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free-and-easy society of the Washing. hand, it is said, is not at all unused to ton politicians the Governor-General a revolver, and he is not afraid either adapted himself with infinite tact and of the wrath of his countrymen or the subtlety, for if a clap on the shoulder wiles of an English lord. So he gives or a poke in the ribs meant a vote for us his blessing and the treaty is duly the treaty the loss of dignity was signed, and I retire to dream of its amply compensated for. And there contents and to listen in my troubled was champagne, unlimited champagne, sleep to the perpetually recurring reuntil in a few weeks the Envoy Extra- frain of the three impressive words ordinary of Her Britannic Majesty was with which the pregnant document declared to be the best fellow at the concludes—unmanufactured tobacco, Capital. Then Lord Elgin went to rags. Mr. Marcy, and assured that astounded It was upon evidence of this kind personage that if he submitted a rea
that the opponents of the treaty in the sonable treaty to the Senate that body United States afterwards declared it to would adopt it. The document was have been “floated through on chamdrawn up, and the dashing pen of the pagne,” and in another place Mr. Governor-General's secretary presențs Oliphant remarks, in a letter home, this vivid picture of its signing: that “Lord Elgin pretends to drink
“It was in the dead of night, during immensely ; but I watched him, and I the last five minutes of the fifth of June don't believe he drank a glass between and the first five minutes of the sixth two and twelve.” There were also of the month aforesaid, that four in- some loose accusations made subsedividuals might have been seen seated quently that the treaty had been engiin a spacious chamber lighted by wax neered through by “British gold”-a candles and an Argand lamp. Their favourite bogey of a certain class of faces were expressive of deep and earn- Washington politicians. The expenses est thought, not unmixed with suspicion. of the deputation were doubtless heavy, Their feelings, however, to the acute but the boundless hospitality of the observer manifested themselves in dif- negotiators would account for this. ferent ways; but this was natural, as There is no reason to suppose that the two were in the bloom of youth, one successful adoption of the treaty was in the sere and yellow leaf, and one in due to any other cause than the sound the prime of middle age.
This last it commercial sense which lay behind it. is whose measured tones alone break The jingo politicians, finding themthe silence of midnight, except when selves outwitted for once, took refuge one or other of the younger auditors, in conjecture and innuendo. In fact, it who are both pouring intently over may be said here that the treaty workvoluminous MSS., interrupt him to in- ed well in the interest of the United terpolate an and' or erase a 'the.' States, was popular with the commerThey are, in fact, checking as he reads, cial classes there during the eleven and the aged man listens while he years it lasted, and when the majority picks his teeth with a pair of scissors, or in Congress gave the President authorcleans out the wick of a candle with their ity to serve the required notice of abropoints, which he afterwards wipes in his gation in 1865 they voted under the grey hair. There is something strange- distinct understanding that a new ly suggestive in the scratching of the treaty, embodying a wider measure of midnight pen, for it may be scratching reciprocity, was to replace the old. † fortunes or ruin to toiling millions. Lord Elgin's diplomacy has always Then the venerable statesman takes up been declared the real cause of the victhe pen to append his signature. His tory, and the treaty bears his name. hand does not shake, though he is very This is natural, because the Imperial old and knows the abuse that is in authorities had not yet awakened to store for him from Members of Con
*Episodes in a Life of Adventure. Lawrence Oliphant. gress and an enlightened press. That
Congressional Globe, 1865-66.
the wisdom of clothing the representa Congress dissembled. They secured, tive of Canada in matters of this kind as has been said, notice of abrogation with the powers of a British plenipo- by professing willingness to frame a tentiary. But Sir Francis Hincks and new treaty. They never intended to other Canadians had paved the way for do so, but Canada took Congress at Lord Elgin. As early as 1850 Mr. its word, and in 1865 delegates went Dunscomb, the Commissioner of Cus down to Washington. toms, went to Washington to furnish The efforts begun at this time to reinformation and create interest in the new the old treaty, or frame a new subject of reciprocity. Sir Francis him one, lasted for several years. In some self paid several visits there on the respects they form the most interesting same mission, and he was in England period in all our negotiations with the in 1853 when Lord Elgin received United States. The records are scanty. Imperial authority to negotiate. The All the public men who went on the Provinces of Nova Scotia and New various missions have passed away, Brunswick were invited to send dele
save one, Sir William owland. The gates to unite with Canada, and the private papers and correspondence of Hon. E. B. Chandler, from the latter the others, such as Sir A. T. Galt, Sir province, joined the mission at New A. J. Smith, Sir John Rose, or Judge York. Owing to a misunderstanding Henry, have not seen the light yet. Nova Scotia was not represented, but Except for the meagre official statethe position of all the British provinces ments we are still much in the dark was fully understood, and statistical concerning these events. and other information had been pre From our general knowledge of the pared beforehand. We may fairly political conditions at that time we claim, therefore, that Canada had its may draw certain inferences. The share in the negotiation of the treaty, feeling between Great Britain and the and assisted materially in removing United States was extremely unfavourthe misapprehensions regarding reci able to any arrangement, and the situprocity which existed at Washington. ation called for tact, forbearance and
Into the disputes which arose under diplomatic skill to a degree even superthe treaty it is not my purpose to en ior to Lord Elgin's. One man alone, ter. They are not material to the I believe, could have proved equal to immediate subject under consideration. the emergency.
Unhappily, owing to There was always a vociferous minor- oversight and neglect, he was allowed ity ready to clamour against any ar to leave Washington before negotiarangement by which the United States tions were seriously begun, and with granted advantages in trade to a part him, I am convinced, departed the last of the British Empire, even when the chance of securing an extension or reRepublic itself was benefiting largely newal of the treaty. That man was by the agreement. Like the wolf in Lord Lyons, the British Minister. He the fable, the jingo was determined to had made himself personally acceptfind that the lamb disturbed the water. able to the Washington authorities by English sympathy with the South dur his delicate handling of the “Trent" ing the rebellion, and the firm attitude difficulty. Mr. Seward has recorded of Lord Palmerston at the time of the officially that to Lord Lyons was due Trent affair, had inflamed public opin- the avoidance of war in 1861 over that ion in the United States.
bitter controversy. If anyone could tion of reciprocity by the year 1865 was have convinced the United States Govvirtually removed from the commer ernment that the Elgin Treaty should cial arena, where it should have re stand it was he. The commercial inmained, to that of foreign politics. terests were a unit in favour of reciAt first the anti-British element in procity, and, as already stated, Con
gress voted for abrogation on the un*Reminiscences of his public life, by Sir Francis
derstanding that the treaty would be
renewed on terms even more compre- that year, and formal notice of terminahensive.
tion had been given in March. When One need not wonder why both Eng- Messrs. Galt and Howland, the two lish and Canadian statesmen failed to Canadians selected, arrived at the Unigrasp the opportunity. In England the ted States capital, therefore, the treaty utmost indifference reigned supreme, was already doomed. Their informal and the doctrine of the Manchester mission merely resulted in a suggestion school that Canada should cut aloof that possibly reciprocal free trade might from the Empire was uppermost. In be secured by concurrent legislation in Canada party government had just Congress, and in our Parliament. The broken down, and political conditions hope was vain and the plan open to were chaotic. The Coalition Ministry, objection. Mr. George Brown stoutly of which Mr. George Brown was a resisted this method, and resigned from member, had recently entered office, the Coalition Ministry sooner than be and the Canadian authorities were oc- a party to it, or, indeed, to any steps cupied with plans for confederation. that looked like begging favours from They remembered, indeed, the neces- the Americans when the latter had desity of continuing reciprocity, but they finitely denounced the treaty. set to work too late. The time when The Government, however, decided notice of abrogation could be given to go on, and the two Canadian delewas March 17th, 1865. That date gates already named were joined by must have been perfectly well known Hon. W. A. Henry, of Nova Scotia, to the Imperial and Canadian Govern- and Hon. A. J. Smith, of New Brunsments. Delay is the more difficult to wick. In January, 1866, a few weeks account for, since Mr. Brown fully un- before the treaty expired, they reached derstood the state of affairs. Writing Washington. Congress was in session, to Mr. Holton-in January, 1864, during and the delegates were turned over to the existence of the Sandfield Macdon- the tender mercies of the Ways and ald-Sicotte Ministry, he said: "I am Means Committee of the House. Mr. much concerned about the Reciprocity Morrill, a strong protectionist, was Treaty. It appears to me that none of chairman of that committee, and the us are sufficiently awake about it. I sentiment for a higher tariff was growsee very serious trouble ahead if notice ing. Terms of basis were indeed disof the repeal is given. ... I do think cussed. The men from the north were you are taking on a very serious res- told that if Canada liked to grant free ponsibility in not opening negotiations use of the St. La rence ver and the at Washington, as well with the Com- canals; to provide for mutual bonding mittee of the House and the Senate as privileges; to give United States fishthe Executive. It would be a thou- ermen the inshore fishing rights ; to sand-fold easier to negotiate before accept in a cheerful spirit high duties notice than after-before members have on all products of the farm and the committed themselves, by speech or fisheries, they could have free trade in otherwise, than afterwards."*
the following articles : Sir Edward Watkin repeatedly called Burr millstones, unwrought. attention, in the Imperial House of Cotton and linen rags. Commons, to the dangers of delay. Firewood. As late as February, 1865, the Imperial Grindstones, rough or unfinished. authorities were languidly indifferent Gypsum, or plaster, unground. on the subject. * Canada made no de- The proposition reads like a joke. cisive move until November, 1865, But the British Commissioners were in while Lord Lyons had resigned the no mood for jest, and they mournfully Washington mission in February of replied that “they were reluctantly * Life and Speeches of Hon. George Brown, by Alex
brought to the conclusion that the ander Mackenzie.
committee no longer desired the trade *Canada and the States, by Sir E. W. Watkin, Bt.,
between the two countries to be carried
on upon the principle of reciprocity.” city, he replied that it was inexpedient Their conclusion was justified. Yet to do anything until the mind of Contheir supply of hope must have been
gress was known.
In July Mr. Rose wonderful, for they wrote to the British went down to Washington. The Minister, Sir Frederick Bruce, who had omens appeared favourable, for the taken Lord Lyons' post, that “while Ways and Means Committee unaniwe regret this unfavourable termina- mously adopted a motion in favour of tion of the negotiations, we are not reopening the subject of reciprocity without hope that at no distant day with Canada. There was a short conthey may be resumed with a better ference, and the delegate, like his improspect of a satisfactory result.” mediate predecessors, returned empty
In rejecting offers of this kind, need- handed. A few months afterwards he less to say, the delegates had Cana- left Canadian politics forever, and the dian sentiment behind them. The hos- consequence is that the person best tility of the Washington politicians qualified to explain the nature and exhad one good effect on the British tent of the mission never did so. Provinces. It hastened Confederation From that day to this a controversy, and established free trade between the which keeps cropping up every now various communities to the north and then, has raged among political owing allegiance to the Crown. But writers and speakers in this country united Canada still clung to recipro- over the Rose negotiations. What city with a persistence that is truly re- were they precisely? There are no markable. The first tariff contained official papers in Canada accessible to a provision, often called a
the ordinary person. The report to offer,” to renew the old treaty. Press- the Privy Council is said to have been ing appeals were also made to the lost. When President Grant was askMother Country for the resumption of ed for the documentary records, he renegotiations through the British Min- plied that the conversations were too ister. By 1869 the matter again came informal to be made the subject of to the front. Sir Edward Thornton
The statement is made was now Minister at Washington, and by some United States writers and by as the time seemed propitious a fresh some Canadians that Mr. Rose offered attempt was made.
complete reciprocity, or what we now We have now reached the famous call commercial union. Mr. Huntingmission of Sir John Rose, about which don, during a debate in 1871, which so much has been said and so little may be read in the records of the time, known. Mr. Rose (he was made a affirmed that he had seen a copy of the baronet afterwards, when he went to confidential memorandum which passed reside in England), was in 1869 Cana- between Mr. Rose, Sir Edward Thorndian Minister of Finance. In many re- ton and Mr. Secretary Fish, and that spects he was an ideal commissioner. it bore this construction. Both Sir To affable manners he united a shrewd John Macdonald and Sir Francis judgment of men and a perfect com- Hincks, who took Mr. Rose's place as prehension of the whole situation. Finance Minister, in the most explicit Assuming the attitude of Washington terms denied the statement. The Conto be favourable to a treaty, Mr Rose servatives have always accepted these was the very man to bring the ques- denials, but Liberals have never been tion to a settlement. The British Min- satisfied, and ever and anon you will ister had been carrying on negotia- come upon assertions that Canada in tions for reopening the discussion, and 1869 was willing to join in what was was to notify the Canadian authori- practically a commercial zollverein with ties when the right moment came. the United States. As the point is of Matters were kept very quiet, and some consequence, and would be a when in January, 1869, Sir John Mac- precedent of a certain value, it is a donald was questioned about recipro- great pity that documentary evidence
is not forthcoming to set all doubts at good deal in my opinion. He is not a rest. If such evidence exists I have strong man, but he is a straightfornot been able to find it.
ward, painstaking person who desires Although the fisheries dispute has to do his duty, and who, with two always been more or less mixed up with Canadians at his elbow instead of an the trade relations of Canada and the English Cabinet Minister and a Foreign States, and the Elgin Treaty joined the Office man like Lord Tenterden, would two issues in the same settlement, do good service for the Dominion." there is no authority for including the This opinion is significant, as the negotiations by Sir John Macdonald in next negotiations for reciprocity, in 1871 and by Sir Charles Tupper in 1888 1874, were conducted by Sir Edward in the list of reciprocity efforts. Both Thornton and Mr. George Brown. The these statesmen made a general offer of new Liberal Government had hardly reciprocity as a basis. But the Washing assumed office in November, 1873, ton authorities would have none of it on when they proceeded to deal with the either occasion. In this article the question of trade with the States. The purpose is to outline only those negotia- selection of Mr. Brown was in all retions avowedly undertaken to effect a spects a wise one. He set a high value commercial treaty, and the Washing on freer trade between Canada and its ton negotiations of 1871 and 1888 can neighbour, but, as his action in 1865 not reasonably be classified with those showed, he was not prepared to truckle attempts. Yet the picture presented to the Americans for the privilege. He in Sir John Macdonald's private letters was also firmly devoted to the British to his colleagues at Ottawa during connection, and could be relied upon 1871 is of the utmost value, because it to do nothing that would compromise throws a flood of light upon the our relations with the Empire. In Febmethods that a Canadian negotiator ruary, 1874, he paid a preliminary visit has to reckon with at the United States to Washington, and reported favourCapital. If Mr. Joseph Pope had given ably on the prospects. The Cabinet us nothing more than this private cor drew up a set of instructions authorizrespondence relating to the treaty of ing reciprocity in a list of manufactured 1871, his book would be of the greatest articles as well as farm products, and historical importance.* Fromit welearn containing the assurance that “the the extremely difficult and delicate duty Government of Canada do not propose devolving upon a Canadian negotiator any modification in matters of trade who has to keep in view the interests and commerce which would in any way of the Dominion and of Great Britain injuriously affect Imperial interests." and avoid being trapped into any line Mr. Brown made an Imperial of argument that would indicate to a plenipotentiary, and for the first time foreigner that there was any divergence in our history the British Minister at in those interests. In this respect Sir Washington sat down to try and frame John had to fight the battle alone. The a treaty relating to Canada with a CaBritish members of the Commission nadian alone at his elbow. The fate —those who came direct from England of this treaty indicates one of the prin
-were all for a treaty on any terms. cipal obstacles met with by all foreign The British Minister, from his per governments in dealing with the United manent association with the Washing States. It has also just been exhibited ton politicians, knew better the kind of in regard to the Arbitration Treaty, warfare to carry on, and realized the and that is the share taken by the importance of maintaining a stiff back Senate in treaty-making. Mr. Bryce bone. Consequently, Sir John says: thinks this ratification of treaties by “I may say that acquaintance with the Senate is a good thing in a constiSir Edward Thornton has raised him a tution like that of the United States,
but he admits that it possesses dis*Memoirs of Sir John Macdonald, by Joseph Pope. Ottawa, 1894.
agreeable features for foreign govern