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Preston, to form a new administration. well understood at the time that this was only to be a temporary arrangement. He did so, and his successors during the next four years were Sir John Thompson and Sir Mackenzie Bowell.
The day after Sir John's death I received a cablegram from the Conservatives at Kingston, his old constituency, offering me the nomination, and assuring me of a large majority. My son, Charles Hibbert, also cabled me that a certain number of Government supporters in the House favoured the selection of Sir John Thompson for the office of Prime Minister. The moment I got this intelligence I sent a reply telling him that nothing in the world would induce me to accept the honour if tendered me, and that I would not stand in Thompson's way, as I had been responsible for getting Thompson to leave the bench to join the Government. To my friends in Kingston I also cabled declining the nomination with thanks.
On December 12th, 1894, I received an invitation from Her Majesty the Queen to dine and sleep at Windsor Castle, but was shocked to hear at 5 P.M. that Sir John Thompson had died at the Castle. The dinner, of course, was postponed, but the Queen requested me to proceed to Windsor at once, and the next morning had a long interview with me and desired that I would so arrange that the body should not be moved until 11 o'clock, as she wished to lay a wreath on the coffin.
The body was subsequently taken to Canada on H.M.S. Blenheim, and but for the interposition of my doctor, who peremptorily forbade it, I should have made the voyage across with it.
THREE other important matters in which I took active interest were the establishment of the present Empress Line steamship service between Vancouver and the Orient, the securing of a fast Atlantic service, and the attempt to arrange for an " all-British ” Pacific cable.
Shortly after the completion of the C.P.R. I went to Lord Goschen, Chancellor of the Exchequer, and told him that Canada had built the C.P.R. without the assistance of the British Government, and that under the circumstances I felt that we were entitled to an Imperial subsidy for a mail service across the Pacific. I asked him for an annual subsidy of £45,000, pointing out that Canada had agreed to contribute £15,000 a year for the same object.
The matter remained in abeyance during my first visit to Canada, and I entrusted the negotiations in my absence to Sir John Rose. He was unsuccessful, and on returning to England I again took up the matter.
You have convinced me, but it would be impossible to get the House of Commons to make the grant," was the reply of Lord Goschen to my appeal. He was mistaken, however, for the C.P.R.
obtained the mail subsidy, and in the debate the only objections raised were, that the grant was too small, and that a more frequent service should have been provided for.
Years afterward, I took up, with Mr. Chamberlain, the question of the establishment of a fast Atlantic steamship service, also expressing my views thereon at an address before the Royal Colonial Institute, with Lord Lorne in the chair. I induced Mr. Chamberlain to agree to annual subsidy of £75,000 a year for a period of ten years.
The following correspondence will show the difficulties that cropped up during these negotiations for the Atlantic service and the Pacific cable :
31st July, 1895. SIR,—As you suggested at the interview which you were good enough to grant me yesterday, I now place in writing the representations I then ventured to make personally, in regard to the proposed fast steam service between Canada and the United Kingdom.
1. As you are aware, the Canadian Parliament, as long ago as 1889, passed an Act granting a subsidy of £100,000 per annum for a period of years, to assist in the establishment of a fast Atlantic service. The Government subsequently agreed, subject to legislative sanction, to increase the subsidy to £150,000 per annum; but their efforts up to last year were not attended with any
measure of success, although at one time the negotiations that were in progress appeared likely to have a satisfactory termination.
2. Last year, as you are aware, an important conference was held at Ottawa, at which all the leading colonies, as well as the United Kingdom, were represented. Among other questions discussed at considerable length was that of improved communication between different parts of the Empire, including the fast Atlantic service, and the following resolutions were passed :
(1) That the conference expresses its cordial
approval of the successful efforts put forth by Canada and New South Wales for the establishment of a regular monthly steamship service between Vancouver and Sydney. And affirms the advisability of a reasonable co-operation of all the colonies in securing the improvement and
permanence of the same. (2) That the conference learns with interest of
the steps now being taken by Canada to secure a first-class mail passenger service, with all the modern appliances for storage and carrying of perishable goods across the Atlantic to Great Britain, and the large subsidy which she has offered to
procure its establishment. (3) And it regards such an uninterrupted
through line of swift and superior communication between Australasia and Great Britain as is above contemplated as of paramount importance to the develop
ment of Intercolonial trade and communication, and to the unity and stability
of the Empire as a whole. (4) That as the Imperial Post Office contri
butes towards the cost of the mail service between England and Australia, via Brindisi or Naples, the sum of £95,000 per annum, while the sea postage amounts only to £3,000, and to the mail service between Vancouver and Japan and China £45,000, less £7,300 charged against the Admiralty, this conference deems it but reasonable respectfully to ask that assistance be given by the Imperial Government to the proposed fast Atlantic and Pacific service, more particularly as the British Post Office, whilst paying the large subsidy
of £104,231 a year to the line from Liverpool to New York, has so far rendered no assistance to the maintenance of a direct postal line between Great Britain and Canada.
3. Prior to the conference, the Canadian Government entered into a provisional contract with Mr. James Huddart, for the new Atlantic service, and the Dominion Parliament, after the conference had finished its labours, passed an Act authorising the subsidy of $750,000 per annum for ten years for the proposed service. It will require four steamships, of a tonnage of 10,000 tons or upwards, capable of maintaining a speed of 20 knots per hour at sea, and in size, equipment, speed and design