Macdonald X-XXI

The Right Honorable
Sir John A. Macdonald

Sir John A. Macdonald in 1878  
First Prime Minister of Canada
In Office:  17 October 1878 – 6 June 1891
Queen Victoria
Governor General
Earl of Dufferin
Marquess of Lorne
Marquess of Lansdowne
Lord Stanley of Preston
Preceded by
Alexander Mackenzie
Succeeded by
John Abbott
                    In Office - 1 July 1867 – 5 November 1873
Queen Victoria
Governor General
Viscount Monck
Baron Lisgar
Earl of Dufferin
Preceded by
Position Established
Succeeded by
Alexander Mackenzie
                  Personal Details
John Alexander Macdonald
11 January 1815
Glasgow, Scotland
6 June 1891 (aged 76)
Ottawa, Ontario
Political party
Liberal-Conservative (evolved into Conservative Party)
Isabella Clark (1843–1857, died)
Agnes Bernard (1867–1891, survived as widow)
John Alexander (died in infancy) and Hugh John by Isabella;
Mary by Agnes.
Alma mater
none (articled with a lawyer in Kingston)
Presbyterian and later Anglican 
Sir John A., The Old Chieftain, Old Tomorrow


To know a man, observe how he wins his object rather than how he loses it. — C. C. Cotton,


In his maiden term in Parliament, John A. lived in the quiet, unpretentious way which characterized him all through his after-life. A man named. Henderson kept, at the corner of St. Maurice and St. Henry streets, a small grocery, and over the grocery a boarding house, and here John A. had one room and took his meals. This old house is still standing. John A. is described at this time as wearing a long tailed coat and baggy trousers, with a loose necktie somewhat of the Byronic style. His face was smoothly shaved, as it always was, and he had the appearance of an actor. His walk then, as ever after, was peculiar. His step was short, and when he went to a seat, there was something in his movement which suggested a bird alighting in a hesitating way from a flight His quick and all-comprehending glance, and that peculiar jerking of the head, bore out the comparison in other respects.

It will have been noticed that though he did considerable parliamentary work of a business kind, he did not push himself forward as a speaker. Not a single speech, or even an observation, on the leading questions is recorded of him in the first session. Those who knew him at this day said he was to be frequently found in the library, reading up cases and precedents, and posting himself. He was not anxious to show off his oratory, or make himself conspicuous in debate, but was no doubt preparing himself for the greater work of putting a hand on the tiller, and influencing, if not controlling, the public policy.

In the session of 1846 he was appointed a member of the Library Committee, his fondness for books having *been already noticed; and his name appears in almost every division list, showing that he was regular in his duties and was not in the habit of shirking votes. In the first short speech recorded of him, on the question of excusing absent member;;, "hear, hears" were noted by the reporter three times—an evidence of the attention and approval of the House.

He introduced a bill to incorporate the "Wolf Island, Kingston & Toronto Railroad Co.," and the following week moved the second reading of the "Montreal & Lr.chine Railroad " bill. In the course of the discussion, Mr. McDonald, of Glengarry, said he had brought in a bill that da.y for a road from Montreal to Kingston, which was to form part of a great chain of railroads from Montreal to Port Sarnia, and he feared this Montreal and Lachine road would be built on such an expensive scale that no company could buy it out at a profit. He, therefore, asked Mr. J. A. Macdonald to postpone his bill. Mr. John A. Macdonald did not see the matter in that light at all, and said these other roads referred to were got up for speculation, and were dependent upon English capitalists, while his was an all Canadian enterprise. This summary of his first debate is given in order to show how he valued the idea of self-reliance in Canadian enterprises.

It may interest the general reader to refer to the views held on the tariff question, as shown in a debate in this session. On an amendment to an act relating to the duties on leather, Mr. Cayley called attention to a despatch received that year from Hon. W. E. Gladstone, saying that unless the duties on leather, imposed by this act, were reduced, it would not receive the Royal assent. Mr. Hall said that leather manufactures, when imported by way of Montreal (that is, from England), only paid a duty of 5 percent., while, if imported from Kingston or Toronto (which meant from the United States), they paid 25 or 30 per cent. He protested against this injustice to Upper Canada. Col. Draper, the leader of the House, explained that they had put up the duty to protect the manufacturers of Upper Canada, but the Royal assent to the act had been withheld. Mr. Hall retorted that he knew perfectly well we must do as we were told, and not as we wished; but how long was this going to last? He was prepared to pass the bill year after year, and let the Home Government disallow it, if they liked; but we ought not to be so tender of British interests, when they were moving heaven and earth to put us on the same footing as foreigners in regard to wheat (referring to the free trade movement). Mr. Macdonald; of Kingston, said a bill was passed last session, giving protection to the manufactures of the colony, and the measure now before them was to make that legislation* effectual. If the members did not make up their minds to carry it through, they must give up all they had fought for and all they had gained, and resolve to put our manufactures in competition with the convict labor of the American penitentiary. With respect to Mr. Gladstone's despatch, whether the principle enunciated in it were right or wrong, we must be governed by it. The danger to our markets was not from British but from American manufacturers.

It will be seen from this debate that the relations of Canada have undergone some most important changes since then, when the tariff policy of the country was considered a matter of Imperial business.

During a debate on a bill that Mr. Macdonald had introduced, to amend the Kingston incorporation act, Mr. Seymour, the member for Frontenac, the county in which Kingston is situated, made some strictures on the debt of Kingston, and said the member for Kingston had himself felt called upon to resign his seat at the city council boari on account of the low state of the funds, and that he had instituted an action aga:nst the corporation at the instance of the Commercial Bank. Mr. Macdonald replie i that he had resigned because he could not be in two places at once. He admitted that the credit of the city was not very good, but this was because they had a bad corporation.*

The Government of this day had treated Mr. Ryland, the registrar of Montreal, in a shabby manner ; and although a supporter of the Government, our member expressed his indignation in the House in no stinted way. "I speak warmly on thio subject," he concluded, "because I feel warmly. It makes my blood boil to think of the manner in which Mr. Ryland has been treated." The motion he made on the subject was lost, however, the Government opposing it. . The question of vote by ballot was now coming up, and it is worthy of remark that John A. Macdonald is found opposing it, as in after years we will find that he opposed more than one reform, whicR, however, he would subsequently help to shape and carry out when he found that public opinion demanded it. The reason he gave against vote by ballot now was, that "the people in Canada had no one exercising an illegitimate influence over them as in England and European countries."

Mr. Macdonald must have already impressed the Government with his ability as a lawyer, if not a politician, for in this year he was made a Queen's counsel.

These were the last days of the old Toryism that had prevailed under the name of the Family Compact, and scarcely a month passed without Cabinet changes or rumors of changes. The younger and more enlightened of the party felt that the days of cabalism should be ended, and longed for something more liberal and enlightened. This longing found expression in the Press, and the Montreal Gazette saw in the person of young Macdonald a rising star of hope. Upon a rumor that he was to be taken into the Cabinet, that journal wrote: "The appointment of Mr. Macdonald, if confirmed, will, we believe, give universal satisfaction. A liberal, able and clearheaded man, of sound Conservative principles, and unpretending demeanor, he will be an acquisition to any ministry, and bring energy and business habits into a department of which there have been for many years under the present, and still more under preceding, managements many complaints." A Toronto opposition paper caustically remarked of the same rumor: "Mr. John A. Macdonald is marked for another victim; he too will speedily be a flightless bird." But young Macdonald saw, to use his own words, that the condition of the party must be worse before it would be better, and quietly waited for the swamping ship, now on her beam ends, to right herself before he went on deck.

The opportunity occurred in the following year, when, by the resignation of a member of the Cabinet, the office of Receiver General was left vacant.

"Your turn has come at last, Macdonald," said Mr. Draper, as he waited on the member for Kingston.* And John A. Macdonald became Receiver General of United Canada on the nth %i May. As the ship had not righted herself, but was becoming more water-logged every moment, the young man evidently did not wait the opportunity that was most Probably he hoped to control events himself, so as to avoid a foundering.

Thus began the political career which was destined to be without a parallel in the history of Canada, and with only one parallel—as to length of service—in the history of parliamentary government in the world.

His first years in office were marked by no special evidence of the tactical genius which distinguished him in after years, but as Receiver General and afterwards as head of the Crown Lands Office, he was marked by business ability, and put into fairly smooth running order departments in which chaos had reigned for years before. Many difficult cases had been "staved off" for years, but the promptness and sagacity with which he disposed of them marked him out at once as an able administrator.


I'll play the orator as well as Nestor. —Henry VI.


It is not the purpose of this book to give a political history of Canada and Sir John Macdonald's association with it. We will not follow the fortunes of political parties in the midst of which this figure grows and grows, till he becomes the solitary giant among a race of common stature—an oak upon which the thousands of politicians of his own party, both great and small, clung as the vines and ivy. We will touch only here and there upon events of special interest, or scenes in which his personal traits stood forth in high relief.

The exciting events which culminated in the burning of the Parliament buildings, in 1849, may Depassed over with a word, as they belong to the political rather than personal history. The Tory Government had fallen, and John A. Macdonald was now in opposition, when the Rebellion Losses bill came up. A commission had sat some years before to determine the losses suffered by those who helped to put down the rebellion, and since then great and increasing pressure had been brought to bear to compensate those who suffered on the side of the rebels, as well as the loyalists, when the Radical Administration now in power decided to include all who suffered loss, and passed the bill. There was a wild outcry from the loyalists, who looked upon it as putting a premium upon rebellion. Lord Elgin, who assented to the bill, was assailed, as he passed out of the Parliament building, with brickbats, bottles and with eggs, taken from the woman who kept the green grocer's stand under the portico of the building; and at night a great crowd, assembled by the agitators, gave three cheers for the Queen, and moved down to the Parliament buildings. Shattering the windows with stones, they burst into the chamber, where a committee of the House was sitting, and when the members fled in alarm through the lobbies, they mounted the Speaker's chair and principal seats in mock deliberation, and then proceeded to wreck the furniture. The symbol of majesty, the mace, was wrested from the Sergeantat-Arms, and borne off in triumph. Amidst the crash of broken chandeliers, the cracking of seats, and the blasphemy and shouting of the rioters, the cry of fire was raised, and all rushed out. In a few minutes the building was wrapped in flames, and a library of 20,000 volumes, containing the most valuable records of the province, almost utterly destroyed. For this, the culminating act of the mob rule of Montreal, the city was punished by the removal forever of the seat of government.

John A. Macdonald took no part in the riots. He had protested in the debate against passing the bill, and had warned the Government that they were drawing down grave dangers, not alone upon their own heads, but upon the peace of the province; and to kill time and tire out the ministry, he kept the floor through the night, reading thirty of William Lyon MacKenzie's letters. But he took no part in the riot. A bosom friend, still living, says he was not in town that night, but others say he stood a silent spectator of a rueful scene, digesting no doubt some valuable thoughts on political agitation.

Time rolls on, and there soon appears before us the commanding figure of George Brown, his greatest political rival. He was a man to be remembered. Over six feet in height, and powerfully built, with no soft outlines in face or figure, his ruggedness of frame and energy of movement made him an object almost of awe. People would turn about on the street to stare in wonderment at the majestic progress of this human steam engine, ere ev^r they knew that it was George Brown they were looking at. As the Great Eastern loomed up among a harbor full of ordinary steamers, so stood George Brown among his ordinary fellows—whether the comparison was mental or physical. The wily diplomacy of John A. Macdonald met its evenest match in the powerful, if inartistic, logic and the restless energy of this remarkable man. He had been only a year a resident in the country when John A. entered Parliament. Born in Edinburgh, he came out to New York with his father in 1838, being then 20 years old. He obtained employment as a writer on the ATew York Albion, a paper of strong British sentiment, and having a considerable circulation in Canada and the Maritime Provinces. After starting a paper of his own, the British Chronicle, on the same lines, he attracted so much attention in Canada, that he was induced to move to Toronto, and here in 1843 'le started the Banner, a semi-religious paper, followed the next year by the Globe. In the same year in which John A. was elected, he had been urged to become a candidate, but declined. In the campaign of 1847, however, he made many speeches in support of the Radical candidates, and these speeches were looked upon as the most effective on this side of the struggle. "He had a singular power of rousing enthusiasm in a popular assembly, and very few cared to encounter the tremendous tide of his rhetoric."* After a defeat in Haldimand, he ran in 1851 for Kent and Lambton, and was elected by a fair majority.

Then came the great battles, which lasted through years, on the questions of the secularization of the clergy reserves, representation by population, the educational reform, and the franchise extension question, in which these two men fought like gladiators.

Some of these sessions bristled with lively debate, and were often marked with eloquent speeches, and sometimes scenes were witnessed which could only be excused on the plea that the province had not yet arisen to the true dignity of self-government.

*Alex. Mackenzie's "Life of Hon. George Brown."

Here is a sample of the way in which John A. mingled sarcasm and banter in his bouts with Mr. Brown: "AttorneyGeneral Macdonald said that last night his hon. friend from Lambton (Mr. Brown) was defeated, horse, foot, and dragoons, and he now attempted, with a much diminished force, and much diminished spirit, to take up another position to-night. Like another Menschikoff, however, he would be driven from that also, and find no resting place in his flight between Perekop and Sebastopol.   The truth was that the opposition was melting away. One after another all the little rills of opposition were being absorbed, like the North American into the great Globe, whose proprietor, he hoped, whether in opposition or not, would long continue to exercise his skill." And again, in a debate in 1855: "The hon. member for Lambton had manifested great fear lest the Government be led astray by the ultramontane views of the hon. member for Montmorency. No doubt the expressions of fear and sorrow were alike sincere. But once on a time when he (Mr. Macdonald) was in opposition, and those two hon. gentlemen were on the same side, supporting the Baldwin-Lafontaine Government, his colleagues gave a thick and thin support to that Ministry. Whatever his colleagues did in the House, the hon. member for Lambton was sure to echo and applaud outside in the Globe. (Laughter.) When long lists of grants for St. Anne this or St. Anne that, or St. Therese here or St. Therese there, were brought down by that Ministry, nothing could be better in the eyes of the hon. member for Lamb'.on. 'Look,' he would say in that able journal of his, the Globe, 'how ministers take care to provide for education in Lower Canada, and how generously Upper Canadians vote the money for that great object. Later still at Brantford, whither his colleague, being a modest man, desired to go quietly and unostentatiously, the member for Lambton (Mr. Brown) trotted him out, and paraded him before the eyes of Upper Canada Liberals in a coach drawn by six white horses (an hon. member near me says Brown horses). Nevertheless, it is cruel for him to attack him so bitterly, after having so affectionately patted him on the back."

Mr. Brown retorted that he was sorry Mr. Macdonald should so much have changed his blast as to be blowing cold in 1855 against his hot of 1852.

To this Mr. Macdonald replied: "The breath of the hon. member for Lambton himself had not always been of the same temperature. During the late elections the Globe came out with the cry—; Down with Rolph and Malcolm Cameron. We can stand anything else—we can stand Toryism, we can stand Sir Allan McNab and John A. Macdonald, but we cannot stand Rolph. Corrupt may be Sir Allan McNab and steeped to the chin in Toryism, and John A. Macdonald may be following in his footsteps, a budding Tory at least—they are not bad fellows, however, for Tories—but put down Rolph and Cameron.'"

The expression, "steeped to the chin in Toryism," was only a new rendering of a phrase which John A. Macdonald had coined the year before in the debate on the address to the throne, and which was in subsequent years to be turned into a byword against himself. He said: "There may be Walpoles among them, but there are no Pitts ; they are all steeped to the lips in corruption; they have no bond of union but the bond of common plunder."

The following sketch is given of the close of the session of 1854: On the 23rd of June it was whispered about that Lord Elgin would at once stop the business of the country, turn the House out of doors at a minute's notice, dissolve the Legislature, embarrass the farmers by throwing the elections into the middle of the harvest, and preven-t the new voters from exercising their franchise under the franchise extension act. At three o'clock two regiments of soldiers were drawn up in front of the Assembly Chamber. Mr. Macdonald, of Kingston,.now began to speak in the midst of a great uproar, and commenced by saying that the House was quite willing to return a respectful answer.—His voice was here drowned by the noise, in an interval of which the words, "I stand here for the liberties of the people of Canada," were heard, and then his voice was drowned in the tremendous uproar. Mr. Macdonald spoke on at the top of his voice, with violent gesticulations, though quite inaudible. The Speaker stood on his feet also as if to speak, and amid this scene the messenger, who had been waiting outside some time, entered and the House was prorogued.*

* About this time the name of clear Grit became generally applied to the Radical or Reform party, and it is noteworthy that the nickname was applied not by John A. Macdonald, but by George Brown in the Globe. It originated in this way :—George Brown and David Christie were discussing the new platform of the Advanced Liberals in 1850, which contained these planks: the elective principle to be applied to all officials and institutions, universal suffrage, the ballot, biennial parliaments, the abolition of property qualification for members of Parliament, a fixed term for elections, retrenchment, abolition of pensions to judges, abolition of the courts of Common Pleas and Chancery, reduction of lawyers' fees, free trade and direct taxation, amendment of the jury law, moderation of the usury law, abolition of primogeniture as to real estate, and secularization of the clergy reserves. Mr. Brown declined to support all these planks, and spoke of a mutual friend who would also refuse to go so far. "Him !'< said Christie, " we don't want him, we only want men who are clear Grit.'' Soon afterward the Globe applied the name to the new party, and it was then taken up by the Tories. The term " clear Grit" was in common use, however, without reference to politics, years before this, and will be found more than once in the writings of Judge Haliburton (Sam Slick).


Within the hollow crown 
That rounds the mortal temples of a king, 
Keeps death his court; and there the antic sits, 
Scoffing his state and grinning at his pomp 
Bores through his castle wall, and—farewell king!  —Richard II.


In all these years of John A.'s parliamentary experience, Sir AlUn McNab had been the head of the Conservative pirty. As a youth he had been through the war of 1812, and was in the battle of Stoney Creek, where 600 British threw themselves upon an army of over 2,000 Americans,captured their two generals, and sent them in disorder back to their own frontier, thus turning the tide of invasion, which would otherwise have left the whole province of Upper Canada in the hands of the Americans. He was before all things an Englishman; but the "belted Knight of Dundurn" was now growing old, and his Toryism had become fossilized, while increasing attacks of gout rendered his temper more crusty.

John A. Macdonald saw that the secularization of the clergy reserves, or the abolition of State churchism in Canada was the demand of the people, but Sir Allan refused to abandon the convictions of a life-time at the bidding of expediency. The younger and more liberal-minded members of the party yearned for a sprightly and progressive leader, such as they saw in John A.; while that rising politician, after his re-election for Kingston, "more than once displayed his impatience at the retrograde policy of his some-while leaders." It has been said by his enemies that, taking advantage of the growing infirmities of old Sir Allan, he intrigued to supplant him; but the actions of his party disprove this. Rather than turn the old man out, he labored rather to remodel the party, and by infusing new blood, accomplish the reforms that v/ere pressing, while still maintaining the old leader in his dignity. But a strong feeling rose among his own party against Sir Allan, and this was increased by his irritable temper and his refusal to give way on small matters as well as great. In short, they forced his resignation, and swathed in flannels, and borne into the House by his two servants, we see the old man address a few pathetic words* to the House from his invalid chair, and then drop out of sight. As the old leader sinks in a cloud of vexation from public view, John A. Macdonald, as leader of the Assembly in a new ministry, of which George E. Cartier and other new stars were members, rises "full orbed " on the horizon as the sun of the Conservative party. Ministries rose and fell, coalitions were formed and dissolved as time went on, but whether he was nominally in a subordinate place in the Cabinet—as he was for the greater part of the time up to Confederation or whether in opposition, he was looked to, henceforth, as the master tactician .jf his party, and one of the ablest of administrators.

The first ministry formed after the resignation of Sir Allan McNab was a coalition one, and it is related that having formed it, John once advised the Press. Among others he telegraphed the Hamilton Spectator: "Coalition formed; announce Spence as Post Master General." Mr. Smiley, the well-known editor of that journal, had been violently denouncing Mr. Spence as a member of the other party, and the request staggered him ; but he had great affection for John A., and after a while the reply was sent: "It's a short curve; but we'll take it."

 " I have been a member of this House for twenty-six years, and during all that period I have not been so long absent as during this session. I think the people of this country will receive that from a man of my age as sufficient excuse. * * If I am condemned I am ready to retire into private life—and perhaps I am now fit for little else."

Mr. George Brown became Mr. Macdonald's most vigorous opponent, and in the debates of the duty the language on both sides was sometimes more picturesque than became a legislative hall. A remarkable scene which occurred between the two in the session of 1856, at Toronto, is thus described by Dent:— Mr. Brown had been taunted with inconsistency in having previously supported Mr. Macdonald. The charge of inconsistency was intolerable to him, and he broke out into fury. He "lashed himself inn a white heat, and indulged in a tremendous onslaught on the 'kaleidoscopic politics' of some members of the Government, instancing Mr. Macdonald and the Post Master General. Stung by the cutting words as they poured out from the speaker's lips, Mr. Macdonald was roused to a condition of temper that impelled him to forget the pleasant urbanity which generally marked his demeanor, alike to friends and foes. When he rose to reply, it was evident he was laboring under great excitement. He launched forth into a tirade, which electrified the House, and caused even the least scrupulous of the parliamantary sharp-shooters to stand aghast. He accused the member for Lamb'oa (Mr. Brown) of having falsified testimony, suborned convict witnesses, and obtained the pardon of murderers, in order to induce them to give false evidence. These grave delinquencies were alledged to have been committed by Mr. Brown while he was acting as secretary to a commission appointed in 18 (8, to investigate certain alleged abuses in connection with the Kingston Penitentiary. Such foul charges had never before been laid against a member on the ficor of a Canadian Parliament, and the astonished legislators gazed into each other's faces with mingled bewilderment and incredulity. When Mr. Macdonald took his seat, Mr. Brown once more arose, tremulous with excitement, to repel the accusations. No one who knew thi member for Lambton expected him to choose his words, an J in good sooth he spoke in language akin to that employed by Falconbridge to the Dauphin of France. He was frequently interrupted by Mr. Macdonald, whose impassioned utterances seemed to have been culled from the Athanasian Creed. * *

Suddenly, each of the parliamentary gladiators seemed to realize the position in which he stood, and the storm subsided as quickly as it began." It was felt that calm deliberation was out of the question. The House broke up, and for the next day nothing else was talked of. In a motion, quoting the charges made by Mr. Macdonald, then the Attorney General, Mr. Brown demanded a commission of inquiry. The Attorney General would neither admit nor deny that the language quoted in Mr. Brown's motion was uttered by him, but demanded that the commission "should first find out what he did say," and then investigate the conduct of Mr. Brown on the Penitentiary commission. It was supposed that the original report of the commission was burnt in the fire which destroyed the Parliament buildings in 1849. Mackenzie, in his "Life and Speeches of Hon. George Brown," says, that at one of the first meetings of the committee appointed to inquire into the charges, Philip Vankoughnet, counsel for Mr. Macdonald, moved for an order to examine certain convicts, and in doing so said that unfortunately it was found that the report of the commission was destroyed in the Montreal fire. He regretted this, as if that report were extant he would be able to prove his charges without calling any such witnesses. Mr. Brown had come in, and, with his overcoat still on, was waiting for the proceedings to commence, when, hearing Mr. Vankoughnet make these remarks, he unbuttoned his coat, and drawing out the original report, said he was happy to hear that that document was all that was wanted. Throwing it upon the table he said, "There it is!" Mr. Vankoughnet immediately left the room, and meeting Mr. Macdonald in the passage, said to him, "Your case is dished."

Whether this account is true or not, it is certain the charges were proved to be utterly unfounded. Mr. Macdonald felt the mistake he had made, and never forgot the lesson it taught him. He never afterwards was given to the aspersion of character, and never lost control of himself, no matter how taunted in public debate. He had " spoken unadvisedly with his lips," like Moses, and like him received a direct punishment, for when the groundlessness of the charges were shown, Mr. Brown stood higher than ever in the public estimation, and eneiminy of the Conservative journals expressed sympathy with him

This episode was only one of a number of wild scenes in the session of 1856, when the young blood of John A. Macdonald boiled over. During some tilt's with Col. Rankin, it was seriously expected that a duel would be fought, and on one occasion it was intended to phce them both in the custody of the Sergeant at-Arms, but after the debate they were induced to promise to drop the quarrel. It was Col. Rankin who, when Sir Allan MacNab was thrown overboard, said: "You have got rid of the King of Trumps, but you still hold the Knave."

A noteworthy epoch of his parliamentary career was what was known to Canadian history as the "double shuffle." In 1S57, he had beeome Prime Minister, with Gjorge E. Cartier as his chief colleague. The difficult question of establishing the capital in a fixed place, instead of shifting from place to place as had been cone in past years, had now to be settled, and local jealousies made it hard to do. The matter had been referred to the Queen, and on the recommendation of Mr. Macdonald, Ottawa was selected as the permanent capita'. This was announced at the meeting of Parliament in February, 1S58, and the decision was immediately challenged by the Opposition. A resolution, declaring that Ottawa should not be the seat of government, was carried by 64 to 50. Believing that the Opposition would not form aminis'.ry that would last, when other questions were considered, Mr. Macdonald accepted a challenge thrown down on a motion by Mr. Brown for adjournment, and that being carried, the Macdonald-Cartier Government promptly resigned. Sir Edmund Head, the Governor, sent for Mr. Brown, and the BrownDorion Government was formed. The result proved the foreknowledge of Mr. Macdonald, for in two d lys amotion of want of confidence in the new government was carried, and they were forced to resign in turn, by the refusal of the Governor-General to grant a dissolution. The Independence of Parliament Act provided that a minister resigning one office and accepting another within one month would require reelection. Mr. Macdonald was now sent for, and in oider to avoid going to the country for re-election all the ministers took other offices than those held before the resignation, and then changed back to their old offices. This move, which was held to be a violation of the spirit of the act, became known as the "double shuffle." The coup made a sensation throughout the country, for in many districts the news of the resignation of the Macdonald Governmen lhad not arrived when the) h;id actually returned to power. A Toronto paper cuttingly referred to the Brown-Dorion Government as "A ministry of two days, a thing which was and is not, before either friend or foe can lealize its existence."

The return of the Macdonald Government to power, ho vever, set'led the vtxed question of the capital, and Ottawa became not only the capital of the united province of Canada, but, when Confederation was accomplished, the seat c f government of the Dominion. Few people at this day will find fault wi:h the selection.

It is interesting here to recall the fact that, when in 1854 a bill was introduced to erect the town of Bytown into the city of Ottawa, quite a discussion arose on the change of name. Solicitor General Smith said "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet," but Ottawa had a pleasanter sound than Bytown. Attorney-General Macdonald (John A.) said he would not like to oppose himself to the wishes of the people, but it was really absurd to call a town by the name of the river on which it is situated. How would it do to call Paris '.'Seine" or London " Thames?" Mr. Brown here remarked : " The hon, gentleman seems to forget that there is a scheme now on foo t to change the name of Hamilton to Ontario." (laughter. Sir Allan McNab objected to the change, as it was a memorial of Colonel By, who had practically created the place. Mr. Powell said he had thought of such words as Byzantiuin and Bycopolis, but none seemed to suit as• well as Ottawa,


Then my heart it grew ashen and sober 
  As the leaves that were crisped and sere,— 
  As the leaves that were witheiing and sere, 
Ai.d 1 cried—"It was surely October, 
  On this very night of the year, 
  That I journeyed—I journeyed down here, 
  That I brought a dread burden down here, 
  On this night of all nights in the year!" —roe.


As already mentioned, Mr. Macdonald, in 1857, the year of the great financial depression in Canada, followed his first wife t) her grave at Kingston. His father had been in his grave for sixteen years, having dropped off rather suddenly in September, 1841, and now his dear old mother had already had more than one stroke of paralysis—the dreadful visitation that was at last to seize upon his own frame.

Mention has already been made of his family in preceding chapters. His parents were both kind-hearted and hospitable people, and a feature of this hospitality was the custom of partaking of alcoholic liquor with friends. The drinking of whiskey is happily now regarded in a different light to what it was then. At that time it was not looked on as a violation of the code of morality; and while whiskey was only twenty-five cents a gallon, even the poor made it a beverage. In many houses it was kept on tap or in a pail, with a cup beside it, as water is kept now in country houses. It could not, therefore, be wondered at that a man of hospitable disposition like Hugh Macdonald should become so addicted to it that his days were probably shortened by it, or that a lad like his son should grow up with a taste for it. Hugh Macdonald is described as a somewhat short but well-built man, with a quiet demeanor, and kind to children. Like his son, he never wore a beard, and had only a small tuft of whisker at the side of his face. He was known among his acquaintances as "Little Hugh," an appellation given with no disrespect, and less with reference to his short stature than as a means still common in Scotch districts of distinguishing individuals of the same family name. While they livtd at Hay Bay and the Stone Mills, some of their neighbors thought Mr. Macdonald a stern and unsociable man, and the circumstance was recalled of his causing the arrest of a youth and his sister for stealing a pair of socks from the store. The circumstances of the case are not known, but no doubt he acted from a sense of duty, for he was always known as a strict and upright man, and held in horror anything like dishonesty. His strict honesty, combined with his generous disposition, was, no doubt, a reason that he did not accumulate money.*

Though mild in manner, he had the inflammable temper of a Highlander, which showed itself most easily in resent of tyranny. An instance of this is related by one who knew him. Mr. Macdonald was an officer in the First Lennox Militia. In those days an annual drill, called "general training day," was held on the 4th of June, the birth-day of George IV., when the whole battalion turned out, and after drill the officers dined together. On this occasion he got into a quarrel with a Captain Casey, who had command of a troop of cavalry. Captain Casey, who was a martinet, and overbearing, insulted Mr. Macdonald, who challenged him to a duel with swords, but Col. Dorland interposed, and prevented bloodshed.

Mrs. Macdonald was a grand old lady, and from her Sir John undoubtedly inherited most of those qualities which have made his name a word to conjure by. She was a little above the medium height, large limbed, and capable of much endurance. Her face was remarkable, as any one who studies the accompanying portrait will admit. Her features were large, and. as some considered, coarse; but there beamed through her dark eye a depth of apprehension mingled with such graciousness and good-will as commanded the reverence of a passer-by. But most remarkable of anything about her were the strange lines with which her features were scored as she advanced in years, lines which were reproduced in her son in a still more striking way—more's the pity that in the latter case the photographic artists invariably remove these lines and wrinkles, and so spoil the most striking feature of his face. Mrs. Macdonald was a woman of deep piety as well as kindness, of heart, and doubtless her words of. spiritual counsel, uttered in the quiet of their humble home in Kingston, or sitting by the rippling waters of Hay Bay, came back to him in the midst of throngs of senators and legislators, or obtruded while questions of state were being weighed in the council room. After John A. had married first, her husband being dead, she went to live with her daughter Louisa in a little cottage in Princess street.

 They were always plain and unpretentious in their mode of life, although she was very fond of entertaining friends, and the good old lady preferred this quiet cottage to a home in a gay and vain Capital. She had a broad Scotch accent and a pronounced sense of humor. She appreciated a droll situation or a droll saying. Those who knew her best say she had a great mind and a great memory; and had she possessed the advantages of a high education, and the opportunities that some get in life, she would have been a noted woman. She had quite an acquaintance with Gaelic literature,* and up to the time of *She, like her son, was fond of a good story. One rainy day, while some friends were at the house, she proposed they should pass the time with anecdotes and stories. After the others had each told their story, coming to Canada the Gaelic language was much more familiar to her than English. When they first came out they spoke it commonly in conversation between themselves or friends, but gradually fell out of it. About fourteen years before her death she had a stroke of paralysis, upon which her son was sent for. Stroke succeeded stroke at intervals averaging about a year, and every time the son hastened anxiously to her bedside. When she was stricken with her ninth at ack, and he left public business to be at her side, she greeted him with "Well. John, I am ashamed to see you!" After that she tried to avoid calling him from his duties at these false alarms. Through the thirteenth shock her wonderful constitution bore her; but at last, after suffering the almost unparalleled number of fourteen strokes, she passed away in the month of October, 1862, at the good old age of 84. In the delirium that accompanied the seizure< the language of her childhood came back to her; she gave her orders in Gaelic, and by those mysterious operations of the mind that often precede death, she wandered again by the banks and braes of her High'and home, talking in Gaelic to the companions of her childhood, and listening to the ding-ding of the anvil in the village smithy's shop. Her son did not reach Kingston in time to see her alive—the child upon whom she had bestowed the greatest inheritance that a mother could give to the fruit of her womb—a good intellect implanted in a sound constitution, and followed to manhood with wise counsel and yearning prayers to Heaven.

Sir John's sister Margaret had married Prof. Williamson, of Queen's University, Kingston, with whom she lived happily, though for many years suffering from weakness of circulation. Her blood would get clogged in the lung•;, and cause hemorrhage and fainting. Notwithstanding this trouble she read selections from "Thaddeus of Warsaw." In one part of the story the tears ran down her cheeks, and she stopped the story, exclaiming, " Poor, dear Thaddeus!"

and frequent biliousness, she was active, and bore herse'f cheerfully, and was the life and soul of the company that used to gather at the Professor's house. She was a leader in her company as Pir John was in political life. She died in 1876, leaving no children, and with only her sister as the representative of the family in Kingston.

Louisa never married. In dress and appearance she was a type of the elderly lady of the past generation, and wore little curls at the side of her face. She was quite as witty and sparkling in her conversation as Sir John; and in a quiet gathering of friends, she would keep them in constant laughter with her droll saying'; and her quaint way of putting things. Once a gentleman met her on the train, and hearing she was Sir John's sister, came over and spoke to her, assuring her that she was the very image of her distinguished brother. 'Jelling the incident afterwards to a friend, she added the quaint and womanly comment: "A curious compliment to pay to me, considering that John Macdonald is one of the ugliest men in Canada!" She had a good deal of natural talent. One of her schoolmates at Adolphustown remembers to this day her reciting at a school examination the little poem " My Mother" with such effect, that it brought tears to the eyes of some of those present, among whom was her own mother.

Louisa was Sir John's favorite sister, and when, after years of sickness heroically borne, she passed away in November, 1888, he was greatly grieved. She too died of paralysis, having had four strokes. Meeting him at the funeral, Mrs. Thomas Wilson, one of Sir John's schoolmates at Kingston, said to him:
"Well, John, you are the last of your family left, and so am I of mine!"

"Yes," he replied, with a saddened countenance. "That's so!" He felt there were not many more milestones of life to pass.


Confederation I glorious morn! 
A nation new to earth is born 
In joyful birth—peace all around, 
Her place among her peers is found. 
From bloodless death her life, loud ring, 
The King is dead; Long live the King! . 

Loud ring the bells, greet hand with hand,
Let joy and cheer fill all the land, ,
Glad praise to Heaven! from o'er the main
Come gratulations—cheer again!
Her birth well omened, God our trust,
What promise more? what hope more just?

And though from many lands we come 
To make thee, Canada, our home, 
Thy people many shall be one.  —IV. H. Lynch.


Leaving the political biographer to give details of the numerous measures of reform in which he, although not always the originator or advocate of, had a hand in shaping, we now come to the crowning achievement of his political life—the creation of the Dominion. He had always been a strong and sincere advocate of unity and mutual good-will among the various races which composed the two provinces of Upper and Lower Canada, and in his endeavor to promote this, he was often taunted by various factions with being influenced by unworthy motives; but a retrospect of his whole life has shown that, whatever may have been his faults of character, he had that broad spirit of humanity which fully comprehended the divine principle as it applied to the national elements of this land, "God hath- made of one blood all nations." In the later years of the union of the two provinces, this great principle was fast being forgotten, or clouded by prejudices. There were, no doubt, inequalities in the system of union between the two provinces, but party strife magnified them'so that affairs were constantly being brought to a' deadlock. The difficulty of obtaining a majority from each province on any one measure increased as time went on, and by the hostile majorities of either province on different questions it became an easy matter to defeat a ministry. One party turned another out of office only to be defeated themselves; and the country was forever agitated by new elections or threats of them. It was at such a juncture that the patriotic men of all parties looked for relief in that broader union of all the provinces of British North America which would lift men above mere provincialum and inspire them with the dignity of national life.

The idea of a confederation of all these provinces and territoiies was not new. As early as 1800-8, the Hon. Mr. Uniacke, a leading politician of Nova Scotia, submitted a scheme of colonial union to the Imperial Government. At various subsequent times and in different provinces it was revived, but local spirit and local jealousies and prejudices were yet too strong, or no men yet appeared who could inspire the people with this great ideal. Even now, when the hour had come, it was only the conjunctive ascension in each province of men who possessed a commanding influence with the people, and who could soften and mould the dry and stubborn clay of localism, and breathe into the nostrils of the provinces the breath of a new national life, that made Confederation a living reality. And beyond all this, theie was still wanting a man who could draw these representative provincialists to each other, unwarp their personal bias, soothe an uprising passion, and harmjnize the conflict of theory and opinion.

But the hour had come, and with it, in the providence of God, as most Canadians believe, had come the man in John A. AJacdonald.* All his past successes and failures, all his experience in Cabinets bad and good, in opposition or on the Government side, in caucus or oa platform, in the practice of his marvelous gift of winning back one recalcitrant colleague or counteracting the intrigue of another—all alike had been but a schooling for this great work.
There is no reason that even his enemies should doubt the sincerity of his desire for concord and harmony among the people of Canada, and for the maintenance of that attach, rnent to our mother-land which has been a constant inspiration with the people of these provinces amid times of storm as well as in smooth water. Even in the troubles that accompanied the settlement of the Rebellion Losses, when he joined the British American League, he confined himself to constitutional measures, and counselled the hot-heads to moderation and peaceable methods. His previous public utterances showed this sentiment; and when the deadlock of the united provinces occurred, he had not wavered in his faith in the future. His address to the electors of Kingston, in 1861, concluded with these words: "The fratricidal conflict now unhappily raging in the United States (referring to the late Civil War) shows us the superiority of oar institutions, and of the principle on which they are based. Long may that principle—the monarchical principle—prevail in this land. Let there be no ' looking to Washington,' as was threatened by a leading member of the Opposition last session; but let the cry with the moderate party be, 'Canada united as one provincei and under one Sovereign.'" His speeches, elsewhere referred to, and his private as well as public expressions, show that this was not a sentiment manufactured for election purposes

At the opening of Parliament at Quebec, in May, 1864, another deadlock occurred through a want of confidence motion by John Sandfield Macdonald, and when John A. dropped the reins, legislators turned to each other in despair as to what was to be done. Mr. George Brown, the head of the Reform party, in talking the situation over privately wiih two supporters of the Government, expressed the conviction common to most cf the members that a crisis had arrived, and that the time was come to settle forever the constitutional difficulties between Upper and Lower Canada. This talk became serious, and Mr. Brown expressed his willingness to join any party to save the country from chaos and evolve a new order of things. With Mr. Brown's permission this interview was reported to Mr. John A. Macdonald and other members of his party, and the result was a series of informal talks which ended in a discussion on the part of Mr. Brown, along with Mr. Oliver Mowat (now a member of Parliament) and Mr. William McDougall as his colleagues, to aid in forming a coalition government to bring about a federal union. When we consider the mould in which the character of George Brown had been cast, we shall fail to find in all the chronicles of Canadian politics a grander spectacle of self-sacrifice, a more shining example of unobtrusive patriotism. Closing his ears to the comments of his own party, he forgot for the time the etiquette of party poli ics, and sat down with men to whom for years he had been uncompromisingly opposed, and for some of whom he had no personal respect or esteem, to study out a plan whereby the country might be saved from impending peril. Our admiration for him is increased when we see him step quietly down, the moment the new confederation is assured, and resume his place in his old party, refusing the honor of knighthood and declining all offers of position in the first Cabinet of the New Dominion about to be ushered in. And what is said of him might also be said of his own party colleagues who joined him.

It was a remarkable conjuncture of events which brought about a meeting of delegates of the Maritime Provinces to discuss the question of a maritime union, while these events were transpiring in the Canadian Provinces. It was decided to send delegates down to Charlottetown, where the Maritime Convention was to be held. Eight delegates were sent, among whom, of course, were the Hon. John A. Macdonald and the Hon. George Brown, now President of the Council in the new Coalition Ministry of Canada. The Canadian delegates were invited to join unofficially in the discussion, and their unfolding of the larger scheme fired the imagination of the statesmen of the Maritime Provinces, and kindled the enthusiasm of those who read the speeches. The delegates visited Halifax,* St. John and Fredericton, where they were received with the characteristic hospitality of the Maritime Provinces. A new conference, at which representatives of the Maritime Provinces were to be present, was appointed to meet at Quebec in October of the same year, and here resolutions were adopted looking to a union of the Provinces of Canada, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland. This was followed in 1865 by legislation accepting the basis of union, and making a formal address to the Queen, asking that it should be carried into effect. The two island colonies, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland, withdrew from the scheme, and the adverse results of local elections in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia set it back in those provinces. But the constancy and courage of such men as Dr. Tupper (now Sir Charles) in Nova Scotia and Samuel Leonard Tilley (now Sir Leonard) in New Brunswick carried those provinces in favor of union, so that the opening of the year 1867 found delegates from the four provinces sitting in the Westminster Palace Hotel watching the passage through the Imperial Parliament of the bill for the new constitution they had framed.

What had contributed to this happy achievement was an occurrence, the year before, which at the time seemed a great national calamity—the invasion of our country by the Fenians. This conspiracy, that aimed at the capture of Ireland by overrunning Canada, which they supposed they could easily subdue, was widespread in the United States, and for months men were drilling more or less openly and equipping for the invasion of Canada with the connivance of the American Government. At last the invasion took place, and though it ended in a fizzle, and the American Government took steps to preserve the peace after the breach had been committed, the raids caused great agitation and suspense, and put the Provincial Governments to enormous cost. But this trial seemed like the finger of God in our history, for it showed the weakness of each province in starting apart by itself in a time of common danger; it showed how helpless each would be alone; it showed how powerful they would be when acting together in a common bond of brotherhood. It was thought by many that the American Government winked at the Fenian raids in revenge for England's inaction when the "Alabama" was fitted out at Liverpool to prey upon American vessels during the civil war; but, whatever the cause—whether it were revenge, ill-will to neighbors or simply supineness, the invasion of our peaceful homes, instead of breaking up our community, roused British Americans of all the provinces not only to the need of common defence, but led them to feel that even in peace these scattered provinces would find in this union the germs of a great nation.

It is easy to prophesy after the event, and Confederation seems natural and easy now, but to prepare the way, to overcome prejudices, to harmonize alien systems of administration, to get provinces to sink their autonomy and change their fiscal system, these were obstacles that required the highest sagacity to surmount. It was the greatest test of John A. Macdonald's statesmanship. We may see this while confessing that the noble stand taken by the Hon. George Brown cleared the way and gave to others the first bright example of a patriotism that sacrificed self, and that the men who came together from the different provinces at this time were men of exceptionally broad minds and large hearts. But let anyone who knows what tact, what patience, what gentleness of temper, what constancy and firmness of purpose, and what self abnegation are required to reconcile alienated lovers, divided families or hereditary foes in private life, realize what qualities of mind and heart are called for to bridge over this enormous gulf of difficulties in the complex affairs of a nation. Realizing this, one can see what Sir John Macdonald did for the Dominion.

The bill for the union—which is our present constitution and national charter—passed through the Imperial Parliament as it was framed by the "Fathers of Confederation." There was but one amendment of one word, and that was made in the House of Lords. It was purely a verbal amendment, and was so 'nconsequential that the stickling lord who made it was quiety ridiculed to the Canadian delegates by his compeers.
On the 1st July, 1867, the new Dominion came into existence, and the day was celebrated with rejoicings throughout the provinces. It became thenceforth our national holiday, to be celebrated equally with the Queen's Birthday.

Meantime, in happy coincidence with the act of political union, Sir John A. Macdonald applied the principle to himself by taking a wife in the person of Miss Bernard, a sister to his secretary at the conference. Of this lady something will be said in another chapter. He was now honored with knighthood, while among his colleagues, Messrs. Tupper, Tilley, Carder,* Galt, McDougall and Howland were made Companions of the Bath, and when the first cabinet of the Dominion was formed on their return, he was nominated by Lord Monck, the Governor General, as Prime Minister. Old party questions were now settled, old party lines demolished, and in the beginning of the new era Sir John Macdonald stood without a rival in power or in popularity.

*Mr. Cartier thought he should have had equal honors with Sir John, and felt slighted that he should have been made only a C. B., while Sir John was made a K. C. B. He attributed this discrimination to Sir John himself, and did not disguise his feelings. Sir John with his characteristic generosity did his best to soothe his friend's wounded feelings, and a year later Sir George Cartier was created a Baronet of the United Kingdom, a dignity higher than Sir John's. This partially healed the wound, but to quote the words of Dent, the historian, '' the golden bowl had been shivered, and the relations between him and Sir John were never again of that truly cordial nature which had subsisted between them in the old days, which, in more senses than one, had passed away forever."


And races, hostile once, now freely blend 
In happy union, each the other's friend; 
Striving as nobly for the general good 
As once their fathers strove in fields of blood. —"Joseph Howe's "Acadia."


There was some friction in the working of the new confederation machinery at first. A pulley had to be tightened here and there, and the shafting did not run true, but the master mechanic was on hand to put the machine in order, and as time went on the defects were adjusted.

The acquirement of the North West Territory from the Hudson Bay Company had been for some years urged upon the Government—notably by the Hon. George Brown—and, by a treaty made through the medium of the Imperial Government, a transfer was made of the great North Western Territory to the Dominion Government in consideration of the sum of ^300,000, but some land around the trading posts and some of what were supposed to be the best sections of farm land were reserved to the company. When the new Governor of the territory, Hon. Wm. McDougall, went up to establish formal authority over the land, the half-breeds, not understanding the nature of the change, and the Hudson Bay Co.'s officers (chagrined at no longer being lords paramount of the soil) refusing to enlighten them, or represent the new government in a favorable light, a rebellion broke out in 1869, headed by Louis Riel. It was in suppressing this that Sir Garnet Wolseley—then a colonel—won his first fame as a soldier. Riel having fled on the approach of the Canadian troops, the territory of the Red River was proclaimed part of Canada, and was erected (1870) into the province of Manitoba. In the following year British Columbia joined the confederacy, and in 1873 Prince Edward Island came in. In 1882, out of the great regions beyond Manitoba, four districts or territories, each as large as the average of the other provinces, were marked out to be erected into provinces, as their wonderful resources should attract sufficient population. In 1886, the act organizing three of these territories—Assiniboia, Saskatchewan and Alberta—with a common capital at Regina, was assented to by the Imperial Parliament, and by this step not only were these creations affirmed, but power was given to erect other territories, as settlements advanced beyond.

Thus the Dominion is invested with the essential attributes of sovereignty over the entire domain of British North America, Newfoundland alone excepted.

By the compact with the Maritime Provinces, the Intercolonial Railway was to be constructed, and on the entry of British Columbia, hitherto so isolated from the motherland and the other provinces, it was agreed that a national railway should be built from the Atlantic to the Pacific, connecting all the provinces of the Confederation. In the election of 1872, Sir John was returned to power, but the contest was scarcely over before serious rumors spread that they had been won by gross corruption, and these rumors soon took definite shape in a charge that large sums of money had been advanced by Sir Hugh Allan for election purposes, on the understanding that the contract for building the road would be awarded to a company, of which Sir Hugh would be the head. A commission of inquiry was demanded and held, and evidence came out which showed too plainly that Sir John had given way to questionable methods of carrying an election and building a railway. The more conscientious of his political friends withdrew their support, but before the vote was taken on the motion of condemnation he resigned. The speeches made at the special session of Parliament, called in October to consider the charges, were among the most memorable in our parliamentary annals, and that from Sir John was perhaps the greatest effort of his life. There is every reason to think that, however much he may have erred in this instance, not a single cent of the corruption-money went into his own pocket, or was used for his personal advantage. The whole, tenor of his life makes this clear. Alexander Mackenzie and Edward Blake were then rising to the zenith of their parliamentary fame, and on the resignation of Sir John the former became premier.

Sir John retired cowed and for the moment dismayed, and most people supposed that when he sank under the cloud he was never to rise again. For some days he gave way to dissipation, but soon appeared among his friends with as jaunty a bearing as of old. He had, however, written with his own hand an announcement for the Ottawa Citizen, of his retirement from public life, and there are other reasons for thinking »that he would not have moved a hand to force his claims upon his friends had they not determined that he still should be their leader in opposition. Mr. Mackintosh, the editor of the Citizen, refused to insert the announcement of his retirement, and most of his political friends stood by him in this his darkest hour. The generous attachment shown towards the old leader by his followers in this crisis—though they knew he had sinned—is one of the most touching incidents in the history of the Conservative party. Alonzo Wright in one of those rare but rich speeches, delivered after his return to power, gave this tribute to the fidelity of the party:

"As we all know, the Conservative party sustained a sevsre defeat. In fact as the hon. leader of the Opposition was fond of telling us, they came back a broken band; a corporal's guard. We were like the broken band that gathered round the camp-fires of Swedish Charles after Pultowa, we had been hunted like partridges. Many of our best and bravest had fallen; but there was no murmur for the dead whose bones lay on many a black hillside and lonely valley, the prey of the jackals, wolves and carrion crows that follow on the track of a defeated army. Many of our men had a hunted look as though they still felt the breath of the bloodhounds on their cheeks. But at last the Conservative party turned fiercely to bay. I think there is nothing finer in history than the manner in which the French and English gentlemen gathered round their wounded leader: and I say it to the honor of the Conservative party, that never in the hour of his highest elevation, when he stood foremost in the councils of his country, did he receive such unfaltering loyalty, such true devotion, as in the hour of his darkness, desolation and despair. But, sir, we had traitors in our camp then, as there were traitors under the palm trees of Judea. * * There were men who wished to cast him overboard as a Jonah to the sharks who were clustering round our ship. But the party were true to him, and * * we passed through that long dark night of opposition, until there were signs that the day was about to break. Then, sir, the great battle was fought, and owing to the fidelity of his followers, the sympathy of the people, and, above all, to his own matchless skill and dauntless courage the battle was won, and he stood once more foremost in the councils of his sovereign."

After recovering from the momentary stupor of the eclipse in 1874, he shook off politics, and with a light heart apparently, he went back to the practice of his profession in Toronto. As the emblematical albatross fell from the neck of the Ancient Mariner, so Sir John's load of care and obloquy fell off his shoulders, and "dropped like lead into the sea." He bided his time. "Give the Grits rope enough," he would laughingly say, "and they will hang themselves." Probably not one in fifty of his opponents looked upon such observations as anything more than the sneers of a disappointed politican. But time and circumstances were doing a work for him. An almost unparalleled financial depression overspread the country before the MacKenzie Administration had been long in power, the manufactures of the country suffered from the keen competition of the Americans, the revenue suffered from diminished imports, and the curtailment of public works had a further depressing effect. Just then, when men were ready to try any remedy which promised even a temporary relief, Sir John came forward with a panacea in the shape of the National Policy,* a raising of the tariff in certain directions, which he end his colleagues agreed would give a special impetus to various industries that should be built up in the country, and, while affording a better revenue, would revive trade all round.

It is not necessary to discuss the soundness or speciousness of this theory, but to record the fact that, after a series of exciting campaign debates in 1^78, the Conservatives were returned by a large majority, and to the surprise of the world Sir John stood once more Prime Minister of Canada. Syn

* The phrase " National Policy" as applied to the new tariff is said to have bten the invention of Sir Charles Tupper. and not Sir John Macdonald. chronously with the adoption of the National Policy came a general revival of trade throughout America and Europe, with bountiful harvests; and the business feeling throughout the Dominion was once more buoyant. These happy associations of his return to power were not without their effect upon the people, and there had grown up a positive superstition among a class of countrymen that as long as "John A." was in power crops would be good.

He himself often took opportunities of spreading the superstition by turning his humor in that direction, and at a meet,ng of workingmen held a couple of years after his restoration he said: "Trade revived, crops were abundant, and bank stocks once more became buoyant, owing to the confidence of the people of Canada in the new Administration. A citizen of Toronto assured me that his Conservative cow gave three quarts of milk more a day after the election than before ; while a good Conservative lady friend solemnly affirmed that her hens laid more eggs, larger eggs, fresher eggs and more to the dozen ever since the new Administration came in."

Once more at the helm of affairs, Sir John and his Cabinet set about the building of the Canadian railway to the Pacific ocean, with the rapid achievement of which the reader is familiar. Strange to say, he prided himself more upon this undertaking than upon his greatest feats of diplomacy or legislation, and perhaps it is but just to say that it was not the money of Lord Mount Stephen so much as the faith of Sir John Macdonald that built the road.

The years of his administration from the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1886 to his death were more distinguished for efforts to develop the resources of the great North West than for any legislation of importance.


So with two seeming bodies but one heart
So we grew together, Like to a double cherry, seeming parted, But yet a union in partition.  —Midsummer Night's Dream.

Sir John's Second Marriage—Lady Macdonald.

Allusion has already been made to the circumstance of Sir John Macdonald's second marriage taking place, just as the banns of the provinces he was to rule were being called in London.

While the first confederation conference was sitting in Charlottetown, it was rumored about that he was to marry Miss Haviland, a sister of the late Governor of Prince Edward Island, but another fate was to be his.

For some years he had been acquainted with Miss Susan Agnes Bernard, a sister of Colonel Bernard, who was his private secretary. This acquaintance grew to intimacy while the Government sat at Quebec, the somewhat limited circle of society and the professional relationship of Miss Bernard's brother bringing them into frequent contact. Miss Bernard was not beautiful as a young lady. She was tall, tawny, and at this time, to use the harsh phrase of the day, rather "rawboned" and angular. But she possessed a keen wit, a quick perception, a liberal mind and a certain unselfishness of heart, which would become well the wife of a public man.

She was born in the island of Jamaica, about fifty-five years ago. Her parents, says the writer of a charming sketch of Lady Macdonald in the Ladies' Home Journal of Philadelphia, '' were of aristocratic and wealthy Creole families—the term being used in its strictly accurate meaning, as designating Europeans long resident in the West Indies. Her father filled a judge's chair for many years, and also had a seat on the Council of Eight that in his time administered the public affairs of the island. On the mother's side were extensive interests in sugar plantations. While still a mere child, Miss Agnes Bernard lost her father, and—as about the same time the family property became seriously diminished in value by the introduction of free-trade, following upon the abolition of slavery—her mother decided to remove to England.

"At first the change of environment proved very unwelcome. The difference of atmosphere between Jamaica—where the lower classes were all attention and servility—and England— where even the servants had wills of their own and dared to show them—was not to be comprehended at once.

"But the years, busy with books and acquiring accomplishments, slipped by, and England, despite her exclusiveness, became very dear. In the meantime, matters in Jamaica were going from bad to worse. The planters fell into the depths of ruin, and all who could get away from the ill-fated island with any remnants of their fortunes, hastened to do so. Miss Bernard's three brothers were among the number, and the eldest decided upon trying his luck in Canada. The outlook was so promising that his mother and sister joined him in the year 1854.

"They had no reason to regret the step. From the very first the venture approved itself. In a few years Mr. Bernard became private secretary to the Honorable John A. Macdonald, then Attorney-General for Western Canada. This official connection may be considered the beginning of his sister's interest in the political history of Canada, and in the personality of her foremost politician, although she did not make the acquaintance of her future husband at the time."

Besides the gift of the mental qualities before referred to, Miss Bernard was brilliant and piquant in conversation, and had no small degree of literary taste and talent,* as articles she wrote in after years for Murray's Magazine, of London, fuHy proved.

Attracted by these qualities, Mr. Macdonald soon began to admire, then to love her, and finally asked her to marry him. She refused.

One can well understand that no matter how much she may have loved him in return, or how much she may have admired his great talents, there was the danger that her happiness might be destroyed by linking her rife to one who, at times, plunged so deeply into dissipation.

As time went on,, the great question of Confederation began to absorb his mind and lead him to higher efforts of statesmanship, while the hope of still winning the woman he had set his heart upon inspired him with renewed efforts to conquer an appetite which was now fighting to conquer him. There were also handwritings on the wall, warning him of broken health and an ignoble ending to a brilliant life.

* Lady Macdonald is a cousin of Lady Barker, a bright magazine writer, now wife of Sir F. Napier Broome, Governor of one of the Australian colonies.

These inspirations and these fears alike led him to a struggle in which, after the many slips and downfalls which only those who have combated the demon of drink can conceive of, he began to gain some degree of control. And the day that saw the victory of Confederation saw the victory of her faith and love, and happy he was to be in this union of unions.

Miss Bernard had already gone to England, and was in London with her mother, when the Canadian delegates arrived there to frame and revise the Confederation bill and see it through the Imperial Parliament.

Col. Bernard came with the delegates as secretary, and Miss Bernard, having relatives in London, was quite at home in the great metropolis. Several of the delegates had brought their wives and daughters, and what with the calls of chance friends in London and Canadian tourists then in England, the comfortable quarters assigned to the Canadian mission at the Westminster Palace Hotel bore the unmistakable impress of joy and animation. After the bustle of the day, those who were not seeking the wonders of that wonderful city passed the time»in quiet amusement in the hotel. The master wit of the party was sometimes self-luminous with his fantastic fun, but sometimes peculiarly pensive, and, while the others were playing checkers or cards, he would sit alone for an hour at a time playing the game of " patience."

One day it was announced to the delegates that one of their number, to wit, the Honorable John A. Macdonald, was engaged to be married to Miss Agnes Bernard. Within two weeks from that time—or, to be precise as to date, on the morning of the 16th February—the Canadian delegates went in a body to see their chairman married. The ceremony took place in St. George's Church, Hanover Square, long known as the wedding altar of England's noted men. By a happy coincidence, Bishop Fulford, the Metropolitan Bishop of Canada, happened to be in London, and was selected to tie the knot. The weather was heavy and overcast—but that is the almost certain lot of a bride in London. The wedding party consisted of between seventy and ninety guests, among whom were some of the wives of British Cabinet Ministers, with Sir Richard Mayne (head of the Metropolitan Police* of London), his son, and his daughter who was to have married Colonel Bernard on the same occasion. Lord Carnarvon's son was one of the groomsmen, while among the four bridesmaids were Miss Emma Tupper, daughter of Sir Charles; Miss Jessie McDougall, daughter of the Honorable William McDougall; and Miss Joanna Archibald, daughter of Sir Adams Archibald, all these ladies being daughters of delegates.

The bridesmaids were attired in the fashion of that day; two of them in blue and two in pink, with'pink crape bonnets and long tulle veils. The bride wore white satin with the usual wreath of orange blossoms and a veil of Brussels lace. Among the many wedding presents a correspondent of the Globe noted a complete set in opaque enamel and amethyst and carbuncle, the gift of the delegates. After the ceremony a grand wedding-breakfast was given at the Westminster Palace Hotel. Governor (Sir Francis) Hincks proposed the bride's health in a speech, and John A., in reply, made one of the many witty speeches which have never been reported. He alluded to the plan of confederation, whereby all the provinces of Canada were united under one female sovereign, and that perfection of the idea of union had so occupied his mind that he had sought to apply it to himself. Before sitting down he made his bride and his assembled colleagues promises of future happiness in their union, which were certainly as well fulfilled as humanity could demand.

Lady Macdonald (for the knighting of her husband gave her that title before their honeymoon was over) proved an admirable wife, and almost as many parallels could be drawn between herself and the Countess of Beaconsfield as have been drawn between Sir John and Lord Beaconsfield. Like her husband, she became one with the people, and had a kind word for anyone with whom she became acquainted. There was no hauteur about her; she might be seen during the session going about the Library with a friendly word dropped now and then to an attendant or a stranger, or sitting on the bare steps of the Senate entrance reading a book. She would make most of her calls on foot. She was, by the way, a most vigorous walker, and when she drove it was in the same vigorous way.

In her home she proved a model hostess. Of the many visitors to her weekly receptions during the Session of Parliament, "no one of them failed to receive a warm clasp of the hand, a bright, appropriate greeting, and the impression that the hostess was quite as glad to see them as if they were the only callers. With a dozen in the room at once, the most of them utter strangers to each other, Lady Macdonald would contrive to keep the ball of talk rolling so merrily that all felt they had a share in the conversation."

In later years she became an adept in politics. She was an almost constant attendant in Parliament, and a certain seat in the Speaker's gallery became hers by natural right. Here she would sit and listen to the debates, sometimes till three o'clock in the morning, and many a time she would persuade Sir John off to his private room, and, while he took a comfortable sleep, would watch the proceedings in the House. No one was quicker to note the appearance of a new member, and to take the measure of his parliamentary figure. She would take in every word uttered in a new member's "maiden speech," and could gauge with an instinct almost equal to Sir John's the manner of man he was. She had learned the deaf and dumb alphabet, and occasionally she might be seen telegraphing to Sir John from the gallery by this means. With all her soul she entered into his work, and enjoyed his most unreserved confidence.

Apart from the aptness she evinced as a political help meet, she was tender and sympathetic as a wife in the inner life of home. Knowing his weakness, she watched him with all the solicitude of a mother, drawing him from temptation where possible, and striving with the infinite patience of a true woman's love to wean him from his besetting sin. Often she accompanied him on his campaigns, providing tor his comfort, and keeping him as far as possible from associations that tempted him to his old habits.

To be brief, had it not been for the watchful care and love of Lady Macdonald, Sir John would never have lived half a decade beyond the time of Confederation, and few Canadians who have valued the services of his riper years are aware to what an extent they are indebted to her, under Providence, for all that he has been and all he has done since that time.

The time was not far distant, on their return from England, when Lady Macdonald would have a strain put upon her love and faith from an unexpected cause. On the 6th of May, 1870, Sir John was seen to come up from the Kussell House in the afternoon and go to his office in the Eastern Block. Not long afterwards, some one passing down the corridor heard a noise, and going into his office, there Sir John was found alone, lying on the floor and writhing in agony. The scene is graphically pictured by a journalist* who reported in the Press gallery at the time :—

"He was tenderly raised and laid on a sofa. Medical aid was summoned, and the worst fears were confirmed. The Premier was dying! Every one by a common impulse moved to the East Block to make inquiries, but there the doors were closed and guarded. A great throng about the entrance, anxious and awestruck, bore on their faces the confirmation of the first alarming report. In and about the Parliament building, in saddened groups, men gathered and spoke to one another with bated breath, while women wept, and the very atmosphere seemed choked with gloom. Three o'clock came, but the Commons did not open; four o'clock, but still the Speaker did not take the chair. Members sat in silent sadness, or whispered together at their desks. At nearly five o'clock the House was opened, amid such gloom as had not invaded the chamber since the tragic death of Thos. D'Arcy McGee.

• A lecture by J. E. B. Macready, Editor St. John Telegraph.
Very soon the adjournment was moved. Men had no heart for work or debate at such a time. One thought was in every mind, that at any moment might come tidings which would move the Dominion from center to circumference with a still greater grief, personal in its intensity, national in its extent.

"The Ottawa Times, then the Government organ at the Capital, anticipating the sad event which it was felt the night must bring, had set up in type an obituary, six columns long, of the distinguished sufferer. But the Premier did not die. For six weeks he lay in the chamber where he had fallen, unable to be moved, while at first hourly, and afterwards morning and evening, bulletins from his physician, Dr. Grant, gave the eager Capital tidings of his condition. As the millions of the great Republic in spirit kept watch by the bedside of their martyred President, so during this period Canada waited in profound and anxious sympathy, while the great Conservative chieftain lingered in the valley of death, so close to the portals of the unseen world."

After his first collapse he was laid out for dead, and the doctors said they could do no more. Lady Macdonald, on the first news, flew to the office and bent over his dying form in an agony of sympathy. He lay there with limbs relaxed and helpless, and only an occasional gasp escaped his lips. Life seemed ebbing away. The next day the clerks were all removed from this part of the Eastern Block, so that no harsh footfall should grate upon his exhausted nerves, and the officers of the garrison, who then had their quarters on Parliament Hill, forbade the bugle to sound. At last, as hours lengthened into days, Lady Macdonald, bending over him, could distinguish faint whispers. But she could do little for him but watch and wait. One day, knowing nothing better to do, she took a flask of whiskey and rubbed some of it over his face and chest. "Oh, do that again," he whispered, "it seems to do me good." Soon after this he began to recover, but towards the end of the month took a relapse. From this

he again slowly recovered, and was at length removed in a litter to more comfortable quarters in the Speaker's rooms of the House of Commons. As soon as he was able to bear moving he was taken out on the fine June days to the top of the cliff behind the Parliament buildings, and here the gentle breeze from the broad Ottawa blew soothingly over the pallid and immobile face, lifting the iron grey locks and shaking them as of old they were shaken with his animated nods. At last, thanks to his never-wearying nurse, he had recovered so far that the doctors recommended his removal to the seaside. He was taken to Montreal, thence by steamer to Quebec, and then placed on board the Government steamer, being transferred from one boat to another on a litter. Lady Macdonald went as his faithful nurse, and Dr. Grant (afterwards Sir James Grant) accompanied him. Sir John was very weak, and lay on a sofa in the cabin, propped up by pillows, as the steamer moved off down the river, bound for Prince Edward Island. They had not proceeded more than forty miles down the St. Lawrence, when Sir John asked to be carried on deck. The day was fine, and the doctor consented. The moment he beheld the inspiring scene he became cheerful, and told his attendants that he felt the benefit of every breath of fresh air he breathed.

How incomparably more efficacious is the pure air of Heaven, and the fresh odor of the salt sea, than all the drugs ever furnished by physician! The next day he was remarkably improved, and a two months' sojourn at Charlottetown completely restored him.

During all the time of his illness he lay knowing nothing of the events in the Northwest, where Riel had risen in rebellion, nor was he aware that the country was in alarm at another Fenian raid.

The immediate cause of his sickness had been the passing of a gall-stone of unusual size. The agony caused by it had thrown him into convulsions. The stone would not come away, and his nervous force was exhausted by the pain. His utter prostration left the muscles relaxed, and this relaxation let the stone pass away. And so in a sense he had passed through death, for it was only through a collapse as in death that relief could have come.

Once before, in the old Parliament buildings in Toronto, he had fallen in a similar convulsion in the lobby, when a member, who was supposed to be seeking his position, conveyed with ill-concealed satisfaction the alarming news that was now to be repeated, "He is dying!" On both occasions the clock of life had stopped short, but a Mysterious Hand touched the pendulum and started it on.

It was on the occasion of this last sickness that the public testimonial, which formed the greater part of his estate when he died, was subscribed for. It has been well known that he never made money-getting even a minor object, much less the chief object, of his life. Frequently he had been embarrassed—and not always from his irregular habits, but often from his generosity in helping impecunious friends or endorsing notes for them—and now when he was taken ill he had literally nothing to leave his wife and family, after a life spent in the public service. His political friends, to their honor it must be recorded, made up their minds to provide a fund which could be invested for the benefit of his family, should any fatality befall him, and the sum of about $80,000 was soon raised.

Seven years afterwards, Sir John, in repelling some charges brought against him in connection with the Northern Railway, told the story in simple but touching language, as follows :— "And now as to his own case. The hon. gentleman had said it was a suspicious circumstance that the road had subscribed to his testimonial. It was always unpleasant to have personal matters brought up in this way ; but in the vicissitudes of public life one must expect that sort of thing. It would «. be remembered that in 1870 he was struck down with an illness supposed to be mortal. This being made known, his friends began to consider what would become of his family _

He did not like to speak of this, but he supposed he must. His friends finding it exceedingly probable that his family would lose their head and protector, began to consider what could be done. On inquiry they found—whether through his own fault, or his own devotion to public business—that he would leave them but a slender provision. He himself was perfectly unconscious of what was going on around him, and it was then, as he understood it, the movement was commenced. It was taken up vigorously, not in the idea that it was to do any good to him, but to those to be left behind. It was feared that he was far beyond the reach of pecuniary needs, and that the places which knew him then would know him no more. After recovering consciousness he was taken to Prince Edward Island, where he stayed the whole summer. This movement was never hinted to him, and he never heard of it in any way till his return to Ottawa in the fall, when he saw statements in the papers. It was not till Mr. McPherson asked his approval of the names submitted as trustees of the fund that he had any specific information of the matter. He had only to mention these names—Col. Gzowski, Hon. G.V. Allan and Col. Burnet—to show that they would not allow anything connected with it as far as they knew to touch they honor or the honor of his family."


And then the whole quire hold their hips and laugh, 
And waxen in their mirth, and neese and swear 
A merrier hour was never wasted theve. —Midsummer Night's Dream.


Sir John's cleverness and quickness at retort, either in the House or on the platform, has often been the subject of the admiration of his friends. And the best of it was that he not only enjoyed a good hit, whether given by himself or afriend, but relished it quite as much if given by an opponent against himself. The occasions were very few when he got angry at a thrust of wit and sarcasm, whether the thrust came in anger or not. The early newspaper reports of the provincial legislatures in which he figured contain a few, but not by any means the best of these passages. At a comparatively earlyperiod he was a promirent object for the marksmen of the Opposition.

It seems strange that the following passage in one of the speeches of Thos. D'Arcy McGee, then in opposition, should have been uttered as far back as 1859: "What the hon. gentlemen of the ministerial benches ought to do next, was to get rid of the Attorney General West (the term used to denote the Attorney General of Upper Canada). He Wis now the oldest inhabitant of the hospital, and it was time he was going. His constitution must be of the description called by physiologists the sanguine-bilious, for he had outlived several successive colleagues. He seemed to feel that there was nothing at stake except the Attorney Generalship, and that stake he held on to with the endurance and resignation of a martyr."
At the session of the following year this dialogue took place in the House :—

Mr. Wilson—" And the Attorney General West said, speaking of the selection of Ottawa as the seat of government, 'It was only done to humbug the French. I never intended to carry it out.'"

The Attorney General West—"Where did I say that?"

Mr. Wilson—''At the hustings in the town of Kingston."

Mr. McGee—"I have the affidavits in my desk, and can produce them at once if desired."

The Attorney General West—"Oh, another day will answer just as well."

As samples of the grotesque phrases he sometimes invented the following are given :—

As Mr. Macdonald (then in opposition) rose, it was observed by some that the Premier was asleep. Mr. Holton, alluding to the remarks of the last speaker, said, " He don't feel it."

Mr. Macdonald said if anything was calculated to arouse a man of honor, and the leader of a Government, it was the charges which had this evening been preferred against the Hon. Minister of Militia. If he did not "feel it," as had just been said, he must be devoid of all feeling of honor, and morally have a skin as thick as that of a hippopotamus. (Laughter and cheers.)

In a debate on the question of " representation by population" he said the hon. member for South Oxford (Mr. George Brown, its advocate) knew that representation by population was as dead as Julius Cassar.

An anecdote is told of the visit of the Prince of Wales in 1860, to the effect that they were driving in procession through the streets with John A. in the carriage with the Prince. The crowd began to "hurrah for John A.," when the Prince turned and asked, "Who is this John A. the people are shouting for?" and Mr. Macdonald rather confused his Royal Highness by confessing that he was the individual referred to. If this incident took place at Kingston it could not have been Albert Edward, because the Duke of Newcastle, who had the Prince in charge, refused to recognize officially the Orange society who were going to march in the procession, having erected an arch. The civic deputation of which John A. was a member declined to withdraw the Orangemen from the procession, as they had already been appointed to places, and the result was the Duke would not land with the Prince and passed on in the steamer. There was much indignation at the time, and John A., although he had long ceased to be an Orangeman, publicly said that the Duke was both injudicious and dictatorial. He had gone down to Ottawa at the first hint of the approaching difficulty and pressed upon the Duke to withdraw from his position, "using more emphatic language than His Grace was probably accustomed to hear." He pointed out that, had his own advice been taken (to land and see the people without holding the procession), the Duke "would have pleased the Orange institution because, although not recognized officially, their rights would have been vindicated; and on the other hand the Roman Catholics would have been pleased, because they would have succeeded so far that the Duke of Newcastle would not have carried out the recognition of the order; while the people of Kingston would have been pleased because the Prince had accepted their hospitalities. But as it was everybody was displeased."

It was to this that De Cordova alluded in his poetic screed on the Prince's visit :—

They have dined him and wined him in manner most royal, 
  Addressed and harangued him to prove they were loyal; 
They have bored him in parks, and they've liored him in halls, 

        Danced him almost to death in no end of balls. 
      They have bored him in colleges, bored him in schools, 
       And convinced him that Orange fanatics are fools. 
   In a speech delivered the next year after the Prince's visit 
John A. thus referred, by the way, to his connection with this 

order: "How did I become an Orangeman? I was not an Irishman by birth, and had little to do with politics in those days. It was in 1841, in times when Orangemen were on the descent, when the Provincial Legislature had proscribed them, forbidding them to wear their regalia, and declaring their procession illegal; and at a time when they were about to pass a law preventing an Orangeman from becoming a juror or a constable, or holding any position under the crown, thus branding him as an outlaw and a traitor to his country. * * I resolved that if they, among whom were many of my best friends, were to be proscribed and hounded down merely because they were Orangemen, I would go in with them and submit to the same obloquy. Then, sir, I became an Orangeman."
In a speech when the same subject was touched upon, a Mr. Purdy called out from the crowd:

"I would like, honorable sir, to understand how you as an Orangeman felt when the Host was hoisted before you in the city of Quebec?"
A voice—" He didn't like it at all." (Laughter.)

Mr. Macdonald—" I have great pleasure in answering the question. I can only tell him how I would have felt had the circumstance occurred ; but as the Host was not elevated before me, I cannot say how I should have felt."

Great laughter and cries of " Sit down now, Purdy.''

This was a good example of the ready way in which he could turn the laugh against an inconvenient questioner.

Replying to a speech of Mr. Joly, who had taken him to task for some expressions in a previous speech, he said: "The hon. gentleman has evidently mistaken the meaning of the words used. The words ' civil strife' did not mean civil war. We have had a civil strife repeatedly in this House. Why, a law-suit is a civil strife, but a civil war is an uncivil strife. (Laughter.) * * The hon. member had stated his desire to speak on the subject of Confederation some time ago, and told us he wanted to address the House on Friday night, but he had not up to to-day delivered himself of that speech, and no one knew when it was coming. Like Moses of old, he had got io the top of Mount Pisgah, from whence he saw the Promised Land, but could not reach it." (Laughter.)

"While on this point," said Mr. Dorion in one of his speeches, "I would like to read a letter written by the Hon. T. D. McGee to a Mr. Macarow."
"Mr. who?" asked John A., "Mr. Make-a-row?"

The Hon. John Sandfield Macdonald, in a speech in 1866, expressed his anxiety to see the educational question settled in both Upper and Lower Canada, so that the Ecclesiastics and others then in the city on the subject might return home, "for," he added, "the Attorney-General (John A.) must be in purgatory all this time."

The Attorney-General—" The zeal of the hon. member for Cornwall (John Sandfield) for the safety of the Protestant minority of Lower Canada is like the hen who had raised a brood of ducks. When she saw them take water the first time, she thought they would all be drowned, but to her surprise they swam on, quite unconscious of danger. I cannot understand why the hon. member for Cornwall should say I am in purgatory because I am enjoying the society of the Hierarchy and eminent members of my own Church. (Laughter.) Perhaps he judges by his own feelings, as the same society might be purgatory to him; and while speaking on this subject, I may remind the hon. gentleman of the old saying: he might ' go farther and fare worse !' " (Great laughter.)

In another retort against John Sandfield in the same session, he convulsed the House with this :—It was well known that he (John Sandfield) had bought, literally bought, the former member for Pontiac, W. M. Dawson, who was a high-toned Lower Canada Conservative, and he had hunted the present members for Ottawa and Pontiac, until the only way of escape for them was to go to chinch.

"No one knew better than he," said Mr. Macdonald in an attack on Mr. Brown in 1860, "that his party was at the present moment breaking up. No one knew better than he that while the hon. members around and beside him feared him, they did not love him. They would like to remonstrate, but dared not face him. By his superior will, by his superior ability, he wielded them as he wished. He held his lash over them, and though the viper might bite against the file, the viper got the worst of it. The hon. gentleman was the Louis Napoleon of his party, but he had an Austrian army with him." (Laughter.)

Commenting on the work of a commission on fisheries, he said the commission would be unable to deal with the matter of bounties, as questions involving expenditure of money had to be introduced with great formality, as had too recently been impressed upon them; but he had every confidence that the presence of a Fisher and an Anglin on the committee would ensure the best results.

Hon. Mr. Holton, member for Chateauguay, who was an uncompromising opponent, in making some observations on the Dominion bank stock bill, added that he himself was among its supporters; upon which Mr. Macdonald turned to his colleagues and asked: " But there's something wrong with this bill? The hon. member for Chateauguay supports it!"

There is a wholesome comment on the philosophy of parliamentary debate in the following: On a motion for returns regarding the fisheries, he remarked, after there had been much speech making, that hon. gentlemen who had spoken had addressed themselves to the matters in which they were severally interested. Those who had preceded the hon. member for Lambton, being interested in the prosperity of the fisheries, had spoken concerning them. And the hon. member for Lambton, not caring about the fisheries, but caring a good deal about who should occupy the place of minister, had addressed himself to that branch of the subject. (Laughter.)

In 1869, there was a debate on the item in the estimates for the Governor General's salary, which some of the members wanted to see reduced. Sir John, in his remarks, said Canada had deliberately chosen her present form of government, and were we, when we had the boldness to go and ask the credit of the Imperial Crown for millions, to go and say to England that we think Her Majesty might hire some other man (here he was interrupted by a burst of laughter), yes, hire some other man to do her chores for a little less. (Loud laughter.) In the course of the debate, a member 011 the Conservative side said he still adhered to his opinion that $32,000 was a sufficient salary for the Governor-General, upon which Sir John made the characteristic observation: "I have not the slightest objection to the hon. member retaining his opinion, if he will only give us his vote."

A characteristic remark in the same vein as the last noted was repeated by Sir John in several forms. The first occasion was at the time of Confederation. Senator Dickey, of Amherst, though a delegate at the first conference, turned against the union on the ground that Nova Scotia did not get her due share of the subsidy then proposed. "It turned out," said Mr. Dickey, " that I was right; but people are never forgiven for being right ngainst the opinions of others, and for a long time I was in disfavor. My name was mentioned in connection with the Lieutenant Governorship of Nova Scotia, but I said to those who brought the news, 'set your minds at rest. I will not be chosen. What they want is not a man that is fit but a man that will suit.' Sir John, not long afterwards, said to me, 'Why did you kick up your heels so on the Confederation question? Have you gone over to the enemy?' 'No,' I replied, ' I am still a Conservative, and I shall support you whenever I think you are right.' 'That is no satisfaction,' retorted Sir John, with a twinkle. 'Anybody may support me when I am right. What I want is a man that will support me when I am wrong !'"

The same remark was applied to the Mail newspaper when it threw off the yoke of party allegiance and became independent.

Referring to the length of the session in 1870, John Sandfield Macdonald said there ought to be no difficulty in getting through the bill of fare by May.
Mr. Mackenzie said it was not so much the amount of the bill of fare as the toughness and indigestibility of the items.

Sir John replied that the hon. gentleman stuck his teeth in too far. The Government only wanted to get their dessert.

In the session of 1870, a passage at arms took place between Alexander Mackenzie and John Sandfield Macdonald, the member for Glengarry, when Mr. Mackenzie said that when he (John Sandfield) failed to discover any argument he could use, he was sure to find out whether a person were born in any other country than Canada, or in any other county than Glengarry. (Laughter.) He (Mr. Mackenzie) was sorry he was born in Great Britain, and if it were in his power he would gratify the hon. member by being born in Glengarry. It was true the hon. gentleman voted against the Government that session. No doubt he felt exceedingly sorry for it; but he was brought back into the track again, and he had just now shown his zeal for the leader on the other side of the House (Sir John).
John Sandfield—" You followed him longer than I did."

Mr. Mackenzie—" I never did anything of the kind."

John Sandfield—" You followed him for two years."

Mr. Mackenzie—" You are in error again."

John Sandfield—" You voted with him."

Mr. Mackenzie—" That is quite a different matter. He was simply a member of the Government which I supported, though I am not sure he was much worse than some people I have known. (Laughter.) If I were to make an original choice I would take one who is something or other, before one whom I don't know where to find."

Sir John—" Let us not have anything hostile between these two gentlemen. We will not have a duel system."

Mr. Mackenzie, in a speech, referred to some member who on a recent occasion had spoken of himself in a very complimentary way, saying he would be proud to adopt him (Mackenzie) as his leader. (Hear, hear and laughter.)

Sir John—" He meant Lyon Mackenzie."

Those who are familiar with Parliamentary procedure, are aware that the custom of " pairing off" is often resorted to before, or at the time when, a vote is taken. A member may be compelled to be absent when a division takes place, and to save his party from disadvantage he learns of some one on the opposite side who, for reasons of his own, does not wish to vote on that question. So they agree to "pair off,'' neither voting. Pairing therefore can only be effected between members of opposite sides. In one division Mr. Bodwell called attention to the fact that Sir John had not voted at all.

Sir John replied that he had paired off with Sir George E. Cartier.

The humor of the remark consisted not merely in the fact that Sir George E. Cartier was one of his own colleagues, but the bill in question was one to do away with the privilege men then had of being a member of both the Dominion and Provincial houses, on which subject Sir George held views strongly opposed to Sir John.

In a further discussion on the same bill, Mr. Geoffrion, a lawyer, remarked that the House had only a few hours before declared against the principle of the bill. If it should now pass, he asked the opinion of the Premier, what would be the result?

Sir John replied :— ' I do not think my hon. friend, whose legal talent we all admire, needs any advice from me." (Laughter.)

A good example of the reply evasive.

Mr. John Sandfield Macdonald, one of Sir John's most violent opponents, died in August, 1872. Referring to a wish expressed by some members that th.y should have a chance of attending his funeral, Sir John said he had no doubt every member would join in a tribute of respect to his memory. It was a rather strange coincidence, Sir John observed, that the deceased, who had moved a resolution to do away with the custom of adjourning the House on account of the death of a member, should himself be the first to whom the rule should apply.

The Hon. Mr. Langevin, in reply to a question, having informed the House that night trains would be put on the Intercolonial Railway, Sir John added, "Night trains will be put on at an early day."

Sir John, making a reference to a caustic observation of Mr. Mackenzie that Sir Francis Hincks, then member for Vancouver, spoke always in favor of imperial interests because he was an imperial pensioner, asked what would be thought in England if Mr. Gladstone should rise and, shaking his finger across the floor at Mr. Disraeli, call him a pensioner? * * There had been pensioners, he hoped there would still be pensioners, recognized by the gratitude of the people and the Government of England and of Canada. Burke was a pensioner; Grattan was a pensioner; the Duke of Wellington was a pensioner; Lord Lawrence was a pensioner. When they read the bead roll of the great men of England, they read a roll of pensioners—men whose merits had been acknowledged, and whose services had been appreciated and rewarded.

In reply to a taunt of a member while the Canadian Pacific charges were under debate, Sir John, he had never denied being a thief, because he was never charged with being one.



The Hon. Alexander Mackenzie in the days ©f his premiership, and before, was a clear, forcible and logical speaker, and, though not what one would call witty, had that dry Scotch humor which was sometimes quite a match for Sir John's fantastic wit, in its effect upon the House.

In the course of a discussion on the tariff, Mr. Mackenzie said: "I will call the attention of the hon, gentlemen (Sir John, who was then leader of the Opposition, Mr. Mackenzie being Premier) to Mr. Newmarsh. I have no doubt Mr. Newmarsh will recall the conversation which took place at Mr. Potter's dinner table."

Several members—" Hear, hear."

Mr. ^Mackenzie—" I don't understand the 'hear, hear' of the hon. members."

Sir John—"Was the hon. gentleman going to 'Potter's Field?'"

Mr. Mackenzie—" Both .the hon. gentleman and I were going to 'Potter's Field' one day; but he has got there now, and is likely to remain there.''
Further on in the same debate Mr. Mackenzie went on to say:—:

"The hon. gentleman (Sir John) says Canada is young, and that it must be led gently until it grows up to manhood. But who is to be its nurse? Who is to take care of the child?"

Sir John—',' Its dry nurse."

"A very dry nurse," replied Mr. Mackenzie, not taking the allusion to himself. "The hon. gentleman reminds one of the man standing in a tub and trying to lift himself by the two handles."

Later in the same debate Mr. Mackenzie, alluding to the raising of the tariff from 15 to 17^ per cent., was saying, "No, sir, that was purely a revenue policy," when Sir John broke in with:

"It was both protection and revenue. Try another rise and get more revenue."

"I would much rather take a rise out of my hon. friend," replied Mr. Mackenzie.

"You have done that alrea ly," good-humoredly returned Sir John.

In the debate on the speech from the throne, Sir John, observing the meagreness of the subjects in the address, said: As they were approaching the season of Lent they might expect Lenten fare, and they had got it. To be sure the address was of the usual length—perhaps it exceeded the usual longitude. It might be said by some arithmetical critics that, like a line, it had length without breadth. * * Some old faces were among his friends in the ministry opposite, but others had gone. Evidently the hon. gentlemen of the Ministry could not help feelings that they had not an abiding city there. They disappeared one by one. Some went to the west, and some to the east, and they reminded him strongly of the expression of Burke, "when I consider these changes, I can only think—what shadows we are, and what shadows we pursue!"

Proceeding to speak of certain dismissals from office he said, M Sidney Smith was discussing with Lord Melbourne some matters, when Lord Melbourne began to swear. He did not mean any impropriety by it. It was simply the fashion in the early days of the Prince Regent and George IV, but it was improper and offensive in the presence of a clergyman. Sydney Smith, in his quiet way, turned round and said, "Now, my Lord, let us consider every body cursed and get to business.' Now, sir, let us consider that the late administration (Sir John's) is damned, not for all eternity, but far all time, at any rate."
Mr. Mackenzie—" We do."

Sir John—" My hon. friend would look much more pleasant if he thought that were going to be so. Let us consider that they have committed every sin in the calendar, from high treason down to the nuisances my hon. friend from Hamilton is going to deal with, and what then? The hon. gentlemen opposite have to answer for their own offences, not for ours."

One of the ministers having said he understood there was to be no strong opposition to government measures this session, Sir John replied that the rumor may have reached them, but it had not reached the Opposition yet.

Mr. Bunster, referring to a previous speaker's denunciation of beer, said he was sorry to see the hon. member for North York down on his own country's beverage. How does he know but he was suckled on it as an infant?

Sir John—'' It is generally at the end of life, rather than the beginning,.that men want their bier."
On the subject of the Northern Railway inquiry, Sir John replying to some insinuations of the Hon. Mr. Huntingdon, the member for West Shefford. at whose instance the Canadian Pacific scandal had been brought up, said: The hon. member for Shefford stated that his administration were the victims of a system that had existed for the past twenty yearsThe hon. gentleman did not blame them so much as he pitied them, and he gave them the advantage of his sorrow. He (Sir John) could look back not twenty, but thirty-three years — to nearly twenty years of official life and thirty three years o/ parliamentary life—and he would declare in the presence of the House and in the presence of the country, that neither the men nor the Governments with which he had been connected could be justly charged with acts of corruption. They could hold up their heads in this country, as he held up his head in this House, and declare that if ever a Government was conducted with a sincere, a simple and an anxious desire for the good of the country, and for no other purpose, it was the Government with which he was connected. He remembered the time when there was a great cry throughout the country that the late Government ^Sir Johi/s) had been guilty of all kinds of crimes, because they had paid loo much for mucilage and penknives. From every hustings, at every election the cry of mucilage and penknives was raised against them, but a decent old Reformer said the other day in Ontario, "I don't know how it is, Sir John managed the country with a little mucilage and a few penknives, when it takes millions of dollars to keep our own party in power." The hon. member for Shefford talked about purity. Why, neither in his public or private life could that hon. gentleman talk of purity. The hon, gentleman had a face of copper.

Mr. Huntingdon sprang to his feet with excitement and began with— 1I challenge "but his voice was drowned by cries of order, and confusion. The Speaker threatened to adjourn the House, but finally, after some recriminations had been indulged in, harmony was restored.

Mr. Cauchon, referring to a bill under discussion, said if the principle was bad when carried to extremes, it must always be bad. The only difference was that carrying it to extremes made it a great deal worse.

"Yes," dryly observed Sir John, " it is always bad to shave your head in order to cut your hair."

Mr. Young, a miitisterialist, speaking of the depression then existing, and which the Opposition blamed the Government for causing, said the depression was confined principally to three interests, the manufacturing, the lumbering and the mercantile. "Exactly," interjected Sir John; "that is, every possible interest except the agricultural and the ecclesiastical.''

The following extract from a speech of Sir John's on the budget of 1876 gives a good sample of the pleasant raillery of which he was a master: "I heard thethreat, the dire threat, that the member for Montreal would go into opposition. * * I thought I could see a smile, a gentle, placid smile, pass over the countenance of my hon. friend, who knows his power so well. My hon. friend from Montreal is like ancient Pistol— he can speak brave words, but, like the same ancient Pistoi, he can eat the leek. My hon. friend the Premier was quite satisfied that although the member for Montieal was very brave just now, and although He casts off his friends   As huntsman his pack, For he knows with a word He can whistle them back, they would give him their confidence as they Had done hither* to. If the Government are never displaced until thiough the arm or the accident of my hon. Friend from Montreal, they w;]l remain in office much longer thar. either the wishes of the Opposition or the good of the country require. My hon. friend from Montreal Centre gave me a warning that, unless I accepted this offer at once, there would be no use in throwing my net for him. Well, Mr. Speaker, I have caught some queer fish in my time, but I am afraid my hon. friend is too loose a fish for me to catch."

And again in the same session in the debate on the address: "We have the right to exercise stern criticism in our remarks to-day, and in the character of an appreciative but stern critic allow me to offer to Loth mover and seconder my felicitations on the happy and eloquent manner in which they have done their duty. As to the speech itself,T can say it is a most harmless and innocent document. I hope there is no torpedo under it which will create an explosion before the session is over. However, it looks so amiable on its face that I certainly do not propose to offer an amendment. * *.*. The abolition of the office of Agent General is an economy that has been loudly called for in the country, and has at last been effected. The Government deserve the. credit of having stopped the leak, but they must remember they are chargeable with having made the auger-hole. * * Experience has shown my hon. friend we were not so far wrong as we were alleged to be. I think it is Benedict who says: 'When I declared I would die a bachelor, I did not think I should live to be married.' The same with my hon. friends, they did not think when they were in Opposition they would ever be ministers. I hope the more they feel the cares and responsibilities of government, the more sympathy they will have with their predecessors, and when the day comes when they return to this side of the House—[Mr. Blake—" That will be the millenium.""]—Yes, that will be the millenium. I do not think he enjoys a millenium at the present time. I think there are some thorns, some tares, whether sown by their own friends or their enemies, I know not, and it is wrong for us to inquire. But my hon. friend will admit it is not a bed of roses."

"That," said Mr. Thompson, arguing on the effect of a bill in 1877, "is:going back to the blue laws of Connecticut, when people were fined for violating the moral law. If the Minister of Justice (Mr. Blake) will not consent to more amendments, I will move the six months' hoist."
"The hon. gentleman has not yet convinced me," said Mr. Blake. "I am open to conviction."

"A good many persons will be open to conviction under the bill," observed Sir John.

Sir John (referring to Mr. Young, of South Wentworth, in a discussion on the sugar duties), "Will he not insist on a bounty forbeet-root sugar? If it is not done I have no doubt the hon. member will * * look to other sources for protection to that great and growing industry."

Mr. Young—" I am afraid I would look in vain."

Sir John—" I was going to say, I am afraid my hon. friend up in that country, if he does not do it, will soon be one of the dead-beats."

The same Mr. Young, speaking of Sir John's dwindling majorities in the constituency he so long represented, said: '' In the early part of his career, it was utterly useless for anybody to oppose him. His majorities were counted by hundreds, but in 1874 his majority was reduced to thirty-eight (and he lost the seat, and the judge had doubts whether he should not disqualify him)- But we go on to the next election when the hon. gentleman was only returned by a majority of seventeen, and so much was he in fear of defeat that he went to the poll and voted for himself.''

Sir John good-naturedly replied: "That is true; I had only seventeen, and I am very glad I got off with that, I can tell you."

In the same debate on the address this session, a lively scene took place between Sir John and the Hon. A. G. Jones of Halifax. Sir John had observed that Mr. Jones was trying to divert attention from the unparliamentary way in which he had " slanged " Sir Charles Tupper, when Mr. Casey of Elgin called "order." Sir John reasserted that "the language of the hon. gentleman was slang, and unparliamentary slang, and he had no doubt the speaker would say he (Sir John) was perfectly in order, and that the hon. member for Elgin was perfectly out of order." Mr. Casey put the point to the Speaker, who replied,
"I hardly understand what it means. I never heard of slang in that way."

Sir John, having secured himself by the doubtful phrase he had invented, went on to say that Mr. Jones having felt the lash on his back had writhed like a toad under the harrow, and like a sailor tied at the gangway had begun to blaspheme at the man who ordered the punishment. The hon. gentleman, who comes from Halifax, a naval port, must know that when a sailor was tied up at the gangway under the cat, and Writhing under the punishment, he was allowed by a naval rule to slang and abuse the captain. He supposed that under no other principle could Mr. Speaker have allowed the hon. gentleman to go on as he had. What, though every charge he (Mr. Jones) had made against the hon. member for Cumberland (Sir Charles) were true ; * * what though his crimes and sins extended from pitch and toss to manslaughter, was it not the right of the hon. member for Cumberland to bring the member for Halifax to account? * * Then there is the question of the flag.*

Mr. Jones—" Whoever states it, states a falsehood."

Sir John—" The first man who repeated it was that fine old soldier, Sir Hastings Doyle."

Mr. Jones—" He did not."

Sir John (coolly)—" He 'was the first man who repeated it." Mr. Jones—" He did not."

Sir John (calmly and reflectively)—" The first man who repeated it was that fine old soldier, Sir Hastings Doyle."

This was torture to Mr. Jones, and amidst a hubbub and confusion, and cries of "order," recriminations were poured forth till the Speaker rose to the question of order and said:

"I think there is no violation of order for this reason, that the hon. member for Kingston was staring that such and such an assertion had been made, and not that it was true. If he had said the assertion was true he would have been out of order."

A member to Sir John—" Do you believe it?" Sir John—" Well, I cannot say. Well, 1 do believe it, if you want to know."

*An allusion to a speech of Mr. Jones, in which he was said to have declared that when the British flag was hauled down from the citadel of Halifax, he would take off his hat and cheer.

The Speaker—" The right hon. gentleman is now entirely out of order."

Sir John—"Well then, in a parliamentary sense, I do not believe it; but in the other sense I do!"

During this session some changes in the personnel of the Mackenzie administration were announced, upon which Sir John commented as follows:

"I hope my hon. friend, the head of the Government, was not disturbed in his devotions on Sunday by the necessity of making these new arrangements."
Mr. Mackenzie—" I was at church, as usual."

Sir John—"The hon. gentleman went to church as usual, and I have no doubt he paid great attention to the sermon, especially if the sermon impressed upon him the necessity of resignation.''

Mr. Casgrain one day inquired if the Imperial Government would be asked to pay the expenses incurred in relation to the crossing of our frontier by Sitting Bull, the Indian chief.

Mr. Mackenzie—" It is not the intention to make any representation on the subject."
Sir John—." I do not see how a Sitting Bull can cress the frontier."

Mr. Mackenzie—" Not unless he rises." 

Sir John—"Then he is not a Sitting Bull." 

In a debate which arose out of an attack upon a member of the House, by the Globe, Sir John said he agreed with another hon. member that the editorial should be treated with silent contempt. "A story was told," said he, "of a young Scotch advocate who in his zeal for his client, and in his disappointment at the judgment given, used strong language, and said he was surprised that the court should have given such a decision. Of course the Judge charged him with contempt, and finding himself in a difficulty, he appealed to John Clark of Elgin—afterwards Lord Elgin—to apologize for him. Clark did so, informing the court that the offence rose out of the young gentleman's inexperience. 'If,' said he, 'he had known the court as long as John Clark of E'gin, he would not be surprised at anything.' " (Laughter.) In the same way he was not surprised at anything in the Globe, and therefore treated it with contempt.

In the House in this session Mr. Frechette made some strictures upon the part taken by Mr. Thibaull in the Digby election, when Mr. W ade said the hon. gentleman did not dare to meet Mr. Thibault. "No," observed Sir John, "he could not Wade through that freshet"

Among the members of this period, none had a keener wit or commanded the attention of the House better than "Joe" Rymal, the member for South Wentworth, better known as "Honest Joe." He was sometimes coarse, and rode roughshod with the steed of his sarcasm over an opponent, but his utterances were always racy of the soil, and in his happier moods he was an entertaining speaker. It was he who described an opponent at one of his elections as "a pocket edition of Judas Iscariot, neatly bound in calf." Once Thomas D'Arcy McGee, whose eloquence and wit were remarkable, gave Mr. Rymal a drubbing, and was somewhat personal in his attack, calling him a "western chaw-bacon." At the same time Mr. McGee, contrasting himself with his opponent, boasted that he himself had been received with open hands and hearts from one end of his constituency to the other. Mr. Rymal returned the attack in the same personal style, and turned every gun in his battery of scorn upon McGee. "As to McGee's being received in open arms, no doubt he would be received and welcomed at Botany Bay." This was an allusion to the circumstances under which McGee had left England, and this and similar thrusts made him wince. Mr. McGee was now a colleague of Sir John, but the latter so appreciated a good hit, no matter what head received it, that he came over when Mr. Rymal sat down and whispered, "Well, Rjmal, you did that well. I have often lain awake in my bed thinking how I could give him a rap (alluding to the time when Mr. McGee was an opponent), but 1 never conceived a hit like that." Mr. Rymal replied that it had come to him as an inspiration, at which Sir John laughed heartily.

In the tariff debate of 1878, Mr. Rymal, in a speech alluding to the campaign speeches and political picnics of Sir John and his party, said :—

"Now, we read of one who went to and fro in-the earth, many years ago, and tempted the people by false promises. He tempted our Saviour by taking Him up into a high mountain, and showing Him the kingdoms of the earth, and promising Him all these, if He would fall down and worship him." 

Mr. Rymal then went on to make the application and to speak of Sir John, when Sir John said :—

"But you didn't finish the story about the man who went up into the high mountain."

Mr. Rymal instantly replied :—" That was not a man, that was the Devil j the other tempter did not go to the top of the mountain; he went round the country holding picnics and tempting the people." (Laughter.)

In the debate which preceded his downfall, Sir John, referring to Mr. Rymal's candor, said that if one honest man had been found in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, they might have been saved, and so the Opposition might be saved in the same way,"for there was at least one honest, straightforward man in their ranks, and that man was the hon. member for South Wentworth.

Mr. Rymal here broke in with a mock beseeching air :—" I beg the hon. gentleman not to be complimentary; he will kill me if he docs."

When the roars of laughter had subsided from this sally, Sir John said there was a difference between a compliment and a flatter)'. A flattery was an agreeable untruth; a compliment was an agreeable truth. If that was going to hurt the hon. gentleman, he would take it back.

Probably one of the best tributes ever paid to Sir John upon his power of influencing and managing men was given by Mr. Rymal in a speech in 1882, in which he took the Government to task for mal-administration and encroachment upon provincial rights.

After saying that, unless the rights of the Provinces were better respected, Confederation would fall to pieces like a rope of sand, he proceeded to say : "And it will not be long before most of us who are assembled here to-night will follow in their footsteps (referring to the old reformers of William Lyon MacKenzie's time), and the places that know us now will know us no more. And what will be the fate of Canada then? It may be doubted if Canada could exist any length of time without the services of her greatest statesman, the leader of the present Government. He is a man of extraordinary ability, I admit; as a manager of men I have never seen his equal. I have often wondered how it was that he was able to so completely mould the character and shape the actions of the men who supported him. Whether it is magnetism or necromancy, whether it is the inherent strength that he possesses, or whether it is the weakness of the gentlemen he leads, I am bound to say that, as yet, that question is unsolved in my own mind. Among his supporters are a great many able men, and I will not go so far as to say there are not even a great many good men; but good or bad, able or unable, weak or strong, he wraps them around his finger, as you would a thread. I have heard some of them in the days whan a crisis was likely to occur denounce the measures of the Government, and say, ' Well, I can't go that!' and still I have known these gentlemen long enough to believe that they would go it, and after there was a caucus they did go it every time. * * Yet Canada does not depend upon the existence of any one man or any dozen men."

But in one of Mr. Rymal's last speeches in the House, in the same session, references to Sir John were not so complimentary. The "gerrymander bill," by which there was a re-marking of the boundaries of various constituencies, affected his own constituency, by throwing over one of his strongest townships into the adjoining riding. This was the process known as "hiving the Grits," and foreshadowing as it did his defeat, Mr Rymal denounced it in the strongest language. "To tell me," said he, "that this change was not made with a political purpose ! Why, I have read the Arabian Nights' Entertainments, the Travels of Sinbad the Sailor, and of Gulliver, but any of those narratives would commend themselves to my faith and judgment more than that statement of my hon. friend (Sir John). * * * I have not had the opportunity of looking at the m ip, which will shew something, I dare say that would recall a document exhibited by me a few years ago, and to which the First Minister referred by saying I described it as not the likeness of anything in the heavens above, or in the earth beneath. * * I think the feelings of an outraged people will revolt at such scheming as this. I have not the patience to express my feelings on this subject. I feel a little like the man addicted to a great deal of profanity, who was driving a waggon-load of pumpkins up a hill. Some of the boys, thinking they would hear some tall swearing, lifted the tailboard out of the waggon. He drove his oxen till he got to the top of the hill, when he looked back and saw the pumpkins rolling down the hill, and the boys waiting to hear what he would say. But he said nothing. One of the boys asked, 'Why don't you swear?' 'Why,' said he, 'I coulJ not' do justice . to the occasion.' So I feel. The amenities of the House would be outraged were I to give expression to my feelings, but if any honorable gentleman wishes to talk the matter over with me outside, I will give him some strong opinions."

Antic;pating an unpleasant outburst, Sir John said the hon. gentleman had no right to talk in that way, and the use of that kind of language "was not the way to get on in Parliament or out of Parliament^ or to increase the respect of members of Parliament for each other, or of people outside for their representatives. It was only the violence of a weak nature, a womanish nature, a disposition to scratch and bite. It is rather a libel jn the ladies to say it is feminine."

Mr. Rymal, however, sti;l went on pouring out his wrath and sarcasm, and concluded with these words: "I am as sure as that I am a living man, that there was no other reason for removing the keystone of that old organization of Went, worth, than the fact that for forty-five years at least it had much to do with returning a Reform representative. I quite understand the answers which inspired the Hon. First Minister when he said to me privately on the floor of the House a night or two ago, with a pretty hard expression at the commencement of his sentence: 'We meant to make you howl.' Well, he has made us howl, and some of us will do more howling yet before the next election. * * * '1 he First Minister desires to go down to his grave honored and respected, and gladly would I see any man who has devoted so many years of his life to the public service depart in that way. But there are some acts of the right honorable gentleman's career to which I must refer. His leadership of the Tory party was obtained, as I was told by the man he supplanted [the reference is to Sir Allan McNab], by intrigue and deception. Having obtained power in that way, by a cunning and deceptive heart, he signalized his public career by acts that are not unworthy of notice. The 'double shuffle' of 1858 manifested the cunning of the man, for he led the Liberal party into a trap most completely. He allowed them to take office, and in two days afterwards he and his friends voted them out, without even allowing an appeal to the people. The Canadian Pacific scandal then came up. * * Speaking, for myself, perhaps this is the last time my voice will be heard here. I have a personal regard for every man in this House, and I have been assured by a number of my Conservative friends of their regret that I should disappear from the public stage. Well, in my simplicity I believed these men were speaking truly what they felt, and not until they took me by the throat, as it were, and assassinated a good number of my electors, had I any doubt of the truth of what they said. I cannot in fitting language describe what I believe them to be, or you, Mr. Speaker, would call me to account again, but I think I can give you an idea. I will suppose that the Honorable First Minister was about to organize his followers into a band of musicians, and he were to ask me what instruments they should play. I would say to him, 'Let everyone play the lyre, because the band master would not have much trouble in making experts of them.' * * Now, Mr. Speaker, I am not mide of such material that I can beg for justice. I can ask you in a plain and manly way to do what is right, but I cannot fawn and be a sycophant. My indignation rises, and I feel like the chained gladiator—

'I loathe you, pretty tyrants;
I scorn you with mine eye; 
I'll curse you with my latest breath, 
And fight you tiU I die. 
I would not beg for quarter; 
I scorn to be your slave; 
I'll swim in seas of slaughter; 
Or sink beneath the wave.'"

In a tilt between Mr. Holton and Sir John, the following capital retort was made: "I have the floor," said Mr. Holton; "the right hon. gentleman has made a statement in a menacing manner, pointing his finger at me; and I call upon him to explain the meaning of it." "All I can say is," replied Sir John, "if I pointed my finger at the hon. gentleman, I take my finger back."

In a debate on the question of immigration, Mr. Bowel], criticising the work of some of Mr. Mackenzie's immigration lecturers, said: "I was told that some lecturers have adopted the mode of announcing a temperance lecture and then dragging in the question of immigration." "That," interposed Sir J:hn, "is certainly throwing cold water on immigration."
The Hon. Mr. Jones one day said of the Premier: When he baited his Confederation mouse-trap, he had to use the best bait he could get." To which Sir John replied: "I think my hon. friend is one of the biggest rats caught in the trap."


 Let me play the fool: - 
With mirth and laughter let old wrirkles come; 
And let my liver rather heat with wine, 
Then my heart cool with mortifying g oans. 
Why should a man, whose blood is warm within, 
Sit like his grandsire cut in alabaster? 
Sleep when he wakes? And creep into the 
By being peevish?  —Merchant of Venice.


In the last chapter we gave anecdotes and reminiscences of Sir John's Parliamentary life in Opposition. In another chapter some incidents will be given of the great campaign of 1878 which resulted in his return to power.

Although his party came back in triumph, Sir John sustained a personal humiliation in his own defeat at Kingston— the first deftat he had suffered since enteiing Parliament in 1844. He was, however, elected in two other constituencies, Marquette, Man., and Victoria, B.C., and decided to sit for the latter. A few of Sir John's good hits in Parliament in 1879 and subsequent sessions are now to be given. Mr. Tilley (Sir Leonard), speaking on the subject of prohibition, said he was delighted to find that Mr. Anglin was a convert to the prohibition of opium for use among the Chinese.
"But," said Sir John, "it all ends in smoke, you see."

Mr. Plumb, one day talking about the tariff, said he was bound to deal with this subject, unless he chose to be "a fly on wheel," like those Liberals who had lately been brushed off.

"So much the better for the public weal," replied Sir John.

Mr. Mackenzie was explaining some points about compensation that had been given to members of the mounted police for loss of limbs, when Sir John said he was told that one of the claims was made for a man who lost his toe, and he asked $10,000 for it.

"There are very few men," observed Sir John, "who would not give up a toe for $10,000."

In the course of the debates by which he introduced the National Policy, Sir John remarked that those who cared to be protected at all, wanted all the protection they could get. They were like the squaw who said of whisky, that " a little too much was just enough."

Public men who are acquainted with the clamorousness of manufacturers seeking Government protection will appreciate the aptness of this comparison.

One day Sir John, wishing to close off an inconvenient discussion which had been brought up by Mr. Mackenzie, said to him, "Art thou he that troubleth Israel?" Sir John did not remember that he was quoting the words of Ahab the wicked king, but Mr. Mackenzie was more deeply read in biblical literature, and instantly retorted in the words of Elijah, "I ha ire not troubled Israel, but thou and thy father's house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the Lord and have followed Baalim."

Mr. McLennan, a member of the Opposition, said he would take the liberty to say to his friends on the Treasury benches that they might as an experiment try the good effect of saving a little money. "Yes," agreed Sir John, "just for the novelty of the thing."

In the session of 1880, Mr. Mackenzie made complaint that the Dominion policemen, who should be employed about the House, were taken away to guard game, and added: "Now with regard to the number of those policemen, we discovered that two of them had served during the whole of our term guarding the ducts of this House from incursions of the Fenians."

Sir John—" That is another kind of game."

Sir John (replying to Mr. Blake)—" I quite agree with the hon. member that we should go through these notices of motion. There has not been an opportunity of working them out—of cleaning the stable, as it were."

Mr. Blake—" I do not think the stable is on this side of the House."

Sir John—" Perhaps not. I am quite willing to admit on this side that we are a stable government."

Mr. Plumb in exposing the Fort Frances Lock job, in which certain places were given as sinecures to friends, said :—" It was a case where Jack did nothing, and Tom helped Jack. I do not think they went so far as to employ a chaplain, but the supeiintendent might have read prayers."

Sir John—" The superintendent contented himself with preying on the Government."

At the close of this session (1880), when nearly all the Opposition members had gone home, Mr. Plumb began to rally Mr. Trow, the Liberal whip, on being left aJone as leader. "I may be permitted," said he, "to congratulate my hon. friend on the masterly way in which he has diecharged his duties since his friends have gont- home. It is fortunate for him that there is no division to-day in the ranks of his party as it would have been difficult for him to have divided himself.''

Mr. Trow—" My extreme modesty will not permit me to accept the flattery that has been heaped upon me by the hon. member for Niagara (Plumb.) If the Opposition are few in number, they are strong in weight and backbone (a reference to one of his fat colleagues). I must say my following to day
has not been as encouraging as I anticipated. One of my hon. friends has gone off at a tangent, and the other has gone off to the smoking room."
Sir John—" Is the hon. gentleman going to say the Opposition ends in smoke ? ".

Sir John (replying to Mr. Blake on the Canadian Pacific Railway contract question)—"The hon. gentleman with his legal mind stickling at legal technicalities may argue that a speech of mine is not a legal notice; but on a previous occasion, when the hon. member for Lambton was forcing a measure upon the country without notice, he said indignantly to this House: 'Every man has read my speech at Sarnia.' I will ask the hon. member if that did not occur, that if what is sauce for one animal of a particular kind, is not sauce for another animal of the same kind?"

Mr. Blake—" We do not say he is a goose."

Sir John—"That is a ready answer from an anser."

[It will be necessary to inform readers who do not understand Latin, that "anser" means "goose."]

As soon as the roars of laughter at this hit had subsided, Sir John added with a comical air of sorrow for what he had said: "I think my hon. friend will pardon me for the allusion, because he brought it on himself."

Mr. Mackenzie (commenting on a clause in a new bill)— "If that is considered a:i improvement, it is certainly one of a Tory character."

Sir John—" A satisfac-Tory character."

On the subject of the naturalization of aliens, replying to Mr. Bunster, Sir John said :—"' I think German, Italian, French and other aliens can hold land in British Columbia under a local act, and that the'heathen Chinee' can purchase land until the legislature of British Columbia repeals the law allowing all aliens to hold lands."

Mr. Bunster, arguing on the question, pointed out that the Australian colonies had bound themselves together against the Chinese pest.

Sir John—"Would the hon, gentleman prevent Dutchmen from settling and holding land in British Columbia?"
Mr. Bunster—" No."

Sir John—" Well, one foreigner comes from China, and another comes from Delf (Delft.) I am sure that china is better than self."

"Not at all," insisted Mr. Bunster, apparently oblivious of the joke.

Sir John had the gift of taking the vemon out of many a bitter taunt. One of the Opposition was arraigning the Government for printing at Government expense a speech of Mr. J. B. Plumb, when Sir John explained that it was a very good speech, giving statistics of the North West, and made a good immigration pamphlet. The Hon. David Mills inquired from the Opposition benches whether it was to be the policy of the Government to circulate such speeches in that way in . future. Sir John replied in his most conciliating way: " I will promise not to distribute any more speeches in future, unless I come across a good speech from my hon. friend. That is fair!"

The purchase from the Imperial Government of the old used-up corvette the "Charybdis," to be used as a trainingship for young Canadian seamen, came in for a great deal of criticism in the session of 1881. It was shown that the boilers were worn out, her timbers unsound, and it was almost impossible to keep her out of the Halifax repairing-dock. In reply to a caustic criticism of Mr. Mills, Sir John said: "The hon. gentleman evidently does not like men-of-war. He is a man of peace. But here we are; the 'Charybdis' is our ship, and between the cost of the 'Charybdis' on one side, and the difficulty of ' Scylla' on the other side (we do not spell it with ac), we are well attacked."*

Mr. Mackenzie observed: "I suppose the hon. gentleman took care to inform the Government of the United States and other Governments that his intentions in this matter are strictly pacific."

"No," replied Sir John, " our intentions are solely confined to the Atlantic."

Sir John replying to Mr. Blake:—" The speech of mine from which the hon. gentleman quotes was afterwards delivered before the members of the Club Cartier, at whom the hon. gentleman sneers so much."

Mr. Blake—" Oh, no. I did not sneer at them."

Sir John—" I think the hon. gentleman sneered at them a little, when he spoke of my looking down on them."
Mr. Blake—" It was the hon. gentleman himself who said he would look down on them."

Sir John—" The hon. gentleman sneers at me on the chemin de fer. Let him beware of the chemin cPenferT
Replying to a groundless charge of corruption brought by the Hon. Mr. Mills, Sir John told the following: "James IV of Scotland when he went down to the border, which was then occupied by a wild set of Lowland clans of raiders and foragers, came to the place where a Lowland chieftain had a castle built on an island in the middle of a lake. There was no means of getting at the fortress or taking it, and the plunderer was quite safe in the absence of artillery in those days.

* The double entente probably referred to Sylla, the cruel Roman dictator.

This refers to a speech delivered by Sir John from the railway platform of the station at Montreal, on his return from England, having successfully negotiated the C. P. R. contract. Sir John said he hoped that when he had passed away he might be able to look down upon the finished work.

Tiie king's remark on seeing it—I do not apply it to the hon. gentleman, but perhaps he will appreciate its force—was, 'The man who built that palace is a thief in his heart.'"

Mr. Mackenzie once interjected the comment on a speech of Sir John's, that he was glad the Premier had changed his mind. "Well," replied Sir John, "I sometimes do change my mind. I am not a Bourbon. I learn something, and I forget something, * * We are not too proud to learn even from my hon. friends. Not being Reformers, we occasionally find something to reform."

Sir John (speaking of the progress of the North West, and the increase in the value of land there) : "We always believed in the value of the land, and I was ridiculed—and by none more than my hon. friend (Mr. Blake)—at the valuations I placed upon these lands."

Mr. Blake—': At the calculations, not the valuations. You were only four millions out."

Sir John—" Well, I did not then do full justice to the powers of my hon. friends opposite to keep back the development of the country. Still we have overcome even the influence of their opinion as to the worthlessness of the land."

Sir John—"The hon. gentleman (Mr. Blake) says there is only one Government bill on the paper. You know the old fable of the rabbit and the lion. The rabbit said to the lion, 'I have twenty children to your one.' 'Oh! but,' says the lion, 'my child is a lion !'"

Mr. McLelan—" The position taken by hon. gentleman opposite is that we should content ourselves with the production of raw material for the rest of the world to use in their manufactures."

Several members—-" No."

Sir John—" You touch them on the raw there."

On the disallowance of the " Rivers and Streams" bill, Sir John said: "Why, the belligerent Premier of Ontario (Hon. Oliver Mowat) threatened to march with his armies into the North West, because the present Government had asked for a reference of the disputed question to the highest courts in the land; and 1 was afraid he might come down here like another Oliver, and order our sergeant-at-arms to ' take away that bauble ' and break us up."

In his remarks in reply to Mr. Blake's speech on the address in 1883, Sir John said, "As his able predecessor had said, what is the use of an opposition if it does not oppose? * * In the first place he (Mr. Blake) said the prospect held out was too good, the sunshine was too strong, he was dazzled by the excess of light. * * I do not say that the hon. gentleman loved darkness rather than light, because his deeds were the reverse of good. I do not wish to say so, but he complained that there were no shadows. * * We have brilliant sunshine now; the light of prosperity shines over us, but political and financial difficulties are sure to come. The hon. gentleman's aesthetic tastes will then be satisfied to the utmost extent,for light and shadow will be properly mingled, and Rembrandt will be infinitely more than Turner in the picture.

"My hon. friend put me in mind of the captain of an old Newcastle collier who had been boxing the compass for many years, and had been in almost every foreign country. After seven years in the West Indies he came back to England, and when his ship was approaching land and he felt the familiar sleet and storm, and saw the familiar clouds, he put on his sou'wester and pea-jacket, and said, 'This is something like weather ! None of your infernal blue skies for me !'"

Sir John having announced some ministerial changes, Mr. Blake observed that the hon. gentleman had "given what he called explanations, but which were more like a catalogue or calendar of changes," to which Sir John replied, "Yes, a catalogue raisonne."

In making further explanations on these changes, Sir John said: "Mr, Frank Smith [who was now minister without portfolio] has been summoned to the Cabinet, and I am glad to get his assistance and advice, but he stood in quite a different position from my hon. friend opposite. He (Mr. Blake) was the power behind the throne. He was like the Centurion—a man in authority; he said to one man go, and he goeth, and to another come, and he cometh. * * * He ought to have assumed the responsibility as well as the authority, and not to have been able to say, 'That was not my measure.' He has often said, 'I was not in the ministry at the time.' We all know that, but it is the old case of Stephano and Trinculo, 'Thou shalt be king, and I shall be viceroy over thee.'"

The following dialogue shews the Premier's cleverness at evasion:—

Mr. Mackenzie—" I wish to ask the Premier at what date Sir Alexander Galt's resignation takes effect." Sir John—" On the first of June." Mr. Mackenzie—" Who is to be his successor?" Sir John—" Oh!"
Mr. Mackenzie—" The hon. gentleman can tell me in confidence."

Sir John—" I think the hon. gentleman and myself took the same oath—that we would not disclose any advice given to His Excellency without his permission."

It is a custom in the Canadian Parliament to have an oil painting of each Speaker executed, and hung on his retirement in one of the lobbies, or in the reading-room. The selection of the artist is usually left to the Speaker. Mr. Ross, of Middlesex, one day complained in the House that the Speaker of the Senate, Sir David MacPherson, had got his portrait painted by an English instead of by a Canadian artist, and thought it was not fair that Canadian artists should be passed by. Sir John replied, "I am quite surprised that the hon. gentleman, who is a man of letters and a man of classical knowledge, should object to any gentleman sitting for his portrait to the painter he fancies. The hon. gentleman's objection is quite in the style of Sam Slick, who said: 'I went to Italy and I saw old smoked, dried up pictures there, that were worth five or six thousand dollars. Why, I can get new ones painted on my clocks, with new paints and new gildings, at five dollars a head.'"

Mr. Ross, Middlesex—" I see that J. A. Wilkinson'draws a salary as Inspector of Weights and Measures, but when an election is going he spends his time on that."

Sir John—" He is in favor of good measures."

The following is another dialogue which took place between Mr. Ross and Sir John:—

Sir John—" Let us have this out with the hon. gentleman. I want to know whether he admits he made a mistake or not. The hon. gentleman says in the first place he may have made a mistake, and that he shows his candor by admitting that he was wrong about Mr. Baggs, and then he says he is right. Is he right or wrong?"
Mr. Ross—" In what?"

Sir John—" In making the statement he did." Mr. Ross—" I believe I am right in making the statement." Sir John—" Did the hon. gentleman know or not about the reduction in the tariff?" Mr. Ross—" I certainly knew about the reduction." Sir John—" And when?" Mr. Ross—" And when what?" Sir John—" And when?"
Mr. Ross—" I am not in the witness-box being examined by the hon. gentleman,"and I will not be put in the witnessbox by him."

Sir John—" Then the hon. gentleman will not be put in the witness box? We will not commit him for contempt for not answering the question, because nobody is bound to criminate himself—that is a principle of law. But the hon. gentleman has, I think, in the estimation of this House criminated himself. He says I was not very chivalrous in pinning him down to making a disingenuous statement against the Administration. I had a, right to defend niy Administration. I had a right to shew — when he tried to draw a comparison to the advantage of the late Administration and to the disadvantage of the present Government—that either he was wrong, and knew he was wrong—in which case he was disingenuous—or that he was ignorant, culpably ignorant. I leave the hon. gentleman to say on which horn of the dilemma he shall be transfixed. You remember, Mr. Chairman—I do not know whether you are a play-going man—in one of the most charming plays written by the celebrated Richard Sheridan, 'The Rivals,' Fag-a fag was the servant, and in one of the acts he says, when he is caught: 'Well, I do not mind telling a lie for a friend, but it hurts my conscience to be found out.'"

In a discussion on Indian supplies, Mr. Charlton, who was suffering from a cough, said: "I doubt the propriety of going contrary to the traditions of the Indians in matters of this kind. They should be allowed to bury their dead according to their custom."

"I see you have a fit of coffin to-night," said Sir John.

In the same debate some comments were made on the supply of briar-root pipes to certain Indian chiefs, and the member who complained thought clay pipes were quite good enough. The discussion then turned upon the neglect of the Indians to attend to the gardens which the Government officers had laid out for them. Mr. Casgrain gave instances of this, and said: ','A small area had been cultivated and set out in garden lots, and small houses had been built near them for the Indians, but instead of living in these houses, the Indians built bark

wigwams in front of the houses and there they lived; and as for the plots," said he, "there was not a root to be found in any of them"

"You might have found some briar roots," said Sir John.
While still on this subject, Mr. Charlton remarked upon some of the contracts for advertising given out in connection with the Indian supplies, and said: "I suppose it is the custom to confine these advertisements to the party-organ supporting the party in power."

"I should think not," replied Sir John. "I think the Free Press of Winnipeg has got some advertising patronage."

"On looking through the list," replied Mr. Charlton, "I do not find any. Probably by some oversight the Free Press was overlooked."

Sir John answered: "When a paper is wrong in its politics, it is generally wrong all round."

"This system may have been followed by all party governments," pursued Mr. Charlton; " but it strikes me that in the matter of advertising we should turn over a new leaf, and advertise as business men do for the purpose of getting value for our money."

"Quite right," assented Sir John with a twinkling smile.

"I hope then," said Mr. Charlton, " as the hon. gentleman approves of my views, he will act on the suggestion."

"I am afraid," replied Sir John, "I shall have to crossquestion my hon. friend on that point when he is my successor, and I am sitting over there."

When the proposal was made in the House to have a large oil painting of the "Fathers of Confederation," the name of Mr. Harris was suggested as a good Canadian artist. In the course of the discussion Sir John said: "As regards this particular painting, I have no personal objections to have still another artist try his hand upon myself. There is one Canadian artist who draws me with power and graphic skill, and I think, on the principle of wholesome competition, I may hope

• that Mr. Harris, whose paintings I have not seen, may by slow degrees rise to the artistic skill and perfect accuracy in pourtraying my countenance that my friend Bengough possesses."

Mr. Ross (Middlesex)—" The hon. gentleman will observe that under his bill a man has two chances of getting a pint bottle. In the other case, he can only get it at the tavern; here he can get it at the tavern and shop both."

Mr. McCarthy—" Has the hon. gentleman forgotten that three half-pints are afterwards denned to be five quarter-pints, so that we are fighting over one quarter-of-a pint?"

Sir John—" A small p'int that."

Sir John—" If we had a sworn commission to try the validity of the seats of every man in this House, small in number, though strong in ability as the present Opposition is, their number would be decreased, while those on this side would be increased."

Mr. Casgrain—"Try it over again."

Sir John—" I do not want to lose my hon. friend."

Sir John was taken to task one day for reappointing a delinquent civil servant who had promised to do better, when he retorted, "The hon. gentlemen sneered when I said, 'Go and sin no more.' I would not give them that advice, because I do not think they would take it."

Mr. Casey (referring, in 1884, to Sir George Stephen's position in the C. P. R. monopoly)—" If there was ever a head of a corporation who had a right to be dubbed with a royal title, it is King Stephen I. He had his ministers and courtiers and acted in a truly royal manner."

Sir John—" You ought to make it Stephen the Martyr."

Mr. Blake (alluding to the treatment of the Indians)—" Why should we be more moral with our Indian friends than with ourselves?"

Sir John—" If we were not, it might diminish the number of the Opposition."

On a motion to spend a sum of money for meteorological observations in British Columbia, Mr. Blake remarked : "They do not blow at all out there." To which Sir John replied, "No, they can raise the wind without it."

Mr. Davis—" I rise to a point of order. The complaint I make is that the hon. gentlemen made such a noise when I was speaking that I could not make myself heard."

Sir John—" That is not a point of order, it is a point of disorder."

Mr. Charlton (speaking on the question of maintaining order among the Indians in the North West)—" I would suggest the purchase of a few mountain howitzers, which in the case of emergency could be carried on the backs of mules. I recollect an instance of the effect of this in dispersing Indians in the United States. A small party of troops going through a mountain-pass were unexpectedly attacked by Indians. The emergency was great; they had not time to dismount the howitzers, but pointed them and fired from the backs of the mules, creating great consternation among the Indians."

Sir John—" And among the mules."

Mr. Blake (referring to the curtailment in the number of copies of the Hansard distributed to members)—" It is one of those things in regard to which it is a little difficult to retrace one's steps. If we distribute four copies among our constituents this year, it is difficult to explain to them why only one copy should be distributed next year."

Sir John—"Ascribe it to the economy of the Tory Government."

Mr. Blake—" That is exactly lik.> the Tory Government. First, they make extravagant expenditures, and afterwards they claim great credit for having retrenched their own extravagance."

Sir John—" We become;repentant,which the hon. gentlemen opposite do not."

Mr. Baker of British Columbia (in a debate on the civil service naval examinations)—" Naval officers have to pass a very different examination at the Royal College, Greenwich. If you would include naval officers you would make provision for ths future."

Sir John—" I see no reason why we should not also put in clergymen." [Naval chaplains.]

Mr. Baker—" They are not like clergymen."

Sir John—" I don't know, a good many of them are at sea.''

Sir John's knowledge of human nature, and his ability to select proper instruments to carry out his will, have often been noticed, and he was not so narrow that he could not see merit in any person outside of his own party. A good instance came to the notice of the House in 1885, when he was accused of favoritism in the civil service. In reply Sir John said : "The hon. gentleman speaks about political favoritism. Well, I suppose that all Governments, so long as they are Governments, are charged with favoritism. So far as I know, our skirts are as clear of that as any Government I ever knew. I will mention one instance in the department of which I am the head (Department of the Interior). I took a gentleman who is very considerably junior to the other officers. He was well known to me, and all his antecedents were Liberal, Grittish, if I may use the expression without offence. But he was recommended as a first-rate officer, and he is now deputy head of the Department of the Interior. I mean Mr. Burgess."

Mr. Mulock asked if Mr. Burgess had not changed his politics since. To which Sir John replied :" Not that I am aware of. I never asked what his politics were, and do not know. I do not know whether he has found cut the early error of his ways, or whether he adheres blindly to those errors. I only know he is not blind in any way as an officer; he is not blind to the exigencies of the department, and he does his work faithfully and well."

In the following dialogue it will be necessary for the reader to understand that the Hon. Mr. Bow-ell was an old printer and publisher, and that the Hon. Edw. Blake is a lawyer.

Mr. Blake (referring to some of the crotchets of the warden of the Kingston penitentiary)—"Another plan he had, which I 'do not suppose the hon. gentleman has adopted, was to have a printing press there to do the printing for the institution."

Mr. Bowell—'• There were no printers there."

Sir John—" My hon. friend says there were no printers there. They were in the penitentiary, and that was the reason." (Laughter.)

Mr. Blake—" I must say with reference to the hon. gentleman's old craft, that the warden did not intimate that he would have any difficulty in finding any necessary assistance from the convicts."

Mr. Bowell—" I understand that, because there were a number of lawyers there."

Mr. Blake—" I was anxious to know what the position of contract labor was in the penitentiary. Are the locks still made by contract labor? * * Are the convicts suffering under this vicious system?"

Sir John—"They are suffering perhaps from the strength of the locks."

One day Mr. Farrow was appealing for consideration in favor of two men who had moved to Manitoba from Ontario, and who, after having settled on the wrong farms, and made improvements, were evicted. "They have been the pioneers who have shewn," said Mr. Farrow, somewhat mixing the metaphor, " that this is a country flowing with milk and honey, as far as grain-raising is concerned."

"The grain must be in the milk," suggested Sir John.

Sir John—" The intention of the Government is, if it is the will of the House, to sit on Dominion Day?" Mr. Blake—"Not on St. John's Day?" Sir John—" That is my day."

Mr. Blake—" No, the hon. gentleman is not yet canonized. It requires a long space of time, and a successful passing of the very serious ordeal of an inquisition with the advocatus diaboli as chief accuser."

Sir John—" Will my hon. friend not take that office?"

Mr. Wilson (asking for particulars of expenditure on public works at St. Thomas)—" I would mention to the Minister of Public Works the propriety of placing in the tower of the public building there a good clock."

Sir John—"You want to go on tick."

Sir Hector Langevin (Minister of Public Works)—" As to the clock, that matter will have to be considered."
Mr. Mills—" It takes time."

Mr. Blake—" I claim that he (Sir John) does not practice what he preaches', and that he does not bring the budget down till a late period of the session."

Sir John—" Medio tutissimus ibis." *

Mr. Blake—" No, the hon. gentleman sometimes gets to the bottom between two stools. That is the medium in which he does not walk tutissimus. * * But I perceive from the melodious sounds which greeted my hon. friend from Northumberland when he made the demand, that there is not much likelihood of our getting it, because when the hon. First

* " In the middle you will go safest." It was about the middle of the session when the budget was brought down that year.

Minister had such a backing whose views are expressed in such agreeable sounds, he is never deaf to such charmers." Sir John—" Who charm so wisely."

Some amusement was caused in the House one day upon a motion by Mr. McMullen asking for a return showing the sums paid to Mr. J. E. Collins for services rendered to the Government, and asking what the nature of the services were. Mr. Collins, who had written a political life of Sir John, was employed in some capacity in Sir Hector Langevin's office, but it transpired that the length of service was but sixteen days, for which Mr. Collins only received twenty-eight dollars. The motion, however, gave Sir Richard Cartwright an opportunity for a few jibes on the subject, in the course of which he made this quotation from a passage 'in the writings of Mr. Collins: "Sir Hector's replies are always full and almost invariably satisfactory, but he never says more than is necessary and pertinent; never opens doors through which eagle-eyed opponents may enter, and give worry to the Minister and his Government. Two ministers there are who are always opening their mouths too wide—Mr. Caron (Sir Adolphe) and Mr. Pope. Mr. Blake, Mills, Casey or some Oppositionist will first worry them off their guard, get them to make statements they didn't intend to make, and so put the Government 'in for it.' On these occasions you can notice Sir John fidgeting in his chair, annoyed at the blundering and indiscretion."

After Sir Richard had chaffed Sir Hector some time, he said he understood that Mr. Collins was the Collins who had already immortalized himself by producing a life of the right hon. gentleman opposite.

"No," replied Sir John, "he has immortalized me."

"That work," went on Sir Richard, "was couched in equally chaste and elegant language, and no doubt it will be very satisfactory to the hon. gentleman's friends, because I observe from it that in all the acts of the hon. gentleman's career which evil-minded persons have misinterpreted, he has been actuated by the purest and most patriotic motivei, and has even sometimes allowed his reputation to be tarnished for the general welfare of the country. It is a happy association of ideas, and what a lamented friend of mine called the 'eternal fitness of things,' that a gentleman who in his life has done justice to so many John Collinses, should at last find a John Collins to do justice to him."

Sir John laughed at this as heartily as anyone in the House.

Sir John (referring to the bad ventilation of the Commons chamber)—" It is our right to have a comfortable and healthy chamber to sit in, but I do not go so far as my hon. friend did a moment ago, when he said we wanted a radical change. I want a wholesome change, but not a Radical change."

Sir John in a speech in 1887, replying to Mr. Blake, said: "He (Mr. Blake) broke out in a new place, if I may use the expression, and although his jests were rather prepared and smelt of the lamp, they were very cheerful, and I was delighted to hear the play of language in which the hon. gentleman pointed out the very important fact that one station was called Chapleau, and another by the name of one of my other colleagues. Well, our greatest victories and exploits are written on the face of this continent. I have a mountain called after myself, but if the hon. gentleman's railway policy had been carried out, no mountain would have been called Blake in his time, nor in the time of the present generation; no stations would be marked across the continent with the names of hon. gentlemen opposite.

* * My hon. friends can remember that it was said (by the Opposition leaders) that it was absurd for any people to go into that country when they had Kansas or Texas to go to. * *

We all remember how these speeches of hon. gentlemen opposite were published as advertisements of lands in the United States. We can remember the admirable likeness of the hon. member for West Durham (Mr. Blake) that was published in Chicago, St. Paul and elsewhere, showing that this was the great man. I must admit that the great man is written on that hon. gentleman's countenance. But to make the thing sell the hon. gentleman's portrait was printed on the front sheet, and his speech inside. His speech and his portrait taken together were irresistible. They might have resisted the picture. They might have resisted the speech. But with that speech delivered by a man having that countenance, they both together carried the whole country."
Sir Richard Cartwright—" Now the members of Parliament are paid by the job, and there is a general disposition to get through the session."

Sir John—" I thought the Government only were paid by jobs."

Sir Richard Cartwright (speaking of the sanitary defects of the Chamber)—" For the last two or three days there has been an unsavory and unwholesome smell on this side of the House."

Sir John—" The hon. gentleman had better change to this side. I have no objections to the hon. gentleman coming over here."

Sir Richard—" I am quite willing to accept the suggestion to change places pro tern, and to consider this the right side of the House for the time being."

Sir John—" There is a constitutional objection to that—the ayes are on this side and the noes on that side."
Mr. Trow (the Liberal whip, concluding a speech in the session of 1888)—" The leader of the Government has to take a little rest sometimes, but on the whole he has been very attentive, and I think he has renewed his youth. We all wish he may long continue—though not on that side of the House —and may live at least a quarter of a century, to give his counsels to the people from this side of the House."

Sir John—" Over the left."

Sir John—" You know the story of the man in the lunatic asylum. He was asked why he was there. 'Well,' he said, 'it arises from a difference of opinion; the people think I am mad, and I think all the people are mad, but the majority have carried it and I am here.' My hon. friend (Mr. Laurier) thinks we have a vicious economical policy; the majority is against him and he is there."

Mr. Watson (on the demoralizing effects of the new Indian franchise bill as it operated in Manitoba)—" The spectacle presented at the polling place was disgraceful. Indians walked up to the polls, and on being asked their names did not know. They did not know what name was put on the voters' list. They were afterwards told their names by the persons interested in the election of a certain candidate, and told how to vote."

Sir John—" What was your majority?"

Sir Richard Cartwright—" Has an arrangement been made for employing the convicts in the Dorchester Penitentiary in any permanent manufacture?"

Mr. Thompson—" No."

Sir Richard—" I understand they are employed in the manufacture of buckets."

Sir John—" I wonder if this will be affected by Mr. Abbott's bill in regard to bucket shops?"

In his remarks on the speech from the throne in 1889, replying to Mr. Laurier, Sir John said: "My hon. friend complains of a meagre bill of fare. * * I considered the weak digestion of my hon. friends opposite. Milk for babes and strong meat for men, you know. My hon. friend is still in the infancy of his political position [Mr. Laurier had only assumed the leadership of the Liberal party in 1887], and consequently we have kept the diet down to suit his digestion. * * * The hon. gentleman says of his following: 'We are a small body.' Why are they a small body? Because the country does not give them the same confidence it does us. The hon. gentleman knows that under the dome of St. Paul's in London there is a celebrated epitaph to Sir Christopher Wren: Si monumentum requiris circumspice—if you seek for a monument, look around you! We say the same thing in a humble spirit. Look around at the prosperity of the country; look at the undiminished confidence which the people have in us from one end of the country to the other. That is our best monument, and I expect by-and-bye to see something of that kind inscribed on my tombstone."

"Will he see his own tombstone?" asked Mr. Paterson of Brant.

"I will be looking down," continued Sir John, "on my tombstone. I will be looking down on the Conservative majority, which I shall leave in such good spirit that they will carry on the traditions that have guided them since 1854."

Mr. Paterson, of Brant (in a discussion on an item in the estimates)—" I saw in the department of the Minister of Justice that a statuette of Sir John has been bought. I wonder if it is the great original Sir John, or some other Sir John. * * I thought it might have been placed there as an emblem of that principle of justice so dear to British hearts, but that thought is marred, for the gerrymander and one or two other acts crept into my mind, and I felt that could hardly be an appropriate emblem. I would like, however, to ask the hon. Minister of Justice [Sir John Thompson, who had been lately knighted] whether the statuette was of the Sir John or only of a iSir John who has lately been called into existence."

Sir John Macdonald—" I would ask my hon. friend if he would not allow the statuette of Sir John to be voted without remark, on condition that the original should disappear."

Mr. Paterson—" No, I would not. I would like to give him ample time for repentance for the gerrymander, and for reparation for a good many other things."

Sir John—" You want me to carry out the gerrymander of 1892 as I promised."

Sir Richard Cartwright—" I should like to know whether the material of the statuette is brass or marble?"

Sir John—" It is are perennius." [More durable than brass.]

The name "Old To-morrow," * was the subject of many a jest in the House. To almost any other man the continued application of this nick-name, on all sorts of occasions, welltimed and ill-timed, would have become vexatious and irritating, but he always received it with a laugh, and sometimes applied it himself. The following is a sample :—

Mr. Mitchell (the Hon. Peter, insisting on the discussion of one of his motions)—" If the minister (Sir John) will say to me, 'Come to my office and talk the matter over quietly,' then I have nothing more to say. The right hon. gentleman was kind enough the other day to send me candies across the House. I was very much obliged to him, and accepted them as an indication that the olive branch was extended tome; and although we have not been as cordial for the last year or two as we ought to have been as public men, * * if he is willing to talk the matter over privately, I will withdraw my objections to the motion. But if he does not, I can assure him that every time the Government move to go into committee of supply, I shall move an amendment for the purpose of discussing my grievances."

Sir John—" Well, like Davy Crockett's coon, I must come down. I will be glad to sit down with the hon. gentleman and go over these matters with him, and I shall always have a sufficient assortment of candies for his use."
Mr. Mitchell—"Will the hon. gentleman kindly name the day?"
Sir John—" I won't say 'To-morrow '!"
* For the origin of this soubriquet see appendix.
Mr. Laurier—" But what is the reason of that amendment?"
Sir John (who had been making explanations as to amendments in the Civil Service Act)—" I have just explained."
Mr. Laurier—':I have not heard any explanation."
Sir John—" I cannot help that. I cannot furnish my hon. friend with apprehension."
Mr. Welsh, Liberal member for Prince Edward Island, wanted some piers and wharves for his province, and referred to a speech of the provincial premier, who said that the six members for P. E. I. were no better than blocks of wood, and the senators no better than they, because they had not got the piers taken off their hands by the Dominion Government. Sir John pleasantly replied: "When the next senator dies you will make a very good peer."
Sir John's knowledge of men, and his skill in selecting fit instruments for his purposes, have already been noted. His ability to read what was going on in men's minds was perhaps not so well realized. But that he possessed in some degree such a gift is the opinion of many who knew him. Some such faculty seems indicated in the sentence placed in italics in the following extract from a speech on the death of his old colleague, the Hon. J. H. Pope. He said he became acquainted with Mr. Pope about 1849. ^ was on tne occasion of the assembling of the British American League. Mr. Pope had come as the young representative of the Eastern Townships, the object of the league being to calm the popular excitement of the time and prevent the threatening war of races. He was an active man of business, and united in himself great enterprise with great caution and practical good sense, and with these qualities he overcame his lack of education. Although a farmer, railway engineers were surprised at his intimate knowledge of everything connected with railways. He had in fact built a railway. Alluding to a banquet given to Mr. Pope at Sherbrooke, Sir John went on to say, "I never saw more genuine enthusiasm in my life. It was also affecting to see—you could not avoid seeing it—as they heard his faltering accents, weakened by illness and saw his emaciated form, it was written in the minds of the mass of the audience that they were listening to him for the last time."
On an item for an increase in the salary of the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery, Sir John explained the case, and when he mentioned that the gentleman in question was Mr. St. Onge Chapleau, the following dialogue occurred:
Mr. McMullen—" I suppose he is not related to the Secretary of State?"
Sir John—" I think he has the great advantage of being related to the Secretary of State."
Mr. McMullen—"It might be well to find out how many more brothers the Secretary of State has. Are the rest of them of age? Perhaps when they come to the age of maturity we shall have to find places for them."
Sir John—" I think all of them now, like my hon. friend, have arrived at the years of discretion, and know how to hold their tongues better than my hon. friend."
Mr. McMullen—" We are all too apt to hold our tongues in this House. If we were more ready to tell the hon. gentleman in plain language what we felt, we might do him good and serve the country as well."
Sir John—" Well, if I am on a jury when my hon. friend is tried for holding his tongue, I will say 'not guilty !'"
"I am afraid," said Sir John, in reply to Mr. Laurier's comments on the Speech from the Throne in 1890, "that the people of Canada will prefer to be ruined under us, than to be prosperous after the fashion of my hon. friends on the other side. You know the story of Lord Palmerston. When a wine merchant sent him some special Greek wine, which he said was admirably adapted for gouty patients, Lord Palmerston tasted the wine and said: 'I would rather have the gout.'"
In this session Mr. Casey moved for a return, showing the tenders rejected on the report of the Chief Engineer of Canals, when Sir John asked how far back he wanted to go.
"Tenyears," said Mr. Casey.
"Then you will not get it this session," replied the Premier.
"Five years then," said Mr. Casey.
Sir John shook his head dubiously. "Well, how far back can I go? " asked Mr. Casey.

"You must make your own motion," said the Premier. "You cannot expect me to make it for you."

"But I don't know anything about this matter," urged Mr. Casey.

"Evidently not," laconically replied Sir John.

Sir John (replying to Mr. Wilson, of Elgin)—"As the hon. gentleman says, although my statement may satisfy the hon. member for Oxford, it will not satisfy him. I have undertaken a great many works, including the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway, but I shall never undertake to satisfy the hon. member for Elgin."
Mr. Nicholas Flood Davin, member for Assiniboia, has said some clever things in the House, and the following, among other things referring to Sir John and his ministers, was widely quoted at the time, especially because Mr. Davin was a Conservative: "There has never been in this country a Government that understood this question of immigration. We have had at the head of the Government a great minister, but not in some respects a great statesman. It is a very daring thing to say, but I will say it. Take the portfolio of my hon. friend (Mr. Carling, of the Dept. of Agriculture). A more amiable or a finer man you could hardly dream of. And take my hon. friend at the head of the cognate department (Mr. Dewdney, of the Dept. of the Interior). Sir, we ought to have at the head of these departments men of genius, men of real power, but at the present moment we have a cabinet of antiques. I do not care how broadcast it is sent to-morrow morning, it has to be spoken—we have a cabinet of antiques. We have one spendid brain in the physique of my right hon. friend the Prime Minister, but after him"

One day in this session some confusion was caused by several members endeavoring to speak at once, when Sir John rose and restored order by the following :—" If the hon. gentleman will allow me, I will tell him a story. A clergyman was preaching on a fine Sunday in summer with the window open, when an old lady rode up to church on a donkey, and fastened the donkey to the door of the church, which was open. The clergyman did not get annoyed although he heard a bray, but he said, 'One at a time, if you please.'"


All tongues speak of him, and the bleared sights 
Are spectacled to see him, the kitchen malkin pins 
Her richest lockram 'bout her reechy neck, 
Clambering the walls to eye him.  —Coriolanus.


The last two chapters were devoted to political anecdotes and reminiscences of a parliamentary character. In this chapter specimen extracts will be given from Sir John's campaign speeches, which were usually of a freer kind than those delivered in the House.

Before proceeding to this, however, some reference should be made to the great all-night debate, with which the session of the spring of 1878 closed, and which was in some sense the beginning of this celebrated campaign itself, resulting in the triumphant return of Sir John to power on the strength of the National Policy.
Mr. Mackenzie had not that kind of suavity and conciliation in the House which Sir John possessed, and he often irritated his opponents by his bluntness in refusing requests of the Opposition on points of procedure. On this occasion he had refused to agree to an adjournment the night before, when many of the French members wished to speak. The Opposition determined to fight it out and tire out the ministry. The scene which followed had no parallel before or since the Government was established at Ottawa. While points of order were being argued, members hammered at desks, blew on tin trumpets, imitated the crowing of cocks, sent up toy-balloons, threw sand-crackers or torpedoes, and occasionally hurled blue-books across the House. Often the babel of sounds was such that neither the Speaker of the House nor the member who had the floor could be heard. Once in a while amid the din some member with a good voice would start up the "Marseillaise," "God save the Queen," "A la claire fontaine," "The Raftsman's chorus," or some plantation melody, and then the whole House would join in the song, with an effect that was quite moving. The feelings inspired by these songs would sway the House back into a quiet frame ; but scarcely would the speaker who had the floor recover the thread of his discourse when such a pandemonium would be raised as made the listener think " Chaos has come again." When a speaker had at last made himself heard over the diminishing din of exhausted voices, and when he himself had exhausted his subject, he would keep the floor by quoting passages from law-books, books of poetry, philosophy and humor.

Mr. Cimon, one of these speakers, filled up his time by reading the whole of the British North America Act in French, making humorous comments upon each clause. In some of these passages "the grim features of Mr. Blake,'' writes a chronicler of the scene, "not merely relaxed into a smile, but broke into a laugh, that shook his big frame all over."

As the night wore on, the spectators became tired, and the galleries were gradually cleared. Now and again a member strayed off, and would be found shortly afterwards stretched on a bench in the reading-room, or curled up in an alcove of the library fast asleep. But there were always enough members left in the House to keep up the fun. Even here, however, the exhausted figures of some members would be found reclining on their desks, quite unconscious of the paper missiles that were being pelted at them. In the afternoon Lady Dufferin had sat in the gallery, listening with amused bewilderment to the babel of sounds. As she rose to leave, a member struck up "God save the Queen," and all the House rose and joined in the anthem with a patriotic fervor that was remarkable. Mr. Mackenzie had just come in at that moment, and Mr. Blake and he, after looking at each wished the present Government, if they were defeated, was, that for the next two years they might be compelled to board at the Neebing Hotel. [This hit refers to a "job" alleged to have been perpetrated by the Mackenzie Government in the building of a hotel of this name on the line of the C. P. R.]

At a banquet which followed the public meeting in the evening, Sir John in his speech said he was in the position of the great French writer, Voltaire, who after many years' absence from Paris returned there a hero, worshiped by the people. He had been driven from the Paris he loved so well by the despotic power of Louis XV. On his return he visited the theater  and was crowned with a chaplet of roses. He was an old man, and he said feebly, " My friends! you smother me with roses," and he died the next day. It appeared the people of Brantford were determined to smother him with roses, but he did not intend to die, nevertheless. (Laughter.) He was not quite so old as Voltaire, and he was a good deal tougher. 

* * He was happy to think his countrymen believed him honest. They had watched his course for thirty-four long years, they knew his merits and demerits, and if his friends were not yet acquainted with his demerits, they had only to read the Reform newspapers. He had been painted with horns and a tail, and in every possible color, but it appeared to him the colors must have been laid on in the dark, for the shadows came out strongest. * * * 

At the time he first went into parliament he had a very large practice as a lawyer, and was making a rapid fortune. He had remained in parliament and forfeited his fortune, but he had served the people, and he did not regret it.

In a speech at the Parkhill picnic, Sir John alluded to the years of the Reform Government having been years of depression, while his own periods of power were years of prosperity. He quoted a former speech delivered at Peterborough, in which he said: "A good friend of mine, who is what we call a Grit, said to me the other day: 'What fortunate fellows you are, Macdonald! Here you are with everything prosperous around. you, the sun smiles on you, and our fields are teeming with prosperity; while in days of old, when our own poor friends were in the Government, we had clouded skies and dried-up fields and no crops—and you appropriate all this as your own merits (laughter), and the country will be foolish enough to give you credit for what is an act of climate.' 'Sir,' said I, ' it only goes to show that Providence is on our side, and if you are a wise man and wish a continuance of the same skies and the same crops, you will keep us in power. Be sure, my friend, that the weevil will come again with the Grit.' (Cheers.) He was very nearly a prophet then, for although the weevil did not come, the Colorado-bug did . * * While we were in power the laws were well administered. They suited the people. There were splendid crops, good prices, no weevil and no potato-bugs. 'We are going to have a big crop now,' he added, ' although a Grit Government is in—but the reason is this: the Grits are going out.' " (Laughter.)

After speaking on the tariff question he concluded as follows: '; We could see what an advantage the Americans had. They had a market of their own, and no bushel of our wheat would go into their country, because, to use a vulgar Scotch phrase, they kept their own fish guts for their own sea mews."

On many occasions in this campaign, he spoke of himself as soon to disappear from the stage, and at London he said all he desired to see was the country once more in a prosperous condition, and on the road to become great among nations. When this had been attained, he felt he could sing his " Nunc ditnittis."

At a conversazione at Strathroy, Sir John, replying to an address from the Young Men's Conservative Association, said he was young himself once—but that was very long ago, and he would not like to tell the ladies how long. His father, who was a good old Conservative, made him a present of one hundred acres when he was twenty, so that he might vote when he was twenty-one. And for whom did his hearers think he voted? It was for John Solomon Cartwright, the uncle of the present recreant Minister of Finance (laughter)—a good Conservative who would undoubtedly be ashamed of his successorHe had not intended making a political speech—but there he was again into politics. He ought to have remembered that there were many ladies present. To them he would say, however, that he had a claim upon them—not exactly because of his personal appearance, but because he was the chief man in carrying out union in the provinces, and ladies were always in favor of union.

Some people had said his Government were insane for bringing British Columbia into the Confederation. It reminded him of a story of George II. At the time General Wolfe went with a small force to conquer Canada, some one told George II that the general must be mad. The king, who was a German and could not speak English well, replied: "Mat is he? mat? Well, by , I wish he would bite some of my chenerals."

It was this mad man who took Canada, and added to the British crown its brightest gem. 

Mr. Duncan McMillan in East Middlesex would smash that Glass [reference to Mr. Glass, Reform candidate], and in London Mr. Carling would walk into the Ma-jaw [Major Walker.] "In fact," said he, "the County of Middlesex will be handed over to the Tories, and if they don't treat the electors—well let me know about it.'

At one of the meetings in Toronto, Sir John once more referred to the probability that he would never again have the opportunity of asking for their support, when one in the assembly called out, "Oh, you'll never die!" The remark caused an outburst of laughter, but it was a disputed question whether the strange utterance was from a Grit, who was expressing his vexation at Sir John's longevity, or whether one of Sir John's
devotees was suddenly inspired with a prophecy of some kind of immortality for his idolized leader.
On the 28th August, Sir John went East to Cornwall to a meeting, and by a coincidence Mr. Mowat went on the same train down to Glengarry to help Mr. Mackenzie at one of his picnics. It appeared that Sir Richard Cartwright had been expected at Mr. Mackenzie's picnic at Alexandria, in that county, but failed to appear. His non-appearance was attributed by the Conservatives to the anger of the Highlanders at some real or supposed insult he had given them. Sir John wentfrom Cornwall to the little village of St. Andrews, seven miles distant, where in the churchyard of the little Roman Catholic church reposed the remains of his old antagonist, John Sandfield Macdonald. In his speech here, his audience being composed chiefly of Scotchmen, Sir John turned the Cartwright incident to account in the following way: "The last and worst thing they had said of him was, that he was a Scotchman, a descendant of a Highlander and a thief. Why, Mr. Cartwright, who made this charge was a Highlander himself, and his ancestors might have stolen cattle—and the instinct might remain with him. He seemed to forget that, and it seemed to have slipped his memory, that his leader, Mr. Mackenzie, was also a Highlander, and had shown himself quite as great an adept at stealing as he (Sir John) had. Mr. Cartwright was told by his leader to be at Alexandria, but he had not gone, as he heard some Scotchmen had gone there to meet him. Well, he had shown a little more sense than the man who attacked the laird of Camlogie. The laird of C imlogie, while crossing a bridge, was insulted by a man. For this insult he threw the man into the water and nearly drowned him. Some friends of the laird asked him if he did not know the danger of throwing the man into the water. 'A weel,' said the laird,' I did na think ony mon wad insult the laird o' Camlogie on a bredge if he could na swem.' (Laughter.) Mr. Cartwright evidently could not swim, so he got out of the way of the Highlanders of Alexandria."

The elections were held in September, and Sir John was returned to power by a large majority—to remain in power up to the day of his death.

Just after the elections he went down to Quebec to bid an official good-bye to one of the ablest and most popular Governor-Generals Canada ever had—Lord Dufferin. While here he was pressed to attend a meeting and give an address, which he consented to do. He expressed his regret that he could not address them well in the French language—the language of his great friend, his "alter ego," who had been called his Siamese twin—Sir George E. Cartier. He (Sir John) considered himself an English-speaking Frenchman, as Sir George E. Cartier considered himself a French-speaking Englishman. After the elections just over it was impossible to find a Rouge in Quebec or a Grit in Ontario, even if a reward were offered for them, so complete was the victory. The Grits were like the Dodo—extinct. A story was told in Toronto of two Grits or Rouges—for they are as much alike as a crocodile and an alligator—who met the day after the election. One of them said to the other, "Didn't you Grits get a good licking?" and his companion replied, "Yes, didn't they!" You might know the Grits now by their wearing longer faces than anybody else. It was said that the Hon. George Brown, editor of the Globe, of whom they had all heard, had gone three times a week to the same barber for twenty years, always paying him ten cents to be shaved. On the morning after the election, however, the barber demanded fifteen cents instead of ten, because he had never seen his face so long before.

 The Congressional Evolution of the United States of America 

Continental Congress of the United Colonies Presidents 
Sept. 5, 1774 to July 1, 1776

September 5, 1774
October 22, 1774
October 22, 1774
October 26, 1774
May 20, 1775
May 24, 1775
May 25, 1775
July 1, 1776

Commander-in-Chief United Colonies & States of America

George Washington: June 15, 1775 - December 23, 1783

Continental Congress of the United States Presidents 
July 2, 1776 to February 28, 1781

July 2, 1776
October 29, 1777
November 1, 1777
December 9, 1778
December 10, 1778
September 28, 1779
September 29, 1779
February 28, 1781

Presidents of the United States in Congress Assembled
March 1, 1781 to March 3, 1789

March 1, 1781
July 6, 1781
July 10, 1781
Declined Office
July 10, 1781
November 4, 1781
November 5, 1781
November 3, 1782
November 4, 1782
November 2, 1783
November 3, 1783
June 3, 1784
November 30, 1784
November 22, 1785
November 23, 1785
June 5, 1786
June 6, 1786
February 1, 1787
February 2, 1787
January 21, 1788
January 22, 1788
January 21, 1789

Presidents of the United States of America

D-Democratic Party, F-Federalist Party, I-Independent, R-Republican Party, R* Republican Party of Jefferson & W-Whig Party 

 (1881 - 1881)
*Confederate States  of America

Chart Comparing Presidential Powers Click Here

United Colonies and States First Ladies

United Colonies Continental Congress
18th Century Term
09/05/74 – 10/22/74
Mary Williams Middleton (1741- 1761) Deceased
Henry Middleton
05/20/ 75 - 05/24/75
05/25/75 – 07/01/76
United States Continental Congress
07/02/76 – 10/29/77
Eleanor Ball Laurens (1731- 1770) Deceased
Henry Laurens
11/01/77 – 12/09/78
Sarah Livingston Jay (1756-1802)
12/ 10/78 – 09/28/78
Martha Huntington (1738/39–1794)
09/29/79 – 02/28/81
United States in Congress Assembled
Martha Huntington (1738/39–1794)
03/01/81 – 07/06/81
07/10/81 – 11/04/81
Jane Contee Hanson (1726-1812)
11/05/81 - 11/03/82
11/03/82 - 11/02/83
Sarah Morris Mifflin (1747-1790)
11/03/83 - 11/02/84
11/20/84 - 11/19/85
11/23/85 – 06/06/86
Rebecca Call Gorham (1744-1812)
06/06/86 - 02/01/87
02/02/87 - 01/21/88
01/22/88 - 01/29/89

Constitution of 1787
First Ladies
April 30, 1789 – March 4, 1797
March 4, 1797 – March 4, 1801
Martha Wayles Jefferson Deceased
September 6, 1782  (Aged 33)
March 4, 1809 – March 4, 1817
March 4, 1817 – March 4, 1825
March 4, 1825 – March 4, 1829
December 22, 1828 (aged 61)
February 5, 1819 (aged 35)
March 4, 1841 – April 4, 1841
April 4, 1841 – September 10, 1842
June 26, 1844 – March 4, 1845
March 4, 1845 – March 4, 1849
March 4, 1849 – July 9, 1850
July 9, 1850 – March 4, 1853
March 4, 1853 – March 4, 1857
March 4, 1861 – April 15, 1865
February 22, 1862 – May 10, 1865
April 15, 1865 – March 4, 1869
March 4, 1869 – March 4, 1877
March 4, 1877 – March 4, 1881
March 4, 1881 – September 19, 1881
January 12, 1880 (Aged 43)
June 2, 1886 – March 4, 1889
March 4, 1889 – October 25, 1892
June 2, 1886 – March 4, 1889
March 4, 1897 – September 14, 1901
September 14, 1901 – March 4, 1909
March 4, 1909 – March 4, 1913
March 4, 1913 – August 6, 1914
December 18, 1915 – March 4, 1921
March 4, 1921 – August 2, 1923
August 2, 1923 – March 4, 1929
March 4, 1929 – March 4, 1933
March 4, 1933 – April 12, 1945
April 12, 1945 – January 20, 1953
January 20, 1953 – January 20, 1961
January 20, 1961 – November 22, 1963
November 22, 1963 – January 20, 1969
January 20, 1969 – August 9, 1974
August 9, 1974 – January 20, 1977
January 20, 1977 – January 20, 1981
January 20, 1981 – January 20, 1989
January 20, 1989 – January 20, 1993
January 20, 1993 – January 20, 2001
January 20, 2001 – January 20, 2009
January 20, 2009 to date

Capitals of the United Colonies and States of America

Sept. 5, 1774 to Oct. 24, 1774
May 10, 1775 to Dec. 12, 1776
Dec. 20, 1776 to Feb. 27, 1777
March 4, 1777 to Sept. 18, 1777
September 27, 1777
Sept. 30, 1777 to June 27, 1778
July 2, 1778 to June 21, 1783
June 30, 1783 to Nov. 4, 1783
Nov. 26, 1783 to Aug. 19, 1784
Nov. 1, 1784 to Dec. 24, 1784
New York City
Jan. 11, 1785 to Nov. 13, 1788
New York City
October 6, 1788 to March 3,1789
New York City
March 3,1789 to August 12, 1790
Dec. 6,1790 to May 14, 1800       
Washington DC
November 17,1800 to Present

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