Puslapio vaizdai

on cottons and woolens as discriminating against the poor; and Burpee of St. John the duties on pig and bar and sheet iron as hampering manufacturers, to whom these wares were raw materials. One and all, these amendments were of course voted down, but the opposition had prepared its fighting ground.

If divided on the tariff, the Liberal party was a unit on another issue that took much time and roused much temper in the session of 1882. The re-allotment of seats in the Federal Parliament to each province, in accordance with the changes in relative population revealed by the decennial census of 1881, was made the occasion of a wholesale gerrymander. To give Ontario four additional representatives, the boundaries of fifty electoral divisions were drawn, with complete disregard of county boundaries or consistent policy. There was no dispute that the purpose was, in Macdonald's phrase, "to hive the Grits," and snatch for the party in power an unfair advantage at the polls. Blake


the House. Quebec continued to be the chief Conservative stronghold, returning three Conservatives to one Liberal; whereas in Ontario, even with the gerrymander and with the popular vote evenly divided, the seats were divided three to two. The Government's majority had fallen slightly, but none of its leaders were defeated. Among the Liberals destruction had been widespread: Cartwright, Mills, Huntington, and Anglin had fallen, and Smith, Jones, Laird, and Laflamme had failed to re

Lady Dufferin

riddled the inconsistencies and denounced the injustices of the project, but the majority paid no heed to logic or to justice. The gerrymander was carried through; Macdonald had won, and Blake had lost. What was more serious, parliament and the country had suffered deeply; for many a year the level of political life in Canada was lowered by this triumph of unscrupulous partizanship.

The general elections were held on June 20, 1882. The result was an overwhelming victory for the Government, which had a majority in every province except Prince Edward Island and Manitoba, and a majority of over sixty in


enter. In Ontario the gerrymander played its part. In Quebec the Rouges were still suspect by the church. everywhere it was chiefly prosperity that told for the Government-prosperity which the manufacturer would not expose to peril from alleged freetraders, prosperity that good Liberal shareholders in a speculative Northwest colonization company did not wish to see disturbed by a less lavish land and railway policy. As for the Canadian Pacific contract, the country wanted the road, and cared little De

for the fine print in the contract. pression had killed the Mackenzie government; prosperity gave the Macdonald government a new lease of life.

Blake was disappointed, but not yet discouraged. The swing of the pendulum would be slower in coming than had been hoped, but come it must. One thorn in the flesh was removed when the proprietors of the "Globe," now in the same financial straits to which all its Toronto contemporaries had succumbed, ended the old dynasty and put John Cameron in Gordon Brown's chair, David Mills succeeding Cameron on the London "Advertiser." Henceforth the "Globe" might go its own way, but


even if its way was not that of the leaders, it no longer committed them or lectured them.

In the Fifth Parliament of Canada, the outstanding issue was the Northwest Rebellion of 1885, and the racial and sectional controversies which followed in its wake. How the tide of settlement reached the Saskatchewan, as fifteen years before it had reached the Red River; how discontent grew among the half-breeds, deprived of the buffalo herds they had hunted, threatened with dispossession from their narrow river-front holdings, unable to secure the land grants they claimed; how discontent was fanned into flames by the neglect and procrastination of Ottawa and the agitation of Louis Riel, brought back from exile to champion the Métis once more; how the rebellion was quickly put down by Canadian volunteers; how Ontario called for the hanging of Riel, murderer of Scott and rebel against his country; how Quebec rallied to the defense of the man who had defended a weak people against scorn and oppression; how the Government let Riel go to the scaffold; how the upheaval that followed shook the Conservative hold on Quebec in federal politics, swept the Liberals into power in the provincial field, and split the Liberal party in Ontario and in parliament will be noted elsewhere.

Earlier in the life of the Fifth Parliament Blake had pressed other questions. The flood of settlement into the Northwest had ebbed, and the Liberal criticisms of railway monopoly and thriftless land policy were found to have weight. Macdonald's constant endeavor to restrict and override the provincial governments, partly because of a theoretical preference for a more centralized government, but more because of a very practical and human desire to clip the wings of the troublesome "little tyrant" who controlled Ontario, gave the Liberals an opportunity, admirably suited to their traditions and to Blake's mastery of constitutional lore, to raise the cry of provincial rights. The enactment of a distinct federal franchise, to take the place of the provincial franchise hitherto accepted for dominion elections, and to be

administered by officials appointed by the Federal Government, brought on a prolonged struggle in which the opposition used every device of obstruction and delay. By his strong advocacy of home rule, and incidentally his hostility to the incorporation of the Orange order, Blake expressed his genuine convictions, though he could not escape the criticism that he was angling for the Irish Catholic vote. If so, he was not so successful in his efforts as Mowat, whose long lease of power rested on his skill in yoking together Scotch Presbyterian and Irish Catholic; or as Macdonald, who for many a year held the ultramontane of Quebec and the Orangeman of Ontario in a common fold. With the slackening of prosperity, the tariff issue was reviving, but Blake, while attacking the extreme manifestations of protectionism, was not yet prepared to attack all along the line. "Free trade," he declared in his Malvern address, "is out of the domain of practical politics." Not so Cartwright, who had been convinced by the steady exodus of Canadians seeking a livelihood in the United States of the failure of the attempt to make a people of five millions selfsufficient and self-contained, and who was rapidly verging toward a policy of commercial union with the United States. In the campaign of 1887 Cartwright continued to pour all the vials of his scorn and satire on the tariff and tariff profiteers, discounting his leader's studied moderation and providing the Conservatives with a useful bogie to frighten the manufacturers.

The general elections, held in February, 1887, resulted once more in a victory for Macdonald. The Government's majority was cut by over twenty, but it still had forty votes to the good in the House. Every province except Prince Edward Island returned a Conservative majority. In Ontario the Government lost only two seats. In Quebec the Riel agitation cost Macdonald a dozen seats; but scarcely had the session opened when the Quebec bolters who had denounced the Government loudly on the hustings were seen tamely lining up behind the premier again, drawn by his magnetic personality or by the fleshpots of patron

age; the thirty-two members whom the opposition had claimed from Quebec dwindled once more to its normal score.



Shortly before the Sixth Parliament opened, in April, 1887, Blake announced in a circular letter to the Liberal members his desire to have the leadership reconsidered at a party caucus. caucus was held, and against his protests Mr. Blake was reëlected leader. He persisted in urging that a successor be appointed, particularly as his health was again precarious, and insomnia was wearing away his nervous force. decision was a heavy blow to the party. He commanded the deep respect and the firm loyalty of virtually every Liberal in Parliament, and the confidence of the party throughout the country. Whatever might be his failings, they were looked upon as evidences of temperament, idiosyncracies of genius, spots on the sun. There was no disposition to blame him for defeat. "We knew," as Laurier afterward affirmed, "that no man could then have broken the Tory machine." There was no disposition to seek another leader; no other man was thought to have his power, and certainly none had a personal following comparable to his. Yet in face of his insistence, the party perforce cast about for a successor.

Two men in the Ontario delegation seemed of leadership caliber, and each was willing to undertake the task. Sir Richard Cartwright was one of the strong individualities of the House. Grandson of a distinguished Loyalist who had much to do with establishing both the commerce and the public life of Upper Canada on sound foundations; educated in Trinity College, Dublin; president in his thirties of the Commercial Bank; elected to the legislature of united Canada as a Conservative in 1863; gradually separated from his party by distrust of its financial program, personal hostility to Macdonald, and disappointment over not being chosen to succeed Sir John Rose as finance minister in 1869; a strong opponent of Macdonald's railway policy, and vigorous in denunciation of the Pacific scandal, Cartwright had finally thrown in his lot with the Liberals and become a

member of the Mackenzie government. As minister of finance through a period of world-wide depression, Cartwright was compelled by his opponents to bear the responsibility for every closed factory and every open soup-kitchen, and had thrust upon him a reputation for pessimism and rigid, doctrinaire laissezfaire attitude which was far from earned. Yet in opposition, with evidences of political corruption, of hand-to-mouth expediency in high places, of the bleeding white of the country by the exodus ever before him, he undoubtedly did grow more pessimistic and more vitriolic. A polished gentleman, a finished debater, a master of mordant satire, widely read, with a much wider outlook in international affairs than almost any of his fellow parliamentarians, Cartwright was a distinct asset in the House, though sometimes a liability in the country. For Blake, whom he was wont to term "Master Blake," though two years his junior,-Blake was fifty-four in 1887, and Cartwright fifty-two, he had little sympathy: his single-track mind could not understand the many windings and turnings of his leader's thought and action. David Mills, on the contrary, was a warm and loyal follower, almost a worshiper of Blake. Born in Kent County, Ontario, in 1831, educated at the University of Michigan, in turn school-teacher, inspector of schools, editor, barrister, Mills entered Parliament for Bothwell in 1867, and for the last two years of the Mackenzie régime served as minister of the interior. He was a solid, industrious, straightforward, moderate man, well-read, and possessed of a reflective bent and a desire to get down to fundamentals which led Macdonald to call him always the "philosopher of Both well." He was unquestionably able, but lacked Cartwright's note of distinction. While possessed of his share of ambition, he would have been quite content to keep Blake's seat warm for him if his leader wished at any time to return.

When Mills and Burpee went to Blake to ask his advice as to his successor, he did not suggest either of the Ontario men. Cartwright was personally antagonistic. Mills he considered made for a lieutenant's, not a captain's, place.

"There is only one possible choice justified rebellion, and supported the Laurier," he declared.

Through nine years of opposition Laurier had been growing steadily in power, in self-confidence, and in public confidence. He had not been notably active in the daily round of political strife. As leader of the Quebec Liberals in the federal field, he had taken a part in the provincial struggles, but always secondary to the provincial leader, whether Henri Joly or, after 1883, Honoré Mercier. In 1882 an editorial which he contributed to the Liberal organ in Quebec, "L'Electeur," entitled "The Den of Forty Thieves," a scathing indictment of Senecal, a contractor and boss high in the Conservative party's councils, was made the basis of a libel suit which caused much stir. His counsel pleaded justification; the jury disagreed, with ten for acquittal, and two for conviction, but the effect on the general public was very damaging to the Bleus. In federal politics he took an increasing, but still not active, part,

measures for its immediate suppression. But he placed the guilt of the outbreak not on the poor half-breeds of the Saskatchewan, but on the Government at Ottawa. He insisted that the Government's share in the guilt should be considered in determining the rebels' fate, and protested against hanging Riel in 1885 for the death of Scott in 1870. He believed, with Blake and with every reasonable layman and every expert who has investigated the question since,

The Princess Louise, wife of the Marquis of Lorne

speaking during election campaigns in Ontario and accompanying Blake during a summer tour through the Maritime Provinces. In the House he spoke rarely, and only on the larger issues, but on these occasions his mastery was established. On the tariff, on the franchise, on the Letellier affair, he was one of the party's most responsible and effective spokesmen. But it was the Riel issue that called forth his fullest powers and brought him most prominently before the public, particularly in English-speaking Canada.

Laurier felt strongly that justice had not been done in the Northwest. He did not believe that the grievances

that both Riel and his lieutenant Jackson were insane, but he did not wish to make a defense of Riel the line of campaign, but rather to attack the Government for its misdeeds. Had his advice been followed, the Liberals in the House might not have been divided as they were in 1886 when they were jockeyed into voting on the issue of Riel's right and wrong rather than on the Government's wrong or right.

In a meeting of protest held in the Champ de Mars, at Montreal, carried away beyond his wonted calm, Laurier declared, in a sentence which did duty for years in Tory campaigning, that had he been born on the banks of the Saskatchewan, he himself would have borne a musket against injustice. Challenged to repeat to Ontario what he had said at Quebec, he spoke in Toronto in December, 1886, and won a remarkable triumph in what was the hardest task he had faced since his controversy with ultramontanism in the seventies.

The straightforward courage, the keen analysis, the depth of feeling, the breadth of statesmanship that his speeches displayed created a profound impression. It was much that Edward


Blake declared that Mr. Laurier's address of March, 1886, was "the crowning proof of French domination," "the finest parliamentary speech pronounced in the Parliament of Canada since Confederation." It was more that Thomas White, one of the ablest of the government leaders, declared in a generous and unprecedented tribute. "I think it a matter of common pride to us that any man in Canada can make on the floor of parliament such a speech as we listened to last night," he said.

Yet even great speeches do not make a great leader. The majority of the members on his own side had not yet realized the iron determination that lay behind that quiet manner, the latent strength housed in that frail body. An orator of unsurpassed force and grace, they granted, a man of incomparable charm, but a student rather than a fighter, too quiet and retiring for the task of popular leadership, too weak to hold together a party of many strong and crisscross individualities and to break the hold of Macdonald on the country.. Even granting the personal qualities, was it expedient to set a French-speaking Roman Catholic at the head of the party, particularly when the ashes of the Riel controversy still were hot?

Wilfrid Laurier knew his own powers too well either to display them before the need came or to fear that they would not suffice. Yet he had not thought of succeeding to the leadership, and was genuinely averse to accepting the task. On personal grounds he preferred the quiet life he had been leading, the practice of his profession, the constant browsing in the parliamentary library, the daily warm and pleasant communion

with chosen friends, the occasional call for a parliamentary jousting. On party grounds, he doubted even more than his Ontario friends, the wisdom of choosing a man who was too good a Catholic to suit Ontario and not submissive enough to suit Quebec. If Blake must retire, he was convinced that Cartwright was the man to succeed.

When Mills and Burpee reported Blake's attitude, Laurier went to his house, urged him to reconsider, and declared that he could not himself

undertake the leadership. Aside from other personal grounds, he was not a man of independent means, and the new post would involve a heavy pecuniary sacrifice; but it was mainly the party reasons against the choice of a leader from Quebec he emphasized. Blake, who was not well, lay stretched upon a sofa, listening while Laurier talked; then repeated his insistence that he must retire and no other man but Laurier could face the task.


The Marquis of Lorne, Governor-General 1878-83

"Yes, Mr. Laurier," added Mrs. Blake, who was present and who had evidently discussed the question many times with her husband, "you are the only man for it."

On June 2, two months after the House met, Blake definitely resigned. An advisory committee was named in caucus, Cartwright and Mills from Ontario, Laurier and François Langelier from Quebec, Charles Weldon from New Brunswick, A. G. Jones from Nova Scotia, L. H. Davies from Prince Edward Island, and Robert Watson from Manitoba. This was only a stop-gap measure; the choice of a leader had to be made without further delay. Largely on Blake's urging, the party offered the leadership to Laurier, Cartwright mak

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