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regard to party–whether Liberal or Conservative, Whig or Tory—united in one common acclaim, that the colonies would not only be rendered more prosperous, but that the ties that now bind them to the Empire would be strengthened.
“From the lips of our Royal Sovereign I have heard the warmest approval of union. The province I represented had the great honour and distinction of my receiving Her Majesty's command to wait upon her at Buckingham Palace, and upon that occasion Her Majesty congratulated me upon the success which had attended our efforts, and when I expressed the gratification with which her loyal subjects would learn the deep interest she had evinced in this measure, she replied: 'I take the deepest interest in it, for I believe it will make them great and prosperous.''
THE FIGHT FOR CONFEDERATION (continued) EARLY in 1868 Mr. Howe and a number of other delegates, bearing enormous petitions asking for the release of Nova Scotia from the union, were dispatched to England. The Imperial Government refused the appeal, and the House of Commons, by a vote of 181 to 87, refused to appoint a Royal Commission. On the first day that the Dominion House of Commons met in 1867 I made a speech in reply to the Hon. Joseph Howe on the subject of the Union, and when Howe commenced his repeal agitation Sir Edward Watkin, M.P., asked my permission to reprint the report of that speech in the English Canadian News. This, of course, I readily gave, and a copy of the report in pamphlet form was sent to every member of both Houses of Parliament. As the speech thus played an important part in this campaign I have reprinted it in the Appendix to this volume.
Sir John Macdonald asked me to go to London to oppose this move. He said: Tupper, have you any objection to Galt going too ? " ‘Certainly not," I replied. Galt, however, refused to go, alleging that I was on such bad terms with Howe that the mission was bound to be a failure. then informed Sir John that I should prefer to
On reaching London the first man I called on was Howe. He was not in, but I left my card. Howe returned the call, and on greeting me said, “Well, I can't say that I am glad to see you, but we have to make the best of it.” I replied that the situation was indeed grave enough, but it was better to have a frank understanding. I said to him :
“I will not insult you by suggesting that you should fail to undertake the mission that brought you here. When you find out, however, that the Government and the Imperial Parliament are overwhelmingly against you, it is important for you to consider the next step."
Howe replied: "I have eight hundred men in each county in Nova Scotia who will take an oath that they will never pay a cent of taxation to the Dominion, and I defy the Government to enforce Confederation."
You have no power of taxation, Howe," I replied, " and in a few years you will have every sensible man cursing you, as there will be no money for schools, roads or bridges. I will not ask that troops be sent to Nova Scotia, but I shall recommend that if the people refuse to obey the law, that the Federal subsidy be withheld.”
I also reminded him that all the judges, bishops and clergy and the best element in the province heartily supported the union.
I then showed him a copy of my letter to Sir John declining the chairmanship of the Intercolonial Railway
Railway Board, and told him that I would not accept a portfolio or any office until I had a majority from Nova Scotia at my back.
At the time of which I speak, Archibald, one of the Cabinet Ministers from Nova Scotia, had just been defeated, and his colleague, Kenny, was in the Senate.
“Howe,” I continued, you have a majority at your back, and if you will enter the Cabinet and assist in carrying out the work of Confederation you will control all the provincial patronage, and you will find me as strong a supporter as I have been an opponent.”
I saw at once that Howe was completely staggered, and two hours of free and frank discussion followed. I told him that between us we could rally to his support three-quarters of the wealth, education and influence of the province. That very night I wrote to Sir John that I had no doubt Howe would become a member of his Cabinet.
At the House of Commons a few days later John Bright asked for an introduction to me, and then stated that he had accepted Howe's invitation to move a resolution in favour of a Commission of Inquiry. He asked for my side of the story, so next day I visited him at his lodgings. His newspaper, the Star, was then supporting Howe's demand for a Royal Commission. I frankly told Bright that he was not a Constitutionalist in the course he proposed to follow, and informed him that the union had been approved by a large majority of both Houses of the Nova Scotia Legislature.
“I don't mean to insinuate that these majorities were obtained by crooked work, but I know that improper means are sometimes used over
here,” Bright observed. I then warned him that the disruption of the Confederation meant absorption of the various provinces by the United States.
"Well,” he replied, after a pause, “I can't help thinking that it would be a grand thing to see one Government rule from the Equator to the North Pole."
“If those are your views, Mr. Bright,” I replied, “I should think you could quite understand why a public man from a small province would prefer to see it a member of a confederation rather than remain isolated, without accusing him of being influenced by corrupt motives.”
“ You have got me there fairly," was Bright's comment with a laugh.
He then asked me if there was any danger of a revolt in Nova Scotia. I replied that the worst revolt I had expected was to see Howe become a member of Sir John's Cabinet within six months, requesting him to regard the communication as confidential. Four years later, meeting Mr. Bright at dinner in London, he remarked to me: “I was incredulous over your prediction, but I took a note of it, and observed that it was fulfilled within the time. Nobody received the news with greater pleasure than I did.”
After my talk with Howe, I called on the Duke of Buckingham, at the Colonial Office, Lord Carnarvon having in the meantime resigned. The duke invited me to Stowe Park for the Easter holidays, and said that it would afford him pleasure to invite any members of Parliament I might care to meet, in order to discuss the impending issue in the House of Commons. I replied that