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cordial, and I was the guest of honour at a number of public banquets. I found some ill feeling existing at Victoria over the action of the Government in making the terminus at Port Moody, instead of at Victoria, as had been originally projected in Mackenzie's earlier scheme for a railway down Bute Inlet, across Seymour Narrows and along the east coast to Vancouver Island to Victoria. In a public speech I convinced them that the advantages were all in favour of a direct line to Burrard Inlet.
At Nanaimo the mayor and council presented me with an address of welcome, and Mr. Bunster, M.P., took advantage of the occasion to attack the Government for not carrying out Mackenzie's promise to construct a railway from Nanaimo to Victoria. In my reply I paid my respects to Mr. Bunster, much to the amusement of the audience, advising the people that they might have better luck if they exercised more prudence in the selection of their representative, and so they did at the next election.
As a matter of fact, the trip of Mr. Andrew Robertson, at that time a Montreal merchant prince, was made at the request of the Canadian Pacific Railway to report on the advisability of that company undertaking the construction of a railway between Nanaimo and Victoria. Mr. Robertson reported in favour of the proposition, but the Canadian Pacific Railway, having its hands fully occupied elsewhere at that period, did not take any action, and later the road was built by the Hon. Robert Dunsmuir, with the assistance of the provincial and Dominion Governments. After a quarter of a century had elapsed, the line passed under the control of the Canadian Pacific Railway.
Our trip inland from Yale to Kamloops inspecting the railway construction work then in progress was a novel and delightful experience. The route as far as Lytton was along the famous Cariboo wagon road, our chief driver being Mr. Steve Tingley, then famous as a whip. Members of the party occupied the same stage coach that was used by Lord Dufferin in an earlier trip.
Our party returned to Victoria, took steamer to San Francisco, where I was received and entertained by the Canadian colony, before proceeding to Winnipeg, where railway matters again occupied my attention. I then inspected the main line eastward for 130 miles, and westward as far as Brandon, then a town just six weeks old. Construction by the company was in the meantime being pushed westward across the prairies.
At that time the Government, at the request of the Canadian Pacific Railway, had induced Parliament to consent to modifications in the route. It had then been settled that the road, instead of taking the Yellowhead Pass route, should take a more direct course via Bow River and the Kicking Horse Pass, and thence in as direct a line as possible to a junction with the Government section near Kamloops. A tunnel through the Rockies was even then talked of, but this work proved to be impracticable, owing to the enormous expenditure involved.
At a later period the Canadian Pacific Railway wanted the Government to extend the line from Port Moody to Burrard Inlet—of course at the expense of the Government. Its request was refused, as I advised that we had carried out our contract in building to the tide-water, affording
good facilities for steamers, and that if the road were to be extended it would have to be done at the expense of the company. This, of course, was done later.
I went to England in 1883, to fill the position of High Commissioner for Canada, the Hon. John Henry Pope being acting Minister of Railways and Canals during my absence from the Dominion. I still retained my seat in the Cabinet. Meantime the Canadian Pacific Railway was being extended across the continent at a rate of speed never previously attempted anywhere, and probably never surpassed since. This rapid progress was largely due to the marvellous constructive genius of Mr. (Sir) W. C. Van Horne, the general manager.
No problem that ever arose—even that of conquering the Rockies and Selkirks—had any terrors for him. As commander-in-chief, he won a worldwide reputation, and was assisted by many able lieutenants, including Mr. (Sir) Thomas Shaughnessy, Mr. Harry Abbott, and Mr. R. Marpole. Other notable figures prominently connected with the construction work as contractors or otherwise were Mr. James Ross, of Montreal; Messrs. (Sir) William Mackenzie, (Sir) Donald D. Mann, H. S. Holt, H. J. Cambie, and T. H. White, of Vancouver.
Sir Thomas Shaughnessy began his Canadian railway career with the Canadian Pacific Railway as purchasing agent in the early 'eighties. His rise to the position of president of that company was due to sheer merit and ability. He has a forceful personality, is gifted with great administrative ability, and to-day directs the vast operation of the greatest railway enterprise in the world.
The building of the Canadian Pacific Railway by a population of about four million people was no ordinary undertaking. When the United States, with a population of forty millions, linked Omaha with the Pacific coast by a direct rail, it was heralded
a stupendous achievement. In opposing the railway policy of the Conservative party, one of the stock arguments of the Hon. Alexander Mackenzie was to quote the already referred to opinion of (Sir) Sandford Fleming, first Chief Engineer of Surveys, to the effect that an all-Canadian line could not possibly pay until the North-West had a population of two million people.
The year 1884 was a critical one in the history of the company. Committed to enormous expenditure during the preceding three years owing to the magnitude of the work, its directors had got to the end of their tether. They could not raise any more money in London, where the Grand Trunk Railway Company then exerted a considerable influence. The same fate met them in New York, owing, it is alleged, to the hostile attitude of the Northern Pacific Railway, and Mr. J. J. Hill, then engaged in financing and building the Great Northern Railway.
I had gone to Birmingham to propose a vote of thanks for an address on Canada to be delivered by the Marquis of Lorne, a former Governor-General. Lord Norton, the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies when federation was carried, presided, and it had been arranged that I was to spend a holiday with him at his country seat at Hams. During the course of the lecture I received a cable from Mr. Pope, acting Minister of Railways, inform