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on the precise basis of my report and recommendations to the Government. The agreement was signed in October. The members of the original syndicate were Mr. George Stephen (Lord Mount Stephen); a Montreal financier, Mr. Duncan MacIntyre; Sir John Rose, a former Canadian Minister of Finance; Mr. Kennedy, a New York banker ; Mr. Donald A. Smith (Lord Strathcona), and Baron Reinach, of Paris. The names of Mr. Smith and Mr. J. J. Hill, however, did not appear, their interest being held by other parties. At a later date Mr. Smith's connection with the syndicate and the company afterwards organised was made public. This followed a reconciliation with Sir John A. Macdonald, from whom he had been estranged since the session of 1873. Mr. Hill did not long remain a member of the syndicate. He withdrew to devote himself to build the Great Northern Railway.
Baron Reinach was a well-known French financier. He afterwards committed suicide in Paris in connection with the affairs of the Panama Canal Company.
On our return to Canada, in the fall, Parliament was called, the chief business being the submission of the contract between the Government and the Canadian Pacific Railway. At a party caucus held before the debate commenced a number of the Government supporters expressed the opinion that the country was proposing to assume greater obligations than it could bear. I gave very detailed explanations to show that these fears were groundless. I concluded my address by declaring that, while I did not pretend to be a prophet, or the son of a prophet, I felt confident that they would all live
to see the Canadian Pacific Railway contract become the strongest plank in the Conservative platform. The Opposition, led by the Hon. Edward Blake, fiercely assailed the contract, taking the view that if approved the Dominion would be ruined.
When the House adjourned for the Christmas holidays after a prolonged debate, Mr. Blake carried the war into the country and addressed large public meetings at London, Ont., Toronto, and Montreal. He denounced the Government in unmeasured terms for having the temerity to ask Parliament to approve of so iniquitous a contract. As soon as I learned his intentions, I wrote him asking permission for me to appear on the same platform, as I considered it would be more interesting to let the people hear both sides of the case. Mr. Blake, with some reason, I must admit, replied that he could not consent to my suggested arrangement, as the subject was so vast a one that he would need the whole evening to do justice to it.
Then I had our friends publicly announce at each of Mr. Blake's meetings that I would appear in the same hall the following night to give my views of the Canadian Pacific Railway contract then before Parliament. I probably had an unfair advantage, as I had his speeches in my hands a few hours after they were delivered, and was thus able to deal with his arguments seriatim. Sir John Abbott, in complimenting me on my Montreal speech, declared that he never fully realised before the influence of the human tongue. He stated that when the meeting opened one-third of the audience was friendly, one-third was neutral, and one-third was hostile ; and that when I concluded speaking
one-third was friendlier than ever, a third was converted, and the other third was silenced.
The debate was resumed in Parliament after the holidays, nearly every member of the Opposition going on record in their speeches against the Bill, which, however, was carried by a majority of 76. There was not a single vote lost on the Government side. Thus was laid the foundation of the great Canadian Pacific Railway, which actually paid working expenses from the date of its completion. The present pre-eminence of that corporation is a household word throughout the world. Even so shrewd an observer as Sir Sandford Fleming once felt constrained to declare that the line could not be made to pay operating charges until the North-West had a population of two million people. History will justify the wisdom of Sir John's Government and the Conservative party in having abounding hope and confidence in the future of the Dominion.
The same year (1881) witnessed the most phenomenal activity in railway construction on the Government sections and on the portion the Canadian Pacific Railway Company had pledged itself to construct. This state of affairs actually continued until the driving of the last spike by Sir Donald A. Smith (Lord Strathcona), at Craigallachie, B.C., on November 6th, 1885, when the first overland train from the East passed over the line to the Pacific coast. The line was opened for traffic in the following spring.
VICISSITUDES OF THE CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY
My first official trip of inspection to British Columbia was made in August and September, 1881. The journey was made by rail across the continent to San Francisco and thence by steamer to Victoria. My party, in addition to Lady Tupper and Colonel and Mrs. Clarke, of Halifax, included Mr. Andrew Robertson, Montreal, the Hon. Dr. Parker, Halifax, and Mr. Collingwood Schreiber, Government chief engineer of railways. En passant I am glad to note that Mr. Schreiber, although in his eighties, is still active and vigorous, performing similar service in connection with the building of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway. He is a valuable public servant, an engineer of great ability, a high-minded man, and in all my career I never met an individual gifted with so great a love of, or capacity for, work.
We proceeded from Victoria to Nanaimo, then visited Captain Raymur's saw-mill on the waterfront of the then unborn city of Vancouver. There was then only one house in Vancouver. It was occupied by the manager of the mill. Port Moody and New Westminster were visited before going by steamboat to Yale, the base for railway construction eastward along the Fraser. I rode on horseback from Raymur's mill to New Westminster. It was a track through the woods. My reception was very