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had been only one charter no further question could have arisen. But much against the wishes of the Ministry, so popular was the scheme, and so anxious to all appearance were the leading capitalists of the country (e.g. Allan, McPherson, MacMaster, Kenny, Frank Smith, Causton, John Simpson, Gzouskei, David Torrans, Howland, Gooderham, Wilsons, D. A. Macdonald, Asa B. Foster, David Christie, Donald A. Smith, etc. etc.) to accept the Government terms, that we were placed in the embarrassing position, much against our will, of having to deal with rival syndicates of capitalists between whom there was really no cause for contention but the empty honour of which should be the president of the company. The Government decided that the stock should be allotted proportionately among the several persons, and should be open to the subscription of every one on the prescribed terms. The sole alleged cause of difficulty was the alliance between Allan and certain citizens of the United States which would never have been entered on but for the apathy displayed for a long time by Canadians which led the Americans to propose building the road on the terms proposed. Allan, being unable to attempt to carry out the scheme unaided, and seeing no chance of aid in Canada, was induced to enter into the agreement with certain Americans, but without the knowledge or authorisation of the Government, which took the most prompt and effectual means to prevent the possibility of such an arrangement being carried out; and so satisfied were the promoters of the Inter-Oceanic Company, the rivals to the Canadian Pacific or Allan Company, of the
efficacy of their means, that although McPherson, who himself aspired to the Presidency, would not join the new organisation, several of them-including Major Walker, Mr. Cumberland, Mr. Shantcyjoined the new company, which had only one name on it for Ontario which was on the Canadian Pacific list.
A good point can be made of the fact that Ministers-e.g. D. A. Macdonald, J. Burpee, David Christie (and probably others)—were applicants for charter. The terms were not settled with Allan but with a committee of the new company, and his influence was not predominant, as throughout jealousy was manifested of his influence. You can testify that Sir John never tried to promote Sir Hugh Allan's views, and that it was impossible that any arrangement could have been carried out more satisfactorily; indeed, one of the alleged causes of failure was the refusal of the Government to accede to demands which they thought against the public interest, although not inconsistent with the Charter. Now, after all this, why did Allan give large contributions to carry the elections ?
Simply because the opposition to the Government were publicly avowed enemies of the scheme, and determined to upset it per fas et nefas. Allan was thus forced into the same boat with the Government, and to save his scheme helped all he could to carry the election of those who were in favour of carrying out the railway policy of the Government. But the charges of corruption are absurd. It may be admitted-indeed, it is patent—that certain expenses which the law does not sanction have for many years been paid on both sides by the candi
dates and their friends. It became almost impossible to avoid paying these, but they really did not affect the elections, as has been proved by the result of elections where such expenditure has not been resorted to. I have written a great deal for which I ought to apologise, because the line of argument on many points would occur to yourself, perhaps on all. Still, I think there is a necessity for putting this matter in a proper light and for having a speech which no one can deliver better than yourself well reported and circulated in a separate form. Committing the whole matter to your own judgment, - Believe me, Faithfully yours,
(Signed) F. HINCKS.
Throughout the days in Opposition we advocated a radical change in the fiscal system of the country. Things were going from bad to worse.
The people saw the possibility of relief in the adoption of a higher tariff, but the Government refused to apply the remedy, and clung to office. In a five-hour speech delivered to the House on April 21st, 1877, in submitting a want of confidence resolution, I criticised Mackenzie's administration of his own department of Public Works. I showed that he had failed to grapple effectually with the question of building the transcontinental, and moreover, proved that he had violated the law and every constitutional principle, all resulting in a waste of public money. The Premier was unable to make any reply worthy of a name.
“That speech of yours will never be answered, because it is unanswerable," Sir Leonard Tilley (then
Lieutenant-Governor of New Brunswick) wrote me a few weeks later. Mackenzie meant well, but he devoted too much time in supervising the departments of his colleagues, and doing work which should have been performed by subordinates.
As chief financial critic I also had many lively exchanges with Sir Richard Cartwright, Minister of Finance. Cartwright was a gifted man and resourceful in debate. A Conservative at heart to the end of his days, he left our party because Sir John A. Macdonald had a few years previously passed him over in favour of Sir Francis Hincks in filling the same portfolio. In the session of 1877 our leader moved, and I seconded, a resolution proposing such a readjustment of the tariff as would benefit and foster the agricultural, mining, and manufacturing interests of the Dominion. In the Hansard of that year, page 471, in my speech on the Budget the following appears :
The policy the Government (i.e. the policy of the then Mackenzie Government) has pursued has had the effect of depopulating the country. It has sent away the most intelligent and skilled labour, the finest sons of Canada, to a foreign country to obtain the employment their own country denies them. This is a fatal policy, and one which must induce us to forgo all our aspirations for anything like a rapid increasing population for this country in the future, and to consent to become hewers of wood and drawers of water for our friends across the line in the great Republic of the United States. Canada has everything that can be desired to make it a great manufacturing country. We have iron, coal, and limestone. Ours
is, perhaps, the richest country for minerals to be found on the face of the globe. We have open harbours, rapid transit and communication through a great portion of the Dominion, and away in the Far West mines of gold and silver that, in my opinion, are going to excel any on the American continent.
All we require is a policy calculated to open up and develop our great natural resources in order to make Canada all that the noblest aspirations of the most patriotic Canadian has ever supposed for a moment practical. ... I say Canada could adopt a revenue policy or such a policy with relation to goods coming from Great Britain or from British possessions as the necessities of Canada indicated, and another tariff for all the rest of the world. That would apply only to the United States practically, because our imports from other portions of the world are, almost uniformly, articles upon which there are specific and not ad valorem duties, and we could adjust that in the interest of Canada as we pleased.
“I have no doubt that this would meet the only serious difficulty represented by the hon. gentleman opposite, as standing in the way of a true Canadian policy, and one that those who wish to see Canadian enterprise and Canadian industries flourish, feel it is time that the country should grapple with earnestly, and deal with as I have mentioned."
Later on, secret information reached me that Sir Richard Cartwright, reading the signs of the times aright, was getting ready to make radical increases in the tariff. I lost no time in communicating the news to Sir John.