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free-and-easy society of the Washington politicians the Governor-General adapted himself with infinite tact and subtlety, for if a clap on the shoulder or a poke in the ribs meant a vote for the treaty the loss of dignity was amply compensated for. And there was champagne, unlimited champagne, until in a few weeks the Envoy Extraordinary of Her Britannic Majesty was declared to be the best fellow at the Capital. Then Lord Elgin went to Mr. Marcy, and assured that astounded personage that if he submitted a reasonable treaty to the Senate that body would adopt it. The document was drawn up, and the dashing pen of the Governor-General's secretary presents this vivid picture of its signing:

"It was in the dead of night, during the last five minutes of the fifth of June and the first five minutes of the sixth of the month aforesaid, that four individuals might have been seen seated in a spacious chamber lighted by wax candles and an Argand lamp. Their faces were expressive of deep and earnest thought, not unmixed with suspicion. Their feelings, however, to the acute observer manifested themselves in different ways; but this was natural, as two were in the bloom of youth, one in the sere and yellow leaf, and one in the prime of middle age. This last it is whose measured tones alone break the silence of midnight, except when one or other of the younger auditors, who are both pouring intently over voluminous MSS., interrupt him to interpolate an 'and' or erase a 'the.' They are, in fact, checking as he reads, and the aged man listens while he picks his teeth with a pair of scissors, or cleans out the wick of a candle with their points, which he afterwards wipes in his grey hair. There is something strangely suggestive in the scratching of the midnight pen, for it may be scratching fortunes or ruin to toiling millions. Then the venerable statesman takes up the pen to append his signature. His hand does not shake, though he is very old and knows the abuse that is in store for him from Members of Congress and an enlightened press. That

hand, it is said, is not at all unused to a revolver, and he is not afraid either of the wrath of his countrymen or the wiles of an English lord. So he gives us his blessing and the treaty is duly signed, and I retire to dream of its contents and to listen in my troubled sleep to the perpetually recurring refrain of the three impressive words with which the pregnant document concludes-'unmanufactured tobacco,


It was upon evidence of this kind that the opponents of the treaty in the United States afterwards declared it to have been "floated through on champagne," and in another place Mr. Oliphant remarks, in a letter home, that "Lord Elgin pretends to drink immensely; but I watched him, and I don't believe he drank a glass between two and twelve." There were also some loose accusations made subsequently that the treaty had been engineered through by "British gold "-a favourite bogey of a certain class of Washington politicians. The expenses of the deputation were doubtless heavy, but the boundless hospitality of the negotiators would account for this. There is no reason to suppose that the successful adoption of the treaty was due to any other cause than the sound commercial sense which lay behind it. The jingo politicians, finding themselves outwitted for once, took refuge in conjecture and innuendo. In fact, it may be said here that the treaty worked well in the interest of the United States, was popular with the commercial classes there during the eleven years it lasted, and when the majority in Congress gave the President authority to serve the required notice of abrogation in 1865 they voted under the distinct understanding that a new treaty, embodying a wider measure of reciprocity, was to replace the old. †

Lord Elgin's diplomacy has always been declared the real cause of the victory, and the treaty bears his name. This is natural, because the Imperial authorities had not yet awakened to

*Episodes in a Life of Adventure. Lawrence Oliphant. +Congressional Globe, 1865-66.

the wisdom of clothing the representative of Canada in matters of this kind with the powers of a British plenipotentiary. But Sir Francis Hincks and other Canadians had paved the way for Lord Elgin. As early as 1850 Mr. Dunscomb, the Commissioner of Customs, went to Washington to furnish information and create interest in the subject of reciprocity. Sir Francis himself paid several visits there on the same mission, and he was in England in 1853 when Lord Elgin received Imperial authority to negotiate. The Provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were invited to send delegates to unite with Canada, and the Hon. E. B. Chandler, from the latter province, joined the mission at New. York. Owing to a misunderstanding Nova Scotia was not represented, but the position of all the British provinces was fully understood, and statistical and other information had been prepared beforehand. We may fairly claim, therefore, that Canada had its share in the negotiation of the treaty, and assisted materially in removing the misapprehensions regarding reciprocity which existed at Washington.

Into the disputes which arose under the treaty it is not my purpose to enter. They are not material to the immediate subject under consideration. There was always a vociferous minority ready to clamour against any arrangement by which the United States granted advantages in trade to a part of the British Empire, even when the Republic itself was benefiting largely by the agreement. Like the wolf in the fable, the jingo was determined to find that the lamb disturbed the water. English sympathy with the South during the rebellion, and the firm attitude of Lord Palmerston at the time of the Trent affair, had inflamed public opinion in the United States. The question of reciprocity by the year 1865 was virtually removed from the commercial arena, where it should have remained, to that of foreign politics. At first the anti-British element in

*Reminiscences of his public life, by Sir Francis


Congress dissembled. They secured, as has been said, notice of abrogation by professing willingness to frame a new treaty. They never intended to do so, but Canada took Congress at its word, and in 1865 delegates went down to Washington.

The efforts begun at this time to renew the old treaty, or frame a new one, lasted for several years. In some respects they form the most interesting period in all our negotiations with the United States. The records are scanty. All the public men who went on the various missions have passed away, save one, Sir William Howland The private papers and correspondence of the others, such as Sir A. T. Galt, Sir A. J. Smith, Sir John Rose, or Judge Henry, have not seen the light yet. Except for the meagre official statements we are still much in the dark concerning these events.

From our general knowledge of the political conditions at that time we may draw certain inferences. The feeling between Great Britain and the United States was extremely unfavourable to any arrangement, and the situation called for tact, forbearance and diplomatic skill to a degree even superior to Lord Elgin's. One man alone, I believe, could have proved equal to the emergency. Unhappily, owing to oversight and neglect, he was allowed to leave Washington before negotiations were seriously begun, and with him, I am convinced, departed the last chance of securing an extension or renewal of the treaty. That man was Lord Lyons, the British Minister. He had made himself personally acceptable to the Washington authorities by his delicate handling of the "Trent" difficulty. Mr. Seward has recorded officially that to Lord Lyons was due the avoidance of war in 1861 over that bitter controversy. If anyone could have convinced the United States Government that the Elgin Treaty should stand it was he. The commercial interests were a unit in favour of reciprocity, and, as already stated, Congress voted for abrogation on the understanding that the treaty would be

renewed on terms even more comprehensive.


One need not wonder why both English and Canadian statesmen failed to grasp the opportunity. In England the utmost indifference reigned supreme, and the doctrine of the Manchester school that Canada should cut aloof from the Empire was uppermost. Canada party government had just broken down, and political conditions. were chaotic. The Coalition Ministry, of which Mr. George Brown was a member, had recently entered office, and the Canadian authorities were occupied with plans for confederation. They remembered, indeed, the necessity of continuing reciprocity, but they set to work too late. The time when notice of abrogation could be given was March 17th, 1865. That date must have been perfectly well known to the Imperial and Canadian Governments. Delay is the more difficult to account for, since Mr. Brown fully understood the state of affairs. Writing to Mr. Holton in January, 1864, during the existence of the Sandfield Macdonald-Sicotte Ministry, he said: "I am much concerned about the Reciprocity Treaty. It appears to me that none of us are sufficiently awake about it. I see very serious trouble ahead if notice of the repeal is given. . . . I do think you are taking on a very serious responsibility in not opening negotiations at Washington, as well with the Committee of the House and the Senate as the Executive. It would be a thousand-fold easier to negotiate before notice than after-before members have committed themselves, by speech or otherwise, than afterwards."*

Sir Edward Watkin repeatedly called attention, in the Imperial House of Commons, to the dangers of delay. As late as February, 1865, the Imperial authorities were languidly indifferent on the subject.* Canada made no decisive move until November, 1865, while Lord Lyons had resigned the Washington mission in February of

*Life and Speeches of Hon. George Brown, by Alexander MacKenzie.

* Canada and the States, by Sir E. W. Watkin, Bt., M.P.

that year, and formal notice of termination had been given in March. When Messrs. Galt and Howland, the two Canadians selected, arrived at the United States capital, therefore, the treaty was already doomed. Their informal mission merely resulted in a suggestion that possibly reciprocal free trade might be secured by concurrent legislation in Congress, and in our Parliament. The hope was vain and the plan open to objection. Mr. George Brown stoutly resisted this method, and resigned from the Coalition Ministry sooner than be a party to it, or, indeed, to any steps that looked like begging favours from the Americans when the latter had definitely denounced the treaty.

The Government, however, decided to go on, and the two Canadian delegates already named were joined by Hon. W. A. Henry, of Nova Scotia, and Hon. A. J. Smith, of New Brunswick. In January, 1866, a few weeks before the treaty expired, they reached Washington. Congress was in session, and the delegates were turned over to the tender mercies of the Ways and Means Committee of the House. Mr. Morrill, a strong protectionist, was chairman of that committee, and the sentiment for a higher tariff was growing. Terms of basis were indeed discussed. The men from the north were told that if Canada liked to grant free use of the St. Lawrence River and the canals; to provide for mutual bonding privileges; to give United States fishermen the inshore fishing rights; to accept in a cheerful spirit high duties on all products of the farm and the fisheries, they could have free trade in the following articles:

Burr millstones, unwrought.
Cotton and linen rags.


Grindstones, rough or unfinished.
Gypsum, or plaster, unground.

The proposition reads like a joke. But the British Commissioners were in no mood for jest, and they mournfully replied that "they were reluctantly brought to the conclusion that the committee no longer desired the trade between the two countries to be carried

on upon the principle of reciprocity." Their conclusion was justified. Yet their supply of hope must have been wonderful, for they wrote to the British Minister, Sir Frederick Bruce, who had taken Lord Lyons' post, that "while we regret this unfavourable termination of the negotiations, we are not without hope that at no distant day they may be resumed with a better prospect of a satisfactory result."

In rejecting offers of this kind, needless to say, the delegates had Canadian sentiment behind them. The hostility of the Washington politicians had one good effect on the British Provinces. It hastened Confederation and established free trade between the various communities to the north owing allegiance to the Crown. But united Canada still clung to reciprocity with a persistence that is truly remarkable. The first tariff contained a provision, often called a "standing offer," to renew the old treaty. Pressing appeals were also made to the Mother Country for the resumption of negotiations through the British Minister. By 1869 the matter again came to the front. Sir Edward Thornton was now Minister at Washington, and as the time seemed propitious a fresh attempt was made.

We have now reached the famous mission of Sir John Rose, about which so much has been said and so little known. Mr. Rose (he was made a baronet afterwards, when he went to reside in England), was in 1869 Canadian Minister of Finance. In many respects he was an ideal commissioner. To affable manners he united a shrewd judgment of men and a perfect comprehension of the whole situation. Assuming the attitude of Washington to be favourable to a treaty, Mr Rose was the very man to bring the question to a settlement. The British Minister had been carrying on negotiations for reopening the discussion, and was to notify the Canadian authorities when the right moment came. Matters were kept very quiet, and when in January, 1869, Sir John Macdonald was questioned about recipro

city, he replied that it was inexpedient to do anything until the mind of Congress was known. In July Mr. Rose went down to Washington. The omens appeared favourable, for the Ways and Means Committee unanimously adopted a motion in favour of reopening the subject of reciprocity with Canada. There was a short conference, and the delegate, like his immediate predecessors, returned emptyhanded. A few months afterwards he left Canadian politics forever, and the consequence is that the person best qualified to explain the nature and extent of the mission never did so.

From that day to this a controversy, which keeps cropping up every now and then, has raged among political writers and speakers in this country over the Rose negotiations. What were they precisely? There are no official papers in Canada accessible to the ordinary person. The report to the Privy Council is said to have been lost. When President Grant was asked for the documentary records, he replied that the conversations were too informal to be made the subject of official report. The statement is made by some United States writers and by some Canadians that Mr. Rose offered complete reciprocity, or what we now call commercial union. Mr. Huntingdon, during a debate in 1871, which may be read in the records of the time, affirmed that he had seen a copy of the confidential memorandum which passed between Mr. Rose, Sir Edward Thornton and Mr. Secretary Fish, and that it bore this construction. Both Sir John Macdonald and Sir Francis Hincks, who took Mr. Rose's place as Finance Minister, in the most explicit terms denied the statement. The Conservatives have always accepted these denials, but Liberals have never been satisfied, and ever and anon you will come upon assertions that Canada in 1869 was willing to join in what was practically a commercial zollverein with the United States. As the point is of some consequence, and would be a precedent of a certain value, it is a great pity that documentary evidence

is not forthcoming to set all doubts at rest. If such evidence exists I have not been able to find it.

Although the fisheries dispute has always been more or less mixed up with the trade relations of Canada and the States, and the Elgin Treaty joined the two issues in the same settlement, there is no authority for including the negotiations by Sir John Macdonald in 1871 and by Sir Charles Tupper in 1888 in the list of reciprocity efforts. Both these statesmen made a general offer of reciprocity as a basis. But the Washington authorities would have none of it on either occasion. In this article the purpose is to outline only those negotiations avowedly undertaken to effect a commercial treaty, and the Washington negotiations of 1871 and 1888 cannot reasonably be classified with those attempts. Yet the picture presented in Sir John Macdonald's private letters to his colleagues at Ottawa during 1871 is of the utmost value, because it throws a flood of light upon the methods that a Canadian negotiator has to reckon with at the United States Capital. If Mr. Joseph Pope had given us nothing more than this private correspondence relating to the treaty of 1871, his book would be of the greatest historical importance.* Fromit we learn the extremely difficult and delicate duty devolving upon a Canadian negotiator who has to keep in view the interests of the Dominion and of Great Britain and avoid being trapped into any line of argument that would indicate to a foreigner that there was any divergence in those interests. In this respect Sir John had to fight the battle alone. The British members of the Commission -those who came direct from England -were all for a treaty on any terms. The British Minister, from his permanent association with the Washington politicians, knew better the kind of warfare to carry on, and realized the importance of maintaining a stiff backbone. Consequently, Sir John says: "I may say that acquaintance with Sir Edward Thornton has raised him a

*Memoirs of Sir John Macdonald, by Joseph Pope. Ottawa, 1894.

good deal in my opinion. He is not a strong man, but he is a straightforward, painstaking person who desires to do his duty, and who, with two Canadians at his elbow instead of an English Cabinet Minister and a Foreign Office man like Lord Tenterden, would do good service for the Dominion."

This opinion is significant, as the next negotiations for reciprocity, in 1874, were conducted by Sir Edward Thornton and Mr. George Brown. The new Liberal Government had hardly assumed office in November, 1873, when they proceeded to deal with the question of trade with the States. The selection of Mr. Brown was in all respects a wise one. He set a high value on freer trade between Canada and its neighbour, but, as his action in 1865 showed, he was not prepared to truckle to the Americans for the privilege. He was also firmly devoted to the British connection, and could be relied upon to do nothing that would compromise our relations with the Empire. In February, 1874, he paid a preliminary visit to Washington, and reported favourably on the prospects. The Cabinet drew up a set of instructions authorizing reciprocity in a list of manufactured articles as well as farm products, and containing the assurance that "the Government of Canada do not propose any modification in matters of trade and commerce which would in any way injuriously affect Imperial interests. Mr. Brown was made an Imperial plenipotentiary, and for the first time. in our history the British Minister at Washington sat down to try and frame a treaty relating to Canada with a Canadian alone at his elbow. The fate of this treaty indicates one of the principal obstacles met with by all foreign governments in dealing with the United States. It has also just been exhibited in regard to the Arbitration Treaty, and that is the share taken by the Senate in treaty-making. Mr. Bryce thinks this ratification of treaties by the Senate is a good thing in a constitution like that of the United States, but he admits that it possesses disagreeable features for foreign govern


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