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election after Confederation, and never obtained a seat until awarded a senatorship by the Mackenzie Government. As a member of the Coalition Government he took a prominent part in shaping the events that led to the Quebec Conference and the union. He afterwards became a violent opponent of Sir John A. Macdonald, against whom he had previously carried on a bitter warfare.
Sir Leonard Tilley was a man of high personal character and a very effective speaker. He became Lieutenant-Governor of New Brunswick when the Conservative party fell in 1873. Five years later he entered Sir John's Administration, and Minister of Finance carried into effect the protective policy of the party.
The Hon. Peter Mitchell had many strong traits. He was an active member of the Legislative Council of New Brunswick when Confederation was carried, exercising much influence on that occasion.
The Hon. D'Arcy McGee greatly aided the same cause by the many eloquent speeches he delivered throughout the various provinces. He was easily the greatest orator of his day, and a lovable man, for whom I entertained a very high regard.
In June, 1867, Sir John A. Macdonald communicated with me, asking me to come to Quebec and bring Mr. Archibald to assist in the formation of the first Federal Government. The Hon. George Brown had previously quarrelled with Sir John and left the Coalition Government, his two Liberal colleagues, Howland and Macdougall, remaining. Unfortunately Mr. Cartier was deeply
offended at this juncture because Sir John had just been honoured with a K.C.B., while the lesser honour of C.B. had been bestowed on him, Galt, Tilley and myself. When we met to organise the first Administration, Cartier declared he would not carry the province unless he were given two FrenchCanadian colleagues.
Galt also had a grievance over the superior Confederation honours conferred on Sir John. He could not be overlooked, as he represented the Protestant element in Quebec, and Mr. McGee likewise had claims as the only representative of the Irish Catholics. This meant five Cabinet Ministers from Quebec. Howland and Macdougall took the ground—and rightly, too—that they could not carry Ontario unless that province, owing to the larger population, secured a larger Cabinet representation than the sister province.
Sir John, with all his resourcefulness, could find no satisfactory solution of the difficulty, and after a deadlock lasting a week decided to abandon the task and ask the Governor-General to send for the Hon. George Brown to form a Government. Realising that a combination of Sir John and Cartier was essential to the organisation of a strong Government, and that otherwise Confederation would be endangered, I went to McGee and said :
The union of the provinces is going to end in a fiasco unless we give way. We are the only two men who can avert that calamity." I then proposed that he should stand aside in favour of Sir Edward Kenny, of Halifax, as the representative of the Irish Catholics, and that I should likewise surrender my claims to a portfolio.
McGee readily agreed to my proposition. I then called on Sir John, who repeated that he had given up the task, and that he had invited the others to meet him at the Council Chamber the following Monday morning to announce his failure, and that he would request Lord Monck to summon the Hon. George Brown. I then told him that I had a solution, and at once briefly explained it.
“ But what are you going to do, Tupper? Will you take a governorship?” asked Sir John.
“I would not take all the governorships rolled into one. I intend to run for a seat in the Dominion Parliament,” was my reply.
This interview took place on a Saturday night. Macdougall and Howland never thought for a moment that the Government would be formed when they put in an appearance at the Council Chamber on Monday morning at eleven o'clock. They were holding out for a larger representation for Ontario than they would concede to Quebec. They had their coats on their arms and were about to catch a train to journey to Toronto to attend a public meeting, called for the following evening by the Hon. George Brown, to oppose any Government formed by Sir John Macdonald.
Tupper has found a solution,” said Sir John to the assembly as he glanced at me.
He explained it, everybody was satisfied, and in less than fifteen minutes his Cabinet was formed. Cartier got portfolios for Chapais and Langevin, his two French-Canadian supporters, and Galt was taken in, making four members from Quebec and five from Ontario. Kenny and Archibald, both old Liberals, were sworn in as representa
tives of Nova Scotia, and the Hon. Peter Mitchell, also a Liberal, was one of the new Cabinet Ministers from New Brunswick. I went back to Nova Scotia single-handed, and in the general election in the following September was the only Conservative returned from that province.
The campaign was an extremely bitter one, Howe using his powerful influence to fan the flames of discontent and passion. He made much capital out of my failure to submit the issue to a vote of the people, claiming that they had been dragooned into union, and ascribed a large share of the responsibility to the Imperial Government. These arguments from the man who had, at an earlier age, fought the battle for Constitutional government in Nova Scotia, made a deep impression upon the masses to whom the people of the Upper Provinces were utter strangers.
In a public speech Howe made this threat :
“The sooner it is known the better. The people of Nova Scotia are determined to defeat this idea of erecting a new Dominion in British America.
They are determined that not a pound of their capital shall go to paying the debts of Canada, that not an acre of their province shall go under Canadian rule, and that not a man of their militia shall be liable to be marched up to the backwoods of Canada to fight the battles of faction, or to prevent Canada from burning down parliament buildings or pelting governors through the streets."
Howe and myself met in a famous debate at Truro, the event attracting a vast audience. Howe had previously refused to meet me at Halifax.
Howe appealed to passion, distorted the issue, and touched a sore point when he asserted that Nova Scotia would be tax-ridden to support the Upper Provinces.
Obliged to admit that I had not been given a seat in the Dominion Cabinet, but refraining from an explanation of the true cause, I concentrated my remarks on the unsatisfactory record of my opponent concerning Confederation. I reviewed the public
public career of Howe, quoting numerous speeches of his in its favour, including one made at a public dinner at Halifax in honour of the union delegation from the Upper Provinces.
The following quotation from one speeches at this time may be not without interest :
“I have given you the authority of the leading men of this country, of the Colonial Ministry, of the British Ministry, and, in addition, you have the authority of the House of Peers and Commons of Great Britain.
“Let detraction assail that Parliament as it may, but there is not a freeman throughout the length and breadth of the British Empire who can fail to admire and respect that body, which, among the convulsions which have shaken nations from the centre to the circumference, has maintained the proud pre-eminence of England. It does not become a public man, at the time when the Parliament of Great Britain is attracting the attention of the civilised world, when it is the great object of other nations to assimilate their institutions as nearly as possible to those of our Mother Country, to attempt to cast obloquy upon it.
The statesmen of Great Britain, without