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recognition of his public services was knighted by Her Majesty Queen Victoria.
In April of 1894 I was dining at Sir Robert Meade's with Lord Knutsford, who said that he had dined the previous evening with Lord Harman, Sir Charles Russell, and Sir Richard Webster. He told me that “they raved about your son,” and said that during the arbitration at Paris no difficulty arose upon which he was unable to tell them everything that was known on the subject.
My son's entry into public life was unpremeditated, having been brought about by an accidental circumstance. In the early stages of the campaign in 1882 there was a factional fight in Pictou among the Conservatives owing to rival claims for the party candidature. While the deadlock was in progress they consulted my son from Halifax to see if he could effect a friendly settlement of the schism in the party. Neither man would give way to the other, but both agreed to accept Charles Hibbert Tupper as a compromise candidate. He was elected, and in his first session had the honour of being invited by Sir John to move the adoption of the address in reply to the Speech from the Throne.
When my son sat down after his first speech in the house, the Hon. Edward Blake, the Opposition leader, crossed the floor to the Ministerial side and, grasping my hand, remarked with unusual warmth : “Permit me to congratulate you upon your son's brilliant effort. In all my parliamentary career I never heard an opening address delivered with equal ability. Please introduce me, for I wish to tender my congratulations.”
The seventh and last election campaign I waged in 1891, under the leadership of Sir John A. Macdonald, was in many respects the most bitter contest ever fought between the two political parties. The issues were sharply defined. The chief plank in the Liberal platform was the advocacy of a policy of unrestricted reciprocity with the United States, a modification, at least in name, of the policy of commercial union espoused by the Opposition in the campaign of 1887.
I was then still holding the office of High Commissioner in London, but at the earnest solicitation of Sir J. A. Macdonald I determined to respond to his call for assistance in the elections. Feeling, as I did, that the policy of the Liberal party could but lead to the union of Canada with the United States, I felt perfectly justified in taking this course.
I sailed on the Teutonic on January 28th with Duncan MacIntyre and Sir Donald Smith as fellow passengers. The former was a strong Liberal, but I commenced the campaign by persuading him to support Sir Donald at the forthcoming election—which he did—as we decided that British Institutions were imperilled.
I arrived at Ottawa on February 6th, and found the following letter from Sir John Macdonald awaiting me:
Feb. 6th, '91. MY DEAR SIR CHARLES,– Welcome! There is a meeting at Kingston
-- my constituency - to organise and nominate me. I have made so many appointments for to-morrow that I must not leave town. It is asking you a great deal, but I
know your good nature. Will you go up to-morrow morning ; you arrive about four ? If you can't manage it, will you ask Charlie to go ?-Always yours,
J. A. McD.
I went off to Kingston and proposed Sir John's candidature, and he was subsequently returned by the largest majority he had ever received.
The Conservatives went to the country pledged to a continuance of the National Policy, and to the preservation of British connection, which they maintained would be jeopardised by a Liberal victory.
“A British subject I was born; a British subject I will die,” was the Conservative campaign slogan. I addressed a great meeting at Halifax on February 14th, and left for Toronto the same evening at the earnest request of Sir John Macdonald. There I spoke to a huge meeting on the 17th, and at another in London, Ontario, on the 20th. After a great meeting at Windsor on the 23rd, I left for Nova Scotia, breaking the journey to speak at Quebec. Then followed a strenuous time in Cumberland, where I represented the Hon. Arthur Dickey, who was ill. And all this in a winter of exceptional severity. The campaign ended in a victory for the Conservatives.
The Hon. Edward Blake, alarmed at the dangers of the Radical policy advocated by his friends, refused to run, but was unwillingly persuaded not to publish his reasons until after the election. This he did in the London Times, in which he avowed his refusal on the ground that the policy of unrestricted reciprocity would end in the political absorption of Canada by the United States.
Before I returned to England after the election, I was informed by Sir Adolphe Caron, Minister of Militia, that Mr. J. Israel Tarte, M.P., a Government supporter and well-known journalist, had secured evidence of corruption against Sir Hector Langevin, and that Tarte was determined to prefer charges in Parliament. I at once sent for Mr. Tarte, who informed me of his intention to drive Langevin from public life. He convinced me that he could do so.
“You have carried the election, but there are rocks ahead," I told Sir John Macdonald. Without a moment's delay I gave him my
information about Tarte's resolve.
To Tarte I said : “Would you object to Langevin's appointment as Lieutenant-Governor of Quebec ?
“I am agreeable to that arrangement,” he replied.
I then saw Sir John again, who had broken down physically under the strain of the recent campaign. He looked ill and worried. When I suggested Langevin's transfer to Government House at Quebec, Sir John replied :
“How can I do that when Langevin denies the charges ? ” I then went into conference with Sir Hector, who protested his innocence.
The charges were not preferred in Parliament until after I had reached England. The end of the affair was that Sir Hector was forced out of the Cabinet. Tarte established his charges of corruption and graft” in connection with the LarkinConnelly contracts for the Quebec Harbour improvements. Tarte went over to the Opposition and did