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Department of that office, I obtained for Canada the right to negotiate commercial treaties with foreign countries. The Foreign Office sent a letter, dated July 26th, 1884, containing the following extract:
“If the Spanish Government are favourably disposed, the full power for these negotiations will be given to Sir Robert Morier and Sir Charles Tupper jointly. The actual negotiations would probably be conducted by Sir Charles Tupper, but the Convention, if concluded, must be signed by both plenipotentiaries.”
In 1892-3 I negotiated in this manner, in conjunction with the Marquess of Dufferin and Ava, a commercial treaty between France and Canada.
The first and only time that a Canadian representative took a position independent of Great Britain was at the International Congress for the protection of submarine cables held at Paris in 1883. Twenty-five Powers were represented. I attended for the Dominion, and at one session, when an important point was being discussed, I voted against all my British colleagues. The next day Sir Charles Kennedy, one of the British delegates, asked for a reconsideration of the question. This was agreed to, and the British delegation voted as I did, having in the meantime consulted the Foreign Office.
“We were all of the same opinion as yourself at the first discussion, but voted in accordance with the views of Lord Lyons, the British Ambassador," Sir Charles Kennedy remarked to me afterwards.
In 1868, as I have already narrated in an
earlier chapter, as a delegate of the Canadian Government I succeeded in inducing the Right Hon. Colonel Stanley, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, to concur in the views of the Canadian Government as to the protection of our Atlantic coast fisheries. That was the year following the action of the United States in denouncing the Elgin Reciprocity Treaty of 1854. Our first step was to double the licence for fishing in our waters, and to seize their vessels for violation of the law. This vindication of our rights resulted in the treaty of 1871, which allowed the free entry of our fish into the United States, and provided for an international arbitration.
After hearing the evidence, the arbitrators awarded to Canada about five hundred thousand dollars annually as compensation for the fish caught in Canadian waters by United States fishermen. When, in 1883, this treaty was abrogated by the United States, Canada had no alternative but to protect her rights under the treaty of 1818. The result was a hue and cry throughout the United States. The Republican and Democratic Press joined in denunciation of Canada for its alleged cruelty to their fishermen.
When the Hon. T. F. Bayard was Secretary of State I visited him in 1887 in Washington at his request, to discuss the relations of the two countries. He met me with the frank declaration :
Well, Sir Charles, the confederation of Canada and the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway have brought us face to face with a nation, and we may as well discuss public questions from that point of view."
I at once perceived that he, at all events, recognised the fact that those great measures had disposed of the question of our political absorption. After
return to Ottawa we had the following friendly correspondence, copies of which were given to Sir John A. Macdonald and to Lord Lansdowne, then Governor-General:
May 31, 1887. MY DEAR SIR CHARLES,—The delay in writing you has been unavoidable. In the very short interview afforded by your visit I referred to the embarrassment arising out of the gradual practical emancipation of Canada from the control of the Mother Country and the consequent assumption by that community of attributes of autonomous and separate sovereignty, not, however, distinct from the Empire of Great Britain. The awkwardness of this imperfectly developed sovereignty is felt most strongly by the United States, which cannot have formal relations with Canada, except directly and as a Colonial dependency of the British Crown, and nothing could better illustrate the embarrassment arising from this amorphous condition of things than by the volumes of correspondence published severally this year relating to the fisheries by the United States, Great Britain, and the Government of the Dominion. The time lost in this circumlocution, although often most regrettable, was the least part of the difficulty, and the indirectness of appeal and reply was the most serious feature, ending, as it did, very unsatisfactorily.
It is evident that the commercial intercourse between the inhabitants of Canada and those of