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- Canada and the States - 4/71 -

however able or experienced, if it involved a sort of moral guarantee that the result of his appointment should be any very sudden improvement, of a character likely much to raise the _value of the property in the market_, which unfortunately is what the Shareholders very naturally look at, as the test of everything.

"To work the Grand Trunk as a gradually improving property would, I repeat, be easy; but to work it so as to produce _a great success_ in a few years can only, in my opinion, be done in one way. That way, to many, would be chimerical; to some, incomprehensible; and possibly I may be looked upon myself as somewhat visionary for even suggesting it. That way, however, to my mind, lies through the extension of railway communication to the Pacific.

"Try for one moment to realize China opened to British commerce: Japan also opened: the new gold fields in our own territory on the extreme west, and California, also within reach: India, our Australian Colonies--all our eastern Empire, in fact, material and moral, and dependent (as at present it too much is) upon an overland communication, through a foreign state.

"Try to realize, again, assuming physical obstacles overcome, a main through Railway, of which the first thousand miles belong to the Grand Trunk Company, from the shores of the Atlantic to those of the Pacific, made just within--as regards the north-western and unexplored district --the corn-growing latitude. The result to this Empire would be beyond calculation; it would be something, in fact, to distinguish the age itself; and the doing of it would make the fortune of the Grand Trunk.

"Assuming also, again I say, that physical obstacles can be overcome, is not the time opportune for making a start? The Prince is just coming home full of glowing notions of the vast territories he has seen: the Duke of Newcastle has been with him--and he is Colonial Minister: there is jealousy and uncertainty on all questions relating to the east, coincident with an enormous development of our eastern relations, making people all anxious, if they could, to get another way across to the Pacific:--the new gold fields on the Frazer River are attracting swarms of emigrants; and the public mind generally is ripe, as it seems to me, for any grand and feasible scheme which could be laid before it.

"To undertake the Grand Trunk with the notion of gradually working out some idea of this kind for it and for Canada, throws an entirely new light upon the whole matter, and as a means to this end doubtless the Canadian Government would co-operate with the Government of this country, and would make large sacrifices for the Grand Trunk in consequence. The enterprise could only be achieved by the co-operation of the two Governments, and by associating with the Railway's enterprise some large land scheme and scheme of emigration."

The visit of the Prince of Wales to Canada and the Maritime Provinces, in 1860, had evoked the old feeling of loyalty to the mother country, damaged as it had been by Republican vicinity, the entire change of commercial relations brought about by free trade, and sectional conflicts. And the Duke, at once startled by the underlying hostility to Great Britain and to British institutions in the United States --which even the hospitalities of the day barely cloaked--and gratified beyond measure by the outbursts of genuine feeling on the part of the colonists, was most anxious, especially while entrusted with the portfolio of the Colonies, to strengthen and bind together all that was loyal north of the United States boundary.

Walking with Mr. Seward in the streets of Albany, after the day's shouts and ceremonies were over, Mr. Seward said to the Duke, "We really do not want to go to war with you; and we know you dare not go to war with us." To which the Duke replied, "Do not remain under such an error. There is no people under Heaven from whom we should endure so much as from yours; to whom we should make such concessions. You may, while we cannot, forget that we are largely of the same blood. But once touch us in our honour and you will very soon find the bricks of New York and Boston falling about your heads." In relating this to me the Duke added, "I startled Seward a good deal; but he put on a look of incredulity nevertheless. And I do not think they believe we should ever fight them; but we certainly should if the provocation were strong." It will be remarked that this conversation between Seward and the Duke was in 1860. That no one, then, expected a revolution from an anti-slave-state election of President. Still less did the people, of either England or the United States, dream of a divergence, consequent on such an election, to end in a struggle, first for political power, and then following, in providential order, for human freedom. A struggle culminating in the entire subjection of the South, in 1865, after four years' war--a struggle costing a million of lives, untold human misery, and a loss in money, or money's worth, of over a thousand millions sterling.

In our many conversations, I had always ventured to enforce upon the Duke that the passion for territory, for space, would be found at the bottom of all discussion with the United States. Give them territory, not their own, and for a time you would appease them, while, still, the very feast would sharpen their hunger. I reminded the Duke that General Cass had said, "I have an awful swallow ('swaller' was his pronunciation) for territory;" and all Americans have that "awful swallow." The dream of possessing a country extending from the Pole to the Isthmus of Panama, if not to Cape Horn, has been the ambition of the Great Republic--and it is a dangerous ambition for the rest of the world. We have seen its effects in all our treaties. We have always been asked _for land_. We gave up Michigan after the war of 1812. We gave up that noble piece, the "Aroostook" country, now part of the State of Maine, under the Ashburton Treaty in 1841. We have, again, been shuffled out of our boundary at St. Juan on the Pacific, under an arbitration which really contained its own award. The Reciprocity Treaty was put an end to, in 1866, by the United States, not because the Great West--who may govern the Union if they please--did not want it, but because the Great West was cajoled by the cunning East into believing that a restriction of intercourse between the United States and the British Provinces would, at last, force the subjects of the Queen to seek admission into the Republic. So it was, and is and will be; and the only way to prevent aggression and war was, is, and will be, to "put our foot down." Not to cherish the "peace-in-our-time" policy, or to indulge in the half-hearted language, to which I shall have hereafter to allude--but to combine and strengthen the sections of our Colonial Empire in the West--to give to their people a greater Empire still, a nobler history, and a prouder lot: a lot to _last_, because based upon institutions which have stood, and will stand, the test of time and trouble. Unfortunately we have had a "little England" party in our country. A Liberal Government, immediately following the Act of Confederation, took every red-coat out of the Dominion of Canada, shipped off, or sold, the very shot and shell to any one, friend or foe, who chose to buy: and the few guns and mortars Canada demanded were charged to her "in account" with the ruth of the miser. If the Duke of Newcastle had been a member of that Cabinet such a miserable policy never could have been put in force; but he was _dead_. I venture to think that the whole people of England, who knew of the transaction, were ashamed of it. Certainly, I saw, a few years ago, that one member of the very Cabinet which did this thing, repudiated the "little England" policy, as opposed to the best traditions of the Liberal party.

The "little England" party of the past have tried, so far in vain, to alienate these our fellow subjects. But, fortunately for the Empire, while some in the mother country have been indifferent as to whether the Provinces went or stayed, many in the Colonies have been earnest in their desire to escape annexation to the States. The feeling of these patriotic men was well described in December, 1862, by Lord Shaftesbury, at a dinner given to Messrs. Howe, Tilley, Howland and Sicotte, delegates from the Provinces of Canada, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. He said Canada addressed us in the affecting language of Ruth --"Entreat me not to leave thee, nor to refrain from following after thee"--and he asked, "Whether the world had ever seen such a spectacle as great and growing nations, for such they were, with full and unqualified power to act as they pleased, insisting on devoting their honor, strength, and substance to the support of the common mother; and not only to be called, but to be, sons." And Lord Shaftesbury asked, "Whether any imperial ruler had ever preferred," as he said Canada had, "love to dominion, and reverence to power."

Lord Shaftesbury's sentiments are, I believe, an echo of those of the "great England" party; but, I repeat, "little England" sold the shot and shell, nevertheless.

Whatever this man or that may claim to have done towards building up Confederation, I, who was in good measure behind the scenes throughout, repeat that to the late Duke of Newcastle the main credit of the measure of 1867 was due. While failing health and the Duke's premature decease left to Mr. Cardwell and Mr. W. E. Forster--and afterwards to Lord Carnarvon and the Duke of Buckingham--the completion of the work before the English Parliament, it was he who stood in the gap, and formed and moulded, with a patience and persistence admirable to behold, Cabinet opinion both in England and in the Provinces. At the same time George Etienne Cartier, John A. Macdonald, and John Ross, in Canada; Samuel L. Tilley, in New Brunswick, and, notably, Joseph Howe, in Nova Scotia, stood together for Union like a wall of brass. And these should ever be the most prominent amongst the honoured names of the authors of an Union of the Provinces under the British Crown.

The works, I repeat, to be effected were--first, the physical union of the Maritime Provinces with Canada by means of Intercolonial Railways; and, second, to get out of the way of any unification, the heavy weight and obstruction of the Hudson's Bay Company. The; latter was most difficult, for abundant reasons.

This difficult work rested mainly on my shoulders.

It may be well here to place in contrast the condition of the Provinces in 1861 and of the Confederation in 1886. In 1861 each of the five Provinces had its separate Governor, Parliament, Executive, and system of taxation. To all intents and purposes, and notwithstanding the functions of the Governor-General and the unity flowing from the control of the British Crown--these Provinces, isolated for want of the means of rapid transit, were countries as separate in every relation of business, or of the associations of life, as Belgium and Holland, or Switzerland and Italy. The associations of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia were far more intimate with the United States than with Canada; and the whole Maritime Provinces regulated their tariffs, as Canada did in return, from no consideration of developing a trade with each other, or with the Canadas, between whose territory and the ocean these Provinces barred the way. Thus, isolated and divided, it could be no matter of wonder if their separate political discussions narrowed themselves into local, sectional, and selfish controversies; and if, while each possessing in their Legislature men in abundance who deserved the title of sagacious and able statesmen, brilliant orators, far-sighted men of business, their debates often reminded the stranger who listened to them of the squabbles of local town councils. Again, the Great Republic across their borders, with its obvious future, offered with open arms, and especially to the young and ambitious, a noble field, not shut in by winter or divided by separate governments. Thus the gravitation towards aggregation--which seems to be a condition of the progress of modern states--a condition to be intensified as space is diminished by modern discoveries in rapid transit--was, in the

Canada and the States - 4/71

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