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him that he had a good majority, and that I could render Canada better service as High Commissioner. Just about this time Sir George Stephen, president of the C.P.R., representing vast interests, called on me and declared that it was my duty to remain in Canada; that if anything happened to Sir John I ought to be chosen as his successor. He communicated these views in a letter addressed to the Hon. John Henry Pope, Minister of Railways, who gave the letter to Sir John A. Macdonald. Mr. Pope had always been a warm personal friend of mine. On my earlier visits to London, while still holding my portfolio of railways during the building of the C.P.R., he always looked after my department.
The Premier sent for me the next day.
“If you will only consent to remain,” urged Sir John in showing me Sir George Stephen's letter, “I will publicly recognise you as my successor.'
“But you have already made pledges to Sir Hector Langevin. When you were in difficulties over the execution of Louis Riel, you told Langevin that he would be your successor if he succeeded in retaining the support of the French - Canadian Conservatives."
I further told him that the emergency justified his action, and that it was a wise proposition ; that nothing could be said against Langevin as a public man, and that the old system in vogue in the days of the united provinces of having an English-speaking man and a Frenchman alternately in the Premiership had worked well.
“If you will only agree to stay,” persisted Sir John, “I will send for Langevin and the rest of
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