(| from uttirin;^ 
a sin;4l(; word de'i'o^/alot y of the conduf;t of his advis(;rs in 
dealin;.^' with th'- I'acilie Ituilway. To appear to he a eouns(;l 
in tlnir behalf Wiuld he sure to excite the animosity of his 
Jiiidii'iice. How was lie then t<) steer hi.'twe'cn Scyila and 
(Jhuryh lis '/ 1'^ was for himself to show how this was to he 
doiK), and the admirahli; skill with which he pi'iTormi(l liis 
task showed his jffiiius as a diplomatist and tactic;iiiii. 

In jilain and simple lan^oia^n;^ Jk- i'(;capitulate<l the various 
htejis which had h( i-n taktn to settle the <lilliculties of British 
Cyolnm Ilia since the I complaint wus made to the (JoverniiK.'nt 
at Ottawa. He showed how surveys were be;(un almost us soon 
as she entereti the Union and li()w these surveyin;^ parties liad 
been stren^jthiinecj, from tiin< to tim<', with a view to tlu! ulti- 
mate location of the road. He slMjwed tluj atixi(.'ty of tlie 
OovernnKMit to firifl .some nio<!ili(ration of the treaty that would 
\nt acc(.'j)table, in proof of wliicli Mr. Ivl^ar had been sr-nt on 


THE NEW admixisthation. 


a sjx'cial ini.ssiuii to coiii'iT wiUi Ui<t Lof.-ul CJoveniiix^nt ; uml 
nioro r<;c(;ntly a bill )iii.<l l>i (!n iiil,j(Mliif;<(l iiit'» ilic l)oriiii»ion 
I'.ifliaiiKirit f'or i\u\ (','Hisl,rii(;tj</n oi" a I'jijiwuy IVmih I'lsqiiimalt 
t(j Naiiaiiiif). Ill; .slj(;\v<;il lliat tJiis hill n;coiv<Ml tlif almost 
unaJiiiiioiJs .su[jport <>!' tin; Lilnial Jjirty in tli<; House '/I' Coiii- 
111'jns, and tliat it/s <l(;l'<;at wa.-i owinLf to tiir; action of ili<; S(jnate 
—a hoily wiiicli Mr. Ma(;k<'n/,i<; cniM not l)<! cxpifttcfl to 
f;ontrol. Jn tin; sti'DnifOst !an''iia'T(' Ik; (;xon(;)'a.t<;<l Mr. Mac- 
Ivi-nzif; from iill hIaiiK; I'or tin- r(;jcction of tlic JOs(juimalt l>il! by 
the Sfjnat<!. H<; frankly told timm tluit the fcclin;^ in Canada 
was Ijccotiiin;^ dii.ily more o)»]joS''d t,o thr di'iiiands which tln-y 
wti'c making u|)on the Duminion Tr<!asury, that it was <|(julit- 
I'lil if such a hill ii,s that reject*;*! hy the S«-i);i.te could now he 
(;ven jjass'fj hy th<; llous*; of ('ommcris, and if a money com- 
jiensation could Ic; ii^ri'i;d upon foi" losses and delays in 
procriC'lin^' with th*; i-ailvvay, it would hr, pifh.-ips, the best 
holul.ioii of tin; didieulty lie Jissui'fd tleiii in e-loqueiit t<'i'ms 
that, Jilthou^h they wer*; but few num<'i'icallv, no advantii-fc 
would be taken of their weakness. "Woe betide the (Govern- 
ment," he sai<l, ' ur the- stntesne'ri who, becausi; its inhnbitants 
ai'f, few in number and, politic;dl\-, of suimII account, should 
disr<;;fard the wishes or cnrrlcssjy dismiss the repi'esi'utations, 
hoW(jVcr rou^h, bca.sto'OU.s, oi- dowini;.;ht of the f<;(d»le't of ou)- 
distant colorn'(;s." 

His lv\e<llen(!y',S S'pocch f^rcaily pneini'd Hm; people of 
lij'iti.sli Colmnbia. Nt vej- bid'ore had they considcrdl the 
jjuestifjn so calmly from ;i luiliumd standpoint, and novcr 
heforo was the impre'-sioii h<j stronjLf that ('jiinnlii, would do 
justly ])y them, even if it couM not fidhl the letter of the 
liond. I'Vom this date loj'war<l, tin; ;fricvanc<.'s of I'l-itish 
(Jolurnbia w re daily becondn^f a .source of les» anxicity 
to the (JovcrniiKint. Mr. Ma(d<«!n/i(',they plair)ly ^aw,was 

1 r 

T'-jr- - 



ing the survo3's of the road with vigour. Contracts were being 
let at diffcn-ent points for construction purposes. Rails were 
purchasc'l in England to be in readiness when required ; and 
long before Mr. Mackenzie had retired from otfice all substan- 
tial cause of complaint had been removed. Thus does time, 
the healer of national and political sores, accomplish, without 
any display of liis surgical skill, what Parliament and diplo- 
mats and colonial secretaries fail to accomplish, even by the 
most sweetened and temperate despatches. 

Early in 1874, Mr. Mackenzie learned that the United States 
Government was disposed to consider favorably either the 
renewal of the old Reciprocity Treaty of 1854 or such modi- 
fications thereof as would remove .some of the commercial 
barriers in the way of a larger trade between Canada and the 
United States. In order to ascertain the extent of this feeling, 
the Hon. Geo. Brown visited Washington at the request of the 
Government, and found the authorities in such a frame of 
mind as, in his opinion, would warrant action on the part of 
Canada and Great Britain. Mr, Mackenzie had previously 
declared, on many public occasions, that he had no confidence 
in British ambassadors when dealing with Canadian ati'airs. 
He was anxious, therefore, in opening negotiations for a new 
treaty with the United States, to secure the appointment 
of a Canadian representative whose ability and knowledge 
of public ati'airs would be ecjual to tlie great responsibilities of 
such an undertaking. After some correspondence with the 
Colonial Ollice, ^Ir. Brown and Sir Edward Tiioi-nton were, on 
the 17th of March, aj^pointed joint plenipotentiaries for the 
purpose named. 

So far as Canada was concerned, the appointment of Mr. 
Brown was eminently satisfactory;. He had given the closest 
attention for many years to the development of Canadian 




trade and commerce, and, as a puMicist, had discussed every 
pliase of the question. 

Ml". Urown immediately proceeded to Wasliington and f(Hnid 
Air. Secretary Fish and President Grant alive to the import- 
ance of removing-, as far as possible, every obstacle likely to 
iiiipode the commerce of the two countries. The Washington 
'i'reaty of 1871 had settled some international difficulties, but 
had left the great question of Reciprocity as it was in 18G6. 

By article twenty-two of the Washington Treaty, provision 
V ; made, on the appointment of connnissioners, to appraise 
tlie advantages derived by the people of the United States 
for the use of the in-shore fisheries of Canada. If some 
interchange in counnercial products could be agreed upon, as 
an efjuivalent for the compensation in whicli Canada would bo 
entitled for the use of lier tisheries b}- the citizens of the United 
States, the appointment of connnissioners would be unnecessaiy 
and a settlement of the fishery question, in this indii'cct way, 
miii'lit be obtained even more satisfactorv to both iiarties than 
that proposed by the Washington Treaty. As Mr. Jirown sai'i 
in his speech in the Senate, in 1S7.5, "To merge the matter in 
a ireneral measure of mutunl counnercial concessions for tho 
nuitual advantage of both parties and with injury or injus- 
tice to neither, seemed the fitting conclusion to bo arrived at 
by the Governments of two great nations." It was on this 
line that Mi". Bi'own proceeded with the authorities at Wash- 
ington ; and in order to crystalize thf opinions of the rej)ro- 
scntatives of Canada iind (beat liritain, the following 
propositions were sulmiitted : 1. That the duration of tho 
treaty should be twenty-one years. 2. That all the conditions 
of the old treaty of 1854 should be renewed. 8. That tho 
foUowinir additional articles should be added to the free list of 
the old treaty : Agricultural anplemcnts, 'o be defined ; baric, 




extracts of, for tanning purposes ; bath Lricks ; bricks for 
building purposes ; earth ochres, ground or unground ; hay ; 
lime ; malt ; manufactures of iron and steel, to be defined ; 
manufactures of iron or steel and wood, jointly, to be defined ; 
manufactures of wood, to be defined ; mineral and other oils ; 
plaster, raw or calcined ; salt ; straw ; stone, marble or granite, 
partly or wholly cut, or wrought. 4. That the fishery arbitra- 
tion provision of the Washington Treaty should be abandoned. 
5. That the entire coasting trade of the United States and 
Canada should be thrown open to the shipping of both 
countries. 6. That the Welland and St. Lawrence canals 
should be enlarged forthwith, so as to admit of the passage of 
vessels 260 feet long, 45 feet beam, and a depth equal to that 
of the lake harbors. 7. That the Canadian, New York and 
Michigan canals .should be thrown open to the vessels of both 
countries on terms of complete erjuality, and with full power 
to tranship cargo at the entrance or outlet of any of the said 
canals. 8. That the free navisxation of Lake Michigan should 
be conceded forever to Great Britain, as the free navigation of 
the St. Lawrence had been conceded to the United States bv 
the High Joint Commission in 1871. 9. That vessels of all 
kind.s built in the United States or Canada should be entitled 
to registry in either country with all the advantages pertain- 
ing to home-built vessels. 10, That a joint commission should 
be formed and continued, chai-ged with the deepening and 
maintaining in cfiicient condition, the naviiiation oi the St. 
Clair and Detroit Rivers and Lake St. Clair. 11. That a 
similar joint commission should be formed and maintained for 
securing the erection and proper regulation of lighthouses on 
the great lakes. 12. That a similar joint commission shouM 
bo formed and maintained to promote the protection and pro- 
pagation of fish in the inland waters common to both countries. 




13, That the citizens of either country should be entitled to 
letters patent for new discoveries in the other country, and on 
the same terms as the citizens of that country enjoyed. 14. 
That joint action for the prevention of smuggling along the 
lines should be a subject of consideration and co-operation by 
the custom authorities of both countries. 

In his memorandum to the Washington Government, Mr. 
Brown shewed that the trade between the United States and 
Canada in 18.t3 — the year prior to the old Reciprocity Treaty 
— amounted to $20,000,000 only ; whereas in 1866 — the year 
the treaty came to an end — the trade amounted to no less than 
Ss4,000,000. During the thirteen years of the treaty, the 
memorandum showed a uross trade between Canada and thu 
United States of $630,000,000, and that during the same 
period the British American Provinces purchased from the 
United States more goods than from ('hina, Italy, Hayti, 
Ru.ssia, Austria, Denmark, Turkey, Portugal, South America, 
Central America and Japan all put together. 

After negotiations extending beyond the middle of June, a 
draft treaty was agreed upon and was transmitted by Secre- 
tary Fish to the Senate of the United States. It is greatly to 
be regretted that negotiations which had proceeded so success- 
fully were not terminated at an earlier date, as the Senate 
was within two days of adjournment before the treaty agreed 
upon came up for consideration. This furnished those 
opposed to tiie treaty the opportunity they wanted of recom- 
mending a postponement of the whole question for another 
year, with the result that during the recess the protectionists 
of the United States were able so to influence public opinion 
as to prevent the Senate from entertaining the treaty at a 
future session. 

As these negotiations for a new treaty, apparently entered 




I I 

upon in good faith l)y botli parties failtvl, it liocanic the duty of 
the Canadian Government to (h.'uiand the arbitration agreed 
upon by the Wasliington Treaty. It was not, however, till 
1S77 thnt the Coiuniission was organized. Canada was repre- 
.sented b}'- Sir Alexander Gait, and the United States by th'- 
Hon. Judge Kellogg. ^toiisieur Maui'ice ])elf()sse, Belgian 
Minister at Washington, was a[)pointed conjointly by the twu 
Governments as umpire. 

After many davs' discussion and consideration of the issues 
iuvcdved, the arbitrators awai-diMl that Canada slujuld be paid 
§5,500,000. The Americans were greatly disappointed with 
the result of the arbitration ; but after a few months* delay 
the amount was duly paid as provided by tlie treaty for the 
rif^ht to our in-shore I'sheries for twelve viiars. 

Mr. Mackenzie's management of this throughout was 
highly creditable. The appointment of Mr. Gait as Commis- 
sioner on behalf of Great JJritain was a recognition of the 
riuht of Canadians to be consulteil in matters afiectinix their 
own interests, and the award was a substantial proof that a 
Canadian Commissioner is (|uito able to protect Canadian 
interests against the over-reaching tendencies of American 

Although Mr. ^NFackenzic contitiued thi-ougliotit his life a 
stainieh advocate of British coiuiections, and gloried in having 
been born a Briton, he was first and always a Canadian. 
Imperial Confederation he regarded as a chimera, impossihle 
of attainment and subversive of colonial independence. He 
jiad unbounded confidence in the capacity of Canadians Inr 
self-govei'nment, and was always inclined to resent the need- 
less interference of Downing Street in colonial affairs. Winn 
Earl Carnarvon ])r(ili"ered his services to settle the difficulti.- 
between Canaila and British Columbia, he declined his aruitra- 


uty of 
or, till 
l.y thf 

3 issues 
bo pivit.! 
>d witb. 
s' .leli^v 
r for the 

out ^va^ 

of tll>' 
lirr tlK'ir 

)f tliat a 



lis lifo fl- 
n having 
nco. He 
dians Inr 
the HL'od- 
is arbitia- 



mcnt as a judge, while willing to accept his friendly inter- 
])nsiti()n to allay ii-ritatiou. 

In the Fish-Br(;wn Treaty of 1874, and in the Halifax 
award of 1(S77, he olitained the appointment of a Canadian 
Conunissionor of eipial status with his fellow coniuiissioners. 

When Sir John Maedonald, on one occasion, attempted to 
rally his followers by waving the old Ihvg, Mr. Mackenzie 
retorted, "It is an easy matter to raise the flag, but let us 
raise the flag of common sense for a little while, and consider 
not those high-Hown sentiments of extreme devotion ant I 
loyalty which the honorable genth-man dealt in so greatly to- 
night, but soberly and i-easonably, what is best f(;r Canada 
as Canada, and what is best fur Canada as ])art of the Jiritish 
Empire. I liave no doubt, whatever, our true i)oliey is to 
ohtain self-action in almost everything which relates to our 
own business. I, for one, give my cordial support to any- 
thing that will extend our liberty of action and make us 
entirely equal \n all respects to (jtlier legislatures and the 
Ministers of the mother country ilself." 

Again, in 1882, when Mr. Hlake made his motion to demand 
for Canada the right to deal with the United States or any 
utlur C(juntry in matters of commerce as an independent coun- 
trv lie was viy^orously seconded by Mr. Mackenzie. Mr. Mac- 
kenzie said, "that there was no man in Canada who would 
sooner liian he reject part}^ obligations rather than lift a hand 
or a linger, hy motion or otherwise, to disturb the i*e!ations 
that exist betvveen Britain and hi-r colonies. But he had livetl 
lon^• enough in Canada to kn(>w that it iias been the policy 
of ihe Tory party, almost from the beginning of our history, 
whenever a movement was made tending to expand the 
liberties of the people, to cry out i\n\vv, was danger of the 
connection with Croat Britain, and that he was surjirised and 








pained to find loading statesmen still rouorting to that paltry 
policy." Sir John Macdonald's speech, he said, had failed to 
convince him that there was " the slifjhtest dan^jer of what he 
pretended to fear. Everything that extends the liherties of 
Canadians, everything that accords to Canada and her states- 
men greater breadth of view in the management of their own 
affairs, is more likely to conduce to the management of Imper- 
ial interests and greatness than any curbing policy that keeps 
us down to the grindstone. It has been the policy of English 
statesmen who have had the management of our affairs from 
the first to consider colonists as inferior to themselves. I 
can recall the words even of such men as Lord Grey, Lord 
Russell and Lord Metcalfe, every one of whom had placed on 
record their belief that full self-government was not well 
suited to colonists, and I have read the despatches of Lord 
Russell and Lord Glenelg to the Governor-General frequently, 
warning them not to extend the principle of responsible 
government to Canadians further than so far as might be con- 
siytent with the maintenance of the colonial relation. I believe 
we are really as capable of managing our own political affairs 
as the House of Commons in England." 

In the session of 1874, Mr. Cartwright, Minister of Finance, 
delivered his first budget speech. He reviewed the financial 

obligations of the country, the falling off in the revenue and 
the necessity for additional taxation if the country was to 
meet the obligations imposed upon it by the previous administra- 
tion. It was somewhat unfortunate that in the first year of 



tlie Government's existence the necessity arose for this course. 
To convince the people that tlie increase of taxation was the 
natural consequence of the extravagance of their predecessors 
and not a covert attack upon the ratepayers in order to justify 
expenditures which they proposed to incur themselves, was one 
of the difficulties of the situation. 

The general character of the increases proposed by Mr. 
Cartwright was most reasonable. No attempt was made to 
holster up any industry at the expense of the consumei*. As 
far as possible, the necessaries of life were not burdened with 
any additional rate, the luxuries being made to supply, mainly, 
the necessary revenue. 

Sir Charles Tupper, who acted as tlie Opposition critic of the 
budget speech, inveighed strongly against the increased taxa- 
tion proposed by the Minister of Finance, and charged Mr. 
Mackenzie with infidelity to his free trade principles in the 
increase of the tariff from 15 to 17i per cent. The obligations 
incurred by the previous Government, he claimed, could be 
• liseharged without any difficulty, as the increased revenue 
from an increased population and from the development of 
tlu; Northwest Territories would more than meet the extra 
expenditure. The ^biritime Provinces entered Confederation 
with a very low tariff. What v.ould be their indignation, he 
asked, when they became aware of the policy of the Govern- 

Mr. Mackenzie, in reply to Mr. Tupper, claimed that the 
Government had no option ; that the maidy and the honest 
way was to state to Parliament and to the country their true 
financial condition, and to provi<le the only remedy withia 
their power, namely, a reasonable increase of the tariff. 
Although a free trader in principle, as head of the Government 
he r/.ust find sufficient money with which to carry on the 

|: -■ 













|50 '""^^ 

























business of the country : and while it was impossible to appl^' 
the principles of free trade, he did the next best thing — hu 
increased the tariff for revenue purposes only. 

Owino; to the faihire of Sir John Maclonald's scheme for 
the construction of the Canadian Pacific railway, it was neces- 
sarv in order to keep faith with British Columbia, that some 
other means sliould be adopted for tlie construction of this 
road. Mr. Mackenzie lost no time in submitting to tlie House 
a bill embodying the policy of the Government. He propo.sed, 
first, to divide the road into four sections two east of Winni- 
peg, and two west, with branches from Winnipeg to Pembina, 
and from Lake Nipissing to Georgian Bay, A line of telegraph 
was to be constructed along the whole extent of the railway' 
in advance of the construction of the road, and as soon as the 
route had been determined. Each sectiu.. was to be w^orked 
by the contractors who constructed the section, on terms to 
be settled by the Governor in Council. The bill provided for 
the construction of the road by private enterprise or as a 
Government work. In this respect it was different from Sir 
John Macdonald's bill, which provided for the construction of 
the road by private enterprise only. Instead of giving a sub.sidy 
of money and lands en blue to the company, Mr. Mackenzie 
proposed a subsidy of §10,000 per mile ami a land grant of 
20,000 acres per mile, with a guaiantee of four per cent, for a 
given number of years on a sum to bo stated in the contract 
for each mile tendered for, all contracts for any portion of the 
main line to be submitted to Parliament for approval. The 
Government reserved to itself the right to assume possessitjn 
of the whole or any section of the railway on paynient of ten 
per cent, in adilition to the original cost, less the value of the 
laud and money subsidies received. No time was fixed by the 
bill absolutely, for the complet on of the road. The branch 





line at Fort Garry was to lie pushed forward as fast as would 
be necessary to connect with the American system of railways. 

Although this bill was not satisfactory to the British 
Columbians, particularly as it did not guarantee ti.c com- 
pletion of th(; road according to the exact terms of union with 
the Province, it was, nevertheless, an honest attempt to fulfil 
the obligations of the Government. Indeed, it contemplated 
more than Parliament had absolutely promised in the first 
instance, as the terms of union with British Columbia, so far 
as the Pacific Railway was concerned, required that the road 
should be constructed out of the revenues of the Dominion 
without increasing the rate of taxation. 

To those who had committed themselves to the construction 
of a trans-continental railway innne<]iately on Canadian 
territory, the bill was unsatisfactory, inasmuch as it designe<l 
to utilize the American system of railways for access to Mani- 
toba l)y way of Pembina, leaving the eastern section along tlie 
noi'th shore of Lake Superior to be constructed at a hiter 
period. But while the construction of the eastern section 
remained in abeyance, it was proposed to utilize the wrter 
stretches to the north of Lake Superior as far as possil'^e, for 
the purpose of furnishing immediate access through Canadian 
territory to the North-West. 

On this latter proposition much ridicule was cast by the 
Consf. r/ativc party. No doubt there wen; tiisadvantages for 
connnercial purposes in tiic conveyance of freight and pas- 
sengers by a combination of rail and water, and were it nut 
for the financial obligations it involved, it is (juite certain Mr. 
Mackenzie himself would never have entertained such a 
project. The country was sullering from great commercial 
dopre.ssion. The revenue of the Dominion was accordingly 
impaired. A considerable addition had been made to the 

■: '!' 




tai'iff, and Mr. ^Mackenzie felt that any reasonable means 1>y 
which he could avoid adding to the burdens of the country 
demanded consideration. If he was obliged to adopt any 
measure of a teniporarj' character in order to tido over present 
financial difficulties, it was not his fault, but the fault of his pre- 
decessors by whom the country was placed under such heavy 
obligations to British Columbia. Whatever objection may be 
taken to the measure proposed by Mr. Mackenzie, no excep- 
tion can be taken to the sincerity of his efforts to carry jutthe 
intention of Parliament in agreeing to the construction of the 

Mr. Mackenzie's speech on the introduction of this bill was 
one of the most remarkable of the session, and in some respects 
one of the ablest speeches ever delivered in a Canadian Parlia- 
ment. It occupied between three and four hours in delivery 
and shewed the most intimate knowledge of the surveys of the 
road and of the en<rineering difficulties to be ovtsrcomo. When 
pointing out the different routes that had been considered and 
examined in the eastern section, one would have thought he 
had travelled every mile of the road and had examined, 
personally, every gulch and elevation which stood in the way 
of the contractor. When discussing the western section with 
its different gradients and alignments, one would have thought 
he was an engineer who had stu lied with a Brunei or a 
Stephenson. When he launched out into comparisons with 
other railways of a similar kind in the United States and South 
America, one would have thought he was the author of a com- 
pendium of the railway systems of the world. When he came 
to discuss tho financial obligation which this gigantic scheme 
involved, the difficulty of obtaining the requisite amount of 
money and the burdens it would impose upon the taxpayer, 
one would have thou<rht he was the Chancellor of the Excheciucr 



addressing the House in Committee of Ways and Means. The 
fact that in addition to his many other duties as Premier, and 
as Minister of Public Works, he was able to master the details 
of such a great enterprise, shews his wonderful industry and 
grasp of mind. 

It is not generally known that Mr. Mackenzie took great 
interest in military matters, and had served liis country as an 
officer in the volunteers, ranking as Major of the 27th Batta- 
lion of Lambton. During the Fenian invasion of 18CG he was 
for several months under canvas at the head of his company, 
and won the admiration of every man in the service by the 
faithful manner in which he discharged his duties. 

lie always took part in the discussions of the House 
on military matters, and frc(juently expressed doubts with 
regard to the results obtained from the method.s usually 
adopted for the training of the volunteers. To have a stand- 
ing army on paper, no matter how strong, would be, in his 
opinion, of little use unless such an army were well officered ; 
and the limited training provided under the Militia Act, 
valuable though it might be, was not sufficient, he feared, for 
active service in time of trouble. 

To overcome the difficulties referred to, the Minister of 
Militia introduced a Idll for the establishment of a Military 
Colleire somewhat on the basis of West Point in the United 
States. The course of study would involve instruction in all 
matters relating to cavalry, infantry, artillery and engineer- 
ing. The college was to be placed under M'ell -trained military 
officers of experience, and cadets in training were to be sub- 
jected to examinations at the close of tlie college course. 

By the establishment of this college, Mr. Mackenzie expected 
to supply officers thoroughly competent to train the volunteer 
forces of the country, as well as in the event of an emergency 




I ! 



to have in command men well vcised in military tactics, who 
could render valuable aid to the ofi cers in connnand. 

As the result of this legislatio i, a military college was 
estaLlished at Kingston, and though it may not have met to 
the full the expectations of its founder, its record has been 
creditable to the stati", and the cours j of instruction equal to 
the best military schools of the contii ent. 

For many years the Liberal party complained of the election 
law as being framed in the interest )f the Government, and 
designed as if from malice of forethought to prevent a irte 
expression of public opinion. As was seen in the elections of 
l>b7-, by issuing the writs in constitu>;ncies favorable to the 
Govurnment undue advantage was takt n of the Liberal party. 
For this state of atlairs, Mr. Mackenzie in Ins address to the 
electors of Lambton had promised a remedy when he assumed 
office ; and the Election Bill introduced by the Minister of 
Justice, Mr. Dorion, was the fulfilment of that promise ; for by 
clause two, it was provided that at every general election, the 
Governor-General should fix one and the same day for the 
nominations of candidates in all the electoral districts of the 
Dominion, with the exception of a few cases which the writs 
might possibly not reach in the usual time, between the diss.)- 
lution of the House and polling day, on account of the distance. 
The writs for an election were to be addressed to the sheritl' or 
to the registrar of the electoral district, and in the event of 
there being no ssheritt" or I'egistrar, to such p.!rsou as the Gov- 
ernment might appoint. 

The of the franchise was to be tliat used in the 
Provincial elections. Candidates were to be nominated by a 
written nomination paper, signed by twenty-five electors, and 
a deposit of fifty dollars was to be made with the returning 
officer as a guarantee of the bona fides of the nomination- 


38 1 

The property qualification required of candidates was abolished 
and for the open system of voting was substituted the more 
modern system of vote by ballot. Very stringent provisions 
were adopted with respect to con-npt ])raetices ; and for the 
lirst time in the history of Canada, it may be said that an 
honest effort was made to obtain a pui-e election. Since Mr. 
Mackenzie retired from ofTice, several attempts have been made 
to neutralize its beneficial tendencies ; notably, by amending 
the clause which provided that the sheritt' or the registrar 
should be ex returning ofticer. The appointment of a 
returning of^cor who is the creature of the administration of 
the day, and who considers that he can best disclwirge his 
duties by promoting the election of the Government candi- 
date, or if the Govej-nmcnt candidate fails in getting the 
majority of the votes, by making such a return to the Clerk 
of the Crown in Chancery as will give him a right, for the 
time being, to a seat in Parliament, has of late years been a 
matter of frequent occurrence. No such abuse of party power 
was possible under IMr. Dorion's Election Uill, and that such 
an abuse has been tolerated by the majority in Parliament on 
several occasions, and encouraged, if not advised, by the 
leaders of the party, is very much to be deplored. 

Tiic application of the ballot to Dominion elections was 
strongly resisted by Sir John Macdonald, the leader of tho 
Opposition, and by many of his followers as well. Sir John 
Macdonald wanted the country to adhere to the good old 
system of open voting, as being the manlier form of declarinir 
one's political preference. The ballot was American, was 
un-British, would lead to fraud and deception, and should not 
be entertained. Following the same line, one of his supporters 
raively expressed his objection to the ballot in these terms: 
" Elections cannot bo carried without money. Under an opi?n 



system of voting, you can readily ascertain whether the voter 
has deceived you. Under vote by ballot, an elector may take 
your money and vote as he likes, without detection." 

The adoption of the franchise, established by the different 
Provinces for their respective Legislatures, was another feature 
of the liberal character of the Election Bill, and is also an 
evidence of Mr. Mackenzie's confidence in the federal principle. 
To say that the Local Legislatures cannot be trusted in prepar- 
ing voters' lists which will fairly represent public opinion, is to 
x*eflect upon their loyalty to Confederation. To deny them 
this privilege, no doubt intended by the Union Act, is to dis- 
turb very materially the area of representation in the different 
Provinces. In addition to this there is the question of expense, 
the impartial character of the voters' lists, the simplicity of 
procedure, all of which are important in dealing with a 
question, somewhat complex, but of supreme importance to the 
country, To place the franchise of a constituency in the 
hands of a revising barrister, who is the nominee of the party 
in power, is like placing the deeds of your estate in the hands 
of a rival claimant. A Government which can thus tamper 
witli the free expression of the people stands self-condenmed. 
Either its course hus been unworthy of confidence and, there- 
fore, the jury must be packed, or the electors as a whole can- 
not be trusted, and as a consequence doubtful ones must be 
deprived of their power of expressing themselves. Such 
doctrines, either openly avowed or covertly carried out in the 
name of law, would destroy more governments in Britain 
than ever perished or are likely to perish by the Nemesis of 
Irish Home Rule. 




Mr. Mackenzie's Plan for Preserving the Debates of the House— The Supreme 
Court Act — The Constitution of the Senate — Prohibition Discussed — The 
Canada Temperance Act — Mr. Mackenzie visits the Eastern Provinces — 
'Jr. Brown declines the Lieutenant-Govoruorship of Ontario — The Office 
Accepted by Mr. D. A. Macdonald. 

i^ OR the first time in the history of the Canadian 
y Parliament, arrangements were made for offi- 
^ifTz: cially reporting the debates of the House. The 
"^ questions occupying the attention of tlie people's 
representatives were considered to be of such import- 
ance as to ju.stify the preservat'on of the debates for 
future reference. An attempt had been made during the last 
three years of the pr' "*nus Parliament to secure the same 
object by private enter}: 'se, but the speeches were reported 
with such partiality, r u^jr for the speaker or the party to 
which he belonged, as to make the volume valueless for future 
reference. To refer to files of a newspaper for the discus- 
sion of any question to which the House had given its con- 
sideration was becoming more and more difficult. A concise 
report by well-trained stenographers was therefore almost a 
necessity, if the debates were to be available for public pur- 
poses. Parliament is evidently satisfied with the policy which 
Mr. Mackenzie introduced in 1875, and it is doubtful if any 



I". I 




deliberative Imdv in tlie world is furnislicd with a more satis- 
factory report of its debates than is the I'arlianient of (Januda. 

For many years, Sir John Macdonald liad been promising 
the country an act for the estaljlishnient of a general Court of 
Appeal for Canad.i, as provided by section 101 of the British 
North America Act. ^J'hat such an act was necessary on 
account of the union of Provinces wxxXx different svstems of 
legal procedure was self-e\'ident. The Supreme Court of the 
United States was established in order to preserve, particu- 
larly in constitutional questions, harmony of action iu the 
different States of the Union. 

Mr. Mackenzie saw that confusion would soon arise in the 
interpretation of the laws of the different Provinces, unless 
the intentions of the Union Act were carried out. He tliere- 
fore lost no time in bringing in a bill for the establishment 
of a court to Avhicii appeals could be niade from the judg- 
ments of the hiiiht'st court of final resort in anv Province v)f 
Canjida in all civil matters. In criminal matters, it was pro- 
posed to allow appeals within certain limitations in the ca«ie 
of any person convicted of treason, felony or misdemeanour, 
and also in cases of extradition. Authority was given the 
Governor in Council to refer to the Supreme Court, for 
hejiring or consideration, any matter whatsoever he niay 
think tit, and, under certain conditions, jurisdiction was given 
to the Supreme Court iu the case: (1), Of controversies 
between the Dominion of Canada and any Province. (2), 
Of controversies between Provinces. (8), When the validity 
of an act of the Parliamtjut of Canada was qut-stioned in the 
proceedings. (4), WIhu the \alidity of an act of one of the 
Provinces was questi(jned in the proceedings. 

The court was to be compo.sod of a chief justice and five 
puisne judges. The sittings (jf the court were to be held al 



OttiiAva, and tlic ju<l;;i'.s wore empowered to make siicli rules 
and orders for re<^iilutIno; the procedure of the Supreme Court 
as tliey mi^lit deem expedient. 

Many of the French members of the House were stronfjly 
opposed to the Supreme Court Bill, claiming that it interfered 
with the dignity of the Provincial ct)urts, and would expose 
litigants from Quebec to the danger of being misund<u*stood in a 
court presided over by a majority of English-speaking judges. 

There seemed to be considerable ditl'erence of u})ini()n in the 
House with regard to the ultimate sovereignty of the Supreme 
Court. By some members it was held that its decisions should 
be tinal and conclusive, and without appeal to Her Majestj^'s 
Privy Council in any case. By others it was heltl that Par- 
liament had no power to prohibit an appeal to Her Majest3''s 
Privy Council, and even if there was the power, it should 
not be exercised. The views of the Government, and of a 
niajoiity of the House, were, after a pretty vigoi'ous debate, 
expr<!S.sed in the following section which was inserted in the 
bill on its third reading: "The judgment of the Supreme 
Court shall in all ciuses be final and conclusive, and no error 
or appeal shall be brought from any judgment or order o^ 
the Supreme Court, to any Court of Appeal established l)y 
the Parliament of Great Britain and Ii'eland, to which appeals 
or petitions to Her Majesty in Council may be ord(M'e(l to be 
heard, saving any right which Her Majesty may be graciously 
pleased to exercise as a royal prerogative."' 

Various amendments were made to the Act tlic I'ollowinij 
session, the most worthy of notr, perhaps, being the abolition 
ot" a right of appeal to tlui Supreme Court in extradition 
cases. The amendnn'nts niad(> to the Supreme Court .Act in 
.s>d)sequent years do not come within the scope of our nar- 




Mr. Mackenzie's action in constituting a Court of Appeal 
for Canada, and his impartiality in establishing it in the 
first instance, are in striking contrast to the vacillating policy 
of his predecessors. The influence of a powerful court in 
steadying legislation and in protecting the Constitution 
against the inroads of partisan majorities can hardly be over- 
estimated. The Supreme Court of thi United States has 
more than once overthrown the plans of unscrupulous leaders 
in Congress by its reasonable and well-sustained judgments. 
To know that there is an appeal from Philip drunk to Philip 
sober, from the knave who would make merchandise of the 
public interests for his own selfish purposes, to the calm judg- 
ment of disinterested men, is a substantial check upon those 
who are indifferent to the constitutional rights of their op- 

The cry raised by Sir John Macdonald that the restraint 
imposed by the Bill upon indiscriminate appeals to the Privy 
Council, on the ground that it would lead to the severance of 
Canada from the British Empire, was a sample of "jingoism" 
in a small way which has been the bane of Canadian politics, 
and which, happily for the country, had no influence with 
Parliament. To admit the doctrine that in the management 
of purely domestic affairs Canada is not free to exercise the 
powers of self-government conferred on her by the Imperial 
Parliament would be inimical to her independence and self- 
respect. Nothing is more subversive of either personal or 
national strength than the suppression of a spirit of self- 
reliance. To be in perpetual fear of treading on Imperial 
corns, or of being castigated by a Downing-street martinet, 
involves a degree of self-debasement incompatible with the 
most elementary principles of constitutional liberty. 

It is easy, however, to recall periods in Canadian history 





I: I'll! 

where the terrorism of the Colonial OflRce so overawed the 
people as to suppress the assertion of even the feeblest aspira- 
tion of a national spirit. When, forty years ago, it was proposed 
to establish municipal institutions under the old Parliament of 
Canada, the fetich of Imperialism was invoked, and the loyalty 
of all who advocated their establishment was impugned. 
" Place here and there (it was said) throughout the country, 
independent local boards for the construction of roads and 
bridges and the management of local affairs, and what are you 
doing ? You are creating so many sucking republics to be a 
menace to Imperial connection." Indeed, so jealous was Par- 
liament of its prerogative or so fearful that the power thus 
conferred would be abused, that the wardens of counties 
were originally appointed by the Crown, and all by-laws of 
local municipalities, with one or two trifling exceptions, were 
invalid until approved by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council. 
And so the proposal made during the present generation to 
adopt a decimal currency, or the system, of voting by ballot, 
or a union of the Provinces on tlie Federal principle, caused a 
paroxyism of affected loyalty which, if taken in all seriousness, 
would have checked irreparably the development of self- 
government. To accept, in the administration of Canadian 
affairs, any well-known principle or practice of the neighbor- 
ing states, was to endanger Imperial connection ; and to 
establish a Supreme Court in Canada, from which, under 
certain circumstances, there would be no appeal was, using the 
words of Sir John Macdonald, " to sever the last link that 
bound Canada to the British Empire." Vain fear ! The ties 
which bind Canada to the Empire happily do not depend upon 
Courts of Appeal, or upon the courtesies of a Colonial OfHce, 
or the presence of a Governor-General, or the pomp of a vice- 
regal court. Canada finds in that connection the prestige of 

f I 





a constitution that has " broa<lened down from precedent to 
precedent." She finds a history of heroic deeds, in which she 
has herself borne an humble part, and which it is her pride 
and glory, to some extent, to imitate. She finds in the 
literature of the Empire the best exposition of her aspira- 
tions, and she believes for the present, at least, that she can 
best work out her own destiny in alliance with an Empire 
whose honor and dignity her loyal subjects are prepared now, 
rts in the brave days of yore, to defend by land and by sea. 

The attention of the House \vas again called by Mr. Mills to 
the constitution of the Senate in the following resolution ; 
" That the present mode of constituting the Senate is inconsis- 
tent ^\ :th the Federal principle in our system of government, 
makes the Senate alike independent of the people and the 
Crown, and is in other material respects defective ; and that 
our constitution ought to be so amended as to confer upon 
each Province the power of selecting its own Senators, and to 
define the mode of their selection." 

Mr. Mills introduced a similar resolution in the previous 
session ; but, owing to the pressure of business, he was unable 
to proceed with it beyond the first stage. In an able speech, 
he di&cussed the functions of a Senate in a Federal system, 
pointing out, first, that under our constitution its primary 
purpose Vv'as to protect th'; Provinces against the encroachment 
of the House of Commons. It would logically follow, then, 
that it should derive its existence from the Provinces and not 
from the Crown. This was the main purpose of the Senate of 
tlu! United States, and although not constituted with any re- 
ference to the ]x)pulation of the different states, it has been 
regarded by the people, even of tlit; larger states, as afibrding 
them ample protection ; second, the centralisation of power in 



the Crown is contrary to the modern trend of constitutional 
government growth. 

Canada happily lives almost beyond the shadow of pre- 
rogative in matters of legiskition. except in this particular 
instance. To invest a small body of men, appointed usually 
because of their political service to their party, with legislative 
power, is to give a partisan complexion to an estate of the 
realm called upon to exercise judicial functions mainly. Let 
a Government remain in otBce long enough, and in the natural 
order of events, tlic Senate, to which ii nJnority may be called 
upon to appeal, may be, politically, more intensely partisan 
than the House of Commons from which the appeal has been 
taken. How then can it serve the purpose of protecting the 
weak against the strong, while it is itself the creature of tlie 
oppressor ? The Senate has had many opportunities in recent 
years to discharge this duty, notably in connection with Redis- 
tribution Bills and Franchise Acts. But no voice came from 
its emblazoned halls against the political brigandage of the 
Government, whose Hat gave it existence. So strongly did 
Mr. Mackenzie feel the dang-jr to which he was exposed from 
a partisan Senate, that in December, 1878, he advised that an 
application should be made to Her Majesty to add six mem- 
bers to the Senate, in the public interest, as he was authorised 
to do by the 2Gth section of tlie British North America Act. 
The Earl of Kimberley, Colonial Secretary, in a despatch dated 
February 18th, 1874, stated in reply that after a careful ex- 
amination of the question, he was satisfied that it was intend- 
ed that the power vested in Hnr Majesty, under section 2G, 
should be exercised in order to provide a means of bringing 
the Senate into accord with the House of Connnons, in the 
event of an actual collision of opinion between the two Houses; 
and that Her Majesty could not be advised to take the respou- 



sibility of interi'erin<T with the constitution of the Senate, ex- 
cept upon an occasion where it had been made apparent that 
a difference had come between the two Houses of so serious 
and permanent a character that the Government could not be 
carried on without lier intervention, and when it could be 
shoAvn that the limited creation of Senators allowed by the 
Act would apply an adequate remedy. Third, Mr. Mills con- 
tended that the Government of Sir John Macdonald had 
broken faith with the Liberal party in the matter of Senator- 
ial appointments. The Senate was at first constituted in the 
palmy days or the coalition of 18G7, and represented pretty 
fairly both political parties. Since tliat time, appointments 
have, with very few exceptions, been made from the ranks of 
the Conservative party, and thus what might have been a de- 
liberative body, representing the two great elements in Can- 
adia?j politics, has been converted into a Conservative club, the 
members of which wore duly balloted foi* at a meeting of the 
Privy Council, and afterwards introduced j^ro forma by some 
other member in good standing. 

It is useless to urge, as Mr. Mills pointed out, that Senators 
forego their party politics on receiving their commission. To 
admit this would be a contradiction of the practice of the 
Conservative party for many years. If they are not poli- 
ticians in any party sense, why is it that they have been 
selected, as a rule, from the dominant party ? Is it possible 
that thoae members of the House of Commons who, up to the 
time of a general election, were most active in propagating 
the doctrine of their party, should, on entering the Senate, a 
few weeks afterwards, divest themselves of all party feeling ? 
Such an assumption is absurd, and contrary 'o experience. 

Fouith, Mr. Mills objected to the appointment of Senators 
for lif«5. There could be no defence, ho contended, for invest- 





ing men with power to shape the legislation of the country 
who were practically irresponsible to any one for the conclu- 
sions they arrived at. If they were an echo of the House of 
Commons, they were of no constitutional value. If they were 
to be a check upon the House of Commons, or if by ripe ex- 
perience, and by calmness of judgment, they were to aid the 
House of Commons in perfecting legislation, they could only 
do this by receiving instructions at intervals from the people 
of the country, either by direct election or nomination in 
some other way. 

In the course of the debate, which was a very interesting 
one, it was clearly seen that the House was not in favor of the 
abolition of the Senate. Some such constitutional safeguard 
under our federal system was considered necessary. It was 
also clearly the opinion of the House that if the Senate was 
to serve the purpose for which, under our constitution, it was 
intended, a change in the mode of appointment was necessary ; 
and aluhough the House by its action did not commit itself to 
any particular scheme, the general expression of opinion was 
evidently in favor of investing in the Legislative Assemblies 
of the different Provinces the power to make aippointments to 
the Senate. The reference of the whole (juestion to a commit- 
tee was adopted by a small majority, the vote standing 77 to 

The sessions of 1874 and 1875 were remarkable for the 
number of petitions presented in favor of prohibition. The 
temperance men of Canada had stirred up the public opinion 
of the country to a very unusual degree during these two years. 
As a result of that sentiment, they k)oked towards the 
of Commons in the hope of obtaining stringent legislation for 
restraining the liquor traffic. The petitions were referred to 
a special committee for considcjation, and \n the report made 



! m 




towards the close of tlie session, the opinion was expressed 
" that it would be expedient to take such ste[)S as would pu*-. 
the House in possession of full information as to the opera- 
tion and results of prohibitory li(|Uor laws in those States of 
the American Union where they are or have been in force, 
with a view to show thuir probable working- and etiect if in- 
troduced into Ci'nada." 

In response to this expression of opinion b}'^ the committee, 
the Government appointed a couniiission consisting of E. J. 
Davis of the County of Lambton, a barrister in high standing, 
and the Rev. J. W. Manning of the county of L nark, a 
gentleman who had given great attention to the Temperance 
question. The Commissioners reported early in 1875. after 
having visited several of the New England States where 
prohibitory legislation was in force, and from the evidence 
of state governors, senators, members of Congress, judges, 
police courts, jailers, etc., which they sulmiitted, it was quite 
evident that prohibitory legislation tended to the reduction of 
intemperance. It was therefore proposed that the House 
should resolve itself into committee to consider a resolution de- 
claring " that a prohibitory liquor law fully carried out is the 
only etlectual remedy for the evils inflicted upon society by in- 
temperance, and that Parliament is pre})ared, as soon as public 
opinion will efiiciently sustain stringent measures, to promote 
such legislation as will prohibit the manufacture, importation 
and sale of intoxicating liquors as far as the same is within 
the competency of this House." 

The Temperance men of the House and of tlie country were 
of the opinion that a general resohition such as tlie above, 
approving the principle of prohibition, if carried by the 
House, would greatly aid th(3 Tem[)erance cause, and would 
assist in moulding public opinion for further action. 



An attempt was made, however, to take political advantage 
of this resolution by an amendment dechnh ^ that it is the 
duty of the Government to submit a prohibitory liquor law 
for the approval of Parliament at the earliest possible 
moment. After considerable debate, at different periods dur- 
ing the session, the House rose without giving any definite 
expression of opinion. 

In th^ session of 1876, further progress was made by the 
adoption of a resolution for bringing down the decisions of 
the courts of the different Provinces with regard to prohibi- 
tion. The courts appeared to be undecided as to where juris- 
diction lay with regard to prohibition. A learned judge in 
the east contended that the Dominion Parliament alone could 
prohibit the liquor traffic, and a learned judge in the west of 
equal standing advanced the view that the Local Legislature 
alone could prohibit tlio sale of intoxicating liquors. 

In 1877, on motion of Mr. Schultz, the Government was 
again called upon to pass a proliibitory liquor law at the earli- 
est moment practicable. To this motion objection was taken 
that the question of jurisdiction had not been settled, that 
there was a case before the Supreme Court which would 
probably determine the relative jurisdiction of the Provincial 
and Dominion Legislatures, and, under the circumstances, 
while not receding from any declaration previously made, it 
was inexpedient to express any opinion regarding the action 
to be taken by the Government in dealing with this matter. 
The debate which grew out of this resolution was, in some 
respects, very unsatisfactory. To change the current of pub- 
lic opinion with regard to liJibits established during many 
generations, is not the work of a day. The Temperance men 
of Canada, for thirty or forty years, had done a great deal to 
create a Temperance sentiment, and were supported by a very 

if .■( 





1 ! 

active public opinion entitled to the greatest respect. The 
practical question, however, before the House, was: Could 
such a law, if passed, be enforced ? and many members wlio 
were supporters of the Temperance cause had grave doubts on 
this point. The Government felt, besides that they were \in- 
fairly treated by their opponents. Wliat was in its incep- 
tion and development a purely moral question, supported out- 
side the House irrespective of party line.s, was now turned 
into a political question, and if the motion made by Mr. 
Schultz prevailed, the Government would be obliged to take 
action, whether public opinion Avould warrant it or not. 

Mr. Mackenzie defended the attitude of the Government 

with a great deal of spirit. " He always held, although an 

advocate of prohibition for nearly thirty yeai's, that it ^^ as 

useless to give legislation on this or any other question until 

the public was ready for it. He quite admitted that pub.'ic 

men of standing and ability might lead the public mind lo a 

considerable extent. To legislate in advance of public opinion 

was merely to produce anarchy instead of maintaining law 

and order. He did not believe that public opinion was ripe 

for a prohibitory liquor law, even if the power was located. 

He believed a great advance had been made towards it. He 

quite admitted that ordinary political life, ordinary political 

affairs, and ordinary political qu'^stions were quite secondary 

to a condition of such vast importance as would be produced 

by a reform in the drinking habits of the country. But 

abundant evidence was furnished in the shape of the Inland 

Revenue returns, in the figures presented every year, that, 

while there had been more intelligent appreciation on the part 

of the public generally of the views of Temperance men, and a 

nearer approach to that state of public opinion which would 

justify a not very remote Legislature in enacting a somewhat 




striiifjent measure in tliat direetic i, it was quite evident from 
these returns that the drinking habits of the people had not 
to any extent been afi'ected as to the quantity used, by the 
afjitation which had prevailed and had been useful in its way. 
There were more ardent spirits consumed this moment than 
ten 3'ears ago. It was quite true that there had been a dimi- 
nution in the amount last year. Whether this resulted from 
an improved public opinion, from the greater advance of tem- 
perance views with the people generally, or produced to some 
or to the entire extent by the inability to purchase, as com- 
pared with former years, he would not venture to say. He 
was bound to take a fair and reasonable view of the difficul- 
ties in the way, and believed at this moment if tlio Legis- 
lature had the power, and in the exercise of that power should 
enact a Prohibitory Liquor Law, it would be impossible, with 
the support which was to be obtained at present from public 
opinion, to carry it practically into eUcct. He believed that 
they would run great danger of vastly increasing the oppor- 
tunities for the illegal sale of intoxicating lit^uors, instead oi' 
having it controlled bj'' some sort of license system, as at 
present. Any backward step in this movement would be a 
fatal calamity to the prosperity of the Temperance cause and 
of the country generally." 

As a proof of Mr. Mackenzie's sincerity as a prohibitionist, 
in 1878 he gave to the country the Canada Temperance Act, 
which will be considered in connection with the legislation of 
that year. 

Mr. Mackenzie for a long time cherished the desire to make 
a personal inspection of the Intercolonial Railway in order to 
get further knowledge of its physical features, its equipment 
and its management. He wished, also, to inspect other public 
works in the Eastern Provinces. He gave effect to this desire 


I n 





in the latter part of 1875, and although it was a hurried busi- 
ness visit, he could not decline the hospitalities so generously 
protl'ered him by his many friends in the Maritime Provinces. 

In the city of St. John, he was tendered a banc^uet to which 
the Hon. J. G. Blaine, then travelling in the Maritime Pro- 
vinces, was invited to meet him. Besides leading citizens of 
the town, there was present also the United States Consul, 
wlio, in addressing the guests, spoke of himself as an Ameri- 
can. Mr. Mackenzie, in reply to the toast of his health, re- 
ferred in a very felicitous manner to the claim made by the 
Consul of the United States to the title American : 

" The United States Consul — I call him the United States 
Consul because, claiming to be an American myself, I do not 
care to see one nation of this continent monopolise that name 
— spoke just now of the friendly feelings the people of Can- 
ada and the United States should entertain towards each 
other. I was an early friend to the union of the Provinces, 
because I regarded it as necessary to their proper growth and 
development ; and I believe that here we have the germ of a 
great and powerful nation, and that we can best serve the 
cause of libert}^ and of human progress by being faithful to 
our union, which I trust will last as long as freedom and pro- 
gress live on earth. I am also and always have been a fi'iend 
of the United States. During the ^v•ar I entertained a strong 
and warm feeling for the Northern cause, because I knew that 
it meant the destruction of slavery and the removal of the 
fetters of the oppressed. I hope the day will never come 
when any other than friendly feelings will prevjiil between 
the people of Canada and the United States. I believe the 
people of Canada and the United States, though forming two 
distinct nations, will in the future be so thoroughly united in 
Bentiment as to be able to carry the influence of the British 



race and the principles of British liberty into all countries. 
The people of the United States have a great destiny before 
them, and although it is not, I believe, their manifest destiny 
to be any larger in territory than they are at present — I be- 
lieve my friend, Mr. Blaine, beside me, will agree with me tluit 
it is quite large enough now — thoy and we have a connnon 
task, more than the mere support of a particular Government, 
or the securing of ' a third term,' or the realisation of any of 
those small political issues which enter more or less into the 
domestic politics of nations. We have, of course, to give some 
attention to these questions, and to the keeping of certain 
machinery in running order ; but these are the secondary 
elements of statecraft, and are not comparable in point of 
importance to those higher principles which move nations, and 
on which Canada and the United States and Britain may 
occupy a common ground. The United States have pursued 
generally a policy of non-intervention in the affairs of other 
nations, and Great Britain of late years seems to have largely 
adopted this principle. No doubt, non-intervention is the 
proper policy in most cases, and perhaps it is in every case the 
easiest policy to pursue ; but it may sometimes be carried too 
far, and produce very disastrous results. I do not think that 
the doctrine of non-intervention should be pursued to such an 
extent as never to permit a nation to lift a hand on behalf of 
human liberty, or to grant aid and comfort to the struggling 
and oppressed. On some great occasions it may be necessary 
in the future for America and Britain to send more than a 
mere word to aid the efforts of the oppressed ; and should 
such a necessity occur, it would surely be a glorious sight to 
see these English-speaking nations banded together to aid less 
fortunate people to obtain that measure of huii:au liberty 
which we have had the happines.s to enjoy for so long a period 





ourselves. As a Canadian and a Briton, if I have had an 
ambition, it has been to have my country play a part in the 
liberation of nations from the fetters which ignorance and 
bad government have imposed upon them ; and while desirous 
always to see peace on earth and good-will towards men pre- 
vail, I know that these blessings can sometimes only be main- 
tained at the cannon's mouth. I hope that the people of the 
United States and of Great Britain will always remain true 
to those great principles on which their institutions are 
founded, and that their flags may wave together in beauty 
and harmony in many a distant land, the one bearing on it 
that emblem of the might of the Creator, the starry heavens, 
which express His infinite power, and the other emblazoned 
with the emblem of God's greatest work, tlic redemption of 

He dwelt upon the influence of Canada as a maritime 
power " with its broad-armed ports, where, laughing at the 
storm, proud navies ride," and as a complement to these ad- 
vantages, he referred to the agricultural resources of the 
North-West, " a land where boundless prairies stretch towards 
the setting sun, a land where millions of our race from be- 
yond the sea can find for themselves a peaceful habitation, a 
land to which we can apply the words of Whittier : 

' I hear the tread of pioneers 

Of nations yet to be, 

The first low wasli of waves where soon 

Shall roll a human sea.' " 

There were also addresses at Carleton, Amherst, Halifax, 
Dorchester, Moncton and Riinouski. At the last named place 
Mr. Mackenzie took occasion to refer to the policy of his 
Administration in aflbrdiug protection to men employed on 
public works, by so giving etlect to contracts that those who 



labored were not deprived of their hard-earned waf^es. The 
French Canadians were much pleased with other portions of 
his speech, and especially with those passages in which he 
referred to them as the first explorers of the country that had 
been given to all nationalities to inhabit in common. " I have 
myself travelled over the route traversed by Pere Marquette 
and his noble companions. Many of the Jesuit Fathers 
sought out the shores of Lake Superior and discovered the 
sources of the Mississippi long before any English foot had 
traversed these wilds, and I cordially acknowledge that we 
owe much to the hardy and patriotic French adventurers of 
Canada's early days, from Jacques Cartier down to the latest 
descendant of that highly distinguished traveller and dis- 

He made a felicitous allusion also to Rimouski as the 
county which had given Robert Baldwin, the great Liberal 
leader of Upper Canada, a sea^ when he was denied a con- 
stituency in his own Province, an enlightened and courteous 
privilege which Avas reciprocated by the election of the French 
Canadian Liberal leader, Mr. Lafontaine, Mr. Baldwin's col- 
league for the County of York. " And still more to the 
credit of Lower Canada be it said that before the union of 
the Provinces when there was no outside influence to produce 
such a result, the fine old French people, pervaded as they 
always have been by the feeling to do justly and liberally to 
all men, gave to the Jew those privileges in common with the 
rest of the community which he was unable till years after- 
wards of struggle and agitation to wring even from the Eng- 
lish people tliemselves." 

Governor Crawford's illness in the early sunnner of 1875, 
necessitated the appointment of an administrator. A com- 
mission was issued to Hon. David Christie, but he never exer- 



cised the function, Mr. Crawi'oi-d dvinrj before lie couM ont»'i' 
upon his duties, and the British North America Act nuikiuf^ 
provision merely for an administrator durin*;- the ahseuco 
or illness of the Lieutenant-Governor. The duty was then 
forced upon the Government of making an immediate appoint- 
ment, and Mr. Mackenzie ottered it to Mr. Brown M'ith the 
unanimous desire of the council that he should accept it: "I 
will forbear expressing- my own opinion of your acceptance 
of it, not being willing to say a word calculated to interfere 
in the least degree with your own good judgment. I will 
only say that I shall be glad if your decision is hi accordance 
with my views." 

After giving Mr. ^Mackenzie's otter a niglits very serious 
consideration, and looking at it from all points of view per- 
sonal, domestic and political, he came to the conclusion that 
he could better serve the country and his party by pursuing 
the line he had already chalked out for himself, than by 
accepting the great honor wdiich was so generously tendered 
him. The place was next ottered to Mr. D. A. MacdonaM, 

Postmaster General, Mr. ^lacdonald accepted, and entered 
upon his duties at once. By this appointment, Mr. Mackenzie 
lost an al)le colleague and a good councillor, and the Province 
of Ontario obtained a Licni tenant-Governor who, during a 
full tei'm, discharged the duties of his office with ability and 



On St. Andrew's day Mr. Mackenzie delivered a speech at 
the annual bancjuet of the Caledonian Society of Ottawa, 
which, as mif,dit have been expected, was wortliy of the occa- 
sion. It was a noble appeal in favor of British connection and 
national union. " A few years ago," lie said, " a very insigni- 
ficant proportion of the people of Canada, and ho hoped as 
insignificant a pi'oportion of the people on the other side of the 
Atlantic, were looking to the severance of the ]\Iother Country 
from the colonies as a matter of course and only as matter of 
time. But within the last year or two there had been a great 
change of opinion in England upon that subject. He could 
scarcely call the extinction in Canada of the theory a groat 
change; there were so few who ever entertained it. They 
might now hope that no further doubt could exist as to the in- 
timacy of the relationship to be maintained between the Kng- 
lish-speaking people, now forming the British Empire, and the 
Crown and person of Her Majesty and Her successors to the 
end of time." 

He declared his conviction that it was " the proudest posi- 
tion Great Britain could occupy that the overshadowing prwer 
and influence which she has so long possessed in giving shape 
to the destinies and relations of nations are always exercised 
with a viev/ to the amelioration of the condition of mankind ; 
that she has tiie will as well as the power to maintiiin, in a 
great measure, the peace of the rest of the world, and that 
prosperity, peace and contentment have followed her flag all 
over the earth, upon whatever si^il it lias ever been planted. 
May its march of triumph never 1)0 interrupted, until it shall 
become the one absorbing and powerful instrumentality in the 
hands of Providence for the prevention of war, the extension 
of commerce, and the promotion of the arts of peace. To the 
full extent of their power. Her Majesty's Government in Can- 




a^a, of wliich lie was a member, avouUI contribute to the 
development ami maintenance of this sentiment. At the same 
time he wished his hearers always to remember that Canada 
is our home ; that while we think with 'gratitude of the land 
of our birth, while our hearts are filled with the warmest 
patriotism when its history and its heroes are recalled to 
mind, we should not foro-et tliat we have m'eat duties and 
re;jponsibi'.ities, not of a sectional, biit of a national character 
to discharge, and that we ought to devote ourselves faithfully 
and honestljT' to the task of creating and upholding a Can- 
adian spirit, Canadian sentiment and Canadian enthusiasm ; 
in a word, a spirit of nationality always British, but still 
Canadian. The patriotism of the British people and Govern- 
ment will ever be with us, and we in turn hope always to 
reside under the shadow of the j^rain] old llai-' of England, at 
once the symbol of power and of civilization. He knew these 
sentiments to be the expi'ession of the aspirations which 
animate the great body ; might he not say the whole of the 
Canadian people. He had had the pleasure oi. visiting his 
nati\e country during the year and of conversing personally 
with Her Majesty the Queen. It was with a fueling of rever- 
ence he enjoyed that privilege, for of ail the monarchs who 
have ever reigned over this or any other people, none had 
better deserved that loyalty and love so heartily manifested 
by all her subjects than our good Queen Victoria.'' 

For this speech Mr. Mackenzie recei\ed, through His Excel- 
lency the Governor-General, a very kind congratulatory note 
from Her Majesty. 






On a Holiday — A Guest at Windsor — Invitation to Perth — Impressions of 
England — " Hodge " — The British Commons — Spurgeon — Farrar — Freedom 
of Dundee — Address to the Workingmen — Freedom of Perth — Address at 
Dunkeld — The "Home-Coming" at Logierait — Freedom of Irvine — Address 
at Greenock— The Clyde- The Theology—Lord Dufferiu'a Tribute to hia 
First Minister — George Brown's Letter on Taste. 

, TIE summer of 1875 was more of a holiday for the 
Premier than he had enjoyed for years before ; 
3''efc, perhaps at no period of his life did he do bet- 
ter service for his country than by his speeches 
in June and July of that year in Scotland, whither he 
was accompanied by Mrs. Mackenzie. The " nameless 
mason lad " of 1842, had now returned to his native land to 
receive the highest honors, municipally, which it was in the 
power of the people of that country to bestow, and to receive 
the higher distinction still of being the guest of Her Majesty 
tir; Queen, at Windsor. Freedoms of boroughs were showered 
upon him, banquets were given for his entertainment, meet- 
ings were held for the purpose of hearing addresses from him, 
and he was sought out and feted everywhere. But who can 
doubt that the demonstration from which he derived the 
greatest pride and pleasure, next to his reception by his Sov- 
ereign, was that which awaited him in his native village of 
Logierait ? 




The forecast of the Scottish welcome is contained in the fol- 
lowinij letter from the Lord Provost of Perth : 

" City Chambers, 

" Peutii, 30th Juno, 1875. 

*' To the Honurahle Alexander Mackenzie, Prime Minister of Canada. 

" Sir, — The T<)wn Council of the Royal Burgh of Perth, havnifj observed 
from the public prints that you are at present in this country, and will, 
in all probability, revisit your native county, are desirous of showing; 
the utmost respect to one Avho, by liis merits, has risen to such eminence 
as you have done, and I am to ask whether it will suit your pleasure to 
receive at the hands of the Council the freedom of the burgh. 
"I have the honor to be, etc., 

"Auch'd. McDonald, 

'' Lord Provost." 

Before, however, making what the London Times has fitly 
called this "involuntary triumphant progress through liis 
early haunts in Scotland," Mr. Mackenzie spent considerable 
time in England, chieily in London, in the discharge there of 
public duties. While in Great Britain, he addressed many in- 
teresting letters to his Secretary. We print here a portion of 
the first, written from the Westminster Palace Hotel, London, 
June 22nd : 

"I meant to have .vritton you by last mail, but I had so much other 
correspondence, and so nmch of my time was taken up seeing callers that 
I had none left. 

** It seems we were singularly fortunate in our voyage, as the steamers 
before, and behind, and beside us wore in the ice and fog. Where the 
Zicksbui'g sunk on the 2nd wo were in clear water and a clear atmos- 
phere with gorgeous icebergs as a grand sight to admire. On the evening 
of the 1st I retired to bed half dressed, with everything in readiness fi;r 
ft quick start in case of a fog and a smash. I was in a ship once tli;it 

struck, and understood the danger. I am informed here by 

that the Sarmatian really did have a narrow escape. I told him their 



danger and our safety were sufficiently accounted for by liis presence and 
mine in the respective shipi. 

" Well, we have seen little bits of London and Encjland. First, beauti- 
ful Wales ; then the horrible black country durinjif a rainy duy. It was 
like the envir )ns of the pit. Wolverhampton, Birmingham, and other 
towns there looked like dirty encampments, with red brick tents. No 
doubt they all fine buildings, decent streets, and clean shirts some- 
whex-e— only we didn't see them. After passing this quarter we went 
through a charming country via Banbury (Inuis), Oxford and Reading. 
The profusion of trees, hedges and flowers made the country most pleas- 
ing. The humblest cottages seemed to have an abundance of choice 

flowers." I stayed three days at , wliere I heard a good sermon 

from an 8G-year-old vicar, and prayers read by a curate whom I judged 
by his conversation to have little knowledge of prayer in any other form. 
He told me frankly in the evening, when noticing my absence from the 
second service, that he would have been absent also if ho were not com- 
pelled to go, as * no fellow should go more than once a day.' 

"Rural England is pretty. 'Hodge' is degraded, however, and with 
11 shillings to 13 shillings a week (where I was) how could he be other- 
wise ? " 

"Society here is ' classified'. Ministers even, of plebeian origin, bow 
lowly enough to the Dukes in the Cabinet. The rule is for everybody to 
know his station and keep it. At a dinner given yesterday, by a state 
dignitary, to the Duke of Cam1)ridge, none but the heads of ncjble fam- 
ilies were asked, exce[)t his own son. For my own [lart, I called on no 
ministers who had not previously called on mo. All the ministers have 
done that now, except the Duke of Richmond. 

" I spent some of my evenings in the Commons, and rather liked the 
ways of the House — not materially dillorent from oui'selves in Canada, 
except in minor matters, chiefly divisions. >iot only do they go into 
lobbies when sitting as a House, but all the divisions in committee are 

the same as when the Speaker is in the chair. One night acted Tom 

Ferguson and , He went to the utmost verge of endurance witli 

coarse language. I heard no better 8[)eaking than in our own House. I 
was in the Lords one evening, but heard nothing of consecjuencc. 

" I was deeply interested in visiting historic spots. I was bloody-minded 
enough to go first where the king was executed, and I wished tliat all 

! i 

1 ! 





t: 1 



y ; 

the Stuarts had taken their proper and obvious lubsun from the dreadful 
scene on that memorable day. 

" Wo heard Spurgeon, and ti-ied to hear Doan Stanley on Sunday, but 
another (Archdeacon Farrar) preached for the dean. Spurgeon'a congrega- 
tion packed the edifice completely, and so did the dean's. I liked both 
the preachers very much. Mr. Farrar's sermon was fine in language 
and sentiment ; Spurgeon's also correct — nearly pure Saxon. Farrar's 
excelled in literary finish ; S2)urgeon's excelled as an appeal to tlie heart 
and as a sound statement of doctrine. Farrar's description of Saul in 
his last extremity, when uniting with the woman to call up Sanmel, and 
the prophet's appearance, or supposed appearance, was remarkably fine. 
Spurgeon's dissection of human nature was a com[)lete specimen of moral 
anatomy. ' The great cathedral vast and dim,' with the fine organ and 
the surpliced choir, and the towering monuments of the mighty dead all 
round, seemed, while the beautiful English service was being read, not of 
this earth. The ' tabernacle ' looked like business. There ai)[)cared to 
be nothing there but what was wanted, and not one idle or sui)erHuous 
word was said. " 

Next month the frccdoni of Dundee was conferred upon 
him by the Provost, in tlie midst of a great assembla;j,e of 
ladies and gentlemen. In making the presentation, the Pro- 
vost said the distinction was one which was conl'envd but 
rarely now, and was reserved for those who had rendercMJ im- 
portant political services, so that on the honorary burgess roll 
of Dundee were recorded the names of eminent statesmen, 
legislators and men of science. The casket containing tlu; 
burgess ticket was of solid silvei', with the arms of Dundee 
and Canada encircled in wreaths. 

Mr. Mackenzie spoke ably and feelingly in acknowledg- 
ment, referring to the greatness of Canada, as the country 
occupying the third rank in the world, after Great Britain, 
her mother, in shipping and in connnercial and mercantile 
enterprise, and possessing a revenue nearly twenty-fixc times 
the amount of the national revenue of Scotland innnediatelv 






bet'ore the union. He spoke of the vastness of her cultivable 
land ; of the value of her other great natural resources ; of 
the elasticity and freedom of her social life ; of her educa- 
tional advantages ; of the instincts of her people for constitu- 
tional government, but showed a warm side for " Scotland 
still." " While." he said, " I shall continue to reside for the 
remaining days of my life in Canada, I cannot, if I would, 
and would not, if I could, throw otl' all allegiance to my own 
proud nationality of Scotland. And, sir, it is not necessary 
that any one should do so. The children of Israel, when they 
were taken captive by the great Eastern monarch, were asked 
by their Babylonian captors to sing them a song of Zion. 
They replied : ' How can we sing the songs of Zion in a 
strange land ? May my right hand forget its cunning, if I 
forget thee, 0, Jerusalem ! ' We can, as Scotchmen, sing our 
national songs — songs of freedom or aHection, whether [Jaced 
in Canada or Australia; whether in the Arctic or Antarctic 
zones, and feel our national anthem to be as dear to us in one 
place as in another ; for the broad banner of British liberty 
floats alike over every country of the British Empire." 

The presentation was followed by a magnificent bamjuet, at 
which Mr. Mackenzie took occasion to advocate the free-trade 
principles of Richard Cobden, as the real principles of civili- 
zation the world over, and to rejoice — without a knowledge 
tiien of what should come after — that the days of class legis- 
lation and monojiolies were no more. 

Next evening, a large meeting was convened in Dundee, 
wlien an address was presented him by the working men. 
Passages from his speech in reply will ever live in the people's 

"Sir," ho sjiitl, "I was oxceoilingly pleased to hear the expressions of 
the two gentlemen who have spoken here to-night, and 1 have merely to 



say Avith reference to that part of their speeches which alluded to the 
possibility, the practicability, the certainty of those who are diligent and 
energetic rising in the colonies to occupy political positions of distinction, 
that I think the workingnien in Britain, as well as in the colonies, do not 
do themselves justice when they believe that the highest political posi- 
tions are shut out from them by reason of social distinctions. For my 
own part, I never allude to the fact that I have been a workingman as a 
reason why I should be rejected, or why I should be accepted. I base 
my entire claim to public confidence upon the expression of the opinions 
which I hold, and which I believe command public confidence, and upon 
the worth of those principles of which I have been jin humble advocate 
for many years. I am quite sure when I address so enlightened a body 
of men as the workingmen of Dundee, who comprise the greater part of 
this meeting, I can do so believing that I shall find a full response in 
their hearts to the opinions I utter when I press upon them the necessity 
— the absolute necessity as a first measure, as the very foundation, in 
fact, of success in life — that they shall assume an erect position ; tliat 
they shall respect their own manhood ; knowing that if they possess self- 
respect, they will soon compel all other people to respect them. It is 
quite true that you have in this country a class who are elevated above 
the rest by reason of the favor of the Sovereign ; but do not from that 
imagine for a moment thn,t class distinctions are peculiar to this country. 
Go to the Republic of the United States of America, and you will find 
there, I venture to say, more class distinctions created by wealth tlian 
you will find in this countiy by titular distinctions founded on the landed 
property of the country. And it is a matter of moonshine to you and to 
mo whether the inlluence which separates the great body of the people 
from the few is, as in the United States of America, the possession of 
enormous wealth and the erection of peculiar social barriers which shut 
out all but a favored few, or whether it is, as in most other countries, the 
barriers erected by a long process of law, and by the exercise of the 
Sovereign's favor. In your case, you have in this country, as we have in 
Canada, and as there is in all other British colonies and in the Republic 
of the United States, the most ample field for the operation of your in- 
tellects and powers ; and it is the fault of the individual and not of the 
political system if ho fails to attain to some reasonable success in life, and 
some comfort in social existence. " 

175/7' TO SCOTLAND IX 1S75. 


Again, in Perth, there was a (listinguishcd company when 
he entered the city hall, on July IGth, and received there the 
freedom of that city, at the hands of the Lord Provost, fof 
his services and in proof of Pertlishirc pride in him as a 
native of the county. The Lord Provost expressed the grati- 
fication he felt, and wliich the cheering showed was sIuuvmI hy 
all present, on recei\ing tlie first letter from Mr. ^Maelcnzie, to 
find that he had not discarded the Gaelic, as it had on the top 
the motto, "Cuidich au rigli," or "The King's People." Mr. 
Mackenzie's reply was very apposite and happy. The longing 
of many years was realise<l, of being again among his own 
l^eople of Perthshire — of being able once more to place his 
foot upon her soil and to tread her lieathery hills. His motto 
had been interpreted to be "tlio King's People," and his family, 
or race, or clan, had always endeavored to act up to it by 
helping the monarch dn every time of need. The British Em- 
pire was wortliy of every sacrifice, and In the United States, 
alienated politically from us as they ^\'ere, there was a large 
and powerful section of the people who appreciated and a<l- 
mired the greatness, tlie power, and tlie generosity of the 
British nation. "They boast, sir," he said, " that their fiag, 
with its stars, contains an emblem of God s greatness, as 
representing the most wonderfiU works of creation, extending 
over what Chalmers calls ' the iinmensit}' of space ; ' we, on 
the other hand, can say that our fiag is the token of a still 
greater woi'k — tlie greatest indeed of God's works — the Cross, 
the emblem of the redemption of man." 

As at Dundee, the interesting ceremony wa3 folic ved by a 
banquet, and on the following evening an address was pre- 
sented at Dunkeld at a public meeting of the inhabitants, 
Mr. Mackenzie replying thereto in an afi'ecting speech, recall- 
ing the incidents of ins early days in a place where he said 

li.'f . 



he almost reincmbcred every turn oi: the road, every rock and 
every boulder. 

When he reached Logierait, his native villafrc, on the 20th, 
Mr. Mackenzie found the house which had been built by his 
father, and in whicli he was born, covered by the union jack, 
and a splendidly decorated marquee of larr^e size pitched in a 
field for a banquet. This was ]iresided over by Sir Alex. Muir 
Mackenzie, Bart, of Delvine, in place of the Duke of Athol, 
whose previous en<;'tigements prevented him from beinrr present 
to receive the distin<»uished descendant of the lessee of his an- 
cestor's mill at Kincraigic. Sucl a company had probably 
never before gathei'ed within that grand amphitheatre of 
nature, lying between some of the most magnificent of Scot- 
land's mountains, and they ga\e their honored son the warm- 
est of " hame-comings." 

To an address read by Rev. James Fraser, M.A., minister ( f 
Loi-'ierait, in whieh it was stated that the illustrious career of 
their distiniiuished son would be an incentive to their children 
to " trust in God and do the right," Mr. Mackenzie made a 
feeling reply. He said, that of all the pleasant gatherings he 
had had the pleasure of attending since his arrival in Scot- 
land, this was in many respects the most touching. He was 
now standing where lil'ty years ago he luu^ played as a child, 
within sioht of tlie liouse where Ke lirst saw the liijht. Ten- 
der recollections of father, mother, lavthren and friends welled 
up in his mem<iry and almost de[)rived him of utterance. 
Within a few hundred yards was the burial place of his an- 
cestors, wdiich he had \isited to-day, after a long, long absence. 
Could all the dear ones of his family who had departed, and 
whom he had known, have met him, the gathering would have 
been diveste<l of a tinge of sadness which he could not pre- 
vent stealing over and oppressing his spirit. He recognised 



few faces at the table, though their names were familiar, hut 

among them he gladly saw some old friends of his father s, 

whose names and lineaments would never be forgotten. He 

recalled the lines of Sir Walter Scott in the " Lady of the 

Lake " : 

" These fertile plains, that softened dale, 

Were once the birthright of the Gael ; 

The Saxon eanio with ruthless hand, 

And from our fathers reft the land. 

" Pent in this fortress of the North, 
Think'st tliou wc will not sally forth 
To spoil the spoiler as we may, 
And from llic robbers rend ilie prey? " 

He was proud that one of his clansmen had .succeeded in 
wresting so many of these fertile vales from those intruders, 
and bringing them back to his own people. He spoke proudly, 
too, of Canada, the country to which he owed so much, and 
especially of the service it had rendered to human liberty 
when it was the sole city of refuge in America for the poor, 
hunted negro. " Thank God," he said, " the era of human 
slavery in the United States has now passed away, but I can- 
not forget the beneficent part played by Canada in terminat- 
ing the slave-masters' power. In Britain you cannot so well 
realise as we can how much there is in your own proud 
boast, that 

' Slaves cannot breathe in England ; if their lungs 
Receive our air, that moment they are free ; 
They touch our country, and their shackles fall.' 

For in Canada I have often at the frontier met the wretched 
slave escaping from his taskmaster, alter a perilous journey 
of hundreds of miles, with nothing to guide him in his night 
wanderings but the north star ; but once there, he was under 








'1 1 





the protection of the red cross flag, the sight of which stopped 
the pursuit and proclaimed the negro fugitive a free man." 

The third Scottish freedom presented to Mr. Mackenzie was 
that of the Lorougl^ of Irvine, a town attached to him, as he 
said it was, by a native of that place who had stood in the 
nearest relationship to him. Ho regretted the signs he had 
witnessed of the depopulation of the rural districts, for " a 
brave peasantry " wr •'^ peculiarly " the country's pride " in 
Scotland, and felt thankful that no such changes could take 
place in Canada, where aluK^ot everyone was a proprietor, or 
could become one. The magnificent and powerful British 
settlements, such as Canada, were growing in strength with 
unexampled I'apidity in every quarter of the globe, so that the 
days of serious danger to the mother country were fast draw- 
ing to a close. The dependencies were gigantic limbs of tlie 
parent state through which pulsated the blood from the 
heart of the empire. Aiding the parent state, the enormous 
populations which these colonies were soon destined to possess, 
would be able in arms to set the world at defiance, and in 
peace exercise a moral influence of incalculable benefit to the 
well-being of humanity. 

In the Council Hall at Greenock, Mr. Mackenzie was wel- 
comed by an address from the Chauiber of Commerce, and he 
availed himself of the opportunity, as he had done elsewhere, 
of dwelling upon the great physical features of his own coun- 
try and the expenditures she had made in providing facilities 
for extending her own commerce and the commerce of the 
world. Within a period of thirty years, he reminded his 
hearers, Canada had spent the large sum of ten millions of 
pounds sterling in improving the navigable waters connecting 
the great lakes with each other and with the waters of tlie 
St. Lawrence, and the people of the Dominion believed that 



the same spirit, the .same enterprise and the same expenditure 
of money which luid made the Clyde one of the rivers 
uf the world, would, within the time of tlie present generation, 
make the St. Lawi'ence the great liigliway to the interior of 
the continent of America — a highway which could not pos- 
sibly have a rival. He referred also to the Canadian Pacific 
Railway, bringing Canada a thousand miles nearer Japan than 
San Francisco, the great seaport of the United States on the 
Pacific Coast. 

Mr. Mackenzie spoke of the Clyde. About the same time 
he wrote as follows regarding it : 

" Cubbett complained of tliu state of the Rhino after passing Coloffne. 
He should come back and see the Clyde after passing Glasgow. It is of 
the consistency of still" gruel, but the constituent parts are not so savoury. 
You can feel the smell on the bridges and the steamers so strong that it 
is most otibnsive. The air is filled with smoke and noxious gases, tiie 
water with sewage, the streets with titljacco smoke, and the people with 
whiskey, but — the theology is s(jund. I feel a burning desire to white- 
wash the whole valley, and get the gulf stream or some stream of the 
same size emptied in above the Bromielaw. If it should sweep away a 
good deal of the two-legged street refuse, no great harm woLdd be done." 

Want of time prevented Mr. Mackenzie from accepting fur- 
ther courtesies, with their attendant public addresses, in Scot- 
land and in England, and for this reason ho particularly 
regretted being compelled to decline a lunchoon from the Lord 
Pruvost, Magistrates and Council of Glasgow, and an invita- 
tion to meet the Chamber of Commerce of Manchester, Tlie 
Scottish papers were full of his visit. On his return to 
Ottawa, a right royal reception awaited him, and a cordial 
" welcome home," as the inscription on the arch at the railway 
station truthfully assured him, awaited him. People for once 

[Notes like these, written on the back of a fool-icap envelope, or on any oth'-r 
scrai) of paper reaclily at hand, were all that Mr. Mackenzie usually propareil for 
hlH lon(,' Hiieeches. | 





jL.://c .^^^/^^^ 


[XoteHlik- these, written on the back of a foolscap envelope, or on any otlim- 
scrap of pa er icadiiv at hand, were all that Mr. Mackenzie usually prepared for 
his longest HpeechtM.J 


4^ ^^^ 7^^ ^^t^ 











merged their politics, and all parties and classes united in 
expressions towards him of praise and good will. 

During Mr. Mackenzie's tour in Scotland, the Governor-Gen- 
eral was in England and Ireland. In a letter from His Excel- 
lency, July 26, 1875, inviting the Prime Minister to Clande- 
boye, the Earl of Dufferin paid a tribute to him for the ad- 
mirable a'idress he was then delivering. " You must have no 
misgivings about your speeches. They are really excellent — 
sober, spirited and practical, and full of earnestness and dig- 
nity. If you speak like tliat without preparation, it only 
shows how much you could do in that line if you could find 
time to do what I imagine all good speakers have found it 
necessary to do." 

Mr. Brown was in Scotland when Mr. Mackenzie was there. 
Writing to Mr. Mackenzie from Edinburgh, Mr. Brown made 
complaint of one of the speeches by which Mr. Mackenzie 
had been greeted, wherein reference was made to Mr. Macken- 
zie's early position. Mr. Brown asked, what ha<l Mr. Mac- 
kenzie's entertainer to do witli that ? " Suffice it," he went 
on to say, " that you are the first man in 3^our own countr}'-, 
and ruler over half a continent. Fancy how insulting it 
would be were the foremost statesman of France, or Russia, 
or Germany to be met on a visit to England with such sulj- 
jects of laudation, or what would be thought of you or me in 
Canada were we to welcome some great man from Enyland, 
Scotland, or Ireland with patronising references ? We would 
be condemned by the good taste and good feeling of ninu- 
tenths of the people of Canada. True, neither you nor I 
have any other feeling in our composition but tliat of pride 
of our origin, our education and our whole career, but \\\\v\\ 
we have, as Canadian statesmen, to meet English and foreign 



tesmen who have feelings on these matters so different 
from ours, and when we come to England asking no favors or 
popular applause, it not only seems the height of rudeness to 
keep dragging up such matters, but, what is worse, it is 
directly calculated to affect our relations with the men whom 
we encounter in high political matters." 




Questions of Trade Occupy the House — Industrial Depression — Committee 
Appointed for Investigation — Mr. Cartwright's Budget Speech — Dr. Tap- 
per's Reply — The National Policy — The Steel Rail Transaction — Election in 
South Ontario. 


jITH the session of 1876 opened the discussion on 
the subject of Protection, which has occupied so 
much of the attention of Parliament and the 
,4t^^^''^ country from that day till now. In his speech 
on the opening of the House, His Excellency referred 
" to the great depression which prevailed throughout 
the neighboring countries for several years, and which has 
more recently been felt in the old world, causing a general 
stagnation of business. This depression had now extended 
to Canada, and seriously affected its trade." 

There was great difference of opinion as to the cause of the 
depression. Even those engaged in industrial pursuits, who 
came frequently in contact with business men from other 
countries, were unsettled as to the real source of the commer- 
cial difBculties in which the whole country seemed to be in- 

As soon OS the address was passed, Mr. Mills proposed that 
a committee should be appointed " to enquire into the causes 
of the present iinancial diflicultics," with power to take evi- 
dence and conduct such an examination of the whole question 








us would be useful to the House in determining what remedies 
to apply. This resolutioTi gave rise to the first discussion 
which took place in the House of Commons involving an ex- 
pression of opinion in favor of Protection or Free Trade 

Following the wise example of the mother country, the 
fiscal policy of Canada, though not absolutely free trade, was 
regulated on free trade theories, and whether the tariff was 
increased or adjusted, it was always for the purpose of raising 
a revenue, the protection which it allcrded being purely inci- 

The alleged prosperity in the United States under a high 
tariU", and the facilities which a low tarifi" in Canada attbrded 
for the admission of American goods into the Canadian 
market, aroused the jealousy of the manufacturers of the 
Dominion, and this, coupled with financial stringency of an 
unusual character, led many to look fur a remedy for present 
giievances in the theories of the Protectionist. The question 
was a new one to the House, it was a large tpiestion on which 
a great deal could be said, it was a practical question on which 
the opinions of experts would be invaluable, and Mr. Mills 
believed that a« it was lorcing itself on pubhc attention, it 
could not be intelligently discussed without more information 
than was then available. 

At the request of several members, the original scope of 
the connnittee v."is very nuich enlarged, the resolution finally 
adopted being us follows — Resolved: "That a select com- 
mittee composed (jf Messi's. iJuby, Uurpee (Sunbury), Car- 
michuel, McDougall (Renfrew), Charlton, Delorme, Dymond, 
Piatt, Sinclair, Workman and Mills be appointed to enquire 
into tiie cause of the present depression of the manufactaring, 
mining, commercial, shipping, hnnber and tishing interests, 
with power to send for persons, [)upeis and records." 



1 . 



11 '' 

The investigation occupied the attention of the committee 
during the greater part of the session, and a great deal of valu- 
able evidence was obtained with regard to all the industries 
of the country. As to the fact of a depression, there seemed 
to be no doubt. The causes, in the opinion of the committee, 
were beyond the legislative control of Parliament. 

No sooner was Mr. Mills' committee granted by the House, 
than the special necessities of the mining interests of the 
country were brought up for discussion. The Maritime Pro- 
vinces had their coal-fields, which had been a source of wealth 
to their owners and of employment to thousands of people 
for many years. The United States was their natural market. 
In that market they were confronted with a duty of seventy- 
five cents a ton, while American coal was admitted to the 
Canadian market free. The demand from Nova Scotia, that 
American coal should be excluded, in order that they might 
supply the Canadian market, at least as far west as Toronto, 
might cost the people of Ontario something, but then, they 
said, it would be encouraging inter-provincial trade, binding 
the diti'erent Provinces together, and giving employment to 
poo])le who were dependent on this industry for a livelihood. 

The budget speech by Mr. Cart w right was an able review 
of the financial situation, and for the first time the Minister 
of Finance entered very fully into a defence of the trade 
jiolicy of the Government. He pointed out fhat tlie depres- 
sion complained of was all but universal ; that it prevailed in 
the United States, with a high protection tariff; in continental 
countries, irrespective of a tarifi'. Even England, with a 
commerce that extended over the whole world, felt the efi'ects 
of this depression. The trouble, therefore, could not be in 
the taritK He pointed out that Protection led to the forma- 
tion of rings and combines, the creation of colossal fortunes 





which could be used, and no doubt were used, to keep the 
means in operation by wliich they were acquired. He 
pointed out that the agricultural industry, on which so much 
depended, was one the tarifi* could not reach, and therefore, 
that at best, it would be but a means of extracting money 
from one class of the community in order to enrich the other. 
The case for the Protectionists was put by Dr. Tupper in 
reply to the budget speech. He declined to admit that mat- 
ters of trade and commerce are beyond the control of the 
Government. " That the country may prosper or sink into 
decay, and that the Government is helpless to promote the one 
or avert the other, is a principle to which I cannot give my 
concurrence." He blamed the Government for the depression 
which existed, and demanded that immediate action should 
be taken to avert impending financial ruin. " What Canada 
wants," he said, " is a National Policy — a policy that shall bo 
in the interests of Canada, apart from the principles of Free 
Trade, apart from the principles of Protection." In the course 
of his speech, Dr. Tupper charged Mr. Mackenzie with incon- 
sistency as a Free Trader, because he increased the taritf from 
15 to 17§ per cent. He also charged him with being a Pro- 
tectionist in one part of the country and a Free Trader in 
another, and quoted from Mr. Mackenzie's speeches to support 
this view. Mr. Mackenzie was not long, however, in exposing 
Dr. Tuppcr's unfairness, as the moment he sat down he gave 
the the correct reading of what he had stated. He 
expressed himself emphaticallj'' a Free Trader still, so far 
as the circumstances of the country would allow. "I say, 
frankly, I would inaugurate at once a Free Trade policy if 
the circumstances of the country and the position of our 
manufacturers would admit of it, because I believe that 
a free iuterchange of thought and of commodities is the 








true means of enricliing a country or making a people great ; 
while tlie sj^stem of Protection, as it exists in the United 
States, is altogether evil. But as we have a boundary co-ter- 
minus with the United States for thousands of miles, it is 
utterly impossible to adopt a fiscal policy for this country 
without reference to what is passing in that country. As 
Canadian statesmen, we should endeavor to legislate in the 
interests of our own people, irrespective of any foreign views 
or influences." 

The debate continued, with occasional interruptions for other 
business, from the 26th of February till the 16th of March, 
and called forth many able speeches on both sides of the 
House. Mr. Irving, of Hamilton, moved a resolution : " That a 
rate of not less than ten per cent, should be added to the exist- 
ing importation tarifT against sucli articles of foreign manufac- 
ture of wliich the same classes are manufactured in the Dom- 
inion." Mr. Workman, of Montreal, called for protection to 
all our manufacturing industries, in order to restore tliem to a 
condition of prosperity. 

On the 16th of March, Sir John Macdonald gave notice of 
the resolution, which came to a vote on the 15th, and which 
was the first form in which was presented to the House the 
famous National Policy of the Conservative party. Resolved. 
" That tliis House regrets that His Excellency the Governor- 
General has not been advised to recommend to Parliament a 
measure for the re-adjustment of the tarifi" which will not 
only tend to alleviate the stagnation of business deplored in 
tlie speech from the throne, but also afibrd encouragement 
and protection to the struggling manufacturers and industries, 
as well as to the agricultural productions of the country." 

The division of parties in the House ou Sir John Mac- 
donald's motion was 70 to 116. 

lilt : 



\t is 







Another phase was given to the debate on a motion asking 
for a committee to enquire into tlie salt interests of the coun- 
try, which was agreed to ; and at another stage of the session, 
a select committee was appointed to consider the agricrl*""ral 
interests of the country. Mr. Orton, who liad charge of the 
resolution, had moved in a similar way the previous session, 
but after discussion, the motion was withdrawn. 

The Protectionists had laid out for themselves an ambitious 
campaign, and were working heroically to direct public 
opinion towards the adoption of what was to be hereafter 
known as the National Policy. They had a committee on the 
salt interest and on the agricultural interest, by which they 
expected to make considerable capital. They had appealed to 
the cupiditj^ of the miners in the discussion we have already 
referred to. They were pushing their case vigorously before 
the committee on financial depression, of which Mr. Mills was 
chairman. The leader of the Opposition, Sir John Macdonald, 
had espoused theii' cause, and was calling loudly for the en- 
couragement and protection of the struggling industries of 
the country. Appeals were made to the working-man that 
his wages would be nicreased ; to the farmer, that his produce 
would command a better price, because of the home market to 
be provided. Whenever a manufacturer failed, or, laggard in 
the race for wealth, fell behind, he was asked to support the 
Conservative party, and all his troubles would be at an end. 

Mr. Mackenzie and his colleagues, confident in the sound- 
ness and honesty of their policy, looked upon the agitation in 
favor of Protection with apparent indiflerence. They could 
not believe that Canada, so thoroughly indoctrinated ^vith 
Free Trade, would be beguiled into the adoption of a Protec- 
tionist policy, and when they met their opponents and an- 
swered, as they believed, their arguments, they concluded that 


\l ■ 



i .:-i 

the virus of such a policy was effectually neutralised. Mr. 
Mackenzie's friends, particularly since his defeat, have made 
complaint against the course pursued in 187G on two grounds. 
First, they complain that he under-estimated the strength of 
the movement in favor of Protection then inaugurated, aid 
followed up during the next two years with so much energy. 
Such a complaint is, to say the least of it, exceedingly unrea- 
sonable. Mr. Mackeiizie had no means at that time of asce)"- 
taining public opinion excepting through the members of Pa)-- 
liament and the public press. As to the former, who were his 
supporters, they were all but unanimous in believing that he 
was pursuing the riglit coui'se in resisting Protection. Every 
time the question came up in the House the weight of argu- 
ment appeared to be on the side of Free Trade, and the convic- 
tion that this view would be sustained by the country was 
strongly the conviction of every supporter of the Govern- 
ment, JUS it was ol" Mr. Mackenzie himself. 

Second, it has been said that if he had agreed to an increase 
of the tariff' from I7i to 20 per cent, the manufacturers 
would not have supported the agitation in favor of Protection, 
and that without their support Sir John Macdonald would not 
have cari'ied the country. As to this complaint, several obser- 
vations must be made. 

When the Maritime Provinces entered Confederation, they 
found themselves subjected to a much higher rate of duty 
than they were previously accustomed to, and, altliough not 
demonstrative in their opposition to the increase made by 
Mr. Mackenzie, it was generally considered that an advance on 
that increase would be very unpopular and perhaps irritating. 
To create discontent because of high duties would have weak- 
ened the Government, and this was undesirable. 

Again, it is to be remembered that what the manufacturers 



demanded was not a horizontal increase in the tariff, but a 
differential increase on the basis of the American tariff Of 
course 20 per cent, from their standpoint would be better than 
17|, but 40 or 50 would be better still, and as the Conserva- 
tive party had accepted the American theory of Protection, 
the manufacturers were confident that they would carry it 
into practice. 

For Mr. Mackenzie to agree to an advance in the tariff for 
purposes of Protection would be to deny the professions of a 
life-time. So long as the revenue required a high rate of 
duty in order to balance the Dominion expenditure, there was 
no abnegation of principle, but the moment an advance was 
made beyond the necessities of the revenue, either for actual 
or incidental Protection, then the doctrine of Free Trade, of 
which he was such a sturdy champion, would have been cast 
to the winds, and he would stand condemned before the world 
for his recreancy of principle. That position he was not pre- 
pared to take on principle, and principle he was not prepared 
to sacrifice for party exigencies. 

Speaking on this same topic in 1885, nine years later, he 
said : " I have been told repeatedly, sometimes by friends, or 
by people who were more or less friendly, that I committed a 
gn at mistake in 1878 in adhering too rigidly to ray prin- 
ciples — that if I had adopted another course I could have 
kept the Reform party in power a few years longer. Such is 
not the feeling under which I conduct mj^self in public life. 
My notion of the duty of a public man is that he should 
niaintain sound principles, advocate them honestly, and trust 
to such principles working out a right solution. The Con- 
servatives have had a lease of power, but they have had it by 
means which no honest man can justify." 

On the 31st of March, Mr. Bowell placed in the hands of the 




Speaker, on going into Counnittee of Supply, the following 
motion : 

Resolved, " That the purchase by the Government of 50,000 
tons of steel rails, without the previous consent of Parliament, 
was an unconstitutional exercise of the executive power, and 
that such purchase was premature and unwise and has caused 
great pecuniary loss to the country." 

The resolution was supported by a long speech from Mr. 
Bo well, in which he tried to fasten on the Government the 
charge of exceeding their power as an executive in expend- 
ing nearly §3,000,000 for the purchase of steel rails for tlie 
Canadian Pacific Railway, and also the charge that the rails 
were purchased in a falling market, and therefore at a loss to 
the country, and that Mr. Mackenzie's brother Charles was a 
partner in the firm to which the contract was finally awarded, 
and, as a conseqiience, Mr. Mackenzie had a personal motive 
in the transaction. 

In his speech in reply, Mr. Mackenzie had no difficult^'' in 
shewing that the purchase of steel rails was a purely business 
transaction, advised in the first instance by the chief engineer, 
and carried out in perfect good faith. In a memorandum to 
the Government dated March 24th, 1876, the chief engineer, 
Mr. Sandford Fleming, said : " During the summer of 1874, 
advices from England shewed a great decline in the price of 
steel rails. It was generally considered that they had all but 
reached the lowest rate, and that an excellent opportunity 
presented itself of providing a quantity of rails at lower 
prices than that for which, in all probability, they could be 
obtained at any future period." Early in August, 1874, the 
chief engineer mentioned the matter to Mr. Mackenzie and 
advised that steps should be taken to secure such quantity 
as miffht be deemed necessary. 




, »,. 

Notices calling for tenders were given in the usual way, and 
the lowest were accepted. 

In Vjuilding railways a degree of foresight is indispensable. 
This is especially the case in a railway situated like the Pacific 
line. If the purchase of the rails was put off until the road- 
bed was ready for them, a much larger price would almost 
certainly have to be paid, not only for the rails but also for 
the transportation. 

There can be no doubt but that the mode and time of 
purchase of the rails was by all considered most judicious. 
In the public interest nothing could have been more carefully 

At the time Mr. Mackenzie contracted for the purchase in 
question he was being severely pressed by the British Col- 
umbians for the early completion of the Canadian Pacific Rail- 
way. The surveyors were at work locating the western sec- 
tion of the road, in the expectation that a certain portion of 
it could be placed under contract at once. 

Mr. Alackenzie pointed out that the purchase of rails was 
necessary, that what would not be required in British Col- 
umbia would be required on the eastern section of the road, 
as the grading on part of it had already advanced so far as to 
be ready for the laying of the rails. 

So satisfactory were his explanations that Sir Charles Tup- 
per, whose observations were not usually too friendly, said : 
" Nor do I intend to detain the committee with any com- 
ments respecting the purchase of two and a half millions 
worth of rails. I think the committee will agree with me 
that this purchase was rather premature, that considering 
the enormous price which iron went up to not long ago, and 
considering also the fact that before these rails are required 
the price of iron may be reduced, the Government has not 



made so ^ootl a bargain as tlioy would lead us to suppose, 
although I shall be willing to allow them every latitude in a 
case of this kind. But that is an accomplished fact, and I 
shall say no more about it. I have no doubt but that the 
Government were acting with the utmost desire for the public 
good, and I am always ready to give them credit for good in- 
tentions when I can." 

On the c ^'tutional phase of the question there was no 
need for d ussion. Contracts for railway supplies on the 
Intercolonial railway, and contracts for all other supplies re- 
quired in the different departments of the public service, were 
made over and over again without reference to Parliament. 

Mr. Mackenzie's answer to the charge that his brother was 
interested in the steel rail contract is fully contained in a 
speech delivered at Unionville on the 3rd of July, 1878 : 

" It was insinuated that I had let the contracts to favorites, 
that a brother of mine was interested in one of them. I might 
let such an insinuation go for what it is worth. I have lived 
thirty ye n my own county, and, whatever may be said of 
my politica. ^jinions, there are not twelve men in that coun- 
ty who would suspect me of moral wrong. And I hope the 
people of Ontario, before whom I have stood for sixteen years 
in Parliament, will not readily believe that I could be guilty 
of political wrong intentionally. As I said, I might have 
passed that insinuation over, but I prefer to meet it directly, 
and state that no brother or other relative of mine received, 
directly or indirectly, nearly or remotely, in any kind of way, 
good, bad or indiU'erent, a single cent of profit in that or any 
other transaction. While I characterised this as a base false- 
hood, as I do now, I said that my brother or any relative of 
any member of the Government has a perfect right to be a 
contractor, provided there was nothing wrong in the issue 



of the contract. But the entire story wns made out of whok- 
cloth ; there was not a particle of truth in it. A firm in 
Montxcal, in which my brother was at one time a sleeping 
partner, were agents of one of the firms in England who were 
tendering ; but my brother withdrew from the firm rather than 
have the slightest doubt cast upon my position in the matter. 
Supposing he had been a member of the firm who acted as 
agents for the English firm, it does not follow that there was 
any wrong-doing ; but as it is, there never was >\ more shame- 
lessly untrue accusation brought against a public man in this 

" And why do they not proceed to the proof if there is any 
thing wrong ? Why do they not take a committee and in- 
vestigate the matter ? I ofiered them a committee for two 
years in Parliament, so that they might call their witnesses 
and put them on oath, and so ascertain whau foundation tliere 
was for the story. The reason they do not do so, is because 
that would spoil their little game and stamp them as a set of 
calumniators. So, instead of coming forward boldly and 
making a charge in proper form, they go through the country 
saying to the people: ' Well things look bad ; he may not be 
guilty, but well, the thing has a bad look about it' " 

The following letter was written by Mr. Mackenzie to a 
friend at the time the charge respecting steel rails was made : 

•' Ottawa, Oct. 25th, 1875. 

" My Dear Sir,— I suppose you have read all about the steel rail con- 
spiracy. The scoundrels thought I was open to attack, and did not 
scruple to run the risk of making a charge, hoping it would acconijjlish 
the purpose before the lie could bo stopped. I resolved on a prompt 
denial over my own signature, which you no doubt saw. 

*• The facts as they came out have been copied into most of the papers, 
and nearly all the papers have denounced the slander in proper terms. I 




has chosen to keep a dead silence 

notice, however, that the 

about the matter. 

*' As I never write to any newspaper, friendly or unfriendly, I have 
not written to this. I confess, however, I do think they might have said 
something in iny defence, unless indeed, which is incredible, they think 
I am blamabio. 

"I have been very scrupulous about the use of public moneys in small 

as well as great afliiirs, and I think this journal might have supported me 

when so unjustly assailed. 

" Yours faithfully, 

"A. Mackenzie." 

The gentleman to whom this communication was addressed 
in forwarding it for publication, remarks : " You know how 
deeply Mr. Mackenzie felt this base aspersion. I met Mr. 
Fairinau, of the firm of Cooper, Fairman & Co., at the Russell 
House, and I remember his complaint that Mr. Mackenzie — 
for what cause, he did not know — would not sec him : abso- 
lutely declined." 

The reason why the Minister refused to see Mi*. Fairman, 
we may say, was because it was his habit not to hold inter- 
course with contractors. His attitude was that of a judge 
who avoids personal contact with those upon whose cases he 
is required to decide. 

In a letter dated the 20th of October, 187C, to Mr. Charles 
Mackenzie, he wrote : 

" 1 have given up all hope of obtaining fair play from Opposition leaders 
and papers. I have often detonninod not to notice some coarse false- 
hood, but have shortly af(erward)j found it doing service in a remote re- 
gion, and have found also friends surprised that it was not contradicted. 
The Tories were always addicted to this villainous policy of shmdoring 
their opponents, and, r^o doubt, will continue to do so." 

In a letter of a later date he says: 




" I am waiting for a suitable chance to make a rlemancl on MacdnnaUl 
about his statements in his stump speeches. So far, they have all been 
[in Parliament] as silent as the grave on every one of the personal charges. 
I am having complete statements made up regarding contracts, in 
anticipation of a debate on this subject, which will show, I am sure, won- 
derfully well for me. * * * * John A. and his supporters are, how- 
ever, bent on a policy of detraction and slander, and it is amazing with 
how many an evil imi)ression will remain, if the lies are iillowed to run to 
any length unchecked, and yet I loatlie touching such a business This, 
and my natural disinclination to deal in personal charges or insinuations, 
almost sicken me of public life." 

Following up this policy of detraction, to w^hich Mr. Mac- 
kenzie here refers, certain newspapers charo-ed him with ])q- 
ing interested in lands at Fort William, which place was chosen 
as the Lake Superior terminus of the railway, and also with 
giving information to his brother's firm in advance in regard 
to the increase of the tariff on iron tubing. An action for 
libel, which he brought against the propagators of this slan- 
der, resulted in the amplest apology and the complete with- 
drawal ot the charges. 

Those who were concerned in the cks^tions of 1878 will re- 
member that the steel rail transaction, as it was called, was 
used by the Conservative party most dishonorably for the 
]uu'posc of discrediting Mr. Mackenzie and the Government. 
\^Q was in duty bound as the head of his department to see 
that no delays occurred in the construction of the i-aihvay. 
Why should he not have on hand a quantity ul' rails in order 
that delay might be avoided ? To purchase in a falling 
market when steel rails had dropped fiom .S>SO to .'ir-jQ a Ion, 
itud while the best advices that could be obtained went to 
show that prices were more likely to ad\'ance than decline, 
was just what any business man W(»uld lia\e done. Had it 
been his <iood fortune to find himself w itii ."iO.OOO tons of rails 



on hand, the market value of wliich had increased since the 
time of purchase, the transaction itself as to its motive would 
on that account have been no better and no more business 

When Mr. ]\rackenzie, through ffiiling health, was no longer 
in active politics, his accusers did him the justice of saying 
that he was an honest man. The words of George Gilfillan 
apply admirably to him, as well as to his detractors: "A good 
character aspersed soon rights itself ; the dirt dries and disap- 
pears by a sure and swift process. A bad character, defended 
and deified, is often allowed to slip into the Pantheon. Men 
are more interested — and it says something for them — in de- 
fending the unjustly assailed, than in pulling down the gi-aven 
images of bhe guilty." 

Owing to the death of the Hon. Malcolm Cameron, a 
vacancy was created in the representation of the south riding 
of Ontario, and both parties threw themselves vigo)'ously into 
the contest. 

In the course of tlie election, the Conservatives called Dr. 
Tupper to the rescue of the party, and Mr. Mackenzie with his 
usual readiness responded to the earnest request of his friends 
to address the electors. The meeting between these two 
champions of their respective views, at the town of Whitby, 
is thus graphically described in a< conuuun;"utiou to a leading 
jiuper : 

"There was a vast audience fairly cUvulecl in ih<« ]v>litioal fiympatln'os. 
Dr. Tupper was then but little known in Ontario, lie had a yreat lepu- 
tation as a stump speaker in Nova Scotia. Ho Avas in the prime of life 
and vigiU'. He Iiad to meet the high expoctalions of a campaign moot- 
ing. Lie was inspired by tlie recollections of a partial triunii)h over Mr. 
Huntington at Oshawa on the ])reviou8 night. Whiitever opinidns one 
may entertain as to the merits of the Conservative progranuue, there can 





1)L' lU) question but that Sir John Mucclonald, Dr. Tupper and their asso- 
ciates did magnificent fighting against the Mackenzie Administration. 
On this occasion Mr. Mackenzie addressed a clear, powerful, argumenta- 
tive speech to the great meeting. He roused his supporters to a liigli 
pitch of enthusiasm, silenced eveiy symptom of hostile criticism among 
his opponents, and seemed to compel a unanimous verdict for his candi- 
date and his Government. Dr. Tiipjier followed, and by his sounding 
volume of words, pliysical vigor and intrepid assaults on the Liberal 
Premier's positions, seemed not leas completely to draw the meeting to his 
side, and to establish that dishonesty, unwisdom and reckless indill'erenco 
to the ])ublic well-being marked and marred every act and motive of 
the Mackenzie Administration. lie even charged, with grim humor, 
tliat the weevil and the potato bug had come in with the Liberals, and 
that the dry summer was -^.nn to Mr. Mackenzie's neglect. These were 
the days when the exaltjition of the exodus and the cry of hard times 
were the highest efforts of patriotism. Hardly had Dr. Tupper spoken 
his last word when Mr. Mackenzie stepped before the chairman, and 
with stern eyes faced the exultai ■ Conservativts and the downcast Liber- 
als. He stood calm and unsmiling while a whirlwind of Tory cheering 
swept through the building. The Liberals answered feebly at first, then 
with growing strength and confidence, and, as tlie Liberal leader dropped 
his oj)ening sentences, with a rising enthusiasm that soon grew into a 
volume of triumphant shouting. There was a swift, almost a fierce vigor 
in Mr. Mackenzie's words. There were teeth in every sentence. There 
was a blow in every utterance. He seemed to take Dr, Tupper's speech 
and rend it and throw the rags down to his triumphant folhnvers. 
Hundreds of Liberals in the great audience leaped from their seats in 
positive delight ; even many Consenatives, carried away by the thorough- 
ness of the performance, chuckled in a quiet way over tho terrible hog- 
ging administered to their representative, and a frenzy of chi oring marked 
the close of Mr. Mackenzie's wonderful fifteen minutes' work." 




Clianges in the Cabinet Since 1873 — Their Effect Upon the Government — New 
Appointments Made — Mr. IJrown on Laurier — Extradition — Mr. Blake's 
Bill — Opening of tlie House witii Prayer — Budget Speech Again — Protection 
versus Free Trade — Tlie Agricultural Interests of the Country — Tiie Pacific 
Railway — Port Francis Locks— Mr, Mackcn.iie's Defence — Godcrich Harbor 
— Tlio Independence of Parliament and Mr. Anglin — Mr. Mills at Washing- 
ton Mr. Mackenzie's Sympathy — Two Interesting Letters. 

^% EFORE entering upon the consideration of the pro- 
ceedings of 1877, it may be well to notice some 
of the changes made in the Administration since 
its formation in November, 1873. 
In 1874, a vacancy having occurred in the Chief 
Justiceship of Quebec, it was necessary that an ap- 
pointment should be made at once. The qualification for such 
an office required the selection of a man of the higliest legal 
standing available, and in making the selection it was but 
natural that Mr. Mackenzie should first look among his friends 
for a person fitted to fill such an office. 

The Hon. A. A. Dorion, then Minister of Justice, was leader 
of the bar of his own province, and was, beyond doubt, one of 
the ablest lawyers in the comitry. Mr. Mackenzie at once 
concluded to offer Mr. Dorion the position. " Concerning Mr, 
Dorion," he said, in writing to a friend, "I felt bound to make 
him the ofi'er of the Chief Justiceship, when I found that the 

state of the courts rc(|uired nn inmiediate appointment, lie 



AX iuksome session of pahliamext. 


had not contemplated leaving the Government, and mentioned 
a name to me for the vacancy. I then told him that I had in- 
tended offering it to him, and that, sorry as I was to part with 
him, I thought the time had come when he should act in his 
own interest." 

The removal of Mr. Dorion from the Government was a 
great loss to Mr. Mackenzie, and any leader less anxious to 
maintain the high standing of the court, before weakening 
his cabinet, as Mr. Mackenzie did in this case, would have 
found some other way of filling the vacancy. For twenty 
years, Mr. Dorion was regarded as the leader of tiie French 
Liberals. He had the fullest confidence of his own i'ollowers 
in Quebec, and was greatly admired and beloved as 'vseli, by 
the Liberals of Ontario. ^Ir. Brown chose him for a colleague 
when he organiseil his ill-fated Government in 1858, and from 
that day to his retirement from the Cabinet, Mr. Dorion never 
lost a friend or a follower. 

We have already referred to the appointment of Mr. D. A. 
Macdonald, Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, in 187o. Li 
Eastern Ontario, Mr. Macdonald was a tower of strength to 
his party. Among lloman Catholics, he was regarded as a 
leader. Among Liberals, he was roganled as the most uncom- 
promising oppuncnt of Tory misrule. So resolute was he in 
defence of his principles, that lu' frei^uently opposed his 
brother, John Sandfield Macdonald, in his efibrts to settle the 
political difierences t)f the country liy submitting to the dic- 
tation of the ConscrvatiN'e party. 

The appointment of Mr. David Laird, Lieutenant-Gover- 
nor of the North-West in J 87(5, was a loss to Mr. Mackeii/cio 
in the Maritime Provinces. Mr. Laird was a man of wide 
experience in public life, an aljle journalist and a successful 
politician. As Premier of Prince Edward Island, he imjiress- 




ed himself on that province, and as a platFonn speaker he 
was of great service to the party. In a letter addressed to 
Governor Laird at Battleford, four months after the defeat of 
his Government, Mr. Mackenzie gives the reason for making 
this appointment. 

" I was very sorry to lose you when you went to the North- 
West, but it was so essential to the public welfare to have a 
fast friend and an upright man in a position of such vast 
importance, that I felt m3^self compelled to submit to the sac- 

Mr. Laird replied: "I appreciate your assurance that you 
were sorry to lose me as a colleague. Well, the truth is I 
did not want to leave the Government at that time. My 
friends, too, on the Island, were opposed to my accepting the 
new post, and I was loth to desert those with whom I had 
fought so many hai'd battles. But you urged me to accept, 
and, like a loyal supporter, I yielded, supposing that }'0u, 
somehow, thought it would be in the interest of the country.' 

Another loss to his Government was the appointment of 
Mr. Letellier de St. Just, Lieut.-Governor of Quebec, in Decem- 
ber, ]87G. Mr. Letellier had been for many years the comrade- 
in-arms of Mr. Dorion. He was a Radical of the Radicals, 
courageous in the defence of his party, and, on account of his 
per.sonal magnetism, well calculated to be a leader of men. 

Mr. Fournier, who had served with ability as Minister of 
Justice and Postmaster-General, was appointed to the Supreme 
Court. His retirement from the Government was also a loss 
to the party. 

So far as the Province of Ontario was concerned, fewer 
changes had taken place in tlie personnel of the Government. 
Although Mr. Blake was sworn in as a nuMuber of the Privy 
Council in 1.S7M, he had not accepted a portfolio. But his 




W- ^^-^c^^^-y^^-^-'-^-r^^ 

(Facsimile of Hon. Echvard BbiktH hand-ivriting.) 



presence in the cabinet was regarded by his friends as a fitting 
tribute to his eminent abilities and his services to the party. 
His resignation in February, 1874, called forth expressions ol' 
regret from all parts of the Dominion. Had his health per- 
mitted him to accept office, and to discharge the full duties of 
a cabinet minister, tliere is no doubt he would have greatly 
lightened Mr. Mackenzie's cares in dealing with the many 
complicated questions that arose in the course of his Adminis- 
tration. Mr. Blake became Minister of Justice in 1875. His 
retirement in 1877 was greatly felt by Mr. Mackenzie. Speak- 
ing of this matter in the House, in reply to enquiries made by 
Sir John Macdonald with regard to ministerial changes, Mr. 
Mackenzie said : 

" I cannot but express my extreme regret that I should be 
compelled to part with a colleague with whom I have acted 
all my political life, under whom I once served wlien he acted 
as Premier of Ontario, and who acted so cordially with the 

present Administration, since its advent to office 

There was no ditference in an}- matter of policy between my 
honorable friend and his colleagues, and I am quite sure that 
the restoration of his wonted health will give pleasure to al- 
most every one in Canada ■who takes an interest in the re- 
tention of men of great ability and high personal character in 
the councils of the country." 

The appointment of Mr. Cauchon, Lieutenant-Governor of 
Manitoba, was a change in the Ciovernment regretted by few. 
^Ir. Cauchon was no doubt a man of great ability and per- 
severance. He was a journalist of some distinction, and as a 
pamphleteer had rendered valuable servic . to the country in 
promoting Confederation among his French compatriots in 
Quebec. But his connection with the Beauport asylum had 
greatly weakened his inlluence, and had given the opponents 



of the Government an opportunity for indul;^in<^ in sun<lry 
disagreeable taunts and jeers. 

The changes in tlie Government, however, were, in many 
instances, compensated for by the accession to the Cabinet of 
men of marked ability and parliamentary experience. 

Sunnnarising these chancres, it may be stated that the De- 
partment of Justice was, durino- the five years of Mr. Mac- 
kenzie's Administration, under four different ^linisters, Messrs. 
])orion, Fournier, Blake and Lallammc ; the Department of 
Agricultiire under two Ministers, Messrs. Letellier and Mr. 
Telletier; the Department of the Interior under two Minis- 
ters, Messrs. Laird and Mills ; the Department of Secretary of 
State under two Ministers, Messrs. Christie and Scott; the 
Department of Tostmaster-General under tin'ee Ministers, 
Messrs. Macdonald, Fournier and Huntington ; the Depart- 
ment of Inland Revenue under live ^liuisters, Messrs. Four- 
nier, Geoflriun, Cauchon, Laliannne and Laurler; the ^lilitia 
Department under three Ministers, Alessrs. Koss, \'ail and 
Jones. The Presidency of the Priv}' Council was ehannred 
three times. Of the fourteen Ministers who took ollice with 
Ml". Mackenzie on the 17th of November, 1878, onl}' four con- 
tinued with him to the close of his Administration, namely, 
Messrs. Cartvvright, Smitli, A. J., Collin and Scott, and only 
three of these retained the same portfolio during the whole 

The Department of Agriculture, vacatetl l)y tlie retirement 
of Mr. LeteUier, was ably HHed by Mr. PeUetier. Mr. La- 
flamme, as Minister of Justice, sliowed himself a worthy suc- 
cessor to previous occupants of that ])epartment. In the 
Maritime Provinces, Mr. A. G. Jones was called to take charge 
of tile Militia Department. 

The Maritime I'roviuces have given to Canada many men 



of ^rcat ability aud worth, but i'cw aiiH)n<;- them (loscrvo a 
higher position for their integrity, their breadth of mind, and 
their sense of honor than the Hon. Alfred G. Jones. 

The choice made of a successor to Mr. Cauclion was pecu- 
liarly happy. Mr. Wilfrid Laurier had for some time attract- 


ed the favorable notice of the Liberals of Ontario, and was 
rapidly establishing himself in the esteem of his fellow-mem- 
bers in the House. Two years before Mr. Laurier was called 
to the Government, Mr. Brown, who had evidently been con- 
sulted with regard to the filling of some Cabinet vacancy, 
wrote to Mr. Mackenzie : " Should you be led to tlie convic- 
tion that Lould not safely or wisely be ventured 

upon, then I have no doubt between the old, respectable gen- 
tleman in question and the young, vigorous, popular and elo- 
quent man of the present moment — Laurier, I think, is his 
name. A new, fresh man, is more in harmony with the spirit 
of your Government than any other. His elevation would bo 
hailed by all his young conqjatriots, and he has no antece- 
dents to fetter his action. Of course, I speak entirely from 
what I have heard from you and others as to Lauriei-, for I 
have rot the advantage of kr<owing him personally." 

Mr. Laurier's record since that time fully justifies the esti- 
mate made of his talents and character by the great journalist 
of Canada. 



The jjortfolio vucatod by Mi*. Laird was accepted by Mr. 
David Mills in October, 187G. Pic brought to his departmcut 
a full knowledge of its duties, and a ripe judgment for tho con- 
sideration of such matters as afiected its administration. Mr. 
Mills was certainly a worthy ally of his great leader, and, by 
his diligence and energy, discharged very ably thu obligations 
of a Cabinet Minister. 

Changes so great and affecting so many departments, even 
were the new Ministers in every respect eipial to the old or 
oven superior, could not be otherwise than injurious to the 
Government. The routine of an ollice is not to be learned in 
a day, and the habit of looking at pnblic questions with all 
the responsibility of a Minister, cannot be assumed by sub- 
scribing simply to the oaths of office. 

That Mr. Mackenzie had chosen his Ministers wisely and 
well, is generally admitted, having regard to the fact tliat the 
claims of the ditt'erent provinces had to be recognised. But, 
while no question is raised as to the selection under the cir- 
cumstances, it was quite apparent to those who watched the 
proceedings of the House, that some of his Ministers were not 
us ready to repel the attacks of the Opposition as would be 
desired. A Cabinet of all the talents is not likely to be found 
in a new country. But a Cabinet, every member of which 
thoroughly understands the working of his own department, 
and who is able to defend it wit'i vigor, greatly relieves a 
^ Prime Minister of care and responsibility. 

Had Mr. Mackenzie thrown more of the responsibilities of 
administration u[)on his colleagues, it is probable that even 
those who appeared to lack in sti'cngth would have been more 
helpful than they were. He had felt it his duty, however, not 
only to know the details of his own department, but also the 
course of proceeding in some of the otljer departmenty; and 


i^^^H i 'i 

1' ii 







the explfinutioris whicli devolved upon the Minister in eliiir<,^o 
were often undertaken by the Prime Minister. The otiect ot' 
this upon the House and the country was unfavorable to liis 
Cabinet as a whole, as it deprived his Government of that 
political confidence which the well-known individual ability of 
each Minister necessarily produces. 

The B. N. A. Act of 180 7 enacted that the Parliament and 
Government of Canada should have all power necessary or 
proper for performing the oblig-ations of Canada, or any 
province thereof, as part of the British Emjjire, towards 
foreign countries under treaties between the Empire and such 
foreign countries, l^^y this clause of the Confedei-ation Act 
the Dominion Parliament was authorised to exercise the 
powers formerly exercised by the several provinces of Canada 
with regard to extradition, and althougli there was an Im- 
perial statute on the subject, the adoption by Canada of any 
legislation with respect to extradition had the effect of sus- 
pending, for the time being, such Imperial statute. As re- 
spects foreign countries, other than the United States of 
America, any extradition treaty which applied to Canada 
came into operation under an Imperial Act. It was claimed 
by the Privy Council of Canada that this limitation of the 
Dominion Parliament was unreasonable, and that the pro- 
visions of all extradition treaties entered into by Great Brit- 
ain with foreign powers should be carried into effect in Canada 
by means of Canadian legislation. In December, 1875, the 
Dominion Government deputed Mr. Blake, Minister of Justice, 
to confer with Her Majesty's Government on this point, and 
especially to consider the expediency of negotiating a more 
comprehensive extradition treaty. Owing to a misunder- 
standing between the British and United States Govern- 
ments as to the interpretation of the Ashl)urton Treaty (the 

[■ct of 

to liis 


lity of 


f 1 1 



only extradition treaty applicaLle to Canada), the treaty 
was suspended for one year. The matter in dispute hav- 
ing been settled, the treaty was revived. The point con- 
tended for by Great Britain in this dispute was that the 
treaty of 1842 contemphited that a person surrendered shouM 
not be tried for any crime or ofiunce committed in the other 
country before the extradition, other than the crime for which 
the surrender had been granted. The Canadian Government 
was most anxious, in the matter of extradition with the 
United States, at least, that they should bo allowed the full 
authority to legislate as they might deeui expedient, or that 
the sanction of the Imperial Government sliould be given to 
such legislation as tl',ey might adopt. In 1877 a Bill was 
passed and afterwards approved by the Governor-General, 
making provision by our Canadian Jaw for the execution, as 
respects Canada, of all arrangenio-nts made between Her 
Majesty and foreign states for the extradition of fugitive 
criminals. Thev also submitted a joint address of the Senate 
and the House of Commons, asking Her Majesty by Order-in- 
Council to suspend the operation of Imperial legislation on 
this subject, in order that thu Canadian statute might take 
effect. The Imperial Government declined to entei-tain this 
request, and, as a consequence of this, the Canadian Act of 
1877, to which tlie Minister of Justice, Mr. Blake, iiad given 
a great deal of attention, still remains in abeyance. 

The attempt to settle this important (juestion on lines more 
comprehensive and better adapted to the prest-nt relations of 
Canada with the United States than was the Ashburton 
Treaty of 1842, shews the great watchfulness which Mr. Mac- 
kenzie exercised over Canadian interests. It also shews his 
desire that the Parliament of Canada, in all purely Canadian 
matters, should be relieved entirely from the control of the 







Colonial office. And altliough the dispute in which the Im- 
perial Government became involved with the United States 
frustrated his attempts, he was able to place upon the statute 
book an extradition treaty, which, if allowed to go into oper- 
ation, v.'ill be an effective restraint upon the migration of 
fugitives from justice between the tAVO countries. 

The scope of this Act is juuch wider tlian the Ashburton 
Treaty. It includt.-s a number of offences for which extradi- 
tion is at present not allowed, such as " larceny, embez/lemeut, 
fi-aud by a banker, agent, factor or trustee, or by a director or 
member or officer ot' any company, when such fraud is crim- 
inal by any Act for the time being in force," and many other 
offences of a similar character. It is to be hoped that a treaty 
allowing extradition for such offences as arc herein meiitioneil 
will come into efieet at an early day. Canada should not be 
made the camping ground ol"' end)e/,/lers and defaulting cash- 
iers, or run-away treasurers of large (o;'|>orations in the 
United States. The facility of transportation between the two 
countries is no doubt often counted upon by those wlio medi- 
tate the appropriation to thirl r own use of moneys coming into 
their possession by virtue of their ofiice. To allow such per- 
sons to escape the punishment they daserve by law, or per- 
haps, more cori-ectly speaking, by the absence of law, is to 
place a premium upon dishonesty. 

On motion by i\Ir. John Macdonidd, of Toronto, the House 
was asked to consider the propriety of opening its proceedings 
by prayer, as was done in the Senate, and for that 
either to appoint a ch;i])lain or iri the absence of the chaplain 
that prayers should l»e read by the Clerk of the House. Mr. 
Macdonald pointed t)ut tiiat a form of ])rayer agreed upon iiy 
the Ivoman Cath(»lic bishop of (.Quebec and the Protestant 
rector was used in the oj)ening of the Council of that pro- 



I 111" pose 


'. -Mr. 

l[n)]\ liy 


lut |il'()- 



vince, from 1792 down to 1841, and that from 1841 till 18GG, 
the form now used in the Senate prevailed. In Upper Canada 
the proceedings of the Legishitive Council were opened by 
prayer, for many years, by a chaplain of the Church of Eng- 
land appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor, and subsequently 
by the ministers of the town of York. After some observations 
from both sides of the House, a committee was appointed and 
a report agreed upon to the effect, that prayers should i >e read 
by the Speaker of the House in the language most familiar to 
him, and that members should stand during sucli service. Out 
of deference to the Fj-ench-speaking meuiljers of the House, the 
practice has been established of reading the prayers in French 
and in English on alternate days. 

The budget speech, as in the session of 187G, was the signal 
for a lonir discussion of the linancial condition of the countrv, 
and ])articularly of the remedy which, in tlie opinion of the 
Conservative party, should be applied to the financial strin- 
gency which for several yeai's existed. To begin with, there 
was a deficit of $1,980,000, with very large obligations in 
connection with the ])ublic woi-ks, requiring innnediate atten- 
tion. The revenue was not showing much evidence of buoy- 
ancy, notwithstanding the increase in the duties, and the ()p- 
})osition made the most of tliese circumstances. Dr. Tup]»er, 
as in the previous stission, played the part of linancial critic, 
and in a speech nearly three hours in length dealt with the 
alleged extravagance of the Government and their inaitility 
loflnd a remedy for the connnercial depression of the country. 

Mr. Mackenzie replied to Ur. Tui)pei', defending the policy 
of the Government, and ri<liculing the National Policy as a 
remedy for its financial troubles: 

" The prosperity of the country dtjpends on the industry of 
its people. It does not depend upon party claquers or ujton 



polilical nostruiiis, but it depends upon the industrial power 
of the people ; and the day will never come when either the 
honorable gentleman or I will bo missed when we take our 
departure from these legislative halls, because other me\will 
rise in our places and the country will go on, never heedijig 
the time when a Tapper pronounced as the sole remedy for 
the ills of Canada the imposition of a duty on sugar and coal. 
John Bright said in a very recent speech that he could not 
compare the absurdities of some people who waited on him 
desiring protection, to anything except a person who had got 
a box on the right ear, and turned round desiring a corres- 
ponding one on the other ear. And this is the sole remedy of 
these honorable gentlemen for the sorrows of the country, the 
sole remedy for a depressed people and for depressed indus- 
tries. Their sole remedy is to tax the people more; make the 
people pay more, say these honorable gentlemen, and that will 
sui'ely bring a general era of |)rosperity." 

The debate on the budget speech followed very nearly the 
same lines as the debate of the previous session. The oppon- 
ents of the Government were as lou<l in their praises of pro- 
tection as they were lierce in their attacks upon the Govern- 
ment. Sir John Macdonald proposed his usual motion, sligiit- 
ly altered from the preceding year, as follows: "Tiiat this 
House regrets that the iinaneial policy sul)mitted by the 
Government increases our burden of taxation on the people 
without any compensating advantage to Canadian interests, 
and further, that this House is of the opinion that the defi- 
ciency in the resenue should be met by u diminuti(jn of ex- 
penditure, aided by such a readjustment of the taritl'as will 
benefit and foster the agricultural, mining and manufacturing 
interests of the Dominion." 

lier the 
ike our 



The division, in a House of 189 members, f^ave the Govern- 
mcut 49 of a majority. 

Dr. Orton, who had made himself the special champion of 
the agricultural interests of the country, also submitted a re- 
solution in favor of protection to the farmers, " expressing re- 
gret that the Government had not seen fit, with a due regard 
to all other .industries, so to arrange the customs tarifi' as 
to relieve the farmers of Canada from the unjust eflects of the 
one-sided and unfair tariff relations which exist between Can- 
ada and the United States, in reference to the interchange of 
agricultural products, as well as animals and tlieir products, 
and at the same time place this country in a better position to 
m-gotiate a fair and just reciprocity in the interchange of such 
products between Canada and the United States." 

In a House of 187 members, Dr. Orton's motion was defeat- 
ed by a majority of 39. 

Those two resolutions occupied the almost undivided atten- 
tion of the House for over three weeks, during which time 
[protection was discussed from almost every possible stand- 

WhiMi ^[r. Mackenzie announced in 1874 to the electors of 
Lambton the Government policy with regard to the Pacific 
Railway, he signified his intention to use the water stretches 
between Lake Superior and Winnipeg as a temporary substi- 
tute for a railway for a part of the distance between these 
two points. He showed that the obligation under which tlie 
country had been placiMl to British Columbia for the con- 
struction of a railway across the continent in ten years in- 
volved financial biu'dens vastly greater than the country could 
bear, and to reduce these burdens, or to distribute them over a 
greater period, was desirable. The schenm finally agreed uptju 
would involve tlie construction of G5 ndles of railway from 





I ) 

Lake Superior to Lac dcs Mi lies Lacs; thence there would be 
270 miles oi: navigable water to the north-west angle of the 
Lake of the Woods. A raihvay 113 miles in length fi'om the 
last-mentioned point would roach Red River. In the distance 
covered by these water stretches there would be in all six 
portages, the longest Qh miles, and the shortest about an eighth 
of a mile. The portage at Fort Francis was the one that 
most seriously impeded navigation. If the waterways be- 
tween Rainy Lake and Lake of the Woods could be connected 
by a canal, the transportation of passengers and freight would 
be greatly facilitated, and with that object in view Mr. Mac- 
kenzie had taken a vote from Parliament of Si 50,000, and 
subsequently an additional vote of $500,000 for works of 
navigation in connection with the Pacific Railway. No formal 
contract was let for the construction of the work, as it was 
considered it could be better managed under the department 
of public works by time labor. 

The Opposition took great pains to show that the construc- 
tion of this lock was a waste of public money, that the de- 
sired navigation could not be obtained by the means proposed, 
and that the transfer of freight, rendered necessary by the 
numerous portages, would be very expensive. Moreover, they 
alleged that ^Ir. Mackenzie exceeded his authority, as Minister 
of Public Works, in proceeding by time labor and not by ten- 
der, and that the whole transaction was one for which the 
Government should be condennied. 

Mr. Mackenzie's defence was simply a clear statement of 
the policy of the Gover.iment, as previously announced. If 
communication with the North- West were in the meantime 
obtained by the construction of a small lock at a trilling cost, 
the immediate necessities of the settlers would be met, and 
the construction of the continuous rail-route could be under- 



taken as soon as tlie finances of the country would peiniit. 
It was no small matter, he urged, to proceed at once M'iih the 
construction of 276 miles of railway — the distance projiosed 
to be covered by water. Communication once opened in this 
way, operations in the West would be greatly aided, as sup- 
pliers of all kinds for railway pui-poses could more readily be 
conveyed to the interior of the country. There was no con- 
stitutional objection to the construction of the lock by time- 
labor. The Dawson route, which cost nearly one million and 
a half, was built b^^ the prevnous Government in the same 
way. If the country could atibrd an all- line of railway at 
once it would be pref(n-able, but this was out of the question. 

Another attack was made upon the Department of Publi.c 
Works in what was called the " Goderich Harbor Job." The 
gravamen of this attack was that Mr. Mackenzie in letting a 
contract for the improvement of the Goderich harbor had 
passed over the lowest tenderer (a Mr. Tolton) for insufficient 
leasons, and awarded the contract to Moore & Co., whose ten- 
<l<'r was about 830,000 higher, mainly he was a friend 
of the Government and a supporter of Mr. Blake in South 

Tn his reply to this attack, Mr. ^[ackenzio showed that the 
jiolicy of tlu^ Public Works Department was invariably to 
accept the lowest tender unless it was shewn that the person 
tendei'ing had failed to carry out some i)revious contract with 
the GoN'ernnient, or was likely to f.-iil from want of experi- 
enee or iinancial ability. He proved from the records of 
the department th;it his Goxcrnnieiit hail awarded a. nnich 
l.irgei' number of contracts to the lowest ten<lerers the 
[irevious Go\ t'l'nment. The reason why Mr. Tolton waspasse<l 
over WMs that he was not known to the Public Woi'ks ])cp;ii't- 
nient a.s a man of exDerience in the kind of work fur whicli 






ho had tendered ; that liis tender was an exceedingly low one, 
and that there Wcas o-j-eat dan<;er that the Government nii<»ht 
be put to a loss if obliged to take the work off his hands 
before completed. The security he offered was not satisfac- 
tory, which was a most important consideration, and under 
the circumstances tlie Government had no choice but to pro- 
ceed on the advice of the chief engineer, ^Ir Page, a man of 
the highest integrity, and who would not be biassed by any 
political or personal reason. As in all similar cases, Mr. Blake's 
letter introducing Mr. Moore to him, as Minister of Public 
Works, was such a letter as any niember of Parliament might 
give one of his constituents, and as was said by Sir John ^lac- 
donald afterwards, in speaking of it: " Mr. Moore had a right 
to receive such a letter from the Minister of Justice (Mr. 
Blake). Mr. Moore had a right to ask such a letter from the 
Minister of Justice (Mr. Blake) and to give such a letter Ava.s 
highly creditable to Mr. Blake." 

We have placed side by side these two attacks upon the 
Public Works Department to show the liimsy nature of the 
chai'ges brought by the Opposition against Mr. Mackenzie as 
the head of that department, and also to shew the material 
out of which later on, they intended to make an election cry. 
In neither of these charges was there the slightest malversa- 
tion proven. The alleged favoritism, with respect to the God- 
erich Harbor contract, was founded in a letter of introduction, 
given by Mr. Blake to one of his constituents, in these words: 

"]\Iy Deau Mackknzib, 

" David Moore, of Walkerton, asks me to inform you that he is about 
to tender for the Godcrich works, and I do so accordinj^ly. 1 told my 
friend Moore that an introduction was unnecessary, as you wo;dd Itt the 
Works fairly, without respect to persons. 

" Yours, etc., Euwauli iiLAKii." 





Had it been shown that this was the only instance in which 
the lowest tender was passed over, or had it been shewn even 
that there was no oood and sufBcient reason for passinor over 
the lowest tender in this case, the charge of political favoritism 
would have some foundation. On neither of these points was 
the evidence worthy of a moment's consideration. 

No wonder that Mr. Mackenzie resented these attacks on 
his department with the greatest vigor, and no wonder that 
he cited by the score instances in which his predecessors, for 
public reasons, as the House at least was led to believe, had 
acted in a similar way. 

About the close of the session objection was taken to the 
right of Mr. Anglin, Speaker of the House of Commons, to 
hold a seat in Parliament, on the ground that he had violated 
the Independence of Parliament Act by taking a contract 
from the Government. It appears that under the previous 
administration the printing required for the Post Office De- 
partment, so far as the Maritime Provinces were concerned, 
was placed in the hands of local newspapers in Halifax and 
yt. John. On the change of administration, the Postmaster 
(ireneral instructed the officers of the department to transfer 
such work to the newspapers supporting the Liberal party. 
The work was to be done according to schedule rates agreed 
upon by the department, and the accounts were sent in for pay- 
ment in the usual waJ^ Mr. Anglin was at that time editor 
and proprietor of the St. John Freeman, a journal favorable 
to the Government. Printing to the extent of about .'^ 10,000 
was done at his office, for which he had received the prices 
fixed by the Post Office Department. 

The Connnittee on Privileges and Elections, to which the 
matter was referred, held two or three meetings, but as they 
were appointed late in the session, they simply examined Mr. 




Anglin as to tlie nature of the contract, and at the close of 
the session reported tluit they were unable to proceed any 
farther with the inquiries submitted to their consideration. 

The violation of tire Independence of Parliament Act, with 
wiiich Mr. Anglin was chai-ged, was of a very venial character. 
He had not solicited any contract from the Governniiint, nor 
had he even arranged with the Post Office Department as to 
the prices to be paid, and althonoli the cheques for the work 
done w^ere issued in iiis favor, a large part of it was done at 
other offices. Even his opponents did not cliaj-ge him with 
any corrupt motives in obtaining the work. It was also shown 
before the Committee that so soon as the (Jovernment, as a 
whole, became aware of tlie relations which he occupied to the 
depai'tment, the work was stopped ; so that for near!}- a year 
before the matter came up in the House he had ceased to be, 
in any sense of the term, a Government coniractor. 

Although Mr. Anglin had violated the Act only in the 
letter, he was prepared to take the consec^uences, and so im- 
mediately after prorogation he resigned his seat. His con- 
stituents, feeling that he iiad connnitted no mistake, returned 
him again to Parliament. 

Mr. Vail, Minister of Militia, because a stockholder in a 
rirm having a contract witJi the Government, also resigned 
during the recess. He, however, was less fortunate than Mr. 
Anglin, as he failed to secure re-election. 

While Lord Dutl'erin was in the North-West, Mr. Mackenzie 
made th(i gi'ave diplomatic departure of sending Minister Mills 
to Washington, Nvithout the intervention of the circundocution 
office, to endeavor to arrange with the authorities there for the 
return of Sitting i3ull, who, iu equal disregard of proper usage 
had crossed with his braves into Canadian territory so as to 
escape the United States trooj)s. One does not know which 




movement was the greater menace to the peace of nations. 
But, as the Indian warrior had taken the shortest cut out 
of his difficulty, the Canadian Minister took the shortest 
way to escape the dilemma he was placed in by Sitting Bull's 
action. Notwithstanding the lack of form, against which 
there was a mild protest at the White House, and one much 
stronger from Downing-street, ^Ir. Mills found the President 
and his Ministers very willing to adopt the suggestion he was 
charged informally to make. This was tluit a Commission 
should be sent by theGoverinnent of the United States to Sit- 
ting Bull's camp and arrange for his peaceful return to his 
own country. This Commission was intended to be backed up 
by a little pressure on the Canadian side, Col. McLeod, com- 
mander of the mounted police in tlie North- West, hi ti tine: to 
the dusky visitor and his followers that non-compliance would 
be likely to result in permission being given tlie American 
troops to cross the line and take them prisoners. General 
Sherman, the officer in charge in the West, pointed out tlie 
urgency of prompt action on our part, so as to prevent Can- - 
adian soil being made a base of operations by hostile Indians 
which he rei^arded as inevitable if the Sicaix wi.i'o to Ije allow- 
ed to remain with their horses and arms. It was a pressing 
emergency, ami it was felt that if the represiMitation made to 
Washington had to pass thi'ough the Colonial office, winter 
might come and serious con)plications result. The strangers 
would, while here, have to be kept in order — a most difficult 
matter, or be delivererl over to the United States authorities — • 
a more difficult matter still ; and international law would 
make Cana<ia liable for any raiding into the adjacent territory 
of which they might be guilty. It was, in fact, one of those 
cases in which Mr. Mackenzie had to act promptly, and in 



spite of tlie wrench, constitutionally, tlie difficulty was satis- 
factorily overcome. 

To those who knew little of Mr. Mackenzie's disposition, ex- 
cept from observing him in the House as leader of the Govern- 
ment, it would never occur that the man who repelled the 
attacks of his opponents with so much vigor, who returned 
blow for blow with Hre-flashinn- eye, who even hesitated not 
when the occasion warranted, to uncover the past and expose 
inconsistencies that most men luK.l forrjotten, was a man of the 
deepest sensibility and kindliness of heart. 

Neither the engrossing- cares of his office, nor the bitterness 
of an unreasoning press could suppress that still small voice of 
sympathy with his fellow men, which to those who knew him 
best was so substantial an element of his character. 

We have before us two letters — the first to a faithful servant 
of the State, an engineer engaged on the Pacific Railway ex- 
ploration, the second to a wi<Iow of a clo'gyman who had 
died on the field of duty, which are among the tenderest and 
most touching, as in their tone they are the most elevating, 
communications that tlie head of a political department ever 
penned. He " allures to brighter worlds and points the way." 
The first from the Public Works Dt'partment, under date Dec. 
10th, 1877, is as follows: 

"It is ii matter of great sorrow to all the departmental officers with 
whom you came in contact to hear ff your serious illness. To myself it 
is poculiarly tlisi.essing, as I had formed a very high opinion of your pro- 
fessional ability and your personal integrity while acting for the Govern- 
ment in a very difficult and resfjonsible position. I regret much being 
unable to spare the time necessary to go to say good-bye to you in person, 
and therefore do so by letter. 

" I earnestly trust that if your earthly days are nearly numbered you 
may enjoy the hope of a blessed innnortality tla\>ugh the merits of our 



S.-wiour. This, iifter uU, ia more than earthly honor, or long life, as our 
utmost length of days is too brief to be noticed in the light of eternity. 

"Yours very faithfully, A. Mackk.nzik." 

Tlie second letter, written ;i I'ew weeks al'terwards, is to the 
widow ot the Rev. Geo. M. MeDouo'all, the devoted Aletliodist 
mi.ssionary in the North- West. Mr. MeDougall was a man 
oL' great force ot" character, whose whole life was heroically 
consecrated to missionary work anionic tiie Indians, who 
oreatly loved and trusted him. He rendered valuable services 
to the Indian Treaty Conunissioners in their dealing- with the 
Indians in the North-West Territories in InT-I. Tlie manner 
of his death was peculiarly sad and aHeetini;'. He became 
separated from ids company, and missed his way on tlie prairie 
in a blinding snow storm. Subsecpiently he was foumlcalndy 
sleeping the sleep of death in the drifting snow. Mr. Mac- 
kenzie caused a gratuity of SoOO to be paid to his wiilow. 
The expressions of her acknowledgments ilrew from the 

Premier this beautiful reply : ^ 

"Ottawa, Feb. L'Otli, 1878. 

"Dear Madam, — Mr. Macdonald [the e.\-Senator of Toronto] has in- 
formed me of your letter to him of the 22nd inst., in which y(m convey 
to the Government your acknowletlgments for tlie payment of $500 on 
account of your late luisband's services. I will couunmiicate to my 
colleagues your message. 

" I assure you that nothing could be more gratefid to my own feelings 
than to have it in my power to do .something for the family of one who 
was so devoted to (Jod and liis country as your late Limented husband. 
The tragic story of Mr. McDougall's death, on Ids chosen tield of labor, 
where he had done so mucli to elevate the character of the uncivilized 
natives, is one of the saddest incidents coimocted with the history of our 
western possessions. It drew forth the syin[)athies of all true men to 
yourself under your deep alfliction. It is but little that outsiders can do 
under such circumstances, as the stricken heart prefers its own loneliness 
to the intrusive sympathy of strangers. You have, however, the conso- 









lation of knowing your late liusbaiul died nol>ly at iiis post after a 
laborious and self-denying life. I little thought when I had my last long 
interview with him concerning niir fur-off land, that in so short a time he 
would pass from that land to a still furiher off inheritance, where he 
would see the King in His beauty, whom in common with his earthly 
sovereign he had served so faithfully here. Permit me to add that I shall 
always take an interest in your welfare, though I iiave not the honor of 
your personal acquaintance. I am, dear madam, 

** Yours faithfully, A. M.vckknzu:. 
"Mrs. McDougall, Thoinl)ury, Out." 

Kindnesses like these were continual witii Mr. Mackenzie, 
and they were like the gentle rain from heaven " which bles- 
seth liiui that gives, and hiin that takes." Writing to his 
dauo-hter when he was in the North-West Territories in Aumist 
of 1884, Mr. Mackenzie says : " I met a priest here to whom I 
once rendered some service, who was very grateful and very 
kind. A message was also sent me by the widow of the Re\'. 
George McDougall, a devoted Methodist Missionary, whom I 
had emplo3^ed on Indian work, who was lost in a storm. I 
called to see the old lady. It seems that I had written her 
after an event of so much sadness, especially to her, though I 
had forgotten it. She had the letter with her, and wept freely 
when she saw me. I was nuich touched by her unaflected and 
feeling words and manner in referring to the great sorrow of 
her life, and was glad to think that any poor words of mine 
might have alleviated her distress." 

Mr. Mackenzie had friends in pastors of all the churches. 
One of the good deeds brought to light for the first time when 
he died had reference to a minister of the Presbyterian 
Church, whose name has been given us, and wlio evidently 
him.self prints the statement. The minister, now a learned 
doctor, was driving to the station at Sarnia, when his horse 
ran away, and he was badly hurt. He was brought back to 

^'%l'\^ % 





^4^ /^^ /y" 

y^^l^C^ «^^ii^^^3^«^:^'i2^S2^,^ 


i-z^ /l-:^^^- 

(Fac-simile of Sir John A. MacdonakVs hmul-writinr/.) 


Liri-: or the rrox. Alexander mackexzie. 

Mr. Mackenzie's house, where he lay for some weeks, nursed 
with the tenderes^. care. During that time Mr. Mackenzie 
was appointed a minister in tlie Cabinet of Ontario. "One 
day," continues the narrator, " Mrs. Mackenzie was sitting by 
the sick bed, when a letter was handed to her. She read it 
in silence, while a quiet tear stole down her cheek. The 
patient askeil if there was any bad news. Without a wonl 
she handed him the ktter. It Avas from her husband, telling 
her of his appointment, recalling all the ways by which they 
had been led through life, and asking her to pray for him 
now, that he might be kept right amid the temptations and 
difficulties of his responsible position." 

This letter with many others, which Mrs. Mackenzie highly 
valued, it may be here mentioned, was destroyed by a fire in 
Ottawa during Mr. ^Mackenzie's administration. 

MM':^ ^'s.M^m\ 



" 1M 



nittorncs-^ of Parlies—Sir John's Attack on Mr. Aiiglin—'riio Premier's De- 
fence—Long and Acrimonious Debate on the Address — The Turning Point 
of Depression Reached— Mr. Mowat olVcred a seat in tlie Cioverninent — The 
Fighting ({round for tlie Elections Liiid Out— Tiie rrotective i'olipy— The 
Auditor-General— Teniperauue Legislutiou— Another Stride Towards Self- 

HE fiith session of Parliament, tlie last with Mi-. 
Mackenzie as Premier, commenced, continued, and 
endetl amidst feelin<;s of bitterness. Few parlia- 
mentary recoj'ds are more painful than the last six 
^:^ }iaf)es of Kansard for the year 1878, when, even while 
Black Hod was knocking at the door to summon the 
meml '^rs of the House of Connnons to meet His Excellency 
in the Senate, a scene was beino- enacted such as those wlio 
witnessed it will ne\'er forget. 15ad as it apjx^ars on the face 
of the oilicial debates, it wsis far worse than the picture pre- 
sented there. 

Owing to the resignation of Mr. Aiiglin, as member for 
Gloucester, the Speakership which he held was vacated also, 
and ic became the first iluty of the House on the re-assembling 
of rarliament, on the 7th of February, to elect a Speakt-r. 

Mr. Anglin, for the previous four years, had prt-aided with 
marked ability and impartiality. By iiia long exponcnco in 
Parliament he had become familiar with the routine of the 
House, and by his study of parliamentary procedure he was 

45! » 







able, as a rule, to give decisions on points of order with great 
promptness. By placing him in the chair in the first instance, 
Mr. Mackenzie lost an able ally on tli^ floor of tlie House. 
But as Mr. Anglin had sustained so well the dignity of his 
[)Osition, and as his constituents had shown by their returning 
him to Parliament that, notwithstanding the attacks of his 
opponents, they still maintained their confidence in him, it 
was due both to his record as a member of the House and as 
Speaker, that he should be continued during the full Pai'lia- 
mentary term. 

Sir John A. Macdonald objected to Mr. Anglin's re-nomina- 
tion, chiefly on technical grounds. He said that the member 
for Gloucester was a new member, and, according to the ywac- 
tice of the English House of Commons, he could not be known 
to the House until introduced by two members, and not being 
introduced, he was not eligible as Speaker. 

Mr. Mackenzie quietl}' replied by asking the House to note 
that Sir John Macdonald himself had never been introduced. 
Tiiey had therefore been iistening to a speech of neai'ly an 
hour from a person who, according to his own showing, had 
no business there and was not a member, The same honorable 
gentleman rose in his place last session to excuse an honorable 
meudter who entered the House not only without being intro- 
duced, but without taking the oaths. Sir John A. Macdonald 
had appealed to the English |)ractice, but the rule in (Ir^at 
Britain required a member to be sworn before the Speiiker 
necessitating the appointment of a Speaker before he couM be 
sworn, while here he was sworn, as Mr. Anglin had been sworn, 
before the clei-k, upon producing his certiticate of election. 
In the British House of Connnons the Speaker is elected by 
the members before any of them takes the oath. Then the 
Speaker aione, " standing on the upper step of the chair, takes 



tlie oath of alleg-ianco and supremacy, and takes and sniiscribes 
the oath of abjuration, and also delivers to the clerk of tlie 
House a statement of his qualification, and makes and sub- 
scribes a declaration that he is duly qualified, in which cere- 
mony he is followed by the other members who are present." 
Here the practice was wholly different, and the rule of tlie 
Imperial House of Commons could not be made by any possi- 
bility to a]iply. There was no power to exclude a duly-elected 
member from this House, whatever might be the manner of 
his enirance into it. 

Sir John, however, pressed his objection, and unsuccessfully 
divided the House. 

The speech from the Throne was an excellent sumiihuy of 
the work of the past year, and contained an outline of .sutH- 
cient leo'islation for a session of ordinary l<'n<>tli. His Excel- 
lenc}' referred to the settlement of the fishery claims under 
the Washinnton Treaty, and the award of five and a half mil- 
lion dollars in favor of Canada and Newfoundland for the use 
of their fisheries duriny,- the treaty; to the exhibition of Can- 
adian manufactures in New Soutli \V;ile.s, as likely to open a 
wider market for the products of the countiy ; to treaties 
made with the Indiais, by which the whole of the territory 
froiii Luke Superior to the Rocky Mountains had been acipur- 
<mI by peaceful ne^i'otiations from the native tribes; to the re- 
tirement of Sittinfj; Bull from British teiiitorv, thus relievinnr 
CiUiida of a cause of uneasinc^ss, and |)ossibly of a heavy ex- 
penditure ; to the ]iractical completion of the survey of the 
Canadian Pacific Uailway, and to the increase in the ivvenues 
of the country from a ])artial revival of trade. Li-yislation was 
promised with regard to the independence of I'arliament, the 
oflfice of Auditor-Ceneral, ami the regnlation of the tratlie in 
•spirituous licpiors. 



TIk' ntlili-css was discjussod with ^rcat v]<i;nr <lurinfj fivo coii- 
soeutive day.s, in which this Ministers wtn-c jittacktiil I»\- dit'- 
fcrent rnoinhci's ol" (Jic Opjiositiou, on almost cvi'vy detail ol' 
tlieii' adniinistiNitioii ol' [)ublie adJurH since thoy assumed oliice. 
The air ol" the Coniiiions (yhainhei" was rethjlent oi' censure. 
Mr. .Maekenzi(; hail ])Urclia.sed constituencies by money (.x- 
trat'tecj from contra'-toi's. lie had violated tin' Indejxjndeneo 
of Parliament Act in (In' person of m;iny ol" his supjiortei's. 
Ih' had I'ocoinTuended an anuiesty Tor Kiel and Lepine, hut not 
Tor O'Donoji'liue, thus discriminatlnir against, the Irish race. 
lie hail not secured the repe.d ol" the New r.rnnswick Schijol 
Jiill, and in this way h;i(l done an injnstice to tin; C'atholics. 
Ifeliad not coni[)!et(!d the surv(}ys ol' thu Canadian racdie iJail- 
way, as he should liaA'c; donr, so that injury was inllicteil uj»on 
the Ih'itish ( 'oliind»iaiis. 'I'lie tarill' had not ])i'en aiKanenl, 
and the stru^f^litijf;^ industries ol" the country wei'e still I.mi- 
;;'uisliin<f. Such \\'as tlie indictment ol" the (Jovei'mni'iil, and 
sjieeches to sustain it were for fi\(i days poured into the ears 
of till' oiricial repoi'ters with {^rcat fluency and due emphasis. 

Several encounters of u personal cha,iacter to(jk jtlace' be- 
tween members on o})[iosite. siiles ol" the House, one of tie- most 
intere.'-tin<; ol" which was the du*;! between Hon. Di. Tiippei- * 
anil the Ibin. A. G. Jones, who was then Minister ol' Militia. 
They were old antae^onists. 'I'hey had met on many a platl'o) ni 
in their own province, bid. this was the first time when they 
]>ractically .ste[i[)ed out into the political rin;,^ at Ottawa in 
mortal combat. Dr. Tupper h;el just been inilul;^dn;,f in etl'u- 
HJvo sell'-con^n'atulations on tJi(^ succ(>ss ol' the eloction.s that 
had tnken pkute durini^f tin? recess, atid particulai-ly ovei' the 
defeat ol' lion. W. \'>. \'ail, I'ormerly MiiMst(!r ol' Militia. Tie' 
Tate whii'h oveitook Mr. \'ail, was just the Tate, hi- said, which 
Mr. .lones deserved, I'oi" he was not loyal to tin; l'>m[)ire. 

' "rtl' 

LASr .SAW.SVOA' JX row Eli. 


IVO COll- 

by ail'- 
lotsiil of 
■•1 otlico. 
liC'V ex- 


, Iiut not 

isll I'.'K'C. 

\ S('Iio(j1 


ific lliiil- 

t,('*l llpOIl 

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tlic oars 
»Iaco be- 
tbi' most 
. TupptT 


ilatl'oi III 

■II tbey 
,ta\va in 

ill cli'il- 
oiis that 
jver tbi; 
ia. 'V\u' 

Mr. Jones rcpb'ftl \vitli Tnai-l<i'(I ofrccfc. 'Wi-. ])ar1-aiii(ntai-y 
style of bis 8[)(i0cli, its diii^nity ami i"oi-c<!, won loi- liini tbo ad- 
miration ol" botb sides f>r tbf House, and tlir ajtplausu with 
wliicb bis nniarks \v;to I'cccivjd nnist bavc convinciid l)f. 
1"up[)or tbat to attack Mi". Joiirs was lujt tin; best way to im- 
prove bis position in the Ib^iise. 

It ina.y not be ^^-cniially known tliat wlien Mr. lilakc^ sent 
in bis resignation as Minister <ji' Just ice. .Mr. Mackenzie was 
anxious that th<; poll Mo sbouM go to some representative ol 
th<-' I'rovince (jT Ontai-io. 

'^riie bijLfislation witli which tin' ibiusi' of ( "oiiinions has to 
deal i'olKnvs, in tin; main, I'itii^nsli pi-eceilmt, ami a lawyer 
traint^d in a {»rovinc(; wbei-e I'lnj^lisb law is I'ollowed is, othei- 
ihinfTH being e(|ual, bettei' (jualifi.'d to discharge tin; (bttics of 
the department oi" jiistic(j than lawyers accustomed simply to 
th(,: Fii!iicb code wbicb p)-e\ails iti (Quebec. Mr. Mackeii/.ic 
was, however, very rortunaio in (obtaining the sei'viccs of sucb 
distinguished men as Messrs. ]Jorion and l^'ournier, as their 
generai kn(»w ledge of law beyond tbe i-aiig*; (jf tli<; courts in 
which they usually jiractised, itnabled them to dea,l successfully 
with all matt<!rs pei'taining to tbe administration of justice. 
If, in th(! l'rovinc(! of Ontario, a, man of political ex[M-rience 
eoidd be foutul whose legal training would command the eon- 
lidence of the country, Mr. Macken/ie lelt that it would 
strengthen bis ('abinet not only for jturposes of legislation, 
l)Ut also for tbe gtMieral election w hich was to b»llow proroga- 
tion. Witii this object in view, be oU'ei'iid the portfolio ren- 
defe.l \aeant by I liii retirement of Mr. IMake, tothe Ibju. Oliver 
Mowat, now Sir Olivt-r Mowat, Premier of Ontario. The olhr 
was, no doubt, a tempting one. liy a man h-ss inii>ressed with 
the great iasues, constitution.d and otherwise, for which ho 
was responsible as I'leuiicsr of the greatest I'rovince of the 




Dominion, such a pvoposal would have been immediately 
accepted. Mr. Mowat's refusal adds another to the many obli- 
gations under which he has placed his native province. 

•'Toronto, Jan. 15th, 1877. 

"Mv Deau Mackenzie, — I continue to think that I ^;hould nob consider 
the question of leaving the local House, until after our general election. 
Should you then propose it to me, it would be my duty to weigh well the 
considerations, political and personal, which might then bear on such a 
change, and either for it or against it. If a decision before our local 
elections should be necessary, my present impression is that I ought to 
remain where I am, in order to perform my part in securing for the pro- 
vince a good Reform majority for another term ; and I have not con- 
sidered the matter further. 

*' Tours ever, 0. Mowat." 

In his budget speech, the Minister of Finance pointed to a 
consideral)le reduction in the expenditures per capita, as con- 
trasted with the period before the Government took office, and 
to the probability that the dangers which at that time beset 
the country would soon be removed. Under these circum- 
stances he said ; 

" It appears to mo to bo our wisest policy, to adhere strictly to a 
revenue tarift", and to advance steadily but continuously with those im- 
portant ])ublic works which cannot be delayed without grave public 
injury ; also to fulfil, as far as we can, all the engagements we have 
entered into, witli this proviso, however, that tliose engagements must not 
be allowed to imperil our general position, or to endanger the future of 
the whole population of this country. I do not pretend to say that all 
risks are past, but I think I am justified in asserting that the risks, at 
any rate, have been considerably lessened. I do not look for any sudden 
expansion. I can hardly say that I desire any very sudden expansion ; 
but I do believe that wo may f.iirly count ou a steady and gradual pro- 
gress, such as we know by past exi)erienco has rarely failed to exist in 
Canada, oven under circumstances quite as disadvantageous as those with 
which we are now confronted." 



As leader of the Opposition, Sir John A. Macdonald pre- 
sented his annual resolution upon the policy ol* his party on 
the trade question. These resolutions have already been 
noticed in their proper place. The resolution of 1878 was, no 
doubt, expanded for election purposes, as in its enlarfijed form 
it covers several points not embraced in the previous resolu- 
tions. It was as follows : " This House is of the opinion that 
the welfare of Canada requires the adoption of a national 
[lolicy, which, by a judicious readjustment of the tariff, will 
Ijenefit and foster the agricultural, the mining, the manufactur- 
ing and other interests of the Dominion ; that such a policy 
will retain in Canada thousands of our fellow countrymen 
now obliged to expatriate themselves in search of the employ- 
ment denied them at home; will restore prosperity to the 
struggling industries, now so sadly (K.'[)ressed; will prevent 
Canada from being made a sacrifice market ; will encourage 
and develop an active interpro\'incial trade, and moving (as it 
ought to do) in the direction of a reciprocity of tariti's with 
our neighbors, so far as tlie varied interests of Canada may 
demand, will greatly tend to procure for this country, eventu- 
ally, a reciprocity of trade." 

It will be observed that in this resolution it is stated for the 
first time that a protective tariff would prevent Canadians 
from expatriating themselves in search of employment denied 
linjmat home, and that in addition to preventing Canada from 
being made a sacrifice market, a protective tai'ifi' would ulti- 
mately lead to reciprocity with the United States. 

Tlu' virtues of protection were evidently growing upon the 
imagination of the Conservatives the longer the question was 
discusst'il. A system that in 187G was calculated to foster the 
"struggling m.MUufactures and industries, as well as the agri- 
cultural products of the country," in 1877 would also benefit 



the mininrr interests of the Dominion, and, in 1878, would, in 
addition to all this, keep Canadians at home, furnish tiiem 
with abundant employment, increase inter-provincial trade, 
and eventually secure reciprocity with the United States. 
How much of what was then expected has been realised need 
not be here discussed. The last decennial census and the 
McKinley Bill may be consulted by those interested in further 

The debate, which commenced on the 22nd of February 
and lasted until the 12th of March, was, of course, the chief 
feature of the session, laying out, as it did, the fighting grou ml 
for the forthcominrj elections. Sir John A. MacdonaM's 
amendment was lost hy a majorit}' of 114 to 77. At other 
periods of the session, the agricultural interests and the coal 
interests of the country were discussed in spccitic resolutions, 
a.sking for the interference of the Government in their behalf, 
the vote in each case being nmch smaller than the vote on the 
general policy of protection. 

During this session, the House was so nnich occupied with 
the discussion of the trade (question as to be unable to give 
but little attention to legislation. Two or three of the must 
important measures may, however, be mentioned. 

In order to secure a more careful audit of the public ac- 
counts, and to provide for the expenditure of ])ublic moneys 
in strict compliance with the Supply Bill, it was thought 
necessary, following the practice of England, to provide lor 
the appointment of an Auditor-General, wlio should IkjM 
ollice during good behavior, but removalile by the Governor- 
General on an address by the Senate and the House of Com- 
mons. The Auditor-General is vested with a <i'('od deal of 
power in the examination of accounts, and the ollice is louml 
to be au important public safeguard. 




)ul(l, in 
h tliem 
I trade, 
led need 
and the 
. further 

ihe chief 
(f rrroun* I 
At other 
I the coal 
L'ir behalf, 
jtc on the 

pu'd with 

lo to <;-ive 

the most 

pulilio ac- 
ic moneys 
rovide lor 
lould hoM 
c of Corn- 
Ill 1 (leal '»t' 
ce is found 

The Temperance Act of 1878 is another of the measures of 
the session worthy of notice. Reference has been made to 
the numerous petitions presented in 1874-5 in favor of pro- 
hibition, and to the appointment of a special commission to 
enquire into the results of legislation for the proliibition of 
the liquor traffic in the United States, Mr. Mackenzie had 
declared himself in favor of absolute prohibition whenever he 
believed public opinion was sufficiently well educated to make 
such legislation effective. As we had not reached that condi- 
tion yet, and as it \.'as desirable that every possible restraint 
should be placed upon the liquor traffic, his colleague, Mr. 
Scott, introduced into the Senate a bill, since known as the 
Scott Act, for applying the principle of local option tu the 
regulation of the lic^uor tratlic. The provisions of the bill 
are very simple. 

On the petition uf one-fourth of the electors qualified to 
vote for a member of the House of Commons in any county or 
city, sul:>mitted to the Governor-General, and publicly announ- 
ced in the official Gazette of the province in which such 
county or city is situated, a vote by ballot is to be taken as to 
wliether on tlie day on which the Act takes effect, any person 
shfdl be allowed to sell intoxicating liquors as a beverage, so 
long as the Act continues in force. 

When the bill was before the House of Connnons, Mr. Mac- 
kenzie, who had it in charge, went very fully into a discussion 
of what he expected it would accomplish, and of the machin- 
ery which it provided for restraining the liquor traffic. 

" lie had always felt that wliile tho people had an absolute riyht to such 
legislation as would practically pruhiliit the sale and manufacture of in- 
toxicating licpiors, yet it was one of th(ise moral questions which must 
ultimately bo determined by tho general voi(;o of tho people, by the gen- 
eral sympathies of tho popuhition, and that however righteous such an Act 




miglit bo, however boiifficial in the general resiiUs to tlio n.-.iion, j'ot it 
was one that intcrferotl in a certain manner — in the opininn of some to a 
great extent— witli the liberties of the peo[)]e in reference to the trade in, 
and use of, intoxicating liiiuors of all kinds. But a \ery large i)roi)or- 
tion of the pe()[)le of this country — a large majority of them, indeed — be- 
lieved that the limitation of tliis traflic was almost essentially necessary 
for the prosiierity of tlie country. This bill had bfun luoposcd with a 
view of having an etVeotive pt-riiiissive measuiL' placed in the hands of the 
people of .all the provinces, with its m.achinery adapted to a «[uick and 
prompt response to public opinion, when it should declare itself by a ma- 
jority in favor of this uicasun^ It was a matter of serious import to this 
country, it was one of the greatest possible imjiortance in its social and 
political aspects, and iliere could be no doubt whatever, apart from ques- 
tions of taxation and other questions which arose, that it was one of the 
greatest possiltle importance to this country that we should be able in 
some way or otlier lo check the torrents of intoxication, which for many 
years had been increasing and pouring in, in an uidimitcd sti'cam over the 
land. No one, he thought, could doulit that, aiul iuiy one who Imd ob- 
served the course of 2>i't'ceedings at great public gatherings must have 
been satisfied that the temperance agitation had already resulted, even 
without the enactment of any law, in materiidly producing the desire to 
abstain from the excessive use of .stinudants in the shape of spirits. It 
was the duty of eveiy one who loved his country, and who wished well to 
our institutions and to our churches, to endeavor to aid those who had 
been devoting their voluntary etibi'ts to the accomplishment of this end, 
and he was sure this House, in connnon witli the other branch of the 
Legislature, would cordially respond to the invitation given by the intro- 
duction of this rill, in aiding to the extent of their power in repressing a 
tratlic which had produced so nuich disaster of every kind, and which 
threatened, if left uncontrolled, to exercise a still more disastrous and 
permanent evil influence on the destinies of this country. " 

But very little objection was taken to the bill in its passage 
through the House of Counuons. The Speaker, who, while the 
House 18 in Conunittee ol' the Whole, has the same privi- 
leges as any other member, objected to the measure as tyran- 
*-(ical. A prohibituiy law in the Province of New Brunswick 



n, yet it 
uinc tij !i 
trado in, 
eecl — bo- 
(1 with a 
Ills of the 
[uick and 
by a nia- 
H't to this 
social and 
roiii ques- 
une of the 
)0 able in 
for many 
11 (iver the 
(. had ob- 
iiuist have 
ilted, even 
! desire to 
spirits. It 
lod well to 
u who had 
f this end, 
nch of the 
^ the intro- 
epressing a 
and which 
istruus and 

ts passage 
while the 

me privi- 
as tyran- 


from wlilch he came was repeale<i as Itoiiig inoperative, and 
the Liuvcrnment wliieh introduced the measure and carried it 
through the Legislative Assembly of that province was de- 
feated at the polls by an overwhehning majority. 

Mr. Mackenzie's courage in su])porting prohibitory legisla- 
tion is worthy of the highest praise, and should have brought 
to him more political support than it did. He had a right to 
expect, if he looked at the matter from purely seltish consider- 
ations, that where about a half a million ol" people of both 
aides of politics petitioned Parliament for certain legislation, 
a reasonable number of these would follow up tlieir request 
by their political support, particularly wlmn their i-e(iuesfc was 
granted. A temperance man who would demand legislation 
such as the Scott Act provided, and who would strike down at 
the polls the man who granted his re<piest, was in his opinion 
an inconceivable specimen of duplicity. He was not, however, 
bidding for political sujiport; he was legislating as he said 
himself for the suppression of crime and for the protection of 
the public morals, and if by so doing he suffered politically, ho 
felt the cause was worthy of some sacrifice. 

The opponents of the Government allowed the l)ill to pass 
with very little discussion. The licpior interests of the coun- 
try, as a rule, supporteil them in the past, and as the respon- 
sibility of all legislation rested upon the Government, they 
felt they had a party excuse for not opposing wdiat it was 
(juite evident they could not prevent. 

Very important modifications were, on the suggestion of 
J\Ir. Blake, made in the connnission is.suetl by the Imperial 
Government to the Governor-General of Canada, by which 
the Governor-General is obliged to take the advice of his 
Ministers now, where he formerly was empowered to act on 
his own responsibility. It was held by .Mr. Dlake and his 




..^ # 




1.0 !!:« 





t 1^ 




















colleagues that Canada could not be said to possess in its ful- 
ness responsible government, so long as the Governor-General 
could act in matters aflecting Canadian interests independ- 
ently of his Cabinet. By the British North America Act, 
Canada is invested with a constitution similar in principle to 
that of the United States. She is, therefore, undoubtedly en- 
titled to tlie fullest freedom of self-government, and her rights 
in tliis respect should bo recognised and embodied in the com- 
mission and instructions from the Crown to the Governor- 
General. Mr. Bliike contended that, " as a rule, the Governor 
does and must act through the agency and on the advice of 
Ministers, and Ministers must be responsible for such action, 
save only in the rare instance in which, owing to the exist- 
ence of substantial Imperial as distinguished from Canadian 
interests, it is considered that full freedom of action is not 
vested in the Canadian people." 

After some correspondence with the Earl of Cainarvon, 
Mr. Blake, at the request of the Colonial Office, was deputed 
to visit England for the purpose of submitting in person the 
views of the Canadian Goverinnont. The result of his inter- 
view is thus dcscrilied by Mr. Todd in his " Parliamentary 
Govennnent of the Colonics" : 

"Certain portions of the Governor's coniniission and in.structions, 
lierctoforo inserted in documents of this description, were omitted fn mi 
the revised draft agreed upon Uv use in Canada, on the ground that thoy 
wore obsolete, or Huperfluous ami uniu'ccssary. Of tliis cliaractor wo 
may refer to the directions concerning the mootings of the Executive or 
Privy Council, and the transaction of business by that bodj' ; the clauso 
which autliori.sed the Governor, in certain contingencies, to act in oppo- 
sition to the advice of hi;) Ministers ; the chiuse which prosorilies the 
classes of bills to bo reserved by tin; rjovornor-Cenoral for Imperial con- 
sideration, and c>n'tain clauses dealing with mutters which now conio 
viithin the proviiico of the I'rovincial Governments and are dealt with by 



local legislation, over which the ( and his advisers prac- 
tically exercise no control. 

"All such questions, it was wisely contended by Mr. Blake, should be 
left to be determined by he application to them, as they might arise, of 
the constitutional principles involved in the establishment in Canada of 
[)arliamentary government. The authority of the Crown in every colony 
is suitably and undeniably vested in the Governor. He possesses the full 
constitutional powers which Her Majesty, if she were ruling personally 
instead of through his agency, could exercise. The Governor-General 
has an undoubted right to refuse compliance with the advice of his INIinis- 
ters, whereupon the latter must either adopt and become res[)onsible for 
his views, or leave their places to be tilled by others prepiired to take that 

"Even in respect to questions which may involve Imperial as distinct 
from Canadian interests, it appeared to Mr. Blake iiiadvisabli;, if not im- 
possible, to formulate any rule of limitation for tlie conduct of the (iov- 
ernor-General. 'The truth is,' he observes, ' tliat Imperial interests are, 
under our present system of government, to be secured in matters of 
Canadian executive policy, not by any such clause in a Governor's in- 
structions (which would be practically inoperative, and if it can be sup- 
posed to be operative would be mischievoas), but by unitual good feeling 
and by projjer consideration on the part of Her Majesty's Canadian ad- 
visers, the Ci'own necessarily retaining all its constitutional rights and 
powers which would l)e exercisable in any emergency in which the indi- 
c acd securities nught be found U) fail.' He therefore suggested ilie 
omisoiou of all clauses in the Uoyal instructions to Governors of Canada 
wlii(.h were of this nature. 'I'he sections of the Uritish North Ann rica 
Act delining auci reguhuing the exercise of the powers which ai)pertain 
to the olhce of ( io\('nior-(ieneral in a system of government expressly 
declared by that statute to be ' similar in i)rinciple to that of the United 
Kingdom,' were, in Mr. I'dake's judgment, am])ly sutlioient to determine 
the constitutional status and authority of that otiicer, subject, of course, 
' to any further instructions, special or general, which tlio Crown may 
carefully give, should circumslauco render that course desirable.' " 

The effect ol' tliosi; (,'hiinn;os is to reliovo Ciiuadii fniin tlio 
interrLToncu ol" tl»o Colonial Office on all matti'i-s imt |inro|y 




Tmporial in their character. As was said by the Earl of Carnar- 
vou : " When interests outside the Dominion are directly affect- 
ed there is no authority except the Imperial authority whicli 
is in a position to decide, and those are the only matters now 
remaining for the Colonial Office to direct." 

It is the habit of some who know little of Mr. Mackenzie's 
zeal for his country to depreciate his services during the five 
years of his Administration. Any person, however, who 
studies with a candid mind his Administration from his ac- 
ceptance of office in 1873 until his retirement in 1878, will 
find that he was not only an executive officer of great ability 
and force, but that he was a man of broader statesmanship 
than is usually recognised even by many of his friends. What 
Sir Oliver Mowat has done for Ontario in maintaining her 
constitution and her provincial rights, Mr. Mackenzie has done 
for the Dominion of Canada in her relations with the Colonial 

In the troubles with British Columbia; in the commissi(m 
to negotiate a treaty at Washington in 1874 ; in the appoint- 
ment of a commissioner to determine the amount to be paid 
under the Washington Treaty in 1877 ; and in the relief from 
the interference of the Colonial Office, secured in the amended 
instructions to the Governor-General of Canada, Mr. Macken- 
zie proved himself a persistent and successful advocate of 
colonial rights. Had he given more of his time to the redis- 
tribution of constituencies, or to the preparation of Franchise 
Acts, by which things would be made comfortable for his 
friends ; or had he studied how to distribute custom houses, 
post offices, light houses and piers, so as to influence elections, 
or had he accepted contributions from contractors or rings of 
protected manufacturers in order to aid struggling candidates; 
or had he set aside a secret service fund on which he coidd 



draw on his own warrant, he might have been a greater 
statesman, as statesmanship is by some regarded, but he would 
not have been so true a Canadian nor so wortliy of that high 
place among the noblest of her sons which he now occupies. 
To have given her a larger measure of freedom in the manage- 
ment of her own affairs, to have forced upon the Colonial Office 
the recognition of her absolute independence, except when 
Imperial interests were concerned, are acts of statesmanship 
to which every student of history will refer with pleasure. 



The Case Before Parliament — Motion to Declare His Action "Unwise" — 
How the Premier Met it — Tiie Dominion (Jovernment not Privy to tlie Pro- 
ceeding — Lord Lome Assailed- Gov. Lctelliei' Dismissed — Address to Lord 
Dufferin — His Excellency "s Sense of the Premier's Kindness — Bids Parlia- 
ment Farewell— Government I'olioy on the Railway — Legislation With- 
tlrawn — Release from a Turbulent ycssion. 


r the bc<;"iiiiiiii^- of Mareli, 1S7.S, rnnailn was starHcl 
by an cxti'iiordinaiy act on the part of one of its 
mimic kings. On the 1st of that month, Mr. Le- 
tellior, the Liberal Lieutenant-Governor, performed 
the coup (Vetat of dismissing his corstitiitioiial ad- 
visers, the Conservative ]^e Boucherville Ciovernment, 
giving chiefly as his reason for so doing that his prerogatives 
had been slighted by the submission of measures to the Legis- 
lature without prior consultation with and sanction by him as 
the executive head. Other grounds of complaint were that 
the Attorney-General, tlirough misrepresentation, had placed 
him in an equivocal position by causing him to make the ap- 
pointment of a municipal councillor in Montmagny, under the 
pretext that there had been no election, when an election had 
actually been lield and a candidate returned, so that the (jues- 
tion to bo decided was one for the courts ; that his name had 
been appended to proclamations and other instruments of 
which ho had received no ])revious knowledgj ; and that the 

treatment of him genei'ally by his Ministers had been of a 


nwise — 
) llie Pro- 
s to Lord 
,1s Tarlia- 
011 Wilh- 

le of its 

Mr. Le- 
ion ill ad- 
lie Lcgis- 
ly hiiu as 
vere that 
id plaeeJ 
e the ap- 
under the 
'ction had 

tht' (juos- 
naiiic had 
nnents of 
.1 that the 
been of a 



most iinccremoniouR, not to say contumolious cliaracter. For 
all these reasons the Lieutenant-Governor expressed to the 
Premier the regret he felt in being no longer able to retain 
him and his colleagues in their positions, " contrary to the 
rights and prerogatives of the Crown." 

The Hon. Luc Letellier de St. Just was the descendant of a 
good French family. He was proud and high-spirited, but 
courteous in manner and stately of appearance and bearing. 
" Jealous in lionor, sudden and quick in quarrel," he was 
neither a meddlesome man nor a man to be meddled with. In 

Ml-. Sandflold Macdonnlil's Administration, as well as in Mr. 
Mackenzie's Government, he held the portfolio of Minister of 
Agriculture. Towards the close of the vear 1870, he was sent 
down to Spencer Wood to fill the vacancy caused by the death 
of Mr. Caron, as Lieutenant-Governor of Quebec. Shortly 
afterwards Mr. ^lacken/ie described him, in writing to a 
friend, as "always a, modei'ate man in the expression of very 
(Ircidcd views, and not personally objectionable to any one." 
lie was glad, he said, to find that the appointment had givGU 
very general satisfaction. 

The contracted, prejudiced, parochial character of the Que- 
bec Government was manifested in a manner that a village 
politician wouhl be aslianuMl of. One would senroh for a long 
time without timling a narrower spirit of intolerance than is 




depictofl in the following passage in a letter from Mr. Macken- 
zie to Mrs. Mackenzie, from Quebec, in the latter part of June, 

"Tlio pdblic dinner to tlic G'ovcrnnr rjnicriil was a grfiml affair ; mi the 
whole, the best I have seen in Canada. The Local Gcjvernnient, on the 
morning of the day, withdrew their acceptances, because tlie Federal 
Govennnent were to be represented tliere and toasted. I at once went 
to the Mayoi', and offered to remain away, but he refused his assent, and 
insisted that T .should go and speak, lie was backed up by the unani- 
mous voice of the committee, T(jry and Liberal. I then informed Lord 
Dufferin of wliat had happened. lie also insisted so "trongly on my 
going that I relinquished my intention of staying away. The littleness 
and bad taste of the Quebec Government in sliowing ill feeling to me 
had the effect of making my reception l)y the audience most entliusiastic. 
Prominent Conservatives were very much ashamed of tlieir leaders, and 
hastened to assure nie they had no sympathy with them. The Mayor 
behaved very handsomely, as indeed did every one else." 

When the Confvideration Act conferred upon the Central 
Government the power of appointing Lieutenant-Governors of 
the provinces, many were apprehensive of just such collisions 
between them and their advisers as we have since witnessed 
in the neighboring province. A governorship is too great a 
prize to be given by a Dominion Premier to men, however dis- 
tinguished, who have no political claims. Retired judges and 
persons of position and attainments in the purely intellectual 
sphere, who, because they have no politics, arc naturally the 
most fitted for holding evenly the balance of power between 
contending parties, are therefore passed over for others of pro- 
minence who are pronounced in their party views and strong 
in their party allegiance. Diverse elements are often thus 
brought into conflict, and if self-restraint is wanting on the 
part of either the Lieutenant-Governor or the Ministry, there 
is at all times a lurking danger lest serious difforcncos should 

T ! 




)i Junu, 

r ; on the 
it, on the 
! Federal 
jncc went 
3sent, and 
he unani- 
mcd Lord 
ly on my 
! littleness 
ing to n\e 
aders, and 
:he Mayor 

ernors of 
)0 ecrcat a 
v'ever dis- 
iclgcs and 
urully the 

srs of pro- 
.nd stronf,^ 
)i"teu thus 
ng on the 
stry, there 
ces should 


arise between tliem. In tlie case under consideration, ancient 
political feuds were fanned and kept alive, and the Quebec 
Government, by their insulting and contemptuous treatment 
of their old adversary made the position of tlie too sensitive 
Lieutenant-Governor intolerable. ILul his Ministry treated 
him with common courtesy, he might have been content to 
follow the example of Lord Dutlerin, who said that the ordin- 
ar}^ duties of a Governor were merely to drop a little oil here 
and there, so as to relieve tlie friction of the governmental 
machinery. But he did not understand the modern theory of 
the function of a constitutional Governor to go quite so far as 
to lequ re him to deaden his nature to every feeling of resent- 
mojit of personal wrong, or to have no care for the dignity of 
his office. He had the high authority and calm judgment of 
Todd for the assurance that he was in a "most i-eal sense" the 
representative of the Sovereign, and consequently "no mere 
automaton or ornamental appendage t^^ the body politic, but a 
person whose consent is necessary to e\ ory act of state, and 
who possesses full discretionary powers to deliberate and de- 
termine upon every recommendation which is tendered for the 
Uoyal sanction by the Ministers of the Crown." So that 
when the Government tried to make a nullity of him and to 
bring upon him derision, he asserted his undoubted light of 
dismissal. Responsibility for the exercise of the })rerogativo 
was at once assumed by a new set of Ministers. There was 
thus an adherence to the strict letter of the Constitution and 
a full compliance with constitutional usage, even though the 
spirit of the unwritten law, as interpreted by some advocates 
of the sovereignty of parliament, would seem to require the 
retirement of an insulted Governor, instead of tlie dismissal of 
the men at whose hands the insult is received. If this doc- 
ti'ine be accepted, it follows that a Governor with a hostile 









! i 

Ministry must hold liis office on a precarious tenure. His 
Ministers have but to provoke him to the point oi" retaliation, 
and at once " liis usefulness is gone." 

This dictum, at any rate, was made to do service in the case 
of Mr. Letellicr. Sir John A. Macdonald brouo-ht the matter 
up in the House of Commons on Thursday, the 11th of April, 
1878, by moving as an amendment to the motion for going 
into committee of supply : " That the recent dismissal by the 
Lieut.-Governor cif Quebec of his Ministers was, under the 
circumstances, unwise and subversive of the position accorded 
to the advisers of the Crown since the concession of the 
principle of responsible government to the British North 
American colonies." 

]\[r. Mackenzie retorted that the mover was not tlie man to 
lecture the Liberals on this question, the Liberal party having 
had a long: strujjfjle with him and his friends in their fi^ht for 
the establishment in Canada of the principle of responsible 
government. He maintained that the Provincial Governments 
occupie<l the same position tovvards the Crown n,s colonies 
having Lieut.-Governors appointed immediately by the Crown 
occupied in relation to the Imperial authorities. The resolu- 
tion, he said, was very mild. It characteriscil the action of 
the Lieut.-Governor simply as unwise. The question of its 
wisdom was not one for this House to decide, but the Vvo- 
vince of Quebec,*and the Ministry of Mr. Joly had assumed 
the full responsibility of His Honor's action. It would be an 
unwarranted use of the powers of this House to pass a vote 
of censure or approval of either party in Quebec. The mat- 
ter was left with the responsible administration and the Pro- 
vince, and nothing could l)e more fatal to the Provincial 
autonomy existing under the Act of Confederation than this 
proposed interference. He read, in support of his contention, 




Sir J oil 11 A. Mncdonald's own argumont in tlic case of the 
Orange Incorporation Bills, which were reserved by the Lieut.- 
Govovnor of Ontario five years before It was not for this 
Housu to say whether Mr. Letellier was right or wrong, for if 
the people of Quebec sustained the Administration who had 
made themselves accountable for his proceeding, the constitu- 
tional reciuirement was met. Of the action of the Lieut.- 
Governor personally he knew nothing. The ground he took 
was this : " That I propose not to interfere ; that I have not 
interfered ; that nothing shall be done by the Government of 
the Dominion which would in any way place us in the posi- 
tion of having taken part in a political controversy which 
aft'ects the Province, and the Province alone." 

In a communication on this subject about the same time, 
Mr. IVrfickonzie said that the Dominion Government had no 
business to interfere, and that to meddle in the aftairs of a 
Province would be to do it a constitutional wrong. He argued 
that if they undertook to supervise the action of Governor 
Letellier they might finally l»e called upon to interfere in the 
action of any one of the Provinces when a Ministerial crisis 
arose. Such a course would be fatal to r oonsible govern- 
ment, and would reduce the Provinces to the status of irre- 
sponsible nnniicipal corporations. He therefore felt it his 
duty to prevent such serious interfere ice with the working of 
the federal system. He neither attacked nor defended the 
action of the Lieut.-Governor, though he did express his 
o[)inion, en passant, that the attempt to interpose the legisla- 
tive authority between the aggrieved municipality and the 
Judicial courts was such an exercise of Ministerial 2)()wer as 
would justify the adoption of the strongest measures, if con- 
stitutional in their character. Sir John A. Macdonald's mo- 
tion, he held, went either too far or not far enough. If there 



I : li 


I i 



was any right of iiitcrferonce, the motion slioukl liave con- 
demned Mr. LetoUier's course, and denifinded his recall ; it 
should have declared his action unconstitutional. Instead, it 
merely said it was unwise. What right had the Dominion 
Parliament to pass judgment upon the course taken by a 
Provincial Legislature, its administration, and its chief execu- 
tive officer ? If they declared Governor Letellier's action 
unwise, nn'ght they not also declare unwise the action of Mr. 
De Boucherville, or the action of the Qui^bec Legislature ? In 
this way a blow might be struck at all local authority. 

The Ministerial speeches were short, as the ground assumed 
by the Government rendered elaborate argument unnecessary. 
The Liberals regarded the motion as one calculated to produce 
mischief by making a most dangerous precedent, and they 
wished to throttle it at its birth. The speeches on the other 
side were long, labored and irrelevant. The debate at a late 
hour was adjourned until the following day, when there was 
a disgraceful scene at an all-night session, the House meeting 
at three o'clock on Friday afternoon, and sitting continuously 
from that hour until five minutes past six on Saturday even- 
ing. On the Monday ensuing the question was voted on, the 
•livision standing 112 to 70. 

The statement was recklessly made that the Dominion 
Government were privy to the " cons})iracy," and that Mr. 
Mackenzie ait led, counselled and abetted the Lieutenant-Gov- 
ernor in his high-handed proceedings. Collins, in his " Life 
of Sir John A. Macdonald," says : " It is useless to deny that 
M. Letellier came to the administration \i. e., Governorship of 
Quebec], with an exaggerated sense of his functions and 
powers ; but, what was worse still, he believed that he had, 
and he really did have, the countenance of the Mackenzie 
Ministry in his feeling and attitude towards his Cabinet." 



i con- 
tll; it 
ead, it 

Ijy a 

of Mr. 
e? In 

id they 
lie other 
at a late 
lere \va& 
7 even- 
1 on, the 

that Mr. 
ns " Life 
leny that 
lorship of 
iions and 
it he had, 


Let us see how this compares with the lecture whicli Mr. 
Mackenzie took occa.sion to read Ids a])pointee sometime after- 
wards: "It would be idle to deny that the dismissal of a 
Ministry supported by such a vote in the Looi.slature was 
looked upon by many cf your friends as a very f^rave step, 
which, even though it were constitutional in itself, no party 
advantage would justify, and which indeed could not be justi- 
fied on any ground unless it were capable of being sujjported 
by the strongest reasons. Liberals are always properly jealous 
of the arbitrary exercise of power. What a friendly Gover- 
nor does to-day may be done by an unfriendly Governor to- 
morrow. Besides, all gubernatorial actions must be assumed 
to grow out of a sense of duty and to be done in the public 
interest," leaving clearly the inference that justification is not 
readily to be found in a resort to extreme measures for the 
personal wrongs suffered by a Governor, however g;il ling these 
may be. 

His opinion of the danger to the constitution of Governor 
Letellier's coui') was not changed by tiic fact that tlie new 
adviser, Mr. Joly, had with liis well-known chivalry assumed 
the responsibility, and on an appeal had been sustained by the 
electorate of the Province, though by the narrow majority of 
one. After the successful elections in Queljec under Liberal 
auspices, Mr. Mackenzie wrote thus to an inlluential political 
friend in another Province : 

"Mr. Letellier's action was no cLuibt within the scope of his powers, 
but it was a most dangerous step. I was sorry he did not assign better 
reasons for it. The action of the electors saves him from ]Jopular con- 
demnation, and having acted strictly within the scope of his powers, wo 
could not recall him. I took llie lino in the House that wc had no '-ight 
to interfere with a (jovernor in the exercise of his constitutional func- 
tions by declaring his action to be either wi.>je or unwise." 




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Ml". Mackenzie's warning to Mr. LetelUer of the consequence 
of the estaWishment of a dangerous precedent was prophetic. 
A similar scene has recently been produced on the same boards 
and by many of the same actors. 

Mr. Joly's Government was returned bj' so slender a raa- 
joiity tliat they were unable for any long period to maintain 
themselves in power. On the ground of the weakness of 
Governor Lctellier's new advisers, as tested in the Legislative 
Assembly, Mr. Mackenzie was asked by a gentleman in Quebec 
to demand Mr. Letellier's resignation. Mr. Mackenzie gave the 
same answer that he had given throughout, that the Ottawa 
authorities had no right to interfere. As to the attitude of 
the Quebec House, he said : 

"On the merits of the exact question you raise, I do not think that 
the vote of the Assembly was conclusive in the condemnation of the Gov- 
ernor's action. There were 32 to 32, Mr, Price not voting. He cannot 
be counted on either side, but it is known he is a supporter of Mr. Joly. 
If he were not a supporter, he had only to vote on that occasion against 
him, and a resignation would have followed at once. Mr. Joly has more- 
over succeeded in getting his supplies voted so far very well, and there 
can be no surer test of the power of a Minister than this." 

On the defeat of his Administration, Mr. Mackenzie had 
prevision of wliat was likely to bo the Tory course of action. 
In a letter before us of the Slsi of January, 1879, he said he 
thought that Sir John A. Macdonald, when Parliament met, 
would put some one up to move a resolution so as to foment 
an agitation with the design of driving Mr. Letellier into 
resignation. He did not believe, however, that the Conserva- 
tives would proceed to the extremity of dismissal. True, the 
new House was very hostile to the Liberals, and the dominant 
party were flushed with their victory; buo the question had 
already been voted upon, and Sir John's motion liad been re- 



jccteJ. Moreover, the resolution did not deny tliat however 
high-handed, in fSir John's opinion, the proceeding of the Lieu- 
tenant-Governor might have been, Mr. Letellier was strictly 
within his rights ; nor did Sir John ever assert the contrary. 
It was likely enough that the Tories might not desire to have 
Mr. Letellier in office, thinking that they could better trust 
one of their own party. But their case in this respect was 
exactl}'' similar to that of Mr. Mackenzie, who, when he took 
office, found Conservatives Lieutenant-Governors of Provinces. 
The case of Mr. ^lorris, Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba, a 
functionary with whom at that time it was essential in the 
public interest the central authorities should have frequent 
and intimate intercourse, was a very striking one. What did 
Mr. Mackenzie do in regard to him ? He tells us in these 
words : " No sooner did we take office, than I wrote to Mr. 
Morris telling him that I intended trusting him implicitly in 
the grave matters connected with that country', and that in 
my opinion the most cordial confidence was necessary while he 
and I held our respective positions. He at once nsponded in 
the same spirit. On one occasion I defended him from asper- 
sions in the House, and certain of his political friends as- 
sitmed that there was some reason for my so doing, and even 
acted in this spirit. I dare say this gentleman is now satisfied 
that Mr. Morris has abundantly vindicated his party proclivi- 
ties since he left the gubernatorial chair." 

Mr. Mackenzie had not long to wait for the fulfilment of 
his prediction in regard to the Tory policy ot agitation on the 
Letellier question ; tiiough it was made the pretext for action 
which he and other eminent constitutionalists never dreamt 
of. Certainly the Governor-General and the Colonial Secre- 
tary, who are far removed from the sphere of paity passion, 
did not, nor a mind so tinprejudiced and acute as that of Sir 



Francis Hincks, Sir John's old political colleague, as we shall 
presently see. 

As anticipated by Mr. Mackenzie, early in the session of 
1879, Sir John A. Macdonald's motion of the year before, in 
precisely the same language, came up again, but this time in 
the hands of Mr. Mousseau, and, in order to preclude amend- 
ment, Mr. Ouimet moved the previous question. Mr. Mac- 
kenzie severely criticised the Government for shirking their 
duty by putting up members froiu the back benches to do the 
work for them, and to do it in so cowardly a fashion. At the 
close of his speech he said : " I feel quite certain that every 
member of this House, when he considers the position of the 
Provinces relatively to each other and to the Dominion, must 
come to the conclusion that our federal system is a fraud, if 
this Parliament is to constantly exercise surveillance over the 
actions of the local Legislatures and local Governors, which 
are subject to the usual approval or disapproval of the people 
of such Province. We may as well at once revert to our 
former system of government, however inconvenient it may be. 
A legislative union with all its evils, in a country diversi- 
fied as ours is, would be infinitely preferable to a federal sys- 
tem which vests all the power in the federal authorities, 
where the federal authorities are disposed to use that power 
tyrannically towards the Provinces." After debate, the mo- 
tion was carried by 13G votes to 51. 

Shortly afterwards Sir Jolni A. Macdonald stated to the 
Houf-e that he had advised His Excellency that, in the opinion 
of the Govei'ument, Mr. Letellier's usefulness was gone, and 
that he should be removed from office. He went on to say : 
" His Excellency was thereupon pleased to state that, as the 
federal system introduced by the Constitutional Act of 1807 
was, until then, unknown in Great Britain or her colonics, 


:i!. ' 




tliere were no precedents to guide Mm to a deeiHiou in the 
present case, and as the decision in this case would settle for 
the future the relations between the Dominion and the Provin- 
cial Governments, so far as the office of th»^ Tjieutenant-Gover- 
nor was concerned, he therefore deemed it expedient to submit 
the advice offered him, and the whole case, and the attendant 
circumstances, to Her Majesty's Government for their con- 
sideration and instructions." 

On this " startling statement," as it was called a few hours 
afterwards, Mr. Ouimet exonerated the Government from 
blame, but furiously assailed the Governor-General for having 
thus trampled on the constitutional rights of the people. Sir 
John blandly replied that with his honorable friend he could 
not agree. There was nothing unconstitutional in the Gov- 
ernor-General's course. " He, the representative of the Sov- 
ereign, says that he will ask for specific instructions from his 
and our Sovereign." Nevertheless, Mr. Cockburn, of West 
Northumberland, " felt humiliated by the course" taken by 
the Governor-General in making this reference to England. 
Mr. Vallde said that His Excellency's course was unconstitu- 
tional and without precedent, and that he had heard of the 
refusal of the Governor-General to follow the advice of his 
Ministers " with sorrow and surprise." In regard to such con- 
duct, Mr. Desjardiiis " felt the bitterest grief," antl were such 
conduct repeated there would be no other alternative than 
to "provide for the appointment of a regency" — in fact to 
compel Lord Lome to abdicate. Mr. Mousseau "entirely 
repudiated " the doctrine that a Governor-General could disre- 
gard the advice of his responsible Ministers in Canada and 
seek the advice of the colonial office instead, and compared 
l^ord Lorno to Lord Metcalfe. In this painful ]iosition the 
Goverimient left the Governor-General to bear the attacks of 


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their Tory supporters without a word ot" explanation or de- 

The terp-iversation of Sir Jolm on tliis question, Mr. Mac- 
kenzie exposed in an able speech, on the 27th of April, 1S80. 
He recited the proceedings taken in the session of 1878, to 
censure Mr. Ltjtellier for his action in dismissing his Ministers. 
The motion then made was negatived by the House of Com- 
mons, but a resolution somewhat similar in terms was adopted 
by the Senate. His (Mr. Mackenzie's) Government declined 
to take action, for the reason that they held the matter to be 
one not coming within their purview. He was glad to know 
that such also was the opinion of the Governor-General and the 
Colonial Secretary. For, subsequently to the change of Gov- 
ernment, on the passing of a resolution in the House for Mr. 
Letellier's dismissal, Lord Lome told Sir John A. Macdonald 
that he could not agree with him in his policy, and Sir M. Hicks- 
Beach, in a despatch from London, asserted the constitutional 
right of Mr. Letellier to dismiss his Ministers, and pointed out 
that it was the spirit and intention of the British North Amer- 
ica Act that the high ofhce of the Lieutenant-Governor of a 
Province should, as a rule, endure for the term of years specifi- 
cally mentioned, and that the power of removal should never 
be exercised except for grave cause. 

Sir John A. Macdonald had been requested by Lord Lome 
to put his reasons in writing, the Governor-General undertak- 
ing to reply to them in the same way. Whether Sir Jolm did 
so or not, there was nothing to show. But a message was sub- 
sequently brought down to the House which was of a very 
serious character, for it led members on both sides to come to 
the conclusion that His Excellency had not only refused the 
advice of his Ministers, but contrary to their advice had de- 
termined to remit the matter to England, causing Mr. Ouimet, 



" \x. Mousseau and other prominent Government siip])orters, to 
di'nounc'i' His Excellency in strong terms as violating the lib- 
erties of the people, as trampling upon responsible govern- 
ment, ami as setting at iletiance the principles under which we 
are governed. All this denunciation of His Excellency by 
Government supporters was listened to by Sir John A. Macdon- 
ald and his colleagues, without a word to shew that the refer- 
ence to England was not, as in truth it was not, made at His 
Excellency's suggestion, but upon the suggestion of the Gov- 
ernment themselves. Even four davs afterwards, when it was 
pointed out by Sir John tiiat the fact of the Government con- 
tinuing to retain their offices, shewed that they held them- 
selves responsible for the Governor-Generals action, the im- 
pression was suffered still to icmain that this was a generous 
act on their part in order to shield His Excellency from blame. 
The whole thing was an entire deception. The Government 
had advised the reference, and had left His Excellency to bear 
the odium. 

Mr. Mackenzie's motion to place the responsibility upon the 
proper shoulders by recording the true facts upon the journals 
of the House, and by asserting it as the opinion of the House 
that the submission for review to England of advice given by 
the Privy Council here in a matter w^hich was purely of an 
administrative character, was subversive of the principles of 
responsible govenaneut, was rejected on a division by a vote 
of 119 to 49. 

The views held by Sir Francis Hincks on the constitutional 
aspect of the question we tind set forth by him in a letter to 
Mr. Mackenzie of the 24th of July, 1879 : 

" I have hftd rcaaon to think for some days that tlio decapitation of 
Mr. Letellier was agreed to, but there lias been a fight as to the suc- 
cessor — Robitaillo has triumphed. I imagine that he had Sir John's pro- 

iiiiM^Biiii I la 


■I 11 






mise at the time of the formation of the Government, and I ivm inclined 
CO think that the last visit of his to Ottawa was to endeavor to get hini to 

give way, and that he refused. It may be that was the rival 

candidate. It was certainly some one of British origin. I had hoped 
that Lord Lome would have insisted on carrying out the spirit of the 
understanding arrived at and communicated to Parliament, which was 
that the Government had admitted that the question was a new one, and 
that there being no precedent, it was exi)edient to ask advice. This 
would have justified His ExcelleJicyin claiming that both parties should 
seek the advice of the Judicial C(Mnmittee of the Privy Council, which 
might have been obtained on the case, as presented by the complaint of 
the ex-Ministers, for having been dismissed, the reply, rejoinder, and 
surrejoinder : Was there a cause made out for dismissal within the mean- 
ing of the British North America Act ? I do not see how this could have 
been refused, especially as the Governor-General was master of the posi- 
tion after the elections. I had a postal card from Mr. Gladstone to the 
following effect : ' I agree with you in your main proposition, and think 
it plainly desirable that the controversy should be disposed of not as a 
political, but as a judicial issue.' " 

A disposition having been at last made of poor Mr. Letel- 
lier, who did not long survive the malignity of his pursuers, 
we turn for a brief moment to a more pleasant incident — 
about the only one that occurred in the turbulent session of 
1878. In the midst of the jarring, warring elements in the 
House, there was a truce. It was called on the 11th of April, 
on the occasion of a motion by the First Minister for an ad- 
dress to His Excellency the Governor-General, expressing the 
deep feeling of regret of the people of Canada at his ap- 
proaching departure from the country, and assuring him of 
the high appreciation entertained of the service done to the 
Dominion by his visits to eacii of the Provinces and the Terri- 
tories, as well as by his able and eloquent speeches, and of the 
marked degree in which literature and art and the industrial 
pursuits had received encouragement from his otibrts and lib- 



him to 
Le rival 


of the 
ch was 
lie, and 
. This 
! sliould 
I, which 
ilaint of 
ler, and 
le ineau- 
uld have 
the posi- 
le to the 
ud think 

not as a 

lent — 
ssion of 
in the 
t' April, 
ail ad- 
sing the 
his ap- 
lim of 
le to the 
16 Terri- 
d of the 
and lib- 

erality ; and further, " assuring His Excellency and his distin- 
guished consort that they would bear with tlieiii on leaving us 
our warmest wishes for their future welfare and happiness ; 
that we rejoice in the conviction that, though Canada may no 
longer possess the advantage of His Excellency's experience 
and knowledge of public affairs in so exclusive a degree as she 
has enjoyed them in the past, she will continue to have in His 
Excellency a friend and advocate ; and that it is our heartfelt 
wish that, for many years, the Empire at hirge may have the 
benefit of His Excellency s ripe wisdom, experience, and emin- 
ent abilities." 

Mr. Mackenzie moved the resolution in graceful language, 
and it was seconded in a fitting speech by Sir John A. Mac- 
donald, and supported by Mr. Laurier and Mr. Langevin. An 
address founded on the resolution was cordially adopted, 
the country parting with sincere regret with the ablest and 
most generous and hospitable of Viceroys, and his highly ac- 
complished and popular consort. Lord and Lady Dutferin will 
always be regarded by people of all ranks in Canada with a 
feeling of affection. 

On the day following the passing of the address, His Excel- 

lencv thus wrote his First Minister to thank him for his 

speech : 

** Government House, 

"Ottawa, April 12, 1878. 

" My Dear Mackenzie, —I cannot help writing you a lino to express 
my very great sense of your kindness and courtesy in proposing the ad- 
dress to me in the House of Conunons yesterday, in such handsome terms. 
It is indeed stratifying to my feelings to leave Canada under such agree- 
able auspices, and the address will be a source of pride, not only to my- 
self, but to my descendants. 

" I was particularly touched at the pleasant way in which you alluded 
to our personal relations. For my own part, I can say that I liave 
derived nothing but unalloyed pleasure from them. The better I have 




become ncquainteil witli you, the more I Iiave learned to respect and 
honor the straiglitforward integrity of your character, and the unmistak- 
able desire to do your duty faithfully by the Queen, the Empire and the 


" Yours faithfully, 


The Govornor-Goncnil took leave of the two Houses in his 
speech prorof^uing Ptirliainent, in the following words : 

" Nothing could have given me more gratification than the joint address 
with which you have honored me on the eve of my departure. 

" My interest in Canada shall not cease when my mission as Her 
Majesty's Viceroy shall have terminated, and I am glad to know that you 
have taken so favorable a view of my etlbrts to fittingly represent our 
most gracious Queen in this the most important of Her Majesty's colonial 

" I noAv bid you farewell, and earnestly trunt that you may find in the 
future the manifold blessings which I shall ever pray may continue to be 
showered upon you." 

Towai'ds the close of the session, on the question for going 
into Committee of Supply, the Premier took occasion, for the 
information of the House, to give a very interesting resii'nie oi 
the policy and action of the Government in respect of the 
Canadian Pacific Railway. The onerous obligation to con- 
struct the road was incurred in 1871 ; the work to be completed 
in 1881. But, at the time his own Government took power, two 
years and a half had elapsed without a mile of the line being 
located. The phin of his Government was to complete the 
surveys as rapidly as possible and construct initial portions of 
the railway so as to gain access to the prairie region. He gave 
an idea of the magnitude of the work of surveying, when he 
said that already the various parties sent out for that purpose 
had traversetl 47,000 miles of route, under circumstances of the 
greatest tlifiiculty and danger, involving the loss of about forty 



men. Some were surrounded by forest tires and burnt to 
death, others lost their lives in endeavoring to cross danf^erous 
rivers and in descending the tumultuous rapids to the Fraaer 
and other rivers but little known. In addition to the actual 
travellini^' of forty-seven thousand niilos of routes in search of 
the best way whereon to build the railway, there were actual 
instrumental surveys, laboriously me«isured, yard by yard, of 
not less tlian twelve thousand miles, or very nearly five times 
the length of the road when completed, from Lake Kipissing 
to the Pacific Ocean. In these surveys, to June 1st, 1877, the 
large sum of $3,411,895 was expended, or at the rate of Sl,300 
per mile of road from Lake Nipissing to the seaboard. 

In the year 1877, there Avas a great deal of lawlessness in 
the city of Montreal, resulting mainly from sectarian feelings, 
and on the 12th of July, blood was shed. Mr. Blake, with 
a view to checking such crimes of violence, introduced a bill 
(May 1st, 1878), which was to be operative for a year, and 
which the Govertnnent adopted, at his request, as a measure of 
their own, rendering it unlawful, on proclamation applicable 
to any particular district, for any person, not being an officer 
of the peace, or a soldier or a sailor in Her Majesty s service, 
to have therein, elsewhere than in his own dwelling-honse, 
dangerous and deadly weapons, particularly the smaller de- 
scriptions of fire-arms. The wisdom of the measure was con- 
curred in by the entire House, and the leading members on 
both sides, deploring the necessity which had called it forth, 
united in their etibrts to render it as perfect as possible. 

Writing to his brother Charles, on the 12th of May, 1878, 
Mr. Mackenzie says ; 

"I got my release on Friday from the worst session I was ever in, 
either as private or oflicer. From first to hist it was a policy of deliberate 
obstruction in both Houses. The Senate was simply a Tory conunittee. 





" We were compelled to abandon half our legislation at last, and what 
we did get through was ruined in the Senate. I was, at the end, for the 
first time, completely used up, but I took care to let no one know it. I 
do not think I could have sat another week- 

"Well, it is all over. Five years of the Premiership have I een suc- 
cessfully accf^mplished under groat disadvantages. For many reasons I 
would be glad to stop there ; but I must try again, as there is now no 
escape, though I know the election will be keenly contested," 

Ainonj[r the bills that the (lOvernment was compelled to 
abandon was one of importance designed to facilitate the 
colonization of the Dominion lands in the North-West. It 
was introduced by the Hon. Mr. Mills. Any number of per- 
sons might form themselves into an association for the pur- 
pose of constructing railways between designated points, 
under agreements, and, subject to the approval of Parliament, 
receive public lands, or aid from the proceeds of the sale of 
lands lying alongside the line of railway, not exceeding in 
amount the sum of $10,000. There were many clauses for 
the protection of the public interest. The bill was read the 
second time on the 28th of March, but was withdrawn during 
the closing days of the session. 

Parliament was prorogued on the 10th of May. Next day, 
Mr. Mackenzie wrote about " the frightful scene," to which we 
have already made reference, that marked the close of the 
session. Having gone to the Senate to receive the Governor- 
General, he did not witness it, but the leaders of the Oppo- 
sition had been represented to him as " pictures of demoniac 

It was in this spirit of party hostility that members left 
Ottawa to enter upon the elections. 



Royalty in Camda— Apprehensions Unfounrled — Preparations for the Con- 
test — Mistake in the Time Selected — Should have been June— The 
Physical Strain — What the Government had to Figlit Against — A Carnival 
of Fraud and Misrepresentation— Defeat of the Government — The Protection 
Hiuabu'' Illustrate I. 

R. MACKENZIE was advised by a cable from 
Enc^land as early as July, 1878, of the nomination 
of the Marquis of Lome as Lord Durteriu's 
successor. He confessed himself as being 
surprised. He knew such a thing had been mooted, 
but never looked upon the appointment as possible. 
He feared very much about the effect. So far as the intentions 
of the Queen and the Imperial Government were concerned, 
he was on behalf of Canada very grateful ; still more grateful 
to Her Royal Highness for consenting to come here. He was, 
however, very doubtful about the wisdom of the step taken. 
He had no apprehension about getting along very well 
with Lord Lome, who understood the constitutional relations 
liL' would bear to his Ministers well enough. But what 
would be Her Royal Highness' relations towards the Canadian 
public ? Any attempt to keep up a Royal Court in Cai.ada 
would be absurd. Any attempt of the Governor-General's 
Royal Consort to form a limited exclusive circle, mostly com- 
posed of English attaches, would be unpopular. On the other 





. I 

liand, no doubt Her Majesty would expect to see maintaiued 
by her daughter a kind of Court in Canada, which, as a 
Canadian, he knew would be impossible. 

The reading- of Theodore Mai-tin's Lifo (the Queen's Life) of 
the Prince Consort, had given Mr. Mackenzie an uneasy 
impression concerning the tendency of the Royal familj'- to 
manage their own and State affairs, instead of leaving this to 
Ministers. Any attempt of that kind in Canada would be, in 
his opinion, unfortun" to. It would speedily undo all that he, 
with many others of all shades of political opinion, had been 
doing for years to rivet and secure our position as a portion of 
the Empire. He would never, on any consideration, have per- 
mitted the surveillance of a Baron Stockmar. Nothing was 
more astonishing in recent history than the fact that proud, 
independent English Ministers submitted so long or at all, to the 
intolerable supervision of great State affairs by this pretentious, 
stuffy German doctoi', except the fact that it did not occasion 
more indiornation in Enirland vvhen it became known. Lord 
and Lady Dufferin managed to maintain the dignity of their 
position, and at i'.ie same time were the most accessible of all 
rulers. Her Royal Highness, he feared, would find it extremely 
difficult tc do this. Of course, every reasonable person would 
understand that it was by no means an easy task for her to 
to be a Royal Princess, after the manner of England, while 
acting the part of the consoi't of the Governor-General oJ 
Canada, and would V)e ready to make every allowance for 
her pusitiop At the same time, he feared that the great 
personages concerned had not fully consideicd the difficulties 
of the situation. The die was, however, cast, and we had to 
make the best of it. He wou^i himself use every possible 
effort to make it a success, with the sincere hope that it might 
be found to be so. If Lord Lome and the Princess understood 



the diiSculties, they would be the more easily surmounted. 
The political possibilities would have to be dealt with as they 
arose. The House of Argyle was well trained in constitutional 
usage, and he had great faith in Lord Lome's undoubted good 
sense. Everybody in Canada received the appointment as a 
marked compliment to the Dominion, and as specially indicat- 
ing the great personal interest taken by Her Majesty in this 

In October of 1878, Mr. Mackenzie wrote to a friend in 
Scotland : 

" There is a fear in Canada that there may be an attempt at playing Court 
here when the Princess arrives. I think, however, the Queen's daughter has 
more good sense than to do this. We have no landed aristocracy in Canada, 
and never will have. Titles do not suit our people. I made reeonimendationa 
for only two knighthoods while I was in olHce — to Sir A. A. Dorion and to 
Sir William 13. Richards, and they are both distinguished judges of the Superior 
Courts. I refused a title in my own case, and this made it easier for me to 
decline overtures in the case of other people. Canada will receive the Princess 
well, without doubt, but any attempt to put on the ceremonial of State usual 
to Royalty in Britain would be a failure here." 

Mr. Mackenzie's apprehensions were happily groundless. 
The good sense he had attributed to Lord Lome was justly 
merited, and was sliarcd in by the Princess Louise. The 
Governor-General and his Royal Consort understood the 
Canadian situation. There was less of ceremonial and State 
display during their regime than under that of Lord and Lady 
Dutterin. It is singular that while Mr Mackenzie, who held 
these views, was at the head of the Administration, there was 
a much greater degree of social brilliancy in Ottawa than ever 
dazzled the eyes and depleted the pockets of Canadians 
cither before or since that period. 

The summer of 1878 was not only metaphorically but liter- 
ally a season of heat and dust. Mr. Mackenzie's own desire 







for the elections in Juno was not carried into effect. It liad 
been decided that they should be postponed until after harvest, 
and there were many months of hard work to be faced. The 
statements made after the defeat that the Pi'cmier had not 
informed himself of tlie vii^ilance of the enemy are not borne 
out by facts. His correspondenca for over a year prior to the 
event is indicative of a perfect knowledge on his part that he 
had to face an active opposition, and he made preparations 
accordingly. There is, however, no sign anywhere that he 
apprehended defeat, and no signals of alarm appear to ha\ e 
been either given or received. It is (piite true that he had not 
anticipated the result, but the defeat was caused by the unex- 
pected and unlooked-for conversion of the country to piotection. 
So early as October of 1877, he wrote many letters to 
various friends, urging the forwarding of arrangements and 
preparations for the fight. On the 2nd of February, 1878, he 
wrote the Reform Association in Toronto to say that he could 
not attend their annual meeting on the oth of that month, as 
Parliament was summoned to meet on the 7th, but he was 
impressed with the conviction that active measures should be 
at once taken to effectually organise the respective constituen- 
cies. He went on to say : 

'* We must not forget that we have unscrupulous foes iu the Opposition 
leadere and iu the Opposition press. It seems almost impossible to stem thu 
current of falsehood and misrepresentation wiili wliieh tlie country is flooded, 
and tiie object of which is but too apparent. It is to endeavor by any and 
every means to poison the minds of the people— with the knowledge tiiat tiio 
whole of them cannot be reached with the ample refutations that we iiive ut 
hand. As Liberals we cannot resort ti such dishonorable tactics, but we can 
adopt effective measures, if our friends are active enougli, to counteract, by 
pul)li,shed statomcnts of tlio facts and figures, tiie misrepresentation of our 
opponents iri tliis reganl. The late election at Ha'ifax furnished an illustra- 
tion of tii« system. It would be dillicult to name a moreupriglit, iiij/h-miuded 



man than Mr. Jones, the new Minister of Militia. It would be equally difficult 
to suppose anythina; more gross than the accusations that were brought against 
him to do duty at that election. 

'* The large majority obtained by the Liberals in 1874 represented not mei'ely 
the Liberal party proper, but many discontented Conservatives as well, who 
felt that their party chiefs had disgraced themselves and the country, and who 
in consequence withdrew from them their allegiance. It was uot therefore 
surprising, when the Tories concluded to re-elect the liero of the Pacific Scandal 
as their leader, and resolved to forget the past, that Liberals should lose some 
constituencies. At the same time, the great majority possessed by the Gov- 
ernment in the House of Commons gave a sense of strength and security to the 
party generally, which caused it to relax the efl'orts which might otherwise have 
been put forth at some of the special elections. 

" Many of tiie difficulties which the Reform Administration have encountered 
since their atlvent to power have been in consequence of the acts of the late 
Government in imposing weighty obligations upon the Dominion. The expen- 
diture upon great works has been objected to by our opponents; but the 
present Government liave not initiated a single public work involving heavy 
capital charges, while they have greatly limited some of the schemes of the 
late Administration. 

" The expenditure on tlio Pacific Railway has of course been caused wholly 
by the obligations entered into by the late Administration, and considerable 
as these expenditures liave been, tiie (iovernment liave failed to satisfy the 
people of British Columljia. The early construction of the works on that part 
of the Paciho Railway lying between L ike Superior and tiie prairie region was 
undertaken with a view to open up the vast fertile belt for immediate settle- 
ment, and thus to extend the trade of the Dominion and so facilitate the 
construction of the western portion of the line. 

" Altliougii the population has largely increased within the last four years, 
tXe expenditure has been materially reduced when tlie sums required for pay- 
liUMit of interest, the extinguisluncnt of the Indian titles, and tlie outlay of tiio 
Government in the North West and Prince Kdward Island are deducted. But 
details on this point are furnished so copiously by the Finance Miuister in his 
speeches, tliat it is needless to do more than to thus briefly refer to the fact. 

•' I have further to urge upon the members of the Association tiie necessity 
of looking closely after the voters' lists of this year, in order to prevent frauds 
ill the introduction of names whioli have no right to be recorded, and the 
omission of names which liy right should be on tliose lists. Tliisisiealiy one 
of tlic principal points of the battle to be closely attended to. 






" The wicked attempts which have been made in various quarters to start 
religious strife and disunion, particularly in the Province of Quebec, have, I 
am glad to say, entirely failed. It is the duty of Reformers, while giving fair 
play to all, to frown down attempts to introduce religious strife in political 
contests. It has always been our policy to secure entire equality to all classes 
of Her Majesty's subjects, and if they now enjoy the rights which are inherently 
theirs, it is because of the zealous efforts of the Liberal party in their behalf.'* 

A serious mistake was made i'c<iai\linfj the time for hoklinfj 
the elections. The Liberals generally throughout the 
Dominion, with the exception of some in the Province of 
Quebec, were in favor of bringing on the contest in the early 
summer, and Mr. Mackenzie himself shared that view. But 
in response to pleadings from Quebec supporters, it was post- 
poned until the iTtii of September. The day after Parliament 
rose, early in May, Mr. Mackenzie v/rote to a friend that several 
telegrams had already come in from members since they had 
reached home, urging an immediate election ; that his own 
opinion was in the same direction, and that the Government 
were having the printing done, so as to be ready. On the 17th 
of May he wrote his brother Charles : " Opinions are most con- 
flicting about the time for holding the elections. I am very 
anxious for June, but I tind several counties (10) in Quebec 
cannot be ready, and many are in a bad position in Ontario. 
I am wholly in favor of immediate action, but we canncjt 
afford to risk so much, and therefore I fear we must make up 
our minds to a three months' campaign of speaking. But for 
the cowardice implied, I declare I would sooner forego the 
position than undertake this task." 

Mr. Mackenzie's own opinion, favorable to an early election, 
was shared in by men of sound juilgmeut. Mr. ITolton wrote 
him on 3rd of June, after the decision for September had been 
reached : " I have no desire to re-open or re-argue the closed 
question between an early and a late election. I am willing to 

'?(M nfi 



rs to start 
c, have, I 
giving fair 
n political 
) all classes 
sir behalf.'' 

lOut the 
vincc of 
the early 
3W. But 
was post- 
at several 
they had 
, his own 
a the 17th 
most con- 
I am very 
iu Quebec 
n Ontario. 
rtre cannot 
t make up 
;. But for 
forego the 

ly election, 
)ltou wrote 
'r had been 
! the closeil 
n willing to 

hope, thougli I cannot bjlieve, that tlie decision arrived at is 
the soundest in the interest of the party. But in vindication 
of my own opinion, and for your information, I may state that 
our friends whom I saw recently at Kingston anl Belleville, 
and at the latter place I met a great many, were, without a 
solitary exception, in favor of an early election." 

This, also on the same subject, is from Mr. Mackenzie's pen : 
" Not only is Holton urgent for an early election, but Cart- 
wright, Smith, Burpee, Mills, Jones, Scott, Laurier and Hunt- 
ington are very strong in the same direction. So also are 
McGregor, W. Ross, G. W. Ross, Wood, Biggar, Galbraith, 
Archibald, Ca.sey, Walker, Scatcherd, Trow, Metcalfe, Ber- 
tram, Irving, Landerkin, Colin Macdougall, Brouse, Paterson, 
Fleming, Bowman, Brown, of Hastings, John Macdonald, and 
many more. It is urged that delay will give the Tories 
another start in lie-making." 

In deference, as already stated, to the uni*eadiness of friends 
in Quebec, the elections were postponed. But almost the last 
words the writers of this biography heard from Mr. Macken- 
zie's lips, when they were with him on his seventieth birthday, 
a few weeks before he died, were these : " I made a mistake, 
I should have dissolved in June." 

Mr. Mackenzie was physically unable to bear the strain of 
the contest. He had just passed through a severe session, and 
he felt the effects in btxlily weakness and loss of sleep. Lust 
of power was occasionally attributed to him. But proofs mul- 
tiply to the contrary. This is from a letter to Mrs. Mackenzie : 

" Do not believe tlio Tory papers when they describe me as eaten up with 
ambition. I think I know myself, and I can honestly say that my only am- 
bition is to succeed in governing the country woU and witliout reproach. Be- 
yond that, my desires are of a very humble kind. But 1 think I have am- 
bition enough to be aroused to fight in, I liope, a manly way, the base scribea 
who would for .political gain write away a man's ^ood name and character. 




" Regaruing the slanders by which I am assailed, I may say I met a minis 
ter on tiie steamer tlie other day. We liad some oonversalion, and us he waH 
leaving he said to me : * I trust, Mr. Maclienzie, you will not allow yourself to 
falter in your work through detraction. You do not know, as I do, how many 
of God's children priy for you and sympathise with you. You have the 
great heart of the country with you. Only be strong in the Lord.' He con- 
tinued : ' I am not using my own words, but those I have often heard from 
others, and I only repeat tliem now because I have the same feelings, but did 
not write to you, as it might seem presumptuous in me, who am so much 
younger, to do so.' I was greatly' touched with the remarks, as I might some- 
times have referred a little slightingly to the speaker. How often we do an 
injustice unwittingly to some one, and how rare a thing is pure minded charity 
in estimating each others' excellences or defects." 

This is from another letter of a dilierent date : " From the 
first I was more willing to serve than to reign, and would 
even now- be gladly relieved from a position the toils of which 
no man can appreciate who has not had the experience. I 
pressed Mr. Blake in November, 1874, to take the lead, and 
last winter I again urged him to do so, and this summer I 
ottered to go out altogether, or serve under him, as he might 
deem best in the general interest. I mention this to illus- 
trate and substantiate what I now say." 

Another term at this time was believed to bo certain, but 
Mr. Jilackenzic thought it dear at the cost of a campaign. The 
fear of the charge of cowardice alone kept him to the task. 

The Premier was unable to take the field in person until 
some time alter the had risen. He ought to 
have had immediate rest from the labors of the session, to 
recuperate his energies. Instead, there was a period of severe 
departmental work before him. The other Ministers were 
attending to theii' constituencies, and the tluties of adnun- 
istratiou pressed upon the First Minister to a very trying 
degree. " I must have a little rest or break down," he wrote in 
June. " I must go to some place at the seaside where 1 cannot 



a tninis 
, he vvaa 
urself to 
)W many 
lyve the 
He con- 
u'd from 
but dii 
so much 
rht some- 
we do an 
;il charity 

roni tlie 
1 would 
)t' vvhicli 
encc. I 
sad, and 
iinincr I 
le mi gilt 
to illus- 

tain, but 
crn. The 
s task, 
son until 
)Ught to 
iession, to 
oi severe 
tors were 
)t' aduiin- 
ry trying 
e wrote in 
I cannoi 

be found out. I sliall leave this evening for Rimonski, and 
shall cross over to Mr. Gihnour's sunnner residence for a week. 
There I will have neither mails nor telegrams." 

He came back much the better for his holiday, the contrast in 
the temjierature down the Gulf of St. Lawrence and in Ottawa 
being marked. On the 2nd of July he tells what the temper- 
ature was in Ottawa. " We are havino- a regular heated term. 
Glass over 90 now for five days. When I was at Gilniour s 
liver the temperature was 53 ashore and 40 in the sea." The 
heat continued. Seven days later he says: "The weather is 
still very hot here. I have cast off all dignity, and work all 
day long in my shirt sleeves. But I hope the Tory papers 
won't hear of conduct in every way so shocking." One can 
further judge of his environments by the following, written 
about the same time : " There is great room for the exercise of 
cliarity and meekness in this department at present. The 
stock on hand is not large, but I hope it will hold out until 
about the 15th of September proximo" — the date of polling 
not having at that period been definitely fixed. 

During the election Mr. Mackenzie's own department was 
made the subject of constant attack, and his friends knew that 
no one could defend it like himself. The Conservative leaders 
woi'e holding meetings in almost o^s^ry county, and timid 
Liberals became alarmed at the probable eilects. As a con- 
sequence, great drafts were u)ade upon ^Ir. Mackenzie's time 
and energies. Speeches were requested at largo meetings, in 
the open air, drill sheds and skating rinks. The strain U[)()n 
nerve and muscle was tremendous, and the wonder is, not that 
he broke down ultimatelyj but that he did not break down 
many years earlier. 

To the Liberal candidates and the party, the summer cam- 
paign was very depressing. Business was dull ; prices were 




low ; the harvest was poor, and the financial outlook, fjenerally, 
was discouraging. " The whole head was sick, and the whole 
heart was faint," and the electors were prepared for any 
chanore that promised them relief from their present embar- 
rassments. If promises were of value, they must have been 
reassured, for everything from tall chimneys to a reciprocity 
treaty with the United States was said to be within their reach 
if they would but defeat Mr. Mackenzie's Government. 

Then, it is to be feared, the Liberal candidates trusted more to 
tl eir platform speeches than to a personal canvass of the 
electors. The sophistry that fails in a public debate is often 
successful with the farmer at his own fireside. The assurance 
of an advance in the price of barley or in the products -of the 
dairy or the poultry yard may be believed when fortified by 
statements unchallenged by the other side, and no doubt many 
victories are won b}' individual appeals made in this way. 
Captain Bobadil was always willing to undertake the defeat 
of the greatest army, if he were required to fight only one man 
at a time. 

Notwithstanding the discouraging circumstances, his delicate 
health, the vastness of the field and the intense bitterness of 
the contest, Mr. Mackenzie entered upon the campaign with 
spirit. No amount of labor daunted him. If two meetings a 
day were, in the opinion of his friends, necessary, he held two 
meetings. If, to keep an appointment, he had to travel all 
night, he did so, and with his usual clearness of statement and 
force of speech satisfied his friends as to the wisdom of his 
Administration. But what did argument avail in the face of 
avarice and prospective combines and monopolies ? The 
pettiest manufacturer in the land was vain enough to believe 
that if he only had the home market for the sale of his goods, 
his future welfare was assured. Why should he trouble him- 


r any 
e been 
V reach 

nore to 
of the 
is often 
;-of the 
ified by 
>t many 
is way. 
! defeat 
me man 

rness of 
:Tn with 
etingfs a 
el'l two 
avel all 
lent and 
I of his 
B face of 
s? The 
) believe 
is goods, 
l)lo him- 


















self: about responsible governmonfc nnd the independence of 
PcU-liament and purity of elections, if there was money to be 
made by voting the other way ? 

The larger manufacturer saw in a high tariff the oppor- 
tunity for a combine which would shut off the little trader 
aforementioned, whose vote he was obtaining under false 
pretences, and which would enable him to rank with the 
proprietors of iron works, sugar refineries, and cotton factories 
in the United States. That there were millions in it, provided 
he was on the ground floor, there was no doubt. He was 
therefore anxious to know what to do to help on the good 
cause, and so he went about preaching : " Let there be no 
slaughter market in this country for American goods, Canada 
for the Canadians." 

The asfriculturist was also unsettled in his mind. He had 
voted on the oM homestead on which his father and jxrand- 
father for fifty years had voted as Liberals. He believed the 
Liberal party was honest and worthy of confidence ; still thei-e 
was something, he thought, in this new doctrine. Americans 
taxed the produce of his farm if exported to their markets. 
There was no tax on the products of the American farm while 
crossins: the border to the Canadian markets. Was this fair ? 
he asked. If they tax us, should we not tax them ? If they 
keep us out of their markets, should we not keep them out of 
ours ? The Tory candidates said : " Certainly ; keep them 
out by all moans. If you only had your own markets, prices 
would be better, and a few cents a bushel for your grain, 
or a few dollars per head for your cattle would not come 
amiss at any time, particularly in such depressing times as 
the present." And so, forgetting that he was selling his birth- 
right for a mess of pottage, which he never got, he too voted 
for protection. 

I ' I > - m 




The election of 1878 was a carnival of fraud and misrepre- 
sentation. Every industry in the country was to be benetited 
by a protection which could only be substantial by reducing 
the profits of some other industry ; yet thousands of electors 
went to the polls believing that the votes they were about to 
give were as good as a handsome dividend, payable so soon 
as the Conservative party came into power. 

Speaking broadly, as we have said, there was a contrast in 
the manner in which the two parties carried on the campaign. 
The Liberals trusted too much to the educative influences of 
public speaking, while the Conservatives were quietly and 
persuasively working upon the cupidity of the various in- 

A reference to a speech delivered by Mr. Mackenzie at a 
meeting in Glengarry, in the latter part of August, enables 
one to see the general line of the Liberal argument. He 
describes the promulgation of protectionist principles by the 
Tory party in Canada, as a return to barbarism. What that 
policy really meant he illustrates by a citation from Sir John 
A. Mac lonald at Hamilton, where he was bidding for the vote 
of the manufacturers. When asked by a manufacturer what 
protection he was prepared to give, he said : " I cannot tell 
what protection you require, but let each manufacturer tell 
Ufj what he' wants, and we will try to give him what he 
needs." Mr. Mackenzie pointed out that while Sir John 
was makinix these shameless bids bv an avowal of ultra- 
protectionism in the west, he was deceiving the people in the 
Maritime Provinces, to whom even a mi'd form of protection 
was repugnant, by declaring that what was contemplated was 
not an increase but merely a readjustment of the taritl'. 
"Now," said the Premier to the Glengarry meJi, " Protection 
must make you pay more for the goods you use than you pay 



; electors 
about to 
! so soon 

ntrast in 
uences of 
letly and 
irious in- 

jnzie at a 
jt, enables 
aent. He 
les by the 
Vhat that 
Sir John 
r the vote 
urer wliat 
anuot tell 
cturer tell 
what he 
Sir John 
of ultra- 
ople in the 
plated was 
the tarifV. 
.n you pay 

now, or else it is no protection. Protection to manufacturers 
— protection to the 'struggling industries' — is protection 
against the laboring man and the farmer, the great producing 
men of the country." He went on to say that he did not 
mean to make war on the manufacturing classes. The tariff 
was for the purpose of raising a revenue. Manufacturers got 
some benefit incidentally from that, with which they ought 
to be satisfied ; if they were not, an 1 insisted on protection 
for protection sake, they would get large dividends first, and 
ruin afterwards. 

The nominations took place on Tuesday, the 10th of Septem- 
ber, in all the Provinces, with the exception of Manitoba and 
a few outlying constituencies elsewhere. Six candidates were 
elected by acclamation, four of whom were supporters of the 
Government, and two in Opposition, so that there was still no 
forewarning to the Liberals of the disastrous defeat of the week 

Writing, however, to his secretary two or three days before 
the election, Mr. Mackenzie mentioned, as a somewhat ominous 
sign, the fact that a Tory official of some little prominence had 
been heard to speak in abusive language of the Government, 
from which Mr. Mackenzie drew this inference : "It is clear he 
thinks we will be beaten." He adds : " I find the Tories every- 
where confident. Why, I cannot understand ; my meetings are 
everywhere successful — could hardly be more sa" 

As there is a natural curiosity in the case of great battles to 
know something of the surroundings of the generals, we may 
say further on this head that Mr. Mackenzie addressed a public 
meeting on the IGth of September in the West, and on the day 
of the polling, the work having now been done, he travelled by 
train from Toronto to Ottawa, reaehinsx his home in the evening. 
The first return was of good omen to the Liberals, for it brought 


i Phi'' 



the news of Sir John A. MacJonald's defeat in Kir ^on at the 
hands of Mr. Gunn, Pi'csently, however, a change earne over 
the spirit of the dream, telegrams coming in from all the other 
cities declaring the election of Tory candidates. Protection, 
it was seen, had too surely done its work in the manufacturing 
centres, but there was hope yet for the counties. The people 
in the urban constituencies had been fooled ; the farmers, 
never ! A few hours sufficed to remove this further delusion. 
The spread of the contagion had been, and there was 
disaster all along the lines. To adequately depict the scene, it 
is necessary again to quote the well-known words of Lord 
Bcaconsfield in a speech which described an cfpialiy sudden 
and unexpected breakdown of the Liberal party in England ; 
only a single word being changed : " It was like a convulsion 
of nature rather than any ordinary transaction of human 
life. I can only liken it to one of those earthquakes whicli 
take place in Calabria or Peru. 'J'heni was a rambling mur- 
mur, a groan, a shriek, a s :)und of distant thunder. There 
was a rent, a fissure in the ground, and then a village disap- 
peared ; then a tall tower toppled down ; and the whole 
of the Ministcria! benches became one great dissolving view of 

The " old flag " waved triumphantly at the head of the 
columns of the Conser\ ative journals of the 18th of September, 
thouji'h there was a subdued tone in their references to the 
defeat of the Conservative chieftain and his lieutenants, Messrs. 
Langevin, T. N. Gibbs. Mitchell and Plumb. iUit against the Tories could point to the downfall of three Ministers — 
Mr. Cartwright, in Lenno.x, Mr. Jone.s, in Halifax, and Mr. 
Coffin, in Shelburne, while Mr. iilak'; ha<l lost his scat in 
South Bruce, and Mr. Mackenzie had come back from Ltiiub- 


','' ijpi 



ton by tlie reduced majority of l-iG. The list of the fallen was* 
paraded thus : 


















Macdonald, Jno. 

Ill Hamilton, which was callo'l " the cradle of the national 
])olicy," a Reform majority of over four hundred was converted 
into a Conservative majority at this election of 24G ; while East 
Toronto was carried by the Conservatives by 700 ; Centre 
Toronto, by 490 ; and "West Toronto, by G39 ; or an aggregate 
majority of nearly 2,000. ]\Iontreal excelled it by an aggregate 
vote of over 3.000. Of the other cities, the Conservatives 
carried both seats in Halifax, both seats in Ottawa, and 
London and St. John. The Liberals cajuo back from the 
election of 1874 with a majority of about two to one ; the 
Conservatives at this election did somewhat better even than 

The chief Conservative organ b jre testimony to the admir- 
able spirit in which the Liberals received the verdict, in its 
issue of the 19th of September, it said: "The Ministerialists, 
as they may still in courtesy be teiined, have, on the whole, 
received an unexpected and overwhelming defeat with calmness 
and philosojihical resignation." It went on to remai-k : " The 
national policy, as we liave often said, was long since adopted 
as the economical creed of the people. Whether 'a handful of 
manufacturers ' ought oi* ought not to grow wealthy under ifr, 
was a matter of intinitesimal -concern to them ; all the people 
demanded was fair and e(iual play with their neighbors in the 
struggle for existence." 

It had pieviously to the elections declared it to be " a policy 

!^i Hi 







which would infuse \\rroY ami rohiist health into this votnin; 
nationality." " Fricmls ot' the National Policy " ! it excliiiiuoJ 
in Napoleonic fashion, " to you we appeal to stamp out the 
starvationists, and bring back a rich prosperity to Toronto and 
the Dominion at large." Read in the cold, clear, relentless 
light of history, how Hat, stale, and unprolitable words like 
these appear. 

The Globe rejoiced in the fact that " poetic justice " had been 
done by the defeat of Dr. Orton, the in/entor of the most 
gigantic of all hund)Ugs, which he designated by the name of 
agricultural protection. "The causes," it said, "that contri- 
buted to the startling change of public sentiment are not 
difficult to discover. The connnercial depression still existing 
on the North American continent, and the restless desire for 
some undefined change that would bring about better times, 
had no doubt very much to do with it. The seductive delu- 
sion held out to the weaker sort, of acquiring wealth quickly 
by shutting out foreign commodities and increasinij larijelv the 
consumption and price of home manufactures, dj'uw many 
victims after it. And the thorough party organization of the 
Tory party for propagating their sentiments antl bringing out 
their men, did the rest." 

The elections over, tiie forthcoming Ministers set themselves 
to the unlooked-for task which now lay before thorn of 
preparation for the N.P. We find from the pen of Mr. Brown, 
undei' date of the 1st of October, 1878, a little picture of m\ 
interestinf; street scene, which was witnessed about that timr 
in Toronto. Mr. Brown says that a well-known Conservative, 
on friendly terms with him, one who was entirely informetl of 
what was going on within the chnrmeil circle, though not a 
prominent Parliamentarian, came up to him with the (jvident 
design of pumping him in regard to the time Mr, Mackenzie 




is yomij:; 
out the 
unto aivl 
ords like 

had been 
the most 
e name of 
at contri- 
t are not 
11 existing 
desire for 
tter times, 
ctive delu- 
th quickly 
(i-elv the 
;w many 
ion of the 
inLrin;;" out 


Uiom of 

Mr. Bn)wn, 

ture of HU 

tliat timi! 


iiformed ot 
)Ugh not a 
Jie evident 

was likely to let the new men into power. Mr. Brown 
answered, " he presumed, almost immediately, in order that the 
new Ministers mif^ht be sworn in, so as at once to prepare their 
measure." " Prepare their measure ! " exclaimed the other, 
" why, it will take months and months — aye, a year and more 
to do it. Every interest in the country will have to be 
specially consulted, and the result of the whole must be 
judiciously worked up before it is submitted." " For the good 
of the country?" suggested Mr. Brown. "Certainly," replied 
the other. They looked at each other, laughed pleasantly, and 
went on their several ways. They understood each other per- 
fercetly. Great, indeed had been the effect upon the people 
of the power of humbug. 


■'.I I 



Letter to Lord DufFerin — The Governor-General's Reply — His Excellency's 
Noble Letter to Mrs. Mackenzie —I/ctter from the late Chief Justice Rich- 
ards—Mr. Mackenzie Addresses Mr. Helton — Hatred of Intrigiie and 
Crookedness— Would Rather go Down than Yield Principle — A Clean Re- 
cord — The Loss of Good and True Men— The Public Interest First and 
Always — "Living in Another Man's House" — Nothing Left save Honor — 
Self-Sacrifice — Its Reward — Disciples of Cobden do not Temporise — Answers 
to Letters of Reproach — Letter of Resignation and Defence of His Policy — 
How He felt the Dismissal of His Former Secretary — Fun Ahead with the 
Besom and the Stane. 

HERE is no better test of a man's character than 
the manner in which he bears defeat," wrote one 
who knew him well, shortly after Mr. Macken- 
zie's death. "Judged by that test, the Honorable 
Alexander Mackenzie stands on the top rung of the 
ladder. When his historj'- is written, its best chap- 
ter will begin immediately after the I7th of September, 1878." 
The best chapter it really is. And fortunately for his bio- 
graphers, he wrote (unconsciously, of course, for this purpose), 
the chapter himself, as if in anticipation and fulfilment of the 
prediction. After he had recovered from tlie shock of the de- 
feat, and his grief for the loss of so many faithful friends was 
somewhat assuaged, he penned his first letter. In honor and 
duty, it was to His Excolleucy the Governor-General : 

" Private. 

"OiTAWA, Sbi'T. 19, 1878. 

*' Deau Lord Duffkrin, — The elections aro mostly over, and sufficient- 
ly so to bo conclusive as tu tlie defeat of the Government. The proteo- 





istice Rich- 
itrigi^e and 
9l Clean Re- 
t First and 
we Honor— 
36— Answers 
His Policy— 
jad with the 

acter than 

wrote one 
r. Macken- 
ung of the 

best chap- 
iber, 1878." 

or his bio- 
is purpose), 

nent oi; the 
of the de- 

triends was 
honor and 

L*al : 

T. 19, 1878. 
and sufficienfc- 
The protec- 

tif>n fiillacy has taken deeper root than we had thought, especially with 
the farming coniniunity. I have nothing to regret in looking back at my 
course. Even had I known of the tendency of the public mind I would 
r.ot for the sake of oflice yield up my convictions on that or any other 
subject. I tried to keep Canada in line with England and in harmony 
with enliglitened modern thought on commercial subjects, and I have 
failed, as better men have failed before me. I will not advert to the 
extraordinary and dishonest system of electioneering resorted to, nor to 
the imi)ossibility of carrying into eflect the promised {)rotection, for the 
electors have accepted the one and believed in the other, and so far as I 
am concerned that ends the matter. 

" I shall endeavor to get my colleagues here as soon as possible to finish 
up what bu.siness we have in hand, after which I prop ae to wait upon 
Your Excellency at Quebec to tender you ni_ resignation, I shall not 
initiate any new business here, but I propose tilling a few vacancies which 
occurred within the last few weeks. I propose, also, dealing with several 
P^tiglish despatclies, which have been unattended to during the heat of 
the election contest, and were under discussion before. 


"I have marked this letter private, though I have referred to some 
public matters, because I have given my views frankly, as I usually do, 
but I will, of course, address a formal letter to Your Excellency when I 
have a final interview, in which 1 will probably refer more fully to the 
condition of affairs. 

" In the meantime I have to express my deep gratitude to you for your 
unvarying kindness to me, and the constant anxiety you have shown to 
aid me in every way in carrying on the Government. This T shall never 
forget. I will only say for myself that I have endeavored to do what was 
right in the interests of the Crown and the people, and I can now look 
back with the jileasuro which a clear CDiiscience, political and personal, 
necessarily gives. I am, dear Lord Dufferin, 

"Yours very faithfully, 

"A. Mackenzie. 

"His Excellency the Earl of DuUorin, Gov.-Ceu." 

He was gratitied by the receipt of the following reply : 




Hi i 

1 ■ 1 


"Quebec, Sept. 20th, 1878. 

" My Dear Mackenzie, — I have received your letter of Sept. 19tb, 
and have only time to acknowlege it, and to thank you for it. It is like 
yourself, and written entirely in the spirit in which I expected. 

" Whatever my personal convictions may be upon the general policy of 
your Government, it would not, I sujipose, be pi-opor ihat I should ex- 
px'css them, even in a private letter, but no consideration need preclude 
me from assuring you, that in my opinion, neither in England nor in 
Canada has any public servant of the Crown administered the affairs of 
the nation with a stricter integrity, with a jjurer patriotism, with a more 
indefatigable industry, or nobler aspirations than yourself, and though 
the chances of war have gone against you at the polls, you have the satis- 
faction of knowing that your single-minded simplicity of purpose, firm- 
ness, and upright conduct have won for you alike the respect and good- 
will of friends and foes. 

" As for myself, I can only say that I shall ever retain a feeling of warm 
friendship for you. I'rom first to last you have treated me not only with 
great kindness and consideration, but with a frankness, truthfulness, and 
openness of dealing for which I am grateful. You have still before you a 
long, useful, and honorable career, and I should not be surprised to hear 
that in some ways you were disposed to welcome the impending change. 
" Believe me, my dear Mackenzie. 

*' Yours sincerely, 


This more than kind letter was written at the same time by 
His Excellency to Mrs. M.tckenzie : 

«' Quebec, Sept. 20th, 1878. 

" Dear Mr.s. Mackenzie, — T have written to your husband, but I can- 
not help wishing to let you have a little line as well. 

" Of course you must have been disapi)ointed at the result of the elec- 
tions, but no feeling of mortification need mingle with the surprise the 
result has occasioned, for there has been nothing in your husband's con- 
duct or character that has contributtid to the defeat of his party. It 
simply been the consequence (jf the chances of war, and I am sure yuu 





apt. 10th, 
It is like 

i\ policy of 
should ex- 
id preclude 
laud nor in 
;ie affairs of 
,vith a more 
and though 
ve the satis- 
irpose, finii- 
ct and good- 

ilins of warm 
lot only with 
ifulness, and 
before you a 
)vised to hear 
iding change. 

uue time by 

)lh, 1878. 
Lud, but I can- 

ult of the elec- 
he surprise the 
husband's con- 
party. It has 
1 am sure yii 

will meet liio chanf,'e with the same equability of temper that character- 
ised your accession to power. 

" Though I lose Mr. Mackenzie as a Minister, I shall still have the 
happiness of keeping him as a valued and honored friend, and his career 
as leader of the Opposition will, I liave no doubt, prove as useful, and in- 
finitely more agreeable, and less injurious to his health, than his life as a 

" Ever yours sincerely, 


Mr. Mackenzie's next lettei' was to his friend, Mr. Holton. 
From this some extracts are taken : 

"Ottawa, Sept. 21st, 1878. 

" My Dear Holtox, —I scarcely knovr how or what to write to you. 
The disaster in Ontario was by me totally unexpected. CJp to the day of 
polling I was quite satisfied we would hold our own. 1 wish now to get 
your view about the future. I propose so soon as our friends can be got 
together to resign my leadership and give them an opportunity of select- 
ing one who may be more Bucccssful. 
* * * * ♦ ** * 

" Our disaster was evidently the result of some deceit, under cover of 
the ballot, by prominent previous friends, but principally it was caused 
by the working classes going against us. With them there is often a de- 
sire for change, and it was dinned into their ears at this time that a 
change would bring good times. I was not able to discern signs of any 
serious defections while on my tour, and on Tuesday morning was as 
confident of success as ever I was. 

" I am glad to see your people were not very seriously inlluenced by 
your oppuueuts' appeal to class feelings. 

•' I am, my dear Holton, 

*' Yours very faithfully, 

'* A. Mackbnzie." 

Before rising from his desk he wrote as follows to the 
friend who, after he died, on tlie evidence of this letter and 
the knowledge he otherwise ])ossessed of Mr. Mackenzie's 






character during a period of from thirty to forty years, penned 
the prediction which heads this chapter : 

'Ottawa, Sept. 21st, 1878. 

" My Dear Sir, — T am exceedingly grateful for your kind letter. I 
have many such letters from all quarters. While I do not pretend to be 
insensible to the disaster which has overtaken the party and myself, I am 
delighted to know that I have the sympathy and supj)i)rt of so many good 
men. I also feel some pride in being aljle to say that I know of no kind 
of transaction by my Government that is indefensible. I may have made 
some mistakes of a minor kind, but I did devote myself to the adminis- 
trati<m of public alFairs with a desire and determination to do right. I 
can therefore look with complacency on the adverse popular verdict with 
a firm conviction that I have not deserved it. Some people have a theory 
that a successful politician must neces.sarily depend on intrigue and doing 
crooked things to countermine the enemy. My mind has revolted at such 
proposals. I determined to rule in broad daylight or not at all, but I am 
aware that there are some people in our ranks who think I might have 
' schemed ' more, and who now urge me to do things while power remains, 
which I do not consider right. Although I do not think this class is 
numerous, I have resolved, when the members meet, to tender my resig- 
nation of the leadership of the Liberals, to enable them to select one who 
may bo more fortunate or successful. In the meantime, pray accept my 
thanks for your kind words. Such letters as are piled upon my table 
to-day far more than compensate me for the misfortune to myself per- 
sonally. I am, my dear sir, 

" Yours faithfully, ,| 

" A. Mackenzie." 

In due course the following very appreciative letter reached 
him from his warm personal friend, the late highly-honored 
Chief Justice, Sir William Buell Richards : 

" Hotel Campbell, 61, Avenue de Friedland, 

•'Paris, 20th Sep., 1878. 

"My Dear Premier,— I sec by the London Times of yesterday that 
the elections in Canada have been unfavorable to your Government, and 




that it is probable that the majority against you will be about 70. I 
doubt if the majority will be so great, but if that number indicates the 
true result, no one will be more astonished at it than Sir John himself. 

" The fact that the policy of your Government has not been sustained 
by the people of the country will bo a great disappointment to you, but 
I think that you are sutKcieutly philosophical to bear this defeat with 
becoming equanimity. To a man of your ardent temperament, it will be 
disheartening ; but the past history of Canada shows too clearly the want 
of steadiness on the part of the people in the support of their public men, 
and whenever the latter are disappointed aa to the politi- al results they 
must fall back on their own convictions that they have honestly endeavored 
to serve their country, and that they have done something to aid its on- 
ward progress. 

" I think you liave this consolation, and though you may for a time 
occupy a less prominent position than that which you have filled for the last 
five years, you are not so old but the future may bo looked to as placing 
you again in a position where your talents and political experience may 
aid in shaping the destuiies of Canada. 

"I have, I think, said to you more than once that Canada requires the 
services of men of ability and experience in greater numbers than she 
has as yet beci able to produce them, and that our public men possessing 
these qualities, no matter to what political party they may be attached, 
need not despair that the time and the occasion will arise when their 
knowledge and ability to sei've the State will command positions of 
prominence and power. 

"If I may be said to have any political opinions, I think you were 
right as to protection, which is said to bo the question on which the elec- 
tion turned, but I sympathise with you and several of your colleagues 
more on personal than on political grounds, as men toward whom a more 
intimate acquaintance has engendered feelings of respect and regard. 

" It really must be a great boon to you personally to be relieved from 
the tremendous pressure under which you have labored for the past five 
years, and your health will undoubtedly be benefited by your retirement 
from office. 

" Often what seems to us at the time to be a great misfortune turns out 
to be a great benefit, and this may be the case in refei'ence to your posi- 






** With kind regards to Mrs. Mackenzie, and, whether jou are Premier 

or not, believe me, 

** Yours sincerely, 

" Wm. B. Richards." 
This letter Is from Mr. Mackenzie to the late Senator Hope: 

" Ottawa, Sept. 23rd, 1878. 

" My Dear Mr. Hope,— T am exceedingly gratified by your kind 
letter to Mrs. Mackenzie and myself. The disaster to the party was 
wholly unexpected by me. I do not know, however, that I could have 
adopted any other course were the battle to be fought over again. I 
would rather a thousand times go down with my principles than swim by 
yielding any. In ordinary party movements I have no objection to 
sharp tactics, but in what is the life-blood of a public man and a great 
political party, I would rather die politically and literally than yield our 
opinions were I assured of success. 

** It may be, however, that some friends may take ano*^her view, and 
although I could not change my own, I will feel bound to respect that of 
others. I propose therefore as soon as the members of both Houses can 
be got together to resign my position as leader, and leave them free to 
select another who may be more successful. I need hardly say that I will 
follow with as much zeal and devotion as I led myself, as fai- as it is pos- 
sible for me to do so without a violation of principle. 

" I have had a noble band sustaining me in the last Parliament, very 
few of whom, especially iii Ontario, ever pressed me in a wrong direc- 
tion, and to them all I give my warmest thanks. I have, however, been 
sometimes pressed to consider personal interests in advance of the public 
interests. I lost several friends because I refused. At this moment L am 
able to look back with much satisfaction upon all such refusals as having 
been right in themselves, and right to the party also, if party govern- 
ment is to be maintained in its purity in Canada. 

" The recent verdict has shaken my confidence in the general sound- 
ness of public opinion, and has given cause to fear that an upright ad- 
ministration of public afi^airs will not be appreciated by the mass of the 
people. If political criminals and political chicanery are to be preferred 
to such a course as we pursued, the outlook is an alarming one. I can 
hardly believe that this is the deliberate opinion of ihe people, and there- 




fore incline to the conclusion that the leader must bo in their opinion in 


" With kind regards, yours sincerely, 

"A. Mackenzie." 
To the late Mayor Waller, of Ottawa : 

"Ottawa, Sept. 23rd, 1878. 

" My Dear Mr. Waller, — I am exceedingly pleased at the receipt of 
your very kind letter, and beg to thank you very warmly for your good 
wishes and kind words, I regret our defeat very much on many grounds, 
but looking back I cannot see that I would have taken any other course 
were it to be done over again. 1 would rather be defeated than retain 
office by accepting or defending views which 1 believed adverse to the 
public interests. I was convinced that 1 was defending the cause of the 
mass of the people, but it seems they think their interests lay in believ- 
ing their hereditary enemies, and I bow to their decision. 

" Wo will go out feeling that our record is a clean one, and that none 
of ray friends will blame me for my action to make them ashamed as a 
party or as individuals. 

" I am also glad to find that there is in the letters to me a general 
concurrence of opinion in the wisdom of the course pursued during the 
canvass. There might, of course, be an honest difference of opinion on 
that score, but so far, I have seen none. 

" I am not at all disposed to lay down my arms and * study war no 

more.' I will as soon as possible get our men into line again, and see 

what our best tactics can effect. 

" Yours faithfully, 

"A. Mackenzie." 

To Mr. J. D. Edgar, Toronto : 

" Ottawa, Sept. 24th, 1878. 

"My Dear Edgar, — It would do you little good to condole with you, 
and I am sure that you and Mrs. Edgar will accept the situation philo- 
sophically as usual. Nothing has happened in my time so astonishing. 
It is impossible to understand how so wide a defection existed among 
our own friends, without our knowing it. You advise that we should 
make no appointments. This I think we can hardly accept as sound ad- 
vice. Ordinary vacancies should be filled up. Of these there are a 
number, some of them existing for weeks. I do think that we ought not 

W- 1 



to make any new appointments, or create vacancies by anj' process, In 
order to get our friends offices. It is quite constitutional for us to do 
even that, but the ground I tc k in 1873-4, was that I did not object, 
even after the motion of no confidence was moved, to the Ministry 
filling vacancies required in the public interest. 

" The Opposition promised everything during the canvass. They will 
have a fine time fulfilling the promises then made. We have already 
men and women coming to the departments wanting work, who say 
they were told there would be i^lenty of work if the Government 
were beaten. 

"Is it not a woful commentary on the intelligence of the people to 
have to state that the Government was defeated because it refused to 
levy more taxes, and make commodities dearer \ The Tories said, and 
the people believed, that it was possible to make all classes rich by 
passing an Act of Parliament. This is not much in advance of the super- 
stitions of Central Africa, yet Canadians are supposed to be a fairly 
educated people. They will accept next De Quincey'a essay ' On murder 
as r. fine art,' as written in earnest and good faith. 

" Well, we will, as one paper says, contemplate with interest the 

spect.^cle of a nation lifting itself by the boot straps out of the mud, and 

increasing its wealth by changing its money from one pocket to the other. 

We will decide in a few days what course we will take as to time of 


"Believe roe, youra faithfully, 

"A. Mackenzie. " 

To Hon. James Young, Gait : 

"Ottawa, Sept. 26th, 1878. 

*' My Dear Young, — I suppose you have hardly got over your shock 
of disappointment at your local, as well as the general, result of the fight. 
For my own part, I never was so mu'.h astonished at the revolution. It 
is evident that the feeling for protec iion got a stronger hold than we sup- 
posed on people's minds. My own jounty was no exception. I should 
have had 600 on a straight party vote, and only got 146. Every Province 
except one went in the same way. I was not able in my long tour to de- 
tect any signs of defection anywhere, or any lack of enthusiasm, and I re- 
turned here on the day of polling satisfied that our Ontario majority 
would be as large as before. I quite counted on the loss of a few coun- 



ties, but considered I would gain others. W« did gMii four out of eleven I 
counted ou winning. 

" All my schemes for the future are cut short. Ministerial and other 
arrangements, to be gone into after electiouH, are all nipped. The result 
is not very encouraging to Liberal leaders. Wo rtsisted a policy which 
would be deeply injurious to the masses, and the masses have turned upon 
us and rent us. I suppose the (Jerman element was a principa' element 
with you, judging from the majorities, but the trouble elsewhere was really 
the fact that a large proportion of the people had become desirous of a 
change, believing that a cnange would bring prosperous times, plenty of 
work, and money. New Brunswick alone amid the faithless stood faith- 
ful. * Among the faithless, faithful only it.' 

" I feel it is a tremendous task to ')egin again the work cf reorganisa- 
tion, and quite shrink from it. Perhaps the party will tind some one more 
likely to command success. 

" It is intensely discouraging to lose so many true men. McGregor, 
J. L. McDougall, Blake, Snider, Laiiderkin, Cartwright, Norris, Wood, 
Irving, McCraney, Dymond, Suiith, IMetcalfe, BUin, Joim Macdonald, 
Cook, Kerr, Biggar, Archibald, Buell, McNab, A. F. McDonald, Black- 
barn, L. Ross— all gone. What a splendid lot of men, in addition to those 
from Waterloo. Theto are hardly enough left to form a skeleton battalion. 

'• I am at present considering whether to move this fall or not back to 
Sarnia. It is expensive to keep my house here, and yet the time is awk- 
ward for moving. 

" Youra very sincerely, 

" A. Mackhnzie." 

Sir Richard Cartwrif^lit, who was defeaicd in Lennox, it 
may here be nioiitioned, was elected for Centre Huron, Mr. 
Horace Hortoti o-enerouslv vacatincr the seat for him. and Mr. 
Blako, who was defeated in South Bruce during his absence 
in Europe at tlie time of the elections, was electa I for West 
Durham on the 17th of November, 1879, on the resi if nation 
of Mr. Burk. 

To a Cornwall friend Mr. ^hackonzie wrote : " T have been 
beaten, but lei, us retire in good order, and able to defy our 
opponents to point to a single wrong action." 



To another friend, who uryed him to meet Parliament, he 
gave as a weighty reason why he should not act upon this 
advice, that not only did he consitler himself bound in honor 
to follow the English precedents ( .vhich, however, Lord Salis- 
bury lately disregarded), but that it was his duty as a faithful 
public servant to act in the true interest of the country : 

" You will remember that both of the great political parties in Eng- 
land, in the crises of 1867 and 1874, set an example which 1 think 1 am 
bound to follow. Though the recommendation you make is perfectly 
constitutional, yet on other groands I think it is not tenable. I have 
also to remember that very serious liaancial complications would result 
in that case. We have no less then twelve millions of dollars of obliga- 
tions falling due on the tst January, and as we could not possibly pro- 
vide for these in any way but in negotiating a new loan, it is essential 
that this should be in the hands of the incoming Ministers. My object 
in the first place is to do what is dignified and right, and in the second 
place to take no course which will throw blame on the Liberal party, 
which I am bound to maintain in a proper attitude, at nil liiizavds.' 

To a distinguished Judge, since deceased, he wrote: 

" The result of the elections 1 do not, at all on personal grounds, regret . 
however I may feel regarding it on political grounds, aa the strain of the 
work for the last five years was something more than I could very long 
continue, and I look forward in a short time to obtaining a good rest. 
The experience of the campaign assurod me that I had trifled wi^h my 
physical strength quite too long, and 1 got over my labor in connection 
with the elections with the very greatest difliculty. Now that it is over, 
1 am glad I am able to go out on terms of continuous personal friend- 
ship, if not of political sympathy, with many gentlemen who, like your- 
self, hare not in recent years taken a part in public ailaira " 

To another correspondent he wrote that were th' Govern- 
ment to meet in November it wouUl lead to great public in- 
convenience in another important respect. Thei<. would, of 
course, be at once a resignation. A new Ministry would be 



formed. Ministers would require to ^o to their constituents. 
Parliament would not aoain be summoned until after the new 
year, and the interests of the Dominion, which must be con- 
sidered before any individual interest, would suller. He 
added : " I want as soon as I am out to get rest for a time. 
The campaign affected me physically more than I expected ; I 
am as thin as a slate." Another sentence might be pondered 
over with possible advantage by a so-called representative in 
the Commons for a constituency which he knows to be not his 
own : " I have, too, the uncomfortable feeling that I am living 
in another man's house." 

This is to a Judge who has since retired : 

"In a few days I shall be again a pi'ivate citizon, bub thougli I will not 
continue to liavo the direction of jniblic aflairs, so long as I live it will be 
a pleasure to know that I have had and will retain the good will and 
moral support of such men as yourself and tho Chief Justice." 

Extracts follow from other letters : 

" I em still writing at my old desk, but expect daily, I should aay 
hourly, to hoar tho footsteps of the new tenants of these buildinga." 

" Wo must not be downhearted. I will be blamed in some quarters. 
You and the committee will also be blamed. Never mind that. We 
have tho interests of the Liberals in our hands, and must attend to them. 
Pray lose no time in getting the committee together. J will be up 

•' 1 assure you I shall never forget your devotion to our party inter- 
ests, nor your contidence in myself as its leader during the past live years. 
1 was not anxious to undertake the leadership, and only consented after 
Mr. Dorion, Mr. Blake and Mr. Ilolton declined. I am now and always 
have been more willing to follow than to lead." 

Resolved to ' go out clean : " 

" We have not superannuated on© man," he wrote to a member he at 
onetime contemplated inviting to join his Ministry, "except where it 



I I 

was urgently soughtj and ample reasons were given — and these cases were 
three in all, I think. 

" As the election went against us, I could not do in the matter you 
mention as I intended. It would be creating a new office, and this would 
be contrary to our own avowal of principle and our convictions. My 
doctrine was that I was bound as the trustee and guardian of the Liberal 
party to do nothing that could be held up as a reproach against us ; in 
short, to go out clean. It was not only right in itself, but it leaves the 
Liberals right, and their interests must take precedence of favor to in- 

" I am now awaiting the arrival of the future occupants. I feel, of 
course, greatly disappointed. We had got the worst over, and could look 
forward with hope ; b>it I will have what I longed for, but saw no pros- 
pect of obtaining in office, some rest. 

" I am deeply indebted to you for your constant and zealous efforts to 
help me, and I regret much tliat 1 have no means of manifesting my feel- 
ings save by empty thanks." 

To a gontlGinan who, in Micawbcr fashion, had been wait- 
ing for something to turn up, in answer to another reminiler 
at this time, Mr. Mackenzie said he was sorry he could do 
nothing for him. He added : " I can quite understand you 
have considered me omnipotent in such matters. There could 
not be a greater mistake. It is all over now. I have no 
more power to make appointments." Like Wolsey, he might 

" My integrity to heaven is all 
I dare now call mine own." 

The twenty-two (lays which elapsed between the great 
overthrow and the resignation of the Ministry was a period 
to try the hearts and characters of men. The Reform jiart}- 
stood the ordeal of defeat nobly, and tinnly upheld their chief 
in his determination to do no act wluch should sull\' the 
record. Regarding the repi-oach of one that he had not been 
aufliciently self-sacrificing, he says : "1 need not tell you that 



ases were 

I literally worked day and night, and so far from being able 
to save any money while I was at the head of the Govern- 
ment, I find I have spent about S2,G00 per annum more than 
my entire ofiicial income. Yet these parties speak so. I am 
delighted, however, to be able to add that nothing could be 
more gratifying than the letters I have received from the 
great bulk of our friends from all quarters." 

This is the Premier's letter of resignation of himself and 
his colleagues, with the causes he gives for the defeat of his 

Government : 

"Ottawa, Oct. 9th, 1878. 

" Dear Lord Dufferin, — The elections for the House of Comiuona 
are not yet all concluded ; nor ia it at all certain what may be the final 
determination of many disputed returns, but enough is known to induce 
me to take decided action wi*^'i reference to the general result. In my 
proposed course my colleagues all concur, 

" It is unnecessary to discuss the various minor and unimportant mat- 
tors presented at the electoral contest against the Administration, as they 
had no appreciable eflfect in reaching the final result. The one broad 
issue between the ministerial and opposition parties was the question of 
a protectionist system as against a moderate revenue tarill, as maintained 
by the Government. 

" The Government felt that this was a question of such vast importance, 
tliA* nothing, not even the existence of a ministry, would justify a tem- 
porising policy regarding it. It seemed incredible that it could be neces- 
sary in Canada to fight tho battle over again in favor of sound CDmniercial 
legislation which hud bee fought in the motherland more than thirty 
years ago, and in which protectionist views had been annihilatud. 

"The commercial depression which had been felt for the last four 
years, though much less severely felt here than in the United States, 
which is under a protection system, had i)redisposod many minds to look 
to some change as a possible relief. Tiiis, added to tho selDsh eilorta of 
class interests, which h.'.d been aroused by the prospect of gain at the ex- 
pense of others, led to tho conclusion that was reached. 

" I believed that if, unfortunately, protectionist views should prevail, 
grave political dangers would arise, which might seriously aflect the ex- 





isting relations of Canada to the British Empire. It seemed inevitable 
that a serious departure from the accepted policy of the lEmpire, and the 
acceptance of the policy of the powerful and jealous Republic on our 
Bouthern border, would seriously disturb relations which otherwise would 
continue indefinitely. ' How shall two walk together unless they are 
agreed 1 ' 

" Hitherto Victoria alone, of all the British colonies, had deliberately 
adopted a protection system, and thereby marred the general harmony. 
The geographical position of Victoria, surrounded as she is by more en- 
lightened colonial states, renders the jar created by her action com- 
paratively harmless. Canada, on the contrary, is face to face on this con- 
tinent with an English colony politically severed from Great Britain, 
having a population ten times as numerous as her own, with a general 
political policy largely founded on the hostile feelings and prejudices 
engendered during the struggle for independence and the subsequent 
war ; while their commercial policy is of a narrow and restricted 
character, appealing to and upheld by the most odious cla-s interests. 
Attempts, more or less direct, have been frecjuently made in the United 
States to enlist the sympathy and co- operation of Canada in a policy 
which would soon extinguish British influence on this continent. Any 
action which will to any extent assimilate the commercial system of Can- 
ada to that of the United States, will, to that extent, weaken the ties 
which bind her to the Empire, and which it was the aim of my Adminis- 
tration to strengthen and perpetuate. We already find that the advocates 
of a customs union or zollverein in the United States (which system really 
means a political alliance with that country) are greatly encouraged by 
the result of the elections. 

" These views we endeavored to impress on the public mind during the 
electoral contest as earnestly as we did the serious injury to our general 
prosperity, which we believe to be the inevitable result of the adoption 
of the principle of protection. Two years of continuous agitation of the 
question had, it seems, produced in the public mind an impression that 
it was possible to enrich all classes by protection without impoverishing 
any. In other wold^, a certain number of the people believed in the 
possibility of making everybody rich, of increasing values by Act of 
Parliament. I do not, of course, propose hero to discuss the principles 
involved, but merely to deal with results. 



"The protectionist principle undoubtedly obtained a victory at the 
polls. The knowledge of the wonderful success of Great Britain in de- 
veloping her trade and commerce under the opposite system, and the aai 
results of the attempt by the United States to carry out a protectionist 
policy, as exhibited in the ruinous state of their shipping and manufac- 
tures, and the growth of a communistic feeling, were alike disregarded. 

" Under these circumstances the proper course would probably be for the 
Government to meet Parliament at the earliest possible moment, in order 
that no time should be lost in giving etl'ect to a policy the country had 
approved of. We felt, however, that it would bo unpleasant to remain 
in oflice after asserting that there was no probability of the palicy of the 
Government being sustained by the new llouse. The other course would 
doubtless be the one in accordance with English practice, but there are 
two precedents of a recent date in favor of a resignation before the meet- 
ing of Parliament, these precedents being made by the leaders of both 
political parties in England. Feeling that we are justified in pursuing 
that course, I have resolved, with the concurrence of my colleagues, to 
close up all the business in the departments at the earliest possible mo- 
ment, with the view of enabling our successors to meet Parliament at an 
early day, with measures for carrying into ellect the policy to which they 
committed themselves at the election. 

" I have now, therefore, the honor of placing in your Excellency's 
hands my own resignation, and that of my colleagues of our ministerial 
oflioes. 1 have the honor to be, 

•* Your obedient sorvunfc, 

" A. Maokknzik. 

" His Excellency the Earl of Duflurin, Gov. G^n." 

Al'ter Mr. Mackenzie liad biddon Lord DulTcrIn good-l»yc. 
His Excellency sunt liiui the roUowiiiy kind note: 

"Montreal, Oct. 9th, 1878. 

"Mv DEAn Mackenzif,,— T assure you I felt a very bitter pang in 
sliaking you by the hand yesterday. 

" We have boon associated for so many years together in promoting the 

intorests of the Dominion, and I have such a sincere personal esteem for 

y HI, that it felt like parting with one of my oldest friends. 



(Facsimile of Hon. A*Jdackenzies hand-ivriting, slightly reduced.)]^ 

(Facsimile of Dr. Tiippera hand-writing.) 




" I have told them to send you a portrait of Lady DufFerin and one of 
myself, which I hope you will allow a place upon your walls. Believe 
me, my dear Mackuuzie, 

" Yours sincerely, 


In answer to an nngonorous letter written from a distant 
Province by the recipient of a full share of what was honestly 
his in former days, Mr. Mackenzie writes : 

" I duly received your letter giving me your opinion of myself, ray 
political views, and my leadership of the Liberal party, and informing me 
also that I was never able to look beyond Ontario. I am asuflicient judge 
of human nature to know that I might expect, in an hour of disaster, to 
receive unjust criticism from some people, but I muflt say I did not ex- 
pect to find you among that class. WtU, we learn as we grow in years. 
I do not pretend that your letter has not pained me, but a consciousneps 
that your charges are not true, amply sustains me under your attack. No 
section of Canada had a greater influence in mouKling the policy of the 
Government than yours. All the Liberal members came to tell me that 
if the Government yielded to the demand for higher duties, they could 
not support us. The Province also had more than its full share of 
Government patronage and Government works. I am not conscious, 
therefore, of any neglect whatever of its interests, and certain I am that 
Ontario did aot receive the attention which was paid to it. 

" You complain of not being consulted, and declare that it was my busi- 
ness to go to you and all others. Well, perhaps so ; I think not. I gave 
my whole time and my whole fortune to the position, and I saw every- 
one that came, including yourself. I do not believe any public man in 
Canada ever worked harder than I did, and were I writing to what I once 
supposed you to be, a friendly person, I would have added, more unself- 
ishly. I have nothing to regret, and 1 retire with a consciousness of hav- 
ing honestly and laboriously done my duty. You say you could make a 
post oftice plan for ten dollars betfer than the one we sent. Well, that 
simply shows what a clever man you are, compared with smaller archi< 
tects, such as we have to put up with in the Dominion service. I spent 
many joars of my life in the endeavor to acquire some of the theoretical 
and practical knowledge of the science, but I have to confess my entire in- 






ability to accomplish what to you is so easy ; or, indeed, to diacuss tho 
matter with one so much superior to ordiaary men. I have little to say 
to your reference to my course in opposition. But whether in opposition 
or in power, my principles are alwajs the same, it does not matter to 
me whether I am one of a party of sixty or of a hundred and forty. I 
am always willing to work for my party and with my party, without look- 
ing to any sectional or personal interest, and when 1 find myself placed in 
circumstances which make that course impossible, or even difliculr, you 
may be consoled by the assurance that 1 will retire from public life." 

This is to a fiicnd in Scotland : 

"My Dear 

" Ottawa, October 14th, 1878. 
-, T am to day winding up my busiaeas as the late 

Premier of Canada, My resignation has been in His Excellency's hands 
for some days. The result of the elections wao so decidedly against me 
that I resolved not to await the meeting of Parliament, as I might have 
done, but to resign immediately. Our electim turned on the question of 
protection. 1 might have temporised with it, and retained power without 
difficulty, but I determined to tight it as an unmixed political evil, even 
if I should be beaten. 

" The commercial depression which afTected Canada in common with 
other countries for some years, predisposed the people to look for any 
change as a relief. 1 could not conscientiously go back on my English 
Liberalism. As a disciple of Cobden, 1 attached much importance, in a 
higher sense than mere office-holding, to the trade question. I there- 
fore risked oflioe on the contest, and, like many better men, was beaten. 
Personally, 1 am not sorry, as I was much in need of a good rest. In a 
party sense, of course, I regret the defeat. In a few more years it will 
all come right. I have endeavored to sow good seed which will bear 
fruit in good time. The enemy has sown tho wind, and tvill reap the 


" Yours faithfully, 

*' A. Mackenzie." 

Principle Leforc party: 

"Ottawa, Oct. 31, 1878. 

" My Dear Sir, — On my return to town last night, i received your let- 
ter of the 18th inst. I need hardly say how much 1 am obliged for your 
kind and encouragin'' reaiarks. 

n ! [ 



"I know very well that certain Reformers, well-meaning people, too, 
think I might liave so managed as to retain power. These people think 
a ministry ought not to maintain itself so much to give cfl'oct to principles 
as to administer affairs for the benefit of the party. Neither my col- 
leagues nor myself could accept such a view. Of course, we wore bound 
to look to the interest of the Liberal party ; but we considered that we 
were best doing this by giving etl'oct to their principles. I could not 
dream of pretending to adopt a policy, to any extent whatever, which I 
believed to be clearly wrong. We had all the pressure of what are called 
'hard times' to combat. This gave an impulse to protectionist princi- 
ples, surprising enough in an enlightened country. The protection the- 
ory is easily stated ; with uninformed or prejudiced people it takes at 
iiice. Revenge on the Yankees, seems also to be the idea uppermost in 
many minds. The proposition ; ' They put 20% on our wheat, why 
don't we put the same on theirs ? ' looks so plausable that some people 
do not stop to reason. Demagogues made many believe that if we put 
20 cents on foreign wheat, the price of our own would be enhanced 1 y 
that amount. It is true that it was almost entirely among the more 
ignorant that such nonsense prevailed. I found very few indeed of the 
leading men indoctrinated with such absurdities ; but one vote is as good 
as another. To manufacturers we could give further protection for a 
time, but not without doing a wrong to other classes, and destroying our 

An opinion frankly given, and as frankly combafccJ: 

•' Ottawa, Nov. Dch, 1878. 
•' My De\r Sir, — I duly received your letter a few days ago. 1 am 
obliged to you for giving me your opinion concerning the cause of the 
election going adversely to tlie late Government. You say I should 
have yielded to the views of the people, when wo would by so doing re- 
tain power. In the first place, I did not know the views of the people 
were in favor of protection until the election proved it ; and in the second 
place, I certainly would not yield, even to a majority of the people, 
principles which I believed to be right. 

" I fear you take a very low estimate of public morality in suggesting 
that a Minister might or should adopt any principles which would keep 
him in power. Such a doctrine as that would be subversive of all upright 



government and personal honesty. Every Govornment must have certain 
ideas of public policy which will govern their action, or they are un- 
principled in t'^e largest sense of that word. My Government believed 
that the doctrine of protection was wrong — was calculated to bring 
disaster to the country, and we acted on that belief. The country de- 
cided that we were in a minority in that belief, and we at once re- 
signed, in order to give those who entertain or profess to entertain a con- 
trary view a chance of carrying out their professions. Your idea ia that 
we should, for the sake of power, adopt a policy we considered ruinous 
to the country. I trust nothing will ever induce me to act the hypocrite 
in public, any more than in private affairs. If I take a place in a Govern- 
ment, it will only be to give effect to my own views of public policy. 
Better far be in opposition conscientiously, and advocating our own 
principles, than be in power without a belief iu the principles we are 
carrying out. 

'* You are good enough to inform me that I did much harm in small 
things — in passing over my own friends ; in appointments, I suppose you 
mean. I am not aware of any reason for making tliat charge. I always 
gave our friends the preference. It is possible that some members of 
Parliament supporting the Govern meat did sometimes recommend politi- 
cal opponents without our knowledge. That will happen to any Govern- 
ment. It will also happen tliat friondg of the Government will ask very 
improper things ; but no upright Govemmgnt will yield to such de- 

He tlien ^oes on to comljat specific casos of grievances, one 
of which was that a Minister had resisted payment of u dis- 
honest account. He concludes : 

"It is always an unpleasant duty to oppose payment of accounts, but 
upright Ministers must sometimes do it. I often did it, and I hope I 
did it impartially to friend and foe alike when they were wrong. Now I 
dare say all the cases you could cite would vanish on examination, as 
tiiese do. I am very sorry you take the adverse view you do of our 
course j but your opinion does not in the least attact mine. I took my 
stand on principle. I fell in its defence. I am satisfied I was right, and 
that time will show this. 1 would rather my present feeling, out of 




power, than be in power with a consciousness of trying to do what I could 
not approve of. With good wishes to all, 

"I am, yours faithfully, 

"A. Mackenzie." 

In a letter to Mr. Huntington he says : 

" I am glad now that we made no exceptional appointments before 
leaving office. Had we done so, all would have been dismissed and more 
or less odium would have attached to us. As it stands, the scandalous 
dismissal of Mr. Buckingham and some others of our friends throws the 
blame on our opponents." "■ 

There are many letters showing tliat he felt keenly the 
action of the new Ministers in this respect. 

To a friend in Nova Scotia, Mr. Mackenzie wrote : 

" You ask what were the causes of the political reverse. The main cause 
was no doubt the general depression which prevailed, and the belief in- 
stilled into the minds of the poorer classes that the Government were 
more or less concerned in the existence of so serious a state of affairs. 
As[ain, many of the manufacturers, for purely selBsh reasons, fought 
hard, oelieving they would be enriched by the imposition of higher 
duties. The protection theory had taken a deeper hold of the popular 
mind than wo had supposed. It is also certain that the temperance lo^jis- 
lation of the Government injured us in Ontario, as it arrayed the whole 
liquor interest against us, and that interest is a very powerful one. How- 
ever, we have nothing to regret. We fought our battle on principle. Wo 
did what was right, and it is better to be right and defeated, than be 
wrong and successful." 

To a former collean'ne : 

" in view even of all this, I am unable to see what otrier course I could 
have pursued, were it all to bo done ovit again. I always hail a horror 
of the policy of carrying on a Government by compromises of views on 
great questions. I could understand the expe:liency of accepting a part 
of some reform we were struggling for, if the whole could not readily be 
obtained, and could submit to it, but in this case we were struggling for a 
principle established already, an.l could not abandon it, even if it saved 




the Government to do sc In the session of 1877, the caucus mcitiuga 
were very 8tron<i against any increase in the tariff. The Islanders and 
New lirnnswickers, and also the Nova Scotians, were most determined of 
all. They waited upon nie to warn me that an increase would be fatal to 
them, and, indeed, said that they would not promise to support the Gov- 
ernment if such an increase should be proposed. In the face of .such 
views, the Island and Nova Scotia elected membei's to support an ultra 
protectionist party. Ontario deceived me quite as much. I know that in 
the cities we should have a hard struggle, but I never dreamed that the 
farmers could have imbibed the protectionist humbug, as they foolishly 

" It is now tolerably clear that Sir John did not expect to get a major- 
ity at the elections. He only hoped they would be very close, so as to 
enable him to win by some movement or chance at the second session. 
He and his friends were, therefore, very reckless in promising every class 
all they wanted. These promises are now waiting at every Cabinet Min- 
ister's door at Ottawa, and will not be put oil'. 

** The desperate attempt to behead Letellier has apparently failed. I 
Buspect Sir John has arranged with some one to bring a motion before 
Parliament condemning him, and asking for his removal, I do not, how- 
ever, believe Lord Lome will agree to dismiss a Governor who acted 
within his authority," 

Writing from Toronto, November 11th, 1878, to an intimate 
friend residing at Ottawa, the emancipated Minister rejoices 
in his freedom, and the fun ahead of him on the ice: "I 
shall have more time this cominj; session to devote to curling 
with you than I was able to get for the past five years." 

At the age of nearly fifty-seven, and after all the wear and 
tear of such a life as has been traced in these pages, there 
was a good deal of the schoolboy spirit left in him still. 




Resides in Toronto — Wolconus llio Change — "Bracing" Iliin Up -Synipu- 
tlietic Letter — I'iirliament Meets— Tho N. P. *' Eli"i)li(infc" — Kverybody Pro- 
tected — A Tiirifl' of " Corner^ " — Canada in Cast-nil" Clulliiii^' — 'I'lie Conse- 
quences of tiie Pulicj' — Mr. lilake on its Tendency — Sir Olivier Mowut on 
Patriotism — Still a Rainbow of Hope — Mr. Mackenzie Resigns tiie Leader- 
sliip — Coninieuls Tlioreupon. 

FTER resignincr office in, JS7S, My. Mac- 
kenzie lei't Ottawa to take up his pennaueut resi- 
dence in Toronto, where leading incorporated com- 
panies availed themselves of his knowledge and 
experience on their direct(n'ates. In January, 1881, 
the North American Life Assurance Company started 
on its career, with Mr, Mackenzie as president. 

His Excellency the Earl of Dutferhi was correct in his sup- 
position that in many respects Mr. Mackenzie welcomed the 
chano-e. No man had less ambition than he to sliine in a 
courtly sphere, or to Ijc prominent in the councils of the 
nation, and he gives )-epeated evidences that leadership had 
been undertaken by him as a matter of duty rather than 
of choice. He had no feeling of elation in office ; in opposi- 
tion he was not cast down. Throughout his life he had the 
courage and serenity wliicli enabled him to rise superior to 
surrounding worldly circumstances. 

The followin<x bri'Trht letter, which he wrote before the as- 
scmbling of Parliament, was in acknowledgment of an ui|ually 



iL K 





acceptable note from an cstinialile young lady, now Mrs. 
George 11. Pattullo, with the present of a pair of suspenders 
(he calls them " braces ") on his tifty-seventh birthday : 

" Ottawa, Jan. 28th, 1S79. 

" My Dear Miss BiooAR,- The pofitman has just left your package, 
enclosing your kind note and your contribution towards ' bracing ' me up 
for coming duties. 

"My wife looked anxiously over my shoulder at the mysterious 
package as 1 opened it, observing, no doubt, the lady's handwriting, and 
fearing probably that it was a love-philter which might chain me to the 
fair correspondent, as was often done some centuries ago, according to the 
old ballads. 

" At tlie first glance, she said ' garters ! ' what can it mean ? I replied 
in the words of the motto of the Order of the Garter, as well as of the 
Sovereigns of England: ' Evil be to him that evil thinks' — ' Honi soit 
qui mal y pense.' But when the whole was unfolded, and your note 
dropped out, I think all her fears vanished, and I was graciously per- 
mitted to acknowledge the present myself. 

"It was very kind of you to remember a day in my history which I 
had myself forgotten until I read your note, and I return you my 
warmest thanks, Rideau Ilall sends me an invitation, with the words 
' full dress. ' 1 shall grace my Windsor uniform with the new braces, 
when I can say that the unseen is perhaps better than the seen portion of 
the Court garb. 

" 1 shall feel very dejected this winter at Ottawa, not bo much at being 

on the Opposition benches, as at the loss of so many of my old Ontario 

friends. 1 will especially miss your father, who was not merely a political 

friend but a personal friend of the stamp 1 to moat. I hope wo 

shall soon hear of an improvement in his health. Mrs. Mackenzie and 

I join in sending you all good wishes for him and yourself. 

*' I am, dear Miss Biggar, 

•' Vours very sincerely, 

" A. Mackenzie. 
" Miss Biggar, Murray P. O." 

This, written a few months aftci'wards, to the same corres- 


writing, and 
in me to the 
>rding to the 







IKjivk'nt, on tlic death of her fatlior, illustrates tlio other phase 

oL' his character, of which his pen g'ivcs us ao many beautiful 


" TouoNTO, June 20th, 1871». 

" My Dear Miss "Riooau,— The very greatness of your domestic cala- 
mity prevented ua hitherto intruding upon you, even with our sympathy. 
There are events with which a stranger should not intermeddle ; one of 
these is the death of a very near relative. I have myself felt on such 
occasions that I wanted to be let alone for a time. I am sure, however, 
that you will allow us to express our deep sympathy with you in so un- 
expected a calamity. At the time of your father's death wo were hoping; 
to see him, on his way home in restored health. We little dreamed when 
we saw him last we were never to meet him again in this life. He and 1 
entered Parliament together eighteen years ago, and during all these 
years we were fast friends. Indeed no one could help being friends with 
James Biggar, unless he were a worthless mati, for he was a model ot 
personal kindness and courtesy, as he was also a pattern of the Christian 
gentleman. He was one of the few with whom I could always hold unre- 
strained converse in a social and religious sense. There are few left behiuci 
to whom I can speak as 1 couUl speak to him, and after middle life onvj 
does not make many new friends. Altogether 1 feel the blank his depar- 
iWTQ has caused very much, though there was no tie of kindred by bloix\ 
between us. I can easily imagine how much you mu«f, of all ihe family, 
feel the loss of your honored father. 

" Although no amount of sympathy can make up in any perceptible- 
degree for the great blank in your family circle, still it may and should 
be gratifying to know how universal was the respt'ct felt for him, ant\ 
how general is the feeling of sympathy with you. Tiie greatest conaolft- 
tion of all is, however, that ho has entered into vhe ' rest which remaineth 
for the people of God.' While we mourn his departure, he has ' seen thi^ 
King in Ilia beauty, and the land that is far oil".' We mourn, but he re- 
joices. I sometimes think, when such as ho departs, that their lot is 
nuich better than that of those who remain here to battle with the seltish- 
iiess, coldness and injustice of the world. We do not know what is 
escaped by an early departure. Besides, we always know that all ihings 
are ordered well, and for the best, by our Heavenly Father, who cannot 
Commit any mistaki*. Wo may not bo able to aee that there is a provi- 




dence in such visitations, but we will understand all when we follow those 
who have gone before. We both send our kindest re<,'ards, 

"1 am, my dear Miss Bi>;gar, 

" Yours very sincerely, 

"A. Mackk-nzik." 

Parliament mot on IStli of February, 1879, and Mr. Mac- 
kenzie made a pleasant speech on the election of Mr. Blanchct 
as Speaker. He pla}' fully twitted the leader of the Gov- 
ernment on havinf^ departed frotn his own precedent in 1873, 
when he proposed the continuance, as the custom has been for 
tiity years in Enf]flaiid, of the Speaker of tJie previous Parlia- 
ment. But as Sir John hail taken a different course, Mr. Mac- 
kenzie said it would be difficult for any honorable <>-ontltnnan 
to be named on the Ministerial sitle who would ji-ive oreater 
Siitisfaction to the Opposition than Mr. Blanchet. He had no 
doubt Mr. Blanchet would tlischarnre the high and onerous 
duties devolving upon him with faitlifulness and conscienti- 
ousness, and he might rely upon the Opposition giving hiiu 
every support consistent with due regard for Parliamentary 

On the 14th of March, Mr. Tilley unfolded his budget, and 
with it camo the great Canadian cure-all, so widely advertised 
umler the name of " N. P." Mr. Mackenzie described it as 
"the elephant." Wi'iting the day after it appeared, to his for- 
mer secretary, he says : 

*' So the Elephant has come laden with * rings/ and covered with tie 
most dazzling of trappings, for which the poor Car aJian people will have 
sweetly to pay. Tilley has surrendered himself to every class of nianiifac- 
turora, and has given each class all they supposed they wanted, but wo 
find already that some of them fotl their toes trod upon by the indulgence 
he has bestowed on others. Let me illustrate. A tirm in Ilauiilton bmld 
bridges; they had before ITJ. per cent., and they paid 5 per cent, on iron 
bara. Now they get 'JO per cent., but they have to pay 17A per cent, on 





iron bars. In other words, they previously had 12i per cent, in their 
favor, now they have 2^ per cent. Another case is this : An electro>plate 
company in Toronto asked for protection, and they got 30 per cent. ; but 
the German silver, of which three pounds are required for one pound of 
the finished product, is put at 10 per cent. They write me that this kind 
of protection they really cannot understand. There is much excitement, 
and not a little fun, today over it all." 

The design was to give every manufacturer all he wanted 
ol' this panacea, but the chief difficulty was in carrying the 
design into effect. The Finance Minister's dilemma was well 
illustrated by Mr. Mackenzie in the foregoing letter, and was 
amplified by him a hundred times afterwards. It ]ay in the 
solution of the problem of giving protection to one man's 
finished product without doing injustice to the raw material 
of his neighbor. Agreement there might be in the resolution 
to spoil the enemy. The (piarrel arose as to the mode in 
which the spoils should be divided. 

The tarifi' provided a tax on things innumerable, and filled 
thirteen pages of Hansard. Mr. Tilley pn^fessed his desire 
to be as much as possible to substitute tlie specific for the 
ad valorem system of duties, and to make those duties so high 
as to give encouragement to Canadian manufacturers, while 
preventing the country from being made a " slaughter mar- 
ket " for United States products. Two millions additional 
revenue were required from customs, and he asserted that the 
duties were to be so imposed as to draw the chief part of that 
money from the imports of foreign countries, and not from 
those of England. lie also stated that countervailing duties 
wouM be imposed on foreign sugar, in order to protect our 
own refineries from the bounty systems of other countries. 

Sir Richard Cartwright likened the tariff' to the tai-ilf intro- 
duced into the United States in the early part of the century. 


^ Pfl 




and which was largely instrumental in causing the civil war. 
That tariff was familiar to the students of American history 
as " the tariff" of abominations." "I do not know," he said, 
" that this rises to the dignity of the American tariff I have 
named, but the Canadian student may, perhaps, fairly describe 
it as a tariff ol cornel's. There is scarcely one single pro- 
posal in which men accustomed to deal with such questions 
will fail to see concessions to some particular clique, to some 
particular interest, to some prominent political partisan, or to 
some particular class whom it is desirable, for political rea- 
sons, to conciliate." There were privileges here, concessions 
there, and injustice everywhere. There was an attempt at 
what Carlyle declared to be the impossible problem, namely, 
out of the united action of a community of dishonest men to 
evolve an honest policy. The predominating principle had 
been : Get political influence — revenue, if you can, but politi- 
cal influence any how. It was another illustration of the 
Scripture doctrine: "To him that hath, shall be given, and 
from him that hath not, shall lie taken away even that which 
he hath." It was unjustly discriminative, taxing the articles 
consumed by the poor at a higher rate than those consumed 
by the rich — the proportion being on some goods as 80 per 
cent, is to G. Ivegarding the sugar duties, the people would 
be taxed one million of dollars per annum for the benefit uf 
half a dozen persons engaged in refining. 

Dr. Tujjper defended the protective policy, and maintained 
it was through protection that (Jreat Britain had reache<.l the 
position of prominence and distinction she occupies as a 
manufacturing country. 

Mr. Mackenzie said : " It is to me a most humiliating spec- 
tacle to (iiid a large majority ol" the representatives of the 
peo})le rejoicing at the prospect ol" an immediate and large 




increase in the taxation of the country. It is a humiliating 
spectacle to find so large a body of intelligent gentlemen as 
are now assembled, representing Canada, taking up the cast- 
off clothing of older nations and wearing it, in adopting a 
policy that has ruined other nations, and rejecting a policy 
that has made the Mother Country great and prosperous be- 
yond all precedent. And, sir, it is amazing that such an exhi- 
bition could have been presented in an intelligent country in a 
position of observing, as we are in a position of observing, 
the results of protection in the neighboring country." Pro- 
tection was no cure for trade depression. Trade had often 
been stagnant. Witness the years from 1856 to 1859. What 
was the policy then of the Liberal party ? No one could 
point to a single speech of himself or any other Liberal mem- 
ber in that much severer crisis, charging the responsibility 
upon the Government. He said the tariff' was unjust in its 
operation, being a tariff' favoi'able to the higher classes as 
against the interests of the people. On the 17th of April he 
moved an amendment in that sense, and declaratory also of 
the tendency of the tariff to render " futile the costly and 
persistent efforts of tliis country to secure a share of the im- 
mense and growing carrying trade of this continent, and tend- 
ing to create an antagonism between the connnercial policy of 
tlie Empire and that of Canada that might lead to conse- 
quences deeply to be deplored." The amendment was nega- 
tived by a vote of 53 to 136, and after a long debate the tariff 
went into effect with but very little change. 

In his well-known letter, at the general election of 1891, 
when he took leave of his West Durham constituents, Mr. 
Blake drew this alarming but too truthful picture of the 
efi'ects produced upon the Dominion by the Conservative 
policy : 






'* The Canadian Conservative policy has failed to accomplish the pre- 
dictions of its promoters. 

'* Its real tendency has been, as foretold twelve years ago, towards dis- 
integration and annexation, instead of consolidation and the maintenance 
of that British connection of which they claim to be the special guardians. 

" It has left us with a small population, a scanty immigration, and a 
North-West empty still ; with enormous additions to our public debt and 
yearly charges, an extravagant system of expenditure, and an unjust and 
oppressive tariff, with restricted markets for our needs, whether to buy or 
to sell, and all the host of evils (greatly intensified by our special condi- 
tions) thence arising ; with trade diverted from its natural into forced and 
therefore less profitable channels, and with unfriendly relations and frown- 
ing tariff walls, ever more and more estranging us from the mighty Eng- 
lish-speaking nation to the south, our neighbors and relations, with whom 
we ought to be, as it was promised we should be, living in generous amity 
and liberal intercourse. 

" Worse, far worse ! It has left us with lowered standards of public 
virtue and a d athlike apathy in public opinion ; with racial, religious 
and provincial animosities rather inflamed than soothed ; with a subser- 
vient Parliament, an autocratic Executive, debauched constituencies, ant? 
corrupted and corrupting classes ; with lessened self-reliance and increased 
dependence on the public chest and on legislative aids, and possessed withal 
by a boastful jingo spirit far enough removed from true manliness, loudly 
proclaiming unreal conditions and exaggerated sentiments, while actual 
facts and genuine opinions are suppressed. 

*' It has left us with our hands tied, our future compromised, and in 
such a plight tliat, whether wo stand or move, we must run some risks 
which we might have either declined or encountered with greater promise 
of success." 

But amid the glooir. here remains a ray of hglit: 

" Yet let us never despair of our country. It is a goodly land, endowed 
with great recuperative powers and vast resources as yet undeveloped ; 
inhabited by populations moral and religious, sober and industrious, vir- 
tuous and thrifty, capable and instructed — the descendants of a choice 
immigration, of men of mark and courage, energy and enterprise, in the 
breasts of whose children still glow the sparks of those ancestral tires. 

h tlie pre- 

)warda dia- 
ion, and a 
ic debt and 
unjust and 
ir to buy or 
ecial condi- 
) forced and 
i and frown- 
lighty Eng- 
, with whom 
leroua amity 

da of public 
Lai, religioua 
th a Bubaer- 
.uenciea, and 
,nd increased 
sessed withal 
iness, loudly 
while actual 

nised, and in 
,n some risks 
eater prouiiso 

;vnd, endowed 
undeveloped ; 
Instrioua, vir- 
8 of a choice 
r prise, in the 
jatral tires. 



" Under such conditions all is not lost. * Though much be taken, much 
abides.' And if we do but awake from our delusive dreams, face the sharp 
facts in time, repair our errors and amend our ways, there may still re- 
main tor us, despite the irrevocable past, a future, if not so clear and 
bright as we might once have hoped, yet fair and honorable, dignified and 

Sir Oliver Mowat also pointed, not long since, to the rain- 
bow of hope still to be seen in Canadian skies. He was pre- 
sent at the celebration, at Niar,axra-on-the-Lake, on the 16th of 
July, 1802, of the one-hundredth anniversary of the establish- 
ment of representative government in the Province of Upper 
Canada, when he made a patriotic appeal to the people to 
oppose annexation and cultivate a Canadian spirit. With a 
firm, though light and graceful touch, the Ontario Premier 
gave the true reason why we have fallen back in the race \\'\i\\ 
the United States during the past ten years. We quote tlio 
paragraph, and follow Sir Oliver Mowat's example, by leaving 
it as it stands : 

" It is pleasant to know that until the last ten years of its history Can- 
ada advanced faster in proportion than the States of the American Union 
as a whole, or than most of the individual States did. As to the causes of 
there not having been like progresa during the laat decade, we Reformers 
ascribe the falling off to the N. P., or so-called National Policy, and the 
high taxation. (Conservatives argue for other causes ; but this is not an 
nccasiun for discussing the question between us." 

Of the British connection of which Mr. Blake and Sir Oliver 
Mowat spoke, there was no more faithful guardian tiiroughout 
his life than Mr. Mackenzie. There are examples 'n all history 
of the fall of nations through the oppression of the people l>y 
l)arty for party purpos(^s, for if, as a great writer says, " Lib- 
erty and equality of civil rights are brave, spirit-stirring 
things," so the denial of those rights inevitably produces divi- 
sions, dissatisfaction, destruction. 




When Parliament met, on the 13th of February, 1880, Mr. 
Mackenzie took occasion to speak of what the tariff had 
already done. He said he believed that but for the bountiful 
harvest in Canada last summer, and the serious deficiency in 
Great Britain and Ireland, the state of the Dominion this 
winter would have been the most deplorable ever known. 
The speech from the Throne asserted that the effect of the 
tariff of la.'^t session in the development of che varied indus- 
tries of the country had, on the whole, been very satisfac- 
tory. But so far from this beino- the case, Mr. Mackenzie 
was able to show that, notwithstandinf^ the o^ootl harvest here 
and the bad harvest in Great Britain, the failures in Canada, 
representing manufacturers as well as traders, showed liabili- 
ties durino- the year past of $29,347,000, as against S23,908,- 
000 in 1878. The Finance Minister had not created wealth 
by protection, bat he had redistributed it by placing it in the 
hands of a few monopolists who had been built up by his 
policy ; the sugar monopolists alone having had a million of 
dollars given them at the expense of the whole country, while 
another effect of the same policy had been to palm off inferior 
articles at enhanced prices upon the consuming population. 

The House had continued to sit into the early hours of 
Wednesday, the 28th of April, 1880. We take the following 
from the " Debates " of an important occurrence immediately 
before the adiournment at two a.m. : 

" TiiK (JproHiTioN Leadkkskip. 

" Mr. Mackenzik . I desire to say a word or two with regard to my 
personal relatioua to the House. I, yesterday, determined to withdraw 
from the position as leader of the Opposition, and from this time forth 1 
will speak and act for no person but myself. 

" SiK Jou.v A. Mac DONALD : Of course we, on this side of the House, 
have nothing to say to such a decision. But all I can say is that I hoie 




1880, Mr. 
;ariif had 

acicncy in 
inion i^iis 
er known, 
feet of the 
ried indus- 
ry satisfuc- 

avvest here 

in Canada, 
)wed liabili- 
ist S23,908,- 
ated wealth 
iiio- it in the 
up by his 

a miUion of 
untry, while 
oft" inferior 
ly hours of 

le following- 


regard to my 
3d to withdraw 
,hia time forth 1 

lo of the Hoxisi', 
ly is that I hoi'e 

the hon. gentleman who takes the place of the hon. member for Lambton, 
and his party, will display the same ability, earnestness and zoal for 
what he thinks and believes to be for the good of the country as have 
been displayed by my hon. friend who has just taken his seat." • 

The inner life of Mr. Mackenzie, as revealed in these pages, 
proves that public care sat by no means as lightly upon him 
at any time in his career as his outward demeanor would seem 
to imjily. The leading positions he was placed in came to him 
unsought, and not in response to a desire on his own part, 
however slight, to obtain them ; much less to a craving for 
personal distinction, or for the satisfaction of personal ambi- 
tion. From these weaknesses of human nature he was freer 
than most other men. When, however, responsibility presented 
itself in the shape of duty, he did not shrink from its obliga- 
tions, and he strenuously strove to show himself equal to 
them. Whatever the strain, there was no sign to the world of 
a sinking beneath its pressure. As he said in the letter we 
have quoted from, to his brother, at the close of the harassing 
session of 1878, he " took care to let no one know of it." A 
way was now open to him to retire, and, he was " glad to 

An influential journal voiced the public sentiment with ad- 
mirable perspicacity and knowledge when it said that Mr. 
Mackenzie served his party with zeal, fidelity, and courage, 
and led it with a clear head and ripe judgment. He did not 
enter its high places when all was pleasant with it, and retreat 
M'heu it looked gloomy. From the time when he became 
leader in 18G7, to the day of his retirement, he held the helm 
with unwavering constancy, and the Liberal party and the 
country were deeply his debtors. 

We condense from another of the many appreciative articles 
on Mr. Mackenzie, published at that time, the following : , 




" Mr, Mackenzie stands out among the men of his time a representative 
of a class of statesmen who are the glory of constitutional government, 
and who give character to the best thought of their times. Under his 
leadership the Liberal party rose from almost utter extinction at the time 
of Confederation to the highest power and greatness. Mr. Mackenzie 
has given proofs of wisdom and patriotism that will add lustre to the 
history of our time. Throughout a career remarkable for steadiness of 
purpose, he has never consulted the promptings of expediency in order to 
avoid a disagreeable duty. To this fact, perhaps, he owes the loss of 
some measure of personal popularity, while he haa gained in those ele- 
ments of character which strengthen a statesman for the highest if not the 
ultimate purposes of life. The Liberal party may now be said to be pass- 
ing through a period of tribulation almost unexampled. The lamented 
death of Mr. Holton, the prostration of Mr. Brown, and the resignation 
of Mr. Mackenzie, are events that must deeply afl'ect the position of par- 
ties and the men who compose them." 

On his retirement from the leadership a resolution was 
unanimously adopted by the Liberal party, assuring him of 
their respect, confidence and affection, and these feelings were 
as cordially shared outside the walls of Parliament as by the 
members of the two Houses who met to give them formal 
expression. Mr. Blake was elected Mr. Mackenzie's successor 
as leader of the Liberal party. 

J '^hj^^: 



Death of Mr. Holton and Mr. Brown— Mr. Brown's Biography — The Session 
ot 1880-1 —A Spice of Humor — The Canadiivn Kxodus — More About Pro- 
tection — Mr. Mackenzie on Canadian Honors — Bestowal of Titles on Chief 
Justices Ricliards and Dorion — Mr. Mackenzie and Mr. Blake Decline — 
Mr. Brown's Declinature in 1874— What Mr. Holton Thought — Mr. Mac- 
kenzie Declines a Second and Tliird Time — Letter from Lord Lome Offer- 
ing a Title— Lord Duffcrin on Canadian Distinctions. 

^ wo great griefs came upon Mr. Mackenzie, close 
upon eacli other, in the death of Mr. Holton and 
Mr. Brf^wn. Mr. Holton died suddenly at Ottawa, 
about the middle of March, 1880. Mr. Mackenzie 
had scarcely begun to recover from this calamity when 
tliere was added to it the shock, a few days after- 
wards, of a still greater sorrow at the murder in Toronto of 
Mr. Brown. 

Writing to Mrs. Mackenzie on the 15th of March, he spoke 
of Mr. Holton's death as a terrible blow to himself. " Poor 
fellow," he says, " he was so solicitous about my own health, 
knowing it is by no means good, and was always trying to 
arrange some little plan to relieve me of some work. He was 
as cheery as ever on Saturday, when last seen by Pelletier, 
a little before midnight. Every morning came his inquiry : 
' How are you to-day, Mackenzie ? ' We had a sad midnight 
procession to the station." 

Sir John A. Macdonald, on the day on which this letter was 




written, moved the adjournment of the House as a mark of 

respect to tlie deceased member. Mr. Mackenzie, perhaps for 
the only time in his life, in attempting to second the resolu- 
tion, utterly broke down. He had addressed two sentences 
to his fellow-members, and was commencing a third, when he 
was overcome by an emotion which was more eloquent than 
words, and resumed his seat. 

Mr. Brown lingered for many weeks, and died in May. 
Later, Mr. Mackenzie, then himself in failing health, became 
his biographer, and made the work a loving and faithful tri- 
bute to the memory of his friend ; though to our mind, agree- 
ing, as we do with Thackeray in " Henry Esmond," that 
"history should be familiar, rather than heroic," it is a little 
too unbending. 

The Petrolia Reform Association, on the occasion of its first 
meeting after the change of the Liberal leadership, adopted an 
address, approving of Mr. Mackenzie's course while at the 
head of the Liberal party. 

In his reply on the 14th of July, 1880, Mr, Mackenzie 
referred to the calumnies by which he had been persistently 
assailed, and declared that he had, to the best of his judgment, 
done what was just and right. On the trade question, he 
wrote as follows : 

" Af*^or the election was lodt m 1878, some Liberals were found to 
express a regret that my Administration did not countenance the protec 
tive movement to such an extent as would, in their opinion, have secured 
us from dvjfeat. Protection, ab a ;K)litical principle, is either • Ijjjht or 
wrong. If wrong, it siiould bo resisted. We believed that it was wrong, 
and therefore "o !d not accei)t it, even if we had known that resistance 
would cost js .e loss of olhce. The euccess of that principle means the 
promotion of the interusta of a small class at the expense of the whole 
com.iunity. *■ majority of our people evidently thought otherwise in 
September, 1878, as they returned a majority of protectionist candidates. 



mark of 

•liaps for 
e resolu- 


when he 

ent than 

in May. 
1, became 
tht'ul tri- 
ad, agree- 
nd," that 
is a little 

of its first 
dopted an 
le at the 




stion, he 

9 found to 
the proteo 
live secured 
er : li^ht or 
wiia wrong, 
t resistance 
3 inmins the 

the whole 
tliorwise in 


Two years* experience has satisfied the country of the truth of the 

" The farmers, who constitute a large majority of our people, now know, 
whao they then refused to believe, that protection means an increase in 
price in all that they buy, and no increase in price for what they have to 
sell. The mechanic and laborer, by painful experience, now know that 
the cost of living is much higher than during previous years, and there has 
been no increase of wages. They earn no more money than before, and 
the money buys less of the goods necessary to life. 

" Some political writers affect to see some difference between the appli- 
cation of the laws of commerce in Canada and England, in order, apparently, 
to cover their own inconsistency. There may be local inequalities in both 
coun'ries, hut moral |)ri)"iples are not atl'ected by a higlier or lower 
latitude, and they have the same weight with all just men, whether they 
live east or west of Greenwich. 

"Conservative leaders and candidates promised an immediate return of 
prosperity, as the sure result of a defeat of the Liberal Government ; 
abundance of work and high wages were promised to the laborer and 
artisan ; the farmer was to receive higher prices for all the products of the 
farm ; an immediate 'iso in bank and other stocks was to take place as the 
fi'st sign of the- coming commercial millenium, and it was to be a sure 
indication of the confidence of the monied world in the new (iOctrines. 
What was the actual .osultf An ^npreceden^ed fall in all securities 
greeted the advent of Tory reactionaries. Such a scarcity of 'ork pre- 
vailed that a most alarming exodus of our people to the United States 
seemed to be the only relief, and this exodus continues until this hour. 
A deeper gloom settled down on the commercial classes, illustrated by the 
extraordinary rush to the Insolvent Courts, The price of farm produce 
went down lower than beforf, a temporary improvement being only 
reached because of our good harvest and the deplorable failuie of the har- 
vuBt in the motherland. An enormous increase in taxation has taken 
place, but heavy deficits in the revenue still continue, showing that tlie 
additiojifU taxes are for the benefit of individuals, not for the deliverance 
of the State." 

Thei ) was a vspice of humor in Mr. Mackenzie's remarks 
on tiie address on the 10th of December, KSiSO: "The lion. 




First Minister complains tluit a Ministerial paper printed some 
garbled extracts from the speech of the honorable member 
for Durham (Mr. Blake), and placed a portrait of tlie hon- 
orable member at the head of the speech to prevent emigrants 
from coming into the country. The First Minister should get 
out a counter fly-sheet, and put his portrait at the head of it, so 
as to attract emigrants into the country. That would be a 
just methoil uf retaliation, and no one who migiit sec the 
portraits side by side could hesitate for a moment." 

In the course of the same debate, Mr. Llake was able to 
point to some of the fruits of the Government policy. lu 
the five lean years, as they were called, of Mr. Mackenzie's 
Administration, the exodus to the United States numbered 
120,000 persons ; but in oidy fifteen months since then, the 
exodus amounted to l.'}7,000. The)-e was a total emigration 
into the United States in the year 1879 of 450,000 people, and 
of that total, Canada contributed tive-ninths. The quality 
of the eniigratii)n from Canada was described by the First 
Minister (Sir John Macdonald) when, addressing a meeting 
of Manchester merchants, he said : •' The men who thus leave 
our country are of the brightest, wisest, ablest, most ingen- 

This session, there was, of course, a further tinkering with 
the tarifi". It was operated on a lew weeks later, when Mr. 
Mackenzie again critici.sod the Government policy. In the 
course of his speech he said : 

" 1 believe no country having commorcial reliitions with tho world can 
avoid having a foreign tnule, because tho moment a country censes U\ 
have a foreign trade, it sinks in the scale of nations, goes behind the ago, 
and has no nio.ins in comiuoii with tho rest of tho world to e.\chaii,'i' 
commodities. Tlie idea of tho iuinorable gentlemen oppcmite seema to lio 
ViastHl upon the opinioti that every one who buys from them can bo matio 
to pay their own price, while they are able tu aeil at their own prices alsu. 



I believe, and all commercial authorities believe, that the true method of 
conducting trade is for every people to sell what tliey produce most easily 
to those who possess some other comrr.odity which such people require, 
but cannot easily produce. One of the most disastrous results of a 
protective policy is tliat it destroys the freedom of exchange, and tends 
to build up monopolies at the expense of the pe<iple. To be sure, tlie 
remedy will come. The honorable gentlemen opposite seem to think that 
there can be no change of government in tliis country until every one in 
it becomes a protectionist. 1 believe tlieir policy has already proved a 
disastrous failure. The melancholy statement that the Minister of 
Finance made to-night was one that any Government might be ashamed 
of, especially they who proclaimed so loudly that the moment a change of 
Government took place, returning prosperity would appear ; tliat every^)n9 
would be employed, that bank stocks would rise in value, and that every- 
thing would show increased prosperity. From that day to the present, 
increased depression has taken place. Stocks fell, failures increased, and 
there was very S(jon the deepest distress that could possibly be imagined, 
and the honorable gentlemen opposite were only saved, for the moment, 
by the good crop of last year. Even that good crop would not have done 
much, but for th-^ fact that there was a sad failure of crops in Europe, 
whicli necessitated the purchase of very large amounts of produce at high 
rates on this side of the Atlantic. And yet the honorable gentlemen 
opposite speak as if they produced the high price of wheat. They pro- 
duced the high price in manufactured articloa, aiid everything they 
touched, with the rod of the tax-gatherer. They taxed the coal and tlour 
and food of the noor — everything they could lay their hands on consumed 
by the poor— and thereby increased the cost of living; but, although they 
put a tax on wheat, that had no intluence on the price of wheat in tliis 
country, though it injured trade in that article. Every person knows it 
could not have had any intluence on prices, because the ultimate market 
was England, and wo were only carriers of wheat from one end of the 
country to the other. The result of the policy of the honorable gentlemen 
opposite has been disastrous, even to the rovouuo, which has shown great 

Mr. Mackenzie, Mr. niako, Mr. I'.iowii and Mr. Holton wore 
all averse to trajisyilantincj to the (Iciiiocratic soil of this couu- 


IB' ^Bt' 





y IB 


m M 



■ < ! 7 1 



H A 



try those uri s toe rati c distinctions wliicli aro so liiifhly prized 
in Enjfland. It would surprise very many if they knew liow 
much ofc' Mr. Mackeiizio's time and enert.fy w(!re spent in ra- 
sistintj those wlio, without conspicuous merit, chimoured i'or 
such distinctions, and also in i-csistiriL; those in England who 
were only too anxious to bestow them. 

lie insisted that the Canadian Prime Minister was a l)etter 
judi^e of what was suitable for Canadians in matters of title, 
as well as Ujattcrs of trade, than the (Colonial Minister in 
London. He had usually ^ood rc^asons for whatever position 
l)e took, and his j^^eneral argument on this liead may be thus 

He adnntted it to have been a loim-standiim custom for the 
Imperial Government of its own miM-i; motion to select such 
persons in the various colonies as appeared to it most suitable 
to be the recipients of honors, without any niferenci; to the 
Colonial Atlministration, and that it miLjht seem natural for 
the hotne authorities to follow that practice in (Canada at the 
present t'\uu\ lb; had, however, a strong conviction that a 
custom which possibly seemed to b*; convenient in snuill C(j1- 
onie.s, was wholly unsuital)le in Canada. Her Majesty's 
Caiuidian Government had functions to ])erform which no other 
Colonial Government was calhul upon to discharge. 

Our poj)ulati()n had now reached over foui* millions — more 
than that of Scotland, and almost as large as tlu; population of 
In^land. \V(! appointed the Tjieutenant-Ciovernors of the Pro- 
vinces, and KUpervis((d the legislation of the Pi-ovijicial Legis- 
latures. The (.anadian Goverrnnent alone cotdd \n) cognisant 
of the merits or demerits of the several classes (jf state; olll- 
cials connected with the Provincial (JoverrnnontH, such as Lieu- 
tenant-Governors and local Ministers, as well as of judges in 
the Provincial Courts. 

'/'///■; OFF I'] Its or A TiTLi:. 


Regarded politically, Canada was a dillicult country to 
govci-n. While there were here no social class interests to 
consult, there we.e more complex interests alvva^'s crop])in;^- up 
in the forms of race and creed. It was dillieult to do anything 
for an Eni^lisii-speakini( Canadian without <^dvin!jf a coi'j'cs- 
ponding lienelit to a French Canadian. A preponderance; of 
Catholic or Protestant appointees to honoi's was instantly 
detected. Sectional interests were also very strong, and nnist 
be considered hy the Governnicut, no nuitti'i- how diisirahle it 
might be as a nuitter of p)-iii('ij)lc to avoid so doing. He 
yielded to no one in his anxiety to j)ri|)ctu;i,te the powers ;u)d 
prestige of JJritain on