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my Cabinet, and designate you as my successor. Langevin, I am sure, will be agreeable.”
I was firm in my refusal. “The true policy," I repeated, “is to carry out your pledge to Sir Hector. The arrangement before Confederation between Cartier and yourself about alternating in the Premiership worked well. It will still work well, and will make a favourable impression in the province of Quebec.”
“Well," argued Sir John, “if you insist on returning to England I want you to give me Charlie,” referring to my son, Charles Hibbert, who, as member for Pictou, had sat continuously in the House since 1882. I naturally consented, and have never had any regrets over that decision. My son was sworn in shortly afterwards as Minister of Marine and Fisheries, gave Sir John loyal support and served in successive Conservative administrations until our defeat in 1896. His last portfolio was that of Minister of Justice.
In 1890 the fishery question again caused some anxious hours in both countries.
On June 28th of that year Lord Knutsford sent for me, and told me that Lord Salisbury had received a message from Sir Julian Pauncefote, Ambassador at Washington, saying that Mr. Blaine, Secretary of State, had informed him that the Government had sent their cruisers to Behring Sea with instructions to seize any vessels sealing there. The Americans had seized several Canadian vessels some years before, and when called to account by Great Britain, said they claimed Behring Sea as a mare clausum, that they were willing to leave that question to an international tribunal, and in the meantime
would make no seizures until that question was decided, to which Great Britain agreed. Some delay occurred in arranging that Commission, and they then determined to seize. Lord Knutsford, who was Secretary of State for the Colonies, told me that he had in vain endeavoured to get Lord Salisbury to take prompt action, as the Premier said, the thing having been done, it would involve war with the United States, which was too terrible to contemplate, and that all that he, Knutsford, was to obtain was a promise that he would not answer Pauncefote's message until he had seen me. I went immediately to the Foreign Office, and saw the Under Secretary of State (Sanderson), as Lord Salisbury was not there, with whom I discussed the subject. I told him that I was satisfied the United States would not go to war on a question that every diplomat in the world would feel they were wrong upon, and concluded by saying “ tell Lord Salisbury from me that if, under existing circumstances, prompt action is not taken, Canada can only come to the conclusion that the British flag is not strong enough to protect her.”
The result was Sir Julian Pauncefote was instructed to say to Mr. Blaine that if the British flag was interfered with the United States must be prepared for the consequences.
The message was no sooner delivered to Mr. Blaine than the fastest ships on the Pacific Coast were directed by telegraph to overhaul the cruisers and withdraw the instructions.
The matter of arbitration was arranged in due time, and my son served as British Agent on the Commission which sat in Paris in 1893, and in
recognition of his public services was knighted by Her Majesty Queen Victoria.
In April of 1894 I was dining at Sir Robert Meade's with Lord Knutsford, who said that he had dined the previous evening with Lord Harman, Sir Charles Russell, and Sir Richard Webster. He told me that “they raved about your son,” and said that during the arbitration at Paris no difficulty arose upon which he was unable to tell them everything that was known on the subject.
My son's entry into public life was unpremeditated, having been brought about by an accidental circumstance. In the early stages of the campaign in 1882 there was a factional fight in Pictou among the Conservatives owing to rival claims for the party candidature. While the deadlock was in progress they consulted my son from Halifax to see if he could effect a friendly settlement of the schism in the party. Neither man would give way to the other, but both agreed to accept Charles Hibbert Tupper as a compromise candidate. He was elected, and in his first session had the honour of being invited by Sir John to move the adoption of the address in reply to the Speech from the Throne.
When my son sat down after his first speech in the house, the Hon. Edward Blake, the Opposition leader, crossed the floor to the Ministerial side and, grasping my hand, remarked with unusual warmth : “ Permit me to congratulate you upon your son's brilliant effort. In all my parliamentary career I never heard an opening address delivered with equal ability. Please introduce me, for I wish to tender my congratulations."
The seventh and last election campaign I waged in 1891, under the leadership of Sir John A. Macdonald, was in many respects the most bitter contest ever fought between the two political parties. The issues were sharply defined. The chief plank in the Liberal platform was the advocacy of a policy of unrestricted reciprocity with the United States, a modification, at least in name, of the policy of commercial union espoused by the Opposition in the campaign of 1887.
I was then still holding the office of High Commissioner in London, but at the earnest solicitation of Sir J. A. Macdonald I determined to respond to his call for assistance in the elections. Feeling, as I did, that the policy of the Liberal party could but lead to the union of Canada with the United States, I felt perfectly justified in taking this course.
I sailed on the Teutonic on January 28th with Duncan MacIntyre and Sir Donald Smith as fellow passengers. The former was a strong Liberal, but I commenced the campaign by persuading him to support Sir Donald at the forthcoming election—which he did-as we decided that British Institutions were imperilled.
I arrived at Ottawa on February 6th, and found the following letter from Sir John Macdonald awaiting me :
Feb. 6th, '91. MY DEAR SIR CHARLES,–Welcome! There is a meeting at Kingston — my constituency — to organise and nominate me. I have made so many appointments for to-morrow that I must not leave town. It is asking you a great deal, but I